A few years ago, I had the chance to see Fool's Garden play an acoustic show at an Irish pub in Freiburg, Germany. Sadly, most of you who read this post have probably never heard of the band. Others might only know them for their hit song, Lemon Tree. You are all missing out. It was a great show, and only made me appreciate their music more.
Well, they have a greatest hits album coming out in a few weeks. They have also recently released a new song, complete with a video to boot. The cool thing is that they have made it fan friendly, allowing their fans to be a part of the video.
Take a look at the video, and see what I mean. Although, you might hope that some technology comes along and helps kill the video star (at least one of them) in the future.
I had to make a trip to town to pick up dish soap. Yep, if it were not for a need to have clean pots and pans, I probably would have stayed in the woods a little longer. To bad there are not some disposable pots and pans, in a paper plate style that could be just used and then tossed. Oh well. This gives me an opportunity to grab some Thai food, pick up some other supplies, and upload some more fun stuff.
Today at the request of my friend Mickie, who might comment here the most, I have made a video of me popping corn over a bonfire. I shot this the other day in single digit temperatures, so I hope you all enjoy it.
By the way, while I am here at the library, there is a lady fast asleep in the room. I know because I can hear her snoring. And I thought I would be the one most likely mistaken for a homeless person when I entered the library.
Well, I have one more week before I head home for the holidays. So until then, stay safe and happy holidays.
So I stepped off the island the last couple days to assist in the butchering of a deer. This was supposed to happen before Thanksgiving, but due to the lack of solid ice, I could not make it. Luckily for me, my relative was able to score another deer. Thus, I now have a cooler full of deer meat to experiment with. So if you are in the area, come check out my deer delights.
Here is the latest of videos. Some are already commenting that this could prove that I have snapped. You be the judge.
New photos have been posted on my flickr account. And more videos including the one posted below, can be viewed on my YouTube page.
Oh, and speaking of photographs, and the title of this post... Is Citibank trying to get me to stop using my credit card? They are offering lucky winners the chance to go on the road with Nickelback, all you have to do is use your Citibank credit card to enter. Sounds like a reason to use cash.
So another video has been posted. My friend Chris, asked for either a hunting or sock puppet video. One of these has been granted, the other might still be in the works. If you have any requests for videos of the woods, leave them in the comments.
Also, from time to time I come across an artist that I feel I need to recommend. The latest is Brendan James. There is a long story about how I came to hear his album, but the short of it is that I bought it from him on a bus. When I finally put it in my CD player, I was amazed. So give him a listen, I got a feeling you will be hearing his name in the future. And if so, remember you probably heard it first from me... unless I have been in the woods so long that he is already a household name.
A quick update from the woods.... last night I was outside taking care of a full bladder when all of a sudden a growling sound caused me to try to speed up my business. I have no idea what it was, but just knew it wasn't happy that I was marking my territory. I guess he already had.
Here are a couple videos I made in the last couple days.
A Tree Falling In The Woods
Out On The Lake
And here is one that is part of my inspiration for wandering into the woods in the first place.
For a couple years I have been posting videos over on the YouTube. I figured a few random people would watch them, and perhaps leave some stupid comments. So I was shocked when I was asked if one of my videos could be used in a music video. Rafael Gazzi and Paul Sonnenberg created an amazingly beautiful song, and chose my tram ride through Basel to accent their song. When Paul emailed me and told me the song was "about the feelings of longing and hope experienced by an expatriate in a new country," I knew this was a song I could embrace. Be sure to check out their sites, and even leave a comment on their Myspace or YouTubepages.
