Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday's List



Exercise regularly
Wear snakeskin pants and metallic colors
Let my hair grow long, and change its color frequently
Wear some makeup, but stick to natural, complimentary colors
Carry a purse
Carry a butterfly knife in that purse
Try to start a band
Oral sex, maybe. Anal sex, no. Lots of sex, yes!
Take some dance lessons
Date, but not marry, a soccer player, European if possible
Smoke Virginia Slims
Eat more salad*
Wish Mel Gibson was a bit younger
Spend time at the beach
Not ready to have kids just yet
Avoid strange men at night
Live somewhere other than Korea
Complain. A lot. About everything.
Prefer dogs to cats
Wear a dobok (도복) around the house
Listen to more hip-hop
Drive a nicer car
Consider breast implants, but probably abstain
Consider getting a tattoo, but only if it's something cool
Pad my bra, but only a little
Own two pairs of high heels
Let other people pay for my drinks
Worry about being raped (or sexually assaulted)
(Try to) Use my looks to get out of trouble
Obsess over the number of carbs contained within three tortilla chips
Pretend to despise video games, although Dance Dance Revolution is an exception to that rule
Avoid farting in public at all costs
Own several bottles of various moisturizers, lotions, and perfumes
Dread the thought of getting older





* taco salad

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thursday's List




The Price is Right (Bob Barker version)
Super Double Dare
Wheel of Fortune
Press Your Luck
The People's Court (Judge Wapner version)
Win, Lose, or Draw
The Newlywed Game
The Hollywood Squares
Family Feud (Ray Combs version)
Remote Control
The Dating Game

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wednesday's List





Tarantulas
Most fruit
Country music
There Will Be Blood
Dogs in purses
Marcie Playground
Wolverine comics
95% of what 75% of women talk about
Sadang station
Eoin Forbes's hairstyle
Long weddings
Crappy wedding receptions
People who think they're going to save the world via Facebook
The E-2 visa
Sandy Duncan
The premature cancellation of Sledge Hammer!
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday's List



Taco Bell
Wendy's
Long John Silver's
Old Country Buffet
Red Lobster
Hardee's
Arby's
Buffalo Wild Wings
Taco John's
Donutland
International House of Pancakes
Culver's
Bonanza
Chick-fil-A
Little Caesars
Perkins
Zio Johno's
Dairy Queen

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday's List


Cassie Steele
Kristin Kreuk
Ha Ji-won
That Decepticon 'girl' from the new Transformers movie. Not the actress, the robot
Sarah Carter
Power Girl
Bjork
Jennifer Anniston Lopez Esposito
Julianna Guill
Apollonia Kotero
The two female members of Ace of Base
Some lady that rode the 333 last night
Diana Lee
One of my former co-workers
Michelle Pfeiffer, but only if she's wearing the Catwoman suit
At least one of the Constant Retards*
Helen Slater
Peter O'Toole
























Karen McDougal
The twins from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter. Actually, scratch that. All the women from Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter (even the mom)
Milla Jovovich
Ali Landry
Marisa Tomei
Caroline Munro, circa 1974
Soleil Moon Frye (as an adult, not Punky Brewster)
Betty White
Penelope Cruz
The entire population of Australia
Mariah Carey
Via Guerra
Harumi Nemoto
Harry from Harry and the Hendersons
























* William George!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Falling Up (Andy, You're a Star)



"I think...I think," and it doesn't help that you stammer when nervous, "I th-think this is getting out of hand." Bathed in pale moonlight, she looks at you, head tilted, almost as if she's perplexed, and pulls the professional-grade Dr. Zaius mask completely off her head.


You're in the middle of nowhere, beyond the city limits, inside a labyrinth of gravel roads separated by fields of rotting cornstalks, waning forestry, and the occasional farmhouse, the nearest of which is probably half a mile in any given direction. This place, whatever it may be, is essentially devoid of human life, barring the two -ahem, make that three- of you, and there's no reason to keep wearing masks, but still, up until this very moment, you've been dressed up like you were three hours prior, at a mammoth Halloween party for collegiate and high-school lowlifes alike (with a few additional miscreants such as yourselves thrown in for good measure). The costumes, the masks, the pretense; it's all coming undone, and things are definitely spinning out of control.

The mask is off, and she takes a seat atop the hood of a stolen, teal Nissan Sentra you've been cruising around in for the past forty-five minutes. The car's been shut down, yet the parking lights remain lit, as if you'd need the additional illumination; it's been a chilly pre-Halloween, but the sky is virtually cloudless, resulting in a surprisingly bright crescent that gazes down upon the Earth, beaming with approval. From neck to feet, she's wrapped up in gauze like some kind of revenant. Here and there, strands of fabric are unravelling, and it seems as if it -or she- could very well fall apart at any moment, but you know better than to believe in miracles.

"Getting out of hand?" she ponders aloud, knowing full well what you meant. "How so?"

