Homeward bound

Flying out in a few hours.  Dulles to Incheon non-stop.  14 hours in the air is a long haul, but it is less wearying than having a layover part way through.

All in all it was a successful trip.  I won’t bore you with the details of my meetings with the folks from the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense–Civilian Personnel Programs.  One brief moment of controversy when I had to defend my office from attack by a DC bureaucrat, which by all accounts I successfully managed.

Also played in a dart tourney on Tuesday night with Duke and Ji Young.  Took a first place for $20 which paid half of my cab fare.  But had a great time.

And that’s it from this side of the Pacific ocean.

See you soon back in the land of the morning calm.


I’m at the DoD International Personnel Programs conference.  Howard Vickers is one of the attendees.  Howard currently works for Army in Japan, although he worked with me when I first came to Korea.

Anyway, last night Howard is walking to the Metro station and he passes a guy on the street.  Howard said he looked familiar, so he paused and turned around.  The guy he had passed did the same thing.

Get this:  This guy named Canady had been a Soldier in the Army with Howard.  Howard hadn’t seen him since 1986.  After they had jumped into Panama.  It seems that Howard was taking a leak and got hit in the back by sniper fire.  And Canady carried him out.  And Howard hadn’t seen him since.

I’m not sure what the odds are for a random meeting of two old battle buddies like this.  But as Howard relayed the story to me, I couldn’t help but think how cool it was that Howard finally got to thank Canady after all these years. 

And I also thought “hey, this is a bloggable event”.  And so I have.



Greetings from America

Arrived on schedule with no incidents or problems along the way.

Met up with my old friend Duke and his lovely wife Ji Young last night.  It was good to see them and their lovely home.  The seem to be making a nice life together here, although Duke still dreams of returning to Korea someday.

The took me out to the Hard Times Cafe near their home in Manassas and they had a decent dart set-up.  So, we drank some beer and chucked some darts.  Heh, just like being home.

Seeing as how Duke and Ji Young live so far from my hotel I crashed in their guest room last night.  And given my state of jet lag, I’m the first person up and about this morning.  We stayed up past 0100 last night, but I was wide awake at 0600 this morning.  So, I hijacked this computer, have chucked some darts, and gone out on the deck to smoke. 

Which explains why I even bothered writing this worthless post.  I’m just fillin’ the time folks.  However comfortably and well.

Leaving Korea

That’s it.  I’m done.

Packed up my stuff, and in the morning I’m flying out of Incheon and leaving this place behind.

I’m gonna miss it here, but D.C. beckons.

What?  I am pretty sure I mentioned my departure in some previous post didn’t I?

Ah hell, no worries.

I’ll take care of some business, throw some darts, and be back next Friday.

I may or may not post while I’m gone, depending on my access to a computer.

Now, what did you expect?


What does that mean in English?  Hell if I know.  It’s the title of a Korean movie I recently watched.

What was it about?  Well, this street video wasn’t subtitled so my guess is as good as yours.

Here’s what I could surmise:  Seems the King has a squire or knight or whatever.  And he loves him.  Not like a brother, but as a lover.  The King aslo has a Queen (as in wife).  I think she was from China.

So, the King was expected to provide an heir.  Maybe under Chinese duress.  Again, without understanding the dialog, I’m kinda guessing.  But these “different” looking Asian guys showed up and started talking, and that talk was subtitled in Korean, so it had to be China, right?

Anyway, the King just can’t bring himself to do the deed with the Queen, so he gives the chore to his beloved squire.  And after a couple of fitful starts, it turns out that the King’s lover likes sex with a woman.  And yeah, of course they wind up falling in love.

The King gets kinda jealous over this turn of events, and mayhem breaks out, heads are offed, and the climatic scene has the King and his lover in an intense sword fight which concludes with both of them dead.

Sort of a Brokeback Mountain meets Camelot situation.

What surprised me was the rather graphic sexuality.  Not hard core of course, but comparable to the stuff you might get in a hotel room.  Or so I’ve (ahem) been told.

How graphic?  Well, the King and his lover did some deep tongue kissing and some simulated anal.  The scenes with the Queen were also pretty hot.  A bit much for me, but I’m an old fart.

Well, for not getting more than 5% of the spoken word, I think I followed the story pretty well.  And I was sufficiently entertained enough to watch the whole thing.

Even without a clue, I’ll give a solid 3 out of 5.  If I missed something significant, let me know.

End of season

Another season is done.  Pulled out a victory against Cke Mix, our sister team from Bless U, 23-13.

Next week is the first round of the playoffs.  Unfortuneately. I will be in the USA so here’s hoping the Blue Bulls are still alive when I return.

