Monday, June 29, 2009


in constant search of things to entertain ourselves, the lion’s share of the male teachers at my school have started a beard-off. a beard-off is when all participants grow their beards out, with the goal to be the last person to shave it off. usually a few drop early, complaining about how itchy it is. this is especially so here and now due to the heat and humidity. so far we are seven days in and all are still on board, but we shall see. the deciding factor may be an external one. it is understood that korean women generally do not like beards, and some of the teachers wish to avoid anything that my have an adverse effect on their social lives.

speaking of ways to entertain one’s self, fourth of july approaches. this is a holiday that will obviously not be observed here but by us few foreigners, and even amongst us there is only about half americans, and amongst them only about half are here without some anti american baggage. so the remaining celebrators are truly a small number. fortunately, explosives need only one hand and a lighter to do their magic.

at the end of this month I will be going to japan for vacation. the korean department of education just through us a curve ball by announcing that any teacher that goes abroad must be quarantined for a week before reentering the class. apparently they are still very concerned about swine flu, despite it’s dwindling impact. we’re not sure if this will really be enforced because if it is, the school lose half of its teachers for a week. we shall see.

Friday, June 19, 2009

name googling

in a fit of random boredom I googled myself, in the process searching my name associated with my the various bands and sound reinforcement companies which I have been associated with. I figured that I’d find notices of gigs and such but I was surprised by some of the things I found. I found some notices which commented on my value as a guitarist (it was moderately high, so that’s nice) and my skills as an engineer (they were more help than hindrance, as it turns out). the internet is a scary place, and even more so if you create things that are susceptible to public scrutiny.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


the blog has been quiet for the last week and change because I haven’t been able to do much. I was sick with a common cold for a while but then things got weird. I woke up one morning with massive hives all over my body. after many hours they went away and I assumed it was some random incident. the next morning I woke up with the same thing, but worse. I tried to figure out what new thing I had done or eaten that could account for an allergic reaction, and aside from a new toaster, I could think of nothing. obviously I blamed the toaster. it is the typhoid mary of toasters. the next day I had a similar thing happen so I went to a pharmacist. I got ten days of antihistamine for 4,000 won (around $3.25)!! I’m a couple of days into the medicine and things appear to be returning back to normal. hopefully I’ll have something more interesting to report this weekend.

on the positive side of things, I have had the chance to download and listen to tons of music. I have rekindled my love for grandaddy, which triggered a wave of nostalgia associated with the time period in which I first discovered grandaddy, which is weird. I also seem to be becoming enamored with the wrens. I’ve also watched the first season of “it’s always sunny in philadelphia”, which is pretty rad.

now back to mending my body and listening to new music.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

rock lottery

I entered what is called “rock lottery” last night. a bunch of folks enter their names into a hat, and team leaders draw a set of names and must make a band out of them. the show will be sometime in september. I am sick so I did not make it out for the drawing so I don’t know which team I am on but it should be interesting. it will be nice to play with people again, no matter how rag-tag it is.

Monday, June 8, 2009


I took my first trip to seoul this last weekend. it was a blast. seoul is like new york city in its scale, but even cooler for an american in korea. jeonju (and presumably many other korean cities) can be somewhat alienating so it was nice to go to a city more accustomed to foreigners and our strange ways. additionally it was great to fill up on some of the foods missed. I went with a couple of fellow teachers who had a friend in seoul, and between them and and some other foreigners we met up with we were able to find some irish pub grub, a greek place, and some pretty epic burgers.

while it was great being in a place where my foreigner ways were more understood and accepted it was also strange to be in an interactive environment; by that I mean that in jeonju most korean folks wont initiate interaction with foreigners and if we interact with them they are very cordial but often uncertain of how to act towards us. this produces a situation where a foreigner acts without regard for the world around him because for all intents and purposes it does not exist. in seoul the world will react or even initiate interaction. this was simultaneously a nice change and unsettling. it was weird to have to discard the assumption that nobody around me knows what I am talking about, and as such easy to inadvertently stumble into some awkward situations.

the upshot is this: seoul is a pretty sweet city. the end.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

learning korean

I’ve been taking korean lessons for three weeks now from a friend. I am through the korean alphabet (hangeul) and can now semi-read most things I encounter in the world, although I don’t understand 99% of it. there are a surprisingly large number of konglish words. this is where an english word has been “koreanized”. sort of like how we have the word “kimchee” in english. the trick is that we have sounds in english to cover all of korean but not the other way around. also, korean is divided up into syllables in a more distinct way than in english. so, for example, the words “cheese pizza” in korean sounds something like “chee-juh pee-juh”. ah the pervasiveness of western culture.