Author Archives: Direlda

About Direlda

Direlda's name means, in Tolkienian Elvish, "Watcher of the Stars."

Adventures in Jeju: Arrival

Just sit right back and you’ll smash my tail, as I tell of a Christmas trip.  That started from this freezing place aboard a heated bus.  My mate is a clever vixen and I am rather silly.  Two others joined us that day for a six day tour, a six day tour.  The weather started getting warm, our travel was done.  If not for the space in our bags, we would have sweated.  We would have sweated.  The adventure on the ground of this pleasant Korean isle with Direlda, his mate too, a history teacher and his wife, the video camera, the notebook and many bags here on Jeju Isle.

:p

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Brief Vacation and an Anecdote

So I’m going on vacation for a few days and I haven’t quite finished writing about my adventures in Jeju over Christmas (nor have I started on the 2013 Special Olympics Winter Games adventure or a few other adventures between now and then)… ^_^;

Hopefully I’ll have those up sooner rather than later!  And while I will elaborate on my adventures this past Monday, I will tell you an amusing thing that happened to me.

I was wandering around Yeouido park, taking pictures and video, when a Korean woman wearing a bright orange vest ran up to me and asked if I had a mission card. O.O

What I heard at first was ‘admission card,’ since she looked like she might be someone working at the park, so I was a bit nervous, since I hadn’t seen anything indicating that I needed to pay to be in the park.  But as she repeated her query, I realized that she thought I might have some sort of mission for her.  Probably because a foreign fox stands out in Korea when they let their ears and tail be visible in public. :p

More and more Koreans in orange vests started showing up around me and they all wondered the same thing–did I have a mission for them?  After a while someone in their group spoke enough English to understand that I was just in the park for fun and that I didn’t have any mission for them.  While I’m glad I was truthful, a part of me wishes I had thought up something random to tell them to do…

I kept walking and a few minutes later two Korean men in orange vests came running up and asked if I had a mission for them. I told them no, so then one asked if I was a cosplayer, to which I responded, “sort of.”  Then they were off looking for whoever it was that had a mission for them.

Perhaps a minute later I was met by another group of Koreans in orange vests! And again was asked the same question. O.O   I told them no, but then they asked to take a picture with me.  Not sure if they understood or not, I reiterated that I didn’t have a mission for them, but they still wanted a picture with me.  So I agreed.

Two of them created two loops by linking their arms and had me put my legs through the loops.  They then hoisted me up and posed while a random person walking by was asked to take the picture.  They took a few pictures and then left.  At some point during that time I heard or saw mention that it was for the TV show, Running Man ( 런닝맨 ), so I’m fairly certain they were on the show.  I didn’t see any video cameras trailing any of the groups, but perhaps I’ll recognize the people whenever the episode airs.

Nobody

I am a nobody.

Now there is no need to remind me of my worth, for by saying this I am not depreciating my worth.  Rather I am stating the fact that I am a drop in the ocean, a small leaf barely making a ripple as it lands on a pond.  I am a nobody in that I am not widely known.  And this isn’t a bad thing.

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Finally Pics!

I’m getting around to putting some of my pictures up on deviantArt.  You can go check out my pictures of Korea, if you feel like it!

I also should be getting around to talking about my Jeju adventures and there will be pictures in those posts not found on my dA.

Yay for being more active! :D

Reminiscing on 2012

Anno Domini MMXII in caso admodo adveni.

Which translates to about: “In the Year of the Lord two thousand and twelve I went on quite an adventure.”  And indeed I did.

