Tuesday, 16 February 2016

On to new, bigger and better things.

I have not looked at this site in a very long time. Almost 9 months now. This will probably be the last entry I ever write here as I migrate the content from this site over to my new one, You can check out the new site at http://www.tzmediastudio.com

It mostly for business, but I wil eventually use that for all my writing needs, too. Thank you for reading what I have written here. I may occasionally post here to help people find the new site.

Thanks to every one who bought and read my book, I've got some new ones in the pipeline.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Volume 43, chapter 94: Monday blues

I don't hate Mondays, but the beginning of a long week at work is nothing to look forward to. Mostly my long days at work this week consist of sitting alone in an empty office while the other teachers attend a 3 day workshop of changing teaching styles and focus. I would actually like to attend, but since it's entirely in Thai, I don't understand a word. Instead I download tv shows to watch at night and finish up my lesson plans for the coming semester. I also need to make up some attendance sheets and a student info database form. They may not be able to find much public stuff from me online, Despite the public nature of this blog, my day-to-day Facebook page is locked down pretty tight to people I actually know, but I'll be sure to get all the necessary info from them to track their online moments. It makes it easier to teach if I know a little bit of the way these kids live. I can make lessons they relate to.

So, anyway. I did nothing today for 8 hours. I started and finished a book I was required to read for this Administration shake-up. It took me a little over an hour to read. It had lots of pictures and read like a middle school book. It was called Our Iceberg is Melting, or some bullshit like that. It was basically the same book as Who Moved My Cheese and even included a forward by the same author. It was simplistic and about as exiting to read as watching water boil. I get what they are trying to do and I admire their efforts at recognizing there is a problem with the education and trying to fix up, but I've seen this happen before hundreds of times in Korea and it is ultimately doomed to fail due to culture indoctrination. These kids have been forced to conform to a certain ideal, sometimes through liberal use of capital punishment despite it being illegal, and now they want us to embrace their individualism and uniqueness, under an oppressive military dictatorship. They want us to teach these students to question everything, when doing that can land you in prison. No freedom of speech here. The kids are clueless on how to respond to such freedoms-- they can't give an opinion unless it's been previously approved beforehand by their peers, and it's like pulling teeth without anesthesia for the teachers. I feel very sorry for the other Filipino teachers that have to sit through that bullshit just because they happen to understand Thai. I feel sorry for the Thai teachers because they will also have to adapt as much as the students and I'm not sure they are capable. I'm use to this style of teaching, so I have no problem with it, but it so different than rote teaching which puts the teacher in the position of an infallible taskmaster. The Critical Thinking model of teaching puts the teacher in the roll as a fallible guide/mentor.

The rest of the day, I set up some business meetings for the weekend, and argued online with some nationalistic Ko-Am troll in S. Korea for shits and giggles. When I got bored of that, I watched Game of Thrones. It was alright, but it just doesn't hold the same anticipated thrill it did for the first 2 seasons. One of the few book series I have not actually read. I bore easily of long-winded writers. I don't like Stephan King much either. I prefer my books and prose quick and snappy.

Volume 43, Chapter 93: The Mother's day edtion.

I missed a day. It's hard to write every day. I actually have to sit down and make a concentrated effort to do this. It's easy in jail-- what else am I going to do? In the real world? Not so easy.

Where to begin. I have a lot on my mind lately. Particularly, Margriet. I don't normally name people on this blog for their sake, animosity and paranoia, but this girl deserves to be heralded, and remembered. She is Zoe's mother. She hates me. Lots of people hate me, I can be a bit of a jerk sometimes, but this girl REALLY hates me. I get it. And she is forever tied to me because of Zoe. I love her. I wish I could tell her that... she can't, nor is she even physically capable of doing that right now. Doctors give her a week, I think she'll last to least June, if I was a betting man. I have to have hopes and dreams, or WTF is the point?

Back to present events.

We finally left my house at noon, and went to MBK. I have no idea what MBK means, and I don't care-- it's a gadget geek's dream. In Korea, go to Yongsan. We ate Vietnam food in a Thailand restaurant. Ethnic food is different in every country. Chinese food in Korean is not the same as Chinese food in China, or Chinese food in the US, or Korea. For one thing, in China, it's just called "food," Not "Chinese food."
Then I played video games in an arcade (!) and butchered thousands of nameless digital targets in preparation for the upcoming zombie Apocalypse. It was awesome.

She went to work on the subway. I walked home from there. It's a very long walk. My main goal was to find some comfortable shoes for less than $6 (200 baht). I'm picky, I didn't find anything I liked. However I did find this.
 This is a high capacity battery that charges itself with sunlight. A no-brainer, if you ask me.The model I have has a 30,000 m capacity (which means it's a very big battery), and it can recharge your phone up to 6 times, before you need to plug it in. Only, you never have to plug it in.The real beauty of this, is it's not limited to mobile phones. ANYTHING with a USB port can be charged. It's a very cheap portable solar panel. I could hook this up to batteries in my house and always have a power source, This cost me $20. I'm not sure how much they cost in Canada, but $20 seems like a very small price to pay for what I gain for free.

