Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Plastic Bag



I hate it when we post back-to-back YouTube videos just as much as you perhaps do, Constant Red Giant, but sometimes it's necessary. Plastic Bag, a short film directed by Ramin Bahrani and narrated by the one and only Werner Herzog*, is, in a word, so completely amazing that it deserves its own entry in Funk & Wagnalls under "masterpiece."

On its surface a message about non-biodegradable trash (sorta like Joan Rivers), Plastic Bag achieves greatness thanks to Bahrani's masterful direction and, especially for me, Herzog's narration. Under their combined talents, Plastic Bag ascends to true art, questioning loyalty, purpose, and mortality. Plus, Kjartan Sveinsson of Sigur Rós provides the score.

Bask.


* Werner Herzog has a voice more persuasive than a Jedi mind trick.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Over the Top



Stallone.


The name alone elicits a vision of manliness the likes of which most men -to say nothing of some of the more industrious females- will scarcely attain in this lifetime. As an actor, 'Sly' has provided us with some of the finest characters in all of cinema: Rocky Balboa, John Rambo, Lincoln Hawk, Robert Hatch, Stud, Ray Quick, Machine Gun Joe Viterbo, Frank Leone, Gabe Walker, Ray Quick, Angelo 'Snaps' Provolone, as well as a veritable cornucopia of law enforcement personnel including (but not limited to) Det. Sgt. Deke DaSilva, Lt. Marion 'Cobra' Cobretti, Ray Tango, Sgt. Bomowski, Sheriff Freddy Heflin, John Spartan, and Judge Dredd. 


Holy shit. That's a serious list! It would, however, be negligent of me to omit what is, perhaps, the greatest role of Stallone's storied career: the Bayern (バイエルン) Sausage Guy. 


Behold!










All this brilliance brings us to the next poll. What, pray tell, results from the wondrous union that is Stallone and Sausages? Only you, Constant Retards,* are qualified to determine this behemoth of philosophical conundrums.




* Yes, it shall remain Constant Retards till our sun goes supernova.

Super Swarm (Beta 1.1)



Junhyuk was sitting up in bed smoking. His girlfriend of six weeks, Sohee, lay next to him, snoring. And outside the mosquitoes waited. Junhyuk knew that neither his cigarette smoke nor Sohee's snoring would hold their teeming foes at bay for long, but vigilance was necessary. Because if you didn't get them first, they'd sure as hell get you.

That's what mosquitoes do; it's their raison d'être. You can try your best to avoid their bloodlust, but they're going to bite you in the end. "You have to sleep sometime," Junhyuk told himself, "and when you do, that's when they'll creep in, like a spirit uncarnate, to drain you, little by little, of your body's most precious fluid."

Luckily, Junhyuk wasn't tired, not in the least. He could stay awake until dawn and into the coming day, he was sure. The mosquitoes occupied his thoughts -- [and his re-writing of this story, the first three paragraphs of which were deleted by an angry Blogger god] -- but so too did his sexual frustration, which began percolating as soon as Sohee spurned his advances after they checked in to the coastal motel and which reached a boiling point when she refused to wear the string bikini he had purchased for her specifically for their trip. After sleeping with him the first night they met, it had been a long, grueling, month and change of courtship, PG-13 fooling around, coffee, and, ultimately, blue balls. For Junhyuk, time was standing still. This was supposed to be the sequel to their initial tryst. This was supposed to be a vacation.

This was supposed to be fun.

Junhyuk stood up. He would go to the beach to watch the tide. The idea emboldened him, and for a short time he stayed in bed pondering whether to write Sohee a note explaining his absence should she wake up while he was gone.

He didn't. Instead he threw on the T-shirt he had worn on the train ride in -- still damp from sea mist -- put on his flip-flops, and exited the motel's front gate. Then he swung around the back and sauntered down the dune to the shore.

The air was crisp and ripe with promise. It was Sunday, and Sundays were never dull, Junhyuk knew. He sat down and brushed the sand from atop his feet. He fished a cigarette from his shorts pocket and lit it. Then he fell into a reverie.

When he snapped out of his daydream the horizon was azure, unblemised. Noon. As he sat in the sand, his cigarette ashes long windstrewn, a sole black cloud, like a cataract over the earth, approached, increasing in diamater until it resembled an oblong onyx orb floating above.

The thrum of their wings was unmistakable.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Greengrass Zone



Paul Greengrass (the Bourne films, United 93) is interested in conflict at its most intruiguing, its most political. This has worked wonders for his career. No mean feat, the man -- with assists from Matt Damon and Robert Ludlum -- made the James Bond franchise copy his vision, and that has to count for something. What Greengrass lacks in pacing and patience and camera technique* he makes up for with kinetic films -- films which propel ahead, often with cursory nods to characterization or believeability, but always with a drumming sense of purpose, a call to arms.

All well and good, except that Paul Greengrass has made three films based on actual events: Bloody Sunday (2002), about the 1972 Irish civil rights protest; United 93 (2006), a harrowing depiction of the titular 9/11 flight that crashed in Pennsylvania; and, now, Green Zone, a parallel-universe account of the US military's non-discovery of WMDs in Iraq circa 2003. Greengrass has fictionalized each of these films to one extent or another, but Bloody Sunday and United 93 have nothing on the outrageous creative liberty and outright propaganda Greengrass brings to Green Zone.

Yes, propaganda. I'm with Greengrass's message, but such distortion of facts is reprehensible. Regardless of your intent, how do you fictionalize true events from seven years ago in an attempt to garner sympathy for your viewpoint? That, ladies and gentlemen, GIs and civilians, is hypocrisy and irony boiled down to its purest form. Greengrass invents one General Al-Rawi and a Sympathetic Arab -- in the vein of the Magical Negro -- to push his agenda.

It's Greengrass's comfort zone. It's also the stuff fucked-up legends, right and left, are made of. History is fleeting, but celluloid lasts forever. Greengrass wants us to take his version of events as truth, reality be damned. United 93, despite its tragic ending, is ultimately a feel-good film, one with a speculative ending that works because, hey, no one will ever know what really happened, so let's all share in a tragedy-fantasy. Cry, smile, hug your closest of kin. To be fair, though, United 93 was truthful to the events that occurred until its ending, which is anyone's guess. That actually happened to real people.

Green Zone, in contrast, lies to viewers. There was no Roy Miller, no General Al-Rawi. So soon after -- if seven years can be considered soon -- the first spade was thrust into the fuck-ditch that still is the Iraq War, I'm guessing a considerable number of ideologically malleable viewers will accept Greengrass's version of the war as truth, and that's a very dangerous thought. Green Zone is pure propaganda through and through, and what frustrates me most is that, despite its heart-on-sleeve conspiracy fantasy**, it's an entertaining movie.

But I suppose most propaganda is just that: entertaining. If you're on the "winning" side.

You can't fight lies with lies.


* You might call it "shaky cam," but I prefer to call it drunken cam.

** The easiest way to make people believe a lie is to mask it with truth. I discovered that when I was four years old, staying up past my bedtime to read pirate stories under the pretense that I was coughing too hard to fall asleep.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Radioactivity



"This is the story of an average sort of beau who lives in a nice, average neighborhood in a nice, average town. Every night, he comes home to his nice, average house and in due time, he goes to sleep."

