Published!

OfficeTalk

(Geez, I feel like I look so fat in this photo from 2012. But also, I’m so happy. I wish I could bottle that up.)

One day my Korean boss at Eulji University came up to me and asked, “You used to be a journalist, right?” I told her that’s what I’d done for about four years before coming to Korea. “Can you write a book for me?”

Now, I’d had a similar opportunity before and totally blew it, but this time I was determined to make things work. And I did it!

Did everything go as planned? Is this a masterpiece?

No and No, but I had a blast writing “Office Talk.” I spent all the free time (evenings, mornings, weekends, date nights, semester breaks) I could muster at the cafe writing and coming up with ideas that might be useful for a textbook for a topic I didn’t really know anything about.

“Office Talk” teaches you how to go on a job interview, write a resume and all about one of my most favorite lessons to teach — how to shake a hand properly.

This was my first of four books that I wrote for the university. I could have written more, but writing a book every semester is exhausting. None of my stuff was stolen from the internet – which the other writers had done before. I came up with everything myself.

My next book was about the TOEIC exam and that was a tough one, but then I wrote two books about public speaking that I think are infinitely useful for Korean students, Americans, novices or experienced learners.

I assume students liked this book (and my others) since my classes were always pretty full. Business English certainly wasn’t a required course.

While not too many copies are still floating around of “Office Talk,” I’m still so happy with this book and that it gave me the confidence that I can pump out a few hundred pages in a few weeks.

The craziest things about that time: It was six years ago and I’m STILL USING THE SAME COMPUTER! This ten-year-old Dell Inspiron with Windows Vista is still trucking along.

Hopefully there’s another time somebody walks up and literally asks if I’d like to write a book for them. Also – I work cheap!

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My Book Reports: The Best and Not-So-Best

I like reading and have been doing a lot of page scanning lately while at the gym. However, my last two books haven’t been too great at all.

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“True at First Light” by Ernest Hemingway – Grade: C

For ages I was afraid to read Ernest Hemingway because I thought he’d be too smart or douchey for me, but when I finally picked up “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” I knew he was my kind of author. However, this book was as dull as could be. I hated just about everything about it. This was about him hunting in Africa and basically wiping out animals. I don’t like this style of hunting, but what the hell do I know? If this wasn’t a Hemingway book, I would have probably put it down.

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“Siren Song” by B.A. Blackwood – Grade: D

The only reason I picked this up was because it was a fantasy novel set in Montana State University. At least, that’s what the back cover said. It could have been anywhere. Mystery novelist Stephen White wrote a series about a psychologist who solved crimes in Boulder and he’d always go to the Sunflower Cafe for breakfast or marvel at the Flatirons’ beauty. I was excited to read about fantastical things happening in places I’ve been. Goblins in the Federation of Eagles. Secret passages in Town & Country Supermarket. Angels and demons fighting at the football stadium (Okay, I haven’t been there, but whatever.) But, this book had no local flavor. It had no flavor whatsoever. Worst of all, no editor. Seriously, there was a grammar mistake on just about every page. Everybody has their own writing style and this was written by a someone that I assume spent some time at MSU, and she actually published it. I still haven’t published jack shit. But it was jarring to read this. This is a trilogy. I’m not picking up the other two. The thing is, I really wanted to like it.

Bug Buffet Time

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The ballroom above my office at Montana State University was having an interesting event today: the 31st Annual Bug Buffet!

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Not a single person from my office wanted to go and my lunch buddy was so grossed out she didn’t even want to talk about it. I think everybody thought it’d be like the food scene from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” I was actually pretty excited and hoped it would be fun. Honestly, I was surprised to see a line to get some insect snacks.

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I’ve eaten bugs a few times. My Spanish teacher in high school had us eat chapulines, which are grasshoppers from Mexico that kind of tasted like Doritos.

