Saturday, May 29, 2004

And the winner is...

The verdict is in. I got my placement letter today. I'm going to Fukui! :) This makes me VERY happy, for many reasons.

Friday, May 28, 2004

It's a great time to graduate

Since I'm graduating fairly soon, I have to go through exit counseling for my student loans. I just got the paperwork today. While researching the process, I ended up on a loan consolidation site. Consolidating my loans at the current historic low interest rate would save me thousands. But, it just keeps getting better. I ran across this news item, which indicates that student loan rates are going to drop EVEN MORE July 1st. I think I'll wait a bit and consolidate then. It's a great time to graduate. :)

This almost makes up for the fact that I STILL have not heard from JET as to where I'm placed. Grr...

Thursday, May 27, 2004


TOO much waiting makes Phoenix go CRAZY! Here it is, the 26th of May, and I STILL don't know where in Japan I'm going! ACK! I can't handle it! I REALLY want to be placed in a certain region, so this is quite a big deal for me.


Wednesday, May 26, 2004


So, I still live on campus (for the next few weeks anyway). Living on campus is great for the social aspects, but in many other ways it falls short. Right now, there is a rumor going around that a malicious hacker was inside our network. The result? Almost all the ports are now blocked, theoretically to retard the hacker's progress.


Now I can't do many of the things I used to enjoy on the internet. All because either we have a real hacker and they're trying to stop him(her/it/whatever), or our internet service here just plain doesn't do their job right.

I really don't know which way to lean on this one. On one side, I don't really know enough about hacking to say that there ISN'T a hacker on the network, and on the other the internet service providers, while being the best I've experienced in my four years here, are sub par.

Either way, it means no webcamming for me for a while. Or games. Or downloads. Or...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Slow news day

So, I still haven't heard from JET as to where I'm going to be placed. (nervous) The waiting game is a killer.

I did hear that my updated passport photos arrived safely. Hopefully the delay will not adversely affect me.

I also heard that others from my (relatively small) school also made it into JET. In fact, at least one of them knows where he is placed (Sapporo). Also, my boss's daughter applied and didn't get in. :( This was the second year she applied.

I wish I understood how the selection process worked, I could have given her some tips.

Anyway, more waiting for me...


So, my friend sends me to the other day. They day I was supposed to be doing my homework. Man, this is the site for me: twisted computer humor. If you're a computer science person, avoid this site; this site is a time-sucker. It's like a disease: my friend infected me, and now I'm passing it on to other people. Anyway, here are two quotes from the top 100 list.

<Guo_Si> Hey, you know what sucks?
<TheXPhial> vaccuums
<Guo_Si> Hey, you know what sucks in a metaphorical sense?
<TheXPhial> black holes
<Guo_Si> Hey, you know what just isn't cool?
<TheXPhial> lava?

<tag> Ouroboros: lets play Pong
<Ouroboros> Ok.
<tag> |    .
<Ouroboros> .    |
<tag> |  .
<Ouroboros>    . |
<tag> | .
<Ouroboros>      | .
<Ouroboros> Whoops

Sunday, May 09, 2004

New features

Blogger upgraded their servers today, and now they have built-in comments. It's weird, because I was just thinking about how I wish they had built-in comments, because external services, in my experience, have not been as good. :) We will be phasing out the Haloscan comments, and those comments will be lost. :( We shall see if the new system is indeed better than before. Now all they need to add are built-in smilies. :)

Note: It's a pain to change over though, because it doesn't automatically change the comments settings for previous posts. We had to go through and change them all over by hand. What a nightmare! I'm glad we just started this blog, I couldn't imagine doing as many posts as some of the other blogs already have.

The eyes have it.

Eyes Only
I found a picture of my sweetie, so I'm putting it up here.

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

A poem for the day

How Do I Love Thee?
Let Me Count the Ways

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Elizabeth Barret Browning (1806-1861)

This poem has remained extraordinarily popular for more than 150 years, and I can see why.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

How do you know if she's The One?

Had this thought last night, talking to my sweetie, and it's cornball, but it's how I see things.

True love is like the answer to a crossword puzzle. There may be other words that technically fit, they have the same number of letters, but they won’t fit right. When it’s the right word, it FITS, and there is no doubt.

