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Off the Face of the Earth

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth. I’m still here, but just not posting, obviously. Lazy, lazy, lazy. Maybe I’m just getting bored with blogging, maybe I’m just generally bored. Call it the post-Expo letdown.

Speaking of which (the Expo), workers are tearing down many of the buildings. The traditional stage, the Local Governments Pavilion, and the Marine Life and Technology Pavilion are no more, and most of the corporate pavilions have come down. There’s rubble, steel beams and bricks everywhere–kind of depressing, really. Still, lots of people visit the area, especially the Aquarium, which is open to the public and always seems to attract a fair amount of people, at least on those weekend days that I’ve been down to the area. Since I documented the construction of the Expo and the days of the Expo itself, I may as well document its deconstruction. I’ll get some photos up, I hesitate to say, soon.

Despite last Saturday being rainy, we’re still getting some superb fall weather, with bright, sunny days and moderate temperatures. Chilly at night, but not bad. The leaves are starting to change colors and fall to the ground, and it’s really one of the best times of the year in Yeosu. Unfortunately, my least favorite season, winter, is not far away.

As most people know, the Yankees got swept out of the playoffs and World Series by Detroit, and now Detroit is on the verge of getting swept away by the Giants. My mother and one of my brothers are Tiger fans, but I’ll resist any Detroit put-downs (at least, on this blog).

Maybe it’s a good thing the Yanks didn’t go into the Series, in light of the huge storm, Sandy, threatening a shut down of NYC. Good luck to all the folks on the East Coast in the next few days.

Happy Halloween, everyone. I hope to get some more timely posting done soon, so bear with me, please. More later.

Where are the Posts?

I suppose I’d better apologize (again) for the paucity of posts recently. Several factors have ensued to cut down on putting something (anything?) on the blog. First, there’s work, but next week is an off week for us, since the students will be taking mid-term exams. So, that will give me a lot of free time for awhile.

Next, the weather lately has been utterly gorgeous, so I’ve been spending a lot of time outside–jogging, walking, bicycle riding and whatnot. After all, my least favorite season, winter, is just around the corner. Some of the trees have been showing fall colors, but the peak here is usually around the end of the month and the first part of November. We’ve been enjoying bright, clear days and warm afternoon temperatures, with a bit of a chill in the mornings, a harbinger of things to come.

Then there were the last few weeks of an exciting baseball stretch run, as the Yankees fended of the dark horse Baltimore Orioles to hang onto first place in the AL East. I watched most of the games on MLB TV and I’ll continue to be absorbed in the playoffs as long as the Yanks continue to win. Right now they’re playing those same Orioles in the first round, the Division Championship Series, on their way, hopefully, to World Series title number 28.

Last, and probably least, against my better instincts, I succumbed to the lure of an online game, Lord of the Rings Online (LotRO), a massively multi-player online role-playing game, or MMORPG for short. It’s free to play, although more advanced content may require some payment. However, the free-to-play segments can take hundreds of hours to play, and I’ve put in a large amount of time playing it in the past few weeks. My character is Narohir, a (so far) level 23 Elf Hunter. I’ve added a link to the game in the right hand sidebar, and if you play also, let me know in a comment.

That’s about it for now. I’ll seriously try to get some photos up here soon; I’ve got a large backlog of Expo shots and other images to process, so stay tuned for those sometime in the (hopefully) near future. More later.

My online alter-ego. Notice the resemblance to the real me?

I’m Crying

Literally. I’m so sad. The great Mariano Rivera, closing pitcher extraordinaire for the New York Yankees, took a tumble while shagging fly balls during batting practice today, and tore up his knee to an extent that it could mean the end of his season and of his career. Mo was, perhaps, going to retire after this year, but this is one of those things that just shouldn’t happen. Not just another selfish, rich athlete, he is a marvelous example of the combination of humility, excellence and spirituality. Here’s a New York Times article that kind of sums it up – Imagining the Ninth Inning Without Its Star, and here’s a post I wrote after I met him at the Yankees’ baseball academy in The Dominican Republic.

Mariano Rivera

Mo

(I’d like to give credit to whoever took this photo, but I found it on many different websites, including Flickr, so to whoever originally took the shot–Thanks!)

It seems like Rivera’s amazing career is over, but if anyone can come back from this extreme injury, Mariano can. Let’s hope that he’ll be shutting down the opposition in the 2012 play offs. Let’s Go Mo!

