Friday, February 29, 2008

Things I Will Not (But Should) Do Today

1. Wash my dishes.
2. Blog on the books I've read recently.
3. Clean my house.
4. Finish one of the many books I have been reading lately.
5. Put away my laundry.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

My God, The Fuss

Kindergarten graduation was today, and it was about as eventful and exciting as my university graduation. I thought it was very cheesy and silly to fuss so much about kindergarten, until I thought about it for a moment. It is no small feat to learn a foreign language when you are so young you can't even do your own alphabet, much less someone else's.

They sang a song and four of the students gave a speech about their favourite Poly memory. It was sweet. There were millions and millions of photos taken - my smile felt like it was glued to my face. A couple of the kids had younger siblings who were little versions of them.

Anyway, it's all over. On Monday, we start with a whole new kindergarten class to whip into shape.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


So, I'm thinking of doing this - basically you commit to posting every day for a single month. I wanted to do it back in November, which is the official month, but with a weekend planned in North Korea, there was no way I was going to be able to participate without cheating. Apparently there is a theme this time - lists. Sounds interesting. Maybe I can finally get around to making my list of resolutions...

Smiley Things

Ms. Simpson makes me laugh because she is funny all the time.

Ms. Sharma and Mr. Bishop makes me laugh because they look friendly.

They should make the kids write about Smiley Things more often in our textbooks. Even when it wasn't an ego upper, it was pretty cute and heartwarming.

I'm Done With It, But It's Not Done With Me

Myspace Amuses Me

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If you are one of the goodies then, I am waiting to hear from you for greeting ,chatting & CAM Viewing
Bye for now

And all that from a completely unsolicited message. Why message strangers and then lecture them???

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From Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada

Feb 13th
Dear supporters,

The "Unborn Victims of Crime Act" is scheduled for debate on Feb 29 with a Parliamentary vote on March 5. This bill would give fetuses personhood, and it has a chance of passing. Not only is it a foot-in-the-door to recriminalize abortion, it would also endanger the rights of all pregnant women, and violate women's equality rights in general. Please check out our 14 Talking Points on the dangers of this bill:

Here's what you can do to help:

1. Sign our petition against the bill:

2. Send a letter to your MP urging them to vote against the bill. Sample letter:

3. Post a link to the Petition on your website or blog.

4. Spread the word about the dangers of this bill, with links to our petition and sample letter, to all your networks, friends, colleagues, etc.

Thank you so much!

Monday, February 25, 2008

It's an Exciting Movie

Geek Alert

Dogwhistles. Super delegates. Primaries vs. caucauses. Disenfranchised voters. This is the most into an American election I have ever been and they're only picking leaders! I've even gotten ahold of Obama's Dreams From My Father secondhand. Not only do I not think I've ever been this into a Canadian election, I talk about American politics at bars where I should have more important things to do, like flirting and caging free drinks.

The only election I can recall interesting me this much was the Scottish one, where the Green Party (who I like so much more in Scotland than Canada) actually got all but one of the seats they ran for, due to the mixed first-past-the-post and representative voting system in the Scottish parliment. I was trying to decide why these two particular elections interested me more than Canadian ones and it hit me...

I just like learning stuff. I like having to figure out how a different kind of democracy works, how it all fits together. It's like a giant, amusing puzzle.

Who dropped the ball and forgot to tell the weather gods that SPRING WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE WAY?!?

Towards the end of the last week, I was hearing birds twittering (not really, just, you know, go with it) and feeling the sun shining on my face and I proclaimed the beginning of spring a couple of posts ago. And naturally, that's cursed us all to it not being spring at all. Fucking snow.

Friday was warmish. Sure, by the time we wandered over to the Orange Galbi place for the amusingly named Polygone party, which was complete with properly shaped invites and cards and such, it was chilly. But, I was wearing my Taipei 101 sweatshirt and not my winter coat - not even my kickass wool/fleece sweater because I accidentally knocked it down the back of the couch last weekend and convinced myself I had left it somewhere (my ability to loose things will become even more amusing later in this post.)

