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Squared Sevens Blogging Corp.
Sunday, 18 March 2007
Extra Edition Update
It took nearly a year and a half, but I finally got to see Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby on DVD recently. This movie is of great importance to me because I was an extra on the set for one day way back in October 2005. You can read my report on the day here. Well, the big question is, can you see me on the film. The answer is... yes, just barely, for less than half a second, off to the side. But, I'm 99% sure I'm there. Everything matches up with the clothes I was wearing, where I was standing at the time, etc. However, I'm (or whoever) far enough in the background that there is just a tiny little little room for doubt. Check out this screen capture and let me know what you think. Again, you pretty much have to go frame-by-frame on the DVD to see it, so it's definitely not a noticeable thing at all.

So, to break it down, you can see the celebration scene where Will Ferrell meets his gold-digging wife. That's on there, but it's part of a montage and very short. The other scene, where Cal and Ricky are talking after Cal's victory, I'm not sure how much they used because of the way it was edited together. When I was there for that scene, it was clear that it was a pick-up shot, kind of like a re-do that they could use later. So Maybe they used a lot, maybe they used a little. The third scene, which ironically was the most elaborate one, didn't even appear in the movie or in the deleted scenes: Ricky's Dad running through the entrance into "Talladega" speedway to watch his son race. Instead, they just put in a quick scene of him scalping the tickets instead. I'll be honest, it fits the character better and I'm sure was a whole lot easier to shoot as well.

It was dissapointing that the three scenes I took part in amounted to about 2 seconds in the film. Just goes to show how much work goes into making a major movie, all those people and equipment used for an entire day and you only get a tiny fraction of the whole film. But I have a feeling this movie was made in the editing room- they just shot a bunch of scenes, with lots of different improvisations, and then cut and pasted what worked and what didn't work into the movie. Sometimes, stuff just has to go.

As for the movie, well, it's funny. What did you expect?

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 10:28 AM EDT
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Monday, 12 March 2007
Here it is
Well, I'm not completely finished with it yet, but here is my flickr page with some of my favorite pictures from Japan so far. I figure it's finally time I put something like this up. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 10:13 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 6 March 2007
Happy Birthday to me!
24 years old today. Yippie!

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 8:54 AM EST
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Thursday, 1 March 2007
Five for the Price of One
I guess this is kind of an experiment- less frequent updates, but longer and about more topics. Let's see how it works out.


I'm starting to feel like I've been in Japan for a very long time, maybe too long. For example, I was watching an American movie on TV, and during a car scene, I was like, "They're driving on the wrong side of the road!" Yesterday, I went to the grocery store and thought how weird it must be to get a whole loaf of bread instead of only six slices (for basically the same price). But the thing that got me the most was looking at some recent pictures of my sister taken for her engagement- she looks completely different from what I remembered! A very strange feeling. I was like, "Is that my sister"? I guess it has been about 7 months now since I have been to the States. It seems like it has gone by so quickly, but still that's a good amount of time no matter how you look at it.


I don't know what it is recently, but I've sure been injuring myself quite a lot recently. I mean, just being clumsy as all get-out. For example, when I was playing soccer, I was running, tripped myself up, and fell flat of my face (no really, my forehead was all scratched and bloody from hitting the ground). I accidentally sliced my finger a little bit with an opened car top. Then, last week, but put the palm of my hand right into a thumbtack that had been left on a table in the English room. I've been having some rough digestive issues as well. I just don't know what's gotten into me. Just don't expect to save the world or anything, because I will probably slip on a banana peel, and then we're all doomed.


If old Japanese video games don't interest you, then you might want to skip this next part. There's a game store in Oita that I've seen for awhile, but never took the time to check out. It's called Game Museum, and if you know I like collecting old video games, well that sounds like it might be right up my alley. I was out and about Sunday in Oita, and on my way back I finally decided to stop in. Man, I'm glad I did. This place was loaded with rare and sought after collectbales. Sure they had your standard craploads of new and used PS2 and PS1 games, but beyond that they had shelves full of special edition releases, one of the better Xbox sections I've seen, tons of Famicom and Super Famicom stuff too. The other retro stuff was great too- Everything from Mega Drive to PC-FX. The PC Engine CD stuff was especially impressive.
And the consoles they had there were amazing. Turbo Duo R? Check. Sega Wondermega? Check. Supergrafx? Check. LaserActive with PC Engine and Mega Drive modules? Check. There was even some really neat stuff, like a PC Engine LT, on display (but not for sale- I guess it really is a museum, after all). So, upon seeing all this, I was happier than a bug in a rug. But since I was low on cash at the time, I had to watch my purchases closely.


Recently, a study was done that showed today's college students are more narcissistic than ever before. I can't say that comes as a huge surprise to me after 4 years of college. Just read these quotes.

"The study asserts that narcissists "are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors."

Twenge, the author of "Generation Me: Why Today's Young Americans Are More Confident, Assertive, Entitled — and More Miserable Than Ever Before," said narcissists tend to lack empathy, react aggressively to criticism and favor self-promotion over helping others."

Sound like anyone you know?


