Monday, January 31, 2011

Half and Half - (Korea) Day 62

This morning I had PT at 0600. I was the only one there from our office because their work call was at 0600 for some early meetings. Since I had Korean drivers ed today, I was able to go. The problem was nobody in the office new where the PT formation was supposed to be. It's usually in front of the company which is about a 10 minute walk, or right in front of our barracks. I was planning on going to the company, but luckily on the way out of the barracks I saw a girl from our sister office and asked her if she knew where the formation was. She said it was in front of our barracks…so glad I ran into her. I wasn't too worried though, I figured if I missed the formation nobody would know because there was nobody from my office lol. We did some sprints, jogged around the block at a slow pace, ran up the stairs a few times, and did some push-ups and sit-ups.

Work call this morning was at 0900 for Korean drivers ed. Our class all started showing up in battalion, but nobody knew where to go…so we all just sort of hung out in the hall way. Finally our instructor showed up and said both the conference room and the classroom were being used. We ended up going on a motor pool field trip. We all walked up to the motor pool and were shown how to do an inspection of the vehicle. This is something that is required before taking any vehicle out. It includes basic checking of all the fluid levels, lights, and other basic stuff. After this we broke for lunch.

When we came back we ended up going to the little gym and taking our pre-test on a racket ball court floor. The pre-test turned out to be a total waste of time. I had my paper graded and missed quite a few, so I started checking the answers and they were correct. I showed the instructor and he confirmed. Turns out they didn't have all the correct answers, so we were told we'll get a new copy tomorrow. After that we were dismissed for the day. Any other day I would have just went back to my room and chilled, but SPC Roy is moving and had to leave at lunch. I went into work and helped cover for his absence.

I ended up covering our sergeants desk taking calls and doing SkillPorts. I also had enough time to check in on my schoolwork. After that I helped setup for a meeting that is going on tomorrow morning. I will not be attending tomorrow's Korean drivers ed because it is on tactical driving (driving the hummers and bigger trucks). I just need my TMP license which will let me drive the government car. I will check in with the sergeant though and get those correct answers at some point during the day. I was told we'll have our official test on Thursday.

After work I headed back to my room. I still have no internet, but my roommate said it should be up tomorrow afternoon. I'm so happy because if he said it was going to be any longer, I was going to go back to my old expensive service. Not having internet really sucks. I would say it's a must when you're living in the barracks. I was able to call and talk to my wife and kids today, but video chat is so much better. Also just checking in on Facebook helps me see what my friends and family are up to. It helps me not feel so far away from everyone. Plus I need to be able to download and upload stuff for school. I'm already not feeling comfortable with this class.

So what did I do to pass the time? I watched a whole crap load of TV shows that I had downloaded (probably what put us over the limit with the internet…lol) I'll be keeping an eye on our usage from now on.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up - (Korea) Days 59-61

A photo I took while inside "The Naked Bar". It was still very early in the
night, so not a lot of people there yet. It looked like a bar you would see
in a science fiction film, where the characters visit a bar on another planet...
except instead of aliens, there were only Koreans.

Friday: Work call this morning was 0900 for driver's training once again. When I arrived we all sat in the conference room with the instructor and talked about movies until lunch. We discussed our favorite movies, good movies, bad movies and just about everything you could think of. One of the guys next to me stated that "12 Angry Men" was one of the great movies he loved. Everyone looked at him with a questioning look as if they've never heard of that movie before. I quickly added "It's a gay porn". That had everyone laughing. We were then dismissed for lunch, which brings up something that came up in our class today. We have two girls that work in the DFAC on post. The one that has been sitting next to me said that she doesn't ever eat at the DFAC! That is interesting a person that works there, but will not eat there. I guess maybe it's a good thing that I don't eat there either.
After lunch we came back and we then took turns driving around post with the instructor. I was in the first group. We were told it was going to be a stick shift, but it turns out that it was in the shop. My guess it's getting repaired from the previous classes that couldn't drive a stick. The three of us took turns driving around post. We didn't do anything special, the instructor just wanted to make sure we could in fact drive. When we got back I headed up to the barracks and did some schoolwork. The class I'm taking now "Introduction to Programming" is not my cup of tea. I find myself struggling every step of the way. I've never cared too much for programming, and I'm not quite sure why I even have to take it for my degree. I just hope I can struggle through it and pass the class to move on to the next one. Usually I want to get an A, but I don't really care at all about this class…just as long as I pass.

Later on I met up with the young hawaiian and we went out to Itaewon to find a place to eat. We checked out a number of restaurants. There are so many it makes it hard to choose. We were also on somewhat of a budget, so we ended up choosing a place called "The Naked Bar & Grill". Tonight's special was rib eye steak for 13,000 Won (about $13). It was an interesting place and the food was really good. We headed back to post after that and watched "No Strings Attached"at the theatre. This may be the first time I've watched a chick flick with another dude. I'm secure in my masculinity though :). It was a romantic comedy and wasn't too bad. It had it's funny parts. Instead of the usual romantic comedy where the guy loses the girl and then gets her back, it was the girl who lost her guy and had to get him back.

Saturday: I was told my sergeant was coming this morning, so I woke up at 0800 and made sure my room was clean. I mopped the floor and wiped everything down. He came looked around really quick and then asked if I was doing OK and if I had any questions. It turned out to be somewhat of a wellness check I guess. I heard there was a suicide on post and this is in response to that. They want to check and make sure everything's going well with the soldiers.

I lost internet today as well. I had just cancelled my service which cost me $60 a month in favor of sharing my roommate's service which will cost me $20 a month. Little did I know we hit our 30 GB limit and he was gone for the weekend. Grrrrr. I've grown to rely on the internet for a lot of my entertainment, communication, and school needs. It's kind of impractical not to have it in our room now. I talked to my roommate and he's going to see if he can up the limit and we'll try to monitor our usage a little better. I won't know if he can or not until this Monday. If he can't I'll have to go back to my more expensive, but reliable internet. So until Monday I will be back to using the food court internet. Ugghhh

I've been watching a ton of TV shows lately (perhaps part of the cause of going over our internet limit). I've been trying to catch up on everything that I've fallen behind on since going to basic. I love being able to watch one episode after another without having to wait a week for a new one to come out.

Sunday: Woke up at 0800 and got ready. I then went over to the young hawaiian's room and we waited for his sergeant to come pick us up. His sergeant (I'll call him SGT Chamorro) asked if we wanted to go shopping with him in Osan. He said there is some good shops up there. I figured I would go just to get out and do something different. We drove to Osan which is about an hour away, it's the air force base we flew into Korea when we first arrived here.

SGT Chamorro wasn't kidding when he said there was good shopping there. Right outside of the base are a ton of shops lined up block after block selling everything you can think of. I'm not much for shopping, I'm your typical male. I usually know what I want and go in to get it and get out. It's a little different here in Korea, there is just so much stuff it can be neat to just window shop. I just wish it was a little warmer out (more on that in a bit). I also would like to roam free next time. I just followed the guys I was with into each shop, but there are so many more that I'd like to check out just to see what kind of stuff they have in there.

