Monday, November 2, 2009


I haven't written anything in quite some time!

Although I have much to say on this... I sometimes feel the weight of nostalgia is heavier than any future. This is something a little closer to the moment, a little closer to now.

I created a nice little studying website today.

It all stemmed from the most unlikely of causes. Geocities dying inspired me to get an Angelfire account, which was just a joke at first. Then, I figured it'd be an easy place to mess around with html, some nice good practice and all. Then, I decided to get practical, and one thing led to another and I'm hosting the site off of Nightly Noise and tweaking it more and more.

It's still not exactly the way I'd like it, but it's getting there. I plan to have it more organized and people (maybe) participating all wiki style!

Without further stalling, here it is:
Study Guides

As the beginning of this post hinted at, I've had some rough times back in America. Just recently, perhaps I had some of the toughest, but I'm feeling a lot better since yesterday. I also may be going to France after I graduate! I'll also probably be going to China this summer (I'm studying Chinese now) so things are looking up. The best news is that Susan will probably be done around mid-January!!

Well, before I'm rambling on forever, 나중에 봐!

现在写中文。 以前在韩国我学中文一点。现在我真学习了!

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Frontier

Things are never quite boring in the twists and turns that make up my experience here in Korea. I have failed to update recently due to a sudden onslaught of trouble from nearly all corners of my life. This has also driven me to find new escapes-including taking long bike rides to places I don't quite know how to get to. My American comrade has also left, leaving me as a solitary soldier on this front.

I am now the only American exchange student here.

This in itself, is providing quite the learning experience, but it shouldn't be the focus of what I write. Instead, I want to share my experiences biking. I have been biking all around the Gyeongsan 경산, which is a place no one probably knows. So, I'll show you were that is first:

View Larger Map

To the right of the "A" is my school. This is a general enough location to know where we started our travels. So, we took 3 trips when we first starting biking (we took a break and have started biking again recently). The first one was just biking with no real direction, and we happened to stumble upon two different universities in the area. Then, we visited Daegu University 대구대학교 the day after, and then we visited Gyeongbuk University 경북대학교.

The first trip was the day of a Cherry blossom festival at Yeungnam. I first went with Susan and walked around campus looking at the flowers. It was nice and one of the first time's I have ever seen the campus alive on the weekend. After we had finished enjoying the afternoon, I came back and found my friend Kinh didn't even know there was a festival! So, I told him to quickly get on his bike and we left to see what was there... and then, we just decided to explore a bit. We rode our bikes through a small forest and to my old dormitory. When we hit a familar major road, I suggested taking it South, and just see where it goes. So we did.

Leaving the direction of the developed part of the city, both of us were not sure how far we should go as things got more and more rural. Until we noticed a sign for Daegu Mirae University 대구미래대학교 and decided that was our goal. We found it, and were surprised that there was another university so close! It was also a bit surprising because it was built pretty much into the side of a hill. However, the view was absolutely wonderful and it really felt like we were somewhere. It was at this point I realized that at Yeungnam, I don't really feel like I'm in a rural place, but I don't feel like I'm in a city. It feels like nowhere.

We explored the small campus a bit, and wondered why there was no one there. It was the weekend, and it's not a very big college at all, but it was still kind of strange to have it be so ghostly. We made our way up the hill of the school and looked out over the countryside. In the distance, up in a different hill, I noticed a building that just seemed out of place.

"You want to see what it is?"


And it was decided. We headed South again without a clear idea of where we were going.

It turns out, what we saw was Daegu Haany University 대구한의대학교, and it was a much bigger more beautiful school than the previous. It was much more in the mountain and much more in the countryside, but there was much more activity inside the campus as well. We explored the campus a bit and were really just surprised that all these schools were so close. So, we decided to go to one of the big universities in the area the following day, Daegu University 대구대학교.

View 대구대학교 in a larger map

On the next day, a Sunday, we took off for Daegu University (after breifly studying some maps.) The university, contrary to what the name would imply, is farther away from Daegu than Yeungnam. So, we were going to have to travel East. It was a really nice day though, and after leaving the area of the campus, things become rural very quickly. The ride was especially beautiful because the Cherry Blossoms were still blooming, and all the way to the university, they provided beautiful scenery. Along the way, we passed countless fruit stands, barnyards, fields, and even (seemingly random) slightly urban areas. After getting lost and asking gas station attendents for directions a few times, we arrived at the university.

