Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
The schedule is out and if it stays where it is it looks good for the remainder of the year. Most of my classes are late-afternoon and evening, which means I’ll have the mornings for work, stretching, and rambling. This should allow me to reset my goals for the first year in
That’s all gone now, so it’s time to get back to work.
I have the Japanese Studies kids again – they are my only Uni class. My big class is teaching BPU Administrators – that’s three nights a week for two hours each. These are important peoples and, if I were planning to stay at BPU, I’d really put the dog and pony show on. As I’m not planning on staying, they will get my typically slipshod approach. ;-)
The middling class is a “Conversation I” class, which sounds appallingly like it will be people new to English. It is only one hour at a time, though, and that kind of timetable can be conquered with nothing more than some new bumpers on the clown car.
So.. then the goals for this semester should be…
Lose about 7 more kilos… it’s a health thing, of course, but the more weight I can lose before I have to interview in
Do a movie about Woosong
Get to 100 pushups
Get back to the writing (I need to make this a bit more specific)
Learn some danged Korean – I actually studied this week and, lo and behold, I learned me some vocabulary…This is by far the most difficult thing I’m working on now. I am too easily distracted and just want to chuck it over when it doesn’t come to me quickly. Having canceled my internet and cable may help me with this, since I won’t have as many easy distractions at hand.
Viewer suggestions happily accepted…
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
1) Writing that Conference paper
2) Updating my CV
3) Blogging some pics of Seoul.
Tip of the hat to: MAF
Monday, August 25, 2008
My book purchasing habits are abrupt. I went into What The Book and had my two books within 10 minutes. A book on Korean history and a book of essays on Korea. Just more attempt to backfill those vast holes in my knowledge. The OAF, on the other hand, approaches book-shopping like a 35 year old virgin nerd approaching a gaggle of hookers – she’s excited, apprehensive, gonna check everything out, and likely to blow her wad once she has (or spend two hours pretending she hasn't).
In fact, I’m just going to cut and paste that description of her book-shopping should the subject ever arise again. It is rare that I describe something accurately, and I’m not gonna waste those times I do.
But her endgame takes time, so I was off to the bar and some reading.
Then we headed off to the hotel. Again, the ChungJin, which is north of the Han River and convenient to a lot of things, including Insadong, the palaces, and Cheonggye Plaza, which was where the opening to the “Hi-Seoul” food festival was to take place. And it is here that my essential silliness was first exposed.
OAF and I dropped of our stuff at the yeogwan and I studied what the intarwebs had to say about getting to the plaza. Apparently we needed to go back to our tube station, head to a transfer point, and then go North to Gwanghwamun Station.
And it probably only took us 20 minutes. The end of which was the OAF actually figuring out which direction we should go.
Which means, really, I let the side down.
We went to the river, checked out the lights, food, this and that… and then walked down towards the other end (after a quick stop for a bracing cocktail and to watch the first innings of the epic Korea-Cuba gold-medal baseball game) of the river.
Did so and slowly walked back. As we did that, I noticed the second-coolest-building in Seoul was getting really close to us. And since it was really close to our hotel, we were walking back towards that as well.
We watched the 8th inning of the Korea-Cuba game in a square with a ton (gaggle?) of howling Koreans.
Although I wanted to stay his was not Yvonnes gig, so we started to walk back to the hotel. Which turned out to be 2.5 blocks away.
Not one transfer and two stations, rather, 2.5 blocks. We had spent two bucks and 20 minutes to circle around the place, and then get slightly farther away. The bad graphic “over there” (A phrase I’m now using to avoid “right” or “left”, since my commentariat – they put the common into “comment”- is a bit callous to my dyslexia with respect to those arbitrary directions) demonstrates what we did. From Jonggak to JognoSam to Gwanghwamun.. and then back to that green dot that was across the street all the time.
After all this was concluded, and we had left the plaza, we ducked into a franchise Japanese restaurant to watch the conclusion of the Korea/Cuba game. It was mad with drama, and the Koreans won despite the fact it looked like they were gonna lose in horrible fashion (and after a Cost Rican umpire seemed to go all Carribean on his strike zone. I mean, I'm suspicious of Korean claims of screwdom, cause Koreans sometimes make them randomly, but this guy and the women's handball decision? You be giving the Koreans fodder for paranoia!). It was a grand game.
It was silly, but I’m sure we enjoyed it. Still, probably should have looked at an actual map, and not just a subway map. ;-)
Which brings us to Sunday.. which is tomorrow…
like, you know, in the past tense and that now tense...
