Monthly Archives: April 2008

Fringe

 
I decided to cut my own hair today. I should have practiced on my Barbie more when I was young.

>They just call them muffins here

>

One thing that used to be the most fun* in the world was going grocery shopping in Korea**. There was always so much to discover! Were there going to be any new “western” foods in this time? Would I be able to figure out which package of noodles wouldn’t burn my face off? What would a tube of toothpaste with a pine cone on it taste like? So many adventures! And the really big stores, like Lotte Mart and Emart had the added excitement of the world’s most ridiculous clothing sections.***

I remember the first time that I went to Lotte Mart. I was so excited to find Kit Kats that I bought all of them. And a jar of peanut butter (which I am fairly meh about) simply because I recognised it as food. I spent hours in there just looking around. And even after I had lived in Korea for a long time, it was still interesting to make new discoveries, try mysterious new foods, and toss out a bunch of shite that wasn’t actually digestable.

The grocery stores here aren’t that exciting. It is Britain. And they are fairly serious and bland**** about their food. Furthermore*****, all the packages are in English (albeit******in “British English” which is a whole new animal for me), and I mostly understand what the food is about.

There are things that make me smile…. like that they can have an entire section of the store that is just for “Pies”. I’m not joking. These people will eat anything in a pie. It is kind of cute (until they put liver in a pie: not cute at all). There is also beer in every store, which is pretty darned handy. There’s beer in Korean stores too, but only shitty beer. England has some very nice beer. And it is in the grocery store.

There was something the other week though that made me nearly wee right there in the bakery department. The staff at Waitrose probably think I’m a nutter. Well, I got it in my head that I would like some nice English muffins to toast and eat with some butter for breakfast. So I headed over to the bakery department. And guess what? They are just called “muffins” over here. I don’t know now why that struck me as so funny (although it did at the time) because it doesn’t sound as funny now. Perhaps it was the fact that they were sitting beside the crumpets. That’s right – crumpets. I thought that was a food Dr. Seuss made up to rhyme with “trumpets”, I didn’t know it was a real food. Well, it is… and nothing gave me greater pleasure than having tea and crumpets when I got home from the store.

*Granted, a really effed-up version of fun

**Especially with Amelia
***Best find ever: the skin-coloured foot thongs
****Do not ever allow a British person to tell you that something is “spicy”. They are lying. They have no idea what the word actually means. These are people who shut down transit if a slight wind blows.
*****Another great word, but not as good as “nonetheless”.
******Another great word! Better than “furthermore” but not as good as “nonetheless”.

>Next I’ll find out it’s haunted

>

I’m still completely pleased with my new flat. It is delightfully close to work and I don’t have to share the bathroom with anyone. This means that I don’t have to waste hours of my life each day underground on a train, and it also means that I can come home and take off my trousers before I sit in front of Futurama to eat dinner. Man, I hate trousers!*

Now, although I’m very happy with the new place, it doesn’t mean that it is perfect. Far from it. And in fact, each day that passes something else goes wrong.

When I moved in, I knew there were a few things that I would have to work on. Like the smell. It smells musty in there, because it is damp. But if Korean mold didn’t get the best of me, pansy-ass English mold certainly won’t. It also needs to be painted. Badly. And I will do that as soon as I have a pay cheque that isn’t spent before I even get it in my bank. I also have to buy shelves and some under-the-bed drawers to sort out my goods. And of course, I had to clean. But I knew all that.

The first surprise was that the heat is absolute rubbish. It gets really, really cold in there. Freezing cold. They are supposed to be looking at it, but I haven’t seen an improvement yet. I’m alright with that though, seeing as how it is spring now and the weather is improving. I’ll flip out next November if it isn’t better by then.

And then the washing machine is also crap. But it and I have an understanding now and I’ve worked it out (mostly).

Then I found out that the door handle of the inner door is broken. Again, not too big a deal. Until the night I accidentally shut it and couldn’t open it again. Good thing I’m partially MacGyver or I may have been trapped in there forever. As it was, I pinched my finger during my panic attack (I have a thing about locked doors and being trapped in rooms) and it hurt a lot. But now I have the door figured out (like the washing machine, it isn’t fixed, but I can live with a work-around).

And then the ants came.

