So, it was just a matter of time but I caught my first cold here in Korea. I have been coughing a lot and catching the chills from time to time. So after a few days my co teacher told me she could get free drugs from the nurse. She brought me back four pills to take, two different kinds looked like an aspirin and some sort of cold pill (decongestant, cough suppressant etc). I took one immediately and am saving the other two for tomorrow morning. Well, half way through my last class I started sweating profusely so I have a feeling it was my fever breaking. Glad she came through because I was dreading a walk to the pharmacy.
I got my ARC card today as well as my medical card and I think I actually get paid tomorrow. I am definitely feeling a pretty calming sense of fitting in recently. I am starting to learn the language and in return I am teaching my coteacher catch phrases from America and figures of speech. She's really into those things. Everytime a situation arises where I can think of one off the top of my head I let her know. Last week it was "big man on campus" referring to my other coteacher who was born and raised here in Iksan and knows everyone. Today we were talking about the past GET (guest English teacher) who would get orange juice every friday and eat chocolate ice cream. I referred to him as a "creature of habit". She LOVES learning those phrases or face literally lights up!
I had the kids do what I thought was going to be a fun little lesson but once again poor planning did me in. It was a learning experience for both of us this time. I had the kids make up a text message conversation with a partner and my plan was to have it acted out on the site www.xtranormal.com
. Unfortunately I didn't play around with the site enough before the lesson and it was too time consuming to turn their text into a movie at the spur of the moment. However, that site is going to be great for future lessons with a little bit of planning. The text messages were really good, though somewhat basic. I think the kids are just afraid to challenge themselves and the ones who did made mistakes but I definitely praised them for trying and fixed stuff pretty subtly so they wouldn't feel inadequate. All and all it was a good stab at a lesson as a first time teacher.
So, thanks be to God that Shane is out of the picture. What a total friggin joke. What an idiot Dale was to wonder off on his own. He needs to suck it up. I know he has convictions and wanted to stay civilized but it is a group decision. He was in the minority and needs to drop it. Also, has anyone else wondered why Lori cannot keep an eye on that damn kid especially when something important is going on? WTH is her problem she is killing me! Then she is mad that Carl killed a walker when he was under HER watch! Ridiculous. If they wanted to keep the writing realistic Rick should have said, "Lori, we are going out to sacrifice a possible threat to the group and you couldn't keep an eye on Carl? Then, we go hunting him and once again you let him out of your site? You do realize their are dead people walking around and he's a 12 year old boy. Do you want me to help you find your ass later in case you need to wipe it?" UNBELIEVABLE!
Can't wait to find out who the cloaked chick with armless walkers on collars is. That was badass! I'll have to watch season 3 but hopefully the writing will change for the better.
Ok, so I am on season 2, episode 9 of AMC's "The Walking Dead". I basically started watching it because of all the press it gets and the cult following it has. I watched two episodes a while back with my parents and didn't get into it much so this is round 2.
I was VERY pleasantly surprised to see Nurse Sara Tangredy from Prison Break playing Rick's wife. I like her a lot and I'm glad she got her foot in the door in another series. Also an awesome addition is one of the Boondock Saints. He's a great actor as well and very good in this series. Honestly I think this series does two things extremely well. The acting is SUPERB! Without a doubt I think this is the series strongest attribute. It has great acting from top to bottom regardless of the actors that are on screen constantly or the bit part roles who are likely to get eaten or shot a few minutes in. Everyone has been excellent to this point and I am thoroughly impressed. The other thing this series does very well is provide enough suspenseful and edge of the seat moments that it keeps your heart beating a little bit faster throughout. Honestly the dumb zombies have to be given stealth from time to time to keep this effect viable, but I can subdue my skepticism to allow those suspenseful moments to persist.
So you would think I like the series based on these comments correct? Well, I am not infected yet. So far I only give it 3 stars and it's losing two stars because of something that NEEDS to be top notch in a long running series. The writing on this show is HORRENDOUS! Let's just take a step back and think of as many apocalyptic stories we can. Many of them are ruined by poor writing and I'm afraid this series will end up a clunker because of it. Why do writers have such a hard time predicting human emotion? Yes, not everyone is programmed the same and that is not why I think there is a flaw in the writing. I also know that emotions are not necessarily consistent so I tolerate that as well. However, character traits need to stay pretty even keel in order for me to buy it and this show is ridiculously bad with that. Rather than sweepingly criticize the writing I will break down the examples that have really dampened this series for me. These are in no order of importance.
1. Rick and his wife find out they are having a baby and Herschel is on the verge of kicking them out. Rick knows his baby's survival rate goes up with the safety of the farm and Herschel's expertise on site. Shane has his meltdown and goes right for the barn and Rick knows what is about to happen. He yells for Herschel to grab his leashed walker (he has one of his own) and just keeps shouting but doesn't follow through with the desperate actions he needs to take. He just stands there instead of having someone else take the walker. This was absolutely absurd in my opinion. Rick MUST know that their time at the farm is done if Shane is allowed to wipe out the walkers in the barn. Sure enough, he stands their like a fool and let's it happen. Now, the writers have to change Herschel's convictions to keep Rick at the barn rather than do the obvious in Rick stopping Shane forcefully. It was a total meltdown in consistency full circle and I cannot ignore it.
