Uncertainty can be happiness

"Security is a false god," or running around the world as an FSO

Archive for the ‘Bizarre’ Category

To my Orientation instructors:

Posted by quirksalight on July 14, 2010

I’ve got a car. Will be getting a PDA
Overtime? Normal.
Visitors? Check!
Demarches, cables, meets and greets. Yup. all the time.

It’s a rush. I’m writing this on a break from transcribing notes from earlier in the day. Schedule is unpredictable, and am very glad that I was able to see my family before the storm (figurative) hit, work wise. Currently, I’m on my third set of delegation/visitors/POC stuff in under three weeks. Sets 2 and 3 overlap, which makes for mind-spinning schedules upon schedules upon schedules. Pretty energizing stuff. 😛

The drinking from the fire hose continues, long after we’ve left your immediate merry sphere of influence. I’m treading water.


Posted in adventure, amusing, ancedotes, Bizarre, commentary, Embassy Seoul, Korea, meeting, metaphors | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Boarding and Love songs

Posted by quirksalight on January 24, 2010

Thursday, Jan 21, was a day trip to Mountain Creek for the 2nd snowboarding trip this season. I bought a rental/lesson/beginner lift ticket combo in December to learn how to board properly. The lessons definitely helped, as I can use both edges, turn and link my way down the mountain. Of course, not without injury… my knees are a kaleidoscope of colors…

Stopping in Philadelphia to visit friends after boarding, a very bizarre incident occurred in front of Brauhaus Schmitz, a new German place on South Street. Three friends and I were heading into the restaurant, when a guy walks up to KC and I to ask, “Do you mind if I sing a love song to one you?”

We look at each other with incredulous looks on our faces and I reply, “Excuse me?”

The Guy: “No, just a verse. It’s for a scavenger hunt. It can be whatever song you want.”

At this point, two fellows ran up to join The Guy, apparently his teammates in the venture. They’ll be referred to as Guy2 and Guy3.

KC at this point had stepped off to the side, and I was like, sure, why not, it’s just a verse. The Guy then asks what I want him to sing. KC and I are laughing at the absurdity of the situation, and because I really don’t like the majority of the “love songs” out there. As it’s Philly, Boys II Men were mentioned by Guy2 and we settled on “I’ll Make Love to You”, even though The Guy protested that he barely knew it. (tsk, tsk, you’re a male from Philly and don’t know that song?)
So The Guy is standing in front of me, about to start, and then Guy2 whips out a cameraphone, and I exclaim, “You’re going to record this?”

Guy 2 replied that they had to for the hunt, and KC asked one of them if this was for a Bachelor party.
Guy2: “No, we’re on an amateur hockey team and doing this scavenger hunt.”
The Guy, apparently trying to be soothing and not lose his scavenger hunt point: “It’s just for the hunt, we have to prove that we actually did this.”

At this point, we had a nice little crowd around us, and I was still thinking, sure, why not. Guy2 had his cameraphone, and The Guy was about to start when he grabs my hand, gets down on one knee and tells me, “This will be a little involved.”

Involved? WTF? As I was thinking this, The Guy launches into the chorus from “I’ll Make Love to You” and starts ad-libbing choreography while singing. Seriously. Dancing, taking his jacket off and tossing it at me (I ducked – which is the natural instinct when something is thrown at your head!!!), dancing with me swinging me this way, twirling, and all throughout, singing. Yes, I’m participating in the debacle, laughing, considering that I’m already “pot committed”, so to speak.

And what performance is without a grand finale? At the end of the chorus, The Guy pulls me close (apparently close enough for KC to think, “Holy crap, is he going to kiss her??”), puts my arms around his neck, grabs my torso and then proceed to spin us around in a circle. And it’s not a singlet, but a continuous spin that’s fast enough to swing my legs out in a 30 degree angle!

