Thursday, November 19, 2015

Love is Brave

A person's job is a significant part of their identity. If I trace my employment history back... oh let's say... forever, my identity seems to be a hard worker who does a good job for scumbags who see no distinction between kindness and foolishness. A common result of a corporate society. Back when I lived in Dundas I was taken advantage of by Bob Bott who gave me a chocolate milk and 2 bucks to do half of the largest Hamilton Spectator paper route there was at that time. Over 200 papers. He used me on Saturdays and I think Wednesdays when the papers were huge. It was back-breaking work and I was doing it for almost nothing. Bob, however, was making 20 times what I was! That kind of mentality is encouraged from the time we wear shorts and T-shirts and deliver papers right on up to business suits and day trading. Or whatever. No distinction is made between amoral selfishness and business savvy. Another common result of our corporate society.

I have worked for people who were busted for committing crimes three times here in Korea. And that's not counting the wife of the boss I worked for who took out a hit on one of his relatives. EVERY contract I have signed, except ONE, was broken. I have been requestd or required to break laws by the majority of my employers over here. But I just keep on trying. Because to get a good job, you have to trust someone. You have to take a chance on a company. You have no choice.

Like many other examples, jobs and personal relationships have this in common. You can't really find a good girlfriend or boyfriend or mate or whatever and not trust them.

And it's the same with love. Many say the opposite of love is not hate, but fear. It's pretty much impossible to carefully fall in love. But as we see these days, there is a need for some love to be shown for our fellow human beings that is just as fearless. It's pretty tough these days to find anything good or worthwhile that doesn't involve at least a little risk. This, unfortunately, is a message that is being overwhelmed by the fearmongers.

As I type this I hear a moment of silence at the Vancouver Canucks/ Winnipeg Jets game. It's for the victims of the France attacks. With delicious irony, the Kenyan Boy's Choir then sang the national anthem of Canada.

It's ironic because the reaction to the France attacks was huge and the reaction to the even more hideous Kenyan school attacks in April hardly registered. There seems to be a specific pinpointing of fear being orchestrated worldwide. It's not really clear to me what the exact reason for it is, but I have no doubt in the end it comes down to lust for money and power.

It's our own responsibility to view the recent Paris attacks, Kenyan attacks, the Syrian refugees and situations such as these objectively and without falling victim to sensationalistic brainwashing. But this is not an easy thing to do.

So should we listen to Allen West who says America shouldn't allow thousands of refugees into the country until they can take care of the thousands of neglected war vets? He IS a war vet himself. In Iraq he was involved in the beating and mock execution of a Muslim prisoner and released from service, but... you can conclude from that what you will.

ORRRRrrr... Maybe we should listen to Jim Wright, another war vet, when he sees pics like these:

and says,

I've seen literally hundreds of variations on this theme today.

Obama cares more about Muslim refugees than he does about homeless veterans.

The next person who says this to me? I'm likely to punch right in the fucking mouth and KEEP punching until I pound the hypocrisy out them.

Honestly, I can't think ANY other way to get through to these assholes. Threats and violence are the only thing they understand. Reason, logic, actual history, religion, NOTHING works. They've walked around the homeless and the destitute and the hungry and the poor and the sick their entire lives. They bitch and complain and whine ENDLESSLY about how terrible they have it, in fact they never shut the fuck up about how miserable they have it - and they walk around the homeless every single day without a second thought. Hell, it's not enough for them to ignore the destitute, these very same assholes pass laws prohibiting YOU from helping the homeless and they bulldoze homeless encampments and cut funding for shelters at EVERY opportunity.

They didn't give a shit about homeless veterans before Obama, they don't now, and they NEVER will.

That picture? That one of the dead Syrian child washed up on a beach? The one I asked you to stop posting? I asked you to stop posting it because it does NOTHING. They don't care. These people are the same ones whose ancestors looked at dead African American children and dead Native American children and shrugged. Nits make lice, they said, one less to grow up into my enemy. Get 'em while they're young. These are the same people, the very same people, who turn back sick starving abused children at our Southern border every single day. Who stood outside a bus full of refugee children in Southern California shouting fuck you, go home and die, pendejos. If pictures of dead children had ANY power to sway these selfish sons of bitches, we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place.

And now? Now it's homeless veterans. Wah wah wah and oh my eyes are full of tears for their sad condition. What has Obama, OBAMA, done about homeless veterans? Wah wah wah. We should take care of our own first.

Take care of our own first?

Really? Take care of our own first? I'm hip.


You want to do something about homeless vets? Your heart bleeds red, white, and blue for their plight? Then DO something about it, or shut the fuck up.

If these people actually gave even the smallest shit about veterans, they'd actually DO something instead of creating memes to attack whichever political party or politician they currently despise.

I'll say here what I said in reply to somebody on another thread complaining about Michelle Obama's effort to find housing for Veterans:

US Veterans have suffered the effects of war and American indifference since the Revolution. The First Lady, Michelle Obama, made veteran care and especially military families her priority since the day she moved into the White House. She's done more for veterans than all the worthless yellow magnets stuck on the back of SUVs across America and more than the majority of our worthless Congress combined and has quietly, every day for the last seven years. This woman has been a tireless advocate for military families, but she gets no credit for it and you for sure won't hear Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck mention it between calling her a "gorilla" and a "mooch."

Yes, it sure would great to see America actually do something for homeless vets - or ALL the homeless Americans those vets fought for, for that matter. But this is nothing new. This didn't happen or start on Obama's watch and it won't end with the next president whoever that may be. This isn't the President, this is US. We Americans. We've been walking around veterans on the street for two centuries. And you'll note despite all the teary-eyed patriotic rhetoric from the chest beating war mongers in Congress, they STILL haven't passed a Veterans Jobs bill and they blocked VA funding, again. Veterans are nothing more than a way to score points for both sides and Congress should be ashamed - but they don't even have the decency to do that much, nor do we have the courage and wherewithal to elect those who do.

Obama is hardly the first to welcome refugees to America. We are a nation of refugees and immigrants fleeing war, oppression, poverty, hunger, and terror and we ALWAYS have been.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

From Irish and Dutch immigrants fleeing the Potato Famine to Europeans and Chinese fleeing the Nazis and Imperial Japan, to Cambodians fleeing the killing fields, to Vietnamese, to Somalia, and Kurds, and Cubans, and Russians, and Latinos from every country in South and Central America, Presidents both liberal and conservative have welcomed refugees and immigrants to our shores - as people like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and even Barack Obama should be able to tell you.

This nonsense? This idiotic meme? The dimwitted, booger eating, soundbite partisan mentality like that in the picture above? That, that right there, is a far, far, far greater threat to the future of this country than any refugee.

Should we believe the stat pulled out of somebody's ass like this:


0.003%! I reckon we have a better chance of eating feces today than meeting up with a Muslim extremist, much less getting killed or terrorized by them!

It's all pretty confusing to me. And I don't claim to have the spirit of Ghandi or Jesus, but we could probably use some advice from those guys right about now, eh? Wonder what they have to say about things like this. If only there was a library or a website or some huge stash of information with about, I dunno, like a google helpful posts and stories and webpages and pics and stuff like that I could somehow tap into....

