Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: Sketching Evil

Sketching Evil, by Donna Anders

Donna needs to go to a writing course. It's a tedious read. The writing is patronising, forced, and there are basic grammar mistakes in every chapter.

* She writes "...Pam and Bill, who were already there spaying water on the flames with his garden hose." Pam and Bill are married and live next door.  They have come from THEIR house, and it should be THIER hose. If only Bill was there, then 'his' would be fine, but as both are there, the hose belongs to both of them. (And it should be "spraying").

* She writes that someone "floorboarded it" and "floor-boarded it". First of all, it's just "floored", but that's besides the point.   If you are going to hyphen a word (other than separating a word for different lines) you need to be consistent.

The writing doesn't flow - you have to keep re-reading because the sentence you just read didn't make sense.

The basic plot has potential, but she butchered it: it's predictable. The main character should be able to put two and two together before the 'climax', but she still has no clue. (She found birth certificates and other papers which showed she was the long lost granddaughter of a wealthy recluse and still couldn't put it together that the current heirs were the 'killers').

The so-called 'love relationship' which develops makes you want to vomit.  One of the most unrealistic relationship developments I've ever read, apart from in novels designed for 13 year olds.

Give this book (and Donna Anders) a wide berth.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A puppy can indeed be a baby substitute

My folks have been talking about getting a dog for the last THREE years. It has to be a boy, and a black and white border collie. And not too expensive. And not from a dodgy pet store. And it has to be a puppy so we can train it properly....

Yes, there was a list of criteria that this puppy had to fill. And none was found in the years of looking in the paper or online. They were either already too old. Or they weren't black and white. Or they were too expensive. You get the idea.

And then, there he was. In the paper. On a weekend my parents were going away for two weeks. So, what to do? Send me to go see him, that's what. He might have been ugly, or just "not exactly right".

But he wasn't. He was super cute, and playful. He looked at me with those pretty eyes and wagged his tail. He snuggled into my shoulder when I picked him up.

Talk about a dilemma. Here I'd found our dog, and my parents were going away. And the backyard gate wasn't finished yet.

But he was so cute!

So here I am on the first night. I've had him for less than 10 hours and I'm exhausted and a little frustrated. I feel like a single mum with an adopted 6 month old baby.

It's not his fault he's scared of a new place, and missing his family. It's not his fault he's teething and so must chew on everything. It's not his fault he's used to playing with his siblings, which includes play-biting.

I can't leave him alone outside because he cries (and he has to be on a leash until the gate is finished).
I'm house-breaking him and teaching him not to bite hands or shoes or chew on his bed, and that inside is for calmness and outside is for running and playing. I worry about what he'll do when I have to leave him alone and go to work.

He's still gorgeous, and when he falls asleep in your lap, or comes when you call, or looks at you and wags his tail, you can forgive him for not understanding what you want. And he's at such a vulnerable age for developing his personality!

I just can't wait until I'm not doing this on my own.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


They put an electric shock dog collar on a human. This is the result.

The Painters and Decorators are In

Going through my archives, I found this one as a draft from '05.

Riding The Crimson Wave, Planting Cotton, Taking Carrie to the Prom, Backing the Reds, Entertaining Vampires....

The River of Life, The Painters and Decorators, Aunt Flo, and The Communists....

I'm on the BUS, and Seeing Red.

You can go here to learn more about the topic of this post (if you have not clued yet, this will be an eye opener).

Captain Chopsticks
(with the communisits in the summer house)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Leaving Korea; Pros and Cons

Things I'll miss about Korea:

- being given a laugh every time I see Konglish advertising and clothing.
- being within a 5 minute walk of a large cinema, a department store and two grocery stores, my bank, my work, cafes, restaurants, 4+ major bus routes and more.
- being within a 15 minute walk of the beach, a hiking mountain, another cinema, two more department stores and another grocery store, bars, clubs, my salsa classes, and more.
- friends
- Sunday night Trivia
- my perfect-for-one-person apartment
- cheap bus and taxi fare
- my tutoring job

Things I won't miss about Korea:

- asshole bosses
- idiotic directors
- depressing work situations
- leery men on the beach
- being asked if I'm Russian (code for if I'm a prostitute)
- manic drivers
- being stared at wherever I go (and not in a nice way)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Plans of Finality

I've never really been a good one for big changes. It freaks me out a little leading up to it. I tend to get comfortable with doing and living something a certain way and have trouble imagining myself being ok and just as comfortable with something else.

This change: moving back home.

When I first came to Korea, it wasn't a life-change. The first time was kind of like a paid educational opportunity/ holiday. When I decided to come back for work, it was a paid adventure/holiday. But that quickly but imperceptibly turned into just "life". And for the most part, it's been a good life. I've had fun, met life-long friends, and grown in "life" sort of ways. It hasn't always been good, and as those "not so good" aspects of living here have become more significant (maybe not "bigger" or "worse", but certainly occupying more of my field of vision as I drive on the highway of life), I've known for a while that this would be my last year here.

