Saturday, March 14, 2009

Graduation '09.

End of the school year, always that same mixture of celebration and sadness. Pretty good group of kids this year, despite 3 or 4 yanki kids I won't really miss that much.
From 2009-03-13

From 2009-03-13

One of the new graduates/young ladies went all rogue and wore [gasp!] pierced earrings to graduation, cleverly hidden by her hair. I noticed and was her complicit accessory in keeping it a secret. I support these small acts of innocuous rebellion. Cause it's cute. [I may not be the best teacher. :)]
From 2009-03-13

I'll spare you all the 70 or so pictures of me and my students flashing the peace sign and just put up some of the best pics.

[All the pics are here though - I expect Sandy and those who really love me to check them out! HA! Guilt! Good stuff.]
But some of the better pics of the day...
From 2009-03-13

The kawaii-ness of Japanese schoolgirls can never be defeated.
From 2009-03-13

From 2009-03-13

This group of kids all live in my neighborhood. While my address is/was Araji, I apparently live in the Gotanda area of city, so these girls rallied "Everybody from Gotanda take a picture!" Which included me. Which was awesome. But then I asked them all "Hey, but didn't our address just change?" [City zoning or somesuch] "Aren't we Tsuyazaki 7-chome now?" They were great... "Yes! Tsuyazaki 7-chome! Yay!"
From 2009-03-13

The girl just to my left/your right is actually my neighbor who lives right behind me. In the summer, with the kitchen window open, she's forever yelling when she sees me, asking me what I'm doing/making to eat. Good kid...

The 62nd graduating ceremony...
From 2009-03-13

This year's musical goodbye/thanks from the students... You know, unfailingly, the girls always start breaking down and crying, but this was the first year I can recall some of the boys breaking down too. It was cute.
From 2009-03-13

I'll admit it, I got a little choked up too. Gonna miss some of this kids. But I blame my emotional rollercoaster of the last 2 weeks.

This kid was a trip. Full on class clown. But a good kid.
From 2009-03-13

The homeroom teachers get choked up too. They actually become surrogate parents in a lot of ways. It's really kind of adorable.
From 2009-03-13

From 2009-03-13

Looking on with pride as the kids say their final homeroom goodbyes. Plus, the kimonos rock.
From 2009-03-13

From 2009-03-13

The Principal decked out in full on formal tails. Plus one of the nicest teachers who's retiring this year.
From 2009-03-13

From 2009-03-13

One of my favorite students this past year. Smart, sweet, good natured... gonna go far, I think. Just a great kid. [Please ignore my crazy eyes. At this point I had taken a lot of pictures.]
From 2009-03-13

The kids on their final walk out of the school.
From 2009-03-13

And to wrap it up, the video I took of one of the musical thank you/goodbyes... I can't follow the lyrics, because I am sad and my Japanese sucks, but you can feeeel it... youknowhatImsayin'?

What I've Read - Zen and Hitchhiking.

Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate: A Trip Through Death, Sex, Divorce, and Spiritual Celebrity in Search of the True Dharma by Brad Warner - New World Library:
"How does a real-life Zen master — not the preternaturally calm, cartoonish Zen masters depicted by mainstream culture — help others through hard times when he’s dealing with pain of his own? How does he meditate when the world is crumbling around him? Is meditation a valid response or just another form of escapism? These are the questions Brad Warner ponders in Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate.

During a year that Warner spent giving talks and leading retreats across North America, his mother and grandmother died, he lost his dream job, and his marriage fell apart. In writing about how he applied the Buddha’s teachings to his own real-life suffering, Warner shatters expectations, revealing that Buddhism isn’t some esoteric pie-in-the-sky ultimate solution but an exceptionally practical way to deal with whatever life dishes out."
I've read, enjoyed and learned quite a bit from Warner's previous books, Hardcore Zen and Sit Down and Shut Up, and what I thought of his previous work holds true for this one.

He's the best, no bullshit, lay it out straight author on zen I've read. I get a lot from his books and he's a really engrossing and engaging writer. The only hangup I really have with him is that he's such a dogmatic true believer. But the thing is, if you're gonna be a true believer in anything, zen buddhism is probably the safest bet, because it doesn't care one whit if anybody else believes as well.

And most of the basic tenets and ideas of zen resonate with me. Without sitting zazen, which I really should do, intellectually the fact that, yes, there is stuff, but most of "the world" and "reality" is just your thoughts about stuff. So getting worked up about all that, while it happens, you need to keep it in perspective. Yeah, I need to sit. Working on it. Great book. Recommended.

