Day 268

Wednesday | November 21st, 2012

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Ah, the main event of the year: the birthday. My birthday is my new year. Everything revolves around my birthday. This is when the old year dies and the new one steps up to bat.

In the past, birthdays were for sleeping late and then going out in the evening. Working at the CEC really kinked this up and birthdays became for the first time in my life, regular work days with nothing much happening. This year, I aimed high to set things back on the right path.

One giant difference of this year was getting up at early in the morning … to go to immigration. Last time the trip to immigration turned into a two hour hike for a couple of Dunkin’ Donuts. This time going to immigration was a morning jaunt and birthday shopping trip to Ulsan with Meow.

A birthday morning in Ulsan brought me the “Dunch” menu with the John Bacon Burger among the options. The John Bacon Burger was an old Daegu staple back in the days before the Seoul days. They were bigger than what the Burger King below Bennigans could put on a plate and cost 12,500won, but they were perfect after a night of drinking or just before one. Somewhere along the way though, they started putting them on the table perfectly grilled on the outside but pink and bloody on the inside. That’s no way to enjoy a hamburger. After much complaining we would get our money back, then after many more instance of the same, the John Bacon Burger dropped off all Bennigans menus all over Korea. I was rolling dice when I ordered one.

This John Bacon Burger was passible at about 50% of the old burger’s size, a patty that was likely about 40% beef compared to the 100% Australian of yesteryear, and much better french fries. Little did I know I would spent the next four hours burping this burger.

Dinner kicked off about an hour after Meow and I returned to Gyeongju. BL, LG, JH, PP, BM, and CH came out to eat with Meow and I. The heart shaped pile of rice (above, left) was made especially for the vegetarians. I ate the same sans the rice and with chicken, cheese, and ramyeon noodles. PP leveraged a conversation we had during LG’s birthday party about cakes to convince Meow and CH that I had to have an ice cream cake (above, right). We had our ice cream cake with vanilla Absolute and Pepsi (fucking sick, btw) until BL ran out and returned with Coke to make our drinks proper (and delicious). The joking and hysterics reached proportions I had not even considered when giving out invitations. It was a good crowd to be with on my birthday (below).

Dinner, then vanilla and Coke, then Meow had to go home and prepare for a demo class. We also lost BL and PP for PDF related responsibilities in the morning. Next up was Coco’s, aka, where the cow went for his photo shoot on Halloween. Coco’s doesn’t have a big top brand selection, so when choosing shots and chasers I chose 151 and Jack & Cokes. Only BM, CH, and I signed up for this pain. Of course this is where the party went off the rails (upon the days later analysis of events remembered). There were a few others in Coco’s from the PDF, one of them, PG, brought me a whiskey shot. I also had at least two gin & tonics (who counts? Whoever wakes up a few days later wondering where/why/how his head hurt so bad, that’s who).

Seeing my party starting to derail and the remainder of the crew starting to hang on to the edge of the tables (maybe that was just me), we moved to the singing room (노래방/noraebang; above). Serious props go to JH who along the trip to sing, found a soberish moment in which to point out that yes, in fact the arcade has practice singing rooms. I really need to practice; LG needs to sing. There’s no reason not to. Especially when I dance on the table and thrust punches at the flimsy ceiling while butchering Born in the U.S.A. (probably my last clearheaded memory). LG left before that; JH left sometime after that and I may have loosely made a promise to destroy more American songs in her presence.

We left the singing room around 01.30. BM and CH tried to call it, but I wouldn’t let them. I could say shame on me for playing birthday guilt cards, but it _was_ my birthday after all. BM took us to an odeng (hot dog of the sea! yuck!) bar to eat this broiled fish. She claimed it was the best thing ever. And it was. She also said the same thing about the cheese odeng which even my alcohol destroyed mind wouldn’t let me eat.

CH and I drank a lot of Chungha here. We drank this stuff too fast, just like last time. I think I need to make a new rule: no more Chungha with CH. I think CH would agree (above).

Just when you think one more place is enough, it never is. After the odeng bar, we went to yet another place. Pictures are all I have. CH was gone. Smilely, but gone. This means BM took my picture (hero image, top). I was gone too. Only logical deduction can put the rest together. This was the last place. I dumped CH into a cab; BM insisted that we share one up our street (BM lives a block away). This was good. It meant that I had a tiny bit of wherewithal left to mark the end of my party (below). I’m sure the rest of the memories are somewhere on Gyeongju CCTVs.

The Daily Bullet

Self portrait. No idea which bar this was.

Daily Report

I didn’t sleep last night. I struggled to write or create a script that would grab an .mp3 from a folder, open it, insert markers in pre-determined places, split the audio file into eleven segments based on those

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Gyeongju

Out beyond the fake lake (Bomun) for Christmas Day lunch at a place called the Healing Kitchen. It’s all farms and hilltops here. And roads to more farms and hilltops. Except for the noise from the cars, I

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The Fourth Wall

I’m here and alive. Ten days behind the reality of my written life, yet here and alive. TOEIC is the predominant motif of life from the end of the semester until … today. This is the end, after

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This Old Hanok

When we had the bathroom done, we wanted to design our own window for the part of the wall which straddles the storage space along the side of the house. This way we could have clean airflow through

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