Hitler has to Desk Warm

Perhaps the greatest thing to hit the ROK since Kickin' it in Guemchon. (Which, btw, was THE anthem of 2008.)  Thanks, Casey.

And also, I was completely unaware of the "pristine beaches of Bangkok." Must have missed those my last time through.


Ashley Kwan: Like Kim Yuna, but with more personality

No, this child has not been sucking on Otter Pops all morning, she's like this EVERY DAY.  Also, this vid was taken around 9:30AM on a field trip day. That's why everyone's got their super special Ajumma Visors on.

Also, moms is coming to visit her spawn in Korea this November.  116 days and counting. One more reason I can't wait for summer to be o.v.e.r.


Wigs, Wizards, and Jacob Black's Abs

At the movie theater, waiting to see Eclipse: We Spent Our Entire Budget on Bella's Wig and Had Nothing Leftover for the Peons.

Me: Ahh, I can't wait for Harry Potter.  BTW, why in the hell does Lithuania have a release date for Deathly Hallows and Korean's got nothing?!
Casey: Because Hogwarts is really close to Lithuania.

And later:

Casey: Mindy -- oh my god... *giggles uncontrollably*
Me: (groggily) What? I was just resting my eyes.  I heard everything.
Casey: I should have known you were asleep. You were quiet for, like, the last ten minutes.

(I have an extremely low tolerance for cheese and have an uncontrollable need to narrate, asshole-style, when the cheese-factor reaches epidemic levels.  Which it did.)

And later still, after Jacob's valiant attempts to battle the vampire Blah Blah (I have no recollection of names here, people) find him with multiple cracked ribs, writhing in pain.   The gang is gathered outside Jake's house, waiting for word from Father Cullen.

Me: Doesn't this remind you of when Baby's dad went to check on Penney after she got that really horrible abortion and everyone was waiting around the cabin to see if she was gonna, like, live?
Casey: Go take off that make-up. You look like a whore.

Aren't movies fun?


This is why you're fat

My new favorite website. As if I needed another reminder.


Today was the big day, the day Taco Bell threw open its doors to welcome me and my bulging wallet with crunchy taco supremes and mild sauce galore.  But I didn't go.  I wanted to go.  I rode the bus all the way to Itaewon with a grumbling belly and high expectations.  When my bus rolled past its doors, however, what I saw made me bust out laughing -- a line o' white people wrapped all the way around to Itaewon station.  It was bedlam!  (This is particularly funny because the bar next door is called 'Bedlam'.  Sometimes I kill me.)  Instead, I opted for a quiet trip to Myeong Dong for some shopping zen.

I know, I know, there was so much build up to this day, how could I possibly bitch out on my beloved, you may ask.  Well, because I ATE THERE ON WEDNESDAY!!!!  Ha ha, suckas!

It started Wednesday morning when Casey heard from a friend via the interwebs that Taco Bell was open.  He said people were streaming outta the restaurant and it definitely looked like business as usual.  Not wanting to get my hopes up, I told her my friend Liz said the same thang LAST Sunday.  We all know how that turned out.*  I stewed on this tidbit until lunch, when my friend James ever-so-politely asked if I was headed to Itaewon after work.

"Why?" I asked suspiciously.

"Because Taco Bell is doing a 'soft opening' before the Grand Opening on Sunday," He ever-so-politely replied.

"Do not get her hopes up, James! She's fragile this afternoon!" Casey implored.

AHHHHHH! I scoured the internets searching for confirmation of this alleged 'soft opening' but could find nothing.  The only way to find out was to haul my ass back up to Itaewon for confirmation.  Uggh.

All my hard work was rewarded, however, when I rolled off the bus to find my lover waiting patiently for my arrival.  She was shiny and sparkling new, just as I'd never remembered her.  I scoured the menu for my favorites; they were all there: Crunchy Taco Supremes, Nachos Bellgrande, Bean Burritos, oh my! I queued up and waited patiently for my turn.  Casey said I was glowing.  Shit yes, I was.

We both ordered and within minutes had our trays in hand, ready to dive in.  And we were not disappointed.  That first crunchy bite was like tasting America herself.  Nothing in Korea has reminded me so much of home.  It was awesome.

Burrito Supreme, Crunchy Taco Supreme, and in true Korean Fashion , a Nachos Bellgrande to share. WIN!

Is it completely vain that I wished for the opening to be a rumor, as I had not showered before work on Wednesday?  Dammit, I knew there'd be picture-taking... 

Nom nom nom...

*I would personally like to thank Marty for being a friend of a friend in this vast abyss we call the interwebs.  Without his word of mouth, I'd prolly still be standing in line tonight, anxiously awaiting Taco Bell Bliss.  Oh yeah, and thanks Facebook for being my home away from home at work.


If people-watching were an actual career, I'd be CEO of that shit

Sometimes (oh fuck, MOST of the time) I need quaint reminders as to why I choose to live 5000 miles from my friends and family.  Last night all it took was a little cheesy samgyupsal, a vinyl bag and some wicked people-watching.  Thanks, Hongdae.

I love street art.

Justin being super creepy at Go-Go's

The Hongdae Biker Brigade

Ho Bar II. One of FOUR Ho Bars in Hongdae. 
Still not enough to service all of Hongdae's Hos.

Open container laws are nonexistent. 
Cue the Instant Bar in a Park, complete with friendly Korean bartenders.

