Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Continued Strangeness at the Gym

I don't know what is going on, but the strangeness that is my gym prevailed magnificently this morning. I worked on my thesis this morning; 1.5 spacing, checking footnotes, rewriting a little. As a result, I got to the gym a little later than usual: 10:00. Usually if I can't get there before 9 I don't go until the afternoon. I think it's an eating thing, but the decision is mostly unconscious.

So, here I am, entering the gym, and there is no desk staff. I wait for what seemed like minutes, but I'm sure was like 30 seconds. I took inventory of their protein supplements, bars and shakes (all double mark-up), purused the towels and lifting gloves, even noticed that they sold tanning-bed-goggles. In any event the attendant finally came by to zap my card, and she spoke to me! "Hur (är du) legit?" By reflex I blurted out one of the most perfect and upbeat, "Bra, tack!" I think I've ever done. C would have been uber impressed. Luckily the attendant told me to have a good time so I didn't have to ask her how she was (all I could think of was "tjena" which is like a cool 'hello').

I chunked my stuff in a locker. Most of the guys who are usually there lifting with me were just leaving, so we all did the prefunctory nods since it's become apparent I don't språk the swedish. I ran through my mind about what exercises I really wanted to do today, it was a shoulders' day. This was pretty normal I guess.

The strangeness occured as I descended upon the weight room. On the floor above are circuit machines, where you usually find women workin on abs and stuff after runs. The weight room is just that, free weights, with some leg machines. Usually there are guys everywhere, with an occasional woman -- this weekend being an extreme exception when the swedish women's soccer team took us over. Or so I thought. Today, could mark the beginning of a trend. CSI:"Once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, three times is evidence." There were women everywhere -- not that that is wrong in any way, gender aside, it's just that I'm used to an empty weight room. I'm wondering if the gym isn't promoting group deals or something, because all these ladies were in groups of 3+, and they were circuit training IN THE FREE WEIGHT ROOM. UBER STRANGE.

I guess that just struck me as odd because free weights are traditionally used for rep (number of times you move a weight) and set (how many times you repeat reps) training and is not really conducive to circuit training. This is mostly due to the time it takes to set up free weights (which usually helps you rest between sets). Circuit traning requires quick reps of one exercise and movement to another (why machines work so well for this since they are set-up). These women moved between exercises with a carelessness akin to a apathy for life and limb (and not necessarily just their own).

I was a little apprehensive since you can really hurt yourself with free weights if you aren't careful. The nice thing about machines is they put you in a some-what-good-position for the exercise (I won't say perfect because they reduce the use of natural stablizers like abs, shoulders and lower back). There were a few times I cringed when the new-gym-goers picked up weights and did some exercises. This is true regardless of gender, women are actually more likely to LISTEN to what is proper, whereas men just want to work with as much weight as possible. It only takes once though, and you can have a month (or more) strain. I wonder if I should say something to them next time ... I really think the gym should have a mandatory gym awareness class when you sign up.

I complain about the gym WAY too much, but it's just such a great social outlet :)


Monday, May 30, 2005


It happens to most americans and expats who come to Sweden for an extended period of time. I used to think that it was self inflicted, but apparently you can be swedified without your consent. This mild slip-up is quite funny, I think, so hopefully you will be equally amused :)

As you may recall, I recently lectured at Örebro University. I had to apply for remuneration to get my travel expenses reimbursed and all that. They included the expenses with my total lecturing fee. I have to admit, it paid quite nicely for the time I spent, not to mention the great experience I received. In any case, I looked over my pay check and they've made a 'slight' typographical error. For privacy reasons I will be using a slight variation in my name: Kisham (taken separately as Kis'Ham). Kiss in swedish is slang for to piss or waz (depending on where you are from). So there is already some humor in the name. However, they printed my name Kisshammar on my pay stub! I guess the admin could not understand the nonswedish name, and decided to swedify me to the best of his/her ability. Hammar means hammer in swedish, so my name ultimately comes out to Piss Hammer. S-W-E-D-I-F-I-C-A-T-I-O-N.

The troubling part is that now I have to go to the bank and explain the discrepancy. I am unsure if they will still cash the check since the name is not really even close to my name. It DOES have my address and my first name correct though, so hopefully that will be enough. Otherwise I have to send it BACK to the University and get it redone. I wonder what they will come up with next ...


Blogging Elite from Blogshares

For those who have not yet checked out Blogshares, please do. It's a really interesting blog-trading 'game' geared towards the economic-minded, business type. But, here I am, a typical student, having a tremendous time with it! Plus it's a great way to find new and interesting blogs.

Speaking of, there are two blogs imparticular I wanted to talk about. Both of these bloggers are leaders in the Blogshares game. Laila started blogging to get in touch with her long lost friends and keep in touch with family, I believe she still lives in the Philippines, and dedicates most of her writings to her three children. Randy, on the other hand, is a retired naval officer who lives in San Diego with his wife. They are currently redoing their home which, as many know, is always a challenge -- Randy and his wife do most of the stuff Do-it-Yourself or DIY.

Laila's Blog is pretty consistent, with lots of posting about family, intersperced with some tidbits about Blogshares. Since she is the number one/two player on Blogshares(depending on the day), she is often involved in give aways. See July 5
and July 15 for examples. Laila works with most of the giveaways I've seen so far on Blogshares. Not only is she active in the game, buther blog wins awards AND she had to upgrade her account because of so many readers (we should all have such problems :) )

Randy's blog is probably more my type since he blogs almost every day, particularly giving note when he's bored etc. It's also why I like JC's blog so much. Randy seems to stick mostly to his home life and politics. Randy is currently 8th in the top players' standings. I have to admit, I've not seen him post much, Laila seems to be everywhere, so maybe that's just a little unfair. I assume they are working in concert on this premium membership giveaway.

Best of luck to both of them. Please go visit their blogs.

