Psychedelickimchi is the name of a blog written by a certain person with the real name Eoin, but that many people will know better as Tiberious aka Sparkles from Dave's ESL Cafe. His biggest problem as of late has been getting http://www.pandora.com to play just the right song.
"The Pandora Experiment: Part II" from Psychedelickimchi
"Another problem for me is that most of my favorite bands sound little or nothing alike. I love The Smiths, for example, and other bands which Pandora feels sound similar to The Smiths I can't bloody stand, for the most part. If I create a Smiths station, I don't want to hear bands that sound as though they were influenced by them, and who in turn are second-rate when compared to them; no, I want Pandora to play music from a group which is or was as musically innovative as they were, even if the two bands sound nothing alike. I realize this is difficult, but it beats listening to There is a Light That Never Goes Out, followed by Sarah McLachlan or some shit."
Q: Self-introduction & how long have you been in Korea?
- My name is Eoin A. Forbes. I own a mansion and a yacht. I’ve been here since 2000, minus 7 months or so that my wife and I spent in Canada in 2002, the year we were married. 6 years, man. Jesus, I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. (A pack of yogurt-flavored Hi Chews to the first person who gets that reference.)
Q: I see you're married and have a family. Does having that make you feel like a father or is it still something that surprises you when you think about it?
- I’m a very proud father, but I have an age complex due to my adolescent looks. For the record, I turned 28 two weeks ago. Yet I still feel like a teenager in many regards. On one hand I’m very mature: I’m punctual, hardworking, responsible, and I watch my language; on the other – and this is the side which predominates the blog – I’m completely childish and sometimes crude. But I suppose the same can be said for most people vs. their Internet personalities.
- The mature part, the father/husband/employee aspect, is how I spend most of my days; the other half is my creative side, which is an outlet for many things, whether it be stress, the isolation I sometimes feel living in a foreign country, or whatever. I’m pretty sure most expats -- the really creative ones -- are the same in that regard, their methods of stress relief the only variable. Some people write blogs or post like maniacs on message boards, others go out drinking, some do both, and both are fine by me; it’s just that I personally feel most comfortable playing the responsible husband-and-father role (most of the time). I’ve always been a homebody, so I suppose the domestic life is perfect for me.
- To answer your question, I was made for this. It was my density.
Q: From your posts online it seems like you almost have a kind of yearning for the 1980s in which (I assume) you grew up. http://www.everyvideogame.com for example. Do any parts of Korea ever strike you with that same mood? What about the little arcade games no bigger than a computer you can see on the street here and there, kids biking around without helmets, that sort of thing?
- I was at E-Mart the other day and was shocked to see some kids playing the original Super Mario Bros. on a demo setup, because, meanwhile, the X Box 360 is on the other side, and no one was playing it! Nothing against the X Box, which, if I were single, I’m sure I’d spend 20 hours a day playing, but I love the simple-yet-creative style of those old Nintendo (or Atari, which was my first gaming experience) games. There’s something to be said for making the most of what you’re given, and I think in a way that sums up Korea and Koreans, whether it be the games they choose to play, the food they cook, or their outlook on life.
- As for the 80’s, you’re right, I grew up then and I have a fondness for the pop culture of that time. A lot of my generation is the same, but it bugs me when the 80’s are cannibalized or presented in a kitschy way, because that’s like making fun of my childhood, man. Sure, there were a lot of bad hair styles, a lot of bad television, a lot of bad everything, but it’s no different today. In fact, these days it’s probably worse.
- PS – a big gas face to Nintendo for having Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda removed from everyvideogame.com. Those two games were the only reason I visited that site, and Nintendo put the kibosh on my plan to fuck up Bowser and Gannon in a major way.
Q: I've never seen you mention your work before. Is that a secret, do you as a rule not talk about the workplace or is it just not worth mentioning?
- Mostly it’s not worth mentioning, although in the past I have. I’m a recruiter (put down that knife!). Not the most interesting of subjects for the majority of expat workers in Korea, or anyone for that matter. No one wants to hear what I do for a living, especially someone who works at a poorly-run hogwan. We’re always professional, but I’d become guilty by association.
Q: What would you like to see happen to you and your family in 10, 20 years? Do you have any plans for how you'd like to see your daughter grow up or are you just going to leave that to her?
- I realized not long after our daughter was born that I’ll only be 52 by the time she turns 27 years old. Hopefully by then she’ll be finishing med school, and then it’s early retirement for me, baby! I plan to then finally settle down and write my memoirs, for which all this blog nonsense has been early practice.
- Seriously though, I don’t have any major plans for the future save for “don’t die.” It’s worked so far, so why tamper with success?
Q: What's your opinion on the school system here and have you had disagreements with teachers before on their methods? Also, does your daughter still have to take English class even though I assume that's the language you and her talk in? Assuming your wife is Korean do you find it interesting watching your daughter grow up completely bilingual?
Father and daughter practicing their patented Tim Duncan faces.
