Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Sort of E-Mail One Doesn't Want

Regardless of where you are.
I got this in from my Uncle Dave and Aunt Jacky:

Boots was laid to rest Saturday at Midnight.

Boots was 14. In the past year he had slowed down a bit and more recently his hips were starting to give him problems. Last week he developed a serious condition where he was panting severely with a high heart rate this lead to loss of appetite - very serious if you knew Boots. A process of Vet and Emergency visits started Thursday with attempts at drugs for infections at first. It was later learned that he had a heart condition Hemangiosarcoma which as explained to us is the heart sac was filled with blood most like due to a tumor possibly malignant along with a distended stomach due to fluid and gas directly or ? from this condition. Trying to save him would involve draining his heart - not under anesthetic - risky, then operating on
him most likely (open chest, open heart). If he survives this he would have a healing period and according to statistics a maximum of 4 months extended life unless further treated with chemotherapy. This sounded like a traumatic way to have Boots spend the balance of his otherwise great life. Considering he was 14 years old, the risk, the trauma, the expectancy, he was growing more and more uncomfortable (to say the least) and wasn't expected to last long untreated with the high possibility of a terrible death, Jacky and I had to make the toughest decision of our lives. The tough thing was Boots was not a statistic and the unknown killed us. Other than having the distinguished white face, it was hard to differentiate him from a 3 year old.

We can say Boots died of a big heart. He was loving, friendly, calm, gentle, fun, energetic, horny, smart, ... Everyone loved him even those not disposed to liking dogs. All our neighbors, neighborhood walkers and dog-friends will be looking for months from now for Boots on our front lawn sitting freely watching everyone go by and greeting and announcing so many. Our friends and family will be looking for him behind or in front of us when we visit. So many are more interested in seeing Boots than us.

We hope he is up with Dad and all of our loved ones that have passed, human
and other.

Jack and Dave

There was one of those little attachment symbols on the e-mail. I opened it at the PC Bang - internet cafe - thinking that it was some long requested nice pictures of my dog back home. But it wasn't. It was that message you just read. And when I read it I started to cry. That was a few hours ago. I haven't cried consistiently since then,...but it's been on an off and beyond my control.

Boots was never my dog. But he was my dog. My good boy. My big faced good boy. He was the dog I liked most. Ever.

My grandfather had had a dog, Soren. She was a beautiful thing - a Chesepeak Bay Retriever, and my grandfather loved her. Unfortunately, she died quite young, just a couple years after my grandfather had been given her.

Her replacement was Boots. Some argued that it was too soon for him to get a new dog. As I recall, Dave and Jacky had come across this beast, barely a puppy, and thought he was the perfect companion for my grandfather. And turns out he was. Boots was a big muscular floppy dog. A black lab cross, he had a big expressive face - with "eyebrows" he liked to sway up and down as you talked to him. He'd lay napping beside my grandpa on the livingroon floor of our family's cottage.

I remember meeting Boots for the first time. I'd just arrived up north and opened my car door. These are the best times: the deep inhaling of the fresh smells of lake and just cut grass and fresh air. Delicious. Boots approached the car barking - but I'd been warned. That was how he was. As he came toward my driver's side he regarded me warily. Then he spied my shoe - some stupid Spice Girl platform strap-on sandal. Tasty. He chomped it in his big mouth and ran away. And he ran and ran and ran. I kind of tried to chase him, but he was whizzing around the whole property. No chance.

When he finally approached, sandal in mouth, he let me almost have it, before he gripped it again and fought me for it. When I finally won it over again, I held it up in the air beyond his reach - and he brought his good and strong jaws down on my bicep. I still have the scar - white and in a semi circle, where his teeth had gone through my T-shirt.

That's not to say he was fierce. He wasn't. He could gently nuzzle a hot-dog out of a baby's hand. And he often did. He would bite the ball of ice-cream off the cone of someone not paying attention. He'd empty a plate of barbequed goodness - in seconds - of you had your back turned. He loved fetch - as he proved with my sandal - but he really never was good at letting go, despite my uncle's commands of "Off, Boots, OFF!"

