Thursday, August 31, 2006

Post 82: 310806 9th World Tantrix Championships

The 9th World Tantrix Championships is underway and last night I had my first games. This year’s 200 competitors have been divided into groups of four or five for Phase 1. I’m in Group 1 with 3 others and before the 12th of September we must play four games against each other.

My first opponent was ‘Sanabas’ from Australia. We played all four games in one hit. Things started badly and did not improve. In our second game I took some small satisfaction after falling into a trap in the opening tiles, of being able to defend a slender lead of 14. I took the win by 1 point. As for the other three games I lost them all by narrow margins. I have to perform well against the other two if I want to progress to Phase 2.

Follow the link to the summary of Phase 1

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Post 81: 300806 Sports

As an avid escapist I try to spend a good deal of time in front of the telly watching sports games. Being where I am it's hard, in fact nearly impossible, to get televised Rugby, so I have to make do with football without English commentators, K-1 and other fight style bouts, occasional tennis tournaments and perhaps gold if I find the patience. There’s always the badminton, table tennis, American basketball, baseball and now beach volleyball but I have never found a passion for watching those games.

My best connection with teams and games from back home is of course the internet but those live play by play snippets really don’t satisfy my enthusiasm. In saying that, I have now added a sports section to the links where you will find teams and players I try to follow.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Post 80: 250806 Solar System Update

Just in case you were worried about the status of our Solar System i have an update for you. It's now official, we only have 8 planets. Pluto no longer qualifies but has been re-termed a 'dwarf planet' along with Ceres and 2003UB 213.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Post 79: 220806 Poetry Contests

Over the past eight months I have made a concerted effort to push my poetry to the next level. The first stage was to enter poetry contests, something I had never done before. With each result posted however I become somewhat deflated in my expectations and skeptical over my own abilities.

For the past 6 weeks I have been awaiting on the results of three competitions, one from New Zealand, one from America and one online. For some reason all results were delayed beyond their stated announcement dates. My waiting ended today when this evening after killing time playing games I realized I hadn't made my usual rounds of the results pages.

As for the New Zealand and American competitions my name was no where in sight but the online competition delivered a surprise. There I was up on top in first place. I have won my first competition. I am the winner of’s SMS Poetry Contest 8. It may not be as prestigious as bigger comps but I am well chuffed with the result. Not to mention stoked that the first prize of an iPod Shuffle will be winging its way to me.

Check out the results page.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Post 78: 170806 Our Solar System

Without much in the way of personal goings on over the last few days I’ve been looking further a field for something to report on. Being an avid space enthusiast it’s no surprise that my attention was drawn to the current conference of leading and not so leading scientists discussing and refining the nature of our universe.

Yesterday if you had innocently asked how many planets were in our solar system then you would have been given the nonchalant reply of ‘Nine’. Today however, that answer has changed.

It all began with the defining of Pluto, is she qualified to be a planet. If she is then several other bodies floating out there of a larger mass also qualify to be called planets. Well, the answer was ‘Yes!’ Pluto is a planet which then gives us three more of the little suckers to call our own. Not that we didn’t claim them before but now we can puff our chests a little larger and say there are twelve planets in our swinging solar system dancing on the outer arm, looking in on a densely populated spiral galaxy.

Get this, one was given the dubious name ‘Xena’ after the New Zealand grown television show. What this means is that all books and posters proclaiming accurate knowledge of our Solar System are now out of date. A further problem arises when we learn that there are more bodies drifting by out there that are larger than Pluto but for the time being we can’t get a good enough handle on them to define them. More reprints no doubt to ensure school children know just what our neighborhood looks like. But for now here is what our Solar system currently looks like and check out for the facts.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Post 77: 070806 Photos from the picnic

Post 76: 070806 Picnic in the shade

Yesterday was the last day of my holiday. Nine days with the absence of work. How quickly the time went. My intention was to spend it in the most slovenly way, sitting on the couch or in a darkened cinema, staying out of the heat and trying not to move too much. That was not to be as Sukhee and I were invited to join the staff of the local watering hole on a picnic.

