Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What I learned on Facebook today

In my unmotivated, emotionally numbing state, I found myself:
  1. ...glued to the Goo Goo Dolls on repeat, the man I wanted to marry since middle school ^^, Jack Cafferty on Sarah Palin, Tina Fey being Sarah Palin, Imogen's latest update, the NYT, and other news highlights
  2. ...in search of a million mindless distractions and consequently landed, quite easily, on Facebook, skimming through pages and pages of "friends" and their various updates, conveniently provided on the homepage news feed by a good number of them who either don't know how to control privacy settings or simply don't care.
I put quotations around the loose term "friends" because I realize that not all of my 300 online connections are people I would necessarily invite to my wedding, or even tell in the first place that I'm about to be married. The latter statement, of course, is just an example - I am not getting married anytime soon - but come to think of it, if I were engaged, would it be sad if an acquaintance heard the news before a close friend, in the event that I was so excited that I updated my relationship status before phoning all my loved ones? Hey, it's possible.

We've been studying Facebook for the past 4 years, and surely this blog has no intention of turning into a poorly organized social networking report, but I remember taking a seminar in the fall of 2005 on the subject, and it's definitely an interesting topic. The course's name slips my mind - perhaps it was something useless and fancy like "The Emergence of the Network Era" - but I do recall reading a lot about Moore's Law, VoIP, online video, and the like, and if my memory serves me well, we were assigned to read Google's annual reports - which, for the record - were fun back in the day, but not as fun as Berkshire Hathaway's. We discussed the impact of social networks, questioned how they might successfully generate revenue ("How in the world will Facebook develop a successful advertising model and will they use our information for evil?"), the possibilities of mobile marketing, convergence ("What a word! It's almost as vague as consulting!"), and so on and so forth etcetera etcetera. What's interesting is how I ended up in that professional space (sort of), but really, we've all become a part of "Web 2.0" (before you roll your eyes, I suggest you first throw a worthy substitute term my way), and our kids...heck, our little brothers and sisters...well, could you imagine them in a world without the Interweb?

So why am I aimlessly rambling about this? Well, there's no point really. Just a little blog chatty, in a very inarticulate, stream-of-consciousness sort of way. Plus, I got to thinking... I suppose there's a report somewhere out there based on statistically significant data that explains the psychological reasoning behind Facebook updates. Perhaps the folks over in Palo Alto have even developed an automated system (er, interns) that categorizes and analyzes status updates... Jane is feeling good today. Jane is feeling bad today. Jane just ate an entire bag of plain M&Ms and is posting this in hopes that someone might care and leave a comment on it! (I mean, they've already got everything from our educational and professional history, to our sexual orientation, political and religious preference, and favorite interests.)

I'm guilty of the same... in fact, I just updated my status earlier tonight. It reads, Cheri has fallen and needs to get back up, but first, dinner calls. I like to think that idioms provide an incredible amount of vagueness, or just enough to somewhat express our inner beings without crying out to the world just exactly what we mean. Now, the interesting thing is that Facebook has (somewhat) recently made it possible for our "friends" to comment on these updates... it is an interactive and participatory world... They've come a long way - I remember my colleague, friend (without the " "), and fellow Facebooker Sam and I in protest over the fact that a status update always required the word "is" attached to your name, making it slightly less convenient to express oneself without awkwardly forcing (if you had a desire to be grammatically correct) third person reference.

I'm not quite sure what makes a person more or less Facebook prone - or how their age, personality, daily habits, surroundings, childhood upbringing, preference towards boxers or briefs, or any other factor contributes to being a certain "type" of Facebook user, e.g., the lurker vs. the active politician. There are those who check it like a bad habit but never respond to messages, those who use it as an all-in-one communication tool (it would have been nice if you called on my birthday), and those who signed up but are too cool for school (or, have a real life, depending on how you view this.)