I started off 2012 in Cambodia.  In itself, that represents quite the adventure.  Seeing the ruins of Angkor Wat or mourning the injustices humans do to each other in the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum each provide plenty of adventure.  But apparently not enough, for I had to go and get food poisoning not once, but twice! >.>   Yeah… I had a gut retching experience.  But at least I also got to fight off the hordes of mosquitoes with an electric racket before taking shelter in the mosquito netting.  And I got to watch mercury from a broken thermometer get washed down the drain in a bathroom, which was lacking in soap until my wife and her friends went and bought some, in a clinic with the air conditioning turned off for the holidays with no way to turn it back on and a state of cleanliness that left me wondering if I would leave with more problems than I entered with.  I really loved that clinic. :sarcasm:   At least most of the time the IV was putting saline solution into me and not accidentally drawing blood…

The flight from Cambodia to Korea was a tense one.  I didn’t know if I would make it without puking or not!  And I didn’t know if the health people would let me back into Korea.  The bus ride from the airport to the station near our flat was even worse. x.x

–more–

My job duties changed significantly, such that I had an entirely new set of things to do at work.  With a last moment notification, of course, that I would be teaching a creative writing class.  I ended up being the school librarian (which included redoing the entire library database due to inconsistencies in the original), the school nurse, the keeper of lost and found, the solver of printer issues, the online course proctor, teacher of creative writing and a quasi-ESL class (added in because apparently I had the time), the only one to do something about the computer lab (creating an admin password and removing games from the computers, including Grand Theft Auto O.o ), and being one of the few substitute teachers.  So while I didn’t have quite the same stressors as I had for the first half of the school year, I definitely was kept busy.

My wife ended up getting typhoid fever, which shut the school down for a week and put her in the hospital and then stuck at home for a while.  That was a bit of excitement.  I had to be tested for typhoid fever, too.  (And it wasn’t easy to swab myself).  But I ended up being clean.

I started taking 검도 (Keomdo, Korean form of Kendo) lessons, which was a lot of fun.  October was the last time I went—despite making it on the rank board and having my own armor, the language barrier proved to be too much as I couldn’t understand the explanations of how to not make the mistakes I was making. T.T  So here’s hoping I find a Kendo or Keomdo dojo in the states and start over.  One of the fun things that resulted from Keomdo was going to a raw seafood place with my instructors and a few classmates and having my Korean classmates shove raw abalone and squid into my mouth.  I tried to explain that I grew up on the coast and could feed myself seafood…  But that failed to keep them from putting raw seafood into my mouth.  I think I may have gotten food poisoning from that outing… >.>

I wrote some poetry during the school year.  School, lesson planning, keomdo, Bible study (both the online one I lead and the one the Bible teacher was doing), church, and other sundry things kept me busy for most of the school year, though, so not too much exciting to tell.  My parents and my wife’s aunt both visited us.  Those visits were fun! :D   One of the places I visited with my parents was Suwon Fortress.  It was fascinating seeing the old wall encircling part of the city.  On our way back from the fortress we watched a parade of people dressed in period costumes.

I suppose we did end up sort of gassing ourselves with chlorine while fighting against mold. ^_^;   Our flat doesn’t have the best ventilation, you see, and well, errm, we were using bleach to kill the mold in a closet and in the bathroom.  Unfortunately the vapors sort of settled in the flat instead of leaving.  So we did all we could to increase ventilation and bought milk because apparently drinking milk helps counteract any fumes you may have inhaled.

Back in the states I enjoyed some of the old LEGO sets I had acquired through BrickLink (a dangerous website for a Lego enthusiast) and the new Lord of the Rings sets.  Well, I had fun with them in between helping clean and visiting friends.  I’m hoping to acquire the sets related to The Hobbit sometime this summer and then figure out what bricks I might need to get to replicate parts of my stories in LEGO bricks.  Because I also discovered the MOCs (stands for My Own Creation) people have done using LEGO bricks and there are some impressive ones, including a gigantic depiction of Amon Hen.  Due to space constraints I had to put my LEGO sets away before I could really start building with them.  Though I did get to have Rebel troopers and Indiana Jones help defend Helms Deep prior to the putting away (I mean, if the Elves got to be at Helms Deep, why not have other people who weren’t there come with them).

