Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Harvard-Yale / Korean Food in New York

An eventful 7 days transpires in New Haven; old relationships begin anew, rivalries spill over throughout the city, and Korean food threatens to (deliciously) overwhelm a trip to New York. All on this week's episode of

American Dream, Chinese Hero.



After kicking it with Christian YV for a long minute, I ran into Living
, preparing for the Harvard-Yale jam with Harvard's Under

Lookin, soundin like a million bucks.


After a 2 hour flight delay, Janice touched down into
New Haven safe & sound; To celebrate, we headed to
our old favorite spot for a familiar round of dishes.



The morning of The Game dawned cool, bright, and
inspirational. Headed to the Living Water alumni
breakfast, I ran into a familiar and sorely-missed
face around campus.

The #1 JOSH I SKY!!!

What a great triad of alums.

Mel dropped by New Haven. Instead of going to The
Game (good call there...), she and I hung lazily around
my apartment, catching up on life the way we used
to during undergrad days.

Mel has been down with Bustout for a minute now.

After catching up, I walked her over to the Omni, one of New Haven's
hotels. Note that even the telephones are bougie.


After dinner, a group of the alums, led by my roommate,
congregated in our apartment to nurse full stomachs and, perhaps,
the traces of wounded pride (Harvard: 14; Yale: 10).

Karin, Yang, Wendo.

Amy, Ben, Victor, Josh.

Jwong and Ray!

Nancy Liang came through to reminisce with me and
give me the lowdown on her career moves... killing
em in the investment game.


On my way to work out in the Pierson-Davenport
gym, I passed a picture of the PC class of 2008,
including this dashing young fellow. Obviously
headed somewhere smart with his life.

That night, a small group of us congregated at
Enping's house for dinner + a movie.

Andrew and James, the very portrait of mutual

厨师 Ah Joo... gourmet dumplings.


On a sharp Tuesday morning, D.Chen and I headed into
the City to kick it with assorted NJ/NYC friends.

Hitting the city shortly before noon, we hopped on the
uptown 6 and met up with sgkim at the Met, where
we Saw Culture.


The expansive Egypt room. I was so impressed by the clear, crisp design cues,
which stood in bold contrast to the self-conscious and cluttered layout of the rest
of the museum.


What's that, Stephen?

Yes, adorable.



White = sitting on camel = Wise Man
Black = leading camel = Servant
Not cool, Culture. Mad ignorant.



Artist painting art of art!

"Pertti Kekarainen
Finnish, born 1965
TILA (Passage I), 2006
Chromogenic print
One of the leading artists of the Helsinki school, a loosely
connected group of photographers associated with Finland's
Academy of Fine Arts, Kakarainen uses the camera to foreground
the process of perception itself. the photographs in his TILA series
are images of architectural spaces-rooms, staircases, doorways,
windows-to which he has added various optical occlusions: extra
shadows, floating spots of color, and larger veils or scrims that
sometimes nearly obscure the original image. These interruptions
in the visual field complicate the act of seeing and encourage a
heightened awareness of the tension between the flatness of the
photograph and the illusion of spatial depth. The Finnish word tila
means many things, from "space" or "place" to "circumstance"
or "state of mind." Kekarainen's gorgeously complex images
convincingly show that the photographic representation of space
is completed in the eye and mind of the viewer."


Detail of above.

Exiting the Met, we motivated our way crosstown via Central Park.

Satchel, corduroy blazer, knit wool tie - vintage
Cashmere scarf - Club Room
Glasses - Bust Out
Shirt - Uniqlo

Midtown Manhattan skyline over Central Park.

Revisiting old haunts.

Hitting 86th and Broadway, we jumped on the 1,
bound for Columbia, where Lucas was lecturing at
4 PM.

Clearly labeled. I appreciate that in a campus.

Waiting around, eating roasted nuts [||] before lecture.

Stephen departed to spend time with an old friend,
David and I sat in on Lucas' lecture, Yoonjoo arrived at
Columbia, and we all linked up for dinner in Ktown at



Yo it is real hard to get D.chen to sit still for a photo.

Dookbaeki bulgolgi, the first time I've had it since the summer in Ilsan.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yo

Redmango post-dinner. By this point, my stomach was real insistent.

After we walked Yoonjoo & David to the 34th st 1 train
stop, and made an emergency detour to a certain store,
we saw a large crowd gathering in front of Macy's,
where a large section of the street was cordoned off and,
as we discovered, the site of Thanksgiving Day parade

Eunju, overcome by excitement and curiosity, hopped on
the barricade to peer inquisitively at the young performers.

After saying goodbye to Eunju & sgkim, I kicked it in
Ktown with Karmen for a little longer, then motivated
my way uptown to Columbia, again, where I hung with
my man Andrew and saw Ji Eun for the first time in 4
years, since we all finished studying in 北京 together.

Super on his grind... real talk, I got to Columbia
around 10 PM, and headed to Lucas' apartment
to spend the night around 2 AM... Andrew was
working on his pset the whole time and kept on
working for hours after I left! Homeboy is really on
track to being an academic baller.


