Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Fashionable Day

Fashion! Turn to the left
Fashion! Turn to the right
Oooh, fashion!
Just 'cause I had a fun day yesterday, I've decided to share it.

I got a chance to spend some time with a new friend of mine, Andrew Gordon. He's a male model working here in the Korean fashion scene. What's unique about him is he's an American who speaks Korean quite well, so it makes it easier for him to navigate the modeling industry here. We met at the last Seoul fashion week.

Yesterday evening he was in a runway show for designer 이주영, Lee Ju Young, and invited me along. If you recall I had a chance to interview Ms. Lee during fashion week. It was good seeing her again and this time I had a the chance to socialize at length which was fun. ~Yes, I know where are the interviews? They're still pending on the FeetManSeoul (FMS) site.~

It was interesting to get a more behind the scenes look at the Korean fashion industry. It was a bit of a change because most of my days are spent either in front of a class or in front of a computer. We'll be featuring Andrew as a "fashion insider" on FMS from time to time. I also took the time to interview him for the interview column I write for the Korea Herald's Expat Living section.

Andrew has scored quite a couple of coups recently as he's featured in a 12-page spread in the May 2008 issue of GQ Korea. It's a coup because of the length and because it's the first time a foreigner has gotten a feature like that in GQ Korea. The second coup is he's the face for the latest Hugo Boss campaign and that will be not only in Korea but in a few other countries. I have to say I'm proud to see an American model doing this well in a country that is more insular than not and in an industry we all know is very tough to break into much less be successful.

My interview with him will make its way to the Korea Herald sometime this month. Also, pics and video from my day will make it to the FMS site soon. As I'm not the gate-keeper on that site (meaning I'm not the one who hits "publish") all I can say is stay-tuned.

Here are some pics from the May 2008 GQ Korea spread that I found on the site. (How long that link will stay good is beyond me.)


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Monday, April 28, 2008

Shoppers - Gmarket in English

Update: May 1, 2008 @ 11:02am
Ohhhhhhhhhhh, update time. After shopping the prices online, I had a general idea of what the price would be for the camera I wanted.

Initially, I wanted the Xacti which had HD. However, the salesman explained that if I didn't have an HD TV or other HD capability it was a waste. Also, if I did have HD capability there were other cameras in the same price point with more features. I actually had a salesman talk me down. Instead of the HD camera, I got the Sanyo Xacti VPC-CA65EX (in the States the model is the VPC-E1). It's waterproof and that will be fun for the summer and when I'm on a certain cruise again next year (if I can make it.)

I got to use it yesterday, and I'm really pleased with it. I did manage to mess up once. I thought I was recording a video but something was wrong. I had to do that again, but live and learn. I'm very happy with my new geek toy.


Okay, I'm a shopper. It's a habit that was once a bad one. Now that I'm older and wiser, I've got better control of it.

Right now I've decided it's time for a new digital camera. The Nikon I got a few years ago in Japan I just never mastered. Because of that, I take crap photos when I use it. Anyone in the market for a used camera? It's good. I'm just too lazy to master how it works.

I've been using a friend's Sanyo Xacti VPC-CG65. It's an awesome little camera. During fashion week I loved using it. I even got someone I met who works for WGSN to run off to one of the electronic marts here in Seoul and she got one of her own. I figure it's her full-time job to run around reporting on fashion and what's cool, so that's good cred for these little cameras. I'm still carrying the camera with me. However, it's not my camera, so I need to get my own ASAP.

To that end I looked at some Sanyo Xacti cameras when I was in Fukuoka last week. I didn't get one, although maybe I should have. Now that I'm back here in Seoul, I decided to go to the Korean shopping websites because I've heard that's where you'll get a deal if there is a deal to be had. What I found instead is that Gmarket, a Korean shopping site, now has a mirror site in English.

Oh joy! Oh rapture! I'm serious...this is cool. Now I've yet to buy anything, so I can't comment on how functional it is. But in shopping around to price those cameras it's been pretty easy. Who knows. This probably has been up for awhile as I'd given up with even trying to shop on Korean websites awhile back.

Check it out: Gmarket Korea - English.


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A Good Day

Today could have been a bad day, but it wasn't as I've learned when to accept help and ask for help when I need it. Now, of course, the result depends on who is involved. Some people are very helpful while there are others wouldn't help their grandmas.

Good for me I had someone from the first group to save me. Today I had my regular appointment to see my endocrinologist. It was time to check my glucose levels and thyroid hormone levels. My computer died a virus took it out, ooops but I had another as a backup. That's how much of a geek I am, I'd just purchased a used one off of someone. Well, that backup is giving me a bit of grief (USB issues, software issues, etc.), nothing I can't figure out, but grief is grief. Basically, I wasn't able to upload my glucose results to the computer I'm using now. It sucks in the sense that those numbers are crucial to my doctor's appointment, so we did our best without them. It's happened before, but I prefer being prepared. It was annoying as I was prepared but my computer didn't work as I expected.

In the madness of getting ready, realizing my computer wasn't cooperating and the let down that I'd have no data to give my doctor, I ran out of my apartment without my wallet. I was carrying my old computer because I was going to have one of the drives taken out as that's where my iTunes library and other files are. I run down the hill, hail a taxi and was about 1/3 of the way there when I realized I had no money, no credit card and no identification. When your parents pass away you learn real quick to not be careless. I've not misplaced or lost my wallet or keys in years. However today was an exception.

In a panic I asked my taxi driver to turn around and then I called my nurse. It ends up that next Monday is a holiday, so I couldn't reschedule. Instead, she offered to cover my taxi fare for me and then ended up loaning me money to cover my bill for today and then some. She loaned me 200,000 won (or about $200.00). I made a bank transfer to her and promptly paid her back once I got home. But still, that was very nice of her.

What hospital nurse do you know back in the States that would loan a patient, long term or not, $200 on the spot? For me, it's an example what how you're treated by Koreans when they see you as someone in their circle. At this point, I've been going to the same medical team for years. They know me quite well. However, still it's an idea that didn't even cross my mind when I was in a panic in that taxi. It was my nurse who suggested it. How nice of her.

It's just another nice thing that happened to me here.

Me going on about how much I love my health care team over a year ago: Healthcare in Seoul, South Korea Rocks!.


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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rain vs. Stephen Colbert - 2008 rematch

The Rain vs. Steven Colbert "feud" goes on.

Rain has been practicing his English and responded to Colbert's K-pop video from last year:

It's funny and shows that Rain, or someone in his management, has a great sense of humor.

Here is last year's post on the topic: All Over You Like Egg In a Bowl of Bibimbap!

Thanks to the Metropolitician for posting this.


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Friday, April 25, 2008


Update 1:

I tried Felicia's suggestion and went to Day Spa in Hannam-dong. The atmosphere is better and the cost is higher. Most important, I think the woman who worked on me was better, um, more thorough.

Their number and how to get there is below in the comments just in case you want to try them.

Between the two, I think it's a clear win for Day Spa but if you want fast (like you're leaving for Bora Bora tomorrow) you might want to chip 10k off the price, say "sod atmosphere" and just go to the Green Turtle. They have two locations, so barring everyone going to Bora Bora on the same day they most definitely would be able to squeeze you in.


You know I was thinking maybe this is a bit on the TMI, too much information, side of the fence. However, it's rare that I blog about the truly personal stuff in my life outside of my health or situations where someone has irritated the living crap out of me. Outside of that, I mostly keep my blogging to my opinions on this, that, or the other.

