My Best Teaching Is One-on-One

一対一が僕のベスト

Of course, I team teach and do special lessons, etc.

当然、先生方と共同レッスンも、特別レッスンの指導もします。

But my best work in the classroom is after the lesson is over --
going one-on-one,
helping individual students with their assignments.

しかし、僕の一番意味あると思っている仕事は、講義が終わってから、
一対一と
個人的にその課題の勉強を応援することです。

It's kind of like with computer programs, walking the client through hands-on.
The job isn't really done until the customer is using the program.

まあ、コンピュータプログラムにすると、得意先の方に出来上がった製品を体験させるようなことと思います。
役に立たない製品はまだ製品になっていないと同様です。

Friday, January 15, 2021

Fermentation Products for Dinner

Dinner tonight:
Nattō, kim Chee, and my wife's pan bread, 
with rice and her vegetables. 

Had some fried salmon as well, but it's already in my stomach. No pics.

Will probably polish it off with yogghurt.

In other news, Trump is still a klutz, Pelosi's still a jerk, delivering mail is hard work. I'll soon start migrating my world from Facebook, Twitter, Google, Blogspot, etc. Life goes on.

Looking into Solid. Tim Berners-Lee may be on to something. The Internet was supposed to be a web of peers from the beginning, anyway.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Hikikomori 引き籠り -- Acute Social Withdrawal Syndrome 痛烈社交引き籠り症候群

In a bit of situational irony, cosmic irony, or, perhaps, mere coincidence,  my wife's aunt has asked me to translate some informational material for a service group she is involved with. 

As far as I know, they don't yet have a web site, so I can't link it here yet. But it's a group of volunteers in Kasai City (加西市), formed to support parents and guardians of individuals with disabilities  particularly hikikomori (引き籠り) class disabilities.

I could well be said to be one who has suffered from this "malady". 

I took a six year break from college, trying to complete two assignments in a way that would have essentially produced a more advanced free operating system than Unix with a systems programming language much more advanced than C. (I started this easy little project some five or six years before Linus started his thing with the Linux kernel using the GNU project's free C compiler toolchain, gcc.)

Friends and relatives thought I wasn't working. It's true I wasn't making money. 

Friends and relatives thought I was holed up in my grandfathers' attic. I got out and about quite a bit. I just didn't get out to go punch a timeclock. And I did often spend sixteen hour stretches up on the second floor, trying to work through the reasons the system and language I was trying to develop kept hitting resource requirement walls and internal contradictions. 

Well, and I actually produced some useful stuff while I was up there, too, just never had a way to get it out into the real world where people could use it.

That wasn't the first time, and it wasn't the last.

Recently, I spent a couple of years trying to write a novel while I was trying to find someone who would hire me, then recovering from an accident while trying to write a novel while trying to find someone who would hire me.

Even now, I'm in a sense withdrawn from society, using my muscles to do things I've never done before to make rent instead of using what skills I have to make a real living. While trying to write a novel instead of falling asleep when I get home.

Why? Because the "external society" that I have access to keeps telling me they really, really don't want me to do the things I can do, and demanding that I do things I can't.

And that, in a nutshell, is why people withdraw from society.

(Yeah, life does have a way of pushing and stretching us in ways we don't want. I know that But that is no excuse for us to add to each other's problems. There is a difference between pushing and stretching, and squishing and breaking. And when we undertake to judge others' efforts, we tend to squeeze people until they break. And then they pull back, if they can. Or die.)

I need to finish that translation. Then maybe I'll translate this post into my hackish Japanese. Or maybe I'll get back to my novels. Or just keep falling asleep.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Gratitude for Family 家族への感謝

My wife is not the ideal woman I hoped to marry when I was single. We disagree on such a deep level that even the things we agree on often cause friction.
妻のことなんですが、独身の俺が結婚したいと思った理想的な女ではありません。基礎の基礎の処の考えが違って、一致しているところさえも言い合いになってしまうほどです。

My children are not the ideal children I thought I wanted to raise. They don't even try to understand what is important to their dad and why.
俺の子供たちも、子育てに関わるつもりだった理想的な子どもたちではありません。その父親である俺の優先にするものとその訳も理解しようともしません。

But they are fundamentally good people.
にもかかわらず、根本的に善良ある人です。

And the fact that they do not match my ideals is not a bad thing. It keeps me on my toes.
俺の理想に叶わない事実は悪いことでもありません。抜け目はできないことになります。

