Wednesday, 31 December 2008

I'm turning Korean. I really think so.

I have been here to long! I’m turning Korean!

There are many things I don’t like about Korea, just like there are many things I DO like. There is, however, only one thing I hate about Korea. Koreans can’t walk straight.

I’m serious. I mentioned this before and I am sure I will mention it again. For a country with such a dense population, people here have no regard for others around them. When you walk in a relatively busy area then you tend to walk in a straight line, right? You tent to follow some real or imagined line on the ground and stick to it until you have a reason to deviate, right? Not in Korea.

In Korea you walk, veering left and right in a random fashion with no care of who is behind you or approaching from the front. I have found myself walking like this way to often the last few months and it is starting to bother me.

I’m also starting to like the super high, porn star like heels the girls wear, the men don’t look all that gay any more and if something has a cute picture on it then I am more likely to buy it. In the past I would have been less likely. What is happening to me?

Friday, 26 December 2008

Christmas Eve Hapkido Testing

Our belt test was held on Wednesday at 5PM, so we all had to rush from work to the. Starting at 5PM means that if you arrive AT 5PM, then you are already late, and that was me.

No biggy though because it took a long time to organise everything. The students from ALL the classes along with their parents were. Yup, that is what I said, their parents. It seems that the day before Christmas is the big show-of day for the parents to see what their children are up to.

In this country most dojangs are run as hagwans. This is especially true for dojangs with lots of school students. I have to give credit to Master Jo though, if you want to work harder and put more time in then he is always there to help. Anyway, dojangs, being hagwans where you don’t actually learn anything you need for any test, can also be a place to send children just get them out of the house, and I suspect that is why we saw all these parents who can’t be bothered to come during the year to check up. Maybe I am wrong, maybe I’m not, either way, it is just an opinion in the end.

Our test was not really a test at all. Starting with the lowest belt colours, we took to the floor in groups to do a few kicks, punches, blocks and break falls. I made a few mistakes, way to many to my liking. The weirdness of this situation that we knew nothing about was no fun at all, and being first up meant us foreigners had no chance to see what was suppose to happen.

After the kicking and stuff, the Korean colour belts had their chance to break boards. Each student had his little board on which he wrote a message for mommy and daddy. You write a message and then hit the hell out of the board. Nice! One parent for each student would then come to the floor and hold the board. The student would read the message and proceed to break it, sometimes with a little help. It was actually quite cute to see.

I was the only foreigner who broke anything. Master Jo asked me to throw a roundhouse kick at a baseball bat. Breaking a flimsy bat is fun. Likely Master Jo wanted to show his foreigners of a bit and I was perfectly willing to help. This is a business after all, and he does treat us well.

After my “big kick” the testing day was brought to an end because the busy parent had to go catch up with all the thing they usually do, seeing how they were forced to come look at their little darlings for more a few minutes longer than the one hour they expected.

It was a weird experience overall, but not something I would have wanted to miss.

After the testing the students who arrived late and missed their chance got the opportunity to do their stuff. I was stretching when these students took to the floor. As Eddy is normally directly behind me in class when we practice, I never get to see him kick. It was painful to see. AS an example, his roundhouse kick came in at about knee high. This is a kick that should potentially hit someone’s head. Sure, I can’t go that high yet, but at least I can punish our chest a bit. That is what you get for stretching a bit ever day.

Eddy, for some reason, thought he was going to get a blue belt after this test. White to blue in two months? Are you kidding me? He impressed me later when he said that he doesn’t think he is ready for a blue belt and that one more month will do him good. You think? It took me five and I don’t really believe I deserve it. That is why I will be putting in extra work this holiday, so that I can be more deserving of my belt colour.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

How much do I care?

For some reason I never noticed that this old post was possibly from a Korean TV show. Way to teach Global English ;)

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Protect me from evil.

Wahooooo! Two Thousand City finally got some decent snow. It is not that much and it will likely be gone as soon as the sun comes out for longer than five minutes, but at least there was a nice little white blanket over everything. When will I ever get to see something like this?

In other news, Sunday was Winter Solstice. For Buddhists this is a big day. There is a whole tradition in which you eat Donji Patjuk, Read Bean “Soup”, to ward off bad spirits. I was told that this would happen on Sunday past and that temples serve PatJuk to the visitors. Needless to say I had to go see this for myself.

As temples often are, our big temple is located on top of a mountain. The climb there starts out nice and easy, but just when you are nicely lulled in to a false sense of comfort, and at right about the time when you are far enough in to be committed to the course, the path suddenly increases in steepness. I’m talking about 30+ decrees here. What makes it worse is that you can’t see the end and you have to climb blind, so to speak.

Luckily I knew this beforehand as I had been up that road before, but it is never easy. Both on the way to the top and at the temple itself I was surprised to find that almost everyone was female. Seems men are not very spiritual in thin country.

I hung around for a bit, observing things and taking pictures, when I heard a small voice saying “Poo-Rang-Soo-Wa!” (That is one way of taking the French out of my name.) One of the students from my dojang saw me and wanted to say hello. He is still very young so his English is limited to “hello”. His father’s English was much better though and he invited me to have some of the magical red stuff.

The PatJuk was a bit bland, but still tasty. Interestingly, it was not sweet at all. It is nice to eat something that is not laced with chilies. Putting the same pepper paste in everything does not exactly lend your food to variety. I was, of course, given the normal side dished of kimchi and a few other things, as well as rice cake rolled in red bean.

I am now set for the rest of the year. No bad spirits will get close to me. All I have to worry about now is keeping bad children away.

*** My computer started acting up something awful and I decided to reinstall it. I still have to install my photo editing software and hence there are no photos of my little trip to find protection.

Monday, 22 December 2008

What is Korea famous for?

Come on, I know you all know this. What is Korea famous for?

  • For somehow having the oldest civilisation in the world, clocking in at 5000 years.
  • For eating kimchi and other of the spiciest foods in the world.
  • For being the only country in the world with four, count them, FOUR distinct seasons.
  • For having a 100% scientific script.
  • For laying claim to two rocks that, based on the ancient maps and records, arguably belong to South Africa.

Friday, 19 December 2008

If Programming Languages Were Religions

Something posted over at The Atheist Blogger:

C would be Judaism - it’s old and restrictive, but most of the world is familiar with its laws and respects them. The catch is, you can’t convert into it - you’re either into it from the start, or you will think that it’s insanity. Also, when things go wrong, many people are willing to blame the problems of the world on it.

Java would be Fundamentalist Christianity - it’s theoretically based on C, but it voids so many of the old laws that it doesn’t feel like the original at all. Instead, it adds its own set of rigid rules, which its followers believe to be far superior to the original. Not only are they certain that it’s the best language in the world, but they’re willing to burn those who disagree at the stake.

PHP would be Cafeteria Christianity - Fights with Java for the web market. It draws a few concepts from C and Java, but only those that it really likes. Maybe it’s not as coherent as other languages, but at least it leaves you with much more freedom and ostensibly keeps the core idea of the whole thing. Also, the whole concept of “goto hell” was abandoned.

