I walk the line

Walking home from the office today:

Sorry, but I walk alone.

And courtesy of Facebook, me two years ago today:

Lost some weight, lost the ‘stache, and lost the wife that gave me the ring. But life goes on…

And yeah, this is me too:

Damn, I hate when that happens…

I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time…

Carry on

Well, I see it has been a week since my last post.  Regular readers have probably discerned that I must be in one of my moods.  Yeah, I’m in a funk but don’t worry, I’m not going to go there.  Much.

Let’s just say that I continue to struggle with the emptiness that is my life.  I won’t allow anyone to fill that void with love (and yes, the opportunity has presented itself) and so I have to fight to keep the sadness at bay.  Some days are worse than others in that regard, but I know I’ve been blessed in so many ways that I don’t let myself sink too deeply into despair and self-pity.  I have the power to change my life but for whatever reason I seem incapable of doing so.  So far at least.

Okay, enough of that!  I continue with my WWBD (work, walk, bike, drink) lifestyle.  Work is work but it at least provides some purpose.  Walking gives me lots of time to think, but that’s not always a good thing.  Biking is something to fill some weekend daytime hours.  And lately, drinking is what I do best.  Every fucking night of the week (but only to excess on the weekend).  But hey, it’s what passes as my social life.

Well, I’m a bar stool genius – I can solve the world’s problems
Without even trying
I have dozens of friends and the fun never ends
That is, as long as I’m buying

Who knew I’d be living the lyrics to an old Styx song?

Hey don’t go!  I’ve got pictures!

See, I can still find something to smile about. This was posted above the urinal in an SK gas station I visited on one of my weekend walks…

So near and yet so far. On this side of the fence is where I work, on the other…freedom! Well, I’ve postponed my imminent retirement date. I’ve already announced to my staff that I’ll be gone no later than May. Sooner if need be.

So, I get this weird email from a stranger asking me if I knew how to contact the owner of this beached boat. A victim of Hurricane Irma. I spent the night with my old high schools friends on the Second Chance for New Year’s 2012. When I asked the emailer how she found me she said a Google search turned up this blog post. Interesting. I’ve lost touch with Rod and Patty but I’m not sure it’s the same boat anyway.

And the seasons they go round and round. I watched the rice being planted when I arrived down here. And now I’m watching the harvest.

My trusty river rider parked at the only restrooms you’ll find for over an hour in either direction…

On Saturday I rode to the end of the trail on one side of the river…

And on Sunday my way was blocked by this collapsed bridge which had been under construction. That’s only one section, the whole damn thing came down.

But at least there were flowers to enjoy along the way.

It seems I keep missing this delivery truck when he comes by my place…

I took a trip out to Osan AFB to do some shopping. And that meant rewarding myself with some Arby’s. The French Dip was outstanding!

There’s no Namsan to walk around here, but I make do…

The weather has cooled off to where I can almost walk in comfort…

So many choices in life. Maybe one day I will make the right one…

A park…

And another park.

The path less traveled. But I took it anyway.

Death always looms large, but I just walked on by.

A juxtaposition. Gawd, I’ve been wanting to find an excuse to use that word!

And then it was “back” home. Ahem.

Been keeping the grill fired up…

And I was even on TV! CCTV, but still…

That’s how I look on a drunken Saturday night. Kinda crazed, don’t you think?

It’s not the life I chose nor the life I wanted, but it is most assuredly the life I have.  And I can live with that.

Peace out!

One morning I woke up and I knew you were really gone
A new day, a new way, and new eyes to see the dawn
Go your way, I’ll go mine and carry on

 

I’m not the man I used to be

Facebook tells me this was exactly two years ago.

This is me last night. Still need to drop 20 pounds or so, but I seem to have flatlined. Of course, all that beer drinking isn’t helping I’m sure.

Ah well, fatter and happier versus a less fat lonely wretch.  You don’t get to choose, you just learn to deal with it.  More or less.

I don’t know

I unilaterally ended my boycott of IDK bar last night.  Regular readers may recall that three months ago the bar added drinks to my bar tab without permission.  Sadly enough, IDK is the only bar in town with dart tourney.  During my exile I had simply quit playing darts, but I’ve decided I need to get off my lazy ass and start throwing again.  I mean, if I’m going to be in a bar drinking, I want to do it productively.

