Things new and old

I come back from three weeks of inactivity and WordPress has redesigned everything. Again. WordPress loves to redesign things. It’s kind of that Apple way — try to make things increasingly cute so that your experience clicking and typing is that much more… cute. New cuteness means things never grow old and you’ll never get bored.

It’s December, the holiday season, the reflective time of the year. When you’re away from your home country, it’s also the sad time of the year. Everything solid is distant, and by that I mean people. It’s also the season of endings. I’ve come to hate endings here because there are so many of them and in such variety. This is why I love Spring that much more — new things are born.

I’m considering my winter travel plans. Plan A involves a flight to visit a friend in Singapore. I’d follow that up with a train trip into Malaysia and Thailand. Maybe peak with a trip to Ankor Wat before heading back down the Malay peninsula. Plan B is a short trip to Shanghai with a friend from the states. I’d like to do both, but I’m not sure how I’d swing it. I’ll have to decide quickly though. China requires a visa.

Yesterday my German friend asked me: Now that I’ve lived away from America for a while, what do I find “cheesy” in my home culture. I couldn’t find anything to fit “cheesy.” In America, culture needs time to age before it becomes cheese. Nothing is cheesy in current America. All the cheese exists in the previous decade. In the naughts, the 90s are cheesy. In the 90s, all the cheese lived and died in the 80s and 70s. I have no idea what the cheese of 2008 is. But I do find something garrish about American culture since I’ve been here — advertising. In Korea, ads are funny and bizarre, so I enjoy them. The problem with American advertising that I hear now is that it sounds incredibly desperate. This might have something to do with the economic situation and business climate. It might also have something to do with my lack of experience with it over the past two years. I am sensitive to mediatized English persuasion.

For example, I like to listen to internet radio. I’m a football fanatic, so I listen to ESPN. The ratio of ads to content on that show must be 50:50. I cannot stand it. Mike Golic’s embarrasing whine about “maaaan sweat” and that dorky hipster song about a free credit report hurts my brain. I have to turn it off. This feeling of desperation is most evident in ESPN’s in-content sales pitches and their horrific new thing: They’ve started playing bad pop songs — really, really bad pop songs. This is so out of sorts to me. The sales pitch is sad: “And now, here’s a great new song from the great new piece of shit called The James Blunt Ripoff Gang.” ESPN is owned by Disney, which owns, oh about 60 or 70 radio stations and a few record labels. Conincidence? I think not.

Thank goodness for Radio Paradise, Soma FM, and NPR — my personal holy trinity of quality radio. And yes, I do occasionally give them my money.

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2 Responses to “Things new and old”

  1. If you make it to Thailand let me know. I’ll be headed to Laos for about 2 days right after Christmas and then my good friend here in BKK is thinking about arranging a big NYE party up in Chiang Mai. ;)

  2. Cody, I’ll definitely let you know. I was thinking about that actually.

    If I make it your way, I’ll probably be there around late January.

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