Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Poem

If desperation fills these veins, in myriad ways fulfilled
And all the struggle builds itself, upon this heaping hill
If life is light and death is dark, then what is in-between?
A shadow within all our hearts, unguided yet serene
A beautiful uncertainty,: The King without his Queen
A million brilliant faces floating ,through this city street
A lonely stranger searching, for a face he needs to meet
Empathy and agony, solitude and soul
Complacency and currency; that cannot be it all
That cannot be it all

Am I a saint, or just the sinner
Am I a loser, or am I the winner
Am I a prophet who speaks the truth
Or is all I know up to you
Am I a dreamer, who never wakes
Or am I the risk, that never takes
Am I the speaker, of random truths
Or does my rambling, bother you?
Am I the one, you cannot lose
Or just a body in black shoes

Am I the hope that’s in you’re heart
And can we take it all back to the start?
Can we take it all back to the start?

I used to be a fire burning, now I’m just a flame
Days are nights and always turning ; life is but a game
I walk these streets as several hundred ,minds within a mind
With an emptiness that hunts the doorways, and begging just to find
That face beyond all faces seen, the one I know will shine
That never seems to find my face, throughout all space and time

Throughout all space and time

But in this heap of flesh and blood, and skin and sin and pride
Lies within undying hope, a coal that will not die
A burning unsubstantial, in the eyes of lookers on
A fire, flame and furnace waiting, the smallest coal still yearns
As we are born a match is struck, and mine for now still burns
And mine for now still burns

Friday, February 27, 2009

Destination: Gyeongbokgung Palace

Well, after a long recovery from last weekend, and a hectic week that followed, I felt I could use a little "me" time. Get back to to the basics. Find some center. It's much needed. So, I decided to stay away from women and partying this weekend, and sort of "pull back the throttle." I have been guilty of really not exploring this Asian cultural wonderland, and have been just working and enjoying the good life of partying and dating. This weekend, I decided that I would do a little sight-seeing, and take a "spiritual Journey" if you will. The destination: Gyeongbokgung Palace. The Great Palace of the Joseon Dynasty which lasted hundreds of years, hundreds of years ago. But I won't bore you with a history lesson.

The day was beautiful. I woke up with the sun shining on an un-hungover face, and the beauty and excitement of going to a place that actually had "space," and not a million different restaurants and mopeds cluttering the small places I now call my "stomping ground." I know, I can never write more than three sentences without a metaphor; or fancy punctuation like the one eleven words behind this one. I am a "smug" writer as Paul and Bry would say. But I think this blog is more for me than anyone else. I couldn't wait to get home and write. And with those pictures, I should be a famous "TravelBlog" writer (See how smug I am).

So, the day was beautiful, a balmy 55 degrees on the last day of February, which I heard is supposed to be the coldest month. The sun was shining, and I took the subway for about 5o minutes to Gyeongbokgung. Although the subway system in Seoul is the best in the world, I am proud of myself for conquering it. Albeit, the smell of drunk Korean men who have not showered their "Friday Night" off yet, and the Korean women who unmistakenly push me around like a rag doll. In essence, I am still just a little boy from the suberbs of Suffolk County who wants to play with my Star Wars action figures. So, each of my successful journeys in a foreign land where I actually find my way back home don't go unnoticed. To me anyway,

Anyway, I got my spiritual "powerwash" and learned all about the palace as I took my pics, prayed at the palace steps, and even visited the cheesy yet knowledgable palace "museum." Well, I feel like Earl from My Name is Earl, because visiting this palace was definitely on my list. Overall, it was a nice way to spend the afternoon and explore.

P.S.-Is it me, or in the middle picture of me do I look like a giant compared with everyone else. I have been eating a lot of protein over here but come onnnn..........I look like Godzilla. Are they waist high?????????????????????????????????????????????????? Unbelievable...........
P.P.S.-It actually looks like those soldiers are not real and just standing still; I assure you they are infact real, and would not have lunch with me.........I tried....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yo "Flito"

I'd like to give a very personal welcome to one of my very good friends to my blog. "Flito" A.K.A. Chris Afflito, A.K.A. "The Chambord Lord," has not only commented on my blog, but made a profile. Thanks Chris. It's great to hear from you and I hope you're doing well buddy. Keep those comments coming, and I appreciate your correspondence.

