Wednesday, December 2, 2009

What's with all these shootings?

Kansas

And this is all within the past week.

Which one?

My insatiable appetite to dance has lead me to be a little creative in finding ways to dance especially since I moved up here to Canada. This past summer I hosted a few dance parties. I just put together a playlist of songs that would blow the mind of crowd and press play. And now after those dance parties, couples are asking me to "DJ" their weddings. I'm upfront with them, I'm not a DJ, but I can put together a playlist that would rock their socks. The only thing now is I need legit legal music and good speakers.

So I need my small handful of blog-followers help.

I've already decided on these Yamaha StagePas 500 speakers (Unless of course someone knows better, let me know). But I don't know which package would be the best economically or the most bang for my buck.


Big package with all the accessories I need, no need to shop more.

Same package minus the covers for the speakers.

Small package with just the stands

Cheapest deal, but no stands at all and I have to pay for shipping. The others I don't.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Today in class a student raised her hand and said...

"I have a suggestion that you should shave the caterpillar on your lip
and right there (as she points to her chin)."



My students are giving me a complex.

Friday, November 20, 2009

When Apple hits home

I don't consider myself to be a very brand-loyal person, but if there was only one product that I'm brand loyal to (other than H&M, Häagen-Dazs, Mead Top-Bound Spiral Notebooks, Starbucks, Ed Norton, this Church, Southwest Airlines, Muppets, or this animal) then it's gotta be Apple. Yes I have multiple Apple computers and iPods and I eagerly await their long anticipated tablet.

But this is the first time I feel burned by Apple. I didn't think their highly frustrating and controversial App Store approval process was that big of a deal, unlike some others, until it finally hit home. Last July I went to the Piano Technicians Guild Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan and met with the developers from Tune-lab. It was there that I first saw a new app for the iPod Touch for tuning pianos! I no longer need to use my rickety old HP to tune pianos, just my Touch! They said it would be due out this fall; waiting and waiting I finally e-mail them asking when it comes out.

On Fri, 20 Nov 2009 13:35:54 -0500, Sam Yam wrote:

I'm just wondering when Tunelab comes out for iPhone. I eagerly await its
arrival.

We are also eagerly waiting. It was submitted to Apply on October 12th, and its status is still "In Review".

Robert Scott
Real-Time Specialties
Damn you Apple. Hurry up.

Love,

SamYam

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Invictus

This sounds super lame even to me, but I feel a special affinity to Africa mainly because I have two friends who have spent a lengthy amount of time studying and serving there. Plus the fact that I want to go to Africa really really bad and hike Kili. So when I see a sweet movie preview from one of my favorite directors starring two of my favorite actors about South Africa, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.



In all seriousness, this preview really touched me.

This is cool and I want one

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gone Private

I did it. I've finally decided to go private on my blog. But don't you fret, cause it's a different blog just for this purpose. Just click here to see it. Can't? Well then just shoot me an e-mail and maybe, just maybe you can.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Renewal

I uploaded a few videos of Utah's Ultimate Trombone Ensemble performance last May, 2008 in which I was proud to be a part of. Watching all these videos have inspired me to get back in shape...playing trombone. So yesterday I practiced for the first time in months. Shame on me. But I also went running for the first time in months as well. Shame on me again. I showered yesterday for the first time in a day. I have some good habits. Here's one video. Enjoy.

P.S. - Thanks Josh for recording this. UUTE is ever so grateful.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Seven more lives

I almost died today. And unlike the incident earlier this year, this one really rattled me. I'm still reeling over it. On the way to work this morning, I got stuck behind a fleet of vehicles transporting a double wide mobile home down the two lane highway. Being the speedy driver that I am, I take the risk of passing the double wide in the other lane of oncoming traffic. I thought there was no oncoming traffic, until they came up from the coulee. I couldn't merge right because of the long double wide, so I had to slam on my brakes and veer left into the ditch. Thankfully they didn't veer the same direction as well.

I was surprisingly calm. It wasn't until I pulled into town and heard the repetitive thud of my tires because the rubber was gone from slamming on my brakes that I realized I could be dead right now. Dead because of my foolishness.

So this new "lease" on life has really made me think today. I'm living as if it's my last. Although I'm genuinely not afraid of death, I realize I would live slightly differently if it were just around the corner. Life is too short; I'm glad I have another chance to really reflect on what matters and live life to its fullest all over again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Recognize and Remember

I can't help but think of the past on this day. I remember brushing my teeth, watching the morning news when the national news interrupted showing the Twin Towers. Then, like everyone else, I spent the the rest of time trying to make sense of it all. I remember praying that night in tears asking what now? Why all this ruthlessness?

