Mini Me Mod
Location Denver, CO
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Sprocket's Training Milestones
Came home (Aug 2, 2014)
Asked to go outside (Aug 5, 2014)
Slept 4 hours straight (night) (Aug 5-6, 2014)
7/3/13 - 8
7/4/13 - 30
7/5/13 - 36
7/10/13 - 54
7/11/13 - 57
7/18/13 - 67
2/17/14 - 83
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- Dream of the Red Chamber
- Time to Kill
- Scent of the Missing
The Day Jay ate Wok
Sunday. 10.3.10 7:47 am
I used to have two hamsters up until yesterday. In fact, I was on Skype with my dad, telling him, "I'm just here in South Korea with my two" when I looked over and realized that there was something odd about my hamsters. There was no life in the cage.
I remember the first time my rodents died on me. It was about three months after I got them, just like this. I reached my hand into the cage and tried to pick one up, thinking that it was just sleepy. Holding the cold dead thing in my hand caused me to scream in a way that my mother certainly wont ever forget. "They're dead! They're dead!" I screamed, but there was no screaming yesterday.
"Oh no," I said. I was more disappointed than anything. I didn't have my glasses, so I could not see the pile of fluff that used to be Wok was lacking meat on it's tiny bones. I just hoped, for a moment, that Jay might still be alive, but I shook the whole cage until Jay's dead corpulent body rolled out of their tiny house, "Oh no," I repeated.
"What happened?" my dad asked.
"They're dead," I said simply, "Oh no, they're dead."
I talked to my dad for an hour after that with them just lying there. It reminded me of how David was after the death of his first son by Bathsheba. He mourned and fasted as the child was sick, begging God to spare the infant for his misdeeds, but when the child was dead, he got up and moved on with his life. After all, I was the only one waiting for their funeral.
Finally, I was done with having death linger in my room and I excused myself to go outside. In a morbid moment, I had decided before they even died that I would have to put them in the food waste. I live in a city now, there is no back garden for me to bury them in and the plumbing in my department is a septic system, so no flushing (not that I would. Flushing is more for fish anyway).
I took the cage down the hallway.
"Oh no," I said, examining the remains, "Oh no."
In the pile that used to be Wok, I saw a bloody bone sticking out the remains. I think it was only then that it hit me that Jay must have eaten Wok. That was why Jay's little dead body had swollen to the size of two hamsters. My hamster really ATE my other hamster? And then he choked on him?
There were other explanations of course. They could have eaten bad food. Jay could have been 'cleaning up' the remains of his friend and paid dearly for it. Then again, Wok and Jay never really liked each other all that well and they had been fighting before. I settled on the cannibalism story. Somehow, it was funny enough for me to deal with, funny enough for me not to have to think about it too much and it fit all of the gory details of the crime scene.
It was a little embarrassing to carry them down in the elevator. This cute Korean couple was trying to have a nice conversation and I kept on thinking "I have dead hamsters in this cage. I hope they don't notice the dead hamsters".
I tried to tuck it behind my back, but it was too big. I had to choose between alerting them to its presence by smooshing everyone against the front of the elevator to accommodate it, or do the modern version of whistling non-chalantly and keep it quietly tucked by my side as I stared at my shoes.
You could tell they were curious. "Is that a hamster cage?" they probably thought. Maybe they were playing with the idea of asking me about them. That would be embarrassing:
“Oh, are those hamsters?”
“Can, I see them?”
I let them clear the elevator and then rocketed past them down the street. Ducking behind the PB, I gave the cage a good look. I didn’t want them to spill out. No, I could not deal with that. My expert hands flashed over the latches and I took apart the cage. Then it was a simple matter of dumping them into the trash. I gave them one final look, fearing and hoping that the dead body of Jay might come back to life. It did not and so I made my peace with it and replaced the trashcan's lid.
There was a weird art piece at the Biennale a week or so back. It was made by a New York artist. It had a piece of writing on it from who knows where talking about how Americans did not know how to deal with death. I thought about that as I carried the bright and empty cage away from the trash cans. Americans don’t know how to deal with death? That kind of assumes that there is some culture out there that does. But really, there is no right way to handle death. Only a right place to put the body. And that’s what I did.
"Hello Blue Pencil!"
Friday. 10.1.10 9:52 am
I always knew that he was an imaginative child. True, the monstrous figures on every drawing sheet with their round bellies and stick arms looked remarkably the same, but after a couple of scattered explanations in English I usually got the idea of them: "Well, this is my house and this the bathroom and the kitchen and the kitchen from the other direction" or "This is a monster and this is a baby and the baby is eating the monsters and there will be lots of babies eating the monster."
But I was not prepared for "Come here pencil!"
"Hunh?" I said baffled. I am always a little slow on what the rules of the games were. I have been a grownup an awful long time, after all.
"Where is my pencil?"
"In your hand," I explained.
He looked at his pencil, "I don't need Teacher! I need pencil!"
He grabbed my arm, "Come here pencil!"
I started to laugh, "Do your work! You have one more sentence left!"
"Pencil where are you?" he said (I was wearing a blue shirt) "Come here blue pencil!"
I burst out laughing. He continued the skit for a couple more minutes until everyone was in a regular uproar.
"Okay, back to work," I said reluctantly. With an impish smiles he turned back to his Phonics.
Airplane Ride (RATED G)
Thursday. 9.30.10 8:46 am
Kids like laps. They are places that they can identify with relative ease: "She is sitting, there is a lap created for me". Once they know they can sit in a lap, they will try to sit in it at every available opportunity and so I taught them the "Airplane Lap Ride" game. It goes as follows:
Child sits in lap. Child put out arms. I put my arms around Child's stomach and make a plane noise, "Mmeerow!" we hit some turbulence "bump-pa, bump-pa, bump-pa", we bank left "Neerow!" bank right "neeerow!" turblence "bump-pa, bump" landing "ba-bump" "ba-bump" and then... repeat five more times with all the kids in my class.