"How so? I mean, y-you know," again you hesitate, this time due to a disheartening pair of contributing factors; the first of which being that you doubt you'll be able to talk her out of this insane plan, and the second being the thumping sound coming from inside the Sentra's trunk, "I...I just don't...Is this what you had pl-planned all along? I mean...I just thought..." Fortitude is not one of your stronger points, but this situation has gone far beyond a simple matter of rolling with the punches. She rubs her forearm across her eyes, seemingly flustered by the muddled profusion of discontent.

Eyes still covered, she speaks, her voice infused with an almost comical frustration (even though the joke's probably not on her). "Look, and take off that stupid ninja hood, will you," she begins a bit too casually, "and the mask, because really, and do listen to me, shinobi; if cathartic discussions of morality in this new millennium consist of repetitious questions and incessant stuttering, then I'm glad I skipped out on societal evolution, and," she pauses, eyes veiled, with a morbid smile forming as she sighs, then inhales, "and I know you're about to say 'So-societal ev-ev-evolution?' so I'll go ahead and save you the effort. And I know I like to talk, but you take a look up there," she utters, removing her arm from its resting place to point northward, "and tell me what you were doing when I found you just three short weeks ago."

She's pointing toward a slight incline a few hundred yards away. You feign incredulity, but you're not doing very well. There's a line of fencing running alongside the road as far as the eye can see, and at that spot, in the distance yet not, on the eighth of October, you used a bolt cutter to clip two twenty-four inch strands of barbed wire from a weathered stretch of fence, noting that each of the portions of wire were particularly rusted but still functional, which satisfied you at the time. You then wrapped each strand in a towel and delicately placed them inside an outdated denim backpack found within the musty attic of your parents' home. After that, well, a lot of things have happened since then, and that was different you protest in earnest, but she seems less than convinced, and she's visibly dissatisfied with your lackluster response.

"No, I want you to tell me what you were doing at that time," she says, just after lighting a cigarette.

"It's not the same. I-I have a reason, a plan, b-but this, this...I mean..." The thump from the trunk grows louder, more intense. "How old is this-"

"Uh-huh. But you still haven't told me what you were doing out there." She offers you a cigarette. It's taken with reluctance, as you haven't smoked in six months, but there's some comfort to be found in the known even if it's unwanted, you suppose. She slides off of the hood, whips the driver's side door open, and shuts off the parking lights. "Let's consider; I never offered you plastic gloves, you know, the ones you've been wearing for several hours. Funny how these things work out," she whispers into your ear as she gingerly places the set of keys into your palm. So that's the way things are going to be.

The masks are back in place, and the trunk is open. Desiccated Dr. Zaius and No-Fun Fūma Kotarō stare down at a young man, sixteen at most, bound in thick, industrial-strength rope. His mouth and eyes are covered with duct tape, but even so, the make-up smeared across his bruised face still resembles -albeit vaguely- Brandon Lee's ill-fated portrayal of Eric Draven from the Crow, accentuated by jet-black attire yet contradicted by the kid's vivid blonde bowl cut. He struggles at first, but an elbow to the face calms him down a bit just before he's pulled onto the jagged gravel. The rope constricts his arms and legs, with roughly fourteen feet left over. Also inside the trunk is a gym bag that clinks and clatters metallically when removed, its precise contents known to only one amongst the three.
Eric Draven endeavors to mumble, struggle, and swallow some teeth as he's being dragged face down along the ragged path toward a burgeoning Bur Oak standing solitarily amidst an otherwise vacant sea of withering grasses. Fūma grudgingly pulls the painted face to their fated destination, his head drooping low in silent defeat, while behind him and his quarry, Dr. Zaius skips to the beat of a song yet unwritten, the holdall jingling as it rises and falls concurrently, her enthusiasm spurred by the coincidental; a cow in a pasture adjacent to the road moos lazily, and soon enough, a series of fluctuating howls echo throughout the valley.

"They say not to worry. That you'll still be alive when it's all over," Zaius wistfully assures, though neither the ninja nor the kid is certain as to whom she offers this putrid shred of conciliation.

A potent breeze nudges the dangling young man back and forth; his blonde tresses gently swish against the cool earth while the thick, robust branch supporting him creaks with a pride of sorts, for it shall not buckle under the weight of its fleshly adversary. Kotarō stands alone, attempting to distance himself from what is about to transpire. Gazing up at the smirking moon, Andy Mercil wishes he were somewhere, anywhere, other than here, doing something else, something wholesome and yet, despite the allure of detachment, the crestfallen shadow assassin lends an ear to Dr. Zaius as she sifts through the gym bag and labels removed objects in the order they emerge: Jones, Cedar, Iowa, Delaware, Linn, Benton, Buchanan, Johnson.

