05 December 2008

Christmas Tree Sale

The Forestry Club will be selling Christmas Trees this next week! From Sunday, 12/7, to Friday, 12/12, we'll be selling trees on the south side of Mulford Hall. The sale will be from 9-5 every day. We'll be selling white firs and Douglas-firs at $6 a foot. We'll also be selling handmade wreathes and Forestry Club merchandise.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 0:16 | Permalink

04 December 2008

All-Nighter

One of the terrible realities of college is that sometimes (or a lot of the time) you fall behind. You don't take care of all the different responsibilities and obligations you had, and things start sliding off your table. Sooner or later you get to the point where you know you won't get to sleep that night because you have something due the next day. This is what happened to me Tuesday night.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 1:13 | Permalink

19 November 2008

Job Interview

I have a job interview tomorrow. I'll be interviewing with the US Environmental Protection Agency, a federal agency charged with protecting our natural resources and preventing degradation of environmental and human health. I'm really excited! It's my first job interview (for a real job, anyways). I still need to apply for more jobs, but hopefully this turns out well!

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Posted by Joel Kim at 4:14 | Permalink

14 November 2008

Last Midterm!

I just took my last midterm of my undergraduate career today! No more! Now I just have papers, projects, and finals to work on! Whoo!

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Posted by Joel Kim at 4:45 | Permalink

14 November 2008

SAF Convention

I came back from the Society of American Foresters national convention last week. There was a lot that happened, but suffice it to say, I had an awesome time. I met some really cool people, learned a lot about forestry, and got some questions answered about career paths. I also handed out a bunch of resumes (hooray, job search!) and collected a lot of business cards. I also got to look around Reno a bit (although I didn't get to do much sight-seeing).

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Posted by Joel Kim at 4:27 | Permalink

04 November 2008

Society of American Foresters Convention

This week, I will be heading to Reno, Nevada, for the annual Society of American Foresters National Convention. 32 members of the UC Berkeley Forestry Club will represent our major and our school at the convention, which will be held at the Grand Sierra Hotel. The convention runs from Wednesday to Sunday, and features all sorts of speakers, tours, workshops, and networking events.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 1:32 | Permalink

04 November 2008

10th week...

So it's 10th week already, and this is my first blog post of the semester. Once again, I must apologize to my loyal readers (anyone?) for the dearth of updates. I have been busy with school, but that is not the right excuse. I've just been avoiding writing on this blog for a while. I saw it as an obligation, a duty, and so kept on putting it off. I told myself that I'd do it later, that I'd write when I had some amazing insights to put to words. I wanted to appear profound. Instead, I remained silent.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 1:17 | Permalink

11 June 2008

Dream Concert/Korean pop

So it's been a few days. I've been busy pretty much every day until now. I'm using my uncle's computer, and so can't update when he's asleep.

I went to the Dream Concert this past Saturday. This was a concert with some of Korea's hottest pop and hip hop groups. My mom's sister Hae-won's husband works for some press website, and so was able to get 4 passes. I went with two of my cousins, and my uncle (Mom's brother).

The concert was at the Olympic Stadium, a huge structure built for the 1988 Summer Olympics. There were lines of fans outside the stadium. High school, middle school, even elementary kids were there. Most of them still had on their uniforms from school that day (kids here only get every other Saturday off). Naturally, most of these fans were girls.

With our passes, we sat not on the bleachers surrounding the field, but on chairs on the field itself. We were about 70 meters from the stage. It was really really loud, with all the teenaged fans screaming their hearts out for the concert to start. It was my first time at a concert like that, and it was exhilirating (and annoying...)

The concert started, and a parade of some of Korea's hottest musical acts came on one after another. No Rain or BoA (these megastars would warrant their own concert), but definitely some well known groups. Wonder Girls (with their almost maddeningly narcissistic "So Hot"), Epik High (their dramatic single "One" is quite a hit), and MC Mong (totally irreverent "Circus"). Other hit acts, such as Buga Kingz, Maya, Jewelry, and Super Junior performed. Some really catchy music...I've been listening to a little Epik High and Clazziquai right now.

To my understanding, the concert was meant to be a benefit for children in North Korea. The ticket sales would be used to help poor children in North Korea. How this money will actually be distributed, I'm not really sure. I couldn't quite understand everything that was said.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 1:09 | Permalink

06 June 2008

World Cup Stadium/Active Child

Today was the first nice day in a while, so a group of us went to the World Cup stadium. There was my grandmother, my aunts Hae-kyung and Hae-won, Hae-won's husband, their son Seung-hyun, and my uncle Dong-hwan. We bought kimbap (Rice and other things rolled in seaweed), and had a little picnic in the park near the stadium. It was really fun. Seung-hyun is so cute! He's six, now...when I saw him 4 years ago, he was just toddling around. Now he's this big bundle of energy, running around everywhere. I had a great time chasing him around and playing with him at the playground.

Afterwards, Hae-won, her husband, and Seung-hyun and I went to Homever, a local shopping center. The center was located just underneath the stadium. One level had all these different clothing brands, from Adidas to Giordano to Levi's, as well as Korean brands. Another level was a supermarket, with all sorts of food, a eating area, and most importantly, free samples. A third level was full of different goods, such as tools, electronics, etc. Everywhere was supercrowded (it's Veterans' Day here in Korea), so we got what we needed and took off.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 5:41 | Permalink

06 June 2008

63 Building

Thursday, I went to the 63 (Yook Sam) Building on Yeoido with Karey and Sung. Well, that was the plan, at least. Karey's mom is a 5th grade teacher at the Yongsan army base, and her kids were coming to the tower on a field trip. The 3 of us were to follow along, and get in for free (otherwise, it would have cost 22,000 won, or $22). The plan was to meet at the building by 10 AM, and walk in together.

