Archive for May, 2011

words of wisdom from Ira Glass

May 28, 2011

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.

Ira Glass (via hyperallergic) (Source: lazulisong)

futbol vs football

May 28, 2011

My dad was watching a soccer game on tv today.  It was Bar v. Shk – and I didn’t know what Shk was.  I looked it up.  It’s Shaktar Donetsk, in the Ukraine.  He had a look like “okay, whatever” when I announced this to him.

So I looked up Ukraine in Google Translate – it’s this: 우크라이나 (pronounced sort of like this: oo-kuh-ra-ee-nah).    And then he was suddenly all “!!Oh!! 우크라이나!”

Is it just me, or is this whole exchange just off somehow?  (Unless he was faking, which I sort of doubt because he would have just faked knowing Ukraine to begin with.)

(And not just because we all learned that the Ukraine had a team in the UEFA champions league.  Me, it’s understandable.  I didn’t even know the UEFA had different leagues.  But my father?  He lives for el futbol.  Yeah, he does pronounce like that.  Too many Spanish language games, I think.  And the funny think is that he will correct himself and say, “soccer” – because, you know, it’s me and I’m sooo American.  It’s okay, dad.  I got it.)

66 75 63 6b 20 6d 65 2c 20 49 27 6d 20 61 20 66 75 63 6b 69 6e 67 20 6e 65 72 64

May 19, 2011

I just made a hexadecimal joke on Facebook – to people who probably don’t care and have real lives. Wally on a wiener, am I a freakin’ nerd. I thought I would conform to normalcy when I finished school. I just got worse. Sigh. (Honestly, I had to go through a translator. Confession: I looked up the hex in wikipedia to make sure it was correct. Nerdy and with OCD. Lovely.)

But it was a joke about the upcoming robot apocalypse.  It’s funny, right?  *wibbles*  Right?

Ask, and ye shall receive…

May 16, 2011

…but not in the way you might like.

To paraphrase another blogger (lazulisong – who is so awesome), “dear FFnet, I will stop asking for reviews if you stop sending me comments from illiterate 12-year-olds.”

But I did get a couple that literally made me laugh out loud.

“anyone willing to go through this much history for the sake of a naruhina story I can’t say anything negative”  (story is based in Feudal-era Japan.)  haha!  I don’t even know where to go with that one – !  ?  !

“Wow, that was nice. Kinda deep, but at the same time, kinda not.”  HAhaha!  I can only try.

Oh, reviewers.  Sometimes, you puzzle me.  Occasionally, you make me think you were not reading the piece I thought I was writing.  Once in a great while, you piss me off.  Other times, you make the effort worthwhile.   Keep making me laugh and I just might keep up with this lunacy.

brain chemistry, aka HIT ME!

May 13, 2011

I was watching tv a few days ago, and Ashton Kutcher was on, talking about how the interconnectedness is kind of an addiction.  (I can’t remember exactly what he said, but I’ll paraphrase to the best of my ability.)  Every time somebody responds to a tweet, or “likes” you on facebook, or sends you an email, it sets off serotonin (the happy neurotransmitter) in your brain, and you get addicted to the feedback.

I totally get it.  After I post something, especially a big story, I get all sorts of nervous and crazy.  I want my serotonin hit!  (in shady back alley of my brain, “hey man, just another hit, man…”)  Okay, maybe it’s also because I’m afraid of what people might think of my writing.  But also because there is a sizeable element of ego feeding involved (yes, call me review whore, it’s okay, I know what I am).

Life was much more peaceful when I was just writing and away from the internet.   I couldn’t believe how twitchy I was when I first posted after being away for a long time.

If this is how I behave posting a fanfic chapter on the internet (out of all the other behaviors on this planet) – well, this makes me think that avoiding any kind of addictive behavior was a good life choice for me.  (Imagine how much worse I would be if it were a real substance!)

Oh yeah.  Chapter 5 of story posted.  (Twitches.)

noodling about

May 10, 2011

Clarification on gooksu.  Yes it means noodles.  So does so myun, neng myun, dang myun, etc.  I sort of think of it like this:  Gooksu is like “pasta.”  You can eat pasta, make a meal of pasta, etc.   So myun, etc., is like “lasagna” or “spaghetti” or “rotini” – it’s in the pasta family, and you can refer to the food as the noodle.  Being in the learning stages, I like to know the specific noodle/myun in use, because the various noodles not only have different shapes, they are made of different starches (wheat, rice, sweet potato starch, etc.) and taste different and have different textures.

queening about

May 10, 2011

There was a lot of stuff about Prince William and Kate Middleton (of UK royalty) in the news recently.  I have to say – I couldn’t give less of a fig than I do.

W held up a picture of someone and asked me who it was.  I had no idea.  He said, “Good for you.  It’s Kate Middleton’s sister.”  I do think it’s awful, however, when I first heard that people made fun of Kate Middleton’s family – geez.  It’s one thing to have an opinion about a potential in-law, it’s another that such speculation make news that penetrates even to my level.  Poor Kate.  She’s in one sucky, sucky fairy tale (Princess status be damned – I’d have taken off a while ago if that’s what my partner’s family/friends had to say about my family).

