Monday, January 31, 2011

TaeKyon Test 2 진주 도동 택견 연수관 심사

First and foremost I would like to welcome the Germans who might view this post. The last time I posted something about Taekyon, I got a few hits from Germany.

I actually have some experience with Germans and the martial arts. In 2001 I competed at the Taekwondo U.S. Open in Las Vegas. I fought against a German guy. I lost very quickly. I guess I was star struck by the event because I didn't really do anything. I just kind of stood there. The German guy, however, succeeded in kicking me in the mouth. There was no serious damage, but the meal at the Chinese buffet afterword was pretty painful.

Last week I tested for my 7th gup or in Taekyon speak they call it a 7th poom (Orange belt..I know I'm wearing a black belt but in Tae Kyon the belt isn't a status symbol it is a decorative piece of the uniform that flaps around and gets in your face.) So I filmed the event.

The Jinju do dong taekyon yeon su gwan still only has one So the test is just me doing my testing requirement kicks. Enjoy:

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Is it Wrong to Want to Burn Down my Neighbor's House?

Yes of course burning down my neighbor's house would probably be a bad thing....if there were people still inside of it. Here's the thing. There is a house next to my apartment building that tends to attract the most disgruntled people in Korea. It's either that, or the place has a demon. I do somewhat suspect a demonic presence which is why I dare not take a picture of the place. It's not that I believe in any of that stuff, I just want to be on the safe side.

Anyway. The house is this tiny little box that sits on the corner of the parking lot for a large apartment block. It's on an intersection, so naturally people mistake the corner for a place to put their cars...two sometimes three deep.

*Side track. If I ever have a trillion dollars, I'm going to build a few twenty story parking garages all over Korea. I'm not going to charge anything for people to use them - you charge as little as 10 won a day for something like that and people will still find excuses to park on the sidewalk next to the building - A special catapult system will be built into these garages. If anyone double parks or parks next to a wall inside of the garage creating only one lane of traffic, their car will be catapulted northward to the D.M.Z.

Back to the blight. The old tenants of the place used to run a gambling ring. I'm guessing it was a gambling ring because middle aged women used to show up at one in the morning and bang on the door yelling sister sister let me in. A few times you'd see men show up and yell stuff about getting their money back. Again it seemed to be a woman's only gambling den so I'm guessing that these were husbands who saw their 401Ks disappear. Well the cops showed up a few times with these folks and they eventually disappeared. This was a few months ago and I assumed that everything was alright.

And then tonight happened. I was doing something when I heard some screaming. I hear a lot of screaming outside and I'm always naturally curious. It's a Sunday night and there really isn't anything to watch on television. Sometimes the neighbors provide good entertainment on Sundays. I've mentioned this many times before but I saw a guy kill a dog with a hammer out my window, I guy attack his girlfriend or wife with a toaster, a guy attack his girlfriend or wife with cigarette, a mother attack some kid with a shoe...and then later another mother attack the same kid with Jujitsu.

So tonight I looked out my side window and saw some guy yelling Korean swear words off into the distance. Things were silent again and then I heard some banging. I looked out the window again and there was a lady holding onto a baby and banging on the door of my favorite house. She banged for about five minutes...the guy inside seemed to be playing possum. I looked out the window after things fell quiet and I saw that the lights were on. I stepped out into my veranda and I could hear screaming inside the house. The woman was yelling at the guy and the baby seemed to be crying.

I figure that if I just burn the place down people will stop moving into the place. I have a few theories about the house. Theory 1: It's owned by a gangster who rents the place out to his idiot friends. Theory 2: It's just an unlucky place. Theory 3: Demon or poltergeist that makes people go crazy.

I don't even know if the place will burn, it seems to be made out of metal.

