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

Month: August 2011

Hurricane Irene Tips For New Yawkers

First, let me say, be safe, everyone, if you’re in the path of Irene. Listen to your local authorities, take all precautions, and be very humble in the face of this force of nature. Sh*t happens, so be careful.

On a lighter note, here are some tips for Brooklynites, especially you technophiles, from website The Awl.

Here’s just one of the good tips:

A device that creates light. As you likely know, the light in your home comes from “electricity.” In Brooklyn, much of your electric comes into your townhouse by way of above-ground electrical lines. (You can call your contractor and ask about this if you like; he won’t return your call.) Those lines are often disturbed in high winds, due to trees and such. So it might be worthwhile to get a battery-powered lamp or some such, like a flashlight even. N.B. If you order a cute little electric generator on Amazon it will not arrive prior to the storm, no matter how much you yell at Fedex. Pro tip: fire can also be used to create light. (Use sparingly.)

Another suggestion from “The New Yorker” is to read these stories about hurricanes while you are suffering through Irene. Also, from the same source, is a playlist of hurricane songs. Check it out.

Anyway, good luck, take care and stay out of harm’s way.

More May Photos

The rainy, gray days continue, so I still haven’t been out with the camera lately. This seems like the worst summer of the three that I’ve spent here in Yeosu. I think I can count on one hand the number of sunny days in July and August. It was supposed to rain all afternoon today, but checking the weather radar, it appears that no rain is heading our way. (Typical bad forecast by the KMA.) Despite overcast skies, I think I’ll go down to the Expo 2012 site later this afternoon and take a few shots.

In the meantime, here are some more photos from last May. Some of these I’ve played around with in Photoshop, so click for a larger version to see how I’ve enhanced them (or screwed them up). 🙂

The western part of the peninsula is quite beautiful, but I don’t get out there that often; I don’t ride my motorbike around in town (too dangerous, I think) and it’s kind of far out for much more than the very occasional bicycle ride. Here are a couple shots of the area.

This one was taken a bit closer to the city, near the Soho Yacht Marina.

The tall ship trainer heads out to sea with a boat load of passengers to take in the yacht regatta that’s occurring farther out. Check out the guy up on the mast. All of the photos in this post were taken with my compact camera, so I didn’t have the Canon DSLR with it’s long telephoto lens. If you look closely, you can barely make out the small boats in the distance.

Here’s a different kind of ship, unladen, perhaps going across the bay to Gwang-yang to pick up a load of steel.

Finally, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom then, so here’s another one that I “photoshopped,” pink cherry blossoms in all their glory. As always, click on any of the photos for a large version. More later.

Expo 2012 Construction Photos

It’s another oppressive, humid gray day here, just like yesterday and the day before and . . . Yesterday was a bit exciting, I guess–after my 3 p.m. class, I walked down to one of the local markets to buy a few groceries. Although it was overcast, as usual, there was no rain in the forecast, so I didn’t take an umbrella. Well, on the way back, the skies opened up and I got thoroughly drenched in what was quite a gully washer. It only lasted about 20 minutes, but I was soaked from head to toe.

In lieu of any recent photos, here are a few more shots of the Expo 2012 site under construction. These are from May, so they’re a bit old. Starting Saturday, we have a 12-day break until the fall semester begins, so I hope to get down to the construction area and get some updated shots.

This first one is a shot of a portion of the site, from Dolsan Island. There’s more construction off to the left, including the new hotel, which I featured here. As usual, click on the photo a couple of times to get a large version.

In the middle of the above shot, you can kind of make out the buildings of Expo Town going up. One of my adult students told me he had entered a lottery drawing for one of the apartments. Apparently, after the Expo, these buildings will be used as apartments for Yeosu citizens. Potential renters got in the lottery to draw for specific apartments, which they can either reserve or turn down, depending on the location. This student told me that he had drawn a 10th floor residence, thus assuring him and his family a great view of the harbor. He was, of course, quite happy. He said if he had drawn anything below the sixth floor, he would have turned it down. The following shot is a close-up of that area, taken from the train station.

Oh, heck, might as well throw in a shot of the station, while I’m at it.

