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new friend

this lovely lady nearly crawled into my lap on the train the other day before she realized that maybe she should be a little more shy.

christmas was lovely. we had a potluck at rhylon’s and watched christmas movies.

i’m on vacation. working on my resume, applying for some jobs back home, taking pictures with my new holga camera (a gift from the lovely matt). plans tomorrow include waking up at 3 to take a cab to jagalchi to see the fish auction and then explorations. expect many pictures coming soon.

Merry Christmas, all!

Just a note to let you all know I am still alive.  I enjoy blogging and plan to continue but have yet to find my voice in Busan.  Hmm, sounds like I need to make a New Year’s Resolutions Post.

birthday jack

i don’t wanna be that guy who puts up too many pictures of korean children, but christmas/birthday party at school today was a sight to see.

so much singing and dancing!

so. much.

big size

i didn’t take many pictures in seoul a few weeks ago. we spent most of the time there in a club i was expecting to be totally dark, and having no flash, i left my canon at the hotel. but here’s a few. there’s more to be seen on an as-yet undeveloped disposable camera, but those will have to wait.


the boys are baffled by the subway map of seoul.


I sometimes like to wallow in nostalgia by leafing back through old journals that are the past prophecies for my own future.  It’s odd how the mind’s eye pictures the future so vividly; specific moments and events that will happen if I follow down a certain path, yet looking back I have gotten it all wrong every time.

Maybe this can be credited to the winter coming, and having been away from family and friends for so long.  But lately I’ve been more introspective than usual.  Trying to realize my angle on life; my niche in the world, but hitting a perpetual brick wall.


remember school pictures? “will students with last names starting with a-c please come to the auditorium?” you shuffled to the other side of the school, killed as much time as your could chatting with your friends and finally slumped down in front of a gray backdrop for exactly one droopy-eyed snapshot from the poor schlub from johnson’s photo who spent most of his life taking portraits of high schoolers at prom and for the yearbook and looked like he could think of nothing but getting the hell out of there?

that’s not what it’s like in korea.

some very good advice

from one of the smartest people i know:


who needs anything else to do on a friday night when there are nearly 300 hark! a vagrant comics to be read?

Is what I know actually true?

This is a sort of ‘big-think’ post: big as in an overview of the way I think and what I think about, not as in international politics, although I will be discussing international politics.  There will be a scattering of links but this post is about my opinions.

I am writing it to learn what I think about certain things and to see if they seem rational.  For this reason, although I will engage in some revising before I post, I do not promise a rational train of thought. This could well be a Grand Canyon style set of curves and twists, although likely as shallow as the Grand Canyon is deep.

I am in an email debate with a coworker about evolution and creationism.  I am convinced his views and claims have no merit.  There are a few points where I can see why is confused while still denying there is room for confusing.

thanksgiving with meg

oh my god, thanksgiving!

we rented a minbak, decked it out, ordered a pre-cooked turkey from someplace called the seaman’s club, potlucked like i’ve never potlucked before and generally had the best day ever. did i mention that the minbak we rented was a block from the beach? and that, after dinner and some light napping, we trekked along the coast, past some mystery hermit’s house and onto the cliffs for a badass campfire and some 90′s alternative singalongs? bet you’ve never had a thanksgiving like ours.


Friday is treating me well,  my friends.

I wake up (after a long Thanksgiving night filled with BBQ and cognac) to an email inbox full of messages from my mom and older sister asking me when I plan to log on Skype so the family to see me during their Thanksgiving festivities in Savannah GA. I barely manage to pull myself out of bed and wipe the crusties from my eyes before I’m flipping open the computer to see my entire family dressed in their Sunday’s best, huddled over the computer on the other end. The perfect way to start any day in my opinion. It was just what I needed.

Work proved to be interesting as well.

Pensive Poultry

Technically Thanksgiving Day.  I feel as if I should be a bit more nostalgic or homesick maybe, but to be completely honest it’s not phasing me in the least.  These emotions could possibly be pacified by the knowledge that I will be celebrating with some friends this weekend to simulate the whole experience I would be having back home, or maybe the whole thing just doesn’t seem real at this point considering the lack of indication by my current surroundings that such a holiday ever existed in the first place – maybe all the warm memories are a construction of my vivid imagination…


A Bronze tom

Image via Wikipedia

This morning my alarm fails to go off but I jolt awake anyways and sit up in a haze of confusion.  True, my dreams were crazy as all hell, and for whatever reason I slept with the window open, causing a cold breeze to sweep through my apartment, but this still doesn’t account for my sudden rise from REM.

nuclear lens flare, photos from the brink

The Whistle-stop Guide to Beijing’s Unmissable Street Food

chicken and lamb kebabs beijing

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I can get carried away. I arrive in a new place bursting full of excitement and immediately set off trying to eat as much of the local food as I possibly can. Having spent a huge amount of time researching/obsessing over said food, what usually follows is an impossibly ambitious, argument-provoking exercise in the wasting of valuable holiday time.

N. Korea Gangsterdom



Photo taken from Yonhap News Agency

It’s always a treat when I’m able to get breaking news from Facebook.

Looks like North Korea has gone gangster again as local news organizations are reporting that Kim Jong Il and his cronies have fired  rounds of artillery onto the S. Korean Island of Yeonpueong near the highly disputed border.

