Thousands of comedians out of work…

…and she’s trying to be funny!

The daughter-in-law has graciously agreed to periodically bring in the mail (and mow the lawn!*) while I’m on this side of the world.  So today I get a message from her saying an important piece of mail has arrived and asking whether I want her to send it to me via overnight mail.  She helpfully included this photograph:

conservatives

Haha!  I’ve been getting spam mail from the RNC (and everyone they subsequently sold my address to) ever since I sent that $100 check to Mitt Romney.   Bastards.

In other news, I had the good fortune to bring home 1st place money in last night’s dart tournament at Bull Barrel.

B&B 001

Drawing the top ranked player in Itaewon as my partner certainly improved my chances!  I also managed a second place finish at Dolce Vita Friday night so it’s been a profitable weekend.  Well, by profitable I mean I made almost enough to cover my bar tabs.

After darts it was time for some Korean-style dining.  I define Korean-style as eating lots of tasty food and washing it down with copious amounts of beer and soju.

Friends and family gathered around the table in anticipation of...

Friends and family gathered around the table in anticipation of…

...the best dang samgyapsal I've found in Korea

…the best dang samgyapsal I’ve found in Korea

B&B 009

It was a good night!

*She claims to want to mow my lawn.  Says she likes using a mower but my son won’t let her mow HIS lawn.  I’m glad to provide her the opportunity!

Save the date!

Heh, is there any greater honor for a dart player than to have a tournament held in his name?  Especially when he’s still alive!  Well, actually a greater honor would be to win a national championship on the big stage televised live on ESPN.  But I know this event is gonna happen on Saturday night in Itaewon and I’m pleased to be a part of it.

Truth be told, I was severely disappointed that Bull and Barrel had stopped doing Saturday tourneys.  I met with the owner Wednesday and asked him to schedule one and I'd help promote it.  This isn't exactly what I had in mind, but...

Truth be told, I was severely disappointed that Bull and Barrel had stopped doing Saturday tourneys. I met with the owner Wednesday and asked him to schedule one and I’d help promote it. This isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but…

Another day, another mountain…

Yes, it was a return trip to Jee Yeun's favorite mountain, Bukhansan...

Yes, it was a return trip to Jee Yeun’s favorite mountain, Bukhansan…

A river runs through it.  Sort of.

A river runs through it. Sort of.

Last year when we reached this spot about halfway up the mountain I was gasping for breath and near collapse.  This time I had enough energy to actually do some arm raises.  That's Jee Yeun's mom showing off doing inclined situps.

Last year when we reached this spot about halfway up the mountain I was gasping for breath and near collapse. This time I had enough energy to actually do some arm raises. That’s Jee Yeun’s mom showing off doing inclined situps.

Jangbae, the potential future son-in-law joined us on the hike...

Jangbae, the potential future son-in-law joined us on the hike…

Jee Yeun loves to hula hoop.  The park conveniently keeps some laying about for like minded individuals.

Jee Yeun loves to hula hoop. The park conveniently keeps some laying about for like minded individuals.  You can see one hanging in that tree behind her in fact…

So, I try and do a selfie and I get photobombed by Jee Yeun AND her mother.  Geez.  Oh well, I forgot to make a duck face anyway....

So, I try and do a selfie and I get photobombed by Jee Yeun AND her mother. Geez. Oh well, I forgot to make a duck face anyway….

This time I made it all the way to the end of the trail and was rewarded with a nice cold drink of fresh spring water.  Really, not carrying that extra 50 pounds with me made a hell of a difference.  Probably didn't hurt that I'm not smoking these days either...

This time I made it all the way to the end of the trail and was rewarded with a nice cold drink of fresh spring water. Really, not carrying that extra 50 pounds with me made a hell of a difference. Probably didn’t hurt that I’m not smoking these days either…

Of course, I was aided by my brand spanking new walking stick.  Technically speaking.

Of course, I was aided by my brand spanking new walking stick. Technically speaking.

It's often amazing what you can observe naturally occurring in nature.  Take this ancient tree trunk for example.  If you look at it just right it appears to contain some form of ancient writing...

It’s often amazing what you can observe naturally occurring in nature. Take this ancient tree trunk for example. If you look at it just right it appears to contain some form of ancient writing…

...And this naturally occurring rock formation was fascinating as well...

