Friday 5: Over Under Sideways Down

A portion of Gyeongbukgung palace reflected in the water on a sunny autumn day.

What are you so over?

Our collective disdain for things we (rightly or wrongly) associate with young women: selfies, pumpkin spice, duck face, vocal fry…

 

What’s something you’ve got under wraps?

If I told you, it wouldn’t be under wraps any more!

 

What does it take to get you sideways, and what’s your preferred method?

There’s a Dave Barry joke about how it’s a universal truth that everyone, regardless of race, religion, sex, or age, believes that they’re an above-average driver. I’d suggest that it’s the same with alcohol tolerance. That said, my experience seems to indicate I’m more or less justified in said belief about myself. So if I’m going to get sauced (which doesn’t happen too often now that I’m a professional adult and such), I head straight for the Long Island iced teas.

 

What’s coming down the pike?

Work, mostly. New-job work and some potential favors-for-friends work.

 

What’s the last thing you read directions for?

I went to Oriental Supermarket with my sambo the other week to pick up yujacha in advance of winter. No yujacha to be found, but I found some “make at home” ddeokbokki sauce and the appropriate ddeok and followed the cooking instructions to the T.

Worth it.

Friday 5: “Nine times?” “Nine times!”

If you were to play hooky on your next regular work day with no negative consequences, and if you could only spend the day by yourself, what out-of-the-house fun activities would you pursue?

Honestly? I think I’d park myself at a bar that opened at lunch, order some snacks and a stor stark, and catch up on reading while WhatsApping absent friends. Maybe go to one of the many, many museums in Stockholm that I haven’t been to yet.

 

In the same situation, what stay-home fun activities would you pursue?

Same as above, but change out the stor stark for a whisky.

 

If you played hooky specifically because someone else needed the time off, who in your life would be your accomplice and what would be first on the agenda?

This is a tough one because anyone in my life who needs the time off is on another continent. The first item on the agenda, though, would be a quality fika of some variety or another. Start the day off with caffeine, sugar, and good conversation!

 

When did you last visit a museum, and what item on exhibit impressed you?

I visited the Army Museum and the Nobel Museum during Kulturnatt earlier this year. No particular item really had the same effect on me that “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte” has on Cameron, but I appreciated the Army Museum’s exhibit on wartime literature. (I also took the moment in the Nobel Museum to complain about Kazuo Ishiguru and Never Let Me Go but that’s my own private beef.)

If I’m allowed to go back to much earlier museum visits, one of my favorite pieces is “Love and Friendship (The Sacrifice of the Arrows of Love on the Altar of Friendship),” in my beloved Philadelphia Art Museum.

I think it outclasses any other work of art anyone’s ever attempted to make to grapple with unrequited romantic feelings for a close friend.

The other is one from the Art Institute of Chicago (the same museum Ferris, Sloane, and Cameron visit in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, weirdly enough).  “Into the World Came a Soul Called Ida.”

A dark, dreamy oil painting of an aging woman in her boudoir, looking into a handheld mirror and powdering her face.

What’s something you’ve recently gotten away with?

When the green lines went down from a power outage back in September, I didn’t bother blipping my card on the (very, very full) bus ride home. To be fair, since I have a monthly card, that’s not really “getting away” with anything; it’s not like I saved a fare or any money!

Friday 5: Stay and Let Me Look at You

Nothing like tackling some Friday 5 questions about September in November!

Image courtesy Chris Lawton

(Earth, Wind & Fire) Why are you dancing in September?

My last month of freelance life before buckling down for the nine-to-five.

 

(Neil Diamond) September morning still can make you feel what way?

Cozy. Refreshed. After a million years I’m still so entrenched in the academic school calendar that September and autumn feel like a new year.

 

(Green Day) What are some things you have to endure until September ends?

Again: my last month of freelance life before buckling down for the nine-to-five.

 

(Kool & the Gang) What place or thing is your September love?

It’s now the right season to switch from the fruity teas to the spicy teas. So much chai!

 

(Willie Nelson) What is your September song for the rest of the month?

I still haven’t seen Crazy Rich Asians but I’ve long been a fan of Awkwafina so I love this cover:

Friday 5: The Whole Trial is Out of Order!

What’s something in which you took first place?

