ongoing letter
for January 2012

January 31, 2012

I was leaving Earth with some kind of space ship, but I wasn't in the ship but in front of it, floating freely before it.  We were floating skyward through a grid of beams, a frame of some kind, like that of a zeppelin.  I saw outside this frame a stream of fluid-like substance, and it it were thousands of what looked like fish.  They were all flowing away from the World.  It seemed like the most beautiful place on .. well, not on Earth at all.  I met a woman - not sure who she was - and we were to be together for eternity.  Sounds like some kind of romance movie, but it was my dream.

January 30, 2012

payday tomorrow
I'm happy that tomorrow is payday.  Getting low on funds.  My bank account numbers are going down, and my credit card numbers seem to be going up.

new duds
The Bay has a sale on shirts on now, so yesterday I picked up 6 of them - $125 worth.  Unfortunately, four of them wrinkle like crazy.  Fortunately, I bought a steam iron, also from the Bay, on Friday.

NGM pics
I thought these were pretty spectacular pictures, so I'm putting them here.  Happy viewing.

January 29, 2012

toilets ... again
Not that I'm always thinking about toilets, but looking at campervans (example 1, example 2, example 3) got me to thinking about what kind of toilet (head) a person might / should have in their RV.  A chemical toilet isn't very good for the environment and smells somewhat.  But a flush toilet takes way too much water, and there's the complication of storage and discharge.  There actually was a chemical biffy in the Turtleshell, but I didn't like the idea of a chemical toilet in the place in which I sit.

(wo)man overboard
I was told that M, a 75-year-old widow neighbour, went on a cruise a bit ago and - believe it or not - fell overboard.  Now, how on earth could a 75-year-old 'fall' overboard?  You'd have to climb the damn railing to get overboard, wouldn't you?  She's apparently accident prone.  Yah, I believe it.

January 28, 2012

a museum of ... toilets!?
Upon looking at other things online, M&F and I got into the conversation of museums.  I said, "You know, my town, 일산 (Ilsan) has a toilet museum, believe it or not." 

RV show
There's an RV show in Lethbridge, so I want to go have a look at it.

a travelling museum piece
I thought this might be a gift for Glenn, since he's into Coca~Cola memorabilia.

Of course, I'd have to win the lottery first.

the third snow of first winter back
Sounds like the name of a movie or something.  Okay, here's a movie then.

third snow of first winter back 003 (HDV) third snow of first winter back 003 (medium).wmv third snow of first winter back 003 (small).wmv

January 27, 2012

a plastic world
Mom saw a table and chairs at The Bay a few days ago.

But the whole thing (chairs included) is made of plastic.  The table is white, but the chairs are of various colours.  This got me to thinking.  Plastic, developed in the 1950s, was never meant to be a disposable material.  It was meant to be a cheap, versatile, durable material for moulding all kinds of products.  But these days we just throw plastic things away.  We value it to such a lesser degree than other materials simply because it's cheap to make.  Well, I say, let the world love its plastic!!!  In other words, stop throwing the damned stuff away.


stuck in 4
I'm now at private entry getting the Jeep looked at.  Why?  It's stuck in 4-wheel-drive.  Yes, the handle goes up and down, but the front wheels don't disengage.  It sure gives the vehicle a weird feel on the road.  As well, it'll probably tear through the tires and the 4-wheel-drive gearbox, not to mention the gasoline.  I initially went to private entry to get some service, but the warrantee is out.  It was for only 3 months, and I've had the Jeep for four.  So crap.  Not nice.  I have to pay sixty-something dollars to have them have a look at it - put it up on the hoist.  If I can't get it fixed - that is, if it's too expensive - I guess I'm walking (or bussing) until I can.  I think maybe I'd best sell the Jeep.

January 24, 2012

another attempt
I thought I'd attempt another coffee cup.  This time, it's not electric.

It's microwavable, dishwasher safe (not that I've got a dishwasher), and made of 100% recycled plastic - a very good idea.


Has anyone ever done something totally useless, like going to random addresses on the internet?  Here are some examples.

