2016: From the Other Side

2016: From the Other Side

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY SEVENTY

2016 December 30 [Friday]

The end can bring such freedom or torture, unless freedom and torture are the same thing. She wakes. She soon realizes, however, that she has not awoken into her life, but rather, she finds herself at the beginning of her death. Confusion seems reasonable enough. “I must have died last night,” she recalls. Grief. She searches endlessly for an answer, and after an unknowable amount of time, she comes to terms with the likely situation that she is, in fact, dead. A person, of course, experiences much about his/her own life when forced to contemplate it [their life] while laying on Death’s bed. She, however, has been denied this opportunity, thus, she decides that she will start at the end and remember what she can about the last year of her life, the year 2016.

What does she remember? What are the stand-alone moments? Where does she live? How does she feel? What did she accomplish? What did she learn? What were some of her favorite things? “Is a chronological remembrance a good way to do it?” she ponders. “Probably not,” she concedes, “Randomness is always the most interesting.” “Where, though, should I begin? Perhaps … somewhere in the middle?”

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*caption below [photo i]
The summer was ridiculously hot in Seoul, South Korea, for far too long a time during this last year. I accomplished much, however, regarding the yoga practice. My favorite posture last year had to have been any sort of backbending.  In other physically-capable-related news, I am also a huge fan of pull-ups. The song that resonates throughout my mind more frequently than others is Adele’s “Send My Love.” The lifemate consistently commented about how the song made me bop. It’s so hip … in the subtlest of ways. My favorite movie of the year was Captain Fantastic. If only I could’ve lived long enough to eventually live my life in exactly that way. My favorite book was hard to decide because I enjoyed quite a few of them this year, but the book I had absolutely no qualms with from cover to cover was An Anthropologist on Mars by Oliver Sacks. I made little to no progress on the piano. So the stagnation there is embarrassing at best, humiliating at worst.

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*ii

During the spring we finally saw our families after three years of being apart. We all met up in Vancouver for the most epic vacation ever. Much of that has already been reminisced about to the point that it’s burned into my mind. However, I will reiterate how amazing it was to see and be in the presence of my spirit animal! I also participated in my first yoga challenge that spring. I completed little to no writing during all of the last year, and so, if I have to have a few regrets, that would be high up on that list.

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*iii

The fall was, by far, the busiest time of year of all the years of my life. I published my first book, which was essentially a huge failure [as far as making me money and whatnot], but obviously, the release of my first novel-length piece of fiction was a huge triumph. We also hosted our first party here in Seoul, which was also an epic success. Oh and we also moved apartments from 608 to 308. The fall also rang in a time of true horror and mind-blowingly unbelievable … what’s even the word? … revelations about the “overwhelming” [in quotes, obviously, because that’s not actually true] lack of character within the general population of my homeland. And that’s enough about that. As I hear the echoes of people saying that 2016 was by far the worst year ever, I don’t share that sentiment now as I look upon that last year of my life.

Now as I do, in fact, sit and ponder how I lived until my dying day, I don’t regret as much as I had initially expected. I regret simple things like how I wish I had worked harder, wrote more and read more. I’m not overwhelmed by regretful feelings about how I lived my life or treated people. If anything, I truly feel as though I learned and incorporated that learning into my life very effectively. I’m sort of bummed out now, though, that I can’t or don’t get to use all of that new-found betterness. For starters, the last year of my life was clearly all about patience. At every turn, my patience was tested, and as painful as it was, I know that I ended up a much more patient person. I don’t really know what that says as a whole because there’s a strong chance that I didn’t end up all that patient. I was just more patient. *sigh.

Oh, I was able to see my brother twice in my last year, so that was sort of perfect. I saw my entire family during my last year of life, and that makes me happy. My brother, however, is someone about whom I will do much worrying, as far as his future is concerned. As for my parents, I will also worry, but not because of the decisions that they make, but rather, I will worry about the way that the world will treat them and [not] take care of them now that I’m not there to do it. I can’t even think about the lifemate and how I left him when I died. I refuse to go there at this time. I just can’t think about it.

I also learned too much about myself and life and everything to acknowledge each piece of learning. I do think, though, that the most important thing I learned was that I really stopped caring about what other people think of me. First, I realized that people don’t actually think of me, ever. So … there’s that. Second, life’s way too fucking short to be scared of your social life going down the shitter. I mean, the people who care about that sort of shit are not living their lives. And that’s really sad to me now.