What ended up happening was that I was late. I got out of the house late (too busy with email/Facebook), and ended up arriving at 10:30. I ran out of the subway and in the pouring rain to the building, only to see Karey...nowhere. I couldn't find him. I tried calling him several times, but he wouldn't pick up. Eventually, he called me, and told me he was in the IMAX theater. I told him I'd meet him outside.

We got to see the view from the 63rd floor (the clouds and rain made for a mediocre sight, unfortunately). Sung finally joined us for lunch (Karey had failed to call him), and we all went into the aquarium. They had your standard collection of fishies, sharks, as well as jellies, reptiles, and mammalians, as well as some more interesting exhibits. The coolest was the Doctor Fish (Garra rufa). These fish feed on dead skin cells. Part of the tank had holes for fingers. When I stuck my fingers in, the fish swarmed around, picking at my fingers...It felt kind of ticklish.

After the aquarium full of screaming kids, we were drained, so we went to Karey's new apartment to play video games. Karey's mom treated us out to dinner, and we went to this really cheap but decent Korean restaurant (seriously, doengjang jigae and bibimbap for 5,000 won?! Awesome!). Another fun, yet tiring day.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 5:09 | Permalink

06 June 2008

Everland!

Sorry about not updating for a while. It's been super busy the past few days.

This past Wednesday I went to Everland with Karey, Sung, my cousin Mi-Hyung (my mom's older sister's daughter), and her friend (forgot her name, unfortunately). Everland (or more accurately, Samsung Everland, as it's owned by the Samsung company) is an amusement park a 2 hour bus ride from Seoul. It's the largest amusement park in Korea. The park is broken up into different areas: European Adventure, American Adventure, Zoo-topia, and so on. It's very much like Disneyland, with cutesy mascots and saccharine sweet music piping through the air.

They did have some pretty awesome rides. The old standbys, such as the Viking ship, the double loop roller coaster, the river raft ride...By the end of the day, I was dizzy and a bit nauseous (ugh). After we got back, Sung's dad treated us to some wonderful Italian food from a place called "Mad For Garlic." Mm, quite good, but I was dead tired at the end of the day.

Continue reading "Everland!" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 4:49 | Permalink

03 June 2008

War Memorial/Yongsan Electronics Market

I went to go visit the Korean War Memorial today with Karey and Sung, two of my friends from Berkeley. Both of them are working in Seoul this summer. The memorial is dedicated primarily to the memory of the Korean War, although there are also exhibits for the other wars that Korea has been a part of. In the outside exhibit were different war apparatuses used by the two sides in the Korean War: cannons, aircraft, tanks, troop carriers, and the like. There were crowds of little kids in uniforms, out for a field trip to the museum. They prompted Sung to say "While I don't believe in God, I swear that I will never be a kindergarten teacher." The three of us headed into a special exhibit on the Dead Sea Scrolls held underground. Everything was written in Korean, and Sung had to translate all the signs for us. The exhibit was only partly on the scrolls; there were also artifacts from the early Christian era to the Byzantine era. I'd expound more, but I didn't understand everything...

Afterwards, we looked around the Yongsan Electronics Market. There were many little stores selling computer hardware, laptops, cameras, phones, and all sorts of electronics. We browsed around the movies and games, and I played Burnout Paradise for a bit. I wonder about those people who make their living selling these things. They're stuck indoors, staring at screens for hours on end. Can't be good for their eys. I had a headache just walking around in there.

We're supposed to go to Everland tomorrow, an amusement park outside of Seoul. Hopefully the weather cooperates.

Continue reading "War Memorial/Yongsan Electronics Market" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 5:15 | Permalink

02 June 2008

Korean Rain

Not the pop star, of course; I'm referring to the rain of the hydrological variety. Today was the first day of rain in my stay so far here in Korea, and man, it is quite a doozy. It poured for most of the morning, cleared up some for the afternoon, and is now pouring the evening. We don't get rain like this much in LA, although I do remember some great rainstorms.

It's always interesting to see these rains. Life doesn't stop because of the rain; people keep moving along. I know if we had rain like this in LA, people would freak out and complain about the weather. For people here, it's just a natural part of life. They just carry on. Oh sure, there are extra precautions they have to take because of the rain, but it's nothing they don't expect. It makes me wonder about people who live in areas with more extreme weather conditions, like regular hurricanes or droughts. Do they see it as just part of everyday life? How do you structure your life around such chaotic events?

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Posted by Joel Kim at 2:41 | Permalink

01 June 2008

Grub

No, not maggots, I'm talking about the palatable kind (I've been reading a bunch of O. Henry, hence the language of the title). I've had the opportunity to enjoy much good, honest home-made Korean food here. My grandmother is a wonderful cook (although evidently my mom didn't pick up much from her), and I've been gratefully enjoying her hospitality. Korean food isn't just kalbi or bulgogi. Korean BBQ is more for special occasions. No, most traditional Korean food is more similar to kimchi, the sharp fermented cabbage stuff. It is possible to summarize most of Korean cuisine with one word: "pickle." A typical Korean meal has rice and many small dishes (banchan). You pick and choose what you want. It's different from Chinese cuisine, which as my friend Brandon Jue puts it, is "a big steaming pile of food on a plate."

