Sunday, May 31, 2009

i am sick. and still i am at work. i tried to ask off. i said "i would like to take the day off" and he said "you can take the day off" and then proceeded to tell me all of the reasons why i couldn't actually take the day off. one of the reasons was because they didn't have any lessons planned for me, which when do they ever? i feel like crap and can barely speak. it hurts to eat, so i haven't. i just want to go to sleep.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

oh discordia

i finished "shalimar the clown" the myself. oh, it's saturday night. you see, i'm terribly popular and i meet people really easily...=(

i learned the alphabet yesterday. it's really fun. it's kind of stressful though because now i try to read everything even if i don't understand it. when english words are spelled with korean characters, it's called konglish...there's a place near where i live that i now know the name of. i read it and it's called "psycho tea." it makes me want to go there now. so i'm glad i got it out of the way and can progress in learning what little of the language i can retain.

another concert in seoul tomorrow, maybe more videos. i have pictures to put up as well, but not tonight i'm afraid.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

absent friends

so i'm going to try to post more. i am having the blogger's existential crisis of "it's not like anyone reads this anymore" etc. but i'm waiting for a new media player to download so i can watch some anime w/a funky file format. who posts videos in .mkv files?

my friend adam quit his school the other day. it was a story i myself was familiar with...that story being: korean boss pays you and feels that treating you like s*** is acceptable. so he quit. he's staying around for a while though, at least long enough to see some world cup qualifiers in june and then i suppose he's off to japan for a bit before he goes home. this is the thing i've been talking about, people come and go and so you feel like stability isn't possible. so we went and had bibimbab tonight and then went to the batting cages. there are batting cages everywhere in korea and i found out i'm quite good. i could be better of course, but i almost never miss the ball. tell hoot fisher that i don't know about 100mph, but i can get 80mph 9 out of 10 balls and so the batting cage challenge is still on when i get back.

i would post pictures, but i haven't taken any in a while. i think i'm becoming desensitized to the place and am forgetting that i will want to look at these pictures one day. i think "oh, that's a nice _____, but they have nice _____ everywhere." so i'm trying to live like a normal person and make this my home and no one takes pictures of their home all the time. i'm going to record some this weekend and soon i'll have finished my first korea e.p. entitled "what hath god overwrought?" it will hopefully include a lot of the random instruments i've picked up here: ocarina, melodica, alto recorder, and various percussive things. maybe if i set a deadline then it will get done in a more timely fashion...oh well, off to bed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

death by pop

so i thought i would post some of the music that i am constantly immersed in. i think that korea has about 4 or 5 songs at any given time. these songs are played so much EVERYWHERE that even those of us who can't speak korean can sing along. people blast these songs out of their cars and store fronts. on any given day, i could hear all of these songs 2 or 3 times. i don't mind it though. i love them for some reason. so i've decided to share some of these songs with you.

this song is definitely my favorite korean song. i put the video w/the subs on because the lyrics are adorable. be careful, it is infectious. the second song i find really annoying, but it too is catchy and gets stuck in my head a lot. the third song is really popular right now. the fourth song is everywhere i go i feel like...i can't avoid the lollipop song...and the last one is an advert for a cell phone. i only ever saw this video before movies and i LOVE the song...i think i probably went to a movie just to see this song. when it would come on and i was with friends, i would sing along in the theater.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

maigo wa sora ni migoto na kinoko no kumo

i went to insadong this weekend and bought a midi keyboard. i suppose i'll use it eventually to make horrible synth music. i got lost for a while, but i ultimately found my way to one of the few music stores in the country. it was easily the best music store i've ever been to. rows and rows of shops. window after window of fun things. i almost bought a ukelele instead, but i figured the keyboard would be more useful.