C++ would be Islam - It takes C and not only keeps all its laws, but adds a very complex new set of laws on top of it. It’s so versatile that it can be used to be the foundation of anything, from great atrocities to beautiful works of art. Its followers are convinced that it is the ultimate universal language, and may be angered by those who disagree. Also, if you insult it or its founder, you’ll probably be threatened with death by more radical followers.

C# would be Mormonism - At first glance, it’s the same as Java, but at a closer look you realize that it’s controlled by a single corporation (which many Java followers believe to be evil), and that many theological concepts are quite different. You suspect that it’d probably be nice, if only all the followers of Java wouldn’t discriminate so much against you for following it.

Lisp would be Zen Buddhism - There is no syntax, there is no centralization of dogma, there are no deities to worship. The entire universe is there at your reach - if only you are enlightened enough to grasp it. Some say that it’s not a language at all; others say that it’s the only language that makes sense.

Haskell would be Taoism - It is so different from other languages that many people don’t understand how can anyone use it to produce anything useful. Its followers believe that it’s the true path to wisdom, but that wisdom is beyond the grasp of most mortals.

Erlang would be Hinduism - It’s another strange language that doesn’t look like it could be used for anything, but unlike most other modern languages, it’s built around the concept of multiple simultaneous deities.

Perl would be Voodoo - An incomprehensible series of arcane incantations that involve the blood of goats and permanently corrupt your soul. Often used when your boss requires you to do an urgent task at 21:00 on friday night.

Lua would be Wicca - A pantheistic language that can easily be adapted for different cultures and locations. Its code is very liberal, and allows for the use of techniques that might be described as magical by those used to more traditional languages. It has a strong connection to the moon.

Ruby would be Neo-Paganism - A mixture of different languages and ideas that was beaten together into something that might be identified as a language. Its adherents are growing fast, and although most people look at them suspiciously, they are mostly well-meaning people with no intention of harming anyone.

Python would be Humanism: It’s simple, unrestrictive, and all you need to follow it is common sense. Many of the followers claim to feel relieved from all the burden imposed by other languages, and that they have rediscovered the joy of programming. There are some who say that it is a form of pseudo-code.

COBOL would be Ancient Paganism - There was once a time when it ruled over a vast region and was important, but nowadays it’s almost dead, for the good of us all. Although many were scarred by the rituals demanded by its deities, there are some who insist on keeping it alive even today.

APL would be Scientology - There are many people who claim to follow it, but you’ve always suspected that it’s a huge and elaborate prank that got out of control.

LOLCODE would be Pastafarianism - An esoteric, Internet-born belief that nobody really takes seriously, despite all the efforts to develop and spread it.

Visual Basic would be Satanism - Except that you don’t REALLY need to sell your soul to be a Satanist…

Thursday, 18 December 2008

All there is to Korean culture

I’m not sure if it was the Gyeonggi Education Department or our city’s program, but yesterday we were treated to “Korean Culture”. 5000 years of history and all you have to show is kimchi and pottery?

No doubt the program was sincerely intended to show us more about Korean culture, and the whole day was quite fun, but sometimes I wonder if Koreans actually know what their own culture is all about. Do they not realize that watching TV on tiny screens on the bus/subway, playing games at the PC bang all day and boiling it up at the Jimjil Bang or Baths are as much part of Korean culture as kimchi is? Would it not be more useful for us to learn more about the history and use of these? Show me ONE teacher who has been here more than a month who has not heard about the whole history of kimchi. Now that I think about it, they never tell us that chili is a comparatively recent addition.

Would it not be more useful for the Provence to work on setting up language schools to teach us the Korean Language? Would we not learn more about Korean culture if we were able to experience it directly with the use of said language? When one of the English teachers asked if there was a place in town where we could study Korean, we were told that we had to ask our school’s teachers to teach us. Really?! You mean they don’t have their own jobs to do? They don’t have homes to go to? You mean that the Korean English teachers are, by default, also excellent teachers of Korean as a foreign language?

Someone was kind enough to start teaching me Korean. She is doing it twice a week and she is doing it free of charge, but we can’t expect others to do the same. How many of US will teach someone free, twice a week, with no ulterior motives? She is married with children and I have a girlfriend, so no sport will ensue from the lessons, only new language abilities. OK, OK. She is learning how to teach Korean and she is actually learning a lot of English from teaching me, but somehow I don’t think that was her goal.

Back to the “Cultural” Day. We were taken to a kimchi factory to experience making kimchi and dumplings. If you have ever been to an after school cooking class, then you will know you don’t learn much. You get most of your ingredients pre-measured, if not already mixed as well. To make the dumplings we only have to scoop the fillings and fold the dumplings. That was it. To make the kimchi we only had to spread the mix on to the already salted cabbage and we were done. If I was asked to make dumplings or kimchi today I would not have a clue where to start.

The pottery lesson was much better. We started from scratch and made or own, well, rubbish. After we did the basics they took our pots, put the clay on the spinning wheel and basically redid the whole thing. It seems a bit senseless, but without that help 95% of our pots will crack in the kiln. This way most of us get a nice little souvenir.

The biggest highlight was this photo. Not only is the company names White Tour, but there is a Foreign Tourist On Board sign in the window. What on earth is that sign about?

All in all the day was fun and I got to meet up with the old and new faces in town. No doubt next time the whole thing will be much better. This was their first try, after all.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Like, Shoo-WOW!

Dude! How impressive is this! I finished the this blog post just to see that my browser scroll bar is still at the top. This post received 2353 comments!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Dokdo is ours, YEA!

People have told me I am a sarcastic person. I have no idea why they would say that, but I must admit that I like sarcastic humour. Because of that Dokdo Is Ours has been one of my favourite blogs from the very first post I read. This post had me crying with laughter. Unfortunately you have to have been in Korea for a while to truly appreciate the sarcasm here. If not, and you are not American, then imagine everything you think about Americans and apply it to Korea, times two, because Koreans truly do seem to think they are the only place that matter in the entire world.

After having said all that, I also believe that, like all other countries, people with the annoying and extreme opinions scream the loudest. I have found many Koreans who do not think this is the centre of the universe and do believe that they can learn a lot from other countries.

Tuesday, 09 December 2008

Sometimes you just have to say: "F*** it!"

The show I am busy downloading was not finished when I woke up this morning. STILL! I did the second best thing and started clicking the "Stumble" button on my browser for a video to look at/listen to while I get dressed. This popped up and had me stop from dressing for a few minutes:

See more funny videos at Funny or Die

Monday, 08 December 2008

All I want for Christmas is a broken leg.

Tonight at Hapkido Master Jo reminded us of the Skills Test. I don’t like the term Belt Test or Promotion Test any more because you don’t necessarily get promoted to a new belt, but your skills are still tested. He reminded us because he wanted to let us know what we will have to do. Apparently we will have to do some kicking, punching, self defence, falling and board breaking. He pointed out that only us foreigners, six of us now, would have to do it. He pointed to every one of us to indicate who he was talking about and when he got to me he said I would be breaking a baseball bad with a low leg kick.

