If the 6 turned out to be 9…

…I don’t mind.

And if what I throw on Wednesday could be replicated on Monday night league play, I’d be fine and dandy with it.

Another little impromptu round robin singles at Dolce tonight and I managed to take the prize and go undefeated to boot.

Chris B. said the only thing worse than losing out was having to read about it on my blog.

I guess it goes without saying Chris, this post’s for you!

Slip Slidin’ Away

As a commenter recently noted, it is much easier for me to watch the systematic dismantling of the American way of life from afar than it is for those of you seeing it up close and personal.

Forbes has a compelling article outlining 5 freedoms Americans will lose under “Obamacare”.  Scary stuff, but you need to go read it, if for no other reason than to know what’s coming.

I’ll likely be retiring overseas so I’m curious how screwed I’m going to be as well. 

You know, I’ve worked for Uncle Sam for over 30 years now.  Government certainly has it’s place and does some things well (our military for example) but it’s mind boggling to picture bureaucrats making health care choices on your behalf.

God help us all.


So, on Sunday I purchased a new grill.


This here’s the old one.  Still looking ok after over 4 years of hard use…


…but it was showing the wear and tear on the inside.  Plus, when I entertain it was just a little to small to get the job done right.


So it was off to the 4 Seasons store on base to upgrade.  Only problem was the damn box wouldn’t fit in either the back seat or trunk of my Nissan.  I rang up my co-worker Dennis and he graciously agreed to help me out with his SUV.


Here’s how it looks out of the box.  You know, I am not a real handy guy around the house, but even a fool should be able to throw this thing together in no time.


The instructions make it look easy enough, right?  Let’s get started…


Steps 1 and 2 complete.  Now granted, if I had four hands it would have been a whole helleva lot easier, but I got it done.


After steps 3 and 4 it feels like I’m on a roll…


Man, I haven’t done that much screwin’ in one afternoon since I was 17…


And in just over 2 hours of work, I done got me a new grill… Let’s try it out!


Ah, burgers and beans… Yum!


Dinner is served!  Let’s sit down in front of the TV and watch a little…



Ah, ain’t life grand?

56 years of Armistice

The USFK commander visited the DMZ yesterday to mark the anniversary of the armistice.


So, it turned into a photo-op battle, with the Norks posing for snapshots directly behind General Sharp.  Pretty funny and typical of the oneupsmanship that is pretty much the norm on the DMZ.

Played just good enough to lose

The boys from XOX (Friends Bar) kicked some Rubbies ass last night.  It was 28-9, so I guess you could say they rubbed our noses in the stench of defeat.  There will come a day reckoning, I can assure of you that.

My pathetic contribution to the fiasco was a 2-10 performance.  My worst night ever.  Oddly enough, I’ve thrown worse darts, but I just couldn’t get the job done last night.  Failing to close numbers at a critical juncture, missing the triple when I needed points.  And usually by a wire.  So, I wasn’t off like week 1 where I didn’t have a clue where the dart was going, but I was still missing my target by the smallest of margins.  Made for an extremely frustrating night.


If you love old school commie propoganda (who doesn’t?) you will enjoy the masterpieces created by our friends up north.  Here’s a sample:


We’ll judge the people who mess with our pride wherever they are!
우리의 자존심을 건드리는 자 어디에 있든 결판을 낼것이다!

On My Way to Korea has a whole series going on at his blog.  Check it out.

And and for God’s sake, don’t mess with North Korean pride!

UPDATE: This one may be my favorite, and since y’all likely don’t click through my links here it is:


Playing war by strangling the American pigs is exciting
미국놈 때려 잡는 군사놀이 신나요


Not much happening with me these days, hence not much to share here.

I’m really not all that sociable, but I will at times make a little effort in that regard.  So, along with a couple of co-workers we have established a Thursday night get together called “movie night”.  It was agreed that my place will be the venue for this event seeing as how I have the biggest TV.  So, we have a meal, some wine, and a movie.  If the kick-off session was any indication it should be a fine way to spend an evening.

I started us off with Big Fish. This is one of my favorite movies and since neither of my guests had previously seen it, it was a consensus choice.  I’ve seen it several times now, but I still always enjoy the hell out of it.  Dennis gave it two thumbs up, Corine only one.  She said Tim Burton is just to far out there for here tastes.  Next week, Dennis will bring the movie (he said it may be Ladyhawk, which I’ve heard of but never seen).  You can look forward to hearing all about it here.

