Tag Archives: work

Auditory Footimprinting


They removed the carpet from the stairs at work: it was worn out and looked pretty bad.

For 10 years I trained my ears to know who exactly was coming down the stairs by the sound, gait, speed, and rhythm of their steps. 

Now, … I don’t know who is coming down the stairs!

I’m back to step one again.


note: some people don’t like the bare look … they may start a carpetition!

double note: why aren’t marbles made of marble?

triple note: yes, I work in the basement. … on days when I feel low it’s a debasement.


what I’m listening to now #7:  U2 … but only the good songs.

My Stool Is Yellow!


I sit on this stool at work for about 2 hours everyday.

It’s 11 inches high. (28 centimetres)

I kind of like sitting on it: sometimes I sit on it when I don’t have to.

It keeps me grounded

… or very close to grounded.


note: some people ask me if I feel like a kid sitting on this stool. The answer is no: … the real kids sitting on the other stools keep me in line … and call me old … and a boogerface … and stuff like that.


Today #343

Today I was going to take a blogging break, but I’m sure something stupid will pop into my head tomorrow … like a popping balloon … that’s against my head.
I’ll wait and see.

Bang Bang Bang … Let Me Out!


I never used to be a “working stiff” … I used to be an “unemployed stiff”

… or a child.

I know! It’s hard to tell looking at me now!


note: benders seem to start with someone bending my arm … and then they turn into more weavy and staggery affairs.

double note: if I didn’t have to work, I would probably fart around on the computer more, more or less … or moralless … or something like that.

triple note: for newcomers to the blog, this is what it says if you hover the cursor over the photo: “This is how I feel at work.

quadruple note: I’m quite un-unemployable: it’s a curse.

quintuple note: somedays I know what The Tragically Hip were singing about in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-WBZMRFFkU&ob=av2e

sextuple note: I don’t feel too bad about going into work normally … or usually though.


Today #234

Today my old lighter died, so I grabbed another one from my extensive back-up inventory. The new one is red: thanks for asking.

Every Friday Evening


Every Friday evening a 2 year old boy comes with his mother for a 30 minute English class.

Every Friday evening I blow up a balloon and put it somewhere in the room.

Every Friday evening when he comes in to the room we look for the balloon.

When he finds it I ask him what color it is and then we have the big conversation:

Here you are.
Thank you.”     … as we pass it back and forth.

After that we move on to more extreme stuff like:

– looking for animals in the jungle
– making imaginary cakes with imaginary ingredients 
– examining the contents of magical bags holding treasures like plastic fruit, 2 piece animal puzzles, or things that need to be classified as a certain color

In between these important activities we sings songs:

– about his health (How are you?)
– environmental issues (How’s the weather?)
– public transportation (The Wheels on the Bus),
– monkeys jumping on beds, spiders climbing drainpipes, ducks hiking, …

It’s a quick 30 minutes and I actually look forward to it for some weird reason.

I know his name, but I don’t think he knows mine.

I’m just the balloon man.


note: another little kid calls me “Wednesday” because that’s when he has a class.

double note: little kids really need to have a life.

triple note: most kids like me because I’m bigger and very different looking than their parents … like a dinosaur … or something. I can live with that.

quadruple note: most kids like me are probably the same age as me … or older or younger. I know where you live.

quintuple note: finding two meanings in everything is really annoying sometimes.


notes to myself #128

You end up where you belong … you don’t really fit in, but you still belong somehow.

Disposition Is Much Better

one of the 5 Goshiki-numa ponds in Fukushima


At work I sometimes think “I don’t want to be here today!”

When this happens, I move over a few steps and then things are usually better.


note: usually those “few steps” don’t take me to a window ledge.

double note: I don’t work in this pond; it’s just a photo of somewhere I went last weekend.

triple note: I work in a basement … so there aren’t any windows to daydream out of.



Wednesday Mornings

I don’t work until 1 pm.
So, usually once a week on Wednesday mornings I go for an onsen (hotbath) at a place that’s a 40 minute drive away.

Probably 75% of the ideas I get for this blog come while I am driving to this place: ideas float through my head at irregular intervals regularly for some reason. I jot them down when I am at stoplights. I don’t know why I think of such stupid things; I just do.
It’s all quite normal if you live here.

This is what I saw and thought on the way to where I was going this week:

dirty van may appear larger than it really is

Oh! I like driving behind these trucks. It’s like having a massive rearview mirror!

“I guess technically a person that has their legs amputated is delapitated.”


There are a lot of ski resorts in that direction … and in all the other directions as well.

“Do people wear jean belts with leather pants?”

sleepy place

The drive to the onsen takes me up in to the mountains through little sleepy communities with sleepy pockets of people living in them.

“I’m wearing an irreversible sweater!”


hobbit house

There are a lot of houses I notice as I pass by them unnoticed. I like this one for some reason. Sorry my air-freshner got in to the picture: it’s stale cigarette scented.
I put up a new one after I took this photo. Now my van smells like a giant coconut!

“It must be tough being  Brad Pitt. What a crappy name really. I choose to pity him. He could never name his daughter ‘Cherry’. That must suck.”


another hobbit house

This is the only thatched roof house I see on the way.

“Can throwing up vegetables be classified as re-producing?”

not a hobbit house

This building always makes me think of English architecture for some reason; it’s a bit out of place.

“Anorexics should start 2nd helping themselves.”


mainstreet nowhere

I pass convenience stores and small restaurants; open skidoo shops and closed apple markets; small wood factories and smaller car lots; open rice fields and closed businesses.