Even though you're trapped, this is too much. Your eyes plead not like this as Dr. Zaius pours the remaining contents of the gym bag upon the scattered license plates. Clink-clink-clack. The noise generated by the fallen instruments causes the hanging man a moment of panic, and rightfully so; he wiggles violently until Dr. Zaius playfully kicks him in the chest and even then, as he swings around, he's panicking, trying desperately, yet in vain, to escape his flaxen trappings. It's not the violence that bothers you, it's the vulnerability, but she views matters differently; a sense of equity, chase, struggle, and hope are of no consequence to her. Dr. Zaius twirls a three-and-a-half-inch nail over and under her fingers as you hold the boy still, shutting your eyes just before it begins. Amidst the darkness, a combination of thrusts, groans, and spasms stunts your ability to guess just what, if anything, concerns that which plays at being a woman so poorly.

When it's all over, it's just as she said it would be, yet not quite: you're still alive, as is the kid, but it's 1:23 a.m., a solid five hours before a passing farmer will discover what's been left for any and all to see. As the Sentra hurtles eastward down Route 30, Little Red Corvette seeps out from tinny, factory-installed speakers. She reminds you that it's a Saturday night, which should make it all right, but you're not so sure.

PK.....Confessions!


I guess some people would call me an optimist for doing so, but I'll go ahead and state, just for the record, that I believe in the concept of love at first sight. Probable? No. Possible? Yes. More often than not, people are confusing love with lust or longing of some kind. Even so, I am confident that people do, at some point in their brief lives, encounter another human with whom they have an instantaneous connection, and it may just be love. The saddest part about my supposition is that while I do believe in the notion of love at first sight, however unlikely it may be, the likelihood of said emotion being reciprocated in kind is virtually unknown. What are the odds of two people falling in love with one another at first sight? I don't want to know the answer to that question.

Case in Point (Confession!)

I first met Sparkles in October of 2006. I was, ostensibly, one of many folks invited to his annual Halloween Movie Night bash. (How we came first came into contact is another story for another day, but I digress.) We met at Seohyeon Station, at what was then called Samsung Plaza. I was but one of a throng of strapping young lads eager to gorge themselves upon beer and horror films. I must stress that it was a total sausage fest, but at the time, I just figured that was the inevitable outcome of offering beer and horror movies. Naturally.

Fast forward to Casa del Sparkles, home of you know who. After a round of startup beer, Sparkles was very enthusiastic about getting the ball rolling, so to speak. His first selection was Danny Boyle's popular homage to zombie films, 28 Days Later. The room was darkened, the plasma screen hummed, and the film commenced. Everything was normal, so to speak, until approximately ten minutes into the movie, the scene where we, the viewers, are first treated to Cillian Murphy's character. (For those who have yet to see the film, I apologize if this spoils anything.)

Sparkles, who had, coincidentally, been sitting right in front of me, turned around with a grin on his face and said 'Get ready for some cock' to which I laughed nervously in response. (Again, if you've seen 28 Days Later, you know which scene I'm referencing here.)

Granted, Sparkles was heavily inebriated by vast amounts of malt liquor (he started drinking well before anyone arrived) and the thought of Cillian Murphy's penis, and some folks contend that I resemble Mr. Murphy, so it doesn't take a genius to figure this one out.

Ultimately, I had to rebuke Sparkles' advances (and continue to do so on a weekly basis*), but it just goes to show you that love at first sight is indeed possible, even if it's not reciprocated.


*After a deluge of drinks, I'm forced to endure this song time and time again.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The PK 27 -- Game No. 2


Star Fox 64, and don't you dare ask the platform on which this game was released.* Another point you need not question is the rationale behind listing this title as opposed to, say, the original Star Fox, which is a better game in some respects.**


You're allowed to bemoan the inclusion of a game that's populated with cute, fuzzy anthropomorphized creatures, I suppose, but that's like complaining about the Care Bears: sure it's dumb, but you accepted it when you were a kid, and you'll sure as hell accept it now, because fantastical animals doing grown-up things with the mentality of adolescents has been a trope of storytelling for much longer than you*** have walked this Earth. I'm not sure where I'm going with this except to say that, much like Aesop's Fables, the Muppet Show, My Little Pony, Clash of the Titans, T.O.T.****, and all the other anthropomorphic shit that came before it, Star Fox 64 is a classic.

Ostensibly a remake of its 16-bit predecessor, Star Fox 64 went above and beyond the call of duty, eclipsing the mediocre Mario Kart 64 and the vastly overrated Super Mario 64[*V], but whatever: you -constant- retards don't even play video games (flight simulators don't count, Mrs. Kelli Sharpe), so let's get straight to the magic behind the game.