It was again, a very nice university, and it got me thinking more about how I feel about Yeungnam. Yeungnam may have some beautiful spots, and have it's big building, but it doesn't have any feeling of it being together. It doesn't really feel like there is any school spirit or strong connection with the students. Now, going to a school on Sunday doesn't provide quite that feeling either, but you can still feel that there the actual school is more prominent than it feels here at Yeungnam.

We explored the campus found a rather large International Building and enjoyed the nice Sunday afternoon.

The ride back was nice and I decided to try a different route with my ever-willing travel partner, and it ended up working out perfectly (I had ridden a bus in the direction once before, so I had a foggy idea it would work.) When we were back at our school, I realized I'd never really explored the area in front of Yeungnam. So,

"You want to see what's back there?"


And we went off into the backstreets of the backstreets, winding through what seemed like centuries of architecture. In this journey, we stumbled upon two rather remarkable things. A Buddhist Temple that appeared to either be being built or renivated, and some ancient graves of apparnelty important people from Gyeongsan. All this right in front of us and we'd never known!

After coming back and resting, we wanted to go somewhere farther. So, we decided going to downtown Daegu, and seeing a university near downtown would be a good place to go. After a few days working between class schedules, we were off!

Daegu is the closet big city near Gyeongsan. It's the third largest city in Korea, and it is considred a fashion city. After going into rural areas for two days, this was going to be quite a different bike ride.

There were deffinitely many cars this way, going towars the city will do that, but there was this stretch inbetween the two cities where there were almsot no people, and just a seemingly endless incline. After that small rough spot, it was all stopping at major intersections from there. Dodging people and traffic and things and kids and empty Soju bottles and crazed Ajjumas 아줌마 (a uniquely Korean cultural entity. It literally translates to "aunt" but it means much more than I could explain in this parenthetical) we slowly made our way to Gyeongbuk University 경북대학교-only after taking a stop at McDonalds and getting lost along the way.

A funnier incident along the way, my friend's name is Kinh. He's Vietnamese, but was born in France, and all the Koreans think he is Korean. To add to this, his name, "Kinh," sounds very similar the common Korean name, "Kim." So, when Kinh missed a turn we should make and I shouted, "Hey Kinh!!" This old man turned around extremly startled and didn't quite know what to do. It took me a second to even understand why he would react!

When we go to the university, it was wonderful. It was very beautiful, pretty huge, and seemed to have a bit of activity on campus as well. We got lost trying to find our way around this university, but we weren't in a big rush so it wasn't an issue. We were enjoying seeing what these other schools looked like, and enjoying the journey to get there too.

So, before long, we started traveling back, and... it was surprisingly shorter. Much easier and more downhill coming back to Gyeongsan as oppose to going to Daegu.

View Gyeongsan-si, Gyeongsangbuk-do in a larger map

That was the big week of bike traveling. Although, just recently, we started biking again. Exploring the city of Gyeongsan a bit some days, and just going in directions we haven't been before in others. We went South of Gyeongsan until we hit another city (finding two smaller campuses of Yeungnam and Daegu along the way), found a huge Bugghist Temple next to a mountain, and a good bar in the city.

Our trip going South started as trying to go up a mountain, but we couldn't find a path, so we just followed a road and before long we were seeing cows and fields and following the train towards Busan. In one of the small rural establishments we explored, there was this path lined with really old traditionally style houses on both sides, and when we went to the end of the road.... There was a huge Western style house! It was the most out of place thing I have seen, and to this moment, I don't understand why it was there. The Foreign Language Campus for Yeungnam 영남외어대학교 was in the mountain, and at the time we went, you could see the lights of Gyeongsan shining brightly against the dim lit real rural that was where we were. When we got to Namchon, in the dark, we thought it'd be good to turn around... and take a path we didn't take before. When we were in the middle of some random field, I stopped for a moment.

"Kinh, look up."

In the dark rural area, the sky was filled with stars. we stood there for a minute or two pointing out whatever constilations we could think of. Then, continued back, getting lost a few times along the way.

On another day, we were exploring through different areas of the city, looking for a Mexican restaurant I heard existed. When we found it, it was "closed until further notice." So, we decided to just keep going around the area. Somehow, we eventually ended up at a small Buddhist Temple, and going down some more random roads, we found ourselves in front of a huge Buddhist Temple! There were Korean monks and everything, in the middle of Gyeongsan (or I guess it was more outskirts.) It was a nice treat. In Korea, you see many churches with big crosses, many of them ablazen with Neon lights at night. This was ever present when from the temple steps, if you look straight, you see a huge cross atop a church.