My sincere and naive wish in this world is to have world peace, just like this woman, Jehane Noujaim. And like her I feel it can begin to be accomplished through means of self expression: music, dance, art and film. I'm sad I just discovered her today. I'm even more sad I missed her Pangea Day. Because if you know me well enough, you know that I always love it when people get together for a peace loving time, and I feel the mediums that does it most effectively the vast majority of the time are the arts, such as music, dance, art and film.

Jehane gave this inspiring TED Talk and in it she says, "the biggest danger in our future is understanding the other." What would happen if we truly understood the plight of our foe, or our friend, or the guy stole from me last week? I think we would be better off. I know it may sound overly simple, but I really don't think there's much more to it.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Private?

I have to admit, it's been hard to blog lately. All for a number of reasons: School's started, I'm getting back into a routine. I want to blog about my summer escapades but just thinking about it is so overwhelming and exhausting I just put it off. And well, the biggest reason: I find myself writing posts and not publishing them because of the audience that I know I have. Students, parents of students, peers, anyone else? I'm censoring myself. And it's killing me. I'm thinking of going private, but I don't want to. And the new girl living in the basement is smoking right now and it's driving me effing crazy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Shawty got low low low low low low low low

I have a move or two to learn from this genius.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

N.C.M.O.W.S.Y.A.


I'm a good luck charm. If you date me and we have any sort of relationship, odds are, you'll get married...to someone else. I've been the send-off thrice and all the girls I've dated are now married with the exception of one girl, who would surprise me to be in any sort of lasting marriage anyway. There's always an exception I suppose.

My luck also rubs off in the short term. Yes, if you travel with me not only will you have a fun time, but you'll also get some unattached loving. There's only two criteria: I have to be dead asleep and I have to be nearby. Nearby as in inches away from you and your lovely friend. Yes, yes it is true; I have four friends that can vouch for this. You're welcome, and you owe me ;)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cool people I've met

Sarah had just finished a field study on conservation biology in New Zealand and Australia and was on her way home to Minnesota when I met her in LAX. We were both waiting to board the flight to Chicago when they announced they overbooked the plane and were looking for volunteers to give up their seat for a $300 travel voucher and a guaranteed seat for the next flight out. Of course I volunteered. That's when we also met Leah. She was heading home to Ottawa. The three of us started talking when we saw Jerry frustrated and exhausted from traveling, talking to the airline attendants. He was a furniture dealer that distributes around the world and a former armed forces service man. He had been pushed back for over 14 hours, spent the night in LAX and still had no flight home. He was in surprisingly good spirits and entertained the three of us with his travel stories from around the world. The four of us were sitting on the floor of the airport waiting for our next flight chewing the fat, listening to Jerry's stories. It was great!

Sonya, Ryan and friends. They were the first ones I approached to help me with my double dutch photo journal. I saw them dancing in front of a cool fiddling/bluesy band and knew that if they were cool enough to dance, they'd be down with helping me out. They were really friendly.


I met Lisa through couchsurfing.org. This was my first real experience couch surfing someone else's couch. She was great and really hospitable. We went to Lou Malnati's for some Chicago deep dish pizza. She showed me around town then got some drinks and cheese cake in the Signature Room up the John Hancock Center.


I went to the Weiner's Circle in Chicago anticipating brutally harsh treatment. I walked up and to my disappointment, no one was there. So I order a hot dog and a drink, sit outside and there was Eric, Jory, and Annie. Eric asked Jory, "Do you want me to yell at her?" I interjected, "Yes!" This video ensued shortly thereafter as the lady behind the desk was making fun of Annie for riding a scooter:

I met Joshua as I was traveling on the train to Grand Rapids. He recently graduated from Indiana in music composition and now freelanced as a pianist and composer. He felt he hit a ceiling in Chicago so he decided to pick up and move to New York City and here I met him in the middle of his transition.

The Cooley Law Students were a riot! I couldn't believe how much they went out and partied but it was fun and highly entertaining. They definitely party as hard as they study. The latter I'm assuming they study as hard as they play. Great people, fun times.


Jennifer was the best traveling stranger I had the privilege of sitting next to. She sat next to me for most of the four hour train ride from Chicago to Grand Rapids. She had a delightful laugh and was making fun of herself the whole time. She was on the phone most of the time talking to her mother and then daughter, then between conversations she would tell me about Michigan and the Midwest. She was delightful company.

Aaron & JB New Chicago Cub recuits their friend Caitlin that I met at in Grand Rapids while hanging out late one night. Really funny guys.

Blake and Brandon helped me out with my double dutch photo journal. They had just dropped off Blake's mom off at work and were playing on some swings in downtown Grand Rapids when I approached them about helping me out. Blake loved the ropes!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Putting it off...