With summer approaching I figured it was time for a wax. Yeah, I know...ouch. However, I think the whole "ouch" factor is overdone so that people can just let others know they've gotten a wax. I figure screw that! Just get a blog and write about it. The whole Internet will know you've got one. That's just my humor actually. You can't help having a bit of an off color sense of humor when your parents watch reruns of the Benny Hill Show and let you stay up and watch it too.

The primary reason I'm doing this is to try to build a case that Seoul is more of a modern city than people realize. You can't deny that a city is modern when you can pay someone to rip the hair off of your nether regions with warm wax. Also, it's pretty obvious that most of the K-bloggers are dudes and they're talking about dude stuff and getting into comment wars with each other. The female K-bloggers should blog about our stuff at least every now and then. And maybe have nice comment discussions rather than brawls.

Anyway, the thing I must admit was that the prospect of getting one done here made me more than a bit nervous. I mean this is a society where a full bush is seen as a good thing and a sign of fertility (yeah, whatever...with a few exceptions all healthy adults posses pubic hair). Out of sheer fear of the unknown I got one when I went home to L.A. before I went on the cruise o' much fun in February. My waxer Jodi Shays is just incredible. However, Jodi doesn't make trips to Seoul and I've yet to graduate to the "jetting to the States every few weeks" strata of expatriate. After waiting a bit too long for a redo, I went today and it wasn't as bad as I imagined it would be.

Now I'm writing this because I'm sure this can be a dilemma if you don't know where to go. There are two spots in the Itaewon area of Seoul that do bikini and Brazilian waxes pretty much on a walk in basis. It's the same salon that has two locations. The Green Turtle is located on the third floor above the Coffee Bean which is across from the Hamilton Hotel. The other location is just behind the Hamilton Hotel and Hard Rock Cafe. It will cost you 30,000 won for a bikini wax and 60,000 for a Brazilian. I'm sure there are other spots in Seoul like the Apkujeong area that has reputable places. I'll do my research and report back in due time with an update.

I think shaving is from the dark ages, of course, those who have gotten laser treatment think waxing is from the dark ages. I guess it's all relative.

For those who want to know, here is the contact info for the Green Turtle locations. In the Coffee Bean building: 02-790-6696 or 02-790-6266. The one behind the Hamilton Hotel: 02-790-6059 or 02-795-0588.

Some people have a beef with this establishment. Just run a search for "Brazilian wax and Seoul" and you'll find a thread on the ESL Cafe on it. I'm assuming their reasons are legit, but keep in mind there are a lot of expats here who have issues with just about everything Korea presents to them. That is take it with a grain of salt, realize where you are and maybe try it for yourself and make your own decision. It can't be worse than the reactions on that YouTube video ;-)

Some funny waxing blogs:
Jezebel: Benny The Tech Geek Gets A Bikini Wax
and another: How The Brazilian Explains The World. The second one has now set off some strange ass bikini waxing feud...which is written about here: The Shine blog at Yahoo!: When did getting a bikini wax become a crime?


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Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Brief Vacation Wrap-Up: Fukuoka, Tokyo and at sea with John Mayer

I spent a few days in Fukuoka, Japan earlier this week and I just had a great time. Part of the reason was for a visa run which I'll chronicle later. However, let me just make it clear, yes, you can still do one day visa runs to Fukuoka. I didn't but you can.

I really like that city a lot. Because I don't live in Japan, don't know much about the culture or the language, it's still just a random experience when I end up in Japan. It's always great because the Japanese are so wonderfully courteous and friendly.

I'd left my diabetes test strips at home. I had enough for most of my trip, but because I wear an insulin pump I need to test my sugars frequently. This is particularly so now because I'm back to exercising and my glucose levels and insulin needs are changing. Also, I was in a city just walking around a lot, so that means I also needed to check more often. I use a One Touch Ultra Smart glucose monitor by Johnson & Johnson.
I decided to stick with One Touch years ago when it was just pretty clear they were a dominant player in the industry and their products were everywhere. I've bought One Touch test strips from Vladivostok, Russia to Paris, France. That sort of security in knowing that wherever you'll end up, some place will have your diabetes supplies sets my mind at ease when I travel.

It was a bit more of a chore finding them in Fukuoka, but I chanced upon Sogo Pharmacy in the Nishijin area of the city. I'd gone to Nishijin to do a run at the Donki store and decided to see if I could find a pharmacy with test strips since there are many along that road. The pharmacists at Sogo were great. They didn't have it, but they got on the phone and called another branch in the Tenjin area of the city which is where my hotel was. They had the strips there. Then one of the pharmacists went with me across the street to the bus stop, waited with me and made sure the bus driver knew which stop to let me off at.

I'm sorry but in Korea you'd get the people giggling because they were embarrassed dealing with you, a "no" with no other attempt to help you and you'd be sent on your way. There would be no one who worked a the pharmacy trying to help you find it. This low level of care is what I allude to when I talk about Korea and their desire to be a "hub". If they can't get basic customer service down, those with the money and the means are going to move to places where they will consistently get that high level of service. That level of service is here in Korea but it's on a hit and miss basis. It's by no means consistent and, unfortunately, it is usually lacking.

The usual container for my test strips on the left and the Japanese version on the right.

I made it across town and successfully bought another tube of strips. Now I could rest easy and take myself out for authentic Fukuoka style ramen. In Fukuoka stalls pop up when it gets dark. These stalls serve food and liquor. Usually they're full as they hold only about 10 or so people. I found one that had a spot for me. I sat down, ordered some ramen and an Asahi beer. Then I met these fun people. The girl particularly liked me because we had the same hair. I thought that was cute because she was lamenting that mine was real while hers was fake. What was cute was her date for the evening, sitting on my right in the picture also had an afro perm.

Earlier that day I decided to play tourist a bit. I went to the Fukuoka Tower to see the view of the coastline and the city. I also went to RoboSquare which is next to Fukuoka Tower in the TNC building. Both were pretty cool.

The tower made me a bit dizzy. I'm not one for heights, but when on vacation you've just got to suck it up. They even have couches on one level for couples to snuggle and look at the view. I also met a really nice guy there too. Fukuoka people are really friendly.

Next door at RoboSquare I had more fun. I got to pet a robotic seal and play with a robotic dog. That was too much fun for me 'cause I'm a geek. The dog has even been programmed with real life quirks. Sometimes he'll play fetch, but sometimes he won't be in the mood and will just do his own thing. I also got to talk to a Hello Kitty robot. However, she only spoke Japanese, so her reply to my US-accented "hello" I was told was she didn't understand me. Fair is fair. I was in Japan speaking English.

The entrance to the RoboSquare store.

The next day was a rainy day so I scrapped my plans to get up to the Atago Shrine and instead just bounced around the Tenjin area shopping and wandering around until it was time to get the the ferry port.

It was weird when I got there because I ran into a Russian man who just fell in love with me. I went to the restroom just to make sure I'd be set when it was time to board, and I noticed there was someone outside of the restroom. I figured maybe they were waiting for someone. So imagine my surprise when I came out and he asked me for a picture. I'm cute, but I'm not bathroom stalking cute. However, different strokes for different folks, I guess. I've noticed that some Slavic men go a little batty when I'm around. I recall one great story in Vladivostok with a Russian man as my Princess Cruise ship was getting ready to sail off to Japan. Eh, I won't complain because we know attention like that is a lot of fun. In the spirit of quid pro quo, I had a friend of the Russian bathroom stalker snap a pic of me and my enthusiastic Russian admirer. However, the picture turned out a bit too blurry to post here.

