Friday, December 31, 2010

spy bar itaewon russian girls

Time for the final post of 2010. This post is record setting. This is the 60th post on NES/NAS this year, thus beating out 2008’s 59 for the most prolific year in the glorious history of this space.

As an unemployed drunken malcontent living in a crack house in a freezing foreign country, there’s quite a lot that I could shake my fist at right now. I feel like I’ve done enough of that lately though, so today I’m going to write about my favorite subject - this very blog. Way back in October 2008, Dr. Kickass wrote a post about silly stats related to this blog. This is a sequel of sorts. Keep in mind, Google only keeps stats back to May of 2010, so these are the only numbers I have.

Our most popular post, and by far, is my "Korea Vacation photoblog" from last August. I have no idea why it seemed to hit so well, but it is nearly four times more popular than number two, which is July’s "Breaking up with myself". In fact, 3 of the top 6 are related to quitting smoking. Number 4 really surprised me - It was "Indecision Clouds My Vision", a rerun from my old Myspace blog. Particularly interesting here - I (re)posted it in 2009, before Google’s current stats started tracking this, so this means everybody reading it was reading it well after it was posted. All of the comments are also clearly made via Google Translate, so I guess non-English speakers dug that one.

Internet Explorer users make up 45% of our audience. Since I don’t know anybody who actually still uses Internet Explorer, this stat pleased me, it means people I don’t know are reading. Speaking of people I don’t know, the country breakdown is pretty cool too. No surprise that America is number one with a bullet, and that South Korea is by far our second largest market. Canada is three. Again, no shock, I know some people currently living in Canada, and I make a lot of Canada jokes. After that, things get weird. Number 4, with only 6 fewer page views than Canada is Germany. Germany! Who knew this was the Hasselhoff of blogs? Danke schoen. I don’t know anybody in Germany, and none of my friends have been to Germany since this blog launched in the summer of 2007. Following Germany, the Czech Republic. At 8 and 9, logically, are the Ukraine and Latvia. Latvia was always my favorite Baltic. Russia rounds out the top 10. If the Soviet Union still existed, it would edge out Canada for the third spot. Spasiba, comrades.

Finally, sources that direct people to this site make for fun stats. Beyond the usual suspects like Google and Facebook, we’ve seen some traffic from Cryn and teetotaledattwentysix.blogspot.com, which, of course, I appreciate the hell out of. Two keyword phrases people have used to find this site are two of the truest statements possible: “nintendo is right” and “i hate missouri.” Other search phrases that I like are “love hotels in namhae” and “4 camera sitcom.” My favorite of all has to be one that was used just today, the namesake of today’s post, “spy bar itaewon russian girls.” That alone makes the countless hours put into his puppy worthwhile.

That wraps up NES/NAS in 2010. Thanks for reading. Now, as they say here, I’m going to take a rest. I’ll re-emerge soon after a hiatus in the gutter with all the rage, self importance, misspellings, and dick and fart jokes that you’ve come to expect. Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Immi

The Korean immigration office is baffling.

To be fair, in any nation, immigration offices and all other bureaucracies can be baffling. Also, thus far, all of the immigration agents that I’ve personally dealt with have been very nice, much nicer than your average DMV worker.

When I first came to Korea in 2006, one needed an original diploma, sealed transcripts, and a passport for an E2 visa. Simple enough. Of course, the first time I changed jobs, I needed these same materials again. Diploma and passport, no problem, I had the originals. However, I needed new sealed transcripts, had to have them sent in from the states. Why? Was there a chance my college grades would change years after I graduated? Of course not. Regardless, I got more transcripts, this wasn’t a difficult matter.

When I returned to Korea in 2009, things had changed. I still needed the original documents, but now I also needed a criminal record check from a state-level agency, and it had to be appostilled and notarized. I still don’t really know what “appostille” means, and my computer spell-check doesn’t recognize it. Basically, I had to go down to one specific cop shop in the Baltimore ghetto, fill out some forms, get fingerprinted, mail everything off somewhere, wait a couple weeks for my record check, then drive it down to Annapolis to have a lady in the secretary of state’s office staple something to the paper I already had. Now I was almost legal to get an E2. Upon my arrival in Korea, I had to get a health check, which was basically an AIDS test and a drug test.

In the summer of 2010, when I was renewing my visa to work at the same job that I already had, visa regulations had of course changed again. Now, my transcripts (I brought a stack with me this time) and diploma were no longer valid. No, now I needed a notarized and appostilled copy of my diploma. The reasoning, from what I understand, is that people were forging diplomas and transcripts. No surprise. I’ve been to Bangkok. Anybody can buy a fake Harvard degree from any number of shysters on Khao San Road. Then again, I’m sure these same guys started selling fake appostilled copies the day this law went into effect. As I was in country and dealing with my university (during summer vacation no less) would take to long, I had another option - verifying my degree through a Korean agency that specialized in this matter. Of course, all this agency would have to do to verify my degree would be to call my university and say, “So, this Jaehak guy, did he really graduate? Oh, he did? Cool.” For this service, I paid $60 and waited nearly 2 months. It turns out I was one of the lucky ones - this agency became so backlogged by others like me that they had to shut down.

Now, it gets worse. State background checks are no good anymore. Now, for an E-2 visa, Americans have to get an FBI background check. It will likely take 6 months to get done. I spoke to Immigration today, and they are being cool about it, they understand the time and know that I can’t just hang out for 6 months before I get a job. However, this makes it especially difficult for anybody back home looking to get a job here, as they now have to start planning 6 months in advance.

Also, like the transcript thing, I have no idea why I would need a current American criminal record check. Since my original CRC in 2009, I’ve been, um, in Korea. How could I have possibly committed any crimes in America during that time?

At least they’re easing up on the AIDS tests, at least in theory. The “E” class of visas in Korea are employment visas. Mine, as noted, is an E2, which is used for English teaching jobs. E2 visa applicants are still required to take a test, but having the HIV may not, in some circumstances, preclude somebody from getting a visa. In its infinite wisdom, Immigration has fully stopped testing E6 visa applicants. What is E6 for? Technically, it’s an “entertainment” visa, used for TV talent, musicians, dancers, and such. In practice, the vast majority of E6 visa holders are Filipina and other Southeast Asian whores, finding jobs as “singers” or “dancers” in the country’s many brothels. That’s Immigration logic in a nutshell. English teachers are a menace and a risk to spread AIDS amongst the pure-as-the-driven-snow local populace. Prostitutes, on the other hand, have no chance to spread any sort of social disease.

A final odd note about Immigration - the English. I called Immigration earlier this week and went there today. Both women that helped me were very kind, and their English was passable, though broken and far from fluent. I went to H&M in downtown Seoul to buy a couple things yesterday. The guy who rang me up seemed to speak fluent English. The guy that works at the convenience store down the street speaks fluent English. I don’t understand why it is that I can frequently run into random Koreans working $7 an hour jobs that speak perfect English, yet the government agency in charge of dealing with English speakers on a daily basis rarely puts English speakers on the front lines. I suppose it makes no less sense than my former school, an ENGLISH school, where none of my bosses spoke a word of English.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Apateu

My apartment is fairly awesome. I like to call it the single best E-2 (a Korean visa status) apartment in Seoul. I have a sweet couch, a queen bed, a microwave, a toaster, all of the cookware and bedding anybody would need, a monster air conditioner, lots of shelf space, and several closets. I have a crappy TV, but a solid cable package with over 30 English channels, including my beloved CNN International. Lots of my E2 cohorts have dorm-sized refrigerators, I have a real one. Up until recently, that fridge and my cabinets were always full, often with Costco products, the epitome of high-end in Korea.

Time is running short for this abode. In theory, I’m supposed to be out of here on Friday. In theory, my former job is also supposed to pay me before Friday. As A depends on B, it looks like I may have a little longer here. Lets just say I haven’t packed my bags yet.

The apartment has, of course, begun its long and sad decline. The road to crack house begins with a lack of food. I ate pretty much the last things that qualify as “food” today. Sure, there’s some oranges, half a pack of spaghetti that I bought a year ago, a can or tuna, some hard candy, 2 partial bags of stale Korean chips that I didn’t like, and of course condiments. However, I think it’s fair to say that major dinner operations have ceased.

Friday, December 24, 2010

What will your greatest weaknesses be in 5 years?

Disregarding natural disaster, famine, disease, war, and that kind of thing, there’s likely nothing more awful in life than a job interview. Bad dates are better. Doing taxes is more fun. Even the baseline for everyday awful - a trip to the dentist - certainly beats out a job interview. At least I don’t have to wear a suit to the dentist. I’d imagine a big reason that so many people work in their current positions is to prevent further interviews. Better to spend a year or two at a shit job than to go sit down with a random HR robot for 45 minutes discussing “goals.”

Full disclosure - I don’t interview well. I’m nervous, fidgety, and I’ll sweat in any room that’s over 61 degrees. I put on a tie twice a year or so, thus my interview day always begins watching a “how to tie a tie” Youtube video. When I’m out having beers with my friends, I’m as quick witted as they come. When meeting new people, I’ve been told (true story) on more than one occasion that I was boring, the dullest person in the bar, hey, I’m done talking to you, I’m gonna talk to anybody else. Me! I’m a guy who’s been to 25 countries, slept in 5 star hotels and in the gutter, and have both jumped out of and on to moving cars. The random people are right. I can hold court and crack up my buddies, but when I meet someone new I’m generally as interesting as a parking meter. The interviewer is, of course, always someone new.

