Monday, January 29, 2007

Josh Ritter On Talk of the Nation

Remember when Josh Ritter visited Northwest Public Radio? We just love this guy. Then his Animal Years was listed as Stephen King's favorite album of 2006 in Entertainment Weekly. Buy it and support NWPR
He appeared on Conan O'Brien, then David Letterman...I keep telling myself...I KNOW THIS GUY!!! SCREAM!
Then today, at the office here at Northwest Public Radio...they discussed my favorite song on the Animal Years - Girl in the War.
Talk of the Nation Jan. 29th
Josh Ritter

Friday, January 26, 2007

Save the (Insert Animal Here) But What About the Taron?

Did you hear the story of the Taron Pygmies (above) on All Things Considered? It made me extinction bad? What if extinction was a choice? Are our reasons for wanting or not wanting children shallow? Listen to the story then read the excerpt I found online from Alan Rabinowitz. It is profound. Story link follows:

Taron Pygmies

"Now, in a little valley nestled in the Himalayas," he writes, "I had started to smile without knowing why, and I had started to dream of the tomorrows that could still be there. Borne on the unburdened laughter of a group of remote Tibetans, the gentle friendship of a confused monk, the unrequited love of a fatherless boy, the purposeful acceptance of a lonely death by the last Taron, and the selfless pain endured by a mother giving up her baby, my heart was lifted up through the darkness and was given back to me. For the very first time in my life, I almost felt whole."

Some Fun for Friday

I saw this video and it made me smile all day long. Enjoy!
La La Penguin
Also, visit this site when you are having a bad day. It'll make you smile and even squeal in delight! Cut Overload

Thursday, January 18, 2007

They Have a Need

Today on All Things Considered a report aired that made me thankful that I get paid to host. It was about young Ethiopian women who suffer fistulas after giving birth. Hospital Gives Ethiopian Women a Chance at Care I was struck by how young some of these mothers were. Married at 8, giving birth at 12. This piece brought attention to the poverty in Ehtiopia, the child bride problem, the brain drain there and the suffering of those with fistulas.

In this report, I heard one young woman say she just wants to get an education. That is also what many young South African girls told Oprah they wanted. They just wanted to go to school. Their need is education.

Oprah built them a school called Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls—South Africa... a dream come true. Oprah's School article. A dream of many young girls in South Africa...and you would think there would be no critism but there was. Build Schools in US Oprah! Basically, they said why Africa and not here? We have poor urban kids here who need to be educated. Oprah says this: "I became so frustrated with visiting inner-city schools that I just stopped going. The sense that you need to learn just isn't there," she said. "If you ask the kids what they want or need, they will say an iPod or some sneakers. In South Africa, they don't ask for money or toys. They ask for uniforms so they can go to school."

This moves me. It also makes me worry about our kids. What are we, as parents and adults, role modeling to our kids? Are we even a presence for modeling? And it is my opinion that pop culture is not in charge. Adults and parents are.

Why do these poor children in Africa want to go to school anyway? Don't they have needs for Nikes? How do they know that education is a need that must be met before Nikes and iPods?

Friday, January 05, 2007

I Rescued a Baby Octopus But Ate His Cousin

First, after half hour into the trip or so we stopped at this place.
I thought we had arrived. I mean, the building was huge and there were businesses everywhere - the beach right over there...and so many people. Nope. This was a Rest Stop! The bathrooms were huge and clean. But what sets this rest stop apart from the others is they sell really great food here! Cheap too! We got some fried potatoes - homefries style. Then got back on the road.

We arrived at this restaurant and let me tell you! This is fresh seafood! Your food is outside, swimming in tanks waiting to be devoured. We had a little of everything! I had always wanted to eat live baby octopus. I had seen this on the TV a long time ago on one of my mother's Korean news shows. It intrigued me, and if you don't know by now, I am a bit of a food adventurer!

The baby octopus was cleaned, then hacked into pieces. It squirmed all over the plate! When you grabbed a piece with your chopstick, it squirmed violently! Then it suckered itself to the chopstick...this is going to be great!

In my mouth...chew fast! If you don't chew fast, the octopus sticks to your throat and it is a very disturbing feeling. I tried this...I just slowly swallowed and felt the tentacle sucker inside my mouth...then barely hanging on in my throat. was gone in the black hole that is my stomach!

The octopus is soft, chewy and has this fresh nothing taste. The sesame seed oil you put on it is what makes the dish... and the fact that the octopus is VERY fresh.
Here are the baby octopus in the holding tank.
We also had sashimi, various sea worms - which tasted the same as the baby octopus, clams, oysters, crab...uh basically, you name the seafood and we ate it. Except, Lobster and salmon. You get my drift right? Just look at this picture!Here are some sea worms above and fresh, raw fish below. I forgot the type of fish this was. Very clean taste.

Above is a stew they make from all the left overs from your meal - the seafood meal that keeps on giving! By this point I was going to burst!

After our meal we walked around the various merchants. I saw some baby octopus that had fallen onto the ground. They crawled out of their water bucket in a doomed escape attempt. I grabbed one - so cute and delicious!- and he stuck to my hand. I put my hand in the water bucket and he swam off. We found two more escapees and returned them to their delicious doom. Then we went home, full - VERY full of seafood.

While it was one of the most amazing meals I have had...I am tired of seafood. Maybe, when you have had the best - you don't desire anything else. Below are pictures of some of the merchant offerings.

