Thursday, May 31, 2007

Strange News

A couple of things! This morning I got curious about an old friend and googled him and found one entry:
"[Friend's Name], [Friend's Street Address], Menominee, was arrested on two Dane County warrants and a felony warrant from Illinois at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Walgreen's, 2301 Hall Ave. "
It was in the Marinette paper a couple of months ago. What happened? I don't know what's going on with him, and I'm worried now. I emailed a couple of people who know some people. I hope to find out soon. I'd probably be in jail if I hung around that place, too.

We were pretty close junior and senior year, he was our prom king actually. It's funny to think about that. He graduated from Madison, at one point owned his own clothing store, ended up moving home to start over...that news was 8 years ago or this? What happened dude? Some people I grew up with are dead, some in jail, some are fine (the fine ones seem to be the ones that moved away), it's strange getting older.

Also this morning in my 8:30 class, I asked the question, "What do you usually do on Sundays?" The student that chose the name Arnold because he loves Arnold Schwarzenegger said that every Sunday he takes his two baby rabbits and goes running in the countryside. He has them on leashes, one male one female. The male is named "potato" and the female is named "trouble".
Wow. Strange day so far.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Oh, How Crappy Does Sting Feel Right Now?

This is the photo on Yahoo news, and this is the caption: "Aging rock legends such as Iggy Pop, Sting, and The Rolling Stones are hitting the road. "
Sting is in a whole different generation than the Rolling Stones and Iggy Pop. I had to laugh at this.

Bill Gates is an Urban Legend-Listen To Steve Jobs

Strange post title, but I'll get to that later. One of my favorite students is leaving this weekend, and I'm bummed. The time was too short. During my breaks between classes instead of going downstairs for a snack or anything, I'm usually in my room with this student voice recording a book into his MP4. He's a very creative director type person and so he shares an earpiece with me and reads along while I'm recording it, he's really into his English education, he's really into his life. Many Koreans love travel, but often go in groups and feel tortured without Korean food, and would prefer an upscale whirlwind tour of Europe. This guy travels by himself and goes to places like India and visits small tribes of indigenous peoples in China. He's a fashion designer. He seems to always be in a good mood.

The other day he came into class and announced, "I'm angry!", I was shocked. He explained that the night before was like the 5th time he had been stood up by a person who promised to give him violin lessons. Violin lessons, yes. Now most people wouldn't go to the Philippines for a few weeks for English immersion and decide to squeeze in learning a new musical instrument, especially the last week before leaving. The next day he said that the person finally kept the appointment and stayed with him for 5 hours, and he took video of it, so that he can continue his lessons in the UK. That's the kind of person he is.

The other day he said he wanted to see me for an extra period because he wanted me to hear something that he listens to every morning. So we did, we shared earphones on the MP4 and listened to a speech that Steve Jobs gave to Stanford grads in 2005.
Here's the link.

I had heard about Steve Jobs, but very little. I heard things like, "He's a neat guy." and "He's very creative.", or "Have you heard his life story?, it's great." So I was happy to get the chance to hear what the fuss was about. It was quite good. I weigh life choices the way Steve does, and so does this student. Steve says, 'you can't connect the dots going forward'

I was so happy to hear someone articulate that, because I've had to answer people's questions again and again trying to say something clever. I get "Why are you doing that?", and I'm thinking Why the h&%$? do I have to know why I'm doing something? Is this how most people are living their lives? No, I think there are quite a few of us out there that say, 'This is interesting, things that are interesting have merit, and no I don't have a crystal ball to tell you at this time what that tangible future merit might be, you one dimensional, irritating, walking frustration. It's happened to me a lot, one concrete example I can give is when I started learning Chinese. When people asked me why I just thought about them, 'and why are you not learning Chinese, huh? Can you answer that?' And I question the merits of knowing Friends episodes by heart, or whatever these other people are doing with their time. Steve's crystal ball answer, "You can't connect the dots going forward."

Frankly speaking of course, this outlook being successful is contingent on the person being a good person and an interesting person. If a bad, uninteresting, intellectually incurious person goes around following their heart, there's trouble for everyone. [Do I insert another picture of George Bush here, or are there already too many on this page? People might think I'm obsessed.] The bottom line is, I like interesting. That's it- I like interesting, and so does Steve.

The 'connect the dots' part of Steve's speech was about how he dropped out of college and only sat in on interesting courses. He sat in on a calligraphy course.

"None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later. Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. "

Calligraphy, violin, Chinese, whatever. Thank you Steve Jobs.
I really like the student who's leaving and I really liked that speech, it was interesting. In the hallway here at the college on one wall is the "speech" that Bill Gates supposedly gave at a high school. If you look it up on the net, it's a known fact that the speech is an urban legend. He never gave it. But this Steve Jobs speech is also available on YouTube for viewing if one is so inclined.
The last line of his speech:
"Stay hungry, stay foolish."

Ok, I't's My Fault

I was caught off guard today with my 1:00 class. I forgot to give the speech before we watched something on a television. I was complacent, but this class is great, one of my favorites, with intellectually alive people, electrifying conversations...

Nevertheless, they are I.C.[name of college] students. For almost a year, I've had scads of them, more than 150 I would guess, groups coming and going. Different classes, different people with different abilities, but I always have to give the speech. It goes something like this:

'We are watching something on television today. It's still English class, as the program/movie/whatever will be in English, which is why I'm showing it.
It is not time to get up and wander around the hallways, poking your head into other classrooms and getting me in trouble. It is not time to "put your head down" on the desk. This has never not lead to sleeping. Sit up straight. No, what I'm showing isn't boring. If you don't understand something, that's what the pause button is for, you can ask me. I have chosen program/movie/whatever especially for this class and your level. It's entertaining and presenting English you are mostly familiar with in a relevant entertaining context so that you can reinforce your listening, comprehension skills. This dialog will zoom along the English pathways that your brain has already created making deeper impressions. I always pick something funny. I'll explain whatever you want me to explain. DO NOT FALL ASLEEP. This is an English class- this class did not end because I turned on this glowing box. Yes, I know that half of you in here don't need this speech, scolding and preemptive lecture. But you are only half the class which leaves another half certain to disrupt the rest of us and the learning process. No this is not above you and no this is not beneath you. Pay attention.'

So, I forgot, but these guys are my friends man! I didn't think...

Well this is what I got...

This isn't my photo, I got it off the internet. Incidentally, there are tons of photos out there of 'students sleeping' -funny.
You want to know the kicker? This is what we were watching:
Come on people, and no I'm not sorry that the rest of us were laughing so hard that it startled you out of your slumber.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

George Bush

I went to a popular photo website and typed in George Bush, and almost the whole page filled with this picture above, there were at least 9 on one page. I laughed.

You know I have to admit, I know I joke around alot, but this makes me angry. What did this monkey do to deserve being dressed up and called George Bush? People can be so cruel.

Tough Morning

Warning: I've got biting humor at the moment, if you don't like that, you'll want to skip this post.
New class today at 8:30 am. In the first class I find out what levels I'm dealing with and prepare to adjust accordingly. I have a memorized vocabulary of basic English words that almost all students know when they arrive, no matter what their level.

The first class I use common vocabulary in short sentences. I make sure that even without verbal cues, the conversation is manageable, meaning my questions relate to each other, follow a logical sequence, no non-sequitir curve balls.


No. This group does not know English. They also managed to tap into my pet peeve of not following logic, which is a separate issue than a language barrier. I'm not able to get into details without being lengthy, I wish I could give concrete examples.

Student:"The Philippines?"
In my mind: No, we've completely changed the subject in the last five words and now all of a sudden without explaining myself, I'm talking about London.

