Rethinking-and renaming!-Hurricanes

No matter the severity of the storm, one of the real lasting tragedies of Hurricane Sandy and company is how silly they sound, and what a missed opportunity this is.

Hurricanes should get corporate sponsors. Hurricane Sam Adams. Hurricane Shop Rite. “Hurricane Subway-stay safe but remember, 50 mph winds is no reason not to eat fresh.”

Computer scientist and philosopher Zachariah Kendall opines: “If the money for the sponsorship money went to hurricane relief, that’d be a really good idea… And it’s still good advertising, as you point out, during their life and after people refer to hurricanes. Corporate gambling: ‘We must sponsor this hurricane, it’s so big they’ll be talking about it for 5 years!’ (The price of the sponsorship could be scaled according to the hurricane scale.)”

This is like a politically-uniting idea. I ‘assume’ (but don’t really know) the national hurricane center can treat naming rights as a government asset?



Dakota Does Halloween Part II



Identifying ‘which witch is which’ can sometimes be tricky, not to mention dangerous, because you have to distinguish between the Wiccan kind who threaten to find your inner light or whatever, or the real witchy kind who can do magic tricks and shit.

I’ve seen witches. You’re probably wondering, do they look like Emma Watson or Margaret Hamilton? Chances are it’s a bit of a mix of both. Not all of them have green skin, and to be fair, I met them at this rager so I can’t really trust my own color perception.

But they can totally do magic. For good or for ill. So you watch yourself. You meet a witch, you treat them like your mother. And if your mother is a witch, then you treat her like normal. Chances are, they’ll save the tricksy stuff for someone else, and let you live your life. Maybe they will even do something nice, like brew you a potion that does stuff like make you fall in love, or boost your metabolism.

Don’t be crass either. I asked a witch once if she wanted to ride my broomstick, and she turned me into a guinea pig.

It turns out some broomsticks are for riding, and others are for sweeping dust.

Also, Aaron wants me to send along he just made up:

How does a witch get from Seattle to Spokane in a lightning storm? He says the answer is economy class.

My answer is they don’t, because witches don’t understand science, so they ride up with their broom and die.


Now, if you’ve been watching the tv, you’ve got all kinds of confusing messages about vampires. They sparkle, they hate garlic, they’ve got big noses, they’ve got big pectorals, they have heavy Southern accents, or heavy Eastern-European accents, maybe they’re kind of anti-semitic charicatures.

There’s a vampire on the tv who likes to count a lot. There’s even a black vampire who doesn’t pay his taxes.

This is all made up garbage. There’s no such thing as vampires. If you see somebody on Halloween and they tell you they’re a vampire, it’s probably just some dumb kid. You should check their height.

If you think someone is a vampire because they stay up all night and act strange, you are making mistakes. These people probably just have anxiety, or they’re freaks. But not vampires.

Don’t worry about vampires. Worry about ghosts.


These are probably the scariest Halloween monsters, but they are also the easiest to kill. These “jack-o-lanterns” are “sacks-o-shit”, but show them the open end of your shot-gun, and their smile goes away right quick.

That’s because as evil as they are, they don’t go anywhere. At least not while you are looking at them in the eye.

From my experience out in Wyoming, all you need to do is aim, and fire away; pumpkins are like a raccoon that’s always asleep.

Sometimes, the old ladies that they’ve possessed will come out of the house and start screaming at you after you’ve blasted the pumpkin back to where it came from, but you just need to give those people some distance until they return to their real selves, which might take a few weeks.

This is mostly a problem in suburban neighborhoods.


If Sheena Macsween is sending you messages, she probably just wants you to put her in your blog. So I did it.

Dakota Does Halloween Part I

Halloween is a spooky time. Here is some advice on how to deal with the more common monsters you will encounter this season.


Don’t try shooting a ghost. They’re already dead, and they still get mad at you for trying. The bullets just pass through and hit your favorite rocking horse.

What else passes through?

Well, you know what they say; most ghosts have unfinished business. The majority of them just need to be directed to the nearest outhouse, but some ghosts need an extra push. Why do you think they’re moaning all the time?

It makes sense, being dead can cause a lot of stress. But to get rid of a ghost, you need to get some fiber into their ghost diet. Not an easy thing to do, I know.

First you need to find some oats or barley or flaxseed. It depends on where you live. Then you just need to kill it. Now, plants don’t have a soul but they do have an ecto-morphic imprint. Put your stuff in the outhouse and then light it on fire. Or make an explosion. Explosions are always the way to go if you’re not sure what can kill something. Make the sure the ghost is there, and then he should be on his way to heaven in about 24-30 hours.

Unfortunately, there is always the possibility that a ghost is just a poltergeist, and is out to claim your soul. If that is the case, you should just run as fast as you can.


