What Brings Out The Worst In Me and Why I Love It.

As you know, my blog is not a place where I write about what I had for lunch. Lunch is a topic too mundane for my blog. No lunch here. Because my blog is all about the larger issues and the deep thoughts concerning art and life; it’s about the interpolation between fast-breaking trends in high fashion and low popular culture; it’s about being on the cutting — nay, the bleeding — edge of nuclear science and phenomenological philosophy.

Having said all that, I’m going to show you what I had for lunch last week:

This is bibimbap, a traditional Korean dish made with rice and kimchee and whatever else the chef wants to throw in there, topped with a fried egg and served with with a bowl of soy sauce and side dishes (in this case, potatoes, a veggie thing that looked suspiciously like a small slab of fish, and more kimchee). It is served sizzling hot, except for the side dishes, which are cold.

I didn’t much care for the bibimbap (sorry — I’m a very picky eater) but I was thrilled to have had Korean food for the first and probably last time in my life (sorry, kimchee) because of where I had my Korean lunch.

I was in thrilling Koreatown, in Los Angeles (California), at the thrillingly famous Koreatown Plaza’s thrilling Food Court.

Backstory: A few months ago, when my dear Top Cat told me that we were going to LA, I was not thrilled. I called up Delta Airlines to inquire what I needed to get a refund on my non-refundable plane ticket to LA and was told that either a Death Certificate or a note from a doctor on hospice letterhead would do. I was five minutes away from asking my mother to fake her own death for me.

I was ten minutes away from asking her to actually die for me. My mother is in her 80s and hasn’t been feeling all that well lately anyway.

I really did not want to go to LA.

But everything that I hated about going to LA changed when I became a pervert.

In a word, I became a K-Pop fan. Specifically (because K-Pop is weird this way) I became a Shawol. And from there it gets weirder: There are five sub-sets of Shawol and I’m the one that makes me a Blinger. I am not proud that I know this, and to me it sounds like coded language for something dirty, but I do give myself credit for finding a new hobby that isn’t about sticking pins into Republican voodoo dolls or self-harming by diving into a vat of white wine (because of Republicans).

K-Pop inspires me. I now take my iPad to the gym with me so I can watch Youtube videos while I’m on the treadmill and K-Pop makes me run 1/3 faster and 80% longer. That’s because K-Pop is has been intricately engineered to be extremely catchy and very pretty to look at. You can look it up. This stuff is made in laboratories. It is addictive. And plus, lagniappe, the boys are extraordinarily cute.

Then I found out that Los Angeles has the largest Korean population in America and that its hub is an happening place that is imaginatively called Koreatown, and I ditched all my thoughts of matricide and packed my bags.

(I also made a blog post and rescheduled it for Friday November 1, but it failed to publish on time. In case you missed it, it’s right behind this one, and it’s called As If These Were Normal Times.)

On our second day in LA I made my way to the Koreatown Plaza for lunch and a visit to one of the country’s best K-Pop music stores, where I bought authentic, imported from Korea, K-Pop CDs of my favorite group.

K-Pop boys know their way around eyeliner. South Korea is the world’s largest market for men’s beauty products (also known as make up).

The CD came with a book about the group that, upon perusal, turns out to be lots of soft-focus photos of the boys laying atop rumpled sheets and lounging across velvet armchairs while shirtless. This was c. 2010, when one of these kids was only 16 years old and the oldest two were only 20. The vibe is definitely soft-core porn.

Indignant, I showed the book to Top Cat and yes, I actually said: Is this appropriate?? Would you want your teenage daughter or son looking at this?!?  (Or, even worse, your wife???)

There are 370 K-Pop groups (someone actually counted them) and you are a knowledgable K-Pop fan if you can name 30 of them. I can name 5 and I have trouble keeping these 5 straight. K-Pop is complicated.  And I just ordered another CD off amazon. I can’t quit it.

So, OK, I admit that it’s pervvy to workout to videos of 20-year old boy groups  but in my defense two of my books were translated into Korean…

…so I think that mitigates my pervviness. Somewhat. Somehow. Because my esthetic is Korean-cute? I hope.

I was able to do a lot of other unusual things on my own in LA, including riding the subway:

I went for a 4-second ride on a glass slide on the outside of the tallest building in LA(the U. S. Bank tower), 1,00o feet up, from the 70th floor to the 69th floor:

Afterwards I admired the 360 degree views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills:

I went to a satellite version of Burning Man on Venice Beach:

Ah, Venice. Where things are always groovy:

And I witnessed virga…when rain falls from the sky but the surrounding air is so dry that it evaporates before it hits the ground.