February Graduation

What's up guys. Things are slowly settling down after this pretty awesome weekend. The boys and I all agreed it was the best jam session ever, and plan on getting a studio again.

We had a massive Korean Graduation ceremony for the students today (their school year ends in February). We held it in the Daechi Cultural Center. A huge building with a theatre not unlike one you could envision in Manhattan. Of course, since my Academy is much more than a business than a school, I wanted to impress my source of income: The parents. So of course I brought my guitar out to do a little jam session with my students in front of 200 Korean parents and relatives. They loved it. They have never seen a 6 foot tall big bald-headed American jam out quite like I did. Of course, the Korean students had some really weird costumes on. It was pretty creepy, except for the part that I need to keep this job and this sweet life I found over here. Even if the Korean Won is pretty much non-comparable to the Dollar right now. Gotta keep keepin' on. The school administration and my female Korean coworkers gave me some serious respect. I bow respectively and realize I got it made over here. Of course, it's all not ice cream and puppy dogs over here as well. Korea is a very strange me on that one.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rock n Soju

Well, turns out it was infact the best weekend ever. Last night was excellent. The boys and I took the subway to Hondae; the music capital of Seoul. We rented a studio for 3 hours and brought plenty of provisional Soju to keep up the rock and roll spirit. It worked.

I am so surprised by the fact that we don't play often, but our talents combined form a strong synergy. We truly sounded professional and we all played our asses off. The real surprise of the night was my friend John picking up the bass guitar and playing the bass lines perfectly. Holy shit. I can't wait to fully get my voice back and show them what I'm really made

Friday, February 20, 2009

Schindler's Paw

I just want to thank the people who are reading and commenting on my blog. It means so much to me that certain people are really getting into it. Dad, you are a witty bastard. I miss the steaks, and you showing me how to cook them every single time. As if I didn't learn the third time. I would kill to come back home and watch you cook on the grill while I throw Shadow the scraps; I miss that pooch, but know you're taking care of her. And also, I don't tell the Asian girls I'm dating that I have a dog. That would be like them telling me they have a pool full of Alaskan King Crabs. My poor sweet Shadow must remain a secret no matter what the cost. It's like a very distorted version of Schindler's List. I must do whatever I can to keep my Pup alive, although the Asian Nazi Cuisine Stormtroopers are hunting her down. Dad, please keep her safe in the attic upstairs. Although she can't write, she still can bark and paw a written story called "The diary of Shadow". Almost like "The Diary of Ann Frank", except the Germans didn't have a very fond tase of those who they hunted...............Yes, I am going to hell for making a metaphor for comparing the Nazi crusade versus the Asian Dog cuisine crusade. It's just that I love my pooch so much and miss her terribly. And I'm dating a "phillappina" who may or may not want to make sandwiches out of her. .........Well, you know what? My pup Shadow is my best girl, even though she doesn't clean my apartment. She is always happy to see me. She doesn't talk back. And she never accuses me of anything that I am not guilty of. She is the best. And I miss her soooo much.

Interesting Weekend (I hope)

Besides the fact of my ever growing nostalgia that Hillary Clinton is actually two blocks away from me right now giving her first Asian Summit meeting at the Seoul University for Women(scan for sarcasm), I have the best weekend linup.....ever. Chen is coming over and I'm taking her out to a nice seafood dinner at this really cool seafood place for 20-somethings. Every time I go there, all the Koreans harass me like I'm a rock star, and try out their English on me. They literally grab me and tell me I'm "handsome." Great liars they are. I think they just want to practice their lifetime of Engilish training on me. That's cool. That's what they pay me for. Right?

Well, I just got back. The Korean chef didn't like the fact that I wanted to actually enjoy my beer before ordering, and he made my food spicier than the Devil's armpit on Christmas. Just to make the bald foreigner cry at every mouth watering bite of a mix of seafood. I swear to God, it was intentional Spice-a-cide. I was crying. To boot, I'll never let Chen drink again. She had two beers at dinner and acted like I did when Bry and Dan got me drunk for my first time. Such a lightweight. I had to carry her out of the restaurant. And not in the romantic hero kind of way. I almost thought that that was where our relationship was going. Not soo much.

She's passed out right now and hogging the clean bedsheets I just washed and dried for 15 hours; being that doing laundry here truly sucks. It literally takes days to wash all my washables. The worst part is is that i can only use cold water to wash things in my closet sized bathroom, and everything dries as comfortably as sand paper. I can't wait to come home to America and just use a bathroom for the necessities and not for showers, laundry, washing dishes, and way too much stuff. I miss a bathtub. I miss not stepping in water every time I go to use the bathroom. It sucks.