My best


Sunday, May 29, 2005

Strangeness at the Gym on Sunday

I think I mentioned that last term I trained at the gym for a few hours with the Swedish men's soccer team. N, D's fiancee, teased me to no end, saying that they were waiting to invite me to go with them and play in England. We were both there to warm up for boxing class. Which, not surprisingly, also fell on a sunday. I think these national teams must only travel on sundays, but how random that they end up at my little gym in Ostermalmstorg.

Today I walked in passing a herd of women soccer players, clearly decked out in their training uniforms. They were definitely a roudy bunch. Seeing as there were few patrons yet at the gym, they had pretty much taken over. I went on about my business, doing my best to just ignore them. Though, when I went to stretch they were sprawled over all but one of the mats, so I was laying just outside their circle and they were saying, "who is that, why is he here?" Maybe someone had told them the room would be clear since it was 11 am Sunday? In any case I feigned swedish-ignorance and stretched for my workout. When I got up to cross the room (the easiest way to the weight room was on the opposite side of their training) I realized I needed to go all the way around. Frustration. Did I mention that these women were LOUD. I mean really loud, lots of shouting and grunting, similar to the display you see whenever you watch PT or ROTC training in the US.

I finally made my way down to the weight room. Sweet, not so many people. Just as I started to do some close grip lat pulls, a small training group of these swedish national women come down stairs with a male trainer. He was all serious and telling them the different things to do. It was really distracting. At one point I moved over to the free-weight smith machine and put some weight on. No sooner had I set up then one of the players (I actually recognized from games) asked me how long I'd be. When I said three sets (tre till) she looked at me like, you can't be serious.

I did two sets before someone else molested me. The male trainer came over and asked, in swedish, if he could do the freestanding squat (the rack is INSIDE the machine I'm using). I switched to english, and said sure, but she (the girl who'd asked) already laid claim to it, so you should ask her. Apparently that was funny. I ended up doing two more sets, since I kept getting interrupted, and the male trainer watched, which was a little wierd. After he'd done his squats though, and I'd moved on, he did the same exercise I did (neutral grip bent over rows)... interesting. The guy only interrupted me three more times before he left. I definitely wanted to take him aside and give him a few pointers on gym ettiquette. The players definitely had it down, at least asking how long you'd be before stepping in, maybe he needs to learn from his subjects rather than trying to step infront of a 90kg body builder carrying 40kg dumbbells around ... you think? I swear he almost got clobbered once when he walked infront of a dude trying to work on the cables ... "A master of gym, he was not. A padewan he should be."

Granted most of the gym stuff is common sense and common courtesy. I guess we were expected to bow to the wishes of the national team, while they invaded our space. Swedes don't get territorial often, but this morning was definitely one of those times I think the outsiders really pushed it. In any event, I thought it was interesting that another national team came to train at our gym on a sunday. Totally random, totally rhythm breaking, and totally unique to Stockholm.

Have a great weekend people!


Saturday, May 28, 2005

Me at Graduation

Me at Graduation
Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
Okay, so there will be NO MORE bitching about people not knowing what I look like. This is a total pimped out picture of me. I even look scarily tanned for my lily-white complexion. I think it has to do with all the facial hair.

The gym-going is definitely starting to pay off though. I feel like I should do a hot-or-not posting with different stages of haircuttery to see what people like. Especially since I've a diverse readizenship.

The Chinese students think I cut my hair to go to China, since short hair is traditional for men. Interestingly, I convinced my advisor, Professor, that the hair donation thing WAS for a good cause. She talked about it all night long, but I think she secretly REALLY likes my new hair cut. Everyone seems to. I have to admit, it's much easier and I REALLY like having the short hair.

Hope all is well with everyone!


graduation dinner

graduation dinner
Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
I don't know what the HECK I was doing here, I guess I got something on my fingers.


graduation group

graduation group
Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
We just graduated from the International Commercial Arbitration Law Master of Laws program at Stockholm University. We are a diverse bunch :) It's too bad we didn't get everyone together for a picture.

I figure I'd put these up here for everyone to see since parents are abroad and C is gone. She was decidely absent from the graduation yesterday, and we missed her.

If you can't tell who I am (not surprised), I am on the right side of the photo, in a White/Blue button down and kakhis. I look surprisingly tall in this picture. Strangeness.

I'll post some more pictures in a few minutes.

My best


Thursday, May 26, 2005

Starwars Spoofs

Given the great divide between my readers in their appreciation, or lack there of, for the Episode III I figure I'd post this: Star Wars Spoof Site

Hope you all enjoy!


Liverpool Wins by Shootout

Liverpool won the Champions League last night, for the first time in like 20 years. The game was hella insane, since I didn't even turn it on until the second half. I got text from friends after the game just started saying, "Crap, already down one goal." I figrued, meh, I'll wait until next half it will probably be a lame game anyways. SO I got to watch all the exciting bits without being totally tanked about them being down. Was cool, and pretty good soccer.

One thing to note is that the Liverpool fans contained themselves, refraining from the gratuitous murder of unsuspecting fans. The last time they won there were riots, and death. It's also sick and twisted because Liverpool doesn't even qualify for the Champions league for next year. "Liverpool's title was its first in the tournament since its fans rioted at the 1985 final in Brussels, Belgium, causing the death of 39 spectators and leading to a lengthy ban from European competition for English clubs. Under current rules, Liverpool won't be able to defend its title because only the top four teams in the Premier League qualified for next year's competition. " Weird huh?

Hope everyone's having a good one


Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Slut means 'finished' in English. Jag är slut! We finished our class today giving the final presentations of thesis etc. I defended mine, and I think I did decently even though I was so jet lagged I kept calling the Endangered Species Act the Environmental Protection Agency. I also kept correcting myself, so I think it worked out in the end. Interestingly, there was talk of starting at 10 am, which I was unaware of having been out of the country. Most of the class chose to show at 10. I presented at 9, so I got to cater my presentation to 5 people including D.

