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Saturday, August 26, 2006


Last weekend D.A. and I went to the big Star Wars Exhibition here in Busan at Bexco. Bexco is a big sort of convention center thing with huge exhibition halls and places to eat and a couple of wedding halls, to boot. And for a few weeks, they're hosting a Star Wars Exhibition.

There were signs all over the place saying "No Flash Photography" in English. I'm guessing that in Korean they said "Do Whatever the Hell You Want", because lots of people were taking pictures. I broke down and took a few, and immediately got in trouble for it. Not serious trouble, though. No one drew any real weapons on me.

The exhibit itself was, I thought, not very informative. We were quite fortunate that almost all of the placards were in both Korean and English, but most of them were details about the stories in the movies. Character names were refered to rather than actor names. A lightsabre hilt would be on display with a card reading "Luke's lightsabre," and that was it. Nothing about who designed it, or even whether it was an actual prop used in the movies or just another model. There were concept drawings, but nothing about them other than the subject. There were movie clips with Korean subtitles, but the volume was turned down so we couldn't hear what they were saying. And, of course, there was Darth Vader and a couple of stormtroopers.
They captured D.A., and I came to help as quickly as I could. That's where I got in trouble for taking flash photos, even though other people were doing so, and these agents of the Empire encouraged me to do so.

They didn't talk. I'm sure that one could rationalize that by suggesting that a long time ago in a galaxy far away, no one spoke English, but I'm thinking they just didn't want to spoil the illusion by speaking Korean. It didn't work. In a totally cung way, one of the stormtroopers motioned me over towards the Jabba the Hut model behind us. With all of his arm-waving, I thought he was suggesting that I take a picture. No. He was trying to make me understand that Jabba the Hut and I both have very large guts.

Damn the evil empire.

D.A. and I had always dreamed of being Jedi Knights--
We would be so handsome, beloved by our allies, and feared by our enemies. Maybe we should have picked different role models, because once we got some actual lightsabres, we just started hacking at each other:
Next thing I know, I'm being decapitated, and I think we all know how that can ruin one's day.
Fortunately, it was only a flesh wound. I was able to go on and enjoy the display of giant LEGO bricks.
I thought this was pretty cool, even though they had a pretty boring selection of bricks. They were a bit rubbery, rather than being made of the same hard plastic as actual LEGO bricks. Quite comfortable to recline on, as you can see.

I'm afraid that I didn't take any pictures of the gift shop, where they were selling all kinds of Star Wars crap (but not any Star Wars LEGO sets, strangely enough. Good thing, as I probably would have bought one.) We both counted our $13 (each) well spent.

We then went to the Bexco Buffet and spent twice as much on lunch. I haven't written about going to a buffet for a while, and this one deserves a good write-up. I will have another chance, as we will celebrate Maxine's first birthday there, but I probably won't have much chance to eat, so I'm glad I took this opportunity.

Here's a partial list of foods I ate and saw:

a variety of raw fish
a raw beef dish made with sesame oil
smoked salmon
Japanese style sushi
grilled marinated beef
fried shrimp
spaghetti and meat sauce
two or three Chinese style seafood and sauce dishes
beef rib chunks slow cooked in sauce
cute little chicken enchiladas (that actual tasted a little Tex-Mexish, a little)
Chinese meatballs (I picked up two, tasted one, and decided not to eat the rest, what the hell kind of meat do they use in China anyway? No dog! No dog!)
grilled tuna and salmon
about half a dozen soups, mostly Korean style
lots of traditional Korean side dishes
some salad stuff (not tempting to this buffet veteran)
and they finished us off with some fruits and ice cream. Unfortunately, the soft-serve ice cream machine was out of order. Bummer.

I did something at this buffet that was either a miracle or a sacrilege: I didn't stuff myself. I ate a lot, and I was quite full, but I didn't eat so much that I couldn't sit down to drive home later. (And yes, I have over-indulged at buffets so much in the past that sitting down was painful, right Jon?) Horyon, my number one weight-loss cheerleader (next to the damn stormtrooper) was a bit disappointed. "That's a $26 buffet, you should eat enough that you don't have to eat breakfast the next day!" Thanks, honey.

Still, I was proud of my self-restraint. I'm pretty sure that at Maxine's b-day party it won't be a problem, as I will be wandering around, chatting up the guests, and showing off Maxine, rather than seeing how much meat I can fit on one plate.