Anyway, I played the tourney last night.  I paid for my drinks as I ordered them thus avoiding the bar tab scam.

Me and my blind draw partner took a second place finish. Not bad considering how much my game has deteriorated during my self-imposed hiatus.

Today I took a walk, took a nap, then took a bike ride.  Did laundry then took another walk.  In the meantime my crock pot was cooking up a nice juicy pulled pork barbecue.

Rode around the base perimeter (inside the fence) today. That’s the new golf course behind me…

Oh, the irony! (that picture is from the internet, but I thought it was pretty funny)

I saw this church on my walk today. Not sure of the denomination, but it seems holy enough….

And that’s all I got folks.

Look what I saw!

*Ahem*

There are plenty of things to see and do in this world.  Sadly, not so much in Anjeong-ri. Still, you do the best you can with what you got, right?

The river flows, it flows to the sea, wherever that river goes, that’s where I want to be…

This is where the bike path ended today. Nothing to do but turn around.

Enjoyed the serene green acres of farm living though…

“Go Back”. Your meaning may vary.

Witches need to use the restroom too. Apparently.

I’ve been eating good though…

Dinner last night.

Breakfast this morning…

And some lunchtime nourishment.

Took time to smell the flowers on today’s hike…

I have absolutely no clue why these water faucets were installed smack dab in the middle of nowhere.

A lonely road for a lonely man.

The sun goes down…

…and the moon rises.

Another day in the life out here in the countryside.

Pay it forward

Some of you may remember the movie Pay it Forward.  I got to thinking about it the other day while walking.  The basic premise is that when someone does you a favor, rather than pay it back you pass it along by doing someone else a favor.  It’s actually a pretty sweet concept.

Well, I’m a notoriously selfish bastard (just ask my ex-wives).  But that doesn’t mean I’m incapable of performing a good deed now and again.  And sometimes through an otherwise selfish act you can end up unintentionally helping folks out.

For example, I’ve mentioned in passing the woman I’ve employed in the Philippines to be my personal assistant/caregiver once I retire there.  Obviously that has not happened yet, although Loraine does serve as my tour guide when I visit in the interim. While I’m not there I’ve been sending her to school to learn the skills (massage and caregiving) that will hopefully make my retired years more comfortable and lengthy.

Now, I didn’t have to employ someone months before I retire but Loraine seemed like a good fit for the job and she needed the income.  I guess you could characterize that as an act of generosity (charitably speaking), but also a clearly selfish motivation on my part (didn’t want someone else to hire her before I arrived).  And she’s doing good stuff for me, like keeping track of my blood pressure (I send her the readings each morning), scouring the internet for articles that pertain to whatever I may be complaining about at any given time, and being an understanding ear when I need one.  So far I’d say it’s a win-win.

Loraine is a smart gal who’s never really had the opportunity to pursue formal education.  She’s spent her adult life working in mostly menial jobs to support her family. These often required her to toil long hours in far away countries (Hong Kong, the Middle East, Vietnam).  I certainly respect that like so many Filipinos she sacrificed and did what was necessary to survive.  So it has been especially satisfying for me to see how dedicated she has been to taking full advantage of the opportunity to learn new skills. She has this thirst for knowledge that is quite impressive.  With my luck she will use her training to get a better job, but I’ll still be proud of her for making the effort.

But here is the point of this post (yes, there is one!).  As part of her caregiver on-the-job training she has been working long shifts at a school for special needs children.  Some have physical disabilities, others have emotional and learning disorders.  It’s been a real challenge for her in many ways, but she has risen to that challenge.  She’s been going above and beyond the program requirements, spending her own time and money to prepare visual and other learning aids for the kids.  She told me about one malnourished child who never has food at break time, so she shares hers.  Most of all she feels satisfaction with knowing she is making a difference for these kids by being there.  And she says that would not have been possible if I hadn’t put her in the program.

So, she is paying the opportunity forward.  And if in some small way my selfish act in hiring her has facilitated that, well hell yeah, I’ll share in the joy.  I’m already thinking that when I retire I may have her do volunteer work at a school or nursing home as part of her job.  Heh.  Hiring folks to do the charity work on my behalf seems to suit my nature, don’t you think?

