Thursday, September 24, 2009

One Last Summer Hurrah...Foiled.

So, I was hoping to blow out of town this weekend, and hit up one last adventure this Summer...the only adventure I know of that's familiar, yet exciting at the same time. I'm talking about a road trip we used to make every year, to the one and only Indiana Beach. To me, it defines Summer, and even though I haven't been for a few years, my summer doesn't feel complete without it.

It's only September. It's still warm . Nice weather to hit up a hole in the wall amusement park only 2 hours away from Chicago. I just jumped on their
website...and they closed for the season 3 weeks ago. Dammit.

It's not Disney World, or Six Flags, or even Worlds of Fun, but I don't really care about those places. Nothing really fills the void of bumper cars, pinball, and the most awesome (and probably dangerous) skyride in the world. This is our place to relax, casually stroll down the boardwalk, wait in non-existent lines for the "big" coasters, and eat some decent amusement park food you can't get anywhere else...all before night falls, when you decide to go on a quest through the haunted castle.

Some people find comfort in laying on a beach for a weekend. I'd prefer a tiny piece of land, built around a lake, where I first learned how to water-ski with my Dad and Brother. Todd even wrote a book about this place. It's not our childhood home, but it sure feels like it.

I guess it's wait till next year for IB.

Friday, September 18, 2009


note- this entry is a little weak. I wrote it on Wednesday and was going to edit it more, but I ran out of time. I'm posting it before I go out on Friday, as it could be completely irrelevant in a few hours. Also, I was gonna include pics, but I'm too lazy to add them since I'm on my way out the door. Sorry.

I don’t want to write another post about girls or booze. Then again, I don’t think you want to read about fantasy football, and I really don’t have anything else to talk about. I suppose, in a way, I’m undefeated on all three fronts in these early stages of the season. Fantasy football-wise, that means finally getting over my curse and beating my brother in one league, and absolutely trouncing Wiley in the other. I’ll leave the fantasy football chatter alone from here, and move on to the boozy fantasyland that is Seoul.

I’ve been here just over two weeks now, and I’ve already met more girls than I did in the 2002-2006 Chicago Era (maybe not an exaggeration here. In retrospect, the Chicago Era - not good times). By my count, I’ve had seven proper nights out since I got here, the most dull of which would have made for my most interesting girl story in the 2001 Florida Era (in retrospect, the Florida Era - not good times either). Of course, each of these nights involved staying out until late - McDonald’s breakfast late. Any of these would make for the latest night in the 2006 or 2009 Baltimore Eras (in retrospect, the Baltimore Eras - well, you get the picture).

I won’t bore you with the details on these nights out - and let’s face it, some of these details are lost to me anyway. Also, because this is a family blog, I’ll keep this this shit clean rather than getting all fucking explicit. Over my first two weekends here, I’ve gotten two girls’ numbers. I’ve made out with two girls (not the same two). I’ve met more new people than I can count (and already forgotten most of their names), I’ve bought zero drinks for girls that I was hitting on (though of course I’ve bought drinks for friend-girls and male buddies), and had one bought for me (by a girl - again, several by buddies). I’ve gotten my darts game back to near-respectability, and I’ve established street cred at the new bar in the hood. I’ve passed out on a subway and missed my stop, and I’ve been shouted down by trolls on a message board for relaying said story. Because the Daily Show was on hiatus, I have no knowledge of world events whatsoever. The Soviet Union could be back together for all I know.

However, not all is peachy in K-land. I met a girl on last Friday (‘merican girl) that I actually liked, had a great conversation with her (mostly about baseball, she brought it up). She was the one that bought me a drink, and she was real cute and flirty and huggy and cool. Of course, I didn’t get her number. D’oh. I don’t know what I was thinking. I guess I’m so used to getting numbers of girls that I’m meh about that I forgot what to do when I met somebody interesting. Guess I’ll have to use the old going back to the same bar one week later method.

