Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Once again, we were up at the crack of dawn and jouncing off to the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. We missed the dawn cruise, which would've been nice to see, as that's when most animals are active. Instead, another driver drove Sayaka and I back along the same bouncy road for nearly two hours back. After a twenty minute video before the park opened, we ewnet to the feeding area and were lucky enough to see about eight come for the feeding. The young'uns came first, managing to spill the coconut milk all down the tree in the process. A few more mature ones showed up towards the end, more to bully the babies than anything else. Especially fun was watching one dangle from the rope and, as tourists clicked away in oohs and aahs, proceed to take a poo.

Then there was a long (six hours) bus ride back across Sabah to the village of Kundasang. After a night in a bug-infested cabin and sweltering heat, it was nice to get to our next place. Up in the highlands, with a great view of Mt. Kinabalu, highest in SE Asia, Kinabalu Pine Resorts had a huge room, hot shower, and included our meals (the first beer was free!). The village itself didn't have much, a few market stalls, a general store, and an old WWII memorial that Sayaka refused to even get close to.

We had a delicious dinner, after which I was feeling very relaxed. Then Sayaka wanted to get a foot massage, I guess to work all the kinks out after six hours on a bus, or something like that. So we phoned up the service and they sent two people out to service us. Previously, we'd gone to the parlor to have it done, where they have comfy chairs, low lighting and soft music to relax you. Well, this time it was four of us in a hotel room, with harsh lighting and no music, not to mention the two Malays couldn't speak a lick of English. It was a one-hour, deathly quiet massage. But it still managed to put me more to sleep, at least after the pain wore off. Foot massages are NOT gentle.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Kota Kinabalu to Kinabatangan

Today we woke up at 5:00 (early again!) to leave for the airport around 5:30. So we stretched, got up, finished packing things up and dragged our tired butts down to reception for check-out. The sleepy young guy at the desk seemed really surprised to see us. It wasn't until then that Sayaka looked at the clock. We'd set our cell-phone alarms, not even bothering to notice the one-hour time difference. So we were up and ready to go at 4:30am. No wonder the desk-clerk was shocked. We went back upstairs and reset our clocks (correctly, this time!) and started to doze off, only to have the alarm sound. You know how when you're just drifting off and you get woken up, how tired you feel? It was in that state that we were off to eastern Sabah.

We arrived in Sandakan for our tour, only to find absolutely nobody waiting for us. Despite desparate phone calls to the hotel that organized our tour, no one came for us for two hours. By that time, we'd missed the morning feeding at the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. We rescheduled it for tomorrow and had the driver just take us to the nature lodge where we would stay.

The drive was two hours, over not-so-nice roads. The driver turned out to be pretty nice. I couldn't blame him for not getting us, as it was either the hotel who forgot to give the tour company our info, or the tour operator who forgot about us. He showed us his house and we got to see his family briefly, while he ran upstairs for something. He's a hard-working guy who drive the same route 2 or 3 times a day, every day. He's gotta support those six kids somehow.

The Nature Lodge was off the Kinabatangan River, across and downstream a bit from the car dropoff. We stayed in a little bungalow with a sort-of functioning toilet, electricity from six to 11:30pm only, and a bat that was sleeping in the corner. Guess who had to chase it out and who stood on the porch screaming like a little girl. Sayaka's so brave! At night we were left with a mosquito coil (Sayaka nicked two more from reception) and a little oil lamp for each of us (that I managed to knock over, in the WOOODEN HUT!)

The river cruise was fun, we got to see macaques and a few groups of proboscis monkeys, as well as the odd pied hornbill. I also got to see my first leech, a big sucker (get it? ha, ha) that attached itself to the inside of the boat when we pushed into some underbrush to get a better look at the monkeys. The guide wasn't afraid to pick it up and play with it a bit before tossing it back into the river. He said it wouldn't attach until it found a good vein to get blood from.

It got colder on the ride back, to the point I wished I'd brought a jacket. We had nice people on the boat, a German, two Dutch people and two Japanese, the first we saw on our trip, so Sayaka finally got to ahve a full conversation instead of baby talk with me.

