Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I'll get back with an account of the Honorary Citizen conferment when some pics come back from the PR folks at Seoul City...

I'll be on the Arirang (live!) Morning Show on Friday, unfortunately at 7am!

Until then, here is an inexplicable picture of me ranking high in some leaderboard or other ("Sulia" apparently a social media ranking website) that has to do with Korea..

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fridazed and Bemused

First, I suppose, a bit of good news. Had lunch with my Yonhap connection who informed me that when I return to the states, if it is not in a pine box, I can continue to write for them, so that would be a guarantee of some small money, depending on how many pieces they wanted a month. Somewhere between $500 and $1,000 probably, which wouldn't be a bad thing to add to some kind of salary. LOL.. they'll go out of business the day before I leave...

Then, chilling and listening to the Grantland Soccer Podcast (yes, it has come to that), I get a call from the city of Seoul. Oops! On Friday night they have decided that they need a picture of me for promotional purposes - for the press covering my honorary citizenship of Seoul. 

There are very few pictures of me, because I am usually holding the camera, and cameras that aim at me usually have their lenses explode. What pictures do exist are up in my office, backed up on an external HD and on DVDs with Yvonne and my general pictures.

Yvonne, at the time, was out walking with a friend, so I attempted to take pictures of myself using the iPhone. It's an iPhone 4, which has an even shittier camera than the shitty camera on the new iPhones, so nothing good came of that, except this amusing pic, showing me hard at work trying to figure the phone out:

I look pixellated and furrowed.

Fortunately Yvonne got home and we were able to take a picture that isn't exactly flattering, but may work:

Alas, I am old and ruint, but the press must be fed!

With all that excitement behind me, it is back to the sports podcasts and an early bed.

LOL.. I am really old and ruint!

Monday, October 15, 2012

I am an Honorary Citizen of Seoul, and other Tom, Dick and Harry-foolery

"Trash, go pick it up, don't give your life away"
Ah... Monday mornings in the cafe, sipping on a delicious Americano and watching the traffic go by. Clean blue skies, autumnal trees, and a nice breeze. Waiting for my free Korean language lesson in two hours or so.

 Why would I come back to the Empire in Decline, again?^^
(PS - ask me again in 2 months when I'm freezing my ass of, when not slipping on it going down icy roads)

 I suppose the big, breaking news is that I have been declared one of 2012's "Honorary Citizens of Seoul." This puts me up there with Guus Hiddink, Hines Ward Jr., and Jackie Chan, who are all previous recipients of the award. LOL.. Jackie farking Chan!

The only thing that scares me is that a little research reveals that just at this very moment, since the award was first given in 1958, there are 666 winners. Dang! I missed it by one.

I go to some kind of ceremony on the 29th, in which I will meet the mayor, get me a certificate, and score some kind of medal. If the medal is bitching I’m going to head to Itaewon and get a big, thick, gold chain and wear it like an Italian guy at a disco in the 70s or a rapper in the 80s. One only gets so many chances at this kind of thing, after all.

The other news, which makes me a broke-ass bitch, is that I had to go buy another laptop after what I euphemistically refer to as a "cleaning accident." While listening to sports podcasts from my laptop perched on a chair outside the bathroom, I placed the shower-head (water running) into the sink where it immediately performed a vigorous flip and sent a cascade of water directly out the bathroom door and onto the screen and keyboard of the old lapttop. *Sizzzzzzzzzle!*

Not a terrible thing as old one had a broken DVD drive already, iffy ethernet, and the trackpad would no longer allow dragging. Much of this the ongoing result of my abuse of the poor thing (like the time I interviewed Shin Kyoung-sook and just plain dropped it onto the road). I’m pledging to treat the new one a bit more respectfully, but just like declarations of new-found sobriety, or studying Korean an hour a day, this will only last for so long.^^

Oh well.. enough fritterization here. Although my homework is complete, I should probably review before class.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

LOL.. ESPN fellates Yankees even in loss..

Hard to tell what the score was in this game:

LOL... oh yeah... Yanks lose...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Raising the (Hanok) Roof

Saturday and the weather is grand in Seoul. One of my “online-only” buddies is Robert Fouser, a man who has devoted considerable effort in an attempt to save the hanok, the Korean traditional house.

On FB he announced that he was having a “roof-beam” ceremony for his hanok, so we decided to go. Grabbed a cab and got near where the site is, and then wandered around trying to find it (curse you IOS 6 and your lack of a Google Maps app).

On the way over we saw a traditional Korean band in the middle of the street and I joked that it was probably on its way to the ceremony, but in fact it was already dancing. It took about 15 minutes to find the place (with the help of a friendly Korea), and lo-and-behold, the band was there!

We watched the ceremony… some speeches, close friends bowing three times before a pigs head and then stuffing money into its mouth. Once the pigs mouth was full, the beam was revealed to be on the front of the table (with some Chinese characters – hanja – written on it, definitely for good luck. I should note that the pig is also a sign of good luck). The roof-beam was tied with two white banners, and the MC and various important people stuffed these tied areas with the money from the pigs mouth, as well as money that other guests gave them. Then the beam was raised to the roof, placed, and hammered down.

After that, it was pork and makkoli all around (Yvonne had some of the pork, but I had already eaten a tuna kimbap. We both avoided the booze.^^). I talked briefly to Robert, and then we wandered away to a bookstore.

 It was a cool ceremony, and I immortalized it on video, here:


Bookstore was cool also, but what you gonna say about a culpa and dropping 35 bucks on books?^^

Friday, October 05, 2012

Gwacheon HanMadang Festival

Even before the Chuseok holiday, Yvonne and I decided to get out of town. My idea was that I would go to Chuncheon and she would go to Gwangju, but she had a problem with this.

So it was that we decided to head to Gwacheon for its Hanmadang (one frontyard) Festival. Luckily it was easily reachable by the underground and after a light breakfast of cornpone, johnnycake, and light bread with hardtack (for balance)  we headed out.

We got there just after 2, which was a bit early as nothing was really going on.

We wandered around the outskirts of the festival until we found the “main madang” and sat down in the rather hot sun to watch some traditional Korean dancing. Then it was a short walk around the ‘main madang’ and a trip back out to the outskirts where there was puppetry, modern dance, and disembodied body parts – the typical fare one finds fair when a faire one finds.

Yvonne had brought homework to grade, making it fairwork, I suppose, and after a bit I wandered the town looking for a glasses shop as I was wearing a pair with its temples bent like, well, let’s stay away from Thai bars and say, bent like a modern dancer, and one lens taped in with masking tape.

No luck, but I did spot a boite, a hot boite I thought, and when Yvonne called me we met there for a quick beer and then headed off to see something that was going to involved garbage.

It was a coolish modern-art performance and it did include fire and confetti explosion, so I was well pleased. Then it was off so Yvonne could watch Korean traditional high-wire (well, about six feet off the ground) walking. I’m not sure how she’s missed seeing this before as it sometimes seems that the every Korean with a spare minute tosses on a clown suit, throws up a strand of nautical rope and performs for spare change.

Oh well, I headed off to check out the food (“alcohol”) stands and noticed that although there was an enormous bonfire being built, the schedule said it would not be fired up until after 9, and it was already getting a bit nippy. When Yvonne bailed on the semi-high-wire act, we both looked around and decided it was time to head home.

So we did.

 I believe the following film documents our experiences grandly.