Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year

Year of the rat down, year of the cow's up next.

Yesterday I went snowboarding again, this time at the city community snow area Fu's. It was cheap as chips and this time I didn't fuck up my arm but I went down hard on my back, really clocking my head and knocking my hat and goggles off. It dazed me a little then, but today I've got some sweet whiplash pain across my neck. I also had a haircut today, and leaning my head back into the basin was not fun.

I don't have much more today. I'm emptying my mind to try and see the passing year and the coming year as clear as I can. Then I'm going to tackle the New Year sales with Yuki tomorrow and Friday.

Ah, duality.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Top Five Albums of 2008

Yeah, it was inevitable. Just rest assured, there was nothing you could've done to avoid this.

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!!

Now, I haven't heard every single one of Nick Cave's albums, but this is the first one I have heard that I really loved. It's got drive and passion and bite and sneering cynicism and weary, weary resignation. Nick Cave sounds like an utter, awesome, bastard. Fantastic.



Portishead - 3

From the moment I saw that shitty recording of Silence live at ATP I knew this was going to be awesome. And I was right.



Zazen Boys - 4

I really think that Japan should be very, very proud of producing Zazen Boys, and that Mukai Shutoku is a goddamn genius. Some kinda messed up math-synth-pop-spazz-space-rock with half-sung, half-spoken lyrics and a dynamite, DYNAMITE, band.



Vast Aire - Deuces Wild

Man, since Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein is one of my favourite records ever, it's really good to hear that Vast Aire can put out stuff like this. I've got reservations about some of LXG, his crew, but he himself fucking rocks here. So many comic book references too, I approve.



Subtle - ExitingARM

Still my favourite band in the world, ExitingARM wasn't quite as good as for hero:for fool, but since that's one of my favourite records ever too, that's ok. It's still a blistering mix of EVERY kind of music into one surprisingly cohesive whole. I couldn't find a good youtube of their music so you get this clip that they made themselves of some of the stage banter from their last tour:



So, those are my top five. This year I also got hold of a bunch of other albums that were all pretty great in one way or another but they didn't knock me down like those five did. Also rans included:

TV on the Radio - Dear Science
Fucked Up - The Chemistry of Common Life
The Hold Steady - Stay Positive
NIN - The Slip
The Notwist - The Devil, You and Me
The Gutter Twins - Saturnalia
Girl Talk - Feed The Animals

I got the David Byrne and Brian Eno album too, but it really wasn't all that great. I kept trying to remember anything off it after it finished playing, but after coming up with a blank after the third time through I gave up.

And if I'd picked up the Marnie Stern and Deerhoof albums they probably would've been up there, but I didn't get the chance yet.

There, that wasn't all that painful was it?

Monday, 29 December 2008

I made a Gakken Analog Synthesizer!

I found this electronics magazine that came with a "build your own synthesizer" kit:


When I opened it up it looked like this:


With Yuki helping to clarify the stickier instructions it was actually really easy to put together. I even had one screw left over at the end... I hope that's not a bad sign.


And when I'd finished it looked something like this:


And sounded something like this:

video

It has a bunch of instructions for like, dog sounds, cat sounds or train sounds, but everything just sounds like "bloooop bleee-aaaawww". It's awesome.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Yes we cow!

Where are you going for New Year's Eve?


If you answered anything other than Cube Garden in Sapporo, who have decided to advertise their New Years Eve bash with a picture of Barack Obama as a cow, along with a witty pun - I'll have to assume you're lying.

Suggestions as to the origin of this concept gratefully accepted.

Also - eat that Shepard Fairey.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Happy Holidays

As of now I'm officially on holiday. Although I have no real idea what I'm going to do with it, it kinda just snuck up on me and now I have a bunch of free time. I think I'll get a haircut next week.