We also spent some time helping my wife’s parents clean.  They were kind enough to let us stay there and have been storing our wedding gifts and such, so it was the least we could do.  We didn’t get around to really doing much work on installing floor, which is sad, since I really enjoyed doing that a few summers ago.  I’ll probably get a chance in the future, so I should probably be careful of what I wish for! :p

My wife and I then took a road trip down to visit my parents! :D   My brother was also there, so it was good to see all three of them.  And then we took a road trip to go see my maternal grandmother via Crater Lake, California and the Grand Canyon.  It was my second time to see Crater Lake (the first time being with the Boy Scouts) and I definitely took more pictures this time around.  Perhaps next time I’ll go on the boat ride they offer.  We stopped in California to spend time with an aunt and uncle (it was the first time my wife got to meet them, so I was glad she had that opportunity).  While there we got to see my dad’s old home in the Bay Area, Muir woods (what a relaxing hike that was), a college friend of my wife and I (I stayed with her family when I went to FurtherConfusion in 2010) whose TV we were returning, the park under the south side of the Golden Gate Bridge (I could look it up, but I’d rather keep writing), and my uncle took me and my dad to an observatory that was hosting an event for members of my uncle’s work.

We met another uncle near the California-Arizona border, as he had been working in mines in Nevada, and had dinner with him.  I enjoyed that as well.  And then came my second visit to the Grand Canyon (the first being when my dad and I had been driving a moving truck with furniture for a relative in Albuquerque many years ago).  My dad and brother hiked a lot farther than my mother, wife, and I did.  I could have gone as far, but I wanted to stay with my wife.  So we got to see more views of the canyon, while my dad and brother got to brag about how far they went.  All-in-all it was wonderful, though I want to return and, LORD willing, backpack from Rim to Rim.

As we were leaving the Grand Canyon that evening, we got a phone call from one of my aunts who was with my grandmother at the nursing home.  And it was that grandmother’s condition had worsened.  It was a rough night.  The next morning we got in the car and blitzed toward southern New Mexico.  I had been hoping to see the VLA (Very Large Array–a radio telescope) on our way down, but seeing that will have to wait.  And I had been hoping to show my wife more of New Mexico, but the weather and events conspired against that.

We did manage to make it to grandmother in time to say goodbye, though she wasn’t as responsive as she had been a few days prior.  And she didn’t pass from this world until all of her children had arrived.  But she is gone, which I still find hard to believe, and I miss her. T.T

So the rest of the time in New Mexico was spent preparing for the funeral and going through grandmother’s stuff.  My brother flew back to university during that process.  My wife got to meet other relatives of mine, though I wish it could have been in happier circumstances.  Then my parents, wife, and I drove back to my parents’ house via Utah.  We rented a moving truck to help take with us some of grandma’s stuff, so we had two vehicles returning.

I got to see Arches for the first time and that made me happy.  And I found another vulpine friend!  :D   My wife named him Archie, since we found him in the Arches NP gift shop.  We helped my parents a little with the stuff we had brought back, though we soon left back for my wife’s parents’ house.

During our summer in the States, we also visited with friends.  It was good to visit with the members of the Commonwealth of 212 and 216, though not all of them were around.  And we got to have lunch with a fellow wordweaver and dear friend who likes to call me Kitsune. :D   And I spent time with one of the best DMs I have campaigned under who is also a dear friend of mine.  There were people I didn’t get to see and I didn’t really get to go to any furmeets, but it was good to see those friends I did.

The return to Korea brought a return to humidity and I found myself firmly unemployed.  I spent a little time trying to find work, but then settled on writing my novels and comic/webcomic/graphic novel (not sure which it will be) scripts.  So while I haven’t been paid for my work, I have been working.

I have now been through several typhoons.  You probably read my earlier ramblings about Typhoon Bolaven, so I don’t need to go into detail about that, but it was another part of the adventure I had in 2012.

I also did a lot more adventuring around Korea in 2012.  I think I have mentioned my trips to various parks and historic sites.  And at least some of the videos I have taken are on my YouTube channel.  If you pester me enough, I might remember to upload all the ones I have in queue.  My adventuring benefited from not having a set work schedule, as I could visit places while they were open and avoid the weekend crowds.