I was able to get my wife what I think is a pretty cool present, but I can't actually say what it is cause she'll read this before she gets it. I had her present in a bag. It was actually wrapped in a plastic bag, which was placed in another designer bag, then placed in a plastic shopping bag. I am very glad this was the case. Each of the shops we went into usually had some sort of space heater in them. I guess central air, or any type of heat isn't an option in these shops. Well it was so cold I would usually migrate next to the space heater. I was doing this while the other guys were looking at some sort of questionable video game device (some sort of usb stick that you could plug into a Wii and play a number of video games…didn't sound very legit). All of a sudden the owner says "you're on fire". I wasn't actually on fire, but my bag had started to melt to the space heater. I guess I couldn't feel it because I was still too cold. I also couldn't smell it because my nose was running too much. After inspecting my bag I found that it had melted through everything all the way to the gift I bought, but there was no damage to the gift. I was literally seconds away from ruining the valentines day present I just bought my wife! That would have sucked!!! The shop worker had to wipe off his space heater because there was melted plastic still all over it…lol

We then ate at a place called ThaiLand which was very good. I had some spicy noodle dish, then we headed back on base and checked out their PX before heading back. On the way back I fell asleep, but woke up when our car decided to die right in the middle of the hwy. SGT Chamorro was trying to get it started back up as people were driving by honking at us. One guy even had a loudspeaker and I think he was cussing us out as he drove by. The car finally started and we made it back without further incident.

I had to go to the food court so I could use their internet to do some school work and video chat with my wife. I need internet back in the barracks…that sucks!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Summer & Winter Driving - (Korea) Day 58

Wow…today was pretty slow. Work call was at 0900 for the Korean driver's ed again. I showed up and we went through a couple of PowerPoints (winter & summer driving in Korea). I think the instructor had more planned, but had to do something else. After a short break he came in and said "OK…see you all tomorrow at 0900". It had hardly been an hour. I came back to my room and pretty much hung out there for the rest of the day. I did some school work and some SkillPorts.
I then video chatted with my wife and watched shows. Not a whole lot to report on today except that I'm pretty sore from the PT we did yesterday. I think the "iron mikes" got me. I'm not used to doing all the squatting and now my butt and legs are feeling pretty sore.

On a side tech note...after a little more research it seems as though the google analytics that I installed may be the culprit for disabling the commenting feature on this blog. I installed it a few weeks back to see what kind of information it shows. It’s really a great tool for webmasters, but from what I’ve read it can mess with iWeb’s commenting features. I’ll have to check into this a bit more. Until then if you have questions or comments you can always reach me by E-Mail 

Yea I have tried to comment a few time, but to no avail.

Friday, January 28, 2011 - 12:17 AM

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Korean Drivers Ed (Rollovers) - (Korea) Day 57

Here is a copy of one of the training videos we watched in class during a more lighthearted moment.

This morning I attended the company PT for the first time. Formation was at 0600 and it was cold. Even though I had on full winter PT gear by the end of PT my fingers, toes, & face were numb. We marched back up to our barracks and did some sprints back and forth in the parking lot. After each sprint we would do a set of 15-20 push-ups. We then did some runs up and down the small hills leading up to our barracks with stops for some push-ups in-between. After that we marched back to the company headquarters and then dismissed. The PT wasn't hard and as much as I hate to say it, it will probably benefit me in the end when I have to actually do my PT test. I know we will be doing some running which I'm not too terribly fond of. This will force me to get out there and run.
Work call was at 0900 for my Korean driver's training class. Today we watched a number of video clips one right after another. I brought my coffee, but I was still barely able to stay awake. We learned what to do in case of a rollover and we also learned that Korea is the most dangerous country to drive in. I hope I don't have to do that much driving while I'm here…after seeing what it's like out there on the streets I have no desire to drive a car out there.

We were dismissed at lunch time for the rest of the day. I had lunch with SPC Roy and Special K, then came back to my room and video chatted with my wife for a bit. After that I fell asleep. I was so tired, I couldn't keep my eyes open. After a good nap I woke up and was refreshed and ready to go. I did a little school work and then just kicked back and watched a bunch of shows on my laptop.

Ah hahaha I am going to have to use that on my next post.

Friday, January 28, 2011 - 12:18 AM

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

One Eyed Buffalo & Terminators - (Korea) Day 56

A photo of a "one eyed buffalo". We saw a few pictures in class
of different variations of these driving down the streets.

Work call this morning was at 0900 at the driver's training class. I headed to the classroom we were in yesterday and was told class was no longer in this room, go down to the conference room down stairs. OK…so I went downstairs and found the very small conference room. There were about 15 of us in the class. The sergeant teaching the class seems like a pretty cool laid back dude. He skimmed through a lot of the slides and said we can eat and drink in there as long as we clean up after ourselves.

The main stuff we went over today was drinking and driving. Alcohol is available to purchase here in Korea 24/7…there is no "last call". "Soju is very cheap and effective". The Korean police setup DUI checkpoints at various locations where they just randomly use a breathalyzer to test drivers. I've heard this before from SPC Roy who (with good reason) will not drive at all once he's had a drink. If you get caught you can get in pretty big trouble with the army.

Another point was to never touch Koreans after an accident. There have been many examples of Koreans saying they were injured after the fact by someone trying to help them. I've heard many stories of similar acts by Koreans here. I've heard they have a very high rate of insurance claims from accidents. I've also heard that you should never hit one with your car…or it's all over for you. Even if you barely bump a person they will fall over and exaggerate that they were practically run over. On a similar note I've also heard that you shouldn't get into a fight with them because they will just fall down and tell the police you attacked them.

We went through some slides about the different road signs here in Korea that we may see. We saw a number of photos of crashes of military vehicles. There were also some photos of what can happen during the rainy season here, one in particular showed a US tank in the middle of what looked like a river being swept away. Now that's some pretty impressive rain!

We were told to watch out for "one-eyed buffalos" and 'terminators". One-eyed Buffalos are basically a rototiller modified with some sort of trailer. These are slow moving vehicles usually carrying big loads. The terminators are basically a semi or dump truck that has a very impressive motor. They can hall ass and if you get hit by one…you'll be terminated.

We had a two hour lunch, when we came back we sat around for about a half hour waiting for the instructor. When he came in he said "see you tomorrow at 0900". So I took off and went back to my room. My plan was to get a jump start on my school, but every time I started reading my programming book, I fell asleep. This may be a tough class to get through. I finally gave up and video chatted with my wife for a while.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Drivers Ed - (Korea) Day 55

Today was a little strange. PT was cancelled this morning because of all the snow. I had a drivers training class this morning (and all week). I saw a report on the Yongsan Facebook page that said everything on base was going to open two hours late. I checked with my sergeant and he said he didn't know if the class was going to be late, so I needed to go there at 0800 just in case. I went and sure enough they told me to come back at 1000, so I went back to my room and video chatted with my wife for a bit.

When I'm finished with this class I'll be able to drive a GOV (Government Owned Vehicle) in Korea. This isn't something I'm actually looking forward to after seeing the people drive out there. I headed down to the class and waited for everyone to arrive. Class was being held in a room at our battalion building. The sergeant started asking everyone if they've been studying and if they're ready for the test. I started to think I was really missing something, nobody gave me anything to study. Oh crap! Turns out that I was one of the new people in class. There were a few of us and the sergeant instructor told us we wouldn't be doing anything today and to just report back tomorrow at 0900. Well that is good news, I was starting to get a little worried.

I headed back to my office and ended up doing SkillPorts and school for most of the day. I helped setup for a meeting that is going on tomorrow, then we all took off about 1530. We had PT at the gym since it was cancelled this morning. Me and SPC Roy and I took on 3 ROK honor guard soldiers in a game of 3 on 2 basketball. They were not that good, but smart enough to pass the ball around until they got a good shot. We just couldn't keep up with them and ended up losing all three games we played. We had very close games, but just couldn't win. It turned out to be a great workout though, the two of us trying to keep up with the three of them.

