seeing red

It’s red pepper drying season, which means that approx. 82% of available floorspace in the entire country is covered in these little critters. The peppers, I mean.

My brother sent me this link, and eventhough I delished it, I’m putting it again, here, because frankly there’s something there for the whole family when it comes to wacky old North Korea. I like the propaganda art (don’t I always?) and the trainspotting.

“Have It Your Way!”
Our dear friends at CORE are re-inventing themselves, a new direction for a new era, and so if you do neat stuff on, with or near a computer, then go forth!

* * *

I don’t know, nothing doesn’t work for me.

“Ya not wrong, Narelle”,

I keep getting this really vicious hatemail from people who don’t understand my sense of humour.

I’ve recently developed a kimi raikonnen ‘pensive about superannuation’ facial expression, which, at the time of writing cannot be shaken.

A friend’s mum is dying of bowel cancer, thus reminding me of — — – death and I’m still a long way from any kind of eternal bliss.

I just found out that the Tibetan Buddhists are indeed involved in the screwing-over of other social groups. They were the last one I had any illusion in not being into that.

I bought a double CD of Pet Shop Boys singles only to discover that they really only had 5 or 6 singles worth speaking of. My brain was getting New Order and maybe some Depeche mode mixed up in there.

I have the Developers, developers, developers, developers! thing permanently lodged in my head because of its repetitivness and sheer rawness.

left to my own devices

This is from ‘camp’. I like this foto because it’s got this wartime quality to it, what with the bandaging, and also because it looks kinda gay.
If I emailed this to my mum and said, ‘hey mum, I’ve gone gay’, there would be not a moment of doubt in her mind about it, despite recent overt demonstrations that would prove otherwise. Mum’s been waiting and expecting me to go gay, or “gay-it-up”, if you will, since I was 12, y.o.

But anyway ‘Carl’ is actually the most acttractive westerner I’ve seen in this country — of either sex. Perhaps partly because his reason for being here isn’t work, but study. If there’s any common characteristic among westerners here doing this job, it’s that we are overwhelmingly average-looking. My theory is that all the beautiful people get snapped up and offered jobs back where they come from. Maybe they get invited to more parties, meet more people, have larger networks + grapevines, and as way of currying favour with these beautiful people, average people let them eat from their grapevines, so these people become employed straight out of education.
Sometimes I like to joke that when asked why did I come here? Because nowhere else would give me a job. Sometimes I’m not joking.
And y’know, like, sometimes ya better off dead, there’s a gun in yr hand, it’s pointing at yr head, ya think ya mad — too unstable, kicking in chairs and knocking down tables – at a restaurant… ah I don’t need to go on.

This webcam might prove interesting over the next 24hrs or so.

you were playing out of the shadow, the sun was in your eyes

Here’s two poems I remember reading several years ago, while sitting in the backyard in G.West. They’re from a collection of Japanese poets, translated by Renaissance man, Kenneth Rexroth.

I sit at home
In our room
By our bed
Gazing at your pillow.

            – HITOMARO

I have always known
That at last I would
Take this road, but yesterday
I did not know that it would be today.

            – NARIHIRA (9th century

Lifted from here because I can’t quite reach my own copies of the books now.


He’s not sleeping, he’s gone off his food, you try talking to him and you can get his attention for 8 or 10 seconds then he looks away and starts staring off into the distance.
He wanders around without really knowing where he’s going. He left his phone here – for as long as I’ve known him he’s never done that. His eyes seem kind of glazed or watery and if I wasn’t keeping a constant watch on him I’d swear he was on something. He’s become unfailingly passive; suggest anything and he’ll go along with it.

His coat’s lost its usual shine.

He’s coughing up furballs.

It’s the sitting doing nothing that’s most prevalent. Hours straight doing nothing but tugging at his eyebrows or occasionally rubbing his chin. I went over there and checked him just before and he was kind of shaking.

He says everything is okay.

This ecstasy doth unperplex

Well I must say it’s nice to be back in my concrete box.
After another $40,000 cab ride to ensure I got back in time I waddled off to woirk yesterday morn to find no one there – and that it doesn’t start til Friday. Bonus!

Overnight the humidity up and left and just like that and the outlines of things distant has sharpened. The sky’s gone deep blue and there’s nothin’ up there but the chinooks. Moreover, and more over, I’m not cracking a sweat just from doing some ironing.
My guess is this will last for two weeks and then it’ll be snowing and minus 40centigrade.

Sometimes I wonder about the sanity of conducting the intimate/intricate of conversations via SMS, but when that cuckoo sounds I know I’ll dive on it and reply as best as possible in 80 characters or less including spaces.

* * *

The blokes at Stodgey might like this, a rather inappropriate use of comic sans; reprinting a John Donne poem.


Once upon a time I had 12 children. Here are the names I gave them and why:

# Bettina. I just like the name.
# Janis. After the woman who taught me short story writing. She’s a inspiration in that she writes good, is still writing, but still on the fringe. Rock on Janis.
# & 4. Stacey and Ashleigh. Kim Gordon lists both these names in the Sonic Youth song ‘Swim suit issue’ (i think it’s that one). I would’ve made on Kim except that every 2nd person’s surname is that and it would spun ’em out too much.
5. Jean. After exg/f jean.
6. Karen. After Karen Carpenter.
7. Harvey. Hehe. I don’t know, I like the name Harvey.
8. Billy. Named after the voice in my head that refers to me as Billy.
9. Marvin. After Marvin Gaye.
10. Logan. Logan Rock Witch is an Aphex Twin song.
11. Richard. Richard D. James – one of this era’s best composers.
12. Waldo. “Where’s Waldo? Where’s Waldo?” I never got to say that because he was always there.

hubba bubba

Due to the Hubba Bubba glut down there I thought I should share the fun and try to get some converts. I told them where to buy it but I don’t think the went.

music for skinned knees

They grilled us for four hours solid, there in that breezeless, off-white stained room. It did have a window but the view was crap.
“What’s your favourite colour?”
“What job would you like to when you grow up?”
“What is your favourite food?”
“If you could go on holiday anywhere in the world, where would you go?”