God, not really much of anything. I used to joke that when I was a rich and successful adult I’d go back to my high school and set up the Katherine Koba Second Banana Prize Scholarship: for a student who hadn’t won any other award but still participated in a bunch of extra curriculars and did pretty well in almost all their classes. I’m not successful enough yet to be able to do so, but maybe one day!

What’s something at which you’d like a second chance?

I should have been less lazy about my musical studies. Not that I’m not well suited for the work I do now; I’d just like to be more competent at that particular hobby.

When did you last feel like a third wheel?

I suppose another friend and I were a collective third wheel during our Kulturnatt outing back in the spring, but that lasted all of maybe ten minutes before we peaced out and did our own thing.

What’s to look forward to in the fourth quarter of 2018?

My new job! Though by the time this goes up I’ll have been at it for a month.

Who had an especially good fifth film, fifth book, or fifth album?

Does anyone keep track of things up until the fifth? Wish You Were Here is a pretty good album, I suppose.

Friday 5: Just Wing It

What’s something for which you are waiting your tern?

I’m not waiting my turn, as such, but we have some new purchases we need to make for a newer, bigger apartment, but you can’t just get everything at once!

What have you lately gone cuckoo for?

I’m incredibly excited to go thrifting for things we need for the new apartment!

What’s got you feeling down?

As of this writing, I’m incredibly nervous about elections in Sweden (and in the US). By the time this post goes up, I’ll either be slightly relieved or even more anxious. We’ll see how the Swedish elections go. (Or how they’ve gone, I guess.)

What’s something you acquired that was unexpectedly cheep?

We picked up a new-to-us LG TV for a third of the price a similar one would have been new, including door step delivery! Again: the power of thrift shopping.

What’s that fowl smell?

I should probably take out the recycling…

Friday 5: Lyrical Gangsta

A Caucasian hand holding a small sheet of paper with a typewritten poem.
Photo by Sarah Brink on Unsplash

What’s a stupid lyric from a song you like?

“Kilimanjaro rising like Olympus above the Serengeti” is one of the worst lyrics ever committed to record and yet it doesn’t ruin the song.

What’s a pretty good lyric from a song you dislike?

I refuse to give any song I dislike the satisfaction!

What’s a good non-Weird-Al-Yankovic lyric about food and drink?

“Alcohol” by Barenaked Ladies is a perennial favorite of mine.

What’s a good song lyric to describe your week?

I’m writing this entry far ahead of time, so I’ll have to do a bit of prognosticating here:

Sometimes I think sitting on trains
Every stop I get to I’m clocking that game.
Everyone’s a winner, now, we’re making that fame.
Bona fide hustler, making my name.

What’s a good song lyric about inclement weather?

I mean, it’s not the greatest lyric ever, but “thunder bolts and lightning / very, very frightening” deserves a mention. I guess the actual lyric about weather for its own sake I like best is from “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”:

The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
When the wave broke over the railing.
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
‘Twas the witch of November come stealin’.
The dawn came late and the breakfast had to wait
When the gales of November came slashin’.
When afternoon came, it was freezing rain
In the face of a hurricane west wind.

When suppertime came, the old cook came on deck,
Saying, “Fellas, it’s too rough to feed ya.”
At seven PM, a main hatchway caved in.
He said, “Fellas, it’s been good to know ya.”

 

Friday 5: Regionalisms

The LOVE statue in Philadelphia in front of a fountain on a clear summer day, with the Philadelphia Art Museum in the far distance.

What regional colloquialism in your area would baffle people from elsewhere?

This isn’t one that I use personally (I’m Philly-adjacent rather than proper Philly), but jawn can have such a broad usage that you really need context to understand what any particular usage is referring to.

I’ve been told by college friends from elsewhere in the US that “water ice” is a weird name for shaved ice/Italian ice/snow cones, but it seems logical to me: it’s ice plus (flavored sugar) water. “Hoagie” might or might not throw people for a loop as well. I still retain the regional habit of using “anymore” to mean “these days,” but I imagine it’s pretty clear what I mean when I say, “I’m just so tired anymore.”

What’s something you call by a name that differs from what most people in your region call it?

My mom calls them pocketbooks and I call them purses. I don’t know which one of us represents the majority term in southeastern Pennsylvania, though.

