We are the Champions!

A fantastic finish to the dart league season with a hard fought victory over the guys and gal from Dillinger’s.  Shenanigans came from behind and seized the victory in the team game.  It was a great match against an outstanding team.  Proud of my teammates because they had to overcome some adversity; one of our top guns was absent and I may as well have not been there either.  Can’t remember the last time I threw such shitty darts.

What the Bulls? Seoul International Dart League "B" Division Champions!

What the Bulls? Seoul International Dart League “B” Division Champions!

We had dedicated our season to our former team Captain, Bridget Werner.  She was our “ghost player” all season and I know she would have been thrilled seeing WTB take the regular season and playoff crowns.

Last night was also my swan song for a 10+ year career of darting in SIDL.  As I’ve alluded to in previous posts, I’m winding down my Korea life bit by bit.  And truthfully, I’ve just lost my passion for the game it seems.  Time to move on to something else I suppose.

In unrelated news, I purchased this fancy-dancy throw blanket:

Ain't she a beaut? It's a memory from my working life here in Korea that I'll be able to pack up and move with me where ever I wind up in the world. And hopefully I'll be leaving all the bad memories behind.

Ain’t she a beaut? It’s a memory from my working life here in Korea that I’ll be able to pack up and move with me where ever I wind up in the world. And hopefully I’ll be leaving all the bad memories behind.

Also renewed my villa lease yesterday, which may seem odd given that I feel like I have one foot out the door already.  Well, gotta keep a roof over that other foot.  Plus, I committed to seeing Eighth Army through the move to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek. That’s supposed to happen in June/July.  My current employment appointment expires in September.  So, then or shortly thereafter you can color me gone.

It’s time.  My heart can’t take another beat down from Korean women.

I’ve paid my dues
Time after time.
I’ve done my sentence
But committed no crime.
And bad mistakes ‒
I’ve made a few.
I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I’ve come through.

(And I need just go on and on, and on, and on)

We are the champions, my friends,
And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end.
We are the champions.
We are the champions.
No time for losers
‘Cause we are the champions of the world.

What’s love got to do with it?

The good news is I slept through the night without a coughing jag for the first time in a month or so last night.  That’s huge, trust me.

This was my bedroom floor on Friday night. It looked about the same on Saturday night. Tissues for the nose, the towel for phlegm.

This was my bedroom floor on Friday night. It looked about the same on Saturday night. Tissues for the snot, the towel for phlegm.

I got up Sunday morning and did up some steak and eggs...

I got up Sunday morning and did up some steak and eggs…

And a pot roast for dinner...

And a pot roast for dinner…

Then I walked the Han River. 24,000 steps, which is significant because it was the first time since November 21st that I broke 10,000.

Then I walked the Han River. 24,000 steps, which is significant because it was the first time since November 21st that I broke 10,000.

The weekend wasn’t all good.  Sometimes you just have to let go of someone you care about.  That’s never easy for me, but I’ve learned the hard way that love is just not enough.  No matter what, you have to take responsibility and be accountable for your actions.  The consequences for not doing so are much worse than a broken heart.

I saw this on my walk and took it as a sign...

I saw this on my walk and took it as a sign…

What else?  Well, Shenanigans now has Miller Lite beer on draft.

I had one to celebrate. But beer is not on my menu. And when I do drink beer (primarily darts night) it's San Miguel Light. I've got one foot in the Philippines already, might as well drink the local brew, right?

I had one to celebrate. But beer is not on my menu. And when I do drink beer (primarily darts night) it’s San Miguel Light. I’ve got one foot in the Philippines already, might as well drink the local brew, right?

And since I was having the beer, I figured pulled pork quesadilla's were in order. Damn the carbs, full speed ahead!

And since I was having the beer, I figured pulled pork quesadilla’s were in order. Damn the carbs, full speed ahead!

Speaking of which, I climbed on the scale of after my hike yesterday.  I figured my lack of activity and undisciplined diet was gonna cost me a few pounds in the wrong direction.  To my surprise, I actually lost over a pound–down to 206.9, a new low!  I think the coughing fits turned out to be good exercise.  I know they caused me to break out in a sweat and made my heart pound.  Quite the cardio workout, although I do not recommend it.

I’ve been doing some trolling on Facebook.

I do enjoy making liberal heads explode...

I do enjoy making liberal heads explode…

Very happy with this selection as Secretary of Defense...

Very happy with this selection as Secretary of Defense…

Bring it on biatch...

Bring it on biatch…

And then there was this...

And then there was this…

Anyway, I’m marching forward and trying not to look back at what I’m leaving behind.

Oh what’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken?

Fighting!

The struggle continues.

Four weeks in and still coughing like a motherfucker.  But only in the wee dark hours of the morning.  Back to the lovely Dr. Kim, Sun Hee for a follow-up.  I was surprised her skirt was even shorter this week than last, and she was surprised the antibiotics hadn’t solved my issues.  She listened to my heavy breathing and declared that my lungs sound clear.  She prescribed some cough medicine and something to open up my bronchial passages and invited me back to see her again in five days.  Hopefully I’ll get a better offer before then.

Here's hoping the fix is in!

Here’s hoping the fix is in!

Meanwhile, my dart game has been as sick as I am…

First time I've ever been skunked in singles league play...

First time I’ve ever been skunked in singles league play…

The dart news isn’t all bad though…

We took the semi-finals match 14-3 and will face off Monday night against Dillinger's for the B Division Championship.

My Monday night team, What the Bulls?,  took the semi-finals match 14-3 and will face off Monday night against Dillinger’s for the B Division Championship.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.  At least at the DHRM building…

The staff wanted a Christmas tree (or in government parlance, a Holiday tree) and apparently my Bah Humbug! response did not translate...