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*iv

Honestly, I don’t know why I spent so much time writing. I never wanted to become a writer, but I also never really wanted anything else. If I hadn’t spent so much time writing, I don’t really know what I would’ve done instead. My favorite new thing to cook was definitely chicken soup. I sort of can’t believe how easy it is. My favorite person will always be the lifemate, but that’s because he’s my favorite person. As far as a new person whom I adore dearly is concerned, I would have to say that the “favorite” person of 2016 was my student, SJ. My favorite thing to eat was sort of irrelevant, but my new favorite thing to drink was broccoli juice spiked with vodka. My favorite place to go during our weekend outings was definitely Wangsimni. I acquired a new past time this year, as well as a new skill. I spent way too much time playing poker [Hold ‘Em], but I thought that it was worth my time because it’s an interesting skill to have.

In the general sense of “end,” with a quick glance back at the last year, I feel immensely proud of the life I led. Sometimes I was definitely too lazy. Other times, however, I was extremely productive. If I could’ve found a good balance, I think I would have actually, eventually found myself as someone. I suppose I have an unknowable amount of time to continue looking back at what was, unless of course, there’s actually some form of responsibility or things to be done in this afterlife. It’s just sort of dark and cold at this point. There is a small blue light, though, twinkling off in the distance, so I guess I’ll go check that out now.

Despite the twinge of grief I feel for my life now lost, I don’t feel all that bad. If, however, for some reason, I could go back to my life for one more year, I honestly don’t know if I’d really do anything all that differently. Upon first thought, the things that I would do differently revolve mostly around taking risks, finding those jumping off points and jumping, continuing on the path of not-caring about what anyone thinks, growing ever closer to the me I want to be.

If you ever hear from me again, I guess I didn’t actually DIE die. If, however, you never hear from me again, all I hope is that it was good to know me. Happy New Year!, to those of you who are lucky enough to see the sun shine on that first beautiful day of 2017. Best and farewell!


i. the last yoga pic of me in a posture I came to love

ii. seeing and experiencing my spirit animal

iii. the book I wrote

iv. the lifemate

To Christmas or Not To Christmas?

To Christmas or Not To Christmas?

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY SIXTY-SIX

2016 December 26 [Monday]

 

Good morning! This is probably the earliest I’ve ever sat down to write a blog post. It’s about 1315, and I woke up roughly an hour ago … haha … not really all that funny. Anyhow, I hope everyone had a nice whatever holiday it is that you celebrate! I had a fairly nice holiday. Thanks for asking. I find that celebrating this sort of holiday is getting tough, these days. Neither I nor my lifemate really WANT to celebrate Christmas. As children, nevertheless, [Christian] Christmas was a big fucking deal. So, we’re sort of finding it difficult to shed the whole celebration, decorum, and festivities of the season. No matter, every year we discuss what and how we want to “celebrate” this day that demands so many things. This is probably the topic about which I will write for this upcoming Feature Friday. Thus, I will refrain from going into further detail about how we approached this year’s “Season” and the things we’ve already discussed about how we will approach it in the future.

So … about last week’s happenings. One moment, please. I need to check in on last week’s post to see what I covered in the Monday post. Okay, so I didn’t write about Monday, which was when my actual birthday fell, and I had a nice day just hanging out and twiddling my thumbs until the lifemate got home. Once he arrived home, we went to Pizza Hut for dinner, which probably sounds really lame, but here in Seoul, western food is quite expensive and is never quite as good as it is elsewhere. Since we went all out for my birthday dinner on the Saturday before, I just wanted something we never eat. I ended up having a small meltdown after our server basically tricked us into the most expensive “set” in the entire restaurant. I was upset because the lifemate had already shelled out so much money on my birthday celebrations and the pizza was supposed to just be a fun little dinner, but then it ended up being another outrageously expensive [because we’re talking about fucking pizza here] meal. Also, if I were inclined to brag about the gifts he gave me, you’d gain further insight into my feelings about how he definitely didn’t need to spend any more money on me. In hindsight, we probably should’ve just done something at home. Anyway, that was Monday night.

