My Virtual Girlfriend

How many of you ever considered how connections/relations are made, changed and broken in our modern world and the age of the Internet.  I hope to express some of those ideas with this poem.  Having read many stories about such things, I felt it was time for such a writing.

My Virtual Girlfriend

We met by chance
Or perhaps it was fate?
There was no such thing as a date.

Innocent were the words that started
Any guy would give a happy twirl
To talk to a pretty girl.

From nothing it started
Words of fun and play were wrote
Even in this digital world you can emote.

A sudden impulse was felt
Then the bandwidth grew
A picture was sent of you.

Stunned by the image
Something new took place
A mind was blown as the heart did race.

Thoughts were exchanged
An increase in tension was felt
The barriers of awkwardness began to melt.

A new stage has begun
Daring statements were made
Equally bold replies spoken never to fade.

A leap in trust was achieved
Now imagery was unbound
New energy was found.

A change in the digital vibe
Suddenly the future was in mind
Plans were made in the more traditional kind.

New ground has been met
The virtual world was forming real
From casual words to energetic zeal.

A dark cloud soon arose
The surety of faith and soul
Was let down by fear of a dark hole.

Electrons froze
The etheric networks became still
What once was passion was now a nil.

Separation of bodies
Meaningless online
But not the virtual divide.

What once started slowly
Counted in bits and bytes
Ended in a crash of electrolytes.

There are no sensations now
In this virtual world
That is how I feel about that virtual girl.

What to make of this all?
The story is not yet done
The tale not yet spun.

Stuck in the endless loop
Life has ways of such things
Repeat is inevitable for us in the Samsara Rings.

A story of compassion

This week has been an interesting one.  I have been forced to have a break by something that weighed less than 300g.

If you don’t follow my Stuff Found blog, then you missed the little story.  On s Sunday a while our for a walk, my wife and I heard this crying of a small kitten.  When I found the source, a barely two-week old, he was in this plastic crate outside of this business that was closed.  I just couldn’t leave him there.  Do i picked him up, went to sit nearby and my wife went to buy some milk.  I tried to clean him up with some wetnaps I had on me.  His one eye war crusted over but after sine cleaning he was able to open it just fine.  I waited long enough to believe that his mother want coming back(or couldn’t) so i had no choice but to take of him.

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I have never been a father but I have an idea what its like to get sleep in 2 – 4hr slots now and wouldn’t you know it, Wednesday morning the little guy learned how to pounce…..at 4am. We never really have him a name but I just called him Dude. I kinda wanted to call him Velcro because just stuck to the towel everyone I tried to reposition him while feeding.

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At first we only had a dropper to feed him with. It was a hell of a lot of work to line that up right each time and when he was trying to find it while I was trying to give it too him….well, let’s just say it would be easier to land a 747 on top of Mt Everest without crashing. Some times i had to just grab his head to hold it still so I could feed him. And could he scream when he was hungry! You’d think we were doing something horrible! Gradually the noises died in direct proportion to the level of fullness he was feeling.

As for what i have him, well its not like there was anything open on Sunday soall he got was warm milk. we went to see the very on Monday and after a cursory glance, very said he was fine but suggested some eye drops. I suspect it was just saltwater for the $3 he charged me, the visit was free. The very said he could eat on his own now and to soak cat food in milk.

There is a side to this story that was very upsetting. My current cat was NOT happy about this little interloper. Not only was it foreign, it was also taking up his spot on the bed! I likened this Garfield and Nermal.

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I tried my best to give our cat attention and she did appreciate it but that didn’t make her tolerate the kitten any more really.

So, after putting the word out on my blog, twitter, Kakao Story, we finally found someone who could take the little guy and raise him properly.

While I was waiting at the bus stop, I had the little guy in a small box on the table in front of me. He was quite the attraction. At one point he was just looking up and starting at me. It was a very serious stare! It was like he was saying “Thank you for finding me. Thank you for caring for me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for my life!” A truly touching moment.

The little guy with his new mom.

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So I found this little guy

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He was crying and left in a crate one eye crusted shut.  We cleaned him up waiting to see if mom came around but when she didn’t, we took him home, feed him some normal milk.  It was a Sunday, not much was open, best we should do.  He seems happy enough.  Tomorrow we go to the vet to see what we can do for him.

When things go wrong…

Y`know, no matter how hard you try, things can get pretty fucked up quickly.  Yeah I`m a little pissed.

I decided to try out my new toy (Galaxy Tab) and test plotting my trip home from a friend’s place on Seoul.  I have been going there for quite a number of months and have an established route for getting there and home using the subway system.  My mild annoyance has been trying to understand Seoul`s vast mass transit system.  The subway system took a little getting used to but once you understand it, it’s very logical.

Their bus system seems harder to master.

