Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

You Tube!

I love the youtube, although the youtube doesn't return my affection.  They won't let let me post relevant social commentary due to fucking idiotic copyright bullshit.

Makes me think that Mark Zuckerberg isn't entirely evil.  At least based on the very superficial knowledge I have.

But:  Movie makers: imagine how much our relationship could mean!

How much free advertising do you fucking idiotic movie makers want?  I can give you some more if you'll let me post an acknowledged video longer than 30 seconds.  In fact, you should give me at least 3 minutes!

The reality is: anything over 30 seconds is sacrosanct. Korea! Don't think you're exempt.  I'd copyright my flute playin'!

Hey, wait, let me shoot myself in the foot, since I really don't want people talking about my film that cost 10 - 250 million dollars to make.  I'd rather hobble out of here.  Whatever you do, don't post anything that might use the images I paid for!

Indeed, stoopidity is the only human constant.

Is it my fault you fucks are asleep at the wheel?  

I'll probably delete this post later.  Wouldn't want to have to pay to even post videos!  Then I'd be forced to monetize and give you ricetarded ads.

Onward!

Warning: lame laugh track



Old skool:



I have no idea where this will end up:



The Eldest



I was busy watching monkey, cat and the unknown comic videos when the eldest walked in.

I can't sleep daddy.

So I did a best of kid cool F5waeg video show.

I gave her a taste of my gin.  Tonic, lemon, a splash of cranraspberry, triple shot.

Now she's sleeping.

She really dug the Tasha, the Pansori video, and the cookie monster picture.

And she totally clocked the few books I've posted. 

I wonder what she'll think when she reads this in 10 years.

Sour Puss!

I was in a foul mood when I left work.

Not to go into details, but sometimes that place is a real gong show.

I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

And there is a lot of good, but sometimes. . .

There was only one thing for me to do:

Buy a bottle of gin.

Bombay Sapphire baby!

Back later.

Barshow!

One of my coworkers was watching the movie Cocktail.

I remember back in the day when that kind of bar show was all the rage.

To get a good bar gig in Korea, every bartender had to take a course where you learned how to set liquor on fire while spinning it through the air.

I knew a few waegs who made a killing offering those types of classes.

You don't see that so much these days.  In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw a bartender practicing his moves.

A sort of famous bar in town burned down a few years back because of insane pyrotechnics mixed with Bacardi 151.

See what a bad influence that Tom Cruise guy is?

Subdued

It's a dull gray day.

I don't mind dull gray days.  I get all introspective and reflective.

Too much of that of course isn't good for a person.

As I came into work I heard someone playing a dae geum.

It seemed to fit my mood perfectly.



Generally this is known as a man's instrument, and the gayageum is for girls.  Every good kiseng could play the gayageum, but I digress.

Monday, November 29, 2010

One Nation Under CCTV!

I only stayed at work for a couple of extra hours.

I was feeling a little out of it and had had enough.

I quickly sobered up when I hit the toll gate coming back into town.

It seems that the powers that be have installed speed cameras at the hipass lane.

No more blasting through at 60-80 km/h.

A nice staid 30 is demanded.

At the far end: Mr. CCTV.

Smile!

Guess they can't get a decent pic when you blast through at 70.

I can't walk 100 meters anywhere in a heavy traffic area without my handsome mug showing up on google.

Supposedly its to reduce crime.

I'm not convinced the application will always remain so innocent and circumspect.

Best to drink some beer and not think too much about it, eh?

Gee up Horsey!



I don't wanna work right now.

But if I don't, there will be hell come Friday.

I know myself.  Friday afternoon is usually a complete waste.

And I've got some stuff that has to be done by Wednesday.

I'll listen to these then get back on that horse.


Chocolate!

I consider myself a chocolate aficionado.

I know the good stuff.  I also know that most chocolate you buy in Korea is absolute shite.

Except for this stuff.

World class chocolaty awesomeness. 

Someone had some today, and I had to restrain myself from hoovering up the box.

But I know what I'm giving for Christmas.

Nom.

Good Drone!

This morning I've been a good little worker bee.

I've plowed through a pile of paper work.  My brain feels a little mushy right now.

Not bad considering I didn't sleep so well last night.

I woke up at around two.  I really felt like checking in on the youngest.

She was burning up with a high fever.  I spent some time using a soaked wash cloth to cool her down.

Today she didn't go to kindy.  Hopefully she'll be better soon.

I'll be working late tonight, like most Mondays.

I'm kind of pissed with some of the interns.  I scheduled two meetings for this week to hear their presentations on a new umbrella, and they went along with it despite knowing they would be off doing some stoopid training seminar.

Guess I'll have to lay into em later.

My fault?  Sure.  I did forget.  But they still went with it.  I'll say it was a test of their integrity as I rip them new assholes.

Back to work.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chicken!

While waiting at the clinic I saw a chicken walking around in a nearby alley.

This is downtown in a city of 300 000.

Where did this lonesome cock come from?

