Caveat: Scary Teacher

We were having a halloween party for the elementary kids this evening. The Thursday group is quite small, these days. Two girls came running from the "movie room" back into our "store" – where we sold the kids food and snacks and stationary for their fake money as collected from various teachers. 

Razel, a teacher, asked the girls, "Is it a scary movie?"

Fay, a student, answered, "Nah. Scary teacher."

[daily log: walking, 7 km]

Caveat: if we did our duty

THIS WORLD IS FULL OF BEAUTY.

THERE lives a Voice within me, a guest-angel of my
heart,
And its bird-like warbles win me, till the tears
a-tremble start;
Up evermore it springeth, like some magic melody,
And evermore it singeth this sweet song of songs
to me—
"This world is full of beauty, as other worlds
above.
And, if we did our duty, it might be as full of
love."

Morn's budding, bright, melodious hour comes
sweetly as of yore;
Night's starry tendernesses dower with glory
evermore:
But there be million hearts accursed, where no
glad sunbursts shine,
And there be million souls athirst for Life's
immortal wine.
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds
above;
And, if we did our duty, it might be as full of
love.

If faith, and hope, and kindness passed, as coin,
'twixt heart and heart,
Up through the eye's tear-blindness, how the
sudden soul should start!
The dreary, dim, and desolate, would wear a sunny
bloom,
And Love should spring from buried Hate, like
flowers from Winter's tomb.
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds
above;
And, if we did our duty, it might be as full of
love.

Were truth our uttered language, Spirits might
talk with men,
And God-illumined earth should see the Golden
Age again;
The burthened heart should soar in mirth like
Morn's young prophet-lark,
And Misery's last tear wept on earth quench Hell's
last cunning spark!
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds
above;
And, if we did our duty, it might be as full of
love.

We hear the cry for bread with plenty smiling all
around;
Hill and valley in their bounty blush for Man
with fruitage crowned.
What a merry world it might be, opulent for all,
and aye,
With its lands that ask for labour, and its wealth
that wastes away!
This world is full of beauty, as other worlds
above;
And, if we did our duty, it might be as full of
love.

Gerald_massey_ 2_sepiaThe leaf-tongues of the forest, and the flower-lips
of the sod—
The happy Birds that hymn their raptures in the
ear of God—
The summer wind that bringeth music over land
and sea,
Have each a voice that singeth this sweet song of
songs to me—
"This world is full of beauty, as other worlds above;
And, if we did our duty, it might be as full of love."

– Gerald Massey (English poet and political activist, 1828-1907)

[daily log: walking, 5.5 km]

Caveat: Rock On

This was a clever and humorous video I ran across recently.


Each of us is immortal up until the moment of our death.

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Thinking with fingers

Still being sick, I had an exhausting day. I failed to post this in a timely fashion (meaning I failed to stick to my one-post-a-day schedule for the first time in a very long time), so I'm putting it up late, and back-dating it.

Chris, a sixth-grader, was doing a writing test. He was doing something weird with his fingers on his skull. It looked like a cross between a secret handshake and a massage. 

"What are you doing, Chris?" I asked, gesturing at his hands.

"I'm thinking with my fingers," he explained.

Unrelatedly, a quote:

"I really do not know that anything has ever been more exciting than diagramming sentences." – Gertrude Stein.

[daily log: walking, 5.5 km]

 

Caveat: Locked

I am so sick. I had a difficult, day, too.

I worked for 4 and half hours and came home only to find that the battery had died in my door lock. I have one of those electronic door locks that prevail in Korea. My previous experience with the battery dying in the door lock  is that the gadget gives some warning. They start to beep at you in weird, alarming patterns when they're getting low, prompting you to check their battery. But in this event, there had been no warning. Just a dull half-beep and no response when I keyed in my code – it was clear it was a dead battery, though. 

The problem is that when I took this apartment, I never received a manual, old-style key. There wasn't one, I guess. That's easy enough to believe – misplaced and never replaced. 

