What a beautiful day

Happy New Year!  Last night I stayed up long enough to witness the New Year, and then I headed for bed.  No big parties for me.  I watched a bit of TV, but otherwise I celebrated quietly.  This is the first year in ages that Dick Clark did not usher in the new year on ABC’s “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”, a New Year’s staple.  Regis Philbin sat in for him.  The show was pretty much dedicated to Dick this year.  I only watched for about 10 minutes.  When I was young I remember faithfully watching the ABC, NBC and CBS New Year’s Eve TV celebrations every year.  Now I have very little interest in watching network television.  I must be getting old.  At 12:00 a.m. some people set off some firecrackers near our apartment building.  At first I wondered whether I heard gunfire (you never know in a big city!) but then I realized the calendar had turned to 2005 and people were celebrating outside.  Welcome to the New Year!

This break has done wonders for me.  Life slowed down tremendously during the time between Christmas and New Year.  I needed that.  Even though I went in to work to study Korean each day, it still felt like a vacation to me.  I was able to spend the day with my wife and son.  The weather was gorgeous.  It is January 1st, but today felt like mid-September just before fall hits.  It was clear and sunny but not cold at all.  I heard that it may have hit 60+ degrees today.  I’m glad…although I grew up in cold climates I don’t really like snow.  People do crazy things in the snow, and it makes life a lot more inconvenient.  I do enjoy winter sports like skiing, but as long as the snow stays in the mountains I’m happy.  Today we headed to the mall to do a little New Year’s shopping.  The mall was packed with shoppers.  We ate at a little hole-in-the-wall Philly-style Greek-Italian restaurant.  It was greasy but delicious.  I doubt we’ll have many of those in Korea.  American restaurants abound–so I hear–but there aren’t too many mom-and-pop American style restaurants in Seoul.  We’ll see.

The break is over soon, and I am sad.  I really enjoy having time to work and study and play at my leisure.  On Monday the grind will start again.

Time to get a TiVo?

I took a break from Christmas card writing and studying Korean to do a little channel surfing on cable TV.  I do that sometimes when I take a study break.  My wife thinks I’m great at finding interesting things to watch on the “stupid box.”  (“Stupid box” is the North Korean word for television; it is such a fitting word!)  There wasn’t much on at 1 p.m. on a weekday before Christmas.  I surfed until I came upon the classic movie “Tremors,” the Kevin Bacon featuring oversized worms that eat anything that moves (literally).  It’s probably the umpteenth time it’s been broadcast on cable.  I think the cable movie stations have it on permanent rotation.  It’s one of those movies cable features over and over.  Other films that are cable standards include Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s “Kindergarden Cop” and “Predator”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” featuring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo and “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” starring Steve Martin and John Candy.  Although I don’t watch TV that often, I’ve probably seen parts of “Vacation” dozens of times.  I always seem to stumble upon “Tremors” and “Vacation” halfway through the movie.  Whenever I turn on the TV and find  Kevin Bacon, Reba McIntyre, and Michael Gross talking in cheesy southwestern accents perched atop buildings or vehicles and fighting off grotesque earthworms with tentacle tongues.  I almost always stumble upon “Vacation” when the Griswold family is driving through Kansas en route to the Grand Canyon.  I usually turn it off after they drop dear old Aunt Edna off at their cousin’s home in Arizona.  Although I’ve seen these movies’ endings dozens of times, I rarely have a chance to catch the beginning.  Take the movie “The Ring” for example.  HBO aired the show ad nauseum a couple months ago, and I always found it on TV mid-way through the movie.  I’ve seen the ending about 4 times, but I’ve never seen the beginning.  I even thought about renting it so I could see the beginning of this intriguing flick, but why would I when I’ve seen the ending so many times?  I’ll wait until it cable airs it again, and maybe I’ll go see the next installment of “The Ring” due out next spring.  Maybe it’s time to get a TiVo and a TV guide so I can pre-record these shows and watch them in their entirety.  Until then I guess I’ll have to be content with watching half reruns.