Entries for June, 2004

Recently, I utilized Tabulas to allow one of my clients to update their website ... they update their Tabulas and then it updates the website using the RSS feed.

The first time we tried it out, I watched the client try to add an entry. He logged in with no problem. But the moment he saw the first page (with the "Add an Entry" option) ... he sort of just froze there. He then proceeded to click "Add an Entry" (which takes you to the exact same page as when you first login) then he wrote out his test entry ...

It bothered me that he would have to click "Add an Entry." He did this not once, but twice. Apparently due to all the clutter, he didn't notice that going to "Add an Entry" takes you to the exact same page.

I came to the conclusion after some thinking that "links" in the navigation need to become disabled if you're on that page. It becomes far too confusing for the average use when they "think" they're on the 'Add an Entry' page but still see the link sitting there on top, daring them to click it.

(boring technical stuff, skip it)

So what's the moral here? I've decided that if you're on a specific page, that link should become disabled on any navigational element.

It sounds so simple and obvious.. harumph. Feel like I've wasted time doing this.

But now it's another more small detail to add to the list of why the new CP is much better than the old one :)
Posted by roy on June 1, 2004 at 03:14 AM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
Politics aside, I think everyone agrees that we are obligated (both as humans and as the nation that _did_ remove their dictator) to help Iraqis through these times.

There is a wonderful site called Spirit of America which as Jeff Jarvis puts it, is the "Statue of Liberty in reverse."

Go give a story on SoA a good read ... and then go visit the website and make a donation =). I've made my first small donation and will continue to do so when money permits.

Let's spread the love, people! Spirit of America helps programs that are requested by the troops in Iraq directly... you can go read some of their programs and read some of the requests on their website!
Posted by roy on June 1, 2004 at 02:33 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment
It seems the latest rage (well, since 2002) is to type "Korea" as "Corea." There's a lot of history behind this, and "technically" (as far technical as you can get with Western "bastardizations" of Asian languages), there's a lot of evidence why it should be called "Corea."

But for the life of me, I cannot bring myself to use that word. I'm not sure what it is, but that word seems ... very unpleasing to the eye. I've never been a big fan of the capital "C" (I know this is sounding really stupid, but it's 4am here so forgive me) to start a word.

But really. Let's stick with one version of a country name. The translations aren't perfect, but the way you spell it isn't particularly important. I'm just trying to get people to stick with one here. For my sanity's sake!! (And preferably the spelling with the "k")

Of course we could start getting really technical and start calling Korea Hanguk or Gorgyo or Chosun or something!

These types of changes always bother me because I always catch myself thinking before I type the word. Like with England/UK/Britain. AHHH WHICH ONE SHOULD I USE?!?!?!?

I just wish people would use one or the other. Maybe this is a subtle effect at trying to get the average American to learn more about Korea/Corea ("Hey, how come you spell it both ways?") ... but please for the sake of standards let's pick one. If every country suddenly decides to change its name for "technical" reaons, we're in for a confusing world of Confoederatio Helvetica (which I'm sure we would just call "Helvetica") and Nippon and ...
Posted by roy on June 2, 2004 at 01:14 AM in Ramblings | 6 Comments
I had a great conversation with Nasty Nate tonight about the concept of "selling out." Before any great discourse about this concept, let me first define "selling out." Selling out, to me, simply means putting the pursuit as the main priority in a career. For example, me deciding to place advertisements on Tabulas would be "selling out" (since the intention would be to make money and on longer make Tabulas an ad-free service).

(long but hopefully interesting for those who are interested)
Posted by roy on June 2, 2004 at 11:08 PM in Ramblings | 12 Comments
I've taken a short break from PHP work to make some new templates for Tabulas... the new templates will all eventually be XHTML 1.0/CSS 1.0 standard compliant. Of course, the whole site will also aim to be a lot more accessible ...

Note that these are not complete templates... I'm just throwing them up for now so you can guys can take a look. They will all be most likely tweaked (with the exception of template 5) I will also be creating alternate stylesheets for each page so that users can select preset "color schemes."

Note that I haven't redesigned a single one of the existing templates. I think they will most likely be trashed (although I might adapt the two decent ones ... and "upgrade" them).

Check out the source codes on the files... all using nice valid semantic markup.

My favorite one (and the one that took the far longest) is template 5... note how the template reacts when you hover over the links ... the design is very minimalist but effective. I will most likely either use this one or template 2 as the "default" Tabulas template for users. The only thing that bothers me about template 5 is that I didn't use a list to create the top navigational links. After about an hour of trying to hack together a bunch of background-images and using weird borders, I gave up and just decided to use the current method.

Oh yeah, before you guys lambast me for my lack of design skills, Template 3 is going to be called "The 1996 Template." It's just a throwback template to the good ol' glory days when no one actually styled their websites. I got a good laugh when I made it ... and I'll probably use it on this site once I get the new templating system up. Roffles.

- Template 1
- Template 2
- Template 3
- Template 5

If you any of you webdesign dorks wants to help me test it out, if you can check against other browsers ... I only checked against IE in Windows (lazy me). Also let me know if you see any blatant flaws with the HTML/CSS...

(a few plans?)
Posted by roy on June 3, 2004 at 04:39 AM in Tabulas | 10 Comments
I fly out to Korea tomorrow morning. So as in all situations involving the "days before" a long trip, things have been rather hectic.

Deciding that spending hours on the subway systems of Seoul as well as the long flight there without music just could NOT do, I ended up buying an iPod. After getting some comments regarding minis vs. iPods, I decided to spring the extra $50 and pick up the 15GB iPod. I love the feel of it and I love the software.

The only problem is that all my music is on my craptop. And I don't have any real easy method of getting in to the parents' desktop to move music onto the iPod (I can't get iTunes on here because I have Win98). So besides the fact that I spent about 10+ hours so far relabelling all ID3v1 tags for all my MP3s ... I also had to transfer them to my desktop using ONE 256MB USB diskkey.

So far, I've moved about 1.5 gigs worth of stuff onto the desktop. Luckily the last time I left for Korea (2 years ago) I backed up all my MP3s then, so I only have to backup the last two years' worth of MP3s...

But relabelling ID3v1 tags for all 8 gigs worth of MP3s is a big bitch. Funny story: In the beginning, I was determined to weigh each song's genre perfectly. BY GOD, I WAS GOING TO HAVE THE BEST ORGANIZED IPOD EVER! Sadly, after about the 6th hour, I gave up being really precise. It's ok to use the "Other" category ;)

The only issue I've had with the iPod so far is that it's not a very useful "travel" player. In my mind, a useful "travel" player should have some sort of distinguishing physical characteristics on it so I can change songs and the volume without having to actually look at it. I don't want to be walking in the mall, then have to stop to change the song cause I don't like the song. The advantage to my CD and Minidisc player is their physical buttons help me work them without having to look at them. With the iPod's flat surface, I can't really "feel" around to do something since... well... that would set things off.

But besides that, this thing has been a joy to have. Since getting that (and actually since backing up all my webdesign/photography files onto CD-R FINALLY using the disk key), I have like more than a gig worth of free hard drive space.

It feels so awesome.