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At the Bug Buffet, they cooked grasshoppers with japjae, which is an oily noodle Korean dish. Since I lived in Korea, I’ve eaten plenty of japjae. The noodles were a bit oily for me, but the grasshoppers reminded me of the dried shrimp they’d put inside the noodles in the japjae I scarfed back in Seoul.

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People who love to eat bugs will say they’re just like shrimp or lobster. I won’t go that far, because I don’t go out of my way to eat them, but I’ll do it here and there, especially while traveling.

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Also in Korea, I’ve eaten silkworm larva which are called “bun-deh-gi.” Those taste very gross and smell like burning tires. They’ve got a texture of Saran Wrap filled with hot water and when you bite into them, the worms pop their guts into your mouth — kind of like Gushers. So, so gross.

In Thailand, every corner has a cart that sells the most amazing food you can eat. They also sell bug dishes. While in Bangkok I bought some crickets, which tasted kind of like, um, well, what you’d imagine crickets to taste like. I think it’s just whatever they are spiced with. They’re crunchy.

Today, I also ate crickets with bi-bim-bap, which is another Korean dish. It’s stir fried rice and usually really good. The crickets were crunchy. But, bi-bim-bap isn’t really my thing.

Then I ate some ants. I didn’t even notice them. I didn’t have a ton of time to eat and test stuff out. There was allegedly some banana bread, but I missed out and don’t know what bugs were going to be inside of them.

Here’s my full meal:

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I think the salad was the best.

Some things I’ve learned over the years:
1. Eating bugs is good for the environment.
2. Eating bugs can be tasty.
3. Eating bugs can be fun.
4. Eating bugs is cheap.
5. Eating bugs means you might not have to share!

Happy Valentine’s Day! (A History You Might Now Know)

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Saint Valentine isn’t just the patron saint of sugar, candy hearts, boxes of chocolates, romantic Hallmark cards, dozens of roses, Lifetime movies, jewelry ads, crying over your ex-who-was-definitely-the-one and everything else associated with February 14th. Saint Valentine is also the patron saint of epilepsy.

Actually, 40 Catholic saints are associated with epilepsy, but Valentine is the most famous. There may even be more than one Saint Valentine, but for the purpose of today, we’ll just assume it was one man.

Originally, Saint Valentine helped pass lovers pass notes and other lovey-dovey stuff. Allegedly he helped either arrange a marriage for an epileptic lady, provided a dowry or helped her find a willing husband, since an epileptic woman would probably never had a chance to wed.

Just like now, people went to holy men to be healed. One ailment common in the bible and history is was epilepsy. While we don’t know everything right about seizure disorders now, the folks from way back when knew even less about epilepsy, so somebody who regularly or irregularly had fits, spasms or suffered a falling disease was seen to been sick, possessed or monstrous. From the beginning of time to now, Aztecs to Zulus, Amish to Futurists and so on sought cures for epilepsy from holy men.

Saint Valentine is accredited with healing people with epilepsy all around Europe. In print, the “Nuremberg Chronicle” from 1493 showed Valentine curing a boy or a man.

V0016605 Saint Valentine blessing an epileptic. Coloured etching.

While I was raised Catholic, I don’t follow the religion that much now. I have my beliefs, I don’t push them on anybody else. Honestly, I don’t care what religion you are. Believe what you want, just don’t bother me.

I’m also an epileptic. Would I travel all the way to some holy man to be cured of epilepsy? I don’t know. But it’s nice to have hope, and Saint Valentine gave hope to millions of people for hundreds of years, so I’m happy with that.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I Turned 40, Sort Of…

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According to the Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year, I turned 40 the other day. I don’t feel too different. I’ve been sort of prepping for this day. I’m using this as a prequel to my actual birthday that happens on December 31, 2019 — that’s when I’m really turning 40.

Geez, that’s so old.

What are some goals or stuff I’ve noticed?

Recovering is a lot harder. I am sore as heck from lifting weights yesterday. I also have less of an attention span for boring crap like sports or things I don’t care about (like work).

