Friday, January 30, 2009

People from One to One Hundred

Oddly Great Mood

Haha. No idea why. I mean, it's been a good week. I had the best chat with Annie on Wednesday night, causing us to miss trivia (which was a fuck up, as we assumed no one was going), but then we went to Phillie's to end up playing drinking games and generally having a ball. Then Thursday I read the entire book club novel, which was needed as the meeting is Sunday and I seem to be the main organizer of the thing - it wouldn't look good if I failed to read the book, would it? Today I got to sleep until noon, amble into work for a new semester meeting and use the Internet for a couple of hours. And it probably looks like I'm getting some work done! Haha!

My new schedule looks good - nice, short day on Wednesday, lots of teaching of American social sciences by your friendly neighbourhood Canadian. No Gogo at all!

Weekend plans are also fab. I'm going up to Hwajung for galbi in a few minutes, then hashing (hopefully with Melissa) tomorrow (maybe twice, even!), then hopefully some Saturday night norae bang and dancing, then book club meeting and presumably trivia on Sunday. Woot!

I'm back in the socializing mode and I like it. A lot. Can't say that everything in terms of my mood is totally peachy, but it's definitely not getting any worse, for which I am extraordinarily grateful.

Granted, reading the Road in a house all by myself, with no contact with the outside world, was freaky to say the least. We need to read a more cheerful book next!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy Solnal!

Happy Year of the Ox.

I finally have both the Internet access and time to post a blog - hurrah! Granted, after this I have two two-hour classes, which is no fun at all, but my good mood can't be fucked with since after today there will be no more of this silly waking up at 7:30 to be at work at 9.

Ahhh, the weekend. It was pretty rockin', I must say. After a Friday night of True Blood (I am quite annoyed that I haven't been able to watch more, what with the Internet being out), I went to bed fairly early. After sleeping until noon, I woke up for coffee and breakfast before scrambling around trying to find some warm clothing because I was off...

... hashing! My coworker Shawn has been inviting me to these things for months and I finally bit the bullet and went to the "Men"stral Run. For anyone unfamiliar with hashing, their tag line is that they are a drinking club with a running problem. The whole experience is what I feel like being in a fraternity or sorority must be like. First, there's the run itself. A few people referred to as Hares set the trail. They pick a starting point and from there mark symbols on the ground with chalk. As you run, you have to figure out the trail. The bonus for those of us who aren't so fast is that you always have time to catch up - the people at the front have chalk of their own, and once they find the trail at any given checkpoint, they will add arrows to the checkpoints to help out those who follow.

In addition to all this, there's lots of singing and drinking. People had a couple of beers and sing a few songs at the beginning and once we hit the mid-point, after running up the side of Namsan to the gondolas, we sang and drank again. There's something just incredibly silly in having Korean tourists there to see Seoul Tower taking photos of a bunch of foreign people singing a song about how much they like fornication...

After taking the gondolas up the last bit of the hill, we then had to run down. The trail led to a house in Haebangchon, where the party really started. This run was hosted by the PMS Hash group, which is an all girl group. Once a month men are invited to come along for the fun - but only in dresses. Hilarious. At one point on the run we bumped into my 15 year old student, who quizzed me as to why I was out on a Saturday hanging around with men in dresses and brightly coloured wigs. A couple of the hashers had made a bunch of food and there was sangria and some sort of run punch. The run started at 3 and it was about 6ish by then - an hour later I was quite intoxicated. There was a whole bunch more singing and silliness, including a competition for Ms. Menstrual Run 2009.

And then we hit the bars. After showering and changing natch. My goal was to meet up with the folks at Brian's birthday party, which never did happen. I was more than a bit drunk and kept ending up everywhere they had been just after they left. I did bump into Melissa and Padraic in Soho, and they took some highly hilarious photos. I haven't a clue at what point I decided I was going home, but it was definitely an incredibly late night. When asked early the next morning if I'd be going hashing again, I was incredulous - my plan was to stay in bed all day. Hashers are troopers.

Sunday night we all gathered for trivia, but sadly it was cancelled. Having already eaten some incredibly good Moroccan food at a place called Andalous, we decided to find a bar with somewhere to sit, which ended up being Reggae Bar - I haven't been there since I went with Kim during my first year in Korea. From there we went to hang with Shawn and some hashers at Scrouge's and after we closed that down, Soho. At Soho there somehow ended up being two dogs. What two dogs were doing in a club on a Sunday night, I don't know, but one of them ate my damn earring! He also drank quite copiously from Martha's spilled beer right before, so perhaps he was just a male dog making his move. They were very friendly dogs - more than one person commented that it was the most action they'd had in some time.

I hung out with my friend Will over the weekend as well. Will's an architect who always has good stories - this time I got to see his pet hedgehog. It was super cute. I had no idea that they made a weird hissing noise when scared. Watching it slowly come out of its ball shape was adorable. Hedgehogs have cute faces. While all this was going on, Martha was having some odd cabbie problems that put any of my experiences to shame.

I went to eat at Zelen's again over the weekend and I have to say, I'm sorry to have realised just how much I love everything on their menu, because this is a love that could prove to be quite pricey. I had never had Bulgarian food before this and it's certainly delicious. After dinner with Liz, Lizzie, Carol, and Melissa, we went back to L-Squared's house and had a games night. That Settlers of Kataan game is pretty addictive, as is the motion of throwing dice by the time that game is won. Martha and I had a much needed chat after that, and that was basically the end of my weekend because I spent all of Tuesday being super lazy. I read Prep, I watched P.S. I Love You, I paged through a couple of old Bitch and Bust Magazines while listening to music. I ate some Mac & Cheese and drank cups of Earl Grey. All in all, the perfect lazy day, with lots of naps thrown in.

It's a two-day plus a meeting work week, and yet somehow I'm still finding it exhausting. Doesn't help that while I missed trivia at Phillie's last night because Annie and I chatted for ages over dinner in Indigo, we ended up at Phillie's, playing Never Have I Ever and doing free shots late into the night. Can't complain too much, though I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed until five to eight this morning, which made it quite a scramble to get to work.

I'm sooooo happy that this "semester" is ending. I've been asked if I'd teach history classes, so I'm curious to see the next schedule. I sincerely hope that there is less Gogo in my future... I'll find out at the meeting tomorrow, I guess.

It's almost the weekend again! Yay!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Frickin' Free Internet

It went out yet again! I am too rushed with monthly tests to update y'all on my incredibly awesome weekend, however there are many stories to be told...

I guess when I get paid on Friday I should join the multitudes who pay for their access, rather than freeload.

Especially since Padraic and Melissa convinced me to start watching True Blood and I only made it through three episodes before my Internet conked out.

