A pretty laid back day all in all. That’s actually pretty huge, because it demonstrates that I’m feeling very comfortable here. To the extent I questioned my ability to adapt to this environment and successfully establish a permanent life in the PI, I’m reassured it’s doable.
I’m liking my routine of an early breakfast followed by a beach walk.
This place is being built right on the beach. Probably not intended for someone of my modest means, but…
Later we walked into Baretto and had us some pampering…
Those feet aren’t gonna scrape themselves you know…
A tasty Monte Cristo sandwich for lunch at Arizona Resort. And yes, I’ve totally ditched low carb for the duration of this trip.
I picked up the darts for the first time this year and threw in a nice little tourney at Alley Cats bar.
I drew Ray, a solid darter for my doubles partner. A good turnout and some really good players, especially among the Filipinas.
In fact, we went mano a mano against two outstanding ladies in the finals. Took all we had to eventually prevail and take home first place money. Yeah, I was a little excited.
Got invited to play another tourney tonight, and I agreed to help out in league play on Friday. And another tourney Saturday. Looks like I’m coming out of retirement!
A fantastic finish to the dart league season with a hard fought victory over the guys and gal from Dillinger’s. Shenanigans came from behind and seized the victory in the team game. It was a great match against an outstanding team. Proud of my teammates because they had to overcome some adversity; one of our top guns was absent and I may as well have not been there either. Can’t remember the last time I threw such shitty darts.
What the Bulls? Seoul International Dart League “B” Division Champions!
We had dedicated our season to our former team Captain, Bridget Werner. She was our “ghost player” all season and I know she would have been thrilled seeing WTB take the regular season and playoff crowns.
Last night was also my swan song for a 10+ year career of darting in SIDL. As I’ve alluded to in previous posts, I’m winding down my Korea life bit by bit. And truthfully, I’ve just lost my passion for the game it seems. Time to move on to something else I suppose.
In unrelated news, I purchased this fancy-dancy throw blanket:
Ain’t she a beaut? It’s a memory from my working life here in Korea that I’ll be able to pack up and move with me where ever I wind up in the world. And hopefully I’ll be leaving all the bad memories behind.
Also renewed my villa lease yesterday, which may seem odd given that I feel like I have one foot out the door already. Well, gotta keep a roof over that other foot. Plus, I committed to seeing Eighth Army through the move to Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek. That’s supposed to happen in June/July. My current employment appointment expires in September. So, then or shortly thereafter you can color me gone.
It’s time. My heart can’t take another beat down from Korean women.
I’ve paid my dues Time after time. I’ve done my sentence But committed no crime. And bad mistakes ‒ I’ve made a few. I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face But I’ve come through.
(And I need just go on and on, and on, and on)
We are the champions, my friends, And we’ll keep on fighting ’til the end. We are the champions. We are the champions. No time for losers ‘Cause we are the champions of the world.
Four weeks in and still coughing like a motherfucker. But only in the wee dark hours of the morning. Back to the lovely Dr. Kim, Sun Hee for a follow-up. I was surprised her skirt was even shorter this week than last, and she was surprised the antibiotics hadn’t solved my issues. She listened to my heavy breathing and declared that my lungs sound clear. She prescribed some cough medicine and something to open up my bronchial passages and invited me back to see her again in five days. Hopefully I’ll get a better offer before then.
Here’s hoping the fix is in!
Meanwhile, my dart game has been as sick as I am…
First time I’ve ever been skunked in singles league play…
The dart news isn’t all bad though…
My Monday night team, What the Bulls?, took the semi-finals match 14-3 and will face off Monday night against Dillinger’s for the B Division Championship.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. At least at the DHRM building…
The staff wanted a Christmas tree (or in government parlance, a Holiday tree) and apparently my Bah Humbug! response did not translate…
…sometimes you just gotta roll with the flow, right?
The combination of being sick and the meds to fight being sick along with my nighttime coughing fits depriving me of sleep has left me feeling exhausted and lethargic. In addition to lacking the energy to blog, I’ve pretty much not walked for well over a week. To avoid depression I’ve also refrained from stepping onto the scale. I hope to get back into my routine soon. Maybe even tomorrow if these new meds allow for a night of uninterrupted slumber. We’ll see.
I’ll close with a passage from Stephen King which I rather like (I like it so much that I’ve committed it to memory and have likely posted it here before. It’s worth repeating.
“The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.”
It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about darts. We won last night’s match against Dillinger’s 16-11, and so we remain undefeated going into the final match of the regular season next week. We’ll be playing Sin Bin, the second place team, so we are going to have to work hard and earn it to win out.