Nothing interesting nor special happened on Tuesday. My last birthday present finally arrived on Wednesday, and it was so totally worth the wait. Thursday was spent finishing up some reading for last week’s Feature Friday. I also spent all of last week procrastinating. I had my 1500 word Feature due on Friday as well as 7500 words of fiction writing due on Saturday. On Friday, I started and finished the Feature. Luckily, my English student, SJ, had to cancel all of our classes last week, so I was able to hole up in the apartment all day on Thursday and Friday. On Friday night, I pounded out a few hundred words of fiction work … fail. But something’s better than nothing at this point. Getting back into the swing of fiction writing is tough, so I didn’t beat myself up at all for the meager output.

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*caption below

On Saturday, we went to a friend’s Christmas Eve party. Um … It was nice? The problem I face with writing about the party is that I have true affection for the host of the party, but the party itself was a bit rough. There were two people there with all too similar … uh … toxic? … personalities. One of whom was an old friend of mine, and by “old,” I mean that she and I were friends. I met her shortly after we moved to Seoul, and we met up a few times and even went on a few couples’ outings, but I would not have defined our relationship as close. We were definitely still getting to know each other. Anyhow, one day, a few months in, she really wanted to talk to me about some problem that came up between her and her husband. It made me really uncomfortable for two reasons: First, they had only been married for about ten months at this point, and the nature of the problem was … problematic. Second, I did not feel as though we were close enough for her to share this level of problem with me, so I felt like maybe she just tells things to people, and that’s problematic for me, if we were to become closer friends and I were to share my life with her. That’s enough about that.

Anyhow, shortly after her [TMI] divulgence, I basically stopped talking to her. She avoided me too, and I don’t blame her. I mean, she opened herself up and told me a really sensitive, vulnerable situation. I honestly couldn’t relate to the way they handled the situation, nor could I relate to the way the situation arose at all in the first place. I listened and did my best to provide some insight for her simply by being a sounding board. So, yea, she and her husband were there, and she’s a bit antagonistic. Even before everything that went down went down, I found her to be a bit … negative. She’s very … smug. Hence the lack of closeness between us in the first place.

As far as the other toxic personality, this other girl was someone I met for the first time, and let’s just say, I had half of one conversation with her and then made sure I didn’t have to interact with her again. I overheard much of what she spoke to other people, so I knew it wasn’t me. She spoke to everyone this way. I’ll just give one small example from half our conversation. I found out that she was vegetarian earlier in the evening, and then later, some of us were just talking about how we eat and what not. This was all at a Christmas party mind you, so the atmosphere of conversation ought to remain lighthearted, at least, that’s what I thought. Other people clearly don’t feel that way.

Anyway, so I was talking to one of the guys about how the lifemate and I eat a super low-carb diet, and how we found it to be awesome because we never realized how good it could be to be able to eat more fat. The guy I was talking to had a similar revelation too. Then the vegetarian said, “Uh, like low-carb is such a fad, and there are like so many risks. You’ll end up with kidney disease because you eat too much protein.” [If the irony of this comment is lost on you, then you probably also don’t understand how horrible this girl was.] I wasn’t trying to convince anyone of eating a low-carb diet nor was I promoting it. We were simply talking about how we eat cause it was just a talking point at that point. She also wasn’t even part of the conversation.

I am all too familiar with this type of toxic person, so I simply responded with, “Really? I mean, do you know how much protein I eat? You don’t even know if I eat any meat products. I think you also have to eat like two pounds of meat protein every day to end up with any protein-related problems, but what do I know? Do you know?” She had no response, obviously, because that’s how you deal with people who don’t actually know anything but who are compelled to exert their lack of knowledge on everyone else. It was awesome.

Aside from the few little social frustrations, I had a nice time. The party as a whole was a bit … strained. I just kept to the people who were feeling the Christmas vibe and just chillaxin’. We ended up back at home around 0200, and I didn’t have that pleasant, after-party warmth, which was a bit sad. Oh well. I’ll state it again because this is how much I truly enjoy the host’s company; despite the lackluster charm of the party itself, the host was gracious, happy, and altogether pleasant as always. Perhaps she felt the strain too because I heard a few comments from her that made me feel as though she was aware of the not-so-cheery atmosphere, but I think she threw a great party. You can never really predict the personalities that show up. Unfortunately, one really antagonistic, socially inept person can infect an entire group.

