Monday, November 03, 2008

How To Spot an Alcoholic Early On

As a parent you always want to be thinking about the future of your children and how to help them be happier when they grow up. To do this, you need to be able to recognize those often subtle and evasive signs that may hint at things such as dyslexia or ADHD. Then other times, you will just be hit in the head with a sign of your child's future tendencies...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Dildos R Us

I saw one of the delivery trucks for that great new business that sells dildoes in Korea.

The Joys of Going to Macao

So I had to go to Macao recently, and I thought it was part of mainland China in that you needed a visa. So I went to get one. China has outsourced its visa program to a bunch of slimeball leeches that hang out in these dirty little places filled with people waiting for visas from China. I really can't say how disgusted I am with this.

At any rate, if you ever have to go get one, don't go to this place. They are liars, cheaters, and worse than the rest. I explained very carefully that I needed a visa to Macao. They did not warn me off with "oh no you don't", instead they said "sure, give me your money." Then they also lied about how long it would take and made me miss my flight. I had to delay it a day.

Just to let you know how safe this place is with your pasports, I snapped this dude with a whole 가방 full of them. Just some delivery dude rifling through the hundres of passports in his 가방. All I can say is Wow! China is really safe and has created a very safe system for getting your passport! Let's all cheer them on!

Hotel Conveniences

There are some things I really appreciate ina good business hotel. I mean if I am goin to pay $350 a night in Hong Kong then I want some conveniences. However, I don't know why they feel it is a convenience to fold the end of my toilet paper roll. Perhaps it could be a secret signal: I cleaned the bathroom, can't you see the folded toliet paper roll? But I would like it if they didn't waste time doing that and instead changed myTV to a flat screen 56".

At $350 a night you know they can afford it.

A Transparent Life

I like the transparent shells they put on some machines now, like transparent elevators, transparent computer cases, etc. But the bathroom wall? This is in Singapore's new airport terminal. You get a nice view of the departure hall, and they get a nice view of you while taking a whiz. I guess it's okay because of the leaves hanging down across the glass. Kind of an artsy thing, not one of those porno things.

Tape it shut!

I was picking someone up from the hotel and they had a large piece of luggage. The dude at the entrance (I'm not sure what the word for him is) had the bright idea of taping my trunk shut in order to keep it closed aroung the luggage. This is a bad, bad idea. It pulls paint off and is very hard to get off becasue of the residue it leaves. Koreans have some sort of obsession with tape. They tape bags shut, tape sandwich wrappers shut, tape letters shut, etc. I guess they tape car doors shut now too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Inchon Airport: A World Best Air Hub!


Need I say anything else? This phrase completely makes the point that this entry is intended to make: just as this phrase is phonetically dysfunctional, the Inchon Airport is also functionally dysfunctional. Does that sentence even make sense? I guess in talking about the Inchon Airport, nothing needs to.

I liked the Inchon Airport the first few times I used it. Lots of convenient carts, no lines at immigration or security, lots of food places to choose from, no stupid trains to ride to get to terminals, a complete dual-level structure to separate the comers from the goers, and a goofy, but nice architecture. However, the airport has grown into a beast of a bad airport over the years.

1. Shitty toll fees: I like cruising the airport quickly as much as the next guy, but every time I go through that damn set of tollgates and get kicked in the balls for 7,400 KRW, I feel a lot of resentment. Only the kick in the balls I get going back out makes me more resentful at the retards in the Korean government that allowed a private company to own the road to the airport.

2. As long as I’m on transportation, how about those taxi drivers from hell? You get attacked by these dudes as soon as you come out the gate asking if you need a taxi. I used to dislike those dudes, until I met the dudes sitting in line at the taxi stand. The difference? The dudes inside are Seoul taxis who brought people out to the airport. Actually, they are willing to negotiate, will often follow the meter, and even will let you pay with a credit card if you meet the right dude. However, you need to be careful to negotiate the tollgate fee: nothing is more painful than a kick in the balls when you are a passenger, and not even the owner of the car. If you make the mistake of getting past those guys, you get to the Inchon Taxis from Hell. They will go by the meter, and then charge you double for having to go back to the airport empty. They will let you get kicked in the balls at the airport gate, and they won’t take your credit cards. I only had the experience of dealing with one of those scumbags once, and I was out of his slime-hole within 10 seconds of getting in. I went straight back in to find a Seoul taxi. This is the kind of taxi service provided at a World Best Hub?

3. Trains: So they finally got smart and decided to build a train, an attempt to catch up with real world class airports, like the Hong Kong airport, which has a fabulous train. Well, not unlike the way the whole airport operates, the train is slightly retarded too. First, it is 7 years late. Most places try to build at the time the grand airport is built. Second, it stops pretty far away, although a fact that can be overcome. Third, it only goes to that Gimpy airport near Seoul. Apparently it is being extended to Seoul Station and City hall, which will make it nice, but until it does, it is just a useless little train. I guess the redeeming feature is that it does not kick you in the balls when you pass the tollgates.

4. That retard of a green house: I’m talking about the world designed maze of

escalators and elevators that leads from the train to the airport. Every try getting to the airport with luggage or a cart? Well, to move up to the mid-level floor, you have to go up 1 full floor, and then down one more. I don’t know how the math works, or maybe they thought you needed something to do during your three hour wait (does anybody really show up that early any more), but whatever, it takes time and it is retarded. This dyslexic design is one more gleaming jewel at the World Best Hub. I once thought I would walk down the center of the thing and out the end to the long-term parking lot. I was on the ground floor and assumed there would be a door. I went through this awful green house thing with all kinds of plants, only to get to the end and find no exit. That is a fire hazard. Maybe I will burn it down and solve the problem.

