Weird Shit On Korean TV: Bob Ross?!

I lived in Chicago when Bernie Mac died, and everyday the terrible bus I rode as some karmic punishment (read: my commute) went directly beneath this enormous billboard of Bernie Mac’s grinning face and everyday I was like, “Man, that guy died of the flu, which is one of the bigger bummers out there considering it’s the 21st century, and here he is smiling at me from an enormous  billboard, but he’s been dead for like a year now so I feel like this is creepy and I cannot help but ponder my own fragile existence.” It might have been this exact picture:

The grim face of mortality.

So anyway, guess who I spotted on TV the other day: Bob Ross. And not in the capacity you might expect.

Is this the same Bob Ross of “The Joy of Painting”, you ask? The be-‘froed, gentle renaissance man Bob Ross? The Bob Ross who passed away in 1995?

I say to you, the same.

Only now, he’s hawking smart phones in commercials and reminding you that your image is apparently public domain or something in South Korea and that death is no reason for people to stop making money off you or whatever.

I use my smart phone to communicate from beyond the grave.

And it’s all creepy cgi-ed and there’s some dude dressed up as Bob Ross demonstrating how he can use his phone on the subway. It’s just so….unsettling. Of all the dead American celebrities out there, you choose Bob Ross, Korea. Another great mystery to this waygook.

In slightly less weird Dead Person News, one will occasionally spot the odd Billy Mays commercial. But dubbing doesn’t do the man justice.

………………………………….UPDATE!!……………………………………

For the first time ever, I have discovered a relevant video. This is NOT the commercial I saw when I took the above photo, but it’s obviously related. How  weird is it that there appears to be a whole SERIES of Bob Ross commercials in Asia?

Is it just me? Tell me this is weird:

77

Well our time here in the ROK is seriously winding down. Something like 77 days left? (But who’s counting? Moms?) My giddiness over being in the homestretch (IPAs…I’m coming home!) is overshadowed by how quickly time is passing. When people from home ask if I’m excited that August is so close, I’m unfailingly overwhelmed by the never-ending list of things that need to happen before then. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Visiting at least three places that I haven’t visited in Korea (like Jeju!)
  • Crossing off a few random but important things on my Korea bucket list (live octopus damnit)
  • Organizing and financing trips to Thailand and Hong Kong (traveling pre-final-departure from Korea).
  • Planning and executing weeks of English summer camps.
  • Navigating the Korean bank system so I can get my due money when I leave.
  • Extending my visa so Korea doesn’t detain me on my way out.
  • Deciding where I’m going immediately after Korea (Europe for two weeks? Europe for two months? Straight home?)
  • Arranging undecided journey.
  • Buying a ticket out of Korea, Destination: Still Unknown.
  • Packing up all the crap that can’t come to Europe with me.
  • Figuring out how to send home all the crap I will have packed.
  • Finding a job so I don’t have to turn tricks when I return to the U.S.
  • This is the list that never ends….it goes on and on my friends….

Not to mention my many mundane daily responsibilities like: Continue reading

Erin’s Problems are Hipster Bands

We are Erin's Problems. sitarmustachehat*fart*

I’m coming to you live, internet, from my office. I’m eating a Tootsie roll pop. It’s Friday afternoon. The kiddies are gone for the day and I get to doink around on the internet, writing frivolous blog posts and what not.  They pay me to do this guys. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of actual work involved too, and I’ve had a few crappy weeks prior to this. But today was a good day. And tomorrow will be a good day because I’m going to Seoul to stare at some North Koreans and then I’m going to bathe myself in IPA. (More on how orgasmically exciting that is next week.)

The thing is, I can’t think of anything to write about.

At some point, I transitioned from being Uberforeign, to Mute and  Uncomfortable, to Not Terrified Anymore, to Partial Understanding of Everything, to I Get It, to I Live Here, to I’m Stagnant Again.

Yeah, we're called Uberforeign. You've probably never heard of us...

“As Erin awoke one morning from uneasy dreams she found herself transformed in her bed into a gigantic ennui-machine…”

We are Ennui-Machine. Here's a 20 minute keyboard solo.

