You’re not ‘stuck in a rut.’

You’re not ‘stuck in a rut.’

How to be happy you’re alive.

 

I’m annoyed, frustrated and generally pissed that people cannot seem to grasp the simple idea that life is monotonous. Just like so-and-so says in The Princess Bride*, “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something.” When you don’t feel like ripping today a new asshole or you don’t feel like being awesome or you just want to eat junk food and play video games, that’s called Regressing to the Mean. It’s normal. It’s all part of your human existence within a thing called math. At some point, over the course of some time, you MUST regress because growth only and solely upward is impossible; the math says so.

Thus, the thing that every person dumb enough to pick up a self-help book needs to understand is that life is monotony, the everyday experience of experiencing everyday experiences every day. Awesome days cannot be awesome against the backdrop of every day being awesome. And days of misery cannot be miserable against the backdrop of every day being miserable. Get it? The daily routine of monotony is the baseline of your life that really gives your life (all the awesome and miserable days, events and experiences) its meaning.

For the creative types, “one of those days (or weeks or months)” are absolutely necessary. Your brain requires time to mull and digest information. There are input times and output times. The output times are obvious to spot; you’re outputting creatively. Input times have been mislabeled as “stuck in a rut.” Instead of contemplating your life in such hopeless terms, realize the truth, instead of seeking advice. This “rut” phase is your brain’s input time. Instead of forcing and hoping and lamenting about how you’re so unmotivated, realize that this is the time when your brain needs to rest, perhaps even sleep. Read a book. Sit outside in the sun. Do nothing.

You’re not going to feel awesome every single fucking day. Some people never get to experience the feeling of feeling awesome. And I’d even go so far as to say that everyone’s idea of what makes them feel awesome is different. Why are we all pretending as if we want the same thing? We don’t. I have yet to actually meet another writer who has the same sort of aspirations as I do as a writer. And yet, we all lump ourselves in together and hope to gain knowledge from someone who has found “success.” But another person’s success cannot ever be yours.

So now, I understand how hopeless my efforts are as this is, in fact, a piece of advice, but that advice is to stop taking advice. Instead of being just like everyone else who seeks advice, seek truth, knowledge. The only place to find this sort of content is within books. Your local library has a healthy supply of them, and guess what, all the books are free to borrow!

In short, you’re not stuck in a rut; you’re stuck in this thing we all call life. Get over yourself; relieve yourself of the pressure to be and achieve something all day, every day. The only way to find yourself is to actually spend time with yourself, and so, when you find yourself stuck with yourself (whenever you see yourself as “in a rut”) instead of lamenting about how you wish things were, show a little gratitude for keeping yourself alive, alive enough to want more than the mundanity that living affords so well.


*written by William Goldman

Too Muchness

Too Muchness

It’s just too much.

I feel as though I’m afflicted with a phobia. If I were to guess, I’d guess that it is not an actual pathology, however, it does feel like one. I fear that I am afraid of too much. Not that I’m afraid that I have too many fears. That’s not it. Instead, I’m afraid of everything in a state of “too much.” For example, I am afraid of running too much. After realizing that to maintain my current (this was years ago) running ability (which isn’t even enough to brag about or even bring up really, nevertheless), I had to continue running every single day, and that was (is) too much. I quit running (although I still go out for a few jogs a year) cold turkey about two months after this realization. On a different note, one of my more vivid remembrances of “too muchness” happened roughly around the time I began having to wear makeup on stage for performances (as a gymnast, I never had to wear makeup for competition [although, perhaps I should have], and so, when I switched to dancing, the prospect of stage makeup sounded fun, albeit a little gross). I had worn makeup on stage when I was a child, but this time, I had to wear it as a young lady, and when I saw my own reflection, I liked it. I also then immediately understood that I would have to wear makeup like this every day or else, everyone would know when I wasn’t wearing makeup, or if I was wearing makeup and they saw me immediately after having seen me without makeup, etc., etc., &c., down the rumination wheel I spun. Until, ultimately, I decided that I would never wear makeup (off the stage) because people could see it, which meant that they could see when I didn’t wear makeup, which meant that I had to wear makeup every single day, and that was too much. There are other examples, but I strive not to bore.

Currently, I’m struggling with a different sort of too muchness, and the realization around this particular iteration spawns a bit of truth that I would rather not know. And please, save your judgments of my patheticism as I am very aware of how pathetic my situation is, not to mention the problematic egotistical nature of the situation. The issue is this: Although capable of writing every day, I do not out of fear that I will write too much.

The reality, however, may be less “ewe” and more “oh” once you’ve heard the underlying fear. And that fear is that I am afraid of scrutiny. (Boo, ewe.) I know the rules; I know the game. You’ve gotta write a lot, all the time in order to succeed. It must be an act to which you are fully dedicated. And I, I am only willing to dedicate myself so much lest it becomes too much. But I honestly do not even know what “too much” even means. Like, what the fuck? I decide to sit down and write, and as soon as I attempt to do so, a stupid fucking voice inside my head reminds, “Well, once you open this faucet, you could write for days on end. And that’s too much.” Too much what!

I don’t know.

And apparently, I cannot know because the problem inside my head is inside my own fucking head creating the problem that’s inside my own fucking head. This is why therapy and therapists exist, in case you were ever wondering. Goddammit, my nails are too fucking long to type fast, effectively and efficiently right now. Ugh.