We went back and had a decent dinner, then after it'd been dark awhile, we set out on a night safari. As we were leaving, there was a big commotion on one of the bungalow porch's, and staff came running with spray. Guess somebody'd seen a (poisonous) centipede, and the fire ants had taken a safari of their own, right for someone's building. We saw some cool insects, but not many large mammals. A whip scorpion, lizard (pictured), lantern bug, flying fox, tractor millipede, some sleeping kingfishers and last, a full-on scorpion. It wasn't until the guide had stopped playing with it and let the scorpion go that I realized we were only about 20m from our bungalow. Great. So we went back and drank lots of beer.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Kota Kinabalu and Sapi Island

Sayaka sleeps well on planes and buses. Not so for me. While she spent most of the flight dozing to music, I couldn't sleep so I watched a bunch of movies. So when we arrived in KK, all I wanted to do was sleep, which we didn't get to do until well after midnight. Imagine my surprise when, at 5:30am, flick! go the lights and she's up repacking her bags, with everything in plastic shopping bags. Not the ideal way to start a vacation, but at least I could sleep on the island.

Sundays there's a Chinese market that runs the length of one of the shopping streets, something Sayaka really wanted to see. We wandered along it scouting breakfast and some souvenirs. You can find anything at this market, from clothes to potted plants to puppies and bunnies in cages. I'm not sure if the people eat the animals, but they sure are cute. Sayaka found a couple magnets and we had a typical Malaysian breakfast of tom yum mee. You might recognize the tom yum, it's the same style as Thai tom yum kun, but the mee means 'noodles.' It certainly wakes you up in the morning, that's for sure.

After breakfast, we grabbed a kilo of manggis, this purple fruit with a really soft, white inside that's really sweet, along with a couple rolls and headed for the ferry terminal. As with any terminal in SE Asia, we were met by touts trying to get us to go to their counter at the terminal, I presume because they receive a commission. Since the price is always the same, it doesn't really make any difference unless you'd prefer a quiet stroll. We got our tickets to Pulau Sapi and headed off in a small boat, along with a couple of nice Dutch women.

At Sapi Island, we did a short hike around the perimeter of the island in our sandals (bad idea!). We even saw a monitor lizard at a small, deserted beach on the far side. Unfortunately, we were approached by a guy who kept asking us if we wanted a guide. Even though we said no, he went on ahead as though we'd said yes. He kept guiding us around, telling us to watch for something, asking if we want to swim at this beach or rest somewhere. Halfway through he asked us for money. It was rather annoying, but since he had showed us a trail down to the beach with the lizard, a place we wouldn't have gone otherwise, we relented and paid him, hoping he'd leave us alone.

No. He kept showing up, asking if we wanted to rent snorkelling gear, and trying to charge us a high price, even surprising us while we were swimming to see if we wanted a snorkelling guide. Yikes! Eventually, he left us in peace and we were able to enjoy ourselves. Sayaka had the foresight to bring a bag of chips along that she took into the ocean. She would pitch a handful in front and then duck down to watch all the fish clamor for food. It worked beautifully, everyone else was complaining about not being able to see any fish, probably because by this time we were floating in a sea of chips. The only downside was when they started mistaking her bikini for food and trying to nip at her.

We'd intended to take the last boat back at 5pm, but we were compelled to leave an hour early because the wind had picked up and dark clouds had gathered over KK. We made it back about 10 minutes before the rain, but it wasn't much beyond a light sprinkle. We found an ATM for me and then hit Centre Point Mall, a surprisingly modern mall filled with tiny stalls selling all manner of goods. After getting a (somewhat painful, yet relaxing) foot massage, we headed to the seafood place by our hotel for a lobster dinner. We had it fried in a garlic and lemon sauce, which turned out lovely. The cockroaches must've thought so too, as Sayaka spent a good portion of the meal standing on her chair or sitting with her legs tucked up under her. The only other downside was a street kid who thought we'd be good marks and sat down at our table and kept asking us for money. I've encountered it before in Vietnam quite often, I never give money but would usually order a plate of fried rice or something small for them. But this kid was being a bit impetuous and I just wanted to enjoy a quiet meal with my girlfriend. Eventually, when they saw I wasn't going to buy anything for him, the waiter chased him off.

Then it was off to bed early so we could make our flight the next day.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Arriving in Borneo

(Note: Posts during my trips will be dated the day they happen, not the date I post them. This will make it easier to follow my trip. So far, I've got one for every day. Check back often!)

Did you know that AirAsia flies out of a different airport in Kuala Lumpur than Malaysian Airlines? Because I sure didn't.

