Category Archives: Links and Random Thoughts

A few random notes before closing up shop

– So, this will be probably my second to last post here. I leave for Mexico this week where I’ll teach high school writing and literature. I really hope they speak decent English because I’m not quite ready to spend another year sucking at a 3rd language. Plus they don’t give me a co-teacher.

– I haven’t decided yet if I’ll start another blog while I’m in Mexico. I probably will, but not immediately. I kind of want to take a break for a few weeks, just to get used to Mexico. If I do start a new blog I also want it to be more focused than this one, and since I have yet to choose a focus I have yet to create a new blog…but when I do I’ll post the link here for anybody interested. In the meantime you can keep checking me out at instablogs.

– One thing I’m worried about in Mexico, besides being kidnapped, is tequila. Tequila is either the best idea ever or the worst, depending on whether or not you enjoy ripping your shirt off in the middle of a club and dancing to “Sexy Back” even though the songs not playing at the moment.

– Was in Itaewon this past weekend for a goodbye drinking session with a few friends. At the end of the night we decided to get some Kebabs from the Kebab van. It was later in the night and they were running low on meat, luckily I was in time to order. Some of the guys behind me, not so much. A fight ensued behind me between two foreigners and a Korean guy when the Korean guy tried to cut in line. Now, the kebabs are delicious – I should know, I ate 3 – but when the Korean guy grabbed the kebab sword and started swinging it at the two foreign guys, even I thought that was a little ridiculous. I mean, it’s not like we were all waiting in line for the last ribwich…that I would have understood.

– I don’t know if it’s just Korean cab drivers that like to pretend like they’ll pick you up, only to speed up once they get a closer look at you, but I know I don’t like it. It’s not like I’m a violent looking person with a kebab sword. But I doubt that yelling obscenities as the taxi drivers passed by helped our cause.

– I’m upset that Korean men suck at basketball so much. I think if they were better, we might actually get some men’s basketball coverage here in Korea. It’s really the only event I care about, and if I have to see a replay of archery, judo or the men’s 400 something event in swimming again I might just up and move to another country – oh yah.

– Additionally, not only does South Korea field no mens’ basketball team, but they do field a women’s basketball team. I think I’d rather watch archery or Garden State, rather than women’s basketball. (and those who know me know how much I hate Garden State)

– A final note about the gum lady post. It was actually inspired by my friend Noreen, who was attacked in a hit and run by the gum lady, when she refused to buy her gum. The gum lady punched Noreen, and then ran off the subway in what is one of the funniest mental images I’ve ever had.

– The new Batman movie is sweet, but I don’t suggest sneaking beer into the theater unless you want to leave halfway through to go pee. It’s a really long movie.

– Finally, I was going to leave you with my Korean Underground Hip-Hop playlist, but when I started putting it together I thought I’d just rather give you a few artists and songs you should type into youtube. No matter how much I talk about the K-pop stars, my first love is always hip hop. It’s the thing that first made me enjoy writing when I was in high school. Anyways, the list goes as follows

1. Dj Soulscape – Story
2. 리쌍 (leesang) ft. 정인- Rush
3. Infinite Flow – 20’s
4. Deepflow – Bring Rap Justice
5. Mild Beats – Deal with us
6. Garion – Ancient Story
7. Primary Skool – So Much Soul
8. Da Crew – City of Soul
9. E Clue – Keep ya head up
10. Basick – Better than the best
11. The Unforgiven – What’s the Name
12. Digiri – 아이에서 어른으로
13. Paradigm Shift – Bewylder
14. Superman Ivy – Yes Yes Ya’ll
15. Kebee – Feeling You
16. DJ Shinin Stone – The Hypnotize

There’s a bunch more I didn’t include, like Drunken Tiger, MC Sniper or 45 Rpm because they’re big enough that you’ll stumble across them eventually. Or Paloalto and Quiett because you should really just listen to everything they have. Then this video below, because it has a member of Big Bang in it, but still a decent song.

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I’m not one for too much celebrity gossip and news and stuff

but these are just two things I didn’t feel like passing up.

First, Lee Hyori proves, once again, that the only thing geeky girls need to do to become super attractive is simply take off your glasses and not carry around books.

Also, the title of her new album is Hyorish. I spent 20 minutes trying to think of a comment that didn’t revolve around the name of the album sounding like the word “whore,” but I couldn’t

Then, Miss Korea, I know it’s typhoon season and all…but damn

Anyways, that’s all I got for today. For those of you who also check me out at instablogs expect a new post up tomorrow. Not that I have anything in particular I feel like posting there but it’s been a week since I’ve written for them and I feel like I should. Since, you know, they label me as an editor and all.