Apparently my fat ass shrank (although my face still resembles an explosion in the pock-marked blubber factory) and thus the back of my jeans slipped down to the point that they were trodden upon by my heels. This led to a singularly unattractive look, even by my standards.
So in Itaewon I dicovered a lacuna in Korea fashion. The Costco claims to have jeans in "Western" sizes, but does not. Itaewon has jeans for fat dudes, but fat dudes have to be pretty fat. There are no "normal" fat guy jeans. So I got some jeans with a 38 inch waist - this is too big for me, but the tailor next door at least has the length right. The search for jeans with a 36 inch waist will go on!
And, in any case, since I was up to 42 in Cali, I'm going to take all this fashion failure as a win.
This would be the last win of my weekend. Details to follow....
Friday, August 22, 2008
The Korean women's handball (yeah, that's a sport, apparently) lost last night on a call that was pretty shady looking. I'm guessing the Korean press is not going to take this with any kind of equanimity, if history is any guide. Already netizens are getting riled:
How dare you, you two people on top of me!
Don’t you dare insult Korea like that, You fuckin’ people, I don’t care of I’m Japanese-Korean, I’M STICKING TO KOREA, and Korea is not a bad sport!
Learn about our history and see why!
And, If you really look at our history, Korea was and is being tormented by Japs and Chinese, so you have no right to say ANYTHING!
Heh.. gotta love that "Japs and Chinese" thing. Hard to say how that had any influence on the game (All of the judges seemed to be big, fat white people), but this response is probably indicative of what is to come.
I'm also interested, though I'm not sure why, that the Chosun Ilbo isn't currently playing the story at all in its English edition, and has it top, front, left on the Korean edition. The Hanky seems to be playing it down.
I think this weekend would be a good time to visit the Norwegian embassy in Korea (Note to self: check to see if there is one), because I'm pretty certain its going to be the scene of some bloodletting. What is the Norwegian national bird? ;-)
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Book me that ticket to Seoul!
And, or course, BKF is co-writer on the paper, so it's a win all around....
now.. I must party... they will find me just like they found Heath Ledger...
well, except he was fit and handsome.. but you know what I mean. ;-)
OAF lost her key last night so had to swither over here for lodgings. We got up and went to the BPU Bakery. OAF, who has eaten from any bakery or coffee-shop I've taken her to, took one look at the goods and said, "I don't trust anything left out on a shelf!"
I was rather boggled, since we've spent our lives eating food from shelves, and after a bit I persuaded her that this place was no different than our normal bakery and that we were hitting this place about 4 hours earlier than we did our normal bakery.
She sniffed suspiciously, but ate.
Then I came home to read and write. A productive day that way - at least one of my papers will be good.
I went out three times and the day was brilliant - A promise of spring. Humidity down below 50% and temperatures in the 80's. Korea, Sparkling, man!
Came back to write and read for a while, and just looked up outside the window. The day has gone. To my surprise it is about 8 and I need to think about dinner and sleep.
As BAX would say, "just another day in paradise."
Monday, August 18, 2008
Those are vending machines for Love-Motels out in front and, the keen (and perverted eye) will note that the eight stacks of.. uh.. things... on the top shelf are.. well, artificial vaginas, arranged with the business end pointed out to the street. The OAF wouldn't let me buy one - you know, just to be sure!
You wouldn't see this on many streets in the US.. Somewhere in Nevada, maybe?
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Which I don't mind terribly, if there's plenty of vacation time to visit the two friends and 2.5 family members I still love. ;-p
OAF is down with it...
Korea, love it or leave it
Exclamation point to end that sentence, or question mark?
Heh, a nice calm weekend with the OAF erased by this mental turmoil...
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Yet, today, wandering South-Central with the OAF I came across this and was immediately able to holler out (to no one in particular), "코끼리!" And I think, that since there are two, I could say 코끼리들 to indicate the plural nature. Maybe even call the pink one 코끼리아이?
Calling BKF, calling BKF!
The name of the store didn't help me as it looks like "cup person land" to me or "change land" if it's hangulicised English?
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Then it was time to head down to Kwangju to see the "family." 종규 swooped down on Saturday morning and picked us up. Other than nearly being crushed by a bus, it was an uneventful trip down.
We got down there and, Korean style, headed straight out for lunch. It was up to Mt. Mudeungsan and a brilliant outside restaurant that served boiled chicken and the Korean equivalent of Buffalo Wings. It had been raining, but the rain broke just long enough so that we could eat. While at lunch I busted out the magazine with my photo-essay of the BKF's marriage. Bringing that was probably the smartest thing I could do. Both parents loved the pics and immediately asked if they could keep the magazine. This, and the soju, started the visit off quite well.
