An old fashioned rogering…

Well, I survived the physical examination.  It might have been touch and go.  I checked in with my blood pressure at 160/80 which is quite a bit higher than my normal 135.  So they gave me some medicine and made me wait, then checked it again.  Still too high, so they gave me another pill and I waited some more.  Finally they consented to proceed with the various tests (apparently high BP can create problems with the results, who knew?).

So, I got weighted (121kgs yikes!), had my vision and hearing checked, gave a blood, urine and stool sample, chest x-ray, MRI like thing, ultra sound on my vital organs, prostrate exam, and then the colonoscopy and endoscopy.  I was asleep for the last two thankfully.  A cute young woman did my prostrate check but it still was not fun to have a stick stuck up my ass.  Ah, for the good ol’ days when they used a finger.

Before we started they reviewed with me my results from two years ago.  I had a fat liver then, who knows what 40 straight days of drinking has done now.  Well, I will know on the 16th when I see the hilarious Dr. Yu for my results.

I actually wavered on going for the physical because if I’m dying sooner than I’ve planned, I’d rather not know.  On the other hand if they find something that can be fixed and give me those ten years, why not?  We’ll see soon enough.

When it was over I’d been 24 hours without solid food and I was famished.  The hospital gives a coupon for a traditional rice porridge at a nearby Hannam-dong eatery.  It was damn good, but I expect anything would have been at that point.  When I got back to the house I made myself a proper tuna sandwich and took a long nap.

Back in my usual chair at Shenanigans last night so I guess things are returning to normal.

A crappy start to the day…

…and it is going to be a shittier night.

No beer tonight. Just a bunch of liquids and water to insure I shit through the night.

No beer tonight. Just a bunch of liquids and water to insure I shit through the night.

Getting my bi-annual physical tomorrow.  So this morning I had the dis-stink honor of scooping my poop into that little black jar.  It was a shitty experience.

So, at 6:30 I drink whatever is in that tube.  Then at 7:00 I drink my first bottle of whatever it is that makes you shit (with a liter of water).  I’ll do that again at 9:00.  That should have me shitting through the night.  But I’ll wake up at 5:00 to drink another bottle.

I’m just hoping there is nothing left to poop when I leave for the hospital.

Oh well.  It’s great to be me!

UPDATE:  Dinner is served!

Piping hot chicken broth... Yum!

Piping hot chicken broth… Yum!

Floored

I guess the first point I need to make is that I am pathetic.  Acknowledged and understood.

Friday night was pretty much a disaster for me.  It started out well enough I suppose.  I baked up some walnut brownies to share with the staff at Shenanigans and they actually turned out moist and chewy, the way a properly baked brownie should be.  A lady friend (emphasis on the friend part) was at the bar so I had someone to converse with.  And of course I was in my standard pub mode regaling the young bar workers with jokes and stories. They always laugh, but then again, I always bring them sweet treats.  I did have an epiphany that I have become my father, at least as I had observed him in various bars whilst I was growing up.  Hey, there are worse things to be I suppose.

Then suddenly my mood took a turn for the worse.  I’m not comfortable going into details now, but I’ll just say that a person I admire and respect and hadn’t seen for a couple of months came into the bar and ignored me.  Worse than being ignored really, because my attempts to engage were coldly rebuffed.  I had considered this person to be more than an acquaintance and it hurt to discover I was less than nothing to her.  So I had another beer and stewed on that for awhile, then feeling uncomfortable with the whole scene said my goodbyes and fled the bar.

I went to another place I’ve been known to frequent and ordered up a beer.  The bar was not particularly busy but other than completing the transaction the bartender had nothing whatsoever to say to me.  This is someone I’ve known for going on ten years.  I would have been satisfied with a simple “how’s it going John”, but it never came.  So my already black mood continued to darken. I finished my beer and left.

Back on the street I could have turned right and gone home or left and gone back to Shenanigans.  I turned left.  The bar was crowded but I found a small table in the corner and I plopped down and ordered a beer.  From my vantage point I could see just about everyone in the bar.  My “acquaintance” saw me but still had nothing to say.  My lady friend was still there and walked by a couple of times but didn’t notice me, nor did I attempt to greet her.  And as I sat there alone watching all the people around me having fun and sharing laughter I really began to feel as if I were invisible.

So I wallowed in self-pity for awhile then made my way to the bar.  My lady friend had departed and I found an empty seat and proceeded to do something really stupid.  I drunk texted (technically Kakao’d) my lady friend about how it felt to be invisible.  She thought I was talking about her and she was mortified to think she had made me feel that way.  She apologized and I tried to explain it was not about her.  And then I think she realized what a self-absorbed pathetic fuck I am and the conversation ended.  Haven’t heard from her since and I expect I won’t again.  She’s probably better off that way.

Yesterday I woke up feeling like shit.  Then the internet went out.  It’s amazing how isolated that can make you feel.  So, I did a little housekeeping and started to set up my new portable dart board, only to discover I don’t currently possess a single screwdriver.  I briefly considered driving on base to buy some tools, but in the end didn’t want to deal with the hassle.  Instead I took a nap.  Awoke to find the internet was functioning and finally finished my Cambodia trip report.

