ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 19

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on October 23, 2016 by shenanitim

I think I’ve had three different 한국어 선생님 (Korean teachers) over the past five weeks. This week’s lesson was still good though, since, as I pointed out last week, I decided to take a more active role in guiding my education. Which may have frustrated my teacher this week, since towards the end he seemed a little either frustrated or annoyed, same as I was two weeks ago.

He’s a younger guy (I could probably safely call him a kid), and his English isn’t too good. (Probably the worst out of the three aforementioned teachers.) So there were plenty of times where I was asking him for clarification on terms, or just (trying to) trace the root(s) of terms I was encountering, and he would either a.) not have the answer, or b.) not understand what I was talking about.

Case in point; the new unit introduces two “taste” terms: delicious and terrible.

맛있다 (to be delicious)


맛없다 (to taste terrible)

Now, I already knew 맛있다 from the vocabulary included in what became the Great Preposition Dump of March or April. [Actually June.] What I didn’t know, however, is that the opening syllable, 맛, literally means “taste.”

Following this, 있다 (to be/to exist) might be a top runner for one of the earliest Korean verbs I learned. So you’re just adding “taste” and “to exist” together and you get “delicious.” I can’t explain the connection 100%, but I can definitely understand the underlying connection nonetheless. It’s a taste that exists, thus it’s good.

The new verb, 맛잆다 similarly jams together the new word (맛) with a familiar verb (잆다). Now I’ll give you one guess as to what 잆다 means.

If you guessed “to not exist,” then please continue reading both this post, and this blog. If you guessed wrong, please call whoever does all your computer stuff for you, and have them close your browser, erase your browswer history, and forget that the name “ShenaniTims” exists.

So it’s literally taste war between existing and not existing. DeCartes would be so proud!

Unfortunately, it’s also something only linguistic nerds will care for. Not a trick or connection impressive enough to amaze a crowd (of one) of fluent Koreans. So teacher was less than amazed at my “discovery.” Even if my discovery means I won’t have to worry about forgetting either of those words anytime soon.


I also learned (배웄어요) today (어늘) that I shouldn’t attempt to do my Anki deck when experiencing a low blood sugar. Because the indecisiveness and indecision that usually corresponds with a low blood sugar will also affect my memory’s performance. And given how low blood sugars need to make me (more) hostile, this ordeal soon balloons into something a lot bigger than it should. A lot bigger than “I should just stop trying to complete the deck right now and instead eat something.”

No, because at that point I’m now angry at the world, myself, and Korean. So yeah, if I can’t be trusted to count (in English) or drive a car, hold a conversation, or oftentimes walk, then learning another language should also be taken off of low blood sugar’s “things to do” list.

경복궁 (Chuseok 2016)

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , , on October 18, 2016 by shenanitim

Translation: Gyeongbokgung (Seoul Palace).


경복궁 is huge.

I mean really huge. Huge in a way that makes Lotte World seem small. All I could think about while wandering around the palace grounds was how strange it must’ve been to have lived there. Thinking that the king would have been largely confined there; not in a literal sense, but stuck there due to both duty and safety concerns.

Which helps explain the scale. Here in Jeonju, our “downtown” area is Gaeksa, and that was the servant area of the government seat down here. A whole neighborhood just to house servants and helpers. Such things still boggles this American’s mind.

One word of warning, take all travel guides advice with a grain of salt. I read numerous places about how the best time to visit Seoul and 경복궁 was Chuseok, as most residents in Seoul would return to their ancestral homes. Which is presumably true. But, given that Seoul is a metropolis of 12 million people, there will still be plenty of (other) tourists milling about. (As you can see in the pictures above.)

Crash and Burn (1990)

Posted in Halloween Endurance Tests with tags , , , , , on October 17, 2016 by shenanitim

I like this poster because the foreign language makes it seem like this movie wasn’t a straight to video release.

Goddamn it, Charles Band.

