I also have issues with the ending – in fact, I have issues with both sequels – it was like watching The Matrix on the high seas. (Boy, that’d be a heck of a crossover.)
Today I got to visit my old friend Bill and six of his buddies, and with that in hand I visited DeoDeo and bought my noise cancelling headphones. Boy, if there’s one thing you can sink a lot of money on, it’s nice headphones. Some of the studio-quality monitoring ones I tested cost more than $400 (and they were jewels in every respect).
I just needed something to kill the noise on the busses, trains and planes I’ll be going on over the next few years, so I bought a Sony set – among the cheapest – for ¥5980, about $60. They were comfortable enough, and they cancel noise effectively: there’s a dramatic reduction in background noise when the switch is turned on, and it’s something I notice more when I’m turning it off and suddenly distant engines and motors and hums spring (back) to life.
The kit comes with a AAA alkaline battery, a mini-plug extension cord, an airline adapter (most new aircraft just have consumer-style miniplug jacks now, but you never know what you might come across), and a neat little black “SONY” tie-off sack to carry it all in. Now I’m all set for my next bazillion-hour flight, provided the entertainment doesn’t crap out again just after take-off like it did on the last two. =)
This DeoDeo, by the way, is the [expletive]. You name it, they have it. The prices aren’t really any better than back home, but the selection and quality is out of sight. They also had small 10-disc spindles of CD-R and DVD-R on sale for ¥198 (about $2). 20¢ per disc is a pretty good rate, really, especially in small quantities. Also, the people at Future Shop and Best Buy are exceedingly unlikely to bow to you and say, “Arigatou gozaimashita.” As awkward as that sort of thing gets sometimes, I’ll miss it.
I also had an unhealthy urge to sink $40 into a Vincent Valentine action figure. O, the decadence! Fortunately, I know better than to start shopping for decorations for my not-yet existent Own Place Somewhere before I have said place.
Oh, and there’s some news from work…
F. approached me in the kitchenette this morning at breaktime and spilled it: There will be no extensions for either of us. This came as a shock to me – F. is better at this job than I am, and she has an edge on me in maturity and experience, and she could use the money more than I could. Unlike me, she wasn’t just flirting with competence – she was having an all-out affair. If there was going to be anybody kept, it should have been her – anybodies might have extended it to me, but now it’s clear that neither of us will stay past Christmas.
F. is a bit disappointed (albeit relieved), but taking it in stride. I’m ambivalent – while I’m happy that there’s a definite end, I feel like I’ve been sold a bill of goods, especially before coming here. My biggest qualm about this job was its very low salary, and when people asked me how much I was making, they would share in my appraisal. I’d defend my decision by saying, “But they want to develop relationships with people! They have renewals! There’d be a 50% salary increase!” D. got this renewal and was taking home about $1000 more a month. In the three month period needed to finish this academic year, I could have saved as much money as in the previous nine.
But these renewals were a fairy tale, like so many other things I was told. A few did go out, but only in exceptional situations where the school didn’t have much of a choice. I took this job with the expectation that I would be allowed to renew if things went well – they went exceedingly well with F., and she’s not getting a shot? What a bunch of crap! Why were they feeding us these ridiculous stories back at Saint Mary’s? “They want to develop relationships with people,” was R.’s relayed explanation of why they underpay the first year but then compensate more richly later. Oh, puh-leeze. The reality is that they have a revolving-door human resources policy, and this helps their bottom line because they can pay more people entry-level salaries.
I should add that the official reason F. and I can’t stay is that Saint Mary’s has an agreement with S.G. to place four new interns per calendar year. Why they want to expand this venture is beyond my comprehension. Okay, it’s not like it’s been a complete disaster, but it’s still not something I want my alma mater associated with. But I should also add that they will not necessarily be seeking out university graduates any longer, and maybe that will turn out to be a pretty good idea. (Of course, if you thought the school didn’t want the parents knowing that we weren’t all certified teachers, imagine how hard the clamp down will be when half aren’t even university graduates!) With all of its frustrations, broken dreams, and shattered promises, this could have been an ideal surrogate for my Canada World Youth experiences! =) I’m the first one to admit that they were just what I needed. In fact, THIS was just what I needed, too – now I know what to look for, what to avoid, and a whole hell of a lot of office politics and bullcrap that I never wanted to know but need to.
In any case, I’m going to Dalhousie for summer courses next year. And I may well stay there.