My vampire obsession continues. And Sookie is cute as a button!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hey, Where Did All My Stuff Go? by Pharaoh Tutankhamun

Well, this sucks. I leave the realm of the living to roam the underworld for a few thousand years, return to my burial place to enjoy all my worldly possessions, and all of a sudden, everything is gone. Everything. The alabaster chalice, the cobra amulet, that gold vulture thing I've had since I was a baby--all of it, gone.

I don't understand how this could have happened. It was all right here. Everything I ever owned. Right fucking here. I definitely remember there was a royal scepter leaning up against the outer sarcophagus, and there were a bunch of crowns and stuff, too. I know I had at least, like, 10 crowns. And--aw, fuck me, they took my pendant with the beetle and monkeys on it. I fucking loved that pendant. It's not even worth anything, but it was still like my favorite thing. Why in the world would someone do something like this?

This afterlife is going to suck.

And where did my statue of Anubis go? Do you know how hard it's going to be to find another three-foot-long wood carving of a recumbent jackal? It's going to be impossible, that's how hard it's going to be, because it was carved for me by my grandmother Queen Nefertiti, who last I checked died in 1330 B.C. I was going to use that statue. I was going to use all of this stuff.

Now what am I supposed to do? All my shit, the necklaces, that weird lion vase, the gold fucking daggers that I couldn't wait to use, gone. I have nothing to wear. I have nothing to do. I guess I'll just lie here on the floor for the rest of eternity.

Oh, but I see I have my wooden chest is still here. Too bad everything that was inside of it is gone. But thank goodness I still have my precious wooden chest. What would I ever do without my painted wooden chest with nothing inside of it? I see my bronze trumpet and golden throne are missing, though. Shocking. That's okay. I'll jut entertain myself for the rest of time with this empty wooden chest. Who needs jewels and treasures anyway? No, this is much better. Fucking shit bastards I hate this!

I guess I should describe some of the stuff that's missing, in case anyone has seen it. It's pretty hard to miss. Pretty much everything is covered in gold. There was this bracelet I remember, which had an eye painted on it. There were these five gold rings, which I guess looked like regular gold rings, basically. I'm also missing this cool-looking statue that was like a snake with wings, but its head was a human head. And a whole bunch of other shit, too. So basically anything gold with animals and stuff is probably mine. And again, that pendant I mentioned earlier. It had a beetle on it with two monkeys, and they were holding hands or something, and they had moons and suns over their heads, and the beetle if I remember correctly was blue. Fuck, I really want that pendant back.

If anyone reading this has seen any of the stuff described above, please return it to my tomb, located in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, immediately. Please, I seriously need this stuff back. Thank you.

Pharaoh Tutankhamun is an Egyptian King who ruled from 1333-1324 B.C. He can be reached at
From the Onion

The Optimists

I wouldn't say I loved the Optimists by Andrew Miller, but I found it interesting. It's an oddly visual novel, as the protagonist is a photographer and his sister writes about painters - many of the names I looked up. The photographer was in Rwanda during the genocide and the novel is a story about how he tries to process his experience.

Theodore Gericault, The Raft of the Medusa

There are quite a few references to Greek mythology as well, which I must admit to liking in a novel. When she leaves the mental hospital, Clare refers to three of the nurses as the Three Fates: Clotho, the "spinner" who spun the threads of life with her distaff to bring a being into existence; Lachesis, the apportioner, who decided how much time for life was to be allowed for each person or being, measured the thread of life with her rod and chose a person's destiny after a thread was measured; and Atropos, the "inflexible" or "inevitable" who chose the mechanism of death and ended the life of each mortal by cutting their thread with her "abhorred shears." After swimming in a quarry, she references Lethe, the River of Forgetfulness, and Acheron, River of Woe.

One of my favourite parts was Ray handing out the postcards with good news written on the back of them. Clem, the protagonist, joins in on a trip to help Ray buy a suit for a wedding.
"People do what they can," said Ray. "I find it helps to think of them as slightly better than they are."
Later in the novel, when Clem goes to Brussels with his photographs and interviews a man responsible for the genocide, he also makes postcards of one of his photos and distributes them around the city. Public art like this has always struck me as something I'd love to get involved with, I just don't have the slightest idea of where to start.

Many of the settings were incredibly familiar - I've taken that train ride between London and Edinburgh, through Berwick. I've been to Dundee and down the Arbroath Road. I've been to Brussels. The descriptions of Toronto - Chinatown, Union Station, Yorkdale - call up lots of memories. The product names were also very familiar - like Habitat furniture and Bialetti coffee machines. I loved when he described a library of books "more furniture than literature." The references to Chiang Kai-shek glasses reminded me of my trip to Taiwan, just this time last year for Lunar New Year.

Plus I googled to figure out what the hell a fish kettle is. It's worth a read.


Dorothy Lange

Don McCullins

Don McCullins


I Do Have Slightly Pointy Teeth...

I was just about to post a blog all about how people can be real jerks. The girl that inspired the almost-post is more self-centered perhaps than anything and certainly good at timing things to blow my attempts at a good mood.

And then Padraic and I were chatting online:
8:16pm Padraic
so is the running women only?

8:17pm Amanda
no, but the men are supposed to dress in women's clothes
you should come, it'd be fun!

8:17pm Padraic
what is the link... I don't do the wearing of skirts

8:18pm Amanda
did you get the invite?
you can wear a dress, too

8:22pm Padraic
oh.. it just sounds a bit to happy happy for me right now. there is nothing worse than a queen crying dressed up in womens' clothes

8:22pm Amanda
oh dear
i'm pretty unhappy too
my plan is to fill up as much time with other people being happy as possible
and then vampire their happiness

8:23pm Padraic
At this point, he called me up so we could laugh our asses off and we ended up with identical status updates.

The thing is that it is mostly working. I'm often a bit sad when I'm out and almost never in the mood to go out in the first place, but usually I have a good time, overall.

So, bring on the men in drag, the running/walking in the freezing weather, the drinking that may follow. I need more happy in my life and so I'm gonna go out and get it - even if I have to drain a few humans along the way.

Yep, I read Twilight recently and was totally drawn into its world. Deal. My students think I am awesome for reading all four books in a week and that was half the point of reading them!

Stunning photographs of landmark captured over six-month period

A series of majestic emerald arcs light up one of Britain's most iconic landmarks in this stunning photograph taken with one of the longest-ever exposures.

Solargraph: Justin Quinnell's photograph of the Clifton Suspension Bridge

The spectacular picture shows each phase of the sun over Bristol's Clifton Suspension Bridge taken over a six month period.

It plots the sun's daily course as it rises and falls over Brunel's famous structure, which spans the 702ft (214m) Avon Gorge.

Incredibly, the eerie image was captured on a basic pin-hole camera made from an empty drinks can with a 0.25mm aperture and a single sheet of photographic paper.

Photographer Justin Quinnell strapped the camera to a telephone pole overlooking the Gorge, where it was left between December 19, 2007 and June 21, 2008 - the winter and summer solstices.

