Thursday, 29 November 2007

Vanila Ice Up My Hair.

You can always rely on students to keep life interesting during the times when they are not making life hell.

Two days back I passed one of my students on my way home. Normally there are no students on that road that time of day. That, however was not the strange thing.

He went for his haircut, but with a "style" that would no way have been allowed in the school. I could see in his worried eyes that he was expecting me to say something, but I chose not to call him Vanilla Ice to his face.

For those of you who don't know him or don't remember Vanilla Ice, here is a picture...

Vanilla Ice

Vanilla Ice was one of the first really famous white rappers,as far as I know. I can still remember some of the words to "Ice, Ice, Baby". He was not just white, but he brought bling in to the white world, big time. One well known thing about him was his hairstyle. There was the obvious Elvis impersonation, but if you look at the spot just above his ear you will see the pattern shaved in to his hair.

This is what I was seeing on the student, except that it was much larger and looked a bit like a Reebuck logo. Basically, one of those attempts to be cool with no sense of where to stop. We had the same thing happen 15 years ago when I was in High School, even with the same exaggeration and same lack of style sense.

After reminiscing about how cool Vanilla Ice was, I started wondering what would happen to him at school and whether they would allow it. Sure enough, I saw him in the teacher's room the next morning.

He entered the teacher room trailing behind his home class teacher with a look on his face of impending doom. Everyone saw the "problem" very quickly and kept on sneaking looks at the silliness. He was berated by more than one teacher and was seemingly not allowed back to class till the "problem" had been solved.

At one point, a few hours later, his home teacher was talking to a woman whom I suspect to be his mother. I have no idea what was being said, but I have to wonder how she let her son come to school like this. Did she somehow think the school turned in to a academy for Korean rappers? Did she maybe not see it or did he just manage to hide it from her the whole time?

I really wanted to ask what was happening, with precise details, but I decided that it was more interesting to make up my own story that might make it look worse than it really was. Maybe I will ask someone today if I get a chance.

Just after lunch yesterday, I think, I saw the student return with what looked like a army haircut and this morning I rightly saw him arrive at school with his little woolen pull down hat thing. For the life of me I can't think what they are called now. I hope that will be the only lesson he will need that being stupidly led my "coolness" will embarrass you more than not being "cool".

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Sad things we worry about.

I read a Blog every day where a guy takes Korean news stories and translates them. It is a nice way if hearing about interesting news here n Korea. They are mostly useless stories that are just nice to read, but today he had something disturbing to publish.

I read this translated story and then the comment he wrote afterwards. There was a link in there that I followed about how foreigners get treated. It is really disturbing stuff.

To read the news article, click here, and to read the disturbing part, click here.

I knew about things like this even before I coming to Korea, so it is nothing new to me, but I am glad I have not really had a problem like this before. I just have to wonder why Asia is like this and when it will happen to me?

Sunday, 25 November 2007

What I've learnerd about Snow

1. Watch out for that ice!

This first one is very important. I already mentioned this in a previous post. When people walk on the snow or cars go over it, the compacted snow turns to solid ice. Now, if you didn't know this before, then listen up. Ice is slippery stuff. Don't run on ice. Don't even walk on it if you don't have to. Stick the fluffy white stuff or the rough solid brown stuff.

Also remember to watch out for the ice that is so thin you can hardly see it. In England they called it Black Ice. The problem is not that it is more slippery that the compacted snow. Quite the contrary. It is normally not nearly as slippery. The problem with this ice is that you don't see it and walk as if there is noting there. That is what will get you because you will loose your footing when you are not ready for it.

2. Snow is as pretty as I thought it would be.

In South African we have the traditions of a North European White Christmas, but we hardly ever get snow or even a chance to see it. Our Christmases normally ends up with a little plastic tree that is getting more Africanized every year, a day at the beach and a Braai (barbecue). In other words, we only see the beautiful scenes in photographs and films.

One of the main reasons I wanted to see the snow was for the photo opportunities. As you can see I already got a few nice shots in. They were more than I expected I didn't think my first attempts would look so nice. I always had ideas in my head of what it would be like to take snaps in winter, but these were nothing like it.

