Disaster Waiting To Happen

Regarding the fraternity gang rape at UVA — how could any parent in good conscience send their daughter to Charlottesville for four years, knowing that there’s a 1/4 chance she’ll be raped?  And not outside the realm of possibility, murdered?

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Outside Buseok Temple

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Korean temples are amazing, beautiful places with vibrant historical and cultural significance.  But my favorite part of visiting one (in addition to the fish cakes and booze!) are the women who set up shop on the path leading up to the temples (which are almost always established at the top of a mountain).

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There are tons of apple orchards in the Yeongju area, obviously, but the other produce is always amazing.  Even my Korean friends didn’t recognize about half of the mushrooms, roots, nuts, barks, and tea leaves on display.  The women at the stalls were happy to explain and give us free samples of everything.

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Buseok Temple (Buseoksa)

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After six years in South Korea, you’d think I might be a bit temple’d out.  I’ve been to big ones, small ones, ones with amazing rivers running through them, and even ones where Buddha left his begging bowl.  I don’t get tired of them though.  The best ones are really a complete experience, and a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the weather.  It’s even worth re-visiting temples during different seasons — they take on a totally different aura based on the colors of the surrounding trees and mountains.

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Historically, Buseoksa is famous for having the second oldest wooden building in Korea.  It was founded by a guy named Uisang, famous for going to China to study and breaking a girl’s heart.  As he got on a boat back to Korea, she jumped into the ocean and transformed into a dragon to protect him on the trip home.

But the best part of Buseoksa are the incredible mountain views.

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More Light

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Daegu, South Korea.

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“Public Ivy” My Ass

A gang rape at the University of Virginia:

“She remembers every moment of the next three hours of agony, during which, she says, seven men took turns raping her, while two more – her date, Drew, and another man – gave instruction and encouragement. She remembers how the spectators swigged beers, and how they called each other nicknames like Armpit and Blanket. She remembers the men’s heft and their sour reek of alcohol mixed with the pungency of marijuana. Most of all, Jackie remembers the pain and the pounding that went on and on.”

I did my M.A. at UVA.  Academically, the place is stellar.  Culturally, especially among the frats, it’s a racist hellhole of Rebel battle flags and date rape.

I’m so ashamed.  Burn it to the ground.  Some of the academic rigor might be missed, but smug sense of “we’re better than everyone else” will definitely not be.

And I can assure you that for every story like this, there are at least ten you never will know about.

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Embrace The Fish Paste

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This here is my friend odeng which is, basically, the Korean take on Japanese oden.  Resting on those skewers are strips of processed fish paste simmering away in a vegetable and jujube broth.  On the left are bowls of pepper-enhanced soy sauce for your dipping needs.

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It’s street food basically, and the hot pieces of fish and the warm broth make it a favorite during the fall and winter, or after visiting a temple or taking a hike.

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After coming down the hill from Buseok Temple, or any temple in Korea for that matter, you’ll find tons of these carts set up with various older women slinging out their own takes on the dish.  In the background you can see an open pink bucket of dongdongju, a thick, milky, and sour fermented rice wine.  The hot sting of the odeng is perfectly washed down the by icy head rush of the fairly strong alcohol (drunk from a cup, not a bowl, always).

You and your friends stand (never sit!) and have as much fish and booze as you like, then pay per skewer ravaged  and per bowl ingested.  The system is poetry, really.  And for no extra charge you can grab a paper cup and ladle in some of the odeng broth to sip on.

When I first moved here I’ll admit, I found the flavor of odeng to be pretty bland.  And I thought dongdongju was nice with spicy foods, but not something I’d want to drink every weekend.

But this stuff has totally grown on me.  When I go hiking in the fall, or even on cooler spring days, odeng and dongdongju are essential parts of the experience.  It’s one of those flavor combos where the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

And honestly, you have to drink some of the broth, even if it’s been sitting outside for possibly days on end.

Why?  Well, because Korea.

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Sobaek Mountain National Park — Huibang Falls

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It’s the sweet spot of Korean fall, right between a refreshing crispness in the air and the bitter cold that’s soon to come.  After a few hours spent at a temple with incredible mountain views and the oldest wooden buildings in Korea,  Buseoksa, we made it to Huibang Falls.

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I’d rate Buseoksa as a definite “must see,” and while the falls are less impressive if you’re in the Yeongju area they’re worth visiting.

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I Hate Illinois (and Korean Female) Nazis

Can’t decide whether this is hilarious or depressing — a Korean girl group were dressed up like Nazi’s for a public performance in Busan:

“This is Pritz. They’re a South Korea pop group. And during a recent performance at a horse track, they wore outfits that drew comparisons to Nazi uniforms.

According to Realtime Korea, the group’s management, talent agency Pandagram, says that was never the intention, saying, ‘the thought never occurred’ that the outfits could be compared to Nazi uniforms.”

As if I needed another reason to hate K-pop. . . .

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Documenting The Atrocities

This is hilarious.  And by hilarious, I mean tragic.  And by tragic, I mean fucking moronic.

Apparently, the macho SEAL dude who blew out Osama bin Laden’s brains came in to give the struggling Washington [Name Redacted] a pep talk.

How’d that work out for ya?

“So of course, in the very first play out of the game, Griffin took the snap out of the shotgun, looked left, and passed a ball to Niles Paul. Paul bobbled it into the air and directly into the hands of Bucs linebacker Danny Lansanah. Because Tampa Bay sucks, they couldn’t take advantage of the short field, and ended up settling for a field goal.

After trading punts, Washington got the ball back on their four-yard line. On third down, Griffin dropped back, and threw a pass that was tipped by Buccaneers linebacker Mason Foster directly into the hands of corner Johnthan Banks, who rumbled into the endzone to give Tampa Bay the 10-0 lead.”

The Redskins were, of course, crushed 27-7 by the second-worst team in the league.

So basically, 20 pounds of fail in a five pound bag.

And Robert Griffin is going to make Ryan Leaf look like John Elway.

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Samsung Fighting!

Congratulations to my local Korean baseball team the Samsung Lions.  They won their fourth consecutive Korean Baseball Organization championship last night.

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