Sunday, October 30, 2005


The scissor cut across the top of my palm has split and puckered. It looks like a mouth. I'm off now to kiss it. It'll be the first kiss I've had in too long!


"Gotta kick at the darkness 'til it bleeds daylight" ~"Lovers in a Dangerous Time," The Barenaked Ladies.


Perhaps you've not heard this song. It's rife with memories for me, all centered around Christmas in the very early 90's. Those were some good times. I've been listening to this song on my MP3 player and somewhere around when the cello kicks in, my heart wants to burst.

Around this time, I went to a party at my friend Joan's basement apartment. When you entered her place there was a big, fairly empty cement room you had to walk through to get to her living room and kitchen. This cement room, painted a funky purple, provided a perfect dance floor at parties.

My friend Kim and I arrived early to a Christmas party. We cranked the tunes and played with a strobe light in the purple room. We took turns holding it while the other danced. When Joan's boyfriend Matt walked into the room, Kim held the strobe out to him, "Hold this, and check it out!"

Matt held the strobe light at chest level with both hands, and Kim began to do her freaky flashy light dance, only she lost her footing almost right away, and went barreling head first into Matt's crotch. He had nothing to protect his area with, as his hands were on the light. I almost peed myself laughing. It was as if Kim had planned her attack on Matt's unit, and had made sure he was helpless.

"Spirits open to the thrust of grace." Ha ha!!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Getting Things Done

An update on my search for things that are opseyo.

I managed to find a suitable replacement for paper fasteners. I found some plastic snaps one might usually use on fabric, but it'll do for our skeleton project.

I asked Elizabeth to try to catch the telephone number of this little costume/party place on Thursday as she passed it on the bus on her way home. This afternoon we called there to inquire about black cat ears for my Halloween costume. I'm going as Kamikaze. They said they didn't have black ones, but had pink, purple, yellow and blue ones. I thought that was a little odd, as cats don't usually come in these colours, but figured I'd make do. So we went there after work, and they did have those colours in stock, but the things they had didn't even nearly resemble cat ears. They were more of a headband with two three inch loops sprouting out from the middle. They weren't even rabbity. The saleslady then went on to show us a book of how to apply makeup, and assured us if we bought the kit, and applied cat makeup as expertly as they diagramed in the book, it wouldn't matter if we wore flowerpots on our head, everyone would know they were representative of car ears. Yah, right.

I kind of resented the costume shop lady's dishonesty. The answer to "do you have cat ears?" was clearly "nope, and we have nothing that even looks like them either, don't waste your time coming here."

I told Elizabeth I had seen another costume shop further down and on the other side of the street. She thought that it was just a balloon shop. Mostly I think she was worried it was a very long way off, and we were both very hungry. Turns out it wasn't too far away, and they did indeed have cat ears. Not black, but black with brown stripes. They'll do.

We wandered back toward LotteMart through the sidestreets with plenty of empty restaurants. Elizabeth said we should look for somewhere "famous," meaning "busy" - because otherwise the food is not delicious. We ended up at TGIFridays and I had a burger.

Yesterday, trying to cut through heavy bristol board with "kiddy" scissors to make about 50 pumpkins we need for one of our games was really time consuming and painful. Today, my boss brought in some mamma jamma heavy duty scissors that worked like a charm! Unfortunately, one of the kids distracted me while I was working away, and I cut right through my palm. A clean straight fairly deep cut that started to bleed enthusiastically. The rest of the day I kept saying I had to go home because my hand hurt.

This morning at home, Elizabeth slipped on her kitchen floor and fell good and hard on her tailbone. She was in noticeable pain all day. My boss pointed out that Elizabeth was "more injured" than I, but I countered, pointing out that mine was a work-related injury, and therefore required weeks of rest and compensation. No one was buying it. Dammit!

Elizabeth, while looking for a restaurant, was unintentionally funny, when she said she had "hungziety," meaning she was anxious because she was hungry. She whined, when I laughed so hard, that I was lowering her confidence in her (really, fairly bad) English skill. I explained that it was an excellent word she had made, and some of my favourite words were combinations of words to form the "new-speak" we all enjoy. See: "shitastic" and my even more favourite, "craptabulous."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Little Girl Theatre: How Things Go

This afternoon in my first class, three little girls used their dolls to put on a play for me.

Act 1: Le Mariage
One little girl, playing the Minister, called for the bride and groom. "Bear! Come on!" Another little girl walked Bear down the aisle. The third girl sang the marriage procession song: "dum dum da dum, dum dum da dum!"
"Monkey, come on!" A long beige monkey-bride, twice as tall as her bear-groom, danced down the aisle.
The minister made it official: "Kiss, please!"
Monkey laid a long fat one on her new husband.

Act 2: La Lune de Miel
The bride and groom straddled a plush strawberry themed pencil case and rode around on top of the table to their honeymoon destination.
"Jeju-do," the minister explained.
Upon arrival, Monkey lay down and Bear got on top. Kissing and bouncing around ensued. It looked like the bear was trying to flatten the huge monkey. The minister told me off, as I was laughing too hard and not paying enough attention to the toys "doing it."

Act 3: La Conséquence
The minister transformed into a doctor, and cut open the monkey's throat with a pencil. Out came a little pink and white poodle! Mother Monkey and Father Bear embraced their little Baby Puppy. The little girl who hummed the wedding music proclaimed "FAMILY!"