Essentially, I’m stuck inside this psychological nightmare wherein I must write, but if I get carried away, I’m somehow afraid of writing too much (with no regards to how well I’ll write, mind you, and when has writing too much ever been a bad thing), but at the same time, I also fear the scrutiny and criticism of those who (I want to have) read my writings if they (the writings) gain any traction, AND I also fear that I will never be read at all, ever. Yea, I know; I’m a pathetic loser. And so, I suppose, the only thing left for me to do is to just write about this issue of “too muchness” in the hope of finding or knowing the signal to all this noise. The fear, most likely, revolves around something about how, I’m afraid that the next thing I write will be my last. It’s like they say, Hope floats on the death-farts of Dreams.

 

As Planned

As Planned

No one could tell her what to do no matter how sound or helpful the advice turned out to be. But being as cunning as she was, her sister knew that the only true way to get her to do anything was to tell her the opposite of whatever it was that you wanted to have her do. And so, she made a plan to convince her sister to take her out to the mall, even though, what she really wanted was for her to stay home. Read more

Surviving Seoul Summers

Surviving Seoul Summers

HOY2: D231

Thorough Thursday

How-To: Survive the Summer Heat in Seoul

I don’t believe that it’s a secret that the temperatures in Seoul, South Korea, are somewhat uncomfortable for the average human being. That being said, I am less-average in the sense that I’ve always lived in the mountains, which means, frigid winters and mild summers (of course, these days, that does not seem to be the case up in the mountain region from whence I came). Thus, I have never enjoyed hot climates, and so, I find summertime in Seoul less than desirable; actually I find the general climate of Seoul to be less than desirable all the time, but this is not about that. With that said, I have recently discovered a way to enjoy the heat, just in time, no doubt. Even though the temperature hasn’t hit blistering levels quite yet, I have tested out my new strategy a few times already, and I imagine that my plan will work swimmingly even as the temperature climbs.

None of what I’m about to say will be ground-breaking insight nor will it be anything but obvious.

Nevertheless, I do feel like sharing this little tidbit because, well, I’m finished with my fiction writing quota for the day, and now I’m bored. So, here it is! Well, I suppose the plan is two-fold and includes tips and tricks (a tip, no tricks) for getting to know Seoul as a whole along with my cooling method. For starters, you must know that I have lived in Seoul for three years now, and honestly, the city has become a bit … redundant. The lifemate and I have slowly been discovering that pretty much every nook and cranny of the city has much of the same things going on … shopping …eating … hiking … a level of consumer drivel that’s out of this world. Despite this general lack of diversity (in every sense and form), each neighborhood does usually have one major attraction or eatery that will be new and distinct. And so, my first (only) tip and trick.

When deciding where to explore within Seoul, the best thing to do is find the nearest subway station to your current location. Once you know where you’re located within the city, use this MAP to determine a location that’s about thirty to forty minutes away by subway. I think that most people under the age of forty will have no problem using the map, since it’s pretty self-explanatory. If you are having a hard time figuring it out, just start clicking on the little dots on the screen next to each subway station name, and everything should become clearer to you. If you’re still having problems, leave a comment, and hopefully, someone will help you out.

Okay, so now that you know which subway station is your closest station, choose, at random, a subway station that’s approximately thirty to forty minutes away. Here’s the tip, it takes, on average, about two minutes to travel between stops, i.e. traveling from Dongdaemun to Seoul Station is five stops apart and takes nine minutes. Once you choose a stop, search the station name through whichever web-search engine you prefer (Google it). The web-search engine of your choosing ought to provide enough information about the one interesting thing to see or do in that particular neighborhood. Sometimes the thing will be a traditional-type palace or a traditional-type goods alley or a traditional-type foods market or a Buddhist temple or a contemporary department store or modern-day attraction or, you get it. If the main attraction near the subway station you chose on the map sounds good to you, then go there. If not, pick another station and repeat the process until something really hits ya between the balls with excitement, etc.

What the lifemate and I typically do is we search for whatever thing we’re looking for, a market or a restaurant or a movie theater, search the subway station associated with wherever whatever we’re looking for is located, and then, we search the surrounding area … all virtually, of course. Then, when a place sounds like it has at least two different things going for it, we also make note of all of the immediate subway stops. We usually go straight to our desired destination and scope out whatever it is that we’ve traveled all that way to see. Then, we walk to one of the surrounding stations. It’s a great way to get a glimpse into the actual lives of Koreans.

I would provide more information about the neighborhoods we like to hang out in, but then I risk running into more foreigners, and I’m not really interested in such social meetings. Also, we don’t really go to tourist hot spots ’cause, do I really need to explain myself? Plus, our “it” neighborhood is changing all the time because that’s how Seoul is –it’s changing all the time. Again, this is why this strategy works well for those of you who have or are planning on living here for more than a year. Seoul’s rate of business turnover is … fucking ridiculous. You cannot count on anything being there the next time you visit, and so, we’ve learned the hard way to just soak up each new neighborhood the first time we visit, and then we push it from our minds and never hope to return there for whatever specific thing we loved in the hood the first time we visited. Sure, we’ll repeatedly return to some areas of the city, but we know full well that whatever it is that we’re traveling there for will most likely no longer be available. Thus, the “Pick and Pop” (TM [… jk, who’d be so pretentious]) method through the subway map was born. Sure, these days we have to travel upwards of ninety minutes sometimes to get to a neighborhood we’ve never been to, but since we travel less frequently, generally speaking, it’s not such a burden. During everyday-type weekend outings, we stick to a neighborhood that requires only thirty to forty minutes of travel.

humptydumpty
Make of it what you will.

