More stuff about things….

Geez, time flies. I have been so into my personal dramas that I have just not been posting like I know I should. I’m still reading my favorite blogs and leaving a pithy comment or two on occasion, but I just haven’t had the inclination to keep my loyal readers (both of you) up to date.

What’s been happening. Hmm, not a lot. Just into my routine. Actually, I have been working on changing my routine. I’m pretty sick and tired of hanging out in bars. So, I have been watching bootleg DVDs (40 year old virgin turned out to be pretty disappointing) and escaping into the fantasy world of CIV III.

I went ahead and had my old car repaired. Also filled up the gas tank and doubled its value. I really don’t drive all that much, but on grocery day I need it. Also, I like to haul my trash to a dumpster at work. Yeah, I’m ashamed of myself for not doing this whole separation of food, bottles and cans, etc. etc. thing. But not so ashamed to change my evil ways. Anyway, hopefully the new tranny will keep me on the road for the remainder of my tour in Korea.

My real news is my visit to the DMZ today. Wow. If you are in Korea and have not gone, you need to see it. I got a kick out of being watched by the NORKs while we visited the Joint Security Area. The Korean soldiers guarding us were also quite impressive. And one who gave a presentation in perfect British English was worth the trip. We also walked through the number 3 infiltration tunnel which was quite a work out. And yeah, I was awed by the history that the DMZ represents. A good day.

Work is going well. Busy enough to ward off boredom, but not busy enough to be overly stressed. I going to be TDY all next week. More on that later.

My pool game still sucks. Although I did pull off another improbale victory last week. My reduced bar time means less practice, but like golf, it seems the more I play the worse I get anyway.

There you have it, my so called life. Nothing real exciting but I am on balance finding this whole Korean expericence interesting.

In other news…

Yesterday I put my car in the shop. Its get up and go got up and went. It would barely climb the hill leaving my house, and I figured crawling along a major street at 5 mph was not going to endear me to the Korean people. I know next to nothing about auto mechanics, but since the engine seemed strong I suspected a transmission problem, although it was not “slipping” when it shifted gears. Unfortunately my assumption was correct to the tune of 700,000 Won. I was also advised I had a broken motor mount which requires 100,000 Won.

So I paid $1000. for the car in January. It has 155,000 miles on the odometer. Do I invest another 800 bucks to put it back on the road? I could buy another hoopdee for less, but of course when you are dealing with vehicles in this price range it is always a gamble. I could just be buying another problem of similar magnitude. Since buying a new car is not an option right now (but I am lusting after that new Mustang), I have to decide what junk heap is the best bet.

I bought my car from a co-worker who moved to Japan. He had bought it new in the US back in 1993. It has a good body and interior. Tires are fine. So, if I look at this as buying a used car with a new tranny for $800, I would probably say ok. Decisions, decisions.

On the plus side, I will be walking to work for the next couple of days at least. Lord knows the exercise will do me good.

And finally, last night I actually won a league pool game. Broke a 3 week losing streak. Since my gracious teammates have come to expect so little from me, the rare victory is always sweeter. High fives all around.

So there you have a slice of my life in Korea. It’s a thrill a minute.

A day to remember

Four years. Everyone has their story of that morning and how it impacted their life. Mine is not so significant, but it was still a life changing event. Beyond my political conversion, it caused me to rethink what it is that I value most. And that turned out to be freedom.

I’m not going to engage in a political rant on this day of days. I am going to remember what I saw and what I felt on that September morning as I watched smoke billow from the Penatgon from my office in DC. And I am going to honor our brave soldiers who are fighting those who would see us dead rather than living free.

If you don’t get that, words would be wasted anyway.

God bless America.

Happy Birthday Renee

Thirty years ago today my life changed in an amazing way. I became a father. And I experienced a love that perhaps I was unprepared for, but it has made all the difference. I cannot fathom what would have become of me without that joy and responsibility a helpless little baby girl brought into my world. I have not made many great choices in my life, but the decision to hold on to that tiny bundle of love more than makes up for all the other mistakes.

I was not a great father, nor can I take much credit for the wonderful young woman Renee has become. But that special love that overwhelmed me when I first saw her that afternoon all those years ago has been our bond and has sustained me through the good times and bad.

And now my little girl is the mother of her own daughter. And I see in her eyes the love she has for Gracyn is a reflection of the love I have always felt for her. But more than that, I see in my daughter the love of all those who have loved her and shaped her and guided her on her journey through life. Bridget and Beckie and Carol. Grandma and Grandpa. Pernie.

The love you give a child is a timeless thing. It is the essence of life, and to watch this miracle unfold in all its glory is the true joy and reward of parenthood.

I got more than I ever gave, and on this special day I feel truly blessed.

Happy Birthday, daughter. I love you.

Gone to Busan

If you miss the train I’m on, you will know that I’m in Busan…..

Taking the KTX this morning. Kinda excited about my first bullet train experience. Two people yesterday suggested that upgrading to first class is only another 20,000 or so and that it is worth it. I will check that out when I get to the station.

I’m going in with no agenda (iteniary is no hard to spell), but that’s how I like to travel sometimes. Just get there and do a walkabout and see what there is to see. I know I’m going to hit the beach, weather permitting.

Anyway, I have my camera so I’ll capture images of anything I think looks interesting.

I need to get out of Itaewon. I’m starting to get into some bad habits. And I hate feeling like crap every morning. Last night was the first night the soldiers were back in town after a two week exercise. I sorta got caught up in the moment. Finished the night at Grand Ol’ Opry listening to country music and watching some damn good dancers.

So take the paragraph above a muliply by 5 and you have my typical week. But I’m gonna change that, and Busan is part of that strategy.

See you when I get back….