Now, this one is easy. Wolf people are scary, but they really aren’t all that dangerous. In fact, it turns Aaron is a wolf-man, I guess not like Taylor Lautner, maybe more like a really poor man’s Benicio del Toro. Don’t tell him I said that. Anyway, they are pretty easy to deal with. Or if they aren’t, it might just be because they’re assholes, not because they’re wolf-people.

Full moon or blue moon with an orange slice, if wolf-people start looking like themselves, you need to get them to a waxing salon. Now, some of them might put up a fight, because who has that kind of money lying around, but just ask them if they want to be a wolf-man or woman for the rest of their life. And if that doesn’t work, tell them to just be themselves, and they will then grow suspicious of your bullshit advice and then they’ll do anything to change.

If being a wolf-man is easier than not being a wolf-man, well, there’s always people with fancy fetishes. There’s probably even a website for that stuff.

If you’re around a wolf-person and they start howling, tell them to shut the fuck up. It’s just for show.

No Democracy IS Safe

By Aaron Dorman

First, an apology for the lack of content recently. Me and Dakota haven’t had a lot to discuss, we’ve been sleeping. Later this week, Dakota will offer some advice about how to ward off Halloween monsters, but for now:

Obama and Romney are worried about the safety of Israel. Which is noble. But what about the other countries?

Reasons to worry about the safety of the following democracies, and which candidate would be best:

Norway-its so cold up there. They need mittens.


Uruguay- phonetically never too far from the Uruk-Hai, a creature of genetic engineering that can possibly be banished from the Earth by Mormon spells. ROMNEY

South Korea-they have a hostile neighbor who already has nuclear weapons. But under Obama, their leader died and their rockets misfired. And they built a big hotel.


Mauritius-national identity threatened by French heritage. France has still not apologized for failure to join the failure in Iraq. Neither has Obama. ROMNEY

Belgium- waffles threatened by unstable wheat market.


Australia- take away two letters and it becomes a land with no kangaroos. Sesame Street can help with this.


Lisotho- Michelle Obama adds broccoli and fruit salad to her Lisotho according to this article: OBAMA 

Czech Republic and Slovakia-Lyn Cheney wants to bring them back together. OBAMA

Saudi Arabia. Democratic movements threatened by Saudi’s ties with United States.




Norebang Poll

Aaron and Dakota: Norebangs in the US-Could It Happen?

Today’s discussion will be between

Aaron Dorman


Dakota Dunlap McKee

Aaron: Welcome back from Korea!

Dakota: You were there too.

Aaron: Right. Well, anyway, let’s discuss. One of my favorite things about Korea was the private karaoke room, or norebang.  It’s one of the cultural things I’m really going to miss. I’m wondering today about the crossover potential, if we could bring over the Pacific IN MY LIFE.

Dakota: No chance.

Aaron: Hold on there! Why not? DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART.

Dakota: The burden of proof is on you. SHOW ME THE WAY.

Aaron: Well, it was loads of fun.

Dakota: So is rounding up cattle in OKLAHOMA. And yet nobody believes me.

Aaron: So?

Dakota: It’s a localized cultural thing. There’s no crossover potential.



Aaron: You can’t compare the two things. Anything has certain intrinsic value, you just took apples and oranges and said they are both fruit so they are directly comparable.

Dakota: So tell me what the intrinsic value of the norebang is.

Aaron: Well, everybody loves singing.

Dakota: I hate singing.

Aaron: I meant everybody in a relative sense. Singing is almost universal across cultures. THE HILLS ARE-

Dakota: Norebang is not just singing. It is bad singing. It is drunk singing. It is singing for six hours. BLAME IT ON THE ALCOHOL. I love “pawn stars” but I couldn’t watch that for six hours.

Aaron: But that’s why its so great! It starts as a novelty and when it gets a little older than it becomes about nostalgia, or you sing new songs. Maybe you want to sing an OLD FASHIONED LOVE SONG, or maybe you want to sing a SIMPLE SONG OF FREEDOM? We could improve upon the model, make better food, or no food at all. Add windows, etc. I think people would love it.

Dakota: Western people?

Aaron: Well, yeah. I think that norebangs would do great in every DOWNTOWN in America.

Dakota: Well that’s just the problem. When did Western people, who you say love norebangs, go to the norebangs?

Aaron: On the weekend. IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR.

Dakota: Yes. On the weekend. Norebangs can’t survive with just weekend customers. They survive in Asia/Korea because people go there everyday, at all times of the day, nonstop.

Aaron: Well, it might never catch on as a daily thing, but like I said, it could be a novelty. An event for birthday parties, etc. People didn’t do lasertag on the weekdays either.