You also find many of the elevators with this helpful sign on them. First, if you don’t read Korean, you wouldn’t know what it said, second if you do, you would be pissed, because you would understand that this World Best Hub doesn’t have enough money to run its elevators, so it is “saving energy”.

5. So now that you got to the airport, and got through the fairly convenient check-in, let’s get some grub. That’s nice, there’s a BK, a Lotteria, and a McDonalds in the basement. Then a bunch of no-name crap. Oh wait, they remodeled. Now there’s half a BK, a McDonalds that raised it’s prices because it’s rent doubled, a Lotteria, and even more no-name crap. Well, screw that, I’ll go inside to get Subway, BK, or KFC in that spacious food court. Just a note here as I am going through security, if that idiot at the entrance ever tells you your luggage is too big to carry on, give her the bird, and walk to one of the other 150 entrances into the security area. I wanted to just tell her she is the dumbest lady in the world, but I guess I won’t break her little dream bubble of happiness in knowing she stopped evil foreigners from using up all the overhead space on the airplane. Ok, now that I’m past security, lets go get some Subway, BK, or KFC. What? They got rid of the food court in exchange for an overpriced cosmetics, liquor, or purse shop?
3. Remodeling: So they decided that they weren’t getting enough money back from all of us evil foreigners leaving the country with the money we earned from the poor Koreans, so they got rid of those low-revenue food shops and got in those high-revenue duty free shops. Well, there was a judgment error somewhere in there. They forgot that unlike Koreans, not everyone else in the world likes overpriced cosmetics, purses, and liquor. Maybe that’s why there is a sudden lack of dollars. It all left at the airport. Now I have to go up to the fourth floor to get my burger. At least the Subway is still on the departure level, albeit at the very end, and small enough to be missed if you don’t squint and look closely.

I think this pictures does an excellent job of showing the great ability the leaders of this great airport have in deciding what to put where and what concepts will work. Might as well just bring in the Yeongdungpo Girls and put them with electronics too. I'm sure it would be more popular than the ginseng.

6. Terminal 2: So the Inchon Airport never struck me as the busiest airport. However, they go with Kevin Costner’s philosophy that relates to something about building and coming. If all the other World Best Hubs out there were poorly planned enough to have to build a second terminal, then shouldn’t the Inchon Airport too? So during remodeling, they went ahead and added it. So now the previously not-busy airport, looks even less busy because all the foreign airlines went out to the second terminal. I imagine they didn’t want to pay whatever exorbitant fees are charged to park at terminal one.

If anyone ever meets the misfit that heads up that airport, please give him a nice fist to the stomach for me. I want to thank him for the great job he has done in creating a world best hub.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The risingcost of goods...

You know inflation is setting in when fast food shops start charging $10 for a refill. I know the cost of Coca Cola has gone up, but to $10 for a cup’s worth of Soda?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Only in Idaho...

The serious science that occurs in the potato state.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World

Two of my friends commented I had not posted in more than two months. The worst thing about that was that another friend's blog, which I thought was less well attended to than mine has a more recent post. So it is time to post some more.

Just a few things that I've noticed recently that show that Korea is a mad, mad, mad, mad country:
1. Police cannot trace the location of a cellphone: Just saw this report on MBC News. If you call 119, the fire hotline, they can trace your location. If you call 112, the police hotline, they cannot. Logic being that the police might use it to invade your privacy. Well, if I were a chick running away from a dude who was trying to do something to me, I would sure as hell want my privacy invaded. This is just some kind of weird flaw in logic. It is okay for every single damn organization in the country to demand your ID number, but heaven forbid the police find out where you are calling from when you report a crime.

2. Crazy M.B.: The dude is about as far off the deep end as you can get. He is so far off that he has started bringing out the giant canal stick again. I thought that idea was dead and riddled with bullet holes. Apparently not. Anyway, his latest brilliant move was reduce the taxes on houses that are sold and wroth more than a million bucks, while increasing property taxes on everyone's house to make up the difference. Wow! That is a Robin Hood in reverse if I've ever seen one. Good job M.B.! I think you will definitely win in the race to disgrace.

3. Dudes in double trouble: This was on MBC too. So some dudes get drunk, and go to spend some time with the neighborhood ladies o the night. They don't have money so they ask the employees to go and get them money using their cards. Now, that is stupid enough as it is. But there's more. So the employees get the money for the dudes and then record the card number and PIN number (wow! what a surprise! you would think those prostitutes would be a little more ethical in their work life! I mean where are your morals for crying out loud? You would think they would even sell their own bodies if it earned them money... oh wait...). So then the employees make fake cards and start withdrawing money. Well, at this point, I would just shut down that account and realize I was stupid to have given my card to one of such high moral standards. But these dudes report it to the police. Now the police are investigating, but also planning on charging the dudes with involvement in prostitution. I like what the MBC anchor said "이종으로 혼나게 생겼습니다." Yeah, I'd say so.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

We need a raise! We'll bust your windows till we get it!