Student:"North Korea?"
Me-in my mind: Why would I think that you served your military duty IN NORTH KOREA? Why would I think that?

The consolation of incidents like these is that there's always at least one other student with a facial expression that betrays shock, so at least it's not just me. Communication frustrations get us where it hurts, there are very few things in life more emotional. Long story short, we all lived through it.

I'm going to have to choose our lowest level conversation book for this group. And I've got a student who chose the name Arnold for himself because of you-know-who. He reminded me that he's the governor of you-know-where. Yeah, I know where. I used to live there. That's my state.

You know, every once in a while I get a student that's like this: If people in his country made it a habit to strangle newborn infants and then use the carcass as a football until the intestines fall out, and then cook them into a tasty dish, he would say: "Well that's a tradition in my country.", proudly. And this same type of student is the one who brought up the subject in the first place, trying to corner me into an opinion he may not like. Newsflash for ya honey,I don't care what traditions are in my country, so guess what?- I don't care what they are in yours either. I didn't bring it up, and I'm not trying to change you. If you don't want my opinion, don't ask for it. There are some Korean things for which I'll be adopting a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy.

Yeah, well you know what? This is a tradition in my country:

You know who this is, right? He's the president of you-know-where. I know that every Korean I've met hates him, he likes to invade other countries and attempt take-overs for control of natural resources no matter what anyone thinks, and include the soldiers of innocent countries like South Korea, but you know what? That's a tradition in my country. And there's your salute in the above photo.

Ok, Ok, done. Even students like that end up being likable for 100 other reasons, I don't sweat it. Just today I thought I'd blog it because it's bothering me at the moment.

I've got a student leaving this weekend who I'm really really going to miss. Erk.


Bundegi, it's pupa. Koreans eat it. Here it is in a can.

And there it is on a plate in some kind of prepared dish. I found another pretty good picture on the net, but it's copyrighted by someone.

I would love to try this stuff. I want to try eating any insect/bug. These are not available in the Philippines. They don't have any bugs here to eat, as far as I know. Bum deal.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Little Finger- Pinky

This morning I came to work and some staff started shouting my name, "Theresa! Theresa! What's this?". Grace and a few other teachers were showing me their little finger. "What's this called, the little finger?" Someone offered, "Index?" No, that's a pinky finger.
And then I'm thinking, why in the world is that called a 'pinky' finger? So I looked it up on wiki and the pedia says that the word comes from Dutch. In Dutch, pink means little finger, so in English that was adopted and changed to pinky.

It feels nice to be needed here. I hope they never discover the internet. :)

Update: I asked one of my students if he knew the name of the little finger. He held his up and said, "uh...children finger". Funny.

Another Pirates of the Carribean 3 Entry

More students have seen it and offered their views, but the funniest one is from K who says he understood two lines in the whole thing, "We must fight!" and "Will you marry me?"

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Angry Me

Well, I just got through searching through blogs regarding Koreans studying in the Philippines, and I'm disturbed. There's one article out there insinuating that Korean English students come here for prostitution and drug use. That's some self-proclaimed genius' point of view that probably has very little basis in reality, and with the students that I know, it has no basis in reality.

The actual post title in question is too vulgar to put here, but I almost want to post it here. I'll just answer what it was in reference to.

First off, Philippine girls have higher moral practices than an American would think (I'm American, so I'll speak to that.). The average age for sex here is 18 and older. Now, I'm not an idiot, I'm sure that's changing over time, but I believe it because I've been here almost 2 years. I see how things go. People here don't actually have much privacy. Homes are occupied with several family members and within those homes, the rooms offer little privacy, and the common culture is conservative regarding younger people and girlfriend/boyfriend stuff. I know things happen everywhere, but to characterize underage girls here as easy and sleeping with foreigners is highly prejudiced and wrong. Now, if the person that wrote that is actually Philippino, ok, then he's like someone I know here at work who exaggerates and has a different lifestyle than your average Philippino person.

That's just the begining. The person suggested that South Koreans come here to study English to have sex with teenagers and smoke pot, and are now accostomed to prostitutes. ERGH. There are prostitutes here, but even they are a bit on the tame side, and they are older people, not teenagers. Although some of the students here have gone to a questionable location in Batangas, all was on the up and up. By the way, both Korean and Philippino people don't believe in secrets, they blab all.

As far as drugs go, you've got to be kidding me. Drugs are not as common as I thought they woud be here. There's a certain way that law enforcement works that leads me to believe drugs should be everywhere. I KNOW there are drugs here, but the rich kids do them from time to time, it's not a given that any students would run into the availability. BUT that's not what bugs me the most. Drugs are extremely rare in Korea. Students don't just step off the plane and all of a sudden feel comfortable enough to engage in illegal activity that they aren't familiar with especially here. Some of the students are scared of the Philippines. "Philippines not safe for Koreans!" They tell eachother urban legends of the Korean who was murdered here and there...lots of urban legends, I roll my eyes. Although some of them might be true. Don't try and tell me that students come here and get addicted to prostitutes and pot. Oh, and you know what else? Students told me that if you're a Korean and you're caught doing drugs overseas, you will be prosecuted back at home as well!

I'm sure that occasionally a student has paid for a date or tried some strange cigarette, but that's not what was implied by the blog entry. I don't know if the writer was American, but I feel like mentioning that America is now the bottom of the barrel for sex and drugs and Americans should not feel like they are going to visit another country for something worse. A certian district in Thailand, ok, but your average Thai girl is going to want to be your friend and maybe catch a foreign husband. And that's another thing, the girls here are keenly interested in foreign men, but to fulfill their hopes of a married secure life, not ever thinking that they would be used as a toilet and offered money. Yuck.

The Korean students that come here are quite innocent with one or two exceptions.
You know, this has upset me! I can tell because I just proofread my entry and there were all kinds of spelling mistakes, forgotten words, dropped letters...out of all the entries I've written to date, I had to edit this one the most! I'm pissed.

Mr. Bean

Our family loves Mr. Bean. My youngest son (12 and autistic) is obsessed with him. He watches the dvds until they're ruined and I have to buy more. Autism is a language disorder, autistics can't communicate conventionally. In Mr. Bean there is almost no language. The few words that are spoken are not needed, it's all context. And he's hilarious. Mind The Baby, Mr. Bean is probably the funniest episode, but there are so many to choose from. I don't know what my son is thinking, but he really seems to understand Mr. Bean.

I had a close friend a few years ago, mother of 6, who was dying of liver cancer and her thing was that she wanted to laugh. So I bought her a dvd set of all the Mr. Bean episodes. She's dead now, so I'm glad I have that memory.

Internationally, he's a big hit, but it stands to reason. There's no language barrier. Here in the Philippines the show is popular and the animated series is well known. There are t-shirts and backpacks, notebooks, and all kinds of merchandise here. I also saw episodes in China and Hong Kong. If you're ever faced with bridging a culture gap or language barrier, mention Mr. Bean, you'll see a face light up.

Remember when the British Sailors were taken captive in Iran, and they kept reporting that they were treated well? After they got home, the government pressured the captives to try to change the tone of the event for PR purposes (that's my take on the whole thing, anyway), and one story came out, "They mocked me and called me Mr. Bean!"

Now, I know I'm supposed to be aghast, but I couldn't help but laugh. Iranians holding British sailors captive, and what do they think of? Mr. Bean!

Even if it was meant as the worst possible insult...think about bad is that? I think it's cute, and I also feel that Mr. Bean has bridged gaps that haven't even been contemplated. I wonder how many closed societies have seen Mr. Bean...I hope all of them.