Kindness of Strangers
by Mike McIntyre - don't know where I [or Sandy] even picked this up. Light, quick, interesting read. I enjoyed it.
"From Publishers Weekly
McIntyre decided to confront his fears and the shaky path his life was taking by hitchhiking from San Francisco to Cape Fear, N.C. Along the way, he hoped to find some kindness in the soul of America and vowed to accept no money, only food, shelter and friendship. ...The Kindness of Strangers is the story of those who help and hinder his journey: the vast array of kind souls and weirdoes, as well as Americana at its best and worst... McIntyre writes eloquently and rekindles optimism in America's character.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc."

What I've read - "Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution."

Bill Hicks' comedy inspires me. His viewpoints and ideas are as relevant today as they were 16 years ago, when he died. What I learned from Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution by Kevin Booth and Michael Bertin was that he was as complex and fucked up as anyone. Brilliant and an addict. Compassionate soul and kind of an asshole. A loving man who wasn't so loving at times to a lot of people. But the man had the spark of genius, he did. Great book.
"Written by Bill Hick's lifelong friend, producer, and co-creator, Kevin Booth offers the inside story into the man who was only along for the ride for a tragically short time, yet left an indelible mark on comedy enthusiasts and freethinkers everywhere. "Bill Hicks: Agent of Evolution" offers a rare fly-on-the-wall insight into the life of one of Britain's most loved US comedians. Adored in the UK for his unique style of savage, hilarious comedy, the one person who knew him inside and out tells of a man whose life was just as impassioned and off-the-wall as his comedy. Even back at high school, in Houston, Texas, Kevin was Bill's co-conspirator, as they sneaked out of Bill's strict Baptist home at night, and headed for the Comedy Workshop, where at the age of fourteen, Bill was going down a storm. They virtually shared every experience - from magic mushrooms to girls, but it was their music and their vision of comedy, which bound them so closely together. Kevin produced, engineered and performed on many of Bill's recordings, and it is largely due to him, that so much of Bill's comedy is readily available on CD and video. Michael Bertin, a hugely talented author from Austin, Texas, is co-writing Kevin's fly-on-the-wall biography of Bill Hicks."
Hicks was pretty gutted by being cut from Letterman about five months before he died of pancreatic cancer, and I thought that this bit below serves as a great coda to his memory.

Bill Hicks - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"...On October 1, 1993, about five months before his death, Hicks was scheduled to appear on The Late Show with David Letterman, his twelfth appearance on a Letterman late night show (his prior 11 appearances having been on Late Night with David Letterman), but his entire performance was removed from the broadcast - the only occasion, up to that point, in which a comedian's entire routine had been cut after taping. Hicks' stand-up routine was removed from the show allegedly because Letterman and his producer were nervous about Hicks' religious jokes. Both the show's producers and CBS denied responsibility. Hicks expressed his feelings of betrayal in a hand-written, 39-page letter to John Lahr of The New Yorker. Although Letterman later expressed regret at the way Hicks had been handled, he did not appear on the show again...

Mary Hicks appeared on the January 30, 2009, episode of The Late Show. Letterman played Hicks' routine in its entirety. Letterman took full responsibility for the original censorship and apologized to Bill's mother, Mary Hicks, who had accepted his invitation to be a guest on the show. Letterman also declared he didn't know what he had been thinking when he pulled the routine from the original show in 1993. Letterman said, "It says more about me as a guy than it says about Bill because there was absolutely nothing wrong with it."

Watched - 3/7 to 3/14.

Red Riding, eps 1&2 - new miniseries on British TV4. Well done and interesting, but awful bleak and dark. Red Riding - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Set against a backdrop of serial murders, including the Yorkshire Ripper case, they deal with multi-layered corruption and feature several recurring characters across the four books. Though real crimes are featured the scripts are fictionalised and dramatised versions of events rather than contemporary factual accounts."

Resident Evil 1, 2&3 - ultimately forgettable action movies based on the video games. The occasional nicely stylized action scene, but not particularly good movies, as they go.

Battlestar Galactica - I am sick to death of the bleak melodrama of crying in space. So say we all. And the bleak tool of authoritarian obstinance, Admiral Adama. But it's too well written to give up on after 4 seasons. And it's so close to the end, so I'm in it till it's over.

Batman: The Brave and the Bold - been pleasantly surprised by the new series. Lighter and skewed younger than BTAS, it's way better than The Batman, and has a great, fun, witty and kinetic style.

Friday Night Lights - best drama on TV. Period.

UFC 96: Jackson vs. Jardine
- some good fights.

Real Time w/Bill Maher - abrasive & funny, as always.

Delocated 1&2 - wacky new show on Adult Swim/Cartoon Network. Pretty funny. Delocated - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"...Jon Glaser plays a man ('Jon') in the witness protection program who moves his family to New York City so they can star in a reality TV show, forced to wear balaclavas at all times. Paul Rudd guest-stars in the pilot as himself."
"Paul Rudd is dead! He was in Anchorman."