So what's next, you might ask? PHUCK if I know. I'm still working on it. Short term I have my life divided among the US and Sweden with a short jaunt into Canadia. I finish up here, with graduation dinner tomorrow night, then I head to the States sometimes in late June (I hope). I am in Montreal from July 3 - 15 doing a certification in EU and International Environmental Law. I'm totally riding the student thing, since I got HUGE discountage for housing and the course. This summer I will also establish the alumni association for my program according to Stockholm University guidelines. Beyond that I really have no idea.

It seems that China will remain on hold until Professor hears something from the Chinese institution. they actually had an interested candidate (who was a total shiner) who had to take another offer. Without someone to 'exchange' I think the Chinese institution, with good reasons, hesitates to accept me. Puts me in somewhat of a bind, but I hope it works out.

Other prospects in China may come to fruition. I am really hoping that, the university thing aside, I may get an internship doing corporate social responsibility stuffs in China. It's really an interesting area, and runs closely with the topic areas I've looked at in law school etc, mostly environmental and labor law stuffs. I've not done much condition of labor things, so this should be a good balance to my background, while getting my foot into a Law-Light subject area focusing on public interests and social awareness. I'm also REALLY hoping they pay me enough to support myself while I'm there.

I'm hoping when I finish with this year I will be able to return to stockholm. This will probably involve applying for the PhD program. Crap, which means I need to find a foundation or institution that will back me for my application. I have faculty backing, I think, but it's recommended I find an institution who can guarantee my fees while I'm here so even if I don't get chosen by the university I can still study. The idea is that the University limits its decision by how much the faculty can put into the 'pool'. So the Panel may choose more than they can support, giving the chosen an opportunity to get outside backing. This means the outside institutions have to have an interest in me somehow, and I don't know how that works. I'll have to figure it out though I guess. Hopefully it will be a moot point, but I am thinking that tthey usually have 30 applications and can only afford 1 - 2 spots a year ... yeah financial backing boosts you, probably in a way it should not.

Anyways, I'm trying to hydrate and take it easy. Hope all is well out there!


Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Eternal Part

Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
I am back in Stockholm, and UBER jetlagged. My apologies for not writing more often while I was gone, but I noticed that not many people read what I posted anyways.

I want to point out a tragic part of keeping your hair short normally and then growing it out. Apparently your hair folicles get used to the weight of the hair and will start to grow more towards one side or the other. This is called training hair. PEople usually have to do this to part their hair in the middle or on the sides. I parted my hair in the middle.

Now, you will notice in this picture the sharp left to right part on the left side of my skull. This is apparently going to be around a while. The left side all grows to the left, and lays down. The right, to the right and sticks up. It seriously looks like a part gone wrong. And by wrong I mean Michael Myers from Halloween. I just hope it goes away soon. I really don't like the part.

Have to say though, really really think I look better with short hair. I dunno why but it just seems to suit my body and facial features. I'm sure everyone has a thought on that, but it just looks better to me. Plus I can wear ballcaps again! w00t!

Well, again, sorry for not posting in a while. Hope people start coming back and reading.

Talk soon


Saturday, May 21, 2005

Hair and Gone

I am still trying to adjust, after a few drinks BEFORE noon, to my hair cut. It's been really hard. I was more attached than I thought to my locks, but hopefully they will bring some happiness to kids more needy than I. I will probably debate doing this again :)

My Flickr Slides of Haircut


Friday, May 20, 2005


This will be one of the more vain postings I've made in a while. We are all entitled to them, we just rarely DO them. I am half expecting a post from JC outlining his sexual exploits when he goes to Cuba or whereever it is. This will not be THAT explicit, but at least paves the way for more egocentric posting. In fact, I urge everyone to make at least one interscopic posting.

I was in the GAP yesterday looking for polos to take back with me. I always liked GAP polos because they are not oversized and they wash up nice. That's right, I said it, I endorsed the great satan GAP. Sue me. I am purusing the different styles, and they just didn't have any in my size (M). I'm getting all bent out of shape about it since the most popular sizes in baltimore are XL and XXL. Maybe they just stock less M's now. Bastards.

So I talk to the stocking guys who are doing the week's inventory. They look on their 8 foot pile of shirts for the charcoal color I want in M. There, of course, are none to be found, but I should 'really try the L, it should fit you.' Um, okay, 'But I really like the M, they fit well through the body.' 'Yes, but I am wearing a L and it fits me fine. You have are broader here (pointing to shoulders) and you have more pecs than me, it should fit fine.' OMG

C and Isabo will totally get this, but I was completely shocked. This is the first time, other than the little incident this semester with a drunk classmate, that someone I don't know has said something about my build. I was just about bursting at the seams. Someone actually noticed that I had some mass, where I'm not sure it anyone noticed say a year ago. It really made me feel good about myself. Like all day even. The L was still too Large though, the seams didn't cross my shoulders (if you wear clothes that fit the seam should hit right as your shoulders begin to turn to wards your clavical). It was also way long, so I ended up not getting it, but I the shopping part of it still made my day.

Saw Episode III, OMG, everyone HAS TO GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!! It was by far the best of the prequels, but I didn't think it was as good as Empire. That could be childhood bias though :) I hope that people make time to go see it ASAP though before you learn too much about it.

I am in class all day today, and may be without internet over the weekend. Thus, this may be my last posting for a while. The class today, a requirement for the BAR application after you pass, is from 830 to 1430. I just fecking sit there until they sign me out. How bullshit is THAT. Then I speed to the aeropuerto to fly and see M from law school who I have not seen in forever and a day. I can't wait, it shoudl be good times, if not greattimes. :) Hope everyone has a tremendous weekend.

Talk soon


Thursday, May 19, 2005

Back in the US, Back in the US, Back in the US...S... er... R

I travelled today. It is amazing how many americans you encounter when travelling. No joke, I'd say 50+% of the airport patrons were american. It got worse when I landed in Iceland, but then again, why else would you go to iceland but as a gateway to Europe/Americas. Even Iceland Air pimps it out as such.

