Thousands and thousand of years ago people used pictures to represent words and ideas. This is why Chinese is such a bastard to learn. There are literally hundreds of thousands of pictures. Ancient Egypt improved on the picture system, cutting down the number of symbioses to a mere two thousand. Egypt's neighbors were like, yeah this is cool! And we can function with even fewer symbols.
Then Egypt's neighbor's neighbors were like, "Yo, neighbors. We can get this down to twenty-six letters that can be combined to make words which can represent ideas and shit."
And that was the year the word was big news-- you know, as cool a concept as the Ipad. Speaking of the Ipad, around the time it was revealed and the smart phone became the thing, symbols started reappearing everywhere.
My account began to look like this
So all across the world, everybody was all aboard on the icon effect. The more icons the merrier. Sure, the same icon on one site didn't/doesn't exactly take you to the same content on another, but hey icon not find.
And so today's language is changing, not only in the traditional sense of adding new slang, new words (muggle anyone) but also with icons and emoticons. If you live abroad (ahem, South Korea) you might even find yourself wondering what do all these butt faces mean?
Today is procrastination day/ who blew up the kitchen day (because my kitchen always looks like a flour bomb exploded on delicious pie day)/ delicious pie day. Flavor: apple. Though I did seriously ponder the merits of pumpkin or forgoing pie altogether for blueberry muffins. But my friends gave me some apples last week and I didn't want them to go bad and I had forgotten to take them-- the apples, not my friends-- with me on Friday when I went horseback riding-- poor horses-- so I made two apple pies, yum.
The sun wasn't shining, the birds weren't chirping and if those weren't clues enough, the too gray morning should have clued me in that it was raining. It didn't. I was resurrecting my workday routine. Vacation over and my not so water proof winter coat thoroughly damp, I hailed a cab. The bus costs about $1.10 and the cab costs about $3.50 to work. While the bus is less than half, it's rather nice to be dropped off at the bottom of the stairs, especially when you've forgotten your umbrella.
I don't know where I came to the notion, my co-workers would be glad to have me back. Granted, three teachers are still on vacation and like only three people were there when I arrived. Nevertheless, I felt like a much loved sofa: expected to be there. In this case, there was my office chair.
"Your butt hasn't been keeping me warm," it said. "Don't you love me?"
"My chair is talking to me," I said.
"Shh, don't say that out loud," it said. "People will think you're crazy."
That conversation didn't actually happen. Rather, I asked, "Do I need to clean, today?" I said this hoping the answer was "no" and it was, or so I thought.
N. proposed we didn't need to clean the office, since this week is two days long. Somewhere along the line, Incompetent Teacher (IT) and Ju started cleaning. M. arrived and demanded, "What are you doing? It's Mariel's turn."
At the present, I was trying to check the grammar of a text from N. We were having a conversation that went like this.
"What's it for?" I asked, pointing at the test in my hand. There was some odd wording and I didn't know if the level was low or high or why we we needed another test.
"For the students?"
"But why are we giving them a test?"
"For their English?"
"Who is it for? What is the purpose of this test?" I could not think of a better way to ask.
"It's for the students? To test them."
Eventually, she told me it was for the special high-level after school class, but it was too late to do the editing because I had to mop.
I did it very irritably. Partly because I was making up for "my week" I missed while on vacation, something we generally don't do. Like I said, IT and Ju had to stop, then Ju took the vacuum, because... I guess I'm not old enough to operate electrical equipment. I don't know. Logic does not prevail in the office often.
What gets under my skin is responsibly shirking (thus avoiding accountability in important matters *.) while taking up power unimportant issues such as, who mops and who vacuums. Anyway, while I was moping, Mrs. Q. decided that we didn't need to clean the office next week since we're only using it two days this week. Not cleaning this week or not cleaning next week amounts down the same thing, sigh.
Anyway, that was the beginning of my first day back, which was mostly good. I had some work to get caught up on, which I mostly did. (And then I ordered some stuff on G-market. I'm a terrible person, I know.) And then I taught three classes in a row and scolded my 5th and 6th graders for giving A. hard time and three of them for not doing the home work I assigned before I went on vacation. I know at least one of the absent students didn't do his because he never does. Anyway, I informed the the class that shall not get to bake tomorrow, much to their dismay.
I wept fake tears to show them my personal inner turmoil; I loath following through on things like this and I wanted them to know it. The little ones laugh and then do their homework. The older students stare blankly, too cool for school. And it's likely that they're embarrassed for me. But they also do their homework the next day, so...
After assigning homework to my last class and sending them on their way, I returned to a weird office vibe. A. has been mothering IT every since he got in trouble for really sucking at his job and so many students wanting to quit. They've been walking home together and stuff and I guess, getting closer, but no so close she wanted to spend time with him outside of work. Earlier. He invited A. and her boyfriend to see a free photo exhibit. She excused herself because she was saving money, among dives and dips of avoidance. He persisted past the point of awkward and I almost felt sorry for him. Nope, that's not true. He has brought the little ones ( many of which have been my students) to tears, pleading with their parents to quit.