Now, how to stay cool during these searing hot months? Well, that’s the fun part. There’s nothing better than an ice-cold bevey to satisfy a sweaty profile. And there’s nothing better than a little booze to lubricate a day on the town. Therefore, there’s definitely nothing better than an icy-boozy bevey to keep you cool and emotionally lubricated. What do I mean by lubrication? Well, Seoul is a fucking crowded city, and yea, it’s fun and exciting at first, but then I found that it has become droll and daunting. There are thousands of people everywhere you go, all the time. If you think about a city the size of Seoul with a population of about 10,000,000, that means that there are more than 15,000 people on average packed within one square kilometer. It’s like I said, crowded. Yes, it can be extremely exciting, but if you’re like me, it becomes very draining. And so, I like to get a little (more than a little) tipsy while out on the town. It helps me care less about the pushing and shoving and rudeness and ajumma entitlement and the general sense of,

“Oh my ephing god, these handrails/bathrooms/chairs/benches/door handles must be so disgusting! Think about how many people use them every single minute of every single hour of every single day! And I’m like four stories underground right now in a small tube with thousands of people who listen to authority to such an extent that they will end up dying rather than simply getting off the train!”

I digress. Anyway … So yea, I use alcohol as a coping mechanism for all of my idiosyncratic phobias and general psychosis. Obviously, I’d prefer the all-natural, more-fun beez from our days of yore, but alas, such goodness, perhaps, works well as a carrot. Again, I digress.

And now, the 10 steps to staying hydrated and lubricated during the scorching Seoul summer! (These measurements are for two people hanging out together.) This process works best when undertaken the night before an outing:

  • Step 1: Buy one to three (depending on your desired level of inebriation) bottles of cheap (cheap cheap, you’ll see why below) white wine
  • Step 2: Buy one small bottle of a lemon-lime soda of your choosing
  • Step 3: (If you have an empty 2L bottle of water, skip to Step 4) Acquire or save an empty 2L bottle of water
  • Step 4: Fill 2L water bottle with white wine until it’s about 3/4 full (use your own discretion or fill two 2L bottles, whatever, it’s all up to you!), leave room for the lemon-lime soda and add half the bottle of lemon-lime soda, leave the bottle nearly full, leaving room for expansion
  • Step 5: Place the nearly full bottle of wine and soda mixture into the freezer the night before an outing.
  • Step 6: The next morning, the contents of the bottle ought to be frozen. Wine freezes quite well, but it remains slightly slushy, hence the lemon-lime soda. The soda helps it to freeze to a more solidified state. Remove the frozen bottle of wine from the freezer and wrap the thing up in a hand towel. Any sort of carrying device will work. Whatever suits you and your desires works best. The lifemate and I like to carry the thing around in a small panda-shaped backpack.
  • Step 7: Now, as you’re leaving to your desired destination for your outing, pick up some sort of cold (or hot if you desire, but that seems beside the point) bevey from your favorite (or cheapest) bevey-distribution shop, you know, something of the cup-and-lid-and-straw variety, and drink the bevey on the way to the subway station.
  • Step 8: Once inside the station, your purchased bevey ought to be finished, so now, this is the important part, KEEP THE BEVEY CUP! If the cup is a hot-bevey cup, then you might want to rinse the thing out at a subway station water fountain. Most stations have them. If you have a cold-bevey cup, then just swish the remains out with the last of the melting ice.
  • Step 9: Now comes the fun part! Fill your decoy cup with the frozen wine. Sometimes the wine will still be a bit too frozen, so at this time, you might want to just massage the bottle with your hands to warm it up while you ride the train to your destination. The point is to take it slow, so there’s no rush to get the juice into the decoy cup before arriving at your desired location, especially since the trains are air conditioned quite well. If it’s really hot out, the wine should be a nice slushy mixture by the time you get to wherever you’re going.
  • Step 10: Once at your destination for your day’s outing, you should be happily sipping a delicious wine slushy from your decoy cup. As the cup empties, simply fill it with the contents of the water bottle. Since the thing was frozen, it does a surprisingly good job of staying cold and refreshing throughout the entirety of the afternoon heat. Enjoy the day refreshed and tipsy! (See Exhibit A)
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Exhibit A

The crazy thing is that alcohol is readily available throughout the city, and old grannies and grandpees drink openly in public. The lifemate and I, however, still feel it’s a bit strange and would rather avoid the odd looks, especially since we already have to deal with so many odd looks given the fact that we’re a mixed-raced couple, and Koreans, in general, are surprisingly, quite racist. So, we like this strategy cause it looks like we’re just sipping some frozen concoction from whatever local bevey joint our cup’s label advertises. Also, we’ve tried stronger versions with hard liquor and the like, but vodka, etc., gets us a bit too drunk and being drunk makes me feel even hotter. The wine, I’ve found, takes the edge off without giving me the liquor sweats. Obviously, if you’re a hard drinker, you may want to swap out the wine for something stronger, but the point for us is not to be so drunk that we block out the city completely. The point is just to lubricate my senses so that I can enjoy it without all the … compulsive obsessions.

So, there you have it! My take on how to stay cool and chill while out in the blistering heat that is Seoul in summer. I hope you try it! If you do, let me know! If you have even better tips and tricks, definitely let me know! Lates.

