Archive for July, 2011

A Shitty Vacation

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2011 by kingcal

Well, my vacation has come and gone. I’m pretty ready for it to be over. Because of my toe, Tuesday through Thursday I barely left the house. It hurt pretty bad and especially when I put on sandal. Also, the rain kept me inside because I didn’t want to get the bandage wet. So I stayed inside almost all day, maybe going out a little bit at night. It really sucked. I used to be a huge homebody, but I can’t do it anymore. If I stay in my apartment alone for too long, I start getting moody and depressed.

Friday I just had a night out on the town in Cheonan. I just went to NV and stayed there until my money ran out, then had a bit of street food and went home. Nothing too crazy. But damn if that food wasn’t good.

Saturday, of course, is a Hashing day. I picked up my Happy Coat — a tradition unique to Asian Hashing, wherein a special coat is purchased with your name, kennel, and seal on it, and the rest of the coat will eventually be filled with patches given out for events, accomplishments, or just the shit of it. Perhaps I’ll get a picture of it some time. I’ve got a good number of patches pinned to it already. I think next weekend I’ll take them to the tailor to have them sewn on.

Luckily, Friday was the first day that my toe didn’t hurt like a bastard, and by Saturday it was feeling pretty normal. Hopefully they’ll take the bandage off soon. I’m really sick of sitting on my toilet to take a shower — so I don’t get the bandage wet. Also hoping that I can start running soon. I haven’t run or worked out in over a week. I can feel it. I’ve been feeling antsy.

Tomorrow, I have to work. It should be interesting doing the summer camp though. Kind of an easy way to get the week started. Should be fun. Starting some new books with my first graders. Watching Lion King on Tuesday and Thursday with my lone student in the last class. Nothing too stressful.

Good Timing for Vacation

Posted in Uncategorized on July 25, 2011 by kingcal

My vacation could not have come at a better time. Friday night I went out for a bit, but I went home around 12 AM so I could get up in time to go to Mudfest. I somehow managed to drag myself out of bed at 6:30 AM and get to the train station. I was the first one at the pension and just walked around on the beach until some other people started showing up. We couldn’t check in until 2 PM, so we took the opportunity to go enjoy the Mudfest festivities. After checking in, we Hashed. I say “we”, but I mean lots of people other than myself. I had enjoyed a few too many libations by that point and decided to sit it out. The rest of the night was really all downhill from there.

Skipping a lot of the night that makes me seem like a degenerate, I finally decided to sleep, but everyone else had already made that decision, so I was left with no blanket or pillow to sleep on the floor with. So I got no sleep. Just pretty much laid down on an uncomfortable ass floor and listened to 29 other people snore. Gave up on sleep around 8:30 AM and got up to start it all over again. There was another Hash I skipped out on. Mostly just sat around eating leftover food from the night before. People started going home around 3 PM, but my train wasn’t leaving until 7:45 PM, so I hung out with a couple late stayers, then finally went home. Got home around 10 PM. Then couldn’t fall asleep. I stayed up until 1 AM, then laid in bed and slept very fitfully, mostly due to soreness.

Monday, I went to Songtan for an On-Out — someone’s going away party. The last official time he’ll be Hashing with us. It’ was a bittersweet kind of night. It was a lot of fun, but he was a rather prominent figure in the Hash and one of the longest Hashers, so we’re certainly going to miss out on a lot without him around. I even got one of the best compliments from someone I’ve had from him last night. As he was giving out some pearls of wisdom while we sat around the bar, he said I was a Hasher.

It might sound a little silly, but that’s kind of a big thing for me at least. As soon as I knew what Hashing was, I considered myself a Hasher. But having someone else that’s been doing it for over ten years, who is so universally liked among the Hashers, and who has put as much time and energy into organizing the kennel, to hear that he includes me as part of the same group is a nice compliment.

That’s one of the best things about Hashing. The people are incredibly welcoming. I never really felt at all that just because I was newer to it that people looked down on me or anything. But I still felt like I had a bit of something to prove. And I’m still pretty new — I’ve only been doing it 2-3 months. I was honestly surprised to learn that some people have a rather high opinion of me — though I’m not sure exactly why. Haha.