I'm Wich!

I saw a post on John's blog about how much his blog was worth and decided to give it a try. Wow! I'm wich!!

My blog is worth $3,951.78.
How much is your blog worth?

My name is Elmer Jelly Fudd, I own a mansion and a yacht!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Things That Are Opseyo

Last night I rented Sahara, which stars Matthew McConaughey and Penelope Cruz. I'd never even heard of it before, and with good reason I guess. It was very "eh," and just never managed to grab my attention. I had to keep the remote control at hand, as the volume would rocket out of control during the action scenes, and calm to a whisper otherwise. The video tape ran out abruptly before the movie ended, so I suppose I'll never know if they all perished. When I took it back to the video store I borrowed a pen and paper and drew an illustration of the cassette's troubles.
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The video store girl understood what I meant after I pointed to the tape, and then kind of hemmed and hawed about what to do to rectify this problem. Either that, or she was trying to sort out the English for "tough luck, SUCKER! Bwaaaaa ha ha ha!!" I smiled and waved it off, "kenchenayo!" (It's ok!)

When I was rooting around in my bag for the video to return, I came across my empty CD envelope for the Music Manager software for my MP3 player. Excellent. I left it at the PC Room last Saturday after successfully uploading nothing to my MP3 after 3 wasted hours. I ROCK!

So I gave up my weekly post-lesson dinner with the boss so I could go by the PC Room to retrieve my CD and try again to maybe upload a couple tunes. I walked in and went to the terminal where was a few days ago. Nothing. So I went to the lady and explained my problem. She shook her head. No. I said "really?"

Again, "no." And that was that.

It amazes me for easy it seems for people to just slam a door on something without putting any real effort at all into it. I'm not like that. I like to persevere.

A similar thing happened in Masan back in 2002 when I retardedly left MY UNIVERSITY DEGREE at a PC room after taking it there to be scanned. When I went back to the PC Room and explained, the guy replied by crossing his arms at me. So I called a friend on my cellphone and had them explain in Korean to the guy what I was looking for. Same thing, "Nope, it's not here." I spent a couple moments looking at the shelves behind the guy, and then pointed happily to it. "There it is! Issoyo!!"

So after being told my CD was gone, I wasted an hour trying to download the music manager online, but it looks like I need the serial number from my MP3 player, and I'll be damned if I can find it. It's not on the device or on any of the almost all-Korean paperwork it came with.

I finally went back and convinced the PC Room lady to quit multi-tasking (she was happily killing bad guys in a computer game at one terminal, while watching a Korean drama on the neighbouring monitor. Watching the back of her head looked like she was at a tennis match!) She went to the terminal I was at when I'd last seen her, the previous Tuesday. I explained I had been there on Saturday, at THIS OTHER computer, and the disc wasn't there either. She went back to the front desk and had a half hearted look around. She told me the guy who was in on Saturday was coming in at 12 (by pointing to her watch-less wrist and flashing me a one-two.)

When the guy finally came in, they talked a moment, and then she walked over to me with a large stack of CDs. Mine was on the top.

Just like the paper fasteners I need for the Halloween crafts, and the black furry material I'm needing to make some cat ears, I've been told I can't find them in Korea. Well, there's got to be something we can find somewhere to make do, surely? I mean, even if I have to buy a plush toy and borrow its ears!

I'll buy that line of thinking if we're talking about unicorns or the Easter Bunny, "I've never seen either, so they must not exist." But with things I can find in the first 10 different stores I can think of off the top of my head back home, I'm not willing to give in with a throwing up of my hands and a shrug of my shoulders just because I'm an idiot in a foreign land.

I'm a tired idiot, though.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I spent a couple hours over the weekend looking up Halloween activities on the internet. Our school is going to have a party. Last year, we didn't bother, since the occasion fell on a Sunday. The year before, they had some kind of event, and then a whole mass of students trekked up the big huge hill to my apartment, which used to belong to the previous teacher. Can you imagine that? Trick-or-treating at one door?

When I was younger, I lived in an 20 storey building, with 15 apartments per floor, and it was part of a set of triplet buildings. So we had 900 doors-for-the-knocking. Now THAT'S trick-or-treating! In my two final years of dressing up and knocking on doors at Halloween, I went and spent the night at my best friend Melanie's house. She lived up in the north end of the city amongst posh houses. Trick or treating wasn't as effective there, time-wise, but the loot was much better. People there gave out the full-sized chocolate bars. Yeah!

So, back to Halloween at my school. The kids came up the hill to knock on the door and then go away. It didn't work out too well, I heard, as the neighbours complained about all the noise.

So this year, we will have no trick or treating. Instead, we'll have 4 hours worth of "Golden Bell" quizzes. It goes something like all the kids get asked questions, true or false to begin with, and more specific as the field narrows. Each hour will produce a few champions and then we'll have the final grand-slam championship. Then from 6 to 8 we'll have games and activities and such. This was where my research came in.

So I stayed an extra hour and a half after work going through my ideas (well, ideas I lifted from the net) and working out what kinds of materials we'll need. I tried to talk my boss into a trip to COSTCO in Daegu this weekend. I don't know about the COSTCO here, but the one in Japan is always well stocked with Halloween and Christmas goodies. Besides, I have ulterior motives. I want cheese.

