6.29.2010

Lunch Booyah?

Thirty days, twenty... six(?) blog posts later, and I'm finally finished.  But before I go, let me leave you with this delicious morsel of goodness.

Monday morning this snack and lunch menu graced my desk.
























Click to enlarge, I promise you'll be rewarded!

Most days I like to play a game called Lunch Roulette which usually involves me ducking into the teachers room, rubbing my hands together and exclaiming, "Pizza again?!"  All the Korean teachers laugh as I eyeball what is inevitably a lunch made up of kimchi/rice/murky soup/odd foreign vegetables/mystery meat.

Enter the gambling: Do I wager against my better judgement and wolf down the mystery meat, risking a potential wicked tummy ache later, OR do I fold and hightail it to the Family Mart for a lunch of a Coke and Snickers? (Occasionally I take option number three: edit the existing lunch, which today meant I had  corn salad with mayo and krab, and a bowl of rice. Delicious, no?)

Having this menu is seriously fucking with my head, mostly because now I have nothing to look forward to. I like to be surprised. I like the mystery of not knowing which days are spaghetti or dong kas (perfectly acceptable lunches), and which days are quail's egg in ketchup or stir fried baby octopus (so obviously NOT acceptable lunches.)

However, it does afford me the opportunity to make fun of Google translate.  For example:

1. Monday 6/28: boiled dry fool fish
2. Monday 7/12: environmentally apple milk
3: Monday 7/19: anchovy panbroiling and yellowish overripe cucumbers salad
(Looks like our cooks have def got a case of the Mondays.)
4. Friday 7/16: meat rice gruel... just like in prison

Also on the menu: fiied fish, fiied shrimp, rice punch, and fish sausage soup. Don't be too jealous.

6.28.2010

Summer time and the livin's easy

Seoul in snapshot.




































































































































































And one more for good measure

After a thoroughly enjoyable evening of Papa John's, True Blood, and manicures I logged onto the Facebook to find this status update:


"Dear Treasure Valley elementary schools, 
Please hire me. I'm awesome. And if I can't have my own classroom, I'd be more than happy to accept a para position. I just want a job, in a school, working with kids. 
Thank you."

The writer of said update shall remain nameless, but suffice it to say they are educated (two undergrad degrees), experienced (hello, americorps grad!) and altogether awesome.  If they can't find a job, then I'm screwed with a capital S.

I think I'll keep my cushy 9-5 hagwon gig for another 8 months.  God I hope I don't regret it...

It's so hot, milk was a poor choice

I forgot how much naked time summer in Seoul affords me.  As a result, I'll be blogging in the nude for the next 70 days or so.

6.25.2010

The World on Time

This is why I will always and forever be FedEx's bitch:


Date/Time
Activity
Location
Details
Jun 25, 2010 9:10 AM
At local FedEx facility
BOISE, ID
Jun 25, 2010 8:15 AM
At dest sort facility
BOISE, ID
Jun 25, 2010 4:12 AM
Departed FedEx location
OAKLAND, CA
Jun 25, 2010 4:11 AM
In transit
OAKLAND, CA
Jun 25, 2010 3:33 AM
In transit
OAKLAND, CA
Jun 24, 2010 9:45 PM
Arrived at FedEx location
OAKLAND, CA
Jun 24, 2010 4:44 PM
Departed FedEx location
ANCHORAGE, AK
Jun 24, 2010 1:18 PM
Int'l shipment release
ANCHORAGE, AK
Jun 24, 2010 12:11 PM
Arrived at FedEx location
ANCHORAGE, AK
Jun 24, 2010 9:11 PM
In transit
INCHEON KR
Jun 24, 2010 8:26 PM
In transit
INCHEON KR
Jun 24, 2010 5:56 PM
Left FedEx origin facility
SEOUL KR
Jun 24, 2010 1:36 PM
Picked up
SEOUL KR






Punctuality, efficiency, and sense of urgency in all matters of parcel delivery.

