Monday, December 28, 2009

well, i'm on winter break now. i didn't realize how long the days were until i didn't have to work. you see, all of my friends kind of left. coleen, rachel1, rachel2, danny, and june. now kai is leaving in a few days. i only have a couple of friends left. i guess this is what contracted work in korea is like. jackie warned me that everyone would leave. so i'm not really making any attempts at meeting people since i only have 2 months to go. needless to say, korea can be a place full of crippling loneliness! it is so easy to make friends in america. i don't know if i've lost it or something...but i just remember how i would meet someone and then we'd be friends...maybe that's because i met a lot more people with similar interests/common ground. lots of douche bags in korea. i had a big discussion with my friend about how you see koreans and their fashion would indicate a certain counter-culture element, but how disappointing it is that not all girls with thick frame glasses, skinny jeans, and a carefully selected "thrown together" look does not indicate a hipster status. it just means she dresses like everyone else, is probably getting a worthless degree, and will stay at home with her 2 kids once she gets married. not that it's a bad thing necessarily...it's just weird because a selected fashion that means something in the states means nothing here.

it snowed a few inches yesterday. today it's all brown and disgusting from the cars. i walked a couple of miles to the library to get a card and see what they had in their english section, but for some reason, even though they were open last night when i went in, they were not open today (monday). i have no money until the end of the month, so i've been walking to yeongtong (4km) everyday so that i can check my email and get out of the house. tonight's big plan to go to starbucks and then possibly the bar to study korean. korean is difficult as hell by the way. my teacher explains that they use two number systems because it is easier...easier than one number system? i don't believe her explanation...i think they just didn't want to concede to the fact that the chinese numbers were much more efficient and made more sense.

i'm looking at jobs already. i'm just seeing what's out there...but i'm thinking more and more that i want to move to busan. it's got nice beaches, i could have a scooter, and i could make more money there. i don't know why i'm not as psyched about living in seoul...but my friends will be everywhere. june will be gone. i'll have to start over wherever. i'm looking forward to coming home and just relaxing for a while and collecting myself. it's been a bad month.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

my name is yoo, yookulele.

i haven't posted in a while. this is because i will never have the internet at my apartment, because what good would it do my bosses for me to have it? it wouldn't do them any good at all. in no way is it beneficial for them. there's my "i hate my job" rant for this post. i am actually happy with work this week and that is because i don't have to be there. i was lucky enough for one of my coworkers to come down with swine flu and so they closed the school for a week. i don't have swine flu, but i get all the benefits of having it. i'm sure my bosses will be in sour moods next week, but the important thing to remember is that they won't be mad at me for once. my coworker with the swine flu has not stayed in bed as she was supposed to and has been going out normally as if she weren't sick. they're pretty mad about it, but i don't live at the school and don't have to deal with babysitting her. so, here are some pictures and then more on my life:



i went to the asshole of korea for halloween. it's a place called itaewon. all the foreigners seem to flock there...and that's precisely why it's a bad place. i didn't have much choice since everyone seemed to be going there. i was harry potter. i had a lot of korean people shouting "hally poata da!" (it's harry potter) and it was cute. i met a korean harry potter too. my friend rachel went as g-dragon, a kpop star in the group big bang. they're actually pretty listenable. june was a vampire, but really she just looked a hot korean girl. things are going well on the june front. i've seen her every weekend since i met her and if i'm correct, she likes me. i'm about 80% on that. she's pretty great, we have common interests, she has a sense of humor, and look at that picture...is there any reason i should be allowed within 500 feet of her? the answers is: God, no. we went to a dance club and i actually tried to dance a little. once i figured out that i wasn't the only person not picking up their feet i felt more at ease. then june and i broke off and went to a hamburger joint and went to the hotel. we talked till about 4:30 when rachel came home and we pretended to be asleep. the next day at lunch she asked me if i wanted her to take me a palace. i answered yes, but in my mind i was thinking "duh, i'll go anywhere with you." we totally held hands and it was awesome. the longer i don't have a girlfriend, the more i appreciate the subtleties of a relationship...and girls...my english girl friends tell me to go slow for various reasons and my korean girl friend is like "this is how korean girls act when they like a guy! are you stupid?! just kiss her!" either way, that's that and now i will see her this weekend, i think. she might have the pig flu as well. right now, i just went to seoul to a music shop. i had bought a ukulele about 3 weeks ago but i wanted something nicer and with a pickup...so kai called them and asked if i could trade it in and pay the difference. they said yes. so he gave me 200,000w for my old one (i only paid 180,000w for it) and i paid the difference plus a leather strap, which came to 370,000w...total comes out to be about 600,000w...which is more than i'd like to admit...but if you go to a currency converter, you can find out how much i spent on a ukulele and shame me. i'm about to meet hyunji, june's cousin for coffee and english lessons. i'm getting about 240,000w for 8 hours a month. i gave her a discount, or else i'd be getting about 320,000 an hour. so hopefully it will go well and she'll refer me to others. alright, going to go now.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

what good would living do me?

we went to a cow farm this week. we milked cows and made cheese and ice cream. it was a nice day, though i've been sick for a while. luckily, i got some medicine last thursday and i think all i have is a stuffy nose, a sure sign that things are getting better in my book.

i went costume shopping with rachel and seeing as how korea doesn't really enjoy halloween so much, the selection was rather limited. seeing as how i didn't want to go as "mexican" or "bed sheet ghost" i went with a harry potter outfit. i have the gryffindor cloak, a tie, and a scarf. it was only about 35$ total.

i then went to insadong to meet with june and her cousin, who will hopefully be my new private student. i went to the nagwon music arcade and bought a ukulele and hardshell case for about 200$. it was pricey, but worth it. i love it. great purchase. i then met with june and watched her get her hair cut while i read chesterton's biography on st. thomas aquinas. we went for sandwiches and met her cousin who was very shy. i convinced them to come back to yeongtong with me to meet up with our friends. we went to the laos bar, a horrible place full of horrible people. her cousin lives in the next town over and so june went to help her find a cab. they were gone for about 20 minutes and so i went looking for them and walked everywhere, knowing june's phone was dead and that she didn't know the area. finally, i found them and they couldn't get a cab cheap enough. so they stayed with me and i slept on the floor. most of the night was spent by them asking me which celebrities i found attractive. here's a sample conversation:
june:do you think nicole kidman is attractive?
me: maybe in the year 1843.
june and hyunji: (korean)
june: you are crazy.
i cooked them french toast and basil/cheese omelets the next morning, which they found "divine" and other adjectives that indicate a glorious afterlife. all in all, it was a good weekend and i'm looking forward to halloween weekend...except i know i will not like going to "clubs." i never do. oh well, time to go to class.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

channeling astrud

well it's been a while since i've written, but i don't have the most to say these days. things are going relatively well. i am still researching on how to get into universities over here for my masters degree...but if it doesn't work out, i'll just come back to work. i'm not done with korea yet!

june came down yesterday to record vocals on a song i wrote. it sounds really good, i just still have a lot to do. thankfully, jessica calleiro has offered to do the mixing/mastering duties for me so that it will actually sound good this time. then we went out to dinner with some people and went to a bar. one of rachel's student's parents was there. he bought us beer, but was very annoying. don't get me wrong, he was friendly and all that, but he just sort of sat down with us and wanted us to hang out with him afterward. he also sent his wife away. she was trying to get him to leave and he just shooed her away and she left. he was drunk. we then went to a game room. you pay like 1.75$ per person/per hour and you have a bunch of board games to choose from. we played clue. i found out how to win at clue: cheat. if you just always deny having any cards, but no one else has anything and you have one of them, you can at least figure out what 2 of the right ones are and at the same time, make someone else lose when they make their guess. so it works out really well.

then i went to church this morning with colleen, june, chelsea, and frank. i didn't care for it very much as i had some sort of theological disagreement with something said and i don't like to have hour long praise and worship (especially when they only sing about 4 or 5 songs). we then got some chicken for lunch and i walked june to the bus stop so that she could make her two hour journey home. it was a good, but short, weekend. since i've only eaten korean food for the last few days, i'm going to reward myself with pizza tonight. i rented "an inconvenient truth" cause i never saw it before, so maybe i will watch that or finish up the last 2 episodes of buffy season 3 tonight. that is all for now.

