Friday, January 30, 2004

My Favorite Quote

I've had a very loosely remembered quote floating about my head for years. It was about various combinations of looking normal or not and thinking normal or not. I knew it was by Norman Mailer, who I am kind of sketchy on because I really can't just go around memorizing every intelligent and witty person on the planet, ok?
I googled (is that non-capitalized anymore already?) various combinations of Norman Mailer, quote, normal, different and only found it in one place, an interview in Vancouver magazine with a guy who is the owner and founder of an athletic clothing company that sells the hippest brand of yoga pants in Vancouver. (who knew?)
Here is the quote:
�If you are crazy then you�d better dress normal, and if you are normal then you�d better dress crazy, or no one will ever talk to you.�

Come to think of it, that quote pretty much pinned the end to my punk rock phase.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

FOX News is Rabid

Anyone who chooses to watch FOX News with any regularity must be stupid. I was watching the primary returns last night and FOX was one of three channels in a row covering the speeches live, so I occasionally perched there during the coverage.
What the hell is up with the ALERT STATUS ELEVATED scrolling nonsense bullshit on the bottom of the screen. What is the purpose of that? It is never accompanied by any details as to why the status has been elevated and/or what sort of specific threat could be awaiting. All it seems intended to do is to set off waves of internal panic and a sense of impending doom. It's a big head game.
If you click on that banner about CBS censorship below you can also poke around and get info about how CBS and FOX have some legislation on the burner that will allow them to grow bigger. Having them control more of the media is not what I'd like to see. CBS: Don't Censor Ads

Tuesday, January 27, 2004


And I'm not talking about the primary, even though it's turned out to be quite interesting. Kerry took the vote, but Dean's speech was big, I thought. His timing was great. He waited until all the other candidates had finished their simultaneous speeches and had the airwaves all to himself. His supporters were throwing around crazy amounts of energy and the speech itself was so wide and hopeful. I could almost hear the springs of the bounce he was getting out of it.

But that is not my victory.

The victory of which I write is much more personal and sweeter. Over the past months, I have chronicled some of the trials and tribulations I have suffered with Sears. I accepted the washing machine with the hoses hooked up wrong and the dented dryer. I dealt with going down to Newington to pick up an order from the warehouse and having the guy forget one box so I had to go back down the next day and no one ever even apologized. I dealt with the snotty salespeople who'd rather talk to each other than a customer and the damn Sears telemarketers pushing extended warranties too. But I couldn't accept being charged almost $200 for an order that had been confirmed cancelled. And now Sears has finally admitted they see things my way.
Yes, today I received a letter from Sears (yet again addressed Dear Sears Card Customer) that tells me they have resolved the matter and even offers an apology. Well paint me red and call me an apple-- an actual apology from Sears.
Still not gonna shop there again. Wonder if all this public bellyaching I've done had any effect?

Monday, January 26, 2004

n-n-no more senbei or ocha????

I read this and I thought, "Gee that's ridiculous. They won't really enforce it though, will they?."
Well, it appears that indeed they do. My husband's mom went to send us a care package from Japan and they told her she couldn't send it. In order to send food to the US the sender must file prior notice to the FDA according to to a whole rigamarole, with everything all labeled and accounted for. It's way worse than regular government form-ese. For sending a small food gift, it is totally outrageous. In Japan I'm sure it has now become impossible to send food to the US because no one at the post office will even want to start to deal with the US regulations.
I gotta write to my senator about this.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Die Sears Die

My misery has found company.
The Complaint Station for Sears, Roebuck & Company
In a way, it's kind of heartening to see I'm not the only one being shafted by Sears. On the other hand, it does not give me hope that I will ever get back the $191 dollars they stole from me.

Mission Accomplished

I did the conference call interpreting gig this morning. What I had thought was going to be me being there as a backup was in actuality me intepreting the entire interview between the Japanese news journalist and the UNH professor. So, TV Asahi totally owes me for 40 minutes of telephone interpreting on a Saturday morning. That would've probably cost them a chunk of change to get an A class interpreter, but I'll chalk this one up to experience. No one paid me and no one signed me to any confidentiality agreement either, so I guess it's ok to write about it.
It was hard. I'm not a big follower of the details of the primary election delegate selection process or political topics in general. I studied some the night before by looking around on the web. I think I did ok. Not as polished as I would have liked to have been, but functionally fine.
It was weird to work with some of the questions because they were so leading sometimes. Like looking for hints that the party headquarters in Washington promotes or obstructs certain candidates in the primary stage and trying to characterize the Dean campaign as weak and ineffective. I'm not sure how any of this will be presented as news in Japan. Maybe none of it will be directly mentioned at all. Still, it was a weird feeling to think that my choice of words could influence the way news is presented on a major network in Japan.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Never Would Have Thought

