Saturday, October 15, 2005

Sunday October 16, 1:02 p.m.

Well, now that the initial buzz of unclehood has settled into a permanent hum, I've gotten a couple of congratulatory replies from The Wild Guy and The Doctor. The former pointed out that I'm in a pretty good place in that I can enjoy the company of my new niece over the years and decades without having to deal with the messier aspects of growing up. Considering what I'd almost experienced at the kids' home yesterday, I would heartily agree.

A couple of more births to talk about but not on the obvious. PM Koizumi's long-gestating baby, The Postal Privatization Bill, finally became law this past week, much to his relief, I'm sure. And it must be quite sweet that a number of his enemies have been vanquished. He may just end up being one of the more successful of Japanese leaders in recent memory. The Postal Privatization Law won't be taking its first steps until 2007, though. and probably won't reach full maturity until at least a decade later.

The other birth, or re-birth if you will, is of the new James Bond. After years of speculation, the 007 sweepstakes finally got a winner (I think) in the form of Daniel Craig. He's certainly somewhat craggier in appearance than the smooth Pierce Brosnan so it might take a bit of a reach to understand how the femme fatales will just throw themselves at his feet but then again, when has this franchise ever really approached the realities of MI6 life? And besides, I think the rough-around-the-edges look of Craig may actually get him a bit closer to what Ian Fleming had originally envisioned. I'm a bit surprised that Movie Buddy hasn't added anything yet to his blog since he's the biggest 007 fan I've ever met. One other point is I'm rather interested in seeing how Craig's initial foray into the franchise, "Casino Royale" is gonna play out. Basically, it is supposed to be Bond's very first mission as a 00 killer and takes almost exclusively in a casino. Then again, the original film with David Niven and Peter Sellers was made into a total farce that doesn't really belong into the Bond canon of movies.

As for today, it's been pretty gloomy outside. I got that birthday package from Mom...a sweater, of course. I will head on out to get something for dinner. I have this sudden desire to whip mabo dofu. We'll have to see if that will actually pan out.
Saturday October 15, 11:59 p.m.

Well, I have that last minute to celebrate my entry into the forties of life. I thought this last birthday would be an especially painful one of self-pity and general outright solitary commiseration. However, those august plans were thrown out about an hour ago when I received word from Mom by phone. Of course, she wished me a happy entry into geezerdom. Whoever said that life began at 40 must have drunk considerably more than the two glasses of rose I imbibed for dinner.

In any case, the one reason for the change in mood is that I received a most special birthday the form of an uncleship thanks to my brother and sister-in-law. I now share birthdays with a 6-lb niece...and for that matter, a pair of initials as well. I'll be handing out cigars all week next week. Sigh...and I thought I was finished handing out stuff.

Not sure how Dad feels...Dad and I never talk but I managed to choke up Mom (or should I now say Grandma?) so she had to get off the phone in a hurry. Heheheheh....I'm such a bastard as a son!
Saturday October 15, 4:09 p.m.

So much for the dreaded rain...haven't needed to open up the umbrella at all today. Maybe the typhoon has veered off hopefully.

It was another interesting start with the kids today. I just arrived at the gate when I heard some sort of squealing when I rang the doorbell. When the mother opened the door, the first thing she asked me was whether I'd heard something. When I replied that I heard something but wasn't sure what it was, she admitted that it was the sound of her own voice yelling at the elder daughter for the age-old teen tradition of smarting off at the parentals. I ought to know...I did my own share of sassing at my mother back in my teen years and I got some temporary dimples on my cheeks for it. As it turned out, the elder daughter's class was canned with me due to her studying for the mid-terms...not 100% sure if that was the truth or not. She could've easily just decided to refuse to see me which may have triggered the shouting match. In this household, I've got the mother's enthusiastic support while the younger daughter can take me just fine whereas the father is amiable but enigmatic. So the elder is pretty much on her own but that never stopped a teen (see: rebelling). To be honest, in the two years that I've taught the kids, the elder daughter has swung from side to side. Sometimes she can be quite cooperative and seem to actually nearly enjoy being in the same room with me, but other times, well.... In any case, I had ol' Dad in place of the elder.