My Tab has a great app for getting around on the subway, even learned a new shortcut for one of our travels.  There is no obvious app for an equivalent bus route planning.  At least not one that I understand.  Google Maps does allow for a seemingly nice integration of both systems so I opted for this.  I have used it back in Canada as well as the route it planned out for me tonight looked good and was 10mins shorter.  Ok, off I go.

Everything was going good.  I had gotten on a bus that I had never tried before and even made the first of two transfers. I was monitoring my trip on Google Maps and the GPS feature with my Tab.  So the second leg of the journey was a bit long (38mins) I decided to watch a video while occasionally checking the map.

Here`s where it gets fun.

When it was getting close to the second transfer I went to check the map.  It was saying I was in a town I know I passed already.  Huh?  Ok so the GPS needs to update it position.  Fine I wait, and wait, and wait  and wait.  Well, this is getting stupid because I know I am damn close to where I should be getting off. Dammit, now the whole Tab is slow.  None of the other apps are opening up and the map is still stuck.  Crap.  So i did a hard boot and check.

Great, map shows I missed my damn stop.  Shit.  Well I get  off the bus as I am at least now in an area that is somewhat familiar (the city`s bus terminal) and I know that at least one of my regular buses goes by here.

Wait, now I am confused.  I am not sure which side of the road I should be on.  Well, good thing I have an app that can look up bus stop info, all in Korean of course bit I can muddle my way through that. I get to the stop that I think is the right one and of course, the lighting sucks as the nearest street light is out.  Well good thing my screen provides an OK amount of light.  While I`m trying to read the bus label to find out if it goes the right direction(while seemingly making a Korean woman uncomfortable as she moved away from me a few feet) a Korean guy came over and with my broken Korean and his non-existent English, he tells me that I need to be on the other side of the street.  Ok, that`s fine.  I cross the street and I`ll find the other bus stop and look up that stop up on my tab.

Well I end up walking by a bunch of city bus drivers and I ask them where to get bus #23 back to my section of town. (literally `bus 23 Milak-dong where`)  Guess what, he points back to the stop where I just came from.  Dammit! And my map wont update with my right location.  Seriously this is really pissing me off.  Damn clouds must be screwing with the GPS, or maybe that big-ass radio-looking tower is screwing with the signal.  Regardless, I had to just wait for the bus and ask the driver.

Back I go.  The uncomfortable woman is still standing there but now there is a couple more people waiting as well.  I double-check the bus times and it should be here in 8mins.  That is because as I was walking back one went by. . . Figures.  Bus shows up and its the right one.

Well, eventually made it back home to finish this posting as I had started it while on the bus here.

UGH!!!

Getting lost in Seoul

I have always been good with directions. I can usually find my way back from where ever I am without too much difficulty. That is all fine and dandy if you are walking outside or through some over-sized department store. Doesn’t do bugger-all if you taking subways and buses.

There is a group of people that I hang out with on Sundays around the Itaewon area. It’s pretty easy to get to, if somewhat long (1.5hrs one way). It’s also a fairly boring trip as I am getting used to seeing things, but there is always something that I can tell a story about on each trip. Now, since most of us who meet up come from different directions, and that getting around in Seoul can take some serious planning, I decided to try a different route(there are 14 different subway lines) to meet with one of the gang and have a travel partner for at least part of the way.

I left a little early to allow for the detour from my normal route. The person I was meeting was at Sinchon Station. When I asked my wife about this she said “Yeah, that’s City Hall station.” Oh, ok, easy enough. So off I went.

On the way there my cell phone buzzes. I got some sort of generic message from my provider or something. It was all in Korean and I can only pick out a few letters at this point. I just closed it and noticed that my battery light was flashing the ‘dangerously low’ flash. Damn. Well, I figured I’d text my friend and tell them where I am and that my battery was dying. As I was trying to type out “At Dongmyo, battery dying” I got as far as “at” then the phone shut down. Damn. Seems I was running a bit late and now cut off from communications. Ah well, hopefully thing will work out.

I get to the station and my friend had told me to meet them at Exit #5. Well exit #5 was blocked due to construction. Exit #4 was right by it so I figured that’ll be where we will meet. I go out and it’s really some sort of minor exit to the street. No one was there and I was actually a little early. I waited for a few minutes and then thought, maybe we’ll meet at the blocked Exit #5 above ground. So I walk over there to check it out.

City Hall has setup an outdoor skating rink. For a whopping 1000 won (about $1) you can rent skates and have fun. Cool idea, might try that next Saturday. I didn’t see my friend. So I hung out. As I was the only one wearing a big red winter coat, and kinda bigger than your average Korean, I figured this was a good spot to hang and be easily recognized.

I watched people skate around and kids running. At one point 3 little girls came up to me and spoke to me in English. The young Koreans love to practice their English skills. The kids were polite and spoke very good indeed. Then they left to do other stuff.