A common pet that many kids get is a chick.

Most of them die, but occasionally one has the tenacity to hang on.

In my apartment complex there is a cock that wakes everyone up early every morning.

He too is one that survived.  Not for long if I had my way.  Into the pot with you!

I'm assuming the one I saw today has a similar story.  I thought about trying to catch him to ease up some of the family food budget, but I was too tired to do much more than snap a photo.  An old guy watching me seemed a bit unhappy that I would do so.

I suppose I can understand, since this is something you usually end up seeing in some village in the country.

That chicken did look plump and tasty though.

Home!

We ended up leaving the housewarming a bit early.

The youngest is fairly sick.  We took her to a clinic to get her some meds.

I was near saintly at the BBQ.  The women were inside, cooking the dwenjang soup, watching the smaller ones and talking business, while the men stood around and grilled meat.

I allowed myself only three shots of soju.  I did have to drive.

And I didn't even respond when one of the guys went on about how Americans need to drink whiskey instead of soju because of the high fat diet they eat, like fried chicken.

The irony was palpable, what with all that fatty thick sliced bacon we were eating and a fried chicken restaurant on every corner.  But I digress.

I just smiled and grilled up some pine mushrooms for the ladies.  I know they like that stuff.  I won mondo points when I brought a plate of nicely grilled sliced pine mushrooms into the house.

Just as we were starting a nice fire in the field I was informed we had to leave.  It actually was pretty good timing since I didn't want to explain why I wouldn't be attending the dads' meeting on Wednesday due to it being at a Korean beef restaurant.

Overall it wasn't a bad time, but I'm glad to be home now.

Housewarming!

Today we are going to a housewarming party.

One of the youngest's friends has moved into a nice country house.

There will be samgyupsal, various types of lettuce, and enough chili paste to feed an army.

Whenever you go to someone's housewarming, you are supposed to bring some type of useful household product, like toilet paper or laundry detergent.

Toilet paper is considered best since it is the multipurpose picker upper!

But I disagree. I'm going to buy some kitchen towel instead.

I hate trying to clean up some spills with toilet paper.  It isn't nearly durable enough.  And when you try to use toilet paper to clean food off your hands, it ends up sticking all over the place.  It doesn't absorb nearly enough liquid as well.  Don't even get me started on those stupid little napkins most restaurants offer.  You need to use like 50 of them to clean even the most basic mess.

I hope they appreciate it.

Housewarmings are great.  You usually get a year supply of toilet paper, detergent, and maybe some cool nickknacks.  And you get to party!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Boring!

The snow must be affecting me.

I feel boring.

There wasn't enough to make a snow haru bong.  Some other kids were out there with shovels and scooped it all up to make a completely lame snowman.

Some dad was responding to my two meter monstrosity from last year.  We made a huge snowman complete with a carrot nose, freakish arms and a harubong sidekick. 

Guess he didn't take to the symbolism and decided to up the ante by buying his kids shovels.  Well the snow hasn't really started yet mofo!  Blew your load early!

I made pita pizzas for dinner.  The secret is to use two pita breads.  In between fill with delicious homemade tomato sauce and slices of paglierina cheese.  Top with more sauce, veggies, chicken, bacon, cheddar.  Bake in the oven for 12-15.

Nom.

I might force myself to go out.  June and the girls are watching Toy Story 3 for the 3rd time.  It's the first time the girls have been allowed to watch a movie since. . .Tuesday?  Monday?

I'm two beers and a bottle of soju in.  It's a good ratio, that 2:1.

I'm going to finish the dishes and hit the you tube. In the meantime, enjoy this video that I can't embed because some asshole with too much money doesn't think I'm allowed to use a visual to make a comment.  Your youtube needs to be set at worldwide to see it.

I like that movie.  Melanie Thierry is hot.  Vin Diesel kicks ass.  Awesome.  Until they get to New York.

Update:

Seems unless you have a youtube account you can't access the video.  This is the song.  It's the first 2:20 of Babylon A.D.

Snow!

Today is the first snow.

It's coming down steadily in big flakes.

Not enough snow for sledding or making good snow angels yet.

But enough to get all bundled up and go for an adventure walk through the mountain!

We walked around and got covered in the powdery white stuff.

It should keep snowing for awhile
                                                
Hopefully there will be enough to make a snow harubong.  --->

Virtuosos!

Sarah Chang
Last night we went to a recital.  The much older brother and sister of one of the youngest's friends were getting their musical freak on with their church band. 

Luckily it only lasted about an hour.

Actually they weren't that bad.  It made me think, like maybe more than a few parents in the audience, that it was time for the eldest to start learning a more 'serious' instrument.

She already plays the okarina, and she spends hours playing around on a full size keyboard I bought her a few years back.  She makes her own music, just like daddy and mommy who play the bass and acoustic guitar.

The youngest needs more musical encouragement.  I'll spend some time today helping her with her fingering on the flute.

But I won't spend money on a tutor.  I'd prefer it be something they do willingly in their free time, which the eldest does.