I used to sit in Andrew Garrett's basement and play this game virtually nonstop, pausing only to use the restroom (a steady diet of McDonald's and blueberry Icees resulted in some serious hammer time, if you catch my drift[*VI]), watch fascinating videos provided by Andy[*VII] Mercil's girlfriend, Ashley[*VIII], or gorge myself upon the cornucopia of snacks available from the kitchen upstairs. (You weren't allowed to bring any food into the basement, but above ground it was Thunderdome, baby![*IX])

I spent a lot of time playing Star Fox 64, trying to break the other guys' scores (if that particular cartridge still exists, boot it up and you'll see who's on top, boys and girls) and having a blast during multiplayer mode. Andrew always played as Fox because it was his house, his rules. Andy always played as Falco because he once called eternal dibs on it while I was busy inhaling a family-size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. I always played as Peppy because the name encapsulates my identity I preferred to play as a crotchety old rabbit (think Roy Scheider in, well, just about anything made from 1993 onward) rather than Slippy, Nintendo's answer to Gomer Pyle. Who got to play as that fat amphibian feeb? It was a rotating spot designated for random participants, most often filled by Andrew's younger brother, but that didn't really matter, as the game (and its multiplayer mode) was merely an ancillary excuse to hang out with one another, and it's nice when a game reminds you of something fun, in addition to being fun.

Star Fox 64 reminds me of Surge. Surge reminds me of a softcore porno movie in which the lead character wore a T-shirt that bore a very distinctive print[*X], much to the viewers' collective amazement. That porno flick reminds me of the Fiesta Whopper (when are they gonna bring back those bad boys, anyway?). Fiesta Whoppers remind me of confiscated road signs, which in turn remind me of Urotsukidōji, a grotesque animated film watched with friends as a certain someone stole away for the purpose of losing his virginity in my parents' bed. Ah, the memories (except for having sex in my parents' bed, which wasn't me, thank god).

Useless Trivia: Since numerology is so reliable, I'll take this opportunity to inform you that the number of letters in Star Fox (7) + 6 + 4 = 17, which is how old I was when the game came out. That's what I'm talking about.

Final Note:


_____________

* Commodore 64! Smartass.
** Music! Take the Corneria theme, for example: Original vs. 64 version.
*** or I?
**** Tolley on Teens
*V Yes, you read that correctly. Fuck Super Mario 64.
*VI They didn't call me the B-52 just because I liked to dance naked to Love Shack, you know.
*VII It's Andrew now, not Andy! Great way to assert your manhood when you're already twenty-seven years old. Honest.
*VIII By 'videos' I mean home videos. We sat through hours of Ashley celebrating her thirteenth birthday party, opening gifts on Christmas Day 1994, attempting to breakdance, and whatnot, just so Andy -sorry, Andrew- could make out with her in the backseat of his jeep while parked behind the local supermarket. But I'm not bitter.
[*IX] "One man enters, two snacks leave."
[*X] And you're like "It was a T-shirt. So?" but it was a gray, black, and white tie-dye shirt with a mountain of grinning skulls printed upon both its front and back. Decry my taste in clothing if you must, but I had one and the guy in the porno had one. What were the odds of that occurring, let alone us watching it?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Scapegoat




1.2 million won was a small price to pay for revenge, Kibok reassured himself, and the Russian agreed.

"You pay this guy what again? 30 million won? What is another million or so to get back money he stole from you and humiliate him, put him in hospital?" Ioseph asked through closed teeth and wide lips.

Only Kibok wanted to do more than put Louis Madison in the hospital. The Russian probably knew it, too. Kibok Bae didn't want to "put him in hospital," at least not for long. No. A steel pipe or any other similarly blunt object could perform that task no problem.

What Kibok wanted was to murder the man who had destroyed him, and the gun the Russian was selling was the perfect means to such an end. Kibok didn't care about the money he had lost, not really. Not anymore. Let him keep it, he thought. What good is 30 million won -- 100 million won, a billion won -- to a dead man, anyway?

Sitting in the corner of a near-empty Haebangchon dive bar, the two men discussed the transaction. The city was eerily quiet due to the Chuseok holiday, but regardless of the date or number of patrons in the bar the two men enjoyed a conspicuousness unique to their location. A Korean man talking furtively with a Russian -- or a Zimbabwean, or a Brazilian -- might raise eyebrows in other areas of Seoul, but not here. He could be holding a conversation with a cross-dressing Pygmy and no one would bat an eyelash, Kibok knew. Which is why he had spent, at first, every weekend after Louis Madison's deception was revealed, and, later, every evening after his wife's suicide, here, in Haebangchon.

It took months to get in touch with the Russians. Kibok's poor English played a factor, but it was mostly because a well-dressed, middle-aged Korean man inquiring about purchasing a handgun raised obvious questions, even in Haebangchon. Hell, especially in Haebangchon. Surely, anyone with even an ounce of intelligence would immediately turn and walk away after such an inquiry, afraid that he was being set up by the police. Thankfully for Kibok, however, crime and intelligence don't always go hand in hand, and through sheer persistence, good luck, and the idiocy of strangers, he was eventually put in touch with Milan, the man who would introduce him to Ioseph.

