Wednesday, December 20, 2006

8 seconds

Right now I have the most incredible hiccups. I can't even remember the last time I had the hiccups. These come with a periodicity of about 8 seconds and are really... fierce. Here's a fear I've had for many years: that I would be like that one guy with the world record and go on hiccupping for years.

Anyways, I explained the Mr. and Mrs. Smith love triangle to some of my students today. They didn't know who Jennifer Aniston was (the name anyway).

Oh! The Glory commercial just played! It's for men's clothing and it's definitely the closing score.

Yeah, honestly that's it.

I'm better at this than Ross

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Connecticut
  8. Delaware
  9. Florida
  10. Georgia
  11. Hawaii
  12. Idaho
  13. Illinois
  14. Indiana
  15. Iowa
  16. Kansas
  17. Kentucky
  18. Louisiana
  19. Maine
  20. Maryland
  21. Massachusetts
  22. Michigan
  23. Minnesota
  24. Mississippi
  25. Missouri
  26. Montana
  27. Nebraska
  28. Nevada
  29. New Hampshire
  30. New Jersey
  31. New Mexico
  32. New York
  33. North Carolina
  34. North Dakota
  35. Ohio
  36. Oklahoma
  37. Oregon
  38. Pennsylvania
  39. Rhode Island
  40. South Carolina
  41. South Dakota
  42. Tennessee
  43. Texas
  44. Utah
  45. Vermont
  46. Virginia
  47. Washington
  48. West Virginia
  49. Wisconsin
  50. Wyoming
Last night, Alice and I were watching Friends, and we got to the Thanksgiving episode where Ross can't name all 50 states. I wanted to give it a shot and could have done it in like 2 minutes, only I couldn't get more than 49. Eventually I googled a map, and LO, I forgot Wisconsin. Which makes sense, since it's in the W's, which just seemed like they were thrown in there to begin with. Also, I have a really hard time visualizing Wisconsin on the map. It's just that with Michigan, the sillhouette is very much like that of Minnesota, which I already do remember. So I draw the outline of the US fairly regularly, and like... Minnesota and the Michigan peninsula merge into like this one single pointy thing and Wisconsin is lost. Anyways, now I know and hopefully I won't forget again. By the way, the only reason I can do this at all is because of Mrs. Niehaus, who taught us a song that lists all the states in alphabetical order in 5th grade. I wonder if I'll still remember that song in like... 50 years.

Ok, ok, I've got one.

So I saw this on an ESL teacher forum last month, or like, 2 months ago. Or something.

What do you call a deer with no eyes?

Think about it.

Anyways, I've been listening to songs from Evita (the movie) and am toootally enamored of Antonio Banderas. Mostly his voice. Though now I'm really confused, because I went to imdb to figure out what movies he's been in, and it seems like I've only seen Evita and The Mask of Zorro. So like... how did I know who he was? Because I did. Something's not connecting here...

So, since my last entry, I've gotten rid of most of my anxiety. My Sunday class brightened up for two fun participatory lessons, but is now back to its slack, inattentive roots. It's so draining to teach them. The last lesson I had with them was like having blood taken for 2 hours. I won't deny that I'm fond of these kids, but do you know what would make me fonder? If they learned something from my classes, which I don't think they do. Anyways, the two classes we had that went well involved planning a 2 week vacation on a budget and movie creation where they had to come up with short scripts and premises. The group of 3 guys got into it and ended up portraying the murder of Jay Chou by one of their female classmates. It seemed a little mean at first because the idea is that she worships him and is excited to finally meet him in Milan. He says she's ugly, so she poisons him. But the girl didn't seem very offended, and the boy had an interesting falsetto. So... The other group did a heist story... only not really. A guy's brother was wrongly thrown into prison, so he robbed a bank with the intention of getting thrown into prison too so that they two of them could break out together. I think. Anyways, I could think of a lot of ways to go about getting someone out of prison that don't involve commencing your own criminal record, but whatevs. It seemed like it'd be a good movie anyway.

What movies did the other class come up with? Well, one of them, in which the girls dominated, did what was essentially a condensed Korean teledrama. Childhood friends go to college together, and the girl loves the guy but the guy doesn't love her and then he mysteriously disappears from the plot so that a new guy can win her heart by having wine spilled on him during a blackout at a party. Obviously the second relationship blossoms out of the ensuing animosity they feel for each other. The other group was less convicted, but they did come up with some interesting ideas. At first they were going to start with a commercial for glasses. Which is not what the assignment called for. Then it came down to a pair of magic glasses that let you see ghosts or magic creatures or something. Then it morphed into a fairytale-ish thing where a boy goes to live with his grandmother and gets into all sorts of accidents. Turns out there's an elf following him around and changing out his class speeches for girlie magazines and so on until he finds a pair of glasses that let him catch the elf. But the elf sneaks out again, steals the glasses, and continues his "sabotage." I think it's a good idea!

