Friday, January 31, 2014

Six Shots till Summation: Taekwon! Taekwon!

Miami Connection (1987)

It's a film about friendship, family, cocaine, ninja bikers, a truly international band, rock music and taekwondo, sometimes all at once. Oh, and breaking boards, that too. In other words, Miami Connection is the film you've been dying to see your entire life.


Not that a viewer would notice, but none of the guys involved with this film are professional actors.

Bonus Round

Have I mentioned the killer soundtrack? You can find it here

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Old as Ice

Last night, I found myself pondering the likelihood of Kim Yuna becoming a 2-time Olympic figure skating gold medalist*. I have no real anticipation for the Sochi Games, but I thought I'd try to muster some**. A friend on Facebook commented that Kim is past her prime, and, disregarding the existential shock that anyone could be past their prime at 23 years old, it turns out he's probably correct.

The facts (I did the research myself!):

Since Dorothy Hamill won the gold medal in Innsbruck in 1976 in Ladies' Figure Skating***, the average age of Olympic Ladies' Figure Skating gold medalists has been 19 years old.

If Kim wins gold in Sochi, she would be the second-oldest Olympian in the event to win (again, since 1976) after Shizuka Arakawa, who won in Turin/Torino at the age of 24. The sole repeat gold medalist since 1976? Katarina Witt (in 1984 and 1988, at ages 18 and 22, respectively****). The youngest? Tara Lipinski, 15, in Nagano.

But! Kim's biggest rival, Asada Mao, is no spring chicken either at 22. It's a wonder that, at her age, she can even remember to take her gym bag to the rink when she practices, but apparently she's improved her triple axel, which is the figure skating analogue of dunking from beyond the free throw line in basketball. The problem is, she lacks grace, like a family of atheists eating supper with shovels in place of spoons.

We'll see what happens in a month's time. I'm just ruminating now because I'm actually interested in the competition. I'm looking forward to watching these two seasoned veterans battle for one last round, before they're rendered into glue.

* Tomorrow I'll be curious about something else. It's how my flitting brain works. What's the Guinness record for longest eyebrow hair? Whatever became of John-John the Leprechaun, who went to school with nothing on? Where the fuck is Wallace, String?

** As does everyone, even those Coca-Cola polar bears. Especially those Coca-Cola polar bears.

*** Man, that's a lot of ins...with no easy way out.

**** That "respectively" is redundant and annoying, I know. I'm keeping it in because I've been editing medical analysis documents all day, and those dudes love that fucking word for some reason. Almost as much as they like single sentences that run on for three pages; almost as much as They like randomly Capitalizing lEtteRs without any rhyme or reasOn.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Uneasy Lies the Head That Wears the Crown

Ayo listen here, Bey. You come at the King, you best not miss.

-- Omar Little, The Wire

But you've survived because you've been protected by the strong. But they're not strong anymore.

-- Sgt. Nathan Leckie, Animal Kingdom

The Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs in a Sunday afternoon rematch of last year's amazing NBA Finals. Everybody clap, roll on snare drum. The Heat are 2 games improved on their regular-season record of this time last year, yet questions linger. Can the Heat three-peat? My sources -- a Magic 8-Ball that I stole from a homeless man's bindle and the three dollars I won at scratch tickets -- say "maybe."

Ingredients required:

1) Health. Can Wade's knees hold up? Can Greg Oden's*? The Heat's success is predicated on its roster being 100%. That's a house of cards.

2) The Heat have to make it to the Finals to try to win a third straight championship. That's not guaranteed. Everyone is predicting a Heat-Pacers Eastern Conference Finals, and that's not guaranteed, either. As of right now, the Heat are the No. 2 seed in the East and the Nets are No. 7. That possible match-up in the first round of the playoffs terrifies me, not only because of the Nets' combined veteran talent, but also because I suspect the officiating in Brooklyn has been influenced by outside factors.

3) Home court advantage. Jeff Van Gundy said during the game that the Pacers have the first seed locked barring a "huge setback," which, as much as I love JVG, is one of the stupider things -- no, make it the stupidest thing -- he's ever said. The Heat are 2 and 1/2 games behind Indiana. Midway through the season. Surely that's insurmountable. /s

Can the Heat beat the Pacers without home-court advantage? Maybe? Hopefully, if that's the case. I expect the Pacers will swoon a bit over the next two months, but that's just a guess.