But to choose an exact date... to make those plans of finality... I struggle. I somehow envisioned my last month here and the actual return home could happen like in a cloud; I don't actually need to DO anything, things will just happen and one day I'll wake up back in Australia with everything already posted home and whatnot.

Unfortunately, flights don't book themselves, bank accounts don't close themselves, and loose ends don't tie themselves off.

So, the planning begins, and now that I've set an actual real-life date with an actual plane with a seat that will have my name on it, some part of me has woken me up (actually quite literally - it's 4am). This part of me dauntingly tells me about everything that can go wrong and endlessly lists what I will need to do to wind up this chapter of my life for good... forever.

It's like drawing near to the end of an entralling novel, but knowing you will never be able to read it again.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Escaping A Burning Building

Last night I was at PubQuiz, a weekly trivia night I attend at a local pub. Always lots of fun, and a time to catch up with good mates.

Anyway, last night, about halfway through the quiz, there was suddenly a lot of commotion towards the front of the place (behind where I was sitting the in far back corner). Looking around, I noticed that it seemed really dark, and realised that the ceiling was covered with black smoke. Then I noticed the flames, which had engulfed the kitchen behind the bar, and were quickly engulfing the bar (which was near the door) and the ceiling.
People started shouting, get out, get out. At first everyone was like a deer caught in headlights, and my first thought was actually "it's only a fire. put it out and let's get back to the quiz." Well, I didn't do that :)
I grabbed my jacket (thank God, because I would have died of exposure outside) and joined the herd rushing the door (between seeing the fire and getting out the door was only actually about 8 seconds, but in that time the fire was on the ceiling over the door, so we had to run bent over).

So, we stood outside and watched the place go up. The Koreans there called the fire dept, we shouted to the people in the upper floors of the building (who took the elevator down), people took photos and video on their phones, some called loved ones, and a few cried, and me and others stood a respectful distance back since the place had gas (there was a small explosion). Of course, the guys who had a girlfriend got to look very manly and protective standing and wrapping their arms around their girlfriends while the guy watched the fire and the girl buried her face in his jacket (why? fires are fascinating.)

It took a bit for the fire trucks to get there (but not that long if you know anything about Korean traffic). The fire guys quickly put out the fire, had one truck which decided to spray a hefty dose of water on a car and the people standing behind it (including me, but I got out of the firing range before the truck really started gushing), and the fire guys eventually went in and retrieved items left in the bar (cell phones which actually still worked, melted bags, etc). By that time many people (all the couples, noticeably) had left, and everyone left was starting the freeze, so we went to Sunset (another bar nearby) for some after-fire-we-survived-wow drinks.

All in all, certainly an interesting PubQuiz (I take it my team won).

Friday, November 07, 2008

Work Frustrations

Work is pretty stressful this week. We just got new books, and one of them is ridiculously hard. It's way above the students' levels (I doubt even some of my Korean coworkers would be able to understand it fully), and the subject matter is not suitable for elementary school students - it has questions like "how much do you smoke? Would you marry someone who smokes? How many lottery tickets do you buy each week? What are the pros and cons of using credit cards? Would you ever sign a prenuptual agreement? What do you hope your children will be?" and discussion topics like "My friend smokes and he said I should try it". This one is obviously to provoke a debate about smoking, but there's no way elementary school students have that understanding or experience, let alone the language.
So, I went to my director and explained all of this, and she said "just skip those questions." It's absolutely not that easy, and it's still in the book for students to read, so I said I couldn't do that. After an extremely frustrating conversation trying to make her understand that 1) the language was too hard and 2) the topics are inappropriate for children, and having her keep repeating things like "but you must", I finally said point blank "I'm not going to teach that book." Probably not the most tactful way to put it, but nothing else was getting through. In the end I called a guy on another campus of the school whose job is to act as a go-between and translator when there are problems between the foreign and korean teachers. He's a Korea who grew up in America, so he is bi-lingual and also understands Western culture. He understood the problem with the book at once, and talked to my director who finally agreed to find a new book. For the rest of the day she ignored me and acted like I killed her dog.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Stuck in the Mud

I was kicked in the ribs at MudFest (see pics below) while in the wrestling pit (I was half on top of another girl and a guy slid into us, ramming his heal into my side) and it hurt at the time, but I didn't think much of it.
Now, almost a week later, my side is still hurting. Not sure what exactly is wrong, but I have two conclusions:

1) Nothing is broken because I assume that would hurt a whole lot more. and
2) I'm not bleeding internally because I don't see an actual bruise, and assume I would be dead by now if that was the case.

