Thursday, October 30, 2003

Hot For Teacher

The findings in this article, Do Good Looks Equal Good Evaluations? , really come as no surprise. It's one reason why I see teaching as being not all that far removed from any other public performance.


It's really interesting to see the effect that communications and media technology have on language learning. My second year Japanese students have so much more outside, self-sought exposure to the language than I ever did (or could have). When I studied Japanese in Colorado I basically had what was in my textbooks for source text and a sprinkling of Japanese novels in translation in the library for cultural background. Someone once had a video tape of Japanese tv in my last year of school. I borrowed it and watched and the only thing I could make out was "yon-daburu-d", which through the context of the truck commerical I understood to mean 4 WD (4 wheel drive). I was thrilled.
These kids have sooo much more exposure through games, videos, cds, websites, dvds and manga. They bring so much more knowledge with them to the class than I ever had. It's very cool. It's not like they don't have a long way to go to being completely competent in the language, but they seem to be able to grasp the flow of things and not demand one to one English equivalents. Expressing yourself in Japanese is very different from expressing yourself in English. You need to be able to get beyond what the individual words mean and go for the overall meaning and effect you hope to acheive. That's basically easy to do in your native language and not so easy to do in an acquired one.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Fall Frenzy

Squirrels are all obsessed with gathering nuts this time of year. I'm obsessed with knitting and crocheting. Wonder if it's some deep genetic legacy that sends me in search of knitting needles once most of the leaves are off the trees. Right now I'm about 2/3 done with a big comfy chenille blanket for the living room couch and I'm starting on a winter hat for Rachel (she gets the prototype) and also looking to make a light blanket for her room with some leftover yarn I have from when I made her this pillow.
I found this blog,Sweater Project the other day and forget how I got there. It's by a guy in Austin, Texas who happens to be a damn good knitter. I'm dying to make something like his caper hats, but too proud to ask for directions to something that's got to be pretty simple to figure out on my own.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Girls Night Out

Went to Shooters Pub in Exeter last night to catch MondayMen opening for Heavens to Murgatroid. Shawn and Adam, who we met at our gig at the Muddy River the other week, make up two thirds of MondayMen. We also caught a few songs by the first band that played, Heroes Die aka The Roadies. Apparently the names are anagrams. (play around with the letters and you'll see what I mean) It was a night of high energy rock and it was totally worth the drive to Exeter.
Out of the three bands I think I'd have to say I enjoyed MondayMen the most (not just because we're planning on jamming with Adam and Shawn either). They were tight they rocked and had a sort of 80s new wave flavor with good hooks and the right amount of punchy-ness. They were also sporting a Devo/Convict look since it was a Halloween event. It seems like our musical styles would make a great blend and we're planning on getting together next weekend to initiate the experiment!
It was my first time at Shooters, my first time seeing any of those bands and the first time I ever saw SpongeBob wail on a Stratocaster. (Sponge Bob being Tim Theriault on guitar for Heavens to Murgatroid in a big Sponge Bob costume with bare legs, Sponge Bob boxers and Sponge Bob looking shoes!!!)

Thursday, October 23, 2003

What the ?!#%@$^%???

It's been just about 6 months since I moved back to NH and I guess the honeymoon is over. Here it is, still OCTOBER and it's snowing. It's not sticking but it's still snowing!
I wore a raincoat today. The whole concept of snow at this point is not something I can easily accept. It does not fit my vision of how the world should be. I'll probably see someone more in denial than myself today at school wearing shorts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Durham Post Office

Now that I've finally figured out where the Durham post office is I've been doing more of the auction mailings from there. It's right on my way home from school. Durham by no means provides the level of human entertainment value that the Dover PO does, but it does have a very interesting mural around the perimeter of the lobby. A plaque states it was a gift from the Durham Women's Club and Friends in 1959. The mural is a series of paintings with slogans on the bottom that I guess are supposed to exemplify the good character of the citizens of the area. It is definitely a product of the pre-PC era.One of the scenes shows a lone garrison-style house in the background and a loin-clothed native with a feather in his hair bearing a flaming torch and obviously casing the joint. On the bottom it says Cruel Adversity. Another one shows a winter morning scene and a couple dressed in their Sunday best (black suit and stovepipe hat for him, and a hoop skirt and bonnet for her) approaching a white steepled church. On the bottom it says Steadfast Faith. I imagined a cartoon dialogue bubble coming out of the guy's mouth saying "It's frikkin cold!"
I'll have to go back and take photos sometime (and leave my Sharpie marker at home). It's pretty frikkin cool.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Now A Part of Something Bigger

Well, Brian, that renowned Dover blogger of Kreblog, The Dover NH Post and the cover of last week's Dover Community News page fame, has aided and abetted the sydication of this blog on Seacoast Bloggers, a group of blogs by folks in the area. It feels good to be part of a community, especially a virtual local one (if that makes any sense).
I'm starting to feel a little more at home at UNH, too. My students are awesome and I can honestly say I look forward to going to work every day. Now if UNH just paid a little more and offered me benefits I'd having nothing to bitch about at all. At least as far as work goes...