Why I love Adult Swim (They're in my HEAD man!)

So, I'm supposed to be finishing my papers for tomorrow, and I decide to take a break and watch some TV. I turn on Harvey Birdman (because it's short, and I'm busy), and the FIRST thing I see is this commercial:

Nervous about tomorrow?
Ahh, we knew it was something.
Don't be nervous about tomorrow.
Instead, be nervous about right now.
Because right now is when you should be doing something
That could prevent that terrible thing that will happen tomorrow.

You're choosing inaction.

You're choosing instead to watch TELEVISION.
Frankly, we admire that.
We admire your courage.

Not much happening on the JET front

Right now it's a waiting game. Am I still on the short list? Will I be placed in the town I want? I don't know. In English Teaching news, I just got done talking on MSN with a long time good friend of mine, and her sister is an English teacher at a school I used to attend. Now, that makes me feel old. Her YOUNGER sister is now actually a teacher for a school I once went to. Oy.

Can't stop writing...

So, I got an e-mail back in the e-mode days (see, and here's what I responded with:

From jezabell
> I read your profile, and laughed my ass off! I'm
> sorry, but you seem like such a genuine person, and
> seem like you'd be very fun to talk to. If you're
> interested, go ahead and look at my profile, and
> write me back!

:) Well, I'm glad you appreciated my profile! Actually, I wasn't trying to be funny when I was filling it out. I was bored and just wanted to kill time. Re-reading it now, I wonder why I chose to say the things I did. I guess I wasn't really paying attention (much like when I'm driving), and just let my mind wander (much like my car when I'm driving).

Of course, when I'm typing, I tend to ramble. It is fortunate (though frustrating) that they limit you to how much text you can put in. I know that if I tried to list all the music I listen to or all the things I'm passionate about, most people would grow tired from scrolling down the page. And I would probably forget what I was talking about halfway down, and go off on some tangent that had nothing to do with anything, but just happened to hit me while I was at the computer. The Zen of typing.

Anyway, sometimes I forget that I even have a profile there. I keep meaning to update it (the picture especially, it's more than a year old!), but never seem to have the time. Although, it is spring break right now...and I am at the computer right now... Of course by the time I finish this e-mail, I will have forgotten again.

So, I see in your profile that you list Spanish as one of your languages. Do you actually speak Spanish? I have it listed as one of my languages because I took two years of it in high school, but that was several hundred years ago (calculation based on my ability to understand native Spanish speakers now, it seems that the language must have changed a great deal since my time in high school because I can barely understand a thing now). Actually, most people I know also took Spanish as their language in high school. One time, a group of my friends and I were standing around by the office and I needed to borrow a pen. When a friend handed me one, I responded with "Gracias," an automatic thing from when I was in Spanish class (although it's not so automatic anymore. Whenever I ate out at a Mexican food restaurant, I would realize that I said it after the waitress brought me water or whatever, and I would wonder if she thought I was being a smartass. Anyway, anymore I say "Arigato," from Japanese class). Where was I? Oh yeah, well, when I said "Gracias," he replied with "De nada," and we all started taking a trip down memory lane. Someone else started with "Como Esta?" and we went through the standard High-School-Spanish responses "Muy Bien, Y Tu?" "Asi Asi", etc. It was about this time that my friend Javier from Argentina walked by. Now, he had never seen us speak Spanish before. Ever. Not one word. Now, we were all speaking it (sort of, you know what I mean). I think he thought we were poking fun at him.

Poor Javier. Actually, I had another friend, Erin, who just left for Mexico for six months. She dropped by to say 'bye', but I had my headphones on and didn't hear her knock. Isn't that sad?

I took Spanish because my family is (distantly) from Spain. Like, my great-great-grandmother was from Spain. It seemed like a big deal to my grandfather that someone keeps up with the old language, so I did. Besides, it was either Spanish or Latin, and I was no good in Latin class. Of course, as Spanish was important to my grandfather, Latin was equally important to my father, who learned it when he was in school. I hate having to choose between family members, but I sure didn't want to take two languages at the same time! Now, though, I can't get enough. I switched to Japanese when I went to college, and took American Sign Language just for fun (in this case, 'fun' translates as getting up at 6am so I can drive to Spokane at 7am for my two-hour sign language class every morning). I regret dropping Latin more and more all the time, especially as one of my favorite authors (Terry Pratchett) loves to quote things in Latin. The only Latin I can remember is Illigitemus Non Carborundum (or something like that, I can't remember how to spell it). It means something like: Don't let the bastards grind you down. My father has it as his license plate frame, which is ironic if you know that he never married my mother, making me his bastard child (which may be a bit of an over-share for my first email to you, but there you go).

