Thursday, January 26, 2006

All students should be so thoughtful.

It's the Lunar New Year this weekend. This is a huge holiday here in Korea, and often students will buy gifts for the teachers. Most of the time it's a small gift, maybe a card or some bakery treat. When I worked at my hakwon, the gifts were usually socks or handkerchiefs. Today, my class (the ones in the pictures below) bought me a gift that really surprised me, not only with it's contents, but with the thought behind it.

Since we have Friday off, today was the last day of classes before the holiday. I was all prepared to be "Lazy Teacher" and show the class a couple episodes of "Friends" simply because I didn't really feel like doing much today. However, a number of the students came in carrying a couple of boxes and said they wanted to have a party. I had no problem with that. it suited my feelings about teaching just fine. The students had brought a bunch of snack food and drinks (typical in class party fare). They had also brought a mock "Harry Potter" wizard trunk which they gave me along with cards from everyone. I was a little hesitant at first to open the box. I really didn't know what to expect. Much to my surprise, amusement, and great pleasure, inside the box were a DOZEN ASSORTED BEERS AND A CARTON OF SMOKES! I haven't ever received a more perfect gift from my students. It was simply great.

To the guys and girls of the level 5 IT class: CHEERS!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Wednesday Night Follies

I took my level 5 IT (Information Technology majors) class out last Wednesday for dinner and a night of drinking. I have to say that I had a great time. We started, of course, with a dinner of Samgyup-sal and MANY bottles of soju. Ian came along for the meal, and after playing drinking games at the restaurant (We went through about 12-13 bottles of soju!!), we wandered down to Santa's for a post-prandial beverage (or six). None of the students had been to Santa's before, and I think I might have found some new recruits for the weekly decadence and depravation that goes on there.

It was a seriously drunken evening, and a good time was had by all.

Arrival at Santa's

Su Young, Seung Jin, and Jin Hyoung

The result. Hell of a leave; FOR THE OTHER GUY! #@%^

The shot...

My class and Ian. You just know this is trouble.

The level 5 IT crew.

Bong Yeon, Karla, and Dong Kyu

PJ and Karla

Gi Hong. How many fingers am I holding up?

We love you too Mr. Ho.


Is this what I do with a beer?

Teaching the fundamentals.

Kori being cool as ever.

Gi Hong feelin' no pain.

I've fallen and I can't reach my beer!

Su Ho showing signs of a mis-spent youth.

Ji Na (right) and rookie Santa Clausette.

This is a beer.

Dong Kyu and Bong Yeon

Su Ho and Seung Hee

Bong Yeon giving the traditional Korean sign of photographic drunkenness.

Y'know it's getting late when....

Why talk to the teacher when you can hit on girls?

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Honesty gets you nothing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's the little things.

Sometimes it's the little things here in Korea that make you glad it's impossible to get a gun. I work at Chungnam National University. When I started here, the university said that I HAD to use the Hana Bank on campus for my account. This was a bit inconvenient since I already had an account at another bank and liked the service I got there. However, this wasn't so bad because the new bank was more convenient to my house. Then I figured, what the hell, since I have to bank here, I'll get a credit card from here and cancel my card from the other Korean bank. No dice. Hana Bank won't issue credit cards to FOREIGNERS (even though I'm an employee of the university where the bank is located and have an account there). Definitely more annoying, but since I didn't cancel my other card, not a real problem.

Every month, I send money to my mom. The first time I performed this transaction at Hana Bank, they asked for my passport and residence card. No problem, I expected it because it was my first time sending money at a new bank. After that, every month, they simply ran the transaction with the paper work I brought; no ID needed other than my bank book. I'm thinking great, this is very convenient. This went on for almost a year, and then they started asking me for my residence card with each transaction. Not a problem. I always have my card with me. Today I go in to send some money and all of a sudden I need both my passport AND residence card. Of course, I don't have my passport. I hate carrying my passport because I don't want to risk losing it somewhere, and I also don't see the need for it because the residence card has all the pertinent info. I'm a university employee, the bank has all my info (hell, they probably have more info on me than the US government does at this point), and I have an account there. What's the deal?

Maybe this doesn't sound like such a big deal, and in the grand scheme of things, it's not. However, this just really annoyed the hell out of me. It meant I had to go home, get my passport, go back to the bank, wait in line AGAIN, and finally get to do what was so seemingly easy before.