My mind said something like this: “WHAT?! EXCUSE ME?! WHAT?! ME?! A BASEBALL BAT?! WHAT THE…?! WHAT, WHAT?!”

At first I thought he was joking, but now I pretty sure he was serious. He even brought out the bat that I would be kicking to prove his statement. He hinted that I might have to do a roundhouse kick to break it, but I am pretty sure that is completely beyond my current abilities. I am, of course, assuming that doing it with a low leg kick is within my abilities.

I am seriously scared to do this and I suspect I will be scared for the rest of the month, but when I do it (positive thinking) I will be able to say “Hello, my name is F… Otto. I can break a baseball bat with one kick!”

I might just have to create a Facebook groups for people like me. It will either be called “I broke a baseball bat with my leg” or “I broke my leg with a baseball bat”

Sunday, 07 December 2008

The Karate Kid with English Radio

For some reason I felt like watching The Karate Kid. Since I started doing a martial art I have started looking at film like this one in a different way. Now I see things I never saw before and I can see who actually know what they are doing. I still have a lot to learn and I am still trying to do the basics myself, but I have learned what they are and what is normal, so now that amazing kick is just, well, silly.

I downloaded with a torrent that had all four films in the series. Since I never knew there was a Next Karate Kid, so I decided to download that as well and watch it. Imagine my surprise when I saw that the next star was a girl, and Hilary Swank of all girls. I was even more surprised when I saw what she could do. She knows how to kick and she sure knows how to throw a punch. That is more than could be said for the first Karate Kid. The film wasn’t too bad, but was just more of the normal stuff. Bad guys trying to pick a fight, bad teacher egging them on, the philosophy teaching with the weird techniques to the rebellious student and the inevitable showdown and dirty fighting by the bad guy. All in all it was OK, but nothing more.


After the film, as I was getting ready to go out to do some shopping, I decided to listen to the new English radio station in Seoul. Since I don’t own a radio and I am in broadband heaven, I just went to the site and started streaming the audio. While there I had a look at the descriptions of the programs.

Oh Boy! The English! True to Korea, they also ignore the rule of capitalising the first letter of a sentence. All in all the English is not bad, but not good either, and if you want to put it on the Internet and promote yourself and an English station, don’t you think you should use the English Speakers who work for you to do a quick proof read?

At least we have a station to listen to now. I even heard a bit of English language Rock the other day.


I don’t have an English Speaker who works for me and therefore no one to proof read my stuff. If you have ever written a blog then you will know that it is not easy to proof your own stuff because you know what you are suppose to say and just don’t see your own mistakes. I humbly apologise for the many grammar and spelling mistakes that I make. I know they are there, but I only see them if I read my posts a week later, and who has time to do that.

Saturday, 06 December 2008

Pineapple Express

I just finished watching Pineapple Express. I am not a movie buff and I don’t do movie reviews. All I can say is I didn’t think is was a great film, but it did what it was supposed to do and entertained me. My favourite two conversations in the film happened just a couple of minute out of each other the go like this:

“Think about a hermit crab, ok? And it’s a shell and it’s like they go from one shell to the next. And that’s what I am. It’s like I’m just a hermit crab, changing shells.”

“Except, if you’re a dick your whole life, your next shell will be made of shit, OK? If you’re an asshole you’re going to come back as a cockroach, or a worm, or a fucking anal bead, OK? If you’re a man, and you act heroic, you’ll come back as an eagle. You’ll come back as a dragon. You’ll come back as Jude Law, OK? Which would you rather be?”

“Hmm, maybe the anal bead might…depending on who it belongs to.”

“It belongs to me!”

“Then, the dragon.”


“I can’t do this. I’m sorry, man. I can’t do this. I’m infected. My shits all fucked up. I need medical attention.”

“What do you mean you can’t…? I thought we just got all pumped up. What was that all about?”

“Dude! Ted is a fucking murderer! I can’t fuck with him! I’ve got a wife man. She’s going to be out of jail soon. I want to fuck her. I want to have sex with her. I am NOT going to wake up murdered tomorrow!

"Cold weather we're having."

Because we love talking about the weather!

Keep in mind that it is even worse on the motorcycle.

Friday, 05 December 2008

What bored people do at school.

The examinations are next week and it is Friday. There is no way I am going to do anything productive today. Even some of the Korean teachers are showing films to the students or just letting them study for the tests.

I am spending my time looking at clips on the Internet. This one reminded me of Korea. Something weird happen very fast and before you know what happened it’s in the past. When you look at it in slow motion detail you will either say “WOW!” or “What the…!”

Thursday, 04 December 2008

Sit back and enjoy.

The lyrics might be on the sad side, but MAN, is the music go00ood!

While inserting/listening to the first clip, I though of a second song. I found this clip from the very early days and though it wan nice.

It is quite appropriate for the gloomy winters day we have today. If they could change it to Cape Town Dreaming or even Pretoria Dreaming then I would know EXACTLY what they are talking about, but apparently California is not such a bad place in winter.

Wednesday, 03 December 2008

They want to turn me in to an Ajuma!

Another teacher in my town mentioned that she had to go to a training thing at our education office round about the middle of December. Today I was told that I had to go there on the 17th, so I’m wondering if it is the same thing.

Here is the kicker though. We have to go make to Kimchi and Mandu. I am sure they do actually want us to enjoy the experience and they don’t just want to force “Korean Culture” on us, but I am also sure they will not let this chance go my to take photos that show how they forced us to make kimchi we relish the opportunity to learn “Korean Culture”. It will likely be nice, but my cynical side can’t help but wonder about the possible extra reasons.


I finished the year’s last work with some of my classes his week. The last test went very quickly in the one class, so I asked them if they wanted to watch a few YouTube clips or a DVD. With ten minutes to go YouTube was the obvious choice, so I decided to show them a WonderGirls / Epik High song that a friend sent me a few weeks ago.

Deciding that funny music videos was to be the mission for the day, I type “funny music video” in to YouTube’s search box and let rip. You would be surprised how many hits you get on Korean songs. This weird thing came up. The students were not able to tell me if it was originally released like that or of it was dubbed by someone else.

Tuesday, 02 December 2008

Scary Movie - The classroom version.

This whole week I have been showing my students this clip. I take about two minutes out of it just to make it more useable and the effect stays the same.

I was surprised when one of the girls started crying. We are talking 1 in 500 students, but she is middle school after all.


Here is a maze game that challenges you to solve a maze by reaching to a red box without touching the walls.  It is very easy to install and use. It also provides compatibility with all Flash enabled browsers. You can easily customize it. You can  Download it from

When you are finished you might want to have a look at this clip as well as this clip.

Monday, 01 December 2008

School Classroom Signs

For some reason you don't really see a lot of Korean on sites like and Engrish Funny, so I like to alert people to them when they some up.