Monday, October 20, 2003

Don't Let It Bring You Down

Stef and I practiced this evening. Just the two of us. It was as much talking as playing, which isn't an unheard of mix with us. Jammed out on some stuff that sounded slow and desert-y; although she was thinking cowboy and I was thinking Sahara. Spindly sounding music, sort of. Guess it all seems a little spindly without a drummer.
For various reasons, I wasted a good chunk of my day playing Jan Brady to Stephanie's Marsha. "Why is it always Marsha Marsha Marsha!?!" Being a jealous little sister sucks. I'm 38. I ought to get over it. I allow myself to wallow in it for an hour or two, until the ridiculousness of it all finally brings me back around. Rock on.

Sunday, October 19, 2003


Jim C's observation that band drama is like high school dating is really spot on. It's still got me kind of wigged out, but I guess this is part of it too. I think we'll feel freer to write more now. Stef's lyrics tend to be sort of wistful and lovely and the stuff I come up with ends up being kind of cynical and bitter, such appealing qualities. It's always stuff that makes me cringe at the thought of my parents hearing or reading it. I guess it's one place I feel free to express sentiments I'd be too chicken to express face to face.

And speaking of bringing up tender topics...
Last weekend while enjoying the brunch buffet at Abercrombie and Fitch (very nice, btw), my dad mentioned he'd be going back to Weight Watchers this week. We used to go together when I was 10 years old and wearing 32-inch waist, boy's ToughSkins jeans because they were the only thing that fit me. I was a big fat little girl and my parents were concerned, so when my dad joined Weight Watchers when I was 10, he took me along with him. I went for about a year and even though it was a hard thing to face for a shy 4th grade girl, I did it and learned a lot about good nutrition and good choices and habits. I've more or less dwelled on the sturdy, healthy girl side of things since then.
My niece is a lot like I was. Sometimes I get the oddest sensation of watching myself as I was when I see her. She also eats like I did. My dad offered to take her to WW, which I thought was a wonderful idea. I also thought she might not be entirely comfortable in the situation. Then a lightbulb flashed on over my head; I'd go with them. I went when I was her age. She knows that and knows I can relate.
So yesterday my dad, my niece and I joined Weight Watchers. This is kind of a major deal for me because even though I don't want to lose a huge amount of weight, not even 20 pounds, I do have to re-confront all my old issues. This time I'll try to start by not imagining that being in control of my eating habits somehow compensates for being out of control in other ways.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Brings Me Back to the Good Old Days

Galvin's Japan Journal is the shit. If you ever get yourself mixed up in the JET program, you better hope you have someone like Galvin nearby.
(Thanks to Charlie at Japaneze for this one.)

Thursday, October 16, 2003


Yeah! I just got my copy of Dan Blakeslee's Halloween Special cd at Atomic this afternoon. It's wacky. It's awesome. I get the feeling the world would be a lot more fun if more people were like Dan. But I guess he's really one of a kind.

Dwell On

Lest I forget my manners, I'd like to mention the two other bands who played after us last night at the Muddy River. In the slot following us was
Gregory Paul and the Autumdivers, a trio from Rochester, NY. I only caught a couple of songs from their set because we went upstairs to have dinner with our dad and step mom. I'd have liked to see more of their set, but as far as judgement calls go, family definitely took priority. The last band of the night was Clarias from Boston. They played a very impressive set and a visit to their website confirmed my hunch that half the band came out of the Berklee School of Music.
Never heard who "won" last night, but I'd say it's a safe bet it wasn't us, which is cool because we're not really about polished professionalism at this point. We're just true to ourselves and fortunately, so far people seem to appreciate that.
It's weird to think that it's just me and Stef now, but it gives us the opportunity to work together more and try new songs and directions. Que sera sera, just like Doris Day sang

A Bolt From The Blue

Our gig at the Muddy River went pretty well last night. There wasn't much of a turnout what with Game 6 of the playoffs and the windy, crappy weather on a Wednesday night, but our Dad and Step Mom came by to see us play for the first time ever, so that was very cool. Everyone at the Muddy River was great, very hospitable and welcoming. (And they fed us too. Gotta love that.) We also received a cd and video of our performance, which I guess is a nice way to end it with Chip, our now former drummer. A couple of days ago at practice things kind of came to a head and Chip decided this would be his last gig with us. It's been a really strange couple of days leading up to the gig. It's sad. We've been playing together for a long time but I guess he doesn't want to push ahead with it as much as Stef and I do. We're all still friends and there's no animosity involved, just sadness and a feeling of loss. Stef and I will keep on together and see what happens next.

Monday, October 13, 2003

And Speaking of Taint

Taint nothing normal about this. Just go and see for yourself.

Oh Ye Great Bass Fairy!

The Bass Fairy does indeed love me because Adam is bringing his bass rig by tomorrow so I can use it on Wednesday night at the Muddy River. Adam, you RAWK and I love you, even if you do come up with sleazy suggestions of ways we (me and sis) could express our gratitude for the favor. Tell you what, how about I make you one of my duct tape wallets instead?

