Monday, December 29, 2008

Shin Jung Hyun & Yup Yuns Vol.2

First off, sorry folks.  I don't have a scanner or really any other tech shit like that so I had to take these with the trife macro setting on my digital point & shoot.  The quality suffers, true.

This one is a pretty short little number clocking in at about 28 minutes with 8 tracks.  Most of the album is truthfully pretty pedestrian.  The songs are sub par psychedelic folk tunes with repetitive licks.  The real significance of this album is that it includes the earliest recording I could find (granted this is not a definitive statement on the progression of this song) of Shin Jung Hyun's masterpiece "Beautiful Country" or sometimes referred to as "Beautiful Korea."  The song itself has an interesting history.  The song was a response to President Park Chung Hee's request that the S. Korean rock legend write a song praising the president's grandeur.  SJH flatly refused and instead wrote a song praising his country.  The song is pretty epic.  The version on this album is one of the shorter ones I have come across, clocking in at 7:56.  Most versions of the song seem to hover around 8-10 minutes long.  While the version on Vol. 2 is probably my least favorite and most straight forward, it is still an amazing accomplishment and it is no wonder SJH continued to rework and revisit this song throughout his career.  The song is punctuated by long, groovy psychout guitar solo's, beautiful vocals, and a wonderfully circular song structure.  The song conjures images of Korean hippies spinning around atop a beautiful pastoral hillside until they fall down only to stay on the ground and stare at shape shifting clouds.  Totally Epic.  Totally Rad.

Shin Jung Hyun & Yup Yuns Vol. 1

This record occupies the space between straight funk, psychedelic beat, and guitar shreddery.  This is the earliest record I have from the "Godfather" and is a serious departure from his early work with the Add 4 during the 1960's.  The record, which was originally released on Jigu records in 1974 (JLS-120984) is a solid affair, clearing showing SJH's progression from surf rock & roll to funk inspired psychedelia.  The record exhibits solid funk baselines in most of it's songs and really feels inspired by American 70's funk (Think Curtis Mayfield's, Sly and the Family Stone, and a less dramatic Isaac Hayes).  The song lengths have moved from an average of 2.5 minute ditties in the Add 4 to about a minute longer, with that added time being spent less on catchy choruses and more on funked out instrumental solos (mainly drums and bass).  In the pantheon of the "Godfather's" career it would seem that this album is a worthwhile exploration into funk music, showing hints (the last song, easily the longest at just shy of 7 minutes is an unexpected journey through a free jazz/psychrock landscape) into the impending psychedelic boom that would characterize most of SJH's career.  A worthwhile addition to collector's of asian psych rock and world funk.  I give it a solid B, very listenable, while still managing to be interesting.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Korean Psych Rock Week!

Congratulations loyal readers of the Shame Threshold!  It is time for none other than the kick off of Korean Pysch Rock Week!  This week I will review several Korean Psych Rock records that I have recently purchased and attempt to give a brief glimpse into the hero's and history of this overlooked musical sub-genre.

This video features the "Godfather" and matron saint of Korean Psychedelic Rock, Shin Jung Hyun and his fellow country woman Kim Jung Mi.  Both of which will be major focuses of KOREAN PSYCH ROCK WEEK.  At 7 seconds you can see the artwork and hear the sounds behind today's reviewed album.

Where better to start than with the "godfather's" first major album from his first major band.  The band-The Add4.  The Album- The Add 4' First Album (or sometimes referred to as The Woman in Rain-The Add 4' First Album).  The record, which was released in 1963 or 64 depending on where you get your information is very similar in sound to American Surf and Beat music from that era.  The Add 4 enlisted the instrumental sound of bands like say, The Ventures, The Surfari's, the Trashmen, and Dick Dale and the Deltones, but managed to lay down some swinging vocals and very catchy (despite my not being able to understand them) vocals.  In fact, as I write this review it is occurring to me that this album is not so much psych rock as it is proto-psych rock, in this case manifested as Surf Rock.  For fans of the aforementioned bands, Link Wray and the Wraymen, the Chantays, and early Duane Eddy I would highly recommend this album.

