Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Fluffy is bad for your health

Been boycotting the news for the past week, reasoning that I've plenty of howling fantods of my own. A friend in Canada wrote and asked if I had worked today, which kinda got me thinking: should I have stayed shut in??? Was it a tactical error to leave my laundry hanging outside overnight and all day in the breezy, it kinda feels like spring air?? Is that why I'm so itchy?

Anyway, April 1st is the start of the new school year here (which is the best practical joke of all when you think of it). If I had balls they'd be so pressed against the walls they'd be discs. This will be SNAFU* for the next couple of weeks I think.

New school seems okay. One problem: there are apparently some enterprising teens who've taken to smoking on a little used 4th floor hallway. Teachers in my grade discussed what to do, while I sat and doodled, since my contributions would doubtless have been ill-received. It seems hard to believe that this problem was born in the past week, so my thinking at first was: let me hang out on the 4th floor and dissuade kids from this nasty habit (of which I sometimes partake). It would be cool because maybe I could sneak in a smoke myself. But then I realized that if the stinky tobacco smell continued to linger despite my presence, minds might start to wonder. Or worse, some erstwhile smoker might catch me in the act of inhaling, and I'd end up having to give away loosies to him/her and his degenerate friends in order to buy their silence. Could end up being an unofficial school club.

My second idea, which I liked better, totally beat out the wussy police-tape type barrier (pink) and DO NOT ENTER sign which were eventually decided upon. Thought it would be cool to get '"Fluffy" -- from the first Harry Potter movie -- to guard the stairwell leading to the fourth floor -- chained down of course. Sadly, Fluffy would probably woof "hell no" to this kind of ho-hum assignment, given that his last job was guarding the secret to everlasting life. Oh well. Perhaps just an autographed, life-sized cardboard cut out of Fluffy to lend some seriousness to the injunction?

When classes finally begin, these flights of fancy will doubtless diminish or go into overdrive. We shall see.

*Situation Normal All Fucked Up

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Not much bread but plenty of circuses

As crap as CNN is, I haven't changed the channel for months. This is a pattern with me. When I lived in New York, my fingers knew only 1 button on my remote control: the ON/OFF button. "ON" meant NY1, totally repetitive and in some weird way, soothing. While CNN is not so soothing, especially lately, the truth is I haven't watched TV like a regular person since I was an undergraduate.

I'd just returned home after some important errands, one of which was picking up my potassium cyanide (I mean potassium iodide!) pills, which I was able to get because I have access to the US base here and they're handing them out now (just in case). In all likelihood, they will go into my emergency back-pack "stash", next to the champagne, thus filling an important lacuna in my survival toolkit.

After making sure I knew what these pills were all about, and miming putting them in a climate-controlled container that will maintain them at the recommended temperature, I found myself channel surfing in an attempt to get away from the gloom and doom of the news. Am sure it's just in my mind, but could swear some CNN announcers looked as if they were suppressing the kind of joy that I associate with discovering that it's Christmas all over again while reporting that smoke was issuing from two reactors in Fukushima. But they are consummate professionals, so I know it was just me being peevish.)

Changing the channel was perhaps a mistake. I ended up watching an "isn't it wild and crazy what people with nothing better to do decide to video for our viewing pleasure" show. Particularly impressive was the segment featuring a guy in spandex shorts throwing a lap top towards another guy--also in spandex shorts, who "caught" it between his butt cheeks multiple times. TV is always surreal here, at least to me (dang language barrier!) but tonight's piece (of ass) took the cake. Lesson of the day: as much as possible, stick with your established routines.

In other news: Still working my way through boxed wine -- which predictably tastes exactly the same as when I opened it almost a week. Do have champagne chilling though! Think it's time to go hunting for a remote that meets my needs: ON/OFF.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's good to have priorities during a crisis

Several non-Japanese friends have left the area or country. Others are vociferous in claiming that such actions are not necessary. And others, like me, are in a state of constant vigilance, passports at the ready, just in case...

I feel sad that the real horror of the tremendous loss of life and damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami has been eclipsed by the question-riddled situation at Fukushima. Vewwy, vewwy tired, but realize that being merely exhausted is actually a privilege given what has actually happened to so many.

Think I'll take the day off tomorrow -- not just from work, but also from CNN saturation, from various conflicting assessments and prognoses, and from what amounts to earning e-credits towards a Ph.D. in nuclear physics in my futile attempt to get a handle on what is really going on.

When my very own, (my precioussssss!!!) first ever box of wine runs dry, I will scurry out and grab a bottle of bloody expensive champagne. Unlike some other basics, I'm sure finding good champagne will be easy as pie. Yes, I said it: At least for me, good champagne IS a "basic" in a crisis like this.

Once purchased, I will not add the champagne to my "bugger off" bag. I will drink it. While doing so, I will consider the logistics of taking a "weekend" trip; not because things seem so uncertain or because I'm freaking out, but because I'm ready for a break from being caught between what feels like manic denial (work), borderline panic (where the fuck are the English muffins!?) and a feeling that disturbingly resembles numbing boredom (recreational activities have tapered off markedly of late - even playing Scrabble is no fun). At the very least, I'm certain I will sleep better in a hotel room somewhat removed from the situation here. Will unplug the TV as soon as I arrive.

Perhaps I will buy two bottles of champagne so I can have a "travel bottle." If I must worry while on my trip, I will try to confine my concerns to the possibility of bed bugs.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thinking Time

The rolling black out for my area didn't happen this evening. I was all prepared, thanks to a friend who picked up a case of water, candles and batteries for me. I joked that I'd also like a box of wine and he actually brought that too. It was my first time opening one and I almost panicked because there was no instruction booklet, but eventually figured out how to gain access to the spigot. I'm normally a wine snob but I thought "under the circumstances...." However, while "enjoying" tumbler #3 in the wake of another aftershock, I realized that "under the circumstances", I should have requested a bottle of good French bubbly.