All right! Thank you, Google! I might be a bit late with this. I have seen quite a few people getting angry about fellow Facebookers posting warnings about accepting refugees. I can't help thinking about the Japanese internment camps during WWII. You know what? I have been to Japan and I've seen the powerfully implanted nationalism even modern Japan provides for its citizens. I bet it was even stronger back in the day. So, yes, there would likely have been some loyal to their Emperor. Don't forget, they didn't even consider Hirohito a human being. He was a god! Like North Koreans feel about THEIR leader. But who among us can get away with saying those internment camps were a good idea? I actually wrote a paper on them in grade school and got a zero for taking the wrong side of the story.

Surely, no matter how you vet them, there will be a person or two among the refugees who might have radical tendencies. But it comes down to a question of morality. How many people do you think are worth showing love to for every possible terrorist? Put another way, how many terrorists would Jesus abide? Or Ghandi? Put still another way, the way I, (and my 8-year-old mentality understand it best), are you scared of eating a little crap? I think people who claim to follow philisophical or religious ideals of peace and love have to consider this a chance to live up to those ideals. Sure there is danger, but it's pretty tough these days to find anything good or worthwhile that doesn't involve at least a little risk.

I have nothing to back this up, but I think it's possible that if we DON'T stop being afraid and start showing more love to our fellow man, it can only make a bad situation worse. Terrorism is called that because fear makes it stronger. Let's knock it off, okay?

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lincoln International School Shames Honest Abe

So I don't know if I've ever written it on here before or not, but the place I had my hopes pinned on, the international school where I was finally going to live my dream of teaching high school English instead of ESL, its name is Lincoln International School. I guess now I should say, "was." YUP! My luck remains perfectly intact! This morning I received news that the major investor, (to parenthetically state the unparenthetical, a CHINESE guy), was sentenced to 3 years in prison. So the place is going to shut down completely at the end of the month.

Which leaves me with a criminal record check, pristinely unused and 5.5 months old. They're only good for 6 months here. Right. I have two weeks to find a job. The whole time I was waiting here in Icheon, living on campus, BEGGING these knuckleheads to give me a contract and get my E-2 visa started, I was noticing jobs that were okay, but nothing that would have been nearly as lucrative, enjoyable, healthy, and in all other ways GOOD for me. So I didn't put out resumes really even though Lincoln International High School took its sweet time in getting organized. I was told repeatedly, "Don't worry. Don't worry."

The incredible truth is that I've been hearing that now for almost two years! First from Wall Street. "Don't worry, we'll have your business visa changed to a work visa soon." Then when they got their visa privileges taken away, I heard it from Matthew at English Today on a bi-weekly basis. "Don't worry, I'll get you your work visa soon." Then when I gave up because it became obvious Matthew wasn't really putting much effort into it, I signed with Wall Street again after their visa privileges got reinstated. For SEVEN MONTHS John there was saying to me, "Don't worry, the work visa will be another week or so." Four months in Indonesia and then I had to move to Korea where he continued promising the work visa for another 3 months. By the time Wall Street actually acquired a work visa for me and invited me back to work, I had found this job at Linconln International High School. It was July. And immediately John, (a new John), started saying things like, "Don't worry, you'll have a contract soon." You see I needed a contract to negotiate my work visa. Time went by and I was taking hours here and there where I could find them, but mostly living off the generosity of friends while waiting and desperately pleading with anyone who would listen to me to PLEASE get me a damn work visa! This is what lead to everyone saying, "Don't worry. Don't worry."

And I realize worrying doesn't help. But I think if I HAD worried a bit more and/or taken the advice of all my friends here who were telling me to just get out while I can, I wouldn't be this deep in the hole. I may have been able to find alternate employment. I might actually HAVE a work visa and a job by now! But I was hoping for this, a much better job than anything I had had or seen before or since.

Now I have to take the first thing that comes along. The same situation I was in when Wall Street gave me the boot. About a month to find a job. So I put out 20 resumes today at jobs like teaching kindergarten 8 hours a day, Monday to Saturday, 5 days of vacation for 2.1 million Won plus housing allowance. That's about the worst deal you can come by here in Korea. But I gotta take anything I can get right now. I've been sliding deeper and deeper into debt waiting for the impossible, an honest school owner in Korea. Even worse, I was waiting for an honest CHINESE school owner in Korea! I didn't know I was waiting for his sentencing to be passed. Sentencing for what, I am not sure, but it's gotta be business fraud of some kind. Believe it or not this is not even the first time the school I work for has had its ownder thrown in the clink! Back when I worked for Pagoda, the owner, Mr. Go, a devout Christian who was constantly pressuring students and teachers to do what Jesus would do, got busted doing something Jesus would never do. It was tax evasion. Mr. Go was not "rendering unto Caesar that which was Caesar's." I think he was in prison for a couple of years.

Then the wife of Mr. Go, who I always called Mrs. Go, herself a devout Christian always pressuring students and teachers at Pagoda to do what Jesus does, hired a hit man to kill one of Mr. Go's relatives. I'm not making this up!

Why oh WHY can't these people just do business properly and legally? There is ALWAYS some scheme involved and every single place I've worked I have had to do the old act. "I see what you're doing. It's not nearly as clever as you think it is. But I'll be a nice guy, or a stupid guy, knowing full well you see no distinction between the two, and fake like I don't know exactly what you are up to and think you are a scumbag for doing it." Those forced smiles and clammy handshakes upon signing contracts full of obvious holes. I can only stand it because in most cases, the deal is still a good one even after the requisite ass raping. And it is required to quell the insecurities of the employer, make him feel superior and make him feel like a good businessman. Because, after all, if you just get what you earn, you're not doing business right. You have to cheat! Get as much as you can without actually earning it. THAT'S business. Right? Well, no! To me that's just cheating and these assholes who do it DESERVE to be put in jail.

So they go there for 2 or 3 years while the entire staffs of their abandoned schools are the ones suffering. Not to mention the students and the parents of the students.

If I had been hired in September, when I was told I'd be hired, I could have done a camp or two and made this school some money. And made mySELF some money! Then I wouldn't be broke and jobless like I am now. AGAIN! And maybe this place would have enough money to give the workers more than the wages they have earned. I'm only getting paid for the hours I've worked and because they were not on the books, but I was substituting for another teacher, they're free to pay me whatever the hell they want. One of the other reasons they took forever to come up with a contract, no doubt.

I don't give a shit if someone from Korean Immigration reads this either. It's not like I'm TRYING to work illegally! When I first got here I applied for and was interviewed for several camp positions. I had to turn down or be turned down for 3 of them because I could not get the proper work visa. One of them actually suggested I work WITHOUT the visa and I said no. Another camp that wanted me was cancelled due to the MERS scare. Yeah, that's the kind of roll I'M on!

