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:: Monday, September 30, 2002 ::

Waking up With 2 Cats on Your Legs



I woke up at 4:30am. Approximately 1.5 hours earlier than I wanted to. This may have been the cause of lack of bed space due to sharing my bed with 2 other very large and very heavy cats. Pleading with my body to sleep for at least another hour, I woke up at 5:30 and proceeded to shower.

Having so much time before I needed to take off, I scrambled to put an extra hour into my computer games, games that I will probably never play again after a week or so due to the school workload.

Putting my coat on and loading my backpack, I stood in the front doorway dumbfounded and kicking myself for not remembering that it rains in Oregon. Of all the things I brought down from Portland, I forgot to pack my umbrella, and now I was faced with the prospect of standing in the rain for 15 minutes waiting for the bus.

Screw this. I hopped in my car and found a free parking spot relatively close to campus since it was only 6:45am. Plenty of time. I walked to the bagel store to get some cheap coffee and proceeded to inject it intravenously. Classes start 8am.

My GOD! What have I got myself into? I'm taking 5 classes which are all highly technical engineering classes. I just took 3 back-to-back, and I'm already starting to feel dizzy. In 30 minutes I have 2 more classes that are back-to-back, and I'm wondering if I overdid it this time. Even though I'm only taking 17 credits, I have absolutely no breather courses like "Film Studies" or "Introduction to Contemporary Stupid Stuff." We'll see how it goes.

For now, I'll just keep it cool, go with the flow, and try not to take things too seriously. It's only my entire future at stake here.
:: everist 12:21 PM [+] ::
:: Saturday, September 28, 2002 ::

Update



I just added a mailing list feature to this website. For those of you who I added to the mailing list, this is an example of what an update will be like. For those of you who I did not add to the mailing list, you can add yourself by going to the mailing list page and adding yourself. Or if you think that's too hard, you can always email me at everistj@ucs.orst.edu and tell me yourself.


:: everist 7:32 PM [+] ::

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:: everist 5:31 PM [+] ::

Not in Korea, Day 1



The rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. It's not entirely true that this is the first day that I've been not in Korea. In fact, it's an outright lie. I've been back in the States for 11 days now. I've moved back to my university town of Corvallis, found a new apartment, collected my cat from the friend who was catsitting him, and am now killing the time away until school starts again on Monday.

All the waiting is boring me to death and it's just like all the waiting I did before I left Korea. And like Korea, I've been indulging myself in frivolous hedonistic activities such as computer games, reading books, and buying ice cream. *shudder* I'm eager for classes on Monday, so that I'll finally have a purpose in my life again.

My new roommate herself has 3 cats of our own, so in our tiny cramped apartment, we have 4 cats! Our apartment is like the Serengeti except without the wildebeast and zebras. Not to mention the crocodiles and elephants. Or the rolling grassy plains and torrential floods. Just a pride of lions that are always running around the house and getting into things they shouldn't be.

I am currently waiting for the cable guy to come on Thursday to install our broadband internet access. Once I get that, I'll finally be able to publish mountains of more pictures from my trip in Korea. Until then, you'll just have to suffer.
:: everist 1:34 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, September 13, 2002 ::

Korea, Day 86



My adventure here in Korea is coming to a close. I have 4 more days left before my plane leaves on September 17th. I know I haven't been writing a lot lately. This is mostly because I've been counting down the days until I leave. There's not much to do when you have no job, and you're tired of being a tourist.

Yesterday, I went to Beomeosa temple which is here in Pusan. The temple, like most Buddhist temples in Korea, is situated on a mountain, or large hill. Nearly all Buddhist temples are in the mountains because Buddhism was persecuted in the Josun dynasty in favor of Confucianism. Despite the dynasty's strong attempts, Buddhism still remains an integral part of Korean society today.

Beomeosa is one of the largest temples in Korea. It attained this status by having a large amount of shrines, a beautiful site, and being very wealthy. Beomeosa consists of one main temple site, followed by a dozen temple branches all over the mountain. To get to one of the branches, you have to hike up the mountain on a boulder path. Along the way, you see lots of calligraphy embedded in the landscape by monks in centuries past. Even the boulder path is impressive. One wonders how many man-hours it took to put those boulders in place to create a feasible hiking path.


:: everist 1:45 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, September 08, 2002 ::

Korea, Day 82



Yesterday was a day of animals. I have a few anecdotes about neglected pets in Korea. Plus I went to the Pusan Aquarium which had very impressive and beautiful exhibits.

So I was standing on the subway platform in Dongnae, waiting to take the train to Nampo-dong. I tiny dog was walking around, quite curious and quite lost. He may have been abandoned or just separated from his owner. Regardless, I could tell he was new to the streets since he was fairly clean and reasonably friendly. To my suprise, he walked into the subway train with the rest of the people when it arrived.

