Saturday, June 30, 2012

All Sorts

My band had another performance yesterday. The Andong Volunteer Association (AVA) held another event of carnival games, a bake sale and live music (my band, The Band From Out Of Town) to raise money and awareness for a local orphanage. The AVA is a great organization and one in which I plan to participate when I move to Andong next month. The organization is composed of foreign English teachers and Koreans who meet and act in their free time to do charitable volunteer work, such as organizing activities and game days at the orphanage, picking up trash along the river and the like. SO that was really fun last night. Jonno, Ryan and I played guitar for a solid four hours. The music drew many people to the event and we helped entertain the volunteers as well. I love playing at their events because of the energy. Most of the volunteers have heard us play quite a few times and now sing along with some of the songs. It's a great time.
Foreigners get a bad wrap in the media most of the time.

We are depicted as unreliable alcoholics who prey on innocent Korean women on MBC (Korea's equivalent of FOX News). To a small degree, this image has merit and is shared by foreign English teachers and US soldiers stationed in Korea alike, mostly in cities like Seoul, Daegu or Busan. However, participating in the AVA improves our image.

About two weeks ago, some of the foreigners in Yecheon were given the opportunity to shoot some arrows at a nearby archery field. Yecheon has actually produced an Olympic medalist and she was shooting right next to us for a while.

Yecheon is famous for archery, hence why our bridge is shaped like two lit bows and arrows, as you an see. I suppose these are the kinds of events I never really think to put up on my blog but would be the kinds of stories people would find interesting.

In another thrilling episode in my pursuit to gross out my family with exotic foods, I ate 되지 막창, pig intestines, with Zach and my coteacher, Mr. Do. I emailed the picture to my dad to which he replied, "what's it stuffed with?". To his dismay, they were au naturale. They were quite good. As we sat there eating, I tout about the meta nature of ingesting an animal's intestines with my own. How much further up the food chain can a species get?

This last week, students prepared for final exams, scheduled for next week, which means I have been deskwarming, sitting in the office eight hours a day doing nothing. One might think that this sounds like a dream job but it gets really monotonous. But it beats the hell out of a cubicle job wherein I wouldn't be able to get up and walk around at least. While I have be deskwarming, I have watched a few movies, started editing my novel I write last November and read the first book of Game of Thrones. When my novel is finished, I plan on self-publishing it to the Amazon Kindle store, Barnes & Noble Nook store and the Apple iBooks store for about $3. However, I will offer a PDF format of the novel on my blog for free. Boom.

In other news, my plans to go to Jeju island for summer vacation were cancelled due to extenuating circumstances and I will remain in Yecheon for the duration of my vacation. I'm okay with this for a few reasons. First, I will be able to save money. Secondly, I have had plenty of opportunity to travel with my last three vacations (Philippines, winter 2010, Jeju, summer 2011, China, winter 2012). Thirdly, my brother and a Peace Corps friend are coming in late July and will be able to spend part of my vacation with them!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another year, another dollar

Well, it looks like I haven't blogged in quite some time. Most recently, I have signed a new contract and will be staying in Korea another year though this time around I'll be in the nearby city of 안동 (Andong). This new city is only about 35 minutes away from where I currently live. But it seems so much further when I have to go to justify her and cheese. Indeed, I'll be living about a 10 minute walk from what is equivalent to a Walmart. This and the fact that there is a bowling alley and two movie theaters make this city a very different experience of what I have here in Yecheon or what I had in the Peace Corps, in the Philippines. My new contract will start August 26 so wish me luck with the move!
In other news, I'm still playing music pretty regularly with my band. We have a performance at a bar this coming Saturday in the city I'm moving to. I have also been working with my friend Zach creating some music with the aliases of MC Vicious Delicious and DJ Grandalf. As much as I've been practicing guitar and fingerpicking in particular, I've been working DJ skills in a range of genres. We're now working on a song called "The Coffee Song" and the music uses only percussion and mouth noises.
Here is our most recent finished track, called "Pork Attack (Samgyeupsal Song)". I made all the music with original samples and Zach wrote all the lyrics. I actually made the beat. By recording cooking pork at my house :-)
Working on music has kept me very busy. It's something I've never really had in my life and something I am immensely enjoying. I have never had a band that has stuck around this long and I'm getting a lot out of it.
I have also been very involved in photography. The DSLR that I bought after Colin visited me last August is probably one of the best purchases I've ever made. The camera has given me plenty of excuses to go on walks I never would've gone before and see my town here in ways that I never looked at it before. Above are some pictures that I took while on a mountain hike to catch the sunset here in my town about a week ago.

I'm still enjoying the hell out my iPad. As a matter of fact, I wrote this whole post using voice dictation :-)