The staff wanted a Christmas tree (or in government parlance, a Holiday tree) and apparently my Bah Humbug! response did not translate…

...sometimes you just gotta roll with the flow, right?

…sometimes you just gotta roll with the flow, right?

The combination of being sick and the meds to fight being sick along with my nighttime coughing fits depriving me of sleep has left me feeling exhausted and lethargic.  In addition to lacking the energy to blog, I’ve pretty much not walked for well over a week.  To avoid depression I’ve also refrained from stepping onto the scale.  I hope to get back into my routine soon.  Maybe even tomorrow if these new meds allow for a night of uninterrupted slumber.  We’ll see.

I’ll close with a passage from Stephen King which I rather like (I like it so much that I’ve committed it to memory and have likely posted it here before.  It’s worth repeating.

“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.” 

I’ll be back!

Giving thanks

I like Thanksgiving.  The food of course.  But also the whole concept of stepping back and recognizing that blessings abound and most of us can truthfully find something in our lives worthy of giving thanks.

My life has certainly not turned out the way I envisioned.  Last year I celebrated the holiday surrounded by my kids and grandchildren and with my wife comfortably by my side.  This year I face an uncertain future, but one that appears more and more likely to feature a solitary existence. And yes, that is my choice.  Oddly enough, I feel optimistic that I will discover a way to find happiness as I leave the past behind and explore new adventures and opportunities.  I’m thankful for that.

I shared this Thanksgiving with my nephew, a co-worker, and some of my “bar family” from Shenanigans.

We enjoyed turkey...

We enjoyed turkey…

...and the traditional sides: corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green been casserole, candied yams, fruit salad, and dinner rolls...

…and the traditional sides: corn, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, green been casserole, candied yams, fruit salad, and dinner rolls…

Pecan pie and a pumpkin pie for dessert...

Pecan pie and a pumpkin pie for dessert… Oh, and beer and wine of course.

Put it all together and it looked something like this...

Put it all together and it looked something like this…

Put us all together and we looked something like this. (excepting Choonae who took the photo).

Put us all together and we looked something like this. (excepting Choonae who took the photo).

Asia was well represented at our feast, left to right we have Sonya (Mongolia), Qian (China), and Choonae (Korea).

Asia was well represented at our feast, left to right we have Sonya (Mongolia), Qian (China), and Choonae (Korea).

Speaking of Choonae, she was thankful for having published her travel guide to Cuba. I made sure each of my guest had a copy of their very own. Signed by the author of course!

Speaking of Choonae, she was thankful for having published her travel guide to Cuba. I made sure each of my guests had a copy of their very own. Signed by the author of course!

It was a good day with good food and good friends.  I’m thankful for that!

One thing I am not thankful for is this damn cough which continues to bedevil me in the wee hours of the morning.  This afternoon I returned to Soonchunhwang hospital’s International Clinic to see if they could fix what’s broken.  I didn’t have an appointment. The hilarious Dr. Yoo was gone for the day, Dr. Joe was not working, but the lovely Dr. Kim, Sun Hee was available to feed my fantasies assist me.  Prettiest doctor I ever did see, and the first time I’ve been treated by a doc in a short skirt.  Yeah, I’m pathetic I know. Regardless, she agreed with me that three weeks was too long to be coughing.  She took my temperature (no fever) and listened to my lungs.  Then she said “let’s get a chest x-ray”.  I bit my tongue and as it turns out, I was the only one getting my chest examined. We reviewed the results together however.  She had pulled up an earlier x-ray and compared it with today’s.  She said the expanded areas of white on the screen were indicative of infection.  She told me she’d prescribe some medication and if I wasn’t better in a week, I should come see her again.  Talk about conflicting motivations!

I didn't say no to these drugs. Hope the work this time!

I didn’t say no to these drugs. Hope they work this time!

I’m still in a low energy mode as well, which is reflected in my pathetic step counts.  My nephew beat me for the first time ever last week and I’m not happy about that.  I’m hoping to get back into the program soon.  Maybe even tomorrow.  We’ll see.

 

 

MOFA SOFA

Today was a little bit out of the ordinary.  I attended the Joint Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) Committee meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

I didn't want to look like a rube in front of all the brass and big shots by taking tourist pics, but I did sneak this one in...

I didn’t want to look like a rube in front of all the brass and big shots by taking tourist pics, but I did sneak this one in…

And I fed my hungry ego with this one...

And I fed my hungry ego with this one…

I’m the co-chair of the Labor Subcommittee, but I was glad none of our issues were deemed worthy enough to require my active participation in the discussions, although a couple were mentioned.  Obviously I can’t talk about anything that took place, but it was fascinating to watch the Alliance working through issues of mutual concern.  This is the 50th anniversary of the SOFA and despite language, cultural, and political barriers the ROK/USA partnership marches on.  Katchi Kapshida!

My biggest fear was I’d go into one of my coughing jags during the meeting, but good fortune was with me today.  I’ve been mostly cough free since an early morning bout so maybe I’ve turned the corner.  If not, I’ll go back to the doc on Friday.

Tomorrow my office will have an “organization day” during which we will enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving feast hosted by my Deputy.

I'm contributing a sweet potato pie and a pecan pie...

I’m contributing a sweet potato pie and a pecan pie…

And it ain’t Thanksgiving without my Aunt Pat’s recipe World Famous Fruit Salad

I made a little extra for me.

I made a little extra for me.

And that was my Tuesday.

It’s not so easy to be hard

Sunday sucked.  An emotionally exhausting day full of drama and sorrow.  And that’s before I succumbed to another bout with hacking coughs.

