25 Oct

arm candy

Who taught: Jake and Andrew

arm candy

arm candy

It’s getting closer to Halloween. There are a few things that accompany Halloween. What are they? In my opinion, they are kids and candies. In Halloween evening, kids walk around to trick-or-treat. As a result, they all get candies. I have bought some candies for that.

Before I get into today’s expression part, let me ask a question. What do you think when you see candies? They are hard to resist, right? Even looking at them makes you happy and smile. Don’t you agree? That is the feeling you should have for today’s expression. Keep that feeling!

Yesterday, Jake texted me to let me know an expression that Andrew just learned. How cool is it that I get to learn one that my American friend just got to know?

It was “arm candy.” When I saw Jake’s text with this expression, the first thing I thought about was this, “eye candy.” So, it was not that hard for me to have some feeling about this expression. You know what I mean. I knew that it would be something about an attractive person. Then, my question was “what’s up with ‘arm’ part here?”

If there is a candy that is physically attached to my arm, then that would be my arm candy. But, we know candy here means an attractive person.

Let’s think about a situation where you have a girlfriend who is very attractive and you go to a big party with her. (Assuming you are a boy.) You would most probably show up arm-in-arm. There it is. She is your arm candy.

So, would Jessy be my arm candy? Is it OK for me to call Jessy my arm candy? I am not sure. Honestly, I am not sure how I would feel if Jessy calls me her arm candy. Well, at least that means I look attractive. Hopefully!

What do you think? Do you want to be someone’s arm candy? Or, do you have your arm candy?

06 Sep

rediscovering a word series 4: waffle

Who taught: Andrew



There have been a lot of changes in my life for the last 6 and half years.

1. I not only speak English but also think in English. Thinking in English was one of the goals I used to have to become better at speaking English.

2. I got to learn a lot of different cultures, not just American but Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern too. For example, I am now safe to say that I feel very comfortable paying tips at restaurants. When I first got here, that was not that easy to do. I felt like I was being robbed.

3. Most of all, there has been a big change in what I eat everyday. For example, I did not eat pancakes or waffles when I was in Korea. I mean I could but there were not that many places to serve those and I was not really interested in. Now? We even have a waffle maker at home. Jessy from time to time make waffles for breakfast or brunch.

Have you eaten waffles? It’s delicious especially with fruits, syrup, butter and whipped cream. So, basically, waffle is a food and literally it is everywhere in the United States.

Two days ago, I was hanging out with my brother from another mother, Andrew. I love hanging out with him. He is an inspiration. He is smart, energetic and most of all so motivated to learn and take on challenges. What an awesome guy! I am sure you would hear his name sometime in the future. Who knows? He can become the next Steve Jobs. I am very happy that I met him and became close friends with him.

As he was talking, he said “……he was waffling……..” Well, I was not sure whether I got that. So, I showed my sort of puzzled face to him. Within a second, he said, “Oh.. Do you know what waffling means? …. Let’s see. I do not even know why people started to use this word but it means basically indecisive.”

Wow…. I was surprised. Really? That means indecisive? Based on my research, this word also means “to move in a side-to-side motion before landing.”

For example, we can say, “The geese waffled as they got close to the water.”

So, from this, you can conjecture that we can use this word to mean someone being indecisive. When Jessy asks me some questions, I sometimes waffle because I am not sure what she wants me to say. You know what I mean. 🙂

Here is a task for you! Next time you eat waffle, think about this word and try to use it to mean being indecisive.

01 May

rediscovering a word series 3: sexy

Who taught: Patrick, Rachel, Andrew, Beth, Mark, Jake and Carol

Let me start with a challenge for you! From today and from this moment, watch TV shows or movies that are in English. I know you want to watch shows and movies that are in your mother tongue. Do you know why? It is because you are comfortable. Of course, it is. You have a choice. One asks you to stay in your comfort zone which is easy and a lot of people do and the other takes your strong will to get out of the comfort zone. Trust me on this. If you make a decision and be persistent, your English will get better. Additionally, make watching them be one of your everyday routines just like you go to a bathroom every morning. Oh, you go in the evening? Whatever way it is. It has to be a routine. If not, chances are you will fall back into your comfort zone again.

Hope you take my challenge and make a good progress soon! So, had you watch American TV shows, one of the words you would hear a lot would be “sexy.” I swear that people on TV use it so often that I strongly believed that I could use this anytime to any person.

