Thursday, 31 July 2008

I'm So White

Yes, I have a Facebook account. No, I'm not proud.

Last day in Hawai'i. I'm not ready to go back to Seoul and be a grownup again. Good thing I'll be unemployed for the foreseeable future once this contract ends. I guess.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

I Could Go To the Dark Side

I'm watching the CBS Evening News for the first time in over a year. They did a special on the McCain Campaign. Because of my first internship I actually know several of the high muckety-mucks in the campaign (Rick Davis and Carla Eudy) featured in the news story. I find this extremely disturbing. If I didn't live in Korea, if I didn't know in my heart of hearts that McCain is not the better candidate, I could actually leverage my intern experience to get a job. Weird.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Spam, Spam, Spam, Aloha, and Spam

Have successfully met the parents in Hawai'i! I also got my hair cut. Not a lot but after a video consultation regarding style with Sunkist I took her advice. :) The Waikiki beach is pretty neat. Oh, and, shock, awe, swoon, I bought some clothes to wear that are summery and NOT black. I must admit it was difficult. Not only NOT black but with patterns that are not pinstripes. Largely because tasteful patterns are simply not done here.

It dawned on me that the main reason I have never been overly keen on beach-oriented holidays is that the beach experiences of my formative years were in Galveston and Port Aransus, Texas and New England. While NE is a wonderful place to live it is not because one loves their craggy, weed-choked beaches edged with dark waters that are brooding and foreboding at night. The only good thing I can say about Texas beaches is that I know someone who knows someone who found a whole garbage bag of marijuana leaves washed up there (likely tossed by runners) in the 70's.

You may or may not be aware that, as much as Korea loves SPAM, Hawaii is one of the largest markets for SPAM and SPAM-related products. A trip through a small grocery store in the tourist district revealed such choices as: SPAM, SPAM and Cheese, SPAM and Bacon, Oven Roasted Turkey SPAM, Hot and Spicy SPAM, and the item picture below (all canned).

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Ovaries are the Drummer of the Female Body

Ovaries are a source of treachery and damnation.[1]

Also: Lady Speed Stick (which sounds like a porno and/or sex toy[2]) has the following warning: "Ask a doctor before use if you have kidney disease". I don't use anti-perspirant, just deodorant. I find the idea that something I smoosh into my pits could affect organs at the other end of my trunk disturbing.

[1]Neither "treachery" nor "damnation" should be interpreted to mean "pregnancy".
[2]Thanks A.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Flashback: Japan

I realize I didn't say a lot about my trip to Japan on my birthday weekend. It was nice but too brief and I don't feel that any particular experience created an anchor point for a post. Nonetheless, I should update this somewhat regularly so here are some pictures from the trip.

Monday, 21 July 2008

The Rainy Season

Fresh Meat

In short order we have had three new teachers arrive, two in just the past week. The latest shipment from America stopped by tonight during the final minutes of work. I was struggling with using MS Word in Korean and trying to figure out buggered formatting whilst keeping my herd of study hall kids corralled in the lab.

There is a moment in many movies wherein two diametrically opposed people are introduced to the same scene and the viewer knows that hijinx or bloodshed will ensue. I, in my monochrome fashion, leaned out from the lab to catch a glimpse of the new teacher. She has bleach-blond hair. A large, sincere cross necklace. An Alpha-Phi t-shirt. Short shorts. And Ugg boots. We have a name for this kind of person where I come from.*

I know this doesn't bode well but I was unable to stop myself from rolling my eyes at the recruiter who brought us this juicy, fresh-out-of-college morsel for the hagwon meat grinder. It will be fine. It is of little consequence how much of her physical appearance advertises vapidity, she is probably a lovely girl and it will be good to have another full time employee.

Given that I mistook the other new teacher for a pedophile last week (and he's an absolutely lovely individual) I am fully aware that I should not rely on first impressions.

*It's 'eski-ho'

Monday, 14 July 2008

You Might Be An Overeducated Honky If...

Normal Women: Drink 'til they can't remember the name of the person in bed with them.

I: Drink 'til I can't name all the Justices on the Supreme Court.

My So-Called Life

I'm listening to this week's Wait...Wait... Don't Tell me podcast. One of the stories mentioned was about a young woman who found a baby bat in her bra and all I could think was: Why doesn't cool stuff ever happen to me?

Friday, 11 July 2008

Wednesday, 9 July 2008


Phrases I have not learned in Korean but would find useful:

This music is fucking godawful.

You are in my way.

You are still in my way.

Get off your cell phone.

Hitting your child will not solve the problem of bleeding/crying/low intelligence/your many failures as a parent. (I have seen children hit for all of these things)

They don't blink, quit having a staring contest with them.

If I could kill you with my mind, I would.

That person is incompetent.

I am doing her job for her.

There are no roaches.

May I throw this watermelon from the roof?

Your child appears to be rampaging like a small demon through the subway/store/street/school, perhaps you should do something.

Not everyone gets to be an English-speaking astronaut.

Bad Planning

There are a lot of gaps and failings in our curriculum. I still maintain that we are a fairly good hagwon, however, there are still issues. Our TOEFL for 6th graders is lacking and despite my efforts I could not find anything worthwhile to supplement for today. We listened to some NPR stuff and then, at the students' request, looked at CNN. We found an article on selecting a dog for Obama should he win the election.
We voted. The class voted for the Bichon Frise, much to my dismay.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Until Things Are Brighter

Today one of my students asked me why I always wear black and informed me that black is hot in the summer. It was cute.

Yesterday I lost five minutes of class time discussing the phrase 'from the heart'. At one point I, with sound effects, pretended to rip something out of my chest and offer it to the students. That went over well.