Thursday, November 29, 2007


As I went to wash the dishes tonight, I suddenly realised that a) I was out of soap and b) this has never happened to me before. Back in the days of Edinburgh flats and Vancouver basement apartments, I never ran out of dish soap because I always had at the back of my mind a mental list of what we had in our fridge and cupboards and what was running low. Certainly the ex didn't keep such things in his head - he was responsible for the ten opened and 3/4 full bottles of salad cream.

It struck me that being single has some benefits that people often over look. Not having to have that damn mental inventory is certainly one of them. In my happy, swinging-single days, the only food related thought on my mind is whether the place downstairs delivers or only does take out.

But I'm going to have to buy some soap. I think I'll make a list.

Interesting Time Wasters

The Wooster Collective - some street art.

Cat Cam - a cat's day.

Mah Laud...

I wonder why my voice went all southern when I read Mama Bear's lines in Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Also, when did I learn to put on a southern accent, even if it was a bad one???


Family members of mine now have babies that I didn't even know they were pregnant with. I am shockingly out of the loop, even if we are talking about the kid of my mom's cousin. I think. Anyways, congrats!

This Is About the Opposite of What I Expected

I have never in my life seen people drink the way they do here in Korea - expats and Korean people alike. So when I was sent a link to an article about drinking in contemporary South Korea I can tell you, this isn't the article I expected to read...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ahhh, the Hypocracy of Teaching...

Amy and I are two peas in a pod, it seems.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Yes. Yes, it is easy...

I sincerely hope I have to teach a class about farm animals soon...

Thanks to the Thirsty Gargoyle for the link.

Ugly Betty - Love It!

"What do we want?"

"Integrated chocolates!"

"When do we want them?"


Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all

So, I thought I'd take the opportunity of American Thanksgiving to finally get around to telling you about my Canadian one...

Hahahaha. Ok, ok. First the American one. Coworkers all got together to make the meal - very Mokdong Poly Xmas meal-esque - and once again I made the mashed potatoes. I make wicked ass mashed potatoes, when I'm not busy servering my fingers while trying to cut and peel them. I had a bout of seafood-not-cooked-itis all day before this and in fact just woke up after a day off work (not the whole day, I had a kindergarden open class to show up for, which I managed by spending a lot of time trying to look casual while leaning on a wall...), just in time to make said mashed potatoes. Thankfully, my throwing up hours had passed, so I got to indulge.

We had chicken, not turkey. First off, Korean people just don't eat turkey, so you can't get it anywhere that isn't catering specifically to foreigners. Secondly, ovens are very uncommon in apartments here, which meant we were relying on toaster ovens. This is why I offered to make the mashed potatoes - my toaster oven is very, very small.

I then attended Annie's Thanksgiving, with turkey and all the trimmings from off the base. Yummy. Plus we celebrated with lots of wine, followed by a very, very drunken trip to Soho. Lots of free shots says Thanksgiving to me.

But for Canadian Thanksgiving, I went to Rocky Mountain Tavern, the Canadian bar in Itaewon, with Samarra and others. We drank Canadian beer, ate the worst poutine ever, and ended up drinking some Canada Dry Gingerale.

When you don't have much to work with, it's important to be creative. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

The Road Not Taken

Ms. J's class is making poetry anthologies and one of her students included this poem in his homework. She told me that it was her favourite poem and it occurred to me that it has been too long since I have read any good poetry and also how much more I love this poem in its entirety, rather than the often quoted last lines.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Robert Frost


After The Thirsty Gargoyle got an R rating when I only got a PG-13, I thought maybe I'd check my rating again, just for kicks. I've slipped down to a PG!!! I recently blogged about exploding my vibrator! Didn't I? If I didn't, I should have, as it would have been quite the amusing headline if I had burnt down the building or something...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This Summarizes My Saturday

Plus, I seem to need to host it somewhere to make it my default blogger pic.

Gift Train!

By way of AO and Frog.

By the end of the calendar year, I will send a tangible, physical gift to each of the first five people to comment here, so long as each of those five people are willing to make the same offer in their own LJ or blog. Just comment and then email me your address (chinook _ wind at hotmail dot com.)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I didn't have a lot of time today for extra prep, what with tests and report cards and monthly writing assignments... The list just keeps on going, believe me.