Friday night as usual was darts at Dolce.  What was unusual was no one showed up for the tourney.  So, I contented myself with throwing a few games with COL Dan’s wife Shelly.  She’s probably a solid “C” calibre player, but I gave her some tips on cricket strategy that should help her game.  I won all the games, but I didn’t hold back either.  As I told her, I think it is disrespectful to an opponent to not give your best effort.  And she did make me work pretty hard for a couple of the legs.  I remember how good it felt the first time I beat my dart mentor Duke, but it took a long time for that to happen.  Playing folks above your level can be frustrating if you think in terms of wins/losses, but it is the best way to learn how to improve your game.

Last night I had dinner with Dennis.  He has a great place over by Sookmyung Women’s University.  Of all my co-workers, I have the least impressive apartment by far although my housing allowance is higher.  I like my place just fine though and after four years it feels like home.  I went for location (easy walking to my Itaewon hangouts), and I’ve got a balcony for grilling that I could not live without.  In fact, I’m going to pick up a new grill today, as I’ve just about “cooked through” my old one.

Anyway, Dennis is a great cook and served up a fine fusion meal of steak and Korean-style “pork”.  It was funny though, because when Dennis showed Ji Yeon the package of pork he bought at E-mart, she laughed and said “that’s not pork, it’s duck!”.  Heh, learn to read Korean Dennis! (I wouldn’t have known either though).  Dennis also makes a mean smoothie.  So, it was a nice evening.

And that’s the story from my little corner of the world.

Things change…

and sometimes for the better…

We had an impromptu round-robin doubles tourney at Dolce tonight.  Me and my partner Ciarnin swept 8-0.  I really felt in rhythm for the first time in months.  Even had better success with the bulleyes.

One of my opponents tonight, John Rule, reads the blog and implied that I hadn’t been totally truthful about the state of my game.  All I could tell him was “hey, things change.”

Now, let’s see if I can keep it goin’.

Dolce Vita Pub

This is the second in my series of dart bars in Itaewon.


Dolce Vita technically fronts the main drag in Itaewon, but you enter through a stairway in an adjacent alley.  It is on the same side of the street as the Hamilton Hotel.  From the Hamilton, walk up the street towards the Itaewon arch.  The first traffic signal is a pedistrian crosswalk, and the entrance alley is just beyond that.  First set of stairs to your left and up two flights…


The bar was recently renovated and now sports four boards along the back wall.  For the most part, this is an improvement as we have good separation from the pool table.  The boards also have excellent lighting.  It gets a tad crowded during the Friday night tourney as the tables are pretty close to the oche.  We had two teams playing last night (well, four.  I mean we had two teams playing two other teams).  “A” division plays two boards, the other divisions normally use one.  So, with the middle board out of play last night it worked out well. 


We had some instances of patrons coming through the entrance and walking into the line of fire so to speak.  Dangerous for them and frustrating for the shooter.  Jim hung a couple of our championship banners and strategically place a potted plant, which seems to redirect errant traffic appropriately.


Matt Duff, who plays for Sweet Life (a sister team at Dolce) showing off his form.  Note the wood planking which is easy on the darts when you experience a dreaded bounce out.  Dolce also features a raised oche which may reduce foot fouls (although the chief enforcer of that rule (Craig) has now departed for Canada).  I mentioned in a recent post that my mechanics are screwed up.  I blame this new fangled oche.  I was placing my toe against oche similar to what Matt is demonstrating.  But my natural stance is more 3/4’s to the board, not straight on.  So, I *think* this was causing me to throw across my body and jerk the darts right and left.  I’ve gone back to my old stance and I’m starting to see some improvement, although my bulls haven’t come back as yet.  Practice, practice, practice!


The pool table and bar area.  Very comfortable, as I can attest from personal experience.

As most of you know, Dolce Vita is my “home bar” and it is good to be back after a season away.  YJ and Jim are most excellent hosts, and the bar staff is friendly and efficient.  They did a great job with the renovations and I am sure Hemingway would agree that it is indeed “a clean well-lighted place”.

It is a great venue for darts.  My only complaint with the new set-up is the close proximity of the tables.  On league night we shove them back as far as possible and they don’t really impact play.  It is sometimes difficult to find a natural pathway to the toilet when players are milling about, but all in all that is a very minor issue.  I give Dolce Vita a strong A- rating.

Let’s give him something to blog about…

Wow, I wound up taking an expected break from blogging.  Even got an email from a regular commenter wondering whether “I fell off the face of Itaewon”.  No such luck!

So, to catch y’all up… *chirp*

Actually, I just went into a lazy phase.  We are in the midst of a wet monsoon season (the wettest since 1940, or so I am told).  So, I’ve spent a good deal of time indoors.  Well, I guess I am practically always indoors, what I mean to say is I’ve been spending more time at the villa.  But not so much on the internet obviously.

I mentioned buying some DVDs in Bali and I’ve whiled away quite a few hours enjoying Deadwood.  Halfway through season 2 and it is really one of the better “westerns” I’ve seen.

And I’ve frittered away the rainy days playing CIV IV as well.

I have gone out to chuck some darts of course.  Friday we had a birthday tourney for Matt Duff at Dolce.  I’ll tell you, I have no idea where my dart game has gone.  We took a several week break between seasons, but I still kept up my practice regimine.  Since my return from Bali though I’ve really been struggling.

I took a 2nd Place in doubles Friday night, but was still not happy with my performance.  Just didn’t have a good “feel” for the darts.  I decided my mechanics had somehow gotten out of kilter.  All I know to do is to try and play through it.

Sunday we had a going away tourney for Scott and Craig.  Neither of whom as it turns out was able to attend.  We played a round robin singles tourney with the six of us who showed up and I played well enough to win that.  Had dinner afterwards with Alisteir and his lovely wife.

Last night was league night and we took on the Filipino team from Friends Bar, Kaibigan.  Kaibigan is “friend” in tagalog apparently.  Well, we managed to take the match 21-16 and I played marginally better, going 8-4 on the night.  I think all those darts on Sunday helped me work through the mechanics problem, although I still can’t find the bullseye with any regularity.  That’s a big part of my cricket game so I need to get back in the groove.

So, that takes you up to the minute in my exciting life.  I’m guessing after reading this drivel you might be wishing I had extended my blogging hiatis a little while longer.

Too bad for you!


Post op

Everything went accordingly to plan.  I was blissfully in my “happy place” for most of the procedure.  Best news of the day, I don’t have to do another one for 3 years!

The ‘scope that sees past uranus…


I’m in for some heavy drinking tonight.  Two gallons worth to be exact.  Yes, as you might have surmised, I’m doing my prep for tomorrow’s colonoscopy.  The chicken broth will be my “dinner”.  My instructions are to drink 8 ozs every ten minutes until I burst.  No, that’s not what the solution I imbibe is gonna make me do, but that is probably more detail than you want to hear (or I care to share).

I did this last year, so I know what I’m in for.  The procedure itself isn’t so bad since they drug you up real good.  But the prep is a pain in the ass (heh).  No coffee or diet cokes today and a bowl of soup for lunch.  I go under the scope (or more aptly, the scope goes into me) at 0930, so I don’t imagine I’ll starve between now and then.

But it is a hassle and I’ll be glad when it’s over.

Hasta la vista!

Blue Frog

This will be the first in a new series here at LTG called “Dart Bars of Itaewon”.  I plan to carry my camera on Monday nights and give you a flavor of league venues.

Last night we opened at Blue Frog and I’ve already reported the pitiful results.  Now let’s talk about the bar.


The bar is located in “Nigerian Alley”, one block down from “Hooker Hill”.  This is the entrance sign you can look for.

The bar itself is located in the basement.  It is usually dark and dank.  The walls are painted black which heightens the “atmosphere”.  There also is sometimes a “seepage” problem which has rendered the back room uninhabitable.


Two of the three boards available for play.  That’s Jin warming up for our match.

At one time Blue Frog was the premier venue for darts in Itaewon.  I played my first tournament here.  The Frog used to host a very well-attended tourney each Saturday night, but the owner for some reason ended that practice a couple of years ago.  Coincidently or not, that coincided with the departure of Jay Woody and Tom Cassidy, fervent darters are regular denizens of Blue Frog.  There are still a few regulars from the league that call Blue Frog home, but it is a mere shadow of its former self.  Chris Burslie recently moved his “A” Division team from Blue Frog to the newest bar in town, Sam Ryan’s.

