Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hot Alabama Take!

Defeating a pedophile bigot is awesome.  Electing a true national hero like Doug Jones, who successfully convicted the white terrorists who blew up four little black girls, is even better.

Beyond that, we win by expanding and motivating our base, not by pandering to so-called "White Working Class" (actually, White Upper Middle Class) voters.

Sorry, Bernie.

"SAVOR THIS FINE CRANBERRY LOAF"

Another year, another "Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog" by Drew Magary:
"Price: $299.95, plus $40 delivery
Copy: 'For dedicated cheese enthusiasts'
Drew says: You better be at that price, holy shit. I like cheese as much as the next heart attack candidate but when I pay $300 for six months of cheese, that better amount to 9,000 pounds of cheese. I want a truck parked outside and tubes of liquid cheddar on tap in my basement. If you’re just sending me a stupid cheese platter every four weeks, that’s not acceptable to me. That is not six TRUE months of cheese. To me, six months of cheese means I can strip naked and tape the windows shut and live off that cheese for half the year, shutting myself in like a heroin addict. I don’t give a shit if Farmer Merle aged it in coffee and beeswax. I want quantity, otherwise I consider the Boska legacy sullied."
It's nice to know what our betters will be enjoying this holiday season.  Also, sign me up for the cheese fountain.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Buying (Bought!) A Computer In South Korea

Regarding this previous post on how to buy a computer in South Korea when you're a bit wary of the meatspace "electronic malls," I found this site: englishpcsales, apparently run by an ex-pat college English teacher like myself.  Their selection isn't quite Amazon-level, but it's good, and it seems to focus on high-quality, reputable brands.

Anyhow, I've ordered a new laptop and should get in by the end of this week (3-5 day free delivery in South Korea).  The price is, unfortunately, "Korea price" but with free shipping and no tax (that is, tax already included in sales price) it's not that bad.

Using Amazon U.S. for the better sale price and sucking it up to pay the import fee was a bit tempting, but I'm more comfortable knowing I've got a Seoul to Daegu delivery in place (for an "in stock" laptop) rather than a god-knows-what delivery chain from America, and from Taiwan before that.

Honestly, there's no perfect way to buy a computer in South Korea.  You can get deals at the big electronic malls, and apparently they'll haggle with you if you can show them a better price online.  But chalk it up to a bit of fear of the language barrier and a greater fear of a hard-sell, where a guy tries to offload something lame on me.  That certainly happens in America as well but ordering online from a reputable English-language dealer in South Korea felt like the best option, even if it wasn't the cheapest.

Oh, and I paid via Korean bank direct transfer, which has become my go-to method for big purchases.  Getting a Korean credit card is a pain, so I don't have one.  Getting a Korean bank card (not only easy, but mandatory for foreigners) and doing very fast money transfers is really awesome.  The service fee is no more than you'd pay for getting cash out of an unaffiliated bank machine (maybe 1,500 won at most).

And South Korean shipping is generally quite reliable.  If my new computer has any problems I'm chalking it up to the manufacturer.  (I got a free one-year warranty, natch.)

All that's left to do now is set it up and download Civilization V to make sure I never have a social life again.  (But a little birdie told me Civ IV with expansions is better.)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Peng, Rudeboy


Pengest Munch episode 13

A nice meta-piece of food writing, Navneet Alang asks "Who Gets To Be A Restaurant Critic?" and analyzes the work of Youtube sensation Elijah Quashie -- aka, the "Chicken Connoisseur."  The interesting thing being, a dapper and pleasant Mr. Quashie only reviews London chicken shops -- pretty much the cheapest and most deeply fried eats in the country.

I'm making it all sound a lot more complicated than it really is.  Navneet gets to it:
"That, however, is just the trouble with standards: They don’t translate well across types of people, or the group divisions that help define those standards in the first place. The tension between haute cuisine and populism, a Times review and Yelp, is about competing ways of deciding what’s good — of whether chips should be fat and soft like in a chippy, or thin and crisp like bistro frites. But when the public discourse around food is so overwhelmingly dominated not just by highfalutin critics, but those who are often white, middle-income, and left-leaning, the assumed standards by which food is judged tend to reflect and replicate exactly those values. If critics these days seem to most value food which presents a vision, highlights the ingredients, or inventively mixes influences, it’s because those are the values of upwardly mobile, culturally omnivorous eaters who believe in conscious capitalism.
This is why the Chicken Connoisseur feels so pleasantly unusual. It checks off all the boxes for what modern food criticism looks like, self-reflexively paying attention to its own status as criticism, but instead of taking you to places with small plates, or omakase, takes you to chicken shops in Hackney or Tottenham or any number of other London areas that haven’t been entirely subsumed by gentrification. Those shops are, in a simple empirical sense, the kinds of places where millions of people eat, but that people concerned with food as signifier of cultural capital would rather ignore — perhaps because such places don’t represent change or novelty, the necessary fuel of the media, but also perhaps because the change they might stand for isn’t considered relevant. In putting a critical vocabulary people were already using into a polished, appealing YouTube show, however, Quashie ends up providing a model for what a food criticism that speaks to a broader, browner, less-wealthy audience might look like. It’s fast food, framed as a product of its place and time, by someone who is winning and funny in front of a camera, and who happens to be young and black."
The politics are significant, and the humor and positive energy are infectious.

First World Problems

Blogging will be a bit light-ish for the coming weeks.  I actually took some great hikes recently and snapped up a bunch of great pictures of the fall foliage, but in addition to having to enter final grades soon my home-based laptop just died.  So I get to know the joy that is shopping for a new computer in South Korea.  It's far from impossible, but the problem is that consumer electronics here are really over-priced compared to America.  (As in, nearly 200% what you'd pay in the States in many cases.)

If it was closer to August and my annual summer trip back home I could make do with my ten year-old (!) VAIO (!!) for a few months, but alas, I'm going to have to suck it up and buy one here.

Not the end of the world or anything, but I've already looked online at Korean  e-sources and the selection is absolutely horrible.  I'd be O.K. with one or two particular Samsung models, but a lot of their stuff is terrible.

Also, it's freezing.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Winter Is Coming

It's kimchi-making time in lovely Korea, and my adult students basically loaded me down with a few packages of the stuff when I left class tonight.

I do not think this is a bad thing

Just Ask Susan Sarandon To Write You A Check?

I’m guessing there’s no small number of pro-Stein / pro-Bernie / anti-HRC folks currently in graduate school for an M.A. or Ph.D.  And soon, thanks to the GOP / Trump tax plan, none of them will be able to afford their programs (tuition wavers will be taxed as regular income).

It sucks that anybody can’t go as far as they want, academically speaking, but at the same time I sort of don’t fucking care if you got on the Stein-train to crazy?  Because, like, you literally voted for this?

Anyhow, November 2018 is coming fast – if you’re a USian, register to vote and try to undo just a bit of all the damage Trump is inflicting on higher education.