Their first meeting did not go well, at least not for Kibok. Ioseph, a wiry, almost-skeletal man whose age could not be approximated, reacted to Kibok's handshake offer by extinguishing his cigarette into the palm of Kibok's extended right hand, and it grew worse from there. Smiling maniacally, the Russian proceeded to strip Kibok naked, beat him about the face with the sides of his fists, and then whip him with the Russian's own belt until Kibok (at first) was begging for life and (finally) lost consciousness. Ioseph carried the limp man's body into an alley, threw him onto a pile of garbage bags, and spit on him, calling him every crude epithet in the Russian lexicon.

Their second meeting went comparatively better. Kibok and Ioseph got prodigiously drunk and slept with two hookers. Each. Kibok, of course, footed the bill. This endeared him to the Russian, although Kibok was unaware of the fact, was still terrified of the man.

This, their third meeting, was all about business; and while the Russian sipped a vodka martini, Kibok slowly groped a glass of club soda in the palm of his damp, scarred right hand. Kibok supposed he should consider Ioseph his tormentor, but compared to the damage Louis Madison had forever inflicted upon him the scar on his hand and Ioseph's beatings were necessary, subtle annoyances -- obstacles he had to face en route toward his ultimate goal. In fact, Kibok wanted to kiss this man, this benevolent Russian. For hidden within the black leather bag at the man's feet was power. Power that he would weild in front of Louis Madison's unbelieving eyes before shooting him square between them.

Kibok removed a thick white envelope from the inner pocket of his sports coat and nervously placed it on the table. The Russian swallowed Kibok's hand with his own and swept the envelope away like a magician performing a trick.

"We are good now, yes?" Ioseph smiled, his broad mouth spanning nearly the entire bottom half of his face. "I don't know you, you don't know me. Pick up bag and pay bill after I leave. Have fun, don't shoot yourself by accident."

And with that the Russian was gone.

Kibok stayed for another fifteen minutes, smoking and occasionally glancing over his shoulder to see the bartender, a bald, fat man with glasses, talking to the lone customer besides himself, a plump girl, also bespectacled. Finishing his drink, Kibok picked up the bill, his cell phone, and the black bag Ioseph had left. He placed a single 50-thousand-won note on the bar and walked out before the the bartender could harass him about change.

When he got to his motel room, he stashed the bag under the bed and slept fitfully next to it on the heated floor.

Louis Madison. Louis Madison. Liar. Deceiver. You don't think I know your name, but I do! Bet you don't think I have a gun, either, but I do! It's waiting for you, right next to me, more comfortable than this hard pillow. I am going to shoot you in the face, Louis Madison. I am going to shoot you in the face and laugh, the same way you must have laughed after you stole my life out from under me.

---

It is May 21, 2007. Kibok Bae is desperate. Frantic. He is 37 years old. His wife, Imin, is 35. She is frigid, and no army of fertile seeds can resurrect her dead womb. Kibok has tried, unsuccessfully. Always unsuccessfully.

They consider adoption, but both sides of the couple's family shoot down the idea before it has a chance to take flight. What is wrong with her? Kibok's parents ask. What is wrong with him? Imin's parents question.

Kibok has a plan. His wife is dubious, but he sells her on the idea like the virtuoso salesman he is. They will buy a baby. On the Internet. There are plenty of women willing to be surrogate mothers, he insists. If the money is right.

It's an easy sell. Imin agrees once Kibok has found a surrogate. The price is steep, but they can afford it. 30 million won is a small price to pay for mental well being, they agree. And the baby will be so cute.

Imin goes to Gangwon-do two weeks later to meet the mother, a 23-year-old university student. She reports back that everything appears to be on the straight and narrow. The mother is healthy, attractive, and intelligent, her sole flaw being her mistake of becoming pregnant too soon in life. Kibok beams. They will have a child. They will name it Haengbok, regardless of its gender.

But first they will move to Gangwon. They'll tell their parents that Kibok has been relocated. Kibok will quit his job, hoping to get a new one after the baby is born. Imin will wear maternity clothes and stuff pillows under her dresses to maintain the facade. No one will know that the pregnancy was faked.

---

It is March 17, 2008. Kibok holds a hunter's knife against Kang Mijeong's throat, demanding the name of the baby's father. Mijeong is still recovering from the delivery and cannot answer, despite her terror.

March 18, 2008: Kibok returns. This time, Mijeong is far more lucid, far more candid. Weeping, she gives Kibok a name: Louis Madison.

---

"Honey, are you going out again?" Imin asks.

"I have to. I have to find that bastard," Kibok says.

"Don't. Leave it alone. I'm tired of all of this."

---

It is July 20, 2008. Kibok comes home after a long night of investigative work. He has an address, finally. Louis Madison's moment of truth has nearly arrived. But not before Kibok Bae's. Imin has hanged herself in the shower stall, the emergency fire escape rope her noose. Her legs are blue and fat.