Charles Band: “Hey, I’ve got this really great idea for a movie. See, I bought the rights to this Italian Battletech film, and it’s doing really well. So for a thematic sequel, we’ll use the same dystopian future setting, only this time giant robot fighting will be illegal.”

Investor: “Oh my God, that sounds AMAZING! Illegal robot fighting rinks! ‘Robot Jox‘ meets ‘Thunderdome!’ The money’s practically printing itself here!”

Crash & Burn - Matte Magic

CB: “Actually, there’ll be just one giant robot. And it’ll be illegal to pilot, but that won’t matter because it’ll be busted throughout the movie.”

Crash & Burn - the World's Worst Green Screen

I: “Alright, I can see it; that’s still workable. They’ll spend the movie fixing the robot in order to overthrow the totalitarian government. Very counter-culturish. I like the way you think; ahead of the curve my man! Distrust of the government and anti-hero love is blossoming now, and is all set to bloom in a few years!” [Puts hand up for a high five.]

Crash & Burn - Knock-off Cyborg

CB: “Actually, no. The giant robot’s busted, and it’ll stay that way until the heroes use it to step on a dime-store Terminator that’s already been immobilized after it’s run over by an truck. After that they’ll stop using the robot.”

Crash & Burn - So Bad It's Good

I: “I… I… I… Don’t know what to say… Besides… WRITE HIM A CHECK BOYS!”

ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 18

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Hogwan Hijinks!, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , , on October 16, 2016 by shenanitim

The best part of having a really bad week is pulling through it. I spent the week looking for other, more stable, class options such as italki before realizing that I can make it more stable. Hell, I’m trying to rid the thought of “teachers” from my mind at this point. If I want to learn it, I will. And I will use whoever is available at any given moment to achieve this.

So this week my original new teacher was there, and he apologized for missing last week. (It turns out he completely forgot.) I told him not to worry, cracked open my book, and handed it over, telling him to quiz me on the vocabulary. And away we went!

Just like that, weeks of frustration were wiped clean. Classes are becoming more a part of the process of learning, rather than an end-all, be-all state of learning. I’ve been posting a lot more on Lang-8, and have been pretty consistent with writing 4-5 lines in Korean every other day or two.


As one can see, I’m not doing too poorly on that front either! Speaking is still difficult, since you’re putting together a sentence in your head without the aid of having it resting in front of you.

While it does appear that there’s a bunch of corrections there, I’ll point out the 2nd image clearly states that those corrections are for an entirely different occasion (speaking in the high honorific). So it’s almost as if rather than just rank it all as “perfects,” they decided to move the goalpost. Obviously I was writing in the tense I was imagining using. Otherwise I’d have used the other tense.

This chapter is all about “Would you…?/Could you…?” which is “[V]시겠어요” so I’m clearly trying, and failing, at it here. I’m finding that most of grammar’s difficulty lies in figuring out when to use certain forms. So more practice it is!

On the Anki front, things have continued moving along. I’m slooooowly gaining ground on the Prepositions of Time I spoke of earlier. I still disagree with them dropping all these like-minded and like-sounding words on a student at once (it’s bad teaching theory), but it’s the hand we were dealt so we play it.

If learning an entirely new vocabulary was easy, then I guess everyone would be doing it.


The last bit of good news is that I’m almost through the daily Forecast backlog. Caught up to day one! Honestly “righting” this won’t change anything in how I learn, or what I learn, but it’s a goal that I’m striving for. Something to look forward to instead of the lifetime of learning (i.e. loses) that I’m realistically facing.

Suicide Girls Must Die! (2010)

Posted in Halloween Endurance Tests with tags , , on October 12, 2016 by shenanitim

Shamelessly stolen from:!1 Given them a visit too!

I mean, I get what they were trying to do. Shoot the 2010 Suicide Girls’ calendar out in the woods, and double-dip into the tax write-off territory by positioning it as a film also. As if they realized, after 5-10 years of being in the retro-burlesque business, that “moving pictures” exist, and their bread-and-butter – still shots, are effectively passe in a world with high-speed internet and tons of porn.

