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

Friday, April 28, 2006

Adventures in Quick Naps...

I got home yesterday shortly before 1pm, and since my pottery class doesn't start until 2pm, I changed into my potting clothes, and flaked out on my bed for a quick 5-minute rest (I can't really fall asleep in 5 minutes, so these rests don't usually turn into naps). The cat curled up next to me, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up with the residue of some kind of Mermaid and Potato dream clearing itself from my brain. I stretched and looked at my watch, thinking I'd better hurry if I was going to make it to pottery on time. Wasn't I more than a little surprised to realize that 3.5 hours had passed! I'd missed pottery AND 1/2 of Oprah. On the other hand, I'm really glad to have a job where a 3 hour mid-afternoon snooze doesn't get me fired! I'll enjoy it while I can.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Adventures in Mischief Perpetrated upon William Blake...

(If you've never read William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, you should take a look at "The Lamb" and "The Tiger" before reading this post. It won't take long; you can Google 'em.)

I was curled up with my l'il cat this morning, and found myself quoting William Blake. Sadly, my cat is neither a lamb, nor a tiger, so my renditions needed to be altered. This was the result, with prolific apologies to Mr.Blake:

On Good Days ~
(From 'The Lamb')

Little kitty, who made thee?
Does thou know who made thee,
Gave thee life, and bid thee purr
Coating all my pants with fur;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender meow,
Sounding better than a cow?
Little kitty, who made thee?
Does thou know who made thee?

On Bad Days ~
(From 'The Tiger')

Kitty, kitty, taking flight
In the kitchen at midnight,
What imaginary fly
will you chase ‘til dawn is nigh?

Kitty, kitty, sharp'ning claws
On the furniture at all hours, (If you say this bit with a fake accent, it rhymes)
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry? (Just like Blake himself expected these last two lines to rhyme)

Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy 80th Birthday!

Yup, Her Majesty is celebrating her 80th Birthday. I don't really have much to say about it, I just figured I would mention it. I've always been a fan of the monarchy, although I think is has more to do with a fascination for the gowns and glitter than for the job itself. Either way, I think the Queen has managed to hold on to a tough job with poise and dignity for a really long time. Having said all that, I honestly don't know the lady very well. Oh, sure, we've had tea together a few times, and there was that time in '99 that I lent her five bucks, because she 'forgot her purse at the palace', but beyond that, we're not all that close.

When I was a kid and had to clean the bathroom, I used to imagine that the Queen was going to stop by. It was on those days that I actually scrubbed all the nooks and crannies I could find...until I got bored and switched to pretending I was a TV commercial and I'd try to sell myself some shampoo instead. Once in a while, I'd imagine the Queen stopped by and I would try to sell her some shampoo. It never occured to me that she might not be in the market for 1/2 a bottle of Pert Plus. Maybe I should have sent her some for her birthday. It's got to make a better gift than the two black beavers Canada gave her once. At least shampoo is practical. What was my country thinking??

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Adventures in Yellow Dust...
Spring is such a conflicted time here in Korea. On one hand, the cherry blossoms are fluttering to the ground like pink snow and the lilacs are starting to produce their gentle purple fragrance. On the other hand, China has started exporting it's noxious yellow dust. Every spring, wind picks it up from the Gobi Desert and hurls it across the Yellow Sea directly into the lungs, eyes, teeth and icecream cones of the residents of South Korea. From the picture above, you can see one of the storms that passed over the Korean peninsula recently. (It's the big dusty looking swoosh to the right of the picture...yup, there it is. You've found it now. The big mass of yuck that's not clouds, water or land.) From my perspective (ie, not one from a satelite) it just looks like a hazy, hazy day. However, don't let those tiny particles fool you into thinking they're harmless. The icky bits (particles) in today's dust were 2-3x higher than what US officials consider a 'hazardous' health concern. That's in Daegu. Seoul had twice as many icky bits. We usually get several dust storms a season, and hopefully we'll get rain tomorrow to dampen the spirits of this latest one before either my lungs or my icecream become permanently damaged.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Adventures in Pottery...

