So, my son Kevin made the front page of Friday’s paper here in Columbia. Of course, that fact in and of itself could be either good or bad. Happily it was good news. The boy done made his daddy proud.
This week I was notified that I was not selected for the job I applied for. It is pretty much what I expected, but I was still a little dejected. Especially because I was so well connected with a friend in the company. Not sure if it was something I neglected to put in my resume, or perhaps it was something I wrote to which they objected. But now that I’ve reflected, the resume is pretty much perfected (even the grammar has been corrected) and my experience in the field is well respected. And while my confidence has not been affected, I have detected certain barriers to my employment may have been erected. Perhaps it is my age as I’ve previously suspected. Or maybe that’s just what I’ve projected but I’ve elected not to be infected by self-doubt. Regardless, my pension checks will still be collected so my finances are pretty much protected.
My new driving accessory arrived in today’s mail.
When I opened the back to insert the batteries I got a little surprise that made me laugh out loud (hey, I’m easily entertained):
Anyway, I took it for a *ahem* test drive tonight. Before leaving the house I gave it a blow and registered 0.00 blood alcohol content (BAC). Since I hadn’t had anything to drink it seemed to be working to perfection. First stop was a new bar for me called Over the Rails. It sits right next to the CSX railroad line, hence the name. The owner wants to install a couple of dart boards so me and a pal dropped in to reconnoiter the joint. It’s a bit of a dive, but the staff and patrons were friendly enough. Had two icy cold Mich Ultras and headed to the car to see precisely how drunk I wasn’t.
In accordance with the instructions, I fired up the BACtrack and let it do its 12 second warmup. At the appointed time I took a deep breath and gave it a hardy 5 second blow. And it registered a BAC reading of 0.67, perilously close to the legal limit of 0.8. I was a bit dismayed until I remembered the instructions emphatically stated that you must wait 20 minutes after your last alcoholic beverage to ensure an accurate reading. I had waited maybe 2 minutes at most.
Seeing as how I was still technically on the legal side of the limit I felt confident enough to drive the two miles to my regular pub, Kwagga. Played some darts and enjoyed two more beers. Then I had a diet Coke and waited the specified 20 minutes before passing wind into my breathalyzer. This time I got a much more satisfactory reading of 0.36. So, four beers in two and a half hours and I was less than half-drunk. Which tells me my self-imposed limit of five beers in three hours was pretty much on target (a bucket of five bottles of beer sells for a discounted rate of ten bucks which is why I go that route). But there’s nothing like the peace of mind and confidence you gain when you don’t have to fear being arrested.
A commenter on my previous post about the BACtrack asked if the product came with a guarantee. After reading the instruction booklet I can state with certainty that it does not. In words that only a lawyer could write it made clear (repeatedly) that it is never safe to operate a motor vehicle after consuming any amount of alcohol. Furthermore, the results of the BACtrack are not admissible in a court of law. And just in case you missed it, the last page of the booklet contains one line of words in capital letters: DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. So I won’t. Much. And certainly not while driving.
In other news, my buddy Duke up in Northern Virginia left a comment on the post where I mentioned I had applied for a job at Yongsan Garrison in Seoul. Turns out that vacancy is with the company he works for. The hiring decisions are made a couple of pay grades below him, but he did forward my resume with a recommendation from him to the folks who will make the selection. I figure that may boost my prospects, although Duke did note that they give first preference to military veterans. I had no idea at the time I applied that I actually had an inside connection. And if Duke hadn’t read my blog he wouldn’t have known I was looking for work there. IF (and that’s a BIG if in bold face letters) I have the good fortune of being selected I would love the fact that after nearly ten years of blogging this damn hobby of mine actually paid off in a tangible way. We’ll see.
Finally, for those readers who care about my darting “career”, I’m happy to report that I’m off to a hot start back here in America. In the Tuesday pub league, I won 6 legs (our team totaled 8). In last night’s Pointless Dart League tournament me and my partner earned a first place finish. More darts on tap tomorrow in Columbia at the Publick House tourney and then I’ll drive up to Charlotte on Saturday morning to participate in a “fun shoot” at Steamer’s Pub. Since I haven’t played there before I have to get “rated” prior to the the tourney. Not sure what that entails but it should be interesting.
So there you have it. Other than my continued sleep deprivation things are going about as well as might be expected. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.
Six days in and my sleep pattern is still not right*. Last night I was up late completing an online job application. Went to bed around 2 a.m. and found myself wide awake at 4. Back to bed at 6 a.m. and slept until 8. Took a nap at 2 p.m. and woke up at 4.
If the pattern holds I reckon I’ll get the recommended 8 hours of sleep, except I’m getting it in fragments. Which is fine I suppose, although during my waking hours I’m feeling lethargic and unmotivated. Did make it out to the bank to deposit $236 in small checks from my inherited oil lease royalties that had accumulated during my time in Korea. Thanks mom!
