Monday, December 31, 2007

WCB - 134 Bye Finger

Bye bye 2007. Good riddance! Sadly, though - I'm going to miss my finger. Kamikaze done bit it off.
Of course, I disapprove.
But you should go see other kitty cats at the Tuxedo Gang Hideout.
Can't type more. Finger gone.

Still Disapproving

I am Jelly.
I was a Strawberry, but now I am a White Tiger. I disapprove of this pencil being stuck up my nose.
My little student is just about to have his hand bitten off.
In a disapproving sort of manner.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Forgive me blog, I haven't been feeling so great so I've been ignoring you. But today is Sunday and that's good. For my Christmas breakfast I was making fish to eat with some rice and kimchi and when I put the fish into the oil, some of the hot oil jumped out of the pan and onto my hand. Check out my "mool jip!"
I love that word - mool jip, which is Korean for blister. It's so cute. Literally it means "water house," which is what a blister is, eh?
Did you know that the Korean word for Jelly's head is "zola jip?" It means "nothing house."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

So That Was Christmas

And what have I done?

Well,..not too much. Just to update you from my last post, I went into work on Monday all ticked off but determined not to freak out on anyone. I was surprised to see my boss there. She's usually only present on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Turns out, Jane's sick. (In the head?) No - that's mean. Apparently she had a "health check" on the previous Friday and the doctors decided she needed some surgery. From what I've been told, the docs won't tell her what the deal is until after the surgery. Then they'll say if it's bad or okay.

That happens a lot, eh? I know I'd feel comfortable having doctors operate on some mystery thing only to confide in me after the fact what they'd done. Like they'd walk into the room afterward and spin a wheel,..."Uh-oh, you've got CANCER!" or "Congratulations! You've got a tiny polyp!"

Who knows? So Jane is off for the week.
I wouldn't be surprised to learn she's in Thailand on a beach.

Sunny came at me with a sing-song "I'm sorrrrryyyYYY!" and a "ha ha ha ha ha!"
I wanted to grab her by the back of the head and force all her "ha's" back down her throat.
"I'll HA you off the end of my foot."

I spent the rest of the day angry but calm. At the end of the last class I gave out my presents and vamoosed outta there.

I ended up early Christmas morn (like just after midnight) on the plastic chairs outside a convenience store feeding a couple homeless folks some ramen and oden and Jeju orange cakes. Excuse my fat lens smudging finger.
The lady was all shy, refusing to eat. I kept encouraging her, "C'mon woman! It's GOOD!" I was happy that after her small cup of noodles she asked for more.

My outside dogs had just eaten a full 10 pack of giant sausage, and these homeless "cow" cats gulped up the remains of the oden (fish cakes) my human friends couldn't finish. Photobucket

While my friends settled themselves outside in the chairs and I went into buy something warm and yummy for them, (and a couple of cold ones) the clerk asked who they were. I said, "They're my friends."
He replied, "You've got some bad friends."

I told him to shut up.
It was Christmas.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Effin Xmas

It's Christmastime.

Saturday was the day of my work Christmas/year end get together. Usually when we go out we head to a local galbi jip close to the school after classes finish. I think that's fine, and I always love going out for a meal with people - so I don't care where we go or what we eat. Anything's good!

But this year it was decided we would meet on a Saturday at a nice shabu shabu/buffet restaurant. Cool! I was really looking forward to it, and frankly - as pathetic as it is - this was the only thing I had going on for Christmas.

So I woke up earlier than I normally do and showered and dressed. I even wore makeup because I was going out! With grownups! Yeee ha. I'd painted my nails all Christmassy the night before.

And I gathered the presents I'd bought for my coworkers and boss.

I headed downtown to the nice restaurant we were going to meet up at and I was totally on time. My coworkers weren't there yet. I checked through the restaurant to make sure they hadn't already gotten a table, much to the distress of the hostess who followed right behind me as I searched. So I sat down in the waiting area and, well, waited.

Christmas carols played overhead. I was so hungry, and the smells wafting near from the restaurant made me want to drool. I pulled out my book and read while I waited for my colleagues to show up. And I waited. And waited.

