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I like small speakers-i like tall speakers

- because I can’t get the jig out of my toes, o bookmark these people because maybe they have a jiggin’ troupe.

I bought some altec lansing speakers yesterday, plugged them in and immediately started to feel sanity returning at the same rate that the neighbours realised they’re not going to like me. It’s 2 small speakers and one bass thing – I’ve always been sus on those small speaker set ups and thought that unless the things weren’t about to blow apart then they weren’t good. But they bassyness of these ones is sweet.

There was this surreal moment the other day where I was rushing to get out the door and scrambling for the keys in my pocket to lock the door, and sometimes it’s like my frame of vision closes in to make everything tunnelish. I focus on the lock then hear the next-door (right behind me) open and I swing around and for a brief moment see the old lady (ajumoni) peering out from behind the security latch with her midget dog in her arms and its head just below her chin — manic little rat-dog I’ve heard yapping a fair bit. I smiled and quickly turned away to get the lock clicked and ran off.

I also bought an iron, because I love ironing.

YS @ 7:45 pm, February 28, 2005

cheese singles

Phrasebook section: dating and romance, subsection: classic rejections
– “I’m sorry but I’d rather not.” – “I’m here with my boyfriend/girlfriend.” – “Stop hassling me.” – “Excuse me, I have to go now.” – “I’m not interested.” – “I think, I’ll be very busy in this semester because I’m a freshman of university. As you know, there are so many school events every freshman must attend in their first semester, such as, freshman seminar, OT, things like this…
So maybe I’m gonna rarely have free time in this semester.”

Yes folks, she broke my heart — but that was last week and I’m over it now. Even that time having lunch I knew it wasn’t going to work. I mean, favourite movie: Mrs.Doubtfire??? — and studying economics…? Plus there was the ultimate reality that she just wasn’t any fun. I think a lot of people here don’t know how to have fun.

I knew this guy who lived in candy st Westgarth, and after several failed romantic endevours had found a central thread, that being Motorhead. None of these women had ever heard of Motorhead. So his gate-keeper was uttering the band title, Motorhead. If they didn’t know what he meant it was end game. It didn’t matter if they loved, loathed or were indifferent to the band — but at least something.

The other day on the subway I noticed this young woman in business clothes sitting on the other side of the way. I watched her get a bible out of her bag, flip to the end section and read. I’d like to take creative licence and say it was to Revelations, but I know better than that – and there’s probably some boring stuff at the end because of the new testament. I couldn’t help but grin mischeviously at the situation. She looked up and it became a staring contest — I won easy. Point is, what’s the point reading that thing if you can’t smile back? That collection of whacked-out novellas is fast becoming a red rag to my horns.

And all those christians can sit and spin because I’m wif a crew now. The monk came around today and we went shopping. He calls me Mr.Wocky and I call him Mr.Monk. He gets Rah-spect everywhere he goes – people bowing and doing the hands-together praying-thing. He showed me where this close-by, hidden supermarket was, but apart from that I pretty much know how to shop.
Then we strutted back to da Temple, and man, sure I’ve only been here a month, but I’ve never seen a pad as swish as that before in the whole country. Like, he had a huge AV unit – big tv and a whole bunch of stereo stuff, all these nice plants, a big picture of a lion, leather couches and the place was really really roomy.

This woman made us coffee and at first I thought maybe she was the maid or somfing, but I think maybe she is his wife — so I dunno – I didn’t think zen buddist monks could have wives, but maybe the SK version is different. The coffee was pretty damn good, considering the national standard. And they gave me a big bag of rice.
He’s got this bracelet of big wooden balls as big as eyes. And great taste in hats – mostly greay beanies, which go well with the monk outfit, but also a brown beret, one of those artist ones that looks like the top of an acorn with the twig-bit. I’ll have to ask him if he’s tight with the dalai lama.

