Nonsense, horsefeathers, and idle musings from a decade in South Korea (2002-2012).

25 August, 2006

Set Pieces

By Aaron
25 August, 2006

Follow the bad English accent and you'll find me.

The last few nights found me adding one more notch to the ol' belt: film extra. That is, I thought I was going to be an extra when I first agreed to do the two-night session. As it happened, though, I found myself thrust into the role of "Englisman 2" and had two speaking scenes with the female lead, Um Jung Hwa. No doubt the director will realize what a mistake this was when he views all the dailies with me in them and listens to my attempt at turning limey.

Truth be told, the film (Seducing Mr. Perfect) is little more than a vehicle for Daniel Henney, wet dream of every female on the Korean peninsula (including, I'm sure, my own wife, though she won't admit it). But that being the case, it is a big budget production and, as such, I can be assured of embarrassing myself in front of millions.

The scene in which I appear is a launch party for [product placement warning] Volvo, catered by Absolut Vodka. Aside from the two scenes mentioned above, we shot several scenes of general party mingling, during which time I and a Canadian fellow* were instructed to make car-related small talk. We spent most of the time speculating on how many dead midgets or sexy grandmothers we could fit into the red Volvo station wagon. My one wish for Christmas this year is for that dialogue to survive the final edits.

Not being one to keep up with Korean pop culture, I wasn't familiar with the enormity of either Daniel Henney or Um Jung Hwa before setting foot on this movie set. I knew of Henney from his Bean Pole ads with Gwyneth Paltrow, which confront you at every turn in Seoul, but I'd never heard of Um Jung Hwa. Apparently, though, Henney starred in the most successful TV drama in the history of Korea last year and can woo a woman with a shuffle of his feet, while Um - in addition to her acting - hasn't done too bad for herself as a pop singer. Not that I knew any of this, which just shows what not having a TV will do for a person.

The film, if you're in Korea and care, should be in theatres by November or December.

*Evidently, there are no Brits in Korea, or perhaps they just don't portray themselves as well as a North American does.

21 August, 2006

Gems for a Tuesday

By Aaron
21 August, 2006

Tuesday is a slow afternoon in Seoul, leaving me plenty of time to catch up on my web-browsing and general wasting of time. For today we have the following specials...

The Riviera Haeundae Hotel in Busan, South Korea is offering:

You think I'm joking, but just you go ahead and click the link for the hotel. You'll see. [Edit: Bloody hell, I see the hotel went and changed their site. "Customer Satisfaction Services," my ass.]

Ed, who recently took his Korean in-laws back to Calgary for a visit, sent me a link for this blog. My favorite post was written by an American fellow visiting the States with his wife and his in-laws. A sample:

"Mom can’t be in the sun. Apparently she is a vampire and the sun melts vampires. Mom can’t be in the car. She gets car sick after 10 minutes. Mom doesn’t like to walk. It is too tiring. Mom doesn’t like to fly. It is too expensive. Mom wants to know where we are going today."

Will Work for Rabies

By Aaron

I've been trying recently to get my wife hit by a motorcycle and bitten by a rabid dog. Ever-resistant to the longview, though, she refuses to see any future in it even as I tell her it's a surefire way to pay for our upcoming vacation.

Na Young and I are headed for rural India in October and, as such, a bevy of vaccinations have our name on them: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, polio, malaria, typhoid, tetanus, diptheria and, yes, rabies. And it's the latter that has us wincing in pain - not from the needle but from the creeping notion that we're being screwed: a series of three shots runs us about US$190 per person. As it happens, though, Korea's national health insurance will cover 65% of this cost...if you have rabies.

Well, damn, woman, what are we waiting for? Go antagonize that maltese that lives downstairs.

But Na Young's having nothing to do with this halfbaked scheme. That being the case, we had the first of the rabies shots this morning and as we were walking back toward the subway station a man on a motorcycle came riding toward us on the sidewalk. As my stepdad discovered when he was in Seoul last month, these bastard bikers refuse to care that they're riding on the sidewalk, not the siderideyourmotorcycle. Against my better evolutionary sense, and as the responsibility to veer is theirs, I've just stopped moving out of the way for them. I've caused no fewer that a dozen bikers to almost come undone from their seats since resolving to hold my ground on pedestrian turf.

As the man approached us today, it finally dawned on me: I - or even better, we - need to get hit by one of these guys on their 125cc Daelims. They're not going very fast and while the laws about motorcycles on the sidewalks aren't enforced, there are laws and the courts would certainly take our side. The way I see it, we get a few bruises (maybe a contusion, a fracture at worst) and a few million won in compensation. Get bitten by a dog, get hit by a motorcycle, pretty soon you're globetrotting on someone else's dime. I don't see the downside.

03 August, 2006

Farting Camels and Husbands

By Aaron
03 August, 2006

Figures that Na Young and I would choose the hottest time of the year to adjust to this marriage thing. The monsoons have passed and now we're into the slow, sticky-crotch doldrums of August. And wouldn't you know it, the cooling fan on my laptop seems to have crapped out. Again, figures.

As a way of putting it all in perspective, I've been reading TE Lawrence's Seven Pillars of Wisdom - all six hundred-plus pages of it. Reading of loose-boweled camels straddling Lawrence while he fights a bout of Arabian dysentery - while nevertheless taking a break to execute a Moroccan fellow who killed a fellow soldier - really puts me into a zen mindset vis-a-vis my own sauna of a house. I have a light workload these days and this afternoon found me sitting on the roof of our apartment building, knocking off forty pages of this book and now I have pinkening arms to show for it. Guess I'll be wearing flowing white robes and a turban next time I go up there.

But yes, the yeoja and I are slowly adapting to having each other around all the time. As I feared, I now have to close the bathroom door when I take to the throne and I can't fart the theme to Looney Tunes every morning anymore, but I suppose those are the sacrifices a man makes for the one he loves. Mornings in our house, you see, are more of a Total Request Live format: Na Young usually wants to hear Vivaldi, Stravinsky or something more becoming of a cultured lady like herself. No lowbrow flatulence for this one, I'm afraid.