The last travel for this post, will be the one where we found "The Snow Bar." Kinh and I use our bikes to travel most places now, including the grocery store. Along the way one time, I noticed what looked like a nice bar. So, one night after traveling a bit, I asked Kinh if he wanted to go, and away we went. The theme of the bar was to be international so they had beer from around the world at the bar, and per the name, there was a small place where snow continually fell on bottles. We ordered two cocktails, a gin and tonic for myself, and for Kinh... an Orgasm. The Orgasm is the first drink I've seen Kinh follow enjoy in Korea. Being French, he highly values taste, and this drink was a mix of 3 very chocolately liquors. It was a little expensive, but had a nice atmosphere and better drinks than Soju. It was also worth seeing the strartled bar teender when a foreigner walked in.

We plan to continue our journeys, and are not sure how far we will go. Our next journey is planned to go to West Daegu and visit the famous GyehMyeong University 계명대학교 (famours for having a currently popular Television show filmed there.)

This is a long overdue writing, and I have more things to write about, but I'll leave it at this for now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Oh my baby,

The nights are long and the times are tough, I'm stuck at the crossroads with a pitchfork in hand ready to stand the picket line in front of Ol' Saint Peter.

All it takes is finding a voice, a guide, a light that guides and a soul that provides. Fiction or not, it is all the same.

Oh my baby,

Being far from home makes the mind all but scrambled. A call in the night can sound empty as their lies.

Oh my...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


This was a trip of surprises within surprises. I went to Japan with the exceptions of years and years of desire can only build, and watched as the paint fell from the walls. This is jumping the gun a bit. So, a few brief questions so the faint at heart can feel satisfied.

Did I have fun?


Did my views of Japan change?


Am I glad I took the trip?

Yes and no

Do I want to go again?


Now, this may have confused or created many more questions, but I have a firm belief that in the unraveling of my story most things will be answered. If there is something unanswered, leave a comment or send me a tweet or shoot me an email.

My trip to Japan began on the morning of January 28th after staying up late with my girlfriend, Susan, who I knew was feeling sad about my departure. After saying my goodbyes, I got to the train station and took a train to Busan. The problem: my train was running late, I arrived late in Busan, I arrived late to the airport. So, I rush to the airport and quickly get on the plane (after they confiscate my toothpaste, shaving cream, and shampoo!! I forgot to put them in plastic bags ㅠ.ㅠ), which is a pretty noneventful and fast flight. It was a very empty flight too, I got to take the window seat even though I had an ailse ticket.

I arrived at Kansai airpot and have to go through immigration, and.... get turned away at first.

"No address no entry."

I don't know any addresses in Japan by heart, and Raj hadn't told me his address. I had someone's stored online, but there was no internet. I thought I was getting turned away before even getting in, but I wrote a vague area where a friend of mine lives and somehow got through.

Then, a friend of mine from USF, Raj came to pick me up. He and I weren't very close at USF, but after living with him for nearly two weeks we have become very good friends. It is probably what I feel is the best thing that happened from this trip. He has a nice small apartment in a quiet area outside Osaka. Of course, the first thing we do that night is go to a bar and I learn Japanese alcohol a bit. I also learn a lot about what my friend has experienced by living in Japan, the culture he's learned, the things that surprise him, and making sure I try all the food I should try while I'm in the area. For me, it is very interesting because I automatically compare it with Korea. Before, I thought the two countries were very similar, but I learned that they are much farther apart than the East Sea shows.

The most prominent thing I witnessed: Japan is a land of extremes. You have completely dry and uncaring next to drunk businessmen hitting on other men next to monks praying in a busy intersection next to a could be mass-murderer next to a secret suicidal. All this flowing in a very impersonal manner with all emotion and feeling surpressed in what I believe is designed to not show weakness.

In any case, it's not the family loving Korea that I came from. That is what i felt even in the air. It just feels less loving in Japan. This is also aided in my feeling uncomfortable as I began to see through the paint and realize a lot of Japanese culture is largely constructed simply to look the way it does and nothing more.

After spending a few days with my friend Raj, going to bars and watching new movies and sharing music, I decide to visit Hirakata where Kansai Gaidai (the University USF has an affiliation with) is and see some of my old friends. Traveling there made me realize another thing about Japan.