So, I did this easy-ass (well, sort of, if I was craftier) Thanksgiving style craft. And I used a very quick powerpoint presentation created by a coworker to explain the "history" of Thanksgiving to my students first. American Thanksgiving, complete with Mayflower and Pilgrims and everything. So not my own Canadian Thanksgiving, which doesn't seem to get much in the way of explination, such that I can recall anyway, and is more all about some turkey and pie. In fact, up until fairly recently I could take or leave the pumpkin pie and I spent my veggie years without the turkey, but anyway...

This post does a great job of explaining that squick feeling I got in my stomach. Leave behind the great food and the funny-but-slightly-dysfunctional family moments and Thanksgiving leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach and a bad taste in my mouth.

And that's not good for a holiday that usually does just the opposite, culinary wise.

Just Couldn't Be Arsed

Do you ever get in that mood where you don't want to cook, you don't want to order in, you don't want to go out? That's tonight's mood. I'm overtired, it's been a long day, I had to stay an extra 20 minutes at work to finish off my last class worth of report cards, and basically what I really wanted a magic, futuristic pill that would just make me not hungry without any actual effort.

The best available option seemed to be the instant Thai noodle soup I bought on impulse about a week ago, intruigued because instant-anything-not-Korean isn't exactly common in stores here.

It was good. Except. Where the instructions read, "Add chili flavour to taste," what I apparently needed to have read is, "Don't add the whole packet right away, ya fucking idiot, or it'll burn your mouth and leave you over-salivating for a good hour."

Monday, November 19, 2007


Man Builds Toilet-shaped House
Man Builds Toilet-shaped House

Feelings (please hum the Streisand song)

From a first grade assignment on feelings:

"I was angry when I had to go to Church and I can't see God."

I Suppose Snoring Might Break the Students' Concentration

I'm sitting on test day in an overheated classroom after a night of not enough sleep.

I can barely keep my eyes open.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Server Is Busy

What's up with that? This has never happened to me while using Hotmail before. And today it's happened three times.

Unicorns Are The Next Chuck Norris

According to the Hipster Olympics.

Thank God I Didn't Have the Internet At Home During University

I Am Not Much of a Fashionista

There are some interesting street fashion blogs out there on the web.

I like looking at them because it's interesting how differently people dress in different places. Korea is certainly very different fashion-wise than anywhere else I have ever lived. The women wear more high heels than anywhere else, for one. Even more than in Paris it looks like.

But what amuses me the most is what people have to say about their outfits. For example, on woman states: "I found my jacket and leather shorts in Emmaus second hand shop. I've always liked red and black. And all the primary colours. Piet Mondrian, Rubik's cube, seamarks and Russian avantgarde artists have always inspired me."

If I was stopped on the street for one of these things during the week, I'd end up saying something like "I'm inspired by things that aren't dirty and are easy to find in my early morning stupor. I've always liked to try and match colours, though I can't say I always achieve it. I attempt to wear things without any holes and that keep my clevage out of sight."


Then on this one, I noticed that one of the people has a very, very interesting job title: "Welfe, 26, jewellery designer & Sofia, 19, personal jesus, from Australia"

You don't see that advertised in your average Jobs section of the newspaper.

What Am I Going to Eat Now?

I finished my last Kraft Dinner today. Hungover Sundays are about to become a lot more difficult. What am I supposed to eat now? I need carbs, I need cheesiness, I need easy to prepare and fast. Sigh. I'm sure I could buy more in Itaewon, but it will take me ages to get around to it.

When Did Milk Stop Being a Staple For Me?

I think it was around the time I started drinking my water straight from the bottle. Hmmmm.


I spent all day craving a glass of Coke intensely. But, I'm lazy and I was fairly hungover and I couldn't be bothered. When I finally did rouse myself from my lazy stupour to go to the 7-11, I ended up with milk, orange juice, Coke, and a glass jar of sliced peaches. Which I've just eaten with some dill pickles while watching Private Practice.

Yep, I'm offically odd.

