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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Adventures in Autumn...

One thing I enjoy about Korea is that Autumn here looks like Autumn in Canada. The sky is blue and clear, the leaves all turn yellow and red and .... well, different shades of yellow and red, really. This autumn has been no exception. The weather is wonderfully crisp and clear and lovely. At present, I have a head cold, which makes enjoying it difficult; nonetheless, I am enjoying this season immensely.

Last weekend was spent in Seoul at the KOTESOL (Korea TESOL) conference. Overall, the weekend was fantastic (when has a delicious plate of PadThai amongst friends ever failed to make a weekend great?) but the conference itself was mildly disappointing. I feel as though I almost got some useful things out of it...but not quite. To be fair, it must be difficult for a presenter to find a topic that's as relevant for teachers who have been here 18 months as it is for teachers who have been here 10 years. A difficult task, to be sure.

Anyway, the NyQuil's kicking in, so I should get myself into bed while my eyes are still open. G'night.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Adventures with Jolly Roger...

I'm always interested in how random things can often be repeated within a 24 hour period. For example, this afternoon I spent WAY too much time perusing the FOUND website. (For those of you not familiar with FOUND, it's a website where people send in random notes, pictures, scraps of paper they find lying around.) In one found photo, there was a scull and crossbones visible in the background. Someone had made a comment about the photo, and mentioned Jolly Roger. I had no idea who Jolly Roger was, and continued reading the comments until I found that Jolly Roger is actually a name for the pirate flag. "Hmm, that's interesting." I thought to myself.

I tore myself away from reading on-line snippets of discarded trash, and went to watch Jeopardy. Lo and Behold, if "What is Jolly Roger" wasn't a correct response! Sadly, my excitement at the juxtaposition of these two separate pirate flag events chased away the answer. I was left muttering at the TV "What is .... uhhhh .... Happy Bob? ... Smiling Dan? ... " Luckily, the actual contestant did know the answer.

In addition, and because I'm a dork, I found some interesting sites dealing with the etymology of the term Jolly Roger, the history of pirate flags in general, and the men (and women) who sailed under them.

Ar-r-r-r and avast!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Adventures in A Night at the Movies...

I know I should be writing about what a lovely Galbi dinner I had this evening with my friends, and how my office is STILL clean after an entire 2 weeks of frequent usage, and how my bedbugs seem to have been contained in that one blanket - not the whole bed, thankfully!

However, I'm feeling the need to tell you all about the movie I watched last night. At the outset, Nicolas Cage was an advocate for the falsely imprisoned. Shortly after he managed to get justice for an innocent inmate, he himself was convicted of a crime he didn't commit, and was sentenced to 4 years in a very nasty prison. He was desperate to get his name cleared, and to get out of jail before his pregnant wife had their baby. After what seemed like spending ages in prison, he declared "I REALLY need a hamburger." A sympathetic companion helped engineer an escape - just long enough for Nicolas to get his hamburger and return to prison - before anyone knew he was gone. Unfortunately, just as he was returning to the prison after eating his hamburger, a riot broke out. The prison was locked down, and there was no way he could sneak back in. Now a fugitive, he pulled a blanket over his head, put an oxygen mask over his face, and blended in with the residents of a local senior's home.

The blockbuster hits projected on the back of my eyelids as I sleep some nights amaze me.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Adventures in Bed Bugs...

I was a little chilly last night, so I pulled my duvet up from the foot of the bed. I woke up this morning with 7 bites on my left hand, 2 bites on my right hand, 3 bites on my leg, a bite on my stomach, and a bite on my back. GROSS!!! At present, I'm covered with a bright yellow bug-bite concoction I picked up in Thailand. I smell terrible, but I'm not itching. Of course, I hauled the duvet off the bed and changed my sheets - but now what do I do? Does anyone know if you can dryclean a down comforter? Will that get rid of the bugs? Eeeewwww, it's now nearly bedtime, and I'm almost tempted to sleep on the sofa!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated, but y'all can keep your "Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite" comments to yourselves. Eww. Eww. Eww.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Adventures in Concept Cars...

Perhaps this has been all over the news in North America, but I just saw it for the 1st time tonight. It's Nissan's concept car: Pivo. The cab swivels, and each tire has its own motor: no axles! The driver never has to back into a parking space. Just spin the cab and wheels around, and go in forwards, or sideways - whichever direction is preferred. I thought it looked pretty nifty. The fact that it looks like a cartoon bubble makes it a little difficult to take seriously. You could easily make the mistake of thinking it's made by Mattel, not Nissan. I don't know how it would handle on a highway, but as a city car, it would certainly have it's benefits. (I'm envisioning the parking garage at Costco on a Saturday afternoon.) Those of you at home with sprawling parking lots are probably thinking "What's the big deal?" Those of you here, picturing crowded, screechy parking garages are thinking "Oooh, I could swivel my way into that tiny spot in the corner!" Really, think of all the great things that swivel: office chairs, giant binoculars at scenic tourist spots, Elvis' hips. I've digressed. If you want to check out some Pivo videos, you can find them on both YouTube or Yahoo videos.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Adventures in Learning New Things...