A picture of me this morning. Taken from riotclitshave.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Make with the words, Wordsworth

So that's it, Christmas wrapped up for another year. Back in the Old Country though it'll keep going until... what? The Epiphany? Is that right? There's a bunch more holiday anyway, but here in Japan Christmas is just this kinda silly fun thing where you can buy presents for people or eat fried chicken and cake and stuff. They do it with style, but their heart's not in it and of course the Christmas decorations are already being taken down on Christmas Day.

New Years is where it's at, next year's the year of the cow in case you're interested.

Last night's snowstorm was a real humdinger. We got about six inches and the sky was flickering with sheet lightning - in a snowstorm you know that means "business time". The temperature dropped savagely, and today it was a fierce day to be outside. We had howling winds and snow all day, it was positively arctic and someone mentioned something about highs of minus three.

Some choice presents from Santa this year included a seriously classy scarf, a boxing panda pen where the panda's eyes light up red when he punches (bad-ass), a map, a tourist guide from 1965 and chocolate.

Cadbury's chocolate that is, sourced in England, which reminded me that Cadbury's chocolate really is something to be proud of. You can pick it up here in Japan but it's all imported from Australia... and sorry but it's kinda lacking. I always heard that Cadbury's Australia have to add extra preservatives to keep the chocolate more stable in the heat, but that might be bull. I'm sure it ain't as good as the British stuff though.

Also Wovenhand - which put my mind at rest that David Eugene Edwards is still out there, using the bad side of the bible to warn us all. Also his new album sounds pretty much exactly like his old band 16 Horsepower, who were astonishingly good at their peak. He's got his badass French bassist back, which I think is probably a big part of it.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Christmas for real.

Ok, so it's Boxing Day now, but I still haven't gone to sleep so I'm still gonna call it Christmas Day.


For a while there it looked like were weren't going to get a white Christmas here, but around 7pm the temperature dropped and now it's piling up again. Apparently we've got a good few days of snow to look forward to. Sooooo good. And I made a Christmas Party that worked just great, and I got to see my family moving around on a tiny screen via the internet. So I'm pretty happy. Merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

It's Christmas Eve

It's Christmas Eve, shouldn't you be trying to get back to your family or something?


I'm still out here in Japan, working on Christmas day, but I'll be applying eggnog liberally to make it as festive as possible.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The snow, it kept falling

Happy Birthday Akihito! Today was the current Emperor's birthday, which means it's a national holiday, so me and Yuki went snowboarding/short skiing. Yuki has these kinda half-length skis that don't require sticks and she was incredibly comfortable and natural swooshing from side to side down the mountain while I slowly ground down that learning curve.

The coolest thing today was the weather, it just did not stop snowing from the moment we got there to the moment we left. Here, Yuki demonstrates:


The theory here is that snow falls from the sky in big clumps and thus you have fresh snow to ski or snowboard on all day! Genius! Also, since it was a national holiday there were ten times as many people as I've ever had to deal with before and this time I was involved in zero collisions (last time a couple of people ran into me). I did still fall over a few times and, yes, fucked up my arm again as was probably inevitable, but it was very good practice for snowboarding around people without hitting them. Also, more snowboarders and skiers meant more beginners so there were some people worse than me, which was a new experience.


And yes, this next picture - while it seems blurry and possibly faked - is an actual shot of me snowboarding, caught by Yuki:


Hey! Guess what? It's totally Christmas eve tomorrow.

Monday, 22 December 2008

SMAP X SMAP Christmas Special

The SMAP X SMAP Christmas Special was just on, a timely reminder of the SMAPs at this, the most magical time of the year. It was the sort of thing they do for special occasions, a long live special where they duet with hit singers of the past on their most famous songs (sometimes in a medley!). They all wore clothes that pushed "stylin'" to it's very limits throughout, and although I couldn't get any good shots trying to photograph the TV, I still captured Nakai's "Tartan Pee-Wee Herman get up:


As I said before, I have a big ol' soft spot for the SMAPs, but that doesn't obscure the fact that they really can't sing, have no grasp of harmony and their dance-steps tonight were studiously unadventurous. But a lot of work must've gone into that wardrobe so maybe that covers it.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas Tree Showdown!