So I was locked out of my apartment. I felt rotten, just wanted to crash after work, I had a heavy bag of groceries I'd bought at the store on the way home. The building doorman downstairs made clear this was not something in his control – the building doesn't keep master keys to the apartments. That's not the way it's done. I had to call the landlord (hah… I don't even know who that is – it's anonymous through the real estate management company through my boss Curt – too many layers of middle-men to even contemplate).  Or I could call a locksmith – that's what normal people did. I called Curt, and he reiterated the same.

I got the doorman to call the locksmith – I was feeling my usual telephone-in-Korean anxiety, and while I can communicate in Korean somewhat effectively face-to-face when required to do so, I hate trying to do so on the phone. I don't even like talking on the phone in English, anymore. As an aside, what's with my telephone anxiety, anyway? I like talking in person, well enough, after all. My student Jack recently commented, "Teacher, why do you like to talk so much?" But hand me a telephone, and I suddenly feel like I have some kind of handicap. I hate phones. Does this make me an honorary "millenial"? I read recently that millenials believe important communication should be by text or via social media like facebook or, worse-case-scenario, via email. "They" (millenaials, as a statistical collectivity) apparently believe talking on the phone is a waste of time and is for losers.

I waited about 20 minutes, and the locksmith came, and he tinkered around with it for almost 30 minutes, before declaring that he would have to break the lock. I had wondered if it would come to that. I knew that would make it expensive, since then it would have to be replaced. But I really, really just wanted to get into my apartment and start my weekend of convalescing from this horrible cold I have. I sneezed and coughed and assented to 200,000 won (200 bucks). 

He broke the lock, and while he spent the next hour replaceing the lock he'd broken, I did my dishes and picked up some things, and as soon as I'd paid him and he left, I took some ibuprofin and decongestant and passed out. I just woke up. I hate sleeping in the afternoon on days off, because it messes me up with respect to my normal afternoon work schedule. I just couldn't not sleep.

[daily log: walking, 6 km]

Caveat: Do you know the ghost community?

I have been struggling with a suddenly really bad cold/flu thing this week, while carrying a rough and intensive inter-naesin teaching schedule. I'm exhausted, and feeling like a zombie-teacher. 

What I'm listening to right now.

Sufjan Stevens, "They Are Night Zombies!! They Are Neighbors!! They Have Come Back from the Dead!! Ahhhh!" A truly weird song. About Illinois. And Zombies. Or something.

…Actually, after just a brief googlification, I wonder if it's about that notorious and supposedly excellent TV series, Walking Dead, which I personally don't enjoy, despite finding its themes and approach interesting. Or maybe some other pop-cult zombie-fare.

Lyrics.

I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S!
Ring the bell and call or write us
I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S!
Can you call the Captain Clitus?
Logan, Grant, and Ronald Reagan
In the grave with Xylophagan
Do you know the ghost community?
Sound the horn, address the city

(Who will save it? Dedicate it?
Who will praise it? Commemorate it for you?)

We are awakened with the axe
Night of the Living Dead at last
They have begun to shake the dirt
Wiping their shoulders from the earth
I know, I know the nations past
I know, I know they rust at last
They tremble with the nervous thought
Of having been, at last, forgot

I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S!
Ring the bell and call or write us
I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S!
Can you call the Captain Clitus?
B-U-D-A! Caledonia!
S-E-C-O-R! Magnolia!
B-I-R-D-S! And Kankakee!
Evansville and Parker City

Speaking their names, they shake the flag
Waking the earth, it lifts and lags
We see a thousand rooms to rest
Helping us taste the bite of death
I know, I know my time has passed
I'm not so young, I'm not so fast
I tremble with the nervous thought
Of having been, at last, forgot

I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S!
Ring the bell and call or write us
I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S!
Can you call the Captain Clitus?
Comer and Potato Peelers!
G-R-E-E-N Ridge! Reeders
M-C-V-E-Y! And Horace!
E-N-O-S! Start the chorus

Corn and farms and tombs in Lemmon
Sailor Springs and all things feminine
Centerville and Old Metropolis
Shawneetown, you trade and topple us
I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S!
Hold your tongue and don't divide us
I-L-L-I-N-O-I-S!
Land of God, you hold and guide us

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: heh. 파이팅

My student Giung sent me a text message this morning:

teacher i foughtwith my parent until late yesterday so i couldn't do my homework i'm so sorry i'll do it until tomorrow i'll promise you

Keeping in mind that Giung rarely does his homework for me, it was hard not to want to make some snark. Finally, I just sent back:

heh. 파이팅. . 

