Archives for the month of: August, 2010

On Thursday, I lived a day as a dog owner.

Well, less than a day. And it wasn’t a complete experience — I didn’t have to wash him, feed him, or brush him — but still, I had a feel for what taking care of a dog was like.

My friend recently adopted a small dog, and she invited me out with her to walk her dog, Teddy. At first, I was a bit nervous about this, as I was slightly scared of dogs in general due to all those stories of them attacking people. Also, I’ve never had any friends who owned dogs until now, so I was unsure of how I should interact with dogs.

Thankfully, Teddy was very friendly. He excitedly licked me as soon as he saw me (I really had to make an effort to keep my face away from him), and was totally content in letting me walk him… Well, totally content in being able to walk me. I let Teddy set the pace for the walk, so I was walking behind him as he happily skipped ahead. I actually had to feel sorry towards my friend, who was walking behind us (she had to carry his water and food, so it wasn’t quite her fault for falling behind). But, thankfully, Teddy was conscious enough to turn around and check if my friend was still there, slowing down when necessary to wait for her to catch up. It was heartwarming to see that such a bond had already formed between them in the course of two weeks.

I came to the conclusion that dogwalking would be a satisfying and enjoyable workout (at least with Teddy, as he’s a ball of energy), if not for a few things:

  1. Teddy stops every ten minutes to make his mark (i.e. pee) somewhere. While I understand that this is a natural thing for him to do, it’s not particularly suitable for a good aerobic workout: I want to keep walking! Thankfully, the entire process doesn’t take too long.
  2. Teddy hates squirrels. At the mere sight of one, he barks and will probably try to climb up a tree to chase it. You have to coax and drag him away, or else you might as well be standing there for the next hour. I’m sure not all dogs are anti-squirrel though, so this wouldn’t be a factor with other dogs.
  3. Meeting other dog owners is a tricky business. It’s okay if the dogs are just interested in sniffing each other before going their separate ways, but sadly, a meeting can become quite aggresive. By the end of the walk, I found that I became apprehensive whenever we were approaching another dog, because who knows what kind of reactions we’ll have to deal with?

But those things aside, I wouldn’t mind walking Teddy again at all.

During my two hours as a “dog owner”, I also received a crash course in dog ownership when my friend got into a conversation with another dog owner we met at a park. Granted, it wasn’t terribly exciting dialogue, but the encounter was certainly entertaining, as their dogs were weaving around our legs, alternatively sniffing and avoiding each other.

As much as I wanted to keep playing with Teddy, I was glad that I actually wasn’t his owner. I found out — from walking him, watching my friend care for him, and the “crash course” — that dogs require a lot of attention and work to care for, especially since you’ll inevitably develop a tendency to spoil them.

But hey, I totally wouldn’t mind being a part-time dog walker. I think that would be awesomely fun.

It’s not by Apple, but the fact that “The William”, a new stovetop concept by designer Greg Beck, has an entire surface that can transfer heat (instead of just four burners) and is activated by the weight of pots placed on it, reminds me of Apple’s recent touchscreen technology.

Okay, you may be confused right now. So rather than try to describe everything, I think this video will explain it better:

Ah, cool, isn’t it? I was reading about this on Gizmodo, and it was so impressive that I decided to write something about it. (Well, I also decided to blog about it because I needed to write something here. I always put this blog off ’til later in the evening, but I never end up having time in the evening!)

At first thought, I really liked this. It would be AWESOME having this in my kitchen. I could see the advantages of having a completely usable stovetop, and not being limited to cooking on four predefined spaces: You can cook a lot more different things, and if you were transferring heavy pots between burners, you wouldn’t have the drag the pots very far (really, you just move it to another empty space).

