Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Royal Dorkiatic Society

Last night, Nana and I went to our first-ever meeting of the Royal Asiatic Society, an old and respected club of shameless dorks who want to learn more about Korea. We've had our eye on joining the Society for a while now, but not until yesterday could we muster up the time and the energy to trek all the way downtown for a lecture.

Thankfully, it looks like the RAS could be well worth the effort (and the 80,000-won membership fee--discounts for married couples! finally, my motives become clear!). While last night's lecture certainly didn't earn any style points--the speaker could barely speak English and was completely shackled to his hideous Powerpoint notes--the content was very interesting: a history of Korea's representation in Western cartography. (Apparently, we white folk took a good three centuries to notice that Korea is, in fact, a peninsula, not an island. But, hey! At least we knew by then that it existed!)

What's more, we signed up for a day trip to Ganghwa Island with the RAS this Sunday--Ganghwa-do being one of Korea's UNESCO World Heritage Sites, on the strength of its fortresses, its temples, and its prehistoric dolmen tombs. We've been wanting to visit Ganghwa since we learned about it, and sweet serendipity caused the RAS to reschedule the trip for precisely the weekend we're able to go. Plus, apparently we'll get to visit a certain RAS member's swanky Ganghwa-do pad. (Nana says: "Bonus for networking, eh?")

But the real news, I suppose, is that Nana and I are finally finding/making the time to get out and do something, other than sit around and work all the time. Slowly--very slowly--we're getting this school thing under control and carving out little pockets of dorky leisure. If only we could wrangle some Korean lessons somehow. Though that may have to wait for the summer.

Ah! It's too bad that we live so far out of town--the RAS adjourns for a round of ale after every meeting, but our long train ride back to Nowon gets us home pretty late. Though maybe we'll just have to suffer through some sleepy Wednesdays here and there.

In other news, Nana and I got to share our bus home with an utter lunatic tonight. Tourettes or schizophrenia or something. Shouting, flailing. Totally weird.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

OMGHOLYCRAP Part II, or the continuing adventures of my name in romance novels

You may remember that about six weeks ago, I posted about Carla Kelly, one of my favorite romance novelists, deciding she liked my name and using it in a book. Well, today, I got an e-mail from her asking for formal permission to use my full name (duh!). In the event that I declined to give permission, she was willing to change the character's name to Nana Marlowe. Horrors!

She also gave me a bit of information on the character as well as the first chapter of the book.
According to Ms. Kelly, "Nana is a delightful character" - how could she be anything but? - "and she gets an excellent man, a post captain in the royal navy named Oliver Worthy." In fact, she says, she had so much fun with the whole thing that she's hoping to do a trilogy around the Worthy family, so I may even reappear in the future! This has to be the first time ever that I've hoped for a gratuitous cameo by the protagonists of previous novels.

I did enjoy the first chapter, although I won't distribute it because that's probably not appropriate. You'll all appreciate the fact that Nana spends most of the first chapter looking for food. The neatest thing by far, though, is that Nana is her character's nickname, too, and her real name just happens to be Eleanor. Eleanor, for those of you who don't know, was the name of my maternal grandmother, a wonderful, brilliant woman who died just a couple of years ago. I did not tell Ms. Kelly this, although I did write back to let her know. It is just a lovely coincidence.

Now I need everybody to send positive vibes to Carla Kelly's editors: Buy this book! Love this book! Pay Carla Kelly all the money in the world for this book! Don't change the names of any characters in this book!