Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Category: Random Stuff (page 1 of 3)

Head over Hills

Head over Hills

You know, that Tears for Fears song right?

[pausing, for the punch line and the explanation]

Now before you rush to correct my spelling, that is what I saw written on a T-shirt some college student was wearing.

I was walking behind him and wondered, “what the heck was this weird English going on here?”

Head over Hills. That’s some freaky, esoteric, surreal gibberish.

Then I read the next line:

By Tears for Fears.

It took me a good 20 seconds (maybe I’ve been in Korea too long) before I figured it out.


Head over Heels.

That’s the Tear for Fears’ song.

Of course I know what happened. It’s a short/long vowel thing going on here. It’s a common mistake that many English language learners make in Korea. Getting the long “ee” sound confused with “i” – pill, sometimes comes out peel; ship, sometimes comes out sheep and heel comes out hill.

Make a mistake like that and the next thing you know you’ve got a couple thousand people running around head over heels with their head over hills T-shirts.

Head over Hills.


AM Chicago

A winter morning in Chicago and trying out my first digital camera — 2001

New Infiniti

“An all new Infiniti model M is unveiled at W Hotel in western Seoul, Monday. The M comes in three types: M37 Standard and Premium on a 3.7 liter VQ 37 engine, and sporty M56 with a VK56 engine.”

Clowns are optional.

Sayonara Facebook?

Sayonara Facebook?

How much more are we going to put up with Facebook security and privacy issues?

Cold enough for you…in April?

Well, April might not be the cruelest month, but it is definitely the coldest April in Korea in a very long time.

The entire Korean Peninsula is shivering with a record-low spring chill ― the midday high temperature for Seoul dropped to 7.8 degrees Celsius, Wednesday, the lowest for late April since 1908, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

And with the rain and wind blowing, it felt much colder.

There is no relief in sight either; it’s going to stay this chilly until the middle of May.

Asteroids’ Record Broken!

Remember that awesome late 70’s early 80’s arcade game Asteroids—the one that you had to shoot at and break up spinning asteroids and flying saucers before they crashed into your spacecraft?

Well one of gaming’s oldest records was just blown up. And it wasn’t an easy shot according to an article on Yahoo:

After a grueling 58 hours of continuous play, John McAllister of Seattle, Washington officially became the best Asteroids player on the planet by scoring an unthinkable 41,338,740 points in the classic 1979 coin-op arcade game. The previous mark of 41,336,440 was set by Scott Safran back in 1982—the longest standing record in gaming—and was considered virtually unbreakable.

Way to go Joe!

Wow, I was just happy to make it to the next level on the ones I used to play at Friday’s or Murphy’s—two bars that I frequented on Water Street in Peru, Illinois back in the early 80s and also where The Jerks, Longshot, and The Libido Boys played. Of course, I was usually pretty well tanked when I played; hence the low scores.

Reflection of a winter day

You see a lot of these round mirrors in Korea and Japan–especially around an intersection, a sharp curve on a mountain highway, or anywhere else where there might be a blind spot for motorists. The idea is for motorists to see who is coming in the mirror.

It also makes for a great photo on a snowy day in Daejeon. This one is located on the Woosong Technical Information College campus

There are a million stories in the naked city…

And here are a couple of them.

In this case, the naked city is Seoul where I lived from 1990-2006. And here are some statistics to go along with all those stories, courtesy of an article printed in the Korea Times:

In Seoul, a city with a population of 10.4 million, the average resident is a 37.6-year-old married office worker with a bachelor’s degree and works 46.4 hours per week, according to a survey by Seoul City Hall and Statistics Korea released on Monday.

They take the subway to work and earn 3.6 million won as their monthly wage and spend 2.8 million won per month with 610,000 won covering food and 580,000 won going to private education.

Six out of 10 households earn between 2 million and 4 million won monthly, which makes them the so-called middle class.

The number of Seoul residents in their 20s or under is on the decline while the population of the older generation is increasing.

Every day there are 264 births, 106 deaths and 197 marriages. In 2009, 91,000 babies were born in Seoul, around a 3,700 decrease from the previous year.

There are 26,000 foreigners registered in Seoul, a five-fold jump from 10 years ago.

Each household is composed of 2.48 members on average and the number of single-person households takes up a 35 percent share, a 66-percent increase from 1999.

More than 42 percent of Seoul’s housing consists of apartments, while houses only account for 7 percent. The rest are multi-household houses.

About 47 percent of households are in debt, with the biggest portion being mortgage loans.

The subway is the most popular means of public transportation in Seoul with 7.2 million users a day, while buses have 4.6 million passengers.

The city estimates that the opening of Seoul Subway Line No. 9, the latest linking Gimpo International Airport with Kangnam, and high gas prices, together with traffic congestion, force many citizens to turn to public transport.

The number of vehicles registered in Seoul stands at 2.9 million, with around a 3 percent yearly increase every year for the last decade. An average of 249 people obtain a driver’s license daily.

The average household has 1.12 computers and 2.6 cell phones, and spends 145,000 won on communication costs per month.

Over the years, Seoul has become much more expensive to live in.

For instance, university tuition soared 121 times from 33,000 won per semester in 1970 to about 4 million won now.

Bus fares have jumped 25-fold from 40 won in 1977 to 1,000 won today, and subway fares have gone up from 30 won in 1974 to 1,000 won as of now.

Soju, one of the most favored liquors in Korea, cost 120 won per bottle in 1975, but is currently priced at 1,200 won.

Facebook Faux-pas – Be careful what you Twitter about, too

Social networking sites like Facebook and instant messaging with Twitter allow people to stay in touch more with “status updates” and “tweets” but these sites can also be damaging if one shares too much personal information or if one uses them to rant and rave.

There have been a few publicized incidents of individuals being fired or reprimanded for blogging about something they shouldn’t have—and in the case of one Korean worker a few years ago, being arrested for blogging about his marijuana adventures in Amsterdam.

Now, according to the following ABC news story, one can get fired for posting status updates or comments in jest—especially if those updates or comments allude to violent behavior or conduct unbecoming of an employee or even a student.

Unlike a blog where anyone can stumble across one’s blog and posts (unless it is a private one) Facebook has privacy settings where one’s personal information is only shared with his or her friends. Nonetheless, one should exercise a little caution, not to mention discretion when posting anything of a personal nature. You never know who might be cyber eavesdropping on you and the stuff you post or tweet about.

I am sometimes surprised at what some of stuff my friends have shared on Facebook in their comments and status updates. There are some personal things that I only share with my closest friends and then, only in a message or an email—not right out there in the open for everyone to read. It doesn’t have to be anything of a controversial nature either. A few years ago, I was surprised when one of my friends left a comment on one of my blog posts that he probably didn’t want too many people to know about—his ongoing divorce proceedings.

Personally, I do not think these sites are a good place to rant and rave or to hang out your dirty laundry. It’s okay to have an opinion about one thing or another and share it with friends to gauge their opinions, but a little etiquette not to mention common sense is in order. After all, does one really know all their friends on these sites well enough to post anything of a sensitive nature or to joke about what they would like or not like to do?

To be sure, do we really believe that Facebook and Twitter are safe enough for sharing our thoughts, opinions, and feelings? Obviously, according to this new story they are not which begs an even bigger question about whether or not these sites actually protect our privacy.

Shakespeare was right when he penned, “discretion is the better part of valor.” The same sentiment can be applied to the updates and comments we post on Facebook or tweet about on Twitter.

Easter Dilemma

Easter Dilemma
What is really celebrated at Easter? Just a poem I came up with today for another Website. Feedback appreciated.
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