Now, I was going to start doing some limited beta testing for the new CP while I was in the air ... but after making the semi-impulsive iPod and wasting last night moving my MP3s to the iPod, I really didn't have time to finish things up. So I decided that if I'm going to delay this CP even further, I might as well do things completely right... so I bought some reading material for the plane... I have the (serious) goal of mastering DOMs so that I can start doing more advanced things within the Tabulas CP.

I've convinced myself (I'm quite good at this self-deception thing) that in order to build a truly powerful GUI for Tabulas, I need to master the client-side tools. People should be able to add in categories and usericons from the entry addition page without having to reload the entry page. Etc. etc. When you attach an image to an entry, I shouldn't be using nasty hacks with iframes to accomplish it... DAMNIT ROY USE DOM!!!

I also bought "Guns, Germs and Steel" ... I've heard far too many good things about it not to read it. Plus I'm a sucker for history (I watch far too much History Channel for my own good).

Yeah, so I just blew like half my money on useless things... but it's been a while since I've splurged, and honestly I needed some sort of distraction away from all this web work =).

Now I think I'll go pass out and wake up and then work some more on Tabulas 8).

Posted by roy on June 4, 2004 at 09:58 AM in Ramblings | 9 Comments
WARNING: not work safe (kinda)

... if only I had picked up a pair of these before I went to Korea...
Posted by roy on June 5, 2004 at 02:21 AM in Foolishness | 8 Comments
Korean Airlines decided to lose the important half of my luggage. Goodbye clothes...
Posted by roy on June 6, 2004 at 05:11 AM in Travel | 8 Comments
Oops, the Internet cafe computer decided to crash, thus losing my long entry. Seems very typical of this trip so far.

So Korean Airlines lost my luggage... or rather, should I say United Airlines lost my luggage. Either way, I blame John Kerry (*rimshot*). Just kdiding.

You see, the way I packed my bags (and by that, I mean my mom), everything of importance was in one bag, and all the really unnecessary things were in the other bag. Unfortunately, the luggage that was lost contained:
- towels
- boxers
- undershirts
- pants
- blankets
- bedsheets
- two items I'm transporting for a friend

So basically what I do have right now is:
- Javascript book
- messenger bag
- "Guns, Germs, and Steel"
- toothbrush
- a bowl
- chopsticks
- gifts for relatives

You see? Everything of importance... in the WRONG BAG.

It's funny how this trip has turned into one of those theroetical "if you could bring only one thing onto an island, what would you bring?"

A while ago, I would of said something deep like "a tire" or "a ball" or "Kate Beckinsale." But I've realized the most important thing to bring: toothpaste.

Think about it. I woke up this morning without toothpaste, and thought I could get away with just brushing my teeth (I have a toothbrush) and eating some mints. But my mouth felt so DIRTY. So I went out and bought some toothpaste, which to me seemed like a monumental task considering my inability to fluently manage the basic tenets of the Korean language (I only wrote that sentence because I wanted to use the word 'tenets,' isn't that pretty sad?). So I accomplished my morning mission... getting toothpaste. So sad.

In any case, it's been a trial for me ... the first thing my employer said as she picked me up was, "Do you have someplace else you can stay?" Oigh. Basically they didn't expect me to come so early, so the studio wasn't "prepared," and by that I mean "dirty as friggin' heck." Plus there was no furniture in there, so last night I slept on the hard hard hard hard floor. I would wake up every 30 minutes and have to switch positions because my body would start aching.

But I'm up and at it today... I have my "goals" to-do today, which include:
- buying boxers
- buying towels
- buying undershirts
- marry Kate Beckinsale

I'm in one of those strangely optimistic moods despite everything I've been through in the past 36 hours ... but one of those optimistic moods which have a severe caustic/cynical side lying beneath. Which was just heightened as I lost my previous entry.

Anyways, I'm gald to be back here. One of the things you really tend to miss about Korea are its varied smells. For example, as I'm walking through a busy commercial street, my olfactory senses will pick up on wonderful food. Then not two meters ahead, the wonderful smell will be replaced with the smell of ass as I walk past a.) a shady alleyway where people do shady things or b.) a sewage outlet.

And of course, it seems that all Koreans are intent on being in a relationship all the time. It's quite uncommon to see such an obviously virile and manly thug walking down the street by himself; usually he has one (or three or five) girls hanging onto him. I KID!

Well, as always I've gotten a very good release writing this entry. Let's hope this computer can handle submitting a POST FORM without crashing again.

I hope everybody else is doing ok... if you have any type of sway with the Guy Above, please try to persuade him to reunite me with my lost luggage. Korea does not need to see me nekkid unless they want all the girls here to abandon their feminine boyfriends for a real man. (ahahahahaha I crack myself up sometimes...)

Oh yes, I almost forgot. The ticket counter girl (she is either still in college or recently graduated) at the United Airlines ticket counter at RDU is _hot_. Her demeanor is kinda snobby, but for some reason I dig that with her... ha ha.
Posted by roy on June 6, 2004 at 06:51 PM in Travel | 5 Comments
It's currently 4:32 PM. I've been out since early morning attempting to locate:
- a towel
- undershirts
- boxers
- sandals
- umbrellas

I can say with relative confidence that I have pretty much succeeded in obtaining all but ... one of the items. For the life of me, I cannot (oh my god, I just hit a bunch of keys and could type nothing but Korean for 2 minutes. Eventually me hitting random keys converted it back to Engrish (for future reference: Shift + Ctrl, which should of been obvious to me from the start since that's how our old computer used to switch languages, duh)) locate BOXERS. I think the Korean culture is one dominated by briefs and tightie-whities. I cannot wear briefs or tightie-whities. They are way too constricting. I must "let it hang loose," as they (they being crude people) say.

Of course, I have overspent on the existing items, but can you *really* put a price on being able to shower and wear clean clothes? I didn't think so.

But I'm starting to worry about the boxer situation. I need a pair. But I can't find them anywhere. I can't even find briefs. I can only find women's panties and women's thongs. THONGS. In KOREA. I mean, maybe now is the time to "experiment," if you dig what I'm saying. I hear they're very comfortable once you get used to them, and I am rather desperate...

. . .

Ok a completely unrelated and chauvinistic post ensues:

I was walking in CoEX mall (which I consider to my "comfort zone"), when I noticed a couple walking in front of me. The guy, as usual, is very effeminately dressed. He has long hair (that's dyed slightly brown) and is wearing a bright-teal t-shirt (which for some reason didn't look very manly) and is carrying a pink umbrella. I kid you not. Now, I am walking behind them, not thinking about it too much, when all of a sudden, the guy slaps his girlfriend on her bottom.

This wasn't a simple flip of the wrist type of slap. This also was not the friendly "tap on dat ass" that sometimes boyfriends do to girlfriends (I think... I'm not sure if that's "ok" in today's PC world). No, this was a slap that I heard from a good 2 meters away. In a mall. A public, crowded mall.

I'm not sure what the girl did to deserve such a slap, but the idea of this effeminately dressed guy slapping his girlfriend's arse was hilarious to me. I almost busted out laughing.
Posted by roy on June 6, 2004 at 11:38 PM in Travel | 4 Comments
Things are hectic. To say the least. I've been moved to a new studio down the street which is a LOT better... it's got a bed, refridgerator, and a TV (!!!!).