I had an interesting match in singles. I was down quite a bit in 501, then my opponent struggled with hitting his out and I managed to come back and win the leg. Then in cricket I was WAY down until I did this:
Yes, for the first time in my darting career I managed to pound 3 double bulls in competition. That got me back in the game, but I was still down. On my next throw I hit 3 single bulls, which put me up on points. Then I hit a 6 mark to close out two of my open numbers, setting me up for an unexpected comeback win. (the photo is from Google Images, I’m not gauche enough to stop in the middle of a match to take a photo of my amazingly fantastic dart throw…)
So, it may come as a surprise to long-time readers but I’ve made the decision to take a break from darts at the end of this season. The truth of the matter is I’ve lost my passion for the game. I rarely practice, and notwithstanding my improbably good performance last night, my game has really deteriorated. 2017 is right around the corner and I’ve got lots to get done in preparation for my new life, whatever that may be. At the least, I’ll need to travel somewhat more frequently as I scout out possible venues for life of re-retirement.
In other news, the weather has turned colder but that hasn’t chilled my enthusiasm for getting my steps in.
Had to break out the old wool cap for the first time this season…
Walking to work this morning I slipped a pic of my fall trip.
It was also a beautiful day for my lunchtime walk.
And so I took the long route home from work along the Han riverside.
I’ll say this for cold weather, it saps the piss right out of me. Literally. I always use the toilet just prior to leaving the office. I had to pee again 30 minutes into my walk. And then I had to pee again 30 minutes after that. I then detoured to Naksapyeong station to use their toilet before I could make it home. Now mind you, I was not drinking anything along the way, so where in the hell is all that liquid waste coming from?
I’ll leave you to ponder that mystery. 24,000+ steps have left me tired tonight.
A reunion of sorts with a couple former members of the Seoul International Dart League, Johnny and W.C. They played back in the 1990s, long before my arrival in 2005.
It’s a cozy bar, featuring only one board.
I took 1st Place and was awarded this “trophy”…
Me and New Cowboy owner Miss Tia. I was declared MVP of the tourney and received the honor of wearing the famous MVP cap. Truth be told, I didn’t play well at all. I’m sure they were just being nice to their guest.
Reckon I’ll have to redeem my “Tia Ticket” before I catch my flight home late tonight…
Other random shit from my wanderings on the streets of Bangkok…
At least they admit it. This explains why vaping is illegal here I reckon…
At least he admits it. There are worse things than being a man ho I suppose…
It seems wherever I am in the world I’m never far from “home”.
I’ll be wrapping things up here today with a visit from my friend Tom. He’s flying in this afternoon. Last time I saw him we happened to be in Phnom Penh at the same time.
Today I commenced my 62nd annual journey around the sun. Wish me luck!
Last year’s journey drew to a close with a surprise breakfast birthday party by my sneaky co-workers…
As tradition dictates, I successfully blew out all the candles on my cake.
I decreed that politeness dictated that I break my diet in the spirit of the occasion. There was no way I was saying no to pecan pie!
Had to go on base Saturday to be fitted for a new suit I’m having made (I guess that makes it a birthday suit!). Eun Oke joined me on that errand and I took her to see my office. I must admit she looks better in the Director’s chair than I do…
Eun Oke bought this nice shirt for my birthday…
And I gifted myself with becoming debt free.
For the birthday meal I made samgyetang for the first time.
Slow cooked for 8 hours.
Eun Oke said it tasted better than her mother’s. I hope that means it was good.
Saturday night we went out to celebrate the B-day at Shenanigans. I had good intentions to keep the alcohol intake at moderate levels. But word got out about it being “my day” and all and people kept buying us shots.
…and things got a little bit blurry after that…
We finished the night at Grand Ole Opry where Eun Oke added this money message to the collection. I asked her if I wasn’t perfect and she said no, but you are “good enough”. Thanks. I think.
All in all it was a special day.
Having company on the weekend has made it hard to get my walking in. Barely managed 15,000 steps both days. I’m going to have to buy Eun Oke some walking shoes soon…
In a bit, I’ll be fit. Or so the folks at Fitbit would have me believe.
My daughter loves her Fitbit and suggested I would too. So I picked one up at the PX. Didn’t realize they came in sizes and I inadvertently grabbed a small. Which just barely fit around my wrist. So I exchanged it the next day for the large size which is much more comfortable. Then the battery gave out half-way through my walk and I was “fit” to be tied. Gave it a full charging overnight and today it carried me through my entire walk. Actually, the battery is supposed to be good for 5 days of “normal” use. Hope so. It’s still showing “fully charged” so far.
The Fitbit has some nice features. In addition to steps, miles, time-elapsed, and calories (all functions my phone app has) the Fitbit measures stairs as well as heart rate. I’m happy to report my resting heart rate is usually in the 70s (although at this precise moment it is 83) and anything under 100 is considered normal. I checked on the internet and my maximum heart rate should be 160 (220 minus your age is what I read). When I finished climbing the steps to the top of Namsan yesterday my heart rate was 147, so I guess that’s about right too.
Another thing Fitbit does is send you these motivational badges for achievement. Like my recognition for having some ups and downs on Namsan. This is the Roller coaster badge for exceeding 125 floors. And according to my Fitbit from the bottom to the top of Namsan by stairs is the equivalent of 83 floors…
This is the “Classics” badge for exceeding 25,000 steps which I received for my Han river stroll today. Big whoop, I did over 30,000 yesterday.