Monday, October 5, 2009

surprise ice

ok, so maybe i posted something a couple of posts ago that was rather impulsive. i removed it. either way, things are starting to get really good or really bad, but i'm happy about it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

boredom is a day without work.

i understand there's no excuse for doing a survey...but i'm bored and i have a day off...so this was on josh austin's facebook and i figured i would attempt to not lie about something. due to the relatively unscandalous characteristics of this quiz, i've decided to ignore many questions.

Tell no lies!
Can you fill this out without lying?

1. What was the last thing you put in your mouth?
cigarette

4. Name someone who made you laugh today?
i haven't seen anyone today, so no one...does internet laughing count? because that's just "haha" but i don't even crack a smile in real life.

10. How do you feel about Dr Pepper?
it's called dr. pepper because it tastes like medicine, i will only drink it if it is absolutely necessary.

13. Who was the last person you took a picture of?
a wonderful girl named june.

19. Night out or night in?
night out, unless season 3 of buffy finishes downloading soon, then i have my plan for the week.

23. How do you feel about your life right now?
i don't belong anywhere, i hate my job, but everything's great.

27. Has anyone ever called you perfect before?
no, unless they didn't say it to my face, then perhaps someone did. so let's just go ahead and assume that all of you get together and talk about my perfection.

28. What song is stuck in your head?
"wings of love" or "pentacost hotel" by nirvana (the original one, not that crappy 90's band)

29. Someone knocks on your window at 2:00 a.m., who do you want it to be?
a man with a check for 50,000,000$. he will be a man in his mid-50's who has realized that his greed has filled his bank account but has emptied his emotional wallet. he views the money as a curse and wishes he had never gotten it. he's giving it to me in order to cleanse himself and to cast off his embarrassing riches. i accept the money and make him a grilled cheese sandwich and i think to myself "i'm going to buy the good cheese at the grocery store next time."

31. Name something you have to do tomorrow.
go to the gym, take medicine, 한국말 공부해요.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

i dare you not to write.


nothing has been going on.

i almost got fired because i didn't have a song in my heart while doing something. did the "right" thing though and apologized to my boss for caring so much about the contract that we both signed.

lloyd and kay visited from japan. they brought me scotch.

i still don't have the internet at my place.

anki software is amazing. flashcards but without the waste and time.

i swear i was in a better mood like 2 days ago.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

another night in 홍대 and thoughts on black metal politics.

dear blog, how are you? this week has been relatively uneventful. jon's girlfriend, tara, went back home after a couple of months spent in korea. i got a package. that's about it.

last night, i made plans with a girl i met in jeju (not those kinds of plans, she has a boyfriend who just doesn't like to do anything). we decided that we would find mexican food. so we went to sinchon to go to an on the border there. it. was. amazing. needless to say, there's not much in the way of dirty tex mex in south korea. so i got flautas and enchiladas with black beans and rice. it was phenomenal. it was really hard to order because this restaurant is easily an hour and fifteen minutes from where i live, so i doubt i'll make the trip that often.

after that, we went to hongdae in an attempt to find the ice bar. the attempt failed. we wondered for a good hour and asked a lot of people and even though this place is in every travel guide, no one seemed to have heard of it. she ultimately had to leave because it was 11 and the subway was about to stop (because while great, the public transportation system doesn't understand why anyone would stay up past 11pm on a saturday night). so i waited for kai in hongdae. she was with 3 japanese friends that she had studied with. they took an hour because the subway train they were on stopped (see parenthesis above). we then met up with another one of her friends from japan whom she was sure i would be in love with. i really wanted to be like "you don't know me, you don't know what i like!" but she was right about me all along.

we went on our own excursion to find the ice bar, which again failed. we settled on a restaurant and everyone but me and some greek guy and his girlfriend drank a lot. because the subway had stopped, i made up my mind that i was going to stay awake all night and one must pace himself. if you order a lot of food or whatever at a restaurant they give you "service" which is just more stuff, but for free. we had two pitchers of kiwi soju smoothie stuff and about 6 bottles of soju and two big plates of food. it was only 60,000won (about 44$?) and we were there till about 3 am. we then had to say goodbye to 3 japanese friends. me, kai, and her wet dream of a friend then went to a club. this was not some lounge, this was like a really loud scary club. it was several floors below street level and it was just deafening music and lots of creepy people standing around while slightly moving (this was dancing). i got a call from my friend verve and decided i should leave.

i met him in the park and got a drunken lecture on the history of black metal. he basically retold the Lords of Chaos book. it was intense. he loves black metal and all, but every time i hear about it, i've just got no real interest in these incredibly f*cked up people. a lot of these black metal bands he was telling me about were these horrible nazi/white nationalist bands...like full blown "eradicate the jews" nazis. i know he's not a racist and he just likes the music, but whatever, i've got no interest in it. this got into a big debate about nationalism in general and how i think that it's messed up, especially from the black metal perspective. consider the senseless murders, church burnings, racism, suicides, and general misanthropic qualities that are contained in black metal and i think it's clear why i don't think these people have anything valid to offer in the realm of politics or social philosophy. it's odd though because to some extent i believe in certain kinds of nationalism ("kashmir for the kashmiris" etc.) but it sort of falls apart when you talk about the west/america. he started talking about spangler and his philosophies/theories of why societies fall apart (they lose their core values and thus their own sense of their culture), but i don't understand america to have a solid culture. maybe there is and i just don't see it because i don't belong to it. all the same...you can go to korea and see there is a korean-ness to the place or england and see the english-ness. of course that's too simple and there is a broad spectrum across any society. what it comes down to is that i prefer the mixing of culture instead of the preservation of it. if culture was all it's cracked up to be then we should all be living it up in utopia by now...but the fact is that people needlessly cause each other grief because of their culture and own self-inflated sense of superiority. and that's what i think about the current state of black metal.

we left the park and i saw kai's friend again at 6:30 in the morning on the street. kai was out drinking with some guy she said. her friend spoke very little english and i only remember a little japanese, but we pinched each other's cheeks and parted ways. i fell asleep on the subway, woke up and looked out of the train and saw it was my stop. i ran through the doors as they were closing. i went to krispy kreme and had two donuts and a milk. caught the bus home and then again i fell asleep only to wake up at the right moment yet again. so here i am, i slept from 8:30-3:30 and i don't know what to do...i will take sleeping pills tonight. sleeping pills are the only answer, ever. below is a picture of me and kai's 4 japanese friends. see if you can figure out which one i liked. i'm sure it will be difficult.




Wednesday, September 2, 2009

i got a package

i got a package today from home. it contained:

2 boxes of tazo zen green tea
1 box of tazo china green tips tea
1 bag of fun size butterfingers
1 bag of peanut butter m&m's
1 bag of reese's peanut butter cups
3 .005 micron pens, black
4 boxes of kraft macaroni and cheese

so a box of contraband items...i can't find any of this stuff over here...it's disappointing...but i'm excited i got it! i'm eating mac and cheese tonight...maybe hot dogs?

Saturday, August 29, 2009

holy s***

so ok...the date didn't happen. she called in sick...i feel like i got blown off. i saw her last night though and she was very apologetic etc., bought me a drink, said she would call me and we would go out...but i don't know, maybe she was sick...i am usually skeptical of convenient ailments though. however, one of the other bartenders (whom i also have a crush on) told me that she was jealous of the one girl...and so now that makes some more confusion...and then a girl at the bar came up to and struck up a conversation and asked for my number and asked me on a date...how is it that after 6 months that all the sudden this is happening? i still shower the same number of times per day (1...maybe 2) and i haven't done anything noteworthy to my appearance...either way, it's confusing as hell. why can't girls just go back to not liking me?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

i shaved my head and tried to be a monk

so as last updated, i have a crush on a bartender and she likes me too. well, we are going on a date. hooray, i'm coming out of retirement. in korea, bartenders are allowed to drink on the job. go figure. but we did some shots and i tried out my korean.
me:namjachingu isseuyo? (do you have a boyfriend?)
her: ubseuyo (no).
me: namjachingu wanani? (do you want a boyfriend?)
so i asked her on a date and she said yes and gave me her number. i'm surprised that it was so easy...too easy...either way, i have no idea what we'll do or what we'll talk about. my korean is so limited and her english is as well. she told one of my friends that she's worried that she's too old (she's 29, 30 in korean age). then we danced (well, she danced and i kind of shuffled my feet because i can't dance). when i was leaving she walked down the stairs to say goodbye and i slipped on the stairs. it was embarrassing. i wasn't looking at the stairs because i was looking at her while walking. oh well, i'm trying to figure out what to do on a date. any suggestions?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

no internet...again!


so a lot has happened recently and i haven't been able to really get on the internet because my new place doesn't have internet.

