Tuesday, January 30, 2007

. . . And Tomorrow The World!!

Today was my first acting day as Director of Studies. An hour and forty-five minute meeting with management about what needs to be done and what I'd like to do. (My basic goal is to try not to be a brown-nosing lying suckass like most of the other DOS's I've known.)

This was followed by planning out some training seminars for new teachers -- those TEACHER TIP entries are coming in handy, I've used a couple of them already, namely MAKE THE FUCKERS TALK and IN PRAISE OF THE COMMUNICATIVE APPROACH.

It's Morning in Vodkaberg.

My policies: manhugs, and a wet-bar installed on the premises.

Monday, January 29, 2007

More Homesickness

Feeling considerably better, but I did have some pretty extreme dreams last night, probably a result of the rhino tranquilizers in the Coldrex.

I dreamt I was back in America, in the small town where my mother lives, and there had been a zombie uprising. I watched from behind a car as a large group of them staggered past; then I started running from house to house looking for guns. I found quite a lot of guns, but they were mostly bb guns and small-caliber handguns -- I was looking for something with the heft necessary for zombie splatting, and woke up frustrated.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

My First Case of Homesickness

After 12+ years out of America, I think I had my first case of homesickness last night.

Still home sick last night at 10:30pm I thought, "Boy, I sure wish I could watch SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE."

Then I drank the other half of the bottle of Coldrex and went to bed.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

This Stuff Rocks. . .

Been sick since Wednesday, though I'm getting a little better. Not a pleasant vacation -- as I said, I've been in a lot of pain every time I swallow.

There are a lot of cool medicines available in the pharmacy that have codeine, however, so that's okay, and there's always Coldrex Nighttime, in which the active ingredient, I think, is rhino tranquilizer.

Friday, January 26, 2007

My Girlfriend

So I've got a "girlfriend" -- have to put it in quotes, though, as it's difficult to truly consider someone your girlfriend when you only see them about two-three times a month. She claims this is because he parents are very strict about her going out at night. They want her married to a rich guy, not out galavanting around with broke, middle-aged English teachers.

She's 23.

She asked me a few days ago to borrow $2000 so she could apply for the "Work and Travel" program and work in America for the summer. She prefaced this request by saying that she couldn't borrow it from her parents because she still hadn't paid them back the money she borrowed to go work in America in 2005.

She also mentioned that she would ask her ex(?)-boyfriend from Australia for it, but she still owes him $500, as he had to lend her some money for University tuition fees, because her parents refused to pay it due to all the exams she failed because she spent so much time in America.

Let's file that under, "Yeah, okay, baby, sure."

Okay, Fuck It, I'll Blog.

All right, I give in, I'll continue the blog. I do kind of miss it, it doesn't really cost me anything, and if anyone is stupid enough to get into English teaching because of me, then they deserve what they get.

In fact, maybe I should go the opposite route, and try to encourage as many people as possible to get into English teaching, and also start their own blogs. That will kill it as dead as anything.

Thanks to all the people who sent me emails; your kind words would have moved me if I had any feelings left. (NOTE my pristine use of mixed third and second conditionals.)

I've been ill for the last three days with some kind of throat infection -- the first time I've ever missed work due to illness, that I can recall. When I swallow, it feels like a razor blade is being rammed down my throat. I mean, if you hurt your foot or something, you can just try to stay off your foot -- but try to get through the day without swallowing.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Charlie Don't Blog

Okay, we can't deny that there's some value to the Internet. It's a cheap portal to a lot of different types of entertainment -- it decentralizes entertainment distribution networks -- that is to say, you can read my blog if you wish, despite the fact that no big New York publisher would want to print it.

I can write, draw, or post a video or song of whatever I feel like, and anybody with the Internet can look at it.

That's a good thing, isn't it?

But as I said, there are the objections -- it's got more parallels with prostitution and busking on the street than traditional entertainment, and it's another symptom of "reality show" culture taking over our lives.