Then there are those - according to this amusingly cynical (but true to some extent) site - that use this "glorified online rolodex" to satiate social desirability cravings, i.e., Wow, I have 5 million online friends! Half of whom I've met maybe once in my life, the others I don't talk to anymore, and maybe ten percent of whom I actually see in the brick and mortar world. But for most normal people, I like to think it's a great, albeit lazy (cough cough, sometimes slightly fake, sometimes slightly less awkward) way to stay in touch with people and foster relationships. Plus, it's great for dull days in the office - especially those apps! Why do work when you can play a stripped down version of Boggle, or live vicariously with envy through photos of your friends' trip to the Bahamas while you're stuck in a cube staring at Excel sheets or the Bloomberg Market Monitor?

Admittedly, I still haven't gotten used to a few things, like understanding why some of my friends send requests for me to see which Sex and the City character I most closely resemble, or more interestingly... connecting the two worlds. For instance, when a friend says in real life, "Hey, so I heard you had a really fun time doing _____." Pause. "Really? Did I tell you about _____?" Silence. "Um, I read it on your wall." But perhaps that's just the thing... it's no longer two worlds, but one. Cue cheesy, over-the-top music.

But as usual, I digress. As the title of this post refers to... here's what I learned on Facebook today (my commentary in parentheses).
  • A broke up with B (or decided to cancel the Facebook relationship link with his/her significant other - a very tricky idea unless you've got a ring on your finger, in my humble opinion).
  • C and D are now friends. (Great, but who's D?)
  • E can't figure out why it's so hard to wake up these days. (Me neither.)
  • F wrote on G's wall. (Should I care?)
  • It's H's birthday today. (Thanks for the reminder, FB - no really, I mean it!)
  • I is patiently waiting... (One of those vague pensive updates, perhaps?)
  • J made strawberry cupcakes with choco frosting & choco cupcakes with strawberry frosting. (I suppose I should respond with something like, "Mmh, I want some too!")
  • K has a headache...yawn!
  • L is feeling overwhelmed by the global b-day love.
  • M is... bailout plan fails in house 205 yay-228 nay.
  • O is feeling lucky to be alive, relatively unscathed, and able to limp her way into work this morning.
  • P is so excited for Gossip Girl she can barely handle being at work...half serious.
  • Q is speechless after watching the most recent Tina Fey sketch followed the actual clip from Sarah Palin's interview. You just can't make that stuff up.
  • R is at her second week of the new job.
  • S is on a job hunt. Slinging rock and stripping is no longer enough to pay the bills and child support.
  • T jet met Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood.
  • U is in Macau.
  • V is in need of a mental break. Candy may help.
  • W is torn in million pieces... but it still is not good enough to...
  • X is getting kind of chubby.
  • Y is "...all the never ending possiblities..."
  • Z is going to Tokyo on Oct 1st and be back on Oct 7th.
Clearly, very stimulating. Of course, all of this information is completely useless and uninteresting to those outside the network. (And even for some in the network.) But the important question is... What's with all the blue, Zuckerberg? Our world is a colorful one, Facebook should be too. (Grey? Pink? Brown? At least the primary colors?)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Stephanie in Seoul - A Preview

Dearest S,

Armed with nothing but a list of foods to eat, you came and went, and we collectively gained a few dress sizes and potentially damaged a few livers. 32nd Street will never be the same for you. Not even Kun Jip.

I'm glad you got to meet a few of my buddies, even when there were language barriers. I especially appreciate you teaching them how to properly call one another bad names in English (so long as it doesn't somehow come back to me one day). Daniel Henney, by the way, sends his regards.

I am still amazed by your ability to recognize scenes from K-dramas and movies. No wonder everyone on the street thinks you're Korean and kept asking for directions.

Finally, thank you for being so patient with my attempts to get your highlights right. (Your hair looks gooorgeous, thank goodness, huge sigh of relief. ^^)

And I'm happy you got your fill of couple tees. That was pretty freaking hilarious.

Keep smiling, darling, and I'll be seeing you stateside soon. I hope you enjoy this mini preview of your stay. (Will work on the food collage.)

Your chai-latted-out C

Feeling better, thanks ^^

Things have gotten rosier and let's just leave it at that. ^^

On a side note, design-wise, Korean doctors' offices are much cooler than American ones. What's also pretty neat is how pharmacies will individually package pills for you (by consumption period) so you don't have to fumble with a million different child-proof safety caps.

