Friday, December 21, 2007


Arrived in Manila this morning. What a change the rhythm of this city is so different from Seoul. We laughed on the way from the airport to our rented condo seeing children playing in the water on the street. "look, kids! actually doing stuff." The city is in a pre-Christmas shuffle everyone heading home. But what a difference from the often snow trial travels of home. Here its 28 degrees; winter to summer in the course of a 4 hour sleep. We're enjoying the food and the warmth. We head to Borakay tomorrow at four. really looking forward to being out of a city.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


It has been to long. The grind towards Christmas is no less grating here then in Canada. Report cards Christmas parties to run and shows to play. For those who asked the show went well. I have about four shows a week these days. I am playing the regular Orange King gig two nights a week and have started opening for my friend Vadim's Band "The New Regime." Also there is the odd gig at and art show or some other event. All in all its a lot of work. Very enjoyable work but work none the less. The response has been great and I look forward to doing more in the new year. I will probably put together a band and start to get some bigger gigs.
At school my kids are doing great. They performed the Ann Mortifee poem Miss Rolly Polly Polar Bear, in front of all their parents today and did a wonderful job, clearly annunciating every word. It made me very proud. We had a birthday party and Santa came and gave them all presents. Hows that for a mind blowing day for a six year old. One more day of school and then ten days of bliss.
"Bliss" defined: 5 am airport shuttle to incheon airport, 8:45 am depart, 1pm arrive in Manila, The Philippines, Fly to Boracay, hit the beach exhale 8months of bad air and high strung city life. inhale tropical breezes, lush jungle islands, crystalline reefs teeming with life , and a few 50cent beers. sounds like a Merry Christmas. It sure won't be white and it won't be good family warmth but I'm on the other side of the world and i think it will make for a decent backup option.
Merry Christmas
p.s. If you were unsure about what you were doing for Christmas, come meet me of the beach.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

ails and ales

Tough time in school these days. There's some pretty nasty colds, flus, streps, bronchs, and fatigues falling on all of us. Its hard to keep the stuff away when kids are sneezing and hacking it up in your face all day. 'Tis the season.
I have a show tomorrow night in a friendly little pub called Phillies. I'm really looking forward to it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Snow in Seoul

It has Snowed the last two evenings here. Big wet fluffy flakes that melt when they land on the road but leave a crusty dusting on cars and in the shadows of trees and buildings. I find the weather to be similar to Vancouver right now and was able to predict the snow fall. Its a good thing too, because like a hairy caterpillar watcher I headed to Dongdaemun market to buy a Jacket and Tuque on Thursday. It was minus 10 with wind chill by Saturday. My camera is misbehaving so I can't show you pictures. (I say "misbehaving" because I don't want to cede the possibility that it is broken, after only a few months.)

Monday, November 12, 2007


Just because there aren't red poppies everywhere doesn't mean I've forgotten.

Happy Pepero Day

The fall is dragging out beautifully here. The colours stick and fall down in yellow ginkgo leaf showers. There has been a prolonged creep towards the first frost which seems unhurried.
We are studying the Planets in Kindergarten right now. I made a solar system out of Styrofoam balls. I think I am enjoying it more than the kids.
Yesterday was Pepero day. "Happy Pepero day to you." you thought Valentines was a cash grab. It can't shake a chocolate covered bread stick at Pepero day.
Pepero day November 11. "Pepero Day is a marketing idea invented by the makers of the popular snack. On this day, people buy boxes of Pepero to give to their lovers, teachers, classmates, coworkers, and pets. The date was chosen because November is the eleventh month of the year. The numerical date for November 11th (11/11) resembles four Pepero sticks. Shop windows are decorated with hearts and "Give Pepero to the special people in your life" signs." (Wikipedia aka "the oracle".)
The Lotte company makes 55% percent of its annual pepero earnings around this day.

