Tuesday, April 27, 2010

New Website

I've got a new author website here, with a weekly serial-format story!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Goddard MFA in Writing

So it's done, my first residency as a graduate student. All I can say is wow. I knew what to expect; I knew how amazing it would be, and how crazy. But actually doing it, participating as a student is so much more powerful than working for it behind the scenes.

Goddard has it's shit together. It has great faculty, and a great student body. Pacific University will always be my first MFA (with my first group of graduate peers, even if I was only an honorary member), but Goddard is my MFA program and a completely different experience.

And my brain feels like porridge. Too much input. But the rest of me feels ready to go; whereas the Pacific MFA left me so physically exhausted (because my purpose there was not as a student, but as a gopher) that I could barely walk afterward.

Now I wait for Andy to pick me up from Port Townsend, so I can have a little vacation within a vacation before heading back to Korea and the next 4 months. My first packet is due March 8th. I've got a good start on the creative bits already, and I'll hit Powell's tomorrow and get started on the 15 books I need to read this term. I can't wait.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tis the Season; Oh Blog How I Missed Thee, Etc.

So my mother says I should blog more. And not about music or movies or anything like that. She wants to hear about adventures and my kids and coworkers. Well, since this does have "Scandalous and Daring Adventures" in the title, she has a point.

The reason I've not been blogging lately is because I have been extremely busy. I've written quite a bit on the fantasy novel, got some short story work going, and I've been working off-an-on on Matrika. I'm going to Goddard's low-residency MFA in Writing in Port Townsend, WA in February. While I'm back, I'll visit folks in Oregon and be sociable too.

I also scored a really cool gig being a freelance writer for Catalyst Game Labs, working on their Shadowrun team. No assignments yet, but I'm really looking forward to working on such an awesome game.

I've also set my last bit of vacation for the beginning of July. My last work day will be July 2nd, and then I leave Korea (perhaps for good!) and travel to Japan for a week so I can climb Mt. Fuji before heading back to the States. I'll arrive just in time for my residency, then settle in Portland for what I hope to be a long, long time of drinking good beer, savoring good coffee, and eating good Mexican food with my lovely peeps back home.

Tomorrow, my best buddy Andy is coming for a week long visit, which is going to be OMGAwesome. So all, in all, things are grand. So grand, I'll probably spend another month or two not blogging. But I'll try. Really.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The List

I saw on NPR's website today that Rosanne Cash, the daughter of the late music legend Johnny Cash, is releasing a new album called "The List"--covers of 12 (13 if you order off of iTunes) classic songs in the country/folk genre. The name refers to the list of 100 songs that her father told her she needed to listen to in order to become a proper country artist. The album includes "Motherless Children" and "500 Miles" as well as renditions of "Sea of Heartbreak" (featuring Bruce Springsteen) and "Long Black Veil"(featuring Jeff Tweedy). You can hear all of the tracks, even the bonus iTunes track ("Satisfied Mind" featuring Neko Case) on NPR's website until October 6th, when the album releases.

I really like the idea of the album, and Rosanne Cash is a solid, classic country artist that gets the feel of things right. But I can't get over that her voice is just a little too clear, sounds too good. I keep wanting a little more soulfulness, a little more imperfection in it. That was one of the things that made her father's music so great: his voice was rough and lived in.

One of the great moments of living in a foreign country is the connection expats can make through music. It seems like everyone in the world knows the words to "Hotel California" by the Eagles and "Country Road" by John Denver. People who don't speak a word of actual English can sing those songs by heart, especially in an expat bar, especially after a few drinks. It doesn't matter if you are in China, Korea, or Thailand, when one of these or a select list of similar classic songs comes on, the entire bar stands and sings, straining their lungs. It doesn't matter if they can sing: these few songs, sung together, transcend music.

