Recent Blog Posts

All Recent Posts

Back in the Future (not)

As my first year in Korea will come to a close soon it has been of utmost importance to figger out what I am going to do next. I have had to face the grim reality that I am very, very happy here. Why this is I can't pinpoint exactly but there is little I can do now to fix it. I seem to be stuck with a beautiful Korean girlfriend who is nearly half my age and thinks I can walk on water. I have also nearly procured what appears to be, on paper at least, a deeply rewarding and highly lucrative new job. All my friends here, expat and Korean alike, seem to think I am funny and witty and at times tolerable. And Spring in Busan is just simply incredible.

The main source of angst now is the break. I have nearly two months with nothing to do. I am not sad about this. If you know me you will recall that leisure is my area of expertise. But with this amount of free time comes responsibility. Should I go home and see the people I miss who apparently miss me as well or should I go see something in Asia or should I get a temporary job and work like a good boy?

In what amounts to being as close as I ever come to a serious commitment about anything, I purchased the Loney Planet for Southeast Asia today. Aside from being a major financial investment (damned Korean bookstore), simply holding the thing in my hands makes my leg start twitching. It is huge (we are already calling it "The Bible") and chock full of travelley goodness. I remember the day I bought the Loney Planet for Korea. Even though it was still a tentative decision, when I opened that up it was over: I was already on the boat.

This is worse. From what I have been told and now read, we can go almost anywhere we want in Southeast Asia outside of Singapore and Hong Kong for $30 a day. That means that I could conceivable spend the whole two months walking about down there. I am also looking into the possibility of working for a little while here in Korea during that time or possible getting some temp work in Thailand. That would make me feel better about it.

I would like to hit Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malasia, Sumatra (Indonesia), and Bali as well but all of those places have had political/terrorist/Muslim issues lately. They just caned an Italian aid worker in Indonesia for having pre-Marital sex with his Muslim girlfriend, but usually (so the book says) the Islamic laws are only enforced on Muslims. And I am and have always been exceptional when it comes to the authorities (there is a standing bet among the wait staff at the Sangamo Club regarding the date/cause/number of lashes of my inevitable caning). Many of the areas I will be visiting were affected by the Boxing Day tsunami, which killed approximately 220,000 people. In many of those places the after-affects were positive. Northern Sumatra rebels negotiated a peaceful coexistence governance due to the necessary presence of foreign aid workers there. It is now safe to travel to some of the most pristine beaches in the world along the western coast.

Burma is still largely off limits and there are issues with Muslim separatists in Southern Thailand, but they aren't into killing tourists too much. I also have to figger out an immunization schedule, as it looks like I will need about 30 shots. This doesn't sound good, but then neither does Dengue Fever (they call it "break-bone fever because of the associated joint pain). Asia has budget airlines like Europe now and I can get flights around the region for next to nothing (Bangkok to Manila $60, to Singapore $30, to Hanoi $50 [in all cases cheaper than first-class bus or train]). It is my plan to find an island bungalow ($10) and chill for a week and then getting out a bit. The Loney Planet lists cooking classes at most of the larger Thai destinations and a three day course with lodging is well within the budget and I wouldn't mind adding Thai to my already impressive culinary qualifications (it's true, I'm sorry, but when you look like me you better have some skills or you are going to be L-O-N-E-Y).

So that is the deal. All of those people back home who feel like they can't wait another year to see me could maybe consider meeting me in Hawaii at Christmas time. Peace.

South Korean official charged with stupidity

In a page right out of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer's playbook for the cranial negligent, a Korean official on president Lee Myung-bak's staff has been charged with paying for sex on several occasions. He was busted by chance during a police sting."He was with a female employee at the massage parlor when we were conducting an undercover investigation," police said. "The shop operators said

The Week We View - Mar. 29

>The President of the European Union, Mirek Topolanek, had kind words for Barack Obama leading up to his first visit to Europe as president. Speaking about the administration's map to economic recovery, Topolanek said that American remedies for the global recession are “the road to hell.” So much for diplomatic nuance.>Saturday 8:30 local time, wherever you are, is "Earth Hour" --when everyone in

PETA goes nude in Seoul


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, (PETA), staged an anti-fur demonstration in Seoul yesterday. I don't know why I bother to write about this, because most of you are probably not even reading my words, but instead looking at the girls.And those girls are, Ashley Fruno of Canada, Shawn McRae of the U.S. and Park Ki-Hyun of South Korea. They braved the unseasonably cold weather to make a

Busan Cinematheque Goes Wild for Wilder

The Apartment


Directed by: Billy Wilder

Starring: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray

Where: Busan Cinematheque

When: Saturday March 28 at 14:00, Thursday April 2 at 17:10, Friday April 10 at 13:00

It’s easy to mistake “The Apartment” for a fairly simple and light-hearted romantic comedy, one of many that came out of Hollywood during the 40s and 50s (a number of which were directed by legendary director Billy Wilder himself). Yet, beneath its smooth surface, the film is actually quite subversive.

C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is a young insurance salesman trying to rise in the company ranks by lending the key to his apartment to the higher-ups, who take turns bringing girls there for a little hanky-panky. Soon enough though, things start disrupting his personal life.

Wilder spends the first act exploiting this amusing situation for laughs. Baxter is frequently unable to get into his own apartment when all he wants to do is take a long-deserved rest. Meanwhile, the landlady and neighbors - who already have him pinned for a duplicitous ladies man on account of all the women that come over - grow increasingly suspicious of what’s going on next-door.

However, what begins as a harmless romp quickly takes on a more critical tone. The film presents the business executive - the ideal American man - as self-serving and immoral. Baxter’s sleazeball superiors are brutish, ass-grabbing womanizers who cheat on their wives and lie to their lovers. But their biggest character flaw is their lack of humanity, which serves as a wider indictment against the heartless capitalist system that encourages and even rewards dubious behavior. The protagonist seems to be the only caring and considerate person in the giant skyscraper where he works, but as the saying goes, “nice guys finish last.”

Unlike Wilder’s other comedies, the film openly addresses some serious taboos in addition to its assault on core American values. While “The Seven Year Itch” (1955) and “Some Like It Hot” (1959) previously touched upon what was controversial subject matter at the time, both movies play it relatively safe by keeping it all in good fun. In “The Apartment,” the humor is supplanted by a sobering act of desperation - the female lead’s attempted suicide. What’s more, adultery is treated in a completely casual manner, implying that it’s more common than people like to admit.

This analysis may turn off some viewers who just want a couple hours of wholesome entertainment. Well, look no further. You don’t have to read into the film so much to enjoy it. At face value, “The Apartment” is a delectable movie that showcases the talent and charm of its two stars, Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine.

Rating: 74/100

Will Obama legalize marijuana?

During an online town hall meeting yesterday, Barack Obama was asked if legalizing, and then taxing marijuana would help the U.S. economy.And, like the previous two White House occupants, when given the "legalize marijuana" question, Obama shifted right into the 3-step presidential response --straight out of the "Now You're the President! Inauguration Day Handbook."Step 1: First, employ a

What happens if Japan shoots down North Korea's missile?

With the Japanese government officially confirming they will shoot down any threatening North Korean missile like it was a South Korean hanging curve ball, the world watches and waits.Myself, I have a macabre vision of Kim Jong-il standing at the launch pad with a can of spray paint, christening his latest phallic symbol, "Archduke Francis Ferdinand."A possible scenario:Japan shoots down "The


Subscribe to Koreabridge MegaBlog Feed