2. Why on earth, after all the speeches that Rick's wife gives and all the guilt trips she throws about Rick not being there for his son and taking off on these "foolish" errands, would she ever go out by herself pregnant just to find her husband. What the HELL were the writers thinking here. This is totally absurd!!! There is no way she would leave Carl behind with the chance to be parentless based on the traits the writer's have given her. This was a GIGANTIC stray for her and once again left me with the though in my head, "What were these idiots (writers) thinking".
3. Rick's wife gets angry at him for not letting her know that their time at the farm is temporary in Herschel's eyes. She rips in to him with a straight face while the viewer is sitting there saying, hello psycho you are pregnant and keeping that to yourself. What the HELL! Was anybody able to watch this scene with a straight face? As retrospective as Rick's wife (keep calling her that is her name Lori?) is, there is no way she would act like this without realizing what she is doing.
There are several other smaller examples I won't delve into but the first two are the big one's in my opinion. When shows go downhill and write their own death sentence they call it "Jumping the Shark". It's a reference to Happy Days. Well, I believe this show may end up "Jumping the Shark" in it's infancy if the writing doesn't shape up. Of course, the following may keep it going but the more intelligent viewership will begin to wane and it will just be another zombie show if it keeps up. I do believe that will be a shame though because the acting is top notch and I do hope they stop being handicapped.
In the end it amazes me that a series like "Flashforward" could be cancelled after one amazing season, but a show like this is thriving. As Ricky Bobby says, "It's mind bottling".
So after a week plus of doing actual teaching in class I think I can safely begin to summarize the attitude of students here. They are all generally well behaved, but when they do misbehave it is a striking contrast from High Schools in America. Students in America tend to get more than just loud, they get obnoxious and sometimes downright evil. The few behavior problems I've had in class tend to be talking during class and that's about it. Unfortunately, when I do want them to start using English they clam up but during the instruction part some won't keep their mouths shut and of course they are talking in Korean. I had one group of students the other day pull out a cell phone and start watching something and all I needed to do was get close to the table and they quickly put it away. Other than that the only issue has been sleeping in class and I've found out that is handled much differently than in the US. Kids are rarely woken up by their teachers and 9 times out of 10 they are sleeping because they had to go to a Hagwon (private school) after public school let out and are overworked. I think I am going to start tolerating it less knowing that they are probably sleeping in other classes and can stay awake for mine. It also means I have to avoid any long videos because that's when the eye lids droop. Lastly, perhaps the worst behavior I've observed is this poor kid wearing Obama socks. I took a picture but don't have my cell phone cable with me and am still in airplane mode until I get a Korean one, but eventually i'll get that pic up. This may need a note home.
The Double stars the still brilliant Richard Gere as well as the guy from "that 70's show" that isn't Ashton Kutcher or Fezz. Maybe his name is Josh in the show I can't remember. It also stars, for you "House" fans, the new nurse that was initially working at the prison before House hired her on the team and Martin Sheen. Gere is a retired analyst/correspondent for the CIA and 70's show guy plays an FBI agent. Gere was the lead agent in a case that involved knocking off a group of 7 trained Russian assassins back in the 80's and 70's show guy is a newly hired agent who did his thesis on Gere's work and the main leader of the Russian assassins aptly named Cassius. Well, it appears Cassius is back to work after a long hiatus and Gere is brought back in and teamed up with 70's show guy to wrap up this last loose end.
The acting was quite good in this movie. Gere still puts on a great performance and the supporting cast worked well also. As most movies like this and many of the reviews I do I won't spoil the plot but it certainly had a lot of twists and turns and although there was no "holy cow" revelation at the end, there were two interesting revelations I didn't see coming and it kept for a good solid entertaining escalation. I enjoyed the movie and would give it 4 stars. Catch it if you have a chance. I have a new scale i'll include at the bottom of my movie reviews to help fit the reviewed movie into your viewing schedule. Enjoy!
Watch when you are sleepy: Sure... it isn't a snoozer you'll stay up for it
Date Move: Yes, not bad for either of the sexes
Guys night out: Eh... probably not
Girls night out: Eh, definitely not
Family night: Eh,
:-( Ok, so maybe a sad face is not the best way to start out a blog, but I am very dejected right now. I just want some plain veggies. Anything... brusselsprouts, lima beans I don't care! Koreans are totally against serving vegetables plain and it would be so easy to do! Instead, they cover them in some kind of sauce, mostly spicy, and then serve them cold. It's so aggravating! Please just give me some plain vegetables! If you want an American kid to start eating their vegetables send them to Korea for a year. They will come back and fall head over heels for corn with a little bit of butter. Vent over...
