Easter said then done

OK, so where did I leave off?  Oh yeah, it was Saturday night and I was fixin’ to play darts…

You can see how that worked out for me--a 12-4 shellacking by a Mongolian named Bayar. I actually played pretty well, he just played weller...

You can see how that worked out for me–a 12-4 shellacking by a Mongolian named Bayar. I actually played pretty well, he just played weller…

The match was played at Dolce Vita which is right next door to Shenanigans.  I was feeling like a change of pace though, so I decided to take a stroll down memory lane.

I started out at the Grand Ole Opry located up on Hooker Hill.  The link takes you to a post about my first visit there way back in April 2005.  Back when I lived in Hannam-dong I’d sometimes drop in for the beer and country music on my walk home.  These days I’m very rarely up that way and it’s been even longer since I’ve enjoyed the diviest of dive bars in Itaewon.

This sort of gives you the flavor of the place...

This sort of gives you the flavor of the place…

The Opry just might be the oldest bar still operating in Itaewon. Customers from years past have left their money as a reminder of their visit. Every wall in the place is covered in them. Hell, I probably have one up there somewhere too...

The Opry just might be the oldest bar still operating in Itaewon. Customers from years past have left their money as a reminder of their visit. Every wall in the place is covered in them. Hell, I probably have one up there somewhere too…

I killed an hour or so in there drinking cheap gin and sodas (my low carb replacement for beer these days).  Then I walked across the street to my other old time Hooker Hill hangout, Debut bar.  I welcomed in the year 2006 there.

I may or may not have left a bill on the wall here, but damn it, a younger version of me still adorns the wall! (Hint: I'm the handsome one).

I may or may not have left a signed dollar bill  here, but damn it, a younger version of me still adorns the wall! (Hint: I’m the handsome one).

When I walked in the door I was surprised to see the owner Polly whom I hadn’t seen in several years (it’s a late night venue and I’m out that late even less frequently than I’m on the Hill).  Polly greeted me by name which really made me feel good.  A long time bartender So Yong was also there to welcome me.  I guess they had just ordered up some Korean food and when it was delivered they insisted I join them.  A very pleasant experience!

Polly told me that things were changing on the Hill.  Her bar would be relocating into Itaewon proper to make room for a new hotel.  I was fortunate to get to experience the Debut style one last time before they close in a week.  As an example, while sitting there enjoying my cocktail a group of young people (well, given my age everyone seems young these days) came in doing some kind of perverted scavenger hunt.  One of their items was to take a picture of someone in a lewd sexual position on Hooker Hill.  I obliged by bending one of the gals over the bar and simulating taking her from behind.  They loved it!  Anything to help out is my motto.

Thanks for the memories Polly and So Yong!

Thanks for the memories Polly and So Yong!

I next recalled that one of my old bartender friends from way back when at Dolce Vita was now working in a new place called “Just a bar”.  So I made my way over there for a visit and had a great time catching up with MK.  It was nice but not cheap.  If you get my meaning.

Suffice to say I was very drunk by this point and made my way home where I woke up several hours later on the bathroom floor.  Yes, I got floored again.

Woke up late in the morning on Easter but wanted to get my walk in prior to my 2:00 dart challenge against the guys from Songtan.  I popped a pork roast in the crock pot and headed out. I wanted to get a couple of hours in on the Han river, so I hoofed it over to the Hannam bridge.

Near the Blue Square I encountered this lovely lass. My request for a photo was met with stony silence. I took one anyway.

Near the Blue Square I encountered this lovely lass. My request for a photo was met with stony silence. I took one anyway.

I discovered that there is no access to my side of the river from the Hannam bridge, so I had to cross the long ass thing.

Which afforded me the opportunity to take this photo. But it also added some time and distance to my walk. I was getting nervous about making it home in time to shower up and get to the darts match.

Which afforded me the opportunity to take this photo. But it also added some time and distance to my walk. I was getting nervous about making it home in time to shower up and get to the darts match.

Got back a little after one dead tired, but duty called.  And we proceeded to kick some Songtan butt.  First time we’ve ever actually won a match in our irregular home and away meetups.

Don't bother looking for me in this photo, I didn't bother sticking around after the match. I was tired and hungry...

Don’t bother looking for me in this photo, I didn’t bother sticking around after the match. I was tired and hungry…

...and knew this unpulled pork was waiting for me. So I pulled it and at me a good helping.

…and knew this unpulled pork was waiting for me. So I pulled it and had me a good helping.