The other funny and embarrassing thing was my test strips weren't the only thing I'd forgotten to pack. I'd also forgotten my underwear. Good for me that Korea has underwear in a box. At the Express Bus Terminal at about 1:45am I went to the Family Mart and bought a box of ladies panties. It's embarrassing, but, at least, they have them.

In sorting through my photos, I realized I'd not uploaded any from the Mayercraft Carrier cruise I took a few weeks ago. Honestly, I didn't take many photos simply because I didn't see a need to. Also, I was offended to my core by people who wouldn't let Mayer just enjoy the cruise.

I didn't take well to the photo stalking. The guy had agreed to take a cruise with his fans and some of his fans, in my opinion, treated him less than humanely by sticking their cameras and themselves in his personal space. My rule is if he's performing and is on stage, game on, and snap away. However, if the guy is in the nightclub, and for the first two nights I was there shaking my groove thing on the dance floor he and his crew did show up, you leave him the hell alone and let him enjoy his time. Should you get his attention, ask if it's okay to take a picture and he says it's okay, then snap away. Of course, people don't have that level of self control, so it became a zoo when the guy was anywhere near people on the boat. I'm glad that he still had enough fun that they're planning for a second one next year.

Anyway, here are two photos I snapped during his last show. He played three shows on the three day cruise. One on the first night and two on the last day. One show was during the afternoon on the Lido Deck and the other was in the evening. Basically, that day was my day o' Mayer and it was great fun because it was also Superbowl Sunday. That's all of the Mayercraft coverage you'll get out of me. For more, hop over the the Mayercraft Carrier Chronicles where I put together all of the blog posts I could find from others on their cruise experience.

Also, that reminds me to give a hat tip to the Hotel Fukudaya in Tokyo. I had a reservation to stay there at the tail end of my vacation home/Mayercraft adventure in late February. However, due to a death in my family and me just enjoying being home, I chose to stay in the States. I canceled my reservation at the last minute just due to confusion on my part. The people at the hotel graciously waived the penalty.

It's basically a renovated home where they now put up guests to the city. I've stayed there once before back in November 2006, when, speaking of John Mayer, I flew to Tokyo to see him in concert. Honestly, for a city as expensive as Tokyo it's nice to stay in a place where you have s-p-a-c-e but is not prohibitively expensive. Check them out. They're just a few stops by bus from Shibuya station.

Okay, there is is. Weeks after or days after the fact, depending on the trip, but there it is.


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Monday, April 21, 2008

Fun in Fukuoka!!!

Okay, I am taking a short vacation in Fukuoka, Japan right now. I have been here at least three times before and I just love it. It is a nice city for a short trip. Also, part of it is to resolve the visa issue I have been hinting about over the last few weeks. I will do a full write up once it is all over and done with.

However, I am also taking a few days just to goof off. Now I am in the Apple Store in the Tenjin area of the city and I figure why not update you folks?

Thanks for the emails. It lets me know my blog lives and does its job even when I am not plugged into the net all day long.

Now off I go to get into trouble.


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Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Balancing Act - A Good Explaination of Type 1 Diabetes

Today started off well because the weather was great and I got out to exercise. However, my enthusiasm led me to push myself too hard. And I ended up with hypoglycemia, low blood sugar, in the middle of my day. When it's a bad one like today's I'm usually zapped for the rest of the day. Hence why I'm sitting here typing rather than doing something else like going out tonight.

Instead, I decided to search about diabetes, fatigue and insulin reactions. I've not found anything particularly interesting on that, but I did find a well written web page for people who have Type 1 diabetic children in their care. It's on the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Canada's website. It explains how the disease works in awesome detail. I'd say it's not just for people looking after kids. It's for anyone who wants a clear, but fairly short explanation of what Type 1 diabetics have to deal with and how to help them when needed.

A Child With Type 1 Diabetes Is In Your Care

Facts You'll Need to Know

This information is for people who may from time to time be responsible for a child with type 1 diabetes. It is designed to provide basic information about type 1 (insulin-dependent or juvenile) diabetes so that you can feel comfortable with the child.

Whether you are a teacher, a camp counselor, a baby sitter, or a relative, you should realize that:

* Children with type 1 diabetes have the same needs for guidance, support, and understanding as other children.
* Type 1 diabetes is not contagious.

Type 1 Diabetes Defined

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic disease. In the child with type 1 diabetes (juvenile diabetes), the pancreas does not produce insulin, a hormone necessary to sustain life. Without insulin the sugar in the blood can't be used. It builds up in the bloodstream even while the body is starved for energy. A person with type 1 diabetes must take one or more injections of insulin daily to stay alive.

Insulin, however, is not a cure. It is only a means of controlling the disease.

How Type 1 Diabetes Is Controlled

Type 1 diabetes control means keeping the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood as close to normal as possible. The three variables of type 1 diabetes control are: food, exercise, and insulin. Self monitoring of blood glucose is the tool for tracking and maintaining the balance among these variables.

The rule of thumb is: food makes the glucose level rise; exercise and insulin make the glucose level fall. Type 1 diabetes control is a constant balancing act of food, exercise, and insulin. Blood glucose monitoring is the tool for maintaining this balance. If the balance is thrown off, either of two type 1 diabetic emergencies might occur: hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, an insulin reaction, or insulin shock) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar).

Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

The emergency situation you are most likely to encounter in caring for a child with type 1 diabetes is low blood sugar, also known as an insulin reaction or insulin shock. Low blood sugar may be caused by eating too little food or not eating soon enough after a previous meal, by too much physical activity without eating, or by too much insulin. Symptoms listed below appear suddenly.

Each child has a particular set of personal symptoms that you will come to recognize.

* Headache
* Sweating
* Shakiness
* Pale, moist skin
* Cold and clammy
* Extreme hunger
* Weakness/Dizziness
* Fatigue/tiredness
* Rapid pulse rate
* Blurred vision
* Shallow breathing
* Inability to concentrate
* Loss of coordination
* Mental confusion
* Seizure
* Loss of consciousness


If the child is awake and can swallow, provide sugar immediately. Give 1/2 cup of fruit juice, non-diet soda, or two to four glucose tablets. The child should be feeling better within 10 minutes. The child should then eat some additional food, such as half a peanut butter, meat, or cheese sandwich. The child can then resume normal activities. If the child does not respond immediately or does not improve in 10 to 15 minutes, treat the reaction again. Make sure the reaction has been taken care of before the child is left alone or allowed to go home.

If the child has lost consciousness or is having a seizure, administer glucagon and call your doctor. If you do not know how to give glucagon or do have it available, call 911. Do not give anything by mouth if the child is unconscious or having a seizure.

High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia)

Blood sugar levels can increase rapidly in children. It is suggested by the following symptoms of hyperglycemia:

* Increased thirst
* Weakness or fatigue
* Blurred vision
* Frequent urination
* Loss of appetite

Hyperglycemia can be caused by too much food, too little physical activity, not enough insulin, or illness or infection. High blood sugars can be confirmed by testing with a glucose meter. If hyperglycemia occurs, the parent or guardian should be notified.