Today your duty is to judge the festive battle of the century, if not the new millenium. In one corner, clocking in a really-fucking-tall and covered with approximately twice as many lights as there are stars in the night sky, it's the Sapporo Factory Christmas Tree:


It plays a Christmas medley every half hour and the lights blink and flash in time to the music. It's like the tree itself is dancing. Although I have to say the music this year was much more cloying and annoying than last years festive bell jamboree.

Aaaaaand in the other corner, clocking in at 30cm and costing the princely sum of 500 yen (around three quid) is my very own Christmas cracker:


Dwarfed by the secret santa present that I put next to it, "Small Tree" as I affectionately call it nevertheless brings festive cheer to my appartment as never before.

So decide, which one is the true spirit of Christmas?

Merry Christmas once again.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

17


From Final Crisis #5, the comic which proves for the 27th time why I love Grant Morrison so much. I really could not give a flying crap about the DC comics "universe" or most of the characters therein, but almost every issue of this big blockbuster "Crisis" series has had a moment that has made me physically tingle. And there's so much in there you have to work to keep up with it, and that's just wonderful.

Friday, 19 December 2008

Flight of the Conchords

It looks like the new series of Flight of the Conchords is going to be pretty good.


It starts properly in January, which means there's probably gonna be life after Christmas and before Snow Festival after all.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Hip-Hop Sapporo-ro-ro!

So, this is probably not the same kind of hip-hop as Shuren the Fire, but I actually quite like the design here. They work in the Norbessa ferris wheel nicely.


And there's no crazy names on there of the calibre that Andy found in Fukuoka. MC Wob and Ace Cock for example. But this guy works a few nice word plays in there:


AK-69? What does that involve? I imagine it's less than classy.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Some notes on Will Ferrell movies.

I watched three Will Ferrell movies in the space of 5 days last week. This information cause one M. Longarini of Sapporo to give me a quite genuine double take and a look of shock - but what can I say, I like Will Ferrell. As Matt said, he pretty much only plays one character but I'd argue he plays that same character in many subtley different variations. Imagine you have a Will Ferrell control panel with a number of sliders that you can adjust to suit your movie. You've got like, from Sleazy to Innocent, from Deadpan to Hysterical, from Jerk to Niceguy, from Lots of Shouting to Some Shouting. You can get a lot of mileage out of that.


Yeah, I didn't watch it in German but I like that poster. I really like Blades of Glory and it works so well because the entire cast sells it, especially Will Arnett. Man, I love him in this movie, and I want to see him as a ludicrous villain in many more.


Talladega Nights, however, sucked just like everyone says. And yes, everyone says it sucks. It's not awful by any means, but it's relentlessly uninspired - and wow, actually that sounds pretty goddamn damning. I like John C. Reilly, and I like Sacha Baron Cohen most of the time, but where the deliberately inane dialogue clicks in Anchorman or Blades of Glory, here it's just flat and dumb. The only time I laughed out loud was during the end credits where the alternative takes of some of the scenes seemed to be way funnier than what they actually included.


And of course I topped it off with Elf, because it's Christmas. Elf is great, and it pushes the Ferrell-Sliders all the way to cute and innocent. Coupla things - both this and Blades of Glory involve good gags involving escalators, which is... niche? Unusual? I wonder if there are other Will Ferrell escalator scenes... Oh and also Jon Favreau? He's a pretty great director huh? Nice step-up there sir.

Shuren the Fire & more



Shuren the Fire is a rapper from Sapporo who, from what I can tell, is a good example of the jazzy laid-back hip-hop that the city is kinda known for. I mean, I see posters for ridiculous faux-gangster club nights all the time, but the famous hip-hop group from here are Tha Blue Herb, and Shuren the Fire was on their label and certainly stands alongside them. I read that book Hip-Hop Japan by Ian Condry (that far more people have read than I expected) and he'll back me up on this I'm pretty sure.