His final photograph, called 'Solargraph', shows six months of the sun's luminescent trails and its subtle change of course caused by the earth's movement in orbit.

The lowest arc shows the first day of exposure on the winter solstice, while the top curves were captured in the middle of summer.

Its dotted lines of light are the result of overcast days when the sun struggled to penetrate the cloud.

Mr Quinnell, a world-renowned pin-hole camera artist, of Falmouth, Cornwall, said the photograph took on a personal resonance after his father passed away on April 13 - halfway through the exposure.

He says the picture allows him to pinpoint the exact location of the sun in the sky at the moment his father passed away.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Obamaify Me

Inaugurate This!!

That was our team name last night and we did indeed win the free beer. I love second place!

Here's Legoland's Inauguration:

Things to Ponder

Why does the small child practicing her speech next to me think that Korean is becoming commonly spoken around the world?

Why does James, my kindie student, think my name is Sam? Also, when did I start answering to Sam?

Why have I not made it to bed by midnight once in a month of 9 a.m. starts?

Why isn't it the weekend yet?

Sooooo Tired

And I have to give a test today. I hate that because there are few things more boring than watching children take tests.

However, the day will improve after that as I'm off to watch Twilight on the US Army base. I hear it's funny.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fuck You 2009

I'm not loving 2009 and January isn't even over yet!

I'm not working on it

Grace over at What If No One's Watching? came up with a brilliant idea: a list of anti-resolutions. To counter all the bright, shiny goals of January with an acknowledgement that we aren't perfect and we aren't even aiming to be. So, here I am, embracing some of my flaws.

1. I wear glasses and have a lazy eye. I could have surgeries to correct both of these things - and here in Korea, they'd even be cheap. I'm not going to. I think I look good in glasses (contrary to the opinions of most other people). I might eventually get contacts because listening to Martha rave about scubadiving has made me start to think it's something I ought to do. However, my eyes are shite, I sometimes don't look like I'm looking at the people I'm talking to and yet that's the way it's going to stay.

2. I can't budget. I'm not going to even try. I can cut expenses so far and after that it seems to make me miserable. Maybe this is something that I might one day want to explore, but Korea isn't the place for years of therapy.

3. I will invite everyone I know along, all the time. I like people to feel invited and I am a more-the-merrier person. If I am told it drives someone nuts, I can stop for that person. But otherwise, I'm an inviting machine.

4. I only finish what I start about a quarter of the time. My follow through is severely lacking. I am a much better plan-maker than plan-doer. ~ this is Grace's and I'm stealing it because it's so true for me.

5. I am a drama queen. Not because I like drama, but I'm incredibly over-sensitive and put my foot in my mouth more regularly than I should. I'm not sure either of those things can be stopped, which is unfortunate because put together, they are a nightmare.

6. I fall hard when I fall. Regardless of whether or not it is wise.

7. I read or watch TV shows in an obsessive manner until I'm finished them, the way your average smoker takes a drag after a 24 hour flight.

8. If you grew up wealthy, I'm likely to take an unfair automatic dislike to you. ~ Also Grace's.

9. I bite my nails, and my cuticles.

10. I'm incredibly lazy.

11. I feel guilty easily.

12. I quite regularly don't answer my cell phone just because I don't feel like it.

13. I can not have a conversation without repeating myself 8 million times. It's because I often don't feel that I communicate at all well verbally. I just want you to get it, but I realise that it is annoying.

14. I interrupt because I can talk and listen at the same time and I assume that you can too. I'm sorry. It's very ingrained.

15. I am perpetually late. I always underestimate how long it will take me to get out of the house, find a cab, get there. I'm sorry. I can also fill every avaible minute that I have on what appear to be absolutely essential tasks while getting ready, whether I am forced to be ready in 15 minutes or I have several hours. I'm a putterer and I can always fill up the time.

16. I overcommit all my time because I really do want to do everything with everyone.

17. I cry. Easily and fairly often. Slightly more probable if I'm drunk. And I don't cry pretty.

18. I think everything to death. I will drive myself right 'round the bend, one of these days.

19. If you aren't employing me or someone I knew from before 3 years ago, you'll know I'm bi within about five seconds of meeting me. If you don't know what to do with that info, I don't care because I spent 27 years of my life with people all assuming I was straight and now that I've decided to tell people up front that I'm not, I can't seem to stop. Granted, if the world wanted to stop being so heteronormative, it wouldn't be such a problem. How about since I'm not going to work on this one, the rest of you out there do it for me, huh?

20. I don't like talking on the phone the way I don't like going to the gym - it's the anticipation of doing it that is usually the problem. Once I'm on and chattering, I am happy as a pig in shit. However, I tend not to call people because I am a shy, nervous person (yes, in spite of the fact that I am happy to regale people with tales of my sex life and exploding vibrators) and having to call someone up still makes me feel a bit... weird. Antsy.

21. I'm uncoordinated. I can fall over while standing still and sober.

22. I can lose something in about ten seconds because I am incredibly forgetful and put stuff down at random. If the lost thing is my glasses, I will then have to search by patting around with my hands.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

No Time For Coffee

These Wednesday morning meetings exist only tenuously in my memory - I forgot to go to the first one entirely and just made it to the last two. It's so much easier to remember that they exist on Mondays...

That's Pope!

As in hilarious.

Nevermind, in joke.

Anyway, now that I have the internet back, I can tell all of you out there that my toenail finally fell off. Underneath there's this really odd skin - kinda like heel, but bumpy and still sort of scabby. Hawt.

I fear for humanity come summer because I will be wearing flipflops, regardless of the state of my unpedicured toes.

Dancing Condoms!

While I can easily come up with a situation where my friend Nirodh might not prove to be ever useful, I must say the dancing condoms are hilarious!

Thanks to Braja for the link!

*** On a side note, my free internet is mysteriously working again! Assa!!!

Monday, January 19, 2009


I've done a fair amount of travelling so far in my life, though nowhere near enough to satisfy me. My goal is to live and work on all the continent except Antarctica, which I fully intend to visit. I've covered three so far, though I've yet to even make any solid plans to get me through the remaining three.

Of all my travels, there was one that was akin to a pilgrimage and that was my trip across Canada. In high school and university, all I was focused on was getting the hell out of Bolton, preferably leaving North America all together. In my second year of university, I applied to an archaeological dig in England and for the exchange program through Queen's. Since there are about 3~4 applications per spot, I never imagined I'd get in. The dig was something I really wanted to do, but it was also my back-up plan, the plan that ensured I finally flew somewhere exciting. I had just sent off my money for the dig when I heard I had an interview for the exchange program - one that I never ended up attending, as I was high enough on the list that they cut sufficient applicants before even interviewing me. A huge part of me is still in awe of my luck.

