Volkslied: the depths of feelings

wish I could embed this here as a pretty little youtube vidjo square but embedding, alas, has been disabled by poster: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgq-u89oEZY

so go there and watch! and suspend judgments about the nerdy audience faces gazing in loving awe.

this is a Korean singer who is taking the country by storm with her traditional folk style of singing. she’s young but super old in her musical tastes, I guess you could say — performing music that normally brings to mind something more like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZU0mewGnTQQ

this folk music is called “minyo” — literally, “music of the people” so…folk music! haha. (woah! kinda like Volkswagen, I guess.) basically, it has connotations of oldness and traditionalness and definitely a sense of acquired-taste-ness.

but this girl is doing something new with her performances that’s making everyone fall in love with minyo, with Korean traditional music, with her. (her cuteness does not hurt.) my dad may or may not have sheepishly admitted to me that he is an actual a member of her fan club, and even I can’t deny the fact that I’ve spent the last couple hours in a youtube whirl of her vidjos. the fusion music she’s making — the old with a new twist — is a little intoxicating.

all this to preface this conversation my dad and I had last night as I was getting ready for bed and he popped in to say goodnight. a popping in which turned into a 40-minute youtube-share sesh abruptly ended by my mom yelling at us to go take a shower and sleep!! hehe.

it started with him busting out in song and telling me that his commutes, as of late, had been “life giving.” hmm. intriguing. dad explained that he had been listening to this minyo music during his long drives, and before I could brush it off — “haha dad you’re such an old nerd” — he explained how his company has a weekly meeting where team members gather to share things about creativity, the arts, etc. with each person taking a turn each week and when it got to my his turn, how he eagerly shared this recently discovered love. and how surprised he was at the various reactions he received.

wait wait wait lemme go get the laptop and show you the videos

my dad works in an international company, headquartered in Italy. the employees in his Virginia-based office range from American to Italian to various other European to…Korean-American, obvi. and he told me that the sharing of these videos really brought out the differences between certain cultures in the melting pot (erm…maybe salad bowl) that is his workplace.

dad reflected — the amazement and curiosity clear on his face, even still — that while the Americans didn’t much seem to enjoy the songs, audience members of Italian, Polish, Russian origins were floored. I italicize that because he italicized that, so many times during this conversation with me. apparently his European colleagues are practically members of this girl’s fan club now, too, demanding that my dad let them know should she ever come to the states on a tour.

and then he continued to reflect: maybe there truly was something in the cultural DNA of a people (whatever this means), created over generations, over tragedies, over prolonged sufferings, that created in them an ability to appreciate emotion on some different, deeper level. and yeah, America had had its share of difficulties, of course, but nothing like pogroms and dictators and mass genocides. not to the endangerment of the majority, anyway. it’s as if histories of strife have left in these cultures grooves that run deep and close to nerve endings, and those spark when familiar feeling gets poured out over the surface, dripping into the grooves. there’s something shared, even tangentially and weak-soupily all the way up to today’s comfortable current generation, that makes it easier to evoke responses to art instilled with deep emotion and imbued with a historical shade of crimson. dah.

sure, these wonderings are rife with cultural generalizations and generalized assumptions. but cliches are for real! what is it that makes a people “more emotional,” more prone to the dramatic, more liberal with their hand gestures, anyways? what makes that kind of culture come about, if not a certain shared history? (climate? the food? technological advantages? I DON’T KNOW!)

I dunno a lot of things but what I do know is that I’ve been stealing a lot of thought strings from a lot of different people to populate this blog’s content, as of late. they’re all a part of the groove-making experiences of my life that have been making me a little deeper, a little sadder, a little happier these days.

also, kinda funny:

groove groove groove. minyo minyo YO YO YO. in all this talk of music and feeling. feeling. feeling. feelin’ groovy~


this I will miss


yap, hashtag filter, but you know what, the naked-eye version is actually even more beautiful.
yap. this I will miss.
and snack-sharing in the pod,
and watering baby plants,
and ELIXIR OF LIFE! morning coffee trips to the cafe,
and afternoon ponderings about tv shows I do not watch,
and #fulltimejob snapchats of snack towers, #bestmanagerever,
and mysterious origami creatures, so smol,
and heart-fuzzy-warmth emails
and applying the “talk about it” method to all situations,
and early morning shower room convos — of families and broken biceps,
and making products better, but remembering the human person behind the email,
and one dilbert comic strip savored every morning, except Mondays, which have two,
and “medicinal moments by madison” — “…ALLITERATIONS ARE AWESOME,”
and “supporting” not “managing” which is yeah, corporatese, but still. inspiring.

all these things I will miss.
among other things.

yap yap.

my very own weekend reads: 7 aug 2015

so CFA Institute has this weekly blog update series called “weekend reads” where, every Friday, an author goes through an overview of lots of different relevant topics of the week and lists a load of links — kinda like a link haul. my favorite part of these posts is where the authors really go crazy and have a free-for-all section, where they get away from the daily humdrum of the finance and the numbers and the current events that are so…Monday through Thursday 😉

and this week’s perusal of the “and now for something completely different” section brought me in touch with a lot of different articles to browse on this rainy Friday afternoon. some instructive, some inspiring, some just plain interesting (hehe plain-interesting).

so here’s a little link haul of my own — mostly cause I want to keep them somewhere, documented and remembered, and bookmarking or sharing via little old emails just seemed like too much. and also not enough, at the same time:

but for the moment, happy Friday!

