Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Wire -- Season 1, Episode 2 (The Detail)

I'm in. Maybe I'm easy that way, but whatever. The pilot had me intrigued; episode 2 had me hooked.

Despite its flaws (of which there are many), "The Detail" more than made up for it with an equal number of fantastic scenes, and that's not even counting the fact that Avon Barksdale looks like a darker version of CL Smooth.

Time to catch wreck with The Creator:

What I liked:

- It's raining glass, and TV sets, in the projects...Asshole Lawyer smacking the illegitimate love child of Charlie Villanueva and Sebastian Telfair upside the head (which is not to say I'm on Asshole Lawyer's side, rather the opposite*; you go, Charbastian Villanfair)...The Drawing of the Threeesque "it's only the second episode, and already we're FUBAR" angle...Red hats...drinking in motor vehicles**, which seems to be a recurring theme...The bureaucratic shit in the ep's 2nd half.

What I didn't like:

The bureaucratic shit in the ep's 1st half...The Scorseseesque/post-The Lost World Spielbergesque low illumination in a couple of scenes. Been there, watched that...The Chicken McNuggets theory. I complained about some of the dialogue in ep 1; mercifully this was the only dialogue exchange in ep 2 that made me cringe. But it was pretty bad like two women mud wrestling...If I never watch a television or film character woken up by a phonecall, followed by that character saying shit like "Really? When?" then followed by that character's wife waking up right after he hangs up and asking "Who was that?" it'll be too soon. Someone call the cliche police, there's a dead horse in the hospital...Apparently someone was on the same page with me as far as Dominic West twitching and touching his face too much in the pilot, and asked him to dead that shit; only problem is, this ep his face barely moves, so now he looks like a post-op cosmetic surgery patient. Please, Mr. West, try to strike an emotive accord between an MS sufferer and the ornamental masks I have hanging on my office wall***. Please?

* Furthermore, neither do I believe that all lawyers are assholes. Or Jewish.

** Stationary, mind. Word to MADD.

*** Little known fact: I own no ornamental masks (none not made of human skin, anyway), nor do I have an office. Not a real one like Fonzi's, anyway.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Wire -- Season 1, Episode 1 (The Target)

As mentioned in last Friday's post, I bought The Wire season 1 on DVD a few weeks -- months? These days my memory is as swiss cheesed as Dr. Sam Beckett's -- ago. I saw it for sale at The Big Gay E-Mart, and was prompted to purchase it for reasons threefold: first, I recalled the (I ain't Mad no more) Skillz song "04 Rap Up" and its verse "Hottest show on TV? Hands down, that would have to be The Wire"; second, the best b-ball blog on Le Internet, Free Darko, had an article last summer praising it similarly, though in greater detail; and third, Bill Simmons bigged it up a month or two ago in one of his (increasingly, exponentially disappointing) columns. Like Jack Horner, The Sports Guy sucks now anyways, but I still tend to find myself agreeing with him on matters roundball and media, and that basically sealed the deal. Word to Monty Hall.

So here's the plan: from time to time I'm going to post some thoughts on HBO's gritty series about law enforcement and drug dealers in crime-infested Baltimore, give you my take on whether The Wire truly is an outstanding (cable) TV drama. Then I'm going to go to the mall and pick up the new Wilco album, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I hear it's terrific.

Thoughts on episode 1:

Maybe it's because I'm drunk and stupid, but the first ep was confusing like a gorgeous lesbian. Mostly because it took me a while to figure out exactly which level of law enforcement each cop character represented, and when they became all "Avengers assemble!" at the episode's conclusion I was still unsure how, exactly, everything came together. Maybe that's my fault, but I don't think so. I think the show's writers are to blame. (But it did make the story seem more real. It's definitely not dumbed down. You know, for stupid people such as myself.)

I'd probably be a lot less in the dark were I to watch the first episode again, but who wants to do that with episodic television? I want to get through the first season and then determine whether or not it's worth it to check out season 2.

Still, for a pilot it was very good, perhaps even great. Some of my favorite things -- word to Julie Andrews -- about "The Target":

- The opening shot of trails of blood, iridesced blue and red by the flash of police lights, was cool. Like, Hey! That looks like an electric wire! Now it looks like blood! I appreciate shit like that. I like my symbolism spoon-fed.

- Dominic West -- who, in addition to episode 1 of The Wire, was also in another Episode I. Try not to hold that against him -- is a good leading man, even though he appears to have graduated from the post-Robert De Niro school of "touching and wrinkling one's nose as a suitable method of emoting."

- It's always nice to see Leo Fitzpatrick. It's doubly nice when he's playing a junkie who gets the shit kicked out of him three ways from Sunday, though I'll admit that Schadenfreude stems from my inability to not project onto him his character Telly from Larry Clark's Kids when watching any of his other film or TV roles.

- I like the dialogue. I think. Maybe it's trying too hard to sound cool (see: opening scene, "You got to. This is America, man," which, while perhaps alluding to the show's theme, is cookie-cutter ironic for irony's sake*, and makes absolutely no sense at all). But I can't really fault the dialogue too much, because that's how dialogue gets his mack on; that's how dialogue scores chicks. Plus, "shit rolls, piss trickles" are words to fucking live by.

- Figure skating + porn = best idea ever. I realize that's not a commentary on The Wire, but it needs to be said. I can't believe it's taken me 28 years to realize this. (PS - I hope to hell I'm not giving Tonya Harding any ideas.)

To be continued...