Dakota: Yeah, and all the laser tag places went out of business.

Aaron: Not because it wasn’t cool, because the business model needs tinkering. At the normative level, norebangs COULD succeed, even if they were transient and new ones replaced old ones every few months or so.

Dakota: That’s —.

Aaron: Don’t say it!

Dakota: That’s stupid. Now YOU are juggling the apples and oranges, neither of which, I should mention, is necessary for a good diet. I didn’t eat anything but meat until I was 13 years old, and that was only by accident. The problem IS cultural, it doesn’t matter how fun or not fun norebangs are, because as I said above, there just isn’t enough demand for it to work. You can’t simply ignore the demand for something. We live in the real world.

Aaron: Real world? You’re not even a real person.

Dakota: But I live in the real world. Let’s consider where we just came from. On Jeju, there is a conservative culture–

Aaron: What, so karaoke is an Asian thing now? It’s not as if it’s a completely foreign concept. There are karaoke bars in the US. There are karoake nights in bars. There are karaoke nights on cruises. Etc. There is a market waiting to be tapped.

Dakota: No there isn’t. Speaking of things waiting to be tapped, norebangs are ideal for a culture that drinks a lot and divides itself along gender lines, as is what happens in more conservative cultures.

Aaron: So what?

Dakota: Well, you have a bunch of drunk people who aren’t allowed/are too scared to have sex, so they do the next best thing, which for girls is taking pictures of yourself over and over again, for boys is eating lots of meat, which I can totally relate to, and for both, separately most of the time, is to sing your favorite song, and make fun of western songs you hear all the time, by singing drunk and badly. And sometimes there is meat at the norebang.

Aaron: But they like it.

Dakota: They like it because they can’t have sex. In America, the only people who would go to norebang would be people who aren’t having sex.

Aaron: But…(thinks)…yeah…yeah you’re right…I mean…who would have time for the norebang…heh…yeah…

Dakota: I win! (Drives his motorcycle into the ocean)

Aaron Vs. The Volcano: Who Won?

This will be the last post under this title. After this, I will either retire the blog, or, more likely, give it a new, more PRO AMERICAN makeover, just in time for the election. I even have thought of a new name. Hopefully, there will be enough adventures over the next two-three months to have a reason for writing online. If not, I might just make up a lot of shit.

So, you have been fore-warned, this blog could quickly become self-indulgent and untruthful.

I think there is more reflecting to be done about Jeju, but I am moving on. If you would like to have a private conversation and we can talk about deep things related to the experience of living in a foreign country for over a year, that would be fantastic. “You” know where I am, and how to contact me.

The last thing I will discuss related to leaving Jeju is an attempt to defend my leaving based solely on food.
I have a confession to make: I hate kimbap. Hate it hate it hate it. Can you feel the writing talent that went into that last sentence? I pretty much don’t like any ingredient in kimbap, except for the rice, and often the rice is too soggy. Don’t like the raddish. Don’t like the egg. Don’t like the mayonnaise. Ahhhhhhh. Mayonnaise. Mayonnaise on everything does NOT make food taste better. It cannot make white bread taste whiter. I cannot make chicken taste meatier. It cannot make potatoes more savory. I am so done with mayonnaise for the time being. Even on tuna. I’m going to mix my tuna with something else for now, like horseradish sauce or mango chutney. (I’m not going to do this, but I if I was going to do it, I would).

Brief update: my doctor says my “good” cholesterol is the best its ever been! Something to brag about at the bar?

Back to food: I wasn’t crazy about Korean food. I got a little sick of it about halfway through my time on Jeju. I don’t want to sound too negative or ungrateful: as noted by the above comment, Jeju made me a happier and healthier person (something my weekends couldn’t accomplish). The lack of bread and fat and normal-sized portions resulted in a normal-sized Aaron. Back home I will have to work hard to keep things this way as America has an abundance of delicious garbage.

But food is an important aspect of living somewhere, if not the most important. We are what we eat. Ultimately, foods like kimchi and teokk and galbi were great novelties which never matured for me into comfort food. Or maybe they did but I had too much and they went over the rainbow and I just had my fill of them. It’s hard to tell.

I’m not going to dump any more on Korean food. I don’t even know if Korean food can be blamed. Jeju certainly can. Whatever it is-beautiful, beachy, balmy-Jeju is not a great place for foodies. There’s a lot of Korean food and most of it is probably not as exciting as mainland equivalents. More importantly, there is not variety on Jeju. This has been covered in depth on this very blog! Perhaps if I had been able to mix things up a bit more, I would be dying for some mandu right now. As it stands, I am sitting at a Panera Bread thinking how wonderful it is to be surrounded once more by bagels and panini sandwiches.