I've been here so long that I did something that I've never heard of anyone doing before: I renewed my 6-month visitor visa. You should have seen the immigration worker at the airport! She gave me the weirdest look! NOOOObody stays in Korea for that long! I mean there are a few sites worth seeing and some spectacular food, but six months will cover it all. Heck 3 months would do you. So she grilled me about what I was doing in Korea and of course I couldn't tell her I was working or looking for work so I just said I was visiting friends. Then she made me give names of friends and she looked them up on her screen. SHe was positive I was working illegally. So now I KNOW if I had actually received a contract from Lincoln International School, the second I went into immigration they would not only know I was working, they'd know WHERE I was working and they'd have paid the school a little visit. I'd have been deported and the school would've been fined. Or shut down. But I guess we've been spared all that unpleasantness.

That's me. Always looking on the bright side. The thing is I wasn't actually working. The actual new course was supposed to start today. I was suposed to have a textbook and a new course. Of course I wasn't expecting much notice but I was in the classroom at 8:20 this morning, with students, with an ESL lesson prepared just in case, not knowing what the hell was going on when I was called and told to go to the principal's office. I thought I'd be told that I was going to take John's classes. He's the guy who interviewed me way back in July. He lives in Seoul and travels over an hour both ways to teach his classes everyday. He doesn't like doing it and I was getting hours just filling in for him when he couldn't or wouldn't come to work. Yeah. I LIVE on campus. They convinced me to move to the school even after I told them I'd only do it if I got a contract. They assured me I'd get a contract and, of course, told me not to worry. I moved in over a month ago and, alas, still no contract. And I guess there'll never be one because despite what Jesus, or Honest Abe Lincoln would do if one of them owned an international high school, it's enough to admire them without any attempts at emulation.

I received no payment for the time I spent basically "on call" or "on retainer" here. None. When I went to Japan to renew my visitor's visa the school bought the ticket. They said it was their responsibility and they'd pay the penalty. But guess who paid hotel and food. If they'd signed me when they told me they were going to, I never would have had to GO to Japan. I guess they feel that living on campus and getting free cafeteria food was payment enough. It actually kept me here in the middle of nowhere so I couldn't take any short-term under the table work in Seoul, and I was handy for filling in around here. Exactly what they wanted. In fact I had to move everything myself AND clean up my own place!

So let's crunch the numbers. I think I've been living on about a million Won a month. That's about a thou. My salary here was going to be 3 million a month when I started working. So I have spent about 3 million of my own money and forfeited 6 million in salary. That's 9 million I am in the hole because of these bastards. And who knows how long I'll be finding another job? I am seriously thinking of just looking around campus here for the most valuable things I can find and taking them to a pawn shop. Two problems with that strategy: 1. I have no way of transporting the stuff out of here let alone doing it sneakily, and 2. Korea doesn't have pawn shops. I know I'm taking all the books I can find.


Aaahhh hooo hooo hooo sniff sniff.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Not Harper Wins!!!

Okay, okay. Let me start off by saying I'm not crazy about Trudeau, but in traditional Canadian political fashion, I am sort of a little bit kinda not disappointed that the lesser of the two evils won the election. This is the best we can hope for as Canadian voters and this is why I continue to flog the dead horse of Canadian political restructuring. Voter turn-out is expected to be up this year. Why? It's not because there was somebody people really wanted to vote for, it was because there was somebody people really wanted to vote AGAINST! This is sad! Trudeau didn't win, Not Harper won the election.

The other day my sister-in-law said to me that we shouldn't give up. We should keep voting on the off chance that maybe someday we'll get somebody who might do something good for this country. I'm paraphrasing but she is a smart person who failed to see the irony of her own words. This, not laziness, not trying to be cool, THIS is why I and many other Canadians are sick and tired of voting. Even if our candidate wins, he/she is not exactly what we want. We voted for him/her for a few of the promises made and every four years the pattern just repeates itself, THESE are the promises our candidate doesn't keep. If you throw another vote in there fully expecting to be disappointed, THAT is voter apathy. THAT is giving up. If you DON'T vote in hopes that someday the Canadian public will wake up and join you so that the voter turn out is SO low the whole system needs to be scrapped and replaced, THAT to me is not giving up. There's a better chance of that happening than Mr. Trudeau being the saviour of our country. Anybody disagree with that?

Now, I admit that's awfully radical and I understand that as a country we are addicted to the vote and erroneously equate it with democracy so we'd prefer to cling to it and try a softer solution. Believe it or not I still think we could have success by keeping our current system. I too believe that MAYBE someday there just could be a super-candidate in Canadian politics. It's happening now in the States. Bernie Sanders has somehow sneaked through the corruption. But I think there are far more useful things we could be doing than just wasting votes on lame candidates and waiting for our Bernie Sanders.

What do I suggest as an alternative? Like I said, restructuring. We all want representative and transparent government. Honest people who listen to Canadians and do what we want. Or at least the majority of us want. Not the POLITICAL "majority" because that's just another part of our fake democracy. The government of Canada is the political equivalent of the WWE, folks. And the crazy thing is how many Canadians think pro politics is REAL! It's not. They are constantly telling us we are free. False. Just political jargon because they know we WANT to be free. So they figure if they tell us and we believe really hard, voila, we'll be free. Same thing with this overused Snuffleuppagus of a term: democracy. We don't have a democracy unless the majority wins. I have never heard of a government in Canada during which the majority of Canadians got what they wanted. It has never happened. This time? Trudeau will have a majority government but that just means he won more than half the SEATS not more than half the votes of the people. Even with voter turn-out 70%, if he got half the votes of all the voters, which he likely won't, that would still be only 35% of the voters. Not to mention the 30% of Canadians who didn't vote. It's a joke, really! He will probably have the votes of fewer people than DIDN'T even vote in the country in a year when voter turn-out is UP! And he will call it a "majority" government to make us feel like we have the democracy we've always wanted. He'll probably get about 10 million votes. Those who don't vote and those who vote for someone else will probably number 25 million. Not a majority. And when you figure he'll be an extraordinarily good PM if he only lies to us half the time, then some of us will get half of what we want. The rest won't. That's not democracy.

It's ridiculously simple to achieve true democratic majority government although current politicians will tell you it's not. One of the many WWE lies we all believe. Like voting for ideas individually is expensive. Bullshit. We all have computers. Let's vote individually on bill C-51 or a fucking business deal that locks us into a 30 year agreement with China. This wasn't discussed in our fake parliament, nor did people have any say in it. And it will be the cause of many problems in our country in the future. We probably won't know it because we'll be watching Hockey Night in Canada instead of reading about it on the 20th page of the newspaper. But it will. Thanks Harper.