Mmmm, meat.

It's about bed time. Take care of yourselves out there. And if you feel inclined to buy some sort of present for Maxine, that is fine. However, it is also an option to contribute to her college education. My parents have created a special account for Maxine that is tax-free if she uses it for education or career training. If you send a check to my parents with a small note explaining that you want to do so, they will add it to her account. Just send me an email, and I will email back with their address.

That's about it for tonight. I should be getting to bed now.



Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Walkin' Tall

Maxine has been standing unassisted for more than a month now. She still gets pretty excited about it, waving her arms in the air and shouting something that may very well translate into "Hey! Look at me all standin' here!" She also enjoys being led around walking, as long as you hold her hands.

Today I paid the price for working during summer vacation. While staying at Grandpa and Grandma's house, Maxine walked all by herself. Nine steps, they told me.

My one consolation is that to Maxine, the next nine steps she takes will also be exciting, and the next nine after that, well up into the hundreds, if not the thousands, I'm sure. Still, it hurts a bit to miss a landmark like this.

I guess that very few parents get to be there for every first in their child's life. And once they head off to school, forget about it. So many things happening for the first time. We just have to let go.

Look at me, getting all maudlin on you. I'm sorry about that. I am very proud of my Maxine. She always smiles when she sees me, and now she waves, too. I don't have a picture of her waving yet, and right now the pictures I've downloaded onto the computer are all more than two weeks old. I'll get more pics up soon, though. I was instructed to post about the walking, and I have.

Now it's time to get to bed.



Sunday, August 13, 2006

Working Holiday

The summer continues to be hot.

I continue to work.

I would like to thank those of you who gave me some reading suggestions to me in the Help with books, please! post. I've got some good ideas to work with there, though I'm not sure about availability of all the titles you've suggested. My dear friend Melanie was enthused enough to send a whole email full of her ideas. Of course, those of you who know Melanie had probably already guessed that when she saw a word-limit for posting comments that she would find some other way to communicate. And for those of you who haven't talked with her since university, rest assured that she now almost always completes her thoughts before moving on to new ones.

I added a new class last Thursday. Our Department of Foreign Stuff office is a high quality group of people. Mr. Kim is in charge, and he works harder for us foreigners on his staff than any Korean manager I have known, or heard of for that matter. In addition, he lets us do our jobs. Very hands-off. His right-hand man is Joon. (I'm not actually sure if that's the English spelling he prefers, but I figure that "June" is usually a girls name, so "Joon" he is in my (digital phone) book.) Joon works like a slave for wages that could be carried home in cash by one man, even if paid in quarters. Canadian quarters. Joon is the man who showed up at our apartment on his day off after a hurricane had broken our floor-to-ceiling sliding glass window the night before. He has also shown his devotion in a number of small ways, from accommodating schedule requests to telling me up front when something is not possible.

So two weeks ago Joon starts asking me about teaching a two week class for some students who will be spending the next semester in Turkey on an exchange program. He had no idea when it would start, but he wanted three different teachers to teach one hour each. Last week he asked if I alone could teach four hours per day (on top of the two I'm already chugging out). I talked with Horyon, and we decided that earning an extra 3/4 pay check in two weeks would be worth the potential mental breakdown. Fortunately, Joon found another teacher, so I am teaching two hours per day, of reading and writing. The class has only four students, which is the only thing that makes it possible to teach a writing class that meets every day. The students are not bad. Their enthusiasm is high right now. It remains to be seen whether it will last the whole three weeks.

Oh, I forgot to mention. It became a three week class. The last class is a Wednesday, and I start the new semester the same Friday. It's gonna be a bit of a rough start for me.

But I'm coming home to this cheerleader:

So I'm OK with the whole thing.



Sunday, August 06, 2006

Even more pics

Yeah, eating is fun. This picture is a follow-up to eating with a spoon.
I tried giving control of the spoon to Maxine, and she took it away!
My intention with the picture was to show the bits of food on her face, but they don't show much. What does show is that there are now four teeth, making for an even cuter smile.

Like me, Maxine enjoys meal times, and figures it's easier to clean up if you're not wearing a shirt.

