Monday, March 30, 2009

In a rather desperate attempt to fight my trichotillomania *pause* *pluck*, which isn't working, your browser window will be showered with pictures taken during an excursion to Goseong.

Antisocial Month (November) consisted of excursions to Gangwon-do, and one of those excursions was to Goseong, the northeastern-most area of South Korea. Being a peninsula, visiting any extreme of South Korea (save the north) grants one access to the Pacific Ocean. However, the destination wasn't reached without having gone through several undulations of the road, which weren't without scenic value:

Of course it had to rain on that day.

Of course the destination of the bus ride had to be about 10 miles away from the actual DMZ site. A taxi was the only choice of transportation, which eventually meant that the taxi tour was the destined means of access to the DMZ. Having had previous taxi tours at other DMZ sites , this wasn't a problem albeit it was to be an unwanted extra expense.

As mentioned, any place along South Korea's extremes (save the North) grant access to the Pacific Ocean:

Despite the fact that motion parallax makes obvious the fact that this picture was taken within the taxi, behold the Pacific Ocean. There is also a strip of beach along the Ocean's coast, but the rain and the two-degree weather served as deterrents for beach bums.

At the check-in point for tour groups, there were trees still boasting their multicolored foliage (top picture); the road to the entrance to the DMZ boasted its military presence (middle and bottom pictures):

Once inside the military checkpoint, the parking lot is reached, in front of which stands a toilet. "통일" means reunification, and "평화" has myriad significations (the most general being peace), so I think it means peace and reunification when put together...then again, 화 also is a common suffix for "-ization".

That's there not only for decorative purposes but also for the case that one need to relieve him- or herself of bodily waste before the cardio workout of ascending two steep flights of stairs:

After burning off the two calories from that day, another toilet--the "last toilet"--was difficult not to notice. There is a final toilet stop that one may make before going into the observatory. So, if one didn't bring his or her catheter...:

(a) If one were to come equipped with catheter or (b) when one is finished purging his or her body of wastes, then the following two scenes may be enjoyed:

"통일" means "unification". I know not what the bottom word is, for I am unable to make out exactly what the second set says. We behold a gesture toward unification nonetheless.

Of course it's a memorial, but of what is it a memorial? The upper inscription reads: 三五一高地戦闘戦請評, for which the direct translation via cyberspace seems impossible. Since the taxi driver lacked an English vocabulary, any translations are based on your Mercurial Girl's knowledge and intuition. Therefore, it may mean that it was the 351st highland wartime strategy site (請評=strategy? literally: request criticism).

Of course there were remnants of the--wait, ongoing--war between the two Koreas. Such remnants weren't as graphic as some of the ones in Cheorwon, and Goseong seemed to have at least a slightly larger collection, which continued for a couple of walls:

Thanks to the glare which occludes the middle of the sign, only "북한" (North Korea) and "폐" (roughly 80 trillion possible meanings) are readable. The collection is still visible, however. There was more:

Observe the liquors and elixirs to the left. Behind the collection is basically a map of one's view of North from the observatory point (on a clear day):

See? On a clear day... Obviously a more piercing view into North Korea happens on a sunny day, as is noticed by observing the map inside the indoor section of the observatory--this map identifies the mountains and lands beheld:

Now for the one or two "decent" pictures of North Korean territory:

Back on the South Korean side, Buddha and the Virgin Mary(?) are facing North Korea, perhaps strategically to debunk 김-ism and sway its adherents from the shammy, enforced "religion".

Those two figures were back downstairs, and the bag being carried contained North Korea snack food which, until a later date, had been thought only to have been sold in the DMZ. (It may be purchased in some of Seoul's supermarkets. Fail.) See the second row from the bottom:

Behold the objects of coolness back outside:

The inscription reads: "民族의碓飛" (perhaps the people's chosen flyer (fighter plane?)?)

There was another building, but everything else sufficed. It was high time to be homeSeoul-ward bound, but not without a ride along what had been imagined to be the demarcation line.

As recommended by the taxi driver, more of the DMZ à la Goseong was seen.