The Two-th grade is funny, but I think I might be able to equal it. The first is from my own school, where we, apparently teach the art of flying:

The second come from a Elementary School where I attended an open class. This school is lucky enough to be teaching the next generation of X-Men:


* Brian left a comment about his schools Feeding Facilitie. "It is spelled with a 'y', you fools. How are the little beasts ever going to learn English like this? " ;)

* Sue had a cool sign that was ACTUALLY cool. I WANT one of those. She sent me this comment:

When I was given my first tour of my school I noted the 'Stack Room'. Of course it was the store room where you stacked things.....makes sense in a Korean way! I pointed out that its called a store or supply room and so the sign was changed.

Then I saw my grotty old classroom (before my new hi tech English classroom and library was built) was called the English Zone (pronounced Joan). I saw this sign in other schools too. I said I definitely didn't want my new rooms to be called the English Zone so I got a beautiful sign calling it the English Dept!!! It was always nice when they actually listened to me.

Sunday, 30 November 2008

I WILL kick arse.

Apparently I have to wait another month for a new colour belt. It is not because of anything I did wrong, but just the way things are. I was actually complimented for my by sparing skills and apart from two mistakes in the Moves, I was told I did very well.

That is all fine and dandy, and the system is the reason it took me four months to get to where I am now, but why does that not go for the others. Why did they get their first belts one month after starting, and why does another member get a second belt in his first month to put him on the same colour as myself?

I know I am here to learn and not for the belt, but I can’t help being at least a little miffed at this. The belt is a symbol of your skill and doubles as a motivation in terms of status and bragging rights. My status symbol and bragging rights are now equal to Eddies, and I already mentioned what his level of ability is. I am now seen as equal to someone who can’t do anything.

The way I am is to either give up or work harder. I will not give up. I was here first and I like being here. I will work harder. I might not have the bragging right with the belt colour, but I will silently make the others, who are getting their belts free, look as bad. I will have the true bragging rights. I will train my moves until I can do them perfectly with every little detail included. I will stretch until I look like a gymnast and I will practice my kick until I can do the basics as well as the black belts can.

Master Jo mentioned that as part of the next colour belt I will have to show that I can do things like the front flip. At least I know I am very far ahead with that and with the holidays coming up I will have more time to study all the things I want.

Speaking of studying, one of my adult students decided that I needed to learn Korean and she is giving me a lesson every week. She has now decided that I need two lessons a week. I am pretty sure this is her first time teaching Korean to someone, because the keeps on teaching me something and then changing it in the first practice run. When I look at her like she is speaking Greek she doesn’t always realise she is changing thing. At some point I will have to ask her to go a little slower. I am still a real beginner at this, after all.

Here is something I am working on already.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

The healthy way to smoke.

I found out today that KT&G, a big company here in Korea, stands for Korean Tobacco & Ginseng.

Let me get this straight. Korean ginseng is supposedly the healthiest think in the word, despite the lack of any real evidence, and you sell it alongside tobacco? Sooooo, if I dink ginseng tea while smoking, does that mean all the negative effects are neutralised?

Lower down on the Wikipedia page the following three cigarettes are listed at their products:

  • Humming Time
  • Timeless TIME
  • Timeless TIME Light
  • THIS
  • THIS plus

    Really? I tried a quick search for these products, but nothing to be found.

  • Friday, 28 November 2008

    Another Month. Another Test.

    We will have another belt test today. Hopefully I will not make a mess of it like I did last time. From what I have figured out so far, Hapkido belts are based on your knowledge of Self Defence Moves. Kicking, punching, tumbling and weapons are not part of the pre-black belt requirement. I could be wrong, but there are children here at the dojang who are useless, so it must be Moves.

    Normally it takes one year to get through the requirements for your first black belt. In other martial arts it can take as long as four year, so I don’t put to much faith in the value of this particular black belt. Never the less, a thick black will sure look cooler than a thin yellow or thin red or thin anything. We also get our names embroidered on our black belts, and I like that a lot.

    Right now it seems that we foreigners are being fast tracked through these moves and thus through the belts. At the rate we are going now we are all set to get our belts well before the end of one year. The others might get theirs in an even shorter time than I will.

    Eddy is one of these “lucky” ones. Eddy joined one month ago. Because of a competition (in which I won gold), we had our October belt tests in November and Eddy joined one week before that test. During that week we studies self defence, so Eddy was lucky enough to get his first upgrade after just one week. If he gets a new belt tonight he will have received two upgrades in one month. I had my first belt test one month after I started and the actual test that included the requirements another month later. That is two month for my first belt.

    Eddy sound like he is fantastic, right, but here is the thing. He was lucky. He joined in the particular week when we studied the requirement and now, with the extra foreigners, we are moving much faster than when I was alone. Eddy can’t kick, while my spinning kick is gaining height. I am this ( àß) close to doing the forward flip while Eddy is afraid of rolling forward on the floor. Master Jo points out small thing that I do wrong while he corrects Eddy once and then seems to give up, letting him do whatever he wants. I studied TEN moved to get my orange belt while Eddy needs to know only five. I am assuming he will get his new belt tonight with just the five. This is Korea, after all, and failing someone is just not done, so I’m pretty sure the five will be all he needs. I got my belt even with the mess I mad of it last time.

    I’m, you can see why I would be upset. I work my arse of and have to do more than double what Eddy does, but I am not upset at all. When I get my black belt, and Eddy gets his one month later, I will be able to kick his arse in fifty ways that he doesn’t even know about. He will BELIEVE he is a black belt, but I will KNOW I am a black belt.

    I didn’t join in order to get a black belt. I joined because I wanted to learn something useful while getting fit, and the gym just boring. Eddy keeps on asking be what the next bet is for me, but I don’t know and I don’t really care either. Why care about what colour your next belt is if you can’t even do a stupid little roll on the floor? Why should I care about when I get my black if I still lose my balance when I try to kick to fast or to high? It will come when it comes.

    There is another foreigner with us who wants to be able to KNOW she is a black belt. Pinky is still kicking like a girl, but in a short time she has already surpassed Eddy. Eddy kicks like the guys in the clip at the end. I will be happy to have Pinky with me as a black belt, knowing that she knows how to kick my arse.

    Thursday, 27 November 2008

    Palli! Palli!

    This is so typical, but it is also still amusing.

    This morning at about 09:30 I was told that my adult class will have their closing ceremony tomorrow at 11am. I suppose the school have known about this for a while already, but in true Korean fashion everything is left to the very last. Suddenly it was important to find out who actually attends the class and phone them to inform them of the event.

    The school gave me a list of the initial attendees in the beginning of the year. A third of those people never showed up and many of them didn’t come back after the first lesson. I am not sure what the school is telling the people, but it seems they don’t realise I only speak English. I made my own list at the beginning f the year, but quite a few people have come and gone, that I just got fed up and didn’t update it any more.

    The teacher in charge brought me the initial list and asked me who was still in my class. I don’t know anyone’s Koreans name! I have 500 middle school students with Korean names and their names all sound the same. All the names are combinations of just ten sounds. In one class I have three girls with not just the same names, but the same family names as well. There are girls with the same name in a few other classes as well. Anyone who has been here for a while knows that it is nearly impossible to remember all these names.

    I happen to have the phone numbers of two of the adults on my phone, so I gave him those. What he does with it is now up to him now.