Breeding virtuosos!

When I got home I put away a bottle of soju and a couple bottles of beer while reading "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  I feel asleep on the book and put a big crease in it.  It's underneath my shorter Oxford dictionary right now.

Time for coffee.

Friday, November 26, 2010

So Many kinds of Wrong

It's a toss up between monkeys or driving.  What should I post?





Skinship!

Many waegs I've known over the years complain about how when it comes to elevators, Koreans just have no manners.

The waegs complain that Koreans stand right in front of the elevator door, and push their way through those who are trying to get out.  Same on the subway.  Wouldn't it be more efficient and proper if they simply stood over to the side and waited for everyone to get off first?

This actually shows that most waegs don't really understand Korea, and in fact are simply projecting their own neuroses onto their kind hosts.

Koreans have skinship.  This means that when you are out getting drunk with all your male coworkers, if one guy puts his hand on your thigh and another holds your hand, they aren't being gay but merely showing their affinity and affection towards you.  They'll say its skinship.


This guy really wanted to show his skinship

Waegs get upset because they generally come from societies that aren't so touchy feely.  A male waeg I knew a few years back lost his job because he totally lost his shit when a male coworker put his hand on his thigh.

Some waegs I've known walk around with scowls all the time because they just don't generally like to be touched, which is a rebuff to the generous and happy feelings that Koreans are trying to share with them by conducting skinship.

When older halmonis or harabogies do it, they come across as more rough and abrupt, but that's simply because they were born during harder times, and have difficulty being sensitive.  You might be the same way if you had to flee a communist army that shot your uncle / mom / grandfather; doubly so if you had to wear loud floral prints or 1970's used upholstery printed shirts all the time.

So next time some people try to force their way into the elevator, think about what it means for Koreans, not just what it means for you!  Enjoy the elevator skinship before it too is forgotten and lost.

Confessions!

Last night I thought I was getting drunk.

I did get a little sauced, but I was in bed at a little after 11.

Must be getting old.

I promise myself to get more drunk tonight.

Now I have to play catchup on all my other work stuff.

The problem with proving yourself competent is that you get a lot of other stuff thrown at you.  I don't mind, but I am only one person.  Keeping up on everything has been difficult lately.  It seems that every time I sit down to work on one thing, another more pressing thing that needs to be done yesterday shows up in my email.

A couple of days over the last two weeks I didn't even open my inbox.  Of course those were the days when nothing came in.

Why do I do it?  Especially when I could be making more teaching English out of my house?

Must be for the prestige.

Think how cool it is to admit that you were the one who came up with this:


Or this:


When pitching a slogan, be sure to make it sound international and always keep a straight face when talking.

In the first I emphasized how by using the word 'bravo' with 'your life' we could appeal to a large segment of the world population who spoke French and English.  The happy dancing clown things were representative of a pure Korea.

In the second, I pushed how people were thinking globally with regards health and junk food.  They like custard, but if we made it outta rice, then indeed we could capture a large section of the well-being market. 

BTW, which ever one of you tossers came up with well-being. . . .well done!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Smiled and Waved. . .

The moms' were impressed with June's presentation.

They were equally impressed with my ability to smile and wave.

I'm not that involved with her business.  I'm not supposed to be anyway.

I'm sure some of the moms might think different.

They did like my cardigan.  Oh yeah.

I'm behing her 1000%.  I've got her back.  That's what a man does.

Now let the money start pouring in so I can stop being the main honey bee!

The honey bee is a Korean term for the one in the family who goes from flower to flower collecting honey, the main wage earner.  The drone.  Hummmmmmmm.

Then I could buy her a nice 10 year anniversary present with cash she made.

It's less like prostitution that way.

I am the Awesome!

Today went.

Oh yeah

I came outta work higher than I'd been in years!

YA!!!!


T.I - Swagger Like Us ft. Kanye West, Jay Z, & Lil… - MyVideo

I'm in the process of getting drunk.  I treated myself to a couple of shots of single malt.  Now I'm into the somek, that soju beer combo that makes the next day always messier than it needs to be. 

RAGHHHHHHHHH!!

Breather!

June said she needs me to come home early today to help with the girls.  She has a big presentation to a bunch of moms for her new business.  The one we've invested about 1500 manners into so far. 

I told her what I had to do today, and there was no way I would be getting home early.

Her face screwed up and she slammed the door.

She understands, but it's still annoying.  I work like a bastard and she still thinks I should drop it all to come and help her jump start her business.  She wants me there taking care of the girls and showing my pretty mug to win over more of the moms.

At least she's working.  And I do think this idea of hers has serious potential.  No rest for the wicked



I'll probably change my after work schedule and go home at the usual time.  1500 manners ain't chicken feed.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Shit!

I got home about half an hour ago.   Everyone is asleep.

Tomorrow is going to be a brutal day.  I have a huge presentation to give while also organizing and executing a big project.  So many chances for shit to go wrong.

