Thursday, February 25, 2010

don’t let your luggage define your travels

"We Are More” by Shane Koyczan

When defining Canada
you might list some statistics
you might mention our tallest building
or biggest lake
you might shake a tree in the fall
and call a red leaf Canada
you might rattle off some celebrities
might mention Buffy Sainte-Marie
might even mention the fact that we’ve got a few
Barenaked Ladies
or that we made these crazy things
like zippers
electric cars
and washing machines
when defining Canada
it seems the world’s anthem has been
” been there done that”
and maybe that’s where we used to be at
it’s true
we’ve done and we’ve been
we’ve seen
all the great themes get swallowed up by the machine
and turned into theme parks
but when defining Canada
don’t forget to mention that we have set sparks

we are not just fishing stories
about the one that got away
we do more than sit around and say “eh?”
and yes

we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we’re more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you’re welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history
we are an experiment going right for a change
with influences that range from a to zed
and yes we say zed instead of zee
we are the colours of Chinatown and the coffee of Little Italy
we dream so big that there are those
who would call our ambition an industry
because we are more than sticky maple syrup and clean snow
we do more than grow wheat and brew beer
we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today

filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like “someday”

someday we’ll be great
someday we’ll be this
or that
someday we’ll be at a point
when someday was yesterday
and all of our aspirations will pay the way
for those who on that day
look towards tomorrow
and still they say someday

we will reach the goals we set
and we will get interest on our inspiration
because we are more than a nation of whale watchers and lumberjacks
more than backpacks and hiking trails
we are hammers and nails building bridges
towards those who are willing to walk across
we are the lost-and-found for all those who might find themselves at a loss
we are not the see-through gloss or glamour
of those who clamour for the failings of others
we are fathers brothers sisters and mothers
uncles and nephews aunts and nieces
we are cousins
we are found missing puzzle pieces
we are families with room at the table for newcomers
we are more than summers and winters
more than on and off seasons
we are the reasons people have for wanting to stay
because we are more than what we say or do
we live to get past what we go through

and learn who we are
we are students
students who study the studiousness of studying
so we know what as well as why
we don’t have all the answers
but we try
and the effort is what makes us more
we don’t all know what it is in life we’re looking for
so keep exploring
go far and wide
or go inside but go deep
go deep
as if James Cameron was filming a sequel to The Abyss
and suddenly there was this location scout
trying to figure some way out
to get inside you
because you’ve been through hell and high water
and you went deep
keep exploring
because we are more
than a laundry list of things to do and places to see
we are more than hills to ski
or countryside ponds to skate
we are the abandoned hesitation of all those who can’t wait
we are first-rate greasy-spoon diners and healthy-living cafes
a country that is all the ways you choose to live
a land that can give you variety
because we are choices
we are millions upon millions of voices shouting
” keep exploring… we are more”
we are the surprise the world has in store for you
it’s true

Canada is the “what” in “what’s new?”
so don’t say “been there done that”
unless you’ve sat on the sidewalk
while chalk artists draw still lifes
on the concrete of a kid in the street
beatboxing to Neil Young for fun
don’t say you’ve been there done that
unless you’ve been here doing it
let this country be your first-aid kit
for all the times you get sick of the same old same old
let us be the story told to your friends
and when that story ends
leave chapters for the next time you’ll come back
next time pack for all the things
you didn’t pack for the first time
but don’t let your luggage define your travels
each life unravels differently
and experiences are what make up
the colours of our tapestry
we are the true north
strong and free
and what’s more
is that we didn’t just say it
we made it be.

It's a Soup & Sandwich Kind of Day

I popped into the grocery store today and saw some soup and knew instantly that it was what I wanted for dinner, alongside a toasted tuna sandwich. I'm tired, it's rainy and it's just that sort of day.