And yet another fit of the coughs this evening, this one starting after work when I popped into Shenanigans for some liquid refreshment.  How bad was it?  One drink and out bad.  And if you know me, that says a lot.

Today was the last day of my prescription medicine which the doc thought ought to clear up the source of the cough.  Apparently not.

I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens next.

 

Sick and tired…

…of being sick and tired.

Had to take the day off work today because I have a cough.  I’ve actually had the cough for over a week now.  It wouldn’t be a problem except that I have coughing fits during the night.  Hacking coughs that are almost painful and result in mucous saturated tissues piled on the floor next the bed.  Last night’s commenced at 0100 and lasted until I apparently passed into a fitful state of sleep sometime after 0230.  Then I woke up again at 0400 to a case of diarrhea that had me in and out of bed until the alarm rang at six.  I just couldn’t answer the bell.

I didn’t leave the house today although I had intended to see if I could get in to see the hilarious Dr. Yu.  I mean, it is just a cough right?  I have a tickle in the throat, but the cough seems to originate from deep in my chest.  When I lay on my back I can hear myself wheeze.  I didn’t experience any coughing fits today except when I laid down for a nap. So apparently being horizontal exacerbates whatever the fuck is wrong with me.  Ah well, this too shall pass.  Or I will.

My new best friend.  On my second bottle.  12 bucks at the PX.  I suppose it is better than nothing.

My new best friend. On my second bottle. 12 bucks at the PX. I suppose it is better than nothing.

Whether it is related to the cough condition or not I don’t know, but I have also been extremely lethargic of late.  Totally unmotivated, lacking in energy, and just feeling plain ass tired.  As a consequence my step count has dropped significantly and my willpower to avoid eating unhealthy is diminished.  Not a good combination!  Hopefully I will rediscover my motivation soon.

In other news, we had our last match of the regular dart league season last night.  Sadly, we did not accomplish our goal of going undefeated, losing to Sin Bin 14-13.  It came down to the last leg of the night, I had a the winning dart in my hand, but failed to execute.  Sorry Bridget.  Well, we still finished first for the season so there’s that.

What the Bulls?

What the Bulls?

I didn’t do shit on Sunday.  On Saturday I ventured down to Songtan to participate in the dart tourney.  Mostly I just needed to get out of town and change my perspective.

Tom , Mike and his wife Eve also made the trip.

Tom along with Mike and his wife Eve also made the trip.

And it proved to be a pretty successful evening at darts for the Seoul contingent.

And it proved to be a pretty successful evening at darts for the Seoul contingent.

After darts we hit the street for some street food, which is the generally the best place to find it.

I went with my old standby chicken-on-a-stick.

I went with my old standby chicken-on-a-stick.

The night being younger than I am, I was enticed by the other members of our cadre to join them at a local Filipino oriented nightclub which was conveniently located in the basement of my hotel.

The band was good and I was drunk.  A combination that resulted in me dancing. Such as it were.

The band was good and I was drunk. A combination that resulted in me dancing. Such as it were.

Friday was a holiday and once again my lazy ass didn’t do shit.  I barely got 10,000 steps in.  That may have been due in part to the fact that I stayed out way too late on Thursday night, arriving home in the wee hours of Friday morning in a state of intoxication.

Work is work.  And I’m doing my best to avoid letting the stress get to me.  Hopefully it gets better soon.

A rare photo capturing government in action.  You saw it here first!

A rare photo capturing government in action. You saw it here first!

It was pretty cool to find myself featured in the latest edition of the Darts Thailand newsletter.

 

Our group of competitors in Bangkok.

Our group of competitors in Bangkok.

I was honored to be named MVP and don the cap!

I was honored to be named MVP and don the cap!

What else?

While I'm still a big fan of Korea, I'm growing increasingly aware that my time here is winding down.  Well, things change.  Including my mind.  So, we'll see what happens.  Maybe I'll like Pyeongtaek.  And it would certainly be more affordable for pensioner than Seoul...

While I’m still a big fan of Korea, I’m growing increasingly aware that my time here is winding down. Well, things change. Including my mind. So, we’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll like Pyeongtaek. And it would certainly be more affordable for a pensioner than Seoul…

But in the meantime I'll continue to follow the yellow brick road and see where it takes me.

But in the meantime I’ll continue to follow the yellow brick road and see where it takes me.

Assuming I get off my lazy ass and start walking again.

 

Playing the Trump card

It has certainly been fascinating watching the reaction to the Trump election victory, especially on social media.  The overwrought expressions of hatred, name calling, and outright violence is precisely the reason Trump was elected president.

I was personally not surprised by the election results.  When in the last few days of the campaign the polls indicated a close race, I knew there would be a large number of Trump supporters staying safely under the radar.  Can you blame them?

I pretty much disengaged from the political discussions over the course of the election season.  Once the party nominations were decided I said we get to choose between a crook and a clown.  In that scenario, I’ll take the clown every time.  I know what I’m getting from the crook, but a clown is always full of surprises.  Hopefully, most of them will be good surprises.  We’ll see.

So, why did Trump win?  You can find far better analysis from folks a lot smarter than me all over the internet.  What I can tell you is where I was coming from and also what I am not.  I’d wager a lot of voters held similar views.

To begin, it will come as no surprise to regular readers that I tend to lean right.  I’m certainly more libertarian in my world view than I am conservative.  I believe the less government the better.  I believe our political establishment is corrupt and is more interested in cronyism than in addressing the real issues that the majority of Americans are concerned about.  Republicans are every bit as guilty in that regard as Democrats.  I think this election represented a big “fuck you!” to the powers that be, and I’m so very happy to join in that chorus.

