The Sleeping Lion

I finished another painting last night. It is an interesting piece. I have never worked with pearls or beads. I thought it'd be a challenge. It was. There were several times when I thought the piece would turn to utter shit. I half like it though. Definitely different. Now, all I need to do is make a couple more.

Korean Christmas

In Korea, Christmas is more akin to Valentine's Day in the states. Couples usually reserve hotel rooms, catch a theater performance, or snuggle together at a ski resort. Family is completely ix-nayed out of the equation. 

This is probably a mathematical eureka for some of you. I am no different. Family protocol that is steeped in approval seeking or fallacious propriety does have an energy sucking effect that rivals any Hoover vacuum or J. Edgar pucker. However, I tend to find amusement in such masquerades. It thrills me to watch a family member display pretension at the first sign of another's bombast. I will often keep tallies of these affronts in my squash record book. On the winning side, I personify an angry pumpkin, while on the other is a losing and indignant eggplant who sullies its cartoon dialogue boxes with imprecations. My seasoned eyes are often unprepared for the surprising blasphemes that can fill an animated square with tranquil repose.

When I am not animating nightshades, I enjoy posing with complete strangers as my future children. 

So Gee, on the otherhand, gets her thrills listening to Boyzone. 

My father-in-law owns discussions on politics and healthy eating habits. 

My brother and sister-in-law like cookies. 

I like human beings who sit on carpets as a part of their natural culture. I find this much more civilized than chairs. 

My brother-in-law believes Christmas and birthdays need to be celebrated simultaneously. 

Burger King Creates New Fragrance

The newest addition to our growing posts on American history is a little fragrance broiled up by the fast food chain famous for their whopper. That's right. One would be sorely out of sorts if they did not try and pick up Burger King's latest fragrance, FLAME. Available at, the fast food chain boasts that the smell of meat can be quite seductive.

The tagline from the website: Set the mood no matter what mood you're in the mood for.

One wonders whether satire is necessary in this present age, as almost everything from Shikow's American History Week is almost as preposterous as my new novel.

Online Video Games: Shoes vs. President Bush

Loren sent me these video games of trying to hit or avoid President Bush with various pairs of shoes. I think these games are mildly amusing. They are a part of American history though, and I do like things historical. 

I like the second game better. You can find this little nook where none of the shoes hit you. I did this once and got over 60 seconds of game time.

The hitting game is not as good. I could only hit the guy nine times. 

J**z in My Pants

A music video by SNL comedians and friends: Andy Samberg, Justin Timberlake, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccome. Their album (Incredibad) will be released on February 2nd, 2009 under the band name, The Lonely Planet.

Audio Clips from the Last 4 x 4 Reading

Here are a few audio selections from the Four by Four Reading on December 7th, 2008
in Seoul, South Korea. 

Kenneth Drennen reads a nonfiction piece about practical jokes and Christmas gifts [4x4:12.7.2008].

Loren Goodman reads a series of his latest poems [4x4:12.7.2008].

Chris Brown tells a nonfiction tale of visiting a paid restroom on a backpacking adventure through China [4x4:12.7.2008].

NEXT READING: January 11th, 7:00 p.m., Beans & Berries, Sinchon

Pulp Christmas!

PULP CHRISTMAS! - watch more

Homosexuality in Asia & Other Student Presentations

I have just finished teaching my last semester in Korea. I am thankful for the experience. Everyone was very kind and open to my involvement. Who knows? Maybe, there will be an academic life in my future. You never know. For now, I can say I enjoyed helping students become more confident English speakers. It was fun to watch them plan a vacation to an English speaking country, debate, and make films as funny as "Dooyoung Blaine: Younger Brother of David" and "Does Bungee Jumping Make You Taller?" 

