Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why Halloween Kicks A Normal Day's Ass

1. Kids are cute in costume.
2. Moms are cute when they take that many pictures. I have been immortalized in the photo albums of many a Korean child today.
3. Test days kick ass. I'm not so far behind on my marking anymore.
4. I have that "I'm wearing a hat" feeling long after taking off my witch's head gear.
5. The woman in the restaurant didn't even blink when four foreigners came in for bibimbap dressed in costume.
6. I ate too much sugary crap.
7. Face painting was a super chill way to spend the morning. Plus, my strawberry drawing skills are now top notch.
8. I carved mini pumpkins with OT and Jen last night.
9. It's OT's birthday.
10. We had kick ass food. Galbi, that egg thing, tofu, soup, the fucking red sauce of wonderfulness...
11. There was chocolate cake that tasted like brownies.
12. We played the game where you float an empty shot glass in a glass of beer and take turns pouring in soju. The sinker has to drink.
13. I didn't have to one-shot anything.
14. The lady brought us coals to put under the tables to keep us warm outside.
15. We met new foreigners in our building.

As for Halloween in Itaewon over the weekend, it was great. I didn't have the most obvious costume, as I went in the guise of a sober person. Yep, that's right. I am in the midst of another bout of bronchitis, I'm heading north to chill with the commies on the weekend, and I'm trying to avoid it morphing into anything worse for that reason. They have me on so many pills, even I quaked at the idea of mixing it all with booze. It was an odd evening to be sober - the costumes at Wolfhound were fantastic, Brian seemed to have a good time on his first night out in Itaewon and Hongdae, we managed the curfew thing by the skin of our teeth, chilled out on a couch in Bricxx (which is oddly where I started my Halloween last year in Seoul, it's a redo, but backwards).

It was Sarah's last weekend and her birthday. We started out at Buddha's Belly and no doubt annoyed the staff to death, as tons of extra people showed up and we kept yogi-ohing for extra chairs and another meal order and... Aside from Wolfhound, we also stopped into Friends, to have a place to sit and chat. I'm really going to miss Sarah.

The rest of my weekend was all about lazing around and watching DVDs with Brian. We watched the Bourne Ultimatum, which was good, and 28 Weeks Later, which wasn't nearly as good as the original. We even went out to the "Chinese" place, which was fantastic as always.

You know you've been gone from North America a long time when you can't recall if Halloween is one of those holidays that happens even if it falls on a week night on that day, or if it gets pushed to a weekend...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Friend Wheel

He Has Terrible Taste in Music

But he puts me in a happy mood. As did carving mini-pumpkins tonight. As does my neat house. And the jaunt north this weekend. Even my cold is kinda fun, because I paid $4 for chest x-ray today. Four dollars! You know you are obsessed with photo-taking when you wish someone could have been there to document it... ;)

Monday, October 29, 2007

What I Learned in Canada

-I really don't want three kids, as lovely as kids are

-The Backyardagins are ok as long as you don't have to listen to them while the DVD plays on repeat every time you get in the car

-24 hours of children's programming is just.too.much (damn you Treehouse!)

-I miss patios

-Only ever go to a Science Center on sunny summer days or wait in line forever

-Bra shopping is no easier here

-Reading an actual newspaper on a weekend morning is a sensual pleasure the internet will never be able to top

-Tourist attractions are ridiculously expensive outside of Asia

-You will bump into people you know in this city, even if you haven't lived here for 7 years

-Don't take your hand off of the electricity ball

-I miss vegetables

-Two year olds will say "mine!" every ten seconds or so

-Having the grandchildren really is the way to go to get to the top of the heap ;)

-Nothing is as big as I remember - not this town, not how long it takes to walk places, or the buildings in downtown Toronto


If you decorate with a blanket stolen from a Korean Air flight, what does that say about you?

I "did" something cultural on the weekend.

And finally caved and saw a doctor.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hot! Hot! Heat!

I have a fever. In fact, right now that feels like an understatement. I feel like I could power all of Seoul with my heat.

But in the chills portion of this lovely cold, even three layers of wool left me shivering while my coworkers ran around in T-shirts.

I also have a very, very sore neck and an odd cough that makes the top of my head hurt.

Gah. If you aren't a doctor, but you like to play one on the internet, feel free to offer advice.

I've ruled out menangitis. There is a chicken pox outbreak at school...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Monday, October 22, 2007

Seriously? Seriously???

It's the end of October. Why are there mosquitos in my apartment?