Lost 2.7 pounds last week, which makes 18.4 over the course of five weeks.  I decided I’d earned myself a reward.

So I loaded up the blender with strawberries, bananas, peanut butter, a little ice cream, and milk...

So I loaded up the blender with strawberries, bananas, peanut butter, a little ice cream, and milk…

And this was the tasty result...

And this was the tasty result…

Up early today because I have to head over to the Soonchunghwan hospital to get some blood work done.  Tomorrow I have my follow-up visit with the cardiologist.  I’m expecting good things.

Time to get on with it.

 

 

This day

Slept in till 0830 after a late-ish night with the crowd at Shenanigans.

Fried up a pound of bacon then cooked my eggs in the bacon grease like mama used to do. Didn't turn out as well as I remembered...

Fried up a pound of bacon then cooked my eggs in the bacon grease like mama used to do. Didn’t turn out as well as I remembered…

And no, I didn’t eat a pound of bacon.  I will use to the remainder as toppings for my salads this week.

Then I set about on my Saturday ritual of hiking up Namsan.  I try to change things up by finding a new approach to the top each week.  This morning I walked up through some Haebangchon neighborhoods…

...and eventually came across this trail head...

…and eventually came across this trail head…

...I was pleased to have the trail almost entirely to myself...

…I was pleased to have the trail almost entirely to myself…

At the top I enjoyed the view while trying to ignore the hordes of loud talking Chinese tourists. Ate an orange and some nuts then headed back down.

At the top I enjoyed the view while trying to ignore the hordes of loud talking Chinese tourists. Ate an orange and some nuts then headed back down.

Near my house is a new restaurant…

...not sure what they serve but I'd wager it is purrfect...

…not sure what they serve but I’d wager it is purrfect…

Next up I’ll eat the hamburger patties I grilled yesterday, shower, then head out for my dart match at Dolce Vita.  Odds are good I’ll finish the day quaffing some drinks over at Shenanigans.

As days go, this was about as good as it gets for me…

Promotion!

Got an email from my accountant today advising that my tax return for 2015 is now complete.  She also revealed that in recognition of my devoted service to the United States Government, Uncle Sam has deemed it appropriate to move me up from the 15% tax bracket. It is now my privilege to remit a robust 25% of my pay to the Treasury Department.

It is hard to describe the deep and abiding honor I feel from being given this special opportunity to contribute to the financial well-being of my homeland.  And it would not have been possible without my retirement from being retired.  Just let me offer a heartfelt fuck thank you for allowing me to give until it hurts.  I know the money will be spent prudently in the fashion only a government can master. My accountant asked if I wanted the $1200. in additional taxes stolen taken directly from my bank account or if I wanted to mail a check. I told her I’d send a check as that seemed like a more personal touch.  And I’m taking this personally.

Of course, whatever I pay in comes back to me in the form of my taxpayer funded bi-weekly paycheck, so I can’t really complain.  Much.  Is this a great country or what?

I pulled it off!

Modesty aside, I deem today’s lunch gathering a success.

Most of the ingredients...

Most of the ingredients…

First things first, put the beer on ice!

First things first, put the beer on ice!

Marinade on the ribeyes...

Marinade on the rib-eyes…

potatoes prepped for baking...

potatoes prepped for baking…

Slathering the ribs in Sweet Baby Ray's sauce...

Slathering the ribs in Sweet Baby Ray’s sauce…

Veggies ready to eat...

Veggies ready to eat…

Banana pudding finished...

Banana pudding finished…

Shrimp thawed and in the bowl..

Shrimp thawed and in the bowl..

My first guests arrive...my "daughter" Sung Ha and her older "sister" Sonja...

My first guests arrive…my “daughter” Sung Ha and her older “sister” Sonya…

Yesterday was Josie's birthday, so we helped her celebrate...

Yesterday was Josie’s birthday, so we helped her celebrate…

My hungry guests. A pretty international crowd..going around the table from the left, Nuri from Kyrgyzstan, Josie from the Philippines, Sung Ha and Han Buel from Korea, Sonja from Mongolia, and Mood (ph) from France...

My hungry guests. A pretty international crowd..going around the table from the left, Nuri from Kyrgyzstan, Josie from the Philippines, Sung Ha and Han Buel from Korea, Sonya from Mongolia, and Mood (ph) from France…

Sorry, but I wasn’t able to get photos of the actually cooking process as I was running around like a madman trying to keep all the balls in the air.  But everything seemed to come out right, and the girls cleaned their plates.  Had seconds of some dishes, and took all the leftovers home.