Anyway, it’s not a bad tool and given my misfortune with phones it should be a more reliable resource for keeping track of my highway pounding rituals.
Friday night I played in a dart tourney in honor of Mat’s birthday.
Drew his wife as my partner and we pulled out a second place finish!
The reward for my Saturday climb…
Bacon cheeseburgers baby!
I ended the night at the Grand Ole Opry.
There were spinning some fine country tunes, but not the one I was really feeling…
Up early this morning. Laundry and cooking. And this is what I cooked.
Two chickens in the pot are better than one in the bush…
Falling right off the damn bone…tasty!
Facebook shared this memory today. I’d like to sit down and have a long talk with that young man…
Wife number 1 and my two sweet kids…
And one more weekend is in books.
Well I’m back again for another night Of trying to break free from this sadness that I can’t lay to rest This old honky-tonk sure does feel like home And the music with the laughter seem to soothe my loneliness
Turn it on, turn it up, turn me loose From the memory that’s driving me lonely, crazy and blue It helps me forget her, so the louder the better Hey mister turn it on, turn it up, turn me loose
If Namsan were the world and I was a Spanish explorer my name might just be Magellan. I circumnavigated that bitch of a mountain on Saturday. And that required some creative walking since I had to find ways to work around the tunnels. Nothing like a little adventure in life!
You’ll note I finally had the good sense to buy a headband. Looks dorky but it keeps the sweat out of my eyes. I’m convinced it was the sweat that caused the stye.
One of my tunnel detours put me smack dab in the middle of the Dongguk University campus…
…where I unexpectedly encountered a herd of Republicans…
Came home after 3 hot hours and had a spare rib lunch.
Saturday night I met up with Sam, an old pal visiting from the UK. Had a nice chat about Brexit (he was against it, and I of course favored it) then threw some darts. Sam was still on British time so he made it an early evening. I must have stopped by Debut bar on the way home. I don’t actually remember getting home. I woke up on the floor. And later found a receipt in my pocket from Debut for W135,000, I hope I had a good time!
Fixed this fine breakfast Sunday morning and set out on my river walk…
I was bound and determined to go further west than I ever had before. It was not a good plan for an extraordinarily hot day. It took me two hours to reach my destination bridge which I feared might wind up being a bridge too far. I was getting lightheaded and although I didn’t hallucinate like Kevin Kim, I did imagine myself having a heat stroke. I seriously considered taking a taxi home, but then decided fuck that, I’ll just plop down at a convenience store and drink copious amounts of water. And so I did.
The view from the bridge over the river Han. At least the last bridge over the Han that I made it to…
I was trying to capture that huge ass Taegukgi flapping in the wind. My stunted skill with a camera (and lack of patience) doomed me to settle for this…
Anyway, four hours and four bottles of water later I was safely home enjoying the pulled pork bbq out of the crock pot. I went out later and brought my step count to just over 30,000 for the day…
Monday night was dart league, and me and my What the Bulls? teammates took home a 20-7 victory over our sister team from Shenanigans…
Today was a busy but satisfying day. For one thing I purchased an airline ticket for a planned Labor Day adventure outside the friendly confines of Korea. More on that another day. Had a refreshing walk into work, a sweaty lunchtime walk, and then I got the bright idea to stroll home via the Han river.
It started out pleasant enough…
And then almost out of nowhere the sky opened up and dumped some of the hardest rainfall I’ve encountered in quite a while. Not to mention lots of thunder and lightning. Seeing as how I was on the river sans umbrella, there was nothing to be done but walk on through it. For an hour and a half.
I took this photo under the bridge that adorns my masthead. And yes, my spirits were somewhat dampened.
Still, not bad for a weekday…
And finally (the words all my readers doubtlessly look forward to seeing), I got some news today. It seems I’ve arrived back to where I ended.
Yes, I’ve been promoted to the job I retired from over 5 years ago.
Well, I don’t blog about work these days so I’ll just say I expect it to be challenging, necessary, and well-compensated. The plan is for me to lead us through the transformation and relocation to Pyeongteak. I’ve promised to stay on through the move and several months after, then I will re-retire. And then what? Stay tuned.
I celebrated my good(?) fortune with a rib-eye steak and green beans.
And now it’s time for the periodic legal disclaimer:
All thoughts, opinions, and commentary expressed on this blog are mine and mine alone. My views are not sanctioned (or necessarily condoned) by my employer. I blog on my own time, from my own computer, strictly in my personal capacity. I do not speak for the government I serve (and lately they don’t speak for me!) Thank you for your support.
You can spend all your time making money
You can spend all your love making time
If it all fell to pieces tomorrow
Would you still be mine?
And when you’re looking for your freedom
(Nobody seems to care)
And you can’t find the door
(Can’t find it anywhere)
When there’s nothing to believe in
Still you’re coming back, you’re running back
You’re coming back for more
So put me on a highway
And show me a sign
And take it to the limit one more time
Really enjoyed the dinner party at the Cassady’s. Tom is an Army chef and his pulled pork is the BEST I’ve ever eaten. And I’ve eaten a lot of pulled pork in my time…
After the meal us menfolk retired to the gaming room and entertained ourselves with a darts match. Me and my partner Tom R. eeked out a victory… Gawd, will I ever lose that fucking belly?
