Archive for August, 2010

Tuesday, 31st of August – Mushroom madness

I love mushrooms. They are very delicious fried or grilled and eaten on good toast.

I love mushrooms not just because they are really delicious, and not just because they are a great source of protein which is especially important if you like exercise and do not like to eat meat. I also like mushrooms because they remind me of my father’s grandmother, who died when I was in primary school (or elementary school to those North American-type people). I would get home from school and my mother would be busy looking after my younger sisters or baby brother. She would tell me to go down stairs to say hello to ‘Nom.’ I would semi-reluctantly take myself down stairs. She was not very chatty, but she often had large blocks of family-sized chocolate just lying around the apartment, and sometimes, in winter, she would slice up some mushrooms and fry them in butter and we would eat fried mushrooms on toast for afternoon tea.

Do you like mushrooms? Do you REALLY like mushrooms? Do you like mushrooms enough to die for them..?!  Eighteen mushroom hunters have died in Italy recently just because they wanted to find mushrooms too much, so, if you like mushrooms, please remember to share them, and don’t die for them!

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Thursday, 26th of August – Television Terror and Conviction’s Cash

1.) Here is some evidence supporting one of the main reasons why I detest the average time spent watching television.

What do you think about this article? Do you think you are influenced by television commercials without realising it? Have you ever watched your friends or family members behaviour after watching TV ads with them? What do they do? Do they head straight for the refrigerator, or do they go out for a run?

2.) Here is an interesting news story about some people who gave up a lot of money and publicity for the sake of their beliefs. Their beliefs were to do with the environment. Would you sacrifice a lot of money and a ‘golden opportunity’ for career advancement for the sake of the environment? How much have you – or would you in the future – give up for something to do with the environment?

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Coming up in 2010 – September onwards

Here are some topical ideas for writing about in your class work. Can you think of any others? Are there any here that you are interested in writing about?

These are only initial links. You can find many more links to websites on these and other current events topics this month and coming up, if you want to find other background information or ideas.

* * * * * * *

– Environmental Conferences – upcoming events

– 7th to the 9th of September – Asia Culture Forum, Gwangju

– 10th of September – World Suicide Prevention Day.

– 21st of September – International Day of Peace. There is an article on wikipedia.org about it here.

* Recently Arirang TV focused on women in Liberia. In relation to the International Day of Peace, perhaps you could compare developments in Liberia with those in Korea with regard to the rights and respect given to – or taken by – women. [ Female Indian peacekeepers in Liberia made an impact. How? Why? ]

* You could also write about what you think violence means in a time of ‘peace,’ especially if that violence is directed more at one group of people within society.

* Another alternative is to write about whether you think one group of people in society is encouraged in any formal or structured way to commit acts of violence against another group in society.

* Also, you could describe what you understand by the ‘cycle of violence‘ and then how you see it affecting any part of Korean society (in other words, you could write about an example of a school you have read about, attended, or heard about, or, you could write about a work place you have read about, attended, or heard about, or some other example of a place where you know one person’s violence led to more acts of violence, and therefore a culture of violence being accepted as ‘normal’).

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Wednesday, 18th of August – Was Pink beyond the pale?!

It’s been a while since i posted on this blog. It definitely feels like a good time to update.

Currently i’m on my first visit to Thailand. I’m not visiting any beaches, but rather just spending a full week in Bangkok, enjoying experiencing somewhere new and interesting.

I had my first real, genuine Thai-made pad thai for a later dinner last night. I must say it was just as incredibly delicious as i’d heard it described by others. It did not look very special, but the taste was wonderful. I’d eat it again almost any time. I do like Korean food, but it was fantastic to try something different for a change, too.

Speaking of which, as much as i hate TV, i am enjoying listening to and watching the local music video channel here called ‘Astro Hitz’ while i study. There are two main reasons why i hate television: the constant nature of being interrupted by commercial advertisement breaks, and, that someone else is choosing what to play, and when. However, in this case there are mercifully few ads, and in the case of music and songs, i actually enjoy hearing new music and seeing new videos, so i am happy for someone else to play a selection of sounds and images.

Then again, if the style of music was drastically different to my preferred genre i would not want to watch. I do not, as a general rule, like ‘K pop’ at all. I find it to be pre-fabricated, over commercialized, bland, uninteresting, and really only selling the sex of the underage, over-made starlets. I think K pop is very sad both for the performers and the audience.

This is not to say that I dislike Korean music. I enjoy traditional Korean music, whether is is performed on a gaeugeum, or just a lone voice and drum as in pansori, and even more modern indie rock, as in Crying Nut, or the Rock Tigers.

Anyway, it’s nice to hear music performed in my original language again, and to see what the latest releases sound and look like. In particular, I’d heard and read a lot about Pink over the last few years, but not heard or seen her perform. I really like the single I saw just this morning while finishing breakfast, called ‘Please Don’t Leave Me‘. She has an amazing voice, and is a very relaxed, natural performer… although it is interesting to read that I must have just seen the third video version of the song recorded.

Apparently the first unedited version was so disturbing it had to be edited heavily – for western audiences – although I can imagine that for some Asian audiences even that was too bad, so the version I saw simply had her singing (lip syncing) with a backing band. I do think that this is quite ironic though: the average martial arts, horror or even just drama movie has a lot more serious incidents of clearly graphic violence, whereas this music video was obviously tongue-in-cheek comedy, and, apart from the golf club to the knee, it showed no real violence. It does make me wonder if the only objection that some cultures and peoples might find in it is that it portrays a woman being active and attempting to take a form of physical control, and actually largely succeeding.

I was also glad to hear a Smashing Pumpkins song; I like the video too, with all its science fiction imagery.

Speaking of videos, there is a ‘good’ video by a band called Korn out since 2005 which I just saw for the first time. It is ‘good’ in the sense that it creates a strong impression, but the images are fairly disturbing, even if they are actually also quite funny in a twisted kind of way. It features a ‘band’ called ‘Korn’ but this one is actually made up of fairly famous rap stars, of whom I only recognize Snoop Dog. At the end of the funny video, they hold a conference with the real band members acting as their agents, complaining about them, their bad rock star behavior and their terrible rock music. The song is called ‘Twisted Transister.’

Also interesting is that the director for this video is the same guy who directed that one I just mentioned, by Pink. His name is Dave Meyers.

Whatever you think of his ideas and creative direction, I certainly enjoy hearing something other than the latest rehashing of trite love songs and awfully mangled English, and it is refreshing seeing something different to the lastest dance steps by the same set of choreographers in Seoul.

Meh: who needs the beaches?! As Keith Richards once sang: “The sunshine bores the daylights out of me.”

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