The humor was as fun to be part of as the many serious discussions we've had this semester, from the controversial image-based questions about why people follow trends and diet, to the problems with environmental pollution. Sometimes I brought these issues to the forefront; and, at other times, they were raised by student presentations. On one such occasion, Team Greunchel (pictured above), brought up the issue of homosexuality and its acceptance within Korea. Through a series of surveys and experiments, the team unveiled a country full of misgivings.  

I certainly didn't expect a conservative country like South Korea to rank high as a homosexually-friendly environment, but I was surprised to see just how far the country was from such a proposition. According to the students' surveys (pictured above), 87% of those questioned said no one among them was openly homosexual. In addition, 87% said they would not be able to be friends with someone who was a homosexual. To top it off, nearly 98% of students questioned felt that they would not be able to adapt within Korean society if they were a homosexual. 

Other presentations included impersonations of yours truly (see Seung Boom pictured above), personal love stories, and ten pieces that dealt with the pressures of Sooneung, sometimes referred to as the Korean SAT. 

"[South Korea] changes flight schedules, adds extra buses, and delays stock market openings [so test takers are not interrupted on the day of the exam]" Min Jeong, the narrator in the clip (above), explains."Some students even kill themselves trying to deal with the [stress of taking the exam]."

The Korean SAT, or Sooneung, is an exam that dictates the future school, status, and job a student will have upon high school graduation. Because it is so important, some students take off an entire year to study for the exam. To the truly hard-pressed or insane, depending on your perspective, there are also special live-in programs, where students lock themselves up until exam time. 

In the clip (above) a student breaks their right arm a week before the exam, and has to complete the entire thing with his bad hand. Students ooh-ed and aaah-ed over the presentation. The Sooneung exam is such a big issue in this country that a simple mention of it will draw sighs and empathetic nods of understanding from bystanders. Who knows? It might be a good topic for a film (wink, wink). 

I love this piece (above) about a young lover being inspired by the film, "Men of Honor". It was thoughtful, well-delivered, and honest. A common theme among a majority of the presentations this semester. It makes me want to give everyone an A. Who knows? Maybe, I will.

Four by Four Reading Brings Out All Sorts

 There was snow and frigid temperatures, so I was surprised if we would even get three people to show up. Thankfully, So Gee's fliers and the featured readers' industrious e-mails got the word out for a bunch of people to show up. 

The proprietors of Beans and Berries gave us this private room on the third floor, where the heat was blasting a little too high, and some elevator techno was on a continual loop in the background. It made you feel like you were in a space station that was about to land on some desert terrain.

"Nice music," Ken said. 

"The best," Dustin replied.

"So who's reading?" I asked.

"I don't know," Dustin said. 

"Should we wait for Loren?" Ken asked.

"Maybe," I said. 

We did end up waiting for Loren (above). We also managed to keep the low-key, natural flow throughout the night. Nobody felt pressured to read, and we weren't waiting in the dark while someone read from a lectern. It definitely wasn't an academic environment. We just sat around this white table reminiscent of John Lennon's white piano, and shot the shit, read, and then shot the shit some more. It was almost like a workshop, but we didn't even have people in the same genre or a specific leader. We just rolled from one thing to another. I really liked that setup. In fact, I don't think I've ever been to a reading like that.

At one point, Chris Brown (above), told an impromtu story about a trip to China, and how he paid to use a restroom, where the toilet consisted of a very public hole out in the middle of a tiled floor without partitions, while a running trough extended beneath him, and a group of Chinese spectators watched.

"They were saying something in Mandarin. I think I caught something about "come watch the American". I thought about telling them I was a New Zealander, but I decided to finish what I had started, since I was making some progress at that point."

By the end of the reading, we were all hugging and planning the next event. I think the tentative date is January 11th. I'll try and send out fliers for those who want to attend. It'll be at Beans & Berries in Sinchon at 730 p.m.. Who knows? We might be able to get them to turn down the heat. 

Research for Filming a Feature in South Korea

I have been doing a bit of research for writing and filming a feature film in Korea. Thus far, I am pretty clear that I would like to do a piece on the youth of Korea and their secrets. The film is scheduled to be shot in the Summer of 2010. I have already recruited several people to help me bring this together while I'm in Los Angeles. 