The Rago’s were also in attendance. Bill and June recently returned to Korea after a couple of years in Vietnam. At first Bill didn’t even recognize the clean shaven and somewhat lighter version of myself. Anyway, it was nice to have a non-bar related social event on the calendar.
Speaking of bars, after I left the party I hoofed it over to Grand Ole Opry where I enjoyed some icy cold gin and sodas with my nephew Justin. I’d had several beers at the party so it didn’t take much gin to get me drunk relaxed. We sat at the bar and there was this Korean couple sitting at the table nearest us. The female portion of the couple was only marginally attractive but since she was in my line of sight I looked anyway. I could have sworn I caught her looking back a couple of times too. Then they got up to dance and I swear they did the two-step every bit as good as the country folk in the honky tonks I used to frequent in Oklahoma. At the conclusion of the dance I gave them a round of applause and she gave me a big smile. They danced again later and I found watching them entertaining so I had a couple of drinks sent over to their table as a reward. They both seemed pleased. She thanked me in English, so there’s that.
I’m not sure what the status of their relationship was, for all I know they were married. But, she looked back more than once! Justin even noticed so that is not just my drunken imagination. When she got up to use the ladies room I had half a mind to follow her to see if she might be interested in exchanging phone numbers. Of course, the sane half of my mind talked me out of it, as did Justin.
Justin did teach me to say “난 여자친구가 없어”, but I haven’t found an opportunity to use it. And some lady friends have suggested it would probably be better if I didn’t. Ah well.
Did my river walk on Sunday, about 3.5 hours all told. Not sure if it was the heat or what, but it was a tough hike. I was feeling light headed by the time I got home. Had a bowl of chili from the crock pot and took a nap. Feeling restored, I ventured to Shenanigans for some liquid refreshment. Made it an early night though, as I had to report to Soonchunhwang hospital for some blood work early Monday morning.
Last night was the first match of the season in the Seoul International Dart League.
I reckon we did alright. 23-4. I contributed a 6-0 performance and managed to throw a 9-mark (2 triple 20s and a trip 19) despite still not being on my game. Of course, I haven’t been practicing but I prefer to blame it on the weight loss affecting my center of gravity causing me to be unbalanced when I throw. It’s probably one of those.
This morning I had a doctor appointment with my cardiologist. All the markers continue to show improvement. I’m technically being treated for hypertension. My previous appointment I had blood pressure of 150/90 which was a huge improvement. Today I was at 140/80 which puts me in the borderline high category. I’m liking my trend line. The doc was astounded when I told him I’d lost 26 kgs thus far. In fact, he even shook my hand. Then he gave me a refill on my prescription and said he’d see me in three months. Hopefully he’ll be seeing even less of me by then.
The walk to the hospital took about 25 minutes. I walked back home, changed out of my sweaty shirt, and walked the long way to work, arriving sweaty enough that the Deputy Director asked if that was the color of my shirt or was I wet? I responded “both”.
In the afternoon the staff ventured out to Myeongdong for a luncheon at a restaurant called “Under the Sea”. I’m not big on buffet style dining, but this place put out a good spread. The occasion for our visit was to bid farewell to our Director who departs for a Pentagon job next week.
Still haven’t heard yet who his replacement will be. Chances are I know him.
I used to be indecisive. Now, I’m not sure.
You know, if the elevator is old and broken they should do more than just slap a sign on it. Why not fix or replace it?
I decided to walk back home from Myeongdong but wasn’t exactly sure how to go about it. Once I exited the restaurant and got my bearings I noticed a familiar building that I often pass during my Namsan adventures. But how do I get there? Walked in the general direction and sure enough, there was my old friend.
But getting from here to there was not as easy as I anticipated.
So, I figured going up was a good choice. Except this up led to a dead end. So I went down again.
Regardless, in a roundabout fashion I found my way. And something unusual happened along the road. Now, when I pass by a female version of the human race I’ve noted that they studiously avoid making any eye contact with me. I guess that is both normal and understandable. But today an attractive gal gave me the slightest glance as I passed by. Didn’t turn her head or smile or anything, but made a brief moment’s eye contact. As pathetic as I might be, that was milestone and I felt pleased. So pleased in fact that after about 20 more paces I turned around to look back at her as she moved on down the road. And I’ll be damned if at that exact moment she didn’t turn around to look at ME!
Well, I suppose a braver man may have turned around and approached her. But that man was not me. Besides, I was soaking wet with sweat. Anyway, after being virtually invisible to the fairer sex for so damn long, just getting “a look” makes me feel good about myself. Baby steps.
Not a bad day’s work. Although I’ll probably venture out for a bit later tonight just to move the marker past the 20,000 barrier…
Technically, my weekly goal is 125,000 steps (15,000 on weekdays, 25,000 on Saturday and Sunday). I managed to exceed that last week.