For two hours.

The more time went by, the more I felt like SUCH a complete loser. I was stood up for a party that they'd arranged.

Merry Shitmas, y'all!

Friday, December 21, 2007

All My Children

I had to get the employee at the supermarket to repeat himself three times because the first couple times he spoke to me I couldn't concentrate on what he was saying in Korean. I was too busy being fascinated by the ga-ga goo-goo voice he was using. It was like he had suddenly come across a baby and decided to sing a little lullaby. And he wasn't really looking at me either, even though he was standing right in before me - so I kind of wondered if he was sing-songing to the potatoes and hunks of ginger in front of us.
"Meanhamneeda." (Sorry) "Mwuh?" (What?)
And so he sang to me again, repeating what I thought he had said. He told me my son had been in the store trying to buy cigarettes and alcohol.

"Why that little juvenile delinquent!" I thought. "When I get home I'm going to take away his GameBoy and he is SO grounded and I'm going to,...."
Uh, wait a minute. I don't have a son!"

I knew right away who the Lullaby Guy was singing to me about, though. There is one white kid in my town. I think he's a 1st year student in middle school now and his name is Sasha. I've seen him riding his bike around my school. He towers over his classmates because he's about sixteen years old compared to them, who are twelve. Some of my students who went to school with him in the sixth grade have told me he's a badass, so I'm not so surprised that he's smoking and drinking.

I explain to Lullaby Man that I don't have a son. "I'm Canadian," I say, "And that kid and his mother are Russian."
"Ohhhhhh ha ha ha - chesohamneeda!" (So sorry!) sings the supermarket guy.

I always thought that I wanted kids. I was surprised when I realized not very long ago that I, in fact, do not. I mean I really don't want kids, and I was surprised at how surprised I was to figure this out about myself because it goes to show I don't really know who the hell I am. Certain characteristics that I possess fooled me into thinking that I should be a great mom. Not would or could be - but should be, and I think that's just something that I learned when I was growing up and never really questioned. "When girls get older they get married and have babies. They cook meatloaf and stand waiting at the door with a fresh martini for when the daddy comes home. But before daddy can come in the house our pet dinosaur crashes through the door and knocks daddy down, licking his face."

Oh, wait. That's the Flintstones.

Anyhow, I had this idea in my mind of how things were supposed to be and I think my subconscious started gnawing at me a bit a few years back when life wasn't working out according to my own inner sex-role stereotype. I'm sure it's far worse for Korean women over 30 here. The pressure to get married, settle down, and start a family is immense, and that even boils over and lands on me from time to time. People get really anxious when they find out I'm single. "How old are you? And you're not married? Way-oh?!?" (Why?!?)

("I don't know, man,...because I suck?")

But on the motherhood thing,...I think I actually would suck. They say it's different when it's your own child. Maybe the feelings that make me want to put some children into a box, seal the box with packing tape, and send them off to a factory in Cambodia wouldn't be prevalent. No, no, no. It wouldn't be like that. My child would cry and whine and throw tantrums on the floor and go to the supermarket and buy smokes and booze and I would love it regardless. Right? Yes, yes, yes. I wouldn't even have to deal with those scenarios because my child would be quite perfect. A little angel. Quiet and thoughtful and polite. "Mummy?" it will tug on my hem, "May I perhaps possibly trouble you for some milk? Please mummy! I want some more!" Apparently my child is British. And Oliver Twist.


I'm fun and creative and kind, and I am able to deal with most children and not bring them to the post office to be shipped out. But, I'm also fairly sure that if I were to be responsible for one child for, like, ever - I would certainly ruin it. I'm a total pushover.
"Mom, can I have coke and ice cream on my cocoa puffs for breakfast?"
"No! You cannot!"
"Because that's not a healthy way to start your morning!"
"Moooooommmmm - Pleeeeaaassseee? Pretty please?"
"Oh, alright then."

"Mom, can I play in traffic?"
"No! That's dangerous!"
"Pleaaaaaasssseee? All my friends are doing it!"
"Well, alright then. But wear these," and I'd toss the child some goggles and mittens.

