Sunday, October 31, 2004

No More Sun

We shifted the clocks back an hour yesterday. It's now coming up on 4:30pm and already starting to get dark. I know my moods are heavily influenced by the season and amount of available daylight. I may have to start waking up early to go for a walk or at least to do yoga in the living room with the shades open to let the light in. At least I have the presence of mind to know that my sulkiness is seasonal and not necessarily caused by the circumstances of my life.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Canvass This

I don't care what stats or True Majority Action quote to me. I hate door-to-door election canvassers. They do nothing that makes me feel encouraged to vote. Especially when the first one that visited here looked and sounded like he'd just taken a few fortifying bong hits before heading out to do his rounds. Strangers knocking on my door on a weekend afternoon do nothing but annoy me. I believe that I, and most other people around here, will go out and attend a candidate's speech or rally if we really want to hear what they have to say. Or we'll read the paper or check out the candidates' websites. Unless it's the candidate him or heself out tromping out in the rain on a Saturday afternoon, please stay the fuck off my property. Thank you.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Mystery Blah

It appears that I have been hit with a case of Mystery Blah. I suspect it's some type of post-ecliptic hit or just a simple case of running my motor too high for too long without noticing I was coming up on the wall. It started last night when the right half of my back started hurting. I've dealt with enough back pain now that I should realize that when it starts tensing up that means I need to chill out. Somehow I still manage to avoid that simple warning. I woke up this morning (and many times last night, actually) with my back aching and my head filled with something that felt like wads of cotton and a low buzzing noise. And I didn't even drink anything last night. I briefly considered cancelling my single class of the day, but decided if I was feeling okay enough to meet my sister for breakfast, I was okay enough to go teach for a couple of hours.
I came home and took some ibuprofen and a nap after class. That and a cup of chai seem to be helping somewhat. I should be working on another translation job, or even a grant proposal because I see there are grants available out there for people who teach less commonly taught languages. I'm sure landing grant money would impress the high muckety mucks at school but at the moment I am short of ideas and steam. Anyway, I should get to work a little so that I can feel I've accomplished something before I head out to take a walk and enjoy the last of the afternoon daylight. Once the clocks kick back an hour over the weekend it won't be all that long before it's pitch black by 5pm around here.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Do What You Love...

I'm still waiting for the money to follow. If the money doesn't follow does logic indicate that I'm not actually doing what I love, maybe I just think I am?
I don't need to get rich off this gig, but it would sure be nice to make enough money to actually cover my bills.
I like teaching and I feel like I'm serving a purpose in doing what I do, but how many years am I going to put into building a program without being properly compensated for it? At least two, obviously. Three even seems likely, but I don't know if I can afford three. I probably can't. That really sucks.

Red Sox... What More Can I Say?

The Red Sox did it. They won the World Series in a four game sweep. The 86 year long curse has been broken. My prediction is that there will be a lot more clean shaven men in the New England area this morning. So many guys vowed not to shave until the Sox lost or won it all.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Total Lunar Eclipse

Tomorrow night there will be a total lunar eclipse (NASA link). This is the other half of this month's pair of eclipses. The first was the solar eclipse on Oct 14. If you've felt like the last couple of weeks have been weird and that time and reality is all wavy and uneven, you might consider that part of the eclipses' effect. It might even explain the Red Sox beating the Yankees and getting to the World Series. You can never tell how it's going to go when we're under the effect of an eclipse or two.
The eclipse should be visible from anywhere on the east coast and through most of the mid-west as well. Check that NASA link above to see if and when it will be visible wherever you are.

Monday, October 25, 2004


I came into work today to see that some dumbass college student punk had plastered a Kerry-Edwards sticker on a poster for a study abroad program that I hung up outside my door last week. Defacing other people's property does not encourage support for their candidate. I'm voting that ticket anyway, and I'm still pissed off.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Hit Hard

Speaking of Japan, the country is getting its ass kicked by natural forces lately. They've been hit by at least 8 major typhoons this season. The one that passed through last week killed over 60 people. And starting yesterday, the northern part of the country (Niigata) has been rocked by severe earthquakes that have killed over 20.

