Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thailand Trouble

Korea to Hong Kong - December 2nd
Hong Kong to Bangkok - December 4th ... maybe.

As many of you know, I finish my contract tomorrow - ending a year of teaching English in Seoul (and waking up early for 7am classes!) Vacation time! My plans to return to Canada involve a three-week trip to Hong Kong, Cambodia and Thailand. Then Home for Christmas.

BUT... If you have been following the news, you may have noticed the increasing political unrest in Thailand. Protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have been occupying the Thai Government Offices for the past four months, and have now upped their intensity yesterday, storming and closing down Thailand's International and Domestic Airports. Thousands of Thais and tourists are stranded in the capital, with rumors of a military coup occurring tonight.

PAD, composed of royalists, educated middle class, and business people, wants the current government and Prime Minister Somchai to step down, as they say they are too similar and close to the former government that was ousted by military coup in 2006. What will happen next is uncertain. I continue to check cbc, bbc, the ap and Thai News for breaking news. Check back here for updates.

What will I do? Will it all be sorted by December 4th? Steve and I are going to our travel agent tomorrow at the USO (United Service Organization - helps American troops stationed overseas, but also helps all foreigners!) and sort something out. Maybe we will fly direct to Koh Samoi (Thai Island far from the capital) dropping Hong Kong, or fly somewhere else - Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines....

Any suggestions? Isn't life fun?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vote for my Friends!

My good friends Glendon and Traumador are up for this year's Canadian Blog Awards! Please take a moment and vote for these great sites!

Vote now! (And don't forget to submit your post for the next Boneyard blog-carnival here!)

Boneyard #26: My Favorite Museums

Welcome to my entry to the 26th edition of Boneyard!

Brought to you through The Tyrannosaur Chronicles, this Boneyard focus is on our favourite museums. Having visited natural history museums in North America, Europe and Asia, I have many favourites.

One of my favourite museums in Europe is the Palaontologisches Museum Munchen in Munich, Germany. A wonderful three-leveled museum crammed with loads of mounted skeletons and fascinating fossils, it is famous for having one of the 10 fossils of Archaeopteryx, the first bird!

The Palaontologishes Museum Munich is notoriously difficult to find, as it is hidden down a side road and associated with the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (took me two trips to find it - 2004 and finally in 2007!) Check it out on a map here.

Here is a look inside Munich's Palaeontological Museum:

The main hall. The museum is composed of three floors overlooking a central space. Here is the ground floor. Notice the Gomphotherium in the center.

Allosaurus skull

Triceratops skull

A cast of the AMNH Monoclonius nasicornus (Brown)

The placodont Placodus





Cave Bear


Smilodon (Saber Tooth Cat)


Top view of the Plateosaurus

Pteranodon ingens

Three wicked large ammonites

The Archaeopteryx display case. Notice the two halves of the Munich Specimen (S6), discovered in 1991 and described by Peter Wellnhofer in 1993.

The right side of the Munich Specimen of Archaeopteryx - complete except for the front of it's face.
The left side of the Munich Specimen

A map of the limestone deposits near Solnhofen, Bavaria where Archaeopteryx is found.

A 3D reconstruction of a mounted Archaeopteryx

Archaeopteryx fully reconstructed

A selection of woolly rhino skulls

Looking down through Time

A beautiful Ammonite fountain behind Munich's Palaeontological Museum.

It's a wonderful museum.
Be sure to visit it the next time you are in Munich!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Coming Soon - Boneyard 26 at Traumador's!

Hello everyone! With one week left in Korea, I should be packing - but instead, I'm preparing for the next palaeontological blogging carnival - Boneyard!
Boneyard 26 will be hosted by my friend Traumador at the Tyrannosaur Chronicles on December 2nd. This Boneyard's theme is "My Favorite Museum!"

Click here to see how to participate in this Boneyard - Traumador is hoping for many entries, especially from people who have never entered before!

I am sending in my favorite museum posts right now! Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cold to Hot: Change Coming

Life Update: This weekend was busy with seeing DJ Shadow in Hongdae on Friday, going to my first Korean wedding on Saturday, and meeting Remi from Vancouver on Sunday!

Things are starting to fly by a lot faster. It is officially two weeks from today that I leave Seoul and Korea and move on to the next chapter of my life.

I have finally bought tickets to Hong Kong, Thailand and Cambodia for three weeks before Christmas, so on December 2nd, I say goodbye to Korea and hello to South East Asian travel!

Then, as of December 22nd, I will return home to Vancouver - teaching and looking for an apartment. Fun.

On another more immediate note, it has suddenly and without warning become very cold. The walk to work here in Sinchon was a tough one with the freezing wind and flying ginkgo leaf attacks. Apparently, we may see snow on Thursday!

Thailand beaches sound extra inviting today. I'll keep you posted...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Quantum of Solace Review

The new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, was released here in Korea last week - almost two weeks before it's release in North American. I assume this has to do with Asia's rampant movie pirating, and releasing it here first might cut down on this. What that means is that I am able to review the 22 Bond film before people have seen it back home!

Having seen Quantum of Solace, I really enjoyed it. The action is intense and exciting, while the story (which sometimes stumbles in Bond flicks) is quite solid and topical. The film enters new territory with some artistically shot sequences and by delving far into Bond's reaction to the events at the end of Casino Royal. (Highlight for spoilers: The woman Bond loves, Vesper, betrays him and kills herself.)