As exciting as that first trip was, and it included six weeks of backpacking around Europe, it didn't really top the cross Canada trip. It was 2003 by the time I got the chance to see my own country and by then I had been living in Scotland, and hence travelling the UK, Ireland, andItaly, for two years. I moved back to Toronto to temp lazily while waiting for my travel partners, Jenni and Alan, to make some money and join me.

I can't quite say what it was exactly about that trip that made it so special. Part of it was that I was travelling with two of my best friends. Part of it was the train - I really enjoy train trips. But mostly, it was just Canada - the North, the Rockies, the Prairies. For the first time I was starting to understand the Canadian imagery and symbolism that I grew up absorbing.

We took the train to Winnipeg first, stopping only to change to another line. The trip up to Churchill, my first time to a place considered actual Arctic (it isn't that far north, but Hudson's Bay alters the climate in such a way that it is arctic). Seeing polar bears in the wild. Seeing the Northern Lights - I'd seen them before, where I grew up, but they were considerably more spectacular. The cold. The forests slowly giving way to a flat expanse of ice and snow.

After spending only a day in Churchill, sadly all we could afford, we headed to Winnipeg and spent five days there. That may well have been four days too many, considering that it was November. I now really understand Winnipeg weather reports, right down to my bones. We had anticipated sleeping through the prairies, but a huge train delay meant that we got to see them slowly pass by from the bubble car on the train. Grain elevators and so much sky! Edmonton was a much more interesting place than I had anticipated, though I wasn't overly impressed by the mall.

And then, the Rockies. Seeing them for the first time was incredible and Jasper was by far my favourite part of the trip. Granted, I'll never be able to forget the stupidity of thinking I was going to see those green waters of Lake Louise, but I did get to see a classic mountains-reflected-in-a-lake scene, so I was happy. We also saw a lot of wild life - though those deer are pretty tame!

We ended up in Vancouver and settled there in late November until August. I didn't love living in Vancouver, but I am incredibly glad I had the chance to do it. It is a beautiful city in the spring and summer - Toronto really has nothing on it there. I did miss the opportunity to do lots of cultural things without spending a small fortune - I'd been spoiled by Toronto and Edinburgh and it just wasn't my kind of city, in a way I can't really articulate. However, it was an important year for me, one in which I made the decision to come to Korea for the first time and that's a decision that has had the most impact on my life since the day I decided I was returning to Scotland after finishing my degree.

I am vaguely planning some more trips that might feel a bit like a pilgrimage - in particular, seeing Russia. Both of my parents studied Russia, history and literature, so it's one country I have always wanted to go to. Returning to university would certainly fit the bill. I'd also love to make it home for a holiday - at this point any holiday would do, but Christmas next year seems the most likely. We'll just have to see how the next year plays out, I guess. As always with my life, your guess is as good as mine!

The adventure began in Toronto.
The train ride through Ontario and Manitoba.
Polar bears in Churchill.
Winnnipeg and the Praries
Edmonton was fun.
The Rockies Rock
The trip ends in Vancouver.

Pics of the trip.

Internet & Weekends

My free internet is kaput. When I moved into my place, there was a black box. When I couldn't pick up a wireless signal, I plugged my laptop in on a lark, not thinking it would actually work. And for almost six months it did - which means that I am almost halfway through my contract! How the hell did that happen?

Right, let's get caught up on the last two weekends (I'm at work right now, after I could have gone home, to use the internet for free. I'm too broke to have to be paying!) So, last weekend was... rough. It wasn't a bad weekend, but I spent a lot of time feeling pretty depressed. I did manage to force myself to at least get out and be around people, which I think is the better call for me. I wallow too much if I'm just on my own. This past weekend wasn't without its moments of sadness, but it might have been a bit better.

Last weekend, after a Friday night at home, I spent Saturday at the Seoul International Photography Festival. It was very interesting and at least half the fun is getting to go inside Old Seoul Station. That was one ornate train station, back in the day. These days it's an odd mix of lovely and falling down and the photography folks managed to stick a photo in every available space. The first exhibit, a series of pictures of people standing with their backs to the camera, was about the experience of depression and was accompanied by essays explaining the subjects' experiences with depression. While the photos were not particularly interesting in and of themselves, I thought the idea was interesting. I took some photos of the photos and the station.

That evening, I decided to go out hardcore, with the idea that it would cheer me up. It started as the drinking of some red wine with Annie and Melissa, but as soon as Rebecca and Brian texted that they were at Bungalow, that was the beginning of it being an early night. We ended up in Soho, dancing until dawn, though I must admit that we don't look like we would have been too coordinated by the end, considering the hilarity of the pictures. Sarah Jane and I had some sort of bet to do with flowers, though I don't recall the details and I seem to be in more than a few pics with people I don't even know. Melissa crashed at my place, seeing as she lives far away and we were both going to the book club meeting the next day at noon. And I did set my alarm.

But I didn't actually turn it on. Thus, I woke up at 11:30 and freaked, as I live at least a half hour by cab from the restaurant we were meeting at. The first thought in my head, however, was: "Oh, god. I was drunk interneting last night." While I turned on my computer to see what I had done, exactly, I opened my phone to text that Melissa and I were going to be a bit late, only to find a text from the architect saying he was looking forward to dinner tonight then... A dinner I have no recollection of agreeing to go to. I should have checked those five saved texts before I sent some, but let's be honest - my brian wasn't exactly firing all cylinders at this point. So, I checked Facebook, we got washed and hopped in a cab.

Sadly, I didn't think to look up the directions to Butterfingers and I called Alicia who told me to turn at the Bath & Body Works. Korea doesn't even have that store, however, I was overtired and if it was in Korea, it would probably be in Gangnam. After walking four blocks too far, I finally got ahold of Alicia again and we retraced our steps, in order to eat the best pancakes I have had so far in Seoul. Delicious. We discussed the book After Dark by Murakami, but so far we are a hilarious inept group at running a book club. Brian read the wrong book, though the word dark was in the title. Martha didn't even read the book, though she owned it, which was how it got picked. The disussion didn't last long, but it was fun. Padraic commented that the lack of ending is related to the fact that the book starts out commenting that cities never stop growing and changing. I didn't mind the book myself, though it wasn't generally well liked. My major complaint was that unlike the two novels by Murakami that I really liked (Kafka on the Shore and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle), the fantasy element of After Dark didn't seem to meld in with the reality and as such those chapters felt a bit disjointed. It's a quick, easy read though, and not really that bad.

After brunch, we headed to the nearby bookstore, to pick the next novel. Since Padraic and Melissa are fantasy readers looking to branch out, Alicia and I were told that we had the "honour" of picking the next book. I find selecting books for other people difficult, as I'm pretty sure I am a more picky reader than most. However, since of all the choices I was considering only The Road by Cormac McCarthy was a mass market paperback and it seems to me that the prices for trade paperbacks have gone up a lot recently. Martha also owns that one and Alicia thought it was in the library at Poly, thus saving some of us even more money.

