Friday, October 31, 2008

A Korean Halloween

The costumes were amazing. In my class we had... a cowboy, a princess, a power ranger, The President, and Jake.

Jake was a special case. He had no costume. He wore his everyday clothes. When asked by other kids, he quickly responded... "I'm a B-boy." and then he would do a break dance move. (In Korea, break dancers are called "B-boys"). Later a wizard outfit appeared out of nowhere for him... I think my Korean co-teacher got it from somewhere. I only had five students today... and Jake was the only one whose mom didn't come. She's an important lawyer and I think is pretty busy. But it was still kind of a bummer.

I wore the old Korean high school uniform. Almost all the teachers wore costumes. I wonder if you can learn something about a person's personality based on their costume choice?

It was raining, so we couldn't do the planned apartment to apartment trick or treating... but all the moms came to the building lobby and the kids ran around to them getting candy. It seemed the moms were competing to see who could give out the best candy. My students made a major haul. It was great... when we got back to the classroom... they said... "my mom said I can only eat a few. Two is all you can eat, right, Ryan? If you eat more than that your teeth fall out, right, Ryan Teacher."

I was also asked a very important question... "Ryan teacher, can ghosts go into black holes, because Jake says they can?"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

오토바이 (oh-toe-buy) - Korean for motorcycle (sounds a lot like "auto bike")

It's fun giving a ride to someone who hasn't really ridden motorcycles before.

My friend Christina is a full time student. She never has time to do anything fun. :) Well, she recently finished a major test, so this week was a little more relaxed for her.

I had once mentioned that I wanted to visit one of the famous sticker making shops. She said she'd never ridden a motorcycle through Seoul. So it was a deal.

The photo place was cool. You step into the booth and it takes about 10 pictures rapid fire. Then you step over to an editing booth. Your pictures pop up and you're given 25 seconds or so to choose four photos you like. Then you pick up these digital pens and you get to decorate your photos. You simply draw on the screen. You can also change the photo background or use pre-made stamps to put little cartoon characters or shapes on the pics. Christina said it's all about the decoration. When you're all finished decorating, you hit the print button. And you've got yourself a set of cool stickers. They're pretty small... so the pictures I took of the stickers are low quality and blurry, but I wanted to give you an idea of what they looked like.

So for my end of the deal, we drove around Seoul for nearly 2 hours. It was great. I think she had fun. To end the night we took some pics near a bright lamp we found. And that's my story.

In Response to being tagged to answer a random questionnaire

Why are you the way you are?​
I'd have to say my parents had a lot to do with making me. I'm actually pretty proud of my parents. They loved me. They supported and encouraged me. And they taught me by example... the "do what I say AND what I do."

When people I'm talking with bash their parents for being lousy and then they say, "What about you?" I sometimes feel a little dumb. I'm almost embarrassed to talk about them because they're "too good". I mean... two people who have been married for 26 years, raised three successful sons, traveled to a third world country to do volunteer work for a year (with the entire family), say they are more in love than when they first married, are active in their community, and adopted a baby girl from china... doesn't that almost make you sick? In sort of a good way?

Anyway, watching them has shaped me.

Which​ do you prefer,​ the sun, moon,​ or stars​?
This is a funny question because of some things I'm studying now.

I suppose I prefer the sun, because without it, life wouldn't exist. I remember looking at it when I was young and being scolded. My mom was afraid I would go blind if I looked at it too long.

If you could​ meet our creator,​ would​ you want to?
It seems like everyone would want to meet their creator. A meeting like that would validate or invalidate all of a person's beliefs.

Do you believe that every​thing​ has a creator?
Yes. And my grandfather once told me... anything man can dream up, he can make. Just look at Star Trek. Communicators... hi-tech devices that transmitted sound and often seemed to malfunction... now we've got cell phones that send audio, video, text, and you can surf the net, take pictures, and do a million other things.

Do you have a MySpace account?​
Yes, but I never really got into it. I hated the advertisements and the clutter.

Do you do most of the cleaning in your home?
Yes. When you're single, there's no one else to do it. Unless I hired someone... but that would take money... and I don't mind living in a little bit of filth.

Are you a neat or messy​ person?​
Somewhere in between. I tend to go in peaks and valleys.

Do you have obsessive compulsive disorder?
Yes. I think. In small ways. Or maybe they are just habits. What's the difference? I count a lot of things, but I think many people do that. When I drive on a road with a dotted line, I clench my teeth together as every line flashes past. I check my email about 10+ times a day.

Do you like to read?
Yes. I especially enjoy science fiction with a twist. Timothy Zahn is one of my favorite authors of all time. I particularly enjoyed his Cobra/Blackcollar/Conquerers/and Star Wars series. When I was in middle school, the county librarians all new me and often asked what I was reading so they could read it next. I would ride my dad's old ten speed road bike with the curly handlebars to the library after school. I'm not really a smart person, but I think that because I read so many books (on average 5 a week or more... sometimes 5 a day if it was a weekend) that it helped me academically.

What was the last dream​ you had?
It was really weird... I'm trying to remember it now... I think I was being chased by a woman with a needle. She wanted to inject me with something. And for some reason I could do all kinds of cool spy tricks to get away... like jump through glass windows without getting hurt. Eventually I think I realized I couldn't escape her and so I just surrendered and then it turned out to be nothing bad. I can't quite remember... I just remember waking up and thinking... that was really weird. Where did that come from? Because usually you can trace a dream to some movie you watched or some video game you played... or something that happened to you recently... but nope. No connections.