The album manages to stray away from strictly fitting into the surf rock genre, thus avoiding being labeled as a simple, derivative record. The album incorporates both violin and flute(which would be a major instrument in later Shin Jung Hyun manifestations) as well as organ tunes into it's repatoire.  As far as song length goes, the album really runs the gamut, with catchy 2 minute surf ditties to 12 and half minute long psychedelic surf odysseys (This particular song adding the only accompaniment by a female vocalist on the album).  The album straddles the distance between traditional surf music and regional psych/beat music (think Cambodian Psychout! or Cambodia Rocks).  A must have for fans of surf, asian beat, and proto psych rock.

Tomorrow look forward to a review of Shin Jung Hyun's 1974 Volume 1. record.

If anyone knows how to post music or music downloads onto their blog, please let me know so that I can post some samples of this music on the old blog.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hongdae Nights

This Saturday I decided to make the long overdue trip to Hongdae, one of the "hipper"parts of Seoul.  The term Hongdae is actually a conflation of the University's full name, Hongik Daehakgyo.    The district is located on the Hongik University subway stop on the green line or "outer circle" as it is affectionately called (why it is called the outer circle I'm not sure, as the line makes a concentric circle directly around the middle of downtown).  The University has comprehensive course offerings in a number of varied disciplines, but is best known for it's Fine Arts program, universally regarded as the best in Korea.  The neighborhood certainly reflects the universities commitment to high aesthetic and cultural standards.  It is teeming with amazing little boutiques, often only about the size of a small bedroom, but always packed with wonderful garments.  There are also an innumerable amount of small restaurants, bars, and coffee shops which exhibit promise.  The area is also known for it's clubs, which typically occupy multiple floors and are jammed into every building in the area.  It was also in Hongdae that I had my first successful encounter shopping for music in Korea.  I stopped into Purple Record to scavenge for Korea's psychadelic rock treasures.

The dude working the record store was most helpful and assisted me in locating some fine, fine psychadelic albums.  I will offer a full review of my purchased items in the next blog entry, but first allow me to discuss some of the store's unique color.  The store was being run by a man in his 40's with thick, short black hair combed to the side.  He was initially very quiet and did not pay much attention to me upon arriving.  After a quick, cursory examination of the store, I got down to brass tax and asked homeboy where the good shit was.  This of course took some negotiating of the cultural divide.  I initially began by asking the clerk for experimental, progressive, and even specified 60s-70s psych rock.  No such luck.  I then resorted to pulling out my ipod and showing him a couple of the Korean psych albums I already had, mostly Shin Jung Hyun and the Men stuff and then reaffirmed "psyhadelic rock."  This put a gleam, a twinkle into his eye and he proudly exclaimed, "ohhhhhh shykadeleek rock!"  Pay dirt.  He started pulling albums out left and right, probably about 9 right off the bat.  Most of the stuff was of course by Korea's patron saint of Psych, the aforementioned Shin Jung Hyun and The Men (or as they are domestically referred to as, Shin Jung Hyun & Yup Juns), but there were also a couple of other bands, all in Korean of course, so I can't give you their english names...yet.  Some of the stuff that the guy suggested looked pretty rad, I would have bought all of it, but my newly established debit card wasn't working, so I just bought 5 albums in cash.  Speaking of which, the albums were all priced to sell.  I bought one for 4800 won, about 4 bucks and the rest for 7800, about 6.90 US.  Fucking radical.  Anyway, I digress.

One of the albums that I passed on, but will surely purchase on my next visit was suggested in a rather humorous and byzantine manner by the clerk.  He picked up the album and said, "very good psychadelic rock (read with above pronunciation), from 70's movie."  Always curious I said,"Oh very cool, what movie is it from?"  The clerk hesitated as if carefully choosing his words, "Uhh, sexy movie, like porn."  Uh, Hmmm, "You mean a porno?"  Quick to correct me the clerk jumped in without hesitation, "uhh no... like porno."  And then he paused and waved his hands up and down as if weighing to see which were heavier, "mmmm, more...Semi Porno."  Of course... a psychadelic soundtrack from a semi porno from the 1970's...Totally far out.  Rest assured, there will be a review for that one in the near future.

As I was leaving I noticed that there were several records from bands who were from Portland that were faced to direct the attention of perusing customers.  One of these bands was my friend Dan's previous band.  I quickly picked up the record and said, "My friend is in this band, they are from Portland, Oregon in the United States.  That is also where I am from."  The clerk again became very excited and I said, "yeah, his name is Dan ******."  the Clerk became very intrigued and proclaimed, "Ahhhhh, Dan ******!!"  Not quite knowing what to make of this I simply said, "Yeah, thank you very much for your help." and left.