Of coarse, Casino Royal, the first film in the "reboot" of the Bond film franchise, should be seen first as Quantum is a direct sequel - where Bond does whatever it takes to capture the shadowy Organization responsible for his pain. In traditional Bond style, he globe-hops across Italy, Spain, Bolivia and Haiti. Here he meets up with Camille, a beautiful and feisty Bond Girl with her own plans for revenge.

Daniel Craig is back as 007 and he seems more comfortable in the role. How would I rank him among the past Bonds? I would place him after Sean Connery and Pierce Brosnan, then Roger Moore, Dalton and Lazenby. Not to shabby.

There are a few interesting artistic moments in the film which I attribute to the director, Mark Forster. His credits include Monster's Ball (starring Halle Berry, who won an academy award!), Finding Neverland (Johnny Depp) and Stranger than Fiction (Will Farrell and Dustin Hoffman). Not you're usual action films! What Forester brings to his shots is a sense of style. I fully approve.

Besides some unconnected action sequences, Quantum of Solace is a solid and thrilling entry into the James Bond series. Check it out and tell me if you think it's as good as Casino Royal!

5 Things...and my 200th Post

Welcome to my 200th post - a milestone for some, just another day online for others...

I visited Tokyo, Obama was elected president of the US, and I just got back from watching Quantum of Solace (the new James Bond 007 movie - check it out! Review coming soon!) With all this going on, I am going to use my 200th post to answer a "chain-post-meme" that I was tagged by Greg to do.

It's called 5 Things:

5 things I was doing 10 years ago:
1. 1998, eh? Attending Capilano College in North Vancouver. Wasn't sure what I wanted to do, just plugging along on the Science Transfer Program.
2. Was working part-time at Queensdale Market as a bag-boy (soon to graduate to Produce!)
3. Dating my first serious girlfriend (lasted 3 years)
4. Living in my parent's house.
5. Getting very very excited about Star Wars: Episode 1. (Soon to be disappointed.)

5 things on my to do list today:
1. Research shots needed for Thailand (trip in December!)
2. Begin the deconstruction of my house here in Seoul - sell, clean, pack, send...
3. Have a shower and shave.
4. Finish painting the poster for the Delta Patrol film.
5. Finish this 200th post and post it!

5 snacks I love:
1. Snickers - but not those here (from China).
2. Reese Peanut Butter Cups - mmmm....
3. Diget Cookies
4. Peanut-Butter and Jam sandwiches
5. Ramien (noodles)

5 things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. Buy a house somewhere in Vancouver (getting harder...)
2. Found a kick-ass Palaeontology Museum in Vancouver
3. Travel around America and across Canada by car (a sporty hybrid car!)
4. Through a series of incredible parties in each city around the world I have friends in!
5. Invest, blah blah blah... AND direct and produce films!

5 places I’ve lived:
1. North Vancouver, BC
2. Drumheller, Alberta
3. Birmingham, England
4. Seoul, Korea
5. Edmonton, Alberta

5 jobs I’ve had:
1. Teacher (Elementary and High School, as well as English)
2. Tour Guide
3. Museum Gallery Interpreter and Camp Counselor
4. Movie and TV Extra
5. Grocery Shop bag-boy

5 people I tag:
1. Craig
2. Glendon
3. Traumador
4. Robin
5. Leslie

Friday, November 07, 2008

Seoul's Zombie Walk

Two weeks ago...
... the Dead began to rise from their graves...
... and took a stroll through Seoul.

"It's close to midnight and something evils lurking in the dark,
Under the moonlight you see a sight that almost stops your heart,
You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it,
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes,
You're paralyzed.

Cause this is thriller, thriller night,
And no ones gonna save you from the beast about strike.
You know its thriller, thriller night,
You're fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight.

You hear the door slam and realize there's nowhere left to run,
You feel the cold hand and wonder if you'll ever see the sun,
You close your eyes and hope that this is just imagination,
But all the while you hear the creature creepin up behind,
You're out of time.

Cause this is thriller, thriller night,
There ain't no second chance against the thing with forty eyes.
You know its thriller, thriller night,
You're fighting for your life inside of killer, thriller tonight.

Night creatures call,
And the dead start to walk in their masquerade,
Theres no escapin the jaws of the alien this time
(they're open wide)
This is the end of your life.

They're out to get you, there's demons closing in on every side,
They will possess you unless you change the number on your dial,
Now is the time for you and I to cuddle close together.
All through the night I'll save you from the terror on the screen,
I'll make you see.

That this is thriller, thriller night
cause I can thrill you more than any ghost would dare to try,
Girl, this is thriller, thriller night
So let me hold you tight and share a killer, diller, chiller
Thriller, here tonight.

Darkness falls across the land
The midnight hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of blood
To terrorize yawls neighbourhood
And whosoever shall be found
Without the soul for getting down
Must stand and face the hounds of hell
And rot inside a corpses shell
The foulest stench is in the air
The funk of forty thousand years
And grizzly ghouls from every tomb
Are closing in to seal your doom
And though you fight to stay alive
Your body starts to shiver
For no mere mortal can resist
The evil of the thriller


Micheal Jackson's "Thriller" performed by prison inmates. Increadible...