So that’s a lot of time on the highway. I’m not what you could call carefree when I walk, but I do try not care.
Turning back the pages to the times I love best I wonder if she’ll ever do the same Now the thing that I call living is just being satisfied With knowing I got no one left to blame
Carefree highway, got to see you my old flame Carefree highway, you seen better days The morning after blues from my head down to my shoes Carefree highway, let me slip away, slip away on you
Americans like me celebrate Independence Day with our favorite patriotic songs.
I’ve been working hard and playing hard thus far this weekend. Here’s a recap:
I got reacquainted with Namsan after a two week hiatus. Still an ass kicker.
All that rain on Friday cleaned up the air some. Was expecting to get rained on at some point in my hike but other than some sprinkles I was golden.
Back home I set about freeing up some closet space.
It came together easier than most of my projects…
And it is functional. See those pants? They are all 42″ waist size. Which makes them too big for me to wear now. I reckon I’ll carry them to the on-post thrift store one of these days. What I need to do this afternoon is purchase some new pants for work. I tried on a 36″ pair and they fit. Snug, but they fit!
Saturday night I changed up my routine. I’m usually in the bar around 6 and stumbling home drunk shortly after 9. I wanted to see what the late night crowd was all about so I delayed my arrival at Shenanigans until 8 p.m. The staff was a little shook-up saying they’d been wondering what happened to me. Hey, I don’t want to be too predictable!
I left Shenanigans a little after 10 still relatively sober. Had a soothing Thai massage for an hour then headed over to the Grand Ol’ Opry to resume my hydration. Ran into a guy from work who told me he’s there every weekend. I’m like, so am I, but then I realized he’s there after I’m gone. It was actually interesting seeing the late night faces I’ve been missing. And an added bonus was being there for the traditional rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at midnight. It seemed especially appropriate on this Independence Day weekend.
Despite my late night I was up bright and early Sunday morning. Popped a chicken in the crock pot and set about on my riverside walk.
This is the farthest I’ve gone in the westward direction.
And this elevated pathway took me somewhere I’ve never been before…
…Seoul Forest. It was nice to see they had a designated farting area…
Even after just a brief visit I can say that Seoul Forest will always be deer to me.
Heading back on the opposite side of the river…
I crossed back over at the Banpo bridge and made a quick detour to the commissary where I purchased a walnut brownie mix. Nope, I’m not falling off the carb wagon (well, maybe just a taste), I’m going to treat the Korean staff in my office who are of course working hard this 4th of July.
All told, the morning walk was 3.5 hours. That is about my max. My legs were dead and my knee was aching and as this sign a couple of blocks from home reminded me don’t overdo it.
Kevin KIm achieved a “miracle” 40,000 steps on his Saturday morning walk. This is as close to a miracle that I’ll ever get…
And the only way I managed that was 2000 steps walking home from the bar at 0100 on Sunday morning, plus some steps I got in during the dart tourney Sunday afternoon. And yes, I took a round about way home after darts so I could break the 30,000 barrier…
Perhaps not so coincidentally, I had some good news from the scale this week.
Goal achieved and exceeded!
I initiated my lifestyle change on on February 21, when I weighed in at a robust 269.2. 20 weeks later and I’ve lost 51.9 pounds. My goal had been to get down to 220. But I’m still not pleased with my big belly so I’m going to try and get down to 200 pounds. We’ll see.
It feels good to have put down that big ol’ sack of rice though…
That’s my big news I suppose. As long as you are here, you might enjoy some random ass crap:
My crock pot chicken came out pretty close to perfect. Today the crock pot is slow cooking a pork roast…
These Filipinos put an ass whooping on me last night…
Never flown them, but I’d wager it’s a pretty shitty airline.
Back from my quick overnight getaway to lovely Songtan. Played the Saturday darts tournament at Xenis Bar. Came away with a second place finish, good for W40,000. And my bar tab was only W46,000.
I ran into an old friend from Seoul at the tourney. Used to play darts with him back in the day but hadn’t seen him in years. Nice to see you again CH!
It was a long night though. Because of my position in the bracket I didn’t throw my first dart until 9:30. And I threw my last dart 3 hours later. After the tourney I went and visited my new old friends at Friends Bar (I’d met them on my last trip). It’s a friendly place and it made me feel good to be welcomed by name.
And now I have a confession to make. I cheated last night. I was unfaithful. In my defense I was pretty drunk and my judgement was impaired. Now, I knew what I was doing was wrong but when I saw her I couldn’t resist. I walked on by the first time confining myself to a lustful glance. But then I circled back and said “fuck it, I’m going for it!”.
Yes, it’s true. I indulged myself in some McDonald’s french fries. Truthfully, they were not as good as I remembered. And now I must deal with the guilt (and the carbs I consumed). Oh well, lesson learned.
I stopped drinking San Miguel Lights just before 2:00 a.m. I was feeling a little stiff so I popped into the Bali Massage joint to get the kinks worked out. My shoulder was still feeling sore from Friday’s tumble. The massage was excellent (and completely legit) and I left there feeling both inebriated and very relaxed.