Overall my experience at Purple Record was great, the clerk was friendly, knowledgeable, and humored my english.  I will definitely be going back to check out more albums.  I mean scope the bag, they carry all of the latest trends in music...Indie, folk, post rock,  I'm not sure what this was a reference to.  Black Metal? Maybe.  Black people music....maybe?  Not really sure what to make of that one.

After I left Purple Record I strolled a bit more and headed into an art supply store.  The place was pretty run of the mill, a nice supply store for college students.  Pretty forgettable until I checked out and paid my bill.  I bought all this great shit for the equivalent of about 17$.  Not too bad.

Later that evening I headed down one of the many back alley roads to check out some more of the hood.  Whereas an alley in the US is typically lined with trash, peeling paint, and shit, this alley was lined with cute coffee shops and very fashionable boutiques.  The sign on one of these read, "Vintage Japanese Fashion."  How could I resist?  The store was only about the size of a small bedroom, probably 7x7 meters, tops, and that includes backstock.  Having said that, it was still crammed with awesome shit.  I would have purchased one of these, but my pesky debit card was on the fritz:
Which color do you like?  I thought I liked the black the best, but now I'm having second thoughts and veering towards maroon. Maybe the debit card fiasco was and excuse for prudent consideration.  Where do you guys fall on the issue?

Enough with my indecision, here is the website for the store in case you guys want to check out more of their awesome shit: 

Google also offers the free service of translating web sites in foreign languages into english.  Check it out under "more services" and "translate a web page."

The final shop I ventured into had a beautiful fixed gear bike in the window, it was the first I had seen while in the country.  There were two obviously fashionable men in the store, which seemed to cater to the "street" culture.  The fashion was probably most akin to something you would find at the B-complex in Old Town... expensive designer t-shirts, baseball caps... basically graffiti couture shit.  Check them out at  The guys were super friendly and spoke really good and relevant english.  I think one of the guys was the first person who spoke in a more colloquial manner using terms like "man" and "dude."  Anyhow, I came in to see if they knew anything about fixed gear biking in Seoul and if there was any type of scene there.  Apparently there is.  There is a shop in town that manufactures frames and a few components called LSD (  The store owner mentioned that he knew the guy who owned the company and that I should send them an email mentioning that I knew him and hook up with them.   Anyhow, the guys were really nice and gave me their info and told me to email or call them if I had any questions about anything.  Will do.  I told them about the macaframa guys in SF and we parted ways.  Here is a video that they are shooting for Uniqulo:

The rest of the evening I simply spent wandering around the streets and taking pictures of graffiti and weird stores.  Here are some of my favs:

This Dude, NANA was everywhere, even the girls bathroom I mistakenly went into:
Here are some other assorted people I thought had some cool art:

I can see some similarities to Paladino's fine art in this one.

This next one is a little gnarly.  I heard there were still some Koreans who are upset and resentful about the Japanese atrocities committed against their people.  I can understand that, but seeing it spray painted on a wall is still pretty disconcerting.

And I leave you with a couple of my favorite stores Hongdae has to offer:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Good People at Fringe Vintage

Dear Portland readers,

You are in a position to benefit from some of the finest stylings your fair city has to offer at regularly discounted and always affordable prices.  The good people at fringe vintage are currently holding a weekly event on friday evenings, which includes free PBR's and primo access to hot sale items.  As if that wasn't enough, they currently have a bitchin holiday promotion, offering gift certificates of varying denominations as a reward for spending your hard earned dollars in their fine store.  They are open until 9pm on fridays, so be sure to check it out.  It was one of my favorite stores in Portland, one where the friendly owner always made me feel welcome and I never left without a gem. 

They are located in close proximity to Slabtown for a convenient after shopping drink.  Their physical address is the corner of NW 17th ave. & NW Marshall.  Check them online at

In other news My friend Michael T. is opening a new bar in N. Portland.  The bar is to be called the Red Fox and will be located next to the Cherry Sprout produce store in the former location of the Albina Green.  The bar will be located one block north of Alberta on Albina.  Michael T. is a fantastic dude, and a veteran bar tender who knows his shit.  I hope all of you guys will loyally patronize his new establishment.  You can rest assured your money will be going to great guy.