If I had married the ideal woman I wanted to marry, I'd have conquered the world. But conquering the world probably wouldn't have been good for me. Or her. Or the world.
たとえ、結婚したかった理想的な女性と結婚したとしては、世界を征服しただろう。そして、俺が世界を征服したとすると、その行方は俺にも、その相手にも、世界にも良い結果を持つことではなかったでしょう。

My family, non-ideal (according to my ideals) as they are, give me many opportunities to conquer my own lesser tendencies and traits. That seems to be more important than conquering the world. At least, I think God tells me so.
(俺の理想にしては)非理想的な我が家は、俺自身のあまりマシではない傾向や特徴などを克服する機会を多く与えてくれます。世界を征服するよりは自分を克服するほうが必要でしょう。少なくとも、神様にそう言われています。

So, even though I complain too often, I #give_thanks for them.
したがって、文句は言うのが多すぎだろうけど、#感謝する のです。

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Frozen banana makes a good ice cube for hot cereal.

Frozen banana makes a good ice cube for hot cereal.

Rolled oats with soy flour mixed in water, microwaved. 

The milk I added after was not enough to cool it so I could eat it without burning my tongue.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Churn for Churn's Sake

Google's Blogger (Blogspot) editor has suddenly become 'new'.

(Okay, not really 'suddenly'. And 'Help' is no help, whether the 'user community' or the official help line.)

So I'm trying out the 'new'. But all the worst old bugs are still there, and they've added some new bad bugs, as well. 

One thing that drives me nuts is that I can't discard an edit. Even if the bugs have destroyed my work, the destructive results are automagically saved over what I had before. This is a bug in the design -- a design flaw. A failed design.

I haven't yet figured out how to leave off editing without publishing, except for hitting the browser's back button or just closing the browser window. To me, that feels too much like shutting the computer down by pulling the power cord.

The Enter key now means paragraph break instead of line break. To get a line break, you have to use shift-Enter. That's arbitrarily changing the meaning of the Enter key -- and why? Turn 40 years of tradition upside down, just because some college intern has been indoctrinated in the ideals and idolatries of that perversion of markup languages, XML? (Once upon a time, I thought XML was a good thing.)

Arbitrary changes are another of those practices direct from the worst practices handbook.

Too many things have changed without explanation, too much expects the user to understand the new metaphor (like the hamburger mark meaning something specific), too much expects the connection to be constant, undelayed, and following the latest changes to the Internet Specifications. (If your Internet connection coughs, be patient. It'll either bomb out on you or recover, eventually.)

Importing images into a blog that was started with the legacy editor will do stupid things. The image won't drop where the cursor is, it will drop at the next paragraph break, which is probably at the end of the document. Here's how I fixed that with the chapter of the novel that I'm currently working on:

  1. The pencil at the top left -- click the tiny triangle to its right and select HTML view.
  2. Click in the edit window, then right click and select all.
  3. Copy the HTML and paste it into an open, empty Gedit window. Any plain text editor that can match and replace on end-of-line/newline will do.
  4. Type a paragraph start
    <p>
    at the beginning of the document and a paragraph end
    </p>
    at the end.
  5. Replace all line break pairs with paragraph breaks split by newline. In Gedit, that's
    1. ctrl-H,
    2. check the "enable regular expressions" button,
    3. and replace
      <br /><br />
      with
      </p>\n<p>
  6. Check that the results are sane before selecting all and copying to a new blogger document. Keep the old document in case it doesn't work well.
  7. Now you can insert an image at any paragraph break.

The new editor was was supposed to have table editing, but that appears to have disappeared. As it usually does. HTML tables are too ambiguous for a general editor. Can't college students be given a preview on the implications of NP-completeness in their freshman year?

And it looks like Google has decided pop-up windows are no longer a vulnerable feature in web browsers or something, because the 'new' way to do previews, and, apparently, interact with the user about what to do with an open document, has Firefox asking me if I want to change pop-up settings. I have to give blogspot/blogger permission to impersonate Firefox to interact with the editor.

I'm not going to do that. That's yet another from the worst practices handbook.

Reporting bugs? How do you take a screen shot of yourself hitting the Enter key? How do you get the pop-up blocker in the screen-shot when the screen-shot is limited to the active window? And how do you get feedback, to be sure that anyone has even looked at your bug report, much less understood it?

And let's not forget that intermittent Internet access just makes all the bugs more prominent.

