Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Well, I Read A Lot Anyway

I keep taking on new challenges and forgetting the old ones - not entirely, they niggle at the back of my head, but I let them slide. I started off blogging everyday, then I moved to doing 101 in 1001, then I started Project 365, and then I started the Couch to 5K and ran my first race.

6. Fail Part Two. One more time. Maintain the book ban (no books without trade-in credit) with 5 slips. (15/5) (5/5) (0/5)

3. Read 50 children's books. (57/50)(32/25)(0/25)

The Giraffe The Pelly and Me, Suddenly!, Esio Trot, The Magic Finger, A Wrinkle in Time, Beezus and Ramona, Ramona and her Father, The Giver, What Mommies Do Best What Daddies Do Best, Play Ball Amelia Bedelia, John Patrick Norman McHennessey, The First Woman Doctor, The Reptile Room, Jacob's Rescue, Flat Stanley, Stanley Flat Again, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes, Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger, If I Ran the School, The Enormous Crocodile, Miami Makes the Play, Fairest, The Journey of Peter and Anna, My Name is Not Angelica, Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes, Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School, More Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School, A Girl Named Disaster, Horrid Henry's Underpants, If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620, The Gunpowder Plot

5. Spend 30 days reading out of the house for at least one hour. (36/30)
7. Go to a book club meeting.
12. Complete a month of posts each year (NaBloPoMo or other month.) (7/3)
15. Complete Postcrossings.
19. Be able to label a map of Africa.
23. Win at any of the quiz nights.
24. Participate in a scavenger hunt.
26. Learn to play a new game (Backgammon, Bridge, etc.)
27. Play 5 board games. (5/5)
28. Learn how to do Suduku. And how to spell it.
32. Do something creative - paint a picture, throw a pot, etc.
34. Take a photo every day for a month. (31/31)
35. Take the good camera out once a month. (30/30)
51. Try a new kind of alcohol. chuck and sodja in Togo (spellings are complete guesses!
53. Eat chicken wings in a bar for the first time.
58. Make that chocolate/whip cream dessert from when I was a kid.
59. Make popcorn on the stove.
60. Visit a new continent (South America, Australia, Antarctica, Africa.)
62. Dip my toes into two oceans/seas. (2/2) The Atlantic!
64. Visit a country from the Axis of Evil.
68. Go to a sporting event, a play/opera/ballet, a museum, and an art gallery. (4/4)
69. Take an odd form of trasportation (dog sledding, etc.) Trou-trous are odd.
76. Take the subway to or from work once a week. (44/38) Should add to this one, since I renewed the contrac for a year.
78. Buy a round for the bar.
79. Let Shawn talk me into Hashing once.
82. Go to the dentist.
83. Buy a frickin' toothbrush.
84. Finish all my multivitamins.
87. Buy new glasses.
88. And sunglasses.
90. Go to bed by midnight thirty times. (30/30)
89. Buy a bathing suit.
92. Buy purple underwear.
97. Buy a new iPod.
99. Find a charity I believe in and donate/join a protest for a cause I believe in.
100. Get my damn hair straightened already.
101. Wash Martha's dishes.

To Do!

2. Read 101 books. (124/101) (40/101)
Tall Dark and Hungry, The Year of Living Biblically, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Me and My Shadow, The Last Summer (OF You And Me), Guilty Pleasures, The Sunflower, Fantasy Lover, Night Pleasures, Jitterbug Perfume, The Color of Water, Slam, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Elbow Room, Body Wars, Rich Dad Poor Dad, The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, The Family Way, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Model World and Other Stories, World War Z, A Hundred Bullshit Jobs, Good in Bed, A Mercy, Timbuktu, Nightlight, Dead and Gone, The World Without Us, 206 Bones, Love in the Time of Dragons, Good Omens, The Year of the Flood, The Penelopiad, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, 2001: A Space Odyssey, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, Master Pip, Push: A Novel, Quicksilver

4. Finish reading War and Peace.
8. Read all the magazines in my place. This is impossible, as I keep buying more.
9. Read Man Booker Prize and Pulizter Prize winning book from the year of my birth. (1/2)

