Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

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

Monday, December 31, 2012

Yellow Knight!

I checked in on my stoopid blog this morning to work out my end of year posts to find that a commentator had taken offense to my positive remarks about the film Cloud Atlas.  This is what they had to say:

This film is a racist film target at Asian male. So if you are not Asian male, you should enjoy this film. We Asian-American male don't like this film. We have pre-screen in MANAA (media action network for Asian-American), we all got busting out of laughter when we saw the awful geeky Yellowfaces . You have no problem of Yellowface cuz you probably are not Asian male or stupid one. In Korean saying " 병신 쌔끼!"

Some may ask why I would bother, as an MANAA meeting sounds rather clannish, and trying to talk sense to a mob is a sure way to get trampled, but this does need to be spelled out: one of the reasons this film is so excellent is because it will challenge the perceptions of race and ethnicity held more by Asians then it will us melanin deficient lot.  Think about it: the whole Neo Seoul is prophetic of the future homo sapiens, since almost everyone is of mixed progeny.  To deny that this is an accurate vision of the future ignores the reality we live in and histories of migration.  So despite the criticism Jim Sturgess has received in the past for portraying Asian characters, the film makers probably deliberately chose him since near everyone in the Neo Seoul segment is made to look mixed as well.  Durrrr.....

That Sonmi is a clone whose kind is rendered to feed the next generation is brilliant.  I'd see that as a sort of veiled criticism of contemporary Asian (Korean) culture.  OMG get angry! Yellowface and discrimination at the hands of the white man!  Just continue remaining willfully blind to the indiscretions committed by other Asians, and you've got all it takes to be The Yellow Knight!  Enjoy that passion and anger while you can, son.  I know that it's because you come from an East Asian society, which generally still contain strong elements of ethnic nationalism, and these types of images have more potent significance for you then for me.  Me and my ilk are generally more accepting and open to the idea of cultural exogamy, but I would suggest you stop looking at white woman (man?) porn, you traitor!

For that section of the film alone I'll pay to see it.  January 4th I'm heading up to the big smoke to check it out at the IMAX in Yongsan.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Yesterday began with fashioning the worst mobile Christmas tree evar.  After killing a second tree in five years, I thought letting one be free range while I work out soil acidity then dig 'em up and keep 'em indoors was a smart course of action.  Instead, I thought of making this cuz I saw it in the internetz:

After pretty much ignoring most of the directions and watching it get tangled right the fuck up:

parenting fail: level 만냥금
Instead of agonizing over not get accepted into art college, I hung it up then hit the shops.  Presents are fun on Christmas after all!  This year I was Mr. Practical, focused on what was needed while minimizing the frivolous.  After June laughed at my 350 thousand offer for our ten year anniversary, I decided that buying the Corning Wear 20 piece set she asked for 5 years ago was a totally cool idea.  The tag reads: To the ***********s.  Merry hoho! Wouldn't serve to say: To June.  Who gives dishes to their wife?  Not this hombre.

Bought a few groceries in between, primarily dirty cheap liquor with mixes, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli.

Still needs Kahlua, whiskey, red vermouth
I came home and baked cookies in our new steam oven.  This deserves it's own post, but in case you wanted to know, we bought a steam oven.  No, not a regular oven: that is too difficult to move.  It needed to be a steam oven.  I was unimpressed with my first attempt making cookies, but maybe I still suck.

Then it was Christmas specials with the girls while waiting for a bunch of Christian Christmas carolers to come by and collect our donation to the soup kitchen.  Kidding!  There is no soup kitchen.  But I'm sure they are more than willing to pass around ramen packs to relatives who spend their time collecting cardboard boxes and others in predicament known to the church.  It's all cool.

We watched The Grinch: it's always a favorite.  Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, then Home Alone have been the repertoire in the past.  This year I decided to mix it up and watch an old one from childhood: An American Christmas Carol, starring Henry Winkler:

I watched it while drinking beer and wrapping presents and Christmas stockings.  I figure I got about 3 more lols outta it then the "So this is what I remember most from 1979"s.  Wasn't sure if I wanted to show that tomorrow or Napoleon Dynamite again.  The bling on Christmas Future is so 1984.  As I was about to decide, I was distracted by figuring out a better way to wrap, then forgetting it once I realized that smacking on huge wads of duct tape was not only easier and fun, but would make the experience far more rewarding once everyone realized they needed scissors to open their gifts.  What you work for is always sweeter, right?  Hopefully they'll get to the scissors I stuck under the tree first, they are the easiest ones to open.

In about 4 hours I have to be bright eyed and bushy-tailed, cooking fowl.  

Stop drinking beer!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


I keep turning over how North Korea discovered a unicorn lair.

That shit would not get out without official approval.

KJU is basically a product of the modern internet age.

He must be taking the piss.

Think about it: young, full of vim, educated in history and the now at some Swiss school, hey guess what?  You're the next leader of this fucked up little shit hole.  And btw, you have to marry this broad.


The internet is alive.  We want the world to love us.  What does the world love?

Unicorns.  And rainbows.  Shooting out of their butt.  Yeah.

We must make a unicorn lair mothafuckas.  Pass that bottle of single malt and bring some fresh virgins in here! And make me a unicorn lair by Thursday.  Fuck!

