These have been pretty fine days. I and Shane (or “Shane and me” in today’s stupid English, these bunch of disabled learners and their no-account teachers) have been more friendly, though his sharp edge is merely concealed, never dulled. Whether he’s slightly more tractable or not, I’m getting hungry again to sidestep him entirely by leaving. He and Shanna are still trapped in their Peter Pan moods, being serious about 3% of the time they talk, mostly humming and shouting and singing and hooting and whistling and talking in childish voices, and grunting and arguing and banging, slamming, and stomping on things. They’re not so bad, but they’ll never be ideal to hang around… This was the cost of me taking my time in life. But as much as I can avoid them, I continue to relish my kingly luxury of sleeping in all day, doing what I want, and so on.
That loveliness very recently came to a crash when I got a certain e-mail on the 12th — it’d been forwarded on March 8th from my old school department, having reached them something like another 4 days earlier; but Myeong-Seon had visited, and she, still considering herself a guest instead of her real status as back-up family member, demands proper hospitality and attention, so I rarely go on-line when she visits.
This e-mail had a nearly immediate deadline, 3/15, leaving me feeling slighted. It was a teacher recruitment company from Korea. It seemed pretty much like a Korean version of Japan’s JET programme, which had just rejected me over what I think was my wise, elderly demeanor amidst their thousands of child applicants, freshly descended from their high-school monkey bars, who must have seemed “kawaii” or who-cares-what. Good for them, too bad for JET and Japan. To bad for me, who lost a rare chance to pay my respects there. I don’t know how I’ll ever want to go spend money there as a simple and short-term visitor. I didn’t know as many animations or as much kid-culture, but I think I could have appreciated the place (the place-under-the-place) more than most of the others could have.
Then, this other way appeared: do the same thing with this Korean programme, AST (Association of School Teachers [in Korea]). They offered fewer jobs and slightly lower pay, but a marginally cheaper lifestyle… and, my Korean is much less incomprehensible than my Japanese.
And, it’s Korea. I had no plans for future permanency in Japan.
This came after an offer from my super-old on-line friend, Bee, from Thailand, now settled in the Netherlands. Her mother taught at a school, and she ended up inviting me in on a paid flight. She mentioned it was a poor school, and I, knowing nothing about wages in Thailand, didn’t want to make a sudden committment. Being 30 now, I feel like I have no more time to teach for very cheap, having spent so long already goofing around, not graduating, and travelling. I’ll do what I can anywhere, but now that a potential wife would already be too old to have kids, it won’t be long before I myself am too old for it. Old dads seem like they injure themselves more easily. So, anyway, money… to buy and feed some wife off of. “As a teacher?” Sure; we’ll do fine. It will be ramen noodles for about a decade, but that’s fine in Asia.
That deadline for Korea was just some initial documents that I thought I could e-mail, so now I have to get the slower ones (a new passport and a finger-print search), and I think I’ll be good for it. There’re also school documents, and then a series of authentifications (notaries and apostilles) which I know nothing about, even after going around trying to learn it this week. I’m pretty sure they’ll hire me, since this must be my substitute destiny for Japan.
Let me go front to back. Yesterday night was our state’s Republican caucus meeting (a word you too may have learned to think sounds stupid because of “Alice and Wonderland”). You simply have to be registered and local to go to these. By chance, I accidentally got nominated twice, just because of speaking up about some abbreviated item of process (I wanted to see the whole thing, it being my first time there). The first time, I instantaneously refused (a vice-chairperson or secretary or who knows what). I didn’t want to look like I was agitating for a position; later, I realised I’d be going to Korea soon. By the second time, for our third and last state delgate, the big neighbourhood group (mostly my stake members) was getting fatigued, and I, having made the mistake of making eye-contact with one of the few young people there, an acquaintance of mine, got suggested as a nominee. I’d figured from somebody’s comment that it would only last for till the summertime…
Hey, I just got notified by Hotmail after these two or three days that my AST application was received. I’d earlier been mailed back from the Korean Consulate responsible for Utah (located, horrifically, in California, which also covers Colorado, Wyoming and Nevada) that I may not actually need to go be interviewed there for a visa. That possibly will save me the 200-300 dollars that trip would’ve cost.
