116. Verbal vomit on caffeine

July 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Hi guys.  I drank some coffee today.  The following post is what happens when I’m on caffeine.

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Quotes like this make me feel less weird about being me:

“It has been found that when the individual is “open” to all his experience…then his behavior will be creative, and his creativity may be trusted to be essentially constructive…In a person who is open to experience each stimulus is freely relayed….without being distorted by any process of defensiveness.  Whether the stimulus originates in the environment, in the impact of form, color, or sound on the sensory nerves, or whether it originates in the viscera…it is available to awareness…This last suggests another way of describing openness to experience.  It means lack of rigidity and permeability of boundaries in concepts, beliefs, perceptions, and hypotheses.  It means a tolerance for ambiguity where ambiguity exists.  It means the ability to receive much conflicting information without forcing closure upon the situation….This complete openness of awareness to what exists at this moment is, I believe, an important condition of constructive creativity.”

-Carl Rogers via Richard Florida’s The Rise of the Creative Class

via internet. The typography for this book cover is unappealing and disproportionate. Ew.

But it’s quite odd because as much as I love experiences that resonate with such an “openness to ambiguity,” sometimes I have an urge to verbalize or numeritize or slice and dissect everything into pieces with a “precision-knife of knowledge” (R. M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance).

Balance balance balance balance.

via internet. much more effective typography. bravo.

Anyways.  Off to Taiwan now.

Actually, no.  While I’m on the subject of literary whatnots, I have one thing to rant about.  This is currently the bane of my existence:

via internet

I’ve been reading this book for five months.  Five months!!!!!  At maximum it takes me two weeks to finish a book, but getting through this one has been like pulling teeth that are super-glued to your gums.  History has never really engaged me, but I understand it’s pretty important and I thought it would do me good to read a somewhat comprehensive summary of world history as manifested in the book above.  However, the only section that interested me were the two paragraphs in which the author talks about zebras and gazelles.

zebra zebra zebra zebra zebra! via exzooberance.com

Unfortunately, the excitement of animal behavior lasted hardly a page and now I’m chewing through thousands of words about how the production of corn or wheat or domesticated pigs or something or other shaped the way various regions developed technology at different rates in different locations and how that accounts for the varieties of technological/economical development and where the axis of power currently lie and etc etc etc.  Ugh. history: you. make. me. tired.

Hm.  Ranting is kind of fun.

What else can I rant about…

I’ve been shopping these days.  I finally got some new clothes that make me look less like a homeless person.  This includes a black unitard/jumpsuit thing that I’m extremely proud of and a turquoise-flowered unitard-like short ensemble (apparently called a ‘romper’) that I’m semi-proud of.  These unitard things look cool but they are really inefficient to use the bathroom in.   You can’t lift it up like a dress…you can’t pull it down like a pair of pants…you have to completely undress yourself to pee!  Le sigh.  People say beauty is a pain, but if anything, I say beauty is inefficient.

…But it’s just so purty to look at… *^^*

jumpsuits! they look cool but imagine trying to use the bathroom in one of these.

I also bought a new external hard drive and I’ve finally been able to clear my SD cards.  Makes me feel so good inside.  I also organized my bookshelf by genre and discovered that my library falls under three broad categories: psychology, business, and fiction.

My new external hard drive! Samsung Portable M2. via internet

My dad also got me a pair of real earrings because my fake ones developed this bright green rust and my mom started yelling about how I was close to developing cancer.  Who knew that allowing cheap metals to rot on my skin is an effective strategy for receiving jewelry from my dad?

Hm.  Verbal vomit feels nice.  Nice for me to write, probably not so much for you to read.  If, for some odd reason, you have read up to this point, I treat you with pictures of beautiful zebras and beautiful Rihanna:

zebra zebra zebra zebra zebra part II. via http://true-wildlife.blogspot.com/

That woman is so beautiful. And the art direction for those series is fabulous.  To watch the full video, click here.

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See you later alligators!


114. Dear babies: stop it.

July 28, 2011 § 6 Comments

This is what happens when your students play a competitive game with a box of cookies on the line:

I wonder why we bite our nails when we are nervous.  Is it a culturally learned emotional signal or is there something inherent about applying pressure from our teeth to our fingernails that induces some sort of soothing effect?  Does it induce a soothing effect at all?

