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Fuck Korea.

Posted on 2010.02.23 at 00:41
(Re)written here for posterity (and so I can copy and paste should I ever have to retell the story).

I got in trouble at work today. Big trouble. "Count your days" kind of trouble.

I employed a very effective classroom management technique I learned from Gus Jin, my former head instructor at CDI. A big, outgoing kid named Kevin, who clearly had every intention of controlling the class, said "yeah, but you're ugly, teacher!" He didn't say it to be mean, he said it to establish his control over me and the classroom. Iin order to prevent this, I shot back with "yeah, and you stink" I waved my hand in front of my nose like there was a foul odor. He tried to establish his dominance once or twice again, and I shot back with a like insult. Both of us laughed, because it was funny, and no one was mad, but he learned pretty quickly I'm not gonna be walked all over in class.

Another student said something about Koreans beating the United Sates in some Olympic event, and proceeded to call me and Americans LOSERS (with his hand in an L shape on his forehead). Again, just a joke, not intended to be mean, and I informed him the USA is number one in gold medals and combined medals, with Korea 5th. He laughed, I laughed. The whole class was having a really fun time.

Kevin joined in on the loser talk, but again, we were all just having fun at no one's expense. I beat Kevin in rock paper scissors (which is like a national pastime here, and the great decider), and proceeded to mimic him with the L on my forehead, shook my butt, and called him a loser. Again, funny. We were enjoying ourselves. Later, kevin beats my ass in some finger-fighting game (he has index fingers made of iron, I swear to it), makes fun of me, calls me a loser, which I sadly agree with, he gives me a high five after class, and all is well. I was just subbing for a sick teacher, so I won't teach that class again, but I really enjoyed the class, and today several of the kids came up to me to talk and make fun of Americans in the Olympics. Because they liked me and we had had a good time in class.

This past weekend, apparently, Kevin had told his mother (who is in fact listed in the computer as "batshit insane," or something similar - no joke), and while Kevin knew very well it was all in fun, that he had said the same thing to me, we were just having a good time and enjoying the banter, his mother decided that using the word "loser" in any context was an affront to her son and family (or some such shit - I'm only guessing as to what she said or the specific offense she took). She called the school, complaining that I was evil, that I maliciously called her son a loser (which is apparently the word of the month for oversensitive parents thanks to some TV show where some woman said she thought short people were losers), and that if I were to ever teach him again, she would pull her son from the hagwon.

I, of course, did nothing wrong. At all. Not even remotely blameable. I in fact did an amazing job controlling a class the teacher I subbed for said was extremely difficult to control. The kids liked me. A lot.

So bossman Brent calls me into a spare room at the end of the night, and starts to reprimand me, saying it was my fault for even saying words that could possibly be used in any way to offend anyone in any context (these words, specifically - he wrote them down - were "stinky," "loser," and I believe "ugly") and that I would be required to write a letter of apology to the mother who was so offended, explaining that what I said and did was wrong and would never happen again. Now, to me, this is slightly akin to me pleading guilty to assault after tapping someone lightly on the shoulder to get their attention. No dice, compadre.

I refused, flat out. Because I'm not going to denigrate my own name, drag myself through the mud, and lie in an apology letter so the hagwon or Brent can save face. At the same time, I found the utter lack of support from the school to be apalling.

He was dumbfounded. Which, in retrospect, was actually kind of funny.

I kept absolutely insisting that I did absolutely nothing wrong, and would not apologize for something that deserves no apology. He demanded that I promise I don't use words that can "get me in trouble" or something, which I happily did, but then he asked that I put it in writing and give it to him.

I again refused, as it is not only insulting, it's INTENDED to be insulting, and I'm not keen on writing down ammunition against me in any way, shape, or form, as it's clearly intended to show that I take fault for the nutterness of the mother of a kid who high-fived me as I left class that day. I'm not dumb or complacent enough to dig my own grave, nor am I interested in being treated like a child.

I reiterated the same three points over and over again:

1. I'm sorry that something I said was misconstrued, lied about, or otherwise decontextualized, and that it caused trouble. No one, myself included, likes trouble.
2. Despite this, I did absolutely nothing wrong, and in fact controlled the class VERY effectively, and as such, I will not agree to say that I was at fault for whatever offense was taken, as I am not, in any way, at fault.
3. I happily promised to not use words that can be decontextualized, misconstrued, or otherwise "used against me," just so he would shut the fuck up.