The flights, overall, were not terrible. they were just, well, long in total. Separately they were manageable, but damn when you add all the hours of waiting and sitting together it gets really old, really fast. the flight crews seem to get shorter and shorter tempered everytime I fly. I am pretty placating, so it was surprising how abrupt and sharp they were with people once we were in the air.

The only real eventful today was the 200lb man who sat next to me from Stockholm to Reykjavik. The boarding procedure is ad hoc or haphazard at best. Basically, you all show up 20 minutes before and they suddenly so, "Okay people, let's board!" No rows, no order, no first class comes first. Just a, okay it's time, and a mass of bodies trying to be one of the first on the plane. I needed to be early today because I was trying to carryon a pretty big piece of luggage. Anyways, once on you sit in your 'assigned' seat. Apparently this is suggested only, and not really set in stone. People decided to sit in certain unassigned places displacing others.

The large guy next to me was one of those people, and had been standing in the back secretly praying they did not bump him. If I'd been him i'd have sat in a seat and strapped in. The shuffle eventually put him in the middle seat next to me. I was so not happy about that. He fell to sleep almost immediately, resting his grotesquely large limbs on his protruding stomach. I'm not talking a little pot belly here either, GREAT STORES OF FAT, I give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he's saving up to try to cross the Gobi or something. He snored outrageously, and would jostle in his sleep, his spongey elbows bumping me and slowly increasing his 'personal' space. I ended up slopping food on my t-shirt and having a relatively miserable flight because of it. Que Sera Sera, bitches.

I'm in baltimore for my professional responsibility course, and to see Episode III ( I have tickets for manana).

Hope all is well with people


Visits and Views 5.19

Visits and Views 5.19
Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
I liked the shape of this one ... for some reason, it's just cool, that when the traffic dipped, the views didn't.


State of the Readers 5.19

State of the Readers 5.19
Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
I'm sorry I've not been posting these pretty regularly. I really doubt you guys have missed them much, because, let's be honest, no one enjoys statistics as much as me!
Even wtih a significantly diminished Reading Pool, I had really strong showings from Japan, Sweden and, yes, my obsession, Tonga. SHWEET.

I amunsure if Norway's ever made it to the list, so I'm pretty psyched about that.

I am in the States, if you can't tell from the posts, so hopefully everyone will be patient as I post halfway decently for a week or so.

Talk soon


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

What Philosophy do you Follow

this is a borrowed quiz :) hope you enjoy!


You scored as Existentialism. Your life is guided by the concept of Existentialism: You choose the meaning and purpose of your life.

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

“It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”

--Jean-Paul Sartre

“It is man's natural sickness to believe that he possesses the Truth.”

--Blaise Pascal

More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...







Justice (Fairness)




Strong Egoism






Divine Command


What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with QuizFarm.com


Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
I thought this was an interesting picture from one of the culinary monstrosities gone incredibly awry.

Those of you familiar with this dish will recognize the tell-tale crumbles make a failed attempt at preacher cookies. Those not so familiar will just see spoons with crap on wax paper.

Preacher cookies are stove top or drop cookies. They are oats, cocoa and homemade syrup. So not easy to make. You can't scortch the syrup, you can't add too many oats, and you can't let them sit too long. Oh, and getting the syrup on you, will burn you to the bone before you can get it off. Very hazardous activity, no joke.

I had a craving for these about two months ago, but I'm just getting around to downloading the picture. Thought you guys might enjoy it. Even if you dont' it does change up my content a bit. Until I can get a sponsor like Simon I've no chance of having a proper photoblog, but this is a fun deviation :) Maybe I'll do more if this goes over well with the Readizens.

Have a good one


Monday, May 16, 2005

Interesting Personality/Relationship Test

20 Questions to a Better Relationship

eXpressive: 6/10
Practical: 6/10
Physical: 4/10
Giver: 4/10

You are a XPIT--Expressive Practical Intellectual Taker. This makes you a Manager.

You are cool, thoughtful and intelligent. Your approach and your sense of humor are under-the-radar, your charm is undeniable. You keep everything under control. You have distinctive vocal mannerisms. You may not have much interest in approaching strangers, but when you do, you are successful.

You will probably end up with someone beautiful, fascinating and off-balance. While your partner may steal the limelight, it's you that keeps things running smoothly and provides stability in your relationship. If you are with someone as contemplative and hard-headed as you, you can have a tough time.

Your greatest asset is that you tackle conflict as it rises -- you don't ignore it and let it brew. If you have a partner that *does* let it brew, it will make you crazy! You can find yourself fighting for two -- trying to anticipate your partner's needs and draw their feelings out -- which is exhausting and, well, not your job.

You would never cheat. You would make an excellent spouse. When your spouse's friends met you, they would think, "Crap, why couldn't I get that one?"

Of the 226069 people who have taken this quiz, 6.2 % are this type.


Diagnosis not quite right? Now that you've taken the quiz, you can view the Relationship key. If you have any attributes that are on the cusp, check out the Relationship that complements that attribute (in other words, if you're an XPIT but only 6/10 Practical, take a look at XSIT.)

But beware -- the Taker/Giver attribute is very strong in defining a Relationship type! A RPYT is very different from an RPYG!

Write down what Relationship composite this quiz has given you, because viewing the key will erase your score.

XY Sexy IT In control/can be controlling
XG Good parent RG Good-natured/even keel
XP Good at resolving conflict RT Trouble communicating
XSI Honest to a fault SG People-pleaser

take the quiz!

This explains so many things ... so many things ...


Sunday, May 15, 2005

Teaching at Örebro

As promised, I wanted to talk a bit about my teaching experience at Örebro University in Örebro, Sweden. It was definitely interests, being my first University lecture where the students would actually NEED to listen to me. I've done other lectures where it's more educational (like a seminar where people show up to listen and forget all about your subject as they walk out the door).