1. vacation- i went to jeju island for my vacation. jeju is often romanticized in korea. it's the honeymoon island. well, i figured out why: it's a great place to go if you want to stay in your hotel room for a week. that's not to say it wasn't pretty, but it is certainly boring. the first two days i had friends from seoul in town. they left. i was alone for a few days and then kakki and chad came and i spent the rest of my time with them. i saw lots of waterfalls and ate a lot of ramen. i went to some mountains. it was hot as the devil as well. one morning after i took a shower, my shirt was soaked with sweat after a 30 minute walk. i met some people from oregon who actually live in the next city over from me. we went to nore bang and the guy got a little destructive when he got drunk. it made it an uncomfortable experience. all i could think about was "this guy is going to break a t.v. and i'm going to have to pay for it." they were both nice otherwise though.

2. guitar pickup- i went to seoul yesterday to buy a guitar pickup for my classical guitar. i guess i never really thought about it, but classical guitars have smaller soundholes than steel string guitars; they're just smaller in general. so my pickup didn't fit. realizing that it wasn't worth the trouble to go back to seoul because of a cheap pickup, i decided to modify my guitar...i did this by using a butterknife to saw out two little squares in the soundhole. i'll post pictures, i'm proud of my butterknife skills...long story short, i put the pickup in and it doesn't work. i'm pretty sure the cable i was using was fine, but the pickup made not a noise. so i seriously hurt my guitar to install a non-working pickup. fml (for those of you less web savvy, that stands for "f*ck my life." all the kids are using it these days).

3. padraig's gone- my best friend in korea left. padraig was rather unhappy with various things about our school and other various things so when the opportunity to receive a scholarship for his phd back in the u.k. presented itself, he did the right thing. i got a call from him on wednesday during vacation and he was at the airport. he had kept it a secret, which i can understand. all the same, now i do things alone a lot more often. the school is very mad. they're filing charges which can't really do anything. he won't be able to work in korea again most likely, but he'll have a doctorate and so i can't imagine why he'd move back to a place that made him so unhappy. they're telling the parents that his father is sick and he has to go home for a while. in a few weeks, they're going to say his father died and so he's not coming back. that way they don't look bad. pretty sick, huh?

4. new place- one of my coworkers had a place that was about a 20 minute walk from school and i have a scooter, so he just said he wanted to move to the school and i said i'd consider trading with him. the boss heard this and immediately said "oh, so you're trading with michael?" and i said "well, we haven't talked about it." the next day, this same conversation took place again. he then told michael to go ahead and pack his things and did not tell me this. i packed up everything in my room on a day's notice. talk about being filled with hate. well, i moved in a day before vacation. i love it in my new place. padraig left during vacation. 3 days into the next week i was told that i would have to move back into the school. i had not lived in the apartment for even a week. i told him i'd really not like that. it would be the 4th time i've changed locations in the last 5 1/2 months. this has made me really pissed off. the location of the school is not great. there is no privacy. you cannot have guests. there are cctv cameras in the hall and we've been told before "oh, you came in late last night." if i live at the school i have to do pickups, which means that every couple weeks i have to go to work an hour early for no money. the bosses work sometimes till 10 at night and want to chat it up if they see you. the bills are insanely expensive, our electric bills basically pay the electricity for the whole school. so i've decided that i will move back to the school under a few conditions: the ad for the school said the job paid 100,000w more a month than the actual contract i signed in korea. i would ask for backpay and a raise of another 100,000 on top of that. i would also ignore any pesky rules about having guests. if they do not want to do this and still force me to move back into the school, i will give them my notice because i could easily find another job in korea...and since they just lost a teacher, they cannot afford to lose another, it would sink them. if they don't want to give me a release, i'll just tell them that i'll report them to the labor board if they don't. they have engaged in various illegal activities such as not providing us with health insurance until after 5 months, still not giving us pension, and breaking all sorts of general labor laws associated with how many hours we have to work a day. of course, they could just let me stay and everything would be fine.

5. darts- i play darts now. i bought my own set. everyone here loves to play darts at the bar. there are people who can pretty much get bull's eyes every time. it's amazing.

6. the ladies- it turns out that the waitress i have a crush on at the bar also has a crush on me. this was related to me by my korean friends last night. she's 29 and doesn't speak english very well, which is her concern. i can't say i don't understand. not speaking the same language is sort of a big deal when you want to know someone. she came to our table and put her arm around me. she said in english that i was "her man," which is funny on many different levels. she then explained to my korean friends that she likes me but is afraid because she can't speak english. oh well.

7. books- i finished "hocus pocus" and "bluebeard" by vonnegut. bluebeard was maybe better. hocus pocus was maybe my least favorite vonnegut book so far. i went to the book store to find something more heavy to read. i got "critique on pure reason" by kant. i've trudged through the massive introduction and i understand about 30% of it. i consider this a huge accomplishment, the 30% that is. i think i'm going to start on pynchon's "vineland" again. i started it a while ago and then moved to something else. my friend kakki also has "the crying of lot 49" which i might borrow.

that is all. i've been here for nearly 6 months. i think my big plan is to come back and study for my master's degree. i met a guy who did that. with a 2.7 gpa, he got a 75% scholarship on tuition and a 50% scholarship for the dorms. why? because korean universities love white people going to their schools...or foreigners in general, it's just that most of those foreigners are white folks like myself. so that puts me here for 2 more years. hopefully i will speak a lot of korean when i come back for good. it would be a shame not to.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

counting out time...

i have to get off of this island. i just want to go to my apartment and cook dinner and see my friends. i want to go to the crazy duck and have the waitress fawn over me. i want a rotibun. maybe there's a movie playing. i don't know, anything is better than this.

jeju is a really beautiful place, but there isn't anything to do. it's ridiculously boring. in the town i'm staying in, there are no people in the streets. it's really odd. it feels oddly deserted. there's nothing to eat except sashimi and pork (which, i've discovered i hate pork, except when it comes in breakfast form). it takes like an hour to see a waterfall. you get there, you look at the waterfall and think about how similar it looks to the last waterfall you saw an hour ago. i think it would be fun if i had people with me, but i'm alone on a honeymoon getaway because all my friends had their holidays already.

my best friend in korea ditched out yesterday in a "midnight run." this is where you don't tell anyone you're leaving and you just go home to get out of teaching at your horrible school without honoring the full contract. he called me yesterday around lunch asking me to give his contact info out. he said he had received funding for a phd back in scotland so he had to go back. i had to call our boss and tell him what had happened. he was very angry...but the truth of it is that we are treated like garbage by our school. i hate it very much. i'm currently job searching myself. i think my letter of release will be easy to come by. i'm going to tell them that if they don't sign it then i'll turn them into the labor board for all of their shady dealings. we'll see. oh well, enough of this, going to the beach i guess...

Monday, August 3, 2009

NIRVANA (UK)

nirvana (uk) people! listen to it. love it. live it. seriously, my favorite new band.

Friday, July 31, 2009

jeju, day 1 (and a little of 2)

well, i got into jeju last night and got on the bus going to my place, not knowing if i'd have a place to stay or not. after i found the hotel i talked to the guy and he gave me a room. it's the size of a cardboard box, maybe, but this trip has only cost me 288$ for the flight and for a week's lodging. so i'm pretty happy with it. i went out around 11 to find out what was going on in town. the answer was surprising: NOTHING. i'm not in a really hopping part of town and need to figure out where to go.

i went to the roof this morning to read some and a british guy and his sister started talking to me and then we were joined by their parents. they were friendly and gave me a beer at 10:30 in the morning. me and the guy got along and so we made our way out and tried to find some sunglasses for him and went to the batting cages. again, batting cages are everywhere.

i called my friend padraig to ask him something and he told me he had bad news. apparently, one of the students at school died yesterday. his name was james and he was 5 years old. he was being watched by his cousin and he fell off of a balcony. it's really sad...sorry to be depressing. here is a picture to cheer you up. irene! my favorite!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

a clock that sings...

today, i went to seoul to see all those experimental music crazies bang out some noise. it was fun as usual. i will post the video soon, but i saw a pretty amazing performance from a guy who used bowls to make music. they were "singing" bowls, if you've ever heard of those. they're just bowls that resonate tones very well and sound almost like tubular bells. before that though, i had a really phenomenal experience: a chicken quesadilla.