* That's a paradox! We now return you to your regularly-scheduled 10th-grade English class.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Psychedelic Literati -- Sparkles

We here at Psychedelic Kimchi are all

(depraved perverts)

extremely well-read, yet rarely on this site have I or any of my handsome cohorts expounded deeply on literature, a subject close to all of our (cold, cruel) hearts. Why? I'm not sure. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that 90% of expatriates in Korea can't read*. 'Member my -- unfinished -- serial review of Capote's In Cold Blood? You don't? Then, in a way, I just proved my point. I did so.

Look, I can't force you to read this**, either, much in the same way I can't make everyone who visits this site and isn't interested in God's sport (aka basketball) read my NBA-related posts, nor can I hope to

(convert the wicked)

change your mind on matters literary; but since that has never stopped me before, I don't plan on stifling my "write about shit that I think is cool" muse now. (As an aside, 'Melo for MVP? I like the sound of that.)

The original plan, envisioned many moons ago, was to have a back-and-forth discussion with TMH on the works of Ernest Hemingway. As you probably know already, I'm not a fan. But I wanted to try, I wanted to at least do that (word to R.P. McMurphy). I wanted to try to get Hemingway. I realize that may be impossible, but I also realize that it's quite ignorant to go on and on about how Joe Novelist is overrated/talentless when one doesn't do their utmost to make an effort and try to understand why he or she has brought joy to so many with his or her words. (However, as another aside, V.C. Andrews can rot in hell.)

I'd still like to take on that task, but somewhere along the way Idealjetsam/B.A. Baracus entered the picture with his belief that Fyodor Dostoevsky was a hack writer***, and I thought maybe we could have ourselves a 3-way literary discussion cage match. Only problem was, I'm unaware that I hate any of Idealjetsam's favorite authors.

But the whole point of this was to remain civil, and thus really have a meaningful discourse on the books we love and hate. We are all passionate individuals, but we're also gentlemen. And as such, I'm confident enough to promise, no discussions of literature amongst the Psychedelic Kimchi braintrust can possibly turn into pseudo-intellectual dick waving, the pretentious version of "my dad can beat up your dad."

What I want to do, essentially, is talk books. This post is going to be a (brief) refutation of two separate comments by THM and Bad Name, but that doesn't mean follow-up posts by my esteemed colleagues have to be. In fact, perhaps they shouldn't; that way it makes me look like I'm right.

One final thing before I set it off: I've always believed that the main point of books (or any artform) is to stimulate the imagination and thrill the reader with an interesting tale. Pretty radical, right? Reading should not be a chore, especially if you're no longer a student. Simply put, that's why I don't like certain novels and authors, acclaimed or no. James Joyce's Ulysses, I will admit, is a bold approach to writing, but to me it's also an uninspired story, one which cannot be redeemed by its supposedly innovative avant-garde style. I'd rather read Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, a novel similarly esoteric, similarly daringly composed, but, in comparison to Ulysses, a damn fine tale. Bottom line, if one needs to be told why a certain novel (or song, or film...) is great, chances are one will never truly appreciate it anyway. And while it's noble to try, there comes a point where one has to give up and concede that a work of art simply isn't right for oneself****. To do otherwise is to lie to oneself, and people who do that are, in this writer's opinion, infinitely more loathsome than those who just don't know any better. Ignorance is a fault, self-deception is a sin.

That out of the way (you still with me?), I just wanna say:

1) Of Human Bondage is, to me, the most realistic novel I've ever read. Philip Carey is a real person to me. Everything in that book seems real. I know TMH found it boring -- and, yes, I can see how some may find it so --, but I think it's the greatest novel ever written not titled The Brothers Karamazov, mostly because it is so wholly believable. And Mildred, for better or worse, is the best written female character any male author has ever created.

Like Rakim, I could go on for days and days, but since I promised to keep this brief, here's a review by Doug Shaw, whom I agree with 100%:

2) I'm not exactly sure why Idealjetsam keeps insisting that Dostoevsky had such a dour, depressing outlook on existence, because for anyone who has read his works extensively I think it's clear that Dostoevsky believed mostly in the passion of the human heart, the redemption of the soul (figuratively and literally), and the overall goodness of man*****. To be sure, his works are teeming with blackguards and villains (*wink*), but whether his stories' conclusions end in triumph or tragedy, he always exposed the underlying magnificence of hope and altruism within his characters, and was obsessed with -- and believed wholeheartedly in -- the beauty of existence.

Dostoevsky was an optimist, but, thankfully so, one who didn't deny the evils of his time. He never overlooked the cruelty of human beings: he depicted man as a strange animal (word to Lawrence Gowan), a duplicitous, usually base figure -- but always did he did wish for a time when the transgressions of men would cease, always did he dream of a new age.

So while I can perhaps take offense if someone were to posit that F-Dot was a foolish utopist, I'm baffled when someone claims he's a depressing buzz kill.

NB - As my semi-review of Of Human Bondage attests, I love realism in storytelling, but so equally do I appreciate melodrama, and Dostoevsky was somewhat of a master in that regard. He knew the human soul/mind/pancreas like no other writer, but he also had women fainting and coming down with "brain fever" like it was going out of style. Nobody's perfect.

* That is the official statistic. I looked it up.

** Look, boobies! If I get 20 comments, I'll post a Psychedelic Kimochi, um, post every day -- in addition to my regular BS -- for one month. Scout's honor.

*** I hope this doesn't appear too biased or anything, but he totally fucking wasn't.

**** Illmatic, track 7

***** Sorry, people.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Exit Music (For a Film)

Last night

(I dreamed that somebody loved me)

I had the immense pleasure of hanging out with my doppelganger, Kmart. Despite some "issues" which forced us to return to Chez Sparkles prematurely*, a good time was had by two**. Perhaps I'm a man of simple pleasures, but any evening consisting of a discussion on the literary profundity of The Master (aka Fyodor Dostoevsky), copious amounts of a wide variety of alcoholic beverages***, and Walter Hill's The Warriors, is a choice one in my books.

