Resolved: Today is the last day I look back in sorrow and regret. Tomorrow I’ll embrace the future and whatever it may bring, one day at a time.
Got me a haircut today and I went full on Korean-style, including a facial and a very nice massage. It was quite relaxing and I left feeling much better than I did when I walked in.
I’ve also been touched by the kind words of some of my readers and other long ago friends. I really do appreciate the support.
Tonight is a dart league meeting followed by a tournament. I do believe I’ll get off my sorry ass and participate.
Now I wind up staring at an empty glass
‘Cause it’s so easy to say you’ll forget your past…
Today I mopped the floors. In doing so I noticed that my backpack was not in its usual ready to move out position. Damn, I must have left it at Shenanigans before I stumbled home drunk last night.
After I finished my chores I made my way back to the bar to retrieve the missing backpack. To my dismay it wasn’t there. I admit I got pretty pissed off. I mean, it was my fault for leaving it, but who the fuck steals someone’s backpack? I had both sets of my darts in the bag, plus a goodly supply of vaping oil. I figure the contents are valued at $300 or so. As I sat there stewing over my loss (and stupidity) one of the bartenders texted one of the staff who had closed the bar last night. She responded that when I left I had the bag on my back. Hmm. What did I do after I left the bar?
Then I remembered having to pee on the way home so I had popped into Scrooge Pub. Not wanting to be a pisser, I had a beer while there. So I hoofed it over to Scrooge and sure enough, that’s where I’d left it. My mood vastly improved with the recovery of my prized possessions.
Then I came home a made myself some delicious burritos. And there you were thinking that I didn’t have a life…
Ordered three new shirts today at Hamilton tailor. First time there but apparently I’m their biggest customer. So they charged me an extra W8000 per shirt.
I’ve been around some places in this life. I moved out of the house I shared with my parents on Milton Avenue in Westminster CA in July, 1973 at the tender age of 17. Moved into an apartment on Magnolia Avenue in Garden Grove with a neighborhood pal. I had two girlfriends at the time, Gail and Karen. Karen lived down San Diego way so it wasn’t too difficult to make sure they were never in the same place at the same time.
A few months later I moved further down (up?) Magnolia to Huntington Beach and shared an apartment with my brother Keith. I was living there when I had the misfortune of bringing Karen home with me from San Diego while Gail was amongst the friends having an impromptu party at my place. So shortly thereafter I found myself with zero girlfriends.
About a year later I was dating Bridget and knocked her up. So we took an apartment in Midway City during her pregnancy with the intention of giving the baby up for adoption. Turns out once I saw my baby girl I wanted to keep her, so I married Bridget.
We rented a nice little house on 22nd Street in Westminster from my parents and engaged in the family life. Before long my son Kevin came along and we started dreaming of raising our kids somewhere other than Southern California. I managed to secure a transfer of my letter carrier job to the mile high city of Prescott, AZ.
Rented a nice little house on Western Avenue sight unseen, this was before the internet, I found it advertised in the Prescott Courier. I don’t recall where I managed to get my hands on a copy though.
Anyway, Prescott might just be the best place I ever did live. Back then it was a bustling little metropolis of 25,000 souls nestled in the Bradshaw Mountains. It seemed like a place I could spend a lifetime in, so I became a first time homeowner in a sweet little house on San Carlos Road.
We were living there when the marriage fell apart, so I rented a place on the other side of town on Shadow Valley Road. It was one of those modified A-frame cabin-like things, and I shared it with two random roommates. I fell in love with a Phoenix gal whom I met in Flagstaff and was attending graduate school in Pocatello, Idaho. I only got to see her on the occasional weekend when I’d make the drive up north and during school breaks when she’d come home. Thought she was going to marry me but then she wound up pregnant. With another man’s baby.
That was a pretty devastating blow and I felt the need to change my life. So I took a job in Fort Smith, AR and rented me an apartment in the illogically named El Conquistador complex. At least I was close to my kids again who had been staying with my mom and dad on their little 80 acre ranch across the border in Monroe, OK.
I experienced a rather lonely year before the locals determined I was “all right” despite my odd accent. I had some success with the ladies and eventually started staying with Pamela in her apartment in Poteau, OK. Got bored after awhile so I moved back into Fort Smith and commenced to dating Iris and Darla. Iris was seven years older than me and Darla was 7 years younger. I fantasized about putting Iris’ brain in Darla’s body. Failing that, i settled for Beckie and moved into her fine house back in Poteau. We got married and I got promoted and we moved to ourselves and the kids off to Columbia, SC where we rented a house on Greengate street.
