Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I use Hallowe\'en as an excuse to (try to) scare students smoking in a \'no smoking\' area.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

First snowfall 2006

The first snowfall atop Seoraksan was Oct 24.

Last year, we had snow in Oct but it melted quickly. I expect this to do the same. The first lasting snowfall last year was Nov 29.
Previous years: Nov 27, 2004, Nov 14, 2003 (photos)

The historic rise and fall of Chinese technology

*Blogger is having difficulties tonight. I cannot edit my writing well - no hyperlinks or bolding, etc.*

I have a long commute three days a week and I find listening to podcasts a good way to fill the time.

On such podcast is BBC4's "In our time". www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/history/inourtime/

Despite the title, the speakers mostly discuss historic events (I think the title refers to how the subjects are researched and understood 'in our time'). The most recent episode questioned how or why China was far and away the world leader in science and technology from the twelth century to only a few hundred years ago. European technology only pulled ahead in the nineteenth century.

One item of discussion was gunpowder. The Chinese understood how to use it as a propellent in fireworks but the main reason it was made was as part of Chinese alchemy and medicine. Once the secret of gunpowder reached Europe, its usefulness, um, exploded.

Also mentioned in some detail were printing presses and ceramics. Although Korea itself is not mentioned, the parrellels are clear.

"In Our Time", as a download, is available for a week. After that, you can still listen as a stream but not a download.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Storm Damage

The parking lot at Daepo Harbour was apparently washed out from below. In many places the paving stones are buckled up in an arch that seems to indicate pressure from below. This parking lot is right next to the ocean.

These merfolk are normally sitting vertically on a rock just out of frame on the left. The whole meaning of the statue is changed with it in a horizontal position. Only those nineteen and over can view the ocean from this vantage point, now.

On a much grimmer note, here are the remains of a fishing boat and navigation bouy.

According to that wimp, Melvin, swimming may be over for the year. I don't want to swim amongst the stuff I saw today, but I'm still eager to try one one time.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

two streets in one light cycle

Giving you the details the major guides won't. Forget about Moon guide or Lonely Planet - get it here!

Using online resources is ... interesting. I had to record the audio separately - at ODEO - and upload it to Jumpcut. Jumpcut didn't recognise two audio files in one movie so I had to make one audio recording, counting silently to avoid stepping on the video's audio in the middle.
Another fifty of these and more than my mother will want to watch.

The pettiness of Kwandongbrian

I've written before about how annoyed I get when people park in the 'no-parking' zone. It's a small thing but it bothers me. The four signs are normally in a row along the curb but I dragged them around the Korando.
The good news is, I restrained myself from tying them to the front and back bumpers. That may be my next trick.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Driving from Pusan to Paris? Coming soon.

On my way home yesterday, I saw a sign just north of Yangyang describing the road as 'Asian Highway (AH6) and listing five countries it leads to: Korea, Russia, Kazakstan, and others.

I will take a picture soon when I pass it in good light (it's pretty dark after six these days).

I have on this blog suggested that Korean businesses and government don't always plan ahead. Clearly, the civil engineers here are looking forward quite optimistically, considering that the sign went up a week after the Norks tested their nuke.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Another Thursday, another afternoon at the beach

Alternate title, "three amigos"

The water was fine but the air cooled quickly after three pm. I figure we'll get two more weeks in but conditions will be chancy after that.

Click on the photos to enlarge
Melvin in the surf.

I call this one, "hand or foot?" You can see that the waves were breaking right at the shore - his hand (foot?) is inches above beachsand.
Bill swam better than he looks in this photo - sadly it is the only one of him.

More terrible frisbee action featuring Kwandongbrian.
Hi there!

Bikes and buses

I started this post a few days ago and am finishing it today. The story is about my trip to work that day.

I'm not the idealistic young man I thought I was. Actually, I knew I wasn't that young anymore, the loss of idealism surprised me.

To get to work, I take two buses, a city bus from Sokcho to Yangyang and the university bus to the Gangneung campus. The city bus (route number 9, if you care), while pulling into a recessed stop on the side of the road, squeezed a cyclist and knocked him over.

