Wassup?

Long time, no post.  Regular readers have likely observed over the years that I periodically have to take an unplanned hiatus from blogging while I engage in the mundane tasks of actually living my life.  Not sure why, but sometimes I get in a place where I have to withdraw and re-calibrate.  It’s no big deal really and I always find my way back here so that you may share in the boring and often pathetic details of my so-called life.  And here I am!

During my absence, I reckon this was my big epiphany: My life is not all that I hoped that it would be. But it is better than I ever imagined it could be.

That’s good enough I suppose.

The other day someone asked me if I had a good memory.  I honestly answered “I don’t remember”.  Bada bing!  Stick around, I’ll be here all week!

What else?

Well, I’m still sick.  Going on six weeks now and I don’t recall ever being ill for such an elongated period of time.  The coughing fits keep me awake at night and consequently I’m always exhausted.  Which makes it hard to maintain focus and motivation.  Most concerning has been a shortness of breath and lack of stamina.  Which continues to impede my walking routine.  Not to be overly dramatic about it, but I’ve taken to leaving my apartment door unlocked, just in case I need to be rescued at some point.  Although truthfully not many folks would know where to find me should I call out in the night for help. Heh, living on the edge!

I did go back to the international clinic and Soonchunhwang hospital yesterday.  It was my fourth visit regarding the cough from hell.  This time I got to see my regular physician, the hilarious Dr. Yoo.  He didn’t seem to be all that concerned and reassured me that the coughing was natural and needed to excrete the phlegm that is stubbornly clinging to my lungs.  He reviewed what the sexy Dr. Kim had previously prescribed and concurred with her course of action.  He prescribed a slew of new medications to take over the next ten days and professed his belief that I would be healthy in the new year.  One of the pills is supposed to help me make it through the night, and at least last night I did have an uninterrupted sleep.  Of course, I was drunk when I went to bed so I can’t attest to the impact of the new medicine.  We shall see, but I do feel good enough today to actually sit down and write a boring blog post, so that’s kinda being back to normal.

Well, enough of my drivel.  Let’s look at pictures!

Last night was the dart league banquet. Took home the banner for winning the regular season…

….and the plaque for winning the end of season playoffs…

I also took home the “Top Gun” award for B Division. Honestly though I didn’t meet my own performance expectations. Ah well, I have now retired from darts. Or at least I’m done with darts for the remainder of my time in Korea…

We’ve got our office all decorated up for the holidays There’s a contest for best office. The Eighth Army Commanding General will be the judge next week. We expect to win. That’s me supervising the effort…

Good job ladies!

Our Christmas luncheon on Thursday….

…and the dessert table…

My imitation of a motivational speaker.

It’s all good.

In deference to my illness, I’ve switched to a medicinal alcoholic beverage–The hot toddy. Hey, you can look it up. The science is settled…

Said goodbye to my crazy Chinese friend Qian. She’s returning to China on Monday…

As seen on the mean streets of Seoul…

A lover’s moon in the sky and and an empty bed in my villa…

Such is life.

 

 

What’s love got to do with it?

The good news is I slept through the night without a coughing jag for the first time in a month or so last night.  That’s huge, trust me.

This was my bedroom floor on Friday night. It looked about the same on Saturday night. Tissues for the nose, the towel for phlegm.

This was my bedroom floor on Friday night. It looked about the same on Saturday night. Tissues for the snot, the towel for phlegm.

I got up Sunday morning and did up some steak and eggs...

I got up Sunday morning and did up some steak and eggs…

And a pot roast for dinner...

And a pot roast for dinner…

Then I walked the Han River. 24,000 steps, which is significant because it was the first time since November 21st that I broke 10,000.

Then I walked the Han River. 24,000 steps, which is significant because it was the first time since November 21st that I broke 10,000.

The weekend wasn’t all good.  Sometimes you just have to let go of someone you care about.  That’s never easy for me, but I’ve learned the hard way that love is just not enough.  No matter what, you have to take responsibility and be accountable for your actions.  The consequences for not doing so are much worse than a broken heart.

I saw this on my walk and took it as a sign...

I saw this on my walk and took it as a sign…

What else?  Well, Shenanigans now has Miller Lite beer on draft.

I had one to celebrate. But beer is not on my menu. And when I do drink beer (primarily darts night) it's San Miguel Light. I've got one foot in the Philippines already, might as well drink the local brew, right?

I had one to celebrate. But beer is not on my menu. And when I do drink beer (primarily darts night) it’s San Miguel Light. I’ve got one foot in the Philippines already, might as well drink the local brew, right?

And since I was having the beer, I figured pulled pork quesadilla's were in order. Damn the carbs, full speed ahead!

And since I was having the beer, I figured pulled pork quesadilla’s were in order. Damn the carbs, full speed ahead!