It's Air France Pilot's Jacket Time

My apartment sucks for figuring out the weather. The next building over is so close that the woman living there sometimes waves to me when she washes her dishes. It's almost impossible to look out and tell if it's raining or sunny. And now that it's winter, somehow my apartment is still so toasty all the time. Apparently lots of other people have started turning on the heat, but so far I've never had to do anything but put on a sweater once or twice. And it's not like I have a high tolerance for cold or anything, in fact for a Canadian born and bred, I have a ridiculous hatred of cold and no ability to put up with it. Especially transitioning from hot to cold - I shiver like crazy.

This bodes well for the winter and low heating bills. And is good for the environment too. However, I love, love, love floor heating and have been fighting the urge to pamper myself by turning it on today. There is nothing nicer than a hot floor on bare feet in the morning.

Well, maybe those heated toilet seats. I tell ya, I could have used those back in Canada.

Musings on Important Matters

I have been spending my lazy Sunday pondering an age old question, one that has baffled poets and scientists and philosophers over the centuries.

Where exactly does all the snot come from???

I am Such a Geek

Maybe it's teaching children, but this article fascinated me:

Volcanoes could have caused dinosaur deaths
Growing body of evidence suggests extinction came from more than meteor

New research suggests that volcanoes that erupted between 63 million to 67 million years ago may have contributed to a mass dinosaur extinction.

Instead of being driven to extinction by death from above, dinosaurs might have ultimately been doomed by death from below in the form of monumental volcanic eruptions.

The suggestion is based on new research that is part of a growing body of evidence indicating a space rock alone did not wipe out the giant reptiles.

The Age of Dinosaurs ended roughly 65 million years ago with the K-T or Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event, which killed off all dinosaurs save those that became birds, as well as roughly half of all species on the planet, including pterosaurs. The prime suspect in this ancient murder mystery is an asteroid or comet impact, which left a vast crater at Chicxulub on the coast of Mexico.

Another leading culprit is a series of colossal volcanic eruptions that occurred between 63 million to 67 million years ago. These created the gigantic Deccan Traps lava beds in India, whose original extent may have covered as much as 580,000 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers), or more than twice the area of Texas.

Arguments over which disaster killed the dinosaurs often revolve around when each happened and whether extinctions followed. Previous work had only narrowed the timing of the Deccan eruptions to within 300,000 to 500,000 years of the extinction event.

Now research suggests the mass extinction happened at or just after the biggest phase of the Deccan eruptions, which spewed 80 percent of the lava found at the Deccan Traps.

"It's the first time we can directly link the main phase of the Deccan Traps to the mass extinction," said Princeton University paleontologist Gerta Keller.

Clues in other life forms
Keller and colleagues focused on marine fossils excavated at quarries at Rajahmundry, India, near the Bay of Bengal, about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) southeast of the center of the Deccan Traps near Mumbai. Specifically, they looked at the remains of microscopic shell-forming organisms known as foraminifera.

"Before the mass extinction, most of the foraminifera species were comparatively large, very flamboyant, very specialized, very ornate, with many chambers," Keller explained. These foraminifera were roughly 200 to 350 microns large, or a fifth to a third of a millimeter long.

These showy foraminifera were very specialized for particular ecological niches.

"When the environment changed, as it did around K-T, that prompted their extinction," she added. "The foraminifera that followed were extremely tiny, one-twentieth the size of the species before, with absolutely no ornamentation, just a few chambers." As such, these puny foraminifera serve as very distinct tags of when the K-T extinction event started.

The researchers found these simple foraminifera seem to have popped up right after the main phase of the Deccan volcanism. This in turn hints these eruptions came immediately before the mass extinction, and might have caused it.

Double trouble
Both an impact from space and volcanic eruptions would have injected vast clouds of dust and other emissions into the sky, dramatically altering global climate and triggering die-offs. Keller's collaborator, volcanologist Vincent Courtillot at the Institute of Geophysics in Paris, noted upcoming work from her collaborators suggests the Deccan eruptions could have quickly released 10 times more climate-altering emissions than the nearly simultaneous Chicxulub impact.

Keller stressed these findings do not deny that an impact occurred around the K-T boundary, and noted that one or possibly several impacts may have had a hand in the mass extinction. "The dinosaurs might have faced an unfortunate coincidence of a one-two punch—of Deccan volcanism and then a hit from space," she explained. "We just show the Deccan eruptions might have had a significant impact — no pun intended."