New Beer

The students were excited the other day about a new beer that they tried, "The name is Colt 45!" They reported. Yeah, I've heard of it. They should also try Red Horse if they like that. Red Horse is made by San Miguel. A lot of alcohols here in the Philippines are made by San Miguel, they have kind of a monopoly. Anyway, Koreans love alcohol, they are called the Irish of the East. I have no experience with these guys that would break that stereotype. They love it here in the Philippines because alcohol is cheap. The prices in Korea for alcohol are high with the exception of soju. Soju is like a nasty gin/vodka. It's an interesting beverage, it makes people talkative. I was laughing when they said they liked Colt 45, because I don't think they know the difference between beer and malt liquor, all beers are not created equal. Of course they would love malt liquor.

God Hates Me-The Little Dog

Well, no.
But I used to be very close to god, and now I'm not, but the defect is mine.
What happened is, I went through a series of traumatic experiences, and now I'm feeling scarred and cold.
An everyday person might conclude that I became angry with god for allowing me to experience hardships, but this isn't the case. I know why bad things happen, and they have nothing to do with the creator. I haven't blamed him.

I did go through a short period where I was angry, but the nature of that was like a daughter trying to make her father feel bad. It was like a daughter taking out very real emotions on someone who might care. But that's all it was.

I do a whole lot of things that would be considered 'good' by a lot of people. I don't talk about these things that I do a lot, the charity seems natural to me, just based on knowledge and beliefs that I have. I am perfectly aware that these 'good' things do not make me a good person in god's eyes or my own. The truth is that I'm not that great of a person. After several traumatic events, and years have passed! ... I have drawn away from the creator. I can't seem to change my course. I don't hate him, or blame him, like I said, the defect is my own. I feel numb to god. I go through the motions. If someone were to have the wrong impression of him, or ask me a question about god or the bible, I would snap out of my dead state momentarily for the sake of the other person. I say 'would', but this is not a hypothetical situation, it happens.

Other people seem to be the only way I can demonstrate any love for god. I'm in the Philippines because of a spiritual relationship that I developed with a person. I do good work here. Unfortunately my secular employment takes me away from it, but the other day in class the students asked me, 'what's your religion, what do you know, why do you believe it' ...they were like more, more more...!

I was just numb and in a daze. Why do I deserve to get to talk about this? Does god still trust me even though I've marginalized him so much? I don't get it.

I've read the bible through so many times, I actually don't know the count. It's a continual thing. I know quite a bit about it, and my students were asking me questions that I know the answers to and I just sat there in a daze. I explained things to them like I was giving them directions to the airport, but without enthusiasm. I told them basically, 'I'm sorry, but did you ever know too much about a subject?'

I wish I was the way I used to be, but I feel like I've been hit by a truck, and can't be athletic anymore. But it's not god's fault. I let the devil win.

Also my son keeps me fresh, he asks good questions, and he's currently doing the schedule to read the bible in a year. I see him, and I think well, I'm not the worst person. He doesn't approve of me 100% either, though. He thinks I speak my mind too much. He does enjoy my analysis of world events, though. He thinks I'm right about everything regarding news. I hope that when he gets older he appreciates what I taught him and the schedule I have him stick to.

My house helper and her grandchildren that live with us are definitely loved by god, so I feel that because I'm involved with them that I'll have a better life. Like that one story in the gospels where Jesus talks to that woman who wants a blessing and he says that his message is for Isreal and not for little dogs and she replys that if she hangs out under the table, maybe something will fall her way...that's exactly how I feel.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Diving in the Philippines

I guess this is a picture of diving in Batangas, which is where the students go, unless they're blessed enough to hit Boracay.
Diving here is really cheap, and certification is cheap, and I guess it's also goregeous. It's very tropical.
But, snorkling is a lot cheaper and easier, and in certain locations, mind blowing. My friend claims to have seen SpongeBob and Patrick. Often reported by the students when they return, "We found Nemo!"
Wendy said getting lessons with a group of friends is a real kick in the pants (not exact phraseology) because you learn the underwater sign language. It's a lot of fun, she said it's like being an astronaut floating in space.
I want to take my son to do this, but it's going to be awhile before I can afford it, even though it's the cheapest place on earth. I'm living like a local here and actually supporting my family and two others. But it's nice to be in a place where there are so many interesting attainable things to look forward to.

Hair Do

Oh, I found a map. There's Lemery, but I live in Taal. The map makes it look huge, but these are tiny places.
I rarely if ever post a blog entry on the weekend, butI have business this Saturday morning that's delayed due to computer issues at the place in question. So, hot and dirty I'm trepsing throuh Lemery and I decide to get my hair shampooed because it's feeling hot and dirty, but not in a good way.

I poked my head in a couple of places, but they were barber shops with a bunch of men. Seemed like a hassle, so I ended up back at the original appointment place and noticed upstairs that there was a salon with posters up of women with modern hairdos. So I checked it out. There was nobody in the place, and a guy came and opened the door for me. I told him what I wanted, and I think he was nervous about me speaking English, but nothing I said was that difficult, so we managed. I said, yeah, I want my hair washed, and a little bit trimmed. He sat me down in the chair and put my hair up, I was a little confused because usually the washing comes first. He said, nope trim first. Ok.

He plopped three magazines down in front of me. Two FHMs and a Men's Health. The FHM issue on top of the stack is the Sexy Asian Babes issue. "What, no Maxim?", I complained (just kidding).
Ok. I asked him, do mostly men come to this shop? He said, 'no' and seemed puzzled by the question.
Ok... He put the music on, which was some club song about sex.

So then it starts, "How old are you?"
He affects a surprised expression.
I don't play along, the conversation bores me.
I said, "see.." and pointed to gray hairs, "that's why I have these"

When I was 33 I understood people being shocked at how old I was. It wasn't an act, I looked younger. But now I'm 36 and it's just a game when people act like I look younger. It makes me uncomfortable because I'm growing more vain. I never used to be that way. It's only been three years, but it's been 3 dog years.

After styling he says, "Now you look 25 years old."
Yeah, that's why you gave me hairstyle that looks like a woman in her 50's who's running for president.

Afterwards, I'm sitting here in the internet cafe next door. Downstairs is where I should be, but the computers are down, I'll check back in 30 minutes or so. They've got a great radio station playing in here. I'll be here awhile.


All the quizzes, what's wrong with me?
I took this quiz, "What's Your Love Song?"
This is like one of my very favorite songs ever.

Your Love Song Is

Yellow by Coldplay

"Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do,
Yeah they were all yellow"

You're so in love, it's like a drug.
Another quiz I just took, 'what does your candy heart say' My candy heart says Get Real, and the last line said, "You don't just play hard to are hard to get." Wow.

Another Brown Out

I work in a town (not where I live) that has power outages all day frequently. This is the second one this week. It's really hot at the college. It disrupts the whole day as all the teachers and students are trying to have class next to an open window with a breeze.

Normally I don't get bored, I mean really. I don't. I was an only child until I was 5 and a half. I can stare at a wall and entertain myself with my own thoughts. I have books here and work to do, regardless of heat, or a power outage. But today, I just wasn't my normal self. I could not concentrate for anything. I couldn't even daydream. That's new. Anything I buckled down to do lasted for a few minutes tops.

It's Friday, so here comes another weekend. I figured out the other day that there are only 52 weeks in a year. That's why they go so fast. Today went slow, but it's the only day all year so far.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Pirates Of The Carribean

Well, the students just strolled in to school with the first reviews.
And they blabbed the end.
The thing that I find hilarious, is that the two that are telling us about it barely know English. I think I'll watch it regardless of this bad news.

Fun Quizzes

The Keys to Your Heart

You are attracted to obedience and warmth.

In love, you feel the most alive when your partner is patient and never willing to give up on you.

You'd like to your lover to think you are optimistic and happy.