Aside from producers in Korea and New York, several Yonsei students volunteered to provide me with a real-life-experience. 

"You need one," they told me. "You live too much in your head."

"Okay," I said. 

"You need to listen to Korean hard core music," they said. 

"Is there such a thing?"

"Yes," they said.

They took me to several music clubs in Hong Dae. I was surprised. There were a lot of emo bands. I couldn't understand what they were saying, but I could tell that they were trying to express pain and confusion. It made me feel like I was at a museum for human beings. 

This video is of the group, APOP, shot in the SPOT - a trendy hard core venue (filming costs $300/night).

I watched four bands perform. Most were a bit too watered down with trying to please an audience. APOP was different though. They were more about the music. The lead singer just did the songs. He looked disturbed and unhappy. The audience responded to him by shaking their fists. There wasn't any moshing. That is not a concept that is known or even permissible in Korea. 

Later, we went to some folk rock act on the southern end of town. It was in a coffee shop atmosphere. I didn't catch the name of the venue, but the music was bad enough for me to not ever return. The singer was a cross between being a bad Joan Baez and K-Pop wannabe.

Marc and Charles (above) were unable to standstill throughout the night. I tried to take their pictures, but they were always out of focus. That's okay though. I was appreciative of their guidance throughout the night. Whenever I got sad or started to tear up because my life was meaningless, they would remind me that it doesn't really matter because who said life had to have meaning.

"Yeah," Charles agreed with his cohort. "What if there is no meaning?"

"I don't know," I said.

"Then what's the point in crying?"

"I don't know."

"So get with the program! Take us dancing!"

"Okay," I said.

 I tried to take them to an 80s club called The 80s Club. We must have walked for about a half and hour in circles. I finally gave up. It was cold.

"Sorry, guys. I can't find it," I said.

"Aw, man," they said. "You suck!"

"Yeah," I said. "Life might not have any meaning."

"You suck!!" they said a bit louder.

"Yeah," I said.

"Let's go to Buster Red," Daniel said.

"Okay," I said.

We walked to Buster Red. The 80's Club was next door. 

"Oh, look!" I said. "There it is!"

"Yay!" the kids said.

Then we danced. 

4 x 4 Reading Series

Four by Four Reading Series

Sunday, December 7th

Beans and Berries, 3rd Floor

(near Yonsei University's Main Gate)

7:00-8:30 p.m.


We will have

four featured readers

and four open readers.


The featured readers are

Loren Goodman, Dustin Hellberg,

Ken Drennen, and Pirooz Kalayeh.


If you are interested in

being one of the open

readers, submitting a video,

or need directions, 

please contact 4 x 4.


Essayists, fiction writers,

interviewers, comic book artists,

filmmakers and poets welcome. ^ ^


Jen Nally

Sad Kermit

Alzo sent me some Sad Kermit videos. This one was my favorite of the bunch.

This is how I feel every morning. It also reminds me of the acid trip where I thought I could tap dance.

Gratitude and Celebrations

This is what happens when other people try to take a picture of me with my camera. 

I think my camera doesn't like them and sabotages the photos.

Notice that I said "I think" and that all my thoughts could begin with the phrase "I think", but that inherent within each thought is the contradiction of whether I know the statement is true.

What is he talking about? 

No worries. Let's move along, shall we? 

So Gee and I got to witness an egagement in the making as Jen and Andy tied the knot. Here we are in Tiffany's. They gave us orange juice in paper cups to taost the event. I am not sure why.

Here was my advice to the lovebirds:

"Isn't life easy? You just do it," I say.

"We need a house and wedding and so many other things though," Jen says.

"That's easy. You're in Korea. They have wedding banquet halls working like a McDonald's Drive-thru. Just have a big wedding, invite lots of friends to get lots of money, get money from your parents, put key money down on a house, make babies, and die."