Announcement to World!!!!

My daughter Rachel finally has pierced ears. The long awaited piercing of the lobes took place at Claire's in the Fox Run Mall at approximately 2:30pm this afternoon. Both lobes and the child herself are fine, and somewhat prone to stopping to admire the sparkling new additions in any remotely handy reflecting surface.
Now I will hopefully get at least a few days of respite before the next "oh Mom I will absolutely DIE if I can't have ..." thing crops up. (I've been listening to the earring moan for several months.)

Friday, October 10, 2003

Now THIS is famous

Another big score for the Dover Community News! A front page article on the first destination on my daily strolls around the bloggerhood, The Dover (NH) Post
. Brian is also starting up a new NH Seacoast Bloggers site that pulls together the latest postings from the members' blogs into one easy and handy to read page. Pretty cool stuff.

Everyone's Right

Guess it is true what all my friends who made the crossing back used to tell me; living back here in the States you miss the disposable income you had in Japan, but other stuff more than makes up for it.
I now stress over amounts of money that used to be pocket cash in Japan, but the weather and the foliage are incredible, there's half an awesome homemade apple crisp on the counter, we've got a gig coming up on Wednesday and practices are going good, and this afternoon we (my family, we) are going to take a drive out to Calef's Country Store and check out the foliage. It's typically the peak weekend for the leaves around here and I'm kind of curious as to what constitutes "crowded with tourists" this time of year.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

I forgot to put the $2, 3 bands. For 1 cause: EXPOSURE" info on it.

I'm Not Stephanie!

I'm just as excited as anyone else about the great front page article about Atomic in the Dover Community News last week, but I've been mistaken for my sister three or four times in the past week and gotten comments about the article and picture. It happened again this evening when I went to pick up some Moes.
What's really pissing me off is that Stef said she hasn't had anyone say anything to her about it. I want a shirt that says "I'm Not Stephanie". I'll wear it anytime I leave the house to go anywhere in Dover or Portsmouth.

T'aint So Hard to Make a Splash in a Puddle

Ha ha! Gotta love life in a small town. I went over to Stef's to practice again tonight since our "big gig" is next Wednesday and Chip had copies of this week's Spotlight, where I scored an anonymous mention as a ""famous" blogger" in the Seacoast Music Scene and Heard section. Too bad they got the info about the night we're playing wrong.
I love those quotation marks around "famous" because if this ranks as famous around here there's definitely something wrong.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003



What anime stereotype are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

That's just lovely, isn't it?
I especially love how they misspelled "intelligent"!

Saturday, October 04, 2003

Washout and Creep Out!

We got to the Apple Harvest Day festivities just before 3pm today, just in time to watch all the vendors packing up in a hurry after spending a cool and soggy day in downtown Dover. I heard them calling to each other with relief in their voices, "They said we can pack up and go now!"
The Apple Harvest Day activities sure appeared to be a washout, but at least I was able to catch The Crimson Ghosts playing at Atomic. The Crimson Ghosts were very cool-- an instrumental, surf rock trio playing Misfits songs. How f*cking cool is that?!?!
I'm thinking about picking up one of their cds as good Halloween tuneage, but I'm also kind of waiting to check out Dan Blakeslee's Halloween cd, too. I met him for the first time the other day at Atomic when I was in getting my hair trimmed. That guy is a ball of energy-- one of those people who is probably seriously magical and not entirely of this realm. There's a nice article about him here in the Spotlight, of all places. The Great Pumpkin is probably watching out over the whole thing at this point.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

What Happens When You Watch Too Much Gilligan's Island

I do not mean to be a big huge bitch when things are going wrong, but I've been following the chronicles of these people for a few months now. It's a painful portrait of what happens when people put their desire to be groovier-than-thou ahead of common sense.
I wouldn't begrudge anyone their right to pursue a change in lifestyle. But if you want to run away to Fantasy Island do it either before you have kids or after they're old enough to be part of the decision. Don't go dragging your babies off to parts unknown to satisfy your own simple minded fantasies.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

The First Chill

It's October 1 and when I got up to let the dog out this morning it was 39 degrees. I'm talking farenheit, not celsiuis. It's been a long time since I've spent days like this here. I always left NH at the end of September and jumped back into another month of what I'd consider summer in Japan. It doesn't start to get seriously chilly in Otsu until November or December. And at worst it gets to around freezing. But with no central heat, "just" around freezing is pretty damn cold.
New Hampshire has serious winters. It's beautiful here now. The leaves are turning and falling and people decorate around their homes with dried corn stalks, bales of straw (use it to mulch the garden later), pumpkins and big baskets of mums. I look out the window and see squirrels scampering among the fallen leaves. It's just so picturesque and Norman Rockewellian.
Winter is a beast I haven't really confronted since I left Colorado in 1987. Western Japan has relatively mild winters and Hawaii's winter was always just fine by me.
It's been my suspicion for some time that a "relatively mild" winter without central heating is less comfortable than a harsh winter with a heated abode. Guess I'm going to get to test my hypothesis from here on out.