After much thought--five seconds-- I have come to the conclusion there are too many words in use. For example, once upon a time, my browser had words: settings, bookmark, and so on. This was reduced to a single letter. For example S might stand for settings. Now my browser has e-hieroglyphs.
Let me describe some of them for you. In the address bar there are three dots, a shield with a v and a star. To the right of those are are four vertical lines- one line is taller than two lines and one line is slanted. Next to that is a rectangle with rounded corners, a line in the middle and dots on one side. Next to that are two linked squares, and besides that is a gray square with white dots. Then there are three horizontal lines.
See how many words it took me to tell you about those icons? Perhaps the ancient Egyptians and the Chinese have it right. Why use 26 symbols to represent sounds to make thousands of words, when we can use pictures.
Thus below, I have continued this post in icons. If you misunderstand anything I say, please message me with icons and emoticons. I will clarify with icons and emoticons. You should definitely use this to communicate at work as well.
And to help this movement along, this is a contest. I will choose one winner who can interpret my message in the most meaningful and amusing way.
Each picture can represent multiple words, whole ideas, incomplete ideas, incomplete sentences and the kitchen sink. The winner will receive a $50.00 grand prize via PayPal. If you don't have PayPal account I will send you an Amazon gift card instead. Please submit your story here...no more than 500 words. The contest will end August first 2018.
The winner will be posted to this blog. Other submissions may be posted to this blog. Writers will be contacted before their work is posted and receive a nominal payment of $5.00 if they want to be published here.
Crack cocaine, also known simply as crack, is a free base form of cocaine that can be smoked. Crack offers a short but intense high to smokers. Crack cocaine is commonly used as a recreational drug.
Brain crack is a free base form of thinking. The intense high is delivered from idea to the brain. It offers an intense high to users. It is also known in it's more milder from called daydreaming. It is comonly used as a recreational drug. But brain crack requires a bit more effort on the users part.
For example, if you're a writer, you generally won't get high when thinking of a character putting on shoes. However, if you imagine those shoes are sparkly and red and respond to the voice command, "There is no place like home," then you're on brain crack. Hence the Wizard of Oz in it's entirety. The writer was high.
But brain crack isn't limited to writers, though they are big time users, but other fields as well. For example, what happens when you put a gyroscope in a scooter and add a really big cell phone battery? And then you convince people to call the invention "It" until it is revealed. You get a Segway, aka mass use of brain crack.
Brain crack has many positive side effects, mostly being, creativity and out of the box thinking. Nonetheless it is also responsible for fantasizing about how "great this is going to be" and sleepless nights as the user tosses and turns with excitement for the next day-- which inevitably sucks thanks to sleep deprivation.
Thus, users of brain crack must be careful. Otherwise they will be sleepy and unable to break the cycle between thinking up awesome idea and thinking about how awesome it will be when it's brought fruition, long enough enough to bring said idea to fruition.
This is also known by the very technical term, Brain Crack Catch 22.
It's the end of the the quarter at the English Center and that means paperwork and goodbye snack party. Since one of the units with my 6th graders was about festivals, I let them decide on a festival--- they chose a food festival. Lots of extra work.
I invited other teachers to join in with their classes, but we've got two teachers who aren't so good at answering basic question. One in particular won't even look at people when they are talking to him.
For example, "Would you like to join the food festival?" resulted in no response.
So Mrs. Jin sent a message ten days before the planned event. If all the classes join in the school will provide for the budget. And since the boys were unlikely to chip in 10 bucks, "yes" or "no" important but alas, once again too complicated.
Though it's sad for the students if they can't join in, I was good with letting them do their own thing. Still Mrs. Jin wanted the students to participate, so she sent yet another message ( Teacher T and I were spending our own money on supplies by this point) inviting the boys once again. Actually, she told them to ask their students if they wanted to go... to which the students would say yes.
But that again was too complicated and one of the boys said, "I didn't hear anything about it until today." Bang head against wall. And he added, "It's no big deal. I'll ask them on Thursday."
This was on a Tuesday and the Wednesday is teacher training day, or in this case, finish a but load of paperwork day. Thus, Thursday is the day of the party. The class in question starts at 4:20 so he'd let me know on Thursday somewhere about 4:25.