We're going to have Bobbing for Apples, Boo-Bingo, Pumpkin Bowling, a Spooky Scavenger Hunt, and an Arts and Crafts area. For the latter, we'll be making "glass deco" images, and a skeleton on a stick. The glass deco is like coloured glue which, when it dries, becomes a stained glass sticker you can stick on a window, or anything else. I'm providing the kits, and will be doing the outlines for the younger kids. For the skeleton, it's from the Ben and Jerry's Halloween website:
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Cute, eh?

Unfortunately, I've been assigned a mini-scavenger hunt of my own. I had to describe what a "paper fastener" was. My boss had never heard of one, even with the spot on diagrams I was drawing. Like this:
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So I have no idea where I'm going to find them. Surely Office Depot will have them. Are there Office Depots here? Is there even such a thing as an office supply store? I don't know. I went down to HomePlus tonight to see if maybe they had them. Nope. They were not amongst the paper clips or thumbtacks. Then I thought if I were a paper fastener, I'd probably live somewhere near the hole punches. Birds of a feather kind of thing. Nope. No hole punches either.

I might have to try re-delegating this task. Finding paper fasteners in Canada, no problem. Here,....kind of a problem. Besides, I'll be busy making about 200 of these...
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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Be Cool

"Not leaving a comment is the new pink." ~Paris Schmilton.

I Got Hiccups

I don't have the cute subtle kind either. I've got the barky embarrassing kind. It's been like this on and off for hours.

Earlier this week, I was considering marrying my MP3 player, and becoming Mrs. Jelly T-10. But like so many euphoric starts, my new love has gone sour. After loading almost 3 hours of music to the stupid PC Bang's computer, it refused to sync to my MP3 boyfriend. It was an exercise in frustration. All for naught.

Mister "I-Work-Here" was unhelpful with his shrugging of the shoulders and throwing up of the arms. Mister "I-Snore-Loudly" in the cubicle two spots over, and his buddy, "I-Snore-Louder" beside him, didn't help with my frustration. They blocked my way to the overwhelmingly stankified squatty toilet. More on that another time (soon.)

After 3 and a half hours of not getting the silly PC to do anything I wanted it to do, I wished all PCs and all staff and patrons would die.*

I hope all I-River employees die too.*

* I don't really. I just want tunes on my expensive toy. I feel like a circus show poodle, jumping through hoops, and my fur keeps catching on fire on account of the flames.

Fricken dog shows. (Up yours I-river.)

Strange and Weird

Awhile back, Kevin commented via e-mail about a site I'd listed which highlights weird/cool/strange/funny animal stories. They' posted a story about puppies being used as shark bait. Kevin said he's found on the net that maybe the pics might have been photoshopped. Maybe not!

Now there's a video link here which is all in French. The Big Ho might have better luck than I with the French, because mine SUCKS, but maybe this story is true?

Also on this site, no WAY! Is this shark upchucking its innards?, and I got 2 Tongues.
All the better to kiss me with.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


I like to read food blogs. Sometimes I'll surf through some of the blogs listed at FOODBlog. This is a pretty substantial list of, well, food blogs! I've got some favourites as well!

I always check in at Mmm-Yoso which is out of California. I like this guys writing style, and the fact that he comes from Hawaii, and really enjoys Asian foods. He has lots of Korean and Japanese restaurant reviews, and his pictures make me hungry. They look delici-yoso!

I visit Ono Kine Grindz, which is a link I picked up from Mmm-Yoso. This food blogs is right out of Hawaii, and I really want to go to Hawaii! Again, makes me hungry and he has plenty of Asian goodies and excellent pictures.

I like Anne's Food which is out of Sweeden, Desarapen, which is written by a Filipina living in the UK, and the (sadly) now defunct Fatman in Seoul, which is a must visit, if you're interested in Korean food.

There's also the world traveling fine-dining Arthur Hungry which I stop by when I'm feeling posh.

There are really many many more excellent food blogs I have yet to discover. If you like food, (and who doesn't?) go surfing!

Anyhow, back to the title of this post. I have sent notice of my wanting to participate in BBM3, Blogging By Mail, Home for the Holidays. I've read about the previous 2 blogging by mails on some of the blogs I mentioned above. For more information, visit Samantha's blog or here, which has a lot of links to posts about the packages people received in the mail for BBM2.

So I'm all excited and am thinking about the possibilities of what I can send to whatever partner I get hooked up with!

If you're interested in joining BBM3, please visit My Little Kitchen, who is hosting the event this time around. Do it soon, though, as you should have your e-mail to her by TOMORROW!

C'mon Kevin, you know you want to!

Thursday, October 20, 2005

My Kitty Loves Me

This I know, for his litter box tells me so.

This morning Kamikaze took a pee and it formed a perfect heart in his litter box. It was a lovely urine soaked message of love.

Yesterday, in my last class, one very talkative boy showed me his funky rainbow coloured mechanical pencil. Without even thinking about it, I said "that's so GAY!" I was thinking of all the pretty rainbows around Church and Wellesley in Toronto. (Affectionately called the "Gay Ghetto" by some.)

My student said, pointing to his pencil, "It's gay?" I laughed and said, "Yes, Andrew, the rainbow is a symbol for gay culture. Do you know the word symbol?"