During the trip, he walked around looking nervous and seeking attention. He became startled by all the noises and the opening and closing door. He rode the train all the way to Jwacheon-dong which was about 15 miles away from where he started. Then he exited the train into an underground station. If he was lost before, he was really lost now. There wasn't a whole lot I could do for him, and no one else seemed to care that the dog was riding around, no fare and no owner.

Really this is a symptom of irresponsibility. Generally, Koreans don't treat their animals responsibly. You see a lot of baby cats and dogs in the care of people in public. But when they grow up, people become less interested in them, tired of their whining and mess-making, and subsequently neglect or abandon them.

The same day, I was walking by a small restaurant where a kitten lives. The cat often spends its time on a leash out front. The cat is not as playful as kittens are apt to be, probably because it's leash prevents it from doing anything interesting. When I walked by yesterday, I was shocked to see the young boy that was living there, hanging the cat by it's collar and watching it. Before I could get there, he dropped the cat and the kitty looked none too happy. It had the expression that it'd been hung like that before.

Needless to say, I yelled at the boy and he looked at me not quite knowing what to do. I said "Hajima!" to him (stop it!), which was the only thing I could think of to say in Korean in this situtaion. I rambled on in English a bit, gave him a dirty look and left. Maybe I embarassed him enough to stop it, but I doubt it.

I remember when I was kid about that age, I was very unhappy. Usually, I took out all my aggressions on our pets. The cat I was mean to, Misty, we've since become best friends, but it reminded me of those times when I saw that kid hanging the kitten and just watching it suffocate. I feel guilty and responsible for that kittens well-being, but what can I do in a foreign country, in which I'm leaving in a week, where cats don't get much respect?
:: everist 10:20 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, September 06, 2002 ::

Korea, Day 80



Hooray! I finally upgraded my weblog site and now the archives are showing properly like they're supposed to. With the upgrade, a whole bunch of other new features came that make my life easier. One in particular sends updates via email to a mailing address. These can be used to setup a mailing list, so those that are too lazy to come visit my website can instead receive it in their mail box. Cool huh?

I admit that I am starting to slack in the frequency of my posts. This is mainly due to my new sedentary lifestyle ever since I quit my job. So I've been spending this week playing Warcraft 3, reading Harry Potter, and watching various movies. Since I've already talked about Warcraft, I'll talk about Harry Potter.

I've been skeptical of the books and their striking popularity so much that I intentional avoided them for more than a year. I finally decided to start reading them since I could borrow the first 2 books for free from the English school I worked for. I finished each in a day. After that I had to buy the next 2 at the store. What strikes me about these books is that everything is written from the perspective of a child. The way things are set up in Hogwart's School are notoriously unfair. Punishment is given to the students indiscrimately and many of the teachers are absolutely terrible at what they do. You feel powerless to right any of the wrongs happening in the school. And when they are, they are usually done in an ad hoc sort of way that couldn't be really described as proper justice.

So I've finished the first 3 books and I'm holding off on the fourth since it's so big. Usually when I start reading a book, I can't stop until it's done. I usually neglect my personal needs such as food, water, and bathing. When I finish, I'm usually in a terrible state-- sweaty, hungry, and depressed from being inside all day doing nothing. I feel a lot better today since I haven't done any reading.

:: everist 4:04 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, September 03, 2002 ::

Korea, Day 77



This is my second day unemployed in Korea. I certainly am having a hard time finding things to do. So I've watched a couple movies now and spend way too much time in the PC bang. Currently I'm working on my Warcraft skills, specifically the Night Elves. The strategy isn't that difficult to master. It's managing hundreds of things at once and making quick decisions that are the parts I have a hard time with.

I also have a hard time working well in organized chaos that I become nervous and frustrated when something unexpected happens. Perhaps it's the perfectionist in me that's winning me over and making me cringe whenever I play the game. Regardless, I'm determined to play the game over and over again until I improve my skills and start making some wins.

2 days unemployed and I'm already getting bored. I've been watching the game channel on television where they have news about the newest computer games and also show Starcraft championships. I'm telling you, there should be something like this in the States. 2 geeks in a room with dozens of spectators. They're wearing costumes according to their race of choice, or perhaps to a clan? Some of them wear just normal clothes, but the thing that is common about them all is that their faces are expressionless and unexciting.

When the game begins, you're watching the game from observer mode as one of the spokesmen clicks through the game and watches the action. You have 3 people commentating and speculating on potential strategies. Usually the games don't last very long since these guys are very very good. After watching this for 2 days, I can tell you that most games end after a decisive battle, followed by the victor rushing the others base. The loser quickly surrenders and the game is over. The loser's face expression is of mild defeat. The winner's expression is plain and confident, like it's obvious that he should have won.

If something like this was in the States, it would have to be a bit more glamorous and sensational. Perhaps they'd take some tips from Battlebots and have busty babe announcers interview the contestants. Then they would duel with 486 computers in a special chamber with buzz saws and wall spikes. Then maybe and only maybe, would the American audience find it palatable enough to watch it on television.

:: everist 6:27 AM [+] ::