…And this naturally occurring rock formation was fascinating as well…

Anyway, we had a nice day in the park.  Only a 10 minute bus ride from the house which is nice as well.

 

 

Climb every mountain

Alright, maybe not every mountain.  But we did climb the one across the street from our apartment.  Let’s tell the tale through pictures and save those thousand words for another day.

Our uphill journey begins on this narrow but steep residential street...

Our uphill journey begins on this narrow but steep residential street…

the street ended, but not our climb as these wooden stairs (and Jee Yeun) beckoned me onward and upward...

the street ended, but not our climb as these wooden stairs (and Jee Yeun) beckoned me onward and upward…

...looking back from whence I came.   the steps were many and my heart was pounding in anticipation.  Or something.

…looking back from whence I came.
The steps were many and my heart was pounding in anticipation. Or something.

A portion of our path...

A portion of our path…

A resting place along the way...

A resting place along the way…

At the summit I declare "thar be our apartment building".  We've come a long way baby!

At the summit I declare “thar be our apartment building”. We’ve come a long way baby!

 

I must say that I'm always impressed with how much thought and effort the Koreans put into these urban oasis'.  Jee Yeun reclines on a comfortable bench.  All she needs now is something good to read...

I must say that I’m always impressed with how much thought and effort the Koreans put into these urban oasis’. Jee Yeun reclines on a comfortable bench. All she needs now is something good to read…

...and I'll be damned if they didn't think of that too!  Seriously, this is something I've never seen before.  I don't expect those books would last a day in the states though...

…and I’ll be damned if they didn’t think of that too! Seriously, this is something I’ve never seen before. I don’t expect those books would last a day in the states though…

 

Another view of the city from our perch on high...

Another view of the city from our perch on high…

Jee Yeun works out at one of the several exercise spots set up along the trail...

Jee Yeun works out at one of the several exercise spots set up along the trail…

 

I'm fairly certain that this sign says something along the lines of "beware of evil pine trees and their scented cones that will mesmerize your children in Pied Piper fashion".  Or maybe it doesn't.

I’m fairly certain that this sign says something along the lines of “beware of evil pine trees and their scented cones that will mesmerize your children in Pied Piper fashion”. Or maybe it doesn’t.

At yet another exercise way station I can't resist climbing aboard this contraption.  It was actually kind of fun...

At yet another exercise way station I can’t resist climbing aboard this contraption. It was actually kind of fun…

We decided to take a different path down to see what we might see...

We decided to take a different path down to see what we might see…

And lo and behold we came across this little Buddhist temple...

And lo and behold we came across this little Buddhist temple…

 

Heading back to our high rise apartment I told Jee Yeun I'd like to live in a house like this.  She just gave me that look I've come to understand as meaning "you don't have a clue, do you?"

Heading back to our high rise apartment I told Jee Yeun I’d like to live in a house like this. She just gave me that look I’ve come to understand as meaning “you don’t have a clue, do you?”

And finally, if you've ever wanted to see a Korean elementary school, now you have.

And finally, if you’ve ever wanted to see a Korean elementary school, now you have.

It was a good day and a nice hike.

 

 

 

 

A smooth move blends disaster

Yesterday afternoon I got a little bored.  I was thinking I ought to climb up on the treadmill but the bunch of bananas on the counter turning black proved to be an insurmountable distraction.  And thus was set in motion a chain of events that would inevitably result in making quite a mess of things at our humble abode in Gireum-dong.

As these events tend to do, it all started innocently enough.  The weather outside was overcast, but pleasant.  And so I suggested to my yobo that we take a walk.  “Where to?” she asked.  Remembering the rotting bananas and hating to see them go to waste I suggested we hike out to the E-Mart and take a look at some blenders.  Jee Yeun agreed and we were soon enough out the door and on our way.

I set a brisk pace as the point of this expedition was as much about the exercise as it was about the blender.  Walking the sidewalks of Seoul is always perilous as the locals seem to lack any semblance of situational awareness relative to their fellow pedestrians.   Walking fast requires the cat-like reflexes of an experienced Frogger player.  Which I   most assuredly am not.  Nevertheless we made quick progress towards our destination suffering only occasional bouts of frustration and silently uttered curses.