This Wednesday I leave for the States for two months of raucous fun and traveling. Like many times before I leave, I'm filled with excitement and anticipation. And like these times, events serendipitously come together days and weeks before, making it hard for me to leave yet again. I haven't had a weekend like last since Provo and it was amazing. Flick can articulate it for me.

I always seem to put off any sort of interest until the very last moment, when possibilities are damned by an absence of company. I asked a cool girl out for lunch. A very rare event . I'm actually excited about it. Even more rare. I think she's excited about it too. More rare than unicorns and zombies at the farmers market in Paris. I leave Wednesday.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dancing > Sleeping

In the past 43 hours I have slept about four hours and have danced more than five. I feel great and I love life.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

36 hours

FRIDAY
6:30: Wake up, have a cuddle party with my friends sleeping over
8:40: Work, organize my office, chew the fat with other teachers, make some phone calls, meet with a student and a parent, write up some evaluations, send some e-mails...like a boss.
16:00: Go home
16:45: Meet up with Flick, finish up our playlist
17:30: Listened to music, facebooked, blogged, blah blah blah
18:45: Went to the Cheesecake Cafe with Graham, Kelsey, Heather and Evan
20:00: Choir practice
21:20: Headed over to the tunnel to set up for our dance party
22:05: DANCE

SATURDAY
00:30: Last four to dance, went to Macs to get slurpees then all our cars
1:15: At Amanda's to watch Mystic River
1:20: Fell asleep, only got 5% of the movie
3:00ish: Woke up to see the DVD player start Mystic River again, stayed awake to see 95% of Mystic River
5:30ish: Talked about how much we liked the movie, tried to go to sleep again, couldn't, decided to go to Tim Hortons
6:30: Breakfast at Tim Horton's
8:00: Got home, more cuddle partying with my friends staying over
8:40: Left for Magrath to volunteer for the Yard Sale
11:30: Went to Napa auto parts for a new thermostat for my car
12:00: Napping party
14:00: Woke up, Phase 10 party with my friends upstairs
15:46: Writing this blog
18:00: Hay Hay's wedding reception
19:30: Concert in the Park
22:00: Dance party at the Henotic

I love summers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Last day

Look at where I've come: Fully dressed shirt and tie to washed up t-shirt, shorts, sandals and a gross haircut and prepubescent facial hair.


I remember I couldn't sleep the night before the first day of teaching. Last night I fell asleep on the couch, my friends came home late and they told me they woke me up several times but I don't remember. I got eight hours of sleep. It was wonderful. Looking back over the year I've learned so much about myself, about teaching and about students. Here are some of those things:
  • I love teaching. I LOVE IT. I love it, I love it, I love it.
  • I came into teaching wanting to eventually be an administrator. You can't pay me to be an administrator. No offense to principals or office workers, but the highlight of my day is when I'm with the students. Then it all goes downhill after classes when I have to plan and make phone calls and do this or that. I just can't sit at a desk.
  • They don't care how much I know until they know how much I care. Cliche, yes. True, very.
  • Pack a lunch, I'll be happier.
  • I suck at disseminating information quickly. Need to do better.
  • It's okay to fail at somethings. It's okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.
  • I don't think they would come out and say it outright, but students need structure, and defined expectations. I'll interject dammit just because I can.
  • Small town schools don't function the same way a school does that's bigger than the small town.
Amen.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

R.I.P King of Pop

Whatever feelings you may have of him, the world lost an icon today.





Sunday, June 21, 2009

Hello Summer

Today was the longest day of the year. I'm still not used to the amount of sunlight we get up here. Dawn starts breaking at about 4 am and it's still dusk at 10:30 pm. Regardless of the not being used to the extremely long days, I love it! I heralded summer in by having a sleepover party in a little grass bowl called the Sugar Bowl. Me and nine other friends got blankets and set up camp in the bottom of the field, rolled down the hill, had a dancing party, had a pillow fight and took a nap.

Actually this weekend was quite good. Friday night I played trombone in a contemporary jazz ensemble in a local night club in town. Then hit the last part of a church dance where they played MGMT, Daft Punk among others. I was surprised; I was blown away actually. Then had a sleepover party with some friends where I only got about two hours of sleep. Had breakfast with more friends Saturday morning, lounged around all day Saturday, went to a baseball field where there was a BBQ and kickball going on, then went back to the Slice to listen to more jazz...then to my second sleepover party in the Sugar Bowl. I'm quite content.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stalkers

You've been discovered...I know who you are...I'm watching you...


...I'll see you in band next fall...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The second awakening

Today I got my second wedding invitation in as many days, and my ninth invitation so far this summer with more on the way. I haven't had wedding invitations line my fridge like this since.....ever. One of the couples met at the beginning of this year, got married in May and are now pregnant with their first kid. Nothing to naked in five months. Naked to knocked up in....

