Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

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

Monday, February 28, 2011

March 1st!

Seeing as tomorrow is a holiday, I figured I'd surf around a bit on the net.  I've been pretty busy these days and haven't had a lot of time to poke around in what's going on over yonder.

While checking out the links on my blog roll, I came across this little gem.

The irony seemed palpable.  When I get maudelin, one of the big things I worry about is just what kind of future this country will allow me to forge for me and mine, and just how much impact I can have on that process.

I wonder just what take of 'Manse!' will end up winning out.  Will it be one that forgets what caused the ancestors to rise up and risk death in the first place?

I'm not against the promotion of Korean culture and traditions.  In the global world, offering up a unique contribution is much better than simply becoming borg.

That said, I do have an issue when things start getting too 'ethnicky'.  That means that even if I were to give up my citizenship and assimilate 1000%, I'd always be missing that special ingredient: blood.  And my girls would only ever be twigi.


Still, the battle needs to be fought that I not allow myself to be too blinded by the morons I meet on the street and what I can only read in the papers.  A lot of that shite certainly does make your average waeg angry.  But then I think of the many cool people I've met over the years, and how much I wish they'd get more involved in change.

But that is a tall order to fill.

What's worse are some of the Koreans I've met who have lived overseas, and get all up on themselves in this way: but waeg, Korea is a great place for foreigners and their children.  When I lived in XYZ, I experienced real racism, something YOU could never understand.

uh huh.

In some ways, that may be true.

But try it out from my end for awhile, and get back to me.

Home!

I came in and was greeted by a resounding round of hugs and hellos.

Those kind of days are always good.

The youngest showed off the loot she got from the birthday party.  Her favorite thing was a new set of rubber stamps.

She's busy remarking some of her stuff.  She asked if she could watch Here Come the 123's again.  Sure.  It's been a while and it is kind of like your birthday.

We have a pretty strict TV schedule in our house: TV only every three days.  This gets thrown out the window sometimes when my Mother-in-Law or June watch their dramas, but the girls think those shows are kind of boring anyway.  Taking after my own heart.

June has offered to read some books.  That's better.  I'm beat tonight and could use a bit of a break from reading time.

I'm looking at that bottle of yellow tail cabernet that's been sitting in my hutch for a good two months.

Maybe more later.

Goat Soup!

Tonight the girls and June are at a mass birthday party for three different kids.

I've taken advantage of the situation by getting a haircut from my favorite ajumma.  She's been cutting my hair for years and does an awesome job.

Now I'm enjoying some delicious goat soup.

I can only eat it when I'm out alone.  The youngest likes it, but June and the eldest refuse to eat it.

Home soon.

Black Ice!

This morning's drive was somewhat treacherous.  Different parts of the road were covered with black ice.

Luckily I know where the bad bits are.  I got to work safe and sound.

There's a metaphor in there somewhere I'm sure, but it's still early on a Monday to sort it out proper.

I got to work a bit later than usual, which worked out great seeing as Mr. Kim was out spreading calcium on the road.  I made it into the office without incident.

When I got into my office,  I read a comment in my "why marry Korean" post that insinuates I am an evil person for whacking my kid with a wooden spoon once on the butt and marrying my wife when she got pregnant.  They state my wife and kids would be better off without me around.

Wow.

I'm thinking that person must have a pretty good life if that is their definition of evil. 

I decided to leave it up since they say I am masochistically self-indulgent.  I can only raise an eyebrow at how they choose to live their life, obviously free of responsibility, lacking historical perspective, and not having need to understand what sacrifice for family and country may entail.

Here I thought that the post clearly meant "Why did I marry a Korean", as opposed to why marry a Korean at all.  Is it that difficult to understand?

Time for coffee.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Goriak!

On Wednesday, I showed the girls the short film Balablok

It was the second time they had watched it.  They've insisted on watching it and the Sand Castle video 3 more times since.

Today's pretty rainy and cold.  It put a crimp in my plan to shuttle some stuff over to June's business.  She has extra storage space that I was going to use.  We've spent most of the day home organizing, cleaning, reading and watching TV.

The girls have been running around crying 'Goriak goriak goriak' at each other for over an hour.  When I asked them what was up, they said they were looking for triangles. 

I told them to let me know if they found any.  Wonder what they'll do if they find some.

Shiro!

This morning I had to be authoritarian daddy.

The youngest is wilful, and I have come to despise the word 'shiro'.  She spoke rudely to her mom, and then me, so it required first the threat of the wooden spoon, then an actual whack on the ass, to make her get dressed and go to church.

June had been wanting to let her stay because it was less hassle than having to cajole her.  I said what if she decides she doesn't want to go to school when she's older?  What will you do then?

She's been reading "10 Days to a Less Defiant Child".  I don't know what it says in there, but if it's to just let her be rude and do what she wants, the author deserves the smack on the ass.

I believe that corporal punishment should be used judiciously and sparingly.  If persuasion and logic can achieve results, good. 

But there are times when a smack on the ass is needed.

This morning wasn't really that serious.  But we are too soft on them sometimes.

When I was young if I acted like a little shit my dad would spank my ass then ask questions later.

The first time I was seriously spanked came after my first attempt to ask my dad for an allowance.  I was given what would become the infamous 'money doesn't grow on trees, you need to earn it' speech.

I thought as to how I could earn some money.  I was six.  I came up with the brilliant idea of selling stuff.  I looked over my all my things and knew them to be either far too valuable or worthless to sell.  So I went into my dad's tool shed.  I settled on a nice ratchet set.

I wandered around my neighborhood and found a truck driver working on a car.  Here was a discerning eye.  I asked him if he'd like to be the proud owner of this very cool tool set.  It could be his for the grand price of 50 cents.

He bought it.

Flush with my accomplishment, I immediately went to the store and bought some comics and candy.  I was looking forward to showing to my father that I could make money, a lot of money, fast.

I got home to find my dad asking where his ratchet set was.  A small warning bell went off in my head, and I hesitated, some of my excitement and pride deflating.  But I told him, I sold it to make some money.


What followed was a good old ass whoppin and a lecture on the importance of respecting other people's things.  Then he marched me down to the guy who had bought it from me to apologize and buy it back.

The bastard looked at me and said a deal was a deal.  My dad came over and tried to make him see reason, but asshole was adament: it was now his ratchet set, a set he particularly liked, especially since he had gotten it at a micro fraction of its retail value.

I worked for months doing every little chore around the house after that.  I once again saw light when I chanced upon the opportunity to get a paper route and was able to get over 70 customers after a weekend canvasing. 

