Monday, October 26, 2009

Google Fix: No Country Redirect

Little did I know.

I have Google set as my home page in Firefox.  Not that I'm there that often, but I use Google Reader almost every day. always redirects to by default.  I think Google does this for better results while searching in any given region.  Problem with Google's Korea site is that it takes almost a minute to load.  I just discovered Google's NCR option, which stands for "no country redirect."

I set my home page url to "" and "" pops up immediately.  No more minute long waits to get working online.  I love it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Spasmodic Contraction of the Diaphragm that Repeats Several Times a Minute

I had the hiccoughs yesterday for 12 hours. Tiring, annoying, and heartburn inducing. I could not write. Something I ate, I'm sure of it. Still bloated. I really hate being bloated.

(cross-posted on dagzine)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween Class: the early talks

For some reason, my coteachers think permitting the kids to have a costume contest for Halloween is a bad idea.

More on this later. Too bad for them I got them to agree to let the students vote on it. What kids aren't going to want to work in groups making costumes, then judge each other to pick the best costumes for each class?

They'll love it.

Stay tuned for an mini-series of posts where I share with my readers how incredibly difficult it can be to create lessons at a Korean high school.

A little 찜질방 in your home.

We Are Family by Ole Jensen & Claus Molgaard | materialicious

Posted using ShareThis

Friday, October 9, 2009

Korea: Things I don't Understand

I don't understand why Korean adults are intimidated by children. I guess a HOW might be better than a WHY. I know why children and young adults scare older adults and parents. But this is a peculiar kind of intimidation. Maybe I'll address it more as I think more about it. (UPDATE:  see the comments.)

From government to parents, every child leads a highly-structured life. After middle school, which ends at what most of my readers know as Freshman Year, students move on to High School and become the scariest thing Korean adults encounter on a daily basis.

High School women might rank as the most intimidating group of youth. In 대학동 (my neighborhood Daehakdong,) the young women from my school congregate mornings and afternoons off campus. They lurk in tiny alleys and in the alcoves of buildings just off the street. In these little spaces, they gossip, sing songs, and smoke cigarettes. They bully each other, make friends, tell horror stories about school, and talk about romances and fantasies.

Any noise in Korea is frowned upon by folks over 30. If you or you and your friends are being loud, you'll hear about it. That groups of school children scream and yell their way to school every morning is proof enough for me that Korean adults don't like to speak to children. But this isn't a simple dislike. These kids can pretty much get away with what they like.

On my walks to and from school, I often catch them smoking. They don't like to be caught. I'll often crush their cigarettes. But my teasing and hassling them is far less punishment than they'll receive if their homeroom teachers smell smoke on them in class.

Imagine waking up to a group of ten, 18-year-old women standing under your window shouting and smoking. They're screeching and screaming and their smoke finds its way into your flat. I can't think of anything more irritating. Especially at 715 in the morning. When I see it, I chase the students away scolding them for being rude and unhealthy. The ajumma and ajossi refuse to speak to the high school students and tolerate the daily annoyances. I asked my colleagues and was told "Koreans are intimidated by school children." I thought it couldn't be that. But after a year, I've realized that the students, especially high school students, have an incredibly bizarre power over adults, even their parents. And some students, those wise to their black magic, really torture the adults.

I've never seen anything like it. And I don't understand it. Because the students' powers vanish as soon as you step into their private space and ask "What's up?" They giggle, give up the power and scatter.

It's one of those things I find both cute and disturbing. What do you think? Have you noticed this? Do you have any similar stories of the young men and women turning the tables on their oppressive authority figures?

Who's Afraid of Korean Students? (Their parents....)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday Music: "Onions" Versions, 1974 & 1973

나 어떡해 by Sand Pebbles

"What Should I Do?"- Sand Pebbles, from a 1977 MBC broadcast.

I love this song.  Please share any audio files you have with me.  Or videos.  I'm always looking for lps, too.