Of course, the kids had grown accustomed to having horses, so we bought a house in Lexington on 2/12 acres that was zoned for horses. In fact, all the streets were named after horses. We lived on Shetland Lane.
As testament to my selfishness and degenerate character I fell in love with another woman. Beckie moved out and Carol moved in. Not long afterwards I got promoted to a job in Arlington, VA. I lived a few months in an apartment in Crystal City before purchasing a house in Stafford where Carol joined me.
A few years later my misbehavior led me to rent an apartment in Arlington, but eventually I returned home to my house and wife.
In January 2005 I took a job in Seoul and had a government paid for villa in Hannam-dong. Carol was supposed to join me there but got cold feet and backed out. I chose to stay in Korea rather than return to my American life.
I made several trips to the Philippines where the young women were more than willing to assuage my loneliness. Then I met Se Hwa through a Korean dating site and she moved in with me for a year and a half. She left me to move to the USA for a Masters Degree. And there she remains as far as I know.
Not long after Se Hwa left I met Jee Yeun and we’ve been together ever since. When I retired I bought us a house on Lockleven Drive in Columbia. When we stayed in Seoul we lived in an apartment in Gireum-dong.
And now it has come to pass that I’m living in cozy villa in Itaewon.
By my reckoning, during the 43 years of my adult life I’ve spent roughly three years on my own. It takes some getting used to.
Fixed myself up a piping hot bowl of gumbo (courtesy of Campbell’s Chunky Soup). Then I turned on the TV and watched Home Alone.
Oh, the irony.
Sorry for the lack of posts. Dealing with some issues I’m not prepared to share here yet, but I’ll find my way through. I was lamenting to a bar friend about the forlorn state of my psyche, when this stranger walks up to me and says “I’m sorry to eavesdrop, but don’t ever give up!” Then she asked if I’d ever read “The Laughing Heart” by Charles Bukowski. Now, I’m a sucker for poetry and have read some of Bukowski’s stuff, but never this particular poem. So I grabbed my phone and pulled it up for a quick read:
your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
Well, that hit the spot. And I was very moved by the random act of kindness of the person who reached out and shared it.
I’m still in the game, aren’t I?
Haven’t done much posting about darts of late. Truth is I’ve lost some of my passion for the game. I do have it in mind to get back to business and at least recapture some of my past glory, such as it was.
During my recent trip to Cola-town I had the opportunity to throw a few with one of the young bucks there, Hunter Frady. Now Hunter is the epitome of passion for the sport, which I define as practice, practice, practice and doing whatever is necessary to improve your game. Hunter has often sent me messages just to talk darts and to seek advice and guidance. Hell, about all I have to offer is encouragement, but he gladly accepts that as well.
Anyway, I guess in a roundabout way I provided him some motivation. Before I returned to Korea I competed with Hunter in the Columbia Singles League. Honestly, I barely remember our games, but I apparently handed him a pretty good ass-whuppin’ in our final match. So when I returned to town at Thanksgiving he was spoiling for some revenge.
Keep after it until we meet again!
Sunday afternoon found me on the familiar streets of Itaewon, albeit somewhat earlier than I normally arrive. The occasion was a lunch meeting with the esteemed Kevin Kim of Big Hominid fame. Kevin did a nice write up of Mannimals, our chosen dining venue to satiate our hunger for wood fired barbecue. Go have a read about it, then hurry on back!.
As I awaited Kevin’s arrival at our designated meeting place (Hamilton Hotel) I heard some amplified shouting in what I assume was Arabic. It had a familiar ring about it given the years I spent living in close proximity to the Seoul Mosque. Sure enough, along came a
mob parade of Muslim folk down the main drag of Itaewon. As the car with the loudspeaker affixed to the roof approached, there was an announcement that the march was not a protest, rather it was all about honoring the Prophet on the occasion of his birthday.
Anyway, they all seemed peaceful enough. My snarky comments above notwithstanding, I do try and be respectful of all faiths, but I truly do have issues with a religion that condones honor killings, stoning rape victims, and murdering homosexuals. Maybe I’m just old fashioned that way. And while I get the fact that not all Muslims hold such beliefs, a sizable percentage do if the recent Pew poll is to be believed. Regardless, I would have been much more receptive if this march was in protest of the heinous acts being perpetuated in the name Islam. I was though surprised to see just how many Muslims were out in Itaewon, I reckon they numbered 200 or more, all adult males. I guess the burka clad women-folk aren’t permitted to engage public displays of affection.