Lots of white hair. I didn’t even bother with gray.

Some goals?

I’ve finished writing “LBH,” which is a novel about a guy returning from a teaching gig in Korea, but realizes the USA is so much different than it used to be. It was a blast to write, and I’ve edited it four times now. I think it’s ready to hit the publisher. My goal is to get this thing on a shelf or in Kindle-Land.

I want to do the same with all the other projects I have. I just don’t really know where to start.

I want to stay positive and seizure free.

I might see a personal trainer for a few sessions. I would like to change some stuff up, but I think I do a good job on my own, I just think I could do better.

Alright, hopefully life begins at 40.

(Any ideas for what I should do for my real 40th birthday? I’m considering Vegas.)

I Turned 40, Sort Of…

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According to the Lunar New Year/Chinese New Year, I turned 40 the other day. I don’t feel too different. I’ve been sort of prepping for this day. I’m using this as a prequel to my actual birthday that happens on December 31, 2019 — that’s when I’m really turning 40.

Geez, that’s so old.

What are some goals or stuff I’ve noticed?

Recovering is a lot harder. I am sore as heck from lifting weights yesterday. I also have less of an attention span for boring crap like sports or things I don’t care about (like work).

Lots of white hair. I didn’t even bother with gray.

Some goals?

I’ve finished writing “LBH,” which is a novel about a guy returning from a teaching gig in Korea, but realizes the USA is so much different than it used to be. It was a blast to write, and I’ve edited it four times now. I think it’s ready to hit the publisher. My goal is to get this thing on a shelf or in Kindle-Land.

I want to do the same with all the other projects I have. I just don’t really know where to start.

I want to stay positive and seizure free.

I might see a personal trainer for a few sessions. I would like to change some stuff up, but I think I do a good job on my own, I just think I could do better.

Alright, hopefully life begins at 40.

(Any ideas for what I should do for my real 40th birthday? I’m considering Vegas.)

Entertainment Stuff! 2019

I like reading, and one of the things I’ve been meaning to do for 2019 is write about all the books I read. Not all of them are great, but I do my best to finish as many as possible. My goal this year is to read 46. So far, it’s February 5, 2019 and I’ve read five, but only have photos of three.

1. Side Effects by Woody Allen – A-
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This guy’s a genius. He’s really funny. This book was mostly a collection of irreverent essays. Luckily, it wasn’t too long because I think after a while I would have gotten bored with it. It was just goofy, but certainly fun.

2. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton – A

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I remember reading this and watching the movie back in elementary school or middle school. It didn’t do too much to me, but now that I’ve lived life a little more, I’m amazed. But also, it’s amazing that a 16-year-old girl wrote this book. I mean, I’m 39 and I still haven’t written something like this. I think she’s a great inspiration and hope this book continues to be read.

3. Whip It by Shauna Cross – A+

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This is a perfect book. Will it be next to “The Aeneid,” “Finnegan’s Wake” or “War and Peace?” Probably not, but I was entertained from the first sentence on, and that’s exactly what I was looking for. I have not seen this movie or ever anything about roller derby, but I will check it out.

What have you been reading?

The KC and Alex Show

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Last night, one of the bestest of my BFFs and I started our trial run of our podcast. We still don’t have a name, but right now it’s called, “The Alex and KC Podcast,” but I think, “I’d Watch It,” “Who Writes This Crap?” or “Better Ideas Than the Big Guys” are all decent names.

Just the other day or last week or whatever, Alex talked to me about wanting to start a podcast about making terrible movies, bad ideas, sequels and all of that. He’s currently on a really good podcast called “The Rule of Cool” about Dungeons & Dragons.

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I thought this doing a podcast with a BFF was a great idea since these topics are what Alex and I actually bonded on to make a great friendship. I asked if he would want me to be on the show. He happily accepted my offer.

