An English teacher's blog about his travels and his digital art.

Month: August 2009

Success and Failure

It seems that the launch of the Korean rocket yesterday was successful, but the orbital insertion of the satellite failed. The first stage of the rocket was Russian-made and the 2nd was Korean. The Russians claim that the 2nd stage failed to do its job, causing the satellite failure. So, it’s probably a 50-50 success-failure situation for South Korea. Nice try, and I’m sure the country will attempt to put another one up in the near future.


I mentioned in the previous post that there would be some fumigatin’ goin’ on today. Well, I put everything away, including my computer, dishes and silverware, miscellaneous foodstuff, clothing, towels, etc. I did see the crew setting up outside the dorm and I took off for a few hours, going downtown, walking around and buying some groceries. On returning to my apartment, I did a visual inspection, but didn’t see anything unusual; did a smell test, but nothing out of the ordinary; then I swiped my hand over some newly cleaned surfaces, looking for some chemical residue, but, again, negative findings. My guess is that they never actually came into my room. Now, after all that cleaning up and putting everything in order, I have to worry about returning the place to its usual chaotic disorder. I suppose if I just carry on normally things will take care of themselves.

R.I.P. Teddy

Senator Edward Kennedy died today. A liberal torch-bearer and giant of American politics and law-making, he was reviled by many people on the right-wing of the political spectrum, but adored by most of us on the left. I hope that he was respected by all.


P.S. [Added at 9:48 p.m.] On one of the websites that I read ( one of the regular readers posted this:

“In a life that is littered with ironies, here’s the biggest one of all: His three older brothers – Joe, Jack and Bobby – are eternally frozen in our imagination as the personifications of youth. How poignant that our final image of the baby of that family will be as an old man, frail and mortally ill.”


Korea (and Koreans) do some things right, but there are other things that are done that don’t make sense. For example, I just finished watching the televised launch of the country’s first rocket into space. So far, it appears to be successful. Goheung, the launch site, is not all that far from Yeosu, and I was told that you’d actually be able to see the lift-off from some vantage points close to Yeosu. Koreans will be justifiably proud of the launch if it proves successful, and Korean TV stations will be showing the event over and over and over and over for the next several years, or at least until they launch the next one. (They do this with the few sporting events that they’ve had some success at, such as the Olympics, Soccer World Cup, World Baseball Classic and others.)

Now, on the flip side of this hi-tech coin is another event which is happening tomorrow in the dorm rooms. The students don’t start moving in again for the new semester until this coming weekend, so the place is basically empty except for us few English teachers. Therefore, the powers-that-be in the university maintenance department decided tomorrow would be a good time to do some fumigating of the apartments. The email I received from my boss said that they would be coming around between 2 and 4 p.m. to spray against – – – get this – – – the Swine Flu Virus. Sorry, guys, that’s just plain ignorant, as far as I know. There’s no defense against any flu virus that involves spraying. If that were the case, entire cities would have been fumigated by now, right? I imagine that they’re really spraying for mosquitoes.

Anyway, we’ve been told to cover all our dishes or put them away and to stay out of the room. I asked about our bedding and clothes. We’re supposed to put all our clothes in the closet and cover our beds. Hmmmm, cover them with what? Like, I’m supposed to dig up some tarp all of a sudden? Sheesh. I’ll put all the bedding in the closet also, but what about the mattress? Guess I’ll just have to take my chances. Gotta put my onions, potatoes and whatnot into the fridge, maybe store the toaster and coffee maker somewhere safe, put my laptop computer in it’s carry bag, etc. I’ll try to get some photos of this weirdness.

Speaking of photos, I haven’t posted any lately, but below are a few for your perusal. We had a going-away dinner for one of the teachers whose contract finished recently and who decided to return to his homeland, Canada. We went to the Moriri steakhouse in Yeosu to chow down. Now, Yeosu steakhouses aren’t all that bad, but they’re nothing like Montana eateries like Guy’s Lolo Creek Steakhouse in Lolo, just outside of Missoula, or the great Shamrock Bar and Cafe in Wibaux (HUGE, juicy steak, baked potato with butter and sour cream and buttered corn on the cob, with an unbelievable amount of true, down home, Montana cowboy ambiance).

The first photo shows, from left to right, Mr. Seo (pronounced somewhere between “saw” and “suh”), the computer wizard at the Language Center, Jay, one of the office staff, and Raymond, our departing teacher.

Raymond’s Dinner Party

Here, Raymond is digging into a plate of bbq ribs. Raymond’s a great guy and we all wish him the best of luck in Canada, where he intends to continue teaching.

Raymond and Ribs

This is what I ate. I’m not a fan of Korean steaks–I much prefer Montana Brand Steaks!–so I had a sampler platter that included a couple of deep-fried prawns, which are resting atop a fish cutlet that you can’t see, a bbq beef-and-veggie kebab, and, buried under the green veggies and gravy, some kind of flattened beef, like pounded round steak or something. I didn’t eat too much of the beef, but everything else was quite tasty.