Anyway, after the meal we strolled out Haebangchon way and then said our farewells at the entrance to the Noksapyeong subway station. It was still too early to quench my thirst at my regular watering hole (Shenanigans), so I meandered over to Dillinger’s which also was not as yet open for business. Tried Seoul Pub unsuccessfully as well, before winding up a Scrooge Pub.
I’m far from a regular there, but the barkeep knew me by name which is always nice. As I enjoyed a frosty mug of draft beer, one of the Filipinos who plays for Scrooge in dart league invited me up to the rooftop…
I didn’t stick around for the party (nor I suspect were any of the Muslim marchers in attendance) but the pig came out looking like this:
I got around to drinking some beers at Shenanigans before heading home. Then drank some more there after work yesterday. And that’s just about all I’ve managed to accomplish of late it seems.
Another year of blogging (to use the term lightly) is in the books. Sharing old posts each week since the ten year anniversary forced me to scroll through the archives. It was a painful reminder of just how pathetic my life has mostly been over the years. But hey, as an old girlfriend once told me “no man is totally worthless–he can always serve as a bad example”. I imagine that goes for blogging as well. So there’s that.
This post from 2011 contained a solitary image. Looking at it again this morning it seems more like a metaphor for the way I’ve been living.
Things might change. Stranger things have happened.
Since my last post, I completed another work week more or less successfully, although nothing happened worthy of note.
I drank beers at Shenanigans Thursday, Friday, and last night. Other than catching a buzz and chatting with friends and acquaintances, nothing else to say about those hours.
This afternoon I’ll be meeting up with the Big Hominid for lunch in Itaewon which should be fun.
Otherwise, I ain’t nothing but tired, I’m just tired and bored with myself.*
I reckon I need to man up and do something about that.
* Bruce Springsteen said it first.
So, I got a comment notification via email today from this post I wrote back in 2007. It was the standard crap you’ve come to know and love here at LTG, basically I talked about the Bob Dylan song “Long time gone”, explaining that my blog identity actually derived from the Crosby, Stills, and Nash song. I made a point that it was not based on the Dixie Chicks song of the same name, seeing as how I despised the Chicks.
Robert took offense to my long ago dig, responding thus:
you dis the dixie chicks for excercising their constitutional rights … you should be banned from listening to music … especially rock and roll …… if you ever even hear bob dylan you should hang your head in shame …
Hey, I welcome and appreciate all viewpoints (honestly, I’m always happy when anyone bothers to leave a comment). And Robert certainly deserved a response, so I provided this one:
Well Robert it is always nice to see a new comment on an eight year old post. Thanks for stopping by!
It’s interesting though that you are offended by my passing dig at the Dixie Bitches. Yes, they have a right to say whatever the fuck they want. And I have an equal right to criticize them for it. And you, the defender of free speech, think I should be banned from listening to music because I took a contrary view? I reckon that makes you a fascist.
Hey, come on back any time though, I don’t discriminate.
Truthfully, I don’t expect to see him back any time soon.
Back in the olden days when I was just trying to figure out darts, Mike “Petro” Petrucelli was one of my mentors. He left Korea several years ago but is back in town for a few days on business.
In addition to be the president of the Seoul International Dart League he was the dominant player in the league. He’s only gotten better since he left apparently, as he has earned his Pro card in the states. I threw some darts with him on Friday and he skunked me 8-0. Saturday night we held a tourney in his honor and he won that too. I’m trying to get some of the hot shots in Korea to come out and match up with him. He says he was the best when he left and until someone beats him he still is.
And that’s that.
Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and Tashfeen Malik, 27, armed Tea Party Christians, somehow evade California’s toughest in the nation gun laws and kill 14 in San Bernardino. President demands stronger action to end global warming.
Although there are conflicting reports.
It snowed today.
The storm seemed to peter out earlier than expected and left only a bare dusting of snow on the street. The powers that be however decreed that non-essential civilians would be released from duty at 1300. Right about the time the sun broke through the clouds. I took full advantage of mother nature’s windfall by hiking into Itaewon for lunch at Don Valley and then parking myself on a bar stool at Shenanigans.
All things considered, I’d call that a productive day.
