Living in Wonju South Korea, These Many Long Years

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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Morning After!

This morning I'm feeling a bit rough. After roasting marshmallows for all the neighboring kids and sending the girls off to bed, I determined to finish off both of my 5 chonner jugs of beer and the bottle of soju.

The fire was nice as it got quite cold. I was succeeding admirably at my task of finishing all the beer when June stormed out of the tent and cut my music by taking my iPhone. Perfect timing: I had been contemplating how well a plastic jug could burn and was out of liquor anyway. But hey, it wasn't that loud!

This morning I steamed the durup I found yesterday. June had been genuinely surprised that I knew how to find them.


Time for coffee and cleanup.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Camping 2.0!


It's a beautiful day for camping. We hit a new spot I recently discovered near Jechon.

It is pretty sweet: 2.5 manners a night, free wifi, free firewood, full facility, and the best bit, very few people.

The day is warm and the trees are still in bloom.

Nice day for some beers, but I'm still on the wagon for another two weeks.

Time for coffee.

yours truly

Update: I've spent the last three hours collecting rocks (some nice rose quartz being the highlight), some medicinal herbs, and wild vegetables. There is a little supa just down the street. I let myself be robbed on a couple of jugs of beer and a bottle of soju.

Time for some somaek.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

So many kinds of wrong

Rednecks, poseurs, Japan, general irreverence.
 
So many kinds of wrong









Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dirty Bird in Need!

I was sitting in my office collating TPS reports when my phone lit up: Dirty Bird.

It had been a while since I'd heard from DB: the last time he'd near started a brawl and ended the night with a nasty gash above his lip when his face met the pavement hard after pretty much chugging two bottles of soju.  Seems he tried to call when I was away, and I ignored a couple of late night missives, but as it's around three in the afternoon and things are a bit dull right now, I pick up:

Dude!  How's it going mang?  Long time!  Hey, tonight is a goooood night to hit the town!  Let's go out, fry up some pig marinated in soju while drinking soju!  I found some cool places to hang man, let's do this!

He seems somewhat subdued, a bit off.  I lay it out to him: no can do my friend.  I'm on the wagon for the next month, two weeks in as we speak.

Wagon? WTF? You going to tell me you found Jesus next?  Keeerist!  What is the world coming to?  Listen, at least come out for a bit, drink juice or some shit.  I need to ask you something.

Alarm bells sound.  When DB asks for something, it usually involves skirting regulations and laws while requiring a fair amount of commitment to see through.  I cringe.

What's up bud?  I can't really make it tonight, need to head up to the big smoke for a weekly seminar, Thursday is a company dinner, going camping this weekend.  What do you need?  I might be able to help now.

Silence.  Then:

OK, here's the score:  You know I've been carrying on with this real sweet Filipina for the last couple of years, visitin' her during vacations and the like (I did not, but didn't want to stop the flow of the story), sending a couple hundred or so every month to her mom and dad. . . well, I really like this girl, I think she may be the one.  She's sweet, hot, and really treats me good, you know?  So I want to bring her here, but I have this small issue. . . you see I need a bank statement for the visa, showing that I can support her when she comes, and well right now things are a little dry, you know, I just sent money home to pay taxes on the house and all that, and well, I need the bank statement like next week, so I'm wondering if you could maybe, like you know, lend me about 10 mil for just a few days, I'll give it right back dude, just to show that the cash is in my bank, I'll owe you big time. . .

At this point I'm too stunned to say anything as his voice fades off and I stop listening.  The fact that DB is talking about a woman as being 'the one' is shocking enough, especially knowing what he's been doing with himself the last few years.  The fact that he would consider becoming domesticated is mind boggling.  I try to process all this and realize that he also wants a short term loan of ten million won so he can process her visa.  Too many WTFs to process, when suddenly I hear:

. . .and so yeah, if you know a good doctor in town too, that would be great so I can get that cleaned up before she comes, it would be very uncool to give that to her you know?  Can you help a brother out?

Wait, what?  Dude, did you just say what. . .?  OK, for one, I need time to think about the cash thing.  For the other, don't even think about the Wonj, it'll get back to your boss in no time.  Drag your sorry ass up the big smoke to the clinic in the 'twon.  Pick me up some Ritalin while you're there.  And learn to wrap it for god's sake.  I'll call you back in a couple of days.  I'm a bit too abrupt and harsh as I hang up.

My pleasant quiet mood has evaporated.  I'm pissed, confused, surprised, unbelieving all at the same time.  Ten million is no small sum, and I do a quick google to learn that he may not need that much to show finances for the visa.  I'll have to dig more.  Pulling that kind of cash would be difficult if not impossible.  How would he live his life once she got here?  I think of all the stories I've experienced or heard about Dirty Bird, and know that bringing this girl into the mix would most likely not be a good idea.  I should say no for her sake.  Throw the whole doctor thing in it, and the no side becomes stronger. 

