Archive | November 2011

Expat Blogs?

Anytime I spend too long reading expat blogs I normally end up wondering if there’s a bunch of Korean expats in the States writing the same presumptive and condescending crap about America. I suspect there is.

Shit happens, but I’m not going to spend the time writing a diatribe only to realize weeks or months later it’s based on my own shallow assumptions, the fact that I didn’t have all the information, or simply the fact that being offended is the natural consequence of leaving my house. Shit is shit, and Bad Habits isn’t going to be an endless investigation of the South Korean brand of shit. This might not make it much fun to read, but if you want that start your own blog and call it International House of Shit. I’d likely read it.

So yeah, there you go — not much of an expat blogger, except for the fact that I am by default as long as I live in Korea and blog.

(And in case you’re wondering, I read two expat blogs regularly: Gord Sellar’s blog and Burndog’s Burnblog. Between them, Facebook, and waygook.org I feel like I’ve got things covered.)

Demolition Site

The city’s doing a big urban renewal project near work. The plan’s to extend a canal from downtown to the river and build an outdoor shopping area along it. It would make the neighborhood where I teach into an island separate from the rest of the city. Ideally the jobs it will create will be a step above the bar/coffee/song-room type common in the area, but for now it means I and my students walk through this every morning.

(Enjoy the blur from the wobbly cam.)

My Life Updated

Here’s a post for folks who actually want to know how I am doing (one of the two of you must!). So why don’t you pull up a seat, grab a mug of something warm, and let me fill you in on the latest.

Ready? Here’s what’s going on…

… not much.

I mean, stuff happens, the day to day continues, I certainly find stuff to say on Twitter and Facebook everyday, but as to details, well… *shrug*.

Work-wise, the year is slowly grinding down. My 6th grade classes are almost entirely in open rebellion at this point, and once December gets here I expect to be guillotined in the playground, along with the rest of the faculty, by a mob of 12-year-olds. Some crazy stuff happened where one of the kids “disappeared” for four days after stealing some money from his dad. When he came back to school his teacher sat him down and the kid poured out a heart-wrenching tale involving the suicide of both his mom and his older sister. Sad shit–and it made the running away part sound like the best thing that ever happened to him. (He spent all the cash eating junk food, playing video games, and buying hoodies with skulls on them while camping out on the roof of his apartment building.)

Despite this (well, the fact that I teach at a “bad” school in a “poor” neighborhood) I’ve decided to renew my contract with my current school. It’s been an improvement over my previous school, and I’m looking forward to teaching some of the same kids next year. Maybe consistency will have a benefit, if only in the fact that I already know the troublemakers and can crush them on Day 1.

Other less harrowing stuff…

Yesterday was Pepero Day, a corporate manufactured holiday that succeeded in transforming my workplace into Wonka Land.

Last Monday Jin and I celebrated our 9th anniversary. Craziness. I’m still surprised when I wake up in the morning and find out she hasn’t murdered me in my sleep. Naw. I’m kidding. Besides she told me she’d likely murder me while I’m awake so she could see the look in my eyes.

Writing-wise, I sold a story to Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I’m quite happy about that, since it’s a magazine I love, and the story, “Shadows Under Hexmouth Street”, is one I’m really pleased with. It’s my Joe Mitchell in “Lankhmar” story. Work also continues on Clusterfuck: The Novel, but that’s all I’ll say about that.

Reading-wise, same old same old. I’ve got my nose in five different books at once and can’t help but download/order more when I hear about them. Two of the books are writing books, David Morrell’s The Successful Novelist and Francine Prose’s Reading Like a Writer, one book is 19th century police blotter junk, Felix Feneon’s Novels in Three Lines, one book is short fiction, Maureen McHugh’s After the Apocalypse, and the last is Jane Austen’s Persuasion, since I never read Austen and I feel like I’ve been going through life without having done my homework. What I’m really saying is it’s certainly a chore deciding what to read when I go to the can most mornings.

Sheesh, hasn’t this been the most boring blog-post ever?

A Picture With a Side of Links

One of my students goofing around with a mask I made for an after school class. I don’t normally post pictures of people since it seems invasive, but the kid’s masked–so pretend he’s Batman.

Anyway, this post is written at work, which means the operating system defaults to Korean, which means no fancy redline shows up under my misspelled words, which means the potential for seeing what a lousy speller I am has climbed through the roof.

Here’s the greatest thing I’ve read in the past 15 minutes: Self-Publishing Doesn’t Mean You Have To Be A Raging Fuckwad. 

Here’s the creepiest: Russian ‘Genius’ Lived With 26 Female Bodies, Some Skeletal Remains Were Reportedly Dressed as a Doll and a Teddy Bear.

That last one comes from Quigley’s Cabinet, an amazing site for Ripley’s-Believe-It-or-Not style news of the weird.

Being Offended Is the Natural Consequence of Leaving One’s Home

“Being offended is the natural consequence of leaving one’s home. I do not like aftershave lotion, adults who roller-skate, children who speak French, or anyone who is unduly tan. I do not, however, go around enacting legislation and putting up signs. In private I avoid such people; in public they have the run of the place. I stay at home as much as possible, and so should they. When it is necessary, however, to go out of the house, they must be prepared, as I am, to deal with the unpleasant personal habits of others. That is what “public” means.”

– Fran Lebowitz

NaNoWriMo Tip

Here’s a tip for everyone doing NaNoWriMo.

Say while you’re working on your book you get an idea for a decent 2-4K short story, but are uncertain whether you should take a break long enough to write it.

Now this isn’t an instance of “I think this’ll make a good story”. No, this is the story has more or less bubbled forth fully formed out of the froth of your NaNoWriMo-fevered brain, and since you’ve been putting in long hours pounding the keys you KNOW you can write this story, polish it, and get it out the door in 24 to 48 hours.

Well, if that’s the case, and you’re at all interested in actually completing some decent fiction this month, then take the break and write the story.

Your novel draft can wait. Inspiration won’t.