Tuesday, 28 October 2008

I Got Skillz

As long as we're on the Wonder Girls I'd like to recommend this one as well because it's another example of how whoever is managing their image has recognized the value of weaving humor into the more traditional selling of sex that comes with girl groups. Tell Me is the group's first hit single and I heard it near constantly soon after arriving in Korea (in cabs, in the grocery store &c.).

Friday, 24 October 2008

Nerd Status Confirmed

So I just watched the following video:

After a few minutes of pondering the more expected topics of Korean pop, the attractiveness of the artist, and the hittability thereof I started wondering: Why don't they ever interrupt Ph.D. defenses? Seriously? I know this just makes me an even larger dork but why is it that when the hip, pseudo-iconoclastic pop star interrupts/disrupts something it's always goddamned ballet or other classical style? Can't just one artist challenge the dominant paradigm of academic success with sexy wordplay, a Greek chorus and a flaming chandelier?

I blame Flashdance and everything after...

Save the Last Dance

Take the Lead

Stick It (if you didn't know, this is the gymnastics version of Bring It On)

Now, turn it around:

I think what truly confirms my nerd status is the fact that I've blogged it. I should add that this is all rather meaningless now as Outkast's "Big Boi" Patton is teaming up with the Atlanta Ballet. It's time to shatter some different preconceived notions.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Stupid Won

The exchange rate is so bad that I cried at the bank yesterday. I'm hemorrhaging hundreds of dollars because the Won is so worthless.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Thanks, McCain!

Also, for the record, I'm incapable of working up any sympathy for someone making $250,000 a year. I tried. I even tried imagining really absurd tax rates and still just couldn't squeeze out a single tear. I guess I'm just heartless.

Monday, 20 October 2008

New Look

Today I was "pretty". Any student under the age of 10 who noticed my new look today said I looked pretty. Interestingly, some of my older students made the observation that I looked older because of the contrast between my actual age and the age associated with one who wears pink bows. The most mortifying part of this was that we got a new part-timer and his first introduction to me was me in a color antithetical to my being. It reminds me of the time I rented a car and the rental agency picked out a bright yellow Ford Mustang.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

K-Pop, Part Hana

My expectation is that this will be the first of at least two posts about K-pop (Korean pop music). The video linked below is one that I watched numerous times last winter at the gym. The song was hugely popular although Jewelry has not been as successful as the Wonder Girls (you'll learn about them soon enough). Note the hand motion of moving the two index fingers towards each other in the synchronized dance. A few months ago I witnessed a child mocking one of my former students by dancing around him in a circle, using his middle finger in the same fashion and yelling "I do fuck you."

I have lived a life largely removed from all but the most prevalent of popular songs here but, recently, I am drawn in. My favorite quote about age is an entire paragraph in Snow Crash wherein Stephens discusses the fact that until the age of 25 a man still thinks he can be truly badass. Something about pop music reminds me that I am no longer young. As much as I enjoy the empty but entertaining lyrics I can't help but watch these videos and think, "Ah, yes, here comes the urban one. Oh, and there's the innocent one and the girl with 'spunk' and the classy one." You can play along at home!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Every Day In Every Way...

I have only a few addictions. One of them is acquiring books. I have a terrible habit of buying three books for every one book that I read. Knowing that I could not afford to build up a library here I have generally resisted the temptation to buy books and instead opted to expand my awareness of "classics". Our library at school hosts a large collection of Penguin Classics. Unlike other books at the library these ones are not for use by the students. We only have a few students capable of fully digesting Jane Austen and the only reason the copy of War and Peace is tattered is because the kids pull it off the shelf and marvel that something so big might actually be read by someone or brandish it as a weapon.
The last two novels I've read are by Henry James (The American and The Portrait of a Lady). I don't think I'll read any more James because the pattern thus far is that an American goes to Europe and gets screwed over by love. One has to wonder about his personal experience given that he was an American who moved to England and became a citizen. The editors of Penguin Classics like to point out that James met Flaubert and Eliot, as though this lends value. At any rate, James' character descriptions and so forth are good but reading The Portrait of a Lady, or at least finishing it, was only mildly rewarding.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Too Much Stuff

I've been posting boxes of stuff back to the states. I don't want to drag around multiple suitcases and bags in Singapore so I'm attempting to send all but what I'll need in my last few weeks back. Somehow, I've doubled the amount of stuff (crap) I possess. Now, when I walk into the post office one of the women slides an overseas package form across the counter before I even reach her.

Friday, 10 October 2008

The Star of the Show

Yours truly, giver of Study Hall, alien hell-beast, stuff of nightmares, has been featured in homework again:

Monday, 6 October 2008

Your Skill in Tae Kwan Do has Increased by Yellow

There are those who believe I am incapable of being diplomatic. It is not that I am incapable of it, but rather that each of us is supplied with finite amounts of diplomacy and by the time I got to Tae Kwan Do I had already used up all my Diplomacy Points not tearing a new orifice in a coworker. So, when I was under the impression that I had failed the test because our club leader left it a mystery, as though it was an episode of American Idol, I may have indicated that the person giving the test was perhaps a "fat bastard". Threats to call said test-giver and report my opinion of his weight relative to cultural expectations were made. Quite possibly, I even pantomimed phoning up the evaluator and shouting while alternately demanding his phone number. These things might have happened but what matters is that I have a yellow TKD belt with my name on it in Korean and something small, yet tangible, has been achieved.

Saturday, 4 October 2008


Dealing with government job applications is like playing MYST. MYST without a reasonable underlying assumption of logic.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Palin Debate Flowchart

I love flow charts!

Thanks to Sunkist for the flowchart.