As we were passing the humongous Hyundai Department Store, Jee Yeun tugged my arm and said “let’s check the prices here and compare them to E-Mart”.  Finding no flaw in her logic, I agreed that this was a fine plan.

It's even bigger than it looks on the inside.

It’s even bigger than it looks on the inside.

Now, housewares and appliances were located somewhat inconveniently on the 7th Floor.  Which meant several escalator rides.  I at first attempted to walk up the moving steps since I was still in exercise mode but I sensed by the 3rd floor that the locals found my antics in poor taste.  It’s a pretty ritzy store.  Eventually reaching our destination we looked at several blenders on display ranging in price from about W50,000 to W150,000.  Now, when I make a smoothie I like horsepower and the Tefal model with 500 watts for W80,000 seemed like it should do the trick.

I had sensed that Jee Yeun was not as enthusiastic about walking the rest of the way to E-Mart so I asked her “do you just want to get this one?”  She readily agreed and summoned over the sales clerk who had been standing unobtrusively nearby.  On my list of things I like about Korea is the fact that you can always find someone to assist you in the department stores.  If anything, they are over staffed.  Of course, I also like low prices and you certainly don’t find great bargains at a place like Hyundai.  That’s the classic trade-off I suppose.

The aforementioned clerk went to the back room to fetch our blender and returned several minutes later with the sad news that our choice was out of stock.  Jee Yeun then asked if we could buy the display model and even got it at a 20% discount!  Of course, all of this was occurring in the mysterious Korean language of which I was only discerning bits and fragments.  Yeah, that’s just the way I roll.  But when they started wrapping up the display model I was pretty confident I knew what was happening.

Of course the downside to buying a display model is you don’t get the box or operating instructions.  But hell, I’d just throw away (well, recycle)  the box and I do know my way around a blender, so no hay problema, right?  (my Spanish is slightly better than my Korean).

We made our way downstairs with our purchase and I mentioned that I’d need to stop by the market on the walk home as I required some ice cream and celery.  No, I don’t put celery in my smoothies.  I just needed some.  It’s sort of my standard snack food these days.  And yes, I put some peanut butter on my celery.  Sue me.  Korean ice cream tends to be expensive and not rich and delicious like my favorite American brands.  Still, you make do with what you have.  That’s part of the expat experience after all.

We reached our small buy cozy apartment without further incident.  Well, there was one crazy homeless guy, the sidewalks were choked with smokers (I know, I know, but I just never realized how irritating that can be until I quit).  But soon enough we were home.  And this is what our lovely blender looks like:

Ain't she sweet?

Ain’t she sweet?

So, Jee Yeun’s son Junesok came by and he insisted on providing food for the family as our welcome back gift.  And so we all ate some very good take out.  When dinner was done I asked (and Jee Yeun translated) if everyone was up for a smoothie?  They were.

So, I took the glass carafe and filled it to the brim with my favorite ingredients (a few ice cubes, bananas, strawberries, a dollop of peanut butter, a couple of scoops of ice cream, and some milk).  Now, our place is small and the nearest electrical outlet was in the living room, so that’s where the blending took place.

Back in the states I use an Oster blender.  It’s pretty straightforward, you put the stuff in, turn it on, and things get liquid.  This Tefal model (a U.K. brand) was unfamiliar to me, but the principle was the same.  I mean, how hard can it be?

This hard.  Apparently there is a locking mechanism at the bottom of the carafe.  Who knew?

This hard. Apparently there is a locking mechanism at the bottom of the carafe. Who knew?

And that is how my smoothie intentions resulted in a blender disaster.  Ah well.

 

 

 

 

Filling in holes

Yesterday I discovered that I do in fact have a hole in my head.  Three of them in the form of cavities.  Well, two now because one was filled yesterday, the remainder are scheduled for elimination next week.  Went to a new dentist on the recommendation of a friend and was not unsatisfied with her performance.  She’s U.S. trained and licensed and does speak English which is helpful.

OK, well here’s the thing.  She looks like a woman but talks like a man.  I picked up a transgender vibe, but I honestly don’t care one way or the other.  All I know for certain is she will be drilling me in my mouth come Wednesday and I’m okay with that.

