Old News

January 12, 2007
After only two school days, it's the weekend! I don't feel inundated with work, yet. Last night, I spent several hours partying with Mijeong, Jeongho, Bongdo, some random folks whose names I don't remember, and this girl named Yeongeun, who was apparently born in the same year I was, so for once, there was a girl who wasn't younger than me, yet didn't treat me like a small child! Yay!

We had samgyeopsal, which was cooked on my hotplate and my frying pan, so I felt semi-useful. Some pictures were taken, and are in the new photo gallery.

Cans of tuna at the local supermarket are only 990 won! Holy crap, that's like $1 for 250 grams of tuna. By contrast, though, the cheapest jar of peanut butter was 4,000 won. It's called "Ligo" peanut butter, and it has a big American flag on it. However, it's made in China.

Finally, it turns out that I not only share a birthday with Bongdo (October 24), but he was born 12 years before me, so we have the same Chinese zodiac sign, too! This had greater significance to Bongdo than to me (although I must admit, it's quite a coincidence). Bongdo's theory is that if I'm ever in trouble, he'll probably be in trouble, too, so he said I should let him know.

January 11, 2007

Chuluunbaatar Khashchuluun

Okay, today is the first day of Level 3, meaning that in less than one hour, I am officially "intermediate" in Korean. I just took a look over the class list. I was able to figure out everyone's true nationality, except for one person who went by "Han Kyung Lo." I'm guessing they're a jaeilgyopo (ethnic Korean from Japan). As for the rest of the class, here's the composition:
- Five Japanese
- Five Chinese/Taiwanese
- One person of undetermined nationality (possibly Mongolian, due to the similarity in sound to Ulaanbaatar), with the extremely long name of Chuluunbaatar Khashchuluun
- Han Kyung Lo (probably a jaeilgyopo)
- Me

Well, people are starting to flood the computer lounge. Since I don't like people, I think I will sign off!

January 10, 2006
Today is Sandwich Day. In other words, I will eat nothing but sandwiches today. I bought a loaf of bread yesterday for the not-so-reasonable price of 2,300 won, and that's what I'm going to eat for today. Don't worry, this is not unhealthy -- I have covered most of the essential food groups. I have had four tuna sandwiches today (lots of meat), and I've had some ketchup, mayonnaise, cabbage, ham, and cheese sandwiches (dairy, meat, and vegetables). The ketchup provides the "fruit."

Level 3 starts tomorrow. Who knows what that will bring. Supposedly, around the end of Level 3 or Level 4, I will start understanding a lot more Korean, though I am highly skeptical at this point (having studied for more than 14 months and having heard these kinds of promises before from many sources).

I feel like adding a links page today, for my own convenience as much as anyone else's. Only pages that I've frequented for a long time will go on the links page.

January 6, 2007

It snowed today. I am posting seven pictures (besides the one on the left) of Korea in the winter, when there's snow all over everything. I have scenes from Sungkyunkwan University (a university that is over 600 years old, and is covered in snow in a scenic fashion), the wilderness near Hyehwa (mountains and woods), and a random picture or two. I'm starting a new photo gallery.

Click here to see the new photo gallery!

January 4, 2007


Yesterday was a productive day. It was so productive, I was too tired after it all to update my site, so I waited until today.

First, I went over to Hyehwa and visited Paul and took care of some stuff that needed to be taken care of. I also checked on the prices of SPAM, because SPAM is everywhere, and it should be in my sandwiches. I found a 340-gram can of "Seupam" (as opposed to the official brand, "Seupaem") for a little over $3,000. Oh, wait, I meant won. I paid my cell phone bill. It was 10,000 won, and makes it a lot harder for girls to stand me up. On the way home, I saw a an environmentalist truck that said, in Korean, the following expression that doesn't translate very well: "Our Rivers and Mountains Greenly Greenly."

Now, the awesome part happened at the Seoul Immigration Office when I went to update my address (a task which must be completed within two weeks of the move). I had heard a rumor that I could work a part-time job on a student visa after six months. Well, I can't do that yet -- I need a D-2, not a D-4. However, when I enter a Korean university as a full-time student, I will get the D-2, and I can begin working part-time within six months! Actually, one of the officers said "one term," the other said "six months." So it's either three months or six months. Either way, I'm absolutely ecstatic. Who would have ever thought that I could legally work in Korea without a degree, or without being in the Industrial Trainee program? I'm going to have to investigate this a little more carefully, because this just sounds too good to be true. I know my hours would be limited, but according to my calculations, I could possibly have a money surplus every year if I planned really carefully and went to an inexpensive university, such as SNU or Cheju National University.