How do the Academy Awards maintain honesty and secrecy so that nobody knows the results of the Oscars in advance? What is it, Price Waterhouse? Hire people from THERE. Who pours the gold at gold mines in our country? Who stacks the money in banks. Who makes every drop at 7-11 and never records a loss in a shift? Hire people like THAT! To do what? To oversee our government officials. Checks and balances. They have NONE right now. NONE! With the recent Harper government as our guide it's pretty simple to see how we are governed. If you screw up, just draft a bill into law that will allow you to cover up your mistake. Examples? Pressuring RCMP on long gun registry. Dual citizens show low support numbers for Conservatives? Draft a law that allows you to call them terrorists and take away their rights to vote. CBC doesn't lie in your favour? Trash it. Scientists are too busy doing science to embrace your views about global warming and environmental protection? De-fund and gag them. Don't think you'll win the next election? CHEAT! With proper checks and balances in Canada, Harper wouldn't have even been eligible to run after his first term. Instead we got nine years of his "leadership." It's been a long time since we've had anyone else as our supposed "leader." For all you people, who should be ashamed of yourselves as Canadians, who voted for this crook AGAIN, read this carefully. Or just sit there in your wrongness being wrong. Both are absolutely inexplicable to me. Particularly to my buddy, Jason who actually said, he actually said this, folks, "At least Stephen Harper hasn't had any scandals during his time in office." I'm paraphrasing again but something like that. There are links to articles that describe all 101 embarrassments to our country. Take your time. Read all this stuff you should have been reading as it happened so you'd be better informed and wouldn't have voted for him today. I don't even consider this a complete list. There are things I know about that don't appear on this list and still many other things we may or may not find out about in the future. These are just things we know about now.

And all you people who post about how you are disgusted about how uninformed people are and have expressed desires to de-friend Facebook friends who are so ignorant that they don't vote for Harper, please READ! Erase half of these, even three quarters of them and I STILL can't for the life of me think of why any reasonable person would waste a perfectly good vote on this man. It boggles the mind even further when you think that THIS is the BEST candidate the entire Conservative party could come up with! This speaks volumes of our whole system of government and why I feel it needs a complete restructuring making it fully representative and transparent.
Here's a pretty thorough summary of how he has damaged our country and actually compromised our international reputation while he was in office.

Now, having read that, let's go back to what I said WAY up there at the top of this post: I am not crazy about the replacement we have voted in either. Justin Trudeau, from the reading I have done, the debate watching, the study, he seems to never say anything. He has a heritage of pro politics so he is probably as good at sounding like he's committing to something but leaving himself openings to go either way, as, say, Randy The Macho Man Savage was at going back and forth from good guy to bad guy in the WWF. He will continue Harper's path of selling our country's resources to China and the U.S. by the looks of things. For crying out loud, Canada! Norway charges something like 73% tax on all the oil extracted from its soil. We can't even make our own refineries? Instead WE build the fucking pipelines so that our oil will be shipped elsewhere to be refined and then sold back to us. We are actually being CHARGED for our oil! Where are the politicians who want to help Canada? There don't seem to be any. There are so many very simple things that could be done but won't be.

Here's one more WWE lie we believe, (and my buddy Jason proudly posted on Facebook), Canada's world ranking as a favourable place to do business is something we should be proud of. No it fucking isn't! We sign a 30 year deal with China that will have them calling a lot of the shots in Canada for our foreseeable future and what did we get? A couple of pandas. We don't charge companies to start up business here. No capital gains tax. No taxes. Harper was working on allowing foreign businesses to flout many other Canadian laws too like minimum wage, immigration, student visas. Not that they don't already pay zero attention to them, (with full governmental support), but he was trying to do the old, "make a law that SAYS you can" move.

We need referees to throw flags on these plays. We don't have them. If we did, and there were some actual penalties for unfair political play, THEN maybe our country's political landscape might be a little more attractive to honest people and a lot LESS attractive to the money-grubbing douchebags we always end up with.

Anyway, as always, I have little hope for our new PM. But, hey, you never know. I have little hope for my country either. Both for the same reason. Because Canadians continue to apathetically accept the endless fakeness and folly that is our broken, antiquated, illogical political system. It has, along with hospitals, schools, sports, media, and other things that should be honest institutions for the betterment of society, become just another corrupt corporation.

Harper's GONE! That gives me a little hope. But not much.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fukuoka Visa Run

Every time I do one of these short trips to Japan I wish I had found a really good site that explains everything in detail because I ALWAYS do something wrong. I just did a visa run of sorts to Fukuoka to renew my visitor visa here in Korea. I am planning on doing an actual visa run soon to change my visitor visa to a work visa once I get signed and get all the immigration crud prepped so I used this trip as a recon mission. It paid off. For those of you who know me this will come as no surprise but I had some trouble on this trip. I made a huge mistake that could have proven disastrous on a three-day work visa run: I didn't book a hotel in advance.

It has been a long time since I was in Fukuoka so I wasn't 100% sure ANYthing would be where I had left it, but I was pretty sure I could find my way to the Korean Embassy, the Hard Rock Cafe, the Mcdonalds/Red Cabbage Supermarket and around the corner and across the bridge to the Twin Hotel. I remembered it being very good last time I stayed. It was a small room but the staff spoke English very well and were super helpful! It had a good shower, fridge, lots of TV channels and plenty of good stuff in the vending machines at the hotel. Even though it was about 70 bucks, I figured I'd stay there this trip even if the price had gone up a bit. I just Googled it and the price is still in the 70 dollar range.

Before I got out of the airport, two immigration agents at the airport asked me to fill in the blank in my arrival card that asked for my Fukuoka address. I said I'd stay at a hotel. They asked which one. I couldn't remember the name at the time but told them it was near the Fukuoka Dome. So they said next time I had better make reservations somewhere and kind of giggled. (both girls) I thought that was weird.

What they probably knew, like the rest of Fukuoka, and I didn't, was that the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks had made it to the playoffs in the Japanese Baseball League, were up 2 games to 1 on the Chiba Lotte Marins, AANNDD there was a game that night! One of the things I love about Japan is they are baseball crazy. One of the things I don't love about Fukuoka, NOW, is looking for a hotel without a reservation when the Hawks have a playoff game that night! I walked around for 5-6 hours, checked about 15 hotels, (with no vacancy), and half a dozen places that weren't hotels at all until I finally found one for about 100 bucks. I didn't care by then. I was exhausted! Lesson learned. The only way I seem to learn travel lessons: the hard way.

Anyway, the following is for myself and anyone else who wants to use it in future for the Fukuoka visa run.

Step one: You get off the plane, do the immigration, baggage claim and customs and then you go down to the ground floor of the Fukuoka Airport. The exit will have a 7-11 beside it. First things first, if you made the mistake of not changing your Korean money at the bank or at the Korean airport, (like I did), don't go to the money changer at the exit of the airport. They have the Korean Won exchange rate listed but they don't exchange it. Go to the bank upstairs. They are friendly and helpful and offer a brutal exchange rate. But it's better than nothing. NOOOObody takes Korean money in Fukuoka. I don't know how much you will need but the visa is around 6000 Yen. Hotel, beer, sightseeing, that's up to you.

Go outside and look for the shuttlebus that has something to the effect of "To Subway" on the sign. It'll be in English and quite easy to spot. Load on in! It's frequent and it's FREE! The best thing about the bus is the ultra mellow bus drivers they have hired! You will see what I mean when you hear their P.A. voices. Take the bus to the second stop. The first stop is the cargo depot. Don't worry, the announcements are made TOO often in English, Japanese, Chinese and Korean so you will know exactly where to get off to get to the subway. It'll be 10 minutes or so. It would help if you had 300 Yen in change.