* I think the Heat can win another title without Oden -- I just want the guy to be able to play and be productive.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The More You Know (The Less You'll See of Me)

It has been said that knowledge is power, and armed with the five fun, fun facts below, you'll be motherfuckin' Megatron.

1. I own a copy of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, and yes, it's on my iPod, and yes, my favorite song from the album is Yvonne Elliman's If I Can't Have You, and yes, there's a good chance the lyrics to that song will be etched upon my tombstone, or in the case of cremation, inscribed upon the urn, or in the case of funeral pyre, whatever, because I'll be dead and there's no way in hell someone would put that much work into my funeral.

2. Speaking of songs, you know which one puts me on the verge of murderous frenzy? Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing. Nothing against Marvin Gaye, but that song drives me up the wall. Truly, this song has forever tainted my opinion of the medicinal qualities of sexual activity, and if it were possible to have less than zero libido, this song would be the one to do it to me, as this song shuts my reproductive system down faster than an episode of The Golden Girls. In short, I dread Sexual Healing like Harrison Forbes dreads taking a dump at work, and the mere thought of it -the song, not anxiety stricken bowel movements- blackens my heart toward sex, healing, and the human race. Just saying.

3. Ever been to Hawaii?* I have, and let me tell you, this sort of thing is commonplace on the island of Oahu.

4. Thirty years later, Werewolf Ozzy still creeps me out - but in a good way, like seeing Katy Perry in sweatpants or guacamole in a burrito. The world is a strange place and such sights remind me to keep keepin' it real.

5. Popcorn-flavored jelly beans? Why, just...why? Because this is America, man! It's the land where can, not should is what matters, and this includes culinary atrocities. USA! USA! USA!

Ten bucks says there's a popcorn-flavored jelly bean in Balboa's mouth.

* That's Havaiee to you mainlanders!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


When I speak, the subtitles are green.

Manic Street Preachers - Peeled Apples

Dogs are Barking

I have big feet.

They're not abnormally big. I mean, you couldn't put a Subway sandwich inside my shoe without it touching the sides like some weird-best version of Operation sponsored by Reebok and Parker Brothers, but they're noticeably big for my height. I'm almost exactly* 6-feet/183cm tall**, yet my shoe size is anywhere from 10 and a 1/2 to 11 and a 1/2***. Those dimensions aren't kind. I have permanent swim fins glued to my feet. I accidentally kick people's shins when I walk in crowds.

And I have flat foot****. I also broke my leg when I was four, and maybe one leg grew longer than the other, so I put more weight on one leg than the other as I was healing, and then I satanism. Or maybe not. Ancient Aliens.

Regardless, my feet are constantly in pain. They hurt so much that I want to punch them every day!

Sounds like a plan.

* Paging Dr. Oxymoron. Please see Nurse Pain in the ICU.

** I will fight, tooth and nail, for that inch/centimeter.

*** 290 in Korea. My index finger is also as long as my ring finger. Ladies.

**** flat feet!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Same Title, Different Song XVI

Winter. It's more than a season, it's a state of mind; a state of mind, I say! It's cold, sometimes snowy, and in such a state, you feel especially lazy, am I right? As crazy as this may sound, we've all been there and I, for one, empathize with the sluggish perspective. Some days, you just need to set the heat to full blast and relax, and if the readers of this beautiful blog are anything like me, myself, and I, relax is best described as the delicate combination of

1) lounging about in one of the following: boxers, briefs, lingerie, oversized t-shirt, jersey (but only if it was produced prior to 1987*), granny nightgown (with sleeping cap and slippers, obviously), suit (birthday, clown, or pinstripe), diaper (with or without rattle and bonnet, it's your call)


2) holding one of the following in your lap: bucket of fried chicken, family size bag of Doritos (Cool Ranch, of course), Taco John's Six-Pack and a Pound, fully cooked (and fully stuffed) Butterball turkey**, fifteen-pound bag of Iams ProActive Health adult large breed dry dog food***, massive novelty Twizzler just a bit less bulbous than a blue whale's penis

but don't forget the secret ingredient, which is

3) to declare oneself too busy for this or that, such as:
         Hit the gym? Are you serious? I'm too busy for that today.
        Get the tires on my car rotated? That can wait till next month. 
        Listen, Mom, you can wait to go to the bathroom for at least another hour.
        Thesis? Let me get back to you about that. There's a Miami Vice marathon on Spike. 
        Who shot you? Anyway, I'll be at the hospital sometime tomorrow or the day thereafter. 

