Friday, February 23, 2007

My least favoriote animal...

I have a new enemy: Jellyfish!

I got stung on my two arms and legs in Malaysia on the beach in Penang. Three of my limbs are fine but my right arm got it pretty good.

I'm in Bangkok now for the next three nights, then back to Macau for a night, then back to Korea.

The jellyfish is a pointless creature.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I'm in Malaysia right now on an island called Penang. Spent our first day on the beach today and I'm hurting.

I don't think sunblock has any effect over here and my body is the proof. Pictures to come when I get back to Korea.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Toilet strife...

Here at school with no classes and nothing to do.

I really need to take a shit but there's no toilet paper in the stall with the western toilet. Of course all of the squatters have T.P. I hate walking through the hall with a roll of T.P. in my hand. It's kinda weird when everyone knows that in a few seconds you'll be sitting on the can cranking out a crapper.

And once again, I'm left out of the loop about things.

Today I have dinner after school with the subject teachers but I wasn't told until today. Last Thursday I postponed one of my private lessons to this evening, and now I have to cancel it because no one told me about dinner. I don't mind missing the lesson but I know my students really wanna study because I'm gone for two weeks on vacation.

Nothing else to whine about.

Now I just gotta man up, grab a roll of paper, and trudge through the hallway and hope the last person on the can flushed.

Then I gotta cancel my lesson for tonight.

And next, well, then I dunno.

Stupid Hangul...

I accidently deleted half of one of the posts below and I can't get it back. Sometimes Hangul (the Korean alphabet/language) pisses me off, especially on computers.

What the hell does 초안으로 저장 and 게시 mean? I know that one of them means "post" and the other means "save as draft" but I dunno which is which.

I spend a lot of times pressing buttons on instinct. The web page looks the same, but there's no English, so I press the button that feels right.

Well, today I thought it felt right but I was wrong and there goes nothing...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Proud to be a Canadian...

Still here at school with nothing to do so I'm gonna talk about that movie "Jesus Camp" I mentioned in my previous post.
Here's what I learned from the film.

1/4 of Americans say they are "Evangelical Christians," hereon referred to as EC's.

EC's are Protestants, not Catholics.

A good example of an EC would be people of the Pentecostal faith. I don't want to offend any Pentecostal people, but these EC's usually do things like speaking in tongues to god.

To become an EC, you have to be "born-again." I guess this means the same thing as being "saved," but I'm not sure.
Here's the write-up from the movies website:

A growing number of EC's believe there is a revival underway in America that requires Christian youth to assume leadership roles in advocating the causes of their religious movement. Jesus Camp follows a group of young children to Pastor Becky Fischer's "Kids on Fire Summer Camp", where kids are taught to become dedicated Christian soldier's in God's army and are schooled in how to take back America for Christ. This film is a first-ever look into an intense training ground that recruits born-again Christian children to become an active part of America's political future.

The film was creepy because what you are watching is essentially a lot of children being brainwashed. They are told evolution and global warming are not real. They believe that if you follow god everything that happens here on Earth is not a problem you. But it's a problem for the non-believers because god will take care of the believers when they leave this Earth anyway.

Many of these kids are home-schooled so their EC parents teach them EC science that is simply wrong. One of the kids is watching a video that says Earth is 6000 years old. Really? What about all those friggin' dinosaur bones we've discovered?

There's also a scene where one of the preachers starts talking about abortion, he praises Bush (I ain't a big Bush hater either, don't get me wrong here), and by the end of the "sermon" he has the children chanting "Righteous judges!" The EC "righteuos" judges will do things like ban abortion, even if the majority of Americans believe in the choice of abortion.

This movie was heavy and I'm doubt that most EC's in America are as extreme in their beliefs as the ones depicted in Jesus Camp, but it was a little scary to watch. A few days ago I saw some Fox of CNN show about Islam and it was showing samples of popular cartoons in certain Muslim countries. The cartoons were pure propaganda with the intent of making suicide bombers look like heroes and portraying America as the major evil in the world.

They showed children saying very extreme religious beliefs and even saying that they want to die for Islam and be a martyr.