They must’ve figured that they tap into the horror market. Those guys are lonely and undersexed, right? It’ll be a homerun!

SuicideGirls Must Die! - Dockside

So the girls go out into the woods to shoot a calendar while filming what amounts to a pilot to a really bad HBO reality series. One of the girls messes with some tombstones they found outside the cabin, and disappears. Then others disappear, and no one is the least bit concerned. Not the lady in charge, nor any of the other girls; who, one assumes, would be friends with at least one of the victims.

SuicideGirls Must Die! - She's Holding an Axe! It's Scary AND Sexy!

You can just barely tell, but here the Suicide Girl has an axe positioned over her crotch. Because they’re sexy and dangeruos! Get it?

Maybe this film is more effective if you know the girls. Like it operates on a reversed Hollywood system. One where you’re expected to know the actresses and identify with them as people, rather than be a character. Which must be why the film’s seams become so apparent when a real actor shows up. When the third girl goes missing, and is abandoned on a remote island, the cops are finally called. A cop (Brandon Stumpf), mind you, who looks like the stereotypical hopeful actor/hunk – a bit surprising since the Suicide Girls, as an entity, positions itself as alternative beauty.

SuicideGirls Must Die! - You Will Not Be RescuedSuicideGirls Must Die! - Pay No Attention to the Red Herring

I guess this film would be okay if it was a double tax write venture where everyone improvised. Cuz that’s the only way I could accept a story this horrible. People go missing, no one cares until the third one’s gone. The third missing girl is found, and no explanation on how she became lost or why neither group could hear the other since they both were screaming. One girl gets tied up and covered in blood, yet didn’t see a bit of her attacker.

Two girls find a camera with footage of the first girl being murdered. They’re in the video control van watching the snuff footage when they’re murdered. So now there’s four girls missing, another who could’ve easily been murdered, and no one thinks to, I don’t know, go into the control van and check any of the footage shot in the past three days.

SuicideGirls Must Die! - Excited Yet? It's Literally 90 Minutes of THISSuicideGirls Must Die! - There's No Place Like Home...

And why oh why, if you’re making a film with nothing but amateurs, would you write two crying scenes? Crying convincingly on camera is something most professionals can’t do effectively.

In the end, Suicide Girls Must Die! isn’t bad meaning bad, or even bad meaning good. Nor is it so bad it’s good. It’s the worst kind of garbage, it’s pap – completely meaningless and inconsequential. Right down to the ending, where we find out that they were all alive after all! It was all a dream; or, in this case, a ruse! An ending that just underlines the pointlessness of it all. To quote one of the girls, “It makes me look gullible, it makes me look foolish.” It certainly does, honey, it certainly does…

Don’t Breathe (2016)

Posted in Halloween Endurance Tests with tags , , , , , on October 11, 2016 by shenanitim


Don’t Breathe = the People Under the Stairs meets a backwards the Strangers set in the house of Napoleon Dynamite.

In other words, utter shit.

Don’t Breathe is a movie with no moral compass. We start by following three thieves as they burglarize houses. In bombed out Detroit. (Okay, I’m assuming it’s Detroit just from the location shots.) Detroit has enough problems already, the last thing we need to be watching is three privileged white kids exploit the area.

So for the first 1/3 of the movie we have no likable characters. They’re thieves stealing from a blind veteran who received a sizable payout when his only daughter was killed by a rich girl. So they’re stealing from a grieving veteran. So when the first thief gets shot, you’re happy. They were heartless pricks before, and now they’ve sunk lower.

But those three are the only characters we know, and Sony’s obviously not going to leave us rooting for the antagonist. So we eventually find out that this blind vet has the girl who killed his daughter chained up in his basement. And he’s impregnated her to replace his daughter. You know, something SO over the top that we have to hate him.