Isn't winter grand? 'Tis the season for sloth, so snuggle up, settle down, and enjoy the shortened days with a couple of appropriately titled songs. I can only hope that you aren't too busy to give them a listen.

Great Northern - Winter
Maps and Aliases - Winter


** Do I get to use silverware? If you have to ask, you aren't ready for the answer.
*** Dude, if you can't afford human food, hit the local pantry. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Utah, Get Me Two

I wasn't feeling it today. So I took a personal. To be 100% honest (TMI warning, with added euphemism to save us both embarrassment), I'd been backed up in the mail room since Sunday, and I needed to make up for some missed deliveries (four as of this writing... No, wait...).

It was a good decision as far as taking care of my physical and mental* well-being** goes, and although I felt guilty as hell for missing work -- even though it was for, at least to me, a valid reason; your mileage/regularity may vary -- I resolved to make the most of it.

And most of it make I did. Most of it: made.

I watched an episode of Adventure Time ("The Duke"), an ep of Futurama ("Jurassic Bark***"), an ep of The Wire ("Margin of Error****"), and then two feature films. They were both incredible. I'm tempted to make this not working thing a full-time thing. Thing*****.

First up was The Wolf of Wall Street. Marty hasn't lost his fast ball. Goodfellas was released in 1991, and, 22 years later, Wolf  is a worthy companion******. As an analogy, picture [your favorite band here*******] getting as ill as it did decades prior. That doesn't normally happen. When it does, it's glorious. It's probably rarer than Alex Haley's Comet or some shit.

Best Actor: Leo, channeling Tony Montana, The Ultimate Warrior, and Charlie Chaplin.

Best Scene: Lemons.

Best Quote: "Jordan Belfort's seminar worked for me because I worked hard for it. And if it doesn't work for you, that's because you're lazy, and you should get a job at McDonald's."

Best Supporting-Supporting Actor: Kyle Chandler, riding the train, keeping it real.

The second movie I watched was Spike Jonze's Her, which is the most touching film about a couple that will never make physical contact since War Games. In all seriousness, Her is going to be the movie most remembered in 20 years. It's like if Blade Runner and 1984 had sex and had a let's-be-reasonable baby. It's also the second-best Terminator sequel.

Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, America's finest living actor.

Best Scene: Amusement park augmented-reality.

Best Quote(s):

"Hi Samantha."

Hi! You look so pretty in that new pink dress."

"Thank you. Where are you?"

"I am...I don't have a body, I live in a computer."

"Why do you live inside a computer?"

"I have no choice, that's my home. Why, where do you live?"

"Um, in a house."

"In a house?"

"It's orange."

Best Supporting-Supporting Actor: Chris Pratt is a phenomenon.

* Hell hath no fury like a constipated Forbes.

** If I didn't, who would?

*** I never had any masters like the one I had when I was three. Jesus, does anyone?

**** Carcetti's an asshole, but I still get chills at the "Royce is conceding" line. First Baltimore, then Westeros!

***** Ben Grimm

****** There's a nice, genuine nod to the "Fuck you, pay me" speech that is self homage but doesn't come across as Martscorbation.

******* Unless it's My Bloody Valentine.

Sunday, January 05, 2014


Saturday, January 04, 2014

On Not Smoking.