The Man

During my first semester of grad school, I went to a lecture by Edward Seidensticker. There I was, all shiny and enthusiastic, ready to devote nearly all the hours of my days to the study of Japanese literature. (Why? Who the fuck knows why. At the time, it mattered to me.) And the man himself, the translator of The Tale of Genji and other classic works of Japanese lit, was going to be coming to campus where I would be able to hear the word and the wisdom direct from the source.
Jim and I sat in the darkened auditorium in great anticipation. Seidensticker was one of the gods of our realm and he was right there, up on the stage. And what did the great one do but bitch about Japan for two hours and at the end of the talk, during the question and answer session, said that he thought, after all the years he had put into it, that in the end it really hadn't been worth it to devote his life to studying Japan. I was speechless and astonished. He said that twelve years ago, and he said much the same 42 years ago, but he's still there. I understand in a way. I still struggle in a love-hate relationship with Japan because I went over thinking I was all grown up and it turned out it was where I learned to be an adult. I took on attitudes and beliefs that ultimately didn't work for me. It was such a great challenge and I tried so hard to ace it that I got too wrapped up in trying to figure out the rules and win the game. It became comfortable to be the outsider. I knew how to play that. But that moment in the auditorium had seared itself into my brain and made things that much easier when I realized it was time to let go and move on from Japan.
This brief trip down memory lane was brought to you by this
article about Seidensticker's latest book which I found via Robert Brady.


The weather has turned cold and I'm back to obsessing over what to knit or crochet. Since I have the most gorgeous model in the world living in-house, I figured I'd have her show you what I've made. I wrote about the pink, fluffy scarf before. The bottom picture is a shawl I crocheted out of Lion Thick & Quick Chenille (i think, don't have the skein wrapper anymore). You can't see the shawl very well in the picture, but with a smile like that, who cares?

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Trick or Treat

I went to a Halloween party this evening. It was my 9 year old nephew's party. I went with my daughter. I don't really hang out much with 9 year olds when she's not around. I didn't dress up for the party, but some of the kids had good costumes. One boy was dressed up as Austin Powers-- teeth, hair, suit and and all. Another boy was dressed as an old lady and he reminded me of the purse swinging character Ruth Buzzy used to play. There was apple bobbing and scary story telling and lots and lots of screaming.
I ate too much candy. I have a headache. I still have more work to do tomorrow. You're all thrilled I took the time to share, I know.

Friday, October 22, 2004

In My Garden

The weather has turned gray and blustery here. It already feels like November. It's moody weather with leaden skies and biting winds. The foliage is on the downhill side of the peak but still colorful and full enough to catch your eye. A few more weeks and the only green left around will be the pine trees.

The Horror

Fucking Hell! What is wrong with me? It must be all this work I'm doing lately is torturing my inner slacker who is in turn rebelling by causing me to unconsciously dress myself like something out of the friggin Official Preppy Handbook. Must be some traumatic flashback to high school (which, ugh I admit it, was prep school) when I was so swamped with school work and forced to conform to a dress code so I just ended up looking like someone dunked me in an LL Bean catalog or something. I'd make myself go back home and change but I have too much work to do.

Thursday, October 21, 2004


I did this today.
I'm not just being lazy. I still have a bunch of translation to do and he wrote about it better than I would anyway.

Love Him Or Hate Him

A student just told me that Michael Moore is speaking in Rye today. I found that kind of interesting since Rye is a rich little town that I imagine has quite a number of Bush/Cheney supporters and no obvious venue for the size of crowd I imagine Michael Moore will pull in. I checked out his site and found out that indeed he will be at the Rye Airfield, which is a skate park and BMX track, at 1pm this afternoon. No mention of the event on the Rye Airfield website, but it's located right off of Rt 1.
I'd go to check it out just because I was a fan of Michael Moore back in the TV Nation days. I still haven't seen Farenheit 9/11. I suppose I'm less of a fan since all the hype began. Anyway, I have to teach in the afternoon.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

A Moment

I had to go down to Portsmouth on an errand today and I was driving back to Dover around sunset. There was a partial rainbow to the north of the setting sun and some high, wispy clouds. Violet (by Hole) came on the radio. I love the song but I was happy to realize that I no longer identify with it. The sky was pretty. I liked the music. Even though there was the usual traffic on the General Sullivan Bridge, it only took me 20 minutes to get back home.
I've been working all night on a translation job about electronics. It's quiet since my girl is with her father and I'm here all alone. I've brought the lap top out to the kitchen table and turned on the gas fireplace because it's cold out tonight. It's not an entirely bad way to spend the evening, even if it's an evening of work following a full day of other work.

Monday, October 18, 2004


This leaves me rather speechless. (If you're under 18 don't look.)
ps: If you are at work or have children or anyone offended by nekkid parts milling about in the immediate vicinity, you'll probably want to check this out when you have a little more privacy.

Girl Power... I hope

The neighborhood gerbil expert came over today and informed me that she believes the three gerbils my girl got last week are all female.
I really, really hope she's right.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

The Art of War

It's been a long time since I read The Art of War by Sun Tzu or The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, but I wonder what they say about sitting back, shutting up and letting your opponent screw himself. I bet they advise it, probably just not using that same phrasing.