When I asked why he hadn't taken any advice we have been giving him over the last six months, he said "I admit I haven't done all that I could have."
Well there's a lot more I could say about that conversation, but lets wrap this work rant up, all these things and more are why we have kittens.
* Last summer the book committee was asked to sign ridiculous waver accepting all responsibility if anything ever went wrong. I agreed to sign only if they limited the scope to book selection and of that particular semester.
1. distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune: He felt anxiety about the possible loss of his job.
2. earnest but tense desire; eagerness: He had a keen anxiety to succeed in his work.
3. Psychiatry. a state of apprehension and psychic tension occurring in some forms of mental disorder.
Synonyms Douglas anxiety.
Micheal J. Douglas
Escalator anxiety I'm going to get you.
I suffered from this. (Hey, they're dangerous.)
Anxiety: See, I was right.
The also are infested with sharks.
Now I have empty wallet anxiety.
Yell at your anxiety Kicking anxiety in the ass.
Anxiety is a voice in your head. It sends us a message that things are not right. But if you're like me, it never shuts up.
Me: "Shut up!"
Roommate: "Who are you yelling at."
Me: "Myself. Why?"
Roommate: "I don't know.... Because it's weird that's why."
Me: "You wanna know what's weird?"
Roommate: "Please, no."
Me: "Yelling works."
Anxiety is sneaky Never say never
If you're like me, you spend an enormous amount of effort convincing the voice of impending doom that nothing is going to happen and then a guy walks up to you and says:
"Hi, I'm you're stalker."
And it was creepy enough when he did it outside your house. But, when you reaching into your closet and he hands you your favorite dress, anxiety takes over.
Is this really what I want to wear? What necklace should I wear with it? Also, what's my stalker doing in my closet?
ps. This never happened.
And that's anxiety
How about you? What's anxiety to you?
The elephant gag is my favorite. Okay, the elephant and the door gag are tied for favorite. What's yours?
I haven't done a reality TV post in a while, but I've got a very complex thing I want to say which involves Project runway. Lets see if I can get my wires untangled well enough to say what I mean.
Michelle Lesniak Franklin won project runway. I just watched the final episode so I found this out today. IMichelle was not my pick. I really respected Waterlilly (Patricia). She endured Nina's loathing of her ascetic (not to mention the made for TV acerbic comments) week after week.( Neither Waterlilly nor the audience knew if she had finally gotten the axe. Heidi's vote pulls a lot of weight, but it's not a guarantee.) She never once complained, though on more than one occasion she wept after the runway. I was swept away by her creativity and I saw in her work, a muse for future designers.
Marching to the beat of ones own drum is not easy and, if you're any good, it creates the kind of debate we saw on Project Runway this season. I really respected Waterlilly by the end of the show. She really went through a lot and including What's His Name's attempt to sabotage Waterilly by making nothing. (Since it was teams, the judges could and did kick designers off for the work f other designers.) Tim Gun pointed out this tactic so he wasn't able to throw blame at Waterlilly (though the judges still gave her plenty that week in deliberations.) Perhaps my favorite part of the show were his "Oh, shit, what am I going to make in the allotted time left" eyes.
Then there was Michelle, who is very talented, but whom I found out of touch with reality. Early in the show (like the second or third episode) Michelle started telling the cameras "I've been through so much," even stated a couple of times that she deserved to win because she had been through so much as compared to the other designers. Meanwhile, she had like two weeks where the judges had anything negative to say and even then it was, we'll it's not as good as it could be.
So, I cringed at Michelle's lone wolf story and that bleeding heart T-shirt. To be clear, the clothes (besides that ugly t-shirt) were cool. It's just the emotional story behind it, no matter how much she believed it to be true, was not.
But Michelle's aesthetic and emotional world is speaking to a very modern adult. The kind that go to therapy and feel suicidal even though they are not damaged. There was a contestant on the Glee project who got a lot of flack for not being damaged enough. These thoughts inspired a character sketch:
Kate wore black quilted jeans reminiscent of motocross pants. She bought them in the mall for two-hundred dollars. She had never been and would never go to a motocross event. With the pants she had purchased a yellow sweater with a bleeding heart on the front and sleeves that looked like they had been dipped in blood. The shirt had cost three hundred and fifty which Kim didn't mind paying because she felt it represented all the pain in her life. What this pain was she couldn't quite place. She felt as though she had been through a lot and yet, as she told her counselor, "My parents love me, I have great friends, my family makes sure all my needs are met and then some. I don't have single childhood trauma and when I graduate college I've already got a job offer waiting for me."
The real problem was connecting with people. The world is a fucked-up place, but Kim didn't have enough emotional scars. So she set out to get damaged.
