Friday, February 17, 2006

being stuffed, enduring cabbies,
and enjoying the new mouse

Dad's safely ensconced in dormitory accommodations, and gleeful about the chance to move around in Seoul fairly independently. We went on base twice today-- once for brunch and shopping, and once for dinner. Brunch at Dragon Hill Lodge was essentially a breakfast plate-- pancakes, bacon, sausage, orange juice, and a wee bit of fruit. I bought a cool, cheap, Mac-compatible optical mouse to replace the shitty, 1999-era mouse still attached to my keyboard after all these years.

We shopped for some hard-to-find-in-Korea items at the PX and commissary. I was allowed into neither, so I loitered (read: napped) while Dad shopped. We headed off base in the early afternoon. I met my buddy Tom soon after; Tom met Dad and later remarked, "I see where your sense of humor comes from." I've known Tom the Wild Man since 1994; the fact that he and Dad met only today brings home the fact that I travel in very different worlds. I suppose all of us are, to some degree, tangent points for many non-overlapping circles of friends.

I had some work to do at the office and Tom had business on Smoo campus; we left Dad to, uh, do my laundry. Before you think ill of me, you should know that Dad offered to do this-- a gesture I appreciated. Bad son that I am, I said yes to his offer. Tom and I hung out in my office a bit; Tom left and I got to work. Dad came by later to report the laundry was done, and we then grabbed a cab to hit the army base again for a Mexican buffet at Dragon Hill Lodge.

Our cabbie from Smoo to the Yongsan Main Post was friendly but appeared to be ripping us off. He kept taking us away from the main post, despite the fact that I'd clearly explained that I meant the gate that's just past the war memorial and before Itaewon. Even in bad traffic, the cab ride from Smoo to the main post is not that long. When the cabbie finally stopped at exactly the wrong side of the base, I calmly and carefully reiterated my initial request (I'd asked him a couple times why we were headed the wrong way), and reminded him that "8th Army Main Post, just past the war memorial" was what I'd said earlier. He made a big point of smacking his forehead and apologizing for his misunderstanding ("You said the war memorial?"). He then doubled back and took us the right way.

Something was missing from the cabbie's behavior, though: an offer to slash the fare for the wasted time. So I told him, flat out, that I wasn't planning to pay full fare. I wasn't rude about it, but I did make myself clear. It's a good thing Dad and I weren't in any rush; the cabbie's mistake would have brought out my temper had we been pressed for time. The cabbie apologized several times for his "confusion," then offered to slash our fare by about 60% (W9600 down to W4000), which was more than just. During our twisting, turning ride, we'd kept up a fairly friendly conversation; as a result, I wasn't feeling too bitter about the overall experience. The cabbie had apologized, and he'd offered a generous cut. I gave him W6000 because (1) I had no hard feelings, (2) I was with Dad and wanted to be polite, and (3) I was on my way to an enjoyable evening that didn't need to be spoiled with an outburst in bad Korean.

Dad and I went through Gate 10 and lumbered over to DHL (Dragon Hill Lodge, not the delivery service). The place was decked out for some sort of Mardi Gras celebration, but the Mexican buffet downstairs was still open, so we went on down and pigged out (OK, maybe Dad didn't pig out, but I did). We both slaughtered Mexican food and chicken, then I made myself a dessert three times larger than Dad's.

The cab ride home was with a cabbie who took us straight back to the Smoo neighborhood, no problem. Dad went on back to his dorm, and I pulled my new optical mouse out of its package, apprehensive about having to download new software. I unplugged the old mouse, plugged the new mouse into my keyboard's right-hand USB port, and jiggled the mouse to see whether it worked. It did! Curious to see whether the mouse's roller/scroller worked, I toggled it. It worked, too! Next, I tried right-clicking on a link. YES!

So it appears my new mouse works without any installation. The basic functions-- movement, left-clicking, right-clicking, and scrolling-- are all available. What more could a man possibly need? Thank you, Samsung; you kick ass.

My evening isn't over, as you might imagine: I've got more blasphemous Golgotha panels to create, a final exam to finish drafting, some lesson plans to draw up, a skit script to rewrite, and a few other things to do. Come back soon for updates. You know you want to.


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