The other thing that is really beautiful is the white you see every time you look out the window. For the first two days, when there was lots of snow, I was surprised every time I looked out to see the serene pure scene. You forget what is happening outside when you are inside in the heated rooms.

3. Snowball fights are more fun than I thought it would be.

Need I say more? If you are too old to do this then you are just to old, period. No one should ever be to old for a little bit if fluff throwing.

I was having a snowball fight with 5 girls. It was funny. More to the point, I was minding my own business when they attacked me. (Translation: They were the only targets around and they are not allowed to retaliate.)

These were really slow in making their ammunition and when they did eventually throw they were just useless. I would hunch down and made my stash of 5 shots, ignoring them completely. They never even got close to me while I was doing it. By the time they got the courage to come closer for a better chance I had my stash ready and would start peppering them with it.

You would think they would do the logical thing and just disperse, but they all turned tail at the first shot and ran away in a group. That means I just had to launch the remaining 4 snowball into the middle and hit nearly every time.

As I walked home there was normally nice snow on the side of the road and every day I ended up making about 20 snowballs to chuck at some kind of target along the way. That would satisfy my craving for throwing things about for the rest of the day.

Aaaaaah. I can hardly wait for the next snow to come.

4. Snowmen need special snow.

When the snow was coming down the first time it was real nice for making small men. However, by the next morning the ice seemed to have become dry and lost it's stickiness. I was unable to get a decent amount to stick together to make a nice little man. The little one I already showed you is all that I could manage.

My students tell me we will get lots more snow and that I'll be able to make a large one, if I wish. I do wish and can't wait to make a jumbo man. I have to go get carrots or maybe some kind of Korean vegetable.

5. Indeed, it is not that cold outside.

It was about 5 degrees outside after the snow, much warmer than the preceding days. I've heard people say that when you go skiing the temperature outside is much higher than people seem to think. I don't think the temperature went under 2 degrees the whole time we had the snow.

There you have it, the things I learned in just a few days.

So far people have not complained about the slide show format, so I include some nice snow shots as another Photobucket slide show.

Friday, 23 November 2007

I don't believe this!

I know that even Korean don't like this, so I feel comfortable enough to go off on a rant.

I was watching a film last night. It was obviously a made for TV film, but I was still enjoyable. At about the two thirds mark the bloody TV station decides to have an infomertial.


Infomercials are not bad in themselves, but you know how long these things can be. I had to look at the stame stupid product and listen to the same stupid lies for 20 minutes! (I stopped watching after about 2 minutes as soon as I realised what I was looking at)

That the hell!? Are these people idiots? I know they are trying to sell their stuff, but does the network really want people to go somewhere else because they like actually watching the things they tune in for?

I thought UK television sucked, but I am fairly certain that Korean TV is even worse. At least the English know when to stop the stupid advertising.

*Please note that the statements in this Blog are not intended to make anyone look bad. I do not look down on Koreans. I'm merely describing how amusing I sometimes find people and I am mostly describing it to other westerners. Feel free to come to South Africa and tell the world how crazy we are because heaven knows, we are.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

After the Excitement

Now that the excitement had died down I will tell you more about my first day of snow.

On Monday evening I heard thunder but I ignored it because I had seen the weather forecast saying that it would rain. A few minutes after that Aska phones me and told me that she is pretty sure that the first snow was falling.

I can't tell you what it felt like when I looked out of the window and saw a brand new blanket of white. I couldn't wait for Aska to put the phone down so that I could go outside and touch the snow.

Once outside I wasted now time making a mini snowman, but without the right tools I was unable to give him a decent face. The poor thing. The photograph that I include is the one I made the next day at school. His head fell off just before the photograph, so he is a bit ugly.

I also made a snow ball and threw in a random direction. Most of the time though I was just staring at all the white with a stupid grin on my face or walking around feeling the strange crunch under my feet. The crunch isn't something I expected from the snow.

After spending some time outside I went in and phoned home to tell my parents about the first snow. I so hope they can see it some day.