After, that, I found a new lock for my door. I broke the last one.

The first thing I do when I move into a new place is figure a way to either break into it, or break out of it. In this instance, I found out how to break in, but it's cost me. I repaired the door myself, I'm a pretty handy guy, but apparently not handy enough. I didn't know there were different doorknobs for different doors. Now, although the smashed door looks original (I'm a good forger), it's all backwards. If I want to break in now, all I need is a screwdriver.I feel like such a... well, for lack of a better word, a doorknob. Looks great though. 

The next day, I went to an art event. An all day affair in a walled off garden with swans and shit. Very zen. Live painting, hippy girls wailing their angst on a guitar, hipster dudes trying to out angst the hippy girls... I mostly watched the painters paint. Live paint=Pollock. 5 or 6 people, throwing paint on a canvas. I was literally watching paint dry. And it was exciting. To a point. I learned some things I may try in my next painting, but I am still not a big fan of abstract art. It's lazy and boring. A fucking monkey could do it and it would be more thought provoking.

Despite that, it was good to do something different. I went back to her work and hung out for a bit and then went home to writing this for no reason at all but to simply record it.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Volume 43, Chapter 91.

Not much happened yesterday. There was a seminar in the afternoon for the foreign teachers that I could actually attend and understand the language spoken. It's also much easier to understand a foreign language if you are actually using it in conversation rather than listen to some one drone on in lecture... I should try to remember that. I am definitely guilty of droning on and on myself.

Anyway, it was basically a 2.5 hour bitchfest about everything we felt was wrong with the school, how it was managed, how classes were taught, how students disciplined or precisely lack of discipline due to ineffective punishments and/or incentives to succeed, and other such nonsense. Hopefully something positive will result from it. I tried, actually we all tried to explain that a big part was the culture itself was working against the goals and mandate the administration wanted and demanded. In addition, there was also a lack of incentive or reward from administration giving the teachers an additional workload and making illogical demands to complete said workload. One of the main things the other teachers, who understood Thai and therefore had been listening to 2 days of this new propaganda from the administration, was complaining about is in the 5 hours of the day we are not teaching, we use it to mark papers and prepare lesson plans, as well as mentoring students throughout the day. However, all lesson plans, exams and paperwork basically, and there is a lot, has to be done at home on our own time. We are not allowed to do it during school hours when we are actually working. That's the only time I do it. I never work on school paperwork except at school, or if I have a deadline. Since it was during the 2 day Thai seminar, I know nothing about it. And one bothered to translate it for me. That's my story, I'm sticking with it

Apparently there is also a mythical students guidebook that has the responsibilities of the student and punishments for failure to comply. However, none of the teachers have ever seen it. It is only distributed to students. The teachers and, most importantly, the parents have ever read it. And of course, it's only in Thai. It has been suggested that it be translated into English & Chinese, and given to both teachers and parents so everybody fucking knows what happens if the students don't do their homework and fail as a result. Stop blaming the teachers for your kid's failure and start disciplining your own god-dawned spawn of Satan. It's not my responsibility to make sure your precious snowflake does their homework. It's the parents and the students and they are always so surprised to learn that their kids fail because they never do their homework and therefore never learn their lessons because they definitely aren't paying attention to it in class.

After that I went home and slept for 3 or 4 hours and went to meet my friend for a late night dinner. Some movies and a bet to see if she can get up at 8 am. $100 if she can get up and stay up at 8 am. Each hour she sleeps in, she looses 1/3 of the money. I'll probably be up at 7. I sabotaged her alarm so it's not going to wake her. She probably sleep until noon and I'll save myself $100. If she does manage to get up early, my whole day will finally not go to waste watching her sleep waiting for her to wake up so we can go outside and actually do something other than eat, drink and... well, you can fill in the blanks. I'll keep it PC13 for now. Point is, it's my weekend, I want to go out and do shit, not sit around all day watching some chick sleep. And then she has to go to work, so I have to amuse myself for several hours anyway. It's a good way to feel alone with actually being alone. It sucks and is pointless, so it better change soon, or I'm moving on. I don't really have time for it.

She eventually woke up at 9 and went to the salon to beautify herself while I did laundry. So, I owe her $50 which she will probably spend on me anyway (after she pays for the beauty treatments which cost nothing in Bangkok).

Friday, 8 May 2015

Volume 43, Chapter 90: the daily chai, and Nepal edition

Hello world

As I mentioned previously, It's been awhile since I've done this. I'm a terrible procrastinator so I will see how long I can keep this up, but one of the things that inspired me was my sister. She hit a rough patch in her own life and followed up by writing her heart on her sleeve. I read it daily. It's good.