Tonight I also committed to play for the Rubbies next season.  Scott and Craig are returning to Canada, and I will be returning to my home bar, Dolce  Vita.  As I said tonight, I’m a Blue Bull through our victory in the tourney.  But I’m also looking forward to to being a Rubbie next year….

 Peace out.

Back from Busan

Well, I survived my first team MT (management training) trip.  I guess my general feeling is I’m getting too old for this sh*t.  Not that I didn’t have a good time, but I couldn’t take many weekends like this one and remain amongst the living.  So, here’s the story in 25 pictures:


Started at Seoul Station at 1300.  The KTX to Busan is about a 3 hour ride.  Seung Youb overslept and missed the train.  Luckily, trains run every 30 minutes or so, so Koichi and Wan Jun waited for him and took the next train down.


As always, we had a nice ride on the “Iron Silk-Road”, and at 300 km per hour, the miles (er, kilometers) just flew by.  To entertain ourselves during the journey, Craig taught us the game of Euchre.  I brought along some beef jerky and mixed nuts for snacks.  Scott brought a couple of quarts of beer, and when that ran out we ordered more from the train concessionaire.


Tae Hun and Scott enjoying the ride.


As were me and Craig.


Did I mention we drank some beer along the way?



We arrived at our destination, the beautiful port city of Busan.



This is the promenade in front of Busan Station.  It was a fine, warm, sunny afternoon in Korea’s second city.  When the other team members arrived, we cabbed to the Commodore Hotel, dropped off our gear, and headed out to start our night.

Our evening activities centered around a local dart venue named Metro Bar.  The owner, Johnny Jung, graciously met us where our cab dropped us and escorted us to a nice restaurant near his bar.


That’s Johnny on the far left.  On the menu: galbi, samgyapsal, soju, and beer.


Tae Hun handled grill duties.


After our meal was completed, it was off to Metro for what else, darts!  Metro has a nice set-up with four electronic boards and a token steel tip board for us die hards.


Scott and Craig throwing a game…


While Wan Jun shot some pool.


The local darters were out throwing as well, and they made us all feel welcome.  Can’t beat that Busan hospitality…


A live action shot of darts in progress.  I guess there’s a reason it isn’t much of a spectator sport.  Now, you may have noticed that all the photos inside Metro appear blurry and out of focus.  Well, funny thing is, that is just how things were beginning to appear through my eyes as well.  There was some serious drinking going on.  The boys were hitting the Jack Daniels really hard.  I stuck with beer because hard experience has taught me that Jack Daniels ain’t no friend of mine…


The highlight of the night for me was participating in the doubles soft tip tourney.  I’m not much for that version of the game, but when in Busan do as the Busanonians do I suppose.  I drew Seung Youb as my partner.  Given our state of inebriation and my lack of familarity with the game, it was a struggle.  Somehow we managed to make it to the championship round where we met Johnny (the second ranked player in Busan) and his partner.  It was a see-saw battle, but in the end Seung Youb and I pulled out the victory and shared the W50,000 prize money.  The lovely lass pictured above was Wan Jun’s partner and we met them in the first round.  She throws as good as she looks and it took a minor miracle for us to eek out the win against them.


Here’s Tae Hun, Seung Youb, and a local named Q, taking a breather and enjoying liquid refreshment between games.  Before the night at Metro was over, the Blue Bulls had consumed 3 bottles of Jack and more beer than I could count.  Plus two platters of chicken wings. 

After saying our goodnights at Metro, we cabbed back to the hotel.  Lacking the good sense to call it a night, we hit an after hours club across the street and had LOTS more beer and whiskey.  Butchered a few songs with Karaoke as well.  Things started getting a little crazy after that and the owner suggested that it was time for us to leave.  But what happens in Busan, stays in Busan, so the story will remain untold.

I stumbled into my rack a little after 0300 and slept the sleep of the dead.  Brain dead, no doubt.

We had a 1300 train to Seoul today, and I was up and around by 1100.  So, I decided to snap a few photos of my surroundings.


This was the window covering in my room.  I thought it was pretty cool.


The lobby at the Hotel Commodore.  What a nice place.  I enjoyed the very few hours I spent here and was quite comfortable.  Koichi is in the travel business and he got me a W48,000 rate.  I’m sure it would normally cost at least twice that.


The hotel is beautiful on the outside as well, don’t you think?



The view from my room.  Not to shabby, eh?  Busan is a beautiful city.  I’ve heard it compared to San Francisco of Rio de Janiero.  Not sure I would go that far, but I’ve always enjoyed spending time here.


So, it was back to the train station.  They had this dragon out front.  Breathed smoke and everything.  And the tail and legs moved. 


We all survived, none to worse for the wear.  L-R is Tae Hun, Seung Youb, Scott, Wan Jun, me, Koichi, and Craig.