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Posted by Joel Kim at 4:51 | Permalink

01 June 2008

Grandparents

Korea so far has been wonderful. I'm unfortunately still jet-lagged (I crash around 10 PM and wake up at 5), but it's slowly getting better. I'm still staying at my maternal grandparents' place in Yeonshinnae (I sleep in their upstairs study). It's really good to see my grandparents again. It's been 4 years since I last saw them. They seem to be doing really well, healthy and all.

What kind of saddens me is that there is a limit to the amount of interaction I can have with my grandparents, specifically due to the language barrier. My grandparents will never learn English, and it is unlikely that I would be able to learn enough Korean to communicate all of my thoughts with them. I guess this is how it is for most children of immigrant parents. It must be tough for my grandparents, to see the son of their own child and be able to full communicate everything...Well, I guess that's just the way it is.

Besides, mothers don't communicate love through words. They communicate through food. When they feed you, they are really saying "I love you." Love you too, grandmom. Wish I could really tell you as much.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 3:13 | Permalink

30 May 2008

Airlines

So here am I in Seoul, Korea. I arrived here last night around 6 after a 12 hour flight. I was so exhausted, because I slept very little on the plane (I'm not good at sleeing on planes). I finally got to see The Golden Compass, 27 Dresses, and I Am Legend. I sat next to this wonderful Indian-American woman from Irvine. She was going to Bombay to see her mother, who is unfortunately very sick. We talked about movies, career paths, and her two sons.

Aren't airplanes just amazing? Here I was, taking a trip in 12 hours that 500 years ago would have taken several months. Even now, traveling to Korea by boat would take a long time, weeks even. It's not just the airplane itself, but the infrastructure surrounding it. The airports, the airlines, the systems put into place to ensure people get from one point to another as quickly, efficiently, and effortlessly as possible. Amazing.

On another note: Korean Air has really gotten a lot better over the years. The service is wonderful, and the food is pretty decent. It must be tough to be a flight attendant, though. You're constantly on your feet, you are always traveling, and you have to be calm and in control at all times, even with screaming children or sick passengers.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 0:24 | Permalink

29 May 2008

Leaving for Korea

So I will be leaving tomorrow (or technically later today) for Korea at 12:30 PM. I'm both pretty excited and pretty nervous. This is my first time making a trip back by myself. My parents and my brother will be joining me in the middle of June.

While I am nervous about getting lost or getting screwed or both, I am excited at the opportunity to explore more of Korea on my own initiative. Luckily, my extended family is there to help take care of me, and I have a couple friends that I plan on visiting. Hopefully I'll have a chance to update this blog, to keep you all up to speed on what's going on.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 0:43 | Permalink

21 May 2008

Finals Studying

So my last final is tomorrow morning at 8. To think, that in less than 12 hours, I will be officially done with my third year at Berkeley...Astounding.

This semester's final schedule was less daunting than last semester's. I remember studying in Dwinelle last December, spending the whole day going over my notes for class or working on papers. This semester, studying has been much more chill.

I had dinner with my friend Albert yesterday, even though I have one more final tomorrow. This is one of the few nights that we are both free, and I figured that spending time with him was more important than getting that extra hour or two of studying done. We talked, laughed, shared stories and praises, and dreamed for the future. How the time really has passed...

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Posted by Joel Kim at 2:35 | Permalink

21 May 2008

Departures

This is one of the busiest times of the year, and not just because of finals, moving, and summer plans. This is the time to say goodbye. All the seniors who have just graduated and are moving on with their lives, all the people going back home or to work or to grad school or to adventure...This is the time to say goodbye. We can't all just stay college students forever, after all.

Yesterday, my friend Nanna flew back to New York, after finishing up her optometry externship this semester. Tomorrow, Virginia is going to fly to Kenya for her mission trip. This weekend, Crystal will be flying back to Hong Kong, and then to USC next year. Irene will be going off to Ohio...

It just feels weird to see all these people leave, without knowing if I will ever see them again. Before, it would make me sad that they were leaving Berkeley. I really wished that they could stay and be with me, but this is unrealistic (not to mention possessive). I can only wish them the best, try my darndest to stay in touch, and hope to see them again in the future.

To everyone leaving Berkeley, possibly for the last time, I say goodbye, and thanks for everything.

Continue reading "Departures" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 7:37 | Permalink

20 May 2008

Graduations

I went to the CNR graduation last Sunday at the Hearst Greek Theater. It was pretty amazing to see all those graduates, lined up in their black robes and mortarboards. Some had leis around their necks, gifts of family or friends; others proudly showed off their stoles and cords, indications of high honors or fraternity membership. Some wore no such adornment, but simply walked on stage, the knowledge of a degree from UC Berkeley honor enough. I knew nearly all the forestry majors who graduated (there were only 15 of them), and cheered loudly for my friend Big Dave (Molecular Toxicology).

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Posted by Joel Kim at 2:16 | Permalink

20 May 2008

All-Nighter

So last week I pulled the first all-nighter in my career here at Berkeley. It's amazing to think that in my three years at this prestigious university, I've only had to stay up all night for schoolwork once. It's certainly not an experience I want to repeat again. I was working on my Natural Resource Management paper that was due on Friday at noon.

I had only started research the Monday before. Luckily, I was using a paper for my silviculture class from last semester as a base, and I didn't actually need to do too much research (thank goodness for Refworks!) I stayed up all of Thursday night to write the paper. I had told everyone that it would not be a big deal, that I should be okay. Around evening, I started to write. Time started to warp, and I spent half the time reading/writing, and half the time surfing the internet.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 1:19 | Permalink

14 May 2008

An Update?