My dear friends Kevin and Krista are gettin' hitched Saturday afternoon.  I dropped off their gift at my local FedEx around 6:30 PM Wednesday, 6/23. It was picked up for delivery around 1:30 Thursday afternoon. From there, that sweet little package of love and joy time traveled allllll the way back to noon, Thursday, Anchorage time.  By sunup Friday morning (6/25), the parcel of joy had arrived in Boise, ready to deliver my best wishes to the happy couple.

A mere 48 hours.  God, could you imagine if FedEx ran the Federal Government?

6.24.2010

Things to Do in Korea When You're Klassy

Awesome stuff I saw at the park tonight:

1. Two tanned and waxed Germans engaged in a photo shoot. Fully Clothed German Number 1 was lying in the middle of the bike lane taking pictures of Not So Fully Clothed German Number 2. Number 2 was perched atop a concrete divider, I assume because this afforded him the least offensive backdrop while seductively disrobing. He was tanned and smooth. How do I know? I stopped dead in my tracks to gawk, of course.

2. A mother/daughter combo playing a heated match of badminton, whilst wearing heels and baseball caps.  Sadly, this is not uncommon.

3. An Eager Beaver ajumma wiping her dog's ass.  She and Dog must have just gotten to the park, as Dog was in a right fit state to shit.  He sniffed the grass for a few minutes, searching for the perfect spot to drop a deuce, as Eager Beaver followed his every step.  Deciding on a suitable spot, Dog's body became rigid and tense in the classic "Dog Pooping" stance.  But just as Dog was about to pinch off a turd nugget, Eager Beaver swooped in to catch it with her handy plastic baggy.  Dog was clearly annoyed, however:

"Bitch, back up off my ass for Christ's sake. Let me shit in peace!" 

Dog tried to escape Eager Beaver's clutch, but he was no match.  She whipped out a wet nap and wiped Dog's ass clean.

4. Ajjoshi Massage Circle.  Maybe this is the old man equivalent of a circle jerk.

Lucky for me I got to bear witness; unlucky for you I did not have my camera.

6.23.2010

The Little Engine That Almost Could

I'm great at starting things; I'm terrible at finishing things. Unless of course that thing is food. I will almost always finish food, especially if it's fried shit with cheese. (Well, not actual shit.)

I'm a bit behind, but proud nonetheless.

Korean Grocery Stores: Not for the Faint of Heart

I'm convinced there are two schools of grocery shoppers in Korea.

One school are the Treasure Hunters, those foreigners who revel in the search for exotic foods and rare finds.  These kinds of foreigners travel great lengths in search of American staples such as, say, cheese or tortillas.  The Treasure Hunter proudly braves the Saturday crowds of Shinsegae in hopes of snagging a mere 100 grams of cilantro, a pittance in comparison to traditional American offerings. Food is their drug. They jones for $12 liters of maple syrup and $20 watermelons.  For them there's no shame in the exorbitant prices Korean mafia grocers charge. They take joy in perpetuating the cycle.

Treasure Hunters also posses the rare medical anomaly of a robust immune system coupled with a total lack of hearing.  Traipsing through the mart, they sample all the offerings: the doekkbuki and mandu, the seaweed snacks and wine, without the slightest stomach lurch. They are also impervious to the Grocery Auctioneers parading throughout every mart, bodega, and superstore on this peninsula, imploring shoppers to buy, buy, BUY!  Their carts overflow with the exotic and the mundane.

Treasure Hunters are also expert drivers.  Weaving and sideswiping are the rules of the road in the mart and Treasure Hunters come prepared. They graduated from the Bumper Cars School of Driving.  They muscle and elbow through the crowds like an ajumma on the subway prowling for the noyak seat.

For the Treasure Hunter, their perseverance and patience pays off in the loot.

