Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reasons Korea is great #85-88

Okay, so I haven't necessarily listed reasons #1-84, just go with me.

Reason #85: going to the doctor. I rarely go to the doctor, so I don't have the national health insurance (1.5% of your salary). I pay full price when I go. That's ten dollars for the GP, or one hundred, when I get sick on a national holiday and have to go to the ER.

Reason #86: I went to the eye doctor yesterday. No appointment, because you don't need one. Wait time: less than one minute. Total cost: twenty dollars US. Much like the ER visit, the receptionist actually apologized that I had to pay "full price". Yeah, I'll live.

Reason #87: I got new glasses today (and realized how badly I needed them). Total cost of frames and lenses: under forty dollars. Total time: twenty minutes. AND the optician apologized when she told me how long it would be. (!)

BTW the shop was on yarn alley and with twenty minutes to kill, I did not buy any yarn. I didn't let myself walk in any of the shops in order to not tempt fate, but still. I. Resisted. Temptation. Stop the presses.

Reason #88: The bank gave me a gift today: a CD that I can use to download one hundred movies on them. I've gotten gifts from the bank before: calendars every year, a wallet/ datebook/ clutch thing, an umbrella... This was special because it was not my bank. I was at the bank I use to send money home. (The won is not a hard currency, so only certain banks are authorized to exchange money.)

I hadn't been there since the end of December when I was getting money for my trip home. The teller asked me about my trip and told me I looked prettier from relaxing and seeing my family. I don't remember stuff people I know told me yesterday and she remembered that I needed money for a trip home two months ago.

To balance this:
Reason Korea is not great #43: My boss got mugged by a guy on a scooter on Monday. She was on her way to the bank so she had all of her bank books with her, including her stamps. In Korea, there are only about 100 surnames and no cursive, so in lieu of a signature, Koreans have stamps for official uses. If someone steals it, they have your "signature". Of course, her national ID card was also in her bag- basically the only other thing they would need to steal her identity, at least for things like using her credit cards.

Reason Korea is not great #44: A friend's coworker was recently walking her dog when she was nearly kidnapped by a guy in a van . It was night on a poorly lit road, but the van pulled up to her outside of a restaurant. According to the friend, diners watched with curiosity while the girl fended off the attacker. Fortunately for her, she was in fact stronger than the guy and ran in to the restaurant and refused to leave until they called the police.

Korea is basically a safe place, but the citizenry is working hard to catch up with the rest of the world.

Finally, reason Korea is not great #45: My ever-changing view:

Monday, January 29, 2007

Hold the ice cream, please

Yesterday, I went into "the city" to meet an old friend I haven't seen in a few years. She lives in an upscale area (just a few blocks from Hooters) so we went to a fancy-schmancy chocolatier for hot chocolate.

It was creamy and especially delicious with the flaky chocolate sticks served on the side to stir in. There was also some homemade ice cream that looked to die for. Neither of us were hungry as it was shortly after lunch, so we had our drinks and got caught up. A couple of hours later (we talk A LOT), the ice cream was starting to call our names. That's when my friend noticed the girl behind the counter was eating it.

Now, I don't mean taking a Baskin-Robbins taster spoon and tossing it. No. She was using ONE SPOON to eat out of each container and then, after carefully (and at length) licking the spoon clean, stirring the ice cream, presumably to hide what she had done. Her little snack went on for ten to fifteen minutes while we openly watched her.

I should probably thank her, because that was better incentive to avoid ice cream than all the nutrition knowledge in the world. Kind of a Fast Food Nation for deserts.

I finished a pair of socks for my mom, if I can make myself part with them, that is. I'm too lazy to take a photo at the moment, so I'll just tell you, I used the same yarn as my last pair of socks in autumnal colors, with a slightly different beaded rib pattern. When I get around to posting pics, I will include one of the two remaining balls of yarn. One is about twice a big as the other. The short one had two knots in it, but that should not account for more than a foot of difference. If I hadn't already used three other balls of the stuff and loved it, I probably wouldn't use it again, but I LOVE THIS YARN!

edit: Here are the socks for my mom (if I can make myself send them):

I started working on a pair yesterday using Pansy, but I ripped it, because it wasn't doing what I wanted it to. So, I think I'm going to make the last pair of socks with the Limbo. The blue socks are color 793, my mother's are 795, and I've got two balls of 794. I tried to paste in the color card, but it did not want to be pasted.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

INSIDE JoongAng Daily

INSIDE JoongAng Daily: "Ceremonials"

Children learning the traditions of tea at the Yongin, Gyeonggi province, city government’s manners training center yesterday. [NEWSIS] Ceremonials
January 23, 2007

This is from the English language newspaper I read. Who knew there was a government manners office?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lost in Translation- Hooters Korea

Late last week, US domination made it's latest blow by opening a Hooters, in one of the most upscale neighborhoods in Korea. As the newspaper critic pointed out, this is roughly equivalent to Hooters opening on Fifth Ave next to Prada. I'm going to guesstimate a glass of domestic beer and half a dozen wings will come in around $20. Not quite the Hooters you know and love.