I was quite tired and really wanted to get to sleep, but I kept on getting out of bed and looking at the nice fresh white cover. It was just so beautiful. I even left my blinds open so that I could see the snow when I woke up.

Tuesday morning was my first ever day in the snow and I learned a few things. The first and most important thing I learned was that when snow gets compacted then it turns to ice. This means that you don't walk in the tracks of cars. You stick to where there is lots of white fluffy snow.

This effect caused some problems when going up the mountain. The cars were unable to get past a certain point where the gradient is steeper than other places. The compacted snow, having turned completely to ice, made sure they had no traction at all. A few cars were parked where you never see them and they were walking the last bit to drop their children off.

The second thing that I learned is that the snow is stickier while the snow is coming down. In the morning, when I wanted to make a snowball to start a snowman, I was unable to because the snow kept on falling apart. Later in the day it changed again.

Third thing I learned was that it is not that cold when it snows. Sure, you don't want to go out in your shorts or something stupid like that, but for the most part it is bearable with a nice jacket.

I include a few photos of my experience for you to look at.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Your Photographs CAN Look Better.

I'm sure I mentioned it, but we went to Suwon a few weeks back, mostly so that I could take photographs. I got a few nice ones, but all in all most of them are just interesting and very few are what I could call good.

I would like to share just one here, but with a little twist. I'd like to show you how I changed it from an OK image to something more interesting to look at. I'll start of with the original image and then explain to you how I got to the final product. Lastly, I'll show the final image and let you decide it if looks better. I won't be posting them one after the other, so you might want to right click on both and open them in new windows so that you can skip back and forth to see what the differences are.

Here is the original. It's interesting and I took it mainly to show the autumn colours on the mountain.

We will start here. I will skip the detailed steps, but you should get an idea of what goes in to it.

The first thing I always do is sample the colours for colour correction. Black is first and a spot that should be black get marked for sampling. I have noticed that correcting colour when using the black sample has the biggest and best effect on the image, so I need to get this one right. After that I do the same for mid gray and a white. In this example I didn't pick a white spot because the sky was so bright and over exposed that it showed up as one big white blotch.

Having picked my spots to sample, I use Curves to set the sampled spots as markers for colour correction. This immediately makes the colours more vibrant, mostly because it makes the very dark spots black and adjusts everything in between. The gray sample usually does very little. and white often has an effect.

Maybe I should mention here that I use PhotoShop CS3. I did exactly the came in CS2.

After the colour correction I boots the contras a tiny bit, again, using Curves. This enhances the colours slightly, but more importantly is clears the image of a lot of that "spoke" that seems to blur everything in most pictures. You don't even notice the smoke until it is suddenly gone.

Depending on the image I might boost the saturation, but I try to avoid that. I was actually considering reducing the saturation in this one, but I felt that the picture looks "prettier" this way even thought the colours are a little brighter that needed.

The last big change I made was to add the sky. Normally I will just do a black overlay gradient to add a bit of feeling to the sky, but here the sky was so over exposed that I decided to take the sky from another image I took that day and drop it in here. I changed it a tiny bit to be more visible and a deeper blue, but apart from that I didn't do anything else.

The very last thing I do is to run a Smart Sharpen filter on the image. This has the effect of sharpening edges and making the image less blurry. In other words, it makes the focus seem better than it really is and makes the details clearer. This will not fix images that are just completely out of focus though.

If needed, and it is needed more often than you think, then you should straighten the image out and crop it to get a better composition. Both were applied to this image.

That is it for the actually image changes. Al that is left after that is framing. For my arty images I use the black frame and if I want to use them as travel photography then I use the white frame to make them resemble postcards. You have seen the white frames in my other posts. A small logo, date and name is added as well.

That is it. Not much to it, is there? The rest is just looking for the right photograph and trying different things. If you take lots of photographs then you are bound to get something nice. This example isn't a particularly good photographs, but it illustrates the point well and does capture a bit of that autumn look like here in Korea.

Here is the finished product.

I hope this inspires some of you to at least straighten their images and run some sore of auto correction on it.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007



Snow! Snow!