Friday, November 02, 2007


I aimed for mildly scary, and wound up with utterly terrifying. We set up a haunted house and I was able to spend two days scaring the wits out of six year olds. I blame my family for instilling the idea that this is not only ok, but should be encouraged. (see Dutch holidays December 5)

This is the aftermath of spending to much time in the haunted house. I've got some great stories that I hope to write down soon, but they'll have to wait for now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I was going to blog about something profound like usual..... but since all around me my fellow staff are talking of nothing but Halloween costumes that's really all that is in my brain. We are looking at ordering costumes on school account for our school costume party. The issue is this; do I go as Spiderman with tights that only go to my knees. (korean catalogue doesn't have my size) or... why drag the joke on; the basic issue is, all orderable costumes become humorous rather than scary because of my huge size. That just is not very cool. I think I will end up as Dr. Frankenferter. that'll be the end of my job, I guess.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Adjashi Afternoon

Adjashi; meaning man, but generally seeming to refer to older men. I spent Saturday afternoon wandering Seoul and found myself in a park in North Central Seoul which I have been to before where the Adjashis gather to play board games. Two games in Particular. One a form of Chinese Checkers and the other somewhere between chess and Mahjong. The place has the worlds highest concentration of old men. I can't prove that except by photo, so here it is. In contrast the man above is sitting in the Palace grounds watching the ducks, far enough away from the maddness that is the Soju'd scene below to be contemplative. The contrast was sublime.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Jeju -do Tropical currents

Jeju is an island of the southern coast of South Korea. Because of its position in the yellow sea it picks up warm currents from south east Asia. This makes for an island filled with tropical crushed coral and white sand beaches, palm trees and mandarin orange groves,. The island was formed 450,000 years ago, or so, by massive volcanic eruptions. In fact the whole Island is made up of Lava rock covered in sediment.
This is a small farming and fishing village on the Island of Udo off the east coast of Jeju. We rented scooters and drove around the island; about a one hour trip.
In this photo you can see about six of the many craters that grew out of the ocean when this place erupted . I hiked three hours up to the top of Hallasan volcano, and four down. The trip brought me above the clouds as you can see. I had an image of the crater This is another sub -crater of the this geologic wonder. I hiked to the top of this crater at night under a full moon with a blanket and hiked through bamboo and brambles to the far side of the crater and slept in on a green shelf ledge with the sea smashing into the crater wall about 150' below me. I didn't bring my camera and so cann't share the beautiful sight that greeted me in the morning. Here are some basalt columns similar to the ones in Scotland. Formed from molten Basalt lava pouring into the ocean and cooling fast enough to shock it into a this form . The rock cracks and pulls away from itself in a hexagonal pattern. Here is a Palm shrub bloom . How cool is that.Bodhisattva won't you take me by the hand... Funny story . The ship you can see down in the Harbor is actually on land and is a remake of a dutch sailing ship captained by a guy named Hamel. He shipwrecked on this island in 1468 or 1648 . He and his crew survived and befriended the locals . But the governor of the island decided that they were in violation of the immigration laws, and threw them in jail for 13 years. The memorials that are around this place only mention that Captain Hamel and his crew "stayed" in Korea for 13 years. Nothing changes. Yummy mackerel steaks in hot sauce over an ocean front view. Back in Seoul .....................a wellOne last thing . I took this photo of bottled ginseng yesterday I thought it quite beautiful.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

alright ok ok I will

Sometimes I just dont' feel like it and I know that you are out there reading, or rather wishing you had something to read, and there is nothing and the less I blog the less you care to look, but hey i am me and thats just part of the deal. Really what I'm saying is sorry for not writing.

Meanwhile, I just got this cool feature from asher that shows where people visit the blog from; a kind of palantir for the sight, so thats fun:)
My Kindergarten class can read! its pretty cool all of them can read the english language, if only a little. They don't really know what it means but they can read it. Some of them are really good and can read books without much help. I have one girl in my class, Lily, who likes to take my novels from my desk at reading time and just sits there staring at the pages and looking at me with a smirk every once and a while. They are really sweet and love me a lot. Julia who only speaks a little english will come in in the morning and grab a pen and write "I Love You" on a post it note, hand it to me and then run of giggling. They make it worthwhile doing the job.
The afterschool program is exhausting as it consists of short classes with lots of different kids, and so you don't really get to know them. Because it's after the morning sessions I have no enrgy to put in. Its a little too much. We are heading into the Week before the Thanksgiving ( Chu Seok) holiday. It will be nice to have the break. I will be heading to Jejudo, a Semi-tropical Island of the south coast. I really look forward to being there.

