So hi! It's been a while since I blogged and there is good reason for it. I've been really busy since the beginning of November with various projects, performances, etc.
First, I want to take a moment to reflect on the passing of Kim Jong Il, the late dictator of my neighbors to my north, North Korea. I received a text from my friend Zach right before lunch that Kim had died. These kinds of rumors aren't exactly rare form so I hopped on the internet and sure enough, reports of his death were just minutes old, hot off the servers. It seemed as though the country as a whole felt a moment of elation, followed by dire concern. South Koreans, by and large, do not fear North Korea as much as they fear North Korean unpredictability. It is not known who will resume power and when nor is it known if North Korean, in a gesture of catharsis and loss, would sweep the peninsula once again. The country, at least on paper, is still technically at war. That said, I feel quite optimistic. North Korean media reported that Kim died reroute on an inspection trip from natural causes. North Korea has rarely missed an opportunity to justify loss or slight by blaming their favorite scapegoat, South Korea. The fact that the North didn't take this opportunity to blame Kim's death on an assassination attempt conspired by the South gives me hope. Hope in that they are not looking for a reason to instigate aggression. The North would never openly attack the South. Anything I can say about the situation, other than what I have already said, would entirely be speculation. The country has maintained its security system at DEFCON 4 and all public offices are being manned 24 hours. I'm optimistic that there will be a peaceful transition of power as far as the two Koreas are involved.
Other than yesterday's big news, I have been quite busy with personal projects this last month or so. I have continued to play with Jonno and Ryan though we now call ourselves The Band from Out of Town. Here are a couple of songs we performed here in Yecheon at Yoger Presso, a local espresso bar.
Toward the end of the month, I was also asked to perform solo for the anniversary festival of my school. I played "Sydney (I'll Come Running)" by Brett Dennon and "Hotel Yorba" by The White Stripes.
Most notably, I have written a novel! For the first time, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The goal of the project is to write 50,000 words in thirty days. My novel is called Maximum R&B and it clocks in at about 120 pages in Word. I have gone through on a five-hour editing spree and the novel should be readable but it still requires some tooling. It's about a Max Arenbee, a CD store clerk living in Minneapolis dealing with finding happiness in place and time. I have the current revision in Kindle, Nook and PDF formats if anyone is interested in reading it. I'm not interested in publishing it, just something I've always wanted to accomplish.
My winter vacation is coming up and I just bought my tickets and visa for China to visit my brother, Colin. I cannot put into words how excited I am to see him. I sat in my apartment the other night, passport and tickets in-hand, unable to believe I was actually going. He and I plan on spending Chinese New Year in Hong Kong, going to Macau for some Portuguese food and then going to mainland China. We will stay a while in his city of Zhuhai, then going to see the terra-cotta warriors in Xi'an. There we will part ways and I will spend the remainder of my trip in Beijing, seeing the Great Wall and Forbidden City. Since I was a kid, looking at my Grandpa's collection of National Geographic magazines and gazing for what seemed like hours at the spread on the terra-cotta warriors, I have wanted to see them with my own eyes. I can't believe my fortune in not only going to China and seeing them, as well as my brother, but how full my passport actually is. The China visa is a full page in my passport and took up the second to last remaining page in it.