Saturday, January 07, 2006

Saturday January 7, 8:43 p.m.

Cooked up a new dish from a recipe on the Net called "Fusilli with Chicken and Broccoli in a Garlic Cream Sauce". Not bad and I have enough for leftovers tomorrow but I think it needs a bit more salt. The chicken could also use a bit of marinating. Went a little overbudget on the food but I know that I'll be well within limits for Sunday.

Was on YouTube once more. I kinda fell into a trap. I saw this video that had been uploaded a mere 3 seconds before logging in called "Les Sexareenos". Well, with a name like that and me having some libido left even after turning 40, I had to take a look. All I can say is "Gotcha!" Just glad that I have a strong stomach.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Saturday January 7, 2:36 p.m.

It would have been another uninterrupted night (and morning) of glorious sleep, except that at around 9 a.m. I received an obscene phone call...from a baby on the answering machine. I just got a lot of Japanese goo-goos and ga-ga's for about a minute before I could hear the father come to pick up his errant child. What are the odds of a kid dialing up my phone number? Perhaps I should have bought a lottery ticket.

Well, in any case I just slept another 3 hours before having breakfast at the ripe old hour of 1 p.m. Then I just checked out something that Movie Buddy had told me about the night before. He was talking about the trailers for the upcoming X-Men sequel and Superman Returns; he was getting rather giddy about them so I decided to take a look at my new Internet obsession of YouTube. Sure enough, both were there. For all that MB was talking about the obvious hike in budget for X-3, I didn't think that the trailer looked all that spectacular but I did wonder if Sir Ian McKellen had suddenly reminisced about his time as White Gandalf while he was giving his exhortation to arms as Magneto in the forest.

Nope, the winner of the trailers was most definitely the one for The Man of Steel. The term "epic" has returned to a superhero trailer. I don't think I ever got a lump in the throat for those other flicks like "Fantastic Four", "Batman Begins" or even "Spiderman" that I got for this one. But I think a lot of that feel couldn't have been felt without the old John Williams score for the original 1978 Christopher Reeve version. MB was right...the tone was perfect for all the scenes and editing done in that trailer. And the crazy thing is that there's even a fan-made trailer that just about eclipses any of the official versions. It has the music, Marlon Brando's gravitas-laden speech and a clever mix of not only the 1978 and 2005 versions but also little "blink-and-you'll-miss-'em" inserts from "Terminator 3" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". In any case, "Superman Returns" will be the money film for me.

Speaking of movies, there was that horror movie "Hostel" about some unlucky types who end at the wrong end of a "mutilate-for-fun" industry in darkest Slovakia (I'm sure the Slovakian Tourist Board will not appreciate this movie). Well, CNN actually had a review about it. For all the gasping comments from the fans and horror-based sites about this movie, the CNN reviewer was surprisingly nonchalant. Basically, it just came out as an "oh, yeah...sliced toes and ankles and pulled-out eyeballs...whoop-dee-do". Apparently, he's seen a few too many horror films.

Well, it's time to finish off here...
Saturday January 7, 2:01 a.m.

I'm starving right now...not that I can really sate it at this hour of the morning. But I did manage to save my money. I did have some lunch just between the gym and The OL...and I did munch into a caramel doughnut courtesy of the Toranomon Starbucks. I had that Starbucks Card that I'd gotten as a present from The OL herself which helped innumerably with the food budget today. If I'm lucky, I won't have to pay anything at Starbucks for the next 5 weeks. My usual site for The OL was back to normal after the Holidays. The same ol' jazz was back as the BGM and there were a few people scattered about taking that last coffee before heading on home. The OL was fine as usual...she's always been good as a tonic whenever I wonder if I'm losing my touch as an English teacher. And I'm grateful that she'll be returning next week.