So, I took that nomination, not really wanting it, but wanting to at least try it out, and thinking that at least I could voice a comment I’d been holding in.
Oh; now, we had that meeting in our high school, across the street and down a bit from our house. We’d started in a smaller room, but it was soon overflowing, and we moved to the gym (this year there’s been a campaign to get more normals voting to counter the growing extremist movements). Before we swithced rooms, I’d first been standing at the doorway. We said a prayer, and a bunch of coins started tinkling on the ground. I kept my discipline and refused to break prayer, but by the end, the coins were falling like rain; something was happening. At the “amen” my eyes were just opening, and I, who’d been grinning like a fool, saw a guy over by these snack machines shaking his fists and throwing the last of his coins — I thought he was going crazy at that very instant over unsatisfaction with his selection. He looked Tongan, but was not overly huge. He was almost facing me, toward my left. He seemed between 40 and 50. As the milliseconds flew by, I realised to my embarrassment that he wasn’t shaking, but more rocking — a seizure. I’m still ashamed of my slow response — I dopily tried to consider whether to approach him right then, or to stand there like an idiot scarecrow for two more seconds. Before the two seconds elapsed, the guy, who had started to lose his balance, tipped onto his right leg, tipped some more, and then dropped like a tree. I was on the move, but he’d already CLOPPED his head on the floor tiles. Poor dang guy. I’d seen it coming…
Some older guys were close behind me. We sort of buffered his head and kept him sideways. Only one of us had experience, but the guy seemed to be neither choking nor injured by the collapse. Apparently, he suffered some form of diabetes. Within ten minutes some responders and a school supervisor had arrived from our call, and we drifted back into the caucus room. I and somebody had gathered the fallen man’s glasses and cache of coins; I left them with the other guy. Soon after that (with attendees still trickling in) we upgraded rooms, and the party went on.
So, I gave a bit of a speech during that nomination. Our only real contention in the group (other than one independent kid considering but then deciding against registering Republican to enable his active participation that night) had been over Orrin Hatch and Dan Lil(j)enquist. I was proud to be part of a community that was loyal to Hatch. His few dissenters, out of our 100+ crowd, consisted of the caucus leader (Curt Dowdle), who was the most vocal in faulting both Hatch and his campaign line of “seniority”; a somewhat fringe-Republican family, the Sorensons, well-liked in the ward, whose dad I heard energetically promoting the Constitution Party in 2008; their cousin, Julia Marshall, whose family I used to be attached with (whose older sister is Meredith Marshall, a girl I liked-ish, now married and childed, presumably still a Hebrew teacher at BYU); and an older lady who seemed hard Tea-Party… Shirley Burroughs/Burrows, I think. So, they had a slight debate. One lady, Kathleen Barrett, who ran twice for delegate, was angry over those ridiculous, manipulative, externally-influenced FreedomWorks liars — the same who’ve warred against Romney in their lust for attention, power, and an “us-or-bust” federal government. That got her my attention. I don’t like actual political “anger” in general; if anything, it’s a useful rhetorical skill for demagogues, but if you as part of a mob or audience truly get “angry” over non-daily-life problems, you’ve just been made a sucker out of. You just don’t need rage in order to oppose things. Anyhow, Kathleen had gotten so cutely informed and was trying to participate in the process, so I made up my mind to vote for her.
Well, in the first vote, I’d wanted to choose Bruce Woodruff, a man I consider a stalwart with strong judgment and good communication skills. He lost to another good guy, Roger Livingstone, who’s also a judge. So, I had to vote Bruce twice. The third vote was going to be for that fine lady nominee.
Instead, she lost confidence after not making the second round of voting both times (of an original 8 or 12, we voted and took the top 2 or 3 (lacking a majority), and had a second round for the first two delgates). She chose to reject her nomination for the third delegate. Another guy also stayed down, remarking that he had planned to vote for Kathleen. A third guy (Brent McKay) repeated the second guy’s comment, but he agreed to stand up. (Both of those guys had stood up for the first two votes.)