Ketoacidosis is a diabetic emergency. In most, but not all cases, very high blood sugar levels are also present with ketoacidosis. Signs of ketoacidosis may include:

* Dehydration
* Labored breathing
* Vomiting
* Abdominal pain
* Fruity-smelling breath
* Weakness or fatigue

Diabetic ketoacidosis requires prompt attention; untreated, a child with ketoacidosis can lapse into a coma. If there are signs of ketoacidosis, the child should be taken to the emergency room.

Daily Routine of A Child with Type 1 Diabetes

Consistency is the key—regular meals, regular exercise, regular insulin. In addition, the child will need to test his or her blood sugar level at various times of the day to determine food or insulin needs.

Children with type 1 diabetes can eat the same healthy foods as other children. The lunchroom manager should be aware of the child's diet restrictions, but usually the child is taught to select the right foods.

Frequent Snacks
A child with type 1 diabetes may require snacks at mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and bedtime. These and regular meals must occur on time so insulin usage is properly balanced and low blood sugar does not occur.

Children with type 1 diabetes can participate in all kinds of active sports. However, since exercise burns up a lot of sugar, the child should have an extra snack of juice or crackers before planned strenuous exercise to avoid low blood sugar. Exercise should not be scheduled just before a meal.

Self-Monitoring of Blood Glucose
Several times a day, before meals and before bedtime, a child with type 1 diabetes may need to test his or her blood sugar. Usually this process involves pricking the finger, putting a drop of blood on a chemically sensitive strip, and taking a blood sugar reading on a meter. Older children usually are able to do this themselves; younger children may need help. The parents will give you instructions.

How You Can Help the Child with Type 1 Diabetes in Your Care

* Treat the child normally. The child with type 1 diabetes will be able to function as a normal participant in group activities. While the fact that he or she has diabetes should not be hidden, the child does not want to be singled out for special treatment. A quiet understanding should exist between you and the child about the necessary precautions to be taken.
* Allow the child to follow his or her routine inconspicuously. When the child needs extra snacks, to test blood sugar, or to take insulin, help by allowing the necessary time and not calling attention to these special actions.
* Be alert to the changes that signal low blood sugar.

If behavior problems arise as a result of an insulin reaction, you should not blame the child. Quick action on your part can prevent a medical emergency.

General Tips

* Watch the child's behavior before meals and snacks.
* Make sure meals are eaten on schedule.
* Don't assign physical exercise just before a meal when the child may be in need of food.
* Arrange an inconspicuous means of taking the mid-morning and/or afternoon snacks.
* Keep a source of sugar readily available, and encourage the child to carry some form of sugar.
* Make sure all necessary personnel are informed.
* Most children need a snack at night before bed.
I can't stress how important it is, even for an adult diabetic, to be treated with understanding. Saying silly stuff like "I'd never be able to give myself a shot" is really irritating to hear. If it's between death and a shot, you take the bloody shot. I really hate having to point that out to people silly enough to say that to me.

Ooops. It looks like the side effects of low blood sugar for me tonight is some major crankiness.

Anyway, I hope you learned something about Type 1 diabetes if you didn't already know how the disease works.


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Friday, April 18, 2008

Kickin' it in Geumchon - the EV Boys

Er...okay. Everyone is buzzing about this video, so as it's not offensive or otherwise insulting to my hip-hop liking sensibilities, I'll post it. They were featured on the same podcast with me a week or so ago.

It's actually quite funny, but where the hell is Geumchon and why would I kick it there?


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Diabetics and Health-nuts Rejoice!!!

I've sat on this for a couple of weeks, so who knows if this stuff is even in production anymore.

I was out a couple of Friday's ago and there were some people set up to give freebies away. I could tell it was a selection of fruit juices and since I'm an insulin dependent diabetic I didn't bother with it.

However, the folks promoting it told me these juices by 풀무원, Pulmoune, were fresh squeezed, completely natural and had no added sugar. There were a range of flavors, but I grabbed the tomato one because other fruits have a higher sugar content.

Now in Korea juices are usually from concentrate and if they're not, you either squeezed it yourself or you paid way too much at a department store market. In fact, fresh juices are so rare that one Korean gentleman I was talking to said it was "liquid fruit." I told him that in California fresh juices are common and I'm glad to see they're here. Hopefully, sales will take off because the bottles are ridiculously small. A range of sizes would be nice.

The problem is in Korea a product can disappear just as quickly as it showed up. I hope they market this well. I'd like to be able to buy bunches and bunches of the stuff.

Hint, hint y'all - market to diabetics, market to health conscious people and market to parents.

So, yeah, sugar free lemon lime soda and now fresh juices with no added sugar!!!

Korean websites are horribly laid out for direct links, so I can just give you directions on how to get to the page. Go to the website (linked above) and do this in IE, click on 제품&브랜드 (the third choice at the top) and then 제품정보. From there you'll be at the correct menu. Then go down to 얼음/음료 and finally click on 음료. The product info is there.


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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

MySpace Korea Launch Party

Last night I had a chance to go to the MySpace Korea launch party. It was held in Hongdae at the aA Design Museum. The space was nice.

The party was nice enough, but what was lacking for me was the reason why MySpace is here in Korea so late in the game.

I've got a MySpace US profile and I use it frequently. However, with social networks like CyWorld and search engines with user-generated content like Naver well established here in South Korea, I'm just wondering what MySpace has to offer in a market that is already pretty saturated.

Maybe those with more Web 2.0 knowledge can help me out: MySpace launches in Korea officially.

Good luck MySpace Korea.


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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Recession in Plastic Surgery...Yeah!

Slate has a good article, Tuck Off by William Saletan, about how the economic crisis back home is causing a recession in elective plastic surgery. Like me, Saletan is elated to hear this news.

I've had my say on plastic surgery and it's not something that interests me much simply beyond how patently dishonest it is yet how damn popular it is. Basically, my respect for my fellow humans is diminished because how can plastic ever be more beautiful than real? People get work done, it's obvious a lot of the time and other people don't care because in the most common sense of the word those people look "good". I still very much think if everyone has the same features that's not very good looking at all. There is one area of the city here where you can see woman after woman pass you with the same set rounded eyes on their otherwise Asian faces. That's just creepy. But okay, I'm just too critical for my own good in this respect.

More people need brain enlargements than enlargements of anything else...too bad that can't be done. ;-)

However, what is nice is that the doctors who are hurting for cash are turning back to help people who really need it.
More effectively than any bioethicist, the recession is reminding people that cosmetic work isn't medicine. "While healthcare spending as a whole has traditionally moved independently of the economy—a safe haven—that really isn't the case with plastic surgery," a financial analyst tells the Times. In the new, sobered economy, the paper reports, some cosmetic doctors are diversifying into "reconstructive surgery for cancer patients and others that is covered by insurance." Insurance!

Say what you will about coverage-denying bean counters, but they do enforce the essential priority of urgent procedures over elective ones. In a health-care industry controlled by tight budgets and insurers, you might even see the cream of the med-school crop shift back to the kind of work that keeps people alive. I hope they're well-paid for it, and I hope the next rising tide lifts millions more families into the ranks of the insured. But let's never forget what the bad times taught us about what matters and what doesn't.
That's good to hear. Good there is a silver lining to this economic slump.

*Images stolen from Plastic Surgery Humour ;-)


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Monday, April 7, 2008

Death By Blogging? Oh crap!!!

Here is a NY York Times article that talks about the recent deaths of a few prominent bloggers.

