Wednesday, July 23, 2008

This week in review: From a Wednesday(07/16/08) to another(07/23/08) - part 2

So, the rest of the week, nothing else interesting happens . . ..

Until Tuesday.

Did I mention that Korea is prone to monsoons during Summer? Well, it is.

This is a long one, folks - I hope you have time to sit and enjoy. At my expense.

Well, being a good grandson who hasn't really seen his Grandma in 20 years, I have a weekly habit of spending the night at her place on Monday nights. Unfortunately for the both of us;
  1. There is no AC in her place
  2. My sleeping schedule is absolutely fucked from working a 3~10PM shift*
So, on continuing my charade of being a good grandson, I wake up usually at 10AM** because, everyone at grandma's sleeps according to the sensible, regular kind of schedule.
*Please take note that I am currently posting this at 4:30 in the fucking AM.
**After going to sleep at 5AM - but grandma still thinks I'm being lazy. I mean, I AM lazy, but it's not the point.

Well, I wake up, take a shower, and eat breakfast, and go to my place in the subway*.
At this point, I'm standing in the hot crowded subway and I'm tired. So, upon reaching my stop, I ride my bike back to my place, and take a short nap. It's about noon, and I'm thinking I was going to take a 30 minute~1 hour nap, and I should be fine.
*Fuuuck I'm starting to hate the subway

So, I go to my place, a studio apt, throw my clothes off, and plop on the bed to promptly pass out. After a little while, I hear this din and think nothing of it, thinking that it is just construction outside*.
Well, I figure that it's time I should wake up and do some errands or whatever, when I sit up.
Now - and this part is relevant, I promise - remember the part when I said I threw my clothes off? Well, I threw them off, if you get my drift. At this junction, I've just woken up, sat up stark-ass naked and pretty much blind without my glasses off when I notice that
my front door is slightly ajar and is letting in light.
*There's construction going on all the time in Seoul

Didn't think too much of it . . . and then I hear the landlady* say, "I didn't know you were home".
*An ajumma in the classical sense, as mentioned prior

Turns out that she was doing some maintenance work and the din I heard wasn't construction, but it was her knocking on my door to see if I was home. So my landlady saw me buckass nekkid.

Ah, whatever - I kinda feel bad for the lady, as she's this unmarried Christiany-Christian person, and she's normally pretty nice.

Well, so I get up, and check the time; shit, it's 2:45 - I take a peek outside to see that my trusty bike is . . . stolen. Yep, it's gone.

I throw my clothes on and go around the block, just to make sure that no one maybe moved the damn thing, but it's gone.


So at this point, the landlord's seen me naked, and my bike's stolen. I'm not exactly upset, as I've left this bike in front of the place unlocked (like I said, I expected to be in and out) and a coworker/neighbor of mine says he saw the bike when he left for work at 2:25.

Well, I guess I was asking for it. Anyhow, some of the other teachers and students, when I mentioned this, suggest that I go and steal someone else's bike. Not, that I would, but I guess it happens frequently around here.

Like I said, I'm not happy about it, but being upset doesn't do anything either, so, blah.

Anyhow, onto today . . ..

Well, since it's a Wednesday, that means I only have a half day of work. So, I gather my coworkers, and go down to the same burger place to hang out and have some burgers. On the trip there, nothing. We get over there, take our seats, and order our grub.

And then I feel a slight tap on my shoulder.

I look over, and a green cicada has decided to join me on the back of my shirt sleeve. That fucker was huge - about as big as my
thumb - and did you know that you can skewer them and eat them? Anyhow, back to the story - it's really not that a big deal - I reach for it, and flick it off my shirt.

Except that I don't look up to see where I'm flicking this off to.


I flick it off and I turn back to my burger, thinking nothing of it. Well, I hear a couple of girls scream bloody fucking murder and it turns out that I've hit that critter right at them.

At this point, they're still screaming their head off. I go over, and it's on the ground. As I'm pondering whether to step on it and save its pain of having to hear those two shrill screams, the owner, Y, comes and picks it up, and lets it out.

So at this time, I'm somewhat embarrassed, and I genuinely apologize to the girls.

Their reply? "Yeah". One of them was so shaken up that she had to go to the bathroom.

Later on, I find out that did they only not get up as they saw the whole event transpire before I flicked that guy, the goddamn thing didn't even hit them nor go on their table at all.

For fuck's sake.