Just Because.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 8:49 AM EST
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Saturday, 17 February 2007
Car Talk (and more)
It's been a pretty crazy week or so here, which you may have been able to tell thanks to the Lack of Updates (TM Frodaddy's 2002). Today, it's raining cats and dogs out there, and I have a terrific headache **partially thanks my my neighbors burning some noxious leaves and rubbish, seriously people will burn anything over here. Just pick any random day, drive for a minute, and you'll see piles of smoldering crap. I guess it's a farmers thing, since everyone does that in some form or another out in the countryside. The worst is when they do it right next to the baseball fields. It sure smells awful, and it can't be good for the lungs either. It's a wonder the air is clean at all, actually.** So, not much going on today. Mostly just lying around and being lazy.

I did get my car fixed, however. See, Wednesday, after school is done, I'm ready to crank the car, and... nothing. It won't start. Thankfully, I had the foresight earlier to join JAF (Japan Automobile Federation, think AAA), and after about 30 minutes someone got my car started up for me. Anyways, it looks like the spark plugs were shot, plus the air filter was filthy, and I think possibly something was up with the carberator too. So, lots of stuff that needed to be looked at. I hope everything is taken care of for a little bit at least. Next big car deadlines- I need to get Shaken, which is like a super inspection, in May, and I'll need to take the Japanese driving test this summer (which I've heard is absolute, total, %100 bullshit). Grreeeat.

In other fun news, MEP #2 is up. It may be a challenge to keep it on time and monthly, but it seems like a good way to spend some of my extra time at work. You can check it out for yourself here:

Also, I realize I haven't put up any pictures of my experiences and travels in Japan... there's really no excuse for it at all. So I should probably do that one of these days.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 9:56 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 17 February 2007 10:02 AM EST
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Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Super Party
Monday evening, I got together with some of the other local American ALTs to watch the Super Bowl. One of them, Zach, is lucky enough to get the satellite channels, so we watched a tape delay broadcast on NHK BS1. It worked out pretty good, except they showed the news for 10 minutes on the hour and skipped uneventful parts of the game (I think they only showed one punt, for example). So, basically we saw about 3/4ths of the game, but that is better than nothing. There was plenty of good food there, like real chili and chips and salsa. I brought along some Skittles from my stash, as well as some Kool-Aid but the rest of the guys just drank beer, of course. So, to recap, we were watching the game, eating chips and salsa, and drinking beer. Oh yeah, we're real Americans.

Game Notes:

I can't decide if the game was boring or not. Honestly, there were some exciting plays here and there, but from about the 3rd quarter on the outcome was pretty clear as the Colts just bled the clock. Overall, it was a so-so game but not terrible.

Speaking of terrible, Rex Grossman didn't exactly turn in the best performance of his career. I can see why people were ragging on him non-stop during the season, he made plenty of crappy throws. Actually, a big minus goes to the whole Chicago coaching staff, for not adjusting their gameplan at all during the second half when it became clear Indy was controlling the game. You've got to try to do something different at least, guys. This makes 3 Super Bowls in a row the losing team had just some awful coaching... Bears, Seahawks, Eagles all should have had a better chance of winning their games. What else can you say but a giant lost opportunity.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 7:58 AM EST
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Wednesday, 31 January 2007
Everyday Ish
Well, I'm sure you're wondering, what am up to recently? Well, since you asked, I'll tell you. Saturday, I played Volleyball with a bunch of kids from school. Good thing it wasn't a real game, because I would have lost badly. One of our English classes was on the lives of refugees, so I made a little presentation about that. Likewise, I also made a poster about landmine removal just recently. Last Thursday, I had a Elementary school day, and I about had to kill some of the 2nd graders and the kindergarten kids cried when they lost the game, but other than that it was fun. I'm tired of eating the same food all of the time, but I have to "play it safe" because a lot of the food I buy goes bad before I can use it. I finished 24 Season 1, I'm starting to watch Season 2, it seems good but just not as good as the first.

I called my Mom on Saturday to wish her a happy birthday. Yesterday, I finally got a haircut after about oh, say, three months. Today, I helped out at baseball practice after school. I did some catching and fielding, but man it was pretty chilly out there today. Baseball is definitely a summer sport. It might snow tomorrow or Friday, for the first real snowfall we've had this winter. Will school be cancelled? I don't know, but that would be exciting, wouldn't it?

Today, I was grocery shopping and ran into one of my students. Now he's a nice kid, but he wouldn't stop following me around and asking stupid questions. Again, I like the kid but sometimes there is just no where to go with this job. In other news, I have begun some very preliminary work on Monthly Eigo Post #2, I'll keep you, um, posted. Also today, I had some of the second year students design write their own comic strip captions, it didn't work out so great but at least it was something different for them to do. Also, some students will be putting on a play on Sunday, so I will go check that out. I think that is just about everything. Just a little taste of what my everyday activites are like here.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 9:24 AM EST
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Deadeye Dick
While I'm using my little corner of the internet, I want to go out of my way to say what a vile person Richard Bruce Cheney is. Normally I try to stay cool about these kinds of things, but this time it's gone too far and I've got to speak up. It's no secret that for six years now the guy has done whatever he's wanted with the US government and constitution, playing up the need to spread democracy in the Middle East and mentioning how the terrorists hate our freedoms, while cracking down on our privacy and rights at home and being the most secretive administration in US history. The guy's shot more holes in the constitution than one of his unlucky hunting partners. No really, for a while no one even knew who worked for the guy. Check it out.

