Vacation

Until next Friday (4th of February, 2005) I will be working at Ulsan Language Academy.
I still find it amusing that Korean teachers have to attend our classes whilst on vacation.
If you look at the defintion of vacation below
leisure time away from work devoted to rest or pleasure; “we get two weeks of vacation every summer”; “we took a short holiday in Puerto Rico”
you can see that being forced to attend our class means it is not a vacation.
Off course we antipodean types use the British word for vacation, Holiday
So what will I be doing on my holidays?

Well as mentioned before, reading all five Harry Potter books.
Then listening to the audio book version of them all.

I also have some study to catch up on

1. Learn Hangul
I have procrastinated enough. Time to get it over with and learn the basic of Korean.
By learning Hangul I mean two things.
a. Be able to write the Hangul alphabet. (easy)
b. Be able to pronounce the sounds associated with each Hangul character ( a couple of days work at most)
c. Learn the grammar and vocabulary (insert your favourite four letter work here)

2. Read Learning Python
Front cover of Learning Python, 2nd Edition
This book is a tutorial on the Python computer proogramming language and Object Oriented Programmings (OOPS) all in a mere 575 pages!

3. Read Grammar for English Language Teachers
Front cover of Grammar for English Language Teachers

A real page turner, sure to cure my tendancy to not get enough sleep. The title describes what the book is about and at 25,000 won for 514 pages not a bad deal.

Plus practise Haidong Gumdo.
I need to know the first ten forms without having to think about them. So that will involve about 30 minutes of practise outside classes every day except Sunday.

I also intend to cycle to Busan, so to get into shapes I will be doing lots of small rides (less then 60 KM) around Ulsan. In the next Month I should clock up around 600 KM on my bike, should be fun!

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

In the last two weeks I have watched all three Harry Potter films, as well as listening to the audio book of the first book.
I have decided to read all five Harry Potter books. So yesterday I rode to my friends house in NamChang (40 KM round trip) and borrowed the first four books.
On the way back I purchased the fifth book, the Order of the Pheonix for 12,000 won (about US $12) which was quite cheap.

So now I am reading the first book
The book cover for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

after I finish the first book, I will polish off the four sequels in short order.

Haidong Gumdo Grading

Saturday week I have a Haidong Gumdo grading.
I am really looking forward to it. My ankle has recovered sufficently that I can now run across the road, ride the bike, etc without serious pain. But there is a small pain on the inside of my left ankle near the bone that sticks outs and my ankle is still swollen, although greatly reduced.
Hopefully the swelling will go down over the next month or two.

Anyway I have two ‘forms’ to learn as well as two of the smaller forms which are similar to two and three step sparring in Taekwondo/Karate
This week I will have them memorized and next week I can concentrate on improving my form.
The ankle and my knees limit me to some extent because with two months of no exercise I have lost a lot of muscle mass. My legs which once were rock hard, are not like jelly.

Teaching

This week and next week I am working at Ulsan Language Academy. I love working there. It is a lot of fun teaching teachers.
But this week I only have five hours of class and all of that on Monday.
That leaves the rest of the week free, sounds wonderful, but I prefer to be busy.
I have five classes of 9 -12 teachers. Each class I have five times.
So the first week I have five lessons, the second week, twenty!
My students are all high school English teachers. I am teaching them ICT (Information Communication Technology) or in plain English how to use computers and the internet in the classroom.
Like most classes the ability ranges from barely adequate to excellent. I have even learnt some stuff from one of the students. That is always a good feeling.

Today, I am bored. I have done all my preparation for next week. So I am getting a really tedious task out of the way.
I have a 150GB hardrive formated by a Macintosh. I need to change the format to the Windows NTFS system so I can use it on my new PC. Problem is you can’t just flick a switch and it is done.
I have to copy the files to another computer. Format the hardrive and then copy them back.
Total time, probably around 5 hours.

BitTorent

Did you know one third of all the traffic on the internet is people sharing files? And of that 1/3, 50% is shared using the BitTorent protocol .

How do you use BitTorent?

1. Go to a website which has a list of ‘torrents’

Latest episodes of popular TV shows

http://www.tv-swarm.com
http://www.btefnet.net/

http://www.bi-torrent.com/
– This site is good for getting old episodes of popular TV shows.

Good sites for Movies, Music CDs, and Windows Applications

http://torrentspy.com/
http://torrentreactor.net
http://www.fulldls.com/

2. Select the music, movie or program you want and download the torrent for it. They range in size from about 2k to 30k

Open the torrent in a Bittorent program like BitComet and wait … if all goes well you should have what you want in minutes, …. days, .. sometimes weeks.
Want it quicker? Buy it !
Remember: TV Shows, Movies and Music are all copyrighted. Copying without permission is illegal.

Technology and Parents

Looks like my brothers and sisters gave a DVD player to mum and dad for Christmas. This is great news for me. Now I can make a DVD for my parents. So I will collect all the movies and pictures I have made and make a DVD Video and DVD picture disk for them.

…. cool … now, if only the had the internet ….

Snow! Lots of it

Sunday (16th of January), woke up early (12 noon) and it was snowing!
The main shops near where I live

W.O.W

Surprisingly, it was not cold. In fact it was warmer then yesterday when I went on my bike ride.
So I made a snowman, picked snow fights with small children (and lost). Lots of fun.
Met a nice man, Mr Kim who works in the Engine division at Hyundai shipyards. He invited me for a tour of the shipyard.
I am excited about that. If I am allowed I will take pictures as I am sure dad would love to see pictures of such a huge factory.

Today is Monday and the snow has not melted and it still looks lovely. They have cleared the main roads of snow and salted it so cars will not spin madly when they go up hills.

More pictures —> http://stephenhucker.com/gallery/snow
Update: It’s Friday the 20th. All the main roads are clear of snow, it has been swept to the side of the road where it will remain for a few more days. Some of the side roads are quite slippery in places where snow has been frozen into ice.

First Big bike Ride for 2005

I was reading the Ulsan Pear, December 2004 issue and it mentioned that there was a building with lots of computer shops in it.
Obviously I had to find it, as Ulsan is really lacking in good computer stores.
So how to get there? Well its a perfect excuse to go for a ride. It was my first big bike ride for 2005. I was worried about how my ankle would hold up, but it seems fine. When I say big, I really mean small. It was only about 20km.
I rode from Songan to the “Parking Garage”, Samsan dong.
The computer stores were pretty good. 1GB flash ram sticks were going for 130,000 won.
Unfortunally no one had 200GB SATA hard drives.

I also stopped off at the Lotte Department store and saw some of my students in the Blood bank bus. They were just about to go into the cinema to watch a Korean film. They looked strange without their school uniform.
I was thinking about donating blood, but I had to ride back later and it was probably not a good idea to give blood and exercise heavily.

Movie Review: Sky Captain and the World of tomorrow, Antz

Watched “Sky Captain and the World of tomorrow”. The story did not really grab me , “Giant Robts attack New York in the 1930?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s.”
Some aspects of the film were good such as the retro 30’s sci-fi look complete with very little use of colour, most of the film appeared to be black and white.
Unfortunately that is how one would describe the dialogue, dull and colourless.

But the story, in one word, it … sucked
Antz DVD Cover
I also watched the animated feature Antz. If you liked the Pixar films (Toy Story, Monster Inc, etc) you will love this. Lots of hip cultural references for the adults to look for as well as the usual kid friendly cute animated characters.

Lots of recognisable actors were used for the voice overs: Woody Allen, Dan Aykroyd, Anne Bancroft, Danny Glover, Gene Hackman, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone and Christopher Walken.

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