In the middle of a cold February night, my grandfather - Boots' "papa" suffered a heart attack. My grandfather got himself out of bed, got mostly dressed, and headed toward his car to drive himself the 30 minutes to the hospital. He only made it to the back stairs.

Boots would have been okay inside. He knew where his great big bag of food was. Instead, he clawed his way out of the sliding front door. I think he could see my grandfather outside. He totally wrecked the frame - and when my aunt showed up a couple days later to find her dad frozen on the back porch, she also found Boots - who refused to come out from under the steps. A habit he kept up for months after. Dave and Jacky, the animal heroes of my family, took him in and he had a great life with them. But at my family's cottage, where my grandfather lived - Boots has been a fixture for years. It'll be so strange to not see him there. Just like it still is to not see my grandfather.

He was a good boy, Boots. He'd let me arrange his huge face patiently as I lay beside him. He had the softest ears. He was kind to everyone, but had a stereotypical hate on for the mailman, a fact I discovered last summer when I was at my Uncle's and opened the door with the mailman in view. Holy crap! I felt so bad, but I had no idea!

Dave and Jacky could better tell you what a great dog Boots was. I want to talk to them about him, tell them how very sad I am he passed, and I want to ask for a great picture. But first I'd like to make sure I don't bawl with the request. It'll take awhile. I'm bawling now. It feels like I lost part of my family. I have. I've lost a part of my already tiny fued-filled family. But Boots, bless him, never gave a shit about the turmoil. He only wondered if you had some food to eat, or a sandal to chew.

Monday, May 28, 2007

I Think,...

that I would really enjoy one of those deep, non-stop, wake-up after 8 hours on a drool soaked pillow kind of sleeps. One with dreams. Good dreams!

What I've been getting these days, though, is short bursts of fitful sleep, where my body seems to be in a spin cycle, and my subconcious seems to want to prove it's far far more disturbed than it lets on. It's not helping that I wake up-puffy eyed and unable to breathe out of my nose every single morning. What's up with that?

I'm really very tired, yo.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


I went out for dinner the other night. Wanna see what I ate?
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Delicious galbi! Above, the long strips of marinated "king rib" have been laid on the grill. Here's some of the panchan (side dishes) we were served:
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Those are saucy little crabs in the foreground. Then there's a pile of shredded greenery in a sweetish vinegary sauce. The dish at the background was interesting. I thought it was just macaroni salad, but it turned out to be one of my favourite things: konyakku! Thin strips of the jelly-like konyakku were mixed with faux crab, cucumber, peanuts and mayo. Yummers!

The meat was cut up and the soju poured.
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Let's have a closer look.
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Mmmmmeat is mmmmmmyummy.
And I got the bones wrapped up and delivered them directly to Buddy: The Good Boy, who agreed it was tasty!


There's a celebrity in Korea whose nickname is "Grasshopper" (meckdoogi) and I love him. His real name is Yu Jae Sok, but he might as well be called Ubiquitous Television Man. If you were to flip channels here at any given time, he's guaranteed to be featured on three or more of them. He's everywhere, and I dig it!
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I don't watch a lot of K-television, but I will stop and check out what's happening when I see him on the screen. Invariably, it's some silly game show or competition, but it's fairly easy to get the gist of what's going on if I watch for a little bit. And I almost always laugh. Out loud. Which is more than I can say for a lot of the English shows that are shown here. (The last couple seasons of Friends, which are played on a constant loop here being an example. Can you believe they were paying the cast that much at the time to be so un-funny? Lame premises and even lame-er dialogue. Actually, I suppose it's the writers who sucked so horribly, but still.)

But even though I can't really follow what they're saying on any of Grasshopper's shows, the physical comedy makes me laugh. There's this one show which features Grasshopper and four of his friends, who are all humourous in their own right. They sit, in a straight line in pairs of two facing the camera, between a female guest celebrity who is encased in a plexiglass box. The box is there to protect her from the water!