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Music across....generations?

Today we are cleaning our band instruments and during one of the classes I asked if they want to listen to any music. Of course! Why do I need to ask? Then one of the students asked, "Can we listen to Justice?" It was a very satisfying moment for me. It would also make Melia proud. It was her little sister. She was also in grade 8.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Clowns in a clown car

How many grade 7 students can you fit in Mr. Yamamoto's office?
Apparently 17.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My two new roommates

I moved upstairs from my basement suite in April and loved it. Then I spent two months in my new found space (3 bedrooms and 2 floors) all to myself and loved it. Then to cut costs I skeptically let two brothers move in to take up the other two rooms. And guess what??? I love it! They're not bad at all! I got home today and they had a sandwich ready for me! Yesterday we played Rock Band! I think my experience last summer with Storm (yes that's his real name), my roommate from hell, kind of jaded me to this whole roommate idea. There is hope for humanity, and it begins with cool roommates.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Asian guys

I think this also explains why I'm single.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Bachelor this and bachelor that

I met a cool guy back in August. We were each other's first friend up here in Canada and hung out a lot, then he met a girl and things just fizzled out between us. That's life. I understand. I was honored and surprised when he asked if I would be his best man for his wedding. I was happy to oblige.

Tomorrow he gets married. So tonight I thought I'd do what traditionally the best man does and throw him a bachelor party. We got a group of friends together and went salsa dancing. Much to my surprise again, he was asking girls to dance left and right. It was perfect for him.

On the way back home he innocently says to me, "You know, if we were still hanging out like we did tonight since September, I would be single still." I laughed so hard. Yes I guess my lifestyle is the lifestyle of bachelor. Yes I suppose I enjoy this lifestyle more than that of being married. No I never thought it would prevent others from being married as well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The new-do

I asked my Grade 6 band today if they liked my new hairdo and they all blurted out no. I asked a student if she would still be in my class if I looked like this:


And she said no. I get no respect.

P.S. - They have no choice, band is required for all Grade 6.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Touch me Peggle!!!


So I was perusing the App store on my iPod Touch and guess what I found??? Peggle for the iPod Touch! Now I can idly waste time ANYWHERE!!! I should enroll in grad school just to play Peggle more.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I'm blogging about laundry.

Doing laundry

I was extra bored doing laundry today and rearranged my t-shirts in my dresser then the thought occurred to me: People have mentioned to me that I need to vary my wardrobe more: Not wear khakis every day, and wear different colors other than earth tones and plain tees. But who the hell is asking them???

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Couch Surfing

A year ago in my marketing class, the professor talked about couchsurfing.org and how it was effectively retaining it's user base. I was intrigued and then hooked. I thought it was the best idea ever! Although I have yet to surf someone's (someone I don't initially know, that is) couch, I had my first couch surfing experience tonight. A fellow couch surfer contacted me and wanted to meet up to hang. We met up at Jazz night at a restaurant in town. Him and his girlfriend were totally cool.

Sceptical about couch surfing? Don't sign up, it's not for the skeptic. But the stats speak for itself.

On repeat...

I usually never put songs on repeat. But this one is irresistible.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Simplify your life

So there's this plug-in for iTunes that lets you wirelessly stream music from other people's iTunes libraries for your use. I can't get over how amazing it is. There's also an app for my iTouch so I can listen to other libraries without my computer. Any given day I'm listening to my music from home when I'm at work or my friends' music in San Francisco, Provo, or Orem.

When we're listening to music in the classroom, we're usually listening to music that's at my home or 800 miles away down South. And right now I'm listening to Rendon's music in Provo cause he has tons more Justice than I do.

If you have Simplify, let me know what your user name is and let's share. There might be something in my 400 gigs of music you like.

Don't waste your time

I knew I was right about X-Men. Just read up:

San Francisco
E! Online
Kansas City

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ummm....

Today a fellow teacher and I were talking in the staff room (By the way, I feel mature enough to think in terms of "fellow teacher" and "talking in the staff room" but part of me still at times thinks "WHAT?!?!") and he was telling me a story about a question a female student asked him at the beginning of the year. It went something like this, obviously told to you secondhand but you'll get the point:

"Mr. So and So, can students date teachers?"
"I don't know if that would be the wisest thing."
"Cause that new band teacher is pretty cute."

WHAT?!?!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1113.748 miles

is the exact distance that is happily frustrating me to no end. Damn you 1113.748 miles.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

You get what you want; you want what you get

Last year during my Great 2008, there was one thing I wanted to accomplish: making it great (cheesy, lame, but it worked and it was awesome). Indeed I accomplished this. One way I did was through my living situation. I had an awesome room with a balcony to the front and I had an accompanying room just next to mine that I made into a movie room. Sleepovers, movie nights, Porchapalooza's, camping in my bedroom, and other playtime activities ensued.

This year I'm doing the grown up thing. I have a job, I rent my own basement suite. It's a nice living. Well, it just got nicer cause I'm now moving upstairs. The boys upstairs are moving out and I'm moving in...into a three bedroom home and I'm the only tenant! I don't know what to do with myself! I have multiple rooms for sleepovers, movie nights and Roomapalooza's, not to mention a backyard porch and nice shade trees. I guess I can still have a Porchapalooza! Oh man, the ideas keep on streaming in. PLAYTIME continues!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A website crucial to your existence

A friend introduced me to an amazing website. This website analyzes the similarities between persons in popular culture. It is worth your reading if you are 1) writing a paper on the similarities between Bob Ross and a Bichon Frise or a microphone 2) gathered around the water cooler at work 3) hanging out with friends and one or more persons has a laptop or PDA with internet 4) thinking about doing homework or studying for a final 5) thinking about what to do while putting off doing homework or studying for a final.

Here are some of my favorites:


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Caught

Today I had a student pull something up from my computer and what did he see??? He saw this blog and then announced it, "Mr Yamamoto has a blog!" Yes yes, I've been exposed. Yes yes, they very well could read this now. I was anticipating that sometime this would happen. Sure whatever.

On another note, living in Canada and being a US citizen now, I have to file taxes in both countries. I got some helpful tax advice from my most trusted news source.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bleh

Sometimes I feel like giving up.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Movies to see

Here's a list of a couple movies I want to see because they look like fantastic works of art:
Where the Wild Things Are
UP

Here's a list of a few movies I want to see because they look entertaining and I want to indulge:
Star Trek
Year One
Public Enemies
Sunshine Cleaning

Here's a movie that has me curious, although I don't like Jon Cusack, so I might not go see it:
2012

Here's a list of a few movies that look like pure cinematographic masturbation and I'll probably go see it just because I'll be with a large group of friends and large numbers of people tend to be dumber:
Transformers
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Terminator Salvation

Thursday, March 26, 2009

26 on 26

This will only happen once in my lifetime. I'm 26 on the 26th. Happy birthday to me. I rang it in in true fashion: by dancing the night away.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Got a piano?


I've got some skills you need.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Lenten Fast

Four years ago MJ introduced me to Lent and every year since I've chosen a few things here and there to fast from. My first year it was ice cream. Instead consuming ice cream I bought a case of Mandarin Oranges, put them in the freezer and ate them for almost the entire length of Lent, until I hit my frozen Mandarin Orange threshold and I couldn't continue. The next year I fasted from meat. That fast went so well that I went about a month longer. I ended my fast having a juicy fatburger in the Cougareat. I went home that day feeling nauseatious and later puked my guts out from both ends. I thought it was just my body rebelling against the red meat. Turns out the meat wasn't exactly cooked. Last year it was ice cream again, my biggest vice. This year: facebook. It's actually going great. It may have been the ceremonial pancakes on Shrove Tuesday that have helped me. My apartment is cleaner, I'm doing better at work. Life is good. Lent is really good for me.

I'm a substitute teacher

I was in the staff room today at lunch and saw a new face, which only meant they are substitute teaching. I struck up a conversation with him and then he asked, "What are you doing here today?" I didn't really understand the question but answered, "Oh you know, the same thing I do here everyday..." And then it dawned on me that he thought I was a substitute teacher as well. Japanese-American-Canadian's can be full time teachers too.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jeans

Ten years I went feeling comfortable in my khakis. No bunching, no chaffing, no suffocating. I finally succumbed to the pressure of purchasing jeans. Good thing they're comfortable.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Last night

I've been doing pretty well going to bed earlier now that I'm not on facebook anymore. Last night I was ready for a good night's rest but I failed miserably. My childhood desires got the best of me. Two days ago my friend Jessica and I made double chocolate chip cookie dough. It was yummy. We didn't have time to bake it so I put the dough in the fridge and left it for later to bake. I found it the next day, yesterday, dried out because I didn't put a cover on the bowl. I put water in it and mashed it up and I left it out to thaw and mix, then I left for work. I got home later that day and to see the cookie dough waiting for me, enticing me to partake of its delectable goodness. It was as delicious as the day it was conceived. I put some dough on baking pans and baked some all the while enjoying the prebaked ripened chocolate doughyness. I ate some of the final product, even shared it with the guys upstairs and went to bed. 2 am and revenge is upon me. I'm moaning and groaning in bed, not wanting to leave the warmth of my slumber station but my innerds are rebelling and I had to go. Three times this misery happened last night. This morning I was scared to eat anything, worried that Cocoas Cookie Revenge would come upon me. Fortunately three strikes and it was out. I survived the day. Are you surprised that I would do it all again if I had the chance? I hope the guys upstairs are okay. And I don't know what to do with the left over cookie dough that I didn't use. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

21st Century Teaching

Right now, differentiation is a buzz word in teaching up here in Canada. It makes teaching and learning easier. I wish I had more of it when I was in school like I do now.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Four Eyes

I just got new glasses after having lost my old pair four years ago. I also visited Paris really quick; sorry Julianne, I only had time for fish & chips and ice cream. Aren't the glasses sexy?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

........