On our way to the subway, Padraic and I couldn't resist going in and smelling the Lush. For anyone who loves Lush, that smell is irresistable. Then we noticed that there were two sinks, so that you could sample the soap, so naturally we had to put on a show, complete with photos (which sadly, Melissa hasn't uploaded yet...). Naturally, if you allow yourself to spend that long in Lush, you are going to end up dropping some cash - even though I recently got the most amazingly delicious smelling soaps from my brother and his family and some other stuff from my mom, I ended up buying some face wash that Padraic recommended. Then Alicia wanted to pop into the Body Shop to buy some shampoo and that lead to a purchase of some discounted eye shadow. Thank god we finally hit the subway after that. However, the lovely little moments of the day weren't over yet because as we walked down the stairs, I saw a familiar sign...

Finding poutine in Korea is no small feat, so in spite of the fact that I had plans for dinner at Zelen's in only a couple of hours, I bought some and then attempted to eat it while on an incredibly crowded subway. And not just any subway - the Circle line in Seoul. Not well played, but delicious. Upon arriving in Itaewon, we headed to Wolfhound to ensure a table for trivia. I had a beer and then wandered off for dinner with the architect at Zelen's. You know you are conversing with an interesting person when the question, "What did you do for the holidays?" elicits the response, "I went to the States, went hunting, and was arrested..." After a few moments of pondering what you might be able to be arrested for but be released and back in Korea within a couple of weeks, he told me that it was for public drunkenness, which I found kinda funny. Since here in Korea we can not only be drunk and stupid in the streets, we can even drink in the streets (and on subways and busses and in parks and...) it doesn't seem a stretch that someone might go home and have their normal behaviour here cause them some trouble at home. In fact, now that I've started telling the story, quite a few people have some of their own. After dinner, I went back for the quiz and by then Alex, Martha, Annie and Ceedra had shown up. We just missed the second place pitcher.

We were luckier on Wednesday at Phillie's - a handy second place win kept us out of the obligation to host the next quiz, but we got our free beer. The rest of last week, I mostly read. I started Twilight last Tuesday and I'm already 75 pages into the last book of the series. They aren't genius, but I find them to be engaging, quick reads. Can't say I didn't giggle quite a lot at the idea of vampires who sparkle in the light, though.

This past weekend, I spent Friday night at home once again. Last weekend seriously depleted my funds, and I'll have to be a bit more frugal until payday at the end of the month. Friday was also when I realised that my free internet wasn't working - sad, because I also don't have a TV, so I use the computer often! Saturday Annie had a junk swap. I didn't have much to get rid of, since I did a lot of purging when I moved to Haebangchan. Wanna guess what I picked up more of? C'mon, guess... Books of course! Granted, I need more books like I need a hole in the head, but I will have more reading time until I get paid and can get online again.

That night we played Settlers of Kataan at Liz and Lizzie's before heading out to Soho to dance once again. When Soho cleared, we hit up Queen. Good fun. Then I had brunch at Indigo with Antaeus the next morning and napped, in between chapters of Eclipse. I set my alarm to ensure I had time to get ready before going to meet Alex, Martha and Melissa for dinner. We went to a new restaurant called Macaroni Market, which in spite of its name is quite posh. We chose to eat in the restaurant part, rather than the cafeteria, which may have been a mistake, because my gorgonzola salad and pasta with truffles in cream sauce cost me $50. Remember what I said about needing to budget until the end of January? That's going well, as you can see! The service was really slow, so we had to haul ass to get to trivia on time. Apparently we shouldn't have hurried because we came last!!! I have never come last before ever! Ach, well, it was a fun night and as the trivia ended, Tritian, his new boyfriend and a bunch of people in 80's gear and neon wigs showed up, so I stayed around for a bit.

So, those were my last two weekends. They were fairly busy, which is good, I think, and I had some fun. I'm still feeling quite depressed, but I'm happy that for now, I seem to be able to drag myself out. There might be some moments when I'm out that I'm very much not having fun, but overall, I think I'm holding ground right now. This is the last full week of 9 a.m. starts and then I only work two days next week, the thought of which should get me through the next four days, even without the joy of mindless TV and internet every night. I don't have many plans for the four-day weekend yet, though I have committed to do my first hash - it's referred to as a drinking club with a running problem, though I will be walking this time. Perhaps once I join the gym in February (I swear to god I will both join and go), I could work my way up to actual running. I'm slightly confused to what this hashing deal is all about ("Well, we'll walk for a bit and then stop and sing a song. Then we drink a bunch. Then some more walking."), but I did stick it on my 101 in 1001 list at Shawn's suggestion and since this one will feature men in drag, it seems like a good call. Hope it isn't too cold.

Right, I'm off. If I was a frugal person, I'd take the subway, but I'm tired and hungry, so I know I will be giving into the temptation to just hop in a cab in a couple of minutes...

I leave you with a wicked video:

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

You Gotta Laugh

One of my kindergarten students told me quite sincerely that I looked beautiful today.

My hair was in a ponytail because it was all nasty and greasy and I hadn't been able to force myself out of bed to wash it before work.

And yet, this always happens to me. Why is it that I seem to look better to other people with nasty, greasy hair? I certainly don't to me.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I did not have a restful night. Eating spicy wings at midnight was a strategic mistake - heartburn. Nasty. So, I interneted a bit last night and read one chapter of Twilight before going to bed, partly because I couldn't resist and partly because it wouldn't have me in bed much later than usual.

Unfortunately, I awoke abruptly at 4:30, completly confused. It turns out if you tape a poster to my wall, it won't stay up there forever. Whether the tape ripping off was noisy or just being hit in the face by an airborne poster was what woke me, it sure was startling.

Then when my alarm went off, I mentally refused to get up for at least three rounds with the snooze button. I really do not understand how this week is going by so... damn... slowly...

How is it not Friday already???

Two more classes. One is my favourite class and the other is my least favourite. I can't wait to get home, hop under the covers, and finish off Twilight. It's a ridiculously fast read, but then, it was written for teenagers.

Does it seem to anyone else that Bella is going to have to become a vampire herself in the end? Or does that not happen, leaving us all with a sense of frustration after all that foreplay? For a Mormon, the author certainly is plenty suggestive.

Speaking of which, I think Big Love finally starts up again this weekend. I have a serious hard-on for Mormons. I'm sure they wouldn't appreciate the sentiment!


We came second place tonight, winning ourselves a pitcher of beer. I have also eaten fabulous food - Indian curry on lunch break, panang curry from Buddha's Belly at dinner, and then chicken wings at Jacoby's at midnight, just cause.

It's freaking cold out lately, but the fantastic thing about floor heating is that if you leave your pjs on the floor while you are out, they are all cozy and warm when you climb into them after the long, cold walk home.

Liz and Lizzy took a taxi the ten minutes down the road to the restaurant tonight. I'd mock them, but don't think I didn't consider it!

