April 15, 2000
Right now I'm feeling: Pretty OK, considering what's been going on in the market.


Right now I'm listening to: Ayumi Hamasaki

Today I read parts of: The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan, The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan, Flatland by Edwin Abbott, and Lonely Planet: Egypt (can't keep my mind on one book).

Quote of the Day:
"As he thinketh in his heart, so is he ."
-- Book of Proverbs

Look Out Below!!

Lately, the stock market hasn't been doing so well. That's an understatement. Actually, it's in the crapper and there's no telling when it will pull out of this death spiral. The stock of my main holdings has dropped 50% in the past month and a half. Just thinking about it makes my head spin. I'm OK. Don't worry, I'll be fine. I just have to stay here on this bloody island for another two years just to make up what I've lost in the past two weeks! Just kidding! (sortof).

I've been downloading and installing new software like a madman this week so I defragmented my hard drive... took more than two hours! I've been spending wayyyy too much time on my computer, but the plus side is that I'm getting more used to these funky programs. One program I downloaded lets me encode MP3s into RealAudio format. Which is really cool because I can compress those suckers even further and put them on the web for all you good folks to listen to. Today's selection is from Ayumi Hamasaki and is called Fly High. I was a bit worried about what bitrate to encode it at, so I assumed that most people out there have 56k modems. If anyone has any problems with the stream, email me and I'll try encoding on a lower bitrate. (If you'd like to know a few facts about the young Ayumi Hamasaki just click on her picture.) I'm fairly sure this is illegal, but what do I care? If anything it's a promo for those artists, right? I just hope they don't haul me away like they did that kid last year in the north of Japan (I think it was Hokkaido) for having MP3s on his site. But until my storage site admins delete my accounts, I'll be including J-Pop selections with my journals. Sometimes. Not all the time. Got that? Got it??? I KNOW you all are dying for J-Pop, but it's just not gonna happen every day, kapice? Cool. Actually, I was really surprised how fast it is to encode this stuff and slap it on the page. The graphics for the hidden layers are a breeze, too.

One of the really curious things about being a JET is everyone treating you as if you were a little kid. I was late for school on Thursday, not for class, I had no class that day, but when I showed up a couple of the women were grilling me about where I was and how they were sooo worried about me. GASP!! As if the path to school is writhing with snakes like in an Indiana Jones movie. I see teachers waltzing in late every day, but they get all worked up because I come in a half hour after the morning meeting. Everyone always takes an interest when I'm sick or if I have a problem. I guess that's good, but I can take care of myself! Really! (Well, for the most part, anyway.) I know some JET's schools don't give a rat's ass about them, so I guess I should be grateful, right? Hmm.. maybe I am. Whoa. Weird. Now that I think about it, I am grateful.

I was supossed to go to another, yes, yet another, opening ceremony on Friday. The special ed class has their opening ceremony separate from the rest of the school for some reason and I was invited to it. The special ed teacher was quite enthusiastic about it, like it was some kind of party, but after a few questions it sounded like a replay of Monday's and Tuesdays' opening ceremonies, only with fewer people and less bowing. "Oh yes, thanks I'd love to go to another opening ceremony!" The opening ceremony was during first period on Friday and I so wanted to go (now there have been classes for two or three days already, mind you so it's not exactly an opening ceremony anyway), but I was unavoidably detained by Mr. Sandman. Bummer. Love those kids, I eat lunch with 'em every day, but opening ceremonies... oK. enough of that.

Yesterday two girls proclaimed their everlasting affections for me by shouting "I LOVE YOU, JEFF!!" one from a window, the other in the hallway. Cute kids. One of them said, "Oh, Jeff! Handsome, kakkoi, pretty, pretty, nice face! I love Jeff!" hehe Sometimes they're cute, sometimes they're scary. Today they're cute and I love 'em for it. Next week, I'll probably be making them write sentences till they lose feeling in their fingers. :)

On the train back I met a guy from Morocco. He works in a factory near Wakayama and he's lived in Japan for about 8 years. (His name is Mustafa. Cool name, huh?!?) Interesting guy. Not the usual foreigner teaching English in Japan, that's for sure. His accent was really interesting, I'd never heard anyone from Morocco before. He's married and has one girl. He warned me that if I stayed long enough in Japan that I'd get married no matter what I did. He said there was no escape. Uh-oh. I don't plan on staying nearly as long as he has, but what he says has more than a grain of truth from what I can see. After I talked to him I ran into two flocks of my students from last year. Coming back from their high schools. One group hated it, one group loved it. The more things change the more they stay the same.

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