Peekaboo Paradox

Way down on the list of things I miss is Sunday mornings with the The Washington Post. Which is not to say I don’t miss it a lot, it is just that there are lots of things I miss more. Notwithstanding its biased news coverage and left leaning editorial slant, you often find some damn fine feature writing within its pages. Among the writers on staff I most enjoy is Gene Weingarten. Always writing with wit and style, he is quite often both funny and poignant. It was my pleasure to come across this most excellent profile of a fascinating man known as The Great Zucchini.

Do yourself a favor and have a read. You’ll be glad you did.

Made it to Friday!

Long week, I’ll be glad when it is over. Almost everyone at work has a cold and they have let me know they don’t think its a coincidence. Hmm, I guess I should have taken more time off but I wasn’t reallly “incapacitated” and that’s supposed to be the standard for sick leave (I mean you are signing a gov’t form attesting to that fact) so don’t blame me.

It was Dolce Vita versus Dolce Vita in pool league and we (the Lifers) got stomped. I lost two games, including one where I scratched on the 8 ball. But for me, even getting the chance to shoot the 8 ball is a sign of progress.

This is my buddy Jeff’s last weekend so we are going to do a final “Itaewon bar crawl” Saturday night. Jeff is the first person I befriended in Korea and I am really sorry to see him go. Anyway, here’s an interesting article from The Seoul Times that pretty much nails the Itaewon nightlife scene. Now, for the record I have not been in any of the sleazy bars mentioned in this article, but I have been in the neighborhood. I prefer dart boards to juicy girls, but that’s just me.

More soon, it’s Friday but I still have an 8 hour day to put in for my Uncle Sam.

Thanks to Nomad for the article.

One year in…

Or one year out. Or one year to go. Or half way home. Whatever, I have made it through the first year of my two year commitment to Korea. No great insights on the experience. I am behind in the things I hope to accomplish before I leave, but I still have a year to get there. I remain optomistic (generally), and can honestly state that I cherish so much about my life amongst the wonderful Korean people.

In fact, all the negatives come from within me. I miss my family and friends much more than they know. I have not been prudent with my finances, and that is something that I must correct because I do intend to travel and see as much of Asia as possible in the time that I have left here.

Actually, the positives in my life far exceed the negatives, its just that my nature seems to be to dwell on the things that could be better. So, on the positive side I have a job that I find fascinating, challenging, satisfying, and fulfilling. I really like making my small contribution to the success of the Army’s mission here in Korea. I have been incredibly sad about seeing so many of my friends leaving Korea, but I’m making new ones now and I’m coming to understand that the transient nature of relationships here is just anonther aspect of the Korea experience. No point in fighting change, you just have to embrace it.

Today was a good day. I got invited to join the Dolce Vita dart team. Yeah, invited because I’m a decent player. Tonight was our first league match and we kicked ass on some Canucks from Jesters. I played decent enough to win two games, and I really enjoy my teammates. Hell, even my pool is improving and I do expect to compete for most improved before the year is out.

I sometimes think my life is pretty shallow here, but upon reflection I am spending time with people I enjoy and they seem to appreciate having me around. That’s not so bad in the grand scheme of things. I don’t like my solitary life, but I am learning that I am a capable of taking care of myself. That’s something positive too.

Anyway, it’s late and I’m half-drunk so I won’t ramble on with this boring drivel. Just know that I’m doing ok and expect to be doing even better in the coming months.

Oh, this cold or whatever it is has been kicking my ass. I’m feeling functional again, but still have a hacking cough and my nose is full of Stuff Not Overly Tolerable (SNOT). Well, it seems to be hitting alot of us these days. So to all you other folks hacking and wheezing, get well soon. This too shall pass and all that.

It’s all good.

Sick bed

Well, it was just a matter of time. I’ve noted how some of my favorite expat bloggers have been bitten by some kind of bug. Now its gotten me. More than a cold, but not quite the flu, at least for me. Last night was pretty much sleepless. Kept getting up for water, but swallowing was like gargaling razor blades. Had a fever, with the chills and sweats going on simaltaneously too. Left work early today, there was no point in sticking around, I was definitely non-functional.

