Monday, August 31, 2009

The Enabler



We get so few comments here at Psychedelic Spicy Fermented Cabbage that I'm always pleased when you, Constant Retard, drop us a line. Back when PK was in its earliest stages/the dream of an autistic kid, comments were more plentiful, and to be honest it has always perplexed me that the number of comments declined so considerably over the years; but Kmart, the man and the myth, has repeatedly assured me this is due more to our continual voyage into waters esoteric rather than a decline in retardship, and me being the optimistic bastard I am, and also because the overall quality of PK has grown since its shaky, often cringeworthy inception, I'm inclined to believe the lovable gore fetishist.

As the familiar story goes, PK is a blog written by people who live/have lived (and loved) in Korea, but rarely is it about Korea. To call Psychedelic Staple Side Dish a Korean blog would be erroneous, something akin to labeling Dokdo the Liancourt Rocks, Takeshima, or some shit. Sure, we will occasionally touch upon Korea-related issues (especially when it comes to the arts and hot women!), but that's a product-of-one's-environment sort of thing rather than a concerted effort to limit ourselves based on where we live and what goes on here. There are far too many blogs for that already, the majority of them pretty damn cannibalistic and poorly written. It's not hard to scan the dailies and Internet message boards for inspirational fodder or to comment on hot topics that other blogs are jumping on, and we have prided ourselves on our maxim that PK is bigger than all of that. As this blog's founder and chief editorial nutcase, why would I want to pigeonhole myself as a "Korean blog" when I can do so much more? Word to Jonathan Livingtston Seagull, Psychedelic Kimchi is forever striving for transcendence (acceptance?), and limiting ourselves to a small (but dynamic!) Asian peninsula goes against our ethos of being universal.

Still, because of PK's Korean ties, I'll occasionally get comments ranging anywhere from innocuous ("I would like to teach you about Korean culture") to downright weird ("I am lovesick man. Do you have a time?"). I generally refuse to publish such comments on the basis that they add nothing to the site, but this one time I'm making an exception. The comment in question was surely written by some bored idiot pretending to come off as an evangelical Korean, but the more I thought about it the more I pitied the dude. After all, he spent minutes of his precious life writing a comment that no one would read. Until now, that is. Thinking about it, I realized that this lonely miscreant and I share a kinship, because what is PK if not a black hole where ambitious writing remains trapped in stasis, waiting to be discovered by intellectuals and Google searchers for things that smell like cum?

So here you go, Anonymous. I hope today brings you satisfaction, a satisfaction that can only be achieved by having your lame comment published on Psychedelic Kimchi, the best blog in the history of fire or pussy.

Dear Spark,

I am happy you have a family and you all are well inCorea [1]. However you have many gross and evil pictures of horror nasty stuff an you keep on saying Christains are bad and religion is too [2]. I will tell you yyou are a bad role model for your family- I hope it does NOT happen- but I think yur kids [3] will grow up without any universal law beliefs and become hopeless wasteland pleasure seekers like you [4]- and lack any love of God. This is bad becasue than they will hurt themselves in bad sexual realtionships tat are harmful. Do you not want your kids to grow up with some morals and a rooted lasting self esteeem in the belief God loves them and wants the best for them? Ok well anyway I still think there is hope for you and your fakily because God can change anyone [5] as long as they are alive and have free will.

Anyhow I am also kind of jealious cuz no Korean girl woud marry me [6] but I can always try to marry some poor girl in the next poor country I teach in. Please contact me in a comment if you know any cute ladies who like somewaht fatty USA guys in almost 40. Yeah but it is true Korean girls are so cute- anyhow I still hope it goes good for you and the family but your hooror pictures are so ugly and gangster music is bad too [7] teaching youngsters that guns/drugs/ and violence are c00l as well as sex as afun sport. I hope you dont let your kid listen to gangster music or watch horror movies.

Anyhow I have to go get ready for church- I am riding my bike there cuz I need to lose wieght- oh I am serious about the Korean girl thing but I do not want to wed a buddha or atheist girl though...

Ok c u in Korea soometime if I ever go to seoul and we meet up beacuse you want my advice. I got to go back sometime foe all the milions of cash Ileft in myKorean bank account take care- and I rthink read the book of John so you can come to serve Christ and not your fleshly desires of hambergurgres and taco bell - oh by the way I am going to taco beell today ha ha u go it some kimchee chigah for mre ok [8]>?

Later


Some comments:

1) I am well, but my family is not solely in Korea. We span the globe like sleeper cells.

2) Have I? I was raised Christian, and I have no ill will toward any religion. Heck, I still spell God with a capital G and use words like "heck."

3) You are under the mistaken impression that I have more than one child. They -- God, as it were -- broke the mold with the 18th Letter, so I'm not eager to have any more. My ex-wife, though? That bitch is a baby factory!

4) Hopeless wasteland pleasure seekers...I like how that sounds. I'm demanding that Kmart adopt it as the title of his American vacation fast food blogging posts.

5) I sincerely hope God can change your poor spelling. Do you believe in miracles?

6) I married two (not concurrently, lest I be branded a bigamist). Try to have more confidence. Women like a man who's assure of himself. Failing that: chloroform.

7) If you have issues with the pictures, take it up with Kmart. I tend to post pics of nature, because that's what garners the most hits. And calling KMD gangster music is akin to calling Yanni reggaeton.

8) I could eat "kimchee chigah" till I vomit, and occasionally have I done just that. No sarcasm. I love that shit like Christ loved Judas.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chocolate and Chicken Bones, Vol. 3




- I miss the NFL. The NFL and I amicably broke up before I left for Le Peninsula nine years ago, but still I yearn. I long for Sundays spent on the sofa, me surrounded by chips, dips, and pussy lips/Dan Marino. I caught the final score of this year's Super Bowl 30,000 feet above terra firma. Unfair.

- Kmart, your fiend and mine, is back in Iowa after a bad motorcycle accident. Our prayers are with him.

- I will never, ever be able to grow a beard, and this fact pains me very much. Hey, I like that I've been blessed with genes which make me look a lot younger than my actual age (43), but I'm downright furious that my legs are furrier than a jungle cat, whereas after three days of not shaving I look like an adolescent Mexican teenager.

- I will finish Twilight Princess before JD Salinger dies. I will. So too will I finish reading Stephen King's "Chattery Teeth" and Rockstar Games' Chinatown Wars. Then, Golden Sun, then rewatch Zodiac, then...

- 도망하고싶어.

- Add the number in HBO's series ___ Feet Deep to the letters in the city The Wire takes place in, and you have the answer to why I don't participate in Quiz Night. (Fifteen!)

- John Carpenter made three absolutely classic films: Halloween, Big Trouble in Little China, and The Thing. Let the guy smoke dope all day and watch basketball, because he's paid his fucking dues. Tenfold. I want to see a new Carpenter film like I want to have my balls squeezed.

- Kim Hyesoo's voice is brainfryingly annoying when I'm writing a post while slightly drunk at 10:50 p.m. on a Sunday night. Deliver me from Hyesoo. Please.

- Love:



- Tomorrow, I recover from a weekend of fried food and infrequent bowel movements. Ideally.



Let's be fresh. Yes.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cannibal




There are bad habits, but also are there instinctive behaviors. I tend to bite my inner cheek with my incisors -- both sides, but usually the right. Cheek, that is.