As for the younger, she's really grown in height. She's only 12 and she's now the same height as her older sullen sister. I figure that she's gotta another couple of years before her height settles in permanently, but at this rate, she may just rival some players on the national volleyball team. Mind you, both parents are fairly tall for their generation.

Looks like the pumpkin carving is back least with the kids. Her mother most enthusiastically entertained the thought of me coming on the 29th with some orange pumpkins and make Jack O'Lanterns out of them. Now, it's just a matter of getting the things from that flower shop in Omotesando. If I've got some more ideas, I'll bounce them off of Mom over e-mail.

I received word from Betty Boop that she's all for the dinner with me and The OL come November although her schedule has already filled up with classes. She's even suggested a cake buffet on the 30th somewhere in Shinagawa. I'm always up for that.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Friday October 14, 10:04 p.m.

Got that gym outing in finally. Just decided to do the bike and treadmill today. Just wasn't feeling all that up to it. Then I headed straight for Toranomon. I got there with over 3 hours to spare before The OL so I walked through the area. I'd never taken a good recon through this area. It isn't residential but neither is it oppressively commerical. I did discover that The Hotel Okura, the venerable if somewhat hoary famed accomodation for the stars, is part of a small complex which includes TV Tokyo and a small elegant mall. I ended up just having a Mcdinner before walking to the Starbucks. As I figured, the manager recognized me and noted another long absence. Well, she may be happy to know that The OL and I will be back next week (or so I think).

As for the OL herself, she was a bit less stressed out than before, mostly because one of the key sources of her headaches had suddenly quit her company. Despite the long absence, she wasn't too bad with her English. Through her, I found out that Betty Boop is interested in another dinner outing. Looks like Vietnamese is the next target.

I got a message from The Barmaiden. She wrote just like how she acts...very bubbly. She finally got to meet 002 in person in Toronto. She mentioned a lot of the old haunts such as U of T and Tim Hortons...which reminds me, it's perhaps time to try out The Doughnut Plant again in Otemachi sometime. But back to The Barmaiden...she finally wrested her computer out of Customs hock which is very maganimous of the Canadian government.

Speedy asked me about catching "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" on Sunday but I demurred. I gotta wait for that birthday package from Mom and besides I figure that Speedy could use some quality time with the wife. I didn't even bother asking The Madame or Skippy about it.

Forgot to mention that The Matron called me early this morning to see how I did at Immigration yesterday. I told her that everything seems to be OK for now. She also called me to say that she and The Lady would like to re-schedule their usual Monday morning class to Wednesday morning due to some family obligations on The Lady's side. No problem. However, SIL will be out of the picture until November.

Finally, an observation. I've noticed over the past couple of weeks that there's been a plethora of Halloween decorations all over the stores in The Big Sushi. Now I fully realize that Halloween is just a couple of weeks away but I'd never seen the holiday take on so much advertising force before. When I came here a decade ago, there was barely a peep or a boo about it and then just a few years ago, the holiday started gaining a foothold beyond the foreign quarters of Roppongi and Shibuya. And now it looks like it's gonna finally take full root. But come to think of it, Halloween ought to be THE Western holiday to make the best impression in Japan...even more than Xmas. There is a long cultural history of masks and costumes, and the Japanese are especially superstitious. It ought to be quite interesting this year then. I wonder if there is still that custom of rowdy Westerners hijacking one car of the Yamanote Line during Halloween weekend for an entire loop.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Friday October 14, 1:11 p.m.

I got that rubdown at the clinic this morning. It was pretty busy there. All of the techs were working on someone; I saw a couple of new faces there, too, one of whom worked on me. He was a pretty soft touch, literally speaking. Didn't feel any pain with him and he even checked with me if he were going a little too deep. I can imagine some folks being dissatisfied with him because they would like a bit of pain with their massages, but it was all good for me. I felt quite soft afterwards but I think I'll need to get another treatment soon enough.