The space allotted calls for such a vast resizing that the DMZ sign may not even be detected.

Here is the Donghae Highway Transit Office, which controls transportation along the Donghae highway in the area:

A way to North Korea is past that toll-ish area. Desolate.

Wait, what?

This has to be one of the most awesome-reeking pictures of the collection. Sans the presence of military men from either side--and land mines (possibly)--one could IMAGINE that this was the line of demarcation.

After such a Tour of Awesome, the actual Seoul-ward bound time had come...but not without a stop at the beach. Apparently this beach is the one upon whose sand has been tread by the cast and staff of Korean dramas. Now, an American celebrity has tread upon those same grains of sand. ㅋㅋㅋ. A rather short-lived visit it was nonetheless, for it was about five degrees Celcius outside:

Notice the building in the midst of mountainous goodness.

The total cost was 50,000 won. Before the bus back to Seoul was to arrive in an hour, passport-sized photos needed to be sent to AdventureKorea to keep a reserved spot in the Kaesong (North Korea) trip that was to be taken (or not, thanks to inspissating inter-Korean tension). The photo shop was owned by two very kind spouses, whose daughters were studying in the U.S. They were extremely hospitable (the entire hour was spent talking to them--they were even so kind as to offer a place to stay for a weekend should a return trip to Goseong be taken, which would have happened had the temperature in Korea been higher than two degrees Celcius for more than just one week night at a time. The people outside of Seoul seem to be friendlier. Seriously.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Ahhh! There is nothing extra inspiring about which I can post! Nothing! The highlight of this week was meeting Stacey, the only one for whom I would even prolong my stay in this city, and she is the only one who seems to be preserving what modicum of life that remains in me. Unfortunately, I have no pictures from that visit.

Español الغة العربية 中文 (對不起)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Manumitted from the crushing shackles of total hebetation and the somewhat lonesome life in front of a computer screen, your wee Mercurial One escaped this weekend to irl... even if just for a little while.

Español Português 日本語

A 55-degree day in the middle/latter part of March was not a day to be inside passively atrophying. So, as had previously been planned, Boystown and downtown Chicago were graced by our presences. Even though the pictures that are posted here from Photobucket apparently count toward the 1 GB of allotted space, this post will be illustrated.

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The restaurant of choice in Boystown (the 100% natural fruit of Chicago) was the famous Clarke's, at which two plates of fries, soup (chili?), and quadruply-stacked pancakes were consumed. Not having eaten sumptuously in a while is conducive to more gluttonous behavior when given the opportunity.

Consumption didn't stop at food...well, it did for your More Budget-Bound One. Therefore, DSW was the next destination. Partaking in the joys of shoe-shopping was rather enlightening like a refresher course in regards to the wherefores of women's adoration of shoes and their consumption, including a Reminder to Self - Buy:

Why do women adore shoes? The myriad choices of design, color, heel length, platform height, cuteness factor, matching opportunities (and the combination of all these factors)...not to mention the longevity and the fact that they're so easy to consume. The opposite sex, on the other hand, is restricted to a dismal clump of choices regarding shoes, which only attract me if there is a particular luster to them...a luster that lasts for so long between vexatious shoe-shines. *Expires.*

DSW was the climax of the day's shopping. Many of the shops that were on Gay Street proper (Halsted) were unwelcoming with their obligatory bag checks at the door, particularly unwelcoming for one who may be carrying three bags. Of course the store selling the little accoutrements that hyperbolize sexuality and defiance had to have the attitudinal employees regarding the baggage check. Surprise, surprise. Some of the accoutrements were cute and not overpriced, but that's not to say that anything was acutally bought.

Somewhat offended by these store-to-store baggage checks--and after all the fruitery one can take for the day, downtown was next on the itinerary...not without a picture or two first:

After these pictures, the train came, and of course train rides= seeing blasts from the past...and apparently saying nothing to them.