But after a bit of thought, I realized that “The William” probably would work well with me, despite its goal of being accomodating to every cook. Often, the non-burner spaces on my stovetop (regarded as nonfunctional by the video) are where I rest my hot pots and pans. I can’t leave them on the burners, because I’m using them, but I never put them on my counters either, because that would damage them. So this brings me to the conclusion that a stovetop that automatically turns on whenever a pot is placed on top can be pretty annoying — what if I just wanted to put my pot of sauce down somewhere to cool down? I understand that you can click “Cancel” on the control panel to turn off the heat for that particular pot, but seeing that I randomly put various containers on my stovetop all the time, that process will prove to be just as annoying as Vista’s User Account Control.

Perhaps it would work well with other cooks. Perhaps not. In any case, “The William” is a pretty interesting idea, and I wouldn’t mind at all seeing this developed into a fully functional prototype.

Heart pumping, measured breaths, sweat dripping down my face, feet hitting the ground in rhythm…

It felt great to be running again. So good.

Last week, I stopped running completely, because my nose was doing the running for me — it dripped all day, forcing me to rub it a raw pink with tissue paper. My eyes also itched. My breathing felt constricted. I even felt feverish at one point. So I didn’t run at all.

I was afraid, today, of whether I would still be able to run well. Muscles will deteriorate over time if not used. And while I didn’t run as much as I used to (mainly because I told myself that I needed time to build up to where I was one week ago), I was still able to comfortably cover half the distance I usually do. And that was enough to lift my spirits for the day.

This past Thursday, I bought a shelf at Wal-Mart. It wasn’t a pretty thing: An imposing, dark gray tower of five grates made of hard plastic that clawed painfully at your skin if you ever dared to run a finger along one of its cut edges. But, I was okay with that — all I needed was a shelf to store my ever-growing collection of stuff — so appearance was unimportant. This shelf by Plano Molding looked sturdy enough. And at $39.96, I thought it was a reasonably priced solution to my packrat-ish disposition.

At home, I gave the following instructions on the box a passing glance before ripping into it and pouring its contents out (five shelves and twenty black plastic tubes). After all, I’ve assembled utility shelves before, and this really was the self-assembly process I expected:

Assembles in 2 minutes!

  1. Organize shelves.
  2. Place poles in bottom shelf. Poles will “Snap-Fit”.
  3. Add next shelf…repeat.

So, I laid down the first shelf, and placed the poles into the openings… Or, rather, I tried to place the poles in. They didn’t fit! Each of the openings were ribbed (to give a snugger, sturdier fit for the poles, I’m assuming), but the ribs protruded so much that they made sticking the poles in next to impossible!

Nevertheless, I tried. I pushed the pole in as far as I could by putting my entire weight on it…and even then, it only went a third of the way in. No matter how hard I pushed, shoved, twisted, or sat on the pole, it refused to budge further.

My dad suggested filing the ribs down a bit. Maybe that was all it took to make it fit better. So, we took the poles out, grabbed a couple of hand files, and filed the openings down a bit. We stuffed the poles in: They fitted…a little better, but still, it took lots of effort, and the poles only went halfway in. Great.

So at 1 AM, after over an hour of struggling (er, what happened to those “2 minutes”?), we gave up. Making a sturdy shelf out of those poles (which weren’t even cut at a 90° angle) and mishappened gratings was hopeless: It wasn’t worth the time or effort to grind the openings down just to get the poles in halfway, nor would the shelf be sturdy with the poles not fully inserted. I went to sleep, convinced that I needed to make a bothersome trip back to Wal-Mart the next day to return the shelf.

But the thing was, my dad and I didn’t feel inclined to return the shelf the next day: It was going to be a lot of work to pack up the shelf, haul it into the car and then into the store, and then go through the troublesome process of getting a refund. Furthermore, we had already filed down one of the shelves — not only was the product not in its “original state” (although technically, it fit better in its altered state than the original anyways), but it seemed like a waste to return it after having worked on it.

