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Felting felting, over the open seas...

I have a new hobby. One that doesn't involve books, which means it's a real change of pace for me.

Of course, it's a sedate, geriatric hobby, but whatever. I can't ask too much of myself.

It's needle felting.

I made this monkey. I forged him out of shapeless, meaningless wool. I gave him life, or at least I gave him eyes, which is good enough for me.

It's satisfying. I will be buying more wool upon the morn of the morrow, and I will stab it until it obeys my will.

16 Esfand: تآخیر می کونم

So I've made it in just under the one month mark between posts, but I think I should get extra points, given that February is a singularly short month.

In the time since I last addressed my absent audience, there are a few things I should probably relate, not least of all to alleviate my guilt at not going to Eugene over Reading Week like I said I would.

-I had an interview at the Japanese Consulate in Japan durr in Seattle on Feb. 20th for the JET Program. I stressed about this so much, and in the end, the Japanese stress-dreams and the cramming and the woe all turned out to be pretty stupid, because I realized that either I have the Japanese for the job or I don't, and cramming was never going to change that. I did dye my hair brown for it, which turned out fine, although the intermediary stage, before I did the second round of dye, gave me a glimpse of what happens when you try to go from bleached-white hair to brown in one go. Apparently it just makes it a silvery purple (or whatever highlight color it in the dye, I assume). Thank god the second round of dye covered it up.

The interview mostly went well, despite several factors working against me. I didn't ever manage to save a copy of my application from the online application site to my computer, due to some Mac incompatibility issues, so I didn't have a printed version of my application to go over beforehand. It helps to know what's on your resume before you're asked about it, because I don't think telling the interview panel that you don't remember what cities you applied for scores you many points. I was also last getting in to the interview because they took forever getting me the security badge I needed to go into the inner sanctum (The teaching position interviews were all done in rooms off the lobby of the consulate, but the CIR interviews were through a hallway with a card scanner and a PIN pad locking the door. Who knows.) The Japanese part was absolutely nerve-wracking. They give you two articles, have you read them out loud and then ask questions about them. I had one of the most embarrassing moments ever when I got to 7日 and absolutely spaced on how to read it. But after such a stupid mistake I really couldn't say that I'd proven that I was in possession of advanced Japanese, so I kind of relaxed about it all. I mean, if I can read the rest of it, then I obviously know how to say "the seventh day of the month," but after that I'm viewing my performance in the interview with a somewhat jaundiced eye. I'll know in April if I got it. Either way I'll be fine with the outcome.

My whole experience doing the interview was lovely though. One of the consular staff heard that I knew some Swedish, and was excited because she had studied abroad in Norway, so we talked a little in a Norwegian-Swedish pidgin, although I did manage the Norwegian counterparts of a few Swedish words. It was encouraging to not feel completely useless after the interview, which was nice. Apparently I pass as professional suit wearing person, since a guy hawking  Save the Children yelled at me to donate and "renew his faith in Suits." Of course, he yelled that at me after I'd already told him I'd spoken to another person in his group a block earlier and told them no, too. Sadly, I think I may have forever seared the image of the uncaring Suit into that man's consciousness. Bummer.

-I'm going to New Zealand with Seino next month, for his brother's birthday. Agh! Next month! Agh! That's five weeks. Won't that be jolly! I'm actually pretty excited. It's the first international trip I've taken that doesn't have a certificate or a program attached to it, which is rather appetizing. We'll be there for three weeks, which is fantastic, provided the whole thing goes off without a hitch. Both islands are on the menu, beaches, glow worm caves (Caves! With glowing insects! Fanastic!), lakes, mountains, lovely lovely. Plus the romantic allure of travelling across the rolling hills of Kiwi-land in a rented car with your paramour. So, fingers crossed on that one.

-Korean sucks. It's confusing and is close enough to Japanese to confuse me, but not enough to help. Also I hate not having kanji as a crutch to help me figure things out when I read them.

-There has been a bit of a whirlwind in the house lately. In January, my room mate Nora and her then-boyfriend Steve moved out of this house and into a friend's apartment to sub-let it for the 8 months said friend was to be studying in Wales. Shortly thereafter shit went down in the Bad Times in Relationship Town kind of way, so Nora moved out of her new place and ended up crashing on our couch until things could be figured out. We would have brought her back into the room she used to live in, but we'd found a lovely room mate months earlier under the impression and assumption that Nora and Steve would be living in their new place for the foreseeable future. Anyway, house got cramped, but remained fine, nonetheless. Nora just moved in with our friend Vaughn downtown, and now we get to see how our place is going to work with just the three of us again (or, what will be the three of us room mates once Kelsey gets back from her week in California). In anticipation of this, I've started cleaning the unholy mess that consumed our house during a period of great laxity and tumult. Dishes built up (thankfully ameliorated by the unbelievably ridiculous dish mess that Nora cleaned at one point), but I'm resolved to not let the dishes breed on the counter-top like that again. I've swept, and once I bring the recycling bin in tomorrow, I can refill it with all the excess that had piled on top and was unceremoniously dumped on our kitchen floor so I could just take the fucking blue box out to the curb today. That can't happen again either. Tomorrow I vacuum, and straighten the living room, and maybe I'll even go to the hardware store and buy some supplies to fix the fucking futon so the mattress stops sliding off of it. This, combined with my newly cleaned room makes me feel tremendously better about living here. Also, I made a really yummy fried satay chicken with spinach dinner, and the fact that I can cook again without having to wash the pans in order to use them, and then actually wash them in the sink without having to wash the dishes that are already in the way, makes me even happier.

