Thursday, January 31, 2008

"You know, Video Games are Big with the Kids!" says clueless multiculturalist..

Really... the kids are gonna dig it..

"ICED! I Can End Deportation" is a downloadable, interactive, 3D
role-playing-game that focuses on the brutalizing effects of 1996 US
immigration policies. The game seeks to challenge contemporary media
portrayals by exposing the realities of immigration policies.

Or get stoned..

You know.. one or the other..

The.. uh.. the "3D?"

That's some cutting edge 1970's graphics...

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sir William Hatcher? Now Heath Ledger's death stings!

It's just not right that Sir Ulrich von Lichtenstein of Gelderland should go out like this..

Plus.. he worked next to that hot Julia Stiles in "Ten Things I Hate About You."

Damn you death, for now, NOW, I feel your sting.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Swamp Valley College Predictions Swathed in Mystery! (With an "I'm Stoopid" PS)


As one of my last duties at SVC I am hooking us up with a very prestigious exhibit with an institution we shall just call "The Ones With Lindbergh's Plane."

A ton of work has gone into this and now that SVC has it coming.. the chancellor of the Lesser Carcinogenic Plateau Community College District has now stepped in. Chancellor sends mysterious and semi-oracular emails (I suspect she is chewing laurel leaves as she types).

My predictions are..

1) Chancellor leads off ALL events around this exhibit.

2) As I will be gone, my work will not be mentioned once (This is Chancellorian Rule #1 - those who aren't in sight, don't exist). The corollary is Chancellorian Rule #1a - even those who are in sight and did the work, don't exist. These rules fall under "The Basic Rule of All Administration" - Administrate too long and you forget that there are anything but orders.. and orders must be followed because there is no process to doing any job, just an order to do it.

3) The DO will absorb little budget but will take most credit

4) Chancellor gets "Vietnamese" feather in hat and this, along with her long and legit record of working with the Hispanic Wave, gets her that position in Sactown that she's always been plumping for. This, BTW, is a good thing. For all my bitching, this is the best Chancellor I've worked for.

Time will tell.. blessedly, I will be out of the game....

PS - LOL...

My years in previous institutions have jaded me... I've already had two emails from my Chancellor that make my predictions here... well, not so much unlikely, as nothing to do with this Chancellor... I always forget that she is trapped in the same bad machine as I am...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Going In...

Got up and made it to the continental breakfast in time to pick through some rather rotted bananas and instead settle for coffee, and some bagelish thing. Off to the UPS store to print the thing out. I was driving even more grandfatherly than usual. A, it is raining and B, the nice lady at the car checkout counter really put the hard sell on me to get the insurance. Three times she rattled off a list of things from which it would protect me and each time she slowed down, leered and put heavy emphasis on “vandals.” She knew I was going to Hilton Head and I supposed that she was warning me of 9-iron wielding seniors all hopped up on Geritol n’ Juice. As it happened, no vandals have attacked me yet, but I will remain vigilant.

Also, as traditional, I got hopelessly lost on the way to the conference venue. I made the same horrible mistake I made last night, I trusted in mapquest directions. Compare these directions (from Savannah to the hotel) from mapquest with the quite simple directions I found on the conference site:

And then these leading me from the hotel to the conference:

What the Hell is mapquest smoking?

I got in and dropped 80 bucks on the conference and another 75 on two books on Korean economic history that I will read on the plane (or in the airport, since the Atlanta Airport is currently experiencing 4 hour delays) and by the time I return to Big City I will be an ultra-expert!