Looking back over this past semester, I realize that I've blogged here an average of once a month. That's not very good frequency, especially for a blog. I don't know why it's been so hard for me to write stuff here. I mean, I certainly have a lot I would like to say, but every time I come to blog something, I blank out.

I guess the thing is that a blog is supposed to be focused on my life, my thoughts, my words, and I can't see why anyone would be interested in what I have to say. Not that I have nothing of worth to say, but with so many other pressures and burdens and obligations, I'm not sure why anyone would want to spend time reading this. In other words, I am afraid that if I write something up here, no one will pay attention.

I've come to realize though that this is not the best way to approach the situation. This space has been given for me to write what I think, to journal my thoughts in a way that invites scrutiny, discussion, and even critique. Instead of shying away from this opportunity, I should embrace it.

I can't promise too many more updates before the end of the semester, but I will do my best. I hope that reading this and all the other blogs on this page has been helpful and illuminating.

Continue reading "An Update?" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 0:00 | Permalink

24 April 2008

Ice Cream Day

So today was the ESPM Ice Cream Social. I was planning on making an announcement here sooner, but I totally blanked on it yesterday. Sorry about that. For today, the ESPM department was giving away free cones of Ben & Jerry's ice cream to anyone who stopped by outside of Mulford. Some of the professors were scooping cones for people; it was pretty cool get a cone from Keith Gilless, acting dean of CNR. I wasn't able to stay for too long (I had to go to class), but just getting the chance to enjoy the beautiful weather and talk with some friends was great. The Strawberry Kiwi sorbet was pretty good, too. This event reminds me of why the ESPM department is pretty cool (and CNR as a whole).

Yeah, CNR is a pretty chill place to be.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 5:02 | Permalink

29 March 2008

Ambulatory Adventures!

No, this entry isn't about paramedics or anything remotely as exciting. Just noting that, since I got into Berkeley, I've walked around a lot more than I ever did in LA. The very nature of the city lends itself to bipedal transport, I suppose. Everything is in convenient walking distance away (or at least is reachable by bus), so there is no immediate necessity for a car. Indeed, sometimes owning a motor vehicle in Berkeley is supremely trying, since there are the draconian parking laws and unintuitive road structures to manage. It seems that the city of Berkeley actually intentionally discourages driving; how else can you justify those large barricades in the middle of the road that divert traffic in only one direction?

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Posted by Joel Kim at 3:58 | Permalink

16 March 2008

Friday Morning Practice

So as some of you may know, I work as a Hydration Technician at the stadium. Basically, I give football players water, which also involves setting up the water coolers on the field before practice, then taking them out and cleaning them after practice.

This last Friday we had one of our 4 morning practices at 6:30 AM. I woke up at 4:45, washed up, and had some cereal before heading to the stadium. By the time I got there, it was already 5:45, and one of my coworkers was already setting things up. That morning, all 4 HydroTechs (myself included) showed up, as well as the 7 Sports Medicine Interns (SMIs).

Just as practice got underway, it started to drizzle. Pretty soon, it was pouring rain, just pouring! Standing around on the football field at 6:30 in the morning holding racks of water bottles in the pouring rain was not fun. I was lucky to have a waterproof jacket on, but everything still got soaked.

I was impressed by the football players, though. Despite the fact that they were out practicing in the early morning rain, they didn't complain or make a big fit. They just practiced through, and almost seemed to enjoy it. They had a very practical attitude about it; they had to practice, and so that's what they did, in spite of the rain.

After practice was over and everything cleaned up by 8:30, I went home, washed up, and got ready for the day.

Continue reading "Friday Morning Practice" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 5:12 | Permalink

12 February 2008

Dynamic

The Berkeley campus is a "dynamic center of scholarship and of cultural and political activity," according to the Campus page of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism's website. I read pamphlets extolling Berkeley's virtues as an ever-changing, constantly shifting forum for ideas and activity. Berkeley has a very dynamic campus, and in more ways than one.

I'm referring, of course, to the construction projects all over campus.

With changes in the school's structure come changes in the physical campus. Increases in student enrollment lead to an increased need for student housing and dining facilities; in other words, more dorms and dining commons. The Bioengineering building (Stanley Hall) was just finished, and the new Chang-Lin Tien Center for East Asian Studies should be finishing up soon.
All these new buildings are integral to Berkeley's progress as a premier educational and research institute.

Continue reading "Dynamic" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 3:53 | Permalink

12 February 2008

Warm Days...

Today is such a warm, relaxed day. The sun is shining so bright on the green Berkeley campus. A soft breeze blows. Students are walking around in T-shirts and shorts. Yes, it is a perfect summer day...in February.

One of the many things about Berkeley that shock people who come from outside the Bay Area (or indeed, outside of California) is the weather. It is just so warm and so beautiful here. As my friend from Massachusetts put it "You guys don't have seasons out here! Everything is the same!" She said that caroling during Christmas was frustrating, especially during songs like "Winter Wonderland."

Continue reading "Warm Days..." »


Posted by Joel Kim at 3:36 | Permalink

31 December 2007

Family Dinner

My parents recently told me the secret (well, one of them) for a good family: Eat together. Now, this may not seem like a great revelation (at least it didn't seem so at the time), but time away from home has made me understand the truth of this simply claim. The best way to keep a family healthy and strong is to eat together.

As long as a I can remember, my family has almost always eaten together. Oh sure, there have been times when this pattern was broken (usually initiated by the insistence on the part of my brother and myself on sharing our meals with the television). When we eat together, we get to talk about our days, share stories, tell jokes, and give advice (which is not always one way, mind). There are times in our lives when we are busy, and we don't really get to talk very much; at these times, the dinner table is our solace, our bastion of family order and conversation.