Something else seems to have been lost in translation. I just can't quite put my finger on it. What do you think?

I have a single male coworker who lives in Seoul, not too far from there, so I have tasked him with getting a photo with the girl on the right while making "big jugs" motions with his hands. Is that sexual harassment, since technically I'm his supervisor? Not in Korea! Unfortunately, I think he is too tasteful to actually do it. Maybe if we get him drunk...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Happy Sunday

This was my view today (Sunday):

No time for rest as long as there is one square meter of undeveloped land, I suppose. In the next few days, I should know what the city thinks is better than trees.

After all my going back and forth on the yarn I dyed for the sock bag swap, I looked at my pal's information one more time and realized it was my sender pal that likes green. My pal likes purple, so I have fresh out of the dye pot some lovely variegated purple yarn. Other than extensive, enthusiastic help from my cat skeining it for dyeing, it went well- the dye took and the colors came out very nice.
Fortunately, I went *a little* crazy while shopping for a bag and bought the same one in blue, which she also likes. So, I'll switch that out and should have the whole thing packed and shipped Tuesday. I finished the pattern and socks for the pattern photo, so drying and re-skeining the yarn (it's in a 3m-ish loop now) is all that remains to be done.

The pattern is pretty simple, because she likes ribbed legs. Here's my pair:

Now I'm off to finish Where the Red Fern Grows for class tomorrow. One week of "intensive" classes (aka winter vacation) then I'm off for a *whole week*! I'm telling you the pay isn't the only great thing about teaching. ;-) What will I do with all that free time? Hmmm... I'm sure I could get to work on some UFOs (but I'll probably start new projects instead).

Friday, January 19, 2007

Happy Friday!

I love Fridays-- I have the whole weekend stretching out before me. So much opportunity. What will I do with all that free time? Well, okay, about three out of four weekends, the answer to that question is: watch too much TV while knitting and *maybe* a trip to the grocery store (a block away).

This weekend I have my monthly KOTESOL meeting. We are doing an ideas exchange this month, so I have homework. I think I'm going to present some resource materials for beginner elementary students. I'm the chapter secretary, so I will have minutes to prepare after the meeting.

Then I will finish the pair of socks I am knitting to test knit the pattern I wrote for my Sock in a Bag Swap at the Townsend yahoo group. It's a pretty simple pattern, because she likes ribs; it's kind of a rib mixed with seed stitch. One down one to go. I knit it with Hohenloher wolle Limbo in color 793. It's a variegated marl which is creating a much more lovely striping effect (IMHO) than self-striping sock yarns. I'm definitely going to buy more of this. I found a destash 2007 group which clearly stated that sock yarn does not count as a yarn purchase. Also, my little feets get cold and I can tell from just trying on the sock as I knit that they will be toasty warm.

For the swap, I've got the very dark green yarn I dyed as well as a skein of self-striping Fortissima yarn, a knitting mystery, a Korean knitting pattern book (it's all done with diagrams), an embroidered bookmark, a notebook made of traditional Korean paper with pressed flowers on the cover, a pencil with a knit decoration, some chocolate, a silk bag, six beaded stitch markers, a kitschy pig phone decoration (it's the year of the pig), and a project bag to carry it in. Now I just need to type the pattern and mail it.

I plan to get everything in the mail Monday, because it is supposed to arrive in the US before Valentine's Day. This may be the first swap package I receive, so I'm pretty excited about what I might get. My pal is in the UK. I say it *might* be the first one I receive, because the postman is not my friend these days. My SP9 pal mailed my package before Christmas, but my mailbox remains lonely. She's Estonian, so I'm really excited about that package. People (English-speaking people, I mean) write whole books about their knitting. Not to mention it just seems exotic.

The girls at Sock Madness have posted a photo of their test knit of my pattern. Scroll down, it's the one at the bottom. I tried to save their photo and post it here, but it was being ornery. Here is a photo of the original pair. It's the easy level, hence a simple striping pattern mixing a solid and matching variegated yarn. These are my favorite socks to wear, because they are very squishy and warm.