So do I smell my own breath, a self-taught trick I hide when in good company. What I do is, I stick out my jaw and inhale and sniff at the same time. It smells gross, usually. When it smells grosser, I brush my teeth, sometimes my tongue.

I know I won't live forever, but at least let me live a little longer. I am trying to delay the onset of time, the inevitable descent into autumn, winter.

There's a growing crimson knot on the middle knuckle of my right hand. I'm playing the piano, and then snap! My eye is bloody, and I can't see.

I could chat for days about how when I was twelve I loved everything. Even you. But you aren't worth the narrative. I don't want to waste my time, my precious life, dwelling on the past. That's what books are for.

People get hung up over details, the this and the that. I say fuck it, let it linger and fade. Nothing lasts forever. Nothing. Ever.

If it was so great to begin with, why, then, did it disappear?

Spit.

Radiohead -- These are My Twisted Words (Track Review)



Like Pitchfork, those villainous tastemakers, I too am a worshiper of all things Radiohead. The band has never released a sub par album*, even if their last two efforts, Hail to the Thief and In Rainbows, didn't match the perfection of their previous four (no mean feat, that). There's a lot to like on Hail to the Thief and In Rainbows, sure, but there's also a lack of cohesion, no demanding necessity for the albums to be listened to from start to finish. Thief is (Johnny) marred by unsound sequencing, whereas In Rainbows, as fantastic and groundbreaking -- in a (non?)commercial sense -- as it may be, is largely a dish without seasoning**. I suppose it's too much to ask for another classic from a band rivaled by few*** in terms of consistently superb albums (and a pretty nifty solo joint from Mr. Thom Yorke), but when Radiohead put their two latest singles(?), "Harry Patch (In Memory Of)" and "These are My Twisted Words," out on this here Internet, I was, as I increasingly am in my old age, underwhelmed. As a tribute song (even if it's an arguably crassly self-serving one), "Harry Patch" works. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of "These are My Twisted Words."

Which is not to say that TAMTW is a bad song, because it's far from it. But neither is it a particularly great song, and if the rumors are to be believed that Radiohead has indeed decided to stop making albums in favor of releasing single tracks every now and then, "These are My Twisted Words" makes for a pretty crummy opening salvo, one into waters already chartered.

Call it the "Knives Out" corollary. For reasons unknown, after perfecting their jazz-rock experiment on 2001's Amnesiac, the band has returned to that dry well far too often (particularly on In Rainbows' latter half), the results ranging from middling to mediocre. "These are My Twisted Words" is, unfortunately, no different.

It's impossible to say where the band is heading creatively, but based on TAMTW -- a song I've replayed almost a dozen times in the span of forty-eight hours, upon each listen hoping it will sound better than the last -- it's an unwelcome one, at least as far as this fan is concerned.

Over and out, boyo.


* Shocking: I've never heard Pablo Honey

** The seasoning being CD 2 sprinkled throughout the release proper, as reviewed here

*** The Beatles, Outkast

Cardinale




She's wearing no jewelry or accessories, not even a pair of earrings. She doesn't need any. Even the simplest adornment would look superfluous, would mar a beauty so natural. She is wearing makeup, but it's been applied so sparsely that it's barely noticeable. Clear gloss highlights her dark pink lips, and she has ostensibly used mascara to volumize her eyelashes. The rest is God-given perfection. Her cheeks are naturally rosy and instinctively elicit lust from men and women alike. Her skin is so delicately pure and blemish free that, more often than not, other women's reaction upon seeing it must be one of awe rather than of jealousy. She doesn't even have a vaccination scar on her left shoulder.

Her hair is short and looks good that way. The ends curl like commas under her dainty ears. Black and lustrous, her short bangs are swept across her forehead by the humid mid-August wind.

The wind is blowing the skirt of her sheer, one-piece dress in a like manner; but, remarkably, although it's a considerable breeze and the dress' hem only extends mid thigh, no hint of what lies beneath is visible, and she makes no effort whatsoever to ensure that passersby aren't given the assuredly pleasant surprise of glimpsing her panties. Squinting from the sun's rays, she continues looking up at the bus sign, her eyes crescent slits.

She's holding a cell phone and a leather day planner chest high in one hand; her other arm hangs idly free. Her nails are painted opal, as are her toes. On her feet are low-heel dress sandals, and her legs look none the worse for it. She doesn't need pumps. Her legs are lithe stalks, her cute knees ripe fruit.

I am taken aback. Here, at this bus stop, on this corner, at this precise time, is beauty incarnate. Despite myself, I furtively keep glancing at her -- but only for a second, like I'm viewing a solar eclipse without ocular protection. She is love and lust personified, and I am a mute witness to the unspoken glory of physical sublimity.

The breeze wafts her scent my way. Baby powder and olives. Like a dream I had. I know her name can't be Lucy, but that's what I'll call her. A woman of her singular attractiveness doesn't need a name, anyway, but Lucy she shall be.

To be in her presence for only a little longer, I pray that she is taking the same bus I am. I have forgotten all of my worries, my hitherto stressful day but a vague memory. For she is life. She is a breath of the freshest air. Please, God, let me stay near her. Let me bathe my senses in her magnificence.

My bus arrives, but when it's apparent she's not going the same way I opt to stay. I have an appointment that I'll be late for, but that's a welcome sacrifice. I want to prolong this moment as much as I possibly can.

Two minutes later, her bus -- Lucy's bus -- arrives. I'm tempted to hop on and go wherever it takes me, but I freeze before doing so. I wonder where she's going. I suppose I'll always wonder where she is, what she's doing. Something pretty neat, I bet.

I like her very much.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Things that Make You Go 'Hmm'



Quiz Nanairo Dreams, a quiz game/dating sim (!) that never made it to North America but almost qualified for the vaunted PK27. Just be glad it didn't.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Skyhook


Sometimes you gotta reinvent the wheel; at others, you gotta do a damn good job of putting the wheel where it needs to go.

I prefer neither, but then again, wheels, circles, and spheres aren't my thing.

I've a mean skyhook, but only if you ask for it. And even then, only if you're among the blessed folk.


(image from www.espn.com)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Catch and Release




Calvin Edwards was a specialist, and his specialty was shooting. He was a true marksman, a sniper absolutely blessed with -- given enough space and time -- a dead-eye shot. Rarely did this equate to glory, but Calvin had no illusions of grandeur. He knew his role and was content with it. God, Calvin believed, had put him on this earth twenty-three years ago to do one thing: shoot.

And shoot he did. In his rookie season, Calvin's field goal percentage was an unheard of sixty-one -- no mean feat for a first-year guard who rarely (read: never) drove the lane. His three-point percentage was similarly outstanding: fifty-three. Non-superstars, especially ones who average just under seventeen minutes per game of playing time, are rarely blessed with complimentary nicknames, but midway through his inaugural season Calvin was dubbed in the press and by fans as "Archer," after the character from the Robin Hood legends.

What Calvin lacked in PT, however, he more than made up for in scoring efficiency. He averaged 14.3 points per game, and the only reason he wasn't given more playing time was determined by two factors. One, he was cursed with legs slower than a senior citizen doing hydro therapy. Two, he was more comfortable launching shots midway between halfcourt and the three-point line; and the fact that he missed less frequently from that spot on the floor than he did from just behind the arc meant little to his coach or teammates. When Calvin hit it was a glorious surprise to everyone but himself; when he missed, people called it an embarrassment to the sport of basketball.