let's just say that it's the second time i've had mexican food in 5 months...and the first time doesn't really count because it was horrible mexican food...like "i will spew you forth from my mouth" mexican food. but this, this was a legitimate quesadilla and it had nacho chips with salsa on the side. i normally don't clean my plate, but i threw caution to the wind and didn't care if i was being an american stereotype. i'm very conscious of being an american and so there are things i do and don't do over here to hopefully reflect well upon myself/my country:
1)i attempt to use korean as much as possible, even if they speak english.
2)i do not go to mcdonald's
3)i hold open doors for people and offer my seat on buses/trains to elderly folk (this is just a holdover from georgia i think, most of the times people are surprised because this is not something that's done here) it's almost like they can't conceive of a stranger being polite. more often than not, if you're a stranger, you might as well be dead to everyone you don't know. strangers do not talk and people do not mingle. it makes the social aspect of this country perplexing. it's also ironic that one of the main t-shirt slogans pushed by polham (clothing company that EVERYONE wears) is "world without strangers."
so i guess you could say that i am ultimately the greatest person to ever live and that i am worthy of your praise and respect......just checking if you were still reading. if you've gotten this far, i will tell you now that i'm none of those things.

recently, i've had a fascination with darts. electronic dart boards are at every bar in korea. you can see how high you can get your accuracy and what not. there are some really amazing players. i saw a woman last night who can hit anything on the board as many times as she wants. she was playing someone who wasn't as good as her and she would begin each turn by missing a shot, etc. people buy their own darts. i need to buy my own darts. the game of cricket is pretty amazing. padraig beats me most of the time. for some reason he's really good at bar games. oh that's right, he worked at a "fecking" bar for years.

glenfidditch is only 5,000w a finger at the crazy duck. easily the best scotch i've found in korea. everything else is johnnie walker or some bizarre ones i've never even heard (which padraig, the scot, hasn't heard of either). the staff at the crazy duck (loud,obnoxious,militarily occupied bar) are really nice. i only go there once a week or so, but they remember my name and talk to me. victor shows me card tricks (i've learned how to do magic tricks with cards, so sue me), bonnie works on her english (her electronic name tag says "hi, i'm bonnie. i'm cute and sexy! do you think? haha! i love u. have fun!" and jessica holds my hands for inordinate amounts of time when greeting me before going in for the hug (which is fine, because i have a fantasy crush on her).

for some reason or other, i'm talkative tonight. i think i said last night i want to come back for a master's degree here. my school really sucks still and i'm thinking that i might need to get them to release me due to their severe breaches of contract.

in other news, the song "wings of love" by nirvana (uk) is really one of the best psych rock songs around. if you go to http://bizarre-garden.blogspot.com/ you can download a bunch of nirvana (uk) stuff. i have most of their stuff, but if you just want a best of then the third entry should be what you're looking for. if you like the zombies, the left banke, the kinks, kaleidoscope, etc. then i suggest you get it. the bizarre garden guy really has some excellent albums on his site, you just have to search around sometimes. he'll get on a kick about a band and post everything they have for a month. go check it out.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

but where it's going no one knows

nothing's happening here but i've thought about a change of plans. i was considering coming back to korea and teaching next year, but i'm considering coming back here instead on an education visa and getting my masters. it's about 1/4 of the cost compared to the states. so i might come home for a few months and come back in august for my master's in english literature. the classes are in english and all that. i'd have to stay in a dorm, which would be fine...but the only thing i'm wondering is how i would live. i could do some private lessons, but those are much harder to come by than i was hoping. i figure that if i taught 5-10 hours a week i could live a relatively normal life, making between 500,000-1,500,000w a month. i just don't want to take out a ton of student loans. the thing is that the programs over here are based not only on your academic standing but also on your interviews and gre scores and personality. so it seems like a good deal. i think that maybe i'm starting to think of this place as home. it feels like so much has changed since i left and that home will never be the same. oh well, so it goes.

i bought a t-shirt today. i like it for some reason or other. the perplexing array of t-shirts here baffles me. there will be a shirt and it will have an amazing design and some random english phrase that somehow makes sense in a way that an english person couldn't. for instance, one is a shirt with these geometrically arranged cassette tapes and the slogan is "slow life." i like this one for the fact that it's sort of an obvious yet still bizarre phrase. "when changing the way you think, there will be a...wonderful change." it's rather obvious but still evasive in a way that only a non-native speaker could be evasive. it's still odd though because koreans for the most part will never understand the irony of things like a "three wolf moon" t-shirt or even that new threadless shirt with the three cats playing piano under a full moon...i guess most americans don't get it either.....all the same. i think i like the shirts here because they are equally bizarre to anything you could find back home, but they're worn in complete sincerity. often times they have no idea what they say. i saw a guy wearing a shirt that said "fuck you!" on it and a girl wearing one that said "about our conversation earlier...i never said shit." in a way, i don't think they appreciate the innocence of their t-shirt choices in the same way i do.

Friday, July 24, 2009

pour your oil in our hair

had a flea market today at the school. parents brought in things for the kids to buy with fake money. i stole a stuffed animal for myself though. it's a hamster thing. i call him funnel cake. it's cute. the older kids were helping to run the booths, but were charging outrageous prices because they were told that they could spend whatever fake money they earned. so each kid got 15 fake dollars. i sold stuffed animals for 2-5$. the older kids were selling everything for 5$-10$ so they'd have money. it was sad because these little 5 year olds were just forking it over and not having any money for anything else. so when the older kids tried to buy something from me i'd say "for you, 60$" they'd complain and i'd say "ok, ok...80$" i gave them a lecture in the afternoon when i taught them about how i was disappointed in them for price gouging kindergarteners.

feeling a bit down today. realized i haven't really spoken to anyone in weeks. i'm starting to feel a bit isolated. all my friends here are on vacation or out on dates. my vacation is a week after everyone else's and i don't intend to ask a girl on a date anytime soon/ever. i'm having another dip in mood...but a week from today, i'll be on jeju island and i hope i'll feel better sleeping somewhere where i can see the stars (it's been a few months since i've seen them)...i'll probably sleep outside the first night because my hotel was booked that night and so i have nowhere to stay when i arrive.

i still miss people.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

i had sex with a whore and have herpes

not really...i'm just seeing if you're paying attention. things have been slow lately. i'm getting into a pretty normal routine. after work, i eat dinner and go to one of three places afterward to do some reading: holly's coffee, rotimum, or the now bar. i've been trying to change it up though. i bought some traditional groceries in order to cook at home upon occasion. this week's menu: fettucine alfredo, a rare dish in korea.

i also took a taxi to the next town over to get an iced grande no classic green tea from starbucks. this was a phenomenal experience since it has been nearly 5 months since i had last had one. by the way, if you work at starbucks, feel free to mail me china green tips or zen since they sell neither over here. i met my friend kakki. she's going home to the states for a week and is going to buy me cigarettes. i gave her a lot of money for their purchase. korean smokes just don't do it for me...maybe i should quit 3 years ago.

after that, i walked over to a bar called the crazy duck to have a quiet beer and to read "bluebeard" by vonnegut. crazy duck is never quiet, due to the kpop blasting out of the speakers, but there weren't many people there. i studied korean for a bit, read a bit, played a game of darts by myself, admired the waitress who speaks token english phrases (i speak token korean phrases), and then my friend rachel walked in on a date. she was shocked to see me because of various reasons which are personal to her and not to me, and so i won't go into it. i then came home to brush my teeth with my newly purchased electric toothbrush. did people even brush their teeth before electric toothbrushes were purchased by me in korea? i know i didn't.

work sucks. i'm advertising this saturday for a few hours because i was coerced by my boss. supposedly, i'll get paid.

doubtful.

i made a kid cry today. he cried for about 20 minutes. why? i took away a water bottle he had fashioned into an improvised watergun (achieved by poking a small hole into the cap and applying pressure to the body of the bottle...a trick they picked up from me, as i squirt them when they are behaving badly). i told him to "man up." fat tony (his secret nickname) has been giving me trouble for some time.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

women of the world...

here's some videos i spliced together. there are some random subway shots, a little bit of bongeunsa temple, a little bit of dongdaemun, etc. this is the second time i've done anything with imovie. i liked playing with it, but it certainly made me long for my imac...

a smattering of korea from Josh Nelson on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

boys becoming men, men becoming wolves

let's see...on friday, i went to a trampoline park with the kids. they told me to get on the trampolines. it was fun...oh, except for almost breaking my tail bone. turns out that the trampolines were only about 2 ft. off the floor, so when i jumped up really high and landed on my bum to bounce the kids, i almost blacked out in pain. wtf is up with me sustaining physical injuries in korea? i landed squarely on the ol' ass bone and crawled away...i thought about seeing a dr., but they can't give you an ass cast...they can only charge you money to say "take advil." so it's still hurting, but is a bit better.

