Saturday, January 31, 2009


Wow... we're crossing the border from January to February tomorrow. How was your first month of 2009? Mine was spent largely indoors, in front of the keyboard.

Just watched "Pineapple Express" with my brother David, Mr. Netflix Member. Pretty funny flick, but a bit weird for a stoner movie: no memorable hallucination scenes, but lots of gunfire, and one character gets the "Inego Montoya" treatment. Some classic lines in the script, though. It wasn't as witty as Tarantino's dialogue, but the main characters did bumble their way through the plot, which is what you're looking for in a stoner flick.

I wish I had something to say about last night's BSG, but I can't seem to muster the necessary ganas. The human race is winding down, tearing itself apart, and all that's left is watching how the chips fall. Baltar made reference to a cryptic occurrence in the previous season, when Gaeta stabbed him in the neck after Baltar, in the brig at the time, had whispered something provocative to Gaeta. I can't even drum up enough curiosity to speculate on the content of the utterance. Gaeta's taken over the Galactica, Adama has threatened that there will be no forgiveness for such an action... where can one go from there?

Proofing to do. I might be writing something tomorrow, but in the meantime... have a great Superbowl Sunday!


Friday, January 30, 2009

no rest for the sedentary

This is actually a good thing, in my opinion: make your own energy!


one of my favorite commercials since coming home

The Bridgestone Squirrel commercial. I love it.


l'embarras du choix

Hard to believe, but work is fairly pouring in these days. I had to turn down a juicy 24-page assignment because two other assignments reached me first. Busy today, busy on Monday.


please don't kill Bill

Bill Buchanan (played by James Morrison) is one of my favorite "24" characters-- calm as a sniper, centered as a monk. I have a sinking feeling, though, that he's not going to make it through the day. I'm not too worried about Chloe O'Brian (Mary Lynn Rajskub), who has been part of the show since Season 3, but the writers of "24" have never been afraid of wasting principals when they know it'll wrench the viewer emotionally. Bill seems the most likely candidate right now, mainly because he's the mastermind behind the operation to root out government corruption. With just him, Chloe, Jack, and Tony against the entire FBI, Bill is looking more and more like the guy who's going to get caught in the crossfire.

Hang in there, Bill!


Thursday, January 29, 2009

25 Things About Me

I was tagged twice on Facebook for this "25 Things About Me" meme, but instead of giving Facebook more traffic, I've decided to write my list right here on my blog. Warning: 13 items are false; 12 are true. Guess which ones are which.

1. I've had all four wisdom teeth removed in Korea.
2. I studied taekwondo as a kid.
3. I've never gone SCUBA diving.
4. I once furiously wrote a scathing evaluation of one of my profs in grad school, then folded up the paper and threw it in the garbage instead of turning it in.
5. My first-ever experience with seated meditation went surprisingly well.
6. I have been known to crack open packets of tabasco sauce and suck the sauce right out, one after another.
7. I'm right-handed.
8. I have never learned how to ride a ten-speed or any other two-wheeler because of a fear of falling.
9. I visited Helsinki with my brother David in 1991 as part of a European vacation that was a graduation gift from my parents.
10. I've owned snakes.
11. I sued a Korean boss back in the 1990s and was awarded about $3000 for my trouble.
12. I've ridden horses.
13. I've shaken the hand of Morgan Freeman.
14. I used to be a creationist and biblical literalist.
15. I've eaten plenty of strange food, but the strangest was porcupine.
16. I've owned four tarantulas.
17. I broke my wrist when I was eight.
18. I've never punched anyone in the face.
19. I've never hiked above 10,000 feet.
20. I've pooped next to a freeway, with minimal cover.
21. I once wrecked the family car by driving it onto a large bush, where it stuck.
22. Barring some notable exceptions, I generally despise country music. I don't hate the singers themselves; I'm just annoyed by the twaaaaannnngggg.
23. Among my hidden talents: I'm a self-taught piano player.
24. A deer once attacked me in Shenandoah National Park.
25. I used to want to be a marine biologist.

As my Korean students might say, "Have a fun!"


the good news for you is...

I'm at the point where I can finally turn back to my transcripts. It's a shame that I've lost the data for the Metanoia Peace House conversation, but I still have the audio, so it's only a matter of a few hours' retyping to get back up to speed.

Upshot: expect transcripts over the next few weeks. I can't guarantee I'll be finished with all of them by the time I head back out west, but I'll definitely have two or three more up before I go.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

damn my honesty

So I finished the 20-pager for my HUFS job, then got an email from my main job, the one with BK. Because the email was written in somewhat broken English, I found it hard to tell whether BK was planning to pay me for both December and January, or just for December (which is what I've been led to expect). The email requested a confirmation of the word counts for January; I opened their Excel file attachment and saw that they had me down for a little over 29,000 words. I, too, have been keeping a spreadsheet, but my own records show me as having done a little over 27,000 words for January. I did a comparison, and it turns out my count is the correct one: BK added an extra assignment to my list, thereby padding the word count. I dutifully emailed BK with the news-- good for them, bad for me.



can he?