Later on we went cruisin’ in the Lexus to E-Mart to catch up wif some of the homies. Some of them work there. Mr.Monk gave ‘em lollies. I bought cheese-singles which is about the only sort of cheese you can get at the supermarket, and it’s that deep-orange american-style colour (why? cheese doesn’t come out of a cow that colour). And I got some more household goods — utensils. I now have everything needed to make pancakes. I’m pancake-capable.
We had 30cent cones and then dinner at da food court. Zen, baby. Zen.

I got the cable tv on. It was actually way down on the list of priorities, but easy to get sorted, so. The internet guy came and try as we did, we couldn’t convince him to at least install the fucker and give it a try. He was cheery enough (from KTF) but kind of froze when he saw the iBook. There ain’t nothing but PC clones with WinXP here. Which means I have to keep coming to PC Bangs, which means I might as well have taken up cigs again ‘cause they’re so smokey. I install Firefox on every machine I sit down at.

PS. That guy I mentioned – the founder of the school – is 95 years old. I don’t think I ever shook hands with a 95yo, let alone in a work situation.

YS @ 8:24 pm, February 26, 2005

Oh get me another tie, get me another shirt, get me another woolie

I moved into the apartment yesterday. It was pretty tough going, a few pieces of unfamiliar furniture and no guidance I could’ve tried to make it feel like a keroaucky beat moment but the whiteness of the flouro and energy-saver light globes was too much to overcome.
I had a nightmare – something to do with the malevolent ghost of a child. For someone who likes to point out possible good omens (3 sulphur-crested cockatoos in the morning) I’m trying to not take it as an ill-omen, and instead a combination of the groaning of the under-floor heating system, the piercing hum of the fridge and a too-hot room.

The monk came over today and through gesticulation and charades I got the low-down on how the heater works. Then my handler from the school came over and we went shopping — she’s a nice person, and it was what I was hoping for because I was starting to feel a bit left high n’ dry, like ‘fully-furnished’ should mean more than a washng machine and a single bed.
We stopped off at a restaurant serving local cuisine and had dinner. This is nothing special, people here do it all the time, but I couldn’t help grinning at there being 30+ bowls/food recepticles on the table. She asked if I liked it, and I said yes, very much, and in this earnest stilted english she basically says – good because you’re paying for it. That made me laugh.

We went to a big department store – like K-Mart, except with food too, called E-mart. I bought some stuff like cutlery and tea-bags (HoofuckenRay for that, only Liptons and way expensive, but it was the first I’d seen anywhere) — after deciding on each item and about to move onto the next, she’d say in this near-by, furtive voice, “and then…?” and I almost cracked up completely because it reminded me of that Chinese Foooo bit from Dude, Where’s My Car?

Also while still at the apartment, after long conversations between her and the monk they sorted out getting internet and cable tv connected – tomorrow fingers crossed. All the net is broadband here, although the wireless situation leaves somethng to be desired. The only places that offer wireless is Starbucks, and even then my compadre Frank who was determined to get it happening, couldn’t. There’s no starbucks in this town. And cable tv is all there is here – I don’t know why — maybe the surrounding hills. Some of them are free-to-air stations and others are stuff in English, like the Super Action channel, and the Armed Forces Network – courtesy of uncle sam. Ironically, this is the only way I will get to see The Simpsons, and supposedly, the AFN channel’s program grid is decided on by vote of the troops.

I’m going to have to change my internal mental definition of the word-trio, ‘zen buddist monk’ because he drives a car (toyota?) and has a mobile phone. Despite the language barrier he says that he want to show me where some of the restaurants are and will take me shopping to e-mart sometimes. Giant-supermarket shopping with a zen monk — now that’s something that couldn’t possibly be done without sunglasses.

YS @ 10:41 pm, February 25, 2005

call the squirr cops!

[Props to ToeKnee of The Horse’s Mouth for resizing this shot for me since I can’t get me lappy to the net at the moment.]

