Meterstones, 2023

Small accomplishments during the year, not otherwise accounted for. Not major milestones, but bigger than inchstones.

  • Served as a teacher’s aide for English Empowerment Center for three terms.
  • Reorganized the space behind my desk to be more Zoom-worthy. Artificial backgrounds are just evil, even if you have a green screen.
  • Reached level 6 of WaniKani.
  • Along with my various community science projects, I pulled-chopped-yanked-sawed a lot of non-native invasives. All told, I logged almost 300 service hours for Virginia Master Naturalists, and I’m three-fourths of the way to 1000 hours of service. On one survey trip, I found a really interesting parasitic fungus of alder trees that causes a gall-like response.

Oh! And something I stopped doing: I retired from NPR, closing the books on a 42-year career in software development.


Our textbook is titled Japanese for Busy People, vol. I, and the lessons are organized around situations that a businessperson would want to handle. (A very early unit concerns exchanging business cards.) Each unit has a theme, like “Express gratitude,” or “Make a telephone call,” or “Order food at a restaurant.”

With more than a little nod to James Thurber’s “There’s No Place Like Home,” I remixed some of the unit themes into

Japanese for Busy Terrorists

  • Ask for telephone numbers
  • Describe what is inside a building
  • Talk about numbers of things or people that exist in a particular place
  • Talk about schedules in detail
  • Ask someone to do something for you

Japanese for Busy Counter-intelligence Officers

  • Talk about nationalities and occupations
  • Talk about where you live, where you work, and who your acquaintances are
  • Talk about the times of meetings and parties
  • Talk about what you are doing now
  • Forbid someone from doing something