Which is French for “random shit I posted on Facebook this week”.
And that’s about it from here for now.
Which is French for “random shit I posted on Facebook this week”.
And that’s about it from here for now.
Whatever gets you through the day. 2.5 hours on the bike and another 2.5 spent walking. Lots of time to think, although in my case that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Another drunken Saturday night in the Ville. Not to worry, I confine my drinking to days that end in a “y”.
Ah well, life goes on. And on.
On and on
I just keep on trying
And I smile when I feel like dying
On and on
On and on
On and on
Ah geez, been too long since my last post, hasn’t it? Let’s ketchup.
Well, there is work* and it seems to be going pretty well overall. I’m blessed with an outstanding staff of professionals who work hard and seem to enjoy their jobs. I’m fortunate to not have to deal with “people issues”. I treat them right and they respond accordingly. That’s just simple management 101, I’m no genius.
But having said that, I reckon I’m doing pretty good at what little I do do. No shit! People come to us for answers and solutions and we provide them. We’ve filled some voids for the command and I do believe the leadership appreciates our contributions. I take a lot of pride in that.
Our new building is a bit of a pain in the ass. The biggest adjustment for most of us has been getting used to the prohibition on electronic devices in the building. That means no cell phones and no Fitbit! God knows I hate losing all the ancillary steps that aren’t recorded during the day. My poor Fitbit is confused about being locked up at the front entrance and accuses me of taking a nap during the day. Oh well, these days we all have to be cognizant of OPSEC (operational security) and do our part.
Several of my folks have not physically moved to Pyeongtaek as yet and that commute from Seoul is a killer. For now at least I’m allowing them to telework 2 days a week, so that helps relieve some of the burden I suppose. Anyway, we’ll all adjust.
So you may be asking yourself “I thought he was planning on retiring in September?” I was. And I still am in the not too distant future. I’m just going to be flexible in my planning. As mentioned above I do derive some satisfaction from working and damn, it is hard to walk away from my ridiculous salary and my ridiculously big and paid for house. I’ve got a goal on how much money I want to have in the bank when I hang it up and I’m making steady progress towards achieving that goal. Meantime, I’m just going to enjoy the ride and try to decide what my “purpose” will be in life once I retire. So far the best I’ve come up with is enjoying bay views while I watch the world go on without me. We’ll see.
What else? Well, I’ve had some visitors which is nice. Joey and Sonja (the newly engaged couple I wrote about here) have moved to Pyeongtaek. In fact, they wound up renting a place just about across the street from me. Heh, it’s a small town! We enjoyed a grilled meat dinner and then I took them on a tour of my favorite bars. That was a great time. Last night Jessie, one of my old time Seoul friends, was in town on Army business and he got to enjoy my upstairs guest room. We had some beers out on the town to facilitate a good night’s sleep of course.
What about my love life?
Tensions are higher than I’ve ever seen here on the peninsula. But we’re pulling out our big guns…
I’d still rather be here than in the USA. Much easier to avoid the silly PC social justice warriors. I have zero tolerance for that bullshit.
* The views expressed here at LTG are my own and are written on my own time and dime. My opinions are not sanctioned or endorsed by my employer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the United States Government. What are the odds?
I saw this on yesterday’s walk about and for some reason it made me sad:
It turned out to be a very strange day. Out of the blue I heard from three different women that in the past have professed their love for me. I guess it’s nice to be remembered and I also sometimes think of them. But I’m alone by choice. It’s safer that way.
I do feel sorry for whatever pain I’ve caused them on account of my bitter selfishness, but there is nothing I can do to change that. I’m a broken man and loving me is a big mistake. I have nothing to give in return. That’s just the way it goes.
Meetings in Seoul yesterday necessitated a return to my former hometown. Rather than fight Friday afternoon traffic I opted to spend the night. I’ve had a hankering to get out and revisit some of my old familiar trails. Couldn’t decide on whether to do Namsam or the Han river. So I did both. It was a hot motherfucker of a day but I got it done in three and a half hours.
Up pretty early after a night of
drinking chatting with friends in the bars. On the road before 0700 but still got caught in traffic leaving Seoul. Went pretty quick after that though.
Rested a bit then broke the bike out for a river ride.