And it was upon watching the closing credits of The Warriors, and hearing Joe Walsh's terrific song, "In the City," that I was reminded of a post I had long ago planned, when men were men and women wore bikinis to the supermarket.

Illmatic track 10 that I love film and music; so, as you can guess, the blending of the two is at times a cathartic experience for me. I'll be honest, I live for three things: sex, basketball, and art. And what I seek most is the climactic rapture of these things, whether they be orgasmic, buzzer beating, or the indescribable magic of aesthetic perfection.

As far as the latter goes, nowhere is it more important to me than the closing theme or song of a film. A great closing song or theme can make a poor movie better -- see: Reloaded: Matrix, The -- and can make a great movie as wonderful as a million tuna sandwiches with the crusts cut off. I'll admit that a lot of films take things too far musicwise, almost appearing as extended music videos, but when done right (the Martin Scorsese/Quentin Tarantino corollary) a good score/soundtrack works as the


icing on the proverbial cake.

And like I said, I live for the final moment**** -- the punch, as it were. So here follows a -- non-comprehensive; yeah, Star Wars, Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark: all are amazing, but time is money, and I can't afford to discard dollars into dumpsters telling you what you already know -- list of some of the greatest closing songs and themes in filmdom, as well as a list of songs which I hope will someday be used as such. Feel free to agree, disagree, or add your own. Seriously, my comments section is a graveyard like Morningside; I'd appreciate the company.

Psychedelic Closing Song Kimochi:

- "It's Hard Out Here For A Pimp," Hustle & Flow

- "Livin' Thing," Boogie Nights

- "We'll Meet Again," Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

- "Stand By Me," Stand By Me

- "Street Fighting Man," V for Vendetta

- "Pet Semetary," Pet Semetary

- "Don't You Forget About Me," The Breakfast Club

- "Dream Person," Chungking Express

- "Big Trouble in Little China," BTinLC

Psychedelic Closing Theme Kimcochi:

- "The Lonely Shepherd," Kill Bill: Vol. 1

- "The Gonk," Dawn of the Dead

- "The Last Waltz," Oldboy****

Psychedelic Closing Song Kimochi Hopefuls:

- "Black Star," by Radiohead

- "Pill," by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

- "Eye," by the Smashing Pumpkins (I know this was on the Lost Highway soundtrack, but I don't believe it's the closing song. I might be wrong.)

- "Someday," by The Strokes

- "There Is a Light That Never Goes Out," by The Smiths


PS - I would be remiss if I didn't mention that

(I need a haircut)

Psychedelic Kimochi alum, the beautiful -- and tall -- Ms. Choi Yeo-Jin (최여진) cold got dissed tonight on 여걸6. I won't go into detail, because for me the grief is still too near (word to Orlando Bloom), but girlfriend was wronged in the worst way. Yeo-Jin, if you're reading (of course you are), I got your back like Thurman Thomas.

(That's how it was and that's how it is.)

* I'll never tell. Word to Kate Hudson and Brittany Murphy

** Make that three. For the first time since our early courtship, my wife is actually to blame for my hangover. I think.

*** Sadly, though, no snake liquor.

**** Then again, don't we all? Don't we all? That's deep like sleep.

*****The most beautiful piece of music ever written, I have to say (again).

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Sweat Lodge

I got nuthin'. Hard to believe, I know, for someone who leads such an interesting, carefree lifestyle*, but it's the truth. Writer's block is a mutha, and it's especially annoying when coupled with constipation.


So, instead of leaving you, Constant Reader**, impatiently waiting for Psychedelic Kimchi zen, what I'ma do is, I'm going to

(get as drunk as a lord)

try to work shit out here (figuratively speaking, of course) and see if I can't turn water into OB Lager.

Peep game:


I love The Great Gatsby like I love my dick size, but no way is it better than Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence. No way...Nas's upcoming album, Hip-Hop Is Dead...The N (wish he'd drop that "...The N" part), may very well be a future classic, but this tracklist doesn't exactly have me itching to cop it. Does Salaam Remi have incriminating evidence against Mr. Nasir Jones or something?...Is HBO's The Wire really that dope? I bought the first season on DVD a few weeks ago, but haven't gotten around to watching a single episode yet...Quick review: Haruki Murakami's collection of career-spanning short stories, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, is a must read for hardcore Murakami enthusiasts, despite containing some mediocre-as-fuck, and one truly abysmal (I'm looking at you, "A Shinagawa Monkey"), selections...My planned 2006-2007 NBA season inaugural post, titled "And I Pack Heat Like I'm the Oven Door," has been postponed indefinitely...And speaking of basketball (last time this post, swears), anyone know if The Bane of My Existence -- aka the new ball -- is for sale in the ROK? 'Cause I'd really like to get my hands on one and write a review about it. Then throw it in front of an oncoming subway...Why is Lee Sa-Bi (이사비) now known as Lee Eon-Jeong (이언정)? I saw her on TV the other day and was like I know I've seen that girl naked before, but where? Tricky, tricky, Ms. Lee...With all due respect to the incomparable TMH, here's my list of The Top 5 Songs Subliminally About Constipation: 1) "Brothers Gonna Work It Out" by Public Enemy, 2) "When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin, 3) "Something's Gotta Give" by the Beastie Boys, 4) "Push It" by Salt-N-Peppa, and 5) "Walk Like an Egyptian" by The Bangles...True story: I was once nearly expelled from junior high for whistling the horn sample from Public Enemy's "Can't Truss It." Subterfuge, dig it...Is there a more annoying sound than the prompt MSN Messenger gives when someone sends you a message? If so, I've yet to hear it...How's this for hypocrisy? Earlier today my wife asked me if I had taken my medication (antibiotics -- interestingly, the same kind prescribed to people suffering from gonorrhea -- to hopefully ensure my face isn't eaten by bacteria/The Ark of the Covenant), and I lied and told her I did. I didn't. My daughter was sitting next to me at the time, and when The Big Nurse went into the kitchen to check the validity of my false claim, I snuck the little girl a crafty wink. Then I got busted for lying***. My excuse for not taking my medicine was this: it makes me queasy. OK; I got off with a warning, promising to take my pills tomorrow and mow the invisible lawn for a million Sundays. But an hour later, the 18th Letter watching Pinocchio on DVD, I was confronted by just how much of a hypocrite I am. The little girl ran up to me, explaining that something was wrong with the titular puppet: his nose was growing at an alarming rate. I sat her down and explained that, indeed, Pinocchio's nose grew, because he had told a lie, and that it is wrong to do so, finishing up with the damning quote "Daddy never tells lies, right? So you shouldn't either." I realize my daughter is still too young to call bullshit on me, but still...I dislike many things (snow, phone solicitations, hard labor), but, perhaps surprisingly so, bicycles fastened to the roofs of vehicles ranks close to the top of the list of things which I disdain. They're aesthetically displeasing. Infuriating, even. This serves as fair warning if I'm ever arraigned for beating a motorist to death with a Schwinn frame...