Fast Lane



As of yesterday, I am legally able to drive in Korea. Legally, not mentally. For while I have grown accustomed to navigating my way throughout Korean society on foot, driving an automobile is another matter. That shit is survival of the fittest, and as a stereotypical law-abiding and well-mannered Canadian, I have a feeling my driving skills don't amount to 개똥 on [the pen is stronger than the sword, ultimately].

I might be wrong, but I'm probably not. There's a reason I don't go to discos, and there's a reason I don't want to drive.

Life moves pretty fast.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The PK 27 -- Game No. 18


You can teach a monkey how to play a certain number of rooms, but you cannot teach a man how to play Berzerk. 
- Joel West, former world champion of Berzerk, in response to the somewhat-dubious method of scoring employed by his successor, Chris Ayra. 


Barring what I've said before (on numerous occasions), sometimes a game is merely a game. No pretense of art, substance, fancy graphics or enrapturing music; just a fucking game. Nothing more, nothing less, and therein lies the wizardry of Berzerk, the eighteenth game on our sanctified* list. 

At its core, you're a lone warrior waging war against an army of stupid, technicolor robots within a labyrinth of some sixty-thousand different rooms. Thrown in for good measure is the maniacal Evil Otto, a vermilion smiley face hell-bent upon squashing your ass faster than you can say a vermilion smiley face hell-bent upon squashing your ass.



It's pertinent to note that I refer not to the arcade machine itself, but the Atari 2600 incarnation of Berzerk because that's the one I played, as a kid, till my eyes bled. That's hyperbole, sure, but it's nothing but pure, unadulterated veracity to state that I did play Berzerk through sickness, health, toilet training, sex education, and a horrifically mangled left hand (courtesy of a psychotic Airedale Terrier**) even if my aptitude for the game was of less than stellar proportions. 

As stated initially, what really matters here is that the charm of Berzerk lies in its simplicity, not in  flowery graphics, especially considering the Atari 2600's limitations. Speaking of that, it's also important to contrast the Atari 2600 version of Berzerk with, specifically, the 2600 port of Pac-Man*** for the explicit purpose of demonstrating how to do a port correctly. Unlike the latter game (and decidedly so), Berzerk transferred extremely well. While less than a perfect conversion (but how often does that happen), it captured the spirit of the arcade game magically. On the flip side, the  console version of Pac-Man was, essentially, an exercise in obscenity, to say nothing of its contribution to the video game crash of 1983. Is Berzerk a better game than (PK27:23Pac-Man? If we're discussing the arcade games, then absolutely not, but if we're discussing the home ports, then yes, absolutely, yet if there's one thing the two games have in common, it's that they are -unequivocally, unabashedly- video games

No bullshit. Just fun and scores. 

Trivia
According to Messiahpedia, Berzerk is the first game known to have been involved with the death of not one, but two of its players. Read about it here...if you dare!

* Blessed by the Pope himself just last week, immediately followed by a feast of tiger-paw soup, fried honeybees, and Cass Red. 

** Life lesson here. If you're ever tempted to steal a bone out of some large canine's mouth, make sure to wear a pair of gloves. Or use a baseball bat for leverage. 

*** Tangent time!

Demon in a Bottle



As you likely know, CR*, I love to drink. (In fact, I'm drinking right now. What are the odds?) Beer is my primary poison of choice, whiskey my spark plug; but, given the option of any alcoholic beverage or no alcoholic beverage, I'll choose the former every time (and yes, that includes cooking Sherry, cologne, antiseptics, and medicinal tinctures). So when Legs forced me to decide between drinking wine with her a couple of nights a week versus abstaining completely, I picked wine. I'm as predictable as the plot in a porno.

I have nothing against man's second-oldest alcoholic potable, mind you; I've just never been a big fan. My drinking tastes tend to be less bourgeoisie, more proletariat. Still, to quote the bard, "Booze is booze," and I enjoy a glass of vino every now and then. Before I wake up the next morning in an alleyway with my pants around my ankles and vomit in my hair, it makes me feel classy.

And so it has been that, for the past three weeks, Legs and I will couple -- sometimes in the sexual sense, sometimes not -- twice or thrice per week to share stories and clink glasses. Legs, in addition to being an admirer of Yours Truly, is equally fond of wine; and since I'm as equally fond of Legs as Legs is as equally fond of me and wine, everyone is happy. Easy, peasy, Japanesy.

Until last night, that is. The evening started off fine with a bottle of Yellow Tail Cabernet Sauvignon and some episodes of Lucky Louie, but after the Yellow Tail was killed Legs brought out a bottle of "Vialetto Dolce Bianco Vino da Tavola," translated with the help of Google as "driveway sweet white table wine." (Thanks, Google!) A more accurate description of Driveway's infernal product is "white wine that tastes like beef stock and/or wet dog."

Now, I have nothing against beef stock (or wet dogs, for that matter), but -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- wine is supposed to be drunk, not thrown up. I didn't puke, and neither did Legs, but we both held our noses (or held each other's) every time we took a mouthful of Vialetto's awful concoction. I gagged, Legs gagged, but in the end the bottle was empty. Because, hey, anything to drink as opposed to nothing to drink, right?

What makes this tale even more depressing is the fact that, during our harrowing wine experience, two infamous products in the Psychedelic Kimchi canon were present: Double Happiness cigarettes and the smaller, sadder, less productive -- but still the same price! -- Pringles.

I'm not certain, but I have it on good authority that that wicked triumvirate has unleased the unholy forces of Hell. Knuckle up, winos, smokers, snackers.


* Does that work? I'm afraid it's too vague for the uninitiated. I myself find that "Psychedelic Sperm Donors" has a nice ring to it. Am I wrong?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Laptop Assassin!


I'll be watching my laptop very carefully from this point forward, but only in the company of our favorite saboteur.* Fear of loss is a powerful motivational tool indeed.




* Please don't break my laptop! I'll be good from now on, I promise.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Requiem for the Dearly Retarded



It has come to my attention that my term of endearment for Psychedelic Kim Corn Carn readers, "Constant Retards," might be hurtful. That was never my intention. I'm unsure exactly when I coined the term, but its influence, as you perhaps already know, stemmed from Stephen King referring to his readership as "Constant Readers." Consider it an in-joke that might have gotten out of hand.

I'm aware that the epithet "retard" is usually malicious, yet my usage of the word was never meant to be so. Nevertheless, what I failed to sympathize with until now is the proportion of people reading Psychedelic Kimchi who are either handicapped themselves or related to those who are, and if I have ever offended anyone by my inconsiderate use of the word, I'm truly sorry.

And so it is that I propose a new moniker for Psychedelic Chimki's tastefully discerning readership, one both classy and original. You'll find my five alternatives in the newest poll. Feel free to protest my decision or suggest your own in the comments.

Excelsior,

E

The High Kick through the Roof Finale (an Open Letter to Kim Byung Wook)



Dear Mr. Kim,

It's been three days, and I still can't get over how mystifyingly stupid the High Kick through the Roof finale was. I'm not alone. On the peninsula and beyond its hallowed shores, the series' final episode was greeted by fans of the show with confusion, regret, and anger. How could such a whimsical sitcom go out on such a melodramatically sour note?

You were the show's main producer, well known for your sad endings, but it's fair to say that no one really expected you to pull what you did with High Kick through the Roof. The show had its moments of drama, sure, but they were always tempered with the humor for which the show was best known and beloved. Suddenly, in its 126th and final episode, the show resembled not the witty sitcom viewers had come to know and love but the over-the-top brand of melodrama for which Korean television is infamously known. There were zero moments of humor, no instances in which the laugh track was used. Instead, what we got was the death of two main characters and nothing but ambiguity as to the fate of the show's other leads.