First, let me direct you to this article, by which this post is inspired. Read it at your leisure, but the lengthy quote below is where my focus lies:

On the other side of the spectrum is the electronic cigarette, or “E-Cig,” also known as The Stupidest Thing Ever. It’s the fake tits of tobacco, satisfying only the most basic, surface urge, your nicotine fix, while flaunting its inorganic, uninspired, cold technology. If you like Windows 98, you’ll love your e-cig. You shan’t be begrudged for using an electronic cigarette to quit smoking, along with other nicotine replacement options (word is that the lozenges are the best bet beyond patches and gum), but as a tobacco substitute, it represents the antithesis of what smoking stands for. Electronic options are devoid of commitment, danger and, as any smoker would agree, satisfaction. There is nothing laconic about an electronic cigarette, nothing romantic, other than the likelihood that it’ll kill you more slowly and give you more time to get romantic. But that’ll be lost on you because nobody wants to sleep with a person who smokes an electronic cigarette; just ask Stephen Dorff. One of the great skills that nerds have bestowed on our current culture is an ability to suss out authenticity and subsequently shame anything fake into oblivion. Go ahead and apply this to electronic cigarettes if you think there’s anything useful there. By smoking your e-cig, you are effectively telling the world that you’ve given up on the lifestyle of a roguish addict, and replaced him with a soulless junkie. You’ve gone from heroin to methadone. You went from Keith Richards to Charlie Sheen, squandering your relevance with attention. A similar perspective can be given to clove cigarettes, beedis and a hookah, with a space-time continuum issue that simply doesn’t apply to us. Are you kicking it in Morocco in the Fifties with Paul Bowles? Is that hookah filled with dope and not just tobacco? No? If you’re not a 12-year-old with eyeliner in a Sisters of Mercy shirt, brothel creepers and preyed upon by a dirty uncle, put away the Djarums, kid.

 I had my first cigarette when I was 12 years old. Hanging out one day after school, a friend and I found an entire unopened carton of Belmonts hidden (ostensibly) in a bush. My friend claimed the carton and said he'd give it to his old man, who didn't smoke but often gifted cigarettes to his friends who did. I was cool with that, but I asked him to open a pack and give me just one. For scientific purposes, naturally.

I think I kept that lone cigarette in my desk drawer for a few days until curiosity got the better of me. I absconded a book of matches that my folks would keep around the house for lighting fireworks -- or candles when the power would occasionally go out -- from some kitchen cupboard or another, and went outside, to the side of my house, to satisfy my curiosity.

My first drag didn't take; the cigarette was only half lit. But with the sucking power of someone trying to drink a thick milkshake, I inhaled my second drag and was hit with a buckshot of smoke in my mouth, throat, and lungs. I think I puffed the cigarette a few more times before hastily putting it out and going back inside, feeling alternately like the world's most daring 12-year-old and its guiltiest deliquent.

Twenty-three years later, as I think (quite fondly, to be completely honest) about that day, I am reminded that my decision to try smoking was solely my own. It wasn't due to peer pressure or influenced in any way by anyone close to me. No one in my immediate family smoked. Perhaps if they had I would have been less likely to try it, or so I'm often anecdotally informed by friends and acquaintances whose parents smoked and who never assumed the habit.

If there was one impetus besides my own curiosity, it was Hollywood films. I state that not as condemnation but as fact. Smoking looked cool. To me, it still does. From Bogart to Brando to Bond, the laconic statement made by a protagonist blowing out a puff of thick white smoke looked like a corporeal exclamation point, an identifier which gave license to an actor's authenticity.

Is that glamorization? I suppose it is seen as such, though I doubt that was the original intent. Humphrey Bogart smokes all the time in Casablanca because in 1942 everyone smoked all the time. Now that we know better, smoking has decreased and is so rarely seen in movies these days. In fact, special interest groups have gone so far as to lobby the MPAA to give an R rating to any film that contains cigarette smoking. It's nice to see priorities in order.

Although I didn't become a regular smoker at twelve, I continued to smoke throughout my so-called formative years and eventually became addicted to nicotine, despite the Canadian government's increasing taxes applied to tobacco products. When I came to Korea in 2000 at the age of twenty-two, I found that a pack of cigarettes here was as cheap as a candy bar back home, and thus a new renaissance was born.

However... Never, as much as I enjoyed smoking, did I ever consider it part of a culture or sub-culture. There is no exclusivity to smoking. It's not unique or rebellious. Jack Kerouac and the Beats smoked? Well, so did mothers whose children were born with deformities. Smoking is something people do; it isn't something people live. I feel likewise about coffee. I love a strong black coffee a few days a week, but trying to romanticize a cup of liquid is dumb. It's coffee, it perks you up, get over it. Stop hanging around Starbucks with your laptop and go to a petting zoo or something.

