Monthly Archives: September 2009

Things The World Needs More Of

Here are some things that we need more of in the world:

– French people who make black metal

– French people who make movies

– French people who write stories.

– Norwegian people who make black metal.

– Norwegian people who write stories.

– Norwegian people who do not make films because inevitably they would be inferior to the films that French, Swedish, Korean and Iranian people made.

– Homosexual writers and poets and playwrights

– Monks who learn Kung Fu

– Monks who read philosophy in the original Latin

– Hardcore kids in California that later become monks (??? Jorge will have to explain this one)

– We need moar, moar, MOAR qaturdays

– Jamaicans who make Reggae

– Jamaicans who make movies about people who make reggae

– Koreans who look like Bjork

– we need more Media

– we need to find a way to relocate all of my old friends into Hwigyeongdong, Seoul, South Korea.

-We need more Europeans who practice circumcision (seriously, guys, get on the boat; it isn’t funny or cute anymore to be like that)

– We need more cows for me to eat.

– We need more high fives

– We need more Minnesota Vikings

– We need more young people who sign up to serve their country in the military or in the peace corps, or in the monastery or on the streets, saving the scene, from the forces of evil.

– We need sacred agreements of respect — not respect that extends beyond the simple fact that we are polite to each other, but respecting one another enough to not aggravate each other.

– We need more teachers and smaller classrooms. It’ll make kids better students, I think.

– We need more people who go to other countries and live there for a bit.

– We need a conservative comedian besides Sarah Palin

– More fantasy novels

– More fantasy novels translated into Korean.

– We will always need more music.

–  we need this more often:

Crab Goalkeeper (Kani Goalkeeper) is a Japanese film directed by Minoru Kawasaki starring Hiroshi Fujioka and Naoto Takenaka.

The film documents the life of an oversized crab who is hired by a soccer team as a goalkeeper.

The film has been described by Kawasaki as being ‘like Forrest Gump, but with a crab’.

The film was featured on a BBC documentary ‘Japanorama‘ in October 2006.

– We need more Indian, Thai and Mexican food at like everywhere, all the time, at a 50% discount.

– We need more Rock Operas

– We need a new kind of seasoning for beef that gives it a more snappy taste. Beef is excellent. If we could do it a little different, it would be even better.

– We need more free trade agreements

– We need less AIDS and more more low budget horror films.

– More jobs

– More ways to skin a cat

–  More soccer in the USA

– More drummers. There would be like 100 more underground rock bands in Seoul alone if we just knew someone who could play the goddamn drums.

We’re Foreigners, Not Fools

The majority of the time everything here transpires very smoothly but because of assumptions about you as a foreigner sometimes nothing goes right. I’ve noticed that as long as my transaction involves giving someone money, they will work with me whether it is taking a passport number over an Alien Registration Card number or personally searching out an ATM that accepts foreign cards.

However, sometimes you get snubbed.

I had a buddy who was told “You do not have gas for your apartment, yet, so you cannot heat the water for the showers.” It was summer, so he didn’t bother to go and get gas because it was hot and he could save money. He just bought a microwave and went forward with it.

3 months later… He gets a gas bill. Needless to say, he is surprised. He calls his landlord and instead of being mad that the landlord lied to him he simply said, “Hey, it turns out I have gas… Could you tell me how to work it?”

“It’s easy. Ask your friend.”

“Oh, uh… OK… Bye.”

He gets over a few Korean friends; he quickly learns how to work the stove but he still doesn’t have any clue how to work his heating. His friends can’t figure it out — they hit ‘목욕’ but the water never gets warm. A few friends later someone says “Oh,  yeah, just turn the heat up to 27 or 30 degrees fahrenheit and wait 15 minutes.”

Sure enough… It worked. But the landlord never bothered to (a) tell him he had gas and (b) tell him, simply, how it works.