Have you ever been to a psychic?​
Nope. I'm too skeptical. But my friend went to one. He paid twenty bucks and she said he was going to be rich and he would marry a beautiful woman within the year. What a bunch of bull. I could have told him the same thing and I only would have charged ten.

Do you believe in spirits?
Yes. But not in the sense of spirits that can manipulate the physical universe (like ghosts or something). I'd like to believe there is something beyond death, but for that to be possible, something of a person would have to survive the destruction of the physical body. I've often wondered about it. Some people say our memories are what make us what we are. Memories are stored in an organic computer called our brain. When that dies, does that mean everything we are dies also? Or is there something else? Something science has not yet been able to "see" or measure. Something eternal like counting to the biggest number. Something that can't be measured because it is immeasurable.

Do you believe in alien​ existence?
I have to say I want to, but I'm a logical person and there hasn't been any real solid evidence yet. It sure would be cool though. As long as they weren't trying to eat us or something. OR maybe we are the aliens... transplanted here ages ago from another galaxy...

Do you read the dictionary often​?
No. But I use a lot. Especially for dumb words I always forget how to spell... like alligator and octopus. But now that they have these awesome programs that spell check as you write... who needs a dictionary?

Do you like to write​?​
Yes and no. I like to write in my journal, but writing emails and essays is death for me... I can't push the send button until I've read it a million times... edited... re-edited... I'm somewhat of a perfectionist. Even writing this blog post has taken longer than it should have.

If so, what do you normally write​ about​?
My thoughts on truth, life, observations I make, worries I have, goals, prayers, funny stories, names and memories so I won't forget them.

Have you ever been to a funeral?
Yes. For friends and family. For young and old.

Have you ever seen someone die?
About a million(+) times in movies and video games. But in real life, I've never seen someone die before my eyes. I did see a dead body hanging out of the back of a truck while I was riding my motorcycle through the streets. It was disturbing and made me think quite a bit.

What simply gross​es you out?
Not much. I've experienced quite a few "gross" situations, and I think I've become desensitized to some extent.

But those worms that grow inside you and then burst out through your skin when you get close to water make me cringe.

If someone say​s something gross​ while​ you are eating,​ does it bother you?
Doesn't bother me at all. But I love trying to gross my dad out when we're eating. I remember my mom made this new meat dish. My brothers and I started whispering... "It looks like dead rat carcasses." Our dinner guest said, "Hey, I know what you guys are saying. Be nice to your mom." The dinner was actually pretty great... but I got a kick out of eating "dead rats".

What annoy​s you the most about​ people?
Ignorance(and what I mean by this is someone who doesn't try and do research if they find something they don't know, or if someone points out an error, they refuse to be open to correction; also, speaking without thinking), lack of curiosity, and indecisiveness.

Do you believe in gay marriage?
No. I think marriage is something that has its roots and power in a female/male relationship. And I also feel that marriage is losing its integrity. I've been to several weddings where I heard the words... "until death do us part". And the couple is definitely now parted... without the death part. So what's the point? My word is something important to me. If I swear, if I shake on it, I will keep my end of the deal. I'd like this to be true for my marriage.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Intruder

I came home after work and noticed something different about the apartment. Slowly, I set my bag and helmet down. Moving cautiously, I made my way around the inside of the room. When I checked behind the refrigerator, the struggle began...

The change I had noticed was subtle... but strong... and it was everywhere... the smell of sour milk. After tracking the horrible smell to the corner of the apartment that housed the fridge, I discovered that a bottle, jug, plastic container (whatever it's called) had sprung a leak inside the fridge. Milk was everywhere. I cleaned the inside up and thought that was the end of it.

But the smell just wouldn't go away. How was I supposed to know that there was a drain that went out the back... how was I supposed to know that the overflow container had itself overflowed... how was I supposed to know that all that milk would then be slowly "cooked" by the refrigerator heat exchanger?

Yuck... it took me forever to clean that thing out. Basically, I think I made sour cream... or sour cheese... or something sour that wasn't simply milk anymore. It was something gelatinous.

So I think I finally took care of my "intruder", but it wasn't easy.

The weapons...
-washcloth: to scrub accessible areas clean of smelly yuck.
-spoon: to scoop out smelly yuck from areas unreachable by washcloth.
-chopstick: to scrape out hardened milk from areas unreachable by spoon.
-shaving cream: cleaner and smell get ridder of-er (I know I made that word up).
-lighter: to light some paper on fire to create smoke, which then cleaned the air of sour stink.
-toilet: toxic disposal device... I flushed the awful milk ooze to a place where it can't hurt anyone ever again.

Monday, October 27, 2008

From the Archives

So I just transferred about 10 Gig worth of photos to my backup hard drive... all of the photos were from the last 8 months. Wow!

Here are a few I stumbled upon while sorting through my old pics. I also found an old film my grandpa took of the family using an 8mm camera (I think). Someone somewhere digitized it and I long ago found the DVD in a pile of grandpa's country CDs and immediately ripped it to my computer. Now I've found it again, and I'm in the process of editing it down a bit. I hope to have it on here sometime.

She definitely won't be drowning today

The never ending job of refilling the ocean

And she won't be getting a sunburn... or a date...

The coffee shop was called "7 Monkeys" and I got a banana with my coffee... I thought that was the coolest thing ever... and the banana coffee combination actually wasn't that bad.