I’m also a white male.  That does not make me racist, misogynist, homophobic, a xenophobe, or any of the other epithets that are hurled about whenever I have the audacity to disagree with the viewpoints of my progressive “betters”.  I will not be told “to check my privilege” in an effort to shame me into silence.  Maybe I’m old school, but making judgments based on the color of a persons skin is how I define racism.  And by that definition, far too many folks on the left are every bit as racist as the KKK.  I expect Trump got the vote of people like me who are sick and tired of being “othered”.

Of course, post-election the name calling from the left continues unabated.  Their unwillingness to step back for some honest introspection does not speak well for the future of the progressive movement or the unity of the American people.  At least one of my left-leaning Facebook friends [edit: turns out it is the son of my FB friend], Frank Jacquette, gets it:

Months and months ago, when the Republican primary was still a ten-person clown car and Trump was just starting to get some traction, I became worried that he had a serious chance of winning it all. What the DNC never seemed to understand is that people weren’t voting for Trump the Candidate, they were voting for Trump because he was the living embodiment of an idea. The idea was simple: “the system is broken, so let’s blow It up.” Competing on the strength of Hillary’s resume was never a winning strategy, because it couldn’t compete with the Idea. That’s why Trump’s personal flaws and insane attempts at policy never mattered. Bernie’s supporters bought into a more genteel version of the same Idea, so when the DNC engineered (or at least gave the suspicious appearance of having engineered) Hillary’s victory in the primaries, many of them weren’t going to just roll into line and vote for her. Gary Johnson also represented the Idea, but without the backing of the extremely well-entrenched two party duopoly never had a real chance. Take heart that not every Trump voter is a racist, misogynist xenophobe, but instead expressed fury and dismay at a broken system in the only forum where all of us are equal.

In the meantime, we have two years until midterm elections. We must do everything we can to ensure that we have good candidates available instead of the party-line caricatures we’ve been offered.

Frank brings up a valid point about what I think is the overriding reason Trump is president-elect.  Hillary represented business as usual and the people wanted change.  I was certainly no fan of Bernie Sanders’ socialistic model, but I would have loved to see him go head-to-head with Trump.  When the corrupt DNC ensured that would never happen, there was only one anti-establishment candidate left on the ballot.  Trump got just about the same number of voters as Romney in 2012.  Disaffected Democrats stayed home in droves.

So to all of those shocked liberals wondering why Trump will be the President, I suggest taking a long hard look in the mirror.

 

 

Slinging the bull

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about darts.  We won last night’s match against Dillinger’s 16-11, and so we remain undefeated going into the final match of the regular season next week.  We’ll be playing Sin Bin, the second place team, so we are going to have to work hard and earn it to win out.

I had an interesting match in singles.  I was down quite a bit in 501, then my opponent struggled with hitting his out and I managed to come back and win the leg.  Then in cricket I was WAY down until I did this:

Yes, for the first time in my darting career I managed to pound 3 double bulls in competition. That got me back in the game, but I was still down. On my next throw I hit 3 single bulls, which put me up on points. Then I hit a 6 mark to close out two of my open numbers, setting me up for an unexpected comeback win. (the photo is from Google Images, I'm not gauche enough to stop in the middle of a match to take a photo of my amazingly fantastic dart throw...)

Yes, for the first time in my darting career I managed to pound 3 double bulls in competition. That got me back in the game, but I was still down. On my next throw I hit 3 single bulls, which put me up on points. Then I hit a 6 mark to close out two of my open numbers, setting me up for an unexpected comeback win. (the photo is from Google Images, I’m not gauche enough to stop in the middle of a match to take a photo of my amazingly fantastic dart throw…)

So, it may come as a surprise to long-time readers but I’ve made the decision to take a break from darts at the end of this season.  The truth of the matter is I’ve lost my passion for the game.  I rarely practice, and notwithstanding my improbably good performance last night, my game has really deteriorated.  2017 is right around the corner and I’ve got lots to get done in preparation for my new life, whatever that may be.  At the least, I’ll need to travel somewhat more frequently as I scout out possible venues for life of re-retirement.

In other news, the weather has turned colder but that hasn’t chilled my enthusiasm for getting my steps in.

Had to break out the old wool cap for the first time this season...

Had to break out the old wool cap for the first time this season…

Walking to work this morning I slipped a pic of my fall trip.

Walking to work this morning I slipped a pic of my fall trip.

It was also a beautiful day for my lunchtime walk.

It was also a beautiful day for my lunchtime walk.

And so I took the long route home from work along the Han riverside.

And so I took the long route home from work along the Han riverside.

I’ll say this for cold weather, it saps the piss right out of me.  Literally.  I always use the toilet just prior to leaving the office.  I had to pee again 30 minutes into my walk.  And then I had to pee again 30 minutes after that.  I then detoured to Naksapyeong station to use their toilet before I could make it home.  Now mind you, I was not drinking anything along the way, so where in the hell is all that liquid waste coming from?

I’ll leave you to ponder that mystery.  24,000+ steps have left me tired tonight.

 

Walk on

Nothing like a good hike to get your head right.

26,000+ steps along the riverside yesterday.  22,000+ on the mountain today.

And I’ve finally made some progress on the weight reduction after being more or less flat lined for the past several weeks.

208 pounds at this afternoon’s weigh-in.  Down 61 overall, 9 pounds to go to achieve goal.

Hope I can make it by Thanksgiving.  I’ve got big plans to load up on everything I’ve been missing when I enjoy the traditional feast.

 

Thanks for the memories

It was a hell of a week.