The mascot for the cops here is that happy little character and in some ways it kind of fits. It’s the protein thing and the protein thing is huge — I’m continually have to readjust perception for it. Not having loads of dairy and meat and whatever it is that the West eats too much of, and instead eating rice, vegetables and a little meat makes everyone here smaller. This is all personal theory, mind.
Truly obese people are rare, the women mostly look more feminine and the men are smaller/sleighter than in the West. All the cops I’ve seen have been smaller than me. Last Friday at lunch on busy streets I had to manoeuvre around one and I felt like giving him the brush just for the heck of it. The brush is where people don’t bother moving right out of the way and kind of push past/through you – to different degrees. Having one’s personal space invaded like that takes some getting used to.

The cops drive these little hyundai hatchbacks same as everyone else on the grid. Sometimes they drive around with the red and blue lights blinking away as standard, like the boy who cried wolf. Sometimes they’ll yell out orders via the PA system attached to the roof, but again it seems kind of pathetic. They don’t have guns.

The local guys with the job of guarding yankee property are given big sticks. Maybe someone used that metaphor of ‘keeping them in line with a big stick’, and they took it literally.

But then, crime of the blue collar bank robber kind is almost non-existant. The TV news has to resort to building fires for action. I was looking at what I guess were the Jan. and Feb. posters of most-wanted people outside a cop station today – each had one token female.

The military is slightly different in that they’re everywhere. Initially I thought it was weird (a couple of weeks ago) being in a kiddy-amusement park, with a bunch of kiddies and me looking up and feeling a tad concerned at a convoy of 4 or 5 helicopter gunships rolling across te sky. But I was literally the only one looking. The locals seem oblivious. It happens all the time, but not right over the city, just in the country.
There’s guys in infantry fatigues everywhere. Just singly, off-duty but all the same. The rate is more like 70-80% of them are smaller than me.
And while the cops no.1 passtime is probably dealing with drunks, the military are actually used sometimes — like to mow down their own people, as happened on May 18 of 1980 in Gwangju, which is a city in the south-west. ref.

I don’t know, I’m feeling a bit negatoid today. I was hanging out with giveColinabrain last night and he was saying he dislikes all korean guys. I’ve definitely found it harder to strike up conversations with them, but was waiting longer to draw any conclusions.
This arvo I was cruising back through the local playground, and oldfolks had take over because it’s the first full moon after new year, which is significant. This morning they were drumming on and rocking to scare away the evil spirits.

There was a bunch of oldies sitting around singing along to one guy with a drum. It sounded great and was another of those times where I wish I had a minidisc on me because the audio can be even better than photos occasionally. They latched onto me enthusiasically and brought me in closer to the fire. I could see that some of them were pretty wasted on soju (the local spirits derivative) and this one old woman grabs my hand and claps it to hers along to the song, which was all fairly harmless. Then some old guy, more angry at her than me, grabs at the back of her jacket and pulls her right over onto the paving.

I was trying to help her up, but being careful about it considering there’s no way I could say, ‘hey let’s all just chill a bit hey?’ and she get up and pushes the guy, who had a coffee in his hand which went flying. Then he pulls her over again, and after that I split because it was depressing.

The alcohol is one thing — they drink way too much of it here. But the fucked up dynamic between men and women is another — and I fear that giveColinabrain might be right when he says that the only difference between these old arseholes and the younger guys is several decades of age – and that they’ll all be like that; treating women badly and not understanding eachother.

I didn’t realise how ingrained the whole ‘opening the door for the lady’ mindset was ground into me until noticing how it’s not done ever here. It’s not a western-feminist-friendly ‘we’re all equal so I’ll go through the door first, and we’ll split the bill’ thing either. It’s a ‘fuck you, I’m older, male and therfore superior so I’ll take that seat’ thing.

YS @ 6:24 pm, February 23, 2005

can dogs attain enlightenment?

Even if they are thinking dogs?

