Thursday, 28 February 2008

The Semester is Ending

I've realized that I can determine which students have moms I would want to punch based on their response to my assignments. If I give my students anything arty or that cannot be seen as directly leading to the suffocation of spirituality and creativity, it will be shot down by the bitchmoms. Seriously. There are moms that will tell their kids not to bother with anything that isn't a dispiriting worksheet. When I finally write the book "How I Would Raise Your Children" I'm going to publish a Korean edition that specifically addresses some of the parenting habits here.

I know that a lot is cultural but there's a limit. Slapping your child won't make him or her smarter so why do it if you want them to learn more? *sigh* I need to get over my anger at what I see as bad parenting since I'll surely lose my mind in an environment like this. I can't wait to learn enough Korean to start trouble;)

Friday, 22 February 2008

Thursday, 21 February 2008


I don't get much email from anyone anymore and I'm feeling kinda lonely.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

I Know Stuff!

New Fun Fact!

Did you know that if you yell 'fuck you' repeatedly at Citibank's automated call system it will connect you with a customer service associate? I've tested it. This only works with the student loan system if you clearly enunciate both the 'fuck' and the 'you'. With SKYPE, sloppy enunciation on Citibank's regular 800 number will disconnect you with a message that vaguely implies that you, slovenly and cotton-mouthed customer, are responsible for being hung up on.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Kinyoubi! Vendredi! Friday!

At home, on my second glass of wine. I am so glad it's the weekend. I am all kinds of wound up. I have plans, oh yes, I have plans for you, dear readers. But not tonight, my sweets. Tonight I share only with you a few choice quotes from this week's homework:

I received this on the day I made a social studies crossword worksheet titled "Our Precious Freedoms"

"I readed a book about the Statue of Liberty. It was made from Freedom."

"I like Mandela because he got a nobel pies."

"My mother is very scary."

Next week they're taking a story comprehension quiz.

"Toad and Frog went for a ________.

A. Cup of coffee B. Walk C. Smoke"

I got chocolates from several students for Valentine's Day, which was lovely but unhealthy. Wednesday was Grammar class for my littl'ns and we were reviewing interrogative questions. Each student was to write down 5 questions to ask a partner. About 20% were "Do you have a boy(girl)friend?" and/or "How many boy(girl)friend do you have?"

One of my students wrote and essay about single-sex versus co-education and referred to "single-sex" vs. "double-sex" in the title. His last title I had to mark with "this is only *technically* English."

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

False Analogy!

A good friend sent me a collection of songs, recently. Among them was Rhianna's Shut Up and Drive, which I happen to like. Despite enjoying the song there is one part that always irks me. The best I can do to express this is to provide the lyrics of the song with the subtext deciphered, in italics, for your benefit.

[Verse 1]
I've been looking for a driver who's qualified
I am available
So if you think that you're the one step into my ride
If you both consider yourself available and sexually adept you should approach me
I'm a fine-tuned supersonic speed machine
With a sunroof top and a gangster lean
I am extremely well built and, like a car, have additional features you should appreciate

So if you feel me let me know, know, know
If you are sexually interested you should articulate these feelings
Come on now what you waiting for, for, for
My engine's ready to explode, splode, splode
I am highly volatile and potentially deadly
So start me up and watch me go, go, go, go
Attempt to arouse me and enjoy the show

Got you where you wanna go if you know what i mean
I will have sex with you
Got a ride that's smoother than a limosine
I am not sexually awkward and will not accidentally knee you in the crotch mid-coitus
Can you handle the curves? Can you run all the lights?
Are you capable of smelling what the Rock is cookin'?
If you can baby boy then we can go all night
Again, if you are able to meet the aforementioned requirements, I am sexually available

Cos I'm 0 to 60 in three point five
I am extremely easy to arouse
Baby you got the keys-

Now shut up and drive
(drive, drive, drive)
You should proposition me immediately

Shut up and drive
(drive, drive, drive)

[Verse 2]
I got class like a 57 Cadillac
I have enormous headlights, if you catch my meaning
Got all the drive but a whole lot of boom in the back
While I have a high metabolism I can assure you that I have taken Sir Mix-a-Lot's advice regarding the retention of my booty
You look like you can handle whats under my hood
You appear to have working opposable thumbs and other vital body parts for sexual activity
You keep saying that you will boy I wish you would
I enthusiastically accept your prior mention of sexual congress

So if you feel me let me know, know, know
If you are on the same wavelength regarding a desire to fornicate please indicate this on Form B, Section 38
Come on now what you waiting for, for, for
There is a deadline for your application
My engine's ready to explode, splode, splode
I won't be ignored, Dan
So start me up and watch me go, go, go, go
Buy me a drink, it will be repaid

Got you where you wanna go if you know what i mean
I am a sure thing
Got a ride that smoother than a limosine
My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard

Can you handle the curves? Can you run all the lights?
Are you ambidextrous? Does breaking the law turn you on?
If you can baby boy then we can go all night
I am a nymphomaniac

Cos I'm 0 to 60 in three point five
If you are a one-minute man, that is OK
Baby you got the keys-
On a Freudian level I wish to imply that your possession of wang is the focus of my current discourse

Now shut up and drive
(drive, drive, drive)
I feel that you are bit slow on the uptake and I feel I should reiterate that I want to have sex with you

Shut up and drive
(drive, drive, drive)
No strings attached

Cos you play the game, got what I got (Get it Get it)
You are clearly at this bar for a reason, as am I
Don't Stop It's a sure shot
I will have sex with you
Aint no ferrari huh boy I'm sorry
My prices are not high
I ain't even worried
And negotiable
So step inside and ride
(ride, ride, ride, ride, ride...)
Have I mentioned my intense interest in sexual intercourse?

