Recognize this? That's right, you guessed it. Bible Adventures for Nintendo! I just downloaded a NES emulator and let me tell you, it RULES! I have every game imaginable: Mario, RC Pro-am, Contra, Zelda....sheesh! I've never had it so good. So, goodbye work, social life, and church. I'll be helping Noah find two of every animal to fill the ark. This is important stuff, people.


The holidays are here! It's Chuseok, which is like Korean Thanksgiving. The whole of Korea migrates to their families houses, everything except McDonald's shuts, and I get three days off work. Five including the weekend. So, what do I do with this precious time off?

1. Get gifts. In the store there are a plethora of gift set options to give to your fam or co-workers. Our school gave us a kiwi set of about 15 huge kiwis in a fancy box and a soap set, complete with 6 tubes of toothpaste and 8 bars of soap. I'm going to have to step up the hygiene and start brushing my teeth about 5 times a day so I can use it before I leave.
2. Have Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey's a little hard to come by, so we opted for a big chili dinner. About 13 of us set up camp in the hall and had two kinds of regular chili, one with no beans, and a veggie only chili. To top it off we made a couple apple pies and a cheesecake. We do dinners up right!
3. Play scrabble. What holiday would be complete without it? Afterwards, we proceeded to the speed scrabble. Now everyone's addicted. Excellent.
4. Frolick at the park. We packed up a deluxe picnic and headed to the big sports stadium to throw around the pigskin and play an exciting game of ultimate frisbee. My team, the Canadian/U.S. alliance, won, probably because of our intimidating group cheer of "eh!".

I would also like to add that tomorrow is the day after Thanksgiving (in Korea). And, since everyone tells me I have to wait until then to listen to Christmas music, I think I'm perfectly okay to start listening tomorrow. Charlie Brown Christmas here I come.


Free Coffee is the Shiz

Yet another Starbucks gig gone past. This time I practiced day and night, my calluses were (painfully) reformed, and I think we played pretty well. The ensemble included Adam rocking out on the keys, Robb's soaring vocals, and yours truly on guitar and vocals, with guest appearances by the talented Young Min on guitar and singing. We played for nearly two hours to a good mix of foreigners and Koreans. The set list consisted of the Beatles, Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, Mason Jennings, Simon & Garfunkel, and Coldplay, among others. We had to keep in check our tendency for melancholy, slow-ish tunes, but I think we managed to get enough variety. Overall a super fun night.

And might I add, if anyone who maybe started a band that's not really together anymore, but they recently turned their garage into a recording studio or they just moved into their aunt and uncle's downstairs guest room, and now they want to get the band back together is reading this ....all I have to say to you guys is: book a gig!! There's no better motivation to practice. You owe it to us to share your music.


The homeless feeding me.

Okay. So I've been off the blogger band-wagon for a while now. What can I say? Routine is a difficult subject to tackle. And even this belated post guarantees no revival of my earlier posting glory days. I just have something to say, that's all.

So, fall arrived in Cheonan virtually overnight. One day, we were all bemoaning that our clothes were sticking to our sweaty bodies like paper mache. The next day, there was red and orange in the trees and I was joyously (and somewhat redundantly) pointing out that I could wear a long sleeve shirt and tuque.

All this to say, that it was absolutely beautiful today, a perfect day to read in the park. Unfortunately, parks in Korea are not the grassy, tree-filled expanses that they are in the States. They usually consist of some sort of walking track, a small kid's playground, some vague, rusty stretching machinery, and dirt. I scanned my Cheonan map to look for a decently sized park that I could walk to, in the hopes it would have some space to relax and I found one, about a 45 minute walk away. I made a pb&j, stuffed a bottle of water and my magazine in my backpack, and went out into the glowing, but not too hot, sunshine.

As I neared the park, I noticed an abundance of oldsters riding around on bikes. Oldschool bikes. I walked under a bridge to see groups of old men huddled in circles. They were talking loudly and shouting at sticks that were thrown in the middle of the circle. Apparently, this is how Korean grandpas spend their Saturdays. It may have been this game.

I saw the park on the top of a small hill, and climbed the grass covered steps to it. It was a big dirt area with benches, a small fountain, and a wooden pagoda in the middle. There were old men hanging around up here, too. I had just sat down in the pagoda, when a man came up to me with a handful of newspapers. He motioned me to stand and proceeded to spread the papers on the floor so I would have a decent place to sit. He then squatted next to me and tried to talk to me. Between my five words of Korean and his five words of English, we didn't get very far. But this didn't deter him. He kept up his side of the conversation just fine and I would just interject a "Mulayo" ("I don't know) whenever he would pause for my answer.

At the other end of the pagoda, I could see his wife lying on a thin mat next to two suitcases, which I assumed were all of their belongings. From what I could tell, they lived in the pagoda, although the man did say something about his "home" being somewhere. So, I "talked" with the man for a while, and his wife came over and then another old man. They didn't seemed to be bothered by the fact that we were not really communicating at all. Eventually, everyone wandered away, and I was left to my reading.

After a while, the woman came over with a plastic bag in her hands. She pulled out packaged ice cream and handed it to me. I couldn't help thinking about the group from church who had just this morning gone to the train station to hand out food to the homeless, and here I was being given food from the homeless. I didn't want to accept it. I wanted to give them something. I wanted to know their story and what I could do to help. But I couldn't. So I took the ice cream, with much bowing and thanks. I thanked them again as I left, wishing that I could do more.

As I was walking home, among many other things, I was thinking about this language thing and how it creates a bubble. I gravitate toward bubbles. I use my family and friends as a bubble. I use my church as a bubble. Pretty much anywhere that makes me comfortable, I'm there. And there's a place for comfort. But I think that if I was to stay in Korea, I would have to learn the language. I create enough bubbles for myself without using language as yet another tool for isolation.

I have many ideas for change in the world. But there needs to be communication for them to happen. Wherever I live, I need to be able to communicate in order to be a participating member and a force for change in society.