To make my trip cheaper, I booked a return ticket to Kuala Lumpur through the travel agent in Japan, then booked a separate ticket with AirAsia to get me to Borneo and back. Sayaka and I arrived in KL around 4:30 or so. I kept looking around trying to find my flight and what gate I should head to. Finally, I approached the information desk and the nice girl there kindly informed me that my plane would be leaving from another airport. Thirty minutes away by taxi. I told Sayaka I'd be waiting for her at her gate and, after a sprint through customs (fortunately, there wasn't a long wait at immigration and customs didn't decide I looked like a smuggler -- there's a death penalty for drugs) I burst out and rushed around looking for a taxi. I eventually found one for MR 20, actually I think it was just some guy who was looking to make some weekend cash, and we rushed off to the LCC Terminal. Malaysia has very nice roads, at least around the airport, a lot nicer than Vietnam and less crowded than Thailand. Despite my concerns, I made it there in plenty of time, enough to sit down and have a coffee at the local Starbucks lookalike chain.

The flight wasn't too bad, especially for a discount flight. But I was a bit surprised when they charged me for my snacks, I'm so used to the major airlines and their all-you-can-drink beer service. So we pulled in to Kota Kinabalu, the major transport hub of Sabah, the province of Malaysian Borneo we were visiting, around 10:30pm. I got through
immigration (again!) and went out to find Malaysian Airlines. The screen said her flight would be arriving at Terminal 1, I was at Terminal 2. I started looking for directions to where I could meet her, but none were to be found. So I asked the information desk girls. They took time out from gossiping and watching TV to tell me that Terminal 1 is the same airport, but on the other side of the runway. The only way to get there is by taxi. Again. I'd arranged for transport to our hotel, but they certainly weren't waiting for me in the arrival area. So I bought a taxi coupon, MR 20, and jumped aboard. It was closer, only twenty minutes this time. I arrived to find Sayaka wandering aimlessly outside the arrival doors, wondering where the hell I'd gone off to. She'd completely managed to miss the hotel pickup sign with my name on it, though to be fair it was written in tiny writing and the guy was holding it about level with his crotch.

We got to our hotel around 11:30 local time, an hour earlier than Japan. The Hamin Lodge wasn't bad, the room was a bit small, but the shower put out hot water and it was located next door to a really cool open-air seafood restaurant area with tanks full of various fish and shellfish waiting to be hacked up or dropped into a pot of boiling water. Yum!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Off to Borneo from Tomorrow

I've been on vacation this week, except one day where I had a little bit to do for work. But I've been busy nonetheless, trying to get things sorted out for my absence, like making sure my roommate can handle watering the plants. I'm also trying to get in touch with my landlord, there was a problem with the bank getting the direct-withdrawal of the rent going. The problem is, it's due on the 27th, which is today.

See, in Japan when you sign for something, you use a hanko, your official chop. It's a unique stamp with your family name on it and is very difficult to copy. I suppose it's better than a signature, because you can forge a signature. But if someone gets hold of your hanko, they can sign for anything, and legally it's as though you've signed it. Being a foreigner, though, I don't have an official hanko, although I can and at some point will get mine registered so I can use it with the bank. So I have to sign for official documents, but I'm also supposed to put down a super-double-secret number that I selected more than three years ago when I first came to Japan and set up my bank account. Unfortunately, I never can remember it, and the bank is loathe to give it out. I spent two and a half hours in the bank Monday trying to get my 4-digit number.

So the guarantor company sent me a form to fill out again, because the first one didn't have my super-secret code, but I had to go to the bank to get it filled out properly, which I wasn't able to to until this week. And I'm going to be gone from tomorrow until next month, when I'll arrive back the same day that my rent's due again. So I'll have no idea if they'll get the money or not until after I've gone. Bleh. I had similar problems with my last apartment that never got resolved, thanks to their unwillingness to try and either get the forms filled out properly, or
set up a new way of payment. So I just had to wait until after rent was due, the company called, complained that I wasn't paying, I tried to explain why, they refused to change anything because "it's in the contract" even though it's obviously not working. So now I'm in the same boat again.

So my landlord isn't answering the phone, which is a bit suspicious. I've got some complaints about the apartment, but I also need to know how to arrange for rent to be paid if the bank thingy doesn't work. Well, if he's not gonna fix things, I guess I don't need to pay rent.