Time's up. I think we made a lot of progress tonight. Hopefully next session we'll have a solid purpose****. Until then, stay beautiful, keep your braids tight, and your stash tighter.


Fishbowl Fisherman

* Today's lunch consisted of 짜파게티, a glass of grape juice, and a bowl of French vanilla ice cream. It gave me more than enough energy to daydream all day about overthrowing despotic governments with Mandy Moore.

** Hi, Mom.

*** Certainly it wasn't for the first time; nor, I fear, will it be the last. It's a vicious cycle, my friends. I need help. Even my good friend Emilio Estevez thinks so.

**** If you catch my drift.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Scar Tissue/Mutombo

I should have left well enough alone*. I shouldn't have yielded to temptation.

That way, I wouldn't have wound up in the hospital.

[stylist scratching over record]

An explanation: yesterday, upon finishing

(a meatball sub)

work, I returned home to find my wife and daughter out. I smoked a square in the den** (shhhh!), listened to some music (forebodingly, one of the songs was "SPAM" by Milk -- nee D -- and Ad Rock), watched the finale to season 4 of Quantum Leap, then realized I had nothing to do.

This of course is not a rare situation in which I regularly find myself. But instead of tossing off, I opted to toss on my black Nikes and head down to the Tancheon for some sweet basketball love. I hadn't played in nearly two months, and knew that it was probably my last chance to get my fix before Old Man Winter reared his ugly head.

Shit was in full swing when I arrived, but I managed to get into a game of 4-on-4***. Now, I hate 4-on-4 -- too many bodies hanging around the basket. Shit tends to be a crowded house like Don't Dream It's Over.

I played all right (like you care), but my hands were too numb to get into a good shooting rhythm. And if there's one thing I've learned during my short stint as a member of the Seoul Samsung Thunders, it's that if you're not performing well in one area, it's best to switch things up and try contributing in other ways.

So I started to box out and crash the boards like everyone else. Sometimes I'm such a motherfucking conformist.

Then, GEORGE MICHAEL AND ANDREW RIDGELEY!**** Your psychedelic homeboy was clocked like an MLB fastball.

I got hit in the face with an elbow. At first my entire head was numb. I thought that maybe I took one on the nose. Certainly the blood spattering the court was an indication that this was in fact the case. But when I plugged my nostrils to stop the imagined source of the flow, I found my arm was soon as sanguine as Carrie on prom night.

Here's the funny part: there's a hospital close to the court, and it was there I went -- but not for medical assistance, rather to wash off my face in the bathroom and stop the flow -- coming from a nickel-sized gash a half inch below my right eye -- with toilet paper. What can I say, I was a little woozy.

I managed to stop the blood flow, but judging from the wound I knew without a doubt that I would require stitches. (To all my friends, expect to hear me say "How am I gonna get a scar up here eating pussy, meng?" a lot. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.)

So I hopped in a cab, told my wife the situation and asked her to wait outside, and after picking up the Big Nurse and the 18th Letter, Fam Sparkles was headed to Seoul National University Hospital.

A good time was had by all. I got my face sewn up and the little girl got to see a dead man on a stretcher. Beats Disney Land. I can't wait to go back.

As for the owner of The Elbow That Shook Bundang, I never did learn from whom it came. Doesn't matter. For he is not to blame. You and I know where that dubious honor rests.

PS - I'm still pretty.

* Someone erased my contribution to buzzer beating; and while that may help prove that democracy still works on Wikipedia, at what cost? Creativity, that's what cost.

** I like to give my apartment's bourgeois rooms fancy-sounding names. For example, my balcony is the aviary (insects have wings), and "the bathroom" is instead called the Mecca of civilization, culture and influence.

*** I won't even mention the fact that the number 4 is unlucky in Asian culture. Except I just did.

**** I sincerely hope someone out there appreciates that.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Side Project

Flourescent orange, slippery, and unpredictable. Reminds me of a girl I used to date who would cake herself in Bahama Bronze (Spray Tan in a Can). That didn't last long.

There's a place in the world for the angry young man
With his working class ties and his radical plans
He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl
and he's always at home bitching* about the new ball.