i often go through periods when i am "in a mood." right now, i would say i am in one of those periods. i spent a few hours today reading "shalimar the clown," which is a book about kashmir and the clashing of culture that occurs there in relation to the west (of course it was written by salman rushdie)...i don't know what the book said, but whatever it was has been with me all day. i think with "satanic verses" there is definitely a clear mantra ("what kind of idea are you?") and it's a question that demands answering (along w/the follow up question: "what do you do when you win?") "shalimar the clown" doesn't have anything like that, but it has left me with a sense of futility. the thing i keep hearing in it is: "what is the point of wanting anything?" i don't know for sure what my answer is, and maybe it's because i'm a bit down right now, but my answer goes something like this: desire/want was created in order to humiliate us in the purest sense of the word. well...maybe it still holds both the man in the chariot whispering in your ear "you are but a man," desire serves the same purpose...and yes, i think it also serves to while that is a short answer on what i think wanting/desire does, i think that the "point" of it is that it's pointless...unless you categorize your life into a series of successes and failures, which seems pretty depressing in and of itself when the numbers are added up. i don't want to want anything anymore. i just don't want to be disappointed anymore.

somehow though, a few pages of a book influenced my mood wildly hours after i had put it away. this is how crazy people think. it's so frustrating because i keep deleting things and i keep trying to sound coherent and explain what i mean because it makes sense in my head, but not in blog form. how do you explain that the thought of "mantras" occurred to you this afternoon as you were walking home from homeplus in suwon, korea and a phrase kept repeating in your head that you hadn't read anywhere...that it was just a sentiment snatched out of the air...and the phrase makes you want to turn off? i am waiting for the sound of rollerblades behind me. i want the last year of my life to have been a dream.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

the magic of a kind word

it feels like my job just got much better. they fired the woman i was having so many problems with. it's an incredible relief. they said that they finally realized that she was the cause of all of the drama occurring at work. so to celebrate we all went out to get barbecue (which is korean for "cook your food over some coals" and not what we think of as bbq). korean barbecue is an especially long meal when in a large group of people...especially when alcohol is involved and there was plenty of that. it seems that our bosses thought that wednesday night was the perfect night to have a celebration involving soju.

i snuck out around 9 or so. in korea, everyone leaves at once and it is frowned upon to leave early (or to decline the request to attend a pseudo mandatory work dinner). i met up w/briana and a guy we had a met a few weeks ago and had a beer or two. at some point or another, i guess it was around 10:30, they decided i needed to either a)go get whore or b)at least go look at the whores with them. i can't quite explain how it got there...the guy we met told us about this street that's just lined w/sliding glass doors w/"the most beautiful women" etc. well, briana took my cell phone and said she'd give it back once we were in a cab on the way to whore street and that i would be home in bed by midnight. i stole my phone back and called rachel...
me: rachel, please call briana and tell her i don't want a whore
me: briana wants me to get a whore
rachel:it's a new country with new experiences
me:but i don't want a whore!
rachel: oh like you've never had a prostitute before
this last sentence was said w/complete sincerity. we went to whore street and there were whores alright. i'm not going to say that none of them were good looking, but they were not the pearls of the orient or anything. somehow this led to us having another beer and me getting home much later than midnight. when i got to work, i noticed the light on in the school and my boss and 3 other coworkers were drinking water and having a bonding time talking about the lady they just fired. she even apologized to me about everything which was nice. vindication,etc. so i'm running on fumes today. good luck, me.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

a brief apology and then a story

so one of the many reasons i came to korea was to work on writing a book. i fished this out and decided that i would begin to work on it again this week. if you've not read it yet, feel free to criticize it. if you have, then you can ignore what follows. the story is rough at best as plot points have been boiling over in my head for the past few months...but i think i have enough of it to sit down and write it all. i certainly need to re-read genesis and i've recently gone through "paradise lost" again...but i am one of those people who can rework something infinitely and never be anything you read here will almost certainly change.

to those of you who will be offended by what i've written, don't be. understand that i am simply attempting to give a pseudo-humorous retelling of adam and eve, which i find to be one of the more fascinating stories ever told...and i am invested in it. i am also writing a letter. most likely, this letter is not addressed to you. the dialogue is stilted and is attempting to be in the style of something along the lines of a morality play or a medieval drama (which are distinguished by their lack of subtlety).