Sampler Platter


Yanks now lead by 7 1/2 games over you know who. More later. :laugh:

P.S. I just heard on CNN News that the South Korean satellite has reached a “less than perfect” orbit. No word on whether that means success or failure. Stay tuned.

Time Off

It’s Saturday morning here and I’m sitting at my computer watching the game between the Yankees and the Red Sox. Geez, the fans at Fenway Park in Boston sure are quiet. Why? New York has blown the game open in the top of the 5th inning, leading 12-1. Though there are two more games between the two teams this weekend, this first game, at least, is another “Boston Massacre.” (Snicker, snicker) The disarray of the Yanks in the early part of the season and the 8 straight losses to Boston are long forgotten. The team has the best record in baseball and seems to be headed to the playoffs.

Our 7-week session between semesters finished yesterday, and now we have a week off before the fall semester begins on August 31st. I’ll probably travel up to Seoul for a day or two, do some hiking in the mountains around Yeosu and do a little prep work for the upcoming semester. We’ve had some good weather lately, as far as sunshine goes, but the humidity seems overwhelming at times. Just making the 10-minute walk from my dorm apartment to my office leaves me drenched. I have a fan in the apartment, which is usually enough with the temperatures in the low 80s, but I use the air conditioning at times because it sucks the moisture out of the air–a welcome relief after jogging or after walking down to the local grocery store and back.

Not that I’ve forgotten, but Fenway Park is one of those places where no lead is safe. It’s now the top of the 7th and NY leads 15-7. I assume they’ll hold onto the lead, but I’ve got my fingers crossed. More later.

How Sweep It Is!

Paraphrasing the late, great Jackie Gleason. I just finished watching the 4th game of the Red Sox-Yankee series, a series in which the Yankees outscored Boston 25-8 in taking all four games and extending their lead in the AL East to 6 1/2 games. Yeah, there are still 50 games left in the regular season and, of course, anything can happen. For now, however, it’s good to just enjoy the massacre.

The remnants of Typhoon Morakot are due to swing by this area of the world the next few days. Yeosu is forecast to start getting some rain and wind (35 mph) by tomorrow morning and into Wednesday, though we’re not going to get as much rain as areas north of us, according to the KMA. CNN predicts that Seoul will get up to 15 centimeters, about 6 inches. Nothing like Taiwan, of course, where some areas got up to 80 INCHES.

Traditional Lao Music

Wanna see and hear some traditional Lao music and dance? Check out these YouTube videos I just found. Very sweet.

Part 1

Part 2

And now, to bed. More later.

Yanks vs. Boston

After yesterday’s 13-6 blowout by the Yanks over the Sox, today’s game promised to be a pitcher’s duel, as so often seems to happen after hitting dominates a game, but especially because of the two quality starting pitchers facing each other. A.J. Burnett (Yanks) and Josh Beckett (Sox) lived up to expectations and pitched their teams into an amazing contest. And what a contest–14 scoreless innings until A-Rod broke out of a 70-or-so at bat homerless slump by crushing a game-winning shot into the Red Sox bullpen in left field in the bottom of the 15th. What a great game! As much as I despise Boston, the play of the game was J.D. Drew’s catch of Eric Hinske’s line shot to right field in the bottom of the 14th. Great catch! And both bullpens did a great job, too. I actually felt kind of sorry for the young Japanese pitcher who gave up A-Rod’s game-winning blast–I have an affinity for Asians. :rolleyes:

The whole game, all 5 1/2 hours of it, was an edge-of-your-seat thriller. The Yankees extended their lead to 4 1/2 games over Boston in another great hallmark game in the decades-old battle between the two teams. If this isn’t the BEST rivalry in ANY sport, then I don’t know what is. Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Baseball Diamond and Emerald Typhoon

The first big series of the second half of the season between the Yanks and Red Sox begins in about an hour. Unfortunately, I have to work (it begins at 8 a.m. our time), so I’ll watch it later this afternoon with my MLB TV subscription. Until then, I’ll have to avoid looking at any Internet sites that might have sports news so that I don’t ruin the excitement of watching the game.

The Yanks are looking pretty good right now, with a 2 1/2 game lead on the Sox. We all hope for a sweep of the 4-game series, but if the Yanks can take 3 of 4 they’ll be sitting pretty. Of course, they’re 0-8 against Boston this season up to now. I can only assume that they’re ready to turn that record around now that the crucial games begin. Got my fingers crossed.

If the computer models are accurate, Korea might get some remnants of Typhoon Morakot, which means “emerald” in Thai, next Tuesday or Wednesday after it exits China, severely weakened by its passage over land. It’ll probably just be a disorganized system of rain showers by then. Our 7-day forecast is calling for rain on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. More later.

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