Which leaves us rooting for no one. Which I guess puts it on the short list for scariest film seen this season. Also on the short list for “most blatant misuse of foreshadowing” this year.

ShenaniTims Vs. Anki: Round 17

Posted in Free-Range Tampa, Tales From the Hogwan with tags , , , , on October 9, 2016 by shenanitim

Class this week was the same as last week’s: a different teacher and an uneasy hour (this time) spent learning nothing. Last week started off uneasy, but we eventually found a groove and had laid the groundwork for future progress.

I didn’t even know where to start this week. I tried steering the “class” in a direction I was interested in. My book was being ignored, so I figured, “Hey, I’ll go grab my writing notebook! (I spent Saturday watching movies at the cinema, and was writing while waiting for the films to start.) Maybe the explanations I’ll receive will be more in-depth than those provided on Lang-8!”

No dice. The teacher had wanted me to create a sentence using the word “다” (all). I couldn’t think of one because a.) I don’t use the word “all” in English very often, and b.) I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable. This week’s teacher wouldn’t direct the class; such as “Now we’re going to work on this…” or, as in this case, “I’m going to say a word and I want you to use it in a sentence.” You know, some idea of what he wanted from me.

Instead he’d just say a Korean sentence over and over. If I repeated what he said, he’d keep saying it for minutes and then, after both of us had grown frustrated, would tell me to ask him said question. If I tried cutting into this routine by asking him early on, he’d seemingly get frustrated and tell me he didn’t want me to ask him, but answer him.

I’m certainly no professional scholar, but running your class on the idea of “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” doesn’t work very well.

So I’ll open my book! And show him that I’ve learned what he’s talking about, I just couldn’t recall it because everything we’ve talked about has been random and scattershot!  The concept in question here was one I had covered back in better times: future tense; I want to (V고 싶어요).

Again no dice. Instead of staying in the future tense chapter, he decided to go back seven fucking chapters to the alphabet. And review the vocabulary there which had nothing to do with anything we had talked about up to that point.

At which point I think I pissed him off because I completely checked out. He’d ask me something and I’d be staring off into space wishing I hadn’t given up control of the book. Since, if it had still been in my possession, I could’ve just been sneaking glances at it and working towards something.

It’s utterly fucking depressing to be told every damn week, “Wow, your Korean isn’t good. Almost as if, I don’t know, you’ve just started learning a 2nd language! One completely different than the one you’re fluent in! Huh, maybe that’s why you’re in a (supposed) Korean class?”


(Yet Another) Conversation With My Boss

Posted in Free-Range Tampa on October 6, 2016 by shenanitim

As he laid my pay stub on my desk, my boss mentioned there had been a change in payment. Warning me that my health insurance (universal healthcare is one of my favorite perks about living in Korea) payment had increased. Unable to remember, finally he settled on “100 won or maybe 500.”

Followed by my laughter since that’s 10 or maybe 50 cents!

Whatever will I do without those two bottles of HomePlus water?

Halloween 4: the Return of Mike Myers (1988)

Posted in Halloween Endurance Tests with tags , , , , , , on October 5, 2016 by shenanitim

Poster graciously stolen from: Read their review too!

Halloween 4: the Return of Mike Myers was the Halloween franchise’s reboot. Gone are the amazingly fun Silver Shamrock shenanigans, which were replaced with the slowest pacing of a Halloween film yet. This film, as is apparent in the title, brings Mike Myers back as the villain and Donald Pleasence back as Dr. Loomis; a man who spent the intervening six years going further over the edge. There’s an old joke about how psychiatrists are just as crazy as their patients, and Loomis here proves it. Shooting into empty gas station kitchens because he’s hallucinating Mike Myers; all forms of psychotic behavior is on display.

I’m almost ready to cash in the 80s slasher belief that the monsters were avenging angels sent to punish sinful children (a belief that the first Halloween actually created), for an updated “psychological thriller” reading which posits that Loomis was the bad guy all along. If this film ends with Loomis locked in a padded cell and everything that had transpired being nothing but a fantasy, I wouldn’t be shocked.

