Friday, April 03, 2009
I think it looks it better already. Visit me at http://bartschaneman.wordpress.com and have a look around. As always, comments and feedback appreciated.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Jeonju is the city of "good food." Restaurants around the country brand their dishes as "Jeonju" as in "Jeonju Bibimbap." This is an acceptable distinction, but don't get stuck on it. The food is good there -- more side dishes, fresher ingredients -- but without that distinction the city would have to devise an even further manufactured selling point. It wouldn't work. No one would come to Jeonju merely for a park, or a folk village or a mountain where a few martyrs were killed. So they say come for the food.
It is the capital of Jeollabuk-do, located at 35° 53' north and 127° 14' east. 645,000 people live in Jeonju, and at 79 square miles, that gives the city a population density of 8,101 people per square mile. On average, 15 people are born and eight people die; 10 are married and 3 divorced every day in Jeonju.
The city is surrounded by seven mountain peaks. The most noticeable is Moaksan (which is adorned with the underrated
An hour in a west-bound bus will get you to the
But no one comes to
Compared with other, bigger Korean cities there is little Western food, few Western entertainments. Although it is quite possible to have a day nearly identical to a day in an American life -- by eating at American restaurants, shopping at American stores, watching American movies and drinking American beer -- it is not possible to have that one essential American quality of consumption: choice. You are limited to a few chain Western restaurants -- Outback, T.G.I. Fridays, and worse, McDonald’s. You laugh at eating at them when you get there -- you never did when they had them in your hometown, why start now?
After a few months you give in and for a while it’s good. But it only takes two or three undercooked and overpriced hamburgers to expose the lie. Then you begin to choose Korean. You start looking for good, Korean food. Through the food you make a bond with the culture. You learn the words for the things on the table and it feels good to order them in correct Korean. It might give you motivation to learn the language, or it might not -- what matters is that you like sitting at the table with all the side dishes and trying everything. You find the dakdoritang restaurant near Jeonbuk-dae, your friends find dak galbi restaurants that are far too spicy for your stomach, the lady that runs the hole in the wall restaurant has the best doenjang and chamchi chiggae you will ever taste.
Most importantly, don’t listen to the marketers. Don’t go to Jeonju for the bibimbap. Stay away from Lotte Department Store and the turtle ship and the paper museum and all the other ways the city tries to sell itself. No, go to Jeonju because it is
Go to Jeonju, where I went to great dinners at the duck restaurant near the church in Kumamdong -- 5-course meals with 15 people on their knees drinking soju. Jeonju, where I ate hanwoo with farmers and blue-collar workers in Seosindong, who were there because it was the best meat in the city. Jeonju, where I got drunk with foreigners at the great expat bar Deepin -- small and smoke-filled and the bartenders know everyone. Where I walked under the bridge on the Jeonju River, where the old men play Go-Stop and drink makgeolli, and I photographed a man in a hospital gown hooked up to an IV, smoking and gambling. Go there if you want to say you saw
It takes about three hours from
Photos by me.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Friday, February 06, 2009
It’s been decades since anyone has seen a tiger in South Korea. The final tiger was captured either in 1922 or in 1944 on the southern tip of the peninsula, depending on whom you ask. But in some places, their ghosts still cast shadows across the landscape. Ribbons of morning mist cut into deep valleys, setting apart the dark mountain ridges one after another like black stripes across the skin of the land; bears, the tiger’s partner in Korea’s creation myth, still wander in some mountains; and autumn’s tawny, dappled hillsides make it especially easy–and slightly unsettling–to imagine the tiger’s presence.Read the rest of the article here.
Sunday, February 01, 2009
"Don't take a job with whose objective you do not agree and don't take a job as a stepping-stone to something else...By following these guidelines, you have a chance of bringing your entire experience to the jobs you do and avoiding a lot of misery."
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Read the rest here.