The rest of the night was me relaxing, doing a little school work and watching some shows. I also got two boxes from my family. I'll tell you that it doesn't matter how old you get, it's always nice to get a box in the mail especially when you are far from home. I got some clothes, a warm coat (perfect for the weather here) and some other goodies. I love my family!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up - (Korea) Days 52-54

A picture inside the IPARK Mall on the camera floor

: Work call today was 8:30. There were no meetings scheduled all day, so I just worked on SkillPorts. We all went over to the snack bar and grabbed lunch to go, then brought it back to our conference room and watched some TV while we ate lunch. Later on I went to the S1 shop at battalion and had them update my ERB (a quick snapshot of your service record). Mine was all messed up, it didn't show hardly anything that it was supposed to have on it. I had them add the three service ribbons that every soldier should have coming out of AIT right now. (Army Service Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism). I also had them add all the info about my associates degree and my security+ certification. I wanted them to add all the hours that I did last year in SkillPort but I guess until the new promotion point system is all switched over they can't do anything. He also told me I will get another ribbon in a month or two for being here in Korea. On the way back into our building the sliding doors were shut for a strange reason. I was told I had to scan my ID card in order to open them…this is something new. I guess they only open the doors for O6 and above, everyone else who's card doesn't work in the front door has to come in the side door. Mine works so I guess I'm special…lol

When I got back I filled out some more paperwork to become the IMO assistant. I'll be able to help out the IMO in the admin office which means I will be able to actually do some computer work now and then. We then headed to the gym for PT. There wasn't any basketball going on so I just did some chest and abs workout. My sergeant asked how I'd like to take the PT test in March…I said that would be fine. He thought it would be a little better because it'll be a little warmer. That's fine with me.

The night consisted of me and the young hawaiian going to the theatre which was packed with what I think was the entire high school student body here on post. We saw The Green Hornet which was a pretty good flick. We had a few laughs then called it a night.

Saturday: My Saturday ritual was a little mixed up today. I slept in of course, but I wasn't able to do my laundry because they were all full. I met up with the young hawaiian and we headed off post to go to the IPARK Mall. This is the same mall we had visited before with PV2 Pickle. The young hawaiian and I thought we would be pretty smart and take the subway this time since it is a bit of a walk. The young hawaiian had ridden it before and said it's pretty easy to figure out. I'm not sure what or how it happened, but we got on a subway train and when we got off instead of being close or even near the mall…we ended up quite a bit farther away. We decided to just walk to it and take the subway when we have a Korean to come with us and guide us until we get a little more experience.

We arrived at the mall starving, so we headed to restaurant row and picked out a place called "Fusion Fried Rice". I had a dish called Pizza Fried Rice...and it was awesome! With our stomachs full we browsed the mall. They have a big open floor plan for all their electronics vendors. There is an entire floor for cameras & MP3 players, 2 floors for computers, a floor for cell phones…this place is crazy! I was looking for a desk lamp so I could get ready a little easier in the morning when my roommate is still sleeping. I found a lot of them, but they were charging 50,000-60,000 Won (roughly $50-$60). We finally found a cheaper model that I got for 15,000 Won after the young hawaiian talked him down from 20,000.

When we left we went through an alley that has a bunch of what I'm told are called "glass houses". This place was less than a block away from the mall right in the middle of town. It is also more than just an alley, it's more like about half a city block. It consists of girls (prostitutes) sitting behind a glass window showing off themselves for people walking by (or driving through the alley). We were both surprised that there were a number of girls already in the windows and it wasn't even night time yet. I pictured them being empty until it was dark and shady out. Anytime one of the women would look at us and smile or wave we would both giggle like little kids and keep walking. It was a very surreal experience. I've read about places like this and even envisioned what they would look like, but I never thought I would see one myself.

After the glass house experience we headed back and I did schoolwork for the rest of the night. I also had a chance to finish my laundry.

Sunday: Did a little cleaning and some SkillPorts as well as some schoolwork along with video chatting with my wife. I spent the entire day inside my barracks. I got a call from my sergeant saying that there would be no PT in the morning because it's snowing…holy cow! I didn't even know it was snowing!! I had just been on the computer alternating between SkillPorts, school, and episodes of season 3 of "Chuck". Our work call is at 1000 tomorrow, but I have to go see if I'm having a driving class at battalion at 0800. Sucks because I would love to be able to sleep in again. If there is no class, then I can head back to my room and wait until the 1000 work call.

A photo half way down the alley with a number of glass houses. You can
see on the right there are a couple that are lit up, they had girls in them.
I tried to get the young hawaiian to pose next to the window, but he
wouldn't do it for some reason.

Here is a photo of what you see in the glass house from the alley. The women
will sit on the chairs waiting for their customers to come by. This one was
busy at the moment behind the closed door...with who I'm assuming is the
owner of the car that was parked here in front of the place.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Will Not Quit My Post - (Korea) Day 51

A photo of the Korean Air Force Academy being addressed by General Sharp.
This is one of our bigger conference rooms. (The original photo can be found
on the USFK's Flickr site:

Work call this morning was 0730, but I couldn't remember if it was 0700 or 0730, so to be safe I showed up a little before 0700. I had some notes to update and my Security+ certificate to print out so it worked out. We only have one computer in the main office that the four of us share, so getting time on it can be challenging some times.

After setting up for a morning meeting I updated the CEC spreadsheet. This is the sheet where I look at 4 different calendars and try and guess what we need to prepare for in the future. This was the first time doing it on my own and it took me a long time. When I finished I had our sergeant major look it over. He gave it to me later with a number of corrections. I also had questions about why things are the way they are. It will take some practice working on this before I feel comfortable doing it. It's a daily occurrence though so I guess it shouldn't take too long.

Our sergeant took me, SPC Roy & Special K to some training that was going on at the movie theatre. It was all about the new promotion point system. It was mainly for NCOs and how they need to let their younger soldiers know what to expect and what is changing. I like that our sergeant brought us all there so we could just go through it all and hear it straight from the speaker. SkillPorts are an important way to build up your promotion points and I'm really glad we are offered the time to do them while at work.

We setup for another big meeting and then also for a photo opp in front of our building. The Korean Air Force Academy cadets were coming to get their picture taken with the general. We had to duct tape names down on the ground so everyone would know where to stand. By the time we were done I couldn't feel my fingers…it's so flippin' cold here. When we finished we took off and had a little Mexican for lunch. We are very limited on the Mexican food available, this place is just OK by the standards I've been used to. Since it's all we got it's still pretty good I guess.

When we came back we cleaned up the conference room and then got called into our sergeant's office. I guess Special K has been asked to do something a number of times by an officer in our department. He was supposed to paint over a name in the parking lot. Because of weather and supplies it's been put off for months. He got in trouble because he didn't communicate the problems with anyone. Since he was in trouble, we all had to do some corrective training with him. We got to march out in front of our building and do some push-ups, then do some marching around the field. Luckily I brought my gloves out with me…nobody else thought of doing that. They came in handy while doing those push-ups in the snow…lol

Near the end of the day I was asked by a sergeant in our sister department (admin) to look over some technical specs. What's this? I'm going to actually do some 25B work? There were 10 laptops being ordered and the process is incredibly long. I guess the sergeant who has been working on it has been doing so for months. They had a number of quotes with comparable systems to the ones requested. I gave them my input after looking them all over and doing a bit of research online. The sergeant was grateful and I was glad I could help out. When I got back to the office I sat down at the computer and was updating some of my notes, then all of a sudden my cell phone rang. It was SPC Roy asking where I was. I said "I'm at work on the computer". He asked why I wasn't at the gym for PT and I told him nobody said I could leave…then said "I will not quit my post until properly relieved". He told me to shut up and get down there. I got there, changed and we started playing basketball only to find that after about 3 minutes we had to vacate the court…it was Zumba time.