Far be it from me to tell a successful television producer how to do his job, but I'm totally going to tell a successful television producer how to do his job. You see, Mr. Kim, one of the key elements of storytelling is theme. Another is genre. They often go hand in hand, but they don't always have to. However, you can't abruptly turn what was a light sitcom for 125 episodes into a full-blown melodrama. Well, you can, but that just makes you a poor storyteller, what is known in the business colloquially as "a hack." When the genre or theme is betrayed, the effectiveness of the story is compromised. Imagine, if you will*, the last twenty minutes of Casablanca turning into a screwball comedy or 'Salem's Lot being a criticism of gentrification instead of a horror novel about vampires**.

There are, of course, exceptions to the rule, and some of storytelling's greatest achievements have come from men and women who challenge what defines art. You, sir, do not deserve that distinction. What you did was tarnish the legacy of the greatest sitcom to ever air on Korean television. I believe you did this intentionally.

Based on the quality and popularity of the series, its fairly safe to surmise that a) a better ending could have been written, and b) the show's ratings were such that MBC would have allowed enough time to achieve that ending. Why, then, were viewers subjected to the conclusion that aired? I know little of your previous work in television, sir, but from the overall quality of High Kick through the Roof -- from its perfect casting to its talented writing to its excellent score -- I think you're a talented individual. I also think you knew, and perhaps anticipated, just how virulently the show's fanbase would react. This, Mr. Kim, does not speak well of your respect for your fellow human beings.

Only a truly inept person would expect High Kick through the Roof's viewers to respond positively to the show's finale, and, as I've already expressed, I don't fashion you to be that type of person. Therefore, only two explanations for closing the series the way you did remain: 1) You thought you were being "artistic" and 2) you wanted to create controversy.

My estimation is that it was the latter. The former would prove that you're an extremely poor judge of what constitutes avant-garde storytelling, but the latter would be much more damning, for it would provide substantial evidence that you are a misanthrope.

Not to sound overly crude, sir, but in closing the series the way you did you effectively took a shit on your show and its fanbase. There was nothing "edgy" about the way the series ended, nothing in its ambiguity that resembled, for example, the fine conclusions David Chase created for The Sopranos or the Coens crafted for No Country for Old Men and A Serious Man. No; what you treated millions of 지봉킥 fans to was the storytelling equivalent of spit in the eye, a kick in the crotch.

As a huge High Kick through the Roof fan, consider this my condemnation of the series' finale. I'm sure I'm not alone.

Sincerely,

Simon Sailboat

PS - If this message was sent to you in error, please ignore or forward it to the appropriate party.


* © Rod Serling

** I love you if you're reading this. Call me.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Tarnished Lust



I saw Shutter Island last night. It was everything I could have hoped for in a Martin Scorsese film and then some. And then some more. But I don't really want to talk about Shutter Island the film*. Rather, I'd like to document my schizophrenic -- apropos, given the film's theme -- Shutter Island theater experience.

I go to the cinema roughly ten to twenty times annually, depending upon what's playing (trust me, I'd go more often if more quality films made their way to these peninsular shores). Back in the early days of my soj(u)ourn, the theatrical experience was far from lovely, what with all the talking on cell phones, lighters flickering as folks tried to find their seats in the dark, etc. That was then, though. These days, Korean audiences have become very respectful in terms of movie-theater ettiquette, the sole exception being that not a lot of people seem to grasp yet the fact that text messaging in the dark is a huge distraction to their fellow patrons. But I'm sure they'll catch on.

Anyway, it's not often that I find myself annoyed in a movie theater nowadays. Which is why last night was so weird. Blame Saturday night traffic, the yellow dust, or the Tetons; last night's 8:40 screening was madness. I'm a fairly tolerant guy, but one thing I cannot abide is people showing up late for a movie. It doesn't make sense to me. It takes a special kind of moron to buy a ticket to see a movie and then show up after it's begun. I'm aware that, sometimes, shit happens that prevents a moviegoer from being present for a film's start, but last night it was more than half of the audience that arrived after the Paramount logo appeared on the big screen. And they kept streaming in for the next twenty-five minutes! This -- word to David Lo-Pan -- pissed me off to no end.

Legs always gets after me for my insistence that we arrive for a movie well before its start time. For me, going to the movies is a near-religious experience. I like to take my seat early and bask in the atmosphere of the theater. There's nothing quite like it, is there? So, yes, I look down upon those who come in late with scorn. They're distracting to their fellow viewers, but also are they ignorant of the pure joy of going to the movies. No word of a lie, I'd rather skip a screening entirely than miss its first five minutes. If only more people shared that sentiment.

Furthermore, it wasn't only that so many people arrived late. A lot of them couldn't stay in their seats! Seriously, every couple of minutes someone or other would get up and leave the theater. This of course happens at any movie**, but last night was a true anomaly, the most memorable exit being a mother and her two young kids leaving during the frightening Ward C scene. It must have been the penises that broke the proverbial camel's back. What kind of mother would think Shutter Island is an appropriate movie to take her children to?

The coup de grâce, however, occurred at the movie's climax. During the film's well-orchestrated turning point, a teenage girl ran out of the theater shouting words I couldn't catch. Turns out, she was being groped by some drunk lowlife. As you can probably tell, this amounted to chaos. The perptrator ran off, a few audience members tried to apprehend him, and a babel of confusion erupted from the rest of the audience. The cops arrived.

The scumbag was no doubt recorded on the theater's numerous CCTV cameras. I hope the police catch him and punish him justly; although, given their general attitude toward victims of sexual assault and their poor investigative prowess, I have little faith in Bundang's finest.

What a weird night. Must be something in the air.


* Just one thing: how neat is it that the deputy warden and the warden are played, respectively, by the Zodiac and Buffalo Bill?

** Although, as far back as I can remember, I've never left my seat, not even when I had to pee so bad I thought my bladder might burst. I'd sooner wet myself.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Destroy All Fridays

Yeah, it's another Godzilla post and yes, this one (like all others) carries no great meaning with it, except that it's represented by two of my favorite movie posters of all time, even forty-some years after its release.



I suppose the question which arises is why? Is Destroy All Monsters that good of a film? No, it's not, but the concept is classic, as are the posters. I have my own tales to tell, perhaps, but in this case, I think it best to let (none other than) my brother do the talking (paraphrased for the sake of brevity and needless digression):

"The thing about Destroy All Monsters is partially due to context. The film was released in 1969 (in the United States) which, on the one hand, doesn't negate its flaws (of which there are many), but on the other, really tells you something. By that, I mean the major film franchises many people have grown up with -Indiana Jones, Star Wars, the Star Trek films, and to a lesser extent, Robocop, Terminator, etc.- didn't exist back then, and the notion of all these spectacular monsters duking it out really appealed to kids. I clearly remember the initial Creature Features broadcast of Destroy All Monsters and thinking to myself, Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, Ghidorah, and other monsters in a battle to the finish? This is going to be (FUCKING) AWESOME! and, sure, the film itself is somewhat lacking in the free-for-all department, but even so, the climactic battle in which Ghidorah takes on virtually all of the classic Toho monsters -at the foot of Mt. Fuji, no less- was a sight to behold. Ultimately, people take this sort of thing for granted nowadays and..."