You would be forced to break up with someone who was arrogant, acting like the dictator of your life.

Your ideal relationship is lasting. You want a relationship that looks to the future... one you can grow with.

Your risk of cheating is zero. You care about society and morality. You would never break a commitment.

You think of marriage something you've always wanted... though you haven't really thought about it.

In this moment, you think of love as commitment. Love only works when both people are totally devoted.
What Are The Keys To Your Heart?
This key to my heart is really freaky because they just asked me strange questions about animals, it's 100 perecent correct. Not all quizzes are created equal.

You Are the Ace of Hearts

Youthful and playful, you love life and the world.
You have a kind spirit, and you bring happiness to everyone you know.
Artistic and bold, you see the world in bright colors.
And you certainly aren't afraid to express everything you see and feel.
You are sentimental, and your emotions are very deep.
You are easily swept away and easily hurt.
A gamble you should take: Blackjack

Your friends would describe you as: Unique
Your enemies would describe you as: Weepy

If you lived in Vegas, you would be: An up and coming chef or fashion designer

Some of these quizzes are dumb, I found this one in particular to be scary. Here's one of the questions:

1.Besides gambling, what would you be most excited to do in Vegas?
o Shop at the nicest stores and eat at some gourmet restaurants
o Have a whirlwind romance... and maybe a Vegas wedding
o Ride one of those roller coasters on top of a casino
o Invest in real estate - it's a boom town

Actually, I have a story for each one of these choices! My brother and sister live in Vegas. I sold my share of the last choice.

I also took a 'how do men see you' quiz:
Men See You As Desirable
Men often find you immediately attractive and sensual
You're honesty is refreshingly beautiful ... it draws guys in
You are also able to be open with your feelings with no emotional baggage
Packing light means you enjoy new relationships easily

How embarrassing. Of course it's absolutely true.
How's this for a quiz answer.
Men See You as a Pain in the Ass
You're like a tasty burrito with a fly in the middle.
If they ever want to know how stupid they are, they know where to turn.
Seriously, I try to control that last one.

You are Bettie Page

Girl next door with a wild streak

You're a famous beauty - with unique look

And the people who like you are cultish about it

This pinup one is kinda freaky, too. I mean, just say it- Ugly Betty! I don't care. I'm the girl next door with a wild streak. That's about right.
I took a kissing quiz that's pretty funny. "You could kiss anyone at the drop of a hat." REALLY??? I didn't know that about myself. Wow. I could explain exactly what kind of kisser I am, I don't need a quiz.

In another quiz I found out I'm 22% evil. "A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil." -Yeah Right.

You Are Lisa Simpson

A total child prodigy and super genius, you have the mind for world domination.

But you prefer world peace, True Christianity, and tofu dogs.

You will be remembered for: all your academic accomplishments

Your life philosophy: "I refuse to believe that everybody refuses to believe the truth"

I know I am Lisa Simpson, don't need a quiz for that either, but I like the cute picture of me. In another quiz: I am 81% sexy! Woo hoo!
I am 24% sociopath, but here's what they said: "From time to time, you may be a bit troubled and a bit too charming for your own good. It's likely that you're not a sociopath... just quite smart and a bit out of the mainstream!"

Career Personality Fun Quiz And My Brain is Green

Your Brain is Green

Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance.
You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.
You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns.
You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Your Career Personality: Practical, Easy-Going, and Determined

Your Ideal Careers:
Airplane pilot,
Civil engineer, Fire fighter, Forensic pathologist,Graphic designer, Marine biologist, Police officer, Professional athlete, Race car driver, Software engineer

The Quick and Dirty Career Test

Forensic Pathologist? -Absolutely.
Marine Biologist?-Absolutely
Police Officer?- Wash your mouth out with soap.
Software Engineer?- Again, get the soap.
And how is race car driver on the same list as software engineer? Gee I don't think these quizzes are reliable (I'm so clever for deconstructing online quizzes, I should get an honorary PHD).

What's Root Beer?

Root Beer Spazz Attack!
Anyway, I forgot that the students don't know what RootBeer is, and I was drinking a can of MUG after lunch. It has a picture of a mug filled with a foamy dark beverage.
My students assumed I was drinking alcohol. I didn't understand why Scott was spazzing out so I just blew him off. But when my other students started buzzing and passing the can around a little lightbulb went on *ding*

"You guys! That's just soda! It's called rootbeer!"

Then I understood why Scott was talking about Germany and dark beers, because of the picture on the can. So I straightened it out and there were bellows of laughter, June was especially relieved, but Peter was still examining the can and reading the ingredients, "So what is the alcohol content of this?"
Um, hello again, that's just soda! More laughs.
So what...these guys think that I brought BEER to class? Come on, now give me a break!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Philippine Leader Welcomes Larger Japanese Role

Philippine President Gloria Arroyo said Wednesday she welcomed a greater global role by Japan as she discussed a stalled free trade agreement with Tokyo.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is seeking to revise the post-World War II pacifist constitution to let the nation become more active in international peacekeeping and other military roles.

"We were very happy when you announced your foreign policy to open Japan and indeed look forward to Japan playing a bigger role, not only for economic integration but also peace, security and stability," Arroyo told reporters as she entered a meeting with Abe.

Link to Article

Doesn't surprise me, but I find it interesting. 'We'll protect you.' 'Let's trade.'


I use a big fat dictionary here at work to get ideas for class, and I spied this word, bimbo. Now, I know what a bimbo is, I've watched plenty of Laverne & Shirley, but the dictionary says this: "an attractive but stupid young woman, especially one with loose morals"

How many young women fit that description nowadays? Reminds me of a story.
[Deleted Entry]
Nevermind. I had a story here, but when I scroll through my blog to check spelling, I hate this entry so it's gone. Sometimes I entertain myself with snide comments regarding others, but it doesn't wash over time.
So...deleted entry.

Teaching Blahbityblah Post

I like to check out teacher blogs and resources for EFL teachers. So much of what I do is completely unrelated to the resources that I read. I've come to the conclusion that I'm reading them for personal development, but I need to spend a limited time on EFL specific blogs and sites. I'll benefit more from keeping up with interesting topics in general. Lately I've been looking at research information for entomophagy, which is eating insects. I'm getting disappointed with what's available on the web, and it looks like I'll need to buy a real book which aren't easy to come by here in the Phils, but I digress.

The teacher blogs that I see are geared toward large groups and mostly small children. My classes are a completely different dynamic, so discussions I see online pertaining to EFL just aren't interesting and relevant to what I do. I saw one interesting post today about the English Only Rule in the classroom. As I read it, I mentally cheered the author for his points, but realized once again as I often do, that I'm in no position to spout a theory and viewpoints to the blogosphere because my job is different. I'm sure there are some teachers out there somewhere who do exactly what I do, but they're not on eslcafe, or the zillions of EFL ESL resources I've been looking through.

As far as English Only in the classroom, that's nuts. Those little dictionaries they use are 'magic boxes' to me. If they don't know a word I'm using, they plug it into the magic box and wallah. Discussion continues. They've learned a new word in an interesting meaningful context, which is exactly how new words are supposed to be learned. I'm supposed to feel torn or ambiguous about this? Bite me.

Now I gather from the net that in most of the real world, teachers aren't having discussions about food production as it relates to insect eating, or fair trade coffee and Starbucks prices in Korea, or Japanese comic books with 8 students or less.

More on Jeepneys

I found this article written by an apprehensive Westerner on riding his first Jeepney in Manila. It reminds me that I never had a first time like that. I know the Philippines from friends, now I could be a guide in many places. Jeepneys are a large part of my life.
On the Jeepney
There's a couple of pictures, too. Pology is an interesting website.

