I really only find out about music via the computer these days so for the last six months or so there’s been a limit to how much new stuff I here. But two of the things that’ve characterised this year are Fatboy Slim’s ‘you’ve come a long way baby’ album and the piece done by Strictly Kev called ‘Raiding the 20th Century’.
The first, because the tempo makes it good to walk to. It’s hard to believe it was made in 98. I’ve listened a bit to his other stuff but it doesn’t have that same jump in time going on.
The chaos of Raiding the 20C is what the future of music will be like. Kind of funny that when intending to capture a history of audio in the 2nd half of last century – and compress it into 40mins – it squishes the sound out forward. I like the amount of female-vocaled recent pop—I never listen to that kind of thing normally but when it has a obtuse beat from another song set against it it makes it more interesting. The whole thing is like music for ADD people—4 radios on at once—or, like walking down the street here. Every shop has some kind of music blasting out of it, plus so does the town PA system. There’s no silence anywhere. Even walking up the hill, most of the time there’s something going on at the toursimo stage at the bottom that carries up at least half of the 392metres.
Everytime I get stuck in a PC bang for more than half an hour, like now, I d/load the strictly kev and listen to it on headphones.
I happened to be watching some tellyvision last night and saw the movie hudson hawk. For a while I wasn’t sure if this was the same guy who was the Chief on Get Smart, but it wasn’t . It’s Jame Coburn. I just found out now he’s dead now. Had a great voice, I think maybe he did some narration for things . Sounds a bit like Leonard Nimoy.
Someone else here said it, but this whole thing is very groundhog day like. It’s come in do the same things in the same places with slight variations on with who, weekly. I think that maybe I’m not making the most out of being in a different town, but then maybe there’s just not that much to the town. Straight after work the other night I got straight up on it and bused into town—but found that town is quite big—a million big. There’s a million in Perth too, and that place probably can’t be worked out immediately.
I wandered around the great expanses of asphalt, traffic, (all Hs) fumes and humidity as dusk came on. I watched a department store close from the inside. They almost locked me in. I caught the bus back after having learned almost nothing of the geography.
* * *
There are some genuinely cool t-shirts here—that is by western standards. That is opposed to Korean-post-ironic t-shirts that make up the bulk of what I see in eeetchon and seoul. It must be because it’s a port town – things fall off the back of ships.
What I mean by the latter is things like people wearing t-shirts with things like IDIOT emblazonded across the fronts. I can’t remember the wording but I saw one the other day here that said something like ‘Another fuckin’ tshirt design’, left aligned, in helvetica.
Hey, if it’s in english it’s cool and who cares what it says.
I say post, because for a while, for a few months it’s really hilarious. You see one and think Oh nothing will top that. Then you subconsciously think, Okay that’s great I’ve had enough, let’s be normal. But they keep coming. Day after day walking down the street I see people wearing things that do my head in.
There’s actually a clothing label called Fatdog. It’s certainly something to see a slim young woman wearing a matching two-piece tracksuit with ‘F A T D O G’ in fabric, college letters semi-circled across the chest.
* * *
This is Datarock
I am in Ulsan. It’s not as humid as inland and further up the peninsula which is a welcome change. Apparently there’s a lot of foriegners here, although I’ve not seen any, and so one doesn’t tend to get second looks.
The whole H. effect on the place is fairly sweeping. Everyone drives Hs, every second sign on the street is for something-H. The compound area where me n’ the other mercenaries are staying (the room are actually not bad) is full up with H employees. Guys wearing short-sleeved dust-coloured dust jackets.
Each morning we get shuttled across the length of the compound, past vast oceans of new, boring-looking cars. The factory tour proudly boasted that they churn out one every 12 seconds. The configuration of the ocean changes each day because they get driven onto ships.
On Monday I went for a walk down east past H. heavy industries, where they make ships. I had a o at just walking in there to go take a look but they wouldn’t let me.
I walked right around the perimeter and along the rocky coast, but it was fenced and they had a grey-uniformed guy in a small sentry box.
The only good thing about that trip down there was having a squizz in the H. factory. Couldn’t take cameras in otherwise you could see a couple of naff warning/safety signs—one with the typical little kiddy-cartoon character of an employee with a red silhouette devil-like dude behind – I don’t know what it was about. The other was a ‘beware the robots’ type thing with a crazy lookin robot with crazy gritted teeth.