I hope tomorrow will be better. I will jam out with my band in Hong-Dae, and have some beers and chill with the guys. Chen will not become the Yoko Ono of my musical romance. It sucks that I still can't sing with my Seoul-laden voice. But I know it will be - Good stuff. Gotta go. Miss you guys.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A King of Korea (The Count of Gangnam)

Well, I hope everyone is doing well and feeling fine. I am doing phenomenal here in Korea and absolutely loving life. I don't care so much for being narcissistic; but I must tell you that I am loving life over here tremendously. I label myself jokingly as the "Count of Gangnam" due to the way I've turned my life around for the better. Asia has opened all the doors that were closed for me in America. Ironic, I know, and I still miss all of you greatly. It is a wound I cover tightly and try not to think about, being that I have a long time before I see any of you.

What does make me feel good though, in this crazy Asian megopolis, is the great food and beautiful women. I just finished some caviar and sushi for lunch, and I am dating this "philappina" girl named Chen. We had a great date on Friday, and a very nice Valentine's on Saturday. Hey......She even cleaned my apartment.....that's what I like to call the BONUS ROUND. NICE>

Yes, life is really good here. Like I said, I don't want to give false pretenses of narcissism. It's just that they say "The sun shines on even a dog's ass every once in a while," and I see the light coming through my window right now. Love and peace from Seoul. Miss you guys.
P.S.-Chen, although unknowingly, is giving the British F*&* You sign in the first picture. AHH. I guess ignorance is bliss. Poor

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Seoul Survivin' Mind Today

So what's on the mind of the original "Seoul Survivor" you may ask? Many things, and nothing. Today was an interesting day, as all of mine have been so far in the "Land of the Morning Calm," an ironic name that gets me every morning as I hear cars squeek and crash, and my annoying Landlord sweep by my window. Not so calm, but I love it.

So I have been feeling my true independence lately. It is one of those feelings that is undescribable, and very fulfilling. It is one that I must trade for my desire to be with my family and friends in America. I guess we can't have the world as we would like to, so sacrifice must be strategically called upon for one's happiness. I must say that I am truly happy here. I have lived my previous life in America very close to my family and friends: and very close to an incompetent lifestyle of not being on my own, and not truly experiencing life. Unfortunately, the two could not mend together, and I had to pick a very challenging crossroads. The road less traveled if you will. Break the cycle. Break the complacency. Break the one way road I was on for another that would lead me ultimately to a greener field. It's not easy. I miss the family I have that I would not trade for the world. I miss my friends. I miss my dog. I miss the comfort of my whole reality in New York. But I knew from the beginning, this break is the break that needed to come to pass. I am living on my own and truly becoming stronger and the independence is something I've strove for for so long. I have a job, I have medical benefits, I am dating several Asian girls, and I am truly free. It is a beautiful moment in my life. One I hope to never reminisce about and feel like this was the best moment. I want to take this moment and build many moments on top of this one. I am free to do whatever I want. That, is a beautiful, spiritual, and independent stream of conciousness.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Korean Sunday

as I sit anticipating a a somewhat expensive but well-worthy lunch of Caviar and Sushi, I contemplate the differences in culture over here. Such an eyesight each and every time I leave my apartment. Today, I saw a small child Aiden's age doing the grocery shopping for his parents. Walking along the dangerous streets and avoiding traffic the way Devbot kills bad guys on Call Of Duty 4 (His favorite vidoe game). I also looked into one of the small bodegas lining my street, and was amazed to see pig heads and hooves on spivets. Actually, the meat smelled so good, it reminded me of the pig roasts my Puerto Rican neighbors would have when I was a kid, whithout the horrible surprise of seein a pig bludgeoned to death in the next yard on a very innocent Saturday morning. No wonder I have Also, annoyingly, the Korean people refuse to move. It seems that they throw their peripheral (spelling??) vision aside and just don't plain give a crap if you're trying to get by. In the market, they puff themselves up like a blower fish and really don't care that you would like to get by. In the supermarket, they leave their carts diagonal, as if to purposefully not let anyone by. It pisses me off. It seems that they go out of their way to make movement difficult, and don't give a damn. But when they need to get by you, you're pushed. Well, now that I see the pattern, I feel pretty bad for any Koreans in the way of this 6-foot tall bald Banshee who needs his seafood and beer NOW. LOL. I thought N.Y. was bad..............