Death by blogging did occur to me when I made a post about the death of Steve Gillard. With all due respect to him, the picture showed a guy who didn't get out to do a daily stroll much less a daily jog.

For my own health, I have to say I watch what I eat, but I've been a bit lax on exercise lately myself. I blame on the arctic winters they have here in Korea. I like exercising outdoors. That's easy to do in Los Angeles or San Francisco. It's much more difficult to do in Seoul when it's freezing. I noticed that after almost four weeks in the States, I came back slimmer. Now I've got to maintain it and I'm already loosing ground. Korea is a place where it's a pain to exercise outdoors. I've found it also a pain to exercise indoors. If I'm in the gym and I've got my headphones on DON'T TALK TO ME! However, I think I'll get back on it because I was talking about roller blading out by the river, so roller blading this weekend it is. I'd like to be a blogger that makes it past 60.

K-bloggers? Should we actually start getting paid for this are we be in for the same fate?

NY Times: In Web World of 24/7 Stress, Writers Blog Till They Drop

SAN FRANCISCO — They work long hours, often to exhaustion. Many are paid by the piece — not garments, but blog posts. This is the digital-era sweatshop. You may know it by a different name: home.

A growing work force of home-office laborers and entrepreneurs, armed with computers and smartphones and wired to the hilt, are toiling under great physical and emotional stress created by the around-the-clock Internet economy that demands a constant stream of news and comment.

Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly.

Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.

Other bloggers complain of weight loss or gain, sleep disorders, exhaustion and other maladies born of the nonstop strain of producing for a news and information cycle that is as always-on as the Internet.

To be sure, there is no official diagnosis of death by blogging, and the premature demise of two people obviously does not qualify as an epidemic. There is also no certainty that the stress of the work contributed to their deaths. But friends and family of the deceased, and fellow information workers, say those deaths have them thinking about the dangers of their work style.

The pressure even gets to those who work for themselves — and are being well-compensated for it.

“I haven’t died yet,” said Michael Arrington, the founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, a popular technology blog. The site has brought in millions in advertising revenue, but there has been a hefty cost. Mr. Arrington says he has gained 30 pounds in the last three years, developed a severe sleeping disorder and turned his home into an office for him and four employees. “At some point, I’ll have a nervous breakdown and be admitted to the hospital, or something else will happen.”

“This is not sustainable,” he said.

It is unclear how many people blog for pay, but there are surely several thousand and maybe even tens of thousands.

The emergence of this class of information worker has paralleled the development of the online economy. Publishing has expanded to the Internet, and advertising has followed.

Even at established companies, the Internet has changed the nature of work, allowing people to set up virtual offices and work from anywhere at any time. That flexibility has a downside, in that workers are always a click away from the burdens of the office. For obsessive information workers, that can mean never leaving the house.

Blogging has been lucrative for some, but those on the lower rungs of the business can earn as little as $10 a post, and in some cases are paid on a sliding bonus scale that rewards success with a demand for even more work.

There are growing legions of online chroniclers, reporting on and reflecting about sports, politics, business, celebrities and every other conceivable niche. Some write for fun, but thousands write for Web publishers — as employees or as contractors — or have started their own online media outlets with profit in mind.

One of the most competitive categories is blogs about technology developments and news. They are in a vicious 24-hour competition to break company news, reveal new products and expose corporate gaffes.

To the victor go the ego points, and, potentially, the advertising. Bloggers for such sites are often paid for each post, though some are paid based on how many people read their material. They build that audience through scoops or volume or both.

Some sites, like those owned by Gawker Media, give bloggers retainers and then bonuses for hitting benchmarks, like if the pages they write are viewed 100,000 times a month. Then the goal is raised, like a sales commission: write more, earn more.

Bloggers at some of the bigger sites say most writers earn about $30,000 a year starting out, and some can make as much as $70,000. A tireless few bloggers reach six figures, and some entrepreneurs in the field have built mini-empires on the Web that are generating hundreds of thousands of dollars a month. Others who are trying to turn blogging into a career say they can end up with just $1,000 a month.

Speed can be of the essence. If a blogger is beaten by a millisecond, someone else’s post on the subject will bring in the audience, the links and the bigger share of the ad revenue.

“There’s no time ever — including when you’re sleeping — when you’re not worried about missing a story,” Mr. Arrington said.

“Wouldn’t it be great if we said no blogger or journalist could write a story between 8 p.m. Pacific time and dawn? Then we could all take a break,” he added. “But that’s never going to happen.”

All that competition puts a premium on staying awake. Matt Buchanan, 22, is the right man for the job. He works for clicks for Gizmodo, a popular Gawker Media site that publishes news about gadgets. Mr. Buchanan lives in a small apartment in Brooklyn, where his bedroom doubles as his office.

He says he sleeps about five hours a night and often does not have time to eat proper meals. But he does stay fueled — by regularly consuming a protein supplement mixed into coffee.

But make no mistake: Mr. Buchanan, a recent graduate of New York University, loves his job. He said he gets paid to write (he will not say how much) while interacting with readers in a global conversation about the latest and greatest products.

“The fact I have a few thousand people a day reading what I write — that’s kind of cool,” he said. And, yes, it is exhausting. Sometimes, he said, “I just want to lie down.”

Sometimes he does rest, inadvertently, falling asleep at the computer.

“If I don’t hear from him, I’ll think: Matt’s passed out again,” said Brian Lam, the editor of Gizmodo. “It’s happened four or five times.”

Mr. Lam, who as a manager has a substantially larger income, works even harder. He is known to pull all-nighters at his own home office in San Francisco — hours spent trying to keep his site organized and competitive. He said he was well equipped for the torture; he used to be a Thai-style boxer.

“I’ve got a background getting punched in the face,” he said. “That’s why I’m good at this job.”

Mr. Lam said he has worried his blogging staff might be burning out, and he urges them to take breaks, even vacations. But he said they face tremendous pressure — external, internal and financial. He said the evolution of the “pay-per-click” economy has put the emphasis on reader traffic and financial return, not journalism.

In the case of Mr. Shaw, it is not clear what role stress played in his death. Ellen Green, who had been dating him for 13 months, said the pressure, though self-imposed, was severe. She said she and Mr. Shaw had been talking a lot about how he could create a healthier lifestyle, particularly after the death of his friend, Mr. Orchant.

“The blogger community is looking at this and saying: ‘Oh no, it happened so fast to two really vital people in the field,’ ” she said. They are wondering, “What does that have to do with me?”

For his part, Mr. Shaw did not die at his desk. He died in a hotel in San Jose, Calif., where he had flown to cover a technology conference. He had written a last e-mail dispatch to his editor at ZDNet: “Have come down with something. Resting now posts to resume later today or tomorrow.”


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The Korea Herald: Regina Walton's Expat Interviews - A way to break down prejudices

[Regina Walton's Expat Interviews] A way to break down prejudices

Adalia Ellis came to Korea in 2002 as an English teacher, but left a completely different person. "The first year and a half to two years I was here is was what gave me meaning for being in Korea beyond just teaching English. I loved it. It was a magical time."

Adalia and I met when we attended a get together for blacks who where living in Seoul. Over dinner, I found out that had been an avid salsa dancer and also a dance teacher. Like me, she'd also been in Korea for a few years. When you talk to Adalia you immediately notice her open and welcoming spirit.