100 bits of somethingamuhjig per 1 whateverabob

what makes a life worth living?

truly delicious food (+cute table decor that demands to be the focus)?
breathless documentation of a robot in the road?
a HAHehhahHAh-fake jovial friend pics (with real jovial friends)?
contemplations of art?
momentary metro conversations?
literary pursuits; love, life, letc.?
brand-new moments in used-book stores?
paw-tuck evenings on the couch with kindred spirits?

he says that creative “flow” of an artist, a scientist, any expert at any thing, with those ten thousand hours under their expertise belt… is translatable to the ordinary moments in any mundane life. of a factory worker. a sports enthusiast. of a fish filet-er. the trick is to be so absorbed by your activity (more than 100 bits of somethingamuhjig per 1 whateverabob) that your brain’s processing power is purely and fully employed by the workings of the thing you are doing/facing/making. your senses so fully zoned into the smell of that fish, the touch of its flesh, the angle of that cut, that there’s no more brain power left over for you to feel, to sense, yourself. your hunger; your meandering thoughts; all your discomforts and wants and lacks, physical and mental. undetected.

it is, apparently, individuals who achieve this level of focus on their work — focus to such a level that allows them to achieve the suspension experiencing existence itself — that consistently report to being truly, fully happy with their work. and thus, in their lives. blissful moments of self-forgetfulness. heaven-on-earth experiences, in five-minute intervals.

“happiness in ordinary moments where we lose ourselves in extraordinary ways”

there’s truth to this on more levels than just the sensory.

cause this, too, is “the freedom of self-forgetfulness,” isn’t it?

how tricky it is that life seems to bombard us, marketing for happiness, promising self-realization through methods of greater focus on ourselves — the inhumane magnification of your T-zone pores, all the better to tighten them to oblivion; the reflection of your worth as statistified in Followers and Likes on a profile all about the grand story of You — when apparently, the true key to happiness lies in moments of the very opposite activity of self-scrutiny.

God, would you help me to gaze so focusedly on you that I may learn this art of self-forgetfulness?

edit: 4/21/15 — hey hey podcast train:


to pass through

The Korean word for “communication” is 소통 [so-tong].

And the Chinese characters that root the word in its etymology:  

  • 소통
  •  소통할 소
  •  통할 통

So the first character is redundant to the meaning of the whole word itself, but the second is more interesting. It’s a character that can mean lots of different things, depending on its context, including:”to communicate,” “to allow,” “to pass,” “to pass through.”

To pass through. You have to imagine some force that comes at you, but doesn’t stop at your face. It roars and enters your chest, goes clean through you and leaves a hole of itself behind; viscerally, and potentially painfully, changes you. Like a good book, a soul-drenching song, a good conversation that accomplishes true communion, touching each other’s fingertips through the complicated and goopy membranes of our selves – all of these things are forms of communication, and all of these things have the potential to blow a hole through you, changing you in an indelible, yet sometimes very delicate, way.

In this construct, the world takes on a sheen of exhilaration in all its mundanity. Every book you pick up could punch you in the gut. Every trip to the theater could leave you in tears, every conversation could slice right through and leave a hole you didn’t have before you got all involved. Literally any experience changes you to be a little less intact, a little more interesting. Having lived – truly lived – would mean to have all the scars and tattery bullet hole reminders of the experiences that went through you and changed you for the ever.

This makes me wonder if this Jewish-American writer knows Korean:

“When at last I came upon the right book, the feeling was violent: it blew open a hole in me that made life more dangerous because I couldn’t control what came through it.”
― Nicole KraussGreat House

Sounds terrifying, but that’s actually what we’re all looking for, all our lives. To meet people, to hold conversations, to connect in ways that explode a little bit of our integrity as whole human beings, so that the same things may flow through the community of a new “us,” brought together by our collection of common blood and bone. A gory aftermath of a skeleton structure that builds – that melds – us together in new joints of true communion. Through our similar-shaped holes, the same winds, the same salty currents, the same jolts of electricity, with all our tears and our laughters, will rush through us in the same ways, connecting us in this crazy web of constantly moving bits flowing through from the world outside. Understand me! we cry out. Connect with me, know me, come close to me, pass through me.

The more I think about this, the more it makes sense. That life’s true fruit lies hidden in its struggles; the growth is in the grit; it is the rain that will strengthen your soul… all of that.

the cuteness is also in the struggle
the cuteness is also in the struggle