The job I applied for is with a military contractor on Yongsan Garrison that provides career counseling for soldiers and their family members who are leaving the service. Although I’ve never actually worked as a career counselor my experience as a human resources manager I think qualifies me to teach folks job application and interviewing skills. Of the jobs I’ve looked at this seems like the best fit. I’m not optimistic the company will see it that way though. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Tonight I’ll make my darts debut in the Monsters of the Midlands pub league. That may bleed over into my scheduled two hours of sleep, but I’ll adjust I suppose.
*I really don’t think this sleep disorder is entirely caused by jet lag. Sleeping alone has also got me out of sorts. It didn’t rain today so tomorrow I may get out the lawnmower and do some mowing. Maybe a little physical exertion will convince my body it’s time for a good night’s sleep.
As most of my reader(s) know I enjoy drinking beer in social settings (although rarely at home). While I don’t have much of a social life, I do play darts two or three times per week and I’ve found beer to be a useful tool in that endeavor. In fact, beer is commonly referred to in the sport as “aiming fluid”.
Given the outstanding public transportation system in Korea I never really had to worry about the amount of beer I consumed during a dart match (other than recognizing that after a certain point inebriation will impact on the quality of my game). Here in the USA there is no getting around driving to the various dart venues, so it is imperative to not drink in excess of the legal limit (currently .08 blood alcohol content in South Carolina) when operating a motor vehicle. I’m actually very paranoid about driving after drinking. I never get “drunk-drunk”, but I’m quite certain I could potentially exceed .08 with no outward signs of impairment.
The rule of thumb is to limit yourself to one drink per hour which I find difficult to do. I’m a big guy and based on the online calculators I’ve looked at, I can probably partake in four beers in an hour without crossing the line. What I normally do is drink five beers during a three hour dart match, then switch to diet Coke at the end of the evening. That’s probably a “safe” amount, but other factors come into play (for example, what you have eaten) and the truth of the matter is you can never be certain. Alcohol impairs judgement, and making the judgement that you are okay to drive after drinking is a fool’s bet.
Being arrested for DUI is an expensive and life altering event. And that’s really the best case scenario. God forbid you do something stupid which causes death or injury to yourself or someone else. I’ve learned that two friends were busted for DUI during the six months I was staying in Korea. I’ve also been told that DUI checkpoints are frequently set up along the route I travel home after a night of darting. Despite my intent to be responsible when it comes to drinking and driving, I really fear inadvertently fucking up.
So, this morning I purchased one of these from a company called BACtrack:
Once it arrives it will be interesting to see how accurate my personal rule-of-thumb has been. But one thing is certain, I will never drive my vehicle anytime I am anywhere near the legal limit. In fact, my plan is to not get behind the wheel at over .05. That’s the standard the federal government wants the states to impose. It’s the right thing to do and you can’t put a price tag on the peace of mind that comes with being a responsible driver.
Three days into this iteration of my American life and I’m still not sleeping. Well, technically I am sleeping, but only in bursts of two or three hours at a time. Not sure why I’m having such a hard time re-setting my circadian rhythms, but it is getting to be a bit of a pain in the ass.
After a long but uneventful flight on Wednesday I arrived at my South Carolina home at 6:30 p.m. That concluded about a 22 hour door-to-door trip. I managed maybe two hours of sleep on the plane so I was exhausted. I had every intention of staying awake until midnight or so to get my body back on Carolina time, but at 8 p.m. I had to surrender and went to bed. I awoke at 10:30 p.m. somewhat refreshed and definitely hungry. So I headed out to the 24 hour supermarket to do some grocery shopping. Came home and cooked up a rack of ribs and started watching season 4 of Game of Thrones. Made it through 5 episodes or so, and tried to catch some sleep around 9 a.m. Woke up at noon, and finished up GOT. It seems every season concludes with the death of a major character, and I was pretty surprised at who they killed off this go around. Won’t spoil it for you though if you haven’t seen it.
Fell asleep on my amazingly comfortable leather couch for about 3 hours and woke up hungry. So I headed out to Rush’s, a local fast food chain, and ordered me up a basket of chicken wings.
After devouring that tasty chicken I fiddle-farted around on the computer until 2 a.m. or so and tried again to get a full night’s (or morning as it were) sleep. No dice. Woke at 3:30 and knew I’d be up for awhile. So, I started watching VEEP, a mildly amusing political comedy featuring Julia-Louis Dreyfus. Between episodes I baked up a batch of cinnamon rolls (well, I opened a can and popped them in the oven). Obviously I haven’t initiated my low carb diet plan yet. I had good intentions about doing some banking and running some errands, but I found myself growing sleepy shortly after noon, so I hit the sack for the longest period of sleep I’d managed thus far–four hours.