And that Russian kid? My delinquent son? I can empathize with how it must be like for him here, being the only foreign kid as far as the eye can see. I'd probably be buying his vodka for him. "Vashé zdorov'ye, son. Can mommy bum a smoke? Let's go get a tattoo!"

No, I'm far better aunt material. There needs to be an adult supervising who can intervene when I'm explaining how to pierce your navel at home or stop me before the boxes are sealed and addressed.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


The vitamin C is abundant and with the skin it is good healthily quite.
But you already knew that, didn't you.

Did you know this?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I've said it before and I'll say it again. I love presents. Love 'em! Who doesn't? Also, I love mail. I love presents in the mail. M'kay,...don't be jealous - I got a great package in the mail the other day.
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It's from my friend Eva in Belgium. She's currently travelling around Southeast Asia, lucky her! She's so generous, she sent this off to me before she left, lucky me! I got chocolates- brandy and pear liqueur filled ones that Jane snatched away and gobbled up, pretty much. Also, there was a bar of dark chocolate with red pepper, my favourite, and a little Dolfin bar I shared with my buddy the pharmacist. There were cookies and strawberry candies I shared - sooo yummy, and salami sticks and macaroni and cheese I did not share! I got books I can't wait to read, and lavender that I want to sew into a little velvet sachet to bury my nose into while I sleep. Awesome! Thank you so much, Eva.

Also today I got a large package of clothes I'd ordered online. My original order was placed NINE weeks ago, and STILL hasn't arrived at my mother's house! After a lot of back and forth with the American company, they not only agreed to ship a second package out UPS last week, but also offered to credit my order back to me.
Me: "You mean, like, the total cost?"
Awesome Employee: "Yes. I'm so sorry it's taken as long as it has to get to you."
Me: "You're awesome!"
My order had totalled over 400 bucks, so you can imagine how happy I was!

So the clothes got to my mom's, she opened it and wrapped them all in giftwrap for the benefit of Korean customs, and shipped them off ExpressPost and they arrived four days later. Hello!! I like my new cozy warm reversible red plaid/black fleece jacket. Otherwise, everything is too big, but I'll get them tailored up. I just can't complain considering they're all fuh-ree!! Score!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


"Now's zee time on schprokets ven vee dance!!"

I don't know why this phrase kept shouting itself through my mind as I watched political supporters in a wagon train round up at the centre of the city as they did their little dances in unison tonight. The candidates they were rooting for had their giant faces displayed on banners hanging from their trucks and buses that blasted LIGHTS! and COLOURS! and SOUNDS! So trippy! There's a statue in the middle of the main roundabout that joins about six intersections. All the presidential candidate's trucks faced outwards, as did the supporters who were dancing all bundled up to the music that was just blaring.

Here's some cute little Santa Clauses doing their little dance outside my school the other day. The picture's quite dark - sorry about that.
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I don't think those Santas are flashing the ubiquitous "V" sign,...they're actually telling you to vote for GUY NUMBER TWO! All the candidates have numbers. I'm not sure how many there are in total, but I saw a truck for GUY NUMBER TWELVE tonight. There are at least that many.

Here's the truck for GUY NUMBER ONE and his supporters. Give it up for their awesome loudness!

Perhaps he will win. My students tell me he has a "very good face." Apparently GUY NUMBER TWO has little eyes, which I guess is not so good. I guess Korea's lucky that kids aren't able to vote in the election. The guy with the biggest eyes and the best face would win, regardless of his political platforms and promises. If he could juggle, he'd be a shoo-in.

Tomorrow's zee time in Korea ven vee vote!

I LOVE election day here. It's not so much that I follow politics, obviously. I love election day because I get a day off work, which rocks. Even more so, these election trucks will finally get lost and we'll get back to only being bombarded with the loudspeakers from the fruit and vegetable trucks. And squid and fish trucks. And the trucks that collect recycling. And the guys that wander around selling rice cakes,...and,...
Well. You get the idea.
Korea sparkling. Bring earplugs.

