This American Life

I am so unhappy and frustrated. Something's gotta give...


Full Plate

I'm not really a joiner. I'm not on social committees. I don't volunteer my time, services, or talent at work functions. I don't offer to bake, cook, decorate, or otherwise make merriment in social settings. I like to think showing up is enough. Except when it comes to vacations. My holiday mishaps are well-documented here and here, but for some insane reason I inexplicably take the driver's seat in all matters of travel planning. (Let it be known the one vacation I didn't plan -- three weeks in Thailand and Cambodia -- was markedly hassle-free. Wake-up call? As if.)

Nearly six years ago I took a week to explore the city of Paris with three other awesome travelers. After the flight from hell with Lieutenant Dan, the No-Armed Man, I should have known this holiday was doomed from the start. But let me back up even more.

Throughout February and March of 2006, my SuperFriend Dawn and I set about planning our epic adventure. Rather than bunking at an over-priced, potentially shabby hostel, or an impersonal hotel, we decided to rent a flat for the week. We pored over maps, Lonely Planet guides, and websites  comparing Parisian arrondissements, finally deciding (arbitrarily, I'm sure) on the 10th. We picked a flat, emailed the proprietor for price, and with a small deposit, secured a two-bedroom apartment for the week. We were invincible. At this point, Dawn was preparing for graduation, so I took the helm.

I mapped our route from Charles De Gaulle to Place de la République. I knew how to buy metro tickets, where to catch the train, and how to find our flat in the maze of Parisian alleys. And in a stroke of geniosity, I offered to take everyone's cash payment for the flat. This was a coup for me, as it was a means to make my monthly credit card payment, figuring I'd just use said credit card to pay the remainder when we arrived. Smart, right?!

The universe was quietly conspiring against me in oh so many ways.

In 2006 I was very self-involved and as such will use that as an excuse for why I had no clue THIS was going on. "Loi pour l'égalité des chances" or The Equal Opportunity Law was introduced in France and was immediately met with much opposition, especially from twenty-somethings for whom it was a gigantic threat to job security. And so they took to the streets in protest as only the French can. Protests were held once in February. Then a few more in early March. By mid-March, things were really heating up with events taking place on the 16th, 18th, 21st, and 23rd. By this time the world began to take notice. By the world I mean ME.

I heard rumblings of a "Fourth Official Day of Protest", but in true youthful fashion adopted an "It does not affect me" attitude and brushed off any concerns. Fast forward through the Flight from Hell with Lieutenant Dan, the No-Armed Man. Upon landing at Charles de Gaulle I saw this:

Innocuous baggage claim sign. Except the one I saw had MY name on it, specifically asking ME to see a baggage claim rep. Fantastic. (I actually took a picture of it before I realized what it really meant: my luggage was doomed. Must have purged the pic in a fit of rage.) No worries. After an hour of waiting somewhat patiently, my luggage was found in the belly of the plane. On to the metro. 

The girls and I schlepped through the *mostly* barren airport, down to the platform, in search of the train station. We found it empty. Empty of people, empty of trains, empty. FUCK. So we searched for a bus station. And a cab stand. Basically any form of transportation that would take us the hour trip from the airport to Republique. At this point we'd been in the airport for close to three hours. We were jet-lagged, frustrated, and physically exhausted from dragging luggage to and fro. And then someone mentioned that whole protest thang. Suddenly the puzzle pieces fell into place -- the "official day of action" was today. And it called for a strike among all transportation unions. Fantastic.

Once again we waited patiently. I have no idea how long. Forever, maybe. Eventually a train did show up. Thankful for any form of transportation into the city, we took it. And because it was the only train running we were packed like sardines (excellent prep for Asia). It was slow. Each stop lasted five to ten minutes. More and more people crammed in each time the doors slid open, but eventually we reached our stop: Gare du Nord. By this time we'd been in the country for close to five hours. We were exhausted, but not yet defeated.

Upon exiting the metro we were confronted with this: 

France 2006

France 2006

Police in riot gear, bottle-tossing protesters, tear gas. You know, general mayhem. The streets were clogged with ambulances and police cars, protesters and newsmen. Businesses and storefronts were shuttered against the action. The inaugural baguette was apparently out of the question. Battered and exhausted but still not defeated, we trudged on. It was at this point, however, that Dawn decided she'd rather be part of the protest than go hunting for our flat. She handed off her luggage to Vivi and vowed to meet us back here in an hour.


Cold, tired, lost, scared shitless, and lacking even a modicum of French, I handed the reigns to Anji. Find our flat, I told her, and fast. Fast turned into another hour as we were forced to navigate around barricades erected to contain protesters. And then we found it:

France 2006

Getting in was a whole other issue, as was dragging luggage up a five floor walk-up. Our landlord had planned to meet us with a key, but seeing as how it had taken us nearly six hours to arrive, she took off. I rang her up and within minutes she was there, ready for a cash payment. WHAT?!?

If you've made it this far, congratulations. You're probably thinking, "Mindy, you are an idiot. Do not plan anything again. Ever." And you would be right, because what happened next made me shake my fists at the sky -- I was ROBBED.

Kidding. Kind of.

After repeated attempts to elicit cash from the ATM using both my debit and credit cards, I called Chase who proudly informed me that my accounts had been frozen due to "irregular activity." They would, of course, be happy to reinstate all accounts -- tomorrow. My head hung in shame, I told the ladies if they wanted to sleep in a bed (as opposed to the streets of Paris) they'd have to pony up their spending money. Among the three of us (remember, Dawn was in French solidarity mode), we managed to pay for the flat, but not before I endured much shame and humiliation at my stupidity.

Thankfully we managed to find Dawn amid the chaos, and even found that inaugural baguette I'd been craving.

France 2006

France 2006

Every March, I get an email from one of these ladies proclaiming, "We should have a reunion in France!" They must be out of their minds.