    Found through Roboseyo.

    Wednesday, 26 November 2008

    Evil Foreigner

    Derek, who appeared on the SeoulPodcast again this week, spoke about this photo he took of his father on the Seoul Subway.

    They are all sitting in the section for the old and cripple. I find it hilarious how the other two just stay there, all squashed up like that. And the Evil Grin. He knows what he is doing!

    Korean Dinosaurs

    Brian posted something relating to an article about dinosaurs in Korea. At one point in the article someone refers to Korean Dinosaurs. KOREAN Dinosaurs! Because we all know that a few million years ago, when Koreans were hunting Raptors…

    Like the Korean Jesus in Myeongong I thought I would tray to find a picture of a dinosaur and edit its eyes so that it will look Korean. After a short search, I realised that my skills were just not up to doing that sort of job in any time short enough to make it worth while. I did find this though:

    Could this possibly be a Korean-like Dinosaur?

    Tuesday, 25 November 2008

    Luke! Luke! His our man!

    Ryan at listed what he things to be the best and the worst of South African Rugby this past season. It was an OK piece until I got to the Special Merit Award.

    To understand the award you have to remember that nothing in SA sport is untouched by politics. The Springbok, previously the emblem of SA sport was taken away because somehow it was racist, or whatever stupid reason they had. Rugby managed to keep the Bok because that is where it all started a bunch of decades ago. The other sports had no real claim to it. The SA rugby team is known as the Springboks. They ARE the Springboks. SA Rugby recently wanted to take the Bok away and just use the national symbol, like every other sport. The national emblem has been there for a very long time already, but now they want to have just that and take the Springbok away.

    In light of that, this award was included:

    Special merit award

    This one goes to Luke Watson for his unbelievable service to South African rugby. We salute you. His decision to avail himself for the Springboks again after the King Protea was confirmed as the national emblem (rather the vomit-inducing Springbok) was a godsend. The Springboks would have been dead and buried without Watson. A top player with a personality that endears him to all.

    Sunday, 23 November 2008

    Anti Snow Measures

    During the week Two Thousand City broke out the Anti Snow Measures. The measures come in the form of yellow containers next to the road. Inside the containers you will find bags of course sand, possibly mixed with salt.

    When there is snow on the road, someone, and I do mean someone, because I haven't actually seen someone doing it but only the end results, will take the sand and throw it on the road. This has the effect of melting the snow and even before then it will add traction in the snow itself.

    Saturday, 22 November 2008

    Nice weather we're having today

    I read a blog post a while back, I’m pretty sure it was Brian, about how the Korean text books say stupid things about other countries. They mentioned things like the obsession Western countries seem to have with the weather and that the likely reason is that they don’t have nice weather like Korea.

    First off, have you ever been to South Africa? I have never seen below zero in my home town, EVER! OK, maybe once, or twice, but I can’t even remember when that was. It rarely goes over 35 Celsius, and if that sounds hot, consider that the humidity there is low. 35 there is like 30 here. Now tell me again that Korea has great weather? I sweat my arse off in summer and I freeze it off in winter. Go on, tell me.

    Secondly, show me ONE Korea who has not complained about the cold, and more specifically, the sudden cold. Show me one Korean who doesn’t complain about the hot summers. I can show you a few who even complain about the short spring and autumns.

    At least Korea can say that now they have five distinct seasons.


    And now for the more on the nice side of Korea...

    Friday, 21 November 2008

    Certificate of English Communicative Ability

    I walked past the secretary earlier and she was busy typing names for the “Certificate of English Communicative Ability”. I personally helped Romanize the names, and I had to do it for all the students who got 120 and over out of 200. It seems these students are classified in the “Top Qualification” bracket.

    120 is part of the top bracket? I hope I was mistaken. I know these students. In the middle school third grade there are about 10 students, max who can actually get their point across. I include the broken English in this. There are about 25 more who can, with single words, gestures and a lot of guessing on my part, tell me something that makes no sense. Even the work that they study in my class normally does in one ear and out the other. My favourite example is when I ask many students “What is most important to you?” in a test nogal, they answer with “YES!” Sure, those students didn’t get in to that top bracket, but I didn’t see any 0 or 10, or even 20 point scores.

    I know we don’t want the students to be discouraged from learning English, but do we really want them to live under the delusion that they can actually speak the language? Even worse, do we want to give them the ammunition to give potential employees and schools the impression that they can communicate in English?

    I didn’t say anything when I saw it. I went to my desk, opened my little fruit juice and finished watching more P&T.

    Thursday, 20 November 2008

    P&T B*******

    I have always looked at Koreans in amazement, and sometimes, I am sorry to say, distant, at the way they let their little ones walk around without anyone to look after their safety. Being from a Western culture, my main concern is with adults who might abduct, molest or even kill.

    I’d say that in this country road safety is a bigger issue. I cringe every time a little one runs across a road, even a quiet road, without any concern for possible cars. We all know how taxis drive in this country and very often other drivers are just as bad.

    With these ideas in mind, I stumbled upon the video clip and though it had some relevance to Korea. I include part one and two because there are a few other things in there.

    I love statistics, and this clip uses it in a magazine type way. Sure, statistics, or numbers if you prefer, can be made to show anything, but the numbers here are still interesting no matter how you look at them. I also find the statement by the interviewee right at the start of the second clip interesting. Sure, feelings do matter, but just because something is horrific does not mean it is more likely. Unfortunately though, if someone WANTS to believe something, then the truth is irrelevant. Dare I mention religion here?

    P&T Bullshit Stranger Danger Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3:

    Tuesday, 18 November 2008

    Save the English!

    After a loss to Australia this past weekend England lost a position in the International Rugby Board world rankings. It is not that serious, except that the now number 4 team is Argentina. I am sure there are very few people who don’t know that Argentina loves football, or who don’t know who Diego Maradona is. Argentina is not however, know as a world power in Rugby Union.

    The normal situation in world rugby is that you have the five “big” Northern hemisphere teams, and the three actual big Southern hemisphere teams. They are known as the (previously) Five Nations and now the Six Nations, and SANZAR or the Tri Nations respectively. There has been a traditional battle between the two groups with the South generally accepted as historically stronger. In the North there is usually one strong team at a time and at times two or three. Traditionally England and France are the two strong teams. The three teams in the South however, had always been strong and dangerous at the very least.

    Argentina had always been a team to be ware of, but they were never a force in world rugby accept for a few spurts. Whether their current form can be classified as a spurt is still to be seen.

    What is nice is about England dropping down is that, instead of just the first three spots, the South now occupies the first four. Fiji is down there as well. For a country with no money, few people, and who plays the 7s version more often than the full version, tenth place is quite amazing.

    IRB World Rankings:

    1. New Zealand 
    2. South Africa
    3. Australia
    4. Argentina
    5. England
    6. France
    7. Wales 
    8. Ireland 
    9. Scotland 
    10. Fiji

    92.41 rating points

    Just in case you were wondering, Italy is the sixth Northern nation and was only recently knocked down to eleventh. Other teams that might be of interest to people in Korea find themselves in these positions:

    15. CANADA
    16. JAPAN
    19. USA
    22. KOREA
    44. CHINA


    The points might make it seem that here isn’t that big a difference between, say, China and South Africa, but I would not be surprised if a very strong SA high school team, or a under 23 provincial team at the very least, taught China a few lessons about the game.