the point of the story (the whole book i'm writing) is very vonnegutian in nature. it is something like this: everything is so fucked up. i believe i read vonnegut say that in an essay from "palm sunday" recently. did adam and eve simply walk out of the garden and forget or did they regret it for the rest of their lives and think about it every waking moment? the story of adam and eve is about the greatest loss ever sustained, at least, i think it is. the bible talks about the alienation from God which follows sin, but it does not really address the alienation that adam and eve must have certainly felt from one another. i imagine that it was trying on their marriage. so the song is in the key of regret and the profound helplessness that goes along with it. so as for my story, i will not say that i have written it well and i certainly think it is a bit of garbage right now, but that's why i will rewrite it again and forgive the errors as well. -j.

chapter 1

In the beginning, there was void and the void became voice and it said, “let there be light.” The LORD cast forth cosmic spittle with these words and thus all creation began. It wasn’t quite so haphazard as all of that though. He had in fact set aside a grand natural amusement park on a tiny far-flung ball of dirt, which he ultimately knew would be more trouble than it was worth. In this magical garden, he placed all sorts of ridiculous looking and impractical creatures. This was his sixth time doing this sort of thing which is a very conservative amount of universes to make considering how long he had been alive: always. His other experiments had all gone terribly awry and quite honestly, he had grown weary in his attempts.
This time though, God said to Himself “Let’s make a creature in our own image.” And so God made Adam. Adam was a fleshy pink thing with neatly cropped hair and sideburns that would not become popular for millions upon millions of years.
“Hello, Adam.” God said.
The pink man looked around and then back at God and asked,
“You,” God said, “Your name is Adam. I created you.”
“So what does that mean?” the ruddy man asked.
“That you are created, that you are you.” God said.
“But what does that mean? What does it mean, that I am me?”
Adam asked with no idea that this very simple question would plague his kind for their entire existence. And even though God had clearly answered his question already, He and Adam engaged each other in a conversation about existentialism that lasted many days and nights. On the fourth day of the talk, Adam briefly became an atheist, but he ultimately resolved to continue believing in his new friend. In the end though, God changed the topic of conversation, finding this strain of thought to be entirely unhelpful.
“You hungry?” God asked as he tossed a banana to Adam. “Open it from the bottom; it’s easier that way. That’s how I taught the monkeys to do it and they’ve had very few problems with it.”
Adam had indeed noted the monkey and though there were many variations, he knew them by their rowdiness. A grimace passed along his face as he thought of the loud, malodorous, and often times condescending monkeys. He felt that he could eventually adjust to the monkeys and their shit-throwing shenanigans, but they certainly did not give off a good first impression. He did as he was told and ate the banana. He found it to be very delicious.
God had given Adam a tour around the garden Eden and had showed him the various animals. However, God did not tell Adam what the names of the animals were.
“No, no…I’ve already had my fun,” said God benevolently. “Go ahead, you can name them. What about that funny looking fellow over there?” God pointed to a large orange feline with a white belly and black strips pouring from the top of its back. God had always thought of this animals as a “tiger,” but He felt that He would give Adam the joy of naming since God had already gotten to do so much. “Let him be me for a day,” the LORD thought.
“I can name him anything I want?” Adam asked boyishly.
“Of course, son!” God said, obviously enjoying this exchange.
“Then I name the orange one...a MAMOOT!”
Adam was joyful at naming something and danced over to the mamoot to pet him and feed him bananas. God furrowed his brow and felt inwardly disappointed. He felt guilty for feeling disappointed. For had He not told the boy he could name the animals whatever he liked? “But ‘mamoot?’ Where did he get such a non-word? ‘Tiger’ simply sounds better,” God thought.
“Mamoot, would you like another banana? Mamoot, are you listening to me?”
