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Korea: day 6 and 7

The last couple days have calmed down and stayed pretty uninteresting. I woke up ass early in the morning to say goodnight to E and my IM friends, then took a few mile stroll through a sleeping Anyang. President Kim has ordered lunch into the office, since I might guess we were cutting into his work time a lot. That bothers me, but I don’t see what I can do about it. Then dinner ordered in Wednesday, and dinner out Thursday.
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As Pres. Kim dropped us off at the hotel he said since tomorrow is my last day here Tony and I should go on another Seoul exploration trip. In the morning he would send Mr. Yuh to drive us to ??? to shop and see the world. Although Tony will try to rush me, I’m going to be more insistent on shopping. Until then, good night.

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Korea: day 6 – recovery

After all that last night brought to my Korea experience, I feel pretty well today. I’ve been waking up at 5am for no reason most mornings, and sitting online talking to E and friends who are on at 3pm the “previous” afternoon. Then getting out and taking a walk around Anyang, grabbing donut and coffee before work. Today again I woke up at 5, and went back to bed after some water. Woke up again at 8, and had hours to kill, so I took my walk. Since the mountain hike my calves are sore, but after a mile or so they don’t hurt anymore. No place is open for shopping or anything, even at 10. So I walked and people watched.
At lunch, President Kim took us to one of the super department stores. We parked down down in a basement parking lot, and went up to the eighth floor where the fine restaurants are. His wife met us there, and we had Japanese fried pork, which is almost just like a German schnitzel. Then he left us with Mrs. Kim to go back to work, and we were stranded buzzing around the mall with her, shopping. Mrs. Kim loves to shop, I learned.  We had to stop at every floor. Each floor is its own department. There’s a strange thing to note here. Every three to five meters or so there’s a store employee there to sell you on whatever they’re standing around. Show any interest in anything, and they’re there at your elbow. As an American I found it an annoyance.  But it got worse when we reached the grocery level of the department store. (Get that? Grocery at a department store?)  There were two guys in the middle of the store yelling out advertisements like a street vendor.  I tried to ignore them like everyone, but I wanted to… to… shut them up somehow. Ach!
Eventually Pres. Kim picked us up and we were back to the office. He had earlier at lunch mentioned we should go with him to the public bathes today, but he must have changed his mind. He ordered in shrimp fried rice and we ate in the office, and then he returned us to the hotel to relax and rest up. I think he was more drained than us after last night.
This finally gave me a chance to wander the open market of Anyang alone to shop. I didn’t find what I was looking for, and returned after a couple hours. Still, the walk in the night air was good.
Today we’re back at work. We’ll sit around all day killing time, eat more strange and interesting Korean cuisine, go back to the hotel in time for me to wander the shopping district and go to bed feeling accomplished. That’s how things were supposed to happen.
Oh, how I wish they had…Collapse )
where my tale turns down a dark path...Collapse )
I know we walked back to the restaurant and the car from there, though I don’t know how that happened. A restaurant employee drove us home in Pres. Kim’s car, which is another interesting Korean business custom. We were instructed that we would be picked up at 11am tomorrow rather than 10. Then I was in my room and out.
If this gets back to the office, I know it will be because of Jodi, who reads my journal.

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Korea: day 4 - Cheonggye Mountain

As promised, President Kim and his wife picked us up at 10am for a hike up a mountain. I know I’m not in shape, but I was going to push myself as much as I had to or could. I heard the last trip Jason came. He’s my size and a smoker and dropped out of the hike some ten minutes in. I didn’t want to do the same.
so we hiked up a mountain...Collapse )
a Korean standoff...Collapse )
President Kim's old friends...Collapse )
After all that we were dropped back at the hotel early at about 7pm. I thought this was my chance to slip out on my own in the evening when stores were open, but instead I collapsed into bed. I couldn’t help it.

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Korea: day 3 - a day on the Seoul Train

I mentioned yesterday that today was a day off. Seems a little weird since I've only worked one day here, but ok.
As I grabbed my coat and hat this morning I found that I've lost my glasses somehow in last night's drinking. I swear I didn't have THAT much, but I can't find them. Phooey.
I met Tony at 10am and grabbed Krispy Kream in the train station. Got a subway token card (like credit card) and we were on to adventure!
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After that Tony and I stopped at Elvis Bar, which is actually a comfortable little pub where we had a couple beers to literally decompress from everything. We grabbed supper and retired early, around 9.
Tomorrow, we faced the mountain…

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Korea: day 2

Today was a work day in this future world. At 10am a guy from SNK Technologies picked up my boss, Tony, and I from Hotel Sogno in An-yang and took us to the "office". Everything in Korea is stacked four to six layers from the subways to the top of the "street level" businesses. What I mean is most retail stores have three or four floors of shopping or business. SNK is in a small nondescript building above an auto body shop.

We mostly just sat around all day because the product wasn't really ready for testing until end of day. It felt like being on the plane again. President Kim took us to lunch, and then dinner. I can definitely say Korean food is tasty!  Most of it is spicy, with all kinds of seafood, strange vegetables and adventure. Everything is eaten with steel chopsticks and a big spoon. The downside is there's this ritual where you wrap your meat in a leaf or pickled radish slice with other condiments into a little burrito using only your chopsticks, and then try to eat it without making a mess. So far I've mostly failed. I'm sure Pres. Kim thinks I'm an uncouth moron.

