Saturday, July 29, 2006

Faith in humanity somewhat restored

As many of you know, I'm a computer gamer. My game of choice these days is World of Warcraft, a massive, multi-player online game. I've been playing the game for the past year and a half and really enjoy it.

Now I bought my version of the game in the US while visiting my mom because at the time, it hadn't been released in Korea yet. I didn't think anything of this especially since I got the game home, fired it up with my Korean issued credit card (you have to pay a monthly fee to play), and proceeded to play happily for a year and a half. However, last June, my credit card was renewed and for some reason couldn't be used to pay for the game anymore. To my dismay and frustration, I was told by the folks at (the makers of the game) that the US version of the game was only meant to be used in certain regions of the world (the US, Canada, and get this, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand). Thus, if you used the game outside those regions, payment options didn't exist. This made very little sense to me since I'd been playing on a Korean credit card for a year and a half with absolutely no trouble at all. The Blizzard folks were basically telling me that I was screwed and that if I wanted to continue to play, I'd have to buy a Korean version of the game. Great with the exception that I had already dropped $50 to buy an ENGLISH version of the game (not to mention the $15 a month for a year and a half) and was not about to drop another $50 for a KOREAN version. Needless to say I was less than happy.

Now one of the things I really enjoy about WoW is that you get to meet and play (albeit online) with folks from all over the world. Also, there is the ability to join a GUILD, an in-game organization of players who work together on the more difficult adventures, help out with game info and tips, and generally chat it up. The guild I'm in, The Legend of the Pheonix, was created by a guy from Australia whom I had been adventuring with for quite a while and had been with in various other guilds. When he created his own guild, I jumped at the chance to get in on the ground floor.

When I found out I might not be able to get back to playing, I posted a message on the guild website telling folks I probably wouldn't be back and thanking them for all the fun. Well, another of the original guild members sent me an email saying he'd try to help because they didn't want to lose me from the guild (an ego boost in its own right).

World of Warcraft has a number of different payment methods, one of which is a two month, pre-paid game card. You buy these at a game store, type in the ID number, and it allows you to play the game. I don't know how much these cards cost, but this guy Steve, who I only know from playing with him online (he lives somewhere in the States), went out and bought a game card for me out of his own pocket and sent the ID to me in an email. Now since Blizzard had told me that because I was playing in Korea with a US version of the game, even the game cards might not work and are non-refundable, Steve (shit, I don't even know his last name) was taking a chance. Well, long story short, the card worked, and I'm a happy camper.

Steve certainly didn't have to do what he did, and I have no idea what I can do to thank him. The thing is that this cynical old fart (me) has had a little of his faith in humanity restored because one relative stranger did something incredibly nice.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hmmm. Am I an average blogger?

According to a Washington Post article on bloggers, "The average blogger is a 14 year old girl talking about her cat." Of course, this is the MONEY quote from the article that everyone will focus on. Given that, again according to the article, there are 49 million blogs out there, that would mean that there are a hell of a lot of 14 year old girls with WAY too much time on their hands.

Actually, the main jist of the article is that bloggers tend to be under 30, write primarliy for their friends and family or for themselves, and that relatively few blogs or bloggers view themselves as newsmakers or budding journalists. With the exception of the under 30 part - not sure I even remember 30 - I suppose I fit into the average.

In the end it boils down to the fact that blogs are fun and a fairly constructive way to kill time. Also it gives me an objective way to look at my horrible punctuation skills, so it's EDUCATIONAL as well. How's THAT for some quick rationalizing at 7:30 am. Damn, I'm good.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Better dial up Noah and get him to uncover the Ark.

It's raining. It's been raining. It's going to continue raining it seems until we all float away. Today is July 17. By my count, it has rained now for 17 straight days. It's getting a bit on the depressing side especially since for the two or three minutes a day it actually doesn't rain, it's humid and sticky and downright uncomfortable. I LOVE Korea in the summer. Did I mention it was raining?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ah the irony.

Guess old Mr. Coors sampled a bit too much of his own product.

Is it really that late?

Well, I'm home after an interesting night out, Shocked that it's 4am. Alas, I guess shit happens when you're drunk.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Here I am to save the DAAAAAAAAAY!

My best friend Jamey has always wanted to be a cop. After a three year trial of paperwork, physicals, and interminable waiting, jamey entered the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Academy last winter. Now with less than a month to go before he graduates and is sent off to the Great White North, his dream is about to come true.

Looking pretty spiffy Bro (better tidy up that bunk, though. lol).

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Yep. It's Wednesday.

Not sure why, but it has seemed to take a month to get to Wednesday this week. Maybe it's because I went out Sunday night. Maybe it's because I spent about fours hours at Chungnam National University Hospital yesterday getting MRIs on my knees and shoulder and dealing with the hospital buearacracy (not the easiest thing on any given day, but try when you can't speak Korean).

