Archive for the 'Preparing to Flee' Category

We is outta heeeerrrre

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 1/13/2010 | Comment (1)

Denise loves slot machines

And apparently they love her… we put in some time at Harvey’s and Harrah’s at South Lake Tahoe and, for the FIFTH time in the past three years, Denise won $1000 on the Wheel of Fortune slot machine! And before that, she hit two different straight flushes on the Pai Gow table. Denise’s $5 bonus bet got her $250 on the first one and she got $50 on the second one because I’m a dumbfuck and only spotted her enough to make a $1 bonus bet. I think my exact words were, “you’re’ not gonna hit that again”. D’oh.

Yesterday I had lunch with Spike in Sacramento, then dinner with Patrick and Mamie in Berkeley, and today I met up with Steve to eat some of the $300 he won in our fantasy football league.

Tomorrow I’m meeting Alaska at SFO, checking Terry into the cargo hold, and then we’re off at noon. Here are some more pics from the past couple of days.

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 1/12/2010 | No Comments

Tahoe good

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 1/10/2010 | No Comments

Airport bad

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 1/10/2010 | No Comments

Long story, not so short…

American Airlines wouldn’t let me check Terry into the cargo hold because it was less than 20 degrees outside! It was 7 to be exact, so I wound up putting him on a Continental Airlines flight that went though Houston because Continental is apparently “pet friendly” and they have heated/air conditioned vehicles where the beasts wait until boarding so outside temp doesn’t matter.

So I landed in San Francisco at noon, Terry lands right now (5:21 pm) and my fucking luggage gets here at 7:22. Getting Terry on Continental made me so late for my AA flight that they couldn’t get my shit on the plane in time.

Luckily Patrick & Mamie were able to come and rescue me from 5 hours of airport loitering… we had lunch and went to the Academy of Science museum in Golden Gate Park.

Fuckin American. If you ever have to fly with an animal out of a place where you’re freezing your ass off, go Continental.

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 1/9/2010 | Comments (3)

My family’s all about class

Had a little family gathering tonight since I’m leaving for my California excursion tomorrow and then it’s off to Seoul. My brother Pat was nice enough to get me a going away present:

I was expecting Pat to send me off with a heartfelt message, and he totally delivered!

I was expecting Pat to send me off with a heartfelt message, and he totally delivered!

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 1/8/2010 | No Comments

Slingbox is the shit

Without Slingbox I would have been TV-less in the basement for the past month! The only reason I have one is so that I can watch American TV in Korea, and tonite I’m doing an experimental setup of my Slingcatcher (got it for xmas) just to see how it works. It’s beautiful except the Slinglinked internet connectivity in this house sucks and it’s all choppy. Watching my friend Eric’s box in California is perfect, though.

Nik has logged some time on my Slingbox from Korea already and he says the picture isn’t great but it’s very watchable. Now I just gotta get my brother to set it up in his new house! I’ve labeled every possible cable and cord so he knows where they’re supposed to go, and I also made him a nifty diagram in case the official instructions throw him into a tizzy.

(The digital timer is optional – in some cases the Slingbox needs to be rebooted regularly for some unknown technical reason, so the timer is an automated way to do it)

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 1/7/2010 | No Comments

How to get out of paying an early termination fee with AT&T

All you gotta do is send them a copy of a utility bill that’s in your name… and from another country!

People who come across this post will probably be all excited until they realize that you have to move overseas to get your early termination fee refunded. Sorry kids.

The bill needs to be faxed along with your cell phone number, AT&T account number, and current contact phone number to 866-486-8581, attn: ETF-Relo

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 1/7/2010 | No Comments

Packing for Korea…

…bores the shit out of Terry.

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 1/7/2010 | No Comments

Anatomy of a craigslist scam

They say on craigslist to beware of people wanting you to wire $$$ and there’s a reason for it! I posted an ad on Seoul’s craigslist looking for a sublet, and this dicklick replied saying that he had a big place available for $1000, but he wanted me to pay $500 upfront as a deposit. Oh yeah, and he’s currently in London.

