Monday, January 28, 2008

The Lost Apartment Key Mystery

Today I got up early and did a bunch of writing. My brain felt bigger--too huge almost, like it was about to explode from my scholarly activities. I needed to release some of the pressure and I knew just the ticket.

I jogged down to the boat club and spent the next chunk of the morning doing dead lifts and bench presses while listening to gangsta rap on my iPod. After a half hour of this my brain shrunk down to normal but I felt swollen and angry. I needed some food to re-balance my chakras, so I jogged over to the grocery store, purchased an array of pork and vegetable-related products, and was on my way. I still had an hour before work--just enough time to cook some pig, take a shower, and cycle over to school.

But when I jingled my hand around my vest pocket, I felt coins jingling, but no corresponding key jangle. So there I was, in workout clothes with a bag of groceries in front of my apartment and less than an hour before work, and no keys. Things were not looking good. My biggest problem was that I had covered about 4 miles from when I last saw my keys, so I had to backtrack with all the sleuthy perseverance of a well-trained bloodhound.

My first stop was the grocery store. I entered, and went to the woman who helped me at the checkout counter. I said something to the effect of "I don't have my key" and made a startled pantomime recreation of checking my pocket and not finding the key. She seemed to understand and directed me to the service counter.

Here is the exchange that followed:

ME: (in crappy Japanese) I need key.

STORE EMPLOYEE: japanesejapanesejapanesejapanese

ME: key..where?...I don't know...oh no! key...

STORE EMPLOYEE: japanesejapanesejapanese....ano...japanesejapanesejapanese

(At this point we're both babbling incomprehensibly to each other and pantomiming with great vigor)

As an ironic side note, my Japanese lesson last night consisted of how to tell the hotel that you lost your key. Of course I had forgotten everything by today.

2 other employees were summoned--a man in a face-mask and another checkout clerk. They fanned out across the store, covering every square inch of the floor. Nobody found my key and I felt bad that a chunk of this store's super efficient staff had been thrown off their routines because of my mistake. No doubt their fingers would be burning with shame as they frantically tried to catch up to their sushi quota later that day.

I decided to cut my losses and keep looking. I wrote my phone number down for yet another helpful clerk, thanked them profusely, and moved along.

I had about 40 minutes to get to work, and I was still wearing spandex and a skintight shirt, and while there are some jobs where that will fly, this ain't one of them. I had a lot of backtracking to do and not much time.

Unfortunately, my legs were spent from lifting weights, so I had to do the zombie-stagger run until I got tired, then I walked, then I staggered some more, my head shiftlessly swiveling back and forth like some demented Stevie Wonder as I scanned the ground for the glint of metal. I noticed a guy down the path staring at me. He was old and looked angry, and I thought he was going to stick a knife in my ribs for what we did during the war or something.

But it turns out he was just scrutinizing this stumbling moron and thinking "I just found some keys in the bushes, and there's a 110% chance that they belong to this careless foreigner." And he was right.

So with a burst of "japanesejapanesejapanesejapanese" he revealed my keychain in his hand. He seemed guarded, but eventually decided that it would be preposterous for some big foreigner to randomly try to scam some random keys off him. So even though I didn't understand everything he was telling me, he believed me enough to part with the keys.

Sweet! By now, I had about 35 minutes to get to work, so I staggered home, ate lunch in under 3 minutes, showered, and got to work feeling like a million pesos.

But against all odds, I made it there on time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bring Some Light-Hearted Whimsy to Your Funeral

I was riding back from the mall the other day when I saw this. Take a look.

That's right, let people know how much you love crappy movies for eternity with this handsome Godzilla tombstone. I'll be honest, this is pretty cool. It's sort of like the people who slept in race car beds when they were kids, and you always sort of envied them because you slept in a lame normal bed.

Someday I'll make a movie where someone gets buried with this tombstone, and the guy next to him in the cemetery gets buried with a Mothra tombstone, and they come back as zombies and beat each other to death with their respective granite monsters in an epic super ultra meta-reference battle.

Of course, the best way to buy yourself a righteous sleigh-ride to hell remains the Kiss Kasket, which I believe they buried Dimebag Darrel in. I don't care how you feel about Pantera, but having a deranged man shoot you in the head while you're shredding heavy metal guitar in front of thousands of screaming fans and then getting buried in a Kiss Kasket is a pretty metal way to go.

If Gene Simmons could find a way to make money off of Kiss embalming fluid, he'd do it:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Rock n' Roll Japan

Somebody lost one of the teacher's cards. I had to make a new one. The phrase on the lost card was "meet a rock star." Clearly the rock gods in Valhalla caused this to happen. They wanted me to instill a subconscious love of Van Halen in the minds of my little Japanese students.

So years down the road they won't know why, or how, but when "Jump" comes on the radio they'll have a "Manchurian Candidate" reflex and start playing air guitar.

Friday, January 11, 2008

May God Have Mercy on Us All

I saw this idling outside of an apartment complex this morning. I was just finishing up the last 5 minutes of my run, and I sprinted home, praying that I could grab my camera and get back in time to take a picture of this monstrosity.

Relief washed over me when I saw that it was still there, parked in all its airbrushed majesty.

I admire the commitment to aesthetics. Those wings look like they negatively alter the van's aerodynamics, not to mention screw you over in parking garages. I wonder who owns this thing? What are his hobbies? Does the van have a grape soda dispenser in the console? How badass would it be if the guy dressed up like Grimace from McDonald's and drove around passing out candy on Halloween? Or not on Halloween to be even creepier...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My Ironic Day

One of my classes just started learning the names of different classes. We did art class, music class, swimming class, math class, English class...and karate class.

How do you pronounce "karate?" Probably something like ka-RODDY, right? Well, me too. In Japanese you say it more like ka-ra-tay (using the funny Japanese r/l mixture sound). And it is a Japanese word after all.

But since this is English class, I'm teaching the kids how to say it American style. So in essence, I am sitting up there teaching them how to say their own damn word incorrectly. They are coming to school in order to learn how to say a word they already know, but with an affected American accent.

It's like a Japanese person telling me how to call my favorite video game "Su-pa Ma-li-o Bu-ra-sa-zu" or something.

Luckily, the kids are only ever thinking about playing their Nintendo DS Lites and drawing cartoon feces, so this all went over their heads.

Probably for the better.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Vacation Pictures!

It used to be (according to the movies that are my only reference) when someone invited you to look at vacation pictures, you approached the event with dread. It meant sitting captive on someone's couch, watching slide after slide of his pasty family waving in front of the Eifel Tower. Well, this is 2008, and we demand instant gratification.

So here are a select few of my vacation pictures. The best part is that you can look at all of them in about 2 minutes--less if you get bored. It's a great time to be alive and distractable!

The drive to the beach, like Kate Moss, was cold, beautiful, and coated in a fine white powder.

Tis Homer, the greatest Dane of them all!

This picture looks like it should be on the cover of an Ayn Rand novel about the indestructible power of man's spirit or something. There's so much majesty, strength, mystery, and explosive greatness contained in this photograph, that it takes away from it when I tell you it's just 2 of my friends being dumbasses.

This is also awesome. When you fall on your ass and your reaction is still one of defiant triumph, you win at life.