weeknight party

Now will you take your garbage out to the dumpster, DAWGS?

My first apartment was in the huge complex of townhouse-styled buildings: my doorway faced another apartment doorway, outside (i.e. there was no inside common hallway like in a hotel). We shared a common sidewalk that led up to our doors. I meet Dawg 1 and Dawg 2 the first day there. They were socal surfer brodawgs who called everyone “dawg”, frequently. It became apparent that these two had the social skills of illiterate 5 year olds. They would throw parties on weeknights, late into the night, blasting music, with the front door open (my bedroom window was right over my doorway). I would dutifully put on underwear and ask them to close the door and lower the music, and they would cheerfully say “sure, dawg.” Eventually I just went over naked to get compliance.

Our apartment complex was apparently built on a massive anthill. I had sealed off the holes in my apartment to keep the things out, kept the place spotless, trash was always sealed off and taken out, etc, and kept the place ant-free. You can guess what the dawgs apartment looked like. So to keep THEIR ants out, they would just put the trash outside their door. Not take it to the dumpster, just leave it outside for days on end until they decided to stop being lazy. Of course, millions of ants would get into the bags and then where did they go? MY APARTMENT, but of course! I would ask them to take the trash to the dumpster, they’d say “no problem, dawg!” but forget to do it. I’d ask again, “oh, sorry dawg!” etc.

Finally one morning I reached my last straw. Knowing that these two dicks were sleeping after yet another party, I proceeded to rip open ALL of their garbage bags before I headed to work. These things had set out festering in the socal sun for a week. They were fucking rancid. I spread the trash EVERYWHERE. I covered the entire entrance and made it so that the dawgs couldn’t step over it, nor jump over it. When I came home I would just blame the racoon or skunk that we sometimes saw outside.

Came home that day, the walkway is spotless. The guys had just finished sweeping it all up and were actually scrubbing the sidewalk with cleaner and a mop. I was surprised to see they actually had these products, but no, it turns out they stole them from work. “Dawg, you won’t believe it! A racoon got into our trash and went crazy, this place was shithoused! We’re not leaving our trash out anymore!”

Good dawgies.

Schooling from Seoul
Okay, folks. Get ready for some Real Talk. This post is directed at anyone who’s considering teaching here in South Korea, especially those intending to teach through EPIK. 

Here’s the deal: don’t let anyone tell you this isn’t a “real job.” You’ll hear it plenty both before you make the trip and once you arrive. You’ll say, “Oh, I’m going to teach abroad for a year (or two or three or ten).” And someone will inevitably respond, “Yeah, I heard that’s a good way to do a gap year.” Or they’ll say, “Isn’t that what people do when they want to party on weeknights and get paid for it?”

And the truth is, yes. I have met many an individual here who works a 9-5 (okay, 8:40-4:40, generally) teaching English in order to finance nights on the town. However, don’t think that means you won’t have responsibilities, stress, and at least a semi-full workload. You’ll still be working in an office. You’ll still have to wake up early, look decent, and interact with coworkers and students when you wish you could still be in bed. You’ll still have to do paperwork, and stare at your computer monitor for hours, and, above all else, you will still have to deal with office politics. 

You may be planning to come to Korea for the hot celebrities, or the food, or the nightlife, or simply to pay off your astronomical student loans. I hope that last one isn’t your only reason for being here, but trust me, I understand that it’s a valid one. 

However, your coworkers will have vastly different priorities. This is their career. They studied hard to get degrees in education. They teach for a living, and most of them plan on doing so long term. The desk you occupy for a year or two is probably the desk they plan to occupy until retirement. (Figuratively. They change schools every few years. More on that another time.)

And, like in any job, your coworkers will have conflicts. Sometimes with you. They’ll want you to do a drama club that you won’t be able to lead effectively because you’re busy teaching an upper level composition class. Some of them will want you to teach a conversation class for the teachers, and others will find this unfair, because you turned them down for the drama club venture. And they’ll try to make it all fit into your contract, because the school can’t afford to pay you for extra work. 

I’m not telling you this to scare you. I’m telling you this because I want you, whoever you are, dear reader, to understand that you’re not embarking on a year-long vacation. Maybe you won’t really care about teaching (but I hope you do; your students and coworkers deserve a native teacher who cares), but you’ll certainly care about your mental health. And the best way to ensure that you stay sane in this job, despite the bumps in the road, is to remember that it really, truly is a job. 

You’ll have rough days. Your students will misbehave, be unenthused, maybe even filch things from your desk (your possessions are not safe; kids like to test the waters and see what they can get away with). Your coworkers will speak in rapid fire Korean and won’t bother stopping to translate. Sometimes they’ll disagree with you; some may even dislike you. The administration will ask you to do things you don’t want to do, and sometimes you’ll have to oblige, even if it doesn’t seem fair, because, well, it’s not a breach of contract. 

But you’ll have some pretty spectacular days, too. You’ll start to catch a few words of that rapid fire Korean. You’ll make friends with your coworkers. They’ll take you to bars and cool parks and maybe even invite you to their weddings or send you pictures of their newborn babies. And your students? Your students will pay you unsolicited compliments. They’ll struggle and ask for your help, and terrifying though that may be, it’s intensely gratifying. They’ll share their interests and talents with you, give you random bits of origami, make you (and only you) and sandwich for show and tell. And they’ll improve. Maybe not at English, but they’ll improve, and they’ll grow and change and smile, and you’ll know that at least some of that is because of you.      

