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

Month: November 2010 (page 1 of 2)

Tongue in Cheek

In case you didn’t realize it, the previous post about my birthday candles was merely a tongue-in-cheek satire of my increasing age. No, I didn’t really set the dorm on fire. Yes, there really would have been a lot of candles in that cake. 🙂 More later (posts and candles, I hope.)

Another Year, Another Fire

Yup, I lucked out and made it to another birthday celebration. I don’t know how, but I’m thankful that I did. Unfortunately, I’m writing this from my office. Here’s what happened.

I bought a smallish cake, since I observed my big day alone (no party, because I have to work tomorrow). Unfortunately, I put a candle for each year into the cake and attempted to light them all and make the obligatory wish. I don’t know what the hell happened, but one minute I was enjoying the almost tropical heat of the candles and the next I was being dragged out of my apartment. Thank goodness the Yeosu Fire Department was on the ball. One of the other English teachers managed to capture the conflagration with his cell phone, the only thing he was able to save. (See photo below.) Luckily, only the first two floors of the dorm were gutted. They’re going to move us all to the 6th floor for now. I’ll probably not mess around with any candles next year.

Korean Tension Update

Not much to report from Yeosu, but CNN earlier quoted the South Korean Yonhap News Agency as saying that the North had fired off a couple of surface-to-air missiles today. It might be an erroneous report because I haven’t heard anything more of it. Not sure what they might have fired at–the war “games” won’t start for a couple of hours yet and they are pretty far from the area of the attacks of a few days ago. Hopefully, all of this will pass peacefully, with no escalation into something more calamitous. More later.

Update at 12:52 p.m. local time: Reuters Canada is reporting that Yonhap stated the North has placed surface-to-surface missiles on launch pads and has deployed surface-to-air missiles in the area of the previous attacks. No mention of any SAMs being fired, but other sources report that artillery fire was heard on Yeonpyeong Island and residents were ordered into shelters. There’s been no report of any shells hitting the island, though. (A more recent report says that people were in the shelters for 40 minutes and left them when it was decided that there was no danger.)


Hopefully, this isn’t my last post for a while. War games involving South Korea and the United States will begin tomorrow in the Yellow Sea (West Sea to South Koreans) near the line demarcating the North and South, and Crazy Uncle Kim in the North says that this will bring the peninsula to the brink of war. The U.S. has deployed an aircraft carrier to be part of the exercise, so if the nut jobs want to start something, I’m sure they’ll have their hands full.

Hopefully, nothing will happen. Hopefully, North Korea will get an earful from its only ally, China. China has a big stake in all of this. Many analyses that I’ve read state that it can’t afford to let the North Korean regime get involved in a full-scale war for a couple of reasons. It would likely mean the collapse of the N. Korean government, which would mean that hundreds of thousands of refugees would cross the northern border into China. More dire for the Chinese is the possibility of a new pro-American government coming into power, something they certainly don’t want to see.

However, many South Koreans are calling for blood, and CNN is reporting that protests by members of the military are spreading in Seoul. The protestors are demanding that a strong response to the recent shelling is necessary.

Hopefully, the situation won’t escalate any further, and, hopefully, I’ll be posting tomorrow. After all, it’ll be my ??th birthday. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my family and friends in the USA and elsewhere. Wish I could be there. Don’t eat too much. 😉

No problem about that here–it’s just another ordinary school day. No turkey and stuffing, no pumpkin pie and no football games, but, no shells falling from the North either. I’m certainly thankful for that. More later.

Thailand Tourism Publication

There’s a new e-magazine from the Thailand Authority for Tourism (TAT), which you can read at Of course you’re aware that anything coming from any country’s official tourist office is going to be sugarcoated, right? With that in mind, take a look. Pretty good stuff, though, if you’re interested in Thai culture.

EDIT May 24, 2020. The magazine is no longer published.

Vientiane Celebrates 450th Birthday

This weekend, the capital city of Laos is marking its 450th year since its founding in 1560, when the capital was moved from Luang Prabang out of fear of Burmese invaders. There have been lots of celebrations, and when I phoned Nai on Friday night, it sounded like the party had moved to his house. He told me that a lot of the neighbors were whooping it up, and I think he had his somewhat loud TV tuned in to the goings on at the National Stadium. So, Happy Birthday, Vientiane!

Colds . . . and Colder

I mentioned in a previous post that I was feeling a bit under the weather, but whatever the minor ailment was, it has passed. I didn’t do anything special, so I feel lucky that I didn’t get an early season cold. However, I was looking around for non-medicinal cold remedies, just in case. (I hate taking medicine, like pills, cough syrups and the like.)

One treatment that I’ve tried before with mixed results is using Korean citron “marmalade” and using it in hot water with a generous tablespoon of honey. It may not always work, but it sure tastes delicious and is quite soothing on cold winter days.