10. Write a haiku.
11. Finish up all draft blog posts.
13. Learn to write my name in 5 scripts. (0/5)
14. Send 60 handwritten letters or postcards. (24/60)
16. Send Christmas cards. (1/2)
17. Send flowers at random.
18. Do something to put knowledge in, rather than spouting it out.
20. Be able to name 20 foreign leaders and their countries. (0/20)
21. Memorize a poem.
22. Stop saying THAT word (the one Martha doesn't like.)
25. Play croquet or bocce.
29. Complete a jigsaw puzzle.
30. Watch Gone With the Wind.
31. Only use candlelight for one full evening.
33. Take pictures at one of those weird photo places in Hongdae.
36. Complete 26 Things.
37. Send a postcard to Postsecret.
38. Color an entire coloring book.
39. Climb a tree.
40. Play with PlayDoh.
41. Rewatch the Princess Bride and reread A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. (0/2)
42. Do a cartwheel in the sun.
43. Make a snowman.
44. Go on a picnic.
45. Try making lasagna in a toaster oven.
46. Try 10 new foods. (7/10) plantains, fufu, Togolese cheese, soja (Togolese tofu)
47. Make pancakes with my nieces twice. (0/2) Not doing this when I was home was a big mistake. But then, I hope I'm home again in the next 600 days...
48. Bake a cake from scratch.
49. Make a curry dish from scratch.
50. Learn to make good cream sauce.
52. And a new kind of tea.
54. Make and decorate cupcakes.
55. Make banana bread and once again make my poor mother mail me the recipe.
56. Have a banana split party.
57. Eat at 25 new restaurants. (29/25)(4/25) Indian with Jas, Mill Street Brewery, Thai with Samarra, Sydney Fish Shop
61. Visit 5 countries I've never been to. (2/5)
63. Visit 5 UNESCO Heritage Sites. (2/5) Cape Coast Castle, Elmina Castle
65. Go canoeing or kayaking again.
66. Participate in a winter sport that is not sledding.
67. Go zorbing/hot air ballooning/skydive or something along those lines.
70. Control one vehicle.
71. Encounter an interesting animal in its natural habitat.
72. Sleep in a tent.
73. Watch the sun set and rise. (1/2) Nearly had camera confiscated for taking a photo of a sunset in Lome.
74. Take a series of pictures of the neighbourhood I live in.
75. Finally go to the National Museum, which I pass every day, and Seoul Tower, which I can see from my window. (0/2)
77. Walk into Itaewon to get coffee at least 15 times. (8/15)
80. Explore 12 new places in Seoul - one for each month. (3/12)
81. Get a tattoo or a piercing.
85. Be a vegetarian for a month.
86. Be a vegan for a week.
91. Start and stick to an exercise routine.
93. Pay off half my credit card.
94. Then pay off the rest.
96. Clean up iTunes.
95. Make one day a month internet and TV free. (37/30)(0/18)
98. Buy another external harddrive and have old harddrive fixed.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Walt Whitman:

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

OBH3 Full Moon Run

Once again, to my complete surprise, not the LRB.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from ahead and some come from behind.
But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see.
Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!
~Dr. Seuss

The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next. ~Mignon McLaughlin

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass.
It's about learning to dance in the rain.

It takes courage to grow up
and turn out to be who you really are.
E. E. Cummings

Mountains cannot be surmounted except by winding paths.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats.

My Virgin Hare - 38th Parallel H3

First I spent an hour and a half dead-haring the walking trail. Then I ran around 11 km on the best running trail I've ever done in Korea - shiggy, beer and soju stops, TUNNELS!!!, and good running buddies. Good circle, good on after. Just all round great day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Crunchy Vagina

Crunchy as in granola. As in hippie.

I've gone environmental. While I was home I picked up a Diva Cup and a Lunapads pantyliner and a mini-pad. I love the Lunapads and now wish I'd bought a few more. The Diva Cup I'm still adjusting too, though it's already come in handy in a pinch, when I ended up not going back home as expected one night. If I'd been using a conventional tampon, I would have had to resort to buying Korean ones and they are not nice at all. I've sort of been toying with doing this since university and I'm glad I've finally gotten around to it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

10K Finsher, Fuck Yeah!

