Tag Archives: outside the tower

Leaving the Land of the Morning Calm

An old name for Korea is Joseon, which means “the Land of the Morning Calm”. It really is a beautiful country and it’s become home to me for the last decade or so.

Joseon

And now I’m leaving.

That’s right, we’re moving back to North America somewhere in about six weeks or so. Do I want to go? Yes and no. I’m really dreading leaving, especially all my friends here. I’m dreading telling my students (certain ones, at least. Others couldn’t care less) and seeing that look on their faces that will probably make me want to cry. I’m dreading all the inevitable hassles and changes that come with moving internationally. I’ve done it four times before, so I know what I’m in for. I’m dreading finding a job (well, FINDING one is great, it’s the looking that drains you). I’ve been looking for months now without even the whisper of an interview. I’m not worried, but it’s quite the slog.

This is us in a few weeks.

This is us in a few weeks.

Of course, I’m looking forward to seeing my family again and being closer to them. I’m looking forward to having our own house (eventually). I’m looking forward to drinking root beer and going to Tim Hortons. I’m kind of looking forward to owning a car again. I know it’s for the best and that it’s time to go, but that doesn’t make it any easier.

Anyway, as  you can imagine, I’m pretty busy these days. I’d be busy with just moving and looking for work, but I’ve also got several large projects that need to get done before I leave, ideally. So, that means a lot of little projects have to be put on hold. I won’t be posting as many stories for the next month or so. I’ll still be doing Friday Fictioneers and Sunday Photo Fiction, if I can. Also, please understand if I don’t read many blogs. I’ll try to read some, but it can take a lot of time.

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How to Post a Picture to your WordPress Sidebar

There can be kind of a steep learning curve using WordPress. I know that when I first started blogging, I would spend a long time trying to get things to work, going back, and trying other things. So, I’m putting this out there in case anyone has an issue with posting images to the sidebar of their blog. I’ve included step-by-step pictures.Step 1

Step 1: 

First of all, the image you want to use has to be in your WordPress Media Library.

So, go to your Dashboard and click on Media, and then Add New.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2:

Click Select Files and choose the picture file you want to use from your computer.

Step 2

 

Step 3:

Once the file is uploaded, it will appear as a thumbnail and a description on the bottom of the screen. I chose a picture of a Basset hound pup and a baby rabbit. Click on the Edit button next to it.

Step 3

Step 4:

This will bring up the picture and its information on the right-hand side of the screen. Copy the entire File URL, making sure it ends with .jpg/.png/.gif or some file extension like that.

Step 4

Step 5:

On the left side of the screen, hover over Appearance, and then click on Widgets.

 

Step 5

Step 6:

Under the Widgets tab is a long list of various types of things you can put in the sidebar. The right-hand side of the screen shows what is already in your sidebar, in order. Find Image, down near the bottom of the list, and drag it to the place you’d like it on your sidebar. For this demonstration, I put mine last, underneath Blogs I like to read.

Once it is in place, a box will open up. First of all, paste the File URL we copied in Step 4 into the box marked Image URL.

Step 6

Step 7:

From here, you can fill in a Widget title and picture caption , if you’d like. At the bottom in the section marked Link URL. Many people use this to go to Amazon.com or some other bookseller, if they put up a picture of their book cover (like I did with my short story Giselle). For my demonstration, I put in the URL to a Chinese comic site I like to read.

After this, click Save, then Close and everything is done. Now you can see the cute picture on the right side of my screen and click on it to go read some Chinese comics.

Step 7


My Minecraft Cathedral

As you may know from the post I did a while ago, I like Minecraft, mostly because it’s a open, creative outlet that is also a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it’s also highly addictive. For the last few months (since before Christmas), I’ve been building a cathedral, based loosely on Notre Dame in Paris.

The reason it took so long is that I built it on Survival mode. For those of you who don’t play Minecraft, that means I have to go mine every single block before I use it to build with. In the case of the stone for the walls, I mine cobblestone, heat it in a furnace to turn it back into stone, then make stone bricks out of it and use them. For the stain-glass windows (over 3000 panes), I gather sand, heat it into glass blocks, mix it with various dyes, then make those into glass panes. The chandeliers were the hardest, since I had to go to another realm called the Nether and find glowstone, which is found high up over oceans of lava.  Anyway, here is the fruits of my labors, or at least as much of it as you can see in a 3-minute video walkthrough.