As for packing, I've done precious little of it. The heat during the day has me so lethargic I can hardly move, let alone think about what I need to pack. I'll get something things put in, then maybe go spend the hottest part of the day wandering around a department store or sitting in a cafe reading with an iced tea. Mmm, iced tea.

So posts may be lighter, depending on internet access and how much I'm doing, and there will be no post for the next week, probably, until I see Sayaka off. Honestly, I'd like to have not much to do, just find a place on the beach and stay there. But knowing me, I'll get restless and want to run off and do things. I'm debating now the merits of trying to climb Mt. Kinabalu, the highest mountain on Borneo. It's awfully tempting, but I'm not much inclined to bring cold weather gear to a tropical country for three out of 30 days.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Little Brother Update

Heard from Ben. He's at Fort Lewis in Washington for his permanent assignment. He gets a nice view of Mt. Rainier, and since he's Mr. Buff now, he's looking at climbing it when he gets back. But first, he's going to be deployed to Iraq for more than a year.

He'll be in an Air Cavalry unit, which means lots of flying about in helicopters. I don't like the sound of that one bit, I think he'd probably be safer with both feet on the ground. Helicopters have a penchant for either getting shot down or crashing.

At least he gets to go home in August for a bit before shipping out. It's well past his B'day, but I've got some things to send him.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Meetin' the parents

So I'm heading to Borneo with the girlfriend. She's only coming for the first week, after which she has to go back to work and I'm left on a tropical island paradise all by my lonesome. *sniff* It's hard being me...

As a condition of her going, her parents had to meet me. Guess they didn't want their eldest daughter running off to a foreign country with some baka gaijin. And they don't speak a lick of English, so I was left to charm them with my eloquent Japanese. Riiiight.

Sayaka and I met before so we could go over our trip. She's especially excited about seeing orangutans, and this is the entire reason that I'm not headed to Mongolia to drink fermented mare's milk and wrestle fat, sweaty men. I'd found an online tour offered that would organize a night on Turtle Island, where we could watch sea turtles come onto the beach to lay eggs, then head to the orangutan reservation to see big, orange monkeys. Unfortunately, the tour company, which had been so enthusiastic about getting me on this tour, then emailed me to regretfully inform me that Turtle Island was fully booked that night and we couldn't go. So we're scheduled for a river cruise instead. Dunno how good that will be, but Sayaka thinks we might see wild orangutans, so she's psyched.

After talking about monkeys, we wandered over to the department store where she works so she could show me off to her co-workers. Foreigners in my area are rather common, or at least they are to me, and most Japanese folk seem to be accustomed to our presence. Well, I guess some people just aren't that used to us. I expect it with kids, because they don't get out much. But the moment I walked into the store (incidentally one of the biggest chains in Japan), her two co-workers could do nothing but stare at me like I'd grown another head. One mustered enough English to tell me her name was 'Kana.' The other just stared until her friend elbowed her and from that point she just babbled in Japanese about my eyelashes. I guess they're long or something.

Well, at least they liked me. I suppose. And then it was off to meet the parents. Her family's actually quite lovely. She and her younger sister don't look a thing alike, but they both have eyes that resemble their mother's. It's funny how two people can not look like each other, but readily resemble a third. I'd had nightmares about inadvertently blurting out something inappropriate, or perhaps mentioning that weekend in Izu that she supposedly went on with her friend (don't worry, they can't speak English).

As it turns out, her father and sister handle alcohol as well as Sayaka, ie, half a can of chu-hi and it's lights out. So they stayed sober and Mom and I got blitzed. We stuffed ourselves silly with sushi and tempura, really good stuff. I think I just can't always find the good restaurants. That place was spectacular. All in all, things went well and her parents approve of me. Which is good, because if they didn't, I don't know what we'd do about the grand she spent on tickets and the ton I've dropped on reservations.

Lovely holiday weekend

Nothing says 3-day weekend like a typhoon followed by an earthquake.

Yesterday was Umi no hi, or Sea Day. It's officially the first day for the beaches to be open, although people go once it gets warm, like in May. I'd thought to have another beach BBQ and maybe do some hiking or wandering about somewhere. Instead, Saturday I was treated to lots of rain, followed on Sunday by promises of much more rain and high winds in the form of Typhoon Man-yi, or Typhoon #4 as it's called in Japan. Sunday the rain for the most part after 3pm, though the sky was always threatening.