Is she or isn't she?  Not that there is anything wrong with it one way or another.  It is just something you don't expect to see when you go to the dentist.  Which is not to say that I saw anything or that anything is even there.

Is she or isn’t she? Not that there is anything wrong with it one way or another. It is just something you don’t expect to see when you go to the dentist. Which is not to say that I saw anything or that anything is even there.

After my appointment, Jee Yeun and I walked from Ichon station into Itaewon which was a pleasant enough hike.  I wanted to drop into Bull and Barrel to talk to the owner about some darting ideas I’ve been stewing on.  Alas, it was 5:00 p.m. and they were not as yet open for business.  Then went to the other side of the dong *ahem* to check out a new darts place called Ghost Bar that had opened after I left last year.  Sadly, it seems to have given up the ghost permanently as it was closed up tighter than a coffin.  So we meandered over to the Scrooge Pub which during my absence moved from the Hamilton Hotel alley to a new location on the main drag (coincidentally right next door to my regular haunt Dolce Vita).  It was wing night at Scrooge so we had a plate of 10 for W5000.  I ran into a guy I met the other day at Dillinger’s and we had us a round of dart games.

Then we moved next door to Dolce Vita where I hoped to do a little catching up with the owner but he never showed.  So, I practiced my darts for an hour or so and called it a night.  Well, almost a night.  On the walk back to the subway station we stopped to pick up some street food:  dakkochi, or as I call it, chicken on a stick.  Which is after all what it is.  Yum!

chickenonstick 001

And that filled the hole in my belly quite nicely.

Not the start I was hoping for

Ah well, there’s no way to put a nice spin on it.  I sucked big time in my debut with Dillinger’s Bar “J Team” last night.  9 legs, 1 win.

I really don’t get it.  I work hard on my game, throw well in practice, then fold in competition.  Nothing to be done but to keep on keeping on and hope for better results.

Damn it.

The way things are…

…thus far.

Still not acclimated to the time reversal if waking up at 0500 this morning is any indication.  No worries, I’ll get adjusted.  It’s not like I have to get up and go to work or anything.

Our luggage finally made it in from Detroit late last night.  It’s good to have my darts back.

On Friday night I played with borrowed darts and managed a second place finish.  The amazing thing about that is I was quite a bit drunker than I tend to get.  I’m not really clear on why, maybe the alcohol content of Cass is higher than the light-ass beer I normally drink.  I know it has lots more calories.  Of course, in the USA I am always cognizant of the impending drive home so I tend to monitor my consumption pretty closely.  I honestly don’t know how much I drank Friday, but it was enough to leave me hungover.  Which is really not my style.

I stayed close to home on Saturday.  Wasn’t feeling up for the St. Paddy’s day crowds in Itaewon.  Did spend over W200,000 on groceries at the D.C market.  So, doing the low-carb thing is a tad more difficult but I’m making the effort to stick as close to the plan as I am able.  For example, I didn’t buy cereal, bread or sweet goodies like I used to do.  I’m also resolved to take the stairs in the subway stations to incorporate a little extra exercise into my daily routine.  Man oh man, the stairs coming out of Itaewon station are a bitch!

What else?  I was disappointed that my smart phone could not be unlocked.  For now I am stuck with my ancient phone that has no bells and/or whistles.  It also does not appear to be holding a charge, so I’m going to have to see about a battery I suppose.  If they even still make one that fits my brand of dinosaur.

Meeting an old work friend for lunch this afternoon and then I’ll mosey over to Dillinger’s Bar for some darts practice.  I’ll be playing with a Dillinger’s team for the remainder of the dart league season, so I hope to bring a respectable game with me.  I’ll be back in the thick of the action tomorrow night.

I was frankly amazed at how much different Itaewon seems after my 13 month absence.  Some old familiar buildings have been torn down (Nashville!), some of my old bar hangouts have closed or changed owners, and the number of familiar faces I saw at Dolce Vita was a lot less than I remember.  Well, I reckon after a few months the new faces will look familiar enough.  For now I guess I’ll be the new old guy.

To the pictures!

I have the good fortune to live right on top of the subway station.  It's a 40 minute ride into Itaewon though.  Or a W20,000 cab ride home late at night (as we did Friday, er, Saturday morning).

