Wednesday, February 13th, 2008
I’d like to discuss for a moment, if I may, boobs. Specifically, these ones:
Holy mother of God!
Now lets pretend I’m not talking about Aretha, because it’s almost blasphemy to do so, but this titty situation must be addressed.
Do you see how that spaghetti strap is holding on for dear life? It defies the laws of physics how something so small can hold something so big. Each one of those puppies must weigh at least 20 pounds. Aretha wants R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Shit, how can you not respect someone heaving around 40 pounds worth of chest every day?
Just as I use the term ‘Olsen’ as a unit of weight measurement (based on the assumption that one Olsen twin is equal to roughly 75 pounds), I hereby christen boobs of this magnitude ‘Arethas’.
It takes a real woman to look at her fun bags (when they’re bone fide ‘Arethas’) and say to herself ‘I’m gonna forego the bra today and rock a spaghetti strap.’
For this reason, and so many more, Aretha Franklin, I salute you.
Law & Order: VFU (Void Filling Unit)
Man, I love me some Law & Order: SVU.
I have a tendency to get obsessed with certain TV shows. I’ve been obsessed with The Wire since the first season and while waiting for the latest episodes to be uploaded online, my attention has shifted to Law & Order: SVU.
I’m a fan of all the Law & Orders really. I especially like the ‘dong dong’ bell thing that signifies a new scene. I like to imagine it in my own life. Me waking up, ‘dong dong’, cut to me walking to work, ‘dong dong’ cut to me furiously tapping away on my computer. Maybe at some point, Ice T could pop up and arrest me or something.
I was into Law & Order: Criminal Intent for a while, but the main guy in that gives me the night terrors.
There’s just something about SVU. The Christopher Meloni/Mariska Hargitay combo is a winner. I like how he gets up in peoples faces and shouts during the interrogations and her, well, I just like how her hair changes every season. Though in real life, if female cops were as ridiculously good looking as she is, crime would soar ‘cause every perp would want to be arrested by her. (Do you like how I used the word ‘perp’? Yeah, I know, I’m all over this lingo).
But one of the main reasons I like SVU is seeing how characters from some of my other favorite shows pop up on there.
Christopher Meloni was on Oz, a previous obsession of mine. The priest and the crazy Nazi dude from Oz have both been on SVU as psychotherapists.
The guy who plays the judge on The Wire has appeared on SVU a couple of times. Cedric Daniels of The Wire was a doctor on SVU and also played an undercover cop on Oz. Are you following?
Maybe it’s just all about Oz withdrawals. When on earth will there be another show with excessive male frontal nudity? It’s been far too long.
I think I’ve pretty much exhausted the SVU back catalogue at this point. Those new eps of The Wire can’t get on the net fast enough.
Tuesday, January 8th, 2008
In theory, Voice should have been a nice break from the monotony of the classroom, but it became the bane of my life.
It’s a big room with comfy seating, a white board and a few tables. It’s designed to be a place where students can have ‘free’, ‘natural’, ‘open’ discussions on topics of their choice. The irony is that it was always the most forced, unnatural conversation you could ever have.
Firstly, let’s refer back to the ‘comfy’ seating I mentioned. Whoever designed furniture for these rooms must have forgotten that western people are taller, have hips and generally speaking, weigh more than an Olsen*. I’d spend the majority of the forty minute class shifting around in my seat trying to figure out how I could get both my ass cheeks on there at the same time. And my ass ain’t that big!
Now let’s get down to the nitty gritty of Voice: The chit-chat.
The whole point is for the students to practice their English in a relaxed environment. At some schools, there’d be a crowd of students who were Voice regulars and had no problem chinwagging among themselves. Those sessions were a blast. You just sat back and observed. But my school was full of shy students who wouldn’t utter a word unless prompted. To say it was like getting blood from a stone would be an understatement.
Then of course, during your orientation training, you’re given a list of topics you’re not allowed to touch in Voice: the war (apparently Japan’s still a little touchy about it), sex, drugs, blah blah, the usual. So basically, anything interesting is out of bounds.
I tried a variety of approaches to Voice; going in prepared, going in completely unprepared, playing games and the majority of the time, failed miserably. I just couldn’t get these people to talk without having to constantly prompt them with questions.
Plus the whole culture in Japan doesn’t lend itself to free and easy discussion. They’re all so concerned about hierarchy, respect, weird dynamics between men and women – the whole thing is just uncomfortable.
A friend of mine, Jay, who taught at another school, told me of a great Voice session he did once. He went in the room and wrote ‘why?’ on the board. The students looked bemused. He told them to discuss and he didn’t say a word for the remainder of the forty-minute class. After a few awkward moments, they began to debate the ‘why?’ as Jay sat there looking on. Minute 35, he asked them for their answers and they’d come up with pretty impressive ones. On minute 39, Jay said ‘no, the answer is ‘why not?’’ Minute 40, the bell rang and he was outta there. After this, I hailed Jay as my new God. I wanted to try it out, but I just didn’t have the balls. I knew that my lot wouldn’t take the bait and I couldn’t bear forty-minutes of silence and their blank stares as I shifted around trying to get my ass in the chair.
And thus, every Voice class turned into a discussion about travel or hobbies. And even though the students were meant to interact with each other, they never did, leaving me to fill in the awkward silences with lame questions about their trip to Hawaii or love of tennis. At times it was very difficult not to scream ‘I can speak English motherf**kers! You talk, damn you! YOU TALK!!’
After a year of this, I’d rather stab myself in the neck with a pencil than have one more discussion about vacations or sports.
But there were two characters who were the saving graces of my Voice woes:
Mr Miyagi: OK, that’s not his real name, but he was the Miyagi to my Karate Kid. Oh Wise One. And he even had Bonsai trees! Every Wednesday afternoon, he’d come for two Voice lessons before going home to dinner with his wife. He was a small man, bald, late sixties/early seventies and he was delightful. Usually he was the only person there and he could talk your ear off. He was a fountain of all knowledge and he taught me far more than I ever did him. I always looked forward to Wednesdays and seeing him. It was a relief to talk to someone so open and honestly and every week, I learned something from him.
Wax on, Wax off Mr Miyagi – I truly do miss you.
And then there was Mr Misery: Ahhh, the Japanese George Clooney. He had salt and pepper hair, wore pastel colors, had his shirt collar popped, his sweater tied over shoulders and always teamed it with chinos and deck shoes. He was straight out of a catalogue. Super-suave and utterly miserable, he was completely indifferent to everyone in the room. I don’t know what he was so pissed off about, but I found him unbelievably sexy. It became my life’s mission to make him smile. During that mission, I discovered that aside from being devilishly handsome, he was also verging on being interesting. And I’m sure he didn’t realize this, but I actually made him smile six times during the course of the year. He smirked a lot of times and I got two big laughs out of him. When I told him I was leaving, he looked sad. Given, he looked like that most of the time, but I like to think I had a little something to do with it.
So, in my assimilation back into the western world, I have marveled at people coming together in one room, with comfy seating that your ass can fit on, discussing a plethora of topics, sometimes sans awkward silences and the urge to stab myself in the neck with a pencil has all but disappeared.
.* An Olsen – a unit of weight measurement based on the assumption that one Olsen twin = roughly 75 pounds.