At this point, my brother's accolades of Destroy All Monsters transform into a rant about the fickleness of audiences today and, well, you know, I feel the need to truncate his soliloquy, but nevertheless, I agree with his statement regarding the sheer awe of a child preparing themselves for the onslaught of monster mayhem depicted in Destroy All Monsters because I too felt such anticipation just prior to the first time I saw the film. Even now, though the film's appeal has been somewhat lost to me, the posters evoke feelings of wonderment. Call me sentimental, and all that.


P.S. A synopsis of the film can be viewed here.

Trail Mix




Fruit: A happy belated St. Patrick's Day to one and all. Some people will bemoan the pointlessness of a day -- a working one at that -- during which people around the globe drink prodigiously in honor of a man they know little or nothing about, but I am not that kind of person. As a species, we have rituals. They may have no current significance, might even be a corruption of what they were originally intended to be, but they're traditions nonetheless, and that's what makes us who we are. We celebrate ignorantly, perhaps, but I find no fault in that. In fact, I embrace it. Any day when millions of people from all manner of nations and cultures can share in a good time, regardless of how knowledgeable they are of its origin, is, to paraphrase Ice Cube, a good day*.

Grains: I watched the pen(and teller)ultimate episode of High Kick through the Roof tonight. I cried inside. Tomorrow night's episode looks to be both bittersweet and a gloriously triumphant send-off of the weekday sitcom that (saved Pittsburgh) revolutionized Korean television sitcoms. If I can wax nostalgic for a moment, in February of 2007 I had to see the love of my life, Legs, off at Incheon Int'l. She was leaving for what was planned to be a one-year sojourn to Australia, the land of Denz and honey. Much to my (not double) happiness, she returned to these peninsular shores nine months early, but the day she left and the ones following would prove to be the hardest of my life in terms of longing, of yearning. I loved Legs -- and still do -- like Ron loved Nancy, like Cappadonna loves his dick size, and without her I was incomplete, a man without purpose or direction. That's sentimental, I know, but it's the truth. Do I feel the same way about High Kick through the Roof leaving television? Not exactly, but it's a similar sentiment. One-hundred twenty-six episodes, all addictingly watchable, and it's almost over. God will I miss 지봉깈 when it's gone**.

Nuts: Boys and girls, I'm going to link you to two pieces of horrible writing. The first is this, a confused plea for acceptance. The second is this, an article baffling in its stupidity. As a constant critic of Pitchfork's editorial acumen, the former wasn't much of a surprise, and I kind of enjoy how the writer unknowingly highlights everything wrong with their music criticism (it's like a GQ style guide for people with no taste in music), but the Harper's article surprised me. If there's a point to it beyond its easy, trite condemnnation of Hollywood's annual celebration when *sob* there's so much wrong going on in the world, it was lost on me. MacArthur is a good writer, which is why it's frustrating to read someone so talented appropriate his political beliefs so poorly. He possessed George Clooney like Pazuzu did Reagan***.

Chocolate: I'm inundated every day -- and twice on Sundays -- on television by the commercial for Samsung's Corby F cell phone commercial-music video. That the video has been yanked numerous times from YouTube confuses the hell out of me. Doesn't Samsung understand the nature of marketing via the Internet? Samsung: it's not wise to deprive your core demographic of a commercial when you're trying to sell a product. Unless you're trying to advance a business model in which people pay to view advertisements****, that's a bad move, Samsung. I eagerly await your call-back to hire me as a consultant.


* So was today. I was woken up at ten by Legs's insistence that we go to Burger King. Go we did, and two bacon double cheeseburgers I did eat. The weather on the peninsula might be unseasonably cold, but my heart is warm with artery-clogging fast food fetish.

** Salt in the wound: MBC's succeeding sitcom features the insanely alluring Choi Yeo Jin with *gasp* really short hair. Life isn't fair sometimes.

*** Two Reagans for the price of one.

**** Now there's a scary thought, one which isn't too far-fetched. If it worked for Nintendo Power and Cast Away, it can work for Samsung.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Orga x Megaguirus x The Millennian: Junk Food S.O.S.


(image from Pink Tentacle)


Prior to the Corey Haim poll, we here at Psychedelic Kimchi initiated a Junk Food Battle Royale of sorts, and what a melee that turned out to be. Heavy favorites -Cheetos being the most obvious example- fell by the wayside, victim to disreputable tactics employed by the morality-impaired amongst the competition (I'm looking in your general direction, Steven Seagal), while others capitalized on their global appeal (I love you, Salt & Vinegar...but...I hate you!). Fortunately, some of the little bastards got exactly what they deserved (I officially defenestrate you, Salty Black Licorice Fish) but, as is nature of polls, ties are bound to occur, and indeed they did. For those who missed the final tally, it was a three-way stalemate -Mexican Standoff, if I may- between Cool Ranch Doritos, Salt & Vinegar, and Steven Seagal. Somewhat predictable, perhaps, insomuch that Seagal has a way of dicking his way into the limelight, and deserving of a rematch.

After the initial poll came the Psychedelic Showdown between the three. With the other options negated, the competition because more a case of sidewalk justice. A clear-cut winner was crowned king (queen?), and that champion was Cool Ranch Doritos. Let there be no mistake; I'm a huge fan of Salt & Vinegar chips/crisps but there's little use in denying Cool Ranch's sheer domination of the second poll. All in all, I salute you, Cool Ranch Doritos. Truly, you are the King of Kings. (Better late than never, I suppose.)

(For its next feat, Cool Ranch shall walk on water, followed by the reinstatement of communism in Mother Russia.)



What else has transpired between my encounter with the (swine) flu and Corey Haim's unforeseen demise? Ah, yes. New Retards have entered into the battle for planet Earth, and god willing, they're as big of fans of junk food (aka lifeblood) as Sparkles, Jikko, and I are.*

From (a)eons long forgotten emerges Kelli as The Millennian as Kelli, eager to absorb all the knowledge  humanity has to offer. Extraterrestrial origins and  deceptively calm demeanor notwithstanding, you should be aware that this one's a firecracker ready to explode on a moment's notice. She's been known to topple governments from time to time, too, so beware the power from beyond the stars!

Kelli: even more diabolical in CGI! 

If that were all, the world would stand a chance, but alas, there's also the matter of Brady Mior as Megaguirus as Brady Mior, killer insectoid gone oh-so right! Word on the street is that he has yet to arrive on the peninsula, but rest assured, once he's gone beyond the final stage of incubation, Korea shall tremble before the might of his sonic waves and poisonous stinger. 

B. Mior: just gettin' warmed up

Last but not least, Jarrad Italia as Orga as Jarrad Italia, a terror as inscrutable as his profile implies. His intentions need not be discerned, just as his form need not be questioned. He's a force of nature, and you know what they say about leaving slumbering beasts lie, right? (Hint: don't mess with his steady diet of radioactive lizards.)

Italia: the party's rockin' now that he's come a knockin'

That about does it for the recent additions to our Constant Retard family, though I'd like to take a moment to note that I'm just about out of kaiju from the Godzilla franchise, which is to say that only one (worthy) monster remains.** What comes next is hard to say, but what I do know is that there is a meteor heading toward Earth, specifically toward a sleepy metropolis on the Korean peninsula. More on that as the twenty-sixth Retard draws near. 



Happy indulgences, junk food afficionados. See you on the trans-fatty side.