Rokes, as in Kareoke

To celebrate Rachel's birthday, we decided the only appropriate things to do would be to go to the only restaurant that mattered, get took, and Roke out.
What is more appropriate for a birthday than a good old fashioned thizz face?
Big suburban light in the hood.
VIPS is I assume the bastardization of V.I.P.s which I'm sure most western people would interpret to mean Very Important Person(s).  Out here in the wild, wild east VIPS is interpreted as a classy western style restaurant suitable for the burgeoning Oenophile and prounounced "Veeps", ya heard.
The go to spot for all of your boozing needs
Pre Kareoke Stoke in full effect
There was a mural of beautiful flowers in our rokes room.
Here Rachel utilizes them for full dramatic effect.  I think this helped her with the judges who gave her a 95% on this tune.  Asah!
There was a lot of fist pumping and jumping on furniture...even though there were only two of us.
 After a rousing session of balladeering and rock and roll antics Rachel and I stumbled home.
 Bleery eyed in the too took 2008.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Designated thrashing Area

Here are some pictures from the designated thrashing area nearest my humble apartment.  The area is fully stocked with a 6' half pipe, 6' foot quarter pipe, fun box, various grinding rails, and some other shit I'm not entirely qualified to identify.  ON TOP of all that, there is a major league outdoor rock climbing gym about 50 meters from the skate park.  Apparently, the whole area is collectively known as the in extreme I suppose.  The park is never packed, and honestly is rarely host to more than a couple of 7 year old rollerbladers who have a hard time making it up the transition.  I have only seen one skateboarder there since frequenting the park.  He was an early 30 something dude who looked like he was fitting in some quick shredding on his coffee break from LG before his power lunch...dude did kind of rip though, so gotta give him some credit for that.  Apparently the reason you only see 7 year olds or parental rippers is no one between 10 and 23 has any time to fit in some leisurely skateboarding in between their torturous schedule of studying.  Korean teenagers go to school from 8 till 6pm and then usually study until around midnight.  Bummer.
WHOA!! The twin towers of Ripping. Hopefully not R.I.P.
Get some!

Don't underestimate the importance of lacing up your blades.
What lurks in the shadows of the Yongin X-Park?
Just LG's finest shredder.
I don't think I could have been any more surprised if I had seen Bulwinkle the moose cavorting with those pesky Russians in trench coats.  I mean a totally free, totally empty rock gym...and outdoors.  This type of thing could never happen in America.  I guess the lawyers really have won.
Top roping options fully included.  Oh, what's that?  You want to do some sport routes?  Well bust out your quickdraws, they have that shit too.
I have NEVER seen anyone utilize this. BUMMER. Maybe when it warms up.  We'll see
Korean Graffiti is the tames shit I have ever seen.  I don't think I have seen nary a swear word or derogatory phrase on even a bathroom stall.  It's weird going to a public restroom and not hearing about how Todd loves to suck toddler cock or how Brenda is a dirty cunt.  It's just not the Korean way I suppose.  This here fella, death note was the rudest dude of the bunch.  Yeah, dude, everyone dies, thanks for the heads up.
Free advertising
The scariest shit this side of Yongin.  FIRE!!! look out!
The definition crew says you suck
BKF has nothing on Korea.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Time Travel

Since most of you, the readers of this here blog, are located on the west coast of the old stars and bars it means that I'm breaking news from the not so distant future.  I am bringing news of tomorrow to you today.  So, for a simple change of pace I have decided to break you some news/pictures from the distant past.  A time when it was unquestionably cool to wear acid washed jeans with elastic ankle bands, a time when the side pony tale ruled supreme and hypercolor shirts gave you serious playground status.  The time were 1988-1992...

Here I am chilling in the Redwood tree on the SF side of the Goldengate bridge circa 1990.

I have no recollection of taking this photo, nor do I have any idea where it was taken. Maybe my house? At any rate my Ma and I are still killing it in the 80's color palette.  Photo stamped 1988.

