Friday, March 31, 2006

iDone it

Pre-paid for my 14" iBook G4 today. $2,399 including: AirPort Express (wireless router) and a Logitech mouse. I'll have it on Tuesday. WOOHOOO!

Yeah, yeah... I didn't get the fancy one, the MacBook Pro. It came out to $2,762 by itself, after taxes; no wireless router or mouse. No thanks.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Have passport, will travel

Just got my passport. Yay! But... I forgot to ask and pay extra for the 48 page one instead of the standard 24 page. Bleh. Oh well.

Also swung by Ottawa's Mac store and I'm a convert. Depending on whether or not I can negotiate birthday "back-pay" out of my parents, I'll go for the MacBook Pro, a sweet little piece of machinery.

That's it for now.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Speaking for the dead

I just finished watching a documentary of sorts about Tolkien, though to be honest it was so lacking in content that it went through the entire bloody Lord of the Rings plotline with really crappy stock footage to accompany it.

The thing that got me was how able and willing random dickheads were to speak the mind of someone who is dead. "Tolkien believed..." said Stupid Bint, Library Critic. "What Tolkien was trying to accomplish was..." said Some Ass, Military Academy. "It wasn't about that at all. It was about..." said Numb Nuts, Tolkien Historian.

Who the hell are they to know and communicate the inner thoughts of a dead man, especially one who in his life was extremely private? I'm sorry, but there were interview clips with JRR Tolkien himself, and I honestly could not understand 1/10th of what that guy was saying. His accent and speech mannerisms were atrocious, especially for a philologist! I'm surprised even he could communicate his own thoughts in a way that others could understand. Two of his children were shown -- sparingly -- and they could be understood no problem. (I thought it interesting that Christopher Tolkien was not the son interviewed, considering his up-take of his father's literary aftermath.)

It just bugs the hell out of me that people possess such arrogance that they attempt to say, without doubt or concern, that someone that they never knew in the entirety of their obsessive lives believed X, Y and Z. Am I the only one who finds that simply stupid? I'd rather see 10 minutes of interviews with Tolkien himself (via a translator, thank you) than 2 hours of 'expert testimony'. One guy (who was actually quite well-spoken) even had the gall to say that Tolkien wrote women 'out of the gender box'. My ass he did. Eowyn was the only woman that was a woman of action; all the rest just looked pretty behind the scenes. Same in the Silmarillion... only Luthien was 'active'. The rest were just sort of there on a pedistal, Astrophil and Stella style.

Anyhoo... it just occurred to me how stupid it is to make such glaring suppositions about someone you've never met. Seeing 3 people in a row say 3 very definitive statements about someone they'd never spoken with just sort of blew my mind. I hope I'm never famous or inquired-about after I die so I don't have a bunch of assholes stepping forward to tell the world what they know I really thought.

Gah. Angry.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

When the body breaks...

... and the mind follows suit.

As of Saturday, 2am, I became more sick than I've ever been. Fever without burning temperature, unable to eat, unable to hydrate, unable to sleep, chest congestion like bronchitis, migraines, body wracked by stiffness and pain, and plenty of hallucinations. By Monday, I thought I was dying. I lost about 2 or 3 lbs. Doctor said it was just a flu strain. I've been feeling better since Tuesday, but holy shit. I drank half a freakin' gallon of Gaterade, and it barely put a dent in my thirst or dryness in my mouth. 7 litres of water on Saturday and it's like my body just ignored the attempt to re-hydrate.

More than a bit frightening.

Anyhoo... so suffice it to say, it was a shitty weekend and has been a trying week so far. I feel bad missing work, but going in just hasn't been an option. I feel awful even sitting up as straight as I am to write this (in fact this was written in chunks, over the last day or two). Hopefully I will be into work tomorrow, but I don't know.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

"To a passport office, go!"

(Hamlet, Act III, Scene 4)

So off I go. Hopefully I won't have to fake having eubola to get through the line-ups, but we'll see. Just realized how stupid I am for attempting this in March with March break 2 weeks away. Brilliant! I am a planning GOD!

Jumped into email real quick this morning out of habit, and there was an email from Adrian and Fiona. They've got Japan pictures up from Kyoto! That stiffened my resolve, let me tell you. So I'm off. Will write more when I'm back. Although I'm working from home today, there will be precious little working. I plan on working through my specialization and fine-tuning my international resume to send to Ray, the alumni coordinator at TESOL, who will review and offer some advice. Then I begin looking, and will again employ Ray to spread his ESL tendrils into Nara prefecture to dig up opportunities in Nara.

Off I go!

Oh, and I got all the mp3 Japanese lessons from a guy at work. Sweet. Tried to burn them to a music cd so I could employ good ol' hypnopaedia to become a Japanese linguist. Yes... that's the ticket.

I'll be back with a fun (okay, boring) anecdote from the passport office. If I'm not back in 3 hours, send JTF 2 in for me.

Edit: Okay, an hour and a bit later... I'm back. That was boring. They didn't even cavity search. Pffft. Will have my passport back by the 27th.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

"I'm like a shark. I've just got to... keep making analogies."

Not sure if any of you avid gamers read "Penny Arcade", but I would highly endorse it if you are a gamer (video gamer, that is). Hell, I endorse it if you aren't and simply like off-the-wall, well-drawn satire/sarcasm.

Reasons 1) The comics are really funny and bang-on if you follow games and the gaming industry, and 2) these two guys are a great example of how enlightened geeks can be heard by industry behemoths such as SoE, Blizzard, etc. I thought their blog today was quite funny -- apparently someone at SoE saw their comic and fired a humour-filled shot across Penny Arcade's bow by delivering 1,200 Krispy Kreme donuts to them. Nice.

In other more significant news, a good friend of mine (whom I'll call "J." but whom some may recognize by the writing anyway) engaged me in an email dialogue yesterday re: concerns of heading overseas to teach. I like to think of the conversation as one from Confucius to Confusion. (okay, witty I am not.)

...So, friend, now I am doing this for you. Though we will all miss you, I know that you aren't happy and have enormous capacities that are being wasted here and that you need to take a step. A step that will make your life much richer, with a little risk. A risk that doesn't have to be forever, but that will make your life better forever. And maybe Japan isn't the place, but why not? Its not the place as much as the experience of having lived it and the changes it brings to you.

Furthermore, re: my concern of having a new life overseas subsume this one:

An observation: I have wrestled forever with the idea of internal and external consistency and am coming to the realization that friends are a reflection of the facets of ourselves and therefore are consistent only with our own inconsistencies or contradictions and that diversity is not necessarily a contradiction. While we may try to live an internally consistent life, as humans, we don't get to achieve it. We can however, learn to enjoy our internal diversity. So we can grow and change and add new facets and therefore new relationships without worrying about cancelling out the old ones. At least that is as far as I have divined.

Brilliant, and thank you, J.! You don't know how much it meant to me to get those emails from you and S. yesterday.

With that, I'll say this: I am going to take the step as planned, risks and effects be damned. There is a lot about it that causes me to worry, but who gives a fuck? Worrying is only useful if it enables one to tackle the cause of said worry. If one experiences simply a Heideggerian "worry worry worry worry WORRY" fit, what's the point in having that emotional state?

So yeah. Onwards and upwards (and westwards, I guess).