First off, we came up with some great ideas like what makes a good movie trailer, sequels, prequels, who should star in this, who should direct that and and all that stuff. Then, we made some plans to sit down and record.

Then I had a tremendous amount of pains in asses, from me all of a sudden being busy to every single piece of tech crapping out on me. My headphones farted out. Then my computer wouldn’t accept the mic. Then my computer wouldn’t accept the recordings.

He wanted to give up. I decided to let it keep going. After about an hour of pains in asses, it worked!

We talked about making a movie out of the awesome 1980s arcade game “Joust,” Sub-Zero from “Mortal Kombat,” giant cockroaches and a few other ideas.

I’m always feeling worried about hearing my own voice, but so far I didn’t hate hearing it. Alex is editing stuff, so he’s taking out the “ums” and “ahs” from my end. Hopefully I can sound better naturally. Maybe I’ll start an Um Jar and throw a quarter inside every time I say “um,” “er” or “ahhhh.”

Will this be a huge success? I have no idea, but it was a blast a great way to spend an hour with a great friend.

Still Here!

I’m still here. My birthday was a lot of fun, I have just been really really busy with life, work and everything. I wish I could say there have been all kinds of great and exciting things going on, but it’s mostly been busy work.

Literally, pretty much all of my last four days of work have been mindless data entry. It would have been about three, but instead, I managed to enter something in the school-year 2018-2019, instead of 2019-2020, so I had to go back, undo a lot of stuff and then redo it.

But, I managed to listen to a lot of podcasts. It’s been a fun experience.

First off, I have been listening to my friend’s Dungeons & Dragons podcast. It’s him and his friends going on a quest. They’re goofing off a lot. There is some fun stuff in there, but D&D can be kind of boring if you’re not the person doing it. It’s like watching somebody play video games.

I’m listening to to the audiobook version of “Around the World in 80 Days,” which I’m not sure if I’ve listened to or not, but it’s great. The guy that reads it is awesome and I enjoy the story.

Finally, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to Joe Rogan. I have liked him ever since I saw him on “Newsradio” and the other sitcom, but I was never huge fans of the shows. I just liked him. I never watched “Fear Factor,” and even though I like Jiu Jitsu, I really don’t watch “UFC” that much.

Anywho, Rogan is just cool. I like his comedy style, but his interview style is great. He seems to respect every guest he has, which seems impossible. While I tried the same, I watched about two minutes of Alex Jones on the podcast and turned it off. I can’t handle that fat hag, but I watched plenty of other great interviews.

What else?

Unfortunately, I think my body told me to retire from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I’m sad, but I needed to be kinder to my body. But also, I need to do more actual exercise. I joined the MSU gym, which is pretty badass, all in all.

And I moved apartments!

I’ll write a full post about that.

And, I’ll try to write more posts. Not necessarily long ones, just full ones.

Okay, hopefully I’ll have more exciting stuff to write about!

Happy Birthday to Me: Birthday Thoughts at 39

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I’ve got six minutes to write this all down, before I completely forget what it’s like to be in my mid-thirties.

As a kid, I always thought I’d go to sleep on December 30th and wake up smarter, taller, wiser and cooler. That doesn’t just happen. You’ve got to make it happen. You can easily do the opposite of all those things.

Wow, in 366 days I’ll be 40 years old. Who would believe that?

What’s going to happen in this year? What happened last year?

Some good and bad happened, but most important — I learned. I’ve changed big chunks of who I am.

I’m really pleased with all the writing I did. This year I plan to spend some long nights and long weekends editing so readers will be enjoying my beloved projects.

My writing and health will be on the top of my important list this year. If you’d like to do something for me, find me a much less-involved job, donate to one of the epilepsy foundations, email me or contact a random friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time. You never know how much of smile that can bring to your long lost pal.

Okay, this old timer needs to get to sleep because he needs to get his buns to work tomorrow.

Happy birthday to me!

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