Also from Dolsan Island is a shot of the new red lighthouse, right across from the new white lighthouse. The two strange-looking ovals in the upper right are highway tunnels.

Finally, here’s one of the new tourist hotels, just down from the big hotel on the Expo site. I don’t know about this one–it’s located right by the new highway, so I kinda wonder about how quiet it’s gonna be.

That’s it for today; I’ll get some more photos up soon that I took on one of my bicycle rides earlier in the year.

Yeosu Murals

The weather has been a real downer lately, with usually overcast skies, rain or mist and high humidity. Just walking around campus leaves me drenched in sweat. If we have had any sunny days, they’ve been on work days, so I just haven’t been out and about to take any photos lately. This seems to be the normal scene lately.

However, I have a backlog of photos I took earlier in May that I’ve been meaning to show, so, until I decide to do some wandering around to take some new shots, I’ll post these older ones over the next few days.

Progress continues to be made on next year’s big event, the 2012 Yeosu World Expo, and, in addition to the construction at the Expo site, roads are being widened, new hotels are being built, and a general sprucing up around the city is being undertaken. There’s a long section of wall, about head-high, near the Expo site. Previously, it was just a dull gray block of concrete, but last May, high school and university students set about painting some murals on it. Here are some of the results.

Of course, all the animals and mythical creatures do have meanings associated with them. Here’s a sign that explains what they mean. You’ll definitely have to click on the image a time or two to be able to read it.

There are several more paintings that I didn’t get shots of that day, so I’ll have to go back and nab the rest of them. When the weather is nicer.

I’ll get some more shots up later or in the next few days.

Last Night’s Intense Rain

What a doozy, last night. We got a bit more rain than expected, as Muifa took a slight turn towards the peninsula instead of heading due north. As of 9 p.m., we’d had 52 mm of rain, about 2 inches. An hour later, we had received another inch, and during the next hour, it REALLY rained. According to the KMA website we got over 2 inches of rain in that one hour–that’s an enormous rate. I watched from the hallway window outside my apartment, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such intense rain for so long. Even though it was dark, the streetlights helped illuminate the scene. Of course, the wind was gusting quite heavily, forcing the rain to come in almost horizontally, and frequent lightning flashes helped add a surreal feeling to it all. I did, however, manage to stop the water that was leaking through my window.

I took a short motorbike ride to my office a bit earlier this morning, and I didn’t see too much damage. Small branches were scattered on the road, but I did see one larger tree that had been uprooted. Across the way, a section of the hill behind the golf course had slid down onto the golf cart path and crews were out clearing it up. Here’s an article from the JoongAng Daily that gives a further report on Muifa’s impact on the country. More later.

Leaky Windows

Right now, we’re getting what should probably be the worst of Muifa–winds are gusting close to 40 mph (my estimate) on the back side of the hill where my dorm apartment is located, and rainfall is approaching a couple of inches for the day, but I suspect that total will go up before the storm passes. Jeju Island has recorded almost 12 inches, according to the KMA.

The only problem is my windows. There are a few cutouts on the rails that the windows slide on. These small open areas are half moon-shaped and about 1/4 inch high, and are there, I assume, to let water DRAIN from heavy rainfall. Unfortunately, the direction of the wind is blowing water INTO the openings and causing water to drip on my floor. I discovered a small puddle before I figured out what was going on. Now, I’m sopping up the water in the window with a sponge and trying to block the holes. I can keep up with the rain, but I certainly can’t keep it up all night! Hopefully, the wind and rain will decrease before I have to get some sleep. Fun and games, eh? Here’s hoping your weekend isn’t sopping wet.

Photos, Baseball and Muifa

If you look at the right hand side bar, you might notice that there is a new category over there-Photos. If you click on it, you will, eventually, get access to many of the photos I’ve posted on the blog at one time or another. This is a new addition, NextGEN Gallery (which I think is pretty cool), that I’m still getting familiar with, so be patient if it doesn’t work correctly. The main Photo Gallery link is still there, but I’ll be eliminating it some day (or maybe not), since there are hundreds and hundreds of photos on it, some good, some bad, and some relevant to only a few people. On the new link, I want to put only the better photos that I’ve taken and eliminate some of the clutter. In addition, the old photo gallery doesn’t work for the various search engines, like Google, Bing, etc. to archive the photos. Hopefully, with the new gallery, I’ll get some more exposure (good and bad :smile:). At the moment, I’ve only got some old Andong Mask Dance photos from 2004 posted, for testing purposes, but I hope to get some more recent shots up soon. I’ll keep experimenting with it and adding new features, so go ahead and click on it and let me know what you think.

