Friday, August 31, 2007

Just in case anybody doesn't have the url to Klem's blog:

Klem's Blog

It seems our big buddy is having a pretty good time in Guatemala.

And without further adieu...the last chunk of pictures from my Asian Adventure. This has all my pictures I took at the Amlux Toyota Salon (do it for Kurt!):

The Final (Countdown) Album

Thursday, August 30, 2007 is pure comedic gold. Watch as Miss Teen South Carolina absolutely fails at life. Stttruuuggggliiiiiing!

Some of the older buildings here on Central Campus have a pretty cool architectural look about them; it brings to mind the ivy-covered edifices you might see at an East Coast school.

I was walking around campus today and on one of the streets I saw a car...with manufacturer's camoflauge! They were testing a new production vehicle right in front of me! Of course, judging from the body shape, and what I perceived to be some defining hood bulge characteristics, I would guess that I was looking at the new Pontiac Grand Prix GXP...meh.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Woohoo, I found a Flying Saucer substitute!


There's tons of beers they have that I've never even heard of (even after excluding the Michigan microbrews).

And the icing on the cake; they have Aventinus...on draught!!!

Wow, just saw a few dudes walking down the street with a suitcase of Natural Light...I really am back in college.

Finally, a chance to sit down again and blog. Hopefully now that I'm in a somewhat more stable internet situation I will be able to post with more regularity.

So earlier today I took a few pictures of my apartment's interior and the surroundings:

So when I walk out my door and look to my left, this is what I see:

And when I get to the end of the alley and glance right I see:

And if I were to walk across the street and turn back towards the alley leading to my apartment, I might take a gander at something like this:

I am living smack dab in the middle of downtown Ann Arbor, which I still haven't thoroughly explored at this point, though I understand within walking distance is a bar with 60 beers or somesuch on tap, including many genius German offerings (my kind of place). I'm not sure how much time I'll really have to frequent the various establishments in my vicinity, but I will say that there is a great deal of convenience living where I do, and the next year should see a significant amount of ambulatory action on my part.

This Saturday will be my first trip to the Big House (Michigan Stadium) to watch the Wolverines take on Appalachian State (don't even know their mascot, and frankly I don't care). My passion for Wolverines football will never supplant my love of the Ags, but I'm sure the football experience here will be sublime.

Though I haven't been in class, it's been an unbelievably busy week between orientations, running errands, and getting my apartment in order. In case anybody is curious about when I will be in class (for those of you who actually still around reading this blog):

M 9:30-11:00 1:30-2:30
T 12:00-1:30
W 9:30-11:00 1:30-2:30 4:30-6:30
TH 12:00-1:30
F 1:30-2:30

I have three classes, which I understand is about the maximum you want to take as a graduate student, so we'll see how that goes. Anyways, I hope everyone back in the great state of Texas is doing well, and I will leave you with this sportsy haiku:

T-New concerns me,
We need him very healthy,
Our best cornerback.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Okay all, I have put a good chunk of my pictures up on Flickr, though not all due to account limitations, and time constraints. Sorry there isn't much organization, but I've had too much else to do with my move to Michigan to mess with the pics much. I'll try to get the rest up there and perhaps add some rhyme or reason to the collection if I get a chance.

Album 1

Album 2

And on a sports related bout them Rangers!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hello all, I apologize for leaving my blog in a mire of desuetude and neglect as I trounce about Korea, but I finally have another chance to do some bloggy mcblogblog.

The DMZ tour (the approximately 4 kilometer wide de-militarized zone between North and South Korea for those of you unfamiliar with the term) was unbelievable. The North Koreans actually excavated four tunnels (headed for Seoul) to move troops and supplies (the aptly dubbed "invasion tunnels"), which the South Koreans did not discover until the late 1970s, and the last one was not even found until 1990. I actually got to go down about 265 meters into the third invasion tunnel, where I was literally standing in the DMZ (well, technically underneath it). If anybody has ever seen the James Bond movie "Die Another Day", you might remember part of the plot involves using a concentrated beam of light from a reflective satellite in orbit to destroy all the land mines in the DMZ (they have only found and disarmed about 30% of the mines there) to create a path for North Koreans to invade. The portrayal of the DMZ in the movie is of a barren, stark desert, and completely encased by barbed wire, which is what I expected to see as I poked my head over the wall. The reality is something quite different; it is a lush and verdant field, covered in trees and other vegetation, and if you can block out the guard towers scattered across the area, it's actually quite serene. That juxtaposition of nearly unadulterated forest beset with instruments of war is something truly awe-inspiring, and were I able to take any pictures of the scene I would gladly share them with anyone. If anyone reading this blog is ever in Seoul, it would behoove you to take a tour of the DMZ.