He replied "Yes," and then spent a couple moments smiling and looking at his gay pencil. Then he looked at me and said "Teacha, are you a resbeean?"

I cracked up!
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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

I Got Music

Sweet, sweet music.

I went tonight with my I-River T10 MP3 player and 6 of the 36 pages of English manual I managed to print out at work today, to the Korean PC Bang (internet cafe) to get my groove on. Though the computer was in hangul, the figuring out of things wasn't TOO difficult. I loaded up Windows Media Player ver10 in English, and then loaded the MP3 player's disc, and then hit Limewire to do some searching. Things were slow going at first. I was absolutely overwhelmed at having my choice of just about anything. Holy kid in a candy store, Batman!

Had I been a meticulous "list maker" I would have written down every song I've ever loved. If I were organized, I might have even catalogued them into specific genres with "era" sub-categories. I'm not like that, though. And I love music, so my compiled lists would make for a lotta paper.

So instead, I downloaded "free-style" and just let my mind wander, typed in specific songs or, more often, artists, and picked one or 2 songs. I suppose a lot of people really heavily identify the music of the time they "grew up" in (I'd say highschool or university) and I'm no different, though I also really love the music of my formative years and everything after. I was googling 80's music, and came across some truly barfy "top hits" lists, like this, or this. But I finally figured out I could go to the source for my music, and struck gold with THIS! CFNY 102.1 radio in Toronto was, as far as I was concerned, the coolest of the cool, and featured really progressive exciting kick-ass music.

When they finally make a movie about my life, it will have a massive soundtrack with a lot of those songs. Except for 1989, where even THEY admit they sucked-ass.

All in all, I spent about 4 hours gathering music at the PC Bang. I had a very short anxiety attack when it looked like nothing was going to upload to the MP3, but the nice Korean girl and I sorted it out (one of the programs just needed to update itself so it could sync properly) and it was all good. I filled up just over 5 hours of the allotted 34 hours of music with 73 songs. I'll be rockin out on my way to work tomorrow.

I'm quite bummed, though, that in my hurry to leave this afternoon, I jammed the 2 necklaces I always wear into my pocket, and one of them somehow managed to fall out between my apartment and the school. It was my long silver box-chain and the brushed solid silver pendant my boss just gave me for my birthday last month. Sucky. Serves me right for criticizing her last post.

When I was living in Japan, and my brother and uncle were visiting me, they laughed about the fact that a 1,000 yen note (about 10 bucks Cdn.)had been encased in a ziplock bag and taped to the wall in the stairway with a note, so the person who lost it could re-claim it. I could be wrong, but I don't think I'm going to see that kind of action here. I am going to ask my boss to call the building management tomorrow, just in case anyone turned it in. What a drag, I really loved that necklace.

Speaking of jewelry, I will finish off telling the story of the underwater $8,000 diamond soon. I know you're on the edge of your seats.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Phones and Movies

I know I haven't been posting as regularly as I'd like. I've been busy, and moody, and I've got this lower back pain thing going on again. It kind of feels like someone is twisting a corkscrew into me.

My new toy, sadly, won't work with my computer, which has Windows 98 loaded on it, and my MP3 player requires Windows XP. I'm not going to return it to the store, though. I'm either going to visit a PC room, or head into work early or stay late. The drag about that is probably the programs I'll need to upload tunes into my little player will be in Korean, so I'll have to wing it. I'll need Windows Media Player 10, so maybe I can persuade an English version to download to whatever PC I'll be working on. My mind's been busy and my hands have been rubbing together with the thought of all the rockin tunes I will, hopefully, be able to hear through my little "earbuds," instead of the choppy versions that are constantly playing in the soundtrack of my life, which runs in my brain. I've always contended that if there were an operation available to have a music chip installed in my head, I would be one of the first to sign up. I would hope there would be a volume control, though, for sleep-time and such, but whatever.

Meanwhile, life rolls by.

I got some good news from my boss last week, that she had discovered a long distance plan that would save me a bunch of money on my phone bills. I actually don't call long distance too much, because the rates were outrageous! I have been paying around 1,300 won a minute (almost $1.50 Cdn.) since I got here. When I first arrived back in Korea from Japan, I went a little mental with the phone calls. During the almost 2 years I'd been living in Japan, I didn't have a home line, just a cellphone, which didn't allow for long distance calls. On the few occasions I had to call home, I used a payphone, or a friends' line.

I was shocked by the bills I got the first couple of months here. My boss was kind enough to split my bill in half, as it was over 500,000 won (about $560 Cdn.!) She could see how bothered I was the this amount, as I sat with a calculator breaking down the bill to per minute rates and getting more and more ticked off. How could it be my family could call me for .12 cents a minute, and I was paying over 12 times that amount! I asked if there were any alternatives, any discount plans, could I buy some kind of discount calling card? This was met with a confused, "I dunno!"

Well, now that the boss's husband has gone overseas (he's been gone now since August) she found out what it's like to get a huge-ass phone bill. So she made a call, and we got a deal. I pay a one time fee of 5,000 won, and get a discount on 3 countries. I really only call people in Canada and Japan, but what the hell, I included the States as well, so if any Americans reading this want to chat, I'm good to go. My per minute rate to call Canada is 150 won a minute. About 17 cents.