"Look! I found limes!  LIMES, people!"*

(*Possibly not-so-interesting side note: My friend Jamie is a Treasure Hunter. A few Saturdays ago, we sat at a bar sipping mojitos with actual limes.  Jamie, always the Treasure Hunter, asked the bartender from whence the limes came. The bartender said something in Korean [I think. I may have been drunk, so I'm taking a few artistic liberties], and disappeared to the back.  He reappeared holding a bag of perfectly ripened frozen limes. Jamie and Korean Bartender chatted for a few minutes, at which time I checked out. That is until Jamie called the distributor's number listed on the bag at 1AM on a Saturday night.  Not surprisingly, some dude answered AND he spoke English. Score! And that's about the time the conversation went from cordial inquisitiveness, to all out drug deal.  For the next 20 minutes, Jamie asked the Lime Dealer important questions such as, "How many kilos are in a bag?" and "How long will the product stay fresh?" and "Where was the product grown?" and "When can you deliver my bags?" A few days later, Lime Dealer made a drop at a local bar. Cash was exchanged and now Jamie and I can sip mojitos in the privacy of his home. Jamie has also been known to pick up a few mint plants on the way to the bar simply because he spied them in a storefront. See? Food IS like a drug.)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, schools of shoppers.

Then there are the other shoppers.  The "I'm perfectly happy living on spaghetti and ramen if it means I never have to go to Lotte Mart because that place makes my ears bleed" kinds of shoppers.  These shoppers find a mart that works for them and stick with it.  The believe in mart-monogamy, but not for the traditional reasons.  Knowing the routines of their mart is key: when the cute English-speaking butcher works and how to avoid the Headset Vegetable Hawkers. They know where all their favorite foods (read: spaghetti sauce, ramen and tortilla chips) are located.  These shoppers crave familiarity and routine.  Leaving their dong just for a block of Tillamook cheddar or some dill pickles is patently out of the question. (However, these shoppers are not above abusing the Costco privileges of their friends and coworkers.  They find no shame in the "Could you pick up an enormous box of Cheerios and some sour cream and lug it home on the subway for me? Thanks!" request. Best to send others to your dirty work, eh?!)

I am this kind of shopper.

Side-side note: Treasure Hunters who brave Costco on a Saturday are just masochists.  I don't understand them and I refuse to acknowledge them.

6.20.2010

Things I Wish I'd Written: Volume 52 (At Least)

I recently stumbled upon this blog, Hyperbole and a Half.  After reading this post, I officially have a cyber-crush.

Oh, and I, too, may never be an adult.  

Read the entire post HERE.

Sexy Ugly

I'm in love with Hugh Laurie.  Or more appropriately, I'm in love with Dr. Greg House.

For the past two weeks I've cultivated a deep and fulfilling relationship with the curmudgeonly crippled doctor.  I've whiled away countless hours transfixed in front of my computer, gazing into his deep blue eyes.  His course stubble and crass words beckon me.  And oh, that shuffled gait.  To say he's sexy is an understatement.  But when I confessed my longings for House out loud, I was quickly chastised. 

WTF?  He's fucking hot, I argued.
















Am I right, or am I right?!

Um, no he's not, apparently.  And then it dawned on me: perhaps House falls into that murky gray area known as "Sexy Ugly."

Many moons ago, my then-boyfriend and I were perusing the shelves at Hollywood video.  Remember when people actually did that?  Anyway, we happened upon a movie called Kissing Jessica Stein.  The movie was entertaining, but what stuck with me most was the term "sexy ugly."  Stein's GF uses the term to describe dudes like Mick Jagger, whose mug is totally repulsive, but who exudes so much sex appeal you can't help but be intrigued.  (Well I can, but Mick doesn't really fall into my sexy ugly category.  Yeah, he's just ugly.)  Ever since then, I've not-so-secretly used the term to justify my ridiculous celebrity crushes, which include:

Funny Sexy Ugly
























Oh Conan O'Brien, how I've lusted after your fluffy ginger pompadour and chiseled jaw.  At 6'4" you tower over your Sexy Ugly brethren.  But you're so much more than looks, baby.  You're wicked smart, too.  I'd off your wife and kids in a heartbeat for a romp in the sack with you.  Conan = silly sex.  Just my type.