The university is across a quaint river in a neighborhood. Before 1985 (I believe) the university was a högskolan, ahigher or training school focusing on skills, not a college or university. The campus looks like huge cement blocks with mostly two-story buildings. There was tons of on campus housing, which must be nice, and about 7 cafe's intersperced in the buildings. Apparently there are 13,000 students, 77% of which are female (and yes, some of you silently chuckle as you appreciate the irony, but please read on). I have to admit I did not like the campus so much, but the rooms were nice. The normal, swedish, Ikea-esque design with ample lighting and electrical outlets. The interesting thing being that the students were all uber friendly, probably thinking I was a student as well, so I got lots of tjena's, legit?and hand shakes. Normal, casual introduction stuff. Thank god I didn't wear a tie to work, all the faculty I saw were in jeans. I shoulda work jeans :(

The class and the coffee break rule. So I start class with an example to use during the lecture: the coffee break rule. Being ambitious, I jump right into asking the class to give me the rule. They were offended that I'd even consider NOT giving them the coffee break rule, so they were more than willing to help me set out the ground rules. The basics are: (1) academic hours are 45 minutes, (2) 15 minutes are the coffee break, (3) We have the break at the end of the hour, (4) we ALWAYS have the coffee break. Of course, I intended to stick closely to this rule, since I'd likely need the time to breathe. The class seemed really nice, some more 'intense' than others. one who kept asking questions was the hawt, so it was a bit distracting, but other than that it went okay.

First hour. I was definitely nervous the first hour. The admin who helped me find the room and setup was asking me all kinds of questions, which is uber unusual for a swede, but she seemed genuinely interested in what brought me all the way to Örebro from Stockholm. She made a comment on my age(I guess I look younger than 26?) and then left. The students came in and filled the 30 or so seats. I started my Word note right away to allay their fears of not having some notes from me, and I went right into the Rules of Persuasive Legal English. These were supposed to take me 3 hours. It took 30 minutes, even with repetion

Second hour. So the second hour I returned to the high points like structure and passive voice. I really doubt the students 'got' passive voice even though I did 25 examples for them. Structure also seemed to be a problem, since I started getting questions about,"well, what if I want to do this..." Um, yeah, every paragraph, going to be Conclusion, Rule, Application, Conclusion. I want all my students using CRAC!!! I also have to field questions about fluency, and recommended English fluency is short sentences containing one thought. These students totally did not get this. I had to go through this 6 times, no joke, before I got the proverbial sigh and, "oh key" (okay for swedes). I was at least relaxing, since they were starting to get stuff.

I hung out with some of the students for lunch. A group of students took me to lunch which was awesome. We talked about campus life and what there was to do ni the city. Apparently they were not frats, which was a big deal to them, and the city was dead. So this group mostly stayed in and played lots of playstation 2 (go figure). We totally bonded over the video games since I'm a freak about that stuff. I half expected them to invite me over for gaming, since they were surprised I was leaving right after the lecture. This same group skipped the last part of the lecture, lol, go figure. We didn't talk school the entire time we were at lunch which was really nice.

Third hour. Everyone was totally rejuvinated after lunching. I had about 45 minutes of questions to field so I didn't have to come up with too much. I was going to let them go early except they kept asking about footnoting etc. I did happen to lay out all of the argument styles for the different sides. Hopefully they use them since it seems like that is exactly what the professor wants. The hardest thing for them to get a hold on was making an argument that does not exist. There was a clear violation of Art 28 in their fact pattern. The State was in violation, so the State writers would need to still argue that there was no violation and then say, "in the alternative, and only if this court should find a violation exists." Um, I got about 6 hands in one go, "How can I MAKE that argument if I know there is a violation??!" I almost threw up my hands in frustration, since I assumed it would be clear. First, we use CRAC, second you have to make the argument against a Violation because the State will fire you if you conceed the issue upfront, and third you are lawyers, if you can't make an argument that doesn't exist you need to get out NOW while you are ahead. They finally got it, after I made the argument for them.

Fourth hour. I spent most of this time going over specific questions, recovering footnotes in GREAT detail -- having already seen some of the work, these students DEFINITELY got footnoting, which rocks, since it's a not-so-easy subject. I also illustrated CRAC, again, for the 9234592347852389752389075289 time, using Battery as an example. Battery is unwanted touching. I went through the example and I think they got it, but when I put it up there, there were definitely snickers going through the group. I didn't have the heart to tell them that battery applies to sexual assault as much as it does medical mal practice. Of course, I didn't illustrate a simple example, I used someone driving through an intersection hitting a dog that bites her owner. I showed some of the rules, and where they'd spend their time arguing the points. They seemed happy with the example and had no more questions. We ended 20 minutes early. w00t!

All in all it was a good time. I spoke with Vladimir (the guy who asked me to do the lecture) and he was happy with the results he's recieved so far. I just hope he doesn't have to do any reteaching.

I am now off to gym and to rebury myself in thesis until 5 pm today when I've set my deadline. I hope everyone's had a tremendous weekend.

~B-the-ever-working-diligently (NOT)

Saturday, May 14, 2005

State of the Readers 5.14

State of the Readers 5.14
Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
Taiwan and Greece! Sorry, I've been in the world of footnoting for 8 hours straight I have an excuse!


Friday, May 13, 2005

Interesting Searches ...

So we are all having fun with who links to me how, and all that. I have almost no time for a creative post :( given that I got comments back on my draft today and it's due on sunday. I am going to try and bust ass to get it done and do it right. I've been given the nod for an extension until June 1, but I am hoping to not have to use it. Having two advisors makes it difficult, however, so I will keep the trump card in reserve, as it were.

The following are a series of searches bringing people to my page:

  1. the bible book of the devil Interesting search. I am the number 2 return on this query.

  2. Flesch reading ease this seems to be a really common one right now. I have no idea why, but it's shown up three days in a row from different users.

  3. weight tracker I KNEW this would get me in trouble some day ... jk I'm the 6th return on this one.

  4. acension recovery I have no clue what this is about ... I'm the first return though!