The Guy finally puts me down, and I’m staggering as if I’m punch-drunk because I’m that disoriented from the spin. At this point, our other two friends come out of the restaurant, telling us there was a two hour wait for a table at the Brauhaus. Our group and The Guy exchanged some pleasantries then split. After, KC and I regretted not getting a copy of the recording. Oh well. Another random night on South Street…

Posted in accidents, adventure, amusing, ancedotes, Bizarre, outdoors, Philadelphia, snowboarding | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Circling about is amusing

Posted by quirksalight on November 13, 2009

I used to be on the debate team in high school. In fact, the public high school I attended was well know on the national level for policy (team) debate, and my partners and I did quite well. (It also probably helped me get into college, but that’s another story or another time.)

A big part of policy debate was to have evidence to back up whatever argument or counterargument you were laying out (at an extremely rapid clip). So I and the other members of my high school debate team would spend many hours every week digging around, clipping and preparing evidence sheets for any and every argument we could think of that may have some tenuous connection to that year’s topic.
We always found a tie in to some apocalyptic scenario for every topic; don’t you see that changing the juvenile crime policy in the United States will cause a global nuclear disaster? 😛 Yes, seriously, totally.

Now, however many years later, in those same policy journals we read and clipped for evidence, I’m beginning to see some familiar names. Some of my fellow debaters are now publishing the articles in journals we used for sources way back when, and that the high school policy debaters are now cutting. How funny is that? Don’t know about you, but it definitely brought a smile to my face.

Posted in amusing, Bizarre, high school, Humor | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The fly

Posted by quirksalight on August 14, 2009

By mistake, I knocked over a piece of pottery onto a glass mug and the mug broke. This is one of those “commemorative” mugs you get when you go somewhere and attend some event. However, this one has some history.
I got this mug, from a friend, when we attended an event together. But the circumstances surrounding the event ended badly, and I kept it (though tempted to break it) in anger as a reminder. As the years passed on, the wounds of the broken friendship began to heal, and I began to forgive. Because I missed my friend, and had valued the conversations and insight our friendship had provided.

We began to communicate again, and it appeared that things were progressing to a point where maybe, just maybe, I could consider us friends once again.
But that was a false hope, as communication became more and more one-sided and I got frustrated at the 180 turn about, once again. I stated plainly that I was tired of the lopsidedness and walked away.

So I look at this glass mug, which traveled across time zones and states, to meet an ignoble end at the butt of a 7th grade pottery piece, falling on it as I tried to smack a fly. And I see the physical embodiment of the end a friendship, which, like the mug, met an ignoble end.

I do not regret the friendship. It was full of ups and downs; I learned a lot about people, how I interact with them, and some very valuable lessons about interpersonal relationships.

However, even optimists eventually see the writing on the wall. We just try a couple extra times before doing so. C’est la vie.

Posted in ancedotes, annoyance, Bizarre, commentary, friends, In Memorandum, memory, Mental Stream, metaphors | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Rats, Hannover and to Wurzburg

Posted by quirksalight on April 9, 2009

As painful it was getting up after going to bed past 6am, Sunday was our day trip to Hamlin. Yup, like the Pied Piper. Apparently the story is from the 1200’s.
Funny… when you arrive in the old part of Hamlin, you start seeing white rats painted on the sidewalks. Yup… like the “Red line” in Hannover, there’s a “Rat path” in Hamlin. Funny – we got to the Hamlin Rathaus (the city hall) and we see in the main square a guy dressed up in leggings, a girl’s bathing costume with a ruffled skirt, snorkel, and flippers cleaning random stuff in front of the steps. Next to him was a sign that stated that his name was Simon, was his 30th birthday, and would a girl kiss him to free him from this mess.

Honestly, the architecture of the Altstadt (the old town) was amazingly well kept. There were several buildings from the 1500’s and a handful from a couple centuries earlier. But the highlight for me was the glassblowers. In a renovated tower of the old city wall, there was a glassblowing demonstration and participation for an extra 9 euro. Thank goodness MR was there- he was a good sport about the translation… he translated the demonstration and the hands-on bit. I got to blow a multicolored glass globe. It was pretty hard to get a gauge of how much air you’re actually blowing – I made a mistake and the artist had to quickly fix it… whoops.