"Sounds easy."

"I told you."
So Gee helped them pick their rings. I also hear that Andy got down on one knee for the occasion. This is a big thing to Korean women. If a man does this, he's a keeper. 

I also think Andy is pretty cool because he was emcee for a popular hip-hop group in Korea, but he doesn't tell anybody, but rips it up when it is time at a Karaoke bar. 

I went to a couple Thanksgiving parties this week. One was located near Itaehwon and these rows upon rows of kim chi pots. I had to get a picture of their immensity. I like taking pictures of things when there is a lot of them. 

Then I took a picture of So Gee. She paused for a moment to admire the kim chi pots, then hopped into a cab before I could even put my camera away.

That's okay. I looked at pics from earlier in the night as I walked down the street to Samgakji.

Here is Sharif. He challenged me to games on the Nintendo Wii. I was up for the challenge. 

"I am in control," Sharif said, as he selected the VS. mode on Mario Kart. "I am the control."

"That's good," I said.

"You are about to lose badly," he said.

"Okay," I said.

"I am in control and you will lose. I am just telling you. This is the way it is. I am in control. You will lose. I am just letting you know."

"I just won the last race."

"I am telling you now."

The race ends. I come in second. Steve comes in first place. Sharif places ninth.

"You lost," I said. 

"Something is wrong," Sharif shouts and points at Steve. "He is doing TV interference. He is doing something. I have not figured it out, but there is something happening. He has some trick."

Steve and I are laughing. We cheers to ourselves from the paper cups of Bombay Sapphire and tonic.

"First," I say to Steve.

"Second," he says to me.

We both look at Sharif. Then we raise our glasses in unison. "Ninth!" we laugh.

"No!" Sharif shouts. "He is doing some kind of trick. This can't be happening. I am in control. I am the first. I should have won. This can't be happening."

"Okay," I say. "Let's play again."

We play for about an hour more. Sharif never gets above fourth. It is a pleasant time to be one with a video game.

Here are David and Steve. They are about to play Family Feud and get rowdy. I did not participate. I just kept playing the Nintendo Wii. I liked it too much. In fact, I would even buy it if I had time to play it, and it wasn't so outrageously expensive.

Earlier in the week, my students and I worked on their final projects for the semester. Lydia, Jin San, and Jyu Ree (above) are in Team Kripsy Kremes. They have already filmed their documentary of two different food locations and conducted a survey with their talent and the patrons. Who knows? It might be a fun thing to watch. We'll see.

Here is the coup de grace. I think they are a very becoming couple. I wish them lots of happiness, warm nights, and love. 

10,000 hours = Magic Number to be an Expert at Anything

There are so many folks who say that athletes are made-up of a certain genetic predisposition, or that Mozart was a unique diamond-in-the-rough. But is that true? According to Malcom Gladwell's essay, Outliers, mastery of anything - whether it's the Beatles in music or Bill Gates in the computer world - takes 10,000 hours of practice. The only requirement for the individual is to find the money to create time for practice, have a strong desire to commit to the work, and practice, practice, practice until they achieve success. 

I have been looking at the many art forms I have participated in to tally how much more work I need to do to become an expert at my passions. The results are quite interesting.

1. Comic Book Drawing: 2005-2007 (10 hours/wk) = 1,040 hours

2. Painting: 1996-1998 (15 hrs/wk = 1,560 hours); 1998-2001 (312 hours); 2001-2003 (300 hours); 2003-2008 (624 hours) = 2,796 hours

3. Writing: 2001-2003 ( 5 hrs/day = 3,650 hours); 2003-2005 (25 hours/wk = 2,600 hours); 2005-2008 (5 hours/wk = 780 hours) = 7,030 hours

4. Music: 1994-1996 (30 hrs/wk = 3,120 hours); 1996-1999 (1,000 hours); 1999-2001 (15 hours/wk = 1,560 hours); 2001-2003 (150 hours); 2003-2005 (100 hours); 2005-2008 (1,000 hours) = 6,930 hours

