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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Don't Wear Your Coat All Day!!!!!!!!

So Maxine told me that she wore her coat all day at school today, and I decided to let her know that if you wear your coat too much in the winter, you sweat, then it's easy to get cold when you go back outside.  Being a big fan of the Socratic method, I started leading her with some questions.  Here's how it went:

Rob:  So when you wore your coat did you feel hot?

Maxine:  A little.

R:  So what happens to a body when it is too hot?

M:  When a body is too hot it explodes!

R:  !

So be warned as winter approaches:  Don't wear your coat all day, because if you get too hot...


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rides 8-11

This week I have ridden every day, following the subway here (20 minutes, though I think I got it down to 17 today busin' my hump) and taking the mountain road home.  I still can't get all the way over without putting a foot on the ground.  Especially if there is a lot of traffic coming up behind me, and especially especially if someone honks at me as he passes.  That happened yesterday and just blew my concentration, and once you stop going up a steep hill it is really hard to get going again.  I ended up walking a way until the traffic let up.

The traffic is not really that fast; they are dealing with stop lights and frequent stops by taxis and buses.  Sometimes I pass cars going up hill, even as I am in granny gear, huffing and puffing and wishing that there was a short cut to getting serious bike muscles and lungs.

Maxine told me that it looked like I had lost some weight.  I'm not sure that I trust her on this one; she knows I want to lose weight, and likes to say things to make me happy.

So I have biked back and forth to work 11 times out of the last 12 work days, missing only once because of a rainy forecast.  I could have beaten the rain here, but there's no way to know that when you set off, so I'm probably better off not finding out.  That puts me at around 92%, an A-.  But they have forecast rain for tomorrow as well, so we will see what happens.  As it is now, I change clothes when I get to work anyway, and my bag has a rain cover.  If it is a light rain, I might ride anyway.

It seems that this is really the only way I will get regular exercise.  I can't squeeze any more significant time out of my daily schedule, and this combines a necessary activity (getting to work) with a desirable activity (exercising).  I know that some people wake up early to exercise.  I just can't do it.  Waking up early is an unnatural activity for me, whereas staying up late comes easy.

In other news, at work they are asking for all of the foreign English teachers to evaluate a big stack of English science books to choose one for next year.  It will be a supplementary book, used a couple of times a month, and probably not by us.  It's hard for me to build up much interest in this, as this school has a reputation for soliciting advise and then ignoring it.  What does it cost them to ask us to spend time?  Nothing.  But we are not considered experts, in spite of our experience and first-hand knowledge.  It is quite frustrating.

And at the end of October it is time for re-signing contracts for next year, and for the school to let us know whether we will be invited to re-sign or just resign.  Unfortunately, there are already rumors about who will not be asked to come back, rumors spread by the people making the decision.  It seems very unprofessional to me, but once again, I was not asked.

The other event at the end of October is Halloween.  We will have our school-wide Halloween party on the 28th, with games, a haunted house, and candy.  It will be a nice break from teaching, but it is ironic that we are doing fake scary at the same time that some of us are going through the real-life scary prospect of losing a job.  I think if the party were after they dropped pink slips, some of our kids might get a bit more scaring than they had anticipated.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Rides #6 and #7

Well, six and a half anyway.  Maybe I can round it up to 7.  No choice, as I am NOT going to keep track of fractions on this thing.

We only had school for three days this week:  Monday was a national holiday, and Tuesday was a holiday for our school.  Wednesday was a normal ride (#5).  Thursday I rode to school normally, but rode home via the mountainside road.  It's not any longer, maybe even shorter.  Hard to tell as I need to replace the batteries in my odometer.  But it's a lot hillier, that's for sure.

Friday's are an odd ride day for me: Our work day finishes early, at 3:00 instead of 4:30.  But I have an, um... "standing appointment" from 3:30 until 4:30 every Friday at school, so it's pretty much the same for me.  Then I have another appointment at 5:30 across town in Haeundae.  It's a solid 40 minutes by subway, plus 20 minutes of walking altogether, so my schedule is tight.  Last week I took my bike on the subway, then rode home from the appointment.  This week I had the same intention, but screwed it up rather badly.  As I entered the subway station I remembered that my Hanaro Card (electronic debit card good for all buses and subways in Busan, fantastic invention, they introduced it shortly after I moved here in '97, but I digress) did not have enough money on it to ride.  So I rode through the station (not many people around, I figured why not?), charged my card, and went down to the tracks.

