Sunday, October 30, 2005

Mono Lake Trip...Again

So, a brief review of the week up to the fun part. Midterm, dinner with friend and parents, met some people, organized some things, yada yada.

Then Saturday came. Well, once again I was responsible for transporting people to and from Mono Lake. The good thing was this time I got to take THREE of my own guests (Ralph, Manabu and Takaya). So we set off at 8:00 am with the afore mentioned folks and Ken in the car.
Here are the passengers of my car posing with my arm and the Mono County line sign.
Unlike last fall, this year we arrived at camp with ample time to set up tents and cut wood. So we went for a long hike.
One of the many places we stopped because of the view.
Beautiful rocks.
Me, in a cave at the top of the mountain.
Well, we returned to camp, started a fire and cooked. Made smores, looked at the stars, told humorous antecdotes and spoke Japanese. Well, I spoke Japanese. Finally, around 11 o'clock, with plummeting temperatures, we decided to hit the sacks.

Unfortunately, since they are living out of suitcases while they are here in the US, Manabu and Takaya did not have sacks. I asked them earlier in the day if they had sleeping bags, and they cheerfully replied that they did not, and not to worry because they would be OK. The weather report predicted 20 degrees F. Knowing this, I made them buy polar fleece blankets in Lee Vining earlier that day, but I expected that would not be enough. In order to keep Manabu and Takaya alive, I had decided to cram them into the tent with Ralph and I so that our body heat would slightly off set their lack of adequate sleeping bags. As we all crammed together in the tent, feeling rather awkward, I remarked "This is a good experience" to which Takaya replied "Yes this is very gay experience" (meaning to say "good" of course). Laughter. The next funny line came immediately afterwards, when Ralph repeated the phrase that Manabu and Takaya had taught him and said "oppai ga ooki ne, tobe tobe". Manabu then, finally translated what it meant, and said "You have very big boobs don't you, let's jump". 5 minutes of constant, unstoppable laughter followed. After 5 minutes, we all quit laughing at the exact same time and went to sleep without saying another word.

The night went well at first. But around 3 o'clock the temperature dropped off dramatically. Manabu and Takaya started to be very cold, so I gave Manabu an emergency blanket, which he wrapped around his feet (not the proper use). Takaya and I began searching for the handwarmers I had bought for just such an occasion, but our searching in the dark in a 7x7 tent filled with 4 men was not successful. Finally Takaya gave up and just tried to sleep. I slept relatively well, and woke up at around 5:30 to start the fire that I knew we would be needing to thaw people out. Lighting the fire was an interesting experience, as the matchbox and logs were both covered in frost. As I expected, in the morning people sprinted for my fire.

The drive home was uneventful, except for the fact that Ralph and I realized that there may be a business opportunity which might be ideally taken advantage of by a partnership between the two of us. We must investigate this further, but from what we talked about, it seemed like an idea so crazy that it just might work!

So all in all, my 6th and last Mono Lake trip was a good one.

Monday, October 24, 2005

New Housemate

Well, mom and dad, you probably shouldn't read anymore of this post. Just leave the site now. I'm warning you.

So, I have a new housemate. But sadly, she doesn't pay rent. In fact she is a pest. Really. She's a rat.

As I walked into the garage last night I saw a rodent the size of a large squirrel, but with a tail of skin rather than fur, run up a metal wall and into my ceiling. Closer inspection revealed droppings in various locations throughout the garage. Great. Yesterday we removed anything that might be digestible by rodents from the garage. Today I bought a trap (The humane kind. The last thing I want is an injured or poisoned rat crawling somewhere inaccessible and dying, have you ever smelled dead rat?! It's terrible!). I have been eagerly anticipating catching her. Maybe it is about time that I got a pet cat?

Mom and Dad, if you are still reading I highly recommend that you stop right now.

I think she's living in your couch.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Very Full Week

So, this week finally ended. It was a very, very full week. Here is a list of what I did. Please note that I have left many things vague because they will likely be the subjects of later writings...which will be in purple.

Sunday: While researching English paper, discovered very depressing fact. Re-wrote Japanese speech for the first time (my first "speech" was a good story, but had no thesis, like much of my writing, and life). Did research for Thursday's discussion. Played a little of the "Star Wars" RPG that Diego runs.

Monday: Disocvered re-write of Japanese speech was no good either, started from scratch a third time. Ranted about racism in English class, but not well, since I was still emotional about the very depressing fact.

Tuesday: Did more research for my discussion, wrote tons of notes. Finished English paper. Class all day. Went and played basketball with Chih-I, one of my PAL partners.

Wednesday: Spent entire day beginning, and finishing, a 4 page research paper for my History of Science class. Except the times when I had to be a Roof Helper.

Thursday: Midterm in FST10. Paper is History class. Did 4 hours of preparation for my discussion. Had discussion (it went well, although, for the first part I was really nervous and I ended up using maybe 1/8th of my 9 pages of notes). Met cool people after discussion. Treated Kira to dinner on her birthday. Hung out with Kira until 10:40. Returned home to find that my house was being used to prepare for "Davis is Burning". Tried to help out, but failed.