Anyway, I’m still in pretty sad shape. It doesn’t help that I went and had my toe fixed at the doctor today. It wasn’t that bad. The worst part was the anesthetic shots directly into my toe. Five in total. But I was thankful for them, because I didn’t feel a goddamn thing he did to my toe after that, other than a bit of pressure. I swear, at some points, I thought my toe was just going to come off as hard as he was pushing on it. Basically, to fix the in-grown toenail, he took a metal piece with some hooks on it — the bar going on top of the toenail and the hooks going under from the side — and pushed it damn near to the cuticle. I’m glad they put a bandage on it, because I don’t even like seeing it. Pretty much the whole nail is bruised now. Once this anesthetic wears off it’s going to hurt like a fucker.

Anyway, I’ve got very rough plans for the next couple days, like shoe shopping in Seoul and lunch with friends, etc… but we’ll see what my toe has to say about that in the coming day or two. The doctor said no running for at least a week. That really sucks. It’s been 5 days since I run. I never thought I’d say it, but I like running. In the gym is not so fun, more of a necessary evil, but definitely running with the Hash really makes the whole thing better. Just sitting around and waiting for everyone to come back kind of blows.

Two More Days…

Posted in Uncategorized on July 20, 2011 by kingcal

Well everyone, your faithfully inconsistent blogger is back. More and more recently I’ve been unable to keep even a meek schedule of blogging once a week. It’s mainly because of the gym. Typically I work out Monday¬† through Thursday, and I usually get home around 10 PM. At that point all I want to do is veg out and sit on the computer without taking the energy to type anything. Then Friday is generally spent out and about town, while Saturday is reserved for Hashing and Hashing-related activities (read: heavy drinking). Sunday, being the Lord’s Sabbath, is a day of rest for me. I’m generally too sore from running the day before to do much of anything.

Tomorrow is Reckoning Day for me. At the gym anyway. It marks week 10 since I’ve started working out. It’s also my second monthly test. My trainer challenged me to lose 3 kilos (6.6 pounds) in-between my monthly tests. I’m only doing it every five weeks because it just so happened my first monthly test, so I may as well give myself the same time to lose more weight than I did in the last period. Like two weeks ago I stepped on a different scale at the gym and it said in three weeks I had only lost .5 kilos, which really disappointed me, considering I’d been working my ass off in the gym as well as going out of my way to diet a bit, to boot. Someone suggested it may have just been adding muscle while losing weight, which it could be. I weighed myself at home and it had me down like 4 kilos from 5 weeks ago, but it’s also terribly inconsistent, so I can’t trust it.

Anyway, I’ve got two more days before my vacation. I’m trying to not think about it too much. I probably won’t be going out, for very long at least, Friday night, because I have to wake up early on Saturday and go to Mudfest. The Hashers are invading and going Hashing then having a wild ole time. Monday I’ll probably be Hashing again for someone’s last Hash with our group. Tuesday I’m getting my ingrown toenail taken care of. That may mean no running for awhile, which sucks. Also means I probably won’t be traveling.

Instead, I’ll be using the vacation to pamper myself. I’ll probably go to Seoul and buy several new pairs of shoes. The two I have now are a bit old and beat up, not to mention musty as hell from three solid weeks of rain. I’m also considering buying a new computer. My little netbook is reaching it’s last legs. It’s been pretty slow for awhile, but the C key started sticking and when I tried fiddling with it, it popped off and it’s goddamn impossible to get it back on. I can type all right just pressing the bare sensor, but it looks ghetto as hell. I suppose a $300 computer can only take you so far. The good news is that at least I get paid this Friday. They pay early when holidays or vacations fall on payday. Score.

The week after vacation won’t be so bad. We have elementary classes like regular all week, but for the first three days we have a “summer camp”. They’re basically the kindergarten kids (read: parents) who want more practice. Only 1-2 kids per class. I think I did a pretty good job of planning three interesting things. Each day has it’s theme — Outer Space, Myth and Magic, and Science — and I’ve got some fun little activities planned for each.

I’m also pretty astounded by my first graders. They’ve gone from zero to almost no reading skill to reading 3-5 letter words including the most common long vowel sounds in just two months. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you teach a kid how to read, you realize how fucking hard it is, even on the simple level, because English has about a million rules and exceptions. Shit you don’t even think about, like short O having a different sound in front of a G, or the dual long U sound (June vs mule). I’m really proud of them all. I can give them any basic word, and using the rules they know, they can sound it out. Next is just learning consonant digraphs, but that’s really just putting consonant sounds together, so I think that will go pretty fast.

