Monday, November 30, 2009

In Which the Alien Fiancee gets a Job!

BPU2 has hired the lovely Fiancee --

a cabbie and her bad Korean almost nixed the deal - in trying to pronounce the name of BPU2, she actually pronounced the name of some other University entirely and was thus, with 20 minutes left before her interview, "Lost in Seoul!"

But another cabbie got here here in time, and now she has a non-hagwon job!

Coming Soon: Straight Outta Gyeongju...

Monday, November 23, 2009


Two names my charmingly stumbly Graduate Education student call me..

1) Mona Angry
Which should amuse anyone in the family.


2) Mr. Mongo Marry
Which I feel is even better!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tourism Fail and Fambly Matters...

Preparing for my parents, sister, and brother in law landing here. Part of that preparation is to get them down to Gyeongju the "outdoor museum" of Korea. Home of the Silla Empire and some mighty cool cultural artifacts. Go to the hanatour website, fill out their handy-dandy contact form, click the button to send if off through the tubes and...


And you get that even on a vanilla PC running IE (which many sites in Korea insist on). And that is today's marketing fail from Korea, the home of the marketing fail.

Perhaps the bigger marketing fail was the estimate hanatour gave me. Part of that fail is on me, since I was vague enough that they thought I needed their help in Busan.. but it did send me off to the web for some research, so at least I have re-acquired in my head the places we need to go..

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Two More Steps Outta Hell....

1) Got a crudload of papers graded.... Academic Writing? Great to teach, a pain to mark.

2) Finished my 250 page textbook edit. Semi-hysterical work and semi-hysterical me. I had to vet, above and beyond the language, if the pages with definitions were correct, and if the fill-in and essay questions were appropriate. Let's just say there was some "thesaurus-using" by whoever created the testing component.

But I R dun....

Prepped for tomorrow's classes and ready to sleeeeeep!

Work Updates.. from hell... where work comes from.. ;-)

Finally.. finally finished the review of The Red Room I've been working on...

It is
available here
for my one reader who wants to read 2000 words about Korean Pain-Porn-Lit (and that's me!) .

Got about 1K words done on "Who Ate Up All The Shinga." This is one of the two reviews I'm doing for the online Korean Review...

But Shinga is a killer book that is fun to read if you like mother/daughter fiction or to read about the development of an author as a child... actually, it's just a pretty good book!

Tomorrow is pain... three sets of essays to grade and about 200 pages to edit...

If I should die tonight, grieve if you want, but my spirit will be light. ;-)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Rule for Song-Writing/Performing?

If you have a tight rif and good lyrics?

Make the drummer go faster....

Husker Du

I suspect my second rule is about the bass player.....

Building Expat Community in Seoul

NOTE: This is cross-posted at MorningCalm

Saturday was the first 2S2 (Second Saturday, 2:00PM) meetup near Anguk Station. For those who don't know, this is an attempt to build to build some community and camaraderie between expats and, we hope, to create a stronger support system for incoming English teachers and professors. For more information you can contact Rob at his blog, Roboseyo. Here's what it looked like at one point:

left to right: Shannon Heit, Roboseyo, Chris Backe, Jo, Joy Iris-Wilbanks, Hayley who came in from Jeollanamdo, Yvonne from Daejon (Not pictured: Joe McPherson, Dan Gray)

This is also associated with a website, the Chatjip expat site which I urge all expats to check out and join. This site has information about 2S2 and is working to create the best online events calendar in Korea for English speakers. It also aggregates headlines and blog posts.

We were extremely lucky to have Shannon Heit, from the Seoul Global Center, attend the meeting and talk to us about what the Global Center offers expats and what she hopes to do in the future. In the past, the Center has focused on business initiatives, but now it is branching out in an effort to support all expatriates. In addition, Shannon hopes to expand the Center's support impact on the web. Shannon can be reached by email at

Everyone had a great time, and we will do it all again in a month.

Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Last Weekend

Since it is already this weekend, I suppose I should post about last weekend?

Which was off the Morning Calm Gardens in Cheongpyeong, which is kind of north-east of Seoul. We had gone on this train line before, but discovered that if you took the train from Oksu you ended up in the Cheongyeongri train station and we were able to catch a train, standing room only, within about 15 minutes. We were in the front car with about 10 college students who were heading up to Gapyeong or Chuncheon. They quickly pulled out the beer, then quickly spilled some of the beer, but everyone was in good spirits.

