Caveat: I’m alive, how about you?

I'm really bad about staying in touch with people, sometimes. Lately, I've been in a very hermetic phase. Lately? Well, for the last few years, I guess. Haha.

My mother sent me an email, this morning, that underscored this fact. She wrote:

"I'm alive, how about you?"

I answered.

Caveat: Oh, Teacher, Don’t Say That!

My student said, "오오… 단어 좆같에" [ohh, dan-eo joj-kat-e]. This is bad Korean cussing – literally, it means "oh, vocabulary, like a dick," but the pragmatics (the elocutionary weight of it, so to speak) might be something like "oh, vocabulary is a motherfucker."

I often understand when my students are cussing in Korean. Most of the time, unless they're insulting me or one of their peers directly, I ignore it. This is in line with the way most Korean teachers seem to handle such things, in my experience. But he'd said it right in front of me. Rather than try to call him on it, or scold him, I tried a different strategy, this time. I repeated it, exactly, right back at him.

He laughed, and one of the girls in the class put her hand to mouth, scandalized. Then he said, "Oh, Teacher, Don't Say That!"

I laughed. "But you said it."

"Oh, I know. I'm sorry, teacher."

It actually resolved really well, in my opinion. I'll have to remember this in the future.

Caveat: she knows that it’d be tragic if those evil robots win

This is a song that's so bad it's good. I love it.

Flaming Lips, "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots." Awesome.

The lyrics:

Her name is Yoshimi
she's a black belt in karate
working for the city
she has to discipline her body

'Cause she knows that
it's demanding
to defeat those evil machines
I know she can beat them

Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots eat me
Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots defeat me

Those evil-natured robots
they're programmed to destroy us
she's gotta be strong to fight them
so she's taking lots of vitamins

'Cause she knows that
it'd be tragic
if those evil robots win
I know she can beat them

Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots defeat me
Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots eat me

Yoshimi

'Cause she knows that
it'd be tragic
if those evil robots win
I know she can beat them

Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots defeat me
Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots defeat me

Oh Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots eat me
Yoshimi, they don't believe me
but you won't let those robots eat me

Yoshimi

Caveat: Preternatural Student Skills

We were giving a month-end test today. I was giving a listening test to a group of 7th graders, and one student, who I know has moderately high ability but who is stunningly lazy about studying or doing homework, stared at me during the entire time of the test.

Here's what's weird. He got the high score – by a great deal: 97%. And I had this weird feeling that he was somehow watching me, as we listened to the listening test, and was somehow reading my facial expressions or gestures to determine the answers. I think of myself as keeping a "straight" face during these tests, because I know that sometimes it is possible for a teacher to "give away" answers during a listening test in how they react to the possible answers given. But really… am I giving away the answers in some transparent way? Some tic or something?

Well, who knows? Should I ask him? Is it cheating? It's unconventional… to be certain. I should sit in the back of the class, maybe, next time, and see how he does.

Caveat: Childhood of a Circle

Archibald_html_m3611b446

A very cute story.

Childhood of a Circle from Kadavre Exquis on Vimeo.

Archibald, a creature to whom nothing ever happens sees his routine changed by the arrival of a mysterious circle.

-contact: fgsohn@gmail.com
-Directed and Animated by Kadavre Exquis
https://kadavrexquis.com/
-More to discover on facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Kadavrexquis
-Sound design by John Kassab
https://www.johnkassab.com/
-Voice over by Julian Smith
https://julianaubreysmith.com/
-Foley sounds by Adrian Medhurst

Music by Kadavre Exquis & guests
Get the Full soundtrack of 11 tracks, the poster, the full film, and other goodies here: https://kadavrexquis.bandcamp.com/album/childhood-of-the-circle-ost

Making Of :
https://kadavrexquis.com/Childhood-of-a-Circle-Landscapes
https://kadavrexquis.com/Childhood-of-a-Circle-Landscapes-II

 