Anyway, just gotta power through the rest of the week, then I’m free for nine days. Just two more days!

A Going Away (of Sorts)

Posted in Uncategorized on July 10, 2011 by kingcal

I had a good weekend. Friday I went Hashing in Pyeongtaek. I lost the umbrella that Alex gave me for teacher’s day. I was a little pissed about that. It was really nice. I left it on the train. I was sitting right between two people and neither of them said a goddamn thing. That made it even worse. One guy looked straight at me while I was waiting for the doors to open. In general, losing things in Korea isn’t a big deal because you can just go back wherever you left it and no one will have touched it. But no one goes out of their way to help you with shit you leave behind either. I guess it goes both ways. So it goes.

Hashing in the rain is a lot of fun. Once you step in that first puddle and get your feet completely wet, it’s a lot less uncomfortable. But the first minute or two while you’re still relatively dry, that feeling of “Oh god, I’m getting wet and there’s nothing I can do” is pretty bad. Ended up going to Songtan instead of coming back to Cheonan Friday night. Luckily I had a couch to crash on, instead of paying for a hotel.

Anyway, yesterday was a going away party of sorts in Hongdae. A friend of mine is going on vacation to Thailand, so he wanted to have a send off shindig before he leaves for a couple weeks. I got there around 7ish. Chilled in the park a bit watching a silent disco. They hand out/rent earphones turned into a frequency that a live DJ is playing on outside. It’s a cool idea, but it’s a little annoying if you’re not taking part in it. I’ve heard it’s fun if you have the headphones though.

We hit up Exit Bar for a rock show. Couple friends started up a band called The Getaway Sticks. Good shit. Actually, the sound at Bar Exit pretty much blows, but they sound good in Cheonan. Check ’em out if you’re in Cheonan. After the show, I tooled around with a group, club hopping. Lots of dancing happened. Soju and tequila make all things possible. It’s strange when you see change in yourself. It’s not like I expect to stay exactly the same forever. But when you look back and realize “Man, I never did this before,” it’s a little strange.

Anyway, I ended up staying out all night. Coming out of the club and seeing the sun is a complicated feeling. Part “Oh yeah” part “fuck”. Caught a train home at like 6:30 AM and gave my friend a ride home. It was his first time on a scooter. Giving people a ride on a scooter is always entertaining. Everyone rides differently. People who are familiar are the easiest to give a ride because they know how to stay out of my way so I can see when I look over my shoulder and they don’t lean on you too hard, but newbies are fun in their own way.

I napped until about 2 PM and then got my day started. Went and bought some new earphones since I lost mine last night at some point. Had dinner at the awesome Chinese place with a friend. I’m currently listening to George Thorogood and re-reading my favorite web comic — Achewood. So good.

Anyway, my last thing worth mentioning is how much I’ve come to enjoy watching Korean TV. Korean TV is incredibly easy to follow without sound, as long as your can read Korean. Almost everything anyone says is matched with sub-titles. There’s also lots of extra shit they write all over for humor or information. I watch TV when I eat out and at the gym, and both places there’s no sound, but I can still follow everything. The last thing I watched was something called “I Love Pet”. Kind of just a show about people and their pets. They come to your house and interview the people about their pets. This particular show had a segment about a cat that likes fire. Particularly from scented candles.

So the whole thing was about this cat literally putting his paws on the flame and then licking his toes. They did experiments like putting fish on a table next to the candle to see if he’d rather play with fire or eat fish. He chose fire. They tried using unscented candles and lighters to see if he had a preference. They tried seeing if the other cats liked fire too — they did not. It was goddamn hysterical. I was running on a treadmill giggling like an asshole.

Anyway, it’s going to be a long week. Saturday I get named at the Hash in Songtan. I’m also Haring (laying the trail), so that’s gonna be cool. That’s gonna be an event. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to make the whole week go so slow. Then next weekend my vacation starts. I think I’m passing on Malaysia and staying in Korea instead. I’m considering traveling to Jeju Island and hike Halla-san, Korea’s tallest mountain. Today a friend asked if I’d like to travel to China over Korean Thanksgiving — Chuseok — and I gave a tentative yes.