Oh I just remembered. Last Saturday I woke up at 8:00 a.m. I went into my living room and had a small nap on the couch. I heard another guy yelling. I look out the window and there is a different crazy guy who I had seen before. I've seen this guy at a corner shop next to the bus station. He seemed like a nice guy then. He was drunk but he was telling me all of Korea's achievements. About how Samsung was #1 in something. I saw him again another time. He was bothering some high school girls. He offered to buy them chocolate. He saw me again and tried to bother me...I yelled at him in Korea...Leave me alone 괴롭히지마세요. I used respect language and he ran away. But last Saturday, there he was at 8:00 in the morning drinking soju and standing in the street and yelling at people. Luckily it was a lazy day for us, so we didn't leave the house until about 2:00, but he was still drinking and bothering people at least until half past one...I knew cuz I kept on looking out my window to check on him. I think it was the power of the house that made him come.

In conclusion. I don't actually want to burn the house down. I do want something to happen to it though. It's the human version of a Popsicle on the ground...I just collects insects.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Why do Asian people who are good at something have to be called master? I've run into this a lot in dealing with martial arts. You go to a Chinese restaurant alone and you just eat your meal. You go there with a bunch of non Asian people who have studied at a Tae Kwon Do school for a while, and they call the teenage and college waitstaff sir and ma'am. I got my black belt in Tae Kwon Do when I was sixteen. Some people called me master Jim. I was in a butcher shop one time buying some steaks. I ran into a kid of about seven years old there with his parents. His parents made him bow to me.....awkward.

Here is a clip from the New York Times about a Chinese guy making noodles. The lady said that the guy took just a few months to learn how to make noodles, yet she calls him master Chen.

When I was a teenager, I had a job in a restaurant as a dishwasher. I was a good dishwasher because I didn't really take breaks, and I kept the old hobart industrial dishwasher running. I did that for about a year, but I never called myself a master dishwasher. I'm sure that if I practiced pulling noodles for a few months, I could get about as good at it as this guy in the video. I'm sure that the guy in the video doesn't want to be called a master noodle puller either, I bet he'd prefer some kind of job that doesn't cake your lungs in flour the way a coal miner might develop black lung.

Anyway enjoy the video:

Valance Burger Bitches

Alert the press there has been a defection from Kraze Burger. A "Chef," from Kraze Burger left his post and started a cheaper version of Kraze Burger called "Valance Burger." The word "Valance," is a combination of very delicious and balance. In truth, a meal at valance burger tastes a lot like Kraze burger but is half the price.

So yeah that's pretty freaking awesome. It's kind of a pain in the ass to make my own burgers. I've made some pretty damn good burgers in Korea on the roofs of one room buildings. You gotta fire up the charcoal. Then you have all that nice charcoal, when it only takes a few minutes to cook burgers and you just have a fire left over. Which is why I like places like Kraze burger and Valance burger.

But hell, you gotta take out a loan sometimes to go to Kraze burger. I'm still paying off like five burger mortgages. With Valance burger, there is no need for that.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SK Getting Mad Props from Obama

So I'm watching the president's state of the union address. So far he has mentioned South Korea at least three times. First he mentioned how Korean teachers are called nation builders. Second he gave a shout out to the Korean internet. Then he mentioned the Korus F.T.A. I wonder how this will play out in the Korean press tomorrow.

- Update -

Make that four times, he also talked about being a good ally to Korea.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Music Bank Live Blogging 19


TVXQ is minus two members now, because SM entertainment is run by the North Korean Army, well I can't prove it but soldiers in the North Korean army have to serve for 13 years, which is the same contract terms that SM entertainment gives to their music slaves.

Now TVXQ is a duo, and two guys singing is always fun.

Who will the winner be?

TVXQ wins the day!!!!!!!!!

This is the greatest day ever!!!.

TVXQ forever....unless these two guys end up quitting too.

Well folks I have just wrapped up my live blogging project of Music Bank. Tune in every Friday to KBS at 6:00

Music Bank Live Blogging 18

Secret - Shy Boy

This song makes me not like Secret. They were pretty cool before. I mean all four girls can sing and dance well. More musical theater stuff.

I don't like to see girls wearing pastels and being forced to act like idiots. Very Bye Bye Birdy. I also feel sorry for shy boys.

I can empathize. These girls don't know any shy boys, they are all to afraid to approach them. I bet when Secret is hanging out in a bar somewhere they get like fifty guys coming up to them saying, "Hey I'm a shy boy."