Story Story Blog

Once a month I attend a live storytelling event called Story Story Night. Each month is themed and contributors are asked to tell a true tale, live and on stage, without notes. Submissions are taken from anyone, but only three are chosen as featured storytellers. Once a month I trek downtown to hear true stories from friends and strangers alike. Some months the stories are ho hum. I listen merely because I like to hear stories, and also it takes a whole helluva lot of guts to share a piece of your life with a room full of strangers. The least I can do is listen respectfully.

Some months the stories are powerful and moving. They strike a chord in me so intense I think maybe I could tell my stories. I mentally dig through my past, searching for a story that relates to the month's theme. I craft a tale in my head fit for an audience, searching for just the right adjective or phrase... and then I lose my nerve.

So maybe I'll post those stories here, as a sort of Story Story Blog. If I give myself assignments, maybe I can get my ass in gear.


Thanksgiving 2011, American Edition

Holy hell, how did another two months pass me by?! So much for that whole "blogging on a regular basis" blasphemy. Ah well, here's to new beginnings, however fleeting...

As per usualI'm over a week late on this whole Thanksgiving blog business. This year has been a trying one -- one big move across the Pacific, hundreds of sent resumes, countless sleepless nights spent worrying and fretting, a handful of nerve-wracking interviews, four spare rooms and three jobs later -- and I'm still here. Everyday, it seems, I question my decision to come home, but for what it's worth, I have a shit ton for which to be thankful this year.

Let's get this bitch started.

More than ever, I am thankful for my family. Without their financial, emotional, and logistical help, I prolly would have absconded back to Korea six months ago.

I am forever thankful for my dad and stepmom who so graciously lent me their "spare" truck for SIX WHOLE MONTHS, no questions asked. I took them to dinner as a thanks, but I'm pretty sure one meal at McGrath's Fish House six months' car rental fees ;)

I am thankful for my mother who always lends an ear to my emotional meltdowns. I seem to have an existential crisis about once a month, and moms is always ready to support even my most outlandish musings.

I am thankful for the Becks, who let me live rent-free for a whole summer so that I might save enough cheddah for a shiny new car. And as if rent-free wasn't good enough, they also have an in-ground pool. Can you say awesomely generous?!

I am forever thankful to my Summer School Partners in Crime, Karen and Kristi. Just as my Korea money dried up, they swooped in and offered up my summer school position, no interview needed. Thanks to their generosity, my summer diet consisted of way more steak and way less ramen. *Sidenote: Karen and Kristi were my intern supervisors during my senior year in college. Still willing to employ me seven years later? Fuck yeah.

I am thankful for the California Cheezeburgers. Although it seems the entire bar hates us, I'm happy to be a member of the winning-est trivia team at Pengilly's Tuesday night Booze Clues. I like to think without my knowledge of inane pop culture, reality TV stars, and world capitals they'd be just another trivia team, but in reality, the collective Cheezeburgers know way more about way more than I could ever hope to. Also, suck it, Bologna Express.

And I am thankful for facial hair. I lived in Asia for three years. 'Nuff said.

On a totally unrelated note, a friend asked why I'm no longer blogging. I want to, I replied, as it can be incredibly cathartic. However, for so long this blog was a place to share all the ridiculous cultural mishaps living in a foreign country afforded me. Making cultural mishaps is still my specialty, unfortunately in America it's called "being an ass."


some days i think helen keller had it good

"i always try to post really positive stuff on my facebook. i know people read that and will just think i'm a downer, so i always try to keep it positive."


"why don't you look up the word redemption and see if it means to you what it means to me."


"i really like pirate jokes. i try to post as many as i can on 'talk like a pirate day'."

sometimes i REALLY miss language ignorance.

on another note, i bought a new car. i'd post a pic here, but me and cameras are on a break right now. besides, my bad decision-making is already well documented on the interwebs. no need to add "$12,000 hyundai" to the mix, am i right?!


if the shoe doesn't fit, throw it out the window

mundane in america. that should be the new title to this blog. because that's what life is now -- mundane. i go to work. i come home from work. occasionally i party. sometimes i get laid. more often than not i find myself eating shitty fast food on my way to or from the suburbs. i play bocce ball in the parent's backyard. i avoid my brother and his wife. i am privy to the inane conversations that fill coffeehouses.

in short, i am bored. sometimes, literally to tears. this morning i found myself sniffling in the parking lot, whilst i readied myself for the bi-weekly staff meeting. saturday, i wept while en route from a family friend's mundane 50th birthday party. last week i wept whilst shopping for a cocktail dress.

you see, i am not exactly lacking in the social outings department, it's just that i'm finding these activities incredibly boring and not exactly blog-worthy. mayhaps i should take a break. like a really, REAL break. so that i may gather my thoughts and focus. because, truth be told, the "i am not a teacher" moniker still fits. i am NOT a teacher. but i'm not sure i'm a blogger either.

stay tuned...


TP is a right, NOT a privilege!

Dear America,

In these tough economical times it is somewhat hard to find things for which to be thankful, especially after living in a foreign country that provided solid health care, pension, and a steady paycheck. But tonight, America, you really did me a solid. In a crowded bar, full of drunken chicks and karaoke amateurs, your bathroom toilets did not overflow ONCE! And you provided not one, but two rolls of toilet paper. And PBRs were less than $3. OMG, it's as if the heavens opened up and rained good fortune upon me and my drunken brethren. That, and I got to stalk my secret crush, Josh Gross.

So yeah, Friday night WIN.

Stay classy, America.

