“Froggy,” in The Korean Quarterly

The kind folks at The Korean Quarterly have printed an essay of mine in their summer issue.  In case you aren’t familiar with the publication, here’s a primer:

Korean Quarterly is a non-profit quarterly newspaper, written by and about the Korean American community of the Twin Cities and upper Midwest. We define this community to include first and second generation Korean Americans and their families (including non-Korean family members), adopted Koreans and their families, and bi-racial/bi-cultural Korean American people.

The Korean Quarterly staff, contributors, and advisory board consist of first, 1.5 and second generation Korean Americans, adult adopted Koreans and adoptive parents of younger adopted Koreans.

Even though they have a presence on the internet, they publish their quarterly on newsprint only.  You know, newsprint — that thing that we wrapped fish in, crumpled to pack boxes, and also read occasionally.

But since we live in modern times and since you cannot actually read my essay unless you subscribe to The Korean Quarterly, here it is, from paper to smartphone to Dropbox to my website.  I suggest you click on the graphic in order to read it, since the type’s gonna be too tiny to read as is.

Froggy

A reflection on one woman and her love-hate relationship with a car

[FYI, it’s about my mom and her Volkswagen Beetle]

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I love you, Mets. I really do. Even if I haven’t shown it much.

photoIf I may be perfectly frank – until this current postseason, I had not seen one single complete game of baseball all year.  And that’s including the live game I caught at Wrigley Field last month.  Even there, I left in the seventh inning.

If I may be even franker, I have not paid much attention to baseball in quite a few years.  Which probably also explains why my fantasy baseball teams have been so awful.  Not that I need an excuse for my usual subpar performance in my leagues – I kind of suck.

But now I’m glued to the TV set, because my favorite team, the Mets, have come out of nowhere and no expectations to be in the World Series this year.  In fact, they are less than an hour away from playing their first game against the Kansas City Royals.  And I am going to watch.

You can call me a fair-weathered fan.  I deserve it, even if I don’t think it’s entirely true.  No, the real reason why I’ve stayed away is because of Armando Benitez.  That was back in 2000, the Subway Series against the Yankees.  I knew as everyone else knew that we didn’t stand a chance.  And every time Benitez came out to “close” the game, I wanted to just turn off the TV.  But of course I couldn’t.

And there’s another reason why I’ve ignored baseball: Carlos Beltran.  Striking out looking to end the series against the Cardinals, the NL team I hate the most (I know you guys are the nicest fans in the world, but screw all of you, because when I think of the Cards, I see a slideshow of horror starring John Tudor, Vince Coleman, Willie McGee, Terry Pendleton, Jack Clark, Ozzie Smith…oh my goodness, please, all of you, leave my brain alone), nine years ago.

So it took almost a decade and a miraculous run to bring me back to my beloved Mets.  I did write about them earlier this year in the Times, so maybe this reunion was presaged.  My dear Mets, please believe me when I say I never left you.  I just couldn’t watch you for a while.  It was me, not you.

Now let’s win four more and bring the trophy home, okay?

Sung

p.s. You know that guy named Sungwoo who’s the Royal’s Superfan?  Well, guess what — my name is Sung Woo and I’m the Mets Superfan.  So consider me your bearded Spock (sorry, Star Trek reference), Mr. Sungwoo Lee.

95.9 FM, the Fish, Driving Through Beverly Hills

bh

I’m driving a rental in L.A.  It’s a Ford Focus, the cheapest thing I could find.  Still has way more power than my Prius, so I still feel like I’m redlining every time I press the gas pedal.  This Focus has Microsoft SYNC, which is supposed to make connections to smartphones via Bluetooth bulletproof, except my phone, for whatever reason, will not connect.

So I’ve been relegated to listening to the radio.  After clicking through the channels, the one I found I liked the best was 95.9 FM, the Fish.  I found myself liking just about every song from this station.  It might be because many of them have these soaring melodies, almost Jim Steinmanian (that’s the guy who wrote those Meatloaf sagas, plus Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” etc.).  And then the DJ came on, Delilah, and she was talking about such deep, meaningful things, about the difficulties of life, the elusiveness of salvation, how we can find ourselves in this confusing universe of ours.  Wow, was this a cool station or what?  So very different.  Must be an L.A. thing.

And then came on a commercial about a movie I’d never heard before, War Room.

On the outside, Tony and Elizabeth Jordan seem to have it all—great jobs, a beautiful daughter and their dream home. But their appearances are deceiving: Tony relishes in his professional success and flirts with temptation, while Elizabeth resigns herself to increasing bitterness. Their marriage is on the verge of crumbling until their lives take an unexpected turn. When Elizabeth meets Miss Clara, she challenges Elizabeth to create a battle plan of prayer for her family by establishing a “war room.” This new film from the Kendrick brothers is a vivid reminder that prayer is powerful weapon.

The next song that came on was Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel,” and then I finally realized I’ve been listening to a Christian Rock station.

One strange thing about me is that I hardly ever listen to the lyrics of any song.  If I like a song a lot, then I’ll eventually pick up on the lyrics, but even with those, it’s entirely possible I just learn the words on a pure sound level; i.e., my brain isn’t actually processing anything.

Even stranger?  I’m still listening to the Fish.  What can I say, I like the music.