Next stop: Nordstrom. The store? No, the shopping mall whose main department store is Nordstrom. Most of the time was not spent shopping but doing the exact opposite: loitering. With a Todacosa bag overflowing with a mélange of shades of eye shadow (imported by way of return from Korea), said loitering was not difficult:

Neverminding what looks like deformity, behold that color palette. Also, behold random snapshot of window display:

Loitering, Nordstrom visit, Sephora visit, a walk past Armani Exchange seeing a douche oops, a DJ in the window, loitering outside deciding upon a place to have dinner. Seeing the A|X DJ on a cigarette break (the man in the black to the right):

+2 gratuitous downtown pictures:

California Pizza Kitchen was the eatery of choice. Though CPK is an eat-in restaurant, a distended stomach turned it into a take-out-for-the-next-day. There was also a divulgence of information which seemed more like a jeopardizing evisceration. What were the disclosed contents? Nothing save what had been known but never really discussed so directly. Insight was gained from it nonetheless.

Like all good and interesting days, yesterday came to an end at 10:30, but not without tomorrow's (today's) breakfast and lunch (a chicken sandwich with a mélange of other ingredients). Today those were heartily consumed with the regret that more weren't available.

Now, to overcome the fear of sending my enabler (the Korean money unexchangeable here in America) on an unaccompanied trip overseas...

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Obrigado ao visitante no Brasil. Desejo que volte a meu blog e espero ir lá um dia. Não pudo falar no português tão muito como quero.

Nothing has happened in the past two days. The weather was warm on St. Patrick's Day, as you know from my previous post, and the Intempestive has been taking a turn for the, well, Tempestive. Other than that, I've just been existentially atrophying, &c.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lo, for your Mercurial Girl has done the heretofore seemingly inconceivable and...gone downtown. It was a second attempt to find any institution that will turn my rags (in America, but riches in Korea) to American semi-riches. In other words, it was fail #12983721982348. A Sisyphean task this has come to be. The risky task of sending my unaccompanied life savings on a trans-Pacific trip is my only option.

As I was meandering downtown, I felt like such a foreigner..and I was commensurately treated as one in some places. In Citibank, the woman spoke to me as if I were a foreigner (it was beyond perfunctory or even natural courtesy), and I took comfort in it because it was in sync with my own perception to my surroundings. The employee at the American Express Travel agency treated me in the same way, and complain I did not. Out on the bustling streets, the almost exclusively American hordes of people walking past or alongside me made me feel as if I were in a colossal hypobaric chamber.

Who and what served as my "sources of oxygen"? Asian people and the books on foreign languages in the happening Borders of Downtown Chicago. I somehow perceived some sort of covalent bond between us...that they somehow knew that I had just returned from Korea...that they felt just as much as a foreigner as I (though I technically am not a foreigner)! I even felt as if I were Asian at not just one point! (I still bow and I nearly uttered a "감사합니다". The summation of these perceptions/delusions/&c. gave me a heightened sense of clarity: I don't belong in America. I'm American only by passport.

The veracity of that last statement is about 50% ± 35%. So let's revise that statement.

I'm not American. I'm not Japanese. I'm not Korean. I'm not Western. I'm not Eastern. I am me. I just might be something. I just might be nothing. I may even be just a figment of your solipsistic indulgences. So, I may just be misappropriating the most common pronoun: I. 1, 0, -1. There. Veracity = 50% ±50%.

Supposing that I am, in fact, an "I", I wanted to happily greet, hang out with, and even befriend (?) each of the Asian people that I saw in my stroll downtown. I even wanted to go straight to Korean Town--after I would have located it, of course. I didn't, however, for I needed to continue on my futile attempt at a way to exchange my "rags" without having to walk on eggshells (at least I had no problem exchanging my cash...and I was hoping for a chance to have an impromptu dinner with Stacey.

I actually visited my alma mater. This is the place that I call home in the United States albeit social life was immensely shitty. Seeing the residents of the area outside on a rather beautiful day for March (55-esque) was refreshing. I even saw someone with whom I had stayed in the same dorm house; he had just finished work, and I had just finished perusing the price-inflated University Bookstore whose doors had "Economic Stimulus: Books for Cash" posters on them (something which, in my undergraduate years, would have bankrupted me and bankrolled the Bookstore, since I would have deluded my librowhorish self into thinking that I'd have been saving money). The Coop, however, nearly induced a full-blown orgasm with the language books that it had. Had this been three years ago, I would have orgasmed at the Latvian-English dictionary for $17 that was in the Coop yesterday. Even Farsi books were available. Nothing was bought, though.