- Joss Whedon's new show is starting to gain some momentum after a slow start. Showing some sparks and signs of the Whedon magic.

Eastbound and Down - southeastern NC tragicomedy at it's finest. I'm dying to see just how far down the well the trainwreck goes. Funny stuff.

Iron Chef America - Battle Fresh Beans/Beer/Suckling Pig/Cheddar/Egg/Wild Boar - I suck at cooking but have an entirely unhealthy obsession with this show. I love watching it. I even think I've seen a couple of these before. Don't care. Awesome.

House - Great ep this week. First because Jay Karnes/Dutch from The Shield was the guest star. Great actor. And he had a brain disorder that prevented him from telling any of the normal white lies we all tell every day. 100% truth, all the time. Hilarious. And revealing. And the ep was brilliant because anytime they delve into the House/Wilson friendship, it totally evokes Holmes/Watson. Which is awesome. You know, with the Robert Downey Jr Holmes film coming up, I wonder how many folks might think that the dynamic is aping House.

Heroes - John Glover had a great guest spot as Sylar's dad. But the show is still kinda all over the place.

The Daily Show was awesome this week. Continued crushing of the morons over at CNBC culminated in Mad Money's Jim Cramer on the show, where Stewart absolutely brutalized him with the light of truth and righteous indignation.
"I understand you want to make finance entertaining. But it's not a fucking game."
It was beautiful. Jon Stewart, when he's on, imho, is the best freaking TV journalist in the country. The only knock I have is that he's far too deferential to the politicos that come on his show. But when it comes to handing the media its ass, he's the go-to guy. Also, Paul Rudd was on this week. Way funny.

Also a couple eps of the Colbert Report this week.

Castle - New show with the impressively funny Nathan Fillion. Playing a highly intelligent mystery writer man-child. Hope it sustains the level of the pilot. Good show. - "I can't tell that story. That's wildly inappropriate."

Office & 30 Rock - "The KGB will wait for no one!" - "Why do you have a diary? To keep secrets from my computer." Awesome.

Smallville - eh episode. Continually on the bubble.

Skins - the characters are so damaged and make such bad decisions, I can't not watch. Totally engrossing and well acted.

Ladykillers - the Coen brothers, so an appropriately strange and quirky flick. Entertaining enough. Great soundtrack/score, though.

Facing the Giants
- I'm sooooo not the target audience for this movie. Sent to me by one of my oldest friends, who's convinced I'll be spending all of eternity burning in hell. But I'll give anything a friend is kind enough to buy me and send to me a chance. Thought that counts and all that kind of thing.

Facing the Giants - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Facing the Giants is a 2006 American drama film directed by and starring Alex Kendrick. The cast, composed of volunteers from Sherwood Baptist Church, includes Shannon Fields, James Blackwell, Bailey Cave, and Tracy Goode. The film relates an underdog story about American football from an Evangelical Christian worldview. This movie was shot in Albany, Georgia. The film made its television debut on September 21, 2008, on Trinity Broadcasting Network."
So... the positives. Props for true believers and independent film making. Instead of complaining about Hollywood, they went out and did something creative and meaningful for them. Massive kudos for that. Production values were decent, especially for a group of amateur actors.

Another point I'll give the flick is it's absolutely true that you're always much more capable than what you may think you are.

But you don't need any magic book or invisible superhero to get it done.

The big failing of all these religious themed films and books and everything, is that they're not there to tell a good story. They're there to proselytize, and everything else is secondary.

Compare it to, say, Friday Night Lights, another football story, where religion in a small Texas town has been a part of several plotlines about developed characters, as opposed to this flick, where it is all so obviously just an excuse to get their message across, and the characters are kind of empty shells to mouth that message. It's just not good storytelling. And while the acting level is good for a bunch of amateurs, and there's one or two performances I'd say were pretty good, they're still amateurs. And it kinda showed.

And I swear, the second I saw the dude in the wheelchair, I knew he'd stand up at the climactic moment to inspire victory. That's just not really very good storytelling.

And still not the worst Christian themed flick I've ever seen though... that'd be Joshua, which was particularly galling and disappointing because I actually really dug the book it was based on, which I'd read in high school.

But ultimately, this movie just isn't for me. The message is pretty much antithetical to, well, damn near everything I think and feel. Every time they said "honor authority" I wanted throw my glass at the fucking TV. Respect & honor isn't automatic. It's god damned earned. And also, if I'm following the movie the right way, when you pray and give your life over to god, Jesus gives you a new truck, gets you pregnant and helps you win football games. Apparently. Which is why you should be Christian. Or something.

But hey, the football scenes were cool. And I appreciate my friends who think enough of me to try and save my soul :)

Atheist hip-hop.

Skills wise, dude is pretty tight. Gonna have to check and see if he's on emusic.

Greydon Square - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"Greydon Square (born Eddie Collins on September 28, 1981) is an American hip hop artist. He is a veteran of the Iraq War and an outspoken atheist who promotes discussion on theological issues, as well as studying physics full time.

...Collins, grew up in Compton, California, where he was raised as an orphan and would become immersed in the gang culture. In May 2001, he enlisted in the United States Army. He would go on to serve in the Iraq War in March 2004. After returning from Iraq, Collins began attending college in Phoenix, Arizona as a physics major. It was at this time that he began questioning his prior religious beliefs and became an outspoken atheist, posting videos on YouTube and becoming a member of the Rational Response Squad, and of the pro-democracy movement Grand Unified Theory. He has appeared on Nightline in regard to the RRS' Blasphemy Challenge, and his music has attracted fans such as Penn Jillette and Richard Dawkins."

Found via The Good Atheist » Blog Archive » Dropping the Mad Rhymes

Better late than never - Norm Stamper on Police Brutality.

Norm Stamper: Police Brutality: Deal With It:
"...Forty-three years ago I was an idealistic, vaguely liberal 21-year-old when the San Diego Police Department hired me. The last thing on my mind was taking to the streets to punish people. And lest there be any doubt about the department's policy, the police academy, even then, drove it home: excessive force was grounds for termination.

So, why did I abuse the very people I'd been hired to serve?

Not to get too psychological, I did it because the power of my position went straight to my head; because other cops I'd come to admire did it; and because I thought I could get away with it. Which I did--until a principled prosecutor slapped me upside the head and demanded to know whether the U.S. Constitution meant anything to me.

It comes down to this: real cops, those with a conscience, those who honor the law, must step up and take control of the cop culture.

Ha freaking ha.

The Agitator » Blog Archive » Morning Links:
"Man wins acquittal after introducing evidence of steroid-popping cop’s MySpace missives about the joys of beating suspects and planting evidence."
Article here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Joe Rogan and Grant Morrison - The Superorganism.

Disparate influences in my world convene to tell me the same thing. Odd.

The Joe Rogan Blog » Conduit to the Gaian Mind » My brothers and sisters:
"...I ran into a guy in Vegas a couple weeks ago that had read my blog entry, “hello, stranger.” He told me that he had read it, and that it changed the way he thinks about people.

The blog entry is about a psychedelic experience I had on a boat in Hawaii where realized that we human beings are probably all exactly the same energy, but we’re just put into different bodies, different life circumstances, different cultures, and that’s what makes us who we are, but the thought was if I lived every second of your life, I would be you. If I lived in your body, and had your experiences, I would be you.

That “me” is the same thing for everybody, we’re just living this life through different filters.

You really have to read that blog entry to understand what happened, but that’s the short version.

...The guy came up to me at the bar and started telling me how he read what I wrote, and that he started incorporating it into his own life, and that it works. He said he really tries to treat people as if they were himself living another life through another body, and that it’s had an amazingly positive affect on the quality of his life.

It was a really weird moment, because I could tell that he meant what he was saying, and I certainly meant it when I wrote it, so here we are, two dudes that have just met each other, and we’re both just sitting there looking at each other thinking that we’re the same thing inside this different biological vessels. It was pretty fucking trippy, and at least 20% gay.

...I talked to him and his friends for a while, we had a few laughs, we had a drink, and I wished him the best of luck in this crazy life, and I really meant it – seeing as how he’s me."
disinformation | disinformation: grant morrison transcript:
"...The short version is that I was sitting up on the roof garden of the BajaRat Hotel and this thing happened and - it's hard to describe, we're going into areas that are unusual, so all I remember is getting back downstairs and laying on the bed and - some unusual things happened, and then it seemed like there were entities in the room it was like those silver morphing blobs you see in rave videos. It was like computer generated things and they claimed to be cross-sections of fifth-dimensional entities as expressed through four-dimensional spacetime and they claimed that I was one of them and that I had to come back and see what the old homestead was like. And that was when I felt like I was peeled off the surface of spacetime and they took me out of my body and then to what seemed to be the fifth dimension because I could see the entirety of space and time as a dynamic object in which Shakespeare was over here, and I was over here and the dinosaurs were here and we were all in the same object, and time was a thing.

So, I appeared to be in a fifth dimensional fluid, an information space that I could say was maybe kinda bluish, extending out infinitely. These things swam through it and interacted with it and they told me that what the universe was, was a larval form of what they are, which is fifth-dimensional entities. And the only way to grow a fifth-dimensional entity is to plant it in time, henceforth our universe."

And that pretty much sums that up.

Via The Good Atheist » Blog Archive » Oldie but a Goodie

"25 Things I Hate About Facebook."

Pretty damn funny.

I disagree... total parenting WIN.

Efficient, practical, wise...