Despite going to bed at 3, I was up at 8 and made my way to the Osan Air Base bus station. I had the good fortune to arrive just in time to catch the bus departing for Yongsan Garrison. Back in the villa at 10, started the laundry and pork roast. I’m so damn domesticated!
What else? Well, there’s this:
Where does the time go?
And finally, today is Mother’s Day and of course I am thinking about mine. Gone over five years now, but I carry her with me in my heart each day. Wish I’d been a better son when I had the chance. If your mom is still with you, go give her a hug. Right now.
I played two Sunday league matches, winning 12-4 and 10-6. The second match was all the more satisfying because I beat a Pinoy who has owned me over the years. Sometimes you’re on your game, and I had just enough to pull it off.
the sweet taste of victory…
In Monday league action, I swept my singles match. Went 3-3 in doubles, but hey, I can always blame that on my partners, right? Anyway, I’m in a dogfight for the top spot in B division. It’s a goal. Top Ten Overall. I’ll take it.
In non-dart related news, today is my third anniversary of my fourth marriage. I sent my estranged wife this message today: “Today is the anniversary of the promise you made and did not keep”. She hasn’t responded. Probably just as well. Why I even care at this point I cannot say.
Finally for some reason sitting at the bar tonight I remembered the girl I didn’t marry. KaraLynne Pope. Odd that she is still on my mind after all these years. Read about her here if you are of mind to.
Speaking of the bar, you know you have achieved “regular” status when this happens: I always do the singles league stats on Tuesday after work (I’m the President, Secretary and Treasurer of the league after all). Lots of matches this week, so it took me until 8:00 p.m. to get it done. Right before I finished I got a Kakao message from the bartender “Are you ok?”. Heh. It was actually touching to have someone worried that I wasn’t occupying my regular bar stool at the appointed time.
You gotta take your blessings where you find them I suppose.
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.
Mission accomplished, young man. I don’t think the match was as close as the 9-6 score might indicate. And it was a pleasure to see his hard work pay off, even if I was the victim. Well done!
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.
The Saturday night challengers…
Petro and Vidal won the championship round against Brandy and Eve. Lots of good darts were thrown though and Petro didn’t have a cakewalk…
Today we had an organization day at work. Which is perhaps best defined in this instance as having a cookout in the little park-like area in front of our office building.
Menu featured steak, brats, burgers, various side dishes, and pie (pecan and pumpkin). It turned out pretty damn fine all and all. And I’ve got the photos to prove it.
Mr. Kang kept a close watch on the steaks until they were grilled to perfection. All we had was plastic cutlery, be we managed to cut the meat into tasty morsels anyway…
Leb was our other chef, he’s pictured here enjoying the fruits of his labor…
Some of our merry troupe…
And some more of them…
The boss capturing his own memories. That’s our building in the background…
After our longish luncheon, it was back to work. Upon which I discovered that my computer was malfunctioning. The mouse was non-functional for one thing which prevented me from going through the log-in procedures required to access the network. I unplugged and re-plugged the mouse. No dice. I rebooted to no effect, so I rebooted again. Still stuck on the log-in screen I called over our IT guy, Mr. Kang. In short order he discovered the problem:
Someone had taped this over the light on the bottom of my mouse. Yep, I’d been pranked big time. It didn’t take much sleuthing to identify the culprit. I’ve been considering the best avenues for revenge and I do believe I have a plan. It involves spiders…
In other news, on Sunday I traveled down Osan way for one of our periodic grudge matches against the Songtan Darts Association. Sadly, I forget to pack my game and turned in a pretty embarrassing performance.
We traveled down in style on this rented bus. The ride back was much more drunken…
We broke into four teams and played head-to-head. In the end, we kissed our sister. Two of our teams won their matches, as did two of theirs. We will reconvene next month in Itaewon and try and break the tie.
Songtan and Itaewon players in attendance. The Songtan bunch were great hosts and kept it fun and easy. I’m the old fucker way in the back.
One final anecdote. Today I sent an email to a co-worker that went something like this:
Ms. Yi: Here’s is an example of a hearing summary I drafted. I used Mr. Yi’s minutes from a previous hearing. If you want to compare, perhaps Ms. Yi can supply you a copy of Mr. Yi’s work.
Hell, the damn thing confused me and I wrote it. I read it out loud to my cubicle mate (a Korean who is one of the few on our staff not named Yi) and she laughed her ass off. I went back and added first names to make my meaning clearer.
Another week is in the books. Here are the highlights.
My sweet granddaughter Sydney turned 4. Definitely has her grandpa’s good looks!
Things are going reasonably well at work. We’ve got some folks on their way out which will require some adjustments. But meanwhile, my boss and I seem to be getting on well. We did another Friday lunch in Itaewon yesterday. Our destination: Manimals Smoke House to get our barbecue on…
It’s up the hill on the alley going to towards HBC (above and generally parallel to the main drag in Itaewon, walking towards Noksapyeong station…
As you may recall, a few weeks ago we ate at Linus’ BBQ. Apparently there is a (friendly?) rivalry as to which serves the most authentic barbecue. Our mission was to find out.