Step two: After getting off and going to the right, as the announcement on the bus should have told you, you will see the clearly marked subway entrance. Go to one of the machines and get a ticket to Tojinmachi. It's on the orange line going toward Meinohama. You look at the big map above the machines to see what the fare is. It's 300 Yen. Tojinmachi is the 8th stop from the airport. Since the aiport is the last stop on the orange line, there's only one way to go. So this one is easy. To make it even easier, the machines have a button for English. But it's easy to do without translation. Just press 300, put your money in and you're on your way. Don't worry if you don't have 300 Yen in coin. The machines make change for a 1000. Not sure about a 10,000. Probably not.

You go to the turnstile-ish machines and put your ticket in. It'll come out the other side. Pick it up as you go through. Then you just get on the train. You can't go wrong. It'll take about 10 or 15 minutes to get to Tojinmachi.

Go to the exit at Tojinmachi and put your ticket in the turnstile-ish machine again. This time it WON'T give your ticket back on the other side. Find your way to Exit 1. Lots of stairs but it is clearly marked. When you get out you will see this:

If you look left you will see this 7-11 across the street.

Step 3: Walk straight down the street for a few minutes. You will see a BMW sign. Turn right just past the BMW dealership. There's a building across the street with a triangular entrance. If you want, cross over to that side of the street. The Korean Embassy will be on that side. Walk 7-10 minutes down the street. You will pass a Dominos Pizza, and the Chinese Embassy. The Korean Embassy will be the traditional Korean building waving the Korean flag. You'll probably have to wait for a light to cross.

Across the street opposite the embassy is a dual mall facility you may find useful. Just inside the entrance to mall 1, which doesn't look like much, you will find a handy dandy photo booth just in case you don't have your photo for the visa process. I forget how much it costs. Go through to mall 2, (follow the signs), and you will find a Mcdonalds. You will be hungry. Try the grape shakes! They're awesome!

There is a great supermarket near Mcdonalds in the mall called Red Cabbage. They have all you might need if you are planning to avoid eating out. Plus a spectacular selection of alcohol if you are planning to avoid DRINKING out. Both will save you lots of money. And across from the Red Cabbage is a good drug store.

If you go back out to the street and a little up the road toward the Fukuoka Dome you will find a FANTASTIC Hard Rock Cafe. In case you PLAN to eat and drink out.

Farther down the same road, around the corner and across the bridge, on the opposite side the Dome was on, you will find the Twin Hotel. I recommend it. If you are loathe to spend 70 bucks, there are other options online. Google. The Hakata stop, (second stop from the airport), on the subway has lots of hotels in it. I've heard the Heiwa Dei Hotel 5 just outside Toninmachi exit 2 is good and reasonable too. Just once again, book ahead. You'll thank yourself.

Step 4: As long as you got your application, passport, pics, visa number and money in before 11:30 A.M., I'm told you can pick your visa up between 1:30 and 5 two days later. Not the next day, but the day after. I didn't do that on this trip and I have been told it now takes THREE days to do this so I'm not sure. This is what I've read online. I think this means if you can't get on a SUPER early flight and get to the Korean Consulate by 11:30. One extra day will be expensive so the stress of the early flight is worth it.

Step 5: After picking up your passport with the beautiful, shiny work visa in it, just retrace your steps back to the Tojinmachi subway station and pay 300 to get to the airport stop. If, for some reason, you are leaving from Hakata just go to the big entrance, down 2 levels to get a ticket on the orange line to the airport. Be sure you don't try the ground level subway. It's the wrong one. After buying a ticket for 260 Yen go down another level to the subway. Catch the one on the side that says it goes to the airport. It'll be on the signs in English. It's only two stops. When you get to the airport stop there will be signs to the escalators to the shuttlebus. Get the International one. Again it stops at the cargo terminal first then the international terminal.

The bus drops you off on the first floor of the airport. Go to the 3rd floor to check in.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cats and Crazies

I have related to a lot of characters in the books I've read throughout my English Literature career. J.D. Salinger's John Gedsudski, the Laughing Man is one of them. Much more than Holden Caulfield's upper class dissatisfaction with minor Patrician disingenuosities, I found John Gedsudski's kind-hearted poverty, which lead to his jilting to be more personally relatable. In fact, the Laughing Man's girlfriend's loyalty could have been compromised by the unhappy, but never financially uncomfortable broodings of the young Holden Caulfield had they crossed paths in the same short story I'd wager. (If I had any money to wager)

It is not often one stumbles across a protagonist so long in the tooth as I have become. What do we do that would merit a good story? By my age I should be married with children and comfortably mired in the long-term job that will define my life. These are the prime earning years! Old enough to have become very good at what you do and young enough in body, brain and spirit to do it with vigour. But, lo and behold, I came across a character in an old Hawthorne short story yesterday to whom I could relate. Hawthorne himself, (like Salinger), a well known recluse, and authority on the type of character we are talking about. The aging, or old, dude with some wild eccentricities, (or crazy habits, depending upon how much money he has), sometimes requiring a considerable relaxation, in his behalf, of the common rules of society. Hawthorne wrote that the mind of such a man originates such caprices due to the lack of an engrossing purpose. An engrossing purpose such as a career, a wife, children, a hobby, a goal... He goes on to say that, "if he were mad, it was the consequence, and not the cause, of an aimless and abortive life."

I would hasten to add that if he had shown himself to be mad, (nowadays), it may well be the consequence of readily available mind altering substances coupled with a glut of electronic devices that encourage, nay, demand almost constant reporting of status, thoughts, opinions, inner-most feelings, and after a few beers, T.M.I.'s and overshares aplenty! So NOW one can exhibit awkward comments, advances, gestures, or behaviour while online, thereby creating two disadvantages old Hawthorne hadn't even thought of: 1. The person or people affected by the inappropriate behaviour often have no concept of the prodigious amount of chemical mind altering that has been self administered before said behaviour, and 2. The behaver, having administered entirely too much mind altering substance/substances can not even recollect the inappropriate behaviour!

Here I am a pretty dog gone reclusive person, having lived on my own for the majority of my life, having spent the last 30 years in chaste, barren, spouseless, and some would say purposeless futility, living in the country, with my nearest neighbours able to only communicate in a foreign language I know little of, but in the electronic and internet capital of the world, South Korea! What I guess I'm saying is strap in, there might be a little "eccentricity" to come! Well, not for a while yet. With my financial situation, there will just be insanity. What I'm also saying is, geez, maybe I need some sort of direction. A purpose. Structure in my life. That might encourage normality. Whatever that is.

Well, ask and you shall receive. We had a big barbecue party on Thursday, October 8th here at the camp/school where I now reside. It was awesome! We had burgers, hot dogs, sam gyup sal, and plenty of beer and soju. In fact, too much of all of the above. What I got from the event was the assurance from the principal that even though the end of my visitor visa is fast approaching, I should not worry. They have things figured out. Well, I met his lovely wife and daughter at the barbecue and I know that he has a stellar career as an educator behind him, so I don't think he's crazy or eccentric. I believe things are well in hand. However, today is Sunday the 11th of October. It's one week before my visa expires and I haven't even signed my contract let alone negotiated the visa number, waited two weeks or more for it, travelled to Japan, spent 3 days waiting for the visa, come back, applied for an alien card, or gotten a bank account yet. ALL of these things are necessary before I can really say I am working in Korea again. With all due respect to the principal of my new school, I'm FREAKING OUT!

So I text him and ask when we're going to meet next. He says Wednesday. This leaves us two days to do the 2 weeks or more of visa negotiations since my visitor visa expires on Sunday and immigration offices aren't open on the weekends. I don't think. But I will trust that they know what they are doing. Here's a picture of the talent show we had at the barbecue. It was a lot of fun!

So once I get going on the job, I'll be a man with more direction for sure! But as if Fate weren't quite satisfied, I heard the saddest meowing today outside my apartment here. It's a cold, wet day here and there was a tiny, black kitty on the path behind one of the classrooms crying. He or she didn't have very much energy at all, poor thing. I got to it and gave it some milk mixed with crushed up crackers. I had to lift its head into the milk and it nearly fell over. Then I put some on my finger and put it to the poor little guy's mouth. I could feel his sharp teeth trying to bit my finger. He knew it was food. So I put him back into the dish and he ate some. Then it started to rain so I picked him up and brought him into my house. There he remains. I may live to regret this! But probably not for a while. Here's a picture of the little guy. I'm assuming he's a guy until I find out different.

I better go see how the little guy is doing...

Saturday, September 19, 2015


Excited about the Canadian federal election? Coming up October 19th. Just around the corner. I can sense the vibe of pure adrenalyn online! The world is so completely engrossed that I found tens of summaries of yesterday's PM candidate debate when I Googled it. Tens! No videos to be found or transcripts on the CBC or Maclean's magazine where the former and latter are respectively, and, (far too), respectfully handled. Nothing on youtube. Nothing!

So to slake my thirst for political enragement, uh, I mean engagement, I looked up the previous debate held August 7th between the Rat Ownable Stephen Harper, Justin Beiber Trudeau, Thomas Mulclair and I think I heard some other voice accasionally being drowned out by the bellowing of the other three... oh, right, Liz May was there from the Green Party.

To preface, I'd like to insert some quotes from the eminently quotable P.J. O'Rourke, an actual member of the detestable American Republicans, who I enjoy reading. O'Rourke, that is. Not the Republicans. I don't enjoy reading Republicans. Although it can be entertaining. Reading their body language when they're lying. Or in the case of Mr. Bush the elder, his lips. But not their books. Or their speeches. Or any of their rhetoric. At any rate, I like reading P.J. O'Rourke. P.J. believes in capitalism and the free market economy eventually correcting itself, and a few other of the fairy tales republicans promote to the unvarnished masses whose intelligence they underestimate, yet whose votes they begrudgingly require to legitimize their delusions of grandeur. But he shares a great deal of other beliefs with me and has a refreshingly blunt and non-political way of expressing them.

So here is his description of politics - see if you don't agree: "(There's) really only one political goal in the world. Politics is the business of getting power and privelege without possessing merit." He goes on to say "Politicians are always searching for some grave concern which will cause individuals to abandon their separate concerns... and act in concert so the politicians can weild the baton." I get so sick of hearing these stuffed suits and pant suits bullshitting about how hard they're "fighting" for us! O'Rourke says they're always fighting wars, (not real ones - too much merit involved). Wars on poverty, drugs, pollution, AIDS, racism, the Russians, aliens, zombies and now terrorism or more specifically ISIS. Or ISIL or whatever our common enemy that we must band together and fund our heroic politicians to vanquish is known as lately. This bullying of fellow citizens by means of dreads and frights has been going on since paleolithic times, O'Rourke tells us, and it continues today.

So let's just investigate the last debate, or the first quarter and a bit of it because I can't stomach much more of it. If you haven't already guessed, I have little to no respect for politicians. I believe, as does P.J. O'Rourke, that they are a bunch of swelled-headed narcissists who fancy themselves the only ones worthy of saving the world, and who consider themselves deserving of excessive payment for that service. Not just power and privelege, but also payment. By and large, that is. There are some good ones. I've blogged in support of Bernie Sanders. But the broken system of politics, which has been transformed into a brotherhood of fatcats selling favours to the massively obesecats of the corporate world holds little attraction for those with the moral standards to ACTUALLY give the world a bit of a saving.

And, "LET'S BE CLEAR," (Harper's favourite filler, which he said so many times in the following debate I thought he had summoned the spectre of L. Ron Hubbard, (usually followed by statements which further muddied what he proposed to clear up.)), that's really what it is: moral standards. There IS an intelligence in public speaking, rhetoric, sophistry, lying, misleading the public and politics. Screwing people out of money by straight taking their money requires no intelligence or merit. Just cold-blooded ethical elasticity. It's not clever to take something from someone any more than it's stupid for that person to allow you to keep it. You are taking advantage of their kindness. You are not strong and they are not weak. In fact it's the opposite. You are an asshole and they are putting up with you. Nothing more. Entire cultures have existed, and still exist, in which people didn't and don't practice this kind of assholery. Not just ownership, but the desire to own more than everyone else, is viewed as a sickness not of the body but of the soul. So this is neither natural, nor progressive, nor is it in any way necessary for the survival of our species. It's just selfishness and it has been the driving force behind 9 years of Harper government.

So needless to say, I loathe Stephen Harper more than most other people who participate in the loathesome practice of politics. And I'll be the last to defend him, but in this debate, it seemed like the other candidates were bent on riding the wave, (a well-earned wave), of Harper hatred sweeping the nation and just decided to contradict every single thing he said. OR, is everything that escapes the mouth of our leader of the last decade a lie? I can't believe that the other candidates are completely innocent in this. I'm sure they are using well-thought-out word combinations to create "truthiness" where the facts get in the way. After all, they're politicians. But this debate was nothing more than somebody, usually Harper, stating something and the others stating the exact opposite. Somebody is lying on EVERY FUCKING POINT!

Anyway, here's how it went. I'll just sum up the litany of contradictions that was called a debate.

Trudeau is asked about the economy, the first topic. His reply is Harper messed it up in the last 10 years. We have had 8 deficits in a row after a decade of surplusses. Canada's the only G-7 country in a recession. Wages are falling. We need to tax the wealthy and lower taxes on the middle class.

Harper then replies that Canada has had, during his reign of terror, the strongest economic growth, job creation, and income growth for the middle class among major developed economies. Then he launches into his infamous growth going forward nonsense. "Believe me THIS time, sure we suck and have sucked for 9 years although Baby Pierre can't figure out how many years I've been in office, but TRUST me, it's gonna get better if you keep me even longer." Then spouts some REALLY confusing crap about how he wants a "low-tax" plan rather than high taxes, high debt, high deficit which is failing everywhere else. The other parties, Harpy claims, want to spend billions creating permanent high taxes and permanent deficits... just like I've done in the 9 years I've been P.M.

Then Mulclair weighs in. He starts with the requisite NDP, "Canadians work hard!" comment but it's quickly followed up by, "Harper messed up the economy." Canada lost 400,000 well-paid jobs during Harper's reign. There are 200,000 more unemployed now than in 2008. (remember, Harper claimed job creation) Incomes are flatlining, household debt is skyrocketing. Harpy and Justin Bieber wanna give 10s of billions to the rich corporations even though Beiber claims he wants to tax the wealthy and Hardon claims he has some mysterious "low-tax" plan. We must assume he is referring to the zero or negative taxation the foreign investors and large corporations enjoy. NDP want to give tax breaks to small and medium corporations.