I've been acting all grumpy about a phone interpretation job I've been asked to do via UNH because 1) I'm not getting paid for it and 2) I've been waiting around for someone to send me some materials so I can prep for the job. All I was told was that a Japanese journalist wanted to speak to a UNH prof about the NH primary and the election process and they wanted to know if an interpreter could be made available to facilitate. I consider myself a translator much more than an interpreter, but I have found the interpreting I've done so far interesting. And even if I'm working for free, it's still good experience and can go on my resume, so I said I'd do it.
Little did I suspect that the journalist I'm going to be helping out is Asahi TV announcer Tamayo Marukawa,someone I used to watch on Japanese TV all the time. Now I'm all excited about it. (Holden Caulfield would probably call me a phony, huh?)

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

I Know He's Not Making it Up

Galvin's Japan Journal 2 -- January

I'm not sure whether Galvin is the JET from Hell or the JET Sent to Hell, but I love reading his journal.

Making Stuff

This is a bag I made yesterday from a tutorial on Craftster. The fabrics came from Goodwill.
I think it's kind of cute and I'm planning on making some more and "debuting" my line at Atomic for spring. I'm making them all from vintage/retro/recycled fabrics.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Cool Record Shops Where I Used to Look for Vinyl

Rock Bottom Records in Portsmouth, NH
Wax Trax in Denver, CO
Yamachiku in Katamachi, Kanazawa, Japan
That Katamachi shop is where I realized I actually knew a lot music. I met my friend Maikeru there one evening and we just hung out and went through all the bins, holding up cool albums to each other and playing the "do you know this one?" game. After a couple of hours of this he mentioned that he was really impressed with how much I knew. The reason his comment made such an impression on me was because he's about 15 years older than me, grew up in S. California and lived that 70s rock and roll lifestyle there and he's a much more talented musician than I am. He really knows his shit.
I think that was also the night he told me he had gone back to playing guitar after a long time away from it. He had left it behind because the scene that went along with it at the time was one that would've killed him eventually. Not exactly like Beethoven's 9th in A Clockwork Orange, but maybe something like that. I mean he threw the baby out with the bath water by thinking that the music was part of the problem. If you're doing it because you love it and because it's in you then it can't be a problem, just a joy and something that makes life worthwhile.
It was so cool to see the power music can have in a person's life. He's one of the people who has helped me understand that feeling what you're playing is what it's all about.

Saturday, January 17, 2004


Good. You know your music. You should be able to
work at Championship Vinyl with Rob, Dick and

Do You Know Your Music (Sorry MTV Generation I Doubt You Can Handle This One)
brought to you by Quizilla

Thursday, January 15, 2004

The Dog Starts to Freeze When He Goes Out

Tried to take the dog out for a walk today since it was so sunny, bright and beautiful and a whole 2 degrees above zero. (One for degree for me, one for the dog, right?) I think we lasted about 8 minutes out there.
Tonight the thermometer in the kitchen says it's 9 below zero. I took a glass bowl out of the cupboard to make hermits and it was cold like it had been in the refrigerator. Really nothing you can do at 9 below but bake and be cozy.


This is beyond cold here. This is swearing cold. Anytime I go outside I have to swear and curse. Somehow it makes me feel better. What really makes me feel fine is to be inside the warm house looking at the thermometer in the kitchen that shows it's five degrees below zero outside (that's -20 for you celsius types). And that is before you factor in for wind chill.
It's so cold outside that there's frost on the inside of the sliding door that goes out to the deck and the backyard. My dog, who I will admit is not the brightest of creatures, goes out to do his thing and while he's out there trying to frolic in the sunshine for 30 seconds his feet get so cold so fast he has a hard time walking back into the house. The irony of it all is that it's beautifully clear and sunny, and also cold enough to freeze you to your bones in half a minute.
Can I just go to sleep and wake up when this is over and the temperature is back up to somewhere near freezing?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

New Hampshire

I like living here but I have to admit I'm allergic to the place. Since I moved back last April I've been sneezing, sniffling and scratching my eyes and nose on a regular basis. It's not (just) the dog either, because I can be out of the house walking down the street and start sneezing. There's just a whole lot of vegetation around here and while I love how it looks and feels, it makes me feel crappy sometimes. I can live with it though.