He finally gave up and angrily left. He looked like he wanted to rip my head off and shit down my neckhole.

I hope he dies in a fire. But not in his sleep or anything. I hope he dies screaming and flailing until he finally stops twitching in a mass of eventual ashes.


On a motherfuckin' boat.

Posted on 2009.11.22 at 22:58
I leave for Korea in right about 2 weeks, and it couldn't come soon enough.

My father hasn't spoken to me for about two days now. Friday afternoon, we were yapping back and forth about benign stuff, and mentioned South Korea (which shouldn't surprise anyone). I mentioned something Colin Powell said some years ago - that is the North invaded the South, there are only two places they could invade from that are wide enough passes through the mountains, and that once in those passes, they would be annihilated. It was a benign quote, but my father had to preach. He looked at me and said (paraphrased) we could do it, sure, militarily, but there isn't the political will. Obama would never do it.

This flipped a switch in me. He has this incredibly amazing ability to belittle the person he's talking to through what seems like benign speech. He didn't just say what he said, he also added with this special ability an obnoxious "don't be stupid and think otherwise." Not said, but clearly and insultingly implied.

So I flipped out. Granted, I didn't yell, and my words were a jumble of adjectives splashed together, but they were true and relatively to the point. I'm not interested in your ridiculously dishonest, pundit-driven, ridiculous tripe. Everything you say about these things is crap, and I won't listen to it. There, I finally said it.

Re-reading it, it doesn't sound terribly harsh, but to someone like my father, it's a stick in the heart. But it's been stabbing at me for months now. He's half-subtle about it (much like his insipid, insidious racism and alcoholism), but a penknife can kill you just as readily as a sword - it just takes a whole lot more stabbing. I've been stabbed enough. I'm not a child, and this was just another example of him trying to "teach" me something I'm too young or stupid to know.

He hasn't spoken to me since, and in fact he hasn't even seen me since, as I've made sure I'm not terribly near him. He spoke briefly to my mother about it tonight, telling her I said things and that I don't respect him. That's fine, and understandable. There are in fact many things I respect about him, not the least of which is being successful and raising a family. But there's a whole bunch more I don't respect, and I'm not going to enable such things, nor will I sit idly by and tolerate it.

I think it's because out of all of the kids, I was always closest to him relative to the rest of my family (which, honestly, isn't really saying much). So, to have this lack of respect shown to him in any manner by his anointed savior of the family, it's a good bit more devastating than it would be if one of the others did it. But then, that's hardly fair to me. If I apologize, he'll win. And not because there's some competition, but because that's how he'll think of it, and it will just be enabling the garbage that he thinks he can not only do but get away with.

Much of this sounds like me being incredibly mean, but it's not what I'm trying to be, not in the least. I love my father, no matter how self-destructive he happens to be (his idea of a diet is to lower what he eats drastically so he can still drink as much as he wants). I have simply never been one to suffer foolishness or fools well, and over the past six months, his subtle racism and lack of respect for most of what I believe in (as well as a huge helping of respect for a large number of things I loathe) just wasn't worth taking any longer. I was tired of feeling uncomfortable, so I had to put a stop to it.

And so it is.
And so it goes.

Posted on 2009.11.22 at 01:25
This about sums it all up.

For some time now I've been an advocate of just cutting and running from Afghanistan. There may have been a chance for the place back in 2002 and 2003, but Iraq swiftly ended that.

On a map, Afghanistan should not be any color but black, sans text, symbolizing the gaping hole of waste the place has not become, but has always been. Trying to set up a government for a large group of people who are ungovernable; trying to civilize a country full of people that are at best barbarians, is an exercise in futility.

I suspect many people know this, and most with any real degree of intellectual honesty (a term I've repeated often as of late) can easily see through the blindness of the positions they feel they are supposed to have and come up with one that isn't fraught with the typical idiological or principled blindess that creates the obnoxious drivel that is public opinion these days. I just wish I would hear those people more often than "never."

Good and proper is not the same as good and proper.