The buzzer on the oven timer just went off so I was expecting to enjoy some baby back ribs. Alas, I must have failed to ignite the oven, so now I’ve got another hour before I can eat. Need to get today’s walk in as well, but I’ll let it cool off some first.
And that’s the latest installment in my exciting life.
So I took the base bus to Seoul after work yesterday. I was on a mission.
Now, she thought all the folks who showed up were there to just say thanks and goodbye. But we were in on the secret.
Sonya’s boyfriend Joey was due to arrive in Seoul on Friday, or so she thought. Instead he came in last night. And his plan was to propose to her in the bar in front of their friends.
My job was to distract her. So, on the signal from the bar owner Willie, I called her over to my table and started asking her what would be the appropriate shot to order for my nephews. As I was keeping her busy, “their song” started playing. I could see her thinking “who’s playing that and why?”, but I kept up my ruse of not knowing what to order.
And then Joey was standing behind her. When she turned around, the look on her face was priceless. Disbelief followed by unbridled joy.
And Joey and Sonya will be moving to Pyeongtaek soon so I reckon I’ll be seeing them around and about. Always room for some friendly faces in my life, that’s for sure.
I took my grillfriend’s virginity today. It was delicious!
Yesterday I walked through the rain so I could get my requisite steps in. Then my phone chirps and I have a message from my “stalker” with this photo:
Life is good. At least that is what I keep telling myself.
I finally have a new grillfriend. It all came together yesterday. And she’ll be residing here at my house. I think she’s really hot (or will be soon enough). Big thanks to the nephews for helping making it all possible.
For the first time in the long and storied history of Pyeongtaek, three McCrareys graced the fair city with their presence.
Nephews Justin and Joshua came down for a visit with their favorite uncle. I showed them around the army base and they were suitably impressed.
Luckily both the nephs were up for a hike. I took them on my “3 parks” hour and a half loop walk. They seemed to tolerate it well, although we were all drenched in sweat when we finished.
Rested up some and showered then it was time to introduce the boys to the Anjeong-ri nightlife.
I left the youngsters at Shooters and stumbled on home. Just can’t hang the way I used to. They continued their good times without me then made it home safe and sound on their own.
They are both still snoring away the day. While I wait for them to get their asses moving I’ll share some other photos from my bar life this weekend.
Still need to get a bike ride in and then do my 2 hours of walking. Assuming the nephews ever wake up…
Well, settling into my small town life. Not much happening that is blog worthy, but I do feel a sense of obligation to keep my loyal readers informed about the mundane details of my so-called life.
But what to write about? Well, sometimes inspiration just comes walking through the door. Literally.
Last night I’m sitting in Shooters bar finishing my final beer of the evening when a couple walks through the door. I had to turn and look because people actually coming into Shooters is an infrequent event. The guy looks at me and says “I know you, John”. Now, I’m pretty drunk and my memory ain’t what it once was, but he didn’t look familiar at all. Seeing my confusion he tells me “I read your blog”. Outstanding! Nice to meet you David!
In over 12 years of blogging meeting a random stranger who follows LTG has only happened a handful of times. It’s always surprising to me. I know a couple of friends and family members visit here regularly, but I usually just write as if I had no audience (yeah, I know it shows). That people find enough amusement or interest or maybe pity that keeps them coming back for more is really quite humbling. Sincerely, thank you all!
Anyway, David and his lovely Korean wife (sorry, the name escapes me now) invited me to join them at their table. How could I refuse? David also works on base and he was wearing a Scrooge Pub shirt (a bar I also used to frequent in Seoul). Plus, he enjoys throwing darts. So we had quite a bit in common. Had a nice chat and a couple of friendly dart games. It was a nice way to end the evening for me.
It’s a small and random world after all.
On Friday afternoon I drove up to Seoul for the official close down of my office building.
And finally, talking about the end of an era, my daughter posted up this picture of me from the 1980s. Good times!
Apparently someone high up in the North Korean food chain read my post about the Eighth Army headquarters move to Pyeongtaek*. I guess they weren’t too thrilled based on this response in the commie propaganda rag:
US Troops Not To Escape From KPA’s Long-Range Artillery Strike
17/07/2017, Pyongyang Times.