Which brought me to a little after 7:00 on a Saturday night.  What to do?  I was thinking I might ought to take a break from Shenanigans, but maybe I could throw some darts with Jim at Dolce Vita.  But as I was walking to the bar I encountered Jim on the street (we are practically neighbors) and he was heading home for the night.  Damn.  So, I figured what the hell, new night new attitude and popped into Shenanigans.  The place was jammed, even my little hole in the corner was occupied.  Now, Shenanigans and Dolce are the two bars I know will not object to me enjoying some nicotine laced vapor and I figured I was going to need plenty of beer and nicotine to get me through the night.  Dolce it is!

I was the only person at the bar and I commenced to drinking.  For whatever reason being the only guy at the bar is easier than being the lonely guy at the bar, if you get my meaning.  Which is not to say I wasn’t both but it didn’t bother me so much last night. Partly because I had some friends keeping me company from California and the Philippines via the miracle of internet chat.  Is this a great century or what?

Four beers into my solitary sojourn at DV now  and I had to pee.  From the window in the men’s room you can look straight into Shenanigans.  Which I did and noticed there were some empty seats at the bar.  Beered up and ready for live interaction I paid my tab and hustled over.  I plopped myself down at the bar and almost immediately a woman I know from the dart league approached and asked me why I was drinking alone.  The only answer I had also happened to be the truth–because I didn’t have anyone to drink with.

Soon enough she sat down at the barstool next to mine.  “Don’t you have a girlfriend?” she asked.  Nope.  “Why not?” Just haven’t met anyone I told her.  One of the miracles of OB Lager is that it gives you the courage to say what’s on your mind (which of course can be a good or bad thing).  So I told her I had always enjoyed seeing her at darts, that she was beautiful, and that if I was 20 years younger she would be just the type of woman I would go for.  She laughed and said “how old do you think I am?”  I guessed 35 and she responded that she was 42.  I was amazed because she has the body of a 20 year old. Doing the math in my head, I figured she was right at the edge of being within the “it won’t look ridiculous” age range.  Well, my big ass belly and her slender body would look ridiculous I suppose.  But that’s gonna be true with any woman I meet.

Anyway, we commenced to talking about Korean politics.  Damn, she’s smart and pretty I thought.  And then she told me about an article she wrote that is being published in one of the big Korean newspapers next weekend.  Damn, she’s smart, pretty, and talented I thought.  I ordered us up two more beers.

Then I went to the restroom to make room for more beer.  When I returned a guy was standing next to this amazing woman (between my stool and hers).  I had met him before, he’s a semi-regular but his job keeps him in Singapore most of the time.  He had obviously met (let’s call her Kim) before.  No big deal, the three of us engaged in some pleasant conversation.  The Eugene (of Gino’s pizza fame) showed up and bought us a round of Jameson whiskey shots.  I offered to buy a round but Kim said it’s Dillinger’s Bar 6th anniversary tonight and we should really make an appearance.  So we agreed we’d do the shots there.  And yes, the Singapore guy came along.  Hell, to make it easy let’s call him MFer.

Dillinger’s was busy but we found an open table. Ordered beers, than I bought the promised shots (Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey).  We continued to converse and then MFer bought a round of shots.  Then the owner of Dillinger’s joined us and he bought a round of shots.  MFer had strategically placed himself next to Kim and as she got drunker I noticed she was leaning against him for support.  And then it wasn’t long before she fell face first right into MFer’s mouth.

I made my apologies and headed home.  But I think I forgot to pay my tab.  I’ll take care of that today before darts.

So when I got back home I made a discovery.  It seems that copious amounts of beer coupled with whiskey shots somehow makes you more aware of and sensitive to the Earth’s rotation.  At least when I laid down in bed I could feel the room spinning.  The only way I could get in sync was to lay spread eagle on my back on the hard living room floor.

I call that getting floored.

I’m pathetic.  I know.

 

 

It’s a small world after all

I had planned to post from Cambodia, but I got distracted.  Then I went into one of my periodic funks.  Woke up with good intentions this morning, but the internet wasn’t working.  But I can’t stand to leave a post half finished, and can’t bring myself to post before I complete this one,  And so, here’s my trip report.  I doubt it was worth the wait.

When I left Korea Wednesday afternoon it was snowing.

Cold and snowy to sweltering in about 6 hours time...

Cold and snowy to sweltering in about 6 hours time…

Getting there proved to be a bit of a hassle.  The flight out of Incheon was delayed for over an hour, not due to the weather but because we were waiting for connecting passengers.  I was kinda pissed because I had paid significantly more for a direct flight to avoid the hassle of being delayed when making a connection.  Oh well.