Once we got to the train station it was a short walk to the bus station, where we discovered we had just missed the bus.

So it was a quick taxi ride to the Morning Calm 아짐 고요 Garden. Alas, we had arrived just about at week to late and most of the beautiful leaves were on the ground, though they were made up for, in volume, by gnats. This will certainly be a cool place to visit in Spring. You can see how beautiful it was BEFORE our visit by checking Roboseyo’s site out. By the time we got there, most leaves were on the ground.

We did get to see one of the world's smallest churches (Photo on right has tiny Injun for scale):

Then it was a walk back through town and a samgyapsal lunch/dinner at a fairly backwoods place – it was where the bus drivers went to eat and we were quite the center of attention with the ajumma hovering and cooking our meat for us. Any random little bit of Korean I could pull out was appreciated and we left, full and happy.

On the mugungwha, again standing tickets, and back to Seoul, drinking a coke and a beer on the floor and sitting with slightly fewer students.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Goggle-eyednesss, from the Goggle Eyes..


here is oldage...

The subject-line had some bigass meaning for me (and it was surely about Carly Simon's "You're So Vain").

Now I close all the other windows I've been working in and it makes no sense to me at all...

Welcome to the sliiiiiiiide.. ;-)

Friday, November 06, 2009

This and or that...

With week 10 of classes done the finish line is starting to come clear.. which is a darn good thing as they continue to pile the editing on.. not a bad thing, just a bunch of work at just the time I'm trying to get three book reviews, two newspaper articles, and a paper out of the way so that I can concentrate on the photo-essay that is due in early December. ;-o

Oh yeah, I still have to grade the big essay my Academic Writing students gave me as well as the midterm for the Graduate English Teachers Convo Class.

Consequently, after work today, I bailed on anything productive and instead headed over to Gyeongbokgung Palace to take pictures with my boy Adam from Daejeon. At Gyeongbokgung Station I stopped to take a snapshot of this arch. The arch isn't anything particularly grand, but right next to the arch is the punchline - the metal 'stone' with the inscription:

This gate was made of monolith in imitation of PULLOMUN in CH'ANGDOKKUNG.
It has a legend that once one passes through the gate, he would not be old forever.

That always cracks me up, since I'm pretty sure the Grim Reaper is also out there to make sure I don't stay old forever.

Anyway, Adam and I and a guy from Australia cruised around, took pictures and drank coffee. Later Adam and I headed into Itaewon to eat some kind of Middle Eastern food and Adam sucked on a Shisha like a half a dozen hookers looking for a big paycheck.

After we ate at this restaurant we headed around the corner from Noksapyeong Station where Adam stopped at Instanbul and had "Second Dinner" (I think he might be a Hobbit?).

Now home, waiting for Yvonne to get here. No celebration yet, but her hiring at BPU2 moved one step closer yesterday. BPU2 may find a better English teacher than me, but I think they're decided they are unlikely to find a better editor. Part of the deal is that I will stay at least one more year after the next one and they will lobby for a year after that if our grant goes through.

I've left the possibility open, but we'll see about that. At least if Yvonne gets hired we will have shared winter and summer vacations and will be able to come home a lot more.

For the few of you who do not know, we'll also be getting married (anyone know a good pre-nup lawyer??????!!!) when we get back to the States in February. As you know, the Korean tradition is to put money in envelopes and give it to the couple.



Oh yeah, that last picture is of the smaller pagoda in the smaller lake at Gyeongbokgung. It's a pretty place and I hadn't been there since my first trip to Korea with the BKF.

Had to scope it out in prep for the fambly landing later this month...

Tomorrow it's off the the prettiest garden in Korea..... more pics..

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

One Down, Two to Go...

I just signed my letter of understanding for my second year here at BPU2. Without even looking at a potential contract. ;-)

Now that has to be a job I like!

Now, tomorrow, I go in an try to nail a job down for Yvonne here at BPU2.

If that works out, we are beyond golden.. except for my age, hairline, waistline, still cracked rib..

well, ok.. our jobs will be golden...