It's the little things.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The "Ugh, I Ate Too Much And Can't Move" Mix

1. Suicidal Tendencies - Subliminal
2. Alice Cooper - Grim Facts
3. David Bowie - Candidate
4. Pantera - Biggest Part Of Me
5. AC/DC - Rock N Roll Damnation
6. Dance Hall Crashers - Go (Live)
7. The Ramones - Don't Come Close
8. Tribe - Crawl
9. New Orleans Feetwarmers - Shag
10. The Motels - Only The Lonely
11. Flogging Molly - To Youth (My Sweet Roisin Dubh)
12. Sublime - Jailhouse
13. Bon Jovi - Just Older
14. Roomful Of Blues - Please Don't Leave Me
15. Supertramp - Bloody Well Right
16. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Lively Up Yourself
17. Lacuna Coil - Heaven's A Lie
18. The Beastie Boys - Sabrosa
19. Black Sabbath - Cross Of Thorns
20. Bob Marley & The Wailers - The Heathen
21. Pork Pie Tribe - Shire's Reeve
22. Shane MacGowen & The Popes - Aisling
23. Husker Du - Newest Industry
24. Motorhead - Step Down
25. Skavoovie & The Epitones - Blood Red Sky
26. The Offspring - Come Out And Play
27. Danny Gatton - Song Of India
28. Suicidal Tendencies - It's Time
29. Lester Young - This Year's Kisses
30. Black Sabbath - Virtual Death

12,335 songs and counting. Let's hear it for external storage.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

A Game Too Far: Seattle 20 - Washington 10

There is only so much you can ask a defense to do for you. The Redskins defense was dominant throughout their 6 game winning streak which brought them into the second round game in Seattle. The offense, however, seemingly became more and more inept the deeper into the streak the Redskins went. The running game disappeared, and the passing attack sputtered.

Today's game was the Redskins to win. Shawn Alexander, arguably the best running back in the game was neutralized and knocked out of the game early thus eliminating Seattle's greatest threat. The Skins defense, showed signs of brilliance, but could not maintain the pace and gave up a number of big plays. The Skins forced three turnovers and gave up none. However, the Skins offense could muster only 10 points. They were totally anemic until late in the fourth quarter when, while making the game interesting (and giving me an ulcer), it was too little too late. As Michael Wilbon of the Washington Post put it, "You can't put up only 10 points and expect to advance to the championship."

There is hope in Mudville, however. The Skins turned a mediocre season into a great one and gave themselves (and their fans) renewed hope for next season. The Skins, like several other teams in the league, seem to be a couple of free agents or draft picks away from being a real contender. With the coaching staff coming back next year virtually intact, there will be stability that the Skins have lacked in the pitiful 14 years that preceeded this season (Joe Gibbs is the fifth head coach in seven years).

My boys gave it a hell of a shot.


Sunday, January 08, 2006


Holy Mary Mother of God!! This team is going to be the death of me. To sum up how important the Washington defense was today, the Washington offense set an NFL record today: lowest total offensive yards in a playoff game IN NFL HISTORY!! The goddamned offense put up 124 total yards!! Pitiful, inept, anemic, sloppy doesn't even begin to describe this performance.
The defense, on the other hand, was absolutely outstanding!! Turnovers, key stops, and 60 minutes of pure fire and heart kept the Skins in the Superbowl hunt.
I got up at 6 am this morning with hopes of being able to watch the game on TV, and at the very least listen to it on the internet. In typical fashion, Korean TV had all three sports channels covering golf, and, when football finally came on (with 5 minutes left in the fourth quarter), it was a repeat of last week's Redskins/Eagles game. It's the playoffs for God's sake! Would it kill those bastards to show a little LIVE football?
Anyway, a win is a win, and the Redskins move on to play yet another brutally tough team on the road: the Seattle Seahawks.

Monday, January 02, 2006



Redskins 31 - Eagles 20

On a day where the offense was less than spectacular (Mark Brunell: 9/24, 141 yds), the Redskins D stepped up and pummeled the Eagles! It's a BEAUTIFUL day! The Redskins D took it to the Eagles forcing six, count'em SIX, turnovers and recording four sacks. Sean Taylor put the final nail in the Eagle coffin by scooping up a Koy Detmer fumble and racing 39 yards for the touchdown; making it 31-20 with just over two minutes remaining. I couldn't ask for a better way to start my week.
Look out Tampa Bay!!! Here we come!!!