Pumpkin Fettuccine, Roasted Chicken and Spicy Corn Purée

submitted by thewayweate

By the late 1980’s, Americans had already become completely enthralled with the glamour and simplicity of Italian Cuisine. Fresh pasta was something of a national obsession as a new generation of gourmands were introduced to the old-world array of pasta-bilities that Italy had to offer. Also popular in the late 1980’s was a leaning toward low-fat, recipes that relied far more on olive oil than the copious amount of butter called for in the 1960’s and 70’s. Grilled chicken breast became not only a restaurant staple, but an oft featured item on home menus from decadent dinner parties to weeknight whip-ups at home.

With a nod to both of these well held trends of the 1980’s, The Way We Ate offers a dish that would have easily been found in an American dining room or restaurant in the era of big hair, big shoulder pads and even bigger egos.

Pumpkin Fettuccine, Roasted Chicken and Spicy Corn Purée

Prepare the Spicy Corn Purée:

2 - Fresh, whole Jalapeño Peppers

1 - Can of Baby Corn

½ Cup - Heavy Cream

Salt and Pepper

Heat a heavy cast iron skillet over high heat, and dry roast the peppers on the skillet.

Press the peppers occasionally into the skillet using a large heavy spoon, turning the peppers frequently to blacken and char them on all sides. Once fully blackened (about 10 minutes) remove peppers and allow to cool. Slice peppers in half, removing all stems, seeds and ribs. Using a small knife, remove the dried blackened skin to reveal the charred flesh. set aside.

In a food processor, combine drained corn, jalapeños and spices. Process on high for about 1 minute with a tablespoon of water, until smooth. Restart Machine and add heavy cream in a stream to processor, and process until combined (about 30 seconds). Set aside at room temperature. 

Prepare the Pumpkin Fettuccine:

1 Cup - All-Purpose White Flour

1 Cup - Semolina Flour

1 Teaspoon - Kosher Salt

¼ Teaspoon fresh ground pepper

2 tablespoons - Olive Oil

2 - Egg Yolks

2/3 Cup - Canned Pumpkin Puree 

2 Cups - Grape Tomatoes

10 to 12 - White Pearl Onions

1 Tablespoon - fresh rosemary

¾ Cup - Tinned Chicken Broth

1 Cup - Sliced Black Olives

1 Cup - Fresh Chick Peas (Casing Removed)

Preheat oven to 450.

Combine the flours, salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir with a whisk. Add egg yolks and pumpkin, combining the mixture with hands until fully incorporated. If necessary, add more flour or pumpkin to obtain a consistency that’s solid and moist, but does not stick to hands. roll dough into a tube and cut in four pieces. Press each piece into a disc, and wrap well in wax paper. Place discs in refrigerator to rest. 

Meanwhile, slice tomatoes in half and add to a bowl. Peel pearl onions, slice in half, and add them to bowl with rosemary, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Combine to coat with the olive oil and pour them into a rimmed baking sheet. Place in oven on center rack for 20-30 minutes until well roasted, but not blackened. Set aside to cool.

Add cooled ingredients to food processor, and purée well. place mixture in small sauce pan and add tinned broth stirring to combine. over very low heat, reduce mixture by 1/3. (about 30 minutes)

in another small saucepan, Steam chick peas in a vegetable steamer over medium heat, with water in a small saucepan for 15-20 minutes. Place in a small bowl and allow to cool.

Remove 2 discs of pasta from refrigerator (reserving other two for another meal).

On a well floured surface, roll pasta out to about 1/16” thickness in a large rectangle, using a straight or “french” rolling pin.Dust pasta sheet liberally with flour and starting with the shorter end of the rectangle, roll pasta into a tube (as you would a Jelly Roll), and slice tube using a large kitchen knife at 1/2” intervals.  Unroll each noodle and hang on plastic hangers. Repeat with second disc and allow both hangers of pasta to dry slightly.

Prepare The Chicken Breast:

2 - Bone-in Chicken Breasts

1 - tablespoon olive oil

pinch of salt 

pinch of pepper

Rinse chicken breasts under cold water and pat dry. Coat breasts with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Prepare a charcoal grill and roast the breasts over medium hot smoldering coals. Turn chicken frequently and roast on all sides for 10 minutes, or until the breasts read 165 Degrees on a thermometer. Remove from grill and tent with tin foil.

Combine and serve the dish:

Prepare a pot with about 1 quart of salted water and bring to a rolling boil. Boil pasta for 30-60 seconds until done and strain, reserving a few tablespoons of the water, if needed.

In a large bowl combine the pasta, the reduced tomato mixture, the chick peas, and the sliced olives. Toss and add a few teaspoons of the pasta water if needed to loosen the mixture and coat the pasta well. Plate the pasta with one chicken breast per person, and add about ¼ cup of the spicy corn puree over or alongside the chicken. 

What Doesn't Kill You {carmilla/laura}

Eh so I wrote a thing. It’s not necessarily a very good thing, its been a while and its totally not my usual writing style. But its a thing. Also, don’t even attempt to put this into any kind of canon time-line, it’s just kinda floating in the ether.

Rating: T
Pairing: Carmilla/Laura
Summary: Dedicated to queerkarmy for putting the image of Carmilla & Laura shotgunning into my head ;)
Disclaimer: I obviously do not own the characters and am just using them for my own nefarious ends. And totes not condoning smoking cause that would be bad and I would never smoke *cough cough*. But ya gotta admit it can be kinda sexeh…

Laura still isn’t entirely sure how she ended up letting herself be dragged out on a weeknight to a party, at the Zeta’s of all places, but she has to admit, it isn’t all bad. The music isn’t quite as tragic as she’d expected, she’s managed to put her looming journalism assignment to the back of her mind and after a couple of (carefully monitored) drinks she’s got just enough of a buzz going to be relaxing a little.

Not to mention the nearby presence of one dark and broody roommate who’s staring intently at her over the top of a beer bottle, eyes dark with a predatory look that Laura is sure should feel a lot less thrilling than it does.

Nope, it’s definitely not all bad.

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