The wrong tracks.  Didn't realize it at the time, because it was crazy getting a bike on the subway car, and holding it still while we were moving, and trying to avoid bumping people with it.  After 20 minutes I looked up to check what station we were at.  I didn't recognize it, so I figured I was getting close to my destination.  I'm not familiar with the stations out past where I live.  I took a look at the map above the car door, and tried to find where I was.  When I finally found it, my mind refused to accept where I was.  There was a nasty little bit of cognitive dissonance followed by a little bit of cursing, and the plan to get off at the next stop and get on the train going the opposite way.  I followed through on the plan, then called my wife and my appointment.  Horyon also had an appointment to teach in the evening, so I could not start mine late.  I had to skip it.  Which means not getting paid for it.  I was not happy with myself, and had a good hour of subway riding during which I could think about exactly how unhappy I was with myself.

So the only afternoon riding I did was from the school to the subway station (downhill), inside the subway station (maybe 200 meters of smooth, level floor) and from my subway station home (all of two minutes).  Not much of a ride.

On the bright side, if I count it as a full ride, I have ridden seven out of eight possible days since starting.  88% is not too bad, and I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Maxine's Birthday, Ride #5 and Buffets

Today is my sweetheart Maxine's Birthday.  Six years old, going on 13.  Happy birthday Sweetie!

We celebrated yesterday by taking Horyon's parents to a buffet in Bexco.  It is a kid-friendly restaurant, with basically an indoor playground.  Some tables are right on the edge of the playground, and some are removed far enough that you can barely see and not hear the play area at all.

And the food... oh my hat, as my friend Gert says.

My number one favorite place in the line-up was the grill:  cute little steaks, cooked to order.  I had three in the course of the evening, all cooked to a perfect medium rare, three lovely sauces available, meat so tender I was cutting it with a butter knife.  Very very nice.  Right next to the grill was the pasta station, which was also very nice.  I had some spaghetti cooked with garlic, olive oil and dried chili peppers.  A bit too spicy, but fresh and wonderfully prepared.  The raw fish was fresh and tasty.  The hot dishes were all fresh and tasty.  The deserts were very good, and in such tiny proportions that I could have a creme brule (dangit, how do you spell that?), a raspberry cake/cream thing, a blueberry yogurt, and a little cordial.  The chefs were friendly and helpful, and spoke some English.  They didn't look down their noses at me when I came back for another steak, and even helped me pick out a good one.

The kids got to play and eat, back and forth, and we got to go back and forth as well to keep an eye on them.  With four adults, we didn't have to rush our food.  The adult price was just over $20, and the kids around $12, and we stayed from six until almost nine p.m.  We will not likely eat there frequently, but we will very likely go back, as I am in love with the place and we can bring the kids.

I don't know if Maxine enjoyed her birthday celebration as much as I did, but I think that's reasonable considering how often I do things with her that I do not enjoy as much as she does.  And even if she didn't enjoy the food as much as I did, she enjoyed the playground a lot.  As an added bonus Horyon's parents gave her a present:  some princess pencils and 10 new Barbie Dresses.  I think some of them are a bit over-the-top, but that's what Barbie is apparently all about.

It was my second buffet this long weekend (no classes Monday or Tuesday), as we went out after Sports Day on Saturday, which was an event requiring more attention than I can give at the moment.  Saturday's buffet was billed as "The Biggest Seafood Buffet in Asia."  Maybe so.  I had some crab legs, sliced ham (right off the joint), rare roast beef (with a perfect sauce), and a lot of other tasty food.  It was a very different atmosphere, as I was with my coworkers and without my family, the beer and soju flowed freely, and it was the end of a long, hard, but fun day.  I'm not sure how much it costs to eat there, as the school paid for it, but I still prefer the Bexco buffet.

So this morning I skipped breakfast.  Didn't feel like I needed it, as I was still burping from dinner the night before.  My ride this morning felt a bit sluggish, but it was good to be back in the saddle after four days without riding.  Kendra also rode this morning, and we have agreed to hit the mountain on the way home.  That will add some work and time to the ride, and though it may not make up for two buffets, it will at least be an acknowledgement that I ate perhaps more than I should have this weekend.

A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.