Saturday, July 24, 2004

a couple items

It appears I've got a fever, but I've also got my own bathroom and shower now.

The move went... well, it went. I'm now living in a weol-lum (it's English: "one-room," a bit like a "glorifed dorm," as the Canadian bujang told me). It's not far from Kangnam and is called "UniVillage." Makes me think back to life in Switzerland. French folks tend to call universities "la fac" (short for "faculté"), but francophone Swiss use the more German designation, "l'uni."

The cost of the move was an amazing W35,000, which is the cheapest yong-dahl service I've ever had (yong-dahl doesn't mean "inflatable dragon doll"), and a damn sight better than the previous move, where I shelled out W60,000 to move a much shorter distance.

The bad news first: All told, the new place isn't much bigger than my hasuk. Also: I've got a fridge, but when I plugged it in, it began producing water, which ran all over the floor. Any folks understand why this might happen? The fridge's interior was bone-dry when I opened it. Because of the lack of floor space, I have to move possessions around to get from corner to corner. Two EC staffers were there to "help" with the move; they goggled at all my possessions (mostly books and my Mac with its peripherals, plus some furniture from my K'eun Adjoshi, which I'll probably be returning to him). I suppose the other expats had little more than the clothes on their backs. I've been here two years, had been living in a much bigger place before going to the hasuk, and had insisted on having some of my books and my computer delivered. I need a studio, the way we mean "studio."

I've decided not to unpack too much, since I'll be moving again in a month or two. Fuck. Thanks, EC.

The good news, which largely overrides the bad: I've got my own bathroom. There was a circular saw making a loud buzzing noise outside my second-floor window as it gnawed on concrete or marble or something, and I took great delight in letting fly another barrage of bullet-shit while producing farts that mimicked the saw's noise fairly accurately. This is the true meaning of bliss.

I've also got a bed, which is a huge plus. Since I couldn't sleep last night, either (two hours' sleep in a 48-hour period), I stopped the quasi-unpacking for a bit and enjoyed an hour-long nap beginning around 2PM...

...which brings me to the greatest joy of all: I have air conditioning. This is probably what led to the current fever (and slight nausea), but by the hairs of Satan's wriggling ass crack, it's shweet. The A/C even has a remote control. I napped with the A/C blowing for the first time in a long, long time.

Despite the guilt trip I was getting from the EC staffers about my pile of possessions, I maintain that my needs are relatively few, but manifest themselves as bulk. Books, bookshelves, a computer (preferably with DSL connection), some clothes, a small bathroom, a kitchenette, and a working fridge-- that's really all I require. I don't need posters on my wall. I don't need a TV. I might need a decent CD player, but I've been living without music for months now, and can't say I've missed it. I don't mind silence. Beds are also optional, as I've discovered after almost two years of bedlessness. I'll enjoy the current luxury while I've got it.

So I'm happy to have a temporary place that's fairly comfortable. The fridge might not work, but I've been fridge-free for two months, and have learned to work around that inconvenience. I've unpacked the clothes I'll be needing, and luckily, EC doesn't require me to plan my own lessons, so I'm pretty much set to play the role they've given us. When I move into my "permanent" residence, I'll ask my buddy's wife to hook up the DSL again (it sucks to have been paying for the service this entire time, on top of PC-bahng fees, but there are cancellation fees as well, and re-creating a DSL account would have been a pain). Right now, I've unpacked nothing computer-related, which means this blog reverts back to its original text-only state for the indefinite future. Sorry.

Switching gears...

Blinger emailed to say he's able to access my blog directly, but I still can't. Perhaps something's happening with the MIC and the Korean ISPs? I doubt it, but I wonder why some folks have access and others don't. Could this be another firewall issue?

The journalist from Newsweek writes with the good news that Newsweek (the Asian edition, at least; maybe the American edition as well...?) will be publishing a short article about the blog blockage. It started off as a lengthy article, but shrank to a "Periscope mini-story" after a "downgrading." Still, something is better than nothing, so I deeply thank the intrepid Mark Russell (not to be confused with this Mark Russell-- I think) for all his efforts on our behalf. Keep that press attention coming. And keep your eyes out for a Newsweek article "Sunday or Monday or whenever the mag hits the shelves in Korea."

I've gotten so used to reading online news sources that it's been a while since I bought myself an actual copy of Time or Newsweek. Might have to break that habit.

A couple emails to me are asking about that Wired news story mentioned in Andrew Petty's Korea Herald article. I've emailed Andrew about it and am also hoping some other people do some sleuthing. I'd love to see the article in question. If the article turns out not to exist, I hope people write to Wired and make a story. As "A" suggested to me, you can write Wired at:

OK... I have to go find some aspirin. And a bunch of water. And maybe some fruit juice. Did I mention I'm a fruit juice addict? I go nuts if I don't have juice for a period longer than 24 hours. Who knows why? I sure don't. It's a bit like Michael Palin's problem in "Time Bandits": "I must have fruit!"

Speaking of drinks: the most disgusting drink in the universe has to be a Korean drink called McCool, which I mistakenly took to be a house-brand version of Coca Cola. Wrong. The taste is indescribably bad. Try it once, just to say you did it. I suspect it's extracted from hospital waste.

A much better McCool is my old geometry teacher from freshman year in high school. Don McCool was a good, engaging math teacher, and my high school's beloved basketball coach. At pep rallies, he'd give his spiel about how the Majors would rip the living guts out of the other team, and as he got himself worked up, his face would get redder and redder, and we'd go nuts because we knew what was next: the Jacket Stomp. When the moment was right and we were at our most bloodthirsty, Mr. McCool would whip off his sports jacket, throw it on the gym's floor, and then stomp the hell out of it with one or both feet. I wonder what his wife and their favorite laundromat thought of this. We students loved it. Now, years later, with some ritual studies courses under my belt, I'm tempted to look back at those scenes and parse them. But I won't do it here, because I've got a fever and you, intolerant asswipe, are puckering your asshole in disapproval.

Anyone wanna place bets on whether I puke tonight? I should set up a poll. Or better: go visit the Maximum Leader's site and participate in his poll (sidebar, bottom) about who's the fairest in the land.

I voted for Halle. Twice. Because I'm at a different computer at every PC-bahng. I don't think my vote for Halle has helped, though... and so it is that my perfidy hath come to naught.

UPDATE: A scarily rational article by Choi Tae-hwan, a Korean who teaches high school English in Kwangju. The article expresses the wish for greater control and surveillance of the Internet.

Don't come anywhere near me, Choi.

[link provided by the KimcheeGI]


1. Blinger

2. this Mark Russell

3. Andrew Petty's Korea Herald article

4. site

5. article

6. KimcheeGI


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