Ellis left Korea just last month but while she was here, she was active with one of her other passions -- dance. Her earliest memories of dance are when she was a young girl. Se said that at "five or six I would make up dances in the living room. Ever since I was little I've been really drawn to movement and was in love with dancing -- unfortunately, though, where I grew up in South Carolina there weren't opportunities for children who were biracial (or) for children who were not wealthy to really take dance classes and get experience in dance training."

At an international high school on Vancouver Island, Canada, which had a very strong dance program, she gained a lot of experience. "We would do performances for schools like elementary schools and high schools on lots of different social issues. When I was in that group, that's when I had a lot of exposure to dance. Just being able to see how movement can be used to tell a story, to express emotion and to educate. So that was my first real experience as a dancer," she said.

"I did that for four years and traveled all over Canada and western America." Before she came to Korea she had been working with a youth group in South Carolina called Youth Out Loud. This group is a performance art group and she worked as their coordinator for about five years. "I would choreograph dances, teach them and they would perform them." When she came to Korea she said she thought she had hung up her dancing shoes for good. "(I) wasn't thinking, actually, that I would be dancing."

It took a traumatic experience to inspire her to take up dance one more time. "It was very by accident, but some of the most wonderful, beautiful things that happen in a person's life are seemingly by accident." She was in a restaurant and looked up at the TV and saw what she described as one of the most disturbing things she'd seen in her life. "The Bubble Sisters, these Korean women dressed up as the extremely stereotypical black women. I remember standing there and I was fighting back tears. I was standing there and seeing them act -- it was the worst portrayal I'd seen of black people probably in a long time and it shocked me."

She noticed that people in the restaurant were laughing. She went home that evening frustrated and angry. She was already annoyed with how hip-hop was being sold and portrayed in Korea. She said she was really angry but realized that education was a way to overcome these sorts of prejudices. She remembered that she had her African history course notes from university with her.

Those notes formed the foundation of a course she later taught on the history of hip-hop.

A friend put her in contact with Park Young-min of the MIZY Center. The MIZY Center -- Myeongdong Info Zone of Youth -- is a youth cultural center formed by the Korean Commission for UNESCO. Park was very interested in her forming a history of hip-hop course. Adalia stresses that although hip-hop appears to be a very modern form of music, that it has a deep history tied to African culture, slavery, reconstruction and black American history.

The course she created was called HipHopUcation and she taught it for about a year and a half. She said through the course, she'd formed friendships that will last a lifetime.

"I was amazed by their willingness to understand and their desire to understand the history of hip-hop so they could better understand not just hip-hop, but the history of African-Americans." She felt that it was a way to break down prejudices. "If you understand the history of someone, if you understand where they're coming from, it's hard to be fearful and it's hard to have prejudices about them." She was very happy because it encouraged open-minds and a willingness to learn.

She stressed that she also learned from her students. "I learned from my students the value of taking a step back, not becoming overwhelmed with the emotion of anger -- and say 'okay, what can I do to change it -- even a little?'"

In addition, to teaching the history of hip-hop, Adalia is passionate about salsa dancing. "Falling in love with salsa was definitely unplanned." She was first exposed to salsa in South Carolina through friends. In Korea, she was invited by a friend to come to salsa classes with her. From there, she just fell in love with it and eventually started to teach people after getting positive feedback on how she was able to break down dance movements into easier steps that people could understand.

Adalia is now back in the United States where she will start studying for a master's in teaching to become certified as a social studies secondary education teacher. From there, she said she wants to "start a program for young people using the arts, and it would be a leadership development program also connected with the arts, which would eventually become a school."

The Adobe Acrobat version of the page:
Read this document on Scribd: kh4082008


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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Repost: GalleyCat - FishbowlLA Points to Peggy Seltzer's Radical Past

Just 'cause it won't die...

Keep diggin' Kate ;)

FishbowlLA Points to Peggy Seltzer's Radical Past

peggy-seltzer-nytimes.jpgBack when the whole "Margaret B. Jones" story began to unravel, Kevin Allman suggested that anyone wanting to understand Peggy Seltzer, the author of the fake memoir Love and Consequences, should check out her connections to "the Oregon eco-underground." Kate Coe of FishbowlLA has been keeping one eye on the story, and she spotted a Williamette Week article by John Minervini that did just that, and learned about her background as "a sort of failed environmental activist and part-time anarchist."

"Peggy Seltzer didn't need to invent an interesting life—she already had one," Minervini writes. "She was living in a communally owned house in Eugene, running around with outlaw environmental activists—possibly dating them—fraternizing with fringe types of all stripes. She has an 8-year-old daughter, Rya, whose paternity is unclear, and that story alone could probably furnish a decently thick, heartbreaking memoir. So why make up a kitschy, condescending story about the hard-knock life you never had, when your actual life is, frankly, worth reading about?"

You'd think, right? On the other hand, the kind of money she got from Riverhead for being a sexually abused Native American raised by a kindly black woman in South Central is probably much more than she would've gotten from anybody for being a disenchanted private school student who moves in with a bunch of radical greens and reinvents herself as a persecuted minority. Because there's only two ways to tell that story effectively (by which, of course, I mean, commercially viable): Jones would either have to be relentlessly honest with herself and with her readers, or tweaked her adulthood into a fantasy version of Pacific Northwest slackerdom. And if you're going to give yourself a fantasy life anyway, why not pull out all the stops?


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April Can Wait

This was going to go on another blog I write for. However, it never made it.

I love this, so I'm linking it here.

It's a photo essay of the street fashion at Paris' prêt-à-porter fashion week done by Bill Cunningham for the NY Times.


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Late Korea Time, But Not Late US Time

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

"I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

"The time is always right to do what is right."

Quotes by Martin Luther King, Jr. who was assassinated 40 years ago on March 4th.

Martin Luther King, "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam":

A full transcript of this speech: Martin Luther King Jr.: "Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam"


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The Immigration Office - Korea Style

I really think Korean Immigration gets a bad rap. Now I know people have bad experiences. In fact, I'm in the middle of one. It's not completely resolved as of yet. But the paperwork is in, the number issued, the trip is being booked and I'll be good soon. Those familiar with the process should already have an idea of what happened. However, when it is completed, I will give you the details on what went down.

One thing I had to do was go to the immigration office near Omakgyo station in Seoul a couple of weeks ago to get my current visa extended. It was the first day of Seoul Fashion Week and I needed to get across town to SETEC where it was being held. I also needed to change my insulin pump's infusion set but, for the life of me, I couldn't find my medical supplies. I'd already disconnected, so it was a major emergency as I wasn't getting any insulin (I took shots in the meantime.)

I decided to go to immigration first and then double back to pick up a box of infusion sets in person. Now I usually roll into that office with an appointment because I prefer to go in the afternoon, but due to my current status, an appointment isn't possible. Thank goodness that Dalim, the company that sells my pump supplies, is between immigration and my home.

Now being American, I still have a huge fear of dealing with civil servants. However, I went to the office around 10:00am. I took a number, went downstairs to pay the fee, was called to the window within a few minutes, got my passport stamped with an extension and was out and ready to deal with the rest of my day by 10:30am or so.

Here is a shot of how empty the office was that Monday morning:

I got a taxi to the Dalim office, went to Mike's place aka the Metropolitician and FMS, reconnected my pump, we had lunch and were en route to Seoul Fashion Week just after lunchtime.

Would a similar transaction have gone as fast in the US equivalent? I highly doubt it.