P.S. I just read this morning (May 5th) that Rivera says he’ll be back for the 2013 season. He said that he’ll not let his career end this way. That’s great news. I still hope he’ll be back for the playoffs this year, though. :smile:

Back to Work

After enjoying more than a week off while the students took mid-term exams, I go back to work tomorrow. I didn’t do a whole lot during the time off, but I did get up to Seoul for a few days; I needed to get some more pages added to my passport. I wouldn’t have needed any more until my passport expired, but the Laos government chooses to take up an entire page with their large tourist visas. Because I go there so often on vacation, I use up quite a few pages in a short time. Although I enjoy Seoul, I don’t really like going up there because I spend so much money in a short time. The passport pages used to be a free service, but now the U.S. government charges $82 for it. Add in the cost of transportation there and back, a couple of nights in a guesthouse, eating, visiting the Kyobo bookstore for a few reading materials, and a trip to the Foreign Food Market in Itaewon, and the price climbs. I was able to get a few spices that I can’t find here in Yeosu, including a Cajun Spice Mix and a bottle of cardamom. I also discovered that they have all kinds of beans and pasta, so I got a couple of bags of couscous and, unbelievably, black-eye peas. Now I can have that traditional southern U.S. dish, Hoppin’ John, which, if eaten on New Year’s Day, will bring you good health and prosperity for the rest of the year. Yummmmm, I can’t wait. Heck, I’m sure I’ll cook up a few batches before then. I might even have to make another Seoul run.

Well, the World Series is over and the Rangers kind of blew it, but what a classic game 6 that was! I watched the replay on MLB TV when I returned from Seoul. I avoided checking the Internet and my email as a precaution to avoid seeing the game result before I watched it. A really exciting game and hard to top, as game 7 seemed rather anti-climactic (unless you’re a Cardinal fan).

I’ve still got a lot of photos to put up, including some from Seoul, so stay tuned for more later (sooner, I hope.)

Out and About in Yeosu Part I

I have a lot of Yeosu photos that I haven’t posted yet, so I’ll start a new theme, so to speak, of Out and About in Yeosu, scenes from around the area, taken in August and September. I’ll try to get a new post up every 3 or 4 days (yeah, right) . . . OK, as often as I can.

First up, I thought I’d do something a little different. Rather than just put up the complete photo, I thought I’d show some close ups, some snippets of larger shots, kind of an abstract thing. First, I’ll show the small shots, followed by the overall scene. Let’s see how this works.

So here are the details. What are they? Shouldn’t be too hard to guess. Please click on each photo to get a larger view. Here’s Number One.

Number Two

Number Three

Number Four

Number Five

Now, so that you don’t see the main photos right off the bat, a little interlude.

Speaking of right off the bat, the first day of the MLB playoffs weren’t exactly heart-wrenching. The over-achieving Rays slaughtered the Texas Strangers 9-0 and the Tigers-Yanks game was rained out.

Looks like the Yanks game will be resumed tomorrow (Saturday in the ‘States) at the point where it was halted, bottom of the 2nd, tied at 1. Detroit scored with a cheapo :smile: home run and the Yanks scored without the benefit of a hit. That’s one thing about the New York Nine this season–they can win with speed and savvy baserunning. They were 3rd in the American League with 147 stolen bases (Tampa was first with 155), their most since 2001. Jeter actually struck out in the bottom of the first, but still scored the Yanks run, hustling to first base on a third strike wild pitch, one of those baseball oddities. He subsequently advanced to second on a walk to Granderson (former Tiger) and went to third on a groundout to second. He then scored on a grounder to third. Hopefully, the game can be completed tomorrow, though Weather Underground is showing a 40% chance of rain in The City tomorrow night.

The two teams will probably play another game on Sunday, which is Monday morning in Korea, but that’s OK with me, since we have Monday off because of a national holiday. It’s Korea Foundation Day, a celebration of the (mythical) founding of the country, both North and South. Check out a description here.

All right, enough of an interlude; back to the photos. Here are the main shots.

Number One. This one is part of the steeple of a church down by the harbor. Here’s the original shot, which I took from the Jongpo Ocean Park Walkway.

Number Two. There were several boats lined up along the dock at the Jongpo harbor near the walkway and this is a close up of one of them. Here’s the complete shot.

Number Three. These orange balloon-like things appear to be buoys that might be put in the water as warning signals. You certainly couldn’t miss their colorful presence atop the murky water.

Number Four. Seriously, I don’t have any idea of the purpose of these things. They were lined up across the harbor from the walkway. Very odd looking, yes? If anyone knows what purpose they serve, let me know in the comments, please.

