Never one to avoid a thrown gauntlet, even if I haven’t really thought much about it. So here goes (in no particular order):
1. My Korean employees. Hard workers, rarely complain, and no back talk or passive-aggressive shenanigans you’d come to expect from disgruntled Americans. Bear in mind I work for Uncle Sam…
2. My ten minute commute to work. As opposed to the 1.5 hour nightmare I had in DC.
3. I can smoke pretty much wherever I want (except on base, but that’s Little America).
4. The Seoul International Dart League. If you are a regular at LTG you KNEW that would be on the list!
5. The expat community. Soldiers, English teachers, Brits, Scots, Canadians, Pinoys, Japanese…the whole eccletic crowd its been my pleasure to meet and interact with on a regular basis.
6. The food. Just about anytime, but especially after a hard night at darts (and beer). Grilled meat in lettuce leaves with kimchi and sauce. Can’t beat it in my book.
7. Beautiful women.
8. Korean culture and history. I don’t know the half of it (literally), but it is all fascinating as hell.
9. Seoul subway system and the KTX to Busan. Nothing in America compares.
10. Ondol heating. Nothing like a warm floor on a cold winters day. Beats a heat pump any day of the year. Er, well, not in July. But you get my meaning.
Hell, that was pretty easy after all. I could come up with more (like the ROK soldiers in their taekwondo stance at the DMZ), but the challenge was ten and I’ve run the gauntlet.
Last night we eeked out a tough win against Rubbies at Dolce Vita Pub, 19-18. Scott and I went 3-0 in the last round of doubles mix (cricket and ‘01) to secure the victory. I had an average night, going 7-5 but didn’t hit many marks. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I am just an average player who occasionally has moments of brilliance. What I have considered inconsistency is really just a reflection of the reality that I do not throw excellent darts on a regular basis. I am in fact consistently average. I believe that realization will help me enjoy the game more as it eases my frustration when I do not meet the inflated expectations I have set for myself. Of course, I will continue to work hard at improving my game, but I am pretty much resigned to the fact that I will never be in the top tier of amatuer pub darters. So, having fun and staying in the top ten in my division are I think realistic goals to strive for.
So, the Goat is no longer with us. He has a new job that keeps him out of town Monday-Friday. Fortunately, Seung Youb has managed to rejoin the team which is a big plus going into the final third of the seasons. Barring a major implosion, we should make the playoffs where anything is possible.
After the match last night, Koichi, Scott, Seung Youb and I went downstairs to the Bless U seafood restaurant for a bite of food and liquid refreshment. I’m afraid the combination of soju, beer, and saki were a bit overwhelming as I spent some time on the bathroom floor after I arrived home. Got to remember to stick with beer!
Anyway, we had a great time darting and partying. We are planning a team road trip down south in a couple of weeks which I hope to make. A change of scenery is always good now and again. I’m also going to make my first trip to the east coast next month if I can work up the courage to navigate the journey by car.
So maybe I will even have a blog-worthy experience or two.
I mentioned my Scottish friend Alisteir a few posts back and how I don’t get a lot of what he says because his English is, well, from Scotland. One of the words he uses is “Stone” which is apparently some measure of weight back home in the British Isles. I guess to avoid confusing the monetary unit with the weight of things. Whatever. I mention this only to provide context for this newspaper account of a sad family in the motherland: “They weigh 80 stone, claim thousands in benefits - and can’t work. Who do they blame? Anyone but themselves”. Fascinating read. I’m not sure how many ’stones’ I’m up to these days, but it ain’t pretty. At least I’m employed though.
I had to create a new category “assorted misc.” for this post ’cause it didn’t fit anywhere else. Nothing like breaking new ground and keepin’ it fresh. Not that I’d mix metaphors.
I just saw on the news that getting screened for cancer is a leading cause of discovering that you had cancer…
I would never sit in the subway seats reserved for the elderly and I would offer up my seat to an ajumma without being asked regardless. Good manners are appropriate in any country, but you don’t want to be rude in Korea. Unless you are driving. Or walking on the sidewalk. Or waiting in queue. Come to think of it, maybe those reserved seats are the last vestiage of civility in Korea. Oh well, I thought this video was kinda funny:
(Sorry, until I can figure out why I am unable to imbed YouTube, you will have to click this link)
Hat Tip: On My Way To Korea
Well, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve wieghed in on the subject of Korean women. I’m prompted to do so today after reading what I presume is a tongue-in-cheek article in the Korea Times by Michael Breen.