Who Knew?

Due to a Facebook status update, I was moved to google microwave jawbreaker. What I discovered is that there are a whole lot of people out there who spend their spare time microwaving things and videoing it.


I'm Not Sure Why This is So Damn Funny

Off Early!

Yay! I got off at just after 4 p.m. today because my one-on-one class was cancelled. Matthew has pneumonia, poor little poppet. I was actually quite sad to hear the news - he's a smart, funny, cheerful little kid. Not that I'd wish pneumonia on even my worst students, though I'm not above hoping for a light cold or a mildly itchy rash for some of them.

I decided to celebrate my unexpectedly early day by... washing my dishes. Woot!

Am I not terribly exciting?

Not Quite What I Mean to Inspire

After last time's pie eating during the discussion class on health, I figured I couldn't sink any lower. I was wrong.

Today's discussion was about role models. One of the debate topics was whether or not everyone needed a role model. Since Ashley had just commented that her only goals in life were to watch a lot of TV and play, I made the mistake of pointing out that there isn't a role model for that.

Joel looked quite serious when he said, "But, teacher, you are that role model. Most days you can sleep until noon and then watch TV while you drink coffee."

So, they've learned something from me, anyway.


Making coffee entirely with your eyes closed may not be the kind of skill you can put on your resume, but it still comes in damn handy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Cute Things Falling Asleep

Manly Role Models

A friend sent me a goofy email. I did the math and got the silly answer and then noted that there wasn't a single female name on the list of role models, except for my friend's. Disturbing.


Try it without looking at answers

1) Pick your Favourite number between 1-9

2) Multiply by 3 then

3) Add 3, then again Multiply by 3

4) You'll get a 2 or 3 digit number….

5) Add those digits together.

Now Scroll down ..............

Now with that number see who your ROLE MODEL is from the list below :

1. Einstein

2. Nelson Mandela

3. Jacob Zuma

4. Tom Cruise

5. Bill Gates

6. Gandhi

7. Brad Pitt

8. Hitler

9. My female friend

10. Barack Obama

Seriously, Mr. Canned Salmon?

It occurred to me when I opened a tin of salmon yesterday that I have obviously only ever had canned tuna up until this point, because I was somewhat startled by what might have been a salmon spinal cord or something equally disturbing. I had no idea that my parents had been removing all those bones from my salmon sandwiches - and I'm pretty damn picky about weird crunch in sandwiches. I won't even buy egg salad sandwiches from shops because I once ate one that had a bit of shell in it.

The canned salmon was a gift from Samarra, for whom it was a gift from home. I secretly suspect that she didn't ever eat it because she didn't own a can opener - after all, that's why I didn't eat it for about 8 months after she gave it to me. I was pondering last night, as I obsessively removed bones, just why it is that some countries have cans with openers on the top of them and some don't. Is there a logic to that?

It was a boring evening at home - I made dinner (Liz's turkey soup was good, for all her protests to the contrary about it being bland) and did some laundry. Watched a bit of CSI (I'm just now half paying attention to the last episode of last season, so I'm pretty much caught up), Interneted a bit, and finished off a book. Now I've moved on to Twilight - for once, I'm jumping into a trend relatively early (it took me years on end to watch Buffy and I waited for quite awhile before embracing Harry Potter as well.)

My last class was obnoxious today. The kids bitched about not getting a totally discretionary break - somehow, they can't wrap their little minds around the connection between them acting like punks and me not being overly nice in return.

Friday, January 09, 2009


I was slung-lo and
So gung-ho
For anything to get me to start
I had my rock
I had my roll
But I couldn't find my spark

A flip of the hi-fi
A glimpse of the good life
And the clouds began to fade
I'm turning this B-side
Around to a de-light
Blue skies are here to stay

"She was so down, look at her now
She's never been so high!
Everyone knows, give it some time
The clouds'll clear the sky!"

Light the radio
Til it explodes
I'm dancin' til I drop
One small step
First right then left
I'm never gonna stop

"She was so down, look at her now
She's dancin' til she drops!
Everyone knows, give it some time
You'll find what you have lost!"

It is my style to take awhile
To put the feeling down to page
I get around to making sound
When the fancy meets the phrase!

"She was so down, look at her now
She's never been so high!
Everyone knows, give it some time
The clouds'll clear the sky!"

I'm gonna burst
Right out of this world
And I won't do it alone
A kick to the heart
A lift for the charts
One listen and we'll be gone
And then who cares?
We're debonair
And we're dancin' our way back home

"She was so down, look at her now
She's never been so high!
Everyone knows, give it some time
The clouds'll clear the sky!"


8. of or pertaining to the basic constitution or structure of a thing; constitutional; structural.
That is how I feel about my bouts of sadness. They are, unfortunately, part of my structure. The only bonus to this knowledge is that last time round I finally forced myself to examine drug options and they work. I don't like the idea of them as anything beyond a solution in a pinch, because they dull everything when they dull the sad parts. However, it's a reassuring thought.

In the meantime, it remains to do my best to pull myself out of this. It sucks to have some defective brain chemistry, but that is what it is. At least I'm presently living a life that I am generally happy and content with, which is a distinctly better place that I was in last time, when I basically hated everything about myself and my life - some of that was the depression talking, but some of it really was a series of choices that took me too far away from myself and who I wanted to be.

I'm setting my alarm for tomorrow now. I have plans that I really want myself to actually follow through on. I hope I go. However, now that I am home and in bed, with no mandatory tasks to be done tomorrow, I want to hide under my blankets and sleep. Except that I can't sleep, and that's one of my main problems right now - which is odd, as usually the sadder I am, the more I can sleep like it's an Olympic event I'm competing in and I'm going for the gold.

I should go, but on top of the incredible inertia that hits every time I walk through the door of my house, I feel incredibly unsocial. I can't imagine I'll be any fun. I know though that once I am there, it'll mostly be ok. I forced myself out on Wednesday and only felt like crying a couple of times - lately for me that is a good run of something approaching normal. I need to get some sleep, read the book club novel so as not to have a convenient excuse not to do that on Sunday, and then go out tomorrow.

I wonder how many times I have to tell myself to do it, before it feels like something I am actually going to do?

As Always, I Find Things Years Later

The Burqa Band (or the Blue Burqa Band) is an all-female indie rock band from Kabul, Afghanistan. They performed anonymously, all of the members wearing burqas in an apparent protest against the Taliban's rules regarding Islamic dress. They released a single, "Burqa Blue" and a self-titled album in 2002. The group gained some popularity in Europe in the 2000s, and toured in Germany, where a song of theirs was remixed by DJ Barbara Morgenstern. A YouTube video of a performance of theirs has circulated widely.

For fantastic photos and commentary on Afghanistan today, go read J.L. Krueger's blog.