I thought the menu was somewhat limited and also pretty pricey. On the other hand, it’s good to do a few things well rather than having an extensive selection of mediocre items…
The interior is rather smallish, although those window seats offer a nice view. They open at noon on weekends for lunch. We arrived 10 minutes early and although they let us sit down, they wouldn’t serve us until 12. Not nearly as busy as Linus’ had been, just us and one other group. Could have been the holiday I suppose.
We ordered us up some pulled pork and some chicken. I also bought a chunk of cornbread and some “cowboy” beans. It was all good. Although as with Linus’ I was disappointed with the sauce selection. Might have to sneak in a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s on my next visit.
I’m not sure if I can resolve the question of which is the best authentic BBQ, might need to visit both again. It was nice to have some cornbread, which was surprisingly moist and tasty even without butter.
We got an early release from work (59 minutes) to get a jump on the Chuseok holiday weekend. I spent part of my hour getting a haircut (I’d done a pedicure at lunch on Thursday) so I’m looking especially handsome for the weekend.
Then it was off to Shenanigan’s as it my Friday night custom. Met up with my old friend Lonnie who will be departing Korea next week after 14 years to take up being an elementary school teacher in the Phoenix public schools. He’ll be missed around these parts, especially by me as I’ve grown accustomed to swapping bullshit over beers with him.
The tradition of the dart league is to send a member off with a farewell tournament, so we headed over to Sin Bin Sports Pub for the dart action in Lonnie’s honor.
We had 18 throwers which is a pretty good showing considering most of the Koreans were tending to family holiday obligations. My partner and I finished second which is good and bad. We split W60,000 but didn’t finish until 0130.
We did take time out to give Lonnie a big thank you for his many years service to the dart league…
So getting home meant dealing with my pet peeve–taxi drivers.
0130 trying to catch a taxi in Itaewon. Streets are packed with cars and people, but still plenty of empty cabs. This guy rolls down his window and says “where are you going?” I’m drunk enough to be pissed and say “you aren’t allowed to ask me that, you just have to take me where I’m going”. He drives off but gets stuck in traffic just a little bit down the road. Like a madman I chase him down, snap a photo of his license tag, and then I yell “I’m turning you in. BIG FINE for you! He says something I can’t understand and I walk away. I had every intention of filing a complaint with Seoul city hall, but upon sober reflection I discovered that my drunken photography skills were somewhat lacking. Meaning, this was the only picture of the cab in my camera and it’s not much help. Anyway, the next cab driver I encountered I just hopped in the back seat and said Gireum-dong. The cabbie said where? I repeat Gireum-dong. He looks at me with a blank expression. I try again slowly “Gir-eum sta-tion. He goes “oh, Girerum yak?” I’m all yep that’s it and off we went. When we got close to my place I was actually able to direct him through a series of grunts and gestures to drop right at the gate to my building. A first for me! Fare was W10,000 and I gave him W20,000 and a hearty “Happy Chuseok!” He seemed pleased. It’s now a little after 2:00 a.m. and Jee Yeun calls and asks “where are you?”. I said “I’m home!” She goes ‘no you’re not, and I say apartment 1804, right? She says it’s 1904 and I go “shit, then who’s this woman laying next to me?” I’m funny when you’re drunk!
Woke up this morning a little hungover but I’m going to go have some hair of the dog that bit me later on which should get me back to feeling 100%.
Hangover notwithstanding I put myself to work in the kitchen this morning.
3 pounds of pot roast beef, carrots, celery, onion and potatoes along with some seasoning. When I get back home tonight it will be reading and waiting!
As regular readers know I spend my Monday nights engaged in throwing pointed projectiles in the Seoul International Dart League. Last night was no exception as we ventured out to play the Tailors at a new bar in Itaewon called Fabrik.
It’s a smallish place, although I guess it has more than one floor. I confined myself to the area where the dart boards were located however. It’s not the type of place I would go to if I weren’t playing darts though. No real bar to belly up to and frankly, the service was somewhere between slow and non-existent.
Anyway, I’m ranked #15 in the “A” division and I faced off with the #2 player in the first round of Cricket singles. I was accordingly quite pleased to walk away with 2-1 victory in that match. I swept the next round of singles, and then went 3-3 in doubles. Going into the last leg of doubles our team had managed to win 19 legs (20 wins the match) and I scored a bullseye with my last dart to secure the victory for the Dillinger’s team. I admit to telling myself as I stood at the oche (throw line) “hit this fuckin’ bull so you can go home.” I did and then I did. Even after the match point has been decided, there are still 3 team legs to play, regardless of their meaninglessness. I know the guys get irked when I bail early and leave them shorthanded in the team match, but damn, I’m 60 years old and need my sleep!
