The Korean National Flower is the “Mugung hwa” – also known as, “The Rose of Sharon”.


My Korean teacher last night told me, “The spirit of the Korean people is like the national flower…”

“mugung” means “forever/eternity” and “hwa” is the chinese character for flower…

The Korean people have lasted, survived – the flowers survive for a long time, blossoming in early summer and staying in bloom through to almost November.

Am I like the mugung-hwa?


My Korean teacher also said, “The Japanese national flower is the ‘sakura’ – or the ‘cherry blossom’. Every cherry bud blooms in one week, and then all falls to the grown the next. This is the spirit of the Japanese people.”


I like learning Korean idioms.

My friend had one up on her messenger tag line which I could understand literally, but wanted to understand figuratively.

내가 싫으면 니가 꺼지세요

The ending is formal – and thus comes across somewhat sarcastic – but I’m a fan of the harsher, informal:

내가 싫으면 니가 꺼져!

The literal meaning is fairly self explanatory, “If you don’t like me, then disappear/be gone…”

The understood idiom is harsher, and one I’m a little more fond of – again, it’s my love of colorful language – “If you don’t like me, then fuck off!”


End of Korean Idioms Lesson 1.

there are so many situations, and that’s why i think it’s hard to say
unequivocally that the bmoms are at fault across the board – just my
opinion though.

i think the system needs to change. i think the culture needs to
change. i think the government needs to change. through that change,
i think more ownership can be placed on the bmoms. but cultural
revolutions aren’t easy to come by.

i know that my bmom supposedly gave me up to the orphanage several
months before she got married. that her “boyfriend” who was my father
was an older, married, owner of the clothing store she worked in.
that i grew up with her and my maternal grandmother – before being
sent to Eastern. these are the words that were recorded the day she
dropped me off.

Colored Walls

they echo off blank walls, colored by my imagination – changing,
drifting in multi-faceted hopes and dreams at 5, 15, 25 years old. i
fill in the blanks of her situation, at 5 with no other resolution
than being fed well, cared much, and disciplined for my need to hide
food, cajole my playmates, and hide under my blanket at night. at 15
i know nothing of korea except that it is foreign, uncool, a place
where my bmom gave birth to me and sent me away for a “better life” –
i’m told to thank her for giving me opportunity, and that she loves me
in her “own way”. i’m 25 and i know korea more vividly than i ever
dreamed i would. i breathed the smog filled air of seoul for years,
capturing the scent of my birthland, something too familiar,
recognized by a place so deep down i can’t see it, no matter how hard
i look. my mind’s eye plays games when i sleep, her words resound in
korean, and i understand – but sadly, i do not believe. the walls of
memory are slashed and ripped by vivid dream colors, and at 25 i see
things too well – they blind and hurt. she gave me up to get married.
she sent me away to fulfill her own dreams. dreams that you can only
have in korea with a man’s name. he now keeps me from her, and she
keeps me from myself. i forgive, but i don’t forget; i want to paint
my walls with the right palette – not the dashed discord of pitiful

So I’m in the market for a new digital camera. My main complaint with what’s been pointedly called, “shooters” aka point-and-shoot (your compact digital camera) is the delay. I’ve recently been educated in the science of “delay”, and with those cameras there seems to be a number of different types. Being as I’m not a very patient person, and the fact that I tend to like to have 3-4 takes of a single picture – I’m sick of all of them.

As a result, I’ve been directed towards the significantly more expensive SLR (single lens reflex) cameras – specifically DSLR’s (digital single lens reflex). Size is an important factor – I hate carrying anything around with me – and I hate the “Japanese tourist” look even more (pardon the racist stereotyping). Upon researching “smallest DSLR cameras” I came across the following list:

Samsung GX-1L
Samsung GX-1S
Nikon D40
Canon Rebel xTi
Pentax K110D

I had a long conversation with one of my Korean friends who is a design director and who flashes his $5k Leica M8 around like a family heirloom (who can blame him with that kind of hardware <– wow, that’s nerdy); the results seem to point to the Canon Rebel xTi. It’s smaller, powerful for the price, and reasonably priced with some of the fastest shutter and writ speeds in its class. The problem is – I’m not in love with it. I can’t really say why I’m not, it just doesn’t seem that cool. Weird, right? I know…


Not that anyone reads my blog – but if you do, and have any knowledge of DSLR’s I’d be intrigued to hear your thoughts.