A spokesman for the Panmunjom Mission of the Korean People’s Army released a statement on July 14 over the recent desperate and undisguised moves of the US to provoke a nuclear war against the DPRK and perpetuate its forces’ presence in south Korea.
The statement said:
On July 11, the US aggressor forces, which moved the Command of their 8th Army present in south Korea to Humphrey Base in Phyongthaek, Kyonggi Province, invited bosses of the south Korean government and military and even human scum, including ultra-right conservatives, to an “opening ceremony of the new building” of the Command.
The commander of the 8th Army in his “welcoming speech” praised the south Korean lackeys,terming the move an “event demonstrating the solid south Korea-US alliance” and allowingjournalists to look round the interior of the base.
As far as the transfer of the US 8th Army Command to Phyongthaek is concerned, the US has pushed ahead with it in collusion with the puppet regime since 2003 in order to move its aggressor forces bases in south Korea to the areas south of the Han River to get rid of the striking range of the KPA’s long-range artillery strike.
Lurking behind it is the ulterior design of the US to save its troops only, indifferent to the plight of the south Korean puppet army at stake.
The US imperialists are busy hyping the transfer of their 8th Army Command, the shock brigade that will play a flagship role in igniting a war against the DPRK. This fully revealed the US scenario to perpetuate its military presence in south Korea and stand in confrontation with the DPRK to the end in league with the south Korean puppet warmongers.The US regards the Korean peninsula as a vantage point of strategic importance where the strength of maritime forces and the strength of land forces are interchanging. It is the centuryold Asia policy of the US to occupy the whole peninsula with south Korea as its springboard andthus realize its wild ambition for dominating the world.It is a tragedy for the US that it is unaware of the tremendous might of the army of the DPRK.
The bases of the US troops in south Korea, the primary targets of the KPA, can never escape the mercilessly annihilating strikes by its long-range artillery, no matter whether they are located in Phyongthaek or in Pusan. The US warmongers will never escape the miserable destruction if they persist in foolhardy military confrontation moves in south Korea despite the warnings of the KPA. KCNA
Well, fuck you very much. And Kim Jong Un if you are reading this all I can say is bring it on biatch.
*It is possible that the NORKS heard about the move somewhere else, although that doesn’t seem too likely to me.
My workday started at 0445 with a call from the Eighth Army G1 advising that a “phone alert roster drill” was in effect. This meant that I had to contact all my employees to make sure they could be reached in case of an actual emergency. I was also instructed to report on my progress every 20 minutes or so.
No problem! I worked the phones and woke my folks up like a pro. I had a little math problem though. I know I have 19 souls in my organization, but for the life of me I could only come up with 18 names. And then I realized I hadn’t counted myself. Duh! Anyway, it took 3 hours but I accounted for all my people. Mission accomplished!
The other big event in my day was deciphering this:
3.E.3.B. (U) CIVILIAN CORPS INDEX (CI). BECAUSE METHODS OF EFFECTIVENESS (MOE) AND METHODS OF PERFORMANCE (MOP) FOR SO2 ARE RELATED TO BUILDING COHESIVE TEAMS AND A CULTURE OF TRUST, THE OPERATIONAL OBJECTIVE FOR THE CCI IS TO INCREASE POSITIVE BEHAVIORS BY 2% FOR TWO YEARS FROM THE DATE OF PUBLICATION OF THIS FRAGORD AND BY 5% OVER A 5-YEAR TERM. TO REACH THIS GOAL, MSCS TRACK AND ENTER METRICS QUARTERLY INTO SMS. HPO / R2 CHIEF DETERMINES-WITH COMMAND APPROVAL-WHICH CHPC WORKING GROUP TAKES LEAD ON THIS
INDEX ASSESSMENT. ALL DATA COLLECTED IS AGGREGATE./
Yes, I can speak Army, but not fluently.
It was a great day to be an American in the Republic of Korea!
Another weekend in the books. I’ve said just about all there is to say about how it all went down, but I do have some photos…
After the bike ride I drove out to the Osan Air Force base to do some shopping. The current commissary here at Camp Humphreys is woefully inadequate. There is a new bigger version under construction but it won’t open until next spring I’m told. That won’t do me any good. I figure I can supplement with a monthly excursion to Osan or maybe Yongsan. Nice to change things up.