* I wanted to use the word "griping," but let's face it, I'm bitching. I hope that doesn't sound too offensive to bitches.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Whither, Brothers Hughes?

First, a paean for the welcome surprise I received this morning upon opening Psychedelic Kimchi and finding not one, not two, but three new posts from the illustrious -- and handsome -- PK braintrust. Shit made me feel warm and tingly. Like hearing Martin Scorsese speak and being mesmerized by His furry eyebrows, it gave me a feeling of safety, of familiarity, and of love.


It's no big secret that I'm a sucker for love, and nowhere is this more transparent than in my unabashed remembrances of youth, whether musical, literary, or Claudia Cardinale. I don't own an MP3 player, preferring to, when I'm commuting or taking walks alone, reminisce on the past. It's meditative, and it's essential for my sanity. Not to get too Murakami Haruki on you bitches, but I find myself trying harder and harder to hold on to the memories of my youth these days, as though they're slipping through my fingers like grains of sand (how's that for a cliche?). Par for the course, I suspect, for people my age, but unlike most (or so it seems to me), I'm desperately clinging to the unravelling threads of the young man I used to be; mostly, I believe, because I still resemble -- perhaps eerily so -- myself when I was 10 years younger, maybe more.

It has worked thus far (Long live Walter Jameson!): I feel like Peter Pan, Oskar Matzerath and Tommy Lee rolled into one. Sure, I may bellyache from time to time (rinse, lather, repeat) that I feel old, but that's all a ruse: I only do so to keep up the appearance that I'm moving along in time like everyone else, when the truth is that I'm in a mental stasis contradictory to the unbaised flow of Père Temps.

I'm recalcitrant, bellicose, that my fondness of times long gone slip away. Not gonna let it happen. "Mierzwiak! Please let me keep this memory, just this one," Joel Barish pleads in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Fuck that; I want to keep them all, and retrieve all the ones I've lost. If I can't, then what's the point?

Which is all a lengthy, verbose way of saying that I miss the Hughes bothers, Allen and Albert. Originally planned as an argument on why The Last Unicorn is perhaps the greatest animated children's film ever made (my apologies to The Secret of NIMH ), serendipitously hearing Isaac Hayes's rendition of 'Walk On By' earlier this evening caused me instead to think about two modern film classics, Menace II Society and Dead Presidents (the most underappreciated Vietnam-era film made, by the way), and lament the strange disappearance of the Hughes brothers from filmmaking.

Look, in the pantheon of 'Hood movies there can be only two which stand head and shoulders above all else (and "all else" encompasses a lot of shitty movies): Boyz n the Hood and Menace II Society. Not taking anything away from John Singleton's masterpiece, but Menace has it beat like street.

The Brothers Hughes next picture, Dead Presidents, showed and proved -- at least artistically, if not commercially -- that they possess raw talent and an innate storytelling ability. Word to Slick Rick. Menace and Dead Presidents are films of accomplished merit, among the best films released in the 90's.

So what happened? The Hugheses made a certified stinkbomb (From Hell), and, ostensibly*, that's all she wrote.

Really? If dropping a single cinematic dookie is all it takes to receive persona non grata status in Hollywood, why then is it that M Night Shyamalan -- and I use him only as one example; truth be told, I love the fuck out of his first three films -- has dropped two pieces of shit in a row yet still receives diplomatic studio immunity? Sure, money has a lot to do with it, but The Departed notwithstanding, how much coin have Marty Scorsese**'s films raked in in the past? A fair bit, maybe; but certainly not Michael Jackson Thriller numbers. Did Hollywood simply give up on the Hughes brothers, or did the Hughes brothers give up on Hollywood? Inquiring fucking minds want to know.

In conclusion (and my 12th grade English teacher's gonna love this), the Hughes brothers are great filmmakers who went against the status quo and totally kicked ass until they made a film starring Johnny Depp. I think Idealjetsam knows what I'm talking about in that regard.

* I'll stop doing it when you stop laughing.

** Cuddly eyebrows?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

In Defense of Itaewon

The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land. –G.K. Cheserton

In Seoul, South Korea, there are many contradictions, one of which is a neighborhood called Itaewon. In a country and city of almost complete racial homogeneity, Itaewon, situated in the geographical center of the urban metropolis, is a melting pot of diversity that would put American cities to shame. Itaewon has U.S. soldiers who wander up the hill from their post at Yongsan. Itaewon has British, Canadian, American, Australian, South African and Kiwi English teachers who come once or twice a week from their various posts all over the city to avail themselves of the foreigner-centric businesses. In Itaewon, the country’s largest Muslim mosque resides peacefully, not 10 kilometers from the country’s largest U.S. army base, and if that’s not an ideal for the rest of the world to aspire to, I don’t know what is.

There are Koreans, obviously—storekeepers and service-people who ply their trades and sell their wares to a very specific clientele. And there is a large Nigerian contingent which, well… I don’t really know what the Nigerian guys do. It’s never been adequately explained to me, honestly.

But the point is Itaewon is a place where all foreigners in Korea go to enjoy all things not Korean. Foreign foods, foreign entertainment, other foreign people—it has all been made available in one convenient location and this is a beautiful thing, undeniably so, I would say. And yet, if you wait long enough for the old Salty Dog Syndrome to set in, a person will inevitably start bad-mouthing the very experience that had been so great when they first arrived in Korea. For the newbie, Itaewon was the place to go for a burger or curry or a kebab during the day time and it was the place to go for drinking and dancing and meeting with other expatriates on Friday or Saturday night. Somewhere along the way, a shift occurs, and they will invariably start to say, “I didn’t come to Korea just to hang out with other Americans/Brits/Kiwis/Aussies. I don’t like the young GIs who pound booze, aggressively pursue women and periodically get in fights. Itaewon is a slum. Itaewon is a ghetto. I wouldn’t be caught dead in Itaewon anymore.” It has become a sign of stature and experience within the foreigner-community here to disparage Itaewon.

