Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

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

Friday, December 30, 2011

Man Den level 1!



Things have been pretty hectic at the waeg house, what with visits, slidding, shopping, playing with Christmas toys, and the general chores that need to be taken care of. Despite all of this bustle, putting together a man den is one task that cannot be overlooked.

I found some plastic folding tables and an old dart board, and I can hook the laptop up for movies and tunes.

It only comfortably seats about three, but given a couple more days it should resemble something more man cave like.

Time for some Stella.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Boxing Day!

Today was Boxing Day. It was full on after a late start, but with two yongins in tow, not bad at all.

1:00 pm - Grocery store $200

3:00 pm - home, puzzles, games, shovel out where the plow has passed, clean out fireplace and start fire. Lighter fluid is the bomb. Drink first beer.

6:00 pm - cook dinner, mom and dad's famous spaghetti sauce with fresh ravioli and spaghettini. Clean. Don't forget laundry. Check fire drink beer.

7:30 pm - check fire. Dump ashes behind shed, piss on ashes, bury in snow. Drink beer. Bring in more wood. Drink beer and smoke.

8:30 pm - Everyone watching Shrek. Hide in basement, smoke, post on stoopid blog, start into one of the bottles of soju brought for a moment like this. It's just that much cheaper! Reorganize suitcases, relax.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Ho Ho!



Merry Christmas to one and all. The Christmas mayhem at the waeg house will rev up around noon. Should be a good time.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

So many kinds of wrong

If you think your job sucks of the day

So Many Kinds of Wrong







Merry Christmas everyone!

The Cottage!



Today was all about Big Box shopping after sleeping until two.

As usual, I was generally amazed over the 150% parking spaces and the crazed variety.

After a roast beef dinner, we started on a huge puzzle. We're staying in a refurbished farmhouse on a massive river about 45 miles from a city of three million.

Time for some Stella. It was on sale for $25 a case.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Keep on Truckin'!

Today the girls and I are on a plane.  It's the first time we've been back in over two years. 

The economic viability of going back is sketchy at best.  This will set us back a bit, but a good down home Christmas will be good for the girls, and most necessary for me especially after the last month.

I set up my google account to import all message from work.  There are already 8 pressing items that need to be dealt with.  I'll be happily ignoring them until after Christmas.

Posting with be spotty the next few days, but you should still come and read all the back posts.  At last count there are over 900 for you to choose from. I'd recommend you start with your favorite label.  There will probably be no 'So Many Kinds of Wrong' this week. 

Merry Ho Ho everyone.  Hopefully good times will be had by all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Last Minute!

Many a waeg has complained about an integral part of working in Korea: how to manage doing most nearly everything at the last minute.

What most waegs don't get is that it's not about making the most efficient use of time and resources, but tapping into one of the true strengths of the Korean people: spontaneity. 

In the past, I myself have said that this passion for spontaneity is at the same time one of Korea's greatest strengths and greatest weaknesses.  Of course, this was when I was still wet behind the ears and didn't know any better, but thankfully I drank the coolaid and have seen the light. 

A common misguided representation of the process views this passion to move and get things done RIGHT NOW as having not only led Korea to become one of the richest countries in the world, but has also resulted in uneven development and a rise in reactionary movements.  This view is generally propagated by guys like the one above however, and should simply be ignored.

I'm a big fan of last minute, having learned the art of procrastination early on in my youth, and I think being spontaneous is truly an underrated activity.  But I realized quickly after coming to Korea that I had nothing on most of my Korean coworkers, and this has been a valuable lesson to me.

In the same vein, it would serve most waegs well to learn how to go along with these popular gusts of feeling, and allow yourselves to be caught up in the frenzy of the moment.  Pointing out flaws and inefficiencies or how foresight and long term planning would be a more suitable course to follow will do nothing but engender bad feelings all around, and is best avoided as a possible course of action. 

Just make sure you aren't the person on the bottom who gets buried in the shit tsunami if a department store or a bridge collapses, and of course, don't be in the department store or on the bridge. 

Butthole Surfers!

As I was working on a product, the first song below came drifting back to mind from the ether. It had been a while since I'd had a good listen to the Butthole Surfers, so I had no choice but to go through and listen to some of my faves:






Too many that I'd like to post. Brilliant.

Monday, December 19, 2011

KJI Dead!

So Kim Jong Il is dead.

If you didn't know it at this point, you are either a luddite living in a cave somewhere or your internet is dead.

Good riddance.

Hopefully no insanity ensues.





Tree Spirit!


The more intrepid waeg who dares to venture deep into the countryside will be familiar with how many a village will have a massively huge tree either in the center of the village or very close by.  A few questions to the older inhabitants garners responses on how it is the home of the village spirit.  It is common to see grandparents sitting around the tree in summer, eating, gossiping, making decisions vital to the village.   

In a country where it is uncommon to see huge trees in the mountains, these rare monsters really stand out.  Most of the flora and fauna having been devastated during the last civil war, that these huge trees remain is a testament of their importance to village life.

While you can see massive trees in more urban areas as well, they don't serve the same purpose or have the same importance as they do in the countryside, as evidenced by the lengths one village took to preserve their tree (no. 64).

I remember it was either the second or third time I went to pick up my Alien Registration Card in Chuncheon went I came across David Mason's The Spirit of the Mountains in the office bookshelf.  It was an excellent read, and as I've always had an interest in folklore, it provided some excellent insight into some of the things I'd seen.  I now have a copy of most of his books, and recommend them to any waeg really interested in Korean folklore and animism.

Time for coffee.

Sunday!

Today after church June took the youngest to see Arthur Christmas.

The eldest had seen it on a school field trip last week.  I woulda been beside myself if our school had taken us to a movie in elementary, but I digress.  It was all about museums, libraries, and sports in my day.

The eldest and I went shopping.  We saw a coworker who pretended to not see us.  That is his thing though, so I mostly let him be.

For dinner I fried up some chicken and potato.  It was delicious.  After doing the dishes, I read stoopid shit on the interwebz.

For some reason the song below came back into my head.  I uploaded this crap video before, and it lasted about 2 months before I was forced to watch the youtube tutorial video about not posting other people's music.  The video is garbage and took me about 30 minutes to throw together.  I like the song, what can I say?

Tired.  I leave on Thursday for a little over two weeks.  Hopefully it will be enough down time.  June is somewhat despondent, as her plans for shaping her business are already starting to fall apart.  I haven't mentioned it yet, but it's a kindergarten.  After expenses she's been bringing in about 50-60 manners a month, without anything going on the repayment of the loans save what I've been able to squeeze from my end.  She wants another 100 manners for a second batch of advertising, and more for hiring a native speaker.  That last isn't going to happen. 