5. TV Producing: 2005-2007 (40 hrs/wk = 4, 160 hours) = 4, 160 hours

6. Meditation: 1976-2001 (5 hours); 2001-2003 (10 hours); 2003-2005 (5 hours); 2005-2006(5 hours);  2006-2008 (90 hours) = 115 hours

7. Tennis: 1990-1994 (10 hrs/wk = 2,080 hours); 1994-2007 (300 hours); 2008 (150 hours) = 2,530 hours

8. Teaching: 2000-2001 (Taught gym for a year = 2,184 hours); 2004 (Taught Creative Arts for six months = 1,080 hours); 2003 (Taught Creative Writing for one semester at Naropa = 48 hours);  2005-2007 (Private tutor for about four hours a week = 416 hours); 2007-2008 (Taught ESL at 30 hours/wk = 1,560 hours); 2008-2009 (Taught ESL at Yonsei University = 1,000 hours); 2007-2009 (Taught Composition online at 10 hours/wk = 1,040 hours) = 7, 328 hours

Now that I am doing 20 minutes a day of meditation each morning - about 2.5 hours a week - it will take me 90 years to reach mastery (1/3 of an hour x 365 x 90 = 10, 950 hours). I think I need to up the ante to one hour per day, which would make me reach mastery in 30 years (1 hour of meditation x 365 days x 30 = 10, 950 hours).

If I do two hours of writing practice per day, it will take me 4 years to achieve mastery (2 x 365 x 4 = 2,920 hours + 7,030 = 9,950 hours). 

If I do one hour of painting practice per day, it will take me 20 years to become an expert.

If I practice music for one hour a day, it will take me ten years to become an expert.

Looking at my next year, I need to raise so much money to be able to live. I would say about $3,500-4,000/month. This will require working about 35-40 hours/week. If I work online, I can have more time to become an expert at different things. 

In order to become an expert at writing, I could concentrate solely on that exercise...there are 168 hours in a week - of which I am sleeping about 56 of those hours, which leaves 72 hours to become an expert if I remove sleeping and work...if I remove television watching, scouring the Internet, and leave time for family, let's say two hours a day, that would leave me with 58 hours...if I subtract out eating time, that leaves me with 37 hours...if I keep eating healthy and contribute one hour of exercise each day, that leaves me with 31 hours...if I subtract out the time it takes me to transport my body from place to place, I would be left with 17 hours...If I subtract out an unknown ten hours for unforeseen circumstances, such as a family event, death, or other anomaly, I would be left with 7 hours of actual writing time per week...that makes becoming an expert at writing ten years, if I sacrifice most of my free time. 

If I was offered money to write - a grant or scholarship - I could attain my requisite 3,000+ hours within two years by writing five hours a day. This would require a two year writing program, where I wouldn't have to work. 

I think this could be my statement of intention for a grant. It is very logical and has good reasoning. 


Conclusions: Becoming a bum and sitting on someone's couch and practicing an instrument or writing without getting a job might be the only way for people without a lot of money - trust funds and shit - to actually become an expert at what they do. Next time you criticize your friend for not getting a company job that sucks the life out of them, or doing some menial labor that gives them a small paycheck, but lots of free time to contribute to becoming a master at something, take the time to realize that they just might be doing pretty well in three or four years, once they reach that 10,000 hours benchmark.

If you are a parent, and have reached this post by mistake, but have become fascinated with the possibilities of what this means for you or your children, be sure to encourage your child's passions and offer them as much practice time at their passions to insure that they will be a success at what they do. 

If you are already a master at one of my passions above, please e-mail me a lesson.

The Desert Rose

MacGyver Reading, Video Chatting, and Food Photos

I enjoyed the MacGyver Poetry Reading. There were a lot of fun pieces. I especially liked Ken's story about Mr. Biggles. It made me want to get a bad Christmas present just to be like the main character.