Anyway for some wonderful reason someone on youtube decided to set his music to some old video clips... frankly I don't really get it, and they don't fit perfectly, but I love it anyway.



I was in a used clothing shop in Sapporo one day with Yuki, and this Japanese hip-hop was playing with really nice beats and suddenly he was giving shout outs to towns in Hokkaido. We both wanted to know who it was but someone (Yuki) wouldn't ask the clerk so I had to stumble up and ask um... what is this music? And that's how I found Shuren the Fire. Seriously, the beats on the whole album are great, really nicely underplayed and effective without being seriously mixed and bass-boosted. His rough delivery is fun too but I have a feeling that his strong accent when he throws down in English will put a lot of people off. Anyway it looks like he ain't all that productive anymore, but I really like the one full album he made.

In other events tonight a waiter told me I look like Orlando Bloom, which is just... yes, well. I am caucasian.

Monday, 15 December 2008

It's time for a Shiina Ringo video

Because I say it is.



That's better. Today = Meh = Shiina Ringo video needed. You know how it is.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Musical Christmas Portents

I'm gathering evidence that Christmas is almost upon us. Number one: it's snowing like a bastard right now - super light, fluffy, powder snow that jumps into the air when you stamp your foot in it. It's beautiful and it fell so fast, we went into a karaoke box for an hour and it hadn't even started. When we came out it was already more than an inch deep and bucketing it down. Of course it's all floating on a bed of ice so... down I went. Sapporo 1 - Alex 0. Ow.

Other Christmas signs - live music in the freezing open air:


School kids playing Christmas Carols on these little hand chime things. And outside PARCO department store a lady was playing the piano. She was wearing ear muffs, but her fingers must have been very cold.


Also I made the first batch of eggnog of the year and it went down very nicely indeed. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Be a Skilled Locksmith!

Some words of comfort in these trying times:


An advert from Marvel Team-Up #74, from sometime in the 70s. I'm pretty sure that the advice still applies now though. And you'll notice it's vouched for by one Ideal F. Baldom II, of Riviera Beach, Fla. so they must be a legitimate educational concern.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Rusutsu: Come for the winter sports, stay for the child-stealing ghost-ladies!

In winter in Hokkaido, there is lots of snow - this much I have made abundantly clear. And on the island with "the best powder snow in the world" (quote from... just about everybody), winter sports are a big deal. There are countless ski resorts in Hokkaido, so how, pray tell is one even supposed to tell them apart?

I saw posters for Rusutsu resort plastered all over the subway at the start of December, and I'm sure there'll be posters up for other destinations too, but as I was climbing out of a subway entrance I noticed that there were free DVDs stapled to one of the posters. I snagged the last one, and was delighted to find that rather than a boring tourism video, it's a weird collection of three slightly arty short films made to publicise the resort. The shorts are all set at the resort, and I think they might be having some kind of Short Film Festival out there this year, so I guess this is a nice tie in.

There are films from three different countries: Taiwan, Australia and Japan. I don't know how they chose those three countries to contribute, but it possibly ties into the fact that they are the three biggest tourist targets for Rusutsu. I mean, that might, maybe have some slight bearing on it. Or maybe I'm reading too much into it.

The Taiwanese film is the best. I mean, that's not saying much, but it's saying something. A cute Taiwanese girl eats a snickers bar:


...goes home, and reminisces about her recent holiday to Rusutsu. She went there on her own, apparently with no intention of skiing, but after a bunny-based meet-cute with a big-chinned Japanese hunk, she heads to the slopes. They have fun, she goes back to Taiwan and looks longingly at the snow-globe he gave her. It ain't gonna win the Palm D'Or, but it was nicely made and the girl was cute.