This is one of my personal favorites. It was taken at the Alameda Navel Air Station in 1992, the year my dad came back from the first Gulf War. I was so pumped to see him again, I think he was gone for just about a year. My mom and I came fitted fully repping the US. I had my "God Bless America" tee on and accessorized with the matching hand flag, hot pink "Maui Surf" cap, and white sneaks (probably from K-mart, wishing they were Nike's).

Monday, December 8, 2008


This weekend Rachel and I finally made the big trip to Seoul.  After about a 10 minute walk in the 20 degree weather we made it to the Bojeong train station armed with only our wits and itouch subway maps.  After some initial confusion we figured out the correct way of putting our money into the ticket machines (It happens to be old man on the bottom left side of the bill way.  See below).
We operated on a strict policy of lurk and observe...and then simply repeat observed actions.  It was a policy that proved to be successful if not a little bit time consuming.

Our desired location was Itaewon, a district in central Seoul widely known as the foreigner district and marked by a huge US military presence.  The Yongsan Garrison, one of the largest US military contingancies is located near by, which explains the huge volume of US troops in the district.  Other notable minorities in the area include Turkish immigrants, African immigrants, english teachers from Canada, the US, and England, and a small, but noticeable population of gay men (VERY rare in Korea, or so I'm told).  Each group sticks out pretty visibly.  The GI's seem to have really short crew cuts and are gigantic, at least by comparison to everyone else in the area.  The Turkish and African immigrants seem to stick pretty tightly to one another and are rather flamboyent in their attire (think urban pimp and ghetto king for many of the Africans and tucked in professional who reads GQ for the Turks.)  The english teachers are pretty obnoxious and can't seem to stop talking about their jobs.  They also look the frumpiest of the bunch.  Apparently, there have been many an incident of GI provoked violence in the area and as a result the MP's work in conjunction with the local police, of which I saw none, to enforce a 3am curfew for military personnel and genearlly keep the peace.

The streets were a veritable knockoff bazar.  Think Canal street only with less, but better gear.  I cannot tell you how many knock off designer scarves, blankets, gloves, underwear, socks, and your usual selection of fakery I saw.  I will say however, that the quality seemed better than I had seen in American knockoff markets and the prices were better as well (a designer scarf could be haggled down to between 10k and 13k won, which is approximately $6.75-9 ).  I purchased a pair of black Rayban wayfarers and passed on a fucking sweet Native American T-shirt for 10k won...kind of regretting it.  Rachel bought a pair of rad pearl essence wayfarers and a Dior scarf.  In addition there were a number of boutiques from western companies, although they were mostly sneaker companies (Reebok, Nike, Puma, New Balance, etc.).

Since we were in the foreign Dong, we decided to get a good old foreign meal.  We passed by a Mexican restaurant and all bets were off.  Despite expecting nothing grander than a trife burrito or possibly a passable quesadilla we were besides ourselves with curiosity and hope.  The owner of the establishment a bleach blonde (sort of) white dude from the north bay instantly pegged Rachel and I for mexican americans and began chatting us up.  Dude's name was Wayne and he sure liked to chop.  Eventually, the conversation got around to the quality of the food.  When asked how I thought it stacked up, I sort of stuttered and began to ponder how to tell the dude it tasted somewhere between cafeteria quality and what you might expect from a low end taqueria on 82nd ave.  Before I could let dude know what I really thought, Rachel had the good grace/heart to tell Wayne how wonderful it was...God bless her soul.

Later in the day we happened upon a wonderfully 80's inspired snowboard store.  Unfortunately, it was all closed up for the day, but as we were later to find out, it was for good cause.

When we walked down the street a little further we wondered upon a full on snowboarding demo complete with totally psyched Korean announcer (Think tragically cliche'd snowboarding attire with the voice of a strip club DJ...only in Korean).  There were probably about 20 different snowboarders thrashing the 50 foot mountain.  Most the snowboarders seemed pretty pysched on the rail situation.  I was personally hoping for some dangerous airs off the little kicker ramp.