Hence, we followed the totally illogical decision to keep filing down the openings until the poles would fit. It took two days — two days of hard, painful labour. I say “painful” because, in order to apply enough strength to file down the ribs properly, we grasped the rough surface of the files instead of the handles. So, on the second day of filing, when I took a break to go grocery shopping with my mom, I could barely dig through the bin of longan (a fruit which has a rough outer skin, kind of like really fine sandpaper) because the surface of my palms hurt so much from holding the hand files.

I should say that, even though we were able to get the poles down almost all the way down in the end, trying to put the poles in still required lots of effort. I still had to put my entire weight on the poles to get them to go in, and when I was putting the topmost layer on (which was taller than me), I was literally hanging off the corner of the shelf so that I could use my weight to drive the pole down.

To be frank, I’m relieved that this whole ordeal has passed: I have a shelf, things look organized, my hand can start healing now, and life is good. But, I’m quite annoyed at Plano Molding for its empty promises of a 2-minute assembly and of the poles “snapping fit”. They could not have been further off from the truth: Never have I exerted so much effort to put together a piece of furniture, not even when I had to put a king-size IKEA bed frame together. However, what was worse than their empty promises was that, when I went to Plano’s website, they said this about their shelving: “And all Plano shelves easily snap together in minutes with no tools required.” Erm, “no tools required”? Seriously? If we had no hand files, the shelf would never have come into being. Sure, it would’ve resembled a shelf, but it could’ve collapsed if anything was placed onto it, since the poles weren’t secure.

Verdict: Don’t buy Plano’s crap products. I sure won’t be doing so next time, after this experience. I’m shocked at the fact that they even have fans on their Facebook page…but maybe their hunting/fishing/golfing equipment isn’t as defective?

I love IKEA.

IKEA is fun. It is large, it is creative, it is made for mad designers like me. I love flopping down on their fully decked sofas, opening every glazed cupboard, and walking around the store with one of their huggable plush tigers in my arms. And the great thing is, I only get weird glances when I do the last item — anywhere else, my butt would barely make contact with a sofa before a sales rep would attack me from behind.

Yes, IKEA = <3.

But today, today, I was heartbroken. I was heartbroken when I was walking through the textiles section and saw the LUDDE Sheepskin. Sheepskin? IKEA? Nah, I thought, IKEA can’t possibly sell real sheepskin. They wouldn’t. It’s inhumane.

Nevertheless, I could not help but approach the basket of white, furry rugs. I picked up a rug, running my hand through the woolly fibres and on the back surface of the rug. It felt…so real. But knowing that stores these days usually don’t sell animal hides as home decor, I turned the rug around to read the tag that would surely ease my mind. Of course it would say POLYESTER FIBRES or something like that.

It didn’t. Instead, it simply read, SHEEPSKIN.

One word.

They might’ve just as well written, MURDER.

Okay, perhaps I’m overreacting. Perhaps they just used the hide of sheep that died of natural causes, or of those that were slaughtered for meat. In that case, wouldn’t they be conserving resources?

I suppose you could think of it that way. But, the point is, it’s unethical to use the lovely skin of an animal to carelessly wipe your feet on. How can one even stand having one of those at home? How can you rest your feet on that rug, knowing that it was once part of a living, breathing animal whose existence was important to at least one other creature on this planet?

I dropped the sheepskin back into the pile. How could IKEA do this to me? After all these years of blind devotion, this is what I get in return? Animal hide rugs? I could ignore ill-fitting parts. I could ignore the need to redrill holes a bit deeper in their desk surfaces in order to attach the legs more securely. I could even ignore the cardboard-tasting hot dogs they try to pawn off on us at the checkout for 50 cents. (I mean, do they think their customers are that cheap? I’d rather pay a bit more for a hot dog that tastes something that resembles food.) But this is too low. Too low.

I didn’t even bother checking the tag behind the KOLDBY cowhide rugs I saw later. There was no need. Just one touch was enough to tell me, “Genuine cowhide.”