And I am here to tell you that this kind of behavior is inexcusable because Itaewon, my friends, is mother to us all.

Itaewon is the global economy in microcosm, and if you’re here, and you’re working, you believe in the global economy no matter what hypocritical, small-minded, short-sighted protestations of protectionism you like to espouse. In Itaewon, globally ubiquitous fast-food chains (Starbucks, McDonalds, Subway, Burger King) stand shoulder to shoulder with local fare, in this case kalbi and kim-bap. In Itaewon, high-end clothing and apparel are available in exclusive boutiques (Reebok, Nike, Everlast) that sell the genuine products while, mere meters away, in impromptu marketplaces under hastily erected tents, knock-offs and pirated versions of the same labels go for half the price. In Itaewon, you have the unique experience of sitting in a bar in Asia, drinking a South American beer served to you by an Eastern-European “hostess”, who is also waiting on African customers, who happen to be watching Australian Super 12 Rugby on the telly with the volume off because over the establishment’s speakers, they’re playing some good, old-fashioned American rock n’ roll. And that’s not just beautiful for some sappy, idealistic “we-are-all-one” sentiment; that’s beautiful because that’s the future. That’s what’s in store for all of us. And you can believe that Itaewon is what all of Korea will look like in about 25 years, especially with the declining birth rate.

Look, you can say that you detest global brands. You can say that the WTO is the greatest evil in the modern world. You can say that the reason you travel, the reason you live as an expatriate, is to experience diverse and unique cultures, not to get this global culture that is starting to pervade all corners of the planet and is largely powered by faceless, money-grubbing and heartless multi-national conglomerates. And that’s fine. But Korea is attempting to jump on this international business bandwagon, and make no mistake, be you a soldier, a teacher, a trader or a business representative, you are here in service to that ideal. You may travel so that you can experience other cultures, but your actions are helping to create the global economy and culture that you so aggressively denounce when you seek to disparage Itaewon.

Is Itaewon overwhelmingly positive? Is there no room for reproach? Not at all. The scourge of this new globalism is as alive and present in Itaewon as it is anywhere, and that scourge is human-trafficking, the modern world’s answer to the slave trade of the 18th Century. In Itaewon is Hooker Hill, a collection of bars and businesses where female company is available, for a price. There are Korean women, to be sure, but there are also Filipinos, Indonesians and women from all over the former Eastern Bloc. How do we say to them that the global economy is a positive thing? How do we say to them that this inevitable expanse is for the greater good?

So, it is possible to not like Itaewon. It is possible to deny the positive effects of international trade on human rights, just like those who protest against Nike for how it treats workers in Southeast Asia even as China, the soon-to-be world super power in the 21st century, slowly creaks open for no reason other than international markets. You can do that. But the contradictions embodied in Itaewon are contradictions that we must face and come to grips with. The positives have to be extended and the damage has to be minimized because this New World Order is expanding as inevitably and as regularly as the tides, and to oppose it rather than try to use it for our own ends is a fool’s errand.

To fight against Itaewon is to fight against the future, and that is a battle that no one can win.

Korea's Crush

I’ve been thinking about this entry for an extended period of time. One might say that I’ve been obsessing over the issue. Some folks contend that Psychedelic Kimchi is often, and intentionally, devoid of topics that specifically relate to the expatriate crowd: Which foods do we, the contributing ‘writers’, loathe? Which schools have screwed us over, and to what extent were our sweet, virgin anal cavities -known as pitaya to you savvy, educated types- expanded in the process? Do we wear tube socks? What’s with the ubiquitous vermicious imagery, Sparkles? (Stretch such questions into infinity, beginning now.)

All I can tell you is: I agree wholeheartedly with the ‘Get with the program, Tiberious’ crowd! We need more stories that relate to life, and the actual process of living, in South Korea. It is my pledge to you, loyal readership, to ascend above and beyond the limited scope of personal concerns, petty complaints, and nonsensical narratives. Let me reiterate what you’ve been longing to hear spoken, loud and clear: SOUTH KOREA! RECRUITERS SUCK! I AM A VICTIM OF MOLESTATION!

With all that understood, I’d like to reminisce about Devil’s Crush. First off, calm the fuck down; we’ll return to the incessant trial that is existence on the Korean peninsula shortly.

Remember the TurboGrafx 16? It was an incredible gaming machine. It was so cool, in fact, that it bore a lone controller port: That’s right, you didn’t need any multiplayer games -or friends- if you had a TurboGrafx 16. As you can surely surmise, I did indeed own a unit, and no, I didn’t have any friends, either.* Back in the day, I was akin to a less competent incarnation of Tommy Walker -That stout, dull, and white kid sure plays a weak pinball - and sulking from the travesty that was Alien Crush, I took a trip to the local Toys ‘R’ Us** and acquired the now sacrosanct Devil’s Crush, aka the best video pinball game ever***. Here’s a glimpse into the life of a fanatic, now recovering:

The blue ball should be rolling its way into the mouth of that serpentine bitch any second now, blowing past the skeletal infantry and ghoul warlords like a furious dervish. The queen’s forked tongue is waiting to swallow me whole, and the ball too. Two people are having conversations with me while I patiently knock my shit around with phallic thrusts, which are, coincidentally, two stiff flippers to be precise. My patience is like the synthesized Japanese-goth melody; constant, looping infinity marred by the occasional mishap. Bamn.
My ball falls into the pit, and a bloody, enlarged skull cackles at my misfortune. My ball reappears at the launch pad, minus the orange multiplier.
“Fuck you, bitch.” If the TurboGrafx were a woman, I know that I’d be charged with domestic abuse, but damn, the authorities would sympathize with my situation. So I begin anew. I’m captivated by the increasing speed of my spherical avatar. Somehow the game knows how bad I want to score, and it’s making things accelerate beyond reason, almost blurry. Another bonus stage, and I can attain a orange ball once again. The Queen of the Snakes can blow me, fangs and all.