The Teacher may have problems remembering vocabulary but she sure didn't forget my special day. I received some cakes as a birthday present today. I devoured about half of them just now.

Movie Buddy asked me about "Sin City" for the weekend of the 22nd. I had to turn him down since I've gotta be making up those lessons at the juku on the Saturday and then I have GS' lesson on the Sunday night.
Friday October 14, 7:32 a.m.

Lou Dobbs is in fine fettle this morning. He's practically foaming at the mouth with morally outraged glee about the an allegedly treasonous CEO and yet another bumble at the White House.

I've got a good pot of hot bitter coffee inside of me so I'm fairly awake now...amazing considering the long day yesterday. 24 hours ago, I was standing in front of Immigration with some other visa seekers so it's with some relief that I'm typing this now in my jammies in the comfort of my own home. Still, I'm gonna be trying to get to the massage clinic to get some sort of rubdown, whether by hand or jackhammer, before The Teacher. I haven't gotten any news from The OL so I'm assuming that she's good to go tonight. I'll probably get another round of "Long time, no see" from the Starbucks staff.

Getting some laundry done now although there's not all that much in there since Typhoon 20 is on its way. Typically, the next few days have a lot of rain in them. And I'll have to take a look a the kids' plans before I take off since I don't think I'll be getting home until fairly late tonight.
Thursday October 13, 10:32 p.m.

Uff...what an odyssey today. I can relate it to the Taiwanese foot massage of two weeks interesting experience but not something I care to repeat. Woke up this morning at 4 a.m., had breakfast and then headed on out to the monolithic Immigration Centre in Shinagawa. It took me about 75 minutes, three modes of transport and three transfers. Why so early, you ask? Well, I got to the place at around 7:15. Not too many people waiting there. The fact is that the Tokyo Immigration Centre tends to attract a lot of folks from all around the Kanto and if one isn't early enough, one ends up staying quite a while waiting for his/her number to come up. Also, I didn't want to have to battle the morning rush hour.

As I said, there I was standing in line in front of the closed automatic doors for about another 75 minutes while the line gradually grew longer. Some of the folks waiting were well represented by their immigration lawyers; I kinda felt a bit isolated but luckily I had my mags to keep me company. Once the doors opened at 8:30, there was the quick trot of people to get upstairs to the main processing stations on the 2nd floor but unlike my earlier trip there, it was a more honourable crowd. There weren't people at the back lapping me. So as it turned out, I was lucky to be the 3rd person in line. Then it was another 30-minute wait before the counters finally opened at 9 sharp.

A couple of tips: 1) Don't bother trying to impress the staff with a good suit. Yup, guilty as charged. I don't know what it innate fear of antagonizing the powers-that-be by fashion crime? However, I usually don't want to go to Immigration without looking pretty professional. But as it turned out, a lot of the folks looked like they came from Woodstock 2005: lots of relaxed denim. Me? I was under some major sweat barrage in my Sunday best and the tie was a noose around my neck. As you can tell, Immigration is not one of my favourite places. There is something that automatically raises my hackles knowing that this is the place which decides your life here.

2) If in doubt about documents, bring them ALL. As I said, I was Number 3 in line but since there were plenty of immigration officers around, I think I ended up being the very first to be processed. My brisk but nice enough officer took a quick look at some of the docs and then asked me if that was all I had for my tax of the key pieces of paper for a visa extension. I checked and double-checked the required documentation over the past few days, so I said yeah, that's it. He did a light tsk-tsk and then said something to the effect that he would've liked something a bit more detailed. What's more detailed than what I had paid earlier this year to the tax office...and it was notarized. In any case, the emergency was averted when he decided to accept them. But in the future, if I'm ever in this situation again and it could, I will bring every little shred of information and let the officer sift through it all. I got my postcard to write down my name and address so that when it was time to go back to hear the decision, Immigration would send it to me. That was the signal to me that the first stage was over. I was free to go. I was done by 9:15.