Rural Nebraskan Not Sure He Could Handle Frantic Pace Of OmahaNORTH PLATTE, NE–Lifelong North Platte resident Fred Linder, 46, revealed Monday that he doesn't think he could cope with the fast-paced hustle and bustle of Omaha, the Cornhusker State's largest city.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
By James Frey
It is one of the sadder tales in modern publishing history.
It goes like this: a man, James Frey, writes a book that is autobiographical in nature about addiction, about finding a way to make it through a dark spell. He tries to sell it as a novel, shopping it around to publishers and they all pass on it.
So he re-brands it, calls it a memoir, says the story is “true,” and naturally a major publishing house bites. He gets a contract and the book is released. It sells modestly until a media mogul, a woman who reaches people primarily through a television show, tells her audience that it is a great story of recovery. She puts her stamp of approval on it and the sales figures skyrocket.
The writer gets rich and noticed. In fact, he receives too much attention – a website that is owned by a television station picks up the book and fact checks it. They find inconsistencies in his story and expose them.
The media mogul then asks the writer to come on her show and embarrasses him before a live television audience and millions of viewers at home. He loses his publisher, readers are offered refunds, and he is asked to write an apology to be added to the beginning of every book.
Then he decides to write a “novel.” It’s his attempt at American Literature in the modern sense, in the (shudder)
He tries to evoke a sense of place (
It’s not a poorly written book. His style is digestible; it is easy to tolerate his lack of punctuation and run-on sentences.
For an example of his writing here is Old Man Joe, a homeless man who is 38 but looks like he is in his 70s and lives in a bathroom: “The boardwalk is loud, crowded, dirty, parking is a nightmare, it smells like fifty types of food, almost all of them fried. It is a world unto itself, and the homeless population is a world within that world. It’s dawn and Old Man Joe is awake on the beach he’s staring at the sky slowly turning blue, it’s slowly turning blue. He came this morning with the hope that he would learn why, why but he hasn’t learned anything it is as it is every morning he’s learned nothing. It’s already warm somewhere in the mid-70s. The sand is cold against the exposed areas of his skin, his hands, his ankles, neck, the back of his head. There is a light breeze. The air is wet and clean and it smells like salt and tastes like the ocean he takes deep, slow breaths, holds them, exhales, takes another.”
“The boardwalk is loud, crowded, dirty, parking is a nightmare, it smells like fifty types of food, almost all of them fried. It is a world unto itself, and the homeless population is a world within that world.
It’s dawn and Old Man Joe is awake on the beach he’s staring at the sky slowly turning blue, it’s slowly turning blue. He came this morning with the hope that he would learn why, why but he hasn’t learned anything it is as it is every morning he’s learned nothing. It’s already warm somewhere in the mid-70s. The sand is cold against the exposed areas of his skin, his hands, his ankles, neck, the back of his head. There is a light breeze. The air is wet and clean and it smells like salt and tastes like the ocean he takes deep, slow breaths, holds them, exhales, takes another.”
BSM is structured with four unconnected storylines—the homeless man, an actor, a Mexican-American maid, and a young couple from
As Frey writes that
It’s almost as if Frey was proving to us that he had done his research, or that his research could make up for his lack of real expertise on the subject. The facts and figures, those dry parcels of information, might have been put to better use as unconscious or subliminal details that shaded the narrative and the characters, rather than merely bloating the length of the book.
I should have a greater understanding of
There isn’t anything Frey doesn’t think he can write about. He writes about surfers: “Many grew up in landlocked states without salt water they saw surfing on TV or in videos they read magazines filled with pictures of long-haired men in shorts dripping wet surrounded by beautiful girls. Some tried it on family vacations and found themselves others have known it throughout the entirety of their lives. All of them find peace and joy alone on the water a serenity contentment to which they devote their lives.”
“Many grew up in landlocked states without salt water they saw surfing on TV or in videos they read magazines filled with pictures of long-haired men in shorts dripping wet surrounded by beautiful girls. Some tried it on family vacations and found themselves others have known it throughout the entirety of their lives. All of them find peace and joy alone on the water a serenity contentment to which they devote their lives.”