It's 10:35 pm and I'm still at school. I've spent over 14 hours here today and I feel like I'm going to have a nervous break down.

Highs among the Lows

This week has been really tough since Monday. But this morning a student came to me and said, "My female parental unit would like to invite you over for dinner tomorrow night." I laughed and said I'll be there and he smiled and walked off like a huge weight on his shoulders was replaced with feathery wings. I can imagine how nerve racking it was for him to even ask me. It was funny to behold. So I see him later in the halls today and he says to me, "Mr. Yamamoto, I'm so excited for dinner tomorrow night." It left a satisfying feeling amid all this chaos.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Arbitrary Film Ratings


There Will Be Blood
My synopsis: A fantastically dark and horrid portrait of one man's obsession with control, power and money and it's impact with the world around him.

Movie Rating in the United States: R
Movie Rating in Alberta, Canada: PG

My rant: Movie ratings are the most arbitrary guides used by the masses. In Canada, it's not even unified throughout the whole country. Every province determines the ratings of each movie. I don't understand how so many people base their judgement on whether or not to see a film based upon a man made system that has so many discrepancies. I've noticed the DVD collections of my friends up here have many movies that are considered R-Rated in the States. These are friends that have the "watch no R-Rated movie" rule. They would prevent themselves from watching these movies if they were to just move 52 miles south of here. To my US friends that have an no-R-Rated rule: If you want to see an R-Rated movie, just move north. It's okay, you're still keeping the commandments.

Now don't get me wrong. I respect those who have a no R-Rated movie rule. I truly do; I lived by this same principle for seven years. What I now have a difficult time understanding is why people base their righteous decisions and spiritual endeavors upon a man-made construct. We go and do service, we obey the word of wisdom, we pay our tithing, we live the law of chastity, we keep the sabbath holy, we keep our covenants, we listen to what ratings the MPAA gives movies and act accordingly. Are you serious??? I will live by the Spirit, by my conscience and by my heart, not by the MPAA or Alberta or Manitoba or Barry Obama.

I know the prophet's have counseled us to avoid watching R-Rated movies, namely President Benson, over 20 years ago, but repeatedly since by mostly regular members. I don't deny the prophet's counsel and I uphold them and what they tell me. However, I also believe in a living and growing Church. A Church that is continually progressing in wisdom and stature. Does this belief entitle me to go against what the Church has counseled me? No it does not, but at the same time, with this belief, I don't believe I am.

I personally felt deeply betrayed by the overall rating system when I went to see Beowulf when it first came out. Rating: PG-13. My conscience at the time: It's okay to see Beowulf; it's not Rated-R. The result: A serious moral schism between what I felt I could see versus what I saw. My conclusion: After months of consulting and deliberating with some friends, I will thoughtfully be my own guide. No board or a committee that doesn't know me, my values and my standards is going to dictate what manner of movie I can see.

My solution: There are websites out there that provide detailed and thorough information. Kids-In-Mind.com is probably the best resource to actually knowing what objectionable content is in a movie. People need to be educated on the reasons behind a movie rating but not on the actual movie rating. The rating is needless; it's the content that matters. Give a detailed description on what content is questionable, then let us be judge.

Since my revised standard, I've been much more satisfied with the movies that I watch. It used to be that I would see ANY movie that wasn't Rated-R just because they weren't given that rating. And I would see a lot of awful movies that left me feeling dull. Now I give much more thought and discretion into each movie I see. For me, it's just a better way to live and I feel I'm living what the LDS Church is currently counseling me to do.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Music & Dance

It seems like this is the time of the year for me to discover new music. Last year it was Justice that opened up the gateway to dance music. A few friends of mine have helped create a fine list of dance music to further whet my dance music appetite. Here are some of my personal discoveries with their help:




Saturday, February 21, 2009

1983-2009

I could've died today. Three seconds is all the difference it would have taken to critically injure or kill me. I was at major road in town today that had a pedestrian cross walk and since it wasn't an intersection, it had a pedestrian light to stop traffic . I push the button to stop traffic and to let me cross. Cars come to a halt in two of the four total lanes in the road. I'm halfway across the street when a car rushes by behind me going 50-60 mph in the empty lane. It didn't even notice. I am spared another day.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I'm 63% Tina Turner