(Insert appropriate segue way here.) At work today, I found out that I am teaching in the presence of celebrity. Well, if celebrity means having a song posted on Neil Young's antiwar website. Since you'll probably never find his listing, assuming you want to hear a anti-war folksong, here is his MySpace page. This reminds me that I have a brother who is possibly more famous, Lil Witness. You can see his video here. You can buy his CDs, too and get me one step closer to being the person who changes the battery in his GameBoy a la Ludacris.

Do I need to say that I am in love with the link button that I have finally found? I could link to the original post where I discovered the button, but I won't (that might be overkill .) ;-)
Have great weekend!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Waders close up

Waders close up
Originally uploaded by waegoogin.
Here is the close up that was supposed to be published with the pattern. Some people had trouble seeing the details in the other photo. Sorry it's not properly centered.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Thank you, thank you very much (I am verklempt)

I am overwhelmed by the many people who have emailed me about the Waders socks. I don't think they are going to give Jaywalkers a run for their money, but it's very flattering. Apparently, somewhere in blog land, a KAL group has them in mind. choose waders, choose waders, chose waders

Can I just say it's an honor to be nominated? choose waders, choose waders, choose waders I know that sounds so horribly corny, but really, a whole group of people knitting my little pattern.

BTW, look, TWO links in one post. It's almost like I FINALLY clued in that there is a link button so I don't have to edit the html. Really, you would think the blogger tutorial that I *slogged* through would have mentioned that. Some might say it's right in front of my face so a mention was not necessary, but, people, I have had this blog for six months and never noticed it before.
Yes, I am former military intelligence, trained to notice the tiniest details. Haha. I can't believe I didn't make it a career.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Mission Possible

Yes, wasting no time with their New Year's resolution, the fair city of Bundang finished razing the trees outside my window a few days ago. So, in about two weeks I've gone from having a completely tree-filled view to all highway all the time. Thanks, y'all. So I guess now the only question is: are they going to be widening one of the highways that it lies between or are they going to build a new apartment block? The way construction goes here, I should know well before the end of the month.

I have not been pursuing my resolutions with such vigor. I haven't done any shopping, but I haven't done so well on the less TV/ more activity front. On the other hand, I've been eating more fruits and veg and almost completely cut out fast food. McD's suddenly started serving breakfast, so I had to get an Egg McMuffin to compare it to an American one, you know how it is, but other than that and the chocolate for dinner incident chronicled in a recent post, I've been eating healthily and not drinking diet Coke or coffee. So, overall not too bad, but I haven't stripped an entire median of life or, you know, whatever the equivalent of that would be.

I haven't made ANY progress on the MCY socks for two reasons. One, it is on 2mm needles- 72 stitches. The other is the odd pooling. It's beautiful, but I can't bear pooling. I've posted two pics. One shows the true color, but my cat is covering the pooling. The other shows the pooling which is pretty much mirrored on the other side. I haven't decided whether or not to press on and use a rib pattern on the leg or to rip it and make something that could either have a smaller stitch count or use larger needles. Anybody have a good scarf pattern using 100g of fingering weight yarn?

I've been busy putting together a package for a sock bag swap. I've gathered some little things like chocolates, a book, a project notebook, a mechanical pencil with a knit jacket hanging decoration, etc etc. I also made her half a dozen bead stitch markers. I have to go to Insa Dong tomorrow to get a sock-project-sized bag. That is the street with the yarn store with Koigu (yes THE ONE in the country), but I plan to be strong. I may not even go in and look around, just to avoid temptation.

I decided to dye some yarn for my buddy- blue and green. Did not work. The blue did wonderfully, but the green a) came out 1000 shades too dark (it's almost black) and b) the dye did not set. I washed it in vinegar SIX times. The color did not get lighter, but more and more kept washing out and the blue portion that I did not put in the green pot got soaked (and dyed) when I rinsed it. So now it is a blackish-green with very subtle hints of blue here and there. I would totally wear that color and her preferences seem very similar to mine, so here's hoping...

I *think* I got the skein pretty well washed, but the socks she makes will definitely need to be hand washed at least a few times. To make the dyeing session even more of a resounding failure, I didn't tie the skein properly, so I spent three hours rewinding it getting the snarls out.

I've written a pattern for her based on her preferences, so I just need to type it up, get the bag, and mail it all off.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Waders Clarification

I received an email about the Waders pattern and I thought I would share the questions and answers, in case anyone else was having the same issues.

First, the abbreviations in the pattern. As I said in a previous post, the pattern was revised by the editor and some of the explanations were left out. So, here are the original stitch explanations:

Stitches k- knit p- purl
yo- yarn over/ forward k2tog- knit 2 together
k2togtbl- knit 2 together to back loop (the same as an SSK)
RC- right cross made by slipping 2 stitches to back of work, work next stitch, then work the two slipped stitches
LC- left cross made by slipping 1 stitch to the front of work, work next two stitches, then work slipped stitch
(The RC and LC stitches are from the zigzag rib, p.20, Vogue Knitting Stitchionary: Volume One.)