To the main University library I went. Blockading alumni from the wireless service provided in the library, I resorted to using Windows (probably Dell) computers that ran as slowly as my 198379218 open-windowed Mac...while "studying" in between. When I was in the stacks, I told myself, "I'm home." The stacks was my bastion of support during many of my years as an undergraduate, and I swiped my student card not a few times to check out a new, sexy set of books each time.

Those days are gone.

Further isolating alumni--well, at least me--from the University is the fact that I must squander $60 to check out just one book. The $60 lasts for the semester, but it's an egregious waste when one only need check out one book! ><

Approximately two hours later, I headed back toward the place of rearing. The out-of-the-way-of-everything place of rearing which serves as a reminder of why I needn't ever return here. This waking day served as another reminder: It is 70 degrees outside right now (sexily intempestive of Chicago's weather in March). It's Saint Patrick's Day. Where am I?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

日本訪れる人におイラッシャイマセ! ポストが翻訳してありません様はごめんなさいけど、翻訳が超難しいいいい!このポストを翻訳してみる。頑張って??  汗 汗

After less fail at remembering all my 漢字, I perused some rather shareworthy articles thanks to


  • Travel Restrictions Eased for Cuban-Americans: The days of triennial two-week visits with a $50-per-day capped spending budget are over. The focal word is "eased": Now, Cuban-Americans may travel to Cuba to visit family once a year with a $149 daily budget. This is good for Cuban-Americans, but has me in a tad of a flustered state. Barack Obama may be doing some good (which many may call messianic), but his international agenda has me concerned about my traveling welfare. I have neither enough money nor time to invest in an Iran-North Korea-Cuba excursion atm, but now I feel as if I must make haste in taking a pre-embargo lift trip to Cuba.

    アメリカのキューバひとに旅行制限を緩めました: 三年事の二週間訪れと一日で50ドルの最高経費日が終わりました。限局的な言葉は<緩めました>。 今、アメリカのキューバ人に一年事のファミリーを訪れるからキューバに旅行しましたり、一日に149ドル経費しますことができます。アメリカのキューバ人にいいですけど、私がちょっと動揺なです。オバーマよくにします<多い人教世主的なのといます>けど、彼の国際予定表が私に旅行福祉に対する悩みさせます。今、イラン・北朝鮮・キューバ旅行に投資しますはどちらの時もお金じゃありません。だけど、通商禁止リフト時前にキューバの旅行を急ぎことが必要ですと思います。

  • While barriers are being lifted, the construction of others is being supported:


  • Taiwan needs to be de-Sinicized: Any weeds suggestive of the "Motherland" need to be deracinated, according to this progressive separatist.


Friday, March 13, 2009

I meant to start this blog entry as I was depolarizing these tense relations between my beloved Flock browser and me. Marital bliss can endure only so much, even on the internet.

While I'm not near divorcing this browser, it sure has been testing aforesaid marital bliss. Much like a man, a browser should possess those same gravitating traits as its anthropic counterpart: endurance, stability, moderately well-endowed...just to list a few. I've already expanded on how well-endowed Flock is, but an assessment of the other two traits would have been too immature at the time of that blog entry. Flock can endure quite a bit of browsing and caching, much like its relative, Firefox; Flock was open for one week (with several tabs, a few cookie-purgings, and the browser having been left running the entire time) before it forced itself to quit. Also like its relative, Flock provides one with the option of restoring one's previous session. Win.

However, endurance and stability are jeopardized when syndication (RSS feeds, Facebook feeds) and streamline media (YouTube) factor into the equation. I've quit YouTube for a while, but that streamline media also includes online games. Flock was not merciful when it came to classic (in my mind) gems of games called TyperShark (that link may or may not work) and Super Mario Bros. 2 (as purveyed by the awesome NES Emulator on Facebook). Good times with frame delays and browser freezes were had, which naturally led to immature losses in each game (especially Super Mario Bros. 2). >< These freezes have continued to this very minute, and as vexed as I am by that gay spinning pie, I'm on a browsing and site-discovering high, which is making me reluctant to purge my cookies and close the browser.