Caveat: My ZeroG Dumbphone

I hate my cellphone. I got it because when my old cellphone died two years ago, I just took the cheapest phone on offer (that could go with my particular contract) at the cellphone store in Yeonggwang. But now that ALL of my students have iPhones and Samsung Galaxies, I'm beginning to feel like a luddite. Some of my students asked me, earlier, when I was going to get a new 3G or 4G phone. I lied, and said I was happy with my "zero G dumbphone." Which made them laugh. But I'm not happy with it. Then, I saw an article at Atlantic Wire about "Dumbphone Pride." It's interesting, as some of the reasons in that article for avoiding the smartphone bandwagon resonate with me. Most notably, I, too, worry about "addiction," and, also, the cost of my current phone's usage plan is quite unbeatable – for 11 bucks a month I get more text and calling capacity than I'm capable of using. Most smartphone plans in Korea are going to run upwards of 50 or 80 bucks or more a month, and I'd probably find myself finding out I was capable of using more data than allowed under those plans, too.

In fact, I have not been much of an "early adopter" of cellphones – I was late to the cellphone bandwagon, having gotten my first in 2004. But in some other technologies, I have been a proud early adopter: I was using word processing in the late 1970's (Apple ][) email in the late 1980's (before the world wide web existed). I taught myself HTML and designed and posted my first webpage in 1995. It was even useful – it was a means of communicating with my students at UPenn, where I was a grad student.

I think if everything goes smoothly with my renewal at Karma (about which I'm feeling anxiety at the moment), I'll end up shopping for and getting a new smartphone. I really want a phone with a dictionary, for one thing. And having the internet in your pocket is clearly useful – I see my students using it all the time, both recreationally but even in educational ways, looking up words, finding pictures or information that pertain to classroom discussions, etc.

Caveat: Slaves of Democracy

I'm having my debate class students write speeches "for the UN" – i.e. what would you say if you could address the United Nations?

One of my students offers some harsh, harsh words. It's not perfect, but it's pretty intense from a seventh-grader. I'm not entirely comfortable with his implicit embrace of authoritarian solutions, but in other ways he's very perceptive. As usual, I reproduce without corrections – I've changed his name, however ("Hong Gil Dong" is Korean for "John Doe").

Good evening! All members of United Nation. I am Hong Gil Dong. I am from Republic of Korea. Just call me John. Today, I am going to show some opinions what all members have to listen and practice. I`m going to tell the problems of ethics, environment, and economy.

First, don`t think democracy is always ideal and make fair democracy. I think members of UN are slaves of democracy. Do you know why? Because if there is a good policy but it damages your country, you always say sophistry. Then, you don`t choose any policies. So is the democracy ideal? In addition, if there is a good policy which was made from weak country, you just ignore the policy. And it`s not fair.

Second, it`s both economy and environment problems. I think Un makes people, the slaves of money. Why? Because, your policies are good for economy but these are just protection for big companies, and big countries which like to destroy environment and take lots of money. Such as Republic of Korea, Japan, China, some countries of Europe, and USA. These countries are rich countries, and the top of mammonism. So if you keep making these policies, these countries will kill environment continuously, and make innocent people to slave of money.

Last, this is most environment problem. You say human must  develop with good environment but you force to join all environment treaties what countries don`t kill environment. But you don`t force to join these treaties what countries kill environment. So I think you stop talking symbiosis development.

I said some criticism to you. I wanted to criticize more but other people, Earth, and me will give you some chances. So please, practice good policies and carve my criticism in your heart. Thank you.   

I will conclude with a random picture, which I took in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico in 2007.

200707_MexicoDF_136
 

Caveat: cualquier otra fuckin cosa

I'm a near-daily reader of the Language Log blog. I've never felt the urge to place a comment, before, but a coincidence today has induced me to want to do so.  Geoffrey K Pullum posted about a hapless Indiana teenager who was expelled from school for tweeting about the amazingly productive nature (in the syntactic sense of productive) of the English word "fuck." I felt sad, but the student's observation is hardly news to one with some background in linguistics.