Rate Your Students Part II

I'm reading more of today, now my eyes are bloodshot and my vision is blurry, but it's got me itching to write a post. Yesterday we had no power all day, so I'm glued to my screen today.

Uh, that site could actually drag a person down if read too much, student or teacher. Most of the complaints are the same, written in different styles, some clever.

I was thinking I should use the format to offer a slice of the school life to my blog, but I can't think of any interesting biting things to say. I feel so positive about my students, except for the very few who were rude, and I can't think of anything interesting to say about those few instances. They're just sad.

So I guess I can write some happy boring ones.

S- Why are you always smiling? As soon as you come in in the morning you shout a big happy greeting to everyone. It makes me happy. I know you don't know this, but your movie reviews are hilarious. I've got to get you on you tube.

J- Why are you such an enthusiastic student even though you are still at the elementary level in English, according to the demonic TOEIC gods? Why aren't you like some other students who use this as an excuse for being dolts? Why are you so creative and such a stereo-type breaker for Korean guys? I didn't care about stereotypes in the first place, but you had to break them anyway. I know you're leaving soon and I'm really going to miss you. Really Really. Thanks for the CD that you burned for me.

H- You left so soon! You're the only student here who has gotten away with staring at his cell phone throughout all of his classes in their entirety. Staff plays along that you are using a cellphone dictionary because you're a good guy who participates anyway. Thanks for the laughs.

P- I know you hate your major, but it's interesting and proves that you're a brainiac to be reckoned with. I know English is your third language, but you're doing great, do you have to be so humble? I know that your dorm mates wish your pajamas covered more and that you simply wore them in bed, but what would we talk about in class if you didn't trepse around the dorms at night in your underoos? I'm glad we got use of the word "horny" straightened out today, we don't want you guys misusing that.

N- I can't believe all the stuff you've eaten. I'm working on a blog entry just for that. But you still haven't topped J who has eaten monkey brains.

D- You're an Enlgish major and are scared to talk to me? Actually I'd have to feign suprise on that. I've run in to it before.

M- I can't believe you have a huge tatoo of a tiger on your back, nobody can. It's such a big deal in Korea, they think you're all ready for Yakuza. If your dad finds out what you did, you'll have your chance to join Yakuza, cuz you'll be swimming across the "East Sea" to get away from him. I guess there will be certain restrictions to your military duty as well, although I'm having a hard time understanding what S was telling me about that. What do I think? Hate tatoos, love commotion.

T- You are the loudest person I've ever heard here at the college. And that includes your friend N. You win. Your voice is like a sonic boom that travels through my nervous system like science fiction. I'm scarred for life. Don't be embarrassed. I know the things you said to me at the party were just a translation issue. I hope you never lose your bounce.

N You are hilarious and I wish I had your life sometimes. I can't believe all the places you've been and the things you've done. I was just joking about wanting to meet your wife. It was fun to see you sweat a little.

J I know you're long gone, but thanks for recommending Prison Break 5,000 times. Many other students have come after you with the same advice, but you were the first.

W- I saw the pictures. Everyone else was wearing the big baggy swim trunks. But not you. The swim cap and the goggles were a nice addition to the speedos. Ironicly, you're the one worried about your dorm-mate's pajamas. I enjoyed hearing about your engineering design job in Korea, don't worry about failing to make that shower-bath for babies. At least you have good stories to tell.

S- We were worried at first the way you shook when you spoke. You were so nervous we thought you were going to fall over. Eventually, it stopped. You've got to be the sweetest thing I've ever taught. Your goodbye card made me cry. Sorry I kind of accidentally gave you the wrong url to my blog.

B- How many gadgets can you possibly have in that designer bag of yours? Thanks for pulling out the PMP that day I wasn't feeling well and letting me watch MatchPoint while you did independant study. That was a pretty good movie. And don't listen to these guys saying that you're fat. They're crazy to say that...because you're rich. They should be kissing your butt. And your size in the US is like...uh...5? Yes, you're legs are big, but so what? I loved the way you teased the guys until they wanted to cry. They deserved it. And I've NEVER seen a human being chug beer like that before, man, woman or beast. Nobody. I know English is your major, but boy, if beer were English...

F- Thanks for pretending to shoot me after the Cho Seung Hui thing. We all needed a laugh.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Crazy Jeepney Driver

Once in awhile it happens, I get a crazy Jeepney driver on my daily, hour long commute to work. This guy went slow, stopped for gas, and cleaned his windows with the attendant. All of this at minutes before eight. I was almost late.

Here's a picture of a toy jeepney that's respresentative of what they look like.(Representative of what they look like? Is that sentence ok, or is that the result of me getting NO sleep last night because of youngest child?)

Here's what it's like on the inside.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Mass at the Mall/ Rate Your Students

There's a sign at the mall here when you enter. Celebrate Mass here at Robinson's every Sunday.

So they have a Catholic Mass here at the mall.
That's all.
Today on blogger blogs of note, the pick is I checked it out, it's pretty funny. It's just teachers venting with creative essays, you can't take it too seriously.

They get jaded with their jobs. I think that repetition makes people vent, and they've got students with the same habits every semester. This site is in response to and the student-as-consumer mentality.

I read it at school today for awhile, so now I'm thinking back to college and things that I did right and wrong. I'm glad that I don't resemble the students described at speaking. I wasn't an excuse maker, but I was a pain to a couple of teachers I think .

Also, I'm reminded again how favorable the dynamics are here where I'm teaching. My students are university level (and higher) who have travelled abroad to study here. Generally that translates as highly motivated. We're also not starting at rock bottom with their English skills. Typically, they can speak functional English when they arrive.

My class today, we discussed the site. They said in Korea, they have the same sites. A student told me that, indeed, with teacher evaluations, if he got a low grade, he rated the teacher low. We also talked about plagiarism. He admitted to copying things off the Internet.

My classes have no homework and exams, just attendance. *Whew*. I used to make exams here and I'm so glad I don't do that anymore.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Japanese Working to Death

Japanese Working To Death <-Article link.
This kind of thing bothers me (you know, in hindsight, that seems like a dumb thing to say.) . There's more to life. Koreans are in danger of this also.

Airport Security: Ban!

In class we discuss new vocabulary words. Yesterday one of them was ban, also, banned.
The topic turned to airport security.
A student told me about his airport security experience. Looking up from his electronic dictionary, he told me, "They sequestered my toothpaste."

I love the usage I hear everyday, it's fun.

Also, I learned that up until around 1995 Japanese comic books were banned in South Korea, along with other media and entertainment. There is still a ban of Japanese singing on the airwaves. A Japanese band has to sing in English or Korean.

The Hundred Dollar Watermelon

My students tell me that there is a special melon in Kwangju (South Korea) that's 100 US Dollars.

I assure them that there is no watermelon worth that price.
But here's a picture. At least it's big!

And as for the watermeloney life in the Philippines, here's a couple of slices.
Sometimes people here put coins in their ears to carry them. They sit nicely in the ear like it was a slot designed for just that. Wish I had a picture.

Also, I got a 20 Peso bill yesterday and someone had inked on the back:
txtm8 wnted 095834058340 (and some long number, this one I just made up).

People here are obsessed with text messages. It seems noone wants to just sit and enjoy a jeepney ride, they feel naked if they're not glued to the cell phone texting every second. Texting and singing are the national pastimes.

Here are a couple of questions my Philippino collegues have asked me this week.
What does this mean, "Are you a chicken?"
Is it, 'Christmas is IN the air.' or 'Christmas is ON the air.' ?

The first answer is:
It means "Are you a coward?'
The second answer is:
'Christmas is ON the air,' means it's on the radio.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Another Wentworth Miller Post, this one I'm calling, "OK, I Admit It"

Ok, I admit it.
I wouldn't watch Prison Break if it weren't for Wentworth Miller.
It's not that great of a show.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Eerily Prophetic

I will be decapitated by head hunters.

