death death deady deady dead dead

1. Charu brought another rat into the house last night. By my calculations that’s 2 in just over two weeks! We were in bed when we heard her in the hallway talking happy sounds, which is odd if she’s not begging for food. The rat was lying in front of her and not quite gone. It move a bit and she grabbed it and it squeaked, which I guess was it’s death-squeak. See, that’s disturbing to me. Even if it is a rat, it’s disturbing to be right there because I start to think about what it would be like to be _being killed_ and be living that last moment.

Charu only has three of those big canine teeth which is weird. We’d never have found out ourselves either if the vet didn’t tell us because charu’s not the biting kind of cat the way boy cats are.

Anyway, she took it outside by herself. I guess, learning since I took the last couple. Je went out and watched… charu ate parts of the rat. That’s probably not a good thing.


2. Gough Whitlam died. Abc news website had some photos. I C & P’d a couple for the perpetuity.

<a href=”″ title=”3576984-3×4-700×933 by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”375″ height=”500″ alt=”3576984-3×4-700×933″></a>

I like this one because Mrs.Gough’s feet/leg positioning is so rock n roll. If she was leaning over a bit and wailing on a Les Paul, that’d be great.

Anyway, it was cool that Gough introduced free education, I just wish I coud’ve got some. Although, not paying for it until I’m making decent money is nothing to complain about either. I also like how he bought Blue Poles too. However I wish he’d done something when Portugal pulled out of East Timor and Indonesia invaded. Australia shouldn’t have let that happen.

I’ve been getting more angry about politics again lately. I think it’s a result of just being more stressed.

3. And a week or so ago I got word that a former colleague died. I worked with Graham doing bidness english in korea and although I only talked to him properly a few times. He’d lived in Korea in the 70s which is really interesting if you ask me, and a whole bunch of other places too. His family put a whole load of photos of his up on the internet but I don’t know how long they’ll be there for. He was 66 which seems a bit early to me.

<a href=”″ title=”20141004115121-e0092642-me by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”336″ alt=”20141004115121-e0092642-me”></a><br/><em>That’s Graham on the right.</em>

<a href=”″ title=”20141004115119-4612e7ff-me by Hi!  my name is:, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”353″ alt=”20141004115119-4612e7ff-me”></a><br/><em>There wasn’t much English in the signage back in the ’70s</em>

Pumex international movers: a mini review

I was going to write this ages ago and then I decided I wouldn’t since it’s just a company doing its job. I discovered the process of finding a company to ship all of your household goods from one country to another is not an easy one, so this post is more for people in the future (in korea primarily) who might find themselves in the same situation.

We found Pumex online. They sent a guy around to talk to us about it. He looked at what we wanted to ship and quoted us 1.5 mil KRW. We weren’t taking any furniture just a bunch of stuff like books, clothes, kitchenware, electronics equipment and eight guitars. It ended up being 36 boxes and the end price was 1.7mil — a bit higher than the quote. Other costs included insurance. We had to value the stuff ourselves and then pay something like 1 or 2% of the total amount insured. I think it was 2%, I can’t remember. But I know that we paid another 180k KRW for that. It seemed like a lot, but some of those guitars are worth a bit, and before the move I didn’t have much faith in everything getting to Australia unbroken. Afterall, everyone’s seen video and heard stories of neglectful mover, couriers and deliverers.

However, this was the area that Pumex really excelled. The guy they sent around on the moving day did a really good job at boxing everything up. He custom-made boxes for irregularly shaped items (eg. bass guitar, big telly), foam padding was applied liberally and the double-gauge corrugated cardboard was supa-solid. Nothing at all got broken on the way so in hindsight I guess I could’ve skimped a bit on the insurance, but then I guess insurance is always like that.

Pumex did say they were going to put the eight guitars into a wooden crate before going into the shipping container but I never saw it — it would’ve been hammered together at Busan and taken apart in Melbourne, that is, if they made one at all. Either way, all the guitar necks were fine. Each guitar was put into a separate custom-made cardboard box, then they were put all-together in one big cardboard box. At one stage J-e was standing on one of the empty cube-shaped boxes and it didn’t collapse, so that’s a good example of how rigid the cardboard was.

Another cost we had was Customs & quarantine clearance fee, which would be different for each country you wanted to ship to, but Australia’s (I’m guessing) is kind of high. That was about $150 AUD. To make sure our shipment wasn’t delayed and put through the special treatment at quarantine we were advised to clean the soles of our shoes and be detailed with any food we were sending. We did both, and they did open the shoe box to take a look but didn’t even bother with the food box.

All up it was about one month from when the boxes left us in Seoul to when they were delivered to us in Geelong west.