Transportation in Japan is ridiculously expensive (as well as everything else).

For what would cost about $5 in Korea costs about $15-20 in Japan. In general, things costs 2-4 times more expensive in Japan than Korea (without taking into account the exchange rates). A further side-note, 100 Yen is equvilent to about 1 dollar, except it's a coin! and there's a 500 Yen coin too! Change is very important in Japan.

I arrived in Hirakata with a lighter wallet and a head of Nostalgia. I get to visit some of my old friends from USF who are now exchange students at Kansai Gaidai. This is when another cultural realization occured. In Korea, when you are out drinking, it is perfectly fine to just join other people and start talking if they show some interest. In Japan, you stay with your group of friends and never really acknowledge other peoples existence. Of course, I ignored this and met some of the people around the pub. To the Japanese, this seemed like a very strange thing, but I'm a crazy foreigner so they just play along. I even met some fresh exchange students who were too nervous to speak anyone Japanese and helped them make some friends. All in all it was fun for me, but a strange way to learn some of Japanese culture.

I stayed the night in my friends apartment that had minimal heating. It was cold.

The next day, I met an old Japanese exchange student friend from USF. She showed me around Kansai Gaidai, which was interesting. It's very small and reminds me a bit of a very nice High School, but it was very nice.

I spent the night at my other friends apartment; there was no heat. It was freezing.

I met some more friends both American and Japanese the next day, and had a fun time being a bit nostalgic but also trading stories of our experiences. It was very nice seeing my friends and I told them I'd meet them if they come to Korea. I felt a lot closer to my friends at USF both being foriengers then I did when we were attending USF together.

Another heavy blow to my wallet and I'm back at Raj's apartment.

Plans go aschew and I learn a bit more about Japanese culture, thankfully Raj is an easygoing guy and lets my plans adjust with no problems. At this point, I was missing Susan and Korea a lot. I felt like I'd seen enough of Japan without even getting to see all of my friends, but I carried on and I'm glad I got to meet my friends and see everything I got to see.

I met a bunch of the old Japanese exchange students in downtown Osaka with Raj and it was very nice seeing them all, but things just felt different. These were also more than just "Japanese friends" they were some of the first friends I made during college. Even though it was different, it was great to see them again. My good friend Keiko gave me back "The Republic" which I'd lent to her in America and we got free drinks for 3 hours! This night, my friend Haruka and Haruka (double Haruka) invited to bring me to Kyoto the following day.

Kyoto was very nice. Once inside the temple area, it was a completely different feeling from that of everywhere else I'd been in Japan. It felt nice, relaxed, and peaceful. Even in this blissful extreme of Japan, from the Temple you could see the other extreme roaring on the horizon. I had a great time with my friends who showed me a great time visiting both the peaceful and busy sides of Kyoto. I should also say, both Haruka's wanted to say "hi" to my family, especially to Molly ^^

After this trip, I returned to Raj's apartment and we continued being brothers for the remainder of my trip. I left out in the beginning, but he took me along to help out in his job. He teaches English all around the area he lives and has a great time doing it. The absolutely most memorable pupil of his was a man named Dae (think "Diet" without the "t"). This man pays Raj to come to his house and teach English, but he invites many of his friends over and cooks dinner for everyone!! He is also the most understanding and accepting person I think I have ever met. I went to his house twice, each Friday I was in Japan. It was an absolutely great experience both times.

After this, like the previous Friday, Raj and I went to the darts bar near his home. This bar has one of the coolest bar tenders ever. Taka-san was a great guy who knew how to make everyone feel involved. This time was a little different though; the Friday prior the bar had been empty. This time, there were many people in the bar. It was a hodgepodge of student aged kids to mid-life crisis aged adults to some guy called "Boss". The absolutely most memorable thing from this night came in the form of a strange Japanese guy. He had started buying me and Raj drinks at one point and gave us about $5 to play darts. He also asked us to come home with him. As a result, Raj and I decided we had to stay in the bar until he left.

The next big event was spending a day in Osaka going to Osaka Castle and downtown. I went to the castle with Raj, his girlfriend, and some friends of hers. The castle was very nice, but the inside was a museum, which made it less exciting than climbing a real castle. The view from the top was very nice though. It was interesting learning a bit of history behind the castle, and getting to read Korean for the first time in a little while.

