My Degree Had A Purpose?

Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2001

Subject: Re: hey hey hey


Glad to hear English is going well... and I'm all envious because I know would have totally messed up my first essay... and because the last and only big essay I wrote in university garnered me a lovely 79%. Or was it 74%? Anyway, it was shite. But that was partly because I wrote consciously bad essays thinking it was what they wanted. Or at least, that's what I try to tell myself.


Interesting fact: since about a quarter of the students here are engineers or scientists of some sort, physics is actually helping me out with conversation subjects. I discussed relativity with a chemical engineer the other day... leaving the other student, who was a TV journalist, totally without a clue... (Oops... we tried to explain, but, well, you know how easy it is to explain relativity...) (I mean, it SOUNDS easy once you know it, but...)

Not Coming Home

Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2001

Subject: Re: HEy HEy


Heh... can't really come home for Christmas. That would cost about $2000, and I'd rather spend that money on a laptop right now... I'll be able to take up to two weeks' holidays in March or April... maybe I'll come home then. Although, I probably won't be coming back to Canada until my contract runs out. A flight home and back seems kinda pointless... it's not really a trip or a vacation, since my exploring and adventuring is all happening out here. It would kinda be an anti-vacation...


Realistically, though, I don't know how long I'm going to stick around here. Most of the jobs are pretty dead-end if you speak only English - unless you get lucky, which I'll work on in January - and I'm not incubating as well as I'd hoped. I think I might just need to spend some time at home in Toronto with no debts or responsibilities and just write and draw. Teaching takes up too much of my time here, and I don't find it fulfilling in and of itself. Maybe it's because I don't really have any students of my own and I don't get to see any results of my work - it's just a collective effort, and many of the students never improve. It's a nice, easy way to spend every day, but there are no long-term goals or ultimate achievements. It's entirely temporary, and when I leave I won't really be able to look back and see any effects of what I've done. Talk about footsteps in the sand. Still, I think a lot of people are out here precisely because it IS temporary, and maybe that's why a lot of the teachers here rub me the wrong way... ambitionless, unthinking, just living for now. I find that boring.


Yet another happy and uplifting e-mail from Mike.

Impending Laptop

Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001

Subject: Rain


I would like to thank you both for insisting on buying me jackets to wear in this perpetually sodden country.


It never fails that, when it looks lovely on the first day of my weekend and I think "I really must do something outside tomorrow", it rains the next day.


I think I'm going to order a laptop from Toshiba on Monday. I can get one with a smaller-than-I'd-like screen for ¥138,000 ($1700), or one with a bigger screen for ¥200,000, but I'm not sure if I can afford that. I'd prefer to wait, but Red’s dad just dropped some slide work on me and I figure I'll try to get them done. Besides, Toshiba has a good deal on for the month of December that will give me 128 megs of RAM and a carry case for free. I think I can borrow and install the programs I need from another teacher I met a few weeks ago. The problem right now is that my Kendo instructor went out of her way to find me half the armour I need, so I'm feeling rather obliged to buy the rest, and it's rather expensive. I'm supposed to go buy a helmet and gauntlets with her son today, and that'll likely cost about ¥50,000. A whole suit would run me about ¥120,000, mind you. This will, however, consume my traveller's cheques and drain my emergency return ticket fund until January, so it's making me a little tense. Fortunately, I've managed to convince my friends to postpone meeting until February, when I might head up to Akita to ski/snowboard. Otherwise, I wouldn't be buying the laptop. Another friend wants me to do some work for him in the imminent future as well, so it'll serve several purposes. Besides, I'm going crazy not being able to write anything beyond "notes to self".

Getting Cold

Date: Sun, 16 Dec 2001

Subject: Package 1


My jacket arrived yesterday - thank you! I wore it last night. It's been bloody cold for a place that's not supposed to drop below 5 degrees, but I guess that statistic doesn't include the night and early morning, which are the times when I have to walk outside. A spring jacket simply doesn't cut it, I just generally feel warmer in a ski jacket. Although, in a minor shock, I discovered that one of the guys at work, who's from Vancouver and even skis, doesn't OWN a jacket. He just has fleeces. I thought the cold was at least one thing all Canadians had in common. So much for that theory.


Not to worry, the gifts will remain unopened until Christmas. I'm amused that you managed to send me a calendar again. My only question is who the artist is this time. Or perhaps it's the movie...


I still haven't seen the Harry Potter movie. I unfortunately told some friends that I'd like to see it with them, which of course means we'll never get ourselves coordinated to do it. I think I'm just going to see it on my own sometime soon...

Plot Summary to Archie

Date: Tue, 25 Dec 2001

Subject: Re: A long expected update....


You can comment as you feel appropriate... although the plot summary was largely for your interim edification, since it's just a run-down of some of my ideas for the end of Book 2. I just thought it was cool.


I've actually recently realized that I'm going to have to scrap some of my most basic ideas for the climax of Book 3, which is causing me conundrums because I need to connect a few events and it's all a bit nebulous right now. But it will all be stronger in the end. It's just funny because I'd just come up with a brilliant and apocalyptic relationship between a few of the ideas I recently realized I had to scrap and rearrange... you know how it is.


I haven't looked at my history in a while, though. I got to year 1000 or so and got a little bogged down, especially when I realized I needed about 4000 more years of history. D'oh... and after all this, I have to write the concurrent history of another civilization. Argh. I think I need to reduce the level of detail I'm working in, but I keep getting interested in the minutiae of ancient events. Heroes who forge entire nations and the go into seclusion to discover the true meaning of the powerful items they've been using, etc...


Anyway, all the best to you this season, and good luck in your work. I'm still waiting for the laptop...

The Box

Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001

Subject: Partial success


I have a laptop at last, and the guy with all the software I need copped out on me... why does the universe hate me?


I'll work this out somehow... he's coming back on the 6th of January... until then, I have an expensive box... and FreeCell.

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