What’s a normal food in your region that people in other regions might be weirded out by?

I’ll cheat on this one and take an international perspective rather than my upbringing: Swedes are 100% chill with fruit on pizza, and my American friends are unjustly horrified at this.

What’s something in your area with an official name almost nobody refers to it by?

The Globe/Globen is technically the Ericsson Globe but no one calls it that. The accompanying arena is also technically the Tele2/Friends Arena, but I just think of it as “The Globe Arena.”

I wracked my brain for Philadelphia but couldn’t think of one. I didn’t realize until I was getting an image for this entry that Love Park’s official name is John F. Kennedy Plaza.

What are the names of some convenience stores in your area?

Wawa is the only convenience store.

Friday 5: Great and Small

Image courtesy Alan E

What’s your favorite large, furry animal?

Giraffes and okapis! (Or maybe okapi is both singular and plural?)

My darling okapis hover somewhere between threatened and endangered. Please consider donating to the Okapi Conservation Project.

What’s your favorite large sea creature?

Dolphins are jerks, and they’re not particularly large, but I still love them.

What’s your favorite insect?

Honeybees! Like okapis, they also need help. You can donate to conservation projects or plant bee-friendly native flowers in your garden. If you’re short on cash and garden space, you can join Simbi and support this “Johnny Appleseed for bees” project for free.

What are your favorite names for pets you’ve known?

A childhood friend had a hamster named Zamboni, which is a pretty great pet name, I think! When I was in Northern California a few years ago, my friend’s girlfriend at the time had a dachshund with the very appropriate name Vienna. Best Chemist Friend also has a history of cats with great names: Sterling, Tiger Lily, Feyd, and Bookcase.

Besides unicorns, what are some mythical beasts you wish were real?

I’ve never really desperately wanted unicorns to be real; I can take or leave them. A griffin or hippogriff would make a cool pet, and also double as a form of transportation. Why wait for the subway when you can just fly?

Friday 5: Repeat

What’s something you are repeatedly asked to prove?

I hate doing freelance taxes every year.

What’s an album you can listen to on endless repeat?

When I was doing evergreen content writing for a hot minute, I put Abbey Road on repeat while I worked. It’s not like I especially like the album; it’s more like there’s nothing on it I hate and it made good background noise. (I think “Golden Slumbers”/”Carry That Weight” are criminally short songs, though.)

What’s a story you’ve told several times?

Oh, any of my “one time in Korea” anecdotes, I’m sure.

What’s something you always order at a certain restaurant?

Best Chemist Friend and I were dedicated patrons of a local Italian restaurant throughout high school and our college years, and I always, always, always ordered the penne vodka. Grown up macaroni and cheese!

In what way do you hope this weekend will be exactly like last?

That tutoring will go well and that I’ll have plenty of time left over to myself to relax.

Friday 5: Performance Evaluation

In what way do you maintain a tidy and efficient workstation?

My dad bought this plaque for me when I was in high school and it says it all.

I make a concerted effort to keep my documentation collection lean and only keep things that seem like they might reasonably be necessary. That way, even if things aren’t always 100% organized, I have a good chance of either still knowing exactly where something is or of finding it right way if I don’t.

In what way do you maintain positive relationships with others?

I consider myself extremely easy-going and empathetic. There’s not much I take personally and I’m willing to extend the benefit of the doubt.

What effort do you take to be punctual?

I generally overestimate the time it takes to commute somewhere, and by which I mean, I leave a buffer for things like walking to and from the station, missing a train, etc. But now that we live on a new subway line, and a little further from the station, I have to readjust my default buffer. I’m still working it out, so I’m either five minutes late to things or forty-five minutes early.

What are your strengths and challenges in communicating effectively?

I have the best words.

Just kidding! I consider my words very carefully, though. Even when I’m not working, I tend to abide by the four C’s of editing: concision, clarity, coherence, and correctness in all of my communication. The challenge comes in with the fact that it takes me a long time to craft even the simplest email or message; I overthink things regardless of how important they are. I haven’t tracked how much time I spend compulsively re-reading emails before I hit “send,” but I’m sure it’s a not-insignificant amount of time.

What will be your focus for growth in the coming year?

Shifting into professional, full-time translation and leaving behind copyediting and EFL instruction.