So, that kid, Brad Fagg, my old school acquaintance, who was sitting next to my cousin at the time, heard me offer to nominate my uncle, Jim Richards, who’s deeply interested in issues, but he was daunted and turned it down. As some point, I made the mistake of looking back up at Brad, making eye contact, and smiling at him. This he must’ve taken as a hint, a challenge, a warning that he was next, or who knows what. I felt nervous as soon as I’d looked at him and he had looked back, hoping he wouldn’t be rash.
Maybe it was my cousin. For some reason, Brad called me up, and I with this comment right on my tongue couldn’t really refuse. More importantly, I’d found out I’d still be in Salt Lake to do the job. So, up I went. Somebody else also changed their mind and withdrew, so our names on the board amounted to 4. The other three were Brent McKay, Shirley Burrows, and young Claire Sorenson. Claire and Julia had nominated each other for the first two delagate votes, so they could try to argue against Hatch. (Back home later, my mom informed me with a sigh that Julia was an enthusiastic and travelled backer of Ron Paul. Those two and the other Sorenson son, along with the parents, were probably some of our only Paul-backers there, but their energy here was diverted to Lil(j)enquist, just to oppose Hatch.)
Julia and Claire finally sat out the third vote, but Claire’s dear mother nominated her a third time, and she slowly came back down from the bleachers. She’s somehow pretty; they lived across the street from us for several months once, as they built a new house. She doesn’t (yet) seem like a political zombie, but was kind of there socially.
Shirley and I both made speeches, as the others already had done. Finally, I said… what did I say? I had to start over two or three times because the same couple of old women kept calling for me to speak more loudly. That threw me off balance, in addition to being a little nervous. I just had a few things to add: I was most closely aligned with the views of Brent McKay. We’d gotten some valuable input from our cadre of anti-Hatchers as they complained against the longevity argument. All we’d really heard was “finance committee”, although Kathleen later argued in favour of his conservatism. Curt had called it “baloney” for a weak candidate to pull out a seniority line. I concluded, it’s not an argument of seniority (demonstrably false; I’d meant to say that it wasn’t some irrefutable piece of evidence that a former winner should always be re-elected till he died). The argument, I offered, was whether you supported the man. Personally, I said, I support him. If you agree with what he’s done, support him. If you disagree with what he’s done (despite consideration of chairmanship), consider not supporting him. I happen to agree with him.
(Feeling rushed, I didn’t elaborate; my favourite example was watching him on the committee on CNN back in ’09 fight tooth, nail, and word — very civilly, mind you — against the Democrats who were foisting a totally unstudied health reform bill on the nation — now Obama’s biggest stumbling block, and responsible for igniting the Tea Party that first inflated House Republicans but then pushed them further and further down the road of wrathfulness, where the air’s a bit too dusty to really see clearly. Hatch, like Romney in ’09, saw the reality of Republican vulnerability. They both basically begged from kneeling position that, if ObamaCare must come, let it come smartly; let it come bipartisanly, cautiously, sustainably, in a way that might possibly succeed instead of fail. Crickets chirped, highlighting the TOTAL deafness on the other side — though the leftist media now lies that Obama actually DID obey Romney’s input; nice joke, to admit your foe was right, and now you’re right for following him — which they really didn’t do anyway. It was astonishing how confident Obama Co. was in its own infallibility. They passed a crappy, one-sided-policy-pushing, bankrupting bill, disallowing debate, and they deserve the result. But Hatch was faithful in that debate, and has been faithful in many others. The Tea Party wants to chop off fingers of those who prefer unanimity, but Hatch is a politican who knows when to compromise. The Tea Party yells itself purple about “no more compromise”, when the reality is, it hasn’t even been tried, not withtin memory, not beyond very brief spurts. Whenever either side tries to agree, the other punches them in the face. Obviously, I’ve noticed it a lot more coming from the blue side, but even I on my side can admit the blatant pettiness coming from our side, holding onto long grudges, fighting just to fight. Shouts, slander, and purely reactionary policies are no way to govern or live, but that’s where we are. Stalemates are not without value, but here we have at least two distinct political cultures splitting out one — no longer united. The world is looking more and more different to two people. Agreement is getting harder. We’re getting tired of the selfish voices of our own country men. Perhaps our detachment must come, but it need not come today. We can still shake hands as opponents, if only we could learn to admit our own fallibility. It’s a marriage; it’s not just one side that should give in, it needs to be both. Obama campaigned on it; even Republican voters favoured him at the beginning of his term. People hoped he could stand in the middle. And we can still try it again, and again; it’s better than division. And, by the way, this is the trend of the Church; you can see it everywhere, a struggle to walk between the parties, despite an obvious preference for the “religious” party.)