It’s a welcome feeling, I mean, compared to the first few weeks of peeking cautiously out of your windows and around corners lest you come in contact with a native. And I couldn’t claim to be acclimated. I just claim to be much less surprised. And that makes me sad.

We are Dread the Hipster. This is a song about....Galesburg. Whatever.

But in 90 days I’m out. And in 90 days I have no idea where I’ll be. Safety net = home, but home is so full of hipsters….how I dread the hipsters…The answer is, I guess keep moving. Which is what I did when I got bored with Chicago. And Omaha. And good God, who wouldn’t have been bored with Galesburg? And Cheyenne!? Come on.

So tell me Hipster Band, am I doomed to constant movement? Am I lost to the world of Normals and Happies?? Will the conclusion of 90 days find me in my parents’ basement or living out of a van somewhere?

Here's my pocket Nietzsche. There are no Normals and Happies.

 Cold comfort, hipsters. Cold comfort.

On Hydration

There’s a really funny thread on Waygook.org right now that has kept my attention for the past 24 hours. It’s slightly entertaining (and often irritating) to watch strangers bicker over really mundane, though often apropos, observations of life as a Waygook. Things like if it’s cool that Koreans ask you to take pictures with them. Or whether or not this teaching gig will look good on a resume later on.

If you live in Korea, you know that looks fucking delicious

The particular topic I’m interested in today is “Do Koreans drink enough water?” The original poster simply finds it strange that Koreans don’t appear to drink much water at all, a doubt which OP and I share, and which I have long gotten over. But this person’s wondering has incensed many KOREA-CAN-DO-NO-WRONGers. Since I have no interest in arguing with people on an increasingly troll-y and uptight message forum, I have decided pontificate here, on my blog, where I am the ultimate authority.

I will be fair and make my comparisons only to the U.S, since I really don’t know how much water the rest of you English speakers drink. I suspect America overdoes it a little (though, it’s certainly not in our character to be intemperate).

Things that make me feel like Koreans drink significantly less water than Americans (possibly to their detriment): Continue reading

And the Living is…Easy?

We are on the brink of summertime in Gwangju.The trees are green, the skies are hazy with heat, the street cats are shrieking to breed beneath my window. The shorts are getting shorters; the heels, higher.

Jacket longer than shorts? HAWT.

For most, summer is a time of splashing and beaches, tans and pina coladas. And sometimes my summers are like this too. But guys, I fear the coming season as I fear few other things (ie: death, tight spaces, death inside tight spaces, Kate Hudson movies, etc). You see I was here, if only briefly, LAST summer. And I remember it all too well…

Continue reading

Passion for Pashion

Korea is obsessed with fashion (known here as “pashion”). There’s an entire Style Channel devoted to America’s Next Top Model, Korea’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, Korean Project Runway. Like fashion itself, Korea is all about Western imitation. Which is why clothes with “English” words scrawled all over them are especially popular.

As a native English speaker walking around Korea or chillin’ in your classroom, you see a lot of this:

Courtesy of Amanda M.

Shirts with English (sometimes Konglish). The English is invariably mispelled, misused, and/or completely misunderstood. Sometimes the English is all correct, but the idea is totally bizarre (see above). Most of the time it’s really funny stuff. Occasionally it’s offensive, but the person wearing it doesn’t actually know what they’re wearing, so it’s still comical.

Lately I’ve been trying to keep a record of these crazyass shirts. It’s challenging though because you can’t very well take a picture. The whole ‘must save face’ thing would come into play if you suggested to a Korean that their English shirt was wronginteresting enough to document; they’d melt into a big mortified puddle. So instead I’ve tried to write a few down and recapture them for your viewing pleasure via Microsoft Paint. Continue reading

Ugly You Ain’t Got No Alibi

Along with new lessons and new activities in this year’s English textbooks came new cartoons and animations. They seem generally improved, less 1990’s and more 2000’s, which I appreciate if only because it keeps the kids’ attention a tad longer. But then I started teaching 5th grade Lessons 4 and 5, where a bumbling pair of ginger-headed waygook tourists help demonstrate how to comment on landmarks (“What a tall tower!”) and get directions to said landmarks (“Where is Gyeongbokwuilhswgkhs?”).

Meet the Mr. and Mrs. Waygook. Continue reading