I support a nice raise as much as the next guy, and I think strikes to show that support are fine, but somehow, I don't imagine that the company officials are in a real good mood after you go bust up their HQ windows and doors and camp out there all day. I went to meet our company’s counsel in Korea for lunch, I parked the car in the basement of their office (the Hancook Tire Building) and headed out. We got back from lunch only to find a

nice stack of chairs and lots of broken glass in the entrance to the building. Then the parking lot and entrance to the underground parking lot were blocked by police and rioters. The labor union was up in arms about not allowing some of the sister companies to Hancook Tire unionize, and probably other wage increases and crap. That’s fine with me, but again, causing damage to company proeperty probably isn’t very helpful.
I guess in Korea that is the way it is done however. I just wish they wouldn’t have blocked the parking lot for five hours. My car was stuck. I just had to go visit other places in the neighborhood until 5 p.m. when both sides decide its time to go home. I think it might be really effective to camp out all night, but I guess that would be asking too much fo them. After all, most of this is just for show.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hyundai Steals a decent design

So I’ve started seeing the i30 from Hyundai everywhere. It seems like just a couple of months ago I saw it for my first time, and now I counted like 30 just on a single 10km drive in Seoul. Looking at the car, it is actually pretty well designed. I think Hyundai really put down the big bucks and either bribed a designer from VW to send them the plans for their mini-car, or paid a really good lawyer to figure out how to rip the design off without getting caught. Oh wait, I just found out which. If you check this story out it says they did ge ta designer from Volkswagen.
Either way, the car is pretty nice looking. I’d imagine if you got a souped up one of these, it would look all right. The price ranges from 12-19k, so it is not bad in that regard. Too bad everyone discovered it, because now everyone has one and it is no longer cool. I guess it does speak to the power of a well-designed car. Too bad Hyundai and Kia hasn’t applied that principle to any of their other cars, like the Sonata, Grandeur, E-Quif, etc.

The Rainy Season?

So what is 장마? This is a beautiful picture of the nice blue sky taken out of my window at the office this morning. It was the same on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday as well. I thought there would be a technical definition of 장마, such as a season which produces lots of rain due to a confluence of warm and cold fronts. However, looking in the yahoo 국어 사전 rainstorms that continue for a long period of time (or multiple storms of a continued period of time. I was thinking it might be Chinese based, as in 장기적 for the 장, but the Yahoo dictionary doesn't offer any 한자, and it usually does if it is Chinese based. Anyhow, I wouldn't consider four days of sunshine continuous rain. I seem to remember 장마 as lots of rain for a long time. So far, this 장마, which they claim started early last week has been pretty weak. Maybe we will get the real 장마 in August again, like last year. Maybe someone needs to tell the meteorologists here about El Nino, La Nina, Global Warming, or whatever else could be affecting this and tell them the season shifted.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Protect Yourself With a Condom on Your Head

Well, we all know how protective Koreas are of their health after seeing them mass rioting over 미친 소. But I recently have seen it go to new heights. I started seeing guys wearing condoms on their heads all the time. I suppose it doesn't hurt, as there is always a chance you could find a use for it during the day, but do you really need to show off your condom-covered head in public? I know it sounds kind of weird, but I was seeing this everywhere I went. What was even more surprising was the women were wearing protective gear too. It never occurred to me that it would be necessary, but I suppose you can never be too safe. It could be the same idea as non-insured coverage on your car insurance. It is just there to protect you on the off-chance something unexpected happens. This must be some kind of cultural revolution, because from what I saw, complete strangers would encourage people to use their head condoms. I mean what right does a complete stranger have to tell you to put a piece of rubber over your very own head. That seems kind of an invasion of privacy to me. But they were even refusing service to people who weren’t protecting themselves. That is pretty forward-thinking. I was tempted to start pulling the condoms off of the heads, but I was just too nervous that I would get beat up by touching a vital organ on their body. What really blew me away was that they were also teaching this to their kids. I mean do little kids really need a condom on their heads? I don't necessarily think that handing out condoms to high school during health class and teaching them how to use them is a bad thing, as those kids are old enough and probably a good percentage of them do use them, but for little kids? I think that might just be putting the wrong idea in their head. Anyway, Caribbean bay freaked me out with all those head condoms and life jackets. Never again.

Catering to a Dumb Audience

So McDonald’s has decided that the most important thing they can convey to their customers right now is “we think you are dumber than a fencepost.” Well, they don’t exactly say it that way, but this does a pretty good job of it. People are so freaked out about that nasty, bad American beef infecting them with 미친소 disease that McD’s has to advertise where it’s beef comes from. First of all, McDonald’s could use all the beef that Korea allowed in last tie and it still wouldn’t be enough to make burgers in more than one store for a week. Second of all, their burger prices would have to go up to be using that beef in their burgers. Third of all, does anybody who eats at McDs really go there because of the healthy food? You know you are going to die eventually, it’s just a matter of time. So if 미친소 gets you 10 years down, or the fat in the sandwich 20 years down, who cares? I suppose the average elementary-age mentality of the Koreans does.

The Pains of a Long Johnson

Like any guy, I like to sit down on the pot and enjoy a couple minutes of rest and relaxation. However, in Korea that may not be possible depending on the toilet. As you can see from this picture, the distance from the toilet seat down to the water is just under a square of toilet paper. Now go to the bathroom and get a square of toilet paper. Close the stall door and compare it with your Johnson. For me, it doesn’t measure up. This means that any rest and relaxation is going to end up with my Johnson taking a swim in bacteria infested waters. No R&R for the weary I guess. I suppose it is no problem for the 99% of the population in Korea (Koreans) because their Johnsons don’t measure up, but still, it would be nice if they would adjust he water level for the 1% of us who do. By the way, don’t just waste that square of toilet paper. You can fold it back on the roll and let someone else use it. We need to be more conscientious about recycling here.

