I will be moving into a new apartment in a month. I’m kinda excited to move to a new place even though it’s only a block away. My current place is small, and truthfully, I’ve never been in a “big” place in Korea, even when I was living outside of Seoul. So yeah, moving into a relatively spacious two-bedroom apartment is kind of a big deal, in my opinion, especially right in the middle of Seoul.
And it comes with quite a few perks, too. A lobby with security that makes it look like a hotel, a sunny view of the Namsan Tower, access to a gym, a driving range, and study room within the building, a sauna in the bathroom, a spacious kitchen, and again, the building is conveniently located minutes from many of Seoul’s landmarks. I’ll still be taking the subway to work, of course, but that’s an inescapable part of life in the city.
Unfortunately, I’m not buying my place. I’m not renting it either. There’s a weird in-between system in Korea where people deposit a huge amount of money in the landlord’s account, and they don’t have to pay rent during the lease agreement. Much like many people in the country, I’m too poor to afford buying my own place within the city, especially with apartment prices skyrocketing after the previous administrations market policies. Seriously, the housing market here has become much like Hong Kong. You’re either extremely rich to be able to afford living within the city or just extremely lucky. I happen to be the latter.
One of the things that works against me is that most people when they get married, they get a huge amount of money from the groom’s parents in order to purchase a house. Being a foreigner, I never got that luxury. Heck, I didn’t get any help with anything from my father regarding my housing. I feel guilty that with regards to my wife’s family, and how generous they are with us; the relationship is just off kilter. My Korean in-laws just give and give, while my side of the family is nothing but dead silence.
So what do I do? What is there to do but to just work my ass off. Take every opportunity to earn money and just say yes. Luckily, Korea has been generous to me. As a foreigner, there is always opportunity to earn money as long as you hustle. So yeah, I’m hustling, hustling for that that two-bedroom apartment right in the middle of Seoul.
The corona virus has come to my doorstep. My wife caught the virus. She had a cold starting on Monday, then come Tuesday, she went to the doctor and they did a test on her. Postive. It finally got her. It sucks because it will affect us financially since she gets paid by the class she teaches and not in a salaried position. It also sucks because she’s in the middle of a yoga certification course which requires a hundred hours of lessons. This puts her behind on her classes and puts us behind financially. And to complicate matters more, we are in the process of moving apartments and we need to get rid of our current apartment. We already turned down three prospective visitors/tenants who could take over the apartment for us due to it being a covid quarantine area at the moment.
What about me? Well, I caught a cold, and it’s not so bad. It’s just that my throat hurts a little.. I’ve had four shots of the vaccine, so I’m hoping that whatever my wife has, I’m already immune to it. See, she only had the two mandatory shots. I kinda resent her for not getting the extra two boosters. Maybe she would still be covid-free if she wasn’t “too busy” to take them. Now she has too much time on her hands. And since we live in a small apartment, I have to get really serious about cleanliness and try not to catch the virus from her. I’ve been doging this thing for about three years now. And I think if I could just get through a couple more days or so, she wouldn’t be contagious anymore and I would still be a covid virgin.
Living with a covid patient in a small apartment is tricky since there’s really no way to isolate her. Our food has been meticulously separated and I sleep on the couch while she sleeps on the bed, but other than that, there’s no serious separation. My wife sprays surfaces with disinfectants constantly however, which I guess would help prevent me from catching it on surfaces that she touches. We also have an air disinfectant running to keep the air clean, fingers crossed.
My friend suggested that my current cold is actually the covid virus. Well, perhaps, but I’m not suffering from fever, chills, muscles aches, or headaches. I also take a test every day before going to work, and so far each time I tested negative. So I’m thinking it’s not covid, but a something that a bit of Tylenol Cold could easily knock out.
And yes, despite my wife catching covid, I still go to work. It’s probably the safest place for me right now, not being in close proximity with what I know is a certified covid case. I also have no excuse not to go to work since I’m perfectly healthy (despite the cold). There’s jobs and side jobs to do and money to be earned. I guess the biggest test for me will be the weekend where I will be at home trying to avoid catching covid for two days. I figure if I still test negative come Monday morning, I’ll be scot free.
So yeah, here’s hoping I don’t catch the virus. I know it would be a miracle, but hey, I don’t really ask God for much. I just hope that my wife gets better soon and I don’t catch it and prolong our collective suffering. Will be updating this after a couple more days.
Covid got me. No symptoms, but got tested at a clinic and they say I'm positive. Damn it.