There was a party at some friends' apartment a couple of weeks ago, and when the Chieftain's rendition (with Mike Jagger) of "Long Black Veil" came on the iPod that served for the stereo, every got up and started singing along. It was one of my better experiences in Korea. It creates a moment of togetherness in what otherwise is a very strange place. So even though I think Rosanne Cash's new album doesn't quite hit the right sound as I imagine most of these songs, I'm buying it anyway. The idea is just too good to pass up.

Monday, August 03, 2009

I HEART Korean TV

The following video is of a Korean TV commercial for what appears to be something that reduces stress, increases sperm count and sex drive, shrinks your prostate, and cleans out your urinary track by turning your penis into a howitzer. The full thing was nearly five minutes long, and somehow involved teepees and Chief Sitting Bull at one point. Ah, Korea.

video

I have mentioned this before, I think, but there are also TWO television stations that show video game competitions of Starcraft, a computer game that is well over 10 years old. People can win up to $10,000 playing in these competitions, with live studio audiences, giggling fan-girls, and the biggest names in Korean pop stars performing between matches. Cra-zy. They also show other games, such as first-person shooter Sudden Attack hints and industry news similar to the station G4 in the States, but mostly it is Starcraft 24-7.

video

Koreans, as far as I can tell, do not play football as we Americans think of it; but they do seem to have a fascination with it. This is especially true since the Steelers were in the Super Bowl. Hines Ward is half-Korean, and he has captured the imagination of Koreans in a strange, new way.

video

Monday, July 13, 2009

Daegu

Made it in last night. The flight itself wasn't too bad. Just long, and coupled with the lack of sleep from the night before, very tiring.

Looks like I'm in a nice neighborhood. I arrived to a clean apartment with fresh milk, OJ, a bottle of water, and Korean frosted flakes waiting for me. All new pots, pans, and dishes. My old stuff I left in storage when I left Gwangju. And best of all, a nice bed.

Today I walked around the area a bit, got to know it. Bought soap, shampoo, toothpaste. Found a coffee shop where I could swipe some free wifi. Chatted with a good friend from home. Sent my mom and email.

I start training tomorrow. So far, so good, it seems. People around here seem nice. They don't stare at foreigners.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Not the best day ever

No grad school.  The US Department of Education doesn't allow Stafford loans for programs at foreign schools unless it is full-time on campus.  I can't get a private loan.  No funding means no school.  Basically I'm fucked.

China Trip, Continued

After Wenzhou, I went to Hangzhou and visited my friend Penny.  I had a wonderful time, easily the best of my trip in China.

Then it was off to Beijing, where I did the typical touristy things--the Great Wall and the Forbidden City--but I also relaxed a bit too, since I was starting to run short on cash and Beijing was much more expensive than I was expecting.  I did take an overnight jaunt to Tai Shan, the holiest mountain in Taoism, but otherwise spent my time at Happy Dragon Hostel.  This is easily the coolest hostel in the world, with great staff and comfortable rooms.  Food was pretty good too.

Tai Shan is quite a climb: 11 kilometers of stairs straight up the mountain.  I did it though!  It took 8 hours, and I was exhausted, but it was worth it.  Not because of the temples at the top (which were staffed with bored government employees), but because the effort of the climb was satisfying.

Then it was back to Beijing for a couple of days before traveling to Nehe for Jorge and Jessie's wedding.  I went up with one of Jessie's childhood friends, a lawyer named Rose.  She was really nice, and helpful too.  But it was 24 hours on a train.  That was less than fun.

The wedding was great.  Jessie and Jorge have great families, and experiencing Catholic mass in Chinese was interesting.  Also, since I was one of Jorge's best men (his younger brother also shared this role), it was my first wedding to actually be a part of the ceremony.

Then it was back to Beijing with Jorge and Jessie (and about half of Jessie's family, who got off on stops along the way) before catching a plane back to Portland... damn it was good to be back in the States after I arrived at Seatac airport in Seattle.  The air is so clear in the Pacific NW, and so fresh.  Sigh.  It's been good seeing old friends too.