More Photos of the Korean Folk Village

Here I am being tortured by our young hosts. Jun's cousin, Zgu Young, and a family friend, Hyak Jun. Below is a photo of them and Jun.
Shayne and I drank this very earthy liquor.
It tasted like it was made from rice, tree roots and earth worms. Delicious. Shayne liked it but I like my liquor to taste like a blow pop while holding an umbrella. Expensive drinks I know, but it only takes one drink and I am sluring my words or crying.
Above is a shrine and the ribbons are prayers.
Here we are crushing rice and below is the hole the rice goes into. Women did this all day long.
Unless you were lucky and lived in this hut where the water grinds for you! That's the way to go! Oh...then you would be put to work making kimchi! :)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

We ventured to the Korean Folk Village - this was fascinating! I loved the hay roofs, the demonstrations and most of all...I loved that they filmed Dae Jeun Gum here!

This mini series is about a real female physician who lived during the Joseon Dynesty 1392-1910...I think her story is between 1495 - 1506. The Cliffnotes Version: Orphaned, enter Palace life, great cook, banished for treason, comes back to Palace, learns herbs and acupuncture, saves King. All this time, in love with a guard. The show was a must see in Korea - the food scenes were mouth watering!
In the Folk Village were the very houses in the mini series!

And the corner was Dae Jeun Gum herself testing a pot full of soy bean paste!
Here I am with her! I am eating rice candy - it is hard at first, covered in flour...then you lick the flour off and soften the rice candy until it turns into a semi sweet taffy in your mouth! I loved this did the pigs and the goats we met at the Folk Village! Korean pigs and goats!

Here they are making the rice candy!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

When I'm Lost, I'm Lucky

Our exchange student, Jun, lived with us last year and went to a public high school. This year, he was placed in a small private school - his English improved dramatically...but his personal life suffered. It became very hard for Jun to make friends because he had to find them. And you and I know that after high school, or college, it becomes harder to find friends. Jun found himself in this situation at 16. We tried to help him join clubs and sports but it was not meant to be. Jun told us he would be ending his studies in the States at the end of January.

Shayne and I were very upset. We have come to love Jun and enjoy his presence in our lives. So with this news I found myself sad and in a foreign country. What's my coping mechanism? Escape. Yes... I know... I was already abroad but I had to leave the house and be by myself. So I got ready, told them that I had to do some shopping and left.

I walked down to the bus but decided I wanted to take the subway to Seoul. As I walked passed the bus stop I saw a young woman sitting down and using her cell phone. A man cam rushing from behind the stop and grabbed her cell phone and threw it to the ground. He was yelling at her, calling her names ( I can tell for the most part what people are saying) and accused her of something. She picked up her phone and meekly said to leave me alone. He grabbed the phone again and threw it, this time it shattered into tiny pieces.

I had slowed down, trying to figure out if this guy was gonna get physical and if I should do something...and how I didn't speak Korean so what could I do to help and is this really a good idea to get involved and what if he sucker punches me and I have to take him out - take the punch then grab him and throw him into oncoming traffic and run... He looked at me straight in the eyes, I stared back and stopped. He looked at the lady and yelled more and walked off. I had decided I was of no use for her and walked WAY around the stop into the subway.

First time alone and I see that. I need to see something cute...where's Hello Kitty? Where is a toy store around here?

I got on the subway and just randomly picked routes. I have no idea where I ended up...but by this time I was deep in thought about how I could have helped Jun more...or if Jun was here illegally how he could have gone to public school for free, no questions asked. How we did things legally and he suffered for it. Doing things the right way is hard. I also thought about those orphans and how they need a chance. I got off the subway.

This station was very pretty with stone carvings of dragons and traditionally Korean symbols. I headed up and out ... YES! It is PUPPY LAND!

The area I got lost in was the Pet District! 15-20 stores lined down the street with puppies! All cute, clean, sleepy, clumsy, puppy barking!
In between each store was a pet supply store overflowing with little Korean style dog houses! Tiled Asian roofs! ROOF! ROOFS! I wanted one of those houses for Mochi, my senior Shih Tzu! They had incredible cat castles! Winding high with plenty of nooks and crannies! Then walking on... more puppies! Little poos...yuck...ahh so cute!

I am so glad I found the nice puppy district and not the dog meat market. I was seriously thinking of seeing this market but my soul reacts to suffering, and at this time I was out of energy and defenses.

I walked to the end of the street and Puppy Land turned into Moped Land. Not nearly as cute. So I walked down the opposite side of the street for the other stores. I spotted some Shih Tzus and stared a little too long because the owner came out to bring me inside. Then I noticed that every other puppy store had a gang. I could be totally wrong here but I am pretty sure these guys lived hard lives.

Maybe to counter the stress in their...gangster lives...they sell puppies. My thoughts raced...these couldn't be counterfeit puppies! They look so real! Are they really cats? Knock off Shih Tzus and Wiener they make them in China like the Gucci wallets?

The beefy puppy dealer greeted me, I smiled and said I was just looking. He came closer (NO!) he gently grabbed my arm, then held my hand (he moisturizes) and led me by the hand into his store. My fears disappeared as he handed me a Maltese and said it was cute. I cooed and petted her...she smelled like pee. I put her down. I cooed at the other puppies...all in their cubicles falling over each other. I was there for maybe 3 minutes. I thought of Mochi. His one eye, missing teeth and penchant for cat poo.

I thanked the man, bowed and turned and said goodbye to the 5 other rough dudes in the corner eating lunch.

The store next to this was owned by a pretty and young woman. I'm sure she's not in a gang. I got on the subway and went back to a familiar shopping mall. As Laura, my co-worker says, consumer therapy works very well. I felt better about things after the puppy fix and shopping and headed home.

More Posts Coming!

I am in the studios BUT I have many photos and stories to tell so stay tuned!