Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years: Version 2.0!

Monday, January 12, 2015


The last couple weeks have been full on for the waeg.  He's had a new project to work on that while not as exacting as some in the past, has certainly kept him focused and away from the many things he could be doing, like looking at stoopid cat videos and facebook fails on the internet.

He was having a particularly rough moment when he overheard the following: maaaannn, what is this shit??! You mean I can't make photocopies and collate that data for the boss whose ass I'm trying to kiss while I'm supposed to be doing real face time in the customer support unit?? And what's with gettin' shit on for showing up late?? I was sooo hung over, come on!  Can't a guy get a break around here??  And they actually expect me to write up a report for what I did???!  Seriously??!? WTF!!!

Waeg wants to laugh, but waeg has never felt so. . .entitled.  Waeg knows he's been given some lucky breaks, true. . . but waeg has also learned to step up and represent proper when needed, and to shut the fuck up about those lucky breaks when it came time to account. . . he just wants the same response to be available to those who come after him. 

Waeg thinks about sayin' somethin, but he knows the response he'll get: who is that old stoopid fuckin waeg to speak to ME?  He made his choice, he should learn his place, that shill for the man. . .

Waeg moves on, and slides.

Friday, January 9, 2015


My Goals for 2015:

Well, so much as a waeg can as a waeg does.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

REAL! Private Eye Cream for Face!

My Greatest Achievement! It took years to make this crazy shit happen, but finally a major brand name took on my plastic English! Praise Jeebus!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

So many kinds of wrong. . .Christmas!

Time to get in the spirit, folks!

Hope you have a great Christmas!

So many kinds of wrong

Friday, December 19, 2014


Today around the watercooler I overheard the following conversation between two interns:

I just don't want to end up like my mom!  It's so lame! She had so much going for her, but then to come back and have to get married like that. . . I mean I love my dad, but it's such bullshit! I'd never want to end up like that!

True, but come on. . . most guys will just turn around and say it's the same for them: they have to live up to stupid ideals as well.  It doesn't help at all to think of them as the enemy, that's sooo old school.  Like that guy in planning and development: he knows the score.  He doesn't feed me the same 'oh when are you getting married' schtick that I hear from so many of the old dudes.  

Yeah, but it is pretty easy to suss out the ijits from the chaff!

They both laugh.

I head back to my office for coffee, and wonder how many times I'll have to deal with interns being ijits in their own right, all while resisting the urge to bash my head against the wall until something starts to come out.  But then I do have a coworker or three who think it appropriate to lecture me and all on how calling a woman 'hot' is, like, totally inappropriate.  God forbid that a woman wants to accentuate her physical attractiveness!  If you dare to call attention to it, you are so WRONG! This coming from supposed Ivy League grads that usually get brought in to doll up the company rosters. . . .

Makes me think a good cull may not be such a bad thing.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


Today around the water cooler a waeg coworker said: you should listen to this band. 

It reminded me that I should look at less porn at work, as I'd spent several hours reading about the demise of Detroit.  Still, all I could think: Nick Cave hanging out with Joy Division laughing at The Walkmen with Public Image Limited watching in the background.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Me and My Big Mouth

Sometimes people say all kinds of crap without thinking about it too much.

This blog is a case in point.  I just speak my mind, when I should just sit quietly.

Usually, when someone mentions something about my surprisingly good chopsticking skillz, I fall back on my tried and true scripted response.  Occasionally though, some will make some inane pseudo scientific comment, and the scripted response goes out the window.  Today it was about how Asians are more genetically inclined to chopstick better. The standard narrative is how this explains why Asians in general are better at tasks that require small implements or machinery, especially related to genetic engineering.

It was at lunch when Ms. Sohn ventured into this typical small talk venue: Wow Mr. Waeg! You chopstick so well!  waaaaa~~! Wow you do use your chopticks differently! I did not know that about chopsticks! So amaze!  You know, Koreans chopstick very well, it is in our blood!

Usually any salty waeg can easily negotiate this scenario, yet when she went on about the inherent genetic aspect of chopsticking I felt my eye twitch. Before I could stop myself I said:

Ah yes, the genetic chestnut!   Did you know, Ms. Son, that the first person to advocate that theory was a Japanese scientist trying to explain why a Japanese team had been able to successfully reproduce an experiment that had eluded the scientific community for some time?  He basically said that because Japanese had a genetic affinity with chopsticks, only they were able to replicate the results.  Still, you can't help but think this is part of the Japanese national narrative to mitigate the loss in WWII: we Japanese are better at this than westerners!  Westerners can't know this, since it isn't in their culture or their blood!  Instead of looking at what rational explanations may exist for the failed experiments, he chose to instead say it was due to genetics and culture, feelings.  It was actually quit trendy about 20-25 years back for Japanese scientific researchers to add a little extra to their presentations, saying that they had succeeded at negotiating this very difficult task that required manipulating small instruments since the Japanese had genetically enhanced chopstick skills.  Really? You didn't know?  Oh yes!  There were even articles bemoaning the loss of chopstick skills in the face of ever encroaching western imperialism, since the love of all things western meant an end to pure chopstick expertise, or the end of something truly unique and beneficial to Asian cultures in general.