The biggest issue yesterday was not the MRIs, but trying to get my insurance straight. Apparently there was some confusion over the medical discount form given to me by the office at the institute to help defray the cost of my MRIs (approximately 1,200,000 won). The problem started when the hospital called the CNU to verify that I was in fact an employee. The person at the university said, "No." This caused me some consternation since CNU has been paying me for the past three years, and, if my memory serves, I've been teaching CNU students for that time as well. It could be a horrid nightmare that I'm about to wake from, but I don't think so.

To make a long story short, the problem was worked out when my director, Dr. Kim (who happens to be a big wig in pediactric medicine at CNU Hospital), got on the phone, first with the university administration (where she found out the person who was talking to the hospital had been on the job for three whole days and didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground), and then with the hospital. In the end, even though I had paid for the MRIs with my credit card, I walked out of the hospital with 480,000 won in my pocket and an appointment next week to find out how fucked up my knees and shoulder really are. Guess there's a silver lining in there somewhere.

Anyway, here's the Hump Day Mix for this week:

1. Frank Zappa: Oh No
2. The Cramps: Uranium Rock
3. Talking Heads: Blind
4. Bad Manners: Rosemary
5. Jimmy Buffett: Jolly Mon Sing
6. The F.U.'s: Peer Police
7. Old Crow Medicine Show: Hard To Tell
8. Bauhaus: St. Vitus Dance
9. Santana: Them Changes
10. Led Zeppelin: Boogie With Stu
11. The Danny Morris Band: Fireball
12. Down: Lysergik Funeral Procession
13. Thin Lizzy: Cowboy Song
14. Running Wild: The Poison
15. Venom: In Nomine Satanis
16. Charlie Parker: Yardbird Suite
17. The Cult: Aphrodisiac Jacket
18. Descendents: She Loves Me
19. Hanoi Rocks: No Law And Order
20. The Fixx: Stand Or Fall
21. The Ramones: Outsider
22. Iron Maiden: The Evil That Men Do
23. Rush: Jacob's Ladder
24. Motorhead: Don't Let Daddy Kiss Me
25. Tangerine Dream: The Spirit Of The Czar
26. Emerson, Lake & Palmer: Tank
27. The Proletariat: Torn Curtain
28. Bad Religion: Doing Time
29. Jethro Tull: Dr. Bogenbroom
30. The Kinks: Animal

Well, things are looking up. Gonna go get some food and go drinkin'

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Back in Korea, rested, relaxed, and ready to rumble.

I'm back in Korea after a simply wonderful two weeks visiting my mom and uncle in California. The whole trip was exactly what I needed. The weather was spectacular, and I spent most of my time visiting with my mom, reading, walking on the beach, and sleeping. Oh did I mention eating tons of great food, and shopping like a maniac? Given how tired and stressed out I was when I left Korea, I couldn't have asked for a better vacation.

One of the great surpises was the fact that my brother Kim showed up a few days after I got there. This was a complete surprise to both me and my mom. Apparently my uncle had spent a month planning this surprise. Even my 13 year old niece didn't spill the beans (granted when my mom asked her, Jesse said she forgot). The strangest thing was that my brother had shaved his beard. I don't think I've seen him without a beard in maybe 30 years. It was very weird. Although he could only stay a few days, it was great to see him, and it made my mom very happy, which is always a good thing.

While my brother was there, we managed to get in a fishing trip. The trip was fun despite 12 foot seas and the fact that you had to brace yourself between the cabin and gunwhale while fishing to keep yourself on board. There were a couple times when the boat went over a swell and I was practially perpendicular to the water. It was like being on a rollercoaster. Regardless, both my brother and I caught our limit and generally had a good time.

All in all, it was a great trip.

My mom's house.

My mom's front yard.

Me, my mom, and my brother.

Me, my uncle Bill, and my brother Kim. My uncle, the sneaky bugger, planned a month in advance of my trip to bring my brother out to California. My mom and I were floored when Kim showed up at the door.

Just thought this was a cool photo.

Lighthouse in the mist.

The old lighthouse in Crescent City.

Fog bank.

So weird without his beard.

I love the ocean.

The California coast. What can you say?


I got some killer sunsets while I was there.

My brother in his element.

My brother out on the water. I didn't get a lot of photos from this fishing trip because of 12 foot swells and the fear of being pitched overboard, lol. caught a bunch of fish though.

Wonder Stump Road.

This photo doesn't do justice to how massive this hollowed out stump is.

And that's just the STUMP!!

This tree must have been incredible.

Another view from the overlook. The weather was simply spectacular while I was there.

My mom and me at the Crescent City Overlook.

Looking towards Crescent City.

Where the Klamath River meets the sea.

Looking up the Klamath River Valley.

Lookout for bears??

This is how I spent the greater part of my vacation. Perfect.

The chair of doom. Many a quality nap was taken in this chair..

Helped along by...

Sun, rocks and sea

Snail trail. I thought this photo was pretty cool. :-D

Starfish. Unfortunately, this one and dozens of others were caught at low tide and soon died.

Tis a truly beautiful beach.

Beach front property.

Tons of interesting driftwood.

Waves on the beach

A little sliver of light below the fog.

The day I left, the fog rolled back in.