Afterwards, it was off to Hobgoblins to see a whole bunch of people. It was The Barmaiden, Scully, The Croissant and all of their old mates from the ol' school. Movie Buddy was the only teacher there. It was fairly crowded at the pub but not unreasonably so. I could manage my way around the place without having to squeeze through. I received a lot of comments that I'd seemed to have lost some weight. I just remarked that it was my hair growing longer which may have conveyed the image of weight loss. I'm simply not that optimistic. I had a nice talk with The would've been even nicer if the ambient noise level had been lower. In any case, she's been enjoying her return to Japan for the past few weeks. And she'll be here until the end of this month. Hopefully, we'll have one more outing together before she goes back since people like The Okinawan and The Doll couldn't be there. Also, the Ballerina-B was there once again talking to her sempai for the first time. Movie Buddy recounted about his New Year's Day from Hell before talking about possibly catching "King Kong" sometime this month. He also gave me an out concerning today's party all the way out in Kanagawa with his friend. He thought that I had classes today with the kids and JJ so I decided to use that to say that I probably wouldn't be able to make it out there. I didn't bother ordering any food...just settling for a Brown Cow. As a result, I was actually able to keep my food costs under the 2000 yen limit...certainly the first time that's happened after a trip to a bar.

It was great to hear that Canada won the World Junior Hockey Championships over Russia. After so many decades, it's still a big thing when The Great White North goes up against the Russian Bear. Perhaps we should have had the party over at The Maple Leaf tonight. If Wayne Gretsky can get over the loss of his mother, perhaps the Canadian Olympic Hockey Team might pull off another miracle on ice like in Salt Lake in 2002.

There was an example of how anything has that light/dark dichotomy today. A few weeks ago, there was a CNN report about how a web camera ended up leading a kid into the horrific world of child pornography. The kid tearfully warned viewers that if they had webcams on their PCs, they ought to throw them out. Then earlier yesterday, there was another CNN report on how a webcam was instrumental for two sons living thousands of kilometres away from home to save their mother there when she had gone into insulin shock. Just goes to show how everything and everyone have good and evil.

The Wild Guy got back to me about his love life. Apparently, the romance has already entered the stage where his girlfriend has gotten to nagging him. He still loves her which is always a good sign that things are pretty serious. He's already talking about shacking up. Whoa...slow down guy.

And it didn't take long before a celeb has become the first one on the 2006 Dearly Departed list. Singer Lou Rawls passed away just a few hours ago at the age of 70. "Mrs. Jones", anyone?

Time to hit the hay once more. It'll be another long night of sleep.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Friday January 6, 11:43 a.m.

The coldest day of the season so far. It's only going up to 3 C today. Luckily my room has a much larger temperature differential since it's about 12 degrees in my room. Plenty chilly for all you guys with central heating but it's bearable for me since I've got the heater on.

I've got that gym outing today followed by The OL's first lesson of the year. Then, it's the party at Hobgoblins in Shibuya. I even got word from Movie Buddy reminding me about that nabe party at his friend's house on Saturday. To be honest, I'm not sure if I'll be going. I don't know the woman that well and frankly the distance (she lives all the way out in Kanagawa) and the money that I'm gonna have to shuck out don't appeal to me...especially after doing my books last night. I realize that Movie Buddy and others came out all the way to my neck of the woods for my sukiyaki party last month and if it were any of those people holding the party then it would've been a no-brainer for me. But though I appreciate the gesture on his friend's part, I think I'm gonna politely dis-invite myself.

The day before, I had been lecturing about how TV shows here love to humiliate the celebs. Well, I got to see the prototypical case last night. I was going to see that 2.5 hour special of Dotchi no Ryori Sho, that gourmet battle show that seems to have taken "The Iron Chefs" mantle. But then on TBS, there was this tarento-filled show which had their romantic ghosts in the closet thrust out for all to see much to the TV personalities' dismay/shock/embarrassment. And the show kept things pretty tense since they didn't know who would be picked. As a result, some of these well-known folks just sat there for the 2 hours and didn't have to utter a word.

Well, I figure it's time to get on my way.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Thursday January 5, 3:59 p.m.

For all the hopes of a peaceful beginning to this year, they lasted as long as the average New Year's resolution to lose weight. A horrible conclusion to a mine tragedy in West Virginia, a collapse of a skating rink in Germany, the usual explosions in Iraq, the death of an emir in Dubai, a huge scandal in the US Congress and perhaps the passing of PM Sharon of Israel. Welcome to 2006!

Thankfully, my own little neighbourhood (knock on wood) is considerably duller. Just did some shopping for dinner.

Saw a video of a "Saturday Night Live" skit which merged Paris Hilton, a phone-sex business and the world of nerds. Hilarious and it reminded me of that classic William Shatner sketch, "Get A Life". I was rather surprised that bimbette Hilton was able to rattle off all that Doctor Who terminology. The Trekkie caller was scarifyingly accurate, though.