---

It is March 16, 2008. Kang Mijeong has just given birth, delivery time 10:03 PM. Kibok and Imin wait in the appropriately titled room until the doctor tells them they can go in and see the baby, a boy. The nurses all look like they've seen a ghost.

It is March 16, 2008, 10:25 PM, and Kibok Bae has just born witness to a cruel joke. For Kang Mijeong has given birth to a Caucasian child.

---

This gun is loaded. This gun is loaded, Mr. Madison, for you.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Part Sun Tzu, Part 선수




"Hello?"

"Why'd you--"

(click)

Four, three, two, one...

(ring)

"What?"

"Listen, I--"

(click)

All around the mulberry bush the monkey chased the weasel...

(ring)

"..."

"I hope you know--"

(click)

This game is fun. This game is what it's all about, Cameron Radske reminds himself. In a few minutes he'll turn off his cell phone, but for now he lets it sit on his desk and vibrate in slow, buzzing circles with each ring.

It's like a petulant child, he muses, smirks: stopping after a minute or so and starting up again as soon as it catches its breath and remembers the reason for its tantrum. The caller, on the other hand, is nowhere near as interesting as her anthropomorphic extension, but that's just fine by Cameron. Vapid, materialistic, and -- best of all -- too young to know any better, Carrie (real name: 최가인) is a trophy of sorts. Sure, Cameron slept with her; slept with her the same night he met her, in fact; and while that was most certainly fun, a one-night stand or the subsequent sexual encounters they would have in the weeks and months after their first meeting has never been his goal, only a pleasant bi-product of the journey toward reaching it.

It's been nearly eight months, Cameron marvels as he removes the small Samsung battery from the back of the cell phone and lights a cigarette, putting the cell out of its misery for the time being and undoubtedly tormenting Carrie to no end. Three months was his previous record, before that two, and the high of nearly tripling his former achievement elicits not a smirk but an ear-to-ear grin.

This, Cameron tells himself, is what it's all about. This is why we play the game.

He knows the routine like he knows his multiplication tables up to five. First, she'll fruitlessly keep calling his cell. Next, she'll take a cab -- from Jamsil to Sinchon, no small fare that -- and go to all the bars he's known to frequent. And when that doesn't work, finally, she'll show up outside his apartment, standing in the rain like a retarded latchkey kid, banging on his door all night, crying.

Eight months! Cameron goes to the fridge, opens a bottle of MGD and drinks it down all at once, goes to the bathroom to take a piss, and then goes to bed. The crowd's applause is still echoing in his ears as he crosses the threshold into blissful sleep.

---

"Hello?"

"Why'd you send me that nasty text message? Hello?"

One, two, three, four...

(ring)

"What?"

"Listen, I bumped into your friend, Tony. Hello?"

(click)

Tony: "Sometimes Cam just gets like that. Don't sweat it. He probably had a bad day."

(ring)

"..."

"I hope you know I'm with Tony and--"

(click)

"That asshole!"

Tony: "Like I said, try not to let it bother you. Let's go have a cold one, take the edge off. Sound good?"

"Sounds fucking great."

(All around the mulberry bush...)

This game is fun. This game is what it's all about, Tony Burke reminds himself as he sidles up to the bar and orders two rum and Cokes. In a few hours he'll ask Carrie to come home with him, watch a movie before they fuck on his studio apartment floor, but for now he lets it all sink in. Cameron, you poor, stupid asshole.

"You think he knows about us?" Carrie asks demurely.

"Cam? Hell no! That dumb prick can barely count past twenty-nine. Trust me, you're not the first of his girlfriends I've slept with. In all honesty, you probably won't be the last. Don't you remember last Halloween when he went out to buy more beer and you gave me a handjob in the bathroom of Jason's apartment? We came out of the bathroom together just as he was getting back and that moron didn't even notice. I think it's safe to say that Cameron Radske has no clue whatsoever that you and I have been fucking for the past three months."

Three months! Home, Tony goes to the fridge, opens a bottle of Coors and drinks it down all at once while waiting for Carrie to exit the bathroom. When she does, Tony gives her a peck on the cheek, slaps her ass and says, "Sorry, but I'm too tired to screw you tonight, darlin'. Now you have something to look forward to when you wake up."

His own wit is still echoing in his ears as he stumbles into his bedroom and passes out, fully clothed.

---

Carrie Choi, PKA 최가인, doesn't have a body to die for, although she wishes she did. What she lacks in physical attractiveness, however, she more than makes up for in mental prowess. Cunning to a point as sharp as a laser, she feels her skills are being wasted. These ESL teachers are too easy, she scoffs as she heads underground and waits for the train to Wangsimni to arrive. She checks her bag to make sure she has everything: credit cards, debit cards, cell phones, address books...check, check, check, check. It's been a long night, but it was worth it.