I've got a 20-pager due at 10PM. Can I do it? I think so: the English is already quite good, so it shouldn't be hard to proof.


finding value in the simple things

A buttered roll, face-down in the skillet and toasted until slightly brown, upon which you then plop an immodest glob of honey: that's perfection.

Hanging with your dad and your little brother, watching and commenting on an episode of "House," enjoying an hour of Just Us Guys: that's happiness.

I'm in a strange period right now; my body seems mostly back on track, pain-wise, but my wallet still needs until the end of March to convalesce. My two jobs are fairly quiet in nature, as I just hunch over a keyboard and tap-tap-tap away. I feel ready to go, but can't leave right away. Because my job doesn't require me to commute, I do it from home, which means-- especially since the renovation is done-- that I have time to just hang.

I'm not sure how much just hanging I did while living in Korea. I spent a lot of time by myself, but very little time just hanging with my Korean and expat friends. Most of us led busy lives on the peninsula; even my own down-time was mainly at night, when I would get home late from the office. My buddy Tom was often busier than I was, which meant that we didn't meet up that often, despite working together in the same office for a year. My buddy Charles lived outside of Seoul for most of the time I've known him, so I didn't see him and his wife all that often, either.

Now here I am in Virginia, with one of my best friends about an hour south of me, another about an hour or so north of me, and a third in Pennsylvania, about four hours away. All three friends are married; two of the three have families. Just hanging with them requires planning; the activity becomes an event in itself. That's what happens when you grow up and people go their separate ways, I guess.

I'd like to think, though, that despite the infrequency with which we see each other, we all still hang out in spirit. Somewhere out there is a metaphysical TV room, a place where the guys can get together and watch a game or a movie, shoot the breeze, and just chill.

Or maybe there's no such room. Maybe all we've got is fuckin' Facebook. Man, that's a depressing thought.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

if you're brave

As I told Malcolm privately, I have no intention of jumping into the toxic vortex of the very heated discussion about race and immigration now occurring in a post over at his fine blog. But if you're brave enough, and feel you have something intelligent to add (civilly!!) to the discussion, be my guest and jump on in! Me, I think it's rapidly turning into the Marmot's Hole comments section. I don't blame Malcolm for this, of course; these folks are all adults and therefore responsible for their own actions.


snowed in, parents out

My folks are nuts! It's snowing heavily outside, and they've taken the small car (a little Honda Civic) instead of their van (a Honda Odyssey) out into the white madness.


Monday, January 26, 2009

the real Ratzinger slowly reveals himself

The current pope was an object of suspicion among many of the Religious Studies faculty at Catholic University back when he was just Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The prevalent fear was that Ratzinger, if made pope, would roll back many of the conciliatory steps taken by his friend and predecessor, Pope John Paul II (affectionately known as "JP2" in Catholic circles). Are we seeing such a rollback in slow motion? Get Religion offers some speculation as they ponder why the Pope would pardon excommunicated LeFebvrian bishops, at least one of whom is a Holocaust-denier. The situation has interreligious implications: just imagine what all this looks like from a Jewish point of view.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

new find

A commenter who had left an interesting remark on Dr. Vallicella's philo blog (see this post) attracted my attention, so I clicked the link and found myself at Boram Lee's blog, Footnotes to Hume. Lee writes, in one post:

With respect to natural and social sciences, I am a non-reductive physicalist. I believe that biological, psychological, and social phenomena supervene on, but quite likely cannot be reduced to, physical facts. With respect to ethics, though, I favor a reductionist approach. I believe that morals can be reduced to biological, psychological, and social phenomena.

This is awfully close to where I stand. Lee's blog is as fascinating as Vallicella's, so on the sidebar it goes. Scroll down and you'll find it in the "Trouvailles" section.


Year of the Ox

Happy Lunar New Year! Korea celebrates Seollal* beginning today, and going on through Monday and Tuesday. Not all Asian countries celebrate Lunar New Year at the same time; I think China already had a head start on us Koreans.

It's the Year of the Ox (see here for a cute New Year's pic). The Ox represents, among other things, hard work, patience, and prosperity-- qualities and situations to which we all aspire in a time of economic difficulty, I think. While I don't subscribe to astrology, I do feel there's no harm in pondering the Ox's virtues in 2009.

So: Sae-hae bok manhi badeusaeyo! Happy New Year!

*Many write this as "Seol-nal," reflecting the Korean letters used, but not reflecting the actual pronunciation: this is the difference between transliteration (letters) and transcription (sounds).

In Korean, if a syllable ends with an "L" sound and the following syllable begins with an "N," the result is a "double-L" sound. This is often true if the situation is reversed, i.e., an "N + L" linkage instead of "L + N."


Han-la = Halla (a mountain's name)
gwan-li = gwalli (administration, management)
Shin-la = Shilla (a dynasty)