I suppose that the next reading will be in a bigger venue. Loren and I both thought it was only going to be us that showed up. That is why we'll be sure to set-up a bar/outside venue for the December 7th, Airwolf Storytelling Celebration. Who knows? I might even make fliers.

I have been reading things on the web. It must be winter. I tend to read a lot in the winter. I even bought Piercing by Ryu Murakami. It is flat so far. Maybe, it'll get better. I am also reading Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates. The film adaptation by Sam Mendes is due out in weeks. The trailer looks pretty good.

I am already planning what will happen upon my return to America. The apartment has been set-up. The film production is still under way. Boxes are being packed. And I am very ready to to see what will transpire in the next six months. It might be one of the most exciting whirlwinds of my life: marriage, Los Angeles, NY, Brooklyn, movie, Ohio, road trip, Los Angeles, getting a job, surviving, not dying, and sunshine, lots of sunshine.

At night, I sing songs to So Gee about what will happen. We do this through video chat.

I think video chatting has saved my life three or four times. Even when I'm all alone, sometimes I video chat with a ghost. He says his name is Mortimer. He lives on Sixth Avenue. I don't know what city. I don't even know if he's speaking English. I like his bed though. It makes me want to own the same kind when I move. I tell him this. Twice. Then another apparition appears. It is not like Mel Gibson's made for TV movie version of Hamlet. It is more like Kevin Costner's Field of Dreams. In fact, it is Kevin Costner. We talk about his career. I say to make a sequel to Dances with Wolves. He says that I spend too much time eating and not making fabulous art. I don't argue with him. Costner knows how to make a poet bleed. He's a poet himself.

Today I bought meditation cushions in Insadong. I plan on meditating every day of my life for at least 20 minutes in the mornings. I will see if this can be my new religion. I will probably make this last for 17 days.

Mortimer: Your religions are as easy to pick as numbers on a Roulette board. Now if you could only learn how to play Baccarat.

I also keep taking pictures of food advertisements in Seoul. I have not eaten anything I've photographed. They partially scare me and make me convulse. That is why I photograph them. I am facing my fears. I also see my next painting. It is called Barney Newman.

I wonder if I can make colors bleed in horizontal stripes like food on a plate.

Poetry Reading: "Finding Your Inner Poetry MacGyver"

Event: Poetry Reading*
Where: Loren G's house**
Date: Saturday, November 15
TIME: 6-8 PM
Address: A515 Hyoseong, Jewelry City, 48-2 Inui-dong, Jongno-Gu

All flight attendants are welcome to read if they so desire. A sign-up sheet will be passed among those present, if more than five people show up. ; )

Videos or audio clips are welcome from those who cannot attend due to distance or time (If videos are submitted post-event, we will show them at the next reading). Homemade refreshments will also be welcome from anyone who decides saltines and peanuts are just not enough.

*Special guest appearance by MacGyver
**This is a non-smoking home. Locations outside for snorkelers.




mustseeplacesintheUnited States:
overwhelming, frustrating, and repelling
mind-boggling natural grandeur


my heart
its texture
like an abalone
pumps a breeze
down my blouse
unbottons knees
lets secrets out
my lips, my mouth
shackles or silver?
wisdom over doubt


9 out of 10
his heart a
fire exhaust
shards in water
beneath a tomb
onet seemed
mind are two
see United New City on
bodies raw spirit be
and exhilarating Canyon is yang to yin
a place of mind natural
you need to hike or horseback into it or raft through it
that will give you some earthly perspective on
manmade marvels

Unicorn Years, Humar War Film Update, Imaginative Writing Workshop, and Sam Gay Tang Joint

I made another painting. It took me about two months. I had to paint in between doing other things. I probably would have finished in two weeks if I didn't have so much going on. Who knows? Maybe, paintings need to take two months to finish. In any case, it looks a lot better in person. I'll have to buy some good lights to take a picture of this one. The fluorescents keep reflecting off certain parts of it. 