The night was much more interesting. We went to some pub-type place and then Karaoke. At most Karaoke places you get free drinks as long as you are there. I drank a lot of whiskey, which, to my surprise, made me start thinking in Korean. So, I started speaking in Korean, but I was in Japan. This fact made me angry, so I began shouting in Korean, in Japan, in the middle of crowded paths.

The next few days were just preparation to leave. I thanked Raj for being a great friend and having such great hospitality, sent messages to the people I couldn't meet, made sure my family knew I was alive, talked with my girlfriend, and packed my bags. On the morning of February 9th, I made my way to the PanStar Ferry dock, where I began meeting Koreans again for the first time in awhile.

Immediatley, I realize how much warmer their personalities are. I made some great friends on the Ferry and was forced to talk in Korean because of their lack of abilities in English. I also learned some interesting things about the area in Korea where I am staying. I learned it is pretty much like the Alabama of Korea, which only makes me want to explore Korea more. My new friends threw me a party that night and we exchanged contact information and promises to visit.

I arrived in Busan on the 10th and was very happy to meet Susan after being apart. I said goodbye to my new friends then spent the night in Busan with Susan. I felt like I had come home and was happy to be back. I was glad to get the desire to see Japan out of my system, surprised by what it presented me with, and had built up many great memories to look back upon later.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Happy Valentines day everyone! It's a little after midnight, and I'm glad to be here in Korea with Susan.

Also, I'll be writing a big long entry about Japan sometime in the near future.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Laminated thoughts lament.





괜찮아! 네!!! ^^

ㅠ.ㅠ 《哈哈!!

你应该写了 (directions)


Saturday, January 17, 2009


Today provided a few interesting things. I've finished planning my trip for Japan, I've thought a bit about web-design, and I've learned a lot about computer localization. The latter being the bulk of my day today... and being a big source of annoyance. I've also been a little out of touch with my family. So, I'll begin with my trip.

I have a plane ticket to leave January 28th and return February 25th, but I'm going to be returning on the 8th, by ferry. This may seem a bit odd, especially to my father who doesn't like the idea of any money being wasted. However, I bought the ticket to have enough time to see everyone of my friends that I should see, but the length of time to actually live in Japan for the amount of time is too long. I could pull it off, but I'd end up losing more money. So, I decided to show my friends the honesty of wanting to see everyone, but use the reality of money to keep me under budget. For my Dad, Money talk:

Plane ticket (round trip): $430 + tax and insurance
Expenses (food, trains, etc): I'm not sure, but I want to keep it as low as possible. If I don't go to Tokyo, then I could probably keep it under $100. If I were to stay for the whole time this would be an amazingly high cost.
Ferry (cheapest ticket): about $90 + 20% student discount = about $72
Total: Under $700 for a 2 week vacation in Japan.

So, after I thought about this, combined with risking being away during important school related issues (housing payments, class lists), and being away for Valentines day and Susan's birthday led me to opt to do what I've done.

Now, for my actual planes, I will be leaving by plane from Busan on January 28th at about 11:00 AM. From January 28th to either February 1st or February 4th, depending on if I go to Tokyo, I'll be staying with a friend from America who has an apartment in Osaka. Then, if I go to Tokyo, I will be staying at a friend at made while abroad here from the 1st to the 4th. Then, I'll be staying with my friend Haruka until the 6th in Osaka. Now, I may just decide to come home on the 6th, or I may stay for an extra day or so, just to have a little more fun. Returning by ferry takes about 19 hours (depart about 3:00 PM, arrive about 10:AM) and I'm honestly looking forward to it (although that sentiment may change when I'm actually on the boat). Upon arriving in Busan, I plan to meet with Susan and Basil and spend the night in Busan and return to Gyeongsan the following day.

That's my vacation, Mom and Dad, you probably wont care too much about anything else I write about; I don't mind if you stop reading.

I stumbled upon an older website and realized how insane web design has gotten. Actual content isn't even a concern for most websites. It seems the most important thing is having everything being very mesmoizing and filled with eye candy that makes you want to come back to see the pretty things rather than something more purposeful. It caused me to make some minor changes on this site here. Easily loadable text and images allows people to see what you are actually doing more, I think.

In a similar note (and a convienent segway into my third topic), I changed my vista to look more like Windows 98 today. It was a nice nostalgic moment, but after not being able to do what I wanted to do on Windows (because I was having difficulty on Linux to begin with), I switched back to my Linux partition and learned some interesting things.

