Saturday, May 22, 2010

Like that's a WRONG thing?

If you have a freaking stripper and whipped cream? Why wouldn't you?

And I a fairly normal lad..

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

For Mikey Astrue: Ode To A Government Dude

The mirror tells things backwards, lies
out of shape and out of size:
Bends concave while we’re convex
Showing things we don’t reflect.
With a friend and a bottle, of course,
We pretend it won’t get worse,
But my mirror, once my oldest friend
Why did our friendship have to end?
There are certain reflections
that should be prismatic
Light diffused and indirections
should be automatic.
Today I approach a shiny surface
Straight backed and tightened butt
Knowing life is just a mirror
And a hammer to the gut.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

I always knew this..

But was too wasted to articulate it...

Smart people drink..

It may also be possible that smart people drink and then stop doing it....

Yeah.. I'm thinking about three of you. ;-)

Friday, May 07, 2010

Bukhansan - Not just another mountain

Oh man....

our third day of spring has sprung (shortly to be replaced by rain and gloom), so I'm on the terrace of Gecko's listening to the marvelous cacophony of life in Seoul; horns blaring, semi-decent music from within the restaurant, scooters buzzing, and the breeze snapping a few flags.


An opportunity to post pictures of the first "non-Namsan" mountain Yvonne and I went up.

A few weeks ago our school closed for a day to climb Bukhansan. Yvonne and I headed off together in a cab for the meeting space, but once there we were efficiently separated as we are from different divisions.

We wallowed about a bit at the National Memorial, and then departments began to head out. EIT was the absolute last to leave. As we wandered towards the park, another Park (Bom-shik) noted that our department had been just as tardy last year.

our students dorking around, ensuring our tardiness

Our tardiness meant that we were at the back end of a massive traffic jam up the hill. I felt sorry for the Ajummah and Ajeoshi who had chosen this particular day for their hike up the hill. Little could they have known that they would be engulfed in perfect storm of Makgeoli drinking college students.

The long orange trail

Fortunately, Koreans are not much impressed by the requirement to stay on the trail, so the older folks, wherever possible, detoured around us on the hill.

on the way up

After a long slog at sluggish pace, we reached the first ridge and things opened up for a while. This was a decent hike and produced some really nice views of the mountains to the right. Eventually, we hit another bottleneck just below the fort, and we all milled like cows on the slaughter train. Eventually I snuck my way through. I was the first person from our department, so I sat down and waited for the rest of the party.

Again, because of our tardiness, all the good spaces were taken, and the first spot out intrepid student leader staked out for us was right next to the honey-pot style toilets!

Cooler heads (and ones with noses) prevailed, as some other keen-eyed student noted a large group already heading out (this is how late we were) and we slipped into that spot rather quickish.

our student leaders

Then it was lunch, drinking, and the traditional games including one something like "Duck, Duck, Goose," which was rendered quite dangerous by low branches, rocky terrain, and a coating of fallen leaves that obscured the real ground. Still, lots of fun.

our ferocious lunch

our drinking

Then, a walk down the other side which was painfully steep.

At the bottom our tardiness caught up with us again, as the last Dongguk shuttle bus, which Yvonne's more timely department had caught, was long gone. So we had to hike out an additional mile or two to a bus stop.

My students tried to get me to take a taxi, but there was no way I was wimping out at that point. Then it was bus and subway back to Chungmuro, for the traditional post traffic-jam/horrific descent beer and chicken extravaganza.

toasting the hike

A great day, and our first mountain down.

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Mountains of Seoul: Inwangsan

A Representative Bell

A few weeks ago, Yvonne and I hiked up Bukhansan with our entire college (that's a story to post soon), and with one weekend off to go to Busan and get sunburnt inbetween, last Saturday was our day to go up Inwangsan.

We hopped the subway to the Donggimun station and stopped to purchase two bottles of water and one bottle of Makgolli. This was the complete offseason for hiking, and the guy in the store was happy enough to have customers that he asked if we were going to Muak Temple and then took a few steps to the corner of the block and pointed out the way. We walked a road cut out of the hill, and as I looked at all the colorful protuberances on the restraining wall I thought of how quickly every sweaty hippie in the US would be climbing the wall.. well, if it were in the US.

The Wall I would Climb

We walked on into the temple area, and took a long, looping, and sometimes doubling-back, walk through the temple area. Plenty interesting to see, including a variety of (usually lone women) doing various shamanic (I think, since there were sacrifices, alcohol, etc) things in front of very large rocks.


At one point we got too far back down the hill, or, maybe I should say, far enough down the hill to see that we hadn't made it to the top. We stopped to get some water and I snapped a picture of some kid/NK spy, crawling up the defensive wall and into what seemed to be army territory. About three minutes later soldiers were patrolling the area, but we never could tell if they 'caught' him, or if he was actually doing anything wrong.

The Dude makes his Escape

Then it was a wander down the other side of the hill, where Yvonne's faultless nose sniffed out every dead-end trail in the area. Then it was across the main street, to yet another hill, where we found a lovely exposed granite slab, where I enjoyed the sun and Yvonne induced vertigo in herself. Finally, famished from the spinning of her head, and me with my appetite whetted by some of the Makgeolli, we headed down to the road and had some delicious Tuegi Galbi, that was only somewhat ruined by how solicitous the ajumma was.

I leave you with a picture of Yvonne, terrified of a 15 degree incline, and me taking a deranged looking photo of my own face, whilst staring directly into the sun.

Anyone Want to be a Star?

Does anyone (in Korea who is a male) want to go on a three-day filming with Arirang? It would be the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (18,19,20) of May. Kind of inconvenient scheduling, but you would get on TV and get trained around Korea.