Walk on

I’m a bit disgusted with myself these days. I’m somewhat overwhelmed with a convergence of events and I am not pleased with how I am handling it. Last night I have to admit I was pretty much a drunken asshole. I got really pissed at a dart opponent and said some things I regret. Later, a friend told me about some behavoir I do not even recall, but it had pissed him off immensely. So, today I am lamenting my actions and trying to resolve to be a better person in the days to come.

Not sure how to go about that at this point, but perhaps I will be struck with some insights soon. Or not. Best I can do for now is try to pull my head out of my ass and stop worrying about what I can’t control.

I hear some people been talkin’ me down
Bring up my name, pass it round
They don’t mention the happy times
They do their thing, I do mine.

Well baby, that’s hard to change
I can’t tell them how to feel
Some get stoned, some get strange
Sonner or later it all gets real.

Walk on.

–Neil Young


Last night the Sliders lost to our sister Dolce team, the Rubbies, 17-14.

I went 2-7 on the night, so it is easy to do the math and determine who is most responsible for the defeat.

I played all 9 legs against Dave New (singles and doubles) and threw like shit. Hence the title of this post.

Actually, Dave threw excellent darts, killing me with 6 marks. I still had my chances, but couldn’t execute.

I’m actually in general funk, and my darts are just another manisfestation of my malaise.

I think I need a break. But I see nothing on horizon that points to any forthcoming relief.


A better Friday…

…than the last one. No drama or bloodshed. Just some nice darts at the Dolce tournament and enough beer to drown the stress of the previous week.

Jim and me were teamed up in the “early bird” tourney. I was throwing pretty much up to par but Jim was on fire. We beat Dave New and Dano pretty handily in two cricket legs (they had destroyed us in ’01). That tooks us to Tom R. and Chris H. for the championship match. When Tom heard who we had played in the first round he exclaimed “you beat those guys!?”. Yep, and then we beat Tom and Chris 2-0 to take home the money. As I said, we were throwing good darts, and being disrespected like that gave us all the motivation required to stay focused on victory.

For Prime Time we did a singles tourney which was nice for a change of pace. I played against Jim in the first round, and you take him lightly at your peril (as we had proved in the first tourney). I started out strong in cricket but he caught me on the 17s and we had a classic pointing battle the rest of the way. It came down to me hitting a double bull to finally seal the win. We had a similar struggle in ’01, Jim had worked it to a 32 out but I got the double duece before he got the chance to shoot for it.

Next up was Chris, and I took him 2-0 as well.

So, it was me and Tom R. for the championship. I opened with 7 20s and continued pointing when the situation dicatated (i.e. 3rd dart no number to close). He didn’t like it much, but I’ve seen him play that way and really, that is basic cricket strategy anyway. The ’01 game was a classic battle. Tom was throwing 60+ consistently. I had two Ton-40s to stay close. He got a couple of tries at the out, but I closed the game first and won the singles tournament, going 6-0.

Betty from XOX and a Korean contingent came in just before the start of the “Die Hard” tourney. I was pretty drunk by now, but I entered on the chance that I might draw a partner who could carry me. Teamed up with Lonnie, and damn he tried but I was too heavy a burden. I had nothing left. Plus, we drew Betty (the number 1 player in “A” division now that Petro is gone) and a tall Korean (like 6’5″) who went by “Q”. We actually hung relatively close thanks to Lonnie, but they were too much in the end and we went down 0-2. Lonnie had chalked my match with Tom and I am sure he was wondering where those 7-marks and high tons went. Oh well.

By the way, since Alistair occasionly reads this blog I should say that he is capable of being #1, but he has got to do it at oche. He’s a teammate on Sliders, so I am definitely pulling for him.

All right, enough about darts. Time to get ready for Scott’s wedding today. He’s a great guy (notwithstanding his Canadianess) and we are all looking forward to the big event.

I’ll be back…

Skinned alive

So I had the skin graft surgery yesterday. I had actually about 90% changed my mind as I figured I could clean and dress the finger until it healed up properly. But when I got there, the receptionist slapped a hospital bracelet on me, and motioned for me to follow her. So, we walk through the first floor lobby, up a flight of stairs, reverse direction and walk through pediatrics, neurosurgery (lots of people lining the walls in PJs waiting with Night of the Living Dead-like expressions. Scary.) up another flight of stairs, through some double doors, and into the surgery clinic.