Today she's going to rest, have some breakfast at the taxi restaurant before going home to sleep for four or five hours (if she's lucky). Tomorrow, it's off to Guam for two days and one night with her little sister, Yijin. The day after that? Back to Seoul. She has an appointment at a cosmetic surgery clinic in Gangnam. Chin, cheeks, breasts, and eyes.

(One, two, three, four.)

After that, the real grifting begins. It's been a long process, she knows, but to the winner goes the spoils.

---

"Hello?"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Church on Time




When the erstwhile Kmart and I get together on weekends, our topics of conversation are pretty much limited to what you, Constant Retard, read (daily) on this hallowed blog: movies, music, fiction, women, booze, video games, and food. Regrettably, that last topic is one rarely broached on Psychedelic Kimchi, because, boy, do we love talking about food*. Seeing as how I'm not a gourmand, though, I find myself at a disadvantage when it comes to describing tasty shit. I am simply bereft of adjectives. A filet mignon is "fucking awesome" in my books, but that same compliment could be paid to a Burger King bacon-double cheeseburger. Raw squid freshly caught and presented to my table at a 횟집 on the east coast elicits the same praise I'd give a french fry-encrusted corn dog bought from a street stall in Seoul: "killer!" I'd like to think I'm a talented writer and well-spoken individual, but when it comes to describing cuisine I lose my eloquence.

Case in point: this past Sunday Kmart and I had dinner and drinks at one of the legion beer halls here in the mighty 'burb of Bundang, and our meal, 통삼겹 김치찜, was, as you might expect, fucking awesome. It honestly was one of the most sublimely delicious dishes I've ever had the pleasure of eating, yet when I try to explain exactly why it was so amazing I feel like I'm an eight-year-old girl telling her friends that the new Miley Cyrus album sosososo rocks (^^). I cannot write about food. I just can't. It's one of those things I guess I'll have to deal with, like being a basketball player with Tourette's syndrome or a blind porn star.

Still, like David Bowie, I try, especially when I'm confronted with a snack food that puts my trust back in God and man. A few weeks ago Kmart

(beat me at Mario Kart DS)

asked me if I'd ever had Flamin' Hot Cheetos, and I wasn't positive I had. I thought I'd eaten some sort of hot/spicy/BBQ-flavored Cheetos at some point in my life, but I couldn't say for sure, which is evidence now that I'd never had FHC; because, if I had, I damn sure would have remembered it.

Fast forward to the more recent past, last Saturday. After dinner in Jeongja, Legs suggested I stop by 'I Love Cookie' for necessities (read: deodorant and man-size condoms), and when we got there it clicked. Outside of the shop were bags of Flamin' Hot Cheetos, visually recognizable but memorically** elusive, like that hooker you slept with and saw shopping near Gangnam Station. Since they were only 6,000 won per bag (roughly $6 US), I bought only one.

I should have bought the store's entire stock, price be damned.

Because, and here's one hell of an endorsement, Flamin' Hot Cheetos are, in three words, REALLY FUCKING AWESOME. Frito Lay reinvented the wheel. FHC are the alpha and the omega of snack foods. Flamin' Hot Cheetos make me want to be a better man -- a better man who eats Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Morning, noon, night.

Life's checklist, fucking awesomely amended.




* Usually, in in my own case, more than I enjoy actually eating it. The same can be said for Kmart vis a vis women, I suppose (oh yes I did!).

** Daddy just made up a new word!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Falling on My Head Like a Memory




Sparkles's journal, July 14, 2009:

아침에 골목에서 개 형해, 타이어 파열 복부에 떠있다*. The Tancheon flooded this afternoon. Yaysers! It's coming down in sheets as I type this. Sheets! Hopefully the rain will drown all the whores, politicians, and vermin and stop in time for me to make my rounds tomorrow without getting drenched (drenched!) to the bone yet again, but I have my doubts. The peninsula is, after all, a land of passionate extremes where nothing is ever half assed, always either full assed or no assed, and this is even reflected in its weather. When it rains, it pours; so, no, I don't expect this spate of foul weather to end (mon)soon, but neither do I particularly want it to. For while it's a climatic hemorrhoid of an experience firsthand (how many fucking pairs of socks do I have to change today?), it's nothing short of beautiful to sit back and absorb from the comfort of one's home.

As luck would have it, here I am right now, at home. If I could blog from the trenches I'd have had a starkly more expletive-strewn report for you earlier, but I can't so I don't. No, all is copacetic right now, me dry in a literal sense and wet in a colloquial one**, as it should be on days like today. I can sit on my windowsill, dog in lap, and watch nature take its course. I might even break out some 동동주 and have Legs fry up some 파전. That might be nice. That might be pretty great. I might even, for literary effect, throw on a Beatles tune and reminisce about a girl I used to know, a girl named Naoko.