According to S. Korea’s YTN television, at least two people have been injured, with one S. Korean soldier having been killed.

North Korea shells YeonPyeong Ilsand

The Marmot wasn’t nervous,

How’s this: North Korea shows off an advanced uranium enrichment program, special envoy Stephen Bosworth calls it the worst North Korean provocation in 20 years, South Korean defense minister Kim Tae-young is talking about the reintroduction of US tactical nukes to South Korea… and I still can’t bring myself to care.

But now he is:

Local news is reporting that North Korea has fired some 50 shells at the West Sea island of Yeonpyeong-do, with South Korea firing 30 rounds in return.

Eat and Be Merry

*First off, I should apologize for not posting in nearly two weeks. I wish I could say it’s because I’ve been busy or because I temporarily lost use of my fingers, but this would just be a lie. The truth is I’ve been having a stint of writers block and thus have been spending more time outside of my apartment during the week as opposed to staying in to write. No worries though. The juices are flowing again. Enough said.


went to andong saturday to see the fall colors.

checked out the folk village,

home of the mask museum.

Foreign Brokered Brides Rethink Korea

A Vietnamese bride is about to marry a Korean man 20 years older than her. They met through her older sister who also married a Korean. Photo by P. DeMarco

When couples say their wedding vows, “till death do us part” is not supposed to mean you stay married until one partner kills the other. Unfortunately, this past summer a schizophrenic Korean man murdered his Vietnamese wife [not the girl in the photo above].


South Korea is a country about the size of Indiana. For such a small country, it has definitely made its mark in the world. S. Korea has a vision for the future and is working to become more “foreign friendly” and touristy.  Foreign friendly basically means that foreigners will feel welcomed and be able to function (i.e. more English signs) easily when visiting.

North and South Korea were divided during the Korean War. It is one of only a few countries in the world which remains divided and unfriendly to one another. There is a line, about 2.5 miles wide, and 160miles long, which acts as a buffer between the North and South called the DeMilitarization Zone (DMZ). 


dear athens,
i tried to write a poem about you at the request of a friend. all it did was make me realize that i’m not a good enough writer to ever eloquently say what makes you so wonderful. i feel like one of the guidestones is sitting on my chest i miss you so bad, so i thought about all the exquisite fall days i got to have there and felt nostalgic…

like for that day we killed a whole bunch of chickens.

an artsy day

first, an anecdote: on monday, wednesday and friday afternoons, i have my rowdiest and generally most terrible class. they’ve been getting better lately, thanks to a talk from my boss about how i have to act like i actually like these kids to get them to want to listen to me. after friday, i think i might be able to stop pretending.

Libel reform; a big deal in the UK

Here in Korea, stating something that harms-financially or otherwise- a business or group, even if it is true, is legally actionable.

The Marmot and Brian in Jeollamando have discussed the issue.  I recall a case a few years back where a hagwon ESL teacher complained in print about his school.  He was then sued.  After a very quick search I was unable to find posts on the story at the above blogs.

In the UK, similar problems exist and were brought to light in the case of Simon Singh and the British Chiropractic Association.  From the Guardian:

Pepero Day

Today is Pepero Day.  Each November 11th, Korea becomes a maniacal frenzy of the purchase and trade of chocolate covered biscuit sticks   – Pepero – which are manufactured, heavily marketed and distributed by one of the largest conglomerates in both Korea and Japan: the Lotte Corporation.

Student’s rights …including to cheat?

UPDATED: A Professor in Florida claimed that a third of his students cheated.  It now appears he has been using the same exam for many years and the so-called cheaters may simply have studied previous exams.  Notes here and here (a video of Professor Quin with annotations from students). From the former link:

The perception of exactly what happened leading up to the midterm has become a point of contention. What is clear is that some students gained access to a bank of tests that was maintained by the publisher of the textbook that Quinn used. They distributed the test to hundreds of their fellow students, some of whom say they thought they were receiving a study guide like any other — not a copy of the actual test.

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Now Truly Sacred

Click to view slideshow.

Photos by Peter DeMarco

Pope Benedict XVI traveled to Barcelona last weekend to consecrate Antonio Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia or Temple of the Holy Family.

The basilica is slated to be completed in 2026. When finished, it will become the world’s tallest church at 170m (560ft). George Orwell once said it was one of the world’s most hideous buildings. Today most people would disagree as it is a major Spanish tourist attraction and is listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For more info and some amazing video of inside the main nave, take a look at this story on the BBC.  You’ll see that Gaudi’s vision was truly divine.

On the farm

I spent the weekend of Nov 6-7 at the in-law’s farm.  The work was fine, although I was a little stiff and very tired on Monday, but the house was a little dusty and my allergies made me eager to get home.

Click to bigify the photos below.

Here, my brother-in-law is driving a gyeong-oon-gi with my wife and son and a load of bean plants in the trailer.

My son and I love to see the little animals.

hadan rock climbing

got the climbing exclusive this weekend at the new crag with coach kimmerling.

the sun was shining, and everyone was feeling happy.

checking out the crag.

tea fest!

just a few things from saturday’s lovely tea and craft festival at bexco…

lotus flower tea may be the prettiest tea on the planet.

if tea didn’t seem like mysterious alchemy before, this contraption might convince you.

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