But Calvin knew his purpose. Shoot. Catch and shoot. Create space by any means necessary. Stand and wait for the rock. If need be, stand alone where no defender will dare to come out and guard you. In a way, Calvin Edwards was more automaton than man; and, indeed, he was initially labeled "The Mighty Casey" after a Twilight Zone episode about a robot pitcher. No one believed he was a sound basketball player, and his reliance on his jumper -- didn't teams know what they would get when he was scouted out of Kentucky? -- had most reporters and fans calling him a bust. But numbers don't lie. Ten games into the season, he was being lauded on sports news programs and drive-time radio as basketball's new idiot savant, and after his first season had wrapped (with a heartbreaking 87-81 loss to the Pistons that eliminated the Sixers from playoff contention), he was practically a legend in the city of Philadelphia, the city that booed Santa Claus.

In the first game of his sophomore season, Calvin scored only two points in five minutes (a garbage-time fifteen-foot jumper) in a loss to San Antonio. Back in Philly for the November 2 home opener, Coach Williams had promised Calvin a more substantial role in the offense, a role that, despite Calvin Edwards's outward nonchalance, he inwardly relished.

"Lace those shoes up tight, Edwards, and loosen up your fingers."

Minutes before game time, Calvin's teammate, Blaine Black, the guy Calvin roomed with and sat next to on charter flights and occasionally traded fart scores with, had considerably more sobering news.

"Look, Cal, there's no way we're beating Dallas, but this early in the season who can tell? Just do me a favor, okay? Play smart. I mean, don't do anything that might get us, you, me, we, in trouble."

"What do you mean, Blaine?" Calvin asked, genuinely curious.

Blaine Black sat down on the locker room bench, next to his naive, possibly non-human teammate.

"There's a fix," Black whispered. "The season is long and this one doesn't matter. We have to lose by eight points. My guess is that we'll lose by at least double that, but who's to say. What I'm saying to you right now, though, is that it's best to take the night off from your regular gunslinging antics, Cal. I know Coach is gonna give you floor time, and I'm just worried that you might swing this one. Please, for the love of god, don't. Do not."

"Okay, Blaine. I got it."

"Thanks, Cal. You always listen to reason."

---

There are forty-three seconds on the game clock. With possession, the Dallas Mavericks are leading the Philadelphia 76ers by a score of 98-88. The Sixers have been lethargic all game, save for Calvin Edwards, who is having a career night with 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting (nine treys, two jumpers). Just before the game clock hits nineteen seconds, Calvin Edwards lunges from out of nowhere to knock the ball from Devean George's hands, the ball careening off of George's leg in the process and possession given to the Sixers.

During the ensuing timeout, Coach Williams praises Calvin for his hustle and draws up an out-of-bounds play. Edwards will inbound to Darius Parson. Parson will pass immediately back to Edwards with a prayer that he'll get off a quick shot and cut the score to seven. With no timeouts left, the players are instructed to go for a steal or foul.

"Prove your mettle, Edwards!" Coach Williams shouts as the timeout buzzer sounds and the Sixers walk onto the floor.

Don't fucking do it, Cal, Blaine Black's stare says as he shakes his head and walks backwards toward the opposite side of the court.

---

Darius Parson is not in front of Calvin for the inbound pass. He hasn't run off the drawn-up screen. Instead, he's standing midcourt like a neglected scarecrow, arms at his sides, his head staring up idiotically at the JumboTron.

Calvin spins the ball into his right hand and whips it with all his might at Parson's head. It bounces off Parson's dome and drops like a live grenade a few inches before the halfcourt line. Calvin Edawards is running on legs a chicken wouldn't envy, but he picks up the ball before anyone else, feels its familiar leather, finds its holy seam, and launches.

The crowd erupts. There is no way in pluperfect hell the Sixers are winning this game, but the crowd erupts regardless. Later, a clip of the game's final minute will garner 3,738,493 views on YouTube, and ESPN will declare it No. 7 on their Top Ten Plays of 2011. And that will forever be Calvin Edwards's legacy. Thirty-four points, 12-of-16 shooting.

---

Calvin Edwards is not a name most people are familiar with these days. Because most people don't delve into the archives of basketball lore. But, if I were to tell you that Calvin Edwards, drafted out of Kentucky with the nineteenth pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, had his feet cut off by mobsters, would you believe me?

Maybe not. Probably not. But I saw what I saw, and I know what I know.

These days, Edwards is content with his basketball cult status. "I wouldn't change a thing," he told me over barbecue ribs and badminton at his family's estate in North Ridge, Montana. "I never sacrificed my principles. Maybe that's dumb, but for me it was never a question."

I ask Edwards if he might be up for a game of 21, to which he replies, "Only if I can heave shots from halfcourt."

I lose 21-0. Edwards consoles me with this gem: "Yeah, I win, but at least you can still run away if I point a shotgun at you."

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pakistan is Threatening My Border!



As a lad, I wished for games like this; and to be honest, I still do.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Parenting




I've been arrested once, for breaking into a Walgreens and stealing a pair of corduroy pants. I was fifteen. I was nearly arrested a couple of years later for shoplifting a lipstick case from a department store for my then-girlfriend, Ella, but the charges were dropped, thank Buddha and the understanding staff at Macy's. My next brush with the law would occur while on vacation in Mexico in the summer of 1997. I mistakenly picked up a leather-skinned vacationer's leatherskin satchel instead of my own in an Acapulco restaurant and left with it. Let's just say the contents of the gentleman's bag were worth far more than the contents of my own: a dog-eared copy of Future Shock, some duck jerky, and an heirloom watch given to me as a child by Christopher Walken. Like white basketball players in the 1990's, wolves were eradicated from the United States for much of the latter half of the 20th century until congress passed the American Wolf Increasation Bill. With the help of a popular John Landis movie and the Canadians, wolves were successfully brought back to Yellowstone Natn'l Park, a move that pissed off some livestock owners who were compensated for their losses. People are always getting honeydew and cantaloupe melons confused. I've never been good at ironing. Dress shirts get burnt, pants wind up more wrinkled than they were to begin with. This is probably due to my desire to befriend Walt Disney, who's dead. Who cares if my slacks have creases when the guy who invented Mickey Mouse is cryogenically frozen within Space Mountain? I need to pee. The black sky Neptune denounced gasoline Pedro.

Pop Quiz




The preceding photograph successfully encapsulates:

A) Life

B) Psychedelic Kimchi

C) The nutritional value of Cheetos Puffs

D) Marriage

E) CPK

F) All of the above

G) None of the above

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Prostration




School's back in. Great.

I realize this as the 116 bus pulls up and the early evening light strikes its windows, silhouetting a mass of standing teenagers inside. The ride isn't a long one, only ten to fifteen minutes or so, but after having already stood around in the humid mid-August heat for close to twenty minutes, the prospect of standing among a horde of cackling middle school boys and sing-songingly whining middle school girls, if only for a short time, is not an agreeable one. The bus ride back to my apartment is just slightly shorter than the time it takes to walk there, and for a second I consider the latter option, but only for a second. After all, if I can't put up with the small annoyance of having to commute home along with a minuscule fraction of South Korea's adolescent population, what kind of a man does that make me?