I hate ants. HATE THEM. They are so gross and I never understand why they come to my house as I never have any food for them. They grossed me out for a long time (especially since my bed is in my kitchen – ew ew ew – the thought of ants in my bed is the stuff nightmares are made of) but I got some poison and kicked their asses en masse (instead of either squirting small mobs of them with window cleaner or squishing them individually whilst yelling threats to their families). I have only seen one or two since, and I think I can stay on top of the ant menace and have nothing to worry about.

And then on Friday night the mouse thing happened.

I got home early from the pub with Subway in hand (I missed dinner earlier). I ate Subway and left the bag on the floor instead of putting it away immediately. I’m sort of happy I did, because that is how I figured out that there are mice in the place.

I climbed into bed and put out the light. And I heard the weirdest noise… it sounded like either the Subway bag had come to life or that I had a bloody bigger ant problem than I first suspected. So I put on my bedside light and there was a wee mouse there, looking at me. I looked at him, raised one eyebrow, and he ran off behind the fridge.

Here’s where it gets strange: I just turned of the light and tried to go back to sleep. No real reaction at all. You would think that I would flip out as a mouse is considerably larger than an ant (although, thankfully, there was only one mouse and not hundreds as there are with ants. Ew! Hundreds of mice!) but I didn’t really care. He made his point, I made mine, things were good with the world.

But then the little bastard came back. Cheeky wee sod! So I turned the light back on, sighed, and got out of bed. First things first, I put the Subway bag in the garbage. The mouse had ran behind the fridge again but I’ve cleaned back there and there isn’t a mouse hole. I thought he was just trying to trick me into going back to bed. I moved the fridge a bit, the mouse sighed and ran away into the bathroom.

All I could think was, “Stupid mouse… have you never seen a horror movie??”

So I followed him into the bathroom, wondering if I could corner him and catch him in something. I didn’t want to hurt him… he was pretty cute. So I went into the bathroom, about to explain to him how horror movies work and how running into the bathroom a la The Shining was not going to save his wee mouse ass… and he was nowhere to be found!

Outsmarted by a mouse! Curses!

Turns out that there is a sizable hole in the floor behind the sink to allow the pipe through – I think that’s how he gained access. I’m just going to stop it up with something and that should take care of that. Until then, I’m really going to watch where I’m stepping when I get out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom…

* I used to say “pants”, but “pants” here means “underpants” and really, that’s not the visual I’m working for here…

They Just Call Them Muffins Here

 
One thing that used to be the most fun* in the world was going grocery shopping in Korea**. There was always so much to discover! Were there going to be any new "western" foods in this time?  Would I be able to figure out which package of noodles wouldn’t burn my face off? What would a tube of toothpaste with a pine cone on it taste like?  So many adventures! And the really big stores, like Lotte Mart and Emart had the added excitement of the world’s most ridiculous clothing sections.***
 
I remember the first time that I went to Lotte Mart. I was so excited to find Kit Kats that I bought all of them. And a jar of peanut butter (which I am fairly meh about) simply because I recognised it as food. I spent hours in there just looking around. And even after I had lived in Korea for a long time, it was still interesting to make new discoveries, try mysterious new foods, and toss out a bunch of shite that wasn’t actually digestable.
The grocery stores here aren’t that exciting. It is Britain. And they are fairly serious and bland**** about their food. Furthermore*****, all the packages are in English (albeit******in "British English" which is a whole new animal for me), and I mostly understand what the food is about.
 
There are things that make me smile…. like that they can have an entire section of the store that is just for "Pies". I’m not joking. These people will eat anything in a pie. It is kind of cute (until they put liver in a pie: not cute at all). There is also beer in every store, which is pretty darned handy. There’s beer in Korean stores too, but only shitty beer. England has some very nice beer. And it is in the grocery store.
 
There was something the other week though that made me nearly wee right there in the bakery department. The staff at Waitrose probably think I’m a nutter. Well, I got it in my head that I would like some nice English muffins to toast and eat with some butter for breakfast. So I headed over to the bakery department. And guess what? They are just called "muffins" over here. I don’t know now why that struck me as so funny (although it did at the time) because it doesn’t sound as funny now. Perhaps it was the fact that they were sitting beside the crumpets. That’s right – crumpets. I thought that was a food Dr. Seuss made up to rhyme with "trumpets", I didn’t know it was a real food. Well, it is… and nothing gave me greater pleasure than having tea and crumpets when I got home from the store.
 