* If there's a single, unifying theme to Psychedelic Kimchi, Dodecahedral Reader, it's an undying devotion to all things related to heart disease. That, and a Shih Tzu. 

** King Kong (from King Kong vs. Godzilla) doesn't really count, you know. 

P.S. When I looked up 'Cool Ranch Doritos' on Yahoo, the following image appeared on the first page of results. Any information provided as to its relevance would be much appreciated.


Warm



Leatherette

Haunt Me




"Can cockroaches walk on ceilings?"

"Can what do what?"

"Cockroaches. Can they walk on ceilings?"

"What time is it?"

"One or so."

"Are you, in your insomnia, considering writing an insect manual?"

"I think one fell into my hair."

"An insect manual?"

"No, asshole, a cockroach."

"What makes you think that?"

"Because I was staring at this black spot on the ceiling and then it was gone, and then I heard something skitter over my pillow."

"How can you see a black spot on the ceiling? The whole motel room is a black spot."

"My eyes adjusted."

"Are you a cat? You were probably just seeing your own cataract."

"I don't have a cataract."

"That you know of."

"Let's go back to your sister's place. I can't stay here."

"Why not?"

"Because I'm gonna stay up all night worrying that cockroaches are falling from the ceiling into my hair."

"Let's watch some TV, then. Let's open the moscato, watch TV, and, eventually, fall asleep."

"I can't."

"Why not?"

"I'm too creeped out."

"Wanna sleep in the car?"

"It's too cold."

"We could fuck for warmth."

"Stop joking."

"Who says I'm joking?"

"Can we just please go back to Cindy's?"

"It's seventy miles. You might be wide awake, but I'm dead tired, and I'd likely fall asleep and crash into an oak tree. What's worse, suffering an imaginary cockroach for one night or dying in a blazing wreck beneath an old hoary poplar?"

"I don't think an oak tree is a poplar, Steven."

"Well, neither is a cataract a cockroach! Maybe it was an earwig! I have it on good authority that they can walk on ceilings."

"You're such a fucking prick."

"Maybe, but at least I'm not hallucinating an insectoid downpour. Do me a favor and shut the hell up, lest you provoke the wrath of the beetles and the locusts."

"Fuck you and your smarm."

"Big words from such a tiny woman."

"Small words from such a humongous son of a bitch."

"You want me to elucidate? Fine! Webster's defines you as a controlling whore who never finds fault in herself, only in me. You cook like a prison chef, have as much grace as a drug addict, and can't tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth, a mushroom and a toadstool. You want everyone to wait on you hand and foot, but you never reciprocate. You chastise me if I sleep in on Sundays and expect me to sympathize when you come home late on Fridays. You deride me in public to the people we know. You can't spell worth a damn, and that's why you suck at Scrabble!"

"That was low."

"I'm just warming up!"

"I'm leaving."

"Where are you going to go? Have fun sleeping in the woods! It's almost as cold outside as your frozen snatch!"

[door slams]

"..."

"Phenegrmpha..."

"Wha...?"

"Jesus!"

"Gwen?"

"Gwen!"

"Gwenneth York?"

"Gwenneth!"

"Gwen, stop fooling. Can you hear me?"

"Gwen, a hornet stung me. Can you grab my EpiPen?"

Monday, March 15, 2010

Prodigal Son



Gather 'round, Constant Retards, for I have some news to share. Sure, it's news that won't affect any of you directly, but if you read Psychedelic Kimbo Slice regularly there's a good chance you find interest, however fleeting, in the minutiae of my (so-called) life. At least I hope so.

I'm going to Canada in May. Now, don't get too excited. Put down the phone and read on. I'm not going home permanently; it's a one-month visit. Nevertheless, except for the whole flying part, I'm very chuffed, as the English say.

I was back home last February, but before that the last time I was in Canada was for seven months in 2002. If you're scoring at home, that's eight months over the past ten years that I've spent in my home and native land. I love living in Korea, the nation that never sleeps, but a trip to the Western Hemisphere now and then proves calming, I've discovered. One month without a Shih Tzu pooping on my bathroom slippers? I'm there.

What am I most excited about? Seeing the 18th Letter, naturally. I promised I'd visit for her seventh birthday this August, but due to scheduling conflicts -- read: I'm looking for a new job and no company worth a damn is going to hire someone who wants a month-long vacation four months after getting hired -- it appears I'll be arriving a few months ahead of time. She's far from disappointed.

What else am I looking forward to? Hopefully attending a Raptors playoff game, for one. I arrive on the third, which means the Rapture, barring a late-season collapse (not impossible), could still be in their first-round series. I've never been to an NBA playoff game. Win or lose, it's something I'd love to experience in person. And if the Raptors play the Magic, I'll have a hell of a good time booing Vince Carter to pluperfect hell.

Also: snacks. Constant Retards probably know that I feel as deeply about snackfoods as some people do about coffee, wine, steak, or bumsex. I am a discerning snackfood consumer, and living in Korea is, for a snackfood junkie, analogous to...um, a pothead living in Korea? An alcoholic living in Oman? Chicken Wire recently discovered that HomePlus in Daejeon sells Combos and real Cheetos, and I myself can hop over to I Love Cookie (Monster) in Jeongja anytime, but I want more. The last time I was home, walking into a convenience store/supermarket/drug store was like Charlie Bucket entering Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, like the characters in Dawn of the Dead basking in the materialistic playground of an empty mall. No word of a lie: I remember the first time I ate Sea Salt & Black Pepper Lays as fondly as I remember the first time I had sex.

Also: funny accents. It's taken ten years, but I can finally tell the difference between a "neutral" Canadian accent and a "neutral" American one. Both are amusing. Both are nuanced in their differences, but the differences are there. Ask Chicken Wire to say the word "dinosaur" or "room." Hilarity will ensue. On my part, the last time I was out and about I was oat and aboat. Old habits die hard; however, I was told the last time I was home that I speak like a news anchor. That's what living in a non-English-speaking country will do to you. I tend to over enunciate. On the other hand, no matter how hard I try I can't pronounce ㅆ. Maybe I should have my tongue surgically shortened. Legs would hate me forever in that case.

Also: reverse-cultural faux pas. Last time home I put my purchases on the counter at a drug store before the woman in front of me was finished paying. She looked at me like I killed her grandchildren. So too did I exit a dessert cafe without leaving a tip. I'm anticipating that, this time, I'll poke a policeman's ass with my fingers and he won't get the joke.

I'll see you in May, Canada.

Modest Mouse Monday


By popular demand, I give you the magic that is Modest Mouse! Steady yourselves, lads and lasses, as you prepare to embrace greatness! Enjoy!


...


...


(fart)


Okay, I lied. I've nothing to enrapture you with regarding Modest Mouse. I sometimes make boasts my butt can't cash, though it's not for want of misdirection; it's just that Modest Mouse is too grand for the likes of me (and no, I'm not being modest here, hardy-har-har). Were I a better hostess -nay, a true audiophile- I'd bask in the glory of such illustrious compositions and beseech -nay, beg, double nay, force- you to do the very same, but I'm not. I'm only human, and a tone-deaf one at that. 

There are those who would label my admission as hyperbolic self-deprecation, while others may contend that I'm merely playing possum, so to speak; alas, friendly readers, you're far too kind (or delusional), and while I thank you for your devotion, the fact remains that I know nothing of quality music and, for those of you privy to my music collection, anything of merit within said assemblage is a fluke of the highest magnitude (that, or a case of probability at work).