    Maybe the current situation will give Argentina more ammunition to become part of the Tri-Nation. I wonder if it will then be called the Square Nations.

    Friday, 14 November 2008

    Min Dae

    "Min Dae", Afrikaans for “Few Days”, is what they use to say in the South African military when you were coming to the end of your service. Back then service was compulsory. Lucky for me if was abolished the year before I finished school. I would not have minded going for one year, but it was a two year service, with the second year seeing you sitting around counting your toes. Back to Korea though…

    While I was working on my schedule for the remaining weeks, it hit me that I will not be able to finish the work I wanted to do. I think I have about three weeks before the end of year exams. There will be one of two days where my classes for the day will be inexplicably cancelled. There will be days where the teachers will ask me if they can take the class to catch up with tings they still have to do and then there will be days that, well, I have no idea what will happen on those days. All in all, when I look at my time for the rest of this year, I calculate that I have about two weeks of actual classes left, maybe even less.

    Korea has this amazingly effective system where students will write their final exams and then still have about two weeks of school to finish. In those two weeks I, and I am sure the other teachers as well, will be unable to teach anything. The one problem is that there is nothing to teach. The FINAL exam already happened! The other thing is that the students just don’t care about anything other than tests. They care about tests because they must get the scores to scratch out their little place in this society. Just before you forget, this year’s FINAL exam is already finished! Therefore they have nothing to make them care about school any more.

    Right now I am counting the day. Just a couple of weeks to go and I will be free to do almost anything I want. Sure, you would think that I would prepare for next year, but we are getting new textbooks, so I have no idea what the lessons will be. I will use the time to get motivated again to teach in a system that rewards students for doing nothing at all and puts the students who do at a disadvantage because of those students who DO NOTHING AT ALL.

    * Update: One third year class taken away without explanation, a few more to go.


    My "interesting" Clip for today is from YouTube. It is actually just audio so be sure to have stereo headphones and be very sure to listen with your eyes closed.

    Thursday, 13 November 2008

    Attending an Open Class

    I attended an open class yesterday. The “native speaker” claimed that they did nothing special, but we all know how it goes with open classes. The Korean teacher will plan for weeks, if not months in advance to make this the best class ever. Sometimes they will combine the best students from two or three classes and they will even have a practice class. When all is done the school’s head master will be happy that his school was portrayed in the best light possible and all the other teachers and education department representatives will pretend that they don’t know what is happening and be full of admiration for the fantastic class.

    This particular class was odd for me because it was at an elementary school. I’ve never even thought at that level. My co-teacher who went with me taught high school and this is her first year in middle school, so she was just as lost. OK, maybe a little less, but she did admit that she knew next to nothing about elementary school. Add to this us being about 20 minutes late because of, well, I don’t know why, and the whole thing was just a waste of my time.

    One good thing that came out of it was that I got to go home early. I have a bad cold and was able to get an hour’s sleep before getting on with the normal evening activities.

    The normal evening’s activities include Hapkido. We did front flips again tonight. Just a few more sessions and I will have it down pat. The new girl joined us today. We are now four adults/foreigners and it is turning out great. We get attention together that I never got while I was alone. Everything is now explained in detail and taken in small steps. Maybe it is because it is now worth separating us from the others or maybe the Master has learned a few things from teaching me, the Westerner. Whatever it is, I am learning things I never learned before and am improving faster than the others because I have a bit of experience already and now I am being show what I didn’t know before.


    Did you know there is something called a Memoriad?

    Tuesday, 11 November 2008

    Dark Secrets: Inside the Mind of a Mafia Hitman

    I was waiting for my class to start so I clicked the Stumble Video button on my browser. The very first clip that came up was a clip called Dark Secrets: Inside the Mind of a Mafia Hitman where a psychiatrist interviews Richard Kuklinski.

    Right of the bat I felt uncomfortable with the guy and the feeling of horror over his actions did not help at all. I admire the braveness of the psychiatrist doing the interview. It could not have been easy.

    Another thought I had was how the psychiatrist had to have empathy, but not sympathy. In short, empathy is to understand or to put your self in someone’s shoes. That is that psychologists and psychiatrists need to do. People who never studied psychology or related subjects tend to believe you need sympathy. Sympathy is when you feel with the person.

    Imagine if you were feeling with someone like this. Imagine how messed up you will get. Remember that he will not be your only client/patient. Imagine, if you feel with every lonely wife or depressed husband, what you would look like at the end of one month. I can understand why people would like to think that you need to feel with your clients, but in the end you will lose all objectivity, not to mention your ability to help others.


    Pronunciation: \ˈem-pə-thē\
    Etymology: Greek empatheia, literally, passion, from empathēs emotional, from em- + pathos feelings, emotion — more at
    Date: 1850

    1: the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it
    2: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner ; also : the capacity for this

    Pronunciation: \sim-pə-thē\
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural sym·pa·thies
    Etymology: Latin sympathia, from Greek sympatheia, from sympathēs having common feelings, sympathetic, from syn- + pathos feelings, emotion, experience — more at pathos
    Date: 1579

    1 a: an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other
    b: mutual or parallel susceptibility or
    a condition brought about by it c: unity or harmony in action or effect <every part is in complete sympathy with the scheme as a whole — Edwin Benson>
    2 a: inclination to think or feel alike : emotional or intellectual accord <in sympathy with their goals>
    b: feeling of loyalty : tendency to favour or support <republican sympathies>
    3 a: the act or capacity of entering into or sharing the feelings or interests of another b: the feeling or mental state brought about by such sensitivity <have sympathy for the poor>
    4: the correlation existing between bodies capable of communicating their vibrational energy to one another through some medium

    Monday, 10 November 2008

    One Black Eye

    EinsteinI’m not exactly seen as someone who stares at himself in the mirror. I consider the mirror something to make sure I don’t look like Young Einstein after my shower, or like a cow just gave birth to me after I take my helmet off.

    Imagine my surprise when I looked in the mirror after lunch and noticed my one under eye was darker than the other. I didn’t sleep well last night due to a bout of coughing, so a little colour was to be expected, but there was a definite difference.

    On Friday we were practicing the Ee Chul Bong, aka Nanchuks. Somehow, out of the blue, I managed to hit myself just under the left eye. I still have no idea how I managed it. The move I was doing when it happened should not even make that possible. Even worse, how did I not see it in the mirror? Really, how?

    Sunday, 09 November 2008

    Seoul Forest

    I found out of the existence of Seoul Forest from a post by Roboseo. I had set aside this weekend and possibly next weekend to look for autumn photographs, to I was not going to let the change go by to see what a forest in Seoul looks like.

    I have to say that I was a little disappointed. It is a "forest", is it not. Turns out it is more like a biggish park. Apparently development started about 10 years ago with the idea that it would be something like New York's Central Park. I am sure that in about 10 years from now, when the trees are bigger, it will be more impressive, but unless I have been misled about Central Park, I doubt it will be that nice.