It's not the bites, though they're no fun. Especially since I'm allergic to mosquito bites and have to take antihistimines to prevent my entire body from swelling up like a giant balloon or my eyes swelling shut or something (that's happened three times - once when my nana was watching me as a child, very amusing story, and twice since I've been old enough to remember.)

It's that fucking buzzing. Why do they have to do constant ear fly-bys??? It drives me fucking up the wall with anger and impotence. I could not kill that last little fucker. I slept with my lights and glasses on in the end because I was lying there ready to try and take him down.

What I need is evil minions. Ones with super fast reflexes.

Sometimes Kids Are Scary

Like when they appear to remember everything you have ever said to them or make incredible connections.

Lucy is apparently never going to forget the story I told about my two pet cats eating my two pet mice. And she compared her class to meadowlarks after I told them that meadowlarks like to sing a lot. She's quite freakily intelligent.

Teaching at a Poly School again has reminded me just why I like teaching. I hadn't realised how much a year at a school with a ridiculous timetable, badly done ciriculum and levelling, and a boss who was a constant thorn in my side had sapped my love of teaching.

Poly exhausts me. The hours are long, the demands are high, there are constant Open Classes. And yet. It's good. Quite good.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Cigar...

... and sometimes a packet that says it's onion flavoured cream cheese turns out to be wet wipes.

Sigh. I'm hungover, I want to eat! I want onion flavoured cream cheese!

I guess I can't complain too much, it was one of those "taped to something else" freebies that Korean supermarkets are so fond of. I'd take a picture to show you just how misleading the package is, except I forgot my camera at Margaret's last night. I thought to myself, as I was leaving, "Don't forget your camera!" but since my brain can basically only hold a thought for about as long as a fish memory lasts (reputed to be three seconds, but that might just be random bullshit), I managed to leave without it anyway.

So, I've been pondering hangovers. Thank Maude I don't get real ones. Mine are just a combo of tiredness from staying out till the sun comes up and dehydration. I occassionally get the sick feeling, but that is an indicator that I had way too much. How do people manage if they get real ones? Mine are bad enough, as I want to laze around in bed and eat everything with carbs that exists.

Thus, I must really get someone to send me more Kraft Dinner and ensure I always have milk in the house. Though Julie is my hero for introducing me to making Mac & Cheese with plastic cheese slices - it made up for the lack of milk and apparently with some Cheese Whiz thrown in, I won't need Kraft's help.

It's funny how sometimes inferior foods just taste better. Plastic cheese is a must for grilled cheese sandwiches. Nothing else will do.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Things That Make You Go Hmmm

Cold bonjuk with cashews tastes quite good.

Friday was even more frantic than Thursday, but I got those fucking report cards done 15 mins after classes ended and was out of there.

Thank Fuck It's Friday.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's a Good Thing I Didn't Bring My Handgun to Work Today*

*Thanks to OT for the quote.

I had a very odd day at work today. It made me angry, inexplicably. The morning was great - kindergarten field trip to the zoo? Could it get any better??? I had a great time, the kids were awesome.

I think it might have been missing my own lunch time. That 40 minutes of not working in the course of a 10.5 hour day is very, very important to my sanity. Otherwise, I'm on the go non-stop, teaching, preping, getting books for the next class in my 5 minutes between classes. My schedule is intense.

So why Tyler planned a meeting for today, straight after we got back from the field trip, I don't know. But, there has been a change regarding homework, that annoys me and I feel I already had the marking covered more than adequately, and I was just annoyed.

Then one of my coworkers, who I have been nothing but nice to, who I have socialized with and listened sympathetically to when she complained, accused me of intentionally shutting the door on her. Which was totally not the case. I mean, obviously. Anyway, since I was having a bizarrely off day already, I totally bitched back at her. And I feel that wasn't terribly professional but also not uncalled for. I suppose I should perhaps smooth the waters tomorrow, though she has stated she might be quitting, so it might not matter much in 30 days time!

But, a very odd day. For example, I had to teach writing. I swore up and down that my book was missing. And it was right on my shelf, where it should have been. I looked at it a million times and just didn't see it. I don't know where my brain was today.

But... Speeches started off well today, tomorrow is Friday, I might have a date as well.

And I'm toying with going to Borneo for Christmas holiday...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Excusez-moi, garcon?

Why do people say "pardon my French" to excuse swearing? I'm too lazy and tired to google it and I'm sure someone who reads here must know.

Also, in unrelated news, the 30,000 steak at Outback with the mushroom topping is not worth 8,000 more than the one I usually get. Also, how was I ever a vegetarian for so long? I love steak! Love! Steak!

