Tag Archives: awesomeness

Hallowe’en Tales – Korean Kiddo Style

I was pretty happy with the stories my PK class wrote, so I thought I would share them. They are “Korean aged” seven, which means that they are biologically either six or seven years old, depending on when their actual birthday is. Pretty awesome little story writers. They had to incorporate specific words into their stories (they each had different words) and they did it well.


Once upon a time there was a skeleton. It was the only skeleton. The skeleton ate people. The skeleton was outside. A jet was coming closer. It threw out a bomb. The bomb went “Boom!” The skeleton ran back to the house, got many scissors, and went back outside. The skeleton jumped on the jet. He went in the jet and fought with a soldier. The skeleton won and was very happy. The skeleton was so happy he decided to go to the playground. And the skeleton played happily in the playground for the rest of the day.


In the church there were many zombies and no people. Only zombies! There was one zombie who said “Eek!” when he met a spider. He liked to punch and eat people, too. One day, they were eating my friend! I was scared and I said “Eek!”. I ran to my house. Then I woke up and it was just a dream. I was very scared but I went to the church. It was all real! A zombie was there eating many books! The zombie punched me and ate my book! I quickly ran away and went back home. My mom was baking cookies. Mom said, “Happy Hallowe’en!” “Today is Hallowe’en?” I asked. “Yes!” Mom said. My mom and I went to the playground. My friends were there. We decided to go back to the church. We did. There were no zombies anywhere. And that was my scary day.


Once upon a time there was a ghost who liked running. The ghost ran very quickly and a chair fell over. Bang! The ghost lived in a house. The ghost’s name was Jocat. He punched a book when he was being very scary. He liked to eat many skeletons. When Albert skeleton ran past his house he broke the window and he tried to eat the skeleton. He had eight eyes so he could look outside even when he was sleeping. He also liked to eat adults. When the adults walked past his house, he punched the door whenever they were close. When he went outside he saw the adults and quickly went to them. He ate them very quickly. When he began to eat the adults, somewhere a clock sang the song “I am the clock that goes tick-tock, I am the clock that likes the ghost.” And the ghost danced to the clock song.

Korean Cuteness; Cosmetics Edition

Korea, we need to have words about how stinking cute everything in this country has to be. At this moment I’m referring specifically to skin care products I recently purchased, but really that sentence could apply to so many things here.

I need you guys to check this super cute shiz out. Seriously.

Tony Moly Products

How cute is this? SO STINKING CUTE.

From left to right, you are looking at a pore cleaner, some facial cleanser, and a skin brightening wash-off mask.

And it’s not just cute, it works so well. I love Korea so much for their skin care products and cosmetics. Sure, sure, some of it is weird (they’re obsessed with snail juice, for example, but apparently it is the best ever for your skin). My skin hasn’t looked this good in like, forever.

I bought these bits and bobs from Tony Moly, which is a fairly ubiquitous skin care shop here in Korea. There’s one less than 5 minutes from my house, which is fairly dangerous for my wallet.

I also can’t get over how many free samples you can score when you buy this stuff as well. It works so bloody well too – I’m totally going back to buy that ‘100 hours cream’ you see, it was awesome.

tony moly cosmetics

And, as always, rocking the free swag

Happy Friday from Korea!

There are some things I loved and have found I still love about Korea. As my first week draws to a close, I’d like to share a couple of those things.

Say Cheese!: Part One

Tomorrow I’ll be going to have some medical tests done (more on that later) in order to get my alien registration card (which I need in order to get a Korean bank account). I had to get four passport sized photos taken tonight so I could bring them with me to the hospital.

There is a place that does this on the basement floor of the Emart across the street from my house. I just had to go there, point at the size of photo that I needed, and we were good to go.

Before picking up the camera, the girl taking the photo tucked my hair behind my ears for me and then brought my hair back forward. She straightened any strays, got my face in the right position, and said “okay” before she took the pictures. It was so sweet I think it may have given me diabetes. That sort of care and attention to how you look for a “passport photo” definitely wouldn’t have happened back home!

Say Cheese!: Part Two

I decided to pick up some pizza while I was waiting for my photos as a “Hooray I Survived My First Week” treat. There is a Papa Johns right near the Emart and, as I was looking for the familiar, that’s what I opted for. I was hoping they would have pizzas like “home” (either London or Canada) and their menu was looking promising.

There was a pizza called something like “Potato Pizza for the Irish” (it definitely had both “potato” and “Irish” in the name) and, happily, they had a page with a description of the toppings in English. I love me a pizza with potato… but this one also had sweetcorn. I’m not a fan. Thankfully last time I was here I learned how to say “don’t give me any corn” in Korean (I learn all the important stuff). So I pointed at the picture of the pizza I wanted, the size, and then said “don’t give me any corn” in Korean. She responded in Korean, I said (in Korean – like I said, I know the important stuff) that I don’t understand Korean. She said something else in Korean, smiling the entire time.