So that was my week, folks. I don't quite know if all that was that terrible, but was odd nevertheless. Hope that entertained you at least a wee bit. I'll get to my regularly scheduled blogging as something new comes up!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

This week in review: From a Wednesday(07/16/08) to another(07/23/08) - part 1

What the hell.

Well, interesting(?) things have been happening to me recently. Not in the mind-blowing sense, mind you, but rather in the sense of slightly odd series of events. So let's begin.

Last Wednesday: After a half-day at work, I, as well as a few other coworkers decide to go check out this burger joint that Leah and I found*.
So we are in the subway** and it being Seoul, it's pretty busy - on the way there, we're chillin', making small talk with coworkers as we're standing as there are no free seats, holding onto the handles, and just waiting for our stop to come.
Well, on one stop, this older ajumma that was sitting down right in front of me, decides to stand up. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Well, at that precise instant I was talking with my coworker/boss, Nate, and had my hand turned away.
*Actually, this place was opened by the owner of a bar that Leah and I frequented. It's also in the foreigner district, so all the clientele are essentially expats.
**If you've read the other posts so far, I'm hoping that you know at this point that we use mass transit extensively

Anyhow, you would typically think, knowing the Dan you guys knew in the States, or, possibly in Korea, "What did you do this time, you ijit?"

So, what
did I do?

Nothing. Not a god damned thing.

I was just standing there, talking to Nate like I said and standing still, holding onto the subway handle when the lady decides to headbutt my elbow (on the arm that was holding the handle, by the way). Yeah. She wanted to find out who'd win; her head or my elbow. Unfortunately for her, my elbow won.
Smartassedness aside, I quickly turned over to see her and muttered an apology to the lady.

(Was I supposed to apologize at this instance? Anyhow . . ..)

Turning back to Nate, who saw the whole thing, we kinda had an awkward chuckle as we both weren't sure what kind of response to take.

Well, I guess that was a bad move, as her daughter, on seeing me talking to Nate(a white dude - stand up guy, by the way) in fluent English, maybe thought I was laughing
at the lady.

So naturally, she decides to go off on me, saying things like, "You shouldn't have been in her way/you need to look out for them/blahblahblah" in Korean, while her mom is pulling her out of the subway.

Now at this point I'm stupefied more than anything at this point, and I'm just staring at her(and so is Nate), not knowing exactly what to say to all this.

Then, it gets kinda weird. The girl, seeing that her screaming in Korean is not getting the reaction she wants and seeing me hanging out with a whiteboy, proceeds to do her best to scold me in her best "I speak English" impression while the mom keeps pulling her out of the subway, which just stupefies me even more.

Then the doors close on her as she is screaming.

At this point, for some kind of karmic balance and entertainment value, I would love to say that "Oh, the doors closed on her noggin, her head got chopped off and everyone lived happily ever after" and all that, but real life being what it is, she was out of the subway, the door closed, and we went on our merry (and now somewhat awkward) way.

The rest of the week gets weirder. Just wait.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Daydreaming: Motorcycle of my dreams -

- The styling of the Confederate Hellcat (Standard/Cafe Racer, not a cruiser)
- The hollow-tank/frame/oil resevoir/muffler placement from Buell
- Vertically-stacked LED Headlights / Turn signals, rear lights/signals integrated to rear wheel cover
- a Mazda Renesis Rotary engine, scaled-down for mid-weight (500~800cc) output

One day . . ..

Dog, or the eating thereof

Yes, I ate dog.

I know, now I'm never, ever going to hear the end of it from you guys.

But let's get down to the meat-and-potatoes of this (HA! Get it? Mean and potatoes? Ha . . ..) - how was it? Well -

Backstory - This is how it went down; Seoul still has a very, very small foreigner community for a city this size. And being one of a handful of people who are foreign, I get talking to a few other American/Canadian teachers about eating dog, and some are for it and some are not.

Anyhow, Leah's best friend in Korea, Jenna, is leaving soon - next weekend, in fact - and she's been wanting to eat dog since we got here.

So Leah, Jenna, and I go to a little dog place around the corner - we've been asking around if anyone knows if there's a good place for it, and no one knows - so Leah suggests going to a place around where Jenna lives, close to Leah's (I live about an hour away from where Leah lives, more on that later) - it's new, and it's big. I'm kinda weary of new places in Seoul(there are overnight operations everywhere here), but whatever - I agree and go with them.