So some of you may be familiar with NaNoWriMo.  For those of you who aren’t, it stands for National Novel Writing Month and takes place in November (perhaps that’s why it’s no-shave November–everyone is too busy trying to keep their wordcount up to bother with shaving…).  The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel over the course of November.  Well, because I was going to a friend’s wedding in November, my wife had the grand idea of having me choose a thirty day period in October to set aside for writing the first draft of my second novel.  So I did NaNoWriMo this past year, but it was in October.

For November found me in Oregon.  I helped my parents with cataloging the massive stamp collection my grandmother had left behind.  Thousands upon thousands of stamps in boxes beyond boxes.  Most of them weren’t worth that much, since grandmother liked buying sheets of stamps.  And most of them were American stamps, so there wasn’t as much mystery as there would have been had we had to decipher where the stamps were from.  But it was still exciting and gave me something to do while my parents were off at work.

My friend’s wedding went well!  I had fun being one of the groomsmen and enjoyed the trip to the Oregon coast.  I hadn’t realized how much I missed the Oregon coast, until I was standing on its shores under the overcast sky.  Yeah… that reminds me of a home I once knew, back when I was but a kit.  And the wedding allowed me to catch up with the Brotherhood Five, which had been sorely needed.  May we meet again soon, my dear friends! :D

And I had an early Thanksgiving with my parents and one of the Brotherhood Five (you know, I really should find out how they want me to refer to them individually here in my ramblings–since I am trying to obfuscate names and places to some extent…).  It was delicious!  And it was good to spend time with this dear friend of mine (he had been my best man, after all!).  I also stayed at his flat for a night.  Oh!  And I ate with him at a Korean restaurant in one town and at another Korean restaurant in my parents’ town with my former youth pastor.  So my craving for kimchi while in the States was satisfied!

And the end of 2012 saw me visiting Jeju island.  That was quite the fun adventure and deserves at least one rambling of its own!  Especially since I have rambled on rather long right now…  Yeah, I better let you go soon…

The adventure that continued into this year was trying to write on adaptations.  Never again will I tie a deviantArt submission of that magnitude to ramblings here and announce it before hand.  Because then I feel like I can’t ramble here because it would mess up what I had planned…   So I have learned my lesson (for now), and you should be hearing more from me on a more regular basis.

So my plans and goals for 2013 are as follows:

  • Stay alive.  As much as North Korea is probably just sabre rattling and not really intending to follow through with their threats, I would like to see my friends and family in the States again and get around to the rest of my list.  So I’ll do what I can to avoid the sort of adventure that would come from hostilities starting up again and pray that things don’t come to that.
  • Continue exploring Korea.
  • Get my first novel ready to send out to publishers by summer.
  • Visit Japan.
  • Attend the wedding of the person who was my best man and perhaps another friend’s wedding.
  • Learn more Korean and brush up on my Japanese and Russian.
  • Ramble more often!!!

Blessings and peace!
~Direlda

The Hobbit and Les Miserables: My Thoughts on the Films

I watched The Hobbit on the morning of December 16th (and then a second time in January) and Les Misérables on the evening of December 23rd.  I enjoyed both movies! :D   However, there were aspects of each that I did not like.  This is by no means to say I hated the movies for what they did to stories I care about.  I understand that in adapting a story from one medium to another it is necessary to make changes.  Ever since I watched The Fellowship of the Ring and realized that Tom Bombadil wasn’t included my need for adaptations to be true to what they adapt has diminished.  (But how could they do that!  He’s such an awesome character and the scene with the barrow wights explains why Merry’s sword is so deadly to the Witch King—the sword was forged by men who fought against the Witch King—not to mention his songs and the fact the One Ring doesn’t affect him.)  So rather than being in a rage, I enjoyed both of these films as adaptations.

As you have probably figured by now, there will be spoilers.  Hopefully my vulpine helpers have edited away any big ones.  If you haven’t read The Hobbit, then do so—it’s short and I recommend it—and if you haven’t seen Les Misérables, then I encourage you to see it.  Because from here on out it will be hard not to reveal info about them.  I may be able to hide major plot points, but aside from putting all of what follows in a spoiler box, there isn’t much I can do to hide all the details.