She then turned to the cook and said something to him. He responded and she went over to him saying (I’m guessing at the translation here), “No, no. The Irish. Regular. Sheesh” in Korean. Then she looks at me, rolls her eyes gesturing at him and says, “My husband”. IN ENGLISH.

In English! After she let me stumble around for ages trying to order in Korean. So I said, “You speak English!” And, of course, her response was “No, no. A little. No.”

She was adorable. Huge smiles and we laughed together. I missed that too… how they’d let you try and get on in Korean and then just respond in English. And then tell you that they don’t know how to speak English.

Also, pizza comes all dolled up wrapped in a ribbon with sweet pickles and dipping sauce. Pretty awesome. It’s a Good Friday.



Do any of you guys remember DoodleArt? Those crazy old posters that took about a bajillion hours and sixteen packs of felts to fill in? If not, you missed out on some childhood awesomeness, my friend.

Deciding the first mark is the toughest.

Moms faced with life’s most difficult decision – where to make the first mark.

Apparently first appearing in the 1970’s, my earliest memory of colouring in one of these behemoth posters was circa 1986, when my best friend brought home a “Dolls” DoodleArt poster from (if memory serves me correctly) Vancouver’s Expo ’86.

I loved colouring in that freaking poster.

So imagine my joy when I found an App for that on iTunes for my iPad. So much joy. They had the same posters available that have always been available – including the very same doll poster I remember from nearly 20 years ago.

You can download the app for free and monkey around with a couple of partial posters before you buy any full posters (for $0.99/£0.69 each). I decided to go ahead with just monkeying around before I bought, because you never know: Some apps that are grand ideas are not always executed in the best possible way.

Unfortunately, this was one of those apps.

Queue sad music. I was devastated. All I wanted was to colour in a freaking electronic version of a childhood memory. But the stupid thing… the colours kept  fading and bleeding into each other. I hated that when I used to colour with felts; I didn’t expect to have to hate it when colouring with pixels.

I was unhappy enough about it that I did two absolutely unheard of things for me: 1. I actually left a review on the App store and 2. I wrote an email to the company.  Because internet angry is the best kind of angry.

To my surprise, my email was answered by the CEO of  the company. He asked me if I would provide steps to reproduce the issue, which gave me nightmarish memories of the last project I worked on. But I wanted to help, so I agreed to help if I could. In going through the steps (over and over again) to reproduce the issue and write it up properly, I actually figured out what the issue was: Essentially they were having a problem with the “undo” function of the app.

To thank me for my help in pin-pointing the issue, Andrew (the CEO) sent me three posters – real life posters – to thank me for my time. How rad is that? I gave one to my moms (who also fondly remembers colouring these posters back in the day) and the other two I will take with me to Korea to colour in with the kiddos.

Three minus the poster I donated to my momma.

Three minus the poster I donated to my momma.

I think the most awesome thing though was that Andrew is obviously passionate about the product (and therefore the app) and was so responsive. He worked closely with me and then the development team to get an update to the App Store.

With the update, the app works great. I’ve now purchased the dolls poster (helllloooOOOoooOooo nostalgia!) and have already wasted a great deal of time colouring it in. Loads of joy there.

So if you are looking for something to do this long, cold winter and you have yourself an iPad, definitely check out the DoodleArt App. At least with the app you get all the fun of colouring in one of these intricate posters without the frustration of the yellow felt picking up every other freaking colour on the poster. Awesome.

Silver Linings

I’ve had a few days to calm down after my phone call with the UKBA earlier this week and I’m feeling much better about everything. It turns out that they can’t entirely take the joy of going home away from me. My moms is seeing to that.

First, the flights are not going to be nearly as expensive as I thought. The last time I flew home, I paid over £700 and that was booking months in advance, so I was expecting the flights to be even pricer than that. Fortunately, when I checked yesterday, it looks like even last minute there are flights to be had for under £500. It’s quite a relief.

Secondly, it’ll be good to be home for a bit as I don’t get to visit often. In fact, since I left in 2005, I’ve only returned once (bad Jodi). There are lots of people for me to see, friends and family. I’ll get to see my moms’ new home. I’ll get to eat proper sushi in Vancouver. All good stuff.

But I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet. Ready for the best part of all this?


halloween xmas

My glorious, glorious mother has bought a turkey and I’ve been promised Christmas dinner when I go home. In October. HOW WONDERFUL IS SHE?

The greatest part about this is that my moms does Hallowe’en and does it right. The entire house is done up all spooky-like. Every year she does this, but I’ve not seen it decked out for a good 9+ years now.

I’ve threatened promised my moms that I’m going to find Christmas crackers (it’s October, I’m sure Walmart or someone will have had them out for a couple months now – gah) so we can have bright paper crowns to wear while we eat our turkey.