Music Bank Live Blogging 17

Music Bank Live Blogging 16

Park Jung Min, come back special.

I don't know where he went but he just came out of a cage, and then suddenly there was what looks like a 15 piece rock band with guitarists a piano player and some violins in the back ground.

Not alone the second song.

and orchestra, some nice modern dancing. One girl was doing some modern dance, she was wearing white.

Then some guys dressed like nazis started dancing too. This Jung Min guy looks like the demon from "Death Note." (It's a Japanese movie/comic book about a note book where you just write someone's name and they die.)

More violins. The song is kind of powerful.

Music Bank Live Blogging 15

Orange Caramel - a new song called A jeek, not yet.

It is an Orange Caramel ballad.

I'm happy for them that they don't have to act like sexy Disney Land employees. They can actually show off their singing skills.

They can belt pretty well. I'd say that this song wasn't terrible, if I liked this kind of thing, but I don't. Good on them for being able to belt out a nice power ballad.

Music Bank Live Blogging 14


The guys are dressed in purple with fur.

I'd have to say that the dance is a bit unfortunate. As apart of the chorus there is some prancing around with jazz hands. The jazz hands look like the little hand motions from BEG's abracadabra, where they sing "Bring bring forward, blah blah blah.

I'm guessing that the song's title is stay with Stay.

Music Bank Live Blogging 13

Infinite - BTD

What does BTD mean?

I don't know.

Boy Trend Disaster

Box Transmitted Disease

No, it is "Before the Dawn."

I kind of like this song. It's got some 1980sness to it. New, new wave in Korea. We are to the point in the show where the more established acts come out.

Music Bank Live Blogging 12


I don't know what this song is called. Don't really care that much. She has a nice sequin dress on that has a diagonal cut at the bottom. Very stylish. Still not digging the song. The song is called I want to see you.

Oh that was a fake out song.

Now there is another G-na song with a black and white theme.

This is a bit more up tempo. Not too boring. The chorus has stuff about black and white. She and all of the back up dancers are wearing black pants, big leather boots, white t-shirts and gold jackets. Perhaps black white and gold didn't fit into the chorus very well.

The song has a kind of "Grease," beat to it. As in, I bet I could hear this song in "Grease," the musical play(not a fan).

Music Bank Live Blogging 11

Two guys from TVXQ are giving and interview. One guy is dressed like a gay fascist and the other is dressed like...I don't know how he is dressed but it is a low cut V neck shirt.

OMG it's teen top. These guys have some nice moves. One guy has blonde hair and pink lipstick. Nice choreography though. This one guy just did a pretty cool matrixy thing.

I feel sorry for these poor kids. I'm pretty sure that when I was in middle school, and someone tried to put pink lipstick on me, I'd call the police. Good on these guys though; they are showing some real perseverance by not letting the make up get to them.

Music Bank Live Blogging 10

Bad man by Joo.

Joo has some live piano accompaniment. Joo has a nice flapper hairstyle and black flapper dress. I guess she is going for a kind of roaring twenties lounge singer concept, but the song isn't sultry enough.

Oh girl in short dress and a pervert cameraman going for the upskirt shot. Joo call your attorney, I'd hate it if I was pouring my heart out in song, and someone tried to take a picture of my private parts.

Her piano player looks like a very slick butler. I wonder if I can hire a butler to play piano in my house.

Must be the bad man in said song is the camera man.

Music Bank Live Blogging

I Can't Drink, by Beige.

It's time for the slow dance portion of Music Bank. I'm pretty sure that if I weren't typing I'd be sleeping.

Beige can't drink because she broke up with her boyfriend and she is a afraid of drunk calling him. Drunk calling can be fun sometimes.

This one time my friend was finishing off a keg and got the impulse to call papa johns and order some pizza. He had a hard time talking and tried to order some chicken bread, whatever that is.

I agree though. Don't facebook drunk, you can't take that shit back.

Music Bank Live Blogging 9

It's the piggy dolls.