Sunday happened to be the day I went to meet the girlfriend's parents in Yokohama and I was rather wary, there's a bridge somewhere on the Tokaido line that floods if somebody upstream spits in it, as I found out my first year when I was stuck in a typhoon in Yokohama and it took 3 hours to make the normally 30-minute trip.

Monday was scheduled to be sunny and warm. I was looking forward to this one day, particularly because typhoons come through and sweep out all the pollution and clouds, making everything clear and beautiful. I thought I'd save that day for laundry, maybe take a bike ride to the top of Shonandaira, in general laze about and enjoy summer.

Well, it was sunny until about 10:30am, when I'd put all my laundry into the washer. Then it got cloudy, which I thought was odd, but didn't mind. I'd felt the earthquake and was watching the news on TV. I guess it was pretty big, a 6.8 on the Japanese scale, which is different from the Richter scale. Five people lost their lives, all of them in their 70s and 80s, crushed by debris when their houses collapsed, and more than 800 lost their homes. But that was up in Niigata, well away from Hiratsuka. But it was surprising still, to feel it on the 2nd floor this far away. It happened in what seems to be the same area as the 2004 earthquake, the one that derailed the Shinkansen.

So after watching all this and doing some reading and cleaning, I decided to take a little bike ride up to the discount store. It's a bit far, so it's a treat to go up there and find some things for the house. I ended up getting a new frying pan and a kitchen knife, things sorely needed. As I walked out, I felt the rain hit me. It wasn't raining hard, but for a 30-minute cycle back, it doesn't matter how much it rains, you still end up wet. So I got wet riding back and got home just in time to bring in my damp sheets and dry them by fan. Bleh. My pillowcases haven't dried out still. At least I'd brought my futon in -- I'd debated leaving it to air out.

So now it's Tuesday, and the rain hasn't let up. It stopped briefly in the morning, enough to make me regret that I chose this day to take the train. But as the train pulled up to my destination, I looked out and it had started pouring. Guess I made a good decision after all.

So after a 3-day miserable weekend, I'm ready for my vacation to begin Saturday. It'll be nearly 40 days of vacation, minus one little bit on the 26th I've gotta do. After that last piece of work's finished, it's off to Borneo for a month. I suppose I can't complain too much, then.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Halle -frickin-lujah!!

As some of you may know (I've bitched about it to anybody who'd listen, and a few who wouldn't), I've had some internet problems. That's putting it mildly. For me, it's been a crisis.

I rely on the internet for everything, and since the beginning of June I've not been able to use half of it. It may sound like nothing, but for me it's like waking up one day and you've lost a testicle. The part of the internet that got severed was the part that allowed me to download listening sections for my students, talk to my family, and get my credit card company to allow charges to go through so I could pay for hotel reservations in Malaysia. Basically for a month and a half my life was paused.

Turns out my fool of a roommate(the internet's in his name) told the phone company he was moving, but somehow neglected to tell the ISP that we were. Turns out that something got reset, and the network barrier (ISP's firewall?) was set to allow browsing, but packets were put on the strongest filter setting (ie, nothing gets through).

After half an hour of complaining to the wrong company (in Japan they aren't very clear as to who's handling what part of the operation), they gave me another number.

This time I got the right guy, but he spoke no English, only keigo Japanese. He directed me through their website and had me fix the address and filters, and less than 5 minutes later, we're up and running. Now I got 75 podcasts queued up on iTunes. Let's hear it for rikaichan, it saved me with the kanji. Otherwise I'd still be listening to him say, "now go down 5cm and click on the button with lots of kan-- wait! Not that one!"

Happy Mike (my roommate) told me that fixing the internet "isn't one of my top priorities." Now he either owes me a case of beer, or I might find that it's not one of my priorities to keep the gas, electricity, or water on in MY apartment when I go on vacation for a month.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Cucumber Soda

It's out there, but I haven't found it yet. Wonder if it's more of a Tokyo thing, I might have to head into the megalopolis and see, but $20 just to see if I can spot a bottle isn't really worth it yet. Incidentally, it's by Pepsi.

My friend was at school and some of her students came running up to her with a bottle of greenish liquid, begging her to try it. After trying to think of whether they'd just had science class and being generally wary, one of them took a sip. So my friend tried it and said it was "cucumber-ish."

When I find it, I'll have a ginormous photo posted.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

It's Tanabata baby!

