ok, dont bother watching, but hit play on this clip when you start reading this post: that way, you'll be listening to good music (well, good by MY measuring stick) while you read. More about the band at the end of the post. Push play, and then move down. Dont watch (unless you really, really want to). Just move on and read with music playing.
Frederica, by Do Make Say Think
I think I'm stealing somebodys wireless, but the fact remains, I have internet at home today. (Goodbye free time. Sigh)
The upshot of my loss of free time is that I can show you some of the pictures I've been taking.
I'm doing well -- even looking well.
Here's me giving the toast at my brother's wedding, July 2005. One of my girlfriends* looked at this picture and her first impression was "Wow. You're fat in this picture." Not long after that, she went away. Banished for life from the glorious land of Roboseyo.
(* now ex)
This next picture was me in September 2006, I think.
Work stress and things, yah yah yah. (In Korea, instead of saying "blah blah blah", Koreans say "shalah shalah shalah" - apparently THEY're the ones who put the Shalah in the Shamalama-ding-dong! (you may come over and shake their hands if you like; I still don't know who put the bop in the bop shabop shabop, but it may also have been Koreans, because bap means "rice" here, and Koreans put bap in almost everything.) Anyway, since starting my new job, I've been eating better, because my eating habits have been more intentional -- rather than eating a comfort food at the end of a tiring day, and vegging out, my new schedule helps me feel productive, so that I'm making intentional choices toward better health, rather than just choices that help me feel better (as a reaction to stress/exhaustion/boredom). I've been walking more, doing yoga more, eating fewer snacks between meals, and making healthier food choices. See the next picture: that's how I looked three weeks ago. (I also weighed myself: I'm lighter, too.) You may think I'm just sucking in better, but I assure you, I still havent learned how to suck in my forehead.
Now that I've started doing Yoga every day, you may notice a slight change, even from three weeks ago, to these pictures I took of myself this morning.
It's amazing what healthier lifestyles can do for us.
Enough self-congratulation, then. I have to admit some details of the last few paragraphs and pictures were slightly exaggerated or fictionalized; I haven't actually started doing yoga daily, for example.
Yesterday night, after my friend went home, I was wandering around Jongno, the party district, at about midnight, stone-cold sober, watching drunk people walk around and have fun, but not feeling like drinking myself. Then, this blonde fellow came up to the street food stand where I was eating (I was also eating street food), and started a chat. He was a Polish/German tourist named Raphael, who was on a one night layover between Australia and Germany, and he wanted to catch a sniff of Korean culture in the ten hours he had in Seoul. Little did he know he ran into exactly the right person. Anyone who's come out to Seoul to see me (that's two: Dad, and Mom, for all you keeping score) knows how much I love to give a tour, so I took him to eat one of the most traditional dishes (barbeque pork with soju, strange-tasting Korean liquor) (soju and samgyupsal is about eighty percent guaranteed to be the food and drink you'll have if you go out in a group with more than five Koreans -- it's like Pizza Hut, Earl's, White Spot, and Red Robin's all combined, and cheaper, in Korea -- the safe, inexpensive, inoffensive choice that nobody will disagree with, that eventually becomes the default "can't think of anywhere else to go" choice.)
So we had that, and it was fun, and I talked about Korea's culture and history a bit, and he talked about his desire to experience new cultures, and I talked about the odd sensation of being a white, visible minority in Korea, the unique solitude born of being in an ocean of people speaking a language one doesn't understand, etc.. Anyway, it was great meeting another world traveller, another culture-chaser. Much more interesting and edifying than getting half-hammed and sweaty in a dance club, just like a hundred other nights. This guy was really cool and open-minded, and if I'm ever in Germany, I'll definitely look him up, and he'll return the tour, and show me around his town.
These two sculptures were right next to each other in the park outside Seoul's city hall. I won't go into detail, but I think the symbolism is overt enough that I don't need to.
Konglish persists in Korea. Try and guess what this shirt means.
Once I saw a t-shirt whose caption actually was:
It was awesome.
I want to be the one who writes the nonsense captions for Engrish t-shirts. I want to make up intentionally nonsensical phrases that seem to have just enough intention behind them to make people shake their heads and say "what are they ACTUALLY trying to say?" because the best ones ARE trying to say something, but get it wrong. I also want to invent captions for shirts where the main fun is trying to find letters that look cool together.
What do YOU think is the coolest word just to look at? My nomination is "ogopogo" -- so many circles (plus, it's really fun to say).