What happens is that each of the four guys are given two key words or gestures - it might be "jinja" (really) or bringing a hand up to the mouth to giggle behind, for example. The phrase or gesture is allotted an up or a down arrow. If the guest says any of the phrases or does any of the gestures, a horn will sound. If it's a down arrow, water will gush or jet onto the appropriate man. If it's an up arrow, they will either be tipped off their chair into the pool behind them, or full on launched out of their seat! Then they'll have to climb back out of the pool to resume their position.

The guys are always caught unaware, and I love the screams they omit when they're falling into the pool or being doused with a downpour. They replay the dousing with appropriate sound effects or funny graphics. Too funny!

I think it would go over REALLY well in North America! Can you imagine "The View?" Guest celebrity Jennifer Anniston would say, "Well I really (honk-honk) enjoyed my last year on the set of,"...and suddenly Barbara Walters would go flying into the drink. Fantastic!

Whatever silly game show or competition it is, I really do like looking at Yu Jae Sok. He's got a wonderful magnanimous smile and a great sense of self deprecating humour. I mentioned to one of my classes that I loved him last week.

"I love "Meckdoogi" (Grasshopper)."
"Oh!" one of my girl-students said, "Me, too! Delicious!"
"Huh?" (She's eleven, and shouldn't be describing thirty-four year old men as delicious.)
"They're delicious. My father cooks them for us."
"Ohhhhhhh!" I said, relieved. " I meant the MAN! TV man!"
"Ahhhhh!" she laughed. " I meant grasshoppers!" And then she proceeded to tell me how her dad brings home fresh green grasshoppers and fries them up in a pan with salt until they become brown, crunchy, and delicious.

Uhhhh, mmmmkay!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

WCB - 103 Wee Laserittens

I bet if I asked you what you'd get if you bred one Laser Cat with another, you could probably guess. That's right, wee laserittens!
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There were actually four laserittens, but by the time I'd pulled my camera out, two of them had hid themselves. Don't be fooled by the smallishness of their laser eyes, though. They can wound you pretty bad if you anger them. They're even kind of scared of each other's laser eyes!
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Where'd he go? Chicken!
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A yowling sound came closer and closer, and what I guessed was the Laser Mother suddenly appeared on the brick wall above where the wee laserittens frolicked. She regarded me, and then slunk on to the neighbouring rooftop where she could keep an eye on me and contemplate zapping the top of my head off through the trees. Can you spot her?
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Ah! But then another yowling sound came near! Turns out Laser Mom in Yonder Tree was actually Laser Papa, as he proved when he came out to greet his Laser Wife and spray against the wall with his shaky tail standing straight up. Ew!
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Laser Mom then climbed down to check on her laserittens. She stopped momentarily to ask me if I needed her to zap that camera out of my hand.
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I thanked her, no, that wasn't necessary.

Is that you, Mama?
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Kamikaze's on a time-out for having crapped outside his litterbox last night while I was out, and then walking in it, leaving poo-paw-prints all over my apartment. Guh-roh-suh! He got into further trouble for being such a big sucky baby about getting his poo-paws washed with the shower-hose in the washroom. He did not enjoy that, but I told him it wasn't fun hunting for poo-prints, either. So, he can't come out to play for WCB this weekend. But, other cats are out and about! Go check them out over at House of the Mostly Black Cats!

Summertime Already

I've got my apartment door propped open. My ankles and the mosquitoes that will fly in to bite them be damned. It's 33 degrees inside my place, and I've got to get a breeze in here!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Buddha!

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Thank you for having your ever-moving lunar birthday on a Thursday this year so I can have the day off. I love you for that!

Buddha, your little temple at the bottom of the hill here is all decked out with lanterns for your birthday! They'll be chanting, insence, and hopefully chocolate cake!
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Mmmmmm. Cake.


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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Always an Adventure

Walking to work.
As I was headed to school today, I noticed a woman walking toward me on the road. She was still a ways off when I saw her glance to her left and all at once her whole demeanor changed. She started to run, leaping quickly and bringing her knees way up, barely touching the ground with each step. She held her arms out in front of her, palms out and fingers spread wide. And she screamed, "Ahhhh, ohhhh, ahhhhh, ohhhh!" She looked like someone who'd just discovered a demon was following her. There were cars blocking my view from whatever it was that frightened her. A man walked up from the other street that T's the road I was on, gasped at whatever it was, and then waved hello at it! A crowd was quickly gathering. I finally reached the group and saw what the fuss was about.