Readers of this blog know that I am concerned with cyclist's rights and have commented on bike-unfriendly driving here. They may also know I am somewhat trained in first aid and that I am concerned about the lack of first aid knowledge of most Koreans and the strange actions of Korean ambulance staff here.

The young Kwandongbrian would have jumped out of the bus to check on the cyclist and possibly to harrangue thebusdriver.

The Kwandongbrian of today didn't want to give up his seat.

Eventually, like a frightened rabbit timidly leaving its hole, I stepped across to the window. A woman was pushing back to return to her seat so I blocked her path and scuttled back to MY seat. Later, I made it to the window and saw the cyclist with his shoe off, rubbing his foot. The bike looked fine, although a tire could easily have been warped enough to prevent use but not enough to be seen.

I returned to my seat and began to think, "Why doesn't the driver get back into the bus and get me to work?"

The driver did come in and tell us to exit the bus and hop in the one parked behind so I ended up standing anyway.

In Yangyang, I met the university shuttlebus for the ride to the Gangneung campus.

The bus reached a red light. It did not stop but moved as far to the right as possible, eventually making a shallow semicircle in the empty perpendicular lanes and continuing with only a slight dip in the speed.

As a cyclist, I used to do that very occassionally. I usually pay close attention to the traffic laws as a cyclist. I also hate it when drivers run red lights.

However, when my busdriver (or the occassional taxidriver) does it, I feel grateful. Oh, and a steadily decreasing sense of guilt.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Get a good sleep in class, still join the gallery

This guy fell asleep in class and I woke him. Then he fell asleep again. We continued about fifteen minutes of class and I finished class early, telling the students they could leave quietly. I went out and had a quick lunch and returned to the classroom and he was still there.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


Found in Cheongcho Lake next to ferryboat racecourse.

Why park here of all places?

Parking here blocks the sightlines for two lanes of traffic and hides pedestrians as they start to cross the street. Why park here?

Well, there are two reasons. The first is a group of reasons that seem to be easily clumped together. They include "everyone does it", "pedestrians and drivers both expect it and know to keep their eyes open" and "no-one is ever punished for it".
The second reason is actually the unexpected consequence of measures to prevent parking elsewhere on the street. In the back-right of the picture you can see pylons dividing the two lanes. These pylons prevent people from turning except at designated points anyone who parks where the pylons are, blocks the whole lane. Both streets, on either side of the intersection, have pylons running down the centerline.

Because people can't park between the intersections they are forced to park at the intersections. Goshdarned annoying, really.

So, in a grumpy mood, I wheeled my son past the car and went to Expo Park. I took him out of his stroller and we walked at a grassy part of the shoreline. I became much grumpier when I saw the refuse some partiers left behind and planned to blog about that, too. My mood improved when I saw Sokcho City employees cleaning the walkway and heading to the mess the partiers had left. Kudos to the cleanup crew. Still, garbage cans would be nice.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Ferryboat racing next week at Cheongcho Lake

A tourist attraction in Sokcho is the hand-powered ferry that connects Abai Village to northern Sokcho. The ferry crosses the narrow channel that permits boats entry to Cheongcho Lake. The ferry was featured in a movie or TV series; I think it was called, "Autumn story". Anyway, riding the ferry is mild fun and is part of a pleasant shoreline walk.

Next week, two replica ferries will be raced on a short course at Expo Park at Cheongcho Lake. The banner seems to say (my Korean language skills are not what they should be) that 32 teams can enter. A team consists of five members. Oct 14 and 15 are both on the banner so I don't know if the racing will take two days with heats on Saturday and finals on Sunday or what. The course is about 50 metres long and probably contestants have to travel to the bouy and back.

The race looks like a lot of fun. I have commitments next week so I cannot compete but I suggest the Gangwon KOTESOL enter a team (BTW, the next Gangwon KOTESOL meeting is that Saturday- perfect timing).

Oh, I said a team is 5 members, but I only saw four, uh, pull-tools. Maybe the fifth person cheers. I reccommend the fifth person bring a squirt gun to shoot the other team - that would be fun.

A cable is attached to the dock and to the bouy ( and anchored at both ends). The cable goes over the ferry. Simple metal tools with a handle and bent into a rectangle at one end are used to pinch the cable so one can tug and walk the cable to the stern, pulling the boat forward. A suggestion to contestants would be to ride the original ferry before the contest to be sure of how to hold the tool. I thought I was the sort to understand mechanical things but embarrrassingly close to half the time, I hold the tool backwards.