Hope she can bring it together; I wouldn't want to quit my job to help get it sorted. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I've never met one I didn't like

It was at about a quarter to two when I took a break from compiling design sheets and touched the side of my neck.  I immediately bolted up as I traced the outline of a huge nasty bump on the left side.  I ran my hand up to behind my ear and found another hard little nugget under the lobe.  Immediate freak out.

Some quick googling brought up inflammed lymph nodes.  Words like Cancer and Infection were only mildly tempered with normal and not serious.  I shut everything down in record time and blew out of there without a word to anyone; I had to see a doctor NOW.

My tooth had been feeling weird for days, and thought it a related infection.  After sitting in the dentist's office for about 30 minutes, gotten x-rays and examined, the dentist said there was nothing wrong with my teeth, it could be an inflamed saliva duct.  You need to see a different doctor.  He was Fast.  I wasn't charged, even for the x-rays. Very nice.

Across the hall is my ENT doc.  When he sees me he touches the side of my neck and woooooes: that doesn't look good.  A few tests, temperature, exam . . . are you still working at that plastics company?

Yeah.

You need a break.  This is stress related.  Take a rest.  I'll give you a doctor's recommendation that you need to take a month off.

That ain't gonna happen, but thanks anyway.  Can I get something to bring the swelling down.

A raised eyebrow.  Of course.  But you really should take it easy for a few days.  The nurse will give you a shot.

The nurse knows her job well.  I don't feel a thing except for the few slaps administered to my bottom.  Spank me woman!  She laughs and swats me again.  Of all the older experienced nurses I've known, I've never met one I didn't like.  Dealing with blood, feces, weird diseases changes a person after a few years, makes 'em a bit hard and cynical with a dose of gallows humor.

Outside I hit the stairs three at a time.  The pharmacist downstairs always goes through the same spiel, and I always ask the same questions.  No, you don't have to take that one, it's just to ease your stomach.  No, you shouldn't drink.  Today she goes slightly off script, giving me a mischievous grin: well, you can drink a little.  The look I send back says we both know that already.

Home.  I could have made it back to the office, but I'm beat, exhausted, in need of down time.  The house will be empty for a good two hours.  I pop the first dose, down about a half liter of water, and crawl into bed.  After a very satisfying wank, I drift off into the ether.  My dreams are bleak and indigo.  I sleep until 3, waking to an empty bed.  I dress and walk outside.  The night is cold, cold, the silence rent only by wind and a distant car horn.  I walk in ever widening circles, waiting for something to come.  It doesn't.  But then, it rarely does.  I look at all the stars in the sky, and imagine futures that will be and could have been.

So many kinds of Wrong

Saturday early Christmas edition.

So many kinds of wrong











that last is almost so bad it's good

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What Really Matters!

Ice cream!  That stuff is amazing! The person who invented it deserves a medal.  Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, strawberry . . . the flavor doesn’t really matter.  It’s the sheer awesomeness of having that first cold bite fill your mouth on a hot summer’s day.  This is what really matters: small, seemingly insignificant moments, when you can truly appreciate just how fantastic it is to be alive.  Playing with my kids going crazy during an insane jam session, sharing a great meal with June or friends, making a snowman and snow angels . . . all we need to do is recognize and enjoy those moments.

I need to remind myself sometimes that getting caught up in all the BS detracts from being thankful for what you have.  Usually not letting other people's neuroses infect me isn't that difficult, but the last week has been a real trial.   Now I'm done letting that kind of thing get in my way.

At least until next time.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sycophant!

Tonight was a company dinner. I went in and due to seating placement found myself sticking my nose far up the CEO's ass, but that was par for the course.  The true test came when I left, and Mr. Jeon decided he was going to come with me.

Last week Mr. Jeon had a complete meltdown at a division dinner.  He's being passed over for a massive promotion he feels is due to him for the years and sucking ass in, and has in fact been demoted; the CEO has decided to bring in one of his old buddies from SNU to fill the spot Jeon truly coveted, and the next best spot is being given to one of Jeon's enemies.

You don't need to be a super genius to figure all the recent hires and interns have been SNU; we've seen a massive drop in Yonsei and Korea U applicants, as the word has gone out.

Mr. Jeon has worked hard to kiss all the ass he needs to, and I get why he's pissed at being passed over. What he doesn't get is that he's pissed all over his underlings for the last four years, as he doesn't trust anyone to do their job.  His thinking is all it takes is that fucker that you think is competent to carry his weight to upset the whole procession, so best micromanage and take care of it.  Of course, this has led to a poisonous environment where dealing with him is a trial, with many people doing their best to get transferred out.

After listening to him go on about all the people he hates for a good two hours last week, I'd had enough: look, maybe the CEO is testing you.  Maybe he isn't.  All I know is that your hate is infectious, and won't further your cause.  We're all going to leave here with baaaad attitudes.

He turned to me and snarled: son of a bitch.

Now, there are various schools of thought as to whether or not he was referring to me specifically as a son of a bitch.  What is unanimous was my meltdown.

You know, Jeon, saying that to me rubs.  My folks wanted to get married, but since my white Anglo-Saxon grandfather didn't want his lily white daughter to have anything to do with my Catholic father scum, they said fuck you and got pregnant.  They had to be married this way and I came along.  Growing up in a town where this all meant something has made me sensitive to being called a son of a bitch, or a bastard for that matter. Why don't you go play hide and go fuck yourself?

And by the way, if you really want to know why you are being passed over, why not ask yourself why many of the women in the division are not here right now?  It's because you act like a pissant little king who thinks everyone is here to genuflect at you until the cows come home.  Let me ask you this:  what is going on in your head that you'd even consider asking me if I was smuggling drugs in your suitcase last May?  You can't fucking listen to people, you don't give clear direction as to what needs to be done, and you think everyone is out to get you.  You also think your foreign staff is here for you to jerk off on to when the Korean staff won't lick that soft spot under your ball sack.  Fuck you.

Let's just say the evening ended after that.   Mr. Jeon has been avoiding me and the public areas for a week, and I thought for sure I'd be fired, as there is a clear clause in my contract which states that getting into a fight while drunk with coworkers is cause for immediate termination.  Nothing has yet to come down the pipe.

What did come down tonight after dinner was he came up: Mr. Waeg!  I want to apologize for the many things I said.  I'm hoping you have forgotten!

Forgotten what?

Ah, you are my friend!  Let's go to the next stop!

I'm sorry, I must go home.  Tomorrow is too busy and already I have some issue with being productive.  Good night.