I think I want Lil’ Wayne to die.

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North Korea shoots South Korean Tourist, demands apology.

Doesn’t this headline feel like it should be coming from theonion.com?

But this is real. North Korean soldiers did shoot a South Korean tourist and North Korea is asking for an apology from the South.

This, my friends, is what the laymen refer to as “Balls.”

This just a few months after North Korea threatened the South with an attack, then blamed South Korea for escalating tensions by simply responding that the South is prepared to defend itself.

Did I mention North Korea threatened the South in the first place because South Korea refused to send food aide in exchange for promises that North Korea never kept.

I maintain my stance that the world should simply ignore North Korea until they apologize and send us fruit baskets, but part of me admires their utter irrationality when dealing with the rest of the world.

If the world was a South Park cartoon,

Then North Korea is Cartman.

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I hate people who pun the words Seoul and Soul

I haven’t been posting as much lately, sorry I guess. It’s a combination of nicer weather making me want to be outside, a preference to studying Korean rather than writing and an aversion to just posting for the sake of posting. Also, any idea I’ve had lately seems to fit into a series of posts I’ll probably start posting in the next two weeks Except for one that I’ll hopefully be able to get up tomorrow before I leave for China for a few days.

That said, a few random thoughts

– The other day I saw a man pissing on the street. Not a side alley way, not a darkened corner, but a street with traffic and people walking up and down it. I guess it says something about me that I didn’t even find this behavior abnormal. I actually thought the man had balls. I would have shook his hand had it not been otherwise busy.

– People who pun on the word Seoul and Soul bother me.

– Why do foreigners always stare at each other like we’re marking our territory?

– Myths about Koreans we can officially discard: they are efficient and they can’t hold their liquor. They do however study lots.

– Again, Seoul – Soul? Do you really think you are being clever?

– The other day was teachers day here in Seoul. This meant I received 30 cards with messages like this

From the philosophy 101 class:

Dear Teacher. Today is teachers day. You are teacher. Today is you.

From Paul, future hairdresser:

Hi Matthew Teacher. My English name Paul. Very very very thank you. I love you.

Some try to say more than they are able to:

Hi Methu. My name is UnJohng, Methu, very, thank you, teacher, health, please, bye bye

Some just need to be posted so everybody can enjoy:

Today is teachers day. Do you know? So…teacher!

And some seem to overestimate their place in my student – teacher letter hierarchy:

Dear teacher, I love you. How are you? I’m good because UMMMM….Not think! haha. And please my letter is NOT TRASH!

To Shellina

From teacher

That last one was my personal favorite. At first I thought it was to me, but then I realized it was From me and I was supposed to give it back to Shellina, so I sent it to myself…and then I got bored…

I really did appreciate the letters though, I’m glad they can write anything in English. Furthermore, considering Rachel can’t stop laughing anytime I write in Korean I guess that makes my students and I just about square.

– 45 rpm is making me rethink lots of my previously held notions about Korean music…are they an anomaly of creativity or is this the future? I have my own theories, but like every other topic I have in my head it’s being added to my upcoming series of posts.

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Gambling with my life

(Updated: 5/7)

I’ve mentioned before a few ways I could potentially die here in Korea, but they were all based around urban myths and fans. Hardly solid facts.

There are plenty of ways I could die in Korea. If I were a gambling man, which I am, I might even wager on some of the more probable ways. That way, my loved ones could benefit in the case of my death.

So, without further ado here are the potential ways I could die in Korea and their odds. A few rules though. The ways must be specific to Korea, so no heart attacks. Also, no myths or legends. Fan death need not apply.

Drunk Old Men – 50/1

They exist in every culture, true. However, here in Korea they take on a life of their own. They burn down buildings and harass foreigners. Dating a Korean girl does not make me a better person in their opinion.

I could definitely take them in a fight, and if push comes to shove I could just run. However, with the proper numbers and surroundings I suppose they could take me down. Or just burn down my apartment.

Which brings me to

Apartment Fires – 25/1

There are no fire escapes in my building, no smoke alarm in my apartment and there are maybe 2 fire extinguishers that are supposed to cover 7 floors. My school caught on fire a few weeks ago and not a single alarm went off. How did I know there was a fire you wonder? When ten fire trucks showed up in our parking lot.

My escape plan consists of me jumping out of my window to a tree 7 feet from my building and climbing down. I find it far superior to my “shimmy down the cable wire outside my window” plan.

Starving to death from too much Korean MTV – 10/1

I don’t have any groceries and I’m hungry. Still I have to watch the new Epik High video that just came on for the 3rd time in the past hour and a half.