Speaking of which, I climbed on the scale of after my hike yesterday.  I figured my lack of activity and undisciplined diet was gonna cost me a few pounds in the wrong direction.  To my surprise, I actually lost over a pound–down to 206.9, a new low!  I think the coughing fits turned out to be good exercise.  I know they caused me to break out in a sweat and made my heart pound.  Quite the cardio workout, although I do not recommend it.

I’ve been doing some trolling on Facebook.

I do enjoy making liberal heads explode...

I do enjoy making liberal heads explode…

Very happy with this selection as Secretary of Defense...

Very happy with this selection as Secretary of Defense…

Bring it on biatch...

Bring it on biatch…

And then there was this...

And then there was this…

Anyway, I’m marching forward and trying not to look back at what I’m leaving behind.

Oh what’s love got to do, got to do with it
What’s love but a second hand emotion
What’s love got to do, got to do with it
Who needs a heart
When a heart can be broken?

Fighting!

The struggle continues.

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!

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...

First time I’ve ever been skunked in singles league play…

The dart news isn’t all bad though…

We took the semi-finals match 14-3 and will face off Monday night against Dillinger's for the B Division Championship.

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...

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?

…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.” 

I’ll be back!

It’s not so easy to be hard

Sunday sucked.  An emotionally exhausting day full of drama and sorrow.  And that’s before I succumbed to another bout with hacking coughs.

And yet another fit of the coughs this evening, this one starting after work when I popped into Shenanigans for some liquid refreshment.  How bad was it?  One drink and out bad.  And if you know me, that says a lot.

Today was the last day of my prescription medicine which the doc thought ought to clear up the source of the cough.  Apparently not.

I guess I will just have to wait and see what happens next.

 

Sick and tired…

…of being sick and tired.

Had to take the day off work today because I have a cough.  I’ve actually had the cough for over a week now.  It wouldn’t be a problem except that I have coughing fits during the night.  Hacking coughs that are almost painful and result in mucous saturated tissues piled on the floor next the bed.  Last night’s commenced at 0100 and lasted until I apparently passed into a fitful state of sleep sometime after 0230.  Then I woke up again at 0400 to a case of diarrhea that had me in and out of bed until the alarm rang at six.  I just couldn’t answer the bell.

I didn’t leave the house today although I had intended to see if I could get in to see the hilarious Dr. Yu.  I mean, it is just a cough right?  I have a tickle in the throat, but the cough seems to originate from deep in my chest.  When I lay on my back I can hear myself wheeze.  I didn’t experience any coughing fits today except when I laid down for a nap. So apparently being horizontal exacerbates whatever the fuck is wrong with me.  Ah well, this too shall pass.  Or I will.

My new best friend.  On my second bottle.  12 bucks at the PX.  I suppose it is better than nothing.

My new best friend. On my second bottle. 12 bucks at the PX. I suppose it is better than nothing.

Whether it is related to the cough condition or not I don’t know, but I have also been extremely lethargic of late.  Totally unmotivated, lacking in energy, and just feeling plain ass tired.  As a consequence my step count has dropped significantly and my willpower to avoid eating unhealthy is diminished.  Not a good combination!  Hopefully I will rediscover my motivation soon.

In other news, we had our last match of the regular dart league season last night.  Sadly, we did not accomplish our goal of going undefeated, losing to Sin Bin 14-13.  It came down to the last leg of the night, I had a the winning dart in my hand, but failed to execute.  Sorry Bridget.  Well, we still finished first for the season so there’s that.

What the Bulls?

What the Bulls?

I didn’t do shit on Sunday.  On Saturday I ventured down to Songtan to participate in the dart tourney.  Mostly I just needed to get out of town and change my perspective.

Tom , Mike and his wife Eve also made the trip.

Tom along with Mike and his wife Eve also made the trip.

And it proved to be a pretty successful evening at darts for the Seoul contingent.

And it proved to be a pretty successful evening at darts for the Seoul contingent.

After darts we hit the street for some street food, which is the generally the best place to find it.

I went with my old standby chicken-on-a-stick.

I went with my old standby chicken-on-a-stick.

The night being younger than I am, I was enticed by the other members of our cadre to join them at a local Filipino oriented nightclub which was conveniently located in the basement of my hotel.

The band was good and I was drunk.  A combination that resulted in me dancing. Such as it were.

The band was good and I was drunk. A combination that resulted in me dancing. Such as it were.

Friday was a holiday and once again my lazy ass didn’t do shit.  I barely got 10,000 steps in.  That may have been due in part to the fact that I stayed out way too late on Thursday night, arriving home in the wee hours of Friday morning in a state of intoxication.

Work is work.  And I’m doing my best to avoid letting the stress get to me.  Hopefully it gets better soon.

A rare photo capturing government in action.  You saw it here first!