And Blogger/Blogspot/Google is now going to force everyone using Blogspot to use the new editor. You can still revert to the 'legacy' editor, but it is no longer functional. And the next time you log on, it has you back in the 'new' editor. And you get the message saying "You will be moved. Resistance is futile."

Why does new have to mean more bugs?

Why is new necessary if it doesn't fix anything?

You may wonder why I use Blogspot if I have so many complaints about it. 

It was convenient. That's the only reason. 

 It was convenient. No longer. Apparently, I will now be migrating my blogs away from Blogspot. I've migrated before, I will do so again. 

And I suppose that means my gmail account will be terminated within a few years.

Why does a company as rich as Google feel it necessary to force us to accept churn for churn's sake?

Sunday, September 6, 2020

F*** Is a Euphemism for Foul

When I was in my twenties, and realized that swearing in the privacy of my own car at the other drivers and their bad driving habits was getting me into bad habits of my own, God taught me how to divert the Tourette's reaction:

Say what you mean!
You don't really mean you want that driver who cut in front of you to be condemned to hell. You mean you wish he'd drive better. So that's what you should say:
Drive better!
You don't really mean you want to rape the car (or the driver) that turned left in front of you and would have caused a really bad accident if your reactions had been slower. Even if he or she won't hear you, instead of "F*** you!" say,
Quit that!
Slow down!
Drive safe!
"And you really, really, really don't mean you want the stop light that turned red when you thought you wanted to go through it to melt down into excrement. This one is a little harder. Instead of "S***!", Say,
Getting there a couple of minutes later is better than having someone call from the hospital to tell them I won't be making it into work any more.
And the conversation continued, with a little discussion of some priorities I had misplaced that were causing me stress.

(If you're curious, the lyrics from The Fixx's hit song probably helped me focus on saying what one means -- one thing does lead to another. But I had been aware of the idea well before then, as from Matthew 5: 37 -- "Yea (for) yea, nay (for) nay".)

But the lesson of saying what I mean has helped me to divert myself from Tourette's syndrome-like behavior on a number of occasions, and has actually helped me learn to communicate better. (I'm still pretty bad at communicating.)

(BTW, you do know that "Oh, my God!" is actually the beginning of a prayer -- usually for help, right? "Oh, my God, please help me not to be so jealous of my neighbor!" or some such.)

Recently, stress has been building up again, and I find myself referring to Bill Cosby's euphemistic substitutions
Fow! Fi-eau! Fow-fau!
(I forget from which routine.)

And I say things like

  • Foul!
  • That's a foul! (red card)
  • (Things are all) fouled up!
  • You (committer of) foul (deeds)! 

although those are all a bit more judgemental words than I should be using, especially the last one.

Well, maybe

I call foul!

is not so overly judgemental.

The thing is, when we say what we mean, we often find that we care more about other people and what happens to them than we think we want to admit. What we really mean is

  • Play fair!
  • Let's do that again, right this time.
  • What a mess! Let's try to clean it up.
  • Is doing that going to make you happy?

And I recall today something that occurred to me many years ago -- that "fuck", "shit", "hell", "damn", etc. are actually the euphemisms. We use them when for some reason we are too tired, too embarrassed, too lazy (or too something!) to say what we really mean, or (especially) what we really should mean.

(There is some non-literary irony in this. Erstwhile expletives are developing new, softer semantics. For instance, in many cases, in the local vernacular,

F*** off!

no longer means

Go somewhere I don't have to watch and play with your genitals by yourself!
so much as
Go take a time-out.
Still, since the expletives are somewhat ambiguous, I think it's better to try to understand what we mean and say it.)

Sunday, August 23, 2020

A Not-quite Typical Day for the Mail

3000 apartments.

130 items of tracked mail, 
roughly 3000 items of untracked mail.

Direct visits to fifteen apartments for registered/priority mail or mail that wouldn't fit in the mailbox or the parcel lockers.

Ten hours – two hours longer than usual, about 25% more mail and apartments. (We each took extra to cover for co-workers who had family taken down by dehydration and the heat and such.)

And it rained about 4:30 in the afternoon, but mostly cleared up while I was in the mail rooms of the apartment blocks I was working in at the time, which cooled things off -- which was nice.

My body hurts.

[JMR202009061938:

This one took me down a bit. Haven't quite recovered, even though I haven't yet had to take an unscheduled day off. haven't been able to match my speed for this one yet. Hopefully the heat will cut back after this typhoon passes. Would be nice if I could turn my writing into a career instead.

]