I Need Sleep

I have sat on/leaned on and bent both pairs of glasses within the last 24 hours. Thank god they can be bent back. But perhaps it's time to buy another pair...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Questions from Frog

If you could have a one-on-one lunch with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Lucy, the Australopithecus. Because this is the archaeology I should have studied at university - I find it fascinating in a way that the Greeks and Romans never interested me.

How did your favorite color become your favorite color?

Hmmm. It's blue, I guess. I think basically that I liked pink, in a stereotypical little girl way, and then got very fed up with it. When it next came time to paint my bedroom (we moved) that's what I went with. The opposite of pink, in gender terms. And because I have blue eyes, all through highschool I wore a ton of blue clothes, since they made my eyes look nicer, or so I thought. If I ponder it longer, I'm not sure I have a favourite colour anymore. I still answer blue, but these days I find that I appreciate all of the colours, for different reasons and in different settings. I feel like the older I get, the less certain I am about much of anything, and apparently that includes my favourite colour. All those shades of grey have turned my blue into a rainbow... Or something. And that makes me sound rather like I am on drugs.

Describe your ideal home.

I'm not sure if this was meant to be as impossible a question to answer as it is, but wow. I've spent a good day thinking about this and getting nowhere. Right now, my little place suits me just fine. Not too big to require much cleaning, it has a bed, a computer and a toaster. There are shelves for my books. There is music, and as of last weekend, there are candles. This is absolutely ideal, for right now. Perhaps minus the flooding. I have been thinking a lot lately about how contented I am these days with where I am and how little real thought I have put into future plans. I am not sure if that is a bad or good thing, but it certainly is my thing, as of late.

I used to toy with the extremes of living in listed flat in Edinburgh in the city centre or out in a croft in the Hebrides. Sometimes I think that maybe that first ideal home, the one in downtown Toronto, in an older house, one that resembles either of the houses my Aunt Lynne & Uncle Donald have had their fabulous parties in, with the dark paint on the walls and the candles suspended over the bathtub, might perhaps still be the most tempting ideal. As a teenager, and in fact now, I thought my Aunt Lynne was just the coolest person ever. If she doesn't read my blog, perhaps mom could feel free to tell her that? In fact, and I'm getting really off topic here, I've had some amazing aunts. My Aunt Corrine when I was younger I thought was sooooo cool and fun. My Aunt Julie always made me these special presents, like care packages for university, which always touched me because it was obvious she understood what the milestones I was going through meant to me, though many others might not have considered them worth marking. All the aunts that come to my parents' house for get togethers, with food and chat and a lot of laughing. My Great Aunt Joan, my Nana's twin, who I got to show Edinburgh to.

Back to the ideal home. The thing is that there is the whole world to see. How could I possibly pick just one ideal home, with the whole world out there? I mean, how could I want a flat in London, or an apartment in Buenos Aries, or a bungalow in Indonesia, or... Right now, my ideal home is my suitcase and all I can stuff in it, combined with all the love and friendship of all the people who I try to keep in touch with properly (though I often fail horribly.) I wonder if there is ever a time when my ideal home will be more rooted?

Sunday, October 14, 2007


"He's Just Not That Into You" by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo. Gah, gah, gah. This is what comes of reading out of someone else's bookshelf.

"Lipstick Jungle" by Candace Bushnell. Meh. It was fine, I guess. Passed the time in a relatively interesting way and was the untaxing read I was looking for.
And what a joy it was! ... To be one her own in the world, free. Why did the world never tell women about this kind of happiness? The feeling might not last, but it didn't matter. What was important was to experience everything in life, the struggles and the sadness, and the dizzying triumphs.

Shane wanted something intangible (possibly self-esteem), something emotional, but the problem with filling that emotional emptiness was that it wasn't something else someone could give you. It had to come from inside.

Where's My Ark?

My apartment flooded. There is some sort of leak with the hot water pipe to my washing machine. It was far too early in the morning when I heard what I thought was rain and then slowly realised wasn't...

The only damage was two boxes of Kleenex. And the bonus is that I now have very clean floors.

But, because I cleaned the whole apartment, a lot of dust got into the air. Thus I went through a lot more Kleenex. And now I'm out!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Like It

Remake of a Ramones' Song, on BlueLily's Blog.

Happy National Coming Out Day!

Enjoy! I know I did!

Alexander Has It Right

"My bath was too hot, I got soap in my eyes, my marble went down the drain, and I had to wear my railroad-train pajamas. I hate my railroad-train pajamas."
Judith Viorst, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

It's that time of the month. And it's been that type of week.

Go, Doris!