What to do?

Time for coffee while I mull this over.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

No Smoking!

Word came down the pipe this morning that the entire company and grounds are now designated non-smoking.  No one has yet to remove the ashtray from our smoking corner, so I should go out and diligently fill that puppy up on this, my possibly last day of smoking freedom.

Yeah, yeah I should quit; think of your daughters!  They won't have a father around to watch them graduate from uni!  Or worse, no one to support them at uni!  Cmon, get with the program waeg!

It's one of the few self destructive pleasures left to me, piss off.  I jest, I'll get around to quitting, yada yada.

Korea used to be a former smoker's paradise, where it wasn't uncommon to see people smoking in all public buildings including hospitals, with smoking corners right around the corner from cancer wards.  Young bucks freshly conscripted into the army were strongly encouraged to smoke, thus producing a large population of addicts that filled the state coffers with piles and piles of Won.  Yet even with new regulations limiting public smoking, the price of smokes is still far below the OECD average, and warnings on packages are a few lines of text as opposed to the grotesque images of various cancers found on the cigarette packs in many countries.  I guess there is still some paradise to be found although the images do hold a certain cachet.  With women smokers becoming more common, there is also still much wealth to be exploited, so I'll believe the sincerity of the new push towards making Korea a health centered non-smoking utopia when the country completely sells off their cigarette manufacturing plants.  I won't mention the obvious hypocrisy of taking an anti-smoking (and anti-drug) position when the government is still manufacturing and selling drugs.

It'll be fun to watch the enforcers try to stop all the old adjusshis from smoking; there are quite a few of the old bastards hanging around, and old adjusshis just don't give a shit when it comes to stuff like that.  Soju and cigarettes are the only things they often have to live for, and it'll be a cold day in hell before most of them listen to some middle manager telling them to leave the grounds to smoke.  But then, they'll probably be all dead in a few years, and admittedly far fewer of the younger generation smoke in comparison.

Myself, I'll just find where the smokers have hidden themselves to indulge their cancer inducing pleasure, and hang out when no one is about.

Time for coffee.  And a cigarette.

P.J. Harvey!

Blasting at 20000 decibels through headphones.  Fits nicely with the day.  All from the same album, oddly one that I didn't come to appreciate until a good six years after it was released.  What can I say I was caught up more in the intensity of her earlier work and was all trip hop at the time this one came out.  Better late than never.








Monday, April 23, 2012

Letter from an Avid Reader!

so many kinds of wrong
Recently, an avid reader left the following comment:

Hey Waeg,

Tried to find your email but failed. Anyways, I'm a big fan of your blog, but I was curious as to how you find the time to update so frequently? I like writing because it's easier to organize myself; it's satisfying but it seems to take a lot out of me. My goal is to write about my daily existance and reminisce at the same time, as you frequently do.

So Many Kinds of Wrong is my favorite category. I had some videos that you might like, I'm not sure if you've seen them or not though.

Edgar has the worst birthday ever:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-UQ-Xq-vEQ

Tourette's Guy (this guy has all of the links for hours of fun. Some say it's fake, but regardless it's a quality way to waste some time): (NSFW)

http://www.youtube.com/user/waynebarnhart/videos

Parkour gone wrong:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fy1agZxpQy0&context=C4f6c298ADvjVQa1PpcFNtVh6DffjQSm-y6PUw1mfNSFr1D-Njvmg=

Not sure if you're familiar with video mashups (or Youtube Poop, as they are called) Here's a few:


So Many Kinds of Awesomeness:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mgjNq-Y8NGk&context=C4f7d4c5ADvjVQa1PpcFNtVh6DffjQSk0G5yPIN1LRULnC9jcT0iw=

Anyways, have a good one.
-The Ghost Coast 


HARK!  Two emails in near a week that weren't hate and threat filled!  Hold the presses!

Thanks Ghost Coast for writing.  Feel free to send more; email is in profile.  I like receiving email, since it will often give me something to write about, which is part of the answer to your question not covered in this post.

That pretty much covers the writing thing; I try to eke out some time everyday to write something, anything.  Right now for example I just got back to the office after a quick dinner, and I banged this out all told in about 15 minutes (choosing the picture often takes more time than writing or searching for links).  As soon as I'm done I'll hunker back into work.  If you've read a lot of my posts, you'll notice certain patterns emerge, which makes it easier as well, as there are several different types of post that I can write depending on situation / mood.  None / Most are made up or embellished unless specifically stated as such.