Dave's party was fun. First off, almost everyone was there - KTs, foreign staff, even our director. Secondly, after some meat and some standing around on the street in the cold, I finally made it to the infamous Ocean Palace. It was an interesting place - the dancing was odd, with slow bits separating dance sets where everyone was shooed to sit down, and people mainly standing around admiring the three dudes dancing on stage and copying their routines. We had a private room with karaoke (sang What's Up and thought of Laura and YJ) and crates of beer and it was all very random. Dave is an amusing MC.

We peaced out to Dave's place, where we got to play with the wad of cash he is taking back to Canada, and then I came home and got drunkenly excited about eating dill pickles. You may well have gotten a Facebook message. Or an email. In fact, it's a good thing I didn't have an international calling card, because people might have gotten a gushing call all about the wonderfulness of pickles. It might have gone on for hours.

Saturday was Samarra's leaving party, as this seems to be prime-leaving-time. We had Indian buffet, with me dragging Brian along for his first ever Indian food (how is this possible???), and from there went to Bricx and Tin Pan 1. The dancing was fanastic. Woke up, hit up Outback and then realised that I had a teensy problem...

My keys were AWOL. Since I had gotten into the apartment, I had to have lost them inside. Or possibly left them in the door, I guess, but that seems somewhat unlikely. I have torn apart my place, moved all the furniture (side benefit - I have done some hard core dusting/sweeping), looked in totally random places like the freezer, and nothing. They just aren't here. I jokingly said it was starting to feel like I had managed to flush them down the toilet or something when it dawned on me that maybe that was a possiblity. After all, only a couple of months ago I paid $60 to have my toilet taken off so someone could remove a plastic cap that I had accidentally flushed down the toilet. And I once flushed an entire bar of soap down my toilet, which forced me to pour boiling water in it to get it to unclog. In my defense, Korean bathrooms are (in my mind) rather small and oddly laid out, such that it is easier to accidentally knock things into your toilet while it is simultaneously flushing...

Anyway. I decided, fuck it. I never lock my door when I'm here and no one has ever tried to open it. I'm going to go out anyway, I have plans dammit and no Sunday-friendly solution to my problem. Trying to mime that I wanted to know if the security guard had a spare to my apartment resulted in nothing more than him thinking that I am the oddest foreign chick alive and me flashing back to all those games of Charades I always ended up losing back in highschool...

To make it all more amusing, on my keys is a sticker with an apartment number that is actually one floor below me, because during the toilet-removing incident
("You can use the toilet, just not sit on it until tomorrow morning..." Korean man checks out foreign girl with frown on his face,"or... tomorrow night." Korean man considers telling girl that kimchi is good for dieting.)
the toilet-fixing man wrote the wrong apartment number on my keys when he dropped them off at security for me to pick up later. Naturally, this caused a highly amusing scene, whereby I tried to mine that indeed, those where my keys, for all that they did not match the number I just said, and then had to go back to work and get a Korean staff member to come over and vouch that I was sure those really, really were my keys, promise, in order to get them back.

So, there I was, on a Sunday afternoon, wildly miming that I live in one place, though I'm looking for a set of keys that says another number, and no, I don't think someone has left the keys on purpose, maybe they were turned in because I lost them... That's when I went, fuck it, I'm off to Itaewon. Which turned out to be me being off to the bar, though that wasn't the plan. Really. Honest. I swear.

So, I headed to Itaewon with three goals: get my hair trimmed, buy a book that a friend recommended, and have dinner with Annie. What did I do? Stopped by the Wolfhound to say a quick hello to Vanessa, chatted with Anita, went and bought many books but couldn't get the one I wanted, went back to Wolfhound to now chat with Vanessa, Sheila, Pam, Jennifer, and Brian, Annie and Amanda showed up for the dinner portion (first goal met!), and ended up in Bricx at 2a.m. with a half hour cab ride home in front of me and an 8a.m. alarm to set.

I have to go get another key cut tomorrow. That will ensure I find the last set, after all!