Today, I learned a few new things. I learned that the by-line on my blog has been misspelled for years. Woolly does not have an 'e' in it. I also learned that I used their instead of they're in yesterday's post, even though I truly do know the difference. After ruminating on these two things, I subsequently learned that either my readers don't notice things like that, or that they're too polite to say anything. Am I really the only person I know who occasionally feels the need to fire off an e-mail gently saying "Ahem, I'm sorry to say you've misrepresented either the lexical or grammatical norms of the English language." ?

I also learned (thanks to Melanie's blogging savvy) how to add a "What I'm Reading" section on the sidebar. If you glance to your left, you'll see it. I called it "Next to my sofa", since that's where most of my reading material ends up. (Except the Reader's Digest, but I refuse to add a sidebar detailing what's in my bathroom.)

Oh, and while I'm thanking Melanie, I should also thank her for the Apple Crisp recipe she posted. Annelie and I made it tonight, and it was delicious.

Now, I'm off to watch the end of the Rugby match. (Maybe eventually I'll learn what the rules governing that sport are.)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Adventures in smells that made me happy today...

My morning coffee aroma wafting through the apartment.

The first few drops of a rain shower. (Mind you, I had to cycle home from the nether-regions of campus as the rain continued to fall.)

Freshly mowed grass in the early evening.

It's been a slow day, but it smelled nice.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Adventures in Sleeping in on a Lovely National Holiday and Enjoying an Aromatic Cup of Coffee in Peace on My Quiet Balcony...

At least that's what this post would have been titled if the constructions workers hadn't decided to test out their shiny new jackhammer 20 feet away from my window at 6:30 this morning. It's now 8:47 and their still at it. I'm reluctant to take my coffee out to the balcony for fear of being caught making snarly faces at their noisy machinery.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Adventures in Upgrades...

You'll all be pleased to know that after my camping dream, I didn't have any further dreams about hunting for a house or home. (I did have a dream about a delicious cheese sauce though.) Enough about dreams, I can now draw your attention back to Wednesday, June 6th. As you may recall, (yes, if your world doesn't revolve around my every post, you may take a moment to scroll down and refresh your memory. I'll wait. ... ... ...) I left you, my dear reader, in the dark as to Episode 2. I've taken the liberty of condensing it, otherwise I'd be here for ages typing, and you'd be all wrinkly and aged and your muscles would have atrophied by the time you finished reading it.

Episode 2:

My computer was coughing, grinding, choking and freezing. In attempting to fix it, I managed to have 3 Windows XP operating systems running - well, installed. None of them were actually running. I took the computer to the shop and asked them to wipe the sucker clean and re-install ONE operating system. The man in the shop said, "No problem, it'll be $20 and you can pick it up in an hour." An hour later, I went back and was told "You need a new blah-blah-blah technical thingy and it'll be $70 and ready tomorrow."

Later, I returned to the shop, paid my $70, picked up my computer and a box with a video card neatly wrapped up in it, and came home. For the life of me, I couldn't figure out where/how to put the video card it. I couldn't believe they'd sold me a part that wouldn't fit. A few days later, when I had the chance, I took the whole mess back to the shop (wearing my angry face) and plopped the thing back on the counter. It turns out that the video card that was so neatly wrapped was my old one. He plugged the computer in, and showed me that the new one worked fine. Egads! Embarrassed, I returned home.

A few days later, when I was once again able to wrestle with the bucket of bolts, I plugged in all the wires, cables and other accoutrements and VOILA! There was nothing. Nothing at all. The computer was whirring and grinding, but my monitor couldn't detect a signal. I took the computer down to Annelie's house, thinking perhaps my monitor (my lovely, relatively new, flat monitor) was the culprit. Alas, it didn't work on Annelie's computer either. In a huff, I was about to go storming back to the computer shop. Luckily, I remembered my embarrassment from the last time I wore my angry face, and eventually (Not soon. Eventually.) came to discover that I had plugged the cable into the wrong spot. oops.

I was all ready to sit down and tell you that Episode 2 had been resolved satisfactorily. I turned my computer on. My monitor, now properly connected, displayed the lovely start-up screen..but that's all the computer would do! Every time I tried to open a program, it would freeze.

(Insert 3 more months of more futile efforts to fix computer here...)

Eventually, I gave up, went to the electronics market, and bought the sleek little CPU humming merrily beside me as I type.

There, now having made it to the end of the abridged version of Episode 2, you might still be well advised to go apply some Oil of Olay, and do a few deep-knee bends.