    There were 23 photos worth keeping, nothing fantastic, but enough to give you an idea of what it looks like there. Keep an eye out for the recycling of art pieces, the trees that "grow" in straight lines and the sight that, I think, says you are not allowed to walk on the water in imitation of Jesus. the very last photo is of an old man on the subway with a pink phone. Oh, Koreans do love their pink.

    Saturday, 08 November 2008

    Xenophilia in Korea

    Today was the first time I listened to the new Wonder Girls song from start to finish. I heard the chorus a few times before and it is a catchy song, but I swear they are being xenophiliacs. I listened very carefully and I am VERY sure that they are saying: “I wont nobaady nobaady baa JEW” (wont = want). What is so special about the Jews? All I know about he Jews are stereotypes and that basically translate to not knowing anything, so what is it? What? WHAT?

    Of course, there is the possibility that they are saying: “I want nobaady Baa Jew.” It might be changed to: “You know, Baa Jew, I wont nobaady.” That, however, makes even less sense.

    You know, just watch the video. I like the way they change between microphones during the song. It looks nice. Watch out for the tasteful and all time Korean favourite toilet humour at about 1:30.

    Friday, 07 November 2008

    About South Africa

    I suspect these questions were tampered with, but it is amazing how stupid questions can be, especially about a country like South Africa. I would not be surprised if Australians get similar questions.

    Korea knows as little about the RSA as we know about them, so I've had a few amazing questions already. My all time favourite is "Where is South Africa?" The possible answers are endless.

    Before you start on the list of questions, note that Hillbrow is a notoriously dangerous place with very high crime rates.

    Q: Does it ever get windy in South Africa? I have never seen it rain on TV, so how do the plants grow? (UK)
    A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die

    Q: Will I be able to see elephants in the street? (USA)
    A: Depends how much you've been drinking.

    Q: I want to walk from Durban to Cape Town - can I follow the railroad tracks? (Sweden)
    A: Sure, it's only two thousand kilometres. Take lots of water.
    (It is likely more like a thousand, but what is a thousand between friends?)

    Q: Is it safe to run around in the bushes in South Africa? (Sweden)
    A: So it's true what they say about Swedes.

    Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in South Africa? Can you send me a list of them in JHB, Cape Town, Knysna and Jeffrey's Bay? (UK)
    A: What did your last slave die of?

    Q: Can you give me some information about Koala Bear racing in South Africa? (USA)
    A: Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific. A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe which does not... oh forget it. Sure, the Koala Bear racing is every Tuesday night in Hillbrow. Come naked.

    Q: Which direction is north in South Africa? (USA)
    A: Face south and then turn 90 degrees. Contact us when you get there and we'll send the rest of the directions.

    Q: Can I bring cutlery into South Africa? (UK)
    A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do.

    Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule? (USA)
    A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is.. oh forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Hillbrow, straight after the Koala Bear races. Come naked.

    Q: Do you have perfume in South Africa? (France)
    A: No, WE don't stink.

    Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in South Africa? (USA)
    A: Anywhere where significant numbers of Americans gather.

    Q: Can you tell me the regions in South Africa where the female population is smaller than the male population? (Italy)
    A: Yes, gay nightclubs.

    Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in South Africa? (France)
    A: Only at Christmas.

    Q: Are there killer bees in South Africa? (Germany)
    A: Not yet, but for you, we'll import them.
    (Actually, the African bee can be VERY aggressive and thus dangerous in groups, but not on the scale you get with the mutants in the Americas)

    Q: Are there supermarkets in Cape Town and is milk available all year round? (Germany)
    A: No, we are a peaceful civilisation of vegan hunter-gatherers. Milk is illegal.

    Q: Please send a list of all doctors in South Africa who can dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
    A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca, which is where YOU come from. All South African snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.
    (I hope I get a change to tell someone this some day. The best I ever did to was to convince someone that Cape Town is a county on it's own, as it should be.)

    Q: I was in South Africa in 1969, and I want to contact the girl I dated while I was staying in Hillbrow. Can you help? (USA)
    A: Yes, and you will still have to pay her by the hour.

    Q: Will I be able to speek English most places I go? (USA)
    A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.

    Wednesday, 05 November 2008

    Trey Parker - I'm So Ronery

    I'm So Ronery
    So ronery
    So ronery and sadry arone

    There's no one
    Just me onry
    Sitting on my rittle throne
    I work rearry hard and make up great prans
    But nobody ristens, no one understands
    Seems like no one takes me serirousry

    And so I'm ronery
    A rittle ronery
    Poor rittle me

    There's nobody
    I can rerate to
    Feel rike a bird in a cage
    It's kinda sihry
    But not rearry
    Because it's fihring my body with rage

    I'm the smartest most crever most physicarry fit
    But nobody else seems to rearize it
    When I change the world maybe they'll notice me
    But until then I'rr just be ronery
    Rittle ronery, poor rittle me

    I'm so ronery



    And while we are on the bad English, why not play thing one again. I doubt anyone can ever get enough of her:

    Tuesday, 04 November 2008


    Translating can be a dodgy business, especially when the one party knows nothing about one of the languages. The BBC posted a story that I can see playing of somewhere in Easy Asia. Read about how things went wrong in Wales.

    Monday, 03 November 2008

    I deserved what I got.

    I was hoping to wear an orange belt when I go to Hapkido today, but alas, I still be donning the lowly yellow. Eddy and I were assured that we did well in Friday’s test, but I personally feel that we sucked. I know I did. I should have done a lot better. Part of the reason is that Eddy was wasting my practice time by talking all the time, but that is not a good enough excuse.

    In case you are wondering how Eddy talking can be a problem, “listen” to this:

    Doing a strange, almost familiar move and making a weird sound.

    “Eddy. Make space for yourself. Lift the arm up and out so that you have a wide door for yourself.”

    “OK.” Doing some strange limited space movement crunched up movement.

    “Nope. Not that. Let me do is so that you can feel what it feels like from my side. Then you will feel why you need to make space for yourself.” Showing the move.

    “Did you feel that?”

    “Yes. You know, that is the circle movement I read about. And if you do this right then you can really help yourself to kick someone’s arse and I am feeling more confident already (after 5 days) and I really like this except for the right muscles, but you know…”

    “Eddy! Speak while you do.”

    For every 5 seconds of practicing he is content with talking for 30 and still not listen, or feel.

    I learned my lesson and have taken steps to rectify the problem. From now on I will be tell Eddy to focus on what he needs to do as often as I have to. Also, over the weekend I sat down and wrote/described on to paper every self defence movement I have learned up to now. This way I can go over it often so that it becomes second nature. I doubt the other students can remember more that the current level that they were studying, but then again, trying to remember the previous 50+ when you have to learn 10 new complicated moved in four days is not easy and even less when your partner is learning something else.