Since I’m not in Korea yet I thought ok, I’ll send him the money after doing some homework. Yeah, he’s a fucking scammer. He pulled some pics off a website, claimed it was his, and asked for money via Western Union. Looking back at it now it seems pretty obvious, but I really wanted to rent this place (it’s fucking huge) so it took some digging to know for sure what was going on.

Below is my Skype transcript with my friend Dan who lives pretty close to where this apartment is located. It goes from me still thinking the deal is real to finding out how close I came to getting hosed!

[8:44:43 PM] Michael: so I’ve got a possible submet with a guy who has an apt in 반포

[8:45:02 PM] Dan: i assume you meant sublet

[8:45:02 PM] Michael: he’s in London, and he has an “agent” taking care of renting his place out

[8:45:09 PM] Michael: yeah sublet

[8:45:31 PM] Dan: ok

[8:45:40 PM] Michael: so its $1000 for the month and he wants me to western union him $500 deposit, and before I do that I’m gonna want him to do a contract

[8:45:49 PM] Dan: ok

[8:46:29 PM] Michael: the contract could turn out to be meaningless since I’m not there to sign it, but just to make sure this is legit I might ask you to go look at the place and meet the agent

[8:46:44 PM] Michael: is that ok?

[8:47:01 PM] Michael: 반포 is kind of in your area right?

[8:47:08 PM] Dan: hmmm

Read more…

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 1/6/2010 | No Comments

Sleazy motel, here we come

Nik finally got tired of me badgering him to find us a place to stay after landing on January 14th, so he made some calls and managed to locate a cheap motel that will let Terry in. It took him four tries and the first three places he called were decidedly against having dog guests, but this yeogwon doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.

The lady he talked to gave him a price of about $35/night (₩40,000) and apparently she’ll give us a discount if we decide to stay for weeks which is a distinct possibility, especially since it’s right next to Sinchon subway station which makes it convenient to crawl home from the bars. If you’ve never been in a Korean “love motel”, they ain’t bad! I’ve only stayed in a few, and they’re way nicer than some of the shitholes I’ve seen in the U.S. Here’s a pic of a room I wacked off in back in 2002.

The dog-friendly yeogwon is E, inside the red circle

The dog-friendly yeogwon is E, inside the red circle

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 1/4/2010 | Comment (1)

A $200 lesson on flying with dogs

So after 3 hours on the phone today calling airlines and “pet transport” services, this is what I’ve learned about taking dogs to Korea:

  • You need a rabies shot that’s over 30 days old (knew that already)
  • You need an “international health certificate” (knew that)
  • The health certificate needs to be issued by a veterinarian who is approved by the USDA, which apparently is required to even issue a health cert
  • The health certificate needs to be issued within 10 days of landing in Seoul or wherever you’re going
  • The health certificate needs to be mailed to your state’s USDA office so they can endorse it, and since it needs to be issued within 10 days of the flight that means sending it to and from via overnight mail
  • Not all airlines require that you use a third party pet transport service, despite what the idiots at O’Brien Animal Transportation might tell you


When I still thought I needed to use a pet transport service, I got a price of $1700 from O’Brien who claimed that TSA regulations require all airlines to use services like theirs. Yes, they wanted ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED dollars to put Terry on my plane and then take him off. So then I called another place called Pet Express who quoted a much-more-reasonable-but-still-expensive $975, and the fine folks at wanted me to spend $3000 to fly Terry to fucking Amsterdam, put him in a dog hotel for the night (drugs and hookers cost extra), and then fly to Seoul. Riiiiight.

In the end, I wound up canceling our plane tickets on Singapore and buying seats on an Asiana flight that costs the same and lands in Seoul at roughly the same time. The difference? Asiana will let me check Terry like a suitcase for the low, low price of $225. I’ve eaten $200 in fees for canceling the Singapore Air flight but the net result is saving over $500 by not paying Pet Express.


posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 12/30/2009 | No Comments

Taking a dog on Singapore Airlines = pain in the ass

When I brought Terry the Dog from Seoul to Chicago in 2005 it was pretty easy… I checked him in as baggage and picked him up at baggage claim. Going from San Francisco to Seoul, however, is another story as Singapore Airlines requires that you use some third party “animal transportation company” to get your animal on the plane! Groan. WTF.