After, we trekked up to a temple on the side of the mountain, and then further up the road to a little watering spot. This was all extremely beautiful. That picture up there on the left is from the parking lot of the temple. The building is what the OAF would call a "temple" but most people in Korea know it as a 화장실 (toilet). Over to the right is a picture of what I think are prayer requests? I dunno, perhaps the BKF can drop in and help me on that. Finally, from that temple, below left is a bit of art that struck me as odd. This type of art was on the outside of the main building - it was on all the exterior panels. I'm not sure why it struck me. I don't think I've ever seen temple art done solely in this kind of blue-mood and the style strikes me as a bit different. I'll have to look back at my other photos to make sure I'm not imagining this.
It could also be the result of my narrow experience with Korean culture, but these panels stuck out to me.
Then off to find a love hotel for the OAF and I. 종규 knew of a good one called Shilla and so, for 50K won we settled in there. It had a big old flat screen TV, good AC and also a computer which could be run to the big old flat screen if desired. Being that it was a love motel it also had, directly outside our door, the requisite vending machine full of improbable looking devices to improve the sex-act. As the OAF and I are not married, we cannot indulge in such shennanigans and instead I took a photo of the thing.
Then it was off to a tuegi-galbi dinner which was extraordinary. I got to practice my shitty Korean on the Lee's who were excellent hosts and even better company. We managed to make due with the language gap. 종규 did what he could to translate, which was often pretty good. His English has improved since I met him in the States.
Then it was off to the Shilla and sleep.
Next morning we went over for lunch at the families' house, this time including an Uncle I remembered from the wedding. Same deal with lots of friendly chatter and Korean practice for me. Eventually though, we had to head back to Seoul, with the promise that we would return for Chusok next month. Should be (other than the legendary Chusok trafic) fun.
The lovely pic to the right is of one of the traditional Korean bells. Its picture will certainly show up in the "Heavy Metal" advert in my series of imaginary magazine advertisements for Korea.
Until then, however, with my photoblogging at least a little caught up, it's time for a lovely soju-based cocktail and some rest.
All in my new place, photos caught up, and another rev of "Camel Pouch" back to the BKF. That's enough of a day for anyone!
Adam took me in search of birdies and, indeed, we found some.. but first we found a variety of Koreans enjoying the water (and beating the heat) in various ways:
Also looking for something edible. This guy scared off the birds we were shooting, so we wandered down the river.
Got up and the alien wanted to go bookshopping, which we did a little of and then got involved in a pretty cool event across from the bookstore.
Saw a very large pavilion/temple with some traditional guards massing outside it and wandered across the street to check it out.
After something like a changing of the guards, we were invited up into the pavilion for a bell-ringing ceremony. Being more interested in taking photos, the OAF and I lurked around the edges. At a certain point the guy leading the thing caught me counting along with him in Korean. He stopped his spiel and asked me if I spoke Korean. Which I do just well enough to recognize that question and answer that I don't speak very well. Still, it was funny to watch the two "LA" (OAF's characterization) Waegukin stare at me like I was some kind of funny monkey. Of course they had no idea I had just exhausted all my Korean except for taxi directions and food orders. ;-)
We stayed for the bell ringing and then headed out to Itaewon, where we visited What a Book, the largest used-bookstore for English-speakers. I got two books which will be quite useful for my upcoming paper. On the way up a hill laced with bars, the OAF struggled behind me a few steps, so the bar-girls (there is probably a more precise term) thought I was alone. As the only guy walking up that particular hill, I represented interesting trade, and they hollered various invitations to drink. On the way back down I had the OAF walk next to me.
As something like protection, I guess.
I'm easily influenced, you see.
We wandered a bit more, had some Galbi for late lunch, and then buggered off back to South Central.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Also, it will be a relief to move out from underneath TMS. I'm sure that since I'm such a noise-pansy I'll find something to dislike in the new place, but for now I am optimistic. The place is a bit messy (rice strewn here and there, bits of fluff on the floor) but I like it. When TSR was in the place he had a couch, and there was some rumor that he was going to leave that for me. When he left, however, it was unclear who would get the apartment, so he apparently gave it to someone else. This turns out to be a bonus, as it makes the place much more spacious (the picture to the left somehow makes the place look smaller than it actually is).