A rare photo capturing government in action. You saw it here first!

It was pretty cool to find myself featured in the latest edition of the Darts Thailand newsletter.

 

Our group of competitors in Bangkok.

Our group of competitors in Bangkok.

I was honored to be named MVP and don the cap!

I was honored to be named MVP and don the cap!

What else?

While I'm still a big fan of Korea, I'm growing increasingly aware that my time here is winding down.  Well, things change.  Including my mind.  So, we'll see what happens.  Maybe I'll like Pyeongtaek.  And it would certainly be more affordable for pensioner than Seoul...

While I’m still a big fan of Korea, I’m growing increasingly aware that my time here is winding down. Well, things change. Including my mind. So, we’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll like Pyeongtaek. And it would certainly be more affordable for a pensioner than Seoul…

But in the meantime I'll continue to follow the yellow brick road and see where it takes me.

But in the meantime I’ll continue to follow the yellow brick road and see where it takes me.

Assuming I get off my lazy ass and start walking again.

 

Walk on

Nothing like a good hike to get your head right.

26,000+ steps along the riverside yesterday.  22,000+ on the mountain today.

And I’ve finally made some progress on the weight reduction after being more or less flat lined for the past several weeks.

208 pounds at this afternoon’s weigh-in.  Down 61 overall, 9 pounds to go to achieve goal.

Hope I can make it by Thanksgiving.  I’ve got big plans to load up on everything I’ve been missing when I enjoy the traditional feast.

 

Thanks for the memories

It was a hell of a week.

Lots of work stuff that keeps my life more intense than I like.  But it’s what I signed up for, so why complain?  Much.

Woke up Saturday morning to a coughing fit.  Hocked up all kinds of juicy junk from deep in my innards.  Not a pretty sight.

Later that morning Eun Oke packed up her stuff and left me. Again.  To her credit, she sent me a message suggesting a “break up date”. Well, that was a first. Which at my age I don’t get the opportunity to say very often. Eun Oke decided to end the relationship for reasons I think are legitimate. So no hard feelings on my part. And then she suggested we have a last fling to memorialize the event. Obviously I had nothing better to do. And it was a nice way to finish what had been for the most part a good experience. I’ll miss her.

For those who are curious, her reasoning is that our future plans are incompatible (i.e. me retiring and leaving Korea) and we are both too selfish to compromise.  True.  She also mentioned the age difference (I’m 18 years her senior).  She told me “it’s fine now, but when I’m 52 you’ll be 70!”.  And yes, I’m definitely way to selfish to die early to preclude that event.

Anyway, it’s fine and I’m fine.  I had intentionally held myself back as a matter of self-preservation.  And the sad fact is I am not sure I’ll ever be able to go “all in” in a relationship again.  I think Eun Oke sensed that which I’m sure was a contributing factor in her decision to flee now.  I think it was the right call.  We’ve agreed to remain friends and I’m happy about that.

So far in 2016 I’ve had two women profess their love for me and I have no reason to question the sincerity of those professions.  Still, I have become bitter and cynical to the point that I just don’t really believe in love anymore.  And that’s really a big deal, tantamount to losing my religion.

This week Facebook provided a sad reminder of why the “I love you” words leave me cold.  They have a feature called “Your memories on Facebook” that pops up in your newsfeed on a daily basis.  I can’t seem to stop myself from taking that journey to the past. And that’s where I encountered this nugget from three years ago:

Thank you so much to my lovely husband! He take care of me so good and feed me good…he help me a lot! Even one my arms pain a lot but he make me pain less and inside my heart is full of love and feel warm..I am so lucky and happy woman because of John McCrarey! My life is much better because of you! Thank you and I love you so much!

Things change, obviously.  I’ve moved on pretty much but I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. Part of my problem is I have no understanding as to what the fuck happened.  How do you go from the sentiment expressed above to “I don’t have happy life with you” in less than two years?  I believed in Jee Yeun and never imagined she would abandon the life we made together.  And I know now that if her love wasn’t real and lasting, no love truly can be.

It’s all just words.

Third time’s the charm…

…or three strikes and you’re out?  Time will tell.

Sorry for the lack of posting here at LTG.  Sometimes life intrudes, but I’m doing fine for the most part.  Here’s a little of what’s been going on in my world:

Work has been more intense than I’ve been accustomed to, but that was not unexpected. It does sap a goodly amount of my excess energy, which may in part explain the unscheduled blogging hiatus (or I could just be lazy).  A couple of months into my new/old job I can see that we are making progress towards the objectives and initiatives I hope to accomplish.  The big deal of course is all the civilian issues surrounding the upcoming move to Pyeongtaek.

 

Here I am serving on the "panel of subject matter experts" at a recent Town Hall...