Or, I'm just too lazy to log back in to all the profile-based sites.

To further procrastinate in failing to remember an uncomfortably large portion of my Chinese vocabulary compounds, I will provide you with some of these pearly sites that I've just so happened to encounter:

Topix: An amalgamator of news that also focuses on gathering local news based on one's location settings. It also has a forum, in which several random topics from "What do white women find attractive about black men?" (I neither asked nor searched for anything race-related) to "bless the Jews" (ditto) may be found.

Aside: I like how the above mentioned forum on attractions to black men provided me with an advertisement for an interracial dating site. I didn't feel like putting in my email address and concocting a screenname of Awesome to register for the site.

Webster's Online Dictionary on Steroids: A multi-lingual dictionary (translator-[or translator-wannabe]-friendly) that provides copious amounts of information on its entries, some of which include orthography via dancing men. The home page even provides a cluster map so that one may see the worldly distribution of users. (There are some Mauritanian users, but apparently no Cuban users.)

Progress of translation of blog entries= 0%. Obviously I'm too shy atm. Or procrasting. I'll start it...tomorrow. Talking to Keith. Must think of smart things to say.

Update: Failed @

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sequestration sucks. Take it from the sequestered-meister herself. There is some reprieve in the fact that I have tappable wherewithal. Unfortunately, it isn't tappable trans-Pacifically. New York has even failed at making this a possibility.

Being the honored guest aboard the SS Fail, I shall dutifully entertain you with my short but woeful tale of I jail.

Once upon a somewhat austere Monday morning, one would be able to spot Yours Truly in the airport withdrawing most (but not all) of the accumulated wealth (most of which was to be subsequently lost). Opposed to the idea of having my carry-on deluged with cash and being somewhat of a diamond-in-the-rough at O'Hare Airport, I thought it to be more practical to have my cash-money in a compact. Therefore, a vast portion was retrieved in the form of bank checks...just to encounter the Great Wall of Fail at the end of my journey. All that could be exchanged for American tender was the 470,000 won in Korean cash, which would have landed $261 in my hand had I actually exchanged it en masse. In hopes of not being further castigated for returning to the 'Mother'land, Niggardly Me only exchanged an amount that was sufficient for a taxi ride back to this place in which I was raised...and the necessities that I had left behind in Korea. Ever since, I've been aboard the SS Fail, catching up on One Life to Live, exerting about 10% of an effort to suppress this circadian revolt against the...15-hour time change, 漢語-ing (繁體, naturally), عربية-ing, inter alia. The end.

Two viable strategies of approaching this pecuniary impasse have been proposed, one of which I thought all by myself (thanks to being so precocious, obviously). The more viable of the two seems to be that of sending this wholesome wad of checks to Korea, entrusting them to one of my trans-Pacific friends so that he may exchange these otherwise useless wastes of trees for Korean won (or even American dollars, should my fiduciary be so amazing as to spare me the psychological toil and spare the extra minute for the dismal conversion). The seemingly more time-consuming and money-depleting strategy would be to find one who is Korea-bound and indulge myself in a little diplomacy, i.e.

I set the dollar at 1,000 won.

Poor, Korea-bound soul sets the dollar at 2,000 won.

I say, "Fuck you," set the dollar at 500 won, and append a threat to send aforementioned soul to looming-missiled, defensive North Korea.


Serving as a buffer amidst this impasse is the ever-faithful internet. Though the internet doles out the most lacerating and penetrating of spades, it also serves as a conduit for lol doleage. For example, Failblog: Click, behold, and be ye proselytized to internet awesomry.:

The best for last (the unlikelihood of this being real is 100%, but still):

The internet also serves as a gratuitous purveyor of the Finer Things:

e.g. @ Beauteous, Studly Creature, Rain:


I just woke up at 3:24 a.m. Oddly enough, Rain was in my dreams, and it was a rather lewd one. All that I remember are some rather strenuous fappage and a torso-up garbed Rain having flipped over having his rear facing me. :( Thanks for flipping in the wrong direction, STUD! @ /end, too.