So I found this website that analyzes your face and finds celebrities that look like you. I think it's racist. Maybe Xzibit, maaaybe.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ben Folds Sing Star Style

I hate a cappella music. It's often cheesy, screechy, annoying and embarrassing to watch. I love Ben Folds, his lyrics are relatable, his melodies are hummable and he scores an even balance of simplicity and sophistication in his music. Combine something that I hate with something that I love and it turns into something I can somewhat swallow. I discovered this competition that Ben Folds is doing with a cappella groups performing his music. The best groups get to be on a Ben Folds cover album. Clever marketing ploy on his part. So I look over his list on youtube and here are my favorites, and then some:













Don't click play if vulgarity offends you. You've been warned:

Friday, February 6, 2009

Bill Gates and Teaching

I'm going to be a top quartile teacher

The whole thing is good, but fast forward to 8:05.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

On being American v. 2

By Kenji:
I think it's strange to be an American when being an American is doing whatever the hell you want.

ZOMBIES


I saw this on Austin's blog and laughed so hard I had to post it here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

6 things...

Sharee put me up to this cause she tagged me in her blog. Sorry guys, I'm passing it along to you. 6 barfissistic facts about me.

1. When I was on the Snowbird Ski Team one of my last races would have cut my point standing by about half (a very good thing) if I had just finished it. I wasn't even ten gates down when I caught an edge and crashed hard. My friend who witnessed it said it was pretty spectacular and couldn't explain how one of my skis shot straight up about 20 feet.

2. When I was an exchange student in Japan I was hanging out with my school friends and because I went to an all-boys school we would go to the game centers downtown to meet up with girls. This one girl and I had a little exchange to where I got her number. So I called her up later. Imagine getting picked up on by an exchange student who hardly knows your language and couldn't explain themselves cause they've never been in that situation before. Yep. I bet you can imagine where that went: absolutely nowhere.

3. Jared and I were dying to go to a discotheque in Costa Rica. We specifically learned how to say "Donde esta la discotheque?" just for this very purpose. On our first night in La Fortuna we went to a discotheque and it turned out to be the locals night. It was packed, we were one of the only tourists there, but we danced our crazy American selves off and it was amazing. The next night we were walking around town and the locals were cat calling and giving us shout outs cause of the night before. We were the Crazy American Dancing Machines.

4. During high school there was a two week period where I swear I had IBS. Nothing in me worked for two weeks and I was miserable. I had pepto bismo with me at all times and would just chug it. Then one day, it just went away.

5. When I was 14, I had to do 100 hours of community service for making an "incendiary missle", or in street language: a dry ice bomb. I did most of the community service doing work as a student body officer at my middle school. The weirdest/funniest thing about it was having my teacher sign off on my hours.

6. When I was about 5 or 6 I was biking down the street and then WHAM! I hit the back of a parked car. I didn't know what happened for a brief moment until I realized I had been daydreaming and biking with MY EYES CLOSED. The only witness was this girl who was also on a bike and she saw me dumbfounded and asked if I was alright. I've never told this story until this blog.

I know, I know, I already tagged you in facebook, but it's your turn yet again:
Melanie
Ray
Julianne
Kara
Trisha
Brock

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Canadian Law

Tonight I was driving home from Calgary with Ashley Flick after a lame dance party when I got pulled over for speeding. After the officer got my drivers license and grilled me about all my missing car documents, he went back to his car.

It quickly dawned on me that I could get in a lot of trouble for this ticket. My car is still registered to Utah, not Alberta, my drivers license is still from Utah, not Alberta, both of which I'm required to have within three weeks of moving to Canada, I didn't have proof of insurance, or current proof of registration, I only had the old registration. I know, I'm a complete moron. My speeding ticket would have cost me $280 if he clocked me at 40 kilometers over, but that's not including driving an unregistered Albertan car, driving without proof of insurance and driving without any proof of current registration. Flick and I were thinking this ticket would cost me around $1,000 and the cop could very well take us to jail.