So picture this: Christmas dinner, Christmas cracker crowns, Christmas carols… and fake cobwebs, skeletons and other Hallowe’en-y paraphernalia. It’s going to be amazing.

We’ve also decided that we are going to watch A Christmas Carol. Not only is watching it (the 10000 year old version, taped from the tv in the 1980’s) a family tradition, but it is so fitting for Hallowe’en Christmas. I mean, there are freaking GHOSTS in it. AH HA HA HA HA HA.

Hallowe’en Christmas. I’m so excited.

Lawyer o’ Awesomeness

When I first received my decision letter from the UKBA, I was fairly paralysed with shock. It was completely unexpected. So I came home, blindly wrote a Facebook status and a tweet letting people know what was happening and asking for help, then just sort of sat back, numb.

As the well-wishes, advice and rage (loved having people rage for me… thank you lovely ragey people!) rushed in, I was overcome by the kindness of others – especially the friends of friends who stepped in.

A retweet by Mr. Felix Cohen triggered this exchange:


I don’t know Michael Vachon, but how happy am I that he responded and included a connection to Latitude Law? ALL THE HAPPY.

Since the beginning, I’ve been in touch with Gary McIndoe at Latitude, who was really the one who gave me the confidence to fight this. I thought I was right and the UKBA was wrong (of course) and so did all my friends… but to have a FOR REALS LAW GUY step in and say “yah, fight ’em”? That made a huge difference in how I was feeling.

It was Gary who told me how to get my appeal put together and submitted to the courts. And it is Gary that I’ll hire to stand with me in court if it should come to that. He’s been responsive, helpful and just generally awesome. Even without an outcome, I feel really grateful to Gary and all he’s done to date.

If you need advise and perhaps a lawyer (do get a lawyer, if you can); get in touch with Gary at Latitude Law. Even if it is just to have him say that it is worth fighting for.

Gary McIndoe, Solicitor
Latitude Law
Direct: 0161 234 6801
Skype: gary.mcindoe

This guy really has been one of the heroes for me throughout this horrible ordeal. I thought contacting a lawyer would suck. It doesn’t suck. It’s awesome. If you need help with your immigration case, it is definitely worth contacting Gary.

De-Ragifying with the Zoms

A strange thing happened to me today.

Started out as a fairly regular Monday. You know. Pretty shit. Had to get up early. Had to get on a stinky, crowded train. Decided that rather than walk to work (Waterloo to London Bridge) I would take more of a stinky train to get in early.

Got in early. No bananas. Work work work worky work. Gym at lunch – ran 5km. Fairly standard.

Work work work worky work. (There may have been a meeting or two in that worky work there somewhere).

Commute home, stinky train. Pick up groceries. Eat some dinner, eff about online. Talk to my moms (which is always a highlight) but then RAGE RAGE RAGE (my poor, patient moms) about a particularly INFURIATING work thing that is going on.

I was very ragey again today. There is a thing (the same “thing” as always) at work and a thing in my personal life that is filling me full of rageohol.

Now, if you know me, you know how I deal with rageohol: Usually I dilute it with alcohol. Seems like the right thing to do.

But today… today I got changed into my running shit after my call with my moms. I fired up my Runkeeper and Zombies, Run! apps. And I went for a motherfucking run.

Now… here’s the strange thing that happened (I mean – over and above the fact that I went for a run instead of a pint): I liked it.

There was a point where I was actually enjoying the exercise. Double-you Tee Eff, man? ENJOYING THE RUNNING.

I’m sat here now in minor amounts of pain. My feet are a wee bit torn apart (I did run nearly 15km today in total – and this after running 10km yesterday… WHO EVEN AM I?) and I’m pretty sure my thighs are going to be non-functioning tomorrow (there is already a pretty deep ache)… but I feel good.

And not just self-righteous good (a by-product of any exercise if you are me), but good-good. My rage has subsided. I am feeling fairly at piece with the universe.

I hope this is a feeling I can remember (not the feet/thighs part – the other part) because I would like to feel this way more often.

This was my run, by the way. Check out those changes in elevation. That first hill is where the zoms nearly got me. I thought I was going to vomit (zom vom) when I got to the top… I’m not nearly in shape enough to fucking sprint up a hill that far into a run.


Who knew that trying to escape a murderous pack of zombies would motivate me enough to run and run and run. Bless you, zombies.

Who let me in the kitchen?

Yesterday Tyran bought this mixer machine thing. I’m pretty sure that’s what it said on the box.

like the window full of herbs and lemons?

There it is! It has other marvellous attachments (like a blender… Welcome to Margaritaville : Population – Me).