Speaking of pictures being off limits, for those of you sneering to yourselves, saying "well dude, why not just shield yourself and shoot some shots from the hip", I actually considered such a course...until I saw a Korean girl try something similar, only to have an MP appear and quickly confiscate her camera. That was all the dissuasion I needed.

The past few days I've been going between Daegu and Cheongdo (a bit outside of Daegu), although yesterday I went to the east coast of Korea, to the beach! We actually got chicken delievered, right next to the shoreline! Cheongdo is where Jeff's mom's house is (where we have stayed a few nights), and connected to it the Joy Full Restaurant she, and other members of Jeff's family run. I tried the Korean stout offering (Hite Stout), though what the Koreans call a stout, we would probably consider to be something on the order of a black lager. Definitely darker than a regular Hite, and most of the Korean beers, but not as dark as a stout.

My stay in Korea and visit to Japan have been a momumental life experience, and I can hardly believe it's almost over, and that I have to return to life in the US, where now I get to be a college student all over again.

By the way, once I get back to the States (maybe on Wednesday if I have time), I am going to work to get all my pictures uploaded to some kind of internet repository, as now I don't have the time or resources to make that happen. Ideally, I will be able to enact some method of organization, so anyone who cares to view them will have some measure of context. Alright, time to get going to tonight, see ya'll later.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I'm writing from Seoul right now, as I just got back yesterday from my TKO in Tokyo. I don't have a ton of time right now (as usual), but I can say there was a good bit of idiocy which transpired there. Akihabara was absolutely incredible for me, with shops full of anime miniatures and unbelievable arcades. It was quite tempting to drop thousands of yen while we were there, as everywhere I looked, some item caught my fancy.

Time seems to have gone by quite fast, as I've been out of the country nearly two weeks now. I will spend another day and a half in Seoul, as on Tuesday I will be going on a DMZ tour during the day, and then heading out to Daegu, where Jeff's family is, and where we will stay the remainder of our time here. I am starting to pick up more Korean words, but thankfully the people I've interacted with over here speak English quite well (many Koreans attend English schools to learn to speak, for a fairly nominal monthly fee).

I'm not exactly sure what I'll do tomorrow, most likely spend most of the day exploring downtown Seoul, and catching up on some rest (I haven't slept much the past week). Hopefully in a couple days when I get to Daegu I'll throw something else up here, and perhaps I will have exacerbated the standing conflict between North and South Korea during my tour.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Alrighty then, so Jeff and I are back in the thriving metropolis of Seoul, though we are only here for the night, and then the Japanese adventure commences tomorrow, as we fly from Seoul to Tokyo in the morning. We will be in Japan until Friday, and then come back to Seoul, where we will then proceed down to Daegu, the town Jeff's aunt and cousins live in.

I actually have unlimited time on a computer here at our motel outside Gimpo airport in Seoul, but the internet connection is absolutely downloading the driver I need for my camera to get the pictures off of it ain't gonna happen. Plus, now that I have about 350-400 pictures on my memory card...well that could take some time to take a swim through.

Today was pretty cool, as we spent the morning chilling at our incredibly posh and oontzy hotel, pimping it at the beach, and enjoying a nice morning swim in the East Sea (many maps refer to it as the Sea of Japan). We then had some shabu-shabu for lunch (extremely thin slices of beef put in a pot of boiling broth with vegetables), and now not only do I know the words for the food items; I can actually read the menu in Hangul and not need the English tranliteration! Brilliant!

Korea has been a total blast, and I am very much looking forward to Tokyo, where we will be at the mercy of the Nipponese (we've been on a tour the whole time thus far, and had Jeff's cousin to guide us elsewhere), and surrounded by a video game and anime overload. Joseph, hopefully I can find some genius anime contrivance worthy of my trip halfway around the globe (I'll try to scour for some cool Ghost in the Shell crap if I can find it, cuz frankly I want some too).

One kind of idiotic thing that befell us today, was that Jeff got yelled at for not having a swim cap when he jumped in the hotel pool, which we didn't really understand. The custom here when you are swimming in a chlorinated body of water is to wear something to cover your hair, as the chlorine damages the hair, and they don't want hair and oils from your head getting into the pool. Also, all the men wear speedos, and you receive inquisitive looks for wearing shorts or trunks. Of course, perplexed gawking of that nature doesn't really trouble me much, as I am already a stark contrast to what the Korean people are used to seeing.