To those yet unconvinced of my ineptitude regarding music in general, consider the following truth: I dislike Modest Mouse. I think they're an overrated band best suited for drama queens, mimes, and those with raging inferiority complexes. I'm not saying everyone who listens to Modest Mouse falls within one -or all- of the categories listed above, but if one has a hard-on for Modest Mouse they're probably working as a mime, fueled by deep psychological trauma and an unrelenting desire to torment others for the purpose of assuaging their own glaring insecurities.

As Descartes said back in 1634, I have poor taste in music, therefore I loathe Modest Mouse. It may have been I loathe Modest Mouse, therefore I have poor taste in music, but that's splitting hairs given that Rationalism is inherently flawless, while I am most definitely not.

For the precious few still loyal to my musical preferences, let me first assure you that your tireless devotion to all things Chicken Wire is duly noted, and you'll be first in line to receive a signed copy of my forthcoming 2,034-page book of music criticism entitled Blood, Milk, and Sky: How White Zombie Changed My Life with Crucified Clowns Dressed in Cum-Stained Wedding Gowns, due out in 2012. Secondly, I'd also like to reassure you that I haven't the seething, unfettered hatred of Modest Mouse that I do of, say, Jeff Tweedy and/or Wilco. Modest Mouse, for the most part, seem like nice, talented guys that just happen to create shitty music, whereas Wilco and its individual constituents are, in contrast, poster children for the termination of unwanted pregnancies. If anything, my opinion of Modest Mouse is best personified with the following image:



 A picture is worth a thousand _________* , so I'll leave it at that.



* Insert a not-so-random noun here and you'll be spot on.


P.S. Despite inclinations to the contrary, I'll readily admit that this is an extremely cool video.

P.P.S. The above post is entirely facetious except for the part about Modest Mouse sucking balls.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Magical Monday Morning

Up in the Air -- Review



Up in the Air is a frustrating movie. Frustrating because it starts off so strong then finds its comfort zone in being mediocre. Frustrating because it tells the story of characters who are, let's be honest, unlikeable -- yet it stars George Clooney, America's most charismatic living actor. You almost start to like the character he portrays, Ryan Bingham, and that's purely Clooney's doing, not the script's. I'm convinced that if anyone other than Clooney were cast in the lead, Bingham would have been perceived as a villain. Frustrating because it meanders; I don't recall another film running under two hours seeming so damn long. Frustrating because Vera Farmiga used a body double in her semi-nude scene. Frustrating because, overall, it's a finely acted, directed, and produced* film that lives up to its theme...only it's theme is, underneath all the talent involved, dull. Blame the script.

Clooney plays Ryan Bingham**, a man who flies from city to city firing employees of companies too milquetoast to do it themselves. Ryan is a natural at it. He has, in fact, based his life philosophy around the mentality it takes to detach oneself from human relationships. He coldly and uncaringly tells perfect strangers that they are no longer needed, but always with the phony sympathetic veneer attributed to most preachers and politicians. It's a chicken-or-egg type of query whether Ryan Bingham's outlook on life is a result of his line of work or whether he gravitated toward such a job because of it. It's best not to think too hard about that. Obviously, the film's producers didn't.

Bingham -- an egotistical loner whose comforts in life appear to be, in order, flying, fucking, and firing -- gives speaking engagements to espouse his beliefs on man's innate need for independence from materialism and human relationships. There's a brief, purposefully inaccurate, reference to the Heaven's Gate cult that makes me wonder whether director Jason Reitman (Juno) was acknowledging the translucent parallel between Bingham's philosophy and that of a cult leader's.

Ryan Bingham learns a lesson over the course of 109 very long minutes of film, but by its conclusion he's right back where he started. It's like watching the Grinch take those kids' toys, return them in an act of newly discovered humanity, and then steal them back again.

2/4 *_*


* Stylistically, the film is pretty low-key, but there are a couple of truly inspired flourishes of cinematogtraphy and editing.

** If there's a more forgettable name in the history of cinema, I'm at a loss to remember it. No one will remember the name Ryan Bingham. They should have pulled a Tony Danza and just called Clooney's character "George."

Friday, March 12, 2010

Haimster Wheel


Ah, the Internet. Thanks to this miraculous invention, people have the ability to absorb an incalculable array of information at a moment's notice, some of which is truly newsworthy, some not so much; as to where you'd place pornography amongst the pantheon of worthwhile information, I leave that to your discretion, but nevertheless, most anything is available for one's consumption. Having said that, I'm going to presume that I'm a tad late to the Corey Haim is dead parade, yet tardiness serves a purpose all its own and delayed reactions are actions regardless.

In all likelihood, you already know about the Haimster's departure, and I won't attempt to divulge anything new about him other than my own Haimories, which aren't exclusively my own, strictly speaking, but it's what I have to offer. Sorta.

As a punk kid, I enjoyed many of Haim's films (whether they be his films is another discussion for another day) excessively, though not entirely of my own, sui generis volition, which is to say that, well, other forces had been at work throughout my youth, namely my brother and sister.

Brother? Sister? Yes, I have one of each, though that alone shouldn't be what surprises you, Diabolical Reader; what probably shocks longtime readers (all two of you) the most is that I'm mentioning my siblings period (and their sheer existence is something the almighty Internet may not have told you until now). There are a great many topics I purposely avoid (family, K-blogging, defecation, etc.) not because of adverse emotions but, rather, I'm unable to take considerable interest in them. That may come across as more than a bit harsh, yet it's both true and not what it seems. It's true in the sense that they're disinteresting as blog topics, as well as in the sense that the aforementioned subjects rarely enter my daily contemplations, though it also need be stated that I merely prefer to write about the lackadaisical pursuits of one maladjusted manchild. You know what I mean.*

As I was saying, I have siblings, both of whom are my elders; we had one television to share between the three of us, and they thrilled to the oft-comedic exploits of Corey Haim. I was, at most, a victim of Haimania by proxy. Fuck, that's a lie: I've seen License to Drive and Lost Boys** more than a (baker's) dozen times apiece, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Wait, it's not a full-blown lie: my sister had a raging schoolgirl crush upon Corey Haim (alongside her then-undying devotion to the New Kids on the Block, Paul Reiser, Michael Biehn, and the entire cast of Diff'rent Strokes) while my geriatric brother had a major hard-on for vampire films and Jami Gertz***, so you do the math, though the truth behind my adoration of Corey Haim films lies somewhere between the two, perhaps, nestled within the celluloid folds of Watchers and Lucas. If nothing else, blame the family, or Generation X, or the filmmakers who fed said generation.

Better yet, blame no one, especially Corey Haim. He was a kid -and later, a man- who just happened to be lucky enough to be a part of a few movies those between the ages of thirty and forty (forty-five, perhaps) viewed with pleasure, and that's something most of us will never do, let alone attempt; if nothing else, rest assured that somewhere in the world, my pregnant(!) sister is waving a cigarette lighter with a tear in her left eye, while my brother contemplates his own mortality yet again. As for me, I'll smoke a cigarette, pop in a copy of License to Drive, and dream (a little dream) of attaining a Korean driver's license. 




* Steven Seagal!

** Death by stereo.

*** Bonus shout-out to Buff Saxophone Guy


Corey Ian Haim



Back in 2001, my second year in Korea, the hagwon that I had recently signed a one-year contract with paid me up front to stay, for one week, in a love motel of my choosing in Sinchon. That love motel was the Orange. I wonder if it's still around.