On the last day in Hannover

Between packing and sleeping in, I barely got to meet up MR for lunch at his lab and hop to GO’s lab to check out the place. Funny… we went to lunch with T, and saw the oddest thing on the side of the street.
Uh huh… weird….see below…

No trip to Herrhausen Gardens, which was a pity, because it’s supposed to be rather amazing and the day was clear and bright. Then again, the Monday was also the first sunny day in my German trip, so I wouldn’t have seen all that much on the grounds. I did take several repeat photos just to give a contrast between the sun and the gloom of the previous days. I also found a yarn shop where I bought some sock yarn, then MR took me to the train station and I hopped on to Wurzburg.

Posted in adventure, amusing, ancedotes, Bizarre, history, People, travel, traveling | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Heading to Deutchland

Posted by quirksalight on March 26, 2009

Well… i’m out of Korea, and back in the US, only to leave again for Germany. 🙂

The flight to Germany was pretty uneventful for an 8 hour transatlantic flight from Dulles Int’l. I met some interesting people who’s company helped the long flight pass quickly and with great amusement.
However, the 45 min delay in departure in DC caused a bit of a headache for me – my connecting flight to Hannover was leaving as we taxied to the arrival gate. Oh crap…. but the very nice people at the Lufthansa counter put me on the next flight to Hannover.

There was a bit of a debacle as I had to call MR to meet me at the airport two hours later than expected… finding an internet connection, calling AV to get MR’s number… ahhaha…. luckily, I caught MR as he was about to leave.

As we land… Snow. That’s the first thing I see in as we land in Hannover. WTF. My jaw dropped as I watch the snow blowing SIDEWAYS across the left wing of the jet. I mean, seriously… it’s the end of March and a freakin’ snowstorm is hitting Germany??

I’m hungry, a little whiny, and completely jetlagged….so we drop off the luggage, get some food at the Markthalle, then MR left for lab as I passed out until dinner.
We met up with GO and his girlfriend for dinner at Block House, a steak house… pretty good food. GO is a friend from Stony Brook who has pretty much left the US to live in Germany indefinitely. Seems pretty happy, and his German has improved a lot – well, at least that’s what MR tells me. 🙂 Funny thing about the restaurant… they handed me an English menu and we noted several discrepancies between the menus. 😛

Crapped out early – about midnight, after planning Thursday’s to do’s. One thing that was of note was how homogeneous the country appears to be, at least in the part of Hannover I was (the new town area). Not only that, but the sensation of people watching and sticking out… well, I hadn’t felt like this since I went to Iceland on vacation. Still, not a bad start… just an interesting one.

Posted in adventure, airports, ancedotes, annoyance, Bizarre, commentary, flying, friends, Humor, travel, traveling, Washington DC | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Food poisoning

Posted by quirksalight on February 9, 2009

Last week, we ordered lunch (like usual) at school, and decided to pick Soon Doo Boo jigae, which is a soft tofu seafood stew. It’s definitely on my favorite Korean foods. However, this time, it was a little, off. I started eating it, and I really couldn’t place what, but I had to stop eating it because my palate and gut was telling something was wrong. In about 90 minutes later, yep, gut and palate was right. The good ‘ol GI tract started grumbling, and severe cramping kicked in.

I left school early, and went home, where in the early evening, my body felt like someone had taken a rubber hose and beat every single one of my muscles. Ugh… movement in general was severely painful and slow. Indeed, voiding the GI tract (you can use your imagination here) helped a little, but not too much.

After the muscle pains passed, I started on antibiotics… now… it’s 3 days later, and there are *still* some after effects… Blargh…

Lesson learned. Food is food. It can still f*&% you up.

