Tuesday, May 31, 2005

dangerous work

I'm sitting looking out my window. All seems still and quiet, then out of the corner of my eye I notice a guy hanging from the wires across the street. "Okay." I think, "Where's my camera?"


I'm guessing that he's a repairman fixing the telephone or cable, but it would seem that a man in that line of work would come with better equipment. Instead of just simply bringing a ladder, perhaps he might have a repair truck, or some kind of device that would lift him up a few stories. To get up there he went up his ladder, climbed on the lamppost and from there climbed a series of wires. I'm not sure if it's a good idea to climb wires.

Monday, May 30, 2005


Word of the Day for Monday May 30, 2005

dissemble \dih-SEM-buhl\, transitive verb:
1. To hide under a false appearance; to hide the truth or true
nature of.
2. To put on the appearance of; to feign.
intransitive verb:

To conceal the real fact, motives, intention, or sentiments
under some pretense; to assume a false appearance; to act the

He was an open, candid personality who did not dissemble
his thoughts, and the public respected him as a politician
who was unusual in the sincerity of his views
--Robin Cook, "If John Smith were alive, imagine how
different this Labour government would be," [1]Independent,
May 7, 2004

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Olympic Park


I spent Sunday in Olympic Park. It's huge and filled with sculptures. I was reminded of how you feel when you go to Central Park--you know you are in a big city, but strangely surrounded by trees and nature. It's nice to pretend there aren't any huge buildings just over the hill or behind the trees.


My favorite sculptures of the day were set on the 88 Lake. They looked like birds or sometimes like insects. The arms rotated in the wind and they bobbed in the water.

Frannie the dog came along and provided hours of entertainment as she ran around. I don't even like dogs, but Frannie... she's just the craziest and funniest dog I've ever met. She truly is insane and I love her for it. She makes me want to get a dog. What am I saying? I hate the thought of picking up poo.

The park seems to be THE SPOT to take photos. It was pretty, but the number of crews doing photo shoots all over the park was just overwhelming and strange. Some of them looked like a photography class or something of that nature. There would be one model, in some hideous outfit, standing in front of 5 or 6 guys with cameras. I even spotted a cluster of guys with huge lenses on their cameras, like the ones you see set up on tripods along the sidelines of a football game, just taking photos of a "model" 6 feet in front of him in a field.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

as if that wasn't enough

After the X games, and the Modern Dance Festival, I went off to Dongdemun to try to buy some fabric with Ji. I was greatly disappointed to find that they had closed for the day. However, by chance we wandered into the Cosplay Festival. All the sudden we're amongst all these people in amazing costumes. There were people dressed in group themes--A Phantom of the Opera crew, a whole cast of characters from a video game, and even a group dressed as the characters from Spirited Away, to name a few. These people went all out too. There were WIGS GALORE and makeup, makeup, makeup!

Just as I made my way to the stage where they were having the fashion show and performances "Marie Antoinette" was announced. I was thrilled. Not because it was Marie Antoinette, but because suddenly they started playing Vogue and what this really was, and I would know this, was a drag performance. Yes, everyone knew this was a man, but not everyone knew that this was taken directly from Madonna's 1990 MTV Music Video Awards performance, and this queen did her homework. She knew all the choreography. Needless to say, it was fabulous.

Not Marie, but another contestant dressed in divalicious attire

willing to be weird

After the X Games I ran off to Shinchon to the 24th International Modern Dance Festival to catch an Israeli choreographer, Yasmeen Godder, in Two Playful Pink. This was among the most strange modern dance performances I've seen in my life. If I were at Jacob's Pillow I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have seemed so bizarre.

The fact that I was seeing this in Korea was so unsettling in just the way I needed it to be. My days have become far too routine and I've started to feel like I'm getting bored of vanilla. Two Playful Pink was just the right flavor for my silly Saturday.

These two ladies romped around for an hour and fifteen minutes. They were so willing to be weird in front of all these people. For this place, that often feels like I'm stuck in the middle of (and being strangled by) the bible belt, it was pleasantly avant-garde. In the last scene they were wearing bras that looked like huge breasts. Then they took of the bras, but hid their nudity by holding their skirts in their teeth, thus exposing their black briefs. The whole performance ended with the two women like this running in a circle after one another for about 5 minutes. This piece made ballet look like wallpaper--there just to look pretty--and that this was the real deal, real art, fearless, and completely weird for all the right reasons (or no reason at all). The choreography included facial expressions and somewhat sexual, but not quite, gestures that were repeated throughout the three scenes. The performers changed costumes on stage while monitors showed brief video clips of imagery that complemented the scenes.

It was so refreshing. I wanted to run home immediately and be strange too. I wanted to make whatever I felt like making, wearing whatever I wanted. I started to think about incorporating more strangeness into my daily performances (the little thing called teaching I do on the side here). When did I become so normal? When did I become so afraid to just be as nuts as I want to? When did I start to make it feel okay to suppress all the insanity and wild creativity that made me feel like me? I was reminded that no matter what, I am a foreigner here. I'm already totally strange, I might as well run with it. And so begins my dance. I wonder just how willing I will be to be weird.

Xtreme Saturday

The Asian X Games are in Seoul this weekend. I saw some of the skateboarding competition and some guys doing fun tricks on bikes. The most impressive sight of the day, by far, was the Moto X demo. This is where you ride a motorbike really fast up a ramp which hoists you into the air and then after you soar for about half a block before you come down another.

The thought "Wow. That's not safe" ran repeatedly through my head. You must be insane to engage in this sport.

Monday, May 23, 2005

death by heels

angle 1

I went out to Hongdae on Saturday night with intentions of impressing and dazzling the masses. I bought a pair of heels that afternoon that I just couldn't pass up, despite the fact that I knew I wouldn't exactly be comfortable. They were the most beautiful torture devices ever.

angle 2

FOUR INCHES. I actually measured. I'm still sore.


Lately I've been generally uninspired. I feel like I need to leave the country and come back to appreciate it again. I must admit that there has been some beautiful weather, I've been loving walks around the lake, and I've really enjoyed nights out with friends, but it's no longer feeling like an adventure. I'm trying to exercise more and I even rearranged my apartment in attempts to breathe a feeling of newness into my world. My time here is feeling far too routine--like I'm counting down days until I get to the next thing.

Right now, "NEXT" is shaping up to be Thailand in August and a visit from the 'rents in July. My 6 month milestone is approaching quicker than I ever imagined it would. So, at least I have things to look forward to and time is passing quickly.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Buddha's Birthday, Falafel, and the Bungalow

I had a great weekend. The festivities included a hip-hop club, the first falafel I've had in months, the Bungalow lounge that had cosmos and sand to stick your feet in, and a visit to the largest temple in Seoul for Buddha's Birthday.

This really is a picture of minimonks in multi-colored wigs and sunglasses. THEY WERE SO CUTE! Their act was followed by the Buddhist cheerleaders. No, I'm not joking.

Once again, I took a lot of pictures.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

pins, and needles, and cups... oh my

Today was the first day I was bold enough to open my eyes, really look at myself with pins in my body, and check out the Oriental Family Clinic. Woah.

The cupping is actually done by using these little clear dome shaped suckers and the black air gun, hanging on the right side of the cart. The nurse sucks one of the suckers into the gun and then places it on the skin and kinda pumps it up, sucking out the air, and then moves onto the next one. I still don't understand the logic behind it all, but I'm feeling pretty good.

Found this and this though:

"Cupping is a traditional Chinese Medicine therapy. It uses a jar placed on the skin through the negative pressure to induce local congestion and blood stasis for treating diseases. It was called the “horn method” in ancient China, now it is known as “Ba Guan” or “ Ba Huo Guan”. The cupping dates back to about 3000 years and has been used as a part of the primary heath care service offered in China."