The RC and LC stitches are worked like cables, but the two halves aren't equal, if you get what I mean. You cross one stitch over two, instead of one over one or two over two. Here is a tutorial on doing this without a cable needle or dropping stitches off the needle.

Second, working the pattern in DPNs (shudder). :-) If you look at the pattern, you can divide it easily between the back to back RC and LC, so it can easily be worked on 5 DPNs. Math is not my forte, so I'm not a good person to work out 4 DPNs, but some stitch rearranging would be necessary to either work the crosses or the lace zigzags, unless you had odd numbers of stitches on each needle.

On a positive note,the pattern is really intuitive, so once you had a few rounds worked, it would be easy to see what stitch you needed by what was beneath. Each LC has an RC above it and vice versa. I would just chart out the zigzags and follow that. If I'm feeling industrious later, I'll do it and add it to this post.

If you have any questions about the pattern, please email me. I would love to see your FOs, too!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I'm Dreaming of a White (Twelfth Day of) Christmas

Happy Twelfth Day of Christmas! This is what I woke up to this morning:
It's been snowing off and on all day, but it isn't sticking to the pavement. You may notice there are fewer trees in this photo than the one I took mid-week. The race to denude Bundang continues...

I've started knitting up the Emerald Forest I got from Mystical Creations Yarns. The snow is not lending itself to good natural lighting for a photo, but it is beautiful. Here's the skein:

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

At least my cat will be watching less TV...

He can keep that resolution for the both of us. I actually made it to the grocery store yesterday AND cooked. Very unusual mid-week activities, especially back-to-back. I mitigated it by buying chocolate (which I ate for dinner) with the groceries and parking in front of the TV as soon as the cooking and washing up had been dispensed with.
Then today a co-worker brought Krispy Kreme, so I had to have 1.5, to be nice, you know. I did come home and cook vegetables for dinner (which I ate sans chocolate). Two nights of cooking in a row. Sometimes I impress myself. :-)
However, my cat will be watching less kitty TV, since the bird-filled trees have disappeared since Christmas. The city's resolution seems to be "get rid of every last little bit of that green stuff." They are enthusiastically working towards that end. Last week, that entire strip of dirt was so completely covered in trees that the highways were not visible at all.
My cat would sit at the window for hours at a time, keeping tabs on all bird-related activity, letting us know if anything exciting happened. He's a talker. Actually, I think he's a drunk homeless guy trapped in a cat's body. You know the guy I'm talking about, he walks around muttering to himself, occasionally punctuating his conversation with shouts at random passers-by. That's my cat.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Well, here we are, 2007 already. Is it a sign of age to ask, where does the time go?

I've been back from the happiest place on Earth for a week now and I'm basically recovered from the plague, or whatever has ailed me since I got off the plane in Florida.

Last week, to celebrate my return, I worked 11 hours days. Starting tomorrow is "intensive" the semiannual month-long period when Koreans enjoy their school holidays by studying all day. So, I'll have the same students everyday, instead of twice a week. Hopefully, I won't have any students I hate. Not that teachers have students they hate, of course.

Due to my yarn diet, or more specifically, shopping moratorium, I made one last yarn run and got about 10 skeins of yarn, which I am currently feeling too lazy to photograph. I did finally buy a new plastic bin to store my new acquisitions (including the metric ton's worth I got in the US). I also got the new Knitter's Magazine.

One of my resolutions is to systematically work through my stash by matching yarn to projects and randomly picking one small project a month and one big project every other month. I just have to keep myself from doing small project after small project as I did throughout 2006.

I have made about a thousand resolutions this year, pretty much covering the usual suspects- exercise more, eat less crap, save money, etc etc. Of course, in lieu of exercising today, I have been parked in front of the TV for about 8 hours watching a CSI marathon. I did finally finish unpacking from my trip.

Did I mention before that my bag was damaged and the progress reports I spent an afternoon writing did not make it? I wasn't too upset by that loss, until I remembered that all the patterns I had ordered from Knitpicks were safely ensconced in that binder so they wouldn't get bent in my suitcase. At least it wasn't the yarn, or knitting books, or the Crystal Light that I've been downing like crack (since another resolution is to give up Diet Coke).

Since this is an otherwise photo-free post, I'll direct you to my latest pattern, in the new MagKnits at I had some difficulty expressing myself when writing this pattern. I ended up submitting it three times, before I felt it was clear (and there were some email problems over there, so wasn't getting replies). The published version is extensively edited, so apparently, I wasn't the only person who thought it was unclear.