Christmas Day was very low-key. We both woke up around 0900 and immediately turned on A Christmas Story, but then I passed back out until about 1230. Once I was up for good, we exchanged gifts and then called my parents. The lifemate made some breakfast while we watched a basketball game and played with the cat. Then we finished up Season 15 of Project Runway. We watched Step Brothers while we played a few rounds of heads up Hold ‘Em. Then off to a candlelit dinner we went. Once we were in for the evening, we watched Die Hard, which I had never seen before, and I will probably never watch it again willingly. Throughout the entire day we were sipping vodka and eating butter cookies [yes, I realize that cookies are not low-carb … haha … but twas Christmas. We also ate pizza like twice last week because of the holidays, yum!] I think we probably tucked in for the night around 0330. It was a nice little holiday. I also managed to get in all the workouts I planned last week. All-in-all, I feel pretty good today, despite the pizza and the liquor.

Now, I’ve gotta go outside to see if it’s actually raining. It’s not too cold to do a circuit today, but if it’s raining, I’d rather not, which means, it’s a the yoga day. I also really need to find some diligence in prepping this week’s feature and hitting my fiction-writing quota. Sorry this was a long, arduous, slightly-depressing post. This is my blog though, so yea. Suck it. Until Friday. Laters.


*Christmas Crackers! The host of the party gifted me a build-your-own set after she explained to me what they are. If you don’t know, find a British person to explain to you the tradition.

‘Unskilled and Unaware’: How Not To Be Stupid

‘Unskilled and Unaware’: How Not To Be Stupid

Friday Feature

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY SIXTY-THREE

2016 December 23 [Friday]

“[Ignorance] more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”

– Charles Darwin (1871, p. 3) à la (Dunning & Kruger, 1999, p. 1121)

As an aspiring writing, the toughest thing about writing nonfiction is that I tend to stray into rant-type territory, and at this point in my life, I ought to be a better writer, which ultimately means, I ought to be able to say something without being all, what’s the word, bitchy?, about it. Thus, I’ve done a little due diligence and have an interesting little topic about which to write [rant … no … write … not rant … ]. So, here I go.

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*caption below

For years, I have been frustrated by how seemingly crazy [stupid] some people act and behave, and for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out what exactly “it” was. You know, that sort of Gertrude Stein-ism of wondering if there’s a “there there”? After basically writing and writing and writing about how I just can’t stand people who are, to put it bluntly, stupid, I realized that that’s probably not the best way to approach dealing with the frustration. So, I opted for a headier approach and began reading and conversing about this frustration with real people. Then, one day, the most perfect thing happened. My long-time life-partner “dropped a bomb on me” (Simmons, Taylor, & Wilson, 1982), when he sent me a link to a study about all of the things I could not prove yet constantly felt.

The link was to a research paper entitled, “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments,” which was published back in 1999 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The whole point of the study, conducted by Justin Kruger and David Dunning, was to test whether or not their argument, “that when people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it,” holds true (1999, p. 1121).

What they’re trying to prove is, if you’re incompetent and/or unskilled, it’s highly likely that you’re unaware of your own incompetence. Another, more-preferred and less-euphemistic, way to state the problem would be, Are stupid people too stupid to know that they’re stupid? The short answer is, yes. Crazy, eh? Obviously, I suggest that each of you read the paper yourself rather than believe what I have to say about it, but since I’ve read the paper, it’s unlikely that the people who actually should read it [those who are “incompetent”] will actually read it because, like the article states, “the incompetent are less able than their more skilled peers to gauge their own level of competence” (Dunning & Kruger, 1999, p. 1122), which means that those who are “incompetent” are less likely to think that they lack some form of knowledge, which further means that this entire Feature will seem pointless to them.

The long answer is that Kruger and Dunning conducted four different studies that tested the participants on various levels of competencies ranging from humor to logic. If you only read the method and results of one of those studies, read Study 4: Competence Begets Calibration (begins on p. 1127). After each participant completed the tests, they were then asked to rate themselves against the other participants, and then, they were asked to predict their own scores. There are many more details to the study, but I’m trying to give a general impression. Again, you really ought to read the study for yourself. The results shed light on the overwhelming consensus that Kruger and Dunning were correct in their initial argument and predictions.

The predictions were as follows:

Prediction 1. Incompetent individuals, compared with their more competent peers, will dramatically overestimate their ability and performance relative to objective criteria.

