Monday, June 30, 2008


For the second time since I've been in Korea (South) I went to a store that I'd been to before with a Korean friend as my guide, only to discover that I couldn't find the part of the store I wanted without my friend. When I go to a department store like Homeplus or E-mart there are clerks (usually young women in these hot skirts) in every aisle to guide you to merchandise and ensure you buy the most expensive stuff. However, their guidance is useless on me because they usually can't speak English.

Prices here are random crazy. Things like a bottle of honey will be $12 and a pair of Adidas that goes for $50 in the states will be $100... but then you can find other shit for hella cheap. You just can't predict it because it's usually not what you expect to be high or low. Overall it averages out and Korea's probably a little cheaper.

I realized today my entire existence in Korea has been forged by the internet. Everyone I've met here, my job, everything, would be vastly different without the WWW. Even the Koreans I know from America I met through craigslist apartment ads or posts for language partners.

And by the way, I should start studying Korean again.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Vacation on Horizon

Good news (for me, not you)! I get 4 weeks paid vacation in July and August!! Awesome. I was under the impression the school year ended in the summer (like in the U.S.). That's really just the end of the semester, and the school year actually begins in March.

So there's summer break from July 22 to the end of August, and in that time I only have to run a short summer program for six days. The rest of the time I'm off, and I get paid my monthly salary same as usual.

I may go to Jeju island during the break. Jeju is an island a little bigger than Oahu off the south of Korea. It's where Koreans go for vacation and honeymoon. When I was planning my move to Korea I considered living there. I was advised that it's more of a visiting place than a living place, so I ended up close to Seoul with the people and places I know. I still want to see Jeju though. If I end up doing more than one year teaching in Korea I might break away from the megalopolis. Right now I'm good with it. Right now I like the energy, the corpuscular flow of pedestrian, bicycle, bus, taxi, and psychotic scooter rider. Who knows how I'll feel about it next year?

Every day I get office messages from my co-workers in Korean that I immediately translate into English with the Google translator. It usually creates gibberish English. What I like to do is take a passage I've written and then translate it, then translate that into another language, then translate that into another language etc until I finally translate it back into English. The final product is often quite mystifying. For example:

When I met her in front of my eyes, my butterflies to dance on the blood vessels, such as the vibrations of power. The sad history of life is now nothing left to lose is not expected to trust him.

My thoughts precisely.

I see that relations with North Korea are relatively cool right now, for which I'm thankful. Today they blew up a cooling tower at a nuclear power plant which demonstrates their commitment to blowing things up. I give less of the credit to Bush than to the desperate situation of North Korea. But whoever gets the credit - Bush, Condi Rice, Kim Jong Crackhead - I pray for peace and less posturing.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Random Kimchi

I've barely been teaching the last few days because of the testing schedule. Normally I'll teach about 4 classes a day. So I have a lot of time at my desk and I might as well use it to do some hardcore bloggery!!!!

Nothing to blog about.

Oh, I went to the doctor today to get the results of my physical and he says the x-ray shows I have a pneumothorax, which means I have a hole in my lung or something. It seems to be a "non-tension" version, which is why it doesn't seem to affect my health. I guess I just keep an eye on it in the future. He also said I shouldn't smoke and that jogging isn't the best exercise. I thought it might jeopardize my ability to get a clean bill of health and get my alien registration card and I had visions of staying in Korea to illegally tutor. It probably won't affect anything though.

In Seoul there's an English bookstore called "What the Book?" Best bookstore name ever! It's in Itaewon, the white people neighborhood. I haven't been back to Seoul yet, even though it's only half hour away. Maybe this weekend. It'd be nice if I had a cellphone so I can meet up with people. I'm only waiting on my alien registration card and maybe I'll be able to go with my co-worker on Monday to get that. Then a bank account and cellphone! And then the world!

I started watching The Aristrocrats last night. It seems too long, like it could have been half an hour.

Everyone is always scurrying around here at my work and I feel like I'm the only one who barely works. It's a new school. Everyone has extra jobs but me. Korea is a country of workaholics and I feel like I hold myself to a higher standard now. Everyone is so well groomed too. In San Francisco I could just slap on some wrinkled t-shirt anytime. Here people kill any piece of lint that lands on their arm.

My friend Daniel just got a new job too and he has ridiculous hours - something like 7 AM to 9 PM. And that's normal for some Korean jobs. These people don't get paid enough either. I think the minimum wage is like $3.50! I think the only reason they give me an 8:30 to 4:30 schedule is to keep me happy.