I am about to head out to a writing session with some friends. I've lately been able to get connected to some great artistic people who are helping me feed some of my creative impulses. We are writing a script to be used at the cd release party of a friend. A mob themed play to run throughout the night with video and live segues between sets. I also met a guy who produces a English indie magazine here in Seoul and he has hooked me up with a gig two nights a week at a restaurant playing guitar and singing. It will be a nice way to keep that going. Kind of nerve rattling as I have never had a regular gig or thought that I would. But hey its Seoul and odd things are possible.

Thats probably more than enough for a post but lots is happening. Sorry no photos today maybe next time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A little Bit of Everything

A great deal of heat exhaustion mixed with full moon ecliptical fever made this a bear of a day. As you can see getting these kids to walk the pace and stay on the rope as we traversed the busy Sinsa neighborhood to the park was nothing short of miraculous. Largely due to the Herculean effort by Jinny as the Line leader.

The Monkeys staying right where they should... for about three seconds.
Not your typical Asian street advertisement. Check out the Bobble-headed green haired hippie in the middle. Anyone recognize that chap?
One of the grand Palaces of Seoul. The home a great bronze bell one of the national treasures of Korea. But more excitingly the home of the Seoul National art museum, temporarily housing the Hapsburg Collectors of Vienna's masterpieces. A great afternoon was had, hanging with Rembrandt, Rubens, Denner, And Chiefly my first brush with Velásquez.
A moment of great pride and then curious unease. The Canadian Embassy on a beautiful old street in the palace district a warm welcoming albeit closed building. And then a short trip around the corner to the front gate of the US embassy. (the front Iron serrated gate with the 3"x6" bullet proof viewing window. But then the unease which embassy would I run to if shit really hits the fan. The nice welcoming "we rarely piss em' off eh" one or the "git yer tail behind this before all y'all git blown" one. Anyway considering the circumstance at the moment I sure was proud to see that Canadian coat of arms out on the Street.

Monday, August 20, 2007

sooo Hot

The local swimming pool, a tragedy at this time of year.
Since you haven't yet seen my house I figured I better post a shot. Its the building next to the grape vines, bottom floor. It stays pretty dark.
The local mega-church backed by a cumulonimbus.
I forget this scholars name but its a cool sculpture in front of the local high school.
Can anyone Identify this gourd?
The weather outside is frightful. Luckily the 35c temps are fought off by the air-conditioners which run steadily. This makes the kids and myself short fused. It also makes me short of words so thats all Ive got today.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

water and skin

It's rained almost everyday for the past month. I got a rash from the water we swam in on my Chungju trip, it's about 40 degrees celcius at night and I can't lift my arms above my head from working out. ........some days are better than others.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Weekend retreat/ advance thing

This past weekend our whole school staff, teachers (Korean and Foreign) bus drivers everybody took a early morning five hour drive across the Korean peninsula to Sokcho; a strand of beach along the east coast. Along the way we visited the birthplace of a family of scholars Korean heroes immortalized on the W 5000 bill. (house pictured above)
We had a wonderful lunch of Chigae at an apparently famous restaurant. Outside was a little pond filled with Lotus flowers. It was very nice but at about that time it started to rain; notice the first drop forming in the leaf. It rained all day on and off.

I'm a little taller than average in most places but here its really marked this is a few of the Korean staff and teachers from the school getting a head up. The food in the restaurant who's porch we are standing on served an excellent dinner topped with Italian coffee with Real Cream! Maybe its not the rarity that I think here but I certainly miss it.
I am reading Salman Rushdie's "Midnight's Children" right now. This photo is both for the sake of the view but also because for the literary hilarity of snot-face's father falling prey to tetra-pod schemes. apparently its much more profitable to be in quadra-pod schemes. If you have no idea what I'm talking about then read the book. I will be sad to finish it in the next few days.
Morgan and Christine two of my colleagues enjoying the rain . It actually was quite lovely. I spent alot of the day playing my camera and guitar and listening to Neil Young's "On the Beach". "See the sky about to rain" never meant so much.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

This is how Alex, one of my students sees me.
This is the Egg man; lots of Beatles in our class.
This is him watching Iron Giant. He's my favorite new artist.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Taste of the City

I bought a camera. Its a nice little Samsung pocket camera. see what you think.
View from a mountain
And this doesn't even really capture it all

Laundry Day
Sunrise through Hongdae
Sunday Night in Myong Dong
Building or Sculpture?

Guui-dong shopping street
Guui-dong market
mountain in the city