As we were leaving the demo a flamboyently dressed young Korean man approached me and asked to take a couple of pictures of me.  I was shocked and a little bit wierded out, but obliged anyhow.  Why not right?  He pulled me aside, and low and behold, he had pro photographer with him snapping pictures with a serious looking DSLR.  He shot probably around 8 photos in a couple of different poses, focusing on the knees to the shoes, knees to the chest, waist to top, and a couple full on shots.  After he was done I asked dude what the pictures were for.  He gave me his card and told me he worked for the Korean edition of Arena magazine, a British fashion magazine in the vain of GQ or something.  The kind of mag that "hip" or trendy professionals who probably make twice as much money as I ever will like to flip through.  At any rate the dude told me he was the editor and that it might be in the next issue's "street style" section.  Cool.  On the way home I checked out the magazine at a periodicals store in the subway station and scoped the street style section.  It seems that it is just pictures of foreign dudes wearing the latest wears.  I doubt anything will come of it, but it was at least a novel experience.

Next up on our Seoul tour de force are trips to Hongdae, Apgujeong, and Shindon.  Stay tuned

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ginseng update

Right on cue, I ran into good old Mr. Y in the copy room today.  After our usual exchange of pleasantries and communication blunders I quickly took the opportunity to gather more info on Korean Ginseng.  Since my last post I have been giving some serious consideration to going on some sort of legit ginseng regime- I mean shit, I'm here in Korea why not, right?  Any indigenous novelty is well worth exploring at this point and any added health or sexy benefits couldn't hurt either.  My first question was about dosage.  More specifically, how much of that bottle should I take in order to see some real benefits.  The answer: the whole fucking bottle!  What I was given was in fact, an exercise in regifting.  The boss had been given a giant box of those bottles by an associate of his and was generously passing, or perhaps less generously dumping what he perceived as a bogus gift.  I further pressed him, "What about the root?  Do I eat that too?"  Here apparently their are competing perspectives.  Some argue that yes, the root should be eaten to maximize the medicinal effects of the elixir, while others suggest that there is no added benefit to eating the root.  Where does the boss lie on this divisive issue you might ask.  When pressed on the issue he emphatically waved his hands at mid chest like some fledgling chick attempting to take his first flight and exclaimed, "NO, NO!"  There you have it folks.  I on the other hand am obliged to at least attempt to eat the salutary root at which point I will decide which camp to align with, Mr. Y's or the more adventurous/foolhardy root eating contingent.

In other news Rachel and I took to some wandering around the neighborhood this evening in search of adventure, comforts, and food.  I would like to think we were successful on all accounts.  Some highlights from the venture included the discovery of a Dunkin' Donuts up the street (granted not a huge discovery since it would seem they are everywhere here, I've seen like 3 so far just on my 15 minute bus ride to work.  Still I fucking LOVE those donuts and blew the clerks mind with my emphatic perusing of the donuts and light footed victory dance at the conclusion of our transaction.) and the discovery of yet another cheap, excellent, and hearty Korean restaurant.  Rachel and I ordered an awesome savory seafood pancake (complete with little shrimp, green onions, and squid), some surprisingly good ramen, and a delicious soup (spicy in character, emboldened with boiled tofu).  Stay tuned.  The future holds a weekend trip to Seoul and hopefully a trip to the bathhouse.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sexy gift

During my prep period today I was overcome by yet another oddity of Korean culture, or perhaps to be fair, maybe it was simply my odd boss. As I was minding my business, being hypnotized by the repeating green glare of the copy machine, I was awakened from my soporific daze. My boss presented me with a clear glass bottle containing a medicinal looking solution and large, uncultivated root. He exclaimed, "you know ginseng?" I earnestly replied, "Uh yes...Thank You." After the initial confusion faded, I had a brief realization. I thought to myself, "shit, I've heard ginseng is supposed to help with about a billion different ailments, and give you all number of added energies. What the hell is this stuff really supposed to be for?" Before my boss could wander away I asked him what ginseng was REALLY supposed to be for. Mr. Y took a brief moment to gather his words and with a knowing yet reticent glance slowly declared, "It is good for... a man." And with that he casually walked away, leaving me with only my thoughts.

After a brief internet inquiry, I found that Korean Ginseng is some of the best in the world. In fact it's high quality and potency are a source of national pride for Koreans and they celebrate its splendor with several regional festivals throughout the calendar year. It is supposedly good not only for sweet boners, but as a treatment for typed II diabetes, a nourishing stimulant, and an adaptogen which wards off fatigue, stress and anxiety. Go figure.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Whoa, Korea is cutty...