It was a snake.
A BIG snake.
Easily the largest snake I have ever seen out in the open.
It was brown and red arranged in a pretty diamond pattern, and it slithered unhurredly up into a drain pipe while I fumbled to pull my camera out and commanded it to hang on a minute. It didn't listen. Stupid earless snakes.
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And all I got was it's tail headed into the pipe. That long thing in the foreground isn't a snake.

It turns out that maybe the snake lives in that pipe! I visited my pharmacist friend right after (I say "I need energy juseyo" and he gives me a bottle of something vile with another tube of something vile squeezed in it) and I told him about the snake. He said people have been talking about that snake for a few days! It's the time of year that the snakes wake up, I'm told, and sometimes they come down off the mountains. Looking to eat me. And my cat. Damned snakes! Why aren't they on a plane?

Meanwhile Buddy showed up while I was at the pharmacy. My pharmacist friend pointed out the door and said "Look! You're friend!"

Buddy: The Good Boy is sad.
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"Where are you going, Jelly? Are you going in the store? Are you going to be long? I can't go in there. They don't like me following you in there. They yell at me and make like they're going to kick me. I've learned my lesson. I'll wait here looking sad."

Buddy: The Good Boy cheers up!
(Look at his SMILE!)
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"There you are! You're back! Do you have sausages? In that bag? It looks like there might be sausages! I think there are! Sausages! Sausagessausagessausagessausages!"


Jane, the manager, went home in tears half way through the day on Monday. She's tough as nails, and if she was in break-down mode it was plain to see things were screwed up. She was all crooked with her back in spasm. I empathized, because my back's gone out a couple times in the last few years. As cruel as it might sound, I appreciate the idea of those in charge understanding how incapacitating it is - how functioning is just simply not an option. Monday was interesting, with only two of us teachers trying to manage three classrooms per hour. It was noisy, but that wasn't unusual. I bought the 5 and 6 o'clock classes ice cream in the hopes of shutting them up. It's hard to talk when your mouth's filled with icy goodness. (And these frozen treats were between 35 and 60 cents (US) each,....what, am I back in the 60's?)

Jane was off today, bless her. It's kind of funny -- I swear, as I was switching from my running shoes to my sandals outside the school doors on Monday - I was cursing the fact I work with cyborgs, and they're never sick. And then a cyborg got sick. And she was sick again today.

Good. I hope she rests her cyborg self.

I spent an hour in negotiations with my boss after work. Tax and pension. It didn't go well. We both sug in our heels, but maybe it'll get better today. I wish I had someone to bounce ideas off who was on my side. My cheerleader. My advocate. I need a Mickey in my corner.

Boo hoo.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


See this guy?
It looks he's going to have one sore arm in the morning. Dead arm! It's starting to rain on him and his dead arm. You might be concerned. Or curious. But carry on. Just keep on walking.
Don't take his picture and then poke his dead arm with the silly long stemmed red rose magic wand thingie you got for Teacher's Day.
Just let him be.
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If you jab his dead hand, he'll wake up and grope you as if you'd both been in the middle of something when he'd passed out.
Just so you know.

I Got Glasses

I picked up two new pair of glasses this week. They're ridiculously cheap here compared to back home. My two new pairs cost me 92,000W - maybe 110$Cdn or so. I've never had a pair of thick boxy glasses, but I thought I'd try them out. I was going for nerdy chic.
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I think I might have just ended up with nerdy.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

WCB 102 - Calico Cat

When I want to stop off at the local video store and pay them all my money in late fees, (I like to rent movies and then not watch them for days for some reason) I walk down a side street and pass by a chicken restaurant that's very cat-friendly. It's where I once found a box of laser cats. That was months ago, but there still be laser cats these days!
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See? All ready to zap your leg off!