But, yeah; I cut my comments short instead, and just expressed the thought that it’d be foolish to vote for a guy you truly disagreed with, just because he had tenure. (I don’t really think people did disagree with Hatch, but it’s silly to keep falling back on the same semi-logical line. Just stand up for him; don’t dodge and hide behind seniority.) I concluded by saying, “Anyway, I recognise…” “–What?” a woman interrupted. “Can you talk louder?” “Uh…” I raised my pitch, “it’s not my voice I’d carry here, it’s your voice; everybody here.” (People had been making such a silly fuss over who supported whom in government, when it wasn’t relevant; all but Curt had claimed willingness to represent their constituents, and all the nominees sort of played along, proud, I suppose, to think their preference mattered. To me, representatives are messenger birds, particularly locally.) I was out of ideas… “Oh, and this is a good set of people next to me; I’d be satisfied if any of them win. Thank you.” The last line, above all, lost me the fun of challenging Brent with a second round, because most of all, people don’t want to force you to busy yourself with the job; any sign of hesitation is read as an endorsement of somebody else. Brent won a majority on the first vote; even I had voted for him.
Next were three more city delegates. By then, everybody was tired. We each took three ballots to vote for three nominees. I chose Lamont Tyler, Dave Ross, and a younger guy, Barry Bowen. Dave lost to Tom Swallow, while the other two won; I didn’t mind. Mark Crockett, a mayoral hopeful, had wandered into the gym. Thinking he was lost, I bantered with him. After his candidacy was announce and he spoke a bit, I felt embarrassed for using so much slang with such a fancy dude. I also started to dislike him for his polished, salesmanlike look. At least I know who he is, though. I guess I’ll vote for him; he mentioned that he was pro-local-government, an issue for our township in East Mill Creek.
So, it ended and we left. It had been fun, and thrilling to have addressed people, even though they couldn’t hear me.
What else… Earlier that day, I walked down to the jail, probably not more than five miles away, because I had no other vehicle, and refused to pay the $2.25 bus fee, since I have no income. I needed fingerprints for the Korean job… Oh, sorry. Shane drove me down there, starting to complain at the end of the trip. I didn’t mind that he didn’t hang around; I’d brought a piece of muffincake for the walk back. At the office, I and the worker ladies had a lot of confusion about what I needed and how to get it (authentification). That left me kind of tired and dazed for those 7:00-to-late caucuses.
On Wednesday, my mom lent me her truck, so I drove to that cop place, but the scanning office was inexplicably closed. I visited LDSBC and got some transcripts, meeting a couple people (including Juan, whose 20th birthday we’d celebrated briefly at Ito Dan’s house a couple weeks ago). Next, I went up to the capitol building to find out about apostillising documents in the vice-governor’s office. This very cute individual named Jen… Jen Joy, was sitting there at the desk. We had a discussion about how to notarise my things. I remain unclear with it. At one point, I had lost track of what she was saying as I watched her strangely muscular jaw. She was committed to customer service, anyway, continuing talking even though some minor candidates were there registering for certain ballot inclusions. After that, I took a tour through that building, then wandered around the capitol plaza for a while before returning to pick up my mom.
