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.

Friday 5: Acromony

Pink magnetic plastic letters on a white background

When were you recently SOL?

My main computer, an HP Pavilion named Regan, has generally aged well and continued to perform well, fan replacement aside. But one issue seems to haunt this model of laptop, and that’s a crack in the left hinge, or in the case near the left hinge, and according to the guy who fixed my fan, there’s nothing to be done except replace the entire case. Between that and the new fan, I’d be halfway to a new computer.

So Regan will just continue to stand open, a desktop replacement rather than an actual portable computer, and I’ll hope that the problem is then a non issue for me until she gives up the ghost!

What was a recent SNAFU?

We moved over the summer, and we happened to move during some track renewal and repair on the Stockholm subway line. Unfortunately, we happened to move from the one unaffected green line to one of the two affected green lines, which added probably twenty to thirty minutes and two train changes to what should have otherwise been straightforward commutes.

From what social gathering were you most recently AWOL?

I missed this week’s Stockholm Writing Group Meetup to attend a lecture on Korean politics instead. This is the first Meetup I’ve missed since I stepped up as co-organizer, so I think I deserve it!

When has someone reminded you to MYOB?

Probably my sambo, just because we spend most of the day together.

What might get in your way this weekend as you TCB?

Take care of business, I presume? And I don’t know what might, really. Weird commutes to tutoring. Our move also entailed that what was once a simple 5-minute subway ride is now a 45-minute odyssey requiring overshooting the destination just to get on the right subway line or a meander-y local bus route to the right subway line. Sigh.

The Road to H E Double Hockey Sticks

What are some titles in your to-read stack?

My “to-read” shelf on GoodReads currently has over 200 books. I won’t name them all here; you can browse them yourself.

What are the highlights of this weekend’s to-do list?

I have a rush editing job to finish. (I should really be working on that now, I suppose! But I’m warming up a bit with some blogging now that I have my main computer back.) I also have some items to drop off at the secondhand store, and an old TV to take to the electronics recycling hut.

Which current or upcoming movies are you looking forward to?

I’m really curious about Paul Feig’s adaptation of A Simple Favor. I love his comedy, so it should be interesting to see what he does with a thriller.

What’s something you meant to do this past week that will have to wait until next week?

Trips to the secondhand store and recycling the old TV.

What’s an unfinished project (unrelated to media consumption) you haven’t touched in at least a year?

Something can’t be unfinished if you never started it! But I had grand plans for a bunch of chainmaille gel electrophoresis bracelets and DNA bracelets in different colors years ago  and then never did anything with it. The rest of my unfinished projects are less than a year old. 😉