At work…

Filling a void…

Making a difference

Keep up the good work!

 

Labor Day

The long weekend is over.

Yesterday I did a cookout in honor of the newlyweds, Sonya and Joey.

So, I baked a carrot cake…

Made a banana pudding…

Marinated some rib eye steaks (herb and garlic)…

And then the party started and I totally forget about taking pics.  Anyway, we had shrimp (with cocktail sauce), celery, carrots, and potato chips (with ranch dressing) and nuts for appetizers.  Garlic bread, corn on the cob, asparagus, and baked potato to go with the steaks.  Also had some BBQ spare ribs. Way too much food!

Anyway, it was a good time.  Oh, we did a little drinking too!

Today I got up and as is my wont when I don’t have to work, I took a bike ride on the river.

It was a good day for it…

The ride was cut short though when I encountered this barrier…

Apparently that brand spanking new bridge had a collapse issue.  Oh well.

I managed 23,000+ steps on my afternoon walk.  And best of all, I finally found love!

Where have you been all my life?

And that’s about it for this drunken weekend.  Back at it tomorrow though!

About last night

Smack dab in the middle of a long weekend.  Here’s how Saturday went down.

Started the day with my usual river ride…

….managed to kill a couple of hours of a beautiful day.

Then on my afternoon walk I ran into this chill dude. Asked him if he was early. Apparently he never left.

My new hometown, the lovely village of Anjeong-ri. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?

The best way to start a Saturday night is by putting some food in your belly. And with that done, it’s time to hit some bars…

First stop on my bar crawl was Shooters. Always dead, but I’m pals with Dela, a bartender from Cameroon.

Then I moved up the street to one of my other regular haunts, Galaxy.

Made friends with this gal there, but she was a real dog…

I don’t frequent Crystal all that often. It’s usually got a good crowd and they don’t really need my business. Staff is friendly and attractive though, and with an open seat at the bar I took advantage and popped in for a cold brew.

Having caught a buzz I figured I ought to get some religion. So I attended Mass….

I probably spend more time and money here than any other bar…

Mi Young is certainly one of my favorites…

The fifth bar of the night was Casbah. Kind of a throwback place that never seems busy…

So the bargirls were happy to see my wallet me.

Next I stumbled wandered over to Ariang. Not here too often, but it’s a friendly place.

Cute Filipina bartender. Don’t remember her name though… Damn, I just noticed how creepy I look when i’m drunk…

Ended the night at Horse and Cow. It’s an okay place I guess, just doesn’t seem to have much personality if you know what I mean…

But Lana from Uzbekistan is always pleasant to chat with..

In summation–

Cooking up some steaks and fixin’s this afternoon for some friends.  Might be marginally more interesting than this post.  Stay tuned!

On this day in history

Courtesy of Facebook comes this photo from August 29, 2010.

Go ahead and laugh sucker! I’ve seen your future and it ain’t pretty…

“It was a night of early spring,
The winter-sleep was scarcely broken;
Around us shadows and the wind
Listened for what was never spoken.

Though half a score of years are gone,
Spring comes as sharply now as then—
But if we had it all to do
It would be done the same again.

It was a spring that never came;
But we have lived enough to know
That what we never have, remains;
It is the things we have that go.”

― Sara Teasdale

Only the good die young

Heartbreaking news from South Carolina.  Christopher Werner II, aka “Fooey” and “Mini-me” passed away today.  He was in middle school, witty and sweet, and born with a bad heart.  I understand that during a routine check-up procedure he succumbed.

His mother Bridget loved him dearly and she died last year at age 49.  I wrote about her here.

I’m not religious but if there is a heaven it is comforting to think that they have now been reunited.

That’s Bridget and Fooey with us on the West sea circa 2012.

And that’s me and Christopher “dicking” around. The boy seemed to enjoy a similar sense of humor.

My heart goes out to his daddy Chris.  I cannot even begin to fathom what he is going through now.  I hope he finds the strength to persevere through such a devastating loss.

Rest in peace, Christopher.  You were an amazing young man and will not be forgotten.