As for the video mashups, sorry I didn't include most of the links, as I'll readily admit I'm not a big fan of the genre.  I'm pretty sure I posted Edgar and his evil mom a few months back, but I've refrained from posting any parkour fail videos due to the sheer number of them out there.  Still, can't believe dude got up and walked away from that like it was nothing.  Gotta be tough, but sometimes it's OK to ask for some hardcore painkillers.  

You'll be happy to know that several people have begun sending me vids, and I've come across another couple of sites that host videos suitable for So Many Kinds of Wrong, so I've got some decent to good ones for the next few weeks.  Of course, send me more if the urge strikes you; also, if you're interested, ask about my sponsorship program, where you can submit several videos for a dedicated So Many Kinds of Wrong for a nominal fee (some restrictions apply).

Cheers, and thanks for writing.

Waeg.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Thanks for the Link!

The last couple of days have been pretty slow and uneventful. Yesterday I had the girls as June was off at some seminar for work; we made bead necklaces, spent hours reading, went for a walk. I cooked bacon cheeseburgers. They were good. Today was more of the same: June was getting ready for a midterm, so we made a couch fort with every single pillow in the house, read some more, watched stoopid videos on youtube. I made chicken soup. It was very good.

I hadn't written anything here all weekend, and was starting to feel bad: mostly I keep at it for the discipline, even though most of what I write is inane ramblings on random shit in my mundane life. I sat down wondering just how many repetitive posts I could write about cooking, playing with kids, random encounters on the street, at work, just out. Explaining some of the finer points of K-culture is always a means to get focused, so I was about to bang my head on the table until something came out when I saw this link in the comments on Waved Down.

If you don't mind spending several hours looking at interesting pictures, click it. Otherwise, stay away. Some of the photos are NSFW, and some would not appeal to the average aesthetic. Click into the archives too. Some seriously stunning visuals.

I spent a couple of hours. I felt pretty good after. Something tells me I'll be going back often.

Time for grape juice, as I'll be on the wagon for the next while. Let's see what happens with that.

Friday, April 20, 2012

so many kinds of wrong

No comment

so many kinds of wrong







dude should take a lesson from the second vid:







Thursday, April 19, 2012

Waved Down!

Today I decided that leaving work early was an awesome thing to do. June had said we needed to talk about the youngest and changing kindergartens after I called her asking about a kakao message she had accidentally sent saying "it's too hard. I can't do it." It seems she meant to send it to some random mom. I also needed to check out camp sites for the next few weeks, and today being what it was, warm and awesome and Springlike, it seemed a grand idea to not stay cooped up in a small little box and sort out some real life stuff.

As I head towards the Wonj, I came upon two 30-40 something females flagging down cars in the Korean version of hitchhiking: similar to trying to hail a cab, but with more vigor, as there is no intention of actually offering any cash. They were still experiencing a runner's high from working their way up into the mountains, and playing at trying to get someone to pick them up on the highway was a cool way to recapture some youth. It was a big hoot for them when someone actually stopped. Surprise when it turned out to be some random waeg.

It took them a couple of minutes to realize that they were actually getting into a car with a non Korean. When it finally sank in, their effervescence dissipated.

So, where are you going? I'm heading into Wonju.

Are you going to Wonju?

Yeah. Where in Wonju would you like to go?

Do you know where is Wonju?

Uh, OK. This could be fun. But I kinda don't understand what you're saying because your accent and word choice is whack, and you don't understand me because I'm a waeg speaking in imperfect Korean, despite my pronunciation being bossss. Cool. Let me repeat that six times. Alright, you got it! Where do you need to go?

I list all the districts in Wonju, and when I say the right one, I start listing off apartments. When I say the right one, there is much agreement all around.

They are beyond amazed that I know where they need to go, and that I know shortcuts to get there they were unaware of. The braver of the pair is genuinely perplexed when I pull up right in front of her destination after ignoring her directions. When they finally get out, they stand on the sidewalk looking like deer caught in the headlights. Have a nice day ladies!

I'm off. Instead of checking out camping sites, I head back to the apartment. I wash rice and vegetables, and dig some pig out of the freezer I stocked after my last run through Costco. I have a few drinks and flip through the digital TV; might as well get some use of it. At about a quarter to seven, I start the rice and work at thawing the meat. I don't want to cook the lot until they walk in the door, as they'll need time to wash and get ready for dinner. BTV is lame, as I have to pay for the majority of the good flicks. I wait. Come ten after eight, I Kakao: didn't we have a meeting scheduled? Oh, I thought you had to go to Seoul tonight. No, that was last night, as it's been for the last two months. Oh! I forgot! We'll be home soon.

The girls come in, their hellos a bit louder than usual, sounding coached which makes sense considering the circumstances. They've already eaten. I decide not to, as I could stand to lose a few pounds. That and I've been into the rice wine since 7.  Fuck it.