I’m in the presentation room, making sure everything works and timing my presentation.. looks to be good for 18-20 minutes which is right in the cabin. Everyone else is upstairs eating, but I never eat before a presentation for fear it might turn into a warm and cozy nap. Unaccountably this ultra-expensive hotel does not have wireless, so I am hopelessly trapped, trapped I tell you, in this air-conditioned room watching the rain and wind lash the palm fronds. A perfect time to start drinking adult-beverages based on rum, but that would lead to a presentation failure of an entirely different sort.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Vaseline Alley Redux

Continued from three days ago.. The drug/health/HIV tests are, oddly enough, done once you are in Korea. This suggests a certain lack of faith in Western doctors. All of this stuff was added to the requirements for foreigner entry to Korea after it was discovered that a relatively famous pedophile (the guy whose identity was revealed by “anti-swirl photoshop technology”) was discovered to have taught in Korea. This became an election issue and in order to protect the innocent youth of Korea from HIV-positive drug-addled rapists (by which they mean me) the new laws were enacted. This whole security check and health check is, in some ways, classically Korean. They really don’t like the outsider and this is reflected in their love/hate relationship with the English instructor. Korea is always looking for an excuse to love or hate the outsider.

Anyway, step two was initiated yesterday when I finally figured out that the FBI needed a different set of fingerprints. Oddly, the FBI wants them on the old-fashioned paper forms, so it was off to another odd hole-in-the wall joint which sold bulk cigarettes and fingerprint checks.

An odd combo, but the guy at this place knew how to take fingerprints and had a bit of a line in English, so the process went much more smoothly. With luck I will be able to send these prints off to Quantico tomorrow, since my presentation doesn’t begin until 2.

Now, I am in the air between Big City and Atllanta, GA on my way to the SECAAS conference. Delta airlines evilly switched my seats back into the middle row, but then more than made up for that by grabbing the guy in the aisle-seat and moving him up to First Class. Thus I now have an aisle seat and an empty one beside.


Breakfast at about 1 (I was running around pre-flight) and a glass of wine and it may be getting close to time to take a nap.

Idly looking at the conference paper and really not seeing that much to change. My discussant was also published in Acta Koreana, so I look forward to meeting him. This thing is pretty much in the bag and I might try to move my flight on Sunday up a couple of hours. The thing is now in size 18 font with red indications where the slide transitions are, so I think it is done?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Education in Asia, and my resume

As it turns out.. my photo-essay for "Education in Asia" has been accepted and, after a few changes suggested by their local expert on Korean marriage. Will run in their next issue.

This has been quite a streak of luck. I haven't had a conference proposal or manuscript refused in five straight goes.

I should run for president.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The MonkeySphere (The Most Sensible Thing you will read This Year)

Two representative quotes from the best philosophical treatise of this year:

A representative democracy allows a small group of people to make all of the decisions, while letting us common people feel like we're doing something by going to a polling place every couple of years and pulling a lever that, in reality, has about the same effect as the darkness knob on your toaster. We can simultaneously feel like we're in charge while being contained enough that we can't cause any real monkey mayhem once we fly into one of our screeching, arm-flapping monkey frenzies (a woman showed her boob at the Super Bowl! We want a boob and football ban immediately!)

let me assure you that if you don't feel sympathy for your fellow man at $6.00 an hour, you won't feel anything at $600,000 a year.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Down In Vaseline Alley, Where I Come From....

Today was “begin the security check” time.

Korea now requires that anyone who comes to work there pass drug/health/HIV tests and provide a criminal record check. I’ll talk about the why of this, soon. These aren’t particularly onerous requirements – anyone trying to teach in the United States from Korea will undergo a much more grueling visa process (US Embassies are routinely trashed in overseas riots, primarily because they are hotbeds of shitheaded bureaucrats, not because of their small, but obvious staff of CIA spies). But these requirements are brand new. This means that it is difficult to decipher what exactly is required. The government hasn’t figured it out completely, and the colleges are working from impenetrable texts on .gov websites.

A vague, but menacing email, from BPU gave me some hints and two websites to look at. I did look and discovered that I needed some special new kind of fingerprinting. Lo and behold (a pair closely elated to Frankincense and Myrhh, but not implicated in the two-by-four lynching of our Lord and Saviour) there was a gummint certified fingerprint joint right by my house. This is more synchronous than it might seem, as there are only a few of these joints per county.