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I Dropped the Ball and the Ball Won: Or How I Learned to Stop Rambling and Love the Distractions

I tried to be on top of things this month.  There was so much I had intended to do… ^_^; :doh:

The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

(Robert Burns, To A Mouse, On Turning Her Up In Her Nest With The Plough)

The schemes of this here fox are no different, it would seem.  Not all of my distractions were necessarily bad, though.  For instance, I spent a lot of time doing things with my wife, such as playing games and watching Castle, since she was still on vacation for the first week of January and then had a week of inservice.  And I’m glad I did.  It just means that I wasn’t spending that time working on what I had said I would write.

^_^;

I also need to devise a way to make my personal deadlines mean something.  Having a teacher, professor, colleague, or boss set a deadline ensures that I do all I can to make that deadline.  But when the deadline maker is myself…  You’ve seen what happens.  Now that I have a calendar again, perhaps I’ll get better at deadlines (since now they will have a physical existence).

I’ve also realized how integral having a hard copy is to my writing process.  For something like this rambling, which doesn’t represent much of an intellectual effort, I don’t need to look over a hard copy for editing and revising.  But for poems, stories, essays, and the like I do need a hard copy.  There’s just something about being able to feel my words with my fingers that helps me revise them.  And to be able to see multiple pages at once, something my netbook’s screen doesn’t really facilitate.  So let me rage here against my current lack of printing machinery! RAWR!!  >.<   In any case, I will be having my “essay” on story adaptations printed so that I can revise it to actually make sense and have an organization to it. (yay)

:creative:

All of which to say, yes, indeed, I dropped the ball here and let it bounce away.  Further away than it should have gone.  Over the fence and down the road that took me to the Lonely Mountain following the scent of Thorin and Company.  (You do also realize that there is a fox in The Lord of the Rings, right?)  But I’ve gone bounding after it.  And I should have what I promised to have for you last month by the end of this month.  Which, if you think about it, isn’t too far off…  And if George R.R. Martin can be long overdue on his books, then I can be somewhat overdue…?  Maybe…?  Oh, alright, I’ll make it my impossible task to improve on my timeliness when it comes to self-imposed deadlines.  I hope you’re happy, inner-critic.  Because if by the end of this year I haven’t improved, then I may just toss you out the window of your tower.

:evil:

Are There Posts Ahead?

If there are, we’ll all be dead.  But only if you collide head-on. For then your life would be gone.  I’ll stop this rhyming, I mean it.  Could you interest me in a peanut?

:p

Anyways… Riffing off a favorite movie aside, I am here to inform you of the many ramblings I have planned.  Inconceivable, right?  Rest assured, there will be R.O.U.S.’s (Ramblings Of Unusual Size) aplenty in the days ahead.

:o

First up on the course of ramblings shall be my thoughts on the movie adaptions of The Hobbit and Les Miserables.  I enjoyed them, but… I’ll leave that for my rambling.  In conjunction with this I shall be uploading a piece to dA concerning my thoughts on adaptations.  Rather inconceivable that I should do so, I know.

:D

Following that shall be a look back at 2012.  I’ve had quite the year from food poisoning to a friend’s mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam.  I’ve been through heat and cold with some typhoons for good measure.  So you are welcome to join me in my reminiscing on the eve of a new year.  Expect some mention of hopes for the new year.

And then shall follow a six-fingered rambling.  Or is it six ramblings–one for each of the days of my recent adventure?  Either way writing them will take a miracle!  Such things as eating spicy fried chicken wings with chopsticks, Spain’s anvitions, climbing up the Winding Stair into Narnia, magnetic soap, “escaping” the rain in a lava tube, and a dragon trying to eat a Ramada Hotel will be presented for your enjoyment! Inconceivable?  I think not!