Where my surgery team awaited. In our mutually limited means of communication, they were asking about anathesia and if I wanted to sleep. I said I wasn’t real keen on pain, but I would prefer to stay awake. So we agreed on a local. I reiterated that I was not staying in the hospital and the doc nodded and said “yeah, you go home”. So, I was instructed to undress and put on the surgical clothes (not one of those backless gowns thank god) and I was escorted to the operating room.

I got the full treatment. There were 3 nurses and 3 doctors. And I’m thinking how much is this going to cost me? I had called Blue Cross and although Soonchonkyang Hospital is on the preferred provider list, outpatient treatment is paid out of pocket and I file the claim afterwards for direct reimbursement. So, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen if the costs exceeded my available funds, but at this point there was no turning back.

We had agreed to take the needed skin from the same hand (that fleshy area (heel?) at the bottom of my hand. I had told the surgeon “dartsuh” and made my throwing motion and he actually understood and assured me I would be good to play in a week. So they proceed to clean up my hand. But when he cleaned the wound I about jumped out of my skin. I am sure I must have a nerve ending exposed or something, because it feels like an electrical shock in a root canal kinda way when touched. Then the doc said “injection and pain” and while the injections were in fact painful (like stepping on a nail) it was not so bad comparitively speaking. He didn’t wait too long to start messing with the finger though and I had to express my discomfort with the internationally recognized “goddamn, that hurts!”. Loudly. I’m guessing he was thinking he should have just put me to sleep, but he gave me another round of injections. Which allowed sufficient time for the first round to take effect and my hand became comfortably numb.

After that, everything was cool. It was a little disconcerting hearing everything (they had put a screen where I couldn’t watch, not that I wanted too). I didn’t catch much of the conversation of course, but it sounded an awful lot like the doctors were flirting with the nurses. Laughter from the docs and shy giggles from the nurses. Anyway, that is what I choose to believe they were talking about. I was just glad I didn’t hear “Aigo!” (roughly translates to damn. At least that is how I use it).

Took about 30 minutes. I was taken back to my clothes, told to go see the receptionship, was given a prescription and a bill for 423,000 Won (around $425.) I go back at 1100 today I think to get my head stiches looked at. Not sure what the drugs are supposed to do. If they are for pain, they don’t work. I wound taking a leftover Percocet last night and slept well. Feel pretty good today and plan to be back at work after my appointment.

Well that is the story. It seems a shame that this is the only thing I have to blog about. But I figure why not share the pain? My readers have come to expect no less.

Opening night

Well, we started the summer dart season off with a nice victory over Cake Mix, 22-9. I didn’t play particularly well, going 5-4, but the bottom line is the bottom line. So, we shall see how it goes the rest of the way. Y’all can look forward to reading all about it right hear.

Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.

Damn, that’s gonna leave a mark…

Just wanted to update y’all on the sorry state of my wounded body. Went to the doc today to get cleaned and rewrapped, and when the bandage came off the finger (painfully) I was still bleeding. Doctor says I need surgery, which I understand to be a skin graft of some type or another. Get this: he recommended I stay in hospital 2 or 3 days! I said bullshit (well, I was more polite than that) and he said ok, you just have to come back everyday. Which I guess is an acceptable compromise.

Strange how in the USA they won’t keep you overnight unless you are knocking on death’s door. Here, they admit you for a hangnail it seems. Another difference is those little niceties like taking blood pressure and temprature, asking about allergies or what other medications you are taking just isn’t done. I took three shots of something in the ass on Saturday but have no inkling what they were. I have no known allergies, but hell, they didn’t know that. It just doesn’t inspire confidence somehow.

Oh well. Going in at 1400 tomorrow. Don’t know if they intend to knock me out or not, but I am not real keen on watching skin extracted from my (thigh?) and reattached to my pinky. Plus the inability to interact coherently is a bit disconcerting. I guess I should spend tonight learning to say things like “I can’t breathe” or “that hurts like a sonofabitch” or other handy phrases appropriate (try typing appropriate with a bandaged right pinky sometime) to the situation.

Instead I am going to play darts. It’s opening night of the summer season!

Last night had me in stiches…

…but it was no laughing matter.

In fact, it was deja vu all over again.

I had a blackout, hit the floor, and now have stiches in my head and an f’d up finger.

Really strange, because I don’t remember a thing. One minute I am sitting at the bar having a pleasant conversation, the next thing I know I am being picked up off a bloody floor.