Turns out it was a calico laser cat.
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After establishing I had no chicken in my bag, she turned her back on me, waiting for the people who do have the chicken.
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Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Kamikaze's gone all upside-down.
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Now off with you!

When I was a kid, friends of ours had a drunk Scottish father, and he used to often say "If ye dunnae wanta play the lawn darts, it's off inta the drink fer ye!" Sometimes he would try to drag us down to the lake and toss one of us off the dock, but his balance wasn't so great and we could wriggle away. I don't know why I just thought of that.

But I say if ye dunnae wanta play the lawn darts, then off ye go to Paulchen's Food Blog to see the other kitty-cats in this weekend's cat blogging thing-a-ma-jig.

Make sure you check out Dragonheart! I brought some of my students into the office to show them his pictures on the computer, and they freaked out! "Teacher! What is it?!??!" I think that cat rocks!

Me and the Taxi Driver

"What country from?"
"I'm from Canada!"
"What you job?"
"I'm an English teacher."
(In Korean) "Do you speak Korean?"
"Not very well at all. It's a difficult language!"
"You marry?"
"You boy-puhlendu habu?"
"Ahhhhhh. May I,.....uhhhhh, I want be with you. I want love."
"Ha!" (In Korean) "I'm very very tired. I should sleep now." Closing my eyes and sinking my head back into the seat.

Is Stevie Wonder some kind of jokester?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Song for the Single

After our meal celebrating Teacher's Day, and after I wandered around awhile and ended up at a PC Bang (internet cafe) I discovered one of my earrings was missing. DAMN! I checked around and then decided to wait until the sun came up to retrace my steps. I didn't have to wait too long.

As I exited the PC Bang, a man in some factory uniform almost bumped into me. The men here are almost all in factory uniforms. I bristled at him a bit, no time for messing around, I was searching.

I came to the pavilion I had sat at a couple hours previously which overlooks the circular park flanked by a bandshell in my town. The man I'd snubbed was already sitting there, tightening his shoelaces. I looked all around on the ground for my earring, pretending he wasn't there. Just as I was about to give up, he reached down and plucked something up, holding it out for me. I accepted it, my earring, and thanked him happily.

Already across the street, I noticed I only had 4 out of 6 crystals in my hand, so I turned around. As I approached, he had his hand out, with the fifth crystal. I glanced down, and there, right before my eyes, was the sixth. As I took the crystal from his palm, I looked in his eyes. Amazingly, they were exactly like mine. Gold-brown. It's almost unheard of here. I clutched his hand, thanking him again, and looked into me, pretty much.

If you're single, download "I Believe" by Stevie Wonder. Jam your earphones so far in they might need to be surgically removed. Turn up your volume and listen. Then listen again. It's a whole head full of possibility. If Stevie belives, so do I. You should too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bloggiversary, Teacher's Day, Dangerous Beasts

Well well. I missed my Blog's Birthday! It was yesterday, but I guess since it's still the 14th back in Canada, we can still celebrate. Let's have cake.
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Let's have some of this beer cake I stole borrowed. Happy Birthday to my blog, (Cheers!) you're two years old! You're good enough, smart enough, and in a few days you'll have you're 30 thousandth visitor, so gosh darn it, people like you!

Today is Teacher's Day in Korea, which means - well, I don't know. My manager told me last week that they were considering giving us the day off, but that's not happening. That would have been one mighty fine gift, and I'm sulking a little bit because all the elementary and middle schools in town, as well as the taekwondo and music schools in our building have the day off. Hmph. Jane mentioned maybe I could bring in my DVD player and we can plop all the students down in front of the TV and let them watch movies all day long. I don't think that's going to happen. All the kids have been told we're going to have a snack party, so they should bring in junk food so they can spill stuff all over and have food fights. Then I get to shout at them and clean all day. Happy Teacher's Day to me! I think the students should give me pedicures and manicures all day long. And fan me with giant palm leaves. And feed me grapes. You know, that sort of thing. The staff will be going out tomorrow after work for something to eat and maybe a little drink. There was talk of going downtown, but we might just nix that idea and stay around here. As Sunny put it, after about 10:30p.m. from downtown "bus is no."