Arrivals (Noutro Cais) By Rafael Gazzi English lyrics by Paul Sonnenberg
Headlights of a train Has something come to an end Or has something good begun? Beautiful and new Welcoming me like a friend Ah, such colors, and such tones
How much will I be changed? How much will I change? How much, here, will I know and be known? At last, to be known! Will this loneliness always remain? This longing for my family back home? Can I build a happy life from A loving heart alone This heart is all I own
I want to see the sun rise at dawn On other landscapes and yet I still want even more I want to see the sun set upon Other places and yet I still want even more The soft turn of a loving hand Meet the eyes, watch the stars, be the sea Let the waves of love from this heart of mine Embrace all I see
I want to see the sun rise at dawn Over the mountains and yet I still want even more I want to see the sun set upon Other places and yet I still want even more Hear the voice of a gentle hand Striding angels that rustle the trees To recognize the voice of a loving heart When she speaks to me
A couple days ago, my brother sent me a link to a YouTube video. He just mentioned it hinted that it was Lionel Richie, but said nothing more. Immediately, I skipped on to my next email not wanting to bother with the link. During some spare time today, I decided to click the link so I could at least delete the email. What I discovered was a clip from one of my favorite foreign television shows. No, it wasn't from "Talk with the Beauties," one of favorite Korean shows. It was "Wetten Das?" my favorite show from my time in Germany. I loved the mix of celebrity interviews, stupid stunts, and musical performances. This clip mixes all three of those elements together for something I could watch over and over. Enjoy.
It has only been three days since my post on Korean television, and I have already seen Charlie And the Chocolate Factory and Spiderman 2 being aired again. Surprisingly, I do not watch a whole lot of television. At least here in Korea, like in Europe as well, commercials do not always break up shows, but are mostly shown before and after the program. Sure you have to put up with about ten to fifteen minutes between shows, but at least it is not breaking up the story line of your favorite show. And once in a while you actually get good commercials. This is one being shown in repetition for Samsung's Anycall cell phone. It actually works as a stand alone music video, complete with a 1984 storyline. Enjoy.
You can also watch it with English subtitles, but I would recommend doing that after watching the original.
Last week, I had the opportunity to go to Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. I decided to go to the park during a torrential rain storm with the hopes many would stay at home. This allowed me the opportunity to ride Space Mountain about six times in a half hour. I completely lost count of the number of times I rode Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters ride. I know I rode it enough to come to the conclusion that 273700 is a pretty decent score. I am also glad that I was able to visit the park before they installed the Small World ride. I think the ten minute wait at Autopia, the "hey I'm driving a car that is on a track" ride, was the longest of the day. I even had time to catch all the shows, as well as get my phototaken with allthecharacters.
I have been fortunate enough to walk down Main Street U.S.A. in Paris and Hong Kong. There is something interesting about visiting the Disney parks overseas. Everything feels very familiar, yet there is a foreign feel as well. Usually this is made most clear during the stage shows. All the characters are the same, but they sound so different. I'm not talking about pitch, but the language they speak. You expect to hear Mickey greet you in English, but when he is speaking in French or Cantonese it messes with your mind. Too me, it actually make me think of the many people who come to America to see the Disney parks. They might not understand the language, but they know the entertainment we have exported around the world. And in the end, freakishly large animals dancing around a stage is always good family fun.
Last Friday, I posted that I was going to see Boney M. in concert. I am guessing that the reaction from most was either questioning who Boney M. is or laughter. What I failed to mention is that this is not the first time I have seen them live. In fact they join a short list of bands I have seen on more than one continent.
My friends and I arrived before the show to pick up the tickets. As I have had difficulty with reserved tickets before in the country, I was not too shocked to have to hassle and wait for my tickets to be found. But when the finally found them, there was my name right on the tickets. I tried to pass it off to my friends that I was listed as "Special Guest," and would be the opening act. They did not buy it.
As we entered the venue, someone referred to it as a large "hangar" with a bunch of lawn chairs. The chairs had been set up in sections, and we were in the cheap seats in section "J." At first I thought it was odd that we were sitting in plastic chairs, but the benefits of those chairs were soon to be discovered. As soon as the house lights went down, many around us picked up their chairs and moved forward. Soon section "J" was somewhere around the middle of section "D." When in Rome...
As concerts go, it was a rather enjoyable one. Boney M. played all their hits, save Mary's Boy Child. It was rather interesting to hear the translator explaining the banter between songs, or encourage people to sing along using words they do not teach in SAT hagwans. During the encore, the band encouraged people to get a little closer to the stage, so I abandoned my relocated lawn chair. I made it right up to the stage, where at one point my friends claim Liz Mitchell was singing directly to me.
After the show the group was kind enough to hang out and sign autographs for the fans. A couple of us stuck around and talked with them for a little bit, about life in Korea, working here, previous Boney M. concerts we have attended, and linguistic differences of North America. All in all a pretty good show.
