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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Some Pictures

This one was taken from what would be my front yard, if it weren't a street. Most notable for the telling contrast between the little peasant field (I assume that's what it is, though I haven't seen anyone working on it) and the skyrise apartments in the back. No, I don't live in one of those.

This is the building I live in. The sign on the left says "bidio" (video) and the one on the right sayd "daegu" something or other. I live on the 2nd floor.

This one is the big store where I do my shopping. The Korean script says "Samseong," or as we like to say, Samsung.

The cart lights up at night. Koreans don't love xmas all that much, but apparently they love it just enough that stores find decorating and changing their music and selling appropriate gear to be profitable.

A building I pass on my way to school. Looks like a sweet castle, probably some guards with arrows and maybe boiling pitch in the tower. The reflection on the glass is the apartment skyrise across the street.

Monday, December 11, 2006

On being handsome and getting your butt touched, the latter not necessarily because of the former

Something is awry in this country. In America I would have responded with mild surprise had someone called me cute; in Korea, I am apparently rather stunning. Men and women both young and old (though unfortunately no ladies aged 20-25) have all been forward enough either to tell me or my boss that I am a very handsome man. Apparently one Korean wife (the Korean word, by the way, is "houseperson") angered her husband when she made such a comment to my boss. A high school student called me handsome in the middle of a lesson in which we were discussing looks, hair, etc; my boss' husband, who speaks very little English, did so while we were in the elevator; and a middle schooler today took my teacher's book, wrote "Mike Handsome Mike <3<3" on it, and gave it back to me. I must conclude that either they don't understand the word, they are trying to ingratiate themselves (understandable for the students, less so for the bosses), or they revere whities.

In an unrelated case, a Korean elementary schooler pulled a little manoeuvre (that's right, I've been watching the BBC over here) on me that I had hoped never to experience. I read about it on some general korea info site: little kids run around and then pretty much jaab you right in the butt crack with the pointer and middle fingers. Actually I think I'd rather not talk about it.

Even more unrelated: When I first arrived I had functioning cable TV. After a few days I decided to work a little Feng Shui in my room, mostly with the goal of moving the bed to the warmest spot. It had previously been right next to the window, so was often about 4 degrees (celsius) colder than the area by the thermostat, so I figured it'd be efficient to move it elsewhere. In the process of doing this, I had to unplug the TV, which then lost its settings and thus about 80% of my channels. So, for the next 6 days, I didn't have any English TV at all, which means that I completed much reading (Kauffman's Critique of Religion and Philosophy is much recommended), Korean practice, and Sudoku. Then on Sunday the director's husband came by, changed the tv input setting, which I couldn't do due to its korean-ness, and got me my cable back. I had to do the little channel finder thing, which I had found on my own, and then, voila, I had about an additional 40 channels. So now I've got 85 or so, maybe 8 of which are in English.

The best thing on TV is the BBC channel, lots of good news and such. But an even better thing, or rather two of them, is the STARCRAFT CHANNEL. If you weren't a huge starcraft dork in high school, then, frankly, I'm surprised we're friends. Because I used to be crazy about that game, though never to good. Anyway these channels have 24/7 (so I've gleaned since Sunday morning) coverage of starcraft battles. I hadn't thought about protoss and zergs and terrans (not to mention carriers and scourges and firebats and hydralisks and goliaths) in so long! So now, even though I don't have the game on my computer, I can still get some vicarious kicks watching revered - yes, these shows are taped with a live audience, and girls are screaming - teenage boys rock at video games.

Oh, the other best thing is that they play pong on TV sometimes. Maybe if America would get a clue and start airing some coverage of the 2nd most popular sport in the world, fewer college grads like myself would be lured away to the Orient.

On the other hand, though, having a washer but not a dryer is pretty lame. My clothes have been drying on a rack now for 36 hours, and only about 1/2 of the items are wearable. This is a big deal considering that the rack either takes up 50% of the remaining floor space in my bedroom or 90% of it in my bathroom.