You have failed and now you must Daegu!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Quick update.

I had to use the bathroom terribly yesteday. I was in the underground mall area that surrounds downtown Daegu. There are public toilets, but you have to pay 200 won for toilet paper. I didn't have 200 won. I couldn't buy toilet paper. I couldn't use the public toilet. Lesson learned? Never leave the house with out 200 won.

I saw Transformers on Saturday. I hated it. They never take the time to establish any of the characters other than the guy and the girl. I never had any Transformers when I grew up. I was always in trouble and therefore never recieved any cool toys. I was stuck with Go-Bots. Good students get Transformers, people like me get Go-Bots. Either way, I had no idea who these guys were or what their "powers" were and I was never told. The fight scenes were pretty intense, but I would have liked a story and some characters. It was like watching summer fireworks. Fun, but completely forgettable.

I watched the 3rd place game of the Asian Cup on Saturday also. It was Korea v. Japan. The Koreans did not like the Japanese. There was a certain intensity that was lacking in the Iraq and Iran matches that was present for the Japan match. The game was fairly even until a questionable red card sent off a Korean at the start of the second half. The Koreans did their best to keep Japan out of the goal and they sent the game into extra time. Things got a little heated in extra time. Halfway through the first 15 mintues, a Japanese player stuck his leg out and tripped a Korean. The Korean got up and started pushing and shoving. The rest of the Korean team quickly had his back and for a moment things almost got out of hand. Order was restored and the game was resumed. The game went to penalties. Korea won 6-5 on an awesome stop by Lee Woon Jae to win the match and make the Japanese team piss and wail.

I watched about half of the Iraq/Saudi game. The Saudi's never had a chance.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Greatest. Link. Ever.

I shall do my best to attend. I don't care what it takes. I will ROCK!

I've also been asked to write an article on Asian baseball for this website...

I have to focus on younger players. No problem.

I had five days of morning classes, plus my 3 special classes(two history classes and a literature class), plus the normal monster schedule. I've been given Monday off. The purpose isn't to reward me, but to avoid paying me overtime.

This week was a grind. There were nights that I would come home and crash. I'm not solving the world's tool and dye problems or making sure that Mexico ships enough widgets to Uzbekistan or rocking a bong and delivering mail, but grinding through 12 classes is enough to make anyone a little sleepy.

We have a new teacher that will be taking over the majority of my morning death schedule. I'll be keeping my special classes and most of my monster classes. He's from Alabama and is at least within pissing distance of my age, so I'm not working with another fucking geezer. He's spent a while in China and is in Korea for the first time. Actual words said when I asked him about his partying schedule, "Well, for the first month I just want to work on getting established, you know, figuring things out in the classroom." These are the requirements at LIKE; be in the room, be reasonably sober and attempt to teach a lesson. I stopped myself from giggling like an eleven year old Korean girl.

The new guy claims I'm a good teacher. One thing he observed really struck me. He said that the kids want to talk to you. I think that's the biggest battle I've fought here. Getting the kids to feel comfortable to talk to English. I'm not sure when it started, but it looks like I'm winning.

I was a little worried after the new guy observed my morning today. The only thing I had to say was, "You know, the first one wasn't like this." If he expects to walk in and have a well run class, he's either stupid or crazy...maybe a little of both. He starts teaching on Monday. It's going to be a fucking zoo. I'd pay a month's salary to be a fly on the wall.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Sorry for the lack of updates this week. Summer schedule has started and it is slowly killing me. Fighting monsters is okay at 3:45 or later, but at 8am, it can be difficult. Even for a skilled hagwon warrior such as myself.

Actually the mornings are easy. Drama classes are painfully simple. My debate group is awesome. These kids are really bright and don't mind having a weird foreigner break up their day with his comedy stylings. I also have what I call a "punishment class." It's a punishment class because it's obvious that these kids haven't cared or paid attention for years and are now being punished for it.