I understand that in some families, everyone eats at different times, and so nobody eats dinner together. This undoubtedly makes it hard for the family to stay a family, to stay nurturing, loving, and respectful. I'm not saying it's impossible; I'm sure that there are families out there that don't get to eat together but still love and support each other. I'm just saying that it seems like it would be harder. I mean, family life can be difficult enough as it is; every little bit of help is necessary.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 2:11 | Permalink

31 December 2007

Books

I love books. There really is no other way to put it. I love them. I love the feel of them, the sturdy heft of a hardbound, the informal easiness of a paperback, the solemn smoothness of a leatherbound. I love the smell, whether it's the musty smell of an old library book or the fresh crispness of a new purchase. Most of all, though, I just like to read. I read magazines, newspapers, cereal boxes, wikipedia articles, DVD inserts...but most of all books.

One of the reasons I like coming home is that I have the time to actually read books. In college (or at least at Berkeley), I don't really have much time to read. Part of that is because readings for school take up a good portion of the time I would ordinarily dedicate to literary pleasures. Furthermore, with so many friends around and so much to do, simply sitting down to read a book seems a bit...dry in comparison.

Continue reading "Books" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 1:39 | Permalink

31 December 2007

Reflections on Finals

So it's been a week or so since I finished my last final, but I do think that some thoughts on the whole madness that is finals season is worthwhile. After all, they are sure to come again next semester, except for those few that graduated this past semester.

Finals season is an agonizingly long week and a half between the end of instruction and the commencement of winter vacation. It is the time, of course, when final exams are administered. Depending on one's luck, the alignment of the stars, and the university administration's arbitration, one's final exam schedule can either be frustratingly packed or amazingly chill. One of my friends had three finals on one day; imagine, a nerve-wracking, emotionally exhausting test morning, noon, and night. Another friend was finished by the last day of instruction, and spent his finals season playing video games.

Continue reading "Reflections on Finals" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 9:30 | Permalink

31 December 2007

Campus Job (Water!)

A month or so ago my mother advised me to get a part-time job. She did so not because we were in dire financial straits; I am fortunate enough to say that my attendance at Berkeley is well paid for by the generosity of my parents (a fact that they see fit to remind me of on a consistent basis). No, money was not the issue. My mother simply wanted me to be build up some discipline and have some experience working a job. To put it in her words, "If you have a job, it will look like at least you're trying."

So I returned to my old job at Memorial Stadium. That's right, I am an integral part of the Sports Medicine team, charged with taking good care of our beloved Cal athletes. I am privileged to work with the football team, and play a pivotal role in ensuring that the Golden Bears are healthy and strong during practice. I am a Hydration Technician.

In other words, I am a water boy.

Continue reading "Campus Job (Water!)" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 9:12 | Permalink

31 December 2007

New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year's Eve, everyone! To think that a whole year has already gone by...2007 is fast drawing to a close.

The celebration of the new year is rather low-key in my household. No big parties, no fancy dinners (in fact, our food is rather pedestrian in comparison to some of the feasts I've heard other people entertain), no drunken revelry. Usually we have a few families from our church gather together, chat, and eat before the New Year's Eve service.

In fact, we're having one of those dinners right now. This year, the gathering is at our house. The adults are talking in the sitting room, while we kids (yes, kids) are scattered in different parts of the house. My brother is working on AP Bio homework with some friends, and a couple other friends are here. Soon we will join the adults at the dinner table for some Dduk Guk (a Korean dish traditionally served to welcome the new year, the name means "Rice Cake Soup").

Again, it's not a very fancy or fanciful celebration, but it is what it is. I don't think I'd be able to handle a loud, raucous party, anyways.

Continue reading "New Year's Eve!" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 8:58 | Permalink

28 December 2007

Sand, Steel, and Swings: Christmas at the park with my brother

On Christmas day, my brother and I were alone in the house. My mother was still at work at the hospital, and my father had gone to the meditation center for his afternoon session. Dale was working on AP Bio homework, and I was just lounging around the house, looking for something to do.

Bored and a little edgy from spending so much time indoors, I decided to go for a walk. After a moment's thought, I took my brother with me. No sense in keeping him locked up indoors, you see, and I figured he would enjoy some fresh air.

We bundled up as best we could and soldiered into the night air. The Santa Ana winds were blowing something fierce, and the shrieking winds brought a strange eeriness to our friendly evening street. We headed for the park, my brother on rollerblades, myself on foot.

After a brief excursion onto the tennis courts, where we played tag and whacked each other with sticks, we arrived at our destination. The playground. A modest ensemble of plastic, metal, and sand, it had served us well in our youth in amusement and sport. Seeing it now, after such long years at college, brought some comfort. There was no one else around; no one else was foolish enough to come out at this time of night to a playground beset by such winds.

Continue reading "Sand, Steel, and Swings: Christmas at the park with my brother" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 2:35 | Permalink

25 December 2007

Winter Break (In-N-Out)

Last Saturday my friend drove me down from Berkeley to LA. There were four of us in the car; Ezra (the driver), Milton, Danny, and myself. We had to leave early, because Milton had to be at a wedding at 5. Half an hour out from Berkeley, he realized he had forgot his suit, so we had to turn around and get it. So we left Berkeley around 10.

For those of you traveling by car from the Bay Area to Los Angeles, prepare for a long ride. Luckily we didn't have too much traffic, but I have heard some horror stories. One friend was driving up right after the Thanksgiving break. He left his home at 1 PM. By the time he had picked up everyone else and gotten to Berkeley, it was 1 AM. He resolved to never make the mistake of leaving so late again.