Heyri and Paju - Part 2
Thursday. 9.30.10 8:03 am
So, I have been watching this Korean Drama called "Boys before Flowers" 꽃보다 남자. It is pretty awesome. My favorite kind of humor: absurdity. Anyhow, so it's about this school with the richest kids in all of Korea. Their houses and apartments are three times the size of all the apartments I have seen in Busan... put together, and they eat lunch in a place that looks like a four star restaurant. Now, it did occur to me on several occasions to ask "Where on Earth did they find sets for all this stuff?"
I get into the elevator my first night and there, on the elevator wall, is the photograph of all the characters. This love motel, picked because my new foreign friends said that it was supposed to be nice, was the set of my favorite Korean drama! The room WAS nice. It had a tub, which I had been dying to get a hold of, and bubble bath stuff that made my skin feel so nice. The bed was HUGE, too!
After a lovely night of relaxing, I headed out to Heyri. Once I found the tourist office, I rented a bike and started peddling my way around the city. It was so nice to be out of the city, to not hear any more cars, to not hear anyone competing to be heard and there, the whir of my bicycle beneath me. I even rang the bell a couple of times, just so I could hear its sound playing theatrically against the backdrop of quirky modern houses.
The eating hall was in a restaurant: one that looked too expensive for me. In the same place, there was the library they used and everything.
Hrm... Well, it was really a great trip. The food was great, I had this kimchi, rice and corn dish which was divine and just got out of there before the tourist rush. I'm going to go back.
Heyri and Paju - Part 1
Saturday. 9.25.10 7:17 pm
The trip to Seoul was obligatory. My boss needed someone to go to the conference about the new books they were making available to their students and that someone was me. I decided to make the most of it, though, and lengthened my stay in Seoul over night and on until morning. That way, I could venture out to Paju Book City and Heyri, which were featured in my guidebook for their "small scale contemporary buildings". It brings me within spitting distance of the South Korean/North Korean border, which means, ironically, it brings me closer to nature, peace, and solitude.
I arrived in Heyri about seven o'clock. I had rather enjoyed the bus ride, which consisted primarily of me looking out the window as the highway whipped by. As we got closer to Heyri, more and more people pressed the button to get off and I was forced to assume my role as the bumbling travel, spewing Engrean phrases out onto the floor hoping that someone was fluent enough in Konglish to understand my dialect. They were. In fact, I was soon to find out that, while the Busanites were rather fluent in Enlglish, they did not hold a candle to the people in Heyri.
I looked up my survial phrase in my Korean phrasebook: "Hotel odi issoyo?" Which means "Where is the hotel" or "Hotel, it is where?" I was very proud of myself for having stowed it temporarily in my brain and set out to find a restuarant on which to use it. The restaurants were combination swanky food joint and gallery. This was, of course, the day I happened to be wearing the fat shirt and the wrinkled pants, something that made me look even more touristy than I already was. So, it was not all that surprising that when I came in, babbling my one Korean phrase, the waitress simply smiled politely at me and ran to get someone who spoke better English.
"Hotel odi issoyo?" I asked, cluthing my phrasebook.
"You can speak English," the Korean man said in even, unaccented English.
"Oh," I said, "Where can I find a hotel."
"Do you see those lights?" he said, pointing out of the village, "The red light?"
It took me a while to see them, but I did and nodded.
"Just go up there, turn right and walk for thirty minutes."
Great. I thought, banished from Heyri my first night here, but after asking a very nice family coming back from dinner, a family which reminded me mysteriously of ones I had grown up with, I found out that there really were no hotels in Heyri and I'd have been luck thirty minutes walk down the road.
As I started to get my bearing, I could not help but realize that was fresh and good. My nose and throat, which had rebelled so violently against me herein now opened up and took large gasps of the surrounding air without protest. My shoulders relaxed, my eyes opened and all the misery and discomfort who had been my constant companions for the past four months, lifted without effort or thought.
But this was not the only good the air carried. The roar of traffic, construction and murmuring voices had dissappated. It was not quite. There were still cars, still people, still Korean, but it was not so crowded, angry and rushed.
I had walked almost ten minutes when I ran into three foriegners and their dogs (a dachshund and some kind of mix, I think). I was so glad to see them that I stopped and smiled a little at the dogs.
"Hey," I said, trying to recover from staring, "Do you know where a hotel is?"
"Yeah, sure," they said, "Just go up this road a little ways and you'll find a whole row of them."
They were a little surprised that I was up in their area of the world. What on Earth would provoke me to leave the city to come and visit them? I realized that the shoddy description of Heyri and Paju had very little affect on my decision, it was this cool and calm I was feeling right then.
"I wanted to get away," I explained.
They nodded, perfectly satisfied with the response, "Well, there isn't much around here. The Koreans think the buildings are pretty cool, if you're into architechture. Then there is Odusan Observatory."
I didn't really want to leave them, they seemed like such decent people, but I ended up heading out anyway. I waved goodbye and headed up to the hotel they recommended, but I will leave that half of the story until tommorow.
Friday. 9.24.10 8:10 am
"Um," Amy says, reaching up her arms.
"Hrm?" I ask.
"Up!" Amy says, jumping a little. I reach down and we count, "1, 2, 3" and up she goes, swirling around in the air!
"Me next!" Mimi shouts.
"Hrm, okay," I say and then "1, 2, 3" up in the air, we swirl around and then I put her back down. Then it goes on to the next kid and the next kid until everyone has been spun in the air at least once and everyone has been set back down on the ground. Everyone is laughing, everyone is smiling and I think to myself: this is one of the best parts of my day.
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