The guy at Singapore Airlines said it’s a TSA regulation but there’s nothing about it on the TSA website. Still, my plane ticket is paid for so I guess I gotta play ball. They referred me to a company called O’Brien Animal Transportation & Services, aka OATS, and I just left them a message to call me back. My guess is they have an office at the airport where I’ll drop off Terry, then they’ll stick him on my flight in the cargo hold, and then I’ll have to go to their office at the Incheon airport to pick him up, and the whole thing will wind up costing a couple hundred more than it should.


Singapore Airlines page on traveling with pets

posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 12/29/2009 | No Comments

How to get your F-4 visa!

I went to the Korean Consulate in Chicago today and applied for my F-4 visa… if you’re doing the same, this is what you should bring with you:

  • Passport
  • Passport photo
  • Certificate of Naturalization
  • Hojuk (Korean family registry)
  • Birth certificate
  • $45 cash (might be different in other cities)
  • Korean foreigner registration card, if you have one
  • Old passport with old F-4 visa stamp, if you have one


If you’re getting an F-4 visa for the first time, you’ll have to fill out a Korean Nationality Renunciation or whatever they call it, and that’s why you need the Certificate of Naturalization. If you don’t have a hojuk and you were adopted, call your adoption agency and tell them to cough it up! I got mine in 2002 by calling Holt’s office in Eugene, OR.

If you’ve been issued an F-4 visa in the past, bring proof of that and it might make things easier. The guy at the consulate in Chicago was about to make me call the Korean consulate in San Francisco (where I got my original F-4 in 2002) to confirm that I did the renunciation, but then after I gave him my foreigner reg card (which I got in Korea) and showed him the F-4 stamp from the passport I just replaced he was like ehhh fuck it and told me to come back on Thursday to get my passport with the new visa stamped in it.

And if you don’t know wtf an F-4 visa is or if you qualify for one, read this. It’s basically an all-access pass for Koreans who were born there but living somewhere else and it allows you to do whatever the hell you want in Korea for two three years. For everyone else (ie: white people), an E-2 visa is required to work over there and that leads to evil hagwon managers putting your balls in a vise which then leads to “midnight visa runs” and all that bullshit. No thanks! F-4 is the way to go.

Fyi, you don’t have to get your visa before landing in Korea. You can also do it over there, but if you forget to bring shit with you then you’re screwwwwed.


posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 12/28/2009 | Comments (4)

The pre-Korea itinerary

Saturday, January 9:

  1. Land at SFO at 12:40 pm
  2. Jump in a rental car
  3. Force Patrick to buy me lunch
  4. Drive out to Sacramento
  5. Force Spike to buy me dinner


Sunday, January 10:

  1. Pick up Denise and head to South Lake Tahoe
  2. Lose $200-$400 at Pai Gow
  3. Ask Denise if she wants to have sex and watch her roll her eyes


Monday, January 11:

  1. Drop Denise off in Sacramento
  2. Drive back to the Doubletree hotel in Berkeley where Terry & I will be staying
  3. Get drunk with Jerry
  4. Try to con Patrick into buying me lunch and/or dinner but I doubt he’ll fall for that twice


Tuesday, January 12:

  1. Spend the afternoon wacking off
  2. Buy Steve dinner with his Fantasy Football money


Wednesday, January 13:

  1. Return the rental car at SFO
  2. Yell at Alaska Jae for being late to the airport
  3. Give Terry a date rape drug to make him sleep through takeoff
  4. Get on Singapore Airlines flight 15 to Seoul
  5. Get smacked by a flight attendant after inquiring about the Mile High Club
posted by Michael in Preparing to Flee on 12/22/2009 | Comment (1)