I've been looking over the stuff I have to teach, and I'm getting pretty excited at the prospects ... I want to do a really good job and help these kids excel at the SAT... I just hope I can earn the respect of my co-workers... they're all really bright and hard-working people.

So they found my luggage... it's still sitting at the airport; it was never sent to Korea. What exactly is the train of thought that ends up with luggage sitting in an airport?

"Hey, look, there's luggage that's been sitting there for a while! It says it needs to be an Incheon. Looks to be 59.8 lbs... must not have anything important at all! Hey, let's just leave it there!"

Given the current administration's obsession with making airflight as uncomfortable as possible, they've probably ransakced the whole thing twice over. I just hope the ipod mini and my craptop are still there.

P.S. Due to my inability to settle down quickly, I have not been able to catch up on any news, friends' blogs, or email. So forgive me ... response will be forthcoming as soon as I can get some more important things done.
Posted by roy on June 8, 2004 at 04:54 AM in Travel | 6 Comments
I was called in to teach today ... I'm incredibly excited. The lessons are pretty easy, but they will be a good warm-up for next week. I'm totally psyched right now...

My teaching schedule for the upcoming weeks is starting to get sorted out, and it looks like I'll be teaching the stuff I want to teach, so I'm pretty happy. I was thinking last night it would be pretty cool to print out a "sylalbus" to give to my "students." Ha ha.

In any case, I've been dealing with a lot of issues lately: the lost luggage, having to buy a bunch of clothes, figuring the bus systems to get to my school, moving from studio to studio (finding a place to stay), catching up with my relatives, resolvng money issues, and having a shaky internet connection.

I open my email box to plenty of pleasant replies from my friends (thank you!), then I get to read something as retarded as this reply.

You know, when I was like 15 years old I would care if somebody ripped off a "design" I did, but I'm pretty much past that stage now. It's ridiculous because in face of my current problems, someone has the audacity to whine and bitch like an 9-year old that I'm not helping them with a trivial problem like website design theft.

In no way and I condoning what this person has done, but there are "effective" ways to get me to do something when I'm overseas, but this person manages to not even fill one way.

Of course, it does deserve mention that she *did* message me before (scroll down that same page) in a polite manner. But jeez, sorry that I was busy GOING TO KOREA and resolving issues that are a bit more important than "design theft."

And I just love the pseudo-legal threats. You think that I'm going to be stupid enough to do something for you if you wave around a legal flag that you have no right waving around? Assuming I'm even *at* fault, her page says she lives in canada. You know what the success rate is in resolving disputes like this across borders over something I'm not making any financial gains off of?

Oh yeah. Zip. Haha.

Whatever, I posted a nice response to the person who sent in those requests. I'll be interested in hearing her response...

And whatever happened to resolving your own problems? Are we to hold ISPs and community service providers responsible for the actions of their members? Do we hold a mall responsible if something bad happens by one of the shoppers?

Bleh. Maybe I'm just being cynical cause I have an arseload of things to deal with and this girl manages to start griping about design theft like it's the end of the world.
Posted by roy on June 8, 2004 at 11:19 PM in Ramblings | 32 Comments
Just got back online after that post yesterday to find my inbox filled with great little Tabulas comments. I'm especially loving the little flame war going on here.

Here I will debunk common beliefs by Ms. Elena Dan:

1.) Elena, I am in Korea. I cannot resolve to a NY ISP. Unfortunately for you, the only time I even visited your site was a few minutes ago to see how "original" your design is to see how much injustice has been done. I have no intentions nor do I want to "secretly" flame you in your blog.

2.) I am fully capable of deleting your comments and banning you from the whole site. But I'm getting a very good laugh out of all this ... seeing how worked up someone can get over something so simple. Please... continue to make a fool of yourself in my journal :) I think a lot of people are getting a good laugh out of it.

3.) I'm not sure if you listened and implemented a quick .htaccess to deny images, but I don't see bandwidth "theft" any more. Also, this person (minzywee) is not making any attempts to say this is hers; she's left all references to your website active. I wouldn't be surprised if someone was just messing around one day and seeing how far the templating engine would go.

4.) Minzywee hasn't posted since May 15th. I doubt anybody is even visiting that site, except for you, agonizing over the loss of "design theft."

5.) Let me give you a hint here: You are not a great designer. Hell, you're not even a good designer. I'm sorry, but you're probably about to hit that "Comment" button and respond the same to me. Guess what? I know I'm not a great designer ... or a great programmer. I've written about security issues on end and end on this site, fully addressing the problems. I've said this, but this site is a learning experience for me. So your little comments laughing at the downfalls of Tabulas are not gonig to botehr me one bit. I post them on the main page so people are aware of the problems and now there is a transparency between this project and the people using it.

My point here is this: Don't go around making a huge deal out of something so inane. I mean really, do you ahve to spend so much time on such a simple object ... can't you swallow your pride for a second and send me a proper email?

6.) You acting like a bitch will not resolve this issue any further. Furthermore, continuing to flame me or anybody else is not goingg to resolve this issue any faster. As I have said time and time again, the moment you start acting civilly and give me some time to get my stuff together, I will be glad to help you out.

7.) Get a life.

In conclusion, Elena, I will be glad to help you out. Any continued comments and flames will be ignored. Feel free to send me an email and I will be glad to help you out. Any emails containing flames or continuing this discussion will be promptly deleted.

Sorry to drag all the extended readership of my blog here. I won't post any more on this issue.
Posted by roy on June 9, 2004 at 09:28 PM in Ramblings | 11 Comments
I got called in yesterday to stand-in for some teachers here at the hakwon (Korean for private school) ... I had to teach a class with an 11-year old and a class for a 16-year old (so they were more like back-to-back tutoring sessions).

I was pretty excited ... the material was pretty easy, so I'm guessing the wonjangneem (headmaster, sort of) was just letting me get into the groove of teaching (since I had never taught before).

The kids here are pretty bright, but I think they're taking too much of a mechanical view of English. They can read the words very well, but they don't quite comprehend what the words mean... the 16-year old could read Animal Farm, but when I would ask a question about the subject matter, he would just stammer and look at me.

I get to teach SAT Math and SAT Verbal (and some SAT US History) ... I think teaching the math section will be pretty straightforward, but I want to really make an impact on the verbal section. The subject material moves very quickly, and I think I might have to do some 1 on 1 sessions with a bunch of the slower students, but I'm honestly relishing the idea. I'm only getting salaried for 6 hours/day for 4 days, but I think I'll be working more (not that I particularly care...). I really want to do this hakwon a service by doing my best... and most of all I want to help these Korean kids excel on the SAT.

I just took the SAT again, and scored slightly below my high school score ... at least I still have retained some of that knowledge :)

Now to go prepare for Monday's class.. SO EXCITED! =)
Posted by roy on June 9, 2004 at 09:38 PM in Travel | 3 Comments
Have any of you ever refridgerated your pants? I refridgerated my pants last night ... you know ... just to see what it was like. And let me tell you, it was cool (lame pun TOTALLY intended... roffles).

It's kinda weird cause everything is so cold, and the feeling doesn't last more than half a minute... but it was rather interesting.

I will (finally) be getting my luggage later today. W00t.
Posted by roy on June 10, 2004 at 07:16 PM in Ramblings | 10 Comments
Sorry for the lack of updates - I have seriously been unable to visit any internet cafes since the last post...