The robots were neat too—totally Kraftwerk. It’s a Kraftwerk kinda town, is Ulsan. Rows and rows along a process line of operating theatres, each with four monsterous safety-orange painted Doktorn. The midgetine patient, the shell of a door, is brought in on a belt and these one-armed beings swoop in, huddle and perform their incisions and penetrations. Sparks flew, weird melted metal smells abounded.
* * *
Okay so that last last one didn’t work out. I kind of knew it wouldn’t and don’t care either. I mean, saying you’re an architect in this country is kind of like fessing up to being a boilermaker in hell.
Lots of women are attractive here, but the workings of their heads is another matter. That first night I met up with her she didn’t want to eat anything because she was on a diet and wanted to lose 2kgs to fit into an old pair of pants. But man i looked and there was nowhere that 2kgs could come off her – she was already well-slim. Plus she originated from Daegu and everyone from there seems to have this idea that they’re fucking royalty.
What’s way more exciting is the other week I asked a woman out – just straight up – just like that. See, poor miss eee! (partly seen in the bottom pic. here) bingled her car bigtime in MONSOON! a couple of weeks back. It spun, bounced off the inner guard rail and across the lanes and flipped into a rice field.
Or something like that, I might be taking some liberties.
Anyhoo, she was in hospital and there was this relief teacher. Figuring that Relief is what I really need, a couple of days before the end of semester I got chatting to her. If it turned out disasterously, well she wouldn’t be back next sem.
But it went go0od, she’s really gorgeous – and while I say that all the time, this time I mean it.
I didn’t mention how i read this book of korean fairytales, fables, myths and such. Nothing terribly exciting – lots of BS patriarchial confucianism, crafty/lusty buddhist monks, fillial sons and daughters, yada yada yada. One continual character was the ‘beautiful young woman who was actually an old fox’ but disgusied and she’d beguile men and trap them into death or soul-imprisonment. Which suggests to me that even the native men didn’t know what to make of the beauty of women here and feared it. Anyway, the Jin is like that and I’m under the spell and that’s fine.
But that even doesn’t matter too much—it was just good not to hear about any crazy dieting regime, or see excessive preening, or not deal with some unstoppable ambition to not be where she was right then. Didn’t even ask me if I was christian, eventhough I know she’s catholic—but actually I don’t mind that—because better the devil you know, right? Most folks here are presbyterians – i don’t know what’s going on with that at all. What the heck is presbyterianism? Isn’t the presbitary a small room usually located in a church?
Yeah sure, okay—well, I’m a laundrytarian from now on.
We had dinner and saw that movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith which is a really dumb movie. Brad Pitt could be an architect here no probs.
Took a ride on a plane down south to ulsan with jacque renault to see where the camp would be (in high-oon-die, or hee-n-day depending on from which side of the tracks you come—either way it shall be forthwith referred to as H. for the purposes of not-getting-in-trouble.
It was a complete waste of time. I’m starting to get the feeling that I wish I’d not applied for this particular gig. It’s not going to be as fun as the one in January.
And worst of all, they confiscated my pocket knife at the airport. Two cms of raw terror. I tried like buggery to get it back on return but they couldn’t find it. They offered me another one from lost property but it’s just not that same. That thing had sentimental value. Plus it’s really handy in a land where product packaging is both ridiculously excessive and badly thought-out.
PS. sorry if you’re using spazzy internet explorer and the sidebar has gone to the bottom. It’s partly your fault for using a spazzy browser and partly my problem because I don’t have time to piss around with CSS at the moment.
Went down to Chonju for a day or two and visited Candles. Her apt is better than mine – got air con and thick noise-blocking windows, plus its bigger.
But her work situation sucks. It’s the hagwon nightmare we’ve all heard of but not neccesarily first-hand. Non-existant medical scheme, bills not being paid (so her gas, electix would get shut off) dodgey lookin phone-bills and out-and-out not being paid for worked hours.
In fact Candles is going back to Canada and not coming back. So that’s why I went to visit – go hang out while I could. Chonju has a pop. of about 800 000. I went walking for a while yesterday morning in the infernal weather. I was looking for some early 1900s catholic church but couldn’t find it, and was damned if I was going to do anything like ask someone. No sir. Then the sandals started to give me blisters—sandals are all well and fine for jesus because he could just use his magic to make the blisters go away.
I sat down for a while in a joint and ate the tuna kimbop. I got picked up by a couple of 1st year uni students. They just wanted to talk n’ junk which was fine with me.