Lots of work stuff that keeps my life more intense than I like.  But it’s what I signed up for, so why complain?  Much.

Woke up Saturday morning to a coughing fit.  Hocked up all kinds of juicy junk from deep in my innards.  Not a pretty sight.

Later that morning Eun Oke packed up her stuff and left me. Again.  To her credit, she sent me a message suggesting a “break up date”. Well, that was a first. Which at my age I don’t get the opportunity to say very often. Eun Oke decided to end the relationship for reasons I think are legitimate. So no hard feelings on my part. And then she suggested we have a last fling to memorialize the event. Obviously I had nothing better to do. And it was a nice way to finish what had been for the most part a good experience. I’ll miss her.

For those who are curious, her reasoning is that our future plans are incompatible (i.e. me retiring and leaving Korea) and we are both too selfish to compromise.  True.  She also mentioned the age difference (I’m 18 years her senior).  She told me “it’s fine now, but when I’m 52 you’ll be 70!”.  And yes, I’m definitely way to selfish to die early to preclude that event.

Anyway, it’s fine and I’m fine.  I had intentionally held myself back as a matter of self-preservation.  And the sad fact is I am not sure I’ll ever be able to go “all in” in a relationship again.  I think Eun Oke sensed that which I’m sure was a contributing factor in her decision to flee now.  I think it was the right call.  We’ve agreed to remain friends and I’m happy about that.

So far in 2016 I’ve had two women profess their love for me and I have no reason to question the sincerity of those professions.  Still, I have become bitter and cynical to the point that I just don’t really believe in love anymore.  And that’s really a big deal, tantamount to losing my religion.

This week Facebook provided a sad reminder of why the “I love you” words leave me cold.  They have a feature called “Your memories on Facebook” that pops up in your newsfeed on a daily basis.  I can’t seem to stop myself from taking that journey to the past. And that’s where I encountered this nugget from three years ago:

Thank you so much to my lovely husband! He take care of me so good and feed me good…he help me a lot! Even one my arms pain a lot but he make me pain less and inside my heart is full of love and feel warm..I am so lucky and happy woman because of John McCrarey! My life is much better because of you! Thank you and I love you so much!

Things change, obviously.  I’ve moved on pretty much but I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. Part of my problem is I have no understanding as to what the fuck happened.  How do you go from the sentiment expressed above to “I don’t have happy life with you” in less than two years?  I believed in Jee Yeun and never imagined she would abandon the life we made together.  And I know now that if her love wasn’t real and lasting, no love truly can be.

It’s all just words.

Stuff about things…

…I did this weekend.

Kicked off Saturday morning with my customary Namsan excurision.

I'm running out of new angles from which to photograph Seoul Tower...

I’m running out of new angles from which to photograph Seoul Tower…

It was however a fine autumn morning. Hardly broke a sweat...

It was however a fine autumn morning. Hardly broke a sweat…

And the city was looking fine in the clear morning air...

And the city was looking fine in the clear morning air…

And then it became Saturday night.  And this Saturday was the day of the annual Halloween celebration.  And by celebrate I mean drunken debauchery.  I had swore to never get caught up in that madness again after last year’s fiasco.  But the GF had other ideas.

Just go ahead and shoot me now please.

Just go ahead and shoot me now please.

I hadn't dressed up for Halloween since the 1980s...

I hadn’t dressed up for Halloween since the 1980s…

But I decided to just kick back and enjoy myself...

But I decided to just kick back and enjoy myself…

Fellow revelers...

Fellow revelers…

Anyway, the night did not turn out as bad as I expected it would.  So that’s a win.

This morning I was up bright and early.  What to cook?

Considered bositang but went the a pot roast in the crockpot instead...

Considered bositang but went the a pot roast in the crockpot instead…

Then it was off for a jaunt along the Han riverside.

On the way down I encountered a large group of folks marching down the highway.  This is just the trailing remnant, there were at least a couple hundred of marchers.  Marching for what purpose I cannot say...

On the way down I encountered a large group of folks marching down the highway. This is just the trailing remnant, there were at least a couple hundred of marchers. Marching for what purpose I cannot say…

And then I came across this 1950 Chevrolet in cherry condition.  How it got here I have no idea.  I made a mental note that while in was being manufactured in Detroit war was raging on the peninsula.  But this morning all was peaceful.

And then I came across this 1950 Chevrolet in cherry condition. How it got here I have no idea. I made a mental note that while in was being manufactured in Detroit war was raging on the peninsula. But this morning all was peaceful.

Made it to the river and had to pee.  I was touched that the graffiti writer on the restroom wall had taken the time to helpful translate his wit into English.  The meaning however remains lost on me.

Made it to the river and had to pee. I was touched that the graffiti writer on the restroom wall had taken the time to helpful translate his wit into English. The meaning however remains lost on me.

Nonetheless it was a beautiful walk, both heading out...

Nonetheless it was a beautiful walk, both heading out…

And returning.  Went as far as Seoul Forest Park.  Good for 22,000+ steps all told...

And returning. Went as far as Seoul Forest Park. Good for 22,000+ steps all told…

In other news, I’ve reached a political decision which I will share here without further comment.  Surprised?

In the end it was really a no-brainer...

In the end it was really a no-brainer…

Speaking of the election, I was really surprised to see this group of war veterans overwhelmingly supports Hillary.  The race will not be as close as predicted if this is any indication.

Got stood up for my dart match this afternoon which pissed me off.

And a big and busy week on tap, including guests from my higher headquarters in Hawaii, a trip down to Humphreys, and various meetings of dubious value.

And that’s all I’ve got for you.  As commenter Sojuhoncho is wont to say:

Peace Out!