I met the school’s founder today – he really is old – maybe 400. His tongue was waving about and doing involuntary things, his eyes had that white-filmy cataract look and his slacks hung loose on spindly legs. But y’know it’s nice that he’s still got something to do instead of being hidden away in an oldfolks home. In this society he can, through translation, ask me if I’m christian, smoke and drink. I lied about the first one but was at least able to be true on the 2nd n 3rd. Be true to your school.
I got to see the apartment where I’ll be living. It’s nice, about the same size (if not a smidge bigger) and quality as Bucky’s, and it’s taken him a while to get where he is. Granted, I’m out in the sticks, but the traffic’s more managable, the air is cleaner, and down there, I’ll be treated like the freak that I am.
I don’t mind the longer-than-normal looks and the out and out stares. In fact, I crave them. I want to live in a place where I can get up in the morning, not have to do anything special to my hair or put on a costume — and just be treated as a freak. Lazy in his achievement of freakishness. That’s not really the situation there – maybe if I went further down, inland.
What’s troubling is when it’s inconsistant, like when I went to the whitey predominated ‘burb, Itaewon, the other day. I felt like shooing the other whiteys away. I saw on other whitey in eeetch-on today. I said hi but should’ve asked where Whitey congregates down there.

I met my landlord – a zen buddist monk – fuckin’ A! I knew it’d be hard for anyone to match Higgins as a landowner, but matched, matchless, match-everythingness .. and the inadequacy of words to describe zen. He had those kind of face wrinkles that indicate a life of lots of smiling and laughing. Doesn’t speak a word of english, but that’s cool — it’d only get in the way. The temple is right over the street, so maybe I’ll go hang out and meditate some, and do other zen shiznit like wear a shoe on my head and threaten to push deciples off the bridge into the river because they wanted to know how deep the river of zen is.
Peace out.

YS @ 8:29 pm, February 21, 2005

minor changey, something strangey

Linguistics is blowing my head out. It’d probably be good for every whitey/western kid be made to learn a non-romanised alphabet. I had a go at figuring some hangul out today but it’s disheartening to swap a word back and then realise it’s still gobbledegook like ‘chungul’ or something like that. From the back of the phrasebook I transed entrance to ipku, checked it and was pleased to see that the phonetic is indeed ipku, now I’ve just got to remember what ipku means, and then about a million other words.
And then the phrase book lets me down because it says annyong haseo is hello and how are you — but real people only say haseo. It sucks when you already had a perfectly fine one-sylable salutation like hi, and then have to switch to a potentially 6-sylable hard to say thing. And they all say it, you walk in to shops and the checkout chick will say haseo at least. What happened to the apathetic non-verbal, no eye-contact, exchange of goods for money I was so used to?

Yay. Thanks internet, because of you I now know how to tie a tie and I did it all without asking anyone. Or at least this time. For the interview I had to arx Mr.Kim at the place where I’m staying. More on that when I actually leave. The whole dressing straight bit sucks arse. I’d like to get a tailor-made 1930s gangter style pinstripe suit so then I’d at least feel cool. I don’t like tucking my shirt in.

A few weeks back now at the camp, the second-head teacher, matt, got food poisoning at was puking all night. All the kids in my class loved him because he could just cruise in, crack a few jokes and split while I was the guy enforcing the spelling tests. Regardless, I got the kids to make a get well card and write a sentence etc. On it they mostly put ‘matt, fighting!’ and similar. There’s also other things like KTF, the 2nd largest telephony services provider, stands for Korea Team Fighting.
The point being that there’s this odd slip in translation where fighting means Go For It!

And since I end up using crappy MS internet explorer these days, I’ve grown weary of seeing how crappy the old design was rendering in it. Most web pages produced in this country are crappy looking and cluttered up with text and javascript rubbish, but the reason why al those N.american web-design elitists use minimal boring white-spaced set-ups is because it’s fookin’ impossible to create a well-layered design that works in all browsers.