For richer or poorer

When you work overseas, you become richer or poorer every time the exchange rate moves. In Scotland, I was making almost 2.5 times as much as I could have in Canada - though when I was a student and exchanging my student loans, I also had 2.5 times less. And it really was less or more by that amount, because things in Scotland often cost the same numerical amount as those in Canada, just with a pound sign in front, rather than a dollar.

Here in Korea, my first three contracts were golden. Because the American dollar was on par with the won, it was easy to just drop three zeros to make the exchange in your head - thus, if I was sending a million won back home it was like a thousand dollars. Except, of course, to the Canadian dollar it wasn't, leading to the lovely feeling of being given several hundred dollars of "free" money every time I sent money home. Brilliant, right?

Now, not so brilliant. I still love my job and I am still so much better off than many back home in the middle of the present recession or depression or whatever it is that we seem to be in. My job looks pretty stable - certainly there are starting to be rumours of lowering enrollment as belts tighten amongst workers, but there has also been increasing demand for teachers here. They've even started to lower the standards for teaching in public schools to allow people with only two years of university to teach. So, it looks ok, stability wise.

Also, for all that I'm making a couple of hundred less a month and prices have gone up here (as of last winter I was seeing things go up between fifty cents to a dollar for food in restaurants), I do live in a country that has an extremely low cost of living. If I had to, I could live here on $500 a month - maybe even less, actually, if I had to. I can't imagine another situation where I could live off less than a fourth of my income, allowing me to pay down debt and still do some travelling. At present, I send half home and spend half. It's not the most financially agressive strategy, but it is one that makes me happy.

I'm horrible with budgeting and in the past, the lack of ability to make payments on my student loans easily and cover my rent (which comes straight out of my pay before I get it, convienently) without stress led to a very unhappy time in my life. Here in Korea, none of those things are worries.

It may sort of be for poorer right now, but I'm very lucky. I need to remind myself of that more often.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I Am Sean Bell

I AM SEAN BELL, black boys speak from Stacey Muhammad on Vimeo.

I'm Going to Drink It Anyway

My milk is likely sour, but I wanted hot chocolate and so I had it. I'll be putting it in my coffee tomorrow too and I'm fairly confident I'll survive the experience. The best before date was December 30th, but I tend to just ignore those, as you can see.

So, it's perhaps become increasingly obvious that I'm sad. Quite sad, actually. I've certainly gone through similar periods in the past - the last one back when 2005 turned into 2006 - but in the past I have tended to stop blogging during them. After all, can't be much fun to read about me being less than perky. Way back when, my shtick was that I made my life into a series of humorous anecdotes, so when I was feeling sad there wasn't anything to say. Now I blog far more for myself than any audience that may be out there - it doesn't even need a purpose, I just blog because that has become something that I do.

So, I'm sad. It's been a rough holiday period on a number of counts and I have slowly found myself with little energy to deal with the sad. I keep trying to do the things I know are good for becoming less sad - I arrange social events and try and sit in the sun on lunch break and treat myself to good Indian food and all of those little things that are supposed to keep the sad at bay. It's working, though not as well as I'd like. All those social events are things I come to dread the moment I commit myself to them - already I am wondering if I could just skip out on both of the things I have planned for the weekend, for all that I was fairly instrumental in setting them up.

I've always been a person prone to sadness. Back in high school I used to sit around in my bedroom listening to the saddest music I could find, just so that I could sob while listening to it. As I have gotten older, I have found that the sad periods have decreased in length, intensity and recurrence, but they always seem to just be there, waiting for me. Oddly these days I feel the warring pulls of surrounding myself with tons of people (though I feel no less lonely) and hiding under my covers.

Reaching out when I am sad is something I find difficult to do. First off, I simultaneously don't want to talk about why I am sad and find myself unable to avoid doing so, because it's all I think about. I occasionally want to tell people I'm sad, but I don't really want my image as a tough person who makes a joke out of every difficult situation to suffer either.

Naturally, the lack of sleeping isn't helping. Again, this is something I can trace all the way back to my teen years. My father was partially right - it's a pattern and you can change it. However, I am quite a night owl by nature, so it's not an easy thing to change. Beyond which, the problem isn't that I don't get in my bed and turn off the lights, the problem is that sleep doesn't follow. Spending my days struggling to keep my eyes open isn't really helping anything.

Anyway, there it is. I'm sad and I'm off to try and fall asleep now.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Pick 12 books - one for each month of 2008

I am an idiot. How did I fail to notice that this challenge was for 2008 and was ending in a month? However, I'm also a stubborn idiot and I tried to complete it - though I tried to read the shortest books first! I got through 8 and a half, which isn't too bad, I guess, considering that I was fairly social over the holidays.

1. Practical Demonkeeping, Christopher Moore - Hilarious! I have no idea where he thinks this stuff up, but it is comic genius.
2. Borderlines, Peter Hoeg - I'm not sure what to say about it - it was an enjoyable read, but I didn't love it.
3. Another Roadside Attraction, Tom Robbins - It took me at least 200 pages to get into it, though I did enjoy the end. Interesting, but not as enjoyable as I had hoped.
4. Tokyo Cancelled, Rana Dasgupta - It was interesting but somehow didn't draw me in.
5. The Hungry Tide, Amitav Ghosh
6. The Optimists, Andrew Miller - Finished after the deadline. I wouldn't say I loved the Optimists, but I found it interesting. It's an oddly visual novel, as the protagonist is a photographer and his sister writes about painters, many of the names I looked up. There are quite a few references to Greek mythology as well, which I must admit to liking in a novel. Many of the settings were incredibly familiar - I've taken that train ride between London and Edinburgh, through Berwick. I've been to Dundee and down the Arbroath Road. The descriptions of Toronto - Chinatown, Union Station, Yorkdale - call up lots of memories. Plus I googled to figure out what the hell a fish kettle is. It's worth a read.
7. Plainsong, Kent Haruf - The writing is simple and yet so beautiful. It was such an engrossing story that I finished it in well under a day. I loved it.
8. Naked, David Sedaris - I always think I'm not as big a Sedaris fan as I find myself to be once I dive into one of his books. There were just too many hilarious bits to mention, though the breast-feeding camels line has gotten permanently lodged in my brain.
9. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers
10. What is the What, Dave Eggers
11. The Book of Illusions, Paul Auster
12. Fox Girl, Nora Okia Keller - While I was a little disappointed with Comfort Woman, I loved Fox Girl. It was a fascinating look at Korea and the GIs after the Korean War. It certainly sheds some light on the present situation.
Alt.The New Kings of Nonfiction, edited by Ira Glass-A few of the articles I had come across before, but they were all really enjoyable, even the description of a poker competition that I didn't even really understand. The one on Saddam Hussein was interesting considering events since. My favourite might have been the portrayal of the ten year old.
Alt.Life of Pi, Yann Martel - Fantastic book!
Alt.The Poe Shadow, Matthew Pearl
Alt.Thirteen Moons, Charles Frazier