So I learned, and with an impetus and zeal that may have been lacking had my father chosen to simply 'discuss'.  Sometimes what you need is a whack on the ass.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

BIrthday Celebration!

Nothing too crazy: we went to an awesome duck restaurant that bakes a stuffed duck in a terra cotta oven.  

The duck was delicious.  Afterwards, we drove around a bit, then bought a new kitchen table at a Casamia factory outlet.  It had a small groove notched out of the table top, so we got it at 40% off.  Score.

We fed the girls enough Haagen daz ice cream to feed an entire elementary school class.  Then we let them loose in a huge playground and watched as they bounced around on an amazing sugar high.



We bought the youngest a new dress, gave money to the mother-in-law, and June will be getting a new car navigation system.  

Home now.  Feeling pretty tired.  I plan on organizing all my camping gear on one of the shelving units.  

Then I'll watch a movie and turn in early.  It's been a pretty busy day after a very busy week.


Metronome!

When you're feeling baited. . . 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hope and Good Wishes



Here's to all the kiwis out there.  Hope your friends and family are safe and well.

So Many Kinds of Wrong

Poor Sportmanship edition!

So Many Kinds of Wrong





Yellow Dust!

I've noticed over the last few days that yellow dust season is getting geared up. 

Sometimes it's so thick in the Wonj that you feel like you're walking in soup;  you come out in the morning and your car is covered in layers of the stuff.  I've taken to carrying a decent mask with me when out and about.

For years I'd develop an ear and throat infection between the months of March-May.  I finally got some new medicine that kept it at bay and last year I didn't have to take any antibiotics to clear it up.  Let's hope it pans out the same this year.

There are several yellow dust monitoring sites.  I usually can sort it out by just looking out a window. 

Early Bird!

Last night I went to bed pretty much as soon as I had finished posting on my stoopid blog.

Yesterday at work was madness.  So much to do, so little time.  I spent part of the day fixing idiotic mistakes I'd made.  Fak.

TGIF.

This morning I woke at a little after 4.  I'm into my second coffee and feel about ready to have a cosmic dump.

I spent some time cleaning up my blog and checking out the view of the new place. 

This weekend there are four birthdays to celebrate: June's, the youngest's, the Mother-in-Law's and the younger sister-in-law's.  We're going to a nice duck restaurant outside of town.  They stuff the duck with herbs and rice, cook it in terra cotta.  It truly is a fine dining experience.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mugwort!

Every spring the fam and I go out and picks bags of mugwort.

We use it in soups, stuff some in small cotton pillowcases, and give some to friends.

Why bother when it's so cheap?  It's a good excuse to get out of the house and walk around in big open fields.  It's a nice afternoon activity.

The interesting thing about mugwort is that when burned it smells oddly like ganja.

One of my waeg coworkers came excitedly into my office late this afternoon.  Dude, someone has been smoking pot around the smoking corner out back.  I've been smelling it all day.

Now I do know that there are some Koreans who smoke the stuff despite the insane penalties if you get caught; but I seriously doubt anyone would be smoking it near the office.

Naw dude, it can't be.  I bet its mugwort.  You can buy the cigarettes in pharmacies as a smoking cessation aid.  It doesn't really work worth shit on the actual nicotine withdrawal, but if you just like the act of smoking without getting any nicotine it's supposed to help that way.

Sure enough shortly after I went out and found Mr. Na puffing away on a mugwort cigarette.  He's three days into quitting and word around the office is that he's doing well.

It's still a bit too early to go out and pick mugwort yet, but soon.  Maybe at that time I'll actually follow through on my New Year's resolution to quit tobacco.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Drinking Problems!

The irony of a Korean talking about a Waeg's drinking problem is palpable!

Here, Watch This!

I eschewed the world history lessons.

Probably best if I wait on those until they're a bit older.

After a dinner of rice, soy bean paste soup, bean sprouts with sesame oil, pan fried tofu and radish kimchi, I sat them down and said: here, watch this.




Eldest: Daddy, we already watched this.
Yes, but what does it mean?
Eldest: blank stare.


The blocks and circles were different, they didn't understand each other, they fought.  In the end, they became the same but that's because in the beginning they really were the same.  It took them to fight to figure that out.


Youngest: What about the triangle?
Maybe they'll fight again, or maybe they'll learn it doesn't matter if everyone is exactly the same.

Now watch this:




Sometimes, people want the same thing, and they'll throw away their friendship over it.  In the end, they both lose.

We ended by discussing the transient nature of most human endeavor, and why sweating the small stuff isn't really worth the lack of sleep:


Daddy I Need to Talk to You!

Around lunch time I got a call from the eldest.  She was insistent about asking me what she said was a very important question.

At first I thought she was going to ask about having some cookies, or maybe watching some TV, but out of left field she asks: "Daddy, what's war?"

This stopped me dead.  This wasn't the kind of question that I could just brush off with some silly answer, this was one of the big ones.  

Honey, that's a very difficult question to answer on the phone.  When I get home, we can talk about it ok?

She acquiesced. 

I spent some time chewing on how to approach it.  While I consider myself fortunate to never have had to fight in a war, or live through one happening on my doorstep, I wonder how much this reality brings me to the notion that war in many cases is necessary for human development.  I can take a distant, dispassionate view of war, see it as what causes huge leaps in technological and social development, understand it as important for the development of humanity in general even the vanquished.  

But I’ve never been the vanquished nor have I seen my family killed (or worse), only ever enjoyed the times of prosperity that followed war.  War is distant, happening elsewhere to others.

I know I’m supposed to think war is bad, but I definitely don’t feel it as such.

Of course, this becomes more complex when I consider that a serious war could very well occur in her lifetime.  

So how to respond?  Maybe it's time to start with some world history lessons.

Writing!

A note from a reader asked this:

How do you find time to write?  I work full time, have a family. . . the last thing I have time for is maintaining a blog.  When I get home I usually just want to veg out or hang with my family.  How do you keep it up and write so much? --Mike

Hi Mike, thanks for your email.  If you have a question or comment, feel free to drop me a note, the email is in my profile.

I have way too much stuff to do today, and there is no way it can all be taken care of, but I'm still going to take some time to write a response because, well, that is an integral part of my reply.

Most of what I write is complete schlock.  A lot of it is exactly the regular stuff I experience everyday, like wanting to come home and relax or playing with my kids.  An idea pops into my head, I bang it out quick without editing, and post it up.  Sometimes I cringe later at what I wrote or the spelling and grammar errors I've made.  Sometimes I have an idea, or plan a future post, jot out a few notes, save it as a draft and come back to it when its ready.  Some of my posts are written in 2 minutes, some take over an hour.