December 16, 2006

Larva is my friend

I found this brilliant example of Engrish at the local CORE MART supermarket. It's on the PC Cam Larva II. The text underneath (which I realize is illegible due to the low resolution of this camera) says "Larva is my friend."

December 15, 2006
All right, I made the video that I'd been saying I'd make! This video is over four minutes long, and includes two videos of my class, a ton of unreleased photos, and voice narration! Be warned, it's between 13 and 14 megabytes!

While I was making this video, I saved up all my good photos, and refrained from posting many good photos on this web page. The result is a good video, but a site that was lacking in content for a while. The video itself was a huge pain to produce. I tried two different copies of Windows Movie Maker on my own computer. One of them was out-of-date, and the other one wouldn't run off my slave hard drive. I had to do all the sequencing and such on Mijeong's public PC in the wee hours of the morning, and it took several minutes just to write the video data to the disk.

The Video (Level 2 at Yonsei)
The Script

This is Magna Carta. It's one of the most famous Korean RPGs ever made -- if what they say is true, it's like the FF7 of Korea. However, I have yet to see this for myself. Here is a screenshot of one of the first areas of the game (I took it using Print Screen).

Here is another screenshot of Magna Carta. I've just finished the first dungeon, and I've been playing for over five hours! However, those 5+ hours were spent leveling up, progressing through the game, and having a good time, which is something that you don't get when you chase girls and surf around for information on a long-term residence visa that isn't worth the effort.

December 7, 2006

I bought a working Pentium III from a garbage man in Korea for less than $6.

I hope my little headline got your attention -- because it's true! I'm serious, I was walking along the sidewalk with Paul, in an effort to get to LG Telecom and do some cell phone business. I pointed to a trash cart and said something to the effect of "why do the trash men always find the great finds first?" Immediately, a garbage man came running my way, and asked if I wanted to buy the computer (and the monitor next to it) for 10,000 won. I asked if I could have the PC for 5,000 won. He seemed delighted. I don't know why -- the system worked without any modification the moment I took it home and booted it up, so look who lucked out on that deal.

Upon booting it up, I discovered that it was a 550 MHz Pentium III with 128 megabytes of RAM (it had more chips in it, but they were non-operational), and an 8 megabyte video card. It also had a 40x CD-ROM drive and TWO hard drives! I swapped my old hard drive into it, so I have access to all my old files. I put my RAM from my old PC into it, which combined with the 128 megabytes of still-operational RAM. I put in my old video card. Now, I have a hybrid system of old and new! Here is a list of ways that my computational life has improved over the last 24 hours:
Processor: 450 MHz Pentium II -> 550 MHz Pentium III (Magna Carta-capable, now)
RAM: 384 megabytes -> 512 megabytes
Hard Drive(s): 1 -> 2

Of course, one of the first things I did was to install Magna Carta, which had not been able to run on the old system. It worked! At first, running it under OpenGL, it was unbearable -- the graphics were largely CYAN. It looked like CGA from an ancient early-80s IBM PC, and the frame rate was like 2 FPS. However, I switched to Direct3D, and now I'm getting proper coloration with approximately 10 FPS (enough for a tactical RPG). It's pretty beautiful! I haven't played a PC game this good-looking in a while. I'd say it's definitely PS2-quality.

As for other things that happened today, I helped Mijung (she prefers this spelling of her name) to set up Golden Pond Guesthouse farther. I enjoyed helping with some things that were more brute labor than English (which shows me that I'm useful for more than just my English, which is good). We put up a big, fluorescent-lit sign. We moved the computer into the main hall with the skylights (and broke the glass cover to a table in the process), etc. The sign looks really nice. However, do I want to stay there long-term? I'd rather not get into the pros and cons here, but I still don't know where I'm going to be living in two days (though I'm leaning toward staying in Shinchon due to unlimited internet access [leading to money-making opportunities], privacy [a room with a locking door], and proximity to Yonsei [10 minutes on foot]).

December 5, 2006
Okay, today was the last day of class (and also my first day at Golden Pond Guesthouse, Mijeong's place). I started the day by waking up with about ten seconds to find the bathroom in this new, dark building, before I had simultaneous vomiting and diarrhea. I made it to the bathroom, but did not succeed in locating the toilet on-time. I blew chunks in the sink, vomited NEXT TO the toilet, then, as a grand finale, INTO the toilet. That was a pain to clean up, and it didn't get my day off to a very good start.

Then I went to school, and found out that I got a mere 89% for my final grade -- 1% short of what I needed to apply for the 711,500-won scholarship.

However, today, I did win the game we played in class (well, I tied with Toshie, also pictured), to guess words based on their descriptions, and I was rewarded with a Korean pastry (see the picture below). Today is the first day of the long, glorious, and much-desired winter break.

I removed this news article because it's like self-sabotage.