One of my immediate bosses got some shit today, and decided to pay that shit forward.

He did cut it short since my nunchi was telegraphing that there was only so much shit I was going to eat.  Our last conversation actually ended rather pleasantly.

I better not shit the bed tomorrow.  It could cause a complete shit storm.  That would completely wreck my shit.

K, 'nuff of that shit.

Stockpiling!

Because of the insanity in the West sea, June and the Mother-in-Law went grocery shopping.

They bought a ton of stuff.

I'm OK with that.  I'm a firm believer in always keeping piles of extra food around just in case.  Always got to be ready for winter.

In fact, I was feeling a bit edgy myself.  I filled up the gas in the famvan to the limit.

Of course this will probably all blow over.

I hope.

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.

Today I was feeling crabby.  I shoulda just kept my mouth shut over morning coffee.

Despite all the war talk going on, one guy decided to get his rant on over the Nobel Prize.

He claims its just a white person's prize and the committee is against Asians with regards science and literature.

I half expected him to rant on about the Jews next.

I'm not saying the Nobel Prize doesn't receive fair criticisms.  But to say that its only a white people prize is disingenuous at best.

You're right I said.  More white people have won the Nobel Prize.  It's a scandal. 

I was wondering, could you help me understand something about the history of education in Korea: when was illiteracy eliminated? What were the first modern universities founded in Korea

I avoided talking about the arrival of modern science in Asia and how its a question of playing catch up.  But I think he still may be sore at me.

Now, stupidity is a universal constant, and I'm hoping this guy won't hold a grudge against me and that his panties aren't in a knot about it.  From experience, these types of conversation never end well.  You can't win and its best to just smile.  When will I ever learn?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meltdown!

No use denying it.

It really wasn't a full on meltdown.

More of a shaking of the head. Not again

I've opened my door to them to stay several times since they first came to Korea. 

Every time they came over, they didn't bring a gift, didn't offer to pay for anything, and we had an argument.

June's been giving me grief.

Too many times in the past I open my door to some newb.

Some just take and rarely give.

I get her point.  It's just considered good manners to bring something when you show up in most countries.  Spend a few minutes reading any lit on Korea and you know that here that's the score.

This morning I snapped.  A week of grief led to a testy message.

The response was far from conciliatory.

In fact the response was what nearly prompted a near full on meltdown.  They cursed and got angry that I would dare bother them in the morning with such a triviality to ruin their day.  I should have brought it up later when it was convenient for them.

Fak.

Get outside your own head for 5 minutes. 

I've been dealin' with shit all week cuz they couldn't even pay for lunch despite being offered a place to stay when they asked, being fed, offered liquor. . . 3 times.

That doesn't even consider how I've been driving them all over hell's half acre without even an offer to cover gas.

Baseball rules.  Now I'm not allowed to invite them back over.

Part of me is thinkin' that's ok.

The other part is knowing what an idiot I can be sometimes, and that stupidity is indeed part of the universal human condition.

Still, I gotta wonder.  I'd be embarrassed to take advantage of someone's hospitality repeatedly without making some immediate response.

At least offer to wash dishes or something.

Different strokes for different folks, eh?

Crayfish!

At the back of my office building is a nice clean stream.

I often see crayfish there in the summer.

This morning while having a smoke I found some shells scattered about.

I think the local feral cats got into em.  That must have been one industrious and hungry cat!

We'll see if there are any next year.

Texts from White Girls!

I received an angry text this morning.

Last weekend at the bar I spent some time talking to a nice waeg girl.

I wasn't trying to pick her up.  It was just talk.  Nothing serious.

Apparently she thought it was more.  Her friend texted me that I am an asshole and a douchebag for leading her on.

What can I say?  I made some small talk.  I thought of this for a couple seconds.

Sometimes you can't win even when not trying.

Rainbow!


rainbow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Reading Time

I got home from work late tonight.

What can I say, it's Monday.

When I walked in, the girls ran out of their room to greet me.

Now that is a special feeling.  I should enjoy it while it lasts.

They wanted me to read for them.

Tonight was great: they didn't choose any stinkers.

None of that Hello Kitty crap, Clifford the ginormous dog tripe, or Little Mermaid insidious garbage.  There are so many crap books out there which send very bizarre messages to kids.  

These two I like.

Even though I've read them about a dozen times each, I still enjoy them.

The trick is in the voice you use for each character.

I read 5 books.  We finished off with some Dr. Seuss.

Everyone's asleep.

Goodnight.

Let's Dance!

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours looking through all my old photos.

I found a bunch from Halloween a few years back.

I dressed up like this guy on the left.  Finding the mask wasn't too difficult; getting the rest of the costume together was a bit of a pain.  I even watched some videos so I'd know how to act.

I had a really good time, running around in Seoul acting out the role of the Ch'oraengi.

No one for a second thought I was a waeg.

Good times.

Surprise!

Last night I got a late night call from an old waeg buddy of mine.

He was drunk and somewhat incoherent.  He asked me to come meet him.