This part especially cracked me up:
Heh. My pal Alasteir is from Scotland and even after knowing him 2 years I still understand only about 50% of what he says. He does have a cute girlfriend though. In fact, most of my friends here have lovely Korean wives, even the Canadians!
It wasn’t so long ago that interracial relationships in Korea were frowned upon (to put it lightly) by polite Korean society. Not unlike the USA in the 1950s. In the social heirarchy here, foriegners are for the most part considered the bottom rung of the ladder. A woman who would “lower” herself to date a waeguk was considered little better than a whore. I still occasionally hear stories of ajosshis (older Korean men)berating women when they have the audacity to been seen in public with their roundeye boyfriends. And I know a guy who dated a Korean woman for over a year, but was kept a secret from her family because they were “conservative” and wouldn’t accept the relationship. This was a woman in her 30s but she was in constant fear because if her father knew he would force her to move back home.
But things are changing, and the young people seem to be much more open to dating outside their race and the social stigma of doing so is diminishing. Then again, I’m a denizen of Itaewon. And as anyone will be quick to tell you, Itaewon is not the “real” Korea. Whatever.
In my considered opinion, Korean women are by far the most beautiful in Asia. At least on the outside. They just have a “look” about them somehow. Sexy and stylish, feminine to the extreme. I like the way they talk, I like the way they walk. Makes me wish I was 30 again. Alas, I’m surrounded by eye candy, but I’m on a sugar-free diet. Actually, that’s not true. It’s just that like anywhere else in the world, an attractive young woman is attracted to attractive young men. It is a blunt reminder that I no longer reside in the latter category when I am addressed as “ajosshi”. Which is the respectful way to address an older man, but in my head I hear “grandfather”. Which of course is what I am. And proud of it! Most of the time…
But I digress. We were talking about Korean women, not me. One of the sweetest gals I’ve met here is Min Young. She’s the girlfriend of a friend from Dolce, Jeff. She worked in the bar briefly and was always a lot of fun to tease. She still comes in with Jeff occasionally and always generates the same two responses in my head: Damn, she’s gorgeous and Damn, Jeff is the luckiest SOB I know. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself:
Actually, that is probably too small to see and appreciate. Min Young did a photo shoot with a fantastic photographer I know from dart league, Dave New. I lifted this example from his Flickr website. To truly appreciate his skill and Min Young’s beauty, go here. You’ve got to check out the one of her in the school uniform which is my favorite. But they are all good!
Final question: How old do you suppose Min Young might be? I had the pleasure of attending her most recent birthday party (at Dolce Vita of course) so I know the answer. My rule of thumb in guessing a Korean woman’s age is to add 5 years or so to what you think is the correct answer.
Min Young is now 30 years old. I teased her brutally about soon turning into an ajumma (older woman). It is another unique aspect of Korean womanhood, this whole transformation that occurs in the late 30s, early 40s. They cut off that beautiful long hair, stop dressing sexy, and start fleshing out into frumpiness. Now, that is not universally true, but as a general rule it seems to occur with distressing frequency. It is a fascinating phenomanon regardless.
So, there you have my perhaps ill-considered insights on Korean women. Of course, it is just one man’s opinion and I am far from having any real expertise in this area. I mean, what can the kid without a nickel really tell you about that taste of the chocolate bar in the candy store?
One more thing before I go, somewhat off topic. I was sitting in a bar in the Philippines. The place was full of Korean men. I asked the bar girl why Filipinas seemed to like Korean men so much. She laughed and said we call them triple 3s. I asked what does that mean? She said, “you know, 3 minutes, 3 inches, 3 thousand pesos”. I think that’s pretty damn funny.
Hat tip to the Marmot’s Hole for the link to the Korea Times story.
I mentioned that I’ve been spending less time out and about and more time at home watching movies in my home theatre, such as it is. With my Netflix subscription I’ve been taking the opportunity to watch some Korean films I’ve heard tell about. Here’s three I recently viewed and recommend:
Shiri–a story about a female North Korean assasin living undercover in Seoul and wreaking a good deal of havoc. A tad melodramatic, but then, that’s what makes a Korean movie Korean. I also found it a tad sympathetic to the North Koreans. I mean, you can’t blame the ROK for the f’d up situation in the North. Still, quite entertaining although it wasn’t hard to guess the plot twist at the end.