So, a few days ago, when I met my friends, I used it. Of course, I hesitated but thought it should be OK. Oops! I was very very wrong.

Here is what happened. Stella, Patrick’s daughter, was having fun in a chair and her hair became out of control. Suddenly, I remembered an expression, “sexy bed-hair.” You know… when you wake up in the morning, you hair is totally unorganized and messy but, to your significant other, it SHOULD look sexy, right? I will leave it up to your imagination what would happen after that look. 🙂

Well, I said, “Stella got sexy bed-hair.” As soon as I said, “Oh no…. Terry.. Sexy?”

So far, it sounds like I am innocent. Don’t you think? The issue was Stella is only one year old.

My friends told me that people do not use “sexy” to a little kid. My non-native English speaker friends, be careful! Just because you hear a specific word very often on TV, it does not mean that you can use it all the time. There are times that you cannot use them which is not easy to learn. I guess you gotta just experience just like me. Poor Terry.

Patrick and Rachel, Stella is so cute and I love you guys.

By the way, are there any other times that I should not say sexy? #confused.

27 Jan

jump the shark

Who taught: Andrew

Yesterday, my friend, Andrew, came to Carnegie Mellon University to give a talk about “Agile Software Development with Scrum.” I know it might sound all greek to some of you but simply speaking it is a computer science thing.

I was there too. In my opinion, it was a very informative and useful talk. I am sure that students felt the same way.

It was also useful for me in another sense. I learned another expression from Andrew. During his talk, he said this, “Has Agile jumped the shark?” At first, I thought “jump the shark” could mean a good thing. Something like it is so great that even a shark decides to jump out of the water. Well… as Andrew continues his talk, I could feel that the expression does not have positive connotations.

However, I was not get the exact feeling of the expression.

So, I looked it up. Then I realized that the shark is not the one who jumps. It is a person or a thing jumps the shark just like you can see from the youtube video that I included here. The expression is originated from this TV show, Happy Days, that aired from 1974 to 1984.

To be able to feel this expression fully, you should imagine yourself watching a man who is really going to jump a shark. As he is getting closer and closer to the shark, you would feel more and more excited but, once jumping is done, all of the excitement is gone.

Another way you can think of is that you are riding a roller coaster. As it climbs up and up, you feel excitement but once it reaches the bottom the excitement is not there anymore.

“Jump the shark” means a moment when something that was once great has reached a point where it will now decline in quality and popularity. (source: urban dictionary)

Now, I am not sure how many of the students yesterday evening understood the expression because most of them were non-native English speakers. Maybe I should ask them later and teach this expression while I am teaching my regular computer science stuff.

22 Jul

fair weather fan

Who taught: Andrew

Pittsburgh Pirates (source: http://sullybaseball.blogspot.com/)

It is definitely summer here in Pittsburgh. Very hot! How about where you are? Hope you are enjoying summer!

I think I mentioned this before. But, for the sake of this story, there is a baseball team, Pirates, in Pittsburgh. Probably, you do not know the team very well. Usually, they are not that good. During the last five years, they have been usually the second from the last in the rankings. Guess what? This year, they have been # 1 or # 2 in Central of National League of MLB. What a great feeling to have? They are now even talking about the possibility of Pirates being in the playoff. Here is an expression that you might hear in the U.S. if you are a baseball fan. 500 mark! So, MLB measures each team’s winning percentage. And, if it is greater than .500 which means the team has won more than half of the games it has played, then the team is over 500 mark. People really say five hundred which is kind of weird because it should be ‘point’ five hundred.

Well, anyway, a few days ago, I tweeted as follows.

For the last five years, Pirates have never been this good. They are no 1 in central of National League of MLB. Time to go to PNC Park soon.

And, Andrew replied, saying “Fair weather fan!”

At first, nothing made sense. I was talking about baseball and, all of a sudden, he was talking about weather. Well, I had to look it up. As I expected, it is not the way to depict weather and has nothing to do with weather. In this expression, ‘fair weather’ simply means when things are going well. As a result, fair weather fan means a fan of a sports team who shows support when the team is doing well.

In my defense, I have supported Pirates when they were doing not well. How can I prove? I bought a few hats and t-shirts and have gone to games even though they lost every time I went.

Let’s go Bucs! Oh, Bucs means Pirates for people in Pittsburgh. 🙂

My question to American friends : Can I use this for a situation that is not related with sports?