111. circle circle dot dot

July 19, 2011 § 3 Comments

110. 아무래도 인사는 서운해

July 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

요즘 애는 사람들이랑 마지막 인사를 많이 한다.

어제는 많은 친구들이랑 같이 모여서 맛있는 점심을 먹고 복분자 한잔 식 마시면서 즐거운 시간을 보내고 또 코스트코도 가서 놀았다 (코스트코 가서 논다는 것은 또 한국 와서 처음경험 ^^).

또 다른 사람들은 일대일로 만나서 점심 먹고 예기 하고 인사 했다.

또 다른 사람들은 디티씨에서 인사 했다.

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나는 어릴 대 붙어 자주 옴 기고 사람들이 자주 왔다갔다 해서 마지막 goodbye 인사가 이숙 해져서 별것 아니다고 생각했다.  그리고 또한 방법은 사람들한테 마음을 닫는 것이다.  마음을 닫으면 인사할 대 하나도 안 서운하고 안 아파요.

그러나 오랫동안 그렇게 지내보니까 사람의 의미를 잊어버렸어요.

제가 한국 9월에 처음 왔을 때 그런 땅땅 한 마음상태로 왔어요.  사람 만나는 게 두렵고, 귀찮고, 학교 아니면 비즈니스 목표 없이 만나면 시간을 버린다고 생각했어요.

그러나, 한국에 와서 시간을 보내고, 좋은 사람들 만나면서 좋은 대화도 나누고, 같이 응원도 주고 받는 것을 느껴보고, 사람들이 나한테 마음을 열어주고 나 도 마음을 조금 식 열었다.  그렇게 하다 보니까 와, 왜 사람의 ‘인’ 자는 두 줄로 만들어졌나 이해가 되기 시작했다.

…그래도 오랫동안 마음을 닫은 상태에서 사람한테 마음을 연다는 것은 쉬운 일이 아니지요?

아직도 저는 마음에 있는 포연을 겉으로 꺼내는 것은 부족합니다.

사람들 한명식 한명식 마지막 인사하면서 눈을 맞춰요.  그러나 눈을 맞추면 손을 잡고 싶고, 손을 잡으면 깊게 안아주고 싶다.

그러나 나는 그런 의미 잇는 스킨십은 원래부터 어색하고 또 한국 문화 때문에 더 부란해서 하고 싶은 말도 다 뭍하고 느끼고 싶은 몸 인사포연을 안 했다.

서.운.하.다. T.T

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…그러나 나는 왜 이 글을 쓰지?

…hmm…제 마음을 받아주라고 쓰는 것 같아요.  겉으로 나온 인사가 안에 있는 인사보다 잘 안나웠고 부족했는데 여러분 그 동안 좋은 친구 해주셔서 너무 고맙고 제 푼푼한 마음을 받아주세요.

그럼, 다음에 만날 때가지 안녕~  엄마가 예기 하는 것 처럼 또 미국 가서 고생하러 가 는대 여러분 덕분에 좋은 에너지와 용기와 경험을 싸고 갑니다!  여러분 파이팅이애요! <3

[특히 이 글은:  나미나미나미, 애스재이, 미셸, JML, WHC, JCP, 닼털박, 생선님, KHB, WJA, HJN, HJO, HKC, SYJ, CMP, YHB, YJK, YKS, & 세종듀오 JHP+SHL 애게.  JHC는 아직 마지막 않이니까 인사 제대로 할께^^]

109. Hello babies

July 14, 2011 § 5 Comments

I haven’t been taking too many images these days — I’m trying to enjoy my moments rather than constantly observing and documenting them…it actually works!

…but that means I have less stuff to post here and show you guys ^^

This is my last week of teaching so I managed to snap a couple of my students.  Here are three particularly memorable ones:

This is Nelly, a cutie patootie little newcomer:

This is John, another newcomer.  I think he has slight autism.  He lacks complete motor control of his lower jaw and is very precise with his work and has trouble understanding social norms.

lol take 1:

take 2:

Here is Dennis, who is in love with Nelly.  He’s missing his two front teeth, has a huge smile everyday, and gives me snacks once in a while:

In the same class, there are three more students (who I didn’t post images of because the quality was compromised):