Don't worry, I can say that, my girlfriend thought she was cute too.

The Australian one was where the DVD lost its way. An Australian man returns to Rusutsu, where it seems his son went missing - presumed frozen to death or eaten by huskies or something - the previous month. It turns out that the kid was stolen by a snow-ghost-woman-thing, for reasons unknown, and that he wasn't returned because the father's hope was so tiny and futile. Look, here she's asking him:


If he had had a strong powerful hope, his son would've come back to him! So when he finally allows himself to hope that his son might be alive (when he's right in front of him), the son comes back to life and they play in the snow. There's a nice story in there somewhere I think... but this involves shoddy ghost effects and crap singing. It's shit.

Finally the Japanese short was a kind of comedy drama, where a new recruit to the Rusutsu ski patrol longs for adventure and excitement, and despairs of her goofy colleague. Of course when excitement comes calling she gets conked on the head by a ski and her goofy colleague turns out to be a stand up guy.


Oh, you'll eat those words missy.

Who knows, now that I'm learning snowboarding I might head out to Rusutsu this winter, and frankly this collection of weird films is a better ad for me than some kinda skiing/snowboarding montage could ever be.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

"They have the new prisoners on display in cages..."

Thursdays are generally a little too busy for me, coz I gotta do something for Loom and here and I gotta eat and - apparently - I need to sleep some too. So let's just revel in some more of Ian Svenonius' genius today ok?

Weird War - Grand Fraud



I'm not sure if my favourite line from the intro is the one I used as a title or "I gotta way. I think it's extremely direct".

And kudos again to Andy for showing me this in the first place.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

The Best Thing Ever - Showa-Shinzan International Yukigassen

So like I said, yesterday was a bit flat, but my arm seems to be healing slowly without the aid of drastic medical intervention, so that's nice. Also today I got confirmation of an event I heard about ages ago, and this confirmation adds further evidence to the claim that I may be living in the most awesome place in the world. Go ahead, ask me what I'm doing on 21st / 22nd February next year.

I'm going to Showa-Shinzan International Yukigassen.

Oh wait, let me translate - I'm going to Showa-Shinzan International Snowball Fight.


Hot fucking damn, and I mean that with all the emphasis I can muster. Not only does this exist, but they also have a pretty great website in English too that you have to check out. It was started back in 1988 as a way to drive tourists to Soubetsu town and Showa-Shinzan mountain - a popular hiking destination in the summer, but an inhospitable arctic peak in winter. And when it comes to schemes to revive your depressed and ailing rural town this has to be one of the very best.

It looks to have worked a charm, the website claims crowds of around 25000 for the two day event last year, and almost 200 teams from around the world competing. They seem to have taken your basic "chuck balls of snow at each other" concept and worked it into a frantic 9 minute combination of "Capture the Flag" and dodgeball that I can't wait to see. Actually, there's a PR video here, but sadly the resolution is so bad it's virtually unwatchable. They designed a special snowball fight helmet (yours for around 60 quid) and a machine for making regulation sized snowballs (a slightly dearer 400 quid). There's even an official Yukigassen magazine and ASICs sneakers that I assume are perfect for running around in the snow in. I thought the concept was brilliant to start with, but when I checked out the depth of information on the website... man it looks somewhere BEYOND AWESOME.

And check these out:



Oh dear god, yes.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Bruises

Today, I've been kinda knocked flat by a busy day, a crippled and useless right arm and the discovery that Zazen Boys, my favourite Japanese band, played in Sapporo two weeks ago and I didn't even hear about it. Makes me realise how out of touch I can get with music here, and how I have to work hard just to keep up on releases and tours. There's enough fucking posters about Oasis' upcoming show in March though, no fear.

Actually, I'm pretty impressed with that. Foreign tours to Sapporo are few and far between so the fact that they're coming up here is pretty cool. I don't think I'll be checking them out though.