So for all the frustration that Korean immigration can and does cause, I say that the wait is light years faster. Chew on that, haters.


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Eddie Murphy on SNL - Two Skits That Crack Me Up --- Sorry Whitey

A classic Eddie Murphy SNL skit.

Tyrone Green and his Reggae Band

Images by Tyrone Green


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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Repost: GalleyCat - Jhumpa Lahiri Would Like Different Questions, Please

This one is worthy of a repost too. I saw this yesterday and made sure I'd flag it so I wouldn't forget to share it. It's about Pulitzer Prize winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri's frustration with being asked questions that hinge on her race.

Jhumpa Lahiri Would Like Different Questions, Please

jhumpa-lahiri-nymag.jpgAs Unaccustomed Earth starts showing up in bookstores, everybody wants to talk to Jhumpa Lahiri—and, as she tells Boris Kachka in her New York interview, one of the big topics is her literary focus on, in the profile's phrasing, "upwardly mobile South Asians from New England":

"'Is that all you've got in there?" I get asked that question all the time... It baffles me. Does John Updike get asked this question? Does Alice Munro? It's the ethnic thing, that's what it is. And my answer is always, yes, I will continue to write about this world, because it inspires me to write, and there's nothing more important than that."

Case in point: In last Friday's Wall Street Journal, Robert Hughes comes right out and asks, "Have you ever thought of writing about non-Indians?" To which her answer is, actually, "I don't think that way when I'm writing stories. I just write from the point of view of some individual, trying to form a character who happens to be those things." Kera Bolonik's Bookforum interview, by way of comparison, deals with the topic not just by saying, hey, you've got Indians in your stories, but by asking insightful questions about the issues of assimiliation Lahiri writes about, "the growing chasm between the families [her characters] are creating and those in which they grew up."

I'm happy she aired her frustration. It's a Catch-22. Minorities should assimilate and learn how to interact happily with the mainstream society (yes, that's white society if you're a bit slow). However, it's whites who want to myopically focus on race (but of course call it playing the race card when minorities do it.)

This is a world she knows better than most. She's got a talent and can show us what it's like being South Asian while both trying to retain their norms and culture while also trying to assimilate. Why should she NOT write about it? As she asks, would a white author get such a silly question? I mean I can't believe that Nick Hornby writes about white men in Britain and the stuff that they deal with (fun novels BTW). However, when is he going to write about about Asian or African immigrants to the UK? The nerve of writers continuously crafting stories based on things you actually know!

Clearly, some in the media just can't let writers regardless of their race and background write about what they know. (Probably more accurate is they can't be bothered to sit down and actually think of insightful questions.) They like it better when they have a white woman writing about the made up hard life she had in the inner city rather than allowing a writer to tell stories that are drawn from her experiences and culture.

Again, Lahiri is a Pulitzer Prize winning author. I think she's more than earned the right to not be hounded about writing about a world she knows well.

Another link re Lahiri: Jhumpa Lahiri: The Way Bobos Live Now?


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Repost: Queer Thinker - Finally Surprised Me (with my added subtitle: Asian Guys Are Hot Too)

Here is a pic of Jang Donggun, 장동건, just 'cause.

Ohmygod...I was surfing around tonight and tripped over this post: Finally Surprised Me over at QueerThinker's blog.

Nunya makes so many great points in this post. I say that because I've got a new appreciation for just how damn sexy some Asian men are. I'm talking red hot. The white men here...nevermind, but they really don't compare. I've had a few crushes in the past (my former hapkido assistant instructor comes to mind as the most insane crush), so this isn't new. However, the predominant stereotype of the Asian man isn't one that's associated with sexiness. But, as I'm a black woman, I know very well how inaccurate stereotypes can be on an individual level. I feel like I'm in some minority when I talk about how this or that guy is cute if he happens to be Asian. In terms of actual relationships, however, it's the culture divide that's the deal breaker. The wonderful exception is the kyopo, who is in every way that I am, a Westerner.

Anyway, I like the points she makes because living in Asia I've seen quite a bit of bullshit when it comes to race and dating.
I guess another thing that surprised/bothered me was this idea that one race is better-looking than another. For some reason, it seems like black men are the flavor du jour while Asian women are the counterpart flavor du jour. I'm tired of that. While I have my preferences, I know there are times when a white guy will be the best-looking in a room, a black man will be the hottest, etc.
Dudes, please spare me with the "I like Asian women" drivel. They're very pretty and, yes, they don't have that edge that Western women have which means they're basically nicer. I got it. However, we all know that another reason you love them is that back home you'd NEVER score with women this pretty. Let's get real.

Also, I've got to say that going on and on about it would actually repel me. I've had guys tell me just how much they loooooooooove black women. That's great, but say that to me and you'll never see this black woman again. There is something patently offensive to me having someone reduce me to my color. Yes, it's a big part of who I am and defines me in some ways, but it's not the only or, dare I say, primary thing about me. If that's how someone sees me and they're careless enough to admit it. I'm gone.
Furthermore, I feel like this sudden fashionability of black men is, yet, another symptom of this mass movement occurring in the US entitled "White People Dying To Demonstrate We're Not Racist." ... But I think some of these other women are silently self-congratulatory, thinking they are waging their own modern-day civil rights movement or some such crap with their black boyfriend or husband and a Barack Obama sticker on the car or whatever. With Asian women, who knows...perhaps white men are being "revolutionary," too, but are generally too wimpy (or shall I say too fond of white male power?) to go too low on the social totem pole.
Wow! I've never been able to articulate that. I'm glad she did.
You see, I've kind of noticed that white women who get with black men tend to not have black female friends or even associates, and white guys who get with Asian women tend not to have Asian male friends or associates, HAHA. Not all, though, but I've seen it too many times.
Yep, I know a lot of white men here who've dated tons of Korean women but talk nothing but shit about Korean men. Those men are their fathers, brothers, cousins and friends. They're going to be at your weddings too white guys, so be nice to them. Korean society is far from perfect, but, really, to even say that is beyond rude and it simply smacks of some whites, yet again, being stuck in a colonialist mindset and thinking they're superior.

Here is the full post. You can click over to read it too.

Finally Surprised Me

Since I can't sleep, I've been thinking about this experience I had this past weekend and decided to come share.

Some friends of mine and I went out. This particular group of friends is great because we always end up having real conversations, whereas with some of the other people I know they always want to talk about the same empty twenty-something nonsense. Closer to the end of the conversation, we somewhat did that by talking about guys. One of my white friends, whom I've referred to here before as my best friend in law school (BFLS), said that she thinks black men are the most attractive men in response to my mentioning that another one of my white friends (my best friend in music, BFM) thinks black people are the most attractive. And since she was speaking to two black women, she assumed we would agree with that. I guess my black friend agreed, but I didn't see her response because she was sitting beside me and I was looking at BFLS, who was across from me. Plus, I just figure she probably would agree--I can't really see her dating interracially, though we've never talked about that.

When BFLS kind of asked us if we agreed that black men were the most attractive, I was thinking, "HELL NO!" and just shook my head no. She was kind of like, "You don't?" And I could feel that the next thing would probably be to assume I thought white guys were the most attractive, because that's what so many people do, i.e. the only options are black or white. At the same time, this is a friend of mine who should know better, because I tend to carry on about white men and not in a good way. I've been doing that with her almost ever since I've known her, so 2 & 1/2 years. So I just said, "I like Asian guys."