Weird Sexy Ugly


















Stringy hair? Check. Creepy glazed-over stare? Check. Unflattering facial comparisons to Michael Jackson?  Sadly, check.  But whatever, Jack White plays guitar and I really loved Elephant. Sometimes I'm easy to please.


Best Impersonation of Fredrick Douglass Sexy Ugly
























Mr. Cheadle here wasn't really even on my radar until I saw this video.  Since then, my loins lust for the man who told Mary Todd Lincoln, "Thankyoumuch.  For this walking Stick."  I'm a sucker for funny.


Baby Pate Sexy Ugly































Together, Tom Colicchio and Evan Handler's shiny bald heads could harness enough solar energy to power my internet searches for "bald guys who can cook, who I'm not convinced are totally straight and who exude Jewish charm."  God, what if they mated?  I think I'd die.


On a related note, I'm also hot for these decidedly sexy men:

























Then all that internet searching for Bruce Willis led me to this pic of my dad. Is that weird?















And on that note, Happy Father's Day, Dad!!!

6.17.2010

The World Cup

Most days Korea's insane patriotism and nationalism are frustrating at best, and utterly mind-boggling at worst. Today, they are inspiring.


대한민국!!

*I know I said I'd be up and running, but Korea plays Argentina at 8 and the city's excitement is palpable.  I couldn't help but get excited.  GO KOREA!!!

6.16.2010

The glass is half empty

So, I'm officially halfway through the month and I've run out of mojo. I still have a handful of posts piling up in my head, but actually putting fingertips to keyboard is proving really effing hard tonight.

Life is better, however. Yeryn told me she had to "do a poo-poo" today. After 10 months of consistently showing up to work late (including this morning), I am still employed. I made some kick-ass chicken fajitas for dinner tonight. Taco Bell opens in T-minus 16 days. Shit, that alone has got me jumping for joy.

I'll be back tomorrow fo-shizzle, my nizzle. Peace out.

6.15.2010

Those are some mighty big shoes to fill there, Ms. Page

I have not been an ideal employee this year.  As a matter of fact, I have apparently tried my damnedest to make sure Mr. Lloyd-Jones's "Mindy gets fired" Facebook prank actually comes true.  Despite my time and best efforts, Hagwon Director propositioned my services for another 6 months today.  To say I was stunned was an understatement.  My first three months of Kindergarten were hell -- my gang of four were a total snoozefest; I was practically in tears of frustration and boredom by most day's end.  So I made a silent pact with myself to abscond in the night after an epic trip to China.  But then shit just kept coming up -- I fell in love with Blue Class, Grandpa J and I started hosting epically ridiculous Sunday dinners, and I actually quit hating my job.

As a matter of fact, I love my job.  So here, in no particular order, are the Top 10 Reasons (insert mystery hagwon name here) is Lucky to Have Me:

10. I have expanded my students' vocabulary by tenfold.  It now includes, on any given day: classy, bonkers, chile (as in: chile, you makin' me crazy today), triskaidekaphobia, shart (yes, it's what you think it is), vomit, tautology, and brown chicken, brown cow. That last one they like to do in a call and answer style.
*UPDATE* I can't believe I left out MYOB and Booyah. MYOB serves a very important purpose as a teacher: it empowers students and maintains my sanity as I no longer have to put out retarded fires such as "Teacher, Alicia not do her homework!" Plus, I love hearing kids turn to the tattler and chant "MYOB."

9. "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit."  My students dutifully repeat this any time one of them starts to complain about not getting a desired object/color/seat/any other random crap kids fight about.

8. Arriving ten minutes late to work, if done consistently everyday, is technically on time, right?

7. Blue Class does a mean rendition of the Gnarls Barkley classic, Crazy:
.


6. My ability to create elaborate and expensive art projects with the full expectation that they will come to fruition:























In may have been a pain in the ass, but I'm so glad my peanut butter play-doh dreams were realized.  Suck it, Boss Lady.