i went to the casino in seoul today. i didn't lose any money! i actually made 33,000w...which is not a lot. i went with 100,000w and at my high point had 200,000. i should have quit there...it was texas hold'em and it was fun. casinos are bizarre and wonderful places. you're telling me that there's a place where they will give you free booze, you can smoke free cigarettes inside, you can play a game you like, and make money? i'm there. when i cashed out they gave me two of the new 50,000w notes that were just introduced a week or two ago. i feel rich having them. it's like walking around with 50$ bills...no one will accept these, i don't want to spend them.

i am also happy to say that i will get to see harry potter a good day before everyone else. i'm going to see it at the imax 3d at some point too. it's harry potter week! i've also watched almost two seasons of 30 rock in the past week. oh, tina fey...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

random pictures

photo 1: this is actually a tag i found in hongdae. i liked it.
photo 2: claustrophobia. myeong dong was packed. i felt like i couldn't move most of the time. i found myself making for less crowded pockets, you know, like in diffusion.
photo 3: a bunch of disgusting looking ginseng roots. in the jars, they look like animals or organs or something else that is dead.
photo 4: two of my co-workers, kai and nara, keeping me "out on the booze" on a school night.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

"i'm the guy who sucks, plus i got depression" -roast beef

photo 1: a park in hongdae where the fringe elements of seoul gather
photo 2: that same park in hongdae around 5am
photo 3: a bird on a lamp post as the sun was coming up.
photo 4: some graffiti in hongdae. i particularly like "art is over." i can only assume that because of the font and arrangement that it is a homage to "war is over."
photo 5: a young man after a long night of dancing and fornicating. this photo reminds me of the minor threat album cover. i think this photo somehow encapsulates the youth culture in seoul.
photo 6: a young lady standing in the window of the apple store in myeong-dong showing off some ipods. (this is actually a photo taken by my friend jon, i was too embarrassed to snap a decent one myself).

i'll try to post another entry about my journeys in seoul. i went to namdaemun market around 3pm to look for trinkets from home...but found nothing. i purchased the following items: a sketch book, 3 microns, a cannister of oatmeal for briana, a tripod for my cameras, and one of those apple world travel kits so i can plug my computer into a normal outlet over here. i thought there was an apple store in seoul, but it turns out it's just a reseller. it was odd because the layout of the store and everything were exactly the same, but it's called "frisbee." since i guess they were all refurbs, all the computers and the products in general were significantly cheaper than back home.

the big plan of the evening was to pull an all nighter in hongdae. hongdae is a university area and the people who go there are generally of an alternative ilk. it was fun, but exhausting. it was me, rachel, briana, colleen, and two new teachers that just joined their school. they had intended to go "clubbing" but as it is, they wore open toed shoes and so they were not granted permission to enter. so we went to a bar and sat for a while and then went to a nore bang where i performed a rendition of "bohemian rhapsody" which i'm sure rivals the original. there is video, but i might have lied a bit about how well i sang...i did that one, "goodbye yellow brick road" by elton john, and a duet of "under pressure" with rachel. we then went back to the park and waited for the subways to open up again. i didn't get home until after 7am. i was exhausted. if i come again for another year though, i'll be sure to be in seoul. i can't stand having to travel for 30 minutes by bus just to get to the subway. oh well. it was fun.

today i slept till about 1 and then met up with a girl from craigslist to buy some books. i got some haruhi suzimiya books from japan, that i'll be sending home to the boys, and some korean language study material (you can never have enough). i drank some tea, read a bunch of brothers karamazov, studied korean, and rode around on the scooter. it was a pretty lazy day and now it's over and school is happening again tomorrow. i can't wait for my vacation. i'm going to jeju, an island off the southern tip of the peninsula. it really looks amazing. i don't know what i'm going to do there, probably a lot of sleeping/reading. until then...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

korean exercise

fig.1- parallel bars in the park.
fig.2-rope climbing/pole dancing in the park.
fig.3-chest-high wheels in the park. i have not yet established what these are supposed to do.
fig.4-leg press with no resistance in the park.
fig.5- ergonomic walking machines in the park, similar to what that buff enthusiastic guy with the ponytail used to sell on television.

i've decided to chronicle the mystery that is korean public exercise machines. these machines are in every park. there is even a nearby mountain that has them at the top of the trail, just in case you wanted to work on your lats after your hike. it should be noted, if not obvious, that these machines are relatively useless in terms of providing any real benefit. there is no resistance except that of your own body. so some of these machines can be as strenuous as "standing up" or "walking normally." the only people i've seen use them are: 1)little kids for fun 2)old people and 3)young people on dates, which can be cute.

i wish i could tell you that i've seen a lot of new things or something, and i probably have, but now it's commonplace and this is just the place i live now and you don't take pictures of the place you live too much. i bought a scooter in order to move about the town a little more. it's only 50cc but it can really fly. it maxes at 40mph, but it can go a little faster than that, though even approaching 30mph makes me feel like i'm endangering my life. i've told a few people i think, but south korea has the highest auto-fatatalies per capita in the world. this is because everyone drives like the devil is chasing them. i've started noting references about "korean brakes" which is what foreigners call the horn. i've heard many a horror story about people driving scooters, since they are on the bottom of the food chain. so i bought a helmet. good for me then.

i brought a two volume edition of the brothers karamazov with me. i finished the first volume today and am about 40 pages into the second. needless to say, i didn't accomplish much other than reading today...there are some pretty profound and intense things said by father zossima in his final moments. it's a wonderful book so far, but i can never establish how i feel about the characters. one moment i love alyosha and then next i lose faith in him. i hate characters one moment and then realize that i must hate myself also. it's an exhausting book but it's very edifying as well and if i'm not a better person by the end of the book, it's my fault and not dostoevsky's.

i was going to come home for a week in august, but sadly the tickets went up by about 400$ in the past few days. so 1,500$ isn't really worth a 7 day trip to atlanta i'm afraid. i've thought of coming home christmas, but that will still be very expensive considering that i'll be home in 2 or 3 months anyway. i might just hold onto that money in order to travel for a while before coming home. i want to see thailand, japan, the philippines, and china. this vacation though i'm just going to try going to jeju island since it's relatively cheap and it also happens to look like heaven on earth. google some pictures, you'll see. ok, bed time.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

why teaching koreans profanity is a mistake

me, padraig, and briana met up w/some koreans we met last week. we had dinner and as the conversation rolled on they asked us if we knew korean slang. we didn't know what he meant, but he meant profanity. so he taught us some choice phrases, one of which was "you are so f***ing beatufiul". this phrase is supposedly one of the more offensive things you can say to someone who is not a very close friend...like offensive to the point of tears. i don't quite understand, because at the very worst in the states it would still be taken as a compliment, if not a coarse compliment. they seemed to already know our curse words and so in order to teach them something new and interesting, we taught them (forgive me) "cum dumpster."

once they understood what it meant and that it was maybe one of the most offensive things you could say to a woman, they started using it a lot.

we went to a bar later on. some korean girls were hanging out with us and we were teaching them how to play pool and darts. one girl was a bit of a handful, but the other was perfectly sweet and agreeable. both girls were being flirty and stuff. it's not as though they spoke any english...but it was just nice to hang around girls again and i know that i am impervious to flirtation at this point in my life and to feel sort of...special? (maybe not the right word). we hung out with them for 5 or 6 hours and around the time the sun was coming up, we were finishing up a game of darts with them. we were playing teams and someone scored a bull's eye and so someone jokingly referred to someone else as a "cum dumpster" and it was exchanged back and forth a few times in jest (but only between the males). our korean friend decided it was a good idea to share the meaning of this phrase to the perfectly sweet and agreeable girl. she stormed off and sat in the booth. she cried and then tried to feign sleep. it was obvious that she thought that we had called her a cum dumpster. she had been flirtatious all night and then a word is explained to her that signifies a loose woman. i told him to tell her that it was not the case. he said that she knew or something along those lines...and still she had obviously been deeply offended. so i've not felt this bad in a very long time...and i didn't do anything as far as a know. the worst part of it is, she had told him (i'm guessing before the incident) that this was the best night of her life. so this evening makes me feel dirty and sick of myself. i can only hope that i see her again w/a different korean who can explain what happened and that i thought she was really nice and that i'm sorry...but now it's 6am and i should go to bed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

in silver piles of smiles

so, i have put up pictures! this is a picture of some of the kids hanging out on a giant wooden frog. it had rusty nails sticking out of it. that's korea for you! the picture below is a crazy upside down house. it was an incredibly disorienting experience and i felt like i was going to fall up the whole time.