Back when my mom stayed home, soup and a sandwich is what I remember as being the easy meal, surpassed only by the breakfast for dinner thing (though I recall my father being the one who made breakfast generally). It's super easy and fast. As a result, to this day my mind boggles when I try and understand people who make soup from scratch. In my head, soup comes out of a can of Campbells and that's that.

I meant to clean the house tonight, but that's not happening so far. I have to get up uber early tomorrow and pick up my new visa from immi (oddly, they have metal detectors there, that beep and everything, but they just wave you through), so I really should get something productive done tonight, since I won't be washing dishes or putting away laundry before I head out tomorrow. I actually detest having a messy house and yet it's messy in here and has been for ages. Sigh.

Instead of cleaning, I'm watching the West Wing - because my name is Amanda and I am addicted. I love when they mention places like Osan and Red Cloud and I know exactly where they are. Plus, they were doing this thing about NASA just as I was wandering across this video on the Bad Astronomy blog.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Love It!

I'd Watch Alison Janney... the phone book.

Sadly, though, I've hit the season of the West Wing that I'm told is when it starts to go downhill.

Chick Flicks

Over at 30 Chick Flicks some dude has watched a bunch of movies to try and understand women. Then I came across a list of movies that would do a much better job (and I'm embarrassed to say I've only seen six - time to download):

1. Born in Flames.
2. The Battle of Algiers.
3. Sophie's Choice.
4. The Piano.
5. Gone With The Wind.
6. In The Mood For Love.
7. The Last Unicorn.
8. Tootsie.
9. Fay Grim.
10. Some Like It Hot.
11. His Girl Friday.
12. Code 46.
13. Terminator 2.
14. The Secretary.
15. A Star is Born.
16. After Life.
17. Ties That Bind (Su Friedrich)
18. The Color Purple
19. East/West
20. Alien.
21. The Accused.
22. The Secret of NIMH.
23. What's Love Got To Do With It?
24. The Joy Luck Club.
25. Steel Magnolias.
26. Fried Green Tomatoes.
27. Foxfire.
28. French Kiss.
29. Working Girl.
30. The Way We Were.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Budging, Just Glacially Slowly

"Despite the best efforts of critics and the hopes of authors, our tastes in books are probably as inherent & unbudgeable as those in food." Alain de Botton

I'm not so sure about unbudgeable tastes, in food or books. Though I still don't like Tom Robbins, by the end of Jitterbug Perfume, it was growing on me. While I don't think I'll ever like Robbins, I find his novels interesting, and that seems worth the reading.

And I like brussel sprouts - a lot. I wouldn't have thought that was a budgeable taste, and yet it was. The older I get, the more I find I like food I once wouldn't have touched.

Thus, I will perservere with Robbins. I bought two of his books at the same time (they were used and when you see good used books, you have to go for it or they're gone), so I have one more. I think I also own another one at home.

It occurs to me that reading what I have would either save me money or have me lose out on discovering authors that it takes me a long time to grow into.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

I'm something I once knew but no longer understand

Which math equation are you?
Result: Sine Wave
f(x) = A*sin(BX - C) + D Half the time you're up and the other half you're down. People call you elementary, but you don't let that bother you.

Ice House Detroit

Ice House Detroit is an architectural installation and social change project currently taking place in Detroit. Photographer Gregory Holm and architect Matthew Radune will use one of 20,000 abandoned houses and freeze it in solid ice, referencing the contemporary urban conditions in the city and beyond.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I am .1%?

So says this guy.

That said, I didn't find any of it scary. Weird, eerie, odd. Scary, though, not so much. Sure, there are all those rules. I had to ditch my cell phone and iPod. I couldn't take my normal camera because the zoom is crazy.

But remember that tons of expats and South Koreans used to go in every weekend to go hiking - I'm sure Pyongyang is harder to get to, but it didn't use to be that difficult. Granted, now that the border is closed with South Korea the only way in once again is China.