But, look now, the rain has abated, if only for a short time. Remember the great rain of '09? they'll ask, and I'll say, Sure do. Have two ruined pairs of shoes to prove it. Coulda sworn I saw Adrian Mellon being carried off downstream when the Tancheon flooded, a sight it was. Body never turned up, but I saw what I saw, God as my witness.



* I'm not gonna even pretend that's accurate.

** I'll leave it up to the reader to determine whether I'm a) high on sherm, b) a sexually aroused female vagina, or c) drunk.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The PK 27 -- Game No. 1




In my elementary school days (second or third grade, this was), some mornings my brother, Leopold, and I would go up the street so my best friend's mother could give us a lift to school. I think it was because my mother was at the time pregnant with my sister, Hannah, and was in the hospital, but I'm a little hazy on that*. Regardless, the two of us always had to wait 30 minutes or so for my friend -- let's call him Erik** -- to get ready, and when we weren't playing with Erik's Star Wars or G.I. Joe action figures*** we were playing games on his now-prehistoric PC.

Archon was one of those games.

Ostensibly a game of chess with D&D characters, Archon's selling point was that when a piece tried to take one of its opponent's the two pieces -- goblins, unicorns, a fucking manticore -- would duel it out, mano-a-mano. And while each character possessed his/her/its own strengths and weaknesses, Leopold and I, at our young ages, tended to resort to that faithful standard of video game-playing youth: button mashing****; so, while I realized the game's potential, it would be untruthful to say we experienced all that Lord Archon had to offer in the way of uniqueness. At the time, though, I thought Archon was the greatest achievement in gaming innovation, despite my ignorance of its nuances. I'd figure that shit out later, I told myself. Because time was on my hands. After all, who wants to play a boring game of chess when Archon offers you combat avec swords, balls of fire, and FUCKING BOULDERS? The king in chess can only move one space and has to be protected by his wife, that pussy. History would show, I was convinced, that Archon revolutionized games and gaming like Henry Ford revolutionized the automobile industry. In twenty years nobody would be playing chess. Everybody would be playing Archon.

Of course, things didn't turn out that way, which is for the best. Kids think of the stupidest shit sometimes.


* In my old age, I'm hazy on a lot of things. But while I might not remember your name, I damn sure remember your face, especially since we met just last week, dummy.

** because that's his name

*** Destro with a gold mask! The fucking rancor!

**** Or were we using the keyboard? Again, I'm hazy on this.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Psychedelic Smörgåsbord*






* But not really.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Wire Appreciation No. 2378 (8732)



To paraphrase Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes by way of Simply Red via KRS-ONE, "If you don't know me by now I doubt you'll ever know me," because, girl, I ain't hard to figure out. After a day's work

("work," work)

I enjoy unwinding with a cold beer or ten, a few

(dozen)

Dunhills, and some entertainment, whether it be passive (watching OnStyle on the teevee) or active (reading, writing, committing moral sins in the form of masturbating and considering ordering paperbacks from Amazon that have Oprah's Book Club's logo on their front covers). Since the beginning of June, as my most constant of Constant Retards -- Kmart, my mother -- know, I've been rewatching The Wire in its entirety, occasionally posting my praise (and one time my scorn) here on this hallowed blog,

(Write That on My Epitaph)

Psychedelic Kimchi. And I've been doing so -- as I live my life, as I sin against God when I tug my wiener -- for my own gratification. I'm not here to solicit fans of the show or to convert the ignorant/unaware. No; this is me, holding a cool glass, smoking a square, and praying to my god. Your god may be The Sopranos. Your god may be Lost. Hell, your god might even be Desperate Housewives. I won't try to sway you regardless. Won't try to take you into my fold.

I can, however, point out that while taste is a matter of personal opinion, it doesn't mean your opinion is correct. To quote Roger Ebert:

I am fond of the story I tell about Gene Siskel. When a so-called film critic defended a questionable review by saying, "after all, it's opinion," Gene told him: "There is a point when a personal opinion shades off into an error of fact. When you say 'The Valachi Papers' is a better film than 'The Godfather,' you are wrong."


Which is a roundabout way for me to say that no show is greater than The Wire.

Sure, your god may be righteous. Your god might speak to the people, a lot of people at best, some people at least. But you are worshiping a false prophet, sir or madam. Again, I'm not trying to convert you; I'm not trying to sound elitist. I'm just stating a fact. I do that from time to time.

"Late Editions," the penultimate episode of The Wire, is the best episode of the series. That is opinion, because, like naming your favorite eat after a night on the piss -- shawarma, a BK bacon-double cheeseburger, 감자탕 -- there are so many good treats to be had, so many memories of past and future delicacies, greasy or otherwise, to reminisce over or anticipate having again. But it's the context surrounding the sublimity that makes it superior. And The Wire is life.

Or a reasonable, hand-drawn facsimile thereof, at least.