Two of the kids in Jesus Camp said very similar things. They thought it was "cool" how people in the Muslim world are willing to die for god and they said they would do the same thing.
The worry is that these children will growing up and be very active politically and eventually run most of the political institutions that are supposed to be completely seperated from religion. If this were to happen, would there be a seperation of chuch and state? I doubt it. President Bush has already slowly started this transition by appointing Alito dude as judge and he also mentions god in his speeches more than any other President.

I got nothing else to say about this besides if things keep going in this direction it's hard to know where it will end. Will they ban abortion? Start putting gay people in prison? Who knows?

I just know I'm glad to be a Canadian... And a Catholic...

Why am I here? Oh yeah, this is my job...

I’m a public servant and this week I feel like one. I’ve had no afternoon classes at all this week and each day at least one of my morning classes has been cancelled. I’m wasting away here with boredom. I have nothing to do and I don’t want to start planning lessons for the new semester because I don’t even know who I’ll be teaching with.

Right now I’m listening to Kool Keith watching a Bulls versus Kings NBA game. Thank god for internet TV, and thank god for Kool Keith for that matter. But I’m not thanking god for me giving Bulls versus Kings. I mean, come on, really.

I’ll probably put my head down on my desk soon and take a nap or read a book. I’ll definitely do both today, but I just haven’t decided what I’ll do first.

Right now, there are four other teachers in my “office” at their desks. Two of them are on the phone. Another is online at one of the many Christian sites she regularly reads, and the fourth teacher is staring boringly at her computer.

It’s also getting really cold in here even though the heater is on. Something’s up.

We all gotta stay here until 4:40 although there is nothing to do and no one is doing anything. To me, this makes absolutely no sense at all. I’m not exactly complaining that I have no work to do; I’m just complaining that I have to sit around here all day with nothing to do.

So I’ll just go on a little rant here I suppose. The topic of the day is celebrities.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Anna Nicole Smith passed away today, or yesterday, or some time in the last day or so. Don’t be sad, she made a decent life for herself if you think money leads to true happiness.

I’ve also been hooked on this celebrity gossip site that isn’t really a gossip site. It’s more of a celebrity trashing site where the writer bashes Hollywood’s most wanted. The site is call “The Superficial – Because You’re Ugly.”

It’s really vulgar so if that ain’t up your alley simply don’t click. But if you have a rotten sense of humor, definitely worth checking out.

Here’s a few samples. Parental advisory is recommended…

Mary-Kate Olsen makes out with strangers

20-year-old Mary-Kate Olsen was spotted at Bungalow 8 Tuesday night "weaving around and kept falling off the banquettes she was dancing on." A rep for Mary-Kate insists she's sober and declined comment, but a source adds:

"She made out with three random guys and was wearing a Mardi Gras mask."

She was wearing a Mardi Gras mask? How could anybody fucking tell? And who is looking at this face thinking to themselves, "You know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna make out with the clown monster in the corner." Did they lose a dare? Or maybe they were so drunk they thought they were dead and this was Satan coming for their eternal soul.

The next sample is my personal favorite of the day.

OJ Simpson's "hypothetical" confession not accurate enough

OJ Simpson claims that when he was offered the chance to write "If I Did It" he told the publisher he wished it would never come out because it made him look guilty and it didn't accurately reflect how he actually would've done it. He tells the Palm Beach Post:

"I hope this book never comes out. It made it look too much like an admission of guilt. I wasn't happy with the hypothetical paragraphs. A ghostwriter wrote the whole thing, and I OK'd it. But there were a lot of inaccuracies about the case and about how I would have done things. But I figure I'd let it go since I didn't kill anyone."

Was he surprised that the public was so outraged by news of the book? "I don't care," Simpson told the paper. "I got paid just the same."

So basically he didn't like the hypothetical murder book because it wasn't accurate enough. I mean, really? That's the story we're going with, OJ? He should just write "I'm innocent" on a bunch of knives and walk down the street sticking them into strangers.