 


 

Come What May

Come What May

HOY2: D208

2017 May 17 [Wednesday]

2017 ETMC Travels: Sydney Edition
Part II

So, obviously, I am disregarding the daily themes of this nonsense blog for the time being so that I may retroactively document parts of my and my lifemate’s most recent vacation/travels. Today, a Wednesday, ought to be reserved for the purpose of expressing things about which I wonder or whatnot, and now that I’m writing, something of that variety may actually reveal itself in the end. Firstly, however, I must insert a note here that I am also back to work on my writing writing (the serious stuff regarding my book and such). I still have 47 days and approximately 48,000 words to go before my final end date on July 12, 2017. Thus, I must admit that writing these little updates about our vacation seems less important, albeit somewhat important when considering the nature of forgetting. Therefore, I will do my best to get the details of our trip logged in a timely fashion, but with looming 1,000-word, far more important, fiction-writing, daily quotas, I promise nothing. Where were we?

Right, so we arrived at our Airbnb apartment after twenty-four hours of travel, walking walking walking, a little drama and ten flights of stairs later. Friday and Saturday were spent scoping out the King’s Cross and Newtown neighborhoods of the city, respectively. We were in specific search for something that we could not acquire, and so, by Saturday night, we conceded and proceeded to change gears and plan accordingly. This is that point where I now must reveal or reiterate (I don’t remember if I already spoke to this in the most recent post) that I either forgot to pack my camera or simply failed to take any pics during the first four days of the trip. I know that I must have had my camera the first day we landed because that’s when I shot the “Sugar Birds.” After that, however, I snapped zero pics until Monday. So, my words will have to do, which really is what I’m aspiring toward anyway, right?

Okay, quickly now since I don’t want to bore. On Friday, we slept in a bit and then hopped on a bus to King’s Cross (if anyone wants to know more about how to get around in Sydney via public transport, just ask, and I’ll write up a post; if not, I’ll just say that it’s easy but expensive). King’s Cross was a notoriously shady part of Sydney for most of its history, until about three years ago when the city decided to clean it up. For the purposes of my own naivete, I’ll simply state that we stopped through that hood for the … food. We ate gelato, found the naval base, scoped out a Woolworth’s (since we were planning on shopping at the one closer to our apartment, we thought we’d see what it had to offer), and then went back to our apartment, tired, disappointed and disillusioned. We failed to find the … food … for which we were searching. The area is quite posh, upscale, a reversal of its past notoriety. Then we regrouped at the apartment for an hour or two before heading down to Bondi Beach to a bar that was supposedly celebrating the “May 5th tradition of 420.” What a crock of bullshit! Again, disappointment soon followed, so we opted for libations and then went home and passed out by 2200.

On Saturday, we awoke feeling optimistic with new plans to travel to Newtown, another notoriously good place to find … food. We stopped in at the Happy Herb Shop where I spoke to the owner/healer lady for about thirty minutes before we both realized that she wasn’t speaking in code about anything and that, sadly, she did not have what we wanted. I did find out, nevertheless, that only about two years earlier, she could and would have easily and happily sold me the … item … I so desired right there in her shop. She was very apologetic and sent me off with a warning that I graciously heeded. Thus, the lifemate and I went in search for some real food. We stopped in at the self-proclaimed eatery of the stoned (yes, the … food … we had traveled so far to partake in was all around us, but we were not privy to it since we had no friends of direct connections of our own. At a time such as it is in Sydney, everything regarding the … delicacy is mum), D’Munchies, where we scarfed an amazing burger and fries and picked up a small tip. Unfortunately, the entire city of Sydney has gone cold to what was supposedly something so hot. By 1930 that evening, we conceded and made our way to the Wooly’s (Woolworth’s in vernacular, we soon learned) in our neighborhood. Happy again, we bought all sorts of goodies ranging from real muffins (yes, Seoul does not know how to make them) to lamb chops, asparagus to goat cheese and all sorts of dips, sundried tomatoes and garlic bread and western deliciousness we used to take for granted. We would return to that Wooly’s three or four more times to pick up libations in lieu of our disappointing discovery. Luckily, the liquor flowed freely and Wooly’s had an incredible “3 for $21” mix-and-match deal on wine. Needless to say, we drank about ten bottles of champagne (one of which is not pictured below since we bought it on our last day while burning time before heading to the airport … yea … we’re BAMFs [drunks] like that), five bottles of red (one bottle, one box that we left the rest of in the apartment cause we didn’t actually finish it), and four bottles of white (one box, completely finished, haha!) over the course of the trip, oh and lest not forget the bottle of Bulleit we purchased on our first night. Yes, we like to be … inebriated. Who wants to be sober on a vacation? Obviously, alcohol was not our drug of choice, but since it was the only readily available, legal substance, we had to do what we had to do. Come what may, right?

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Despite not finding what we were looking for over the course of two days and two different neighborhoods, we, at the very least, got out of the apartment and perused the city. The rejection, however, and impending general disappointment of the trip as a whole all became a bit too much, and so, on Sunday, we woke with a new mental state about the reality of this vacation. We decided that the rest of the trip would be spent drunk on the beach, minus one more excursion to find the IMAX theater at some point. Champagne in hand, we finally hit the beach on Sunday afternoon for a precisely disciplined one-hour sunbath. We don’t get much sun here in Seoul, what with the skyscrapers lining every street and the horrid pollution, thus, we knew our bodies would be sensitive to the intensity of the Australian sun. Even in winter, we both returned with golden skin. The first day out, though, was spent very methodically slathered in sunscreen, turning and flipping so as to just introduce our flesh to a less-intense, 1500-hour sunshine. After exactly an hour, we clothed ourselves and picnicked on the grassy lawn just above the beach. I don’t remember what we did after that.