Hmmm...let's see. I only had another 10 hours before my lesson with The Carolinan. I was in my good, literally sweat suit and didn't really want to have to go home only to come back downtown again. Still feeling pretty tense about things, I took the bus back to Shinagawa Station where I just spent a half-hour cruising through the new built-up malls around the rejuvenated station. It was basically the currently de rigueur dark gray concrete, large windows, and fancy cafes that have characterized the Tokyo shopping complexes from Roppongi Hills to Shiodome Centre. Nothing particularly special.

I ended up taking the Yamanote up to Yurakucho and Ginza. Living in the Big Sushi for over a decade has paid off in dividends in that I know the places to hang out without having to pay a large amount of yen. I just went straight to the roof garden of the Mitsukoshi Department Store at Ginza 4-chome and just crashed on one of the benches for about an hour drinking a can of veggie juice from one of the many vending machines and reading one of the magazines that I'd bought yesterday to keep me occupied at Immigration.

It was about 11:30 when I decided to get down from my roost and walk over to Shiodome. Another advantage of knowing the Ginza is that I knew of a place which could keep me well fed at low prices. It was LAST, that American buffet place in the Shiodome Centre that I'd first visited a couple of years ago. It was still before noon when I stepped in so the crowds hadn't descended like crows to garbage quite yet. I see that meat du jour was all chicken: fried chicken, roast chicken and spicy fried chicken. I assume the curry (which I did not have) contained chicken as well. It was lucky that poultry was my favourite type of meat; however, I think a bit of variety for the rest of the carnivores would be better. To break up all this ingestion of chicken, there was plenty of pasta and jambalaya and salad to go around. Of course being a US buffet place, the music of choice was strictly 70s disco and funk. Hard to believe that spicy fried chicken and Elton John could go well together. There was a sign on my table stating that during busy times I would have to be asked to leave past an hour. Believe me, at this buffet, you'd be finished within 20 minutes.

After washing up, I ended up sitting outside on one of the concrete ledges in front of the centre itself for another hour before heading over to Yamano Music to take a look at what they had in CDs. Sigh...another hobby that I've basically given up on due to my need to save on money. It was basically a case of look but don't touch. Then I just went back up to my roost on top of Mitsukoshi for another couple of hours. I was starting to feel a bit saddened since I felt like one of those laid-off salarymen who couldn't bear to tell his family about being let go and ending up just hanging out in the park all day. Sure enough, I was just reading my second mag and doing my crosswords while downing a can of cold milk tea. Still, it was rather therapeutic after all the drama at Immigration to be sitting in peaceful surroundings.

Finally, I took the subway up to The Tea Room. It was nice to see friendly faces. Got my usual table at the back and spent almost 2 hours there just drinking another milk tea while waiting for The Carolinan to show up. Depending on how I look at it, she was either a full half-hour late or just a few minutes late. The way she ran in with an embarrassed smile, I think she was assuming the former. I gave her my souvenir which turned out to be a can of jasmine ball tea. My souvenirs are just about all gone now. I only have to give stuff to The OL tomorrow night (provided she doesn't do another cancellation) and then the kids on Saturday morning before declaring my omiyage mission over. The stress of the past couple of weeks at work, according to her, has been responsible for shaving off 4 kg off her already slim frame. She was quite ecstatic about it but personally speaking I think her arms were starting to approach Twiggy territory.

Despite the major binging at LAST today, I ended up having one more meal at the Lotteria undre my station. I was actually hungry after all that. I can only wonder how quickly my metabolism was going all day...mind you, I'm gonna have to majorly air out my suit overnight. I'm happy to be home, though. As I said at the top, it was an interesting experience. I left early in the morning to see some small groups of folks heading to work, then saw the masses gradually grow during the day to its typically engorged state before entering the evening rush home. Thus was another business day in Tokyo.