Prediction 2. Incompetent individuals, will suffer from deficient metacognitive skills, in that they will be less able than their more competent peers to recognize competence when they see it-be it their own or anyone else’s.

Prediction 3. Incompetent individuals … will be unable to use information about the choices and performances of others to form more accurate impressions of their own ability.

Prediction 4. The incompetent can gain insight about their shortcomings, but this comes (paradoxically) by making them more competent, thus providing them the metacognitive skills necessary to be able to realize that they have performed poorly. (Dunning & Kruger, 1999, p. 1122)

As aforementioned, all of Kruger and Dunning’s predictions came true. It seems as though stupid people truly are too stupid to know that they are stupid. Obviously, my writing about all of this is quite crass and probably, what’s the word, condescending?, but I’m just the messenger. Again, since the two research scientists present all of the data in a much more deferential way, you should really just read the paper for yourself. I understand that most people don’t spend their time reading the results of scientific studies, but I find this one to be particularly poignant, especially when considering the state of the world and the past few national decisions, globally, that were voted upon by the general public. The butting of heads, as it were, of the competent and incompetent arise from two very different outlooks. “Thus, the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others” (Dunning & Kruger, 1999, p. 1127).

What’s the point of all this? Honestly, I still don’t know. I only ingested all this info about ten days ago. The study seems to point at two highly conflicting issues: Both incompetent and competent people suffer. “… unskilled individuals suffer a dual burden: Not only do they perform poorly, but they fail to realize it. It thus appears that extremely competent individuals suffer a burden as well. Although they perform competently, they fail to realize that their proficiency is not necessarily shared by their peers” (Dunning & Kruger, 1999, p. 1131).

In conclusion, Kruger and Dunning suggest that they too may have fallen prey to their own incompetencies, which would mean that they are ignorant of their own incompetence. An absolutely wonderful conclusion to have come to realize. They end the article beautifully by basically saying that sure, they found all of these correlations and have results that prove their initial thoughts to be true, BUT the results also suggest that there’s really no way to know whether or not you’re competent because, if you’re incompetent, you don’t know it, which sort of means that all of this work means nothing. Ha! Amazing.

For me, as simultaneously enlightening and frustrating the entire study and research ends up being, the evidence points at something larger. To me, the study sheds light on a simple question that every person should ask him/herself, constantly, but that question can only be asked after s/he accepts that s/he does not in fact know everything, which is the crux of all the research. People are entirely unlikely to consider that they don’t know everything, especially those who know the least. Nevertheless, the question is, “What do I want to know that I already don’t know now?” And further, “How do I make sure I continue to become more knowledgeable aka competent?”

Apparently, no one can really reveal your own incompetence to you, so the answer is quite simple to me. Assume that you’re quite incompetent. Only through this acceptance and understanding of the responsibility you hold over your own life can you ever become more competent. No matter how slowly you achieve some level of competence, all you need to know is that you’ll always be incompetent. All you can hope for is to become less so.


*… not as promotion, of course, but as nostalgia (Gray, 1747).


References

Darwin, C. (1871). The descent of man. London: John Murray.

Dunning, D. & Kruger, J. (1999). Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1121-1134.

Gray, T. (1747). Ode on a distant prospect of Eton College. London.

Simmons, L., Taylor, R., Wilson, C. (1982). You dropped a bomb on me [The Gap Band]. On Gap Band IV [7″ & 12″ vinyl]. Beverly Hills, CA: Total Experience Records.

Bags, Booze, and a [my] Birthday

Bags, Booze, and a [my] Birthday

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY FIFTY-NINE

2016 December 19 [Monday]

 

After the conclusion of No-Writing November and the commencement of the two metric months [100 Earth days = 1 metric month] that are to be spent writing book two [to be named … something … once I think of something to call it], I have already failed to write my first non-fiction-type Friday post, which will henceforth be referred to as “Feature Friday.” The short story is that I am a chronic quitter, and to my detriment, I’m getting used to not sticking to my goals. Nevertheless, I’m not entirely sure why I stated in the last post that that was the last installment of the Mundane Monday Memoirs because I already knew that I would continue to write that exact style of post throughout the year, on Mondays *sigh. Oh, and it’s Monday. Whatever.