"Chazu said that stuff [cola] rots your teeth. Be healthy, drink beer." ~ Fox Girl

"He liked the sense of momentum that he got from carrying out his purposes against so many different backgrounds." ~ Tokyo Cancelled

"Time inside an aeroplane always seemed to be staged by the airline company to deceive, its studied slowness a kind of tranquillizer for the seat-belted cattle in their eight-hour suspension, to which passport control and baggage claim would be the only antidote. Synthesized versions of 'Yesterday' and 'Candle in the Wind' reminded passengers of old, familiar feelings but with the human voice removed, emotions loaded with blanks for a safer, more pleasant ride. Mealtimes were announced in advance: the rhythms of earth were felt to continue uninterrupted here in this airborne tube so that the indignation at chicken when lamb had run out was far more consequential than 'Isn't it only two hours since breakfast?' High-alcohol wind, parsimonious lighting and channel upon channel of Julia Roberts anesthesia completed the gently high-altitude lullaby" ~ Tokyo Cancelled

"What is the function of the artist?" Amanda demanded of the talented trespasser. "The function of the artist," the Navajo answered, "is to provide what life does not." ~ Another Roadside Attraction

"There is no such thing as a weird human being. It's just that some people require more understanding than others." ~ Another Roadside Attraction

"Jesus: Hey, Dad.
God: Yes, son?
Jesus: Western civilization followed me home this morning. Can I keep it?
God: Certainly not, boy. And put it down this minute. You don't know where it's been." ~ Another Roadside Attraction

"The day was rumpled and dreary. It looked like Edgar Allan Poe's pajamas." ~ Another Roadside Attraction

"The old, Rooseveltian logic of the Doctrine had been that since the airwaves belonged to everyone, a license to profit from those airwaves conferred on the broadcast industry some special obligation to serve the public interest. Commercial radio broadcasting was not, in other words, originally conceived as just another for-profit industry; it was supposed to meet a higher standard of social responsibility." Host, David Foster Wallace, The New Kings of Nonfiction

"It's almost impossible to look away [from OJ's murder-anniversary interview], or not to feel that special kind of guilty excitement in the worst, most greedy and indecent parts of yourself... But that doesn't mean the fascination is good, or even feels good. Aren't there parts of ourselves that are just better left unfed?" Host, David Foster Wallace, The New Kings of Nonfiction

"He orchestrated a Draconian nationwide literacy project. Reading programs were set up in every city and village, and failure to attend was punishable by three years in jail. Men, women, and children attended these compulsory classes, and hundreds of thousands of illiterate Iraqis learned to read. UNESCO gave Saddam an award." Tales of the Tyrant, Mark Bowden, The New Kings of Nonfiction

"In any orthodox history you can find the standard autopsy of the causes... All of this is true enough, yet there's something faintly bogus and overly rationalized about it. The approaching war didn't seem like a political or economic event; it was more like a collective anxiety attack. Throughout the '30s people around the world came to share an unshakable dead about the future, a conviction that countless grave international crises were escalating out of control, a panicked sen that everything was coming unhinged and that they could do nothing to stop it." Losing the War, Lee Sandlin, The New Kings of Nonfiction

"Yes, I have experience in sales, but it is limited to marijuana, a product that sells itself." Naked, David Sedaris

New Normal

It was another four cups of coffee day.

My eyes were threatening to shut all through my last class.

Now that I'm off work, I could probably stay up all night rockin' it out.

My body needs a talking to!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2009 - The Year of Health?

Back around about Christmas, my friend Liz dubbed 2009 the Year of Health. She wants to quit smoking and get fit, as she feels at now that she is in her 30s, it's now or never. Considering my recent ill health, it seemed a good idea to jump on the health bandwagon.

Unfortunately, I can't jump high enough yet! I have some obvious health goals on the 101 in 1001 list - exercise, more attentive eating, sleep, and the like. So far, I can't pretend I've made any strides - though I have largely given up drinking. Only to replace it with a bit more social smoking that I used to do. Ooops.

Today I had to teach a discussion class around the topic of good health. I was eating leftover pie for breakfast because I don't have anything else that is portable and there is no time for breakfast in my morning schedule right now. Hilarious. Though I did bring lunch today and it's much better and I even bought a bunch of V8 yesterday. I also have plans to join Shawn's gym, just as soon I as I no longer have to be at work by 9 a.m., which I continue to find basically torture. I am a night owl and no matter how hard I try, I seem to get to bed around 2 a.m. and as such am just about the sleepiest person alive. Except in the evenings, naturally, when I feel like I could stay awake all night.

I was all grown up and responsible last night. Went grocery shopping, cooked an actual meal, did my dishes, washed my laundry and did a quick tidy.

Granted, then I watched three episodes of CSI while Facebooking.

You Know You've Made It When

You are in a trivia team name!

Can You Imagine...

... a complaints choir of ESL Teachers in Korea? The lyrics would be hysterical. Someone who can sing should make one!

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Internets Are Weird

The first girl I ever had a crush on, all the way back in high school, is celebrating her birthday today and due to the oddness of Facebook, I know this even though I haven't seen or even thought of her in ten years.



Only two of my students noticed I got my hair cut over the weekend.

Though, to be fair, it's just my old hair with actual style. But still.

I am totally exhausted, but also somewhat excited to make plans and try to be all dynamic and shit during the hell that is January.


Sunday, January 04, 2009


December is often spoken of as a draining month - the holidays, the stress, the pressure to have a perfect New Year's or an exceptional Christmas, the emotions if you are far away from home, the extra errands, the increased expense.

My December was draining. Not all of the emotions were bad, by far, but they were all very intense. In particular, it has been such an intense couple of weeks. Regardless of all the fun, I'm tired out.

January I find as draining. Each year, at least a part of me wants to hibernate from here on in until the weather gets warmer. I want to recoup my energy after the holidays and try and stay rested and happy during the dreaded Intensives. I know, it's so whiny to complain about having to work less than 8 hours a day, but I have to start my day at 9 a.m.! I have to commute during commuting hours! I don't like it at all.

In particular, there's been some high drama in my life lately - if you know me, that's no real surprise. I have for sure been as much a participant in the dramas as everyone else involved, but I really feel a need to dial it down for now, as much of it as I can. I'm a bit too tired to deal just now.

That said, I also find that January really does make me want to get out there and become a better me. I've made resolutions and I am all gung-ho to join a gym and do more cultural things and take more photos and be more creative and read more books and eat more vegetables and expand my social circle and, and, and!

So, basically this post is to say that either I want to be a slug in January or I want to do about 8 million things all at once.

Yep. That's January for ya.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Fabulous Women

Sarah Haskins on Target: Women is hilarious. I laughed until I cried. The birth control one might be my favourite, but it's hard to choose.

Granny Peace Brigade

Droidel, Droidel, Droidel