I have the good fortune to live right on top of the subway station. It’s a 40 minute ride into Itaewon though. Or a W20,000 cab ride home late at night (as we did Friday, er, Saturday morning).

Jee Yeun always gets a vending machine coffee to enjoy on our way into Itaewon.  Bless her heart.

Jee Yeun always gets a vending machine coffee to enjoy on our way into Itaewon. Bless her heart.

Changing our dollars into Won.  1068 was the going rate on Friday, not particularly good but I've seen it a lot lower.

Changing our dollars into Won. 1068 was the going rate on Friday, not particularly good but I’ve seen it a lot lower.

The mean main street of Itaewon...

The mean main street of Itaewon…

My first frosty mug of OB lager in over a year.  Nice-ah!  (I just need to remember to enjoy them in moderation!)

My first frosty mug of OB lager in over a year. Nice-ah! (I just need to remember to enjoy them in moderation!)

A larger than usual turnout for the Friday blind draw at Dolce Vita.

A larger than usual turnout for the Friday blind draw at Dolce Vita.

The highlight of the night was connecting with my old Canadian friend Craig "the Goat".  He left Korea a year or so before I retired, and moved back here last spring.  It was his birthday Friday and as fate would have it we drew up as partners in the tourney.  Now maybe if I'd had my own darts or maybe had I stayed slightly more sober, we'd have done better than second place.  Still, it was a great time!

The highlight of the night was connecting with my old Canadian friend Craig “the Goat”. He left Korea a year or so before I retired, and moved back here last spring. It was his birthday Friday and as fate would have it we drew up as partners in the tourney. Now maybe if I’d had my own darts or maybe had I stayed slightly more sober, we’d have done better than second place. Still, it was a great time!

Like it or not, there will be lots more to come in the continuing saga of my life in Korea!

 

The longest day

Departed my house in South Carolina at 8 Wednesday morning and arrived in Korea at 8 Thursday night.  Here’s how it all went down.

Alarm went off at 0600.  I lazed in bed thinking random thoughts while the coffee brewed. Then one of those random thoughts evolved into a question: had I done the math right when I weighed the suitcases?  Well, of course I had.  But while I showered I couldn’t quite remember just how things had added up, so I did the prudent thing and weighed the suitcases again.  My math had in fact been wrong.   Three of the four bags were overweight.  So, it was back to the fourth carry-on.  And some additional creative shifting between bags.  I’m proud to report that through the aforementioned efforts the only item left behind was a large bottle of baby oil.

Then we drove to the daughter’s house for our lift to the airport in Charlotte.  Arrived 2 1/2 hours before our flight and settled in as comfortably as one might expect to be in an airport.  I actually found a plug-in for the laptop and whiled away the time playing some Civilization.  But in the back of my mind I held a growing sense of foreboding.

See the weather was bad today (yesterday) in Detroit.  And any delay of more than two hours or so in getting to Detroit was bound to wreak havoc with my travel plans.  There was some light rain in Charlotte but nothing to be overly concerned about.  Until I learned that my plane to Detroit was coming from Detroit.  And it arrived an hour late.  But we boarded quick and were ready for departure in about 30 minutes, so I was thinking we’d make the connection.  Until the Captain announced we were being held in Charlotte for 40 minutes while the runways in Detroit were being cleared and such.

Still, I held out some hope that if we actually landed in Detroit before the scheduled departure of our flight to Seoul they might hold up for us to arrive at the gate.  Alas, by the time we reached the gate it was fifteen minutes after the tune our flight to Seoul was supposed to leave.  And sure enough, when I checked the departure board it said our connection had “closed”.  English being her second language and all, Jee Yeun wasn’t taking “closed” for an answer.  We arrived at gate A-7 and the Seoul flight was leaving from A-29.  I reckon that distance to be around 6 city blocks give or take.  But we hoofed as quick as we could being encumbered with 2 carry-on each, and miracles of miracles they flight to Seoul and had not yet departed and we were allowed to board.  And there was even room in the overhead for our bags!

We spent over an hour being de-iced and another 30 minutes waiting to take off after achieving ice-free status.  They kept us in our seats that entire time and I came to regret not using the under seat space for my backpack.  I was stuck in the window seat and had no access to my headphones for the on-demand entertainment and more importantly, no access to my snacks.  I was starving!