The long story about why I failed to write my first Feature Friday post last week revolves around the conception of an idea that actually required a bit more research than I had initially expected, especially since I was forbidden to write on my computer until last Wednesday, which meant that it was sort of an unfair length of time to produce a Feature. Despite this, I should have planned better, obviously, and should have had an idea for something more manageable about which to write. Hopefully, I will indeed get the piece finished by THIS Friday because I also have my first 7,500 words for book two due on Saturday. Ugh. I basically hate writing. I’m not entirely sure why I even do it.

It’s that whatever it’s called … an antic? … an aphorism? … one moment please while I use my friend Google … no, neither, so, I suppose I will go with a platitude, since that’s sort of the closest I can get at the time of this [fueled-by-vodka] writing … where like writers love being done with their writing … “they” say the best part about writing is being done, having written whatever … blah, blah. Onward …

The events of last week were again quite blasé and uneventful, until the weekend that is. Ha! The lifemate began my birthday celebrations last Friday, and they will come to their fateful end tonight. Boo. I’m less inclined to talk [brag] about how we had the best day filled with shopping, an urban walkabout, fancy foods, and other activities that are none of anyone’s business. The only thing about which I’ll go into more detail is dinner.

We found a wonderful Spanish tapas place called Spain Club out in Gangnam at the COEX mall. It was divine. We started with some cocktails [an old fashioned for the lifemate and the signature margarita for me]. Then we ordered our entrée first, the seafood paella. OMG … it wasn’t the best paella I had ever had, but it was pretty damn delicious, especially for Seoul. With the entrée we split a bottle of Syrah, and then before we were even finished eating all of the paella, we ordered the gambas al ajillo after tasting the deliciousness of the shrimp in the paella. OMG … seriously the best shrimp I’ve ever eaten … ever. After we ate, we finished off the meal with a drink called the White Lady. I’m not entirely sure how long we were there, but I imagine it was much longer than I thought. We were … inebriated.

After dinner we shopped a bit more, and then, we stopped through the On the Border [yes, I know, but you can’t understand how truly amazing Mexican food is until you can’t eat it … ever … even when we’re talking about somewhere as derivative as On the Border … yes, I understand that most people understand that Mexican food is amazing, but seriously, you can’t really understand its amazing amazing-ness until you’re deprived of it … like most things in life, I guess] that we also found at COEX [there’s another one that we usually frequent downtown and closer to our home], sipped more margaritas and snacked on an appetizer platter, most of which was bagged up so we could take it home. It was, to be fair, the second dinner within like three hours.

 

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*caption below

That’s enough about that. Yesterday was a wonderfully lazy [recovery] day. I think we probably watched like five hours of the 2016 WSOP Main Event, and I’m not ashamed to admit this. I guess that’s about it for today because I don’t even want to be writing this damn post in the first place, so really, you’re just getting my shits. Sorry [not sorry].

Laters.


*a birthday presents sampling … uh, kinda crazy.

Best. Weekend. Ever.

Best. Weekend. Ever.

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY FIFTY-TWO

2016 December 12 [Monday]

 

Here we are now at the final installment of the Mundane Monday Memoir! I am truly going to practice the writing restraint that these posts are meant to fulfill and stick to the program as I sit at my computer with the movie Wreck It Ralph pumping in the background just like it does every single morning these days. If you’ve seen the movie, perhaps you understand my obsession.

Let’s see … this past week has been quite productive as far as physical exertion is concerned. I managed to workout seven days in a row last week through alternating days of circuits, runs and the yoga [of course, this includes last Sunday, which technically isn’t part of “last week,” but the point is merely that I managed to get my butt off the couch seven days in a row with yesterday being the only day off during the past eight days, etc., it doesn’t matter]. Anyhow, I plan to continue this regimen until I just quit, as usual. I don’t have any physical #goals, per se, regarding my size or abilities, except to feel really great physically. I can do the pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, dips, leg-lifts, &c., so it’s more that I just want to be able to keep doing them, ya know? Okay, enough about that.

As far as the non-exercise-related events of last week, there’s not much to tell about what went on during the week. The weekend, nevertheless, is an entirely different story. On Saturday, the lifemate and I pounded out a quick circuit through the early afternoon and then traveled downtown to an area called Anguk to eat a croissant/waffle [a waffle made out of croissant dough] and a burger at our favorite burger joint. The croissant/waffle place was closed, and we’re not sure if it’s closed forever or was just closed for the day. Through grave disappointment, the lifemate impulsively dropped into, luckily for me, a delicious phở place. It was the type of place we’ve been scouring the city for for years … cheap but delicious phở. The phở itself was absolutely no frills, and he also ordered the stir-fried phở, which was absolutely amazing. Both dishes combined cost about 7,000 KRW. Awesome.