Here I am serving on the “panel of subject matter experts” at a recent Town Hall…

And me on the bus to take a tour of the new facilities at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.

And me on the bus to take a tour of the new facilities at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.

and that's me unwinding after a stressful day at the office.

and that’s me unwinding after a stressful day at the office.

Me with my "What the Bulls?" dart mates. So far we've managed to remain undefeated. So, it's not all about work....

Me with my “What the Bulls?” dart mates. So far we’ve managed to remain undefeated. So, it’s not all about work….

This coming Friday I’m off to Thailand for the first time.  Looking forward to looking around and getting a feel for the place.  Rather than plan out the entire trip, I booked a room for the weekend in Bangkok and then I’ll just play it by ear.

The good news is I might actually have something worthwhile to blog about.  Hey, stranger things have happened!

Stay tuned.

 

Spare your heart…

…everything put together, sooner or later falls apart

Sorry for the lack of posting recently, lots going on but I’ve not felt up to write about it.  Until now anyway.

The holiday weekend was good up until it wasn’t.  Thursday night I had Chuseok dinner with the nephew and a co-worker friend.  Eun Oke joined us later and we had a good time drinking.  Then hit the norebang.  My singing has not improved.

On Friday Eun Oke joined me for a pleasant walk on the Han riverside.  I prepared a meal of pulled pork and cole slaw for her.  Then we hit the bars.

On Friday Eun Oke joined me for a hike along the Han riverside.

On Friday Eun Oke joined me for a hike along the Han riverside.

Saturday afternoon we joined a couple of friends for a cookout featuring ribs, potato salad, bacon wrapped asparagus (a first for me and it was delicious) and a veggie salad.  I contributed a banana pudding for dessert.

Saturday afternoon we attended a barbecue at Mat and Sohee's place. Good food and good times.

Saturday afternoon we attended a barbecue at Mat and Sohee’s place. Good food and good times.

Saturday night it was back to the bars where I bid farewell to some new old friends.

Said farewell to Dale and his wife Gwen. Dale is a Sergeant Major who has completed his Korea tour and is returning to the states. The occasion dictated that we do shots. Which required reciprocation. So you can see how that went.

Said farewell to Dale and his wife Gwen. Dale is a Sergeant Major who has completed his Korea tour and is returning to the states. The occasion dictated that we do shots. Which required reciprocation. So you can see how that went.

The front...

Dale honored me with his coin.  The front…

...and the back. Thanks again, Dale.

…and the back. Thanks again, Dale.

Eun Oke left Sunday morning to care for her dogs.  She called me later and said she didn’t have to work and that she missed me.  So I invited her on over.  We met at Shenanigans and did some drinking.  Work night though so we came home early.  I fixed her some brats for dinner.

And then at two in the morning Eun Oke wakes me up and says she is leaving.  I’m like “what this all about?”  It seems she has decided that our future dreams are incompatible so she sees no point in continuing the relationship.

I was gobsmacked.  Although she had done this exact same thing once before, but we managed to talk our way through it and I assumed the issue was resolved.  Apparently not.

The first thing she did when she left (and I mean before she was out of the driveway) was block me on Facebook.  Apparently she’s the type that once she decides it is over, it is over.  And I have to admit her actions hurt me deeply.  I got pretty sucked in and I foolishly thought she had similar feelings.

And so it goes.

Back to the solitary life of which I had previously grown accustomed.  Luckily, my heart is primarily scar tissue so the bleeding shouldn’t last too long.  I’ve arranged for some therapy in the form of 11 days in Thailand.  I’ll leave on the 7th of October.

You can’t live in the future.  You take each day as it comes and it will lead you to whatever the future turns out to be.  I couldn’t make Eun Oke understand that.  And it’s a shame really.  She was a lot of fun and I enjoyed her company.  I imagine I’ll be missing her but will remain grateful for the temporary reprieve from loneliness she gifted me.

And that’s all I’ve got.

Good intentions

Starting off slow, but after completing 25,000+ steps today I came home and did a little exercise.  30 push ups (3 sets of 10 reps), 45 crunches, and 30 leg raises.  I’ll incorporate some additional features over the next couple of days.  Ideally, I’ll do 30 minutes of strength work every morning.  Maybe that will kick the metabolism up a notch or two.

I was actually pleasantly surprised I could manage a push up…

And then there is this:

Maybe if we crushed Kim Jung Un, he'd look like a marshmallow?

Maybe if we crushed Kim Jung Un, he’d look like a marshmallow?

The weight

Well, I got down to 209.  And then I was stuck there for two weeks.  Then I started weighing in twice a day (as opposed to the once weekly routine)..  Ever since I’ve been fluctuating between 211 and 215.  Not exactly gaining, but I’ve definitely hit a wall.  I may have to say goodbye to my weekly smoothie and the peanut butter on my celery..  I so want to find my way (weigh) to 199.  Fighting!