“All of them find peace and joy?” To even use words like that – serenity, contentment—what was he reading for research, a screenplay for a
One of the points of the story of
Frey has said he merely tells stories and it’s ridiculous to have to worry about the designations, whether it’s a novel or a memoir. If that is indeed his stance, then I would think he would have written something closer to truth.
I would have loved the story of “Frey’s Redemption," and I’m happy for him that he came back from all that media persecution, but I’d be happier if this was a better book. I don’t see why he didn’t just try to do what “A Million Little Pieces” did again but call it a novel. He sold out to the world of “academic literature” and we’re all worse off. There was more truth in one page of AMLP than in this entire book.
Monday, January 05, 2009
I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deep-rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history. Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds rest.
—from "The Moon and Sixpence" by W. Somerset Maugham, 1919
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Few would dispute that the top story of the last year was the extent to which the foreign community pulled together. Whether it involved raising millions of won for charities, forming social clubs, joining the Taean oil-spill cleanup, feeding the homeless, or teaching English to underprivileged children, foreigners joined their Korean communities in different ways and in record numbers.
Koreans and expats rushed in unprecedented numbers to the national call for help in the worst-ever oil spill off the nation's East Coast near the end of 2007. That cleanup, which brought together U.S. military personal, English instructors and foreign professionals, lasted through much of 2008, resulting in the quick revitalization of a devastated region.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
1. The Razor’s Edge—W. Somerset Maugham
2. Lost Illusions (Part 1: Two Poets)—Honore de Balzac
3. Memories of My Melancholy Whores—Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Travels With Charley—John Steinbeck
5. A Man Without a Country—Kurt Vonnegut
6. The Rum Diary—Hunter S. Thompson
7. Winesburg, Ohio—Sherwood Anderson
8. Factotum—Charles Bukowksi
9. No Country For Old Men—Cormac McCarthy
10. The Dream of a Common Language—Adrienne Rich
11. What is the What—Dave Eggers
12. The Story of the Shipwrecked Sailor—Marquez
13. Tao Te Ching—Lao Tzu
14. Chronicles Volume #1—Bob Dylan
15. Lady With Lapdog, and Other Stories—Anton Chekhov
16. The Rum Diary—Thompson (2)
17. The Book of Tea—Kakuzo Okakura
18. Poor Folk—Fyodor Dostoevsky
19. The Maltese Falcon—Dashiell Hammet
20. Children of the Volga—George Bruntz
21. The Dangerous Summer—Ernest Hemingway
22. What Happened—Scott McClellan
23. White Noise—Don Delillo
24. Nexus—Henry Miller
25. Slouching Towards Bethlehem—Joan Didion
26. V for Vendetta—Alan Moore
There were some great books in there. "The Rum Diary" made me roll on the floor with laughter, the Dostoevsky was great, as was the Delillo and the Didion. If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably have to be Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley." It wasn't the most remarkable piece of writing, but I loved the story. I'm on the last pages of James Frey's "Bright Shiny Morning" and I'll carry "The Emotional Brain" by Joseph LeDoux over into 2009. Anybody want to share their list?
Sunday, December 28, 2008
In a year of over-production and hyper-stylized dance music, we didn't have enough well-worded songs. Maybe the darkness of Bon Iver took up too much room for other lyrically focused artists. That was a really large record. Or maybe Bright Eyes and Oberst fans wanted him to be equally as dark, which this record wasn't at all. But that's not really fair. We can't expect our artists to suffer needlessly for their art, can we? I mean, if the guy wants to be happy and healthy and that's how his music comes out, then we can't really fault him for that. I still think he's better with words than 99 percent of songwriters out there.
UPDATE: This useless magazine has "Moab" at 31, right after "Pork and Beans" by Weezer, and before "Everyone Nose" by N.E.R.D. He's in more trouble than I thought.