Love always,


All I Really Need to Know, I Learned in Summer School for Adjudicated Juveniles

  • When the end of days happens and our life blood, the sun, finally burns out, we will only need to turn up the dial on our heaters in order to survive. Apparently things like photosynthesis and the food chain and, well, HEAT, are not necessarily essential to life on Earth.
  • The big toe is the captain of the foot.
  • Penguins do not separate themselves into Bloods and Crips.
  • Papier mache snakes and papier mache blunts look surprisingly similar. And requiring a google search for "brown snake with red head" will not stop students from crafting the world's largest blunt whilst at school.
And speaking of crafts...
  •  15 year old boys are apparently misinformed about the female genitalia. At least one of them believes our ladyparts include teeth.  I've never used the term "vagina dentata" so many times in my entire life.
  • "Dude" and "Dawg" are appropriate ways to address your teacher.
  • There are no beavers at the Boise Zoo, animal or otherwise...
  • Not all of America's youth are apathetic, ill-informed assholes. At least one of them warranted the nickname "Wikipedia".
  • Krista Beck will henceforth be known as "that hot teacher lady".
  • When students are afraid to try, say, welding, they will get all rule-abiding on your ass and ask to sign a waiver. There are no waivers in Summer School for Adjudicated Juveniles.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to teach students swear words in a foreign language.
  • Apparently it IS humanly possibly to eat an entire bag of Sara Lee cinnamon raisin bagels in one sitting.
  • Dr. Pepper is the breakfast of champions.
And the number one thang I learned in Summer School for Adjudicated Juveniles:
  • No, you will never use quadratic equations in your adult life. Yes, you still have to learn them.
Here's to five, yes FIVE summers with the cream of the crop.



*Knock*  *Knock*

Hello? Hello..?


Oh, it's you. Long time no see, eh? You've missed me, you say. Been wondering what I've been up to since last we met?


Well, it's been a long, uneventful four months, but I am officially BACK. As of today, I will again try mah hand at blogging. But not right now. Right now I must resume my duties cleaning out the pantry and consuming every Law and Order SVU on cable TV. This is also known as "house-sitting".

Stay tuned...


The Grass is NOT Always Greener...

Screw you, WordPress.

My foray into the world of WordPress was fleeting. Once I imported this here blog and discovered I'd lost videos like this and this and of course, this, I realized there was no way I could abandon all my hard work. (And by hard work, I obviously mean recording my students fellating popsicles and imitating enraged felines whilst sitting on my ass.) Besides, all those gadgets and widgets and themes were just too fucking big city for this girl. I'll take my small town Blogger with her simple themes any day.

I'm sorry I cheated on you, Blogger. I promise to blog with you, and only you, as long as we both shall live.

And also, I'm officially blogging from America!*

*So long as I'm gainfully employed with kick ass health insurance within the next 60 days.


Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we...

Today, I miss my *Korean Life.

 Sperm and egg kimchi bokumbap

Makin' banana bread at Stone's Kitchen 

Social sleeping in Pyeongchon 

Casey the Spy 

Chucks at Weekend at Sunny's 

Another lifetime at Uncle Don's Bar 

Go Stop at Gwangali Beach 

That's "gracamoie" to you 

Fried chicken nuggets and tater tots at 4AM? Of course. 

Lotus in my 'hood 

The time I killed Marty at Sunday Funday 

Mustaches for Dawn and me 

The Family Mart snowman 

Raiden the Spiderkitty! 

Taylor Swift at Olympic Stadium 

So close! 

Jamie's mango vagina. Bus rides are boring, y'all.

All these pics were taken with my shitty LG Compact Tomb (yes, that's its real name) over the course of three years.

*I don't really miss Korea, just my life there. A fine distinction...


Odds and ends

I'm not in university, but damn, it FEELS like I am. I've been studying like a mad woman for the past five weeks for a job that I kinda *really* want.

See, the day I stepped foot in America, I scored an interview with the Boise Police Department. I know, don't let your jealousy overwhelm you. Anyway, because the county is super efficient, they set the interview SIX WEEKS out. Mayhaps they knew that although my University diploma says I'm well-versed in the workings of the American Criminal Justice system, at this point I'm more familiar with Konglish Interpretation and Charades with six year olds. Anyway, I've been trying my damnedest to use this time wisely (and we all we know I usually squander my free time here). In the past five weeks I have:

  • Comprehensively reviewed Idaho domestic violence laws, stalking statutes, and rape statutes. Did you know a man can't legally be raped in Idaho? Just a bit of food for thought...
  • Reviewed Idaho criminal, civil, and juvenile court procedure. Did you know that when a defendant is found "not guilty" their bond is exonerated or returned? I always wondered what happened to all that cheddah.
  • Compiled a comprehensive list of all community resources available to victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Did you know the WCA offers *free* domestic violence and sexual assault orientations to the public?
  • Attended an informational tour of the Women's and Children's Alliance. Did you know these are offered once a month and are totally free to the public?
  • Rode along with my Favorite Boise Police Officer as he patrolled the valley last Saturday night. Did you know my ex-boyfriend has been arrested no less than a dozen times in the past three years? (Okay, so that one's not really educational so much as it is oddly satisfying.)

The rest of this week is wicked busy, as I have an un-related job interview on Wednesday; a domestic violence orientation that same evening; a tour of FACES, a local family advocacy and education service center; and an observation at a domestic battery hearing. In addition, I've started writing down potential questions and answers so that I am fully prepared for this damn interview.

Wish me luck!


NEVER be lenient with chickens...

This is what I've learned on the Urban Farm, more widely known as the Armagost/Jones home. My friends are vacationing in Korea and Japan, and while they're off galavanting in the Far East, I've been relegated to the task of urban farming. Most days this only includes feeding and watering five chickens, two cats, and one three-legged dog. But there's been a mutinous air about the farm recently. Stella, the black and white hen who obviously rules the roost, somehow convinced the other chickens to break free! So yesterday, in the blustery rain, I chased five chickens in circles, trying to regale them back into the coop. With all the feisty hens safely pent-up, the sun broke through and this is what I got:

Also, I took all these shots with my brand-spanking-used Sony Cybershot. I bought it off a guy on the street for $45. Not bad, eh?! 


Speaking Easy

`A few weeks ago, before I left Korea, I told a friend I'd try to submit a piece to Speakeasy, a magazine for expats and Koreans in Seoul. Each issue has a theme, and last month's was "Plan B", something with which I feel VERY familiar right now. I hope you like it.