My hatred of the job interview doesn’t exclusively lie in my social anxiety issues, of course. It’s the interviewers that really strudel my squirrel. I should really have cards printed up to hand the interviewer at the beginning of the chat: “My greatest weakness is (insert your choice of cliche strength here, ie, perfectionism, ambition, laser focus, too big of ideas, etc etc etc). In one/five /ten years, I plan to go to grad school in a field related to this job. Next question motherfucker.” Maybe I’ll leave out the motherfucker part. Yet, if the HR toadie is asking these same questions that I got asked at my interview at McDonald’s when I was 16, the motherfucker part is apt.

Over here, all the interviewers ask why I came to Korea. Never mind the fact that I came here in 2006, so this is really neither here nor there anymore. At this point, I should just say, “For the same reason that I own more than one pair of pants - pussy and money.” Either that, or “I used the same logic for choosing my university over Harvard. I couldn’t get in to Japan.”

One interviewer discussed the notion of roundeyes coming to Korea to party. He said that the bar for entry into the Korean ESL world is fairly low, and that lots of people come for reasonable pay and free housing, and that the job is secondary to the life. He asked what I thought of this phenomenon. Imagine, people have the audacity to come here to work to live, rather than to live to work. I pretty much rejected the entire question. I told him that this logic could be applied to most everybody in the world working most any job. Do bus drivers love their jobs? Do insurance salesmen? Do clerks? Do customer service reps? Do waitresses? Do railroad brakemen? Of course not. These people aren’t doing the job for the job, they’re doing the job for the other 128 hours of the week. I enjoy my job here, more than most I’ve had, but I don’t have any illusions about it. I wouldn’t do it for free.

Well, back to the job search grind for me. I’ll put in another two hours of emailing resumes and applications before I get into the whiskey. After all, now I’m a free agent, and my home is my office, so it’s high time for an office Christmas party.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Decision Point

I often hem and haw when I go to my local McDonald’s. Keep in mind, my local McDonald’s is 60 feet from my house and I usually end up there twice a week. Obviously, I have the menu memorized at this point. Yet, when I walk in, I have to consider what I want 87% of the time. If there’s a line, it’s even worse, as I’ll choose then reject a number of possible meals. At a Korean restaurant, I’m even worse. I often spend over an hour at the grocery store. When I talk to girls, I can never get over all of the girls that I’m not talking to.

I avoid making decisions whenever I can. The path of least resistance has likely been what’s lead me to where I am today.

Fortunately, I had a plan. Sure, this plan would force me to choose between a Quarter Pounder and a McChicken from time to time, but the overarching narrative was set. I had a home and a job set up until the end of the summer. At that point, I would go on a 6 month road-trip that would both allow for time to smell the roses along with forcing me to cross great distances in short time. Following that, another year in Korea to recoup my inevitable massive financial losses from the trip. I’d (likely) go home in the spring of 2013. I could avoid major life choices until then. Plus, there was always the chance that I’d get malaria or get eaten by a Komodo dragon before I got to that point.

Well, as I’m sure you’ve figured out by my use of the past and past conditional tenses, things aren’t going to work out that way. On Tuesday, with eight and a half months left to go on my contract, my school shut down.

There’s never a good time for this sort of thing to happen, but this time it’s especially bad. If the school would have shut down a couple months earlier, the weather would still be decent, and it would have only altered my travel (and forthcoming life) plans by a month or two. If the school could have held on for another couple months, I would have saved up enough cash to call an audible and start my trip early. As it stands, I’m jobless now and homeless in two weeks. Also, it’s really fucking cold out. Good times.

So now, I have to make a bunch of choices, and I have to do it now. Here are a few of them:

A - Find a quickie job that starts in January. The best short-term financial choice. On the down side, I haven’t seen too many jobs that start in January, at least any I want to take. I don’t particularly want to be on a January contract either. Starting the Megatrip in January of 2012 isn’t too appealing. I couldn’t take the boat to China as planned, because China would be to goddamn cold. I’d have to fly to Southeast Asia or Australia to kick it off. If I didn’t do the trip, then I’d eventually have to return to the U.S. in the dead of winter. I already tried that in 2009. It was a bad idea.

B - Find a job in March. Because of the Korean academic calendar, there are a lot of good jobs available in March. March is also a better time to start the Megatrip or to return to the U.S. The downside of this, of course, would be the fact that I’d have to spend two bitterly cold months unemployed. I have places to stay, but none involve a couch. Plus, I’ve been unemployed two days now, and I’ve already gotten pretty bored, and that’s with a liberal degree of the drink. If I went the job in March route, I would also most certainly make a trip to Thailand or the Philippines to get out of the cold, and that would cost money. I could afford to do it, but it means I’d have to considerably lower my budget once I’m working to pay for the Megatrip.

C - Move back to America permanently. But I don’t have enough cash to do that. I don’t know what I’d do. I don’t know where I’d live. Total non-starter. This is why there’s never a “C.”

D - Go back to the States temporarily. I could take a vacation back home, find a new job at my leisure, and have the new job pay for my flight back to Korea. I could, of course, see family and friends, and this would be awesome. The downside - America is expensive. I’d have to fly around to a lot of different places, and I’d have to pay for a plane ticket home to begin with. I’d most likely end up spending more than option B. Plus, outside of the portion of the trip that I’d spend in Florida, it would be just as oppressively cold as Korea.

E - Move to Taiwan. It’s warm there. They have better food than here. Like here, they have Costco. It would be an exciting new experience in the way that none of the other options are. Flights to Hong Kong and Southeast Asia are shorter and cheaper. North Korea is no longer a threat, though China is. On the downside - it would be a hard reset. I don’t have any friends there. Because it would be “new and exciting” I would definitely save less money there, making the Megatrip less likely after a year. There’s no Taco Bell. I don’t speak a word of Chinese, and learning to read (unlike in Korea, Japan, and Thailand) would be impossible.

F - Move to Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, or elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Awesome food, killer beaches, low cost of living, easily some of my favorite places in the world. Downside - I’d make 900 bucks a month or less.

These choices, of course, all have choices within them. Options A, B, and D requires choosing a public school, a private academy, an adult academy, a university, or a corporate gig. Also, I’d have to choose if I should stay in Seoul, move to the burbs, move to Busan, move to a lessor major city, or move to the sticks (doubtful.) Option C involves a choice between Kansas, Florida, Maryland, Chicago, New York, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, and other places. Option E requires choosing a school type and a city in a place that I don’t know much about. Option F is mostly academic, but it would require these same sorts of choices.

Of course, there’s always the Peace Corps.

This sucks, but I’ve seen worse. In December 2006, I lost my first Korean job. It was freezing cold, I was new to the expat life, North Korea had just gone nuclear, I had thousands of dollars in credit card debt, and my social network here was essentially nil. I didn’t have internet at home or a cell phone. Yet, I managed to land in a better situation with higher pay, a bigger apartment, and cooler co-workers, and I spent part of my unemployed period partying in Hong Kong. I’m sure I’ll land on my feet.

Now, to get a Quarter Pounder or a McChicken? Fuck it, I’m hungry, I’ll get both.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Shaking my fist at the Facebook (users)

In honor of child abuse being 100% eradicated from the world forever as a result of people changing their Facebook profile images to cartoons for a few days, it’s time for another rant on stupid things people do on Facebook.

Keep in mind, if I end up make any references to anything you may do online, it’s completely accidentally except for when it’s on purpose.

Here are some status updates that I’ve grown tired of. I’ve been down this route before, but what the hell...

-Mysterio shit. Stuff like “wow, that was a close one!” or “Best. News. Ever.”

-Using. Periods. After. Every. Word.

-Anything regarding the weather. Unless you are actually updating your status from the interior of a tornado, nobody cares. Sometimes the weather changes quickly. Sometimes it seems to stay hot or cold FOREVER! Shut up. Stop.

- Countdowns. These might be the worst because they go on so long. Even worse, when they are attached to mysterio shit. My Asia megatrip starts in 264 days. If you people don’t stop with the countdowns, I’m gonna start. 264 days of annoying status updates. Think about it.

-Chain updates, i.e., “97% of people won’t repost the fact that they think cancer and Nazis are bad. I’m one of the 3% who did!!1! Aren’t I awesome?” 3% of people are into bestiality too. YOU just happen to be where those Venn diagrams cross.

- Any update that is attempting to get me to buy something. That’s not word-of-mouth sales, that’s spam. If you want to sell cosmetics on your Facebook, get a separate account for it.

-People that #have to #use #the pound key on #everyfuckingthingtheyevertype so that #Twitter might #trend #what #theyhavetosay. This is the trap that I’ll most likely fall into one day, but until that day comes, it will annoy #themostawesomepersonwhoeverlived #me.

-Speaking of Twitter - people that use FB status updates like it’s 2009 Twitter, i.e. “Just got back from the gym” or “Out of tampons, heading to the store.” This doesn’t bother me so much anymore, but only because I’ve blocked every Facebook friend that does this.

-People that post anything about that Alaskan woman. Even if you’re making fun of her, you’re still giving her free press. Ignore her, and she’ll go away.

-Farmville. Again, this doesn’t matter to me anymore, since I blocked you a long time ago.

-Sick people. Not mentally, of course, but physically. Nobody cares about your cold. Drink some orange juice and get back to work. Obviously, this doesn’t apply if you have a real ailment. but EVERYBODY catches colds now and then.

-People that take and publish multiple quizzes per day.