We were not bothered by the fires burning a mere few miles north of us because for the most part the winds were blowing out to sea. All we got were spectacular sunsets:

There is so much to catch up on so be prepared for nest week, when the blog will be long-form re: The Stromness Rock’s visits with Dear Readers in Michigan and Wisconsin.

I will close now because my heart is a little sad these days. My 19-year old cat, Coco, two days after I got back from LA, and I am still seeing her shadows in every corner of the house. You know how it is.

Coco was never a “nice’ cat. She was, as Top Cat rightly said, “a pain in the ass.” She was aloof, mean to all the other cats, cranky, demanding, and had a way about her that took up a lot of room whenever she was around. I’ve had her since she was a kitten, trapped by me in a neighbor’s yard on November 3, 2000. She died on November 6, 2019.

In her honor, let’s do this:

Lickety is still with us, and he takes his daily sun bath in the back yard, bless his heart:

Have a great weekend, everyone. Thank you being here.


Big Bang/Fantastic Baby.


12 Comments, RSS

  1. Kirra

    Looks like a fun trip to LA! I’ve only transferred planes at the airport, maybe I’ll get to visit next trip.

    I think I balance out your Korean likes, I enjoy eating bibimbap but haven’t really listened to K-pop.

    Sorry to hear about Coco, that sounds tough. Good to see Lickety still enjoying the sun.

    Looking forward to next week’s long read.

  2. Megan

    Condolences on Coco’s passing. You do see them everywhere after they physically leave, it is a strange phenomenon. Nineteen years is a marvellously long life, she sounds like a typical character! Glad Lickety is still enjoying the great outdoors. Love the cheeky cat photos it’s so true, so Clive. He can be a bit of a drama queen. Enjoy your week.

  3. Maryanne in SC

    We’re pouring one* out for Coco, who by all accounts was a genuine North Shore OGc.

    Thanks for the K-tips. I love your blog’s infinite variety: watercolors, publishing, the used bookstore, marriage, travel, making castles and landscapes out of books, cats, a peregrinating rock . . .

    Maryanne in SC
    (*a tube of Pure Balance gourmet cat treat purée)

  4. Mary

    I enjoy reading about your trips, no matter how short-long. Glad Top Cat likes to “go” too.
    Enjoy also pix of Lickety. We never heard much of Cocoa, but she was a happy interior
    cat, wasn’t she?

    Thanks for the work every week. I didn’t see this one until today, and I tried several times yesterday. Good Job, Vivian

  5. Casey

    So that’s why we didn’t have our usual morning-tea-meeting last week, you were in fabulous LA dancing to K pop and I was in little nutmegger CT not dancing to K pop.

    So Coco was mean, demanding, cranky, and not “nice”. She sounds a lot like me. It seems that us fierce females live long, cranky lives. Well done, little kitty.

  6. Your trip to LA made me smile. I actually love visiting there, but maybe I am crazy. My husband won’t go there anymore as he hates it. Sad you had a cat die! Enjoy the music! The rock arrived at my home today. Looking at taking it on some adventures soon. Also looking forward to seeing some of the places it has been.
    Is it OK to do a blog about it? Then you could take what I write from my blog?

  7. Oh, so sorry to hear about Coco. Nineteen years is a good long life for a cat!

    I must admit I cannot understand why someone would balk at visiting LA. I completely love LA. I would live there if I could. I know absolutely nothing about K-Pop but I’m glad you got your fix! I do love bibimbap, which I used to get all the time when I lived in NYC.

  8. Penny Herrington

    I found your delightful blog from Steve Reed and so glad I did. I began reading your blogs from all the way back and spent entirely too much time today being wildly entertained. I had the hearings on the radio, but was trying to keep my distance so I wouldn’t begin screaming…and then I saw your post from June 14, 2010 and I burst out laughing after seeing the photo of the cat. Not a chuckle, a full on belly laugh until tears ran down my cheeks. I haven’t laughed like that in I don’t know how long and I thank you. Also read you were born in Montana. I live in a little log cabin in Dillon, Mt. I can’t wait to read more.
    I am so sorry about Coco.

  9. Penny Herrington

    I found your delightful blog today and spent too much time enjoying catching as much as I could. Your post from June 14, 2010 made me laugh out loud. A real belly laugh with tears. The pic of the angry cat was just hilarious. I have been entirely too tense listening to the hearings, so the laugh was a surprise and a treat and I thank you.
    I am so sorry about Coco.

  10. So very sorry about Coco, Vivian. Even when they’re mean, we love ém — it’s our history, our pet family.

    The trip sounds great. I think the only Kpop I know is Baby Shark and I’m not even sure that’s K Pop but it sounds like you had a blast. Much more fun than watching hearings.

    Keep it up, Lickety!

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