Think pinball, with a medieval decor, Japanese rock music, and a blistering pace. All on a HuCard, to boot. If you take a close look at the promotional advertisement****, you’ll see the image of a winsome, slumbering woman. About that. You bash your way through a skeletal armada, and bounce your ball off of her face. Doing it once is no big deal, as she’s probably accustomed to balls popping against her face, but upon repeated transgressions...her appearance begins to transform. Think of it like a sweaty, swift sphere wiping away the cosmetics of a haughty princess. At some point, the woman’s true form emerges: A hideous snake woman -okay, not that hideous, as I would contemplate dating a sexy, sleek, serpentine humanoid, if the conditions were right- with her mouth agape, begging for an enterprising individual to ram their ball(s) into her mouth. Bonus stage! You like it, she likes what it does to you; and you can sputter English all the while.

Okay, I’ve done enough with harebrained nostalgia. It’s time to get serious about life in Korea, except that I’ve already described physical intimacy, so I’m fresh out of ideas. Next time, I promise.



* I was a geek, and as such, missed out on many opportunities that were available to the average teenager: Football, parties, date rape, etc.

** Yeah, I know the ‘R’ should be backward. I don’t know how to produce the character on my computer. I used to work there, I hate Geoffrey and his ilk with a passion, and I once nailed a co-worker in the storage loft. That doesn't make up for the lack of a proper, reversed 'R', but I'll keep trying. Just you watch.

*** 'Pinball video game', if you prefer. Why did I choose the other description? Blame the new NBA ball.

**** This was also, coincidentally, my first exposure to the phrase ‘slag’. God bless video games. (You'll have to inspect that photo very closely.)

Psychedelic Enlightenment aka Balls

You see, this is how I have to spend my Sunday morning...defending my honor. Making sure Chinese democracy never happens. Can you feel me peeps?

That didn't come off natural did it? And that's the thing--the truth is, I have been meaning to raise the level of discourse beyond bouncy balls and bouncy Kimochi on PK for quite some time, but my uber-respect for the Sparkles-meister has prevented my doing so. I felt pre-emptively bad about making him look pretty bad.

I'm over it now.

So, to answer some questions(read: accusations) that have been raised:

1. The name change was due to my having joined another team (egads!) on Blogger. One in which, believe it or not, I am actually regarded as a professional and a leader of the young. Therefore I had to temporarily switch from the cryptic Idealjetsam to the dyspeptic Mr. T so that the High School youth of East Harlem would not learn about my shadow life shadowing a fantasy-football type nerdboy. But don't worry, once the semester is over, the I-man is back.

2. I am a grad student, so I have been unable to write. Not because the heavy workload is prohibitively time-consuming, but because I read absoutely nothing of interest to anyone outside the field of Education. Semioticians kick sand in my face (actually, it's New York so it's more like gutter dust, but you get the point) taunting, "Eco can so kick Freire's ass." Which shows what happens when you are more concerned with symbology than reality--anyone with a bit of common sense knows even a scruffy Italian academe can't take out a corpse. Please.

3. I strongly endorse the transformation of this blog into a Kimochi-only zone. I stand by this. I feel no one will stand against me, only with me. Show me the love, my people!! (That was unnatural too, weren't it? Balls.)


Starved for ideas and feeling the Peter Parker heat, this is what I have come up with: Let's see how the readers of PK do with the exact same post I have posed as a recent homework assignment to my high school students in East Harlem. We'll label it a litmus test, as I feel my future contributions to PK will basically be threefold: 1) Literary discussions on people like Murakami (which will be civil) and Doofsteoofski (which will be slightly, just slightly, derisive). 2) Kimochi. 3) Highbrow snooty stuff phrased as questions to you, the non-existent PK readership, in order to shake you out of your complacency and bake you into a higher level of discussancy. Get your hands on the ball.

That all being said, here's what the kids at Manhattan Center for Science and Mathematics are dealing with this week:


During the European Enlightenment, the philosopher Rene Descartes taught that the world could be divided between the physical,observable world we can see and study and the mental world which was separate and different. This was a new way of knowing at that time. This idea is expressed by Descartes's Latin statement: 'Es cogito ergo sum.'; I think, therefore, I am. My mind observes that I exist.

However, more than 2000 years before Descartes was born, the Indian philosopher Siddartha Gautama, taught a new way of knowing too: that true Enlightenment comes when we realize that there is no difference or separation at all between our minds and the physical world. He also taught that trying to understand the "two" things separately is the illusion that causes all suffering in the world. This idea is expressed in the Sanskrit statement:'Tat tvam asi.'; This is that. There is no difference between my mind(this) and the physical world(that).

Which "new" way of knowing do you think makes more sense? Descartes's which says there is a difference between the mind and the world, or Siddhartha Gautama's which says they are one? Why? Which one do you think has more in common with cutting edge scientific theories in 2006?


And there it is boys and girls. Where do you stand? Do you have an opinion? Do you care to opine? Do you have any idea whatever what I am on about here? If so: Discuss.