Meanwhile, this beast lives on my balcony:
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I don't like her.

I wasn't about to put my hand near so you could get a sense of her size, but she's big. And loud when she comes flying in as I hang up my laundry. (And run back inside flailing my arms around my head.) Jane looked at this picture and said, "Oh! These are very dangerous!" She says when Koreans go and visit their ancestors grave sites they're sometimes attacked by these killer wasp things. I actually took this picture last week, and the day after snuck out while the beast was away and removed her nest with tongs, tossing it off the balcony. I saw tonight, though, that she's back and rebuilding. After I wake up, I'm going to remove her nest again and smear my entire balcony with tabasco. That'll show her!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

So Proud

If you google, like someone did in Texas today, "I've got chickens all over my face," this site is NUMBER ONE! Yah, baby!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

WCB 101 - Meme~

Kamikaze was tagged by Sammawow (namely Sam the cat) for a meme. This is the 1st meme that we've EVER been tagged with, so we're going for it! Here are the rules: Each player starts with seven random facts about themselves. Cats who are tagged need to write on their own blog about the seven things and the rules. You need to choose seven cats to tag and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment that they have been tagged and to read your blog!

So okay!

Kamikake was just a tiny yowling cat who I rescued on a busy Japanese street in 2003.
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His full name is Kamikaze Kamakiri Kitty.

He was infested with fleas, which were treated, and then had hook worm from the fleas, which was gross- but was also treated sucessfully.

Kamikaze used to be very very mischevious. He liked to chase things on the television and try to break everything in the apartment. I got a water gun to spray him from my bed when he was running around and yowling, being a bad boy.
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He once managed to break just about EVERY dish I owned by jumping up on the drying rack above the sink. The kitchen floor was covered in broken china. It's a wonder he didn't cut his paws up. (And that I didn't kill him.)

When I went to visit Canada in 2004, he escaped his cat-sitter's house and lived outside as a stray in a strange city for a month. I thought I'd lost him for sure. But somehow I located him within 3 minutes of starting to search for him, once I came back and learned he was missing.. He got scared away by a passerby, though, and I had to "re-find" him a day later. He was injured and so skinny, but seemed relieved to be re-rescued. I was so happy.

He's grown into a big sumo-cat who loves being brushed and petted. He's a decent cuddler and will let me spoon him for hours. I'm convined he knows a little Japanese, Korean, and English. He's a wordly cat.

The only time he's mouthy is when he figures it's time to get fed. He loves his food. He also loves his catnip toy I finally managed to find here, and carries it around, usually storing it in his carrot.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I'm going to tag Bonnie who has a wealth of cats to write about. Hopefully she'll play along and write seven things about one cat, or one thing about seven cats!

Now please skip on over to visit the lovely Sher and her kitty cats over at What Did You Eat? for this week's WCB. Cheese and cats. Seriously, what could be better?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Yep, I'm Sick

I just consulted myself and reviewed my symptoms. I'm betting this is stomach flu. I'm in-between vomitting sessions at the moment, and in the "I'm HOT stage" of a fever. I prefer it to the chills I had for about three hours. They made me feel immobile. I wonder who gave this to me. Listening to sick people whine is no fun. Tough. Kamikaze, who I've asked to fetch me some juice or clean up my puke is having none of it. I'm pretty sure he hid my thermometer, too. Brat.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


As I pulled my stiff, freshly cleaned towel off the drying rack on my balcony this morning, I chose to ignore my inner voice which suggested I just take a couple minutes and yank the rest of the laundry off. So when the skies opened up around seven o'clock I was kicking myself. It's been just pouring on an off since then. Monsoon time style. The weather's been nutty the past little while. Monday and Tuesday were downright summery. In the cab I took last night, the driver actually turned his air conditioning on! And I slept, later on, blanketless with the balcony door wide open. Now it's wooly sock and flannel PJ weather again.