I could go on, but I won't.  ...because it's useless.  I must be bored.  And now you are, too.

January 22, 2012

new rubber
The rear tires on the Jeep were pretty badly worn, but the front were okay.  They were Cooper tires.  Being a 4-wheel-drive, it's imperative to match all four tires to prevent the 4-wheel-drive gearbox from being damaged.  (If the front tires spin slower [because they're bigger if they have less wear] than the rear tires [being more worn, they're slightly smaller], it would set up a vibration within the gearbox that would slowly destroy the 4-wheel-drive gearbox.)  So yesterday I went to Elrich Tire in Lethbridge and got two new ones.  But - wouldn't you know it - the same day I got them, the snow started to melt.

new tracks
The night before last, I saw out the window that Santa Claus had been back again.  Tracks!  Deer tracks!  Could they have been Santa's reindeer?

new faces (or butts)
I have been waiting for a while to see deer in the yard.  Well, yesterday (Saturday) morning we did!  I called out to Mom & Floyd, "Deer!"  They came to the kitchen window and peered out the window.  This is what we saw.

same old same old
The electric coffee cup is a dud.  It doesn't even warm up a little bit.  What a crock.  (No, not a crock pot.  That, at least, would warm up a little.)  So I'm back to square one.  Some thing never change.

pondering life
Sometimes I sits and thinks.

And sometimes I just sits.

wrong again
I plugged the wrong meter on November 29th, 2011.  Or did I tell you this?  I put $2.50 in the parking meter of the person parked beside me.  Duh.  So this guy now has 9 hours and 59 minutes on his.  Natheless, I had to plug the my meter, too.  Well, parking had cost me $5.00.

isolation (vernacularly speaking)
Have you ever heard such a language?  Probably not.  Have a look at this geographical oddity.

A language spoken in only one town.  Read more -

end of a cold snap
The cold snap has finally ended.  It's now -1.4 now.  No blizzard, no permafrost, not crunchy footsteps outside.  Nice.  Some pics of blizzards and such.  Yes, it does say -30.

a blizzard starting

Allan freezing

Jeep Liberty frozen downtown

Yes, that really does say -30.

in the porch at home (watch the video below)

ice on the bedroom window

more ice

January 19, 2012

군포 bus info sign
Technology is great!  Okay, maybe not great - it's pretty good.  지예's Facebook entry

still in deep freeze
It's all the way up to -18º now.  Wow.  Balmy weather.  Not!  We're still in the deep freeze, I'm afraid.

coffee with Mike and other things
Mike from C SMSed me saying we should go for coffee.  This marks the official first time a newly made Canadian buddy has contacted me to hang out.  Maybe the trend will continue.  I guess sooner or later I'll have to network with other people and get out of the house.  But this winter makes it a little hard to get out and about.  Good excuse?  Good enough?

January 18, 2012

cold snap
Right now, at 7:00AM, it's -30.5º.  Yes, that says minus.

January 15, 2012

justice - a little further on
Glenn called.  We talked.  It's all good.

holy banjo
Now if you want to hear some serious up-and-coming banjo, fiddle, and guitar players, click here.

January 13, 2012
Friday the Thirteenth

the cancer has spread
What a letdown.  At about 5:35PM today, right about suppertime, the phone rang.  It was the doctor's office in Calgary.  The cancer had spread to Mom's lymph nodes behind her lungs.  So no surgery after all.  Mom was devastated.  Floyd got the details from the doctor since Mom couldn't cope with the news.  The next step for Mom would be radiation therapy to shrink the cancer cells or, at least, stop them from growing.  I guess we have to discuss this more later.


night shift
The director at F asked me if I could take on another shift, this time from 6:30 to 9:30PM Monday to Wednesday.  I talked with the one who asked for me, and we talked about my responsibilities and what to expect.  I decided to take it since I'm not working at C now.

same old same ... new
I bought another electric cup yesterday to replace the one I already have but have lost the cord to.  Same old thing - you want something, but something goes awry and the thing needs to be replaced.