Halloween 4 - Return of Mike Myers - Mike Myers Through the Looking Glass

Halloween 4 introduces Jamie (Danielle Harris), Mike Myers’ niece. (Her mother Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) died in the horrible crossfire that occurred when Curtis rose above her Prom Night/Halloween background to become a legit star.) The niece doesn’t have psychic powers a la Friday the 13th: Part VII – the New Blood, but she is a strong contender for secret Mike Myers; which is why I’d be so shocked if that twist went to Dr. Loomis in the end. They’re both hallucinating Mike Myers everywhere; a plausible preoccupation in Loomis’ case (he shot two clips into Myers and set him on fire only to watch him be unexplainably “alive” in each subsequent movie) versus Jamie’s (whose age, considering this film takes place 10 years after the first film, means she’s probably never seen her uncle).

Unfortunately after introducing Jamie, not much else happens. It’s naturally Halloween so Mike Myers wakes up out of his bullet-induced coma and starts killing again. Interestingly enough, Myers is seemingly unconcerned with laying low this time around. I guess after dying twice he realized that he can’t stay dead, and just decided to have fun with it. So he slaughters the aforementioned gas station in broad daylight before stealing a tow truck and inadvertently blowing up said gas station as well as knocking down a few telephone poles.

Halloween 4 - Return of Mike Myers - Loomis Finds the Ambulance

How Myers is driving a tow truck is anyone’s guess. He looked to be around 6 or 7 when he was arrested in the first movie, so unless the asylum has its own driver’s ed course, I’m thinking he should’ve been clueless about using a stick.

Halloween (the actual holiday) starts, Loomis arrives and you have the first two movies replay themselves. “Everyone stay home!,” shouts Loomis and the police, but no one listens. Myers throws a rag doll dressed as a man into the electrical station, cutting off all of Haddonfield’s power. So the town forms an old-timey lynch mob and go searching for Myers themselves.

Halloween 4 - Return of Mike Myers - Vigilante Justice

I guess there’s a message here about vigilante justice when the mob shoots an innocent boy hiding in the bushes, but such a message is easily lost since they overdubbed his murder with the most over-the-top comic gun shot effects imaginable. Rather than being poignant, the scene instead reads like the boy was executed by Bugs Bunny.

I can’t really blame the filmmakers for trying though, as the scene is poignant, though maybe not for the reasons they wanted. As it stands, the boy’s execution marks the last interesting scene in the movie. The remaining 40 minutes finds all the cast members converging to the sheriff’s house, where Mike starts picking them off one-by-one. Except for Dr. Loomis, who excuses himself to go wandering around the neighborhood.

Halloween 4 - Return of Mike Myers - House PARTY!!!

The conclusion arrives after Myers is thrown off the roof of a speeding truck. What, you didn’t expect a monster who was known for lurking in the shadows to suddenly make a move for the spotlight? Neither did the film gods, since he crash lands into what appears to be Jason Voorhees’ shack from Friday the 13th Part II.” One can assume it’s Jason’s voodoo that cause the bullets to finish Myers off here, since they’ve been completely ineffective every other time.

Bringing Jamie back home, she then provides the swerve by murdering her adopted mother with a pair of scissors; a la juvenile Mike Myers. I’d hate to say “I called it” on a review for a film that’s nearly 30 years old, especially since I was rooting for Dr. Loomis to secretly be Mike. Maybe in the next sequel…

Halloween 4 - Return of Mike Myers - Mike Myers is Jamie!Halloween 4 - Return of Mike Myers - The Killer Is Jamie!!!

Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Posted in Halloween Endurance Tests with tags , , , , , on October 4, 2016 by shenanitim

Maybe I’m just a VHS-addict, but I’m not even two minutes into Halloween III: Season of the Witch and I’m already smitten with the staticky VHS grandeur on display. So smitten, in fact, that it took four viewings before I realized that the screen on display isn’t random, but instead slowly creating the jack-o-lantern we’re treated with in the end.