It was 11:00 p.m. when I left the bar which got me home at 11:45 and into bed at midnight. Five and half-hours later I was up and preparing for my day at the office. And that just ain’t enough for me anymore. I was dragging ass all day.
I did have an interesting experience on the subway ride home. I caught line number 4 at Samgakji and was happy to have found a seat. In fact, the car was surprisingly empty. I noticed the girls across from me covering their faces with scarves before I noticed the smell. And then I saw that someone had taken a dump on the floor in front of the old folk’s seats. Damn, that was a first for me. I was far enough away that I could tolerate the odor, but it was pretty gross to see. Finally around Myeong-dong someone got the courage to enter the shit-zone and report the problem on the emergency phone. When the train paused at Dongdaemun a cleaning woman boarded and scooped the shit into a dustpan, and then hopped off again leaving a big brown smear across the floor. And you thought there was no excitement in my life?
This morning after making the reverse journey to Samgakji I exited the station and observed a pigeon happily pecking away at a big ole pile of vomit someone had left on the sidewalk (a street pizza if you will). I thought to myself now there’s a perfect bookend. And then proceeded on with my day in the land of the morning regurgitation calm.
I won my singles league match on Sunday 12-4. That was pretty hot, but not as hot as I got under the collar.
As the score indicates I pretty much dominated my opponent. He was so demoralized that he wanted to quit half way through the match. I prevailed upon him to continue playing. I took the first leg of the final set, and he won the next two. Then the fireworks started. He said we had only played two legs (the ones he won). I told him no, we had played three and I reminded him I had won the first and had marked it on the scoresheet accordingly. He disagreed and then asked me what my out was in the first leg. I told him “hell, I don’t remember what the out was, I just know we played it and I won or I wouldn’t have marked it on the scoresheet. He repeated, what was your out. And then I got pissed. I slammed my darts down and aggressively told him that I don’t cheat at darts and moreover I had no reason to cheat because I had already won the match. He backed down in the face of my anger and we finished out the match. I won the remaining two legs handily. We made up when it was all over, but obviously I was and am offended. I take pride in my integrity in darts and to have that impugned with no basis was a bit much to take. Oh well.
I was also on fire Monday night, but in a good way. I went 6-0 in singles including this game:
The best ever cricket game I’ve ever played. I threw four straight 7 marks and finished with three in the bullseye. Damn, I wish I could replicate that on a semi-consistent basis. Instead, I’ll just have to chalk it up to being a miracle.
Monday afternoon at work the Director called me into his office. The Deputy Director is leaving next month and he asked if I was interested in being his replacement. I declined the promotion. Here’s the thing. I haven’t looked it up, but I suppose I might have gotten a $15,000 boost to my salary. And while I like money just as much as the next guy I just don’t need the aggravation. As Deputy I would have to deal with whatever internal staff issues that arise and even worse, I’d have to deal with the politics of keeping the big brass appeased. I’ve been there and done that and at this stage of my life I value minimal stress more than money. I actually enjoy being a simple Action Officer who does his work competently and goes home with no worries at the end of the day. Plus, I felt like I owed my supervisor some loyalty given that she had waited so long for me to clear the hurdles getting hired. She’s a good boss and we’ve bonded nicely and I feel like I can add every bit as much value to the organization in my current job. And finally I explained to the Director that I was not comfortable blocking some other worthy candidate from a promotion opportunity. Can you imagine working hard to get yourself ready to advance in your career and patiently waiting for some old fucker to retire so you could finally move up only to have some retiree take the job? No, I don’t want to be that guy.
Today I had my semi-annual appointment with the hilarious Dr. Yoo. He was happy that my blood work looked good and my cholesterol levels were holding steady in the acceptable range. He asked how I was doing with the smoking and I honestly told him I hadn’t had a cigarette in months. Then I confessed that I was enjoying ingesting vapor to get my nicotine fix. He responded that vaping was just as bad as smoking. Well, I’m no doctor but I know that is not the case. In addition to my internet research on the topic I can attest to how much better I feel since I gave up tobacco. No heavy chest in the morning, no coughing and wheezing, no hocking up gunk from the depths of my lungs. We argued for a bit and then he said “well, regardless I’m more worried about that belly of yours. He explained that carrying the weight around the middle was a recipe for diabetes and heart disease (both of which have occurred in my family history). Couldn’t argue with him there and I told him I’d work at losing some weight before my next appointment in February. I know I can do it, because I’ve done it before. It’s a lot harder to do (for me anyway) in Korea. My big handicap here is my fondness for beer. In the states at least I could drink the low carb shit (and shit it is indeed–low carb beer is like making love in a canoe. Fucking close to water). Here, it is just not available. Oh, Shenanigans has bottles of Miller Light, but that’s not really all that low in carbs. Plus, it’s like W6000 for 12 ounces versus W3000 for a frosty 16 ounce mug of OB. Nope, gonna have to work on walking more and laying off the ice cream some. At least that’s the plan.
It’s all good. I’m 60 and loving it. Although I still wish I could be this guy again.
Didn’t have to worry about carbs back in those days. Maybe I should have.