  5. romy and michelle's highschool reunion music I was totally psyched about this search, I'm first, BEFORE AMAZON.COM!!!!

  6. "too little too late" and book of quotes I also returned as the first hit on this search. Got to love the google.

  7. kycling+filé A swede must have put this in. I'm sure they had a riotous time going through my explanation of the kyckling.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!


State of the Readers 5.13

State of the Readers 5.13
Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
Curiouser and Curiouser. Tons of different areas popped up in the sitemeter this week. I'm sorry for not capturing more of the images, since it really changed dramatically from day to day. The other day I had Iran, Singapore, Malaysia, and India. Today we have a decidedly european feel: SE, UK, DK, DE, and BE.

I totally want to point out that Canadians and Americans are FINALLY starting to read my blog more. Though, Tonga still puts up amazing stats per capita.

Does anyone know a good search engine for blogs? I'm trying to find expats in China, but I'm not having very good luck, most of the blogs are dead or just not very helpful.

Talk soon,


Thursday, May 12, 2005


I am finding more and more people come to my blog through yahoo! searches. Not that I don't think that's cool, my blog is clearly out there impacting the websphere as a whole. What I do not like is some of the searches: like http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=pictrues%20on%20abortions. It's just strange. I also got one for Doctor raping. I wonder if they meant rapping.

In any event, there are other searches that come up at least 4 - 5 times a week, like 'ecto gamat'. Which, of course, is a line from The Fifth Element, with Bruce Willis and Milla Yovovich. Who could forget the DIVA from that movie. If you've not seen it, at least try and find a clip from her performance. It's enhanced vocal overlay, and for someone who's not heard it before is always impressive.

I've decided to save my story from yesterday. I figured I need some time to mull things over. Plus I'm rushed today. Believe me, it's better to wait. I'm off to a luncheon with my mom so I can entertain a bf of a speaker. the only two guys there ... I'm sure we will have tons of stuff to talk about, what with both being male and all. The things I do for people ... jk.

Have a good one.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

First Teaching Assignment?

In the early spring I met with a PhD student who teaches at a pretty obscure liberal arts college in Middle Sweden (I fantasize that it's rustic and like middle earth, but I won't be shocked when I find it contemporary and decidely lacking leatherclad, dirty rangers). This guy is teaching a course in the legal department for undergrads. Part of the lecture series is practical writing and a moot. The PhD is not a native speaker so asked at the university if my professor would do it. She, being the bussiest person alive declined, but made some other recommendations in the unversity. After the head of the writing deparment at Stockholm and School of Economics decline, I got the call.

I will travel for two hours each way to give a four hour lecture on Persuasive Legal English. I'm no the University timetable and everything. It's pretty cool. They pay for me to get out there, then I get ridiculous wages for the time I'm going to spend. I'm serious, RIDICULOUS, especially given that I dont' have a PhD yet (technically if I had a PhD I would get twice as much, which is uber scary). The class is apparently very swedish, so I have to try to get through to them without them just sitting and taking notes. I plan on opening with the Coffee Rule. I'll probably make a posting about that some time tomorrow when I'm done and tell you all how it went.

I actually have to go out and get some clothes so I can look halfway decent. All I have are really formal (pleated (omg who the phuck invented pleats)) pants and cargo khakis, neither of which seem appropriate. SO, I'm going on a quest for staight front slacks and a fitted dress shirt. Fun. C will call me shortly to meet up with me.

Hope everyone has a tremendous week.


State of the Readers 5.10

State of the Readers 5.10
Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
I figured it's been a while since I posted something on the state of the readers. I hope that you guys haven't missed this section too much. I have definitely noticed that not many people enjoy the weight tracker :( It won't go on forever, just until I get through initiation and down to 175 lbs/79 kgs.

I will try to do better about posting on stuff, but it's just been near impossible with all the thesis crap I've had to do. I have some exciting things coming up in my life -- if things pan out the way I hope -- that I will be able to talk about. Hang in there guys, and sorry for the series of lame posts!


Weight Tracker 5.10

I am going to 'blend' my weight stats for two days:


Home: 180 lbs

Gym: 81.9 kgs


Home: 180 lbs

Gym: 81.6 kgs

Consistency is good, it usually occurse in threes before I drop 2 - 3 lbs. This is the slowest initiation I've ever had on a lowcarb diet. Granted, I'm still taking in 75 - 100 gms of carbs a day, but they are recovery maltose and lactose carbs (fast carbs) taken directly after a hard work out. Days when I don't work out I avg. 20 - 25 lactose carbs a day.

Strangeness. I'm sure my body will adjust eventually, but it's frustrating not to see the lbs shred like they did every other time I've done this diet. I will thwart you yet viceral fat!


Monday, May 09, 2005

The Extremes of Family Time

I just finished JC's posting on family time. Family time is when you live apart from your family, meet up with them on 'special' occasions and have dinner, lunch or otherwise gather and interact. There are two major experiences I've had, well three actually, in this situations.

(1) JC's position: Just BE there. The family loves you and wants to spend time with you, but when you show up they don't interact with you. Either 'more important things' are giong on or this always happens to you. This rarely happens to me. Mostly b/c I'm a busy body, and I can insert myself into a conversation relatively easy. It has happened though.

(2) BE there so we can talk about you. Trophyism. Mother, father, what kid has not been part of a trphyism conversation. You are always there, nonresponsive, hoping they will stop talking. The worst is when they get stuff wrong, you want to correct them, but you always want to shrivel up and die. The parental pissing matches always put the cousins and siblings at odds at bigger gatherings. Even to hear what the 'kids' are doing, you'd think they were solving world hunger or something. Kids could really care less, unless you have a cousin who is always trying to outwit you and make it obvious to the other cousins. Needless to say, since I left the science field, this has not been a problem ...