- The school system here is pretty much a joke, but so is the Canadian school system, and at least here the students strive to be the best, whereas in North American schools kids who excel at academics are often ridiculed or even ostracized by their peers. A lot of the ultra-competitiveness in Korean schools stems from pressure, but it beats the hands-off approach too many Canadian families use with their kids.
- I’ve never had major disagreements on teaching methods, but things such as teachers (and I’m talking Korean public school teachers here) using class as a platform for propaganda, forming kids’ young impressionable minds in all manner of devious ways… that I take umbrage with. And of course, with a bi-racial daughter, I’m concerned about the pure blood nonsense that’s still being indoctrinated on said impressionable kids. But my responsibility as a father is to point out to her, when and if the time comes, the more rational side of the argument. Luckily, it will be easy for her in the years to come to receive an education in both Korea and Canada (pick your poison, right?), and she’ll see firsthand her worth in a global sense.
- So far everything has been gravy, and hopefully things will continue that way; but I’m not naïve; I realize that the older she gets the nastier kids get.
- She’s at a pre-school now, and she’s at the top of the class, without being – thank god – a novelty. They have English on Tuesdays and Fridays, but she’s always tight-lipped when I ask her what she does in English class. I have a feeling she might be holding back, as children often do when they realize they’re light years ahead of what’s being taught, but she’s only 2-and-a-half; at that age I recall pulling the speaker covers off my parents’ hi-fi setup and scoring candy to be the most challenging goals of my young life.
- She’s already speaking full sentences in two languages, writing, doing artwork that almost surpasses anything I could create, feeding herself at meals, dressing herself, and hitting 3-pointers. OK, I made up that last one, but the point is pretty much everything she does amazes me, because at her age I think I was basically a receptacle for food and little else.
Q: What's it like for you when movies like Star Wars and X-Men take a few weeks after North America and other places to come out? Is that torture? Does having quick and easy access to Korean movies balance that out?
- I’m patient that way. It’s only when I start reading reviews similar to the ones that came out prior to Spider-Man 2 or Revenge of the Sith that I start to get antsy. I’m only 28, but in the past 6 years or so I’ve learned to lower my expectations. It makes the anticipation a lot less fun, but the payoff sweeter. People always bad-mouth The Phantom Menace, and deservedly so, but at least it taught me to ignore all the hype and save my energy for when I actually see a film.
Q: Where does your username come from?
Responding to Ghosts'n'Goblins being selected as one of the "manliest video games of all time"
"I don't know about that one. A guy wearing knight's armor is chased by ghosts and loses everything but his skivvies when one touches him? Sounds gayer than riding the big gay ride at Gay Land to me."
- Back in the dinosaur days of Daves ESL Café, I posted, very infrequently, under the handle Tiberious. The misspelling is intentional, and the reason why isn’t very interesting: In 1995 I bought Old Dirty Bastard’s album Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version on cassette. In the liner notes, the Genius’s name is misspelled as Genious, which is fairly ironic. I always thought Tiberius to be a cool-sounding name, and added the ‘o’ as an inside joke to myself. I do stupid shit like that a lot. Anyway, the ‘aka Sparkles’ part was added because, when I was registering for the new Korean Job Discussion board, I was (stupidly) under the impression that it was like the old board, where one could submit messages under any old name one wished. So the plan was to add a different tongue-in-cheek “aka _____” after every post. It’s probably better that I was stuck with Sparkles now that I think about it, because shit like that gets annoying pretty quickly.
- As for ‘Sparkles,’ anyone who was a fan of Chris Elliot’s short-lived Fox sitcom Get a Life, or has listened to Handsome Boy Modeling School’s ‘So…How’s Your Girl?’ probably gets the reference.
- Nothing too interesting, huh? I’m actually considering changing it to the more masculine-sounding Takaspark, but that’s not the biggest of priorities these days.
Q: There have been a lot of coffee shops springing up in Bundang recently and apparently a whole street of open-air cafes has sprung up. Any opinion on that or on Bundang in general? Is it well-developed enough that you feel little need to go to Seoul?
- I’m not a big fan of coffee. Gives me the runs. But as far as Bundang goes, it’s probably the nicest area in Korea in which to raise a family. You hear that, Ilsan? We live a little ways away from the action of Seohyeon and Sunae, which is where all the young kids like to congregate, but will probably move somewhere near there next year. Not because of the nightlife, but because the best basketball courts in Bundang – and possibly all of Korea – are located near there.
- I can’t remember the last time I went to Seoul for anything other than work, actually, so Bundang has pretty much everything I need.
Q: ...anything else you feel like mentioning?
- Beginning the end of June, I promise not to bore anyone with basketball ramblings. And I’m very much looking forward to an interview I’ve arranged with a Korean celebrity. So stay tuned!
- Oh, and 오또기’s 갈비탕 sucks. It’s just broth with 4 or 5 meager spare ribs thrown in.
- Note: A few weeks after the interview, that second last line on the upcoming interview with a Korean celebrity turned out to be true.