Mom's surgery finished
Mom's surgery, the first one, the one to do the biopsy of the lymph nodes behind her lungs, is complete.  She got called in early yesterday afternoon.  "Are you in Calgary yet?" the surgeon asked.  "No, we haven't left yet," Floyd said.  Surgery was booked for 12:something but was bumped up to 10:20 because of a cancelation.  Mom was not pleased that she had to leave yesterday afternoon, but things like this happen, and, as she has said before, she'd go Christmas Day if they said she could get it done then (the big one, I mean).

So Floyd called today a couple times.  He said the road conditions were a little odd - snow here, ice there, bare road there - so it took them an hour to drive from their motel to the hospital.  He also said that surgery had taken a little longer than expected but that he saw her being wheeled out on a bed.

Later, just after nightfall, Mom herself called.  She said she felt good but had some neck pain.  (Pain in the neck, having surgery, isn't it?)  Her throat was fine.  The first thing she said when she woke up was "Justin" as she couldn't remember Floyd's name.  (Yes, this is common for Mom.  When I was born 43 years ago she couldn't remember Glenn's name or even who he was.)  We talked for 5 or 10 minutes until she got a little tired.  They'll spend the night in a motel.


big numbers
At F, we have a giant calculator.  The reason I am showing you this is that it is absolutely the largest calculator I've ever seen.  What about you?

Yes, it's a real calculator that really does work.

the heat is ... off
The furnace quit this morning.  It went on at 6:00AM ... and then no more.  "Darn, it's cold in here," I thought just before my shower.  Sure enough, no heat when M&F came back home mid-afternoon.  We used a couple electric heaters to take the edge off.

a pain in the neck
Mom had her surgery yesterday - the surgery for the biopsy of her whatchamacallits.  She was discharged that same day at 7:30PM, but they stayed in a motel that night.  The surgery lasted 2 hours rather than the estimated 45 minutes.  "I feel fine - like nothing is wrong," she said today.  Her neck has a hole in it, but it's not sore.  She took a Tylenol last night just because she thought she should.  Right after the surgery, she had a shot of morphine, "just because they kept asking me if I was in pain," Mom said.  But aside from this, she's 100%, like nothing happened.

If anyone wants to read up on it, Mom's cancer blog is at  It'll be updated now and then.

against the wind
Floyd and I have been insulating the garage.  When the wind blows, man it gets cold in there.  There wasn't a stitch of insulation in it.  So, before Floyd puts up a workbench, we've got to throw some pink fiberglass in it.  We've done parts of the two side walls and the whole end wall.

The ceiling has to be done, too, but it'll have to wait until the weekend.

January 6, 2012

Yesterday Mom came to me and said, "Guess what's for supper."  ...  <Blank look on my face.>  "Fish."  Ah!  Fish!?  Mom hates fish.  Well, she hates everything except deep-fried fish.  So I said I'd make supper.  I went out and got some ingredients and proceeded.  First, the salmon was bad.  It'd been sitting in the fridge for too long.  My fault.  Then, the oil was too hot and, while Mom stepped out to sell a toilet (more on that later), the oil overflowed onto the stove.  I moved the pot off the burner, but the burner caught fire.  20cm-high flames came off it.  I took a deep breath and blew it out.  Oil and smoke were everywhere.  I managed to clean it up before Mom got back.  But still there was no fish to fry.  "Tonight's vegetarian," Mom said.  "Well we've got to have fish."  They thought, then Mom went into the freezer and pulled out some frozen cod fillets that Floyd had bought.  Great - Mom & Floyd save the day.  The end result was good.  Deep-fried cod, mushrooms, sweet potatoes and broccoli; steamed broccoli.  (batter recipe)

hats for sale
Okay, not hats per se.  Toilets, TVs, and typewriters.

January 4, 2012

something new
I am now doing something a little different here.  I write to various people here and there, so, rather than re-writing everything here, I'll copy them and put them here but
in a different font / typeface so you'll know it's basically a copy of a letter I sent out.  I added a few things to December 2011, so click here for last month.  I don't know why I never did that before now.  Of course, parts of some letters are private and won't be duplicated.