Halloween III Season of the Witch - Staticky

I promise to be more “on the ball” for the rest of the film. (Or at least I’ll attempt to be more on the ball.)

So Halloween III is infamous for being the series’ first muck-up. Carpenter, after watching Mike Myers die in Halloween II, wanted a clean break for the franchise. A fresh start so that the series could grow into something bigger than just one killer. (While Carpenter wasn’t the scriptwriter, he was still on-board as a producer.) Unfortunately the fans didn’t care for the new direction.

Halloween III Season of the Witch - Silver Shamrock Masks

And I can understand the public’s confusion. Halloween III is completely different than its predecessors. Not just for not including either Mike Myers or Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis); aesthetically it’s completely recast too. The location shots that I loved so much in the first two, the locations that lent the films so much atmosphere, are completely gone. Everything here is Hollywood; obviously sets, obviously (hammy) actors, the whole nine yards.

And I’m loving every second of it. It’s the perfect tonal switch. Imagine the lovable but fake look of Spaced Invaders mixed with a healthy dose of Village of the Damned, topped with a light sprinkling of 007 for good measure. You can’t lose!

Halloween III Season of the Witch - Silver Shamrock Factory

Halloween III Season of the Witch - Smile! You're On Silver Shamrock CCTV!

Story-wise it’s the tried-and-true, but still brilliant, company town caper. A mysterious death sends lecherous divorcee doctor Daniel Challis (Tom Atkins) to Santa Mira, home of the Silver Shamrock factory. The Silver Shamrock is run by Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy), who also runs everything else in the town. (There are cameras on every street corner (remember, this was way back in ’82!), a 6 PM curfew, and the town’s hospital is located inside the factory.) He’s an amiable, old man, famous for making novelty gag gifts for ages. Novelty gifts and killer robot henchmen.

Halloween III Season of the Witch - Silver Shamrock Masks II

Halloween III Season of the Witch - When the Robots Attack!

Now the robot henchmen/factory workers are rather brilliant. I mean, if I was going to create Halloween masks that, when exposed to a certain song, would cause their wearer’s head to explode in a mess of spiders and poisonous snakes, I’d probably want a factory of automatons too. Less chance of your secret getting out. What’s not explained though, is why the town loves Cochran so much. It is hinted that there’s some resentment because he doesn’t employ the natives in his factory. And since the factory is the only game in town, you’d figure this would be a big snub.

Also, a more importantly, no one seems all that concerned that none of the robots live in the town. Or outside of town. They just exist in and around the factory. Which, being a small town, should be rather noticeable.

Halloween III Season of the Witch - Lamest Homicide Attempt Ever

Another flaw is the age-old James Bond problem: why does Cochran keep Daniel alive? His robots kill everyone else, but the man who digs the deepest is not only told Cochran’s nefarious plan by Cochran himself, but also given a delayed death sentence. A fate which is predictably avoided.

Speaking of stereotypical James Bond dilemmas, Cochran wants to sacrifice children to celebrate Samhain and appease the gods. Which is all fine except that the Silver Shamrock has been around for years. And now it’s going to sacrifice decades of good will to bring in a good harvest? Not to mention the inevitable criminal charges against Cochran. I mean, there’d be hundreds if not thousands of dead children around the US, all found with exploded heads inside one of his masks. Even if he escaped jail time his reputation would be shot. Making next year’s harvest nonexistent.

Halloween III Season of the Witch - Misfire

How this experiment (that of the film itself, and not that of Cochran) failed is beyond me. I mean, Cochran’s operation screams SPECTRE. Lab-coat wearing henchmen, pieces of Stonehenge imported from England, Cochran is a (slightly) more hirsute Blofeld. It’s hard to believe that an action/horror hybrid was unpalatable even in ’82 considering how big it’d become two decades later (the Resident Evils, the Underworlds, et al.).