The car ride was uneventful. We talked, laughed, and joked around. These three guys are from my fellowship, which is the closest circle of friends I have at Berkeley, so we had a lot of in-jokes and fun memories to share.

We stopped at an In-N-Out for lunch. For those of you not familiar with it, In-N-Out is a popular fast food chain in California. They are known for their quality burgers and great customer service. In-N-Out is noteworthy in that it pays its employees $10.50/hour, as opposed to the California minimum wage of $8.00/hour (which is higher than the federal mandated rate of $5.85/hour). I really do enjoy their burgers, their fresh ingredients and their tasty fries.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 7:48 | Permalink

25 December 2007

Winter Break (White Elephants)

Alright, merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all enjoy this season of cold weather, holiday cheer, and indulgence of food. Try to take a step back from all the busyness to count your blessings for this year.

I was able to come back in time this year to make it to the Christmas party for my church. Every year for the past nine years my church's young adult group has had a party at the pastor's home. The last few years I came back to LA too late to attend, but this past Sunday I was able to make it.

Honestly, it was a bit weird at first, because I only see these people three times a year or so, and I felt rather awkward. However, I managed to catch up with some old friends (I congratulated a couple on their upcoming wedding in April), and played with the pastor's two kids.

We also engaged in a White Elephant gift exchange. For those of you who don't know what it is, I suggest you research it on Wikipedia. Basically, it's a fun way for people to come together and give random gifts. It is not meant to be an exercise in unabashed consumerism, but rather a humorous game. I gave away a Thermos; I received (or stole, rather) a Word Origin Calendar for 2008, with each day revealing a new word.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 7:07 | Permalink

07 December 2007

Provision of Gratitude

Over the Thanksgiving break, I went home to Granada Hills and relaxed with my family. I drove down with a few friends on Wednesday and got home around midnight. Some things had changed; my brother had put in a big mat in the middle of the living room to practice his break-dancing. My family greeted me with a hug and sent me off to bed. However, even though I was really tired, I stayed up until 3 AM playing Lumines on my brother's PSP. I guess some things don't change as much.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 4:13 | Permalink

07 December 2007

Logs, Blogs, and Journals

So I've been MIA for pretty much this entire semester. I'll try to make up for my absence in these next coming days. Luckily my final exam schedule is relatively free, so I have more time to write.

Thinking back over this semester, I wish I had spent more time on this blog. I've recently rediscovered the joy in keeping a journal or diary. I get to take time to relax and unwind after each day, writing down my thoughts on the events of the day. Sometimes I would remember a joke someone told me, and laugh a second time. Perhaps I will think on what I learned that day, or things that I wanted to do, but didn't. Keeping a journal gives me space to relive the day, and to get a little perspective. I wish I did it more often.

This semester went by so quickly. There is so much I wanted to do, so much I wanted to be a part of. Dinners to attend, happy birthdays to wish, books to read, thoughts to think...Well, there's no time for regret. That's why I like having a journal of sorts, so I can look back and remember.

Thanks for reading this, and hopefully it gets you thinking too. Take a second to remember today.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 3:46 | Permalink

16 October 2007

I'm Still Here

Yes, as hard as it is to believe, I am still alive and well. I have not posted here at all since the semester began. I thought that I was too busy to type anything worthwhile, but I realized that I was not as busy as I thought. I just was too lazy to write anything here. May that be a lesson to all of us.

I just spent the last hour reorganizing my email inbox. I had let my GMail mailbox fill up to a ridiculous degree, and so had to wade through it to pluck out the relevant, important emails, and dump out the rest. What's worse is that I should be studying for my midterm later today...but I just could not rest until I organized it. As it is, I have whittled down 1000 emails to about 700, and I will take a break until tomorrow.

I apologize if this entry appears scatterbrained or ill-planned, for I am (unsuccessfully) multitasking at the moment. I just wanted to check-in and let everyone (anyone?) who reads this blog know that I'm still around, and I will post more frequently (after this week).

At the least, let this entry be an encouragement to all those students thinking of entering Berkeley. As prestigious as this university is and as intelligent and talented as its students are, we are still human (mostly), and still fall prey to common human pitfalls, such as lust, greed, and SLOTH.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 1:46 | Permalink

17 June 2007

Off for summer!

So my summer vacation has effectively come to a close. No, I'm not going back to Berkeley for summer school. I'm actually heading to Asia for the next two months. I will be going with my Christian fellowship, ICA. There will be students going to different countries to teach English to high school students. People I've talked to have said that this program is very difficult and challenging, but also provides an avenue for a great deal of growth.

Alright, well, I best be getting ready to go. Have a good summer, everyone!

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Posted by Joel Kim at 3:35 | Permalink

12 June 2007

You just left. Why are you back here?

That's a common response I got yesterday when I went to visit my old high school. Even though I graduated two years ago, I wanted to go back and see some of the teachers, as well as some of the students that I know. It's always refreshing to go back and see familiar faces again; it reminds me that things haven't changed as much as I think.

I will say that I have no idea how I was able to wake up at 6:15 AM every morning to make it to class on time. Since coming to Cal, where classes before 10 AM are considered early, my sleep patterns have become decidedly lax. Somehow, I was able to drag myself out of bed and make it to school.