Yesteday was my first day teaching. The day started off with someone calling me at 9am (my first class is *at* 9am). It was the headmaster (woman) who was wondering where I was.

My alarm clock hadn't gone off. Great start. The rest of the day got progressively better, so I guess that was good. In the end, it was a tough day. Adjusting to how "things work" around here and teaching three classes a day (6 hours) ... is very tiring. I never realized how much talking I would have to do.

In any case, today has been a LOT better. Now that I'm starting to get into the routine and my schedule is getting set, things are going to be a lot smoother. I went through both lessons today managing time perfectly well... quite the opposite of yesterday, when I couldn't manage the time if my life depended on it.

It's very different teaching... to be put into a position where there's a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, yet I'm still told what to do. I thought i would have a lot more leniency in the way I taught my class, but there's some structure to them that I cannot avoid. So I guess that's OK.

My 9am - 11am class is teaching three 7th/8th graders some SAT vocabulary and reading the Phantom Tollbooth with them. The class is two boys and one girl, and the two boys are such jokers... they love to mess with me. I had to give them a vocab quiz and they kept asking me inane questions... which is great. It's so much better than starting off your morning with a boring class where nobody talks.

My 11am - 1pm class is a SAT class for 9th/10th graders... those kids who will take the New SAT. There are about 11 of them, so they're really quiet. I think they don't really know each other well so they're all pretty shy. So I'm just in general trying to keep the atmosphere light (joking around and making a general fool of myself as I usually do) to try to get them to open up. I think it's working, because the kids were a lot more receptive.

My 4pm - 6pm class is teaching 12th graders the old SAT format. There's only three of them, and they're all pretty serious, so the class is less humorous. I guess with the stress of the SAT weighing on their shoulders, they're a lot less willing to mess around, which is great with me.

My voice is starting to wear out, as I've never had to use it so much. I've been trying to rest my voice whenever I can so I can last a while.

The amazing thing is the general pace of the course. Every Friday the kids take a practice SAT test... they meet for 4 hours a day (2 hours of critical reading/writing and 2 hours of verbal/math) ... and on top of general homework, they have to learn up to 75 words a day. A day. Then they are quizzed on all 75 words ... every day. It's really difficult, but I'm really amazed at how well some of these kids cope. I rarely see this type of diligence at the high school level in America.

As for any news on Tabulas... I cannot find a internet cafe close to where I live (Honggik University) that has Windows XP and USB ports in the front. I bought a power adaptor so I can boot up my craptop at my apt, but I cannot transfer the stuff onto the web. Grrr.
Posted by roy on June 14, 2004 at 09:53 PM in Travel | 4 Comments
The problem: Our protagonist finds himself running out of socks. He is down to two lonesome pairs of socks. He has not yet run out of undershirts (although he is getting close) and he has plenty of boxers.

Should he learn how to do the laundry in Korea or buy some more socks, thus delaying the problem for a few days?


For the first time in a long while, I've had the opportunity just to hang out for some time. This week so far I've left the apt around 8am and come back around 10pm. Pretty killer.

I found out they disconnected my free cable TV (I guess paid from the previous tenant)... time to go find out how much it costs to turn it back on.

I'm really loving being in Korea. Even if I'm pretty lonely, I've always believed that people should (while young) always be pushing for new experiences. This is definitely a trying period, but I can feel myself growing. And that's what it's all about, right? Growth.

I never realized how much preparing I would have to do to teach. I mean, it's one thing just to teach for 6 hours a day, but it's a whole another thing to prepare.

My voice is starting to wear down really badly. I've never had to talk for so long so loudly (I'm a pretty soft-spoken person).

So two of my classes has to cover 75 SAT vocabulary words a day. It's pretty intense for kids who don't even speak English. But I'm pretty amazed at the kids who do well on the vocab quiz (although I'm pretty sure that they're doing rote memorization instead of learning the meanings) ...

I totally want to try to push these kids not only to just do rote memorization, but to understand. To that end, I've really started making a fool of myself, to try to open them up. I think building rapport with the students is essential; once you build that rapport I can really understand their strengths and weaknesses and try to tailor some of their workloads to addressing these strengths and weaknesses.
Posted by roy on June 16, 2004 at 04:48 AM in Travel | 3 Comments
What's with all the Lakers hating? I mean, really? A lot of people don't like the fact that GP and Malone signed just to try to get a ring ... but what most of you don't realize is the work required to get that ring. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to cap a great career with a championship, and if your current team doesn't favor those chances, then you jump ship. Why do you think free agency was invented?

I love LA because the team represents the city in such a great way. I also love them because they are one of the most entertaining teams to watch and follow. The Kobe and Shaq feud was great to follow ... and then the whole general implosion of the team against the Spurs, then to watch them rally and stomp the Spurs and then defeat the TWolves, it was so awesome to watch.

The Lakers not getting the championship doesn't diminish their amazing season. GP apart, Malone was great in accepting his reduced role and focusing on the defense and getting the team to hustle. Kobe had to manage his alleged rape trial as well as coping with a bad shoulder and having to deal with no off-season training due to injuries. Shaq is getting older, but he still has these flashes of brilliances which remind of what he used to be.

If Karl hadn't gotten injured, and if somebody else from the Lakers could of stepped up and dropped their wide-open shots, the Lakers could of done a lot better. As Mark Cuban points out: " The real reason the Pistons won is that they had people who could hit open jumpshots. Rip, Chauncey, Elden Campbell, and even Ben Wallace, whenever there was a double team they seemed to hit the open shot. The Lakers couldn’t hit that shot if their life depended on it. It wasn’t great defense that left Slava, Fish, Payton, Walton and Rush wide open for jumpers that would not fall. If there was a theme throughout the playoffs, it was the team that had its first and then its 3rd or 4th option hit their open jumpers, won the game. Shaq and Kobe needed help from somewhere, they didn’t get it. Detroit was playing 5 on 2 defense. That makes their life a lot easier and makes any defense look good."

To me, the Pistons defeating the Bucks, the Nets, and the Pacers is not even half as impressive as the Lakers having to beat the Rockets, the defending champions Spurs, and then the Garnett-lead Timberwolves. Having Malone take on Duncan and then Garnett really wore him down...

Maybe next year, Lakers. Maybe... just drop GP. Seriously.
Posted by roy on June 16, 2004 at 09:28 PM in Sports | 4 Comments
I'm slowly getting set-up here at work. I found myself with about 2 hours to kill between classes (and I had nothing pressing to do, for ONCE!) so I used one of the computers they had and started setting up software. I installed Firebird (WOW, 0.9 IS AWESOME! SO MUCH BETTER THAN 0.8!) ... but I need to get a USB driver so I can use the USB diskkey ... or else this is all pointless.

I emailed Samsung (I have a Samsung 256MB usb diskkey, no model number) ... hopefully they can help me find the proper drivers... they hooked me up once before (so I could use the diskkey on my craptop with Win98). I also found out the USB drive is pretty easily accessible from this computer ... and I downloaded a few SSH programs (although Putty doesn't work on Korean Win98 computers due to bad international keyboard support).