Got home and filled the pantry with my purchases, then walked into town for a haircut. Yeah, my life is a thrill a minute. I got drunk and juiced later, so there’s that.
Such is life. No complaints though.
Oh, and I thought this was funny as hell.
Better to ask and be disappointed than to always wonder what if…?
I was thinking back to the last time I felt a strong attraction/connection to a person I had just met. I would have been 25 years old and recently divorced. I walked into a bank and when the teller smiled at me it just about floored me. I probably stared longer than politeness allows, but she was just amazing.
Unfortunately, my self-esteem was at a low ebb and I just took for granted that she was out of my league. Couldn’t get her out of my head though and on Valentines Day I sent her a dozen roses anonymously. Several months later I accepted a job in Fort Smith, Arkansas and went into the bank to close out my account. Sure enough, the beautiful lass was once again my teller.
As my business was completed, I told her how much I had appreciated her kindness and warm smile during my time as a customer. She exclaimed “Oh my God! It was you! I’ve been trying to figure out all this time who sent me those roses!” I confessed to having been a secret admirer since that first day I had seen her. She looked me in the eyes and said “I wish you would have told me”.
There was a lesson to be learned from that. Who knows if she was “the one” I let get away. Odds are that I would have fucked up that relationship like all the others in my life, but maybe not. Well, you can’t go back in time but all these years later I’ve remembered being rejected is not the worst possible outcome.
“Your friends will know you better in the first minute you meet than your acquaintances will know you in a thousand years.”
― Richard Bach
And I don’t mean drunk. Although truthfully I was both drunk AND juiced.
My struggle to find a bar home where I feel at ease and comfortable continues. The problem is there just don’t seem to be any straight up pubs like I was accustomed to in Itaewon. It seems that all the drinking establishments here in Anjeong-ri are all some variation of the “juicy” model. For those not in the know, in juicy bars the bar girl will receive a commission on the drinks a customer purchases for her. The going rate for a lady drink here is W10,000 of which the girl receives half. Depending on the bar and/or the girl, they can be quite aggressive in pursuit of getting you to buy them a drink.
I find it very off-putting, to the point of aggravation, to be asked to purchase a drink. I’m not a “cheap charlie” but I prefer to choose when or if I’ll buy a drink. And I certainly don’t need to pay for attention and conversation. Most times, I prefer to drink alone or interact with other customers. I can justify the occasional lady drink because I know it is how these girls make a living. But I get especially irked when the actual bar owner asks me to buy HER a drink. C’mon!
I bring this up because I had an especially frustrating (and expensive) weekend in the bars. You’ll recall I’ve stopped going to the dart bar because they added drinks to my tab without permission. I blacklisted two other places because the staff was flat out rude to me. And then there are three or four others where I just don’t feel welcome (probably because of my age and/or lack of free spending on lady drinks). So my bar options are rapidly dwindling.
There’s one dive bar I kind of like, one of the oldest in town (circa 1985), because they play my kind of music, that being classic rock. The two bar girls are similarly aged and not particularly attractive. But like I say, I’m not there for the company. Anyway, I’ve thrown a few lady drinks to one of them over the course of my several visits. I decided to try a little experiment on Friday night. When I came into the bar and she approached I said “I won’t be buying any drinks for you tonight”. The look on her face! She wound up sitting two bar stools away from me with her back turned during the length of my visit. Which proves the point that no matter how friendly these girls might appear, it is never about you, it is always all about the drinks. A fool who thinks otherwise will be both broke and disappointed.
So, I found another new (to me) bar that seemed to have some potential. Not too busy and the owner is friendly enough. They just hired an ethnically Korean gal from Uzbekistan and I welcomed her by buying a lady drink. First time she’s worked in a bar and I don’t think she is much into drinking because she shared the bottle of beer with the other bar girl. When it came time to pay up the owned wanted to charge me for TWO lady drinks. I said, nope I just bought the one. She said the other girl won’t get a commission if I don’t pay for both. No can do, I bought one and it was shared, not my problem. I got the impression the think I’m an asshole. Oh well, they might be right.