“… is that in summer or winter?”, I wanted to clarify.

“Just answer the damn question!”

In the end we had to sign something and I have no idea what it said. One guy, a canadian, and when I say it was a canadian you know that it was always going to be a canadian, was trying to look it over carefully, as if it would make some difference.
The huge gorilla who had accompanied us through all this started hooting. He wanted the things signed so we could get out of there. The canadian reacted. A tense scene, believe you me.

Later outside by the van the gorilla loped around the five of us guys, sniffing at us and mussing our hair with his giant black hairy hand. Despite his gorillaness, he wanted us to be okay with it all, and I suspect, to not be pissed at him, although why I have no idea.

We’re talking about a fairly intelligent primate here, and I’m giving it to you straight when I say that he could drive– drove the van–but kept taking wrong turns.
As a gesture of wanting to make it all better he took us to KFC because we’d missed dinner due to the interrogation.

It was busy in town and I’ve seen some hella parkjobs in this country but so far this topped it. The gorilla drove across the intersection toward the corner-situated KFC, mounted the pavement and parked smack-bang right infront of the main doors and completely blocked the footpath.
I had to go take a slash so I didn’t see it, but the gorilla grabbed the canadian and forcefully hugged him and wanted reciprocation as sign of forgiveness. The brash new yorker in the party said it often; the gorilla really was a sensitive beast.

joanie loves chachi

With little to do waiting this month out, and with a TV for a while, I’ve been watching major league (yanky) baseball. The local league is pretty boring, they seem to play every night but no one ever goes. I won’t sugar-coat it honey, it’s a slow, slow game and without the din of a large crowd, one can wonder what one is doing watching.

There’s some impressive facial hair formations in MLB, as is the amount of gum chewing. Not just gum either but bubblegum. I seen em blow.
One shortcoming of the whole thing is that Korea only shows the games that have teams containing Koreans. They repeat those games over and over.

I’m in the process of picking a team to barrack for. Looking at the history of teams section in Wikipedia, it’s narrowed down to the Detroit Tigers or the San Diego Padres. Both have interesting histories.
Detroit also has going for it the fact that I AM a tiger. After the neutrality of international waters, then touching down in this country I automatically transferred from being Gemini to a Tiger.

The other night I dreamt I got a pet tiger. After getting it I realised it was a huge mistake. It already ate the chunk of meat that came with it, and the little Pakistani boy, that also came with it.
I think I was afraid of it eating me, or maybe it was gnawing slowly on my arm and it was really getting me down.

Detroit is also a motown, and my ancestral town is a mo too.

On the other hand, San Diego has a korean in it. And I like the cap typeface design. Let’s face it ladies, accesorisation is important. I still don’t know how Padres fits into it. I don’t think it’s in the wiki entry.

But then, I keep seeing really disturbing shit on TV, like the radiation sickness scenes from the Russian submarine movie, K19, and two modern-day, highly equipped rednecks with a pack of bloodhounds chase down and shoot a n.american mountain lion. Ug. If a TV is there, I’ll likely turn it on. If there’s not, like in my current abode, I’ll occasionally think ‘oh tv – I could’ve watched [some event] – hmm, I don’t have a tv’.

Thanks to TV there’s very little that I’m scared of these days. Aliens, sharks, ploterghoosts — what else is there? Dying from a nuclear bomb or fallout or reactor meltdown. I think it’s partly because there are small equivalents of everything else:
# biological weapons, killer flu = getting a cold, the sniffles.
# getting eaten by a shark = dog bite.
# burning to death = touching a hot bowl.
# alien abduction = aliens bringing your mail in when you’re on camp.
But I don’t know what it’s like to get a bit radiation-sick.

2050 – Oh there ain’t no place like a hole in the ground…


I went to the beach called Jinha beach last Monday. It was horrifying. Piles of rubbish everywhere. Cigarette butts, this huge half-chunk of a brick half-submerged where the tide was sickily ebbing in. The sand was coarse and grainy, the sun was nowhere – if this was test cricket, play would’ve never even kicked off let alone been halted and there was no surf to speak of either.

While not in eyesight, there’s two gigantic petrochemical refineries just up the coast a smidge. Car luv S-Oil, my arse. I was determined to get in the water, since it’d taken the better part of two days to find the place. “Cleanest water in thw whole of Korea!”, the tourist pamplet boasted. I waded in to the hip. Chip packets floated and eddied around beside me. It was freezing. I stuck my head under a couple of times and all I can say is it’s testament to my fucking fantastic constitution that I don’t have some ecoli-induced disease today.

For some reason, no one takes their t-shirt off. It took me about twenty minutes to break out of their freaky beach behaviour and do it the way I know – i.e. Take shirt off, throw my man-sized bach towel across the sand, lie on it and try and get a tan in the post-apocalytica. There was a dead frog belly-up beside the towel.

* * *

One-eyed Jacks got raided yesterday. Luckily I managaed to avoid any serious repercussions, or so it would seem at this point, yet I’m annoyed at myself for deciding to sign up with such a dodgey operation.

I took the slow train back to eee-tchon overnight – 7 hours and about a million stops. Into the second last hour I finally worked out the most comfortable postition a 178cm person can attain in a 3foot wide / 2 person seat. That is -> on back, forehead under aisle armrest (peaked cap over eyes) and legs crossed leaning against window.