It’s day two of cold grayness and pissing rain. Hell of a time to find out my shoes aren’t waterproof. On the positive side the cold will hopefully kill off the mosquitoes.
Stuff? It’s cold. It’s gray. School hasn’t turned on the heat. I’m typing this while wearing fingerless gloves. The windows in the hallway leak so puddles form on the floor. I wonder if they’ll ice over in the winter time.
My coteacher and I have largely stemmed the tide of rebellion and only have one class that makes teaching horrible. They wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for three or four turds. They’re the shitheels of the school and pretty much everyone will be happy when they’re gone. On the other side of the coin, four of the best students from one of my other classes are all transferring to another school at the end of the week. (Their parents are playing the game where they have their kids switch elementary schools in the last month of 6th grade so they, the kids, don’t have the shitty school on their “permanent records”.) So it goes.
Other stuff? My wife and I went away last weekend to Gyeongju. Yeah. It’s historic. Yeah, tombs and the Silla dynasty and all that shit. Whatever. It’s a cheap quick bus ride and we wanted to eat at one of our favorite restaurants. (They have the best pajun. It’s like an omelet made love to a scallion pancake.) We then stayed in a motel room that had a bath tub larger than our bathroom. So, hurray for laziness and warm water. The internet connection was shit though.
Other, other stuff? Shit. What do you want from me? Here you go. Pick and choose whatever interests you:
I read Tete-Michel Kpomassie’s An African In Greenland. It’s a fascinating read. As a kid in Togo he was attacked by a snake and while convalescing he read a book about the Inuit in Greenland and so going to Greenland became an obsession with him. Eventually he worked his way out of Africa and across Europe until finally he arrived in Greenland and traveled there. It’s great. Kpomassie is a charming author. He also reminded me a bit of Wilfred Thesiger who wrote Arabian Sands. Two very different individuals who both became obsessed with a place (in Thesiger’s case the Arabian Empty Quarter) and traveled there. Definitely give it a try. Now I’m reading The Long Ships by Frans Gunnar Bengtsson. As you can see I’m pretty much hooked on the whole NYRB catalog.
Earlier this week we played a game in class and during the game some of my students wanted me to help them cheat. Of course I did the exact opposite and went out of my way to hinder them, which made two of them so mad they needed to look up the word conscience just so they could say I didn’t have one. That was fun.
Apropos of nothing I wonder if it’s possible to measure the correlation between one’s developing an interest in classical literature (the Greeks and Romans) and one’s ultimate conversion to the conservative Catholicism of the Chesteron/Lewis type (that is, equal parts cleverness, bluster, and a prissy elitist humbuggedness).
Did I mention it was cold? Yeah. OK.
What about my goatee? Did you realize for the whole month of November this blog has been written by my Evil Spock twin Justout? Did you notice the difference? He types with two totally different fingers! For what it’s worth I like my crop of facial hair (it gives my face something to do) even if it’s a major no-no here in Korea, because it’s associated with drunkeness and being dirty (which is funny because the men on their money have facial hair). I suspect that’s one of those things Korean men have indoctrinated into them while they’re in the military. One thing I started to feel is that the longer I live here in Korea the more my presence will become a middle finger displayed towards the overculture. Not sure that’s a good thing.
But maybe that’s fatigue talking, because I did that thing last night where you fall asleep right after dinner and wake up around midnight and can’t fall back asleep, so you sit up drinking coffee and eating oranges until 4AM when you finally fall asleep and have terrible dreams for the next three hours before your alarm wakes you up. Yeah, that’s never fun.
“There was formerly a capacity for light-heartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake.”
-Bertrand Russell, In Praise of Idleness