I'm sorry some of you were getting tired of looking at the jajangmyeon. I'm back. ; )

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jajangmyeon and puppies!

Recently discovered a little 자장면 restaurant 30 seconds from my place. The 자장면's alright but the best part is playing with the puppies! I'll have to enjoy this luxury health code violation while I can.

Not quite your average Chuseok

For one reason or another, we didn't all make it out to my uncle's for Chuseok this year, so I didn't take part in the big production (e.g. songpyeon making, jun frying, etc.) like last year...

...nor did I have to withstand the crowds at the local Home Plus/Tesco this time around. (Check out my dad holding Chuseok 2007's partial bill! o_O)

However, I did come back with a full stomach, 10 lbs heavier than I had intended, thanks to my Imo and...

Fruit soju and lessons in Korean

I consider myself a relatively healthy person, but I'm pretty sure I've been under the weather more times in Korea than ever before. It's probably got something to do with sleep deprivation and an unbalanced diet. (I can see the rolled eyes and nods of agreement from across the interweb.) Luckily, I'm back up to 80% (and still going) thanks to a brilliant combination of generic (Canadian made) NyQuil, random Korean cold meds, way too much sleep, magic grapes, and good ol' TLC. I also think I've managed to gain a good 5 lbs or so from all that feeding (e.g. see above), even when food was the last thing on my mind - shocker! Now all I've got to work on is the emotional distress, swollen lip, and Flinstones-esque bump on my head (yes, a classic Cheri moment), and I'm good to go. So let's see, shall we. Blog attack, here we go.

There's really only one reason for this post (maybe two). You can scroll down to the last photo ("Part F") if you're the impatient kind.

Here are some photos from a place called Hue in Kangnam along with a little bit of I-have-a-head-cold commentary.

A) I still don't understand Koreans' idea of "salad." Yes, that gigantic dollop of white goo hiding under the shredded carrots is some sort of sweet I-want-to-give-you-a-heart-attack mayo concoction, and yes, those pickles have managed to recycle themselves into this dish.

B) Yogurt soju in a big bowl. This reminds me of New York, only our homemade version tasted better. (Henry, can you please explain to me again why I shouldn't order this in a restaurant? You said it's because "you know what goes into it" but I don't quite understand...)

C) "Aiyee ooh, killer tofu." This only works if you sing along with the Beets, kids. (Click here for a flashback.)

D) Clearly, I was late for the picture. Jun... demolished.

E) Here's the fun part... sojuice served in real fruit! I thought they were skimping on the alcohol but then again, that would just be silly from a financial perspective. I'm pretty sure fresh squeezed OJ is much more costly by the fluid ounce than soju.

F) At our sam cha, (which we landed at thanks to some random Koreans), I discovered the little black book full of useful Korean expressions. Let's see... what did we learn in class today?

No need to hide from the camera. ; )

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

To JJ...

More love from across the Pacific.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The not so scary Viking (in Gangneung)

As you can tell, the Gangneung Viking is nothing compared to the Wolmido Viking...

But it's still a lot of fun when you're riding with two uncles, a freaked out aunt, and an amused little cousin. ^^

Beer cocktails in Hongdae

Like I said, I know little to nothing about alcohol.

Like who knew a beer cocktail could actually be yummy?

S darling, we're coming here (refer to picture above) once you get to Seoul. And when I say "here" it's because I don't know the name of the place and chances are high that I would not be able to find it again on my own. ; ) Luckily I've recruited a couple Hongdae experts to fulfill all of our Hongdae needs. Start making a list.


On some days, a nice bowl of donburi kicks bibimbap's you know what.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Seven years...