Monday, December 17, 2007


I was having a beer on Friday night and the waitress brought over a plate of cut up persimmons. This is a persimmon in its wholeness.
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Years ago, when I was teaching in Japan, I was finishing up with my last class on a Saturday afternoon. My students were a lovely Japanese couple, and I had just asked how they had spent their Friday night. They told me they'd gone to their friends house and had a nice visit.
"We ate semen!" my woman-student told me.
I tried not to register any reaction on my face, but I'm not sure I was successful.
"Semen," the woman repeated, nodding at me. She turned to her husband, "Semen?"
"Ummmm," the man thought. "I think so."
"I'm not sure what you mean," I said. "What you ate,...what did it look like?"
"It's a fruit," the woman explained. "An orange colour. It's looks like a tomato."
"Ohhhhhh!" I said, relieved. "PerSIMMON!"
I did not explain what it was she had mistakenly reported eating.

On Friday night my friend spit a persimmon seed into his hand and told me inside there was a spoon.
"Oh, really?"
"Yes. A spoon is in here!"
He bit the little pit in half and whaddyaknow!
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A spoon!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

WCB - 132 Mittens

Kamikaze's got some big mittens on him. I think he's a polydactyl cat, with thumbs. He's really good at gripping things, and will hold my finger in his big mitten when he wants to. He was uncooperative to get a good shot of his splayed mitten paws. I was interrupting his nap.
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I got two paws.
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Mister Big Face.
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So - now I must nap. Hurry on along, then - and visit Life from a Cat's Perspective iffen you want to see other kitties.

Friday, December 14, 2007


Here in the middle of the centre.
I am standing in the middle of the sand.
In the centre of the middle of the desert.
I am waiting in the palm of your hand.
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So Full of It

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You can shop for all your Christmas crap here!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Puppy Dog Tales

Remember the new puppy?
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He's getting bigger!
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So cute, and he's all waggy tail and puppy teeth when I stop to pet him on the way to work. My outside dogs, Buddy and Circle gay are always hanging around puppy's yard and they follow me to school little lamb style. Puppy cries so much when we're walking away, though, that it makes we wish I could arrange to meet the outside dogs on an alternate route.

Today was made worse by the fact that I'd followed a link from Dooce and sat bawling before I left the house while I watched this video.
Bring a tissue.
Throughout the day, every time I thought of the line "but they were treasures to me," I felt my eyes go all weepy. Jane called me a faucet. I prefer the term "sappy mess."


Last year I made Christmas cards with the students and they were asking if we'd make them again. I don't do many arts and crafts with the kids, and so it should be, as they don't tend to pertain to the learning of English much,..but the kids do have to follow instructions and ask me for help, so it's not a complete waste of time. Besides, it's fun. I like fun.
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Mostly the students would call my name five hundred times, show me what they were doing and ask, "Is it ok?"
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Most of the time it was totally ok!
Sorry about the state of the walls. We totally need a new paint job. Or, like, maybe someone should bust out a rag and some soapy water or something. "Someone" meaning "not me," though.

Other than calling my name six thousand times, they kids were relatively quiet as they concentrated on cutting and taping.
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If I had things my way, we'd be doing arts and crafts in my classes every single day. English, schminglish.

Here's mine. That's a five cut double colour flip twist half caf mocha latte supreme snowflake.
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I rock the snowflakes, man!

Monday, December 10, 2007

WCB - 131 Nappy

Kamikaze's all nappy. He goes like this, "zzzzzzz."
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We're all tuckered out so shhhhh.
Tip-toe over to Chez Upsie and say "hi" to Sher. Quiiieeeetly.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Jazz Hands

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Ohhhhhhh, yaaaaahhhhh!
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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sign of the Times

The supermarket downtown has a whole area devoted to wee little travel sized goodies.
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It's sort of like an "Anti-Costco!"

I was tempted to buy this hair gel just for its cuteness alone.
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And the fact that it's "moving rubber."
I need some moving rubber in my hair.

Speaking of cute, check ME out!
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I love my little purse and the heels of my boots.