The first time I heard of David Choe, it was during an interview with Howard Stern. Even back then, I recognized that he fancied himself a raconteur, a guy who made his first million off of gambling using a strict Martingale betting system in blackjack (Doubling your next bet each time you lose), then eventually made a fortune by being asked by Facebook, then a young company, to paint their head office, and in lieu of cash he asked to be paid in Facebook stocks. He makes for a good talker, but most listeners know that you can’t take whatever he’s saying as 100% truth. I’ll buy the Facebook story… the gambling story, not so much.
So when Netflix’s show Beef got viral with its success and eventually a story by David Choe regarding getting away with raping a masseuse got viral as well, I wasn’t that surprised. And just like in Howard stern with the Martingale betting system, I can’t 100% tell whether the story is true or not. What is true however is that in telling the story at the time, he was looking to regale his listeners, as a raconteur would. And if he is not guilty of sexually assaulting a masseuse and getting away with it, he is definitely guilty in taking rape lightly and trying to turn it into an entertaining yarn. Now, I’m not a prude. I do believe that you can make a joke about anything. But there was no joke in the story. No punchline. Just a, “hur hur hur, I got away with raping a masseuse, isn’t that nuts?! I’m David Choe.”
Maybe it wasn’t even played as a joke. Maybe it was more of a machismo thing. “I’m David Choe, sex monster.” Who knows? It’s just a bizarre story to tell, or more accurately, confess, and not expect any blow back.
When I was watching Beef, (spoiler alert) my wife and I both observed that all families have someone like David Choe’s character, someone who borrows money from family, ends up wasting it, then sorta disappearing or just being relegated into the outside periphery of the family. The one uncle that failed. The one uncle who went to prison and is never talked about again. The one uncle who never quite fit in and is still trying to find himself even in his forties. This was David’s character. And he played it well. Unfortunately, just like his character in the TV series, his past statements is ruining it for everyone else. People are now trying to boycott the TV series.
I watched and finished the whole series before the David Choe story went viral. I quite enjoyed it. And I actually thought that David did some decent acting amongst more seasoned peers like Steven Yeun and Ali Wong. David sells the character quite frankly, at least to me, because he talks and acts in real life like the type of person that would actually do what his character did in the show. I mean, take his own words as evidence. He gambled himself into his first million, and at one point had nothing but $500 in his pocket. Now, isn’t that the type of stuff that black sheep uncles would do? Lucky for him, it all worked out for him if the gambling story is to be believed.
Knowing that at worst he is a rapist and at the very least he’s an awful comedian with rape fantasies, would I have still enjoyed the series? Would I still recommend it to people? I would like to think that I could suspend reality a bit and indulge in the story that’s being fed to me on screen. And as for recommending the show. I would still recommend it. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and as of now, David is just guilty of having bad stories. And to boycott the series would be doing Yeun, Wong, and everyone else involved in the TV series a huge disservice. It would be letting the bad uncle, the uncle that the rest of the family would rather you not know about, take the whole family down.
Now, this is different of course with enjoying the works of people like Woody Allen or Roman Polanski. By not watching their films, you’re not buying their products, You are actually hurting them. With Beef, David is not the main character nor is he the director, writer, or one of the executive producers. He just played the bad guy, and he turned out to be a bit of an awful guy in real life. Keep on not watching Allen and Polanski films. Go ahead and watch Beef.
I just published my third book of collected drawings done during the pandemic. This is probably my last, since I can’t keep on churning the same type of collection every year. The idea for Pseudologia Fantastica was almost a whim, and carrying on that whim for over three years is a little long. That’s not to say that I’m going to stop drawing using my current style, busy drawings that fill the full page, but I’m not going to do them anymore with the purpose of publishing. There are still many ideas that I feel like I need to push, so I’m still going to continue with it.
Also, the pandemic, which was the catalyst to my busy drawing style, hasn’t really affected me much recently in regards to my art. In fact, I’ve been much busier now and I’m finding less time to make art.
I encourage artists to make prints and make books of collections of their art. Not only are they an alternative way of selling your work, they are also an alternative way of showing your work, free from the confines of a traditional gallery. I kinda wish I sold prints much earlier in my career. I always thought that my works were cheap enough as it is, and a Glico print wouldn’t make sense as an alternative purchase. But now I find that prints are just as good a way of driving revenue as much as the original. It’s also a way of meeting your audiences halfway, especially if they don’t necessarily have the resources to purchase an original. The same goes for books of collected works.
Anyway, I hope the people who get my third book enjoy my collection. They’re basically the same images found on my Instagram and featured on this website, but it also includes explanations as well as a list of things found on the page, much like an I Spy book.