I have two of her books sitting in my shelves right now. I think this determines what I'll be reading next (after getting weepy while reading Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner, right after watching the second episode of Private Practice. And not because I have any desire to have any babies of my own, let me make that clear. But because dying babies have to be the saddest subject on Earth.)

Doris Lessing wins Nobel for literature


English writer Doris Lessing, who ended her formal schooling at age 13 and went on to write novels that explored relationships between women and society and interracial dynamics, won the 2007 Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday.

Lessing, who turns 88 in just over a week, was born to British parents who were living in what at the time was Persia. The family later moved to what is now Zimbabwe, where she spent her childhood and adolescent years.

She made her debut with "The Grass Is Singing" in 1950. Her other works include the semi-autobiographical "Children Of Violence" series, set in Africa and England.

"We are absolutely delighted and it's very well deserved," said Lessing's agent, Jonathan Clowes. He added Lessing was out shopping and may not yet know that she had won the prize.

Her breakthrough was "The Golden Notebook," in 1962, the Swedish Academy said.

"The burgeoning feminist movement saw it as a pioneering work and it belongs to the handful of books that inform the 20th-century view of the male-female relationship," the academy said in its citation announcing the prize.

Other important novels of Lessing's include "The Summer Before Dark" in 1973 and "The Fifth Child" in 1988.

Lessing is the second British writer to win the prize in three years. In 2005, Harold Pinter received the award. Last year, the academy gave the prize to Turkey's Orhan Pamuk.

A seasoned traveler of the world, Lessing has known many homes from what is today known as Iran, to Zimbabwe to South Africa and London.

"When you look at my life, you can go back to the late 1930s," she told The Associated Press in an interview last year. "What I saw was, first of all, Hitler, he was going to live forever. Mussolini was in for 10,000 years. You had the Soviet Union, which was, by definition, going to last forever. There was the British empire — nobody imagined it could come to an end. So why should one believe in any kind of permanence?"

Lessing's family moved to a farm in southern Rhodesia in 1925, an experience she described in the first part of her autobiography "Under My Skin" that was released in 1944.

Because of her criticism of the South African regime and its apartheid system, she was prohibited from entering the country between 1956 and 1995. Lessing, who was a member of the British Communist Party in the 1950s, had been active in campaigning against nuclear weapons.

The literature award was the fourth of this year's Nobel Prizes to be announced and one of the most hotly anticipated given the sheer amount of guessing it generated in the weeks leading up to award.

The awards — each worth $1.5 million — will be handed out by Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf at a ceremony in Stockholm on Dec. 10.

What's up with THAT?

First off, I'm right now eating a sandwich filled with pasta salad, egg, and bits of hotdog. It was the middle layer of a perfectly normal sandwich. It isn't too bad, considering.

Secondly, I teach an American Health and Science program to my kindie kids. When did people start saying healthful food instead of healthy food? I think it sounds moronic.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw: Travels in Search of Canada

I love reading books about Canada and this one is particularly awesome. It covers Victoria, Fort Vermilion, Moose Jaw, Churchill, Thunder Bay, Chatham, Amherstburg, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Tadoussac - Lac Saint-Jean, New Brunswick, the Republic St. John's, and L'Anse aux Meadows.

Of those places, I've been to six. Since I never did finish this post back when I read the book, I have no idea what my note "cash cars at Eaton's and Woolworths" might have meant. But I do know that this quote:
"At its peak, the company's territory would encompass nearly five million square kilometers, an area ten times the size of the Holy Roman Empire, making the HBC the largest commercial landowner on earth and the biggest private company--in terms of real estate--in human history."
made me laugh my ass off after my short employment for Hudson's Bay Company.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

I'm really fucking tired

samarra says:
everytime you say natch I think of pinky

Amanda says:

samarra says:
from pinky and the brain

Amanda says:
tonight I take over the world!

samarra says:
only he says narf

Amanda says:
but only if I can do it from my bed

Monday, October 01, 2007

This is worse than...

... Ann Coulter.
... reading youtube comments.
... the Davinci Code, both the novel by Dan Brown and the movie.

Warning - his language is foul. But if you grew up playing old skool Nintendo, it's funny as hell.


Korean kids find the idea of multiculturalism a bit foreign. In particular, images of Black people. However, due to our American textbooks, my students have started colouring some of their people with brown skin.

Or Maybe Not

I have been teaching my kindergarten classes about how to manage stress. (I know! Don't come to our school, we'll give you homework and monthly tests!).

So we talked about how when you have angry or sad feelings, there are things you can do to make yourself feel happy again, like exercise or talk to a friend.

One of the kids pipes up and says, "Or get married>"