1:09 without walking A SINGLE STEP.

Best bling I'll ever get. The 10K race at the DMZ International Peace Marathon was incredible. First we had the hilarity of being sober in Itaewon at 5:30 in the morning. Drunks hailing cabs are very amusing. A two hour bus ride later and we were there - there being some very rain-soaked fields with tables, bag checking, food, a stage, and other assorted bits and pieces. Within seconds my feet (still in sandals) were muddy and wet. Though it was a nice, relatively cool day with no rain, that field ensured that I ran the race with wet feet.

It was an amazing thing, doing my first ever race. I was nervous, since most start with 5K. This particular race wasn't offering 5 and I had been told all about how beautiful the scenery was, so I let myself get swept up in the excitement and registered. It turned out surprisingly fine: though I'd only run 10K once the week before, I didn't struggle in the slightest. There were fireworks and a band to send us off and it was an experience to run with that many people. Matt and Moniqa quickly left me in their dust and the runners thinned out. I kept my pace slow and steady and spent the whole race being leapfrogged by runners who were faster but stopped to walk a lot. Since I was carrying my own bottle of Poweraid, I didn't even stop at the water stops.

I first noticed a kilometer marker at 5K - turns out that there were markers every kilometer and I just didn't see them. Nor do I remember any of the slight inclines that others mentioned post-race or the giant clock above the finish line.

What I do remember is how surprised I was to hit 8K (I was listening to music by then, but not any of my usual running playlists, so I had no idea how far it was at any time) and still feeling good, with no need to walk. I remember passing a purple house and thinking I'd quite like to live in a purple house. I remember hitting the clappers around 9K and absolutely loving that experience. And I admit to crying a bit when I hit the finish line and saw Shira on the sidelines, cheering us in.

After that there were several hours of waiting for the half and full marathon runners to finish. Once our little group was done and had eaten some bibimbap, we headed over to the bus to try and rest in a dry location. The race swag involved a 3 kilo bag of rice which most of us donated to PLUR, a charity which runs a soup kitchen, some nasty herbal tea drinks, and a bag with bananas and stuff. It was a 3 hour trip home with all the Seoul traffic, dreaming of dinner with the Southsiders once we hit home.

And there's the medal, of course. Which I am insanely proud of.

Next race: 5K night run on October 2nd. I suppose I should start training for a half now...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I Don't Get It

This is going to be a random post. I keep telling myself I'm going to write an entry about what I got up to in Canada or finish off all my half-completed drafts or something, but this is what I feel like talking about on a Tuesday afternoon at work, while I'm desk warming and half asleep.

A friend of mine deleted another friend on Facebook. I know this because she asked me in chat how to do it. I was quite startled, as when the person in question was here in Korea, they seemed close, so I asked why.

It turns out, she doesn't agree with his political beliefs and doesn't want to have to be exposed to them.

It's not like I agree with the guy either. But if he is someone she gets along socially with and she can't handle exposure to a belief set that is shared by many people, how are we all ever going to have the kinds of mature conversations that might move things forward in the world?

Monday, September 06, 2010

Family Feuds

When you live far from home, your friends quickly become your family. And as awesome as that is, when friends fight, it really sucks.

I seem to be caught up in the middle of more drama right now than I have ever experienced before and the weird thing is that none of it has anything to do with me.
Sh. isn't talking to S. because of a boy. Sh. isn't talking to A. because of.. well, about fifty inconsequential annoyances. T. isn't talking to A. either because of one incident plus what I have armchair-psychologized as a reminder of his ex.

All of this would be fine if they weren't all people who do a lot of the same activities and have a ton of mutual friends in what often feels like the biggest tiny village in the world. Now every time I hash, go to a quiz, or invite people anywhere I have to mentally figure out how to see each of them in a combination that won't be explosive.

I'm hosting a hummus party in a couple of days and decided that I just give up. I invited the four of them, two of them peaced out. I'm cool with that but I do have to wonder why in a group of 15 or so, they can't all just act like adults and behave around each other.