Despite it being really late, I knew something was up so I trekked out.

His night had started out fairly nice: he met his girlfriend of two years, had dinner, a few drinks.

It was when they went to the cafe for after dinner coffee that things got weird. 

His girlfriend told him they had to break up.  She is getting married Saturday, and it probably won't be appropriate for them to see each other anymore.

She then handed him a nice envelope that contained an invitation.

Now this caused his wiring to short circuit.  He had been planning on asking her to get married in a couple of weeks.  He had even bought a ring.  He had no idea that she had this that and the other thing on the go. 

So I did the only thing a guy can do in that situation:  I got drunk and ranted on about harlots and how he had just had his life handed back to him.

He didn't seem too convinced.  But he's pretty resilient, I'm sure he'll be alright.

Eventually.

This morning I'm feeling a bit tired.

Time for coffee.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Way Home!

Of all the gin joints in the world.

I ended up getting into this guy's taxi.

It wasn't the first time I had gotten into his taxi since we moved away.

But this time seemed different.

Maybe I was just drunk.

He's gained weight and is looking more subdued.

We looked straight at each other when I paid.  There was no hostility, only. . . apprehension?  It was strange.

Small world.

The Morning After!

After the Great Kimjang of 2010, I had a long talk with Mr. Jim Beam.

A waeg buddy came over and we did the bottle in.

Then we went to a bar and paid 2.4 manners for a couple of Westmalle Trappist beers.  They sucked.

When I got home I threw up.  I was going to post a picture since it was so nasty.

I don't know what those monks are putting in their beer, but Mr. Jim Beam did not like it.  No sir.  Of course, the three other beers and jagerbombs had nothing to do with it I'm sure.

The bar we went to is the new waeg hangout.  It used to be a video gambling parlor a few years back.  Now its a pretty fun spot.  The place was swarming with waegs and Koreans both.

June and the girls are doing church stuff.  I had a nice long bath and am feeling better. 

I plan on doing nothing today but read, write, and nurse my pounding head.

But I do have an interesting story to tell of taking a taxi home. . .

DIY

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Kimjang!

Today I ran away from work early to go make kimchi.

All the parents at my youngest's kindergarten got together and filled a huge kimchi refrigerator.

That's enough kimchi to feed the hordes for months!

But there weren't nearly as many cool photo ops like the one on the left.

I was the only waeg.

My poor hoody will never be the same!  Remember: always wear throwaway clothes when making the kimjang.

Why do you think halmonis wear the clothes they do?

They know.  Oh yes.

Toy Story 3!

The Claw!
I feel I owe an apology to one of my coworkers.

He went on and on a few months back about the awesomeness of Toy Story 3.

He said it was the best movie of the year.  I still don't know if I'd go that far, but it was pretty good.

I watched it last night with the girls.

At two points I started to mist up. 

The eldest was nearly bawling at one point.

The youngest even showed distress and worry.

It was a great flick. Recommend!

Shhhh!

Things are a bit tense around the office this morning.

It seems one of the newer Korean women is being let go.

She received poor evaluations for the last two years.  Her English isn't very good.

The other Koreans are mad.  There has been talk about how hard it is for Koreans to excel in this business due to difficulties with language.

Call me crazy, but if you get paid to do a job based on a stated skill set, shouldn't you possess that skill set?

Most of the Koreans get paid more than I do as well.  But I'm not bitter.

Now don't get me wrong.  I like this woman.  She has a good heart.  But facts are facts: she's not really cut out for this kind of work.  The company plans on hiring another waeg.  This has fueled some more talk around the water cooler, since now waegs will outnumber Koreans in the department.

It's the perfect morning to lie low and keep my big mouth shut.

Friday, November 19, 2010

So Many kinds of Wrong

Almost makes bulemia attractive





Watch for the butter eating contest

Zongoed!

Cold medication + buckets of coffee is a weird mix. 

I've been quite busy today, and now I'm feeling a bit spaced.

It's a good time to do some "research" for work.

I'm going to start by reading a bunch of these:

2nd

If I were to be completely honest, last night was a complete fuck off.

I got home around 9 to an empty house and only a last minute call to the effect that the fam was going to spend the night in the woods somewhere.

I had planned to make cookies with the girls, and June had hinted that I would probably be getting some cookie myself.

It's moments like this when I have to remind myself why I married her.



When June told me she was pregnant, my initial reaction was to ask if she wanted to get an abortion.  I told her straight out that I was an emotional mess and in no position to be the best man for the job.   Plus the fact that I didn't want to get married or have kids.

Ever.

Her response was that regardless of my decision, she was going to keep the kid.

I looked at what was around me.  I thought of the half black fish salesman in the country market down the road, the half white store clerk near my friend's place in Haebangchon, the half Filipinos in my English class, and I read the newspaper and blogs.  I thought about how people generally treated mixed race kids, what options were available to them growing up in Korea.  Throw having a single mom into the mix and its straight up disaster.  Not a life you'd wish on anyone.