No Explination Needed

Also, I wish I had been around for the Mobile Desktop.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Reading Roundup

Me and Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter had one really great description: "totally, utterly, back-in-college-doing-tequila-shots-on-acid crazy." Otherwise, it was an entertaining read but nothing particularly memorable.
"Words can enhance experience, but they can also take so much away. We see an insect and at once we abstract certain characteristics and classify it - a fly. And in that very cognitive exercise, part of the wonder is gone. Once we have labeled the things around us we do not bother to look back at them so carefully. Words are part of our rationa selves, and to abandon them for a while is to give freer reign to our intuitive selves."
In A Reason for Hope by Jane Goodall, I learned a lot about the woman herself and she's always fascinated me - all three of "Leaky's angels" do (Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas.)
"I experienced, as have so many others, the bitterness of a close and joyful relationship with a spouse slowly changing and souring, and the intense emotional pain that this generates. And the sense of failure and guilt."
She asks why there is such a dichotomy between the idea of evolutionary goof and compares to MacBeth's "tale told by an idiot" purposeless existence with the idea of a plan, hence god. She also shares some of her hope by outlining the Roots & Shoots project that works on educating and empowering children to save the environment. She quotes Albert Schweitzer: "A man who possesses a veneration of life will not simply say his prayres. He will thrown himself into the battle to preserve life, if for no other reason than that he is himself an extension of life around him. I learned about pseudospeciation, which is the transmission of individually aquired behaviour from one generation to the next with a particular group, leading to a collective culture.
"In its extreme form, cultural speciation leads to the dehumanizating of out-group members, so that they may come to be regarded almost as members of a different species. Gombe chimp wars."

The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant did very little for me. The characters were too quirky, I think, for me to ever come to care much about what happened to them. It was odd to dislike the book so much, considering how much I loved The Red Tent. Usually if I like an author, I like the majority of their books because I find myself very influenced by writing style.

A Mighty Heart by Mariane Pearl was a good book. The life of Daniel Pearl is one worth knowing about. As Leon Dayan says about Danny in a letter:
"I am talking about the ability to truly live life: the ability to experience unrepressedjoy; the ability to be thoughtful without being self-absorbed; the ability to see, and add to, the humor in life wihtout adopting the easy distance of a cynic; and the ability to be spontaneous and unforced in relationships with others."

A Spot of Bother by Mark Haddon - it's so delightfully British! I'm curious as to what has led the author to focus his novels around issues of mental health and mental disabilities, but what I liked most in this book was the examination of the gay son:
"He wasn't sure which was worse. Mum and Dad pretending Tony was one of Jamie's colleagues in case the neighbours found out. Or their being painfully groovy about it.

Jaimie has spent a great deal of time and energy arranging his life precisely as he wanted. Work. Home. Family. Friends. Tony. Exercise. Relaxation. Some compartments you could mix. Katie and Tony. Friends and exercise. But the compartments were there for a reason. It was like a zoo. You could mix the chimpanzees and the parrots. But take the cages away altogether and you had a bloodbath on your hands.
Ah, mixing. It most certainly isn't always welcome.

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult and her book the Pact are the same fucking book! Amish girl, tried for the crime, says on the stand she's guilty because she feels guilty, but she didn't do it. Same with The Pact, Chris says he thinks he's guilty because he can't stop Emily from committing suicide. Ahhhhh! And yet, somehow I still by Picoult's novels to read as my guilty little pleasures, in spite of the fact that Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner was a far superior guilty pleasure read. I do like chick lit - it balances out the seriousness of so much else that I read.

The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank - Peter hides that he is a Jew, but marries a Jewish woman, goes quietly crazy hiding who he is - it's a book about the burden of memory. His response to the publishing of the play and book is fascinating - he feels there are lies about his family. I've always loved books that take history and give it a fictional slant.

Sexy by Joyce Carol Oates - I've written about it elsewhere, in an analysis of teen literature and Oates' feminist perspective. It was a good book, but nowhere near as good as Freaky Green Eyes (the teen novel I bought by accident, not realising it wasn't one of Oates' adult novels.)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Something's Working

So, one of my S1 students thought he might not be able to stay at Poly next semester, because the time change was going to conflict with his soccer time. He went and took a test to be leveled at a different school and he tested at a grade 5 level!

