Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Miss Me?


Brian Christensen has come unstuck in the blogosphere...

Okay, so I haven't been skipping off to the planet Tralfamadore or to a frozen WWII battlefield, and I've not repeatedly witnessed my own birth and death, but I got way out of the habit of writing stuff here on the Unintimidated blog. I think now I'm ready to start it up again. (Inconsistency is the one thing you can always count on from me.)

I'm still chillin' like a villain in the R-O-K. That's gansta talk for "hanging out in Korea." But I'll be home soon, and I'm really excited to see my family and friends. As the saying goes, there's no place like home, and this place is not like it at all, not even a little bit. Soon, I'll probably post some pictures and stories from my adventures here, but today I just want to throw out something to get the blog going again.


Without further ado, here's an initial entry in what I hope will become a recurrent feature. (Because I don't already have enough of those, right?) I will call it "The Stupidest Thing I Saw or Heard Today"

Today I was standing at a bus stop with several people, waiting for a ride to work. One of the guys, whom I don't know well but some of my friends do, reached into his pack, took out a pill, and swallowed it with some water. Someone asked him what it was for, and he said it's some kind of fitness supplement, an N.O. booster, whatever that means. He said he got a great deal on them, something like 90 bucks for three bottles. We must have all had expressions that said, "What the heck is an N.O. booster?" so he elaborated. "They improve blood flow. Only trouble is, you have to take them nine times a day." (Already seems like less of a bargain, but I didn't say anything. I figure, hey, whatever makes this guy happy.)

Then came the stupid part. He immediately reached into another pocket, produced a cigarette, and lit up. I was thinking that pill could really speed up the process of carrying nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, and other toxins to all the tissues of his body. Good call, bozo! I'm no doctor, but I think you'd want decreased blood flow when you light up a smoke. And let's not even start on his hunting for a good price on supplements, then turning right around and dropping six or seven bucks on a pack of cancer sticks. Why not just eat healthy, exercise, and kick the nasty, dangerous, addictive habits? Some guys have more money than sense.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Telling It Like It Is

I reckon it's time for another entry in my ongoing series on fast food condiments. (I'm unintimidated by the knowledge that nobody in the universe except me finds this stuff interesting.)

You know what I appreciate? Simplicity. And honesty. Look at this little packet of honey:

I wish we could have more products like this. The name tells exactly what's inside, and I know what every ingredient is.

Yeah, pretty simple.

Contrast this with a packet of ranch sauce:

A little less simple.

I like dipping things in this stuff, but I'm a little troubled by the fact that it has 36 ingredients, and I don't know what most of them are. Some of them sound like the same ingredients in paint stripper. I'll probably live longer if I just stick with the honey.

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Stepped Out of My Hotel and Into a Magazine

Right before I left for Korea a few weeks ago, I picked up the December 2011 issue of National Geographic magazine. I've always liked their articles and photos. I've been working through it, reading a page or two whenever I have a few minutes. (Okay, I'll just come out and say it. I like to read it while sitting on my throne.)

As always, this issue is full of good stuff: tigers, the Magellanic Clouds orbiting our galaxy, the worldwide rise of cities, and the making of the King James Bible, to name a few highlights.

In the meantime, a friend and I had a day off over here, so we went for a drive to show ourselves around the place. On our four hour excursion, we saw mountains and forests, farms and villages, the ocean, bridges, towers and factories. We found out how much we don't know about the Korean toll road system, but somehow got that worked out. 

We took a few pictures. Here's your unintimidated blogger and intrepid world traveler next to the Yellow Sea:

On the 2011 Ugly Americans Tour

Crowded cities were one thing we got more than our fair share of. As a man, I'm genetically predisposed to refuse ever admitting I'm lost, but I'll confess in hindsight that we were really lost for a little while. During that time, I snapped this picture while stopped at a red light:

Every street looks almost exactly like this. Is it any wonder we had trouble navigating?

There's nothing remarkable about this spot. On the contrary, the city we found ourselves wandering through was filled with hundreds of streets just like this. I guess that's why I took the picture--because it's very typical of our location, and it captures the mood here.

Back at the hotel, I picked up my magazine and opened to an article about Japan's nuclear zone, the region abandoned following last year's earthquake, tsunami, and radiation spillage. Here's a photo from that article, by David Guttenfelder:

An empty street in Okuma, Japan, where people have not been allowed since March 2011, but pets and farm animals freely roam

Apparently, these settings are typical not just in Japan, but throughout Asia. Either that, or we drove farther from our hotel than I thought.

Lest you think I'm naive about cultural diversity in this part of the world, I'll acknowledge that Korea and Japan, despite their remarkably similar urban landscapes, are two distinct countries, each with its own laws, customs, language, mythology, history, and national identity. Like the U.S. and Canada. (Do you think the locals will be offended if I refer to their country as the Canada of Japan?)