I tried dear readers, I really did. I tried to keep my New Year's resolution to update "Living with Parents" on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays and "Jake's Pole" on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It is now officially Tuesday and there will be no new "Living with Parents" strip for you. The DJ on the radio I'm listening to just announced that it's 12 am. My husband is gently snoring in bed. I am up, eating my way through leftover pizza and those wierd-but-delicious chicken-flavored meatless sausage snacks that are sold by cashiers all over Seoul, and I feel so genuinely upset by my failure that I'm two notches away from crying. This was my New Year's Resolution!
        But like I said before, I really did try. I had a strip penciled and inked. I was about to race out the door when my sister-in-law cornered me and demanded that I tutor her daughter in English as well as her twelve-year-old son. Now I am currently living rent-free in this woman's house so there is no reason at all for me to refuse what is really a very modest request, but I could feel my agitation rising at the idea of not being able to make my deadline. The Chungmuro "Kinkos" is 24 hours but the Seoul subway system closes at eleven and it was now 9:30pm. Dodging my niece-in-law before she demanded an hour of tutoring I waddled out into the snowy cold of January in Seoul and took the train to Chungmuro. 
        The walk was not entirely pleasant. It was cold, not too cold by my standards but cold enought for the radio to announce that there was a "Cold Weather Advisery" in effect for the week. More frighteningly the streets were massively icy... and I had a bad slip while walking up the street at Chungmuru. Slipping on the ice is not generally a fun thing to do but it can be really, really, reeeeeally bad for me at this point in my condition. Also not making me happy was a middle-aged man who gave me an unnecessarily dirty look at the Gyunbuhung subway station. The urge to thnk  "Yeah, suck it up asshole. I'm a large, pregnant white woman... taking up a lot space and threatening the delicate ethnic balance of the Korean people. Eat it up dickweed, choke on it," was incredibly strong. It's easy for me to lose my top over instances like that and forget the thousand-and-one times where I've been treated with unconditional love by the people in my life. The first words Kim's mother said to me was "I love you," ... she was so genuinely happy that I was married to her son. 
        But to return to my odyssey to "Kinko's" .... I did devote as much as I could to get a fresh "Living with Parents" onto your computer screens. After finding the 24 hour Chungmuru "Kinkos" (after walking down the wrong way on the same street and becoming accidently enraptured by a pet store window full of fluffy little puppies) I handed my flash drive along with adequate instructions over the wide-eyed, earnest young man behind the desk. I settled down to wait for the task to be completed, surrounded by the bright lights and comfortable smell of toner. Yes, at last, my task was completed. 
        The first sign of trouble came when the earnest young man approached my table and earnestly, nervously, asked me if I wanted the pictures saved in pdf. format. The pdf format is a fool's game, by the way. The copyright law surrounding that certain format is so tight that if any of your work is saved in that format you would not be able to upload it anywhere on the internet for love or money.  You will only end up crying in front of your computer if you go the pdf route. "No, no," I told the earnest young man, "Save it in Jpeg, please." 
        I browsed magazines for about ten more minutes. Good Lord, Korean magazines can be so cruel! They print the titles of all their articles on the cover in English... and the bodies of the articles in Korean. You pick up a copy of "GQ" magazine, hardly believing your good luck at finding an English magazine while waiting for your photos to be developed or whatnot. You flip the magazine over to "Exclusive Interview With Man Who Amputated His Own Arm With His Teeth For Twenty Grand" .... and find nothing but neat Hangeul script outlining the entire article. Oh misery! Still, the pictures distracted me for a while though I noticed that the earnest young man was sitting at a compute and  giving me nervous glances, like he wished to explain something to me but knew I would not have the language skills to understand him. A colleague came over to help him and also looked at the computer with great intensity. I went over to the computer and tried to stand there in a "I really do not wish to be pushy but the subway closes at eleven and I've known print stores in Outer Mongolia that have taken less time to scan a comic strip onto a flash drive than you guys" way. Finally I was handed my flash drive and the earnest young man immediately dashed away to help another customer. I stood around, relieved that the work was done but confused as to why nobody was bothering to take my money. Surely this is not a very good way to do business. 
        I tapped the earnest young man on the shoulder and asked: "Uh... how much?"
        "Oh, no money!" The young man replied, smiling, "You can go!"
        "Shouldn't,....shouldn't I give you some money?"
        "No, don't worry. It's fine."
        That really should have tipped me off, but I knew this "Kinko's" to be surprisingly cheap on occasion. They once copied ten pages for me for only 600 won (or sixty American cents).... so maybe minor scanner work was free? Well, that was a pleasant surprise, how many things came gratis in this country! I skipped out the door, confident that I would be able to make it home and post the comic strip on my website in good time.
        The trip home proceeded apace. I walked up the cobblestones to the small wooden gate in front of the house and sat down at my laptop, comfortably aware that a good forty minutes still stood between me and Tuesday.... when my New Year's Resolution turned into a pumpkin. I inserted my flash drive and opened my file ... only to see that nothing new had been saved! "Kinko's" had been unable to save my pictures onto my flash! It had all been for naught! The endless trudging, the subway fare, the dangersously icy streets ... only to find that my pictures had not been saved! Oh misery!

But then again it is now Tuesday so I have posted a brand-new "Jake's Pole" for your enjoyment. Cheerio!


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