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Serious Oops.

It's the sad face that makes it.
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Oops - "Man dressed as the Joker from Batman films shot dead by police."

Or alternatively, fuuuuuuuck.

Suicide by cop. Very screwed up.

Man dressed as the Joker from Batman films shot dead by police | World news |
"A man dressed as Batman villain the Joker has been shot dead by police in America after pointing a loaded shotgun at them.

The dead man, who was said to be obsessed with the character, was wearing full costume and makeup when he was challenged by officers in a national park in Virginia, according to legal documents.

The FBI named him as army specialist Christopher Lanum, who was wanted as a suspect over the stabbing of a fellow soldier at Fort Eustis, a major army base in the state, several hours before. Lanum's girlfriend, Patsy Ann Marie Montowski, who was with him when he was shot, told investigators that the soldier idolised the Joker, played in the most recent Batman film, The Dark Knight, by the late Heath Ledger.

..According to the FBI documents, Lanum told Montowski to kill him with the shotgun but she refused. He then pointed the gun at police, his finger on the trigger, and refused orders to drop it, before being shot several times."

Via Warren Ellis.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Training 304.

Knowing today was graduation at my school, and I'd be chowing down on the full on post-graduation full of carbs and calories bento, today's my free/rest day. Workouts and diet on the weekend.

Training 303.

1.5L water, 2 meals, 20m cardio/shadowboxing

...need more water... need to get my PT done earlier in the day...

Superman Fail.

Subtext is a bitch.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Training 301-302.

301 - 2L water, 2 meals, 20m cardio/shadowboxing, 20m light stretching

302 - 2 meals 1.5L water, kind of a half-ass better-than-nothing lower body wkout

Observation - when you've been doing something wrong for so long, doing it right will feel really strange.

To wit, my posture and my breathing really suck. Hard. And obviously, the two are completely interrelated. The postural habits I've been falling into these last 4-5 years, to a large to degree from sitting a lot, and specifically sitting in front of a computer a lot has given me a wealth of problems. Tight hamstrings, sloped shoulders, contracted and shortened pectorals and a forward head posture that my wife [psuedo] lovingly says makes me look like a turtle. I freaking hate it. And of course, all those contribute to poor and less than full breathing. My chest and diaphragm doesn't expand the way it should, which just leads to a sense of a lack of general well being. Breathing is key.

Pic via.

And the thing is the last couple days, when I think of it, I've been really aware of trying to maintain an upright, shoulders back, chest open, head up posture. But it feels incredibly awkward. But checked in the mirror it almost appears normal even though I feel all twisted and wrong.

Developing bad habits while not being aware of it really sucks. Go figure, your face may not freeze "that way" the way they told you as a kid, but it turns out your body will, if you do it long enough.

More breathing, more awareness, more attention, more work.

Sweet, sweet blasphemy.


The models are changing. Pay attention.

How is it the best comedians - Pryor, Carlin, Hicks, Stanhope - and yes, Joe Rogan - are the most competent at explaining what's actually going on in the world?

The Joe Rogan Blog » Conduit to the Gaian Mind » Humanity gone haywire:
"...I think we as human beings are in a very strange stage in our evolution, especially in regards to how we’re altering our perceptions of reality through the use of technology. We’re connected together by the internet in a way that no humans have ever experienced in the history of the species, and it’s only been going on for the last 15 years or so.
It’s started slow, and snuck up on us, but now that it’s here to stay it’s moving at an incredible pace.

We’re more aware of each other and have more access to information than any generation by far, yet we still live under the same flawed and ill-conceived structures that were set up in our disconnected past. They just don’t make any sense anymore, and that’s why they’re falling apart. The economy never made any sense to me, but I always thought it’s probably best to not get obsessed by this shit, and to just leave it up to the experts. Turns out, the economy is so fucking wacky that even the experts don’t understand it. Now with the internet, we get the reports on this shit instantly, and the information is flowing much, much faster. More people know more than ever how fucking crazy the whole system is, and because of that knowledge people have completely lost faith in the system and accelerated it’s demise.

Corruption gets exposed much quicker, and much deeper now... With the internet, when some shit is happening it’s getting reported on RIGHT NOW. Instantly, and it’s easy to find.

...All these guys look horribly corrupt because they are, but they’ve always been this way. We’re just getting a closer look at the world we live in than ever before, and we can spot this shit much easier now. All these corrupt people are operating the same way people like them have always operated; it’s just a model that doesn’t really work anymore. We have more access to everything now – companies, people, news, ideas – if it keeps moving in this direction the next few years are going to be very strange indeed."

Oddly appropriate.

From an email/quote list I subscribe to...

[Hi Sandy!]

A Note from the Universe
"Sometimes when you're ready for a change... and you kind of know it but won't admit it, when it comes, not only are you surprised, but it hurts.