Here is the course:

And here is the banner if you want more information. The website (only in Korean) is here.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Employment discrimination

In my listening class, we are watching a PBS ESL video series called Connect with English. It chronicles the life of Rebecca Casey. Information about the series, and Video-On-Demand, can be found here (I'm not selling the product; I certainly don't love the product, but the info may be of interest to co-workers who read this blog).

When looking for a job, she was asked some inappropriate questions. Homework for that episode was listening to various job interview questions and determining which were illegal (I made the homework, it had nothing to do with PBS- just wanted that clear). That same week, I found this poster advertising job openings at the local E-mart. The ad specifically requires men between 20 and 35 years of age.

Shopping at Di Feel Good Morning Mart

There is a supermarket near my apartment that I frequent. It is well-stocked and has about half the floor space of E-mart's grocery floor. Until two weeks ago, it was called 'D-mart'. Then the name changed to 'Feel Mart'. The staff, layout and stock did not change. On Tuesday, I noticed the name has changed again, to 'Good Morning Mart'.

Is this simply another example of how quickly things change here? In Canada, I was under the impression that frequent name changes were part of a bankruptcy process, or somehow a way to dodge creditors. Could that be what's happening? Any guesses?

Which radical religious group uses this image?

There are moderates as well as radicals in every group.
I don't mean to attack the more moderate members of this religious group but, WOW!
Religion of peace?
Thou shall not kill?
I don't want to link to them. The site's name is "answers in..." and often uses the initials, "AIG" -they don't sell any kind of insurance I would want to buy!

(Click on the image to expand)

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Wild Animal Rescue Center has opened in Gangwon Province.

For a moment I imagined a sort of SWAT team or firefighting crew ready to rescue animals from kidnappers or stuck, like a kitten in a tree.

Probably, the initial contact with the animals they rescue will induce similar levels of adrenalin and the like. Injured herons have been known to kill, using their beak, driven through an eye-socket, to create a terminal lobotomy, and other animals may carry diseases from rabies to lyme disease (As an aside, the entrance to a local hiking trail warns of ticks and the diseases they carry). Also, the injured animals are unlikely to be sitting by the road, waiting for a pickup. They may receive the injuries by the road, but they won't wait there.

Anyway, Kangwon National University, Gangwon Province and the Environment Ministry have together built what sounds like an amazing rehabilitation center for injured wild animals. Currently, there are fifty animals receiving treatment, including a moose with a broken leg. I have to wonder how wild the moose is. Feral seems more likely.

Anyway, the Center sounds like a great place but visitors are apparently not encouraged. The Joongang tells us the center is in Gangwon Province but gives no further location information.
This is unsurprising. From the Aspen Valley Wildlife Center (located in my home district, Muskoka):
As our primary concern is rehabilitation, visiting is limited to: Wednesday and Sunday afternoons between 1 - 4; between the May long weekend and Thanksgiving weekend....Animals which we feel might be harmed by human attention are kept isolated - they must come first!

Volunteer organizations, like the Aspen Valley Center, have to keep some visitor hours simply to encourage donations. Perhaps the government-funded Gangwon center intends to keep animal-to-human interactions to a bare minimum.

Since I have already mentioned Muskoka, let me try to fit in a self-serving reference to another Muskoka rehab center, this one for birds. A Wing and A Prayer, run by Janice Enright is another volunteer organization and one that I briefly volunteered at. They never called me out to pick up an injured animal so my main contribution was in performing some basic carpentry. I hope it was a contribution; I had to cut chipboard for the interior walls and I have never been known for making straight cuts. I think the room I completed was draft-proof, I hope it was. Anyway, tying this thread into the main one; at A Wing and a Prayer, they kept human face-time with the birds down to an absolute minimum and were nationally recognized for raising loons from eggs to maturity without the birds imprinting on humans.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Swimming at Bracebridge Falls

My first attempt with Jump Cut. Prepare yourself for a thrillride (well, it was somewhat thrilling for me) and try to ignore my friend\'s cheesy narration.