Monday, November 23, 2015

Another Job App in...

A not extremely well-paid job in Western Nebraska, but I'd happily take it.. multi-campus district, near a bunch of nature.. would certainly be the anti-Seoul

At this place:

Checked out the school and neighborhood demos and it seems like an alright place.

The usual problem of me being here and they being there are likely to arise, but we are getting closer to vacation.. so...^^

Anyway... good to get back into the practice of all the steps to the hiring process in the US. Quite different than here.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Feeling Moved


When we last left our hero, he had overcome an ajussissy's stupidity and actually got moved into his rather grimy place. Now it's time to take a look. It's cheapish and scheduled to be demolished in the name of urban renewal. Walk about a kilometer away and you can see it already happening on the edges:

Houses and businesses already sacrificed on the altar of progress.

But this also give the neighborhood a certain cool griminess that I like. Here is a completely random abandoned storefront worrying about forest fires:

Right in the middle of no hills whatsoever

And a studio that is never open, but is always cool.
Tattoos? Book Covers? Paintings? I duuno, I just want one.
The rest of the neighborhood is typical "old" Korea with a bunch of shiny new stores selling crap from Samsung on the two big roads that cross and then funky little restaurants, veggie (야채)  stores and various little knick-knacks that I can't believe anyone would purchase. The funkiness is partly dented by the fact that, because it is a marginal neighborhood, it is also a kind of artist area, and there is even a two hour walk through the hood that shows off the various murals and art installations people have created. There's a map and a dotted yellow-brick road.

"follow, follow, follow, follow
But that picture should also give you an idea of the narrowness (if not the windiness) of the hood. And then, there's the fact that to even get to the place from the closest station on line 6 you must ascend Grim Mt. Doom.

And he's climbing a stairway towards infarction.
Then, finally, you get to the house and enter a small, always unlocked door which reveals an alley always ratpacked with junk - 김장 day was particularly dire as it was a veritable cave of cabbage and many other vegetables I could not begin to name:

Door inside door is to landlady's mad pad

On the right, which you can't see from the picture above, are some six-foot ranger (ask Jennifer) stairs

There's a double-back at the top of this that leads to my front door.

The next photo is the actual front door... please note utter pinkess of windows

It's all pink on the inside

And then to the inside, where the greatest feature of all is the bathroom. The space between the toilet and the overhead stairs is so small that the toilet cover will stand up, but the toilet seat will not. The old tenant acknowledged this cheerily and added, "so I just piss in the kitchen sink."

LOL.. not only too much information, but immediately changed how I thought that kitchen sink smelled.

Out came the bleach!

Yes. those are stairs to the rooftop behind the toilet, which make it impossible to keep the seat up. That metal you see on the lower left is the shower (You have to close the bathroom door and slide shut a curtain to keep from drowning the kitchen, and, yes, for some reason there is pink styrofoam on the bathroom seat. Don't think of it as "weird", rather think of it as a motif.
 The toilet had been "modded"

There's that pink styrofoam again
And you have the convenience of being able to both shower and do laundry from the convenience of the toilet itself.

The careful eye will see the edge of the toilet seat down there in the lower right-hand corner.

But someone had the sense of humor to put this on the bathroom door

The inside is cold... as you can see from the following pics, some previous tenant had invested in some pink styrofoam and tried to close off as many places as they could:

Yep, all that pink is styrofoam.

Part of the problem is the boiler is apparently assembled from parts salvaged from the Civil War - both the on in the Korea and the one a century earlier in the US:

I continue the efforts to insulate the place - fortunately this is the kind of neighborhood where people just toss shit out on the street, and I am the kind of scavenging rat which will pick up anything useful. Inside is actually nice and spacious"

Small, but more than adequate 
where the genius will be done

carefullly mosquito-netted bed, as they do manage to creep in
The hood, being a mix of family, art, and wreckage, is great... outside my kitchen window there's a pavilion where grandparents hang out to chat during the day (the inevitable bottle of makkeolli and anju always present). There's a school a bit up the hill, so there's about an hour each day that the kids wander home, playing and joking with each other. At about seven the sounds of ajjumah making dinner start banging around the neightborhood and then, with the exception of a sometimes whiney dog, all goes pretty quiet. It has a very "neighborhood" feel like Gyeongnidan (the old hood) did before the Kyuppies descended, so I'm rather happy with that.