I can see how some people are upset with America because of the war in Iraq and the wy President Bush is turning American into a Christian based theocracy (check out the film "Jesus Camp"), but I think we should all cut them some slack and say "thank you" for creating some of the most ridiculous rich people in history.

"God Bless America!"

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I won't remember you...

Last night I went to the Dongdeamun Market here in Seoul looking to buy myself a big backpack to take on my trip. This place is pretty crazy. Dongdaemun Stadium is the name of the subway stop and yes, there is a large baseball stadium there.

There are also over 20 shopping malls and the main malls are open from 10AM to 5 AM everyday. These aren't your usual shopping malls with different shops clearly separated by borders such as walls. No, instead each floor is designated to a certain type of item (last night I was on the bags, hats, and accessories levels) and there are no actual stores, just shelves and products arranged in a maze-like fashion.

The other cool thing is that the two malls I went in last night (Hello aPM and Migliore) have no set prices. You ask the clerk how much something costs and then you bargain with them. This can be easy or difficult depending on the clerk.

My first stop was Migliore. I wandered around aimlessly until I stumbled across some big backpacks. I wanted the bag to be at least 60 liters. The first clerk handed me a 45 liter bag so I told him I wanted a bigger one. He told me "45 is big enough. Very big bag. Big enough." Sorry there buddy, but no it ain't big enough.

The second guy found me a 60 liter bag and told it would cost 50,000 Won. It looked alright so I told him I might be back in a bit because I wanted to go check out some other shops. Then he got all pissy with me saying "If you go and come back I won't remember you. I can't remember every foreigner." Then he stormed away before I had a chance to tell him to go to hell.

Man, he was a whiny bitch.

With that encounter I decided I wasn't buying anything from this store and headed to Hello aPM. This place is the same deal as the other mall so I found the floor with bags and started hunting. I saw a 65 liter bag and the clerk told me it would cost 80,000 Won. I told him that the other mall had the same bag for 50,000 Won so he thought for a few seconds and said "Okay, 50."

That seemed too easy so then I told him that I wasn't gonna pay fifty for it because I could walk to the next mall and get it for fifty. I told him I would pay him 40,000 and if not, I'd just go back to Migliore buy for fifty over there.

He thought for a few seconds and said "Okay, 40."

Once again this seemed too easy but I decided not to push my luck. In hindsight, I should've kept going until he said something like "No lower" but I didn't. I was satisfied with what I'd accomplished.

So I left the market area and stopped by a bar I occasionally frequent. This is the bar my friend Sonny worked at.

As soon as I walk in there's a Korean dude who I recognized from New Year's Eve. He remembered me (I'm a white guy... very easy to remember) and told me to sit and help him and his friend drink a 26er of Jack Daniels. No problem!

I look behind the bar and I see another familiar face and a few seconds later I realize that it's a guy who was at Sonny's wedding. He was still completing his mandatory military service at that time but now he's done and he's working at the Red Dog.

He tells me his nickname is Tarot because he likes Tarot cards. He takes out his deck and asks me to choose one card.

The card I pulled out was called something like the "6 of Lovers." I can't remember the exact card. He looks at it for a minute and tells me "Tomorrow you will be very happy and have a really good day."

I'm thinking to myself "Awesome but I bet it'll be like any other day."

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I called in sick this morning so I could watch the Superbowl.

Prince played did the half-time show and while I was watching I became curious as to when Prince first busted onto the musical scene. Turns out his first major label album was released in 1978.

But this is all way besides the point.

I looked for this info on Jonathan Jacob's favorite website, Wikipedia. As I was skimming through the two introductory paragraphs, I was stopped in my tracks by the sentence. "Prince is also known as being a giant faggot nigger" or something like that.

I was taken aback by this and I knew it had to be some type of mistake or hacker type thing with Wikipedia. Sure enough, I tried the site a few hours later and that sentence had disappeared but everything else in the bio was the same.

And now I ask you this Jacobs... How in the world can you dislike Wikipedia?

And yeah, Peyton Manning finally won a Super Bowl. And yeah, I still don't like the guy. He's far too white, and I ain't much a fan of "giant faggot whities."