I am knee deep in Plan B, but I always have been. Allow me to elaborate. 
Plan A is Successful. She sets goals and completes tasks. She is prepared. Plan A has guts, bravado, courage, forthrightness. She does research, makes lists, checks them twice. Plan A returns phone calls. She has an impeccable resume and she knows how to use it. Plan A is never called a flake, always meets deadlines, and most certainly never has to be asked twice to pay her internet bill, as it is late again. 
Plan A is Confident. Plan A has shiny hair and well-manicured hands. When she smiles her eyes crinkle and her teeth sparkle. When she walks, her spine is straight, her shoulders are back, her steps quick and sure. Plan A wears pearls and carries Coach.  Her chinos are always perfectly pressed, her cardigan the precise shade of success. Plan A is never disheveled, always looks refreshed, and most certainly does not know the meaning of “No Shower Monday”.
Plan A is Healthy. Plan A takes care of her body. She moisturizes and exfoliates and always brushes her teeth before bed. She dutifully puts in her time on the treadmill and knows how to say no to shitty Korean birthday cake. Plan A loves kale and asparagus and quinoa. She reads Fit magazine during the morning commute. Plan A knows her limit and respectfully declines when she’s “had enough”. Plan A never gets tanked on Sunday night, always hits the gym at 6 AM, and most certainly never engages in such debauchery that she vomits in her own bed.
Plan A is Desirable. Her class and elegance are admired by women, her firm ass and pert breasts lusted after by men. She is universally liked and respected. Plan A knows when to flash a toned thigh to get what she wants. She never lies on her Match.com profile and rarely disappoints in person. Plan A is well-rounded. She embraces the arts, history, and literature. Plan A never stumbles over her words, always knows how to ask for what she wants in bed, and would most certainly never shuffle down Gangnam-ro in a walk of shame.
Plan A is the epitome of aspiration and hopefulness. She is my best foot forward and my blind optimism. Plan A is my ideal self, and for a few fleeting moments every morning she exists. When the beep of my alarms sounds and I roll over to greet a new day, Plan A is in full effect.  I am successful, confident, healthy and desirable. My hair is shiny, my eyes are bright, my wit and charm are irrepressible. 
I am  Plan A and I am invincible. That is, until I hit the snooze button for a solid 30 minutes before floundering out of bed with just enough time to wash the bed sheet creases outta my face, slap on a smudge of make-up, and race out the door to catch the 144. Plan A may be successful, confident, healthy, and desirable, but Plan B’s a tenacious stalker who always  snares her prey.

You can check out the rest of this issue and past issues at www.speakeasyseoul.com.


Welcome to Adulthood

A few days ago I got to play counselor to a former summer school student, at which time I said her current group of friends suck and politely told her "you are who you hang out with." Wise words, Ms. Page. Mayhaps I should be taking my own advice...


Enrique Iglesias wants to f*ck me

So I came home to no job, no car, and no place to live, but at least I've got this:


Mindy's Super Scientific Analysis of America's Lifeblood

I never intended to go this long between posts, but the weeks leading up to my departure from Ko-ree-yah were so freaking busy. Somehow, in the span of three years, I managed to create a busy, frenetic, and demanding social life (read: full of beers and food) that I had zero time to sit down and compose my thoughts. Go figure. Besides, I suspected that if I had, it would have just turned into one giant crying lag. And no one wants to read my bitching and moaning, especially as it comes just one short year after I was bitching and moaning about how I loathed Seoul. So yeah...

Anyway, there are lots of things I fully intend to write about, but they are not for today. Today is for coffee. Specifically drip coffee, the kind Korean baristas *foolishly* make to order, then charge exorbitant prices for, all in the name of exclusivity.

As you well know, I had a love affair with my local Starfucks. It was warm and cozy and full of squashy armchairs that were perfect for Sunday afternoon lounging. It was usually packed full of studious yet fashionable Koreans chattering away or sleeping. Sometimes both. And it was familiar. Hell, I spent the entire month of December 2009 hooked up the their wifi, as mine was unceremoniously cut off when I didn't pay the bill as I was saving all my won for knockoff Rolexes in China. Starfucks even saved my life once, but that's another story.

Anyway, I knew if I was to be successfully unemployed for any amount of time, I was gonna have to make job searching my full time, well, JOB. Coffee shops make the best offices, so each morning I have dutifully rolled outta bed, showered, and hightailed it out the door. However, I was heartbroken to find my favorite Starbucks on Capital and Idaho had closed. I looked up the street, sure another would be just around the corner. Nope. There are zero Starbucks in downtown Boise. Extremely sad, I quietly ducked into Java down the street and realized coffee shops in Boise are, for lack of a better word, quaint. If I spend more than one consecutive day in any shop, the damn baristas start asking all kinds of questions about my bizness. Do not like. So in addition to my job searching, I have embarked on a super scientific analysis of downtown coffee shops. I'ma call it:

Drip Coffee is a Right, NOT a Privilege! 
Mindy's Super Scientific Analysis of America's Lifeblood

(For the record, I would have included pics, but I dropped my shiny new Nikon in a frothy beverage on dollar beer night. And I have a Cricket phone sans camera, which kinda says a lot about my life right now...)

Up first, Starfucks on Broadway
Kick Ass!:
  • $1.50 for a cup of joe, but I had to ask the bitchface barista for a ceramic mug (drip coffee in a paper cup is just sad, y'all)
  • The setting was familiar, as I spent many afternoons studying here in my formative years
  • I got to listen to a set of parents ream their son about his meager class load
  • Free parking
Blows Chunks:
  • Remodeling = zero squashy chairs
  • Natural light is nonexistent. I know I'm supposed to be job searching and all, but sometimes I need a "reading/drawing ridiculous Easter cards" break
  • Full of crusty old professors

Flying M at 5th and Idaho
Kick Ass!:
  • By far the cheapest cup of joe at $1.35
  • No need to ask for a ceramic mug at this trendy joint, they KNOW I wanna save the world
  • UH-MAZINGGG gift shop
  • It hasn't changed much since I started haunting the place in junior high
  • Most excellent people watching...
Blows Chunks:
  • But, ugh, this place is full of hipsters
  • Gotta pump the meter or park a few blocks away (maybe that should be a positive...)
  • No liquid sugar

Java at 6th and Idaho
Kick Ass!:
  • $1.45 for a cup of joe
  • Good mix of students, grown-ups, and downtown freaks
  • Liquid sugar!
  • Ceramic mugs are a given
Blows Chunks:
  • Pumping the meter, AGAIN
  • Ummm, it's not Starfucks?