Hopefully by next week I'll have everything ready here so I can get some work done...
Posted by roy on June 16, 2004 at 10:24 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment
Pretty odd that the first place I end up working a "normal" job is halfway around the world from my "home."

I've pulled in way more hours than I should of during my first week, but I'm feeling oddly at peace. I don't feel tired (well, besides a physical fatigue that'll set in after teaching for 8 hours a day...) ... and I feel so happy that I am blessed enough to have this job.

It's an inexplicable feeling, but I feel like I'm doing something worthwhile. I really care about my students, and seeing their scores improve (although I am fully away that it's probably not my teaching methods that are directly attributed to the rise in scores but more hours put in at home) ... really makes me feel happy. And today one of my students came to talk to me after class about her worries on the SAT (!!!!). I'm earning their trust, and that is such a wonderful teacher. I'm a mentor. Wow. How I've grown...

It also feels nice to work in a small business, where I can talk and interact directly with the owner. It doesn't make me feel bad that I'm neglecting my own deeds.

I've never liked Uni much because it's such a selfish task. The quest for self-knowledge. Sure, that's great, but I've seen too many students become way too self-absorbed in their own studies and things (of which I am totally guilty over the past three years), that it feels so nice, for once, to be at the service of others.

Like I've said before, my never-ending quest is to constantly discover more about myself through my experiences (... speaking of self-absorption, har har...), and this experience so far has totally been what I needed. Dealing with a new country in a place where my language skills are not as good, with new customs ... and a different 'way' of doing things is so wonderful. Being alone has also been a blessing ... a lot of "alone" time to ponder things, and not being tempted to be sucked into the Korean drinking culture. But yeah, self-growth. I feel like I'm going to be a changed person when I get back...

The permanent staff at the school are women (the owner, vice president, and the secretary) ... and that has also been a great blessing. For some reason, I feel like they work harder and treat me with more respect than a man would treat me... not really sure what exactly it is ... but it's just a better situation. Thank goodness I came to work here.

My Korean is getting better, and I'm starting to "get into the rhythm" of the Korean lifestyle, so things are going so smoothly.

I feel at such peace. It's so nice.
Posted by roy on June 17, 2004 at 05:04 AM in Travel | 7 Comments
Cory Doctorow's speech on DRM at Microsoft is excellent and relevant for each and every one of us. We're fighting a digital war on who owns what's being produced in our society ... give it a read. It'll open your eyes.
Posted by roy on June 19, 2004 at 09:36 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
So I've used my iPod and iTunes enough to write about it. Similar to my ex-roommate's (why does that prefix 'ex' have such a negative connotation??? it shouldn't!) experiences, it's so easy to use. So try to stay away from the store. There is DRM which limits each song to being played only on 3 computers. ARghhhhhh.

But in any case, issues I have with the iPod:

1.) Horrible Battery Power: The site says 8 continuous hours. Yeah, right. More like 6 hours. Furthermore, my meter doesn't read properly half the time; I'll have charged the battery all night and it'll still say it's only 20% charged. Good, one Apple.

2.) The "Let's Turn On" problem: Whenever I plug in my iPod to charge, it turns on. And starts playing music. How retarded is that? Even if the hold button is on and the iPod was off prior to plugging it in for charging, it'll turn off. If the iPod is off before I plug it in, it should remain off when I plug it in.

3.) Freezing? I'm not sure if I'm expecting too much, but sometimes the iPod freezes. Little jerks here and there. Once in a while it'll just do a complete freeze (in which case I have to do a hard reset).

4.) Bad touch sensitivity: This has mostly to do with the "off" button (holding the 'Play/Pause' button for "3 seconds" will turn off the iPod), but half the time, it won't respond. I have to then try AGAIN to turn off the iPod. Bad bad bad sensitivity.

5.) "Touch" Screens: I don't like the touch buttons. It's hard to "use" my iPod without staring directly at it. My CD player I can operate completely without looking at it by feel. The iPod I have to take OUT and then make changes.

6.) Intuitive? Uh, right. I don't care who tells you what, the iPod is *not* intuitive by any measure. If you start using it for a while, then it becomes intuitive. Whose idea was it to not even set a "shuffle mode" explicitly on the iPod? I have to set the option of Repeat - All to shuffle through a selection. And the selection, oh goodness. Where is the option to "play this one song then shuffle through everything on the iPod?" As it is, I have to set the "Songs" Folder to display the songs, select the song, and set the "Repeat - All" feature. But who wants to display the "Song" folder? It's not really effective to manage 11 gigs of songs through the "Songs" album.

7.) Bad playlist management: You can only manage and create playlists through iTunes, with the exception of the "queue" list. Why can't there be an app where I can create playlists within the iPod?

8.) Useless extra features: Contacts list? Address list? What the heck? How about you scrap the useless crap on the iPod and give me some useful features?

15 gigabytes of storage is nice, but sometimes I think the iPod is a bit overhyped. I haven't used anything else so I really don't have much to compare to ... but there are a *lot* of things wrong with the iPod that one would not expect with a company of Apple's standings.
Posted by roy on June 19, 2004 at 09:57 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
Bush told he is playing into Bin Laden's hands: "A senior US intelligence official is about to publish a bitter condemnation of America's counter-terrorism policy, arguing that the west is losing the war against al-Qaida and that an "avaricious, premeditated, unprovoked" war in Iraq has played into Osama bin Laden's hands."

NYT Review of the new Clinton biography: "As his celebrated 1993 speech in Memphis to the Church of God in Christ demonstrated, former President Bill Clinton is capable of soaring eloquence and visionary thinking. But as those who heard his deadening speech nominating Michael Dukakis at the 1988 Democratic National Convention in Atlanta well know, he is also capable of numbing, self-conscious garrulity.

Unfortunately for the reader, Mr. Clinton's much awaited new autobiography "My Life" more closely resembles the Atlanta speech, which was so long-winded and tedious that the crowd cheered when he finally reached the words "In closing . . ."

The book, which weighs in at more than 950 pages, is sloppy, self-indulgent and often eye-crossingly dull — the sound of one man prattling away, not for the reader, but for himself and some distant recording angel of history."

One of my co-workers is a proud Canuck (we often trade fun little barbs making fun of each country), and we have nice political-related discussions (he's a polisci major at Uni of Toronto). One of the questions that was brought up was "Why are Americans so obsessed with JFK?"

Good question. As I covered in a related earlier post, Americans are obsessed with premature death; we give the dead person the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their natural abilities and what they "could" of done.

Now, let's juxtapose the death of a young, charismatic leader who did accomplish a lot during his short tenure. Given our list of ineffectual Presidents, you can really see why we do obsess with JFK. He COULD of done SO MUCH.

Maybe I'm a bit harsh on the expectations of our Presidents, but I can't really think of a "great" President within our lifetime. Clinton was charismatic but ineffectual. Bush is effective but uncharismatic (with the whole "what the hell is he doing?" aspect). Bush Sr. was uncharismatic but managed to accomplish enough without stepping on too many toes a less radical version of Bush Jr. ... Reagan was the right leader for the right time and did pull the US out of its financial troubles and did lay the proper economic groundwork for Clinton to reap the rewards of the '90s... Of course before that we had Carter/Ford/Nixon... all equally boring.

