A Bite to Eat in the Heart of Myung Dong

August 31, 2008 at 2:30 pm (Uncategorized)

  Myongdong is an old part of Seoul that many people go to hang out, shop, catch a movie, and of course, eat.  Unquestionably the most demanded and coveted restaurant in Myung Dong, “MyungDongGyoJa” serves a traditionally Korean noodle dish, kalguksoo.  However this kalguksoo is not your ordinary dish.  The noodles served there is very unique; it is made with meat broth that posesses a tasty depth and warmth that is very hard to find in other kalguksoos.    In correspondence to its dishes, “MyungDongGyoJa” is also very unique.  Becuase of its soaring popularity, “MyungDongGyoJa” created its own serving system.  Hungry customers wait in line, and are quickly led to a table.  They are asked to order and pay on the spot, and almost immediatly water, kimchee, and candy is served.  In 10 seconds comes the orders, and customers are free to dig in.  When finished customers hastily leave because they all know that there is a long line of hungry costomers waiting to be fed.  “MyungDongGyoJa” is so amazing not only for its great food, but because for over 40 years it has smoothly run its booming business. 

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Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration

August 31, 2008 at 2:03 pm (Uncategorized)

  Today I went to the Sungkok Art Museum with Michelle to see Chuck Close’s Masterpeices.  We had both heard that it was amazing, and we excitedly anticipated our visit.  When I saw the peices I marveled at his genius use of color, and amazing dedication to each and every one of them.  His paintings had taken monthes to finish, and his prints over a year.  The gallery not only exhibited his final peices, but the process that led to his work.  His Japanese-Style Woodcuts, European-Style Woodcuts, and Scribble Etchings were techniques used that required many different layers, and each layer required labor-intensive effort and enormous ammounts of time.  He showed viewers everything from his notebook sketches to individual woodcut layers.  His silk screens also required hands-on efforts that were to me, horrifyingly laborous.  To think that he made 146 different screens to create one art peice! I gasped continually throughout my visit. 

   The most amazing thing I discovered however, was when I watched the documentary about him later after the show.  The video described “The Event.”  Chuck Close was rushed to the emergency room on December 7, 1988 when he felt a deep pain in his chest.  Within a few hours he found himself paralyzed from the neck down.  As he relied on a wheelchair to go about the NYU rehab center, everyone agreed that his art career was over.  But Close did not give up.  He continued to paint by strapping paintbrushes to his fingers and created large portraits in grid-squares with help from assistants.  I was dumbfounded andsimply awed at his unwillingness to give up to his own body.  The pain he must have gone through as he tried and tried again to raise his arms to paint and create struck me hard.  His handicap further highlighted his dedication to his works.  His passion for art humbled me and made me realize the things I complain about are pathetically trivial.

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How young is too young?

August 31, 2008 at 12:44 pm (Uncategorized)

 

  The 21st Century brings us many wonders.  We drive sleek cars, listen to all types of music without changing CDs, and instantly get in touch with an old friend with a cellphone or a laptop.  As long as we are stocked with the latest gadgets, time flies.  Now our lives are too heavily influenced for us to live without these tools.  And most parents agree that their children should own these gadgets.  But the question is, at what age?  Who decides what age is “too young” for a cellphone?  For this problem, Jean Piaget’s theories give advice even after his death.  

Jean Piaget leaves age intervals of a child and describes what a child needs during that period.  By reading through this advice, readers can correspond the gadgets most helpful to a specific age group.  Parents will realize it is not helpful to the child to introduce computers and at ages 0~3, nor is it efficiant to present a 6 year old with a cellphone.  Matching a gadget to a child’s development is the most helpful.

The latest gadget I am most interesed in is the nintendo wii.  I always tried to stay away from games out of the fear that I would become addicted, which would turn me into a couch potato.  But the wii requires the player to move, which means excercise is turned fun for a change. 

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A Partial Fake: In the End, A Win-Win Situation

August 28, 2008 at 3:13 am (Uncategorized)

Lin Miaoke who lip-synched at the opening ceremony over the voice of Yang Peiyi [right], who was considered unsuited to the lead role because of her buck teeth

  It was not a smart move to decide to use two different girls for the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony.  Citizens all over the world showed their disgust at China’s apparent lack of honesty and indifference to the ruining of the two girls’ dignity.  In truth, China did lie to millions of spectators, and instead of projecting the “perfect” image they hoped to project, it ended up presenting itself as a fraud.  Most netizens are outraged that the chinese government had used the children so unfairly. They argue that both girls feel that they are not good enough.  But what exactly did the girls lose?  When interviewed, both girls answered that they did not mind they both got to be part of the performance.  They knew it was a great honor to perform at an Olympic opening ceremony.  In the long run, they both received love and fame.  The whole scandal made them even more famous.  Both girls wanted to be part of the performance, and both wanted to be shown world-wide.  They both had their wish come true.

