This is perfect. According to the BBC News, South Korea wasted more food last year than the total amount of food available in North Korea. And it’s not by any means a surprise, to me at least. I’ve noted a few times to my waeguk-in coworkers at my university in the faculty cafeteria that the sheer quantity of uneaten food scraped off the socketed plastic buffet-trays is staggering. I’ve thought it was odd that we three Canadians tend to scrupulously clean our plates, despite the fact that we all grew up in more-or-less affluent, middle-class backgrounds.
Post-modern Ironic Self-Referential Rockin’ Musical Interlude (courtesy of Ben Folds)
Y’all don’t know what it’s like
Being male, middle-class and white
Repeat X 4
It gets me real pissed off, it makes me wanna say
Repeat X 3
Conclusion of Musical Interlude.
Meanwhile, it seems as if most of the Korean teachers and staff habitually take much more than they can eat, and blithely scrape the uneaten excess into the hole in the dish-table. Elbow elbow, wrist wrist. With the famine in the North, and poverty only a generation or two in the past for many people, I thought it odd. Perhaps it can be explained by conspicuous-consumption boasting : “I’m rich enough to waste food – look!”. I don’t know.
(I’ve always wondered with a shudder if Korean restaurants recycle the leftovers from those dozen half-eaten side-dishes of which they are so proud, knowing deep in my heart that the answer is probably ‘yes’, once they’ve fished out the cigarette butts.)
What I do know is that Korea is nuts-deep deep into the terminal nightmare of consumer society – disposable, convenient, one-use-only, individually-wrapped, chrome-plated and dying of cancer choking on the factory smoke, lost in the middle of vast grey concrete plains littered with trash. Not enough room, too many people, too many cars, too much of everything except tranquillity and quiet contemplation, and the Faustian trade-offs that were made in the past few decades are coming back to bite them in the ass. Screaming for a bigger piece of the pie, possessed by a crippling obsession with the appearance of affluence, with appearance over substance in general. The sentimental tears shed over the televised temporary reunions of families separated by war for half a century dry up pretty goddamned fast when it comes to giving up your own hard-won wealth and comforts.
And this, at root, is why most Koreans dream of reunification deep in their hearts, but do not for a second want it to happen up in their minds, at least not anytime soon. The lessons of German reunification are not lost on people, and if there were a chance that the slowly recovering economy were to be derailed again, if there were the remotest possibility that I might suffer in the short term, says Mr Kim, well, no thanks. If it’s not said in so many words, not something that is even consciously thought, what it still amounts to is : Let ’em starve. [thanks Lia!]
Cake? What the hell’s that? comments.
What I Have Gleaned From My First Two Days Back In Front of A Class
‘Cognitive dissonance’ presumes the existence of cognition.
Spring semester starts this morning, so it’s back into TeachMode™.
We apologize for the last couple of days of sophomoric humour. Those responsible have been sacked.
Google Imagewhack : intoxicating flatulence
I’d love to know how the hell this happened. I used to go to that theatre all the damn time, and it’s a Google Imagewhack for intoxicating+flatulence. Perhaps I left my mark there in ways I hadn’t previously realized…
Edit : I find this one more than a little amusing, too.
Jonathon and Burningbird and the usual suspects are talking about something that has been heavy on my mind in recent times, but I’m feeling too whimsical today to do more than note the conversation, and point you their way. Me, I have to think about it some more. Later.
*dances off into the middle distance, scattering flower petals, whimsically.*
I’d just like to say that even though I try to avoid being a ‘joiner’ and the whole deliberate-meme-propagation exercise tires me and (as those wacky kids are saying these days) chafes my scrote, I am entirely behind Rageboy‘s ‘f–knozzle‘ mission. The Register would rightly claim that RB is just doing some more self-promotion here, but even his blatant, throwaway self-promotion tends to be a hell of a lot of fun, so why not? At least he’s back in fine form.
I am all for crude and offensive neologisms. I myself have often blurted such double-take-inducing gems of negativity as ‘f–ktacular‘, ‘f–knuckle‘, ‘f–keriffic‘ and ‘f–ksicle‘ in my always-erudite spoken discourse (to which my erstwhile workmates at OmniHyperGlobalMegaNet.com will gladly attest), and I warmly encourage creative obscenity. If you lean towards the profane anyway, why not have some fun with it, huh?
Edit : Waaahahahahaha hee hoooooooooo *hic* heheh. It may be an old Regular Expression Cowboy geekjoke, but it’s a funny one, dammit.
Cry havoc and let slip the f–knozzles of war! comments.
Quick note : Frykitty is spreading the inline tag concept from it’s mysterious beginnings ~deep in the Alabama woods, where a group of secretive hill people, long isolated from society, have been developing strange and otherworldly shortcuts in their communication.~ The efficiency of their verbal and written interactions render their speech almost incomprehensible to us outsiders, but perhaps, adopting some of their more clever innovations, we can help the textual world become a more intelligible place.
This, I pray. Or I would, %if I were the prayin’ type%.
Seriously, I’d love to see these reach critical mass. Very useful, and a hell of a lot more nuanced than emoticons.
At the local grocery store today :
I think the big selling point for these things, though, is in the pretty blue Konglish at the bottom of the box :
Attractive Acacia Smelling
Note : This is not some sort of tangential whacked-out wonderchicken response to the recent genesis of the blogsisters, honest. I just thought it was silly, in a typically Korean way. Not unlike the breast-vibrator thing I talked about a while ago.
A Few Ways In Which I Have Hurt Myself Grievously
Number 1 : I am 5 years old, in the back yard with my friend CJ. We are smashing bricks onto the top of a low retaining wall, for some reason that I now forget, which is only reasonable, damn it! That was a helluva long time ago! I can’t be expected to remember every damn thing…Am I gonna have to kick yer….