I went around to different classrooms, saying my greetings to different teachers. To their credit, nearly all of them were pleased to see me. Even my thorny philosophy teacher, Mr. Linn, was relatively congenial, chatting about what he was teaching. My calculus teacher, Mr. McGrath, pulled me into the class and made a 5 minute speech about how I did so well and that he was so proud of me and considers me to be a hero. Quite the flatterer, Mr. McGrath is, but I knew that he was speaking with sincerity.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 4:48 | Permalink

05 June 2007

Reagan Presidential Library

My parents and I went to the Reagan Presidential Library today. Both of my parents were off work, so we decided to have some quality time together. My brother unfortunately was still at school.

The library is perched on a hill that overlooks a gorgeous vista of shrub covered hills and suburban homes. The grounds are well-kept, clean, ordered. The library itself was built with elegance and simplicity in mind. It was a nice place.

I had a good time, surprisingly. One hears "presidential library," and the mind gears for tedium and vapidness. But the presentation of Reagan's life was rather interesting. After all, this is a man who was for a time responsible for one of the most influential nations on this planet. He grew from humble origins to movie actor to President of the United States. He was one of the key figures in the Cold War. Certainly a very interesting figure.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 2:10 | Permalink

03 June 2007

Summer languor

Summertime sure is relaxing. No classes to go to, no homework to do, no finals to study for. I've been on summer break for about 2 weeks now, but it feels almost like it's been longer. No academic obligations...ah...

I noticed that I've been getting a lot of sleep these days. I would go to sleep around 12, and wake up at 10. That's 10 hours of sleep! During the school year I would function well with only 7 hours. I wonder why I'm getting so much now? My dad said that it's because I'm back home and don't have many worries, so I've been able to sleep longer. I wish I didn't, though; I've actually felt more sleepy now than I did during school.

In any case, I'm trying to find ways to put my summer time to good use. I especially want to exercise more. Got to go out and run!

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Posted by Joel Kim at 7:37 | Permalink

27 May 2007

A Day in SB with the family

My family went to Santa Barbara today. We took the Amtrak train this morning from the Chatsworth station to SB, which took a good hour and a half. It's been a while since I've ridden the train, so it was pretty cool. I had only gotten about 5 hours of sleep the night before (since I stayed up to 3:30AM reading Sherlock Holmes stories). So I spent most of the train ride either asleep, reading my collection of stories, or bugging my younger brother.

When we arrived, it was much colder than we had anticipated. The sky was overcast, and there was a light breeze. Both of my parents and I were adequately dressed for the cold, but my brother was only wearing a T-shirt and jeans. We wandered around the Stearns pier for a bit, and had lunch at a delightful seafood restaurant. I had the Pasta Primavera in Marinara sauce.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 1:12 | Permalink

25 May 2007

UCLA Friends

So right now I am in a dorm room in UCLA. Since Berkeley finished a week or so ago, I decided to come to UCLA to visit a couple high school friends. I spent the night on the floor of my friends' crowded dorm room.

Seeing old friends is an interesting experience. To come back together after such a long separation can be a bit awkward. Sometimes, if you've been separated long enough, you don't know what to say; the common foundation for conversation that was there is gone. Still, it is good to catch up with friends. I mean, we may not be as close now as we were before, but that's alright. Just knowing that they're doing well, that they're thriving, is good. I know people who bemoan this change, who try to hold onto relationships as they knew them. But sometimes, you just have to let things go.

So I basically spent last night watching The Office for the first time (such a wickedly funny show!), and watching people play Smash Bros. Typical college fare. We talked about future careers, about global warming, about changing our world. Again, typical college conversation.

Ah, idealism~ Ah, youth~

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Posted by Joel Kim at 4:03 | Permalink

23 May 2007

Back home

It's pretty strange to be back home in sunny Southern California. Actually, it hasn't been all that sunny since I came back. In fact, it was overcast these past couple days. Still, it's good to be back home.

Today I went to see my younger brother Dale compete in the City Finals in high school swimming. I was a swimmer in high school too (butterfly was my stroke), and I remember my City final meets. The tension, the nervousness, the excitement. To see this from a spectator's point of view, rather than from a participant's was rather odd.

Still, it was exciting to see members of my high school swim team go the distance. Varsity boys got first, while varsity girls got 4th. My brother's medley relay team did really well (except for the fact that they were disqualified for a false start).

All in all, it was a fun meet. Go Cleveland High School!

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Posted by Joel Kim at 1:14 | Permalink

15 May 2007

Finals...

So my last final exam of this academic year is tomorrow night. In approximately 20 hours, I will be finished with my sophomore year in college. As I wrote that sentence just now, a chill went down my spine. One test is all the remains between me and the end. This final in itself is not a big deal; it's for my Fire, Insects, and Disease course, which is not too difficult. Rather, it's the idea that when I turn in that test, I will no longer be a sophomore, that is a bit daunting.

Perhaps that is why I am neglecting my studying. Instead of poring over my notes like I should, I am spending time on Facebook, Youtube, and this blog. Certainly, I am confident in my ability to do well on this exam. Nonetheless, some studying can't hurt.

In any case, good luck to everyone still studying for exams (especially all you physics people). Don't worry, for after this week, everything will be a lot clearer.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 3:37 | Permalink

09 May 2007

Happy Birthday

So it was my birthday today. Well, I am writing this at 2:30 AM on May 9th, so technically my birthday was yesterday, but that's splitting hairs, really. Happy birthday.

My day was not really a birthday to end all days. I woke up late to class (missed my final judo class of the semester), took a final for Korean, and sat through an hour and a half of presentations. I had only gotten 4 hours of sleep the night before, since I was working on a paper that was due. As you can probably guess, I was pretty tired the whole day.