To which I said a nice, but firm no. We're providing baked spaghetti and sandwiches, but the kids are going to bring a snack as well. So he wanted to MAYBE come with his class, none of which would have a snack because he didn't tell them. But Teacher T and I should prepare as if they are coming.
The other teacher, Birdman, still has his headphones in...he's even more ridiculous than the teacher above, but that diatribe is for another day or perhaps never. It's too, ugh. The main point is, he doesn't knowledge people, not when they talk directly to him about work or just to be friendly, not when they send messages and so I've no idea whether he plans to just show up tomorrow. Do I say to him today, nicely, but firmly that its too late to join, or say nothing? If he doesn't come, then nothing is better. But if he sends his students then what? Do we turn the kids away? They're kids.
Homesickness struck me quite suddenly and with unexpected for. I'm not homesick in the way of Dorothy searching for her Aunt Em. My rootless childhood, which is to say my mother leapfrogged from place to play trying to keep ahead of child services until I was fourteen and that all fell apart. Foster care left me a temporary visitor and anchor-less from then on. In some ways it was better. I could pack up and just go, which I did.
Starting over is exciting and good. Yet the novelty of leaving everything behind but the clothes you can squeeze into a suitcase gets old fast. These facts are part of the reason I settled so well in South Korea. It's not for everyone, trust me. And the things that you miss are unexpected.
Like last night I opened the tv website that lets people watch some TV while abroad and there was an enormous list of shows I'd never heard of. Suddenly there it was, melancholy and a sense of loosing my American identity. My identity is hardly Korean either. I can't speak Korean to save me life -the reasons are multi-fold, but comes down to commitment.
You know what I miss the most right now? Jello and pudding. Don't ask me why. Perhaps its a bereavement of sorts, a kind of nostalgia you might feel after looking at old photos. The feeling returned to me as I was riding my E-bike to work today, listening to an audio book.
But I realized even these acts far remove my Korean experience from others that come here. Because this is my life, a road less traveled since birth really. The melancholy will pass, but I may need to take a trip to the states just to be American for ten days... circle the parking lot until a space opens close to the supermarket instead of walking to the market like I do now. I'll only end up frozen in the isles of the mart-- choice stupor. Take cereal for example. I'll have fifty or more flavors compared to the five or so here.
Which will lead to another homesickness, this time for South Korea.
The vet came last week. Or the week before. I'd have to look to be sure. Anyway, last week I rode Super for the first time in a month. Because I got to the farm so late, I saddled him up in time for the gloaming and by the time I finished groundwork it was full on dark.
I moved the l solar light from the pasture to the round pen and the ride itself wasn't remarkable. All I did was walk and bend and work on barn gravity. If you haven't heard, barn gravity is the gravitational pull of the barn on horses. Actually, it's not very scientific and the term comes from a short story from a book of short stories about horses named Barn Gravity. This was back when I was kid and the short story was so good, that I asked the librarian for the book. That was not as stkupid of a question as you might think because many of the stories in the book were excerpts. But she gave me the look, one reserved by adults for children who ask stupid questions and, after seeing the book was a collection of short stories said "no" there was not a book by that name.
But I think she would have said that about any of the stories because she didn't realize the book was full of excerpts. Nevertheless, this one story really was just a story and that was a disappointing day for a horse crazy kid who could do nothing about it, except read books.
Anyway, the concept of barn gravity describes perfectly what happens when you separate a horse from his place of leisure, food, and friends. Super is no different and he wanted nothing more than to leave the round pen and get back to eating. My point is, the ride was boring. The exciting part was the ground work.
I've taught Super to go the direction I point and to walk on one cluck, trot on two, and canter at a kiss. The canter has been a bit of contention with us. By now I could be able to walk, trot and canter on a loose rein without steering. Alas, Super ducks and dives in the canter, bucks and tosses his head. None of it is a big deal and I've watched much better riders have no trouble with him. But I am not a good rider in the sense that I can muscle my way through things.
And anyway, if he takes the canter badly from a ground cue, it's not suddenly going to be better with me on his back. That would be like getting on an airplane with a hole in the fuselage with the expectation that you can fix after take off.