Pool league was tonight. I didn’t have the captain’s phone number so I couldn’t call in sick as I planned. I showed up to make sure we had enough to play, and he convinced to play one game since I was there and all. I won, and played pretty danm good in a come from behind victory. Guess I should play sick more oftern. Anyway, one game and I was outta there. Headin’ off to bed now and hope to see signs of recovery with the dawn’s early light.

Pleasant dreams all.

A warning for men!

Don’t be a victim! I got this on email and frankly had never considered the ramifications. I’ll certainly be more careful in the future…

Police are warning all men who frequent clubs, parties and local
pubs to be alert and stay cautious when offered a drink from any

Many females use a date rape drug on the market called “Beer.” The
drug is found in liquid form and available anywhere. It comes in
bottles, cans, from taps and in large “kegs”.

Beer is used by female sexual predators at parties and bars to
persuade their male victims to go home and have sex with them. A
woman needs only to get a guy to consume a few units of Beer and
then simply ask him home for no strings attached sex. Men are
rendered helpless against this approach.

After several Beers, men will often succumb to the desires to
perform sexual acts on horrific looking women whom they would never
normally be attracted. After drinking Beer, men often awaken with
only hazy memories of exactly what happened to them the night
before, often with just a vague feeling ! that “something bad”

At other times these unfortunate men are swindled out of their
life’s savings, in a familiar scam known as “a relationship.” In
extreme cases, the female may even be shrewd enough to entrap the
unsuspecting male into a longer term form of servitude and
punishment referred to as “marriage.” Men are much more susceptible
to this scam after Beer is administered and sex is offered by the
predatory females.

Please! Forward this warning to every male you know. If you fall
victim to this ‘Beer’ and the women administering …. there are male
support groups where you can discuss the details of your shocking
encounter with similarly affected like-minded guys.

For the support group nearest you, just look up “Golf Courses” in
the phone book.

To be honest, I’ve actually had some of that beer stuff. Apparently I am immune to its effects. Just sayin’.

Mid week check in

Thanks everyone. Your support and encouragement means alot. Thanks for the tips on the functionality of the webcam too. When Carol gets back from New Orleans I’ll try to hook up via the Yahoo messenger route.

Anyway, I think I’m doing better. I have high hopes and plans to break out of this rut and take full advantage of all the possibilities that my continuing Korean adventure has to offer. Avery is right of course (see comments in previous post). A wise girl for such tender years. I love you too darlin’, and I am so proud of you.

So, here’s the news. Last night the new pool league season kicked off. Quite a bit of controversy too. Jim, whose wife owns our host bar Dolce Vita decided to keep his options open and may play for Ohana, the other Dolce Vita team. Hey, that’s his right. Some of the folks on my team (the Lifers) didn’t see it that way. And as a result of what they perceived as a betrayal, they basically chose to mutiny. So, a couple of my favorite teammates, including June and Quatro left the team. Which makes me the only surviving member from last season’s team.

But what the hell, I’m only in it for the fun anyway. I was checking the stats and I was amazed to see that I am not in fact the worst player in the Itaewon Pool League. I wound up ranked 479. I pity that poor guy who is below me at 480, cause that is rock bottom. Well, I have a goal of winning the most improved trophy this season. I am playing better, but I still lost both of my games last night. We were playing the Hollywood Grill Philippino team. Most of the games were close, but of course that only counts in horseshoes (and hand grenades).

My new teammates are an iteresting lot. Gary is the team captain. He’s from Austin, Texas but has lived in Korea for about 10 years. I think he’s an English teacher, but when I asked him what he was doing in Korea, his response was “wreaking havoc”. Conner is a Canadian from Halifax. He seemed surprised and impressed that I knew that was in Nova Scotia. Yeah, I know my Provinces. Then I wowed him by talking Canadian politics. He disagreed with my belief that the conservatives might actually pull out a victory, but that’s what the polls seem to indicate. Carolyn is from Melbourne and is a really good player. I don’t mean to sound shallow, but she is also really well-endowed. Breasts are one thing you just don’t see much in Korea so I couldn’t help but notice. Gary’s girlfriend, a beautiful young Korean woman is also on the team. Anyway, even though we got our ass kicked 11-2, we had fun and I think our eccletic interanational mix will gel into a happy group. Likely a happy group of losers, but winning is not everything, right?