Yeah, I know that doesn't help much, unless you remember the 'ready' part. Because there is simply no change that might ever transpire in time and space that happens before you're fully able to use it for your own growth and glory."

"A Brief History of the Apocalypse."

This site is brilliant. Listing all sorts of foretold apocalypses [apocalypsi?] throughout history. As cool as the geek rapture/singularity or 2012 might be, it's all most likely nonsense.

Below are the first and last entries... Mind numbing [mostly religious] hilarity to be seen. Awesome.

A Brief History of the Apocalypse:
"ca. 2800 BC According to Isaac Asimov's Book of Facts (1979), an Assyrian clay tablet dating to approximately 2800 BC was unearthed bearing the words 'Our earth is degenerate in these latter days. There are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end. Bribery and corruption are common.' This is one of the earliest examples of the perception of moral decay in society being interpreted as a sign of the imminent end.


2040 * Pyramidologist Max Toth predicts the physical reincarnation of Jesus Christ occurring in 2040. Like other pyramidologists, he used the dimensions of the Great Pyramid's passageways to predict future events. (Weber p.195)
* John Smart of Singularity Watch estimates that a "technological singularity" will take place around the year 2040, when technological advancement reaches asymptotic levels. After this apocalyptic event, a new era of balance and compassion will begin.

ca. 4,500,000,000 AD The sun will swell into a red giant star, swallowing Mercury, Venus, Earth, and perhaps Mars. This will be the true end of the world!"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Indeed, where ARE my nunchuks?

Overheard Everywhere | And Why Do I Continue to Have Unsatisfying Sex with the TA?:
"Professor: See, humans have what Aristotle calls 'rational souls,' meaning we use intellect. Humans ask questions that other living things can't, like 'what is god? What is the divine problem? Where are my Nunchuks? Where did I leave them?'

Philosophy Class, UC
Santa Barbara, California"

In short...

Overheard in New York | Why He Got Fired from That Tour-Guide Job at the Holocaust Museum:
"Girl: Well, I had to explain the plot of The Diary of Anne Frank to him.
Guy: What plot? It's a game of hide and seek, the Jews are really bad at it, the Nazis are really good. The end.

--Starbucks, Waverly & 6th Ave

Overheard by: Lotte"

"Ron Paul persuades D.L. Hughley that the Civil War shouldn't have been fought."

I love me some Ron Paul. The awesome mix of insane and brilliant.

Hit & Run > Reason Morning Links: Secret Money, Secret Tapes, Secret Sex - Reason Magazine:
"Ron Paul persuades D.L. Hughley that the Civil War shouldn't have been fought."

Best Watchmen review ever.

Award winning comic book letterer, designer writer Todd Klein writes a review of Watchmen is a Rorshach voice. Hilarious.

Todd’s Blog » Blog Archive » Watching WATCHMEN:
"Klein’s journal. March 7, 2009. Major film of greatest graphic story ever created just opened. Based on work of two good friends. One completely opposed. One supportive, enthusiastic. No gray area. Troubling. Needed to judge for self.

Drove to multiplex in usual disguise. Obeyed traffic laws. Arrived at theater without incident. Inside, needed nourishment. Cost of “small” popcorn and drink more than film ticket. Who are they fooling? Size of “small” drink threatens bladder. Knew task was dangerous..."
More at the link.

Just unbelievable.

They can do anything they want with you, even if you're not breaking the law.

The Agitator » Blog Archive » Lunch Links:
"Man wrongly arrested for taking photos in the New York City subway (it isn’t illegal). Glad they at least dropped the initial charges. But he’s still being charged with disorderly conduct for addressing the officers in “an unreasonable voice.” They were illegally arresting him, and refused to admit they were in error. I think just about any tone of voice under that scenario would be reasonable.

[From the comments]

It’s become the great catch all charge. Cops use it all the time now to give them a reason for a nuisance arrest. What recourse does a person have at that point? You can’t sue the cops. Your automatically out the time, money, and effort to fight it. It’s a disgusting, but effective tactic.


Someone needs to take a serious run at challenging these “disorderly conduct” statutes as void for vagueness. I know its probably been tried and failed, but it may be time to try again. Its just ridiculous that you can suffer criminal penalties for failing to maintain a sufficiently obsequious tone of voice and demeanor when interacting with the police. If you threaten the police, physically resist, or attempt to assault an office, that is one thing - But if you don’t do any of those things, then you shouldn’t be charged with a crime."

Monday, March 09, 2009

Training 300.

Checking the blog, my last training day was Feb 23rd, two weeks ago to the day. Pathetic. Sure, there's all sorts of reasonable excuses - packing, farewell parties, family stuff, work stuff - but the bottom line is I didn't want it bad enough and I could've gotten some workouts in. No excuses. I, literally, in the past two weeks could feel myself getting fatter again.