It was great fun!

I’m entertaining

Of course regular readers are thinking “that goes without saying, Captain Obvious”.

Actually, I’m entertaining some guests for lunch today at my humble villa.  This will be the first time I’ve had visitors (5 of them!) so I’m pretty excited.

Here’s the menu I’ve crafted for the event:

Appetizers
Celery and Carrots with Ranch Dressing
Shrimp with Cocktail Sauce
Mixed Nuts
Potato Chips

Main Course
Grilled Ribeye Steak
Barbecue Baby Back Ribs
Baked Potato
Corn on the Cob
Garlic Bread

Dessert
Banana Pudding

Beer (Coors Light), Diet Coke, and water.

Hopefully I can pull off the timing and get everything done and served simultaneously and hot,

In other news, I did a two hour hike up and around Namsan yesterday.

I hadn't eaten yet, so I packed some snacks to carry with me. Wound up only eating the orange.

I hadn’t eaten yet, so I packed some snacks to carry with me. Wound up only eating the orange.

And it was the first time I got to try out my new hiking shoes...

And it was the first time I got to try out my new hiking shoes…

...as well as my sexy new hiking pants. Yeah, I know. I've become a Korean....

…as well as my sexy new hiking pants. Yeah, I know. I’ve become a Korean….

All packed up and ready to go!

All packed up and ready to go!

With the weather being nice the mountain was packed.  Koreans walk the trails much in the same way as the walk on sidewalks, oblivious to anyone who may want to move at a brisker pace.  Ah well.  Had a nice hike regardless and worked up a good sweat in the process.

When I got back to the house I had to shower up and get ready for the mid-season dart tournament.  It’s a blind draw format so you never know who you’ll have as a partner.  I had to laugh when I drew Tristan, the French guy I mentioned running into at my hotel in Cebu last weekend.  Our destinies seem to be linked at the moment.  We played pretty well together, just missed getting into the money round against some very strong competition.

And finally, I came across this establish in Itaewon and thought to myself “I’d need a warehouse to hold all mine.”

Not sure if the misspelling of "mistake" was intended to be ironic or if this is just a typical Konglish rendering...

Not sure if the misspelling of “mistake” was intended to be ironic or if this is just a typical Konglish rendering…

Today’s weigh in finds me at 253.5, down a disappointing 1.7 pounds for the week and 15.7 overall.  It gets harder to lose as the body adapts to being starved for carbs.  I’m cutting back on my beer consumption by substituting gin and soda.  We’ll see how that works out for me.

And that’s all I’ve got for now.  Stay tuned for a photo essay of me being entertaining…

Cebu later

Last weekend found me on lovely Mactan Island in tropical Cebu, Philippines.  It was good to get away for a change of perspective.  And the weather was nice as well.

There is much to like about the Philippines (and quite a bit not to like as well).  I had considered retiring there at one point in my life.  I guess it is still in play for the future, but these days I’m just taking things one day at a time and will see what happens next.

Now, Filipinos are generally happy people.  I like their attitudes.  For example, a fat man is thought of as wealthy.  And an older man is viewed as stable and mature.  So it is refreshing to go from invisible in Korea to being called a “hansome man” by the brown skinned lovelies.

Anyway, here’s some pictures:

Visited an old Spanish fort from the 1500s.

Visited an old Spanish fort from the 1500s.

One of the views from my hotel...

One of the views from my hotel…

...and another...

…and another…

Surprising comfortable beach side lounger...what a hansome man, eh?

Surprisingly comfortable beach side lounger…what a hansome man, eh?

Stayed at the Be Resort which was 90% occupied by Korean tourists.  I declared myself King of the resort anyway...

Stayed at the Be Resort which was 90% occupied by Korean tourists. I declared myself King of the resort anyway…

I could be a fuckin' postcard...

I could be a fuckin’ postcard…

A frosty San Miguel Light is always a nice surprise...

A frosty San Miguel Light is always a nice surprise…

Dined on a mountain top with great views of the city of Cebu..

Dined on a mountain top with great views of the city of Cebu..

...like this...

…like this…

...and this.

…and this.

Lapu Lapu, the famed slayer of Magellan...

Lapu Lapu, the famed slayer of Magellan…

Here's the story in case you missed it...