I will say, though, that my Landlord is SUPREMELY awesome. We talked was six months ago when she said “Oh, you need me to sign up for internet in my name because you wont get your alien registration card until your other visa expires in July? Oh, sure, that’s fine. I will go to your house tomorrow and get the internet set up. No problem.”

I once called about having no hot water and she immediately came to the complex, flipped some switch, and 15 minutes later she explained my gas had accidentally been turned off and it’s fine.  Some people are excellent.

But back on the topic: other small things that annoy me are when people do not read out prices for me…

I buy a milk, some eggs and some cheese and after they ring it up they look at me dumbfounded. I have 10,000 won in my hands that I know will cover it but there’s just something inside of me that wants them to say HOW MUCH THEY ARE TAKING. Prices are nice. I do not like having to start subtracting the amount given back from 10,000 every time.

Assuming I have zero knowledge of the language just makes me prompt you with a question and now no one is comfortable because you aren’t doing your job.

I also do not like it when people speak me to me in English and I get the impression that is the language they are functional in then when I ask for an extra beer glass for a friend who just arrived I get an extra beer; or if I ask for something listed on the menu in English as “Vegetables & Sausage” I get a separate order of some vegetable dish and sausages.

If you are not functional in this language… Please at least try to communicate back what I ordered so I know if I just ordered 20,000 won worth of stuff I do not want because you cannot differentiate between “One Mixed Vegetables  and One Sausage” and the individual dish “Vegetables & Sausage.”

It is hard to be so mad about it because I know they do it out of the desire to be helpful but it is also done out of the assumption of our own ignorance.

I do not appreciate being assumed to be ignorant.

I think it is time to enact a new policy with strangers — I am a young Polish gentleman who speaks no English.

No more extra beers and 20,000 won worth of crappy sidedishes.

Lastly, I know how to work the subway machine that recharges my card. I do not desire to feel like a 4 year old child because you insist on aiding me in the process of recharging my subway card. This has only happened to me twice but each time I cannot help but feel as if I am viewed as a helpless child — I always try to insist that I am fine but for whatever reason that makes them only more adamant in their desire to buy me a ticket.

45% Doctors Would Consider Quitting…

If we pass the healthcare reform bill, according to IBD:

45% Of Doctors Would Consider Quitting If Congress Passes Health Care Overhaul

News Analysis by IBD
| Posted Tuesday, September 15, 2009 4:30 PM PT

Two of every three practicing physicians oppose the medical overhaul plan under consideration in Washington, and hundreds of thousands would think about shutting down their practices or retiring early if it were adopted, a new IBD/TIPP Poll has found.

The poll contradicts the claims of not only the White House, but also doctors’ own lobby — the powerful American Medical Association — both of which suggest the medical profession is behind the proposed overhaul.

It also calls into question whether an overhaul is even doable; 72% of the doctors polled disagree with the administration’s claim that the government can cover 47 million more people with better-quality care at lower cost. Continue reading

College Student Kills Burglar W/ Sword

This was a really charming article… Of course, it would be ideal if he did not die but at the end of it the idea of someone defending their home with a sword has a certain appeal to any D & D player:

A Johns Hopkins University student armed with a samurai sword killed a suspected burglar in a garage behind his off-campus home early Tuesday, hours after someone broke in and stole electronics.

Rice was crouching beneath a counter, police said. The student asked him what he was doing and threatened to call police.

“When he said that, the suspect lunged at him, kind of forced the kid against the wall, and he struck him with the sword,” Guglielmi said.

Source Of Racism & Other Thoughts

I go with Erik H. Erikson’s main idea:

Humans are composed with two identities: Personal and cultural.

In modern society, people feel increasingly deprived of cultural identity as we have become overly individualized. In looking for an identity they cannot look to that many contemporary cultural practices.

This problem is most distinct amongst modern caucasians and african-Americans. Modern caucasians because we do not celebrate much besides religious traditions, and modern african-americans because they were taken out of Africa and any attempt to celebrate African cultures seems fundamentally contrived as they have no idea even if they came from that cultural group or not.

Thus, people resort to inflating a sense of cultural identity through whatever means they can.