  1. A boy named Jerry who is super bossy and wants to be in charge and likes ridiculing  the other students when they don’t know something (not cool!)
  2. A girl named Sury who is a perfectionist.  Yesterday, when I asked her for her homework, she hung her head down low and refused to say anything or hand over her papers.  After much coercing and asking her to tell me what was wrong, she laboriously looks up at me with teary eyes and says to me, “I didn’t answer one of the questions.”  Wow.  She (or her mother) must put a lot of pressure on herself to become that miserable about one question.  She actually had a really good answer in mind, but was so conflicted because her answer didn’t necessarily coincide with what we learned in class.  I spent the whole class trying to make her feel better by praising her answers and paying extra attention to her throughout class.  I think it worked.  I’m not sure though because she doesn’t smile much.
  3. A boy named Andy who is a pretty normal semi-good semi-troublemaking kid.
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108. I love rainy days :) / 나는 비 오는 날 종아 ^^

July 7, 2011 § 4 Comments

I love rainy days.  You see silly little things like a pair of Asian grandmothers, wearing the same highlighter-orange tshirt, holding a pair of oversized umbrellas in their hands as they hobble behind their excited and quick-footed baby grandson to shield him from the rain.

나는 비 오는 날 종아. 비 오는 날 애 사람들에 재미 있는 행동을 보인다. 두 할머니들이 똑같은 밝은 주항색 셔츠를 입으면서 둘이 아주 욕심 많은 큰 우산을 하나 식 잡는다.  둘 다 힘들은 몸으로 아무것도 모르고 신나게 뛰어가는 어린 손자를 비를 막아주려고 아주 바쁘다. 세상은 이럴 대 참 재미있다.

106. Dear smelly man, I want to bite you.

July 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

So.  I had a very memorable experience with a man on the bus.  In order to appreciate what happened, a small background on pheromones seems appropriate.  Off we go!

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I.  Say hello to pheromones

Whether we are aware of them or not, we are sending signals to others all the time.  In particular, we all have pheromones that our bodies release to relay information about ourselves to others.

Pheromones, in essence, are chemical compounds we release that are especially detectable with our olfactory (smelling) receptors.  What we secrete is unique to our individual makeup.  Think of pheromones as something like our “olfactory fingerprint.”  Fingerprints identify us and are unique — similarly, the pheromones we release are unique to us and make us identifiable to others   (e.g., how your mom smells vs. how your friend smells vs. how your current lover smells vs. how your former lover smells).

There has been lots of research done about animal and plant pheromones.  For example, female dogs release a host of pheromones when they are in heat and signal to their male counterparts that they are ready to make babies.  And subsequently that makes the male dogs go apeshit and chase the female dog around with insanity.  Also, animals that urinate to mark property are taking advantage of the pheromones in their urine to signal territory boundaries to other animals.  Some plants even release pheromones when being eaten to signal an alarm to their fellow plants.  These other plants, once they detect that pheromone, subsequently produce a chemical themselves to become less appetizing to the animal in hopes of protecting themselves from being eaten.  So cool!!

In humans, pheromones have been especially detected in the following situations:

1. Human females in their menstrual cycles release particular pheromones (perhaps accounting for the menstrual synchronization in females who live together)

2. Human males release pheromones in their sweat that causes different reactions in females

Keep that last point in mind as you read what happens next.

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II. What happened:

So the other day, like any other normal day in Korea, I was riding a bus.

There were no seats in the front section of the bus so I ended up plopping myself down on the last row of seats.

In Korea, the last row of seats lining the back of the bus is elevated, and if you sit there, you have a good view of what is going on inside the bus and a prime location to spy on the people moving in and out of the moving vehicle.

As I was doing my usual sit-and-stare-and-think, a pleasant memory came into my head so I started smiling to myself.  That moment happened to coincide with the moment a particular man entered the bus and was heading towards the back of the bus where I happened to be sitting.  We briefly caught each other’s gaze before looking away.

There was an empty seat on my right and this man maneuvers his way around and sits next to me.

And um…the moment he sat next to me, all of the lights went out.

(Figuratively, not literally.  All of MY lights went out.   The bus had no lights.)

A rapid succession of events catalyzed themselves:

1. I get a good whiff of his scent as he sits down and he. smells. like. Heaven.  I’m really not trying to be dramatic here because I’m not a big fan of dramatics but I really don’t know how else to express what I felt.  Viscerally, my guts vibrate and churn while my brain starts melting.  Heat permeates towards my inner thighs, and all I want to do is to lean up against him and lose myself in his smell.