I went to the restaurant he shows in part 6 - and the food wasn't bad at all. We didn't have electricity when we went and they told us it had just unexpectedly gone out, but it does seem he didn't have any either. In part 7, that's the song that NEVER stopped playing in our hotel room - you could turn it down quite low, but never turn it off.

It's odd, I suppose, that I almost never think about North Korea. There are sometimes drills or news scares (that I inevitably hear about from someone back West), but really, it's not part of my life, even though in two hours, if you took away the DMZ and all the landmines, I could be there.

Sushi and This - A Good Evening

Monday, February 15, 2010

Literary Focus

Or more notably, lack of it.

I need to finish a book that is for adults and doesn't have a vampire in it.

Just because, you know, I can. And should. And even would like to, but apparently I deal with stress these days by reading about blood sucking.

I just spent a very lazy weekend and normally for me that would involve a lot of reading. However, I finished a book. One. And watched a lot of West Wing and a show called Mercy (in order to have something to do during the Megavideo breaks, since that's the only place I can find West Wing.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010


My icing is as messy and as unpretty as my mini-cakes.

It also tastes delicious.

Sometimes messy works well.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sally Mann

Go, Canada, Go

I have those hats and those gloves because I AM AWESOME. As is Canada.


Once upon a time in a land far, far away (unless you're also in Korea, in which case, a land here in Seoul), a beautiful queen posted a recipe on Facebook for a cake you could make in your rice cooker. I, and I'm pretty sure I play the comic relief in this fairy tale, decided to put this on my long scroll of things to do and promptly proceeded to forget all about it. That, dear readers, is what I do best.

Fast forward to the day when our heroine would, quite frankly, not mind some heroin. After a restless night of about three hours of sleep tops, I spent 75 minutes on a subway for a 20 minute interview, went another 75 minutes back on the subway, taught classes all day, including one extra one and the fucking recruiters would not. stop. fucking. calling.

Did I tell all of them that I wasn't available for phone calls during the hours I was working today? Yes, yes, I did. And yet. Also, I may have to give up peeing this month, because every time I sit on a toilet, my damn phone rings. It's not made me the most cheerful person (not that cheerful was likely after three hours of sleep and six hours of teaching.)

So, finally, I get home, spend an hour responding to job search related emails, talk on the phone with two people, try and juggle interviews with my teaching schedule (and sometimes I don't even think I want the bloody jobs in question!) and finally ate and I decided that what I really needed - especially with the online streaming being a bitch and people, I need to just stare blankly at something tonight - was chocolate.

And I realised that I didn't have pants on, nor did I want to have to put any on. But I did have a cake mix and a rice cooker, and thus the rice cooker cake plan was hatched. I mixed the batter, plugged the rice cooker in, and...

Nothing happened. It didn't turn on.

So, since I recently skipped over becoming my mom and moved right on to becoming my nana, I decided that it might just be possible to make mini cakes in the disposable tart tins that I got when I bought the scrumptious (though prohibitively expensive) pies from Tartine. They should be okay if I grease and flour them (that was another drama - apparently when I acquired the flour, in a cookie baking extravaganza that got all of its impetuous from a friend, we had shut it with duct tape. it may just be that much of my kitchen (aka my entire studio apartment) is a little powdery looking. maybe.) and chuck them in my toaster oven.



That would be when I broke the knob off the toaster oven. Once I figured out how to fix that, I set it to pre-heat. Might have worked better had I plugged it in again, after the rice cooker experiment.

So, it turns out that cake really expands when it cooks. the rest of y'all know this, don't you? I didn't. You shouldn't fill tiny tart tins up to the top with cake batter, unless you think it's a hoot to start your long weekend off with a really intense cleaning - by the time I remove the flour from... well from everything, and the batter from the toaster oven...

Yeah, okay, I too am thinking I should have put on some pants and walked to the store. It does smell all nice and bakey* in here though.

And the cake tastes awesome!