Well, I'm gonna start on those taxes now.
Thursday January 5, 1:02 p.m.

Another nice long night of sleep. In fact, I didn't get to bed until around 4 this morning. Timing was good despite the lateness of the hour since I had been doing my surfing on the Net when The Croissant suddenly chatted me up. She has given me my official notice on the party on Friday. It'll be at the Hobgoblin, one of the chains of Irish pubs that has swarmed into the city over the last few years, in Shibuya. Another few thousand yen into the drain. Don't get me wrong...I'll be happy to see the gang along with Movie Buddy but I have to be very careful over the next several months. I'll be getting there pretty late into the game, though, since I've got The OL tomorrow night in what will end up being my very first lesson of 2006. I still haven't heard anything from Speedy about the fate of 003.

Before the Croissant's arrival, I had been looking through the videos on YouTube. One of them that I came across was an MSNBC Countdown report on Japan's favourite daughters/fantasy girlfriends...etc, Morning Musume. The two blow-dried talking heads related a very snarky "Heh-heh-heh...get a load of this (nudge, nudge, wink, wink)" report on the female version of the Johnny's Jimusho enterprise (SMAP, Kinki Kids, TOKIO). You might say it was similar to a longer version of Anderson Cooper's chronic reaction to the Japanese MSDF ad before Cooper became the crusading voice of the people. It was rather surreal looking at these American anchors bantering back and forth jokingly and sarcastically about MM in the usual glib happy talk familiar to all those who watch US news reports while on the back screen, scenes of the girls being tortured by a lizard and and then two of them on a roller icon from each country's contemporary popular culture uncomfortably sharing the same time and space. The comments of the video were very defensive and quite obviously from the MM fans stating that they didn't know what they're talking about and didn't plain understand. Well, of course not. If I were a housewife in Oshkosh, Wisconsin or Herndon, Virgina and I saw twelve Japanese girls with raw pork chops on their heads daring a lizard to come and get it, I wouldn't exactly be shouting with glee. My image would be on par with seeing that Mexican guy in the bumblebee costume that occasionally pops up on The Simpsons ("Ay, carumba!").

Under all that slightly acidic dross of the report, there was some truth. The reporters did get it right that Morning Musume can be compared to Latin America's Menudo in how members get shifted in and out like component parts (Hark, isn't the Yoshizawa circuit being swapped out this Spring? We've got the new Kusumi chip after all.), and that there are older-than-average male fans out there. A lot of the defensiveness was based on that charge that Japanese men are all pedophiles. Well, as a person living here, I can say that not all Japanese men are pedophiles, but I'm sure that there are those guys of a certain age, if I can put it more diplomatically, who may have secret longings. After all, the past 12 months was the year of the Maid. And I'm sure the past and current members of the group are very well aware of this and therefore are very careful in dealings with regular society (kinda feel sorry for them in a way). At the same time, I (and the girls) know that there are a lot of people who treat even talk of them with the same disdain that they would give week-old tofu. Such is life in show business.

However, the reporters got their significant hit when they mentioned that in Japan, viewers get a kick out of seeing their celebs get humiliated or terrified. Of course, celebs that are above a certain unmentioned line (such as motion-picture actors of Ken Watanabe status) don't get touched; usually the humiliation is part and parcel of the job of the journeyman tarento. And of course, in America nowadays, it is the regular Joe or Jane who gets that job on all those reality TV shows. But going back to Morning Musume, the girls have been no different from the tarento on that score (in fact, a few of the graduated/resigned members, notably one Mari Yaguchi, have made the transition to regular rotation on the variety show circuit). There have been some scenes of the girls in their early days being berated by harsh taskmasters with an ire on the level of enfant terrible chef Gordon Ramsay. And of course, there are the skits in which members become lizard lures or roller coaster fodder. Foreign tarento Thane Camus once said that unless one's willing to become a fool on camera, he/she shouldn't even consider going into Japanese show business. As for the berating, no, I'm no fan of it either, and more than likely if anyone tried that with me at my age, I would probably be taken away in handcuffs for how that person would end up but that's part of Japanese culture....ultra tough love or ai no muchi (the whip of love). Viewers like to see their video heroes or idols suffer to attain that goal and once they do, they continue to enjoy seeing them suffer. That's been true for everything from ancient baseball anime to contemporary "up close and personal" bits of Japan's favourite group of girls.
Thursday January 5, 12:51 a.m.

