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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Subterranean Homesick Blues

I'm having the first bout of homesickness I've ever had despite all my travels. It seems as soon as I'm feeling physically better, the next day I feel crappy again. I think the pollution here is really bothering me and the air was especially bad (or so it seemed) yesterday and today. I want to feel healthy again.

I didn't even really have a longstanding home in Canada, but I miss my partner a lot. This run-down stuff is making me more irritable too.

I've heard that months 3-6 are the most difficult when teaching abroad. I have been here a little more than 4 months and much of the novelty has worn off I guess.
The picture above encapsulates my heightened awareness of time these days.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Traffic here is crazy. I've almost been hit three times, and one time, I was shaken up so bad I had to lean up against a phone booth and catch my breath. No one stays on their side of the streets, almost everyone cuts corners, and traffic lights are not very visible and seem more like a guideline than the law.

As a country that has almost entirely reconstructed itself since the Korean War, Korea is a development success story. It does however have its share of growing pains. One such pain is the traffic! A culture that has only had the car as a commonly accessible commodity for three or four decades sure has been among the things that has taught me the value of human life, and its frailty beside these speeding behemoths.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My ex-professor and friend (or so I'd like to think lol) Dionne Brand recently won the Toronto Book Award for her novel What We All Long For. I must confess I haven't read it yet; I am more familiar with her poetry. I read her book of poems "Inventory" before I came to Korea and it was incredibly inspiring. It was one of the only pieces of art that motivated me to create myself in recent memory. Congratulations to Dionne and go buy her books! She's really, really good!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Miscelleria of Modernity (on your knees biotch)

Well, what do you know? After I write a blog about a magazine that doesn't pay me after I published in their rag, I get the freakin cheque and free copy sent within two freakin' days. I'm stunned. Obviously the new staff is PR savvy!

My neighbour keeps bringing me delicious Thai food cooked by his wife. I think he's trying to butter me up for something: a grand plan to blackmail our boss or something like that. I don't want anything to do with it really, but I secretly hope the gods wreak vengeance on behalf of my beleagured coworker (long story that involves some compromising info).

My lover wants to take a Tantric workshop and a dominate/surrender workshop. I think he wants to spice up our sex life or something. It's really a sweet gesture because I think he's thinking of me. I like to dominate people. Don't tell, please.

In case you're wondering, the photo below is of hundreds of baby jellyfish.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Hanging out at the coy pond, feeling coy.

One of the biggest corporations in South Korea is Dae woo: you've probably heard of them. They've got their thumbs in many pies: cars, stereos, even department stores. I found out recently General Motors owns a stake in the company. It's mind-boggling how a few people basically own the whole world, and let little peons like me make a liveable wage, while many others make a hardly liveable wage and endure incredibly shitty working conditions.

Forget about a big fish in a small pond: I'm a microscopic plankton. Love me.

Friday, September 08, 2006

George Bush IS intelligent.

Look. He's got the whole world talking about him, thinking about him. Maybe most of it is negative, but you know what they say: there's no such thing as bad press. The occasional ridiculous verbalism does not automatically make someone stupid. Think about it. I say stupid shit all the time and I was the most sought after student in my Master's degree cohort. The only difference is that I don't have zillions of cameras on me at all times to catch my "Bush-isms."

No. I simply don't believe it's possible to ascend to the top of the most economically and militarily powerful country on the planet (though I don't think they are any more) without at least having the intelligence to recognize intelligence and surround yourself with it.

That said... intelligence is a neutral quality; it does not automatically translate into moral "rightness." George Bush is a bad, bad man.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Mighty Cicada

This is a picture of the loudest insect on earth: the cicada. Cicadas live as larvae under the ground for over a decade, then they come out, they sing their song, lay eggs or fertilize eggs, and then die. I think of them as magic creatures, prehistoric, wise, and powerful. How else can such a small thing make such a big noise but magic. Yes it's physics, but the best magic is always based on the material nature of the world.

I bring cicadas up because one of my students brought in two of the largest cicadas I've ever seen to class today. Everyone except him and me freaked out. The cicadas stayed speechless, stunned by their erstwhile captivity. If aliens tried to contact intelligent life on earth during august, all they would hear was a relentless metallic buzz, drowning out the traffic and the conversations below.