I would describe the mood of Korea as late-Romanticism. Korean movies are usually tragedies or horror (occasionally tragic-horror). Korean music is sentimental and ballad-like. Korean schools use a Dickensian discipline system. Yesterday I saw this creepy teacher grabbing a boy by the cheeks as the boy's face squirmed to pull away. And they have this stick they carry around
sometimes... haven't seen it used, fortunately.

I get free lunch at my school every day. It's always Korean food and I always skip the kimchi. I like some Korean food. Yeah, and some of it is like, "How many ways can you reshape beef?" The cafeteria walls have sandwiches, fruit, brownies, and other food that is never actually served. I pointed this out and they said, obviously joking, "It's for you!" Hmm, I'd prefer the actual food to pictures on the wall.

The school year goes till the end of July and it's a piece of cake till then. Next week is testing so I don't teach any classes. None! Just prepare for the summer program. So I'm sure I'll get plenty of blog action in!!!! (Feign excitement). July is just whatever I want to teach since they don't get tested on it.

Then in August I teach a program for two weeks, four hours each day. Then two weeks off!

I love how packaging here has smiling white people on it. Or they try to write something in English on it and massacre the words. The relationship with white people is very love/hate, and I choose to believe they hate the military, but love the teachers. It's the illusion I operate under, anyway.


Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Man, I'm tired. Taught my first "full" day today and didn't get enough sleep last night. No more going out weeknights till I'm settled and organized. Kids have been great at work. Co-workers are great. Still adjusting to Korean culture and the different schooling style. Still tripping how massive Seoul area is, apartment block after apartment block, row after row of neon-lit shopping centers and restaurants every twenty feet.


Sunday, June 22, 2008


Here's the view from my apartment of Songnae station that goes to downtown Seoul. Pretty clear right now cuz it just rained.

And I should watch this before I start work tomorrow.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Life in a Sandwich

Oops, I messed up my layout. I'll fix it when I have time.

I'm still under the time-compression influence of being in a new place - amazed that it's only been two days since I arrived because so much has already been crammed in.

I live in Bucheon, which wikipedia says is sandwiched between Seoul and Incheon. My apartment is on the 11th floor and I like it. It feels so, so good to have my own place. My neighborhood is awesome! Within a thousand feet of the entrance of my building there are like 100 restaurants (really), a clothing mall, grocery store, a Seoul subway station, and lots of small parks.

Yesterday Daniel helped me find the school I'll be working at (starting next week). It's a very small public school, only about 300 students, junior high level. I showed up right before classes got out and was waiting in the teacher's lounge for the school principal to arrive. When classes got out I heard a ton of noise from the kids in the hall behind me and thought, "Damn, they're noisy kids!" But then I turned around and tons of them were pressed against the window looking in at me! I guess the school has been expecting me and these kids don't see a lot of foreigners. In fact, I don't think I've seen any non-Koreans since I left the Incheon airport.

As I was shown around the school the kids said hello, bowed to me, asked to shake my hand etc. I felt like something between a rockstar and an alien.

The school is very nice and Daniel says I made a very good choice.

Afterwards we went to E-mart (kind of like the Korean Wal-mart, but the store is even bigger) and bought a few things. Then we went to Incheon and had dinner with Daniel's parents and then I came home and passed out from jet lag.

I'll put up some pictures where I live and stuff when I fix my layout.

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Brights Lights, Big City

Today (whatever day it is) I moved to Korea (South).

There are Asians everywhere.

[famous last words]


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Final Countdown (again)

Yes, it's that time again. Once more I will venture into the great unknown with only my blog readers and Jesus at my side. I ask that you keep me in your thoughts as I cross the frothy depths into alien textures. R. Kelly is off scot free - save your prayers for me.

I gotta prep to fly on Wednesday . . . a few days of silence . . .

Then I'm BACK, electro-disco style!

Wait for it!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Glomer (again)

How appropriate I should learn on Father's Day that Glomer, my internet godfather, has created a new blog:

Go get some! But watch out...
he's addictive!

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Giant Tit!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

The Postmodern in the first 10 Minutes of "Super Troopers"

The first ten minutes of
Super Troopers are so brilliant. Only when I'd watched the whole film did I understand it, and thanks to the drugs I'm not 100% on the point of view and what "really" happened. What about the other Broken Lizard movies: are Club Dread and Beerfest any good? Glomer?