Joint Security Area–A very interesting film. I particularly enjoyed that it took place almost entirely at Panmunjon and brought back nice memories of my several visits to the DMZ. It certainly appeared that it was filmed on location, but how they got permission to do so is something I’m quite curious about. I think as an American I don’t fully appreciate the “deep national and cultural shame” Koreans feel about their divided country. In fact, “Shiri” had almost the same exact quote regarding the shame and hurt that only reunification will heal. Again, I thought the film was just a bit too easy on the NORKs, but here it was on a soldier to soldier basis and the point was well taken that Koreans are brothers divided only by politics. Actually it was a pretty depressing movie in many ways, but still worth the view. I actually dreamed about the DMZ last night after watching this.
Lady Vengence–This is sort of a “Kill Bill” lite type movie. Apparently the third part of a trilogy, but even having not seen the first two it was still very watchable. Not much more I can say about it without spoilers. Again nothing great or inspirational here, but good entertainment.
As I have just proven, I’m not much of a movie reviewer. But I need to post on subject other than darts occasionally, right? Besides, I am fantasizing that the post title will generate lots of hits on Google from film gurus who will be so taken with my humble little blog that they become regular readers.
Speaking of which, I’m back up to almost 25 hits a day here. Kamsamnida!
My Canadian dart league teammates and blog buddy Jen are not at all like this. Truly.
Still, you gotta laugh.
but I admit to a fair amount of disgust. I keep telling myself we survived 4 years of Jimmy Carter, but the world is a much more dangerous place these days. A bad time to have a fool in the White House.
Scott Johnson at Power Line has a post today that pretty much captures my sentiments. Probably the only reason I am not depressed is because I’m 7000 miles away and don’t have to see America’s destruction up close and personal. It is much easier to think about North Korean biological warheads raining down on Seoul. Here’s some excerpts for those too lazy or unmotivated to click the link:
Hell, after reading that again, maybe I am depressed.Scott’s blogging partner John Hinderaker offers this video as inspiration not to give up the good fight:
(Hmmm, I can’t seem to imbed the video. Here’s the link, go have a look and be inspired)
Carpe diem and all that. HooAh!
I didn’t win the tourney yesterday. I didn’t really expect or deserve to the way I threw. Still, there were some nice highlights on my way to a 6th place finish (and 50,000 won).
Started out with Becky who has really picked up her game. She took the first ‘01 leg, but I came back with two hard fought cricket wins. It was a tight match and all credit to Becky who gave me just about all I could handle.
Next up was Wan Ji, someone I had never played before. He’s ranked #1 in B division and he definitely has game. I took the first cricket leg, then he smoked me in ‘01. I took the diddle for the third leg and of course called cricket. Then proceeded to completely fall apart. How bad was I? In addition to way too many one marks, I threw six darts and hit nothing. You can’t get away with that against good competition. So, Wan Ji is closed with a 100+ point lead and I have 19s and 17s open. I pulled a 6 bull shot out of my ass, and then followed with another double. Of course, it was too little, too late. Wan Ji pounded my open numbers to get the points back and then closed out the bulls for the victory, sending me to the losers bracket.
With all due respect, I didn’t feel like he beat me, I beat myself with some inexplicably bad darts. People were congratulating me on the 6 bulls, but really you should never be in the situation where you HAVE to throw that to stay in the game. Still, it won me half of the high mark pot; I split it with Dustin who threw a 9-mark.
I took Jim to move up in the losers bracket and had to wait awhile for my next round. So, I drank some more beer and got good and relaxed. Darts is a funny game. Obviously it involves hand-eye coordination so you would think drinking would be counterproductive, but at least for me, when I just go up there throwing naturally I tend to do better than when I’m tight and trying to force them in. Or so I tell myself.
Anyway, Alisteir the Scot went through the winner’s bracket undefeated. I had a tough row to hoe just to get in the money (the top 8 finishers paid off). I threw some pretty good darts to beat Chris B. who is currently ranked #4 in A division. Which earned me the right to face off against Dennis, who has been smokin’ all season and is the top ranked player in the league.
I watched an espisode of Band of Brothers the other day and this young private was cowering in his foxhole to afraid to fire his weapon. Captain Spears told him: “You know what your problem is soldier? You still have hope. Once you realize and accept the fact that you are already dead, you’ll be able to do your job as a soldier. Now fire that weapon!”
I guess that was my attitude against Dennis. I didn’t have any expectation of winning, so I was calm at the oche and just let the darts fly. And boy did they fly good. It was a hard fought match but I prevailed. Beating Dennis was definitely the high point of my day.