What the hell? Why can't we not have good Presidents? And with our current "crop" of Presidents ... Nader, Kerry and Bush Jr., things do not look promising. You know things are bad when people are voting for John Kerry because they hate the incumbent so much.

Posted by roy on June 19, 2004 at 10:08 PM in Ramblings | 2 Comments
by Samuel Ullman

Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being's heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what's next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the infinite, so long are you young.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.
Posted by roy on June 19, 2004 at 10:30 PM in Ramblings | Add a comment
Kansas Tax Law: "The fact that dealing marijuana and controlled substances is illegal does not exempt it from taxation. Therefore drug dealers are required by law to purchase drug tax stamps."

Posted by roy on June 21, 2004 at 09:32 PM in Foolishness | Add a comment
Super, a prefix meaning 'above.' Random vocabulary fart.

I've definitely felt myself growing a bit since I've gotten here. I've actually had a chance to read books and teach myself some stuff (Javascript!).

In any case, I was listening to some "Get Up Kids" while eating McDonald's here (quick digression: the Shanghai Spicy Chicken Sandwich in Korean McDonald's is equivalent to the Wendy's Spicy Chicken Sandwich. It is VERY GOOD! It seems fast food in Korea has improved since my last visit), and I was thinking of all the poor people you see.

Realizing that I've been blessed with two great, intelligent, open-minded, stable parents ... coming from a land of blessings like the US have opened up my eyes towards the way other people live. Not to say one way of life is inferior to others, but the American way of life is defintely conducive to living a long life.

In any case, if I could ever obtain a superpower, I would want the ability to look into people's souls. A lame superhero, I know... nothing like Gambit's ability to kinetically charge objects he touches or even Wolverine's unbreakable bones. But wouldn't it be so enlightening to be able to just look at someone and see their life story? How did they overcome diversity? How did growing up in a culture like Korean give different outlooks?

The American life is not about overcoming adversity (in general), but more about learning about the adversity of others and applying it to ourselves. Well, in my case anyways. I know a lot of you are faced with adversity in a day-by-day case (and for some, adversity on a more profound level) ... and I'm not trying to belittle your problems. But in general, the problems of an average American are really nothing compared to the problems of the citizens of third-world nations.
Posted by roy on June 21, 2004 at 09:56 PM in Ramblings | 5 Comments
... but you can never take the computer from the boy. Or something. I'm not really coherent right now.

I'm sitting here at the hakwon at 830 PM, taking advantage of the free internet.

But take a wild guess at what I'm doing... (unfortunately not anything Tabulas/Lightbox/Audiomatch related yet)...

I am developing a web app. For "fun."

Actually, I had a helluva weekend grading about 15 SATs this weekend manually. Breaking down grade distribution by questions and grading them... was not fun. So I'm writing a quick PHP app that will let me input an answer key and the students' answers and do get me the SAT score instantaneously along with a breakdown of the most problematic questions ... and with all that fun statistical data.

I'm such a dork.
Posted by roy on June 23, 2004 at 03:26 AM in Ramblings | 4 Comments
For some reason, I'm really grooving this Jimmy Eat World song:

(continue to see the lyrics)
Posted by roy on June 23, 2004 at 10:50 PM in Music | 2 Comments
So finally my week has ended. I find myself here at the local Internet Cafe (a "PC Bang"), sitting in front of a cool fan, finally being able to dress myself in my gym shorts, t-shirt, sandels, and my trusty old Carolina hat while writing the thoughts that cross my fatigued mind.

I actually have a variety of topics I want to write about ... stuff I've pondered while sitting around on the bus, or while teaching class ... etc.

My co-workers are awesome, which is keeping me sane. Joseph is cultured guy who represents that inner jack-of-all-trades type of guy... he is pursuing music (he says that if his band's music was polled, most people wouldn't even call it music ... ) but he also has "employable skills." He's well-versed in many things and you can talk about with just about anything. There are two Johns (one Jonathan and one John) who are equally interesting.

Jonathan is a polisci major from University of Toronto who is a complete Canadian patriot. He will never fail to tell me when some celebrity is Canadian ... and he loves to talk about politics with me. My anti-Kerry (which admittedly turns to pro-Bush given the lack of choices) stances are particularly interesting to him; he gets to meet face-to-face with the stereotyped redneck American. Har har.

The other John is another musical nut from Austin, Texas. A very interesting guy, although I haven't had a chance to really talk to him too much besides talking about our iPods and our interests in music.

Christine is from Canada; I haven't really talked to her too much.

Patricia is somewhere from California. We shared a class (each class gets split into two two-hours segments) and we had a fun time talking about the class (a bunch of rowdy 7th and 8th graders). For some reason, we've not had too much trouble clicking and are having fun jabbing away at each other (repartees!).

Two new teachers joined us today. Don't really know too much about them, although one of them remarked, "I really like the atmosphere here."

And that does sum up the situation. Having the top two people in "power" at the hakwon (private school for those of you who don't kno) being women has a really positive effect. Things don't seem so strict. Plus, them two and the secretary LOVE to joke around... I had been spending a lot of time with Jonathan (we catch lunch/dinner when we have time and we went and saw Shrek last Saturday) ... so they started joking around that we were "dating." Of course, I play along, much to Jonathan's chagrin...

I finally got the small app for grading SATs done. Basically it lets you create classes, SAT exams, and students. You can create a SAT exam and upload an answer key, and then input each student's answer key. Based on this, it first grades the SAT (thus returning their SAT score) and then generates some meta-data which is crucial to me: which questions most of the class gets wrong.

My SAT students took their second SATs today, and the grades weren't too much better, which is slightly discouraging to me. I feel like a small step should of been made. But I'll work harder this week and try to get these kids on the right track.

Surprisingly, most of them have trouble on the math portion (along the obvious gaping holes in the verbal). This makes things harder than I originally imagined; I have to spend more time on math (and thus less on verbal... agh!).

I think my students and I are building a rapport; I love to joke around with them, and they're opening up to me (in the form of making fun of me... why do people keep making fun of me?!?!?!?). This will be good as I continue to get to know their academic weaknesses better. I think starting next week I'm really going to zero in on some problematic students and try to get them to work hard.

There was this one girl, Sooyeon, who would always fail her vocabulary quizzes (if you do, you have detention and have to retest until you get them right). Well, she finally got a 97% today after failing all week! I was totally ecstatic ... maybe I didn't have a damn thing to do with her improvement, but it does feel _good_ to have my students doing well. There is another girl, Joowon, who is a perennial fail-er (almost typed that 'failure,' oops!). I think she is perfectly capable of remembering the words, but she's just not trying. Time for some one-on-one action to motivate her to do some more studying...

So with the arrival of two more teachers, I got to pass off my 7th/8th grader classes to one of the two new teachers, Jennifer (who happens to be related to the hakwon's owner...). I'm so glad. The class has two boys, Wontae and Kyungjun, who are such troublemakers. They are both incredibly bright, but love to mess around with me. I think they have a general problem with authority, because they feel they are 'better' than it. Well, Kyungjun just doesn't seem to care, but Wontae, I believe, feels that he is 'too smart' for some of the teachers.