Hansum man

Eun Oke likes to draw and she is quite talented at it.  Even when she has crappy material to work with.

You can't fix ugly!

You can’t fix ugly!

So, she posted this rendition on Facebook saying:

“My handsome boy friend for apologize gift. But I have been thinking about drowning him one day. I feel it’s the day.”

I *think* she misspelled “drawing”.  But just in case I’m not taking her anywhere near the Han river tonight.

Sand to the beach (finale)

Back home from the Philippines.  A mostly good trip.  I’ll let the photos do the talking…

The breakfast view each morning...

The breakfast view each morning…

I was forced to cheat on my diet when I spotted a Monte Cristo sandwich on the menu.  Haven't seen one of those in over 20 years!

I was forced to cheat on my diet when I spotted a Monte Cristo sandwich on the menu. Haven’t seen one of those in over 20 years!

A typical lunch.  T-bone for Eun Oke, smoked pork for me... Everything was well prepared, service was friendly and efficient...

A typical lunch. T-bone for Eun Oke, smoked pork for me… Everything was well prepared, service was friendly and efficient…

And it was hard to beat the specials!

And it was hard to beat the specials!

The night life was a lot of fun too.  Eun Oke made friends everywhere she went.  She was very kind and generous with the bar girls.  I was impressed and I guess they were too…

Two of her favorites were Wennie and Cherry.  It was Wennie's 27th birthday so we bought her a cake.  She cried when she saw it...

Two of her favorites were Wennie and Cherry. It was Wennie’s 27th birthday so we bought her a cake. She cried when she saw it…

It was a happy birthday for a hard working working girl...

It was a happy birthday for a hard working working girl…

Eun Oke got into the spirit of things by joining the girls on stage for a dance...

Eun Oke got into the spirit of things by joining the girls on stage for a dance…

Eun Oke also gave Cherry and Wennie the dresses they are wearing in this photo.  She loved making the girls smile...

Eun Oke also gave Cherry and Wennie the dresses they are wearing in this photo. She loved making the girls smile…

A new night, a new city (Angeles) and new friends...

A new night, a new city (Angeles) and new friends…

And when "Gangnam Style" was played Eun Oke did what any self-respecting Korean would do...she got up and danced....

And when “Gangnam Style” was played Eun Oke did what any self-respecting Korean would do…she got up and danced….

...on stage!

…on stage!

It was fun while it lasted.

 

Sand to the beach (part 3)

Day 2 of our long weekend in the Philippines.

The pool side bar at Orchid Inn.

The pool side bar at Orchid Inn.

Eun Oke slept in so I enjoyed a pleasant breakfast poolside at the Orchid Inn.  This is where I stayed on my cherry trip to the PI ten years ago, so it was nice to sit with my old memories.

And the pool. Lots of fun memories here...

And the pool. Lots of fun memories here…

I had arranged a 2:00 p.m. checkout so once Eun Oke roused from her slumber I walked her over to Norma’s to exchange some dollars for pesos.  Then we sat street side at Kokomo’s where the girlfriend ate lasagna and I drank beer.  Also arranged for a car to take us to Subic through Kokomo’s.  Poor bastard got a ticket on the way though.  Either speeding or an illegal pass (or both).  He was in a foul mood afterwards of course.

The infamous Walking Street in Angeles City is not as scary by day...

The infamous Walking Street in Angeles City is not as scary by day…

Enjoying the food and passersby at Kokomo's...

Enjoying the food and passersby at Kokomo’s…

We checked into our room at Arizona a little after 3:00 p.m.  Nice spacious room (#28 for those in the know) with a fair view of the bay.  10% discount thanks to Gavin and Philippines Addicts (a web forum I’m a member of).  After getting settled in and changing clothes we popped downstairs to check out Score Bar.

The view of Subic Bay from our balcony...

The view of Subic Bay from our balcony…

The view of Eun Oke all decked out for a Friday night on the town...

The view of Eun Oke all decked out for a Friday night on the town…

Five years since my last visit and the place had been remodeled.  Sat down where the bar used to be and ordered us a couple of SML’s.  And then the same thing that had happened the previous night occurred again—Eun Oke was surrounded by the curious Score bargirls.  She actually seemed to enjoy being treated like a rock star (or in her case, a K-Pop star).  And soon enough she had bought her entourage a round of lady drinks.  I told her she should save money by handing out autographs instead of drinks!  Anyway, I think seeing a Korean female in the bars is unusual and I was surprised at how pervasive Korean “culture” is amongst Filipinas.  They were all talking about their favorite Korean drama stars and singers.

Miss Popularity in Score Bar.

Miss Popularity in Score Bar.