Thomas and I have a deadline to finish the final draft of The Human War script. We are then set to finalizing a budget, showing it to Noah, and then casting actors. If you are interested in being part of the film, let me know. Our goal is to make this be as much a community project as it is a professional film set. Don't you love that? I do.  

I went into Loren's "Imaginative Writing" workshop this week. The class was so relaxed and fun. Loren said he wanted me to come all the time. He also told me that I say "sort of" too much. I told him it was because I was suffering from "language deterioration". 

"I've been in Asia too long," I said. "You ever feel like that?"

"My language has been deteriorating for years," Loren laughed.

I sincerely doubt him. Both he and his students are turning out some wonderful work into the world. I'll be curious what they're doing when I visit again towards the end of the semester. Who knows? Maybe, I could offer a class on social commentary in art without saying anything at all. I wonder if the students would like something like that. Who knows? I have no idea.  

I wonder how Jim Goar is doing. I haven't talked to him in a month. Last I heard, another issue of Past Simple came out. I would like to hear how his adventures in England are going. That would be nice.

I talked to my brother on google chat. He is ready for me to come to L.A.. He also says he'll help with the soundtrack of the film. That would be great.

So Gee's Mom and Aunt took me out to a Sam Ga Tang (chicken soup) joint on Sunday. It is supposed to be the best place in Seoul. It was pretty good. The chicken was soaked in a broth filled with scallions and ginseng roots, and you could amp up the spice with these pickled radishes drenched in red pepper paste.

"No," So Gee's mom said to me, and pointed at the radishes. "No!"

I like it when she treats me like a five year old. It makes me feel loved. It was even better when they all decided to visit my tiny apartment.

"Uh," I said. "I need to clean."

"Yes!" So Gee said, with a worried look. "It's too messy!"

I looked at my new Mother-In-Law and Aunt. They didn't know what So Gee just said. They were just looking at me like I was about to do something extraordinary. They couldn't possible be discouraged by a bit of messiness. Who knows? Having seven family members in a tiny 500 square foot studio might be fun. It would certainly be memorable.

"Okay," I declared. "Let's go hang out at my apartment!"

My mother-in-law and aunt were thrilled at the announcement. They sat on either side of me on the car ride. Each took one of my hands in theirs, stroked the hair on my hands, and made jokes about the possibility of bugs.

"How do you keep him clean?" my mother-in-law joked to So Gee. 

"He takes two showers a day," So Gee said in my defense.

"Maybe, there are still bugs," my aunt snickered in Korean, and examined my hand more closely.

I smiled.  It is fun to be loved by two doting mothers.

"Have you ever been with two women?" So Gee's mom joked in Korean.

"This is my first time," I said.

When we got to my place, I just played them slideshows of photos I had taken on our last family trip and a smattering of a film called "Air Guitar Nation". They dug the photos. They even asked for copies, so I made those for them. Then they asked me to perform on the guitar. I played a couple songs. They were disappointed. They wanted me to play "Yesterday" by the Beatles and "Imagine" by John Lennon. I didn't know them. I told them I would learn the songs and play them next time.

"Imagine," my aunt said with a pout. "John Lennon!"

"Okay," I said. "Next time."

I learned both songs today. I am much better at playing "Yesterday" so far. I'll have to practice "Imagine" a couple hundred more times. That'll be good. I like learning songs. They're so easy. I've barely ever done it. Might as well learn a bunch to please the In-Laws and other folks who aren't willing to hear original things. And I completely understand. People want to sing along. They want a radio station that is live. I can do that. I am not here to destroy all cover bands. That was a former identity. I am now here to support cover bands in their quest for world domination. I will even play in one when I get back to Los Angeles. I think I'd like it to be a Pirooz Kalayeh cover band. What would that sound like? Hmmm...

I already know what they'd be called: Best Cover Band Ever - For Realz! or BCBEFR! for short.