I could finish off with the predictable self-deprecating barb, i.e. “people that always post their lame blogs,” but I won’t. I’m perfectly comfortable in my own douchebaggery.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Insomnia

In my old wireless retail days, I spent a few months working in the deep suburbs of Chicago. I was 25. I worked with the usual retail collection of young kids like myself, lifers that had obtained middle management positions, and guys in their 30s that were positioned to move up in the company. Then there was Scott. At most every retail spot, there’s a Scott. I really should change his name for the purposes of this blog, but I don’t keep up with anybody from those days, so I know there’s no way this could get back to him.

Scott was old. In reality, he was probably in his 40s, but the years had not been kind to him. He looked 60 at least, was divorced, maybe even never married, bald, fat, had white hair, and was an affable fellow though quite territorial about his sales. Scott had worked at the store for a year or two. His sales competition, as mentioned, were kids in their 20s, up and comers, and vets that knew the ropes. Scott was a key holder, meaning he could open or close the store without a manager as he had his own key. It was clear that this was the highest Scott would ever rise in the company. In the 6 months I worked with him, I went from working below him to working at the same pay grade to being promoted higher than him. When I was promoted, I also moved on to greener pastures, to the shallow El-connected suburbs. Some time after that, I caught wind that Scott was fired. I can’t say I was surprised.

I liked Scott. I could talk to him about Led Zeppelin and titty bars. Scott was an expert in both fields. Scott taught me some of the ropes of Sprint, and I got Scott more than a few sales (as I wasn’t a salesman at first, I acted as a point guard of sorts).

In a lot of ways, Scott, or the Scott archetype at a million other shitty jobs that I’ve worked, is a major reason that I write this blog. He’s the reason I’m in Korea. Scott is also the reason I can’t get to sleep at night.

Scott scares me to death. Maybe worse. I think I’d rather be hit by a truck in 10 years then to become Scott in 20.

Working at a shitty retail job with a bunch of dumbass 22-year-olds when I’m 48 or 55 or 61 or whatever is pretty much the worst thing I could imagine. It would be all the worse if I, like Scott, end up going home every night to an empty apartment on a boring side of town every night to sit and watch cable while drinking cheap Gin. Scott was a photographer on the side as well, but if I knew Scott at all, I’m certain he never made it.

The world is full of Scotts. Shockingly, even the Korean ESL scene has its share. I hope I never join the club. I think I’d prefer getting gunned down by Kim Jong Il. As I’ve already established that as a near impossibility, it looks like I’m going to have to win some other way.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Don't Panic

Lots of people have called or sent me Facebook or email messages regarding my likely eminent demise at the hand of artillery and/or the Korean People’s Army. While I appreciate the sentiment and the rare calls from America, there’s really no reason to worry.

First off, the North probably won’t invade. Haiti and Wikilinks have already made the Northern aggression yesterday’s news. An aside - lots of shocking news here. Haiti is having a messy election? That’s so unlike them. WikiLeaks revealed that the US doesn’t know much about the inner workings of North Korea, that American diplomats think that Putin is still really in charge in Russia and Medvedev is a puppet. Apparently, we also don’t like Gaddafi. Oh yeah, and the U.S. is worried about Shari'ah hardliners gaining influence in Turkey. Didn’t we already know all of that?

Next, I don’t live in an area with any military targets. The nearest army base is at least 12 miles away.

Third, (obviously, this is why I’m not lettering these points) I live in a pretty strategically solid place, should shit go down. My building has 4 sub-basements, my office has 5. Even better, there’s a mountain 5 minutes from my house. I could camp out on it’s south face (since mathematically, that would be a really difficult place for northern shells to hit. Angry Birds proves me right) and be fine for awhile. There are mountain springs up there, and people can go weeks without food (although I presume I could do some looting on my way there.)

Fourth - you know me and the geo-nerd stuff. I know Seoul better than most locals. I guarantee I know the back alleys and underground passages of Seoul better than every North Korean. If I have to make it from my house to Gimpo airport by foot to evacuate - well, I consider that a usual Saturday afternoon (outside of the evacuation part.)

To sum up: A) The invasion isn’t going to happen, and B) if it does, the only way I’ll go down will we through bad luck, like if a first-strike shell hits my apartment while I’m asleep. I have better odds of getting killed by a crashing plane that was struck by lightning as I scratch a jackpot lottery ticket.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Hunt's Catsup

The North is at it again. Nobody understands them, because they don’t make any sense. They insist on thumping their chest with nationalist posturing dreck, yet the whole world knows that they couldn’t even keep the lights on without the aid of their southern neighbors. They insist on going their own way for the sake of going their own way, like a 14 year old goth kid. The only reason anybody pays any attention to their ridiculous behavior is due to their geographic location.

I speak, of course, of Canada.

Ah, the old misdirection. I can’t write another North Korean aggression piece. I just did that a couple months ago. Though the North is always crazy, Canada is always funny, and it’s been too long since I mentioned this.

Americans often don’t know much about Canada. As I’ve been in close proximity with this obscure people for years now, I feel I should enlighten my fellow Americans. Here are some fun facts:

-Canada doesn’t like when we call ourselves “Americans.” They consider North America to be a diverse continent, and not just the continent that America happens to be on (own). Clearly the Monroe Doctrine isn’t taught in Canadian schools.

-Whenever I hear somebody use the euphemism “North American,” I realize I’m dealing with a Canuck. This happens a lot here.

-Speaking of Canadian schools - they all insist on calling college “university,” apparently not realizing that this requires an extra three syllables. If you hear (and around Canadians, you will) “When I was in university eh...” then you got yourself a frigid pucksucker.

-100% of the Canadians I know don’t think they pronounce the word “about” in a wrong and hilarious manner. 87% of the Canadians I know do, in fact, use the hilarious and cliche pronunciation.

-Canadians also pronounce “pronunciation” as “pronounce-iation”

-Canadians insist that they have great beer, and ours is terrible. Then they use unfair comparisons, saying a random microbrew IPA from Edmonton is better than Bud Lite. Of course it’s better than Bud Lite. Canada has delicious beer, and an Alberta microbrew and a Colorado microbrew will be on a similar plane. Moosehead and Molson are no better than Bud or Coors. Miller destroys Moosehead.

-Canadians call kickball “soccer-baseball.” Let that sink in. Koreans refer to the game as foot-baseball. This is far better than soccer-baseball, especially considering the fact that Koreans don’t speak English, and Canadians theoretically do.

-Canadians insist on calling the letter “z” a zed. Then they insist that the rest of the world uses zed, blah blah blah, and that America changed it to zee to make it rhyme in the alphabet song. I have no idea if this is true, but if it is, isn’t that a totally logical reason to change the pronunciation? Seriously, on Canadian Sesame Street, does the song end qrs/tuv/wx/y and zed?

-In some parts of Canada, they call a backpack a packsack. A packsack. This sounds like a cousin of the teabag. I’m not making this up.

-Canadians think that Toronto is some sort of combination of New York, Babylon, Sodom, and London. Yesterday, my Canadian co-worker told me that Toronto has minorities, even black people. He said it with a sense of fear and awe. He also describes his hometown as “just outside Toronto,” and then clarifies it’s a 9 hour drive away.

-Canada insists on using British spelling, ie, theatre, harbour, organise. I suppose they have to, as the Queen of England is their official head of state, and if they decided to use superior American spelling, the queen could waltz in and take over.

-Canadians refer to a winter hat or stocking cap as a “toque.” I don’t know why they do this, or why they use such a complicated francophile spelling, as the word toque rhymes with kook. Hilariously, toque is also slang for a foreskin, and Canadians use it as an insult when they tire of “hoser.”

-Canadian Thanksgiving is in October. Even stranger, they refer to real Thanksgiving as “American Thanksgiving.” I presume Canadian Thanksgiving commemorates when Leif Ericson met the Eskimos.


I spent my Thanksgiving Saturday (we don’t get Thursday off since it ain’t Korean Thanksgiving) with a group of local whities, including a couple of Canadians. I’m as tired of the word “douchebag” as you are, but it’s the best word to describe the Canuck dude that was there. Actually, I’ll call him Toque. That shall be his name. Like any good Thanksgiving family dinner, Toque provided “the incident” by erupting and verbally abusing his girlfriend over a game of Jenga that he lost. Beyond that, he also went on a rant against football unprovoked and for no reason, and when the group was playing random hilarious 1 minute Youtube clips for lulz, he chose a 9 and a half minute video about hockey.

Toque also went on numerous xenophobic rants. One was premised in the fact that there were no Asian geniuses since Confucius. His argument was that no Asian person living in Asia had ever come up with any idea or invention that changed the world. My thought (that I sadly thought of later) was yo, Toque, you’re Canadian! What world-changing ideas have ever come from Canadians living in Canada? Canadians go with Alexander Graham Bell (a Scotsman by birth, not a native Canadian), yet for some reason Bell Labs and AT&T were established in New York City. James Naismith was a Canadian by birth, but invented basketball in Massachusetts, perfected it in Kansas, and is buried in Lawrence. No Canadian entertainer contributed anything to the zeitgeist before the day they moved to New York, LA, or Chicago (where they likely still live.) Even most Canadian hockey greats have spent their prime playing for American teams. The only pure Canadian invention that I can think of (ie, created by Canadians who lived in Canada when they invented it) is the Blackberry. I defy you to find one person who says the quality of his or her life is better because of a Blackberry.