College campuses have been met with the kind of character above and in some areas psychologists are scrambling to understand what happens when the needs of children are over met. This is not the same as spoiling. Spoiled children are shallow. Even though I think Michelle's perspective of what she's been through is askew, she is not shallow.
At any rate, I suppose there isn't a specific point to this topic. I found the dynamics of the show this season very interesting. I wanted to Patricia to win, but writing a character like Michell would be something I've never done.
I came across this video some time back. I don't know the history behind it: was it a spoof or a documentary? Anyway, enjoy.
From kindergarten to High School I was mediocre student except for two subjects: art and lunch.
Lunch was my favorite subject despite the social hierarchy of the cafeteria. In all my morning classes I looked forward to lunch and after lunch, I immediately started looking forward to dinner.
Once the cafeteria served this meat and rice balls. They looked disgusting but I thought they were delicious and though I could never say this out loud-- the entire student body called them maggot burgers -- I harbored a secrete hope that they would be served at least twice a week. But the lunch lady must have gotten wind of the meal's nickname because the debuted but twice.
To be fair, my mother could not cook. Dinner at our house made cafeteria food look like cuisine. If you love food and I always have-- my very first words were "Pass the mashed potatoes please"-- you learn to cook.
Cooking in Korea sucks. I have but one burner and a cubby hole called a kitchen. But despite the size of the kitchen and the fact that I am leaving Korea in May of 2013 if not earlier, I bought some new pots to replace the old scarred ones. Having grown up cooking on cast iron, I'm hard on Teflon. What can I say?
Anyway, I could not find a photo of these amazing pots. It is the handle I most wanted to show you. See the handle is removable and this is not a new thing, I think combined with other features, the Go Cook brand is amazing. Proof to the point. Today I browned my chicken on the stove, and then after un-clipping the handle, I tossed the chicken pot and all in the toaster oven to bake while I put the potatoes on to boil.
I thought the way the pots stacked was the best part. And then I thought it was well food cooks in them. And then I thought it was how easy they are to wash without the handle. But I was wrong. Everything is the best part. So if you see a brand called Go Cook-- I believe it hails from Europe-- don't hesitate. Purchase a set.
This blog gets about 200 unique visitors a day-- I consider this pretty darn good all things considered-- but I'm small potatoes in the internet pond. Nevertheless, over the last couple of days I've received an unusual amount of spam comments.
In the early days of blogging I fell for the first few, but I quickly realized two things: First of all my readers rarely comment. ( Comments cause me lots of stress. Should reply? Does this sound too _____? So this really works for me.) Two, all of the comments amount to "Thanks for the info." Some are oddly flattering, but meaningless. They're so vague, they're like black hole that only absorbs gullibility.
Instead of treating spammers with the typical derision and scorn, I'm going to make you guys an offer to keep your spam comments on my blog.
The daily plan: For a nominal fee of $121.12 per day, your spam comment can stay.
Whey the 12 cents? Because I like the number 12. I recognize that's hardly a sound reason so, lets make it an even $121.00
The weekly plan: $121.00 x 7
The monthly plan: $121.12 x 31. I like you guys so much the monthly plan is only 12 cents more per day and you have the convenience of paying for 31 days even when there are only 30 days in the month.
The yearly plan: Just$ 293,345.47 ! I'll even throw in a copy of Midday Mussing for an additional $20.00. Granted, I've been know to give this book away but I like you so much, I'm willing to raise the price!
Don't delay, order today!
Me: I got a great idea.
Ellie: Another one? You just had ten.
Me: I thought was elven, but who's counting? I'm chock full of good ideas.
Ellie: Remove good from the sentence.
Me: Okay, I'm chock full of ideas.
Ellie: True. So what's it now?
Me: Let's make a short film. We get a pizza and a fishing pole.
Ellie: Oh, Lord.
Me: We tie the pizza to the fishing string. This is so we can we put the fishing string over a branch the pizza will go up.
Ellie: (Looks at her beer and then at me.) Is there something the beer?
Me: Maybe a bear. (This is an inside joke. Ellie smiles and nods.) So the pizza is hot and there' a homeless man sleeping-- obviously he's an actor playing a homeless man and since we can't afford an actor, it's Paul.
Ellie: This is wrong on some many levels. First of all, Paul is too clean for the role. We need John.
Me: Good idea. And when the John smells the pizza while he's sleeping on the bench in the park, his eyes pop open. He sees the pizza--we should do this in December that way there will be steam coming off the pizza-- he jumps up to grab the pizza but it floats higher. Then the pizza kills him. It's a weird story. We can call it "Attack of the Killer Pizza."
Ellie: Oh, I get it. It's like Attack of the Killer Tomatoes but with pizza.
Me: And a fishing pole. Another beer?
Ellie: Yup. Hey, I got an idea...
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