Albany, cultural nonentity though it is, has good Indian restaurants. Good Thai restaurants. Good pizza. Good bagels. Great mexican food. Good barbeque. There’s even a Korean restaurant here now! There’s cheap shit too. Six dollar Indian buffets. Etc etc. Comfort food. I had bread before my meal for the first time in thirteen months! BREAD! It was so exciting.

The impression I am hoping to convey is coming home has gotten me excited about what I put in my mouth. I’m going to shove sausages into my mouth just like those imaginary people who gave me a very real ‘bad reputation’. Other phallic things too. Breadsticks. Pickles.

PICKLES! No more raddishes! Half sours! Full sours! Dill! Vlassic! So many pickled things! I’m going to pickle so much shit now that I’m home! I’m going to soak my frosted flakes in vinegar!

I’m getting too excited. The last time I was this excited about food was when I was in Seoul in January buying schwarma every five minutes.

Meals should take up about two-three hours a day, eight if you live in Europe. That’s a significant portion of your life, and this doesn’t include the amount of time you think about what you will be eating, or the hunger you feel when you are not eating. Also, consider the amount of time you spend shitting it back out again, but don’t think about this too long, because I guess potty stuff is gross or whatever.

(OH SHIT IM TALKING WHAT I TYPE AGAIN. This is a bad habit I will need to fix, as the people sitting next to me now understand what I am saying.)

Food is more important than just about anything else, certainly better, more reliable, and easier to attain than sex. Nobody ever felt guilty because they had to pay for food. Although it is kind of irritating. You can’t get pregnant for eating food without proper utensils, although sometimes you can look pregnant. I crossed this part out in case it was offensive. You can’t get a bad reputation because you were eating too loudly. Wait, shit, I guess you can.

In fact, if people in need of a power trip abused sandwiches against their will instead of women, the world be be a lot less dangerous and a lot more delicious.

Okay, I’m done talking about this. My computer is about to run out of batteries.

Last Saturday, I finally climbed the volcano. I packed all the things one needs if they are going to attempt a 9-hour hike: my comb, my camera, and the NY Times crossword puzzle. That was about it. I was working on no sleep and some half-eaten kimbap. I had a small water bottle.

This managed to sustain me for the better part of the ascent up. I was in a good mood, I was setting the pace for the group, I was feeling intrepid and cracking jokes and getting exercise and enjoying the view when…

About 400 meters from the top, I just totally lost it. Couldn’t climb another stair. I felt dizzy and had a headache and thought I was going to vomit and looked up and looked down and then just kind of collapsed. I told my crew I was going to take a nap, which I did. Here are the photos:

Ten minutes later I wasn’t feeling any better. Somebody gave me their water and I still wasn’t feeling any better. I looked up at the summit, teasing me with its proximity, daunting me with its height, and I had to make a decision.

I went back down. I decided I would rather have ‘almost’ climbed Mt. Hallasan then have done so and risked some kind of health calamity. I walked down for 3 hours so in retrospect the energy needed to make it up must have been there, but perhaps that is beside the point.

I had a quiet and reflective walk down, almost entirely alone as nobody was going up to the summit at that point in the day.

What lesson can be learned from this? Perhaps it is something as simple and obvious as “don’t attempt a long hike on no sleep and no food/water.”

Maybe it is something less obvious, but still not a metaphor, like “don’t risk hitting arbitrary landmarks, what is really important is personal achievement. And if personal achievement is tied to hitting arbitrary landmarks, that speaks more to your weakness than your strength.”

Related, what does it mean to ‘win’ and to succeed? What is the significance, objectively, of signposts? What am I trying to prove? Am I trying to prove something to myself? To other people? So many questions.

I don’t know if there is any tangible, objective reason why reaching the top of Mt. Halla would signal some kind of ultimate success, beyond the short-term satisfaction and nice views from the top. This is a mountain that is climbed by thousands of people every year, it is not as if doing this (or not doing this) would speak to some kind of athletic accomplishment the way climbing, say, K2 would (notice how I use K2 and not Mt. Everest here. Just like if you want to win an argument with someone, bring up Stalin, not Hitler).

Subjectively, obviously, one could attach some kind of poetic, narrative arc to reaching the summit, make it mean something symbolic. But that’s an easy fix. If success is dependent on how we personally define things, then I can simply move the bar for success down 400 meters, to where I eventually rested and gave up.

To conclude, I am an unconventional storyteller, and this blog ends not with an obvious coda. I had a great year, learned a lot, gained a year’s worth of experience and stories, and if in the end I was too exhausted to make it all the way up a dead rock, so be it.

Nobody won, nobody lost. In the epic battle of Aaron vs. the Volcano, I am calling it a draw.