January 2, 2012

hair today gone tomorrow
I tried to get a haircut today, but, once again, the place Floyd suggested was closed.  That makes 4 unsuccessful trips to get a haircut there.

January 1, 2012

morning has come
Good morning!  I’m at Starbuck’s now – yes, the Canadian prairies have a Starbuck’s! – having a double Americano and a scone.  M&F aren’t home yet.  They went out partying for New Years Eve and never came back.  Kidding.  They went to Brian & Barb’s (B&B’s) to do something with their church (Mormon).  And writing to Andrew and 지혜.

on and off(line) again
My server is still not home yet.  It's still at the old house.  Yesterday a technician from Telus tried to install DSL service in the new house but failed due to the crazed wiring in the complex.  He really tried.  He was there for more than 2 hours but failed because the wires from the splitter box in the neighbourhood and the house were faulty.  I tried to link the wireless router to the (this) laptop.  The wireless was sitting in the window of the old house, and the laptop in the window of the storage room of the new house.  There was the faintest signal possible, but it was there.  Then internet sharing.  And cable strewn across my room, the hall, the entrance, the storage room.  <sigh>  I gave up.  So that means still no internet service at "home".  But the server is up.

Well I’m not really a workhorse anymore.  The C job is no more.  My last day there was Dec. 24, 2011.  They said to come back mid-March, and they would “definitely” hire me back.  We’ll see, I guess.  Gotta work, right?  Coins in the pocket is a good thing.

Floyd calculated it out, just as a joke, how much my share of the mortgage of the new house is mine.  They occupy 71% of the place, and I the rest.  I owe $142 per month.  Kidding, of course, ‘cause they keep saying to save my cash and just live there.  So I’m just living free – like a drunken man in the park.  (That’s the red-neck white-boy in me coming out.  The drunken red-neck white-boy sleeping-in-the-pickup-truck part of me.)

Man.  I like my F job.  But I could also do different gigs, too.  The guy who came to the house to install the DSL (internet) service yesterday probably made a pretty good living.  The rig he was driving was a choice ride.  It was a white Dodge 1500 4x4 Crew Cab (4-door) pickup.  Really nice ride if you ask me.  He had a touch-screen GPS / phone / stereo built in to the dashboard.  “You get that installed?”  “No, it came with the truck.  Should have – paid enough money for it.”  Man.  Now don’t get me wrong – I like my Jeep Liberty – love it, actually – but his job must pay a pretty nice shiny penny.  But it’s only wires and tools and networking and testing and installing.  I could do that with my eyes closes!  I do it all the time!  I do my own network stuff at home!  Maybe I picked the wrong ‘career’.  Not sure.  Gotta give it another think.  It’s not just about the money.  It's about... private entry  All you get from installing wires for networking is a guy at a desk who says, “It’s about time.”  Know what I’m saying?

Then again, I liked the C gig ‘cause I got to be around all kinds of people – ordinary people who come to do their jobs – real people with real personalities.  Nothing fake about them.  They’re blue collar.  Nothing wrong with the colour of their collar.  Good people.  I miss them.  So I went shopping there for hand cream, a phone case, apples, and honey yesterday.  And coffee beans.

Oh, I got a new phone.  I could take a picture of it, but the camera is in the phone.  And I didn’t bring another camera.  Duh.  Hold on – I’ll get a picture of it from the ‘net.

I miss high-speed trains.  While searching for a picture of my phone, I saw a video of the new 500km/h train in China.  I miss the KTX.  I miss any train.  I miss the excitement standing on the platform of a train station – or even a subway station.  Homey, my heart aches.  I miss my home.  I miss Korea.  Tears in my eyes.  Damn, brothers and sisters.  What am I gonna do with this?

My Jeep’s got its first door ding dent.  Some bone-head decided to slap their door into the passenger side fender.  I know the car must’ve been white though ‘cause the paint just wiped off.  If I ever find a guy driving a white car out there ...

I met M&F at McDonald’s in Walmart the other day.  My mother had a butter sandwich.  Floyd got some butter for his muffin, and it was melted, so my Mom got the idea that she’ll put it on her burger.  Mmmm mmmm good!