The MudFest, by the way, is a 10 day event in Korea. They have warm mud which you can paint yourself (and others) with, go swimming in, douse yourself (and others) with, wrestle in, etc, etc. There is an ocean right there, so much of the time is spent alternating between getting dirty, swimming and getting clean, and getting dirty again. I was there for two days and had an AWESOME time!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

ThinkGeek Does It Again

This is Awesomeness at its practical best.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Finally Gone

The Asshole has left the country. I never got my money back. I don't particularly care, (although loosing 100 bucks still stings a little), I'm just glad I never have to see or deal with him again.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Asshole Strikes Again - Literally

Well, I was out tonight and ran into The Asshole (aka The Guy Who Owes Me Money - see posts below for details) after not having contact for a while. I went up to him and in a jokey way reminded him that he still owed me and that if he had money to be out drinking, he had the money to pay me back.
He waffled some things about "not now"... "I'm not in the mood"... or something ... and then came out with "I'll hit you". I laughed it off with a step closer and an incredulous "ha. really?"

He did. He drew back and slogged me with a loose fist right across the cheek. Through shock (I've never been hit in the face by ANYONE before, especially seriously - out of anger/hatred. I saw it coming but thought he was at least half joking and would stop an inch from my face though. If I knew he wouldn't, I would have ducked.) I instinctively hit back, and although I can't tell you if I connected all that well, he was kinda bent over turned away from me when someone stepped between us. My kick-boxing instructor would have been a little disappointed; someone hadn't stepped between us, so I didn't get a chance to connect with the balls.

He got dragged (led?) out of the bar and I went back to my group.

So, I've officially been hit by a guy. Who knew that such low life forms still existed?

At least I can say I've been in a bar fight....

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Excuses for not paying me back

"I'm here and everyday I go for broke. I don't have 100 bucks in my account."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Needing Advice About Asshole Men

Situation: When I went back home over Christmas, I left my plants in the care of a guy who was a friend/acquaintance. He lives in the floor above me, and although I knew he wasn't the most reliable person, I really had no one else to ask who would be around while I was away, and still here when I got back. I also needed a bill paid for me while I was away (since he lives in the same building, I figured it wouldn't be that hard for him to collect my mail and pay the bill for me) and gave him $100 to cover it. I asked him if he could do this for me, assured him I wouldn't be offended if he said no, and made sure he was willingly taking on this responsibility.

While I was back home, I occasionally got in touch with him, and he said all was going well.

I came back to Korea and found that one of my plants had died. Ok - not that big a deal. I was a little disappointed, but oh, well. Like I said - no big deal.
He hadn't paid the bill. Again - a little pissed off, but no big deal. The penalty was only 5 bucks.

The issues began when 1) he didn't give me back the plant pot of the plant that had died (it was a nice one) and 2) he said he didn't have the money right then to give back to me.

I said "no worries". I'm generally pretty laid back and don't get worked up over little things. He lives in my building, so it wasn't like I wasn't going to see him again. I gave him the thank-you presents I'd gotten him in Australia, anyway (I've been brought up well in this department, I believe), but I regret doing this. He doesn't deserve them.

After a week or so, I messaged asking if I could drop by and get the plant pot and the money. No answer.

After another few weeks, I ran into him. He said he knew he owed me money, and that he would catch up with me next week. Again, nothing.

I messaged again with no reply.

After another few weeks, I messaged again, receiving the response "I don't have it". Now, as an aside, that is pure BS. How many adults do you know with a well-paying job who don't have $100 in their bank account? There is an ATM on the ground floor of our building - it would take 1 minute to go down and drop the money off on his way back up to his floor.

So I sent him the reply to have it to me by Friday. After no reply, I messaged asking him to give me a date he would pay it back. He mentioned a date a few months away, and at a time when I knew he would be leaving the country.

Well, to hell with that. It had now been over three months since I'd gotten back.

I started messaging everyday, knowing I was bugging him, sending him the chorus of "song for the dumped" by Ben Folds, and annoying the shit out of him.

His latest message has been "stop annoying me or you won't see a dime... I promise you."

OMG!! What is wrong with this person?!? He owes me money. End of story. It's not a hostage. It's not a negotiation. Besides, I did "not annoy" him for three months, and that got me nowhere.

I have a feeling it's now become a game for him - to see how long he can go without paying me and seeing if I'll back down with the messages and being "annoying". It's a game I'm not going to play. He may be an immature dickless asshole, but I'm not (ok, so I stooped to passive aggressiveness for a little while, but I'm not proud of it). This situation is frustrating, infuriating, upsetting, annoying, irritating....

So what do I do? At this stage I'd like to tell him to go fuck himself with the $100 and let it go. Honestly, he's not worth $100. At the same time, it's money I'd really like back. Plus, I don't want him to mistakenly think that he's "won" this "game". He owes me the money. Why can't he just pay it back?

I really don't get it. What is the big deal about paying back money you owe someone? What kind of inconsiderate, indecent, selfish, stupid prick is he? I'm no paragon when it comes to consideration, money, and other things, but if someone asked me to do them a favor like pay a bill for them and gave me money to do it, and I just happen not to have done it (it would have to be something pretty big for me not to follow through with a promise like that, though. If I knew I wouldn't be able to do it, I wouldn't have taken on the favor), I would be apologising profusely and giving the money back to them asap.

What is wrong with people?