A Birthday Update

I’m not a terribly materialist person. Fancy cars, expensive watches, gold-plated diapers; these mean little to me. I tend to go for function over form with most of my possessions.

The lone exception may be gadgetry. I like having nice toys. While my financial situation rarely affords me the opportunity to indulge in my fantasy of an unlimited shopping spree through Yodobashi camera, I do have a few chip-laden tools that are near and dear to me.

The most prized of these possessions is my computer. My lovely little Powerbook, over the course of the last year has become my darkroom, my journal, my stereo and CD collection, my DVD player, my video arcade, my answering machine, my post office, my newspaper and even my television.

So, when my hard drive on said Powerbook decides to quit the world of the living, I get sad. Fortunately, however, before slipping into eternal slumber, I was able to diagnose its terminal condition and backup the contents of the drive. Very little data was lost, so that was a big plus. The downsides were the big sum of cash I had to pay to get it fixed and the two-week delay in its return to me.

So, that explains why I haven’t exactly been punctual with my journal entries as of late.

Instead of the verbose, bored-in-the-office-with-little-else-to-do entries that could have occurred in the last couple of weeks, you will now get the condensed version.

The past couple of weekends have featured a couple birthday parties. The first was Brent’s whose bash included a great deal of food consumption and another spectacular round of karaoke. Sarah and I spent a good part of the day grating the raw materials necessary to create Sarah’s delicious veggie sausage rolls. Every tear shed into the grated onions just added the flavour of devotion to the project.

Sarah was also the mastermind behind our gift to Brent: a shrine devoted to the legendary Cliff Richard. Now, Brent holds a large place in the bottom of his heart for the master English songsmith, so it seemed only appropriate to find a leopard-print picture frame to house a photo of the young Mr. Richard at his pouty, come-hither best. Add to that some incense and candles plus a custom-made CD of Cliff’s magna opi (or magnum opuses to all you folks you don’t like to try to conjugate Latin) and Brent was pretty much in hysterics. Mission accomplished.

The next day, a group of us headed north to Kitakami for Italian lunch then a performance by Kodo, the drumming troupe from the Japanese island of Sado. An ear-ringingly good time was had by all.

The next five days counted as my fourth successive week of elementary school teaching. Even now, after being here for a year, I am still going to new schools and giving, self-intro lessons. That made for a few fun moments on June 21st when I inevitably had to tell the curious class when my birthday was. I was treated to numerous choruses of ‘Happy Birthday’ with each of them stumbling when they had reached ‘Dear Da-bi”

That evening, Sarah was kind enough to cook a quiet dinner for me en lieu of a party – that was coming later. Gnocchi was followed by brownies that were destined to become the first in a long line of heavily-sugared foodstuffs to be delivered to me as a birthday gift.

Everyone here knows that I’ll be heading off to Malaysia soon and I don’t want to pack along a lot of extra baggage. They also know I have a sweet tooth that can bite through just about anything. What they may have overestimated, however, is the ability of my body to actually process the amount of refined sugar that now sits in my apartment. Maybe if I had a few months to eat it all, I could manage, but with only a month before I live, I suspect I will be passing out sweet gifts here and there.

My birthday party this Saturday was a well-attended affair, but there were a few people I would have loved to have there that couldn’t make it. Despite a few absences, a great time was had at a party designed to have me feel like a twelve year old instead of a thirty year old. It was pizza and bowling and the only thing that could have heightened the sense of youthful nostalgia would have been a local Chucky Cheese’s franchise. For the record (and because this is my blog and I’m allowed to be a little vain) I did manage to record the highest bowling score of the evening, a respectable (for me) 141. Jonathan was inches behind with a 140 in a hotly-contested match that came down to the last pin.

Yesterday, Sarah, Josh, and north-side Sarah returned to Kitakami to witness the awesome cinematic spectacle that is Batman Begins. A great movie topped off a great weekend.

Now, with my computer back, I can resume my insatiable consumption of information (though I did manage to finish off a few books while it was gone). But more importantly, I can resume work on my now behind-schedule website. I had hoped to have it finished before I left for Malaysia, but that may now be a difficult proposition. If only all this teaching nonsense didn’t get in the way’

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