In other news, a good friend sent a message this evening saying that the Australian consulate is advising its citizens in the 8 affected prefectures to leave! The Canadian consulate hasn't done that (yet), but I finally registered as a Canadian living abroad. I guess I will go to work tomorrow and--assuming it's not too cold and doesn't (acid) rain-- cook curry with the kids outside at lunchtime, since officials say that radiation has not reached levels that "directly" impact human health. I hope none of these kids are "indirectly" affected and thus don't end up having have X-babies "when they grow up" because they continued to play baseball, soccer and tennis outdoors every day during this calamity. Not that I have anything against X-babies per say (in the sense of the ones brought under the avuncular wing of Commander Picard -- oops! Wrong sci-fi extravaganza!-- I mean Charles Xavier from the X-Men films.) But that is probably just negative thinking brought on by insomnia. Melatonin clearly isn't doing it's advertised job for me these days. It seems as if I may actually be getting close to really wondering "what would [insert revered thinker/spiritual leader/god figure/rockstar, etc . of choice] do...?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Food was here...Now it is gone (aka flight of the Twinkies)

People are stocking up on the bread, the Japanese equivalent of Twinkies (not sure if they have Twinkies legendary perpetual shelf-life though), and cup ramen noodles. Potato chips also seem to be considered survival food. I keep patting my walnuts, pumpkin seeds and dried mango and telling myself that it's okay...

The truth is things are not so

Another day, another couple of aftershocks. All is still okay where I am. Unfortunately, I'm ready to kill the composer of CNN's "disaster" lead-in music. But that's my fault for being unable to tear myself away (the English broadcast is invaluable). It's hard to focus on doing much else while not at work. The truth is that in this complete shit storm, I have the privilege of being merely "inconvenienced" (sporadic train service; rolling black outs; no Twinkies(tm) or Ring Dings(tm) or Ho Hos(tm) on the shelves at the convenience store (forget bread!)) by what for thousands is an utter nightmare. Am just beginning to wonder whether my rock climbing harness should go into my "bug the fuck out bag" (carabiners were a no-brainer -- they are small!); but so far have been content to settle for undies,toothpaste, toilet paper, matches, beef jerky, and 800 mg ibuprofen. And of course, a cutlass. Not yet at the point where I wished I knew an iodine tab dealer. But definitely thinking that, in the future, I will stop hoarding my mattress money in coins. Off to do something to chicken, potatoes, turnips and carrots...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Libran Indecision at work

Had a great day today! And that is all that will be said on that front. Plan to spend my free time this week figuring out which "story" to tackle first: the one tentatively titled, "He's a 12 year old pedophile. And he's my foster brother." Or the one about being in the idyllic Cheshire countryside, lying in wait in the boot (trunk) of the car, but don't worry because it's not locked and soon you can get out and have hot chocolate in the kitchen of a terminally ill and totally oblivious stranger, finish your homework and go to bed, and then get back into the boot of the car the next morning, after tea in the kitchen of totally oblivious, terminally ill patient (except for that one time when totally oblivious, terminally ill patient's daughter caught a glimpse of you...) (title pending). Or perhaps a different story entirely....

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Look Ma: I can read!
So, as part of the renewed effort to get the writer in me to surface, have been revisiting my past a lot. Recently recalled that in England I was somehow taught to read using the initial teaching alphabet (I.T.A.) which probably means that reading Etruscan -- or at the very least Finnegan's Wake -- should be as easy as "A, B, C"...
images/ITAA00072t.jpg - 21KB

Or perhaps exposure to I.T.A. forms the procrustean bed for my excuses for NOT writing: given the limitations of the qwerty keyboard, Cowboi Smaull is a pretty hard act to follow....

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Dear Bloggie-thingie: I'll never abandon you (for so long) every again.

So I haven't written on this blog for two years...! It's gotten to the point where I occasionally get unsolicited messages asking me if I'd like to sell my blog space. Didn't know such a thing were possible. Was under the impression that this site allows you to put up a blog and then totally ignore it for years -- all for free.

Operating under the assumption that I can't sell this blog space for "big money" and then retire to a small, remote island in the Pacific, have decided that the years of writing procrastination have absolutely got to end. If I sometimes secretly compare unwritten stories to unborn children, at this point I've got great litter of long overdue pups that need liberating from the wound--I mean womb. But the real reason is that it's become increasingly clear that many of my untold tales are starting to rot and fester, turning into soul tumours and manifesting themselves as bad skin and bad attitude, consuming me. That is not such a good thing. It's gotta stop.

With that in mind, joined a couple of writers' groups in Tokyo today -- most seem to meet monthly or bimonthly, so I shall soon be showing up to writing salons, all nervous and tongue-tied, and with a total fear that there will be some sort of obligatory writing exercise. Writing on demand scares the crap out of me. As does having to critique or even review other writers' works. Must be the "I'm not worthy" subliminals which hum along uninterrupted day and night as the inaudible yet very effective soundtrack that accompanies my, journey.

Anyway, perhaps meeting other writers will be just the fright I need to get writing. Now off to spend a couple of hours writing 1 paragraph plot summaries of the half dozen stories that need exorcising immediately, and then pulling hair while trying to figure out which one to actually get down and dirty with first. At the very least, I'll end up yanking out enough hair to comfortably wear "Whitney Houston" wig I bought recently!