Drive-By Update

Life is so utterly hectic that I’ve barely had time to relax, let alone write any of the posts I was planning to this week. However, I’ve now really gotten into the swing of this office hours thing. (Of course, so are my students — I had two visitors last week and appointments with two more this week — so we’ll see how far I get with getting anything else done here.)

I was joking with the secretaries this afternoon that having office hours like this is a bit like prison: gotta do the time, after all, and all that’s missing is a set of weights, and some aggressive, big man who has taken a liking to me.

But office hours really aren’t so bad, and I really did get a lot done today. Some emails I needed to do, curriculum planning stuff, responses about writing-related stuff, and more. I’m hoping to bang out an article that’s sadly quite late by the end of the week, and I’ll be working on pulling off and maintaining Inbox=0. (Which will be a hell of a feat considering how much email I usually wake up to, but happily Gmail has a Canned Response function you can turn on at Google Labs.)

This week has been a big one for me already, in the following areas:


I managed to lose 0.6 kilograms from Friday morning to Monday morning, which is no small feat — it’s about 1.3 pounds, for those of you metrically challenged, and the activities I’ve been doing have really picked up in pace, and pleasurability. I’ve found a dirt path on the mountain for the last leg, which I didn’t know before; weights is getting interesting as I begin to work with a few more freeweights and a little less on the machines; cycling is getting to be something I’m confident I can force myself to get done; and swimming is an interesting new piece of the puzzle.

My friend/co-worker Gwen and I went swimming on Sunday morning, and though we were only at the pool for 40 or 45 minutes, and though I only really swam back and forth in the pool about five times — each time stopping at each end, and most times stopping in the middle for a moment from exhaustion, because I haven’t gone swimming in ages and never was that strong at swimming — I was pretty exhausted afterward. Still did a two-hour workout that evening, but the swimming was rough!

I still have 0.9 kilos to try lose this week to meet my goal of 1.5 kg by Friday, but I don’t think it’s likely: this Thursday, I’ll have to miss much of my workout and settle for just the mountain or just the cycling, because there’s a Catholic Mass I have to attend at 11:00 am (I’ll be introduced as a “new professor” during the proceedings) and because that evening, I have a meeting in Seoul.


My Monday/Friday evening course was canceled. I cannot express how happy I am about that. This gives me time to exercise, but also to do course prep, grade, work on articles, and so on. Other duties that are now mine include web design for the department homepage, setting up the English magazine’s webzine page, and working on curriculum development as we continue to solidify the specifics within our program. I’m also expected to produce a few academic articles in the new few years. (And by produce, I mean publish.)

And then there are my classes. My four courses this semester are:

Media English: This is basically a crash course in media history and in the critical study of anglophone media as a part of students’ lives. We’ll focus on advertising, on radio, TV, newspapers, and the Internet, I think. There will be a discussion of the way the telegraph changed the world, of early reactions to film, and of the infamous radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds.

Multimedia English Education: This is the Creative Projects course, for all intents & purposes, and in this class, we’ll be making some kind of mockumentary, or false-documentary, dealing with the EFL industry in Korea. I suggested zombies as an excellent metaphor for the system, but some students were leery and if they come up with a better metaphor, then we’ll go with it.

Listening & Speaking 1:This is basically a Conversational English course, except taught my way, meaning lots of tasks that are fulfilled sequentially, lots of self- and peer-evaluation, and discussion of student-selected topics led by the students themselves.

Journalistic Writing 1: The course that takes over content production for the campus English magazine. This one I don’t have much clear idea about, aside from the fact that there are some students in the class whom I know to be outstanding. I figure we’ll be able to produce decent content, at least as good as the old magazine was, without all the ghostwriting it required in the past.


Haven’t done much of it in a few days. When the exercise regimen cools down, I’ll get back at it. Ideas are floating about in my brain, at least. And I’ve gotten some very useful feedback on a few stories on the go. I also need to do up an article I promised someone, and which I think I could write now if I could only sit down for a few hours with nothing else on my mind.


Had a few people over tonight for dinner and a work meeting, and made one recipe I’d made before (Chicken Dopiyaza) and one I hadn’t (Paneer Sagwala). Both tasted really overly-salty to me but the others like it, and assured me they weren’t bullshitting me.This makes me wonder if being on a low-salt diet for only ten days has made me already very sensitive to salt in food… but doesn’t that sound crazy?

And just on Saturday night, I have some friends over for Can-Mex. Can’t call it Mexican since it’s not authentic, and not even authentically Tex-Mex, but is more like the experience of “Mexican food” I had while living in Canada. It was a hit, even without much salt. You certainly can get away with less salt if you make up for it with a good melange of spices and so on.


Meh. Still don’t want to talk about it. Sorry, dear readers.

I think that’s it for this update, which was written at a few different times during the day, mostly on borrowed time. (Is there any other kind? These days, not really.)

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