This is also why you see people who are primarily Irish-American or Jewish-American or Russian-American with affinities for their heritages — they do have something more concrete to cling onto. And one can note, none of these groups have been associated with racial oppression but rather the victims of it, thus making them safe to be. Whereas, being proud to be a German-American or a German immediately makes people throw up red flags…

This, alone, would not necessarily produce a racist.

What goes on next is a feeling of persecution, real or imaginary, that causes a person to now embrace racism.

I once saw a German heritage program in North Dakota (locally produced), and it seemed like the majority of the programming had to be prefaced with giant apologies to all of the world… It detracted from the program, and it seemed to hammer home this idea: The only way you can be proud to be a German American is if you preface it with an apology and a sense of guilt.

MOreover, blacks do experience racism. Naturally, not from every non-black, but from enough that it becomes a problem in their lives. As someone who has experienced racism I would say the dirtiest part about it is that it produces a sense of hatred at the people who are racist towards you.

I do not remember every person on the street that walks by, uncaring, or every person who demonstrates curiosity in me in a positive way — but I do remember everyone who purposefully bumps into me or who glares at me. These feelings make me feel like the system is stacked against me when, in reality, I do know that if I work hard I can overcome. But, when feeling bitter and hateful towards those who try to be my stumbling blocks, I become distracted and prone to extremist thoughts. Continue reading

I Remember Back In The Day

I remember the good old days; I look back with nostalgia and pride. Pride of my accomplishments, no matter how petty, and proud to have done it in a distinguished way. I remember what we did — you are my heart’s blanket, keeping it warm when the spirit turns cold.

I’ve seen a lot of things change. I’ve seen a lot of things be created and a lot of things fall apart, often at their own hands. I have a fair share of regrets only because I know I could have done some things better.

I feel a great love for all of my friends and family that have brought me up to be a better person, and I even have love for those of you who were there making it worst. I know your intentions were pure. You need no excuses or explanations.

The hardest part of the day is going to bed alone. When the books cannot lull me to sleep; when anxiety creeps up into the chest and constricts the throat with worry, impairing the clear thinking of the mind. When I recollect those good memories and feel a sense of despair that it will never be the same again.

I sometimes see us meeting and shaking wrinkled hands 40 years from now. Stories flooding back, eyes burning, full of the tears of joy and tears of regret — regret we didn’t get to always be with one another, that we spent so much time apart.

Sometimes we feel pathetic, isolated; alone. A beast licking wounds. I have such great memories with people who are now spread out through four continents. Friends you cannot replace. I have almost felt sometimes that this was a mistake — why make friends that are just for a season? But no, it could never be a mistake.

The heart is a cradle of sweet memories of sunshine and beer, punk rock shows; 1 AM taxi rides to avoid the military police. Sitting about my room, talking; joking. Indian dinners. Samgyeopsal. Basements. Classrooms. Jjimjilbangs. Rollercoasters. Packing 30 souls into a tiny bar, no one in a hurry to leave, everyone together until our eyes were bloodshot and we couldn’t stay awake any longer. Sometimes we’d pass out in a park or in an ally, shoulder to shoulder to protect one another from whatever may come.

Because of you wherever I go I can call home.

With the joy, comes pain; pain that we no longer are together. For a brief time we lived side by side as members of a tribe, of a cult. It was nice.

Thoughts On Parenting

I met a lot of people who seem diametrically opposed to being parents and have given me some rants about why; either that, or they do not seem excited at the prospect.

Oddly, for a while I have looked forward to the idea of being a parent in the sense that I feel it is an almost necessary and fulfilling journey in a parent’s life. Of course, there are the very practical considerations of not wanting to die alone, etc.

But I also feel that one can understand oneself better by having an intimate observation of childhood from an adult’s perspective, and furthermore, by having a parent I will insure a sense of responsibility that can straighten me out a bit further. I do not want to be doing at age 40 exactly what I do at age 20, and I figure how unfulfilling it would be, even if I was successful in my other endeavors, to have no one to truly share it with.