Friday, January 09, 2004

A Day of Interesting Developments

Today brought some really interesting developments despite being such a freezing ass cold day. It looks like I have hooked up with a potential new translation client. They seem to get quite a bit of game work, which is really interesting, but the deadlines and workloads can be killer. Then again, when the weather reports say it's -20 windchill outside, I am certainly grateful for any income producing activity that I can do in the comfort of my own home. I'm more than happy to sit at my desk and occasionally look out upon the pretty icy world while I get lost in the words and the messages. And if I could be writing dialogue for video game characters instead of serving up content for glossy pamphlets for IT projects, so much the better.
The other development is equally cool. I have been contacted by the after school enrichment program because my offer to teach about Japanese culture in a 6 week after school program was accepted.So now I'm going to get to teach a group of first to fourth graders about Japan. I've never worked with kids that age before, so I'm kind of nervous, but it should be fun. And it feels like what I should be doing. At least part of the reason I spent 12 years over there had to have been so I could come back here and teach about it. Because you know it's a sure thing that this country could do with having a lot more people who knew a lot more about the rest of the world.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

19 Days and Counting

It's kind of funny that I am a registered Democrat living in NH and I haven't written anything about the presidential primary yet. I don't really watch much tv, so I don't see the dumb tv ads. I don't get any newspapers or magazines. I read the local paper online and get NY Times headlines and summaries by email every day. I also check Google news sometimes. No campaigners have come door to door here and there haven't been any phone calls either. Most of my election related exposure comes from driving past the various campaign offices in town.
I do know that there was a meeting with John Kerry and free chili at the Elks Lodge in Dover tonight. I know this from the hand lettered signs and placards around town that announced the event with the Free Chili part written in letters as big as the candidate's name. I liked that. The weather is doing the heavy arctic thing around here right now, minus windchill and crystal clear, but I'm not sure if that would really affect attendence since at least the roads are clear.
I do my fair share of checking out candidates' websites and following the general flow of things. My gut feeling is that the only Democrat in the bunch who has a chance of beating Bush in the general election is Wes Clark.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

So How Was Acoustic Bolt?

Uhhhhh, it was ok I guess. Nobody threw anything at us or anything. It was a light crowd, being the day after New Year's Eve and all. Some friends showed up, so there was ample opportunity to chat and I even got to talk mixed martial arts a little with Toby, which is something I've wanted to do for a while because I know he's into it, and not many people really are. Not around here anyway. He said there weren't any grappling schools around here. That's a shame because grappling is really where it's at for practical and/or conditioning purposes. Not like I'm in any kind of shape to actually do any mixed martial arts now though.
However, Shiro has finished redoing the basement and we now have our own little home gym. It's awesome. I had my first workout yesterday morning. I took it easy on myself because I haven't worked out with weights in over a year and I know I'm starting from zero. That's the cool point though-- I can build anew. Last time I trained a lot I was at the dojo and I was training to fight. I can still use some of the methods, but I'll definitely pass on the 700 consecutive quarter squats and the knuckle pushups.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Sears is The Devil

You know what? Fuck Sears. I just lodged a complaint with the Columbus Ohio Better Business Bureau against them.
Gee, maybe I should act like a fucked up corporation too. All I need to do is build a shitty website that adds erroneous shipping charges to orders. Then, when the customer cancels the order, I'll pretend to cancel the order but send it out anyway and bill them for it, whether they actually take delivery of the merchandise or not. And then I won't assign any sort of case number to the complaints and no one in the company will ever give out their own last name. And I'll address all correspondence to Dear Card Holder, just so they know I really don't give a shit about them and their stupid little consumer problems.

I Still Hate Sears

I cannot believe what a spawn-of-Satan kind of company Sears is. They fuck up by allowing a cancelled order to be shipped out to me and then tell me I am responsible for the merchandise and shipping charges because the shipping company atttempted to make delivery of the item. No matter how many times I explain this to them, they do not seem to understand. They claim that if a delivery attempt was made then I must be responsible for the charges, even though one of their customer service reps assured me on the phone that the cancellation was confirmed.
Here is it-- they screw up and send out a cancelled order and that somehow becomes my fault. The only fault I had was doing business with Sears in the first place.

Friday, January 02, 2004

Get 'Em On the Air

Not sure if contributing money counts as volunteering exactly, but one of my first acts of the New Year has been to finally become a member of WSCA FM - Portsmouth Community Radio. I love low power FM radio. It reminds me of my time as a dj at WPEA in high school, when I'd play Rocky Mountain Way anytime I needed to leave the studio to go to the bathroom because that is one loooong song.
I'm not sure what my chances of ever getting on air at the new station will be, but that's ok. The whole effort is being spearheaded by Bruce Pingree, who is like the Don of the Portsmouth music scene. (And who was cool enough to leave me a comment on this blog that had me running around the house yelling, "I'm not worthy!" Wicked cool!)

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Happy New Year 2004!!

I make resolutions every year and sometimes I fulfill them.
Here is this year's batch, in public and everything.
1. Make more stuff. (knitting, crocheting, sewing, baking, cooking, whatever)
2. Reach my WW goal by my birthday. (That's 7 pounds by March 4. Very do-able.)
3. Play music, sometimes out in public.
4. Save and invest money.
5. Get back to lifting weights.
6. Volunteer.
7. Won't get fooled again.