Knowing I wasn’t going to permit a second round of drinks I suggested we check out other venues.  Walking up the road I saw a nail salon, noticed my overgrown toenails, and popped in for a pedicure.  The GF didn’t want the foot work but she was talked into a back massage.

Next up was the SOB (Sons of Baccus, and no, I’m not sure why it’s called that) at Hot Zone.  This event features a dance competition from the dancers at various bars.  The girls go all out with costumes and choreographed dance routines. Eun Oke seemed to really enjoy the show and we both agreed the pole dancer after the show was incredible.  I did pretty well in the raffle drawing as well, at least well enough to make the P1100 (per couple) entry fee a relative bargain.

The joint was jam packed with revelers...

The joint was jam packed with revelers…

Here’s a video of the pole dancer.

Walked back to the Arizona, and not ready to call it a night just yet dropped in for another visit to Score Bar.  Most of Eun Oke’s new friends were still there and invited themselves to join us.  I had already impressed upon her the need to end the practice of buying mass LDs, advising that she pick one or two girls to drink and engage with.  Of course, when there are 10 or 12 gals surrounding your table with puppy dog eyes thirsting for a drink it’s tough to pick two and disappoint the rest.  I came up with the bright idea of giving Eun Oke her first ever body shot experience.  She didn’t freak out at all.   So, I bought her another round from two girls this time.  Eun Oke got into the spirit of things and insisted I join in with body shots of my own.  It was fun while it lasted, but I decided we’d best bail before things got completely out of hand (and pocket).  It was the right call, because the tab exhausted the last of my pocket money.  More in the room safe, but I try to not spend more than I bring out for the night (5-6,000 pesos).

And let’s just say the night’s festivities put the GF in a happy mood.  So day 2 ended sweetly.

Sand to the beach (part 2)

After dropping off our bags I took Eun Oke  for a quick tour of Walking Street in Angeles City.  It was late of course, but she was still amazed.  I gave her a quick lesson in how to ignore the touts and street vendors.  And then it was time for me to introduce her to her first girly bar.  I chose Voodoo because it was small and maybe not too overwhelming.  Not surprisingly, the lineup of girls at that late hour was not impressive, they were all overweight and lacking in the pretty qualities.  Our waitress was very friendly and engaged  Eun Oke is some conversation.  When the waitress left for our next round of drinks Eun Oke commented that she was surprised how friendly people are in the PI.  And then without prompting from me, she offered a drink to the waitress.  She accepted, and then gave us each a free drink!  That was a nice touch.

We then moved down the street to a larger venue, Dollhouse.  I was shocked at just how obese these gals on stage were.  Eun Oke commented that fat and t-backs are not a good combination.  There was a group of Korean men upstairs making it rain (throwing money on the stage) which of course set the dancers off in a mad money grabbing scramble.  Eun Oke was not impressed and shared my view that it seemed demeaning to the girls. I did point out that they were working for a living, and money is money no matter how it is earned.  Still, my preference is to reward with generous lady drinks one-on-one.  To each his own I suppose.

We decided to walk on up the road and popped into Angel Witch.  We sat down at a table near the stage and I noticed we were the only customers at this late hour.  About the time our drinks arrived there was a rotation of dancers.  And to my surprise the girls coming off the stage immediately surrounded our table.  That’s never happened to me before!

I guess it still hasn’t, because I wasn’t the attraction.  Apparently they had never seen a Korean woman in the bar before and they treated Eun Oke like a movie star.  They besieged her with questions, rubbed her arms and shoulders, and made her feel special indeed.  I think she loved the attention because again, unprompted by me, she ordered a lady drink for all ten of them!  Yeah, waste of money perhaps but they were all having a good time and you really can’t put a price tag on that kind of fun.

 

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The happy dancers at Angel Witch

We then returned to our room, relieved some tension, and fell into a happy sleep.  I reckoned the trip to be off to a better than hoped for start, so I was very pleased indeed.  Next up—day 2 in Subic.  Stay tuned!

Sand to the beach (part 1)

I’d written in an earlier post about my plan to bring my new Korean girlfriend along for my weekend jaunt to the Philippines.  In the monger parlance I’m bringing sand to the beach.  The potential for disaster with this plan is evident, but the chance that this woman might just enjoy this aspect of my life made it worth the gamble.  Here’s how it is going so far.

Prepared for any contingency.  Monetarily at least...

Prepared for any contingency. Monetarily at least…

The first stage of the journey obviously was getting here.  Eun Oke was supposed to meet me at my house at 1700 which would give us plenty of time to make the airport for our 2100 flight.  I walked home from work so she could park her car in my garage (parking on the street in Seoul can be a bitch).   She calls at 5 and says “what time do I need to be there?”.  I told her now and asked her where she was.  “Home” (an hour away).  I told that’s not going to work, so she said I’ll take a cab to Incheon airport and we’ll meet there.  I was a little frustrated about this turn of events but nothing to be done but make my way to Seoul station and catch the airport railroad on my own.