I recently submitted a guest blog to my buddy Taft Love who is also living and working here in Korea. I met him at EPIK Orientation at Jeonju University and he was apart of the esteemed "Class 6". Check out my guest post and the rest of his blog to learn about his experiences in Korea.http://southernerabroad.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/guest-post-2-2/
I'm really not sure why I am choosing this movie as my next movie review, but the last few I've seen have been stinkers and this one didnt' smell as bad as the rest. The Ides of March is a movie about a political campaign for a governer that is running for the Democratic Nomination for the upcoming presidential election. It stars George Clooney as Governor Morris, Ryan the fat white guy that is kind of albino looking and has been in a ton of stuff as Paul, the campaign head, and Ryan Gosling as Steve, the brilliant young second in command. The acting was very good. All these guys put on a great performance and you would expect nothing less from them. The praise stops there.
The story was just entirely too contrived and really had the plot outline of something a senior in high school could write at this point. The whole weighing in of prinicples, ethics, morality, and loyalty in a political arena has been done so many times I don't even understand why any screenplay writer would take a chance with it. There was nothing new, ingenious, or even remotely intriguing about the story line. Honestly i'm really not going to go into it any further than that. If you like good acting and can tolerate a monotonous gee-duh plot than you should watch it. The acting redeemed the movie from being a complete waste of time for me. I give it 3 stars solely on acting alone. I would also like to mention that one of my favorite actors, Paul Giamatti, costars as the head of the rival candidates p
So something just clicked in my head the other day and I'm not sure why it took 3 weeks for it to happen. I got in a cab to go meet some people in downtown Iksan. The city has different areas with different names so basically you just let the cab driver know where you want to go. In this instance I was going to the Shin Dong area and there is a centralized restaurant called "Dasarang". The current English Teachers here taught me to just say "Shin Dong - Dasarang" and that would put me in the right area. The first time I tried this last week I guess the driver couldn't understand my perfect Korean pronunciation (yeah right!), but the passenger getting out understood and pointed him the right way. This time the driver acknowledged me immediately so I was pretty happy with myself. That's when it occurred to me. I am in a country where I know very little of the language. I am getting into a cab asking to go somewhere, but if I get lost, or he gets lost the only possibility is just going back home. It doesn't sound like a big deal, but in reality it is a BIG deal.
Language is such an important part of our daily lives and I am handicapped to say the least. When I go into a restaurant, if there are no pictures i'm out of luck. If I do point to something I don't know what it's called and the chances of asking for it at a different restaurant is slim to none. Obviously I will learn all these things in time and it's really a priority for me, but I'm just winging it right now. I'm pleasantly surprised at how many people speak English, but it truly is few and far between and your are not going to meet them where you would need them. The clerk at the supermarket, the taxi driver, the waitress at the restaurant are not going to speak English. The onus is on me at this point and I've got to buckle down and start studying! My future meals depend on it!
Well, I applied for my ARC card last Thursday afternoon. Basically, the Alien Registration Card allows me the opportunity to enter into contracts with Korean companies. So Wednesday morning the local internet company will be wiring up for web surfing and I opened a bank account on Friday morning. I actually need to get the card in the mail to get a cell phone so i've got a couple of weeks before I can do that. Slowly but surely
Since I still don't have internet I've been borrowing some movies and watching them at my leisure. Recently I watched 50/50. It's a movie about a 27 year old who fines out he has a rare cancerous tumor close to his spine and WebMD claims a 50% chance of survival. It stars Seth Rogen, Bryce Dallas Howard (Ron Howard's daughter) and some kid that's been in other stuff. I'm too lazy to look up his name right now but you would probably recognize him if you saw him. On a side note Bryce Dallas Howard just had a baby with her bfd or husband who is the guy that plays as Agent Dunham's partner in Fringe. So bad with names right now.
Anyway, the movie was excellent and I give it 4 out of 5 stars. The acting was excellent and the story was very real. Seth Rogen was hilarious playing a raunchy best friend who also really truly loves his buddy. The main character goes through ups and downs some expected and others unexpected, but very real and personal and completely believable. He meets a couple older guys while he goes through Chemo, he learns to treat his loving but overprotecting mom with more respect, and goes to a counselor who is 24 working on a PHD and he is only her 3rd patient. The characters were all genuine and the writing was very good, however...
This story feels like a tale of two writers. It's almost like an emotions expert had a good story but was too pyschological to go to film so he ran into a guy that just wants to write raunchy one liners and boom, the movie was born. Seth Rogen is hilarious and the one liners are very funny but just gradually pushed the movie over the edge into being a little too crude for my taste. I am in no way a prude and will watch a movie like Knocked Up or Superbad and laugh all the way through until my stomach hurts. Unfortunately, sometimes the toilet humor got in the way of such a great, well written story. Don't get me wrong, this only stopped the movie from being 5 stars. It is still a great movie and a must see, I just think that the toilet humor should have been toned down just a little bit. Seth Rogen trying to get himself and his friend laid because he has cancer and is could die is quite humorous but the language and the vulgarity ended up being a little too copious in the end.
Still, I want to end on a positive note and I highly recommend it! Obviously not for kids but a great date movie or a movie to see with friends. Watching it by yourself is a perk too because no one can see you cry. Especially if you are a cryer like me :-)