Saturday, May 29, 2004

my final post

...from this residence.

Yeah, you got scared for a second, there, didn't you.


A quick report:

1. Almost everything's packed. It took a bit longer than I expected, but I was also taking frequent breaks. I don't really have many possessions. They mostly break down into books, clothes, food, and toiletries. I'm happy to include, among those possessions, two wooden sculptures-- one of Bodhidharma with scarily huge eyes; another of some monk who's part of the "16 Na-han," or putative group of disciples of the Buddha (they're the "18 Lohan" in China). My Na-han looks like he's either screaming or about to puke tree bark.

2. My K'eun Adjoshi, who has gout, regrets being in too much pain to help me with anything. I'm not worried about that; I have so little stuff that it's no big deal to pack it all myself.

3. I'm leaving the computer on until Sunday morning, then I'm packing it away.

4. Adjoshi very kindly called a yohng-dahl service. These are small-scale movers who usually arrive with a midget flatbed truck to haul your mortal possessions to your next little cubbyhole. They're scheduled to arrive around 2PM, but Adjoshi warns me that they'll call before arrival. Guess I'd better be awake around 2PM, then.

In other news:

It seems Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire (link via Drudge).

Andi gets great mention over at Joe Perez's blog. I can't shake the feeling she's going to be famous. If she continues to make progress with her Korean, I could easily imagine her ending up on Korean TV. Maybe routinely. Maybe even authoring best-selling books on the order of Hyon-gak sunim's Man Haeng: From Harvard to Hwagye-sa.

The Marmot says what I want to hear: we may be shipping up to 12,000 troops out of Korea to Iraq. As one commenter points out, this is unfortunate for the troops themselves. I don't envy them their upcoming tour of duty in the desert badlands. At the same time, I see this as the inevitable wake-up call for South Koreans: you don't want us here, and we don't want to stay. So... bye!

Two blogger disappearances: (1) I can't find Annika, even though I've tried several times. (2) The Infidel seems to have vanished from cyberspace, but I suspect this is a deliberate move on his part. A shame: he'd just started blogging according to a schedule, and I was looking forward to a weekly dose of his fiction. I wonder whether this latest disappearance is the result of a dustup I saw over at Gweilo Diaries. Maybe; maybe not. Conrad and Joseph have had disagreements before, and Joseph's dealt with rough commenters before, so maybe this spat wasn't the primary cause for the blog-yanking. If it was, though, I disagree with Joseph's move to pull his blog. Why, man!? WHY??

Maybe the problem is that Joseph's ego isn't as big as mine.

See, Joseph, it works like this. At the bottom of the rung, you've got people with no ego at all. These people are so content that they have no need to say or do anything. They're like those pictures of Mahavira, standing still and naked for so long that they become entwined in the vines that start growing up their legs. That's egolessness.

Then you've got the people with a normal level of ego, and I think most of the blogosphere is in this category. They have something to say, they like knowing they're being read, but part of the pleasure is the ability to interact with their readership. These people retain enough of a sense of reality to like being in contact with others.

But rising above these two sorts of people are the idiots like me, whose egos are so inflated that any reaction, good or bad, is likely to inflate the ego further. What's more, people in this category live in such deep self-delusion that even a near-total lack of readership will somehow bolster their ego. I'm definitely in this category, what with my pitiful site traffic and paradoxically gleeful blogging. I write because I like the sound of my own voice. Or something like that.

So I suspect Joseph is in the second category. He actually cares. I could type my blog for monkeys and still be perfectly happy, but Joseph, as I recall, has wanted to (1) build community through a communal Koreablog, (2) cultivate a decent commenter culture on his blog, and (3) create a blog that offers a more rounded impression of who he is and what he can do. All of these are worthy goals; all of these require far less ego than I have. So if anything's doomed the Infidel, it's care.

My theory, for what it's worth.

Regarding scheduling out one's blogging time:

I'd like to think I began this scheduling meme back on March 1st, but I suspect there have been "schedulebloggers" since the beginning of the Blogging Era, and many people who've caught on to scheduling themselves since March 1st will probably claim they arrived at their decision on their own, dammit.

I'm in schedule freefall right now, but am mulling a move to a 10- or 14-day cycle to accommodate some other interests: along with forcing myself to write on Buddhism and interreligious dialogue, I need to do what the nice lady at Kangmi does, and display my own progress in both Korean and Chinese. If I'm too poor to take classes, the least I can do is review shit on my own and in public. I've also been mulling a reverse translation of Hyon-gak sunim's book back into English; it's not currently available in English, to my knowledge, and I badly need to improve my Korean reading ability. I'll do this as a simultaneous public service and copyright violation (actually, I should just walk up to Hyon-gak at temple the next time I'm there and simply ask his permission).

I'd also like to fit in a day or two for more humor writing, and while I don't think the comic strip has caught on with my readership (or, to be honest, with me), I might do some foul stories with illustrations. That tapeworm story was inspiring.

I might also want to fit in some extra "anything goes"-type days. All of this makes the two-week cycle (either 10 or 14 days) seem like a reasonable move to make. In fact, a 14-day cycle might fit nicely with the lunar cycle, come to think of it... will have to mull this over.

In geek news:

Check out for all the Star Wars-related news you can handle. The dude who runs GGNet goes by the handle "SuperShadow," claims to be a personal friend of George Lucas, but until recently has been bashing Lucas mercilessly. Why? Because while the third Star Wars film of the new trilogy (the movie's title is known to SuperShadow-- or so he says-- but he's not telling) looks like it's going to kick ass, Lucas is apparently introducing changes that will increase the film's overall EFF (Equine Fellatio Factor-- see here).