31 30 29 28 27 26 25 24 2 3 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 weeks I will delve deep into the sewer archives of past posts to bring you a tidbit of blog history. I had originally planned to call this series “The best of LTG”, but damn, there just wasn’t much “best” to be found. And mediocre is too hard to spell.)
Five years ago I reflected back on my career on the occasion of my retirement ceremony in a post called “The end of the road”.
Heh, turns out the road didn’t end work wise after all. Just took a longish detour.
Government service didn’t change me at all. I’ve got the before and after pictures to prove it.
And now it’s all just one day at a time until there ain’t no more days. None of us are getting out of this alive!
Picking up where I was left off…
Arrived back at the lovely Columbia airport 12 hours after arriving there for the first time. Used our lunch voucher for dinner and moved over to the gate to await the arrival of our flight to Charlotte. Which was delayed for “mechanical reasons”. At least this time the only thing I was missing was some sleep in Charlotte. Quite a few other passengers were not so lucky and had to be re-booked. I could relate to their pain.
Got into Charlotte around 10:00 and went looking for a place to spend our dinner voucher. Everyone was closing up, so we settled for a couple of Papa John’s mini pizzas to go. Then we headed out to wait for the hotel shuttle to pick us up. It proved to be a pretty long wait. There were “no smoking” placards posted throughout the vicinity but I was surreptitiously sneaking a vape now and again. And then a blonde woman showed up with two female police officers standing with her. Made me too uncomfortable to vape in the presence of the law. Observing this intruder piqued my curiosity. She was not under arrest, that much was clear. So I figured she must be some sort of celebrity getting police protection from the unwashed masses. But then I thought, what kind of celebrity takes the freakin’ hotel shuttle bus? She looked a little familiar, but too rough around the edges to really be a star.
Well, about then the Baymont Suites shuttle arrived and I lost interest in the faded flower. Until she loaded into the bus in the seat directly behind me. Whereupon she loudly announced “this is the first time I’ve taken public transportation”. Everyone on board ignored her. Then she said “can I borrow a phone? Someone stole mine. I really need to call Charlie Sheen.” I figured maybe she was crazy or worried about HIV. Or both. She then asked the driver if he could take somewhere to by a burner phone. He said he would after he dropped us all off. Next the wayward lass professed to being hungry and offered to treat all of us if the driver would stop for fast food. No one cared much for that idea and she continued mumbling about having not eaten all day long, so I offered her my pizza and she happily accepted. Next she was thirsty so I gave her my diet Pepsi. She went on for awhile about how nice and generous we had been and thanked us profusely. Truthfully, I just wanted to shut her up.
Shortly thereafter we arrived at our hotel. Curiosity got the best of me and I asked the damsel in distress her name. Brooke Mueller was her response. I didn’t recognize the name (which was probably disappointing for her) so I just said nice to meet you and good luck and then I exited the bus. Once I got to the room I Googled her and saw that she was in fact a B-list actress and Charlie Sheen’s ex-wife (or more precisely, one of them).
There wasn’t much sweet about the Baymont Suites, except the room was gratis. And we were only going to be there for 5 hours. I took a shower and hit the sheets, woke promptly at 0400, dressed and headed downstairs for the ride back to the airport. I noticed Brooke wondering aimlessly around the lobby, couldn’t help but pity her situation. Hope whatever trouble she’s having in life works itself out.
So, we arrived at the airport right at 0430 in anticipation of our flight to Dallas boarding at 0530. Our bags had been checked through from Columbia to Incheon which was nice except for the not having a change of clothes thing. Heh, it was sort of like camping! TSA was just making final preparations to open for business and our boarding pass said we were “PRECHK”. So we waltzed right on through wearing our shoes and everything!
Used our breakfast voucher for coffee and bagels and I noted our plane was parked at the departure gate. I took that as a good sign we wouldn’t suffer a mechanical delay on this fine morning. Sure enough, we boarded and departed on time and landed in Dallas with 2 hours to kill before our connection to Seoul.
As I dawdled over my coffee, I saw a thick flume of black smoke rising up behind our ride to Seoul.
Ah, but American Airlines I had one more surprise for me this trip:
First time in Business Class for an International flight. Jee Yeun was upgraded as well, but our seats were on opposite sides of the plane. So a stranger had to endure my snoring and flatulence. Man, those seats are amazing though. You can go from upright to lay down flat and everywhere in between. Food was pretty damn fine as well.