Tully's at Capital and Idaho 
*I should hate this place on principle because they ousted my Starfucks, but...
Kick Ass!:
  • I cannot remember the price, but the blueberry and white choco scone was fan-fucking-tastic
  • I ran into Miss Amanda Morgan there!
  • Liquid sugar
Blows Chunks:

Big City Coffee at Grove and 15th 
Kick Ass!:
  • Unlimited free parking!
  • A most excellent deli case with amazing-looking sammies
  • A big 'ol bay door that opens to the street in summer
  • No need to ask for ceramic mugs, that's all they've got
Blows Chunks:
  • At $2.07, by far the most expensive cup of coffee out there
  • AND, I had to pour it myself. WTF?!
  • Not only did they not have liquid sugar, they only had sugar packets. Double WTF?!

Moxie Java at 6th and Main
Kick Ass!:
  • $1.43 for a cup of joe, but I had to ask for a mug
  • I've been sitting here since 2PM, (basically alone as this place is D.E.A.D.) and the barista doesn't seem to mind my intrusion
  • Moxie is a local joint, and since everything else in Boise as gone tets up, I feel good supporting the underdog
  • Mariah Carey's Make It Happen is playing right now!
Blows Chunks:
  • This place is seriously dead. How in the world are they still open??
  • Closing time is 6PM (although, in light of the extreme lack of customers, I suppose I can see their point)
  • Pumping the meter, again. BUT my friendo Dave is a meter maid in my lot. Mayhaps he'll cut me a deal...
  • Where the fuck is the bathroom? I have to pee like a damn racehorse
In my scientific opinion, which is based mostly on whim, liquid sugar availability, and the dreaded parking sitch, Big City Coffee should win, hands down.  

However, (and it's a big however) I just overheard Supa Cool Moxie Barista say to his skater BF that THIS Moxie is the Original Gangsta! Yep, the first one! Hot damn, that deserves some extra points, right? That, and the fact that it's closing in four months. That's like the fat white girl on American Idol announcing she's got cancer. How do you NOT give her the win? So...

Moxie at 6th and Main FOR THE WIN!
(I guess)

Tomorrow I'ma continue my analysis at Dawson's at 8th and Bannock. They better have liquid sugar.


Avocados and Quinoa

Job hunting has mostly been fruitful and I'm feeling cautiously optimistic. However, as I type this, I'm seated in my cozy classroom, listening to The Whitest Boy Alive while fielding grammar questions from a class full of first graders. So yeah, my job is pretty cake at the moment. Why on Earth would I ever return to The Land of the Living? I've been asking myself that same question for awhile. I think it's so I can eat avocados and quinoa whenever I damn well please.

When I know the answer definitively, I'll get back to you...

My time is running out...


Bleeding Love

I have completely neglected this bitch. But don't feel bad, I've pretty much neglected e'erything else as well. As a matter of fact, dishes from my last home-cooked meal (read: the morning of Sunday, February 6th) are continuing to rot in the sink. Don't judge. I got food poisoning that night and puked so hard snot dripped outta my nose and tears streaked my face. Which leads me to today, Valentine's Day. A day for sappy sentiments and even sadder, sappier suckers. I have nothing against Valentine's Day. As a matter of fact, I've had a handful of awesomely successful Valentine's chock full of flowers and food and sex.

Today was not one of those days.

Today I had to make a trip to Kooky Korean Doc's so that I could fish around in my own poop so that in a week Kooky Korean Doc can tell me if I'm gonna die, or if I just have hemorrhoids. Or colon cancer. Or E.coli poisoning. (Yeah, pretty sure it's not that last one, but if it is, hooray for my new "I'm headed home soon and need to lose 20 pounds FAST" diet plan!)

So yeah, this Valentine's Day was THE SHIT!

*As much as I'd fucking love to end this post with that wildly successful pun, I can't. After I told Kooky Korean Doc about my probs, he asked me the routine follow-up questions: What did you eat? Are you feeling stress? How is your sleep? Do you have lelijun? WAIT. WHAT?

"Do you have lelijun?" he repeated. I ran the word through my Konglish Translator. Lesions? Do I have lesions?

"Like spots?" I asked, still baffled.

"You are American? Do you have L-E-L-I... I am Christian!" Kooky Korean Doc proudly proclaimed, as he pointed to the Bible on his desk.


"Uh, no, I do not have RE-LI-JUN," I enunciated carefully. But back to the potentially cancerous growth in my intestines, if you will.

"You are happy?"

Exasperated sigh. "Yes, I am happy."

"Me! I am happy or not happy?"

REALLY exasperated sigh. "Uh, happy?"

And on it went until he pulled out a sheet of paper entitled "Seven Steps to Spirituality: Reasons Mindy's NOT Getting into Heaven", or some such ridiculousness.

*Parenthetically: I am all for religious freedom -- practice it, revel in it, bathe your damn kids in it -- but for fuck's sake please, please, PLEASE keep it at church. And while we're at it, keep it off the streets of Itaewon, everyone there is already going to hell. Oh, and my front doorstep too.

Anyway, seeings how I could never say any of those things to Kooky Korean Doc, I batted my eyes, smiled politely and said, "Religion is for church. Health is for hospital. Please, no religion here."

He sat back. He smiled. Then he asked if I was ready to poop.


Double-spacing, and other typeface tragedies

It's snowing again, so this is officially how I plan to spend my remaining five Sundays in Korea:

My rusty, trusty Pearl, a little Murakami, and a vanilla chai tea latte.  Also, that wallpaper is actually a photo taken by my friend Greg, of One Wandering Mustache. He's been WWOOF'ing and photographing in New Zealand for nearly a year. He sometimes posts photos on his blog, but if you can find him on facebook, check out his albums. They are truly breathtaking.