As a quick side note, I would like to interject that Seoul is absolutely a nighttime city; Sydney most definitely is not. People say that it used to be a great place to party and be out, but that was not the Sydney we witnessed. Basically, every shop and store was closed by 1800, and most restaurants shut down by 2100 or 2130 with the exception of one or two late-night joints, meaning they were open ‘til midnight. This was quite a shock to us, so we also had to shift our sleeping habits, rising early and sleeping somewhat earlier than usual. Also, Sydney and its beaches line the east coast of the continent, which means that the sun rises over the ocean and sets elsewhere, and since it’s winter down under, the days were shorter, which means that the sun left the beach cold and windy by about 1600. The time shift was also something we were not quite prepared for, but luckily, we adapted quickly and with the first few days spent scoping things out and getting a feel for the location, we were ready to suck this vacation’s dick by the time Monday morning rolled in.

And now the Wednesday Wonderer rears its curious head. I do wonder what the trip would have been like if we had found … the food we had so desperately wanted. Of course, we did not travel all the way to Sydney just for this one thing, but we did think that it would be a fun possibility. Looking back now, however, I do feel as though we may have lucked out in not finding it. I had a little bit of a pit in my stomach when thinking about acquiring it before we even left, and honestly, I’m kind of glad we didn’t. I don’t know what Sydney was like a few years ago, but I know what it’s like now. Sydney and the powers that be have cracked down, and its people are scared. The way I perceive the city is that she’s kind of a frigid bitch. You know the type, the hot girl who has always been hot, like so totally hot, and so, she’s never really had to work to attract people to her. Now, however, she’s kind of a butter-face, hidden in this facade of splendor and attractiveness, but once we actually get down under (haha), you find out that there’s not much there beneath the surface. The people are a bit frigid too, respectable and polite to strangers?, yes, but it’s just not a fun place. The reason for this I cannot know, perhaps it was I, and perhaps I am horrible, but what I wonder is if it is the fault of the government and what it did to “clean up” the city of its “disgraceful” lifestyle and habits. Unfortunately, what I did see was that something has changed, everyone we spoke to spoke to it. Hopefully, someday, Sydney, for the sake of its reputation and general future appeal, finds a balance between being able to provide the good time for which it is known and keeping its citizens safe. Until then, however, I will not return for a repeat visit.

And so, I leave it at that. With the first four days crawling by like time does when there’s much to be learned, the last week of the trip seemed to have escaped us in a flash once we settled in and really knew where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do. Until the next post about the rest of our time there, check out the 2017 ETMC Travels: Sydney Edition pics on my photography site! Lates.


Read Part I & Part III or Part IV

What day is it?

What day is it?

Welcome to |how.odious| Year Two, DAY ONE HUNDRED EIGHT, which happens to be Monday, February 06, 2017!

The day is actually, Sunday, but I am overwhelmed by the week’s forthcoming fiction quota and thus, have opted to write my [mediocre] Mundane Monday post today, Sunday, so that I can fucking focus solely on my fucking fiction production. *burp* Please pardon the obscenities, I am currently enacting a vodka-fueled writing session. Or don’t pardon them; I belch all sorts of obscenities on the regular.

As far as the past week is concerned, nothing much has happened. I did, however, officially begin my full 7500-word fiction quota per each metric week [ten days] with the first due date requiring 7500 words happening last week, on Thursday. I have to admit that it wasn’t actually as hard as I had initially imagined, but now that I know that, the ten-day quota will slowly become larger and larger until the ultimate end on July 2nd of this Gregorian year whereupon I must have, at minimum, 150,000 words of fiction for my second book, which will then be edited, tweaked, torn apart, and altogether unrecognizable. Ugh.

Oh, before I forget, I failed to write a coherent post last week due to inapproprio-city and the fact that it was one of the longest breaks for the lifemate, which always incites hardcore, drunken debauchery and a general lack of care for the responsibilities of adult life. Despite this, I was able to meet my fucking fiction quota! And I felt like a straight-up boss. Today, the feeling is less than desirable, since I haven’t written a single word of fiction since last Thursday. This is mostly due to a lack of inspiration and partly to do with my overwhelming laziness. I also have a pretty righteous cold, but that’s neither here nor there. The good news is that I have an idea and so, will get my ass in gear this week to pump out those godforsaken 7500 words due this coming Sunday.

Shit, I forgot to write the thing I wanted to write about before I forgot! My English student, SJ, stopped by my house last week to bring me a 설날 [Lunar New Year] gift! She and her family brought me a huge helping of black-sesame-covered rice cakes and her grandma’s kimchi! Both treats are of the utmost deliciousness! I can’t even express to you the amount of deep joy the reception of these two items of traditional Korean eats made me feel. A picture:

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The rest of our New Year celebration consisted of eating, sleeping, and drinking. We bought a shift ton of groceries to get us through the holiday, which essentially closes down the entire city for a few days, meaning open restaurants are hard to come by. And to think of it, we actually haven’t eaten out at a restaurant in like two weeks. I can’t even remember the last time we ate out. Snacks don’t count. We ended up making chicken soup on Friday and chili on Sunday in the crock-pot, quesadillas, fried rice, eggs benedict, chicken caesar salad, and other things I can’t remember now. Oh, we ate a lot of cheese. I can’t remember which movies we watched, and the lifemate’s too busy playing Titanfall 2 to help me figure out exactly what we watched. We exercised quite a bit too, which was lame but also refreshing. The holiday ate into much of last week, which was awesome, and then our usual routine and daily patterns filled the remaining days. On Wednesday, I started the @cyogalab February yoga challenge, #WallCall, last week and then promptly failed to continue, but I will finish it goddammit!