His latest interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN may be his masterpiece. Note the detached worldview, refusal to admit obvious blunders, the faux outrage when asked about his lesbian daughter's relationships. (Never mind his political party has made open targets out of gays and lesbians for years). And he dares to mention that others don't have "stomach" for the fight. If only it were that simple. Ask yourself what he's sacrficed, what he's given up, and think if he has the right to tell others about "stomach" and toughing it out.

But he can be a real joker from time to time. Did you hear the one about anyone who disagrees with him wants the USA to lose in Iraq? About all the enormous successes? Oh wait. Seriously, there used to be a joke about how he would eat bats for breakfast, and somehow, seeing his self-satisfied mug, it doesn't seem that far off from the truth.

If you needed more proof the guy isn't human, both The Daily Show and Gregg Easterbrook of TMQ have pointed out another weird trait about the guy- he never, ever blinks. No, I'm serious. Watch any clip of the State of the Union address, and compare his blinks to that of say, more probable humanoid Nancy Pelosi. While Pelosi blinks incessantly, Cheney does, at most, once or twice a minute. The conclusion? What a creep. I'll let Easterbrook sum up my thoughts here:

"Finally, it's normal to blink like crazy on television. Watch even professional newscasters and sportscasters, as they face the camera they blink constantly -- viewers zone the blinking out. Last night during the State of the Union address, George W. Bush, Nancy Pelosi and Dick Cheney were facing the camera. Speaker Pelosi blinked non-stop. The president blinked frequently. Cheney never blinked. Check a video. Increasingly I fear that "Richard Cheney" is the host of a slug-like alien symbiot creature that has been implanted in his body and controls his brain."

That's all. I'm done.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 9:19 AM EST
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Monday, 22 January 2007
You Can Call It MEP
Here's a little project that I put together in my free time. I call it the Monthly Eigo (Enlgish) Post, or MEP for short, and it's a newsletter I will try to put out every month or so for the students. If I can get them reading English and maybe learning something about American culture, then great. If some of the English seems a little strange to you, please remember the target audience is Japanese middle schoolers with only a few years of study. It isn't anything complicated, but still took the better part of a school today to put together, finding good images, getting everything just right. Now that I've got the format roughly settled on it should be easier to put out an issue. By the way, since I wrote "Monthly" in the title, I'm gonna have to try hard to crank out something interesting every 30 days. If all else fails, I'll just change the name to "Mike's Eigo Post". It's still MEP, you know. Well, here's hoping that A. I can keep it up and B. enough people take the time to read it.

You can d/l the word file of it from here (sorry, you may need to cut and paste):

In other news, one of my fellow teachers was flipping out today in the staff room. Turns out there is a picture of him from his middle school days in one of the textbooks. OK, maybe not that big of a deal but it was worth it just to see his reaction. And admit it, if you saw your picture in some school textbook, you'd probably act a little crazy too.

Also, somebody returned from Korea with some chocolates for everyone. But these weren't just any ol' plain chocolates, no. They were spicy, as in with hot peppers mixed in the chocolate. Oh course, he neglected to tell everyone this when handing them out. Fun! Also, an Australian student whose mother is from Ono left to go back to Oz today, he was on his summer vacation there and came to Japan to visit relatives and check out the school. He had to go back to make it to a rowing camp at his school. Oh, those crazy Australians. His older brother is still here through the rest of the week though. Finally, the kids in two of my class periods today were real snots, hyperactive, wouldn't shut up. The third class though, everyone was practically falling asleep. Great. Just another day on the job.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 9:32 AM EST
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Saturday, 20 January 2007
Bucks for Becks
I should be using this space to talk about how great the signing of David Beckham by the LA Galaxy is for American soccer, how it will boost the sport's popularity and visibility in the USA to previously unseen levels. But I can't. All I can say is, it's a really smart business move for Beckham. Perhaps to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars and a future career after soccer.

Really, it's not difficult to see. Just as he is getting benched at Real Madrid and kicked off the English national team, he'll come over to the US and reap a whole new fortune of endorsement cash. He'll be the undisputed star of the entire league instead of languishing on the sidelines, overshadowed by the world's best in La Liga. The contract he signed gives him special cuts of endorsements and jersey sales, just the kind of things you would expect to see flying off the shelves once the public starts seeing his face on ESPN everyday.

Additionally, he'll be in LA, and he can play up his showbiz contacts for himself and his singer wife as much as he wants. Expect to see a thespian Beckham in the upcoming years, beyond your general 30 second TV spots. So never mind some high-minded goal of spreading soccer to America. This is a business deal first and foremost.

Posted by nc/frodaddy at 4:37 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 20 January 2007 4:40 AM EST
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