IKEA, we’ll be seeing a bit less of each other from now on, at least until you explain yourself. (I doubt you’ll ever will.) I’ll finish my search for a new shelving unit elsewhere. You won’t be getting my $149 this time.

My homemade kimchi! :D It's oh-so mouthwateringly tasty that I'm starting to feel hungry now!

Why buy kimchi from your local supermarket when you can make your own? You can never be sure if it was made hygienically and with quality ingredients, nor can you be sure that it suits your taste. Moreover, supermarket kimchi is insanely overpriced! A small container of kimchi (about a pound, or 454 g) can set you back $3 or $4. With that much money, you could easily make triple or quadruple that amount of kimchi yourself! Yes, it’s time-consuming, but it’s fun, especially if you are a foodie or are interested in experiencing a bit of Korean culture first-hand — after all, making kimchi seems to be a very common activity in many Korean households, not to mention that kimchi is one of the representative dishes of Korean cuisine.

Either way, once you learn how to make your own kimchi, you will never return to the generic supermarket kimchi! There is no turning back from homemade kimchi. Trust me.

Here, I teach you how to make the most common form of kimchi — napa cabbage kimchi. I developed this recipe by taking elements from various other kimchi recipes I found on the internet, and by doing a bit of experimentation myself. Once you’ve mastered napa cabbage kimchi, feel free to experiment with other vegetables, such as Korean radishes, cucumbers, broccoli — the list never ends!

Napa Cabbage Kimchi (배추김치) Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 head napa cabbage (about 4 lbs)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp fresh garlic, finely diced (less, if you don’t want your breath to stink as much after you eat kimchi)
  • 2 to 3 tbsp fresh ginger, finely diced (amount is also to your preference)
  • 1/4 to 3/4 cup Korean hot chili pepper flakes, or 고추가루 (you must use this; if you substitute this with another type of chili pepper powder, then you must figure out the proper amount yourself, as they may be much more/less spicy)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce (if vegetarian, just omit; you can replace it with a dash of salt if you like, but that’s not necessary either)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and finely diced (choose a sweet apple, like the Red Delicious; we’re adding it for some natural sugars, as well as its flavour; you can substitute this with a pear, or a teaspoon of sugar)
  • salt, as needed

Special materials

  • A nonreactive pot to salt your cabbage leaves and mix them with sauce. By “nonreactive”, I mean that the material that the pot is made of must not react with the salt. High quality metal pots are usually okay, but to be safe, always use glass.
  • Clean glass jars with lids. I use old jam or pasta sauce jars, washed thoroughly. It takes about 3 to 4 jam jars to store all the kimchi you’re going to produce with this recipe.
  • Clean plastic gloves. Do not use the ones that you wear while washing clothes / mopping floors / cleaning dishes. Just, no. You’re making food here. Buy a new pair of gloves if you have to, and rinse them before sticking them into your kimchi!