After that I shall work on resuming a regular schedule and sticking to it.  I may finally use my round tuit to talk about my novel progress or do some more re-imagining. :creative:

As a parting gift, I leave you with a link to The Red Wheelbarrow, the poem my friends in high school used to send me over the edge of the cliffs of insanity (and yes, I’ve been to the actual cliffs, but it was foggy that day, so that’s one more reason to return to Ireland).  So much depends… ;)

Blessings and peace!
~Direlda

Sadness and Sorrow

I just read about the shootings in Newtown, CT…

*Direlda weeps

 

This one hits me harder than the shooting at Clackamas Town Center, despite the fact that I’ve been to that mall.  I spent a year first as a teacher and then as a school librarian/nurse.  I’ve interacted with kits that young — entertained them with Alyosha the fox puppet, helped them pick out books, put my years in the Boy Scouts to good use when needing to deal with injuries that needed more than just a band aid.  To think that someone would gun them down…

In tragedies like these my imagination is not always welcome.  I run through hypotheticals — what if I had been there and what if the kits under my care were threatened?

And yet, in the midst of the pain and sorrow, there are stories of teachers who did all they could to protect their students.  Things could have been worse, as horrible as this was.

My heart and prayers go out to the families, the students, the teachers.  May the peace and love of God rest on them.

There isn’t much more I can say.  Words really do no justice to the enormity of grief that crashes over those touched by tragedy.  Though I have wept off and on all day, I really know nothing of what they are going through and have nothing I can really say that will truly help and do justice to the pain.  In times like these let words be few, ears and shoulders be open, and hugs be free.

Below is a playlist I put together of songs of sorrow, healing, and hope as a way of coping with the reminder that not even first graders are immune to evil.

Go in peace and serve the LORD.
Blessings.
~Direlda, a saddened fox

Time after Time

There’s this thing I often do – no, I’m not talking about falling off the internet – that is probably borne of my hyperactive imagination.  I like to come up with my own lyrics for songs.  So since it is the advent season, and you’ve probably heard the original quite a bit now, I present you with: Home Starbase.

I’m dreaming of my home starbase
Just like the one in sector three
Where the viewports glisten
and computers listen
To hear requests for tea.

I’m dreaming of my home starbase
With every sector that I roam
May your ships be sturdy and chrome
And may all your starbases be home.

I actually just finished that today, though the original idea for it came back in high school… I don’t know why I never finished it then – too busy playing outside, I guess.

Since part of the reason why I have been offline for so long was because I was back at that home starbase, it made sense to put up this song.  Of course, it’s no longer like it was back then, and despite traveling back in time, I couldn’t quite get to it like it was.  Over the years things have been changing – carpeting replaced with wood, lawn replaced with a dry riverbed, incomplete model railroad diorama donated to local model railroading club, conversion of my old room to a work room, and so on.  While there I had the pleasure of going through my late grandmother’s stamp collection.  It is over 120,000 stamps in size due to the fact that she liked to buy sheets of the same stamp (she had several sheets of Scott #1371, plus at least 20 first day covers of that stamp), so it was good that I assisted my parents instead of spending a lot of time online.

I was also a groomsman for a friend’s wedding.  That was a lot of fun, especially since we all wore superhero t-shirts under our orange button-down dress-shirts.  One of my friends looked like Robert Downing Jr’s Iron Man.

His superhero t-shirt was black with the power core on it.

Yeah, I did a double-take more than once.  The groom was Batman, and the other two groomsmen were Superman and the Green Lantern.  As for me, I was Star Fox.  Not quite the superhero you were expecting, right? :p

Then there were two Thanksgiving dinners and temporally re-adjusting.  Which brings me to just recently.  More happened, but not all of it is really interesting.  Though maybe I’ll tell you about the great hunt for sweetened condensed milk some time.

And, of course, let’s not forget about October, when:

My characters are in my ears are in my eyes
There among the novel writing tries
I sit and meanwhile with my characters

Yeah, I’ll work on fleshing that one out.  But it captures how my characters sort of get into my head.  And because my head was so filled, there was no time to go online.  Or something like that.  Just recently I posted a map I made to deviantArt.  You can find it here.  Hope you enjoy the peak at the world I’ve been creating! :creative:

Until next time, I leave you with this:

Then you say — go silly —
I bound behind —
The second paw unwinds

If you’re lost you can read — and you will find me
Time after time
If you hug I will pounce you — I’ll be writing
Time after time