And as fate would have it, next up for me was Wan Ji. I was looking for revenge and feeling confident. I took the first cricket leg. The ‘01 was tight wire-to-wire, and I took shots at the out 3 times, missing the mark by centimeters. Damn, you got to take the out when you have the opportunity and I failed to do so which cost me the leg. We played cricket the third leg and while I didn’t come completely fall apart like I did in our earlier match, I wasn’t good enough to win. So, yeah Wan Ji beat me and hats off to him. Actually, he’s a pretty nice guy and I’m looking forward to a rematch in the future.
Sueng Youb fought his way through the loser’s bracket to face off with Alisteir for the championship. He had had to beat him twice and he proceeded to do so. Congrats to both guys who threw some incredible darts. Good job to Lonnie and Grant as well for putting on an outstanding tournament. I had a great time.
Today is the mid-season singles tournament. Looking forward to some good competition. I don’t tend to play well in big money tourney’s for some reason. And there’s a million won ($1000) on the table today. We shall see which John shows up this time. I can be good, and I can really suck. Somewhere in between won’t cut it today.
Had a good warm-up at the Dolce tourney last night. Took a first and second place along with the high out. Jeff won the drawing for the bull shoot (if you throw a double bullseye you win the jackpot). That pot is almost 700,000 won at the moment. So, as I was saying, Jeff won the drawing which allows you to take a shot at the double bull. He asked me to throw on his behalf. Talk about pressure! So, the format allows three warmups, and then the money dart. On my three practice darts I hit 3 single bulls. So, I was in the zone. I stepped up to the line, took a deep breath, wiped the sweat off my throwing hand, took another deep breath, focused on my target, aimed the dart, and let it go….
Single 18. F**K! Oh well, next time perhaps. Sorry about that Jeff.
My bud Colin asks in the comments how I like playing for the Blue Bulls. Colin was an original member of the team before moving to Vietnam and finding happiness. Well, I do miss my home bar Dolce Vita, but I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of guys to throw with. I’m sorry we are not doing better, although we are still in the hunt for the playoffs. I am also disappointed that Seung Youb has not been able to play with us this year. He was the highest ranked player in A division last season and I was looking forward to having him as a teammate and learning the secret of his success. Unfortunately, he is the chef at a new restaurant the owners of Bless U Pub (our team sponsor) opened and is working every Monday night these days. I wish Hyan Ah would cut us all a break and give him Monday’s off. Ah well, darts don’t pay the bills like steady employment, so what can you do?
The Goat has been throwing real well, and passed me in the rankings this week. We’ve always been pretty competitve when we play, so I am happy he’s on my side this year. He’s got quite the temper and is a stickler for the rules, which has led to some pretty heated confrontations with opponents this year. Almost came to fisticuffs the other night, but cooler heads prevailed and by the end of the match there were tequila shots and handshakes all around, which I was glad to see. The Goat reminds me of how I used to be before I mellowed out with age. I didn’t take any shit on the softball diamond back in the day.
Anyway, it’s all good and I’m having a great time, Colin. Thanks for asking.
I’ll be in DC for a meeting the last week in April. The bad news is I miss the first round of the playoffs. The good news is I plan to hook up with my old friend Duke and his lovely wife Ji Young. Duke introduced me to the sport of darts. It will be good to kick his ass on his home turf!
Ok, well I guess that’s more than enough talking about darts. I’m gonna go throw some now. Wish me luck!
Commenter Frank asked for something funny the other day. As it is always may aim to please, I offer these tidbits from the real world…
Well we dropped another much last night, this time losing to 3PO from Blue Frog. I guess we are officially in a mid-season slump. Once again we threw pretty decent darts, just not decent enough to win. Argh!
I managed a 5-4 showing with a decent number of marks, but my inability to close out a game when I had the opportunity cost me big time.
We have the mid-season singles tourney this Saturday, so I’m hoping for a good showing there. We will rematch with 3PO on Monday night so instead of redemption we will be looking for revenge. Stay tuned.
So, it turns out I am VERY conservative. Big surprise huh? Actually, it really kind of is a surprise, at least to me. Certainly, I had my thinking set straight about some things one beautiful September morning in 2001, but otherwise my core beliefs and values haven’t changed all that much. I mean, I didn’t vote for my first Republican until 2004. So, maybe all those years I thought of myself as a moderate Democrat were just living a lie.
Anyway, I am out of the closet now. So, where do you stand? Take the quiz here. And if you got the guts, leave your score in the comments.
UPDATE: I actually scored a 146. 209 is the mean. Thanks to Jenn for pointing that out.