Yeah, that bullshit ends today.

Upper body wkout + shoulder dislocates, 3 meals, 2L water, diet sodas, coffees... back on track.

Hadn't been working out, but still reading health, fitness and training stuff online.

Assorted motivation, psychology and kick-assedness below.

There is no tomorrow. Very zen, very true.

Stallone, circa Rocky III and Rambo IV is the kind of physique I aspire to have. Speaking of Stallone... yeah, I know Stallone uses HGH, probably among other things as he gets older, but you know what? You get to be 62, and look like this, that = MASSIVE WIN. And The Expendables looks freaking awesome.

Sylvester Stallone Is Ripped for His New Movie The Expendables | Relative Strength Advantage:
"And If This Wasn’t Enough...

Here Are Some of The Other Action Stars Who Signed Up For The Expendables

...Mickey Rourke... Jason Statham... Arnold Schwarzenegger... Jet Li... Dolph Lundgren... Forest Whitaker... Eric Roberts... Randy Couture... Sandra Bullock

...This will be like the Ocean’s 11 of action movies."
Figure Athlete - Q and A From The Trenches:
"Q: Sometimes I'll have beer or a glass of wine along with a healthy meal. Does that mean I'm not following my diet plan?

A: I encourage my clients to stick to the plan 90% of the time and splurge (or miss a meal) 10% of the time. If you're eating five meals a day, this works out to about three meals each week where you can relax the rules.

Alcohol isn't part of the plan to achieve the physique results you're looking for, but you're welcome to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer as one of those three "relaxed" meals. Just remember that it doesn't count as a "healthy meal" getting you closer to your goals.

I realize that eating grilled fish, steamed vegetables, and a glass of chardonnay seems like it shouldn't be as bad as having a bacon cheeseburger and a Budweiser, but if you decide to splurge, you should have what you want for the entire meal. You may as well spike your metabolism and get some extra calories in during the meal.

If you're going to splurge, splurge big.

There's no such thing as "kinda" splurging or "sorta" cheating on a diet. You're either sticking to the plan for that meal or you're not. It is allowed and I encourage you to relax with 10% of your meals and enjoy yourself, so if you decide to make this one of "those" meals, go for it..."
» » Changes I would like to do to defatten America:
"Add warning labels on junk food snacks: “THIS MAKES YOU A FAT ASS, you still want it?” Would be a great addition to McDonald´s mmm I am loving it." - Blog - Bridging the Gap Between The Ordinary And Extraordinary:
"Here is a man who has lost over 200 pounds in the last year. During this time, he’s also gone back to school and competed as a collegiate wrestler. I like this story for many reasons. Haynes has shown that we all have the ability to reinvent our lives, rather than simply falling victim to past mistakes.

...many who’ve made mistakes are still lost in the past. They honestly believe that it is impossible to turn things around. They relate changing their life to a battle that cannot be won. Haynes can offer inspiration in this department. Making such a rapid and dramatic change at age 45 is truly incredible.
I’m sure there are others in his position who have already given up. Hopefully they can find inspiration from those such as Terence Haynes. They will realize that change isn’t exclusive to anyone. The only secret to change is diligence, perseverance, and consistency. If you want to change, get up and make it happen. There are no secrets or quick fixes. Get up, get busy, and stay busy. And if you don’t have time, make time. It’s there, you just need to look a little harder. We are all working with a 24 hour day. Busy people aren’t blessed with 36 hour days. From the standpoint of time, we all operate on a level playing field...

Being busy isn’t an excuse to let your life slip away. Being busy simply means that you are just like the rest of us."
Free the Animal: Why You Got Fat:
"Consider this: for the average person with normal blood glucose levels, you have about the equivalent of one single teaspoon of sugar circulating in your entire body. One. Single. Teaspoon. So, what that means is that when you drink a regular Coca Cola at 27 grams of carbohydrate (or a six-pack plus per day, for some), you are ingesting in a very brief period, over 5 times the amount of sugar as is contained in your entire body. How about an 8 oz. glass or orange juice? Same thing (26 grams). Now, consider that as you go throughout your day. Look at food labels, and divide the amount of carbohydrate by 5 to see how many times your total blood sugar you're ingesting all at once."
Free the Animal: Sugar Feeds Cancer:
"If I had to speculate, it would be that cancer is brought about by unnatural foods in our diets (grains & vegetable oils, primarily) that generate and promote chronic inflammation and this inflammation, in-turn, causes cancer. And, once that job is complete, sugar takes right over to feed that cancer.

...if all this is true, and we know what other bad things sugar does -- like making you fat & diabetic -- then why in the world would you want to touch it in any significant way?"

Gonna need another water bottle.