A not-so-appetizing treatment I found on consists of this:

Pour a little warm water into a dish and add a level teaspoon of your sodium bicarbonate. Stir it well and then immerse your nose and surrounding parts of your face into it. Slowly breathe the water up your nose until it reaches the point where it begins to overflow into your mouth. Then expel it and rinse your mouth out.

Be careful not to add more than a teaspoonful to the water, and that the dish is of a size that enables you to fit your face into. If the mixture is too strong it will sting your nose for a while. A little trial and error will tell you how warm the water should be, which is warm enough but not hot.

Do this three times a day, and it should see off even the heaviest of colds well ahead of time.

No doubt. It’ll probably cure hiccups, snoring, and leprosy, too.

From a website entitled comes this one:

Place your hat on the table and drink well from a large bottle of whisky until you see two hats.
Get into bed and stay there.

He also lists some Texas Cold Remedies that involve cow dung and weasel skins. Take a gander if you dare.

And how about cough drops. From comes this: Most interesting about the evolution of cough drops was the fact that by the 19th century drugs were added to the candies. Among the first such drugs were opiates such as morphine and heroin . It might not have fixed what ailed them, but users of the candy were probably so buzzed high they didn’t care. The cough drop manufacturers eventually turned to slightly less narcotized ingredients such as codeine, the staple of most cough medicine today.

Have you got an unusual cold remedy? Leave a comment to let everyone know what kind of winter cure you use.

On another “cold” note, the temperatures in Montana are getting cold early, it seems. Great Falls has a forecast of -5 F. (about -20 C.) for Monday. Have fun, global warming deniers. (Even though Dr. Jeff Masters on his Weather Underground blog points out that the year to date is the warmest on record.) 😎 More later.

A Few More From Above

Here are some more shots from the top of Horangsan. The first one shows a wider view of the city. You can see the backside of the golf course in the bottom middle. The university is off to the left, across the road, just out of view.

Looking over the other side of the mountain, you can get a good view of a small portion of the huge petrochemical complex and of the Gwangyang port across the bay. Gwangyang ships out tons of steel from POSCO steel’s huge mill there, reputedly the largest of its kind in the world. Clicking on the next three images will bring up MUCH larger versions.

A bit wider view of the petrochem complex. Like I stated, this is just a small part of the sector. Most of it is hidden by the hills to the left and right.

Here’s another photo stitching attempt to combine three shots I took of the harbor. Not too bad, though you can easily see the stitch marks.

Finally, it’s fun and interesting to play around with photos in Photoshop. I wouldn’t say I’m particularly creative, so PS gives me the opportunity to experiment without taxing my mental resources too much. 🙂

Here’s a shot looking toward the sea that I touched up using the Dry Brush filter. It’s hard to see the effect in the small version, but it’s more noticeable if you click on the image.

A View From Above

The fall foliage is in full color in this area; being one of the southernmost points of the Korean peninsula, the season arrives a bit later than it does in other parts of the country. Today, though, it’s rather hazy and overcast, so there’s not much pop to the colors. I’d go out and take some photos anyway, but I’m starting to feel a bit under the weather–a little tired, a few sniffles and a general feeling of a cold coming on. I probably caught something from one of my students.

So, in lieu of some autumn Yeosu scenes, here are a few of the shots I promised from the hike I took up to one of the nearby hills a few weeks ago.

Horangsan (san = montain) is 470 meters (1542 feet) above sea level. That’s not very high, but it looks higher because it rises directly from the valley floor, which is close to sea level. Here’s a photo, facing north, taken from this post back in 2008. Click on the image for a larger version.

It was a gorgeous day, sunny and warm, with a little haze showing on the horizon, as you’ll see. I rode my bicycle to the base of the hill and made the 45-minutes-or-so hike to the top. Along the way, about a third of the way up, I had to walk through what looked like a military training area, with bunkers, obstacles and target silhouettes. It wasn’t closed off and, much to my relief, there weren’t any bullet marks on the targets, so I doubt it’s a live-fire range. Anyway, there was no one around, so I picked my way through the area and continued on.

The view from the top is magnificent. This first shot is a panorama of the view south. (I’d love to get up here on a clear day with the sun behind me for these shots facing south.) I stitched together 3 photos, but I’m afraid I didn’t do a very good job of combining them. You can easily see the stitch marks, but I’ll post it for now and try to put up a more refined version later. Definitely click on it for the larger image.

Here’s another view south.

Remember the new Yeosu golf course about which I’ve posted a few times? This is a shot of the back nine of the course, normally hidden from my view at the university.

Ok, that’s enough for one post. I’ll get some more scenes posted soon, mainly of the view to the north of a small portion of the huge petrochemical complex.

EDIT: Oops, almost forgot to post this one, which I took with the 80-300mm zoom lens, shot at about 110mm.

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