Following Directions...

I love Costco, and I am so happy they import lots of good foreign-made things into Korea. However, they need to train their employees on the finer points of following directions and storing bicycles. I imagine that whatever caused the manufacturer to make the packages as such, has already occurred. I would guess it would be something to do with the chain or gears. Happy Trails on those bikes!

Shitty Blue Jeans

I think that looks like a great slogan for Levi or Gap in seling their next line of overalls. I know the Korean is referring to the style, not the contents of the seat, but still, this just cracked me up. I stil get the same laugh out of 시티은행 and 시티폰 and 시티택시. They are all such accurate names. I suppose that is what South Park gets its laughs out of on the 시티 Wok Chinese guy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

배꼽은 배 보다 크다

I think this is a pretty good way to define 배꼽은 배 보다 크다. This is the new bicycle garage at the 영등포 구청. The big size of the building already points to the fact that it costs more than a bike rack. Here are a couple of better close ups.

I didn't try opening it and seeing if it cost money, but do you really need a separate garage for a bicycle. I know they are not only using my tax money to do this, but probably paying way to much for what it would cost if a person with a normal brain built it.

I would guess that they likely spent $300,000 (probably conservative estimate)building this. If they stuck that in the bank at 5% interest, they would get $15,000 a year. They could then buy 30 $500 bicycles a year. I somehow doubt that more than 30 bicycles were lost a year there. I would say just giving people money when their bicycle got lost would be a better use of my tax funds.

Baby Killin Games

You know, the only redeeming part about this story is that it didn't happen in the U.S. Because if it did, the couple would be suing Blizzard for making such an engrossing game. In fact, I like how the article makes sure to mention that it is a U.S. game maker. More people have died now from games than from Mad Cow Disease, maybe they should go out and hold candle vigils against games too. For that matter, fan death is a pretty serious cause of death. Why don't we see them out there candlelighting against fan makers too? This story just disgusts me from more than on angle. What about the quote from the police? Did they actually consider not filing charges?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Finally, some relief from expensive toys through Toys R Us

So the famed American Toy Store has come to Korea. It’s about time we got a decent, big-box toy store that will cut all the retail margin off of toy prices and sell them to us at decent prices. I have especially been fed up with the ridiculous prices on baby products. We will finally get some relief from $400 car seats and strollers. I thought I would go check it out, so I headed over to Toys R Us (it is in the basement of the 롯데마트 located at 구로역). Incidentally, the store replaced B&Q, which is a British hardware chain like Home Depot. That was the only decent hardware store in Korea, and unfortunately Koreans don’t like to do that kind of stuff on their own, and it failed after just a year or so.

Well, we got to Toys R Us and I went to look at the strollers. Wow, they have really pretty looking strollers. I’m excited to get these at a good price. That’s a nice stroller. Oh wait, check out the price on that Lamborghini. Wow! I guess Toys R Us not only decided to enter the Korean Market, like every other damn foreign brand that comes here, they decided to enter it at the high end. Wow,

I can’t imagine paying $1,600 for a stroller, but I guess those rich Koreans who dote on their kids might be able to. I think I’ll use my $1,600 to buy 16 strollers of equal specs in the U.S. Then I can bring them in to Korea and sell them for $1,600 each and make a 1000% profit margin like Toys R Us. Guess I have to plan on bringing back all my baby stuff from the U.S. still. Damn!
What stuns me even more is that they really are taking the idea of coming in as a premium store to a new high. These babies are selling about $700 more in their store than online. That's pretty gutsy to believe your brand is worth that much. The Toys R Us 사장 korea must be either a total retard or have balls of steel to make that kind of decision.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

When Hell Freezes Over

That is when I will go back. Let this be a warning to any newbies in Korea, and a reminder to all old hands: the Korean word 축제 is a bad, bad word. For those of you who don’t know Korean, it means: a writhing mass of cattle herded in and out of ridiculous places in and attempt to deprive them of any dignity left to their name, including money.

Well, the direct translation is something more like a festival, but don’t assume it is actually anything of the sort. The last festival I went to was the 안면도 국제 꼿 박람회 (박람회 is also interchangeable in this use for 축제). That was five years ago. I forgot how horrible that was and made the mistake of going to the 함평 국제 나비 엑스포. So a country town tries to survive economically by holding a festival on butterflies. That doesn’t sound too exciting, right? But maybe they will have some interesting displays of butterflies, or maybe you can actually see some live ones. Well, I got tricked into going (or coerced). We arrived to these massive parking lots. That should have sent off warning alarms in my head. Then we got up to the gate and I saw that they were bending you over and cleaning out the old tailpipe for 7,000원. I would expect a bunch of bumpkins trying to make a buck on butterflies to charge about 4,000원, but fine, I guess 7,000원 was not too horrible. I then go to pay and she says 45,000원 for the three of us. 15,000 a person? For some butterflies? I had looked at the wrong table, the one for the elderly, disabled, and otherwise financially challenged like soldiers. Wow!

