TYPE B in TAIPEI, PART III: Time, and What to Do about It

Siluo Elementary SchoolComing to the end of an adventure, no matter how short, always seems to provoke a period of introspection in me. The length of the period of self-reflection seems to increase in duration corresponding to the length of the journey. Basically my entire final semester of college consisted of pre-dawn mornings spent drinking coffee in my dorm room staring out the window and wondering what in God’s name I was going to do next. I spent the last two months of my time in Korea after returning from celebrating Christmas with my family in America counting the “lasts:” the selling of my possessions, the last times I would visit my favorite hang-outs, the last time I would say goodbye to kids at the English village. Just two weeks ago, the curtains closed on my most recent adventure, in rural Yunlin County, Taiwan. It was only about four months long, but it felt far longer. Continue reading

THE KOREA KRONICLES, PART XIII: There’ll Be a Great Homecoming

Happy ThanksgivingNine months. I can hardly believe it, but it’s true: I have now lived in Korea for nine months and it’s mind-boggling to consider just how much I’ve changed and grown in that short amount of time. Just two days ago, the faculty and staff of the English camp celebrated a wonderful Thanksgiving Dinner together at a fancy buffet restaurant in Daegu and I can hardly believe I just typed this sentence. THANKSGIVING?!?! Where the hell did 2013 go? By the way, the photo at right shows English camp’s ORU presence in a moment of revelry at said dinner. As it is now approaching the end of the year, I don’t intend to say too much in this post as I am already working on the next installment in my Story Arcs series. In just a quick teaser of that post (or, as is likely to be the case, those posts), which I will publish somewhere around the end of the present year, I can assure you that the transformation I’ve experienced over the past three-quarters of a year is quite a story and I look forward to sharing it with you all. Continue reading

GRAFO: Chasing Hay, and Sundry Other Pursuits

WritingI wrote my first story when I was six years old. Except, that may be a lie. It’s possible that I wrote something before, but I can’t remember and, if I did, the lack of either a physical or mental record of its existence means that, for all practical purposes, it never existed. That’s incredibly humbling, is it not? Think of the vast multitudes of people who’ve lived, learned, loved, built, discovered, wept, rejoiced, and died about whom no memory remains. People often forget that history is the story of people, and not just of the neurotic, sociopathic, and idiosyncratic figures who sit enthroned in the human memory of history with a disproportionate amount of the credit for shaping its direction. In some small way, I can understand a little why some people invest so much time into achieving things to warrant people remembering them beyond death. In some cultures, more than one concept of death exists, with the final being, for some, the saddest of all: the moment when no one remains to remember you. Continue reading

THE PETTY FILE: Socially Tabooed Words Still a BFD

OMG, I’m totes LMAO. (Photo: Obama for America)

Some might recall the incident a couple of months ago when Rick “Potty-Mouth” Santorum’s late presidential campaign was tainted by controversy over an off-color verbal ejaculation made to a New York Times reporter. When Jeff Zeleny asked the candidate to clarify his statement that Mitt Romney is the “worst Republican in the country” to run against Obama (in the exchange, Santorum added the qualifier “on the issue of Obamacare”), Little Ricky got in a tiff and proceeded to say that if he saw the remark referenced in a story, it would be “bullshit.”

I then found myself in the interesting and unenviable position of defending Rick Santorum. I wasn’t defending his actions, of course; the reporter was merely doing his job by asking the presidential candidate to clarify his statement regarding a rival candidate. My defense was of his choice in words, particularly since the real point of the incident (Santorum unfairly castigating a member of the press) was largely lost amid the furor over the word “bullshit.” If there was any bullshit going around, it was the public’s (and the media’s) hype over Santorum using the socially tabooed word and overlooking the real issue.

Continue reading