I will come with you!

As my cab will pass by his place, I don't disagree.  In the cab, we talk about how I understand his situation, but as I'd never have the opportunities to rise in this country as he has, he should consider who he decides to rant to.  My payment for this was that when we get close to his place he says:

I can give you some money for the cab.

He holds out 2 chonners.  The fare is already six.

Take your two chonners and stick em up your tight ass you mother fucking cheapskate fuck.  You want to 'apologize' so I can pay for your cab ride or maybe even more drinks I see.  I asked you for a reference letter and you expected me to buy you dinner and drinks.  I want anything done with you and I'm supposed to give you a gift or take you out.  Do your fucking job, step up and learn what it means to be boss.

Instead, I said Goodnight Mr. Jeon.  See you tomorrow.  I don't take his money.

The only upside to all this is that the new head of the division seems way cooler.  Let's hope.  In the meantime, I get to refine my skills in sycophancy.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mother-in-Law Update!

I wish she were staying here
We didn't end up visiting the Mother-in-Law this weekend.

She's been in hospital for a couple of weeks now and recently had surgery on her knees.  At first I understood that the surgery involved internal organs, but thankfully it did not.

She's in a lot of pain and would rather not see the grandkids until she is out of the hospital.  That won't be for another couple of weeks apparently.  We need to convince her to maybe make an exception as I'm off home with the girls in less than that.

She's a tough old bird with a kind, gentle heart, good to those around her except her husband.  While she has very little education, she works hard to provide a safe, healthy environment for those around her.

In the end, some friends came over Saturday night, and Sunday we went skating.  That was a blast.

Where's my coffee??

Delicious Grapes!

Click Picture to Learn More!
Everyday I go to the grocery store I'm reminded how Korean farmers have thankfully gotten wise to diversifying crops; the other day I got my hands on some delicious locally produced fat red grapes.

I remember back in the day seeing little variety in locally grown produce; even broccoli was a rare sight. Now every grandmother is growing broccoli in their own little patch, and you can often get two small heads for a chonner and a half at the local markets, or right from the producers themselves as they are set up on the main downtown street in the Wonj.

These grapes were not the more common kind of grape found in Korea, as seen in the picture. I find the cost / benefit on those to be generally poor: too much work and not always that fantastic. While sometimes you can get a good batch, pinching off the skin and sucking out the juice is a waste of time. As a protip to the neophyte waeg, just eat the seeds, you could use the roughage anyway.

The reason I think this could be that I'm simply a lazy ass waeg who would rather just eat the whole thing in a quick, convenient, efficient manner.

Or it could be that red or green grapes are just that much more awesome.

In any event, good to see these available at a rather decent price at my local supermarket.

Time for coffee.

Friday, December 9, 2011

So Many Kinds of Wrong

It's snowing.  That doesn't mean we can miss another edition of

So Many Kinds of Wrong






Consurgo from Colorbleed Studios on Vimeo.




School Portrait (2011) from Michael Berliner on Vimeo.


This last deserves an awful category all of its own:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

All Quiet on the North Eastern Front!

Work is quiet today.  A large gang went off for some MT thing, while the rest of us schmoes are busy finishing up end of year projects. 

This is the calm before the storm, or what is probably more accurate, the eye. 

Things have been heating up since the last round of promotions; two senior positions were delayed for six months.  This has caused some of those who believe a position is due to them to completely lose their shit.  Tuesday night was ugly, a dinner held by the head of our division.  I won't go into the details right now, suffice to say his kibun is far from good, and no attempts to help him correct his kibun worked, as he didn't want it corrected.  But I digress.

Last night I got an email from a major client in Singapore; they've agreed to go full on for one of our proposals from last October, while they are still noncommittal on the second. 

Getting the first was the most important and I'm feeling pretty damn good about it, but of course a tour de force with a full go on everything would be most awesome.

I had started to get worried since here it is the second week of December.  That email means a massive load taken off my back in a sense, since the head honchos were beginning to question why we hadn't heard anything yet.  This will mean a ton more work in the next few weeks, but that is why they pay me.

Time for coffee.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

ppoooooppp

ppoooooppp.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Flattery!

Understanding the intricacies of Korean social custom is a must for any waeg if they want to take their job seriously in the ROK.  If you really want to get a lot done, stepping on too many toes is not the way to do it since you end up at best being ignored, at worst meeting straight out resistance and maneuvering aimed at bringing you down.

Waegs do have a bit of an advantage in some ways, since learning even a few of the subtleties of fitting Korean social behavior can get you far indeed.  One of the most important and obvious lessons any wet behind the ears waeg will know is of course how to act based on age and position, but I digress.

One of the most important things to consider is flattery.  Flattery is a cheap and seemingly inoffensive gesture,  and noticing even small details about coworkers or superiors and commenting positively is a standard practice in many countries.  But giving in and accepting flattery can be a much bigger problem in the Korean context than elsewhere.

If you respond positively to flattery, the flatterer gains some currency or leverage to act in a way that is beyond their position or age.  Some expert flatterers will get some superiors wrapped so tight around their finger that they'll begin to slack off, speak to equals or other superiors of lesser rank in an unfitting manner, or worse start pretending to speak on their behalf.  This can cause a shit tsunami in the normal pecking order, resulting in inefficiency when dealing with other departments, whose members may feel slighted by someone identified as close to you.   While brown nosers can cause issues anywhere, the damage they can do in the Korean context is amplified, where maintaining healthy, respectful relationships is paramount.

The general F5Waeg rule of thumb?  Flattery should be used and accepted judiciously.  You should not flatter too much, and if someone is excessively flattering you, nip it in the bud by ignoring it.  While you do want things to be copacetic in your work environment, maintaining the necessary distinction between civility and friendship is crucial.  In normal circumstances, it is possible to develop true, meaningful friendships with coworkers, but caution should definitely be exercised when acting in authority.

Besides, do you really think you look like Brad Pitt or some random actor / rockstar?  

Enough babbling about common sense stuff.

Time for coffee.

Surgery!

Word came in that my Mother-in-Law has taken a turn for the worse. 

She hasn't been staying with us for a few weeks now.  It was too much for her to be around young rambunctious girls all the time, so she went to stay with her sister.

Facts are still a bit scant at the moment, but what I've gotten so far is she'll require surgery.  It's expected to cost quite a bit, and we've been asked to pony up some.

This has put me in a bit of a spot.  What with paying off the loan on June's business and having just bought air tickets to head back home for Christmas, the gravy is already a little thin.  I've already canceled the rental car and eliminated other planned expenses.  Not sure where I'm going to get our full share of it, but I definitely don't want to be the only one to not contribute.  Just when money is tight, then comes Jesa, as Koreans say.