Snow! Snow! Snow!

Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow! Snow!


My first ever snow!

It started last night at about 10 pm and I was so excited I could hardly get to sleep. I went out and made a tiny snow man, I threw a snow ball and did not make any now angels.

I also slept with my window blinds open so that I can check in the morning if the snow is till there.


p.s. I forgot too pee in the snow.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Oh! My Ears!

The winter is here! It has fallen on us!

I mentioned that the temperature would be dropping and it has done just that. The thermometer at school is reading a sizzling -6.9 degrees Celsius.

On the way to school this morning I was poking at the water that was left from the light drizzle yesterday evening and it was frozen. I haven't seen frozen water on the road in about 7 years now, but my question still remains: "When is it going to snow?"

I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one freezing my butt off. Everyone arrived at school and remained in their long Super Duper Thick Warm Jackets. I was feeling really sorry for the students who had first period physical education and had to go outside without their Super Duper Thick Warm Jackets.

There is one things that really bothers me about this weather. I'm sure my black trousers are shrinking very time it gets cold. It feels like it tightens around my legs every time. It is starting to freak me out.

I was hoping to get out early in the cold yesterday and get photographs of the frost in the mountains, but it went and rained a bit. Rain just destroys your chances of frost. I hope to get another chance to go out with my tripod to freeze all my extremities, nose, ears and chin off, but it seems that 3am rain is going to be a regular things for a while.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

No Fish Be Biting.

As I mentioned in the post about the school's festival day, there are many clubs in the school. One of these is the fishing club.

A few months back at a dinner gathering the Art teacher told me about this club and invited me to join them. Somehow I never did, but I was reminded of the club when I saw their presentation at the festival. Not wanting to miss my chance to go fishing in Korea, I got hold of him and asked him when they will be going again. He said that it would happen today, Saturday.

There was something else happening on today. One of the English teachers had a birthday party planned and I was invited, but people who know me know that I really have to be in the mood to go out to a club for a night's dancing. Somehow freezing my butt off next to the water seems more appealing than sweating my butt off in a club.

Anyway, I got all the needed information and here we are today.

This morning I met the teacher and the students at school at 9am. I had been looking at the weather forecast and today's weather was to be on the cold side. That proved to be true. The freezing weather is just around the corner though. Tonight the temperature will drop and it will stay down for a few days to come. If the predictions are correct then it will go down to -7 degrees in a few days.

You know, the funny thing about the temperature dropping is that I cant wait for tomorrow morning to come. I know there will be lots of frost around so I'll be able to go take photographs without the frost disappearing to quickly.

Back to today and we all hopped in the cars and headed somewhere. I have no idea where it was, but it was somewhere with a a man made pond with fish to catch. As cold as it was outside, it was stifling inside the car. The heater was set to 30 degrees. I don't even like that temperature in normal weather and I was dressed for winter.

On the way there I was staring out the window, just looking at winter arriving. The area close to the pond has lots of rice fields that have already been harvested. There were little frozen stubs everywhere and the field had turned from a dead brown to a frozen white.

The one exception to the cold outside was a large stream we crossed. Steam was rising out of it at a tremendous rate. It almost seemed like the water was boiling, but I suspect it was only a few degrees warmer than the air above it.

I noticed just one really unusual thing along the way. There was a place called Photo Design Studio. That in itself is not strange at all, but there was no Korean name anywhere, only the English name. I have never seen that and to see it out on the country side is just plain weird.

After a surprisingly short drive we arrive at our destination where everyone poured out of the cars and started setting up while the teacher arranged payment with the owners. I am ashamed to say that I forgot to ask how much I owe then. It will likely be better if I ask back at school where there is someone who can translate for me.

Two students helped me and told what everything was. It was interesting to see how the rod and everything is unfolded and set up to catch the fish just literally spitting distance in from of us. Everyone does their own setup on an assigned seat consisting of an old car seat on a little platform next to the water. My seat had a rain cover over it as well.

(What on earth! As I'm writing this it is drizzling outside! I wonder what this will do for the photographs tomorrow because I expect this water to freeze.)