Mostly its about forcing myself to do it.  Making it a habit, something that needs to be done regularly.  There are days when I know that what I'm going to write will be total shite, but I still do it.  Later I reflect on the circumstances behind what I wrote, and learn from it.

So primarily its about getting yourself into a frame of mind where you write something everyday, and stick to it.  Always plan to write at least a little bit, and do it without compromise.  If it sucks, make it suck less next time.


Not the best response for you Mike, but work calls.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Long Walk

Once I had reorganized my pack and stuck my thumb out, I was surprised to get picked up in fairly short order by a ginger driving a big old Grand Marquis.  I felt maybe the gods were smiling on me.

Nice car I said, and thanks for the ride.

No problem.  You know, usually when I give someone a ride they offer me something in return.  You know, to show their appreciation.

Erm, I've got a couple of nice apples here I picked off a tree a couple of days ago.  Would you like one of those.

He laughed.  No I had something a little more fun in mind.  He runs a hand on my thigh and makes a fumbling grab at my crotch.

You know, I think I'm actually pretty much an ingrate.  You can let me off here.

He gets angry and seems to not want to stop the car.  For the second time in twenty four hours I entertain the notion of grabbing the steering wheel of a fast moving vehicle and veering it into a ditch.  Then, a sharp swerve to tear into the gravel on the side of the interstate.  Once out, he tears off throwing rocks everywhere.  Sorry I didn't make your day.

By this point dusk had settled.  I was hoping to get over to a major artery that would see me skirt a large city and have me heading in the right direction.  I caught a brief ride that generated an argument on the literary worth of anything by William Faulkner, and a drop off at the split of two main arteries.

Things were not shaping up. 

Especially when I made the mistake of climbing onto an overpass that I thought would take me to a country road that would shave about 30 miles.

It was getting late at this point, but for some reason I didn't feel like stopping.  I had been walking for near an hour at this point, and I figured I could get close to the country road and camp out somewhere nearby.

Once on the road, I could sense that I had made a mistake.  The road ahead was pitch black, shimmering lights in the distance.  It isn't that far, I can walk that.  Just stay in the middle of the road and focus on the lights, no problem.

I walked.  Total darkness enveloped me and started to play weird tricks.  The humidity and coolness suggested swamp on either side of the road, everything oddly silent.  No matter how long I walked, the lights didn't seem to get any closer.  I started hearing noises in the woods on either side of me, as if something was walking along, deciding what to make of me, a spirit of the land scoping me out, seeing what I was about and where I was going.  It hadn't decided yet, and the feeling fluctuated between extreme malevolence, indifference, a desire to hasten.  I felt it touch me, speak to me, telling me of fallen warriors who had not the sense to turn back even when they knew they had gotten onto the wrong path.  Don't make the same mistakes, go back, to the highway, the freeway, the way to ride.  Look back you can see it beckoning.  Go.  Run.  Here there be dragons.

About three hundred yards out, the light finally began to take shape.  When I came upon it, it was to find myself at the back entrance of a trailor park.

Machine!

The amount of paperwork and other stuff I burned through this morning was amazing.

I even surprised myself, taking care of more than I had hoped.

Makes up for Monday.

This afternoon has an equally long list.  I'll start some fresh coffee and go out for a walk before getting started.  It's too nice a day to just sit in my office for the whole thing.

I have a feeling I may even be able to add to my reminisce category tonight when I get home.

We'll see.

Lame!

I'm feelin' lame.

I've got the whole 'moving into a lesser apartment' blues.

Maybe I have been in Korea too long, but I'd argue that kind of thinking isn't purely Korean by any stretch.  It's like sayin' 'yeah I'm moving outta Beverly Hills so I can leverage my assets.  I'm buying a place in Venice Beach'

But even Venice Beach is still cool

Yeah whatever.

To tell people that I've downgraded my living arrangements sucks.

I need to bring myself back into a good frame of mind.

I suppose it might help if the cash I'll be saving was actually translated into something akin to instant gratification.

It's all long term, so there is no comfort on that end.

All I know is June has transformed in the last couple of months.  To keep in tune with my earlier post on stating elliptically what I want, I should say that where she's going is great for teaching the girls how to suck the life out of a man to become independant.  

naw, fuck it.

I'm happy she's way more confident, and in case I die she's completely capable of providing.  That's the way it should be after all.  Fuck the princesses of the world who can't sort it out, or more accurately, fuck the shitheads who didn't prepare them to adapt.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Canned Freshness!

On my way home I stopped off at a convenience store and bought a six pack of Max.

Drinking it from a can is best, but you have to go back and forth to the refrigerator more often to get a fresh one and they're more expensive.  I avoid the big plastic jugs if possible.

I came home and was given an awesome greeting from the girls.  They both stayed home today since it's spring break.  There were shoulder rides, hugz, and showing me all the window goo art and drawings they made.  I'm feeling pretty good after that.  They're still wired and bouncing around in their room.  The youngest is singing a new song she made today.

Today was pretty nuts work wise.  I already know this week is going to be nightmarish.  So early in the quarter and already I'm looking down a long long road.

BUT. . . I don't shy away from the work.  Better to be busy than navel gazing all day.  Too much of that only leads to excessive melancholy, paranoia and excessive verbal diarrhea when you actually do try to have a conversation with someone.

I did have an interesting conversation at the water cooler today, but I'm still turning it over.

I'm going to drink a few cans of the max and watch some random videos on the YouTube. 

Let's start with these:









Irony!

It would seem lately that for everything positive I say here, the world provides a counter example.

I spoke the other day about the excellent service we received from the movers.  I opined about the awesomeness of service in general in Korea.  There was also the stuff about no drama in my life as a good thing.

Lots of drama right now.  Also, I had gone out and bought some new shelving units.  The greasy salesman told me that no problem, it would be delivered on the same day.

Saturday passed, they didn't come.  We called and he said for sure Sunday.

Sunday came, and no shelves.  He didn't answer his phone.

Meanwhile, all the crap that I could have organized last night is still sitting in a massive pile in the balcony. And I have to work late tonight.

So let's see if this works: Having no money in my personal bank account is a good thing, since my life is simpler and easier.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Home!

The seminar was pretty interesting, but it was mostly stuff I'd heard before. 

As usual with these kinds of things, valuable question time was wasted by folks bringing up completely unrelated stuff.