I hope she fully recovers.  She's a gem of a woman and has really helped us out over the years.  We'll be heading up to see her this weekend. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dinner!

June cooked pig.  It was delicious.  We also had soft tofu soup left over from breakfast, rice, steamed broccoli and cabbage, chillies.   The last chilli I ate was fine until the last bite when it completely lit my mouth on fire.

Before cooking the pig, June put some flour on it.

When I asked her about the flour, she said it was to make it more tender.

The girls said: flower?

Sure, flour.  They rushed to the stove to take a look.

Ahhh!  Flour!  I thought you said flower!

Yeah, I knew you thought flower.  That's what's called a homonym.  Flour / Flower.  Right / Write / right.  In Korean, Cha / cha / cha, or mal / mal.

I didn't make the distinction between a homophone.

Still, they got it.  As to my lecture on understanding context, we'll see how that takes hold.

This is what you get when you've been an English teacher for 12 plus years.

I'm about to clean the kitchen.

But first, some rice wine.

Lunch!

I made burritos for lunch.  They were delicious.

I fried up some chicken, a little bacon, onion, mushroom, a bit of garlic.  Wrapped it all up with some grated cheddar, diced tomato, lettuce, rice, sour cream.  This  = awesome. 

The sour cream was a bit weird; it doesn't like the freezer much.  I have no idea how long it has been sitting there, but sour cream isn't something found in the Wonj.  I stumbled on it when I did a massive clean of the fridge and freezer this morning.

Now June is mad since I haven't done the dishes yet.  She had to run to the bookstore and buy some study books for the eldest.  I'm going to take a nice hot bath and read.

But first some coffee.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Breakfast!

One common complaint in the waegosphere is how difficult it can be to find a decent western style breakfast if you live too far from Seoul.

A typical Korean breakfast can take some getting used to for many waegs, as they generally balk at eating soy bean paste soup, kimchied radish, marinated shredded beef, pork spine stew or the like first thing in the morning.  These waegs will often note that there is usually little difference between the kinds of food you'd eat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  This is generally true.

Not this waeg. I have come to embrace the pure awesomeness of all things Korean, including the fabulous offerings that can make a Korean breakfast!

This morning June actually made me breakfast, a rare thing indeed: it was leftover pork spine stew from a couple of days ago.  Usually I take care of myself, and most weekends I do a lot of the cooking, so I was pleasantly surprised.  She had even set it up nice, using a porcelain chopstick rest under the special silver plated chopsticks I received last year.

It was delicious.

See how much I like you? she said.

As I'd given her a vigorous seeing to early this morning, I winked and said you certainly like something over here. She blushed and giggled.

See the happy matrimonial bliss you too can enjoy if you simply eat the right foods?

Time for coffee.

Friday, December 2, 2011

So many kinds of wrong

This week's grab bag edition

So many kinds of wrong

sNSFW



Parent of the year award:



Mad Skillz:





L.H.O.O.Q.

Rooting around for random ideas for a presentation on branding, and how to make clever, subtle associations between disparate concepts, I came across an old Marcel Duchamp painting L.H.O.O.Q

I can use this I thought.  Then I glanced up and saw Brandon Harris, a total ringer for the reloaded Mona Lisa.

Not sure if it'll work as an example for this group, but worth a shot.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Discombobulated!

Waegs who have been in Korea for the long term know that sometimes keeping steady and sane can be a bit of a trial.  In many cases, the long term waeg resident is socially isolated with few friends of their own group and few opportunities to connect with their own culture and language in meaningful ways.

This is not to say that these same waegs don't have fulfilling lives; you learn the language, you make friends with the locals, you adapt.  But there still are times when you start to feel things becoming a little distant, like you're out of it.  Whether this general sense of malaise is characteristic of only expats in Korea, or of expats in every country, I can't say for sure, but I'd guess it is true in many cases worldwide.  I'd also guess that the degree or frequency of discombobulation depends on how accepted into the host culture the expat is and their age when they made the move, in that younger people can adapt more easily.

Regardless, it's when they're feeling beside themselves when waegs will often do crazy shit.  When you see that long term waeg neighbor get that look in his eye, best to either take him out and get him drunk or lock the door and hide the women.

How to avoid becoming too disassociated?  Head back home every so often, make good friends with both locals and other waegs, don't get too stuck in the same routine or bubble.  Stay healthy, keep busy, be productive.

But whatever you do, don't punch the baby.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dog House!

Tonight I was supposed to go out with a buddy.

When I called June to let her know I wouldn't be home for supper, she hung up in a bit of a huff.  She called back a couple of hours later to inform me that she was going out with the ladies, and since I'd gotten hammered and slept in a different city on the weekend, I was to get and take care of the girls.

Instead of arguing, I told her to have a good time.  Home now cooking up some fish, rice and veggies. 

Time for some Max.

Snow!

first snow koreaI felt yesterday that the final threshold between fall and winter had been passed. The rain, the smell, the weight all suggested the last shift away from fall.

Sure enough, this morning the first real snow hit. A few scattered flakes fell about a week ago, but now it's for real.

I need a new pair of boots. And new tires. That sucks. But winter is not so bad in my book. As long as there is a nearby grocery store fully stocked with reasonably priced goods that is.

15 Minutes!




Last night the whole fam gathered around the flickering blue light to watch a show about the youngest's kindergarten.  Apparently, a local community / lifestyles show was interested in the place since it promotes a more holistic style of learning.  The only formalized lessons are music and art, and the kids are encouraged to play together as much as possible outside, learning about plants, bugs, animals, dirt.

We teased the youngest as her 15 minutes of fame ended up being a shot of her hiding from the camera behind one boy, and burying her face in the hood of her jacket in another segment.  She must get that from June, as I am a complete attention whore.

Or maybe she'll just come to it in her own time.  It is an odd thing that around strangers she completely clams up.  When it's folks she knows, you can't get her to slow down let alone stop.

Time for coffee.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Green Felt Table!

The original?  Panmunjom
One thing the more astute waeg will notice is how many VIPs have a glass covered green felt table in their office.  Whether they be a civil servant, business executive, or school administrator, the green felt table is ubiquitous and a symbol of their importance.

Green could represent peace and prosperity, a welcoming.  The first time I saw one I thought we should take the glass off and get a Texas Holdem tourney going.  But this is a product of my Western background, Koreans would never dream of doing such a thing.  They'd play gostop instead.