They're using the worst book in the history of modern civilization. It would willingly allow the children to poke me with sharp sticks for forty minutes instead of teaching this book. It's called "Cartoon Island." I can't tell, but it looks like underneath the LIKE logo is a WDBG productions logo. First, there are no cartoons, only white people acting strangely. It's supposed to be scripts from a TV show. The only problem is that the stories are so painfully stupid that I can't imagine anyone wanting to watch this show. This has Zwirb and I written all over it. There's even a song. I may have to steal a copy and bring it back. Either way, the book sucks, so I just try to have as much fun as possible. It seems to work...for now.

The afternoon classes are the grind. Today was the first time I ever walked into class exactly at 3:45. I overslept. I had a 3 hour break. I ate lunch and wanted to lie down for a few minutes. I wound up sleeping until 3:40. I had enough time to give myself a look, put on my pants and sprint out the door to school. The first few minutes of class was strange. I couldn't shake the cobwebs out of my head and dealing with screaming 8 year olds does not help.

Korea beat Iran on Sunday. The game was fairly entertaining. It was 0-0 at the end of extra time, so they went to penalties. Korea won it 4-3. They moved on in the Asian Cup and played Iraq today. It was almost identical to the Iran game. It was 0-0 at the end of extra time, so they went to penalties again. The only difference was that the keeper couldn't stop anything this time. Iraq moves on to the finals to play the winner of the Saudi Arabia/Japan game. Personally, I'm rooting for the Saudi's just so I can see Korea play Japan in the 3rd place game. Indonesia might not be big enough for the two of them!!!

What else? I caught a ballgame on Saturday. Every at bat was a ten pitch epic. It sucked, but the Lions pulled off a late rally and won the game. It took almost 3 1/2 hours to play a game that doesn't have the ridiculous commercial breaks that American baseball has. Not delicious.

I have nothing more to say that is relevant or true. I need to get some rest.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Quick update.

Korea beat Indonesia 1-0 and the Saudi's helped by destroying Bahrain 4-0. Korea gets to advance to the semi-finals of the Asian Cup. They're playing Iran on the 22nd. I can't wait.

Summer schedule has started at LIKE. I get twelve classes on Tuesday. Yikes.

I'm trying to start Korean lessons at the local YMCA(yes, there is one in Daegu). It proved more difficult than one would think. The first problem was the directions. Su-Jin gave me adequate directions, but I got terribly, terribly lost. Then, the staff was less than helpful. One guy spoke English. The reasons weren't clear, but the goal of the staff seems to be to get me to leave as fast as possible. I may or may not be starting tomorrow. We'll see.

I also found a killer link for authentic Japanese Baseball jerseys. They have throwbacks....

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I've been wanted to handicap this year's Asian Cup for a while. Wikipedia link is as follows.....

Korea has to win and win big against Indonesia. The only problem is that Indonesia is the host country which means a HUGE homefield advantage in a soccer tourney. Basically, it's not looking good.

Japan, Australia, Vietnam and Iraq have already qualified for the next round. Vietnam and Iraq are playing each other. Interesting.

The Saudi's, China and Iran look like they should be moving on. My favorite to win it all? Japan looks awfully tough so far. Bahrain and the Saudi's are my darkhorses and Vietnam is my sleeper.

This Korean team is NOT the same team that has appeared in the last two World Cups. This is mostly a younger squad trying to gain some international experience. There have been far too many bonehead plays for me to really believe that Korea has a chance to advance past the knockout stage, but hey, they're still in it and I'm looking forward to cheering on the Red Devils for at least one more time in this tourney.

In other news, David Beckham is already hurt. I hear he has a hard time sitting on the bench, most likely because of that giant fork sticking out of his ass.

I had Monday and Tuesday off this week. It's Constitution Day here in Korea. I took the opportunity to head up to Seoul and see what Patrick's gotten himself into.

His neighborhood, Nowon, reminds me a lot of Arlington Heights. Big wide streets, lots of families and young children and lots of small, random stores and restaurants. Nice area, but it's about 45 minutes away from the downtown area.

Patrick's apartment is killer. It has multiple rooms. In Daegu, I've got a room. He has a real apt in a real building.

The first thing we did was go to a bagel restaurant. I had an everything bagel sandwich with bacon, egg and mustard. Delicious. It is nice to have some better options as far as food.