I also do not believe romantic love can sustain a relationship endlessly and that children almost become a necessity to attach new and deeper meaning to a relationship.

Of course, I also have the arrogant view that I could afford children a unique upbringing. I have a lot of unique perspectives and good life experiences; I feel like I could encourage kids towards better paths.

When I have done some teaching of teenagers in English I have found that I can also have good, positive influences; I have several stories about this, and I felt like my position as an American can be beneficial.

I think I would want to raise children in a place like Korea, China, etc.

The societies, as far as I understand them, have the right ingredients to make amazing people: the dichotomy of poor and rich is strong, the amount of crime and social issues span the whole gamut, an influence of religion and/or atheism on the society that would be educational in and of itself. The generational differences in Korea, China and Poland would also be interesting as the memories of much different societies have not been erased. Continue reading

Thanks For Running A Terrible Business, Guys

So I am buying chewing tobacco on the Army base after band practice; I am in a rush. However, it is not a hard choice…

There are two chewing tobacco brands being displayed: Copenhagen and Skoal Original loose portion. Since there are only two choices, I merely ask for ‘Two Skoals, please.’ I immediately pay for it and pocket the two tins that were placed one on top of the other…

I later find out he has given me one Skoal Original loose portion and one Skoal Wintergreen Pouches.

Please, tell me how on Earth you run such a retarded business?

“Let’s only display two brands… And when they ask for the displayed brand, let’s give him two of that same brand, but of entirely different styles.”

I despise pouches style. It rubs me the wrong way.

But thanks, retard.

Next time I go back I am going to ask for the same thing, check the two tins he gives me, and if he messes it up I will kindly point out to him his terrible mistake, and hope he feels the burning hotness of shame that a bad worker should feel.

Soul Destroying Egalitarianism

“The egalitarian mania of demagogues is even more dangerous than the brutality of men in gallooned coats… Anyone who has been oppressed can get back on his feet if the oppression did not cost him his life. A man who has been equalized is physically and morally ruined.” – Ernst Jünger (March 29, 1895 – February 17, 1998)

It is hard to fully understand what Junger is saying when he says this; rather, it is knowledge that only a few can relate to.

The luxury of the rich and the privileged is they already have a maintained set of pride and face; they can feel free to attempt to coddle the impoverished with socialism and turn is into infantile victims. They want to become our parents — parents we do not need. They want to be our providers — providers we do not need.

The most insidious figures in politics are the celebrities with their millions of dollars who campaign for us to get more help from the government; they are so miserable even with their own wealth they have to attempt to adopt we the people as their Holy Cause. We all become one of Madonna or Angelina Jolie’s third world children to put on display for their feel good charities.

The blessing of the impoverished is the struggle of their journey and the meaningfulness of that plight; the beauty of the common man is his attempts to become uncommon and distinguished, and it is in the simple joys that he receives from a simplistic existence.

All of our accomplishments are our own.

Egalitarianism from this angle is wrong if it goes any further than providing a level playing field.

But what is most disgusting concerning egalitarianism is the morally reprehensible collectivism that threatens to crush the individual. The attempt to join us together, ever and ever closer, to steal our personal identities in the name of a higher cause. We join together — but not out of choice. Out of perverse elections we give power to men who seek more power to control our lives; you vote my rights away every time that you elect a socialist who has a better idea on what to do with my money than I do. Continue reading

Venezuela Turning Protesting Into A Crime

Chavez seems to have something new and wonderful every week for us. One could blog exclusively about the antics of the demagogue-in-chief.

He is a watered down reinterpretation of the Soviet Union:

Venezuela’s top prosecutor said Saturday that recent street protests were legally tantamount to “rebellion” against President Hugo Chavez’s government and that demonstrators will now be charged.

The dramatic move by Attorney General Luisa Ortega capped a week of huge street protests, mostly directed against a new education law that critics say is politically charged. Continue reading