YS @ 8:36 pm, February 20, 2005

Screaming: Why it happens and what to do about it

Pretty much all of the temporary whitey teachers from the camp have cleared out now. Frank from SF split the other day and Rectangle went to do some WOOFing today, although she’ll be back and will also be in eeetch-on for a couple of months. They guy who I roomed with at the camp, who we’ll call Bucky (until he protsets that I not call him Bucky) has been here 3 years and has been a veritable font of knowledge practical and abstract about the country and working here. I had dinner with him last night again and it was good to catch up.

Also it was just good to hang out with someone because I was feeling downbeat about having lunch with YYS. She’s like being with a badly sealed case of uranium. Together, you feel invincible and dangerous and a couple of hours can feel like months but eventually you got to part and immediately you start feeling sick, need to sleep, and huge welts break out all over your skin … well maybe not that but the rest.
She’s freakishly pretty so I couldn’t help but stare the whole time — I think she pretended not to notice – and virtuous but not particularly fun — and I’m impatient and desperately trying to find a way to impress her or make her laugh and wondering of there’s anything she’s really passionate about. I’m totally 0wnz0red which is uncomfortable.

YS @ 1:31 pm, February 19, 2005

Work Less Accomplish More!

As far as this whole writing stuff online thing goes, one of my main inspirations over the last 14 months or so has been Zellar of Open All Night. He’s just moved virtual working locations to Yo Ivanhoe!. I hope they’re paying him there, or paying him more, or whatever.

I signed that contract for that job today. It was supposed to be in the presence of the founder of the school, but he had to go home for a nap. It was founded in 1945 so the old boy’s probably getting on, and be honest, who doesn’t like a nap after lunch?
Obviously I’m not going to get into any specifics about it all. I tried googling the joint and there’s almost nothing. The city is just under an hour onna bus from seoul – south by south-east and is pronounced eeetch-on. I think I’ll just alias it as the Nunnery because, damn it, I knew this would happen … I was sitting in the admin waiting area falling asleep in the stuffy warm air and gazing into this lead-light window, and it took a couple of minutes because it was all so abstract, but I could eventually see a Cross in there. After that crucifixes started popping up all over the place. I’ll probably have to teach sentences like: Find the verb in – “On Saturday Jesus went to the beach”.

It’s not like I have a huge problem wif christians or anyfing. I wish I could be one, they’re just so damn pious … how do they not desire? But I can’t. It’s like asking me to go back to pretending santa claus is alive or the earth is flat. Or pretending to not see the cross in the window. The woman who said I was handsome in the interview, has got this whole Vulcan thing going on – like how can you say that about someone then not show even the slightest glimmer of interest? It turns out she is the ‘assistant teacher’ anyway – which also is crazy because I guess she’d be the same age as me, but has this way of carrying herself in a ten years more mature fashion. Because the classes are 45 students big, there’s a second teacher. Confuscious was about as wise as yer average accountant.

YS @ 9:39 pm, February 17, 2005

R.O.K>lobster

Once upon a time there was a battery operated man. He had several batteries in him, which would drain to their own schedules.
He could recharge easy enough through any normal power outlet, although, he was from a different place and so needed an adaptor plug to connect. He always left it at home because it felt nauseating to carry it ‘round.
Once all his batteries ran out at once. After completing the loop-ride 18 times he was found by someone who was able to read and carry out the instructions hanging around his neck in a little clear plastic envelope.
“Please kindly return this battery operated man to _____ ____ --_ in case of power failure.”

Then one day he met this surly but dainty gal. She was standing behind the counter of an icecream outlet imitation, patting icecream down into flat moon-ocean beds like some cosmic cosmic.
In a rural accent she squawked hello and how are you without meaning it, looking him in the eye or smiling. The battery couldn’t understand her at all. And unlike all the others, she refused to learn a language that wasn’t hers.

Yet they were drawn together. She to his indescribably beastly looks and pocket money, and he to her pouty bottom lip and FUCK OFF attitude. She may well have been half his age but that didn’t matter because it wasn’t like that at all.