And then both of my friends went crazy. How? I guess just out-of-this-world couldn't believe I said that or could think Asians are more attractive than white or black people. Now, with the black female, I'm not necessarily surprised. I know how most black women are about Asians, especially when thinking about blacks and Asians dating--it's weird to most. But with BFLS?!?! White females actually do date Asian males. And, though I know Asians still do experience racism from white people, I have just never seen it, at least not in real life. To me, white people generally love Asians and have no problems with dating or doing anything else with them, so this was really amazing to me. And it still is. And, you know, I'm not ever surprised by racism, but this has really caught me off guard.

I kind of want to ask BFLS what that was all about. Chances are the whole thing will get lost in the hustle to graduate and figuring out what to do about the Bar exam. But I have a hard time resisting attempts to answer questions like this. And the other reason why her reaction surprised me is I know she would have something to say if someone acted like that in response to blacks. Usually, I hate when people try to act like everyone in the US gets way more up in arms when bad things happen to black people and just 100% won't tolerate unfair treatment towards blacks while they will do so with every other disadvantaged group and sometimes even with whites--it's not true. But with her, I think it is; she would have poo-pooed someone if they had acted shocked that anyone thought blacks were hot.

And this isn't the first time this has happened, but I guess I'm more shocked because I know her better. The other time was actually when BFM told me that her fiance--white guy--said he doesn't find Asian women attractive. Now, I was really surprised at that, too, and still think about that comment in amazement. But with that comment, it's not the racism I find in it so much know, I've never heard of a white guy not liking Asian women, HAHA. And with him, I think he wouldn't totally dismiss dating a black female, so that's also interesting. I'm pretty sure many Asians have these experiences as teenagers and younger with white people, but I didn't really think it kept happening after that because the majority of white people appear to grow into a point where they accept Asians as almost no different than they are.

And the funniest thing is after her reaction, BFLS got back on her liberal (though she denies being a liberal) throne and started talking about how Asian men are hurt by interracial dating. As always, she was correct and knowledgeable with what she was saying. But still, you're going to act like I told you I was going on "Flavor of Love" so that I can date Flavor Flav at the idea that Asian guys can look better than black guys, and then talk about how much harder it is for Asian guys than other guys to find women. With people reacting like that, uh, YEAH it's harder!!

I guess another thing that surprised/bothered me was this idea that one race is better-looking than another. For some reason, it seems like black men are the flavor du jour while Asian women are the counterpart flavor du jour. I'm tired of that. While I have my preferences, I know there are times when a white guy will be the best-looking in a room, a black man will be the hottest, etc. In the past year, I've gone from being interested in a lily white-looking female to a dark black female to a half-Asian/half-white female. This weekend, I stayed up all night watching re-runs of "I Love New York 2" on VH1 and just thought the black guy Buddha was the sexiest thing. She picked this wimpy white guy called Tailor Made because he would allow her to run the relationship, and I get that--I applaud her for that one, not to mention find it hysterical. But the white guy had nothing on the black one. Buddha was just sexy. I'm not one of those people who exalts one race; I see beauty where beauty exists, and it could be in anybody.

So, I just can't stand when people make a blanket statement that one race is the most attractive, or act like a couple of races are acceptable but others aren't. Part of the reason I was like, "HELL NO!" was because I was rejecting the blanket nature of BFLS's statement. In other words, no, I don't think black men are more attractive than other men--I think there are all kinds of attractive men. Generally, I don't want to date them. But I notice good-looking guys. Furthermore, I feel like this sudden fashionability of black men is, yet, another symptom of this mass movement occurring in the US entitled "White People Dying To Demonstrate We're Not Racist." I know this is not true of BFLS. She's marrying a white male, and she said she wouldn't date black men because 1) that hurts black women, and 2) she would be afraid of black women, HAHAHA. Oh, man, I love that woman! HAHAHA. Plus, you can't be friends with me unless you acknowledge your racism, which she did a long time ago. But I think some of these other women are silently self-congratulatory, thinking they are waging their own modern-day civil rights movement or some such crap with their black boyfriend or husband and a Barack Obama sticker on the car or whatever. With Asian women, who knows...perhaps white men are being "revolutionary," too, but are generally too wimpy (or shall I say too fond of white male power?) to go too low on the social totem pole.


Meanwhile, they've got a little problem with Asian men and black women, gasping at dinner tables when people find them attractive or completely acting like they don't exist. Yep...definitely not racist. You see, I've kind of noticed that white women who get with black men tend to not have black female friends or even associates, and white guys who get with Asian women tend not to have Asian male friends or associates, HAHA. Not all, though, but I've seen it too many times.


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Podcasts Are Cool

As I already posted today, I recorded another podcast this week and it's now up for your listening pleasure (or displeasure).

I think podcasts are pretty cool. However, when talking to Joe and Jen over at Seoul Podcast initially, I said I didn't listen to podcasts. That's not exactly true.

I bought myself an iPod before I went on vacation and I LOVE it. I have the 80GB iPod classic. I was first going to get a Nano but for the amount of memory it gets and the price, it only costs a bit more for the classic. On that you can load up a lot.

I have almost all of the CDs that I have on my computer on it (except for the ones whose licenses didn't successfully cross over when I switched computers...thanks WMA - that's totally lame, but I'm not going to spend hours ripping CDs...again.) Outside of that minor annoyance, it's great. I was able to upload video and movies too. I didn't bother with podcasts on my trip, but being able to plug my iPod into the hotel's TV and have a John Mayer slumber party with my roommates before the cruise was incredible geeky fun. I can't wait to do it again next year.

Anyway, now I've started downloading podcasts. If something isn't going to fire up the neurons I'm not going to download it. For some that might mean what I'm listening to is kind of dull. If so, I'm sure there are podcasts out there more to your tastes. But when I hear ones where I end it thinking "wow", I'm going to link them on my blog. I'll put them in the sidebar in the "Awesome Podcasts" section. I'll rotate them over time. Check them out!


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My Sassy Girl - American Style

I actually didn't like the Korean version that much. The only reason I watched it more than was because I thought Cha Tae Hyun, 차태현, was kind of cute. Therefore, I was sure when I heard about the American version it would be a hard sell.

I won't ruin it for those who actually want to see it, but as I said before:

I saw the movie and thought it was okay, but the Japanese and others in Asia loved it. That's probably because the cultures are similar in many ways. While I thought the female lead character was annoying, needed counseling and a stint at the Betty Ford Clinic, she was endearing to Korean and Asian audiences who aren't used to feisty female characters.
I happened to catch the movie on TV recently and that lead character was still bloody irritating to me.

Now we've got the American version and how they're going to explain why she's such a freak, I have no idea.

Here is the trailer I found on Facebook.

Crap on a stick? Totally.

Best Week Ever has a great blog hitting on all the reasons why this trailer blows and why the movie probably will too.
Dear Trailer-Makers,

I just want you to know that literally everything about the trailer for My Sassy Girl appeals to me. From the generic spiky-haired lovelorn guy to his overweight comic relief sidekick friend to Elisha Cuthbert’s adorable attempt at playing “cute crazy” to the ingenious title My Sassy Girl, I just want to see this movie a million times right now. Remember guys - but sometimes, love is worth it.
Oh, the sarcasm just makes me smile. Translation: "Hated it".

Here is the Korean trailer with English subtitles. At least, I "get" why it was successful here. Women still very much lack power. But how this is going to play in the US, I'm not sure.


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