Friday, April 24, 2009

Going Postal

Argh. I lied. I spoke waaaaaaayy too soon, as I should have known.

Last week my neighbor, who is way more skilled in Japanese, came with me to the Post Office to verify whether I could ship my trunk home. This trunk is something I got at the Container Store in Pasadena in 2007, before I went on a film shoot to the Philippines. I brought it to Japan because it's a giant piece of luggage, and it carried a lot of my stuff when I moved. But it is cumbersome, and since my plans when I leave involve a domestic flight followed by a week in Tokyo (during which I'll be climbing Mount Fuji) before my international flight home to Orlando, I didn't want to have to deal with it then. The perfect solution seemed to be to ship it home. I mean, hey! It's like, a big box! Ship it!

So when the Japan Post man, who looked, as they often do, terrified to be dealing with foreigners, confirmed that I could in fact mail something that big to America, and that it would in fact be cheaper than I had feared, I was ecstatic. Tuesday night I packed it, and Wednesday that same neighbor helped me haul it in to the PO. When we walked in with the trunk and I saw the faces of the two people behind the counter, I sensed trouble. First thing we were told was that they only ship boxes.

Of course.

I was very frustrated, feeling like that had to have been part of our first conversation. But apparently not. Of course, if I could speak the freaking language, if I was actually capable of basic communication with people in shops and businesses, this could have been cleared up immediately. But we all stood around trying to think of options, while my trunk sat on the floor and got in everybody's way, and everyone sucked their teeth and said it was difficult, and eventually realized that it wasn't going to happen. My favorite possibility was unpacking the trunk and sending the contents in boxes, then shipping the empty trunk EMS (not the trunk with stuff in it, oh no) for ¥8000. That's $80. Wanna know how much I paid the Container Store for it two years ago? About $30 (I think - now it's $40). So thanks, but no thanks.


Anyway. I'm going to unpack it and ship the stuff inside next week, and sit on the trunk for a while until I decide if it's worth the trouble to take it home. I mean, I know, for $40 I could get another one from the Container Store at Christmas when I go back to LA to pick up all my stuff from the storage unit. But this one has sentimental value! It has stickers from international voyages! Like caricatures of luggage have! I have that!


In other news, last night I began sewing the edging on to the Leaf Blanket. Wow, is it so much easier and quicker than I feared. And when I had one whole side, a corner, and part of the top done, I looked at it and squealed in accomplishment. The end is in sight! And the finished blanket will look good! I'll really have to block the hell out of it again, but maybe it'll be ready to send by next weekend when I ship the boxes. Sweet!

That's about all I have. It's Friday, thank God. Tonight is game night at Jon's - Settlers of Catan, woo-hoo! Tomorrow is poker night at Geoff's, after another couple rounds of the 777 Steps, and then Sunday is set for being Indian for a day. I'll get to wear a sari, apparently. I'll let you know how all that goes.

Also, I would like to apologize for the excessive use of exclamation marks in this post. Clearly, my writing skills have degenerated to an embarrassing degree.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hump Day, Slump Day

Ah, blog. I do love you, I really do. I've just been distracted. I will probably continue to be distracted for a while.

There's just a lot to do. Loan applications, class registration, packing and shipping, avoiding thinking about all the stuff I need to do by reading and watching movies. Why not the blog as a procrastination tactic? Unfortunately, sometimes it falls into the "things I need to do" category, and therefore becomes undesirable even though it's really sort of a pleasurable thing.

Anyway, I just wanted to post because I've actually attached progress pictures of the things I'm working on to their Ravelry details. The Prepster Librarian is progressing, and I'm just about ready to start attaching the edging to the Leaf Blanket. The edging is easy to do but interminable, and now the same goes for the Prepster, I think. 1 x 1 rib sucks. I'm bored of it, and am thoroughly disappointed in how uneven my stitches are appearing. I usually knit with a pretty regular tension, that first Bamboozled notwithstanding, but somehow there are a ton of stitches on the Prepster that have completely wacky tension. What gives? It doesn't bug me enough to start over, however I am concerned that it will fit. It seems very narrow, and narrow is exactly what my hips are not. I'm going to keep going for a while and then see if I can try it on somehow. Otherwise, I'm happy with the yarn and color.

Also, Battlestar Galactica is the awesomest thing to come along since Firefly. If only the DVDs had more than two freaking episodes each. If only I didn't already know the show is over, and that therefore my enjoyment will be limited. If only I could fly a space fighter.

Ha! They'd never let me fly anything, my vision is too crap.

Oh, and I finished the third ridiculous glittery vampire book. Not sure how I felt about it. I have the fourth and am forcing myself to wait until this weekend before starting it, as I know that once I start it will be very hard to stop until it ends. And then it will end, and my guilty pleasures books will be all done. I know, I have a bunch of quality books to read, but I like to switch them up with rubbish. Keeps me balanced. Three more months with nothing but genuine literature (Dostoevsky? really?) and academic type things might fatigue my brain before I even start school, and then where will I be?

On the other hand, perhaps it will allow me to speak two sentences together without any obvious grammatical flubs. That's gotten pretty rare these days.

Tonight I will be sending the first package home. A trunk full of winter things, souvenirs, the knit blanket my mother made me years and years ago (a blanket that implies she was on some very powerful narcotics at the time, though she wasn't), and yarn. Glorious yarn. Must go buy more while I still have a job, and send it on. It's light, it's squashable, it's delightful.

