ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on July 1st, 2009 at 3:37 am

ROK Drop 5 Years On & Counting

gikoreaMost of you are probably not aware of this, but with the end of the month of June, that means that the ROK Drop is now officially 5 years old.  The site has definitely come a long ways from when I first started blogging back in 2004.  When I got back from Iraq I started Googling for information to get back up to date about Korea since I knew I was going to be posted there again.  That is how I found the now defunct Korea Life Blog.  Korea Life is still to this day the best blog about daily life in Korea that I have read.  The writer of the blog Shawn Matthews really wrote about everything that happened to him in such an open and honest way that you felt like you had known the guy for a long time.  He even wrote a book about his experiences in Korea and it was hilarious.  However, his openness and honesty unfortunately may have been because of depression problems Shawn was having that unfortunately may have led to his suicide.  His death was at the time a real loss to the K-blog community.

However, Shawn did get me hooked on reading the Rathbone Press, which at the time was a very informative blog about Korean current events and history.  Like the Korea Life Blog this blog is now unfortunately defunct as well.  Eventually these two blogs got me into reading the Marmot’s Hole as well, which to this day remains the top K-blog in Korea.  However, reading these sites, becoming more aware of North Korea issues, as well as wanting to share my thoughts about the anti-US movement I seen around me at the time made decide to start my own site.  Probably very few readers remember how this site used to be hosted in the blogging ghetto of Lycos Tripod.  If you can believe it I went with Tripod simply because of a Internet search for free blogs that had Tripod pop up.  I knew absolutely nothing about hosting my own blog back then and figured this was as good as any other blogging platform.  How wrong I would ultimately find out I was.

When I started the site it was just simply called GI Korea. You can actually still read the first posting I did back in June 2004 about our unit securing out camp from anti-US protesters and some thoughts on the 2002 Armored Vehicle Accident.  It is amazing how far this blog has come from those humble days by comparing that posting to the much more indepth posting I did on the 2002 Armored Vehicle Accident, a few years later.  That posting is quite possibly one of the most informative postings on the site. Anyway most of my postings back when I first started blogging were real simple with nothing really groundbreaking.  I actually was having some modest success traffic wise initially because I was really the only military person blogging at the time.  Eventually Warrior News by the 2ID PAO was started, which is now defunct and then the great Lost Nomad blog was also started around the same time, but it to has since gone defunct though Nomad still blogs about his beloved sport of fishing.  Strangely despite the thousands of US soldiers who rotate in and out of Korea, it now seems I am the only military person who continues to blog about Korea regularly.

After 2.5 years of blogging using Tripod I finally got smart and decided to change over to WordPress.  I did the change while I was on leave over Christmas Break of 2006.  First of it was a lot of work just to get my own hosted WordPress site up and running.  I bought webspace through Bluehost and after much trial and error I was able to get the site running.  However, after getting the site running I had to move all the content from the Tripod site over to WordPress manually because at the time WordPress could not automatically move postings over from Tripod.  So I had to manually cut and paste all the postings from the Lycos site over to the WordPress site.  It basically took me two weeks to get that complete.  Besides the work I had to do to make the move a success, my site lost all its links and web presence to where I pretty much had to start all over again in buidling up the site to where search engines would start ranking it again.  Fortunately most of my regular readers from before continue to read the site which I really appreciated. The move also caused me to rename the site from GI Korea to ROK Drop since I needed to register a new URL for the site with Bluehost.  Anyone serving up in 2ID can tell you exactly what a ROK Drop is if you are wondering.

Looking back now I am so glad I did the move because WordPress is a far superior blogging platform to Lycos because of the freedom it gives you to customize your site with its myriad of themes and plug ins. The appearance of the site has changed a bit since I first moved over to WordPress, with the latest change happening after my site crashed this past January.  The site crash was because Bluehost could not handle the site traffic at the time and they suspended my site and wanted me to find a new webhost.  That is when I moved my site over to the Blogs About servers who have just been excellent to me ever since I started doing business with them.  I didn’t have to do hardly anything as they moved my site over from Bluehost to their servers for me.   The move to both WordPress and then Blogs About I think really moved my blog to the next level as I have been able to add new features to the site that the bandwidth from the webhost provider can support.   I have continued to add new features to the site such as a Forum feature which was completed earlier this year.

Now if you all would just use the darn thing to justify all the work I put into it!  ;-)


Anyway as you can see the ROK Drop has come a long ways since its humble beginnings, but I would like to finally thank all the readers that have made the success of the site possible.  I can assure you I would not still be blogging today if no one was reading and responding to what I have to say.  I have many great commenters on the site with some I have come to know either in person or through e-mail.  Some of the commenters I can’t help be humbled by there great knowledge about Korea or other subject matter areas.  It is always especially great to see guys I respect such as Andrei Lankov or Thomas Ricks leaving comments on the site as well.

So who knows what the future holds for the ROK Drop five years down the road, but even though I have slowed down my blogging a bit due to increasing work commitments; the blog will continue on for the foreseeable future and hopefully continue to be of value to everyone who reads it.  Once again I would like to thank everyone for reading and commenting on the blog and making the ROK Drop the great site that it is and will continue to be.

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  • ChickenHead
    9:18 pm on June 30th, 2009 1

    We love you and you blog, GI…

    …and if I was a woman or a gay, I would show you just how much.