“Spoonlifts are needed to empty swimming pools.”


pretty quiet in the fields at the moment

The fields are pretty quiet and brown this time of year, but at other times they are very busy and green.

“Aquaduct tape! I bet the Romans would have paid big money for that stuff.”

available spaces

And finally I arrive at the onsen’s parking lot. It’s usually pretty quiet since everyone normal is at work. It’s just me and some old guys usually.

“There should be a parking lottery.”
(hey that one kind of goes with the picture!)


I enter the lobby, put my shoes in a locker, pay my money, and flirt with the ladies behind the counter with incredibly witty lines like: “I have a pre-paid ticket” and ” Good morning” and “Thank you”.

“Edible Pizza Boxes: Money Making Scheme ????”

the cleaning lady saw me in my underwear!


This is the locker room. It was pretty empty today; usually I wouldn’t venture a picture. The shower room and the inside onsen are through those doors at the end.

“Cartoon character are pretty typecast usually.”


the pools

These are the pools where I always sit and think “if I built a house over there and bought a good quality telescope, I could check out the ladies bath!

But  usually I’m just thinking that a lot of the old guys who come at the same time as me are really not following the onsen rules. I don’t think they can read pictures! 
The “top left hand corner” rule is seriously being broken repeatedly again and again.

readable pictures

 Easily followable guidelines for the onsen.


you'd probably want to stop there

 After the onsen I get back into my van and make the trip back home. I always have to wait too long at this intersection.


maybe a double bypass in the future

 I live on a bypass around the city. They keep sticking new sets of traffic lights in which tends to slow traffic down for some reason. The city should think about building a double bypass maybe.


almost home

My house is just through the lights on the left. I usually just go in for a few minutes and then head to work for the day … where I will write up some ideas and throw out other ones.
Not everything makes the cut on planetross.


note: I even started drawing a little illustration to accompany the “Can throwing up vegetables be classified as re-producing?” before I realized that one was a bit nasty.

ruuupp ruuuppp ratatouille spewy


double note: I’ll put on the one I thought was the best of the bunch next.




broken clock


I love time; or more importantly the illusion of time.

I like the feeling of having time: excess time, squandering time, puttering time.

I go to work early, so I don’t feel rushed. I always have plenty of time, but I do it anyway.

I enjoy going to bed knowing I have a lot of free time in the morning to sleep in. I never do, but the feeling comforts me.

I love open ended vacations:  just go until the money or myself runs out.  Before a short holiday, the sense of not enough time looms large.  I usually come back satisfied that I did everything I wanted to, but the “not enough time” feeling returns while thinking about the next short holiday.

I plan for a day off once I’m back from a short holiday too. I might really have nothing to do but laundry; but I need it anyway.

Maybe I stay away from doctors because I want to keep the ultimate illusion of having time: time to do everything.

Maybe I just don’t like doctors.

Time is great; but for me, the illusion of time is better.

It’s the illusion that keeps me ticking most days.


note: I’m on a few of my “squandering time” days at the moment. I have a few more planned before I go back to work.

double note: I don’t think I’m going to like growing old very much. There won’t be enough time to do it. But I hope I get the chance to do it anyway.



Gainfully Abducted



I was just minding my own business aimlessly wandering around and then I woke up employed.

 “I’ve been jobnapped!”


note: free online job recruitment center = jobnapster. 

double note: it would be the perfect magazine if … it was about napping on the job.



In Situ/Out Situ



Sometimes I catch myself looking at someone and saying, “I know that person, but I don’t know where from.”.

And then it hits me; they are my dentist, a local store clerk, a parking lot attendant, a bank teller, …

I’ve never seen them outside of where they work before. 

I’ve never realized that they had a life and are not always wearing a uniform or hanging around in one place 24 hours a day.

It’s a strange feeling when this happens: they are out of place and out of context. I’ve labeled and tucked these people into a certain category in my mind and they have messed with my reality by appearing where I don’t expect them to.

I was 22 before I saw my best friend’s mother in any other location besides her house. It freaked me out!!

Other people could pop up anywhere and that would seem as completely natural to me as seeing my face when I look in a mirror.

I’ve mentally categorized these people as nomads and wouldn’t blink an eye if I saw them shopping for a carpet in Istanbul,  riding a bike along a street in Buenos Aires, or waiting in line for “It’s a Small World” at Disneyland. 

In my mind, these latter people are bigger than their surroundings. 

I’m sure a lot of people think the same about me: I’m just a backdrop or part of the scenery in their lives.

I’ll try to be “out of place” more often from now on.









note: I tell some of my students that I live at work and sleep on the table at night.




It’s the “o-bon” holiday in my region of Japan.

For many people it means 3 or 4 days off of work to visit the family grave and bring the spirits of the departed, in the form of a lantern flame, back to their house’s family shrine.

Most houses have a special area that contains a miniature shrine, incense holders, a few vase looking things, and assorted other shrine related paraphernalia.

The house I’m in has a little recessed space in one room for this purpose: it makes a great computer area!

When I first learned about “o-bon”, I thought I could wrangle a paid trip home to pick up my dead relatives’ spirits, bring them back to Japan, and show them my computer area.

I guess it doesn’t work that way.

I just get to work; but so does everyone else working at this company.

No-bon voyage for me, I guess.


note: I’d rather have some one leave me spirits than take mine!

double note: the above photo doesn’t have anything to do with o-bon as far as I know.