The artist poses with her masterpiece.
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You know what's NOT cute? My cat. He's sitting behind me meowing about how hungry he is. If you know of Kamikaze, you know that he's most definitely not hungry. He is a cat who looks like he may have just recently eaten another cat. It's time for bed,...not time for chow. For Christmas, I'm going to get him a big box of "Shuddup, Man!"

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I'm trying to get my Christmas cards done and I want to send one to you. Yes, YOU! Please send me your snail mail address via e-mail. Come on, know you want to get something in the mail from moi!

Saturday, December 01, 2007


As I arrived to work today, dogs in tow, kids who were early for their three o'clock class scrambled out into the hallway to greet me. Some of the brave ones pet the dogs but most of them, especially the girls, are scared of animals and would jump back and scream if the dogs even looked like they might come near them. I went inside the school to fetch a couple treats from the mini fridge in the Teacher's Room and returned to the hall to give them to the pups and then bid them "Naga, Good Boys!" (Go away!) As I turned back toward the school, I noticed two girls were play fighting, and I said "Hey! Cut it out!" As I came closer to them, though, it was apparent there wasn't anything playful about their fight - the two of them gripped each other's cheek with one hand as they clawed with their free hand. Both of them were near tears. I separated them, and one of them started to cry. I hustled them both back into the school and called for reinforcements. By the time Sunny came out to help, they were both bawling. I'm lucky because my students aren't very aggressive and it's been a LONG time since I've had to break up a fight. It's the first time I've seen a girl fight! They'd scratched each other up pretty good!

Work finished, I headed to the bus stop to venture downtown to contemplate a couple Christmas presents for my nieces. I have no idea what my brother's kids would want. I don't know what they have, either - so it makes it even more challenging. As I waited for the bus and read my book by street lamp, I noticed a stylin' Korean mama beside me. She was talking on her cell, and I wasn't paying too much attention. She hung up and then made a call, greeting what I gathered to be her kid all sweetly, "Hi! It's mommy! What are you doing? How was your day?" she sing-songed. "Did you go to your academy? You must be tired, did you study hard?" Then she went ballistic. "You LIAR!!! WHY ARE YOU LYING?"

I suddenly understood what must have happened. The previous phone call, where the mother had apologized quite profusely and even dipped her head each time she said she was sorry, must have been her kid's cram school calling to report her child's absence. So she called home and the kid got busted for lying as well as truancy. The mom shrieked into the phone for a solid ten minutes, promising to rip the kid's computer out of the wall and toss it over the balcony the moment she got home. Seriously, that mama was going mental. I thought she might hurl the cellphone to the pavement and start to rip her hair out at any moment. If I was her kid, I'd probably be packing my bags and kissing the dog goodbye.

Coming home from shopping, I still without presents for nieces. I think I'm going to send my mom some money and ask her to buy some things that light up and make crazy noises. That's what kids want, isn't it? Coming home, I looked up from my book when the bus driver blared the horn and swerved as we went through a tunnel. I saw something up ahead the lane we had been travelling in. As we passed, I recognized it was a man spread out star-fished in the road. "Shit!" I muttered, turning my head to try to see him as we sped by. I wanted the driver to stop and get the guy off the road, but we barely slowed. I hoped someone would either call the cops or stop to help him. Flat in the road in the middle of the tunnel isn't a great place to be, though I wonder if it might be preferable to that mama's wrath, huh?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Under a Blood Red Sky

As I walked to the washroom just after five o'clock, I noticed the buildings outside were bathed in an unusual light. I turned around as soon as I stepped into the bathroom to grab my camera from my bag, as this is what I saw.
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I took this shot through a window that was quite dirty on both sides, but it didn't turn out too bad. You can see the reflection of the overhead light in this next picture, though. The scene was really amazing, though - and the whole town was bathed in a red glow.
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Down on the street, people walked around - kids with backpacks and moms rolling their babies along in their strollers. Middle school girls carrying books giggled with each other as they hurried up the road. Grandmas sat on the corner selling their vegetables. Not one of their faces turned toward the setting sun and the red sky over the mountains. Singing Angels should have been dispatched to grab hold of their attention for a few moments before the sky went dark. As I stood admiring the end of the day, one of my favourite poems popped into my head.