Eun Oke arrived about 30 minutes before I did and to her credit she had worked her way through half of the longish check-in queue when I joined her.  And she was looking smokin’ hot in her cut-off jean shorts, so all was forgiven.

Who could stay mad at that?

Who could stay mad at that?

Our Asiana flight departed 15 minutes late and arrived at Clark a little after midnight.  We were seated at the back of a full flight, so of course we were at the end of the line for immigration.  It was here that the Eun Oke made an astute observation: out of the hundred or so folks in line (primarily Koreans) she counted only four other women.  “What’s up with that?” she asked.  “Probably here for the golf” I lied.

If getting there is half the fun I expect we will have a blast!

If getting there is half the fun I expect we will have a blast!

After clearing immigration, we made our way to baggage claim.  What a fiasco!  My bag came out early and hers came out last.  Apparently they only have one trailer to haul the bags from the plane to the terminal.  Or so it seemed.  Bags would come out in spurts, then stop for awhile, then start again.  During the hiatus, I could hear the tractor starting up to fetch another round of luggage.  I took this opportunity to remind Eun Oke that in the PI frustrations like this are best just laughed off.  So we did.

As bad as the wait for our bags was, getting through customs was infinitely worse.  Now, I’ve done my share of traveling over the years.  But in no airport I’ve been in anywhere in the world did customs search every fucking bag!  I don’t know if this is something new or if they were looking for something specific based on a tip.  When I made it to the front of the line they had me unzip my bag, gave it a cursory glance, and sent me on my way.  Didn’t even ask to look at the backpack I was wearing.  So it was an entirely pointless exercise.  Ah well, grin and bear it, right?

The driver arranged through the Orchid Inn was there waiting.  Now this is on me, but I *assumed* he worked for the hotel.  Nope.  I was preparing to give him a tip when we arrived at the hotel when he told me “that will be 450 pesos”.  I’m thinking what the fuck, I could have taken a cab for that price.  Eh, I’m committed to maintaining a “who cares” attitude this trip.  Paid him the 450 and checked into our just before 2:00 a.m.

Stay tuned for part 2.  Eun Oke’s first experience on Walking Street in beautiful downtown Angeles City.

That suits me just fine

Here I am in my birthday suit..

Here I am in my birthday suit..

I never expected that I’d ever be buying a new suit.  But a new job and new requirements conspired to make such a purchase inevitable.  I’ve learned the hard way not to talk about work here on this humble blog, but I guess it is safe to say I attended a meeting with the U.S. ambassador, to Korea, Mark Lippert, today.

You may recall that Mr. Lippert was attacked by a razor blade wielding assailant last year. As fate would have it, one of the attendees at today’s meeting was also present on the day Mr. Lippert was slashed.  According to this gentlemen, he was the third person to restrain the attacker.  By his account it was his foot that was placed on the throat of the slasher. You can see a video recreation at the link above if you so desire.

Anyway, no violence at today’s meeting thankfully.  Mr. Lippert was *ahem* very diplomatic during the meeting and there were really no surprises, which is the best possible outcome in affairs of this nature.  So I left pleased.

Rode over to the embassy with a 2-star general in one of those fancy cars, so that was a treat I suppose.  One thing I learned is that I need to get me some business cards made. It seems so 20th century but it was awkward during the introductions when I didn’t have a card to share.  Aw well, I’ve had worse occasions of a faux pas I suppose.  Next time I’ll be better prepared.

Here’s a random shot from my birthday that I rather like:

My Commie friend Choonae (right front) treated me, my drinking buddy Hae Young (left front) and my yoja chingu to a birthday.  Yes, I'm lucky.  Get over it.

My Commie friend Choonae (right front) treated me, my drinking buddy Hae Young (left front) and my yoja chingu to a birthday shot. Yes, I’m lucky. Get over it.

Tomorrow I fly to the Philippines.  I guess I should say we, because I’m bringing “sand to the beach”.  What the hell.  Might as well find out if Eun Oke can handle the lifestyle.

Anyway, it’s all good.  That’s what I keep telling myself anyway.

 

The journey continues

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...

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.

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!

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 to be fitted for a new suit I'm having made (I guess that makes it a birthday suit!). Eun Oke joined me on base and I took her to see my office. I must admit she looks better in the Director's chair than I do...

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...

Eun Oke bought this nice shirt for my birthday…

And I gifted myself with becoming debt free.

And I gifted myself with becoming debt free.

For the birthday meal I made samgyetang for the first time.

Slow cooked for 8 hours.

Slow cooked for 8 hours.

Eun Oke said it tasted better than her mother's. I hope that means it was good.