What would you do? Got to bring 'em up to speed after all.

North Korea: origin of the unicorn!  No one called that shit yet!  Mine!!!

Pass that bottle, KJU.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Cloud Atlas!

I've always been a fan of Bae Doona.  I first saw here in The Ring Virus and Plum Blossom, and thought she was not only a great actress, but also completely hot.  I even forgave her for the travesty of a film The Host, that's how awesome I think she is.

Imagine my excitement when I heard that she was to star in Cloud Atlas, what seemed like a seriously cool sci-fi fantasy flick starring all kinds of big names and directed by none other than the Wachowski brothers.

Sadly, the South Korean release date is January 10th.  Instead of getting all wtf about it, I did the sane thing and downloaded a crappy Russian cam version.  Finished watching it a short time ago.

What can I say?  This film was so awesome that I will definitely be going to the theater to see it again.  It is definitely worth seeing twice, and even paying money for.

Time for some somaek.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Kim Jong Un!

It seems that thanks to some pranksters, Kim Jung Un is set to win the readers' poll as Time Magazine's Person of the year.


Personally, I think it has more to do with the photos below than anything else. 

Everyone has to admit the sheer awesomeness of finding a unicorn lair, or how cool it is to be a dictator by day and an international silly fun time superstar at night. 

The truth has been revealed!

KJU certainly seems to be getting better press than his dad or grandad.  At least more interesting press that is.


A couple of weeks ago we discovered that there was a leak in the main bathroom.

The girls had gotten a little crazy: I foolishly said they could use some of the shampoo to make a bubble bath, and they turned the entire bathroom into one big sud party.  In the process, they let a lot of water run over the side of the tub, which in turn revealed the leak when the peeps downstairs called us up.

This is generally one thing I love about Korean bathrooms: the whole thing is tiled with a drain in the floor, which means that you can run water wherever you want.  This does make cleaning of the bathroom simpler among other things, but I digress.

We called in some plumbers.  After a few days, during which they ripped everything out, recocked and replaced all the tiles, we were supposedly ready to go.

Hah!  For some reason, the geniuses decided to put a new drain in the floor that could not be removed.  Usually, there is a trap that will catch excess hair and the like so it doesn't go down the drain.  The intellectual prodigies we had come in actually cemented tiles over the plastic catch, so that the trap could not be removed.  As June sheds like crazy, it took no time at all for the trap to get clogged with hair which could not be removed. 

We called the plumbers back in.  At first they said they didn't need to come as we were simply not using enough force to remove the catch; after they finally did show up, they realized what they had actually done and that I was right.  Durrrrr.

The rub came when they said they could fix it by removing the tiles around the catch again, and that the job wouldn't cost more than a couple of hundred thousand won and take a couple of days.  Wait, what?  You screwed up, then you want us to pay for you to fix your mistake?  Their response was we couldn't expect them to do that much work for free.  I told them to GTFO of my house.  Politely.

So I did a somewhat equally stoopid thing:  I took a hammer and screwdriver to it, and knocked the center plastic cover out and removed the trap.  It was actually quite easy to do.  Everyone was amazed.

Time for coffee.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


This support available to club leaders only
One thing any waeg should consider when entering a Korean workplace for the longer term is to join the Member Support Group, or 상조회.

For a nominal fee of usually 10000 won a month, the good worker has the opportunity to not only join in club activities, such as dinners and trips, but can also participate in the Death LotteryTM.

Essentially, if a member of your family dies, the Member Support Group pays out an amount relative to how close the family member was to you.  Recently, Mr. Nam in accounting saw his mother in law pass, and received the tidy sum of 2 million won.

There was much envy around the water cooler that day, let me tell you!

The hope is that you collect cash off the deaths of as many family members as possible before you yourself are put into the ground, are forced to retire, are laid off, or otherwise 'terminated'.

The club also saves the company money, as dinners and what not twice a year are paid for by the workers through the club, thus saving the company the added expense of paying for the event.


All I know is I am looking forward to the Christmas dinner: this year the prizes for embarrassing yourself by singing old Korean trot music in front of all your coworkers not only include the usual bottles of expensive whiskey, which are required to ensure that everyone gets messy and bonds well, but also a 42'' TV.

I can hardly wait.


Lately the eldest has begun mimicking Hermione from Harry Potter.  She insisted we buy her a coat similar to one Granger wore in the first film, and whenever it is movie night she constantly requests Harry Potter.  She has seen each film at least 3-4 times, and has read the entire series twice (in Korean).

But last night it took everything to not start laughing when she began speaking in a distinctly Hermione style.  I decided to not say anything and went along with it.  There are worse role models to have after all.

It is interesting that at about the same time she really got into the series, her math scores improved considerably.

Still, I am glad that I've stopped letting her watch Harry Potter movies for a while.  It is good to broaden one's perspective, hmm?  As we just finished reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (again), it's been all about the Raold Daul and watching both versions of the movie.  They both think Johnny Depp is weird.

The other day she came home with James and the Giant Peach, although I had to teach her the word Giant. Yes darling, I have read that book.  I quite enjoyed it when I was your age.  I'm not sure if there are cloud people; have you ever seen any when we took a plane?  Not just cloud men, I'm sure there must be some women as well.

Time for coffee.