I have become addicted to Flickr and Youtube lately. There is something about tossing a bunch of photos and videos online that is appealing to the nerd in me. The last couple days I have been going through some old folders looking for cool stuff to toss up. In that process I came across this video. It is from the Freiburg Christmas Market from a few years back. I was filming a parade when all of sudden it stopped. Trapped against a wall, I could only film this guy and his whip. I was to oblivious to how close I was to some severe pain from that whip.
It has been over ten days since I returned from India, and I have been pretty quiet on this page. I think part of the silence is because it took me longer to process all my photos and videos. Plus, it has been a crazy week or so of just trying to get back into the routines of life with twenty-nine students.
But I am back and ready to share. So grab your blankets and milk, cause it is story time. While you gather around, I'll share a couple of my favorite photos.
If you remember from last year's trip, I enjoy riding in rickshaws. I think my enjoyment comes from the fact that every time I get in one an adventure is just waiting to happen. This year it was no different. Our first full day in Bangalore we loaded up into five rickshaws to head to a main shopping area. Somehow it was my rickshaw that managed to get lost on the way.
A week later some students and I were riding in another rickshaw, heading to the same shopping area, when it broke down. And per my experience, it broke down in the middle of a busy intersection. I jumped out with the driver and proceeded to help push it out of harms way. We then sat for a few minutes while the driver opened up the back hatch and went to work on the engine. Soon we were back on our way, with yet another rickshaw story.
The best rickshaw story also happened the first full day in Bangalore. Keep in mind Bangalore is a city of over six million people and a crazy layout of roads and streets. It started after we finished dinner at a restaurant, which coincidentally I ate at shortly before getting lost last year. All the female students were going to ride back to our lodging with our local contacts. This left only the leaders and one male student to ride in rickshaws. So we split up into two different ones. Both drivers were given specific instructions on where to go.
Well, minutes later my rickshaw passed the fire pump station we were to turn at. The driver turned, but then got confused. We ended up circling around a little and then stopping in front of a store in an area that did not look familiar. I gave the driver the number for our contact and he walked off in search for a phone. While we sat there in the dark, we noticed another rickshaw approaching from the other direction with some foreigners in it. They were our foreigners, the other leaders. Somehow we all managed to get lost, but find each other in this crazy city.
Our driver came back and started driving slowly, with the other rickshaw in close pursuit. After a few blocks, I actually recognized a building and got my bearings. These came in handy when the driver came to stop and started looking around. I began to point to the left and was able to direct the rickshaws to where we were heading. For the second time in about a year, I was helping a lost rickshaw driver find his way around a city I barely know. What a great feeling.
I have the feeling I need to stop talking. Be sure to check out the photos and videos from the trip.
Just wanted to let you all know I'm back from India. I am a little slow on the processing of photos, videos, and stories for you all. But don not worry your precious little brains, they will soon arrive online at a website near you.
I did put this one together of an auto rickshaw ride through the streets of Bangalore. In the words of Caedmon's Call, "Rickshaw wallah begs the question, 'are all those red lights just suggestions?' Oh, it's gonna be OK, they know dead men can't pay."
By the way, I'm still lice free since '83! The school nurse, who recommended me wearing a helmet to play football, gave my head a thorough look over the other day and gave me the clearance. I still have to wear the helmet though.
I think it was the famous poet D.L. Roth who once said, "Give me a bottle of anything, and a glazed doughnut... to go." Following that line of thought, I woke up this morning, gathered a posse, and headed to the grand opening of the first Krispy Kreme in Taejon, South Korea.
We arrived shortly after eight, hoping to grab some of those sweet sugar rings and head back to campus. Unfortunately, we forgot to check opening time. The workers were busy wiping down seats, cleaning windows, and driving around their Segway. We thus assumed that around nine we would be released from our spot in the rain soaked line and allowed to enter into the promised land. Sometime around nine thirty we gave up hope on getting in during that hour.