While I'm grateful my boss finally got this taken care of for me, it's happened about 16 months later than it should. While complaining to my co-worker about this, she suggested that the boss had felt "it wasn't her business." I interjected, "but oh, it IS her business! I can't speak Korean, and there's quite a few things I need help with because of that!" I'm not totally useless, I can sort out dinner at a restaurant by myself. I can find things I need, and get from point A to B fairly well. I can't order a pizza though. I can't call a locksmith when my key travels off to Japan in my friend's pocket. And, I can't call to inquire what can be done, if anything, to lower my crazy ass phone bills. I asked my boss if there was any way the phone company might be able to charge me the fee and adjust my bills retroactively for, say, the last couple months (year?) She said she'd ask, and the next day when I asked her what they said, she said "uhhhh, no."

I've said it before, and I'll mention it again, I work for a very kind lady whom I really do like. When the time comes to hire a new teacher, though, I'm going to try to make sure my school gets someone with some previous experience in Korea. Otherwise, I worry that they might feel quite lost. I feel a bit bitter that my boss only made the call to the phone company when it was in her own best interest. If she had done it when I asked her to over a year ago, I'd have saved hundreds of dollars.

So, for those of you that don't know, KT does have some long distance savings plans. There's even a better deal with Skype, if you have a computer and a headset with mic, you can call FREE to anywhere. Free is good. If you're teaching in Korea and not getting the help you need from your boss, be persistent. Not, like pain-in-the-ass bothersome, but gentle yet firm. (Or if your boss is an ass, scream at him or her, and call them crazy! They LOVE that!*) A happy foreign teacher who is getting their needs met here makes for a better working environment. I would have preferred it if my boss had taken more (actually, some) time to show me around when I first got here. Ah well.

Now I'm going to watch a movie. I like to rent a movie I've seen and enjoyed already (tonight's feature will be "Matchstick Men") and visit, before I watch it, IMDb and read all the "goofs" and see if I can spot them in the movie. Does that make me a nerd? If you have some time, though, I recommend checking that site out, and looking up your favourite movies to read, especially, the goofs and trivia sections.

Take it easy Beautiful Babies!

*Oh yes, speaking of phones, at my 1st job in Masan in 2002, the foreign couple whose contract was coming to an end, felt really taken advantage of by the boss. The Kiwi guy was actually very laid back, but his wife,...what a firecracker! One day, during their second last week, they got into an argument with the boss and she shouted, "You're fucking CRAZY if you think we're going to,...." and the boss LOST it. He whipped things off his desk, leaped up, knocking over his chair, and screamed "I CRAZY?!? YOU CRAZY,...YOU CRAAAZZZZEEEE,..." (followed by a string of what I assume were Korean curses.) I thought the boss's head was going to explode.

For payback, that couple spent their last weekend in Korea upstairs in their apartment calling anyone and everyone they had ever met all over the world, and talking to them for hours. They even invited me up to reach out and touch my friends and family on their phone, but there was no way I was getting involved in that! When the massive bill finally came, the boss asked me if I knew how to get in touch with them. I told him I had their e-mail, (which was truly all I did have) knowing he already had that. He walked away muttering "crazy bad boys *@!&@#%^#."

Saturday, October 15, 2005

I Got a New Toy

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It's nice isn't it? Are you jealous? You are, aren't you?
I've been saying for four months I was either going to treat myself for completing my years' contract with either an I-Pod or a digital camera. I know I-Pod is not the generic term, but I want it to be. Like Kleenex is to tissue, or Coke is to Cola (Pepsi schmepsi) I want to call my new toy, and all toys like it, I-Pod. But whatever. My toy is an MP3 Player, and more specifically, an I-River. And it's orange. And super shnazzy. And I have no idea what to do with it.

I want to be able to just think of songs and have them be automatically uploaded into the little gadget. For free. Without hassle.

I spent over 200 bones to get my pretty orange gizmo, and am now faced with a multitude of obstacles, namely, an all Korean instruction manual, an outdated computer operating system, and my lack of computer savvy. This is going to be a challenge.

I tried to get a manual from the I-River global site, but I can't figure out how to open it to read it. I bloody well hate that little pop up window that requests you choose which application to open a document in. How the hell should I know what's best to view my document? You're the computer,...YOU tell ME! I now know MS Word is not the right application, unless you can read a bunch of non-sensical CRAP! I should make some witty comment about "readers of _______ (non-sensical crappy author) might do well with this," but I can't think of anything funny. If anyone has any suggestions, please comment, and I'll update.

Speaking of comments,...Holy Non-Comments Batman! I'm either going to have to have another birthday or announce another Cuddle Party to get some comments. WTF? Comment-me-up-Scotty!! And don't be all jealous because I'll be walking around in my man-sized Air Walks listening to some rockin' tunes on my I-Pod,...*ahem* MP3 Player.

Kamikaze looks at your non-commenting asses accusingly-like.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

COPS, Korean Style

I went downtown after work today for a little walk-around. I noticed something. When I first came here I looked at people. I walked with my head up and my eyes meeting the inevitable attention I get. Most times, when I'd catch the eyes of the curious looking at me, a smile would ensue, or a "hello, how do you do?" (Yes, I rhyme.)Lately, though, without even a conscious thought about it, I've been walking around with my head down or my eyes focusing on anything but people. It's not good. I think it's much better to walk around with your eyes meeting what's going on around you. I'm going to remind myself to keep my chin up.