The only problem (so, beyond the broken rice cooker, broken knob, flour everywhere, giant exploded chocolate mess) is that it's going to take for fucking ever to cook all that batter. It's like 25 minutes to cook three.

The scary part? I'm thinking of making icing.

* I make up my own words, but please hire me to be an English teacher. Or maybe, please don't hire me because my sudden spurt of Canadian related posts is driven by an unprecedented amount of homesickness and if I don't get a job by March 4th, I'm getting a ticket to Toronto, baby.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Or Maybe It Could

I was watching the West Wing and got to the episode when Donna couldn't go to a party because she had stopped being an American citizen because of a border change with Canada. And I thought, "That couldn't happen."

And then I remembered this (also, I totally have that toque! and the one that's red with white maple leaves. that's because I'm awesome!):

Me too!

Monday, February 08, 2010

My Geeky, Geeky Self...

... finds this fascinating.

If You Are Canadian, You Know What These Are

"No one's going to read a comic about a strong man in tights, Joe! It'll never fly!"

"Pa ain't gonna make it!"

"Canada be damned! I'm going to the Klondike!"

"But I'm sure it means... the houses... the village!"

"Fishes enough to feed this kingdom... Oh, sire... Until the end of time!"

"Both of you know I cannot read a word!"

"Doctor! I smell... burnt toast!

"But I need these peach baskets back!"

"Jacques, you can't see down with that thing!"

"If you do not bring this classroom under control, I am going to repeat every word of this disgusting lecture to your charming wife!"


It really is remarkable the way bacon fat makes almost everything taste better.

It wasn't until recently that I understood why my nana's eggs were always better than mine - she cooked them after the bacon. And then recently I discovered that pancakes are also soooooo much better when cooked after bacon (plus, since bacon is wonderful with maple syrup, it should almost be against the law not to combine them). And then I got really lazy one day and had grilled cheese that I made in the same pan as that morning's bacon and good Maude, was that good.

My theory is that there is nothing that isn't improved when you add bacon fat.

Except your arteries. But then, what have they done for me lately?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Still Considering

The West Wing, the Economist, several novels (though nothing very meaty and more children's lit than anything else), many cups of tea, pancakes and bacon, lazing around.

Still no real plan as to what to do in a month, though talking with my mom was helpful.

It was a weekend, anyway.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Magic Eight Ball Time

If you had the choice to find a new job, or go back to a place that was once home and felt remarkably exciting the last time you were there, or to go to one of a number of new and exciting places, which would you do?

The Pursuit of Happiness

By George

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Too Many Bananas

The attempts to eat in a more healthy manner are going well, though I really have to figure out the banana to other fruit ratio in my smoothies. Also, I need to stop going to ribs night.

I had this genius idea that I would do a New Year's resolution per month. Back in the year that I was conned into giving up chocolate for 40 days (I really should have asked how long Lent was...), I learned that it takes three weeks to establish a habit or rejig your taste buds. And it proved true - after three weeks I didn't miss chocolate and it tasted quite weird when I ate it again at the end.

So, January was supposed to have been budget month. That did not go well - and I totally did fuck all for the first two weekends! However, then there was Busan (the KTX is pricey, but it's that or a 6 hour train!) and then there were the three days off at the end of the month, when I was broke but actually had time to run errands. So, run errands I did - I bought a crazy amount of healthy food, new glasses, and running shoes and started February off badly.

However, there has been some success. I took a cab today because I had to arrange some weird banking stuff related to my tax refund (woot!) and needed Korean speaking assistance, since I didn't even really understand what it was I was supposed to be showing them. In fact, they seem to be chatting about it right now - and I keep having to make up new passwords. Ahh, Internet banking in a foreign language. Such fun. Anyway, the point is that I actually missed taking the subway to work today. Yes, me, the Queen of Cabs! I have become accustomed to my 45 minutes of music and time to daydream - and not spending $5 a day each way has got to be helping that budget.