In any case, the depressing part is that I think they were just starting to look up to me. Yesterday, they managed to get me off-topic (I was supposed to be discussing the Phantom Tollbooth), so I started this long digression on America and its blunders in foreign policy in the Middle East. I detailed the creation of the Israeli state, the constant warfare between the Israelis and Arabs, our blunders in dealing with Iran/Iraq (Contra Scandal), and wrapped it all up with the recent war.

I did a damn good job of keeping the talk historical and keeping any politics out of it. I gave them both sides of every argument and for the first time, they were so quiet and didn't interrupt me. They listened and kept asking questions about "why didn't it happen like this?" And for the first time, I felt like I was really "teaching" them something interesting... something they wanted to learn.

In general, I find middle school/high school boys quite interested in history ... especially those that have to do with warfare. Perhaps people should spend more time trying to teach these kids who are willing to learn ... learning history is so darned beneficial in so many ways ... hmm.

Well, I'm going to finish this entry up and play a bit of Starcraft. I have a lot more left to write tonight ... =)
Posted by roy on June 25, 2004 at 05:14 AM in Travel | 4 Comments
One of the assumed unstated rules of Korea is: "All rules can be bent."

Being an American in Korea is quite nice, because you can get what you want.

For example, I was down at CoEX mall a while back, and I realized I had run out of money to buy additional clothes.

So I went into the local bank to exchange $88 to Korean won. A seemingly simple task, but I was not carrying my passport with me. For some reason, the Koreans require a passport to exchange money ...

... so what did I do when the nice man said in Korea, "Do you have your Korean ID?"

I simply replied, "Huh? English??"

You see, I was betting on the fact that it would be more difficult for this guy to start speaking English than it would be just to switch up $88. It's not like I'm trying to launder money here...

... so the guy behind the counter starts staring at me. I start staring back. It was a staredown ... a battle of the wills...

... the nice man calls his underling over and tells her to grab him the last person who exchanged American dollars. Without even hesitating, the girl grabs the last sheet ... and the guy just adds $88 to their total and converts the money to me.

It's so nice to use ignorance to get what you want :o) This works a lot more than you would think ...
Posted by roy on June 25, 2004 at 07:37 AM in Travel | 3 Comments
Not being able to readily update Tabulas has not meant (dear lord, I wrote 'meaned' there ... damn my Engrish...) that I have not thought about how much *work* needs to be done on the whole system.

So here are some random links I've been reading that I have found immensely interesting that have to do with software development and the future of software development (or so we think). \

21 Rules of Thumb – How Microsoft develops its Software: 21 rules to follow when shipping software.

Joel Spolsky: Things You Should Never Do: Never Rewrite Code From Scratch: I wish someone had told me this about 4 months ago. It is a definitely a lesson I've taken to heart now...

Dave Shea: Web applications are the future: Yes, I most definitely feel strongly about this. That is why I invested $50 USD in that Javascript book. The developers in demand a few years from now will be those who can mix in standardized CSS/HTML with the proper scripting knowledge to throw up short development cycled programs while leverage Javascript to provide a great user interface (HTML Forms are incredibly 'clunky' when it comes to user interfaces).

The point has been made again and again that GMail's big "thing" for web developers is that it shows what *can* be possible. You *can* compete with desktop applications if you bring the right features to the table. I wrote vaguely about this concept in my earlier entry about this.

As a side note, I'm beginning to believe that scripting should be taught to most high-school level kids. Forget Java... just work with something as simple as PHP. From conception to implementation, the SAT program I wrote (which saved me at least 4+ hours this week alone, compounded over 8 weeks) took two days of on-and-off hacking. Sure, the UI sucks and the thing is ridden with security holes, but the point is that I got it up and running in two days. The development cycle in Java would be a lot longer than that. Sometimes "quick and dirty" works just fine for small applications.

Ok, more on this later. For now, I am seeing some friends in Apgujeong...
Posted by roy on June 26, 2004 at 02:21 AM in Web Development | 1 Comments
If you've tried to work with Tabulas over the last 12 hours, you can see why I keep saying it sucks. No graceful failing when one of the servers goes down.


Edit: Shit, things are getting progressively worse. I'm denied SSH access (bad login, but I know I'm using the right username/password) and all the httpd pages have been replaced with the default "ensim" page.

Crap crap crap.

Edit 2: So I initially freaked out that my server had been reformatted. When I first checked to see the server (after my hosting company reset the password so I could SSH in) ... I noticed none of the sites were the right sites.

So I thought, maybe ... someone hacked my server and is using it for their purposes? But the timestamps on the folders were not right. They were far too old.

So at this time, I think the hosting company somehow switched the servers (physically) ... weird weird. Let's hope they figure it out, and let's hope I get some compensation for this. Two days of downtime is no good :/

Oh yeah ... I (finally) have a gmail account, although I won't be checking it too often. royboycop@gmail.com ... word
Posted by roy on June 26, 2004 at 07:39 PM in Ramblings | 3 Comments
Um, someone explain me the reasoning behind trying to use NATO to push security forces into Iraq? As much as I still feel like the right thing is being done in Iraq, I don't think NATO should be involved. The US decided to go in there alone, then we should be sticking in there alone and seeing the whole process through. Bush needs to quit trying to appease voters and do what he thinks is right.

In regards to the recent beheading of the South Korean in Iraq ... it's one of the first moments I felt truly 'disgusted.' Sure, I had seen the Nick Berg and the second beheading video ... but this one felt "different." Is it because the South Koreans really didn't ask to be there? I'm not sure. We'll never really know ...

... but, kudos to the South Korean government for not succumbing to the demands of the terrorist group. It's a tough decision, but the South Koreans have always been quite a reliable ally to the United States even during the many foreign policy blunders that have checkered the US' history over the past 50 years (did you know the South Koreans had the second largest foreign Army in Vietnam, second only to the US? This was done as a token of appreciation for the US/UN-led intervention during the Korean War.

I mentioned a few days ago that I talked to the 7th/8th grader class about some political issues. One of the questions they asked is WHY, on a humantiarian level, so many Americans supported to the Iraq war. It's hard to explain subtle politics to 7th/8th graders in rudimentary English, but I explained that with the mess that is the Middle East, most idealistic Americans would like to see a strong stabilized democratic nation in the Middle East to help move the Arabic nations away from despotism towards some sort of democratic system (note that this has *nothing* to do with uprooting Islam) ... in the same way the Americans helped the Koreans during the Korean War when we were "fighting" communism, our current 'war' is against terrorism. But, unlike Communism, terrorism is a real threat that every country is affected by. Most European nations (France, Spain, England) are afflicted by terrorism (Algerians, Basque separatists, IRA), as are various other nations across the world.

In that same way, we hope that getting helping Iraq get into the democratic way-of-life will yield us great benefits (just like helping the S. Koreans 50 years ago helped to create the prosperous S. Korea state today).

Disclaimer: I realize there's a lot of nuances that make the Korean War with the Gulf War II different, but the general humanitarian ideals are the same. We believe that in helping, we can help build a better future.
Posted by roy on June 26, 2004 at 11:01 PM in Ramblings | 5 Comments
So Lightbox7/xml.tabulets.com/audiomatch.net have been down for two days. What turned into a normal hard reboot request to my hosting provider after a soft reboot couldn't be accomplished turned into a nightmare.

What basically happened is they binded my IP address to another dead server with a bunch of Arabic sites on it ... and then claimed that was mine.