I wasn't going to be just another white asshole who came through for happy party time then fucked off when the going got tough.

So I married her.

I'm pretty fond of her sometimes.  Other times I think she is selfish and completely clueless. 

When June pulls a bad timing stunt like this, what's odd is that I usually get bombarded with a bunch of other stoopid shit at the same time.

Like reading shit that says only loser Korean women marry foreigners, a common statement from loser men on internet forums.

Or reading shit that white dudes are the scourge of the world who can never truly understand discrimination (read the comments)

And reading more shit that is so self absorbed its obvious the writers will never be able to overcome their own sense of entitlement and desire to monopolize hatred and suffering.  It is nourishing to constantly think of yourself as a victim I suppose. 

Fuck you I say.

I'm going to be there for my kids till the end.  I'm going to help them anyway I can.  I want them to be proud of everything they are.

And I'm going to do everything I can to make it so they don't end up whiny, angry and hateful.

I may not be that successful in the end, but reading around the internet just proves that I've got to at least take a go at it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Home!

I got home tonight to an empty house.

My Mother-in-Law took off to visit her sister.

June and the girls were invited to a sleepover in a forest resort.  I was invited too, but I declined.  Hanging out with a bunch of mostly ajummas and a pack of kids is not really my idea of the best of times.


Besides I need my beauty rest.  I'm still trying to get over that nasty cold.

So what's a poor boy to do?

No liquor, that's for sure!  I see you there, Mr. Bottle of Jim Beam!  We'll have ourselves a chat later, don't you worry!

And I should save the cookie making for when the girls get back.  I like them to watch their dad doing that kind of stuff.  I can just see the playground taunts in years to come: Oh yeah?  Well my dad can gut a fish, change the oil, cut firewood AND make great cookies!  IN YOUR FACE!

Instead, I've been enjoying cup after cup of hallabong tea.  That's those big fat oranges from Jeju diced and swimming in honey.  Tasty stuff.

I've been to Jeju three times.  It's a nice place.  The mandarins from Jeju are awesome, and cheap.  The hallabong are a bit more pricey, but worth it.  As long as you don't pay 5-8 manners for a box of the huge fat ones.

I do like Kojedo better.  It just has a better vibe to it and its easier to understand the Korean spoken there.  As long as you stay away from the shipyards and the former POW camps that is.  I've been to Koje 5 times.

I've been to many of the islands around the east and west coasts.  We used to like hitting amiondo and buying the huge tiger shrimp, but ever since the oil spill we've crossed that off our list.

I'll probably hit the hay early, get up early.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll be feeling better.  And snarkier.  I haven't opened my big mouth in over a week!

Cosmetics$#%$@%!

you're still going to die
I made the mistake of looking at the credit card bill for last month.

June bought some skin whitening cream.

It cost 50 manners.

I nearly lost my shit.


That would have been very uncool, but what's a guy to do?

$500 for a tube of face grease is outrageous.

She calls it food.  She claims she needs it.

I think I'm going to need a bottle of single malt whiskey to make me forget that 50 manners is getting lathered onto her face.

I try to tell her I prefer the natural look.  That ain't no lie.

Try making out with someone covered in makeup and you quickly get the practical side of it.

But you can't tell most women that.  They know the score.  If they didn't wear makeup, the jackals in the sorority would show no mercy.  No one wants to be known as THAT girl.

Skin whitening though, seriously?  I woulda married a white girl if that's what I wanted.  But the preference for lighter skin is deeply ingrained in a lot of countries and Korea is no exception.

Cookie!

I promised the girls I'd make cookies for them tonight after work.

They found the bag of chippets I'd been saving in the cupboard.

There was no escape from the pleading look in their eyes.

Their response when I said yes was something akin to rapture.  But then, I am the cookie master.

You don't think June dated me just because I'm handsome, educated, funny, and good in bed now, do you?

No no no a thousand times no!

It's because I can cook.  Well.

This is something I always try to tell my unmarried Korean guy friends.

Most girls these days don't want to marry a momma's boy who needs someone to clean their apartment and cook for them.

They're looking for a guy who can take care of his own shit.

That means when she comes over to your place during the dating phase, you present a clean house.  Don't forget to make the bathroom sparkle!

You cook her a nice meal.  You have a bottle of wine or three.

Home Run!

Usually I do most of the cooking on the weekends.  I try to help out with dishes, laundry and what not, but I guess I am a bit old fashioned.  If I work 50-70 hours a week, I expect to be exempt from the bulk of that shit.

Luckily, my Mother-in-Law lives with us.  June complains sometimes, but her mom takes care of a lot of that shit.  So I just ignore her rants and bake a lasagna.  No point getting into a shouting match over something like that, you won't win.  And the nights will be much colder.

Cookies are gonna be good.  I'm looking forward to it.  I'll have two master dough mixers and cookie sheet organizers helping me out.  Should be a blast.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

100th!


The Resting Room!

Most businesses and schools will have a resting room, or hyu gae shil.