Still, today =


Picture from riotclitshave, the kind of photo blog which helps you express emotions for which there are no words.

EDIT! Having stated that last week's was one of the greatest TV shows ever, I also forgot to watch Super Chample. Bah.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Sartorial Adventures on a Sunday

Well yesterday was certainly an adventure in wearables. I found:

The world's ugliest hat!


A wall of Spider-man!


The world's classiest jumper!


...and a mask to turn me into a cartoon bear!


Then today I fucked up my arm snowboarding. It is more than possible that my crash was caused by that hat suddenly appearing in my mind like some harbinger of doom. I think if I was making a horror movie that would be the killer's trademark apparel.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Satoshi Ohno - still cruising for a bruising

A while ago I wrote about how I wanted to punch Satoshi Ohno from the boyband Arashi in the goddamn face. This feeling has not gone away. In fact it has just been fermenting in me and returned with full force this week when I saw the latest Arashi ads for au phones:


Working late after the rest of the office has gone home, Satoshi takes a well earned break to listen to some hot new tunes on his au cell phone...

He just looks like a titanic cock there. The other band members are in far less annoying situations - convenience store worker, commuter and so on - but Satoshi plays the part of yuppy douche to perfection.

A punch to the face or a keyboard around the back of the head - that's all I ask.


Saturday, 6 December 2008

Christmas with KFC

You know, I'm still not sure whether KFC's position as Japan's staple Christmas family food is due to the lack of turkey here, some cultural misunderstanding whereby someone thought that the Colonel and Santa Claus were the same person, or if it's a massive hoodwinking being perpetrated on the people of Japan by KFC. Whatever the reason, as this chart shows:


If you want to pick up a Christmas dinner at 5pm on Christmas Eve you're shit out of luck. They've still got plenty of spaces left later in the evening though, and you could always pick it up at 1pm and slap it in the microwave later.

Just a thought.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Sounds of Famous Monsters

From Famous Monsters of Filmland #117, July 1975:


"How many of these haunting phrases can you identify?"


Embiggen the full page scan and invert your computer for the spine-chilling answers!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Andrew WK (including Ian Svenonius and his Soft Focus)

I wrote at length once, somewhere on the internet, about Andrew WK's last album Close Calls With Brick Walls and how awesome it, and he, is. When the Andrew WK was being hyped by the NME back in the day, I was happy to throw my lot in with the haters, and it was people like me, then, that doomed his second album to failure, and assured him of cult status in the West and celebrity in Japan.

Because the Andrew WK is a celebrity over here among rock fans, and check this lot out. Last week he released a best of (covering his three albums), a covers record of Japanese songs that he originally recorded as mobile ringtones, a two CD "Premium Collection" containing both of those releases, and a book of his advice columns that he's been writing for a Japanese music magazine for five years. Bunny drew my attention to this motherload today in an email with the words "I WANT THIS" and lo and behold I could pick it up on the same day from the record store next door to where I work:


Ignore the goggles, that's just how I dress now that I'm a hardcore snowboard freaker. That's the 2CD Premium Collection by the way. And buying that, and thinking about the Andrew WK some, brought other things to mind. Like how I'd like to get hold of that Lee Scratch Perry album he produced (oh yes he did!) and how awesome the Ian Svenonius Soft Focus interview is:

"...so far you've been extraordinarily conceptual..."



Ian Svenonius of course, is also a genius as Andy has often pointed out to me, and I'd encourage everyone to hunt down his book "The Psychic Soviet" to read how the Beatles made Swedish girls have huge misconceptions about British boys, and how Seinfeld killed the city. Also I love the music to Soft Focus. It sounds... cerebral.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Shreds

Last night I watched Super Chample again, and the dance off between the E. X. Men and Spin Crew was one of the best things I've ever seen on TV. It was a battle in the loosest sense of the word, because the E. X. Men just schooled the other crew mercilessly. I can't find any torrents of the show, but I'm looking because my jaw was hanging open by the time it had finished. They were so good they were working in jokes into the music flawlessly, and their... what can I say... athleticism was just crazy. My favourite moment was when the guy ended his crazy spinning leg frenzy flat on his back and one of the other members appeared next to him in a white coat and put a stethoscope to his chest to check if his heart was still beating. All while they were just switching dancers. Incredible.