So, I've been trying to fix it on the ground. But not really. Partly because I was worried about Super's stifle. If he was resistant to canter maybe there was a physical reason? And there was, but not what I thought. It was his teeth.
You know, evidence based horsemanship has a lot of running horses around in a circle. While it uses the horse's flight mode, the fact is, you could train any animal this way, even humans. On a psychological level, it's very effective, not only in getting a horse obedient but teaching him what he can do. Just this Sunday, Super wanted to know what was in a bag I was carrying around. He could have turned around and come investigated. Instead he back up six strides straight as an arrow until his face was level with the bag. He sniffed it, realized it did not contain carrots and was disappointed in to life.
So back to last week. For the first time ever Super cantered off with out a head toss. His head was so low in the canter... I've not seen him relax that way. When the vet did his teeth he said Super's head tossing should quit. Well, we don't ride much in a bit so we don't have much head tossing, but as it turns out it was his teeth. Now this vet had the tools and at least some of the expertise that an equine dentist would have.
And though I could have forced the issue about the canter, I'm glad that I did not. I probably could have bullied Super to being good in the canter. But I'm glad that instead, I worked on it patiently. And left it alone a lot. "Natural Horsemanship" is anything but, and using the methods aren't better unless the trainer is better. Not better in skill, but understands if the horse is failing to learn something then the teacher is teaching it wrong or, as in Super's case, there was an external factor.
I used to love "make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard," but I think now that there must be caveats in putting such ideas into practical use. Perhaps it should be "Make the right thing easy, the wrong thing hard and don't be a bully."
Saturday's seem to roll around all too fast these days. My plan was to go up to the farm about six, but I couldn't pry myself out of bed until 9:30. I swung by the Seven-Eleven near my apartment--yes we have these here-- and grabbed breakfast lunch and dinner (yogurt, Ramen, Ramen) and most importantly, coffee.
Then I headed up the mountain on my bike. Back in Seoul somebody stole the handle grips off my bike so the barks are smooth cool metal. During the winder, I've been riding with gloves but spring has come on very Korean which is to say, all at once. The air had a slight chill to it, which went from a bit too cold to nice as I peddled and then pushed my bike up the mountain. My tires are getting a bit soggy so I need to put air in them. When is the question. It's why I haven't bought new handle bar grips. I have to go to a bike shop and when I'm not teaching or doing teacherly things, I'm at the farm.
Sweat had started bead off my brow by the time I reached Rex. He barked and waved hello flag. In other words he wagged his tail and bounced about with the vigor of a young German Shepherd. I gave him a pat and set about morning feedings.
Liz was up in Seoul with Gabe. The Sunday prior, he had got a casting call and so we all bundled into my friends car, abandoned farm work, and drove to Seoul for a meeting that took less than a minute. Nevertheless, they loved him.
They asked Gabe, "Do you have a dialogue for us?"
In true Gabe style, he said, "Yes, but it's not any good because I don't know how to act. Do you still want to see it?"
He's seven in Korea, which means he's five in USA until July, when he'll turn six. From the mouths of babes as they say. Anyway, the casting agency liked him so much, they wanted him to get some experience. So they cast him as an extra in a kindergarten and that meant Liz was in Seoul with her son and I had the farm all to myself. Yeah! Not really.
I cleaned four wheelbarrows of manure and listened to an audio book while the horses had their morning hay. They had two flakes of alfalfa each followed by 3/4ths bale of Timothy. We feed as much Timothy as they can eat, which is an unusual diet in Korea. Both Thunder and Thor haven't been with us long enough to stretch out their stomachs. Thunder passed out from eating and Thor had have a rest. Super however was worried he might lose an ounce and kept at it all day.
I was heading up to put some poles in the top apple orchard so we can use it as a pasture when the grass comes on up there. But I was sidelined when the tractor guy showed up to give my friend a driving lesson. The new tractor has been gathering dust since it's delivery a week ago because nobody knows how to drive it. I had reminded Liz to reschedule him, but that was amid other pressing things like having the farrier out for the horse's feet and calling the vet to get their shots.
He was there and sort of wanted to ride and since my friend had forgotten to reschedule him I thought it was the least I could do. So I gave him a choice of Super or Thunder. He chose Thunder because Gabe had told him she was the kindest. Ha. She's miss grumpy pants. But she is nice. She just grumps. Super is better trained but it didn't really matter.