We concluded all this in the five minutes that he was gone. He returned to my car sooner than expected, opened up my door, threw back my drivers license and old registration and said he needed to attend to a call, then shut my door and sped off in a hurry. We were in utter shock at what just transpired. I got off that ticket clean. Miracles happen everyday.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Muse & Watchmen

Great music set to what looks to be a spectacular movie.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Phases in life

The transition to Canada has been really difficult to say the least. My Summer of Sam left me pumped with so much dopamine and endorphins that when reality set in when I moved to Canada, the hang over left me feeling incredibly numb and at times terrifyingly lonely. So I do what I know best, return to the glory days of summer's past: The days where I found my niche, had my friends, lived in comfort and created fuzzy memories. Five trips in four months to be exact. Leaving things behind is often difficult for me, I'm a sentimental sap when it comes to things like that. It's a work in progress, but my outlook made a huge step forward when I saw and heard this yesterday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Damn you ice cream

For those of you who know me well, you know my favorite food is ice cream. Vanilla, of all lame flavors is my favorite, followed closely by cookie dough. Ice cream is $6.99 for a pint of Häagan-Dazs in Canada, so I really have make my ice cream go a long way and for most of the past year, I've been cycling between vanilla, cookie dough and Bailey's Irish Creme. I know what Bailey's Irish Creme is. I know it is a delicious alcoholic beverage that is usually mixed into a variety of beverages, desserts and ice cream. Why it never occurred to me that this ice cream would contain alcohol is beyond me. Whatever, I can't wait until I get to heaven, where they'll have alcohol and they'll have this ice cream.

Forgive me, I'm a sinner.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Students and Blogs

Today in class I was kind of frustrated at my students about forgetting textbooks, their half-assed efforts, etc. And one student said, "Are you going to go home and blog about this on your blog?" Shocked, I said, "What makes you think I have a blog?" And he said, "You just seem like the kind of person that blogs about things that really bug you." Oh my gosh, they're on to me. It's only a matter of time before they find this. That student then elaborated about his blog posting on me. My students blog about me, and I'm going to be discovered soon.

P.S. - I'm not going home to blog about it. I'm staying right here in school. AND I DON'T JUST BLOG ABOUT MY FRUSTRATIONS DAMMIT :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Two Passports

I now have my two passports, one from Canada and now one from the USA. I can't wait to travel.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Audacity of Government

This hits a little close to home on several fronts. I'm glad I made it through. You'll need an hour; listen at work, listen while you commute. It will outrage you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Students = Teachers

One thing I have learned as a teacher is that I enjoy everything students enjoy. Weekends, short days, assemblies, lunch break, recess, nap time...blah blah blah. I also hate everything students hate. I hate tests, assignments, grading, discipline, early mornings, and on and on.

I ALSO HATE GRADING THESE CURSED FINANCE PAPERS!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

T-Shirts I want but would never wear

Most of these are from Busted Tees, The Onion or of course, Cecil Is My Homeboy. I think these shirts are hilarious.













T-shirts I want and actually would wear:

On being American

Most people think it's great that I'm a newly made American.  It's great to hear the congratulations that I hear from friends and peers alike, and I feel their acknowledgement is more of a reflection upon their attitude toward the United States than merely a kudos to me.  There are the occasional few who wonder why it is such a big deal.  What does it matter that I'm a citizen now?  Consider this:  Imagine living in a home but it's not your home.  Try living in a country your whole life and not have the legal ability to work there.  Live in a country your whole life and then feeling like a vagabond or a tourist, merely a visitor.  Then when you are in a country that you're an alien in, try participating in the local system and know that you can only voice your opinion and actually not make that voice known through a ballot.  And know that the very establishment of the land allows you to even voice your opinion, a privilege not granted elsewhere.

Even though these scenarios technically didn't apply to me, it was however very close to becoming a reality if I wasn't an American citizen now.  My permanent residency would be revoked; I would be merely a visitor, a tourist of the United States without the ability to vote, work, or live.  And if I wished to do these, I would have wait years to go through the bureaucracy that works to keep America resilient and safe.

America has given me and my family the opportunities for success.  It's brought me to where I am now.  Am I a hypocrite for being in Canada?  Not anymore than US manufacturers and companies that outsource their jobs to foreign countries.  My bottom line will end up in the United States.  

I am proud I am American.  I'm proud of her ideals.  And I believe that you can be patriotic and still believe that she has much to improve.  
I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives.  I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.  
~ Abraham Lincoln

Friday, January 9, 2009

A New Year

I asked someone out for the first time since...Mel, when did I ask you out and you were dating Logan?  Yeah, since then.  Tomorrow, I'm going out for the first time since...Kenji, when did we go on that group date and all we did was shoot guns?  Yeah, that's right.  

Don't worry, I don't wonder why I'm single still.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Timelines

I have a great friend that calls me out on things I do all the time.  It's really quite refreshing and I wish more people would do it.  This time around she called me out on timelines I set for myself: timelines to take a break from dating (2 months turned into a year...), timelines to recover from infectious diseases (Dec 2010), ten-year plans (2001-2011), five-year plans (2008-2013), timelines to get used to byu (2008), timelines to get used to Canada (2010).  

Is this a bad thing?  Seriously, it can't be all that bad.