Although paleontologist Kirk Johnson at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science called these new findings "significant," he noted a great deal of evidence connected a single massive impact with the K-T extinction event. He suggested that advances in radioisotope dating could now hone down when the Deccan eruptions occurred to within 30,000 to 65,000 years. "That could help put to bed some of the disputes regarding the issue," he said.

Keller and her collaborator Thierry Adatte at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland detailed their findings Oct. 31 at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver.

© 2007 All rights reserved.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Cheshire Cat Probably Wants His Smile Back

I got the best, best, best news in the mail today!!!

I have been grinning like an idiot ever since!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Candace's List of Things Essential to Happiness (in no particular order)

Physical Stuff

1. Exercise (releases endorphins, gives you energy, and just makes you feel good in general)

2. Sunshine (helps in the production if vitamin D which makes you absorb calcium and also makes you feel good)

3. Healthy food that your body can use (no weird chemicals)

4. Omega 3 and B Vitamins

Psychological/Spiritual Stuff

5. Meaningful relationships (having people who support you and who you can go to whenever you need them - people who see you for exactly who you are and love you anyways)

6. Appreciating small things everyday

7. Laughing (at yourself, with others etc)

8.Embracing Change

9. Letting go when necessary

10. Accepting uncertainty

11. Not taking things personally

12. Assuming the core-goodness of everyone

13. Being thankful

14. Being true to your character

15. Being forgiving (of others and yourself)

16. Spreading your crazy around (don't concentrate it all on one person!)


God, it's complex. How is that simple things turn out to be so difficult? I guess that is life, and really, if things were simplier, they might not hold as much value. But still!

wabi - the flaw in the object that makes it more interesting.

Apparently I Double Tag (and to be honest, I double dip too.)

Back when I was on Exchange in Edinburgh, I went to the St. Andrew's Day Ball with four friends I lived in residence with. We got all fancied up (and I remember the dress shopping taking ages and costing far more than I wanted to spend) and ended up getting one of those professional photos done that they all have at things like this.

When we finally got the photos back, everyone stared at their copy and immediately found something wrong with the picture. Naturally, each of us only saw flaws in ourselves. Naturally, everyone else looked fantastically beautiful. If I remember correctly, my main beef with myself was that one of the straps of my dress had slipped off my shoulder and I thought it looked ridiculous.

So, zip forward to the present. Everyone and their brother posts photos online. I've been doing it for about 4 years now, so my family can see where I've been. I started out just scanning on my favourites, but with the digital I put on most of what I don't delete as horrible shots. And so does everyone else. And sure, you share around the photos you take with those who were there and didn't take any. That seems to be fairly standard.

Now that Facebook has added tagging, it's all that much weirder, I guess. I've got friends who can't be tagged in smoking photos, and friends who don't want to be tagged looking "too drunk" (no idea how I am ever meant to judge that), friends who think that this photo of them is ugly, why is it up??? It cracks me up. Because, folks, just like I think you all put up tons of photos of me that are cringe-worthy and yet you just chucked them up there, I too am not looking and obsessing about every detail of photos except the ones I have of me! Basically, it's the age old problem, just in a computer age. Most of those pics you think are horrible, other people just don't see it that way. They think you look fine. They might even think you look gorgeous. Untag yourself if you feel the need, but there seems no need to do anything more.

It just cracks me up! Double tagging is the new double dipping! We can all now feel slighted over pictures that others must have put up just to make us look bad!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

You know what's disturbing?

How dirty the water is after I wash my hands when I get home each evening from school. And it's not like I don't wash them several times a day at school too. Nasty.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I appear to be a horrible friend.

I have one friend accusing me left, right and centre of ignoring her texts. I didn't think I was that bad. Interestingly, this person forgot about my North Korea trip, which I had been talking about incessantly, not least because I wasn't overly keen on hiking with impending pneumonia. One of the nights that I ended up feeling like I was supposed to feel very guilty, I didn't check my phone because I was out on a date! I ended up feeling horrible, like I was responsible for ruining someone's night out. And I felt a bit resentful about that, because I basically invite anyone along to any sort of plans, all the time. That hasn't been reciprocated by this person, and yet somehow I am left feeling guilty.