Look, I’ve got some Canadian friends, some whom even come close to seeming like real people. I don’t dislike Canada or Canadians (except for Toque). Canada has a far superior health care system, third party candidates, loose weed laws, and a strong social conscience. I’d even consider moving there, if not for the weather. And the accent. And the soccer baseball. That’s a deal killer.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Victimless Crime

An unexpected space, suddenly pitch black. I was hunkered down, and I didn’t expect the lights to go out. I didn’t expect this kind of darkness. I don’t know what was beyond my unlock-able half-door, a door that I had been holding closed with one hand while the other was otherwise occupied. I couldn’t hang out in this pitch black corner all night. I’m not the trappable type. I need to escape. But how? I couldn’t see the half door, only inches from my line of sight. Only one way out, really.

I stood up, glad to regain a standing position. Still pitch black. I let the un-lockable door latch go. I kicked the door open. The door hit somebody on the outside. The potential assailant cried out. The door swung slowly back toward me, bouncing off the unknown person. For good measure, I shoved the door, full force this time, right into this person, incapacitating him.

I jumped through the doorway. The corridor was still pitch black. I knew I was close to freedom, and I inched my way forward.

I felt I still wasn’t alone.

I moved blindly toward the faint glow in the background. I was near the exit of this hellish oubliette. As I approached the exit, my shoulder brushed that of another lurking stranger. I unleashed a swift elbow and felt ribs. The figure cried out and slumped toward the floor. My shot had been true.

I continued, unencumbered, and escaped the darkness.

I should also retell this story without all of the stylization.

So I was at Gorilla Bar in Hongdae last weekend. A Korean bar snack that I’d eaten earlier in the evening wasn’t agreeing with me. I tried to avoid it for some time, but at 3 a.m. or so, I had to evacuate.

I sat down on the much-to-be-desired (though far better than most in downtown Lawrence) shitter at Gorilla Bar. As noted, the shitter door didn’t lock, so I had to hold it closed throughout the process.

Mid-process, the lights went out. It really was pitch black.

I automatically assumed that the lights went out because of some sort of trickster. Most Korean bathrooms, for whatever reason, have their light switches outside of the door. I was instantly thrown into a rage.

I did kick my stall door open. Urinals, as you may expect, were on the other side of the stall, and my stall door did hit some random guy pissing in the far urinal. In my wrathful and slightly drunken state, I automatically assumed that this guy had something to do with the lights going out, so I did shove the door into him again. While washing my hands, another guy did enter my personal space, in the pitch black, and I assumed he also had to do with the lights going out. I got a pretty good rib shot on him.

When I actually left the bathroom, I noticed a maintenance guy working on the bulb. The light probably didn’t go out because of any foul play, but rather because of electrical issues.

Meh. In the end, I have no regrets. Seeing other random dudes at this bar later, I can say for sure that each and every one of them deserved an elbow in the ribs or worse. I’m also glad to learn that my instinctual response in a pitch-black bathroom is to go Rambo on everyone (glad it wasn’t Commando). Plus, as Nelson Muntz said, punching someone in the dark is a victimless crime.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Seoul in pictures



I could live in most city in the world. I’m a young(ish) American citizen with no debt, a college degree, and an IQ well over 75 (the last two statements are not mutually exclusive). If I wanted to, I could move to London, Tokyo, or New York. I’m lucky that way. I don’t take any particular credit for this feat, after all, I could have just as easily been born in an impoverished village in Namibia, where I wouldn’t have had so many choices (actually, for that to have happened, it would have required my parents to move to Namibia for reasons unknown before I was born, but you catch my drift). For now, I’ve opted against London, Tokyo, New York, and Namibia and chosen to live in Korea, specifically Seoul.

Over the years, I’ve given Korea quite a bit of shit, in this space and otherwise. With Fan Death, dog soup, Dokdo, shiny suits, Konglish T-shirts, an evil twin to the north, love hotels, crazy nationalism, visors, sandals with socks, and couple shirts, Korea is a comedy well that won’t soon run dry. However, tonight, I’m here to praise my adopted home, specifically my adopted hometown of Seoul.

Korea in general and Seoul specifically make for an awesome vacation destination, yet very few people come here for that purpose. Is it the distance? Sure, that plays in. Then again, nearby Japan and China have no trouble drawing American and European tourists. I think a big portion of the problem, as mentioned by Michael Breen in an op-ed piece last week, is that (South) Korea shares a name with that other Korea. Whenever those crackpots are in the news, it brings down the value of the whole neighborhood. It makes South Korea sound dangerous. It isn’t. Avoiding Seoul out of fear of the North is like avoiding New York out of fear of hurricanes. For the record, two people that I know (in over 3 years) have come to Seoul on vacation, the Old Man and my buddy Wiley. Both enjoyed it enough that both are planning trips here in 2011. You should too. Here’s a few pictures of my Seoul from the last few years.


As always, click on the pics to enlarge.


Cityscape



Inghwansan Pavilion




Downtown Skyline from Inghwansan




Downtown skyline from Samcheong-dong




Gangnam skyline



International trade towers from Jamsil Stadium




International trade towers and Coex (site of the current G20 summit)


Seoul isn't just new, flashy buildings of course. An awful lot of it looks like this:


Concrete Jungle



Yeungdangpo-Gu from the 63 Building




Nowon-gu from Buram Mountain




Hanam-dong from Itaewon




Cheongye Stream - a cool twist on the concrete jungle theme. This stream used to be covered by a freeway, now it's essentially a miles-long park through downtown. Here, they left the supports of the old freeway to remind people what this stream used to be.


Nature/Green Space



Bukhan Mountain (I think. Don?) Seoul is surrounded by mountains on all sides, and has a few within the city itself.



Namsan Tower, from Nam Mountain



Pavilion in Children's Grand Park, one of Seoul's many large parks



Peak of Bukhan Mountain, Seoul's tallest



Cheongye Stream, downtown Seoul



Banpo Bridge and its fountain on the Han River

Street view of the cityscape



Traditional Hanok houses in Samcheong-dong, near downtown Seoul



Tons of neon, Suyu station area in north Seoul



One of my favorite modern buildings, downtown Seoul



Whoops, edit. It's come to my attention that this is,in fact, Ilsan, which is outside the Seoul city limits. My bad.



Gangnam skyline from the street



Gwanghwamun, the gate of Gyeongbuk Palace, Seoul's largest



World Cup, screens set up on Daehangno, east-central Seoul



Gyeongbuk Palace, downtown. I took this picture with a ghetto camera phone way back in October 2006, and I still dig it.

Seoul isn't Paris. I'm not trying to pretend it is. However, as you can see, it is a Great City. If I didn't love it, I would have left it a long time ago. Come check it out.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

TV Party

I admit, this post is a couple weeks out of date, but it still works. I wrote it at the same time as the Fantasy Football and Baseball playoff posts. I intended to post it that week, but then forgot, then had to do something different for post 200, and of course I had to comment on the election. Anyway, it still works, and I'm too lazy to update it to reflect the last 2 weeks of TV.

As I mentioned a couple posts ago, beyond the usual Daily/Colbert, I’m currently enrapt in The Simpsons, Family Guy, Mad Men, Dexter. How I Met Your Mother, Modern Family, 30 Rock, The Office, and The Apprentice. That’s a lot of work.

I’m happy that The Apprentice is focusing on normal people rather than celebrities this year. I still hope that it’s a ratings bomb, because as I’ve said, I mostly hate this show and want it out of my life, but I don’t have the intestinal fortitude to break up with it. Who knew that when I had no cable and no money early in my Chicago days that I’d end up stuck with this show for 7 years and counting? I figured that, like most reality shows that I watched back then (Joe Millionaire, anyone?) that I’d be done with it in a season or two. I started watching the Apprentice because it was on, I had nothing else to do. Now I download it every week. Perhaps this was the question concerning technology that Heidegger was asking. I suppose I wouldn’t know, as I never finished that book.

How I Met Your Mother remains my baseline. I will not watch any shows that are worse than it. This season, its been consistent in its baseline-ness.

The Office hasn’t been awful this year. Thus far, it’s the best season in 3 years, although that isn’t saying much. 30 Rock has been a little uneven with its “live” gimmick. If I wanted to watch a 4 camera crap-fest, I’d download the Big Bang Theory. Modern Family, with Parks and Rec on the bench, has easily been this season’s best live-action network sitcom thus far. Also, NBC, tabling Parks and Rec in favor of Outsourced, continues to prove themselves idiots. CBS dominates with crap. Why fight crap with quality when you can fight crap with crap?

Thus far, The Simpsons has gotten the best of Family Guy. I am very fond of Family Guy and enjoy it immensely, but I love the Simpsons, at least the Simpsons of Mr. Sparkle and Knifey-Spoony. I want excellence from both programs, but it does give me some joy to see the Simpsons back and writing rings around Family Guy.

As I move on to cable shows, I must issue a spoiler alert, should you be concerned.

Dexter has kinda been the most formulaic non-formula style show for awhile. It seemed they knew it and wanted to do something about it. Since they killed off Dexter’s wife in a total unexpected turn at the end of last season, the formula has been broken. This year, They’ve brought in Julia Styles as a recurring character. As a 90s teen movie (and 90s any movie) junkie, Julia Styles involvement is cool by me.

This brings me to Mad Men. Mad Men will, sadly, be of no concern next week, as it aired its season finale. I say sadly, because over the course of this season Mad Men has moved to the alpha-dog position in my TV viewing. I download it the minute it’s available, and I watch it at the first opportunity I have. It is my favorite show. It’s number one. Not of all time, but right now.

