Wednesday, June 22, 2005

close encounters


I had the privilege of meeting the illustrious Sperwer for lunch today; he's as impressively menacing in person as he comes across in pictures. He was kind enough to give me some spare contact lenses gratis, so my contact lens problem has been solved.

Sperwer's kind of a private person, a Buddhist practitioner and martial artist, but he did allow me to post this pic of him:


On the way to see a movie (Sperwer actually advised me to save money for my dental procedure, suggesting that I skip out on movies, but I rarely see more than three or four movies a year, so I decided to indulge), I met someone from my unpleasant days at my very first hagwon: Mr. Kang, formerly a manager of XXXXX Language Institute. Kang's apparently still in touch with Mr. J, that fuckhead of a hagwon boss at XXXXX, though Kang no longer works for J. I sued the boss back in '95 after he deprived me of my final month's classes in order to keep me from receiving severance pay. My sin? I'd put in writing (as his office requested) that I wasn't planning to renew my contract. First the fucker called my #3 Adjoshi and screamed that my mother was a yang-gal-bo-- roughly, a foreigner's whore. Then he threatened to kill me (didn't threaten me directly; he screamed the threat at my relatives over the phone, the fucking coward). Then he tried to take my money.

I wrote a nasty article about the situation, which was published in the Korea Herald. The fucker responded by suing me for libel; the newspaper-- get this-- printed a hasty retraction two days after my article had come out. Hilarious. I ended up winning both my suit and the libel suit. The boss was simply too much of an asshole in front of the superior court judge (in my suit against Fucker) and the public prosecutor (in Fucker's libel suit against me). In the end, I got the money I was owed, but the process took a year-and-a-half. Would I do it again? Probably not: when you go to court, you involve a lot of people close to you. They get stressed. In the case of one Korean buddy in particular, who helped me out without question, there was plenty of stress. His family wasn't pleased with what they perceived to be my "use" of their son. Luckily, my friend saw things the way I did.

While we were conversing today, Mr. Kang saw the dark look on my face and gave that shit-eating grin of his.

"Try to forget all that stuff," he said in Korean. Sorry, Mr. Kang, but I'm apt to remember my mother being called a degrading term.


Before meeting Mr. Kang, I had been on my way to see "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" over at Seoul Theater. Cooling down from the encounter as I walked, I was more or less OK by the time I hit the cinema.

I'd say the movie was... cute. I don't know the film's rating in the States, but I assume it was PG: bloodless violence, some swearing, but no nudity. Lots of heavy breathing, though. Jolie and Pitt were decent in their roles; the dialogue rolled along, but the plot was embarrassingly predictable. I suspect this wasn't so much an action movie as a romantic comedy dressed up as an action movie. Not a bad way to spend a hot afternoon indoors.


Up Namsan again this evening with Bo-hyun, my buddy Jang-woong's wife. She'd seen "Smith" with her hubby, and we discussed Angelina Jolie's bodily merits. Agreed we liked the trim figure. Agreed her face is a bit too manly. Although I don't mind pouty lips, Jolie's are a bit too much for me. On a different, more feminine face, perhaps they'd look OK. We also discussed Tim Robbins and whether or not he's married to Susan Sarandon. Technically, they're not married, but apparently it's not that simple. Who can fathom Hollywood couples?

Usually, with Bo-hyun, I do the easy route up the mountain, but she was brave and wanted to try the stairs. A testament to my increasing aerobic fitness (or maybe leg strength): she had to stop. That's a first for me. I'm usually the one lagging behind, puffing and lurching away, eyes fixed on the stairs in shame.

I have to give props to my hiking partners, Matt and Bo-hyun: this is very encouraging for me. I need to get to work on eating habits next, and I also need to take Matt's advice about pushing myself more. He's right: I did set a one-year goal for myself (running all the way up the Namsan stairs without stopping), so now is the time is get serious, not later. Ugh. But I'm a congenitally lazy bastard, so it's a matter of snuffing out the voice of laziness and slogging forward, faster, in spite of that tendency.

All in all, a good day. And I can see properly again-- I'm not a cyclops anymore. At lunch, there were two Sperwers in front of me, one focused, the other unfocused. That was a bit surreal, and my brain was complaining about the incongruity. Thanks again, Sperwer, for the free lenses. You da man.


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