I step onto the bus and press my wallet against the transit-card scanner. Beep. As advertised, the bus is packed. Elderly women -- as well as a few elderly men and a mother clutching a child to her breast -- sit at the front. I cannot see the back. The middle is crammed with students wearing the standard, school-issued white shirts and gray pants/skirts. A black leather book bag juts out here, a gaudy, faux-designer handbag there.

The first thing I notice, though, is the smell. Bus drivers are expected to clean their own buses, inside and out, and this driver, it appears, has neglected both tasks for quite awhile. The bus possesses a musty odor, a stale air. It's apparent that the driver hasn't ventilated his vehicle in some time, and the flat odor mixed with the fetid stench of teenage boys creates a noxious atmosphere. But in this infernal heatwave, I'll take it over the oppressive shroud of humidity outside. It was supposed to rain today. Instead, the city is enveloped in the climatic equivalent of blue balls, a surprise party postponed by the end of the world.

The air conditioning rushes down from overhead vents, bathing my head and shoulders in coolness. I clutch a hand strap and look out the window as the 116 continues her route: a route that has changed little and will remain relatively unchanged even after I am dead.

The bus jostles its standing passengers, and like the ocean tides I sway loosely, peacefully, with each motion. It's a trick that develops over time, yielding to the random forces of public transportation. Just as a mainlander might -- mistakenly so -- instinctively sturdy his legs during his first time aboard a sea vessel, the layman to Korea might similarly overcompensate while riding a bus or subway. Me? I know better; although my adeptness at the skillful craft of bus riding came less from practice and more from evolution.

After passing the park, the bus stops at an intersection and the Bundang Babel Orchestra strikes up. Does Minhee really like him? That's so unfair! They can't do that! Call me at seven. Sne...be...cro...fuh... In the seat to my left, an old woman agitatedly looks back at the throng before turning forward and tapping her splayed fingers together like she's performing a shamanistic ritual. A greasy-haired boy looks at me and toys with his bangs like I'm a mirror.

I myself am staring at the window, transfixed. A hornet, perhaps also looking to cool down, hovers excitedly beyond the glass facing me. He has no business here, but he doesn't know that, and while I am initially comforted by our ostensible barrier, I grow incrementally nervous as Herr Hornet locates a centimeter-wide crack in the window which I was ignorant of and pushes his beady head into and his fat abdomen through before I can close the gap.

And now there is a gun pressed against my temple.

Suddenly a trapped animal desperate to escape from its cage, the hornet darts randomly within its prison, dodging swatting hands and the screams of man, woman, and child alike. For my part, I remain quiet but not calm. My heart is beating like a hummingbird's wings, my pulse racing like a Formula One car. This is torment. Oh, this is Hell.

Get me off of this bus.

At the next stop (two stops before my destination), I exit, not from the side door but from the front, shuddering inwardly and shaking outwardly, shouts of horror ringing in my ears. I have hitherto kept my composure, but now I must appear like a man insane, sweat streaming off my brow in torrents, my eyes bloodshot and manic.

I wait at the traffic light, balled fists in my pockets. One-two-three-four. Deep breath, deep breath. And then I see, at the crossing adjacent to me, a woman wearing skinny jeans pulled up to her torso, high heels on her slender feet, raven hair streaming down her back like an ink waterfall.

And suddenly it's OK.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Pudenda Dentatum




Blondes have more fun, but brunettes go all the way. (And I didn't even get her number!)


P.S. The Baroness almost rekindled my love of women, or so Sparkles contends, although he's been known to stretch the truth from time to time.

The Man with the Golden Liver




Dear Diary, I had a pretty neat weekend. I even remember some of it.

As I regrettably do every Saturday morning, I woke up at seven, took a shower, and prepared for an hour of "work"/work. TOEFL. Lovely. After class, Legs prepared me a Spamwich* and I took a two-hour-long nap that, I must tell you, Constant Retard, reinvigorated my mind, body and soul. Upon waking up, I [censored] and lounged around Chez Sparkles**, channel surfing and no doubt annoying the hell out of my lovely wife. Legs teaches a "working girl" (no lie) every Saturday, but her two o'clock class was canceled -- again, no lie -- because her student was bitten in the ear by some kind of bug and developed an infection (probably a lie). This, in turn, meant that Legs dragged me to the hair salon so that I could have my scruffy mane sheared, my scalp massaged, and be reminded by staring at myself in a mirror for a half hour what a handsome man I am. That task completed, we hopped in the Legsmobile -- a used KIA Carens that runs on liquid propane gas, if you must know -- and headed to Seoul to have dinner with my father-in-law.

Dinner was naengmyeon, Constant Retard, and I must say that, while it wasn't as superlative as Sincheon's outstanding (and really fucking spicy) Haeju Naengmyeon, it was pretty darn good, even if the 육수 was somewhat lacking and the noodles had a little too much garlic. After dinner, the three of us drove (well, technically only Legs drove, but you get the point) to Misari for "coffee." Coffee for me was a bottle of Cass poured into a Heineken glass (irony!), for Legs and her father an icy bowl of 팥빙수. I must tell you, that beer hit the spot on such a warm evening, and it cooled my considerably, understandably annoyed demeanor after spending 15,000 won for the three of us to tour a "garden" roughly the size of my apartment. I don't care that there were two ostriches or statues of Humphrey Bogart and an astronaut; that shit was definitely NOT worth the price of admission.

We drove Legs's father home and returned to the 'Dang. Legs watched the Korean drama, Style, starring a man-coiffed Kim Hyesu***, and I watched The Hangover**** for the second time in two days. Seriously, that film is the funniest, most-quotable comedy in recent memory, even if it is the male equivalent of female-geared romcoms starring Katherine Heigl and Kate Hudson. Afterwards, we headed to our favorite watering hole for beer in green bottles, witty repartee, and pretending to cut people from Osaka (hat tip to Kmart). I'm a little hazy after that, but I'm sure I kept my composure while riding the brown wave of insobriety. At least I think I did.

The sun greeted me at ten a.m. on Sunday morning, and Legs, who knows exactly what to fix me for breakfast after a night of carousing, presented me with a plate of hash browns and a BLT sandwich. (I swear, my arteries must be getting blocked like a guy trying to pick up women at a lesbian bar. Our deep fryer: the gift and the curse.) Again, I took the nap of the just, and upon awakening [censored*****] and farted around the apartment all morning and early afternoon (literally. You would too if you ate what I ate and drank what I drank). When two o'clock hit, I showered, dressed, and braved the abject mid-August heat to meet/meat your friend and mine, Kmart. We bought tickets for the four-o'clock showing of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and then took the subway to Jeongja, Flamin' Hot Cheetos our primary quarry.

Sadly, I Love Cookie, the foreign goods shop in Jeongja, was closed (again). No sublime snackfoods would be had, but on the plus side we helped out an amiable woman from Goje Island who was in search of seasoning for the burritos she was making for her sister. Come to think of it, since the shop was closed, her burrito experiment was considerably hindered, but it's the thought that counts, right?