Sleeping in, I woke up in time for lunch with
Andrew & Ji Eun at the only Korean place local to
Columbia, Mill.

I wasn't hungry, having eaten about 3 meals' worth
of bulgolgi and rice the night before, but Ji Eun and
Andrew were having none of it... so they loaded me
down with Bibimbap and a couple pieces of kimbap
from Ji Eun's friend Fei Fei. Thanks guys.



After lunch, I linked up with Lucas again to talk some words for a
brief minute, then we kicked it around campus at Columbia.

Hopping on the downtown 1 around 2:30, I hit Grand Central with
2 minutes to spare for the 2:57 to New Haven.

God's timing truly >>> my own.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An honest inquiry

In short: why do so many people who say that we shouldn't force people to "do good", say we should punish people who "do bad"?

Some musings, hastily thrown together, on a subject that I've been wondering about since the summer, provoked largely by my readings on educational and income disparity. The following is neither exhaustive nor particularly cogent, and is barely logically coherent; it is not intended to be any of the above, but rather merely to verbalize musings, provoke thought, and request further input:

One of the more convincing arguments against positive social welfare policies* that I have been presented, is that the enactment of such policies equates, essentially, to the litigation of morality: making good action compulsory for a society - as a whole and, by extension, as individuals - removes the potential for individual moral action. The argument presumes that it is valuable, if not inherently necessary, to allow individuals room for real moral choice; take, for instance, the case of welfare**.

In such a case, I've heard it argued, the government should not act to provide for unemployed or unemployable individuals, because it should lie on the conscience of every moral actor within the state to do so. For the government to dictate that state funds should be used for the provision of aid to such persons is suboptimal, because, in such a case, the government is now overstepping its bounds: instead of providing its people with a stable framework within which to make ethical decisions, the state is now making those decisions on behalf of the people. Essentially, the argument seems to run, legislating morality reduces the ability of people to make moral choices.

OK, I can ride with that, at least to a certain degree.

My question arises from the fact that, as far as I can tell, there exists a sizable population of those who would use an argument similar to that presented above to argue against positive social welfare policies, but, when confronted with a negative social welfare policy***, seem to believe that thusly legislating morality is unproblematic. For example, I believe (with little evidence beyond the personally anecdotal) that there are many people for whom generous welfare policies are repellent because they compel agents into action without moral choice, who, at the same time, oppose gay marriage, precisely because it is morally wrong.

This seems contradictory to me.

Is it? Is there some fundamental difference between positive legislation of morality and negative legislation? Perhaps gay marriage - or strict gun control, the death penalty, harsh enforcement of Reagan-era drug laws, etc. - presents a threat to the very structure of the rule of law in a way that large numbers of unsupported, unemployed citizens (or, to touch on a hornet's nest: "illegal immigrants") do not; and, as such, should be legislated against in a distinct way, being that one of the necessary components for a stable state be a code of law that supports its own enforcement, rather than being self-undermining. In such a case, I would grudgingly agree that, while suboptimal, the necessity of such negative moral legislation is manifest.

But I don't see this argument for negative moral legislation obtaining, at least not in a way that is clearly distinguished from the argument for the necessity of positive moral legislation.

To sum up: There are people who say that certain aid policies (welfare, Affirmative Action, etc.) are wrong, as giving people support decreases the need for individual agents to take morally praiseworthy action. Of those people, however, many argue that morally proscriptive policies (anti-abortion, outlawing gay marriage, etc.) are necessary. This seems contradictory.

I'm sure that I have friends & readers who have put in thought, and have well-considered insight on this particular issue. Please, your thoughts?

*i.e., those policies that actively work to provide recompense for the unduly disadvantaged, rather than to eliminate the conditions which lead to social inequality (in broad terms: think affirmative action, as opposed to abolishing slavery).

**Note: this is not the only, or even the best, argument against welfare. My intent isn't to pronounce a stance on Welfare-in-concept or the current welfare system, simply to outline a single stance I have seen articulated.

***"Negative," in this case not meaning "bad", but meaning "preventative", as opposed to "positive" meaning "constructive"

Sunday, November 15, 2009

YUAG/G-Fid's 21

Join me, if you would, in the contemplation of a thoroughly busying and yet entirely refreshing week(end).


Ms. Lee Philosophises.


My parents arrived in town at high noon; realizing that
they had never visited the Yale University Art Gallery,
I gave them a short tour while we waited for the homey
Capt. Joel Lee to arrive in from UMass.


Wave 11; it's always amazing to me to see strength and motion
captured in a static medium. This piece embodies so much of what I
consider to be aesthetically pleasing.





Reminds me of an enemy from Chrono Trigger.


After a sleepless night of sermon preparation and a long day of
fellowship at church, some of the UCW men and I went out to
celebrate Garrett's 21st by eating sushi until we couldn't talk.

Before starting to eat (you do not want to see after).

The ice cream goes down so smooth, it's not as though
it even occupies alimentary space.


In the words of the waitress, upon our fourth round of ice cream,
"So, basically... you want a whole bunch of ice cream."

Go to Sushi Palace on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday; on these three
days, they have in-house green tea ice cream that is super fly.

Digging in.