So, with the delayed flight I didn’t arrive in Phonm Penh until nearly midnight.  But my trusty buddy Dennis was there waiting as promised.  We taxied to my hotel, I dropped my bags and we stepped outside to grab a drink and have a chat.  Luckily (or not) the street in front of my hotel was lined with bars.  Given it’s proximity and us not knowing any better, we selected the Candy Bar (open 24 hours) as the place to sit and catch up with each other.  Unfortunately, given the nature of the bar we had some difficulty holding a conversation.  Some Cambodian lasses were bound and determined to provide the company we did not want.  After trying repeatedly to get them to move on to customers who might have some interest in their womanly charms, I finally offered to buy them each a drink on the condition that they drink them at another table.  And they agreed.  Problem solved.

After awhile Dennis went home and I retreated to my room.

The room featured a fine walk-in shower which amply supported my girth.

The room featured a fine walk-in shower which amply supported my girth.

The Hotel Lux Riverside was a clean and comfortable lodging at the budget price of $50 per night including breakfast....

The Hotel Lux Riverside was a clean and comfortable lodging at the budget price of $50 per night including breakfast….

My original room featured one queen sized bed. I negotiated a half price room for my last day (my flight left at 11:30 p.m.) and they moved into a room with 3 beds. Never saw that before...

My original room featured one queen sized bed. I negotiated a half price room for my last day (my flight left at 11:30 p.m.) and they moved me into a room with 3 beds. Never saw that before…

Anyway, I’d give the Lux a 3 star rating and it was conveniently located.

Thursday morning I stepped outside into the humid warmth of a Cambodian January.

 

A daylight street view in front of my hotel...

A daylight street view in front of my hotel…both sides of the street are lined with bars.  Ah, there’s a mini mart in there somewhere too…

Dennis wanted to take me to an upscale place for lunch.

So, we negotiated a $3.00 fare with a tuk-tuk driver to take us to a place called Digby's...

So, we negotiated a $3.00 fare with a tuk-tuk driver to take us to a place called Digby’s…

Now, tuk-tuk’s (pronounced took took) are ubiquitous, cheap, and surprisingly comfortable.  Another thing that was convenient is the currency.  U.S. dollars are the standard, and the Cambodian riel is only used for amounts of less than $1.00.  I used the riels I received in change to keep the beggars at bay.

As might be expected, there is a lot of poverty in Cambodia.  But having said that, it didn’t seem as in your face as it does in the Philippines, at least in the capital city of Phnom Penh.  The beggars were not as aggressive either and seemed pleased to receive what amounts to pocket change.  It’s a sad thing to witness of course, but overall not as depressing as it is in the PI.

In due course we arrived at Digby's where I enjoyed the biggest and perhaps best club sandwich I've eaten. Despite having a big mouth (or so I've often been told) I could barely fit that beast of sandwich between my teeth.

In due course we arrived at Digby’s where I enjoyed the biggest and perhaps best club sandwich I’ve eaten. Despite having a big mouth (or so I’ve often been told) I could barely fit that beast of sandwich between my teeth.

After our fine lunch, we headed over to one of the local temples Dennis wanted me to tour. It turns out that Cambodians have a tradition similar to the Spanish siesta.  And to our dismay the temple was closed until 2:00 p.m. As we stood there pondering our next move a tuk-tuk driver offered to give us a one hour tour of the city for $15.  Dennis being familiar with the going rates for local transport immediately told him that was ridiculous.  After some back and forth, they agreed on two hours for $15.  And we were off to see the sights.

I regret that given the amount of time between the trip and this write-up and can't really say what purpose these buildings serve. Just enjoy the architecture like I did, OK?

I regret that given the amount of time between the trip and this write-up I can’t really say what purpose these buildings serve. Just enjoy the architecture like I did, OK?

Here's another one...

Here’s another one…

Certainly we can all appreciate religious symbols such as this...

Certainly we can all appreciate religious symbols such as this…

I had it in mind to pose with this elephant thinking that the contrast would make me appear smaller. You can see how that worked out for me..

I had it in mind to pose with this elephant thinking that the contrast would make me appear smaller. You can see how that worked out for me..

A tuk-tuk rider's perspective...

A tuk-tuk rider’s perspective…

There's this...

There’s this…

And this, which may or may not be part of the palace complex...

And this, which may or may not be part of the palace complex…

Now, when I mentioned earlier that a tuk-tuk was surprisingly comfortable, I was referring to the head and leg room.  They are not however air conditioned.  Riding around in the heat of day mired in traffic congestion is hot and dirty work.  In due course, I found myself thirsty and craving a cold beer.  I had already grown fond of a local brew called Angkor, which is not to be confused with another popular brand, Anchor.  It’s all about the pronunciation I suppose, but I sometimes found myself with a beer opposite of the one I intended to order.  Anyway, as we were riding along the river front I recalled reading about the historic Foreign Correspondent’s Club housed in a fine old Colonial-style building.

So we had our driver stop and wait while we enjoyed some beverages and the view...

So we had our driver stop and wait while we enjoyed some beverages and the view…

After the city tour, I retired to my room to recuperate from the heat, shower and change clothes, and then head out for a night on the town.  Now, regular readers know that I’m not averse to participating the bar scene, but I’m not enamored with girly bars so much.  And that’s all there seemed to be in the vicinity of my hotel.