I've sat at many a green felt table in my time in Korea, but I've never had my own.  I'm slightly jealous of the accounting department as their meeting room has a big green felt covered conference table.

But I suppose, they do count the money.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Carrots!

Tonight June and I talked about carrots over dinner.  She claims the carrots we were eating were obviously Chinese because of the holes running the length of them.

I know they are Chinese, as I made the mistake of buying them.

I mused aloud that it must be a plot by the Chinese to undermine the Korean people, as obviously the holes are where most of the vitamin A is supposed to be.  Also, these carrots looked like they contained more beta-carotene, which is bad for humans if over-consumed.

She looked at me like I had a massive hole in my head.  The youngest asked if this was true.  About as true as the fact that chocolate milk comes from brown cows, honey.   Daddy's just messing around.

I did the dishes as they played yut. 

Time to look at some random videos.

Home!

Tonight I got home a little earlier than usual.  Our end of day meeting finished earlier than expected, and I decided to bug out instead of putting in some extra time.  I don't feel too bad about it, as today I was fairly productive.

I started cooking dinner, washing the rice, looking over what was in the freezer.  Looks like we're going to need to hit the Costco again soon.  Just as I was wondering what we were going to have, the girls all trouped in and demanded we order chicken.  Hurry for BBQ Well-Being Olive Oil Goodness!

I thought something was amiss when the chicken came, then it hit me: BBQ no longer puts the Well-Being slogan on their chicken boxes.  This greatly disappointed me.

Tonight I promised the girls I'd read them some more Harry Potter.  Two or three chapters a night, and it should be a little over a week to finish. 

Well Being!

One topic that has been beaten to death in the waegosphere is how a preponderance of Korean food manufacturers use the term Well-Being when describing pretty much everything.  Any waeg who has been in Korea for more than a month has undoubtedly seen the term applied to food as varied as seaweed, potato chips, even beer.

Some complain that the term has nearly lost it's meaning, a catch all phrase to describe just about anything that can be considered food, even stuff that is inherently unhealthy.

What these waegs don't get is that since eating does allow you to live, then it isn't really a misnomer to apply the label well-being to pretty much anything that can be eaten.  The companies that are manufacturing all this well-being goodness are merely ensuring that you feel good about what it is you're eating, since no one likes to feel guilty for eating an entire super size bag of shrimp chips.  In the case of the beer, enough of them and you are most definitely in the well-being zone!  Where's the lie there??

It's not really about what's good for you, but feeling good.  If only more waegs understood this very special situation, they would probably be happier, too.

If you really do want to find the good stuff, you need to look for the organic stores and products, although you may want to hurry: food manufacturers are arguing that this label can also be used to describe just about anything edible, since by virtue of being eaten it must contain some organic material.  Even edible petroleum was once organic!  So stock up now on all your favorite organic well-being awesomeness!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Morning After!

This morning I woke up having no idea where I was. My brain hurt.

After wandering out and finding a 24 hour potato pork spine stew restaurant, I was told I was in Icheon.

I remembered being told at the bus station that there were no more buses to Daejeon. So I took the one to the biggest city I could.

Last night was messy. I remember buying drinks for a bunch of people. June asked how I spent 10 manners, and I'm glad it was only that much.

I got home about 20 minutes ago. June and the girls are at church. I'm going to make some soup.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

hmmmm

Wonju seems pretty dull.

There is a bus leaving for Daejeon in an hour.

I know nothing about Daejeon. It's the one large Korean city I haven't spent much time in.

Let's see if I get on that bus.

Update:

Sweet Jesus the tent bar us selling Daepo at 3 chonners a bottle! MUST RESIST AND GET ON BUS!


Update 2: (7:01)

There probably is a later bus.

Update 3: (7:19)

Daepo is good.

Update 4: (7:47)

so many hot female kpop.groups.

The internetz hates Justin Beaver, good.thig most of it dosen't care about mkst Male Kpop.

Luckily there.is.some interesting shit like this:


Called one buddy. He's out fishin in the woods. Hope he catches a few.

Update 5: (8:08)

Daepo is damn good. Music in this place is getting dull, sadly this is the most hopping place right now with the peeps dating.

Hittin' the Town!

I'm bored.  The fam went off to the sauna; I've stayed in and read stoopid shit all morning. 

At around 2, I thought it was a great idea to hit the rice wine. 

Me thinks its time to go walkabout.

More later.

Friday, November 25, 2011

So Many Kinds of Wrong

Another Friday, another edition of So Many Kinds of Wrong.

Let's start with some Thanksgiving:







Bonus!  I'd like to see this kid in 10 years

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Trouble!

This morning I had a little powwow with one of the COOs.  He wanted to know why I did not go to the mandatory company concert / dinner last weekend.

I figured feeding the BS about how I'd developed car trouble wouldn't fly, so told him the truth: if I didn't go make the kimchi, my wife's kibun would be very upset.  Many of the other mothers did not go to help with the work, and if instead of helping out I went off to have fun at a dinner and concert, things would be more than a little frosty around the house.  I felt very bad for not going as I understand the health of the group depends on good, happy feelings all around, but I would hardly be a good member of the group if for the next few weeks June was constantly walking around with dark storm clouds over her head.

He seemed at first somewhat flummoxed as to what to say.  It was obvious that he had been primed to get his rage on, but my explanation was pretty sound.  How are you to fault somewhat for not attending a social event when the health of his home life is on the line?  The company does claim to be very family oriented.

But then I remember the conversation I had around the water cooler with another waeg: he didn't go either, as his brother was flying into Incheon on the same day.  When he asked for permission to not attend, he had been told by the same COO that his brother should reschedule his flight, as attending the company event was extremely important.  This made more than a few of us shake our heads, as one of the Korean managers was given permission to not attend when he'd told again the same COO that he had a cold.

Weird.

End result: he said he understood, but that next time I should make more effort to attend all company social events.  I said I most definitely would, as he could see my record for attending these things is near spotless.

Hopefully there won't be any other blowback.

Time for coffee.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Saying Goodbye!

Tonight we had a family over for dinner.  I used to teach the kids back in the day, and we ended up becoming pretty close.

They're emigrating to Canada.  They plan on opening a music and art academy when they get there.  Dad was a senior VP at a trading company, while mom is an RN who has been working in the admin end of things for the last ten years.  Things got misty as we said our goodbyes.

Their eldest just started high school while their youngest is in 2nd grade of middle.  The daughter is actually quite strong academically, but they've decided to take the plunge and make the move anyway.

It's rare to see a family with older kids like this make the move.  In the past when I did immigration counseling, most of the families had kids in elementary.  In their case, they've already invested a considerable sum in the tutoring and academies, but mom and dad have decided they really want to make a change while they still can.