There is a bar where I’m actually quite fond of the bar girl and have no issue with “buying” her time and company with drinks. She’s also quite generous, asking me to buy the other girls drinks as well. And the bar owner also seems to get thirsty quite regularly. I spent about W150,000 in there the other night. See, I must be very popular! Asked the girl if she would like to have dinner sometime and got a polite no.
Methinks I need to go on a quest for new venues. And leave my wallet at home.
Welcome home Eighth Army!
This week was the official ribbon cutting on the new Eighth Army Headquarters here at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.
It was also pretty cool because I was there over seven years ago when the Walker statue was first unveiled on Yongsan.
These banners were plastered all over town in honor of the big event.
And so it goes.
It was a good trip to the Philippines for the most part. In fact, other than starting and ending my vacation in Angeles City, it was quite lovely. I despise AC and the whole sexpat vibe. Just looking at the old decrepit “whore mongers” (a term they actually call themselves) made me shake my head in disgust. As much as I am down on how trivially I’m living my life, I am so glad that my future will not include being a lonely old man looking for love in all the wrong places.
Which is not to say I didn’t spend a goodly amount of my nighttime hours in the girly bars of Olongapo’s Barrio Baretto. It’s a way to pass the time and I enjoy treating the girls to something a little different from what they are used to. My style is to pass out chocolate (I’m told the bargirls call me “the candyman”), tip the dancers for their efforts, and pick out one or two deserving girls for a lady drink (an overpriced beverage from which they earn a commission) and a little conversation. It seems to make their night and I enjoy seeing them smile.
Of course, it’s one thing to get a little wild on vacation, but I can’t sustain that lifestyle long term once I retire. I expect I’ll visit the “regular” bars for darting events a couple times a week and perhaps limit my role as candyman to only one night. As the prophet has said, man does not live by bars alone.
I mentioned my doctor consult, but forgot to say what that appointment cost me. 400 pesos! Which translates to $8.00 at the current exchange rate. I didn’t do a lot of serious house hunting because I’m not yet sure when I will quit my job, and really I’ll need to be on the ground to make that decision. I did find one place right on the beach. Small one bedroom house, but a huge yard. Only 20,000 pesos a month ($400.00). Eh, when I looked inside though it was just too old and worn out for my first world tastes. Plenty of time to find the right place for me as I don’t intend to live poor in my old age.
Baretto is similar in size to Anjeong-ri, and I was remembered in some places from my previous visits and also made some new friends as well. It is nice to be greeted with “welcome Sir John” or “San Miguel Light, sir?” when I enter a bar or restaurant. I was walking down the main street one evening and a young woman came running up to me and said “John! Glad you are in town. We need a player for dart league tonight!” Heh. Makes me feel kinda at home.
A big difference to Anjeong-ri is the age demographic in Baretto. Hell, most nights I was the youngest fucker in the bar (and by some accounts at least the most handsome). I could get used to that!
Living and eating large caused my belly to bloat and this week’s weigh-in finds me back up to 225 pounds. I intend to work hard at reversing that trend.
Getting back to my current home was not much fun. My 0130 flight was delayed over an hour which made an already long day particularly hellish. I rode the AREX to Seoul Station, cabbed to my old office (where my car was parked) and then started the hour and a half drive to Pyeongtaek. Halfway there I ran out of gas. Well, not my car. Me. I was afraid I was about to fall asleep at the wheel, so I had to pull off the highway and take a power nap. That was enough to get me the rest of the way home.
And now it is on with my not so exciting country life. That won’t stop me for writing about it no doubt. Stay tuned!
Or in the vernacular of the locals, Mabuhay!
The news I alluded to yesterday was that my long lost daughter (lost in the sense that I’ve not seen her for years) Avery and her partner Annie popped into the PI for a rendezvous.
Annie has been blogging their exploits at Nomadic Vortex, go give it a read.
Well, we’ve seen and done the things that you can do in Baretto, and they seem to have enjoyed themselves. They even had a blast in the go-go bars which touched my drunken heart. They’ll be flying out to more adventure tomorrow on Palawan Island.and from there, who can say? The world is their oyster and they have youth on their side.
Yesterday was our banka boat adventure.
I mentioned the outstanding food here at our resort, here’s a taste:
Yikes! Gotta check out of here now and catch the bus to Angeles City.