It’s the cat’s meow

This Snapseed app on my iPhone is the cat’s meow

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posted by Michael in Walking Terry on 3/30/2014 | No Comments

Mirror mirror, on the street

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posted by Michael in Walking Terry on 3/30/2014 | No Comments

Another true story

I’m at work and I just threw my underwear out the window!

Don’t ask.

posted by Michael in Whatever on 3/23/2014 | No Comments

A true story

Turtle was poking its head out. Turtle’s head popped off, somehow wound up on the floor. A few seconds later, it was stuck to the sole of my fake leather moccasin. Moccasin was saved by a toothpick, three wet wipes, and a Pine Sol shower.

Funny, I always figured if anyone was going to shit on my floor it would be Terry…

posted by Michael in Whatever on 3/17/2014 | No Comments

Plan Z: Old news, semi-new news, and how I feel about teaching kindergarten

OLD NEWS
So… 
Plan Z. The first step in Plan Z was to get my TESOL certificate. Done. The second step was to enroll in grad school to get a master’s in TESOL. Well, I applied back in October, and the dicks at Sookmyung rejected me! Something about me being too dumb or looking too dumb or talking like a dumb person, I dunno. So Plan Z shifted to reapplying for the MA program in March, which would have meant starting classes in the fall, and during that time I’d be teaching at a school somewhere.

Well, I revised Plan Z again when The Princeton Review Korea (TPR) offered me a job teaching “Business English”. The work hours conflicted with my plan to start attending classes in the fall, but I figured a one-year contract with The Princeton Review would be good experience and look nice on the resumé. So they hired me, I signed their contract, and started attending training. Super! Until two days into training when they called and said “we’re a bunch of jackasses and can’t accurately gauge our own staffing needs, so you’re fired.” Ok they didn’t really say that, but that’s what I heard.

SEMI-NEW NEWS
A few days later, on the Friday before the first week of the Korean spring school semester, I suddenly had a Skype interview with a franchise branch of a very big hagwon that shall remain unnamed on LIK for as long as I’m working for them, and I started work on the following Monday. I’ve been there for a full two weeks now and… surprise! …they haven’t fired me yet. Apparently they actually needed a teacher when they hired me. This job also conflicts with grad school but, after being un-hired by the dicks at TPR, I was so fed up with job hunting that I just said F it I’ll take the job. I still want the master’s degree but if it has to wait then it has to wait.

HOW I FEEL ABOUT TEACHING KINDERGARTEN
So I teach kindergarten children in the morning. KINDERGARTEN. These are kids who have snack time and cry because they miss their mommies. Do I hate it? Shockingly, no. I’ve always assumed that children that young would really drive me up the fucking wall, but they’re just too young to deliberately piss me off and the class material is too easy for any teacher to really screw up, plus they’re so goddam cute it’s hard to really lose my shit with them. I raise my voice quite a bit out of basic necessity (as opposed to unbridled rage) but it’s a relatively low-stress experience.

My afternoon classes are “older” students who range from elementary school to middle school students. These are the students who really test my fucking patience. Most of them know when to shut their faces, but a select few seem to think they’re so interesting and hilarious that shutting up would be akin to cheating their classmates out of something truly special. In other words, they’re just like I was at that age. Assholes!

Anyway, that’s where Plan Z is. Grad school is delayed a year and I spend my days publicly shaming children who openly pick their noses in class. Sometimes I even teach them English! And just for the record, I think that TESOL certificate really helped me in the job hunt. The idiots at TPR may not know what they’re doing, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have thought I was worth hiring without my very legit TESOL certification (because the rest of my resumé is shit). And the job I currently have, same thing… they contacted me, I didn’t contact them. Granted, their desperation was evident in the fact that they Skyped me like three days before I started working, but my resumé has been out there for a while and nobody ever approached me with job offers before I did TESOL, so I guess that was $2,300 well spent. Assuming I don’t get un-hired again, that is.

One of my morning students, clearly enthralled with the day’s lesson

posted by Michael in Whatever on 3/15/2014 | No Comments

Needles in my foot

Every once in a great while, my right foot decides to sprain itself. It just starts to hurt like a motherfucker for no reason and even swells up like I actually did something to it. It happened a couple years ago and I iced it and just limped around for a few days until it magically healed itself, but when it happened again a month ago I decided to try and fix it with acupuncture. It worked! The pain was more or less gone by the next day, and the day after that it came back a little, but then it went away for good. And it was pretty cheap, about $25 without insurance. If I’d had insurance it would have been more like $8.

The process was slightly uncomfortable but the discomfort was mostly from a heat lamp, not the needles. I went to some “eastern medicine” place down the street (한의원) where they did three things:

1. They wrapped my legs in these things that acted like giant blood pressure cuffs. A section on each of my legs would get the squeeze, then another section, then another. It was kind of like a massage with a heat lamp hanging over my legs. I liked it.

2. They wrapped my foot in some heavy canvas thing and cooked the shit out of it under a heat lamp. It got really hot, so much so that I thought about calling someone over to turn it down. But I didn’t. I just let my foot roast.

3. The doctor came in and stuck needles in my foot and ankle. She would place a needle on my skin and then flick it, and then the needle just stayed there. I felt a couple of pinches but nothing really painful.