We hit the Hongdae area around 8pm. Hongdae is one of the many university areas of Seoul. Lots of bars and restaurants. Just a great place to get into trouble.

We found a large, cheap Korean place for dinner, then we found a hole in the wall bar called "Cocaine." We were disappointed. No Dr. Rockso, no cocaine, but they had MGD on tap. In this country, you take what you can get.

After finishing our beers, we headed to a hookah bar. A hookah bar with OUTDOOR seating. We could watch the street below us and smoke and drink as much as we could afford. A lot of fun. We also met one of Patrick's coworkers and one of her friends. This gets important soon. Trust me.

I tried to go to the punk rock bar in Hongdae, but it was closed at 2 am. I was crushed. The owners of Skunk Hell have made a powerful enemy.

We stopped off at an upscale bar called "Coolba." Nothing remotely exciting happened here. My friend, Jake, wanted to hit a club, we headed to a dance club called M2. The cover was about $15 American. Patrick and I said no thanks, Jake(aka Shaky aka The Shake) went in with Patrick's co-worker and friend.

Patrick and I hit a Korean style bar for another beer and a kimchi pancake. I was running on fumes at this point(it was around 430am). Patrick and I called it. We headed back to Nowon in a cab for roughly $20 American.

Jake and the coworker showed up around 6. The coworker was out of her mind drunk. It was like releasing a human tornado on the apartment. Limbs flying, things being knocked over, bad words echoing in the bedroom. At one point, she pulled the sink out of the wall. No joke. Jake went back out to meet a girl that he had met on Friday. Jake is a machine. After about an hour of insanity with the drunk coworker, Patrick talked her into trying to sleep. He also tried to convince her that Jake was gay and he was going to meet her way gay friend. She didn't buy it, but wanted to discuss great length.

I fell asleep on the couch and did my best to get some rest.

Jake returned around 1130, slept for two hours and then got lunch with Patrick and I before heading back to Daegu.

I stayed in Seoul for another night. Nothing remotely exciting except Patrick has me hooked on a game called Civilization 4. It's awesome. I did find the Krispy Kreme in Nowon and I did bring back donuts for Su-Jin and Manjiro, they were both happy.

This week was fairly tame. It felt really busy for some reason. My schedule has become less agreeable since I've been doing these history classes.

I had to proofread another letter for Mr. Kim. He's trying to get his middle son married and he's contacting former students that he knows are succesful to become his bride. He has been met with resistance. My father brought up and excellent point, why would he write these letters in English? Wouldn't he be better off contacting these people in Korean? The thought didn't even occur to me until dad brought it up. Maybe that's the reason he's not able to find his kid a wife.

Jerry took some of the new guys to Busan. I can't wait to hear the stories from this one.

I think Sellers and I have a new challenge when I visit during the holidays. That's right. Someone will get baconated.

I hung out with my friend Kyung-Su this week. The following youtube videos are posted by request. It turns out we're both Green Day and Oasis fans. I'm not apologizing for liking Oasis. If Zwirb can like Phil Collins, I can like Oasis.

Monday, July 09, 2007

I forgot. I have to comment on the White Sox re-signing(not resigning, dammit!!!!) Mark Buehrle. If this frozen turd of a season has a silver lining, its this. Burly has always been a fan favorite and if this team is going to do anything in the next 4 seasons, its going to be with Mark Buerhle on the roster.

I'm thrilled that he's staying. I'd like to take full credit by not buying a Mark Buehrle jersey for the past few years.

Now, we have to trade Jermaine Dye, Tadahito and Jose Contreras. Sign Ichiro(I can dream can't I?). Find two other legit OF's and rebuild the bullpen.

I'm cautiously optomistic about the future of this team. Cautiously. The only kind of optomism a White Sox fan can have.

Lesson learned? Never listen to the Chicago media again. Or at least until the Cubune sells the cubs.

More from No Brain. These guys are ten kinds of awesome. The next step is a live show. If anyone can do it I fucking can. Bonus points for the drummer dancing and air-guitaring when everyone is singing. Awesome. It's like, "Fuck you guys. I'm just dicking around while you SING your fucking SONG."