For us, or for me really, being 8 years in korea and being a collector/hoarder of things this kind of move was the best option. It was better than dealing with a-holes on craigslist, trying to sell things for a fraction of their worth. Sending boxes through the post office would’ve been a huge hassle too. Going with Pumex was kind of expensive but took a lot of the stress out of the task.

on the edge of the abyss

Well now, it’s been almost a month since I posted here, which is unusual, even for me.

Here is what I’ve been listening to:

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The soundtrack from the top-down shooter game, Hotline Miami. Haven’t played the game but I like the sounds. All the artists were found on and most of them also have EPs of stuff going for very cheap monies. Some of it reminds me a bit of the sounds Jan Hammer put to the TV show, Miami Vice, and some sounds a little like 80s era Vangellis. Probably the same synths used.

Mostly it’s been a pretty damn cold december here. Colder than one would prefer it. I have a cold: a sore throat. I had to actually go out and do work stuff yesterday so, because of the cold, ended up crashing out early last night. And then waking up early this morning. I was lying restlessly in bed thinking I’ve been here for a mini-generation now. The girls (because at that school it was only girls) I taught back in 2005 would now be finishing the 2nd year of university. I don’t feel like I’ve changed much at all.

Today is election day in s.korea. I hope the scary lady doesn’t get in.

FedEx is a guardroom check the wind

A few months back I mentioned how there was a city-wide taxi strike and how no one was the worse off for it.

Tomorrow there’s going to be a nation-wide omnibus strike and I am fully expecting transiting the CBD to be a nightmare. I guess if you’ve ever wondered what the subway would like like if all the omnibus people were also crammed into it, then tomorrow’s your big day.

It’s about how the gummnt is proposing to reclassify taxis as public transport, which will apparently cost a whole lot, which will, apparently make omnibus ticket prices higher. I don’t know all the figures but it sounds stupid. Taxis are private industry. Not making enough money as a taxi driver? Get a different job. The other thing that sounds really stupid is that taxis will be able to use the omnibuslanes, which will I’m sure cause omnishambles.

*Update: 22/11/12, Title: OMG j/k*

The bus drivers were out for one hour then went back to work. The government admitted their idea was a stupid bunch of balls and deleted the bill proposing taxis be reclassified. Everything’s back to normal. Case closed.

<a href=”” title=”Gangs-terr by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Gangs-terr”></a>

PS. this is a new filter/lens pak called Gangster Squad, which is a promo tie-in for the upcoming film of the same name. The circular film looks okay when it’s copied onto a white background but any other colour doesn’t really work. The lens doesn’t do much in the way of affect.

“some weirdo from Korea who dances like a horse”

Nice article on Psy’s recent rise to fame <a href=””>here</a>.

And an even better one that takes a closer look at the video <a href=””>here</a>. It was coming across that that made me take a second look and see, as they say, that it’s satire (oh my gosh! in korea?). Which is really cool. It’d be nice if Koreans could develop the ability to have a bit of a laugh at themselves.

The area of seoul called gangnam is shown briefly in a few shots in the video, but it makes me wonder what people overseas must think the place is like. Because, just like every other part of seoul, it’s an overcrowded, noisy, trash-strewn cement jungle. BUt satire is always a double-edged sword, it makes fun but it also promotes the thing it’s making fun of, especially to people who are new to it.

Psy’s playing at my one-horse college tonight. Since we have no one to actually ask how such a thing came about, me and the co-works guess that he was booked last year or something. I would go, but I’m sure it’ll be bedlam since it’s free to get in.

50 000 Lux

Well that’s another summer gone. Easily the hottest of the 8 I’ve had here in Korea, although it’s always hard to really compared, since I’ve lived in different areas and different apartments. Apparently this is one of the hottest three areas in Seoul too. I’m pretty sure it was more than subjective conditions — it really was unusually hot.

And because of the small amounts of regular work on weekday mornings I wasn’t really able to drop off the planet as I sometimes do during tertiary education breaks. I’ve had to keep more abreast of local news and political issues as well, which can be sometimes interesting but sources really are limited while I’m only able to read English versions of the news. One issue that’s been dragging along the whole 7 years I’ve been here is of who owns the islets called Dokdo in the sea between korea and japan. There’s endless amounts of stupid when it come to trying to get an accurate read of the situation, but I was nicely surprised to read this <a href=””>two</a> <a href=””>part</a> interview with a couple of wise and knowledgeable old heads in the realm of east asian diplomacy.