Shortly around ten the activity picked up, as did the rain. All of a sudden the Star War's Main Theme began pouring out of the sound system. It was go time. The employees cut the donut decorated ribbon, confetti was shot out of cannons, the "Hot and Now" sign was illuminated, and the doors were finally opened. As we filed in, I was personally greeted by one of the employees with a hand shake and a, "Thanks for coming." But there was no time for chit-chat as we had a teacher that needed to be in class in a half hour. Not to mention donuts there were donuts to be consumed. So we grabbed over eleven dozen donuts and headed home.
And being the first Caucasian to consume a donut in the store wasn't enough for me. I had to go back to help with the closing of the store. Tonight we topped the evening off with a special birthday donut run. It was another chance to take some videos and photos, as well as to load up on more sugary goodness.
Well, it is now time to slip into a sugar induced coma. I think if I blew my nose hard enough Krispy Kreme glaze would come out right now.
Sometimes I am reminded how sweet a job I have. This weekend, I actually got paid to ski in the Korean Alps with some of the students. We spent the day at Oak Valley, the newest ski resort in South Korea. Being new, the slopes were fairly empty during most of our time on the hills. Although by the end of the day, it became a contest of trying to get down the hill without knocking down a national. But as the saying goes, a bad day on the slopes is better than a good day in the office.
Then this morning, as soon as I sent the kids off to school after breakfast, I sat down to watch the Superbowl live on the dorm's big screen television. To fully enjoy the game I had to turn the volume down on the television, and pick up the English play by play on the internet. Unfortunately, the only broadcast that I could get for the first half was from the England. Thus I got to hear commentators compare Devin Hester to Diego Maradona and refer to the pile of players trying to recover a fumble as a "scrum."
And for something completely different, I find this ironic.
Oh, and my friend has posted a sweet video of our time in Michigan.
I guess this would be a good time to tell the story of how I was recently captured by the Chinese military along the North Korean border.
It all started when a tour bus broke down along the Tumen River. We had just left the observation tower, where one can see North Korea, Russia, and the East Sea from a vantage point in China. The sun was setting over the North Korean hills and it would be a few hours before our replacement bus would arrive. Once we figured there was time to kill the group I was with started walking towards a UN statue up the road. After a little bit of walking, it was decided to return to the bus, as it would be too dark for a photo. Being the ever explorer, I asked if it would be fine if I walked a little further up the road. I was given the go ahead, and easily convinced two of my fellow travelers to join me.
As we walked along we talked about how cool it was we were in an area where three major communist countries converged. We wondered why there wasn't more security in the area. We walked along taking photos of sunsets, cows, and a staged photo of "our escape into China", with North Korea in the background. Oh, we even shot a short video of our escape. And then we kept on walking.
A few minutes later the dogs started barking. Then two guys came out of a building. We continued to walk, although a little slower, until they waved at us. The from behind us a military vehicle approached. It passed us before coming to a halt. One of the soldiers opened up a window and said, "Go back!" One of us asked, "To the bus?" The reply was, "Go back."
So being intelligent people that we are, we turned and started to walk back the two or three miles to where the bus still sat. As the soldiers drove away, I turned to one of the guys and asked him if he would let me beat him up a little, so when we got back we could tell a story about how he mouthed off to the soldiers. He did not like that idea. We continued walking for a few minutes, when one of the guys noticed the vehicle was returning. Out loud I uttered, "I hope they pick us up." I am not too sure the other guys were sharing this same idea.
The vehicle stopped in front of us again, and the back door flew open. One of the soldiers motioned for us to enter. I quickly jumped in, followed by the other two guys. The last one was given a little shove as he entered the vehicle. The two of them sat on a bench with two soldiers on one side of the vehicle. I sat on the wheel well next to a soldier on the other side. All three of them had machine guns. We did not.
They drove us back to our bus, and dropped us off. As we exited the vehicle many of those we were with were laughing at us. I quickly said it wasn't a laughing matter. But couldn't help but laugh as well, because I had been freakin' detained by the Chinese military. At this point, one of the two soldiers in the front of the vehicle stepped out and began yelling at our bus driver and guides. I guess he was making it clear that this is a highly sensitive area, a dangerous area, and stupid people should not be walking around under the cover of darkness in this area. After a little bit of muscle flexing, he got back in the vehicle and they drove away. We had two more hours to hang out and tell our story to others until that replacement bus arrived.