My day at Speedy's turned out to be a day wasted. I got there and ate my dinner, spoke with Speedy about future projects and planned 003's lesson...only for the student not to show up at all without so much as a call. Both Speedy and I figure at the very least that 003 must have forgotten to call since she's been good about calling in cancellations before or some sort of family emergency must have taken place. Still, I feel a bit put out having had to come out all the way to the school for really nothing. Once it was pretty much confirmed that she wasn't going to show, I decided to watch some TV on the school screen.

The subway wasn't all that crowded for a regular day on the way home. I guess people are still trying to get back from the Holidays.

That merger between Tokyo Mitsubishi and UFJ (the new initials of MUFG are just plain ugly; it sounds like an abbreviated obscenity) may be getting off to an OK start but when I was at my branch paying off my National Health Insurance premium this morning, I was privy to an argument between a belligerent old man (the ugly oyaji of Japan) and his suffering wife at the bank form table and what was perhaps a chewout between a mother with children in tow and one of the managers. I didn't see much heat from the mother but the manager certainly looked pretty chastened.

Afterwards, I went straight to the gym. Happily, the Holiday rush hour in the place seems to be over. Everything was back to its usual midweek slowness. I was even able to get on all the machines I wanted. As a result, I've got the burn going on right now.

Man, did I get whomped financially last month. I was just doing my books and found out that I suffered a pretty big loss with all of the wining n' dining and the stuff I had to get for friends and family...not that I had much of a choice in the was either that or declare hermitdom. Still, I will really need to clamp down on any expenditures probably for the entire year. No trips, no major purchases, no big fun n' games. I may even have to duck out of Speedy's New Year's party although the two of us were talking about that very topic tonight. The sad thing is that in all likelihood it'll end being another 2-year absence from home and my uncle will probably never see me.

I just did what I usually do in the first week of the New Year. And that is to write up some straggling New Year's cards. There's always a bit of a crapshoot about where I get my cards from since they are usually sent more out of obligation than actual friendship. Case in point: I received a number of cards from people that I hadn't had any contact with in several years. What I should do is just keep the cards in a prominent place so that when I have to do this again in 11.5 months, I know who to send cards to. However, I don't particularly feel the need to send cards to people that I no longer have an active connection with. Still, I've got 6 ready to send out tomorrow morning.

It'll be a free day tomorrow so once again I'm gonna be keeping expenditures nice and light. Y'know...I might whine about how poor I am and how I'm gonna have to hold onto every little yen from now on but everything was put into perspective today when I was reading about those West Virginian miners. Initially, they were supposed to have been found alive but now due to some horrible miscommunication, msot of them are now dead. I can't even imagine the kind of hell that the families must be going through. The US media should be hanging its head in shame, and that would probably include golden boy Anderson Cooper. As for the Chicken Little who first spread the false news out, I hope he finds a very dark corner to hide in. I know a whole town which would like to roast him/her.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Tuesday January 3, 9:25 p.m.

I pulled off something that I hadn't done in my entire time here. I managed to stay completely indoors for a whole day. Well, I have done it before when I was injured (smashed my ankle during the Nagano Olympics) and very sick (mabo dofu revenge...don't ask) but this is the first time I've completely cocooned while healthy. Thanks to a bacon/egg/pancake 3:30 p.m., I really haven't gotten the grumblies...even now. Those who know me very well on reading this may be falling over in deep shock. But nope, not hungry at all. I had thought about just going out after my shower but I realized that the only reason I would be getting food is just because of the time of day and not for any real need for sustenance. Just being a couch potato doesn't exactly lead to a huge expenditure of calories. And certainly, my Excel budget may look a bit strange with no entries whatsover for this date.

So after taking a shower, I just jumped back into my pyjamas and enjoyed the company of my telly. I'm taping yet another special for the parentals...this time, it's a monomane contest. It's basically a bunch of celebs mimicking other celebs (usually singers). Before you start imagining that everyone here is a Rich Little, it is much easier to hold this type of contest in this country since the population is mostly homogenous. And because of the existence of a standard Japanese, or hyojungo, compared to the fact that English has several variations in America, England and Australia, it's not really all that difficult to copy the famous in Japan. These contests are seasonal favourites on the tube.