Oh, crap, I almost forgot! Yes, I went to the bachelorete (sp?) party. It was extremely weird. The stripper turned out to be another ALT from the next city, and I think that the #1 Rule of Attending a Party That Has A Stripper is that you are not supposed to know said stripper. I knew this dude's name and job (teacher, btw) and had a distinct memory of him hitting on my friend at last year's Christmas party. Eeeeeeewwwww. Then of course, there was the fact that the party was made up of five Japanese girls who spoke very little English and four or five Western girls with varying degrees of Japanese (I, at Level Really Bad, was the worst), and neither group actually knows the other. But it was fine, and the food was good. When I uploaded my pictures this morning I may have blushed a little, but then, I blush at anything.

Two more hours. Sigh.

Friday, April 17, 2009

10 Things I Want to Share


1) I am now caught up on all the blogs I read. Mostly anyway - I did skip over a few, but I will continue reading them now that I can just read the most recent one rather than have to wade through three weeks worth of blogs from a variety of sources.

2) I have posted some of my pictures from China and two little explanations of such. I'm not finished, but iWeb is making me want to hurt somebody. Those are available at my Japan blog. The reason that blog is separate, by the way, is because when I first got here I needed a way to post pictures and talk about what I was doing in a way that would be easy for my friends and family, but especially my mother, to access, and I started this blog much later. The Japan blog is unsearchable and only available to the people I give the link to, whereas this is available through Ravelry and is searchable (but who the hell would be searching or me?). I like my privacy. But iWeb is getting increasingly more slow and difficult, and access to that blog seems less likely to disrupt my life than it used to, so feel free to enjoy.

3) I bought hiking boots the other day. They are very pretty and I love them. I will wear them tomorrow when I do the 777 again, so I can start breaking them in at the same time I continue my quest to get in shape for Fuji-san. Last weekend I did the 777 twice right in a row, and I wasn't all that sore afterwards. Good sign.

4) I saw Watchmen, finally. I enjoyed it, but not as much as the book. Several of the actors were not just terrible, but terrible choices for the role. Rorschach was the notable exception - he was note-perfect, as far as I was concerned. The change to the ending made sense for the movie, but I was still disappointed. The fight scenes were great and very sexy, but all wrong considering the whole point was that these were normal people acting as superheroes. Anyway, if nothing else the release of the movie prompted me to read the graphic novel, and I loved it, so at least there's that.

5) I saw the Twilight movie, too, finally. It was even more terrible than I expected. Way more terrible than the books, and they weren't in line for the Pulitzer to begin with. Oh, well, now I know.

6) I am still working on the lace edging for the Leaf Blanket. The child for whom it is intended is now two months old. I feel sort of like a failure. In the failure vein, I also still have not mailed my dad's birthday present, even though his birthday was April 2 and I called from China and had a Chinese beer for him (several, actually), just as I said I would.

7) Just when I thought I was done with baby things for a while, another friend is pregnant, and for once it's a friend who I know will genuinely enjoy and appreciate a hand-knit item. Sigh.

8) I started the Prepster, because every time I looked at the lace edging and thought how I needed to work on it, I talked myself into doing something else instead, and I needed to get back into the knitting groove. Also, I needed to knit something for myself. I adore the yarn I'm using, because it feels so soft and squishy and slippery-in-a-good-way. Here's hoping I've done my math right, cause I'm doing it in the round.

9) I have decided to attend the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill's School of Library and Information Science in the fall. This decision and process, and the financial implications that I am only now fully grasping, have caused me a great deal of stress and taken up a great deal of my time lately. I am excited, but also sort of feel like I might vomit. If anyone has a few spare tens of thousands of dollars lying around, I am a very worthy recipient.

10) I am tired of my job. Also, today I am extremely grumpy. There is a bachelorete party tonight for someone I don't actually know, but to which I am invited because I'm American and am friends with the organizer of said party. Part of me is insanely curious about the stripper that has supposedly been procured (this being rural, backwater Japan, I'm having a hard time with the visuals), the rest of me wants to just sit at home, knit, and watch the Full Monty (either way, I get strippers). Regardless, two and a half more hours of work and grumpiness. Bleah.

But here's some Engrish for you, from the Lama Temple in Beijing:
Oh, but I am excessively diverted.

Ed: Because I am retarded.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's Aliiiiiiiive!

Yes! I'm back! Oh, Blog of My Heart, hello!

Sorry about that. I actually returned to Japan one week ago exactly, but there's just been so much to catch up on, and it feels like I was gone way longer than eight days. Did you miss me? (it's okay to lie to me, my ego demands it) because I missed you. Well, sort of. I mean, I didn't actually spend all that much time as I was climbing the Great Wall or prancing through the Summer Palace thinking about my knitting blog, but you know what I mean. Since I procured the pictures in this blog, you know that I was thinking about you!

Fetching in the Forbidden City

I've been trying to get all of my trip stuff up on my regular blog, but on Friday I was finally publishing the first round of pictures and commentary, and iWeb spent thirty minutes saying it was publishing (time during which I cannot do anything else on my computer because all there is is the Spinning Color Wheel of Supreme Frustration) but then at the last minute proclaimed an error and I was back where I started. GAAAHH!! I did not miss that bulls*** (sorry, can't curse, my mom reads this).
More Fetching at the Summer Palace

So, anyway, MLE was sweet enough to drop me a line yesterday inquiring whether I had been kidnapped and sold into slavery, so I thought I'd come by quickly and say hello. Okay, actually she just asked if I was coming back (and thank you for that!), but the kidnapping fear was one that crossed my mind a time or two before I set out to China all by my lonesome, so there you go.

Now, I promise to give you the link to my trip stuff when iWeb stops taunting me and lets me publish it, and to tell you all about the small amounts of knitting I've eeked out since I last blogged, in a few days. Meanwhile, I have somehow caught a cold despite the long-awaited arrival of spring, and am going to watch Battlestar Galactica and drink jasmine tea. Good evening, my little Langoliers!