Making my way through Asia (and grad school) one adventurous step at a time.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Adventures in Stupid Dreams...

Last night, I had a lovely sleep. When I woke up (yes, again at 7:30 even though it's Saturday) I remember thinking to myself "Hey, that was a great dream. I should write that down." Instead of opening my eyes and grabbing for a pencil, I instead chose to wrestle my blankets back from the cats and go back to sleep for an hour.

When I woke up again, I could only remember parts of my dream, and boy oh boy are they really NOT worth writing down. You know me though, I'm going to write 'em anyway!

Part 1: I accidentally flushed someone else's clothes down the toilet. The clothes were sitting on the toilet (not in it) and I had to pee, so I flushed the toilet first and WHOOOSH!! the toilet just sucked the pile of clothes right down. Next thing I know, I'm trying to explain via limited Korean and complicated Charades just exactly what happened. Go ahead - you try it! I dare you. Try to explain to someone that you flushed their clothes down the toilet BY ACCIDENT, but the only words you can say are 'water' and 'bathroom' and every time you try and say 'clothes', the word 'flower' comes out. HA! It's not so easy now, is it???

Part 2: Someone played a practical joke on our office, and turned all our office furniture into chocolate. The computers, phones and everything still worked but were made of yummy cocoa. I was getting frustrated because the person I shared an office with kept eating the phone cord and the computer keys. Why s/he couldn't eat something like the potted plants or the pencils I don't know. They had to go straight for the stuff I was trying to use.

See - it wasn't nearly as exciting as it had seemed to me earlier this morning.

Notice: I've added a link on the sidebar to The Mealey Blog. Please use it if you want to keep up-to-date on those Marvelous Mealeys!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Adventures in Octopi...

Well, after 3 years in Korea, I've finally done it.

Justin and I went out for dinner with one of our classes - for octopus. Some of the dishes were tasty and harmless. We had a tofu & kimchi dish, a seafood and noodle soup, and a rice,vegetable,spicy sauce and octopus stir-fry. Then, there was the 'Fear Factor' dish I thought I would be too squeamish to try: live octopus. They put the plate down on the table and all the little tentacles were still squirming. I watched as the students tried to pry the pieces off the plate, while the little tentacle suckers were clinging to the plate. By the time I worked up the nerve to try a piece, I was able to get a tiny little piece that had stopped wriggling. It was dead, but raw. I dipped it in some sesame oil and munched away. All I could taste was the sesame oil, so it was actually pretty good! Next time I'm invited to an Octopus restaurant, I won't be so hesitant to accept. It was actually a really tasty meal.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Adventures in Internal Monologues...

Me: Unggghhg. What time is it?

Also Me: It's 7:30 a.m.

Me: Unggghhg. .... What day is it?

Also Me: It's Saturday.

Me: So why am I awake?

Also Me: I'd guess it's either a result of the sun streaming in your window, or a cat breathing in your face.

Me: Mmmmm, the bed's still cozy. Let's roll over and go back to sleep.

Also Me: Too late. You've let this dialogue continue for too long, and now I'm awake. Let's get up and scrub the bathroom!!!

Me: Who ARE you?? This is not some
crazy 'clean-the-bathroom-at-the-break-of-day' holiday. It's Saturday you addle-brained nincompoop.

Also Me: Haven't years of experience taught you that name calling isn't going to work? All you've managed to do is irritate yourself and now you're awake too. Let's go make some baklava.

Me: No. I don't care what you say. I'm rolling over, snuggling under the blankets and staying in bed whether I'm sleeping or not!

Also Me: You can't. Now you have to pee too.

Me: Cheater.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Adventures in Busses...

Since today was Graduation Day here at the university, I only had 2 students show up for my afternoon class. We opted to go to the coffee shop for the 2nd hour of class, which created a nice, casual atmosphere. Both students had spent some time in Canada, and we began talking about a variety of culture shock issues between Canada and Korea.

While a journey on (or near) a Korean bus has often caused me a great deal of stress, I never imagined that a Canadian bus could do the same. Busses here travel well above the speed limit, resulting in a rather precarious balancing act as it careens around a corner. Furthermore, upon aproaching a string of cars waiting at a stop light, the bus will 'jump the queue' and cut infront of the first car in line ~ usually well into the intersection. These are the two major complaints I have against Korean busses.

It came as a shock to me then, when one of my students said he hated Canadian busses! He hated that if the speed limit was 60 km/h, the bus never exceeded 60 km/h. He also hated that a bus would actually stop at the indicated stop line at an intersection! He said that it was frustrating, because the bus was so slow and pokey, he felt like he wouldn't get to his destination on time! Wow. It had really, truly never occured to me that a quiet, orderly, safe, methodical transportation system could possibly prove to be frustrating for someone from a different culture. It made me realize that when it comes to Korean transportation, I've fallen into that horrible traveller's trap of thinking "Oh, they only do it the way they do because they don't know any better." Gotta love Cultural Diversity!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Adventures in Functional Grammar...

Yup, my books have arrived and I've embarked on another semester of Linguistics. Today's highlight (and I mean that literally, I've attacked it with a flourescent yellow wand and adorned it with a gargantuan "?") declares:

Dependent clauses of the second type are the kinds of messages that are full clause projections from projecting processes realised by verbal groups that express saying, thinking, reporting, believing and so on. ~Using Functional Grammar. Butt, Fahey, et al. p.167

I can tell you what verbal group I'm thinking about reporting right now, and it's certainly not fit for Moms or Sailors to read!

Perhaps I should have chosen to study Children's Literature, Plant Destroying, or Pudding Making. Those things I think I could do well. It's going to take me a full semester to de-code the above quote, much less apply it to the looming assignments.

However, the activities I've tried in the textbook so far have been fun. I'm just worried that they're fun the same way Calculus was fun until I realized that there really was a right answer, and I couldn't just choose the numbers that were pretty or felt right. Time (and my professor) will tell.

Enjoy your day, I'm heading back to the books.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Adventures in Odd Couples...

My morning class is quite energetic, gregarious and not the least bit shy about discussing any topic. Today, while discussing fears and phobias, we watched a few clips from a recent Fear Factor episode. The conversation then wandered onto the topic of a recently married Thai couple; The Queen of Scorpions married the King of Centepides. The Queen spent 32 days incased in a box with 3,400 scorpions, while the King spent 28 days snuggled up to 1,000 centipedes. The Queen's wedding dress was adorned with a number of live scorpions. And here I've been thinking that the Fear Factor contestants are nuts for spending 2 or 3 minutes with the l'il critters.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Adventures in ellipses.

I realize I haven't posted in quite a while...oopsie daisy. I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. I was home for the holidays, and enjoyed every day in Ottawa. Sadly the canal wasn't frozen, so there wasn't any skating ~ but we did get some tobogganing in.

Last night, I finished reading a collection of ghost stories by M.R.James, written sometime prior to 1931. In his epilogue, he expounded on ideas for ghost stories he had had, but had never materialized. His second last paragraph contained this digression maligning the elipsis - "It may not be alone ... (Dots are believed by many writers of our day to be a good substitute for effective writing. They are certainly an easy one. Let us have a few more ...)."

As much as I like using ellipses (although not as much as I like saying 'ellipsis') he does have a point. Imagine a literary world inwhich the ellipsis runs rampant. One would be left with only a title, and perhaps a few verbs to help the narrative along.

Hmmm, perhaps by now you've guessed that I'm back at work, since the only thing I've found to write about today is punctuation. My apologies.