Forecast, Flash Update

UPDATE (18 Sept 2008): As Charles notes in the comments, the website now loads in Firefox, and even in Linux! I suspect this is a result of my having emailed a brief comment about it to the convention director, who emailed me just now to check if it was working for me after the fix. :) In any case, it was fixed impressively quickly, though the PDFs apparently remain inaccessible to on a Windows installation without Korean language installed. I’ll post here if and when that gets fixed, and pull my mirror file below.

Forecast: scattered posting ahead. I’ve got a dogpile of editing to do, and then I’ll be continuing to distill my rather thorny paper. That link might not work for you, because the filename contains Hangeul and I don’t know whether PCs without Korean installed will be able to access it. (If not, download it from here!)

The title for this congress contains the phrase “Interfacing With the World”…  ironically (if unsurprisingly) the congress website itself may not load unless you’re using Internet Explorer in Windows, and I’m not sure that the download link for my paper (which is at the top of page five of the papers list, here) will work if you’re using a PC without Korean language installed.


(I will provide a Hangeul-free link to my paper below, for anyone out there interested in downloading it and unable to get at the Korean website… I’ll host it here unless/until they “fix” this “problem.” Ahem. The paper is titled, in horrid undergrad style:

Another Undiscovered Country: An Analysis of the Effects of Culture on the Reception and Adoption of the Science Fiction Genre in South Korea Through The Examination of 21st Century Korean SF Cinema

Good lord! What a horrible title!)

Yep, this is my analysis of a bunch of post-2001 Korean SF films. I have to turn that into a “talk” so, well, um, I’m gonna be busy the next few days.

In other news, my Graphic Novel producing-class has landed itself with a topic and a working title: “Goose Dad.” The story is shaping up to be, in a very general way, about the effects of English-education mania in Korea, and the phenomenon of the “Goose Dad” — that is, families where the father stays in Korea and works, and the kids (often accompanied by their mother) ends up living in an English-speaking country for a length of time.

The party line is that such decisions are made as a “sacrifice” by the parents for the children’s sake, but my students confirmed, in class discussions, my suspicion that a certain number of couples who decide to go this route do so either to put off divorce, or because of the nasty mother-in-law problems a number of women face here, or, at least, that many of these marriages essentially go down the toilet as a result of this choice. (A couple of firsthand stories about acquaintances were quite a lot more sordid than anything we’re going to put into the book — doctors shacking up with room salon girls, airline pilots popping by for help on yet another love letter for yet a different girl.)

So far, they’ve figured out that Dad is seeing another woman — a relatively smart but independent woman approaching marrying age — and that Mom is has been living (under a great degree of social isolation, except for her fellow Korean mom expat friends) in some English-speaking country for a long time with the kids, of which there are two. One kid is quite well-adjusted to living there, independent, resourceful, and fitting in, but growing increasingly Westernized and distant from Mom (adding to her loneliness); another kid is having a hell of a time, not picking up English, and struggling with his or her own loneliness and other issues.

As I said, “We need to really challenge, if not torture, these characters!” Mom, for example, senses that something is up with Dad, and guesses there’s another woman, and grows reluctant to call. Maybe there’s a breast lump lying in wait for her, too. Maybe Dad’s girlfriend wants to get married with him. There’s likely to be a tongue surgery flashback, as well, though hopefully someone else’s kid. The kids aren’t as close as they used to be, what with one not fitting in and the other doing so well. And so on…

It looks like it will be an interesting book… the only problem is, time. We’re at the end of week 3 already, thanks to Chuseok, with not much done! We’ll need to have a script done in a couple of weeks, and I’m hoping by late November, all the images will be done and we’ll be working on getting the website set up.

As for art, I am not quite sure how we’ll do it; I’m considering suggesting we use photographs — heavily photoshopped and indeed maybe HDRI photography — the cartoony effect is not a bad thng in a cartoon, right? — and actors (including class members and anyone they can recruit) into it… but we’ll have to see.

12 thoughts on “Forecast, Flash Update

  1. Dude, that’s not a title, that’s an abstract!

    My 선배’s paper is there on page 6 (장유정). She’ll be presenting next Monday. I couldn’t quite figure out when you’re going to be presenting, though: for your section, the Korean says Tuesday, while the English says Monday. I’m going to guess that it’s Monday, but whichever day it is, I unfortunately won’t be able to go hear your talk. My Monday morning class doesn’t end until 11:00, and I have an appointment on Tuesday at about the same time. Bummer. :(

    On the bright side, though, I finally found some beanbags here in Korea. Every link/store I found online seems to lead back to a place called “Homeplex”

    Just type “빈백” in the search box and you’ll get three pages of ’em (the code they use prevents a direct link to the results, at least the first page). They don’t quite look like the beanbags I remember, but they still look nice. Then again, I suppose anything looks nicer if you drop a scantily-clad girl on top of it.

    (Oh, and the site does work in FF, at least on Windows. Not sure about Linux.)

  2. Charles!

    It is indeed a thoroughly ridiculous paper title. :)

    I think I am indeed on Tuesday — there are two literature sections, and the date never got corrected in the English version, in the PDF I was sent as well as on the site itself — but I guess it couldn’t hurt to check! :)

    And as for the bean bag chairs, yup, Lime and I ended up the same place as you did. We have a couple of them enroute for Friday, and I was going to try them out before letting you know what I think. So you may want to wait on it, or even visit and try ’em yourself?