Go Pats!!!


Here are a few pictures of the skating rink at Olympic Park. Makes me wanna play hockey.

Here's the entrance to the rink.

I thought the Vancouver games would have totem poles... Not the Korean games...

What a ya think that sign says? Looks important...

Here's one of the smart kids on the subway on our way back to school from skating. The girl on the right looks quite amused...

It really is too bad that the skates were really dull ultra uncomfortable. I'd probably go skating again if that wasn't the case. With sharp skates, I could've sprayed the kids with snow really good...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The woman and the tiger and the potion...

Here's a story from the grade four text. I'm supposed to do a role-play with the kids but I don't know if I'll be able to do it without laughing my ass off when the kids pretend to shit themselves.

Below is the role-play straight from the teacher's guide... (I'm the NT).

□ Listen to a story
▷ NT: Now open your book to page 87. Look at the pictures. And listen to the story.

(In the depths of a mountain, a woman is walking with a round basket. She is facing a tiger.)

Woman : (Trembling with fear) Help me! who are you? What do you want?

Tiger : I want a cake.

Woman : OK, OK. This is for you.
(The tiger disappears. The woman begins walking again. At this time a bear appears before her.)

Woman : (Trembling) What do you want?

Bear : I want an apple.

Woman : (With her hands trembling) OK, OK. This is for you.
(The woman begins walking again. At this time a wolf appears before her.)

Woman : (Trembling) What do you want?

Wolf : (Making a horrible smile) I want a candy.

(The woman puts her hand into the basket and covers a candy with a diarrhea potion.)

Woman : (With Her hands trembling) OK, OK. This is for you.
(The woman gets home safely, and the wolf runs here and there because of stomach trouble.)

Man, I gotta get myself some "diarrhea potion." It will probably come in handy sometime.

Let's go...

I'm still kinda traumatized from English camp and I'm not yet ready to write anything about it. But as time passes I'm forgetting how hard it was and I'll soon only remember the fun things. That's when I'll talk about camp.

I've booked a few plane tickets and I'll be meeting up with a hometown friend and taking a vacation. Gonna meet her in Hong Kong (well, actually Macau) and then we head to Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. I don't know if that's the right order but that ain't important.

I'll be gone for 13 days and I plan to party for 13 days. I'll get back to Korea on the 27th with a day or two to rest and then back to school.

When I return to school I'll find out who I'll be working with for the rest of the year. The students go on to the next grade at the beginning of March and most teachers will be assigned to new grades and subjects. Many of the subject teachers wanna be homeroom teachers and the same goes for the Korean teachers who I teach English with.

I was talking to the cool old lady I teach with and she says she feels that the principal treats the subject teachers different than the homeroom teachers and she doesn't like it. She wants more respect and the way to get it is to move the homeroom. It's too bad because her English is pretty good and I enjoy working with her a lot, maybe the most. She has a good sense of humor for an "old" lady.

It will be interesting to see what unfolds because the principal has the final say and I have a feeling that he's gonna make Dong-sik and Ju Yeon (the young teachers I work with) keep teaching English. I'll be glad personally but I know they want to take the dive into being a "real" teacher instead of a subject teacher. They know their workload will increase a lot in the homeroom but at least they'll get to know their students and feel more rewarded for their hard work.

Being a subject teacher in such a big school definitely has it's draw backs. One of the best things about English camp was getting to know the students and in return, they got to know me. That's one thing that is missing from my job because I see each kid for 40 minutes a week and then they're gone. There's no time to form a relationship with the kids and unfortunately, it's a lot easier to teach children you actually know something about, even if you can't speak their language.

Yesterday we finished the English camp at my school and at least now I know a few kids who will be in my classes. The second last day we went to Olympic Park ice skating and the kids were so excited to go skating with me. It's time like that when the language barrier kind of disappears and more importantly, the children take many more risks with their English because the Korean English teachers aren't around. As cheesy as it sounds, it was good to "bond" with the kids on the ice rink and have fun with them.

What was even more fun was skating circle around them.