I’m told I started coughing and stood up and then went down for the count. No idea what is up with that.

I didn’t go to the hospital last night as suggested, but when I woke this morning my finger was throbbing. I tried to take the bandage off, but the slightest touch brought on searing pain. My head looked ok, as that wound had already scabbed over. But I walked over to the hospital convienently located in my neighborhood to get my pinky looked at.

Of course, they just ripped the bandage right off which was incredibly painful and started some pretty impressive bleeding. After cleaning it up I could see that I didn’t have a cut finger, rather it was as if some had taken a filet knife and sliced an inch off. Sorry to say, when the doc started probing around I screamed like a banjee. Worse pain I can remember. So, they wrapped it up and I go back Monday for another looksee and cleaning. Which means I get to re-experience the joy of having the bandage removed.

The also stiched up my head which comparitively speaking was a piece of cake. And three injections in the ass. Not my idea of a great Saturday morning to be sure.

If there is a silver lining, it occurred to me that if death comes like a blackout it won’t be bad at all. One minute you are there having a nice chat and the next your gone. No worries at all.

Out on the weekend

Not a bad one, all things considered.

Friday night was the regular Dolce Vita darts tournament. Chris H. and I played about as bad as you can play without losing. We wound up “good” enough for a first place finish. My partner in the second tourney was a little off (to be charitable). You know, in a blind draw format I just accept who I get without complaint. Lord knows I get a solid partner as least as often as a weak one. But damn, it is one thing to get a beginner and another thing to get a beginner who won’t take advice. And I don’t mean advice on technique, I mean basic darts strategy. For example, we had an 18 out (yeah, that was my doing, sue me) and he hits a single 9. No problem. I suggest a 1 double 4 but he tells me he doesn’t like the double four and throws a 3. Well, a 6 out is an out but it is fraught with peril. I of course proceeded to hit a 3, but salvaged a win with the good fortune of hitting the 1 double 1. Not that it mattered because we then got smoked in the cricket leg for a first round exit.

Anyway, I got Alistair for the 3rd tourney (see the good/bad does even out) and we played some decent games for the win.

Between tourneys, a couple of acquaintences from work came in and sat at the bar next to me. After they left the bar girls were laughing and talking in Korean and I said what’s so funny? They said “we have never noticed you were handsome before we saw you next to those two guys.” I am sure they didn’t realize that they had paid me an insult rather than a compliment, but that’s sorta the way things are in Korea. You either laugh or get bitter. Life is too short for bitterness, right?

Several hours later I encountered the same two gentlemen in Grand Ol’ Opry. They were feeling no pain (well, I am sure they were the next morning). Discretion and the rules of Itaewon preclude me from saying anything more about their antics.

Saturday night was the bachelor party for one of my Canadian buds, Von Jackass (aka Scott). We had the back room, 3 kegs of beer, and Seung Youb on the grill. Well, SY wasn’t on the grill, the pork and chicken wings were, but you get my meaning. If inebriation is a measure of having a good time, Scott was the happiest guy on Earth that night. After one of the many toasts in his honor I told him that there are only two times in a man’s life when he doesn’t understand women. Before marriage and after marriage. I noticed a lot of head nodding, so I guess it must be true. But then I was talking to a room full of drunk men, so who knows?

Later, Grant, Alistair, Matt and me (4/5s of next season’s version of Sliders) moseyed over to Blue Frog to throw some darts. We paired up and played some doubles for money and wound up splitting two sets, which was where we chose to put the darts away for the night. Sharp pointed things and drunks are not a safe and sane combination, not that we cared.

After a lazy Sunday playing CIV IV (did I mention I got my high score? I did.) I figured I would go out and, yep, you guessed it, throw some darts. There was a wedding party for Daniel at Dolce so I just said my hellos and moved on. Bless U was having some event that seemed to involve Formula 1 racing and Nigerians, so I didn’t even climb the stairs. Manila wasn’t open yet. Which left me with 3 Alley Pub as the best remaining option.

Turned out to be a good choice because my English buddy Neil was sitting at the bar and we had a nice chat whilst waiting for a dart board to open up. Neil is one of those “lucky” few who actually read my pathetic blog. Better yet, he purports to like it! That’s actually how we met as it was a friend of his that I saw fall out of a moving taxi which made for one of my great moments in blogging (I wasn’t kidding when I said this is a pathetic blog!). Anyway, he proceeded to ply me with shots of Jagermeister (which makes me gag, but good manners dictate that I accept the generous offer when made). After 3 or 4 I had a pretty good buzz going and Rodney and I threw same nice games. His darts have really improved the past year or so and I told him he needed to get his ass up to “A” division where it belongs.