Posted in adventure, ancedotes, annoyance, Bizarre, Bupyeong, Food, Incheon | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival

Posted by quirksalight on January 26, 2009

This is an annual festival in Gangwon province, the northeastern most province in Korea. It’s also the mountainous, and the coldest. (FYI, the best skiing in the country is here)
Every January, the Hwacheon area has an annual Ice Festival, focusing on the Sancheoneo fish, which is a Korean mountain trout, in the same family as Salmon. It’s a freshwater fish, and lives in only in cold water. I attended it the weekend of Jan 17th.

Several friends and attended a trip organized by Adventure Korea, a tour group that caters to young expats here. Everything is taken care of, but the drawback is that you’re on a pretty tight schedule.
Ice fishing was interesting….we paired up, found a promising hole in the foot thick river ice, and tried to catch *something*. Not really…. we saw other people around us catch some tasty looking fish, but the only thing that happened with our hooks was missing bait. 😛

We did get some fish…because of a photo op! Apparently the PR people liked the look of our group b/c they gave us some fish for a PR shoot on the ice. So if you see me holding some Sancheoneo fish in a picture….

Other highlights include barehands fishing (yes, you strip down to shorts and a T, jump into a pool of VERY cold water to grab fish), ice and snow sculptures, bumper tubes, sledding, and other festival type rides.

Posted in adventure, amusing, ancedotes, Bizarre, festivals, friends, fun, Korea, outdoors | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »


Posted by quirksalight on January 5, 2009

Right on Christmas Eve, 10 of my 2nd year (8th grade) students got caught cheating on their final exams. Not 1 exam, but apparently it was a coordinated effort that had gone for two days before the students were caught.

Needless to say, the parents and the school were extremely upset, and the school was trying to think of a just punishment for the students.
At the school-parents meeting on the 26th, the school decided that the punishment should be getting zeros on all exams for the students. (which is pretty lenient in my opinion) Apparently the parents (!) thought this was too harsh and would mess up their chances to get into good high schools, and that it was the teachers (!!) fault for not observing them closely enough!! WTF?!?! Where’s the logic in that? The students planned and executed this – sheesh….

Posted in ancedotes, annoyance, Bizarre, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, commentary, education, Incheon, Korea, Social commentary, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Minus 9 in 10 minutes

Posted by quirksalight on October 12, 2008

This semester, I instituted a third rule to the “No throwing” and “No hitting” rules in my class. The third one is “No bad words”.

Now, you must be wondering why I put this rule in place when I’m not supposed to be understanding Korean in school. However, it’s apparently rather trendy for the middle school students to swear in English. The most popular being “sh&t”, followed by “f@#k”, and “b#&ch”. Yeah, yeah… I know, I do swear myself, but I know that the students swear b/c they watch movies where the characters say various profane words in a multitude of situations, and think it’s OK. But… it’s not really… and I don’t want to encourage it.

So a violation of one of the rules would lead to that group being docked one point for each infraction. One of my 7th grade students from the “New Zealand” team (I have the team names as English speaking countries), gotten a question wrong, and blurted out, “Oh, sh&t!”

To which I replied, “Excuse me? What did you just say?”
Upon his look of horror, I said, “Right. I thought so. Minus 1 point.” And walked over to the scoreboard and took off a point.
He was so annoyed that his outburst lost a point, he exclaimed, “Oh, sh&t!” once again. So I shrugged, walked over to the scoreboard, and took off another point.

At this point, the entire class, including my co-teacher was laughing at the boy’s exclamations. Especially because, once again, he swore when the second point was removed. This happened several more times, with his teammates getting angrier, the class laughing harder, and I, continuing to take off points as he apparently could not stop repeating the phrase, “Oh, sh&t!” again and again. Finally, after 8 points had been removed, he literally clapped his hands over his mouth to stop himself from saying anything.

Oh, the ninth point? After he had managed to stop swearing, one of girls on his team had gotten so angry with him, she punched him. Minus 9.

Posted in amusing, ancedotes, Bizarre, Buheung MS, Bupyeong, english, EPIK, Humor, Incheon, kids, Korea, language, school, slang, Social commentary, teaching, teaching english | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »