Thursday, December 27, 2012

Drug User: Do I really fit the stereotype?

     I bet the real illegal-drug users would say, "no" if they see me.

     I admit, I'm an addict.  An addict to cigarettes and an addict to coffee.  I know these and I'm not ashamed.  But one thing I know well is that I have never been, nor do I intend to be, an illegal-drug user.  The truth is, I hate drugs and that includes marijuana.  No matter the argument, it is still currently illegal.  No matter how many statistics or intellectual debates are shoved down my throat, it is still illegal.  Therefore; I hate it.  I hate it so much that anyone I know who's involved with such things, I'd definitely ditch them.  They make me really angry.

     But why such anger?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Winter Death

     I remember one of my dad's friends (who used to work here in Korea) slipped on ice and bumped his head.  He went into comatose and his family had to deal with a lot of expensive procedures, along with sending someone to pick him up from Korea to Philippines.  I believe he worked in Korea for more than a decade.  Probably close to 18 years.  But I don't think his family saved enough to cover half of the expenses.  I wonder, though, if he's still alive.  That was years ago.

     This afternoon, my co-worker was distraught after receiving a call.  His mistress slipped on ice and is suffering from hemorrhage (as of writing this blog).  He knows there's a big chance either she'll end up dead or "stupid"... I think he used that word just to make me understand him.

     Personally, I couldn't care less about how he feels.  It's his mistress.  I met her and her family several times, and I don't like how they talk and look at me.

     I'm more interested on how my superiors reacted to this.  I've been complaining about ice forming in front of the public bathroom but they just joked about it saying I cold learn ice skating on it... until now.  30 minutes after hearing the news, they scraped the said ice (it covers about 10sq ft) and spread some sand and some sort of gravel over the place.  They didn't even ask for my help.  And as I pass by, I hear them mumbling, "... scary... Jackson could die..."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Phone Etiquette Is Dying

     If there's one thing more annoying than a call from a telemarketer just as when you're at the peak of the busiest hour (there should be a law restricting their hours of business), it's the people who calls you first then asks who you are first.

     Dialing the wrong number is understandable.  It's a common error especially with the touch screens nowadays.  But I hate it when you get a call and immediately asked, "Who are you?"  I mean you're the one who called me, be it wrong number or not, I should be the one asking that question.  There are two things that makes this worse:
  1.  Strong/impolite tone.  In English, it's all about how you say it.  The tone of voice delivers the question politely or not.  In Korean (and most Asian languages), there are honorifics.  "Eh, nuguseyo? (에, 누구세요?)" sounds a lot better than, "Nuguya!? (누구야!?)" 
  2. Hanging up without a word.  Not even an apology.

     This is why I entertain telemarketers as much as their effort.  What they do is mostly a nuisance to me, but they're just doing their job, after all.  They open with a cheerful voice, you could see them smiling while talking.  And end up with a nice apology after telling them I'm not their target customer.

As for those interested on what I usually say, this is the common dialogue:
"Hello?"  (I always open with English greeting)
"Anyeonghaseyo blah blah blah"
"Chamkamanyo, cheon waegoogin yeyo (잠깐만요 전 외국인예요)"  (Wait, I'm a foreigner.)
"Ah, chueseonghaeyo... (아, 죄송 해요...)"  (and the rest of it towards hanging up)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's Special Because It's Far?

     One of the things I don't get from Korean people is their fondness of going really far for just a meal.  It wouldn't matter to me if it was really special.  Or really delicious.  And by the way, what is Korean's definition of "delicious?"  They keep saying that when they offer some food but most of them taste the same to me.  I would have agreed if it was spicier, or saltier, or have a different ingredient than the rest.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I am not a celebrity. I don' have thick skin.

     For days, my work from one of my blogs was appreciated and praised by a few people.  I posted some of the pictures as an entry to some photography forums.  It was well accepted and I was thinking of doing the same process to make another entry for a different theme.

     Tonight, the latest comment on one of the forums talked about some convoluted ways using a mirror to do what I did.  I feel insulted.  It's like saying my photos were fake.  I would have done that mirror (theory) thing if I had known about it.  In fact, using a mirror never crossed my mind until it was mentioned.

    Now, my creative flow is blocked.  I'm too upset to think.  It may be just one comment (who knows if there will be more) and I might just be over-reacting.  But that was my work.  Something I made honestly and worked quite hard for it.  So for someone to bash on one of the highlights of my photography life, it hurts.

     I'm trying to get rid of this feeling right now, and I'm hopeful that writing about it helps.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Galaxy S3 Extra Batteries

     Usually when I get the weekend off, I maximize my time outside. I often start my long trip at Friday night and come as late as Monday morning; back to my boring and robotic life.

     I suffered too much hassle from losing battery life very quickly with my former smart phone, HTC Desire HD.  I tinkered with it a lot and done a lot of things that could make the battery last a bit longer.  But most of the times, upon plugging it out from the charger, it lasts for only 3 hours.  I thought of buying 2 extra batteries but then I lost the phone before I finalized my payment.

     Enter Galaxy S3 with its very nice battery life.  The time I tested, it lasts for about 6 hours outdoors.  That includes quite a hefty usage with it constantly having WIFI/Data enabled.  It is a huge improvement from my lost HTC.  But I'm still not satisfied with its length of service.  As I mentioned, I mostly use it 48 hours or more, unplugged.  So I decided to buy extra batteries instead of tweaking it again and again.  I think it's just a smarter move.  Besides, carrying the charger just defeats the purpose of its mobility.

     In every smartphone shop I asked, none of them sells batteries only.  I asked 10 random smartphone shops, to no avail.  Then I checked out some phone accessories stores and still got nothing.  2 smartphone store owners demanded to check my phone and records and my spare battery.  I think they suspected I stole my unit, that's why I was asking for another battery.  Some of them can't believe I needed extra batteries.  To me, I'm a potential customer.  My purpose shouldn't be their concern.  Meh.

     My last option was to go to Yongsan.  It is the electronic store of Korea.  They must be selling extra batteries, right?  3 buildings, 3 floors each, about 5 or 6 shops from each floor.  None of them sells batteries.  I do wonder why they just dismissed me without some excuses.  They just say, "we got none of those."  So at the last store, I asked where could I avail such items.
"Samsung service center." he said.
None of them sell even a third-party battery for this.  I guess, it's a new item so Samsung didn't make spare batteries for sale.  I can't be bothered to personally go to Samsung.  But this is really frustrating.

     Until then, there's GS25 store.  At least they're scattered around.  I don't know if 7-Eleven or Family Mart or the rest of them chain stores, do the same.  But GS25 could charge phone batteries at a small fee (as of today, it's 1,000 won or $1).  They've been doing this even before the age of smartphones.  I think I'll settle for that until I can get spare batteries.  It's not as convenient, but good enough for now.

Concerned Mother

     There's a restaurant I often go to whenever I get the craving for sweet-and-sour-chicken (닭도리땅). I don't know if the chef/owner noticed me as a regular customer. But after serving me my chicken and kept the kitchen clean (she was alone for the first time that night), she got herself a cup of coffee, sat on a table across mine, and started making a conversation.

Friday, October 26, 2012

We Can Be Friends

I don't understand why some guys automatically assume it's more than friendship we're having. And when I disappoint, I get the "let's be friends" speech.

The thing is, I don't feel it's friendship in the first place. Not yet. It was on its way there. The sex part is irrelevant. And I don't categorize "friends with benefits" as a relationship.

I don't understand why some guys think it's on a verge of an intimate relationship after sex, when sex came first before getting to know each other. When I meet someone for the first time and we have sex right then and there, to me, it's not about finding good company anymore. It's simply looking for someone likely just as sexually frustrated as I am, and looking for release.

Frankly, I enjoy a small chatter over a cup of coffee. Then get to know each other more. If sex comes down the line then I think that's more romance. Then I'll think that's leading towards something more than friendship.

But as much as I am a hopeful spirit, I have learned there's no permanent thing as long as I am in a foreign land. Even friendships come and go, and we all move on.

So please. If we are out to meet people to have fun, then let's have fun. But don't expect a bright and shining future partner right after the first meeting, when all we did was hook up. And don't give that "friends" speech after you realize I'm not the guy for you. Sex is sex. Friendship is another. It's simple.

The Eyes Do Lie

"The eyes are the windows of your soul."
"Look at me straight in the eyes and tell me... "
" If he looks at you this way, he's lying."
... And all a bunch of stuff
... What a load of crap!

     To anyone who read "The Country of the Blind" by H.G. Wells, you won't be too puzzled with my behaviour.

     I was raised not to look straight in the eyes when communicating especially to elders. It is an insulting address of deliberate disrespect, doing so. We often watch the lips to have a bit more confirmation to what we're listening to. A harmonious duet of our eyes and ears.

     I most often look down on to the floor or at a blank space. Or just phase out my vision elsewhere, mostly directing my ears more to where or whom I'm listening to. It's my way of giving full attention to the speaker. I've been accused of lying and/or not paying attention because of this. I think it's unfair.  I have the ability to see what you say.  That makes me an excellent listener.  But that demands me to find a blank canvass and paint images as you dictate them.  And your face, especially your eyes, is not a blank canvass.

     Do not ask me to look at you straight in the eyes because it's very uncomfortable to me... Unless I'm angrily challenging your position. Everyone who knew always shy away once I look.  My eyes aren't threatening.  But once you force me to look at you, I do it with full intentions.

     I can easily give a speech looking straight without unconsciously looking left and right. It's what we were taught at school. Basic and polite. So don't tell me I'm thinking creatively whenever I glance to the left.

     I don't believe there's such textbook interpretations on human actions.  Get to know me.  Talk to me.  Let me open up to you.  By then you'll be familiar of what I mean by what I do... if you're smart.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I Have No Future

It think it began at age 25 when I came to realize this. At that time, my world was turned upside down. I had no friends. I was sent away to a foreign country by my mom. My siblings either don't understand or don't care.

The only person who has my back is my dad. But even then he lived quite far. He has his own plethora of problems. And I am a man.

I was pushed beyond my limits when the entire department (where I work) ganged up on me... Long story and irrelevant for now... The fight was so big; they got our superiors blind-sided.

It was then that I realized, I have no future. I am nothing.

I didn't finish highschool. I'm a lazy person raised dependent yet abused. I have no trade skill because of this. I left my country a single person. This and many more things I'm too lazy to mention, made me realize I got nothing to go back home to. No reason at all. Unemployable. No assets. And now, no family.

I have no future. I am nothing. Therefore I got nothing to lose. Should I be killed in a foreign land it wouldn't matter. I won't be missed. I got no family nor loved one to worry about.

This makes me feel good about myself. It made me brave. I treasure living, but I'm not afraid to die.

I'm Sorry?

An apology is now bullshit.
When I was young I learned saying "sorry" is the first step to make amends. So that word is powerful and strong. And it should be expressed with sincerity and with the right reasons.

The right reasons...

Now what would the right reasons be? I have a new friend who keeps apologizing for the slightest faults even when not needed.

But who needs the apology?

Sometimes I feel that an apology is abused or misused. I notice people apologise to get rid of their guilt. It's all about their guilt and not making amends.

"Well, I apologized and did what I could."
The sign of giving up. The sign of what's actually happening: insincerity. It's not about the offender making amends. It's about the offender feeling better about himself/herself. That he/she could wash hands and not care.

My exact sentiments about this was said by Dr. Bailey in Grey's Anatomy.
"You don't get to apologize and feel good about yourselves."

I say yes. Don't apologize to me if it's not for me anyway.