Since I have a extravagant wealth of time for the foreseeable future, I shall return to عربية-ing like a Wahhabi, 漢語-ing like...Hu Jintao (or someone), and possibly revisiting my brief tryst of old with Íslenska, Norsk, and a forging of ties with Finland, Sweden, and/or Indonesia. Stay tuned to see where my capriciousness shall land me.

I've also been thinking about passing the time by translating some of these English blog posts of mine...a project which will indubitably make Babelfish seem like the Mother Teresa of computerized translation and guarantee severance from each country that speaks each of the targeted languages of my translation.

Monday, March 09, 2009

There couldn't be a more apropos blog title for these most recent days. Mercurial--a quite befitting word.

The night on which I came of age was a rather enjoyable night, one saturated with 80s music, fare-thee-wells, reunitings, and ironically, new acquaintanceships. Earlier in the day, death had seemed imminent, but God was obviously on my side when he refilled this wee body with vitality...allowing me to share the last Saturday night to be had in Korea with all my (at the time) coworkers and friends. It was at this time when the reality of the pending end started to be more in sync with my ever-so-slower-ticking biopsychological clock.

Oftimes Time passes so quickly when enjoyment is derived from something or someone...yet an eternity can be packed into even a minute when one least wishes it (e.g. at times of boredom that makes one want to dive off a cliff). However, in Korea, Time stayed a while for the good times and bailed on the down times.

Temporospatiality sucks, though. The farther away from point x, the further into the past certain events seem to delve--thus straining an already fragile and seemingly low-capacity memory even further. Thousands of miles separated from Korea, everything about Korea seems to be an eternity...even from another lifetime. The acquaintances...the friendships...the apartment (both of the apartments)...the office...those whom I had met and come to know to some extent--the detachment transcends that of just a physical one. Returning from Tokyo wrought the same effect. Surely there are tangible remnants from both cities, yet the memory of actually acquiring these things is so remote. I've totally lost where I was going with this, but it's a little frustrating how a one-year term, after such a short time, can seem so far away in time as even to seem unreal.

Also frustrating is the consistent disappointment and regret which accompanies each return of mine to America. Anticipatory aversion to reverse culture shock aside, this is the second time regretting ever having come back to America. Prior to the last 안녕 to South Korea, I had to ship what were to be the remnants of my life in Korea to America. My only option was FedEx, which would not have even delivered my boxes had it not been for one amazing bilingual Korean customer. Distressed was I in this predicament that had arisen from this refusal of delivery service. FedEx/Kinkos is open 24 says the sign. However, only Kinkos provides 24-hour service, and this misleading advertisement nearly cost me my memorabilia of my time in Korea. Providentially, I was able to squander 1,425,000 won (=USD 3, or 800). Providentially. One of the boxes has yet to be delivered.

At the airport, I withdrew money from my Korean bank checks. I thought that this would be the sensible route to take, for the thought of hauling around moneybags of green with my bunny-foo-foo, carry on, and camera, was not very appealing. "Oh, I can just exchange these checks for cash in America," said I.


Should any expatriates in Korea ever wander to my blog (the over-300 views from Korea on my NeoCounter are likely from me 8)), Achtung: Be sure to take traveler's cheques to your home country if you opt not to haul loads of cash onto the plane(s) with you. You'll find your repatriation to be much more satisfying.

The worst yet is the fact that it was 16 degrees when Greg (a former coworker) and I landed at my destination. Thank God neither my bunny nor I were afflicted with pneumonia from being outside for even three minutes. Thanks to that one morning, I was even more resolute in my stance on immigrating to a place devoid of any temperatures below 50. I'm currently hoping to hear sometime soon from someone from Kish University, who probably already contacted me. Gmail likely devoured that message, as oftimes happens with messages that had purportedly been sent.

On completely separate notes:

Facebook is now available in Arabic...and it was in BETA phase for a rather short amount of time.