Tidal Wave – 250/1

One just took out 7 people on the Western coast of Korea. However, I’m a pretty strong swimmer and Japan blocks most of the really big waves. Also I don’t have any plans of going near the ocean anytime soon. But you never know.

Galbi Restaurants – 100/1

An open burner + lots of alcohol + my face = death

Nuclear Strike – 80/1

I’ve already stated that I don’t think North Korea would ever do anything. At least not until the Olympics are done. I still am within striking distance of medium range missiles, so it has to get mentioned.

(sidenote: in the event of nuclear strike winnings will be paid out in twinkies)

Accidental Shooting – 150/1

Let’s see, Fresh Army Recruits…check

Gun cleaning and drills in the middle of my school yard on a bi-weekly basis…check

Soju…probably not, but you never know

Bullets…same

Disease – 25/1

Not necessarily from Korea, but just the other day China took measures to control the spread of a disease in it’s Eastern areas that had been killing children. I am not a child and I am relatively healthy, but mutations do occur. We share the same continent with India, Laos, China, and even African diseases could make their way here given enough time. Also, I really like chicken.

Nanobots – 300/1

You know nanobots? Those tiny robots they’re tinkering with that will be small enough to fit inside a person brain and potentially cure diseases (say the optimists)? Doesn’t it seem like Dr. Doom should be the head engineer on this program?

The technology is still many years away, but Korea is ahead of the curve when it comes to technology. Plus Japan, the leader in Nano-technology, is a 90 minute fairy ride away. For all I know I could already be infected with millions of these things. So if this post sucks, blame them.

Delivery Men, Taxi Drivers and Buses – 2/1

I’m actually surprised I haven’t been hit yet. Traffic kills all over the world, but I’ve never been anywhere else like this. Sidewalks are not pedestrian areas. That motorbike behind me just honked and told me to get off the sidewalk.

Traffic lights are optional. While this is sweet when you’re riding in the taxi, they are hell when you’re trying to cross the street. Not even school zones stop them.

And if taxis and motorbikes are the Velocoraptors of Korean traffic, buses are the T-rex. They can’t get you in as many places, but get too close to the curb and you could find one barelling right towards your head.

Now accepting bets

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Filed under Culture, Links and Random Thoughts, The foreigner experience, Things to Entertain You

Korean Pop Culture is to American Pop Culture…

…as Christian Rock is to Secular Rock.

So, with no other thoughts for the day I leave you with the music video that inspired this post.

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Filed under Culture, Korean MTV, Links and Random Thoughts, Videos

Weekly Blog Round Up

A day late…no dollars short

– A couple via the marmot: First I’m always a sucker for running diaries. Here’s one about the elections last week. And remember a few weeks ago when I posted the 3d pictures that Microsoft was collecting/creating…well, never one to be outdone, Korea has released some of it’s archives and created a 3d picture of Keijo University as it was during the Japanese Colonialism. 3d pictures are to my liking as running diaries are to my liking.

– A couple from Korea beat dealing with the happiness of it’s population. One is about the happiness of teenagers (guess what, they’re unhappy and have an identity crisis…are you surprised?) and the other one is about the happiness of office workers. Regardless what you say or think about a country, if it’s people are happy then I would argue that it is succeeding. If the people are unhappy however, despite money or anything else, I would say that the country is not succeeding.

– There were actually lots of good ones from Korea Beat this week. Honestly, just go look there. You’ll find anything you’ve ever wanted to know.

– Rain is huge in Korea, and is more popular than Stephen Colbert. Wonder how that went over?

– Here’s the Youtube video of Colbert vs. Rain:

Pop Seoul didn’t think Colbert tried with this one. He made an entire music video, that is fairly accurate to Korean Music Videos and actually uses Korean. I’d say he put his work in. But Rain can get any Korean girl he wants…I think that makes him the winner.

– If the world hasn’t ended before then, this is what Korea might look like in 2026.

Anti foreigner comic strip ends up being much more offensive to Korean women…This might be a later post.

– Just another example of Japanese discrimination towards Korea…the Wii has not yet been released here. Cartman is pissed.

– Maybe my favorite example yet of funny Korean commercials…Rachel can not understand why I find this funny and accuses all American guys of having sexually perverted minds…Pleaes, I’m not even trying here.

– The commercial isn’t that great, but the name of the bank is.

– Thanks to Roboseyo we can now do the torch relay ourselves...grab your tibetan flags and play.

– then finally, a note. If you ever do a weekly blog roundup with links and stuff, when you come across links during the week make sure you bookmark them. Otherwise you spend 30 minutes searching through every sight you’ve looked at in the past 3 weeks…damn

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