Actually, it didn't help today that my lower back is killing me. The pain wraps around and forms two charlie-horses in my thighs. I'm walking crooked, with my pelvis stuck out. (Actually I'm sure it's not that noticeable, I just feel tilted. It's like when you get one of those muscle spasms in your eye. To you, it's like you're doing that "time for the rubber room" twitch, but if you look in a mirror, you can see it's nothing, really, at all.)

Once I got back to my neighbourhood, I passed by couple of cops conferring with a group of people. Something had happened, but of course, I don't know what. The cops had apprehended their perps, though. Three high-school aged boys stood with their arms up in the air, very "stick 'em up," except they weren't being robbed. This is the same pose I see some of our students striking once they've exhausted their yellow-cards. Only our students are usually holding up heavy plastic chairs. Maybe the captive hoodlums would have been holding furniture as well, but the benches were all bolted into the ground.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

Right about now, my family is at the cottage sitting around a table eating turkey. The trees around the lake will probably be changing colours. Tasty and beautiful.

Afterwards, they're going to a 54-40 concert at The Kee to Bala. I saw The English Beat there just a few weeks before I left Canada over 3 and a half years ago. It's an awesome venue.

I'm thankful (in general,) and "jelly" (as in jealous.)

Sunday, October 09, 2005


On my way to work every day I encounter a furry little barky dog who lords over a pile of garbage on the side of the road. Many people pass the dog without incident, but for some reason this dog's decided I am public enemy number one, and barks its silly little head off whenever I come near. It could be sleeping on its pile of garbage, but still somehow senses my presence, and wakes up to tell me off, doggy style.

I bought some dog treats at the big downtown grocery store last week. I will win this stupid little mutt over if it's the last thing I do.

Actually, he is the boyfriend of the local slut. I've nicknamed his girlfriend "Mamadog," because that's what she is. She's either pregnant or raising a puppy or three. She's not friendly either, but will usually let me play with her puppies when they're around. I think she might belong to someone. Sometimes I see her chasing a little girl. Regardless, if she has a master, it's a loose ownership. She's therefore a loose bitch.

I haven't seen Mamadog in about a week, but Barky Boyfriend's been there every day. I should give the furbag credit. After Mamadog's no longer in heat (and knocked up) her boyfriends usually hightail it outta there. Barky Boyfriend's an exception. He's devoted and territorial.

I share my dog treats with him, but I have to whip them at him from a distance. He thinks I'm the devil afterall. Tonight I threw him some munchies on the way to the store to buy me some toilet paper. On the way back, Mamadog finally showed up as well. They both seemed to want the goodies I had in my bag, but were also crazy growly and barky.

From underneath the corrugated steel structure beside the pile of garbage, I could hear the whimpers of their offspring, and I understood. They're being protective, but soon, for me, it's puppy playing time!


Tomorrow my apartment will host an all-day rock concert. Starting in the late morning to early afternoon (depending on sleepiness) we'll start off with an ode to the eighties, including Big Audio Dynamite, Peter Gabriel, The Cure, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, and an hour-long tribute to one hit wonders.

We'll shake things up afterwards, with some dancey trancey rappy shit encompassing the 90's to NOW. Come on out and shake your ass, while we clean house (literally.)

As the sun sets, we'll pay homage to the classic rock era. Wax nostalgic to the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Elton John and Stevie Wonder (the good years) Boston, Styx, Zeppelin, E.L.O., and again, an hour long celebration of songs we love, but can't remember who performed them! Afterwards, float into the night with Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones.

Performance by ME with special guest, straight from Japan, DJ Sumo Kamikaze-Chan.

Come early, space is limited! BYOB and MBT!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

A Dragonfly

I'm a bit reluctant to post anything because I think it's going to knock the big huge penis off my start page. By the way, what exactly IS the guy doing with the ziplock bag in that picture?!

Today was Speech Contest Day at school. It's when all the kids get up, one at a time, and read the speeches we've been working on for a month to the rest of the students. I read first (and BEST!) and then I sit up front beside the speeching kid to help him or her out if they need it.

I like this day because it's easy on me, and kind of fun. The Korean teachers sit in chairs or wander around with sticks and hit anyone who's talking or misbehaving. Elizabeth got out of her chair today with a rolled up bunch of papers (she had forgotten her stick in the staffroom) to hit this one kid who'd been kicking a girl nearby him. She hit him once, then twice, and then seemed to decide that wasn't good enough, so kind of started beating him with the papers. I put MY pile of papers in front of my face to stop the kids from seeing me laugh. It was only the equivalent of a rolled up newspaper she was using: puppy punishment; but this class is pushing her over the edge. One of the kids told her to "fuck off" yesterday and she told me after that she was so angry and depressed. She spent this morning praying to Jesus to send her some holy spirit so she could call the kid's mom. I don't blame her, I mean, for losing her cool. I've been guilty of that, with this class, a couple times in the last couple months as well. There are only 6 of them in that class, 3 of them being quite exceptional, and the other 3 forming "the triangle of evil." The last time I lost it with them, a couple weeks ago, I just walked out and went to commiserate with Liz in the staffroom. I then returned, demanded complete silence, and ordered me up some line-writing for the last 10 minutes of class. Writing lines as punishment is total BS, I think; I've only done it 4 times is the past 3 years, but as a last resort, when you NEED silence, it works.