(3) You will BE here and you will TALK to your Grandmother, she LOVes you! Yeah, the 'duty' call or visit. This is every major holiday, for the most part. You rarely get to see loved ones, and she may die soon, get your time in. This is not so hard, unless you favor one grandparent over another. This is my problem. I really like one of my grandparents, and I'm not so fond of the other. The other situation is going to see extended family because they live in town. OMG these are tough. I have absolutely no connection to these people, but they would take it as a complete offront if everyone doesn't go see them. It usually just a matter of 'when' are we going to do it. Mom and I usually fenagle a short visit by going before we have a commitment or by going just before/after a meal is planned for the family. The worst part is, now that they figured you are old enough to answer questions, you get 20 of them when yuo get in the door, half of which have to do with dating and love interests ... check please!

You know it's the truth. You've all been there. I'm sure I'm missing some categories, but these were the first to come to mind, and I have a meeting at 8:30 this morning.

Have a killer week people.


Sunday, May 08, 2005

Weight Tracker 5.8

Today's fun weights:

Gym: 81.7 kilos

Home: 180 lbs

And, Grace, I'm still the same height :)


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Weight Tracker 5.7

It's a conspiracy I tell you, all LIES.

I skipped the gym today, and gained a pound. wtf.

Home scale (9 weighings over the day): 183 lbs

What I get for sitting on my ass working on thesis all day. Stupid.


Friday, May 06, 2005

Gym Theory: Sex and Gym Types The Same?

I think just about everyone's been to a gym before. Individuals have different intensities and focuses while they are there. I wonder if this translates to the sex life as well.

The Face. Some people make those terrible faces, and turn all red, like the are trying to concentrate too hard. I've definitely seen that during sex. It doesn't really look like fun until they are done with the rep or set, and when they DO finished they are totally exhausted.

The Grunter. This is pretty annoying. I understand having to expell some extra air SOMETIMES, but doing it continuously is annoying. Can you imagine someone doing that during sex? It'd be like the Oh-Face from OfficeSpace, just incoherent sounds to try and get yourself through it. It doesn't really add anything, but it makes you feel like you get just a little more in.

The Counter. This is not as prominent as the grunting, but it probably more common. Most people will count while they are lifting to get through the set. These are people, i;d imagine, who like the rhythmic sex. But I have to say, recounting a number does not make it a rep, once you are done you are done, just like in sex. (Ironically, if you are a counter, and you're lifting heavy, your last number is usually a sputter ... that definitely translates to sex!)

The Concentrator. This is the person who can lift 2kgs or 20kgs and it looks the same. The same motion, the same effort. There is just so much focus that there's no change. This is also the person who can lift and look stright forward or up without really seeing anything. I've definitely met this person during sex ...

The Narcissus. There are usually mirrors in the gym so you can watch your form. Make sure things align etc, so you get the most out of your workout. Some people, however, totally take advantage of this and look at themselves in the mirror. You seem the flexing and sucking. Sometimes they rub their face to test the stubble or flex their arms. What really gets old though, is the checking out the pecs, especially when they are lifting another body part. I'd imagine sex for these peopel is all about them, I've definitely seen this in action ...

The Watcher. These are the people who look around when resting between sets. They may watch someone in particular or just kind of let their eyes roam around. These people watch the trainers to get new lifting tips and are willing to try these, even if they look stupid. I've seen this at the gym LOTS, I tend to lean this way. Sex for these people is probably about the other person.

The One Body Part Person. Guys are especially guilty of this, focusing mostly on arms or chest. Girls tend to lean more towards a focus on legs. I bet these people like positions where you can really see their 'attributes', but I have to say people it limits the possible positions. Just putting it out there.

I was going to break it down by what body part people like to work out most, but I think it's going a little far afield.


Weight Tracker 5.6

Weight at gym: 81.9 kg

Weight at home: 182 lbs

strangeness. I still expect to lose 3 lbs by next monday.


Thursday, May 05, 2005

Weight Tracker 5.5

Interesting discrepancies in weight today.

I weighed in at the gym before lifting at 82 kg. After my work out I was 81.7 kg.

Weight at gym: 82 kgs

I forgot to weigh myself when I got home, I had a protein recovery shake, two eggs and left over bacon from my parent's breakfast that they'd left me. Anyways, I had two big glasses of water, and weighed in at 182 lbs.

Weight at home: 182 lbs

According to http://annica.in-cyberspace.net/en/lbs_kg.html I should weigh about 180.78 at home. 182 lbs is 82.55 kgs according to the same calculation. So my home scale is probably off a bit. Though, the home scale does not center, it averages, so maybe that accounts for the discrepancy.

As far as I know, Grace, I am still the same height :)

Hope everyone has a great week


Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Delay on BAR stuffs

I'm sure that everyone has a perpetual thorn in their side. And by thorn I mean person and side I mean life. I called to schedule my Bar interview for the character committee since I couldn't do it last fall, what with being in stockholm and NOT baltimore.

So the hold up. Oh, this gets good. I've known so few people for long enough to appease the Bar I had to ask the ex, J, to send something in. It never happened. J moved, they tried to contact J to no avail. I contacted J today, who has, apparently, never sent the materials in. Wow, so now I can't get my interview unless the dude has time to review J's reference before I get to the states in 2 weeks. Wounds, salt, rubbing it IN ... J never passed the Bar, after 4 attempts. 2 of which occured during our togetherness. I think I'm going to hurt someone, if my sister doesn't get to it first. At least, the hurting will come AFTER J submits the required documentation. The interviewer seemed not so happy to hear from me, and just a little peeved that I am not in the country and therefore need him to be flexible.



Weight Tracker 5.4

I weighed in the morning today. Just so everyone knows, when you are trying to follow your weight you should really weigh yourself at the same time every day. I assume I am still the same height ...

Weight lbs: 183

Weight Kgs: 83.1

I thought this was wierd, since one is like an anogram of the other. In any case, I lost weight on the gym scale, and stayed the same at home. .4 kg (83.5 - 83.1) is ABOUT a pound, which doesn't surprise me in the least. We've had the home scale for like 10 years. The one at the gym has a tare/zero button, so it's easier to keep calibrated.