(The other best ones are the ones the people wear and have NO idea what it means. Innocent, sweet girls wearing t-shirts saying things like "Deep throat" (and a picture of a giraffe) -- this was a secretary at our school. She turned violent puce when I explained to her why she shouldn't wear that shirt to work again.
or "I like to get it on with guys who vote", or just ridiculous phrases, like the fifty-year old woman who walked by me with a shirt saying, "you be breakin' on me, I be breakin' on you")
Spring is here.
I like spring.
Here are some fantastic foods available for you in Korea: my old boss used to brag that Koreans used every part of the animal. Including. . .
The intestines. I found a special restaurant dedicated to eating cow intestines! You can also buy pig's feet here; it's said to be really good for your skin, so you'll see young women holding a big ugly pig's claw, trying to gnaw the meat off it (without getting grease on their cheeks), as if they were holding a corn dog that accidentally had bone in it. At the pig foot restaurants, sometimes you can also see the entire pigs face, set out to dry (for what purpose, I have no idea. Haven't gotten around to investigating yet. The day is so short, you know!)
Fortunately, if you don't like all that, you can buy a toothpaste that will kill your bad breath. . . and your calculus.
I have some packages that ought to be arriving soon. . . I hope they do. They seem a tad late. I hope I got my mailing address correct when I sent it out.
I went back to my old school the other day. That was nice -- to see the little ones. They were SO excited to see me! It was like being a Beatle. . . if the Beatles were twice as tall as ordinary humans. All the kids who knew me crowded around and tried to hold my hand, and they all tried to tell me -- something. Anything. Really, it wasn't important what, just that they were talking to their old teacher, of course. "Teacher! I have a loose tooth!" Basically means "I'm happy to see you again," in kid speak. I do miss those people. . . but not quite enough to go back. Caleb and Heather aren't there anyway.
As the blog goes, I'm thrilled that people have been commenting on my posts. It really helps me feel like people are reading it, and know what's going on. The site doesn't count how many people come and visit my blog (or at least, I don't know how to check), so if you leave your "footprints" as one person said, it helps me know that you've been here. And that warms my heart.
The problem is this: I now have a myspace page, a facebook page, and a blog, all of which have different people who check them, etc.. While facebook etc. is nice (if you want to put in the time) to create a "me" space more individualized than a mere e-mail address -- you can put links and lists of friends up and stuff -- it's starting to get harder to keep track again; instead of getting an e-mail from a friend which I can immediately open, read, and answer, I now get an e-mail from the facebook administrator, or the myspace administrator, saying "xxx sent you a message in Facebook" or "wrote on your wall" and I have to click a link and log on to read what I used to be able to read immediately. Just funny, is all. I'm not really complaining: I've heard from people I would never have gotten back in touch with otherwise -- including some grade school friends, and long-lost connections. That's neat, but I wish I didnt need five different logins and ids and passwords just to keep tabs -- it's sort of like having six different discount cards in your wallet, each for a different set of restaurants and shops, and having to sort through your wallet each time you make a purchase, for the right card to swipe. Time consuming.
I wish they could consolidate all those into a single swipe card (or just a thumb print), instead of making me wait in line for the person ahead of me who owns every discount card on the planet, and needs to know if she can save 18% by paying with her debit card, rather than just saving 15% by paying with her CocaCola Credit Card, along with the JLX Fast Food Alliance Membership Discount Card. Yug. So I want to consolidate all the "internet in touch" services, instead of having myspace, facebook, blogspot, and yahoo e-mail (as well as a g-mail address), I want to just have a "myblogface G-hoo mail account". With one password.
I just made a set of cds called my "joy of life trio" -- it's a collection of all the songs that put a big old smile on my face, whether from silly happiness, from some kind of reflective satisfied feeling, or from pure elevation. Music is so wonderful at taking us to another place. If you ask really nicely, I'll post the playlists, so you can find those songs and be cool like me. (And happy like me.)
One of my favourite bands for "elevation" these days is a Canadian instrumental group called "Do, Make, Say, Think". This is a live clip of one of their songs -- I highly, highly recommend their CDs "You, You're a History in Rust" and especially, "Winter Hymn, Country Hymn, Secret Hymn" Give them a try, if you like music that takes you on a journey. Really, seriously. You've been listening to a live clip of a song from "Winter Hymn Country Hymn, Secret Hymn" called "Frederica" that nicely shows how they play with dynamics and composition -- the sound quality's a bit poor (live recording), but the music is great.
Anyway, that's a little of what's been keeping a grin on my grill lately.
And here's one more music clip -- this might be the most beautiful live performance I've seen in my life. If you aren't into modern music, don't bother with "Do, Make, Say, Think", but if you love things of beauty at all, watch this one.
Landslide (Stevie Nicks) -- dead link. sorry.