Archive | February 2016

Did I Mention…

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Pohang, South Korea – 02/23/2016

Did I mention I more or less quit my job?

“More or less” because when the time came to renew my teaching contract for another year, I chose not to so now I’m just wiling away the days until my last one, which will be Friday.

I’ve been at my main school since 2011. It was great teaching these kids. I even liked most of them, in particular the current crop who will be starting 6th grade next week. But I also need a break. Which I realize is such a luxurious, privileged thing to say. And I feel both those things and not necessarily in a bad way, but in a fortunate and thankful way. It’s been a privilege to work with and know everyone I met students and teachers. I worked for years. I saved money. Now I can take a few months off to do as I please. Savings along with my wife’s income should hold us and once my visa gets sorted out I’ll be able to freelance and teach private students. We’ll see what happens.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m a little stressed out. Having no schedule, no time when I need to be up, no place I need to be, that’s spooky. I fear I’m either going to become completely indolent, or worse, and this is actually more likely, I’ll become so utterly fussy that I’ll be vacuuming the ceiling every day at 3 o’clock sharp and other somewhat OCD compulsions and more or less driving people crazy.

Did I mention I graduated grad school and am now a “Master of Education”?

A Master.

I’m glad it’s done. Now I can read all the books. All the books. But the degree might prove useful later on, especially when it comes time to find a new job. You’d think right?

One thing that always got me was when folks would say how they wanted to take a grad course while in Korea, but when I told them the time to enroll for my program they’d give me some long blahblahblah about how my school was a bad school and there are online programs and yaddayadda – and yes, fine, my school isn’t the greatest. It’s basically a local community college, but it really bugs me when I see people want to do a thing, talk about doing it, then when you point them to an opportunity to do it, they tell you how the opportunity is somehow wrong, and so they won’t do it. Meanwhile I got my degree and they’re still talking about getting theirs.

In other facets of my life I should apply that insight, instead of waiting for right conditions.

Did I mention our cat died?

Yeah, that sucked. But it was months ago. She was a big annoying cat who had like four owners by the time she was 4 years old – and I loved every fat ounce of her, but it turned out she had a heart problem. I like to think she had a decent three years with us. We still have another cat. Her name is Mona Lisa Overdrive. She’s also annoying. And I love her to pieces.

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Links Two

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ORIAS by Michael Bukowski

The above picture comes from Seventh Church Ministries your go to place for Clark Ashton Smith limited edition fanzines, MR James reprints with art prints inside, and what-not. And by “what-not” I mean a ton of cool shit.

The Strange New Vocabulary of Korean Factory Workers: This is a 7 minute documentary about working conditions in 70s and 80s Korean factories alongside an explanation of the slang that arose in response to the workers’ lives. If you’ve got the time click the link. It’s worth it. (Via The Atlantic)

 

I Didn’t Like It

I read a thing. I didn’t like it. Now I need to tell you how much I didn’t like it, because these other people, they liked it. And I can’t stand that, because I REALLY DIDN’T LIKE IT. And because I didn’t like it that means it’s bad. It’s a bad thing. It’s awful. So there’s something wrong with those people that like that thing. How could they like that thing? Wasn’t it clear that it was bad? Wasn’t that obvious? If the thing was good, I’d know. I’d be able to tell. It would be clearly a good thing. No doubt at all. But that thing? That thing wasn’t a good thing, because I didn’t like it and I know good things. Never mind that it might not have been made for me, never mind that I might not have the life experience it speaks to, or the simple matter of it coming down to taste. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s bad, I know. And that thing was bad, because I didn’t like it, and I only like good things. Those people who liked that thing, they’re wrong. They’re dumb. They have problems. Isn’t that obvious? It’s a bad thing because I didn’t like it.

Some Links

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From the beginning, the coexistence of the diverse groups that gravitated around D’Annunzio had been difficult. There were the citizens of Fiume and the Italian troops (the arditi, the carabinieri), but also Bolsheviks who rushed to the city (in a Moscow speech, Lenin said he and D’Annunzio were the only authentic revolutionaries of Europe); anarcho-syndicalists; futuristic, fascist Dadaists; and oddities like the curious war hero Guido Keller, whose mascot was an eagle, who slept naked in the tops of trees, and who was one of the new commander’s main lieutenants.

From a Cabinet Magazine article by Reinaldo Laddaga about Gabriele D’Annunzio’s 1919 capture of the city of Fiume reads like something straight out of a China Mieville Bas-lag novel: A City for Poets and Pirates. It’s a fascinating read and worth checking out.

216 Words for emotional states that don’t exist in English. I have had the occasional schnapsidee myself.

When I say ‘my armor,’ what I really mean is a spreadsheet I used to analyze every piece of armor my character wore. Each piece of gear—the helmet, the chest piece, the chainmail legs—altered my character’s powers. My goal was to increase the amount of ‘Haste’ he had without giving up too much mana.

From Alex Golub’s artcile on The History of Mana: How an Austronesian Concept became a Video Game Mechanic . . . now I’m not going to say I’ve ever had a spreadsheet set-up for my D&D characters, but I will say I’ve known some people who have.

Macho Meat Solutions

And you’ll find yourself standing beside people you don’t know listening to people you don’t like and one of them will call someone else “straight-edge” and there will be this silence before someone else asks how anyone could possibly quit drinking, and the original speaker will backtrack and say, “She still drinks, she just doesn’t get black-out drunk anymore. Same thing.” And you’ll wonder how long it’ll be before your friends show up and you can say goodbye to them, because you’ll have discovered once again that you should have stayed home.

Some Links

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Do you like links? I like links. I like having neat and interesting stuff pointed out to me. I like being shown towards articles I would never have found otherwise.

The internet is a big place. Why not let other people read bits of it for you?

When I started this blog I thought of it being a bit of a scrapbook, a place to put down random ideas, pictures, and notes. Earlier this week I asked a friend to send me the link to an article he told me about over a year ago, and the thought occurred to me that maybe I should keep track of those. Plus sharing a note of such things might be worthwhile.

So here we are…

Teaching: Just Like Performing Magic: Teller (the silent half of the comedy team Penn & Teller) talks about his experiences teaching high school Latin. Things to crib here if you’re an ESL/EFL teacher and want or get to design your own curriculum.

The Significance of Plot Without Conflict: A bit about the kishōtenketsu style of story telling. I think there’s a critique of this style of story telling, just as there’s one of Campbellian heroes with a thousand faces, but knowing it’s out there is pretty helpful.

Return of the Mercenaries: Since I live overseas near a US military base, I’ve had a chance to hang around with contractors working for the Department of Defense. All of them have been tech guys, but the stories they tell of their friends who are involved in combat operation makes your average mercenary sound like a combination of a prima donna ballerina and a viking berserker.

Twitter Weird Science Facts: I’m glad these are back. I had my wife in stitches telling her about FDC Willard, the physicist cat. And we both agreed that badger/coyote hunting teams sounded like the scar-faced gangsters of the animal world. Beatrix Potter was right!

The Swincar E-Spider: “Ferdinand, I must ride.”