One other bit of idiocy that I somewhat expected, but was not prepared to understand the full magnitude of, was the Korean obsession with Starcraft. In fact, obsession is not a strong enough term. Life-dominating infatuation might be more apt. We had the TV turned on to a Korean station and saw what appeared to be a rock concert, with thousands and thousands of people in a field near an elaborate stage setup, holding signs and other familiar concert ilk. What I didn't expect to see, was the spectacle the crowd was watching...two tool looking dudes playing Starcraft...and that was it. It was apparently a final (team Samsung won, yeah, the Starcraft teams have corporate sponsors) and when the dude won, his "victory toast" was comprised of lifting a large water bottle above his head and emptying the contents onto himself in an elated, celebratory manner. I definitely had a good laugh at that sight.

Okay, good gosh I have to get up tomorrow at about 5 AM for my flight, so I'd best end my post and get some sleepy mctired-rest. Hope everybody back home is doing well, and hopefully I can write while I'm in Tokyo. Otherwise, I should have plenty of time to post when I get back to Korea and am in Daegu. Alright, Lacey, out.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Okay, once again I'm in a bit of a rush so I will relay some brief idiocy/geniusness.

No pics for today as I've got way too many to go through at the moment, and no time to do it. Right now Jeff and I are at a hotel called Jeju Lotte (Jeju is an island southwest of the Korean peninsula where we are staying), and it is absurdly nice, beyond anything I could imagine.

Also, we have a cell phone from Jeff's aunt, which seems to emanate sounds from Super Mario World. I'm about it.

I've been stuffing my naive, unknowing American face with all sorts of Korean cuisine the past couple of days, and am learning a great deal about the language, history, and culture of Korea.

And by the guys do know you can leave comments on my posts, right? Come one, show me some freaking love. I'd like to think when I'm away at Michigan at least someone will give a crap to know what is going on in my life back in Texas.

Aight, over and out ya'll.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Okay, I've got to get this posting done lickety-split, as I've been monopolizing the computer for a while, perusing my pictures from the past two days, and culling ones to throw up here. First I present to you:

This, my friends, is a tasty pot of silk worms. And to quell the question that has most certainly materialized in your head...yes I had one. Kind of tasted like a roasted nut, except with some juice in the middle. TOASTY!!!

This next picture is from a place called Hwajinpo, and the house behind Jeff is the private residence of Kim Sung Il, father of the current North Korean premiere, Kim Jong Il. The inset picture is of a young Kim Jong Il sitting in the exact spot you see a slightly morose Jeff. Guess he's feeling a bit ronrey.

The next picture is a pretty wheels off situation we ran into at a small port town called Jeongdongjin (jin means port, and dong means east, I'm totally learning Korean!). That, as you may discern, is a ship, except that it is on top of a hill, and not in any body of water. It was actually constructed with normal ship materials, and it houses a hotel and some other good times places.

There is also a year long hourglass there (made by Samsung), which has depicted on it all the animals of the Chinese calendar. Here's a link to a site explaining it:
Link to Hourglass Park

And our last stop of the day was at a limestone cave:

This stop convinced me the next camera purchase I may need to invest in is a nice TTL Canon flash.

Earlier in the morning, we actually spent some time climbing Mt. Sorak (which was outside the British style hotel we stayed in Thursday night), and Jeff and I emerged triumphantly on the summit, where we were greeted with the resplendent sight of...fog. I took some pictures, but none of my photographic evidence could conclusively prove I reached the top. I did however capture some picturesque scenes of mist languidly roiling down the mountainside in the early morning...sweetness. Anyways, I'm having a great time, and eating some great Korean food. I'll keep throwing up pictures and diurnal activities as I get access to various computer junior type situations around Korea. Until next time ahnyunghe gasehyo (that's goodbye in Korean, though my transliteration is probably incorrect).

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Well hello all, I have successfully made it to the Orient and I have a few pictures of the motel we are staying in, near the Gimpo airport we will fly out of tomorrow to start our tour (we actually flew into Incheon International, and this is kind of analogous to what Love Field is to DFW). The flight here went quite swimmingly, though we had to take a mulligan on the initial approach to land at Incheon, due to an air traffic control situation (other planes trying to take off when we were scheduled to land). Here's a couple pics of the motel we are at:

That last picture is our mood-lighting...we just grabbed the closest, cheapest hotel to the airport, and this place is what we ended up with. By the way, this post has been great fun to produce, as all the applications on the computer I'm using are in Korean, which, uh...I don't know too well buddy. Anyways, I'll try to update as best I can throughout my excursion, so stay tuned.