They have a new crew of bartenders at Dolce Vita these days. Quite nice and a good mix. We have a young college student who is very innocent and pretty naive. I doubt she will last long, she’s just not cut out for the night life. They also hired a woman named Min Jung who is just gorgeous. She’s around 30 and this is her first experience working in a “foreigner bar”. Now I personally don’t like it when Korean’s take Western names, but she insisted on having one. So tonight the bar crowd made nominations. I wanted to name her Bonita and she liked that quite a lot. Other nominations included Sara, Grace, Laura, Rachel, Monique, and April. Since we couldn’t reach consensus, we put the names on the dart board and had a shoot out. Rachel got the most hits, so that is what we Christened her. She seemed very proud of her new name and we had a lot of fun doing it.

yeah, I know. What a life.

That’s it for now. Thanks again everyone for sticking with me. Your good wishes mean more to me than I can adequately express.

I just dropped in…

…to see what condition my condition is in…

Actually, I’m just wanting to let everyone know I am still among the living, such as it is. I’m real busy at work, trying to catch up on things that couldn’t get done during the holidays because so many people were not around.

In my non-working world I have been doing squat. I’m really just going through the motions these days and have been almost overwhelmed with a total lack of motivation. Don’t know what’s up with that, but I hope it passes soon.

Carol sent me a webcam, CIV IV, and a DVD (Don Juan DeMarco). I watched the DVD last night. I installed CIV IV, but I think it may demand more than my computer can handle because the graphics are all messed up. Land mass is black, and the characters in the video clips look like ghosts, all you can see are the eyes. Weird. I’m going to reinstall and see if it will start working.

I did successfully install the webcam. So, I can see myself on the screen and record videos, but I’m not sure how I can have a “live” view of myself transmitted to anyone who cares to see my ugly mug, which I guess is the point. Anyone know how that is supposed to work? The instruction book does not go beyond the install.

I can’t seem to shake this disquieting feeling of impending doom. I don’t know what the implications are, but if I happen to die suddenly, you heard it here first. I know that sounds morbid, but people I have known for years are recently departing the earth and I’ve begun to wonder if I’m going to be next. Well, maybe it’s not about me at all. Or maybe I’m losing my mind along with my body. Or maybe I just think too much. Ah well. No point in worrying, what will be will be. You’d think though with these feelings I’d live everyday like it was my last, but no, I just keep meandering along wasting time and not taking advantage of life’s blessings. F it. This too shall pass, right?

Carol had a thrill yesterday. The VRE (the commuter train to DC) she rides to work derailed at Possum Point. It used to cross my mind that derailing on one of those bridges would be like my worst nightmare, but thankfully in this case no one was seriously hurt.

Pool league starts up next week. I’m not sure if I made the roster or not, I understand they have picked up some new players from another bar. I honestly don’t care one way or the other. I’ve been playing a little better but that’s without the stress of match play.

Well, that’s it for now. I’m not as down and out as this post may lead you to believe, I’m just in a funk. Maybe if the temperature would get above freezing I could drag my sorry ass out of the house and my outlook might improve. Then again, I find the whole Itaewon scene more than a little depressing. What I need to do is get out of the city and have some adventure. Soon perhaps. Soon.


Happy New Year all.

Spent the evening last night visiting several places, a couple of them for the first time. Not that there is much difference from one bar to the next. Actually, I welcomed the new year at a tiny little place called Debut. The bar seats five, and the bathroom ceiling is so low I had to bend over when I was standing at the urinal, if you can imagine that. But we had about 10 of us crammed into the bar area and we were having as much fun as possible. Lots of people taking turns buying rounds for the house (a benefit of a small bar I suppose). Met a couple of new people, English teacher types. So, it was all good. I’d rather have been home in Virginia or South Carolina with non-strangers, but that will have to wait for a future new year.

No resolutions. I’m fat and have lots of unhealthy habits. My former boss died last week, and I am definitely aware of my own mortality. But I’ll just keep taking each day as it comes till there ain’t no more I guess. What else can you do?

So here’s wishing you much happiness and may your dreams all come true in ’06.