We were finally up and on our way for the 13 hour hop to Incheon/Seoul.  I don’t know why but my tailbone was SCREAMING at me the entire flight.  And by screaming I mean excruciating pain every time I moved or shifted in my seat.  When I didn’t move or shift, it was just a dull throb.  I have no idea what’s up with that but unless you like the feeling of being stabbed in the back it made those 13 hours seem even longer than it sounds.

To distract myself from the pain I watched some movies: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Gravity, Nebraska, and some Korean movie I forget the name of.  None were outstanding, but they all kept me entertained, more or less.  I did enjoy Bruce Dern in Nebraska, he reminded me of my father in his final months.

And so we came to land in this land called Korea two hours later than our scheduled arrival of 6:30 p.m.  I zipped through immigration and then waited impatiently at the baggage carousel for my fears to be confirmed–our luggage didn’t make it to Korea with us.  I guess it’s no big deal, they’ll eventually deliver it to the apartment which saves me  rasslin’ 4 fifty pound bags around town.  Except in one of those bags are my darts.  Which are a key component of my plans for Friday night.  Alas.

We took the Airport Limo (bus) and arrived at Gireum-dong at 10:30 p.m.  We were greeted by Jee Yeuns’ mom, sister, daughter, and daughter’s boyfriend along with a nice spread of take out/delivery Korean food, 3 bottles of Soju, and some beer.  Having now consumed all of the above, I’m writing this post.

The family...

The family…

...the food.

…the food.

 

And now I am bringing this long assed day to a close.

 

Final preparations

bags 003

Bags are packed.  I had foolishly thought we could go one suitcase each by maximizing our two carry-ons (two overhead bags and two backpacks).  Alas, it could not be done.  I relented and resigned myself to paying $100 for an additional checked bag.  And just now Delta sent me an email to do advance check-in and lo and behold it turns out Jee Yeun and I are allowed TWO checked bags each for free!  This is contrary to what the booking agent told me on the phone, but I ain’t complaining.  So, we consolidated some of our over stuffed carry-on items into a fourth suitcase.  Sweet!  We weighed our large bags and none of them exceed 50 pounds, at least according to my bathroom scale.  Woo Hoo!

I sprang for the extra room seats in coach ($150) for the Detroit-Incheon leg.  Despite rumors to the contrary, three inches DOES make a difference.  And they also have extra recline.  Now, I’m guessing these seats are probably similar to the standard coach seats on Korean Air, but damn, I couldn’t bear the thought of sitting for 12 hours with my knees pressed up against the seat in front of me or having it reclined into my lap.  What good is money anyway if it can’t buy you a little comfort?

My big worry right now is that they are forecasting snow and a “gale” in Detroit tomorrow.  I’ve only got an hour 45 between flights so if my Charlotte flight gets delayed going in I’m likely to be screwed.  Well, nothing to be done about the weather, but I’d sure hate to spend a night in the Detroit airport.

Signed my tax forms today and it will be held pending receipt of the wayward SSN for Jee Yeun.  The good news is I’m actually getting a refund of just over two grand from Uncle Sam.  The bad news is I owe South Carolina a little over three.  Oh well, lots better than I fared last year!

What else?  Still need to pull a little paperwork together so I will hopefully have all I need to satisfy the Korean immigration folks that I’m worthy of an F-6 (spouse) visa.

And I’ll be playing my last darts in Columbia for awhile tonight at my home bar Kwagga.  I’m actually going to miss my darting friends here.  I think being excited about returning to Korea and being a little sad about leaving Columbia means I might be doing things right.  Come September I’ll be blue about leaving Korea but excited about coming home I reckon.

Bright and early I’ll drive over to the daughter’s house as she has graciously agreed to drive us up to the Charlotte airport.

Time for me to fly!

 

At the Garden City Classic

The weekend of darts in Augusta was somewhat of a mixed bag, but given that I normally have disastrous results I reckon I fared pretty well overall.

I was featured on the local news broadcast covering the event.  And by featured I mean I appear in the background at the 0.13 second mark (I’m the one wearing the blue jersey that says “John “the Walrus” McCrarey on the back).  You can also glimpse Jee Yeun at the 0.29 mark.  It is actually a pretty nice little news story and good for the promotion of darts.