As independently as I decided to start smoking at twelve, two months ago I similarly decided to stop smoking tobacco and try an electronic cigarette. Why? Because I have a beautiful daughter whom I don't want to consider me irresponsible in my health, for one. Two, because regardless of how young I feel or think I look, age and the toll smoking has taken on me might not be recognizable now, but perhaps might be in a few years when it's too late. And three, because you are not the boss of me.

It's been two weeks since I've started smoking an e-cigarette, and I genuinely enjoy it more than "analog" cigarettes. Is it harmless? Probably not, but pick your poison. Is it cool?

Like I fucking care.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Notes on Anthroponymy (a Slight Misnomer)

The Cure - Burn

Anyone the slightest bit familiar with the author of this post knows that names, particularly given names, perplex me (because we are one in the same; of that, you can rest moderately assured). I am aware that names serve a purpose within society, as they allow individuals to quickly identify, classify, and supposedly, relate to others. However, the tasks associated with said functions are scarcely foolproof endeavors.

A: Are you in a study group with Linda?
B: Which Lynda? The one with the 'i' or the one with the 'y'?
A: No idea, but what about her last name?
B: Why would I know her last name? We've only been in a study group for three weeks!
A: Okay, okay. Does your Linda have blue eyes?
B: First of all, she isn't my Lynda, and second, I don't pay attention to that stuff. Am I supposed to gaze into everyone's eyes these days? Is that the latest interpersonal craze?
A: Obviously not, and the thought of you doing that creeps me out, but whatever. Is the Linda in that study group short, or tall?
B: Well, Lynda's shorter than me, if that's what you mean.
A: Never mind.

While fictitious, the preceding exchange is not altogether implausible, nor especially unique. The part about not knowing someone's last name after three weeks is a stretch, of course, as I am, perhaps ironically, pretty good with names. By the second week of my first summer graduate course, for example, I had already memorized the first and last names of all the students in class, and there were quite a few. To an extent, spelling goes along with that, but as for the other stuff, such as eye and/or hair color, height, digits (fingers and toes, not telephone numbers*), rings (wedding, engagement, commitment, pre-commitment, onion, cock, etc.), jewelry, clothing style, and breast augmentation? Beyond names and basketball jerseys, I would have been incapable of divulging much to an inquisitor at that point.

Thus, in terms of memorization, names fail to bewilder me, though it should be stressed that this is by no means an innate skill. Years spent teaching have facilitated the ease by which monikers are committed to memory, even if the pronunciation of said names has proven elusive at times, owing to the inevitable difficulty encountered when two or more languages come into play. Speaking of pronunciation, true story: for an entire semester, an English professor mispronounced** my name, and I never once sought to address the matter until the final day of class. Upon being informed of his mistake, he apologized profusely and asked why I hadn't corrected him earlier, as he erroneously believed that it was something worthy of an apology, which brings us to the here and now.

What perplexes me about names is the importance placed upon them. People have utilized various pronunciations, abbreviations, alterations, and outright mutations of my given name as far back as recollection allows, and such bastardizations are of no concern to yours truly. When done creatively, playfully, and with affection (for lack of a better term, really), such efforts are readily appreciated, if not acknowledged directly. On the flip side, those who engage in nominal manipulation due to motives related to malice, subversion, or the exertion of perceived power often find themselves flummoxed, owing to his or her inability to accurately perceive the reality that their existence is irrelevant ultimately, the recipient of said manipulations is wholly indifferent toward the process, let alone the outcome.

Then again, who am I to discourage futility? (I mean, really.) By all means, call me anything you want.

P.S. Readers unfamiliar with the content of this blog may be wondering if a particular event prompted this post. If only! Because that would imply a social life of sorts, and shame on you for entertaining such idealistic flights of fancy. Longtime readers, meanwhile, will attest to my longstanding, possibly unhealthy fascination with the unimportance of names and identity.

P.P.S. Has it ever been reported that I have a hard time using the name of any person with whom I converse or correspond during said bouts of communication? Long story, so let's save that for a spinoff.

* Now that I mention it, though, I am terrible with phone numbers. Hell, I have trouble remembering my own.
** And I use that term loosely, since the pronunciation employed by the professor during that semester simply differed from the one preferred by my parents, and who the fuck do they think they are, right?

Real Magic