Well, things are worked out and Lightbox7/audiomatch/everything is back to normal :)

(one of my new favorite songs from the Mario Winans CD that I bought via iTunes before leaving for Korea...)
Posted by roy on June 27, 2004 at 04:03 AM in Personal | Add a comment
On a vain note, my website has completely dissappeared from Google???

Ahh what the heck?!

On a related note, whoa, nice site, jinshil! I just noticed you in my Tabulas referral log... love the layout!
Posted by roy on June 27, 2004 at 04:32 AM in Ramblings | 5 Comments

Edit: One thing I will never back off is my hatred towards French politics. Look at France acting like it's a big-bad-nation.

And to note that Chiraq is blocking Bush's bid to use some of NATO's forces in Afghanistan ... things don't look too great.

How is France still a country after pissing off so many people? You would of thought the British would of bitchslapped some sense and respect into the French politicans; they almost seem like resentful little kids who are trying to get attention since they feel so neglected.

I also dislike Quebec. That is all.

Posted by roy on June 28, 2004 at 09:11 PM in Ramblings | 1 Comments
I'm not sure what entirely possesses me to a.) listen to this stupid song, b.) walk to the local PC bang to write this entry when I am dead tired or c.) what makes me even want to Tabulate instead of playing some Brood War to unwind... but here goes another whirlwind post.

I'm beginning to like my Korea stay. I think whenever I travel to another country, I go through different phases on whether I'm liking my stay or not. So right now, I like it. But capriciously, I will probably start disliking it tomorrow. Or something.

Teaching is so tough. I never had much respect for teachers ... but boy, has that changed. I'm not sure whether it's because my job is actually harder than it sounded, but I'm pretty much a teacher 24/7. Although I'm only "contracted" to work 24 hours a week (6 hours a day for 4 days), I am pretty much always at the school from 9am --> 9pm every day).

The 6 hours is teaching ... the difficult part is I teach three 'different' SAT classes. Two of them are new track, but they are different levels, so I prepare slightly different lesson plans for both. The other class is the Old Track SAT class ... the problem is I assign homework to all three classes, but I also have to do the friggin' homework (and be able to explain it). Compound this with the fact that I usually have to spend a lot of time grading each assignment (I do not like for a 'menial' office person to do my grading because grading helps me learn more about the student; I can learn their weaknesses and help address those problems on a personal level) ... and you can see where all the time goes.

Of course, I also teach both verbal and math sections, so I have to prepare tons of lessons. Between grading, doing the kids' homeworks, grading their homework, and taking the practice SAT tests to explain each answer and also to check for errors in the actual SAT test ... I'm left with 0 time to do anything else, which is fine. Being busy is so great; I can finally push out my problems and my thoughts ... I tend to think a lot and sometimes this is probably the direct reason why I've had various sleeping problems in the past. But when I come back at 930pm, I pass out. So it's great. I'm getting sleep, getting a new perspective on life (culturally and personally), getting paid, and having a good time by myself.

I also pick up a few random classes every week (each class being two hours), so I end up teaching 8 hours every few days. Which is fine, since I'm getting paid overtime (I think...)

. . .

In any case, when I first decided to come to Korea, I really didn't want to bring my camera (film was too expensive to develop, and I didn't want to lug my film scanner over here). But I just feel this urge to take photos of the cute little things I see every day ... so I ended up buying the Canon G5 (finally). I got a great deal on eBay ... got the camera, 128MB flash card, and the remote and all the normal stuff for a nice $450. Plus the guy is super nice (he isn't one of those "Power Sellers" I've grown to dislike) and will place personal attention ...

So once I get the camera, expect a lot of pictures :)

. . .

So the local restaurant I frequent is owned by this older couple, and they are totally nice. The personal attention paid by these people help me feel not isolated ... Koreans are truly incredibly nice (although the Southerns are definitely nice, the Korean 'niceness' is a bit different) and it's helping me cope quite well.

Plus, their daughter is totally cute. The type of girl I could imagine dating seriously. There's something about working girls that I love. Maybe it's their diligence or their acceptance that life is not about getting everything handed to you (I know, this is funny, coming from me, but at least I'm aware of my problem and am working to fix it!) ... not sure what it is. But I think whatever girl I marry will have to be a working girl. As much as I joke about marrying a 'rich girl' so I can be lazy for the rest of my life, I don't think I could deal with that.

. . .

Koreans are really obsessed with looking nice. The girls all wear unhealthy amounts of makeup, and the guys all dress really 'cool' (which means feminine, which you know coming from me actually is a euphemism for 'gay') ... so when I bust out my gym shorts and my Carolina ROYBOY (a gift from Mina and Christine a long time ago; I absolutely love it!), I look so underdressed.

But hey, comfort before style. I'm not here to impress no one. I'm here to make some money to help with Tabulas/Lightbox/Audiomatch growth (I should have a few thou I can invest in a better network architecture once I get back...)
Currently listening to: Vitamin C - Graduation (Friends Forever)
Posted by roy on June 29, 2004 at 06:02 AM in Travel | 6 Comments
Unfortunately, I was unable to see "Supersize Me" before I left for Korea. However, in place of watching the movie, I decided to start my own miniexperiment.

I have been gorging myself on McDonalds for ... close to 10 (work) days straight now for lunch. And I have yet to gain a pound from it. So, my own "experiment" is working out quite fine right now. And I'm still not sick of the McDonald's here (for some reason, some parts of the meal are better here... while some things, like french fries, are much much worse).

So last Wednesday, me and Jonathan were eating at the McDonald's here, when we both noticed one of the girls who worked there was very cute. We both commented, and dropped the subject. That day, one of my co-workers (the shir-jang-neem, or the Vice Principal sort of) mentioned that she had seen me eating at McDonald's quite often (I think that was Day 5 or something) ... and I jokingly replied that I was going there because of the hot girl.

Well, the joke has somewhat snowballed. This morning, one of the teachers (Patricia) ended up telling HER class, and then all MY classes found out (this is the "small workplace corollary to a rumor:" when you work in a small place, everybody finds out a rumor very very fast). So the 7th/8th graders I used to teach (before they split the morning SAT classes into two classes, so I had to take them both) were coming up to me going, "DO YOU REALLY LIKE A GIIIRRRLLL?"

I'm just playing along, and to cut a lengthy story short ... basically everyone was making fun of me. And naturally everyone became curious as to this "mystery girl" ... and how hot was she? What horrible tastes did Roy have in women? Did it match his horrible fashion sense and his total lack of humor? THEY MUST FIND OUT.

So one of the 7th and 8th graders (Kyungjun) followed me to McDonald's and we had lunch ... but like I had suspected, the girl no longer worked at the McDonald's. So he was totally dissappointed.

As I'm eating, two kids from my morning SAT classes pass by. I'm like, "What the heck are you two doing here?" They're like, "We're here to see your girl, but we didn't notice anybody hot today." They jokingly said that they thought I had meant the older woman who worked there as the object of my "affection."

Oh, the kids crack me up.

But the local McDonald's should give me some money for commission for getting so many of my students to eat at McDonalds. And I know for all the kids that went, I know at least the same amount walked by and peered in...
Posted by roy on June 30, 2004 at 01:39 AM in Ramblings | 7 Comments
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