I’m shocked that Don proposed to Megan. Looking back, it makes sense of course. When Meagan made the leap, so to speak (ie, terminology that I’m blatantly ripping off from Bill Simmons) in the episode that she hooked up with Don for the first time, I felt compelled to go back into the earlier episodes and even re-watched her parts in episode 4. Something had changed. Of course, Dr. Faye had also predicted that Don would be married within a year, and it would be too obvious for the writers to pair him up with her, so of course he proved her prediction prescient with the girl that he cheated on her with. At the end of the finale, it looked like Don and the horrible Betty Draper Francis were going to reunite, at least for the evening. They didn’t. This is why Mad Men is the best show on TV right now, why it wears the belt. The writers and Matthew Weiner certainly made it look like a connection was eminent, and no viewer wanted it to happen though everyone thought it would, then it didn’t. Well done sirs, well done.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pulling a Boehner

Two interesting developments this week:

First, the Republicans won. Not just the Republicans, but the dumbest sect of the Republicans, the sort of Republicans that even sensible country-club-style voting-for-their-own-economic-interest Republicans hate. Nope, this is the so-called Tea Party that won. A “populist” group that is funded by Texas real estate billionaires. Southern and rural people that make $14,000 a year make up the core of the group, and they are adamant that people that make more money per year than these populist folks will make in their lifetimes deserve massive tax breaks.

They are enraged that the government taxes and spends. I understand. I’m mad as hell that the Cubs lose every year. Then again, one day the Cubs might (not likely) win. Taxing and spending is pretty much the definition of every government that has ever existed ever. Only two systems of government never tax and spend, and both have only existed in theory since, say, the agricultural revolution. One is pure communism, the other pure anarchy. The closest that modern society has been to either of these theoretical extremes would be the Soviet Union and war-lord run Somalia. By my math, if the Tea Party is opposed to taxing and spending, that makes THEM the Marxists AND the Fascists (which, anybody with a dictionary can tell you, are essentially polar opposites).

My theory? We’re looking at 1994 2.0, only worse for the GOP. The 1994 election featured the Republicans roughly in lockstep together, willing to follow Newt to the ends of the earth. Fittingly for a flat-earth society such as the Contract for America gang, Newt lead them right off a cliff. Clinton was easily re-elected, the economy boomed, the dollar soared, and everybody in America except Ken Starr America got laid. This election cycle is different. The Republicans only won one house. The insurgents that swept into office yesterday are not beloved by the traditional Republicans that will be running the show. The Republican Party, an absolute monolith since 1980, will show fissures. Obama will be challenged by a split congress, but I also think he’ll take the gloves off a bit. Boehner will have a tough job too. He’ll have too get a group of buttoned-down establishment conservatives and a new group of crazed malcontents to agree. Though the Democrats have proved themselves excellent at fucking up simple opportunities, I think the American people will be disgusted at watching the “Tea Party” attempt to legislate. Obama will be re-elected. I’ll give him the same NES/NAS bump that prevented Korean War 2 and saved the Big 12.

Regardless, it’s gonna be an ugly couple of years. Not a whole lot of good things will be happening in Washington.

Second interesting development of the last week - Quarter Pounders finally came to Korea. Also, Taco Bell is wildly popular and opening a second branch. Seriously, I like Korean food. However, in my early days here, I often ate it because I had to. Now, between Costco, new Itaewon options, and new local places (Italian, a new burger place, a new Chinese place, a kebab/shawarma place) I can go weeks without eating Korean food entirely by accident.

My point - between the House Republicans and the local QPC, don’t leave the light on for me. I won’t be back soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Two Oh Oh

Welcome to post number 200. Quite a milestone there, 200. It’s a good number when referring to rushing yards in an individual football game, not so good a number regarding batting average. It’s the ideal number, in dollars, to withdraw from the ATM. Less, and it means you’re nickel and dime-ing it and making constant ATM runs. More, and it means you’re probably paying rent in cash, rarely a sign that things are going well. Under most circumstances, it’s a good weight to bench press and a bad weight to be. Does 200 mean that I’m going to go nostalgic and that I’m going to throw out a bunch of meaningless statistics? After all these posts, you should already know the answer to that.

This blog started in September of 2007. Oh, how things have changed since back then. Back then, The US was in two wars and North Korea was a crazed though starving threat near me that occasionally rattled the sabre. France was on strike. Indonesia was rife with natural disasters. Phillies slugger Ryan Howard was known for strike-outs. The Denver Broncos were heading toward a post-season free from the stresses of playing football.

Hmm, that all sounds familiar. Things must have been quite different for me personally. In fact, they were. Back then, I lived two buildings away from where I do now. My commute has gone from 7 minutes on foot to 3 minutes. Back then I bought pizza every Monday and a hot dog every Tuesday, whereas now I buy a hot dog every Tuesday and pizza every Monday. Since those long-ago days, I’ve probably met dozen of new people. I daresay I have made ones of new friends since then.

The first post on this blog was by my esteemed colleague and brother Dr. Kickass. It was about sports failures. The 199th post was by me, and the topic was similar. My first post was this blog’s third overall post, and it was a one-paragraph response to Dr, Kickass’s prior post. Like my old Myspace blog and pretentious poetry, it was written in all lowercase.

This blog’s most prolific month was its second, October of 2007 with a whopping 18 entries. The first posts that we wrote that actually garnered some comments were Kickass’s “For Title’s Sake,” which was about good and evil college teams; and my “Eighth Grade Man,” which was a post focused on making fun of my friend Don.

Three years in, I’m proud that no other space on the internets matches NES/NAS in our ability to preach the sanctity or profanity of certain sports teams. Also, certainly no other site manages so much success in the field of making fun of Don.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Football update

Now how's that for a title?

I’m surprised my last post got so much Big Red love based on my tangential introduction. I’ve never cared for Nebraska myself. Of the 46 states that I’ve been to, I’ve spent the least amount of time in Nebraska despite the fact that I lived under 100 miles away from it for 20 years. I’ve spent less than one hour in that state, and 97% of that time I was asleep. In fact, I’ve spent much more time in North Carolina’s airports and South Carolina and Alaska’s airspace, 3 of the 4 states that I haven’t been to, then I have in Nebraska. One of my favorite jokes - What does the “N” on Nebraska’s helmet stand for? (K)Nowledge.

Though Nebraska was always the regional football power when I was growing up, I don’t think I ever liked them. The pre-1994 teams were always the dominant midwest force, beating KU 77-0 or so every year. Then they would go to the Orange Bowl to either lose a close game or to be murdered by a Florida school. In 1994 and 1995, they finally found their way. They stopped being a national embarrassment on the field and instead became one off it, thanks to Lawrence Phillips on both accounts. Of course, by this point, Notre Dame had begun their long hibernation, KU’s resurgence was a long way off, and I had discovered drugs, so college football went on without me.


The NFL, however, I’ve always kept up on.


It turns out, as per usual, that most all of my pre-season NFL predictions were wrong. Everything I said about the Jets looks laughable. They’re for real. The Chiefs seem at least 60% for real as well, and in the AFC West this year, a 60% winning percentage should result in a home playoff game. Granted, that home playoff game the Chiefs may earn will find them hosting Baltimore, Pittsburgh, New England, the Jets, or Tennessee, ie, they will definitely lose by a lot. Still, should they make the post-season coming after a 2-14 season, that’s more than I signed up for, and I’ll be happy. I know it’s still early to speculate, but the Chiefs should beat the Rams, Cardinals, and Jaguars, and they should sweep either the Broncos or Raiders while splitting with the other. That’s 9 wins, which should be enough to take this crappy division. Strangely, I’m most frightened of the Rams. They’ve been frisky, and Bradford looks like the most interesting rookie QB in years. Then again, so did Matt Ryan. The Bears, on the other hand, may be a simply atrocious football team that will be lucky to win another game. Enjoy being a DC in, say, Houston next season Lovie.


I will now delight you with a fantasy football tale. If you don’t care about such matters (and how could you not?) then you should stop here. I won’t mind. I’ll see you in a couple days to talk TV.


All 3 of my fantasy teams this year, somehow, are horrible. I’ve had horrible luck to start with, from the early rounds (Ryan Grant, DeAngelo Williams, Shonn Green, Randy Moss) to the “utility” middle rounders (Joe Flacco, Mike Simms-Walker, Jermichael Finley, now Dallas Clark too) to later round crafty veterans (Clinton Portis, Thomas Jones). Even my kickers and defenses were lame, and I’ve changed both so many times in all 3 leagues that I no longer have any idea who my kickers and defenses are. I’ve been shrewd in free agency and trades since then though, and I still think all of my teams, even my 1-5 one should be in the playoff hunt. Last week, as I began my comebacks, fantasy football really hurt. Turns out instead of coming back, I went 0-3.


I basically lost 2 games on the same mundane play.  In one game, my opponent had the Tennessee defense, and in the other, my opponent had Jacksonville’s kicker Josh Scobee. On Monday Night, Jacksonville had the ball on the Tennessee 3, 3rd and goal, and down 20-0 in the 3rd quarter.  It was obvious 4 down territory, as a touchdown would make it a 2 score semi-competitive game. Tennessee, of course, sacked Jacksonville quarterback Trent Edwards for a 12 yard loss. Ballgames. See, a fantasy defense scores 2 points off a sack, so my opponent who owned the Tennessee D scored 2 points off that sack - and beat me by one point. This sack also forced Jacksonville to kick a field goal, as it was now 4th and 15 instead of 4th and 3.  I lead by 1.5 in my other game but Josh Scobee trotted out and kicked the chip-shot field goal, putting me down by 1.5.  2 losses, 2.5 points.  D’oh. And Stupid Jacksonville still lost to Tennessee 30-3. Tennessee covered the spread by a mile. I may have been the only person in America affected by Scobee’s meaningless kick, and I’m not even in America.


