Tuesday, November 15, 2005



Well, shee-it, I just spent the better portion of the last hour trying to figure out how to post images on this thing...I had Flickr and Picasa all set up in Germany, nothing easier, so I figured I'd download those things (it gave me the option to put the program into one of the emptier hard drives) and get going, but then, I couldn't figure out how to configure the whole thing, so I ended up in Blogspot help and it tells me that there should be a toolbar at the top of the screen where I edit posts, and on that, an icon that allows me to upload images directly from my computer. Only guess what? I'm there, no such toolbar. I'm wondering if this doesn't all have to do with my location, as I've also been futzing around trying to figure out how to italicize and bold (if that's ever a really pressing issue, I do know how to look up the appropriate codes, so it's not such a big deal, though a bit of a pain...), and that was on the toolbar as well. I remember, in Germany, having the option also to use a wysiwig version of the post editor, and I can't find that, either. I'm guessing there's one button somewhere I need to push, (one that, with luck, won't completely screw the current formatting), but I have no idea where to find that button. Ain't technology grand? In any case, the photos will have to wait for another day, because I've given up on it for this morning, having decided, after having slept in much later than I meant to, and then wasting pretty much the first two hours of my day, that I don't have any more time to devote to it this morning. Plus, I can always ask Taylor, whose primary purpose for blogging is to share photos, how to go about it. The irony of all this is that he was asking me for advice just yesterday after Korean class. Ah, well.

So, with the time remaining to me, thought I'd post a quick update, as I'm getting ready to knuckle down on a lot of tasks that I've left unattended for a bit too long, including much neglected correspondence, both personal and Trip related, and really getting busy on the Korean so I can try to take it to the level of sentences, instead of wandering around like a three-year old who is just delighted to be able to name things. And images are seeping in for writing--not for the writing I was hoping to do (a longer project with one of the coolest working titles I've ever had the privilege to stumble upon), but still large, and actually something I've been working toward for many years. As, last week, I was approached by an editor for work, it's probably high time I started getting even more serious about amassing a body of creative work. I have probably 50 poems that are workable, but at many different levels of development (I work very slowly, being a bit of a perfectionist on that front...I'd calculate, on a good day, that for the two decades I've been writing at all seriously, I've produced approximately one poem a year that I'd actually be brazen enough to call a poem). It's time to pump that up. I fucking bleed experience. It's time to communicate it. But, I think, at a distance. Hit some of the stuff I tried to convey, with varying levels of success, when I was younger, but was too close to for getting it down in an effective way.

It's all about metal, and how different metals react to being tooled. Brass splinters. Aluminum comes off in long, razor-sharp ribbons. Duct curls around itself and forms small cylinders the size of rabbit feed. That's as much as I can say, right now.

On the ground, three hikes so far, not counting my many recon missions throughout Gangneung, which I'm starting to get quite familiar with. The first two found us in Odaesan National Park, which is but a fifty minute, 1,500 Won (about a buck fifty) trip from downtown Gangneung, thus a popular spot for day trippers. The Eastern trail, Sogeumgang especially so, as it is chokka with waterfalls, and a VERY short hike from the bus' terminal stop. The Southern end of the park is moderately more difficult to access, boasts two large Buddhist temples, Woljeong-sa and Sangwon-sa, the latter of which has a trail behind it leading to a 1,563 meter high peak named Birobong (not at all an unusual name, though, and I assume it means something fairly generic, like, highest peak in the area), along which there are Buddhist inner sanctums (yes, I should have a Korean name for this, but don't, right at present), plenty of steps, and even a pay-phone about a third of the way up. Hiking in Korea is not the same as hiking in the North American sense of the word. Sometimes, you even have to queue.

Now, I'm not jumping to any conclusions about my worth as a traveling companion just yet, but so far, I've yet to take on two hikes with the same companion. I think this is just time pressure, etc., along with money pressures and the like, all of which sometimes conspire to get in the way of a good trip. In fact, all three ended with what were, by all appearances, sincere hopes to do something similar in the near future. That said, the first trip, which was relatively light, was undertaken by my Korean friend, Seung-gil, who is trying to establish his own hagwan here in Gangneung, and his two nephews, aged 5 and 8. Having the boys along was a real blast, and a comfort, as most of my relations with children, right now, is as teacher, and it was good to just go out and have fun. The youngest, who chose the western name 'Jade', was particularly receptive to me, held my hand for a good portion of the trip, and taught me a fair few Korean words (this before I read, at all). The second trip I took with Chung-gun, my adult student, and his friend, Sang-eul (which, he jokes, makes his English name 'Thank you'), and culminated in an evening of Sam Gyeop Sal, a very yum Korean dish consisting of pork fried at the table and wrapped, with various sauces, Gim-chee, garlic and onions, in a lettuce leaf, and, should you happen to be out with two university aged Korean men, copious helpings of Soju, the local brew, a strong rice wine (about 21% alcohol) that's best served ice cold. As we finished off our third bottle of the evening, after having worked up a serious appetite, the boys informed me that it was Korean tradition to have two bottles each, at which point I stopped the 'when in Rome' routine. I was pretty toasty after one bottle. But, a good night, and rather amazing how much the boys' English loosened up under the influence of soju.

...and, it occurs to me, having looked up at the clock, and seeing that work is coming my direction very rapidly, that I have to cut it short to get the most recent news in here...there's lots of on the ground notes I'd like to post, both re: teaching and just living, as well as some notes on the latest trip with Taylor, BUT, as you are no doubt aware, last Friday was the 11th day of the 11th month, which in Korea, makes it Pepero Day. This is, according to one who at moments has been known to describe himself as the bastard spawn of Diogenes, clearly a brazen commercial ploy on the part of Pepero's manufacturers, Lotte. Peperos are basically sweet, hard bread sticks covered in a thin layer of chocolate, and on Pepero day, you're meant to give them out to just about anyone you hold in any sort of regard whatsoever. Well, before last Friday, this was something I did not know about, but I certainly did once Friday was over. As a (not quite) teacher, I got loads. I spent my entire shift pushing the things on my students, and got rid of quite a few of them, but still went home with 4 boxes, as well as a good dozen larger, individually wrapped Peperos as well. So. You live, you learn.

Much on the ground, but the time picture has now passed critical, so I'll just have to commit an hour or two on Saturday to laying down a few more notes. Til then--tchitch.

I've been meaning to tell you this for a while now, don't know why it's taken me so long... but if you're still dealing with posting images issues, but I've been using www.zoto.com for my photo site - you might want to give them a peak.

Take Care
I was reading some blogs, and saw someone using this site for photos - thought I'd share.

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