Then there are more sinister objections:

Google, who run both Myspace and Blogspot, know more about you than your best friends do. They know which websites you look at, which keywords you search for or blog about, where you are, and the contents of your emails. And you have quite willingly consented to this.

So maybe. . . we just need a little break. A little time to contemplate where we are, what we're doing, and what we hope to do.

Cut and paste the following image.

Post it on your blog, or in the primary default position in your myspace page. Forward the image, and a message like the one above, to everyone you know. Then take a few days -- at least a week, more preferably a month -- off from blogging, reading blogs, or looking at teenage girls in their underwear on Myspace.

Go to the park. Read a good book. Try a food you've never tried before.

Then consider your life.

Charlie Don't Blog, man.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Rumours of My Death Are Greatly Exaggerated. . But. . .

See, I'm just not sure if I'm going to continue this blog, or continue updating the www.englishteacherx.com website.

The reasons are many. I started the website in late 2002 because it seemed to me there was a dearth of information about the generally drunk, boring, lonely, yet chaotic life of English teachers abroad on the Internet, and that most sites painted a falsely rosy picture of English teaching; but now, every moron in the world keeps a blog about their English teaching experiences. Myspace, Blogspot, Livejournal -- hundreds of thousands of pages of pointless ramblings. (No offense to any of my fine readers who may keep a blog.) Some of them are pretty funny, some are absolutely tedious, but there are so many you couldn't possibly have enough time to wade through them all to find the best stuff, and they are all united in being generally pointless.

I am no longer able, in good conscience, to add to the pointless ramblings. I don't feel like I have anything particularly important to add to what I have already written about, though I have plenty more "funny" stories -- but you get the idea, I think. I made my main points long ago.

Another reason I started the site was to, if not discourage people from going abroad to teach English, then at least to dispel the idea that it was anything remotely like a life-changing, noble, cultural experience.

But then, as I explained in a previous entry, not only did I inspire somebody to become a teacher, but he actually tracked me to Vodkaberg -- which I will now admit is the city of Samara, Russia. (Since it's already now so packed with foreigners that a few more could not possibly make a difference.)

Discussing it with him, I find that I am guilty of the very thing I wanted to avoid -- painting English teaching as a wacky, interesting, endlessly fun adventure. It boggles my mind that anybody could read one of my stories like WORST-CASE SCENARIO or THREE REASONS NOT TO TEACH ENGLISH and be inspired to get into teaching, but amazingly . .

See, I understand it though. Take a boring or unpleasant incident, and write a funny story about it, and people will think the incident was funny.

Not the case -- it's only the story that's funny. Write as many funny stories as you want about English teaching though, and it's still a generally stressful and low-paying job with bad hours.

(edit -- that evening)

The other thing is that I've begun to feel blogging -- like Myspace -- is just another example of the "Reality Show Effect" on all of us -- we're not content to just live our lives anymore, we all want to be in the public eye. What are blogs other than written versions of Big Brother or Real World? Why would I put a picture of Brintey Spear's crotch on my blog, or random pictures of the breasts of girls in nightclubs, if I wasn't falling victim to this desperation?

Having actually met somebody whose life I affected, now, makes me reconsider whether I want to be in that "public eye." Of all the heroes, or all the people in the world whose lives you could follow, why me? Why not Gandhi, or Albert Schweitzer? Because I'm there, and of course, because it's not too high a target to aim for.

I'm not exactly sure I'm going to stop absolutely -- I might decide I miss writing and go back to it, who knows. I'll take a couple of weeks to think about it, and I'll either post a final message or get back to writing full time.

Don't worry though -- I'm not suicidal, my life is fine. In fact, I'm about to become the Director of Studies for my school, if you can imagine that.

Rock on,
English Teacher X

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

I'm in America celebrating the holidays. It's really cool here, it's real clean and there are a lot of hip shows on TV like SCRUBS. I think I'll put in an application at the STARBUCKS and start looking for an overpriced apartment to share with four other people.