The best was listening to some guy go on about how he isn't appreciated in his department?  He went on and on.  I could understand why he may have felt that way. 

As soon as it was done I headed back to the Wonj.  I'm pretty beat but there is still a ton of stuff that needs to be done around the house.  I walked in and the Mother-in-Law started giving me a hard time about how we had to go out and eat since the gas hasn't been hooked up yet.

When I talked to June at 6ish she said they were going out to eat and to take care of myself, so I had grabbed a sandwich and double espresso at Starbucks.  Then I walked in and got an earful about how they had been waiting for me.  They went out after I politely said I was fine.

Moving this weekend was a serious mistake.  Next time someone asks us to move out in a week I'll definitely say no.  We had originally planned to hit Seoul together this weekend as it's June's birthday this week.  We'd go see art, have a nice lunch, enjoy a leisurely walk before I went to the seminar.

It's been a massive headache trying to get everything clear in a week.

The apartment owner's father tried to call me today.  I just knew he'd call again.  I ignored it and got a message instead.  Apparently he wants money since he didn't realize how much stuff we didn't take care of.  After he tried to lie and suck 200 manners out of us and insinuated we weren't quality people, I think he's going to have a hard time getting anything but silence.

I'm going to stop thinking about it.  Walking around with a cloud over my head isn't going to help anything.  

Internet Anger!

fingez too big fior keyboaard! GRAHH!
The last couple of days have been dominated by issues I had moving out of my old apartment.

My original post on the subject was full of anger and spite towards the owner.  One interesting thing about that post was how many hits it got in a very short time.

But I made a mistake in that post. 

I was mad, and I think rightly so.  I'm not going to edit this blog to not talk about the occasional shitty experience or asshat I have to deal with.

At the moment I'm just happy to be out of there.  I do have a feeling I haven't heard the last from that old bastard though.

But getting mad itself and talking about it wasn't the problem. 

No, I made a mistake in my anger, and that was not stating explicitely all the details of the episode.

A nice commentator said in that post:

"I don't know why you bothered leaving the first two quotes. I know westerners are supposed to believe in free speach but letting that junk go up just encourages them. I like jakeinoreas apprach to netizens.

Although if you put there first ones up and then let everyone point out how wrong they are... I guess that might just rile them up some more :)"



Thanks Roarchild for your comment.  Allow me to state here why I left them up.

Based on the information the reader had at that point, I think those comments reflect what is not an unfair assessment.  It could seem like I was trying to get out of taking care of repairs on a place I lived in for five years.  I had to elaborate further in the comments that this was not the case, when that could have been avoided if I'd simply included that I'd already spent over 60 manners on repairs.


Being a waeg in Korea, I am sensitive to how my actions and words can be perceived.  But I'm not entirely convinced that those first two comments are of the k-netizen variety.  And I can't take those first two commentators to task since it is perfectly within bounds to make the assumptions they did.

Depending on the kind of thing you're writing, the fact is you have to be sensitive all the time to how your words will be understood no matter where you are.  For me, those comments are a reminder that there are always going to be sad keyboard warriors assuming the worst about you, and considering the overall picture you present and including pertinent detail is something that mustn't be forgotten in a moment of anger.

I do get a lot of negative comments that don't get posted, many of them from folks I'd consider to be bona fide k-netizens.  I've saved them for later, and I'll eventually post a statistical breakdown on those once I've collected enough of them.   I've also got a nice piece of hate mail that I'm saving for a slow day. 

But that is the internet, and people can't read your mind and can only go with what you give them.  Lesson relearned.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Moved!

In the end, painting the wall took much less time than anticipated.  Once the primer was ready, I finished it up in about 30 minutes and walked away.

Good riddance.  They can pull the tape off the edges themselves when it's fully dry.  Total cost: about 8 manners.  I can see the brush, roller and left over paint sitting around until our next move though; small price to pay instead of forking over 200 manners to some crusty old codger.

And no I didn't leave any fish in the ceiling tiles, or plug up the veranda drains and toss fish in there.

The moving company we went with were excellent.  The level of service was superb.  They not only packed everything, unpacked and arranged it the way we wanted, and cleaned the apartment, but did so with a smile and an awesome attitude. 

Customer service is one area in which Korean companies often kick ass.  Often. 

Another example is how a competing SK franchise paid us 30 manners to switch over to their service.  I'm not sure how that works as a viable business plan, but I'll happily take their money.  We also switched the internet at June's business and got another 30. 

The new place isn't that bad.  It is an older place, one of the previous generation of luxury apartments.  Not even close to the place a waeg buddy of mine recently moved into, but it'll serve nicely.

I'm zonked.  Still so much to do in terms of reorganizing, and little time to do it tomorrow.

Off to bed.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Native Daughter

I've been stewing about how the landlord's father went on about the 'quality' people who will be moving into our place once we vacate.

Prefacing what comes next with 'I love Korea.  I married into the tribe.  I encourage my girls to embrace everything that makes them who they are.  I have some Korean masks on my wall." seems trite.

Despite everything, I still get that shit spewed from the dad from time to time.  I avoid most of it by listening to the words of a wise man I once knew: the best way to avoid dealing with the idiocy on the streets in Korea is to isolate yourself economically.  Avoid public transit, don't do work that puts you out there dealing with idiots on a regular basis, keep your head down.

Smart, that man.  Too bad he died.  I sure could use his advice sometimes when things get hairy. We shouldn't mention how he was killed following his own advice on the first one.

If you hear the same thing over and over again, you start believing it.  If your interactions are always generating the same result, or are limited to a simple set, you start to think crazy things about an entire people in general.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, good on you.  If you want to stay that way, don't read too much of popular gusts in my sidebar, stay away from Dave's ESL, and don't read Korean newspapers.  Ignorance can be bliss.

If you think I'm full of shit, go back to LA.  If you think I'm too melancholy, good for you to be in a place where those thoughts don't enter your head. 

This is one of the reasons why I stopped with the papers:  I started to embrace the stereotype, and that won't help my girls.  It is a serious battle sometimes.  I still read popular gusts from time to time to remind myself what I'm working against and why I need to stay positive.

What I worry about is that my children may end up getting too much a dose of this.  I want them to know everything of what they are, and I suppose they do need to see some of the nastiness from both sides.  But making sure they are good with themselves, with me and their mom, is going to require some tightrope dancing that in many instances will go against what I want to do with my life: challenge.

Apartment Woes Continued!