Arriving back at Seohyeon, Kmart and I passed the time by smoking Dunhill Lights and arguing over the fairly obvious ending -- for smart people -- of Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island. Also, I repeatedly tried and failed to pull out an eyebrow hair the length of a 1984 Buick LeSabre. Twenty minutes before our minds -- and eardrums -- would be blown by the idiotic sublimity of G.I. Joe, we headed to the theater, unaware that our lives would be forever altered by Stephen Sommers's superbly dumb, outrageously entertaining film.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is a movie that revels in its stupidy, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Instead of trying to legitimize A FUCKING LINE OF ACTION FIGURES FOR KIDS, Sommers acknowledges and embraces the sheer madness of the concept, from Cobra's outlandish raison d'etre all the way down to a Return of the Jedi-esque underwater battle replete with aboveground gravity and ice that sinks(!). Kmart summed up the film best when he said that, if he had seen it when he was ten years old, it would have been the greatest thing he'd ever seen. Hell, I'm thirty-one, and it kinda still is (which probably speaks volumes about my intelligence level). I'm definitely bumping it up on my ranking of the best comic book movies******.

Our synapses still reeling from Joe glory, we walked to Wara Wara, that good old Seohyeon standby, for "broju" and a poorly decided-upon meal consisting of tofu and pork gristle. Two hours later and considerably drunker, we traipsed******* to Dublin only to find out that Quiz Night (question: What is actress Meryl Streep's alma mater?) was in full swing and no seats were available. Downtrodden yet still hopeful, we crossed the plaza to the excellently designed and immoderately deserted Pub 210 for Samuel Adams's terrific brew, shots of whiskey, and pool tables replete, I say, replete with balls with numbers so large that it was hard to tell whether they were striped or solid. They reminded me of telephone dial pads for seniors with poor eyesight or arthritis, actually, but the bar's dim lighting basically required such.

That excursion into foreign waters complete, we made our way back to Whisky Heaven, where, thankfully, Quiz Night was wrapping up. Kmart and I took (by force) our seats at the bar and proceeded to do what we do best: attract the species feminina. It's so easy it's embarrassing, actually. Kmart is the magnet, women steel, and it came as a surprise to none when a comely young lass asked him...well, given our slight inebriation and G.I. Joe-induced comedown, we're still pretty hazy what she asked, but a bilingual conversation ensued, and numbers were input into cell phones. The girl's, anyway. Because I don't think Kmart's prehistoric cell phone can handle phone numbers larger than ten digits.

The 333 bus (that blackguard) bound for its final jaunt back to Anyang, Kmart unfortunately had to bow out before exchanging other things with the crop-cutted woman of his dreams, like baseball cards and saliva; but all was not lost, Constant Retard. I proceeded to stick around a little while longer, shooting pool and making an ass of myself, the whole time telling (pleading with?) Girl with a Man's Name to make sure she'd give Kmart a call the next day.

As far as I know, that call never came. I hope it eventually does, mostly because, while downplaying his handicap, I promoted Kmart like the OJ Simpson trial promoted Kato Kaelin, and I have my integrity to uphold. Plus, it would be cool to have a double date with two women whose names read as men's when transliterated into English.

It's mostly for that reason, admittedly.


* AKA God's chosen food

** in my underwear!

*** Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

**** foreshadowing!

***** [censored]

****** While you're here, I don't know what foul demon possessed me to list Spider-Man 2 ahead of Ironman. Go back to that post and swap their respective places, please and thank you.

******* because that's what grown, heterosexual men do, right?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Meta Month



A message from the 18th Letter:

"Kmart, don't forget to call that girl."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

PKon '09 (Days Three and Four)




PKon '09 - Day Three

-All events cancelled due to protests over U.S. beef imports

-Sanctimonious Facebook posts reach an all-time high



PKon '09 - Day Four

CONSTANT RETARD OLYMPICS!

Hosted by Masta Ace
Medals designed, produced, and distributed by Stephen Geoffreys
Commentary by Thomas Jane, Oscar the Grouch, and Irene Cara
Scoring by Kevin Sorbo, Lucy Lawless, Jennifer Sky, and Bruce Campbell

Quesadilla Wantaeacha
Winner: Den (six quesadillas)
Runner-Up: Mab (prior to regurgitation: 4, post-regurgitation: 3)
Absent: Hwarangi (raging hangover)

Go-Kart Krunch
Winner: William George (man knows how to drift!)
Runner-Up: Avis (milking the golden mushroom)
Absent: Windowview (barred from operating automobiles of any kind)

The BK Stacker Battle Royale (sponsored by Hyundai)
Burger King of the Ring: SP?
Order of Elimination: Avis, Den, Hwarangi (hangover!), Aiai, Mab, Melissa, William George, Windowview, Jill (pregnant!), DilettanteQuaintrelle

--
The Seooouuul Train Dance-a-thon

The Monster Mash
Winner: DilettanteQuaintrelle
Runner-Up: William George

Robot Dancing
Winner: Melissa
Runner-Up: Windowview

Breakdancing
Winner: Jill (pregnant!)
Runner-Up: Mab

Pole Dancing
Winner: William George
Runner-Up: Hwarangi (on the rebound!)

Winner: Aiai
Runner-Up: SP?

Winner: Windowview
Runner-Up: Den

Winner: Melissa
Runner-Up: Avis

Overall
Corky Thatcher Award: SP?
Funkmaster Sextron 5000 Award: Melissa
--

Wheelchair Joust
Winner: Hwarangi (in top form)
Runner-Up: Den (Oy!)
Absent: Melissa (too much dancing)

Feats of Flatulence
Winner: Aiai (silent but deadly)
Runner-Up: Jill

Bumper-Boat Bash
Winner: Mab
Runner-Up: Avis
Absent: William George (constipation)


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Convention (Days One and Two)



(image from www.myninjaplease.com)

There are five contributors to this hallowed blog, three of which rarely post, but with good reason; TMH is preoccupied with writing the PK Bible, idealjetsam is preparing for spiritual enlightenment (again!), and Denz has been busy preparing this year's Psychedelic Kimchi Convention (henceforth referred to as PKon '09). I'd be lying if I said I've been heavily involved with the project, but then again, that's not my forte. Needless to say, this year's convention has been a wild ride, but you already know that; you were there, after all. But for everyone else i.e. those unable to tear themselves away from work and whatnot, I'll be happy to provide highlights.

PKon '09 - Day One

Q & A with the contributors

Panel: (seated from left to right) Denz, a RealDoll simulacrum of TMH, Sparkles, an open barrel of cheese balls labeled 'idealjetsam', Kmart

Sparkles: Who's first? You there, the man with the Twilight Zone hat.

Hat-Man: Are the rumors of animal sacrifice true?

Sparkles: Only if you're referring to my ex-wife. Next question. The redheaded thing with the acne.

Redhead: In season three, you accepted a female contri-

Sparkles: Fuck you. Next question.

Redhead: But I-

Sparkles: Hey, Faggoty Ann or Andy*, whichever you are, I will slap you so hard that you'll be too ugly for podcasting, even more so than now. Next! Fat guy dressed up as Lieutenant Worf.

Lt. Worf: Will there ever be a spinoff series, possibly set in a space station?

Sparkles: This was covered in April's PK Newsletter, people! The new series is called Time Travel for Beginners, and it's set to premiere on the WB this fall.

Kmart: From the producers of You Can't Do This on Television, if I could jump in for a second.

Sparkles: That's right! Keep reading the newsletter, folks. Next question. Cute girl in the tank top.

Girl: Huh? Question? I'm just here with my boyfriend.

Sparkles: I figured that. Just wanted to get your attention.

Kmart: Where's your boyfriend?

Girl: Right next to me. Duh.

Kmart: Security, please escort those two out of the building.

Girl: Wait. Hold up. I've got a question now. What's with all the homoeroticism on PK?