Kyle-toast stays in 1st place in that league, even though he didn’t even draft his own team or autodraft. No, another buddy in the league, Jed, drafted for him. Jed ended up getting him AP. Roddy White, Miles Austin, Shady McCoy, Phil Rivers, and Arian Foster. Jed literally picked the best possible player he could have gotten in each round. At least Jed got his karmic come-upance for drafting 2 teams in the same draft - his own team is 1-5 and in last place.


TV party coming soon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Baseball Gods still hate me

A girl in class the other day wore a sweatshirt with a football on it, and the shirt read “Michigan: 1997 Natural Champions.” Konglish (ie, Korean English based in mistakes) actually kinda worked here. In the 1997 college football debate, I always felt that co-champ Michigan was the natural champion, and that co-champ Nebraska was more the man-made, false champion. Then again, what do I know? Michigan’s victory over Ryan Leaf - led Washington State in the Rose Bowl doesn’t exactly hold up so well in College football lore anymore.

I have less to say about the current incarnation of college football. The less said, the better, given the performances of the Kansas football Jayhawks and Notre Dame.

I can’t say that I’m particularly happy with the Baseball Gods either. I suppose I never am, given that each season’s playoffs are generally just another boot in the face. This year, I mean that for both the MLB and the KBO (Korean Baseball).

Kia, my beloved, defending champion Kia, shat the bed this season. They didn’t make the playoffs. It’s an 8 team league and 4 make the post-season, so it’s not hard to do. This year’s Korea series involves the Samsung (Daegu) Lions and the SK (Incheon) Wyverns. I don’t care for either team. In fact, they are likely my two least-favorite Korean teams. Samsung is the richest team, as they are sponsored by the biggest company. SK have been in the finals every year that I’ve been here, and they’ve won it twice. Also, Incheon is probably the least interesting KBO town. SK also has basically zero out of town fans, like the Jacksonville Jaguars or the San Diego Padres. I don’t care who wins. I lose.

In the American baseball playoffs, I was pulling for the Devil Rays given that I worked for them, but they made a quick exit. The remaining four teams are, in my book, a pretty contemptible bunch. Not as bad as previous years, don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to avoid dealing with Rocky Fan or Nelly Fan or, god help us, Pink Hat Fan. However, I really don’t like:

The Yankees. Who does?

The Rangers. I still hate George Bush. I always will. Speaking of long seeded grudges -

The Giants. They beat the Cubs in the 1989 NLDS. I know I should be over it. They have a great stadium, play in a great city, and Willie Mays played for them. I’ll still never like them, just like I’ll never like the Miami Dolphins after they beat the Bears in 1985 and I’ll never like the Knicks for taking the ’92 Bulls to 7 games and I’ll never like Duke, UCLA, UTEP, North Carolina, Wake Forest, Virginia, Syracuse, Arizona, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Bucknell, Bradley, and Northern Iowa for having the audacity to beat KU in the NCAA tournament.

I guess that means I’m cheering for the Phillies. I’m pretty sick of de-facto cheering for Philadelphia teams simply because none of them have ever done anything particularly offensive to any of my teams. Yes, I’m aware that Philly beat the Royals in the 1980 World Series, but that’s before my time really. Also, the Eagles beat the Bears in the 2001 playoffs, but everyone knew that the 2001 Bears were crazy lucky and likely the worst 13-3 team of all time, so no hard feelings. Speaking of weak 13-3 teams, I also hold no particular grudge toward the Indianapolis Colts. The 13-3 Chiefs teams that lost to the Colts at home in 1995 and 2003 pretty much worked as hard as they could to lose those games. Stupid Chiefs. ’95 defense plus ’03 offense = ’85 Bears. ’95 offense plus ’03 defense = ’08 Lions.

Later this week - yayhooing about the NFL.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Eating cake that I also have

You didn’t really think it would be a clean, smooth, flawless break, did you? That’s just not how life works. Not real life at least.

Yes, I’m talking about the quitting smoking again. It’s still a big ball of un-fun.

According to my mother, her father quit smoking cold turkey, no questions asked, in like 1957 because there was an article in Life or Harpers or something that indicated that smoking may lead to consumption or typhoid fever. From what I understood, he finished the article, put out his Camel Shortie, crushed the remainder of his pack like it was the skull of a communist sympathizer, and never gave a second thought to the evils of tobacco for the rest of his days.

I’m not as hard core as my grandpa, either grandpa, or your grandpa come to think of it. No, I come from the latter end of the generation that determined that $800 is a fair price to pay for a stroller, and that their offspring will thus be stroller-bound until they are 11. If I ever have kids, I’d like to day I’d push them around in a shopping cart. Good thing I won’t have too. Right now, as we speak, some hipster mom in Brooklyn is spending nearly a grand on a stroller. Realistically, the soonest point in which I’ll need a stroller is 5 years from now, in which case I can buy that very stroller from said hipster for 38 bucks.

I digress. I don’t care about strollers. They don’t exist in Korea, which is another thing I like about living here. Kids who are old enough to not be carried fucking walk.

My first day not smoking was horrible. I reached for cigs that weren’t there every five minutes. Break times at work seemed pointless. Honestly, I even enjoyed work, because work is a time in which I’m used to not smoking (outside of breaks.) My first week didn’t get much better. Out of principle, I went 2 whole weeks before I bought some bullshit non-tobacco (but still bad for you) flavorless herbal cigs, and 3 weeks before I bothered to bum a real cigarette. It was all I thought about. It was, as I so often framed it, a break up.

I couldn’t go on like that forever. I started degrading, just a little. I’d bum one, maybe two smokes every Saturday night. My America trip drew closer. I knew that I couldn’t avoid smoking at all in Lawrence. Knowing this, I got a little sloppier here, bumming smokes on a Wednesday night.

Imagine that you had been married for 17 years, only the wife never aged that whole time. You divorced. You and the wife’s song was, say, “Everlong”. Your movie was “Casablanca”. Your honeymoon was in Paris. Imagine you then went to Paris on business. While walking around Paris, “Casablanca” was projected onto the side of every building. At the same time, “Everlong” was being piped onto every square inch of the city. Would you call her? For me, that’s like smoking at the airport. The airport is me and Madame Tobacco’s song. It’s our movie. It’s our town. On my flight from Seoul to Tokyo, I didn’t smoke at the Seoul airport to prove a point. I did smoke at the Tokyo counterpart to prove another. On my next layover, in Minneapolis, I was happy I quit, because I didn’t have the option to smoke without fantastic inconvenience, so I opted not to. Trust me, had this flight been in June, I would have smoked there. After all, I once smoked in the customs area of O’hare before going through immigration, which I’m pretty sure is a federal offense. Upon landing at KCI, I still didn’t, maybe to prove another point.

I spent 3 nights in Lawrence. Smokes were had.

I spent the rest of my American vacation in Florida. On most days there, I had zero cigarettes. On only two or three occasions, I bummed one, and each time I was delighted to discover that it was a Newport.

I flew back to Korea. I bummed a smoke in Tampa, another Newport. I had a layover in Detroit, and again smoking would have been near-impossible, but I totally would have done it in June. I got on the longest flight of my life - DTW-ICN. I spent over 14 hours on the plane, over 13 hours of which was in the air. While a flight of this magnitude was hardly a day at Disney World (something I had recent experience in) it was far easier to deal with than my much shorter Seoul-Kuala Lumpur flight a few months ago. Did I bum a smoke when I landed? 14 hours yo, 14 hours. C Everett Coop would have done the same.

Upon my return to Korea, I’ve found a weird kind of peace. I’ve suddenly become the impossible, the “smoke what I drink” guy, the Eric or Wiley style of smoking. I smoked too much last Friday. I was embarrassed. My shirt reeked, which was something I’d never noticed before. Still, I didn’t smoke all day on Saturday, even though I drank all day on Saturday. No cigs until the sun went down. Once it was dark, I smoked even more than I did on Friday. Horrible. Obviously, I’d crossed a line, and I was back in the full time smoker fold.

Only I wasn’t. I didn’t smoke on Sunday. Or Monday. Or at all, until once while writing this very post. I also didn’t crave cigarettes to any important degree at work, or while watching TV, or at any point during the week.

This arrangement is perfect.

I have 17 years of smoking karma. I’ve bummed out 10-fold more cigarettes than I’ve bummed.

I don’t expect it to last. Like any friends with benefits situation, something will have to eventually give. I hope it’s later rather than sooner though. I love being a smoker at the bar and a straight non-smoker at work. It’s awesome to play video games and watch TV at home smoke-free while enjoying the occasional blog-writing cig. Least relevant but most powerful, it’s amazing to avoid the worst part of flying (the rabid desire for cigarettes) while enjoying the payoff smoke at the airport.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Another half-assed last minute effort

Oy vey, I’ve gotten to be so lazy lately. I was totally going to write a post on my America trip this week, I have a lot to talk about. I suppose I can try to be productive next week.

Writing wasn’t going to happen on Monday. I arrived back in Korea on Sunday evening after 23 hours of travel and 14 (!) hours in seat 36-C (no accident on that seat choice) on a Delta 777 between Detroit and Seoul. After all that, I woke up at 6 a.m. on Monday after passing out early Sunday night. Fortunately, there was plenty of football to watch between 6 a.m. and work time. After work Monday, I was wiped, definitely no writing.