We walk in, and this solid wall of . . . funk hits us. It's not quite wet dog as you'd expect, but it's a weird mesh of burning-rancid-something that just doesn't scream "hygienic and delicious". I mean, dog's supposedly nutritious, right(well, I suppose y'all prolly don't know - yes, it is; and as all things Asian, it's also supposedly an aphrodisiac/assist in virility)?

Well, whatever - we're on a mission, damnit; and I'd be damned if I don't complete said mission. We plop down, hoping against hope that we get used to the funk (we don't) and order dog and a coke.

The coke came first.

Anyhow, the dog (stew):

As you can see, it's just a stew of sorts with meat and assorted vegetables. Due to the aforementioned funk, however, Jenna and I just picked at the meat and had some, and promptly got out. Leah was going to try a piece, but the smell got to her, so it was a no-go. By the way, the stew smelled fine, so it wasn't that.

Honestly, it's nothing outstanding about dog meat that would scream, well, I dunno, "woof" maybe?

It's just meat, dammit!

Oddly enough, though, it wasn't the meat that bothered me - it was the fat; there were some fatty pieces there, but thinking that the fat came from a dog somewhat disturbed me. I can't wrap my head around why dog fat would do that, but well, it did.

Anyhow, overall - I would give dog meat a . . . well, I can't tell. Like I said before, the funk was so overpowering
that I don't think it'd be fair to give the meat a rating at this time. However, for the restaurant, I'd give it a 3/10.

To fairly assess dog, I think I will have to try again sometime, at a different place.

(On a sidenote, Leah wants to get a dog when we go back. To keep as a pet, not eat. I think I'm down with that. I wonder what it'd say if it knew that I ate one of its kind.

Probably "woof".)

Motorcycles: Ongoing, pt.1

Korean cops get nice motorcycles (if you notice, the bike is a beemer).

Video guide to buying a bike.

Just a head's-up, a note for myself really, for me when I get back to the States . . ..
To continue on with my passive-obsession, this is what I've seen about the motorcycle culture in Seoul;

First of all, let me set this up - Seoul is crowded. I mean, I wouldn't want to live in a place where rush hour is four to sev . . . wait a minute, I do.


Anyways, back to the point - In Seoul, I've seen people use motorcycles a lot more frequently than in the States - definitely more than Chicago or Bloomington, for sure.

Case in point; observe, if you will;

This was all within a 100-yard strip of an alleyway in Seoul. Now imagine every singe alleyway like this, and I think that it's a pretty accurate description of just how many of these things there are.

This is typical of most motorcycles in Seoul - Korean, lighter displacement, all over the damn place (more people ride on the sidewalk than on the road), and used as a tool for delivery - especially the red & white one. The thing that's sticking out on the back is used to hoist whatever thing they have to haul around - piping, food (did you know that in Seoul McDonalds delivers?) what have you.

Anyhow, that's that. Nothing significant. Except . . . every so often I see a group of Ducati riders around where I work. Talk about night and day - but I think that talks more about Korea's economy than anything else.

And that I'm totally envious.

So, at this juncture, what am I doing to better my motorcycling situation? Well, nothing, really. Other than this . . .


By the way, we got Leah this:

It's called a Suzuki Choi Nori - a lil' 50cc scooter - it's pretty cool, in a I-wouldn't-be-caught-dead-admitting-that-I/my wife-own(s)-it kind of way. But, I did talk Leah into taking the MSF rider's course when we go back. Maybe I can get her a lil' Ninja 250 or a CBR125R and see how it goes from there. Totally badass.

Since it's Leah's first scooter and she's really excited about it, maybe I'll put up more of a post about it later. Maybe.

- Current bike to get when I'm back(realistic mode): an '06 Honda 599.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Everyday mundane

Nothing new, just updating the blog . . . for the sake of updating the blog, really.

I have all these things I have to talk about, but I'm not really feeling it right now. Procrastination at its finest, I say. Well, the most exciting thing as of late is that Leah adopted a new pet - a snail. Reading up on it, those things are kinda cool, actually. I mean, not exactly pet material - I wouldn't want it to snuggle up to me at the end of a day, for example - but it's interesting nevertheless.

Oh, and I also got a tablet. I hope I make good use of it - well, at least get used to it, I think my right wrist's been bothering me a bit; so if I use the tablet, being that I'm a leftie, it should help a bit.

Pic-tar of the tablet. Just because.