Posted on 2009.11.21 at 20:14
The ending of Dragon Age left a little to be desired.

Posted on 2009.10.27 at 21:17
I don't think I've ever experienced a more boring day in my life.

Posted on 2009.10.27 at 01:59
CSI: NY just did a show on the terrible terrible weight loss chemical DNP. A woman was dosing her roller derby team with DNP via shampoo they used after each match, to keep them slim and trim. One of them died because of it.

The rampant impossibility of people not knowing they've been dosed with DNP made me roll my eyes a bit (just breathing while on DNP makes you sweat like a pig), and the fact that they said "we can't find any injection sites" made me laugh out loud. I've used DNP to shed some pounds before (and all the things that are said about it are true), and that shit seeps through three layers of latex gloves. It gets on everything if you don't use a clean suit and room, and it just touching your skin will cause it to waltz right into your body.

I really have nothing important to write about.

Posted on 2009.10.18 at 21:38
I leave for Korea on December 7th, and can't wait to get out of here. Not that a six-month vacation wasn't great, relaxing, and great for my health (I'm down 25 pounds so far, and feeling much, much better), but I'm going ultra stir-crazy sitting around the house and writing retarded articles for cash to tide me over until I take flight.

I recently spoke to Jon Bermel about various random things, just catching up, and was happy to hear he's doing well. I've also recently learned Vic is joining the Air Force, which is equally as awesome (If I wouldn't get 4F'd right out of it, I'd have done the Navy long, long ago). My sister, who I haven't seen in years, is also coming down from Atlanta to join the family for Thanksgiving, so it'll be nice to see her again before I leave.

The current "plan" is to go to Korea, most likely for a year and a I have just lost interest in updating this journal.


I'm gonna write a novel.

Posted on 2009.10.10 at 00:33
So totally.


You look nervous. Is it he scars?

Posted on 2009.10.09 at 00:51
I've been passing my time researching schools with Anthropology programs, in order to stay sane and pick up literature from prospective advisors so I can wow them when I contact them in a year or so.

One that I've found that's very interesting is Cal State - Los Angeles. One of their faculty is a major contributor to the field of Cave Archaeology in Mesoamerica (focused a good bit on religious ritual and the significance of caves in religious ritual), and as an undergrad, that's what I was absolutely most interested in (I got a minor in Religion because of it).

I've been Google Booking several of his and related publications, and wonderfuully enough, I've been able to get most of them downloaded in PDF form. All of a sudden, I'm really, really excited about my prospects (CalState is a low-tier school, so funding would be a good bet given my scores, etc). LA is where I'd like to go, and even though it doesn't have a PhD program, being able to work so closely with a pioneer in the field and at various sites throughout South America is tough to pass up.


Mecum omnes plangite

Posted on 2009.10.08 at 02:17
Current Mood: upset
Current Music: The babbling brook that is my PC
For the past several weeks, I've had progressive difficulties in sleeping. In bed at 10pm generally means asleep at 4am. It's usually three hours of laying there, annoyed that I won't fall asleep, followed by three hours of my legs and sometimes arms just tensing up on me periodically, preventing me from falling asleep. I think it may be the fact that I'm going stir-crazy, or perhaps because I've been going to the gym five days a week on a pretty extreme diet for 4 months with very little respite.

I've also become more agitated and snappy as of late, and I'm not sure why. I think I'm just tired of the same shitty routine: wake up, shower, slowly pack my gym bag, go to the gym, come home from the gym, eat the same itty bitty meals every two hours, loaf for 12 hours, go to bed, toss and turn, tense up, and finally get to sleep at 4 in the morning. December is coming very slowly, and if it progresses at this rate I'll be lucky I haven't killed myself or half of the city by the time it rolls around and I'm on my way to work.

After 18 months in Korea, I'll have somewhere between $15k and $20k in the bank, and I've decided to go back to grad school, this time to pursue my original interests in archaeology. I'm focusing on schools out west, and will be applying to 7 or 8 programs. Fingers are crossed for either UCLA or UC Boulder, in particular, but will go wherever the money happens to be. My GRE scores have lapsed, as I took the exam more than 5 years ago, so I'll be re-taking the exam in November. I picked up some prep books to reboot my brain (I've never studied for a standardized test before!) and will be working through both of them prior to my test date in late November. I'll be applying to schools in a year's time, and attending in the Fall of 2011. The one part I'm not looking forward to? Corralling former professors from abroad and getting them to write letters of recommendation on my behalf. Three letters is going to be like pulling teeth, especially when I'm asking they be sent to 7 or 8 different schools.