I woke up earlier than the alarm this morning, and skipped off to work feeling pretty FINE. About four o'clock, though, I started feeling the urge to puke - and that's steadily increased over the past few hours. I've even gagged convincingly a few times. Now I'm going to lay myself down to sleep for awhile, and definitely NOT ignore my intuition which suggests I put a bucket beside my bed, lest I hurl all over my apartment while I'm sprinting for the bathroom.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Another Rockin' Friday

Last Friday, we had another Market Day at school. During all the time I've been here, Market Day has happened every three months. Our latest one should have been at the end of March, but management has decided to have it every four months instead. So it was held the day before Children's Day (which was this past Saturday.) There was a lot of talk beforehand. We wanted to do something special for the kids for Children's Day. We wanted to do something different! So we discussed games and activities we could do with the kids, and changes we could make to the menu. The food we served on past Market Days has always been the same: steamed mandu (dumplings) and 'duk bokki' - which is cylindrical logs of rice cake, triangular shards of fish cake, onions, and carrots in a spicy sweet red sauce. We also serve "sushi" - seasoned rice stuffed into triangular envelopes made of tofu as well as sandwiches made of potatoes mashed up with small cubes of ham and vegetables, and a big container of plain 'ole hard boiled eggs. Then there's little cups of jja-jjang instant ramen, and a variety of sugary sodas.

But we should do something different, we thought! Something exciting! Let's shake things up a bit! So they even gathered ideas from the students, and we spent breaks tossing around ideas in the Teacher's Room for the past few weeks. In the end we did exactly what we do every single other time. Sometimes it's like this here, a lot of talk and little to no action. I don't know why.

"Cho-bap," the fruits of over an hours worth of labour!
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Oh well. I'm not a big fan of any of the food we have on Market Day, so maybe it's a good thing. If we had offered lobster and steak, I would have spent the whole day nibbling. We had our normal "store" with bits of dollar store stuff:
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Oh, we did have two new and different things. At one point there was an arm wrestling tournament in one of the classrooms. I didn't attend and don't know who won. There was no giant trophy, so I wasn't interested in participating. And we handed out ice cream - green apple flavoured chips of flavoured ice. Happy Children's Day, kids! Go make your tongues green! Whooooopeeeee!

I went to HomePlus afterwards, because no one was even interested in going out for some meat and soju, which is one of the reasons I used to enjoy Market Day. Come to think of it, Teacher's Day is coming up on the 15th. I wonder if we'll do something for that. And by the way, today is Parent's Day (think Mother's and Father's Day smushed up into one and celbrated by giving little baskets of carnations.)

So at HomePlus I stopped in at the Pet Corner to buy Mister Kamikaze some grub. Then I went to visit the wee animals in their aquariums and cages. One wood-shaved filled enclosure was bursting with adorable tiny baby mice, playing and sleeping in piles. One little mouse lay dead - drowned in the water dish, and his brothers and sisters approached and drank the water filled with his essence of death. Ick. I called a blue vested employee over, "Look, that mouse is very sick," I told them in Korean. I don't know how to say, "Look, it be dead!" I do know how to ask, "Do you want to die?" I don't think that would have went over very well, though.

I came back to town, rented a couple of DVDs - "The Pursuit of Happyness," which I'd already seen and loved, and "Deja-Vu," with Denzel Washington and Val Kilmer, which was, uh, strange. Didn't love it.

I stopped in at Tudari, a Japanese style eatery, because I was really hungry. I had a nice frosty pint and ordered some pork-wrapped enoki mushrooms and was just settling in to read my book when two fellas joined my table. Nice guys. They were both very sweet, and I had already forgiven the intrusion by the second pint. We even moved on to 2-cha up the street. I really like the very tall one. We have plans to meet soon. Right on.

Afterwards I went home and drunk dialed members of my family. They looooove when I do that.

Finally, I nominate these as the ugliest shoes in Korea:
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And no, sadly, they are not mine.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Monday Soup

For last week's Monday night dinner and a movie at Chez Jelly, I was still in the comfort mode of cooking. And what could be more comforting than a hot bowl of soup? Mmmm mmmm good! So, I decided to make me some wonton soup. I was inspired by a post over at What Did You Eat? I had picked up wonton wrappers in the freezer section at HomePlus, and bought some ground pork and frozen shrimp - and all the other ingredients at my local supermarket. I still had couple of containers of chicken stock I had made previously. I'm going to refer you back to that 1st link to Sher's site for the recipe. As usual, I read it, but didn't follow it to a T. I'll give you the lowdown, though.