The me of 2001 being much like the me of 2010 (at least habitually), my first night I hit up Family Mart for some domestic beer (remember when convenience stores in Korea sold beer only in glass bottles?), sandwiches (remember when Korean convenience stores used to sell tuna sandwiches?), and cigarettes (I used to smoke This back then; I recall they were approximately 200 won a pack, but my memory of the time -- much like Bill Denbrough's memory of the horror which plagued Derry -- has grown foggier each passing year, so maybe that's incorrect).

Korean love motels in 2001 being nothing like Korean love motels in 2010, there wasn't much to do in my room. Nowadays they have wall-mounted plasma/LCD televisions, PCs with free Internet access, and hot tubs; back then, though, the perks were a lot less grandiose. My room at the Orange had all the simple amenities one staying at a love motel in Korea in 2001 could expect: a comfy, double-size bed; a small refrigerator; a nightstand with hair dryer, hairbrush, comb, hairspray, hair gel, and mosquito repellent; and a 27-inch LG TV/VCR combo.

After my first bottle of Hite and an episode of Standby Cue, I was bored to shit, and it was only seven o'clock, so I ventured into the hallway to peruse the motel's selection of VHS tapes. The titles could easily be categorized thusly: softcore porn and Dolph Lundgren. Since the TV in my room already had two "porn" channels, I found the former category redundant, the latter distasteful. Much has been written about Korea's insensitivity vis a vis Nazi symbolism, but I don't recall ever hearing or reading anyone decry the peninsula's past fascination with Dolph Lundgren, a grave cultural misunderstanding in my books. The man killed Apollo Creed!

Crouching on my haunches, I delved further into the Orange's limited, shitty library of films. And that's when I saw, on the bottom shelf, a movie titled Never Too Late (1997). It stars Olympia Dukakis and Cloris Leachman, but what caught my eye was that it featured Corey Haim. Us 80s kids held -- and still hold -- Haim dear in our hearts, for reasons perhaps indefinable, inexplicable. He was Sam in The Lost Boys! An adolescent kid defeating vampires and saving his family! He was also Les Anderson in License to Drive, which is by no means a good movie, but was, for a kid my age, empowering. I would soon discover the allure of pornography and illicit substances, but back then the Coreys automobile adventure hooked me the same way Mr. Toad must have felt when he first espied a motor car.

Never Too Late it was, for nostalgia if nothing else. A Canadian production, the film is dull in a made-for-Lifetime sort of way. I vaguely remember the plot (something about a Shakespeare play to raise funds for something), but what I do remember is Corey Haim, mohawked and tatooed, slurring his way through both the movie and the Shakespearean play within the movie. My two thoughts were: South Korea is where direct-to-video Corey Haim* movies go to die and Olympia Dukakis is still alive?

In the years following, I sometimes wondered what Haim was up to, whether he had righted his course or fallen off the map completely. In this hallowed blog's earliest days, I posted a video (which has -- as per the unreliable nature of the Internet -- since disappeared) showing Haim at a weight far more rotund than his fans or admirerers expected. Yet there was no malice. Websites such as Defamer and TMZ should accept blame for being -- as per their nature -- overly snarky and, in my best Church Lady voice, downright mean when it comes to kicking a person when he's down**, but that was never my intention. I wanted Haim to pull out of his funk. I think we all did. (At least I hope so.)

He didn't. Unless you live in Ilsan, you probably know that by now. Corey Haim died at home on March 10 of an apparent overdose. He was 38 years old.

Tragic? Not really. Unexpected? Not at all. Sad? Yes. It's always sad when a mother loses her son, and it's especially saddening when one of a decade's defining idols passes. For a time, Corey Haim in a film meant something. Something special.

I guess you had to be there.

The Orange was where a direct-to-video Corey Haim movie went to die, but Psychedelic Kimchi is where memories last forever, and in the case of Corey Haim, we will always remember.

Fondly.


* -- and Dolph Lundgren, and Steven Seagal, and Jean-Claude Van Damme before he starred in the superlative JCVD --

** I hope this culture of cynical hatred-jealousy is a thing of the past when I become a bestselling author in 2031. Because, if I read an Internet comment comparing my magnum opus to the gum stuck in a Ford Taurus's front tire track, I just might go on a knifing spree in the name of literature. Call it a Harper Leehad. Arise, infidels, so that I may stabeth thee!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Awakenings



March hasn't started off too hot for neither the peninsula (literally*) nor Psychedelic Kitchen Sink (figuratively). This past Sunday, over sweet potato bubble tea and strawberry cream puffs, Chicken Wire** explained to me that he's been experiencing creative lethargy vis a vis your favorite blogger's favorite blog. I told him that I, too, was in a like funk. Nevertheless, I said, much like constipation, writer's block/a silent muse/a shortage of mind-altering psychoactives works its way out in the end.

In the end. I would discover the following day just how cruelly prophetic those words were. Literally.

Monday began like it typically does, with me waking up close to noon, hungover, hungry, and

(horny)

thirsty. A lunch consisting of Pizzeria Pretzel Combos and 7 Up remedied that, but a few hours later a new ailment started to rear its ugly head: diarrhea, known colloquially to some as the runs or the shits. Both are concise, accurate descriptions of what occurs.

It doesn't take a medical expert*** to hypothesize that the cause of my hyper-frequent bowel movements was fucking Combos and 7 Up for lunch, but trust me, that was not the ca(u)se here, unless Mars, Inc. is also using the same hydrolyzed vegetable protein Basic Food Flavors supplied Proctor and Gamble****.

I've had a lot of time to guess what exactly caused my current bout with severe gastroenteritis (stomach flu for you laypeople). Was it karma? The Magic 8-Ball says "possibly." To prudish or pretentious diners, my recent post about hedonistic, just-don't-give-a-fuck eating might indicate poetic justice. Before scarfing down Combos for lunch on Monday, I ate raw oysters, fish, pussy, and Senegalese baby eyeballs for dinner two days prior. Certainly, that's a recipe for bacterial infection (and parasites, and Fruit Chan horror vignettes); but as of now all signs point to a viral infection, thank God and KRS ONE.

Back in 2004, before I started this vaunted blog, before Jikko got hooked on painkillers, I had a bout of gastroenteritis that lasted nearly two weeks. I lost five kilograms. I drank a lot of Gatorade. I slept on the floor in front of my bathroom door***** for reasons I hope I don't have to explain, at least not before a tribunal. It was hell.

Besides that, I remember very little. The stomach flu

(that saved Pittsburgh)

and the Boston Red Sox winning their first World Series in 86 years is all I can Lauren Recall about 2004. It's best that way.

Thankfully, 2010's gastroenteritis hasn't been nearly as bad. It's two days later and I'm beginning to feel some semblance of normalcy. I can eat solid food again after two straight days of 죽 (rice pooridge), and the hair on my palms is starting to grow back. Furthermore, the hours I spent unable to sleep because I had to dash to the toilet every five minutes taught me a valuable lesson about film: I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is by no means a good movie, but it's fine fare when you're awake at four in the morning, suffering from superlative anal reverse-geysers.

I've convalesced enough, and while I'm not one-hundred percent out of the woods the Pope shits in, I feel pretty good right now. I feel kinda invincible, actually.

This calls for a celebration. It's time to replenish fluids and electrolytes in the form of bourbon and saltine crackers!