To the 3, or dare I say 4 readers of this blog, let me take this opportunity to apologize for my terribly infrequent blog post. These last few weeks have been some of the most jarringly transitional of my life. They have seen me spend more time with my family than I have in the last 6 years (for those curious, it was both frustrating and awesome and made me realize that I miss my family more than I used to think), spend more time working than living my leisurely lifestyle (it's been like 5 months since I've worked full time), and of course the real zinger, seen me travel half way around the world to a country where I can barely say hello and thank you in the native language, Korean, which happens to be pretty fucking hard for me to wrap my head around.

Anyway, I am going to try to start blogging at least twice a week, I swear there will be pictures soon, as this is really my only link to my life in the west. With that said, feel free to leave comments, I would like to hear some of your response to my misadventures here in Korea. Being that I am dead beat tired (not to be confused with being a tired dead beat) I am going to keep this brief, but just to keep you posted some highlights from my last week in Korea include:

1. Eating the "gold tuna platter" at this this amazing raw tuna restaurant. The shit is on non-stop, come until you can't chew anymore status and as it's name suggest, is actually adorned with real GOLD flakes! Pretty fucking wild. The dish probably cost at least $40-50 US a person PLUS at least 4 bottles of soju (the most popular indigenous booze, it is made from distilled potatoes as is cheaper that fucking water. Despite the fact that is pretty kind on the old lips, it is devastating to the mind and body once all the fog clears. To give you an idea, it taste like cold, watered down vodka, with a certain unidentifiable charm. Stay tuned for more), and a bottle of nice sake. This truly wonderful dinner was quickly followed by karoake (sp) with my boss, the two teachers that Rachel and I are replacing, and of course Rachel and myself. A bottle of Johnny Walker Black later, we spilled out of the K room and were directed to a cab by my ABSOLUTELY wasted boss. He paid the cabby and sent us on our way. When I saw my boss two days later I found out that he had barely crawled home to his apartment and spent the subsequent hour puking before laying his head to rest. Needless to say, he spent the entire following day in bed and awkwardly asked, "did I make mistake on Friday?" It was a nice change to not be the one hazarding that question. "Of course not, you were great and I had a wonderful time."

Some fun facts about drinking in Korea:

Koreans like to drink. A lot. They are actually very macho about it. My first experience with this was when I was riding in the car with my boss and he asked me if I liked to drink. I told him, well I lied to him, and told him that on OCCASION I like to drink and that I had recently tried my hand at soju in a Korean bar in Oakland. He was immediately impressed and quickly responded by asking me how much I could drink. I had no idea how to answer that and more or less glided out of the conversation with some non offensive response like, "uh, a fair amount I suppose." Later I found out he was trying to ask me how many bottles of soju I could drink. Apparently 6 is pretty fucking burley (a bottle is 360 ml, just below 12 ounces and the booze weighs in at a respectable 40 proof). Now I'm not sure if I am to understand that one person drinking 6 is a lot or drinking 6 with a group is a lot, but man, given how I was pulling in 3 alarm hangover off my kareoke night, god knows what 6 to the dome would do to me. Korean are also found of bombing their soju. This is achieved by placing a shot of soju in a glass of beer that is what I estimate to be about 8 ounces. These are usually drank in quick succession. As I learn more, I will be quick to post. Stay tuned.

2. Back to my little vignettes; I live less than a block away from an awesome outdoor skatepark/rock climbing wall. It is free and very well maintained. It is also always unexplainably empty. Pictures soon.

3. I have set up an I chat video account. For those of you with AIM or ichat, I would LOVE to video conference (I feel like a douchebag saying this, but whatever, it's cheaper than talking to someone on a phone) or just type old fashioned style. For those of you with SKYPE I also set one of those guys up. The screen name for the aim/ichat account is PortDanny503 and for the SKYPE account it is simply PortDanny. Hope to hear from someone soon. The Email remains.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Adieu Roy Jones Jr.