I spent the weekend in Gapyeong with Su-Jin. Gapyeong is about an hour east of Seoul by train and its main feature is a pretty lake surrounded by mountains. I'm not much for the outdoors, but I can stand a day in Gapyeong. The guys at the resort were fairly friendly and the room was extremely comfortable. It didn't have CNN, BBC, movie channels or the MLB channel, but it did offer the Spice Channel for free. Softcore porn! Woooo!

We took the express bus from Daegu to Seoul. The trip up was scary as hell. It was "Mr. Cho's Wild Ride." Mr. Cho wanted to get to Seoul as quickly as possible and that meant driving the bus within inches of being completely out of control. I almost got carsick because he would start and stop as violently as possible. Then we hopped a slow train into the mountains. It was a pleasant ride. If anything it makes me want to travel more. The ride back was, gasp, normal. The bus driver actually drove the bus like a normal person. I didn't catch his name, but its always a good thing when you don't remember someone's name. Take me for example. No one will ever forget Mattu-sam was their teacher at LIKE Academy in Daegu. Ever.

Transformers is a hit in Korea. I haven't seen it, someone told me it was painfully stupid. My kids all love it, what does that say about Transformers? I guess I'll cave in one of these days and check it out. I talked myself out of buying TMNT on bootleg. It's just tempting enough to get me to stop, but not good enough to get me to plunk down.

Friday, July 06, 2007

My classes were insane and I was in a foul mood today. No casualties, but I did get superpissed and march a kid to the manager. It was my last class of the day and the student just wanted to dick around. The best part? He thought he was getting asked to leave the class. He was surprised when I marched him to the manager and that the manager did something.

The immortal Mr. Choi has been replaced by Mr. Shin. Mr. Shin brings the fucking pain. He's a small Korean version of Wyatt Earp. He does not fuck around. I've never seen him smile. Ever. If you ask him to do something, he says, "O.K." and then it gets done. He's definitely the strong, silent type.

I started prepping for my history class at 12, I had a small break from 2:30 to 3pm. I had a snack and dropped off my drycleaning, riveting I know. Then, I went from 3:45 to 9 without a break and the classes were progressively more painful. The last class broke the camel's back. The kid wanted to laugh, scream and say "I will kill you." Oh really, dickhead? Let's have a talk with Mr. Shin. "No, no, no. Sorry! Sorr-eeeeee!"

I also snapped off at another kid. Koreans do this thing called "Pen Beat." They tap their pens against the desk in attempt to make music. If I could compare it to anything, it would be the bucket boys at the end of White Sox games. Kids who bang on buckets instead of drums. The only difference is the bucket boys have talent. This kid does this in every class and it is slowly driving me INSANE. I hear pens in my sleep. I was trying to start class, he was trying to get the perfect beat. I won. He did get his pen back, but he also got yelled at. "Why do you keep doing this! Every time you have a pen you have to do this? What are you thinking? Stop it! Give me that!" If I get in trouble, I'm taking a dump on his desk and calling it "Ass Beat." 49 more days at LIKE. The end is near.

I'm off to Seoul tomorrow with Su-Jin for some Krispy Kreme and R&R. :-)

Five paragraph Miami Vice rant starting now....

Also, I just finished season 4 of Miami Vice and I'm starting to see why this show was canceled and forgotten for almost 20 years. It gets strange. I guess the writers got bored with the normal undercover cops versus drug dealers storylines and started branching out. It just gets too weird.

First, the alien abduction episoder. If Gork wrote Miami Vice, this would be the episode he would write. I think that says enough. Then the returning baddies, in back to back episode Crockett and Tubbs go up against bad guys that have been in previous episodes. Calderone wasn't in enough scenes to become overexposed, could anyone tell me what his voice sounded like? What he really looked like?(He was always hidden by a hat and sunglasses...always)These two in season 4 are way overexposed. They talk to much and they're to recognizable to be legit villains, even though one of them completely screws over Crockett. I mean COMPLETELY.