Today's Speech Contest was actually a bit on the quiet side, since one of the two elementary schools in town had gone field trips. In the earlier classes, about half the students were absent. In my 5th class of the day, I had only one student. He's one of the kids I had a date with a couple weeks ago. Just as I walked into class, a dragonfly flew in through the open window and right into the fan the kid had turned onto high power. The dragonfly rebounded and landed on the wall, but the wings on his right side were injured. Just after my student mentioned this, the dragonfly took flight again, he headed toward the window, but then reeled around back into the classroom. I put my hand up and he landed right on my palm. I showed him to my student.

We admired him. He was a short and stocky dragonfly, with a rust coloured body and black veined absolutely transparent wings that were tipped in brown as if they'd been painted by delicate brush strokes. He was missing the brown on the right side, as well as a leg, but he was still good to go, and when I brought him to the window and gave him a little shove he was off high into the dusky evening sky.

I've been feeling a little like this dragonfly lately. A little more blue than I dare to admit, or enjoy being. A bit battered, but ok. If you've got a minute, check out this post, which really resonated with me. It's extremely well written. I have other thoughts on this, and will try to gather them over the weekend.

Until then, be cool, and don't fly into the fans.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Soft Tofu Stew and Tuna Fish

If I ever have kids, I promise to try to teach them about patience from a very early age. I know it's tough. Kids are all, like, "I want it I want it I want it NOW." (Or for the less polite, "gimme gimme gimme. Now.") Lack of patience in children is wearing me out. I'm still trying to manage my classes in a way that doesn't make me crazy. The kids are always screaming at me "teacha, teacha!!" even when I'm obviously engaged with another student. When they've finished their work, they all scream "I'm done!" or "I'm finish-eed!" and keep screaming it until I've acknowledged them by holding up a finger (no, not my middle one) and saying "wait a minute, please."

I mentioned last week how the lesson with the boss went very well, and it did, at least in regard to lesson-learning. What I wasn't so impressed with was being interrupted by the boss's kid, who wanted to take our orders from his pretend "restaurant" (a wheelie office chair.) I ordered a couple bottles of soju from him. When we weren't playing restaurant to his liking, he hit me on the head with an over-sized inflatable mallet that squeaked every time it came into contact with my noggin. Excellent. His mom did tell him to cut it out, but then he'd devise a new way to get our attention. This week wasn't as bad, the little guy sat in between the two of us at the table, eating a soup made of hot cocoa powder and a smidge of water. He ended up wearing most of it on his shirt.

This is the same kid who I watched have a nervous breakdown yesterday because his mother was talking on the phone to one of the student's parents and not focusing her attention on HIM. He had something to show her; something made of popsicle sticks. It was important, man.

I'm going to devise some sort of double code word with my kids, and I mean my not-yet-concieved-fruit-of-my-loins, not my students. If I say "tuna fish," the kid will know to go find something else to do, because mommy's busy, or wait quietly and patiently until I can attend to him or her. Of course, he or she will be able to trump my "tuna fish" by saying "baby lamb" if they are, say, on fire.

Tonight's lesson was good, and afterward we went out for some yummy soon tubu jjigae
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and some more conversation. I didn't get home until about 10:45 (our lesson starts about 8:10) so dinners a good deal for both of us I figure. I get some yummy Korean food and Karen gets extended conversation practice. Her son is very well behaved at dinner, either eating rolls of gimbap, or watching kids outside play video games or the crane game. Throughout my neighbourhood, usually outside stationery stores, there are loads of video games kids sit around playing for 100 won (about 11 cents Canadian.) Good deal!

Elizabeth dropped a bit of a bomb on me tonight, leaving me with about 25 quarterly reports that are due tomorrow, so I've got a couple more hours work ahead of me, as well as marking Karen's homework.

So, "tuna fish" for now!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Fall Fell

Fall fell today like a brick. I had the air conditioning on most of the weekend because it was muggy and the temperature in my apartment was up around 29C. It's 20C right now, and I need socks. I wore sandals and a t-shirt to work, while everyone around me enjoyed their jackets. Blogging about the weather. Yeah.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A Conversation

Standing over Kamikaze, with his dinner in a bowl in my hand.
Me: "You hungry baby?"
Kamikaze: "..."
Me: "Look at you there, my baby, so fat and cute sitting there. You're my little marshmallow, eh?"
Kamikaze: "..."
Me: "Who's my little baby marshmallow? YOU ARE! Look at my marshmallow, my monkey, poor little hungry baby looking at me. What do you want?"
Kamikaze: "..."
Me: "Tell me, my furry ham-ball, what do you want? Huh, little furry man? What do you want? What'cha want? What is it? Hey, Kitty Cat, what'cha want? What'cha wa...."
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For those of you that don't speak "CAT," that's: "Put my fuckin' dish down, ya moron."

I Got 2 Stoves

Tonight my boss and here sister brought over a beast of a stove. Apparently all 3 burners work, and it has a double layered grill underneath. Coolio. The old stove is still hooked up to the gas line, so we didn't (couldn't) disconnect it so they could take it away. The new one is used, but clean. I don't care, as long as it works.

So a Stove Technician (referred to in previous posts as "some joker") will visit my apartment either tomorrow or the day after and hook me up. And hopefully take the old greasy broken stove away. Then I'll be cooking, eh?