Here’s the story in case you missed it…

Speaking of Magellan, it is said that the original cross he planted in claiming the Philippines for God and Queen was at this spot and it's remnants are encased inside this one.  Who knows and cares?

Speaking of Magellan, it is said that the original cross he planted in claiming the Philippines for God and Queen was at this spot and it’s remnants are encased inside this one. Who knows and who cares?

I enjoyed this hotel view much better...

I enjoyed this hotel view much better…

...than this one.  When I saw the color of the water I nixed the bath...

…than this one. When I saw the color of the water I nixed the bath…

My favorite eatery was this floating restaurant...

My favorite eatery was this floating restaurant…

...featuring this view of the bay...

…featuring this view of the bay…

In the tropics it is crucial to drink plenty of fluids.  I was taking any chances, so I enjoyed a trifecta of beer, mango juice, and water.  Hell, I even inserted vapor into my lungs...

In the tropics it is crucial to drink plenty of fluids. I was not taking any chances, so I enjoyed a trifecta of beer, mango juice, and water. Hell, I even inserted vapor into my lungs…

and the cannons used to roar...

and the cannons used to roar…

dancing through history...

dancing through history…

A smorgasbord of Filipina beauties...

A smorgasbord of Filipina beauties…

Sadly they weren't on my diet...

Sadly they weren’t on my diet…

So, one morning at breakfast I ran into Tristan, a guy from the dart league in Seoul.  Must be long odds that we would both pick the same resort on the same weekend.  I told him to quit stalking me.

oui

oui

Tristan is French and apparently was an underwear model back in the day.  Hell, we are practically twins, don’t you think?

Anyway, except for the getting there and getting back it was fine trip indeed.  I’m thinking Thailand is next on my agenda.  My buddy Dennis is currently ensconced there.

You get what you pay for

I took a weekend jaunt out of the country which I’ll likely get around to writing about another day.  Today’s post concerns my carrier of choice–Air Asia.

The synopsis of my review can be aptly stated as “Air Asia sucks”.  Ok, it’s my fault for booking them.  Low cost carriers are pretty notorious for their poor performance.  I should have known better, and next time I will.

At check-in I was charged W30,000 which came as a surprise, although again, that’s on me for not reading the details on the website carefully.  Lesson learned.  So I boarded a pretty full plane at Incheon and sat down in my aisle seat.  Two largish westerners had the middle and window seats.  I was immediately distressed to discover my knees were pressed firmly against the seat back in front of me.  I had visions of that passenger reclining his seat and taking out my kneecaps.

One thing good I can say about Air Asia is that they have hot and friendly flight attendants, perhaps the best of I’ve seen.  Or maybe I was just dazzled by those tight, tight red uniforms that really showed off the curves.  So just before take off one of these sexy gals comes up to me and asks would you like a blowjob are you uncomfortable?  I told her as a matter of fact I was very uncomfortable.  She smiled and said let me take you to the lavatory for some hot sex exit row where there is a vacant seat.  I thanked her for her kindness and she left me to my fantasies.

For the return flight I “upgraded” to Row 1 hoping to have more leg room.  There was a bulkhead in front of me so I couldn’t stretch them out, but no one was squashing me under a reclined seat either.  Plus, I had a front row seat for viewing the lovelies who are there primarily for our safety, but will do *almost* anything to make your flight as comfortable as possible.

Sadly, they couldn’t do anything about the passengers surrounding me.  The guy in the window seat had the most disgusting cough I can recall hearing, I mean the sound of the phlegm being hocked up for the deepest recesses of this dudes lungs was like a gurgling brook.  I literally winced every time he coughed, which was often.  I noticed the flight attendant give me a sympathetic smile, but what could she do? Meanwhile, the Korean brat behind me kept kicking my seat while his mother egged him on ignored him.

Oh, and we left over an hour late.  I was due to arrive in Seoul at 8:00 p.m., but we didn’t touch down until 9:30.  I’ve never seen the immigration line so long before (probably ought to consider coming back on Monday next time).  So, by the time I got my passport stamped, grabbed my bag, and cleared customs, it was well after 10.  Which meant I couldn’t catch the express train to Seoul Station.  The slow train got me there at 11:40.