Well, we got our fanny’s kicked last night by the boys from Scrooge Pub. Pretty frustrating in that we threw pretty good darts, but they threw a tad better. I went 5-7 on the night but played better than that, hitting a fair number of 5 and 6 marks and a couple 3BCs.
So, we have a make-up match tonight against 3PO from Blue Frog, and hopefully redemption will be coming in short order.
It was nice to be the headline feature over at Jenn’s “I Got 2 Shoes”. Thanks for that sweetie. Although maybe I was just filling a void as she works through her dreams and says what’s on her mind.
I have the opposite problem, I desperately want to dazzle y’all with my rapier-like wit, but I am currently witless.
Good to see some old friends in the comments as well. Frank wants to laugh (sounds like he’s got the Obama-blues watching The One systematically destroy what’s left of the economy). I can’t think of anything humorous at the moment Frank, but I am still investing 10% of my salary in the stock market every payday. That’s pretty funny when you think about it.
But not much else to say about anything really. Been doing the lazy thing on weekends (my big adventure was cooking a pot roast in my new crock pot). I’m still playing darts, in fact we have a big match tonight against Eberhardt from Scooge Pub. I’m with my new team the Bless U Pub Blue Bulls. Doing alright overall and The Goat always manages to keep it intersting. But it’s all good.
Work is quiet with the military exercise in full swing. I’m working hard to fill some staff vacancies and things are starting to shape up around the office. I don’t dislike being the boss man, provided I have good people in whom to delegate (Kevin Kim, is that proper usage?). I do like to keep things around 50-50 (i.e. You do the work and I’ll take the credit). Which of course I don’t really do (much). 21 months out from retirement and I don’t have to play that game. Still, you can’t escape gravity, and things do flow downhill. If you get my meaning.
Watching lots of movies (I signed up for Netflix) on my new 52″ HDTV and Blu Ray DVD player. Perhaps I’ll post a brief review of some of the ones I particularly liked.
But not today!
Again, it’s good to be back with y’all. I’ll try to make it worth your while. And likely disappoint. In other words, look forward to more of the same here at LTG!
Well having the blog back is like hooking up with an old friend. It’s gonna take some time to rebuild the readership (the few, the proud). The biggest problem is letting folks know where I am. Not like you can do a change of address card at the Internet Post Office. Although that’s not a bad idea.
I have emailed a couple of the major K-bloggers and asked them to help me spread the word. I also went through my comments and emailed those folks my new domain address. So, we’ll see.
I guess I could also try and put up some quality posts and make this a daily “must read” site. Nah, just kidding.
Apparently, johnmccrarey.com was worth something to someone in Poland. As they have absconded with my domain name. Former readers now get some drug spam ad instead of the wit and witticism to which they became accustomed at Long Time Gone. Not!
Long story short: I like everyone else was redirected to the Tramadol spam when I logged onto LTG. I contacted my blog host (blogs-about.com) who said my domain no longer pointed to their server. They suggested I contact GoDaddy.com who was the domain servicer. I said I have no relationship with GoDaddy and I had purchased the domain through them. I was advised that blogs-about is just a broker and my domain had been purchased through GoDaddy. Ok, then.
So, I call GoDaddy and they need my customer number, which since I was never their customer I don’t have. After jumping through numerous hoops I was finally able to ascertain that my blog domain registration had expired and when I did not renew, it had been purchased by the aforementioned guy in Poland. And there was nothing GoDaddy could do to get it back. (well, I could use their domain purchase service and try to buy it back). Which I am still considering. What the hell is my name worth?
I was incensed and outraged and frustrated and disgusted and more. First, I recalled having paid for a 5 year registration of the domain, and that was four years ago. (Of course, four years later I have no way to document that). Second, I received no notice of the expiration or opportunity to renew. GoDaddy insists that I was sent several emails. I didn’t get them, although it is *possible* I treated them as spam since I didn’t heretofore know GoDaddy from Adam.
Whatever. I finally purchased mccrarey.com and no here is where my blog resides. It is like starting over as none of my former readers know how to find me (they were few, but loyal and I miss them). So, I will send an email to as many as I can locate and ask those who linked to me previously to update their links.
And I suppose life goes on.
What a freakin’ nightmare. Bottom line, someone stole my name (domain). It shouldn’t have taken as long as it did to resolve but sometimes life gets in the way. Anyway, I had to purchase a new domain so everyone who reads this blog or links to it still can’t find me. Which means I’m just talkin’ to myself right now.
Well, need to beat the bushes and get the word out. It’s like starting over…
Places I Go
John McCrarey: That's the plan. It