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  • First planting for rice in 2012

    I have discussed farming, and rice farming in particular, on this blog many times but am posting this as an actual log or journal entry.  In Gangwondo, I kept track of the first snowfall through my seven years in residence there and the record became more interesting as more data points were added.

    On May 9th of 2010, I was involved in the first planting of rice. This year, it was may 5th, although there was more to do after we left.

  • What obscene acts is this journalist doing to keep his job?

    Jake Nho has an article up at the Korea Times and it is a doozy, even for the Times.

    Here is part of his bio: He has written numerous articles on various environmental issues for over 20 years.

    It appears the article is one of a series (currently up to 16) on “Earth in Danger”.  Now I see I need to read more of these articles – for entertainment value if nothing else.

    Now, lets look at a few excerpts from the article with my commentary added.  I have quoted Nho in Orange and my research in blue.  I hope it is not too garish and felt the variety of color would better differentiate the different voices.

    His article is titled: “Does the Earth really need our protection?” and he starts by discussing the alarm over damage to the ozone layer:

  • morning exercise in the parking lot

    Our new apartment is working out pretty well.  I find the location to be much better.  However, it is an older apartment complex and I guess the parking requirements were smaller when it was built.  As a result, cars are parked in the two rows of parking spaces, then two rows are made between the parking spaces.  These cars are left in neutral so they can be moved more easily.

  • Donating blood in Busan

    I am simultaneously proud of having donated blood and embarrassed at having donated so seldom.

    There were hassles in donating blood in Korea but today I saw the nurses had translated questionnaires for English speakers.  The translation seemed to be of a previous form and the question numbers didn’t match but the important questions could be matched.

    for donating my blood, the nurses offered me a variety of gifts: I chose a 5,000 won (about $5.00 Can) gift certificate to be used for ‘culture-related purchases’ – bookstores.

  • A slide this scary, it should be shown on hallowe’en!

    At the recent Busan-Kyeongnam KOTESOL meeting, branch president Brad Serl gave a presentation on the new NEAT test.  Umm, I may have written ‘test’ twice.  I think the test is the “New English Aptitude Test” and it is intended to replace the current English test used in the University Entrance Exam.

    There were two stated reasons for changing the test; one reasonable and achievable and the other…not so much.

    The test -still three years away from actually being used – requires more English production from the takers and looks to be a better test to prepare for. If you do well on this test, you will likely also do well speaking English.  This is good and achievable part.

  • Spoonbills in Eulsookdo

    The big flat building in the background is wildlife information centre describing the local wetlands on Eulsook Island.

    The closer birds are a few varieties of ducks.  In the background are herons and spoonbills.  I had never seen spoonbills before and was thrilled to do so.  The birds are a little unclear and I tried to shoot a picture through a set of stabilized binoculars.  To my great surprise, it worked!

  • personalization can be too personal: ESL experiences

    In almost every unit of almost every ESL textbook, there is a part where students use the grammar or vocabulary to describe themselves or their experiences.  Even without a textbook, teachers quite properly, try to elicit personal statements from their students.  Usually, this is a good idea.

    On his blog, “An A-Z of ELT, Thornbury discusses where these discussions could take you:

    In his novel, The Folding Star, Alan Hollinghurst (1994) recounts how the protagonist, a young Englishman recently arrived in a Belgian town, sets himself up as a private English tutor. One of his pupils suffers from asthma, and our hero idly asks him if he knows how he got it.

  • three laws of future employment

    Daniel Jelski at Newgeography discusses his three laws of future employment.  What I got from the article was ‘more of the Red Queen problem’.  Everyone is running faster so you have to run as fast as you can just to stay in the same place.

    Let’s start with the three Laws of Future Employment. Law #1: People will get jobs doing things that computers can’t do. Law #2: A global market place will result in lower pay and fewer opportunities for many careers. (But also in cheaper and better products and a higher standard of living for American consumers.) Law #3: Professional people will more likely be freelancers and less likely to have a steady job.

    He goes on to discuss how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields are not good bets for the future.

  • Teacher’s pay

    One of my aunts has long been a critic of teacher’s pay.  Well, we haven’t discussed the subject in years, so let’s say she was a critic.  She felt that Canadian school teachers only work a few hours a day and have all summer off plus large breaks during the year.

    There are rebuttals, chiefly that school teachers often have homework to mark through their evenings and professional development during their summers.  There are many extra tasks that come with teaching that add to the total workload, so their salaries amy not be so high per hour as my aunt suggests.

    This does not apply to me so much.  I work a university professor’s schedule but am not threatened by ‘publish-or-perish’ or research expectations that teachers with many initials after their names are.

  • A month in Gangwondo… and where Surprises is going in 2012


    Hi all.  It’s been so long.  In November, I was either busy with nanowrimo or procrastinating about not being busy with it.  In December, I guess I was busy with exams then camp.  In January, I was at camp, then sorta rootless for a while.

    I remain sorta rootless now, but do feel I have time to blog.


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