I queued up for a taxi and got one in short order.  Unfortunately, we were on the road before I realized the driver was drunk.  Well, I wanted to get home and it was really not going to work being dropped off on the road late at night.  I had told the driver to take me to Haebangchon thinking I could manage to get close to my apartment as we passed Noksapeong station.  Instead, he took the back way but I knew that would get me close as well.  And suddenly at the top of the hill with a good mile or so to go to my destination he stops and turns on the light.  “Haebangchon” was what he slurred out at me.  I said “anio–Noksapyeong yak”.  And then he got pissed and said something about that’s not what I had said.  I got pissed back and said this isn’t where I’m going.  He then shouted “I DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH” and drove on.  Well, he got me to the kimchi pot gate a couple of blocks from my apartment, and that was good enough for me.

Walked through the door after midnight tired and hungry.  Fixed a quick salad, set my alarm for 0600, and hit the sheets.  Where I tossed and turned due to some unexplained muscle aches.  Got up for some Motrin at 1:30 and fell asleep sometime after 2:00.  When my alarm went off I was still exhausted so I had to make a groggy decision–get up and go to work and not be worth a damn all day long or go back to sleep and go in a couple of hours late.  I chose the latter, and texted my boss of course.  When I arrived at work at 9:30 they were announcing the death of Mr. Kim to the staff.  A fucked up 24 hours for sure.

I did manage to drop 3.5 pounds last week, which puts me at a 14 pound reduction in my first three weeks of diet and exercise.  I’ll take that!

Sadness

Mr. Kim's last day in the office...

Mr. Kim’s last day in the office…

Mr. Kim Yong-tae passed away last night.  One of the greatest men I have known.  It was an honor to work with him during the last years of my career.  Am so glad I had the opportunity to work with him once again these past few months.

On the occasion of the ceremony marking Mr. Kim's 50th year with USFK...

On the occasion of the ceremony marking Mr. Kim’s 50th year with USFK…

 

He devoted 61 years of his life in service to United States Forces Korea.  No one has come close to matching that longevity.  He will be sorely missed.

 

 

Proud to be an American…

…and to embrace all the rights and freedoms that come as a birthright but were paid for in blood.

So, I am going to continue with my “churlish” ways, and if you don’t like it we can argue about it in the comments or you can just go away.

I have the right to say and write what I want*, and you have the right to disagree.  Ain’t freedom grand?

By the way, just as a reminder:  My views expressed here are my own and do not reflect the sanction or agreement of my employer or any other government official.  I’m writing in my personal capacity, not as a representative of any organization or agency.  I write on my own time and on my own computer.

It’s called the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.  It applies to every citizen, how much more inclusive can you get than that?

And Mohammed married a 9 year old girl.  It’s an historical fact.

*Within the well established limits, i.e. I won’t be inciting violence or anything like that of course.  And I have chosen to avoid writing any work related posts in the future, just so there will not be any misunderstandings.

Enough said?  I think so.

Oh well

Just living day to day.  Here are some photos of my walking life.  I do some destination walks on the weekend (Namsan and the Han river) but I rather enjoy trekking through the nearby neighborhoods as well.  Always something interesting to see…

Walked by the back entrance to the Philippines embassy yesterday as I was exploring some back alleys.. Reminded me that I had once considered retiring there.  I guess that option is back on the table now...May need to make a visit soon and check out the lay of the land.

Walked by the back entrance to the Philippines embassy yesterday as I was exploring some back alleys.. Reminded me that I had once considered retiring there. I guess that option is back on the table now…May need to make a visit soon and check out the lay of the land.

Also came across this aptly named venue...I might feel at home here...

Also came across this aptly named venue…I might feel at home here…

I don't know any Hal's, but I guess he must be on fire!

I don’t know any Hal’s, but I guess he must be on fire!

And the sun set on another lonely day...

And the sun set on another lonely day…

At lunchtime today I took a hike that brought me to the other side of the tracks...

At lunchtime today I took a hike that brought me to the other side of the tracks…

And I wound up in Injun country.  Apparently.

And I wound up in Injun country. Apparently.

It warmed up nicely today so I pulled my new grill out to the balcony and fired it up...

It warmed up nicely today so I pulled my new grill out to the balcony and fired it up…

And spent some time on the balcony enjoying the view...

And spent some time on the balcony enjoying the view…

I was a little out of practice, but the steaks tasted better than they look...

I was a little out of practice, but the steaks tasted better than they look…

And I had a rather tasty dinner if I do say so myself..

And I had a rather tasty dinner if I do say so myself..

After eating I traipsed over to Shenanigans and quaffed a few cold Miller Lite beers.  I don’t walk for exercise after all.  I do it to compensate for the golden brews I so dearly love.

And that’s the way it is…