The mamoot rolled onto his back, yawning and stretching his frame across the perfect green lawn in disinterest. He was having none of it, but Adam was in no danger, for the LORD had created all of the animals as tame and as vegetarian as house rabbits.
“Mamoot, shall I rub your belly?” The mamoot allowed for this and found it quite wonderful. He had not yet had the pleasure of a good belly rub and it seemed that belly rubbing activated a motor within him which caused him to let out low, tremulous, rolling sounds. The mamoot and Adam were friends from that day on.
“Do you like the name I made, father?” Adam was too joyful. He was giddy and God found that He could not break the news to him: that this animal was obviously a tiger.
“Oh, I mean…it’s a fine name, Adam…but you know, you don’t have to decide on a name right now. You could maybe think of other names…like tig-“
“Mamoot! Mamoot! Mamoot!” Adam proclaimed, laughing and jumping through the air. God relented, smiling on the pink thing He had made and had enjoyed naming Himself.
“Excellent” God consented, “ We shall call these ‘Mamoots.’”
Many millions of years later, the word “mamoot” would be forgotten along with Adam and eventually the word “tiger” seeped into the collective conscious…somehow.
“This way, Adam. There’s a lot more to show you” God said.
“Alright” said Adam as he waved goodbye to the mamoot. The mamoot was unresponsive.
God led Adam through the garden, pausing occasionally so that Adam could name animals as he went. After an hour, the names Hernü, Flackimaw, Búnta, and Scruffipøm had been given. It took many days and many more animal names until they arrived at their destination. There was a large clearing and in the center of that clearing stood a tree. The tree was not special by any account other than it was the only tree in the garden that produced quinces. God assured Adam later that these were not all that spectacular.
“This tree,” God said, “just don’t eat anything from this tree. Stay away from it in general if that will help you not eat from it. If you like this place, stay away from this tree.”
Adam stared thoughtfully at the quince tree.
“Is it poisonous?” he asked.
“Is it-“ God not wanting to go down this path again told him that He would explain it soon, but it was just important to remember what He had said. Adam nodded acceptingly, thankful for all he had received apart from the quinces, especially for the mamoot…not so much though for the monkeys.
Adam was left to his own devices for a while. He continued naming animals and eating bananas. Slowly, he learned that bananas were not all there was and soon he had a taste for grapes and oranges as well. The boy had also discovered nuts and blackberries but God had not yet revealed the mysteries of the salad to him. As it turns out, Adam would never enjoy lettuce, onions, or tomatoes all that much.
One day as Adam was walking about the garden he saw two creatures. Adam called them “Artillos” while God thought of them simply as “Bears.” They seemed to be awkwardly positioned, one of them on all fours with the other one mounting it. They seemed to engage in a repetitive motion that ended fairly quickly. The one who mounted the other laid down and went quickly to sleep. The one who had been mounted did not seem to appreciate this and pawed at the other as he groaned and rolled over.
“What an odd event…what a strange way to play…” Adam was not sure, but he had a hint of what had just happened. When he was first born, he didn’t notice this behavior, but soon he saw the animals fucking all over the place. They seemed to enjoy it, or at least the males did. It caused Adam to become forlorn and wistful. He too wanted to put his penis into another creature, though it seemed there were no others of his kind. The LORD sensed something amiss and approached Adam.
“What’s wrong?” He asked.
“Nothing…” said a clearly glum Adam with a vacant expression.
“No, no. Come on, you can tell me.”
Adam paused. He sat bare-ass naked, plucking at the grass and tossing it carelessly aside. He was pouting.
“it’s just…all the other animals…they have each other…to you know…”
“No, I don’t. What is it they do?” God asked, really wanting to know the answer.
“You know, they…well, they get on top of each other and it seems like it would be…nice to, you know?” Adam told the creator of everything.
“I see,” God said, His brow furrowed, his head spinning. He knew that every time He had given his creatures sex that they had invariably become slaves to its desires. This was because it was His best creation, the ultimate recreation! However, it almost never made one happy and was almost guaranteed to make one miserable at some point.