Denz: Crikey!

Sparkles: Well said, Denz. Security, detain that woman in the holding area. I'll, ah, deal with her later. Break the dude's left kneecap.

Girl: You...You can't do this!

Sparkles: I just did. And what the hell is Paul Hogan doing here?

Paul Hogan: G'day, mates. Just enjoyin' meself a pint of Foster's, thought I'd take a gander.

Denz: Foster's? Seriously?

Kmart: Dude, aren't you pushing seventy now? And your wife is what, like forty-five?

Paul Hogan: Cheers right, mate. Classic Aussie tradition, May-December relationships. Like throwin' shrimp on the barbie.

Denz: Okay, stop. You're obviously a fake Paul Hogan, probably planted by Kmart to sabotage this session. You have a German accent for god's sake!

Kmart: I hardly think 'sabotage' is the right word to use.

Sparkles: Enough! I hereby declare today's session complete. It's two in the afternoon, and I'm sober.

Kmart: No you're not.


PKon '09 - Day Two

Highlights

-Production stills from PK Down Under unveiled

-Korean visitors wowed by Kimchi exhibit

-Wet T-shirt contest snubbed by lesbian readers

- T.O.T. Help Center raided by police

-Ha Ji-won defeated Sparkles (2-1) in Celebrity Arm Wrestling

-Sparkles introduced Ha Ji-won to the sport of Celebrity Spanking

-TMH sparred with Rob Zombie, only to lose via disqualification (eye gouge)

-Kmart hosted a Dungeon Explorer II multiplayer session, but ended up playing alone



* He didn't actually say that, but hey, controversy sells.

Affectation




What a dreary two days this has been, the rain falling lightly yet steadily, clouds blanketing the sky like a phantom hand. Everything is in slow motion: folks on their way to or from work, traffic streaming prosaically like an armada of idiot ships. I see all of this and sigh. The peninsula is in abject hibernation.

The streets are saunas. Clothes cling to their wearers, and neither man nor woman can escape the cruel reach of Humidity Hair, that blackguard. Outside, a man waits for a bus. Betraying its owner like a dog shitting on bathroom slippers, the moisture-protective shelter of his umbrella is penetrated, and fat drops of rain fall onto his forehead like a sarcastic baptism.

I see all of this from my window. That I am inside and dry offers no comfort or assurance. Bleak. The weather is a metaphor of my worldview.

My appetite is nonexistent. I can't even stomach a couple of crackers or some tea with lemon. I jump when the telephone rings, afraid of whomever the caller may be for no logical reason whatsoever. Whenever someone walks by my door, I tense up, afraid he might knock.

And just as I am about to turn on the television for a marathon session of passivity, mental Novocain therapy, I am awoken. It strikes my periphery like a palm slapping a bongo. I turn and look. The sky is alive! Everything is drenched in a golden clarity, beauty unmasked. The sun has exploded through the clouds like a drowning man cresting the water's surface; the clouds are creeping away like anorexic raiders. This, this is the Resurrection. This is the most incredible thing I have ever seen.

Minutes pass as I stand and gape at the horizon, the violet sky slowing turning black. Now it is completely dark, but my heart is afire. No thing ever really dies, I realize; it just goes away for a while, always with the promise to return.

I am starving.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What You May Have Missed




As we know (and love) about Sparkles, he's not so suave when it comes to making lists; things are often left out, misrepresented, or downright fallacious in presentation, and it's not his fault. Well, mostly not.* Still, and I'm not trying to dog the dog in its doghouse, someone has to come in from time to time to clean up this mess, and that's what I'm here to do, delirious reader.

That out of the way, let's count down the top six under-appreciated comic book films, shall we?


6) Riki-Oh: The Story of Riki

Ever seen a man punch through another man's stomach? A dude's head explode when slapped? A mutated warden being pushed into a meat grinder? No? Then this is the movie for you.

5) The Phantom

Billy Zane, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and the immortal tagline, 'Slam Evil'. You do the math, friends.

4) Tank Girl

What do you get when you take an obscure British comic book, Lori Petty, and Ice-T as some kind of marsupial freedom fighter? Magic, pure and simple.

3) Captain America

If there's a movie that just screams 'low budget', '1990', and 'masterpiece', it's this steaming pile of awesome, starring none other than Matt Salinger (son of author J.D. Salinger, no less) as the titular champion.

2) Spawn

Some have called this film a letdown, what with its PG-13 violence, muddled plot, uneven soundtrack, and ho-hum performances, and they'd be completely wrong. Rent it for yourself**, and you'll know exactly what I mean.

1) Howard the Duck

I really have no way to do this film justice. I was one of the sixteen people that went to see this film in the theater, and I can still look back, after all these years, and not regret a single moment of the experience. I think my mother (who was also in attendance for the event) said it best, as she stood in line for the drinking fountain afterward, with "That movie was the biggest fucking piece of shit I've ever seen" because if a film can elicit such words from a loving mother of three, you know it's gonna be good.

Honorable Mention***

Supergirl

Just because.






























* Daredevil?

** Go and rent it, right now.

*** Dis...hon...or..able...discharge!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Psychedelic Kimochi*






* also known in Liberia as Megan Fox Monday.

The Top 25 Comic Book Movies




As the familiar story goes, it's August and I'm hot. This in turn leads -- as it annually does -- to lethargy. Even picking up a novel or playing

(with myself)

video games are chores for me these days, so my apologies if it seems as though my heart isn't in Psychedelic Kimchi, that I'm mailing it in.

This post will certainly come off as such, but so be it. Kmart is constantly

(retarded)

reminding me that I've only written a meager four entries in our lauded PK 27 series of video game reminisces; and he's right, I have been slacking off in that department. It's just that whenever I get whatever holy force of inspiration urges me to write, clever, informed prose related to how much of a blast Puzzle Bobble is eludes me.

To make a long introduction short, I like to take my time with some things and fly by the seat of my pants with others. Sometimes, as is the latter's case here, that results in ostensibly gimmicky posts. But please believe me, Constant Retard*, when I say that I believe in myself. The content and quality of this post can be argued**, but, as the Hindu Floaty Thing as my witness, the only thing I mail in is my yearly subscription to Cat Fancier magazine.

That out of the way, let's count down the top twenty-five comic book movies (as always, keeping in mind the universal truth that lists are dumb), shall we?

25) Daredevil

They made the Kingpin black and Matt Murdock Ben Affleck, but, hey, no one's perfect. Daredevil gets a somewhat-deserved bad rap, and in no way should it be considered a great film of the genre, but it thankfully skips the whole origin story nonsense that hurts even pretty good movies like the new Star Trek and G.I. Joe (not that I've seen G.I. Joe).

24) Fantastic Four

The director, the actors, the poor reviews...nothing made me interested in seeing this. As one of Marvel's most-beloved and longest-running titles, the Fantastic Four definitely deserved better. But I caught it on cable a few years ago, and you know what, it's pretty darn nifty. Chris Evans is perfect as Johnny Storm.

23) Spider-Man 3

Again, negative buzz influenced me to skip this when it was in theaters. I watched it last year, and while it definitely suffers from too-many-villains-spoil-the-soup syndrome, it's not that bad. (Telling that the first three entries on this list are, truth be told, fairly crappy. The sky's the limit for superhero films after all the awful adaptations Hollywood produced in the 90s.)