My own stress of the days after Taiwan have left my back and neck feeling knottier than the oldest redwood in an American park. I know I gotta pinch every yen but I really have the need to get kneaded out at the local massage clinic. I haven't been there in almost a month. I can only imagine that whoever works on my back tomorrow morning will need a massage himself/herself. The Entrepreneur was kind enough to send a birthday card yesterday as I approach the big Four-O. I think it's time to think about the big picture.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Thursday October 13, 4:32 a.m.

Well, up in the wee hours to get ready to make that trip to Immigration yet again. This time, it's the pretty major exercise of getting my visa extended. Being the part-time paranoid that I am, I've checked my paperwork several times and will be doing so one more time before I get the suit on and go figuratively hat in hand to Shinagawa. My new sponsor and Speedy are pretty optimistic about the process but again for the reason I pointed out I'll always be afraid that the powers-that-be will decide that they've had enough of ol' Haru and deport me. We shall see. I've already taken a couple of Tylenol for my stress headache.

Yesterday's lesson with the New Yorker was a bit back to the old Nervous Nellie. Part of it was my fault...I thought I'd already taught her all the comparative forms but as it turned out I only helped her with "better". As a result, she was totally lost. However, I showed her the ropes on how to construct the basics and gave her the appropriate homework.

It was a nice quiet time at Speedy's as it usually is. I'm sure Speedy would like to get it a bit busier with new students, though. I just finished off the last of my paperwork for Immigration there and then taught my class with 001. Speedy is gonna try to fill up my soon-to-be empty Monday nights once November rolls around.

Looks like my birthday present came here a bit earlier than expected. Well, not yet anyways. The postman came over while I was out so I had to re-schedule the delivery date for Sunday. I hope the parentals appreciate my parcel; even at its cheapest, it cost me 6000 yen to deliver the sucker.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Wednesday October 12, 9:37 a.m.

The militant procrastinator inside me has struck again. The gym is out today. Just gonna send the parcel and then head straight to The Tea Room. I'll have my next chance on Friday between The Teacher and The OL. I figure that I'll need it after my odyssey at Immigration tomorrow.

My brother sent me word that he got the package. In his usual laconic way, he remarked whether the package of shark's-fin soup actually had real shark's-fin. Well, I think collagen would be fairly easy to keep. When I got the warning that a message had come in from him, I thought that it was about the arrival of my niece but as it turned out, we're still waiting. I'm keeping hopes alive that she'll arrive on Saturday.
Wednesday October 12, 8:17 a.m.

The first decent laundry day in a while has come up, and despite the fact that I did the brunt of my overload yesterday, I still took advantage of the sunny weathert to get some other wash done. I've also hung out my mattress out there to air needs it.

Got the lesson plans done so I'm good to go. I have to get that large parcel off to Mom and Dad. I'm kinda dreading the postage on this one since I don't have a large pot of money right now; in fact, I may have to withdraw some from the bank just to survive the next couple of days. I'll probably do it by Surface Air Lift.

Skippy was her usual self in responding. I'm not sure if she's gonna be trying to do something this weekend or still aim for the 23rd. I may have misinterpreted her initial message. Most likely, her events for The Kid and for Takadanobaba were separate things but I just can't see her doing two events on consecutive Sundays. That's not usually a thing that's done here in Japan unless the friends are VERY close. Usually, casual friends get together perhaps once a month at best. However, I'm on standby. The Madame said that she's game as well.

Anyways, should get washed up. I'm gonna try to squeeze in a gym outing before I race out to meet The New Yorker.
Tuesday October 11, 11:50 p.m.

The juku had its moments of mild excitement today. For one thing, the juku boss managed to misplace the souvenir I had for McKid. I kept my cool although part of me was yelling "Scatterbrain!" inside. Then, she realized that she had given it to McKid's kid brother...just as I had instructed her to in the first place. Ah, me...