You know I'm a sucker for social sleepers
This is perhaps the finest specimen ever caught on film.*

A favorite.

Shiny, happy people.

*I haven't actually used film in a camera since my high school photography class, but whatever.  You get the idea.


Screw Twilight, Where's My Potter?

Oh all-knowing universe, please tell me why Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has release dates in Kazakhstan, Lithuania, and Slovakia, but NOT in South Korea.


I Told You I was Obsessed

August 24th, 2008:

"Now, if I could only get my hands on some Taco Bell."

Ask and ye shall receive, indeed.

July 4th

Oh yeah, Happy Birthday America!  I love you!

Seize the Moment

My first paycheck was $92.18. It was printed on flesh colored paper and stuffed into a business sized envelope. Miranda Lynn Page was visible through the tiny plastic window. It smelled of office and self-satisfaction. Oh, and tacos.

I think everyone fondly remembers their first job. I don't think anyone is in love with their first job. I am obsessed with my first job. 

During the spring of 1996, a sign went up down the street from my high school announcing the opening of a brand-spanking new Taco Bell.  I was 16 and my dad and step-mom had been hounding me for months to start looking for a job, especially if I wanted a car. (Or school clothes, or CDs or anything else my father thought I was now old enough to foot the bill for.) Throughout that spring I watched as Taco Bell took up residence at the corner of Sprague and University. As soon as the "Now Hiring, Apply Within" sign went up, I was there.  I remember asking for a dozen or so applications, just in case I fucked one up and had to start fresh.  Everything had to be perfect; this was real life and I meant business. With high hopes, I returned the application the very next day. I never even bothered applying anywhere else; my heart was set on Taco Bell. 

A few days later, Rob McLoughlin called me in for an interview.  I have no idea what I wore or where it was or what he asked (I have what my mother calls "a 5 year memory"), but I do remember being scared shitless.  Rob was a middle-aged dad, with a rotund belly and two stick legs. His skin was greasy and blotched like a day old pepperoni pizza.  He was disheveled and scatterbrained.  And he also happened to be a baseball coach. After what seemed like forever, he asked me to be part of his Team. What an honor.

Weeks passed before I was called for orientation. Because the store was not yet open, I had to hitch a ride on the Spokane city bus all the way downtown.  An exercise in character-building, my dad claimed when I asked for a ride. So in the sweltering June afternoon heat, I hopped the bus with the crazies and headed for town.  The orientation was held in the lobby of the dilapidated, but no less charming Taco Bell Downtown.  Joining me was the entire University High School baseball team, and one other lucky lady. It seems that Mr. McLoughlin had reached out to those he knew when looking to man his TB franchise.

After minimal training and one food safety course, I was ready to man the drive-thru like a pro.  And man I did for the entire summer.  That was the summer I learned how to make change and to rotate the walk-in according to the bright orange FIFO stickers. That was the summer I learned how to whisper into my headset at the unsuspecting pedestrians waiting to cross Lincoln Street, and then watch their befuddled reactions on the drive-thru camera.  That was the summer I learned how to intentionally fuck up an order so that I may "stage it" for a mid-break snack. (And let me tell you, nothing's better than hours-old TB!) That was the summer I learned how to "fluff" tortillas, "drop" meat and "bump" orders. That was the summer I learned that "If you got time to lean, you got time to clean." That was the summer I learned financial freedom.

So you can imagine my excitement when I heard through the grapevine that Taco Bell was making another go at an Asian Invasion.  Sometime after Christmas, my friend Lane said his girlfriend's student's dad (I know, right?!) said Taco Bell was opening up shop in Itaewon AND Yeoksam. A quick internet search led me to this.  

Soon after, this appeared in Itaewon:

For months, my trips to Itaewon were dominated by that towering taco.  My bus stop happens to be just to the right of this picture and every time I passed it, I'd peek my head around the banner, searching for signs of... Tacos? Mexicans? Fire Sauce packets?  I'm not sure.

Anyway, somewhere around mid-February I heard the official opening date was March 1st. Fuckin' ay.  I spread the word and set aside an afternoon to Think Outside the Bun. But March came and went with no TB.

Then, on May 29, this banner appeared:

Seize the Moment! Hot damn, Taco Bell was hiring, only this time the "Apply Within" had been replaced with the more modern jobs@tacobellkorea.com.  I wondered how much they'd pay this waygukin, as I'm pretty sure I'd give my left tit for a chance to "Seize the Moment." I'd show those Koreans my mad burrito-wrapping skillz -- one with each hand, y'all!  BTW, I totally went home and checked out www.tacobellkorea.com. D-minus 33 days! Opening Day was July 3rd!

Then, a mere week later:

Things were lookin' good.  I could practically taste the red sauce.

Then, on June 11 after dining on empanadas at a charming little Paraguayan restaurant around the corner:

I could hardly contain myself! Less than 30 days until cheesy gordita crunches and taco supremes. God, food makes me so happy.

So you can imagine my frustration when today I saw this:

Uncle Sam is pissed, y'all.  America's birthday is friends and family day? And you're STILL not open?! I gave you four years of blood, sweat, and tears Taco Bell. 
If I'm not family, I don't know who is.  

As of today, the official opening day per this sign AND the propaganda website is Sunday, July 11th. And on that day Taco Bell better watch out, 'cause I'mma make it RAIN.