You mix some ground pork with some chopped raw shrimp. The de-shelling, de-heading, and deveining of the shrimp gnarled me out a bit. Ah well. Oh, chopped green onions were tossed in, as was a mix of egg, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, and white wine. I didn't have sherry. Here be that:
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This was before it was poached in some water for about 3 minutes or so.

Then, a little spoonful of the mixture was placed in the centre of the wonton wrapper and the edges were sealed with water.
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The recipe Sher refers to calls for a finicky way of cooking the wontons. I just went for straightforward boiling them for awhile until they looked like they wanted to come out. Then I ladeled over some broth.

And presto:
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Wonton Soup!

The wontons were difficult to manage with the chopsticks. They fell all apart, and they tasted, uhhhhhh, just okay. No big deal. The broth, though, was outstanding. I had defrosted it and heated it with a couple slices of ginger. Deeeeelish!

So the next night, with a LOT of filling left, I wondered what it would be like to try to make some "guhn mandu," which is fried dumplings.
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I cooked them just a little too long. A couple of them, which had been sealed properly, puffed right up like balloons. Those wrappers aren't like normal mandu wrappers here, they cook fast and get super crisp. The sauce - a regular fried mandu concoction - soy sauce, vinegar, and gochu-garu (hot pepper flakes) didn't pair well. I think a plum sauce or chili sauce would have been more in order.

Overall, I'm going to stick with frozen packaged mandu - I love the chap'che (glass noodle)ones from time to time, when I want fried dumplings. And as for wonton soup, yogeyo:
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The bluriness is because this was just now pulled out of my freezer. Apologies. You might find these in your freezer section at major supermarkets in Korea. They're from Thailand and they're shrimp wontons. Very yummy. I defrost them and just add boiling water and a splash of light soy sauce. Excellent for breakfast, and a lot less hassle than trying to make your own!

Oh, and the movie was a Korean one, the one which features the omnipresent Korean version of "Ave Maria" (the Debra Harry tune.) Kind of an interesting take on the plastic surgery phenomenon here. It had it's moments, but I ended up fast forwarding through the last quarter of the movie. It was like my soup. Meh.

WCB - 100!

Kamikaze is doing better. Earlier in the week he was having some trouble walking. I'm pretty sure he landed funny after jumping off the bed. He's resting and getting lots of attention from moi. We've had a good weekend so far with lots of brushing and cuddling.
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Ahhhh- all relaxed and freshly brushed.

He is ready for his close-up.
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So Happy Birthday to Weekend Cat Blogging! Now whoosh on over and check out all the cats at A Byootaful Life! Puddy is a fine looking black cat as well!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Cherry Coke

My student's awesome T-shirt:
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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Detective Work

The last couple weeks were quite bountiful in my ongoing documenting of dead things on my way to work. It seems there is a killer in our midst.

Exhibit A:
Dead bird.
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Exhibit B:
Another dead bird. (On another day.)
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Exhibit C:
Rat, deceased.
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Exhibit D:
Pheasant, scared the shit out of me.
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Actually, this was killed previously to experiencing its second death on the pile of trash. It was taxidermied and nailed to a wooden block. I passed by a cat tonight who was intrigued by it.

Exhibit E:
The worst carnage in a single walk to work yet, a monkey AND a duck.
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And now the suspects:

Says he doesn't know nothing about nothing. Growls.
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Shouts that he's tired of being blamed for all the trouble in the neighbourhood. He's thinking of heading back to the Everglades, but has been warned not to leave town until the investigation is complete.
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And as I sat tonight going over the details in my mind and snacking on sausages with my trusted investigative partner Buddy: The Good Boy,
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a new suspect poked its little face over a makeshift fence. Can you spot him?
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He escaped before we could question him.
Our investigation is ongoing.