Bottom line up front, I did not qualify for the Nationals.  In my bracket I faced the following nationally ranked players: Joe Chaney (#7), Danny Baggish (#14), George Alvarado (#17) and Jerry Hilbourn (#57).  Highlights for me were throwing a 180 and taking a leg from Chaney (a first for me!).  Lowlights were everything else.  But honestly, throwing against some of the best players in the country was a great experience and I’m sure I came away with some lessons learned.

I will tell the rest of the story in pictures (ok, in picture captions):

In the Friday night blind draw I made it to the final four (with an able assist from my outstanding partner of course).

In the Friday night blind draw I made it to the final four (with an able assist from my outstanding partner Joe Giordono of course).

Saturday morning brought a top 16 finish in mixed doubles.  I was once again blessed with a great partner, Kay Hoover of Cleveland, OH fame.  The highlight was beating Robbie Phillips (ADO rank #4) and his partner which was quite the thrill.  I met him again that afternoon in men's doubles and he destroyed me.  Still, I can truthfully say I won half the matches I played against Phillips this weekend!

Saturday morning brought a top 16 finish in mixed doubles. I was once again blessed with a great partner, Kay Hoover of Cleveland, OH fame. The highlight was beating Robbie Phillips (ADO rank #4) and his partner which was quite the thrill. I met him again that afternoon in men’s doubles and he destroyed me. Still, I can truthfully say I won half the matches I played against Phillips this weekend!

Saturday night saw a thrilling top 4 finish in mixed triples.  It was the first time I played that particular event and kudos go out to my partners Megan Hoover and J.R. Heffington for a great night of darts!

Saturday night saw a thrilling top 4 finish in mixed triples. It was the first time I played that particular event and kudos go out to my partners Megan Hoover and J.R. Heffington for a great night of darts!

I didn't play worth a damn on Sunday, but the weather was perfect for sitting outside and enjoying the view of the Savannah River...

I didn’t play worth a damn on Sunday, but the weather was perfect for sitting outside and enjoying the view of the Savannah River…

So, there you have it.  Augusta was the first U.S. tourney I played when I came back from Korea in 2013 and it will be my last in the States until this fall.  It was a helluva lot of fun and that’s about all you can hope for.

 

Curses, foiled again

Little in life is more disappointing than misplaced optimism.  Given my past experiences, why I believed that the United States government might actually demonstrate a modicum of competence against all evidence to the contrary is beyond me.  I now stand corrected.

Last month’s visit to the Social Security office had left me hopeful that I would by now be in possession of a social security number for my wife.  Having not received a promised notification in last week’s mail, we got up early today and drove downtown to the Federal building.  Once again we were promptly served (I give SSA props for that at least) and as fate would have it we drew the same customer service rep as before.  She said the reason we hadn’t gotten notice that the social security application had been processed was because “DHS was unable to verify immigration status.”

The mind reels.  After all those months of waiting for the green card to be issued, less than a month later DHS can’t find a record of having done so?  God save us all if these are the people in charge of “Homeland Security”.

So what happens now is SSA will send copies of the green card and passport to DHS and if a sentient being there can verify that Jee Yeun has been granted permanent residency, they will notify SSA who will then process the SSN application.  ETA on actually getting a SSN?  Maybe four weeks.  Which puts me perilously close to the April 15 deadline for filing my taxes.

Tomorrow I will visit my accountant, sign my tax forms, which she will hold until I email the social security number that one of my kids will be watching out for while they periodically check my mailbox here at the house.

Nothing comes easy when you rely on Uncle Sam.  Turns out he’s a real fucktard.

fuctard

The United State is a first world nation with a third world government.  As Neil Young duly noted, things are comin’ apart at every nail…

No reason to be a dick about it

So, some folks in San Antonio are not happy with the name this woman chose for her Korean food truck.  Hell, I wish we had something like this rolling in Columbia regardless of what it’s called.  Featuring Korean BBQ,Japchae, and Bibimbap and the most popular dish, Korean Fried Chicken.