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Pre-Senioritis

August 10, 2008 at 12:12 pm (Uncategorized)

  After zealously and mindlessly (what seems like) wasting my summer vacation, I now sit in front of the computer feeling a minor panic attack creeping up my spine.  My perfect plan that I set up at the beginning of summer break was long forgotten in a week, and now at the end of vacation I have major prices to pay.

  My original plan was to finish all summer assignments and start writing my college application essays, but before I could even open a word document I was distracted by reruns of shows I’ve missed, MSN, youtube, Facebook…the works.  After a month of summer break I started to worry.  “Shouldn’t I be starting work now?” But I laughed and said, “I’ve got more than a month left! plenty of time!” but the end of July rolled around and and I scolded myself that I should really start working.  But what is this? This queer feeling of complacency…strange… could this be what I think it is?  Senioritis?  But I’m not even a senior yet!

The one disease I vowed I would never catch has crept up behind me and latched itself onto my shoulders.

Anyone know a cure?

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The Pig that Wants to be Eaten

August 7, 2008 at 5:18 pm (Uncategorized)

  Last year I came across a philosophic book by Julian Baggini, titled the pig that wants to be eaten: 100 experiments for the armchair philosopher.  This discovery was certainly NOT a favorable one, to this day I still wish I never laid my eyes on it.  As suggested by Douglas Adams in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, the entry “The pig that wants to be eaten” discussed the idea of genetically creating a pig that WANTED to be consumed by humans.  I nearly gagged.  It was only after some time that I realized the idea itself isn’t so bad; indeed, wouldn’t the alternative be so much better than eating an animal that DOESN’T want to be eaten?  There is no moral problem with it.  But my initial reaction was of complete horror.
  I went to sleep that night deeply disturbed, and dreamed a dream that would completely demolish my appetite for hotdogs.  In my dream it was lunchtime and I stood in front of SIS’s deli contemplating my menu for the day, when suddenly I had a powerful urge to eat a hotdog (which is REALLY strange because I never really liked hotdogs in the first place).  Acquiescing to my new change of appetite, I bought a hotdog, smothered it in ketchup and took a bite out of it.  As soon as I tasted the hunks of sausage, the cafeterical setting I stood in swirled around me and transformed into a crude excuse for a slaughterhouse.  Before me I saw a healthy pink pig, happily rolling about in its bed of hay.  A butcher stood nearby, face and apron caked with red, holding a bloody axe.  I couldn’t believe what I saw.  As the butcher approached the pig, the pig squealed with joy and stood up.  It trotted closer to the butcher and rolled on its back, grunting with joy, “Please kill me and eat me! I have waited so long for this!”  The butcher smiled a sallow, toothy grin and hurled the axe down.  Blood speckled the walls, but there was no cry of pain.  Satisfied laughs from the butcher and esctatic grunts and squeals from the pig filled my ears as the slaughterhouse transformed back to SIS’s lunchroom.  I could taste the meat in my mouth, and before I could stop myself I hurled in front of everyone in the middle of the cafeteria.
  Then I woke up.  After thanking God it was only a dream, I pondered the reason why I had been so disturbed by the idea of a pig whose idea of a good death was by slaughter.  Indeed, as I mentioned before, it is a hundred times better to consume a pig that WANTS to be eaten than consuming a pig that doesn’t.  Perhaps because knowing the pig wants to be eaten only makes me feel guiltier? Or maybe its merely an instinctive recoil to something unnatural.  As unnatural as those restaurant signs with drawings of a cow grinning and holding a platter of beef.  Whatever the case, I feel I will never quite get used to that idea.

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Norwegian Wood

August 5, 2008 at 2:06 pm (Uncategorized)

I read Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami 3 years ago and didn’t think much of it.  I was embarrassed by the openly erotic scenes and discomforted at the characters’ tendencies to commit suicide, and I decided that it was much too gloomy and mature for me to add to my list of favorite books.  It lacked the supernatural scenes his other novels profusely provided, and it seemed boring and pointless. Is it because Haruki Murakami is Japanese? As I read Norwegian Wood I was shocked at how his thoughts and ideas were totally polar to that of the other “normal” authors I read.  Most of his characters had mental problems and were easily agitated; most were prone to suicide.  It was only after I read it again by fortuitous chance this summer that I started to appreciate Norwegian Wood. 

           Because of its total absence of supernatural elements, Norwegian Wood seemed like a merely depressing love story: a downgrade of creativity and meaning from Murakami’s usual style.  But Norwegian Wood is not merely a simple telling of a man and woman.  Norwegian Wood is a set of events that always include a link of three characters (Kizuki, Naoko, and Toru; Reiko, Naoko, and Toru; Nagasawa, Hatsumi, and Toru…etc.), a fact that made me think that a couple could not live exclusively for long.  Naoko’s suicide after Toru’s persistent suggestions to build a life together after Naoko was able to leave the mental ward illustrated Murakami’s message.  The idealized idea that a man and woman did not need the rest of the world when in love was downplayed; people needed to interact with each other not only as man and woman, but as person and people.  No one can live normally whilst ignoring society.

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