Saturday, October 16, 2004


There is a tv commercial for Friendly's that shows a woman getting ready for a romantic night out with her husband who, when faced with the puppy dog eyes of her young daughter, decides to tell her husband to cancel the babysitter so that the whole family can go out to Friendly's instead. I don't get it. Why can't they just plan to go have a family night out on another night? Friendly's is pretty cheap and she's putting on pearls and jewelry, so it looks like she and hubby could probably swing the $25 it would cost to take the three of them out for dinner there. And if they ordered right they'd get the FREE sundaes and not even have to pay for desert. The husband is on his way out the door to get the babysitter when the woman tells him about the change in plans. Is she afraid he's doing the sitter? Like I said, I don't get it.
The commerical came on the other night when my honey and I were at home kicking back and I started to say, "I don't know about this ad. It just makes me think..." And my absolutely wonderful and highly entertaining boyfriend finished my sentence with "that they aren't going to stay together?" Exactly. That is exactly what it makes me think.
Yes, dinner out with the child (or children, if you have more than one) is a fun family activitity, especially if you follow the rules. But for god's sake, Friendly's commercial woman, if your husband wants to get dressed up and take you out to a nice restaurant and you've actually managed to score a babysitter, don't throw it all away for a three-year old's puppy dog pout and a free sundae!

Friday, October 15, 2004

Spooky, Creepy, Crawly Songs

It's time to break out the Dan Blakeslee's Halloween Special cd. Yesterday I saw the flyers for his Oct. 15 show at The Press Room up on campus and was going to take one because they're always awesome, but I didn't because I didn't think it was cool to take one before the gig. Then I read the cover article of this week's Foster's Showcase and Dan had made a direct request in the article that people wait until after the show to take the flyers.
See, I do have a conscience!
If you are in Portsmouth tonight, it would be well worth your while to head down to The Press Room for the Dan Blakeslee Halloween Experience.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Leaves

The leaves are so beautiful now that it makes me wish I could stop time and freeze everything just the way it is. But would it still be beautiful if it was like this every day? Are things really beautiful because they change and fade and die? That's the idea behind the whole Japanese concept of mono no aware, the beauty of the ephemeral. Not sure about that and quite sure I don't feel like getting into it now. What I do know is that New Hampshire has had the right temperature conditions this year and the colors are brilliant. It makes me feel like I want to spontaneously combust. Foliage: Fall Foliage Report


Nine bodies found in group suicides in Japan
I don't really want to write about this, but I don't feel like I can let it pass by without comment.
A Japanese university professor is quoted in the article as saying, ""Young people today don't have a sense of reality about death. They are approaching it as an extension of a game in cyberworld." And he says suicide might be on the rise because young Japanese have had little exposure to the death of relatives, compared to previous generations. That sounds like bullshit to me. I don't think it's that they are approaching death as an extension of a game in cyberworld. I think they might lack proof that life has more to offer.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Let's Go For A Ride

There's a solar eclipse coming up on Wednesday night and another lunar one on October 28. Eclipses come in pairs and generally cause a lot of shit to happen. I try to just lay low and let them blow over.
He definitely has his biases, but I still think Eric Francis' essay about the eclipse gives some decent insight into the dynamics of eclipses. That is, of course, if you happen to believe in that sort of thing. If you don't, then it's just going to be another wild two weeks in the lead up to the election and everywhere you turn it will seem like people are going crazy.

Sunday, October 10, 2004


I already finished the fluffy pink scarf I started knitting yesterday afternoon. I swear the whole thing probably took only three or four hours total. It's sitting on my desk next to the computer, glistening in the light of the desklamp like the pelt of some furry pink mammal. If I had a camera, I'd throw a picture of it up here, but i don't.
I hope it gets cold again soon. Now if I could just get my black, leather jacket back from out of the house. I tried today, but it was no longer in the hall closet. hmmm...

In The Spirit of Halloween

If you want to see something scary, look at this.

Saturday, October 09, 2004


My favorite color right now is maple leaf red. Not the hockey team, but the real thing. The oranges and yellows are pretty, too, but the deep reds and maroons are so gorgeous they make my heart hurt.