 

Regarding Thailand

Looking back on my first sojourn to Thailand I thought I’d share my impressions.

I found the Thai people to be friendly and pleasant overall.  They generally carry themselves with an air of dignity and pride.  For example, even the beggars were gracious and never harassing.  The would sit demurely on the sidewalk with a cup in front of them, never asking but always thanking you for whatever pittance you provided.  Similarly, the street touts and vendors would show you their wares, and if you declined their offering they would simply walk away.  That was a nice change from being continuously hassled as in the norm in the Philippines.  I make it the first point here because dealing with third world poverty and desperation really wears me down.  And while I of course felt sympathy for the unfortunates, I appreciated the fact that it was not constantly in my face.  I mean, you do what you can, but you can’t help everyone.  When I ask to not be bothered I appreciate those wishes being respected.  That was almost always the case in Thailand.

I found Thai women to be quite attractive and they carry themselves with a certain grace that is quite appealing.  Regular readers know that there is something about the style and manner of Korean women that really trips my triggers, but I’ll say that Thai women come in at a close second on my (mental) listing of the relative beauty of Asian women.

I rather enjoyed Bangkok and its vibrant streets.  I mostly walked everywhere I went and never felt uncomfortable in doing so.  There is of course a well-established night life catering to whatever your particular tastes might be.  As I’ve written before, I’m not into the whole “go-go” bar scene with nearly naked (or in some cases totally naked) gals shuffling around on a stage.  Not criticizing those who enjoy that kind of thing, but it leaves me cold.  Luckily, the streets are also full of beer bar type establishments which I much prefer.  I find it quite entertaining to sit at an outside table and just watch the world go by.  Yeah, pathetic as it may be.

My impression of Bangkok was that it is relatively clean and modern.  To be sure, it’s not up to Seoul standards but it is also nothing like that disgrace of a city called Manila.  Infrastructure was mostly good and I found it pretty easy to get around.

Wide streets, modern buildings...

Wide streets, modern buildings…

Would I consider living there?  Probably not.  I’d return for a visit but it just didn’t feel like a place I could call home.  Can’t put my finger on why exactly, just so big and alien I’d feel disconnected and estranged somehow.  Granted, I was only there six days so maybe I’d get more comfortable in time.  I did meet a couple of expats and enjoyed their company so that was good.

What can I say about Pattaya?  It’s a huge tourist destination.  Reminded me a little of Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, except with prostitute bars.  There were some nice scenic areas along the waterfront and many high-rise condominiums.  Lots of expats around, so I guess I could fit in.  But here’s the thing, sitting in the beer bars watching the people pass by made me consider whether I’d ever really want to fit in with that crowd.  Not being critical, but I’m honestly not a whore monger.  And that seems to be the main attraction for guys in my demographic.

Oh my!

Oh my!

What I found especially shocking was the number of old farts I’d see trolling the streets.  Now, I’m no spring chicken obviously, but these guys looked like refugees from a nursing home.  Old as dirt, shuffling along with canes and walkers.  I’m like “I don’t want to wind up that!”  On the other hand, I assume they’ve found what makes them happy in life, something I’ve not managed to accomplish as yet.

I could certainly do worse than Pattaya...

I could certainly do worse than Pattaya…

Anyway, while I could make do in Pattaya I suppose, I’m hoping to do better than making do when I re-retire next year.

There are two more places I want to see in Thailand before I make any final decisions—Phuket and Chaing Mai.  Heard good things about both, and from what I’ve heard Chaing Mai might be more my speed.

One big issue for me with Thailand is the language barrier.  Yes, I could learn some of the language, just like I’ve done in Korea.  But ordering up beer and asking for the restroom is a long way from having a meaningful and satisfying conversation with the locals I’d live amongst.  And I think my inability to speak Korean with my Korean wife was a large factor in the failure of that marriage.  I definitely do not want to make that mistake again!

In a future post I will do a little comparison of the places that are on my short list of potential retirement destinations.

Stay tuned!

Hump day!

This work week is going quite a bit better than last week.  But I’ve still got plenty of time left to screw things up.  And some big opportunities to do so as well.  My Deputy is on leave for a couple of weeks so that adds to the stress and pressure.  She’s always got my back to make sure I don’t drop the ball.  Or mix metaphors.  Those are actually cliches not metaphors, but you know what I meant.

Did take time out of a busy day to celebrate our October birthdays!

Did take time out of a busy day to celebrate our October birthdays!

What else?  The dart team remains undefeated.  Don’t want to jinx the team though, so forget I mentioned it.  Three tough matches to go.

Had my quarterly checkup with the cardiologist yesterday.  He was happy with the weight loss and told me to keep exercising.  Said my LDL cholesterol was too high and gave me a second pill to go along with my blood pressure medicine.

Tuesday night is one of my “don’t get drunk and rest my liver”  “stay at home” nights.  So I took a goodly long walk coming home from work.

Arrived at the Banpo bridge right about sunset...

Arrived at the Banpo bridge right about sunset…

Seoul Tower from the pedestrian overpass at Noksapyeong as I near the end of my hike.

Seoul Tower from the pedestrian overpass at Noksapyeong as I near the end of my hike.

I also completed my 20 minute exercise routine when I got home.  Then I did laundry, made bbq ribs, and did dart league stats.  A thrill a minute my life it is.

I found this article, Joyas Volardores, a very nice take on matters of the heart.  You might too.

And then there is this:

I think I'm getting there.

I think I’m getting there.

But it seems to get me every damn time...

But it seems to get me every damn time…

Onward and upward!

 

 

This day so far

Ah Saturday.  A welcome break from the working life.  I started it with a hangover from the stress relief regimen I engaged last night.  I’m sure it was fun.  Why I woke up in the guest bedroom I have no clue.