I had a date with Eurohot this morning. Friday afternoon we got all ambitious and decided to hunker down in this here Starfucks to bang out resumes, cover letters, and all matters of indecent proposals in search of stateside employment. However I suspect Eurohot got stupid drunk last night, as he canceled at 3AM, so I'm all alone this morning. And when left to my own devices, I rarely make good use of my time. So I guess I'll blog.

I read this article last week about how double-spacing after the period is all outdated and unnecessary, and for some strange reason I'm still pondering it. Mayhaps I'm trying to avoid real-life. Anyway, I graduated with a degree in the Social Sciences of Uselessness, so I'm used to employing the APA Style Manual. However, the Blogger text wrap function (or whatever the hell it is) doesn't recognize my precious double-spacing, making some of my text look all wonky. I've been fighting the double-space urge for three years (read: when I started this rant), but like Pavlov's dogs, my thumb can't resist hitting the space bar twice after my eyes see that period. And muscle memory is damn hard to override. So today I'm making a conscious effort to join the hipster masses and just. space. once.

In other, potentially less boring news, Casey the Human has started a Korean bucket list. Sort of a list of thangs she'd like to check off before she leaves this island peninsula forevah. I've been thinking a lot about my own bucket list, which then got me to thinking about all the cool stuff I've put my body, mind, and taste buds through in the past three years.

So here, in no particular order, are the Cliff's Notes of my time in Korea:
  • Mudfest 2008, wherein I slathered my body in mud, frolicked on the beach, and drank myself into oblivion for two whole days
  • Tumbled down a flight of stairs, breaking two teeth, my nose, and my lip but not my spirit, BY GOD!
  • On multiple occasions had my entire naked body scrubbed raw by a middle-aged Korean woman, and LIKED it
  • Eaten more kimchi, rice, pork spine soup, bone marrow, fried squid, abalone porridge, takoyaki, and sea snails than one person ever should
  • Lived through multiple outbreaks of hoof and mouth disease and swine flu
  • Traveled by plain, train, rented car, and luxury bus to Busan, Jeju (twice) Gangneung, Anmyeondo, Boryeong, Daegu, Cheongdo, and Jinju.
  • Saw Korean bullfighting, which is really just two bulls fighting one another. Far less gory than the Spanish version, but no less weird.
  • Walked along Suwon Fortrtess, Jinju Fortress, visited Gyeongbukgung, Doeksugung, Changdeokgung, and bowed at countless buddhist temples
  • Danced on a bar in Sinsadong on NYE
  • Suckered into attending the Jinju Lantern Festival because, as Erica put it, "It's like Korea's Carnivale!" Erica's such a liar...
  • Swam in the Yellow Sea, the East Sea and the Korean Strait
  • Lived through three typhoons (okay, one was in Taiwan, but whatevs) and Snowpocalypse 2010
  • Played tour guide to Dawn, Sara (twice!), moms, and Michelle
  • Slept in some scummy places, the worst being the minbak in Gangneung, Independence Day, summer 2008. The proprieter (a regular Heidi Fleiss) kicked out some working girls to make room for our party of eight. The whole place stank of urine and had more spider webs than Zuckerman's  barn. After drowning our sorrows at a local bar, we all curled up on some blood-stained pillows, vowing to hunt for better digs the next night.
  • Hiked Gwanaksan and drank makkoli at the top like a champ
  • Pocketed seashells from no less than ten Korean beaches
  • Took a midnight party bus to Busan with two Kiwis, two Aussies, and one massive Tongan, all in the name of a surf weekend
  • RAIN in concert. Need I say more?
  • Took a Korean lovah
  • Traveled to Beijing, Shanghai, Bangkok, Phuket, Ko Phi Phi, Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, and Taipei (thanks, shitty hagwon jobs!)
  • Broke my finger at Castle Praha. That sucker bled so fucking much that I puked from shock on the bar floor three times.
All in all, a successful three years, I'd say. 


This is Why Mindy Doesn't Blog About Vacations: France Edition

The Pretty Reckless are rocking my world.  Thanks, Casey the Human.

And speaking of pretty reckless (I swear, I'm only listening to Baby Panda Taylor Momsen's seminal Courtney Love tribute band so that I may make epically bad puns), remember that one time I went to France?

No, say you?  Well sit right back and you'll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip...

Once, on a whim, I went to one of those sex toy parties with my mom and future sister-in-law.  I know, sometimes I make really good choices.   Anyway, the party was being held at a family friend's home, so of course it was teeming with middle-aged women chomping at the bit to down their first blow-job shots.  Believe me when I say there was a chorus of "oohs" and "ahhs" when the hostess brought those suckers out.  Wanting nothing more than to crawl into my sweater and disappear, I quietly ducked out of the room and parked myself in front of a computer.  My friend Dawn, of Leg Lamp fame, had been hassling me to book another trip abroad for a few weeks. (Although truth be told, I can't imagine why -- our last foray had been fraught with fuck-ups.)  I logged onto Yahoo Travel and tentatively searched flights to Europe. Luck was definitely a lady that night as I found a round-trip ticket from BFE Idaho to Paris for less than $500.  I booked two tickets immediately.

Unbeknownst to me, flying to Western Europe at that price is basically unheard of.  Four months later I found out why: Boise --> Minneapolis --> Detroit --> Paris.  No sweat off my back, I had my ladies to keep me company.  That was until we boarded in Detroit. Our boarding passes had no seat assignments.  We watched in horror as the entire jet was seated before the flight attendant even glanced our way.  With a plastic smile and a saccharine voice, she politely informed us that we may take whatever seats were leftover.


Anji headed for the rear, Dawn somewhere in the middle.  Not wanting to be separated, Vivi and I plopped down in two choice spots: front and center aisle with plenty of leg room for the eight hour flight.  Not five seconds after buckling in, did I realize why these seats were conveniently vacant.  A portly man of about 50 years came ambling our way.  He parked himself next to me, then politely turned and asked me to buckle his seat belt.  WTF?

The man had no arms!  Like literally, no fucking arms!  All he had were two tiny, misshapen hands sprouting from his shoulders! 