Sorry. Lost track there. Anyway, CJ took a mighty swing with one of those rusty red bricks, and managed to bring it down squarely on the middle finger of my right hand, mashing it flat. I screamed like a petroleum-powered chrome-plated screaming machine, and he took the f–k off up the path, running home. I’d have done the same, if I were him. Once I realized that all that blood wasn’t a good thing, I pounded up the hill to the house after him, looking for mom or somef–kingbody to help me out with this newly-flat finger I’d acquired. CJ had gotten about fifteen feet ahead of me when he realized, I guess, that he still had the brick in his hand, so, still running, he flung it behind him. Hit me square on the forehead. I was a blood-streaked howling mess when my mom opened the screen door. That finger is still 50% wider than it’s twin on the other hand, streaked with scar tissue. I’m a little proud of it, actually.
Number 2 : I’m a couple of years older, and I’ve traded bikes with my friend David, and we’re about to zoom down the switchbacks to the public pool, which is in a deep hollow near the centre of our hilly town. The only problem is that I’ve never actually ridden a bicycle with hand brakes before, and am somewhat unclear on the concept. As I roar down the hill towards the first switchback, the back of which is a 100-foot dropoff, backpedalling madly to no avail, I take one of the sorts of off-the-cuff decisions which will end up characterizing most of the rest of my life : drop and slide, or sail off the edge into the abyss? I drop and slide through the gravel and broken glass, ripping most of the skin off the left side of my body, and embedding a few pebbles in the babyfat around my beltline. I stop sliding a few feet from the lip of the cliff, and David’s bike sails off into space. Still got one of those rocks buried in there. Not much in the way of scars, though, which still amazes me.
Stay tuned to this channel for more amusing tales of agonizing pain!
Or not. Your call.
I woke up this morning from a dream of Flores, Indonesia. Bena, a small stone-age village, perched on the side of a volcano, that has stayed with me since the day I saw it, and has been the setting for many of my dreams.
Getting there was the usual trial of endurance that travel in some parts of the world can be. It had been about seven hours the previous day on one of the short buses that ply the narrow roads of Flores. One of the old Indonesia hands that we’d met in the days previous had told us to watch out for long bus trips in Flores – he’d said that the unhappy result of the winding ride through the incredibly rugged terrain, the road only having been in existence for a few years, and the fact that many of the locals were unaccustomed to long rides in motor vehicles was that on the longer trips, there was a tendency for a great deal of vomiting to occur.
‘Bah’, said I, ‘it can’t be that bad’.
About 3 hours into the trip, I’d managed to reach a detente of sorts with the chicken that had been pecking and pulling at my shoelaces. I’d noted to myself that chickens do not seem to be as clever as some other animals, in the sense that if you kick them, they forget about it rather quickly, and come back for more. Not that I have a long and noble history of animal-kicking experimentation : one just makes assumptions about being-kicked response systems. At some point, though, it had sunk into the chicken’s little birdy brain that my shoelaces were not edible, so I felt I had achieved a minor victory.
There was still the horrible, pathetic bleating of the live goat that was tied to the roof of the bus, unfortunately. This had been getting to me, until the bus driver popped in a cassette of the Rolling Stones’ Hot Rocks, which did drown out the poor bastard’s lamentation to a degree. In the fashion of all Flores bus drivers, the treble and volume on the cassette player had been turned all the way up, and what bass or midrange there might be had been silenced. After a few hours, I began to loathe that album. Ruby Tuesday still makes me break out in a sweat. But it was better, perhaps, than the goat-cries. Still, when the bus stopped for any length of time, the bleats of goaty anguish would start up again, and me and my vegetarian companion would glance at each other and make ‘yikes!’ sort of eyes.
Auditory assaults were soon to be the least of my worries. About halfway through the journey to Bajawa from Ende, a few more people managed to squeeze their way onto the bus and find places to stand or sit on the floor. Before getting aboard, two men, with the assistance of the driver and some of their friends, strapped a dead manta ray to the back of the bus, like a gigantic grey meaty parasol. The wingspan on this creature must have been close to three metres. Unfortunately, every time the bus stopped, a fragrance began to emanate from the corpse that managed to cut through the clove cigarette smoke like, well, like dead fish through pretty much anything. This olfactory extravaganza was actually preferable, though, to the next hundred or so kilometres. One of the manta-ray guys was standing in the narrow aisle beside where I was sitting, and once he’d made himself comfortable between sacks of rice and hunkered-down bodies, he more or less perched his right buttock on my left shoulder. There wasn’t much space to manoeuvre in this bus. Once he’d established to his satisfaction that I wasn’t really going to object to the crowding, he proceeded to fart in my left ear, non-stop, for the next two hours. Quietly, surreptitiously, but with a reek that overpowered even the dead manta ray. This, combined with the tinny shriek of Mick Jagger, the bleating of the dehydrated goat on the roof, the unique scent of the mantaray and the redoubled efforts of my chicken nemesis, was beginning to make me a little antsy.
Then the vomiting started…
That wise backpacker had been right. One of the young women in the seat ahead of us stuck her head out the window and regurgitated with a furious, gut-churning intensity. Her seatmate soon joined her, but, sitting as she was on the aisle seat, she didn’t have access to a window. Yes, I know. This began a chain-reaction which propagated, in a matter of minutes, to heaving and spewing up and down the length of the bus. Some of it even made it out the windows. The bus driver ignored the symphony of spew, the manta-guy kept farting on my shoulder, I chain-smoked to try and ignore the stench, and we carried on through the mountains.
We eventually did arrive in Bajawa, and I have rarely been as happy to get out of a motor vehicle.
Perhaps I’ll save the story of the stone-age village for later….
‘Hey, point that thing somewhere else!’ comments.