I was looking through my teaching log and found out that 001 won't be coming to Speedy's after all. And then I realized that she had mentioned that at her last class in December. This, ergo, means that I'll just have that one lesson starting from 8:15 p.m. with Student 003. I definitely need as much money as I can get but just to go all the way over to teach a lass for one hour isn't my idea of unprofessional as that sounds. Well, she cancelled all those lessons last month. I sent Speedy a shot across the bow just to remind him of 001's status and find out if 003 will be coming. At least, I know that The OL will be showing up for her regular on Friday.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Tuesday January 3, 1:00 p.m.

Had another long night of sleep...just got up a little over an hour ago. We're still in Holiday mode here although the U-turn rush is most definitely in progress. Planes, trains and automobiles are clogging the arteries like mechanical cholesterol.

The craziness is not just in the traffic, though. Turned on the TV to see this Battle Royale on another TBS New Year's special. You got two huge teams of comedians battling each other in some sort of major quiz. With all the strange costumes (ragged kimono, sweatsuits, otaku wear) and names (Regulars, Speedwagon, Zun, Guitar Samurai), this is the equivalent of The X-Men vs. The Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Still can't really laugh at any of their antics, though, but I've always thought that Japanese comedy is just on a different wavelength from the US version. I have to admit, though, that there is one guy, Teru, who is usually known for his one-trick imitation of Robert DeNiro, who managed to get a smile from me when he did his new schtick of imitating 24's Carlos Bernard's character, Tony Almeda, after he gets shot in the neck.

Not sure what I'm gonna be up to today...although I know that I'm gonna have to prep for 001 and 003 (that is, if she doesn't decide to cancel out again) for tomorrow. But I think I should still relax as much as I can.
Monday January 2, 11:19 p.m.

Another quiet night at home. The multi-hour specials are still continuing including one very long 5-hour edition of "Pussuma" (starring the congenial Korean-speaking SMAP Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and loudmouth Yusuke Santamaria) that should be finishing up in another 10 minutes. The big highlight from that program was seeing guest star sumo ozeki Koto-O-Shu end up in a skit in which he's playing the groom in an elaborate wedding scene...the rub being that his heart rate is being monitored while sudden surprises get blasted at him. It was a competition amongst him, the two hosts and actress Ryoko Hirosue to see who ended up staying the calmest. The huge Bulgarian can thank his sumo training. He stayed as cool as a cucumber while the others often quaked. Just gotta love the Japanese talent for creating all sorts of mayhem for their stars.

I ended up taping "Tokyo Friend Park" for the parentals. Not so much because they would like it but I had to fill up a cassette with something. It's just one of those game shows for celebs.

I'll still be keeping it within the neighbourhood tomorrow but at least the supermarkets will be back open albeit on a shorter schedule before fully coming back online as of Thursday.

Got word from Movie Buddy. Looks like he and his girl are back in good shape after suffering a major case of Montezuma's Revenge over New Year's. He said that he would see me on Friday at this party that The Croissant had been telling me about. Well, I'm still not sure if I'm officially invited or not. The guest of honour is an ol' school student who never particularly knew me all that well since I was already a freelancer since his time there. I'm just biding my time.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Monday January 2, 4:49 p.m.

We actually got our first rain in several weeks today. It did feel pretty refreshing going outside to get supplies...some of that negative ion action, no doubt. Had that scrubbed-down smell and feeling. The sun even peeked out a bit for a few minutes before it started setting.

I received letters, real letters, from Egg, The Professor and The Dancer. A couple of them were Xmas cards....well, at least the thought was there if not the timing. I even got a letter from my rental management company saying that the rent is due...back on December 26. I paid for it all the way back on the 16th when I'd gotten that first notice. This is the second time in as many months that's happened. I wonder if I can use that blunder of theirs when it comes to renewing my lease later this year.
Monday January 2, 11:11 a.m.