-I'm taking a philosophy of law class that has more or less scourged from me any desire to go to law school. Nice to be able to scratch that one off the list.

-I've watched so much TV in the last three days since I caught this cold. I went through the first season of Spooks, the first season of Mad Men and half of the second, almost every episode of The Mentalist... That's easily more than 24 hours of TV. If I could have felt my head through the headache, I would have been able to feel my brains liquifying. I've also decided that Lie to Me is too obnoxious to continue watching.
Every once in a while I remember that Anderson Cooper is someone I would really like to get a hug from.

Swedish Fridge Poetry Extravaganza!

It's almost seven in the morning, and Kelsey and I have stayed up watching movies for a little too long. So far today I've watched Die Welle, a German movie about an educational experiment that goes too far. Two episodes of 30 Rock, a bottle of wine, and we were watching Twilight. Twilight sucks, and no, I don't want to hear any vampire puns about that. Then we watched a real move about vampires, Låt den rätte komma in, which was excellent. Now I think we may be about to watch Waterworld, which undoes prety much everything in the last five years that might have made me more respectable in the slightest.

Oh yeah, and after starting Hellboy II ("just to watch the first couple of minutes while we ate") we watched the rest of it. And it's still so goooood.

But in my favor, we did make some killer poems with my Swedish magnetic poetry. I think we both needed a little release after watching the Swedish vampire movie with no subtitles, since that much Swedish just builds up a burning need to get rid of all that silliness.

Olycka i kvällen:
Vackert byxoraktig
vad i helvete händer med oss?

Translations and more below!Collapse )

And now it's almost seven thirty and ohhhh god.

I'm turning into a Morlock again.

Completely Unnecessary

There is no reason for me to have spent several hours at the library today. I've finished all of my finals and all of my papers for all of my classes, forever. My undergraduate degree is over, but I spent most of today in the library gathering materials to draw on for a revision of a paper I wrote last year on the effects of moonlight and dawn on the the narrative content of Japanese poetry. All this because there's an off chance I might get it published through dubious, nepotistic channels.

I'm just doing this so I have something to do. Something, anything to do now that I'm done with school and need to keep myself occupied.

...As a side note, this hot honey milk bubble tea is fantastic.

Living in Vancouver

This article in the Seattle times, about the dichotomy between Seattle's politeness and the knack its inhabitants have for social isolation, struck a chord with me. This is what living in Vancouver is like. And I don't really know any other way of life, actually. It seems so familiar and, really, the only way of doing things. Apologize to people for almost running into them, hold doors open for people who don't need them held open, pleasantries and niceties  all over the place. But when it comes to really being friendly, don't.

I don't think I really like that.

But damned if I'm not stuck in the same rut.

After a series of squirmy rebuffs, she realized that when Seattleites say, "Let's do something sometime," what they really mean is: "Let's never do anything ever."

Replace Seattle with Vancouver, and that's pretty much what I'm used to.
I'm not sure if this is just a result of being stuck in the student bubble, or if it's just me being prickly, but that seems like the most natural thing to do. And at the same time it seems like the exact wrong thing to do.

What the hell.


I don't know who lets Kevin Smith keep making movies.

I just don't know.

The elation from the computer station

CHANGE! now HOPE! ... hope for change! what an emotional and beautiful night!

knows this is important beyond her grasp.




Hussein Obama.

is extremely grateful to the people who made this happen.
The rest of the Facebook status rundown...Collapse )

That's it, y'all. I started watching the election coverage before the polls closed today and all the anxiety and the stress I'd kept bottled up to ward off the pain of another conservative presidential victory drained away as the results came in.

I'm not going to pretend that this victory is a panacea for the what ails the United States, or for the world. The problems that President Obama will inherit are not only the immediate quagmires of the economic turmoil or the war in Iraq (and its less popular cousin Afghanistan), or even the question of racism in America, but the problems of much deeper questions. But I'm going to allow myself a few moments of breath to relish the relief I've been granted by a victory that reaffirms an ideology that is not based on small mindedness or misguided self-righteousness. On the face at least, I really feel like Obama's campaign spoke to a higher minded consciousness. The kind of voice that quiets the selfish fears of the lingering Cold War mentality to let the government talk to hostile nations instead of close them off into their own self-fueled time bombs, or the kind of voice that reminds us that the growing divide between Republicans and Democrats is artificial and destructive.

In the end I don't think my joy over this election is even about the candidate. For me, the first feeling is relief over the freedom from the hateful government presided over by the incumbent. The subsequent feelings are a jumble of safety, hope, pessimism and teary eyes for the grain of justice achieved for the downtrodden and spat upon of the nation. It's hollow for a lot of the worst off, I know. It always is, because an election is not a cure for the most miserable or the most put upon. But for once I can grant myself a moment of happiness that it's not a step backwards or a step over someone - only a step towards them.

Dork dork dork dork

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The really sad thing about this is that several of the images in the quiz didn't load properly and I still knew what the answers were from the question.