That is all I can say. You can get 자유 이용권’s into Everland, Lotte World, the 민속촌, Seoul Land, for that much if you get the right credit card to pay. I personally find large roller coasters more fun than butterflies. Anyway, I was already at the point of no return. I should have just sent my family in and gone back to the car at that point, because there was no way this was going to end up good for anyone. We bent over to take the abuse and then headed in. We went to eat. Again, this was terrible, cafeteria food, and again, as you can see from the pictures, these bumpkins really know how to take you to town. You can see they didn’t quite have the balls to express their ridiculous prices in 원. So they use the cute expression of 냥.
This has two meanings. It either means: “We are cute and want to use the traditional unit of money, and our product is cheap enough that it makes sense as 1,000냥. In this case, they are using a much bigger number. You can see 20,000냥. That is the other definition of 냥. It means “we expect you to really take this up the tailpipe, and to soften the impact, we are trying to be cute and say 냥. It was not cute. The food was horrible too. Then we went to see the butterflies. That was literally us being herded through these cattle gates. I kid you not, it was just like those holding pens they herd cattle through. Then you walk into this room full of the worst displays of butterflies I have ever seen. Apparently God didn’t do a good enough job, so Koreans had to take his work and make it better. You can see the beautiful blue balls of butterflies, the circles of different colors, and all the other pretty designs.

It was also stunning to see how much the Koreans admired this.
You can see the herds of people going by and looking. I really have a hard time believing these bumpkins can get away with doing this to people year after year. We then went out to see the live butterflies. It turns out they are a bunch of those white moths that are so common (the ones that stem from the green caterpillars). Then they had a couple of different varieties in big glass containers so you couldn’t actually touch them. You know, I can go out into any park and see those moths. I didn’t need to take out a second mortgage to attend the festival and see them there. They even add to the joy by selling butterfly wings, hats, shirts, pants, and shoes to your kids. Then they sell those little green moth caterpillars to you in a little plastic cage. The profit margin on those is like 99%, because it is the cost of the cage. Well, I hope I have given you a good enough idea of what a farce these places are. I will never, ever, ever, go back, and neither should you. The one last comment I will end this rant with is that 국제 is a very fee term here. It means: “we have absolutely no foreigners here and are a very xenophobic, homogenous set of mongrels from Mongolia. Thus we say we are international.” I guess technically I was there, so it was international, but still…

P.S.: Of course, my wife was all upset with me for complaining the whole time. I knew that this would never turn out well. I guess I just may not understand this aspect of Korean culture (desire to mass in herds and enjoy it)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Iron Man! Go See It!

There are some good things about life in Korea that do not relate to women and no enforcement of driving laws. One of them is that all new movies premiere here, since Korea’s (see IMDB)large population of pre-pubescent netizens are very good at providing instant copies of all new movies for sharing on-line. The movie companies got smart and decided that it was better to get the ticket sales from opening night and still get some revenue than premiere elsewhere and lose all sales to pirate versions released before the movie opens in Korea.

Well, I went and saw Iron Man that premiered today. It is apparently the first Marvel Comic Book series that Marvel produced directly, and I have to say I hope this is the start of a long and fruitful career for them. The movie was excellent. No sex (well, sex scenes, but no actual sex), no swearing, only off-screen or momentary violence, etc. The movie has lots of great action, a fun story, witty lines. It is all around a great movie. Robert Downey Jr. does well as Iron Man, and Gwyneth Paltrow does a good job as an older 아줌마. I didn’t realize it was her, because she used to look a lot younger and sexier like 10 years ago. I guess you are getting older when you remember her as being young and sexy when she started out her career (at the same age as you) and then you think she is an 아줌마 (albeit a pretty one) now. Anyway, go see the movie. It is well worth it. They are going to make a killing on it as it was a “low-budget” movie at only a mere $100 million (It is sad that $100 million is considered low-budget now, but I guess it apparently is). Spider man apparently cost 3 times that to make, and I really think Iron Man is better. Maybe that’s just my dislike of a whiny, nerd as the hero instead of a cool, slick guy like Iron Man.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Root beer worth its weight in gold

Look at this picture. Does that root beer strike you as being worth 24,000원? I agree that the previous price of 10,000 a case was really taking it up the tailpipe, but hey, we all are at the mercy of our root beer taste bud. I visited the hole-in-the-wall store that sells it today, and she announced that the heavy weight, and therefore the difficulty the person has in smuggling it off base has caused her to raise her price per case to 12,000원. That is like 4 times the price on base! I already had these in hand and had made the trip, so I bent over and took it like a man, but even my root beer taste bud will not convince me to go again for that price. I am going to have to buy some of the 1-liter bottles they sell in the food court every time I go on base, and then go and bug Costco about importing the damn stuff. They would have a corner on the market. If they can get crappy cream soda in, they can definitely do root beer.

Naming Your Son the COO of Samsung?

I was astounded at Samsung’s announcement today. It read: “We bent you (you as in Korea collectively as well as all of our investors) over and had our way with you, and now we will go on ahead as if nothing happened.” Well, that’s not exactly how they phrased it, but that’s sure what they meant. They announced that their funny-looking (kind of freaky if you ask me) Chairman will now resign to accept responsibility for all the problems, including the tax evasion and illegal transfer of ownership to his son. In fact, he felt so bad about his role that he is naming his son as COO for his last act. Boy, that sure is one nice guy. I really think he is on to something. I think Clinton should have followed his example and instead of denying he had oral sex with Monica Lewinsky, he should have resigned and named her secretary of state.