W’s mother is all over it, though.  She spent some time in the UK following WWII and it really formed some parts of her character and her perceptions of the British people.  She loved the wedding, and got up to watch it.   (Not necessarily intentionally – but she was up anyway, or so she says.  On the flip side, I was up because the kids got me up and then immediately went back to sleep when they did.)

I recently re-watched the movie “the Queen” starring Helen Mirren.  I was sort of astonished at how little reading by the royal family there seemed to be.  Sure, they love the outdoors and their animals, but the depiction of a life where isn’t reading a pastime was astonishing.  Of course, it is just a movie.

However, the idea that somebody, in this day and age, has that sort of hereditary status, money, and then that belief that this is God-given?  That’s just too much for me.   I get annoyed that W seems sometimes to take advantage and “expect” things like laundry to happen.  Then he gets over it.   (Although W has met people who keep track of many of the royals and send them birthday cards and things like that.  It’s totally insane.  I can’t even manage to send out holiday cards to people I know!)

Man, I am really American when I watch that movie.  Specifically – I am anti-monarchist, or even democratic republican.   (I grew up in the US with immigrant parents who made something of themselves and expected me to do so.  I think it’s pretty natural to feel this way.)

Some article I read indicated that the British Royal Family got a boost in popularity following that movie.  I have to say – really?  Then the family was in the pits before, because it sort of made me (an American!) resentful of them and their ways of dealing.

And as for this?  (refuseniks to taking a British honour)   Bravo, I say.  Bravo.

Edit: Maybe I’m just too middle-class to get it.  😐

the smell of memory

May 4, 2011

I made something like this last night (I adapted it some, i.e. left out the chilies because I have young children who don’t like spicy food but then added a whack of red pepper paste to my own bowl, I added a bunch of random bits of vegetables, etc.).

It’s weird, because now my house kind of smells like my parents’ house.  At least, as I remember it smelling after my mother cooking.  It is all sorts of richness; sesame oil, garlicky, oniony, long-stewed, heavy sort of smell.  It is homey and simultaneously really disorienting.  My house doesn’t really smell like that – because I don’t cook like that very frequently.

I don’t imagine other people (i.e. regular people) get this way.  W doesn’t seem to be moved by smells.  His sense of smell isn’t great, and his mother wasn’t a great cook, and his sense of identity isn’t really tied into the food of his childhood.

And as I write that, I think I just put my finger on what it was about that dinner smell that affected me, especially as it hung around this morning.  Identity.  My personal identity is tied up with that smell.  And maybe how I thought I smelled to other people – the smell of my clothes as I entered the outside world – and then the smell of my parents’ house as I re-entered it.

(Proust had madeleines, I’ve got kimchee, garlic and sesame oil.  Take that, Maureen Corrigan.)

On a minor note, that smell makes me think I should really get working on some side dishes as well.  You know, get my Korean Housewife on.

cooking it, Korean style

May 2, 2011

This winter has made me glum.  So I started craving my comfort foods – Korean home cooking.  Unfortunately, I’ve hit a snag.  I’m not that good at cooking Korean food.

Part of it is that I just want the food my mother cooks.  But that half of that stuff I don’t know how to do, and some amount of it I would never want to eat (hello pickled peppers with dried anchovies, and good-bye), and a large proportion of that stuff I don’t even know what it’s called  – I know the ingredients and I know what one does with them, but I do not know the name.  That’s terribly embarrassing.

Even if I know what it’s called, I have no idea what to call some of the ingredients.  I could make the excuse that some of those ingredients are hard to get, or local to Korea, but that’s just not really true anymore.   (I mean, I still have to drive an hour to find much of this stuff, or maybe mail-order else import via Mom’s Import Service, but that’s a personal service not available to other people not my siblings.)  Barring some random stuff – like local fish, or stuff they don’t let into the US for various reasons (like a funky mushroom), much of the ingredients I would need I could probably get.  There is the small issue of the cuts of meat being very different, and how that kind of makes me sort of nervous (like it would make a difference, duh).

Also, some of the stuff I like is so home-cooked, that what I know it as, is not what its name really is.  My father makes some noodle dish (usually so myun) with a red-colored, spicy/sweet/sour sauce that I know as gooksu.  He showed me how to make it once, so I have an idea of what I to do.  (Funny story – as my father showed me how to do this, my mother interrupted and told him he was doing it all wrong.  When I asked her why she never makes it, she replied that she hates this dish.  So I ask, why would I take her advice?).  But, apparently, the cookbooks I’ve got (even the one my mother bought for me, which W finds hilarious because one of the recommendation blurbs on it comes from a minister, as opposed to say, a professional cook or food critic), and much of the internet does not think this is gooksu.  The vast majority seem to think gooksu is some soupy thing.  The recipe I finally found by searching on the ingredients, and the noodle is something completely different (buckwheat noodle, memil gooksu, or soba).  It is, drumroll, please, bibim gooksu.  Of course, the problem is that gooksu is Korean for “noodle” so of course one is going to find any number of things that don’t work.   (I actually thought the word for noodle is myun.  I googled it and gooksu is noodle.  Dang!  I think myun and gooksu are both noodle – like maybe “pasta” and “noodle”.  Anyone?)

Sigh.  I’m off to figure out what tree-ear fungus (I only learned that’s what that floppy black stuff was called in English a couple of years ago) is in Korean so I can add it to my other noodle dishes.