Hey darlings, how are you? How was your night visiting friends?

It was fun! We watched some Harry Potter in English, and we played.

Hey girls, who is your dad? If someone asked, what would you say? If someone asked you who you are, what would you say?

This goes on for about 20 minutes. I send them off to bathe and bed, after which June and I argue. She doesn't want to change the youngest out of the kindergarten that has done little to nothing to stop the ijit boys from messin' with the girls, as she has been made head of the mothers' association. I tell her the youngest is out, irregardless of June's personal entanglements. The rest is ugliness, which ends with her storming off and yours truly writing this shit on a laptop.

I think about how I'm supposed to be living a life of milk and honey, with a different girl in my bed every night, but know that I left that life far behind when I decided to emigrate here.

What happened next doesn't really matter.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Extra! Extra!

Warning: Rant.

One thing that is particularly irksome about living in the ROK is the circus known as the Korean press. 

Any long term waeg will have plenty to rant about what passes for journalism in Korea, and with due reason: nearly every story you read in newspapers or see on TV about waegs is overwhelmingly negative at best, downright fabricated and contrived at worst.

Whenever I hear some body get their hate on about representations of various ethnic groups in media back home, I simply shake my head, since those mouths seem more intent on pointing the finger yelling "J'accuse!" instead of taking a hard look and honestly assessing what happens in their home countries.  Glass houses and all that.  But then, there is an established tradition of poking fun at our own idiocy and critically reflecting on the stoopid things we do as individuals and as nations, mmm?

One aspect I find particularly annoying is how frequently articles will simply disappear from the press.  I was reminded of this when I read the latest post from Gusts of Popular Feeling.  I know where he is coming from.  During different times in my life here, I took to grabbing screen shots of articles since I knew that sooner or later it would likely disappear.  This would have been great if some asshat who was to reformat my computer hadn't accidentally erased my hard drive before backing it up a couple years back.  I lost so much that sad, sad day, but I digress.

I know this can be the case with publications worldwide, but the problem seems acute here.  How much hard disk space do you really need to save a story?  As far as ethics are concerned, don't newspapers have the duty to preserve everything written for future reference?  How can you lay claim to being a serious newspaper if most of your stories simply cease to exist, making it impossible to reference, research, assess, at a later date?  In Korea, it seems the case that once an article serves its purpose to distract or inflame, it simply is disappeared into the ether.  No muss, no fuss, it never was.

My own experiences with the press have been far from stellar: when interviewed, not once has a reporter used a recording device.  Often times, I've been met with outright hostility from either the reporter or the photographer, who would very obviously snort whenever I presented an (accurate) image of a waeg contributing meaningfully to Korean society.  This was the case during my last interview, during which the photographer was downright rude and antagonistic during the entire interview.  It turned into a complete gong show, with the photographer being booted from the premises.  The article never ran.  This pair represented the most prestigious Korean daily. 

My thoughts?  I didn't fit the narrative of the pillaging waeg.  In that narrative, I am only here to demean, abuse, and corrupt my pure, innocent, kind and generous Korean hosts.   By the terms of this narrative, I can contribute nothing of worth to this society, and if I present an image of actually participating in a meaningful way, I must obviously be lying.  White devil!  That was the impression I was left with after this last incident.  Every society needs their scapegoats, so suck it up and know your place, waegs.

Given the general lack of professionalism and ethical conduct, I can only feel unabashed schadenfreude when watching something like this, wishing it would happen with frequency to Korean reporters:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Old Timing!

Tonight was yet another stay late at work night.  As most of my coworkers were leaving, one of the more intrepid of the interns noted: Waeg, looks like every one has left you.  Forever alone! hahahaha.

I suppose that's what you get when you encourage an environment where internet memes are a part of the daily banter.

I laughed.  It's true: work is pretty dead after six.  Most of my waeg friends live in the Big Smoke, and most nights I don't much feel like heading out.  I've become one of those expats, the long timer you rarely run into, the ones that have much to do, but are near invisible to the typically short term crowd passing through.

When I got home, I stopped off at my local supa to grab a couple of jugs of rice wine.  The dude behind the counter asked: are you going to drink that with your friends?  I have no friends I joked.  He had melancholy all over him, and said: me neither.  I come from a different city, and have few friends here.  I come from a different country.  We both laughed in a sad, unconvincing way.  I got home and cracked a bottle, and remembered:

I remember years ago meeting the first few of that elusive breed, the old timer.  It would be a chance encounter, and often times years would pass before seeing them again.  They'd be like: still here, eh?  Looks like you're locked in bud.  No, no, I'd assure them, I've got a plan.  I'll be gone soon enough.  Then another couple years pass, we meet again, and the nicer of the lot merely smile in that way.  Now I'm the one who wears that smile when seeing someone getting settled in for the long haul.

I remember a coworker from a college I worked at laughing uproariously at me when I said I was marrying into the tribe: she jeered and cackled you're never going to leave.   It really pissed me off at the time, but here I am.  That kind of thing doesn't push your buttons after awhile, so that is some small consolation.

I remember having a conversation with a Korean guy Lee I used to work for who I eventually became friends with: he was in full rant about some waeg who had lived here for 15 years, yet couldn't string together more than a few sentences in Korean.  Lee had settled in California, came back home to help settle his parents' affairs and ended up staying for more than a few years.  I asked: of all the Koreans you know in California who have been there long term, aren't there a few that haven't really made English their own?  He stopped cold, blank faced, then burst out laughing: yeah, you got me.  But still, don't become one of them waeg.  You're smarter than that and if you want to have a serious chance to succeed, you need the language.  11 years in and I'm not perfectly fluent yet, as I have some weird mental block at actually speaking the language.  I figure it's my subconscious doing its' best to keep me out of trouble, knowing how prone I can be to opening my big mouth.  But that ultimately is just an excuse, now, isn't it?

I remember most of the old timing waegs I've met over the years: few have gone full hardcore native, although there are definitely some who have signed up 1000%.  That lot is usually fairly pleasant, but their bad days are pretty bad, since reconciling themselves to forever being a scone is hard on even the most well adjusted.  Most make a balancing act out of it, working hard to retain and incorporate their past and present; they generally tell it as it is, fully aware of what is and make the best go of it.  A few don't even bother, content to simply live their lives in complete oblivion to most of what is going on around them.  A complete escape from everything in a way, surrounded in their own little bubble.  To me that's kind of strange, even though it does have an odd appeal.  I haven't met many who have been here long term who actively despise the place; that's usually the province of the newb or the mentally unstable.  But they are out there.  I simply point them to Korean Sentry and walk off, feeling I've done some good by putting like with like.  I remember that I am more of the balancing kind of guy after all.

I remember the freaks, weirdos, interesting, cool, diverse people I've met during my sojourn in this land, the ROK.  Charge me with wearing Rose tinted glasses from time to time if you must, but ultimately life isn't so dull if you know how to make it more fun and to not take yourself so seriously all the time.

But mostly I remember where to get a good haircut, where to buy mustard and cheap dirty old brandy, where to go for a walk to clear my head and forget most of the idiocy I come across.  That's the most important bit.

And I remember it's time for some rice wine.

Cheers.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Playground Fun!













Today the girls and I are out biking and enjoying the day at a nearby playground.

Some boys have set up a leaf boat race in a water display.  They seemed a bit perplexed when the youngest trotted over to play, but her leaf boat built by yours truly is doing OK.  The eldest is hanging out with some other kids playing marbles.  Big fun is being had by all.

I plan on frying up some delicious pig with assorted leaves and greens for dinner.  I've also got a couple of bottles of soju chilling in the refrigerator.  참이슬, best soju on the planet baby!  I have taken a few nips already, but let's just keep that to ourselves, mmm?

Time to read something acceptably intellectual and socially enlightening.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Home!

Last night was a total stay at home kinda Friday.  June was out, so I took the girls.

They demanded grilled cheese sandwiches and potatoes for dinner.  We then all sat down and watched Charlie and the Chocolate factory for the ninth time.

I started dozing off during the film.  The youngest scurried off and brought me back a washcloth: here daddy, wash your face.  It'll help you stay awake.

Maybe I wanna sleep darlin'.  But I dutifully washed my face.  Thanks sweetie.

When the film was over we snuggled into bed and chatted for a while.  The eldest is really digging her Taekwondo classes.  The youngest is looking forward to her new kindergarten.  Really she should be heading off to grade one.  I'm thinking it would be good to send them back home for a few months come fall.  We'll see.

We drifted off to lalaland.  Eventually June showed up around one.  She was slightly tipsy.  She rarely drinks, so it was mildly amusing.

I promised them that we'd drive off to the east today.  I'm thinking maybe a cave visit is in order.  I know a nice one near Jeongseong, and we could also stop to pick up some famous mineral water.

But first, time for coffee.

Friday, April 13, 2012

So many kinds of wrong


a little recycling this week: some of my faves from posts past

almost all are NSFW

so many kinds of wrong












Letter from an Avid Reader!

Recently I received the following email:

Hi Waeg,

I'm S, a fan of your blog.  I came across it one day while reading Expat Hell and have been following you since about July.  I've read about 90% of your posts (I work in a public high school so I hope that explains my stalker-esque tendencies) and I dig your writing.

You said you like emails, which is good because I like writing them and I have a few questions for you if you don't mind answering them when you have a free moment:

1)  Where do you find such awesome pictures for your posts?  

2) What do you think of the people at eatyourkimchi.com?  No, I am not that woman with the weird haircut or her gay husband, just wondering if my general distaste of their blog is shared by anyone else. 

3) Have you ever taken an MBTI test?  If so, what is your type?

4) The woman at the desk next to mine hums ALL DAY LONG.  Is it acceptable to wear headphones/earbuds all day or is there a way I can casually mention that her habit is really fucking annoying?  (Yes, she speaks English.)

5) When you find yourself in a mental rut, what do you do to get yourself out of it?  I've found myself falling into them more often than not lately.  I've been in Korea for ~3 years and feel like I should and could be doing more.  I have an awesome high school, but I feel like I've gone about as far as I can in a lot of respects.  Any advice?

Ok, Waeg.  Those are all of my questions.  I hope you're having a nice day.

Fighting!

Hi S thanks for writing.  I like receiving email, so feel free to send more along.  The address is in profile. 

At last count excluding comments and including this post, there are 887 posts on my stoopid little blog.  Some are only a sentence long, some are long winded rambling affairs.  I'm happy you found enough of them enjoyable to keep at it.

1 - Sometimes I'll come across an image and will write something that popped to mind when I saw it.  Other times, I do a Naver or Google image search for something that fits what I wrote.  It isn't uncommon to spend more time searching for the right image than time spent actually writing.  If the image isn't from some random place, I'll embed a link in the photo; there are quite a few photos that contain these.  Other times, I'll edit an image or two together to make it more fitting for a post.  Sometimes I draw something random or craptacular.  These last of course depend on workload.  I also take a fair number of the pictures myself.  At times I'll also remember an image or a scene from a movie or TV show I may have seen ages ago that fits the post, and will search for that or take a screenshot and clean it up for posting.  I've also got 1000s of images saved to my computer. 

2 - Eatyourkimchi are the hipsters a lot of the expat community love to hate.  I get that, since they can come across as pretty damn smug and annoying.  Still, while I don't go to their site often, I think what they're doing is aight.  Mostly.  Sure.  But then again, I think I've been there maybe five or six times total.  I just know too much of it would be bad for me.  So we're on the same page.

3 - I've taken the free version of the test four times over the years for what that's worth.  I've scored ENTP twice and ENTJ twice.  Guess it depends where the moon is when I take it.

4 - Depends.  How comfortable is your relationship?  If not at all, or nicely so, the direct approach i.e. Sorry, but that really drives me batshit, would be the best way of sorting it out.  Go with what you feel would be best.  Do you want / need  / care to stay friends with her?  No?  Then start blasting tunes on your iPod, or even better, through the speakers of your computer.  Otherwise, get involved: ask what song it is.  Get her to teach it to you.  Hum along with her.  Become an expert hummer. Draw attention to it in some friendly way; she could become more self conscious about it and stop.  Maybe.

5 - Mine seem to occur with frequency in the spring, like now.  It usually takes me a few weeks of constantly kicking myself in the ass to get out of it.  Usually I'm not completely wasting my time, I just prefer to research / read / think about things that aren't seemingly related or helpful to the task at hand, yet prove helpful later.  I've come to realize that in my case it isn't so much a rut as my brain trying to focus on other things that require attention.  That said, getting out of your comfort zone helps.  Get out of town, away from regular surroundings, change the routine.  This is why I like going into the mountains from time to time and camping.  That can help, as can going for long walks.  Sometimes alcohol can be effective, but that's a double edged sword, since when you're too hungover you get absolutely zero done and feel like crap to boot.

I hope these answer your questions.  If not, feel free to write again.  Send a pic.

Best Regards,

F5Waeg

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Election Day!

Today I scooted out of work early to go vote.  The process was less complicated than in years past, probably since in the district I now live there are a couple of other old timer waegs, so it's not such a surprise when a round eye shows up to support a nominal participatory democracy.

I had eliminated a few candidates early on: candidate S had a rather myopic anti FTA message plastered on all his posters, so he was out.  I got stuck behind one of candidate H's trucks the other day when I needed to hit the Wonj to visit a bank; I had to listen to his inane and empty political ramblings for a good ten minutes crawling along at 20 km/h before I was able to pass the truck while flipping the driver the bird.  I watched some of candidate K's workers place their truck in a way to block a banner for candidate C, so I eliminated both of them since K's workers were douchebags and C's were asleep at the wheel.  I eventually choose candidate J, since many of the women he had dancing for him on a street corner were actually rather cute, not your typical uptight ajumma.  They also had perfect form when waving, and gave a nice deep bow.  Witness the soft power of Korean femininity!

I now feel fulfilled and complete.  Mind, that could be the 2.2 manner one liter bottle of Smirnoff vodak I picked up my last run through Costco talking, but here's a cool video to distract that train of thought:



Time for some more Vodak cranberry.  Good for the kidneys it is.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Abandoned!

About a year ago one of June's friends had her husband abandon her and their kids.

He'd been missing for 4 months. One day he just didn't come home from work. June's friend kept mum until it was obvious.

He was a pharmacist. At least he left a pharmacy fully stocked, which translated into well over 250K. Enough to see the fam through the short term, but definitely not enough to pay for uni for his 3 kids.

The mom wanted to invest in June's business, but June was against it. There was a bit of bad blood there, as they used to work at the same school. Apparently the other mom quit when her coworkers began to refuse to do her paperwork; she had been consistently pawning it off, claiming she had no computer at home, and with three kids found it impossible to keep up with her 3 hour a day part time job.

It was a weird, sad situation. Considering the angst that June experienced at the time, I understood her unwillingness to take the investment. I counseled against it, as I'm not a right bastard who would take advantage of a desperate situation to take cash and risk fucking someone over.

She recently called June to update her on the situation: husband still AWOL, and the world being what it is, she had been encouraged to invest in a music institute that sank within months of receiving the infusion, with institute owner running off to Brazil. Mom has no idea what to do since she can't keep up with the bills. I'm sure there were vague questions as to maybe we could help out.

As I'm still waiting for June to report exactly how much she's making off her business, and how much she's paying off the loan to start it up, I'm glad there hasn't been any extra requests for cash. As I'm still paying off the trip back home, June's tuition to a cyber university, and the monthly bills, there isn't much left to squeeze out of this poor waeg right now.

Regardless, I'll be hitting the 'twon this weekend.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

so many kinds of wrong

Mockery, weirdness, and white trash to start off a Thursday edition of

so many kinds of wrong:

2nd vid sNSFW











Wrath of the Mountain Spirits!

Last Tuesday many a waeg complained about the weird early spring storm that passed through this fine peninsula.  Snow, rain, and strong winds ruined many a poor waeg's day, just as they were getting geared up for spring.

What these waegs don't get is that the storm is simply the mountain spirits expressing their collective ire by sending a clear message to those evil usurpers who lay unfounded claim to Corean territory, the Japanese.

As the storm passed over Dokdo, it gathered the pent up fury of the Corean people, unleashing itself upon the arrogant imperialists who dare to foolishly make attempt on that most mighty Corean island, Dokdo.

Even now, the storm howls over their island, driving the inhabitants into hiding and pushing Japan even further away from that most wonderful and divine place, Dokdo.  This is simply further proof that Japan has no claim to that most sacred of Corean islands, Dokdo, as their little island now is a whole 3 nms closer to finally falling into the Mariana Trench.

Let this be a lesson to all those who would dare to challenge the right and truthful integrity of Corean territory!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Phished!

On my way home from work, I received a call from what was supposedly a representative of a bank I occasionally use.  They wanted to know if I would like to link my ARC number to my debit card to ensure extra security.

I was like, what?  Don't you already have my number?  I was genuinely confused as the person spoke in an unusual way with some unfamiliar Korean words.

The person switched and they started in broken English: would you like to link your ARC number to your check card?

I don't have a check card, only a debit card.  Your bank won't give me anything else but.  Are you offering me a credit card?  I'd love one of those.

No no we would like to link your debit card to your ARC number.  If you want a credit card you should go to visit your bank.

At this point it was pretty phishy.  I said I would do that, and link the card at the same time, thank you have a nice day goodbye.

This is the second time in two months that someone has tried to phish me.  The first time was one morning finding a brown envelope on my car stating that I hadn't paid my car tax, and needed to contact the person listed.  I thought June had paid that off, but apparently she hadn't.  I called, and he knew that I had moved, exactly how much I owed, all my car information, and said to deposit the cash in a bank account he gave me.  A couple of days passed before I could take care of it, and lo and behold when I tried to deposit, the screen told me that the account had been disabled.  A visit to city hall proved that they had never heard of the guy, and they gave me the correct bank info to pay my car tax.

Looks like yours truly had some information stolen not too long ago.  Who can I sue?

Time for some Daepo.

Bullies!

A while back I had a serious conversation with the eldest.  She takes the city bus to school everyday, and a group of older boys had been teasing her.

What do they say honey?  I don't know, stuff.  Does it make you mad?  Yeah, scared and sad too.  They are a lot bigger than me.

Well darlin', you can't show them that they make you upset.  As soon as they see that, it'll just make them tease you more, since they know they can get to you.  Don't get mad.  Just look at them with a straight face.  You're strong enough to do that.  If it's hard at first at the very least just ignore them.  But again, whatever you do don't show that they've affected you.

What's affected?

It's when you feel moved by someone or something, a situation that draws a reaction from you in some way, any reaction.  Don't give them the pleasure of seeing any reaction from you.

OK.

A couple of weeks passed during which she followed my advice.  Are the boys still bothering you honey?  No, I did what you said and now they leave me alone.  I'm not scared of them anymore either!  Good job sweetie.  Now for your next lesson let's work on the raised eyebrow and condescending look.  And if they try to physically hurt you, you kick them here, or hit them in the temple, nose, or throat. 

Time for coffee.

Monday, April 2, 2012

FTA!

Today around the water cooler I was roped into a conversation about the Korean - American FTA.

It's generally a subject I avoid talking about with coworkers.  Too many people get all butt hurt over it, and it generally results in bad feelings all around.

But today I was pleasantly surprised: most of the peeps involved actually had smart things to say about it as opposed to simply mouthing leftist platitudes about the denigration of all things Korean at the hands of their cruel American overlords.

Too often the narrative of big powerful country taking advantage of poor victimized Korea serves as the assumption for most opinions dealing with anything from the bad 'ol USA.  Sure, the history of subjugation is still keenly felt by many Koreans, but how about starting to live in the now, where Korean corporations are busy with their own imperialist experiments in places like Vietnam, the Philippines, and the south pacific?

There were a few who thought the FTA was terrible as it would mean the end of the Korean countryside and agriculture.  But more than a few said farmers could adapt and diversify crops while pointing out that Korea isn't able to produce enough food for its current population as is anyway.  There were also voices stating the irony of the left protesting the FTA when the deal had in effect been the baby of the Roh Moo Hyun administration in the first place.

It near brought a tear to my eye.

Now the more interesting question would be how many of those involved in the conversation joined the beef protests a few years back.

Time for some Max.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Kindergarten Drama!

Today June let me know that the youngest was having trouble at the kindergarten and she wants to send her to a new one.

What's the problem?  Well, she is having a hard time with nap time.  She doesn't want to sleep.

This brought a chuckle from me.  I was kicked out of a kindergarten when I was five since I would not sleep.  That and I picked the lock to the bathroom while the teacher was in there taking a dump, but I'm sure that was incidental.

That isn't a big deal.  So what?

Well, some of the boys, two in particular, are causing problems.  They keep trying to inappropriately touch the girls.

That isn't unusual.  Aren't the teachers and parents dealing with it?

Then she tells me that this has been going on for months, the parents and teachers are doing nothing, the latter mostly just complaining about having to discipline the youngest for not sleeping.  I begin to see red.

I call up a couple of the dads.  They know nothing about it.  I call up one of the moms; she tells me she is pulling her daughter out of the kindergarten since nothing has been done, and her daughter has been another focus of unwanted attentions.  She blames primarily the parents.  She is also not happy that the head teacher doesn't want to retire and wants a raise.

Wtf.  It's the first I hear about any of this, despite being on the education and maintenance committees.

I call the youngest's teacher.  She claims the boys aren't doing anything anymore.  So why is it that my daughter wants to go home early every day during nap time?  If she wants to run around, just let her.  I know you want to have your afternoon break, but is it really that hard to keep an eye on her as she plays outside?

This is the third major issue with that teacher.  The first was when she forgot to bring the youngest along with her on a field trip since she 'forgot' that she was sleeping in her room.  The second was when the youngest went missing and turned up a couple of kilometers away, deciding she wanted to go walkabout.  She really does take after me, as I too once walked halfway across the village when I was four.  I wanted to get chocolate at the nearby chemists.

The teachers at the kindergarten have it pretty good: more than double the average salary for that kind of job, no weekends, at least one extra day off guaranteed per month, parents who come in and help with meals, clean, and work extra curriculars.  I don't want to think about how many times June and I have prepared decorations, meals, and gifts for all the kids on a birthday.

Sucks.  But then I could find better uses for the 300 manners I've got in the place for key money.

Chores!

Today I planned to go into work.  Some of the camping group wanted to practice setting up the tent, I needed to work on some paper work, and the department cleaning crew was making a go of tidying up the office.

June called and asked: are you really going into work?  Yeah, why do you want to come?

So I found myself heading off to work with the fam in tow.  I didn't get nearly as much paper work done as I'd hoped.  While we waited for the camp group to show up, I had to entertain the girls as they bounced around the office while June wandered aimlessly.  Eventually I set up Mars Attacks; I knew it was buried deep on the server in the admin department. 

Soon the camping group showed up.  Only about half came, but the girls had a blast romping around in the tent playing with some of my coworkers.

Home now.  Time for some Daepo.