I guess some definitions may be in order.  In the Philippines they have “go-go” bars featuring bikini-clad young women dancing on a stage enticing you to “bar fine” them (early release from work) so that you might engage in some consensual adult activities (for a price of course).  No go-go’s in Phnom Penh, but the girly bars operate on the same principle.  No dancing and the gals are generally more conservatively dressed, but they surround you at the bar giving you puppy dog eyes looks in the hope that you will consent to buy them a drink (for which they earn a tidy profit of a dollar or so).  These girls are also available for being bar fined.

Maybe I’m just getting old (shut up!) but I really just prefer to sit at the bar and enjoy my beer in peace.  To be honest, I get irritated at being pressured to buy drinks for gals who’s company I don’t really desire.  I mean, after the standard “what’s your name?”, “where you from?”, “how long you visit?” and of course, “buy me a drink?” there just ain’t much conversation to be had, in English at least.  So, my tactic was to have one beer and move on to the next joint.  Never let ’em get too close!  Ha!

The next day Dennis suggested we try a local Korean restaurant. And so we did.

The next day Dennis suggested we try a local Korean restaurant. And so we did.

Interestingly, they only featured beef, no pork. The galbi was as good as any I've eaten in Seoul. and I was very impressed with the quantity and and quality of the various side dishes. Even got to use my limited Korean vocabulary with the waitress. A very enjoyable meal...

Interestingly, they only featured beef, no pork. The galbi was as good as any I’ve eaten in Seoul. and I was very impressed with the quantity and and quality of the various side dishes. Even got to use my limited Korean vocabulary with the waitress. A very enjoyable meal…

In the it’s a small world department, I got a facebook message from an old Itaewon darts friend Tom who had seen my post about traveling to Cambodia.  Turns out he’s teaching at an international school in Phnom Penh.  So, naturally we made plans to get together to drink a few and throw a few.  They only have one bar with darts apparently, and those are of the soft tip variety.  It’s not a game I like, but given the lack of alternatives, I made the best of it.  Tom says he’s the top rated player in town and he won 5 of the 9 games we played, so I guess he still is.  It was fun for sure though and great seeing him again.

Back in 2013 I had run into Tom at a darts tourney in Las Vegas.  There he introduced me to his friend Steve.  Steve as it turns out is a Major in the Army.  And he is also stationed at Yongsan.  In a position that requires interaction with my office on a frequent basis.  I didn’t know if he’d remember me or not, but the first time I met him at work it was all “good to see you again!” and the like.  Now, we always get a little dart talk in at the conclusion of our official business.  Small world indeed.

I told Dennis I’d like to venture out to see the infamous Killing Fields.  He’d never been, considering it to depressing to see in person.  He, being the good host that he is, consented to join me.  To my way of thinking you need to remember these victims as examples of just how cruel and depraved human beings can be if we have any hope of preventing such crimes in the future.  I actually hold little hope in that regard.

I just didn't take many pictures. I mean, do you really want to snap a shot of the tree where the Khmer soldiers would smash the heads of infants and young children. The whole was just too much to believe, but you had to believe what your eyes were seeing. Mine often through tears. Dennis was right, it is too depressing.

I just didn’t take many pictures. I mean, do you really want to snap a shot of the tree where the Khmer soldiers would smash the heads of infants and young children. The whole place was just too much to believe, but you had to believe what your eyes were seeing. Mine often through tears. Dennis was right, it is too depressing.

It should come as no surprise that I ventured out to the bars that night hoping to take the edge off the inhumanity I’d seen.  But I was also on a mission to find a “regular” bar like my beloved Shenanigans back home.  So, I walked past all the girly bars between my hotel and the riverfront, ignoring the plaintive cries of “Darling, come in!”.  Eventually I came across a bar called Cadillac and took a peek inside.  It seemed normal enough, just a couple of customers and not a bar girl in sight.  When I entered I noticed a sign saying the bar was “no smoking”.  That’s the only bar I saw on this trip with that restriction. Of course, I don’t smoke–I vape.  Being the polite S.O.B. that I am, I asked the bartender if vaping was ok.  I’m not sure she understood, but when I showed her my e-cigarette she shook her head no.  Ah well, I turned around and walked out.

I was a half block up the road when the American owner of Cadillac came out and hollered “come on back, vaping is fine, just no smoking”.  Well, by now I had it in mind to get me a massage, so I told him I’d come back later.  Which I did after having a very fine (and legit) full body massage (1 hour for ten bucks).

The owner of Cadillac bar turned out to be a Texan named Chance. When I arrived the staff were bringing in the outside seating and I asked if he was closing.  He said no, he just didn’t want any tour group popping in and wanting to order up a bunch of food. So I get me an cold Angkor and I’m happily vaping away when Chance insists I join him in a shot of whiskey.  So we did our “cheers” and then he invites me join in a game of “liars dice” with another customer and Chance’s Cambodian girlfriend.  I had never played the game before, but it’s apparently a pretty common bar game involving dice and lying.  You can get the gory details at the link above.  There is some strategy and logic involved and despite that I managed a second place finish in debut event.