As far as dream cameras are concerned – I’d like someone to buy me this Leica Digilux 3 DSLR – if you’d like to contribute, you can email me privately…

Leica Digilux 3

Well, it’s 2:36am and I’m awake writing this blog why?  It’s possibly due to being hyped up on the medrol (methylprednisolone) dose pack I’m currently taking.  Or perhaps my mind is going in circles about the last couple of scenes from Babel, which I innocuously, yet deliciously, illegally downloaded via one of my many p2p/ftp programs.  I’m not sure if I liked it – the brain hasn’t made a decision about that, but it certainly was tense enough.

Yes, I have rung in the New Year in new fashion, with a sudden diagnosis – Bell’s Palsy.  I woke up Tuesday morning with the inability to speak out of the right side of my mouth.  It’s progressively gotten worse – though, I hope the meds will begin to reverse some of the affects – droopy right hemispheric facial palsy wasn’t on the top 10 list of “To Do’s” for 2007.  Let’s hope it stays off the list.

In any case, I think I’ll try and follow the doctor’s orders and “get some rest, don’t drink, smoke, or due drugs (except for the many that we’ve prescribed for you)”.

I make a conscious effort to write stuff on this blog – and in fact many times, sign in, open up the new entry, and that’s sort of when all the good intentions sort of “poof” and disappear.  There’s alot of leadup and very little follow through – THAT is on the list of 2007 “To Do’s” – follow through.

It’s been a long time, dear blog. You thought I’d forsaken you – I had – but I thought I’d mention that I’d gone and come back from Korea. It was much too short, but still great to see my dear country again. I’ll write more later – perhaps even put a picture or two up – but for now, I must finish work and go to sleep; my body knows not wether it is night or day.

This past weekend I went running near my parents’ house. It’s a small suburban, yuppie town with too much money, and too little intellect (my humble opinion). Probably, in an overly protective niche sense, a very good place to raise kids, safe, great school system, and a nurturing/fortifying atmosphere – if you’re wealthy, white, and relatively conservative.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon, sunny, dry, and 75 degrees, perfect conditions for my usual 5 mile loop around the lazy side streets where newer mansions find residence side by side the old school ranches from the 60’s and 70’s. Taking off down my driveway, hanging a right and starting to get into that mind-numbing rhythm which always bodes for a “good” long run, I was suddenly jarred to a screeching halt. Making a turn onto my less-than-traveled street was a white BMW of four apparent teenagers. If they were 18 (required age for driving in NJ) or 22 was hard to tell – but what attracted me to pay attention was the waving hand out the window of the backseat. What, for a split second, I thought might be a friendly wave, focused itself as a waving middle finger. Following in sequence, as they sped by me, was the sneering, jeering “KONNNNIIICHIWA CHING CHONGGGG!”.

I felt punched in the face, ashame and shock all rolled into an instant of remembered alienation and stinging illegitimacy. And then the rage. The flushed cheek, inner ear roaring, heart palpitating, tunnel vision red. I had half turned to sprint after them, knowing that they would be stopping at one of the houses on my street. On MY street – but was it really mine? And again, that doubt – that thought, that perhaps I really didn’t belong there, here, in that place where you find wealth, privilege, and white.

I spent a good 3 or 4 miles raging internally, thinking about how I would be sitting on that guy’s chest pounding away on his glee filled, stupidly smiling face – thump, thump, thump – in rhythm with my feet on pavement.


It only took another couple of miles for me to spend myself – I reached the end of my driveway half expecting to see the white BMW coming roaring past me – half hoping that it would, and half thinking about getting into my own car and going to go look for them. They hadn’t only wronged me racially, they had wronged me by making me doubt my right of existence. And who argues that racism is dead in America? Complete ignorance.

My solace was found later that night in the warm enveloping understanding of Julia. My peace found in her condemnation, my rage drained by her gentle ablutions – and I thank her for it every day – she is always finding strength to calm my soul…thinking less of her own for mine.