5. 101 ways to say how are you?: what's up? what's the haps? what's crack-a-lackin'? what's shakin' bacon? how's it hangin'? what's the word, yo? how's trix? Yes, I speak like a thirteen year old boy, what of it?!

4. I will fight for what I want.  I will bitch and complain and wreak havoc if necessary.  I will make you see my side.  I will do it with a smile and I will win.  I'm not sure why you kept trying...

3.  Consonant -le syllable: quite possibly the most important syllable, ever.

2. Trans-Pacific pen pals.  Thanks to one Miss Silva and her class of super stoked 5th graders for enlightening my often close-minded, sometimes xenophobic group of third graders.

1. I am The Yeryn Whisperer.







6.14.2010

Oh, Eric

Sorry. I'm busy enjoying gratuitous sex scene after gratuitous sex scene. See ya tomorrow.

6.13.2010

"Chicken and Cheese" OR "It Hasn't Stopped Raining for Days"

A couple years ago I had a student with echolalia and Asperger's Syndrome.  Echolalia is a fun and funny speech disorder wherein the speaker repeats, ad nauseum, a series of vocalizations.  Asperger's Syndrome  is characterized by a ridiculously wide range of symptoms, including poor social skills, an intense need for routine and structure, and self stimulating which can include hand flapping and rocking.  I hit the jackpot with Jonathan; he presented all of the above symptoms, often at the same time.

(BTW, do we even need doctors anymore?  Seriously, this site offers parents a characteristics checklist starting in kindergarten and continuing on through high school.  I'm gonna go ahead and thank Jenny McCarthy for that one.  Also, be glad you don't have vaginismus.  Zing!)

Anyway, one of Jonathan's favorite phrases was "chicken and cheese."  He'd fold his pasty white hands into two talking "mouths," hold them at eye level in front of his pudgy face, and there they'd chant back and forth "chicken and cheese."  Chicken and cheese chicken and cheese chicken and cheese.  It kinda has a way of bouncing around in your mouth, doesn't it?

All this brings me to my current attack of echolalia.  See this blog is about me, not some bespectacled third grader I taught my first year outta college.  However, like Jonathan, sometimes my brain gets stuck on a particular word or phrase and I can't stop repeating it.  It's like the needle in my brain has gotten caught in the groove and the repetition of words just keep spinning around and around.  Sometimes it's words like discombobulated or gimcrackery.

Or sometimes, like this weekend, it's the phrase "It hasn't stopped raining for days." Rolling thunder and pouring rain woke me Sunday morning.  The same rain that started Friday night.  The same rain that continued into Monday morning.*  The same rain that is likely to wash out the remainder of my week and perhaps my last Korean summer.

It hasn't stopped raining for days.  It hasn't stopped raining for days.  It hasn't stopped raining for days.

And then of course I am forced into a sad rendition of Jars of Clay's 1995 hit, Flood.  "Isn't that a Christian rock band?" Casey so helpfully asks.  Uggh, yes.  At least I'm not miming the rain with some insane hand gestures.

*Blogging and time traveling

6.11.2010

Kimchibilly


Blogging on the weekend is hard. Monday night catch-up is easy. So I'm cheating. Besides, isn't it a testament to my pursuit of happiness that I'm actually out making merriment as opposed to holing myself up in this two room hovel, pounding away my frustration? I think so.

Last weekend my Weekday Mistress, Casey (the human, not the cat), invited me to a Speakeasy party.  What is a Speakeasy party, say you?  In an attempt to make better use of her time here in Seoul (as opposed to pissing it away), Casey has joined an indie mag called Speakeasy.  For the past few months, Casey and crew have been throwing fundraising parties in Hongdae to raise money for printing costs/get the word out about the mag.  Usually the parties are priced right at about 10,000 won, and include a free drink and some local live music. She had me at free drink.  Anyway, last weekend I managed to drag Grandpa J all the way up from Pyeongchon to join me in the debauchery.

