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

Month: November 2009 (page 1 of 2)

Having Fun On My Birthday

Yup, I’m celebrating (?) another year. How many now? Let me think . . . ummm . . . lemme see, where the heck is that calendar . . . better figure out where I put down my glasses first . . . no, not there . . . maybe over here . . . ouch, hit my toe against the couch leg . . . ahh, there they are . . . now what the heck was I doing? . . . and where the HELL are my teeth?

Ok, not that bad. As a matter of fact, I jogged 6 miles this morning, lifted weights, did 80 situps and 100 pushups and only after THEN did I fumble around for my oxygen tank and mask. I invited a bunch of friends over to celebrate, but they said they would rather go out and have some “fun.” I took a photo of me celebrating. Here it is.


More later. (I hope)

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends back in the U.S. I hope everyone has a great day and has the opportunity to spend time with family and friends. Here, it’s just another ordinary day–teaching in the morning, jogging after classes, and taking a short nap in the afternoon before heading back to the Language Center to teach my night class. Oh, yeah, and thinking of you all, which is also something I ordinarily do.


The Admiral and the Busy Port

In a previous post titled Boats and Churches, I made reference to Yeosu’s historic past with a photo of a turtle ship replica. High atop Jasan Park overlooking Odongdo Island is a statue honoring Korea’s famous Admiral Yi Sun-shin, inventor of the turtle ship.


Here’s a closer view of the admiral, who stands as if guarding the busy harbor below.


He has a lot to stand watch over, for the harbor is a lot busier than I thought. The ocean surrounding Yeosu is often laden with cargo and container ships and tankers. It often seems that it’s rather a lot of shipping for Yeosu, and indeed, north of the peninsula, just 18 kilometers across the bay, lies Gwangyang, one of the world’s top 15 busiest ports, according to this source, among others. One of Korea’s industrial giants, Posco Steel, has a steel works facility there that is the world’s largest such facility. Most of the ships in the photo below, taken near Sindeok Beach, are probably heading to Gwangyang.


The small foreground object that looks like a submarine is actually a rocky islet topped with a small lighthouse.

I don’t know how often I’ll be able to post in the next few weeks because we’re nearing the end of the semester, so I’ll be busy with final testing, grading, paperwork and what not. Hopefully I can maintain my recent frenetic activity. 🙂 More later.

Blog Updates–My Favorites

Well, I’m about 30% into updating the old blog postings so that they conform to the WordPress code. It’s actually quite a bit of fun–nostalgic and memorable. I’m updating the posts from newer to older and so far I’ve updated back to October of 2007, when TS Noel hit us at the Yankee Camp in Boca Chica, Dominican Republic.

My favorite memories back to then, besides Noel, are the trip to San Juan de la Maguana when the Yankee organization was part of a relief effort to provide food to an isolated community in the Dominican Republic cut off from the outside world by tropical storm Noel. Here’s a photo from that event.


Another post from the Dominican Republic that brought back fond memories was our visit to an orphanage in Santo Domingo just before the trip to Maguana.

Then there was the flooding in Laos, as I reported August of 2008.

There are many more to go, so I’ll give you some other opinions about my favorite posts as I go along. If you’re a long-time reader and you have a favorite post, let me know in the comments below, please. More later.

Comment Entry Box Fixed

In the previous post, I asked readers to leave a comment, if they so desired. So, I was fooling around on the blog, still tweaking (which I’m sure I’ll be doing for quite a while) and looking for things to fix. I noticed that when I tried to type in a comment that whatever I typed in the comment box didn’t show up. The letters were there, but the color almost exactly matched the background color. I fixed that. So, if you’ve tried to leave a comment previously but were thwarted by that problem, give it another try. It should be ok now.

Also note that you’re not required to leave your email address or your URL, if you have one. Those are optional. I would appreciate a name though.

One more thought, if you see anything else wrong with the blog, like the comment box problem, please let me know. I’m always looking around, but I’m sure there are things I may have missed. Thanks.

Boats and Churches

Hmmm, boats . . . do I mean arks? No, not really. I was just going through some of my older photos, kind of cleaning the cobwebs out of the attic, so to speak, and came across a few shots of some boats I took. First up is one taken at the Tall Ship Festival that was held way back in May. Here’s an article about the festival, which was held in conjunction with the annual Turtle Ship Festival. I wrote about the turtle ship as part of my Field Trip post of November 7th this year.

This is a lineup of some of the ships, including a modern-day Korean naval vessel, taking part in the festival. The two tall ships, the Pallada and the Nadezhda, if I’m not mistaken, are from Russia.


Here’s a replica of a turtle ship, also displayed at the festival. It features armor plating and sturdy wooden planking, and, to deter enemies from boarding, sharp metal spikes studded the deck. By all accounts, they were very effective in staving off Japanese invasion fleets in the late 16th century, though there weren’t many of them, according to this Wikipedia article.