One other thing of note: Soju. This popular drink is 38 proof, clear, and taste like smooth, slightly sweet, weak vodka. Pres. Kim's wife can throw these suckers back. She came to dinner with us, and she seems to like to party. She expected us to keep up with her, and we did. Tony and I got back to the hotel unable to do much but go to bed.

But tomorrow is Saturday and we have the day off to explore, and then Sunday we're hiking up a mountain.
More later...

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The next adventure begins...

After this weekend's camping i had very little time to rest. With a great deal of nervousness I packed up my bags and grabbed my brand new passport.
Yesterday early early E dropped me off at the airport and I was off. Sitting in a seat for sixteen hours, plus a four hour layover in SFO was taxing, but I survived to arrive in Korea at 6pm the next day. Wait, wut? The hours don't add up... unless... I've also travelled into the future!!

AWESOME

so, some first thoughts on this strange alien future world that I'm touring:
1: You know that smell at the asian grocery? Everything smells like that here. I used to think it was the fish market in the back of the store. Now I know its the smell of Korea. You get used to it.
2: At the airport the taxi guys do not take "no" for an answer. Every 30 seconds someone asked me in a soft tone, "Where are you going?" I told them I was looking for someone, but they just stared at me blankly. I think those are the only four English words they knew. For that matter, I'm only guessing they were taxi drivers. Maybe they were sexual predators of something.
3: There are no billboards in Korea. No place along the highway can you see an ad. In fact, they put up cement walls on both sides so you can't see the cities or scenery either. Maybe to combat noise pollution? I don't know.
4: There are no semi trucks on the highway either. I know they have a developed rail system, but I'm surprised they don't utilize their roads for cargo like we do.
5: inside the city everyone drives like friggin maniacs, weaving in an out, driving on the sidewalk, whatever. Some places they didn't even bother to paint the lines on the road since nobody seems to use them. Also the city is so condensed there isn't any good place to park so Koreans will park any damn place they can find. Cars are up on the sidewalk, blocked three cars deep, taking up a whole lane of a two lane road. If there were parking laws enforced in this town the city would bank.

More to report later...

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Spring War debriefing

This weekend was Spring War, a big big national Amtgard event that was just an hour away. Even though I have no love for the society of Amtgard I tried to generate interest among my peeps to go, since it was a great way to see both dree and jillicious, Tollan, sharjinka and kalidascopeeyes all in one place. Read more...Collapse ) It was a great end to a good time at the worst event I could ever laugh at. All weekend I wanted to say, "We would never do this in Drandmir. We're not dumbasses. We're fukin bad ass." But I was good. I didn't say nuthin.

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Nov. 5th, 2008

"Good to hear from you again. Hope life is going well?" said an LJ friend today.
I guess I just never get around to posting all the things I mean to here. Mostly I just don't want to spew negativity, but anyway... here we go.

Last night... well, you know. We rocked the vote. Mtv tried to motivate with the phrase, what, 16 years ago? But then it didn't do crap to unite my generation. Now Obama showed we can together make a difference. Finally.

I believe this may have been the most important election in the history of our country. Definitely in my lifetime. A change, a break with the generations of prejudice of white americans can now be seen in a black man who leads us. A man who has already made himself a role model that everyone can look to, but especially young black Americans who really can become president some day. That's a claim no one would have believed before yesterday.
It's not, it never was, just about the race issue. Obama has integrity and vision, intelligents and education, and can set a course correction to this country that has been derailed by the antichrist who's been disassembling our America for  the last 8 years. He's a proven statesmen (Yes, I said proven. He can make a speach, man!) an effective congressman, and a calm, reflective, even handed total badass. Am I getting carried away if I say we have a total badass action hero for president? Maybe. At least I don't feel like I have to apologize to the rest of the world this time.

I believe him. I think hes honest with us. I think that because he hasn't just told us what we want to hear. The economy is in the toilet, and its gonna take work and sacrafice to rebuild. I don't think some people are ready to hear that. Maybe they can't handle the truth. Well, tough shit. Put on the big boy pants.

And so I'm finding out where some of my friends stand, who are feeling the pain of their losing the election. Cursing the winner with names of "communist" and "facist". I want to react with the same irrational knee-jerk defensiveness. I'm trying to keep quiet until I can think clearer. I'm trying not to be angry at things that sounds so stupid to me right now.

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Cell Phone Numbers Go Public- TODAY

REMEMBER: Cell Phone Numbers Go Public today REMINDER.... all cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketing companies tomorrow and you will start to receive sale calls.

.... YOU WILL BE CHARGED FOR THESE CALLS

To prevent this, call the following number from your cell phone: 888-382-1222
It is the National DO NOT CALL list. It will only take a minute of your time. It blocks your number for five (5) years. You must call from the cell phone number you want to have blocked. You cannot call from a different phone number.

HELP OTHERS BY PASSING THIS ON TO ALL YOUR FRIENDS... It takes about  20 seconds or go to www.donotcall.gov