“So, you want a mate?” God asked.
“Yes, I suppose that would be nice…” sulked Adam.
“And why, might I ask?”
“Because I am alone…”
“No you’re not! We hang out, don’t we? What about the mamoot? You like him right?” God was practically begging Adam to reconsider. Certainly the LORD would get credit for sex at some point and that was what He was afraid of. “It is too good to remain holy.” God felt this sentiment resonate within him. The ruptured holiness of creation, He knew, was only a matter of time and so the heart of the LORD was broken for the sixteenth time.
“Yes…I am much pleased by the mamoot you have given me. It is a wonderful place and I enjoy our conversations, but…I do not know how, but we are different. Are we not?”
The LORD knew that Adam spoke true and so His heart was changed for the eleventh time. God said to Himself, “It is not good for man to be alone.” And though Adam would be given Eve, he would be alone still…not always, but certainly he would be very alone.
“Very well,” God said, “Lay down, boy. You must go to sleep now…and when you wake up, you will have ‘Woman.’”
“Woman…” invoked Adam, as though he was chanting a word that would open sealed doors…a word that would change him. Boy, would it.
God sat doing nothing for a long time. The mamoot approached to have his belly rubbed by He who made him. God looked at the mamoot.
“Would you like to help?”
The mamoot stood by. God began His work, working from one of Adam’s ribs, more dirt, some mamoot whiskers, and He spoke light into her as He had the whole universe. He rolled the bone, whiskers, dirt, and light about in His hands, multiplying her essence and gifting her with His. When he was done, He looked at the sleeping woman. He was worried, very worried. He had done too well. He had always done too well. This woman was too beautiful.
“She’ll be able to play him like a harp” the LORD thought.
But He was moved by the loveliness of His creation. The holy mother of mankind was born without sin, but that is not how she would die. No two people would ever fall as far as those two. For this world, she would be the second mother, the first being God Himself. Her belly held the secrets of endless variation...and variables, God knew, always fucked things up.
Her very being was physical perfection. The modern man upon seeing her would either run in fear of his life or make a shameless attempt at raping her. Adam was roused awake by the gentle sounds emanating from the form lying next to him. Eve snored. However, it was an ingratiating feature not to be confused with the snores of a morbidly obese man. No, these snores were like childish whispers, sleepy childish whispers.
Adam looked at her long ebony hair. It was nearly waste length and hung across her breasts. Adam then noted he did not have these and that made them all the more appealing. He had no others to compare it to and so he was never fully aware that Eve had quite a nice rack. He traced her features with his eyes and then with his hands. He felt the shape of her nose that made his seem oversized and comical by comparison. Her lips were far more full than his, her neck more slender, her jaw more round, her chest soft and hairless. Her form was all at once more pronounced and less defined than his. Finally, he found the part of her that was certainly not like him. In this case though, it was her lack of something that excited him.
He looked over all of these things with awe and wonder. It was truly the first and only time that a man could say to a woman “You were made for me” and be telling the truth. She was his inverted mirror. She was weak where he was strong. She was beautiful where he was not. She was soft where he was coarse…and he was thrilled by all of it.
“Do you like her?” God asked.
“Yes…very much” Adam whispered reverently, not daring to take his eyes away from her.
“Her name is Eve. Would you like to wake her?”
“Eve…yes. I shall wake her?” he said as if asking permission. It almost seemed wrong that this image of his own completion should ever possess any state other than the one she was currently in.
“Eve…” Adam ran his fingers through her hair, “Eve…wake up.”
She opened her eyes in a slow flutter.
“Hello, Eve,” Adam whispered.
“You,” Adam said, “Your name is Eve and He created you.”
“So what does that mean?” she asked.
“That you are created, that you are you” Adam said.
“But what does that mean? What does it mean, that I am me?” Eve asked.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