How will you die? Take the Exotic Cause of Death Test

I took this how will you die test. I love it.

When I get a new batch of students in I usually ask if they would rather die by being set on fire or drowning. The obvious correct answer is drown, but I love the variety of responses I get.

Of course my answer changes when I change the question from the above to:
Would you rather die in a plane crash or on a sinking boat? The obvious correct answer is die in a plane crash, but some students insist that Titanic was "so romantic". Yeah, it's so romantic to contemplate your certain death slowly as it happens.

I love when students get upset with these questions. I think that they need to get over the shock and think it through. This gets us in touch with our humanity. I mean please, join the real world will ya! My more intelligent students savor the possibilities and give clear answers and reasons. Sometimes they go through a bargaining stage with fantasies of being rescued. No, you're going to die. Accept it and tell me which you prefer.

Some who have answered being set on fire say that they heard the smoke will kill them first. I'm like, yeah if you're trapped in a burning house or something, but I said SET on fire! Deal with it.

Anyway, I took this test, and this is how I would die if I died an exotic death.
My student scott took this test and he wasn't satisfied with the results. Basicly, he informed me, there are no giant ducks in Korea.

I will be crushed by a giant duck!

How will you die? Take the Exotic Cause of Death Test

In a much less exciting, but no less credible test, I've discovered I'm a procesosr.

Which Computer Component Are you?

So Tempting

I'm tempted, because this is my diary, to blog about female bodily functions, because it's all I can think about today.

But, on the chance that this blog is actually something people accidentally click in to once in awhile, I restrain myself.

But man, this is one of those days where I'm soooo tempted.

Douglas Coupland Quote

I lifted this from another blog.
"I think cynicism is lazy thinking posing as depth and coolness." - Douglas Coupland

Hee hee.

Jerry Falwell Dead!

WOW. I didn't know he was 73! Actually nowadays that's a young age to die.

He's 'lucky' that there's no eternal torment for souls in a burning hellfire. That teaching is not in the Bible. Of course he didn't know that. I doubt he studied it very much.

Jerry Falwell was a creep of a man spreading false religion around in the most hateful terms. One of the leaders of the American Taliban.

He will rest in peace, because God is kinder than I am.

I just read he was the grandson of an athiest and son of an agnostic.
I am granddaughter of an athiest and daughter of an athiest.
I believe that Jerry Falwell was also an atheist because he didn't seem to care if he was misrepresenting God. If you know people who truly revere a creator, you can tell the difference in spirit right away. He treated his religion like politics and a worldly pursuit. He put forth a religious philosophy, but not true worship and reverential fear of a creator.

People who really love God don't crusade against others, it's just a fact. This little rant here may seem like a crusade, but I have ignored Jerry Falwell on the whole. The Bible's first (and almost only) angry target is false religion, especially people who claim to represent Him directly. So I don't pull any punches when it comes to people who have done so much damage to the reputation of the Bible. But I still try to watch myself. Rarely did Jerry Falwell behave as though he was being watched.

Widows and Orphans

My house helper is a widow with many grandchildren. Three of them are orphans. Her son died maybe three years ago and then one year later, his wife and the mother of three.

This week my helper and two of the kids moved in. I think we'll get the third and oldest one eventually, right now she's with some friends. So, keeping score, we've got two adults in the house and 4 kids, maybe one on the way. Whew!

They're really good little ones, too. Julius is eight but I forgot how old Gladys is, I'll have to find out again later. I forget because these kids are not the right size. Julius looks like a 5 year old who needs to eat more. I was looking at his arms last night. My camera broke, I might've taken a photo and tried to post it.

Anyway, my money is tied up in property. At this time I live on teacher's pay, and I'm the bread winner for this group. I pay grandma more than all local house help and she is required to do less, and her family gets to move in. I barely make it, but I was looking at J's arms last night and I'm thinking that I'm going to spend extra money on food. No more eating lunch here at the college. My goal is to feed these kids real food. My oldest needs to eat more, but he's picky. Julius isn't picky he's probably perpetually hungry.

I didn't sleep well and I'm tired today because of the new arrangement. Rosie the grandma knows not to wake me up, but my youngest autistic son was up buzzing around, but that might be because Julius was up. Anyway, Rosie hid from me this morning probably thinking I was going to re-iterate how important my sleep is. I won't do that because I know she knows. She'll handle the situation. She saw what happened this morning.

They wake up super dooper early, but they nap during the day when it's peak sun outside. I have to get up at 6:15. I don't get home until after 6 and there's no napping for me during the day. I have an intensive job. So Rosie's aware not to treat my sleep lightly in the morning. She used to drive me nuts and I'm made it clear. She saw how tired I can be at night. She knows that our family life is not healthy if I have to come home and plop down for sleep.

Anyway, I trust things will go better than they did this morning. I have a surprise for her when I get home anyway!! Actually she knows it's payday. No surprise. But it's definitely happy time.

My oldest son loves being older brother to them (they've stayed with us unofficially before). He's happy. I'm kind of excited to see how things are going to go with a bigger family now.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Blog Browsing- the Inferiority-Superiority Complex

So today I'm browsing through blogs and being punished for it. What's with all the bleary eyed mother's day nonsense? I'm a mother, so what? Boring blogs.

Well, I'm either underwhelmed with the babble or intimidated by "everyone" being more clever and talented than I am. Then I hit another obligatory mother's day post and remember how awesome I am for not posting something dumb and boring about mother's day.

There's a lot of foreign language blogs on here also. Can't read them.

I love/become jealous of funny stuff on blogs. One I stumbled onto had the opening title..."chronicling the fall of western civilization with my one 'good' eye"
BWAHH. Hilarious. Then disappointment on reading, he's one of those current youth who are overly concerned that people are too nice to each other nowadays. Barf. Find a real cause, thank you. (See how I reflexively offer a 'thank you'?, More kudos to me.)

So with that superior air, I click on Next Blog. I wonder if I should stop using the capital 'I' because some pretty decent writers out there are just using i. "i had orientation today." It seems so streamlined. Nah, it would bug Me. After awhile i would hate it. I'm also reminded that I sneer at people who think they're clever for using the 'f' word. So Me, feeling clever that I don't use the f-word click 'Next Blog'...

I clicked in to this blog about "niggers". Blogger is very concerned that 'nigger crime' doesn't get enough coverage. A typical rant about how he's an oppressed minority opens it up. Oh, and Jews get a fair mention as the conspirators. I wish people like that had a sense of irony. If it weren't for crazies like him, there would never be an overly correct mistake made in the name of race equality. He's the cause of his own problem. Gee fool, dja ever wonder how the pendulum got to swingin so far? Hmm...
Again, I feel superior to be me.

I have a decent picture of my superior self I'm wanting to put up here, but it's going slow. I'm technologically challenged at this location. I feel so inferior.

I Survived Election Day

Well, according to the news, 6 people were killed on election day here in the Philippines. I don't know where this took place. I doubt anywhere near here.
I don't vote or get involved politically which includes staying away from political types here. I hope all expats stay out of the loop. Anyway, I don't know who won this or that. Someone told me this morning that the votes are still being counted, but that the mayor here of Lipa is probably going to be the next governor. She's actually a famous actress here in the Philippines.

Congrats to everyone still alive.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Blake American Idol Duran Duran

Oh, and I forgot to mention.

Blake performed well last week donning a black quaff, striped shirt and black jacket.

That was a complete and total tribute to Simon Le Bon of duran duran, just so y'all know and Blake looked hot.

I wanted to congratulate him. I liked it.