~ ~ ~

Since snowboarding on Monday I've been aching pretty ferociously. It was fantastic, but I'll have to keep going to work up these muscles so I don't feel like this every time. Again it's my arms that hurt the most, whether it's from pushing myself up or from breaking my falls I'm not sure, but at least this year I can raise them above my head. Last year after snowboarding I couldn't even do that.

~ ~ ~

The SMAPs are in Sapporo tonight and last night, playing the Sapporo Dome. I just mention it because I have a soft spot for the SMAPs, and I know a few people who are going, so I can't wait to hear how it was.

~ ~ ~

For one reason or another I'm getting back into the Gilmore Girls. Actually, it's probably because it's winter and I'm pulling out the Gilmore Girls DVD in the same way I'm pulling out the blankets and with more or less the same effect. I'm pretty sure there's a drinking game to be found in having a shot of alcohol every time someone's drinking coffee in the Gilmore Girls. I love that show, and I love it's really unhealthy attitude to coffee. In fact the drinking game should be you have a shot of espresso every time someone is drinking coffee in the Gilmore Girls - first one to have a heart attack loses.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

My cool students.

I try to avoid writing about my job because frankly I reckon it's a little unprofessional to do so, and I'm pretty sure that if I did it'd come back to bite me in the ass.

Today however, I want to make a short post and the thing in my head at the moment is what one of my awesome 1st year junior high students wrote. I'm not posting it coz it's funny, I'm posting it coz it's awesome. I feel weird and guilty posting stuff from one of my students like this, but considering his age this is good stuff, and well - this is a blog and I really liked his work. Sure he's missing some key sentence components, but it's got a rhythm that I really like just as it is. He studied a story book about a teacher who's new trousers get ruined, and he had to summarize it from the perspective of the trousers:

"He bought yesterday evening at clothes shop.
He wear everyday.
Put on curry.
Put on red ink.
He put a thing on fire.
He is hero."

There, doesn't that tell the story just fine?

Monday, 1 December 2008

Snowboarding on a Monday

Ah! Look at that! It's a beautiful day! The sun is shining, the sky is blue, there's fresh snow on the ground from yesterday - it can only mean one thing! :


Tastes like snowboarding!


So, this was my second time ever snowboarding, and man am I gonna hurt tomorrow. Seriously, it is not going to be pretty. I took one or two peachy falls today, and a whole boat load of smaller ones, so I'm pretty sure I'll be paying for that in the near future. However I had a fantastic time, and it was well worth the agony to go. Thankfully I also improved some again - I even linked some turns, rode both sides of the board and actually descended some parts of the mountain like an actual snowboarder might do, were he a particularly shit snowboarder. I mean I still feel like I've got a lo-o-o-ong way to go, but I have at least found some sign posts guiding me in the right direction now, mostly thanks to Sara, god bless her, who pretty much coached me for half the day. Luckily we weny on a Monday, early in the season so although conditions were perfect it was really quiet and I didn't have to worry too much about hitting other people. Which considering my board control is a real possibility.

Of course a lot of my motivation for learning to snowboard is to get closer to, to commune more with the snow. To learn it, love it, know it, be one with it... ahem. And the snow was gorgeous, although a couple of times I did go off course and ended up in a big white fluffy drift, which is softer on the arse but murder to climb out of. And also I want to go up mountains and high places, and boy do I get to do that:


Click to embiggen, then squint... that's the coast and the sea curving away in the distance. Views like that are so wonderous, it's worth the bumps just for them.