Monday, July 24, 2006

Delayed Response

I wrote the following about a week ago, but I've been a bit lax in posting as of late. Recently I've adopted the attitude of, "I'll get around to it when I get around to it." I finally got around to it.

"Blood, Sweat and Tears" or "Rain, Mud and Beers"

It's been raining for about four straight days with no end in sight. People have told me that the weekend's supposed to be nice, but I've learned never to count on the weatherman or on the rumors of what the weatherman has said. The rain ain't so bad though. It stops the construction crew from waking me up at seven in the morning, when they usually start their early morning jackhammering. Someone please send me a gun when the sun starts shining. The sun also gives me an excuse to sit indoors and do nothing, something I rarely do when the sun is shining. I blame my mother for my instilling in me a sense of duty to go out there and "enjoy the day" even when I don't particularly want to.

I guess Korea is going through it's own little drama right about now. The torrential rains have killed about 25 people in the southern and central provinces due to floods. This leaves me with little to complain about as far as the rain goes; I'm still alive. In North Korea, rumors have it that 100 people have died and 9000 families are homeless due to floods and mudslides, though North Korea will never admit to it. They're kind of like that too proud friend that does something stupid, like drops a circular saw into their lap or fires off random missiles, and then refuses help. "No, nothing's wrong. We're just fine. Starvation? What starvation? Homelessness? We haven't even noticed that it's raining."

From national matters to individual matters, I hit up the mud festival with a few other teachers during the weekend. The Borreyoung mud fest is an excuse to drink beer, roll around in the mud and lay out on the beach. The ocean was warm so the rain didn't interfere with our plans. Once you've decided that rolling around in the mud is a good idea, extreme weather doesn't seem to mean too much.

The ultimate in tourist traps, the giant inflatable mud slide! Posted by Picasa

Dirty girls.  Posted by Picasa

One of the only times it is acceptable to body slam your wife in front of a crowd of people.  Posted by Picasa

The bad effects of beer and cigarettes.  Posted by Picasa

I'm sure there's room on the beach somewhere.  Posted by Picasa

One of these waygooks is not like the others.  Posted by Picasa

The ladies outfitted me with a nice pair of hooters. Someday I'll grow up, but it won't be tomorrow.  Posted by Picasa

Scott breaks free from his earthly shell.  Posted by Picasa

Although my gaze is sceptical, this food meets with my approval.  Posted by Picasa

Attack of North Korea.  Posted by Picasa

Korean Rock Concert Posted by Picasa

Nothern Lights in Korea.  Posted by Picasa

The green trailing auras of Scott and Alison. Posted by Picasa

From the look in our eyes it must of been a full moon.  Posted by Picasa

Give the dogs a bone. (no offense intended Scott and Alison) Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Wonderful World of Konglish

Notes of interest:
- The words earring and frog sound almost identical in Korean.
- Korean rafting is pretty tame.
- The mud festival is this weekend.
- I am the karaoke king.

I've been studying my Korean pretty hard as of late, much to the merriment and sometimes the anguish of my Korean coworkers. I've been trying to nail down phrases such as, "Why no, the kimchi is not too spicy," and the ever helpful, "Where's the hospital?" I've come to the conclusion that I'm pretty helpless as another language learner, but what the hay; it makes the Koreans laugh and it keeps me entertained.

One thing that's crazy about the Korean language is how much English it incorporates, and it's not obscure American words like "hamburger" and "liposuction" that they use. No, there are some everyday words like "haircut" and "corner" that have become Konglish terms. You can walk into any Korean barber shop (the legitimate ones) and ask for a "haircut-uh" and they will know what you are talking about. Never mind the fact that it's all downhill from there, as the language barrier comes racing back. I wonder though, what the hell did the Koreans call a haircut before English showed up. Was there just a blank spot in this country's vocabulary? Did they use a phrase like, "the action that we do that makes the hair shorter upon one's head," and then some Yank showed up and said, "Oh, you mean a haircut," and the Koreans were so astounded at the brevity of the word that they just had to adopt it? I think the linguistic explanation of Konglish is probably less imaginative than I think it is.

Konglish has made my life a lot easier. In Spanish, if I didn't know a word, I would take the English version, throw an "o" or an "a" on the end of the word and 50% of the time the word was right. Forty percent of the time the word just confused the other person and ten percent of the time the word insulted the other speaker. Now it's wonderful to learn that I can adopt the same strategy to Korean. I just take the English word, throw an "uh" on the end of it, approximate a Korean accent (my approximation of a Korean accent is shouting words out in a raspy voice) and then see what happens. I'll keep ya'll posted on the paths my Konglish speaking leads me down.

The Konglish List
English Korean
Coffee Coupee (not to be confused with Capee: a bloody nose)
Building Peulding
Corner Koneah
Cheese Chejuh
Taxi Taji
Video Bideoh
Chopsticks Chopsticks-uh (kidding)

This is my bible to the Korean language. The picture of the author, Steven Revere, gives Scott and I unending amusement. He looks friendly and seems to be saying, "I'm white, you're white. We're going to suck at this language, but what the hell, lets give it a try!" Posted by Picasa

We went rafting this last weekend on a pretty tame river, but I'll tell what wasn't so tame: the dinner and karaoke party afterwards. Posted by Picasa

Conquering my fear of singing in public (a.k.a. embarassing myself in front of a crowd of people). I sang fine, unfortunately I wet myself terribly in my nervousness.  Posted by Picasa

The Korean female Elton John, Judy, rockin the mike. Take special note of the wasted waygook in the back.  Posted by Picasa

Mr. Kim (a.k.a. Mr. Party) givin it all he's got.  Posted by Picasa

Soju: a bottle full of smiles  Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 01, 2006

My Wish List

Thursday was my birthday and while we didn't go crazy, Thursday night was not tame either. We went out for kom-ja-tong, an oriental beef stew and peppered the night with shots of Ooh-ship-se-joo. Some people like to be quiet about their birthdays and celebrate them with some dignity. Not me. I'm the one standing on the bar stool yelling, "It's my Dirthbay. Shy me bots!"

Tomorrow night there's plans for going to the baseball game or going bowling. Either will suffice. Everyone at the school has been great. I got cakes, bottles of wine and beer. Still there's some things left on my birthday wish list:

1. A ten pound bag of Spits sunflower seeds. That ought to last me a week.

2. Another post by Dave on his brand new blog (

3. The ability of my sister to get her own Skype account.

4. An automatic essay grader.

5. The ability to speak a comprehensible Korean phrase.

6. Unification of the two Koreas please. On South Korean terms.

7. 30 Totinos oven bake pizzas, oh, and an oven.

8. Some adventurous outdoor recreation and none of that freezing ass scuba diving stuff.

9. A solution to pollution.

10. The love of friends and family. (Awww!)

The following is some of my favorite pics over the years. Enjoy all. Bappy Hirthday to me!