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Friday, April 19, 2002

The Shoe Being on Both Feet

[Once again, another archive edition Roblog from before Blogging. This one from April of 2002, though it covers events from almost a year previously. Please don't mind the crazy formating.]

Dear Loved Ones:

Well, at 8:15 this morning I finished my first assignment as a grad student. I know, some of you didn't even know that I had been accepted to grad school, but fear not, all questions will be answered, though hopefully not in such a rambling, dark, foreboding way, with sentences that strained to reach their goals, like nursing puppies separated from their mother.

Sorry. Did I mention that I didn't get any sleep last night? I have had a 3 hour nap, but I don't think I'm caught up yet.

Horyon is not too happy with me. I said that I would not let this happen again, and she seemed somewhat relieved. She said she had never worked all night like this when she was in university. She would have just given up. I told her that I had done it more times than I could count. That was a mistake. She said, "So this is a habit, and you will probably do it again, right?" What could I say? "No, honey! This time I've learned my lesson! I'm too old for this crap! I swear, never again!"

I have another paper due in 2 months. We'll see.

Along the way, I have had to deal with a few other things. Allow me to touch on the highlights:


For Lent I gave up Pepsi, and all similar carbonated, sweet beverages. For those of you who have known me for a long time, Pepsi is one of my biggest vices. Next to knocking over liquor stores and stealing candy from babies, of course. Anyway, this year I decided to give it up, making up my mind to pray every time I wanted a drink of Pepsi.

I certainly didn't manage to pray every time I felt the craving, but I did pray more often in the last 40 days, that's for sure. Feel free to bring it up with my coworkers. They now refer to me as a recovering Pepsi-holic. It doesn't matter to me, because I am now firmly back on the wagon, wearing my seat-belt now, thank you very much. I now understand that Pepsi is not essential to my well-being, but I still like it lots. And it's cheaper than buying juice, too.

I think I'll do it again next year. You know why? It's like hitting yourself on the head with a hammer: It sucks while you're doing it, but feels soooo good when you stop.

And let me tell you, that first drink was good. I swear I could taste each individual chemical.

Easter Sunday

Our church has no full-time minister, so three of us take turns preaching. This year, I had a good idea for Easter, based on some interactive sermons my parents were participating in back home: A talk-show format. I would be the host, and I would interview three special guests, maybe Peter, Mary Magdelene and Pilate. Or Barabas. Or someone else involved in the story. I asked three of my coworkers if they would like to do this, and they agreed. I suggested that they choose their own characters, and they came up with Mary, Cleopas (on the road to Amaeus), and Joseph of Arimathea. They researched their characters, gave me their info a couple of days before Sunday, and I asked questions in line with their stories. My part was definitely the easiest, but it was a teeny bit stressful, especially with a 4,000 (plus or minus 500) word paper due the next day.

Incidentally, 3,700 words looks like about 8 pages on my WordPerfect. Not including the complete transcript of a 2 hour class, which looks more like 11 pages, with really tight margins.

Even though today is Monday, it still feels like Easter to me. I've really only had a nap. It's a darn good thing I have no classes on Mondays. And this Friday is a holiday! All right!

Computer Mayhem

As I mentioned in the last email, we bought a new computer. After dallying with Linux (a do-it-yourself operating system, completely free, but with no guarantees), I broke down and bought Windows XP. I'm afraid that my particular flavor of geekiness is not computer-oriented enough to use Linux. But there were definitely some good things about it, compared to Windows. For starters, it's small and efficient. It flies on the PC.

Windows XP, however, has been, well, how can I put this delicately? It's... I've... I give up. There's no delicate way to say that it pisses me off. Saturday and last night, the two nights before my paper was due, I had to reinstall Windows 3 times.

Still Doing the Job Thang

Seemed like a good idea at the time. I'm teaching two writing classes this semester, and I decided to make my students write an almost-daily journal: 6 days per week. I collect them once a week and check ‘em over. It works wonders on them. They become more comfortable writing, they learn some basic formatting, they learn to not be afraid of writing. It's great.

But I have fifty students divided between those two classes. It now takes me about five minutes to read and write a response to one journal. Total time, 250 minutes. More than four hours. And you can bet that I am incapable of sitting and reading these things for a full hour at a time. They are tough to read sometimes.

It's worth noting that I have basically inflicted all of these things on myself. Maybe it's time I stopped being so darn nice to other people.