The freaking entertainment system offered the same sorry list of crappy movies that they had on the outbound journey. I actually tried to watch three of them, but couldn’t make it to the end on any. Too lame, too predictable, lousy acting–you name it. Oh well, never slept better on a plane ride, that’s for sure. And of course, I’m ruined for life now. Coach will only seem more oppressive and uncomfortable in the future.
And now I’m finally back home in Seoul. Just in time for tomorrow’s predicted 2-6 inches of snow. Ain’t life grand?
Up bright and early this morning. Gassed and returned the rental car, checked our bags and got our boarding passes, made it through security mostly unscathed (Jee Yeun’s rice cooker in the backpack did get TSA’s attention and she got the extra screening I predicted). At our gate and ready to go with 45 minutes to spare.
And then came the dreaded announcement that due to “mechanical issues” our plane would be delayed for an undetermined amount of time. I only had a 1 hour 50 minute window to make my connection to Narita so I was a little more than concerned. There were 50 people with similar concerns in line with the gate agent, so I made the decision to return to the check-in counter. The man there seemed to be wanting to help me and seemed to realize that my connection was in jeopardy. Assuming a re-booking was going to be necessary I sent Jee Yeun a message to come join me up front. She was none to happy about lugging my heavy backpack (in addition to her own) all the way from our gate. Shortly after she arrived the agent said “well, it looks now like your flight from Columbia will be departing on time after all”. Which put me in a bit of a panic since it was two minutes to departure. You’ll recall I missed my connection to Columbia in similar fashion.
So we hustled our way through security again and rushed to our gate (fortunately, Columbia is a small airport) only to find the long line of people waiting to be re-booked by a solitary gate agent. I realized the guy at the check-in counter had just not wanted to deal with resolving my situation so he sent me on a fool’s errand. Well, I wasn’t going to stand in that line for hours, so I broke out the phone and called American Airlines reservations. “Mike” on the other end of the line seemed to want to help, although his intermittently placing me on hold for lengthy periods was disconcerting. After one of those long holds he came back and asked if there wasn’t an agent on the ground in Columbia who could assist me. So, I gave him the facts of life.
After explaining that I didn’t have time to stand in a line that didn’t appear to be moving and the agent at check-in being worthless, I reiterated that I needed to be in Seoul and ready to work on Wednesday morning. I said I didn’t care what airline or what airport I traveled from, I just needed to get there. “Mike” told me he understood and put me on hold again. When he came back he gave me the helpful news that there was a direct flight from Los Angeles to Seoul, but then unhelpfully he explained he couldn’t get me to west coast in time to catch it. He said he had checked for flights from Chicago, Dulles, and Charlotte as well and there was just no way I was going to make it back to Seoul today. So, I asked him about Plan B and he put me on hold. When he returned he told me he could get me on a Columbia to Dallas, Dallas to L.A. flight. I’d arrive at 11:00 p.m. and could catch a Korean Air flight to Incheon at 11 the next morning. I sighed, told him to book it, and got placed back on hold.
All told, I spent 45 minutes on the phone with “Mike” (I don’t even want to think about what the roaming charge for that call is gonna cost me) but I had a new reservation in hand. So, it was back to the check-in counter to retrieve my baggage. This time I encountered a much more helpful agent. As she set about printing my new boarding passes she had difficulty with the Dallas-L.A. leg. So, she got on the phone with someone to work it out and stayed on the phone for over an hour. No shit. The end result was I now had an entirely new itinerary–Columbia to Charlotte where I’d spend the night. Then Charlotte to Dallas where I’d connect with an American Airlines flight direct to Seoul. At this point I knew I was fucked either way, although I’d prefer flying Korean Air. Whatever. She gave me boarding passes for everything except Dallas-Incheon, explaining I’d check-in for that flight upon arrival. I told her nope, I needed seats, preferably exit row. She got back on the phone for awhile and told me I had an aisle and center seat reserved. Still no boarding pass, so I guess I’ve got to take her word for it.
Then she gave me my freebies. Vouchers for lunch, dinner, breakfast tomorrow, and a hotel room. Except the hotel room was in Columbia. So she went back to fix that. I had already decided that I’d never fly into Columbia again. When something goes wrong, and it seems like it inevitably does, you don’t have many options. From now on I’ll be using Charlotte. When the agent came back with my corrected lodging voucher she told me “I never fly out of Columbia, I always use Charlotte. You should too”. Yep.
The daughter took time off from work to pick us up and drop us at her house. She’ll pick us up after work and take us back to the Columbia airport for our flight to Charlotte. Let the adventure continue!