The funny thing? For an S1 student, he isn't especially high. We have 4 classes and he's in the second lowest. At most, he's been studying here at Poly since preschool, though he might have started in kindergarten.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I Think Spring Is Here

I felt so productive and happy today. I think it's just the warmth (sort of, warmer at least) and the sunshine. I got a ton of little errands done, powered through some marking. The semester is ending, so everything feels like it's being slowly tied up. It's lovely.

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Context is Everything

virago \vuh-RAH-go; vuh-RAY-go\, noun:

1. A woman of extraordinary stature, strength, and courage.
2. A woman regarded as loud, scolding, ill-tempered, quarrelsome, or overbearing.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Facebook Quizzes Leave Out All The Obvious Answers

You chose your school based on:

A) Male to female ratio.
B) It contained your major.
C) It was close to home.
D) It was the best fit for you based on many factors.

or my own response, E) The campus with the most adorable squirrels.

or perhaps F) It was far away from the tiny place I come from.

C'mon Facebook! Time to up your game!

Quiz question from the quiz Which Les Miserables Character Are You? I'm Eponine.

Choice Quotes From This Evening - Not PG - And Not All Mine

* "you only need to love pricks of the flesh variety and then only sometimes"

* Amanda says:
there is a crumb under my l key
Amanda says:
which sucks
Amanda says:
i keep oling people

* "i should be worshipped"

* "Advice For People Moving to Seoul"
1. time buying water with one night stands

* "maybe you've got living o phobia"

* s says:
what do yu win?
Amanda says:
uhhhhh, the courage of my convictions?
s says:
you should have bargained higher

* Amanda says:
i bet brain had the dude email me that you should show up that early just to get
us there in time
s says:
there's a precedent

* "what i know is that the look on your mother's face when she finds your
toothbrush, some sweaters, a couple of pots and some books all in the same box...
is priceless! and really, only last minute drunken packing can do that for you

It's Friiiiiiiiiiday!

And I'm too tired to think, but I haven't blogged all week, so I am going to steal an idea from Bomboniera and, so I present to you my gypsy-like lifestyle:

Since I graduated highschool in June 1997, I lived:

1) A summer at home. Then I moved to
2) Residence at Queen's University, from whence I went
3) home again for a boring summer working at a bank and then I immediately moved to
4) 93 Division St - my god, the silverfish - to live with 5 other people for my second year of university and then
5) home again to work at the bank, again, but I quit my contract early to go to
6) England to excavate and live in a residence apartment at Warwick University, after which I
7) lived out of my backpack for 6 months, before
8) what was supposed to be a year of residence at the University of Edinburgh, but they made us move all our stuff out at holidays so they could rent out our rooms to tourists and after moving my stuff to
9) Alan's in April, I never moved back into residence, but in June I was
10) living in a tent in the mountains in Greece, before a short return to
11) Alan's in Edinburgh and then back to
12) Canada, a week with my parents and I hadn't even unpacked when I
13) went househunting with no time to spare in Kingston and ended up in a horrible basement apartment with 3 obnoxious guys for my last year of university. From there I went
14) back home, for a horrible summer of two nasty-ass minimum wage jobs, before moving to
15) Scotland, where I had a lovely flat on Nicolson St. in Edinburgh, one in which I managed to stay for almost 2 complete years, but then I went back to
16) living from a backpack, while touring Ireland and Scotland, and as funds got low I went to
17) live with my Nana and Henry in Toronto, in the most disturbingly decorated basement ever, and then
18) a month of sleeping in hostels or the train on a Cross-Canada jaunt that landed me in
19) a basement apartment in Dunbar, Vancouver, which I was in for only 8 months (for all that I tend to think of it as my year-in-Vancouver) and then I moved to
20) my job-provided, cockroach-infested tiny studio in Sinjeong-negori in Seoul, which after my one year contract ended saw me move
21) home for about 6 weeks and then
22) back to Edinburgh for 5 of the most horrible months of my life, though the flat was lovely, and I escaped to
23) a slightly larger studio in Deungcheon-dong, which had burnt down the week before I moved in by my teacher-predecessor, who apparently had a nervous break and thought she was back in Canada roasting marshmellows over a campfire, and then after a year,
24) a week with Amanda in Haebonchon, and though I almost missed my flight, I made it to
25) Hong Kong, where I basically couch surfed at Candace's before spending
26) three months living in the basement apartment at my parents, with my brother's girlfriend and my three nieces, and ending up at my
27) present place in Hwajung, Korea!