Thanks for having me along guys!

Blue Bulls do Busan!

My dart team is taking its traditional “MT” to Busan today.  This is my first year with the team, so I’m not totally sure what to expect.

What’s an MT?  Good question, and one I asked myself.  Here’s the response I got:

In the world of Konglish, that means “Membership Training”.  It is commonly
used by students and company workers when they have a trip organized by
their school or company, which generally boils down to heading out of town
and partying for a couple of days.  It is amazing the acceptability of it
though.  If I told my [Korean] wife “Honey, I’m going down to Busan to play darts and
get smashed with my buddies” she would tell me to F-off, but when I say “We
have team MT this weekend” it all seems quite acceptable and normal. 

So there you have it.

Seven of us making the trip via KTX.  I’ll be back Sunday night with a full report.

A feel good moment…

This video is making the rounds of the internet today, so what the hell, I’ll share it with those of you who might have missed it…

UPDATE: A contrary opinion:

Not to be a grump, but am I the only one who finds this a little over-the-top and, frankly, a little condescending? Plenty of big-voiced PYTs sing their hearts out every week on American Idol (not to mention onstage in Broadway shows) without getting this kind of reaction. But Susan, because of her looks, because of the fact that people were snickering at her before she opened her mouth, becomes a sensation simply by being able to carry a tune. She has a decent voice, sure. But let’s not get carried away. She’s no LuPone, and her talent is only really shocking if you’ve already counted her out as a squawker on account of her granny hairdo and pre-fame Julia Roberts eyebrows. Once the element of surprise is gone, we’re all going to be stuck with the fact that she’s a capable, but by no means extraordinary singer. And is that really worth all the fuss?

Adam Markovitz in EW.com

A birthday bash

UPDATE: I changed the title on this post.  First time I had done that, but my previous effort struck me as cliche and well, stupid.  I’ve never liked those corny sayings and have no idea why I actually used one as a blog post title. 

Had a little birthday celebration for Dave New tonight at Dolce Vita.  I had a telecon back to the USA tonight at 9, so my party was unfortunately rather limited.  Did manage to get in some darts, eat some food, and take some photos.  Oh yeah, I had a beer or two as well…


The scene of the crime, Dolce Vita Pub…


I was one of the first to arrive so I got to watch the preparations for the festivaties…


Just in case some interloper with the same birthdate appeared, this party was specifically designated for Dave…


Evidence of Dolce dominance in the dart league amongst the balloons, our Championship banners.  In the background, you might observe some of Dave’s outstanding camera work on display.  I’ve linked him before, but check out his Flickr site if you haven’t done so recently…


Tom and his lovely wife Youlee…


Margaret and her boyfriend…hey, wait a minute.  What the hell????


Ok, that’s more like it…Margaret and her main squeeze Matt


Me and the other John from the UK


Finally….a pic of the birthday boy with a lovely Korean lass…


Oh yeah, there was food too!


Our hostess for the evening, Dolce owner YJ


COL Dan: A fine darter, good guy, and a great American.  And I’m not just saying that because he’ll be my boss for the next couple of weeks.


Teammate Seung Youb made an appearance…


As did another teammate, Ali…


Amy was our waitress and did her usual fine job.  Haelee was tending bar, but she is camera shy…


John challenged me to a friendly game of darts…


But he wasn’t too friendly, defeating me despite my near perfect form…


A final pose with the now near elderly Dave and I was off for home and my teleconference.  Damn, I hate it when work intrudes on a good time.  Luckily, that usually only happens Monday-Friday.  Er, well, I guess that’s not so lucky after all.  I’m not complaining, the afterhours stuff to accomodate the folks back in D.C. occurs rather infrequently.  And my Uncle Sam takes pretty good care of me.  I just wish he’d keep his hands out of my wallet!


60’s A-Go-Go

Speaking of nostalgia (as I more or less did in my previous post, albeit somewhat facetiously), who remember’s the 1960’s?  Of course, as the old saw goes, if you remember the 60’s, you missed the 60’s.  I remember.  Although the early 70’s are a little blurry.

Anyway, here’s a pretty cool commercial from back in the day.  We need to get a little more upbeat here at LTG, doncha think?

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Hat Tip: James Lileks

Tax bite

Or should I say taxes bite.  Yes, I met my obligations as a citizen today and filed my taxes.  In addition to the sizable chunk I contribute each payday, Uncle Sam asked me for another four grand.  Although it looks like I will be getting an ownership interest in GM (Government Motors) as part of the deal.

Looking at the bright side, I expect that in coming years I will look back nostalgicly at 2008 and remember the good ol’ days when taxes were comparatively low. 

Hope and change.  I just hope I won’t be nickled and dimed to death.  I’m bound to be disappointed.