 
 
 
*Granted, a really effed-up version of fun
**Especially with Amelia
***Best find ever: the skin-coloured foot thongs
****Do not ever allow a British person to tell you that something is "spicy". They are lying. They have no idea what the word actually means. These are people who shut down transit if a slight wind blows.
*****Another great word, but not as good as "nonetheless".
******Another great word! Better than "furthermore" but not as good as "nonetheless".

Next I'll Find Out It's Haunted

 
I’m still completely pleased with my new flat. It is delightfully close to work and I don’t have to share the bathroom with anyone. This means that I don’t have to waste hours of my life each day underground on a train, and it also means that I can come home and take off my trousers before I sit in front of Futurama to eat dinner. Man, I hate trousers!*
 
Now, although I’m very happy with the new place, it doesn’t mean that it is perfect. Far from it. And in fact, each day that passes something else goes wrong.
 
When I moved in, I knew there were a few things that I would have to work on. Like the smell. It smells musty in there, because it is damp. But if Korean mold didn’t get the best of me, pansy-ass English mold certainly won’t. It also needs to be painted. Badly. And I will do that as soon as I have a paycheque that isn’t spent before I even get it in my bank. I also have to buy shelves and some under-the-bed drawers to sort out my goods. And of course, I had to clean. But I knew all that.
 
The first suprise was that the heat is absolute rubbish. It gets really, really cold in there. Freezing cold. They are supposed to be looking at it, but I haven’t seen an improvement yet. I’m alright with that though, seeing as how it is spring now and the weather is improving. I’ll flip out next November if it isn’t better by then.
And then the washing machine is also crap. But it and I have an understanding now and I’ve worked it out (mostly).
 
Then I found out that the door handle of the inner door is broken. Again, not too big a deal. Until the night I accidently shut it and couldn’t open it again. Good thing I’m partially MacGyver or I may have been trapped in there forever. As it was, I pinched my finger during my panic attack (I have a thing about locked doors and being trapped in rooms) and it hurt a lot. But now I have the door figured out (like the washing machine, it isn’t fixed, but I can live with a work-around).
 
And then the ants came.

I hate ants. HATE THEM. They are so gross and I never understand why they come to my house as I never have any food for them. They grossed me out for a long time (especially since my bed is in my kitchen – ew ew ew – the thought of ants in my bed is the stuff nightmares are made of) but I got some poison and kicked their asses en masse (instead of either squirting small mobs of them with window cleaner or squishing them individually whilst yelling threats to their families).  I have only seen one or two since, and I think I can stay on top of the ant menance and have nothing to worry about.

And then on Friday night the mouse thing happened.
 
I got home early from the pub with Subway in hand (I missed dinner earlier). I ate Subway and left the bag on the floor instead of putting it away immediately. I’m sort of happy I did, because that is how I figured out that there are mice in the place.
 
I climbed into bed and put out the light. And I heard the weirdest noise… it sounded like either the Subway bag had come to life or that I had a bloody bigger ant problem than I first suspected. So I put on my bedside light and there was a wee mouse there, looking at me. I looked at him, raised one eyebrow, and he ran off behind the fridge.
 
Here’s where it gets strange: I just turned of the light and tried to go back to sleep. No real reaction at all. You would think that I would flip out as a mouse is considerably larger than an ant (although, thankfully, there was only one mouse and not hundreds as there are with ants. Ew! Hundreds of mice!) but I didn’t really care. He made his point, I made mine, things were good with the world.
 
But then the little bastard came back. Cheeky wee sod! So I turned the light back on, sighed, and got out of bed. First things first, I put the Subway bag in the garbage. The mouse had ran behind the fridge again but I’ve cleaned back there and there isn’t a mouse hole. I thought he was just trying to trick me into going back to bed. I moved the fridge a bit, the mouse sighed and ran away into the bathroom.
 
All I could think was, "Stupid mouse… have you never seen a horror movie??"
 
So I followed him into the bathroom, wondering if I could corner him and catch him in something. I didn’t want to hurt him… he was pretty cute. So I went into the bathroom, about to explain to him how horror movies work and how running into the bathroom a la The Shining was not going to save his wee mouse ass… and he was nowhere to be found!
 