More than you needed to know

About a year ago on one of my many mystery blogs ; ) I had posted a response to one of those pass-around-email-surveys. I guess one of the questions required five random comments...
1. I'll be in New York next Tuesday night. If any of you NYers want to come party, we'll be at The Annex in the Lower East Side for Temposhark's gig. I can promise this will be an amazing show if you're a music <3er!
2. I could REALLY go for a Boloco soy smoothie right now, but I might settle for a free scoop from J.P. Licks since it's well, free.
3. I played with Sam's iPhone today. It's so much fun!
4. A week from now I'll be on a plane for San Francisco!
5. A while back Jane, Raya, Alex, and I went to see Cary and Priscilla's show at Paradise Lounge and we noticed a giant pink bunny running around with a bong. I found out today that it was Kiefer Sutherland all along so the mystery's been solved.
Memories, memories... I can't believe how quickly time's flown by. I'm in such a different place (literally, mentally, emotionally) than I was a year ago. So much has been learned while so many more questions have emerged. So for fun, I thought I'd do one of those surveys again... it's been ages! Another year from now, I'll look back at this and amuse myself. Oh come on, you know you want to do it too. ; )

---HAVE YOU---

Eaten an entire box of Oreos? TOTALLY.
Gotten in a car accident? Just me and the "you came out of nowhere" pole... I was only going 5 mph but the entire left bumper had to fall off...
Stayed home? I'm a closet homebody.
Made homemade fudge? No, but I would gladly volunteer my taste-testing services to anyone willing to make it.
Seen the Eiffel tower? It's pretttty, and John, if by some faint chance you're reading this, I would like to tell you one more time that you can't go to Paris and not see the Eiffel tower just because you're trying to be "different!"


Shampoo: I used to use a lot of Biolage. And Herbal Essences. Except in college I bought a lot of Suave from Target because it was cheap and smelled good. In Korea, it's been Mise en scène. I think it was the sparkly gold that sold me.
Color: This depends on my mood. I may be green at the moment.
Day: Christmas morning.
Night: Thanksgiving dinner.
Band: Darren Hayes. But he's not really a band.
Song: There are too many to name but I recently went through a "I miss the late 90s" phase and have had Iris (Goo Goo Dolls) and I'll Be (Edwin McCain) on repeat. Just give me a guitar(ist) and I'll break into song.
Season: Fall.
Secret to your heart: Is through my stomach? Ha ha. Umm... roses, soft and cuddly stuffed animals, and anything that shows thought, care, and effort? I think we're getting a little too personal for the Seoulberry blog, folks. ; )
Type of sandwich: Lately I've been thinking of a Breakfast Jack on sourdough, minus the ham. Because that's the first thing I'm eating once I land on SF soil next month! (And don't forget the Oreo cookie shake and seven layer burrito from next door).
Coffee or hot chocolate? Coffee. Unless we're talking Angelina's hot chocolate in Paris.
Cold or hot? There's only so much you can take off... plus layers are fashionable.
Big or little? Really, who comes up with these questions?
Red or blue? Blue. We're talking politics, right?
New or old? A little bit of both but I prefer the former.
Here or there? There. Definitely there.


Eaten fluf? That's just gross.
Helped someone? Yep... and it involved Barney's RBV!
Bought something? A waffle with yogurt and apple jam.
Dissected something? Not since bio in the 10th grade. Unless we're speaking metaphorically. I've dissected many things metaphorically speaking.
Cut your hair? No.
Worn a skirt? Nay.
Worn a tie? I've never tried the Avril look.
Been mean? I hope not. But if I was mean to you in the last 24 hours, please post a comment and I'll be sure to send an apology your way. Unless you were that ajumma who stepped on my foot. I secretly gave you a look of scorn (on the inside b/c I didn't want you to see).
Been sarcastic? Me...? Sarcastic...? Never... You betcha!
Gone for a run? Ha, I haven't done that in the last 24 weeks.
Gone for a walk? Sure did, it was nice.
Felt stupid? Oh, I feel stupid all the time. Keeps us humble. : )
Said "I love you"? I typed it. Does that count? Happy birthday G!! ^^
Written a letter? An email is still an e-letter. :)
Written a paper? No, but I edited a thesis.
Met someone new? Ok, now I know why I don't do these things...
Moved on? They're exhausting to answer...
Written in a journal? Because my life's not that interesting...
Watched your favorite movie? I guess I'll start answering the questions again...
Talked to someone you have a crush on? Right after this one...
Given someone a present? No, but I intend to!
Missed someone? : (
Hugged someone? : )
Been scared? Maybe.