Given that us Americans had to work on a Korean National Holiday (Buddha’s birthday), I made it an early night and journeyed back home (stopping for a beer at Manila Bar on the way).

And that my friends is the story of my weekend. Don’t hate me because I have such an outstanding life. Some of us are just born lucky. Or not.


1. Work has been sucking the life out of me.

2. I am always tired.

3. My boss is leaving this summer.

4. I’m expected to replace her.

5. See #1 and multipy by 10.

6. Attended a nice going away party for Petro at Hooters.

7. We lost the best player on our dart team and in Itaewon (see #6).

8. We lost the championship game to our arch rivals XOX 16-14 (see #7).

9. I played decent, but lost two legs I should have won (see #8).

10. I had dinner at Top Cloud, the restaurant on the 33rd floor of the Samsung Building.

11. The view was great, the buffet wasn’t worth the price.

12. If you go, order off the menu.

13. Went to the Latern Festival in Jong-no and enjoyed myself.

14. Found a great outdoor (garden) Korean restuarant in Insa-dong.

15. Sorry, I forget the name–I know it had garden in it.

16. I resigned as Captain of the dart team.

17. My granddaughter turned 3 on Children’s Day (May 5).

18. I haven’t seen her for over a year and that really sucks.

19. Last Friday night I went out drinking and when I left Debut bar the sun was coming up.

20. I didn’t go out on Saturday.

21. I got the results of my colonoscopy.

22. Negative for cancer.

23. But I have been advised I need to do another one in a year.

24. If one of the polyps had been any larger they would have removed part of my colon.

25. I’m glad I went when I did.

26. I have dreams about dying.

27. And that would really piss me off.

28. Because I will retire in 2 years, 6 months and 27 days.

29. Not that I’m counting.

30. I am ready to go back to the Philippines.

31. But likely won’t until September.

32. I hope I don’t sound depressed.

33. Because I really am not.

34. I’ll ‘fess up to melancholy.

35. I really think Obama is full of shit.

36. And would be very bad for America.

37. I think it is fair to judge someone by the company they keep.

38. And MAN, the WEATHER just ain’t WRIGHT.

39. If you get my meaning.

40. I got an invite to Scott’s wedding in two weeks.

41. Korean weddings are a lot of fun.

42. I’m thinking the guys night out this Saturday will be fun as well.

43. I have met some really great people here in Korea.

44. And I’m tired of saying goodbye to them.

45. Colin is next, but I can’t begrudge him much.

46. Because I’ve never seen him smile so much.

47. Love will do that to you I suppose.

48. And I will have someone I know when I travel to Vietnam.

49. I think I will go out and practice darts tonight.

50. Fifty is a good place to stop this nonsense, don’t ya think?


It is funny what pops up in your email. Even funnier that perfect strangers happen upon my blog and find it somehow worthy of their attention. Hell, I am thrilled when someone takes the time to leave a comment. But sending a warm and thoughtful email actually inspired (guilted?) me into posting some new crap here. Here’s what Michael from Sarasota had to say:

hi John,

I wanted to write you a quick email. I have been periodically reading your blog over the last couple years. You have a really great way of bringing your experiences to life on the computer. I wanted to tell you though, that something odd has happened to me. Let me explain.

I am American. I left the U.S. and went on a year+ long journey around the world when I was 19-20. When I was done, I settled in Germany for 4 years. There I would meet my Japanese wife. Other great adventures ensued. in 2001 I returned to the US and I now live in Florida. Knowing this is important to understand the point I will now make.

On my journey and subsequent life in Germany I was quite a writer. I have books and books of handwritten journals. At one point I bought a typewriter and then it REALLY poured out of me. It was really something. All the way up until the completion of my life in Germany, I wrote a lot. Then, upon my return to the US, my writing stopped. I really felt like I didn’t have much to write anymore. Since I have been back in the US, I have made some attempts at writing but it is weird. I just don’t have much to write about.