My idea of a picnic and the Korean notion of one differ greatly. I imagine the cliché of a broad green field, a checkered blanket and a basket weighted down with sandwiches and perhaps a bottle of bubbly.

Damn, just thinking about it, I am riddled with clichés. Doesn’t that make you just a little pissed off knowing that your thoughts come from someone else’s notion of what is ideal. Gives you a little insight on how a population can be controlled. May sound like a leap but when you control the media and stuff it full of notions of your own sense of right and wrong then doesn’t it follow that the population watching said media will pick up on those notions and slowly loose the ability to discern for themselves.

Anyways, the Korean idea of a picnic turns out to be, and this is just one example, going into the foothills of Sarak mountain and sitting at small tables on polystyrene platforms wedged between sheets of metal and plonked on metal frames. These platforms are an extension of small restaurants that in their infinite wisdom have set them up not only beside small creeks but on top of them as well.

Then to keep us out of the harsh summer sun, as if the shade from the trees wasn’t enough, the whole scene is covered in tarpaulins strung in spaghetti like web-works to those bruised and battered trees.

A pool was made nearby which teamed with artificial life, blow-up buoyancy rings, five foot sharks and beach balls. It seemed everyone and their dog, yes there were plenty of pet dogs lulling about, had traversed narrow roads and clotted small car parks to enjoy a summer’s picnic beneath the tarp.

So that was how the last day of my holiday was spent. I didn’t go for a swim like most others from our group but played Go-Stop as we waited for the food we ordered that never arrived and drank the beer we’d brought with us.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Post 75: 060807 Orange Tree Exhibition

Last night was the opening of the Orange Tree exhibition. I didn't have a lot of info to go on for this one but i was happy none the less to be involved. Who wouldn't be when it gives a chance for you work to be seen in public.

The Orange Tree is actually a bar which was converted into a gallery for the night of the opening, which included pop up books on the pool table and multiple format art works adorning pillars and walls as well as shelves and small tables. I was impressed with the level of work and the amount. It seemed that after the first pass you miss most of the details and need to make the rounds again if not more.

I have three photos in the show along with another photographer from the last show. Ours sat together on a red wall beside a standing lamp and close to the buffet table. A good place actually as it was close to wher most people were hanging out. I think the images remain in place for the next five days.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Post 72: 020806 Orange Tree article

As i drift along on a sun bleached journey an e-mail arrives telling me of an article in the Korean Times proclaiming the virtues of our up-coming exhibition. It begins on the 5th of August in Orange Tree bar and resturant which will be converted for the opening into a fully fledged gallery. And once the opening has closed it will revert back to its natural state where patrons can enjoy our vistas while they dine on wonderful Italian meals.

I look foward to being there on Saturday night to share in the warmth of excited faces and hopefully the glow my face is currently basking in will have dimmed and I can go out in puiblic without looking like an advertising neon for the red light district. Yep, it was hot today and due to our being outside for the most part I have turned a rather charming shade of red.

So click on Orange Tree and read the brief article and wait with patience for the photos of amazing temples and hidden grottos.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Post 71: 010806 Gyeong-ju

Here i am in the home of the Shilla Kingdom. The place that many local poets look upon as the height of Korean society, the utmost expression of self, a time when Koreans lived as Koreans and acted as Koreans would when not under the yoke.

Sukhee and I took a nice 5 hour long bus ride to get here. Arriving just before four in the afternoon we were greeted by a kindly man in his air-conditioned car. We'd pre-arranged a driver for a day while here, to show us the sites and let us in on the local secrets. Money well spent if you ask me. He picked us up at the bus station, took us to a hotel to get checked in then drove us around to a few places of most spectacular beauty. We ended in a German styled pub that housed it's own micro brewery and a group of singers from the Philipines, three girls and a guy who sang a mix of pop songs (western fare) and local hits. The beer went down a treat, it's hot out there.

We are now back at the hotel, polished and ready for a good nights kip before the kindly gent in his air-conditioned car picks us up at 9am for a full day of site-seeing. I've already tired the battery on my camera and it too is currently recouperating. Photos of course will follow as soon as i can upload them. This computer in our room has lost the means with which to plug in.