Archive for the ‘ Education ’ Category

My Only Regret: Thunderdome Rules

I want to take a moment to confess my one and only regret. Deep breaths. Here it is:

I regret not implementing Thunderdome rules in the classroom.

Classic 80's cinema

Classic 80’s cinema

“Woah, wait a minute there, crazy!” You are probably screaming at your computer screen at this very second. “I love the film as much as the next person, but I don’t think parents would be too pleased if you made kids fight each other to death under a steel cage!”

To that I’d say, “Yeah, obviously.” Then after quieting you down, I could continue.

More often than not, when certain kids were getting rowdy, I’d be forced to remind them who run English town in a fashion that made me think of this scene from the film every time.

Who. Run. English Town?

You know who.

Say it.

Amanda Teacher.

Say it, loud!

Amanda Teacher.

Amanda Teacher, what?

Amanda Teacher runs English Town.

Honestly, I like the Thunderdome laws. It’s more than just “two men enter, one man leave” you know. There’s “Bust a deal, face the wheel,” in which the person who busted the deal (hereafter referred to as “bustee” must spin a wheel (ya don’t say) to find the punishment. In the film, Max landed on Gulag (and I don’t think they knew what that word really meant.) To make it socially appropriate, my wheel would consist of punishments such as: write lines, sing a song, stand up for twenty minutes, etc. The standard punishments already implemented in the classrooms over there. Hell, if I’m feeling generous (and I am) and I’m a gambler (also true) I may even have a thin sliver that says something like “you got lucky” and they don’t have to do anything. Of course, the entire class would chant “bust a deal face the wheel” as the bustee walks up to and spins said wheel.

But alas! That time has passed and I don’t see myself returning to teaching anytime soon. I can’t believe I let this one slip through my fingers.


Yeosu World Expo

In 2010 I had the good luck to go to the World Expo in Shanghai, which was magnificent, in spite of the shitty monsoon weather and the fact that Chinese people are new to the whole line concept which made the waits pretty insufferable. Other than that, the exhibits were extraordinary, and so many countries were represented. I knew that the next one was to be held in South Korea in 2012, but at the time I didn’t think I’d still be here. Well, I am, and since Yeosu is only an hour and a half down the road from Gwangju, I thought I’d be a fool to not get another Expo under my belt. I heard lots of mixed reviews about this one, but I knew I needed to check it out for myself.

The Yeosu expo was much more scaled down than its predecessors, since Yeosu is a pretty small town to begin with. Only 100 countries banded together under a theme concerning marine conservation (since Yeosu is a seaside town).


Since I live in Korea, I didn’t bother checking the large Korea pavilion, or weather the line at the aquarium. They say it’s supposed to be the best aquarium in Asia (doubt that) but I heard lots of reports that the one in Busan is better, and I’ve been to that one three times already (b/c it’s sweet).

My friend and I managed to go through all the International pavilions except for Angola, Norway, and Russia due to the lines. We skipped America, because we’re Americans, and had the misfortune of visiting on the day that the Philippines (one of my faves from the Shanghai expo) and China were closed.


What struck me odd was that this expo was very much by and for Koreans. My friend had been to many in Japan and noted that there was definitely a much different vibe at this one. There were very few natives working the booths compared to the number of Koreans representing the foreign country instead. There were far more speeches and instructions given strictly in Korean as well. It seemed very in line with how a majority of Koreans tend to travel, which is to do it with a Korean tour group surrounded by other Koreans while staying in Korean hotels and eating Korean foods, while occasionally looking at something ‘local.’



Food was the main draw for me. We had lunch at the Spain pavilion, dinner at Romania, and desert at Belgium. All were fantastic, and I was very pleased to have the opportunity for excellent international cuisine. Korea being Korea, it’s very difficult to get decent foreign food due to (a) inability to round up proper ingredients, (b) anything not Korean comes with a pretty steep price tag, (c) as far as recreations in restaurants go, it often seems like they just looked at a picture and said “Let’s make that.” which is how you end up with a peanut butter, jelly, crab, banana, and mayo sandwich (That actually happened). This has been slowly but noticeably changing since I got here, but there’s still a long way to go. More and more people are getting excited and interested in trying “exotic” foods, so there is a surge in popularity. Mexican is the hot shit at the moment, and I nearly cried tears of joy the day I discovered tortillas at Emart.

I digress.