Friday: Rewrote Japanese speech for the third time. Finally got it right. Took Sung-Eun, my other PAL partner, to the thrift store in Woodland, where we shopped for my costume for "Davis is Burning". Went home and helped Diego prepare for the show (he was the MC!). Lost track of cellphone. From 7:30 to 11:30 I served as one of the official camera people for "Davis is Burning". While leaving I heard a large group of rowdy people I did not know saying they had heard there was going to be a "kickin'" party at my house, which was news to me. I immediately went home, turned off all the lights, and watched several cars cruise at slow speed past my house. I was not pleased that this rumor began, but I may have given my roommates too much of an earful when they called and asked if they could bring a few people from the real party over to our place. Stayed up till 3:30 to apologize for slightly freaking out, but fell asleep before anyone got home.

Saturday: Woke up worried that I had ruined my roommates' evening. Went to work the Medieval Studies booth at Preview Day. Came home at 1pm, slept on the couch until 5pm. Wrote this entry.

So as you can see, it was quite a week. Next week is full also, but it cannot compare to this last one. I feel like I just drove over 7 speed bumps at 65 miles per hour.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Trip That Should Have Had Pictures

So, today Ralph and I went on a trip to Great America. I had bought some extra tickets that Mary had and was going to sell them to Adam, however, after great difficulty contacting him, and realizing that Great America would soon be closing for the season rendering the tickets worthless, I finally decided just to go, and knowing that Ralph liked rollercoasters, I invited him along. Well, we got there, parked and found out that the tickets were no good anyway. They were intended for use only on a certain day. I don't know how Mary got us in before. But then again, Mary seems to me to be highly skilled in areas about which I know nothing.

Not to be dissuaded, Ralph and I decided to go to San Francisco instead. Ralph had never been to my 2 favorite places in San Francisco: China Town and Japan Town. So first we decided to go to China town. I was actually fairly disappointed in China Town. Something seemed different this time. It seemed like some of the smaller shops had been driven out of business and had been converted into jewelry shops. I don't know if that was it, but something seemed missing. Anyway, cant say I had a bad time in China Town, because I bought one of the most amazing paintings that I have ever seen. Here it is, the Monkey King.

Such an amazing picture, in my opinion. And it is HUGE. Streches from the floor to the ceiling in my room! And since I showed such an interest in it, the shop keeper gave me a discount off the artificially high price! Actually though, I paid the exact right amount for it. So now I have a huge picture of the #1 Chinese hero in my room. I know it will never happen because I'm white, but the greatest dream of all in my desire to act in east Asia would be to play the Monkey King.

Here is me as the Monkey King on Halloween, 2003. My best costume ever.
Alright, enough of the really impossible dreams. Back to my day. We then went to Japan Town. Japan Town is always nice. Had some ramen and donburi. Went to the Kinokunya Bookstore. Bought up to volume 7 of Slam Dunk, which I plan to read when my schedule calms down a little. Then we drove to the Palace of Fine Arts, walked around, decided the Exploritorium was a little too expensive, drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and went to Costco. It was a fun day, since Ralph is such a great guy to hang out with. He always has something interesting to say...even when you are not listening because you are trying to drive in San Francisco.

Monday, October 10, 2005

What Am I Thinking

I realized today that I now have 4 projects that are non-class related that I have committed to doing. 1) Roundtable Discussion, on Thursday of next week. 2) Preview Day, the Saturday of next week. 3) Japanese Speech for speech contest, application due Friday of next week, to be performed 3 weeks later. 4) Application to JET, which I want to have done by the end of November.

Strangely, I'm not worried.

Oh, by the way. I have been trying contacts for the last week. I hated them. The left eye was OK, but I might as well have not put in the right eye. The prescription was that wrong. I fumbled around all week not recognizing anyone and feeling very uncomfortable in public because I could not see what was going on around me. But I got a better prescription today, and now the right eye is almost fine. Still not used to contacts, but getting there.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Nothing but Philosophy This Time

Proving, once again, that life is what you make it, I just taught my best astronomy class. Why was it the best? Because I woke up this morning and thought "What have I done at Davis that anyone cares about? All I have wanted to do was make other people's lives better, and the only life I have made better was my own." Probably not true, I hope at least, but still a depressing thought. So I just decided to teach the best class I had ever taught. It was amazing how the sudden breaking of habit made such a change. But I find that has been true a lot recently. I stopped eating processed sugar, and now I don't even crave it. I stopped driving my car to get groceries, and now I hardly drive my car at all. I stopped worrying about how astronomy has been getting less and less fun, and suddenly I was able to make it fun.

Now if only I can stop worrying about my own personal growth. It is suprising how always thinking about if you are becoming a better person or not will actually make it harder to be one.