And we had what I assume was an argument last night. Basically, she accused me of calling her a suck, which wasn't the case at all, and then stopped chatting. What can you do? I was merely expressing my lack of ability to understand what exactly was the problem. That seems fair, since I keep being told about it and I don't get it. I could pretend to get it, but I don't and I don't see how stating that translates into me calling someone a suck. I don't know the people, I don't get how personal history affects the situation, and nothing I've been told about the present situation sounds shockingly different than what goes on in hagwons here all the time. A lot of it doesn't sound much different from nasty ass politics I have encountered at every single job I have ever had. Now, that isn't for everyone and that's fine. But I don't get it and was looking for some sort of clarification. And to a certain extent, in Korea, I judge stories of working conditions by a slightly different yardstick. I mean, I presently work with a woman who stuck it out 8 months without a working toilet in her work-provided apartment. Now, I happen to think that's somewhat crazy and I would have fucked off by the end of the first month. But it does put a lot of other "my hagwon done me wrong" stories into a totally different perspective, you know? Those Dave's ESL Cafe stories of hell are occassionally true. Stay around long enough, you start to know people who have gone through them. And you'll undoubtably at least brush by one yourself.

Part of this may well have to do with being something of an old hand here. In a country where most of the foreigners stay a year, if that, and no longer, my third contract makes me something of a long termer. I have a lot to say about Korea and what it's like working here. And I can't normally be arsed saying it to newbies. I find that someone (and I am most certainly not directing this at anyone in particular, because every newbie seems to do it) who has been around for 6 months or so will still think they understand Korea better than or as well as I do. There are certainly people who undersand Korea far better than I. Some might even have clocked in less time here. But in that case, presumably they are fairly fluent in Korean and very well read. That doesn't really describe much of anyone I personally know here though. And you know, at some point experience really does start to count for something.

And back to the text ignoring. I work like a fucking maniac, so I don't often check for texts during the work day. I regularly mark through my 5 minute breaks. In 11 hours, I will take 40 mins for myself at lunch and then maybe another 15 to go get a coffee during prep time. Other than that, I'm working full out. I care about doing my job well and with the number of students I have, that takes a hell of a lot of work. And I am occasionally lazy and forget to charge my shitty ass batteries, which now last for about one 5 minute phone call, and thus can't check for them. I get it, I need a new phone. But the lazy has stopped me from bothering, thus far. Though I can't call Canada until I do.

So I suppose that is another thing. I am a horrible daughter, sister, aunt, etc. I haven't called home since I've been here, due to the shitty cell phone issue. And I don't have a landline. I blog, but seldom email. However, people seldom email me. So.

Then, there were two separate leaving parties that I left early during and it has been suggested to me that I should have made it until 6am or the party girl left, whichever came first. Interestingly, they were both for people who were drunk as skunks by the time I arrived on my last night in Korea at the end of year two and were both gone by midnight, one of whom didn't even say goodbye. I didn't care in the slightest. These things happen when people are drinking. You peace out when you need to peace out. For one, I was drunk as a skunk, couldn't find anyone, and didn't have a working cell phone. For the second, I had bronchitis and was tired and sober and coughing every ten seconds while in smokey bars. To top it off, one of the people who seems all "disappointed" that I left early for the first party, herself left and went to a different neighbourhood to drink! At least I had the excuse of being passed out in my bed, rather than drinking elsewhere.

As for the other individual who thinks they are being ignored by text - well, that is actually the case and it may well continue.

So, yes, this is a completely passive aggressive post. I don't actually think I am the most terrible friend ever. I do my damnedest. I try to be around and out when people want me to be. I have spent years keeping in better touch with many people than they have kept with me. As the one overseas all the time, that seems natural. I try and send letters and postcards and remember birthdays and all that. I do my best. Are people really looking for more than that? And if so, do they really think they are regularly doing any better?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Short (later the Long)

I hiked, there were lots of soldiers, I ate crap, I Kimed it up!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Did you know?

It's possible to melt the wires of a vibrator? Melt!