2. …I then recognize that what I was smelling was sweat.  Not cologne, not aftershave, but pure raw unadulterated sweat (with a hint of leftover tobacco from his clothes).  Maybe he just got back from the gym, maybe it was because the weather was quite warm — who knows?  All I know that his smell knocked my mind away from my brain.

3.  Um…wtf, sweat isn’t supposed to smell this good.  Sweat is supposed to smell disgusting and repulsive.  But the effect was the complete opposite with this man.  His sweat smelled sweet and it took all the willpower I had to prevent myself from turning around to look at him.

4. This is perhaps the most interesting (and admittedly strange) reaction:

When he sat, a very strong image surfaced in my mind:  I wanted to lick him.  And bite him.  I literally saw myself sinking my teeth into this stranger and devouring him.  WTFFFFFFFFF.  Am I in some sort of Stoker-Dracula/Meyers-Twilight novel??!  It was really really weird!!!  And really really funny too. The image of me, a short Asian girl, sitting in a public bus, turning around and biting this innocent man on his broad shoulders was too funny to bear.  I had to bite my lips shut so that I didn’t 1. actually bite the poor man and 2. burst out laughing in public by myself.

For the rest of the bus ride, I just sat there, feeling high and dizzy off his scent.

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III.  An impromptu experiment with man #2

However, as time went on, I became quite confused at what was going on.   So I thought this was a good time for a mini experiment.  I wanted to figure out why I was reacting like this. Was I in a particularly devouring mood?  Was I just attracted to the sweat of men in general, or was it that particular man specifically?

Luckily, another man sat on my left soon afterwards. He also smelled of sweat, so I decided to test it out.  I slightly leaned over to my left and inhaled deeply to get a good whiff of man #2’s sweat.

And um.

I wanted to throw up.

My throat literally tightened and I started gagging because his sweat smelled like the equivalent of dead fish and moldy cheese.  How sweat normally smells.

So, with man #2 as a control, I concluded that there was something unique about man #1’s smell, or the pheromones he released, that I (or maybe just my body?) found irresistibly attractive.

And on a closing note, the weird thing about this episode is that I cannot recall what this man looked like even though we made eye contact in the beginning. all I can remember is that he was wearing a red hat.  And even that I’m not sure about.  This is really strange because I’m usually quite acute with visual details, but my olfactory senses totally overwrote me this time.

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IV.  But why?!?!?!?

Okay so why does that happen?  Hopefully I’m not alone here and you’ve had similar experiences with the smell of another person, particularly one you are attracted to.   But why is that?  Why is one person’s smell irresistible while others are repulsive or so-so?

Swiss pheromone researchers may have an answer.  They conducted an experiment called the ‘Sweaty T-shirt Experiment’ and basically, they had a whole bunch of men sweating onto t-shirts.  Those t-shirts were then blindly smelled and rated by a whole of bunch of women for pleasantness, sexiness, intensity, etc.

The scientists took DNA samples from all the men and women in the experiment and analyzed the genetic variation, and compared the how much variation there was between individuals.  (Okay, for those of you in super-level genetics, I must be horribly oversimplifying this but bear with me).

And there was a pattern to how the women chose their preferred men.

Can you guess what it was?

Overall, women found the scent of the men with different genes from their own more attractive!!

Keep in mind that this is all subconscious!

We have it in us to detect a preferable mate (to presumably maximize offspring survivability and ‘thrive-ability’ ^^) down to the itty-bitty details of genetic variation!

Our big-picture concepts of what we think of ‘love’ and ‘attraction’ and ‘sex appeal’ has roots in the tiny world of genes and DNA.  Our behaviors have a basis in subtle forces that lie unknown to most of us.

Isn’t that amazing?

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V.  In conclusion, a Public Service Announcement to all the men out there:

So. Men.  From now on, don’t wear deodorant.  Your natural sweat may cause the girl sitting next to you to daydream about devouring you.  And if that girl happens to have less self-control than I do, you might get lucky.

…but on the other hand, it is more likely that your scent is causing the girl next to you to be repulsed and silently gagging.

Take your chances and let me know how it goes ^^

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If you want more details about the aforementioned experiment, please visit http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/6/l_016_08.html

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