Now, when I first saw the article I assumed the truck was owned by a Korean immigrant and the name choice was accidental (like the infamous dress shop in Itaewon named “Make Yourself Fucking Lovely”).  But no, it’s a white woman’s business and she just likes the name.  Cocky bitch!

cockasian

Seven days

Nats

One week to go before I fly. Still to be done:

  • Complete getting my papers together so I’m prepared to apply for an F-6 spouse visa in Korea.  Technically, most of the documentation Jee Yeun needs to supply but I’ll want to bring the marriage certification and my proof of income.  I’ve not seen anything about a police background check, so hopefully that won’t be an issue.
  • Tonight is my final appearance in the Pointless Dart League for awhile.
  • Hope that I get the promised letter from the Social Security Administration so I can go downtown and be provided a social security number for Jee Yeun.
  • Then I need to take said SSN to my accountant and complete my income taxes.
  • Head out to Augusta, GA Friday morning to compete in the Garden City Classic dart tournament.  That will keep me busy all weekend. I’ll be playing in the first National qualifier that I actually earned my way into (i.e. paid entry).  I don’t have any illusions about making it to the Nationals.  It would be interesting if I did however, seeing as how those will be held in Charlotte in April.  I’m guessing the American Darts Organization would balk at paying my airfare from Korea.  We’ll see.  I’ll also be doing all the other usual events.  I’ve hooked up with the #5 ranked female player in the country for mixed doubles which should be interesting.  I’m sure I’m the worst male partner she’s ever had, but maybe I’ll surprise her (and myself!).
  • Clean out the refrigerators and cabinets of everything perishable.
  • Final visit with the kids.  Make arrangements for bringing in my mail once a week and mowing the lawn periodically.
  • Prepare some priority mail envelopes and customs forms for anything I need to have forwarded to me in Korea.
  • Visit the credit union and withdraw some cash so I’ll be ready to hit the money exchange in Korea.
  • Go to the Lids store to pick up the Washington Nationals baseball cap I special ordered (black with white trim).  In Korea it will be the hat I wear for darts.  And the “W” will be re-purposed to stand for “The Walrus”.  Of course.
  • Make my final appearance of the season in the Monsters of the Midlands Pub League.
  • Pack a suitcase. And I mean one (each).  Delta charges $100 for a second bag on international flights.  Fuck that.  We’ll get everything into a suitcase and maximize our carry-on bags.  This isn’t too hard for me as I had the foresight to leave a fair amount of clothing behind in Korea.  Jee Yeun will utilize whatever leftover space I have in my suitcase. Although I was forced to concede we’d need to bring an extra suitcase home with us (the one filled up with mama’s kimchi).
  • Be driven to the Charlotte airport Wednesday morning to catch our flight to Detroit and after a short layover, a direct flight to Incheon.  I’ve connected in Detroit before without much trouble (it’s actually easier to move about than Atlanta or Chicago).  I’m just hoping this crazy ass winter weather is over so we don’t encounter delays or cancellations.  Not much I can do about that though.

And that’s my to do list.  If everything goes according to plan we’ll be arriving at our Gireum-dong apartment Thursday night.  And I’ll be playing darts at Pub Dolce Vita in Itaewon on Friday night.  And that’s the way I like it.  Uh huh, uh huh.

 

 

And so it begins

francesurrenders

France surrenders in the face of Russian aggression.

One top French General was quoted as saying, “Rather than suffer an embarrassing hypothetical defeat on a possible battlefield, we pre-empted the unlikely conflict with surrender – it was the only logical solution to the potential problem.”

The foreign press reported that Vladimir Putin commented on the surrender while performing his morning ritual of wrestling a grizzly bear, “France is not part of Russia. They are merely new vacation spot, we have no need for country full of coward wine drinkers, true Russians drink vodka!” The media will certainly be keeping an eye on the developing situation, as well as the response from the White House, which is expected later today. Press Secretary Jay Carney has told the media to expect a swift response from the President in light of the recent events, saying “The Department of Justice will be prosecuting the producer of the inflammatory Miley Cyrus YouTube video that caused all of this, as well as delivering an apology on behalf of the United States to all involved. We are hoping that the apology will cause all of this to kind of die down and go away so we can focus on the real issues of gun violence and the Affordable Healthcare Act”

putin-obama