No one put any thought into internationalized computers for a long time. This makes it very difficult to run old programs that are not in the language your entire operating sytem is in. I found out you have to emulate the environment of the localized version of the operating system! This isn't just something that you have to do on Linux to get it running. On Vista as well, I had to emulate the localized version. This was a pain to do, and it made me really think how difficult it must have been to communicate inbetween languages using computers just 5 years ago. It also really shows me how English became so internationalized, it was the language that worked on all computers. Everyone had to use English in order to communicate between each other!

In the end, I got the program I wanted to run... just not fully functioning. Oh well.

Mom and Dad, you'll be more interested in this part now :P

I'm really enjoying myself these days and things are really great with Susan. She's sorry for being shy to speak to you Mom and Dad! I hear Katy did well on some running event, that's good to know. And Mom, are you getting better? Is Michelle getting the transfer she undoubetly wants very badly? How's Molly doing in school? Most funnily, what's it like with Michael being a cop?

Which reminds me, Andrew told me he saw Michael giving someone a ticket a little while back! Speaking of Andrew, I forgot to tell everyone. There ended up actually something being wrong with him. I can't remember exactly, too much or too little of something. He plans to go back to school and really appreciated having me in Naples for the summer.

For Dad, don't let the money situation in America keep you down so much. I'll help out in any way I can upon returning. Just don't get too caught up in the money that you forget other things as well.

I'll end with a Korean world map. Just a reminder that in some places America is not the center of the world. ^^

Friday, January 16, 2009


Only in dreams are we allowed to find the solace that is desired every waking hour of our lives. The reactions are always tenfold the amusement and twenty under the expectations, but double or nothing the results. The gambles are huge and invisible; they are how life is lived and how one builds experiences.

Only in dreams does the house lose its own betting hand in a wistful twist of distant desires that descend with the ultimatum of true equality fatefully witnessing a chance of destiny-or just a whisper in the night. All the same, on the other end of the world, there are chores that need to be done and a person that should be doing them.

Only in dreams will the existential realities live out in fantasy. An endless brainstorm that allows for unending thought. Meanwhile, a soft bed still calls home and a lost-boy flies alone. There are only a few hours of darkness that howl, but they tend to be the coldest. The deepest depressions provide the most uplifting of spirits, the sweetest of smells, and the most interesting stories.

Only in dreams can I escape.

As nights drift into notes and lights soften into tones, I find my way home...

Only in dreams.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

많이 추워

It's been real cold. In fact, the lake by my dormitory is frozen these days. I can't really get used to the cold, it's like trying to get used to a punch in the face.

I have been spending more time studying Korean, and am attempting to-slowly-read a book. So, I'll try writing a bit in Korean here.

요즘에는 진짜 추워! 난 어떻게 지내어요?! 많이 공부하고 정말 좀 자고있어요. ^^


정말, 요즘에 더 생각하고있었어요. 내 꿈이 이러야해요. 그래서, 요즘부더 난 열심히 일하다!


그리고, 다음 달에 일본에 여행할 거예요!! 기대하여

그리고, 부산에 또 여행. 바다가 정말 좋아. 내꿈은 해양에서 살아요.


Sunday, January 11, 2009


Having some command line fun. I've gotten a purely terminal web browser working with unicode and everything. That means I can type in many languages with no problem, right from the terminal!

The purpose of this? A speedier less distracting interface to use the internet, I guess. Other than that, it is just fun using the ultra-modern internet on a, what most people would consider, archaic platform!

Breif html test:

Monday, January 5, 2009


I found this nice website, LogoInstant, that creates free logos. They have some very nice looking things, the one above is called BirdFly; I found it particularly appealing.

In less interesting things, my French friend, Kinh, made some Italian food last night (I haven't had anything resembling Italian food since I've been in Korea), and it was great!

Friday, January 2, 2009


I spent a long time last night thinking and reviewing how I came to feel the way I do right now. I realized some very interesting things about myself and how it influences my outlook on the world. I also began to really see how being in Korea has started to really change me a lot.

The first big thing that I was thinking about comes into different categories of knowledge. This is something I had not ever really thought about and allowed me to make the revelation I did. I find that everything I learn falls into three broad categories:

  • Useful
  • Interesting
  • Lies*
*I will further define this later to clear up the ambiguity of such a category.

The first, useful knowledge, applies to things I learn that have real world uses and can be directly applied to things I will be doing or have done. This knowledge can be considered both "common sense" and "needed skills." This is the most pragmatically important category and covers specifics in living life.