If I Only Had A Remedy

I caught part of a show on the History Channel last night that addressed the topic of "high tech" sex. The whole idea of virtual sex just really doesn't interest me much. I mean, isn't one of the great things about sex that it's about as stripped down and real as you can get? Maybe if you're an astronaut on a long mission and billions of miles away from your honey virtual sex might be the next best thing to being there. But I can't imagine it ever being better than the real thing.
Anyway, back to the program. It being the History Channel and all, they also included some information about all the Victorian era inventions intended to quell sexual urges. There seemed to be a lot of innovative variations on the chastity belt concept. There were also some scary, James Bond-ish modern inventions designed to mess up a rapist bad. Things with razors and needles all tucked away inside. Scary.
One interesting fact that I learned was that vibrators were invented in the 1880s as a labor saving device for doctors, who used to treat hysteria by digitally massaging their patients to "hysterical paroxysm". Apparently it wasn't ok for women to take care of this on their own because masturbation was a big no-no. They say the treatments weren't regarded as sexual experiences. Dr. Feelgood, I presume.
The folks at Good Vibrations have an online Antique Vibrator Museum.
All this talk has me thinking about The Black Crowes song Remedy. It's going to be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.
I need a remedy, huh yeah
For what is ailing me, you see
I need a remedy
For what is ailing me
I need a remedy, yeah
For what is ailing me
(nice sexy rock scream here)
If I only had a remedy
You see, I'll find it, I'll find it
You see baby, I want it
You see I'll find it, I'll find it
Oh, I really want, really want it
You see I need it
Oh I really want to tell you all about it
I want to sing and scream
Oh, I feel I just want to shout about it
I need a remedy, remedy, remedy, remedy, remedy, remedy, remedy, remedy yeah.
Remedy that's what I need
Waaaaah, I see it.

The Victorians definitely would have locked up Chris Robinson in a mental institution and in one of their male chastity contraptions.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

My Name is Pam and I'm a Yarnaholic

I have already spent $45 this month on yarn this month and that's with two projects (a crocheted shawl and a knit poncho) currently underway that are nowhere near completion. The other night I started making mittens because I felt the urge to do so. Today I left work and drove down to Michaels to buy more yarn for the poncho and picked up three more skeins of something else (Paton's twister) because it looked like it would make a cute scarf.

Crossing Paths Again

It's funny how people turn up in unexpected places. Six or seven years ago when I was living and teaching in Japan I came across a site called Real Japan created by a Japanese-American high school student in Texas. The site was interesting, funny and cool looking. I wrote to the creator and asked her if she would mind if I used the site in a class I was teaching called "Japanese Society in English". She agreed and said she was flattered that her site would be used in a college class. We emailed back and forth a few times, but that came to an end, as those things tend to do.
This morning I was reading through the huge back log of posts I have for the Honyaku mailing list for translators working between Japanese and English. I saw a familiar name on a post by a translator new to the job. It turns out to be the same Alisa from the Real Japan site. Now I'm going to go to class and teach my current students about her site, too.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

First Frost

Last night (this morning?) was the first frost of the season. Driving to work along 108 through Madbury this morning I could see stretches of frosted over grasses, stalks and leaves in the areas the sun hadn't reached yet. It's supposed to get into the low 60s today, but when I checked the thermometer out on the porch this morning it read 35 degrees. That's chilly.
I started knitting myself some mittens with yarn I have left over from all the caps I knitted as holiday presents last year. I have white, black and a weird mauve-y pink color. I'll probably make striped mittens. I definitely need something because my hands were numb by the time I made it from the parking lot to the office this morning.
Wow, there's gurgling water noises coming through the pipes in the office, which I guess means the heat has been turned on. No actual heat coming out of there yet and the overhead air vents are still pumping, but a little heat in the office would be nice.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Mixed Up Media

I just noticed after walking by yet another flyer for the Feminist Action League's on campus demonstration protesting hate speech and violence against women that was sparked by a death threat against a female columnist in the campus paper that the large graphic image they are using on the flyer is in the style of Japanese manga. Actually, it looks like an image that was taken from a manga. I guess the protest organizers don't realize that you'd have to search pretty long and hard to find a mass media genre more accepting of misogyny. I spent years commuting on trains in Japanese cities watching men read manga full of big-breasted, tiny-waisted, full-hipped, doe-eyed women getting fucked in just about anyway you can imagine, often with the dialogue bubbles full of protest. (I know, it's not nice to read over people's shoulders, but sometimes there's not much else to do on a train.) I guess whoever made the flyer just thought the image of a screaming woman wearing a collar looked cool and tough.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Go Fug Yourself

My newest guilty pleasure and the only one I'll write about in public.
I blame it all on Shannon.
Actually, I'm not sure I have any other truly guilty pleasures. Well, there's the ice cream, and the trashy tabloids in the check out line, and the tendency to be a product junkie while pretending I'm just not that kind of girl. Ehhh, let's just stop this list right here and now.

Friday, October 01, 2004

It's All Good

Do you ever have those days when everything is pretty much the same as it was yesterday, but it all seems excellent? Well, I'm having one today. Maybe it was just that I had more caffeine than usual this morning, but the sun is out and everything looks beautiful. I thought I might have to work tonight, but I don't. I've got one 2-hour class to teach today and I'm done until Monday. When I get out of here I'm going home to help my honey finish working on the soon-to-be-finished, unfinished furniture. Tomorrow is Apple Harvest Day and the weather is supposed to be good.
I'm not saying everything is perfect, but right now it's all good.