In fact, this is a bit of a joke. The Korean I wrote is [paiting] which is, in fact, derived from the English "fighting" (via Japanese). But it is used to mean "work hard" or "keep trying." A student like Giung, however, with his high English comptency and ironic sense of humor, was likely to understand I was punning on the fact that he'd told me that he fought with his parents. In fact, he did – he was explaining what I wrote to the other students in class, today.

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Creyó que el trigo era agua

METAMORFOSIS DEL CLAVEL

8

Se equivocó la paloma,
se equivocaba.

Por ir al norte, fue al sur.
Creyó que el trigo era agua.
Se equivocaba.

Creyó que el mar era el cielo;
que la noche, la mañana.
Se equivocaba.

Que las estrellas rocío;
que la calor, la nevada.
Se equivocaba.

Que tu falda era tu blusa;
que tu corazón, su casa.
Se equivocaba.

(Ella se durmió en la orilla.
Tú, en la cumbre de una rama.)

– Rafael Alberti (poeta español, 1902-1999)

[daily log: walking, 5.5 km]

Caveat: … and the streets were paved in alligator bucks

QuarterbuckI was walking home, just now, and I just happened to notice a scrap of paper on the sidewalk, a block or so from work. It was a slightly damp, torn fragment of one of my "alligator bucks," that I give to students as a form of reward points. I was surprised. The was not at work – it wasn't in front of work. Somewhere, some student of mine had lost a bit of his or her "money" out in the street. It felt strange – like my private economy that I maintain with my students was infiltrating into the outside, broader world. 

I felt sad, too – because the student's money was torn and this was only a bit of it. I imagined some struggle – two students fighting over it. … Nah, probably not.

[daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Mysterious Man

My student Jack did a poor job at homework, once again. I was berating him, mildly, in the typical way expected of teachers in Korea: "Why are you like that, Jack? These other students do well."

He shook his head, as if with world-weary sadness. "I am a mysterious man," he answered, and paused, looking up at me earnestly. Then he added, "… to myself." The joke was impressive for its timing, but more so when keeping in mind he is non-native-speaking 12 year old.


Unrelatedly, the fall is most definitely here. The trees are changing in  the pedestrian plazas on the path to work.

picture

[daily log: walking, 5.5 km]

Caveat: I’m Fine On The Shelf

What I'm listening to right now.

Dr Dog, "Broken Heart."

Lyrics.

I never really had a broken heart

I always played it kinda close to my chest
Love for me's just been a walk in the park
It doesn't really matter
It never really mattered
I never really had a broken heart
Such a shock to me
What looks to me like people going through the motions
But when it's over… their hearts are broken

[Chorus:]
I'm fine on the shelf
She really loved him, I couldn't see it though
He really loved her, but I… I don't believe it, oh no

I'm fine on the shelf
She really loved him, I couldn't see it though
He really loved her, but I… I don't believe it, oh no

Freedom from love
Freedom from the heartache
[x4]

I never really had a broken heart
You don't believe me, just look in my chest
The way some people like to run and hide
I never really, really
I never really

I never really had a broken heart
I've never really ever been undone
It's just playing house
Two can do it, you can do it too

[Chorus]

[Chorus x2]

[daily log: walking, what, Sunday?]