A few recent events to mention:

First, in a showdown of co-leaders in the AL East, the Yanks knocked off the Red Sox, 3-2, in the first game of their 3-game series. I got a bit nervous when the Bombers fell behind 2-0, but they came back and the bullpen, the best in baseball, in my opinion, held onto the lead. For the Sox, David Ortiz hit another homer against the Yanks. Jeez, I hate that guy. No, not really. I’m sure he’s a fine human; nothing personal. It’s just that he seems to really outdo himself against New York. I dread it when he comes up in a clutch situation, although the Great Mariano Rivera took care of him in the 9th. Yeah, it’s only the first part of August, a long ways to go yet, but it’s always great to beat the Sawx.

Also, we haven’t felt any effects from Typhoon Muifa, yet. Today was pretty nice, a bit cloudy, but mostly sunny and warm (and the usual high humidity). Tomorrow evening and Monday, though, we’re supposed to get a bunch of rain and gusty winds, but nothing terribly bad. I’ll let you know. More later.

Typhoon Muifa Update

In my previous post I wrote that Typhoon Muifa predictions put it coming ashore in South Korea right at Yeosu, but I also stated that the predictions could change. Well, they have. Now the Weather Underground site is showing that Muifa will probably hit eastern China Saturday or Sunday as a category 3 typhoon and continue inland, although the computer model is showing that it will graze the west coast of the Korean Peninsula. So, it looks like Yeosu will not be affected by the full force of the typhoon, but we’ll probably get some heavy rain and strong winds on Sunday and Monday.

Also, tropical storm Nock-Ten, which wreaked havoc in my friend Nai’s area of Laos and elsewhere, is, ironically, named for a Laotian bird. My Laos dictionary defines it as a kingfisher. I hope the bird enjoyed all the rainfall; I continue to read reports that the Mekong is nearing flood stage at Vientiane. When I call Nai later today, I’ll have to remember to ask him if his house is in danger of being flooded, like it was in 2008. When I called yesterday, he was resting downstairs, so the waters definitely hadn’t reached that high yet. More later.

Weather Woes in Laos; Typhoon Muifa

Tropical Storm Nock-Ten recently made its way over Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. I phoned my friend Nai last night to find out how badly his area had been hit. He said that most of the farmland in his village was under water and the crops destroyed. Many people were heartsick and crying, he told me, and he sounded like he was ready to cry himself. He also stated that the Mekong was lapping at his doorstep, a possible foreshadow of a recurrence of the flooding of 2008. On top of that, he’s been quite ill recently, bedridden, unable to walk, he told me, and under medication. When it rains, it pours.

The Bangkok Post reported that Nong Khai, just across the river from Nai’s village, received 80 centimeters of rain–that’s around 32 INCHES! Really incredible. It’s easy to understand what a calamity this is. The paper also said that cars were stranded in the middle of roads with floodwaters up to their windshields. I really feel for the people in that area of the world and wish them the best. I suppose I’ll be sending some money Nai’s way to help him and his family get back on their feet.

Meanwhile, in Yeosu we’ve gotten a bit over an inch of rain this morning, with more in the forecast. More ominous, though, is that Typhoon Muifa, churning in the Pacific south of Japan and packing winds of 140 mph, is heading our way. Usually, typhoons forming in that area get swept east into the Pacific by the prevailing winds before reaching us. Not this time, though. According to the Weather Underground website, Yeosu is, at this time, right in the bullseye. According to the graphic below, we’re at almost the exact place where Muifa will make landfall in South Korea. Of course, this is about a week away and I’m sure the projected path will change before then, but still, it’ll be something to keep an eye on.

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