Three more things though:

1. This not a conversion attempt. No fruity "Hare, Hare" here, here. It's all about making sure that everyone's opinion and thoughts receive fair hearing. And hopefully you aren't hard of hearing.

2. For those who want to read up first, just wiki or google: Descartes, Buddhism, Quantum Theory, Planck, Chaos Theory, The Grand Unified Theory and Buzzer Beaters. Stuff like that.

3. For the proles who found this website via some ESPN connection, think of it like this: Is there a distance between you and the ball? Or are you and the ball one? Can you really get on the ball? Or are you already on it? In it? Around it? It?

(FYI: The Buddha endorses and applauds the use of the new, karma-friendly synthetic ball.)

Finally, however, for those punters who just can't be bothered...

Idealjetsam Kimochi

Miss Lin Zhi Ling. Expect to see her around.

Time to make the donuts

Chats et chiens, today Psychedelic Kimchi welcomes its fifth member. I don't know what his blog nom de plume is going to be (for whatever reason it's not showing up yet), but I sincerely hope it's a little more awe-inspiring than Mr. T, which for Idealjetsam was the equivalent of Prince becoming that fruity looking symbol. Seriously, that's part of the reason I gave up blogging in early October. Well, that, a vicious addiction to online porn, and the new NBA ball.

I'm sure our newest addition to the sausage fest will be by soon to dazzle and amaze. Certainly he'll put up a post before Idealjetsam does. Guns and Roses will release Chinese Democracy before that happens, I'm sure. Hell, real Chinese democracy will probably occur before then. (That joke's probably been used a million times, but fuck it.)

So now we got us a team: point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, and center. I'll leave it up to y'all to guess who fits what role. One thing's for sure, though: I don't plan to be no. 8-cum-24, hoisting up shots while my teammates stand around ogling cheerleaders.

Let's play ball.

PS - Never forget.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Two nights ago I had my first lucid dream in what must have been at least ten years, if not more. I would have appreciated one of the wet variety, but who am I to look a multicolored gift horse in its clay-toothed, fiery mouth?

It was, I thought, as though I were again a youth -- the world was my oyster, and I could manipulate it to my will (the world, not oysters).

Unfortunately, I think I dropped the ball*. Back in the day, blesed by the dream gods with such a welcome vision, I'd have pulled out a machine gun and blasted all my dream companions to smithereens (what can I say, I played a lot of Contra), but here all I could do -- despite knowing I was granted lucid dream carte blanche -- was pull off an old lady's pillbox hat and run away, and lustily glance at the bussom of a(n imagined) co-worker.

Damn you, conscience! It was as though I were a convict given clemency after years of solitude, only to discover that all my wants and creativity had been crushed by

(a truck)

the cruel, unmerciful weight of time.

I feel old.

* Blame the ball. Always blame the ball. Always blame the synthetic, non-leather ball.

Friday, November 17, 2006

(The Death of?) Psychedelic Kimochi

Ms. Kim Sarang (김사랑). She's in some movie I'll never watch. But she has four limbs, a pretty mouth like Ned Beatty, and can tell the difference between the words "bathroom" and "bedroom," so don't don't get all rah-rah and start nitpicking, seen? Like you'd kick her out of bed for getting 김 flakes on the covers.


I know, I know...only two posts back and already I'm resorting to cheap heat. Please believe me when I say I planned to write something lengthier, but Blogger kept ugfing with me like what have you done lately, Tiberious Sparkles? So if you want to blame someone/thing, blame

(the new NBA ball)

Blogger. I'll co-sign. A man is not a piece of fruit, Blogger.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Microfracture Surgery

Don't call it a comeback. It's just that, well, reading all this stuff about Cat Stevens's and Jay-Z's returns to recording has me feeling a little nostalgic, a little amped*.

(And, like the aforementioned albums from Messrs. Islam and Carter, this is guaranteed to be a suckfest. I'll do my best to make sure of that, don't you worry.)

So it's not back to the lab here so much as it's a quick glance to make sure the equipment's still working. I'm trying to put myself back together like Sauron/Voldemort/Humpty Dumpty/T-1000/ToeJam & Earl's fucking spaceship**...shit takes time, nah mean?

Make no mistake, though: shit is real. I'ma give it my all like In the Family. Reason: unfinished business***. The world (and by which I mean me and Idealjetsam/Mr. T; the rest of y'all are just the dream of some autistic kid) NEEDS Psychedelic Kimchi like grass needs soil. Like SPAM cans need pull-tabs. Like Blahzay needs Blahzay.

Like that.

Ride or die.


*Most of my heroes don't appear on no stamps. And, yes, that's a double negative. Fuck you 'gon do?

** Don't bust my ass on semantics here, lest I pontificate on the anthropomorphic nature of an alien starship crash landed to Earth which sends out funkotronic psychic beakons to its pilots. I've had a long day, okay? Fuck with me and I'll bombard you with tomatoes.

*** It really burns my conscience that I didn't review the final chapter of Capote's In Cold Blood (Spoilers: they die), and, most importantly to me, that denz and I -- mostly I -- never got around to conducting the Babe Draft. Those may or may not be forthcoming. But let us be clear on one thing: The Catcher In the Lye never happened. And a lot of those Psychedelic Poetry posts were garbage like a grouch couch. I'm man enough to admit it.

But what has REALLY eaten me alive is the Bill Simmons homage NBA 2006/2007 regular season preview I had planned, containing quotes from The Breakfast Club. That shit was nice. Picture Lebron munching on his fingernails, followed by the Jon Bender line "You keep eating your fingers you won't be hungry for lunch."