Also like daddy, she enjoys a good nap from time to time. Here she is, sacked out in our living room in direct line of fire from the fan. It's the only way to sleep here with the current weather. I tell you, serious dog (soup) days.
And last, following in Daddy's steps, Maxine enjoys books. Right now she just enjoys turning the pages, looking at the colors (I don't think they register as pictures yet), and enjoying time with mommy or daddy. But here I caught her looking at _Runaway Bunny_ all by herself. (Thanks Nelson and Melanie!)
Yeah, she's looking at it upside down. Who doesn't make mistakes like that from time to time?

I gotta get back to work. Hopefully I'll have more bloggin' time once the semester starts in September.



more pics

In my previous post, I pointed out that Maxine gets bed head. Doesn't matter, she still wakes up mostly cheerful. We have one of those clever baby monitors, a one-way radio that lets you listen to everything happening in another room via electromagnetic wave. It's supposed to let you know that she's awake. However, sometimes I will hear funny noises. Not-sleeping-baby noises, but not crying or whining. I'll go into her room, and find her standing there, just hanging out. And sometimes she is happy to see us come in, and smiles that winning smile. Here's a smile from just last month:
As you may have observed, Maxine's got teeth. Three in this picture, with the fourth just under the surface. During this phase, I was watching her (of course), when she fell on the floor, hitting her mouth pretty hard. She started bleeding, I think from tooth number 4 poking her gums, though it may have been something else. Hard to tell by looking, and she still isn't telling any secrets. So she's crying, and blood is coming out of her mouth, mixed with copious amounts of spit. In ten minutes the whole thing is over, with a posing daddy, a laughing baby, and a mommy that can't get over all that blood.

I'm afraid that Horyon will not be the parent to turn to where blood is concerned. She was good with me when I had my bicycle accident a couple of years ago, but she didn't get to see the serious bleeding. I only hope that I can avoid the obvious reference to mothers and daughters and bleeding, but I think I just hit it broadside. Sorry about that. How about a completely different topic?

I just had to take a picture of a guy busting up concrete to lay pipe using a hammer and chisel. Yeah, busting up concrete with a jackhammer isn't much fun, but at least it's over with quickly. I figure this guy had a pretty long day.

Here we see Maxine using those three teeth. This is her first cookie/cracker. Horyon is pretty picky about what Maxine eats, so this is not just any cracker. It's made from organically grown materials, cooked on the day it was ordered, and delivered by famous actor John Lithgow, from Third Rock from the Sun and many other movies and television programs.

OK, I made that last bit up, but that one cracker she's eating (OK, not the one in this picture, but I don't have any pictures of the ones I'm writing about. Sorry.) Those organic crackers cost 50 cents each. For that kind of money, I think that asking for John Lithgow to deliver them is not so extreme.

Have I mentioned that when I cut up a watermelon I fit it into the container like a 3-D jigsaw puzzle? Horyon was trying to describe it to a friend, and we figured it would be better to just take a picture.

And finally, my girl is starting to show her father's colors. Take a look at the next post.

Maxine Pics

As I've mentioned, this summer I have stayed busy with an English Job Interview class. I was planning to write lots about it, but instead I ended up planning lots for it. In addition, we have all been sweltering here. My computer room is pretty much the hottest in the house, so I kind of avoid it. And my computer at work was well on its way to becoming a fancy paperweight when my students were graduating from elementary school, so I don't get much done there, either.

To make up for it, I've decided to post some pictures, mostly of our favorite subject: Maxine. Blogger only lets me post 5 pictures per post, so I may spread this out over a couple more posts. I hope you enjoy them!

A few weeks ago our church had a weekend retreat out of town, so no services on Sunday. I delivered a sermon, Horyon took pictures,
and Maxine drew all of the attention.

I figure two out of three of us did OK at our assignments. As you can see, the sermon ended up being more of a discussion than a lecture. Fine with me, and with everyone there, I believe.

Confession time: Maxine has a problem:
Yeah. She's been hitting the cup pretty hard. Hitting it against the floor, other toys, me, whatever. And then she passes out. (Horyon insisted that I confess that this is a posed photo. Yes, I put the cup in her hand, but it was originally lying right next to her, I swear! Just wait until I get a picture like this of Horyon!)

And finally (for this post), Maxine has enough hair for some serious bed head.
More later.

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.