I woke up at 9 a.m. on Tuesday. Still residual jet-lag effects. On the plus side, I was up in time to watch the horrible Bears-Giants Monday night game. After work, I had to start catching up on TV. Strangely, being in America left me far behind on American television. I found myself 2 or 3 episodes behind on Mad Men, Dexter, Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother, The Simpsons, Family Guy, Boardwalk Empire (which I haven’t started yet) and sadly The Apprentice, which is the only show that I watch that I actively hope will be cancelled so that I can stop watching it. I was caught up on 30 Rock and the Office, but I was also several episodes behind on The Daily Show and Colbert. I think It’s Always Sunny, South Park, and Eastbound and Down will have to wait until these other shows go to reruns this winter. I think only I could leave the country and end up watching even more TV.

I planned to write on Wednesday. This did not go according to plan. Like certain St Louis academics, I began the evening with a nice glass, then bottle, of wine with dinner. I dined on grilled chicken sauteed with onions, bell pepper, and chilies. It was lovely. Next, I brought my computer outside with the intention of writing at the convenience store patio. This area was populated by foreigners that I vaguely knew, so it would have been uncouth for me to turn my back on them without joining them for at least one beer. Two Korean guys that spoke next to no English were at the other table, and they bought us a large bottle of beer. We invited them to join us. They did. We went to a bar. The Korean dudes picked up the tab. Long story short, we ended up in environs that were not exactly East St Louis sketchy. but certainly not the most wholesome of locales that one could find oneself at 5 a.m. on a Wednesday night. At least adventure and daring are alive and well in Seoul.

I planned to write on Thursday. Thing is, it’s tough to get it together after an unexpected late-night boozefest. I was still well behind on TV, so it was TV party and sleep time.

That brings us to now. I’m at work. Time is short. As this is my first Friday back in town in some time, I’m certainly going out, leaving no time to put anything together about the America trip. I’ll try harder next week.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Too lazy to post a re-run

So instead I'll just post this place-holder blog to keep me post-a-week streak alive. Thanks for all the love on last week's post, I enjoyed writing it. Then again, I was drinking at the airport hotel bar before my trip, and it's pretty hard to not have a good time at the airport hotel bar. Anyhow, I'm out. I'm going to Disney World. Literally.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Where you from?

Yo, this is commitment, I hammered this out at the airport hotel bar. It cost me sleep. No time to edit since I have 22 hours of flights tomorrow, so don't crush me on the grammar errors.

I’m no stranger to “home” trips. After all, I have more homes than John McCain. This one will be a little different though. I’ve done extensive travel in America, likely more than you, and I’ve taken more trips to Lawrence from some outside home than the Oklahoma Sooners have.

“Where are you from?” is a pretty basic question. It’s generally one I have difficulty answering. If I’m on the road in Korea and someone asks me that, I say Seoul. It’s as earnest an answer as any. If I’m in Seoul, I say America. This inevitably leads to the “where in America” question, which is where things get dicey. (On the flip side, when a Korean asks this question and forces me to narrow down to the square block that I may presume myself to be from, I’ll ask the same question in return, and their answer will invariably be “Korea.” No shit.)

I’ve long struggled with the “where I’m from” bit. I can be a dickhead and answer with “nowhere” or I can be a different kind of dickhead and answer with “everywhere.” I’ve been both kinds. See, I was born in a nowhere town in Illinois, and moved to another nowhere town in Illinois when I was still an infant. Clearly, I’m not “from” either locale, though I have an Illinois social security number. As noted last week, both my parents and all four of my grandparents are from Chicago. Also, I’ve always been in favor of the Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, and Notre Dame, despite the fact that I didn’t actually live in Chicago until I was 24.

Obviously, there’s the Kansas thing. I moved to Kansas when I was a little kid, during preschool. I went to some pre-school and all of elementary school, junior high, high school, and most of college in Lawrence. I’ve spent more time in Lawrence than any other city. On the sports team test, the Kansas Basketball Jayhawks and the Chiefs are absolutely my favorite sports teams in the world and the Royals are certainly my favorite baseball team.

When I was a kid, in grade school and junior high, I hated Lawrence, hated Kansas, even while loving its sports teams. I always planned to get the hell out. I spent my freshman year in college at pretty much the farthest place from Kansas that I could get to. I hated Kansas history classes about John Brown and Charles Robinson in grade school, although I’ve spent the last 10 years boring countless non-Kansans with stories of Bleeding Kansas (also, this represents how horrible a bunch of my teachers may have been - how could they not get me excited about John Brown? I didn’t learn to love him until sophomore year of high school.) I attempted to move out of the state permanently several times, it didn’t take until the 4th time or so.

Strangely, the family the brought me to Lawrence left before I did. The Old Man lead the charge, splitting time in California for a couple years, leaving town for good in the late 90s. My younger brother stayed in state for college, but left Lawrence during the school year at the end of the 90s and permanently in the year 2000, when my mom moved out east. Suddenly, I was the last one standing in Lawrence.

In early 2006, I did a Euro trip. I’d been living in Chicago for a few years, and flew to Europe directly from there, and returned directly to there. The math was simple. Where you from? Chicago.

In late 2006, I moved to Seoul. I technically flew directly from Chicago, but I had been crashing at Mom’s in Baltimore for a few months. Where are you from? Well, clearly, I’m not from Baltimore, yet I no longer really hold it down for the Chi. “Chicago” was the easiest answer, but often with a disclaimer about how I’m from there and Kansas.

I started hanging out with Don. Don had a degree of dualism like myself. He’s from Tennessee. He spent a summer or two in Philly. He morphed into a hardcore Phillies fan (before they one the title) in a respectable way. Why not? There’s no MLB teams in Tennessee. Cheering for the Phillies was the way to go, the same way I would have done it. Like me, Don loved his adopted home and, as I did in my early days, hated the place he’d spent the majority of his life. Don and I would meet girls in bars (note to Don’s GF, should she read this - I’m talking about 2007 here.) and the girls would eventually ask where we were from, and we both had complicated stories.

I went home again. I came back again. I still hate the convoluted story. I got annoyed with Don rocking the same thing we’d always done. I got annoyed with myself. I love Chicago. I have deep Chicago roots. In a perfect world (that requires a better climate in the Chi) I’d live there forever. Don loves Philadelphia too. He only lived there a few months though. Despite sports allegiances, he’s not from there. I’m not from Chicago either.

I’m from Lawrence, Kansas. I’m Lawrence trash. My blood family isn’t there anymore. That doesn't mean I don’t have family there. I’m excited to see them tomorrow. It will be good to be home.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Throwing my hat in the ring (and other stuff)

I’d like to take this opportunity to officially announce my candidacy for mayor of Chicago. I can’t see a better suited candidate than myself.

Chicago bona fides? Definitely. Both parents and all four grandparents were born and raised there. Moms from the southwest side, Dads from the Southeast side, so fittingly they met at the Museum of Science and Industry, the palace of the South Side. My maternal grandpa is originally from the West Side, as are the Cubs, and thus it’s through him that I inherit my Cubs fandom despite my South Side lineage. I also spent years on the North Side, and I’ve always been all about the Bulls, Bears, and Blackhawks.

Shadowy past for a dark horse candidate? Damn straight. I claim to have been born in a place called Rock Island, Illinois. You’ve never heard of Rock Island. I totally could have made it up. I became a card carrying Chicago Democrat when I knocked on the wrong door at a strip mall on the outskirts of town when expecting a job interview in hopes of becoming a door-to-door salesman for a pyramid scheme. I’ve held “permanent residence” in more cities than you’ve been to. I live in a foreign country. Rahm and Jesse Jr. cannot beat me in the questionable origins department.

Good ideas? Fuckin’ a. On day one, I will declare that the cops will only do police work henceforth. No more chickenshit tickets. No more harassing citizens for parking 3 inches over a magic yellow line, or for turning left on green at a light that for some reason doesn’t allow turning left on green for 90 minutes each day. No way. The police will have the job of catching criminals. This isn’t Los Angeles. Chicago is a goddamn real city, and the police are going to start acting like it.

The problem, of course, is that bullshit tickets raise a lot of revenue for the city. New revenue will have to come from somewhere. That somewhere will be O’hare.

First off, I will annex Elk Grove Village. Trust me, there’s nothing there but third rate titty bars and regional office parks, nothing of value will be lost. Plus, Obama is a Chicago guy, I’m sure the feds will support my annexation. After annexing Elk Grove, I will demolish it and build runways. Lots of runways. O’hare will regain it’s rightful spot as the busiest, biggest, and most important airport in the world. Fuck Atlanta and Heathrow.

Next, I will convert O’hare into a Special Economic Zone. Citizens will be allowed to buy booze, smokes, and gas for lower prices than Indiana or Wisconsin. High prices in the city would remain, but anybody could take the El to O’hare to buy cheap smokes and booze rather than taking that tax money out of state. Of course, I’ll also establish a casino at O’hare, but only airside. I don’t want Chicago’s hard working poor wasting their cash at my convenient casino, but I do want rich douche bags that are changing planes between Houston and Moscow to blow some cash on blackjack.

Finally, I would ban the abhorrence of garnishing a hot dog with ketchup in restaurants. I’d be fair, of course. This could still be allowed at Navy Pier, the Loop, the Near North, at Wrigleyville on game days, and at the airports. Tourists don’t know any better. Some hot dog stands around town don’t get it though. No self respecting Chicagoan should ever have to request “no ketchup.” It should just be understood.

I saw “The Expendables” a couple weeks ago. Any time Stallone and Lundgren join forces, I’m buying a ticket. It lived up to expectations. Two of my favorite exchanges:

Stallone fighting Eric Roberts, the final boss. Final boss is apropos, as the movie ran like a video game. During the final fight, Roberts says to Stallone: “You know, you and me, we’re the same!” Whoa, action movie bad guys never say that.