I'm also glad the new place has an area I can dedicate to the computer and books. Sharing a table between computer gear and dinner never really worked out for me. The "kitchen" in the new place is minimalist - 1.5 electric burners, a sink, and a dormer fridge, but I've dealt with a lot less than that in the past, so I don't think that should be an issue.
For today, this all just means a lot of trips up the hill with various furniture and with my suitcase on wheels.
It's a heck of a way to spend my vacation!
Thursday, August 07, 2008
1> Somewhere in the WayBack Machine I'm sure I mentioned that I've found new stories by my lovely author. But I've also found a book called 미주문학 (America's Literature) that has a 56 page article on my main man. The thing is in Korean, which has already caused me to spend about a half an hour struggling with Korean names, words, the way they list things, and all of the "markers" Korean uses to denote role in sentences and... and.... I translated one sentence.. kind of. ;-)
I spent some time with my tutor working on this and I hope it will eventually go faster.
2>The lovely tutor has also tracked down what is supposed to be a 60 page collection of The Author's notes on his own writing. 60 pages each of the English and Korean version. Man, I'm salivating about getting my hands on that baby...
Then, I just sent off to the BKF my second iteration of edits on the Camel Pouch story he is turning in to the Korean Language Translastion Institute for their annual competition. It is due August 31 and I just feel that this one has a better chance than last year's. Lots of slogging ahead, but time and will to do it.
3> Last weekend's trip up to Itaewon did result in my grabbing two key books for my MCTA presentation. I really should blog the pictures of that trip since the OAF and I had some pleasant surprises all around.
Anyway, it all seems like progress, albeit in small ways. ;-)
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
So here's a bit of their late-career best to read by...
So here's what my web-browsing has to say about my hormones..
Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 6%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 94%
What most blows me away is that my Science Fiction site, run by a woman, is more male than my nasty porno-site (part of the Gawker Empire, so legit!). No suprise that Facebook is all about estrogen though!
Monday, August 04, 2008
We got to the Yogwan and checked in (as the art photo of OAF in the mirror demonstrates) and went out for a walk.
Out the backdoor, down the alley and ......aaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeee! There it was! The evil soup-store that I had written about three years ago - the one that served hemmorhage soup! (NOTE: The pictures are gone from that post, for whatever reason). I snuck by Hae Jang Kook place, nearly retching as I did so. We wandered about just a bit more, down past the US Embassy which, as always, was surrounded by Korean troops. And then, in a bit more good luck, we ran across a second bookstore that we had not intended to visit - the Kyobo. So we ate some delicious broiled duck and I headed back to the Yogwan to watch history channel, while the OAF bookshopped.
She returned at about 7:30, but it was far too rainy to go any great distance, so we headed to a club across the street. I ordered a Cass, but then noticed there were some draft beers at the bottom of the page. Using my poor Korean and pointing to the menu, I asked if there were draft Cass. The waitress "anio'd" me and ran off to make the OAF's hot chocolate. She returned with the hot chocolate and a massive shot of Tequila! I'm not sure how the waitress got tequila from a menu page that only had beer, but in the interest of international amity, I gulped the thing down anyway. Of course that came back to haunt me later, but at the moment all was good.
Then, one more club, and back to the hotel to watch some TV and prepare for the big day in the bookstores in Itaewon.
On the way down I noticed that the Garbage Gods were also in a giving mood and I snagged the hideous green mini-dresser you see to the right. Blessed be the Garbage Gods! The thing needs some dresser-knobs and a quick slap of paint, but it already holds my speakers, hidden away, and will soon allow me to have much less crud out on flat surfaces. So that's a win.
Got home, didn't even open the beer in the fridge and went to sleep, because the next day was to be a trip to Seoul with the OAF.
By the time I would return from that trip, the TSR would be history....
Ah well, the plan is to visit him, next summer, in the Philippines (however the hell you spell that)..
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Some of my older Korean students said the Saemaul (Not the Mungughwha -the milk train - and not the bullet train ... the Saemaul is supposedly the most comfortable) was the train to take and a bit of research indicated we'd need to go to west Daejeon station to find that critter.
Alas, that critter was full. But the KTX was not, so we grabbed a ticket at the last minute and the wildly helpful (with not so much English) ticket-woman pulled out a printed sheet of KTX terms and pointed at "reverse seat"
I initially mistook this for a question about a return trip, but some pointing and grunting and we had those tickets to Seoul.
On the way back from Seoul I used my limited Korean (I know how to say "sit" and "I sat") and a hand gesture that might be obscene in boring Muslim countries, and we got the same discount.
So why did no one tell me about this.