you are the place that spaceships merely dream of.

photo 1: mounds of disgusting dried fish. little guppies and what not...but to see them in this setting and not on my lunch plate, they look like mounds of pure silver.
photo 2: this was a streetside fish cookery. rachel bought a piece of fish and it was one of the best tasting fish i'd ever had.
photo 3: this is general view of the market. every shop looked like this one except that it went on for what seemed like miles.

we went to the fish market in busan. when rachel told us that we were going to go (and it was not asking, it was definitely telling) i was not too thrilled, but i must admit that it was well worth it and i had a great time. we went to eat at a fish place but there was no menu for us and ultimately a nice korean guy who spoke english came over and helped us. he asked what we wanted and ordered for us. he said he ordered us 4 different fish, but instead of getting 4 pieces of fish, i'm pretty sure we got 4 different types of fish, but much more than 4 pieces. between the 4 of us, our bill came out to be 4$ each for some really fresh and delicious fish. i don't really recall what we did that evening. at this point, my battery died on my camera and i didn't get to take anymore pictures. ultimately though, one person split off and the remaining three went to an underground market where i bought some converse knock offs called "only star". we then went and saw a movie, a bad one, i won't even tell you the title...but it was pretty horrible. i'm not going to tell you what it was because i knew it was going to be bad...i'm ashamed. after that, everyone crapped out and wanted to sleep. so we ordered pizza and watched tv. the end.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

birthday in busan pt.1

photo 1: rachel, briana, our hostel, roll of toilet paper, preparing ourselves for maximum fun.

my 3 friends and i took a trip to busan last weekend. my birthday happened to fall during this time. i left work after a rather rotten day, we met up w/the girls at the subway station and took the train into seoul. we then boarded the bullet train to busan. the thing apparently goes about 300km an hour. so it only took 3 hours to get to the other side of the birthday happened on the train! we arrived and took a cab to our hotel. the drivers in korea are like stock car drivers. at one point during our journey, he hit 160kmh...roughly 99mph. the 4 of us were laughing and nervous because we realized how easily this man could kill us all. our little hostel was really nice! but it only had one bed and so we had to rotate our sleeping arrangements. but considering, for 3 nights, we only had to pay about 16$ each made it manageable.
photo 2: haeundae beach as i will always remember it.

the next day we went to haeundae beach...which was probably the greatest beach i've ever been to in my life. i've got some pictures to prove it. i've never been to a beach surrounded by mountains before, but as it would turn out, this is the best kind of beach. we then ate fish. the first were gutted and then cooked whole w/all the scales and eyeballs, etc. it was really great! i'd never eaten fish like that before. usually when you order fish you get this sterile piece of boneless meat in front of you, but with this, your fish had a face and certainly had bones if you didn't eat him properly.

photo 3: have you fed the fish?

that night, we drank beer in our hostel room, then in the chicken restaurant, then on the beach, and then at a bar. everyone was very as most cheerful people do when they go to the beach, we bought some fireworks! it is hard to light things at the beach though, due to the constant wind...but we managed somehow and played w/the fireworks for a while. i had mentioned to the group that i wanted to do nori bang/karaoke for my birthday but that it would be great if there were koreans w/us. it just so happens that some korean guys (obviously interested in the girls) started talking to us on the beach.we went out w/them to a bar and they bought us beer and then tagged along w/us to nori bang. one of them was named "mistayoo" and he told us his english nickname, which was forgettable and so i gave him a new nickname: Mr. U. i told him it made him sound like a gangster and he acted so incredibly happy. he said "me?! gangster!? thank you!!!"it was fun, but something was bothering briana. it seems that she had become uncomfortable when she saw the guys "choosing" which of the girls they were going after. she didn't want to say anything because she wanted me to have fun. how thoughtful, briana!

photo 4: fun w/fireworks

i really needed a break from work...i'm ready to be done w/this's not that i hate the teaching aspect so much as i hate my work environment. the trip has made me grateful for having good friends here. so here's to padraig, briana, and rachel!
photo 5: padraig, briana, rachel, me and my sunburn.