I, too seem to have hit a rough patch. Maybe not so much as a patch as a very long gravel road. I also get repeated requests to maintain this blog. In an effort to both fulfill the needs of my psyche and you, my audience, I will attempt both. To address the "what should I write about?" question, I will try to keep simple. This is, and always has been a diary, that I happen to publish publicly. This will be a little different from the Hwaseong Saga since this will be much more immediate, as opposed to something I transcribe months after the fact. A little more raw.

Another thing that happened very recently was outside the bubble of my world, but affected it nonetheless. The country of Nepal suffered the most devastating earthquake in 70 years. You may have heard about it. Mt. Everest actually shrunk. It's not so high anymore. Lots of people died.

My friend was in Nepal when it happened. She runs an NGO that helps women and children with PTSD due to abuse and poor living conditions. Her brainchild travels to remote villages with simple art supplies and organizes classes to use art as therapy to help them deal. It's had a very good success rate thus far. Anyway, she was on a bus on the side of a mountain when the first shock hit. She described large rocks falling on her bus and the intern/Jewish princesses that had accompanied on this crazy, non-gluten-free trip far from any hipster bars in Brooklyn, shrilling "what should we do?" Her response was "Do you believe in a god? Then start praying..."

Her bus eventually made it to what was left of Kathmandu and to "Camp America" at the US embassy. "Lollapalooza" was how it was described. In the middle of this chaos, they had a tent city with daily yoga classes and a buffet of food and medicine. Amongst the destruction outside the wire, American, Canadian, and other European and British Commonwealth nations lived in relative comfort. God forbid they be denied hot water and a shower.

She couldn't take the hypocrisy of it and had to escape, but not too far or the guilt of abandoning the country she had just come to help would be too much. A place close by where she could recuperate and easily return to Nepal to help with the relief efforts. So she came here to Bangkok. I must insert here that I have never met this person face to face. In this age of information, I have interacted with hundreds, if not thousands of people all over the world without ever meeting, as we all have, and this girl is one of those people. So, I met her at the airport, got her settled in a hotel, and proceeded to get as drunk as we could for the next 5 days. While she was here, we hooked her up with some local people, got some donations to take back to Nepal and off she went. She will return to the US in a couple days, and then off to Ghana, Africa to do the same NGO program there. Kids, these days-- just too much ambition.

When you travel, you meet lots of people from all over the world and some of them really do try to change the world. Kudos to them, I talk a lot, but that's all I really do. I've added a few links at the end to pages on Facebook of some groups I know where your money really does go to doing some good in the world. Donate if you can.

The main point.

I'm just trying to describe my day. I had to catch up to it I guess.

Today was rather uneventful. I woke up and went to the second day of my new semester. After sitting in a seminar for a couple of hours, conducted in a foreign language, I escaped the first chance I got, went back to the office, and promptly took a nap on my desk. Then I woke up, wiped the slobber of my chin, and downloaded a few daily TV shows I watch. Today was Arrow, and Modern Family. I watched them, went home after work, took another nap, and went to Patpong, the local red light district. I visited a friend at his restaurant, said "hello" to my girlfriend, grabbed some street food consisting rice and green chicken curry, and went to the bar, where I had about far too many glasses of beer while I watched girls in bikinis. Eventually, my girlfriend finished work, picked me up and dragged me to another bar where we enjoyed a few more glasses of beer before we went home and did things the government has no business knowing about. Now I'm back at work, alone in an office while everybody else is forced to go to a seminar, basically because they speak Thai and I don't, writing the first real entry in a long time, of what I hope will be many more and there is a hot Thai girl sleeping in my bed. My head hurts.

Two groups that actually make a make a difference


and some events in Seoul

Maybe tomorrow's story will be much more interesting...

Vol 43, Chapter 89

I have a lot on my mind. I have many things bothering me. Politics, religion.. it runs the whole gamet(sp?), but I'm not going to blow my load here and now. I'll spread it out and tell you how I really feel over time. Like a good tv series. There are some spoilers to be revealed, so catch up.

this is going to take some time to get back into the swing of things. In the meantime, read this: http://chatterbetweennaps.blogspot.com/
She's not bad.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

what to do...?

I find myself at a loss. I'm not sure what I should do with myself today. Normally, I would wake up, make some coffee, have a cigarette, and spend the next several hours going through Facebook, responding to correspondence and all the posts I agree/disagree with. I've made and drunk the coffee, had several cigarettes, looked at my email (nothing but junk), and the few other blogs I usually read, and now I'm done. What do I do next? I might actually have to do something productive... what a concept. A constructive day, instead of pissing it all away on Facebook.

It really is like a drug addiction, and I should know enough about that particular monkey on my back to recognize it for what it is. I can at least suppress some of it by looking at Twitter...