Then there's the rape episode. Rape is always an uncomfortable subject. Especially when the actor is a poor man's Bill Paxton(I thought it was him for the entire episode, but it was just some chump). He gets killed on screen, but then calls to torment the girl he had raped. Strange?

Also, Crockett gets married. He meets a girl, falls in love and gets married all in about a week of time in real life and one episode in Miami Vice World. Just too fast and too slapped together.

The final episode is one of the more interesting, but it ends on a cliffhanger and, dammit, I need closure.

I will say this much, Edward James Olmos brought his A game for the 4th season. It's almost like he realized that Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas were fueding every day, the writers were more interested in ordering ivory backscratchers and the producers were thinking, "How many more seasons until we get the movie deal?" Someone had to hold this show together and he did his best.

Also bonus points for Philip Michael Thomas' beard. It's like he looked in the mirror, thought, "What can I do to be taken seriously as an actor when this is the only role I'll ever get?" And the beard was his best and only answer.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Okay, that was a scary five minutes. This is a little more my speed. Not that K-Pop isn't awesome. I give you No Brain! Why are these guys cool? Despite being one of the first Korean punk bands, they got in huge trouble a few years ago for tearing up a Japanese flag on stage while singing the Korean national anthem. If only they had taken a dump on it. That's even more punk.

I've decided that Graham is a former hari-krishna. I just get that vibe from him. I got a letter of recommendation from the Kim's. It didn't use the words "incompetent" or "negligent."

Happy Independence Day!

Speaking of independence, I've finally composed myself enough to discuss Thierry Henry leaving my beloved Arsenal. I'm fine with it. Arsenal had 4 world class strikers, there wasn't enough playing time to go around. It means more minutes for Van Persie, Walcott and Adebayor, all of whom are young and need to play. Henry is going to be 32, his best days are behind him and he'll soon be entering a transitional phase of his career. I'll never be happy with losing a player of his calibre, let's face it, he's one of the five best football players in the world at any given time, but if they were going to lose him, now was the time.

I'm usually the kiss of death for guys. If your jersey is in my closet, you're getting whacked soon. Let's go down the list. Aaron Rowand? Traded. Tadahito Iguchi. Soon to be gone. AJ Pierzynski. Soon. Chris Carpenter. Out until 2011 with a detached right shoulder. Thierry Henry. Sold. It's time for Robin Van Persie and Prince Fielder to start worrying. I've also been eyeing a Sandy Koufax throwback for quite sometime. I buy it and he dies in a mysterious gardening accident. I should start using my powers for good instead of evil. I should be buying a Rex Grossman jersey every week and a Juan Uribe jersey every day.

I was daydreaming the other day, what if a terrorist came into my classroom to attack American interests?

It would unfold something like this...


MATT walks into the classroom. Sitting in the class is a STUDENT. The student is hiding behind his book.


Matt looks at his attendence sheet.

Abu-Al Habib? Strange name for a....Korean.

The student looks up from his book. He's wearing a turban.

Yes. I was born in Daegu. I've lived here for my entire life.

Then why do you speak English so well? No one who attends LIKE can possibly speak English as well as you can...wait

Matt gasps

You must be... A TERRORIST!!!

Die infidel!!!

Welcome to class, motherfucker!!!

Matt and the student fight. Matt does a flying spin kick that connects with the students head.

I'm fine....and you? You won't be so-so for long!

Matt reaches into his pack, he pulls out a grenade. He pulls the pin and lobs it at the student.

The grenade blows up. Matt leaps out the door in slow motion with the explosion behind him. The student leaps out the window. He lands on his feet and runs down the street.

Matt lands.

Class dismissed.


Monday, July 02, 2007

I bring to you the hottest in k-pop! Super Junior!!! Seriously. I hate myself for liking this. I feel like punching myself in the dick.

Why am I finding this shit in Korea? I was about to fall asleep last night when I saw this video on TV. I couldn't sleep for hours. Seriously, if I feel down or sad, I just watch this a couple times and I'm so pumped I could run through a brick wall. There better be a channel in the US devoted to this music video. The 4th movie gets 4 stars before I see it just because of this song. I just headbutted the guy behind the counter at the pc room.