With Friday night looming my body told me it was time for some darts. So I showered up and headed out to my local pub, Kwagga. When I left for Korea back in March this was the place to be for dart action in Columbia. Sadly, due to some personality conflicts the owner found it necessary (wrongly in my opinion) to ban several dart players from the bar. Several others had moved away during my absence which left only me and one other guy there to play. In fact, for most of the night we were the only customers in the bar. I’m afraid that doesn’t bode well for the future of Kwagga, which is a shame really. Still, the owner welcomed me back with a bucket of Michelob Ultra beer (hey, only 2.6 grams of carbohydrates per bottle!). Dirk, the South African owner of Kwagga, mentioned he had a new item on the menu. With his accent it sounded like he was saying “Buddha’s balls”, which didn’t sound too appetizing. But it turns out it was more like boerwors, a South African sausage which was served on a bun. Hell, it looked like a hot dog so I slathered it in ketchup. Dirk was aghast and said “you just ruined it”. He pointed to the sauce served on the side and said that’s what you are supposed to put on it. Hell, I thought it was for dipping the chips. Anyway, I found it quite tasty, ketchup and all.
I played darts until about 10:30 then headed home. I felt sure that with some American beer and South African sausage in my belly I’d sleep like a baby through the night. I stayed up until 12:30 just to be sure but alas, I woke up at 4:00 a.m. With nothing else to do with myself I sat down at the keyboard to treat my faithful readers to this post which I believe perfectly captures the astounding boredom of my so-called life in the USA.
Once the rest of the world wakes up I plan to do a little shopping and maybe treat myself to a 5 Guys burger.
Later this afternoon the daughter is bringing the grandkids over for a visit. And I’ll be missing my yobo immensely. It really sucks being here without her.
So there you have it. As far as I know everything I’ve written above is true and correct. But then again, I saw this article in Time magazine that says less than 5 hours sleep leads to false memories. So who knows?
I’m fixin’ to head out to Incheon to catch my flight across the wide Pacific. Sad to be making the trip alone, but Jee Yeun needs to stay and care for her mother. I offered to stay and help but Jee Yeun will be taking her mom to the “countryside” for the next couple of weeks. So, faced with being alone either way, I stuck with the plan and will return to the USA as scheduled.
Goodbye to you Korea!
A poisonous fog descended on the neighborhood across the street from my apartment this morning.
Purportedly the gas cloud kills mosquitoes. I suspect that at best it just causes them to relocate to my side of the street. I’ve never seen them spray over here. And those pesky bastards have been all over my ass (and legs and arms) for most of the summer.
Five more days. Then I can be bitten by the South Carolina variety.
One of my favorite Korea-centric blogs is back in business after experiencing technical difficulties these past several days. I had similar issues with the same blog host last year (see here and here). I hope GI Korea is able to find someone at blogs-about to assist with transferring his archives.
Anyway, if you link to ROKdrop, his new domain is ROKdrop.net. The .com address wasn’t working for me at least.
Seven days remaining in this iteration of my Korea life. Here’s how things stand:
Played my last league match with the Dillinger’s Dartitis Quarantine team. We won our first match of the season against the Sin Bin Dartaholics, but I turned in another sorry performance. USA Goal: Practice, practice, practice. I have a board at home so no excuses!
Rolled over in my sleep last night and wound up face first on the floor. Can’t remember the last time I’ve fallen out of bed like that. USA Goal: Avoid nocturnal skydiving. My bed at home is twice as high as my low-lying Korean mattress so I don’t want to break my neck.
Had my checkup with Dr. Yoo this morning. I was surprised that my blood work actually showed some significant reductions in both categories of “bad cholesterol” because my diet discipline has been sorely lacking these past several months. Guess that Lipitor really does work. Dr. Yoo also told me to “cut back on the carbs and lose some weight. USA Goal: Get back on the diet and exercise plan and stick with it! I’ve got me some good intentions to live a healthier lifestyle, including kicking the cigarettes (again!).
I’ve done a little more networking and have floated my resume to a couple of more contractors for potential on-base employment. Times are tough and most organizations are cutting back so I haven’t gotten a lot of encouragement. My dream job would be to get re-employed with my old organization but there are some pretty major hurdles involved with that as well. I also learned that if move forward with the F-6 visa (Korean equivalent of the green card) I will essentially be unemployable with USFK. USA Goal: Shit or get off the pot. I figure I’ll give it till January or so and then try to make some decisions about the course of my future life.
Anyway, it’s been a pretty good six months here. I’m also looking forward to getting back to the comforts of my American life. Perhaps I should be encouraged that my one foot in two continents lifestyle is working out as well as might be expected. Hopefully I will always be sad to leave one and happy to return to the other.