Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pigeons From Hell

I've had many work days where I don't teach. This is because the students are often testing and my school understands that, other than teaching my English class, I am worthless to them. So I have many days like today where I sit on my computer for eight hours or so. I have heard many people complain that they hate their jobs because it is "so boring" and all they do is "sit in front of a computer all day". Fine by me. I easily find ways to pass the time. Today, I watched live stats of football and basketball games in the US (lame, I know), Skyped with my mom for an hour, chatted with a friend for another hour, and read articles of interest on the internet.

One thing I researched during my internet surfing today was something I remembered from when I was young. I was about 9 years old and I was listening to my family talk about the book "IT" which led to discussion of the scariest books we had read and the most frightening movies we had seen. My dad talked about the scariest movie he had ever seen and it was called "Pigeons From Hell". I could tell from the way he talked that this movie had made an impact on him. He claimed he had attempted to find the movie but couldn't find a copy. He theorized that perhaps the film had been accidentally destroyed or misplaced and that no copies were in existence. I even recall him thinking that he should contact Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders because the lyrics "got in the house, like a pigeon from hell" (Back on the Chain Gang), must have something to do with the movie.

Well, thanks to the internet, people no longer need to communicate with British punk bands to solve life's mysteries. It did not take long to figure out that "Pigeons From Hell" was not a movie, but in fact an episode of the TV series, "Thriller". The episode originally aired on June 6, 1961, which would put my dad at 7 years old. The perfect age to be scarred for life by a well made horror flick! Thriller was hosted by Boris Karloff and ran for two seasons (1960-1962), airing a total of 67 episodes. "Pigeons From Hell" was episode #36 from Season 1. From what I could find, the original Thriller episodes have never been released on DVD, but I did find this link that gives some hope to those of us that would like to see that happen.


"Pigeons From Hell" was based on a short story written in 1938 by Robert E. Howard, the same author who wrote "Conan the Barbarian". Stephen King called it, "one of the greatest horror stories of our century" (apparently referring to last century). I've included a link to the short story if anybody is interested.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Not Much PC in the ROK.

I think I am becoming accustomed to Korean manners. This wasn't always the case.

A couple months ago when teachers at my school were gasping and asking, "Robert, what happened to your face!?", I was embarrassed. A few mosquito bites on my face and I was being treated like a circus freak. I replied by saying, "your country is infested with mosquitoes with superhuman strength that open doors and feast on me every night." My exaggeration was lost on them and they looked to be thinking, "mosquitoes can't open doors." The point is, regardless of the fault or blemish you may have, expect to have it pointed out by every single person you come into contact with. It's not considered rude.

Another example of, we'll call it bluntness, was during my first trip to the local gym. The first day I went to pay the fee and expected to work out for only 20 minutes because I had plans to meet some people. Kelly had joined a week earlier and failed to mention that I would have to go through a thorough physical exam after signing up. After getting my three page evaluation, the female trainer was nice enough to go through it with me. She said, "this is your weight, this your height, you have too much fat." Hello!! I simply replied, "thank you, that is why I am here." I suppose she made up for that statement later in the evaluation when she mentioned that I had "excellent balance". I assumed this was because I didn't fall over when she told me I was fat.

...Twenty minutes later when I was leaving she ridiculed me for leaving so soon. I hate that woman.

We went with some friends to a seafood restaurant in Sinchon this weekend. There are countless restaurants in Seoul with tanks of live seafood, we just haven't been to many because of Kelly's "condition" (As you may or may not know, Kelly has lied to her entire staff, claiming that she is allergic to seafood. This was to avoid being forced to eat anything she may not want to). Anyway, the experience was great. We picked a random variety platter that was on the menu, not sure of what was included. The waiters came with a wide variety of clams, scallops, oysters, shrimp, and other shellfish that I was not familiar with. They put hot coals in the pit of our table, similar to that of a galpi restaurant, and we cooked the seafood while it was still alive. Barbaric, I know, but I suppose it doesn't get much fresher than that. It was tasty, but more than that, it was fun. Actually the waiter poured an entire bowl of seaweed soup on my groin, which may have put a damper on the evening for some, but like the scars, my memory of that will fade with time.

I am looking forward to the DMZ tour on the 21st and Thanksgiving dinner in Gangnam... sweet! We are also hoping to spend Christmas in Shanghai. No, it wouldn't be like the beaches of SE Asia but it would be fun.