Anyway, I didn't continue in Spanish in college because I want to be a computer game programmer, and Japan is game Mecca. I was actually looking into going to Japan this summer, if I could find a job that would defray the costs enough. Of course, getting there might be a problem; since I am deathly afraid to fly owing to a class I took in high school. See, I used to WANT to fly. I loved it! I flew back and forth between my parents all through my childhood. I wanted to be a pilot. So, when the chance came to take a class on how to fly, I took it.

What a mistake! The first thing they teach you is all the ways that things can go wrong leading to your death! Logically, I understand that a single engine prop plane has potentially more danger than a commercial jet airliner (you can't even really compare the two), and they are unrelated in every way. And yet I'm still afraid to fly. That's why it's a phobia (irrational fear). On the very rare occasions when I do fly, I am very particular about it. I did my research, and I minimize my chances for danger (not that there is much danger on an airplane. You really are much safer in a plane than in a car. You would have to fly non-stop for like a million years before statistically you would be in a fatal crash. You have a greater chance of getting two Royal Flushes in a row playing poker. You have a greater chance of getting hit by falling airplane, wait). I fly Southwest (not one fatality, and that's with 50% more flights than Quantas, the ONLY other major airline with no fatalities), I sit over the wing (most reinforced part of the plane), next to the emergency exit (and you'd better believe I have that handy emergency exit guide pretty well memorized), in a rear-facing seat, on a non-stop flight in the middle of the day. And STILL I'm afraid to fly! This may be because I often don't have the money (or actually, the willingness to part with money for something akin to torture for me) to fly Southwest, so I get given tickets on Alaska or Horizon. These are the planes that aren't big enough to come up to the terminal; you have to walk out to them. These planes are small enough that they have to arrange the seating so that the plane is balanced!

I also haven't flown since the tragedy of 9/11. Actually, I have a satellite dish, and was up that morning at 5am. I was watching Good Day LA, and out of curiosity I switched over to Good Day New York to compare the two shows. About 2 minutes later, the first plane hit. I was watching the New York news when it happened. What are the odds of that? I ended up watching the entire thing unfold, moment to moment. Of course, no one else was awake, so I watched it by myself. I tell you, I think it was a completely different experience to be watching it live than to hear about it after. At first, they thought a bomb had gone off in one of the towers. I was watching live when the second plane came in and hit the second tower, confirming our worst fears (that this was intentional). By the time my mother saw the footage of the twin towers collapsing, she already knew what had happened, but when I was watching it, we didn't know! In fact, the news commentators continued talking for about a minute, because they hadn't realized that something was happening. It was pretty freaky.

(Glancing up at how much I've written) Holy shnikies! I bet you didn't think that your one-paragraph e-mail would elicit a novel in return! And the bulk of my response is based on one line in your profile (Languages English, Spanish). Imagine if you had written TWO paragraphs, or if I had gotten to the next line, Religion! My fingers would be falling off! Anyway, sorry for ending on such a downer (ah, you thought it was all going to be fun and games), but I should really stop typing now. If I can...just...pry my fingers...away from the keyboard...

Wow, I really did talk a lot. When I was little, I wanted to be a writer. I don't know why I didn't pursue that, as obviously I don't suffer from writers block! (At least, not when I'm writing about myself. Maybe I'm not a gifted writer, I'm just self-centered!)

Anyway, hope I didn't overwhelm you! And if you respond, I'll cut my e-mails down from novel sized to novella sized. Well, I'll TRY to anyway! :)

...and I never heard from her again!

Further proof of my insanity

As if any were needed. So, I get this e-mail from my friend Beth, and it has a collection of 40 or so questions and her answers. See, the idea is that everyone answers the questions and sends them out to the people they know, and thus we all learn about each other.