22) X-Men: The Last Stand

Another unfairly maligned threequel. Admit it, you love Kelsey Grammer as Beast. You so do! Ratner-hating fanboys are the Pavlov dogs of filmdom.

21) Jumper

I know, I know, it's not based on a comic book. Regardless, it's still a superhero story, and quite a good one at that. Answers the question that everyone already knows: If you could have one super power, what would it be and what would you use it for? Teleportation and robbing banks, naturally.

20) Blade

The harbinger of Marvel's rise to box office success. That a third-tier (at best) character pulled off such a feat is somewhat remarkable until you remember that vampires plus kung-fu is basically a license to print money.

19) Blade II

While I don't love it nearly as much as Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles did, I would be doing you all a disservice if I didn't include an excerpt from his unabashedly gushing, raunchy review:

Watch his ‘HOUSE OF PAIN’ sequence in BLADE 2. BLADE 2 is the tongue, mouth, fingers and lips of a lover. The Audience is the clit. Watch your audience. This is where Guillermo Del Toro goes down on the audience. It starts with long licks with a nose bump on the joy button slowly. He smiles as he does this… Watching the audience begin to squirm, then he takes the audiences’ clit in his mouth and just licks it like crazy, the audience is ready, on that precipice, then calm. He backs off… long licks again, brings in a finger to massage a bit, licks from the bottom to the top… The audience is cooing… He has them, they want release. He acts like he’s going to give it to you, takes you right to the edge, the audiences’ backs arched, ready to cum…. Backs off pinching the nipples just so, his head bobbing up to say, "You like?" The audience shifts around needing release, he builds again…

18) G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

I, um, haven't seen it, but I bet it's pretty cool.

17) Hellboy

Honestly, Hellboy is damn near the perfect comic book movie, and I would have ranked it higher if I were invested at all in the character of Hellboy. (And, no, I haven't seen The Golden Army. Not all of it, anyway. Shame on me.)

16) The Incredible Hulk

Washes the bad taste of Ang Lee's shitfest out of my mouth. Edward Norton is the perfect Bruce Banner. It's too bad he's such a booger that he won't be assembling with the Avengers in 2011.

15) Superman

All told, Superman is actually kinda boring, save for Christopher Reeve. If he doesn't receive a posthumous honorary Oscar for his role as Clark Kent-Supes in my lifetime, I'm going to throw a garbage can through a store window like Radio Raheem.

14) V for Vendetta

Hugo Weaving is masterful as the titular V, Natalie Portman lovely beyond description as Evey. Subversion never felt so good, so right.

13) Batman Begins

I am Christopher Nolan. I am going to reinvent the Batman franchise. You think that was good? Trust me, I'm just warming up.

12) Spider-Man

Yeah, I hate slogging through origin stories, too, but this is Spider-Man, THE origin story (my apologies to The New Testament). Not even a mind-numbingly horrible Macy Gray cameo can besmirch the gift of witnessing Spidey brought to the big screen in 2002.

11) The Incredibles

The Incredibles out-fantasticked the Fantastic Four, sorta like how Daniel Day-Lewis has been out-DeNiroing Robert De Niro.

10) Sin City

It's no mean feat that director Robert Rodriguez was able to create the most stylish comic book movie to date while at the same time holding "co-director" Frank Miller's raging ego at bay.

9) X-Men

The film that ushered in the golden age of superhero cinema. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? Excelsior!

8) X2

Cribs heavily from The Wrath of Khan, sure, but X2 makes blatantly obvious the logic behind Charles Xavier's school. A fantastic parable.

7) Unbreakable

Ahead of its time. If Unbreakable were released today, it would be heralded as a Kubrickian take on the genre. For all of M. Night Shyamalan's many latter-day faults, it should be noted that he created perhaps the most singular superhero story in cinema history.

6) Iron Man

The most fun comic book film I've ever had the pleasure of watching. The pure joy of seeing Tony Stark build and test the Iron Man armor is one of the greatest movie-going experiences I've ever had, even if the final battle with the Iron Monger left much to be desired. Robert Downey Jr. nailed Tony Stark like a mallet.

5) Spider-Man 2

What a script! If How to Write Comic Book Movies ever becomes a university course (if it isn't already), Spider-Man 2 should be dissected and picked apart like a med school cadaver.

4) Oldboy

Technically a comic book movie, and that's why it's included here. You got a problem with that, take it up with Oh Dae-su.

3) The Dark Knight

A comic book movie that tries its damnedest to not be one. The Dark Knight is to comic book movies what Watchmen was to its four-color counterpart. Speaking of which...

2) Watchmen (Director's Cut)

I'm not convinced that Zack Snyder's Watchmen will in time become a cult classic in the same vein as Blade Runner, because, with the Internet and the disposable nature of today's culture, even masterpieces are quickly forgotten. However, much like the source material, I'm confident that Watchmen's audience will grow, and hopefully people will realize what a remarkable triumph Snyder managed to pull off.

1) Superman 2

Is Superman 2 a better film than the three preceding titles? Of course not. Is it a better comic book movie? Absolutely. Superman 2 is a pure comic book movie, possessing all the wonder and unbelievable fantasy inherent to its artform. There is an increasing trend to make superhero films more believable, and in the process the magnificent goofiness is being stripped away. The reason I love Superman 2 so much is because it embraces its comic book roots instead of attempting to legitimize itself. The comics medium is fortunate in that it can go anywhere, tackle any subject, but, for me, it all comes back to the nucleus of modern-day mythology. And that's why Superman 2 is the best comic book movie ever made, either the original Richard Lester version or the Richard Donner cut.

'Nuff said.


* Mab!

** for centuries!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Six Dollar Tuna



R-O-K! R-O-K!

The PK 27 -- Game No. 22



Dungeon Explorer II, for the TurboDuo (Hudson Soft, 1993)

Back when the TurboGrafx-16 first landed on U.S. shelves in 1989, the first game I purchased was Dungeon Explorer, a phenomenal HuCard if there ever was one. Ostensibly a rip-off of the Gauntlet series, DE provided players with a decidedly Japanese take on the dungeon crawler genre, and I'll be the first to admit that I was hooked (line, and sinker) on the game. A plethora of character classes, atmospheric music (some of the best produced for the defunct platform), colorful graphics, inspired dungeon layouts, and wickedly cool boss monsters were a real treat twenty years ago, right? Right.

Shoot ahead to 1993. The TurboDuo (successor to the TurboGrafx-16) was struggling, and quality games were a rare commodity. Okay, that's me bending the truth; there were, in fact, several great titles, but sales of the TurboDuo were low, especially compared to its 16-bit competitors, and thus titles were comparatively scarce, both in terms of release and quantity. At this time, DEII was released in North America, and I was particularly excited to once again traverse dungeons like it was going out of style.

That's not how it turned out, though. For a variety of reasons, I couldn't acquire the game; perhaps it was a lack of funding, or maybe it was the lack of availability. Whatever the case, I didn't purchase DEII for quite some time.

In the end, so to speak, I got my hands on a used copy, and... It's like when you have a crush on a girl (or guy, if that's your thing) but nothing comes of it. A few years later, you meet up with that person again, and lo and behold! You're older now (with a few more bucks in your wallet to boot), and before you know it, the two of you hook up. As incredible as the experience is for you, you're not the same person you were at the time of said infatuation, and the magic of delayed fulfillment rarely matches the grandeur of diminished yearning. So be it.