For those who follow Star Wars lore, and I'm only a low-level geek in this field of study, it's widely known that several things are supposed to happen in the final film of the new trilogy:

1. Luke and Leia, who are fraternal twins, have to be born, and their mother (Padme) probably has to die.

2. Obi-wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker have to have the major fight that results in both Anakin's disfigurement and his need for life-supporting body armor with that creepy breathing noise.

3. Luke has to end up on Tatooine, and Leia has to end up with a foster father on Alderaan (the planet that gets destroyed in the first movie of the old trilogy).

4. The Jedi Order has to be exterminated, and this will be done with help from Anakin.

The new trilogy gave us a few new characters as well as a younger, more vigorous Emperor-to-be in Darth Sidious (the same actor who played the original decrepit Emperor in "Return of the Jedi," Ian McDiarmid). The plots of "The Phantom Menace" and "Attack of the Clones" therefore leave geeks with a few other expectations, almost all of them having to do with fights we'd like to see.

1. We know Mace Windu (Samuel Jackson's character) has to die. We know this because (a) the Jedi will be "all but extinct" by the time "A New Hope" begins, and (b) there's a "Black Guy Dies" rule in almost all American sci-fi movies. Things just aren't right unless the black dude gets it, and hopefully he gets it in a spectacular way, because DAMN, Hollywood fucking hates black folks.

[On a serious note: I do sincerely think Hollywood is one of our most racist institutions. Blacks are, for the most part, portrayed on screen as either great sinners or great saints/wisdom figures, with very few rules in majority-white films allowing them to be "normal." I think Hollywood stands as the ultimate symbol of Limousine Liberalism, which pays lip service to black causes but basically fucks black folks over like many other institutions do. You know-- like Texaco. If you think we live in a color-blind society... just trust me that we don't. Living in Korea as I do, and having experienced some form of racism here on a daily basis, I've begun to understand, just a weeeeee bit, what the black experience is like in America. It's easy to see why there's an Angry Black Man stereotype. Racism can piss you off after a while. Black folks have a reason to be angry, because racism's alive and well. This doesn't mean I disagree with Bill Cosby's recent speech; I think the man's on to something. But what we're talking about is a deeply rooted problem in our society. Thank God we're at least talking about it and trying to do something about it. OK, back to geekery--]

The rumor is that Mace Windu will face off against both Anakin and Sidious. Mace needs to shout the Klingon war cry, "Today is a good day to die!" That, or he needs to point at Sidious while screaming at Anakin, "Does-- he-- look-- like-- a-- BITCH!?"

2. Yoda and Sidious/Palpatine have to fight, because Sidious is going to reveal his evil designs and declare himself emperor, and who but the most powerful Jedi on the Jedi Council has the huge, green, two-ton testicles to stop him? We know how such a fight will end: neither party will kill the other. I'm hearing that Yoda might lose the fight, but I'm unclear on the specifics.

3. It's possible that Anakin, now Vader in black armor, will have a lightsaber combat scene.

Items (2) and (3) have caused an uproar in geekdom because, if I read the scuttlebutt right, Lucas has already "filmed" an amazing CGI fight between Yoda and Sidious... but is thinking about pulling it from the movie. The "mechanical Vader fight," as it's being called, is up in the air right now. Some fans are of the opinion that (3) is more important than (2), but I see it the other way: I don't need to watch a mechanical Vader in action-- if there is such a scene, the superior fight choreography by Nick Gillard will make the painfully slow fight scene in "A New Hope" look even lamer than it already does.

One thing we're all looking forward to is the titanic fight between Anakin and Ben Kenobi-- the highlight of the new film. We know Anakin's going to lose badly. We don't care. The rumor mill says that this fight scene will be not only the longest lightsaber duel in all the Star Wars films, but also the longest movie fight scene ever. The very thought makes my nipple hairs ripple and writhe like Sargasso seaweed. The fight is supposed to incorporate "several Jedi fighting styles," which means choreographer Nick Gillard has been working overtime to provide some amazing visuals. I think his work on the previous Star Wars fights has been superlative; I'd match him up against Yuen Wo-ping any day.

In fact, if SuperShadow's to be believed, the third film is basically a porn movie, with a series of major fights instead of sex scenes. The GGNet plot synopsis mentions the following fights:

1. Space battle featuring Kenobi and Anakin (on the same side) fighting the Separatists.

2. Anakin and Kenobi vs. General Grievous, an alien cyborg who isn't a Jedi but can fight with four lightsabers, thanks to splittable robotic arms.

3. Anakin vs. Dooku, who gets disarmed (literally) and beheaded.

4. Anakin and Sidious versus Mace Windu.

5. Kenobi vs. General Grievous, with Grievous getting killed.

6. Major ground combat on Chewbacca's homeworld of Kashyyyk.

7. Kenobi vs. Anakin, with Anakin losing big-time.

8. Mechanical Vader...?

End geekery.

So now this post comes to a close. I move into my hasuk-jip on Sunday afternoon, and will be blogging from a PC-bahng (augh!) unless/until I get DSL set up in my new cloister. I'm looking around my current digs now, and can honestly say I feel no great remorse at moving, aside from the fact that I won't have my own bathroom while in the hasuk. We coprophiles do our best rectal work in private and with no time constraints. My art suffers when I'm in the public domain. And when I suffer, you suffer.

One last note-- I lost track of American holidays. It's Memorial Day weekend in the States now. Take time out to spare some thoughts, and some silence, for those who've served and died. We armchair debaters have to remember who provides us the luxury to argue from the armchair. So while you're at it, spare some thoughts, and some silence, for those in the armed services who are alive and serve us still. All they ask is for us to be worthy of them and what they do.


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