*Now. In these types of situations I suppose there are really only two paths one can take.  1) You can play the foreigner card and feign any understanding of the English language, in which case you are a total prat, or 2) You can man up and help a brutha out.

So I reached over, and oh-so-delicately fastened my new friend's seat belt.  This being a trans-Atlantic flight and all, that was just the beginning.  Soon, the beverage cart came bustling down the aisle.  Coke for me, Orange Fanta for my new friend, who in my head I'd already coined Lieutenant Dan.  I politely popped my tab, took a swig, then popped his and held it to his mouth while he took a grateful chug. (Why the flight attendant never offered us a straw or why we never thought to ask is beyond me...)

Then came dinner service.  I can imagine what must have been running through Lieutenant Dan's head as he worked up the courage to ask me, a total stranger, to feed him dinner.  He was a perfect gentleman.  He turned to me and politely asked if, when I had finished my meal, might I be willing to do him a solid?  Being the non-douche that I am, I obliged.

And on it went through movie time, snack service, bathroom time, and breakfast service the next morning.  

Becoming so intimate so quickly is rarely how I operate.  I loathe the entire act of flying and almost never strike up conversations with my seat mates.  I certainly never expected to be feeding a middle-aged man so early in my adult-life, let alone on a Boeing 757.  But Lieutenant Dan was endearing and so was his story.  Apparently the Wifey, who was a Frenchie, had booked her flight home months prior.  Dan had no interest in seeing the In-Laws, so he declined her offer and opted to stay home.  After months of wifely nagging he decided to make the trek, but alas, Wifey's flight was all full.  And that was how he wound up on a plane unaided.  To make matter's worse, Genius Delta Flight Attendant had further emasculated him when she ordered he stow his Magic Wand Flex Grabber.  (Actually I have no idea what it was called, but multiple internet searches led me here and here.)

*Side note: google search "arm amputees" and you get this:

Anyway, that Flex Grabber was his ticket to freedom.  With it he could have easily unbuckled his seat belt, used the remote, and popped his own tab.

Nearing the end of our flight, he expressed his gratitude and invited the girlfriends and me to the In-Laws for a home cooked French meal.  I laughed and secretly hoped I'd get to see the Magic Wand Flex Grabber in action.  Soon after, we landed, I grabbed our luggage and we parted ways at the gate, but not before the Genius Delta Flight Attendant pulled me aside.

"I saw what you were doing there," she conspiratorially whispered in my ear.  "I wanted to say 'thank you' and to give you these coupons."  Then she thrust a grip of papers into my hands.  I was doing your fucking job, I thought to myself, but kept my mouth shut when I saw the coupons: $100 off my next flight and $50 in drink coupons!  WAHOO! Feeding Lieutenant Dan paid somewhere around $18 an hour -- better than my day job.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why you never buy plane tickets online whilst at a sex party with your mom and sister-in-law.

BTW, I never asked how he managed to unbutton his pants and hold his hooha all those times he got up to pee.  Methinks he sat, I suppose...


29 Truths and 1 Lie

I've gotten tagged in a handful of those "30 'random' things about yourself" Facebook notes over the past few days.  Since actually posting them on Facebook seems a bit, well, awkward (for lack of a better word), I guess I'll post them here.  After all, this is my blog, so the expectation that I talk about only myself is already in place.  Seems a bit less self-centered that way.  (Or mayhaps I'm just fooling you...)

So, in no particular order, may I present to you:

30 Random Things about Myself That I Haven't Already Overshared on the Internets

1. I am an avid collector of street posters.  I prolly have somewhere near 100, many of which are rolled up waiting for that day when I can finally afford to have them framed.  My favorite is an advertisement for a Gustav Klimt exhibit in Seoul that I've also affixed my entry ticket to.  I stole it from Anguk station in winter 2008.

2. There are two miniature plastic dairy cows permanently placed on my desktop speakers.  One has pink hooves, the other neon green.  They are my tiny pieces of pastoral bliss.

3. I do not miss my family nearly as much as I should.  This makes me feel guilty beyond belief.

4. I have read the entire Harry Potter series at least five times and I'm damn proud of it.

5. At 30, I have become incredibly selfish with my time and resources.  I want to have kids, but I am afraid that I wouldn't share well with them.

6. Last year I finally read The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.  It is a novel about love, relationships, monogamy, trust, betrayal, and companionship.  I am so thankful to have read it as a 30 year old woman, rather than at a naive 22.  Otherwise, I believe it would have beaten me down and stolen my will to connect with others.  It is easily among my top 10 most loved books.  (Behind 'Harry Potter' of course!)

7. I have a wretched short term memory and will often forget things 15, 10, even five minutes after discussing them...

8. However, I have an excellent sense of direction and can often relocate places I have visited just once.  This is prolly why I made such an epic pizza delivery girl.

Can I start making stuff up yet?  Damn, this is way harder than I thought...

9. I have very few rituals, or things I do methodically and consistently, however I always put my left sock and shoe on first, I always read Postsecret on Sunday mornings, and I never brush my teeth before bed.

10. If I am friends with you on Facebook and you've just had a child, I will publicly congratulate you, but I will privately block you from my news feed.  One person can only take so many "Jasper pooped like a champ!" or "Grayson is finally eating pea puree!" posts.  Come on.

11. I secretly envy Canadians' patriotism.  And their poutine.  America's got nothing on poutine.

12. Although I know it is absolutely professionally necessary for me to start and complete grad school, I am fucking scared shitless to return to the daily grind of schoolwork and homework.  Can't I get an honorary degree??

13. I almost never act on my crushes.  I let them silently fester.  It's more fun that way.

14.  My hair smells like maple bacon as I type this.  I made some kick-ass bacon sliders with homemade steak fries and grilled veggies for dinner.  I need a boyfriend if only to have someone to cook for.

15. If 2010 was The Year of Follow Through, then 2011 is The Year of New Beginnings.  

16. I am really afraid to go home.  It's as if I've passed some sort of threshold after which living in a foreign country is no longer a novelty, but also no longer really fucking hard.  It just is. I think this every time I go to the corner mart and my cashier speaks to me in English.  And every time I have dinner at Taco Bell.  