    Interesting that the site works in Firefox in Windows. In Linux, all I get is a big fat .bin file, even after changing the User Agent Switcher setting to IE7.0.

    The paper links definitely are not working for computers without Korean installed, as was confirmed to me this morning. And see the update on the post for a possible explanation why it worked when you tried it in Firefox… I got a response to my email about its nonfunctionality this morning while I was in class. :) (At least it was fixed quickly.)

    I’m not too choked up about you missing my paper, since, really, 20 minutes will make it hard to make my argument anyway, and because in any case I expect to be dissemboweled and my internal organs flung about the room…

    “Interfacing with the World” indeed!

  3. PS: You can get the bean bags a bit cheaper if you hunt around on some of the markets. There’s even a discount on at one place, a considerable discount in fact, all month. I can tell you which one when we get the bags — Lime ordered them but she’s traveling at the moment. I’ll check the waybill when it comes.

    And btw I’m vaguely considering having someone stitch us a double-sized “sofa”-styled one and then filling it with the filling you can buy easily. I’m sure a local drycleaning shop ajumma would be more than happy to take on the gig, my only worry being whether she would manage to get the thing to seal properly so we don’t end up with the filling pellets all over the floor. Zippers are among the trickiest bits of all sewing…

  4. The mackerel fish that turns into a plastic gun in The Resurrection of the Little Match Girl could be referencing or paying homage to eXistenz, though I’ve only seen the latter and not the former.

  5. Cicero,

    That’s a very interesting point, thank you! I can’t remember much of eXistenZ, beyond the bioport stuff. (I remember thinking it was a bad SF film, but don’t remember exactly why. I think I disliked it so much I blocked the whole thing out, actually.)

    Is the organic gun in the film a fish?

  6. No. It’s made out of chewed up food and teeth, but the “technorganic” quality of both guns are, at the very least, an interesting coincidence.

  7. Yeah, we saw the beanbags cheaper on Interpark (I think it was). We were actually thinking of getting one for Christmas, which should give you plenty of time to be the guinea pig. :)

    And maybe one of these days I’ll take you up on the invitation to drop by, once the hecticity (new word!) dies down.

  8. Cicero,

    Gross! Hmm. Well, the Mackerel in TRotLMG is actually just a plastic toy gun superweapon; mackerel is a pseudonym, though the hero only gets it after he contemplates the Tao and catches a fish using no bait and only telepathic power. (The gun is even powered by wind and water, so I think it’s some weird Tao thing.)

    Maybe a vague link, but I’m going to hazard a guess that it’s not intentional referencing, especially since nothing of the sort is mentioned on the (rather sparse and uninspiring) director’s commentary. At least not in the scene where the weapon is revealed…


    Ha, we decided to get a couple since we’ve been talking about how uncomfortable our couch is. If things doe get less hectic (for both of us!), you’re welcome to visit and try ’em out. I dream of a time less hectic…

  9. James,

    Thanks! I’ll be posting a copy of the “talk” I give (as a boiled down version of the paper) and describe by disembowelment in detail.

    Glad you liked The Male Gaze. Cahoots is about to make some changes, and might be something to watch for…I’m hoping, anyway — it’s a good bunch of people with a good message.

  10. As I said, “We need to really challenge, if not torture, these characters!”

    Speaking as a person who has thrown a comic or two out into the world, I disagree with this.

    I think there’s a wealth of powerful graphic story-telling in the concept as is without having to resort to Korean soap opera type dramatics like cancer to pull in the reader.

    They got to really just look into what it means to be in that situation.

    Goose Dad is a bit of un-explored slice-of-life that I think can stand on it’s own

  11. William,

    Thanks for your (yes, knowledgeable) advice. I should note that I didn’t think of the lump would necessarily be cancer, mind you. Mom’s a Korean who can’t speak English living in some Anglophone city. She’s just as likely to be tortured over a totally benign lump and the struggle of getting herself checked, as she is to have breast cancer. I’m thinking about non-English-functional Mom having to talk to a doctor in English about her lump, having really nobody to talk to, calling her husband and sensing he doesn’t want to hear about it… and what kind of decision she will make about how to handle this situation. (And I should clarify, the tongue surgery is likely that of the kid of another Korean Mom who visits with our story’s Mom. This won’t be kitchen-sink English mania, of course… there’s such a thing as overkill!)

    The point of the lump, and the mistress finally getting tired of waiting for the husband to divorce his wife, and all that is just to drive things to a head, so characters have to make decisions. Mom eventually has to decide whether to go home or stay where she is; Dad has to decide whether to fight to get his family back, or make his own way with The Other Woman; each of the kids has to grapple with whatever issues they face, too — probably one hoping never to go back to Korea, the other counting the days till that happens. Someone’s going to be disappointed, in every case, and everyone — including those who get what they think they want — will have to cope with big changes.

    Which I guess means the same thing as “look into what it means to be in that situation.”

    But actually having Mom get breast cancer might be unnecessarily vicious. She could just as easily be finding grey hairs and realize her life is slipping away, moment by moment, day by day, alone. Things can quietly come to a head, too. Either way is torture.

    Anyway, I’m glad the Goose Dad concept sounds like a good one to you! :)

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