I am just amazed (I shouldn't be, because all the 재벌s have their figurative way with the Korean people, but still, doesn’t this border on ludicrousness?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Buddha, Jesus, and Door Lock Systems

Update: So we found out what caused the mysterious opening and closing of the lock. They set up our phone system so when you press 18, it opens the lock (so we can ring in people when they knock on the door). Well, that was apparently a phone line, so when comeone called the office, and was connected to oen of our office phones, but that phone call wasn't answered, it woudl be automatically transferred to the next line over. Eventually, when we all ignored our phones, that got moved up to line 18 and triggered the lock. I tested the theory and indeed, if you call our office and press for line 18, you get the lock and it opens for you. Again, this will only work tonight, because we will have the phone company in tomorrow to fix this issue, but still, pretty amusing if you ask me.

This is not the punch-line to a funny joke. We are in an area of the city which really caters to solicitors apparently. We used to get a solicitor every week or so in our old office, but I swear we get a couple a day in our new place. We had a 스님 in asking for money, and no more than 10 minutes later, we had some missionaries trying to convert us. I suppose word got around that we don’t turn people away. So the solution to all the solicitors was to get a door lock system to keep the pesky people out. Only problem is, it keeps malfunctioning and will open several times about every hour or so. The result is, if you wait outside our door, you can just walk right in, day or night, whether we are in the office or not. They are coming to fix the system tomorrow (they had better, the thing cost a hefty $550), but I suppose if you wanted to rob us of all our stuff you could do it tonight. Well, I guess you would have to wait for an hour perhaps until the lock undid itself. Once we get the system fixed, I will then go and press my buttocks up against the glass whenever someone comes soliciting. That will horrify them and they will no longer come. I will be safe from their wrath by virtue of our lock system. Let’s just hope it doesn’t malfunction again at that point.

Note Updqte on Sin Young Motel Below!

I did go back and get a clearer picture. Actually though, the picture I reloaded is one a friend took with his phone. Mine were during the day, so you don't get the cool lights.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Beef! It's what's for dinner!

I just have to keep laughing about the whole beef thing. I have to say it is the best thing that has happened in Korean politics in a long time, because there are so many ironies. First, you have everyone who voted for M.B. who are now up in arms about the beef. This is ironic, because he kept saying he was going to improve the economy, part of which was help bring down food prices, and he has certainly brought them down. Yet all his followers, with their undying support of the farmers, are willing to pay the highest prices in the world for beef to support an insanely small population of family farmers that live off of a few cows a year that they raise. The news today said beef prices tumbled 20% just on the news of M.B. dropping all restrictions on imports. Just wait until that juicy set of ribs off a Texas Longhorn gets in stores. They say it is 1/4 the price of Korean beef. Those prices are going to come tumbling down. What’s even better is that not only is this bringing down beef prices, but pork prices also fell 15% today because pork is seen as a replacement for beef. So not only were we helping all those cow-massaging ranchers get fat, but also the pig ranchers as well. I can’t wait to see if all those people who are choking chickens also get kicked where it counts. I was watching my wife get very irritated with M.B. and the news, and I just had to gloat.
“I can’t wait to eat all of that great beef,” says I.
“I can’t believe this. Everyone is going to get mad cow disease because of the damn Americans.”
“That’s part of our plan for continued world dominance: We bring all our competitors into submission by poisoning them with our beef.”

Besides, I don’t’ see what the beef is all about. After all, South Korea gives so much food to NorKs anyways. Might as well give them any beef that is contaminated. It will bring an end to the regime (since any meat certainly would only go to the upper class up there), and they certainly won’t have the sophisticated equipment that South Korea apparently has, which allows them to detect a chip of bone in 20 tons of meat.

When does it go bad?

So I have a container of milk from Costco in my fridge. Korean milk has a short expiration date compared to the U.S., I hear because it is not pasteurized here.
This milk passé its date on April 14, exactly one week ago. However, it tastes fine still, so I am drinking it as of yet. Any advice on this? Do the Koreans just make conservative poll-dates? I seem to remember U.S. milk going bad pretty soon after it’s poll-date, but Korean milk seems more robust. Maybe there is something to be said for massaging cows after all.

Lesbian Lemmings?

I got out exercising most nights in the nearby 안양천. It is surprisingly quiet down in there, because it is shielded from all the roads by large ridges on either side. If you refer to entries very early on in this blog, you can see why. They are flood walls. Anyway, I always notice that Koreans don’t dress to match the occasion, they dress according to what the perceived norm is. This is a pretty typical Korean cultural trait. They have a super-strong tendency to be a lemming (maybe that’s why they pee all over things when they are drunk or when they are kids). At any rate, if you are going hiking, you have to be dressed as such, fishing the same, biking the same, etc. So all these people believe it is spring still, much to cold out to wear shorts. They must wear long sleeves, and coats in some cases. I caught a picture of these two young lesbians (oh wait, I forgot this is Korea) out in their cold-weather gear. I wore shorts and a t-shirt, and I was sweating the whole time.

Drink till you drop!