Greasy Bastard
The irony of posting about a discussion on drama yesterday, followed by the problems we've been having with the landlord, hasn't been lost on me.

Today was full of ups and downs.  Not only was I crazy busy at work, but updates kept coming every two hours or so from the trenches.  They seemed to come just as I was getting ready to post an update on what is now a saga.

First, the mother of the landlord called and apologized for being so rude.  If we paid 60 manners it would be all sorted.  This was a nice phone call and I was completely ok with that.  Even though it was a bit overpriced, I wouldn't have to deal with it anymore, and the lady was nice.

Then the father called and said that he had a quote that stated it would still cost 200 manners to get it fixed.  He was a dick about it, and alluded that quality people would be moving in, some professor guy, who needed it just so.  I hung up on him before I began to show just what quality person I could be when spoken to that way.

Then the maintenance guy in my apartment called and said that the landlord was indeed trying to pull a fast one on us.  He recommended just painting over it and walking away.  He said some asshole owners try to pull this shit all the time, with some demanding up to 500 manners to get it replaced, due to the material being 'wonderous air cleaning specialness'TM.  Fact is, the quote I originally got would deal with it just fine, but since they're demanding something be done immediately, just paint it and be done was his advice.  It wouldn't affect the magical air cleaning properties of the cement board.

Of course, this weekend is the seminar, which I've already put my name down to attend.  Looks like I'll be working late.  I am glad it can be painted though.

Update: I don't know what's going on with that family.  The mother sent a clandestine message through the real estate agent that we just paint it.  Guess I know what I'm doing tomorrow night.

So Many Kinds of Wrong

Valentine's Special!


So many kinds of wrong








Something to end off that you may find amusing.  Or warped.  Or both.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Yangachi Gangster Wannabees!

Maybe I should have bought the damn place.

The owner of my apartment is being a dick. 

The youngest drew on some nice and expensive sheet rock in the living room.

The owner told us around 8 tonight that it needs to be replaced by Saturday before the new tenants move in.  They came over and had a hissy fit over it, which made the owner have his own hissy fit, which almost resulted in me smacking some old crotchy bastards across the face. 

You know what?  Fuck both of you.

You already looked at the place and signed a contract.  We agreed to move out in a week to help the owner out and be nice.  Technically we could stay for quite some time.  Now you're pulling this last minute shit.

I spent a couple of hours calling and emailing photos, but I know that it is impossible to get that sorted in 36 hours.

The owner is trying to snow us on the price, saying it'll cost up to 200 manners to get it sorted.  I already had one guy call him and say it would cost about 15-30.  This of course resulted in more calls for us to get it finished by the time we moved out.  I think he's mad.

Wait for it: Fuck You.

I've sorted a guy to come in either Monday late afternoon-Tuesday.  I told June we shouldn't move if he won't give us our deposit Saturday.  She's also kinda ticking me off by saying let's just pay it and not deal with it.  Uh, sure let's give that fucker 150 manners so that it is more convenient for us.

Don't think so.

Hey asshole, I think I said this already, but one more time for effect: Fuck You.  I'm going to toss a huge pile of shit up into the ceiling tiles on my way out and have your new tenants try to sort out where the fucking smell is coming from.

January Full Moon!

Today is Jung Wol Dae Bo Rum, or the first full moon in January on the lunar calendar, and the first full moon after the new year.

Today you are supposed to eat some nuts, and a special type of five grain rice (oh gok bap).

The vegetables you eat are essentially dried ones that have been soaked in water for quite some time.  You make a bibimbap style dish with them usually.

The whole point is to bring good fortune and chase away evil spirits.  So at the very least go out to your local convenience store and buy some unshelled peanuts!

You're supposed to eat the nuts in the morning, crunching them loudly while saying 부수름 개 먹자!  You're also supposed to drink a small glass of special alcohol called guibal gi sul to improve hearing.

At night, villages used to celebrate with Ji Bool nolri, or the fire mouse can.  You'd take a small can with some twine attached, make a fire inside it and spin it around throwing sparks everywhere.  There would also be a big bonfire and people would sing and dance, called dal jip dal woo gi.

Outside of Wonju there is a small village that often makes a huge event of celebrating this and other like festivals.  It's canceled this year because of foot and mouth disease.

So to celebrate, I'm going to eat some cashews walnuts when I get home and drink some Max.  There is that bottle of Heaven's Hill I bought last month that keeps whispering sweet nothings in my ear, but I'll resist and save it for the new apartment.

Drama!

Today at lunch we talked about drama.  The general consensus was that there is very little of the serious stuff in our lives.

This isn't really a bad thing, but it would seem not everyone agrees.  Some would prefer to have an injection of insanity to shake up their nicely ordered world.


I can appreciate the sentiment, having had good doses of drama at various times in my life.

But I'm good the way things are right now.  Mostly.  Maybe when the girls are older and able to completely fend for themselves I might feel the same way as some of my coworkers.  These days instead of living it hardcore as I did in the past, I live vicariously through reading some of the websites in my sidebar.  Thanks Jake!  Fight the good fight, live the good life!  I'll be back there beside you in 15-20!  I'll start sharing some of my crazier stories when I know the girls will not stumble accidentally on this blog when they're only in their early teens!

This was essentially the way it broke down as well: the older married folks, or those without children, were all about wanting drama.  Those in a similar position as me echoed the same sentiment of wanting more stability.

Honestly, drama often takes on other forms when you're married with kids: hospital visits for stitches, trying to remove permanent marker from expensive fake stone shit, making sure all the milk gets cleaned up when a whole jug of it gets spilled on the floor, dealing with idiotic classmates and their parents, trying to come up with ever more creative activities and responses to distract and teach. 

I don't need anymore drama, when all the small things add up to cause plenty of excitement.  Sure, it isn't the raw visceral kind, but it's enough to keep me on my toes and not slip into a coma.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Exhibitionists!

Talk around the water cooler after lunch focused on how Ms. Oh in PR witnessed some random guy engaging in a public display of onanism at a Starbucks in Gangnam last weekend.

Apparently he looked fairly young and normal.  He simply took care of business, picked up his latte, and left as calm as can be.

Other women joined in, sharing similar stories.  A few 'Burberry man' stories came up. By the sounds of it, it isn't exactly a rare occurrence.  Some of the stories were told amusingly, while others were told in tones of disgust or fear.

I've not seen any one thus engaged during my time in Korea.  I have seen guys pull it out and piss in gutters in the middle of the day on busy streets in different cities, but no one actually spanking one out.

Thankfully.

Seminar!