Damn.

Sexy too

 

“Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom. Think of love as a state of grace, not the means to anything, but the alpha and omega. An end in itself.” 
― Gabriel García Márquez, Love in the Time of Cholera

Well, another journey around the sun has been completed.  And man am I tired.

Honestly, it’s a struggle.  I’m stuck somewhere between being unhappy and being depressed.  Today was not one of the good days, but I’ll keep on fighting regardless.

I’m not sure why I just can’t seem to embrace acceptance of what my life has become. When I look around me I can see that I have it better than many folks.  I’m grateful for my blessings, and regretful for the things I’ve lost.  Perhaps most significantly, the capacity to love.  A couple painful reminders of that this weekend have thrown me off my stride.

Oh well.  I can always hope for competency,

You just got to know where to look I suppose.

This too shall pass.

On a sunny Saturday in August

A really nice day here for a change.  Perfect day for a ride on the river.  Don’t believe me?  I’ve got pictures to prove it!

Your intrepid reporter…

A river runs through it.

Farm life…

Pyeongaek city on the horizon…

Nice rice.

I guess I should have used zoom…that’s a KTX passing by on the elevated tracks. I liked the juxtaposition of the country road and high tech transport. Oh well.

And now it’s another Saturday night.

another opportunity to explore my cognitive dissonance.

Another Saturday night and I ain’t got nobody
I got some money ’cause i just got paid
How I wish I had someone to talk to
I’m in an awful way

It wasn’t what you said…

…it’s what you didn’t say.

Well, let me say this–I’m cruising through a rain soaked week but I don’t have much to complain or blog about.  Not that that will stop me!

On the one day it didn’t rain it was quite beautiful on Camp Humphreys, don’t you think?

As I suspected, the bars in Anjeong-ri are nearly vacant with General Order #1 in effect. I snapped this photo because I thought it was cool seeing a bar that is even older than I am. I haven’t gone in there though (yet). I’ve been spreading myself around to my four primary favorites (Horse and Cow, Mass, Galaxy, and Shooters. I’m usually the only customer and I just don’t have the capacity to keep them all profitable during the exercise. Sorry!

Speaking of getting older, I do have a birthday on the horizon. My wonderful staff treated me to lunch at the Alaska Mining Company on Wednesday…

Treated me like a King they did! Crown and all!

And in one of those rare first time in a lifetime events, I blew out the candles on a Winnie the Pooh cake.

What else?

Well, I thought this was funny as hell…

Speaking of relationships, I recently heard that a couple of my friends are getting a divorce.  I hope it is not true and/or they patch things up.  They are both cool people and I thought they made a fine couple.  Having said that, I took the news as affirmation of my belief that love is a sucker’s bet.  I actually recall when I attended their wedding (last summer!) and watched them making their vows to one another thinking “yeah, I’ve heard that before”,  Anyway, love should be for more than the happy times.  Otherwise it is meaningless.  Least that’s how I see it.

No one belongs where they’re not wanted
You’re just a ghost, and my heart is haunted
When I said goodbye, you didn’t even beg me to stay
It wasn’t what you said, it’s what you didn’t say
No baby, it wasn’t what you said, it’s what you didn’t say

In my life

Time for another installment in the fascinating journey of my so-called life.

Well, I reckon it can be summed up as WWBD.  Working, Walking, Biking, Drinking.  I suppose it could be worse.

Work is work.  My Deputy has been on leave for the past three weeks which means I am staying somewhat more active than usual.  Even had a couple of days of coming in early and leaving late.  I expect things will quiet down for us during the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercise.  It starts today and runs for the next two weeks.  I have no part to play which is a good thing because I’m not subject to General Order #1 (forbidding consumption of alcohol during the exercise among other things). Anyway, things are good with the Army.  We are ready to “fight tonight” if need be, but I expect Mr. Kim will not be so foolish as to test our resolve and readiness.

 

I’ve been working on the walking and making some progress in re-losing the weight I gained when I was sick.  Although technically I’m still sick I suppose (COPD doesn’t go away, best you can hope for is that it doesn’t get worse).  The meds are controlling the symptoms though and I’m feeling pretty good for an old fucker.  I hope to keep it that way!