So the water in Seoul. Is it safe to drink? We recently started looking at hiring a PR company to help us out, and they were introducing their clientele to u to impress us. One of the clients was the city of Seoul, and one of the projects they did was to promote the fact that it is safe to drink the water in Seoul. I don’t think people doubt that it is safe to drink the water as it comes out of the water treatment plant, it is all those ancient pipes it travels through to get to us, and that beautiful copper color when you have been on vacation for a long time or when they clean the water tank. Anyhow, the company said they ran into problems when midway through the campaign it came to light that the Seoul City Hall used bottled water instead of drinking from the tap. If you ain’t going to drink it, guess you can’t expect anyone else to.
What do these idiots have to do with this you ask? They are the models for pomorting Seoul's water. Somehow a half-naked due doesn't want to make me drink it. Maybe if she lost her top...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

S.E.S. Reflections

Well, I admit that I like the girl bands of the late 90s, SES and FINKL. In fact, they are way, way better than the stupid bands out there now, like the Wonder Babies. Just compare the music videos each group made in New York: SES's Love and Wonder Babies: Wishing on a Star. As the one dude writes in the comment section, the SES video is 10 years old, but still looks great. The Wonder Girlies is brand new and looks like crap. At any rate, I really like the breakout song for S.E.S.: I'm Your Girl The interesting thing is that with S.E.S., you really had 바다 who could sing, and then 유진 and 신발 who could hold a tune. 바다 sings circles around them. If you watch the video, the normal voices are 신발 and 유진, and then the really good voice is 바다. I would guess things got touchy amongst the three of them because 바다 probably tended to get all the attention with her voice, while 신발 and 유진 backed her up. If you look at bands like FINKL and BABY Vox, you had one or two members with good voices, but not good as in "I'm really good and these other two girls just kind of back me up" good. Anyway, just thought I'd reminisce about the good-old-days when girlie bands battled fem-wad bands and won. Now all the gay boy bands seem to be the only popular ones because the wonder infants can't do anything but a stupid dance and song that repeats tell me over and over to an annoying tune that won't get out of your head once it's stuck there. Learn from your 언니들. Go for the cute look when you are only 18.

Yum Yum! A Bit, thick, juicy (and cheaper) steak headed my way

You know, having a semi-crazy president who suddenly decides to wreak havoc on the markets by changing every single restriction against big business, real estate, and commerce in general isn't all bad. If you can look past the completely stupid, retarded, idiotic, and in all other ways "dumber-than-a-fencepost" ideas like big canals, M.B. Lee is not all that bad. Point in case, he is going to let us get better beef. I like the real nuts who go out protesting this stuff in their cow outfits. I bet they're the same nuts who don't eat dog. I guess they'll never know the joys of eating dog. In fact, they'll never get offered that succulent treat they call dog penis, because they will never frequent a fine dining establishment like a 보신탕집 enough to get offered one. Maybe they will get offered the chicken penis if they go with dog-eaters and eat 삼계탕 enough.

BJs Help Prevent Aids!

I can't tell you how grateful I am to live in a country that is so open about these important topics. I mean in some societies its a faux pas to talk about blow jobs and aids in public. But In Korea, they are all about the straight talk. I would expound on the cultural ramifications of having such an open society, but I have to exercise my lips. AFter all, it is for the better cause of preventing aids. I mean does "moving your lips to prevent aids refer to just one person? Why don't we all move our lips for each other and prevent even more aids? We can get rid of this nasty disease in no time if we all just try a little bit more.

Sin Young in 영등포 (If I've ever seen one)

Update: I went back to get another picture. In fact, I went back with another guy and we ate McDonalds in front of the motel so I could get pictures. He felt gay doing that. But at least we didn't go in to the motel when the owner came out and told us to either come in or move the car.
Original Post: I moved to 영등포 recently. I knew the area had a good reputation for the oldest profession on earth. Then my friend pointed out this motel as we walked by and I knew it was a great place. The "Sin Young Motel"? I guess they are pretty clear about who their target market is. I wish I had one of these motels for those young , guilty people where I was growing up. Now that I am married, it doesn't do me much good. Maybe I need to go find the Sin Married Motel. As if on cue, we ran into a couple about 10 meters down the street that were practially sinning young right there in the street. So we graciously pointed them in the right direction.

I once again promise...

I was ust looking at some of my earlier entries. Go back and read my funeral entry. Nothing brings out a sense of humor like a death in the family. Anyway, I really do want to continue writing.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The French Party Might Be Better

I recieved the following invitation as part of being a member of AmCham (this membership is now pretty much useless as it doesn't get you a base pass for the Yongsan U.S. Army Base. Now it only gets you invitations to expensive parties). See Below:

Watch Movie
View Photos
Download FormI was discussing this with my friend and decided that not only are parties like this awkward to go to and make you feel like you are only 'acting like high society', they are very expensive. 225,000원 a person is not my idea of a cheap cover charge. Then you have to look at all the other people dressed like this.

The other thing is that I am way too cheap to buy a whole table, which means I would be seated with people like this. I can imagine it would be hard spending the evening talking with people you don't know who likely make more money than you and don't really think you belong. At any rate, our final conslusion is that hte French definitely know how to throw a better party, and their party is no more expensive, even if you are not a member. Au Revoir AmCham! BonJour Framcham!
Become a Sponsor

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Snow in the countryside

I swear that Seoul gets a lot less snow than everywhere else. I was down in Chung-Cheong Nam Province in my wife's hometown of Hong-Seong. It snowed about 3 inches overnight, and then an0ther couple in the morning. Why can't we get lots of snow like that in Seoul? I have seen pictures of Seoul from many years ago with lots of snow and the Han River frozen over. In fact, they used to ice skate a lot on the river. I guess all those turds in it give it enough salt content that it doesn't freeze.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Korean Funerals

There are lots of things I don't like about U.S. funeral customs, like the idea of a drugged up body slowly rotting over years inside a gaudy casket in a big cement tomb. Imagine the gross drippage you would get after awhile. I'd much rather have worms eating me within a year.