Did you get the answer yet?
What do you call a deer with no eyes?
No idear!
Now, what do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs?

I've settled into a kind of pattern for the Training Center classes... we go out of a book called Speak Naturally, a conversation guide from the 80s (very apparent in yesterday's class when the characters in the book started discussing the inflation, the reckless spending of Democrats, and the failing auto industry). The first half of class is pretty boring repeat after me stuff, but it's weird... I actually feel like it's important to do it. But then the 2nd half they go through the cued dialogues, which are pretty much the best part of the book, which is pretty sparse in itself, and I go around troubleshooting and stuff. I dunno, I think it's pretty fun. Attendance has dwindled to about half of the original number, with some people randomly coming and going. And it's like "whoa, I didn't know you were still coming." It's nice to have the smaller class though.

The current lesson for the high school is a pick-me-up. The last set of lessons was REALLY boring for me. I sort of lost my way with them, I think. I felt soooo unfun, which isn't cool. It's like, I try to give them lots of interesting new vocab to practice with, but they don't wanna... A lot of them don't take notes either.

My "boss" back in the US has given me something of an assignment. I'm supposed to do a report on teaching high schoolers? Something along those lines, and it's very exciting. I like assignments. Now, I realize that after all of my past tantrums and breakdowns, it's a little unconvincing, but I love writing papers! I imagine it's a lot like what doing drugs is like. Maybe... the opposite of what doing drugs is like. But the result is the same.

So partially because of that, and partially because it only seems right, I've asked to attend the students' English classes just to see what they're like. Mr. Yuan set me up with 3 classes, and I went to the first two last week. The 3rd years were nearing 2000 completed multiple choice questions in preparation for the entrance exams and the 1st years were reading newspaper-like things very similar to the ones we had in elementary school that taught us about Earth Day and stuff. It's like... their knowledge appears fairly advanced. It was really helpful for me in trying to structure my classes. Not that we have many more before the break, but you know. I think I'll be back next semester. The experience also sort of told me that Russ's class is a biiig step down the ladder for the kids. I mean, I had that idea to begin with, but... anyways, we're almost done.

It's not winter yet. Not officially for 2 days, right? It's real cold here though. It's interesting-- the ice here is like, 3-dimensional. It looks like gak, like someone threw water down and if froze immediately. It's pretty cool. The black ice on the street isn't as slippery as you'd think either. Mostly it's covered with dust and dirt so it's just like walking on the ground. People still really like to dump their water outside though, especially at the roots of trees. So there are layers of ice several inches thick between the edge of the sidewalk and the dirt holding each tree in place. It seems like it wouldn't be good for the trees, but they're standing their ground.

Last Friday we couldn't get a taxi and so my toes were frozen and unresponsive by the time we got on the bus. It was annoying, so I suggested that we have dinner at Pizza Hut. Oh! Which reminds me. I have something that I'm pretty sure none of you have: A Pizza Hut planner/calendar with a leather cover (fake? real? who knows?) with the Pizza Hut logo stamped into it, and the logo on every page (the waitress showed us that specifically). The back has coupons and the front has all the dialing codes for major cities and a listing of the holidays. All for Y6 with our meal! I dunno, I thought it was an all right deal.

What do you call a deer with no eyes and no legs?
Still no idear!

Ok, well... I think I will go now and possibly continue reading Jurassic Park, which is still pretty good and actually a bit more comprehensible after all these years. Seems much shorter. You know, I can actually remember where I was when I read all these parts? I was with my parents at Virginia Beach, and we'd been seated in a restaurant when I got to the part about the aviary, which I remembered being way more exciting than it was this time through.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


i'm really bitter right now because there's no water in my apartment, so the toilet won't flush and i had to brush my teeth with water from the purifying tank, which, by this exercise, i have discovered carries some very freaky, very *large* particles.

anyways, i've meant to update with fun stories about witnessing an attempted pocket-picking, the nature of ice in baotou, a fun package from my mother, the trip i'm planning in january, a series of successful classes, and a series of awfully boring ones (probably my bad), but yo, now is not the time. blllllllgh.