So I head down there, with my vague email written by a Korean guy who speaks English as a second language. And the woman behind the counter is, of course, Indian (cow lover not buffalo killer) and cain't speak her a lick of English. We use a sort of pidgin communication system consisting of 7 shared words of English, gestures, threatening posture, and two actual pigeons, only one of which endured the ordeal. No communication ensued.

But I can point at the sign that says “fingerprint scans” and this works. Indira pulls out a laptop and what looks like a scanner for playing cards. The fingerprint scan begins with my two thumbs. Gunga Dinette rasps loudly, “fingers.. dry.”

At last! We have communicated.

I also now have an explanation of my increasingly delayed ejaculation when I masturbate.

In any case. Ms. Mumtaz Mahal then pulls out a vat of some kind of glop that even the most cracked out gay dude at The Ramrod wouldn’t use on a straight chick’s asshole. She peers into it’s septic center, scoops some out (with an instrument, because you can see there’s no way in Hell she’s gonna touch the stuff) and smears it over my hands.

We then spend 15 minutes trying to get fingerprints that don’t look like on oil-coated duck.

When, finally, the fingerprints are done. We have another non- conversation in which I randomly point at things on the screen (I chose “DOJ” and “Visa”) and then sent the form and my fingerprints off.

I suspect I have just enrolled in the National Guard and will shortly be deployed to Iraq.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Poem For A Girlfriend Not Found on IM

I gather you are dead..
though I did not see the news on the television..
for me..
you have passed
beyond this scenery
the pain is only for me..
as you are with Jesus as a sunbeam..

Dead girlfriends
On my mind
Dead girlfriends
All the time
Dead girlfriends
It's a crime
Dead girlfriends
Are the best kind..

It is certain you’ve expired
though I didn't hear a recall of your tires
and slide
and take that ride
to the other side
the emptiness is mine
Now all I have is the end of time

Contemplating the Vast Offshore...

I guess it's about 24 hours since I got the news that BPU wanted me to teach there and I've had a moment to let it all sink in.

By sink in, I mean "enjoy the shit out of."

As a complete coward and lazy dog, there is something entirely enjoyable in looking forward to doing a bit of work and then slowing down, quitting, and leaving all the details to the poor bastard who follows me. Then again there is also the thrill of leaving behind the stuff that has become quotidian and boring. No way at all that Korea will have any less daily stupidity, but it will all be gloriously new daily stupidity. And that delicious new-stupidity smell? Car dealers wish they had it in aerosol spray.

So I've been sent a form of SERIOUS INTENT which includes this feel-good implied threat:

Please do not accept this offer lightly. By signing this document you are accepting our offer of employment and agreeing to sign the contract we have discussed.

OK.. I get it. I'm in the slave states now... Still, that blessedly simple state will beat working at Swamp Valley College.

One thing about BPU that I really like is that its English Instruction Program is run by... slow down, cause this is unusual for Korea... actual English Speakers. This means several things, including that the sometimes weird Korean status-based management will be an additional step away. It also should mean that conversation about work shouldn't be as mysterious as they would be across the language gap. Along the language gap line, I am also pleased that BPU will offer me Korean language training, which is one of the reasons I'm off on this little jaunt.

Finally, while I was in the phone interview one of my coworkers googled the guy who was doing my interview. Turns out he's a pretty clever academic and seems to have created a home-brewing club for beermeisters in Korea. It is possible we could be friends. ;-)

Monday, January 07, 2008


Big Pink University, here I come..

I had no idea how much I hated my current job until this offer came along. I nearly wept with relief.

Now comes the difficult part. Leaving.

That and persuading the BAG to get her suitcases packed. ;-)

All three readers should start saving pennies.. Seoul is a great place to visit. So is Jeju. Hell...

Daejeon might even be...

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrottery of the Highest Order..

I was trying to find my way home
But all I heard was a drone
Bouncing off a satellite
Crushing the last lone American night

What are the odds? Storms are blowing the world down, there is apocalyptic conflict in the Middle East, and abortions are mandatory in public high schools. Which is almost end-times.