Sad to see them go, but I can understand why.  Staying here means living in a box surrounding by other boxes, a total population density per square mile in an apartment complex being over 1000 in most cases.  There, they'll have a yard and trees.

Twenty years ago, the young me scoffed at suburban life.  Manicured lawns in a gated community sounded like a slow death.

Now I know it to be living in concrete boxes in complexes where the highlight of your day is scoring a parking space less than 400 meters from your building.  Ah, the folly of youth.

Me thinks plans should be made to GTFOA.

Time for some Daepo.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Violation!

This morning on my way to work I got a traffic violation.  I got nailed by a camera for going through a red light.  It's a nowhere traffic light, and I can usually avoid the camera by going straight through the turning lane.  This morning I was a little sleepy and didn't bother.  The pink flash of the camera totally upset me for a whole fifteen minutes.

Then I remembered that it is my precious duty to contribute my share to the improvement of the road system, and even though it'll only be 4 manners, every little bit counts.  Also, I should be doing my bit to increase the waeg crime rate.  Someone has to bring it up to par with the Korean rate; as guests, we mustn't engender bad kibun amongst our hosts, and a too low crime rate would only make all kinds of people feel bad.  Who cares if running a traffic light isn't the same as fraud, rape, theft, or murder?  It's the thought that counts.

And I was truly all about running that red light.

Don't thank me; when living in a foreign country, it is important to be civic minded.

Monday, November 21, 2011

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 kinda snarky, and I should have just holed up in my office and got my work on.

Around the water cooler one of the ladies went on about a new sweet potato diet she's trying. Apparently, you can lose a lot of weight quickly by eating only sweet potatoes whenever you're hungry.

I threw up a little in my mouth listening to her describe the diet while watching her eat sweet potato. Personally, I don't find sweet potato all that great; it took every ounce of will to not spew all over her at the thought of eating nothing else but sweet potato while watching her cram one in her mouth. What can I say? I like variety in my foodstuffs.

She saw my discomfort and laughed. Waeg, what's the matter? You don't like Korean sweet potato?

My eye twitched slightly. No, I'm not a big fan of American sweet potato. Yams are a bit easier to stomach. I do like the greens though.

sweet potato pizza.  worst.  invention. evar.
This isn't American, this is grown in Korea.

Sure, I meant where it originates. They have 5000 years of history. Apparently it came to Asia a long time ago with the Polynesians. In fact, it's considered possible evidence for trans-pacific voyages, as someone would have had to bring it back with them. It's not in the same category as tomato, tobacco, corn, potato, or chillies; those were brought over only within the last two-three hundred years at best.

How come you know so much about sweet potato?

I wrote a paper on human migration back in uni.

Our conversation ended there, and she did not look too happy and seemed put out.

Now, I do believe that stupidity is a universal human constant, and I'm hoping she won't hold a grudge against me and that her 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?

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Makin' the Kimchi



A terrible thing happened on my way to meet the company bus: the famvan developed some problems, and I was unable to meet the bus. I'm sure there will be hell to pay later, but at least I'm now able to participate in the Great Kimchi of 2011.

I've been dodging the many glasses of soju. I promised myself I wouldn't drink.

All I can say is that's a lot of kimchi. We're almost ready to mix it all together and bury it.

More later.

Letter from a Long Time Reader!

A while back I received the following email from someone who self describes as a long time reader:

Dear Waeg


I've been reading your blog for a while and find it at times entertaining.  Being a Korean married to an Englishman, some of your writings resonate all too deep.  I do hope you and your wife can work out your differences, which seem generally related to a lack of communication.  If it makes things any easier, I have many friends who like me are in mixed marriages, and some of the disagreements you have with your wife are similar to what I've seen in other Korean females / non Korean male pairings. Not to lecture, but it's all about perspective.  I would guess that your wife has not spent a lot of time overseas.


While I don't doubt that you aren't an ESL teacher, and I understand why you avoid spelling out exactly what you do, you do a disservice by pretending to be something you aren't.  Why not, as you purport to do, 'step up' and own what you really are?  Maybe if you remove the facade, you can find a way to be equal with your spouse.


Sign me X@excite.com, this being a random email account (10/4/11)


Hi X@excite.com, sorry for not responding sooner, but the planets were not aligned, the world wasn't ready, the gods had yet to receive their payment in blood, pithy expression related to timing here.  That I would remember your email under the circumstances is in itself divine Providence.  Sadly, the hate always gets a more visceral reaction and generates more comments, which are somewhat scant on my stoopid blog.  But then, I haven't posted most of what I've received, always saving the best for last.

I should preface my response with the fact that I'm pretty drunk and I'll probably ramble a bunch.  We hosted a parents' meeting for the kindergarten tonight, and several of the dads stayed late. We talked about plans for the next dad's meeting; I'm no longer allowed to miss out, as they know I've been staying away because of the last asshole in charge.  He's out and the new guy is all about rockin' the house.  This is all good.

I've worked hard to reconcile myself to the fact that I married when I never wanted to.  I wanted to travel, see the world.  Live.  Truth is, I haven't been able to completely accept that the time I've spent being married has resulted in frustration, stupification, youngins I'm responsible for no matter the cost.

I self styled as free, random, open.  I've always laughed at idiots like this, and never dreamed I'd become the like.

Are there issues of communication?  Sure.  Has June not spent much time abroad?  Bingo.  Should I share more about what I do?  Any more would cause the universe to contract upon itself centered within my sphincter.

I appreciate the well wishes.  Quite frankly, this little Ted Talk below has done more for helping sort out married life in general, ignoring the whole "OMG! I'm NOT married to SOMEONE of my own ETHNICITY!!" schtick that has spawned too many websites.

It isn't that June is Korean that is the real issue.  It's what she's like as a person that I focus on.

Let's see where I end up in ten-fifteen, eh?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Kimjang!

Tomorrow is kimchi making day at the kindergarten. All the parents come together to make fresh kimchi for daily lunches.

Sadly, I will not be able to attend. I have to go to Seoul for an obligatory company wide dinner / concert.

A bunch of the crew will be staying up and hittin' the 'twon afterwards. I'm going to be a limp dick by heading back that night. I'm saving all my dimes and nickels for Christmas you see, when I'll be heading back home for a short bit.

The sacrifices a father must make.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

So many kinds of wrong

This first has been making the rounds on the internetz:


PROTECT IP Act Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

Related:



But what would so many kinds of wrong be without some messed up Japanese zombie and Rammstein videos??? (VNSFW)




Rammstein - Mein Land from Rammstein on Vimeo.