Then I began to understand why. Living away from the US allowed me a great amount of anonymity. It allowed me an identity that was very well defined my my “foreiner” status. I was the guy from New York, or i was the tourist, etc. People regard Americans with a certain courtesy around the world, politics aside. I really liked that status. That special status made me feel like I really had a genuine story to tell, like Captain Ahab.

Now I live in Florida and life is great. It is warm, there are beaches, life is easy. The only problem is that I don’t have anything to write about because I have melted back into the sea of my countrymen. I hope that you enjoy your “gaijin” or “gwailo” status in Korea and reap the unique benifits it has to offer. Reading your blog really puts be back into my traveled life and brings that other dimension I have described here.

Just thought you’d like to know,


Thanks for that Michael. Your words reminded me that I am in fact having a great adventure, and it only stops being so when I allow myself to take things here for granted. So, I will try a little bit harder to make each day meaningful, even in the most simple or mundane things I might chance to encounter.

And who knows? Maybe I will even get off (or technically on) my lazy ass and write about them.

Thanks again for writing.

A moment of Zen

Going through some of my email archives and came across this:


1. Save The Whales. Collect The Whole Set.

2. A Day Without Sunshine is Like, Night.

3. On The Other Hand, You Have Different Fingers..

4. I Just Got Lost In Thought. It Wasn’t Familiar Territory.

5. 42.7% Of All Statistics Are Made Up On The Spot.

6. Light Travels Faster Than Sound, Which Is Why Some People Appear
Bright Until You Hear Them Speak.

7. I Feel Like I’m Diagonally Parked In A Parallel Universe.

8. Honk If You Love Peace And Quiet.

9. Remember, Half The People You Know Are Below Average.

10. He Who Laughs Last, Thinks Slowest.

11. Depression Is Merely Anger Without Enthusiasm.

12. The Early Bird May Get The Worm, But The Second Mouse Gets The

13. I Drive Way Too Fast To Worry About Cholesterol.

14. Support Bacteria. They’re The Only Culture Some People Have.

15. Monday Is An Awful Way To Spend 1/7 Of Your Week.

16. A Clear Conscience Is Usually The Sign Of A Bad Memory.

17. Change Is Inevitable, Except From Vending Machines.

18. Get A New Car For Your Spouse. It’ll Be A Great Trade!

19. Plan To Be Spontaneous Tomorrow.

20. Always Try To Be Modest, And Be Proud Of It!

21. If You Think Nobody Cares, Try Missing A Couple Of Payments.

22. How Many Of You Believe In Psycho-Kinesis? Raise My Hand.

23 . Ok,…. So What’s The Speed Of Dark?

24. How Do You Tell When You’re Out Of Invisible Ink?

25. If Everything Seems To Be Going Well, You Have Obviously Overlooked

26. When Everything Is Coming Your Way, You’re In The Wrong Lane.

27. Hard Work May Pay Off In The Future. Laziness Pays Off Now.

28. Everyone Has A Photographic Memory. Some Just Do Not Have Film.

29. If Barbie Is So Popular, Why Do You Have To Buy Her Friends?

30. How Much Deeper Would The Ocean Be Without Sponges?

31. Eagles May Soar, But Weasels Do Not Get Sucked Into Jet Engines.

32. What Happens If You Get Scared Half To Death Twice?

33. I Used To Have An Open Mind But My Brains Kept Falling Out.

34. I Couldn’t Repair Your Brakes, So I Made Your Horn Louder.

35. Why Do Psychics Have To Ask You For Your Name?

36. Inside Every Older Person Is A Younger Person Wondering What

37. Just Remember – If The World Did Not Suck, We Would All Fall Off.

I’m thinking after my previous post I should reassure the world that I have not lost my sense of humor. Which is a good thing seeing as how often my life feels like a joke. Ha Ha!


No idea what is wrong with me or why I have lost the desire to blog.

Well, I guess I do have an idea.

I am feeling a bit disconnected from everything and everyone in the world. And what is left isn’t all that interesting to me, so I can’t imagine why it would be to any intrepid visitor who might somehow come across this weary blog.

This is the life I have chosen. And that nearly everyone I care about has found me unworthy for living this way only underscores the isolation. But yes, I take full responsibility for my decisions. And I acknowledge my selfishness is choosing to seek meaning in my life rather than living as others would have me to do.

So there it is. Turn your back if you must. I never asked for understanding anyway. And I won’t ask for what I cannot give.

Try as I might though, I can’t stop caring.

I am sorry if that is not enough.