Three slightly overweight women singing a song that sounds like something that the weather girls would sing.

They can sing and dance pretty well. I don't see why their weight has to be a part of their bands name. Two girls really aren't that fat, I'd call them more voluptuous.

The song's got a nice beat. I actually kind of like the song.

Music Bank Live Blogging 8

Crazy love, some guy featuring a Gavy NJ member.

The some guy is, some guy doing some kind of rap about something. He seems pretty convinced about whatever he's saying. He has a nice little blonde mohawk on top of his black hair.

Here come Ms. Gavy. She's belting something out.

You can hear the passion in his voice. Maybe he lost his keys or something and his frustrated about it. Now he's singing. His singing voice is about like mine. Somewhere between harmony and the sound of vomiting.

Wow Gavy looks tired. She's belting some stuff out now.

Music Bank Live Blogging 7

JQT Peekaboo.

Peek a boo, Peek a boo, peek a boo, peek a boo, peek a boo, peek a peek a peek a peek a boo.

Rapping, girls in brown leather. They kind of look like little dancing Louis Vitton bags.

Peek a boo, Peek a boo, peek a peek a peek a boo.

Music Bank Live Blogging 6

Ah mighty mouse.

They are a hip hop act. One guy looks like a guardian angel (The vigilanty crime fighters.) One guy has red hair and a red leather jacket. There is a woman who is wearing a flannel head thingy.

I would have to say that their rapping skills are proficient. The beats are kind of annoying though. I'm pretty sure that if this were on in a coffee shop or something, I would leave. Just a kind of nauseating sound. I guess you could dance to it.

Maybe if I were drunk I might feel it more.

Music Bank Live Blogging 5

Okay the first song was by "Daughter Sherbet."

Song now: Nabi "Butterfly?"

One Girl Power Ballad! This lady is wearing some black clothes, and she has some bling bling on her wrist.

News from the wife-

Nabi, was at first a folk guitarist and piano singer. Now she is spouting some power ballad crap. Boring boring boring. Let's blame the entertainment company. Not much more to say about this song.

Music Bank Live Blogging 4

A cup of Latte, Gavy NJ.

Watch out!! 3 girls in power ballad formation!

I guess these girls are singing well. I don't know what they are talking about. Maybe something about latte. I have no problem with that. I like latte. Oh hey rapping.

Rapping is essential to every song. I think that Christmas carols should have some more rapping.

Oh and no some fabulous wailing.

Music Bank Live Blogging 3

Here are a couple of guys who can't sing. I don't know if the band's name or if the song's name is "Popsicle." One guy really can't sing. One guy is a rapper. Oh wait, it might be three guys in this group. Yes, one guy was dressed in the same color as the back up dancers. I wonder if some of these acts are like garage R and B groups. I don't think those exist. You know, like a few guys just singing songs together.

-Band name- popsicle

Music Bank Live Blogging 2I

I didn't quite catch the name of this girl. The title is "Witch Girl." Typical song and dance. Music bank tends to play the new acts towards the beginning.

Okay the girl's name is Han Geu Roo. My wife tells me that her name means tree counting.

Music Bank Live Blogging

Super Duper Diva is on now. I have never heard of this band they must be new. It is a pretty annoying song. The girls are dressed in pink. The dance involves a booty shake. As they say that it kind of sounds like they are saying something something poop. Finished.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Exciting News!!!!!

McDonalds has started serving brewed coffee again!!!

Yesterday my wife sent me a text message. It was in Korean. The text it's self was a voucher for a free cup of coffee at McDonalds. Something about "Mcdonalds premium coffee." So I redeemed my voucher expecting a cup of Lavazza shit, when I was pleasantly surprised to find that the McDonalds had a Bunn coffee maker.

I asked the lady how much the coffee normally costs and she said that it was 1500 won. I tasted the coffee and it was heavenly. Five years ago McDonalds had some really nice coffee for only 1000 won a cup, but then the dark days came. That is the dark days of new coffee brewing technology. The days of pod coffee and Lavazza. The days of 2500 won coffee with the distinct taste of ashtray. The days of condemnation to Dunkin Donuts coffee. But those days are through my friends. Ronald is back and he isn't taking any prisoners.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cool Popsongs

One nice thing about my future former school that I will cease to work at this coming March, is that English popsongs are part of the curriculum. Usually before we start class we listen to a pop song and then we start the lesson. It gives the students a nice little break before we start busting their balls over learning English.