Instructions

  1. Separate the cabbage’s leaves, one by one. Cut off any parts that are brown or have holes in them — these leaves aren’t as fresh, and won’t make for great kimchi.
  2. Submerge all the good cabbage leaves in a large container — a clean sink or large pot will do fine — filled with cold water. This is to help the salt draw out water from them later. You could skip this step and go straight to salting, but then it would take longer to salt. Up to you.
  3. Take all the leaves out and drain them. Rub some salt onto each leaf, as if you’re marinating meat. You only need to salt one side of the leaf though, since they’re so thin. Put more salt on the thicker parts of the leaves than the thinner parts. About two teaspoons of salt should be enough for one fairly large leaf. Stack the salted leaves in a large glass bowl.
  4. Now, you wait. You wait for the salt to work its magic. Leave everything alone for two hours. Then, drain off any liquid that accumulated at the bottom, flip the stack of leaves over (so that the bottom leaves aren’t soaked in liquid all the time), and let everything sit for another two hours.
  5. Rinse your cabbage in cold water three or four times. For the first two times, I usually just pour cold water into the pot of salted leaves, shuffle the leaves around, and drain. On the third time, I actually take each leaf out and rinse it in water; I do this because a lot of salt gets trapped between the compressed leaves if all you do is shove the stack of leaves around in a pot of cold water. On the fourth wash, all the leaves just get a quick rinse in the pot.
  6. Lightly squeeze the leaves to get any excess water off.
  7. Stack your cabbage leaves neatly. This should be easy to do, since they’ve shrunk in size and are not as stiff as before. Cut the leaves into 1-inch wide strips. Put them all back into the now-empty pot. *If you try a piece of the leaves now, you should find that they’re not really that salty, despite having been sitting in salt for four hours. They should only taste slightly salty…but not as salty as the fries you find at McDonald’s.
  8. In a bowl, mix the hot chili pepper flakes with enough water to make a smooth paste. It should be about as thick as ketchup — you don’t want it too runny. Add the finely diced garlic, ginger, and apple; fish sauce; and sugar. Mix well.
  9. Add the spicy paste to the pot of chopped cabbage leaves, and give your leaves a nice aromatic massage! I suggest you wear a pair of clean plastic gloves to do this, to prevent the chili pepper from burning you. Make sure all the leaves are well-coated with the paste; if you feel that you don’t have enough paste to go around, add a little bit of water to it. *At this point, feel free to try a bit of your kimchi! While fermented kimchi is good, fresh kimchi is just as good. Yum yum. Just make sure you don’t eat all of it, because you do want to let some of it ferment!
  10. Pack your kimchi pieces into clean glass jars. Press the leaves down as you go, to make sure there is as little air in between them as possible. Remember, when fermenting foods, oxygen is your enemy! It will allow bacteria to grow and kill your tasty project. Also, pour any liquid that collected at the bottom of the pot into your kimchi jar. This is kimchi brine — it can be an excellent soup base, but at the moment, it fills up any remaining air pockets between the leaves and prevents bacterial growth.
  11. Important: Do NOT fill the jars all the way to the top though — leave about one to two inches of extra room. More juice will continue to leak from the cabbage leaves during the fermentation process, and you do not want your kimchi jars to be overflowing.
  12. Put the lids on the jars, but don’t screw them on tightly. You want to let the carbon dioxide escape the jar; otherwise, the jar will explode. No oxygen will get into the jars as long as you don’t open the lids.
  13. Leave the jars at room temperature for one to two days, to speed up the fermentation process, before transferring them to the fridge. They’ll continue to ferment in the fridge, but much more slowly.

And that’s all! Feel free to eat your kimchi at any time! I find that it’s best after three or four days of fermenting, but it really depends on the temperature.

A piece of kimchi wrapped around a piece of rotisserie chicken = heavenly. As is kimchi fried rice. And kimchi sushi. And…

XD After publishing that previous post, WordPress suddenly thrusted a video into my face of a bunch of bulky football players in yellow jerseys that said “Hickory” on the back, clapping wildly in their locker room. I pretty sure it was a pre-game pep talk. Under the video, it asked me, “How did this make you feel?”

Finally, WordPress’ “Fun Mode” has manifested itself, and to be honest, it wasn’t as fun as I thought it would’ve been. Sure, I liked the surprise, but I thought the surprises would be more entertaining — perhaps a funny video, a short game, a brain teaser. A random video of a pep talk is…just okay. It’s only amusing because it appeared unexpectedly, and because I have unlimited Internet usage. Imagine if someone was nearing their monthly usage cap, and they got this video — WordPress just forced them to pay an extra $10!

That said, I still appreciate having a “Fun Mode”. It encourages me to keep testing out all of WordPress’ functions and to keep using it, just to see what they’ll throw at me next.

Sadly, that nose-faucet comparison ends there. If only my nose could also develop an on/off handle, like an actual faucet, maybe I wouldn’t mind so much.