To be honest, it is not a great venue for darts.  Not the worst by far (that would be Friends Bar IMHO), but the Frog is showing its age.  And its basement location makes it uncomfortable at times, especially cold in winter.  To be fair, owner Eun Suk did a pretty nice job refurbishing the back room but the aforementioned seeping sewage situation made a mess of that.


The bar itself sits only 5 and when the servers are busy it creates a lot of traffic.  At times this makes the play on board 1 a little challenging. 

The staff is pretty good.  Eun Suk is nice and my pal Wan Jun is quick with a beer and always happy to chuck some darts when business is slow.  There used to be a crew of sweet and attractive waitresses but they have pretty much all moved on to other things these days.  I did notice a new waitress last night, and service is generally good.

So, in conclusion I would have to say that while Blue Frog is still a sentimental favorite, other than for league matches I only visit once or twice a month.  All things considered, I rate this bar a solid C for darts.

Not a good start…

Shooters took us down 21-16, no thanks to me.  I went 0-6 in singles.  No excuse for that.  My opponents did not outplay me, I beat myself with the most lame-ass darts you can imagine.  Disgusting.

Redemption of sorts came when Dave and I teamed up in doubles and went 6-0.  So, a .500 start is small consolation, but I will take.  As I promised my teammates, I will not play so poorly again.  That would be like lightning striking twice…


Victory begins here

Or at least I hope so.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen it is once again opening night in the Seoul International Dart League.

I begin the summer season with a new team, the Rubbies.  I don’t know the origin of the name, but in one form or another the Rubbies have been an Itaewon institution for more than a decade.  This season also marks the return to my bar “home” at Dolce Vita.  I’m also playing with a good group of guys I know well, respect as darters and am comfortable playing with.  My mates are Tom Randolph, Dave New, Dan Orrico, and Rod Rodriguez.

I’ve still got a slight case of new team and opening night jitters, but I expect I will play through it and do fine.  Power of positive thinking and all that.  We open against Shooters, a new team in “A” division, playing out of Blue Frog.

Like it or not, you can expect to see an account of tonight’s action here at LTG.  Look for it!

A fond farewell

Last night I hosted a going away party for Craig and Scott, good friends and dart teamates.  They are leaving for Canada in a few days and will most definitely be missed.

So we ate a lot of food and drank to excess.  I guess we all got a little loud as well, because around midnight a downstairs neighbor politely asked us to shut the hell up.  From what I can recall, we had a good time.


The menu included galbi, shrimp, sausage and cheese, garlic bread, chips and dip, cherries, veggies, rice…


…ribeye steaks, corn-on-the-cob, watermelon, pecan pie, puchingae (Korean pizza), homemade potato salad (courtesy of Scott and Illhee) and of course, kimchee.

We drank lots of beer, soju, maechui (Korean plum wine) and some Scotch whiskey.  We were all pretty wasted after that all got mixed together in our warm bellys.

I took some more pictures, but apparently had my finger over the lens or something (I can’t imagine why I did that).  This one came out given that it was taken relatively early in the night…


That would Scott, Wan Jun, Craig and Alastier (it’s salmon, not pink).  Also present during the evening were Jim, Seung Youb, Lonnie, Illhee and Ji Yeon.

Best wishes for success and happiness to Scott and Craig as they return to life in the Great White North.

The Korean model

Nice post by GI Korea/ROK Drop on Obama’s suggestion that developing African nations use the Korea model to achieve economic success.  GI cites several examples of why the Korea model is unlikely to be replicated in Africa, and I agree the most significant is this:

Here is the most important factor, the work ethic of Koreans.  Koreans worked as hard as anybody in history to build the nation they now have.  Are African countries willing to sacrifice and work the long hours that Koreans did to build their country?

I have mentioned before just how impressed I have been by this aspect of Korean culture/society.  I see it in my own employees and I have observed this among the general population as well.  Koreans are driven to succeed and they pursue thier goals with a singlemindedness that is quite fascinating.  In fact, I sometimes wonder if they overdo it at times.  Korea does have one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

You can’t help but admire what the Korean people have achieved though.  I attended a ceremony recently where General Sharp, the USFK Commander, spoke of the Korean War.  He said some call it a stalemate, a war without victory.  But he said such views are wrong.  He noted that a simple comparison of life in the north with that of the south makes clear who the real victor was. 

You really can’t argue with that.