This Sunday there is a seminar being held in Seoul.

It is strictly voluntary to attend.

Of course, this means if you go you score brownie points.

I'm actually quite interested in the topic.  It mostly will deal with branding.

Looks like this weekend will be crazy, what with moving and all.

No rest for the wicked.

Moving!

This weekend we're moving into a new apartment.

We decided to up the ante on the deposit and get an older place so as to pay less rent.  With what we've put into June's new business, it makes sense. 

Still, the new place isn't as nice.  It's close to the same size, but in an older building.  And of course this all happens after I reorganized my man den. 

Fak.

I will miss my awesome view.  Seeing as we'll have to pay a mover and buy some new furniture, we won't actually see any savings for several months.  Still, it will pay off in the end, and needs must.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Traditional Medicine!

For about four to five months we gave some traditional medicine or hanyak (hanyuck) to the youngest to help with a nasty cough.  The eldest also took it when she was about the same age.  It's supposed to boost the immune system and help with growth.

It is pretty pricey: nearly 30 manners per batch that would last a couple of weeks at most.

The cough is thankfully gone, but I'm unconvinced it was entirely due to the hanyuck.  I've tried it on a few occasions and found it difficult to gauge its effectiveness.

You are supposed to give different types of it for everything from acne to cancer.  I'm a firm believer that traditional medicines can often deal with a problem just as effectively and with fewer side effects than taking a bunch of pills, and that western style medicine isn't always the best approach.

The issue I have is the price: unreal.  I do some quick calculation and it was about 600 manners that we spent on the stuff.

On the fence with this one.  I'm just glad the youngest has finally lost that nasty cough.

Hunter!

This morning talk around the smoking corner was how Mr. Kim in PR has been gettin' his freak on with the interns.

He's married and has two young kids.  Apparently he likes to catch the interns when they're fresh and then let em go once a new batch comes in.

No one said anything about it until one of the interns filed a sexual harassment suit against him and the company.  It seems Mr. Kim's wife must know about it as he's been staying in a hotel not too far away for the last week.  It's a big cluster fuck right now. 

If he needs to go extramarital, I don't see what he doesn't do just like Mr. Baek and Mrs. Um: they're both older and married to other people, but have been sharing an apartment in the Wonj for years.

Update: apparently he's been staying at the hotel with one of the interns, so scratch that bit about his wife knowing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Misanthropy.


Today I was a complete misanthrope. I was very productive, but I should have just stayed away from people all together.

I've finally finished everything that needed to be done today, but I've definitely pissed off about a dozen people.

Should have just locked the door to the office and turned out the light.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be over this funk.

Hayseeds!

A bunch of new interns just started.  As evident in many elementary and middle school students as I walk down the street in any semi populated area in Korea, a couple of these new interns haven't learned not to say "Hi!" and giggle when they see a waeg.

Most of my coworkers are pretty cool, but every now and then we get an intern or two that acts like they just came out of the most isolated gangwon valley that just recently got electricity.

Late this afternoon I was the recipient of the 'hi chorus' from a couple of them.  I was tired and cooked and instead of simply ignoring them I said: speaking to a stranger in that way is at best odd and at worst rude.

They looked at me like I had just grown wings.

I blame Mr. Go-Lucky-sing-along-bingo teacher and programs like English Cafe.

As they walked down the hall I heard the main culprit go on about how weird I am. Ah to be young and foolish again.  Then again, I myself can be a bit of a hayseed from time to time.

Still, I think I know who to volunteer for research, office cleaning, photocopying, and whatever other unpleasant job comes along in the next while.

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.

This morning I was an asshole and an idiot to boot on the worst day to be so: Valentine's Day.  I needed to take June's car to drive to work seeing as mine is in the shop until late tomorrow. 

But I couldn't find the key.  June had been pissed at me for asking if I could take the car, seeing as she'll need to take a taxi to go pick up the youngest at kindergarten.  But sleeping in my office is not really something I feel like doing when it's this cold outside.

We searched everywhere for the key.  Then she just stood in the kitchen and didn't say anything.  Are you sure its ok if I take the car?  It does seem convenient that the key is missing.  I could call a coworker for a ride and sleep in my office tonight if it really matters that much.

She glared at me.  It turned out the youngest had been playing with it and left it in the bathroom.

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

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How I Learned to Love the Sun

While my brain was being cooked in the sun at the toll booth, my thoughts wandered spastically.  Eyeing the toll booth gate where the workers gave me the stink eye.  Off to the distance where some guys were roofing a house.  The highway signs that gave little clue as to where I actually was.  The fact that I only had enough food in my pack for a couple of days, and water for about the same.  What looked like a Safeway in the distance, a good 3-4 mile hike.  The asphalt shimmering.

I had started out on my walkabout with no clear goal, no direction.  I was ok with that, but I knew that completely losing myself in the road for an indeterminate amount of time wouldn't serve.  It was tempting, but I wasn't in the mood to become a Christopher McCandless.  I'd seen too many people come back from that trip a shadow.  Or not come back at all.

I needed to be free, but not so free I bugged out.  I needed to stay away from too many people for awhile, no big cities.  I've always been a bit of a country boy, prefering clean air and trees to boulevards and highrises.  As I came back down to earth, these thoughts crystalized into a plan.

I was going to head east.  There was a concert that I knew some friends were going to, so heading that way, somewhere where there was familiar, seemed like a good idea.  I didn't know when the exact date of the show was; I figured I had near two weeks.  This time if someone asked me where I was going, I could give a cogent answer without mentioning the personal.  I doubted I could be so detached about it in the retelling, and having some focus would sound better than: where ever.

I knew the concert was an outdoor camping thing, for which I had all the gear.  Looking at my map, I saw that I could get there by avoiding all major cities and all major temptation.  Invigorated, I stuck out my thumb.

And Waited.  Sat.  Stood.  Sat some more.  Drank water.  Waited.

Nothing.  Curious faces staring with apprehension driving past.  Some of them laughing.  An empty Coke can thrown at me.  No offer of a ride.

As the afternoon droned on, I felt myself sinking into the concrete.  I had to move, soon. I had passed the time watching those four guys roof a house about a half mile off.  They made good steady progress and had finished up by the late afternoon.  It was kind of disappointing when they came down, seeing as now I had nothing to focus on.  My feet were itchy, and I knew it was time to move.  I picked up my pack and started towards what I thought was the Safeway.