Douche bag of the week award goes to this guy:

Reading Time!

The eldest loves to read.   She's at a pretty high level in Korean, chawing through three or four good sized books a week.

Lately she's been into Harry Potter.  She's already read the first two in the series.  Not bad for a second grader.

Sadly she hasn't been reading a whole lot in English, and I've found myself giving her a hard time about it more than I should.

I point out to her that many of her friends pay a lot to learn English; she's lucky to have someone at home who can help her with that all the time.  But she still has a hard time getting through the Dr. Seuss and Magic Tree House.

So tonight was The Big Read In.  I put my ET skills to use and made a game: I gave the girls words and sentences appropriate to their ages; if they could read it without mistakes, they got to move ahead, the number of mistakes limiting the amount they could move on the board.  I put Whopper candies on certain spots, which when they reached that spot allowed them to eat a decreasing number of Whopper deliciousness.

They had a blast and were wired for sound until about an hour ago.  Game needs some refining, but we'll play it again soon.  I don't really have a choice in the matter as they've demanded a rematch.  The youngest won the most.

Maybe next time I'll use fruit instead.  That may of course just ruin it, but then learning shouldn't be solely an instantaneous reward pursuit.

Time for some Max.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Barbarians at the Gate!

Today we had a 'specialist' come by to give a seminar on computer security.  I thought it might be a useful way to spend an hour, and I went in with high expectations.

Warning bells went off when the dude giving the seminar looked about 70, and the intro slide to his presentation featured a picture of Dokdo.

He rambled on about the need to protect corporate and private information, pretty general stuff that anyone should know.  But then he went off about Evil Foreign Data Thieves who targeted the peace loving Korean people.  I thought he was going to talk about the need to stop being so Explorer and Active X reliant, the reasons why so many data thieves are able to flourish in Korea to begin with; instead he started to make some point related to how North Koreans were the happiest people in the world.  At this point I walked out before I could hear where he was going it.  I'm a busy guy, what can I say?

I'll ask someone about it tomorrow, but judging by some comments overheard around the water cooler, it was a huge waste of time.  Most of my coworkers have given up on Explorer; Chrome seems a favorite.

Maybe I should get into the seminar gig.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Free Furniture!

I came home last night to a huge pile of discarded furniture stacked in front of the apartment.  I looked it over quickly, but decided to give it a pass.  Some of it was OK, but after years of living in the ROK, I've adopted the Korean habit of not wanting to pick up someone else's trash, no matter how cool or cute it may be. 

This statement is of course ironic, since when June got home she insisted I bring up one of the dressers.  It was the one piece I had seriously considered bringing up, as it was an obviously well made and solid piece.  While a bit dated, it was also clearly a little on the expensive side.

This is another little reason why I agreed to marry this woman.  Wish I saw more of these, but I digress.

After hauling it upstairs with the help of the apartment guard, then came the rearranging.  I love how most apartments and furniture in Korea are so cookie cutter; makes everything fit pretty easy.  When we first moved in, the movers were actually quite amazed at just how well everything seemed to fit in the apartment.  Guess some designer / architect somewhere had more than a few cylinders firing the day they designed that stuff.

We did need a new dresser, and if we hadn't of pulled that one in it's quite possible it would have simply been broken down into pieces and recycled into press-board.  When you see discarded furniture, you best jump on it as fast as possible for this very reason: some overzealous Bacchus-D-fueled-super-adjusshi apartment guard will decide to go at it and break it down into pieces to be sold as scrap.  I've missed out on a couple of nice items over the years this way.

At least this way we won't have to buy any more of that made in Vietnam stuff for a while.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sauna!

An old friend came up to the Wonj on the weekend known as the Professor.  He's been teaching in Seoul for a few years now, one of those rare E1 visa holders.  He brought his girlfriend, a sweetie he met in Vietnam some time back.  After a night of heavy drinking on Saturday, we decided to hit a charcoal heated sauna out in the countryside not too far from town.

At first I was unimpressed: a sauna with no baths always earns low points.  You had to walk outside to get to the saunas, which are small rooms fashioned out of clay.  It was only after I'd got my sweat on that I started to appreciate the place a little.  The medicinal sauna was actually quite nice.  

The super hot sauna was intense; the place provided wooden sandals to wear inside, as soft plastic ones had been known to melt and emit toxic fumes.  A woman was in there wrapped head to toe in thick heavy blankets.  I became worried about her, and was considering going in again to make sure she was still alive, but eventually she wobbled out. Detox and losing weight are great things, but at some point you should consider whether your internal organs are going through a slow bake.

Still, felt pretty good by the time we left.  Everyone had a swell time.

It was a pretty good weekend all in all.  It was funny to hear the Professor's partner go on about Korean love motels: she couldn't get over that not only did they not ask for ID or a marriage certificate when they booked into the place, which is pretty standard in a lot of places in Vietnam, but that the motel also provided condoms and three porn channels as 'service'. 

But of course, pornography is illegal in Korea, so she must have been mistaken.  Either that or it was a special room just for waegs.  Yeah, that must be it.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

At the Grocery Store!


This morning I went out to the grocery store to pick up a few things. At the fish counter, I asked for 300 grams of oysters. I love oysters.

The guy looked at me funny. Do they eat oysters in your country? Sure dude, they do; in fact they're considered a luxury. Oysters in Korea are cheap comparatively, and usually they're already shucked and ready to eat.

He seemed truly bemused by the whole idea of people eating oysters in a western country.

While driving home, I didn't think about the screwy myopic ideas some people have about folks in other places. I thought about my dad. When I was preparing to come to Korea oh so many years ago, he pointed at the sweaters and winter gear I was packing. You aren't going to need that in Korea he said. I assured him winters got cold there since it was fairly mountainous. This seemed very novel to him at the time.

I remind myself from time to time that this captures the essence of the human condition, and thus avoid laughing in the face of people who talk about four distinct seasons, how the best rice in the world comes from Icheon, how western people are X,Y and most obviously Z. It helps keep me on the straight and narrow.

Time for coffee.

Friday, November 11, 2011

So many kinds of wrong

This week's edition: English!

So many kinds of wrong







Bonus!  Epik Bollywood car chases!



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scripted!

Any expat worth their salt quickly realizes the importance of coming up with scripted responses for the standard litany of questions the average Korean will ask upon first meeting you.  The savvy expat quickly realizes which responses generate animosity and sore feelings, and which make people walk away feeling good about themselves and their place in the world.

Typical questions can run the gamut from "Oh, can you use chopsticks", "Do you like Korean girl?", "Do you know Kimchi?  Is it too spicy for you?", and "Why aren't you married?"