Outsmarted by a mouse! Curses!
 
Turns out that there is a sizable hole in the floor behind the sink to allow the pipe through – I think that’s how he gained access. I’m just going to stop it up with something and that should take care of that. Until then, I’m really going to watch where I’m stepping when I get out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom…
 
 
* I used to say "pants", but "pants" here means "underpants" and really, that’s not the visual I’m working for here…

>I’m a dick

>Most of you probably already knew that. But I’ve outdone even myself. I finally blew off Buddy2. Or at least… I hope I did. Things have been busy with work (and been busy drinking with work people) and I have maybe, kinda been blowing him off for weeks now, but with excuses of business and illness. Tonight I actually sent the “it’s not you, it’s me” email. I only went out with him three times, and this is the malarkey I have to go through? Dating isn’t freaking worth it!

I’ve also pulled my profile off match. I’ve decided that I’m just not into it at the moment, so there’s no point in forcing it. I’m having fun getting to know the people I work with (good lot, they are) and for now it is enough. If they start to suck or get boring (or both), maybe I’ll give the dating thing a go again. Until then, I’ll drink beers with my friends, and perhaps try my hand at meeting guys the old fashion way… drunk at the bar. HA!

>NINo… not just a weather phenom

>Today my NINo (National Insurance Number) card came. This means no more paying the emergency tax rate, and they are officially letting me work in the country. WOOT!

>Strange… but kinda cool

>The guy who helped me move a few weeks ago was a bit cracked, but good fun nonetheless*. From the time he got down on the floor when he first got to my flat to bow to me because I play guitar, to helping me move boxes (he isn’t supposed to help), to chatting non-stop about everything under the sun in a proper north-London accent, to moving my boxes into my new place, to the hug and good wishes he gave me (not in a gross way, prevs. If it was gross, I would complain), to him trying to refuse my tip… he was a good guy. His name was even Dave, for heaven’s sake. All-in-all, he made moving interesting, if not fun.

I got a small package from him yesterday. On the way from the old place to the new, he nattered non-stop and we talked about how I lived in Korea briefly before we moved on to movies. He mentioned a Korean movie that he had seen that was very good but he couldn’t remember the title of. Well, guess what he sent me? A wee note with “Tell Me Something”, a Korean movie (“Powerfully atmospheric… imagine Se7en and Basic Instinct crossed with CSI”) that is set in Seoul.

I thought that was actually pretty cool. Not many people would take the time to do something like that. Now I just need someone to volunteer to come over and watch the damned thing with me because it sounds scary. I’ll need someone here to tell me when I can uncover my eyes…

*I love the word “nonetheless”. It is satisfying for some reason.

Strange.. But Kinda Cool

 
The guy who helped me move a few weeks ago was a bit cracked, but good fun nonetheless*. From the time he got down on the floor when he first got to my flat to bow to me because I play guitar, to helping me move boxes (he isn’t supposed to help), to chatting non-stop about everything under the sun in a proper north-London accent, to moving my boxes into my new place, to the hug and good wishes he gave me (not in a gross way, prevs. If it was gross, I would complain), to him trying to refuse my tip… he was a good guy. His name was even Dave, for heaven’s sake. All-in-all, he made moving interesting, if not fun.
 
I got a small package from him yesterday. On the way from the old place to the new, he nattered non-stop and we talked about how I lived in Korea briefly before we moved on to movies. He mentioned a Korean movie that he had seen that was very good but he couldn’t remember the title of. Well, guess what he sent me? A wee note with "Tell Me Something", a Korean movie ("Powerfully atmospheric… imagine Se7en and Basic Instinct crossed with CSI") that is set in Seoul.
 
I thought that was actually pretty cool. Not many people would take the time to do something like that. Now I just need someone to volunteer to come over and watch the damned thing with me because it sounds scary. I’ll need someone here to tell me when I can uncover my eyes…
 
 
*I love the word "nonetheless". It is satisfying for some reason.

NINo… Not Just a Weather Phenom

 
Today my NINo (National Insurance Number) card came. This means no more paying the emergency tax rate, and they are officially letting me work in the country. WOOT!