This term can also simply mean the living room in a house, but I digress.

Sometimes the room contains nothing but a bare floor.

Other places are decked out with couches, like the one at work.

In my delirium this morning, I went and crashed on the couch.  I almost slept through lunch.

I didn't think about the odd stains that were on the couch.  All I could think about was how I felt like there was a mini me inside trying to push its way out through my face.

Still, the fact that I could go and crash there for a couple of hours was cool.  I did feel much better afterward.

People won't give you grief about taking a power nap if you're sick or hungover.  That's part of life, right?

As long as it doesn't become a very frequent thing, you're good.

Ill!

Today I'm as sick as a raccoon dog.

Sinuses all stuffed up, hacking, sneezing. . .

On top of that my youngest jumped on my foot on Sunday and it looks like I'll need to get it X-rayed.

Augh.

I popped one of my few remaining Contact Cs a friend gave me last year.  That helped.

My foot is in pain. I'm hobbling around like a gimp.

I'm going to go hide and nap.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Haggling!

All neophytes in Korea need to learn the art of haggling.

Now some may turn their nose up and poo poo such activity, thinking it beneath them.

If that's the case, I have a bridge in Arizona I'd like to sell you.

Haggling does depend on the type of store you are shopping in.


For example, the cashier at Emart will laugh you out of the store.

That didn't stop the halmoni I saw this afternoon on my way home from work.  She told the cashier at the hanaro mart in a small village I stopped at that she was only going to pay a manner, despite how the price of her goods was a manner and 8 beggers.  She almost made it out the door before they tackled her.

If you'd like to avoid a similar fate, I would recommend following this very simple guide for haggling:

1- Forget chain stores.  The beauty of a chain store is how impersonal it is.  The owner is currently in Patay golfing, and his / her peons have little to no leeway to give you a discount.

2- Forget the halmonis on the street selling vegetables.  Usually their stuff is so cheap anyway, are you really that poor that you need to take an extra chonner from a woman who obviously hasn't bought new clothes since 1975?

3- Go to market spots like Yongsan or your local downtown markets.  Always haggle at places like these.  They expect you to haggle, and have raised prices accordingly.  If you don't haggle, they will think you are an idiot.

4- Start off by saying how expensive it is.  Wander around to the other stalls and check out competing prices.  Use the word discount frequently, especially if you see a lower price elsewhere.  DO NOT BUY THE FIRST LOWER PRICE ITEM.

5- Take your time.  If you have just got to have something right now, go to a chain store and pay the full price.  Haggling requires patience and fortitude.  I spent nearly 3 hours haggling with salesmen over my TV.  In the end, I saved 25 manners on the tickets price.  Even had it delivered for free!  That pays more than teaching English at a haggie!

6- Show your credit card.  Put it back in your wallet.  Show your credit card again.  The sales staff would much rather you pay cash, since then they don't have to pay the merchant fee on the card and its easier to shuffle the money around.  DO NOT SHOW CASH RIGHT AWAY, and only mention you would be willing to pay cash if the price were lower.

7- Say you're hungry.

8- Act agitated, like you're in the midst of a huge dilemma.

9- Repeat that you are hungry.  This implies that the sales staff is asking such a ridiculous price that you won't be able to eat afterwards.

10- Mention how your wife / husband would kill you if you bought it.  Many sales staff would feel great consolation at knowing that even though they let the item go much cheaper than they wanted, at least you'll be sharing in the misery when you get it home.

There are other little tricks you can use, but be wary of using them if you haven't had much experience at the game.  Most sales staff have seen it all, and would rather not make a sale then deal with your fumbling.   This gives them license to be rude, and that will put you on tilt.  That's when you end up paying too much.

The Indians are Coming!

There has been a bit of buzz lately around the Waegosphere.

Kang Shit on Honkies has been at it again, this time extolling the many virtues of hiring Indian English teachers.

For the record, I'm all for it.  I've known a few Canadian Indian teachers here that were righteous stand up dudes.

Also, as Jake points out, its not like all these teachers coming over are really going to act any different from the hordes of others.  There will be good teachers, and there will be bad.  And some of them will probably hook up with local lasses and set down roots.

I do have to disagree with one thing Kang Shit on Honkies said however: I don't think its that Indians are more understanding of Koreans.

No no no no.

It's more that Koreans and Indians simply have a longer history of shared blood. They're like part of the family.

Now I know you can easily say that isn't true, look at the Indian professor dude and that oil spill shit.

This would show you don't understand Korea.  Someone of the caliber of Kang Shit on Honkies would never advocate inviting people to work and live in Korea simply because they could be paid less or would be perceivably easier to push around.

No, never no!

They'll be invited because Korean children will be able to learn English easier from Indian English teachers because of the affinity they'll have with their teachers.  An affinity based on shared blood and history.

and that's the rest of the story.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pettiness!

When I first started at my job, I made a point to bow and say anyong haseyo to all my coworkers, regardless of their position.