It's still a prime example of what developers did right in the 16-bit CD era (and as a multiplayer game, it stands the test of time, which is no small feat given the industry).

Friday, August 07, 2009

The House of Testicular Complaints



I like my job. My current job. The one that involves little work. But nothing lasts forever, even me, so what's to be said and done? I haven't the slightest idea, which is why I'm here (with you).


People been talkin' 'bout weddings. That's great, and I'm happy for you. Really. When was the last time you did something for me? My memory's been a bit lazy as of late, clouded by that whole 'I'll be unemployed soon with no plan for the future but you're getting married and want to borrow money from me' thing. Still, what have you done for me lately? Take your time.

Thanks for treating me to lunch on Sunday. That was awesome, at least in my imagination. Your suggestion was spot on, it's just too bad you couldn't roll your ass out of bed early enough to actually live up to the promise made. Thanks for the beer, too, all four bottles of it. Must have set you back roughly 12,000 won. Ouch. Hey, next time you're on the peninsula and want to spend in excess of twenty hours sorting through the assload of shit you asked me to safeguard for seven months, just buy me a Snickers bar and we'll call it even, as long as you can refrain from eating the goddamn thing yourself.

How's the new job going at the hospital? Working in the ER must be terribly stressful as well as time consuming. I know how busy you are, what with the new job, lengthy commute, nightly (daily?) excursions to pubs, etc. It's tough being at the top, right? I know. I've been there. And yet, one shouldn't throw the phrase I'm busy (or some variant of said phrase) around haphazardly, because in reality, you're about as busy as my dick on a Saturday night.

Weddings again. Fantastic. I wish you the best of luck. Cutting it a bit close though, aren't you? I mean, you're getting older now, and I remember way back when you said that marriage by a certain age would be mandatory, and here we are, at the end of an era (in more ways than one). Congratulations. Could you do me one small favor? If you have any children, please don't let them end up like you. Don't get me wrong; as I think you're pretty cool. It's the people around your children that I'm concerned about.

I'm glad we had lunch the day before three weeks ago. Curried pork cutlet never tasted so sweet. Well, it wasn't sweet, but then again, neither are you, and what's a not-so-small lie between folks that shall never be friends? But I still kinda like you, the same way I like curried pork cutlets: sliced up and in my mouth. Let's do this again sometime soon, yeah?


See you around.

Freon is a Road Seldom Traveled by the Multitudes




Because I'm no masochist, I don't check the daily temperature forecasts in August. What's the point? I know it's going to be hot. Really hot. What difference do a few degrees more or less make when I'm trapped in this peninsular oven, sweat trickling down my body like the juices of a baked ham? I'm still getting cooked regardless. I have a friend who works in Qatar, and, yeah, the daytime high was forty-five degrees Celsius in Doha today, BUT IT'S A DRY HEAT. Here? A seemingly mild twenty-six.

But, oh, the humidity. Seventy-one percent.

Doha? Fifteen; and maybe Yahoo's weather information is fucked up (as per usual), but this made me contemplate moving to the Middle East:

Feels Like: 44°


So, apparently, low humidity can actually make the temperature seem cooler.

I should have paid more attention in science class.

Now, I'm not one who regularly bitches, moans, kvetches, and groans about Korea, the place I call home (Sparkles is known to rock the microphone). I tend to complain about the weather like the natives do -- i.e., I'm merely stating a fact and sharing it with anyone within close proximity. (It makes me feel like I'm part of the ant colony, you know?) But even I have a breaking point, and when the heat becomes too much to Bear Grylls, Legs and I -- even though I love her like I love my shoe size -- don't exactly see eye to eye when it comes to matters air conditioner.

(This is not a phenomenon unique to Korea, as this article illustrates.)

Legs, for all her many fine points (body to die for, puts up with my diva-like behavior), has one vexing flaw, you see. She's an air-conditioner dictator. If the A/C is making her cold, it goes off. Which, normally, I can handle. I'm a big boy, she a withering leaf; and, like I said, it's not really the heat that bothers me.

It's the motherfucking humidity.

It clings to me like a tentacled mutant beast. It makes me itch like wool underwear. If I spend enough time in its soup, I feel the urge to claw at my face like a man on PCP. I twitch. I get put in a foul mood.

I am not fun to be with.

Please believe me, however, when I say that our war of air-conditioner attrition is, on my part, more about personal ideology than about personal comfort. I've taken my share of abuse from the so-called weaker sex; and Legs, God bless her, is more apt to laugh at my oftentimes 왕자병 behavior than to hit me in the face with a stove pot for it. For that, I love her deeply. For that, I am willing to make sacrifices.

Except when I'm so disturbed by the heat that I eat breakfast in my boxer shorts, that is. I have my pride, after all.

---

If one were to think logically, it should be postulated that every machine has a specific purpose. Televisions are made for watching, cars are made for driving, and air conditioners are made for cooling.

But here's where it gets tricky. High-end televisions and cars are luxury items. A 62-inch plasma or a Maybach are -- sadly for you and me -- one of the many perks of being rich. They're statements of legitimacy to the wealthy. An air conditioner, though, is an affordable comfort (semi-affordable, at least) that, ONLY IN KOREA, is more often than not seen as a luxury item and used more as a conversation piece than as a cooling unit*. Based on my nine-year experience on Le Peninsula, turning on the air conditioner is akin to pulling a fire alarm. It's a drastic measure that should at all costs be avoided.

I've been invited into a lot of households in Korea. In Bundang. And I'd say that, out of the close-to-one-hundred-or-so homes I've

(haunted)

visited in the belly of summer's beast, no more than ten percent of them had the A/C turned on.

This, to me, speaks volumes.

The Washington Post recently published an article focused on Korean consumer spending. In it, it's predicted that if current shopping trends continue, Korea will soon overtake the US in terms of percentage of income spent to percentage of unsaved income. Wowsers.

And while I would never dissuade Koreans from buying designer items or expensive cars, or from paying high tuitions to send their children to "luxury" cram schools, I would like to offer that turning on the air conditioner every once in a while is but a mere fraction of those costs. A drop of ink in the Han River, if you will.

I am frequently reminded that the cost of air-conditioning is high, the nation and the globe amidst an economic crisis. But the reality of me being really fucking hot negates any and all pleas to exercise A/C modesty.

This humidity is killing me, girl. All I want is to be cool. And dry.

In the literal sense.


* Trademark, KMart's penis.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Shermer, Illinois



"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

Can't Touch This!

What makes Psychedelic Kimchi so special? is a question frequently asked of me, and to be honest, I hadn't given it much thought until recently. Rarely is the audience of much importance to me. I mean, I love you (at least a few of you) but this hallowed blog is not an acquired taste; I think you either like it or loathe it, and in that sense, trying to quantify the unfathomable is like taking a close-up shot of the horizon, you know?


Still, if you are bound and determined to get an answer, I'll provide you with one. It's not the games, nor the prose (and certainly not the haiku) that makes PK so wondrous. It's the sense of fraternity, a brotherhood (and sisterhood, if we're ever so lucky to embrace a female contributor*) rarely found in these hectic, disjointed times, as the following examples demonstrate admirably.





Fingernail getting out of hand? No sweat, player.


Hangnail bringing you down? Ain't no thing.


Hairdresser been gettin' sloppy? Got your back.


Top that, CHUD.com




* One that doesn't suck.