It’s mid-August, school will be starting in less than a month, and I have a runny nose. It’s not a good thing. I’m hoping that it’s just seasonal allergies and not the onset of a two-week long cold — I do NOT want to be sick when classes commence. In fact, I can’t be sick at all — there’s so much I still have to do in these remaining weeks of summer, and so much I will have to do when school reopens.

I would have chicken soup tonight, except, well, there’s no chicken, carrots, or potatoes at home. And there’s still a huge pot of stew that was cooked this afternoon.

They say kimchi helps a cold. So, I’m going to make sure I have some of my awesome kimchi tonight…which reminds me, I shall post my recipe for it up soon. Maybe tonight.

I made a promise to myself that I will watch all classics, just because of their extraordinary reputation. I itch to know why they’ve been lauded as the best for decades.

So today, I watched Love is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), starring William Holmes and Jennifer Jones. It’s 1949, and Han Suyin (Jones) is a resident doctor at a Hong Kong hospital. She proudly deems herself “Eurasian” — she’s half English, half Chinese — and goes about her business believing that her heart has died after her husband was killed years ago. She meets Mark Elliot (Holmes) at a dinner party, and despite her initial reservations about this married man, they eventually fall madly in love.

A typical love story, don’t you think? I thought so. And I kind of wished that that was all I had to say about it.

A blatant issue was that their relationship seemed to progress too quickly. It did not correspond to how adamant Han had been about being perfectly fine as a widow, devoting all her time to medicine only, and not having affairs with married men. The first night, they had dinner together; this, I deem acceptable. However, they meet again, two weeks later, and they end up going swimming. I was shocked when Elliot dragged Han around by her hand, and even more shocked when they kissed later that night — what happened to Han’s values? why was this all happening on their second date? were people back in the 50s not more conservative than we are today? On the fourth night they meet, Elliot asks for Han’s hand in marriage. Em… No, thank you? I barely know you?

Another issue was the misrepresentation of Chinese culture. While the scenery is undoubtedly 100% correct — they did film in Hong Kong, after all — many simple things were overlooked:

  1. Han speaks Mandarin to the child she treats in her hospital. She’s in Hong Kong. Hong Kong people, especially during that time period, speak Cantonese.
  2. During the funeral procession in Macao, the music playing is actually wedding music. What a way to confuse the scene.
  3. Han’s uncle invites her in to have tea by saying, “Let us have tea and talk of absurdities.” Erm. Wha? I totally didn’t get why her uncle said this. Yes, Chinese people say, “Let’s have tea!” often, but they don’t tell their guests that they’re just going to bullshit with them for the next three hours while sipping on scalding liquid. No! In fact, which culture does that? Do we do that? “How about we go grab a coffee at Tim Hortons and talk about nothing for our entire lunch break?” If you did that often enough, you’d probably end up a loner.
  4. The fortune telling was absolutely hilarious. Hilarious because it was so absurdly wrong. Firstly, the rice scratchings Han did was incorrect; the process is supposed to work somewhat like a Ouija board — a “force” guides your hand to help you write the message you are receiving. Second, the entire process of kau cim (where Han took the bottle of sticks and turned it upside down until one stick fell out) was abhorrently incorrect. Kau cim is usually performed in front of deity’s altar, not in front of a fake fortune teller. This is because you are asking for the deity’s aid, and you can do so directly. You kneel, think of a question, and begin shaking the bottle at an angle (not upside down). By shaking on an angle, one stick will eventually fall out — this is the fortune that the deity has chosen for you. It was odd how only one stick fell out when Han turned the entire bottle upside down — gravity didn’t seem to give equal treatment to all the sticks in the bottle!
  5. The child that Han adopted was named “Oh-No”. What?! What was that? An attempt at humour? It better have been — otherwise, it is a very bad attempt at creating a “Chinese-like” name.

