Friday On My Mind

Making kids dress up
Just to get some free candy
I love my job sometimes.

I am not a prince
But sometimes I do wonder
Am I like Myshkin?

One less friend in town
The coffee gals will be sad
Vaya con Dios.

Looking at my pay
I'm glad I got that degree
For I would be broke.

I stink at tennis
The ball is in your court now
I fear your return.

Forget bombs and drugs
There's a greater threat out there
It's called Vegemite.

Currently listening to: Snow Patrol -

Runaway Train

Accidental is the theme at PhotoFriday this week. I was trying to get a photo of the Mongolian countryside from out my train window. Unfortunately, when I hit the button on my camera another train was passing by. This is what I got...

Currently listening to: Snow Patrol -


It's Better To Burn Out

So last night I took a walk over to the local batting cages. On the way I saw a shooting star fly over campus. For a brief period of time all the lights of this city did not compare to a piece of rock burning up overhead. As I walked on several thoughts went through my head. I wondered how many others even saw it. I thought of my friend who claimed they have never seen one. I made a childish wish that I doubt will come true. I even began to compile a list of my favorite shooting stars I've witnessed.

As I arrived at the cages, there were seven college students in various stages of inebriation cheering on their friend in one cage. I stepped into the open cage, dropped the coinage in the slot, and grabbed the bat. As I started connecting batt to ball, the two guys in the cage next to me stopped and watched, as did the rest of their posse. They began to gasp, cheer, and yell out things like, "home run," "very good," "teach me," and "McGwire." (Funny thing is that my students in the states used to call me McGuire.) When my turn ran out, I turned to see three girls' faces pressed up against the fence, chanting "go again." I dropped another coin in, and put on another show. Sometimes a guy just needs a little boost to the ego.

Currently reading:


Friday Wasn't My Day

Been drinking green tea
Like it is going out of style
At least it is cheap.

Nuclear concerns
This is the eve of the end
In the Twilight Zone.

False alarm not nice
Cause I stayed up way too late
Watching CSI.

Miyagi's two rules
Karate defense only
Learn rule number one.

Currently listening to: Mindy Smith -

Bring Me A Big Umbrella

This week's theme at PhotoFriday is Innocence. I took this on the streets of Moscow this summer.

Currently listening to:


In An Air Raid Drill

Today Korea started testing air raid drills again. For fifteen minutes alarms were sounded, announcements were made on speakers around town, and fighter jets flew over head. For those of us who had no clue what was going on it was a rather tense time of worrying about how soon the radiation cloud would appear. Oh who am I kidding, I actually found out about the drill from an email a few hours later. This afternoon while people were exhibiting their disaster awareness preparations, I was deep in napland, dreaming away, oblivious to the world around me.

In other news, the Chinese are claiming they are building fences along the border with North Korea. To think that just a couple weeks ago, I was right there, filming stupid videos and joking about swimming across to North Korea. Should I be concerned that eight years ago, I traveled through a civil war in Europe that six months later escalated to a major war, and now I've stumbled into another hot spot?

Currently listening to:


Wish It Wasn't The Thirteenth

When traveling the globe
It is always western food
That has knocked me down.

Too many new discs
Too little time to listen
What's a boy to do?

The greater the risk
Gives one the greater rewards
Is what he told me.

The sunset looked nice
Could it be from the fallout
From last week's big test?


See The Soldier With His Gun

I guess this would be a good time to tell the story of how I was recently captured by the Chinese military along the North Korean border.

It all started when a tour bus broke down along the Tumen River. We had just left the observation tower, where one can see North Korea, Russia, and the East Sea from a vantage point in China. The sun was setting over the North Korean hills and it would be a few hours before our replacement bus would arrive. Once we figured there was time to kill the group I was with started walking towards a UN statue up the road. After a little bit of walking, it was decided to return to the bus, as it would be too dark for a photo. Being the ever explorer, I asked if it would be fine if I walked a little further up the road. I was given the go ahead, and easily convinced two of my fellow travelers to join me.

As we walked along we talked about how cool it was we were in an area where three major communist countries converged. We wondered why there wasn't more security in the area. We walked along taking photos of sunsets, cows, and a staged photo of "our escape into China", with North Korea in the background. Oh, we even shot a short video of our escape. And then we kept on walking.

A few minutes later the dogs started barking. Then two guys came out of a building. We continued to walk, although a little slower, until they waved at us. The from behind us a military vehicle approached. It passed us before coming to a halt. One of the soldiers opened up a window and said, "Go back!" One of us asked, "To the bus?" The reply was, "Go back."

So being intelligent people that we are, we turned and started to walk back the two or three miles to where the bus still sat. As the soldiers drove away, I turned to one of the guys and asked him if he would let me beat him up a little, so when we got back we could tell a story about how he mouthed off to the soldiers. He did not like that idea. We continued walking for a few minutes, when one of the guys noticed the vehicle was returning. Out loud I uttered, "I hope they pick us up." I am not too sure the other guys were sharing this same idea.

The vehicle stopped in front of us again, and the back door flew open. One of the soldiers motioned for us to enter. I quickly jumped in, followed by the other two guys. The last one was given a little shove as he entered the vehicle. The two of them sat on a bench with two soldiers on one side of the vehicle. I sat on the wheel well next to a soldier on the other side. All three of them had machine guns. We did not.

They drove us back to our bus, and dropped us off. As we exited the vehicle many of those we were with were laughing at us. I quickly said it wasn't a laughing matter. But couldn't help but laugh as well, because I had been freakin' detained by the Chinese military. At this point, one of the two soldiers in the front of the vehicle stepped out and began yelling at our bus driver and guides. I guess he was making it clear that this is a highly sensitive area, a dangerous area, and stupid people should not be walking around under the cover of darkness in this area. After a little bit of muscle flexing, he got back in the vehicle and they drove away. We had two more hours to hang out and tell our story to others until that replacement bus arrived.

Currently reading:

This Is Where The Summer Ends

The news is reporting that North Korea has tested their nukes today. According to the report, it created a tremor that has been confirmed. So I decided to see where this actually happened, so I checked out the USGS Earthquake Hazards Program. This is where I got this map, to show my family and fans how close I am.
For those who have not been keeping score at home, I am in Taejon. The little orange box is where the man with the crazy hair decided to flex his muscles today. I feel the need to go change my tin foil hat to lead based.

Currently listening to:


Chickity China

I'm big in China
Several wanted my photo
Should have charged a yuan.

It was like Frogger
But you only get one life
When crossing the streets.

Asking a girl out
Can be more frightening than
Guys with machine guns.

A broken down bus
Along the Tumen river
The setting for fun.

Currently reading:


See China Right In Front Of You

Just wanted to post a quick update to let you all know that I made it back safely from China. One of the highlights was spending some time atop Baekdu Mountain, which lies on the Chinese and North Korean border. Here is a short video that does not even come close to doing the actual view justice.

There are many more videos, photos, and stories to come. Including one that answers a friend's recent question about what is the most potentially dangerous situation I have been in. I think my answer has changed, thanks to the Chinese military.

Currently reading: