Thursday, July 31, 2008

YAAAAYZZZ of Yayology!

The former being my response to an email, and the latter being the science of the "yay."

Y'all ought to get on board with it. It's redefining everything.

That abstract I sent to Fukuoka about Korean marketing ---- .. --- that horrible denial and failure?

I reworked it and sent it off to the WCTA conference here in Korea and, unless I'm misreading the following, I've been accepted! And it's in Gwangju, so I'll get to see the god-parent-grand-thingies!

I am delighted to acknowledge that your abstract:

International Tourism Opportunities in Korea: Opportunities for Autocatalytic Emergence

has been accepted for a stand up presentation at the 9th international joint World Cultural Tourism Conference, 14-16 November 2008, Seoul, South Korea.

1. Please send your final full paper via mail to and before 30th

of course I'll now have to finish the research I barely started, but that's ok.. that's ok.

Now, if the OAF would only wander home from her (now 5 hour) attempt to find Tootsie Rolls, we'd go out and partay!

It's my first marketing acceptance.. I'd hug you all.. except most of you are bad smelling big-nosed occidentals..

but... you know.. other than that?


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Stormy Weather...

For about an hour.....

If you look over to the right side of the "lightning crashes" section of the video, you'll see that behind the clouds the sun is still out....

BTW.. the video on top (ooh... not kinky.. very traditional!) is the one I redid after seeing the first one. It made me google something like "how to not suck so bad at youtube." I'm interested if anyone who staggers by sees a difference?

I should also note that less than 40 minutes after that lighting strike? It all went away. 20 minutes after that I was looking at a clear sky.

I love this place!



Teaching the Teachers: Talent and Techology (NOT!)

As of Monday I've been on the "Teach the Teachers" program. These are elementary school instructors (all but one is a woman, for reasons I've covered elsewhere on the blog). And they are achingly sincere in their desire to learn English.

It must be a very difficult thing to be an L2 learner and be teaching that language as an L2 instructor. My mind boggles, anyway. So, they sign up for our "camp" to improve their skills. Perhaps what is most amazing is how skilled they are. I won't say that there aren't some amazingly difficult accents among them, but they are all smart, tenacious, and have vocabularies that would make many native English speakers quail (if English speakers didn't think that meant "be a bird" - or, more likely, didn't understand it at all). I only have them for 10 days, so each day I'm giving them an in-class writing assignment and taking it home to grade. Which wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't also going home and dealing with the sh*tty technology that I'm forced to use in my other class.

My other class is "Listening and Dictation" which really means "listening and then writing down some answers to questions about the listening." And this should be the easiest class ever. If it works right, the students just listen and then write.. the instructor is really just a carbon-based on-off switch for the sound files. There's more to it that that of course - we toss in cultural info, etymology, idioms, whatever we can to bring some kind of relevance to the content of the sound files. But still.. pretty automatic.

Except that they provided us with tapes and rooms without tape players. So, I noted the computers and began digitizing the tapes and making CDs..

It was with much amusement I got out of my writing class - which had a thoroughly killer teacher's multimedia station I really didn't need - and into my dictation class.

Which had a blackboard.


So I switched classes with another instructor and got the CD thing working. The second day there was no room change and I had to sock-puppet the dialogues (and in many cases make them up, since there are no transcripts in the teacher's manual) and generally make entertaining shit up as I went along. Thankfully, a discussion with an INCREDIBLY helpful staff member seems to have resulted in a room change.

Still, this means that every night I am rushing home and digitizing the next day's tapes.

Tapes may have been cutting edge once, but they are now shit. No random access to files or locations --- that whole "hit rewind and pray you stop at the right point" sucks. Then there's the issue that rewinding takes time and.. well, tapes suck....

So every night I digitize about 40 minutes of tape into tracks. Time that really should be used on drinking grading.

It is possible that BPU is not completely cutting edge....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Graphic Monday


Saw this on Cracked and it just tickled me with its high percentage of rightness..

So, if you can't seem to finish the paper due this Friday.. why not start another one?

More evidence I'm a retard. ;-)

Actually, got up to about 1,500 words on the Kuala Lumpur paper, so halfway there and it is all mapped out. Emailed the folks at the "peace studies" conference. They were supposed to contact us on the 18th of July, but I haven't heard a word back. Their website also hasn't changed.

I wouldn't be surprised if they were all out back smoking something skunky and making wool-and-stick mandalas for the tourist trade. Or plotting to violently overthrow the government.

One of the two.

It is ungodly hot here in the third level of hell and I am soon to run out of Mint Juleps.

The horror......

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Mang... was there ever a better live "Hard Rock" band?

As part of my exile from the Empire I am downloading any music and/or movie that comes to mind. So I grabbed the two Illusion albums by G'n'R and am rather enjoying them.

I remember thinking, when they came out, that they needed the razor blade of a producer - the albums were overblown and nearly everything ran on too long. Still, Axl was all depressed and angry (which is good, these are the two notes he could really play), Slash was still playing clean guitar, and the incredibly pretty Steven Adler had not yet had his drug-induced stroke (although he really only played on one song).

I saw these guys once and despite the fact that my date ditched me it was one of the best shows I've ever seen.

Axl, dude.. get it together...

So.. with alla this innartubology here, what other bands should I be downloading?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Hanoi Rocks, Seoul Brothers, and I Suck...

ya'll better bow down to Hanoi Rocks...

so.. this weekend will be a trip back in time.. plenty of coffee, a ton of booze, and the OAF squiring me around. Something like hotel medicine.

But no hotel.

And no medicine.

Several months of laziness result in me having to write my conference paper this weekend. I've done the research, but not the writing...

It's only 12 pages and I have all the research done, but I'm lazy...

I may need to get my intarwebs and cable shut off.

I haven't watched a bit of TV since I've got cable, but the Intarwebs seem to be entirely sufficient for me to find a reason to do nothing.

Ah well.. it is early here in the cradle of civilization, and I am about to slumber.....

meet the OAF at the I-cafe and start writing..

yeah, that's the plan. ;-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Graphic Monday (So what if it's Thursday?)

I have forgotten to post this picture the last two Mondays and need to do it before I completely forget.

All I'm suggesting is that someone open this panel and turn it up a little. ;-)

Not so very much ass in Korea.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lonely Planet Hates Seoul?

Came by this through Marmot, the reaction to the Lonely Planet review of Seoul. I translated a tiny bit of it through stoopid bulk translation methods (until it was clear I had lost everything but my mind!)

“IMPRESSION OF SEOUL” (then some stuff I don’t get)

Travel Guide “Lonely Planet” Requires change

The feature on Seoul is not favorable

City scenery is not charming

Understanding Korean culture is impossible

After the Korean war (Korea) was initially poor but became (like) a unique melting stew of ham sausage, bean, and mixed (cotton) vegetables purchased from the black market out side the US Army Base.
anyway.. those header lines seem to indicate what Naver thinks it being said. I can't wait to see the translation pop up on Marmot.

Monday, July 21, 2008

That Crazy Elvis Costello put out an album. And didn't tell me!

But I am downloading a "promotional" copy as I type.

It got good reviews, although the RS one was distressingly brief.

I hope it is good enough to go back to the AppleStore and purchase...

go faster, intarwebs!!!

The Students Speak (Semester Evals)

Well this is a bit weird, the classes ranked me in exact opposite order I would have ranked my own success. Go figure.

Starting with the bad..

In Japanese Studies my rating was a 75%
The overall rating was an 81.2%

I attribute part of this to their only being three sections and the TSR, who is my teaching superior (in fact from whom I've swiped a lot of my new approaches), was the evaluee on one of the other sections. I bet he scored consistently in the 90s.

In International Management my rating was 94.5%
The overall rating was an 81.2%

So I did well on that one

My "triumph" was in the class that I doubt I taught one decent thing.

In Computer Science my overall rating was 100%
The overall rating was 82.6%

So I did well on that one also.

I'm going to have to spend a bit of time pondering why the ratings went this way, when I would have predicted the exact opposite.


Still, ok numbers for my first semester teaching.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Boryeung Mud Festival

This was the best deal in the history of ever and even the days before ever began.

We paid the Community Relations Dude from Chungnam University 20 bucks each and the OAF and I got three meals and a round trip to the Boryeung Mud Festival. The trip to the place was epic enough, and I hope to get to it tomorrow, but the festival itself was grand. It was raining in the morning and numbers were down, so the place, while crowded, was tolerable. It was also wickedly hot and despite the on-and-off rain, I manage to procure and epic Redneck sunburn.

Still, it was so much fun I begged the Chungnam guy to put me on his mailing list. This week I'll drop off a DVD of photos and hope that cheap gift is enough. ;-)

The festival is set on the beach and it is little more than a bunch of things that effulge mud. Which sounds simple, but is actually astoundingly entertaining. The first thing is the rather wide range of bodies in rather wide range of dishabille (I'm sure I spelled that wrong). The festival not only draws a lot of Koreans, but foreigners from all over Korea as well.

Diplomatically, I can only say that some foreigners have... uh, inaccurate body images.

Also, a few have French taste in beach-wear.

This combines spectacularly, but most often in spectacular fail.

There were also quite a lot of USMK guys around, which gives Boryeung fitful problems. The Marmot opines in his usual suspicious way, the town wants the big-breasted white-chicks, but not so much the waeguk dudes they bring with them, particularly the Army guys. Well, at least the idiots who try carjackings!

No problems (I could see) while we were there and I spent most of my time taking shots of the mud-coated throngs including a couple of Army guys who had found the cool colored mud:

The most stoned-looking Korean guy I have ever seen:

A happy large woman:

Two Korean dudes who had also found the psychedelic mud and seemed pretty depressed about the whole thing...

You could get muddy in a variety of ways, including the mud slides:

As you worked your way back out of mud, you took a shower under the spitting pig

Which was mighty refreshing

And then it was off to the sauna (Korean style) or the public shower (also Korean style.. by which I mean very cold water!). I got out of my shower and while I was toweling off I kept getting sprayed by water. I looked around, but everyone else was pretty involved in their own showers and not hosing me down whenever I turned my back. So, you know, that fantasy of making a friend in the communal shower kind of died.

I finally realized that, outside, the skies had really opened up and that I was being hit by water coming through holes in the ceiling. We all hustled back to the bus (except the two guys who got lost and held us up for about 30 minutes)

The way back was through a wild rainstorm and the evening ended with a delicious bowl of Samgyetang - which is a whole chicken stuffed with rice, dates, ginseng and other good stuff. The trick is the chicken is cooked in your bowl. This is normally served on the three hottest days of the Korean year (well, the three days said to be the hottest annually), so I think it must have been Chobok, Jungbok or Malbok, though I am far too lazy to look. ;-)

Friday, July 18, 2008

Letter from the Empire

Hallelujah and O My God...

I finally received a letter from someone back in the States.

Technically, I paid $1,000 dollars for someone to send me a letter from the States, but it is just as meaningful for me on two levels.

1) Now I know what I have to do to get people to correspond with me. To be honest, I won't pay most of you that much for anything short of a sex act, but at least I now know what is required.

2) Hey, it was my first letter while here!

I have included the pic (with some slight blurring) for three reasons.

The first is to prove to some skeptics that all you have to do is actually send me a letter and I will receive it.

The second is to reinforce what the address is without entirely giving my ID away to the random and evil innartubes.

And the third is to suggest that the person who sent me this letter is probably a dangerous psychopath of some kind as suggested by relatively random handwriting/font approach they take to something as simple and brief as an address.

1) My name in a savage and jagged script which suggests great anger and barely controlled desires to violence.

2) The name of the Institute in tightly controlled and universally sized capital letters.

3) The remainder of the address in the "large cap/small cap" format, semi-randomly applied across words.

If I happened to be the husband of this correspondent (and you know who you are!), I'd take a long, long hunting trip. And ask to get letters, lots of letters.

And not come back until some of this letterary evidence of insanity is reduced.

FINAL POINT (or, as correspondent might write it FINAL POINT): I showed this to the TSR and his response was:

"As someone who is not an expert at handwriting, it looks like this person might be a relative of yours."

Prima facie evidence of instability!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

On Losing Focus


• I've got a cellphone.
• I've joined Costco
• On Sunday I hosted a lovely BBQ
• On Tuesday I bought some goods from a departing professor
• Tuesday night I went to ADAM's birthday party.

Could it mean I'm becoming hosed down by "things" again?

Time to move to China!

Anyway, the BBQ was splendid - Jong Kyu came by earlier in the day and bought a couple of 12-packs of beer. Everyone else (xept TMS, who has now done this two BBQs running) brought something. We started in with hamburgers, barbequed some pork, and then my bulgogi. The bulgogi was a bit too sweet .. it was my first time on the recipe and I would certainly cut the sugar in half on my next go round. The BBQ was to recognize the two new babies and one new wife in the building, and they all showed up.

The picture shows TSR on the left with two ajummas he is trying to seduce. ;-) Then ADAM's wife, the OAF, TMS showing his back, and his wife and child. We were cooking outside and bringing the food in to them. This worked because we could drink as much beer as we wanted to on the deck and it was at least 5 degrees cooler out there. The evening went on just long enough and then a couple of the women (sex roles here are pretty clear) cleaned most everything up while a couple of guys drank a few more beers.

Living in the family housing is a blessing.. not so many people and they all have responsibilites that keep them from being too lunatic.

Anyway, time to get back to some version of the grind. This paper is due on the 31st and it isn't going to write itself. I also have a local conference to get an abstract together for (though this abstract will probably just be a cleaned up version of the failed one I did for Fukuoka).

And the gymn ..... sigh...... the gymn.....

Mystery Bird

So I know the the thing on the left is a seagull, but what is that bird below.

It ate plants from the bottom of the scuzzy stream and seemed totally unafraid of me.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Goodbye to the Scholarship Class

This week was the last class of the death-march "Scholarship" class. This class is called "scholarship" for no discernible reason - the kids in it spoke almost no English and really had no desire to learn it. They are all two-year certificate kids and none of them will need a bit of English once they graduate.

Then there's the fact that this class is a four-week, three hour a day job. That's pedagogically sound!

Still, the kids were all friendly and on the last day we reviewed for the final, watched a movie, and I bought a couple of pizzas. Then we took a group shot with the half of the class that showed up.

The girl right behind me to the right had a crush on me (she was teased mercilessly by her classmates about that). Now she goes off to one more English class, before graduation, and some other teacher to have a crush on. ;-)

Anyway, good kids considering the horrible schedule BPU put them through.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A video about alla this...

is available here....

Ghost Town Goes Down

A return visit to the Ghost City reveals that it has, alas, given up the ghost.

That picture on the left is the road that Adam and I first walked up to take the pictures of the deserted blocks (Those original pictures are available here). The picture is kind of cruddy because I snapped it through the mesh top of the fence that now surrounds the entire site.

Some enterprising kids (?) have begun to peel back the steel base of the fence, and if they ever finish the job in such a way that a fat waeguk can squeeze through, I will dart in and take some better photos.

The picture below is a lovely panorama of one corner of the entire site - the corner where the fencing is still incomplete. The stench of rotted meat is overwhelming - refrigerator meat, dead pet, who knows what, but godawful. Plenty of insects as well.

I guess the next step is that they will haul all this trash away and then construction of enormous apartment hives will begin.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Negative LOL - North Korea shoots tourist

The day after the OAF and I discuss our plans to visit the DMZ this news comes slinging along the MoJo wire. The North Koreans shot (apparently in the back) some ajumma who had wandered into their territory.

This, of course, will not bother the South Koreans, since a murder (and profligate fan use) results in a corpse but American beef is.. well... bad....

Neutral Interpretation: Geez, this whole thing sucks.

Paranoid Interpretation: NK always knows when to push things, and when LMB (relatively tough on NK) is on the ropes it's a good time to give SK a shot in the ass.

Or wherever.


Last weekend I went bookshopping with the OAF. We turned the corner and the outside of the bookstore looked like this

You attempt to go inside only to discover that the bookstore itself looks like this:

And that's not counting the upstairs storage rooms (in the same building, but separate) with the books pouring out the doors. If you look closely you will see the books outside are all tied in packets with ribbons. I am assuming that this so they can be pulled in and out of the storefront (and the storage upstairs) easily.

Out of all those books, probably 50 in English, and I bought two of them.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The 4th of July was pretty epic fun. Particularly since it started with not plan in mind. Out on the street, as I was heading to the store, I ran into a couple of folks from my building as they headed off to buy things including fireworks.

I ran with them a way (there was some promise of fireworks being available at a small store, but it turned out to be no more than sparklers), and then turned back to the lovely solace of air-conditioning and soju.

But a few hours later my phone rang and as I ran in from the deck to answer it, I heard banging in the stairwell. This was ADAM and his family, and Thumper McStomp heading up to BPU to set off fireworks on the soccer pitch (essentially sand formed into cement by generations of Korean spit). I brought my camera so that I could take pictures.

We were headed to the soccer pitch because this same group had started to set fireworks off by the second river but had received a group hairy-eyeball from a bunch of Koreans who were preparing for their weekly session in which they dress up as cows and protest pretty much anything that they can think of. In this case, it could have been fireworks, and ADAM and Thumper Mac didn't want to get into any of that. The soccer pitch had the advantage of NOT being the location of a demonstration as well as plenty of free space.

They began setting off Roman Candles (Korean fireworks are splendidly not-safe and not-sane) and all of a sudden a whistle began to blow from the building behind us. Thumper didn't seem to hear it and casually lit another Roman Candle. This cause the whistling to increase to a mighty level and Thumper heard it, but had just lit the fuse on a 10-ball Roman Candle. As each ball sped into the night sky, the guy with the whistle went a bit louder and a bit higher.

It seemed endless, but finally Thumper's Roman Candle guttered out and a security guy from another building came over and told us that we'd need a permit from the college to do things on the soccer pitch.

Oh well, chased away from the 4th of July twice now.

So it was back to the apartment and the certain solace of soju, where an hour later I heard English-speakers on the street. Once again it was Adam, this time with two other instructors in tow. They had bags of un-safe and insande fireworks and a two-liter plastic container of some ferocious rice-wine that they had purchased from a monastery (they said). A few more calls and we had a group of about 7 people and we headed, noisily I'm afraid, down to the closest confluence of a rivulet and something approaching a creek. There we proceeded to shoot of about an hour of fireworks and drink the rice-wine and some beer we had purchased on the way.

Thumper Mac was a bit drunk and both loathing and loving his wife's imminent arrival in Korea. This manifested itself in drunken male-bonding and alternating hollers of, "it's great to be a man," and "it's great to have a dick!" All this noise and light brought local Koreans out several of whom said something too us, but it was too indistinct to understand and they soon became bored with watching the waeguks have fun. A bit later a second group came out to watch us including one guy with a flashlight and another who just stood behind us and watched (the photo of the watcher). One brave woman actually wandered down the embankment and cadged a beer of off us. She stayed only long enough to drink it, and then scarpered back up the encampment.

The entire scene was a bit surreal (particularly as it all took place under the watchful eye of a neon church-cross) and this was exacerbated by the fact that, just that day, there had been an oil spill in the rivulet, so the water was greasily reflective and covered in swirly patterns.

I went home and the first song on the iPod was "Right Next Door to Hell" which I thought was just about right.

In that sacreligious spirit I leave you with a picture of Thumper Mac committing acts of indecency as the cross upon which Jesus died to forgive our sin looks sadly down.

A Picture of the Site?

This is from and it seems close to my blog.. I'm a bit suspicious of it as I don't recognize some of the Korean words here and it's unlikely I would use ones I didn't know.

Anyway, the pic is cooolish...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Really? In Daejeon you say?

I hop around a couple of the Gawker "family" of sites and every now and then they try to get me a hookup.

But I have a very difficult time believing that HORNYMAMii (age 22) of the atypical pneumaticissity is actually in Daejeon.

She'd be a local legend, I think....

Not that many Latinas, you see....

If they are clever enough to scope out my IP address you'd think they'd provide picture of Koreans, since the vast majority of web hits from Korea are likely by Koreans?

I could be wrong.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Translation Problems?

An interesting article at the Korea Times (which the OAF spotted this week) about a recent decline in translation quality. The article attributes this decline to several things including:

"a lack of historical background knowledge or poor Korean language skills ...many have a problem in remaining loyal to the original text, which fails to revive the literary beauty and meaning,''


the mistranslations were a result of an editor's mistake and a translator's expediency. "

Of course I think the BKF and I as a team solve these problems since he has good knowledge of Korean and its literature and his focus has always been on translating the meaning and combined effect of passages rather than strictly literal translation on a line-to-line level. The fact that I work directly with him, and often at exactly the same time, also substantially reduces the likelihood of editor-induced error.

As to the "translator's expediency?"

Further deponent says not! ;-)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Busan - Part 2

The second morning in Busan was semi-drizzly and we headed off to get some muffins and coffee/cocoa before we tackled the Busan Aquarium. On the way over there was a dancing competition, so I had to stop and take a couple of pictures of the dancers. The were dancing to some pretty terrible rap - bitches, hos and niggaz in every line - and I wondered if they had any idea what the lyrics were saying.

Then it was off to the aquarium. It is world class, although I was highly amused by the oddball dioramas that were sometimes thrown in. In the pirhanha tank someone had placed a skeleton:

And the very next exhibit featured a leopard eating a fish. This is something I had been unaware of, but I'm not here to argue about Korean culture OR tigers. ;-)

Some pretty cool fishies and jellies:

And a shark that, after investigating the OAF, decided that she was probably inedible:

After that it was off to James' and a delicious tuegi-bibimbap lunch, followed by a KTX back to South-Central.

Old Blighty

Heh.. only 25 visits to the blog from Angla Terra.. but what grand names they have!

I like to pretend that one day, while I Stoke on Trent, I will Bolton some kind of Maidenhead.

And then I'm tripping around the intertubes and come to realize that the old Battersea power station is the new Tate Gallery.

This compresses two of my gestational London experiences into one bit of diamond-like awesomeness. I accidented upon the old Tate whilst (note the Anglicism trip off my tongue) taking a tour of pubs on London's streets. And I found the Battersea station on the same kind of walk down the Thames.

And now they are one beautiful thing.

man, I'd love to go back to London...

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Gods Are Great!

When you give, with clean heart but filthy apartment, to the Great Garbage Fairy What Lives In The Sky he responds in kind.

He is a just and caring Gawd...

And, surely, he must have noticed the amazing procession of donations flowing from my flat: Floats of delivery pizza boxes; rafts of empty beer-cans; pyramids of soju bottles, and; soiled adult diapers.

Yeah, life has been that good!

So when TSR kicked me a TV for half price and I had to use my bedroom table to support the ungainly metallic monstrosity?

The Great Garbage Fairy What Lives In The Sky saw it in his benevolence to provide me, on my very next walk home, with another table.

And here you see it supporting my "Fan of Death" (Soon to be a Major Motion Picture starring Gene Simmons' tongue as the fan)

All hail the GGFWLITS!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

And So it begins...

Sure.. it doesn't look like much (and actually isn't), but it is the first scrawlings on the paper for Kuala Lumpur.

Gave the kiddies a big writing assignment and got bored.

With two pages of scribblings down, I feel well-started here.


Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Soon Coming to Google Near You

""towards a topography of correspondence""

Weekend in Busan...

On Saturday, despite pouring rain, the OAF decreed that I must spend a lot of money and take her down to Busan. This "request" was despite the fact that a Friday-night full of bar-hopping left her incapable of reaching my Deajeon love-pad before noon on Saturday.

But she was insistent, and so we trundled down to the yeok, and hopped the THX to Busan. In any case I wanted to get down to Busan to meet James Turnbull, who writes the rather excellent blog, "The Grand Narrative." And a trip on the THX is rarely a bad thing. Trains leave frequently, they are clean, they rock (reaching nearly 300 KPH at times), they include a tray service that serves beer, and the Korean countryside is just spectacular at this time of year. Oddly, I also seem to get my best language study done on the train. So down we went, me with my nose in my Korean language book

It took just less than two hours to get to Busan and when we got there the skies had opened up and I, of course, had left my umbrella behind. We scampered the 120 meters from the train station to the subway. We were heading to Haeundae Beach, where James had told us of a nice and inexpensive yeogwan. By the time we got to our stop on line 2, rainwater was coursing down the marble steps out of the station, and running like a river down the smooth marble of the overflow troughs on either side of the stairs.

So we went out and got wet. And I got an umbrella. We wandered down to and then along the beach for a bit, eyeballing places that we could eat, and then called James to find out the name of the yeogwan. It was "Bridge Motel" and, of course, it was at the opposite end of the beach from us. We walked back over, got a room, and dried off a bit. The room didn't face the beach, but it only cost $48.00 and was quite serviceable - it even had a Western style tub.

Then it was back outside, where it was still raining, but not in sheets. At a third story boite with a lovely view of the entire beach we had a beer, a strawberry smoothie and the "peaches" side dish that many bars have. Ten bucks for a can of sliced peaches in syrup that are tossed out onto some ice.

One of the really pricey food options in Korea.

Then it was a walk down to a brilliant Galbi place which was old-fashioned enough that the toilet was outside and there were no smoke hoods over the barbeques on the tables. The other truly odd thing was that no Kimchi was served with the meat.

Anyway, the pictures are here.

Finally we left the restaurant and called James. We agreed to walk back to our hotel and meet him there. Then it was off to a bar-girl bar. A bunch of young women in reasonable scanty clothes serving, and sitting and talking to, men or groups of men. They ignored us completely as we were with a woman and waeguk as hell.

James told many an amusing story, often with his Black Russian pressed against his forehead, but I think those tales are not mine to share. ;-)

Then, at James' suggestion, the OAF and I walked back to our hotel. Once their we decided (by which I mean the OAF forced me) to go back out to the beach and it was a wise decision as the rain had cleared and celebrants were shooting off unsafe and insane fireworks (conveniently sold, by a man on the beach, from a cart). We finally wandered back to the hotel at about one and sank into dreamless sleep.

On the way back we came across a guy who didn't quite make it to his own house. If you look to the left of his feet you can see, in the dark damp and disturbed sand, the troughs in which his feet struggled, without success, for some last bit of balance.


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

False Economy at BPU

So, deep in the bowels of our office-building is a small reprographics office which contains one Canon copier and one Duplo machine. And a new, and not so swift copy-dude (the previous one was sharp as a tack and fast). The "rules" are that under 30 copies are to be made on the copier and over 30 copies are to be made on the duplo machine. This applies as a "per page" rule, and not in terms of total copies.

So if I make 31 copies of a certain page it goes on the Duplo machine, but if I make 29 copies of a 20 page document it goes on the copier.

This has to do with some economy of scale thing that I am too doltish too understand, because I don't get that last example.

Today the copier was down and someone came in to make 12 copies of 5 pages. The copy-dude refused because the copier was broken.

The instructor kept making the point that she needed the handouts for her class.

The copy-dude kept making the point that he could not make them because the copier was broken and the job didn't require 30 copies of each page.

I thought the obvious thing, "ok, ask him to make 30 copies." But then again I thought the copy dude might go mad if she pulled such an obvious switcheroo/fraud on him.

But after 3 fruitless minutes of argument, my solution came to her mind. "Alright," she said, "I need 30 copies of this." And she jammed the papers at him.

He beamed. Not only was he not mad at her, he saw this as a victory for the rules.

So he made the 12 copies (60 pages) that she needed, and then went on to make 18 copies (90) pages that were immediately binned.

Somewhere, in Brazil, a rain-forest wept.

and wept harder when I asked for 30 copies of 10 pages of stuff for which I really only needed 15 copies.

Bizarre to me... the copy dude couldn't see past the number 30 and so, all day, reams of paper were copied to and then tossed out.