Hiding in there somewhere is the Korean training tall ship, the Koreana. Here’s a photo of it at the Soho Yacht Marina, a photo I played around with in Photoshop to give it a somewhat antique look.


Also in the marina area is an interesting Korean church. There is no shortage of unusual, strange and downright bizarre Christian churches in Korea. I could probably publish a coffee table book of them. (Hmmm, there’s an idea.) Are these churches established in existing buildings or are they built from scratch? I imagine it’s a bit of both. The first shot below is a church near the Sindeok Beach area. To me, it resembles the prow of a ship (the ark?). What do you think?


Now, here’s the one that’s not too far from the marina. If the church above resembles a ship, what does this one resemble? What’s its theme or motif? Let me know what you think. Leave a comment below, if you’d like.


[NOTE: Added these photos and one more of me (as if anyone would care except my mother :-)) to the Yeosu Photos section in the Photo Gallery.]

More About Blog Maintenance

Since I switched the blog software over, I’ve been going back through the archives, updating links and photos. The code for some of the stuff is different in WordPress than it was in the Greymatter software I previously used, so I have to go back in to all the old posts and edit things. So far, I’m about 20% done–still a lot to do, but there’s no big hurry. Since everything appears to be working pretty good, I’ll probably soon put the blog back on the URL, rather than the URL. I’ll let everyone know well in advance before changing the address (again :roll:).

If you’ve only read my old Greymatter blog and no others, you might be wondering what the categories and tags are under each post on the main page. The categories are like the Table of Contents and the tags are like the Index; they’re more specific. Just click on one of the categories or tags and you’ll be taken to a list of all the posts that have that particular category or tag. Pretty neat. I’ll also try to keep you posted about any changes made to the blog. One change is that I added my photo to the About MontanaRon page. It’s not a recent one (about 3 years old, I believe), so I’ll try to put a new one up soon.

One thing I’m noticing about having the new software is that I seem to be more motivated to post new entries to the blog. That’s good! There’s so much more that I can do with WordPress–it’s tons o’ fun to play around with, tweaking and changing and poking around under the hood, so to speak. I’ll try to keep the frequency of the posts up the level that I’ve been doing so far since installing the new software, so keep checking back. More later.

Buddhist temple murals

I’ve been going back through some of my newer and not-so-new photos of Yeosu that I haven’t posted to the blog or in the Photo Gallery, so I’m going to put them up here over the course of the next several posts.

These first ones are a couple of shots of murals at the Hyangiram Temple that we visited a few weekends ago. I just love the colors and detail in all Buddhist temple murals, and I’ve posted a few before, some from Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok and a few from the wat near Nai’s house. Both of the links will take you to the Photo Gallery.

The first one features ocean-blue and -green colors, while the second is done in warmer oranges and reds. Both of the murals have an ocean motif, not surprising considering the temple’s proximity to the ocean. One of the Korean tour guides that were hired for the field trip told us that most Korean Buddhist monks and nuns were forced out of the cities and into the mountains in the late 14th century with the arrival of Confucianism to the peninusula. This wikipedia article goes into more detail about the banishment.


As always, click on the image to get a larger version.


Stay tuned for more photos in the upcoming few weeks.

Blog Look

I’m still playing around with the way the blog looks. There are literally hundreds of different “themes” that people have created for WordPress, so I could be changing things around for quite awhile. 😆

I kind of like this darker theme, but leave a comment if you have any opinions about the way the blog looks. Thanks.

More Field Trip Photos

Here are some more shots from the field trip a few weekends back. After visiting Hyangiram, we ate lunch at a restaurant in the village below the temple. The main dish was a fish stew, known as may-oon-tahng, which, I was told, means . . . spicy fish stew, oddly enough. 😉


Of course, as with every Korean meal, the main course comes with lots of side dishes–kimchi, assorted vegetables, pickled garlic and mushrooms, dried fish, rice and other goodies. No one should leave the table still feeling hungry.


Then it was off to Jinnamgwan, the largest single story wooden structure in Korea. Here the students are enjoying the trip before some of them had to give a presentation about the site. The kids were split into groups that had to make a presentation after each stop. Most of them did very well.


On the small island of Odong, we stopped to admire the fountain that erupts a few times an hour, water gushing in time to various musical selections. Not exactly the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas, but still interesting. It’s lit at night, so I’ll have to try getting there some evening for some shots.

Some of the girls are taking a break here. This was our final stop and folks were starting to get a bit tired. We started at 10 in the morning and didn’t get back to the university until around 6:30 p.m.


Finally, here’s the Odong Lighthouse. As you’ll recall from an earlier post, my students and I were trying to emulate its logo. (See the photo in the previous post.) Oh, by the way, our group actually won the funny picture contest with the photo of the four of us together in the parking lot.


I’m posting these photos and some others to the Photo Gallery, so check ’em out when you can. More later.

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