You would’ve thought that Hollywood spent a bit more time doing some background research before filming, especially since they had so many knowledgeable locals they could’ve enlisted. Nope. I bet the Chinese people acting out the funeral procession were chuckling as they danced to the wedding music.

The goal of this movie was to portray how Han and Elliot’s love overcame the prejudice they faced for having an interracial relationship. However, this theme wasn’t obvious while I watched the movie; what I saw more was the prejudice Han faced for dating a married man. Sure, her comments about being “Eurasian” popped up here and there, but when the gossip came up (for example, brought on by that annoying Ms. Palmer-Jones), it was usually about Elliot’s existing marriage.

Final verdict: Fail. Perhaps a great movie then, but not really worth the time now. A few scenes were just humourous enough to make me smile, but the mismatch between Han’s values and her actions as well as the incorrect depiction of Chinese culture forced me to spend the entire 102 minutes brooding instead of enjoying the film. Thankfully, the ending was a bit more creative, and saved me from enduring more of their overly mushy scenes.

G1: Achieved.
(I say it simply, but honestly, the process of getting it done was beyond horrid. I stood in line for nearly three hours to get my documents checked and waited another 45 minutes to get my vision tested. A combined total of ten minutes was spent waiting for my turn to write the test, and for them to mark my test. So, basically, of the four hours I spent at the DriveTest, only 20 minutes of it actually involved me doing something other than staring blankly at the walls. I’m just glad it’s done with.)

Able to drive: Uh… Well…

I annoyed my dad until he took me out to an empty parking lot to practice this evening. I wanted to start immediately, not only because I was giddy from having finally gotten a license, but because I don’t have much time left before school starts and essays start piling in again.

And let’s just say, after today, I have a real appreciation for anyone who can drive on downtown roads without bumping into anything. Actually, I have a real appreciation for anyone who can drive. Period.*

First, I could not believe how sensitive the gas pedal was. A small touch, and the car went lurching off as though drunk. And yet, if you don’t touch the pedal, the car can’t move. So, my driving was marked by random bursts and periods of slow drifting — probably a pretty laughable sight to the other person driving around the parking lot — practicing their perfect angled parking. >.> What a way to make a girl feel good.

Second, I always turned the wheel too much. A small movement is enough to make the car do a 90 degree turn, but I didn’t figure this out until my last lap around the lot (even though my dad had continually told me that throughout the whole lesson). So this, in addition to my over-steering, forgetting to brake before turning (I figured this out after maybe ten minutes, thankfully — otherwise, I might have actually crashed into something today!), and not letting the wheel recover meant that turning was a pretty scary business. Particularly scary was when I attempted a turn too late, and nearly turned into the curb! O.O Goodness. My dad took that opportunity to teach me how to reverse…which brings me to the third point:

Third, I cannot turn and reverse. (Yet.) My dad decided to finish off the lesson by getting me to reverse park a car. And while reversing straight is fine for me, reversing and turning right into a parking space is a total epic fail. The car went in at an embarassing angle. The front wheels weren’t straight. The only good thing about my parking was that I succeeded at not backing up into the hill behind us.

After that, I was done. And tired. I left the driver’s seat, a bit relieved that I somehow survived my first time controlling a metal box that can potentially kill, and climbed back into the comfort of the front passenger seat. It wasn’t until when my dad pressed on the gas pedal again and the car lightly jumped ahead to take us home that I realized how sensitized I had become to the car’s movement in one and a half hours — my heart leapt half a mile when my body told me, “The car. Is lurching. AGAIN! It’s your fault! Make this box stop!”

Oh my. I’m hoping things will go more smoothly the next time I go driving.

*Okay, technically, I know driving isn’t that hard, and that eventually I’ll be able to drive just as well as all these drivers I’m praising right now. But for someone who has only been behind the wheel for 1.5 hours, driving seems more difficult than writing a math exam…almost.

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