Went back to the barracks, did a little video chatting and a little school. Now it's time to get a little sleep.

The photo opportunity for the air force cadets. You can see
the steps they were on and the ground in front is where we had to 
duct tape down all the name tags, then rip them up once everyone 
was in place. (The original photo can be found at USFK's Flickr site:

On a side note...there seems to be some issues with leaving comments on this least for Mac browsers. I’ll be checking into it and try to get it resolved soon.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Change is Coming - (Korea) Day 50

A view of the conference room control center. This is where I watch basketball
and control the PowerPoint slides for the meetings.

 Work call this morning was at 0830. I had to setup for a meeting in our conference room that was at 1000. I could barely stay awake during it. There was a major in the control room with me flipping the slides for the presentation that was going on. If he wasn't in there I don't know if I would have been able to stay awake. It's starting to make sense why I saw SPC Short with a can on Monster energy drink in his hand constantly. I just sat there in case there was a technical emergency and watched some college basketball which was on mute.

After the meeting I went to lunch in my barracks room. I was looking forward to video chatting with my wife, but when I got to the room I found my roommate asleep. So much for video chatting…I just ate in silence and went on Facebook while listening to music on my headphones.

After lunch we received some bad news. I saw it coming a while ago and actually I'm surprised it took this long. Because of the two guys in our office who failed their PT tests at times, we now have to do PT with the company in the morning instead of doing it ourselves in the afternoon. I guess we have lost that privilege. Personally I think only the ones who are having difficulty staying in shape on their own should have to do the company PT at the crack of dawn.

I then headed up to my office in the conference room planning on doing some SkillPorts, but to my surprise some people followed me up and said they were having a meeting. Our KATUSA had just told me he thought it was cancelled…I guess not. I got the system up and running and had to sit in the control room with an air force chick who was flipping the slides…I watched some more basketball.

After the meeting we had our office and our sister offices come up to the conference room. Our colonel presented an award to SPC Short. The award has been waiting for him for a few months, but he couldn't have it until he passed his PT test. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! SPC Short accepted it and we all shook his hand and then he took off to catch a ride off to the plane to take him back to his family…lucky guy. After the presentation our colonel asked everyone to stay. He had great things to say about SPC Short, but he gave us all the "PT is very important" speech. Then we also got to hear our sergeant major give another little "PT is very important" speech. She spoke about how SPC Short did a lot of things that are normally done by higher ranking individuals. She went on to talk about all the experience they usually have in the office…then she looked right at me and said….. "now we have someone straight out of AIT". WTF? Nothing I can do about that. I didn't choose this assignment and if I was actually working on computers, I would have more experience than most.

Speaking of doing my job…later on my job was to hold the door open for a meeting that was coming up. As I'm standing there another PFC from the dungeon asks me what my MOS is. Turns out he's a 25C and he doesn't do his job either. He says what I'm thinking "Good thing they sent us to all that schooling so we can stand here and hold doors open for officers".

I got out of work about 1530 and headed to the gym for PT. I rode a bicycle and then did some abs work with SPC Lee who was doing "fat boy" PT with our sergeant. Me and our KATUSA joined him to give him a little support. We did a lot of variations of leg lifts. 6 inches off the ground…spread 'em…to the right…to the left…..all the way up…back down - 6 inches. A great workout form my abs.

My KATUSA roommate just brought over a cell phone hot spot for us to try. We really get ripped off using the only provider of internet for our barracks. $59 a month is a lot and the speed isn't that great. We pay it because it's the only option we have. Turns out that outside of base internet is much much cheaper. In fact the hot spot that we are testing is only about $20 a month. Everything seems to be working fine with it, so I may be switching and saving quite a bit.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Weekend Wrap-Up (4-Day) - (Korea) Days 46 - 49

The going away get together for SPC Short on the right,
SPC Roy in the middle and our KATUSA on the left

Saturday: A normal Saturday during the day (sleeping in, laundry, video chat with my wife). I did a little shopping for cleaning supplies as well. Around 1700 SPC Roy came by and picked me up with an already tipsy SPC Short with him. We headed back to SPC Roy's apartment off post where we met our KATUSA from the office. We were here for a little going away party for SPC Short since it's his last weekend here. SPC Roy cooked an awesome dinner of short ribs and spam, tuna & kimchi soup. It was all very good. We had some drinks and played poker. We hung out until about 0200 when SPC Short and I went back to our barracks. It was a good time and I think SPC Short loved it…he just may not love the next morning.

Sunday: I ended up having to sleep in a little extra long and then take it easy in the morning. I had a wee bit of a hangover…nothing that a lot of water and some aspirin didn't fix. I video chatted with my wife and my mother, then cleaned my room. I swept and mopped the floors. I scrubbed the bathroom floor pretty good with the brushes on my mop, but I think I'm going to have to get down and dirty on my hands and knees to get the edges…I'll do that next weekend. I did a little school work and then watched "She's Out of My League". A typical romantic comedy with some funny parts and the happy ending. It's about a young guy (who's friends rate him a 5) ends up going out with a girl who is a 10. It was a pretty decent movie. Other than that it was a pretty mellow day.

Monday: I woke up around 0500 this morning even though it's a holiday. I decided to go on a trip with my office to the Hyundai Sung Woo Resort. They were going for a ski trip and it's the cheapest prices I've seen here including full rental of everything including clothes. Even with the cheap prices I wasn't going to go because I still didn't have much money left to spare. I did decide to go with everyone though after taking a look at the website for this place. It looked like I would be pretty entertained even without actually skiing. So I had the young hawaiian meet up with me and we departed on the bus around 0630.

The bus trip was about 2 hours and once there our first goal was to get something to eat. We went to the closest restaurant and found that there were no pictures and no explanations in English for any of the menu items. Bummer…we left our KATUSA downstairs getting his equipment. We sat down to go over our options and out of the blue a worker came up to us and showed me her smart phone. She used a translation program to show me in English what they had! We both chose and ate a nice meal of beef and rice with soup.

We spent the rest of the day playing video games, we rode the gondola up the mountain and back, played ping pong, and also a game called pit pat. Pit Pat is kind of a cross between putt putt golf and billiards. It was a lot of fun and it was nice to get off post and do something a little different even if we did have to get up pretty early.

We got back at around 1900 and after watching some shows on my computer I called it a night.

Tuesday: Slept in and was looking forward to a nice relaxing day. I had plans to go with the young hawaiian to the mall or at least a movie. I was video chatting with my wife when I got a call from my sergeant. When the call starts off "I've got some bad news for you" you know it's not going to be good. I ended up having to go into work and get the conference room equipment all going for a ROK (Republic of Korea - AKA Korean Army) meeting. I ended up working from about 12:30 until a little after 1700. My sergeant says he'll make it up to me later this week…we'll see if that works out. Everything went fine except one of the microphones on the table was causing all sorts of problems and feedback, so I unplugged it and let them know.

After work I did some school work. It's been kind of hard to keep straight what I need done when because of the time difference. I think I'm just going to use my dates and time for everything. This way everything will be in early since I'm a day ahead of everyone there.

I watched a few episodes of "The I.T. Crowd" (season 4). It's a British comedy about a couple of guys who work in the I.T. department of a big company. The show is hilarious (words of caution…you may have to be a geek or married to a geek to get all the jokes).

A photo of the Hyundai Sung Woo Resort from the main building
A photo of the Hyundai Sung Woo Resort while traveling on the gondola


What do use to watch these movies? Is it online or from other....sources?

Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 10:19 AM


I would love to say I watch them all from netflix or the major network websites such as CBS or NBC, but since I'm outside of the US I can't stream any of it because it's not allowed from their websites. There are a lot of folks in the barracks willing to share movies though.

I can neither confirm or deny that torrents are also a great way to get TV shows and movies.

Sites such as The Pirate Bay or Kickass Torrents are great tools to find a specific torrent.

Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 10:05 PM

Friday, January 14, 2011

Pizza Party!! - (Korea) Day 45

The very cool PCS gift SPC Short received at the pizza party

Work call this morning was 0830. We had a meeting to setup for at 0930, after that the day was clear as far as meetings go. During the meeting I was in the control room making sure nothing went wrong. The microphones we have out on the tables are little omnidirectional ones. They work and pick up all the people around them, but they sit on top of the table which is glass and a lot of times there is feedback. I have to listen and slowly turn down the microphones if it starts getting bad as was the case during this meeting.

I had the TV on as well in the control room watching some college basketball. It's funny how every commercial they show here is either for something on post, or a public service announcement…don't steal from the PX, be aware of spies when off post, don't drink and be stupid, sexual assault is bad…etc. The commercials are low budget and very cheesy. They throw in little news bits now and then just to mix it up a bit I guess.

After the meeting I had to do some more mandatory training with the rest of the office. Similar to the human trafficking training we did the other day, there were slides and we all took turns reading the content. The training was on spies and how we have to be very careful about what we post online and who and what we say when talking to people. I paid close attention to this since I actually do blog online, of course I don't put any sensitive information in my journal…but I still have to think twice when posting anything. We then did training on drugs and specifically Oxycontin. I guess there has been a problem lately with people abusing this drug. It is being randomly checked for in the urinalysis tests. The last training was on underage drinking and binge drinking. Don't do it was the basic message. Don't drink if you're underage and don't supply alcohol to minors, you can get into big trouble for it.

For lunch we had a pizza party in the protocol office. There is a sergeant who is retiring and of course SPC Short is leaving Korea. There were some speeches made and some pretty cool awards given out. The funny thing is that SPC Short got a very nice gift from everyone in the unit, the sergeant who has been in for 20 years and is retiring got a very small one. I guess he isn't well liked.

After the pizza party I turned in two certificates of completion for some SkillPorts to my sergeant. He said we were going to get a negative counseling statement if we didn't do at least two SkillPorts each week. That is some good encouragement to get them done I guess, and it's only benefiting us in the future.

After work I hung out in the barracks for a bit and ate dinner. SPC Short gave me a call and said he took his PT test again after work and finally passed! This was great news because he is leaving next Wednesday. He has an award waiting for him as well that he would only get if he passed his test. I went over and hung out with him for a bit and congratulated him. He is very excited to finally go home and spend time with his family.

Later on in the night the young hawaiian called and asked if I wanted to head out to Itaewon. I said sure and called PV2 Pickle to see if he wanted to join us. We all ended up leaving a little after 2200. It was very cold…so cold our faces started to go numb. I think this will end up being a lot more fun in the warmer months of the year. We still had fun even though we wound up getting totally lost venturing off the main road and going up and down a few alleys. We had to use the young hawaiian's GPS to find our way back. We ended up going to a bar called "Rock and Roll Bar". I thought it was very cool. It was an intimate bar with a pool table at the end. The music they played was great (lots of 80s to present rock). The music was also not too loud, it was nice to be able to talk to the people next to you without yelling. And perhaps best of all…the pool table was free to play. We drank and played pool until we realized that it was already after 0200. There is no last call in Itaewon. We finished our beers and headed out. The guys were hungry so we stopped at a street vendor and picked up some sort of meat on a stick…not sure exactly what it was, but it was good. We also ended up going in the McDonalds on the way back. I didn't get anything…I couldn't find their 1000 Won menu. PV2 got a special Big Mac that had bacon on it…how cool is that?

We made our way back to the barracks and after finding out that 2 of the gates were closed we finally found a way in. It was a long cold walk, but we all had a good time. I think it was almost 0400 before I got in bed. I think we'll have to start a little earlier next time for sure!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Another Day is Over - (Korea) Day 44

A great example of how I put my 25B technical skills to use these days...
A perfect setup of coffee and water for an upcoming meeting in our conference room

Work call this morning…0630. Ugghh! There was a meeting at 0730 that we had to prepare for. Once that meeting was all setup, Special K ran the slide show and I hung out in the office and checked my email and such. I tried to run Rosetta Stone via SkillPort, but it wouldn't start up. I'm not sure if there was a windows update put out that is now interfering with it now or what, but it pretends to start and nothing happens. A bummer too because I could have gotten a lot done on it today.

After the meeting we cleaned up and I headed down to have our master sergeant train me on updating what we call the command events calendar. It's basically a spreadsheet that is full of all the upcoming meetings that we have to take care of. It's compiled by us going through each of the general's calendar and adding, changing, and deleting from it. Because so many meetings change we have to make a new list daily, and it's a very manual process. Since I'm just starting it, it takes me a while to go through each event on each of the general's calendars…day by day.

We took a long lunch since we came in early. I had the chance to video chat with my mom, nieces and my wife which was nice. That doesn't seem to happen too often. After I got back to work I had some questions for the sergeant about the list of open positions that he gave me. I picked a few and asked him what I do next. He said I have to go to the army signal HR website and contact them to let them know. Not exactly what I was hoping was going to happen. I was hoping that I could get this all taken care of here with people I can see. When there is an issue or something is not getting done it's a lot easier to take care of it when you can look someone in the eyes. I'm hoping the person I contacted will take care of me and not just blow me off. I have no idea what kind of or if they have any sort of customer service at all. I guess I'll wait and see.

Didn't do much the rest of the day at work. Some real 25B folks came in from battalion or brigade…I'm not sure, but they hooked up a VOIP phone in the conference room for a call that will be taking place tomorrow in a meeting. It's funny to think that there are actually 25Bs doing their job here. The only technical things I do is SkillPorts and turn equipment on when there is a meeting in our conference room. I thought I would try and be a little proactive and try and fix a technical problem we are having in our conference room. Our UPS (battery backup) is being overloaded and emitting a high pitched beep all the time. It's very annoying and can easily be fixed by replacing it with one that can handle the load. I looked up the owners manual for our model and copied the information as to why it is emitting the high pitched squeal. I then looked up the model that we need to purchase in order to replace it and fix the problem. I sent an email explaining all of this in detail to the specialist that is basically in charge of us all - SPC Roy (didn't want to overstep any boundaries). My guess is that I doubt anything will happen to resolve this issue, I have no idea how purchasing works in our office. I believe we will have to continue to listen to the stupid annoying squeal and maybe one day it will just die. Perhaps then we can replace it with something a little better.

We left at about 1515 for the day and headed to the gym for PT. I got a good workout playing some basketball (3 on 3 with my sergeant and SPC Roy). Now it's time for a little school.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day of the Raw Squid - (Korea) Day 43

My "new" chair - it may look like something that is
placed on the side of the road with a "free" sign, but it sure is comfortable!!

Work call this morning was at 8:00, the normal time for Wednesdays because of a weekly meeting. We setup for this meeting in the secret conference room. This time I logged in with my account for the first time and had all the shortcuts and customizations set. Now I'll be able to run this meeting without help in the future. I did pretty much the whole thing by myself and took notes. Starting next week I may be on my own.