Tomorrow is Thursday ~ my favourite day of the week. Even though I have an early class, I finish teaching at noon, then head off to pottery class. The picture on the left is the largest/least wobbly piece I've made in the past 3 years. (And yes, since the flowers in it are green and blossoming, you can be sure they are fake.) I'm thrilled that so far this semester, none of my pottery has cracked, wobbled, toppled, warped or contracted a horrible case of the uglies. There are still many weeks to go before the semester is over at which point the pieces will face unforseen traumas lurking in the glazing/firing process. I'm keeping my fingers crossed though. So far, so good.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Adventures in New Furniture...

I've had my eye on this little table for a few months now, and finally decided to pick it up. I figured it would be a nice Korean souvenir when I (eventually) go back to Canada.

As you can see, there are 20 tiny little drawers filling the top 1/2 of the table. A word of advice, if you ever find yourself with 20 little drawers in a table in your foyer...don't put anything personal in any of them. Almost every person through my door has said "Ooooh, what cute drawers. Is there anything in them?" and they start opening the drawers at random.
I keep some spare keys, decks of playing cards and some gum in some of the drawers. I think I'll put a door prize in one drawer, and everyone who comes to visit gets to choose a drawer and try and find the prize. That'll be fun. Furniture and Fun all in one ~ what a buy.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Adventures in weather forcasts...

I checked the weather forcast tonight before heading off to bed. Next week is just not looking good:

Today Tomorrow Tue Wed Thu 6-10 Day
sky: showers

Rain Late

High: 18°
Low: 11°
sky: showers


High: 16°
Low: 10°
sky: showers

Light Rain

High: 20°
Low: 10°
sky: scattered thunderstorms

AM Showers

High: 22°
Low: 10°
sky: showers


High: 15°

Friday, April 07, 2006

Adventures in blossoms...

Cherry blossoms have finally erupted all over campus. I took my camera to class today, and the battery died before I even took my first picture, so the lovely photo on the left isn't mine.

I heard from one of my co-workers that some folks in Korea are trying to discourage cherry blossom festivals (very popular events this time of year!) because when the Japanese occupied Korea, they uprooted all traces of Korea's national flower, the Rose-of-Sharon. In an effort to demoralize Koreans, the Japanese replaced the Rose-of-Sharon with cherry trees. As a result, some Koreans equate the blossoms with the Japanese occupation, and don't think it's a cause for celebration. I tried to find some information about the story in the English newspaper here, but haven't found anything of that nature yet. No matter what the origins of the trees in this country, they are still lovely and I'll continue to enjoy them as long as they're in bloom.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Adventures in Template Changes...

After nearly 2.5 years of blogging bliss, I decided it was time for a change. (At this point, an observant reader will be thinking "Hmmm, baked cookies yesterday, washed all the dishes, and chose to change Blog settings... sounds like procrastination to me!" ) Such an astute observation would be quite accurate. I've got a stack of marking to tackle.

In the process of changing the template, I deleted some links to people that haven't updated their blogs in months (ahem!) and I added a link to a Pucca website. Pucca is the adorable l'il animated character above. Her website has some interesting little cartoons on it.

I hope you like the new look. If not, I'm sure you'll either get used to it, or stop reading. I hope you get used to it. I would be awfully sad to lose your readership.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Adventures in the Perils of Cookie Cooking...

Cookies are lovely
warm moist delicious velvet
breathe taste devour

There, that's my Cookie Haiku. I've jotted down that poetic nightmare (I think I can here the gasps of horror coming from Japan as I write) to illustrate the point that people don't usually discuss the perils of cookie making. My hips know the danger all too well, but by the time they realize what's going on, it's too late.

This evening after dinner, I decided to bake cookies. Tracy was at my house, so she did the stirring and mixing, I did the sifting and measuring. It's now well after 10:00pm and getting closer to bedtime...Tracy has gone home, the dishes have been washed and over 1/2 the batter is still left waiting for the oven. You see, the major problem is that I only have a toaster oven. The recipe that comes on the back of the econo-bag of Chipits is not meant to be baked six small cookies at a time. Even after doing our best to decrease the amount of cookie dough that would need to be baked (yum), we didn't even make a dent. I'm also feeling a little sick from all the sugary buttery batter in my belly. (Say that last bit out loud. It's fun.) So here I am, quite literally sick and tired, and my hips are just saying "I told you so."