I have never been given the responsibility to choose the pop songs. I think that is both a good and a bad thing. The good about it is that I won't end up getting my feelings hurt if they don't like the songs I choose. The bad about it is that thirty and forty something Korean English teachers rarely choose things that could be considered hip. Alas, the students have been snookered into thinking that The Carpenters, or Westlife covers of ABBA songs are somehow popular somewhere.

The absolute worst thing that I have encountered in all of this is something called "A Teens," which is apparently a Swedish Boy and Girl group that does a cover of Elvis's "I Can't Help Falling in Love with You." Now the A Teens are kind of attractive, and they serve as a nice goal of English proficiency for ESL learners, but for fucks sake, Elvis was one of the inventors of pop music at least let the kids learn some real culture. (Although the kids do whinge a bit if they don't get the group with name on the lyric sheet - yes the lyric sheet says "I Can't Help Falling in Love - A Teens - eye roll.

I shouldn't be too harsh. There is one lady in our school who chooses things by artists who have made music this decade. Her choices are pretty hip from a perspective. Jason Mraz is kind of popular in Korea. I recognize his talents as an artist, but I can't say that I enjoy his music. It is kind of in the vein of The Dave Mathews Band. The Dave Mathews Band used to drive me fucking insane because when I was in college people seemed to loose their shit pretty easily over The Dave Mathews Band and I had no idea why. The Dave Mathews Band is probably the most boring shit I have ever heard. They can only be outdone in the boring shit category possibly only by Blues Traveler, whose "Runaround," got stuck in my head one time; so I was like, "Hey Blues Traveler, I wonder if they are still alive," so I checked out their wikipedia page, and found that yes indeed one member died, but soon after I passed out on my keyboard from boredom and my computer crashed. And don't get me started about The Barenaked Ladies. So yes Jason Mraz, I group you together with all of this crap.

I'm probably going to get into trouble for this next paragraph where I adulate the current Billboard 1 and 2 songs after the last paragraph where I condemned the hardtack rock gods of people who really don't care what goes in their ears, but I have to say that Katy Perry's Firework, and Bruno Mars's Grenade are pretty awesome songs for Korean kids to learn.

I'd warn against showing the video to kids. There are some scenes that people might consider racy. Katy Perry has Roman candle boobs in the video, then there are some girls in bikinis, and then two dudes start kissing. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for gay people, but the principal of a Korean public elementary or middle school might not be. (It might make for a nice topic in an adult class though.) The overall message of Firework encourages kids to be comfortable with who they are and that they should love themselves even if they are a little different, and that's a pretty good message for kids in any country to hear. Also the hook is pretty addictive so it can get stuck in kids' heads pretty easily and voila they are practicing English and they don't realize it.

This song is just pretty cool. I like the line
- Black, Black, Black and blue beat me till I'm numb
- Tell the devil I said hey when you go back to where you're from.
I bust that out for the kids, and then I asked them where she was from, and they said "Hell." These are some pretty cool kids in my opinion. (I've been teaching these songs by pulling out a few expressions or cliches that might be in the lyrics and then explaining the expressions, and having the kids yell when they hear the magic work...kind of like Pee Wee Herman. Grenade starts out with the idiom, "Easy come, easy go." )

By the way, a good idea for finding pop songs is to look at the Billboard website to see what is number 1, it can keep the kids up to speed on what's popular overseas. Actually with "Grenade" and "Firework," it works out kind of well. For the longest time Ke$ha's "Tic Toc," was number 1, but there is just some inappropriate stuff in there, so you gotta use some discretion. Another good example is Ceelo's "Fuck You." Sure Ceelo is pretty awesome (Check Gnarles Barkley and one of my personal power songs, "Liberation," on Outkast's Aquemeni album) , and "Fuck You," is a pretty awesome song, but......I really don't have to fucking explain this one. Here's "Grenade:"

Burn Notice

I've been watching the show Burn Notice for the past few weeks. I've watched all of the episodes now so I've got nothing. I guess I just have to write on this stupid blog.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Men Crying

I hope nothing happens bad enough for me to start crying over something, or else I'd be a big hypocrite for writing this post, but this phenomenon of men crying over stuff is seriously getting annoying.