I know Korea will drive me nuts again soon, but for now the honeymoon is a beaute. I never knew it could be so fun the second time around.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Welcome back, Welcome back

I started with nothing but what I had in my bags and an air conditioner. For the first two days I was in town, that’s all I had in my apartment - no bed, no fridge, no washer and quite literally, not a pot to piss in (although fortunately there was a toilet, which is convenient since I’d never taken to pissing in pots anyway.) Not even hot water - cold showers the first couple days. Fortunately, I have all that stuff now, everything but a stove. Even free cable (for now) and other cool shit like a couch and a coffee table and more shelf space than I had in apartments 4 times my current one’s size. I even upgraded cell phones (thanks David!) and bought the NFL package - a little different than my arrival in Korea in 2006 when I was 6 grand in hock and had only Dan Brown, Shakespeare, and Madden 07 to fill my cashless hours.

A brief story on why Korea (and my immediate neighborhood) is still cool:

I’d learned the other day that at work, we had to stick around even if we didn’t have any classes left. Lame, I thought, but unlike before, the office has a wireless connection now so at least I can kill time on the internets. I went home, and killed some time on the internets. A series of Wikipedia clicks (there oughta be some sort of name for this phenomenon) led me to an uber-geeky airline message board. Before I got too into it (and it could have been hours, easily) I decided to go get a beer, since I’d have hours to kill online anyway. I bought a beer at the convenience store in my building (yeah, that’s dangerous, I can buy booze, smokes, and instant noodles without having to go outside) and started aimlessly wandering around the neighborhood. Within two minutes of leaving the convenience store, I ran into a buddy of mine On this block, it can be hard not to. He suggested going to Nowon, the closest bar district, a 20 minute walk away. Why not? I don’t work until 3 p.m. anyway. We hit up three bars in Nowon, ending at Metropolis, the new joint. Two other friends of ours were there. Plus, I met three girls, and ended up getting home at quarter to four. Not bad for a Tuesday night.

A brief story on why Korea (including every neighborhood) is still batshit insane:

My flight from San Francisco on Asiana (a Korean carrier) flight, was 97% Korean. Everybody in my line to check in was Korean. Yet, my row (an exit row, miles of leg room, totally made up for the sitting in the middle thing) was all whities, ghettoed to this one row. One was a fairly attractive girl, but I didn’t talk to her because it would have meant I would have had to “on” for a 12 hour flight, pressure I simply didn’t need. On a flight of that length, I need to be free to pace around, watch intolerably bad movies, and rip farts without offending any potential woo-ees. Anyway, once the plane crossed the international date line, the maps that they show on the monitors switched from the North American landmass to the Asian one. After another hour or so, they started marking cities on the map. Seoul was the first Korean city marked, not surprisingly, since it was the flight’s destination. The second? Dokdo, of course. Dokdo is a tiny, uninhabitable group of rocks in the middle of the Sea of Japan (or East Sea in these parts) that has become the singular focus to rabid Korean nationalism. Google it for the backstory. I don’t want to say anything else about it to avoid getting v&.

After the flight had landed, leaving the plane was slow going. I wondered why it was taking so long to deplane, and discovered the reason once I disembarked. In the jetway, a swine flu checkpoint had been set up. Guys wearing surgical masks and “Quarantine” baseball caps were checking every passengers health statements, and also sticking some sort of apparatus on everyone’s neck. I’m not sure what this contraption was, if they could somehow test for swine flu instantly, but nobody got pulled aside or anything so I presume they were either taking tissue samples to test later or that it was a totally swine flu-free flight (not bloody likely, as research shows that 100% of all people already carry swine flu and 98% of them will die within the month). It’s not only people flying in that Korea is worried about, however. In my first round of classes on Monday, the secretary came in and took every student’s temperature with an ear thermometer, and the kids told me they had a similar experience at their real schools. The poor bastard kids that happen to be running a one degree fever are basically lepers now. None in any of my classes though. Good to know, now all I have to worry about is all of those HIV positive ebola viruses setting up camp in my cancerous liver. That and not being able to make spaghetti on my non-existent stove.