Anyway, it seems like forever since I visited my old friend Namsan.  So today we got reacquainted.

 

Nice to see you again!

Nice to see you again!

I saw a statue...

I saw a statue…

...and a building...

…and a building…

...but so far I've not been able to find this restaurant.  Perhaps it is for the best.

…but so far I’ve not been able to find this restaurant. Perhaps it is for the best.  I don’t know.

After my 20,000 step hike, I ventured out to Yongsan Garrison to participate in a birthday barbecue for my friend and dart teammate Ben.

Ben's an Army Major and we met a few years ago in Columbia, SC.  When he left Cola I told him perhaps I'd see him in Korea one day.  His wife said "NO WAY!".  I enjoyed welcoming her to the Land of the Morning Calm.

Ben’s an Army Major and we met a few years ago in Columbia, SC. When he left Cola I told him perhaps I’d see him in Korea one day. His wife said “NO WAY!”. I enjoyed welcoming her to the Land of the Morning Calm.

And that’s about it from here.  Who knows what adventure Saturday night holds in store?  Only one way to find out.  Live it!

 

 

Back to reality…

…and so far, reality sucks!

Arrived back in the Land of the Morning Calm safe and sound.  Back to work on Monday morning and had a couple of hundred emails begging for my attention.  Not that I have any time to do actual work since it seems I spend most of my days in one meeting or another.  And I expect some shit is fixin’ to hit the fan, but of course I can’t go there on the blog.  Let’s just say it has been a stressful week so far, enough so that I’ve been wistfully wishing I just said fuck it and stayed in Thailand.  This too shall pass I suppose, so I’ll just put on my big boy pants and deal with it.  I can make it through one more year.  Which is exactly what I kept telling myself before I retired the first time.  Ah well, the money is good.

I walked away my blues to the tune of 27,000 steps today.  Then I cooked up some dinner.

Life has its compensations.  With asparagus on the side!

Life has its compensations. With asparagus on the side!

Still mentally working up the Thailand summation post.  Soon my friends.  Soon.

Almost like home

A fun night of darts at the New Cowboy dart bar.

A reunion of sorts with a couple former members of the Seoul International Dart League.  They played back in the 1990s, long before my arrival in 2005.

A reunion of sorts with a couple former members of the Seoul International Dart League, Johnny and W.C.  They played back in the 1990s, long before my arrival in 2005.

It's a cozy bar, featuring only one board.

It’s a cozy bar, featuring only one board.

I took 1st Place and was awarded this "trophy"...

I took 1st Place and was awarded this “trophy”…

Me and New Cowboy owner Miss Tia.  I was declared MVP of the tourney and got the honor of wearing the famous MVP cap.  Truth be told, I didn't play well at all.  I'm sure they were just being nice to their guest.

Me and New Cowboy owner Miss Tia. I was declared MVP of the tourney and received the honor of wearing the famous MVP cap. Truth be told, I didn’t play well at all. I’m sure they were just being nice to their guest.

Reckon I'll have to redeem my "Tia Ticket" before I catch my flight home late tonight...

Reckon I’ll have to redeem my “Tia Ticket” before I catch my flight home late tonight…

Other random shit from my wanderings on the streets of Bangkok…

At least they admit it.  This explains why vaping is illegal here I reckon...

At least they admit it. This explains why vaping is illegal here I reckon…

At least he admits it.  There are worse things than being a man ho I suppose...

At least he admits it. There are worse things than being a man ho I suppose…

It seems wherever I am in the world I'm never far from "home".

It seems wherever I am in the world I’m never far from “home”.

I’ll be wrapping things up here today with a visit from my friend Tom.  He’s flying in this afternoon.  Last time I saw him we happened to be in Phnom Penh at the same time.

More to come…

The King and I

The King of Thailand died yesterday.  As an American I’ve never been keen on the monarchy concept.  But by all accounts, Bhumibol Adulyadej was revered by the Thai people and he seemed to have a genuine concern for the well-being of his citizens.

I'm wearing black today in respect for the mourning of the Thai people. The King is dead! Long live the King!

I’m wearing black today in respect for the mourning of the Thai people.
The King is dead! Long live the King!

Things seem pretty much business as usual here in Bangkok, with one notable exception. Last night I walked over to see what was happening at Nana Plaza.  It was dark. That’s huge!  Got back to my Soi and all seemed normal.  Until the police showed up.  In brown shirts. Whereupon they ordered all the bars to close down immediately.  That certainly put a damper on my usual routine.  Not sure how long this restriction on alcohol consumption is going to last, I’ve heard rumors of 30 days.  I’m supposed to compete in a dart tournament tonight, we’ll see if that is still happening.

Last night’s dining extravaganza:

I don't always travel to Thailand, but when I do I eat Mexican food.

I don’t always travel to Thailand, but when I do I eat Mexican food.

I guess it is apparent that I’m taking a bit of a holiday from the low-carb lifestyle as well.  I’ll get back on the program when I return home on Sunday.  At least I’m maintaining my walking rhythm.

In other news, I foolishly failed to pack a sufficient quantity of vaping juice to get me through the week.  I realized this on Tuesday.  Went online to see if there were any retailers in the area only to discover that not only does no one sell vape supplies, they are illegal to even possess.  Well, I had heard that on the street and now I’m glad they didn’t search my carry on bag when I arrived at customs.  I brought 10 vaping pens and 90 ML of oil with me.  I’ve since lost one of my pens and consumed 80 ML of juice.