All right, all of you who were reading this and thinking "Wow, I should ask Rob to do something for me, cause he'll do anything!" can just forget it! I'm not doin' nothin' for nobody!

Okay, I've had a day to think about that, and I'm sorry. You are welcome to ask me to do something, I will smile, nod, say "yes," then put it off until you want to strangle me.

Yeah, I feel much better.

Movin' and Groovin'

This coming Saturday (the 20th), we will be moving to a new apartment. My university provides an apartment for us, and though they never come right out and say it, money drives the whole thing. (You see, it's a Christian university, so they can't talk about money, except to tell us that we shouldn't complain about it so much.) (No bitterness there, eh?) So we are preparing to move.

Okay, you dragged the truth out of me, Horyon is preparing to move. I have packed a box and moved a few things around, at her prodding. Those of you who have seen me move will be nodding your heads right now and feeling sorry for my wife. Pray for her. Pray for her sanity. Even if you believe that God ignores all prayers, even if you believe that God doesn't exist, pray for her. This will be another test of our love.

Summertime Greens

I chose "Greens" because of Kermit the Frog's song about being green. He says it's cool and friendly-like, big like an ocean, important like a mountain, or tall like a tree. Horyon told me just yesterday that she missed Kansas. It is a good place to call home.

My Mom considers herself to be quite fortunate, in some respects. Despite having been blessed with two sons, she was still given the opportunity to plan two weddings. (Okay, mine was a vow renewal service, but it sure looked a lot like a wedding.) Now, when I hear the words "wedding" and "plan" in the same sentence, I start to get nervous, but that is Mom's cup of tea. She loves organizing big events, she loves seeing it all come together, and I think on some masochistic level she even likes the stress involved.

It was very nice. Our former minister, Rev. Bill Nowlan, came out of semi-retirement to co-officiate with Rev. Jim Bell. My Uncle Tom sang a song that his wife, Debbie, chose–John Lennon's "Grow Old With Me." Absolutely beautiful. (Well, the singing was beautiful, Tom looked like Tom.) Many friends attended, including some from quite far away (thanks Jerry and Michele!).

We had wedding cake. Oh my oh my it was good. Let me tell you something: Koreans like cake, and you can buy cakes everywhere. They look beautiful, with fruit on top, or chocolate. But when you taste it, something is wrong: Korean cake isn't sweet. They think American style cakes are too sweet, so they make theirs really bland, especially the icing. Some people adjust to this, and I used to think it was okay, but after having old-fashioned American wedding cake, I can no longer eat Korean cake.

Our wedding cake was yummy.

And we had an outdoor cookout after the vow renewal ceremony. We had hamburgers and hotdogs and potato salad and all of my relatives brought food. The heat finally broke and it was only in the 80's that day, so everyone felt cool and comfortable. We tossed a frisbee around, ate food, and socialized. A truly good time.

Saying goodbye the following Monday was pretty rough. Poor Horyon felt like she was just getting to know my parents, and I almost felt the same. I know they're my parents, but when you go so long without being with someone, it takes some time to get back into the comfort zone.

Who am I kidding? Our comfort zone has so far proven to be wide enough to encompass Korea and Kansas at the same time. It may one day prove big enough to encompass other planets. For the record, I would like to tell all of you that my parents are the best people you could hope to meet, and I would have no other parents. We are friends, and Horyon quickly adjusted to that pattern. It was hard for both of us to leave because we like them, as well as loving them.

Well, Horyon was worried that I would leave you with the impression that we did very little in Kansas this summer. While it is true that it was our vacation, and we did spend some time doing nothing, we did do a lot of thing. I'm just not going to tell you about all of them right now.

Except for Uncle Don's barbecue. Let me tell you, my Uncle Don can cook. We managed to have a disproportionate number of meals at Becky and Don's house considering that they are a 45 minute drive from home. We also ate a disproportionate amount of food, too. Mmm, barbecue. Nothing in Korea comes close.

And there you have a slice of the recent present as well as last summer. Our home computer will probably be down from Thursday thru Saturday, but my work computer will still be working. I'm always happy to hear from anyone who receives my messages. Just let me know you're alive and kicking.



p.s. The shoe being on the other foot just means that I used to be a university student, and then a professor, and now I'm both. And I couldn't think of a good idiom for that.

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A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.