Roundup of the Week: Part 2

Sunday, May 29, 2011

H. has got me hooked on Bubble Bobble, a really old game from the time computer screens were black. It's the classic beat-a-whole-obstacle-course-full-of-monsters-and-rescue-the-girl kind of scenario, except the heroes are a couple of bubble-blowing dinosaurs that make happy sounds as they bounce and eat cherries and cake and ice cream, with the mother of all ear worms playing in the background:

When—that is, if ever—we get the chance to live together, H. and I are going to beat all one hundred levels of this game, which he hears is near impossible to achieve without two players.

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I've passed by 팔당호, just beyond the eastern tip of Seoul, several times without ever really knowing what it was. I'm usually returning from a backpacking trip in the rural areas—the kind that are more fun to reminisce about than to actually experience—on a bus creeping through traffic along 강변북로, following the Han River back to Seoul and to the corrosive glitter and ease of civilization. It's usually evening—sometimes very late in the evening—and I'm usually heavy-lidded, worn-out, and about ready for a shower and a nice soft bed. Weariness sometimes turns me introspective and even poetic, and the weird blue of the falling dusk, the dark shapes of the mountains looming like sleeping forms—often, in late spring or summer, shrouded in a thick mist off the water—and the broad, still, mirror-like river provides a good backdrop for the peculiar mood I am in.

Before the coming summer is out H. and I will have at least made plans to visit the place, instead of being content with a glimpse from the window of a bus speeding by. I imagine us standing side-by-side, watching the outline of the mountains dissolve and their shadowy forms seep into the deepening blue mist. Holding hands but off in our separate worlds, each of us thinking our own strange thoughts.

A Deceit of Lapwings

All happy people are more or less dissimilar; all unhappy people are more or less alike.