And now it was closing time at Cadillac and Chance bought me another shot, then invited me to go along with him and his gal to another bar for some after hours drinking.  I declined at first but Chance wouldn’t take no for an answer so I soon found myself en route to a joint called Sharky’s.  Getting there was interesting as well.  Upon leaving the bar I discovered that Chance and his gal were both on motorbikes.  Chance said I could ride the few blocks to Sharky’s on back with him.  Well, I hesitated because a) I’m a big guy who’d look ridiculous on the back of a little scooter and b) I knew Chance to be every bit as drunk or more as I was.  His girlfriend must have read my mind because she piped up and said “or you can ride with me if you prefer”.  I accepted her offer because a) I’d still look silly but she was very pretty and b) she had only been sipping wine and didn’t appear all that drunk.  And she was pretty.

I haven’t said much about the traffic in Phnom Penh, but it is  quite a spectacle to behold. Only a handful of intersections are governed with traffic signals.  Instead people play what appears to be like a choreographed  game of chicken.  I don’t know how it works without numerous accidents  but somehow it does.  There was only one major intersection to cross on the way to Sharky’s but witnessing the “chicken” ritual up close from the back of a scooter was pretty intense.  When the tuk-tuk and Chance’s girlfriend both declined to yield I briefly considered the irony of meeting my destiny on a dirty street in Cambodia, but at the last moment the tuk-tuk braked and she swerved and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Sharky’s turned out to be another nice “regular” bar.  Much bigger than Cadillac and featuring live music, pool, and a pickpocket who lifted a $100 bill out of my jeans.  If stupidity were bad luck, you could say I was unlucky.  I should have been much more careful.  It was very late and that unpleasantness put a damper on my spirits, so I caught a tuk-tuk back to the hotel.

Dennis suggested we take a river cruise on my final day in town, and so we made our way down to the waterfront and overpaid for a couple of tickets.

A Mekong River cruiser...

A Mekong River cruiser…

 

On the other hand, we had the whole boat to ourselves, so maybe it was a bargain.

On the other hand, we had the whole boat to ourselves, so maybe it was a bargain.

Ahoy there matey...

Ahoy there matey…

I think that's the King's palace...

I think that’s the King’s palace…

I had mentioned the poverty, but it was striking seeing how people lived on these tiny boats on the river bank overlooked by fancy hotels and large houses.

I had mentioned the poverty, but it was striking seeing how people lived on these tiny boats on the river bank overlooked by fancy hotels and large houses.

You can really make it out because I'm crap with the camera function on my phone, but I observed a woman bathing and washing her hair in the river alongside her boat. I had earlier notice that the lavatory in our river cruiser emptied directly into the river. Ah well.

You can’t really make it out because I’m crap with the camera function on my phone, but I observed a woman bathing and washing her hair in the river alongside her boat. I had earlier noticed that the lavatory in our river cruiser emptied directly into the river. Ah well.

A little more drinking in the afternoon, dinner at Cadillac (not bad for pub fare) and then off to one of the worst airports I’ve seen (even worse than Manila if you can imagine that) and my red eye flight home to Seoul.  I was able to sleep most of the way and landed on time at 0630.  Exited the airport railroad at Seoul Station into snow flurries.  And I’ve pretty much been sick ever since.

"Smoking in bed is not advisable". At my age I don't know that I'll ever be smoking in bed again. But I saw some Cambodian hotties that I reckon would be.

“Smoking in bed is not advisable”.
At my age I don’t know that I’ll ever be smoking in bed again. But I saw some Cambodian hotties that I reckon would be.

 

 

 

High ate us

Sorry for the lack of posts.  I’ve been distracted lately I suppose.  Plus, I fighting off a cold and I’m a big fucking baby when I am sick.

I’m about half way through my Cambodia trip report and I do intend to get that damn thing done sometime this weekend.

Anyway, I’ll be back.

I’m going to PP today

This afternoon I’ll be making my way to the airport and then boarding a flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.  First time visitor and I’m fortunate to have my old friend Dennis who’s living there as my tour guide.  My readers will no doubt rejoice in the prospect of me actually having something interesting to post about for a change.  Well, at least there should be pictures.

In other news, last night I was joined by fellow bloggers  Kevin and Charles for a delightful dinner featuring Gino’s NY Pizza.  Definitely the best pizza I’ve enjoyed in Korea, and my companions who have much higher standards seemed to agree.  First time meeting Charles and I really enjoyed his wit and dry humor.  I reckon Kevin will be posting some photos over at Hairy Chasms soon.  I’ll give him a link when he does.

Anyway, all packed up and ready to go.  Even remembered my phone charger.  I do believe this change, temporary though it may be, will do me good.

 

Another good-bye

Mr. Kim Yong Tae, 61 years of service to USFK

Mr. Kim Yong Tae, 61 years of service to USFK

Yesterday I bid a fond farewell to the most amazing man I had the honor to work with over the course of my government career.  Mr. Kim planned to retire at the end of the month, but found out he needs to go into the hospital for a month.  Hopeful for a full recovery, but I expect he won’t return regardless.

