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I read this article last week about how double-spacing after the period is all outdated and unnecessary, and for some strange reason I'm still pondering it.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.