Today marks the last day of the 4-day long Tanabata Star Festival here in Hiratsuka. My new apartment is about 2 blocks outside the main area of mayhem, which is better than can said for Tracey's apartment, where she's had the joy of listening to a generator chugging and awful karaoke from the stage set up outside her window.

Typically, I try to avoid Tanabata, and in the past Ana, Damien and Julian have been my accomplices in escaping to somewhere else, usually the Narita Gion Festival. But this time I decided to stick it out here. Mostly because I took a trip to Shimoda last weekend and with the Borneo trip coming up, money's a bit tight.

Thursday was the opening day, and since the crowds were smaller, the decorations newer and the stench of rotting garbage not yet overpowering, I hit the streets with various people and consumed large quantities of Japanese carnie food. And beer. Which led to Friday being a quiet day at work. But then the weekend came with a vengeance and we hit the beach for a BBQ. Edwina (in the cowboy hat) makes fantastic cookies and killer BBQ sauce. This was the alternative to the day swarm of people inside the festival area. The beach was really quiet. It probably had something to do with the intermittent rain that would sprinkle down suddenly and then quit just as we would make a move to cover things up.

The weather held, the food was good, and I have a major hangover from the festivities. All in all, a good way to celebrate a star.

In other news, I've commented most of the photos at my flickr site so you have some reference to what you're seeing. Enjoy.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Vertical farms? Buying local in Manhatten

How cool would this be?

As many of you know, I no longer have a car. My Bimmer died just before I left for Japan. In Japan, there's no need for a car (well, mostly. I have a pile of old futons that need to be driven to the recycling center, and it's easier to go camping when you have a car to carry the BBQ, etc.), so I would take the train to work and tool around town on my bike. As of last April, I changed jobs and am able to bike to work, so I get some good exercise. It's not so great now as it's 30 degrees C and the rainy season, but a towel and sink help, plus no aircon means I sweat all day anyway, I just get a head start. This means I don't use any petroleum-based fuel for my transportation. It's all environmental, isn't it?

I was listening to NPR Science Friday's podcast a while ago, and they had Lester R. Brown on, who brought up a good point. If you live in the US, he said, and decide to save gas and walk a mile instead of driving, you'll save a mile's worth of gas, right? Well, all that walking has probably made you thirsty. So you drink a pint of milk to replenish yourself. Now that milk had to come from somewhere. And our globalized economy means that milk probably isn't from the dairy down the road. Most likely it's been shipped by refrigerated truck from a couple thousand miles away. So now you've just consumed more energy than you would've if you'd just driven your car. Counterintuitively, by attempting to conserve gasoline, you've inadvertently consumed more of it.

Now there are probably some logical holes in this argument. You burn energy anyway, by just living, so you'd have had to consume something in that time anyway, which means that not all that milk is going to replenish your lost energy from walking, most of it is for your brain and normal body functions. But it makes a good point about globalization that for many people is difficult to grasp. We've become so accustomed to the excesses available to us that anything else is alien.

Buying locally produced food is a good way to reduce this. Every school system I've worked in gets milk for the students. Each student gets one carton at lunch. I don't know if it's 'free' (funded by education taxes) or if it's paid for in students fees, etc., but it's there. This milk all comes from the school's town. It's locally produced. In many cities, even getting closer to Tokyo, you can spot open areas from the train that are planted, either with rice or a variety of vegetables. I'm not sure who owns the land, but I know people who rent a small plot and grow veggies that they use to supplement their diets. It's a small thing, but possible. I've got my tomato plant, which has flourished and has now started growing tomatoes. Their tiny and green, but they'll ripen up.

Not that I'm an environmental angel. I don't drive, but I fly often, roughly twice a year. And not piddling distances, either. March saw a roundtrip flight from Tokyo to Indy, and at the end of the month I'm headed to Malaysia for a month. That's another 7-hour flight each way. Yikes!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Little brother update

Heard from Mom. Guess Ben's got his posting. He didn't get into the paratrooper program like he wanted, but he gets to drive around in a big, honkin' truck. He'll be based somewhere out of Washington state, around the Tacoma area. At least he can visit coffee house Mecca.

Happy Birthday, America

That's about it. No fireworks or cookouts for me. No day off from work or school. I colored a bad imitation of the flag on a piece of paper and made a paper hat to wear at school. That's about all I could get done in the few minutes between classes and marking a thousand papers.

Oh, and it rained the ENTIRE day. Heavily.