Special K, SPC Roy and I all went to lunch at another KATUSA Snack Bar on post. This time I tried some spicy beef dish. It had beef of course, rice and some veggies. It was pretty good. I love going to different places to eat, and I love trying new things. Speaking of trying new things, Special K offered me some of his raw squid. I was a little hesitant at first, but I thought what the heck, how often am I going to have the chance to try this. I ate it and it wasn't too bad. It was very salty. Not something I would ever order, but I would try some again…especially if I had some rice to go with it.

When we got back to work I finally got a list of the open positions for 25B. I'm going to look it over and see what the next step is tomorrow with my sergeant once I pick one. After he gave me the list he had to attend a meeting and I covered his desk while he was out. I logged onto his computer and worked on SkillPort and waited for his phone to ring…hoping it wouldn't. I did have to answer about 3 calls for work and 3 wrong numbers. I was basically a messaging service for our boss…the colonel.

On the way out of work SPC Short told the sergeant he was going to inspect my room and our KATUSA’s room. WTF? This was just out of the blue. I had no time to clean or anything. I think he just wanted to see if my roommate had cleaned up his side of the room (which he did). Luckily I had made my bed and took out the garbage. The only thing he told me to do was straighten up my shoes and clean the floor from all the mud that he just tracked in. I couldn't believe he stood there, looked at the floor and said "this looks like shit…mop it up". With all the snow outside it gets tracked in with the dirt. I wipe it all off with a towel I keep on the floor, but he didn't and that's why it was all dirty. I'm going to have to buy a mop and a mat this weekend.

I video chatted with my wife for a bit and then made my way to SPC Short's room. He said I could have his comfortable chair since he was leaving. It's an old office chair from somewhere that used to have wheels on it. Instead of wheels it now has a bunch of tape all over the bottom. Not much to look at, but so much more comfortable than the standard chair that came with the room. My butt would fall asleep in that chair when watching shows. Now I can lean back, rest my head and not worry about my butt falling asleep. I just had to carry it from his room to mine…I called that my PT for the day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

First Day of School - (Korea) Day 42

Korea in Winter - snow and barbed wire (a random photo I took on post)

Work call was at 0830 this morning. We had a morning meeting in our conference room. Once we got that setup I hung out in the control room to make sure everything went smoothly. I heard that SPC Short didn't pass his PT test this morning. It's too bad because I thought for sure he would pass this time. I'm not sure how it will affect him and his future in the army if he can't pass it. I've heard you can get flagged and when you're flagged you basically can't do anything. Any requests will be denied such as leave.

I worked on SkillPorts again. My office next to the conference room is an awesome place to get away from everything. I can work on the computer without interruption. I talked to my sergeant again about the 25B openings again. To my surprise he said it was sent earlier, but the file was too big and that's why it never showed up in his inbox. His buddy is going to send it again, so I should be seeing it tomorrow.

Left around 1500 for PT which ended up being all basketball. We played some Korean honor guard soldiers. That is one myth I found out shortly after arriving here in Korea. Not all Koreans are short. There are a number of tall ones. I thought I would be towering over all of them at 6'1", but there are plenty that are as tall or taller than me. One of the honor guards on my team was dunking effortlessly. We had a decent workout although SPC Short was supposed to show up, but never did. He finally answered a call from SPC Roy and our sergeant talked to him and was pissed. I guess he fell asleep in his bed. Wonder if anything will happen to him tomorrow?

I started class at University of Phoenix tonight again finally. I am in a fundamentals of programming class. Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with schoolwork and normal work as well. I really want to finish my bachelor degree. The army will pay for school while I'm in active duty and it doesn't use the G.I. bill, it uses something called TA (tuition assistance). We get $4,500 a year to use and we don't have to pay it back, one of the great benefits the military offers…but a lot of people don't take advantage of it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Fat Boy PT - (Korea) Day 41

A random photo of the flags in my conference room. They are usually
on the side of the room, but depending on the ceremony we will
move them to the front of the room

This morning work call was at 0800 because of an early meeting. We had a couple of meetings to setup for in the morning and that was about it for the day. I worked on a little SkillPort after that. What is nice now is that when you finish a SkillPort lesson the hours show up on your ERB soon after you're finished. (An ERB is basically a snapshot of all your important military information).
We went to a KATUSA snack bar near our office for lunch. KATUSA snack bars are run by Koreans and sell only Korean food. I had some spicy pork with some cucumber kimchi. It was pretty good. I also learned a new phrase in Korean. Since SPC Roy is Korean he taught me some bad words…lol. Every time I said it, he would start cracking up. I will now greet my roommate when I get back with this new found information.

We had to do some mandatory training on "human trafficking". Unfortunately the website we were supposed to do the training on (JKO) was not working. I ran into similar issues when trying to do the training to come to Korea. We ended up getting all the slides and our office used the conference room and reviewed the slides on the projector as a group. We learned all about human trafficking and how we can be punished by the UCMJ if we participate in human trafficking. We then had to sign our names on a sheet that said we went through the training.

After work SPC Roy had to go to "Special Pops" PT. Special Population PT is what he calls "Fat Boy" PT. The special population that is overweight and/or cannot pass their PT test has to attend this PT. It is a bit more rigorous and tries to help the soldiers get in better shape. The rest of us just went to the gym. The problem was that nobody showed up for SPC Roy's special PT. He came to the gym and our sergeant decided to give him the special pops PT himself. We ended up having to join him as well. I got an extremely good workout on my abs! We did all kinds of exercises that I've never seen before. We did upside-down push-ups, lots of leg lifts and variations of leg lifts. We sat on the wall and suicide runs on the basketball court. I felt like I was back in basketball practice. It wore me out!

After that it was back in the room and a little video chatting with my wife before watching a few TV shows on my laptop before bed.

Keith Miller

It seems that the Army is always having problems with their websites. I just started taking a correspondence course online and it is a pain to get it started! You would think that will the pride that the Army and Signal Corps takes in their work, that they would at least have their websites work properly on a regular basis. Even has problems and broken links. Anyways, I bet I will have a head start on must the guys going to basic though.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 - 12:41 AM

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Weekend Round Up - (Korea) Days 39 & 40

The Korean War Museum...a must see while visiting Seoul (and it's free!)

Saturday: Had to get moving a little earlier than planned today. Our sergeant said he wanted to do some PT at 1000 in the gym. It was specifically for SPC Short to help him pass his PT test and wasn't mandatory for anyone else, but I think it looks good if you show up. I got a move on and made my way to the gym. SPC Short was there and our KATUSA, but no sergeant. He just never showed up! I did a little weights, a little basketball, and then some sit-ups and called it a day.

Like every other Saturday I did laundry. I video chatted with my wife for a bit, then PV2 Pickle (He just got promoted recently) came over. We were waiting for the young hawaiian to come over, but he was having issues with his laundry machine in his barracks. PV2 Pickle & I took the bus to the commissary. I'm so glad I know about the post shuttle now. Last time I walked all the way there and back with all my groceries. There is a free post shuttle that basically just does circles around the base and comes every half hour (on the weekends). We both did our shopping and got out right as the next bus was arriving at the commissary.

The young hawaiian then finally made it over and we all walked down to the theatre to see tonight's movie "True Grit" with Jeff Bridges. It was pretty good. The young girl in it really makes the movie. After that we headed back to my room and had a few beers and watched Tosh.0 on my laptop. That show cracked us all up. If you've never seen it, you should!

Sunday: Woke up and video chatted with my wife. The nice thing about the weekends is that when video chatting I can actually talk to her at a decent time for her. Later on I met up with PV2 Pickle and the young hawaiian. We went to the Korean war museum which is pretty much next door to this garrison. PV2 Pickle and I have both been there before when we were in-processing, but the young hawaiian never had the chance. When his group was planning on going it got cancelled because of snow. So PV2 Pickle and I offered to take him over there and show him around. We had both wanted to go back anyways because the place is huge and we felt a little rushed last time.