Then Elizabeth May is allowed to talk without being interrupted for the only time during the debate. She says that Harper said in 2008, which is when the recession started, "If there was gonna be a recession, there'd be one already." Not a good track record spotting recessions. He can't even admit the one he has driven Canada into today. Canada has a weak and shrinking economy. We need to invest some of what Mark Carney called the $630 Billion of "dead money" in Canada.

This is a great point that nobody seemed willing to get into. What the hell is dead money? I think it's like this: When a foreign investor wants to move into Canada, they need to have 800,000 bucks in the bank. At least that's what it used to be. It's given to the provincial government where the investor invests or starts a company or whatever. I believe it is kept for 2 years. If after two years the business is going swimmingly, the money is GIVEN BACK TO THE INVESTOR!!! So it's not really a tax, it's a loan to the government. In two years just the interest on a million bucks, (which is probably what the charge is today), would help the country. If it's invested, let's say into the can't miss, sweetheart deals that are unavailable to any individuals but the government of Canada and the provincial governments, are proposed every single day, that money could make a huge difference in the Canadian economy! But, this point was never pursued.

Harper pipes up with 1.3 million new jobs since the financial crisis. See? He's still not calling it a recession. This is the best in G-7. Let's be clear, incomes are rising, (Mulclair said "flatlining"), we have a balanced budget, and we are able to invest in infrastructure, health care, benefits for families, we DON'T, but we are able to. Nice choice of words though Stevieboy!

Trudeau then attacks Mulclair's suggestion of a $15 minimum wage stating that it will only help less than 1% of Canadians who earn minimum wage. How the fuck is THAT even possible? Minimum wage is lower than 15 bucks. Raising it will help EVERY person who makes minimum wage! Won't it?

Mulclair: Over 100,000 Canadians will be helped by the 15 buck minimum wage. Canada has 36 million people. 1% of that is 360,000 so, yes, less than one percent will be helped. But 100,000 seems like lots of help and less than 1% doesn't. Aside from the slick sophistry going on here, are 99% of Canadians REALLY making more than 15 bucks an hour??? I have NEVER made that in Canada! So a university degree and 16 years of teaching lands me in the bottom 1%? Maybe THAT is something these superheroes should try to save Canada from!

Mulclair goes on to explain Harper's claim to job creation. The CIBC says these are mostly part time, precarious jobs. The new job quality in Canada is the worst in a generation.

Harper: Let me be clear: 90% of those 1.3 million new jobs are full time. (Stats Can) Incomes are growing, he repeats.

Then there's some arguing about pension that doesn't make any sense. Then Trudeau mentions that Harper raised the retirement age from 65 to 67. What the Liberals will raise is 315,000 kids out of poverty with their more generous childcare benefits. But, what is that, reader? That's right! It's less than 1% of the Canadian population. Politics 101 here. Trudeau then accuses Harper of writing government checks to millionaires. Which he does.

Harper rebutts with, Let me be clear, retirement age won't go up for over 10, uh, for 10 years. This is part of his "going forward" plan I suppose. This is what Trudeau SHOULD have said. Instead he replied, "Oh so that's for our grandkids to worry about." Again, his sense of time is a bit skewed possibly by 48-hour coke and hooker binging. How he figures 10 years will equate to grandkids is enough to raise some doubt. Keith Richards partied with the Trudeaus. Nuff said.

Liz May pipes up with a nice one. She mentions in passing that other G-7 countries, such as Germany, have fewer newcomers joining the labour market so net new job stats are misleading. It's a political way of saying that there are tons of people immigrating to Canada and they get the shitty, new jobs because they're the only ones who want the friggin' things. When Harper comes back from his frequent visits to China he may have thousands of these "newcomers" in tow with fresh, shiny, new jobs being part of the tour package for all we know. Working for the Chinese-owned businesses in Canada for 2 bucks an hour beats the hell outta working in China for 2 bucks a day! There are good reasons Harper is so popular in China and it's not his hairstyle. Anyhoo, 1.3 million new jobs and 2 million new workers ain't job creation.

Harper pulls out the rhetoric. Immigrants are an important part of our Economic Action Plan to help drive our economy. Into the poor house. He didn't say that last part. I did. Again all part of his vision for Canada's future. More people than jobs. Nice.

Mulclair: Harper added 150 billion bucks to Canada's debt in the last 10 years. Last week he spent over a billion. We can't afford you, Harpy!

Harper: We, uh, we have, um, er, uh, a balanced budget. Other countries, (none cited), don't.

Liz clarifies by repeating the 150 billion federal debt stat and states that in a 2 trillion dollar economy she doesn't believe the budget WILL balance this year. The budget is a work of fantasy worthy of J.K. Rowling. If it balances or not depends strictly on its creative writers.

Mulclair suggests Canada grab a piece of the 5 trillion dollar green energy world market over the next 15 years. We're missing out on it because Harper doesn't believe in it.

Harper talks about a strong "foothold in Asia" and Liz May mentions the investment treaty Harper signed without any consultation with politicians or citizens that Canada can't get out of until 2045. Beijing is gonna be calling the shots and deciding which laws to pass for the next P.M. and many more.

Harper ignores the comment completely and states that greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced while growing our economy.

Liz May says that's not true.

Mulclair says that he reckons Harper thought that by gutting our environmental laws, we'd somehow get our energy resources to market faster. How's that workin' for ya, Harpy? Canadians want clear environmental assessments before pipelines can be accepted.

Anyway, knowing what I know about the oil pipelines and how Harper wants to pipe oil all over the beautiful country in its most dangerous forms, crude and bitumen from the oil sands, knowing that pipelines WILL fail and spills WILL happen, and knowing that Harper has consistently defunded the environmental agencies that will work to prevent such disasters or clean them up when they happen, I puked a little in my mouth when reading this crap and had to stop. Harper is owned by oil companies. Mostly in China and America and he will continue to mire Canada in the evil, antiquated business as long as he's the PM.

I got riled up reading these word games. Canada is a very rich country. 630 billion is just what the Central Bank head figures corporations in Canada are just holding on to. Waiting for something to spend it on. The example I gave is just one example of how Canada IS one of these corporations and how IT has dead money too. If these jagoffs had any authority to distribute the truckloads of spare change Canadian corporations have hanging around not a single person in Canada would make less than 100 grand a year. But these clowns are all beholden to big money. It's not different than the States. In fact, in the U.S. they have a dude who is going to do his best to fight the true powers that be if he gets elected. I believe what he wants is what almost everyone in the U.S. and Canada wants. I'm referring, of course, to Bernie Sanders. It's going to be tough for Bernie and I hate to say it but I think if he wins the presidency, he'll be in a lot of danger. I can't wait to see the revolution he will start if he gets in though!

