Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ben: Pin is the Bloon!

We were learning about machines in class last week, so I had my kids design and draw their own "Mouse Trap" style machines. Kevin drew this, and it is by far the best one. His prize (that he doesn't know about) is that it gets to go on our blog! It reads:

Tom is eat milk. Pin is the bloon. The switch is on and boat is move. Have a fire. Have a fire. Tom is die.

Since he drew it Catie and I have been running around saying "Pin is the bloon, have a fire have a fire!" at random. We think it's pretty hilarious.

Ben: What I've been reading

Catie has finally convinced me that I need to buy myself books at least once a month so that don't drive myself (and her) crazy with my lack of reading material restlessness. Last month for my birthday I bought:

The City and the City by China Mieville

China Mieville is, in my humble opinion, by far the most talent science fiction author currently writing. His books are always some combinations of postmodernist steam/cyberpunk with a strong dose of weirdness through in. He is able to paint incredibly vivid and very different worlds, without the usual wooden expositions that sink so many promising science fiction books into "It was a blue alien world with four moons and .4 Earth gravity." His narratives, like his worlds, are a complicated mess that somehow come across as intrigues and addictive, not headache inducing nonsense that requires a flowchart to follow.

Empire of the Ants by Bernard Werber

The book is split between the perspective of an ant colony (actually three ants within the colony) and a human family. Strangely the author does a better job humanizing the ants than making the actual human relatable characters. The end was fairly disappointing, but it was worth reading for all the neat descriptions of his imagined ant society.

The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson
This book pretends that instead of merely killing 1 out of every 3 people, in this book the plague kills 99 percent of Western Europe, leading to a very different history. I thought it was an interesting read, especially considering how much the real plague change the world. One out of every three people died over the less than 20 years, which would be the equivalent of 100 million people dieing in modern America. I'm always amazed that there was any society left in Europe after the plague swept through. The writing is less than exciting, but the alternative history is fun to read.

This month I'm going in a more non-fiction direction with my purchases, since I'm about science fiction-ed out for now. My parents are also sending me the backlog of New Yorkers, Economists, and Atlantics that have been piling up in their living room (thank you Mom and Dad!), so July will be a much more educational month than June was.

Ben: Making things is fun

I've run completely out of Kroy sock yarn (and other sock yarn too, I just like Kroy the best). I stole some of Catie with the promise that she could have the resulting socks so long as I could knit them. Here's what I made:

Catie's pair are on the right, and my last pair (from our current yarn stash) are on the left. I haven't weaved the ends into mine yet, but they are otherwise finished. While I was working on my second sock I was waiting for the bus to take me to work. When I got on the bus the lady behind me starting yelling at me and pointing out the door. I looked and saw that my yarn was trailing out the door. I jumped off the bus and ran down the street, gathering up my yarn for a full block until I found my ball of yarn sitting in the gutter (which was, thankfully, the only clean and dry gutter in Korea). I then ran back to the bus, where the bemused bus driver was waiting for me. The mess I made with my yarn took me the rest of the day at work to untangle. My Korean co-teacher, Landon, kept encouraging me to just cut the tangle since it was taking so long, but I successfully resisted and save all my yarn.

Since I'm all out of sock yarn, I've started working on my first sweeter. This picture is terrible (on account of me being a lousy photographer). I'm just about ready to join the pieces together. I'm pretty excited since this is my very first sweeter ever. I've been working on it nonstop for two and a half weeks, but now the complicated joining and decreasing begins. Hopefully by the time I've finished with it my previously blogged books and magazines will have arrived, because I've taken about all the yarn Catie will let me steal from her!

Here's a much better picture of what the sweater should look like when it's finished:

Ben: Monsters of Ewha

Han's monster pictures. Notice how they all eat different parts of my body? What sweet kid! Also, I think the middle monster looks like Frylock from Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Here are Harry's monsters. I like that I have a gun and fangs in my picture.
This a pretty good picture of the front cover of the listening book that we were using in class.

All the classrooms have CCTV (creepy, but everywhere in Korea is watched by CCTV, so you get used to it and now it doesn't even seem that weird). If only it stopped them from doing any bad behavior.

I like how you "must learn military arts of the worlds" to attack me!

Iris drew this one and I look like I'm on meth or something in it. The kids didn't have to draw me as an Ewha monster, but for some reason they all did.

This is "Albert's World," where you must "kill, throw bomb, war, and zombie" and you mustn't "die, eat, or walk." Not sure how walk got in there, I guess Albert really hates walking. Also, it would seem that not being able to eat would make it hard to stay alive.