    I am also working on memorizing the names of the kicks and pushes. That might be more difficult, but I have to do it. Next time I want that stupid orange belt and I want the one after that quickly. I’m working on getting more foreigners to the dojang and I want to be the boss of them when they start. *wink*

    * Update: We were handed our new belts on Tuesday. Needless to say, I was surprised and a little embarrassed.

    Sunday, 02 November 2008

    Super Cow

    I managed to get my hands on a cow suite earlier this week. From the start the intent was to get a photo like this. It did not come out the way I expected, but then again, I had only a tripod and a timer to help me. Luckily there was no one around to see me do this. That is what you get when you go out at 8am on a cold morning in a tiny city.

    Saturday, 01 November 2008

    USA in the world cup again.

    For a country where no one seems to even know that the sport exists, The USA is doing well. Granted, their only competition is Canada, but the have qualified for the World Cup a few times now.

    The results from the World Cup Qualifier:
    USA 52 Mexico 0
    USA 31 Bermuda 0
    USA 35 Trinidad 10
    USA 41 Guyana 7
    USA 55 Bermuda 0 (Semi Final)
    USA 21 Canada 12 (Final)

    Read the whole article here.

    Thursday, 30 October 2008

    Is your toilet running?

    Another great find at Dont forget to read the comments.

    I hope to have a few interesting photos that I took myself any day now.

    Wednesday, 29 October 2008

    Training with cartoons

    On Monday I introduced my friend to my Hapkido master. When he heard that I competed in a competition over the weekend he exclaimed that he was looking for a Hapkido dojang. After making the introductions on Monday he decided to only look for the first session. Master had other ideas and asked him to join me with bamboo staff practice. He appeared completely lost, but I’m sure the same can be said of my first time. Now I just hit myself very hard one some body part whenever I start working on speed.

    Yesterday we studied self defence. It was Eddy’s first experience with something like this, so he still needs to learn to relax. He was learning the basic moves for getting himself out of someone wrist grip. Essentially it is just stepping in to the person and thrusting your hand past said person. Before doing every movement, Eddy would tense up and start vibrating like a, an, er, a vibrator! His eyes started bulging and then SUDDENLY he would slowly step in to do something strange to get his wrist lose.

    I dare YOU to try to keep from laughing when someone is acting like a mad cartoon character every time they practice their moves.

    * Eddy is not his real name, but I still hope he doesn’t read my blog.

    Tuesday, 28 October 2008

    Fleshy Flesh

    Look what serves up today.

    Monday, 27 October 2008

    Gone is the rice.

    Last week was the big harvest week here in Two Thousand City. Great timing considering that the Rice Festival happened this past weekend. In the first picture we see to of the villains plotting to deprive the world of the golden view of ripe rice.

    Here is only one view of the golden sea and this is not a particularly nice field.

    This is what they reduced that lovely sight to.

    Damn Koreans. The destroy everything.

    Saturday, 25 October 2008

    And it's aaaaaaaall right.

    It felt good, even though I can’t remember anything specific. I know I nailed the three movements for he most part and I remember that the whole arena was watching me from the applause I got after each movement, but that is it. I am sure it was, possibly, good enough to get a medal, but I have no idea if it was worth the gold. Master Jo assures me I looked really good, but I think I got the audience vote (medal) and the photo opportunity vote(trophy).

    While having lunch I was called to receive my medal. It is odd because it is mostly a take-your-medal-and-go kind of affair. There was more ceremony with the introductions of all the “important people”.

    It was a similar thing with the trophy which was awarded for the overall winner of all the self-defence competitions.


    At least I didn’t make an ass of myself :)

    Thursday, 23 October 2008

    How can you not love Gmail?

    Google just keeps on adding new stuff. I with I received the kind of mail that would allow me to use this new feature.

    On a more Korea note, I was told ten minutes after my class finished, ten minutes earlier than I expected, thus sending my plans down the drain, that the schedule has been changed. That NEVER happens to me, so I will forgive them this time.

    Yesterday at Hapkido Master let me practice the defensive moves for the competition on him. Because he could feel what I was doing, he picked up quite a few things. It is amazing how changing small thing can make the whole move, well, dangerous. I have heard it said that you only really start learning about your martial art when you reach black belt, and that everything up to then is just preparation. I can see why they say that.

    Wednesday, 22 October 2008

    Safe Flying

    I forgot I had this story saved and then saw it again while cleaning my bookmarks. Apparently Korean Air is very save.

    When I was working for a local Airline in South Africa, one of our rules was "If you don't understand English then you don't sit next to ANY exit". The reason for this is because our emergency procedures are all in English and we study them in English. You don't have time to wonder what language you should speak when you only have five minutes to prepare for a possible crash lading. There is a crap load to do and you are already under tremendous stress. People lives, not just your own, are at stake.

    When I flew with Qatar Airline there was no such rule. In an airline where passengers speak hundreds of languages, how am I expected to communicate with a passenger when the s*** hits the fan? The answer was: "You move the passengers during the emergency." Oh, THAT makes sense. I have to try an move a passenger who doesn't understand English, and I have to do it with everyone panicking. GREAT IDEA! I one tried to explain to a Portuguese women that I had to move her, while we were still boarding, and it took me almost 10 minutes. In the end there was a gentleman nice enough to give up his seat so that I can move her. The only problem was that he was also sitting next to an exit.

    Keep this in mind next time you fly Korean Airlines and happen to sit at the over wing exit. If something goes wrong and they have to tell you what to do (if they themselves get injured), will they be able to do it and will you get off the possibly burning aircraft? I hear the Korean Air cabin crew are not so hot on the Island Language.

    I LOOOVE Ice Hockey

    Roboseyo posted this clip yesterday. I followed the links to other related clip and somehow got to Ice Hockey fights. It is amazing how these guys fight. Rugby is arguably a much rougher sport with the possibility for tempers to flare around every corner, yet there are rarely actually flights. Sure, they push and shove and call each other names, but the fists stay down.

    Here is a compilation of hockey fights. I love how the referees just stand there with their arms folded. They are bigger spectators than the actual spectators. At other times it looks like they are actually trying to referee the fight. After watching for a while I saw that there was method to the madness. They stand and watch, and as soon as the two players go down, then jump and pile on them. You just can’t swing an arm when someone is piling on you.


    The second clip is great because of the scale of the whole thing. I don’t want to say too much for fear of giving it all away. I will say that the game commentators sound like they have done a few boxing matches before.


    For a Canadese person reading this, do these guys get suspended after the game or is the penalty box the final punishment?

    Tuesday, 21 October 2008

    Fast and Deadly

    In one of my adult classes we are reading a book called Cry Freedom. Originally a film, it was converted to a book for the Oxford Bookworm Library. It tells the story of Steve Biko, a key man in anti-Apartheid Activism in South Africa. Being South African myself, I am able to explain a lot of the things in the book that most people will just miss completely. I showed the students a photo on the Internet to explain what a Black Taxi is. Taxies in South Africa, and I expect the rest of Africa, are a menace on the road. If you take them out of the statistics then the road safety in South Africa will be very impressive. Keeping that in mind, have a look at this photo that I found:


    *Doom, by the way, is an a insecticide/insect spray.