Another long good night of sleep but still feel a bit gloomy just like the weather outside. I phoned my Uncle last night. I got a slight indication that he's a bit irritated that I've been asking him for help all these years but I haven't gone to Osaka once to visit him. I can't blame him but Mom always told me to not bother them. She told me the same story again just a half-hour ago after her usual New Year's greeting call. I told her about the irritation (paranoia-influenced, possibly) to which she said that she would give him a call and send something over. She doesn't need to send something over but I realized that she's a product of her generation and that gift-giving is the custom to smooth things over. In my generation, I call it bribery. However, my pounding conscience tells me that if I'm gonna have continued good relations (double meaning, there), I will have to visit them sometime soon...the Bullet Train ride will not be cheap, though. Well, if I'm gonna go to the poor house, why not go via Osaka...Japan's culinary capital?

I got that e-mail from SR's friend who may want to learn English from me. She's already into negotiating price. She said that if she's not gonna use a text, she would prefer to pay me somewhat less than my usual rate. Hm...I wonder if she's been talking in detail with SR. Well, in any case, it could all well be moot since she preferred to have nights and I'm simply not available then unless Speedy could lease me some time over at the school.

As I said, Mom called me up (woke me up, actually). The entire family was there enjoying the New Year's meal. She told me that it was just the usual little nothings that she cooks up. Yeah...right...she cooks up a feast on New Year's Day. Even my brother got on the line and kept me updated on some of the old faces back in Toronto. It was hoping too much to get my father on.

Now as for today, it'll be another dead day. But at least I know that I'll keep my food budget nice and small since the am/pm will be the only thing open around me.
Sunday January 1, 6:37 p.m.

Only went to the convenience store to pick up some simple fixins for dinner. I just finished off the last of the Sweet N' Sour from last night and made up some udon with the soup I had from the toshikoshi soba. Plus, I needed my veggies so I threw in a small salad as well. I picked up my New Year's Cards...I was surprised that I didn't receive anything from the juku boss but aside from that, it was pretty much expected. The cards that I did get from people whom I didn't send cards to were all expected. Two of them were from the Teahouse Ladies from long ago; I hadn't even seen them at all last year. And from left field was Kei of The Beauty Pair. I wanted to buy some extra cards to send back but it looks like am/pm was out of them. Usually, they continue to sell New Year's Cards for about another week just for those folks who need to compensate for that card from that unexpected somebody.

I've been continuing my multi-hour taping on the VCR. Hopefully, the tapeheads will last for a couple of more days. My current project is something called the "Kakushigei Taikai" or The Hidden Talent Battle on Fuji-TV. It's probably the second-most famous New Year's program next to The Red and White Song Festival. Like the Kohaku Utagassen, the Kakushigei has two teams, East and West, all composed of tarento, square off in a competition in which they show off other abilities for which they're not usually known for. Both teams consist of small squads of a pair to a whole bunch which go off against each other in stuff like dances, skits or magic tricks. A group of comedians may decide to do a death-defying stunt or play the shamisen, for example. To be honest, the title of the show is a misnomer....these aren't hidden talents that the tarento are throwing at each other, they're abilities which are hammered into them in a very limited amount of time; there is even some "up close and personal" asides in which the teams show their blood, sweat and tears during rehearsals. Once the squad from each side has finished performing, a panel of celeb judges awards points with the squad with the larger number of points winning the round. Of course, the final winner is decided from the grand total.

Although I'm taping this show right now, I've turned off the TV. Why? Well, let's say that I'm not a huge fan of schmaltz and "Kakushigei Taikai" has it in very large spades. I have very little patience or time watching a bunch of TV personalities learn one-off abilities and then cry like babies when they win or lose the round. It's rather ironic since it is on this program that a lot of these tarento actually show real talent. For a lot of them, I would say "Quit your day job!"

The commercials for that set of special shows featuring Japan's Columbo, Ninzaburo Furuhata, have been running for the past several weeks. Well, this week is the week to see three cases over three nights. Two of them have some pretty high-level actors as the villains (just like in the real Columbo) but the middle episode on Wednesday stars none other than Seattle Mariner Ichiro Suzuki as the bad guy. One scene even had him throttling a guy in the car. I would've thought Tsuyoshi Shinjo, formerly of the New York Mets, would've been a better choice since he's such a natural ham but I guess Ichiro might be a bit more suitably understated. However, I can see the rest of Ichiro's team riding him pretty hard for his thespian duties during Spring Training.

Y'know...I may just draw a bath right now and soak before calling up Uncle and then doing some ironing.

I've been looking at my new calendar which I'm also using as my work schedule. It's gonna be a very lean month unless I get some more lessons. Not the way I was hoping to start my year.