Monday, January 19, 2009

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:


Christine Gram said...

I'm exhausted just from reading this post. Cripes you know how to pack some fun in.

My last two weekends consisted of cleaning the house, watching a few movies, and homework.

Woo hoo!

Alright, you've motivated me to plan something for the coming weekend.

JP/deb said...

love the video - thanks! i know how hard it is to stay on a budget and be frugal ... argh - no advice there ;-)

peace, JP/deb