You can see in the picture I made some mayo (that’s the gloop in the jar, and I’ll write more about that later). But the very first thing I did was cut myself on the fucking thing. Twice.

first boo-boo


second boo-boo (the big cut)

After some emergency first aid (and a hell of a lot of whinging) I used the machine to first make mayonnaise and then the MOST GARLIC-FILLED GUACAMOLE IN THE UNIVERSE.

five cloves of garlics. and a shallot. vampires beware.

Now that I had some deliciousness happening, I decided I should probably pull something together for lunch. I had a butternut squash hanging around, so I thought I would roast that as a start.

I usually buy the squash already cut up (I’m lazy, yo), but this time I had a whole squash to cut up. Fresh-cut butternut squash smells good. It is like pumpkin… but more apple-ly. I was surprised that there were seeds in there. I don’t know why I was surprised. I suppose that’s what happens when you are used to buying all your food already processed.

lookit all those seeds!

Seeing those seeds gave me an idea: Could butternut squash seeds be roasted just like pumpkin seeds? They sure look the same. So I thought I would give it a try. Win! They did roast up exactly the same and were super delicious.

In the end, my lunch ended up being home-made mayonnaise (with chipotle paste – so good) with roasted butternut squash, guacamole (again, home-made – I rock) and tuna wrapped in seaweed with glutton-free soy sauce and with butternut squash seeds to finish. SO YUMMY.

I also had fresh iced tea. I used the blender to crush the ice for it (fancied it up a load, didn’t it?). It is just rooibos tea with ice and a sprig of mint. I’m getting very used to iced tea with no sugar or other sweeteners. Some teas (like rooibos) are fairly sweet naturally, so you don’t need to add anything to it.

nom nom nom

This lunch was WAY too big. It ended up being 1067 calories. I should have had half the amount and saved the seeds for a snack later. But it worked out okay – I ate this late in the day and just didn’t eat again, so I came out ahead of my ‘allotted’ calories that day (thank you Fitbit for tracking all that for me!)

It’s been an interesting month of eating well. It is delicious but a hella lot of work. I would definitely make this again – but would eat less of all of it.  Either just the tuna and avocado wrap or the squash… or half servings of both.

Year of the Dragon


The Year of the Dragon. I’ve only had to wait 12 years for it. The last time it was the Year of the Dragon was 2000 – 2001. I was 24. I had just graduated Univeristy.

And I would have never dreamed that by the time it came around again I would have travelled all this way, met all these fabulous people and be living in London. No one dares to dream that big.

But here I am.

And although I have come a long way, I still have a long way to go. And I would like to focus on some of that stuff this year.

I don’t know how well a Fire Dragon (that’s me) will do in a Water Dragon year. But I have some plans to get where I want to be.

There are improvements I would like to make in regards to my creativity, finances, health, lifestyle and relationships. I’m putting a big focus on my health, and I’ll post more details about that soon.

I hesitate to call any of my plans this year “resolutions” or even “goals”. I think I’ll stick with “plans”… but they will be measurable plans. And because they are not going to be NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS, I’m going to wait until after the Year of the Dragon officially kicks in… and after I’m back from Vegas (work trip) before I get going on anything in earnest.

Here’s to making this year a good one!

Wunderlist: Part Two

As some of you already read in my earlier post today, I was having some extreme issues with Wunderlist this morning. The login was balls and then the site went down.  Not a good start to our relationship.

So I passive-aggressively complained here on my blog and sent a tweet about the site being down. Nearly immediately, @wunderlist tweeted back with an update. Which helped control my rage. It was rather interesting how just a little personal response went a long way; I was at the point where I didn’t care if I logged in ever again (I have other lists, right?) and got turned back around to being willing to give them another go.

And then it got a lot more personal.

Kirsty Lee, Social Media Manager at 6wunderkinder got in touch directly. It would appear that she had read my earlier blog post and was also aware that I had spewed forth my frustration on Twitter.

Not only did she reply in the comments to the earlier post, she also emailed me directly to let me know that a) they are working on some soothing salve to decrease the ball-ache of registering via Facebook (sadly, not by killing Facebook but rather with updates to the app) and that the site was down because the servers went down.

I am appeased.

After just using the app today, I can’t yet feedback how useful I am finding it. But after today I am happy to tell the interwebs that the team behind Wunderlist obviously cares what their users think. They obviously care what I think.

They care even though they don’t charge people anything (did I mention earlier that the service is free?). Even though my blog is mostly read by my moms and a few other people who clearly hate themselves and wish to be punished. Even though I’m not a “power-user” or whatever grotesque “you deserve our attention, money-spender” category companies lump people into. They still care.

Kirsty’s actions today (personalised and timely) made all the difference with how I feel about their brand. Instead of focusing on the issues I had this morning, when I tell others about Wunderlist, I’m going to tell them all about the solutions. About the really positive experience I had with the company.

Why aren’t all companies working with their customers/users like this?

Thanks, Kirsty. Tell your boss you deserve a raise.