Musee des Beaux Arts - W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The Old Masters; how well, they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.
In Breughel's Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

But You Already Knew This, Huh?

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From my student's pencil case.
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And go figure, student is a BOY! HA!
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Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Room with a View

Well, if you've got a window, then you've got a view - even if it's just the brick wall of the apartment next door. My view isn't too bad. The fall colours are nice.
Straight ahead.
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To the left.
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To the right is not as picturesque. I can gaze down toward the town below in the haze that is this afternoon. Misty mountains in the background. Apartments and telephone lines in the foreground, with that strange looking mushroom house and its junky surroundings on the hill o'er yonder.
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Not TOO bad, but it's certainly not this:
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If you want to see some rooms with some spectacular views, check out this site. Then go buy some lottery tickets and cross your fingers!

WCB - 129 Taste Testing

All last week "Animal Planet" advertised for a week long special dedicated to "the most majestic Big Cat in the world." So every night I'd tune in expecting there to be an hour long documentary on Kamikaze.

Turns out, they were talking about TIGERS! Tigers? Most majestic big cat? Puh-lease! Tigers learned most everything they know from Kamikaze. He's more like a puma, really,...but still.

Here he is testing for which part of my arm is the most delicious.
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A Majestic Big Cat's gotta choose the best spot of their prey to chomp into.
First, sniff it.
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If it smells decent enough, taste it.
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And then BITE IT OFF!
Sorry. No pictures of my severed arm. It was far too gruesome.

So now scurry on over to The House of Mostly Black Cats to see the rest of the kitties in this weekend's WCB. There was some drama over there involving a lit candle and a kitty. That's never a good combination.

Kamikaze had a similar experience the first night we moved into this apartment. We'd spent about ten hours getting here from Japan, and he was really freaked out when we were finally on our own in the new place. Once I'd let him out of his carrier he scurried around frantically checking everything out, before deciding to jump up on the stove where I was boiling a kettle to get some water for us to drink. Luckily I was right there and snatched him off by the scruff of his neck before he was seriously hurt, but he did end up with singed whiskers. Scary!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Poo Rye Day

My little kindergarten brother and sister, before their class begins, sit so close to the television set that they're almost inside. I expect to one day pass the TV Room and see these kids laughing it up with SpongeBob IN the toob.
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My mom would have a shitfit. I remember her warning me, when I was sitting quite farther back than these kids, that I was just about to go blind. At any moment. Five, four, three,...and I'd scooch back.

"We're hungry!" my sixth graders whined before my last class of the week.
"Oh?" I asked. "What do you want?"
"Anything!" they pleaded.
Seeing as I had nothing to offer them, I gave them some money and told them to hurry up and go get something. I figured they'd come back with ice cream or some fish bread.

Instead, they came back with a styrofoam container filled with crap,...I mean, crap uhhhhh,....crap.
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Here we have "soondei" - or "soonday" - whatever. Here's a recipe just in case you want to make this crap dish:
1 piece small beef intestine - (36" long)
2 cup rice cooked, still firm
2 x garlic cloves crushed
1 slc fresh ginger - (1") crushed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black or white pepper
1 tbl Korean sesame oil
1 tbl sesame seeds crushed
5 x scallions chopped
2 cup beef or pork blood
(or 8-oz canned tomato puree)
Only, I've never seen soonday with rice. I've only encountered it made with chap'che (potato starch) noodles. And using tomato puree is for pussies. Vee vant blood.

The other stuff is offal. (Soonday is on the far left.) I picked up one piece and asked the students what is was. "Kahn," they said.
"The Wrath of Khan?" I asked.
Nope. "Khan" is liver. And "offal" which I'm sure you know, is crap the entrails and internal organs of a butchered animal, this case, pig.
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Mmmmmm! Blood sausage and entrails and internal organs of a pig Crap!

While my students plucked bits out with their chopsticks and savoured them, I commented to Jane that there are some foods in North America that kids are renowned for despising. Liver is right up there. The chances of sending twelve year old Canadian students off to buy some yummy food and having them come back with liver is less than zero. Ah well. Different folks, different strokes. Between the four of them, they cleaned out this container as well as a fat half bag of Dduk Bokki - fish and rice cakes in a spicy sauce. They were hungry!

