Thursday, February 4, 2010


I went to buy a pizza last week. The girl at the pizza counter laughed out loud at me for no real reason, like I was John Arbuckle. This is life in Korea sometimes, but there’s not really a story worth making a post out of here.

I got in my building’s elevator the other night. I live on the 6th floor, but there are four basements. As usual, I was not paying attention to the direction the elevator was going, and it went down to B3. Two able-bodied middle aged Korean women got in. Following usual protocol, I immediately hit 6 again to close the door faster, allowing the women just enough time to enter the elevator. They hit the B4 button. Fucking hell. For reasons known only to the elevator, it went up rather than continuing down. It stopped on every floor between B3 and 6, and even went up to 7. This pleased me. I was no longer in such a rush to get home so long as the lazy cunts in the elevator with me were inconvenienced. Why the hell would anybody take the elevator from B3 to B4 rather than the stairs? These ladies were in no way disabled. They weren’t carrying anything heavy, or anything at all for that matter. I considered walking down from 6 to B4 to press the elevator call button on every floor to further inconvenience them, but I figured a rare bout elevator justice had already been served. I am not sure if taking an elevator down one floor is a particular strain of Korean retardation, or if this is a problem the world over. I suppose I take the elevator a lot more here than I do elsewhere, and thus notice more idiotic elevator behavior here than elsewhere. Either way - if it’s three floors or less and you’re going down, take the fucking stairs.

My vacuum broke the other night, smoke coming out of the motor and everything. Like a PS2, I took the fucker apart, messed around with it a bit, put it back together - and it worked. Man points for me.

Somehow, up until I wrote those last two paragraphs, my computer’s spellcheck didn’t know the words “cunt” or “fucker.” I don’t know how this is possible.

I went to Itaewon on Saturday night. Some guy at Spy Bar bought my buddy and I lots of drinks because he had won big at the casino earlier in the evening. Later, at Seoul Pub, my buddy drunkenly yelled at these two German guys for no good reason. Nothing else of interest happened the rest of the night.

For this reason, I will increase the length of this post by including a never-published story about Itaewon, particularly Seoul Pub and Spy Bar, that I wrote way back in December of 2006. Fair warning: it isn’t that interesting either. I have bigger, better things in mind for next week’s post, but for now this will have to do.

To set it up: at the time, I was just in the process of leaving my original school, and had just gotten a job at a different school, the one that I still work for now. I wrote it in a notebook while drunk in a bar, so I cleaned it a bit to make it coherent. I have chosen to leave the dated reference in for comedic value. After the original “Itae-wah?” post, I’m adding a couple other bits from the same notebook that don’t fit in to any other larger piece. Again, this material is all new (to you) as it has never been posted anywhere, but at the same time it’s all old as the hills.

Itae-wah? (Dec 06)

We are officially in the no-sense zone. Like, I got a job, so suddenly I have free time that I don’t know what to do with. I took a nap today. With no alarm, so I had no clue when it would end. Turned out it ended at 11 p.m., and Richard Quest’s show was on CNN International. I watched that, then went out.

And, you know, it’s hard work, we are all working hard out here in Itaewon. Really, when I woke up from my non-specific non-alarm nap, I was hoping that I had somehow slept through the night and it was 7 a.m. and time to go to McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin. It was 11, so it meant it was time to booze in Itaewon until 5 a.m. for Egg McMuffin City. (note from 2010 - thankfully it’s 4 a.m. now for Egg McMuffins)

So I went to Spy Bar. It’s is a joint full of Russian models. It’s also one of the few places I’ve been outside Hollywood where hot girls outnumber ugly ones 10-1. There were like 126 hot girls there. Many wearing short skirts. Really, at this point, when I see a hot girl in a short skirt and it’s, say, 20 degrees (Fahrenheit yo) outside(and this happens every single day) I say to myself - I love Korea.

Anyway, so I was at Spy Bar with my buddy John, who I met boozing last week. John is a Patriots fan, and I don’t care, out here football fan is enough. Unless the Broncos are involved. The bar played Mambo Number Five, and that’s the last I saw of John. I had to hit the floor. I mean, the club playing Mambo Number Five and expecting me not to hit the floor is like the Philadelphia Art Museum blaring “Gonna Fly Now” and expecting Rocky not to come running up the steps. I know that could be overly topical, but if that joke dies it dies. (another note from 2010 - I have no idea why this was a topical joke in 2006)

So there was this ridiculous girl in a sort of half-shirt that I kept hitting on to no avail. Also, she had long brown hair and a cute smile. What can I say - I have a type.

So now I’m writing at the old Seoul Pub, a bar I could take or leave. Really, right now, I wish to leave, for Egg McMuffin Land. I will say this - I used to come to Itaewon a lot to meet random people. Now, I literally can’t come here without running into people I know. Which I suppose is good.


(sometime in 2007)
I hate Dr. Sanjay Gupta. What a tool. “Dr” in every chiron and graphic that introduces him on TV. What an insecure prick.


(Dec 25 2007)
My Philippines pictures suck. I wish I had some of the cool shit, but didn’t have a camera or batteries at the time. I have no shots of the hot chicks on my snorkel tour, the dog I saw with its newborn puppies, or a random awesome waterfall in Mindoro when I was on the back of a Jeepney. I also don’t have any of myself on my own now, the only customer at the most hopping bar in town on Christmas night, or of my buddies in Roxas.


(Nov or Dec 2006, on a chick I knew at the time, maybe a co-worker)
She’s a beautiful girl, but the type of girl whom you can never tell that she looks beautiful, because if you didn’t day it again the next day, she would assume you thought she didn’t.


Looking through my ancient notebook, I noticed a drawing. I was trying to ask a Korean dude who worked at a newsstand where to catch a particular bus. I wrote “Bus 6900?” and drew a picture of a bus. I knew such little Korean at the time that I didn’t realize that the Korean word for bus is “bus-uh,” which the news-agent certainly would have understood.

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