The New Kid was fine. However, The Beauty Pair seemed a bit lackadaiscal tonight since I was a bit more structured and grammatical (they need it badly) with them. The good news was that they could get some decent Past Tense Q&A's together. Just can't win completely though. The Milds and McKid seem to be the top class right now. It was another fun outing with the full crew. I have to do some makeup lessons with them because of the Taiwan trip so I have to slot both classes in for next Thursday and Saturday. At this point, I'll be happy for any extra income. The Bohemian and I got into a rather weird topic tonight: the wonderful world of earwax. Apparently, he found out in his biology class that Asians are genetically prone to having solid crumbly earwax while non-Asians have the more liquid variety...sorry if I disgusted some of you out there. However, this may explain why Asians have earpicks and the long custom of cleaning their ears with these wooden probes that Westerners would never allow.

I got word from the Prez about my "retirement" from The Company at the end of the month. His response was unsurprisingly to the point. In a reminder of our original meetings involving The Iconoclast, he asked me in Japanese if I were satisfied with how things have gone over the two years. If I were just as blunt as him, I would say absolutely not which is the real reason I'm leaving but I'll have to be more diplomatic next class. Speedy, on the other hand, is welcoming me with open arms to the Monday slot at his school. In fact, he asked me if I would teach another model lesson tomorrow night with that girl who drunkenly tried to pick me up on the cruise ship about a month ago. I had to decline the offer...not because of the girl herself...but I do have that Immigration visit early Thursday morning.

Anyways, I'm to hit the hay in about 20 minutes. But first thing in the morning, I've gotta get those lesson plans done for both The New Yorker and 001. Come to think of it, I wonder how 002 is doing in Toronto.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Tuesday October 11, 2:02 p.m.

I think I may finally have some opportunity to get some clothes cleaned after a number of straight days of rain. My washing machine would appreciate the opportunity to unload itself, I'm sure.

After the Beehive, I had some lunch at KFC for the first time in a while. I tried this set with this seasonal (I think) chicken called Gokojan. The coating isn't the usual 16 herbs and spices of the Colonel but a mix of fennel, cinnamon and a few other spices. Not bad but it all came out tasting like curry chicken.

Well, the Hotmail is humming happily along after my overnight maintenance program but the desktop icons are still looking rather shabby. I wonder if it's some sort of virus or something. Or maybe I'll have to go Safe and then take out some offending program. In any case, I'll just put the Norton on it for now.

Back to work.
Tuesday October 11, 7:01 a.m.

My diagnostic disc just finished the long arduous trek of searching and fixing stuff on my ailing hard drives. It managed to find 22 problems and fix them; my Hotmail seems to be working in peak form again. But just to show that Lady Luck is still spitting in my face, the Gnetmous sign popped up to say that there is a problem. Let's say that I'm guardedly optimistic.

The last message I sent to anyone before starting the process was to the juku boss asking whether I'd left one of my texts there. The first message after the overnight diagnostic was appropriately from her. She did find it.

I also got mail from Skippy. Looks like there may be something on the 23rd but it can't be dinner for me since I've got that lesson with GS in the evening. She said that The Kid wanted to see me; I'm not sure if she were being polite but on the other hand, she probably wouldn't have mentioned it either. I'm curious to find out about how Jazz Buddy is doing.

Got a cancellation notice from MK. Looks like both she and The Manager won't be able to make the 28th. Gotta come up with alternatives. I also got a reply from The Wild Guy. He and the rest of his fellow classmates in his MBA Programme are griping about the inept administration. I suggested a hostile takeover

May have mentioned it in my last missive but I pulled the trigger and sent that letter to the Prez stating my intention to finish things off with The Company staff on Halloween. Not sure if I'm helping myself here or shooting myself in the foot financially. I've rather hinted at Speedy that a couple of lessons at his place would be nice to compensate for the shortfall.

Anyways, time to give my computer a well-earned rest.
Monday October 10, 5:00 p.m.