Always something interesting to see when you are hiking about. I guess we know what the secret ingredient must be in those waffles!

Weather wasn’t that great this weekend but I did manage to get in a couple of nice bike rides between rain storms.

The quality of this photo is crap, but the water lilies were in full bloom on the backside of Camp Humphreys.

And so that leaves the drinking aspect of my life.  I do that every night.  I consider it self medicating for my physic pain.  Not sure that it helps all that much, but I do seem to be getting a good night sleep lately.

That’s what the inebriated me looked like on Friday night…

So, as I mentioned above with the exercise ongoing for the next two weeks the bars will be even lonelier than normal.  I’m guessing some won’t even bother opening.  On the other hand, I stand to be the youngest customer in some.  I’ll probably even be more popular than normal with the bar staff.  We shall see.

In other news, I did some shopping at the Osan Air Base on Saturday. That always includes a lunch at Arby’s. America’s Roast Beef Yes sir!

What with civil war fixing to break out any day now back in the USA, I’m wanting to get me one of these.

Can you hear me now?

And finally, it seems Facebook is fucking with my mind lately.  It has this feature where it shares a memory from the same day in the past.  Yesterday I got this:

That was on a trip to the East Sea on August 19 several years ago.

And this one was August 19 one year ago.

Today featured a 2011 post commemorating my proposal of marriage to Jee Yeun and her acceptance.  That certainly didn’t go as planned.

Anyway, it hurts to be reminded sometimes.  I constantly reassure myself though that there are worse things than being lonely.

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I’ve loved them all

 

Potpourri 

Which is French for “random shit I posted on Facebook this week”.

So, this is where I come down on the bullshit in Charlottesville…

 

Having said that, the extreme left is every bit as bad if not worse…

And this kind of racism is what causes Charlottesville…

Two years ago I achieved “regular” status at Shenanigans…

Two 4 star generals on peninsula to sort things out…I do believe Trump has called Kim Jung Un’s bluff.

My daughter and son circa 1983 or so. Captures their personalities quite well. They are about the only thing left that I love in this world…

…because no it does not.

And that’s about it from here for now.

On and On

Whatever gets you through the day.  2.5 hours on the bike and another 2.5 spent walking.  Lots of time to think, although in my case that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Another drunken Saturday night in the Ville.  Not to worry, I confine my drinking to days that end in a “y”.

Saturday night in Anjeong-ri…

Compare and contrast this street scene with Itaewon.

Shut your Korean Man Hole.

Took the long trail to Pyeongtaek lake this morning. First time I made it out that far…

I was rewarded with this view.

Finishing up the walk by the main gate at Camp Humphreys I encountered a protest group doing Kim Jung Un’s work I suppose. The police were out in force as usual…

But at least now I know what number to call when I see a hot babe walking down the street. Sadly that is pretty infrequent in this hick town…

Ah well, life goes on.  And on.

On and on
I just keep on trying
And I smile when I feel like dying
On and on
On and on
On and on

Moving forward

Ah geez, been too long since my last post, hasn’t it? Let’s ketchup.

The days are slowly pouring by…

Well, there is work* and it seems to be going pretty well overall.  I’m blessed with an outstanding staff of professionals who work hard and seem to enjoy their jobs.  I’m fortunate to not have to deal with “people issues”.  I treat them right and they respond accordingly.  That’s just simple management 101, I’m no genius.

But having said that, I reckon I’m doing pretty good at what little I do do.  No shit!  People come to us for answers and solutions and we provide them.  We’ve filled some voids for the command and I do believe the leadership appreciates our contributions.  I take a lot of pride in that.

Our new building is a bit of a pain in the ass.  The biggest adjustment for most of us has been getting used to the prohibition on electronic devices in the building.  That means no cell phones and no Fitbit!  God knows I hate losing all the ancillary steps that aren’t recorded during the day.  My poor Fitbit is confused about being locked up at the front entrance and accuses me of taking a nap during the day.  Oh well, these days we all have to be cognizant of OPSEC (operational security) and do our part.

Several of my folks have not physically moved to Pyeongtaek as yet and that commute from Seoul is a killer.  For now at least I’m allowing them to telework 2 days a week, so that helps relieve some of the burden I suppose.  Anyway, we’ll all adjust.