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Yesterday, I woke up around 0830 and got up around 0900, which was crazy! I played some online [fake-money] poker and ended my two-hour session 23,000 chips up!, woot woot!, oh and I also made myself a padded sleeve for my new Chromebook!

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Then, we did an as-fast-as-we-can circuit at the park! Finally, the day ended with a trip to Lotte Mart to pick up more booze, french fries and dinner fixings! For dinner we had a pan full of mussels in a tomato sauce with rice and baked bread and watched two new [really bad] movies! It was fucking great! Wow, yesterday was really exciting!

Today has been a seriously lazy day filled with movies we’ve already seen before, video games, more drinking, no exercise, and some toast [the Korean version of a cheap white-bread sandwich]. The cat’s pretty happy too, ’cause we picked up new batteries for the laser pointer yesterday, so he’s been participating in a satisfactory release of energy. I guess that’s about it for this post, nothing too exciting or too boring. Yay!

I’ve already planned this coming week and must write 1500 words of fiction each day to reach this metric week’s quota, fuck! I actually only need to write about 1100 to hit the mark, but I’m telling myself otherwise in hopes of getting ahead of schedule and maybe having another day off from writing, now that I’ve already taken three days off this most recent metric week from writing the fiction. Ugh. *sigh* Ugh.

Okay, that’s all. Time to edit some pics, get some toast and make some 김치 찌개 [kimchi jjigae {like a stew made with kimchi, pork, tofu and some other delicious ingredients}] with SJ’s grandma’s kimchi!

Quickly, now …

Quickly, now …

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY NINETY-FOUR

2017 January 23 [Monday]

Mundane Monday

Since I also have a shit-ton of fiction writing due before today becomes tomorrow, I will make this Mundane Memoir quite short. There’s one exciting announcement, one new writing goal, an update about the weather, and there is a, uh, happening?, that I would like to touch upon for the sake of posterity. Shall I simply trot through the week in order? Okay, here we go.

Monday was, by far, one of the more exciting days of the past week or month even. When I was fifteen years old, I set a goal to travel to each continent [excluding Antarctica b/c one does not simply travel to Antarctica, but I do wish to be qualified to do a six-month stint there sometime in the future] by the time my twenty-fifth year of life came to a close. Proudly, I can state that I did indeed travel to every continent except one [sad face emoji]. Nevertheless, my goal has always pricked the back of my mind, and I’m excited to announce that I will finally check off that last continent this summer! For our [the lifemate’s and my] 2017 ETMC Travels, we will be traveling to … a dun dun duh da! … Sydney, Australia! Yay! I’m so excited, I can’t even think about it yet. So, diligent, focused writing and meticulous planning is the name of the game until we set off on our 2017 vacation in May!

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*caption below

 

As for the new writing goal, my English student, SJ, requested [about three months ago] that I write a story using her as the main character. I sort of brushed it off as her request being mere excitement around my first novel that was published last October. But then, she kept on asking me about her story. I knew I needed a good idea before I could even hope to write, what would essentially need to be, a children’s story, so I just told her I would think about it. When the idea came to me, however, I kept it a secret so that I could present the story to her after she had hopefully forgotten all about it.

I’m so happy and excited with the result of this request that I’ve decided to draw up a few pictures and publish the damn thing as a children’s book. Woot woot! I’ve also decided that I will write a few more children’s stories. So, there’s that.

When considering the weather, it snowed an epic [for Seoul] amount last Wednesday, and then it kept on snowing off and on through Saturday. It’s been amazing! For a girl like me who grew up in the mountains of Colorado, I’ll just say I probably throw a tantrum every other day about how I can’t snowboard anywhere in this ephing country [I mean, you can, but I’m way too much of a snob to pay for a bunny hill].

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**caption below

 

And then, Saturday brought about the most delightful snow storm that the lifemate and I decided would make for an excellent run! Thus, we ran our asses off until we were both covered in, surprisingly fluffy, snow! It was the perfect mood-lifting activity. I spent all of Sunday writing fiction so that I could reach my word count quota. This metric week’s quota is 6000 words, and I have about 1600 to go. So, I better finish up this, basically, nonsensical writing and get to it. Laters.


 

*It’s always nice to have something exciting coming at ya in the near future!

**Enough snow to require my snow boots!

and then … and then … and then …

and then … and then … and then …

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY EIGHTY

2017 January 09 [Monday]

 

I can proudly state that I have been writing so much lately that the thought of writing this [boring, meaningless, mundane] diary-type entry is killing me a little bit inside. Thus, I will keep it short, mostly because my life for the past week [like always and henceforth] has been filled with all the, uh, magic?, no … monotony of a writer’s life. A summation ought to suffice. The first thing I do every day when I wake up [usually never before noon, although a 0900 wake time does happen about once a month] is drink the rest of the coffee from the lifemate’s morning make, turn on an old movie [almost always Wreck It Ralph, which is soon followed by one of the Star Trek movies], while I sit at the computer staring blankly or sometimes excitedly. Every night is filled with the making of dinner, the consumption of dinner and then the watching of either basketball, an episode of one of the shows we watch or a new movie. Sometimes I’ll do a little bit more late-night writing or reading, and then it’s off to [attempt] sleep between 0130 and 0330.