Overall the Expo was pleasant. I actually liked that it was smaller since there was less lines and it was really easy to get around. I did have a lot of fun, and I’m glad I went. Truthfully, I would have been disappointed if I’d traveled from abroad to see it, but since all it took was a little road trip, I was pretty pleased.

Willie Nelson and Korean Education


This is a page from my 5th grade English textbook for my Korean students. I find it both intriguing and questionable. What sort of narrative is this? Willie Nelson must travel to Thailand on his quest for reasonably priced denim?

A is for Aswang


Bored while waiting for the kids to finish their alphabet pictures… Jazzed for my trip to the Philippines next week, and it somehow turned into this.

Happy Thanksgiving

Everyone knows that Thanksgiving follows Hanks Giving Day on the fourth Thursday in November. In honor of this festive  holiday, and a self-imposed 24 hour Three Stooges Marathon, I decided to do a little investigative journalism on the history of the pie-in-the-face as a vehicle for humor.

I tracked down L. Klongrie, Ph.D (MA DeVry, BA, ITT Tech), a lecturer at Phoenix University (not the city), and the leading authority on the history of this cultural fad. While his theories often attract the criticism of other leading pie experts, Dr. Klongrie has been able to refute their claims time and time again with rock solid evidence.

In his book The Pie-ble, he notes that it’s a common misconception that the Bible contains the first mention of a pie in the face  as humor. Corinthians 2:33 describes a “confectionery wonder,” and the scene is often depicted in religious art of the Italian renaissance as luscious pie. However, they didn’t have levened bread at that point so it wouldn’thave been pie. Historians think it was an upside down cake, possibly pineapple in nature.The first undisputed account of a pie in the face occurs in the Shakespearean play Henry VIII, Act II, scene iii.

I Used To Have Strange Ideas When I Was Young

When I was a kid I used to have strange ideas about what some words meant. Such as hippocampus. These days Plutocracy and  Plutocrat are being thrown around a lot, and I was reminded to what I used to believe it meant. I wouldn’t know until years later that Pluto/Hades was the god of fortune as well as the god of the underworld. So I guess I was technically 1/3 right before I got educated.


My Vanity Fair Interview That Got Left In The Editing Room

Imagine my shock and dismay when I opened up the new issue of Vanity Fair.  The one with Johnny Depp on the cover. You’ll see it on the newsstands when you go to the store to buy milk after reading this next sentence: You forgot to buy milk again, dumbass. Last month I sat down with a writer from the aforementioned magazine (hitherto referred to as Vanity Lies. No wait, that sounds stupid, never mind.) to conduct an interview about my favorite subject: me. It was supposed to be a portrait of me as an artist complete with an unrelated photo shoot that would leave the readers scratching their heads. That’s how this business works. But alas, I got left in the editing room trash bin. Le sigh. After making several mildly threatening phone calls I was able to get a transcript of my interview so I can share it with you. Read on!

VF: “So the people want to know… if you could see any band perform RIGHT NOW, what would it be?

PM (leans back and swirls the ice in her glass of Wild Turkey in an ill-conceived attempt to look deep) “Your mom.”

VF: “Is that indie?”

PM: “No, it’s your mom.”

VF: “My mom isn’t in a band.”

PM: “That’s not what she said last night.” Stares, unblinking.

VF: “I see… Let’s  move on. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?”

PM: “Your mom’s house.” She hasn’t broken eye contact. This feels threatening.

VF (scrambling for words): “What kind of animal would you be?”

PM: “Tiger. For I have acquired a taste for human blood.” Winks at me, unsmiling. “Or a shark. Is it too late to change my answer?”

VF: “Let’s quickly change the subject. If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring?”

PM: “Oh, that’s easy. Number one: a boat. Number two: gasoline. Number three: A bottle of rum.”

VF: “Why?”

PM: “The gasoline goes in the boat so I can get off the desert island. The bottle of rum is so that I can get drunk in the process.”

VF: “Honest answer. Alright, so let’s talk about your work. Tell me about your latest projects.”

PM: “I wrote a book once. I once hosted a guest spot on the local news channel. That was fun.  They let me read the weather once. I screwed that up though. I think they did that on purpose, the bastards. It totally rained that Saturday. Full of lies, I tell you, full of lies.

VF: “Would you care to elaborate on your book?”

PM sits there staring at me for a few minutes. Silent. Unblinking. Like a shark. My mind jars back to the comment about a taste for blood. I start to feel really uncomfortable and decide to end the interview.


And there it is. Shame it never saw print~