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...

…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.

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…

 

Big bad John…

…gets domesticated.

Picking up where I left off:

Saturday night it was back in Itaewon. Had some samgyapsal with the nephew and girlfriend then went to East and West, the rock and roll bar above Grand Ole Opry.

Saturday night it was back in Itaewon. Had some samgyeopsal with the nephew and girlfriend then went to East and West, the rock and roll bar above Grand Ole Opry.

Speaking of Eun Oke, it was interesting how we met.  Basically she saw me on a friends Facebook and told him she was interested.  He conveyed that message to me and this being the 21st century and all, I looked her up on her Facebook page and liked what I saw. So maybe not a traditional blind date, but we have hit it off amazingly well.  She’s certainly not like any other Korean female I have known attitude-wise.  It’s early, I know.  But I’m looking forward to seeing her again.

Sunday morning breakfast for two,,,

Sunday morning breakfast for two,,,

This week it was chili in the crockpot.

This week it was chili in the crockpot.

I’d missed my Saturday tradition of climbing Namsan because I got a better offer.  Hey, exercise is exercise. Ahem.  Anyway, after saying a sad goodbye to Eun Oke I set about getting it done.

I hit the wall and kept on going...

I hit the wall and kept on going…

You're going down! Er, technically I was going up. Those fucking stairs...

You’re going down! Er, technically I was going up. Those fucking stairs…

Got back down the mountain, took a shower, then took an ass whuppin' in darts.

Got back down the mountain, took a shower, then took an ass whuppin’ in darts.

Today I took the long way home from work...just about 2 hours on the Han riverside....

Today I took the long way home from work…just about 2 hours on the Han riverside….

I'll let Kevin Kim tell you about how damn hot it's been...and I've got the sweat soaked shirt to prove it!

I’ll let Kevin Kim tell you about how damn hot it’s been…and I’ve got the sweat soaked shirt to prove it!

Changed out of my wet clothes and did the dishes...

Changed out of my wet clothes and did the dishes…

...the laundry...

…the laundry…

...and hung it up to dry.

…and hung it up to dry.

Having worked up an appetite, I threw some brats on the grill. They were delicious thank you very much. Two for dinner, two for tomorrow's lunch, and one for a co-worker who craves my brats..

Having worked up an appetite, I threw some brats on the grill. They were delicious thank you very much. Two for dinner, two for tomorrow’s lunch, and one for a co-worker who craves my brats..

Yes, yes I know.  Don’t hate me because I live such a damned exciting life.  It’s what I do.

This song actually came up on my youtube playlist while I walked at lunch.  My daddy used to sing it to me…

 

Free falling

What counts as a good night for me.

I invited Eun Oke to my place for dinner. It was great to finally have someone to cook for...

I invited Eun Oke to my place for dinner. It was great to finally have someone to cook for…

The ingredients. Chocolate, shrimp, ribeye steak, baby back ribs, baked potato, mixed vegetables, banana pudding, and of course ice cold beer.,

The ingredients. Chocolate, shrimp, ribeye steak, baby back ribs, baked potato, mixed vegetables, banana pudding, and of course ice cold beer.,

Eun Oke seemed pleased with the effort.

Eun Oke seemed pleased with the effort.

Afterwards I suggested an old-fashioned pub crawl–one drink in each bar until we could go no further…

First stop--Scrooge Pub.

First stop–Scrooge Pub.

Bar number 2--Dolce Vita.

Bar number 2–Dolce Vita.

Then on to my bar home Shenanigans.

Then on to my bar home Shenanigans.

Our fourth stop was Dillingers...

Our fourth stop was Dillingers…

The we moved on down the highway to Route 66.

The we moved on down the highway to Route 66.

By the time we got to our sixth bar, Sin Bin, things were getting a little blurry...

By the time we got to our sixth bar, Sin Bin, things were getting a little blurry…

We finished up at our 7th venue, Debut Bar. At least one of us was still on their feet...

We finished up at our 7th venue, Debut Bar. At least one of us was still on their feet…

I've got to hand it to Eun Oke, she's a real trooper. I insisted we walk back to my place which in hindsight might not have been my best idea of the night. But we made it. Poor girl is still passed out on the bed. And no, I won't share the picture I took of that!

I’ve got to hand it to Eun Oke, she’s a real trooper. I insisted we walk back to my place which in hindsight might not have been my best idea of the night. But we made it. Poor girl is still passed out on the bed. And no, I won’t share the picture I took of that!

To top it all off, Fitbit even awarded me a new badge!

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Life has its ups and downs to be sure, but I’m still in the game!

I wanna glide down over Mulholland
I wanna write her name in the sky
I’m gonna free fall out into nothin’
Gonna leave this world for awhile

And I’m free, free fallin’
Yeah I’m free, free fallin’