Holy ephing ay, I think I’m definitely getting a fucking cold. Dammit!

After the croissant/waffle tragedy and phở excitement, we desired to continue our grazing and headed toward the burger joint. On the way there, I found the cutest boutique ever where I picked up a few new pins [to be pictured at a later date because I’m searching for the perfect new little backpack, and once I find it, I’ll pin the pins to it and post a pic then] and picked out a notebook that the lifemate bought me for my imminent birthday. Then we continued on toward burgers. To our dismay, the burger joint was closed … the forever kind. There was already another restaurant up and running in its place. Boo! Thus, we marched on toward Insadong where we thoroughly enjoy a beverage stall that sells liquor pouches. No liquor pouches. We were 0-3 at this point but were still having a great night. With one last thing on our to-do list for this area of town we hoped with all our might that the lady from whom we buy our incense cones and sticks was still open. She was. So then, we trekked on over to 광장시장 [Gwangjang Market] and grabbed our favorite little snack, 빈대떡 [mung bean pancake].

I wanted the good times to keep on rolling, so we walked toward Dongdaemun. Then, I still wanted the good times to roll so we walked onward toward Hyehwa, and it was totally worth it. There, we found a different liquor pouch man! How fortuitous! We each got one, walked a few Christmasy streets and then finally hopped on the oh-so-crowded subway back home. Phew. Twas a long, cold, oddly satisfying Saturday night.

Sunday was equally satisfying as I had my English student, SJ, over for a day of funtivities. Her parents dropped her off here at our [my and my lifemate’s] apartment at exactly noon. We played cards, Rummikub, and a plethora of video games. SJ and the lifemate took turns playing piano while I cooked poached eggs and hollandaise. SJ also ate her first avocado ever [she sort of liked it but was surprised when it wasn’t sweet … haha]. Later, I taught her how to make an apple pie for her dad [I made her family a few apple pies last year after SJ’s mom gifted me a huge bag of apples from SJ’s mom’s mother’s apple trees, and apparently, SJ’s father loved the pies so much he talked about it all the time, so I thought it would be fun to teach SJ so that she could make them anytime for her dad].

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*caption below

Around 1800 we all caught the bus together toward SJ’s house where we met up with the rest of her family [dad, mom and grandma] so that we could all go to dinner together. SJ’s dad picked an incredible duck restaurant that basically blew my mind. After dinner, SJ’s father drove us all the way back home, which was so fortunate because both the lifemate and I were so full we weren’t sure how a bus ride would go. We were home around 2200, and I passed out around 0130. What a weekend.

Now that it’s Monday again, it’s back to the daily grind of workouts, writing, and wonderments. No-Writing November comes to an end tomorrow, which means I’m back in writing mode starting on Wednesday. The lifemate bought me a new congrats-for-completing-my-first-book-but-now-it’s-time-to-get-your-ass-back-to-work-and-finish-book-two computer, which ought to arrive on or before Wednesday, so there’s that, at least, to look forward to. I will also be officially back to my M/F blog posting routine as well. Thus, you will hear from me again here on Friday! Until then …


*photo by: 정소정의 엄마

Season’s [F*cking] Greetings

Season’s [F*cking] Greetings

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY FORTY-FIVE

2016 December 05 [Monday]

Oh my ephing ay! This is the Fifth [5/6] Installment of the Mundane Monday Memoir, which is a consolation day for writing as I am still deep within No-Writing November [yes, I know it’s December, but No-Writing November is the name of the six weeks that I forced myself to participate in as a “break” from writing after my book release]. I still have nine goddamn days until I can write about anything of any substance. The worst part about all of this is that I actually have a bit of a rant about the holidays, and I cannot write about it; I can’t write about it on a computer, that is. I have written a few notes down in the notebook the lifemate bought me expressly for this purpose, but it’s not enough! Ugh! There is an even worse part though, I suppose. I’m deathly terrified that once I’m freed to write whatever whenever [and that I sort of must], I won’t have anything to write! *sigh

Oh well. I can’t really worry about that now, especially since I have a handful of nonfiction topics about which to rant. As far as Book Two is concerned, however, I have nothing. I have absolutely no thoughts, ideas, questions, nothing about the book and where it’s heading. Again, though, it’s not really something I should be worried about at this point. Thus, I will move on to the truly mundane aspects of my life over the past week.