Chonju seriously lacks footpaths and is known as where bipimbop was invented. Yes, I did try the local speciality—pretty much as soon as I got into town. The woman brings it over to me then at length explains that the bowl is hot, so don’t touch! Then she takes another look at me and decides that she can’t trust me not to touch it, so I sit there f0r the next minute and a half while she bips my bop. How humiliating.
Compared to here at the eee-tchon, Chonju is much bigger, but also a lot further from seoul so foreigners are still very much the martians there.
I took the KTX-uh train back. It was pretty neat though could use more legroom. I saw a guy snoring like it was the end of the world. There was 16 or 17 carriages on the thing.
May I go to the bathroom, please?
May I go to the restroom, please?
May I go to the dormitory, please?
May I go to the cafeteria, please?
May I go to the auditorium, please?
I hurt myself.
I don’t like it.
I don’t know.
Can you help me?
Please help me.
Would you please repeat that?
What do I do now?
I don’t know what to do.
I don’t understand.
“When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”
J. Robert Oppenheimer
Just last night I was thinking that the next time my internet goes kaput I’d use it as an excuse to try out this new place that opened up, called ‘Lord of the PC Bangs’ and there’s a picture of gandalf. So I’m assuming its not reffing lord of the flies. Man was that a dumb book or what—what was it about?
It’s been several months since I’ve been to a pc room and the kids are still here playing that swearing basketball game etc. There’s still plenty of cigarette smoke but the air con’s on high to dissipate it a bit.
I never mentioned this altruistic thing I did a couple of months back. I’d been debating with myself whether it is not better to let others know of one’s deeds in the hope that they may be inspired by one’s example, or to humbly keep them to one’s self.
Well I did the latter, and I’ve been getting nothing for it. Nothing. For a while after I got here I was looking for ways to balance out the universe (because people had done lots of nice things for me) and do something nice for someone in a situation where I had no motive to do so.
I did, and for a while after it seemed like the whole thing was backfiring on me and I was taking it as a lesson that altruism sucks and it throws out the evolutionary process of favour-doing.
But it worked out okay. It just took a while to unravel. One of the teachers, Bangs, a rather strange yet wholly unintriguing woman asked me to take a look at an application she had written (in english). I said sure whatever. It was for a sciencey spacey thing care of nasa. They had places for a few people from other counties including five from here.
Bangs speaks fairly okay, but the application was shocken. In some ways written and spoken english are entirely seperate monsters. The ears can become rough n’ ready for bad grammar but the eyes seeing it freak. It was like, “hello Mr.kurns. Me want money bad.” Okay well maybe not that bad but anyway it had to be rewritten completely.
Bangs is kind of pushy and it took some time. I left some parts as is and tried to keep the wacky proscriptive flavour to the question ‘why don’t kids want to do science no more?’
It got sent off and that was that. Or would’ve been except bangs wanted help with her english homework. I said you got to be kidding.
Sometime later I find out that she got accepted to the space camp. I was happy. She went, came back and that’s that.
They learned how to make rockets.
I met morticia the architect again yesterday. I don’t know. Things didn’t really click this time. We did a bit of language exchangey but it didn’t seem very focussed. I loaned her my copy of Joe Campbell’s Myths to Live By so that we could discuss a chapter for her half of the exchangey. She seemed really eager to be lending it and, uh, receptive to recieving stuff. I offered her half a packet of asprins and she took it.
Also, in a one by one process, an unused australian stamp I found in my wallet, a lollypop, an aqua pen, some thumb tacks and a weary little gobstopper that’d been in the side pocket of the backpack since Geelong West. Unusual.
I think we’re gonna go ice skating.
I found a hairdresser that speaks the english. This time around it didn’t effectively help too much. They see evidence of the last short back n sides and can’t help but stick to it. Although I did get a little closer to one length all over. These things take time. Her name is Pam. Normally I don’t like the idea of locals taking up english names to make it easier for the whiteys. I sure as hell know that I would’ve never have a pretendy name just to suit another ethnic group in my own country. But I like the name Pam.
But the highlight of my day was finding out there’s another level of intricacy in the rotor things in my electric shaver. They were loaded with crud. This is why I couldn’t get a decent shave on in the morning. I was almost going to buy a new one. I thought maybe it was the humidity.
My cabinboy U-chin, that imbecile, would hop around saying, “oh si sinior!” over and over of a morning as I swore black and blue at the blasted infernal contraption; forever fronting up to the Officer’s mess with a still-prickly neck.
Saints be praised!
Hey, nice science one-piece!