The next time my ankle decides to fuck with me, I’m gonna limp straight to the acupuncture place.

posted by Michael in Whatever on 3/8/2014 | No Comments

I don’t do dishes often, but when I do… I do them really, really fast

posted by Michael in Whatever on 12/18/2013 | No Comments

I’m not as dumb as you look

TESOL is finally over! 16 weeks of theory, lesson planning, paper-writing, “self-reflection”, and excruciatingly painful homework assignments, over. This class was all about teaching me how to teach, and a good portion of it concerned theories in “second language acquisition” that attempt to explain how people learn language #2. It was a really tough class (three classes, actually) but it was definitely worthwhile and the people who said that it wouldn’t make me a better teacher are fucking stupid. This was 16 Saturdays of hardcore, graduate-level stuff and it was mucho difficult but I think it’s paid off and now, assuming I get accepted into the MA program, I’ll be starting grad school with a 3.7 GPA since that’s the grade I got in TESOL. That’s right, I GOT AN A. Well, I really got an A-, but it’s still an A.

I was a shitty teacher before taking the class, and now I’d say I’m much less shitty. And there’s also the added benefit of having met a bunch of people who might be sources of jobs or whatever in the future. I think they call that “networking.”

posted by Michael in Whatever on 12/16/2013 | No Comments

North Korean classical guitar toddlers

It’s pretty hard to say anything to this but HOLY CRAP. These kids (~4-5 years old?) are North Korean. Totally insane. I have to confess that I came across this video while I was procrastinating on TESOL homework by watching videos of North Korean female soldiers marching around in lockstep which is also insane but in a totally different way.

AND HERE’S ANOTHER ONE:

Ok I can’t resist, here are the marching girls. The actual marching starts at about 0:51. I admit to asking myself if any of those guns have bullets in them and then I wondered if they can even afford bullets…

posted by Michael in Whatever on 11/18/2013 | No Comments

Periodic Table of Hangul

Just in case you’re wondering if the Korean alphabet is as fucked up as it looks. It’s not! It actually makes a lot more sense than English.

Click here for the huge version

posted by Michael in Culture on 11/18/2013 | No Comments

Put me down goddammit

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posted by Michael in Walking Terry on 11/4/2013 | No Comments

And now I present to you… Plan Z

I’m not entirely sure of what Plans A-Y consisted of, but I know a few of them involved a taco truck and various attempts at making my living online.

Fuck that shit, I give up! Well, not entirely. I think I’ll always have something brewing on a server somewhere, but it’s time to quit fucking around. It’s time for Plan Z.

Plan Z is the plan I always knew I would turn to if all of my other plans failed. Well, all of my other plans have failed. I have officially given up on making a career out of sitting on my couch in front of my computer in my underwear, and I am now ready to embrace TEACHING ENGLISH as my life’s work! I’ve been resisting it since I came back to Korea in 2010, but for the past three years I’ve been failing at life so here we go.

The first phase of Plan Z is to get a TESOL certificate. For the uninitiated, TESOL stands for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and it’s basically a piece of paper that says “I know how to teach English.” My preliminary research on TESOL certification consisted of asking around and reading opinions online. Nearly everything I heard and read concluded that TESOL is a waste of time, it won’t help you get a job, it won’t make you a better teacher, etc. I took note of the fact that the people who told me in person that it’s a waste of time were already employed full-time as teachers. I also noted that the people online who said it was a waste of time were generally talking about TESOL certificates gotten online for $200-$300. So I concluded that all of these people are idiots, and I enrolled in the TESOL program at Sookmyung Women’s University which is basically right next door to my apartment.

It turns out that this TESOL program is a graduate-level course that comes with credits I can transfer to a master’s degree program if I choose to pursue it. Maybe that’s why it costs $2,200? That kind of money for an in-person TESOL course really isn’t that much, relatively speaking. Another university in Seoul (Hanyang University) charges $3,000 and it’s not next door to my house. I also have a friend who took a class in the U.S. and he paid about $2,000 and, as far as I know, he didn’t get any grad school credits.

So far the class is a real pain in the ass and the reading is super boring, and there’s a lot of reading. Still, I do think this class will make me a better teacher. That’s really not much of a challenge considering I’ve never had any formal training in how to teach up until now, but the point is that I’m actually learning stuff and becoming aware of things that only academic researchers think about when it comes to the art and business of education. The class is kind of a ballbreaker… it’s every Saturday for 16 weeks, 2 pm to 9:30 pm., and it’s actually three classes, not one: Methodology, Second Language Acquisition, and Intercultural Communication. The good news is that even though it seems like one long class, the fact that it’s three means I’ll wind up with 9 grad school credits if I elect to use them. NINE! That’s assuming that I pass the class, of course.

And thus begins the first phase of Plan Z. Second phase, grad school. Maybe.

posted by Michael in Whatever on 9/19/2013 | Comments (2)

Weird Japanese product, weirder Japanese commercial

The first 24 seconds are kind of boring, but after that it’s full-on Japanese Weirdness Time

posted by Michael in Whatever on 9/4/2013 | No Comments

IT’S SKIN

A brilliant name for a skin care products store if there ever was one

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posted by Michael in Walking Terry on 9/1/2013 | No Comments

Just when you thought K-pop couldn’t get any more irritating

Hmm I do like the helmets though…

posted by Michael in Music Videos on 8/26/2013 | Comments (3)
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