The museum was awesome again and there was also a new 3-D art exhibit thrown in just for the heck of it…didn't have anything to do with Korean war, but it sure was cool. After spending hours in the museum and taking hundreds of pictures (PV2 Pickle actually took 403 just himself) the young hawaiian wanted to eat somewhere off post. We just started walking down the street looking for a place. Little did we know there wasn't a restaurant for what seemed like 2 or 3 miles. It was cold and we were starting to wonder when we were going to find a place. Finally we came across a place that was actually open and had pictures of some good looking chicken dishes on the window. We went in this little hole in the wall restaurant and when the lady gave us the menu to our surprise it was only Korean letters…no pictures like we had hoped. The waitress sensed our dilemma and asked "Chicken?". We all nodded and soon she came out with some fried chicken along with some dipping sauces. It was pretty tasty and quite the experience. There was only one other couple in there and they were both smoking…strange to see that because you just never see that anymore in the states.

We then walked out and I happened to see a big building that said iPark Mall. We checked it out and found it was a huge mall. It had department stores, a ton of electronic stores, a "women's secret" (instead of Victoria's Secret), and all kinds of other stores you would expect to find in a mall. We then came upon a long row of restaurants which all had picture menus in both Korean and English…lol. No worries though..we had an experience. After walking around and exploring what seemed like only about 20% of the mall we headed out. On the way out we stopped at a street vendor and had a cup o' chicken. It was something like sweet 'n sour chicken in a cup. We were each given a pointy stick to stab each nugget and eat it. Good stuff!

As we headed back we realized how far we had walked from the base and how cold it was. We made a quick pit stop and grabbed some warm coffee before making it back to the base. Fun times!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fun Times in Itaewon - (Korea) Day 38

Holy Cow it's the Ho Lee Chow...Great Food in Itaewon!!

Today I had the experience of doing something I've never done before. We setup for a meeting (this one happened to be an awards ceremony). One of us had to stand and hand the general the awards so he could in turn hand them to the awardee. I was told I would be calling "Standby". I've seen and heard this done in the past, but I've never done it, let alone for the 4 star general here. Needless to say I was a bit nervous. Calling standby involves the soldier to stand at the door of the conference room and when the host of the meeting (the 4 star general in this case) gets within about 10 feet from you, you turn and walk to the entrance of the conference room. There you stand at attention and with a loud voice yell "Standby". At this point everyone in the room will stand up and the host will walk in and say "please be seated". I'm a pretty quite guy, so it doesn't come natural for me to yell out anything. I put on my glasses so I could make sure I saw the general coming from a distance (it wouldn't look good if I was squinting down the hall the entire time). I then did everything as planned. I surprised myself how loud I was…in fact I would say I was even a little proud of myself…lol. I then shut the doors to the room and headed to the control room to sit and be there in case there are any technical difficulties…a.k.a watch TV.

Later on in the day I was able to start getting my Outlook calendars setup. I had to request permissions to view a number of generals and other important calendars via my Outlook so I can see all the events that are coming. I'm still waiting on some, I think they'll all be done by Monday.

I was told around 1600 that I would be having a room inspection in my barracks at 1630. WTF? I still had to purchase a lot of cleaning equipment and I thought I would have a little more lead time before an inspection. Needless to say I didn't get everything in order before everyone from the office came into my room. My side was pretty organized, but the room in general needed some dusting, the floor needed to be mopped, and the toilet was still a mess from the young hawaiian's blow out the other day. My sergeant said he'd be back in a few hours to check. To my great relief SPC Short said to come to his room and he'd give me a hand. He let me borrow all his supplies and he also came down and helped clean everything up. If it wasn't for this guy I'd be pretty much lost here. I'm going to have to do something special for him before he goes. What an awesome dude! My sergeant came back and said everything looked good. I told him now that it's clean (it was dirty as hell when I moved in) I'll be able to maintain especially once I purchase cleaning supplies this weekend.

It's Friday night and the young hawaiian was itching to get off post and go out. This is the first weekend he's had a chance to get off post because of being in reception. We met up and headed off to Itaewon. First thing we did was look and try and find a place to eat. Itaewon has a number of different restaurants…everything from American to Arabic. We came across a place called "Ho Lee Chow" and decided it was the place. They served Chinese food family style, so we both ordered a dish and shared. The food was awesome and we got stuffed.

Next stop…finding a place to have a drink. We stopped by a number of bars, but they were either very expensive or totally dead. We kept searching. The young hawaiian wanted to venture off the main drag and see what was on the side streets. It's amazing how much it changes just one street over. I would say it's a little darker…a little edgy. There were still a number of food vendors which we took note. I'd like to try so many places here, I think I could spend a couple of years going out each weekend trying all the different food here. We always found ourselves dodging scooters coming from the front and behind us. I felt like we were in a real life Frogger game. We looked around and noticed we must have ventured into Islamic land. There were a number of Islamic restaurants, stores, and "learning centers". I was hoping we weren't going to stumble upon any extremists that wanted to kill us both. We hurriedly moved on.

As we were walking along I made eye contact with what looked like an Eskimo. (It's freakin' cold here at night). This chick had on a big coat with a furry hood. When she saw me looking at here she walked straight at me. "Sex…you want sex? 100,000 (about $100) any ting you want" then she looked and saw the young hawaiian was with me and said "50,000 each both…every ting you want". We both started laughing and I was thinking OMG I can't believe this is really happening. We walked off and the chick grabbed my arm with both of hers and started walking with us. We both kept saying "no no no", but she wouldn't hear it. The young hawaiian was getting a pretty good kick out of it and couldn't stop laughing. I said we're going back to the main street…enough of the side streets. The eskimo would not let me go. I was afraid I would have to shake her off and make a run for it. Finally after about 2 blocks she got the hint that we weren't interested and saw another guy to pester. OMG…OMG…OMG. I really couldn't believe that just happened.

We ended up going to a bar called UN. We went in and it was full of American military, a table of gay men, and juicy girls. Juicy girls basically hang on the guys at the bar and get them to buy them drinks. We drank some “Hite” a Korean beer I wanted to try, not too bad. We had a lot of fun just people watching. The gay Koreans dancing, the juicy girls trying to work the dudes and a very drunk Korean guy who cracked us up.

What a night. So much happening I think it deserves it's own entry instead of being part of a weekend wrap-up. I'm going to have to catch up with the next entries at a later date.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Case of the Missing Cell Phone - (Korea) Day 37

This crest is everywhere in the office I work. It's on the
napkins, the coasters, the podium, and a lot of times
we have it on the screen during meetings.

This morning was a little busy with a meeting in the "top secret" conference room. We got that all setup and then we found out there was an unplanned meeting that needed to be taken care of asap. On our way back into the main building SPC Short manually walked through the security gate instead of using his badge to scan and allow him through. There happened to be a sergeant who was in charge of the guards. He chewed out SPC Short and asked him where his badge was and he also chewed out his guard for not checking for his ID when we came in. The problem was that SPC had his hands full and couldn't get to his badge. So he had to put everything down and produce his badge so the sergeant could inspect it. Once that was done we were allowed to proceed.

Later on in the day I setup for another conference in our main conference room and then did some SkillPort on the PC in there. SPC Short came up and we ended up having quite a long and interesting conversation about the state of affairs in the U.S. He left and I continued SkillPorts. A while later he came up again and asked why I wasn't answering my phone. Oh Crap! My phone was not in my pocket. I had to think where the heck I left it. I then remembered way back first thing this morning where I left it. When we setup in the "top secret" conference room, we are not allowed to bring in cell phones. I left mine in the cell phone holder in the guard room in the building across the street and it's been there all day! So I quickly made my way over and grabbed my phone. I'm sure it happens a lot, but it sucks that it was me this time.