  • Avatar of USinKoreaUSinKorea
    10:00 pm on June 30th, 2009 2


    I particularly admire this blog and One Free Korea's for having the demanding day jobs you two have, along with common real life demands, while still maintaining the ability to put out high quality, informative posts on a consistent, daily basis.

    As you noted, there have been other quality blogs that have gone on for years but then faded.

    I was wondering the other day if Lost Nomad and Gerry Bevers are still around commenting or posting?

    I can remember back to when it all got started – before blogs even – when a couple of geocity websites and Bevers' MSN forum opened up specifically to report on what was going on in 2002 because the US press wouldn't pay attention.

    But then the K-blogsphere quickly mushroomed as blogs did the same across the Internet…

  • Greg
    10:15 pm on June 30th, 2009 3

    Happy Anniversary, ROK Drop. Thank you for starting and maintaining this informative blog. I look forward to visiting every day.

  • Leon LaPorte
    10:26 pm on June 30th, 2009 4

    Great job. I didn't always comment but it looks like I might have been reading it from almost the beginning. :shock:

    As far as your namesake rock drops, many are disappearing…

  • Thanks
    10:29 pm on June 30th, 2009 5

    I really do thank you for this blog. i happened upon it recently after finding out that I'd likely be joining the eusa, and it has prepared me like no thing or person possibly could. I especially appreciate the balanced, considered treatment with which you handle sensitive topics and the korean people (which seems to be a rarity amongst korea-related blogs, e.g., any blog written by an English teacher, for understandable reasons), the sheer comprehensiveness of its scope, and the special attention you pay to matters of korean history. you're certainly the most knowledgeable korea expert ive encountered, (including among my grandparents and every other korean ive ever met, which being korean american and having spent a lot of time in korea, is a lot) and my hats off to you. keep it up

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    10:55 pm on June 30th, 2009 6

    A rock drop in Uijongbu is where I got the idea for the name and most of those have been torn down. The one on highway 43 should still be there though.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    10:58 pm on June 30th, 2009 7

    Good think I am neither :smile:

    But thanks anyway.

  • failijuana
    6:40 am on July 1st, 2009 8

    Your blog is unquestionably an extremely valuable resource. Thanks for all your efforts!

  • Jeff
    6:42 am on July 1st, 2009 9

    ROKDROP and a cup of coffee is how I start my day. SO very grateful for your blog, it keeps me in touch with my second love. Don't stop your writing and critical analysis…

  • a listener
    6:51 am on July 1st, 2009 10

    I'm soo gay for your blog GI. Seriously, we thank you so much!

  • Spelunker
    8:11 am on July 1st, 2009 11

    I come from one of the recommended China blogs (Danwei) and previously never visited any Korea blogs until after the Laura Ling-Euna Lee North Korea caper.

    Now I religiously read ROK Drop every day for both intelligence as well as entertainment.

    For a short time I thought ROK Drop and One Free Korea were written by the same person because you both seem to share similar viewpoints.

    My current Korea blog routine involves ROK Drop, One Free Korea, and Marmot's Hole in that specific order. (NK Economy Watch gets honorable mention.)

    I looked at other links on your "Must Read K-blogs" list and it's obvious to me that nobody else comes close to the quality I find here and at One Free Korea.

    I believe I will continue to visit ROK Drop long after Laura and Euna are released. Thanks for all of the diligent work you have put into making ROK Drop the first stop for interesting Korea information and funny stuff from elsewhere around the world (Russian black widow, Singapore penis biter, Nazi Korean models, and other scary women).

  • ChipperB
    12:44 pm on July 1st, 2009 12

    GI Korea, I really appreciate your blog. Four of the best years I had in the Army were spent in 2ID or EUSA. I hope to get back to Korea again someday. I think you are an excellent journalist and I enjoy your stories and appreciate the research, time, and effort you put into them. Thanks and here's to 5 more years.

  • Nomad
    1:42 pm on July 1st, 2009 13

    Congrats on the 5-year anniversary!


    Yep, I'm still around but as GI pointed out, these days I stick to blogging about fishing, fishing, and more fishing :grin:

  • NKeconWatch
    1:47 pm on July 1st, 2009 14

    Congratualtions on making it 5 years–that is quite an accomplishment.

    Happy July 4th as well!

  • Ian
    3:04 pm on July 1st, 2009 15

    Been reading since the start and glad to see you marking five years. Congrats.

  • Brian
    4:35 pm on July 1st, 2009 16

    Happy Birthday, ROKDrop. The best in the K-blog business.

  • Avatar of USinKoreaUSinKorea
    6:29 pm on July 1st, 2009 17

    We (I'm sure I can say we) miss your commenting as well as the blog…

    …I actually thought about trying to hook up with you for some fishing when I get back to Korea, but given what I hope to do with NGOs related to NK Human Rights in Seoul, and given how overworked ESL instructors are, I'm not sure I'd have the time or energy…

    …which does remind me — I need to get in a good amount of fishing before I leave. Last year was a bust in Georgia due to the drought, but we've had record rainfall this spring and the creeks and streams I like to fish should be up as well as the lake where I have my best results…

  • Matt Strum
    7:32 pm on July 1st, 2009 18

    Happy B-Day! If I only knew half the stuff you do I'd be happy^^. Keep up the good work.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    12:30 am on July 2nd, 2009 19

    Everyone thanks again for all the kind words. It definitely makes up for the occasional hate mail I get. :smile:

  • Jack
    12:46 pm on July 2nd, 2009 20

    ROK Drop: One of the must-read K-blogs anywhere. I have the up-most respect for you.


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