(Yes, I say that tongue-in-cheek.)

There was a crescent moon one morning.  I took a snap shot of it.  Can you see it?  Sure was nice to look at from my angle.

In trying to convert all my crap from Asian 220 volts to North American 110 volts, I found a cord at a shop for $16.99.  Holy crap!  That means $100 worth of wires to buy!  So I got a bunch of plugs for $3.20 each, cut the ends off the cables I have, and wired ‘em up.  Works like a charm.  But my old D-Square TV I had in 일산 decided it didn’t like 110 volts and packed it in.  It worked for a day or so, and then when my cousin, Sherryl, was visiting, the TV started making clicking noises.  A minute later, nothing worked.  Yes, on the back of it the TV says ‘100-220VAC’, so it was made for it.  I guess it’s old.  But maybe I can fix it.

There are two old people (like 60 or 70) sitting here in Starbucks, and both of them have tablets.  They’re sitting there reading the paper and looking at pictures on these thin little screens.  One guy has an Apple iPad and the other another thing I don’t recognize.  Ha!  This is totally unlike Korea.  I guess I like this part of Canada – old people have a life beyond sitting at home watching TV.

Got a new toilet.  That’s news, isn’t it?!  Ha!  How many guys out there send you pictures of toilets?  Well, this isn’t just any ordinary toilet.  It’s a one-piece, water-saving, dual-flush toilet.  It uses 6 litres for a big flush and 4 for a small one.  You push the pee flush button, and *whoosh* the whole thing is flushed in less than 2 seconds!  You push the poop flusher, and it’s done in 4 seconds!  Never in my life have I seen poop disappear that quickly.  And by the time I’m done washing my hands, it’s done refilling!  Wow.  Technology these days.  Gotta like it.  And just when you think nothing can get better than this, there’s more!  When you put the seat and / or lid down, it’s on some kind of slow-close hinge system that slowly lowers the lid so it doesn’t go slam! and make a noise that wakes you up when you’re peeing at night.

Did I tell you I cracked my toe?  That was a few days ago, on Dec. 17, 2011, a Saturday, about 2 minutes before the end of my shift.  I was rolling a big (like 5x10-foot) iron cart full of cardboard boxes to the other side of C.  It tends to steer to one side.  Well, I miscalculated its tendencies, and it rolled into my toe!  My little toe on my right foot.  So I hobbled around for a few days.  I was supposed to work Sunday, but I went in 2 hours early to tell them, and they said stay home.  I got paid for it anyway as it was considered a sick day.  Sundays, we get paid $4 / hour more than other days, so I guess I picked the right day, eh?  Ha!  It was also the week that we were moving, so that was fun.  I wrapped it up in Little Hotties and went on with it.  Now it makes this weird clicking noise when I flex my toes.  Getting old?  Ha!

I saw Amy yesterday at C (while I was buying hand cream, etc.).  I went through her till.  I stood there in line for 6 or 7 minutes, and she didn’t even look at me.  Finally it was my turn.  She just looked to the left of me and to the right.  Nothing.  I scrambled my brain awake to find if there was anything I might’ve done.  Nothing.  I didn’t really say good-bye during my last shift, but I was coming back to shop.  She put through all my things.  She told me the price.  She looked up.  Suddenly, “Oh, Allan!  It’s you!!!  Sorry!  I didn’t know it was you!”  A giant smile came across her face.  A bigger one came across mine.  J  “Amy!  ‘Sup, girl?”  “Oh, it hasn’t been a great day,” she said, looking down at the UPC scanner.  I came over to her side and put my hand on her shoulder.  “Amy – don’t have a bad day.  Have a good one, okay?”  She laughed.  So … yeah.

Someone complimented me on my parking skills the other day.  I got a note on my windscreen that said, “PARKING FINE”.  So that was nice.  J

There’s a gym called “Running Room” right next door to Starbucks.  I should nip in there and have myself a look.  But it’s New Years Day, and it’s closed today.  Good excuse, eh?

Click here for last month.