But when Bruce Springsteen writes (other than that shitty “last lone” duplication thrown in to keep the beat right. Dude, you’re supposed to be “The Bass!” You couldn’t have made that “lonely” or some other single word with two syllables”) a brilliant radio song? Even the MAF must agree it is endtimes…

I just wanna hear some rhythm
I want a thousand guitars
I want pounding drums
I want a million different voices

Speaking in tongues
This is Radio Nowhere
Is there anybody alive out there
This is Radio Nowhere
Is there anybody alive out there

I was driving through the misty rain
Just a-searching for a mystery train
Bopping through the wild blue
Trying to make a connection with you

I just wanna hear some rhythm
I just wanna hear some rhythm
I just wanna hear your rhythm

Some folks online have claimed the intro sounds like Tommy Tutones 1982 hit "867-5309/Jenny" but I much more hear the beginning of Husker Du’s “Pink Turns to Blue” and if anyone is having a fit about this they are pretty lame.

It’s rock and roll dudes. Of course it’s fucking stolen.

Now enjoy what is the only decent Springsteen song of the last 10 years..

Friday, January 04, 2008

I Can Haz Sok?

Hmmm.. this one pretty much missed (well, you know, I am pretty intoxicated but I'm also dead simple, old, and sane). 25% accuracy is no way for a test to go through life.

Your Score: Spice Melange
You scored 100% intoxication, 75% hotness, 75% complexity, and 100% craziness!

You are Spice.

You're not from around here, are you? You're extremely valuable. While you resemble mundane cinnamon, you are much more interesting. People fight wars over you, but your giant worms protect you.

You enlighten people; make them aware, prescient, even clairvoyant. Your pure essence can reveal people's true selves, if they survive their encounter with the real you. You're addictive, dangerous, seductive, and above all else, necessary for space travel.

Link: The Which Spice Are You Test

Thursday, January 03, 2008

It's a Numbers Game Now

The Interview went well. I did best on, well interviewing and technology. Cause I got that.

I was a bit left-footed when the "what would you do in class" question included 40 students and conversation only, but I struggled through. The minute I was done answering the question new answers kept pouring into my head and introduced a couple of them at opportune later times. At least now I know what I'll be facing if I do any more of these...

At the conclusion the guys says I did great and it all comes down to numbers..

Six offers already out for 4 positions and Great Pink Korean University. Those people were interviewed in the second wave of interviews and selected. They have until Saturday to accept or not.

I was interviewed in the third wave. Nice man tells me I am the best of that lot and if four of the six (I fucking hate math!) don't take jobs? On Monday morning, I will get my job offer at the Great Pink Korean University.

Now I'm actually nervous... ;-)

Wednesday's Best

1) aaah.. an interview with a University. This evening at 6 - and me sick as a dog. Thank god it's a phone interview!

2) The little I know about music would scarcely fill the shallow grave in the sandbox at the local elementary school. Which I already have filled. With kindergartners. Which is why I said "the grave." So I may be wrong when I declare, for now, forever, and until my next post that the best lyrics in rock and roll are....

"And I think it's gonna be a long long time
til touchdown brings me round I think you'll find
I'm not the man they think I am at home"

Well, you know.. if you're considering moving to Korea. ;-)

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Orient Express?

And just like that, I have a phone interview with a University in Korea. In this case, Woosong University which claims to be in Korea's "Silicon Valley" and features an alarmingly pink campus. It is two hours south of Seoul which is a drag in one way, but I suppose also a buffer against the "lake of fire" if North Korea ever decides to invade. The lovely president describes it thus:

Woosong University, a "specialized university", provides a specialized curricula based on practical foreign language and high-tech IT education for every major field of study. In their Junior and Senior years, students have access to practical, industry-based educational experiences, such as field experiments, project-based education, and internship programs at home and abroad. As a result of these educational initiatives, Woosong University was selected as "The Best University of Specialization" for 4 consecutive years and "The University of Excellence in Educational Reform" for 3 year running.