Number Five. I must admit I cheated a little on this one. I rotated the original photo a bit in order to cut out the bottom part of the building. Anyway, they’re part of a building housing, I think, a maritime organization, like a fisherman’s hall or something along that line. Again, if anyone from Yeosu is looking, let me know what you think.

Number Six. Finally, the front of the building that kind of resembles a face, I think, is actually a school. Cute, if you ask me.

OK, that’s it for now. I’ll try to get some more Out and About shots up in a few days (giggle, snort, guffaw–c’mon, Ron, get serious), so stay tuned for more later.

Go, Red Sox!

Go home, that is. Yeah, what an epic, colossal failure! This almost–ALmost–makes up for the Yanks’ horrendous crash of 2004. So, Red Sox Nation (more like a failed state), bundle up for a long, cold winter, go cry in your beer, and wait for the equipment truck to rattle and scrape and crawl its way down to spring training.

Oh, and a big tomahawk chop to Atlanta, too. Nice crash, as big as the Red Sox collapse. Fortunately, I’m not a National League fan, so I’m kinda ho-hum about the Braves. But, a big guffaw to them, too.

Now, Go Yanks. Onto the playoffs and, eventually, I hope, the 28th World Championship of the team’s illustrious history.

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.

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.

Nostradamus

Loyal Reader OGM left a comment a few posts ago asking what my forecast might be for the rest of the baseball season in the American League East. Well, as I see it, it’s going to be a 3-way dogfight (minus Michael Vick) between New York, Boston and Tampa. The AL Wild Card spot will definitely go to the team finishing 2nd behind the Yanks. :laugh:

Actually, I have some big worries about the New York Nine. They’ve been playing exceptional ball since A-Rod returned from hip surgery, going something like 44 or 45 wins against only 22 losses, the best record in baseball, by far, in that time span. However, down the line, like in September, during the heat of the pennant chase, problems loom with the starting pitching.

For one, it looks like Chien-ming Wang’s season might be over. Second, despite his stellar pitching of late, Joba Chamberlain’s starts might be curtailed because of a possible leash put on the amount of innings the team wants him to pitch, thus limiting his playing time. Next, Andy Pettitte’s durability, at age 37, is questionable. Finally, A.J. Burnett has a history of injury problems. Overall, the starting pitching seems to be in doubt. That really worries me as the season winds its way thru the dog days of summer. (The glass is half empty.)

On a brighter note, the bullpen has been spectacular, led by the super-human presence of Mariano Rivera and augmented by great performances by the likes of Phil Hughes, Phil Coke, Alfredo Aceves, et. al. (The glass is half full.)

Hopefully, all will be ok. I think in the long run, if the pitching holds up, this very well could be one of the great Yankee teams, harking back to the glorious champions of the late 90s and satisfying all of their fans worldwide by returning to and winning the ’09 World Series. The chemistry is there and the late inning heroics are a thing of joy. The one dark cloud is the starting pitching . . . and, oh yeah, one other thing . . . they’re only 0-8 against the Red Sox this season. That either means they’re due or the Sox have their number. (Half full or half empty?) Whaddya think, OGM? More later.

Next Stop–Land of Smiles

After having to do much paperwork, getting a physical and going on numerous shopping expeditions, I’m finally getting packed to leave for Thailand tomorrow. I’ve had a great time in Montana, short as it’s been, hanging out with relatives and friends and visiting some old haunts. The temperatures in the state are comparable to those found in tropical locales, but without the accompanying humidity, so the heat is not unbearable. Here in Missoula yesterday, though, the skies were extremely hazy, due, perhaps, to the forest fires that have popped up around the state. Despite that, my friend Randy, who lives in Arlee, Montana, and I drove 67 miles up to Elmo, on Flathead Lake, to take in the Elmo Powwow and then drove back down to Missoula to watch the Missoula Osprey baseball team lose to the Casper Rockies, 6 to 3. Missoula has an almost-new ballpark on the banks of the Clark’s Fork River, a very nice location to watch a game, though the seating is a bit tight on the legs. We had box seats right behind home plate, thanks to our friend Susan, who gets complimentary tickets from the bank where she works.

Today, I’m going into Missoula to have lunch with Susan and another friend, then it’s back to Arlee to finish packing and doing some last-minute laundry, and finally, a short trip to a nearby Raspberry Festival. Sounds interesting, eh? It’s been fun, but I can hardly wait to arrive in the Big Mango, Bangkok. I hope to post as often as possible in the next few months and I may try to upload some photos. I’m leaving my Digital Rebel behind and taking my new, more portable Canon SD800 IS along. Everyone have a great summer! More later.