Anyway, I was trying to decide what to do.  Cut back on consumption, go full on and deal with nicotine withdrawal symptoms when I’d exhausted my supply of oil, or heaven forbid, buy a pack of cigarettes.  As I contemplated these options while walking the streets of Bangkok yesterday afternoon I happened upon a street vendor selling vaping supplies.  It was a bit of kismet because I normally don’t even look at the crap being sold on the street.

I'm a little worried about the quality of the ingredients, but it is a load off my mind knowing I'll be able to feed my addiction.

I’m a little worried about the quality of the ingredients, but it is a load off my mind knowing I’ll be able to feed my addiction.

Now it’s time to head out and burn some of those carbs I’ve been consuming.  See you on the other side!

UPDATE:  I guess it’s official.  No nightlife for 30 days.

 

 

Lola

So, I can cross Walking Street in Pattaya off my bucket list.

I came. I saw. I drank. I left.

I came. I saw. I drank. I left.

Walking Street is a bar district on speed.  I sampled just a few of them.  More of the same really, just more of it.  How many gals can you watch dancing in a bikini (or less) before it gets old.  My tolerance seems to be approximately one beer.

Oh my!

Oh my!

Actually, this is low season.  And a Tuesday night.  The ratio of bargirls to customers was probably 5-1 in the joints I visited.  Even the street was relatively empty.  I’ve been reading online that the bars are really struggling.  The Chinese are visiting by the busload, but they are just looky-loos, didn’t see any of them partaking of the nightlife–just photographs from the street.

As regular readers know, I much prefer sitting at a street side table with a cold beer and watching the people go by.  I was pretty surprised to see western men with their American-sized gals checking out the night life.  I can only imagine what was going through their heads (him: I could have this instead of that!, her: oh these poor exploited women, these bars must be closed forever!).  Ah, but who knows?

Which reminds me of the time I was sitting at a bar and these two largish women were talking in what sounded like a Scottish accent.  Being friendly, I asked “are you ladies from Scotland?”.  I got a dirty look and a snide “no, Wales”.  I politely responded, “sorry, are you whales from Scotland?.  Bada bing!

There was something on walking street to cater to every demographic.  Russian bars, Indian nightclubs, and of course the infamous “ladyboy” clubs.  Being both open minded and curious, I ventured into one called Katoeys are Us.  I sat down and ordered up a beer. I got big smiles and waves from all the dancers on stage.  There was one “gal” across the room who challenged me to a stare fight.  Or so it seemed.  I lost so called her over for a drink.  She was quite lovely actually and had a beautiful smile to compliment her overly large and obviously fake breasts.  Given our lack of a common language and my nervousness as she started rubbing my thigh, that’s as far as the conversation went.  I downed my beer and headed back out to the relative safety of Walking Street.

In my haste to escape I realized that I had failed to empty my bladder.  I *almost* made it to another bar’s restroom, but did experience some leakage before I could relieve myself.  I was embarrassed by a fairly obvious wet spot on my blue jeans so I began to make my way home.  I took the Beach Road route figuring it would be less crowded and dark enough to hide my shame.  Was surprised at the number of free lance prostitutes I encountered there.  Some were quite attractive but I’m even less interested in street hookers than I am of the gals who ply their trade from the go-go bars.  I quickly crossed the road and discreetly sat at an outside table at Hooters where I enjoyed watching them ply their trade over a beer and chicken wings.

Yesterday I took a nice long walk (24,000 steps) and worked up a good sweat.  Decided to stick close to home for my nighttime activities.  So many bars, so little time!

"Fcuk Inn. Liquor in the front. Poker in the rear". Gotta give 'em props on the creativity, but I never actually went inside to partake of either.

“Fcuk Inn. Liquor in the front. Poker in the rear”.
Gotta give ’em props on the creativity, but I never actually went inside to partake of either.

I did have a couple of beers at a street side bar and enjoyed watching the katoey’s in a bar across the road work hard at trying to entice passerby to come inside for a unique experience.

Good luck with that!

Good luck with that!

I had heard that you really couldn't tell the difference. Taller than normal, lots of makeup, fake tits are all tell-tale signs. Still, many are quite attractive and I have no issues with folks who go for that kind of thing. Me? I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body. I only like women.

I had heard that you really couldn’t tell the difference. Taller than normal, lots of makeup, fake tits are all tell-tale signs. Still, many are quite attractive and I have no issues with folks who go for that kind of thing. Me? I’m a lesbian trapped in a man’s body. I only like women.

In my wanderings, I came across another creatively named bar:

I'm no Donald Trump but I grabbed a beer here anyway...

I’m no Donald Trump but I grabbed a beer here anyway…

Turns out the name of the bar was intended to be ironic. Or so it appeared. Actually, I quite enjoyed chatting with Gee. She was kind enough to let me use some mosquito repellent for my legs, I reciprocated with a drink for her. It was nice to have a decent conversation in English, although we confined ourselves to topics like travel and the relative merits of vaping versus smoking. Definitely a girl with something extra!

Turns out the name of the bar was intended to be ironic. Or so it appeared. 
Actually, I quite enjoyed chatting with Gee. She was kind enough to let me use some mosquito repellent for my legs, I reciprocated with a drink for her. It was nice to have a decent conversation in English, although we confined ourselves to topics like travel and the relative merits of vaping versus smoking. Definitely a girl with something extra!

Today I’m heading back to Bangkok to finish out my holiday in Thailand.  Later I’ll post my impressions and observations of Pattaya overall.  The community, not the bars.  Promise!

Well, I’m not the world’s most physical guy, but when she held me tight she nearly broke my spine, oh my Lola.

Well I’m not dumb but I can’t understand why she walked like a woman but talked like a man, oh my Lola.