I'm not exactly the king of fishermen, but I am used to people casting for fish some distance away from themselves. that doesn't happen here, however. Here we catch fish right in front of us. It feels very strange.

I am sad to report that I was unable to get the knack of it and I didn't catch one single fish. I would like to go again thought. It was nice, despite the disappointing catch.

The big outside like was basically just used by our small group. I was taken "around the corner" and in to something resembling a greenhouse. The greenhouse turned out to be an indoor pool where the more hard core fishermen were sitting. It was nice and toasty in there with a big stove like contraption to warm the whole place.

At around 1 pm we headed home and the rest of my day was spent catching up on some sleep and playing on the internet.

I include in this post a few photographs of the day. These photographs turned out to be my only catch of the day, but being me, it is something I will remember longer than the actual fishing.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Fuck You!

I already mentioned earlier this week that I would do a post on "Fuck You!" and here it is. I already had a comment about it from one friend. She said that the joke I posted doesn't fit in to the whole style of this Blog. I agree, but there was method behind it and today it will become clear.

Recently my students have started saying "Fuck You!" in class. It doesnt happen that often, but it should not happen at all. What they are doing more often is throwing the middle finger around as if it is a greeting. Keep in mind that these children are only 12 years old.

I know what you're thinking. Children of that age know all the swearwords, right? Keep this in mind. Their English is not nearly at the level ours was when we were their age. Even though I was speaking Afrikaans at that point "Fok Jou!" is exactly the same thing. It even sounds almost the same. I KNOW the students know its the wrong thing to say or do, but I am pretty sure they have no true idea of why.

Last week I had had enough of it. I told a boy not to say it again and 5 minutes later he shouted it to another student so loudly that I coul hear it across the room. I wrote a letter to the boy's home teacher and together with an English teacher they came to explain that he heared the other boys say it but that he doesn't really know what it means. This is why I decided to ask permission and do a lesson about "Fuck You!" without trying to sweeten it up for them.

So far this week I have done only four groups out of the 12 who should hear the lesson. Only four because not surprisingly my schedule has been changed and I didn't have any class for the first three days of the week. That is the nice kind of schedule change.

For the ones who did hear the lesson I must say that it was one of the most interesting reactions I have had to a lesson so far. It ranged from absolute quiet while they do some actual listening, to taking it as a sign that they can say it all through the lesson because it is OK.

By the end of the lesson, though, I do make it quite clear that if I hear them say it again then they will only come back to my classroom if it's with their parents. This is so that the parents also know why the student need to apologise to me.

I don't need an apology from their parents. They can give the students some stick at home, but I feel it is to late for their parents to do anything about it. I just want the students to realise how seriously I'm taking it. If it is going to change then it will have to be from the students side.

I include a link to the Presentation I used. I will be sure to keep it and improve it for next year because I am sure that it will happen again. Note that the story of where the word comes from is most likely not true, but it is still a good story.

Download the "Fuck You!" Presentation

Lastly I will show you another reason why I felt I needed to to this lesson. You would think the parents of this primary school boy would do something, but it seems they either don't care or they think it is oh so funny. The photo was forwarded to me from a South African teacher here. (I blurred the face myself though)

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Pass the ball! Oh! My Hair!

This must be one of the most amusing things I have seen the children do in a long time. I am not surprised by it, but it’s still amusing.

The Physical Education teacher had the students play football, but football with a twist. They had to pair up and in order for them to stay together they had to hold hands. Needless to say, it turned in to something more like holding on to a selected piece of clothing rather than hands. Just picture two people partially attached to each other running around trying to act as one.

What happened more often than not was that the boys did the playing with the girls just trailing as best they could. That in itself isn’t funny at all. What did have me looking on for much longer than I normally would have was the habit of the girls to just put their heads down when running, and pictures this, hold their fringes down.

It is not as if there is anything to mess up. Their hair is as straight as can be and with one flick of the finger they can fix it after their big spring for the ball.

I so wish I could have captured this on video.