Now to conquer the bananas...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

38th Parallel Hash - Come Join Us!

Time: February 15, 2010 from 12pm to 5pm
State/Province: Gyeonggi
Posted By: Shriveled In London

Event Description:
For those who have a death wish the 38th Parallel HHH will be having its annual Runar New Year Hash all the way up in Uijeongbu. I tried to negotiate with the North Koreans to allow us to hash on the other side of the DMZ, but apparently Kim Jong Douche Bag is still fuming over 'Team America'. I even pointed out that Matt Damon had a more embarrassing part in the movie, but the Weird Leader's feerings are still hurt.

So anyway... we will have to settle for good old Uijeongbu, while not as exciting as a trip north of the border, should still be a lot of fun.

Shriveled In London has offered his apartment for the down down so all the male hashers can really 'swing low' when it cums time to put our pots on the floor. So no one can use the weather as an excuse not to cum.

There will be a trail for everyone. There will be a preset walkers' trail. There will be an 'A-D' split on the runners' trail. The trails' promise to be short(in a long way), shiggy free(in a very shiggy way) and flat (in an extremely hilly way). So once again, no excuse not to cum.

Hash cash will be a mere 5,000 won which includes all the beer you can drink. There will be food as well.

There are several ways to get here:

1. Subway (probably best option)

Blue Line, Line Number 1 to Nogyang Station, EXIT 1.

Note: Not all trains on line number one make it up to Nogyang if you are coming from Seoul. Make sure you get on a train that goes to either Yangju, Dongducheon or Soyosan. DO NOT get on a train that stops at Seongbuk, Chang-Dong or Uijeongbu. If you take one of these trains you will have to change platforms to get on the proper train.

If you are taking the subway from Osan area...No train on line number 1 goes all the way to Nogyang Station. You will have to transfer trains once you get passed Sindorim. Then follow the same directions mentioned above.

For those hashers who want to make the trip up together there will be an arranged meeting time at the KFC in front Itaewon Station at 10AM.

Take line number 6 to Dongmyo Station. Transfer to Line Number 1 going towards Soyosan. Then follow same directions mentioned above. The trip from Itaewon Station takes about 1hour 15minutes.

Then follow the chalk to SIL's apartment. It is about a 10-15 minute walk sober. It is about a one hour walk drunk, but so much more fun.

2. Take a Bus to Uijeongbu Bus Terminal
I am not sure how long it takes to get here from Osan, but it might take a while because of holiday traffic.

Then take a taxi to Nogyang Staion (Nogyang Yeok, 녹 양 역). Go to exit one and follow the chalk to SIL's apartment. The taxi ride should take no more than 10 - 15 minutes and cost 4,000 - 6,000 won.

Spread the word to everyone. Invite anyone and everyone.

Isn't This Condemning Stuff Fun?

The Pope condemns gay equality laws, and in return, I condemn the Pope. While I don't believe in Hell, if I'm wrong I'm pretty damn sure the Pope is headed that way.

I'd Be There If I Could

Oh My God - Atheist Convention Sells Out

Monday, February 01, 2010


It's the first day of semester and I'm getting a cold.

I have been sitting here (post-errand running - if you can call picking up a book I ordered and The Economist and some oatmeal errands - and steak tacos) trying to pretend that the sore throat and sore head were just dehydration, when I remembered those four cups of peppermint tea this afternoon...

My new class schedule is fairly meh. Three classes worth of fourth grade social studies - I'm looking forward to doing that one again, as I think I can improve how I teach it considerably. One Elite reading class that looks like it will be ok. And then lots and lots of lower level speaking classes. Please, Maude, let time go fast in those classes.

I'm doubling up on vitamins, taking a Neocitron, reading Bust and The Economist, and using lots of lip balm (ok, not necessarily helpful, but nice) and hopefully if I go to bed early, this will turn into a short lived thing and not a snotty, headachey nightmare.