Monthly Archives: September 2013

Male Bonding

mannequin

More Website problems, GRRR!

I was talking to a Korean businessman about the drinking culture in the country, and how it was part of doing business. The thing is, in many cases drinks don’t just end in drinks. It often ends up in rounds two and three… these sometimes involve drinking with bar hostesses or worse, something more “involved.” (I’ll leave that to your imagination.) Now, part of the reason why people drink is to be more comfortable… and in Korean business, it is to unwind and be closer to your colleagues or business partners. But when it comes to being out and about with women to varying degrees, it is akin to forcing a bond, a memorable experience, where there was none. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s characters would often reflect on their first sexual experiences or talk about one particularly memorable or strange dalliance. The same thing with business here. Have a particularly great time, and your partners in crime will be that much closer to you.

Despite Westerners condemning the particularly strong drinking culture at work in Korea, especially the shenanigans that happen while drunk, I do find that the people I had tremendous amounts of drinks with, the people I have seen things with, are the ones that tend to stick out and I end up being closer with. It’s a rather gruesome and faulty comparison, but it’s like those boys in “Stand By Me.” You never forget who you were with on that swamp.

 

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Messing Up My Fast Internet

city

As a continuation of the Website rant last week, my site is now accessible on most PCs. Last week, I had to change DNS settings on my PC at home in order to access my site, but this morning I was pleased to discover that my site is now accessible without changing any settings.

Initially I thought it had something to do with my Web host or South Korea’s Internet censors, but I soon learned that it was my local ISP that was fiddling around with things.

I suspected South Korea’s Internet censors because the country is notorious for allowing Christian groups to look around for offensive Websites, report them to the police, and have the sites banned in the country. It is an extremely backwards policy especially when you consider that the country has one of the fastest Internet connections in the world. What’s even more ironic is that since Christian groups are the ones hunting down offensive sites, usually pornography, it is the hardcore Christians who get to see most pornography on a regular basis before they (cock) block everyone else’s access. Some other sites also banned in South Korea are political in nature, especially concerning North Korea.

This censorship, plus random fiddling of Korean ISPs make some rather benign Websites inaccessible in the country. For a while there, lululemon.com was inaccessible in the country. (Not that I was shopping for yoga pants!) What annoys me the most out of this censorship, including in other countries like China, is that the law makers and the morality zealots are idiotically unaware of VPNs and proxy servers. And even taking those options out of consideration, people will still be able to get their pornography and political subversion fix despite the constant censorship. More sites will replace the ones that are banned. It’s like a global whack-a-mole.

Anyway, that gets my gourd…

That, plus South Koreans use so much security on their sites using Active-X. The whole country is tied to Internet Explorer, which, after a year or so surfing the Internet and installing a bunch of security certification programs, can drag an average PC performance to a snail’s pace. It’s just more stuff to install and more passwords to remember and more e-mail to respond to, etc. A coworker of mine complains that it takes him forever to do Internet banking on Korean banks because of all the security and certificates he has to deal with. It’s probably less of a hassle to just go out to the bank and deal with a teller.

And in another ironic twist, while the intent of marrying Active-X was to bolster security, it would seem that Active-X actually poses a wide security risk for many Websites since many hackers can use it to gain access to computers. Ugh.

South Korea has amazingly fast Internet and I don’t have to pay premium for it. I guess that’s part of the reason why the country is a haven for online gaming. However, I could really do without the censorship and all the security BS.

 

 

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Why Won’t It Work? Nothing Works!

sleep

Ugh! Godaddy’s website builder is suddenly inaccessible in South Korea. I can’t write my weekly updates on http://josephmreyes.com/. Grrr! What the heck is going on?

Speaking of “grrrr,” I cannot, CANNOT, stand airline companies. I love travelling, but dealing with travel companies is the worst. I just got word from Travelocity that my one leg of my flight was cancelled, so I have to change my whole flight. I called Delta and they said everything was fine. So I called Travelocity again, and they tell me that Delta was wrong and a flight to Tokyo using Korean Air was cancelled. So I have to call Delta again and figure out what’s up.

I’m ten years-old all over again, passing messages between my parents. That is, if my parents are East Indian  customer service representatives.

What’s equally annoying is that I booked my flight a month ago. It was confirmed and everything, but that confirmation is worthless since one flight in a series of many flights was cancelled. And because that one flight is messed up, everything else gets thrown with it as well. I can’t replace the cancelled flight with another flight. Either I take an alternative route that they’re giving me with no charge, or get a refund and re-book a more expensive flight. Ugh!

Worse, the alternative flight they’re giving me includes a 30 minute layover in Minneapolis, one of the busiest airports in North America. Good luck making that flight!

Of course, one quick look at Travelocity’s website shows a better flight agenda with reasonable layover times. The customer service personnel didn’t even initially consider this and was pushing for me to commit to a ridiculous agenda.

And no…. no apologies from Delta, Travelocity, nor Korean Air.

I really miss home. I really miss Canada. But dammit, this whole clusterf**k and the thought of transferring through American airports and going through security have me dreading coming back home.

(BTW: I say these things out of recent frustrating events. I don’t always have bad experiences with airline companies. Once in a while I do get upgraded to business class. And once in a while, I do get very helpful assistance on the phone. It’s just that dealing with a cancelled flight is not the best way to spend my Sunday night.)

 

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Work, work, work!

Eh_mon

Started working a new part-time job early in the morning. It’s something I could do right before I go to work. I used to work out and maybe watch half a movie in the morning before I go to work, but now I’ll be working right before I go to work. Yay! Can I say the word “work” more or what? Work, work, work!

Actually, it involves helping a bunch of engineers with their conversational ability. It’s been years since I taught anyone anything, so I was kinda dreading it, but so far the good thing is that since it’s early in the morning; it’s over FAST and I could get on with the rest of my day.

It’s been a while since I actually worked two jobs. I had side jobs like writing jobs
and editing jobs before, but nothing like going to different locations and working with different people, etc. Last time I had two jobs was back in university when I used to manage a grocery store during the day then worked for a security company at night. Those days I kept telling myself, “man, I feel like a proper immigrant!,” like that stereotype of Jamaicans having several jobs.

Actually, one of the stereotypes that bug me the most, especially when it comes to talking about immigration and immigrants, is that many immigrants are lazy. Jamaicans, for one reason or another, have gotten away with being believed to be hardworking by some (of course there quite a few other stereotypes about Jamaicans that are contrary to that), but actually many immigrants I come across are some of the hardest working people there is, holding down two or three jobs, any jobs, just to get their kids through school, etc. It’s almost heroic. What I wouldn’t give to have that kind of energy!

The downside to my new schedule is less time for sleep, working out, and
art. It’s going to be a while before I amass enough works for a proper show.
Luckily, I still have a bit of time to be active artistically and was recently
involved in a show both in Korea and in Canada, celebrating the friendship
between the two countries. Yay, multi-tasking!

IMG_1093

 

 

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Making Holes

Hole

I’ve been working on illustrations for a friend’s book. One of the images involved a man busting a hole somewhere, from the darkness into the light. The image above is just regular ink wash. I plan to have it edited digitally, etc. I took the same concept however, and used my traditional drawing method.

Hole_white

So I started from this black and white image, which in reverse looks like the image below.

Hole_black

I like it better than the original, but I’m gonna have to charge big time if I’m asked to illustrate a whole book using the same intricate style.

 

 

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