And just when I'd picked up a good one too.
From 2009-03-09

So I'm pedaling pretty hard out to school this morning when my gears on my bike slip, I lose my balance and I wipe out fairly hard. All the more embarrassing because one of the Yanki kids from my Jr High is coming the opposite way and sees the whole thing. Shouldn't give him a hard time though, he had the decency to stop and ask how I was.

So anyways, you know how when something like that happens you only kinda/sorta can remember what goes down? Flash and then it's over. So yeah, I can't remember exactly how it played out, but since I'm telling the story, as I fell to ground headfirst, I smoothly tucked and rolled like a ninja. Kinda, anyways. But apparently not as smooth as I thought, as when I got to school the metal water bottle I was wearing on my backpack got dinged up pretty good. Still, pretty smooth... nary a scrape or a scratch on my person, unlike the last time I crashed. And you know, managing to shoulder roll while wearing a pack while falling off a bike, I'm awesome. I couldn't do it if I actually tried to do it, but good to know I've got some reflex patterns in there somewhere.

So that makes 3 bike crashes in Japan in 3 and a half years. The first, alcohol/enkai related, the second the tires slipped out from under me in the rain, and the third today. Not bad.

Ricky Gervais and Seona Dancing - his band from the 80s.

This is brilliant.

Seona Dancing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
"In his final year in 1983 as a student at UCL, Ricky Gervais and his friend Bill Macrae formed a pop duo, Seona Dancing (named after a friend and fellow student Seona Myerscough).

They were signed to London Records after sending in a 16 track demo tape (12 of the tracks have never been released and are not planned to be anytime soon). In 1983, they released their single 'More to Lose,' and it reached number 70 on the UK charts. Their follow-up, 'Bitter Heart,' reached number 79 on the UK charts. The group then disbanded in 1984.

...Ricky Gervais went on to have a successful career as an award-winning comic writer and comedian. He is mostly known as the co-writer and star of the successful hit BBC comedy The Office, and more recently Extras."

And here's a bit I read about last year, but never watched. More's the pity, because this is freaking hilarious.

Ricky Gervais takes his Emmy back from Steve Carell during the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards

Random Japanese Foodstuffs.

Snapple invades Japan. [It really wasn't that good. Snapple, leave the milk teas to the professionals.]
From 2009-03-01

Japan has more varieties of Pringles, I swear...
From 2009-03-01

Picked this up because I never could find the special Sapporo chocolat beer... This was pretty good, actually.
From 2009-03-01

Best. Job. Ever.

Last week, random elementary schoolkids make me a "thank you" picture. How cute is that, I ask you?
From 2009-03-08

Today, the graduating 6th graders at one of my elementary schools made this for me:
From 2009-03-09

Yeah, clearly, a teacher mandated activity, but still, they wrote out messages to me in English. What an awesome group of kids.

Not to mention the group of 6th graders at my other school who gave me a farewell/thank you speech in English. Which may not sound that impressive, but you're talking about 12 year old kids practicing and learning sentence structures and language that is really way beyond the level they've learned.

You know, 5 years from now these kids may not even remember who I was [other than the crazy looking kind of bald gaijin] but I swear stuff like this feels awesome. Meaningful. My job rocks.

"...they say that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day."

I totally want to try this.

C'mon, what else do I have but time on my hands? Besides, I've got Polish blood in me, so sauerkraut should be a given. I've only had the processed kind on hot dogs, but I'd bet fresh kraut would be awesome. I should also probably give kimchee another try. Sandy digs it, but I don't think I've ever given it a fair shake. Anyways, this seems cool.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

"So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, goodbye..."

Sandy's departure roundup post. All in one, because I can't be dragging this out.

We sent quite a bit back.
From 2009-02-26

From 2009-02-26

Sandy makes one more southern meal.
From 2009-03-01

From 2009-03-01

Bachan's shodo presentation.
From 2009-03-01

From 2009-03-01

From 2009-03-01

I wasn't kidding when I wrote she'd be back before Jiichan knew it. One more ohakamairi.
From 2009-03-01

From 2009-03-01

From 2009-03-01

Grandpa's got a heck of a view.
From 2009-03-01

Eating Baachan's bentos. Check out Daijiro. Clowning around...
From 2009-03-01

Dinner w/the Adachi clan.
From 2009-03-01

Something's not quite right with the Adachi women.
From 2009-03-01

My wife has issues.
From 2009-03-01

From 2009-03-01

One more dinner at Hanada-san's.
From 2009-03-01

Sandy's unusual love for her ride.
From 2009-03-08

Packed up, airport bound.
From 2009-03-08

Airport crew.
From 2009-03-08

One last tonkatsu ramen for the road.
From 2009-03-08

And there she goes...
From 2009-03-08

Sigh... gambaremasu. Now off to bed at 115 AM. Poor planning, indeed.