Monday, 11 February 2008

The Wall

In that moment of half-awakeness before I became fully conscious I imagined waking up in Pittsburgh and was very sad when I realized that was just illusion. I guess it is not surprising to be hitting a wall around 3 months. Still, it means I have a long time left and I can't spend it missing all the people and stuff that are in America.

Instead of having my usual anxiety dreams about work I dreamed about pet penguins and being in a big suburban neighborhood with the War Mice. Giant boxes of toys (giant wading pools full of giant legos, cardboard blocks shaped like Tetris pieces...) kept arriving for all the neighbors and we kept waiting to see if we would get anything.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

And the winner is....

Emily is thoroughly kicking my ass at everything. She pummeled me in a beer-fueled quote-off and now she has successfully taken the chalice of victory in our cocktail-making competition. My proposed metaphor for our approaches was that of Olympic Figure Skating. Emily is the technical program - her cocktail making shows years of study and practice. Her drinks show mastery. I am the exhibition. I am Scott Hamilton and I go for the laugh. Call me Cuban Pete.*

We had a great time yesterday on a tour of the Joint Security Area in the DMZ. I bought a lot of things at the gift shop. Sadly, there were no Kim Jong-Il coffee mugs but I managed to ease the pain by buying blueberry brandy made in the DPRK. I convinced Emily to help me with an SFZero task and here is the finished product:

I began the competition with The Six-Party Talks:
1/2 shot Russia
1/2 shot DPRK
1 smidge ROK, Japan, China
2 shots USA
Served on ice.
Awful. I didn't even try to convince my opponent to try it.

She countered with a Unification Cocktail:
1/2 shot DPRK
1/2 shot ROK
Lemon juice to represent the bitterness of the past and honey to represent the sweetness of the future. Mix with ice and add tonic. This was quite good. E drank hers, which means that it was good because, unlike me, she has refined tastes.

I then made a Korean Flag shot.
So I combined 1/2 shot of DPRK Blueberry Brandy to represent the Yin, hot sauce for Yang, Fire and Earth, and tonic for water and air. Stir vigorously. Shoot. It wasn't so bad but the sauce I bought is the kind used in bibimbop which leaves an odd aftertaste.

Emily made a Russo-Shilla Sling, and a Korean War Cocktail. The former was not so great but the latter I consumed. I ended with a 1909, which had to be thrown out. The winner: The Unification Cocktail.

It has been another good day here in Seoul.

*And a total dork.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

What is the Point?

It is mornings like these that make me reconsider the whole of my academic and intellectual pursuits. I am trying to find a Korean language class out of deference to my host country and I cannot. The sites I have found are either 1) un-navigable 2) in Korean or 3) only offer courses when all of normal society is at their goddamned jobs. Now, I ask you, after all I have been through, is this really fair? After all the effort I have put forth, is this the best I can hope for? To be aggravated by crappy websites in a foreign country with coworkers who do nothing but complain about how bad everyone else at work is? Why, I have to ask, have I not more seriously considered the career of serial killer?

Here is a brief list of benefits which I do not enjoy now but would as a serial killer:

*No taxation
*Choose my own hours
*No occupational pre-requisites/degrees
*Enormous vacation package
*Simple success metric
*Advancement in field threatened only by authorities, size of population
*No language barrier issues
*Opportunities for fame, book deals, movie, chance to be played by someone significantly hotter than me
*Endless location possibilities


My lovely guest and I learned the meaning of the different elements of the symbols on the (South) Korean flag. Until I've got my brains back (we're both exhausted!) here's what we learned:

Monday, 4 February 2008

Being Judged

I made it through my observation at work. I wholly ignored the man in my classroom as I attempted to appear dynamic and effective despite being sick. My students, naturally, did their best to make me look good by doing things like pointing at the observer and highlighting my masterful teaching by asking, 'teacher, who is him?' *sigh*
We had a meeting with two of the people from the headquarters as well where they asked for our input on the books and curriculum. I felt I should keep my counsel as I'm relatively new and, as the saying goes, better to hold your tongue and be thought a fool than to speak and prove it so. But when they asked about the Social Studies book I snapped. I pointed out that the book is so politically correct it leaves Koreans with the impression that 25% of Americans are wheel-chair bound (seriously, there's one in every chapter and, of course, they never display any other signs of trouble, just perfect cherubic children who happen to be sitting in a wheelchair). I also suggested that, perhaps, having something more relevant to their existence into the curriculum would be good as I, personally, have a real problem encouraging children to memorize the fact that FDR created many jobs. I did make the argument that it would probably help them learn better as they are very young and rather than memorizing abstract, meaningless facts about US history they could be learning to describe things they already know in English.

It is my Friday and Emily is here for Lunar New Year. One more day of class and then we're going to rock out!