So far, letting people ride has consisted of me and/or Liz leading people around on a horse. And Saturday was no different. He held on with a death grip and Thunder grumped ," Why am I the only one working?"
Since she was saddled, I spent some more time with her working on her ground work. I worked on her disengage. She's getting quite good on the right side and clearly understands but isn't so good on the left. Then I introduced yielding her front end. She's so tall and gangling, her feet get tangled around each other. Otherwise, she's coming along nicely. It was only after grooming her and turning her back at that I headed up to the top orchard with a loaded wheelbarrow.
I hammered in about 15 poles for the electric fence, before I ran out. I'll have to scrounge up some more from around the farm. In the meantime, I did a bit of weed whacking. This coming weekend I need to go up and start clearing rocks and random debris from previous farming projects, hammer in some more poles and try to rake up some of the leaves and clippings. Fingers crossed it rains this week so the grass will start to come on good.
Once upon a time there was an aspiring author (me). She really wanted to be a good writer and as such, she agonized over her pen name. (In other words, I multi-tasked: pen name agony equaled writing procrastination.) But mostly Zuchniak is a last name that sounds more like the name of an obscure medical disease specialist than that of a writer.
As the years passed said this aspiring writer became content with the bone life had thrown at her and started investing into her teaching career. Teaching requires a certain level of creativity and like many would-be authors who came before, the energy to create sapped by the rigors of the classroom.
One day the aspiring author met another horse lover. They became inseparable and as the years went by they shared as best friends do, though in this case it was power tools. They purchased a table saw, a shop vac, drills, wood, screws and nails and finally a chainsaw together. They bemoaned the lack of colorful tools in South Korea. (Seriously Korea, I want a purple or pink hammer.)
The neighbors watched as the two best friends sawed, weed whacked and burned the farm into shape. And as everyone knows, power tools lead to horses, and horses lead to round pens and manure spreaders. And thus the first thousand pound baby came home, followed by two more. Between those purchases there was a round pen to build and rebuild... and rebuild.
Anyway, my website name has changed from mr-jordan.net to www.marielr.com to better reflect the changes to my life and blog.
It was a throw down between Captain America, Hulk and Thor. Grandma angled for Beast, hoping that in the future there might be a Beauty. But the outlook for Disney was grim. Gabe is five going on six after all, and while he has never read a comic book, he certainly has his favorite characters in the movies.
But true to the fickle nature of young children, Gabe tossed , Seven Eleven, into the ring as a long shot. But alas his racing name Choice Blue, has been cast aside. Please welcome Thor to the family. We are debating his size as yet. Is he bigger than Thunder??? Maybe. Either way, Super looks like a pony next to the other too. Poor Superman.
If I were North Korea's dictator (Kim Jung-un) I would exchange my Dictator's hat for that of the crown
Have you ever fantasized about being a dictator? Me neither.
However, if I were Kim Jung-un, I would seriously consider following in the foot steps of England. He could entrust the North Korean estate to the Republic of Korea in exchange for a x amount of funding for the royal family.
In such a move, he would go from bad guy, to royalty of both North and South Korea. Such an act would protect himself and relations from assassinations, guarantee a place in history for his children, his children's children and s on. All while maintaining the lifestyle to which he is accustomed, the lifestyle of royalty.
Such an act would allow the South to reintegrate the northern population in stages, perhaps allowing x number to move south each year, while building infrastructure and educating the northern population for full integration... to avoid economic depression, this would take 20 to 30 years. Any sudden change would see the south under huge economic pressures as the Republic of Korea would find itself inundated with what are essentially refugees, a good percentage of which have spent their entire lives in prison cities-- northern prisons are that big.
Finally, such a move would minimize the impact and rebellion against reunification among Kim Jung-un supporters. Though a percentage would remain loyal to the norther ideology, that percentage would be significantly smaller than were Kim Jung-un to be displaced, imprisoned, exiled or executed.
Obviously, there would be downsides to such a move. Such an act might require that he acquiesce to something akin to house arrest, but leave other relations such as children and perhaps his sister, free to live their lives. Certainly one upside to such a deal would be protection from the threat of assassination.
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018