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Seoul Working Hours (Hittin' the Grindstone)

This is an article I recently read depicting the unrelenting Seoul work force. Thankfully, the article does not adhere to me for two reasons: 1-I am a foreign English teacher and have minimal hours (thank god), and 2-I just don't care for Big Macs.

"Seoul has longest working hours in the worldStudy indicates the South Korean capital holds the official record for working hours ahead of 70 other capitals. But more hours do not always mean better wages.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – People in Seoul work the longest hours per year in the world, says a study by the Swiss financial group Union des Banques Suisses (UBS). In a recent report, UBS says that Seoul residents spend more than 2,300 hours at work each year. That's the longest among 71 world cities surveyed.

Based on a 42-hour workweek, the average South Korean worker puts in about 60 days a year more than their peers in Paris who spend just 1,480 hours on the job, the world's lowest. Only official contracts and work schedules were considered,

"My official work hours are from 9 in the morning until 7 in the evening. But due to a heavy workload, I go home at around 8 or 9 about three times a week," one Seoul office worker said.
"On average," he added, "I take off at 10 or 11 p.m. about three times a week. I do this for my company's success and for my own sense of accomplishment. Fortunately, I have my family's full support and understanding."

But longer hours do not mean necessarily better salaries. In fact, in South Korea, dedication and sacrifice come before monetary pursuit, though money is often seen as a measure of success.

The survey ranked Seoul residents only 32nd in wages per working hours. Using New York's salary level of 100 as the benchmark, Seoul had a score of a mere 44. Tokyo led Asia in salary at 18th with 78 points. Topping the list, meanwhile, were the northern European cities of Copenhagen and Oslo.

But salaries must be measured against cost of living. For example, it takes 29 minutes of work for Seoul residents to buy a Big Mac burger, less than the global average of 35 minutes.

Overall, Seoul was the 24th most expensive city in terms of cost of living excluding rent. Oslo topped the list, whilst Kuala Lumpur was at the opposite end of the scale. (PB)"

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Fond Farewell to the "Original" Old Timer

I would just like to send my utmost condolances to the Carfero family. Last night, Pops (Renee's Grandfather) passed away. For those of you who hadn't had the pleasure of knowing him, Pops was a magnanimous man who was always cheerful, and as smart as a whip. I personally connected with Pops and always enjoyed his company. From what I hear, he always enjoyed mine as well. It's these sad times in life when you realize the pain of losing someone you cherish, but understand and evaluate the possibilities on "the other side." I hope Pops is saying hello to his wife and other family members up there and watching "Judge Judy" marathons. I will miss you Pops. Godspeed. Renee, I hope you and your family will be strong through this difficult time, and I express my sincere sorrow for your loss.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Walk On

So,I'm sitting in my King's chair (pleather lounge) that I bought over the weekend. I'm listening to some live U2 (One of my many favorite bands the world has put out), marinading some pork and hot pepper, and I get a call from my boss. Apparently, my lesson plans for the whole month didn't specify the exact page numbers and words I will be teaching my students. Also, I have been writing my lesson plans by hand (which I hate and would rather type, and was NOW told they had to be typed), although I was given a blank photocopy to write on. So, apparently, I should type them (thanks for delayed and crucial notice). So I have to go in to work several hours earlier and revamp my lesson plans for the month. A whole month. Oh, you crazy Koreans and you're provincial attitude of not telling, but always expecting.........Korea.....Do you understand SARCASM. No, I know.

Anyway, do yourself a favor and listen to this live song by U2. Certain family members will love the "hellalleja" reference repeated (especially Mom and Nancy). As for me, I have to go to work 3 hours early to fix a mistake that was fundamentally never brought to my attention in the first place. Oh Korea, you sly and disfunctional entity. I still love you. Keep surprising me in your whole "oh you never learned about how this is, and nobody told you, and we never taught you, and we gave you fake paper to write on,though we totally expected something different from you, and are astonished that you don't know, and can't believe you don't.?????" Mentality. It keeps me on my toes.

Anyway, this song is just as good or better than "Kite". If you comment that you like it, just maybe I'll do my own cover. Maybe.