Sunday, May 31, 2015

Nine Plus One (Rathbone)

On May 28th, Psychedelic Kimchi, this hallowed elephants' graveyard of swear words and insight from the East, turned 10.

A lot has changed since its inception. I can only speak for myself, and not for the oft-infrequent-yet-illustrious contributors of Psychedelic Kit-Kat, but I believe a lot has changed for them, too. Ten years will do that.

I got 10 years older, obviously, if not wiser (although I like to think I have). I got divorced and remarried. I've lived in seven different apartments (eight this coming Thursday), had nine different cell phones, worked at six different companies, and have helped raise two adorable dogs.

First and foremost during that period, however, is the 18th Letter, who has been living in Canada with my parents since the summer of 2007. My ex-wife was granted custody of our daughter in our divorce, but at the 11th hour she decided to relinquish custody, because, in her words, "She looks too much like you." She does. And she's better looking, kinder, and smarter than I'll ever be. No one can really tell when it comes to children and genes and environments and so on. Sometimes you get lucky, and with the 18th Letter I hit the jackpot. Corn Flakes and strawberry milk with a slice of processed cheese: breakfast of champions. My beautiful Rahnebow.

Blogs are a dying breed, and have been for some time. Personal writing is now reserved to Facebook or Twitter, and brief. Kmork, my brother from another dimension, sent me a link last year in which someone, a professor, I think, argued that social media is inherently narcissistic. I disagree. Social media can be narcissistic in the same way a knife can be a murder weapon. It's not harmful to write about oneself; in fact, it can lead to self discovery.

I think that I have, at least partially, discovered who I am during the past 10 years. I've also written some absolute garbage on this blog, but that's what learning is, right? Trial and error.

There aren't many things I've done for 10 years. The list: being alive, being a father, and Psychedelic Kimchi.

It's been real. Thank you to everyone who has ever spent time reading the ramblings of a werewolf.

I'll be around.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Falling on Your Head Like a Tragedy

[7:40 AM] Wake up. Check the Yahoo! Weather app. Look out window. Gloomy, fog hugging everything like lonely specters, but apparently there's a 0% chance of rain* predicted all day. Odd.

[8:10 AM] Leave for work. "Aren't you going to take an umbrella?" asks wife. "No reason to," I say. "Forecast says there's a 0% chance of rain." I did my due diligence!

[Some indeterminate time in the afternoon] Raining.

[6:05 PM] Punch out**. Still raining. Walk to subway station. Get wet. Get smug looks from people who have umbrellas and know better than to trust meteorological guesswork.

Now...I don't expect the forecast to be accurate all of the time, or even most of the time, but to me 0% -- at least by my weird understanding of math -- means "impossible," or "The Day the Clown Cried is getting released in theaters before this happens," or "I'm trusting this lying app again."

There's rarely a sure thing. Especially when the weather is involved. That's why they call it weather***.

It could be a lot worse. Instead of raindrops falling on my head, it could have been coconuts. Or durians. Or bombs.

Drop bears.

Space debris.

Pigeon shit.

* my favorite homophone!

** Word to King Hippo and idioms that will confuse some people under 25.

*** Word to David Mamet.

Sunday, May 10, 2015


"Do you have the hiccups?"

"No. I think I might throw up."

We were on the ferry from Hong Kong to Macau. The sea was calm, but my wife's stomach wasn't, and we hadn't even departed. The catamaran was bobbing up and down with the tide. The sky was overcast. I looked around the seats for barf bags and saw that there weren't any. And the lines to the lavatories were long.

"I didn't know you get seasick," I said and held Patricia's hand. We had been married three years, and I was continually learning new and interesting -- if perhaps insignificant -- facts about her. I still am, twenty-three years later.

"Didn't you say you've taken this boat before?" I asked.

"I did, about ten years ago."

"And were you sick then?"

"I don't remember."

A young man was walking down the aisle with a tray of assorted snacks and beverages. I considered buying a beer and a bag of potato chips but thought better of it. My stomach wasn't feeling in top shape itself.

"Sorry, Patty, but that seems like something you'd remember," I said. "I mean, it's not every day that you ride a boat, especially one in a foreign country. I can't recall what I ate for breakfast two days ago, but I'm pretty sure I'd remember if I vomited on a boat."

"Shut the fuck up, Jonathan. You're making it worse."

I shut the fuck up.


Macau was nice enough. Patty's nausea ebbed and flowed during the hour-long ride, but she was able to contain the contents of her stomach. We walked through the cobblestone streets and saw a facsimile of Macau's past. Colonial mansions and McDonald's.

We don't gamble, but during our tour we found ourselves at a large casino, the name of which escapes me. We agreed to go in and have a drink.

Cigarette smoke hovered like a cloud in that monstrous gaming room, where middle-aged men and a peppering of middle-aged women sat at tables covered in green felt. I would be lying if I didn't say that it was a pathetic, depressing tableau.

We took two seats at the bar, which was about as massive as the whale that swallowed Jonah. I ordered a beer. Patty ordered a beer. The bartender, a pretty woman with pink mascara, gave us each a bowl of salted peanuts. We talked.

My drink was almost done, and our ferry back to Hong Kong was set to leave in forty minutes. "Ready to go?" I asked Patty.

"I guess so," she said.

Immediately upon exiting the casino, we witnessed the aftermath of a traffic accident. A bus had run over a man on a scooter. People were yelling. People were screaming. There was blood. There was a lot of blood.

I wanted to stick around and gawk, but we had a boat to catch.


"Jesus, I'm going to be sick."

"You'll be fine. Patty, look out the window. See how the boat is going up and down? Bob your head up and down with the movement of the water."

"That actually works! I look like a crazy person, but it works! I feel so much better when I do that! How did you know that?"

"Kids get carsick, but the driver never does. If you have a point to focus on, everything else disappears."