Tonight's dinner was provided by:
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It's the second time I've had this chicken (the first time was in Masan a year ago at my friend's house) and the first time I've ordered chicken in Korea. I ordered the "gold wings" and they were delicious! Crispy and, well, golden, they were a little bit sweet and a bit garlicky. Very different from the gooey mess I remember honey garlic wings being back home. They were a bit expensive, 13,500 won (about 15 bucks Canadian) but there were quite a few of them. Enough for another good meal tomorrow. Hopefully the stove will be hooked up, and I'll wrap them in foil and test out the new grill.
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Mmmmmm, chicken.

Monday, October 03, 2005

It's Not Sunday Anymore

I've been thinking today about the difference between "shame" and "guilt" and which actions can cause such reactive feelings. I've also been pondering HOW these feel. Can someone experience one without a trace of the other? Which one am I grappling with? Both?

Sometimes, to me, having to take a shit feels a little bit like fear. I mean, the physical sensation.

What causes the lump in the throat when one is about to bawl? Why does the chin quiver and the voice shake? What sense is it, when listening to someone talk, and they suddenly pause, and wait, (right before their voice gets thick) snaps the listener to attention? The one talking automatically seems ten times more interesting than they did a few mere moments ago.

A passage in the book I've been meandering through for months (I plowed through about three others while this one has been on deck) keeps running in my mind.
"When the heart breaks, it splits like timber, down the full length of the plank. In the first days at the sawmill he had seen Gustaf Olsson take a piece of the solid timber, drive in a wedge, and give the wedge a little twist. The timber broke down the grain, from end to end. That was all you needed to know about the heart: where the grain lay. Then with a twist, with a gesture, with a word, you could destroy it."


In the past couple months, I've pulled out my leather Daytimer I used to fill up with important and exciting events and happenings and phone numbers. Here, it's generally used to look up an address I want to send a package or a letter to back home. However, these past few times I've called numbers on the inside, hoping to reach out to friends I haven't talked to in years.

I got through to three of them, and our conversations started the same way: "Holy expletive," followed by my last name question mark.

I don't know why, but hearing them call me by my family name pleased me very very much.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Band on the Run

It's the weekend, gooooood. Friday at school was Market Day, where the kids can spend the stickers they've earned over the previous 3 months in either our restaurant or stationery store. Fun fun. Last time I worked in the restaurant, but this time requested to work in the stationery store. With 2 burners running, and only a tiny window for ventilation, it gets really hot in there. I'm glad I didn't make the official call about the air conditioner being off for the season, because it's running now. The last two days have been overcast and muggy.

I didn't really work very much in the stationery store yesterday. I wandered around making balloon creations. Holy crap, do I ever SUCK at being a balloon artist. All I can make is a sword, a rabbit, or a dog. Or a massive structure of twisted balloons you can stick on your head and call a hat. After I made the balloon things, they all untwisted themselves or popped, freaking out the little kids and the teachers. Elizabeth was begging me by the end of the day not to pop anymore balloons. The highlight of the day was Karen tapping Elizabeth on the shoulder with a long blue balloon as Elizabeth was trying to write reports during one of our breaks, only to have the balloon pop in Elizabeth's ear. You should have seen her face! She explained she was so scared, as a little girl, of popping balloons. Perhaps she should get over it already? I mean, she hasn't been a little girl for quite awhile!

My left hand is all mangled today. I have a balloon artist injury. I was tying off the balloons with my left fingers, and they were getting all sore and swollen about half way through the day. At one point, I had a balloon knotted on my middle finger and couldn't get it off. I panicked a little. The tip of my finger was turning purple and throbbing. I had to pop the balloon to get the thing the hell off my hand, much to Elizabeth's delight.

After work, we went to a nice bar near the school and had some anjou (munchies) and beer. I had a lot of beer. Elizabeth left early, a bit drunk, she said, after 2 glasses. Judy, Karen, and I stayed on and drank and chatted. It was nice.

Later, we called in the cute taekwondo instructor I had dinner with a few weekends ago, and he, Judy, and I went to the norae-bang (karaoke.) Judy bailed about 4 am, but Jin-Hun and I stayed up singing and dancing with our bad selves until about 5:30. Just so you know, singing "Band on the Run" by Wings is good. Singing "Africa" by Toto is very very bad. I think the difference is having back up vocals for harmonies.

Friday morning, a stove doctor came and pronounced my stove dead. We bowed our heads and had a small service. Peace be with you, greasy counter-top stove. Karen's promised to sort me out something else next week. Meanwhile, I've borrowed a portable gas burner from the school. It runs with an aerosol can of fuel. Groovy. It works pretty well and I managed to make some ramen for lunch this afternoon in 2 shifts, the first frying up a bunch of mushrooms, spinach, and a fried egg at the end, with the veggies pushed to on side of the pan. Second was the noodles and broth. Topped with a bit of sesame oil and seeds, it was hot and salty and just what my hangover was looking for.

I was going to meet Judy, her boyfriend (who I haven't met yet) and Jin-Hun for dinner tonight, but things didn't pan out and I was glad. I napped instead, and we all agreed to do it sometime next week perhaps.

On tap tomorrow is a bit of shopping and walking around and people watching. Monday's a holiday. 3-day weekends kick ass.