Canada needs this same kind of revolution. Sanders is pissed off at the despotic billionaires destroying the U.S. Canadians need to get angry too. I don't see any of these candidates bringing about the kind of revolutionary changes needed. Certainly none worth a very valuable vote. But that's always the case. And, unfortunately, the Canadian people will put up with a lot of crap from there piliticians before they get pissed off.

I wouldn't even be surprised to see Harper win again because, like me, people watch these candidates contradicting each other, speaking in riddles and truthiness and get the feeling that they're all a bunch of typically meritless politicians. They're doing all their fighting to be the baton wielding leader of the parades against taxes, deficits, unemployment, environmental concerns and all the other issues, but when and if they win they will likely do as little as all those before them to come up with the incredibly simple solutions to these problems. Because they're not the ones in power. So Canadians might just refuse to waste a vote on any of them. But I can't vote anyway. Yet another of the little adjustments Harper has made to improve his chances. He has obviously done some research and found that among the Canadians who are overseas and will vote, he won't get many of their votes, so he has chosen to take that right away. That's just how he rolls. So some would argue that taking away my vote was "smart." Let ME be clear, Harper is not smart. He is just a hideously selfish human being who has the moral relativism one needs to screw an entire country. In short he's a jerk who needs to be pushed into a mud puddle.

I would have voted for not Harper but none of the candidates other than Harper will give me, or I suspect the country, what it wants. Certainly not what 50% of us want. So it's going to remain a fake democracy no matter what the election results. Leastaways, that's what I reckon.

This was posted by a friend on facebook a bit too late to attach it to this post:

Monday, September 14, 2015

The old "hurry up and wait"

I'm just sitting here at mid-day soaking up the cool temps and trying to think of something to blog about. I just got my stuff all consolidated at Mike and Heather's place in Seoul. It's nice to have a computer to bang away on. I miss writing when I'm computerless for more than a few days. So now I'm packed and am ready to move out to the school where I've been hired as soon as I can. It's in Icheon City. As opposed to the Icheon neighbourhood of Seoul. And massively different from it. "Ee cheon," which is how it's pronounced, in Korean means two thousand. That's how many people it feels like there are in Icheon City. Not the Icheon neighbourhood of Seoul!

Anyway, I was supposed to start September 1st like everyone else and am not exactly sure what happened but here I am, still not working and still at least three weeks away from starting. See they have told me that they HAVE students but for some reason they choose to keep from me, the students aren't HERE yet or aren't SIGNED yet or just aren't available for me to teach yet. One would think that if they are as sure of the students arriving and this school year happening as they assure me they are, they would be interested in giving me all the paperwork necessary for immigration and getting me a visa. Just the visa number takes a couple of weeks to acquire. Who knows what will happen with the Suwon Immigration Office? Immigration officers sometimes take great pleasure in demanding that you get this document or that and then return before the visa application is complete. And it just wouldn't be as much fun if they made you go home and get all the stuff they can think of at the same time. No, they usually ask for every conceivable document, (whether necessary or not), one at a time so as to prolong the agony of the visa process even more. I reckon it would make sense to have me start this process now so that when the students get to the school, I'll be ready for them. At the very least legal to teach them.

But will I be ready? I have been shown some books and brought them home so I could flip through them and develop a mental curriculum, but then I was told that those are not the books I will be using. I actually thought of writing curriculums. Good thing I didn't waste my time! I have not yet seen the books I will be using. I could be developing curricula, heck, I could have written the entire year, made course outlines, had them bound and put bows on every one of them by now. But, alas, I am idly awaiting, whatever it is I am idly awaiting.

I'd be rookie teacher foolish if I believed the, "Oh don't worry, David, you totally have the job!" that I've been told by several people. If that were the case, what would stop them from letting me get to work on stuff I could be doing while waiting for them to get the school year organized?

Then again, I'd be rookie teacher foolish to believe that logic applies to this gig and think that there's gotta be a reason other than just pure disorganization.

So I have some concerns. Misgivings. No matter how you slice it, it's nerve wracking. And I REALLY hate the old "hurry up and wait." I figure either I am being kept on hold, and not compensated for it, or I will be working for a bunch of people who are showing remarkably bad organizational skills.

But I'm choosing to remain positive. I think they WILL be disorganized and they WILL need more than just my teaching skills at this school. I have been to many camps where the broad strokes were organized but the details were left to the teachers at the 11th hour. And they all turned out great because, like myself, the workers at those camps were good at improvising. I have a feeling there will be a lot of last minute improvisation needed from me at my new position. I am actually happy about that because it will solidify my indispensibility right from the get go. And since I am in on the ground floor of this project, before long they will want me as a long-term employee and maybe even a partner. Eventual principal? You never know...

I just really wish I could get going! I've been out of work for ages now and I have to get some money rolling in!

I recently read an interesting article on the 1.2 million Americans who live on basically no money. Less than 2 bucks per person per day I believe was the cut-off. These are people too proud to take welfare who don't get food stamps and who are disqualified from or don't take advantage of any programs that may help them out. There are things you just don't think about that happen to these folks. Clothes wear out. So you have to donate blood to get 30 bucks to buy underwear for your son who needs them. How about the kids? They are made fun of for constantly wearing the same clothes to school. The article talked about desperate measures that these people take to survive. People illegally selling their food stamps, selling sex, collecting rain water to flush the toilet because they can't pay the city water bill... These are the kind of dire straights I think I would find myself in if not for the kindness of strangers and friends who have helped me through this rough time. I am anxious to get back to work and pay them back for saving my arse. But I have to wait at least two weeks for the visa number, then go to Japan for 3 days and none of this will happen until I get all the paperwork from the people at the school.

Right now they want me to move out to the school. I told them I'd move when I got all the papers. That didn't work. So now I've told them I am ready to move and will move any time they want. But I think there is some preparation needed before they will allow me out there. I saw my place a couple times but only from the outside. I was told the key was with the workers who were renovating, painting etc. Well I guess they're still not done. I don't even know if I have a bed or a desk or a TV or a fridge. They've told me that I can eat at the cafeteria there but I won't want to do that every meal for very long. What about food I can't live without that will never be on the cafeteria menu? Like spaghetti? Bread. Mac & Cheese. And coffee and beer. Snacks. Where is the nearest grocery store? How do buses work? I really want to get there and get used to the place as soon as I can.

But, here I am... Sponging off friends, not getting an income, writing my blog and not an ESL curriculum. I am incredibly grateful for friends who have brought me to ball games, taken me out for trivia night or to the pub, Everland, Muido Beach, Oktoberfest, the tea fields of Bosung, I have had loads of fun since being here in Korea! As the following photo will fully illustrate:

But I just can't enjoy it fully when I'm not working and pulling my weight. I'm feeling a bit like a bum. A drain on society. Interestingly, that's how these 1.2 million impoverished Americans describe themselves feeling when people offer to help them out. Very grateful, but they just want to work. They'd rather earn than receive charity.

While I believe it is a hugely important part of our existence to help other people and I believe that those who have never done so have yet to experience true joy, I'm getting tired of providing others with the joy of helping me. I want some of that joy of helping others for a while. Heh heh.

Hopefully I will hear some news about moving in and/or getting the visa process underway soon. I am all ready. Have been for ages. I'm just waiting. For what, I'm not sure. Just waiting...