Ok, so now it’s 10mins past when I was supposed to meet my friend and I’m starting to second guess myself. Is this the right stop? Maybe I was supposed to be at Seoul Station and not City Hall? Damn. I head back to the subway and get down the stairs just as the train was leaving. Ugh. Well, they run frequently enough and it is only one stop down. Hopefully my friend will still be waiting.

As I sat down my phone in my pocket buzzed again. I got a text message from my friend. “It’s exit #6 not exit#5 here. Sorry.” Then the phone shut down again and refused to turn on. Bizarre but good that I had the info for the new station I was heading too.

I get to Seoul Station and head out Exit #6. It’s deserted. It’s a big major intersection where you can only get across the street by using the subway exits under ground and now it’s snowing pretty good. I’m only wearing running shoes because it wasn’t snowing when I left. This is starting to suck.

I look around and don’t see anyone. Literally. Dammit. I walk a bit and see a bus terminal area. Well I remember that it’s bus #730 that gets me to my buddy’s place. So I walk over to check out the bus terminal. Guess what…..bus #730 doesn’t stop here. This is just great. Now what??

Well, it’s snowing pretty heavily now. Lots of fun walking in this stuff with running shoes! I make my way over to a covered staircase and yank out my trusty Netbook. I figured if I can get a free WiFi signal, I can double-check the email with directions and maybe even get on Skype to see if someone local was online and give my friend a call. I find a signal but it’s kinda flakey. Seems that Skype can connect but it’s intermittent and I can’t get to my Gmail account (or any other web address). Well this really sucks now.

Lucky, I saw a foreigner and asked him. He told me that I needed to get on the #421 bus, go 3 stops and then switch to the #730. Excellent news! I thanks him, put away my Netbook and got on the next #421.

3 stops later I’m at the next bus stop. Yup, really snowing now. Got about 2 inches of fluff already. I’m hoping that my shoes stay dry-ish.

The #730 shows up and I get on. Ugh, standing room only and the windows are foggy. So my ability to see the surroundings and get my bearings with the hopes of recognizing the area I’m going to is hugely diminished. I ask the bus driver if he goes to Seobinggo station.

Now, I have add in a little note about trying to speak Korean as a foreigner. It seems that if you do not pronounce any word exactly as it is supposed to sound, they don’t get it. It’s like they can’t be bothered to make a mental effort to think “Hey, that sounds like a stop I know! Maybe he means that one?” and then verbally offer me something that sounds more correct. Nope. He just looked at me confused instead. I tried to pronounce it slightly differently which only got me a “An-ni” which means no in Korean. Even that didn’t help me. Did he mean ‘no we don’t stop there’ or ‘no, I don’t know what you mean so I’m going to feign ignorance and just say no’.

What’s that saying about 2 steps forward and 3 steps back?

I try to keep bending down to almost knee level to look out the windows to see if I can recognize anything of the area. Really tough since everything is now covered in a huge dump of snow. But wait….what’s that? After a few minutes I saw this big wall (US Military base) and a passenger bridge that goes over the road. Hey, that looks familiar!!! I ring for a stop and get off the bus.

As the bus pulls away I look around. Dammit! This isn’t the same stop. Oh this day keeps getting better and better!!!

The one thing about being completely out of your environment is that you just have to keep going. Seeing as I’m a rather persistent bugger, my mind went to the next thought.

‘Ok, so I’m at least by the same Military base my friend works at. Oh, and off in the distance I can see the new buildings by his place. Too damn far to walk in running shoes though. I’ll walk along the wall till I get to a guard post and see if I can find someone who knows my buddy.’

So off I go, sliding every now and then, hoping that I just don’t fall down. I get to one of the gates and speak with a Korean guard. His English was passable for a very broken conversation. See, it’s usually not the English that’s the problem. It’s how to express your thoughts in another language. Just knowing the right word to use, is good enough to express a whole sentence. Luckily, the Korean guard and I understood each other but he couldn’t help. Damn, so close and yet so far.

Well, I dared against all hope that I might find a free WiFi signal around. I brought out my Netbook again and thought it was slightly amusing that I’m hoping to either find a free WiFi signal or hop on someone else’s while standing on a Military base.

Oh finally, some luck was shining on me! I got a signal and got into my email account, found my buddy’s phone number and copied it to notepad. Then I realized that I’m holding my Netbook in my arm up fairly high that anyone could see the ‘HACKED’ sticker I put on the bottom of it. Umm….better put that down while technically standing on US soil……err….nothing to see here officer….really….

The guard let me call my friend and he came over and picked me up.

I learned that Sinchon was NOT City Hall. So I was lost even before I begun my trip it seems. See the Korean word for City Hall is Sicheong. Which is what my wife thought I was saying. Yet another reason to get the pronunciation right.

Later that day I was going to try to go back the same way but realized it was more complicated taking buses so decided to just take my usual subway back. I had enough adventure for one day.