17. I wish I had the patience to learn a musical instrument.  Then my resume would be true...

18. When I was 16 I worked at Taco Bell.  At night, the manager on-duty was often a 19 year-old dude named Nick.  When he wasn't looking, we'd clean the hot table by wiping all the excess beans, meat, red and green sauces, and nacho cheese into the pizza sauce, as it was already really chunky and absolutely disgusting.  Also, we once served moldy flatbread -- we just friend those suckers up and served 'em as gorditas. I'ma go ahead and guess that every teenager at every Taco Bell in the history of the world has done this.  Fair warning!

19. I had a one night stand in a tent at a Dave Mathews Concert when I was 21.  So cliche.

Al. Most. There.

20. When I was 23, I got so drunk that when I puked, some of the upchuck got caught on my tongue ring (don't judge).  This made me even more nauseous and disgusted, so I puked even more.  When my stomach finally went into dry heaves, I stuck my fingers in my mouth, unscrewed that damn thang and flushed it down the toilet, along with the contents of my stomach.  Good riddance, tongue ring.

21. I will never bungee jump.  It's just stupid, y'all.

22. At age 8, I used to pop in my Dirty Dancing cassette and choreograph elaborate dances for my babysitter.  She would clap and holler and play along like a champ.  She was so good, in fact, that I was able to fool myself into thinking I was a good dancer well into adulthood.  I both love and hate her for this.

23. When I was a junior in high school my chemistry class, indeed the entire front half of my high school, was evacuated.  The SWAT team was called and everyone was in a panic because the old curmudgeonly man across the street was firing shotgun rounds into the air.  Apparently he was pissed at all the whippersnappers for parking in front of his house.  That man was my great uncle.  I never told anyone.

24. I have only ever called in hungover once.  But I have called in emotionally distraught countless times.

25. Name that movie: 
"Charlie, what do you look for in a woman?"
"I know everyone says 'sense of humor', but I'd really have to go with breast size."

26. I has taken me over an hour to complete this.  In that time I have eaten five Oreos and drank two glasses of milk; cleaned my ears and my fingernails; gone pee; changed into pajamas; IMDB'ed Angela Bassett; and thought of at least three new ways to secretly insult my boss. 

27. In order to earn my Sous Chef title and apron, I must first cook a three course meal for Grandpa and Eurohot.  I cook everyday, and yet this is overwhelmingly intimidating.  But dammit, I deserve that apron!


28. I have no idea who the British Prime Minister is, but I can name all the countries of South America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Does that make up for my glaring hole in geopolitical knowledge?

29. I spelled 'whore' without a 'W' last week and didn't even notice.  I think Asia is making me dumber.

30. I'm always in it for the laughs.

That's it folks.


This is Why Mindy Doesn't Blog About Vacations: Costa Rica Edition

When I was 24 I bought a ridiculously cheap plane ticket to Costa Rica.  After taking my sweet-ass time to finish college, it was the least I could do for myself.  So two days after graduation, my friend Dawn and I headed south for two glorious, sun-drenched weeks of absolutely zero responsibility.  To say it was an adventure would be an understatement.  This being my first experience out of Uhmerika, I was overwhelmed with the, well, foreignness of everything.  My brain literally ached from all the mental translating. (Mayhaps this is why I stubbornly refuse to learn Korean...)

Anyway, hopping a ride on a rickety bus from Puntarenas to Jaco Beach, we arrived to find our American-run hostel in EXTREME disrepair. No worries, we thought, and hiked up the street to The Beautiful and Luxurious Best Western Jaco Beach. At $30 a night, it was a motherfucking steal: private beach, manicured grounds, and full continental breakfast. Yes, please!  We booked three nights.

For two days we were queens; we lounged carelessly next to the pool and ordered fruity drinks. We plowed through tattered paperbacks while our skin turned the color of bad 70's hard case luggage.  And then tragedy struck. Whilst frolicking on the beach and generally creating merriment and joy, a rogue wave crashed into my left knee and slid my kneecap out of place. As you may well know, I'm a Drama Queen and I generally do not care who knows it.  I dropped to the sand, writhing and screaming in agony.  This being a private beach and all, The Beautiful and Luxurious Best Western Jaco Beach immediately came to my rescue by calling an ambulance.

Amidst great crisis, we've all had those moments of lucidity and thought, "I should really get a picture of this. For posterity's sake, of course." No such moment struck me and I have been kicking myself (with my good leg, of course) ever since. See, the "ambulance" was actually a white hearse whose prime was sometime around the Eisenhower Administration.  The driver was a tanned man in his twenties who wore cut-offs and a t-shirt, and stopped to pick up a buddy on the way to the "hospital".

But wait, it gets better.

Once in the "emergency room" the "doctor" took one look at my kneecap and pronounced with great certainty that I most definitely needed "surgery" and was to be airlifted back to Puntarenas ASAP!  He then pulled out a gargantuan syringe and offered ease my suffering. My emotions went into overdrive and I pleaded with Dawn to get me the fuck out of there, post haste.  Dawn was a champ.  Without a second thought she wheeled me back out to the dirt road, shoved my screaming ass into the first cab and "andale"-ed all the way back to The Beautiful and Luxurious Best Western Jaco Beach.

By this time, my knee was the size of a grapefruit, but my tears had subsided.  My spirits were further lifted when The Beautiful and Luxurious Best Western Jaco Beach offered me a set of crutches and 40% off our current room rate.  We booked three more nights.

Poolside recovery seemed to suit me, for just a few days later I was showing Dawn my now-famous "A Christmas Story" fra-jee-lay leg lamp impersonation:

Costa Rica 2005

I have a whole other vacation story starring Mindy's early 2000's foray into bad Mandarin-inspired tattoos, but that's for another post...

*Not so interesting side-note: I am, perhaps, not-so-conspicuously avoiding real life, current event blogging. Get ready for more Back to the Future posts, y'all.