then below we have a picture of padraig and briana w/some korean dudes we met in the park on friday night. we were having some beers in the park and b. and p. had to get more from the convenience store. so there were some 40 westerners at the park and these 4 koreans off to the side. so while they were gone i went and started talking to them. they were really nice. they had a guitar and played some songs, accompanied by their soulful/drunken croons. it was pretty smooth. one of the guys wants to make music. he told me he was making a "digital single" and that "it's going to be all about sex and will be r&b." i got their numbers at the end of the night when one of them said that it didn't matter if we could communicate or not, we just need to get together and have fun and drink. that seems to be the mindset.
the picture below is of the door to the restrooms in our school. "happy toilet! have a nice time with our special love." i have no idea what that's supposed to mean, but i do know that i didn't notice it for a few months.


and lastly, here is a photo of me looking real classy with a mustache. for the record, everyone here liked it more. koreans hate my facial hair, that combined w/everything else about me is the reason why i will never have a girlfriend here. but i shaved the mustache and had nothing but stubble for a day or two...but in two days or so, i'll have a beard again regardless of what any korean girl says.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

i am sick. and still i am at work. i tried to ask off. i said "i would like to take the day off" and he said "you can take the day off" and then proceeded to tell me all of the reasons why i couldn't actually take the day off. one of the reasons was because they didn't have any lessons planned for me, which when do they ever? i feel like crap and can barely speak. it hurts to eat, so i haven't. i just want to go to sleep.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

oh discordia

i finished "shalimar the clown" tonight...at the bar...by myself. oh, it's saturday night. you see, i'm terribly popular and i meet people really easily...=(

i learned the alphabet yesterday. it's really fun. it's kind of stressful though because now i try to read everything even if i don't understand it. when english words are spelled with korean characters, it's called konglish...there's a place near where i live that i now know the name of. i read it and it's called "psycho tea." it makes me want to go there now. so i'm glad i got it out of the way and can progress in learning what little of the language i can retain.

another concert in seoul tomorrow, maybe more videos. i have pictures to put up as well, but not tonight i'm afraid.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

absent friends

so i'm going to try to post more. i am having the blogger's existential crisis of "it's not like anyone reads this anymore" etc. but i'm waiting for a new media player to download so i can watch some anime w/a funky file format. who posts videos in .mkv files?

my friend adam quit his school the other day. it was a story i myself was familiar with...that story being: korean boss pays you and feels that treating you like s*** is acceptable. so he quit. he's staying around for a while though, at least long enough to see some world cup qualifiers in june and then i suppose he's off to japan for a bit before he goes home. this is the thing i've been talking about, people come and go and so you feel like stability isn't possible. so we went and had bibimbab tonight and then went to the batting cages. there are batting cages everywhere in korea and i found out i'm quite good. i could be better of course, but i almost never miss the ball. tell hoot fisher that i don't know about 100mph, but i can get 80mph 9 out of 10 balls and so the batting cage challenge is still on when i get back.

i would post pictures, but i haven't taken any in a while. i think i'm becoming desensitized to the place and am forgetting that i will want to look at these pictures one day. i think "oh, that's a nice _____, but they have nice _____ everywhere." so i'm trying to live like a normal person and make this my home and no one takes pictures of their home all the time. i'm going to record some this weekend and soon i'll have finished my first korea e.p. entitled "what hath god overwrought?" it will hopefully include a lot of the random instruments i've picked up here: ocarina, melodica, alto recorder, and various percussive things. maybe if i set a deadline then it will get done in a more timely fashion...oh well, off to bed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

death by pop

so i thought i would post some of the music that i am constantly immersed in. i think that korea has about 4 or 5 songs at any given time. these songs are played so much EVERYWHERE that even those of us who can't speak korean can sing along. people blast these songs out of their cars and store fronts. on any given day, i could hear all of these songs 2 or 3 times. i don't mind it though. i love them for some reason. so i've decided to share some of these songs with you.


this song is definitely my favorite korean song. i put the video w/the subs on because the lyrics are adorable. be careful, it is infectious. the second song i find really annoying, but it too is catchy and gets stuck in my head a lot. the third song is really popular right now. the fourth song is everywhere i go i feel like...i can't avoid the lollipop song...and the last one is an advert for a cell phone. i only ever saw this video before movies and i LOVE the song...i think i probably went to a movie just to see this song. when it would come on and i was with friends, i would sing along in the theater.








Sunday, May 24, 2009

maigo wa sora ni migoto na kinoko no kumo

i went to insadong this weekend and bought a midi keyboard. i suppose i'll use it eventually to make horrible synth music. i got lost for a while, but i ultimately found my way to one of the few music stores in the country. it was easily the best music store i've ever been to. rows and rows of shops. window after window of fun things. i almost bought a ukelele instead, but i figured the keyboard would be more useful.

i often go through periods when i am "in a mood." right now, i would say i am in one of those periods. i spent a few hours today reading "shalimar the clown," which is a book about kashmir and the clashing of culture that occurs there in relation to the west (of course it was written by salman rushdie)...i don't know what the book said, but whatever it was has been with me all day. i think with "satanic verses" there is definitely a clear mantra ("what kind of idea are you?") and it's a question that demands answering (along w/the follow up question: "what do you do when you win?") "shalimar the clown" doesn't have anything like that, but it has left me with a sense of futility. the thing i keep hearing in it is: "what is the point of wanting anything?" i don't know for sure what my answer is, and maybe it's because i'm a bit down right now, but my answer goes something like this: desire/want was created in order to humiliate us in the purest sense of the word. well...maybe it still holds both meanings...like the man in the chariot whispering in your ear "you are but a man," desire serves the same purpose...and yes, i think it also serves to embarrass...so while that is a short answer on what i think wanting/desire does, i think that the "point" of it is that it's pointless...unless you categorize your life into a series of successes and failures, which seems pretty depressing in and of itself when the numbers are added up. i don't want to want anything anymore. i just don't want to be disappointed anymore.

somehow though, a few pages of a book influenced my mood wildly hours after i had put it away. this is how crazy people think. it's so frustrating because i keep deleting things and i keep trying to sound coherent and explain what i mean because it makes sense in my head, but not in blog form. how do you explain that the thought of "mantras" occurred to you this afternoon as you were walking home from homeplus in suwon, korea and a phrase kept repeating in your head that you hadn't read anywhere...that it was just a sentiment snatched out of the air...and the phrase makes you want to turn off? i am waiting for the sound of rollerblades behind me. i want the last year of my life to have been a dream.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

the magic of a kind word

it feels like my job just got much better. they fired the woman i was having so many problems with. it's an incredible relief. they said that they finally realized that she was the cause of all of the drama occurring at work. so to celebrate we all went out to get barbecue (which is korean for "cook your food over some coals" and not what we think of as bbq). korean barbecue is an especially long meal when in a large group of people...especially when alcohol is involved and there was plenty of that. it seems that our bosses thought that wednesday night was the perfect night to have a celebration involving soju.

i snuck out around 9 or so. in korea, everyone leaves at once and it is frowned upon to leave early (or to decline the request to attend a pseudo mandatory work dinner). i met up w/briana and a guy we had a met a few weeks ago and had a beer or two. at some point or another, i guess it was around 10:30, they decided i needed to either a)go get whore or b)at least go look at the whores with them. i can't quite explain how it got there...the guy we met told us about this street that's just lined w/sliding glass doors w/"the most beautiful women" etc. well, briana took my cell phone and said she'd give it back once we were in a cab on the way to whore street and that i would be home in bed by midnight. i stole my phone back and called rachel...
me: rachel, please call briana and tell her i don't want a whore
rachel:what?
me: briana wants me to get a whore
rachel:it's a new country with new experiences
me:but i don't want a whore!
rachel: oh like you've never had a prostitute before
this last sentence was said w/complete sincerity. we went to whore street and there were whores alright. i'm not going to say that none of them were good looking, but they were not the pearls of the orient or anything. somehow this led to us having another beer and me getting home much later than midnight. when i got to work, i noticed the light on in the school and my boss and 3 other coworkers were drinking water and having a bonding time talking about the lady they just fired. she even apologized to me about everything which was nice. vindication,etc. so i'm running on fumes today. good luck, me.