As I walked away from the tollbooth, I saw the roofers get into a beat up old Chevy Nova.  It belched a nasty black cloud when they started it up.  They seemed to hesitate when they got to the main road, then they veered left and drove to the toll booth.  They stopped.  Hey which direction you headed?  East?  Cmon in.

These four guys had been equally entertained watching me bake at the toll both for near four hours.  They decided to take pity and at least get me some way onto the interstate.  It seemed fitting in a way.  And it was good to finally be moving.

As soon as I got into the car I realized that I stank of ganja, and immediately got paranoid over the bag in my pack.  It took a few seconds for this fact to register with the guys in the car and a palpable silence followed.  I wondered how high I looked and wondered if that could explain why I hadn't been picked up for so long.  A couple of the guys were drinking beers.  They looked like the sort that might be alright with me pulling some out and saying hey my treat!  But there would be no some, only this huge bag.  I stewed.  To break the silence I asked hey was that a Safeway in the distance?  Naw, that's an office supplies warehouse.  So you guys finished that roof up good?  Yeah we finished it proper.  This is a nice car.  Yup.  Thanks.

The ordeal lasted about 25 miles when: this is our exit.  Good luck!

They dropped me off went on their way.

I immediately dug into my pack and found the bag.  It looked much bigger now in the light of the sun, more like an ounce than a half.  I took out a small amount and crammed the rest into an empty water container.  Wrapped it up in an extra pair of pants.  Washed my hands with soap.  The last thing I needed was to spend time in some county lock up because I had been the recipient of good fortune.  I wrapped the small amount in a baggie and stuck it in my pants.  All these precautions would prove a bit ridiculous considering everything that happened later.

Cleaning!

What can't they do with plastic??
After church June took a well deserved nap.  I played crazy eights with the girls.  The eldest and the youngest each won two games.  I won one.

For lunch I fried up some of daddy's secret recipe chicken and potatoes.  The recipe still needs a bit of tweeking but this batch was the best so far.  Next time I need to remember to put more powdered garlic.

June was outta whack after her nap.  She was in a henpecking mood.  At first I ignored it, then said that she could take over the cooking and what not if she felt she could do better, then told her to lay off before things took a turn for the nasty.

After lunch we hit the stationary store to buy some more window goo art for the girls.  There is currently goo art on about 34% of all the windows in the apartment so we need to bring that number up.  Afterwards we went and cleaned up June's business.

The three of them are still there fooling around.  I walked home.  It took me 20 minutes.  Now I'm drinking a beer and posting on my stoopid blog.

I was hoping to post the next installment of my 'opus', but I'm not so sure I'll get around to it now.  I have an urge to fool around with cubase.  It's been awhile.

But first, a quick run to the store for water and bean sprouts.

Early Bird!

Should have bought one of these
Last night I was zonked.  When I got home I played some horse with the girls.  They still love that game, maybe since they get to see daddy suffer.  The youngest will want to play, and then the eldest will of course decide she needs to hop on as well.  The sacrifices a father must make!

Then we read some books and chatted.  The eldest reads Korean at a much higher level than English.  I need to work on that.

We watched Bicentennial Man on the SK Broadband.  I figured if I'm paying money for this stupid thing I might as well watch it once in a while.  We all enjoyed the movie.  June made supper: kimbab and pizza. Afterwards I did the dishes and then went to bed.  It was 9:30.

I woke up at a little after 5.  The youngest had crawled into bed with me.  I wanted to stay but my bladder was insistent.

I read this while having coffee.  I found this amusing and this intriguing. 

Seeing as its Sunday I'll do my regular routine: once June and the girls go to church I'll have a hot bath, then go for a walk.  Or maybe I'll go for a walk and have a hot bath.  We need to go for a drive this afternoon to look at some stuff for June's new business.

More later.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Flat!

While having lunch, a nice guy came in to find out who owned the famvan.  

I had a flat tire.  I didn't have the number for the service guy on me, so called June for it.  

She was in the middle of a bunch of stuff and ripped my head off.  When my friends looked at me in surprise, I simply said she was an AB blood type monkey.  

Mr. Kim laughed his head off.  He was the only one who got it.  Now he thinks I'm even more awesome.

The service guy eventually showed up and put the spare on, but I missed out on some quality time with my friends.  I also needed to take the famvan to the shop to get an alignment and two new tires.  I am without wheels until Tuesday.  June got mad some more when I mentioned I would really need to borrow her car since I have to stay late on Monday.

That damn van is costing me dearly.  I'd love to get something new, but everything is tied up in June's business.

She better buy me a nice car when she's rich.

The Morning After!

Last night I got melancholy all over me.  I let the actions of a single person upset my kibun.

Usually I can more easily blow that kind of thing off, but this one is a special case.

This morning I'm actually feeling pretty good.  I woke up at a little after seven and I'm well into my first coffee.

I'm going to fry up an omelette for the girls.  Costco bacon, potatoes, broccoli and onion.

Later I'm off to lunch with some friends who are leaving.  I wish them luck.

Setting the Stage!

Random you tube vids that are completely unrelated to anything that gets posted in the weekend!

BTW, SONY go fuck yourself for giving me that 'blocked in your country' bullshit.  






Friday, February 11, 2011

Girls' Night Out!

June's out getting toasted with her ajumma friends.

I got held up at work by somebody trying to teach me a lesson in manners.  I can be rough around the edges, especially when dealing with a situation or a person who is lacking in perspective and is in need of a kick in the ass.  One of my coworkers has taken to scheduling appointments at most inopportune times then not showing up.  When I show annoyance they turn on the aegyo sweetness and state how sorry they are and how I should have called them as a reminder.  I guess it's their way of saying I need to be more sensitive.  Too bad they lack the ability to take a hard look at what may have prompted my shall we say straightforwardness in the first place, or to have a real conversation.  But I guess that latter often leads to bad feelings and is for wusses.

But I digress.

Luckily I have no issue with driving at mach 4 on the expressway.  June wasn't held up too long.

I was thrown off and let the girls watch Legend of the Guardians.  I like the fact that the owls graphically cough up undigested skin, fur and bones.  It made for some interesting conversation.  The flying scenes were pretty awesome CGI.  Still, I've been a strict bastard about how much TV gets watched in the house for the last month.

I've gotten into some daepo and beer.  I've been getting a little too melancholy, so I think I'll have to listen to some tunes while I turn over the next installment of my 'opus'.

So Many Kinds of Wrong

This is an oldie but a goodie.  It's being passed around the office by one of my coworkers; we all agree it's an awesome early example from veterans in our line of work.