Where have you been since 1997?

Rules - post where you've been living for the last 10 years. You can only include travel/stints at the folks if you had no fixed abode at the time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

These are Awesome! (Btw, back from Taipei)


The story of the Queen’s math prof who was accused of espionage
Read in the upcoming Winter issue of the Queen’s Alumni Review (available Feb. 19) the remarkable true story of Israel Halperin, a former Queen’s math professor who in February 1946 was arrested and held in isolation for five weeks after being accused of providing the Soviet Union with secret information needed to build an atomic bomb.

Friday, February 01, 2008

I have SO done this!

It all started in university, when I was too poor to buy the books, so I'd just research from them in the Indigo in Kingston. They were very pleasant about all the Queen's students ordering a single coffee and sandwich and then planting themselves in the coffee shop with half the history section and a couple of leftie magazines to boot.

Then I started doing it for trashy books, like random self-help and other things I would not have been caught dead with at the cash register. I always carefully shielded the covers.

After that, in Edinburgh, I had two separate incidences of books lacking around 50 or so of the pages, so I just sat down and caught up on the missing bits, since neither book was worth the effort of returning and replacing, only to dump it at the nearest charity shop an hour after getting it.

Now, whenever I am back in Toronto, I've made reading tons of random magazines in Indigo (prefered choice) and Chapters locations around the city into something of an art. I've read a couple of books that way too, most recently Bridge to Teribithia. You tend to find yourself with a lot of spare time on your hands when dealing with the Korean consulate in Toronto.

Dear S,

Amanda wrote
at 2:41am

I gotta be honest, I am not entirely sure I believe that there is something wrong with the shape of my eardrum, though a lot of really fucking random tests were certainly performed on my ears today. Either way, I have many pills which should make the sinus infection go away and thus unclog my ear, making the weird echoing sound go away.

As for Africa, I'm not going there, though god do I wish I was, but am merely trying to beat the ass off of my coworker in that addictive Traveller IQ game. You should play. After all, with all that packing in your future, you are going to need the kind of procrastination tool that sucks away hours and hours of your time.

Dude, this is like a fucking blog entry in a comment. I rock. Or not. And how did I stay up till 3 fucking a.m. after staying IN to go to bed early, like a responsible sick person???

Write on My Wall - Delete

This Is What I Do When Let Loose On The Internets

1) Answer the questions below.
2) Take each answer and type it into Flickr.
3) Take a picture from the first page of results and post.

1. The age you will be on your next birthday:

2. A place you’d like to go:

3. Your favorite place:

4. Your favorite object: I cheated, I couldn't pick just one!

5. Your favorite food:

6. Your favorite animal: I kinda like my pics better.

7. Your favorite color: This came up for blue and it's Samoa and soooo beautiful.

8. The town in which you were born: This is the Humber Valley Heritage Trail in Bolton, Ontario, Canada. Interestingly, when the picture popped up, I immediately thought, "Hmmmm. That looks just like a bridge I helped build." I googled around a bit and found a guide to the trail that pretty much convinces me that indeed, that is the bridge I built..."

9. The town in which you live:

10. The name of your pet:

11. The first name of someone you love: I typed in three sisters and this is what I got.

12. Your nickname:

13. Your middle name(s):

Sweet Angst?

Make your own album cover! Here’s what you do: The article you get when you click this link is your band title.

The last four words of the last quote on this page is your album title.

And the third picture, the upper right hand, will be your cover photo.

I had to teach myself several new techie things to post this, am I'm rather proud of my over-tired, cold-riddled brain for managing it late on a Friday night.

You Couldn't Make This Stuff Up

FAT Foreign Assistant Teacher
Currently the term used for foreign public school teachers in Korea.

Found on ESL Daily.