The familiar old Japanese folk tune is currently piping out from the Ichikawa City Hall so it must be just 5:00. Ended up stepping out for about a couple of hours since the reprints would take about that long to process. So instead of just going to Doutor, I also made a walk down to Daiei and Yamada Denki. I was trying to figure out ways to waste time (or jikan tsubushi as they say over here) before the reprints got done. I certainly found one way via the massage chair display at Yamada. I sat for about 15 minutes in one chair that wouldn't have looked out of place as the Captain's coveted seat on the Enterprise. It came complete with a computer display screen. Both stores were pretty full of caterwauling kids and harried parents making full use of the national holiday. Sports were probably far away from their minds although I think keeping track of the little anklebiters should be an Olympic event in itself.

I also took a look at some of the windows of the various real estate agencies in my neighbourhood. Not that I'll be moving anytime soon (certainly couldn't afford to right now or for the next couple of years anyways). There are actually some slightly bigger places for just slightly more in rent. I could use a move but again, not in my current financial situation.

I stayed at Doutor for about an hour for jikan tsubushi via my crosswords. It actually got a bit crowded by around 4 so I decided to vamoose. Luckily, the reprints were ready by that time. I was a bit surprised at how expensive they were; they were just a few hundred yen shy of what I'd paid for the originals. And even with the lower food expenses today, I'm down to just a single 1000 yen bill. My, how the mighty have fallen.

Well, I guess I'll be reheating the leftovers in about an hour. In the meantime, I'll just work on the lesson plans.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Monday October 10, 11:30 a.m.

Happy Sports Day! A pity that the weather doesn't reflect it, though.

Being a national holiday, I woke up quite a bit later than usual. In fact, I think I got up about 90 minutes ago after staying up late watching a movie and then listening to Misia for the first time in a long while. It's nice to re-discover how good a voice she has.

Unfortunately, since it's a full work day tomorrow, I'm gonna have to start planning for lessons later today. Also, I've got some errands to run. Gotta get reprints done. Since that will probably take an hour or two, I'll use some of that lag time to get some shopping done and then just hit the Doutor's cafe across from the station to hang out. Very lucky to have gotten that shop in the neighbourhood just for this sort of circumstance. I was thinking of hitting the Wendy's inside of the Daiei for lunch but seeing the size of the leftover spaghetti and that remaining can of Libby's Browned Beans, I think having Wendy's and tackling that sizable dinner would shorten whatever life I have.

I got a message from The Barmaiden. She's been having a good time in Toronto but she came across the usually stupid Canadian of the things that I DON'T miss about the Great White North. Apparently, she had her hubby send over a new laptop which is now trapped in the byzantine corridors of Customs. Maybe the government is afraid of having superior alien technology unleashed on an unknowing public. Well, I hope she and 002 get together.

And I've gotta send that message to the Prez to nullify my time with The Company. I mean, after last week's ridiculousness, I think it's time to take in my shingle there and find other more meaningful clients. The loss of money will not be good since I was getting a pretty generous stipend from The Prez but enough is enough. I've already told my parents not to expect me for Xmas this year, so I'll probably cocoon it here.

My computer seems to be going through its latest last gasp before death. Along with the periodic crashes, a number of my desktop icons are showing up just half-baked. Symantec couldn't find anything wrong so maybe it's some sort of virus. I may have to give it the full scandisk overnight.
Sunday October 9, 10:58 p.m.

Managed to come out of my cocoon for about an hour to get some shopping done. Sure enough, I whipped up spaghetti; there's gonna be plenty for dinner tomorrow so I guess my food bill will be quite low then.

Saw the umpteenth rerun of "Speed" with a pre-Matrix Keanu Reaves. You can say everything about his lack of thespian prowess but he was the right man for this one. And Dennis Hopper had a grand old time chewing up the scenery (when he wasn't blowing it up) as the cackling villain. The only thing he was missing was a long mustache to twirl around.

I've started packing that care package for Mom and Dad with their souvenirs from Taiwan. Gonna have to get those reprints done for them and see if I can pack some women's mags for, get some parceling paper to wrap around the whole kit and kaboodle.