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*caption below

Monday: (Early Afternoon) Edited and uploaded yoga photos, some writing (Late Afternoon) Some housekeeping on the blog, some journaling in the Time Capsule (Evening) the yoga and dinner

Tuesday: (Early Afternoon) Played a bit of piano, extensive navel-gazing (Evening) Went on a run due to the warmth of this winter’s weather

Wednesday [picking up steam now!]: (Afternoon) Lots o’ fiction and nonfiction writing, finished a book, The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen, I’ve been trudging through for a month (Late Afternoon) Circuit workout (Early Evening) more fiction writing [This day was the beginning of something great. I accomplished two seemingly impossible things: First, I wrote many things AND exercised in the same day. Second, the fiction I wrote was a continuation of the things I had written before and earlier in the day. Maybe this does not sound all that impressive, but it was quite the feat for me, and then, once I knew I could do this, I started to do it every day. This day also marked the beginning of my success at checking off each day’s item on my to-do list every day. It {being everything} seems so possible now!]

Thursday: (Early Afternoon) Found new books, played piano (Afternoon) Tutoring session with my student, SJ (Early Evening) The yoga and fiction writing (Evening) Nonfiction mulling, watched Planet Earth II: Islands

Friday: (Early Afternoon) Wrote the Friday Feature, “Make Every Day Everyday” (Afternoon) Edited and posted the Feature along with pics and such (Early Evening) Started Let’s Be Less Stupid by Patricia Marx [yawn] and rested [no-workout day!] (Evening) Fiction writing and finished Let’s Be Less Stupid [twas quite the short read], watched Planet Earth II: Mountains

Saturday: (Early Afternoon) Watched Planet Earth II: Jungles, did a full-body circuit workout with the lifemate [yay!] (Afternoon) Started Fraud by David Rakoff whilst the lifemate played the amazing Titanfall 2 [a typical situation] (Early Evening) Walked to Lotte Department Store to pick up chili-making fixings, wanted to eat some sushi on the way, but the wait was too long (Evening) Waited in line at the sushi place (Midnight) Watched Planet Earth II: Deserts

Sunday: (Early Afternoon) Went on a run with the lifemate [and was tailed all too closely by some man who annoyed the shit out of me for the last mile! Ugh!] (Afternoon) Watched Planet Earth II: Grasslands (Early Evening) Ate the lifemate’s delicious chili (Evening) Watched The Hateful Eight and didn’t like it but realized that Quentin Tarantino should probably be a novelist because that movie would have been a seriously awesome read (Midnight) Watched Planet Earth II: Cities (Bedtime) Some more reading (After Bedtime) Lots o’ tossing and turning, could not sleep

There you have it, each day in a nutshell with little to no commentary and even less insight. My writing mind is elsewhere, thus I have little to nothing to say about my own life. It’s writing mode, folks! And with that, I am off on a circuit workout that will be followed by a trip through the grocery store, which will then be followed by the inevitable: Lots o’ Writing! Laters.


*as if I ever see the likes of this song’s title [the sheet music is “music from the motion picture soundtrack” for Pride & Prejudice by Dario Marianelli]

Make Every Day Everyday

Make Every Day Everyday

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY SEVENTY-SEVEN

2017 January 06 [Friday]

Friday Feature

When the aspects of life that are enacted every day become everyday aspects of life, that’s when the magic happens. Once every day becomes everyday, that’s when every day starts to feel like everything. It’s only against the bland that flavor is tasted. The place at where I [my life philosophy] currently stands reveals the sort of mundane essence of my life, especially since “mundanity” continues to surface as the topic about which I so frequently write. People [read the DISCLAIMER] are constantly bombarding my consciousness with droll remarks about how I must “live life to the fullest,” “live like it’s my last day,” “make every day an adventure,” etc., &c. I fucking hate it because they’ve got it all wrong! But the masses are idiots, so they’ll believe every NEXT AD campaign, which has been specifically designed to rob them blind.

Have you ever wondered why your life sucks, how happiness never finds you, why life doesn’t excite you? Well, I have an small inkling as to a possible answer [not to say that I’m the first or only person to have come to this conclusion]. And I’ll tell you, but it’s not going to be what you think it is. I’ll also only tell you if you can accept that everything that will be said from here on out is all opinion, conjecture, my own experiences that I’m willing to share because maybe I’m onto something. Who knows. It’s all too possible that I’m the idiot, so yea. If I’m the idiot, then everything will make sense to you because that means I’m just a normy, and normies are, generally speaking, quite stupid. If I’m not an idiot, well there’s no way of knowing. So, let’s get to it.

The problem [according to me, the writer of this goddamn post] … a dun dun du da! … is that people think that every day is supposed to be special, an adventure, that every day should be lived like it’s your last. Let me tell ya, that’s the straight and girthy path to unhappiness. If the world is selling you a message that requires your money in order to fulfill, then that’s definitely not the direction in which you want to travel. Listen to how stupid it sounds to say, “Make every experience special with X and Y. Experience every moment to the fullest and remember it as the most special moment of your life through X and Y, and then every moment of your life will be memorable and special because you bought X and Y.” If every single day of your life is special and memorable, that directly contradicts the definition of special. So, what is this “brilliant” conclusion I’ve come to? Well, it’s quite simple actually.

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If you want some seriously special moments in your life, you need to make every day quite plainly everyday. It’s the banal routine that exciting experiences are set against which ultimately makes those exciting experiences exciting. The same goes for things that you wish weren’t such a big deal. If you want something to be exciting or special, you can’t do it every day. If you don’t want something to be such a big deal, you have to do it every day. Does that make sense? Okay, so here are some examples from my own life.