There was one girl what was really impressive. When the ball was passed their way the boy stopped the ball initially but she lightly kicked it forwards and even took a shot at goal when she thought it might go in. All I can say is: "You go little Miss I-Don't-Care-About-My-Hair!"

I really need to start bringing my big camera to school more often. It would have been so much better to post a nice zoomed shot of one of a girl attempting a run.

What Starts with F and ends with K?

A first-grade teacher, Ms. Brooks, was having trouble with one of her students. The teacher asked, "Harry, what's your problem?"

Harry answered, "I'm too smart for the 1st grade. My sister is in the 3rd grade and I'm smarter than she is! I think I should be in the 3rd grade too!"

Ms. Brooks had had enough. She took Harry to the principal's office.

While Harry waited in the outer office, the teacher explained to the principal what the situation was. The principal told Ms. Brooks he would give the boy a test. If he failed to answer any of his questions he was to go back to the 1st grade and behave. She agreed.

Harry was brought in and the conditions were explained to him and he agreed to take the test.

Principal: "What is 3 x 3 ?"

Harry: "9."

Principal: "What is 6 x 6 ?"

Harry: "36."

And so it went with every question the principal thought a 3rd grader should know.

The principal looks at Ms. Brooks and tells her, "I think Harry can go to the 3rd grade."

Ms. Brooks says to the principal," Let me ask him some questions."

The principal and Harry both agreed.

Ms. Brooks asks, "What does a cow have four of that I have only two of?"

Harry, after a moment: "Legs."

Ms Brooks: "What is in your pants that you have but I do not have?"

The principal wondered why would she ask such a question!

Harry replied : "Pockets."

Ms. Brooks : "What does a dog do that a man steps into?"

Harry : "Pants."

Ms. Brooks : What starts with a C , ends with a T , is hairy, oval, delicious and contains thin, whitish liquid?"

Harry : "Coconut."

The principal sat forward with his mouth hanging open.

Ms. Brooks: "What goes in hard and pink then comes out soft and sticky?"

The principal's eyes opened really wide and before he could stop the answer, Harry replied, "Bubble gum."

Ms. Brooks: "What does a man do standing up, a woman does sitting down and a dog does on three legs?"

Harry: "Shake hands."

The principal was trembling.

Ms. Brooks: "What word starts with an 'F ' and ends in ' K ' that means a lot of heat and excitement?"

Harry: "Firetruck."

The principal breathed a sigh of relief and told the teacher, "Put Harry in the fifth-grade, I got the last seven questions wrong..."

*Thanks for this one Pauline. I'm sure I'm not the only teacher who will not try this on any middle or high school students. They do have this habit of knowing what they should not know

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Another Festival

First things first and did you guys notice that I've figured out how to justify my paragraphs? It was a bumpy ride, but eventually I managed to get it right. I only rolled it back four posts so far, but I'll go back further as time goes on.

Back to matters at hand now and there has been another event in this festival mad country. This time it was my school's turn.

The festival was basically to show of the skills of students and groups in the school. There were small exhibitions from Mr. Park's wild flower group where they showed other hot to make little phone rings with pressed wild flowers.

There was art from the art various arts classes, exhibitions from the fishing team and lots more. My favourite was the "farmers" who sold their peanuts and hot sweet potatoes for dirt cheap. A hot sweet potato goes down really well on a cold day.

These exhibitions lasted in an active form for about 2 hours or until just before lunch. After lunch the real show started.

We all gathered in the school's hall where various group of students performed for us. Some were obviously well organised and lead by adults while others were just students who wanted to show of their skills.

I have decided to give out my very own awards to the students. To bad they might not even know about it.

The Most Fun Award goes to the Taekwondo boys who were jumping, kicking and breaking board left right and centre, at the same time!

The Cutest Award goes to the students who danced to the Supremes song "Baby Love". Within the same group they ranged from very good do just too darn cute. Just for fun, have a look at the Supremes themselves: Click Here For The Video

The Great Skill award goes to the student who did magic. Some times you could see what they were up to, but their showmanship and skills were nothing to be laughed at for Middle School students.