UPDATE: I AM IN THE DOWNSTAIRS GYM WITH ABOUT 30 KIDS UNDER THE AGE OF 6 WATCHING THE MOVIE "THE MYST!!!!!!" I DON'T THINK THE DIRECTORS HAVE SEEN IT BEFORE OR THEY WOULD KNOW THAT THESE KIDS WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO SLEEP FOR MONTHS AFTER SEEING IT. SUPER VIOLENT!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

a brief apology and then a story

so one of the many reasons i came to korea was to work on writing a book. i fished this out and decided that i would begin to work on it again this week. if you've not read it yet, feel free to criticize it. if you have, then you can ignore what follows. the story is rough at best as plot points have been boiling over in my head for the past few months...but i think i have enough of it to sit down and write it all. i certainly need to re-read genesis and i've recently gone through "paradise lost" again...but i am one of those people who can rework something infinitely and never be satisfied...so anything you read here will almost certainly change.

to those of you who will be offended by what i've written, don't be. understand that i am simply attempting to give a pseudo-humorous retelling of adam and eve, which i find to be one of the more fascinating stories ever told...and i am invested in it. i am also writing a letter. most likely, this letter is not addressed to you. the dialogue is stilted and is attempting to be in the style of something along the lines of a morality play or a medieval drama (which are distinguished by their lack of subtlety).

the point of the story (the whole book i'm writing) is very vonnegutian in nature. it is something like this: everything is so fucked up. i believe i read vonnegut say that in an essay from "palm sunday" recently. did adam and eve simply walk out of the garden and forget or did they regret it for the rest of their lives and think about it every waking moment? the story of adam and eve is about the greatest loss ever sustained, at least, i think it is. the bible talks about the alienation from God which follows sin, but it does not really address the alienation that adam and eve must have certainly felt from one another. i imagine that it was trying on their marriage. so the song is in the key of regret and the profound helplessness that goes along with it. so as for my story, i will not say that i have written it well and i certainly think it is a bit of garbage right now, but that's why i will rewrite it again and again...so forgive the errors as well. -j.

chapter 1

In the beginning, there was void and the void became voice and it said, “let there be light.” The LORD cast forth cosmic spittle with these words and thus all creation began. It wasn’t quite so haphazard as all of that though. He had in fact set aside a grand natural amusement park on a tiny far-flung ball of dirt, which he ultimately knew would be more trouble than it was worth. In this magical garden, he placed all sorts of ridiculous looking and impractical creatures. This was his sixth time doing this sort of thing which is a very conservative amount of universes to make considering how long he had been alive: always. His other experiments had all gone terribly awry and quite honestly, he had grown weary in his attempts.
This time though, God said to Himself “Let’s make a creature in our own image.” And so God made Adam. Adam was a fleshy pink thing with neatly cropped hair and sideburns that would not become popular for millions upon millions of years.
“Hello, Adam.” God said.
The pink man looked around and then back at God and asked,
“Who?”
“You,” God said, “Your name is Adam. I created you.”
“So what does that mean?” the ruddy man asked.
“That you are created, that you are you.” God said.
“But what does that mean? What does it mean, that I am me?”
Adam asked with no idea that this very simple question would plague his kind for their entire existence. And even though God had clearly answered his question already, He and Adam engaged each other in a conversation about existentialism that lasted many days and nights. On the fourth day of the talk, Adam briefly became an atheist, but he ultimately resolved to continue believing in his new friend. In the end though, God changed the topic of conversation, finding this strain of thought to be entirely unhelpful.
“You hungry?” God asked as he tossed a banana to Adam. “Open it from the bottom; it’s easier that way. That’s how I taught the monkeys to do it and they’ve had very few problems with it.”
Adam had indeed noted the monkey and though there were many variations, he knew them by their rowdiness. A grimace passed along his face as he thought of the loud, malodorous, and often times condescending monkeys. He felt that he could eventually adjust to the monkeys and their shit-throwing shenanigans, but they certainly did not give off a good first impression. He did as he was told and ate the banana. He found it to be very delicious.
________________
God had given Adam a tour around the garden Eden and had showed him the various animals. However, God did not tell Adam what the names of the animals were.
“No, no…I’ve already had my fun,” said God benevolently. “Go ahead, you can name them. What about that funny looking fellow over there?” God pointed to a large orange feline with a white belly and black strips pouring from the top of its back. God had always thought of this animals as a “tiger,” but He felt that He would give Adam the joy of naming since God had already gotten to do so much. “Let him be me for a day,” the LORD thought.
“I can name him anything I want?” Adam asked boyishly.
“Of course, son!” God said, obviously enjoying this exchange.
“Then I name the orange one...a MAMOOT!”
Adam was joyful at naming something and danced over to the mamoot to pet him and feed him bananas. God furrowed his brow and felt inwardly disappointed. He felt guilty for feeling disappointed. For had He not told the boy he could name the animals whatever he liked? “But ‘mamoot?’ Where did he get such a non-word? ‘Tiger’ simply sounds better,” God thought.
“Mamoot, would you like another banana? Mamoot, are you listening to me?”
The mamoot rolled onto his back, yawning and stretching his frame across the perfect green lawn in disinterest. He was having none of it, but Adam was in no danger, for the LORD had created all of the animals as tame and as vegetarian as house rabbits.
“Mamoot, shall I rub your belly?” The mamoot allowed for this and found it quite wonderful. He had not yet had the pleasure of a good belly rub and it seemed that belly rubbing activated a motor within him which caused him to let out low, tremulous, rolling sounds. The mamoot and Adam were friends from that day on.
“Do you like the name I made, father?” Adam was too joyful. He was giddy and God found that He could not break the news to him: that this animal was obviously a tiger.
“Oh, I mean…it’s a fine name, Adam…but you know, you don’t have to decide on a name right now. You could maybe think of other names…like tig-“
“Mamoot! Mamoot! Mamoot!” Adam proclaimed, laughing and jumping through the air. God relented, smiling on the pink thing He had made and had enjoyed naming Himself.
“Excellent” God consented, “ We shall call these ‘Mamoots.’”
Many millions of years later, the word “mamoot” would be forgotten along with Adam and eventually the word “tiger” seeped into the collective conscious…somehow.
“This way, Adam. There’s a lot more to show you” God said.
“Alright” said Adam as he waved goodbye to the mamoot. The mamoot was unresponsive.
God led Adam through the garden, pausing occasionally so that Adam could name animals as he went. After an hour, the names Hernü, Flackimaw, Búnta, and Scruffipøm had been given. It took many days and many more animal names until they arrived at their destination. There was a large clearing and in the center of that clearing stood a tree. The tree was not special by any account other than it was the only tree in the garden that produced quinces. God assured Adam later that these were not all that spectacular.
“This tree,” God said, “just don’t eat anything from this tree. Stay away from it in general if that will help you not eat from it. If you like this place, stay away from this tree.”
Adam stared thoughtfully at the quince tree.
“Is it poisonous?” he asked.
“No.”
“Is it-“ God not wanting to go down this path again told him that He would explain it soon, but it was just important to remember what He had said. Adam nodded acceptingly, thankful for all he had received apart from the quinces, especially for the mamoot…not so much though for the monkeys.
______________
Adam was left to his own devices for a while. He continued naming animals and eating bananas. Slowly, he learned that bananas were not all there was and soon he had a taste for grapes and oranges as well. The boy had also discovered nuts and blackberries but God had not yet revealed the mysteries of the salad to him. As it turns out, Adam would never enjoy lettuce, onions, or tomatoes all that much.
One day as Adam was walking about the garden he saw two creatures. Adam called them “Artillos” while God thought of them simply as “Bears.” They seemed to be awkwardly positioned, one of them on all fours with the other one mounting it. They seemed to engage in a repetitive motion that ended fairly quickly. The one who mounted the other laid down and went quickly to sleep. The one who had been mounted did not seem to appreciate this and pawed at the other as he groaned and rolled over.
“What an odd event…what a strange way to play…” Adam was not sure, but he had a hint of what had just happened. When he was first born, he didn’t notice this behavior, but soon he saw the animals fucking all over the place. They seemed to enjoy it, or at least the males did. It caused Adam to become forlorn and wistful. He too wanted to put his penis into another creature, though it seemed there were no others of his kind. The LORD sensed something amiss and approached Adam.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“Nothing…” said a clearly glum Adam with a vacant expression.
“No, no. Come on, you can tell me.”
Adam paused. He sat bare-ass naked, plucking at the grass and tossing it carelessly aside. He was pouting.
“it’s just…all the other animals…they have each other…to you know…”
“No, I don’t. What is it they do?” God asked, really wanting to know the answer.
“You know, they…well, they get on top of each other and it seems like it would be…nice to, you know?” Adam told the creator of everything.
Sex.
“I see,” God said, His brow furrowed, his head spinning. He knew that every time He had given his creatures sex that they had invariably become slaves to its desires. This was because it was His best creation, the ultimate recreation! However, it almost never made one happy and was almost guaranteed to make one miserable at some point.
“So, you want a mate?” God asked.
“Yes, I suppose that would be nice…” sulked Adam.
“And why, might I ask?”
“Because I am alone…”
“No you’re not! We hang out, don’t we? What about the mamoot? You like him right?” God was practically begging Adam to reconsider. Certainly the LORD would get credit for sex at some point and that was what He was afraid of. “It is too good to remain holy.” God felt this sentiment resonate within him. The ruptured holiness of creation, He knew, was only a matter of time and so the heart of the LORD was broken for the sixteenth time.
“Yes…I am much pleased by the mamoot you have given me. It is a wonderful place and I enjoy our conversations, but…I do not know how, but we are different. Are we not?”
The LORD knew that Adam spoke true and so His heart was changed for the eleventh time. God said to Himself, “It is not good for man to be alone.” And though Adam would be given Eve, he would be alone still…not always, but certainly he would be very alone.
“Very well,” God said, “Lay down, boy. You must go to sleep now…and when you wake up, you will have ‘Woman.’”
“Woman…” invoked Adam, as though he was chanting a word that would open sealed doors…a word that would change him. Boy, would it.
God sat doing nothing for a long time. The mamoot approached to have his belly rubbed by He who made him. God looked at the mamoot.
“Would you like to help?”
The mamoot stood by. God began His work, working from one of Adam’s ribs, more dirt, some mamoot whiskers, and He spoke light into her as He had the whole universe. He rolled the bone, whiskers, dirt, and light about in His hands, multiplying her essence and gifting her with His. When he was done, He looked at the sleeping woman. He was worried, very worried. He had done too well. He had always done too well. This woman was too beautiful.
“She’ll be able to play him like a harp” the LORD thought.
But He was moved by the loveliness of His creation. The holy mother of mankind was born without sin, but that is not how she would die. No two people would ever fall as far as those two. For this world, she would be the second mother, the first being God Himself. Her belly held the secrets of endless variation...and variables, God knew, always fucked things up.
Her very being was physical perfection. The modern man upon seeing her would either run in fear of his life or make a shameless attempt at raping her. Adam was roused awake by the gentle sounds emanating from the form lying next to him. Eve snored. However, it was an ingratiating feature not to be confused with the snores of a morbidly obese man. No, these snores were like childish whispers, sleepy childish whispers.
Adam looked at her long ebony hair. It was nearly waste length and hung across her breasts. Adam then noted he did not have these and that made them all the more appealing. He had no others to compare it to and so he was never fully aware that Eve had quite a nice rack. He traced her features with his eyes and then with his hands. He felt the shape of her nose that made his seem oversized and comical by comparison. Her lips were far more full than his, her neck more slender, her jaw more round, her chest soft and hairless. Her form was all at once more pronounced and less defined than his. Finally, he found the part of her that was certainly not like him. In this case though, it was her lack of something that excited him.
He looked over all of these things with awe and wonder. It was truly the first and only time that a man could say to a woman “You were made for me” and be telling the truth. She was his inverted mirror. She was weak where he was strong. She was beautiful where he was not. She was soft where he was coarse…and he was thrilled by all of it.
“Do you like her?” God asked.
“Yes…very much” Adam whispered reverently, not daring to take his eyes away from her.
“Her name is Eve. Would you like to wake her?”
“Eve…yes. I shall wake her?” he said as if asking permission. It almost seemed wrong that this image of his own completion should ever possess any state other than the one she was currently in.
“Eve…” Adam ran his fingers through her hair, “Eve…wake up.”
She opened her eyes in a slow flutter.
“Hello, Eve,” Adam whispered.
“Who?”
“You,” Adam said, “Your name is Eve and He created you.”
“So what does that mean?” she asked.
“That you are created, that you are you” Adam said.
“But what does that mean? What does it mean, that I am me?” Eve asked.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