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

an old fish

Here's an old fish doodle from some time ago, to honor my most recent illness... the second battle I've lost against a Korean raw fish restaurant. I caught some kind of stomach thing this past weekend. Beautiful. Now that my fever is gone, and I'm not writhing in pain imagining that my organs are failing, things are looking up.

watch out for the crazy fish!

Hello Neighbor

Look what I found on the corner when I walked out of my apartment this afternoon, a drunken ajossi left over from the night before(?)

easy on the soju there...

Yeah. It was around 1:45 in the afternoon. I was on my way to work. Everyone was going about their business, but this dude was just passed out, in the sun, in the middle of the day. I doubt that he could remember who his parents were when he finally came to.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

how CUTE are we???

The East Sea and The Lantern Parade

I had a really full weekend. I went to Soraksan, a mountain near the East Sea. I got to spend some time at the beach, which was fantastic, and went to the spa at the hotel. Then on Sunday evening I went to check out the Lantern Festival/Parade for Buddha's birthday. Good stuff.

I took a lot of photos .

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Children's Night Out

Just imagine: You're 10 years old. Your day starts at 7AM, 6:30AM, or possibly even 5:30AM. You go to school all the time--even on Saturdays--then you go to one or two academies after school to learn more math, English, Chinese, piano, or whatever is popular these days. Maybe you take some kind of martial arts classes or you're a girl scout too. You are at your academy until 8PM, 10PM, or midnight depending on which one you go to. Then you go home, eat, and start to wade through the ocean of homework you now have. And you do it all because you want to be the best, and then your mom will be proud, and she won't hit you, and if you get really good grades Dad will give you that hot handphone you've been dreaming about and drooling over. But you're tired and you just wanna play.

But there's one day. One fantastic holiday here, Children's Day, that's just like Christmas, but in some ways better. May 5th. There is great springtime weather. Teachers and all the adults you know give you candy and chocolate. Your parents buy you gifts. And the best part--you don't have to go to school. And sometimes depending on what day of the week the holiday lands on you might get up to 4 days off in a row. Maybe your parents take you to Lotte World or Everland. It's like the best day ever.

Now, what this all means for me is that today I didn't have to teach. And what that means is that right after work last night we (the teacher massive) started celebrating... for the children, of course.

The evening started with Victoria, John, and I drinking Jameson. Around midnight we stumbled over to the bar where everyone else was and had some more drinks. Then we had the brilliant idea to go to another bar. Now, this was a tent bar. By day this spot is a garage where they fix cars, but by night it is converted into a funky bar. How crazy is that?!?

tadah! Victoria, Denise, and JP

Though our time there was somewhat brief, we did stay long enough to meet this fascinating fellow. Victoria's attention was initially captured due to the exquisite outfit he was parading. I then had an immense urge to document the moment.

Oh yeah! Work it!

Okay, so what do we have here? The fashion focal point, by far, are the white shorts, followed by the Louis Vuitton man purse (By the way, as a side note, Uma Thurman looks fantastic on their site and as another side note, Lil' Kim looked a mess on her 29th B-day).

THEN we decided to go to the noreabang and I sang my little heart out till I couldn't talk. This place is right around the corner from me in the basement of some building. Notice the decor. Yes, those are blacklight posters--and one is of Niagra Falls. Ahh, Korea...

Victoria, Mr.Giles, and Denise

When Oliver's collar goes up you know he's not messin' around

We left at 5 in the morning and I came home watching the sun come again for the second time in the past week, took a shower, climbed into bed, and passed out. I woke up 3 hours later to a phone call and a beautiful hangover. I mean a real masterpiece.

So I spent the day doing important things, like watching Legally Blonde (don't ask)for the umpteenth time and searching the internet for gems. I discovered a fantastic collection of celebrity nonsense. Perhaps you're interested in taking a look at the CRUNK JUICE Listening Party or check in on Bobbi Brown and how much Bobbi Kristina is starting to look just like him. Or how there are no signs of Whitney at Bobbi Krissy's 12th B-day party. Suspicious.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

A beautiful discovery

Oh, yes. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. It was one of the most amazing things I've found so far in Seoul. What does that say? It says that they must put crack in the glaze.