Mr. Kim was insistent that there be no big deal made regarding his departure.  So, I asked him if he would participate in a New Year’s luncheon with the staff and he consented.  I made up a nice pot roast in the crock pot and supplemented it with some Popeye’s chicken.  Other people brought in some tasty sides and we had a fine meal indeed.

Mr. Kim regaled us with some war stories (I mean from the actual Korean War), and some of his co-workers shed tears.  Just before he left he showed me some files and said his replacement might find them useful.  I responded, your successor might need them, but you will never be replaced.

A big loss for us but he has bigger battles to wage now.  God speed and good luck Mr. Kim!

Everybody hurts

Sometimes.

This, my first post in 2016, is one I wish I didn’t have to write.  My wife has chosen to leave our marriage.  That’s the long and short of it.  I can’t say I fully understand the why of her decision, but in the end it doesn’t really matter I suppose.  She simply told me “I am not happy life with you”.

Perhaps it is the truest measure of my love for her that I would not ask her to sacrifice her happiness for mine.  And that’s a pretty big deal given my long and varied history of selfishness.  I do find it rather ironic that this marriage failed despite my diligent efforts to avoid my previous relationship mistakes.  Being unfaithful killed some previous marriages, but being faithful was not enough to save this one.

Anyway, I learned long ago that each individual is ultimately responsible for their own happiness.  No one has the power to make you happy.  And if you find yourself unhappy sharing your life with someone, then you must do what you have to do to find happiness in your life.  Now granted, it was a kick in the nuts to be told by my wife that she would rather be alone than be with me. It is beyond my power to somehow find a way to make her satisfied sharing this life if that very act makes her unhappy.

During the course of our seven years together I’m sure she experienced at least some measure of happiness.  At least she appears happy in those old photographs. I cannot fathom when things went so wrong for us, but in retrospect her sudden decision to stop coming to Itaewon with me some 18 months ago was probably the beginning of the end.   When we were dating she rarely left my side, so much so that when she wasn’t with me people would jokingly ask “where’s your shadow”.  But I liked having her there.  She was my cheerleader when I played darts, and afterwards we’d go out and eat and often would socialize with other couples.  And then one day that part of our life just ended.  Perhaps I could have been more assertive and insisted that she join me, but really, I would not want her there under duress.

When I returned to the States last September as part of our 6 month here/6 month there routine, she delayed coming with me “for two weeks” so she could take care of her ill mother.  When two months went by without her, I told her that she was my wife and I needed her with me.  She said if I made her choose, she would choose to leave me.  That hurt me deeply, but I wasn’t ready or willing to give up on her.  So I set about finding work in Korea so I could stay here long term.  I took a bullshit part-time job to accomplish that, and returned in early December.  Looking back, she didn’t seem all that happy to see me.

And finally, on Christmas morning 2014 she told me she didn’t want to be married to me anymore.  I stuck around anyway, living a day by day existence waiting for something to change.  It didn’t.  Three weeks ago I wrote her a long letter and asked her what she wanted.  She responded “a divorce”.

And so I moved out.  The problem is I never really had a Plan B.  I just had always assumed she would be by my side.  I blew my life savings buying, remodeling, and furnishing a house I thought we’d share in our old age.  Now I can’t even imagine living there without her.

Which leaves me where exactly?  A fat, 60 year old man, looking back over the years of one dreary failure after another.  But as I resolved on New Year’s Eve, I’m going to work hard at looking forward from here on out.  Much less painful that way.  I’ve gotten more or less drunk for 12 straight days now, and I doubt I can continue that pace for long. I must admit in my darker hours I sometimes imagine taking the Leaving Las Vegas route.

Not to worry, I’d never do that.  Not intentionally anyway.  Instead I’ll do some traveling.  Starting with a visit to my friend Dennis in Phnom Penh next week.  I reckon I better find and do the things I want in life while I still have time.  If this study is to be believed, it turns out you really can die of loneliness.

I apologize for this being such a fucking depressing post.  In a perverse way it feels good to purge myself of these sad thoughts here in the friendly confines of LTG.

Things are bound to get better.  One of these days.

I feel touched

Got me a haircut today and I went full on Korean-style, including a facial and a very nice massage.  It was quite relaxing and I left feeling much better than I did when I walked in.

I’ve also been touched by the kind words of some of my readers and other long ago friends.  I really do appreciate the support.

Tonight is a dart league meeting followed by a tournament.  I do believe I’ll get off my sorry ass and participate.

Forward!

The case of the missing backpack

Today I mopped the floors.  In doing so I noticed that my backpack was not in its usual ready to move out position.  Damn, I must have left it at Shenanigans before I stumbled home drunk last night.

After I finished my chores I made my way back to the bar to retrieve the missing backpack.  To my dismay it wasn’t there.  I admit I got pretty pissed off.  I mean, it was my fault for leaving it, but who the fuck steals someone’s backpack?  I had both sets of my darts in the bag, plus a goodly supply of vaping oil.  I figure the contents are valued at $300 or so.  As I sat there stewing over my loss (and stupidity) one of the bartenders texted one of the staff who had closed the bar last night.  She responded that when I left I had the bag on my back.  Hmm.  What did I do after I left the bar?