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Theo Jansen

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Thursday, June 12, 2008


I rose at an ungodly hour today to accompany my dad to Petaluma where he works and then I took Golden Gate Transit to San Francisco, got what I wanted then bused back to Petaluma where I had time to kill till my dad got off work. I walked around the countrified-industrial suburbs of Petaluma in ungodly heat looking for a park or somewhere to rest and find shade. No parks anywhere so I sat on a curb under a tree eating a bag of chips till I asked a city maintenance worker where a park could be found. He thought about it then said the nearest park was on the other side of town, on the other side of the river. Whatever that means.

I walked back to where the bus dropped me off and found a train station being remodeled and some shade and a seat where I waited for an hour and a half skipping through most of the horrible audiobooks on my ipod, sometimes losing hold on consciousness.

Finally it was time to meet dad at the liquor store as we'd planned. I stood near a tree in the parking lot. A few minutes later a smog-colored car pulled in and started heading towards me, pulling into a spot. I tried opening the passenger door but it was locked. Annoyed, I looked into the car at my dad only to discover it wasn't my dad, it wasn't my dad's car. D'oh. The driver looked at me like he expected me to pull out a gun or something (I didn't). After a minute when he realized I wasn't going to attack him he got out of the car. I said, "I'm half-awake," as if that was an explanation. He went into the liquor store.

Minute later my dad arrived. We drove back to Camp Meeker.

We got home and I bought a plane ticket for Wednesday.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

E-mail: MaC aTtAcK!!

I opened my email (e-mail) pogrom today to discover from anonymous spammer:

not sure if something's wrong with my computer or what, but your website freezes firefox every time I visit. maybe something not mac-friendly going on.

Hmm, hard to say what this reader's problem is, so if anyone else with the "mac" is having similar troublem, maybe you alert me and I'll manhandle the Ninja-tek blog appropriately. It may just be my blog overwhelming an otherwise stale computer.

Thank for continued service.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Shakespeare in Gay

Man, life is so weird right now.

I saw this article "Japanese youth goes berserk, kills 7" and thought, "Do people really 'go berserk'? Isn't that kind of description fifty years old? And reading the article I thought, do we really need to put
anime and manga in quotations in 2010 or whatever year it is? And was it really supposed to be a balmy Sunday?" And I love how they got a jaded Indonesian tourist to bemoan the decline of Japanese civilization. Why does mainstream news feel more and more like it's written for four year-olds?

I'm hoping to go to San Francisco tomorrow to take care of some business. Today I went hiking in Bodega bay. Cue not very exciting picture!

I've been reading and watching Timon of Athens by Billiam Shakespeare. It's about a generous rich guy in ancient Athens who's heading for a fall. To my delight I finally found torrents of the BBC Shakespeare productions! I watched most of them years ago and can't wait to burn them for the duration. They're a mixed lot and I recommend you at least watch Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, and Henry V (in that order). Oh wait. You guys hate Shakespeare. Never moind.

A complete volume of Shakespeare makes a great oracle. You just ask it a question...
"What should I be doing now that I'm not doing?"

...and flip to a random page and line and get your answer...
York: Ho, who is within there? Saddle my horse.

Of course! I should be saddling hos! Thank you, Billiam Shakespeare, for enlightening the masses. Now get me out of Camp Meeker!

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Bruce Lee Screen Test for Green Hornet

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Shining

My cabin fever accelerates. I'm listening to The Mind Trip by Jeff Warren and that doesn't help. I think I spoke about 30 words today. Madness.

I started watching The Royal Tenenbaums again for the first time since it was in theaters. I noticed outside Gwyneth Paltrow and Bill Murray's house... isn't it the same street with the auto mechanic in The Darjeeling Limited?

I go on myspace to use my fake girl profile that I created long ago and which has gathered dust since. Send a few cruel emails to some military guys. Entertains me for a few minutes then boredom.

I check the DHL tracking number for a package I await that can get me out of here and it says the number hasn't been processed yet grumble grumble.

Go for a walk along a forest trail and run into some Christian kids hiking and studying a tree. People are the last thing I want to see. Escape and smoke but it's not strong enough these days. Heading home I run into the neighbor who baked us cookies a few days ago. She remembers my name but I forgot hers.