Also, goodbye to Hal David. Thanks to my mum’s old records that I borrowed during my teens and twenties I’ve always dug on Hal & Burt’s work — with Dusty Springfield and even just sans the big-name singers.

let’s go shopping

Since that last post I’ve been noticing how taxis are in all the wrong places. Blocking up laneway entrances, loitering in bus zones. Taxi driving here is one of those jobs you do when you’re not qualified (or not motivated to become qualified) to do anything else. But of course, it’s always the government’s fault because they hand out taxi-licenses by the fistfull. They’re required to run LPG fuel tanks, so they don’t contribute too much to the air pollution, but they really are like globules of bad stuff blocking up the arteries and capillaries of the city.

And I never thought I’d say this but even some of the buses are a pain. Specifically, the five different route that traverse down outside my window. Three blue and two green buses. Don’t get me wrong, I <3 public transport but this city and this country are the sole examples of PT being in oversupply, that I’ve seen at least. It’s rare that I see buses full. If they’re weren’t creating all that extra engine-grinding noise coming thru my summer window I wouldn’t care, I guess. It’s just weird when compared to every other country that a) never bothered with PT at all or b) is always looking for more excuses to slash more funding to PT. Last wednesday I took the intercity bus down to my work. It’s about a 25km journey. It costs less than $2AUD. There’s first stop where I get on, then it goes express for three quarters of the way, then it gets into the neighbourhood where I work. Last Wed. I was the only one on the bus the whole way. The bus comes every 12 minutes.

<a href=”” title=”Empty bus by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”320″ height=”320″ alt=”Empty bus”></a>

empty the cities

<a href=”” title=”Taxi strike! by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Taxi strike!”></a>

Apparently there’s a taxi strike today in Seoul. A cursory squiz out the window confirms this. I see no taxis. I read in the news that the taxi drivers are striking for more money, and maybe it’s right — maybe they need the money but really all I care about is how much more peaceful it sounds out there. Now if we could just get all the motorbike/motor scooter food delivery dudes to go on strike too…

monster island

I noticed on the google earth that near the namtaeryeong (남태령) station on the line four there is this plane of quite large proportions. And there is no landing field there. It’s not one of those shots where a plane flying overhead happened to get in the shot either, as the plane has been there for some time.

<a href=”” title=”plane-1 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”294″ alt=”plane-1″></a>

Check out just down and to the right of the cursor sitting on the subway icon.

<a href=”” title=”plane-2 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”445″ height=”291″ alt=”plane-2″></a>

We went on a mission to go strolling around the area to see if we could see what it was all about but went slightly the wrong way and ended up walking up a track where some light construction or terraforming was going on. It seemed that this is one of the areas where some of the land-slides happened last rainy season, so the govt is putting in some water drains. Re the plane, there is some army headquarters in that area of the city’s south, so my guess is that the plane’s got something to do with that. Maybe they practice high-jacker situations with it. At least the old style ’70s high-jacker style where the terrorists kept the plane at the airport and waved their guns out the pilot’s window.

This ain’t no place to be if you plan on being a star

Some days or some parts of some days I get stuck in the utter wretchedness of it all. I just finished making the mid-term exams and I drank too much tea so I need to go out and get something to eat fast i.e fastfood. I really wasn’t even in the mood for it for once, but I had to go down that way to get a few other things from the mini-supermarket. And both of the fastfood joints near the station are always full of people who sit there without buying anything, to the point where it’s sometimes hard to find a seat. The staff do nothing. There is nowhere I can find on the net to complain about these things, apart from here.

<a href=”” title=”freeloader by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”203″ height=”320″ alt=”freeloader”></a>

The real tradge is I let myself get bothered by it. Does this kind of crap happen to Lewis Hamilton or Yao Ming? I bet it doesn’t. I know life is no picnic for them either. Yao shoots 200 baskets a day, and sometimes up to 1000. I don’t know how many baskets Lewis shoots, but I do know that a co-worker of his, Mark Webber suffers the frustration of not being able to drive on the roads in China, and that the assigned local divers are often, reportedly, terrible at their job.

<a href=”” title=”Lewis &amp; Yao Ming by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”375″ height=”500″ alt=”Lewis &amp; Yao Ming”></a>

It’s been a while since I wrote here and as is often the case when that happens, it’s because very little has been happening. We got curtains. I thought about making an entry here titled “It’s Curtains For You (Me, Us)” but I didn’t. It’s amazing went went for so long – a month or so – with no curtains, but I guess that’s part of having a north facing window and sleeping in the top corner of the room.

<a href=”” title=”C3 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”C3″></a>


Also, I wonder if anyone else has thought about how the ’80s New Wave song, ‘Warm Leatherette’ by The Normal seems to foretell the untimely demise of Princess Diana.