Looks like I'm getting a job in Mapo, a few stops from Hongdae (at or near Daeuheung Station), leaving for Korea on December 7th, to start teaching on December 14th. The hagwon is Avalon, so work is pretty well scripted. They also want to give me a bonus.

So, basically, a job for the school I wanted to work for most, in exactly the place I wanted to work, at exactly the time I wanted to work.

Yo, Jeremy, if you're still in Korea come December, let's get shitfaced.

Posted on 2009.09.08 at 18:02
Got ahold of Michael, who recieved my proposal very positively. Looks like mid-December for my arrival back in Korea. In the meantime, trying out Demand Studios for some loan-repayment cushion, as recommended by my brother, who highly recommends it.

Posted on 2009.09.08 at 00:50
So I've decided, for the most part, to go back to Korea. I'm trying to get in contact with Micahel and Celeste to see if they'd like to go back with me to Ilsan, as Michael had talked about it earlier. Second time around (and third year), I know all the ropes so no wandering around like a lost puppy. I'm much more disciplined now, and know how to get things done, know how to pack light, and know what to bring.

Going with the assumption that Michael and Celeste would both be interested in returning in November, it would go like this: instead of provided housing, we would get key deposits from the institutes we teach for, plus a housing allowance. This would allow a decent-sized key deposit (google cheonse if you don't know what I'm talking about), which would lower our rent substantially. We would then be able to afford a very nice 3 bedroom modern apartment in a decent area, instead of getting retardedly tiny and shitty studios.

Utilities would be shared, so in the end, costs would actually be lower, even if we would have to dip into our own salaries for any part of the housing (at the very least, it'd be a wash). Furnishing an apartment is pretty simple in Korea, especially with the love that is gmarket and the turnover of foreign teachers there. I'd be able to, in the first 2 months or so, pick up a scooter and a few quality of life improvements, join a gym, and we'd be off. I'd also look into taking classroom lessons at a Korean hagwon, and actually put in an effort to learn the language beyond ordering beer and barbecue.

Now, if only Michael would answer his emails or turn on his Skype phone :/.

Head Bobbin' Negro


Posted on 2009.09.07 at 00:44
Current Location: Update.
Current Mood: Update.
Current Music: Update.

Posted on 2009.06.25 at 22:25
I'll bet a dime to a dollar that at least 10 people in the last 24 hours died much more suddenly and violently than Michael Jackson, and all of them were much better people.

People's obsession with bullshit celebrity makes me retch.

Posted on 2009.06.09 at 00:19

I'm so happy I know now.

Posted on 2009.05.25 at 07:37
Being in Sarasota after so long is quite strange, indeed.

Posted on 2009.04.22 at 11:37
Fuck dry sockets.

Posted on 2009.04.17 at 17:40
I had one wisdom tooth removed today. Took her about a whole goddamn hour.

Oh God the pain.

Unfortunate Postage Stamp

Mood music

Posted on 2009.02.21 at 17:48
I've lived in Korea for 2 years now. I'll be heading back to the ol' USA at the very end of May, and I've started getting extremely meloncholy because of it. I've had so many good times (and some bad), but overall, it's an experience I'm glad I had and wouldn't change it for the world.

I've met some fantastic people here, and I've only just now started taking pictures of things, which finally seems appropriate when faced with my impending departure. There's just so many things here I don't ever want to forget, and so many people here I never want to lose touch with.

The other day I went for drinks with a couple of friends of mine, and we went (of course) to Marcello's. I told Marcello I was leaving in May, he cocked his head, and simply said "so when will you be back?" He didn't mean it in that clueless way that kids might say it when their grandparents die and their parents say they went on a long trip. He was just making a joke, and we laughed about it.

But now I realize I will be back. I don't know when, and I don't know in what capacity. But I do know I will be.

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