In 2003 when I was also stranded at my dad's I went into San Francisco after about a month of this insanity and remember getting on BART and feeling weird around so many people. My dad has a huge house and I have an entire floor to myself. So it gets trippy after a while. Like The Shining. All I do here is sleep, eat, meditate, and keep headphones on. When I shave I take a few hours, hoping the day will be over when I finish. But it never stops.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Louey Saves the Civil War

Starting to go stir crazy out here in Sherwood Forest. Living with parents is almost as bad as living with roommates. Anyway...

Possibly the last of my old writings saved before "the purge" - another anticlimactic relic from the 6th grade, this time with an apparently anorexic protagonist. I think I was into H.G. Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle at the time:


In the year 2062, there lived a man named Louey Jameston. He was a famous astronaut and scientist about the age of twenty-five. He lived during the second Civil War. The war was against high taxes. He was a well-known inventor of the Twenty-first Century. Louey was about six feet, eight inches tall and weighed about 130 pounds. He had fair skin and black hair. His voice was deep and he was very smart. Had he a beard? No, nor a mustache on his clean face.

One day he decided to visit his mother to see how she was doing. When he had reached the small house, he knocked on the door. No one answered. He got his key out of his pocket to open the door himself. He went straight to the dining room where she usually played cards with her friends. She wasn't there, but her friend Vivian was. She was knocked out and laying on the floor. When he woke her up she said, "Where's your mother? Oh yes, I remember."

"What happened?" he said.

"We were playing cards," she began stating, "when we heard the door open. We thought it was you so we remained calm. When I had just finished shuffling, two men came in. I yelled for help but they knocked me out before anyone came. They must have taken her for ransom or something."

"Maybe they left a note," he suggested.

They looked around until they finally gave up. On the way out Louey fell down. He noticed that there was a piece of paper under the table. He picked it up and it read:

Dear friends and relations of Mary Jameston,
We know you would like to see Mary again.
If you do, send her son,
Louey to Baskville Fort on
Sunday or you will never see her again.
The Weasel

He immediately drove his hover car to Baskville Fort and hovered about 300 feet above it. He smelled the gunpowder of the enemies' base. He used his X-ray vision beam to see if she was inside the fort. He hoped its hypnotic sound would not let the soldiers sense his presence.

He saw her inside the fort guarded by five men.

First he attached a stun gun to the front of the hover car so when he rammed into someone it would knock them out for about fifteen minutes. Next he lowered the hover car and shot a hole in the wall, just large enough for the hover car to fit into the fort.

He surprised two of them and stunned them. he would have stunned the other three but the car wouldn't start. The other three guards started firing their laser beams right away. One of them might have shot him, had he not ducked and put a bullet-proof bubble over the top of the hover car.

He then started the car and charged the three soldiers.

After he had taken his mom back home, he went back to his house and thought about other inventions to work on to help the Civil War.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008


I was looking through unsent drafts in my email and found this, dated 09/30/2004:

The toughest part of being a ninja is paying the bills. The art of killing has been ruined in recent years by the influx of wholesale killers, blokes who do the exact same thing I do – but much cheaper, and minus any sort of guile or craft. In truth, a ninja shouldn't even be bothered with things like grocery shopping and vacuuming. He should wear a ninja outfit all the time and hack up any foo who gets in his way, devoting all his time to Ninja-tek, honing his ability to chop skin off the backs of the loathsome.

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Camp Meeker

I have already forgotten what cities are. It is so quiet out here. NO RROMMMTATES!!!! I don't even use earplugs here and slept 9.5 hours last night.

I have a couple movies and I probably won't watch them. I have some books and I doubt I'll read them. I lost track of days and times and my memory isn't working.

I took two Golden Gate Transit buses to get here and both drivers said I had too much luggage and yet they both let me on anyway. The Golden Gate Bridge is the transfer point into the stix and waiting for a bus in Novato listening to pseudo-ghetto teenagers it claws you there is NOTHING here.

My dad's house never changes. Camp Meeker never changes. No cell phone reception. Tall trees that keep the direct sunlight away.

This will always be my purgatory.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

3 Things I've Learned About Moving & 3 Movie Reviews

3 Things I've Learned About Moving

1. It always takes longer to pack than you think.
2. You always have more shit than you think.
3. You never have as much room in your luggage/boxes/moving van as you thought.

But because I'm familiar with these rules I did okay this time.

3 Movie Reviews

Juno - crap
Dan in Real Life - crap
Superbad - pretty good

Alright San Francisco, good bye, I'll never see you again!

(until I come back in a few days to do some paperwork)

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