Joking aside, I'll do my best to ensure that March goes out on PK as it should have come in: like a lion.

It feels god to be alive again, Constant Retards. That wasn't a typo.

Love,

Mumm-Ra Lazarus


* It's spring here, yet today I woke up to find the landscape blanketed in snow. There's a reason I'm not in Canada, Korea. Now hurry up and bring me my 황사!

** aka the Licorice Lawnmower

*** Have I ever mentioned that my wife is a doctor? She is. Dr. Yoo to me, Dr. Feelgood to Jikko. Legs administers health advice for free and dispenses pills like beads at Mardis Gras.

**** Oh, how the mighty have fallen. First the snackfood quality-and-pricing scandal that rocked Asia, and now Salmonella. For shame, P&G. For shame.

***** Pauly Shore, Zsa Zsa Gabor, "My Cherie Amour," Younge and Bloor

Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Day and Not the Dark

Normally, I post something for all the Retards, but not today.




Nothing more to say. The end.

The Leap Home

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Triple Threat Match


Just a few minutes ago I glanced at the soon-to-be-closed poll, and I'll be the first to admit that, thus far, the voting has surprised me. Not my brain just crept out of my navel surprised, mind you, but nevertheless, an unexpected standoff is in effect.

In the blue trunks, we have Cool Ranch Doritos, the Classic amongst classics. They've been running solid for over twenty years, and there's no reason for them to stop now. Furthermore, unlike salt and vinegar chips (crisps!), there's only one brand on the radar, so a devotee's job is made all the easier.


In the green trunks, we have Salt & Vinegar. They say that age comes before beauty, though in this specific case beauty is the most subjective concept I've witnessed in my time upon Earth (barring the day Howard the Duck hit theaters, in which case I'd argue that the phrase biggest fucking piece of shit took on a life all its own). But beauty is scarcely the defining characteristic of a snack-food champion; it's flavor which carries the day, and if three whole votes represent the world at large (and they most certainly do, because I say so) then S&V is a top contender, even if these snacks are the oldest (and stinkiest) of the bunch.


 Finally, in the fuck trunks, straight from the Crystal Cave, we have the one, the lonely, Steven Seagal. While Seagal is a man of as many monikers as there are nations, I think it best to lift a phrase uttered by Apollo Creed (pertaining to himself) in Rocky IV and state that Seagal's retired more men than Social Security!* so what are a bunch of pansy-ass snacks gonna do? Better yet, have either of his competitors released an album for the ages? Probably not.


I know not what shall transpire in the coming twenty-four hours, but rest assured we're in for a battle sixteen orgasms, seven marriages, four hangovers, and two mutilations in the making.

* To be honest, I'm not even sure what that line is supposed to mean, as -and I'm just a layman here- I'm fairly certain that Social Security (as it exists within the United States) scarcely retires much anyone. If I'm correct in my understanding, the phrase manages to become even more appropriate to Mr. Seeball. Either way, consider me one happy pappy!

Red Death



If the pack of cigarettes shown above is any indication, when it comes to smoking, two billion red Chinese can be wrong.

As you might have read here, Chicken Wire* recently took a trip over the Lunar (nee Chinese) New Year to Shanghai. On his way back, he picked me up a carton of Double Happiness cigarettes. As far as brand names go, that earns the title of being the most dubiously ironic.

Pretending for a moment that CW is a dude, and not, in fact, a corn-fed Iowan cutie, cigarettes are, next to hard liquor, about the best duty-free gift a guy can give another guy**; so when I found out that he/she had bought me a carton of Chinese smokes, my first thought was, "How mysterious! How exotic!"

I'd smoked maybe a grand total of two, perhaps three, Chinese cigarettes in my lifetime, and like the four years I spent in the company of my first wife, I remember very little, if anything, about the experience. Sure, I seem to have repressed memories of both, and as far as I can recall neither experience was particularly pleasurable -- but I love women and I love smoking, so how bad could it have been?

The answer: nightmarish.

I rediscovered this truth -- as far as the former is concerned -- just the other day. Why did it take me so long? Much like the question of why I stayed with my ex-wife through four years of misery, there's no simple explanation, but I'll hazard a theory. I put up with Double Happiness for as long as I did because a) free cigarettes! b) I'm notoriously lazy about going to the store to buy a new pack of Dunhills when I'm unkempt, and showering and getting dressed simply to take the elevator down six floors for a pack of squares is, to me, a waste of time better spent searching YouTube for the greatest blunder in sports history, and c) I'm a fucking masochist.

When it comes to food and drink, there's a lot of snobbery, a lot of denying what's pleasurable in favor of what appears to be a high-class experience; a tendency to repress one's natural instinct in search of higher meaning; a false sense of art or artistry. To an ersatz food critic, a Spamwich might not be a good meal, even though eating one feels, to some, myself in particular (Hawaiians in general), like licking the inner thigh of Venus herself. People will try to find art in anything they can nowadays, and the bored bourgeois will try to convince you that the four-hundred dollars you just spent on that glorified Denny's brunch was worth it for the exclusiveness, the -- pardon me as I fight the urge to vomit -- high-dining experience. Similarly, snub-nosed wine aficionados and microbrew beer "experts" will claim that a bottle of Yellow Tail*** or Labatt Blue are too pedestrian for the discerning imbiber.

Which is complete and utter bullshit. Live by this rule, Constant Retard: memories of taste are fleeting and do nothing to enrich our lives, while experiences do. If I had foie gras drizzled in white chocolate-emulsified Hollandaise sauce at a three-star Michelin restaurant in Paris or a box of McDonaldland Cookies on Mars, which meal do you think I'd remember more fondly? I live by the maxim that eating or drinking something unique doesn't add up to a hill of beans in comparison to the indelible memories true art creates. If it's passed through my urethra or my sphincter a couple of hours later, it can't be that lasting.

Thankfully, there isn't a whole lot of snobbery when it comes to cigarettes. That's what cigars are for!

I'm usually not too picky about what I smoke. I prefer Dunhill Lights, but pretty much anything will do in a pinch, even *gasp!* menthols. Or so I thought.

Enter: Double Happiness, or, as they should more accurately be named, Infinite Agony. I can state in all honesty that they are, without a doubt, the worst cigarettes I have ever smoked. Actually, I don't think it's fair to call them cigarettes; that'd be like calling turpentine a beverage. Inhaling a Double Happiness "cigarette" makes your tongue sting. If you're brave or, like me, masochistic enough to finish the fell thing, your tongue will be numb, your mouth will taste as though you licked a leaky battery. Smoking Double Happiness to sate a nicotine fix is akin to an alcoholic drinking a bottle of Cool Water cologne because nothing else was around. Any so-called cigarette that makes you feel as though you just took part in experimental drug testing at a pharmaceuticals lab doesn't deserve to carry the word "happiness" in its branding. Wanna know the secret to curbing teenage smoking? Hand out free packs of Double Happiness in high schools. That'll scare 'em straight.

I've smoked four packs. But no more! No more I say! Double Happiness, I want a divorce. You'll be hearing from my lawyer.


* aka Greymeat Gorilla

** Apropos of the post, how's about a little second-hand comma smoke? It's not the syntax that'll kill ya; it's the punctuation.

*** the title of my planned Asian-fetish magazine; that is until a million-dollar lawsuit put a kibosh on my dream of becoming the Larry Flynt of the Eastern Hemisphere.