SPC Short ended up hanging out with me after work where we had a much more expanded conversation on everything from the army to the American economy. It was pretty cool hanging out, it sucks that he'll be leaving in a few weeks.

Tonight's movie was "Sex Drive". I had actually seen it before, but this version was the "unrated version" which meant a lot more…how do I put this….boobies and cocks. They just threw in random nude people walking around throughout the entire movie. Pretty strange. The movie is about a kid who has a girl he loves, but they are "just friends". He goes on a road trip to meet up with a chick he met online. The road trip is full of laughs and it turns out to be a pretty funny movie. I think I'm going to have to take a break on the comedy shows for a bit now though and watch some blood and guts. I need some good action flicks for a change of pace.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Confessions of an Addict - (Korea) Day 36

Trent Gym - Where I play basketball

This morning I woke up a half hour earlier than normal so I could get into work a little early. We have a weekly meeting on Wednesday that we have to prepare for. This meeting is one that I will be running consistently, but it is not in our normal conference room. I arrived at work and SPC Short started showing me what to do. About 45 minutes into the meeting I was told they needed me in our normal conference room to help out. There was a big promotion ceremony for a colonel going to general. I had to man the computer and press the play button when it was time to start the national anthems (Korean & American). I tell you this is totally not the kind of job I was expecting…lol. For the rest of the meeting I had to stay back there to make sure the sound system had no glitches…so I sat back and watched the Ohio State and Arkansas football game.

I found out after lunch that my CAC card finally works and I can now log into the network. I was able to log in and get the basics setup which was nice. I hate just sitting doing nothing when we have down time. At least now I can do some SkillPorts or something. I can't believe I've been here over a month already. I still feel pretty out of the loop at work, I basically just do whatever I'm told. Now that I have access to the network I'm hoping I can get the hang of everything a little more and be a little more proactive in my job. I spoke with my sergeant about the openings again and he said he should have a list tomorrow. Still working on that…I wonder how long this process will actually take. It may be a good thing that I'm starting early.

We got out of work at 16:00 and headed to the gym to get some PT. Today was cardio day (a.k.a. basketball). We started playing 3 on 3 and as more people came we ended up playing 5 on 5 full court. I didn't stop until 18:30. OMG I could barely walk afterwards. I am definitely too old for that anymore. My knees hurt and I think I pulled my hamstring. I'm a freakin' wreck. It's like a drug…I can't stop playing, but when I play my body pays a price. I'm going to have to go to basketball player's anonymous…lol

I got back to the barracks gave my wife a quick call and we video chatted via Skype. The new version for the iPhone now lets her use the iPhone's camera while I use my computer's camera. This makes it a little more convenient for her. I got a big box from her in the mail today and I was able to open it and go through it while chatting with her. It's so awesome getting stuff in the mail from home. I got a bunch of homemade treats, pictures in frames and more. I'm truly a lucky guy.

My night time consisted of the usual…I watched a movie. This blog is going to turn into less of what the army is like and more of my reviews on movies…lol. I guess it’s because that’s what passes the time...and has passed the time for me since AIT. Tonight's movie was on the same theme of last night's movie. I watched American Pie - The Naked Mile. Like last night's it wasn't bad, but not as good as the original. It was entertaining not to mention a lot of boobies, which is always entertaining. It also had a number of midgets in it…and that makes it worth it right there to rent the flick!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Soreness - (Korea) Day 35

This is a photo of a stream I cross everyday while walking to work. I was told
to never drink from it. No smells like raw sewage. I try not
to even breath while I cross the little bridge!

This morning I woke up pretty sore. I think I over did it a little playing basketball yesterday. I thought I had some spring in my step and tried to dunk, but after coming very close I just couldn't do it. I tried a number of times, but it wasn't happening. I think I may have even pulled a muscle in my back. This wasn't an issue back in the day…I can't believe I'm getting so freakin’ old!

I was able to video chat with my wife for a bit while I was getting ready in the morning. It's a hit and miss thing because I never know what time my roommate is going to get up. Sometimes he jumps out of bed and gets ready really fast and other times he gets up right as I'm leaving.

When I got to work this morning I checked with my sergeant about the open positions he was going to check on for me. He said "his guy" back in the states was already off, but he'd send him an e-mail. I'm going to stay on top of this until I get a good assignment for my next duty station!!! I then watched over SPC Long's shoulders while he prepared a summary of sorts. Each week I'll have to view the previous weeks meetings and put together a summary and post it. This is so if someone was gone and wants to see what they missed, they have a place to check. It's all very standardized and is basically a bunch of copying and pasting in Word.

I went to lunch with Special K and SPC Roy right off post at a Vietnamese/Thai place. It was pretty good! I love going out with these guys because they are both of Korean decent. They speak the language and have authentic Korean wives that they live with off post. I always get a good taste of something different when I go out with them.

I thought I may get access to the network today since the admin sergeant who was out on emergency leave finally returned. She turned in all my stuff, but found out I needed yet another certificate of training. After showing me what I needed I had to log in using SPC Roy's access card and then I was able to find that I had already done the training back in AIT and just needed to print off the certificate. Maybe I'll be able to get on the system tomorrow. Besides that I didn't do much today at work, I read the newspaper. Once I get the computer access I'll be able to do a lot more.

PT today was after work around 3:30 and was actually pretty intense. SPC Roy was leading it and since he failed his last PT test he wants to do everything in his power to make sure he passes the next one. We did all kinds of push-ups and sit-ups until my abs were on fire.

I then video chatted with my wife again for a bit. It's tough with the time difference. When I called her at 5:30 my time, it's actually 12:30 at night her time. The half days the last couple of weeks were great because I was able to actually call her at a decent hour. I then watched American Pie - Book of Love. Of course it wasn't as good as the original, but I wasn't expecting it to be. It followed the same old story of the rest of the American Pie movies…teenage boys trying to lose their virginity. It was full of some gross and funny scenes. Like I said earlier…definitely not as good or even close to the original, but still a decent funny flick.

FS SPC Miller

Hello I have been reading your blog for about a week now. I am scheduled to ship to Ft. Benning 26 APR with an MOS of 25S. I was reading tonight about your friend, Older Hawaiian< at AIT didn't get his security clearance because of something on his credit. Did he say what it was more specifically? The reason I ask is because shortly after I enlisted, I checked my credit report. To my surprise, there was minor hospital bill that was meant for my Dad, we have the same name, that went to collections. It was taken care quickly and was from about 4 years ago. I told the recruiters about this, and they didn't seem to think it would be a big deal. They told me that that hospitals screw up all the time and that they would understand when they would interview me. I am hoping I can get my clearance before I ship so I don't have that same crap happen to me. My AIT is 26 weeks long.

Sorry for this being so long, and seeing that your someone that has been through this crap already, your like a wealth of knowledge for me. Thank you again for this blog.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011 - 11:47 AM

PFC McGuire

You'll have to get your credit in order to get a "secret" security clearance. I would suggest for anyone trying to get any type of security clearance to get a credit report. Check your credit report and if you have any bad marks on it, get them taken care of. Even if you are behind on payments, if you can show that you have been making payments on time for the last 3 months you should be fine. We had a few people in AIT that had to show that they had been making payments on bad debt.

The old hawaiian was a different story, he had cosigned on a debt and there was no way he was able to make the payments on it.

Sunday, January 9, 2011 - 10:44 AM