Well, what my friends learn about me is that I'm completely insane. You see, there are quite a few slightly different versions of the 40 or so questions list. I went out and tracked them all down and compiled a more complete list, and now it's nearly twice as long. THEN I went through and organized the questions by type. Why? Why do I do these things? One time for Japanese class, we had to give presentations one what we did on a typical day. I went last. Everyone else stood in front of the class and gave their presentation. I brought overheads for the projector. Full color pictures of me during various parts of the day. After class, one of my fellow students asked me why I went through the extra effort. I told her it was because of my low self esteem! HA! My problem isn't lack of self esteem, it's over abundance! I always feel that I can do any job better than other people.

Anyway, then I sat down and started answering the questions. My answers were much too long. No one wants to read a novel when they check their e-mail. Thankfully, there was a very brief power outage and my answers were lost, but unfortunately I had saved the questionnaire, to inflict upon unsuspecting visitors.

Anyway, here it is, the complete list of survey questions and my new answers:

Okay, here's what to do... and try not to be LAME and spoil the fun. Just give in. Copy (not forward) this entire e-mail and paste it onto a new e-mail that you will send. Change all of the answers so that they apply to you. Then, send this to a whole bunch of people you know *INCLUDING* the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you learn a lot of little known facts about your friends and family. It's fun and easy. **Remember to send it back to the person who sent it to you**