At my student's urging I nibbled a bit of the liver and reconfirmed I hate the stuff.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So Many Questions

I watched a video the other morning. I had been sent a link to it, and I didn't spend a lot of time figuring out what I was going to be looking at beforehand. It was disgusting and disturbing and the thought of it has lingered with me since.

It wasn't even the content of the video that bothered me. It was my reaction to it. Specifically, it was my lack of reaction. I watched it and thought "That's gross. Oh, now that's disgusting. And that,...well - that's horrifying." My brain actually thought those words, but I didn't really feel any of it.

I didn't feel disgust or horror. I didn't even feel particularly grossed out, and I know I should have. What I did feel was disappointment. I felt disappointed that two humans would perform such feats of such depravity, and I wondered what their motivation was. Money? Drugs? Kicks? The link has been passed around the whole world, I'm sure, and now there are many videos posted capturing people's reactions when they watch the video. You can watch recordings of strangers across the globe being horrified and disgusted. And we're all in the club now. We've all had those images uploaded into our brains where they'll be stored in whatever file folder manages crap that doesn't make us better as human beings. Let's high five one another and commiserate, "Man, how fucked up what that?!" I'm disappointed in the length that we have to go now to be shocked.

If I had a camera perched atop my monitor and it had recorded my reaction, it would make for a very boring video. My facial expression wouldn't have varied from what it's doing now. My face is at rest. It's my normal walking around face. It's a passive face. It's a disappointing face.

How in the world did I get to be so jaded? How is it that I'm not particularly shocked when I see images that are meant to shake me up? Why is it that seeing things like this, or reading stories of brutality and torture in the newspaper don't shock me? They don't surprise me. Strange enough, it's the tales of goodness and kindness that I come across that surprise me these days. What the hell is wrong with me?

There was a time, quite a number of years ago, where I was involved in a movement that I felt passionate about. I worked in AIDS education and it felt imperative for me to share my experiences with people. I felt inspired to do something. I got involved and I got vocal. I remember writing an article once that was about a page longer than it should have been, and how I fought and refused to have it edited down because I meant every word of it with such conviction. I had a fire inside me.

But somehow it started to rain in me. A slow drizzle that's taken years to dull the fire, and I guess maybe that flame was extinguished some time ago. Now the rains starting to rot my faith and optimism as well. Some days I wonder what it is I believe in, and I really struggle to come up with an answer.

I guess it was about a couple of years ago I happened upon a video of someone being beheaded. They cut the man's head off from behind and it only took a few seconds. The body fell to one side, and the head was tossed onto the ground where it landed upright just a couple feet away from the neck it had just been resting upon. The man's face looked pretty much as terrified as it had when it was still attached. As I recall, in my apartment in front of the screen I had my passive face on. I watched that video and didn't turn away and I don't think I reacted at all on the outside. Inside, though, I felt a hitch in my chest. It was, I think, the feeling of my heart breaking a little more.

Fast forward to a couple days ago when I watched the screen and felt nothing. I might be a zombie now. I might require some guys with paddles to come and zap some life into my heart.

Is it because I'm watching thing on a screen instead of witnessing them first hand that I'm emotionally flat lining? I hesitate to even ponder the question, lest the universe throw me into a situation where I'm provided an answer. "You wonder if trauma is more traumatic in real life? Here, Jelly - check THIS out!" In general, though, what good are all the images and sensory abundances our brave new world provides doing for us? Is the shrinking of our world, as knowledge becomes so über accessible, benefiting us humans? I've got to find a way back to caring.

Or, now that my heart's dead, is my brain the next to implode?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Fresh and Sexy Zones

Colder weather means having to break out the chapstick and moisturizing lotion. We don't want to look all chappy now, do we? One of my ten year old students gave me a nice little tube of hand cream.
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Nice! It's SEXYMILD, so you know it's got to be good.
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I feel safer knowing my skin zones are guaranteed to be fresh.