The second, interesting knowledge. applies to things I learn that have no real, real world uses and will not be directly applied to things I will be doing or have done. However, this category is important just for the sake of betting yourself and can impact and create usefulness. It allows me to pursue things that I truthfully find intriguing and creates a desire to continue life. It is the most philosophically important category and covers the non-specifics in living life.

The third, lies, rarely applies to things I learn in the real world, and can rarely be directly applied to things I will be doing or have done. This is the category that most people get stuck in, it is why people say, "You have to stay true to yourself." This is the category of pleasing other people and forgetting who you are. This is the category that makes people get lost in the world despite having everything they need in front of them. It removes you from yourself and replaces it with nothing but a shadow of a shadow. This knowledge, I realized, is the most prevalent in my life, and I deem that a problem. This is the knowledge that stops you from admitting you like something because you heard someone else say otherwise and you don't want to appear inferior. It creates a knowledge based on lies that don't exist and never have.

Now, all three of these categories interact with each other. Something can be interesting and useful, or useful and not interesting, or a lie that is useful and interesting. However, in building my personal world, I have know what I believe, and if you let the lies do that you no longer are aware of what is truthfully interesting. It becomes, what I think others will find interesting. The same can be applied with useful knowledge. That is why, I ask myself to consider the lies as no longer useful or interesting, but a false or negation. In a logical structure.

If there is knowledge then it is useful
If there is knowledge then it is interesting
If there is knowledge then it is a lie.

This structure allows for them all to interact, but shows how the lies are a negation. A lie can be useful and/or interesting, but it is still negative knowledge. To put it more vulgarly, it is bad knowledge or untrue to oneself.

So, after thinking this out, I thought to apply it to my life and it made me realize quite a few things. I won't go into big personal details just some major shifts in the amount of different types of knowledge.

As a kid, everything is useful and interesting knowledge and lies are nearly non-existent. You know what you believe and you don't care what other people think. This is a mind that is both confident and open, the ideal mind. My mind was no exception to this.

In high school, I was bombarded with useless uninteresting knowledge and it left me in a world largely constructed of lies. It came to the point where I was willing to quit high school because I saw no point in continuing pointless learning. Knowledge at this time was rarely useful, I would learn some personally interesting things, but mostly I lived within the boundaries of lies.

Entering college, a new world opened up. I was suddenly engulfed in a world full of useful and interesting knowledge! I could learn what I truly found interesting, and build knowledge for my own personal reasons. The problem: my personal reasons at this point, seemed to still retain some of the shape formed by lies in high school. As a result, I was living a kind dream world that was interesting, useful, and a lie. It was a lie because I was still allowing opinions and thoughts to be formed by what others said. Or sometimes, just suspending all judgments for fear of seeming inferior. On a larger scale though, I was learning to voice a more personal opinion, just not at the pace that I was gaining knowledge. My mind was opening at this point, but I was not confident of anything.

Now, in Korea, completely swept from my world and my ideas, I have a completely new landscape that turned my world view upside-down. I had more misconceptions than I thought possible and was suddenly in a world where I was getting less interesting more useful knowledge. All this compounds with getting a wonderful girlfriend who further challenges me to think outside of my perspective lead to my realizations. I am learning my child-mind again. Becoming confident and open minded. Learning how to be true to myself.


Susan is teaching me Chinese now!


This is a mini update. I plan on making a longer update later today, but I wanted to share my first practical Ruby code.

A little back story: I have always been interested in Computer Programming and signed up for a free class online at Ruby Learning. I have learned a lot about how programming works and had a real reality check at what it takes to create a quality program. It's not shiny and beautiful from the start; It's numbers and logic.

Well, here's my basic ruby code, flawed yet effective. It converts temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius.

# temperature converter

def convert_f(temp_f)
(temp_f.to_f - 32) * 5/9

puts "What\'s the temperature in Fahrenheit?\n(eg. 54)"
temp_f = gets.chomp

temp_c = convert_f(temp_f)
puts 'That\'s ' + format("%.1f", temp_c) + ' degrees Celcius.'

if temp_c <= 0
puts 'It\'s freezing!'
if temp_c > 0 and temp_c <= 10
puts 'It\'s cold!'
if temp_c > 10 and temp_c <= 15
puts 'It\'s a little chilly.'
if temp_c > 15 and temp_c <= 30
puts 'It\'s nice.'
if temp_c > 30
puts 'It\'s roasting!'