Ate a meal? Tonight... "doria" + "Korea" don't really go hand in hand... When's the last time I ate a good meal? Lunch. Dolsot bibimbap, yo.
Are you tired? Extremely.
Are you hungry? If you put a loco moco in front of me right now, I'd eat it.
Are you eating? No.
Are you talking to someone online? Yeah, but they shouldn't be talking to me, he he. Graciepoo has deadlines, CuaCua's "pretending to work," and Curtis is in his constitutional law class.
Are you ready for this survey to end? YES, END ALREADY! If I ever had a reader of this blog, chances are high that he or she has left the building for good, never to return again.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Yongojeon... now that's school spirit!

연고전 makes me wish I spent some undergrad time in Korea.

From Wiki...
The rivalry of Korea University and Yonsei University, the top two private institutions in the nation, is nationally renowned. These private universities are proud of and renowned for their spirit, traditions, and the gold balance of academics and athletics. So intense is the rivalry between them that the crimson-attired supporters of Korea University identify the league as the “Ko-Yon Games,” while Yonsei members in blue transpose the two syllables as "Yon-Ko". Five events: (baseball, basketball, hockey, rugby union, and soccer) are held every year.
The Yonsei University side...

The Korea University side...

These kids have a TON of energy. I can't recall a single moment that didn't feature the entire crowd in cheer, song, or dance. Check it out!

Day trip to Wolmido

It's still a trip to see my buddies in all different parts of the world. Friendship knows no boundaries, no distances, no fear. ; ) Met up with Beckett in Incheon this past weekend, and got a tour of Wolmido (월미도), a famous naengmyeon street (냉면거리), and Inha Uni (인하대).

It's really easy to get out here; all you have to do is take Line #1 all the way out to Incheon Station (where Korea's "Chinatown" is located) and take a cab or bus to Wolmido. Beckett kept reminding me of how filthy the water was (apparent by the abundance of water roach looking creatures near the rocks), but the view's beautiful from afar. ^^

We stopped by the amusement park, famous for the Viking and Apollo Disco rides. It was tres 힘들다. ㅠㅠ I must be getting old.

I was perfectly fine the first time around, but our second ride on the Viking required a 20 minute sit down break, and we were dizzy the entire night. To my defense (I swear to be a rollercoaster-riding-senior-citizen long after retirement), although it may not appear particularly scary - believe me - this thing goes sky high, forcing you to choose whether to worry about your stomach popping out of your body or the bar giving way (SPLAT!)... Have you ever ridden the Zipper (please refer to Wiki's Safety Issues paragraph) at a state fair? Yep, Six Flag's got nothing on these rinky dinky carnivals.

The Apollo Disco was a whole 'nother story. Basically, the ride operator knocks kids out of their seats (and keeps 'em down) while sarcastically making fun of people till they turn red. Oh and on top of that, some random dude does back flips while the ride's in operation.

After a very trying day on the rides, we were famished and consequently stuffed ourselves with non-human size portions of delicious, refreshing naengmyeon (물냉면).

We somehow managed to eat even more around the Inha campus. Why won't they just let you have a plain ol' beer in Korea?

Pretty Seoul... Samcheongdong and Yeouido ^^

I love walking through Samcheongdong (삼청동) at night. It's pretty and charming and always gives me an excuse to whip out the camera. But other than the famous sujebi restaurant and a cafe or two, I hadn't actually been there to eat in a while, until we recently checked out a cozy little Italian wine bar called Romanee Conti. I don't normally eat seafood, but the mussels were so perfectly cooked I couldn't resist. ^^

Another place with a nice view is Yeouido (여의도). While chilling along the Han River's always fun, drinks up top the 63 Building offer a pretty decent sky view (at least, a lot better than Top Cloud). But something seems to be missing from Seoul... a skyline?