Shortly after reading that Language Log article, however, I happened to see, on facebook, the posting of an acquaintance of mine. She's a native Spanish speaker, who I believe I should allow to remain anonymous – I don't know her very well, as she's one of those encounters-in-passing who becomes a "facebook-only friend."

Her post was fascinating seen so shortly after reading the Language Log post, because it shows that the amazing syntactic productivity of the word "fuck" is crossing linguistic boundaries pretty successfully. Here's the relevant facebook text:

Effin_html_35c69360

[transcribed: No voy a explicar más que ir a recitales me hace más feliz que cualquier otra fuckin cosa. FIN.]

Caveat: sin remordimientos

Una cita encontrada en la facebook de una amiga:

Un sabio se paró ante un público y contó un chiste y todos se reiron. Al cabo de un rato, contó el mismo chiste y casi nadie reía; contó el chiste una y otra vez hasta que nadie se reía. Y dijo: si no puedes reírte varías veces de una sola cosa, ¿por qué lloras por lo mismo una y otra vez?

Translated:

A wise man got up in front of a group of people and told a joke, and everyone laughed. After a little while, he told the same joke and almost nobody laughed; he told the joke over and over, until nobody laughed. And then he said: if you can't laugh more than once or twice at the same thing, why do you cry over the same things over and over?

It has a zen-koan-like quality to it.

Caveat: Culinary Misadventures

I've posted before about my habit of sometimes pursuing rather random culinary undertakings. Today I attempted to make a vegan curry from scratch (even making my own curry powder). I attempted to use some tofu I had… I breaded it and fried it up in a style similar to abura age (as in kitsune udon). When the tofu was fried it was quite tasty (see picture below), but when I added it to my curry, it got rubbery.

Kits 003

Kits 004

And the balance of spices in my curry was off, too. So it was a rather atrociously mediocre creation.

Maybe next time.

Caveat: Colossus

220px-Colossus_the_forbin_project_movie_posterI just watched a movie called "Colossus: The Forbin Project." It's a Strangelovesque, understated science-fiction movie from 1970. It's not quite as over-the-top satirical as Dr Strangelove – It's more subtle, and perhaps more dystopian… or utopian – depending on how much stock you own in Google Corp., Facebook, and their brethren. Rather than waiting for me to try to explain that joke, I recommend you watch the movie.

Caveat: SoB

In one of my classes, we were discussing the fact that English has a plethora of vocabulary terms for young animals:

cat – kitten
lion – cub
goat – kid
pig – piglet
duck – duckling
etc.

Then I asked, "so what's the term for a baby dog?"

All Koreans know the word "puppy," but they don't necessarily use it, semantically, as in English – it seems to just mean a cute dog (admittedly English can do the same thing, too). I assumed someone could think of this word, though.

Without even a pause, however, a bold seventh-grader raised his hand.

"Yes?" I said.

"Son of a bitch."

Brilliant. I laughed for a few minutes.

Unrelatedly, a picture of the Ilsan power generation plant, on the east end of town, taken from standing across the street from the Costco. I was struck by the stark tree and the grey scudding clouds. The picture isn't that good, though. Just random.

Robot 004

 

Caveat: N.A.S.A.

…Not the space agency: the hip hop muscial collective. It stands for "North America/South America." Very inclusive.

What I'm listening to right now.

Peopletree_html_m3d83425N.A.S.A. (feat. David Byrne, Chali 2na, Gift of Gab, Z-Trip), "The People Tree."

I originally started watching these N.A.S.A. videos for the surreal animation – they're all very interesting, each different, mostly creepy, but well-done. So don't watch just this one video – there are lots of incredible videos. Note, however – all of these videos have vignettes in them that would qualify as thematically NSFW.

 But I really like the music, too.

 

Here are some other videos I liked.


N.A.S.A. "Watchadoin."

N.A.S.A. "Strange Enough." This video doesn't seem very well connected with the song, but maybe I just don't understand the song.

N.A.S.A. "Money."

N.A.S.A. "O Pato." "O Pato" translates as "The Duck" from Portuguese.

.