Jimmy Fallon and Star Wars 3 Spoof

This is so hilarious. It's a must see. Must. See.

Jimmy Fallon Star Wars 3 Spoof

I'm at an internet cafe and I was laughing so hard, a little embarassing, but I don't care.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Japanese Girl At Our School

Our school is Korean, but there's open enrollment. There is a Japanese High School girl whose family is in Lipa for some reason, so she's joining us here at the English Institute for awhile. She might feel strange for a few reasons.

1. Here, the languages she will hear are English, Korean and some Tagalog.
2. She is much younger than anyone else here.
3. She is Japanese

About number three...
I don't expect a problem, but there's an akwardness. I've had Korean students with various mindsets. My first batch informed me, 'We have issues with the Japanese government, not the people.' My repsponse to this, facial expression and all was 'of course...well, naturally.' Their response to that was 'no, not of course...many Korean people hate Japanese people.'

Another batch of students rolled in. I heard, 'I hate Japan, Japanese people, culture, everything. I do not want to speak Japanese, I hate everything Japanese.'

STUDENT: "I hate Japanese."
ME: "Government?"
STUDENT: "NO! I hate all of them!"

STUDENT:'Korean people very, very hate Japanese'
ME:, "No, 'really really'."

Then there's a lot of this too.
ME (to male students): Describe the ideal woman.
MEN: "Japanese school girl"

If there are women in the class, this likely leads to the guy getting punched or slapped in the arm.
WOMEN:"They love Japan girl because Japan girl not talking...quiet. Korean woman not quiet."
GUYS:"That's right, Korean woman not quiet."

more slaps...

MAN (to woman student):"I am afraid to you!"
ME: "I'm afraid OF you."
MAN: "Yeah!"

(Side note edited in after I posted this. Korean guys often say they like talkative women, but they also like submissive. Just in case you're keeping track, I have another post where the guys say they enjoy talkative women.)

I ask the class the question, when there is a disagreement between your parents, who usually wins? More than 2/3 of the students:"My mother."

So there's a glimpse in to that.
Currently we have a student, Peter who speaks some Japanese. He spent a year studying law in Japan. His major is law, he hates it. Anyway, he's able to speak to her and make her feel comfortable and uncomfortable at the same time. Why? Because he's a much older Korean male, it's a bit akward. It would be even more so if she knew that he used to go to Korean chat rooms pretending to be Japanese and starting fights with the Koreans. 'We should attack Korea and kill all Koreans.', stuff like that. He was also telling me that he can read Japanese so he reads some of their blogs and they are hateful to Koreans as well. He said that he saw a blog about Cho Seung Hui and it said that it's just in the Korean nature to do something like that. (Yeah, sure.That makes no sense.)
So this guy talks to her once in awhile.
We have another student here whose major was Japanese. He tried to hold a conversation with her unsuccessfully. I've met a few students that have a degree in a language that they can't functionally speak. From time to time we have English majors that enroll here and refuse to take my class or speak to me. Hilarious.

I spoke with the girl a bit and did my best to make her feel comfortable. I hope she loves it here.

SUPERNOVA excitement.

I have posted this picture to the side of this blog for permanency, I don't want to forget this story and have it fall down the page.

Blurbs from the yahoo article are amusing.

"This one is way above anything else," Smith told The Associated Press. "It's really astonishing."
Smith said the star, SN2006gy, "is a special kind of supernova that has never been seen before." He called the star "freakily massive" at 150 times the mass of the sun. (Wha?)
Observations from the Chandra X-ray telescope helped show that it didn't become a black hole like other supernovae and skipped a stage of star death.
Unlike other exploding stars, which peak at brightness for a couple of weeks at most, this supernova, peaked for 70 days, according to NASA. And it has been shining at levels brighter than other supernovae for several months, Smith said.
this star in a distant galaxy does suggest that a similar and relatively nearby star — one 44 quadrillion miles away — might blow in similar fashion any day now or 50,000 years from now, (Well as long as they've got it narrowed down...I bet Washington wishes they could use a timetable like that!)

Clay Aiken is wrong on this point...

CLAY: I think there's definitely a problem--and I'll point to recent charity events--when people go and they talk about the need in an area or a country and they don't have the information. If you come back and you talk about the need in a country and don't know what's going on in the country, then you're completely remiss. There's always a greater cause [to poverty] than throwing money at the issue, and I think the strongest solution, the strongest weapon we have against poverty and hunger is education. When you take a look at something like Idol Gives Back and you realize that the main piece of information we got is that people are hungry in Africa, but we didn't find out why they are hungry in Africa and we didn't out where in Africa they are hungry, nor did we find out the major causes. Without the education about what's going on in the country, we're doing no service except for perpetuating that same stereotype that Africa, or any other country in the world, is lesser than the U.S., and we're in the role that we have to give to them.

Yes, I agree that idol gave almost no information about the plights covered.

They cannot do so, it would be political. There are no simple statements that can be made. One statement leads to another and another and another, and pretty soon there's a possible indictment of capitalism. If Bono was on the show giving it the thumbs up and even smiling (he's getting old), then real.

I agree that the general term you're throwing around 'education' is important. But don't slam American Idol, they did the right thing. All heads of the capitalist monster should be turning their necks and vomiting cash judiciously at this point in hisory. Millions of dollars is real help. Don't let ideology take that help away from people.

Korea Times Article, N. Korean General Scorns Bush

There is no direct link to this article, it's on

N. Korean General Scorns Bush
By Jung Sung-ki
Staff Reporter

Tuesday’s inter-Korean military talks got off to an unusual start with the chief of the North Korean delegation recalling an Internet joke about U.S. President George W. Bush.

Shortly after the meeting began, Lt. Gen. Kim Young-chul of North Korea started proceedings by telling a joke at Bush’s expense called ``Saving the President.’’

The story was about Bush who, going out jogging one morning, is so preoccupied with international affairs that he fails to notice a car heading straight for him.

A group of schoolchildren pull the president away just in time, saving his life. Bush offers them anything they want as a reward.

``We want a place reserved for us at Arlington National Cemetery,’’ say the children. ``Why is that?’’ Bush asks. ``Because our parents will kill us if they find out what we've done.’’

South Korea’s chief delegate Maj. Gen. Jung Seung-jo appeared befuddled but defended Bush, saying the fact that such humor about the president is circulating freely on the Internet reflects how democracy works in the United States.

Japan PM

On the world front I've noticed some curious developments.

I have my own take on things, I amuse myself. One story that came out a few weeks ago is that Kim Jong Il, leader of South Korea, and the leader of Myanmar have decided to make nice. I guess they were enemies. Those two countries being enemies makes no sense, and one can certainly see why they would want to patch things up. They have a common enemy: everyone. So there was a meeting.

A very short time later, Abe, the PM of Japan visited the US. So to amuse myself, I picture Bush telling Abe, "They have a meeting. We have a meeting." Watch out.

THEN Abe goes over to China, "Hey, let's improve relations." (Not an exact quote)
I've been on this side of the world for a while. I was in school for a month in China. I know about the relations with China and Japan, and I can say honestly, that this 'let's patch things up' attitude seems right out of the blue.

It wasn't that long ago that Japan was playing the same old role of completely disregarding all opinions outside of their borders, engaging in controversial behaviors, like visiting shrines for war criminals, and maintaining their superior attitude on any issue raised by outsiders. There were bold statements made that there's not enough evidence to prove that Korean women were held captive and raped by soldiers. This is just one of many issues. China and Korea have beefs with them continually. Back and forth.It seems for the last year, there's always been something in the news. Someone made a speech, someone visited somewhere, there was a court ruling...all of it just Japan being superior, 'we don't care' Japan.