I was watching some Korean drama the other day, and this guy in the drama won some kind of cooking competition, and he got all misty eyed. This wasn't some reality T.V. show this was a drama. If I had been actually following the drama, I'm pretty sure that I would have lost sympathy for the character.

Also, last year the "Infinity Challenge," guys entered a ballroom dancing competition. Sure they trained hard, but they were never the favorites from the start, and when they lost they let loose with the water works.

I'm not going to just attack Koreans on this, my recent distaste for the practice is starting to work it's way out because there are many a number of disagreeable American public figures who let loose for the cameras.

John Boehner:
John, you are drama queen. You handed out checks from tobacco lobbyists on the house floor, and then you cried when the health care reform bill was passed. You cried when you became the speaker of the house. You are corrupt and what is wrong with America. You didn't do shit in the past two years except go on news talk shows. Come on man, Obama was the first black president he has accomplished some ground breaking shit, but in all of his historical accomplishments, not once did he break down like a little bitch and talk about how hard his life was. You pieces of shit like to go out and call him an elitist despite his humble beginnings in a single parent household. The dude tries to help poor people, like your father who worked in a mill or whatever, and you guys shit on him. John Boehner get a life.

Glenn Beck:
You are a former junkie. Congratulations on getting over your drug problem, but you aren't an expert on America. Get over yourself. Stop crying every five minutes on your show when something you don't like happens in America. You are a propagandist pure and simple. Quit being such a pussy.

Rich Rodriguez:
Why the hell are you the one who is crying? You brought down the University of Michigan football program. You are definitely the worst coach that U of M has ever had. Michigan players, and Michigan fans are the ones who should be crying, and many probably will if you don't get fired. Look man, I'd get a kick out of seeing you have a public breakdown, but I'll have a little respect for you if you suck it up.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

TaeKyon Test

This same post appears over at Thoughts on Taekwondo Training. If you want to read this same thing with a black back ground click on the link.

Last Thursday, after a month of training I received my 8th gup in Taekyon. Since this is my fourth martial art, I could really care less about the achievement. It was after only a month of training, but I think that it was well deserved because the test was the gateway to learning more techniques, and the techniques that I had already learned were fairly simple.

Up to this point I have found that Taekyon is a delightful martial art. After the test I went out for a few drinks with the master. He told me that his school is the only Taekyon school in Jinju. The school has only been there for about two months, and I am the only student. I'm a bit on edge about the place because if he doesn't get anymore students I'm afraid the place will close. It also made for a somewhat bizarre test.

The class on the night of the test was fairly straight forward.

Classes have followed a similar pattern since I started. First we do something called "cow walking." That is is we walk on our hands and feet up and down the room twice. Then we move on to basic stretches. The stretches are followed by Taekyon warm ups, which involves a lot of knee bending, leg kicking, knee raises, and foot raises hacky sack style.

After that comes the step patterns . To do these step patterns one has to bend the knees and do some outward hip thrusts. The step patterns are done in v and diamond formations. Then there are step patterns with hand motions, and step patterns with low leg attacks.

So for the test I had to do everything that I had learned up to that point.

The instructor opened the test with a formal introduction. He made a point of saluting the flags and bowing at the old masters of Taekyon, then he said something like this. "This is the first test of the Jinju do dong taekyon school....blah blah blah." What was weird about that was the over indulgence on formality to test one person. Then there was a formal finish too, where there was a closing ceremony with just me kind of standing there. Luckily things stopped being weird when we went out for drinks and octopus later.

And so that is my story about testing for an 8th gup in Taekyon. I'll be happy to learn new techniques next week.