T-minus 11 days until takeoff

It’s crunch time. Our last full week in Korea. I can’t believe that it’s practically over. There have been so many experiences that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.  However, we’ve had our fun for the last two-and-a-half months, now it’s time to get down to business.

The hectic-ness of lab is now in full stride. After what felt like a lifetime, we have FINALLY began to start filming grasshopper jumps in lab. Talk about cutting it down to the wire. The goal is to get around 180 videos in total. Ideally, we would like to have ten grasshoppers filmed on six substrates each, spread across three different species. Let me remind you that this is in a perfect world. Whether we actually accomplish this is up for grabs.  As of today, we have attempted to film around 60 grasshopper jumps, with around 35 “good” jumps. I’ll keep you guys updated, I’m sure you’re sitting on the edge of your seats, dying to know how many we get done each day. Just hold your horses.

There are so many things that can go wrong with the grasshoppers, especially when you are trying to use them for multiple days. For starters, we determined that the grasshoppers start to tire after about three jumps, so we are only able to film two substrates per grasshopper per day. This means that we are going to have to keep the grasshoppers alive and unharmed for three days, minimum– assuming nothing goes wrong. A lot of the time what happens is that the grasshopper fails to jump properly off the substrate within the allotted time frame (~10 minutes), so you are unable to use that grasshopper again. The damn grasshopper gets camera shy almost every time you set it on the substrate. This experiment has made me strongly question why they are called grassHOPPERS. They should be called grass-everything but-hoppers *ba dum tss*.  After a long day of filming, you want to tear the limbs off of any subject that doesn’t jump within 30 seconds.

We have also figured out that one of the species, Acrida cinera, particularly enjoy hiding instead of jumping. We figure that this may be due to the fact that they were raised in a lab, as they were donated to us by a government facility. We hypothesized that these grasshoppers were raised with no actual predators, but were merely prodded and pushed around by people in labs. Without any actual fear of being hunted, we think that they merely hide from any type of stimulation, rather than try to escape it. If there is no danger, why try to escape? This has proved extremely irritating in lab, as they almost always decide to move underneath the substrate.

Sadly, Matt and I were cooped up in lab the entire weekend. However, we have already experienced so much of Seoul this trip that we were not that disappointed we weren’t able to head out last weekend.

On a slightly less boring, last week we visited the Banpo Moonlight Bridge! It is the world’s longest fountain bridge (I’m not sure how hard it is to take the world record on that though, you don’t see that many fountain bridges). It was very beautiful to watch. Unfortunately, we picked the wrong day to go. There was some music video shoot that was going on right next to us. For the majority of the show, there was stage lighting about 15 feet away from us. They only needed about five seconds of video, but it took them 20 minutes to film (VERY reminiscent of our filming, now that I think about it).  When we were leaving, what we thought was a professional pool match in the middle of the park. However, this pool table had no pockets. We sat there for about 25 minutes watching these dressed up Koreans knock three balls around the glorified pool table. We had no clue what was going on. Every so often, a point was scored, followed by a cheesy sound effect. We found it very odd that they set up a professional event right in the middle of town. This game was being televised and everything! I couldn’t believe that people were actually watching this.

This weekend the YU boys are coming up again. Once again, were going to be in for another adventure. The plan is to visit one of the top waterparks in the world! I’ll give you an update on that next week.

Congratulations if you’ve actually read this far. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t of. Those last 750 words weren’t exactly eyes-glued-to-the-screen material if you know what I mean. You’re a real trooper! I promise I’ll try to make next week more like a Stephen King novel (but don’t hold me to it). Hopefully that’ll keep your attention! James out.

P.S. Sorry about the lack of photos, I didn’t think it would be that interesting too see hundreds of pictures of how frustrated Matt and I got while filming this last week.

Matt prodding the grasshopper to make him jump
Matt prodding the grasshopper to make him jump
Weird pool-like game
Weird pool-like game
Delicious Phat Thai!
Delicious Phat Thai!
Matt's ice cream didn't fare too well
Matt’s ice cream didn’t fare too well
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