Then I remembered having to pee on the way home so I had popped into Scrooge Pub.  Not wanting to be a pisser, I had a beer while there.  So I hoofed it over to Scrooge and sure enough, that’s where I’d left it.  My mood vastly improved with the recovery of my prized possessions.

Then I came home a made myself some delicious burritos.  And there you were thinking that I didn’t have a life…

Alone again (naturally)

I’ve been around some places in this life.  I moved out of the house I shared with my parents on Milton Avenue in Westminster CA in July, 1973 at the tender age of 17.  Moved into an apartment on Magnolia Avenue in Garden Grove with a neighborhood pal.  I had two girlfriends at the time, Gail and Karen.  Karen lived down San Diego way so it wasn’t too difficult to make sure they were never in the same place at the same time.

A few months later I moved further down (up?) Magnolia to Huntington Beach and shared an apartment with my brother Keith.  I was living there when I had the misfortune of bringing Karen home with me from San Diego while Gail was amongst the friends having an impromptu party at my place.  So shortly thereafter I found myself with zero girlfriends.

About a year later I was dating Bridget and knocked her up.  So we took an apartment in Midway City during her pregnancy with the intention of giving the baby up for adoption. Turns out once I saw my baby girl I wanted to keep her, so I married Bridget.

We rented a nice little house on 22nd Street in Westminster from my parents and engaged in the family life.  Before long my son Kevin came along and we started dreaming of raising our kids somewhere other than Southern California. I managed to secure a transfer of my letter carrier job to the mile high city of Prescott, AZ.

Rented a nice little house on Western Avenue sight unseen, this was before the internet, I found it advertised in the Prescott Courier.  I don’t recall where I managed to get my hands on a copy though.

Anyway, Prescott might just be the best place I ever did live.  Back then it was a bustling little metropolis of 25,000 souls nestled in the Bradshaw Mountains.  It seemed like a place I could spend a lifetime in, so I became a first time homeowner in a sweet little house on San Carlos Road.

We were living there when the marriage fell apart, so I rented a place on the other side of town on Shadow Valley Road.  It was one of those modified A-frame cabin-like things, and I shared it with two random roommates.  I fell in love with a Phoenix gal whom I met in Flagstaff and was attending graduate school in Pocatello, Idaho.  I only got to see her on the occasional weekend when I’d make the drive up north and during school breaks when she’d come home.  Thought she was going to marry me but then she wound up pregnant. With another man’s baby.

That was a pretty devastating blow and I felt the need to change my life.  So I took a job in Fort Smith, AR and rented me an apartment in the illogically named El Conquistador complex.  At least I was close to my kids again who had been staying with my mom and dad on their little 80 acre ranch across the border in Monroe, OK.

I experienced a rather lonely year before the locals determined I was “all right” despite my odd accent.  I had some success with the ladies and eventually started staying with Pamela in her apartment in Poteau, OK.  Got bored after awhile so I moved back into Fort Smith and commenced to dating Iris and Darla.  Iris was seven years older than me and Darla was 7 years younger.  I fantasized about putting Iris’ brain in Darla’s body.  Failing that, i settled for Beckie and moved into her fine house back in Poteau.  We got married and I got promoted and we moved to ourselves and the kids off to Columbia, SC where we rented a house on Greengate street.

Of course, the kids had grown accustomed to having horses, so we bought a house in Lexington on 2/12 acres that was zoned for horses.  In fact, all the streets were named after horses.  We lived on Shetland Lane.

As testament to my selfishness and degenerate character I fell in love with another woman.  Beckie moved out and Carol moved in.  Not long afterwards I got promoted to a job in Arlington, VA.  I lived a few months in an apartment in Crystal City before purchasing a house in Stafford where Carol joined me.

A few years later my misbehavior led me to rent an apartment in Arlington, but eventually I returned home to my house and wife.

In January 2005 I took a job in Seoul and had a government paid for villa in Hannam-dong. Carol was supposed to join me there but got cold feet and backed out.  I chose to stay in Korea rather than return to my American life.

I made several trips to the Philippines where the young women were more than willing to assuage my loneliness.  For a price of course.  Then I met Se Hwa through a Korean dating site and she moved in with me for a year and a half.  She left me to move to the USA for a Masters Degree.  And there she remains as far as I know.

Not long after Se Hwa left I met Jee Yeun and we’ve been together ever since.  When I retired I bought us a house on Lockleven Drive in Columbia.  When we stayed in Seoul we lived in an apartment in Gireum-dong.

And now it has come to pass that I’m living in cozy villa in Itaewon.

By my reckoning, during the 43 years of my adult life I’ve spent roughly three years on my own.  It takes some getting used to.

 

 

Still in the game

Sorry for the lack of posts.  Dealing with some issues I’m not prepared to share here yet, but I’ll find my way through.  I was lamenting to a bar friend about the forlorn state of my psyche, when this stranger walks up to me and says “I’m sorry to eavesdrop, but don’t ever give up!”  Then she asked if I’d ever read “The Laughing Heart” by Charles Bukowski.  Now, I’m a sucker for poetry and have read some of Bukowski’s stuff, but never this particular poem.  So I grabbed my phone and pulled it up for a quick read:

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.