Caveat: Wish Nothing

200px-Epictetus_Enchiridion_1683_page1If you wish your children and your wife and your friends to live forever, you are foolish, for you wish things to be in your power which are not so, and what belongs to others to be your own. So likewise, if you wish your servant to be without fault, you are foolish, for you wish vice not to be vice but something else. But if you wish not to be disappointed in your desires, that is in your own power. Exercise, therefore, what is in your power. A man’s master is he who is able to confer or remove whatever that man seeks or shuns. Whoever then would be free, let him wish nothing, let him decline nothing, which depends on others; else he must necessarily be a slave. – Arrian of Nicomedia, ENCHIRIDION of Epictetus, XIV (2nd century)

[daily log: walking, 6 km]

Caveat: Have A Nice Day

What I'm listening to right now.

World Order (Genki Sudo), "Have A Nice Day."

Lyrics (not that I understand them)

日曜日の朝 閃いた
今日は街へ繰りだそう

お気に入りのジャケット羽織り
みんなが待っている交差点へ

everywhere  グレートな僕は
everywhere  スマートにcheck it out
everywhere  シンプルに踊り
ガラス越しの 未来を見て

everywhere  キュートなキミは
everywhere  スマートにcheck it out
everywhere  シンプルに彩り
ガラス越しに 君微笑む

今日はHAVE A NICE DAY

今日はHAVE A NICE DAY

日曜日の 青い空
今日はあの子に会いに行こう

エスカレータ駆け上がり
君の待つステージへ急ぐ

everywhere グレートな僕は
everywhere スマートにcheck it out
everywhere シンプルに踊り
ガラス越しの 未来を見て

everywhere キュートなキミは
everywhere スマートにcheck it out
everywhere シンプルに彩り
ガラス越しに 君微笑む

今日はHAVE A NICE DAY

通りすぎてくこの恋模様
君からの返事 ただ待っている
言葉にすると消えてしまいそう
僕の想い ほろ苦いチョコレート

通りすぎてく そう雲のよう
君からの答え もう知っている
また会おうねって 去ってく空が
僕の恋は どうにも届かない

[daily log: walking, 5.5 km]

Caveat: 중2병

My coworker taught me the term 중2병 [jung-i-byeong]. This might be most comfortably translated into colloquial American English as something like "8th-grader-itis" – meaning bad behavior in 8th graders due to their being eighth-graders. Literally, it's something like "2nd-year-middleschool-disease."

Given that this is something I was struggling with, recently, it seemed a useful term to know.


What I'm listening to right now.

The Rural Alberta Advantage, "On The Rocks."

 [daily log: walking, 5 km]

Caveat: Non-Argument

My student Soyeon, a third-grader, was arguing about how I was allotting points in class. When a student gets a wrong answer, I go to the next, and if that next student gets the right answer, that student gets the point. The exception, however, is if the question is binary choice: true/false, or only two choices a/b. If the first student is wrong, then I just announce, no, it's the other one, and we move to the next question. Soyeon either didn't realize this was my procedure, or felt it was unfair in some way. She was arguing with me. It was one of those passionate kid-arguments over something seemingly trivial – she seemed on the verge of tears.

So I took the time to try to explain the procedure. I went back over the last few questions we'd done in the workbook, showing how for the true/false ones, we'd simply moved on. She seemed to be understanding, but she still was saying "It's not fair." Her English is remarkably good, actually.

Finally, I said, "I think you just like to argue."

She sat back. "No. I don't."

"Really, you like to argue."

"No! It's not true. I don't like to argue."

"You're arguing now."

"No I'm not."

She sat back, though, thinking this through. I knew that she knew and was comfortable with the word "argue" as she'd used it earlier, correctly, talking about the story we were reading.

There was no real resolution. We moved on. But at the end of class, she said very cheerfully, "Bye!" so I guess she got over it.

[daily log: walking, 5.5 km]

Caveat: Fun is an artificial construct

"Fun is an artificial construct," according to Steven Patrick Morrissey, former front-man for The Smiths. Apparently he has recently been struggling with cancer, which is something I can relate to, and this perhaps indirectly lead him to the above conclusion, which he stated to a Spanish journalist will on tour in Spain. This seems perfectly suited to the morose persona Morrissey has long cultivated, but I'm willing to concede the premise.

What I'm listening to right now.

The Smiths, "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now."

[daily log: walking, km]