Off to do some thesis type work.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Weight Tracker 5.3

Fun thing today, I went to the gym in the afternoon. Completely different set of people, was interesting. Many more vain people oggling their reflections than I'm used to with the morning crowd.

Weight in Pounds: 183

Weight in Kilograms: 83.5

I'm putting up both weights, because I use two different scales. The one at the gym is either kilos or stones, so I used kilos since stones make antisense to americans.

We have a scale at home as well, with pounds instead of the 'alternative' measurements.


As per Grace's comment, requesting my height: 5'9" or 175cm
I may post other measurements of interest, but this is really starting to look like a porn posting! Therefore, I will refrain from posting other dimensions


State of the Readers 5.3

Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
Thought people might enjoy an update. Sorry I haven't been keeping up with the posts as well.

I am off to the gym. I will try and post some time this afternoon.


Monday, May 02, 2005

Cusack Test

I stole this from C. Enjoy!

Which John Cusack Are You?


Weight Tracker 5.2

I went back on 'the diet' today. Fun stuff huh. I figured I'd post my weight on here so I can keep track, and everyone else can gaffaw when the pounds shed away. It's really pretty scary.

I initiate this week. I'll be totally insane for a few days, where there are anticarbs ... with one variation. I am sticking to my recovery shake after workouts. All this year I felt like my body was nonresponsive to 5 days in the gym. I go off the diet for two months and I gain mad wieght, but I also gain some nice mass. SO, in theory, I should be able to do a low carb diet and still have a recovery shake. Anyways, the shake is about 75 carbs with the milk, but I add extra protein so I'm getting about 75/100/5. It's a good protein kick to my day, and proportionally it's nothing.

CURRENT WEIGHT: 186 lbs (the most I've weighed in a while)

I've had my shake today. I had a green salad no dress, and a .25Kg piece of salmon for lunch. I just had a pretty big romain salad with no carb caeser. I'm still starved. Maybe I'll go nap ... OOO or play pokemon.

Have a good one people. I meet with my advisor tomorrow. Hopefully it goes well.


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Forever, and a Day?

HA, that's right, I'm forgoing a trip to the gym to write some stuff here. I feel like I'm guilty of severe neglect of me readizens.

SO, I guess everyone is wondering what's up with life in stockholm and where the heck I've been. In truth, I've been trying to rewrite my stupid thesis work. It's going well, since the rewrite is superior quality text, but it's taking longer than I wanted it to. Partly, I think, this is due to my inability to sit for more than two hours at a time and type. I've no proper desk, so I do most of my typing on my bed so I can get a bloc of unmolested time.

As I wrote like three entries down, I did NOT get the acting part for the IKEA ad. Oh well, it was a good experience, and I'd not have had time anyways.

I went to see Tolken, or the interpreter in English, yesterday. My sister highly recommended it, and it lived up to her hype. I must also give it two thumbs up and endorse it for anyone who is debating going. I think that it will translate well to TV, but it's one of those experiences that being in a theater heightens. Interestingly, I think the political aspects offend some critics since the ratings range wildly.

I am going back on my carb controlled diet tomorrow. I figure I've been off it for two months now. I actually feel like I've put on some lean muscle mass, but the side-effect of the extra body fat isn't so appealing. When I broke diet, I made a concerted effort to get to the gym 5 - 6 times a week. I went from 165 to about 175 in a week. Then I tapered off to 170. About the second week of April I spiked in weight, from 170 to 180 in a week or so. When I started gaining more, I started hitting the gym 6 -7 days a week. No cardio. I'm at about 185 now. I know some of it must be lean muscle because I don't look like I used to when I weighed 185 - 190. My body fat has actually remained pretty clost to the same as when I was on the diet, except that my arms and legs have less 'fat' and my midsection doubled. Gross, I know, sorry for the descriptors. I'm hoping that I have enough mass to continue to build, otherwise I'll go back OFF the diet in a month and work out like crazy again. My minimum weight before was about 165, I'll venture to guess that in two weeks I go from 185 to 175, but my min weight will probably hover around 170 - 173. At least I hope so. Ideally, I will look leaner at about 175 and be able to integrate some rice and noodles.

In other news, CHINA looks like it is coming together. I will go on exchange for at least a semester. I'm really hoping to go for the full year, but my choices may be limited. The interesting thing is that part of me getting to go is that I am interested in returning to sweden to do doctoral studies ... I am calling it a maturity expedition and an opportunity to hone my research and writing skills. I did have some troubling thoughts the other day though: (1) they don't eat meat as a rule ... it's all starches, (2) they may not have affordable gyms, and (3) Beijing is NOT an English friendly city. The Olympics are coming in a few years though so maybe they are starting to Anglisize the city ... I can only hope so. It will be good times either way.

Holy crap, they had the big celebration of spring last night. The city was covered in smoke as groups of graduating seniors hit strategic Bon Fires and drink boos, singing songs until they pass out in a sweaty stupor. They cleaned the streets this morning, I speculate it's was to get all the 'stragglers' off the street before the city woke up. Today is Acension, so the good swedes are spending it nursing hangovers so they can get through the short week and enjoy this coming long weekend when the will put their boats in the water, and clean out the country stugas(tiny red houses you see in photos of swedish country side).

Hope everyone is having a tremendous weekend.


State of the Readers 5.1

State of the Readers 5.1
Originally uploaded by mrbrianjapan.
Wow, so it's been quite a while since I posted. My apologies to anyone who reads on a regular basis. I did try to throw up a few fun quizzes and stuff, but I'm sure they get boring after a while.

I've been killing myself on my thesis, and trying to stay a little sane. I hope that you can all forgive me! I have noticed that my readers have halved over the last week. I am averaging 23 unique readers a day now. I had 47 for two weeks :( am I doing something wrong, or has the taint that is thesis work infested my blog?

Hope everyone's having a great weekend!


Listed on BlogShares