Earlier in the movie, Schwarzenegger and Stallone briefly shared the screen. They were rival mercenaries, and delivered this gem (when reading this, remember to think with the most generic, least emotional Sly and Arnold voices you can.)

Schwarzenegger: We should have dinner.

Stallone: When?

Schwarzenegger: In a thousand years.

Stallone: That’s too soon.

Awesome. I also loved the fact that Expendables premiered the same week as “Eat Pray Love” and won. Julia Roberts lost to her brother. This gave me endless joy, especially since a message board I frequent was discussing the whole “Eat Pray Love” thing that week, and thus I spent a solid portion of that week directing rage in Elizabeth Gilbert’s general direction despite the fact that I’ve never read her book.

I’m in three fantasy football leagues this year. This is a record for me, unless you count 2007 when ESPN first introduced mock drafts and the drafted teams didn’t get deleted and I ended up in 10 leagues that I didn’t care about or pay attention to (much). One more league shouldn’t break me.

I always have fairly awesome teams in fantasy football, and I make the playoffs 87% of the time, yet never actually win any championships or money. I’m the Minnesota Twins of fantasy football. I blow 20 some hours a week studying it for several months a year. Why do I keep doing it? Actually, not only keep doing it, but ramp up my participation? Draft Day. Draft Day rules. I can do mock drafts all day, but nothing beats a real draft. At a mock draft, nothing is at stake, but more importantly there’s no comedy. People who are bothering to mock draft are geeks like me. Everybody knows what each player’s value is. I could do 20 mock drafts from, say, the 6th position, and draft essentially the same team each time. There are no surprises.

Real drafts are another animal. For some reason, when stakes and commitment are involved, people make stupid choices. Good players fuck up here and there and take a flyer on Eddie Royal 4 rounds too early. Bad players take Mark Sanchez in the single digit rounds, draft 4th string Chiefs running backs, draft Vincent Jackson during a highly publicized hold out, and other such hilarious moves. One girl (a buddy’s wife) drafted the Redskin’s backup tight end in the seventh round. Of course, since she’s a girl and a buddy’s wife, it’s taboo to actually make fun of her for such ridiculousness during the draft.

In conclusion, vote Jaehak for mayor!

Friday, September 3, 2010

The new style (and why you shouldn't bet on the Jets)

I’m experimenting with a new style. As I can no longer just sit at my convenience store table while chain smoking and allowing genius to flow forth onto this blessed website since the chain smoking (and the genius) part of the equation has been removed, I’ve taken to the streets. My new method - walking around my neighborhood at obscene hours while throwing back soju or beer or both and typing any decent idea that hits me into the pod. Let’s find out if this method works. Tonight, a scant 15 days from my impending America trip, I have many things I wish to discuss.

My fellow American co-worker is leaving my school soon. My school, recognizing that I’m something of a big deal there, has given me a role in the hiring of our new token white guy. By white, of course I mean somebody of any race from America, Canada, Australia, England, et al (well, not England. Sorry chaps.) and by guy I mean somebody of either gender. Thus far, all of the applicants have been, predictably enough in these parts, white guys.

Far too many people seem to grasp the fine art of resume writing these days. I don’t know what the kids are learning, but for me the cardinal rule is simple, and my old man agrees with me - a resume should be one page. One goddamn page. In the early 90s, when I had no work experience at all, my resume when applying to the Lake Perry Marina snack shop was one page long, much of it fabricated. My current resume is one page long, and only 50-60 percent fabricated. One of our applicants submitted a resume that was four pages long! It even made me use an exclamation point! He included job history such as “sales rep, Cutco, 2002.” Cutco, as you probably know, is a company concerned with selling kitchen knives door-to-door. The only reason to put Cutco on a resume is if it’s the only job you’ve ever had. Even then, it’s iffy. An 8-year-past stint at Cutco certainly shouldn’t show up on page 3 of a resume. The applicant also included such gems as “Bungee jumped in 2009,” and “Saw the Great Wall of China in 2008.”

The strange part of all this? We’re probably going to hire him, and because of my vote of confidence. See, as the Nowon old dog, I’m people that knows people, and this dude is from the neighborhood. He’s a friend of a friend, and I ended up drinking with him once a few months back. He seemed like a cool cat. Because of that, I’m fine with my school hiring him. I suppose the lesson here is that it’s who you know that matters most. Then again, if I didn’t know this guy, I would absolutely veto him due to his horribly designed resume.

I know basically nothing about music anymore. It’s sad. A friend posted something on the Facebook about an impending road trip she was taking, looking for advice on songs/records/artists to check out on the trip. There were 20 or so responses to the status update. I knew exactly zero of the bands or songs mentioned. All of these suggestions were given by people in my age group, so it’s not like it was all Jonas Brothers (do the kids still like them?) or something. I used to know a bit about music. Recently, I took a Sporcle quiz on 90s music, and I did awesome on it. However, I missed the number one song of 1998. It was a song called “Too Close” by a group called “Next.” I admit that I was high for a good portion of 1998, but how did I miss the top song? I’d never even heard of the song nor the artist. When I Youtubed it after seeing it on the quiz, hearing the song rang no bells. Billboard was the source for the Sporcle quiz. Was Billboard somehow wrong? Have any of you ever heard of this? I don’t recommend looking for it on Youtube if the name isn’t familiar, the song sucks.

Quitting smoking also sucks. I’m still still sticking with it, and I plan to continue, and even if I fall off the wagon I’ll never smoke at work again, at least not in my current line of work. It’s been 7 weeks now. I’ve smoked zero cigs on weekdays and zero cigs before 3 a.m. or so on weekend nights. Last weekend I got really drunk and had a stressful girl situation and lost my nicotine gum and ended up staying out until 7:30 a.m., but I still only had 2 cigarettes. A few weeks ago, a night out that late would mean 2 packs - minimum.

I’m starting to be glad that I quit, but I still don’t believe in the anti-smoker ethos. I’m still anti-smoking ban, and I still hate the militant anti-smoking movement as much as I ever did. I don’t think I could have lasted this long in America. In America, 7 weeks in, I would have seen some horrible self-righteous anti-smoking harpy/fascist on TV by now, and I would have headed straight to 7-11 to spend 9 bucks on smokes. Strangely, I still look at smoking in a positive light. I look back at times that I almost quit, like when I landed at SFO when I returned to America in 2008, or at the fireworks stand in Baltimore in 2009, and I’m glad I didn’t. I would have deprived myself some awesome smoking adventures. Even now, I wish I’d quit the day before yesterday instead of July 12. I could have had an awesome time smoking in Jinju or Namhae. Again, I don’t regret quitting. I don’t want to smoke tomorrow.

Quitting smoking isn’t the only, as they say here, “well being” thing I have going on these days. Given my impending America trip, I’m also re-committed to the gym (I actually almost don’t hate it these days) and on a diet of sorts. I’ve cut out sugar and snacks for the most part, I’m eating tons of fruits and vegetables and only the leanest of meats, I’m severely limiting my sodium and cheese intake, and I’m avoiding excess carbs from pasta and beer. Thus far, I’ve managed to lose all of the weight that I gained last week when I was gorging on pizza and pork and fast food and ice cream while knowing that the sword of the coming diet was swinging perilously overhead. To avoid these foul foods, I’ve found a simple solution - wine.

I realize this is something of a vice “whack-a-mole.” No smoking. Exercise. Keep away from bad food. Bam bam bam. Smokes down. Booze up. Fries down. Skirt chasing up. Fantasy football up. It’s the only way to go. I can’t just become a monk. Strangely, it turns out that drinking is the least harmful of my vices, as it’s the easiest to quit. I can go days without the sauce and be just fine, but if I go a day or two without BBQ sauce, things are not awesome.

The new wine I discovered the other day arrived just in time. Jinro Wine is horrible, barely wine, barely even Thunderbird, and likely has way too much sugar. For only $3 more, there is a drinkable French house wine available at my local grocery store that actually tastes like wine. Plus, when I’m just eating vegetables and cereal all day, one bottle of wine can be pretty effective. As I said though - no smoking and eating bad food and skipping the gym means an increase in drinking, porn, and fantasy football.

My continuing love of NFL and fantasy football has resulted in burning a lot of podcasts. I’ve railed through a lot of Matthew Berry and Bill Simmons lately. In fact, it was those two who invented my awesome Facebook status today. They, not I, were the ones who noticed that yesterday was the once in a lifetime date 9/02/10.

I plan to write something on both football in general and fantasy football specifically. I still have 2 drafts to go, so I really can’t write on fantasy yet as league mates may read this. I still haven’t seen any football games this year, so I don’t want to write a general NFL column. Having seen no teams in action, I would be too influenced by the aforementioned likes of Simmons and Berry. However, I will speak on one subject in which I strongly disagree with both of them - The New York Jets.

This year’s Jets have to be one of the most overhyped teams ever. Every analyst is picking them for the Superbowl, or, at the lowest, the AFC Championship game. Hmm. The Jets were 9-7 last year. The Jets only made the playoffs (and to that lofty 9-7 record) because they played an Indy team in week 16 that was starting CFL-level talent. Those mighty 9-7 Jets have downgraded their rushing game (losing Thomas Jones and Leon Washington, gaining LDT, clearly less than a push) and will quite likely lose their top defensive star (Revis Island) to a holdout. They also signed 75% of Santonio Holmes (as he’s suspended the first 4 weeks). How are these moves somehow worth 3 or 4 more regular season wins? If the Jets played in any other city, they wouldn’t be the sudden “favorites” that they are.

In conclusion, New Jersey is a land of contrasts.
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