Most of last week was spent soaking up this unseasonably warm winter. I did a series of circuit workouts at the park during the day on MWF, finished up the November Yoga Challenge, began the December Yoga Challenge, and we went for an early evening hike yesterday. As far as socializing, the lifemate borrowed a Crock-Pot from one of his coworkers. When the coworker and his husband came to drop it off, we offered to compensate them with a few shots of vodka. Three and a half hours later we polished off the entire bottle over a fairly intense conversation about life in Korea. It was excellent.

On Saturday, we attended a wedding [where we also had the chance to converse with the coworker and his husband from the night before. The coworker’s husband, btw, is one of my favorite Koreans ever]. The ceremony was quick and beautiful.

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Afterwards, we [the lifemate and I] strolled along the river toward Nowon where we shopped a bit and picked up a bottle of tequila. For dinner, the lifemate used a coupon I made him, and we ate pizza and fried chicken. Hoy. I was feeling quite glad about busting my ass at the park earlier in the week.

Yesterday, we both slept in pretty late, which was amazing. Then the lifemate made his kickass chili, and then he found out that he bought the wrong printer ink cartridge. It was a tense afternoon. Haha. Needless to say, I was cranky, but still wanted to hike because I’m trying to do a little personal research on what it’s like to “live for your social media.” So, I thought, “I will go on a hike today so that I can take a pic of ‘going hiking’.” I didn’t want to hike because I wanted to. I wanted to go on a hike so that I could say, “I went on a hike … Check out this pic!”

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I’m merely testing a little theory of mine about how people use and internalize their social media use. And I gotta say, I’m not entirely sure if doing things just so that you can post them is a bad thing if it gets you out of your house and into the world. So, the question seems to now be something else.

When examining how it seems like some people warp and shift their own lives in order to ensure that everything about their life is “shareable,” I’m sort of beginning to understand more about the implications of that type of behavior. Shit. I’m not supposed to be writing about this. Ugh! Uh, one last thing before I get yelled at for breaking my rules yet again, there are definitely some significant differences between those who share only the best parts of their lives and those who fabricate a life offline that can always be fully bragged about online. Ugh. Okay. I’m done.

Let’s see. Oh yes, I also sent out a big box to my parents for Christmas and my mom’s birthday. I truly dislike the entire idea of exchanging gifts because you must. Gift giving is my love language, and so I put a lot of stock into giving and receiving gifts. I love to give gifts. It is the way that I show someone I like and/or love them. Thus, the idea of “A Season of Giving” is so unappealing to me because I want people to give me things when they want to, not when they’re supposed to. The same goes for my giving of gifts. *sigh

For the past few years I’ve opted out of giving anything more than a card with a picture to my parents because I just don’t like the hassle. This year, however, I actually had some ideas for gifts to give my parents, and so I put together a little box and sent it off. I’m genuinely excited for them to receive their gifts this year. There’s this sort of perverse irony to this season’s wishing of peace and goodwill as everyone busts their asses and their bankrolls to partake in the celebration of … of what? Love? Consumerism? Joy? Religion? Gift giving? This is the first year in a long time that I’ve wanted to give gifts, and so, I sent gifts.

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Wouldn’t it be nice to simply exchange gifts whenever we felt like it instead of being forced to during this “most wonderful time of the year”? Maybe I don’t feel like sending gifts now, but if I don’t, people feel unloved. Boo. I mean, when did society determine everything through the acceptance and/or rejection of your actions by your peers? Like the totally fucked up practice of buying a chopped-down tree so that you can drag it into your house and watch it die over this “holly jolly holiday,” all in order to avoid being ridiculed with, “Is that a fake tree?” Yes, it’s a fake fucking tree because then I can use it year after year without killing a perfectly good tree and being a hypocrite who uses reusable bags but who kills real trees for no goddamn reason! Good riddance!

Damn it! I wrote more writing. Fuck!

Oh! I’m planning a little online shindig! Check me out on Instagram to get the full details on December 10th! You won’t hear about it here until the following Monday in the final installment of this no-writing nonsense. So, there’s that.

Until next week …