As I left, a sort of “rally” was coalescing on the main floor. Some of them looked and seemed a little rowdy, and it progressed as the place filled up. I found out it was that class of people interested in increasing free and open intimacy in the world by training young adults on how to be more sexual. I was disgusted to see a few teachers bringing groups of students there to protest — nice handful of pawns so they can more easily abuse young people of the thought that intimacy is unimportant, teaching them the pleasurability rather than the ruinousness of hedonism. I was sure that about 5 or 8 people in that whole hundred-strong crowd actually could benefit from responsible, biological, and not practice-based education; none of the rest of them needed it, judging by their skimpy dress, language, attitude, and so on. Clearly they’ve watched T.V. and movies and gone on-line in the past two decades — but here they show up by the pressure of lonely teachers to pretend like they’re enslaved by a lack of “knowledge” (that is, carnal knowledge) that, for them, doesn’t really exist anyway. Educators just feel some perverse thrill or satisfaction to pretend that kids can’t learn about reproduction except through them. And, has it worked? Well, average pregnancy and sexual experience ages have crept ever downward, and guess what: sexual education hasn’t followed those effects, it has preceded them. It doesn’t accomplish what its proponents think. (They have a similar argument about abstinence-encouragement, which has not really been consistently applied, and has come against the cultural background noise of a pop-culture entirely supportive of self-indulgence.) Supporting young sexuality doesn’t increase safety. Kids’ brains are malleable; the longer you keep them clean into adulthood, the less susceptible they are in adulthood to all forms of physiological compulsion, be it alcohol or other substances, behavioural problems, or a hyperactive sexual response. This is an example of one political side forcing its views on others instead of finding middle ground. Kids aren’t prevented in any way from “education”. If they want to know anything — well, they already know it anyway. If their parents are demanding more open sexuality in schools… they’re their PARENTS, for crying out loud. Teach them like parents are supposed to. Don’t force your views on entire populations, when you’re perfectly free to effect them on your own family at any time. Don’t run from responsibilities by claiming that children are going to suddenly explode if they can’t have another voice in school, of the hundreds they’ve heard outside, telling them to be faithless and perverse (“and do it safely!”). My goodness. Don’t draw these newspaper cartoons with two homeless kids begging the government to teach them safe sex, when that’s not even what you learn in those classes. That’s rather what abstinence education is. Safety is marginal material in real sex-ed classes — practice is the focus — how to get away with the bad stuff you may want to do. Actually, I doubt our schools in Utah would get very explicit either way, as in some places… but all bets are off with the Internet. Those two homeless cartoon kids very likely “know more” than any older, married person, while the one thing they don’t know is how to control themselves, and be respectful and serious about a very serious activity. This offensive new law that, according to loose liberals, is supposedly threatening all civilisation reportedly just “allows” schools to drop their classes in favour of some actually helpful stuff about self-control, which is the real only protection to this and most other risk-filled practices. I’m going to write an e-mail to the governor’s office later about how these minorites falsely claiming to be majorities shouldn’t be allowed to satiate their weird fetish of “introducing” children to arousal and life-controlling habits.
Prudish? Those who rely on ridicule instead of thoughtfulness can be proven to be perverted addicts, dangerous to children, just as easily as they can prove anybody else a “prude”, the definition of which already connotes superiority over a slave of his own beastliness, so low to the ground that he worships men, animals, chemicals, and pleasure receptors, and is about as good for the world as a cocaine-addict.
Hm; later I’ll get back to my final, earliest piece of news.
[P.S.: Now it’s Saturday. I found out from the paper that our governor, Herbert, actually is following the very footsteps of our last governor, Hunstman, by slowly assimilating into the Democratism concentrated in the capitol city, and surrounding his capitol office — and my complaint was a day late; just last night, he bowed down to the minority that won’t vote for him anyway, and swallowed their wrong demands: that they had lost “choice” by his earlier granting of schools the right to determine locally, with parents, what they were responsible for teaching; and that their tiny crowd was a “majority”, which they proved with a falsifiable on-line petition of a very small fraction of the state’s population, most of which is already known to vote against this group.
Oh well. Now I’ll hassle his office about it with a late letter, cast doubt on his career of easy surrender, and eventually forget about it.]