My last award goes to the girl whom I will call the Broadway Girls. Their dance routine was very well practiced, the girls are obviously good dancers and I did not have to think "Maybe that should be left to the adults" at any point. I hereby award them the My Favourite Act award. *

To finish the show off we had a band from a local high school doing a bit of punk rock for us. The girl who was the lead singer can go a bit further in developing her showmanship, but she is already good and has a really nice voice

Needless to say it was a day in which I had no classes. I am still awaiting a chance to do my "Fuck You!" lesson which I will tell you more about very soon.

* Editing Note:
Since publishing this post I've been told that the Broadway Girls were from the same High School as the band. No wonder I didn't reorganise ANY of them. I just thought they were third graders. They tend to fly under my radar most of the time.

** Readers Note:
Thank you to everyone who has been letting me know when they found mistakes in my spelling or grammar. I appreciate it. I know my spelling sucks and I would rather have someone tell me so that I can correct it that have it hang out there for everyone to see.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Mercury Down!

Today is the third day of cold weather in Icheon. I know it is going to get even colder, but so far we've been experiencing one cold day followed 3 hotter days.

The cold weather here seems to be accompanied by a morning fog that isn't so thick that you can't see your face in front of you, but you can't see much beyond about 150 meters. I can't wait to see if there will be a really thick fog soon. I don't know what it is, but I love the feeling of walking with everything unfolding in front of me.

Another thing that I've noticed is that we are getting frost more often. I love frost. It reminds me of my school days when I had to go to school at 7am in winter. Pretoria often had frost that early in the morning. I would take a detour and slide my bike around on the grass of the park.

The only really bad things about the frost then was that when you were young and playing rugby you had to "clear the field" for the older teams. I assure you that clearing a field of frost when you are barefoot is no fun at all. I saw it again a few years back and I couldn't help but smile while watching the boys drop down to rub their toes when the game was not in action.

Back to Korea now and I tried to get a few nice pictures this morning. I suspect I might have to go out very early over the weekend and see if I can find some thick white frost on a dark background. I will add the few that I took this morning to the end of this post.

There is something fun about this weather that I get at school. Over the last week I have noticed that early in the morning the halls of the school have been very cold. When you leave a classroom you are "blowing steam". I want to look over my shoulder because I am sure I am will see dead people. Maybe I should put some graffiti saying just that.

As a side note, I did look at the weather forecast and it seems like today will rise to a reasonable temperature again, but I will have to wait and see. Outside is not giving me much confidence in that happening, though.

Oh well. I'm still waiting in anticipation for the snow to arrive.

Thursday, 01 November 2007

Specialty Fridges

Main Entry: kim·chi
Variant(s): also kim·chee \kim-chē\
Function: noun
Etymology: Korean kimch'i
Date: 1898

: a vegetable pickle seasoned with garlic, red pepper, and ginger that is the national dish of.


As we were approaching winter I've noticed that there are more adverts for refrigerators on TV. I don’t know about you, but I fond this very odd.

At the English Contest the one girl gave a speech on Kimchi and she mentioned that here in you get fridges that keep the Kimchi at the optimum temperature for fermenting. This tit bit opened my eyes to what was happening on the little picture box in my place.

The main reason I didn’t recognize that all these adverts were actually showing how special they were for having Kimchi compartments was that I didn’t recognize the Kimchi itself.

They don’t just pile it in to a container like its normally done. No, sir! They put it in oh so neatly and make these nice little bite sized Kimchi rolls. I have never seen that in my life. Maybe some restaurant will do that if you pay enough, but I doubt that is a reality.

Of course, it is likely just a matter of time before I get shown that I am wrong.

The funniest thing for me here is that they always have these ultra chic couples promoting it. They live in these ultra clean houses with huge kitchens that have never, and most likely will never be used. The wives look like they don’t not know the arse end from the cutting surface of a knife, but, oh, they have to have the biggest most expensive fridges to keep the Kimchi in.

More likely these couples go to the most expensive restaurants every night where the Kims (the Jones of Korea) can see how much money they have.

I'll just go and buy my Kimchi at the store whenever I run out and stuff in to my little plastic container in the fridge.