Together they’d do stuff like walk right over the tops of stationary cars in the traffic-jammed rain-sodden fish-funk streets.
On the subway, they laughed at a young woman who was crying and obviously suffering from acute toothache because she was holding a cold-pac to her jaw.
At the gigantro LotteMart supremarket they grabbed a hammer from one section and used it to pound a hole through the side-bottom glass of a large tank. Spilling out cam plenty of water, and ten whopping rock lobsters with main-shells as big as your both hands fisted together. The lobsters went berzerk snapping at shoppers.

They ran away and ate pilfered icecream.

YS @ 9:02 pm,

handsome boyeee modelling school


ice, ice chicken

You know you’re firmly wedged in the twilight zone when you show up for a job interview and the first thing the interviewers say is ‘you are very handsome’ — especially when you’re me. That was by the time we actually sat down for the interview, which was after the grand tour of the school. The compliment was followed by this long silence as I waited for questions – which eventually came. But I had this terrible good feeling that it was more or less a formality. Through it, as I bullshitted a little, in the back of my mind I was thinking – the details of this particular job are great but that I was also really going to be working – there will be real work to do.

I met the principal briefly – a fifty-something man with a shrewd look about him. The two women who interviewed me had to translate for him. The school has a sister-school – some christian girls school in brizzy. Did I mention this job is at a girls school? I don’t know if this is a good thing or not yet. The principal asked me if I knew any principals hehe – yeah right. I said the one from my high school when I was there — I didn’t bother mentioning that we didn’t part on such shit-hot terms after he decided to press charges on me.

(what’s the html &…; code for the greek thingy pi?)
There’s this Melbourne poet called pi O, and he’s got this one:

It’s a Dead Cert
99.9999999999
9999999999999
9999999999999
9999999999999
999999999999%

and that’s the situation with the job. From my understanding all I got to do is sign the contract. I hate talking about things here before they’re cement. Like, the date got postponed. I talked to YYS on the tellingbone and she didn’t even know it was Vals day. Stay tuned – the whole thing could be going nowhere fast.

When you’re whitey (and boyeee) you get the ‘you handsome boyee’ line a lot. All the kids said that to me. There’s a whole bunch of things that the man from mars in my head is trying to grok about this nation, and idolising the West is one of them. I’d like to know how it started, and why. Whatever the case, there’d be no call for me here if it weren’t so. I keep riding and riding the subway loop – the seats are along the walls facing eachother and I sit there scanning, staring and grope and strain as far as I can for a handle on this whole thing – these people. So far nothing.

YS @ 11:27 pm, February 14, 2005

the new romantics

I writ this post once already last night but then I pressed the wrong button and it disappeared.

Yesterday I found a new bunch of friends who tend to not get smashed everynight, which suits me fine. Went bowling, cracked a hundred.

My love-life has pretty well sucked for over two years so it’s a good thing that I’m going out on a date tomorrow evening. Before I came here I had this notion that I wanted to be a born-again romantic; fall in ga-ga love, actively pursue a young woman rather than be caught by one, go on dates, hold hands and go ice-skating. Everything would be sweet and nothing would hurt — and it’s never going to be like that. But fuckit I’m going to try, Billy.
YYS, (those really are her initials and it’s great because it rocks one third harder than my YS) seen top middle here speaks softly, has insanely good posture, sits in ways I never could, will give up her socks to stoopid kids in 17degsC, puts in emails (what the heck is - ??) and has a heart lighter than anything I’ve ever come near. I’ve come a way but I still feel way dark cynical and captain kirk next to her. Plus I slouch like nobodies bizness.

Tradition here has it that the guy does nothing on Vals day, while the girl gets the guy chocolate. A month later the guy reciprocates by getting the girl lollies (candy) but if you find yourself an unreciprocated lover in such exchanges, then the month after that you’re supposed to go to a bar and eat black eggs. True story.

YS @ 11:06 am, February 13, 2005

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