For starters, I absolutely love [like seriously, I think it’s one of the most entertaining things to listen to people talk about] when people drone on about how hard it is to workout. I mean, I get it, but I also get it. When you only work out, let’s say, once a week, yea, every workout is going to fucking suck. It’ll be tough. And then, when people only workout for a short period of time and then take months off, yea, returning to your workouts is a nightmare. If you don’t want your workouts to be a big deal or anything special because you just want to be able to do it without it being this big production, you need to workout every, single, ephing, day. Or at the very least, every other day. It’s the stuff we do every single day that becomes routine, that we hardly acknowledge as being “special.” You sleep, shit, eat, work [maybe], do the laundry, wash the dishes, clean, shower, etc., regularly, and these sorts of things are nothing special [this is not to say you can’t be grateful for the small things in life, but this is not about that]. So, if there are aspects of your life that you wish were “no big deal,” you’ve got to make them routine. Like picking up a new hobby or learning something new, you’ve got to do it every day, and then, before you know it, it’ll become routine.

The other side of the routine is where the magic happens. Let’s say you eat out every day for dinner. Then, when a special day comes along, like a birthday or celebratory event, picking a restaurant becomes difficult because the restaurant has to be either more expensive or more glamorous than the restaurants you eat at every day. And, I’d wager to say that when you eat out all the time, it’s hard to find the special-ness in eating out for a special occasion. So, the only way to have a special dinner would be to eat in, cook. Does that make sense? Or, looked at another way. If you want to have eating out be a special experience, then you need to eat in regularly, that way, when you eat out, it’s special.

These, I understand, are typically reductive examples, but they are examples from my own life. I can’t really come up with anything astute because I am either too dull or too simple-minded to think of more … relevant examples for the every-person. All of this boils down to the lifestyle that my lifemate and I live. I’ll be shamelessly honest. We basically live at the [by U.S. standards of income] poverty level, but it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it. Our everyday life is very much the same. We live on a 15,000 KRW [about $15.00] per day, food budget, not because we have to but because we want to [this does not include the budgets we have for domestic items and entertainment {100,000 KRW/month for each}]. We basically eat the same two dozen things in a weather-coordinated [some things we only eat in the summer because it’s hot, etc.] rotation. We eat out within our daily budget about once or twice a week, and the rest of our money gets saved up or invested.

When the time comes for something special like a holiday or birthday, we greatly exceed our food budget with no financial consequence because the money’s there. We also only watched four movies in a movie theater last year, one of which was while we were on vacation. When we go to the movies, though, we only see them in IMAX 3D. As far as vacationing goes, we vacation once a year, and I’ll just say this, on our most recent ten-day vacation to Vancouver, we lived large. We spent six months saving up all the cash we’d spend on that trip, and after the plane tickets, AirBNB rental and whale-watching tour were booked, we had $200 per day to spend. We had a really hard time spending that much money because that’s a shit ton of money to spend every single day, and not a single penny was added to our credit card. But see, we live every day on a strict budget, that way, when we have the opportunity to spend frivolously we a) have the cash to do it and b) thoroughly enjoy begin able to do it.

Yes, our everyday life seems quite lame, but whenever anything happens beyond the everyday routine we heartily stick to, it’s quite spectacular, special, exciting, adventurous, different. I’m also not saying that we’ve figured it out and that living this way is perfect. Sometimes I just want to do something more, live beyond. And so, sometimes we do. We don’t stick to this plan as if our lives depend on it. We do stick to this plan, though, quite successfully because it’s what we both want. Yes, I can hear you saying, “But you could die tomorrow! If you don’t live now, you’ll never live at all!” I get that sentiment. I also get how hard it is to live a disciplined life most of the time so that you can live large some of the time, but when you do live large, it’s awesome. If you live large every day, then living large becomes routine, which means you’re not really living large anymore, you’re just living your routine life. And to the “But you could die tomorrow!” thoughts I say this, But you could also live until you’re 100. Why feel burned out by life when you’re only sixty or at the pace some people live, at forty?

My whole philosophy revolves around Life making each tier and experience available to me when I’m ready, only when I’m ready. Yes, there’s a strong case to be made for “Living it up!” Where that motivation comes from, however, is a place of fear, fear that your life will be lost without you having experienced EVERYTHING. The more likely case, fortunately, is that you’ll probably live a pretty average life until you’re old and grey. No one wants to accept this, of course. This is the battle. The struggle is real. No matter, living as if you’ll one day be old and grey is living your life through hope.

The whole point is not to point fingers at who’s living better or how to live your best life; the point, for me, is that I want to have truly significant moments and experiences in my life. And so, I consistently think about how to make this happen. If I make every experience significant, though, then none of them will be because that’s my normal. Does that make sense? So, what I do instead is I live a simple life the majority of the time, and whenever anything beyond the ordinary [which is quite ordinary when considering most of my days are filled with coffee first, writing, reading, running, working out, the yoga, some piano playing, watching old movies, shopping for groceries, making dinner, eating dinner, showering, watching basketball games, watching the lifemate play video games, and then sleeping] happens, it’s special, and more importantly, I remember each moment with more clarity and gratitude. [Again, obviously, what I consider to be a simple, boring life is something for which I have immense gratefulness. This, however, is not about that. This is about how, too often times, I hear people complain about how not-exciting their lives are even when they’re jam-packed with excitement, or how it’s impossible to have an exciting life when you don’t have money.]

*sigh. To conclude, I suppose I will end with this: You also don’t want to get too ingrained in a routine either because then you’ll lack growth through the lack of new experiences. Just like how when you go, go, go, it’s hard to grow as well because if you don’t take time to reflect and apply all the lessons you’ve gathered, then the go-getter never finds growth either. The key, of course, then becomes balance. Why, though, is balance so difficult to establish? What is it about being human that swings us so vigorously between extremes?

 


 

 

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