Just wanted to post a quick update to let you all know that I made it back safely from China. One of the highlights was spending some time atop Baekdu Mountain, which lies on the Chinese and North Korean border. Here is a short video that does not even come close to doing the actual view justice.
There are many more videos, photos, and stories to come. Including one that answers a friend's recent question about what is the most potentially dangerous situation I have been in. I think my answer has changed, thanks to the Chinese military.
Tonight I sat down to write a post about some of the crazy things that have been running through my head the last couple weeks. You would be reading about some interesting events and funny phrases I have heard, like "Milky Milky." But instead I decided to post a video of some green creatures I saw downtown Monday night. Enjoy!
I did not get a minor in camping in college just to impress the ladies. No, I'm a big fan of summer camps and the impact on youth that they can have. And in my years of working at camps on three different continents, I have worked with some pretty amazing people. Although I have to admit, many of them are also slightly crazy.
Take for example this summer. After snack time there remained a large bowl full of liquid waste. It contained ramen, Oreo cereal, fruit loops, and various sodas that the young campers could not finish. Someone suggested that one of the staff stick their head in it for some cash. Before we knew it, a joke was becoming a reality.
Now you the home viewer can enjoy this brief moment in my summer, thanks to Google Video and Sweatshop.
This weekend I snuck up to Seoul to hang with twoguys I knew back at BFA. I am amazed at how global my life has become. I am sitting in Korea with friends I knew in Germany talking about common experiences we have had in Turkey and the Tashkent airport. And after they leave me I stop for diner at a place serving Indian, Pakistani, and Arab food. And to think there was a time I thought going for Mexican food was a cultural experience. Although I could go for some good Mexican, now that I mention it.
We took a spin through the COEX Aquarium. Midway through I was already dreaming about my next dive trip. It didn't help that I saw some scuba tanks near one of the tanks. Too bad it was in an off limits section of the aquarium. And yes, that stopped me this time...
Speaking of water related fun, this evening I found myself splashing around in some serious puddles. Last time I took the time to play in puddles and the rain was way too long ago. In fact, I think it was back at Miracle Camp when the center circle flooded. Think I need to make a note to do that more often, weather permitting of course.
It was a great trip around this big blue sphere At times I felt like I was living in the wild frontier. In a meseum in Siberia we saw a musk deer. Some girls on the train had way too much beer, But at least they didn't drink with the engineer. I'll admit a couple times on the trip I had some fear Like once when my mind told me my end was near, But it didn't happen, as you can see that I am here. I am back to work as the school begins another year Which from some students will not cause a cheer. I think a friend of mine has one really cool career He just won a major award for making things disappear. Here is a video of two guys hacking with Lenin in the rear....
I have been back for a few days now, and it feels good to have a regular place to sleep, a shower every day, and an empty suitcase. At least for the time being, of course. I have posted quite a few of my photos from the trip online.
I have also started posting a few of the videos I shot online as well. Here are three from the trip. Enjoy.
Drinking of Mare's Milk
The train pulls away without two of us
Changing Of The Guard
Well, work starts again tomorrow, so I should get some stuff done. More stories from the summer should appear here soon. Or better yet, give me a call or meet me somewhere to hear them directly. They are usually better that way.
Earlier this morning, I tossed a couple videos up on YouTube, a website that hosts random videos. Later in the day, I discovered that one of my videos has taken off like a rocket. It is listed as one of the featured videos of the day, is currently in the top 25 most watched and top 5 most discussed videos of the day. Right now it has been viewed over 14,500 times, averaging a thousand views an hour. Crazy. So, if you haven't been one of those, check out my Tarsier video now.
Tonight I bring you sad news. My hot air popcorn popper had passed on. Later this week I will take it on one final voyage to the recycling center in town. For those who think this is just a simple little appliance, well, you don't know me that well. This device was used in my house just as much as any other kitchen appliance, except the fridge, he is a workaholic. And I was so excited about making some popcorn and watching a film.
Speaking of films, if you want to see a great little short film I recommend one called "Me and the Big Guy." It is a spoof/take-off of the classic Orwellian book 1984. It will make you laugh, and think. Check it out, you will be glad you did.