Things around our corner of the table got a bit awkward until someone brought up sports, and then balance was restored in the universe. But I'm sure Ms. Sohn is butthurt.  She wouldn't look at me and is obviously stewing.  She was simply trying to make small talk and be nice, and instead of just playing nice I became asshole incarnate.  Who knows, maybe as Koreans negotiate their love of all things western they'll realize that the exotic is just that, and that Koreans aren't the only ones who have thought a particular group was cool, suave, prestigious, simply because they were different. . .maybe they'll learn one day that Americans used to think the French were awesome for example, and that Koreans aren't as unique and special as they think they are.

Now, I do believe that stupidity is a universal constant, and I'm hoping she won't hold a grudge against me and that her panties aren't in a knot about it.  Still, I'm sure it'll be some time before Ms. Sohn attempts to engage me in conversation. From experience, these types of conversation never end well, and it's best to just smile.  When will I ever learn?

Friday, November 7, 2014


Last weekend was quite busy: Halloween on Friday, then a trip down to Andong with a few other families for an overnight stay in a Hanok and a tour of the area.

I'd carved up a couple of pumpkins quick for the kids' Halloween party on Friday; as usual, we had the party at one of the many indoor playgrounds that are so common today. I decided on a lark to bring the pumpkins with me to Andong the next day; they actually seemed to fit well the ambiance of the hanok. The jack o lantern is an old folk tradition from Ireland and other parts of Europe; they would serve to guide the kind spirits to the Halloween festivities, while scaring off the malevolent ones. I explained to the girls this is why at Halloween you dressed up and used the pumpkins, since at the party you'd never really know who was a human and who wasn't. In a country like Korea with a strong folk religion and shamanic traditions, it seems odd that such a practice didn't really take root here, but then pumpkins and squash are a fairly recent introduction to this finest of peninsulas.

The pumpkin was a huge hit, with one of the other families vowing to do the same next Halloween. I showed them several pictures from the internet of awesome carved pumpkins, so now it seems we'll be having a contest next year. I am so going to win.

The night at the hanok was pretty nice. In the morning we went to visit Dosan Seowon, the school that Toegye built (the dude on the 1000 Won bill).  I was most impressed with the museum showcasing artifacts from Toegye's life: I got to see his one and only spittoon and more importantly, his broom.  The youngest was acting up so I threatened to smack her bottom a couple of times with Toegye's broom, promising to buy the replica that would no doubt be offered for sale in the souvenir shops outside.  Imagine my disappointment when I discovered that none of the shops had a replica of this most hallowed of brooms; in fact, most of the shop owners looked at me like I had three heads when I asked them where I could find one.  I mean, come on!  If you're going to show me Toegye's one and only broom as a highlight of a display on artifacts from his life, why aren't there replicas for sale??  Preposterous!

 Anyway, a great weekend was had by all.  Time to get some work done.  Listening to the latest Godspeed You! Black Emperor album makes it go faster:


Several months ago I came out of my apartment to find that my car had been vandalized; it wasn't the first time such a thing had happened, and at the time I pretty much chalked it up to just a bunch of kids screwing around. However, I've had to reconsider this position: not just my van, but June's car has since then been repeatedly vandalized. Someone has been putting out cigarettes on the cars, dumping coffee and other garbage, smearing unknown goop on the doors and windows. It finally came to a head a couple weeks back when someone took to ripping up our mail, leaving the pieces strewn about around the mailboxes.

Why someone would do this is pure conjecture, although if I were to hazard a guess I'd say it's because someone is envious of my beautiful wife and children; they must have a shrew of a wife and fat porky disrespectful kids, so when they see me and mine they just naturally get bent out of shape. I understand them.

While I can empathize with what may be their rationale for messing with my shit, it's obvious that we can no longer stay in this area. It kind of sucks anyway, being rather shabby and old, with few decent green places for the kids to play; also, it is rather far from June's business and the girls' school. That June hates the area because there are too many fortune tellers and shamans around doesn't add much to the idea of staying, nor does her saying that she will die if we continue to stay here. So move it is!

I am looking forward to the change of scene, although I have no idea how the hell I'm going to pay for it. The van died a while back as well, so I also need new transportation; where the hell is all this milk and honey I'm supposed to be receiving for living as a waeg on this finest of peninsulas?? All I see is a rapidly diminishing bank account and fewer years ahead to fill it up so I don't have to eat only kimchi rice and seaweed when I'm old.

Ah well, at least in the short term it will be a positive change for all of us. The new digs are pretty new and in a nice part of town, lots of green spaces. And the move is a great chance to toss out piles of old junk, although having a yard sale would be fun. Sadly, Koreans just aren't into that kinda thing.

Time for coffee.

Friday, September 26, 2014


Some weird shit. . .sick beat though.