14 days of smelling great

So anyway Echuca was nice, if a bit hot. And the Murray river is no substitute for being along the coast, but I guess that’s just the way I’ve been brought up. It seems like a lot of inland dwellers must feel like the river /is/ a substitute for the beach because there’s something like fifty motels in the town. Whenever I look at rivers in Australia now I’m frustrated by how small and piddly they look. I wouldn’t mind betting that’s how the first whiteys saw them too, although they were also probably glad to be getting a drink of water, even if it was muddy.

I’d been up that way before but it was good to put names to faces, so to speak, with all these little name dots on the map that were once real towns. Rokewood, Enfield, Guildford, Elmore– to name a few.

We got a little of the Australia day feeling happening on Thursday by going to Ballarat and watching the sheepdog trials at Eureaka stadium. It was pretty good but somehow I’d built it up in my mind to be something really big. Maybe I thought I’d be able to mind-meld with these dogs or something. There’s nothing more admirable than seeing a dog that has a purpose and works for a living. I’m not entirely sure how much real sheep herding these dogs do though, possibly they spend most of their time practicing pushing three sheep thru a gate and so on. A little strange.
In any case I was surprised there were so few people there. I also found out that not all border collies are black and white. If only they could breed a dog that had mind-control over sheep…

Sheepdog trials

Also went down to Johanna beach and I have to say (probably thanks to the sea spray) that was the only place where I didn’t feel the sun biting into my skin. I did look a bit out of place wearing jeans, sneakers and a long-sleeved shirt though.

Things I’m noticing this time being here: lots more people with tattoos, particularly writing. I often used to internally scorn Koreans for wearing t-shirts decorated with meaningless writing but it seems Australians are going one further and getting meaningless writing etched into their napes, arms etc.
Also the craze for messed up hair that young guys had going a year or two ago seems to have spread to long-haired young women.
Young people: I don’t know…


Toasties, toasties, _toasties_. What is this? Y and ies are added to the end of too many words. I noticed this particular example a year ago but thought it perhaps an aberration. What’s wrong with calling it a toasted sandwich? Is this somehow boring or old-fashioned? No.



*ps* Tennis Australia: I object, I bloody damn well object to you moving the aus open tennis finals matches to 7:30pm. It’s too late. They finish too late. This tournament is held in australia and the australian audience should be your first priority.

Live from a wintery bunk-bed

We moved to central-south seoul yesterday. It was a long day but not impossible. For an old guy, the moving man was quite friendly, and the land lord seemed friendly too, even if the real-estate agent wasn’t.
There’s a bunch of things we need to get sorted out, like the heating. Like most places in Korea, it’s floor heating but it’s an unusual, antiquated system where the heating is on only between 10pm and 8am. For the first few hours last night it wasn’t on at all but them by about 4am it’d started to warm. Hopefully it’ll kick on right from 10 tonight. The heat kind of sustains itself through the day but I’d say that you need it on for the whole night and not just a few hours unless you want to be sitting around at dinner time with cold toes.
Also the door security system is a bit screwed. The alarm goes off every time we open the door. And the hot-water system was leaking drops of water onto the floor of the upper mezz (bunk) last night but then it mysteriously stopped. There’s no curtains so we have to get on to that soon. I suspect a good chunk of the warmth is seeping out the windows. Some of the contact on the cupboard doors is pealing and needs to be super-glued back down. In the shower this morning I found that the water pressure is really low but I imagine that’s something I’m going to have to adapt to since I don’t imagine it’s easily fixed. The traffic noise is something else I’ll have to get used to. It’s not really really bad. In the day it’s not a problem. Just at night it’s a bit noticeable. It’s just the sshh of tires on the road that can be heard rather than engines.