So you may be asking yourself “I thought he was planning on retiring in September?”  I was.  And I still am in the not too distant future.  I’m just going to be flexible in my planning.  As mentioned above I do derive some satisfaction from working and damn, it is hard to walk away from my ridiculous salary and my ridiculously big and paid for house.  I’ve got a goal on how much money I want to have in the bank when I hang it up and I’m making steady progress towards achieving that goal.  Meantime, I’m just going to enjoy the ride and try to decide what my “purpose” will be in life once I retire.  So far the best I’ve come up with is enjoying bay views while I watch the world go on without me.  We’ll see.

Ms. Choe, Song Won is one of my superstars. It was my honor to recognize her with the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service.  (We had to go outside to get a photo.  Everyone’s camera is on their phones these days)

What else?  Well, I’ve had some visitors which is nice.  Joey and Sonja (the newly engaged couple I wrote about here) have moved to Pyeongtaek.  In fact, they wound up renting a place just about across the street from me.  Heh, it’s a small town!  We enjoyed a grilled meat dinner and then I took them on a tour of my favorite bars.  That was a great time.  Last night Jessie, one of my old time Seoul friends, was in town on Army business and he got to enjoy my upstairs guest room.  We had some beers out on the town to facilitate a good night’s sleep of course.

I found a small house with the attractive coffee on one of my walks…

And if you can’t afford the best, this place is very good…

Still enjoying some quality time bicycling on the river…

That was not a bridge too far…

I kept to the straight and narrow. It’s jut the way I roll…

Serious business biking is.

What about my love life?

It’s probably for the best.

Tensions are higher than I’ve ever seen here on the peninsula.  But we’re pulling out our big guns…

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I’d still rather be here than in the USA.  Much easier to avoid the silly PC social justice warriors.  I have zero tolerance for that bullshit.

Well, they will be well-suited for future employment with Google I suppose…

I was just talking to the moon, hoping someday soon that I’d be over the memory of you. Too hard to hold on…

*  The views expressed here at LTG are my own and are written on my own time and dime.  My opinions are not sanctioned or endorsed by my employer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the United States Government.  What are the odds?

A table for one

I saw this on yesterday’s walk about and for some reason it made me sad:

A metaphor for my lonely life perhaps?

It turned out to be a very strange day.  Out of the blue I heard from three different women that in the past have professed their love for me.  I guess it’s nice to be remembered and I also sometimes think of them.  But I’m alone by choice.  It’s safer that way.

I do feel sorry for whatever pain I’ve caused them on account of my bitter selfishness, but there is nothing I can do to change that.  I’m a broken man and loving me is a big mistake.  I have nothing to give in return.  That’s just the way it goes.

.

Past forgetting

Meetings in Seoul yesterday necessitated a return to my former hometown.  Rather than fight Friday afternoon traffic I opted to spend the night.  I’ve had a hankering to get out and revisit some of my old familiar trails.  Couldn’t decide on whether to do Namsam or the Han river.  So I did both.  It was a hot motherfucker of a day but I got it done in three and a half hours.

I didn’t dare to tread there though. Truthfully, Seoul is a city full of memories for me. Quite a few of them make me sad these days. That’s one advantage to Pyeongtaek–nothing here to remind me…

Hello old friend, long time no see!

Truth be told, the street didn’t look all that old to me…

The Han is always a pleasure…

A nice way to end the day.

It was hot and sweaty work out there though…

Nothing like walking to Incheon, but not bad for an old guy…

Up pretty early after a night of drinking chatting with friends in the bars.  On the road before 0700 but still got caught in traffic leaving Seoul.  Went pretty quick after that though.

Rested a bit then broke the bike out for a river ride.

I foolishly picked the hottest part of the day for my endeavor…

But it was a good 2+ hour ride regardless…

The buzzer on the oven timer just went off so I was expecting to enjoy some baby back ribs.  Alas, I must have failed to ignite the oven, so now I’ve got another hour before I can eat.  Need to get today’s walk in as well, but I’ll let it cool off some first.

And that’s the latest installment in my exciting life.