Now, I'm not usually too stoked to drag my ass all the way to Hongdae for a drink, but last Saturday the Rock Tigers were on the bill.  The Rock Tigers are Korean's interpretation of rockabilly, and my need to see them was overwhelming -- partly because I was intrigued: Korean Rockabilly?! And partly because I covet any opportunity to make fun of others, as my friend Jon so gleefully and frequently points out.

I'd heard about the Rock Tigers from a friend last spring and had been itching for the chance to see them.   I mean, rockabilly is a woefully under-represented subculture in Asia.  Japan's pretty much got the market cornered, what with their Harajuku Rockabilly:




















and:


















and:


















True to form, the Japanese have taken the whole greaser/rockabilly genre and twisted into an unrecognizable mash-up of leather, your grandma's Aquanet and ramen.  In Korea, being "different" means breaking rank and sporting a polychromatic work wardrobe.  It almost never involves a sky high pompadour, bared chesticles, or public dancing. How could Korea ever expect to compete?

Well, like this:




Slick black pompadours?  Check.  Vintage-inspired bowling shirts and shined black boots?  Check.  Leopard printed stand-up base?  Check.  Pixie-ish front woman in a shock of pink tulle?  Check.  The Tigers had all the makings of classic rockabilly ( I'm using that term loosely here), but none of the the shock and awe of the Harajuku Rockabilly.

But they do call it Kimchibilly, so that's a bit of pioneering, I suppose.  A Google search tells me China's not even on the map.





















Check that base, yo!



























I'm a sucker for even mildly famous people.





















The Weekday Mistress and I.






















Not bitching and moaning.





















One of our finer moments.


6.09.2010

If only I knew now what I already knew then

A direct quote, from Yours Truly, about the fine city of Seoul:

"I can usually only take so much time in the city in my free time before I am so overwhelmed that I head home where I can breathe.  (Kinda.)"

 So yeah, August 2008 Mindy was far wiser than August 2009 Mindy.

Hot Child in the City

Sometimes technology is so intuitive.

As I walked home tonight, I indulged in a modicum of self-pity.  I say modicum, because my view of "home" has become ever more romanticized, as I am frequently reminded by my incessant, yet bleak, job searches and weather checks.

Anyway, summer is here.

The skies are a "kind of" blue, the masses are "kind of" donning summer weather clothing, and my face is "kind of" freckling.  Kind of, but not quite. Summer in the city officially falls into the" Uncanny Valley " category -- at first glance you think everything is normal. But really, upon further inspection, you are jarred into the reality that the people are, in fact, sporting umbrellas and jackets with the fervor westerners reserve for winter.  And then you are repulsed.

But tonight Poddley, my always trustworthy shuffle, shuffled through to this:


Built to Spill's Carry the Zero.


For years, I have associated this song with road trips to the cabin:





































Summer pool parties and backyard BBQs:

































































































































Warm summer bike rides to the bar:




















*God, I wish I had pics of our "One Gloved" bike ride to honor the passing of The King of Pop, Mr. Michael Jackson.  That would have been epic.  Kevin, if you're reading, I still blame you.




















But most of all, it reminds me of K&K:





















Don't you just love how Kevin looks all innocent in his attempts to serenade Krista, but all he's really doing is looking at her boobs?!



Oh yeah, and this fridge.  Weird how BTS reminds me of a fridge...



















The people on this fridge have wandered in and out of my life for the better part of the past 10 years. I've laughed with them and at them; I've bitched with them and at them; I've conspired with them to get Sue McNutt on the "Do Not Deliver" list.

This fridge is like a visual time capsule : there are party pics, graduation announcements, stickers, photo booth pics, souvenir bottle openers, art... the list could go on.  I have spent many sober (and drunken) nights admiring this fridge.  I love this fridge.

And now I'm not sure how to wrap this up, as I've wandered so far from my original train of thought that I'm lost in this No Man's Land of pictures and video and bitching.

So yeah, it's hot and I miss my bike.