Well, that hit the spot.  And I was very moved by the random act of kindness of the person who reached out and shared it.

I’m still in the game, aren’t I?

When the prey becomes the Hunter

Haven’t done much posting about darts of late.  Truth is I’ve lost some of my passion for the game.  I do have it in mind to get back to business and at least recapture some of my past glory, such as it was.

During my recent trip to Cola-town I had the opportunity to throw a few with one of the young bucks there, Hunter Frady.  Now Hunter is the epitome of passion for the sport, which I define as practice, practice, practice and doing whatever is necessary to improve your game.  Hunter has often sent me messages just to talk darts and to seek advice and guidance.  Hell, about all I have to offer is encouragement, but he gladly accepts that as well.

Anyway, I guess in a roundabout way I provided him some motivation.  Before I returned to Korea I competed with Hunter in the Columbia Singles League.  Honestly, I barely remember our games, but I apparently handed him a pretty good ass-whuppin’ in our final match.  So when I returned to town at Thanksgiving he was spoiling for some revenge.

Mission accomplished, young man.  I don't think the match was as close as the score might indicate.  And it was a pleasure to see his hard work pay off, even if I was the victim.  Well done!

Mission accomplished, young man. I don’t think the match was as close as the 9-6 score might indicate. And it was a pleasure to see his hard work pay off, even if I was the victim. Well done!

Keep after it until we meet again!

Onward!

Sunday afternoon found me on the familiar streets of Itaewon, albeit somewhat earlier than I normally arrive.  The occasion was a lunch meeting with the esteemed Kevin Kim of Big Hominid fame.  Kevin did a nice write up of Mannimals, our chosen dining venue to satiate our hunger for wood fired barbecue.  Go have a read about it, then hurry on back!.

As I awaited Kevin’s arrival at our designated meeting place (Hamilton Hotel) I heard some amplified shouting in what I assume was Arabic.  It had a familiar ring about it given the years I spent living in close proximity to the Seoul Mosque.  Sure enough, along came a mob parade of Muslim folk down the main drag of Itaewon.  As the car with the loudspeaker affixed to the roof approached, there was an announcement that the march was not a protest, rather it was all about honoring the pedophile Prophet on the occasion of his birthday.

Kevin did some research and found that Sunday was not in fact the recognized birthday of Mohammed.  But there is no question that is what was being celebrated if the banner is to be believed.

Kevin did some research and found that Sunday was not in fact the recognized birthday of Mohammed. But there is no question that is what was being celebrated if the banner is to be believed.

Anyway, they all seemed peaceful enough.  My snarky comments above notwithstanding, I do try and be respectful of all faiths, but I truly do have issues with a religion that condones honor killings, stoning rape victims, and murdering homosexuals.  Maybe I’m just old fashioned that way.  And while I get the fact that not all Muslims hold such beliefs, a sizable percentage do if the recent Pew poll is to be believed. Regardless, I would have been much more receptive if this march was in protest of the heinous acts being perpetuated in the name Islam.  I was though surprised to see just how many Muslims were out in Itaewon, I reckon they numbered 200 or more, all adult males.  I guess the burka clad women-folk aren’t permitted to engage public displays of affection.

Anyway, after the meal we strolled out Haebangchon way and then said our farewells at the entrance to the Noksapyeong subway station.  It was still too early to quench my thirst at my regular watering hole (Shenanigans), so I meandered over to Dillinger’s which also was not as yet open for business.  Tried Seoul Pub unsuccessfully as well, before winding up a Scrooge Pub.

I’m far from a regular there, but the barkeep knew me by name which is always nice.  As I enjoyed a frosty mug of draft beer, one of the Filipinos who plays for Scrooge in dart league invited me up to the rooftop…

...where preparations  for a celebration of the team's championship were in full swing.  And no Filipino gathering is complete without Lechon.

…where preparations for a celebration of the team’s championship were in full swing. And no Filipino gathering is complete without Lechon.

I didn’t stick around for the party (nor I suspect were any of the Muslim marchers in attendance) but the pig came out looking like this:

It's finger pickin' good I'd wager...

It’s finger pickin’ good I’d wager…

I got around to drinking some beers at Shenanigans before heading home.  Then drank some more there after work yesterday.  And that’s just about all I’ve managed to accomplish of late it seems.

 

.

 

11 years old

Another year of blogging (to use the term lightly) is in the books.  Sharing old posts each week since the ten year anniversary forced me to scroll through the archives.  It was a painful reminder of just how pathetic my life has mostly been over the years.  But hey, as an old girlfriend once told me “no man is totally worthless–he can always serve as a bad example”.  I imagine that goes for blogging as well. So there’s that.

This post from 2011 contained a solitary image.  Looking at it again this morning it seems more like a metaphor for the way I’ve been living.

Things might change.  Stranger things have happened.

I'm falling and I can't get up...

I’m falling and I can’t get up…