1. What is your name?
2. Do you have a nickname? What is it?
Phee, or Pheenee (Like Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World) (See how I go and put an actual link to the IMDB for Boy Meets World? Why?)
3. What is your sign & birthday?
Libra, Oct 14th.
4. What color are your kitchen plates?
I don't know (I'm colorblind, I can see blue, and NOT blue, and they're NOT blue). Maybe, off-white.
5. What book are you reading now?
Sigmund Freud - Five Lectures on Psychology, Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess, William Gibson's Count Zero, and The Bilingual Family. Actually, I'm sure there are others, these are the ones I see around my desk with bookmarks in them.
6. What is on your mouse pad?
My mouse.
7. What is under your bed?
Boxes filled with computer parts. And software. And complete computers.
8. What screen saver is on your computer?
No screen saver for me, although I like the occasional After Dark style.
9. What type was your first car?
A Honda CVCC that was older than I am (and that's OLD).
10. What kind of car do you drive now?
Chevy Corsica that's barely older than a decade. I've really moved up! Actually, I have to get rid of it, since I'm moving to Japan.
11. What is your favorite number?
12. Favorite board game?
Does Boggle count?
13. Favorite card game?
13 (Oooh! Ironical coincidence with the question numbers).
14. Favorite party game?
15. Favorite magazine?
Maxim (what can I say).
16. Favorite smell?
Nature after it rains.
17. Least favorite smell?
18. Favorite color?
Gee, I don't know, BLUE?
19. Least favorite color?
I guess anything that isn't blue.
20. Favorite alcoholic drink?
Pinot Noir if red wines count. Hard Lemonade if we're talking bar drinks.
21. Favorite movie?
Previously, I couldn't answer this question. I love lots of movies! Now I can say Kill Bill V1 is my actual favorite. There are LAYERS in that movie.
22. Favorite CD?
Again, too many favorites. I don't know.
23. Favorite TV show?
Hmm. West Wing. Or Friends. I guess I like NBC.
24. Favorite food?
Sweet and sour chicken and pork fried rice! Or overcooked meatloaf! MMM!
25. Favorite soft drink?
Diet Vanilla Pepsi. Or a mix of clear, natural cola and cherry sodas. Why don't they make Diet Cherry Pepsi?
26. Favorite sounds?
I have no idea. Silence?
27. Favorite sport to watch?
Basketball. Hands down. What other sport has this constant action? Football? No! Baseball? Are you high? Soccer maybe.
28. Favorite domestic and one wild?
Domestic: Mutt. I like dogs, and mutts are the best.
Wild: Any of the Big Cats, like White Tigers. They'll tear you up!
29. Favorite vacation spot?
I had a great answer here last time I came through. Now, I have no idea. Vacation? What's that? I've been in school non-stop for four years (even summers). I'll get a vacation after I graduate.
30. Favorite classical composer?
Mozart is good, Beethoven is wonderful, but if you know music theory BACH IS A GOD.
This or That
31. Chocolate or vanilla?
32. Ketchup or mustard?
33. Hamburgers or hot dogs?
34. Burger king or McDonald's?
Jack in the Box
35. Is the glass half full or half empty?
Half full.
36. Are you a button up or t-shirt person?
37. Storms-cool or scary?
Depends. Am I inside or outside?
38. Toilet paper rolls - over the top or under?
Over. I don't know why.
39. Do you like to drive fast?
Not really.
40. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal?
I buy it a drink first.
41. Do you type with your fingers on the right keys?
No, the left.
42. Do you eat the stems of broccoli?
43. If you could meet one person dead or alive who would it be?
Douglas Adams
44. If you could have any job what would it be?
World Emperor
45. If you could have any color hair what would it be?
Why would I care?
46. If you could have any present in the world what would it be?
A few trillion dollars. With a nice bow.
47. If you had the choice of any superhero power to possess, what would it be?
48. Where is the best place you have ever been?
The Japanese Gardens in Spokane. So peaceful.
49. What is the best money you have ever spent?
The money I've spent on my car. Best investment ever.
50. What is your biggest pet peeve?
Long lists of questions.
51. Where would your ideal location to live be and why?
Canada. Dollar goes further, friendly people, and they speak English.
52. What is the weirdest dream you've ever had?
That one where I'm at school, completely dressed, and everyone else is naked and laughing at me.
53. How many rings before you answer the phone?
If I'm talking to someone, I won't answer the phone. Otherwise, one ring (or less). Unless I'm sleepy, then it's hit or miss.
54. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning?
I hope that was just a dream.
55. What are your future children's names?
X14-D and 101001, depending on how far into the future we're talking.
56. What is most important in life?
Not to die.
57. What is your single biggest fear?
Those little white spiders. Those creep me out.
58. What is the one thing you don't have that you want?
If I wanted it, I'd have already gone out and gotten it.
59. Have you ever been in love?
Of course!
60. Do you know someone right now that you could fall in love with?
I'm dating her.
61. What are you doing right now besides answering these silly questions?
Wondering WHY I'm answering these silly questions.
62. Do you collect anything? What?
Does credit card debt count?
63. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
Oooh! I didn't see this question before answering the previous one! Hmm...Best Buy probably. They have everything.
64. What did you eat for breakfast this morning?
Plain Wheat Hearts with Sugar Twin and vanilla soy milk. Yummy!
65. What is for dinner tonight?
Fried Chicken. Yummy!
66. What did you do yesterday?
Same thing I do every day, TRY AND TAKE OVER THE WORLD! No, I finish work, I go home, read a book, have a couple of beers, take myself for a walk, and go to bed. (Bonus points for those that can identify both references).
67. Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
Hopefully not doing 20 years in prison for trying to take over the world.
68. Say one nice thing about the person who sent this to you!
Since I made it, I'd say that I'm pretty nice.
69. Person(s) least likely to respond?
Everyone! First, because I didn't send it to anyone, and second, because it's 70 questions long!
70. Person(s) you sent this to that is most likely to respond?

There, now you know far more about me than you ever wished. Are you happy now? I know I am. (^_^)*

Saturday, May 01, 2004

News news news...

So, I've decided to keep my personal life and my JET life separate. From now on, my JET related posts will be here, and my personal posts will be at and hopefully I can remember to keep them straight.

In actual JET news, I found an e-mail in my SPAM folder from the JET office in Seattle informing me that I had forgotten to sign my passport before making copies. D'oh! Well, after I found the e-mail I sent a reply back asking if I should express mail the new copies to them. My concern was that this minor issue might be a major issue if it were holding up my paperwork.

In any event, I didn't receive a reply, and after I waited for as long as I could I rushed to the post office to mail them off. I'm going to send them express anyway, I thought to myself.

Alas! In vain! BTW, does the post office close early on fridays? Seriously. So, now it's closed, and not open on saturday, so the soonest I can send it off is monday the 3rd. In the JET paperwork, it does emphasize in BOLD letters that all paperwork needs to arrive no later than April 27th. Woe is me.