Anyway, Korean burials or cremations are generally much simpler. Having said that, they also have their quirks. These are just a few among many.
1. 아이고 (I go. As in I go crazy with the number of times we had to say this). This very useful word becomes overused at a funeral. People are supposed to express sorrow between the 소주 (soju) and the 고스톱 (go-stop game). So they use this word to do so. Some people try to make it sound real as if they truly lament the loss of the person (which I'm sure some do) and some don't even try, but it is just what you do. In fact, the dude guiding us through various rites before the cremation insisted that we all say it over and over as we did each set of bows.

2. 고스톱 and 소주 (go-stop game and soju) I suppose this may not be such a bad tradition, but coming from a different funeral culture, it cracks me up to see guys who are pretty much just waiting for someone to die so they have an excuse to go 'mourn' while they drink and play games literally all night. In fact, you have to pretty much kick them out by announcing you are leaving with the body of the dead person and no longer will be renting the space for them to play in.

3. Cremation: I know not all cremation places are this efficient, as I have been in lots who meet U.S. standards and you wouldn't have seen this. But this was in 울산 (ulsan) which is a 광역시 (large city). Anyhow, we took the coffin in from the bus, and the dude had us set it right on the cart that rolls in to the furnace. Then he pushes it in. We come back in an hour and a half to meet a well cooked set of ashes. Then as if to comfort us, he invites each of us to pick up some of the charred bones of our dearly beloved and put them in a bucket. I'm not sure how that is supposed to comfort you, but apparently it does. Then they take those ashes and bones (which would be very awkward to sprinkle somewhere) and grind them up in a blender for you (it was a big industrial blending machine at least) right before your eyes. Anyway, it was kind of odd. One other odd part was when they wrapped up the body at the hospital to put in the coffin. They invite the family in and the body is wrapped up in white wrappings up to the neck. Just like a mummy. Then they invite you to come touch the cold, dead face of your dearly beloved. I’m not sure anyone would want to do that, but they pretty much insist, so in the end, a few people have to. Then they promptly put a hood over the face. It is just like a burlap sack. That is kind of odd.

4. Great place to get a date: No kidding, you wouldn't believe the number of couples that hook up at funerals. I was attending my father-in-law's funeral, which means I am married and my wife is there. Her half-sister introduced me to her friend who had been making eyes at me all night. That's an odd place to try to hit on someone, much less someone married who is attending their father-in-law's funeral, so their wife is clearly present. Plus it was my half-sister-in-law doing it. But at the same time, it is a long three days, and there is not much to do other than drink, play 고스톱, and say 아이고.

5. Money at various points: These people certainly don’t know you can’t take your money with you when you die. At various points throughout the funeral, the funeral director asked people to put money up on the coffin, in with the body, on the coffin as it is being taken in to be cremated, etc. It is awkward when it is a father-in-law who ran away and deserted the family 20 years earlier. Everyone is looking through their wallets for 1,000 bills. You see all the 10,000 KRW bills go by, but nobody wants to waste that good money on a bum.

A Long time Gone

Well, I have been gone for a long time from the blogging world. I was reading through some of my old posts after I accidentally opened my blog. I thought they were pretty good and wanted to start up this again. I have just been extremely buys in my new job (a non-Korean company, thus the busy part) and haven't had a lot of time to write. I will try to write occasionally, but who knows how often I will make it.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

What about the FTA?

No, really! What about it? I just got back from a two week vacation in the U.S., and only heard from a coworker that a negotiation had been reached, and now needs to be approved by each government. I didn't even know that there. I got back to Korea, and everyone at work kept making sarcastic or deriding comments about the U.S. All the Korean news programs were about how horrible it was for Korea and why did they even negotiate in the first place. Then someone at work asked what the reaction in the U.S. was. I said I didn't even know it had been approved and nobody there cares. Just to check, I did a search on NPR, and they have only one story that mentions it in passing, along with FTAs in Panama, and some other country. That was it. Nobody cares in the U.S. That amuses me even more to tell that to the Koreans and see them realize that it really doesn't matter to the common U.S. person.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Actions Which Defy Logic

So I know that humans in general are not rational, but Koreans seem to be particularly so in certain cases. Case in point: I was at a church meeting on Sunday and the guy by the door was upset with all the people coming and going during the arduously long 2 hour meeting. So he decided to take action and lock the only door that was unlocked (at the very back). It locks from the inside, and he would just ignore knocks from the outside. Then he would scare away little kids trying to go out. But he could not do this to women with children in their arms, or men tall enough to open the lock themselves. Here is such a shot of him opening the door for a woman with a baby. Then all the people that had gathered outside waiting to come in would then troop on in. In effect, he was not stopping anyone from going in or out, just causing them to do it all at once. This went on for about 30 minutes until he finally gave up and just opened the dang thing. First, all I can say is that if a fire started in the room, we would see one more news story about a stampede and people being burned to death in the fire since they couldn't get out the door. Second of all, if you are going to stop people from going back and forth, you should stop them, not keep opening it for everyone but little kids. Anyway, it was entertaining and chased the sleep from my eyes momentarily.