As the coworker put it, vital English: hello, goodbye, thank you, I have a bad case of diarrhea.

so many kinds of wrong





Thursday, February 10, 2011

F5Waeg Nerdgasm!

I grew tired of reading on the iPhone and thinking I should have gotten an iPad or Xoom. 

I watched some superbowl ads and thought about the party I could have gone to if I was back home.  I was smack in the middle of my football pool this year.  The ads pretty much sucked though I'm sure the party was a blast.

Digging around on the youtube, I stumbled on these:






What can I say?  I liked the black hole series from PBS. 

Home!

June and the girls are out at the youngest's kindergarten.  They have cleaning to do.

The Mother-in-Law still hasn't come back from her trip down south.  That's ok.  I hope she has a good time.

I came home to an empty house.  It was cold since a few windows had been left open to air the place out.  I closed it up and turned the heat on for when the women get in.

I plan on turning in early.  I'm going to settle in bed and read Son of Man by Yi Munyol for the 2nd time.  I read it last year and knew I'd have to give it another go. 

I started reading Chang-Rae Lee's Aloft but found it uninspiring. 

I picked up 4 new books when I was last in Seoul: Shit my Dad Says, The Girl who Played with Fire, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, and Dress your Family in Corduroy and Denim.   They're all done, and I was entertained and amused by them all.

I'll have to spend some time poking around the Amazon, What the Book, and Kyobo Bookstore websites.  I prefer to buy in person, but I won't be making it up to the big smoke for a while.

Cool Lunch Time Riding Video!

wow.  I used to do a lot of mountain biking, but nowhere near approached these mad skilz.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gone Walkabout

Leaving the town of my birth was hugely anticlimatic.

I loaded what I thought I needed into a huge pack and hit the road.  I didn't really know where I was going or why.  I just knew I had to go.

Somewhere in the back of my mind was the thought that I had to be back in three and a half months to start on my Phd.  But it was a thought that seemed to register more as a suggestion than a certainty.  What seemed more important was just to go.

I hiked for about a week, caging rides along the way.  It was on the seventh day that three Iranians stopped on the side of the road.  They didn't ask me if I wanted a ride, simply asked if I was ok, if I needed anything, maybe some money.  I was puzzled, even more so when they each handed me a dollar.  Then they piled back into the car and drove off, leaving me wondering just what exactly had transpired.

It was from this point that life seemed to shift and enter an alternate reality.

It started the next morning.  When I got too tired, I'd climb up the bank of the interstate, unroll my sleeping bag and crash until the sun seared the sleep from my eyes.  That morning I was woken by snuffling in my face and ear.  I bolted awake to catch two deer looking me over.  As soon as I awoke they tore off into the woods.  Not everyday that you get woken up by deer.  I packed up and decided to try my luck on the highway, despite it being 5 am.

I was still groggy and didn't notice that a car had stopped some way up from me.  The flashing lights finally caught my eye and I ran up to see Mr. Joe Preppy Average waiting for me in a nice Ford Super Duty.  This was a big truck.  He smiled and waved me in.

He asked me where I was going.  It just sort of came out, the whole situation of how I'd arrived at where I was, my job, my grandparents, even the Iranians and the deer.  I told it in a sort of detached way.  I said I just needed to step out for a bit, to go walkabout.

We got to talking about life and liberty.  Freedom.  We spoke of how freedoms were being curtailed, how laws were being put in place that made no sense save in the context of removing individual liberties.  Look at the laws regarding pot as an example he said.  I can buy cigarettes and booze wherever, but this benign substance is the one stigmatized.

I agreed.  I wasn't a huge smoker at that time, but he did have a point.  It wasn't a new idea of course, having read enough undergrad papers to hear of it again and again.

What threw me was when he decided that he was going to exercise his inalienable right to freedom and stoke one up right then. He pulled over at a rest stop and rolled this cannon of a jay.  Mr. Appears-Straightedge.  Ok.  Sure I'm game.  Pass it over.  It was 6:30 in the morning. 

It was one of the 'stondest' I've ever been.  I don't know how that pot was grown, but it was incredibly potent and totally fried me.  I slurred this observation out, which was met first with a smile.  Then: yeah I can grow some pretty good stuff he says.  In fact I have a grow op not too far from here.  But I couldn't take you there.  Well. . . 

It took a second to register what he had said.  Yeah I'd like to see that, this is some serious shit.

Ok, but if I take you there I'd have to blindfold you and recline the seat so nobody would see you.

This did freak me out.  This guy had just picked me up and gotten me seriously high, the Iranians, the deer . . . and then being asked if I'd allow myself to be blindfolded and brought to some unknown destination to see a secret grow op.

Sure.  Why not?

I used one of my socks to blindfold myself and laid the seat back.  The whole time I'm thinking American Psycho, and the relative position of the wheel in case I needed to grab it and drive us into a ditch.  When we finally pull up in front of a warehouse in a cottage district, I have a serious case of heebeejeebees.  He laughs at me and says cmon.  Inside, the warehouse is empty.  He takes me deeper in where there is only a non-descript windowless white trailor.  A huge power cord.  An odd hummmm.

He unlocks the door and I'm momentarily blinded by the glare.  Inside was beautiful: maybe 60-80 plants, sea of green, aromatic and close to harvest.

Inside his office he opens a small chest freezer that is nearly full of one pound bags of some of the most crystalized bud I've ever seen.  I sell this shit in major cities for about 800 an ounce wholesale.  I have 6 ops like this one set up in different places.  I have the truck and trailor as a front.  I run a moving business you see.  If things ever get too hot, I just hook the trailor up, clean out the freezer and I'm gone.  Nothing incriminating gets left behind.

The only thing that sucks is I can't have a normal life.  I have to look normal, but how easy is it to date or make friends?  Inevitably, you could trip up, or people start asking too many questions.  But if I can do this for a few more years it'll be freedom 45.

I sat stunned during most of this.  What could I say besides boring shit like "cool, man.  Wow.  Yeah that sucks."

While he speaks, he rolls another, much smaller joint.  When he's finished he lights it up, then hands me the bag that was sitting in front of him.  It's a one pound bag that contains about a half ounce.  It's a gold mine of tight little nuggets and shake.  Here, this might make your walkabout more interesting.  I simply say thanks and bury it in my pack.  We smoke and then leave.



He dropped me off by the turnpike and waved good bye.  I was fried until the early afternoon.  But hours of standing in the sun waiting for someone to pick me up finally took the edge off.  I had taken to thinking that maybe I should just head off to the main side road when finally someone pulled over to pick me up.