Perhaps I did put a little extra in the bow for the older folks, but I was overall an equal opportunity bower.

This earned me many friends in the lower ranks.  They think I am a nice guy.

One of the guys in accounting is slightly older than I am.  Every time I would bow and say anyong haseyo to him, he would either ignore me completely or give me the slightest of nods.

I would try to ask him stuff about his family, how he was coming along after he broke his foot, what he did on the weekend.

He would reply in a somewhat gruff and succinct manner, then go on and talk with someone else.

This started to irk me after a year.  I believe in the importance of maintaining healthy relationships.  This guy was being an ass.

A few months ago I got a promotion.  Part of my promotion is that I now get to participate in the evaluation of other departments.  My evaluation carries a fair amount of weight.

Can you guess what happened next?

Dude did a complete 180.  Now he's like my best friend, chatting in an English he seems to have just discovered, asking me stuff about my family.

Now this is where I'm a petty bastard.

His name is Kim.

Oh, good morning Mr. Park!  It's Sooooo good to see you!

My name is Kim.

Oh heaven's, I'm so sorry!

-next day-

Good morning Mr. Bae!  Have you eaten?

My name is Kim.

Oh my goodness!  I can't believe I made such a mistake!

Repeat ad infinitum.

I only speak in English to him now, and am not so polite.  I should just get over myself and work towards rebuilding the group's kibun.  I wouldn't want to be called a hypocrite after all. . .

But it does feel good.

Omija!

This morning I was told to drink several cups of omija tea.

Apparently, since I went out on a bender both Friday and Saturday night, I need some extra special help cleaning out my liver and kidneys.

It does taste pretty good.  Although I cannot attest to its medicinal properties.


But it has been used for entire glorious 5000 years historyTM, so it must be good.

Kinda pricey though.  The Mother-in-Law was very impressed when I picked up a largish plastic bag of the berries in the country side for 2 manners.  Recommend.

Soul Coughing!

On my way to work this morning I popped in a CD I hadn't listened to in a long time:







This was another band I actually spent some of my hard earned cash on, and it was worth every penny.  Super Bon Bon was like my first two years. The Incumbent was a song that I played a lot in my 7th year in Korea.  Mr. Bitterness is what I'm trying to avoid.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tea Party!

I was about to write an amazing post that dealt with the current socio-economic situation in South Korea.

Aren't you glad my girls have been planning a tea party all afternoon?

The sacrifices a father must make!

And they haven't even hit puberty yet!

Excuse me while I go and talk to Mr. Rabbit and supply the voice for Mr. Lion.

I think Mr. Lion might eat that little shit tonight.

Screen Golf!

A favorite pastime of many a Korean businessman is screen golf.

Like PC bangs of yesteryear, they seem to have sprouted one on every corner.

The cool ones serve drinks, and for the right price also can serve as a defacto room salon.

We went to one yesterday during the Great Waeg Weekend of fall 2010.

We had a few beers and played for a few hours.  Being mostly married dudes with kids, we decided to forgo the female companionship.  Maybe if The Horn Dog and Justin the Muffin had come, it might have been different.  They are both single with too much money and too little sense.  Guess hanging out with married guys isn't their cup of tea.

A lot of people like to bet on the action.  Of course, we never even considered engaging in such behavior, being upstanding citizens and all.  Generally, Korean dudes use it as a place to network and make deals.  If you want to do business in Korea, they are good places to become familiar with.

If you haven't tried it, I'd recommend it at least once.

Manners!

One topic that came up during the Waeg Weekend was manners.

The general consensus was that many of the waegs we meet have horrible manners.

When you're in a foreign country, people will judge your entire nation based on your behavior.

This truism does little to temper or inform the actions of some of our waeg brethren.

Yes, Koreans can also be rude.  But as a general rule, we seem to see more waegs acting out and forgetting basic rules, while with Koreans its generally the exception.  You may think many Koreans are rude, but there are 50 million of them and only one million waegs. 

Treat people the way you'd like to be treated.

Learn something about the country you're going to call home for whatever period of time.

Observe local customs from time to time.

Seems pretty simple really.

Married dude rehashed the story about Chris.

Army Contractor 1 talked about a coworker that was so cheap, she took it as a badge of honor to never pay for anything.  Even when a Korean family invited her to stay at their place near Mokpo for a weekend in the summer, she didn't bring a gift, didn't offer to pay for anything, and was upset they wouldn't drive her back to her door.

Human Resources ranted on about an office mate who would not bow to anyone, thus engendering animosity between the departments where he works.  His attitude was that he was hired to work as liaison with foreign companies, so the other departments should adapt to his way of doing things.

It's not about being an apologist, or becoming Korean.  Its about common sense and mutual respect.

If you walk around with a storm cloud over your head and only look at the bad shit all the time, you definitely aren't going to have a good time.  But now I'm sounding preachy. 

Really, I just don't want to infect my children.

It is hard from time to time, no doubt.

But the alternative is a clear path to an early grave.