While some may find many of the standard questions intrusive and rude, or indicative of a narrow world view, what they don't realize is that they are simply a pure expression of interest and concern for your overall well being. 

When presented with these kinds of questions, it is always best to just stay on script, demonstrating your own pure and clear mind to your Korean hosts.  This way you can develop lasting bonds of friendship and true understanding, bringing the world closer together.  After all, small talk is just that, small talk.

Remember to always smile.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Space Between!

John had barely made it to the toilet when a fetid stream of liquid shit spat from his anus.  Hed been feeling off for quite some time now, and nothing the docs gave him worked to make him right as rain.  He moved off the more offensive solids, avoiding grease, spice, anything of dubious provenance.  He ate only basic, wholesome food.  He stopped drinking and steered clear of all 'meds'.  Still the sickness pervaded him, brought him low, rented his intestinal track with wave after spasmatic wave, again and again for days.  It affected his work life, his dating life, everything.  He was at a loss for what to do.

Captain James Cook had been working on the project for 27 years, and now it seemed close, so close to fruition.  Interstellar space travel was finally within the grasp of the human race!  The difficulties they had endured!  When humans had begun to colonize their solar system, it had taken years to arrive at even the closest planets.  Finding a means to navigate past the Kuiper Belt and past the threshold had been difficult to surmount.  The incident of the Needle nearly resulted in the complete destruction of all the plutoids and the death of its crew; no known substance had been devised to withstand the pressure and intense radiation.  The explosion had been similar to a mini nova, even at that distance seen on Earth for years.   Thanks to his work on magnetic resonance, a crewed ship had finally made it to the threshold and were about to become the first humans to leave their cradle.

John was able to enjoy a good 10 minutes before the pain hit him again, this time far more intense than anything so far.  He doubled over and groaned, a deep guttural sound that scared his cat who scurried off into some dark corner.  Sweat covered his entire body, his clothes drenched with his stank.  He wiped his brow: a yellow stain covered his hand.  He felt as if he were burning up, the heat from his body emanating in waves.  His eyes began to lose focus.  What the fuck is happening to me.

-Prepare for ignition commander Bligh!  -Yes sir! Captain Cook.  It was a running joke on ship.  That their captain was the namesake of another hardy adventurer who had endured many trials and tribulations in pursuit of knowledge and glory was not lost on them.  They gave themselves names from Cook's crew and laughed at their wit.  They didn't believe in fate, a concept from a more primitive and superstitious past, when capricious gods and goddesses played with human destiny.  This was a rebirth of an age of action, when humans took full control of their future!  Bligh reached over and slotted the accelerator disk.  The ship began to hum


John felt the heat the insufferable heat begin deep inside his navel.  Shoulda .. . listened. . . to . . Margie when . . she said I could stand to lose . . a few. . .


The ship began to tremble.  All the tests showed this to be normal.  Bligh turned the power to full.  The ship blinked.

John could no longer think.  The heat rose to a fever pitch.  His clothes began to smoke, then his torso burst into an intense flame which enveloped his body in seconds.

The ship reappeared on the other side of the threshold and instantly began a sub atomic chain reaction.  The gaseous space between reacted to the polymer composition of the ship.  The artificial combination of organic and metallic served as a catalyst, instantaneously causing everything to simply close.  The crew never knew it, nor any thing else.  Everything had simply ceased to be.

The fire crew had come and gone, but they hadn't really been needed.  The fire had been highly localized and out in minutes.  -Why you think he did it?  And how?  - Who knows Mac.  People today, it's hard to say.  But yeah, 700 degrees centigrade, now that's a weird one.  How you gonna write it up? 


Mac thought a minute.  


-Spontaneous human combustion.



Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Biorhythm!

No wonder I feel stoopid these last days
Today around the water cooler talk with a coworker was about how I may be starting to get out of my funk.  She said something to the effect that maybe my biorhythm was finally beginning to stabilize. 

This made me laugh a bit.  I remember back in middle school using a crap IBM 286 to write a very basic program for calculating a person's biorhythm.  I inputted the birth dates for everyone in class and printed out all the results, then brought them to class and matched guys up with girls as to which biorhythms would best suit each other for the next month.

It was a big hit at the time and I ended up sharing the program with about a half dozen others.  Peeps were still using it a year after I graduated.

As for whether or not my biorhythms are back in synch is up for debate: after lunch I ended up getting tripped up in a coat belt when walking past a coworker's desk and went flying, spilling a huge mug of coffee all over the place.  I barely missed a coworker I find particularly interesting.  Luckily I had the presence of mind to twist a bit to the side sending the coffee flying just off beside her.

Everyone in the office helped clean it up.  Very cool.  Tomorrow is McMorning for everybody.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Locked!

Tonight the youngest thought it would be a fantastic idea to lock the door to her bedroom.  The eldest promptly came to me:

Daddy, she locked the bedroom door!  I tried these keys but none of them fit!

The eldest had actually amassed a fairly sizable collection of keys, from where is a mystery.  As luck would have it, none of the keys that came with the apartment worked, nor any of the others for that matter.

No problem!  I've got this.  Step back and watch the master at work!

I tried the 'ol pop the lock in the little hole under the knob, no luck.  There was no space for me to slide the paper clip in.

Next I tried a book club card.  As these things go, the frame left no room to slide the card in.   Card is now totally f*****.

Finally I dug out a suitable Allen key and went to work at it with a paper clip.  After about 20 minutes of this I went and got a hammer.  Nothing the claw won't fix!

I resisted the urge to smash or rip it out when I remembered that locksmiths usually put a small sticker on your door.  Sure enough I went out and pulled the sticker off and gave it to June.  She was amazed that such a thing existed.

Within 20 minutes, dude showed up and had the door open in about ten seconds.  My manhood did not shrivel up however, since instead of Hulk SMASH I used my superior wit to call in a professional.

Total cost: 1.5 manners.  Cheaper than replacing the knob.

Still, Hulk SMASH would have felt good.

Been Away!

The last week has been all about fighting illness and feeling like shit.  It hit me hard after an extremely intense three week full on work rampage.  Piles of paper were filled with diagrams pictures and words, then filed and processed.  Products were shipped.  Goats were sacrificed to ensure that everything arrived on time, on demand.

I'm still feeling out of it.  Despite a really slow weekend where I pretty much slept, I'm generally lacking in serious motivation.  This needs to change now.

But all I want to do is sleep. . . I should decry how my human rights are being violated since I'm not allowed to sleep at work all the time (HT to Granfallon at TMH).