 


I may be out of commission for a few days…

Just as a heads-up to everyone, I’m going in for knee surgery tomorrow and I’ll be in the hospital for a week. I hope they have Wi-fi there but even so, I won’t be around as much as normal, so don’t worry if you don’t see me. I’ll be back next week sometime. Take care~

surgery cartoon


A slice of humanity on the bus

All writers should take the bus, at least every now and then. Or the subway. Really anywhere where you can observe a lot of different people up close. I take the bus almost every day and I see some interesting people.

Last Thursday, I was taking the bus out into the countryside to one of my four schools. I was sitting in the back when a mentally handicapped man and an older man got on and sat down next to me, the  handicapped one closer to me. He was interested in my book and pointed at it and gave me a thumbs up. Then he motioned to the older man and said, “He’s my dad.” This caused the older man to start laughing, so I didn’t know if he really was his father or not. I just said, “Oh, really?” “Oh, I see” and such things, since he kept saying it.

A lot of the people on the bus were older and seemed to know each other, so I felt like I was in kind of a community meeting. Then the handicapped man said, “He’s fifty” pointing to his “dad”, who started laughing even harder and said, “Yeah, I wish I were fifty again.” I really liked the older man; just a jolly sort of fellow.

A middle-aged woman came back, and saw there weren’t any seats left, so I gave her mine. Her husband was still standing up, with his backpack on. “Hey groom!” she yelled (Korean woman often call their husbands “groom”, although I’ve never heard a man call his wife “bride”). “Hey groom! It’s going to be a long ride. Take off your heavy backpack.” He took it off and put it on the floor with a grin. “That’s my groom for you,” she said. I saw other older women smiling and nodding as well. They understood.

The two men who were sitting next to me got off a few stops before me and the handicapped one gave me an awkward high-five. I smiled and said good bye. I went back and sat where they had been sitting and the woman I had given up my seat to apologized. I’m not sure why but possibly because she thought the handicapped man was bothering me. “Not a problem,” I said. “It’s okay.” And I meant it. I may never totally fit in here in Korea, but I do enjoy being a part of things anyway.

*

By the way, a few days ago, I posted something called The Mystery on the Bus, recounting another experience I had on a bus coming home from school. I asked people what they thought was going on. The first virtual high-five is for Carmelita, for the wackiest idea (I almost wish it were true), and the second is for EadesyBeadsy, for what I think is the most likely answer. Good job!

High five!

High five!


The Mystery on the Bus – A true story

This is a true story, just to put that out there right away. I was on the bus a few days ago, coming home from school. In  Korea, there are no school buses, so most high school students use the city buses. My bus was crowded with students and although I had a seat, it was just a solid wall of people in front of me.

I was looking out the window when another bus passed us. That bus driver looked at our bus and his mouth formed a perfect “O” of surprise. I was just wondering what he could have been looking at when a second bus passed. That bus driver looked over with a wide grin on his face and actually took his hands off the wheel while driving to applaud. I have no idea what they were reacting to, but it was intriguing.

So, help me out: what do you think they were looking at? The best answer in comments wins a virtual high-five.


Little things that make me happy…like China

I’ll bet you never thought of a country with 1.3 billion people as a little thing, but it’s all about context. I’m one of those people who loves the accomplishment of collecting things and checking things off a list. That’s why I really like the WordPress map feature, which shows you which countries viewers come from. I have gotten some pretty obscure ones, like the Palestinian territories, or Reunion island, etc. However, never any from China. Obviously, WordPress is blocked there, especially since I’ve had lots from Hong Kong.

But then, a few days ago, I saw that I had one view from China. One single view, but it was enough to color the whole country in on the map. That made me really happy. I kind of wonder who it was who saw my blog, whether it was someone high up in the government checking up on me or something. Probably nothing that cool, but it still has me wondering. Here are some other small things that make me really happy.

If you know any bloggers in Greenland, I want to be their friend.

If you know any bloggers in Greenland, I want to be their friend.

Seeing the 121 bus: There are five buses that go past my house. I ride the bus almost every day and most of them I take pretty regularly, except the 121 bus. It only runs a dozen times a day, so it’s pretty rare to see it. I’ve only ridden it once in five years. I was really happy that day.

I've read many a book on buses like this.

I’ve read many a book on buses like this.

Finding out Minecraft Steve is the same height as me: For those of you who don’t play Minecraft, the basic guy you play is called Steve. Some people did a calculation based on various things, and found out that he was 185cm or 6’1″, which is how tall I am. I like that fact.

We're basically twins, is what I'm saying.

We’re basically twins, is what I’m saying. (Source: http://i45.photobucket.com/albums/f81/xilefian/360steve.png)

Are there any little things that make you unreasonably happy? Let me know.

 


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