And them boom.
Hey let's make friends with China.

Here's what I think. I think they've got their eye on North Korea. When Kim Jong Il started in last year with this 'Go ahead, make my day.' stuff, Japan was jumping around like the kid in the crowd that wanted a rumble.

The latest news is that Abe wants to change the constitution to more accurately reflect their power in the world. Their constitution mandates peace for the country. As I understand it, they do not have attack rights. Abe wants to change this. On the news there was a story showing thousands of protesters in Japan that want to maintain their peaceful stand. One woman said in to the camera directly and succintly, "They want to change this so that they can kill people." Maybe there was a translation issue, Japanese aren't typically so direct. But I heard her Japanese sentence and it was very short. Her voice was strong and direct.

So, I think that all this is not passing news, and somehow these recent events are to shape world events to come.

Paris Hilton, It's All so Confusing...

I hate Paris Hilton on so many levels, but there's one level that's got me thinking.

When I think of her, I become a harsh, merciless irascible-mouthed person. At which point I feel ugly hearted, and I don't like myself. So that's the level I hate the most. She actually causes me to muse, 'what is her purpose for living?' I opine, if she died, the world would be a better place. How many people can you say that about?

Dear Paris' Mom,

*blinking cursor* *blinking cursor*


Another reason that I hate her is this: I feel that my thinking time is precious. Her behavior and persona are so obnoxious that I contemplate her existence, and I want those wasted mind-cells back.

So I heave a sigh and think, "It's all so confusing..." which leads me to talk about a recent disturbing trend with my thought patterns. Lately, after mentally sorting through something irritating, I find myself ending the thought as Meryl Streep playing the Devil in The Devil Wears Prada. Whenever she demanded the impossible and then was dissatisfied with results she would feign lamentation and confusion in this soft, gentle breezy sigh, almost to herself..."It's all so confusing."

This is what's happening in my mind and almost outloud regularly now, and it's alarming me. Great, now I'm the devil. My default settings for punctuating these mind-jogs used to be just a little sigh, and now this Miranda Priestly applet has been installed. Do we say 'applet' anymore? Well I need to uninstall that little sound clip.

I've always cringed at the word 'confusing'. I believe that there's almost nothing in life that's actually 'confusing', this is a word that is used passive aggressively by morons and lazy thinkers. There is such a thing in the world as nonsense. But that's not confusing, it's just nonsense. There are things that are too difficult to comprehend. But it's unlikely that such a thing would have the natural property of 'confused'; someone somewhere sees it clearly.

I know there is such a thing as confusing. It's just that my real world experience with usage of this word is negative. I've only heard it from dumb people trying to get out of thinking. I've seen it used as a control tactic on teachers, where I was a captive student, an innocent bystander. "I'm confused!" I was always dying to retort, "That's because you're dumb."

So now, I'm doing it. *sigh* It's all so confusing. I hate Paris Hilton.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Spiderman 3-Cuter than Heckfire

If you're wondering who the target audience is for Spiderman 3, I live with him. I have the sweetest 13 year old son in the world. Apologies to all, but that movie was just for him. I hope you enjoyed the special effects.

Am I the only one who thought of Ghostbusters at the end? You gotta love the Sandman though. Even with all his unstoppable power, he chooses the old-fashioned *punch* to end his opponent.

Seriously, I hope the movie has wider appeal than my family. I hope that others were able to enjoy as much as I did Peter Parker's transformation from 'nerd' to 'strangely behaving nerd'. My son turns in to this character once in awhile. Now I can tell him, allright, go take off the black suit and comb your hair back. The day after the viewing, he ran into a friend of his the same age. His friend pulled his hair down over his forehead and said, "evil hairdo!" Laughs all around.

When Peter turns 'bad', it's cringing time. Don't worry, it's supposed to be funny. It's like a nerd's rendition of someone who's overly-self confident. The swaying hips and the finger guns pointing at strangers on the street are only temporary. My kid does that at home sometimes, so I leaned in to him during the scene, "so that's what you're up to? You're being bad when you do that?" No, he insists, not at all.

If you have a sweet young boy, this is a good flick. Peter even says at the end something like, 'You have many choices in life, and you can make the right ones.'
Cuter than heckfire.

My students (South Korean) had already reported to me that the story was a bit "childish". I agree that the storylines needed to be told in a more clever way to be considered a really great movie, but it's still pretty entertaining.

Friday, May 4, 2007

South Koreans Love Wentworth Miller

News is that Wentworth is going to China soon to help with an internet Chinese version of Prison Break. Following that story I came across this photo of Wentworth's March visit to South Korea to shoot photos for Bean Pole Jeans.

One of my students left here last week and emails me from the UK to say that her Prison Break watching days are over. She's staying at a home that does not have access to a channel that airs it, and internet access is not as easy-peasey Japanesey as it is in Korea where every one and everything is online all the time with probably the fastest connection speed worldwide. Korea has one giant internet system that is instantaneous. The students studying abroad here in the Philippines can hardly endure the connection speed here.

Anyway, Asia has Prison Break fever, but the Western world seems to be lukewarm to the show by comparison. Now, most students tell me that Heroes is better, so I'll try to catch that if I have access to it.

That's a pretty nice drawing he's holding there. What's he going to do with those teddy bears? I suppose give them to charity. I'm not sure why people give stars teddy bears. Maybe it's a controlling thing. They like to see their favorite star holding some huge stuffed bear that they gave them. I think it's weird. Better than giving him underwear though. Why do women do that? What's the point of giving your underwear to some guy, like he's going to wear them? A huge bear wearing your underwear would be weird also I guess. Okay that's enough.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Queen Takes Advantage of Exchange Rate

The Queen visits the U.S. taking advantage of the current currency rate. As American tourists shy away from the U.K. at this time, Englanders and the like take advantage and go on holiday to the birthplace of Elvis and America's Next Top Model.

George Bush again.

I know I make jokes about George Bush, but the plain fact is that I don't enjoy talking about him.

Today, though, I feel that I need to jot some things down here.

One, he was on American Idol last night with his lovely wife, who I will forever now only refer to as "Corrina". People who followed Hurricane Katrina (a group which ironicly does not include Mrs. Bush) will know why.

They were both stiff and wooden and reading from cards. George didn't seem to know what to make of his statement, and he akwardly had to mention Bono, which I think was a joke written for him that was lost on him. Frankly, I thought thanking Bono by name was a little strange myself, but...

So that was weird enough, but after the show there was a live speech on CNN. There's a time difference here so we were getting ready for bed.

I got so frustrated listening to him I told my son, just turn this off and let's go to bed, he's making me mad.

How? Well there's a chance I'm ignorant but I really felt insulted with his same old schtick of 'we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here' What? You're still saying that? Don't you read? (Sorry, I take it back). Since the Iraq war began terrorism has increased by 25%. That's a CNN stat.

And he kept saying something that was lost on me. He kept using the term 'global war'. Is it just me that's ignorant? It's a GLOBAL war now? So a few years ago he and his cronies wanted to convince us that there was no global warming, and now they want to convince us there's a global war (not warming for those of you paying attention).

Well maybe he is going to attack Iran after all. Maybe someone handed him the wrong speech. Maybe this is the one he's supposed to read next year.


May 1st our family and scads of my closest friends, about 30 of us, went to a beach for a day. It was really hot. It was really sunny, but my youngest autistic son has no concept of not going in the water. We're all sunburnt today. We minimized the burns using lotions and getting out of the sun and trying to stay covered, but my ankles and lower legs really got it. It's hard for me to walk.

My camera somehow broke at the beach. I'm thinking maybe it got too hot. So I didn't get to take pictures of the boat ride, or anything. I'm bummed. It was a good day though. The kids really needed a day out.