On Saturday, the 8th of November in the year 2008 one of my personal sports hero's, of which mind you there are VERY few, suffered what may be his most emotionally crushing defeat.  The loss came by the hands of the relatively unknown, but undefeated Welshman, Joe Calzaghie.  Until Calzaghie's fight earlier this year against the aging middleweight legend, Bernard Hopkins, the fighter was virtually unheard of across the proverbial pond.  In what could only be described as a bizarre bout, the fight was punctuated by strange sexual theatrics by the Welshman, and sissy dramatics by the Yank.  Calzaghie came out on top in split decision (a decision it is worth noting, that I am not in complete agreement with).  The Hopkins fight was not merely a clashing of warriors, but a clash of boxing styles.  Calzaghie's style is marked by his quick and frequent flurries of seemingly ineffectual, but still scoring shots.  Hopkins, much like Jones is a more discerning fighter, opting to throw far fewer, but much more powerful shots, typically on the counter punch.  Unfortunately, in a fight going to decision more often than not, the prior that wins the decision. 

And that's how it went.  Despite a first round knock down by Jones, Calzaghie managed to take it to the American, inundating him with a barrage of quick jabs and combinations.  It was all too much for the aging fighter and by the 7th round it was pretty clear that Jones was losing steam and desperately out scored.

The champ still held on to his dignity and reputation as one of the biggest hearts in boxing history.  While it was obvious the boxer was fighting on sea legs, had the worst cut of his career, and was sure to lose based on his points, Jones never went down, even when it seemed inevitable.  The commentators likened the aging fighters performance to that of Jake LaMotta's in his final fight against Sugar Ray Leonard.  In that Fight LaMotta took one of the most famous beatings in all of boxing history, swelling and bleeding all over the ring, but never hitting the canvas.   LaMotta famously teased Leonard stating, "You never knocked me down, Ray.  You never knocked me down."  Jones could say same.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Top 5's now and for a better tomorrow

I like the idea of regularly posting top 5 lists.  I feel like they serve many useful purposes; they are entertaining, may hip folks to new and interesting shit, and give insight into the creators psyche.  "Why a top 5?" you may ask.  Allow me to answer.  5 is short and sweet.  It is a large enough sample to give a good idea into the opinions and predispositions of the creator and is short enough for me to reasonably tackle.  Besides top ten's test the limitations of human interest and that asshole david letterman already runs that shit.  Fuck david letterman, he is rude and boring.  He's a talentless twat, throwback who hasn't said anything funny since the reagan administration.  Fuck him.  Anyhow, I digress.  Here are some top 5's:

Top 5 foods to eat when I'm drunk

1. Pizza
2. Mexican food (muchas gracias, javiers, my kitchen)
3. Hummus with anything (preferences include tofurky, swiss cheese, salt and pepper potato chips, cherry tomatoes, tuna sandwiches)
4. Canned soup
5. Thai leftovers

Top 5 rad animals

1. Lima
2. Wolves
3. Bald Eagles
4. Gnarwhales (sp) I like this spelling even if it's wrong
5. Wild horses

Top 5 things to wear all the fucking time

1. Plaid Flannels
2. Polyester pants (wranglers beats levi's everytime)
3. Rings
4. black leather shoes (there is no wrong occasion)
5. threadbare t-shirts that don't have some shitty companies name on it

Top 5 things that piss me off

1. George Bush ( I don't care what this may make me sound like, that dude is a supreme asshole and I can barely stand the sight of him.  He has single handedly made America suck more than anyone else has.  I routinely fantasize about punching him in the face.
2. The copratization of America
3. Shitty music (The radio)
4. Traffic
5. being hungry, that shit makes me grumpier than a motherfucker

Inaugural blog

I am drunk, have very little useful knowledge of computers, and have never blogged before.  For these and many other reasons there will be no multimedia effects in this post, or perhaps many to follow.  With that said, here is what you, the viewer of this blog, have to look forward to: spelling and grammatical errors a plenty, accounts of my misguided, albeit well intentioned exploits, my opinions and dare I say expertise on a wide range of topics, and hopefully pictures.

I assume that anyone who is reading this blog knows who I am and therefor has a good idea what to expect to come across when reading this blog.  However, this is indeed on the internet and god knows who the fuck is going to stumble across this page thanks to some google search gone awry.  With that said here is what I enjoy thinking and writing about:
1. myself
2. records
3. fashion
4. primal human urges
5. cinema (I am fully aware that this is a pretentious and arguably lame term.  I don't care.)
6. bicycles
7. mostly myself

There you have it ladies and gentlemen, my blog.  Feel free to criticize, lambast, berate, cherish, iconify, or ignore this blog.  I don't know what else to say other than let's get on with it.