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Summer has hit. Beomgye is getting more crowded. And the restaurants and bars are removing their windows, creating nice balcony seats.

Yea! I did it. We wrapped up all studio work yesterday. All we have left is a quick little location shoot this Saturday.

The last Spy Zone shows took longer than before. Towards the end, I got to the point again where I couldn’t memorize one single line correctly. I had three page blocks of lines again, and I was able to memorize those, especially the longer paragraphs. Yet little lines I couldn’t get right on one take.

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The good news is that our show missed the chopping block and got approved for a second season. Before the taping, Young asked if I was going to do the next season, which starts in September. I said it depends on how much they’ll pay me this time. She also mentioned that a different production company may be in charge of the next season, which disappoints me. The one we are with now has been working very hard for extremely low pay and has been turning out much better quality work than what they are getting paid for.

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Young also mentioned that she is going to regularly go to different school districts in Korea to speak about the show to teachers. She suggested that I come along and help get exposure for the show. If it doesn’t conflict with my teaching schedule, I would like to go. I want to see more of Korea and the Korean countryside. It kills me that I only leave the Seoul area maybe once a year. Now that I think about it, the last time I’ve been outside Seoul in Korea was May 2005 when Eun Jeong and I went to Gyeongju.

Wow!

I need to get out more often.

Eun Jeong herself is in Gyeongju right now visiting her family. She was supposed to return last night, but she waited too long. She’s getting an early bus back this morning.

Since she was gone this weekend, I was looking forward to playing computer games and drinking beer after taping. It’s not like she doesn’t let me do those things, but she frowns upon it.

After Saturday’s taping, one of the kids’ mothers asked if I wanted to join everyone for a season end dinner. I politely tried to get out of it, but then I thought, “They want you to go out for dinner, and you want to play computer games instead?”

I joined them for dinner, and it was a hoot. The restaurant had already set up the tables for a party, including beer and soju glasses at every place setting. The kids got a kick out of that and used the soju glasses to toast with their colas.

Since the crew had to do the shows for the other team, only the director and make up girl joined, along with me. Young and Dohee had to leave. So the mothers–heh… oh, man. It’s just another new and interesting experience in Korea. Even the director looked a little scared and had a look on his face saying, “What did I get myself into?”

The mothers started drinking, and they got tipsy very quickly. One of them continually put food on the director’s and my bowls. She made sure our glasses were full. She even made personal galbi lettuce wraps for us.

Only one of the mothers could speak any English. Her English was a little better than my Korean, and we were able to communicate a bit. Her face was red, and she said that her friends call her “morning sweet potato” when she drinks.

Dinner started winding down when she asked if I liked noraebangs.

Oh? We’re continuing the party?

We all joined the ajummae on a walk down the street to a noraebang. They got a room for the adults and a room for the kids. It was interesting observing the atmosphere of the two rooms. In the adult room, the moms liked showing off singing abilities and sentimental songs. In the kids’ room, they were screaming and banging their heads. I occasionally popped my head in there and danced with the kids.

After around two hours, I used the excuse that Eun Jeong called me and wanted me home. But that was pretty fun.

I did get a chance to play some games, but I went to bed early to be back at the studio by 8 o’clock. The make up girl showed up late, and we started taping late as a result. Nonetheless, the Alien Kids show went fairly smoothly. I was able to remember lines a little better, even though I frequently missed cues.

And again, even though I’m able to memorize entire pages in a couple of minutes, it’s hard for me to do the easy stuff. The hardest part for me is doing the chants at the end of the show. I just say four or five words and three phrases while we do a simple dance routine (with pom poms) to an instrumental version of “Mickey” (“Oh Mickey, you’re so fine. You’re so fine you blow my mind…”). And we do multiple takes of this. Thankfully, they had the monitor moved aside for this so the cameras could move there. I didn’t have to see how stupid I looked.

The wrap for Sunday’s taping was uneventful. Everyone just left the studio. I was the last one to go. I took the subway back… standing.

I then thought I’d walk to E-Mart from the subway station–in the uncomfortable shoes. I ended up taking a longer route than I intended. Got distracted by an open air market I had not seen before.

I also noticed that the bridges over Anyang River have flowers on them. I got to E-Mart and went to the section where they sold sleep masks. My sleep masks wear down after three months, and I really need them. The sun blares into the apartment at 4:30 A.M. these days. Yet it looks like either E-Mart has stopped selling them, or they’ve moved them to some obscure location. I searched much of the four-level store and couldn’t find them.

I gave up and went to the bus stop. Feet killing me. Again, there were no seats on the bus, so I stood the whole way back.

I did get to play more computer games. Woo hoo! My weekend is complete!

Today’s Engrish sign:

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