After my final class of the semester, I went to get some gelato (which is free on your birthday), and went to my friend's apartment to take a nap. At 5 I went to the Bean Feed, which is a Forestry Club social event with good food and good people. At 6 I went to a Bio 1B review session, after which a couple of my friends took me out to dinner. After dinner, I trekked up to Bowles (the all-guys dorm across campus) to work on a video for a banquet tomorrow night. We finished just now. The video is not done; two guys are still working on it.

This birthday was not the most spectacular or exciting. I remember last year, when a bunch of my floormates surprised me with cake and ice cream, and a group of guys from my church surprised me with cake. This day was filled more with little things, little gifts; people saying happy birthday as they passed, friends giving me little gifts. It's definitely been a good day.

Oh! So, as I was walking home, three of my friends called me up and gave me a cake. As they were driving me home, we got pulled over by the police. Evidently my friend's brake light was broken. While we were waiting, one of the cops asked what the cake was about. When we told him that it was my birthday, he said "Happy birthday!" Yeah.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 2:35 | Permalink

29 April 2007

Fun Forest Field Trips

So this past weekend I went on a field trip (one of the cool things of forestry classes are the field trips). I went with my ESPM 134 class: Fire, Insects, and Disease. We started off at 8am, and drove 4 hours, stopping on the way. Our destination was Blodgett Forest, a research forest owned by the UC in the Sierra Nevada. Our purpose was to see firsthand interactions of fire, insects, and diseases in the forest.

We were really able to see these agents at work in the forest, so the trip was pretty educational. What I really enjoyed was being able to talk with my fellow students and professors in a more intimate setting. In the classroom, we don't get much opportunities to chat; on the trip we were able to just sit around and hang out. Plus we got to stay over in cabins, which was pretty fun.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 2:11 | Permalink

20 March 2007

Midterm Time (still)

UC Berkeley has a wonderful reputation for academic excellence, which attracts students from around the world. What these students don't realize is what academic excellence translates to for the average student: lots and lots of exams.

Now, I don't want to sound like I'm whining. My midterm schedule is certainly not as hectic as other people's. I'm not taking Chem 3B or Bio 1A or any of these other more difficult classes. Nonetheless, I still chafe under the burden of midterm examinations. That, and the weight of my backpack with all those textbooks.

Still, that's what I'm here at college for, I suppose. After all, the professors are not like the Greek gods, smiting us students with exams, their hearts full of malice, caprice, and ambrosia (although some students would say otherwise.) I'm sure the professors hate grading exams as much as we do taking them. That's why they get the GSIs to do it.

In all seriousness, midterms are a way to develop discipline and academic rigor. These tests, papers, and whatnot give me an opportunity to really work hard and develop my work ethic, drive, and sense of delayed gratification. After the test is over, I can revel in the relief that finally, finally, I finished.

Until then, I better get back to work. Enjoy your spring break!

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Posted by Joel Kim at 8:18 | Permalink

05 March 2007

My Journey Into CNR (aka why you should be here)

The main reason I am in CNR is because I enjoy what I am studying. I know that the environment is a crucial part of the human experience, on the individual, social, and global level. There is no more denying the fact that we humans are part of the environment, as much as we may try to deny that fact with our urban centers and sidewalk cafes. I am interested in nature and how humans, both individually and as a society, interact with it. CNR gives me a chance to really explore my interests. I also enjoy the field trips and time outside that we get to spend.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 7:05 | Permalink

04 March 2007

So Many People...

I was just ruminating today on the different people I run into around campus. I constantly see people that I know walking on the way to class. Even outside of class, I see people I recognize in the library, at stores, or in restaurants. I suppose this is all the result of my willingness to go out and talk to people and be actively involved. The huge campus of Berkeley seems less daunting when you know other people in it. So for those of you reading this in lecture (and shame on you for paying more attention to the internet than to the professor!), take the effort to get to know the person next to you. Who knows, you might just make a new friend.

Addendum (to tie this into CNR): I find that this is especially true in CNR. I walk into Mulford Hall (which is one of the halls for the college), and I run into people randomly. They may be people in my (soon-to-be) major, people in my classes, or people I just meet randomly in the area. I'm starting to feel more at home in CNR, just as I'm meeting new people and finding my place in our little college.

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Posted by Joel Kim at 1:54 | Permalink

27 February 2007

New Kid on the Blog

Hello, everyone! My name is Joel, and I am a Forestry and Natural Resources major (well, intended major, but I'm pretty much there). When I tell people that I am a forestry major, I invariably get asked several questions, like "What's that?" or "Are you going to be a forest ranger?" or "What are you going to do with that?" I guess people don't consider Forestry to be a major that provides many career opportunities, unlike, say, Art History or Theater.

So what is Forestry and Natural Resources? They actually used to be two different majors, but were lumped together into one. Forestry is the science and art of cultivating, maintaining, and developing forests (see, art people that I potentially offended? Foresters are artists too.) The major provides concentrations in either the natural sciences or in the human dimensions of natural resources.

Why did I choose FNR? I always loved nature (although as an LA boy, I never really got exposed to much to it), and understanding how natural systems work is fascinating to me. Recently, I've become more interested in the role of human beings in the natural world, and how we make use of the natural resources that surround us. So, no, I don't know what I'm going to do with forestry, but I'm not worried about that now.

Alright, I hope that answered some questions about forestry. Yes, I am a tree hugger, because hugging a tree is the easiest way to measure its DBH (that's diameter for you non-forester types). Plus, you know, I like trees. They're nice.

About me: I like puns, as you can see by the title of this entry.

Continue reading "New Kid on the Blog" »


Posted by Joel Kim at 6:15 | Permalink