When standing on the lower floor there’s a nice feeling of head-space. The ceiling is high. The area seems good. There’s no piles of trash all over the place and there’s a load of restaurants close by. The prices are a little more expensive than cheongju but I also notice that a whitey like me can fade into the background, or at least not be gawked at. It’s funny, but I happened to be perusing entries of this weblougue from six years ago, and back then that didn’t bother me.
So anyway, on a day when I don’t quite have the motivation to start the process of unpacking, it’s good to be reminded of a couple of the good things about the last place, like the shower and the amount of closet-space, but let’s not forget:

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6683936087/” title=”HIP_348038648.747583 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7160/6683936087_37c93faa25.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”HIP_348038648.747583″></a>

_Naedok 2-dong’s incomprehensible trash mountains. Third-world living with first-world delusions._

whatever you say

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6683933463/” title=”HIP_348061046.259053 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7019/6683933463_b5d8412d6c.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”HIP_348061046.259053″></a>

You know, I’d gradually _lost_  most of the respect I had for George Lucas, that I once had as a kid or teen or early 20s person. The more films I see, like some of the 60s war movies about WW2 and also Akira Kurosawa movies, I see how much Georgey borrowed from them when making the original trilogy. And after seeing the second trilogy I started to wonder if he’d had any hand in writing the screenplays for the originals at all. My theory was that Joseph Campbell wrote them, but I have no proof.

Anyway, it’s interesting to read <a href=”http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-16525977″>this</a> news on a film he’s put together all by himself about the African-American pilots in WW2. Good for him. I hope it’s a success. I hope the dialog’s a bit better that when Samuel L Jackson was talking to Yoda. I’ll go see it when I’m back in Australia for the brief visit I’m heading for next week. That is, if it’s released then.

The Matter Transporter Affair

Things are moving along nicely. After the previously mentioned workplace change comes the necessary change of digs. Most jobs in this line of work provide a place as part of the package, but some don’t and this is one that don’t. It’s a good thing because greater choice is always a good thing. And for me, this time it’s not just me looking. J-e is looking with me because we’re planning to live together. So we’ve been looking at the area halfway between her work and mine. We saw a bunch of places yesterday and the one that came out on top looks like a goer. It’s still ridiculously small, as many places are here, but it has a mezzaniney loft thing for sleeping. A bit like living in a giant bunk-bed where the lower bed has a kitchen and bathroom built in.

God knows I’ve moved about 20 times too many in my life and while I wouldn’t really call myself a hoarder, I do acquire things with good intentions but then the things turn out to be not quite how I hoped they would and rather than passing them on I let them sit, occupying space. Space-shifting living creatures from one place to another is, apparently, quite hard but I don’t understand why they haven’t achieved it with inanimate things yet.


<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/6568920225/” title=”ricardo-montalban by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7166/6568920225_577706197a_m.jpg” width=”240″ height=”184″ alt=”ricardo-montalban”></a>

Here’s a couple of things I’m liking at the moment.

Brazilian music. Specifically, the album ‘Lado A Lado B’ by a rap-rock style group called O Rappa. It’s from 1998 and rap-rock as a pigeonhole doesn’t really do it justice. It’s got nice chord changes and the guy’s singing style really sticks out as catchy and melodic.

This one song, attached below, was part of the soundtrack of a Rio de Janeiro film named _Elite Squad – The Enemy Within_ which I would also recommend if you like brutal action movies with voice-over exposition.

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I’m still very slowly watching through the second season of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I was just reading the wikipedia entry on it and it says that each season was headed-up by a different person, and that partly explains the difference between the first season, which was mostly serious, and this 2nd, which is a bit more hammed up. It also says that due to the popularity of the 60s version (obviously) of the Batman TV series, the 3rd season of Uncle continued the campy style. I’m looking forward to that. At least I think I am — hopefully it doesn’t overbalance.

I’m liking the musical scoring in it, and how a lot of the guest actors were both on this and in The Original Series of Star Trek. Eg. Ricardo Montalban, with his exquisite, exotic villain accent. And in ‘The Foreign Legion Affair’ had Howard Da Silva and a scene where you had an English actor doing a Russian accent, an American actor doing a French accent and another American doing an English accent.