I suckle away at a 40 oz bottle of soju, contemplate which of my kitchen knives is sharpest, and cruise the Internet for pictures of a dubious nature. So, all things told, pretty good.

When it gets below freezing I'm a bit worried about the hilliness of the area, as my fat ass and gravity seem to have come to an agreement to meet as often as possible and devil the hindquarters (so to speak), which are usually my elbows or the back of my head. We'll see how that works out.

I describe the place as adequate, but the kind of place I would NEVER move into if I were single, because the minute a woman saw it she'd run screaming, probably for the police. Til March, it should work. If June becomes necessary, it will work. After that its lack or Air Conditioning must make it some version of hell on earth, but on a hill.

Homey won't play that.^^

Any questions, class?^^

Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Moving Experience; Part I


With Yvonne gone... betraying me and leaving me here alone in Korea, all of a sudden I was left with a three bedroom apartment and a gigantic rent. The first month she was gone I spent cleaning the aparment up and tossing out things I no longer needed as well as walking (by backpack) the things I did need (the microwave was an adventure in itself). Finally, I was in a spot where I could give notice to the Ajjumah, so after finding a small rooftop (sort of) in Mapo-gu I did. That weekend the landlady came up into the apartment and pointed out what she wanted to keep, that we had added to the furniture that was already there. This included two desks, a really nice bookcase, kitchen table, four chairs, and some kind of thingie that keeps kitchen stuff. We agreed that the nasty old mattress and the broken bureau should go.

I could have stayed until the 9th, but my new lease began on the 1st, and I wanted to give the landlady time to re-do the floor and wallpaper (a pretty normal procedure because it means you don't need to fix any real underlying problems like mold, or problems with the floor). So I told the old lady I'd try to finish moving on my three-day weekend.  On Monday, the third, the dickhead son shows up without warning and decides all the furniture has to go (completely reversing all the planning I had made with his mother the weekend before), and that it has to go right then (even though I'm not technically supposed to move out for a week) - typical Korean "fuck planning! WE DO NOW!").

This meant that I'd have to move all the shit downstairs. This I did alone - the prissy little dickhead of a son beamed, gave me two gloves saying "Korea working glove, best!" a process that exhausted his English. Then the lazy POS just watched me. Then it was off to the district office to fill out the recycling center to fill out the paperwork. In the car he attempted, in is broken English, to figure out someone as apparently out of shape as I am could so easily manhandle the furniture. I didn't mention that gravity had been my strong assistant and since I didn't care a shit if the stuff got dinged up it wasn't so much a "moving" as a semi-controlled fallling.

All this unplanned bullshit took the afternoon that I was supposed to be moving away to the new place, and cost a few paltry bucks in recycling (in this way, Korea is awesome. For less than 40 bucks they hauled it all away). Worse than the waste of this entire day was the additional "oh yeah, fuck you foreigner and your stupid foreign plans") way, that I had to be there in the morning to pull the recycling into the street - when I was supposed to be in a meeting with two Korean professors.

Complete freaking lack of planning by a complete moron.

At the same time, on the other side of town, the guy in my new place is freaking out, because he needs me to inspect the place for cleanliness and get the key, or he can't get his deposit back - and he needs it to apply immediately to his next house. The landlady for the new place is in Busan, so she can't check it out, and consequently I have to make it over there to get the next step done.

Finally, as night falls, all the bullshit with mama's boy ends and I cab over to the new place and take the keys, and call the landlady and tell her the place is fine. In fact, the place is filthy.. the dude has no idea what cleaning is. Here are are a few representative before and after photos (Click to Embiggen)..

Above the sink (before) covered with mold

After, the miracle of soap having been applied 

Behind Stove
Under Stove

The Miracle Of Soap

Random Smudges on Floor Previous Tenant could not see.

First Swipe... still need to work the baseboards and to the right.

So there was that, and the process of cleaning continues as I move things around and get the big stuff done. The place is quite cold, as you will shortly see, so I've been concentrating more on getting the place to stay warm, than to be completely clean.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sweet Potato Pie in the Sky!

M9636y first or second (in chronological order) favorite student 서유미 came to the literary event and brought me a gift of sweet potatoes.

Which, being out of town, I could not get to until tonight. However... grabbed me some of them taters:

Chopped them hard and gave them a bit of a baking/boiling.

In a pan did onions, mushrooms,

and some super common Korean vegetable I cannot name.. but it looks like this:

And when that was all cooked..


Korean food... don't live with out it.

Thanks SYM!