you are the place that spaceships merely dream of.

photo 1: mounds of disgusting dried fish. little guppies and what not...but to see them in this setting and not on my lunch plate, they look like mounds of pure silver.
photo 2: this was a streetside fish cookery. rachel bought a piece of fish and it was one of the best tasting fish i'd ever had.
photo 3: this is general view of the market. every shop looked like this one except that it went on for what seemed like miles.


we went to the fish market in busan. when rachel told us that we were going to go (and it was not asking, it was definitely telling) i was not too thrilled, but i must admit that it was well worth it and i had a great time. we went to eat at a fish place but there was no menu for us and ultimately a nice korean guy who spoke english came over and helped us. he asked what we wanted and ordered for us. he said he ordered us 4 different fish, but instead of getting 4 pieces of fish, i'm pretty sure we got 4 different types of fish, but much more than 4 pieces. between the 4 of us, our bill came out to be 4$ each for some really fresh and delicious fish. i don't really recall what we did that evening. at this point, my battery died on my camera and i didn't get to take anymore pictures. ultimately though, one person split off and the remaining three went to an underground market where i bought some converse knock offs called "only star". we then went and saw a movie, a bad one, i won't even tell you the title...but it was pretty horrible. i'm not going to tell you what it was because i knew it was going to be bad...i'm ashamed. after that, everyone crapped out and wanted to sleep. so we ordered pizza and watched tv. the end.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

birthday in busan pt.1

photo 1: rachel, briana, me...in our hostel, roll of toilet paper, preparing ourselves for maximum fun.



my 3 friends and i took a trip to busan last weekend. my birthday happened to fall during this time. i left work after a rather rotten day, we met up w/the girls at the subway station and took the train into seoul. we then boarded the bullet train to busan. the thing apparently goes about 300km an hour. so it only took 3 hours to get to the other side of the country...my birthday happened on the train! we arrived and took a cab to our hotel. the drivers in korea are like stock car drivers. at one point during our journey, he hit 160kmh...roughly 99mph. the 4 of us were laughing and nervous because we realized how easily this man could kill us all. our little hostel was really nice! but it only had one bed and so we had to rotate our sleeping arrangements. but considering, for 3 nights, we only had to pay about 16$ each made it manageable.
photo 2: haeundae beach as i will always remember it.

the next day we went to haeundae beach...which was probably the greatest beach i've ever been to in my life. i've got some pictures to prove it. i've never been to a beach surrounded by mountains before, but as it would turn out, this is the best kind of beach. we then ate fish. the first were gutted and then cooked whole w/all the scales and eyeballs, etc. it was really great! i'd never eaten fish like that before. usually when you order fish you get this sterile piece of boneless meat in front of you, but with this, your fish had a face and certainly had bones if you didn't eat him properly.

photo 3: have you fed the fish?

that night, we drank beer in our hostel room, then in the chicken restaurant, then on the beach, and then at a bar. everyone was very cheerful...so as most cheerful people do when they go to the beach, we bought some fireworks! it is hard to light things at the beach though, due to the constant wind...but we managed somehow and played w/the fireworks for a while. i had mentioned to the group that i wanted to do nori bang/karaoke for my birthday but that it would be great if there were koreans w/us. it just so happens that some korean guys (obviously interested in the girls) started talking to us on the beach.we went out w/them to a bar and they bought us beer and then tagged along w/us to nori bang. one of them was named "mistayoo" and he told us his english nickname, which was forgettable and so i gave him a new nickname: Mr. U. i told him it made him sound like a gangster and he acted so incredibly happy. he said "me?! gangster!? thank you!!!"it was fun, but something was bothering briana. it seems that she had become uncomfortable when she saw the guys "choosing" which of the girls they were going after. she didn't want to say anything because she wanted me to have fun. how thoughtful, briana!

photo 4: fun w/fireworks

i really needed a break from work...i'm ready to be done w/this job...it's not that i hate the teaching aspect so much as i hate my work environment. the trip has made me grateful for having good friends here. so here's to padraig, briana, and rachel!
photo 5: padraig, briana, rachel, me and my sunburn.