02 Feb

stoned or baked

Who taught: Stan and Braverman family

Stoned or Baked (source: http://www.nogoodforme.com/)

A few days ago, I wrote about “edible.” Well, yesterday, I learned a new thing about the word, edible. What if someone on the street asks you like, “Hey do you have any edible?” What would you answer? I would try to think whether I have my lunch box or not. If I have, then maybe my answer would be, “Yes, I do. Why?” Well, that answer could be very dangerous. Do you know why? It is because the word, edible, also means something else. It means marijuana. In my opinion, this usage of the word is not very common in the east coast but in the west coast. How funny is it? You can say “it is edible” to mean something people can eat. And, all of a sudden, the other people would possibly think you have marijuana.

Speaking of marijuana, drug is a big issue in the United States. Hunting my house around, I have learned a lot. One of the things I got to know is related with the size of high schools. Some parents prefer to move to a school district where its high schools are small in terms of class size. The reason is that it is better to prevent their kids from getting into troubles with drugs. Another thing that I learned is that there are many cops in high schools during the day with dogs to find out whether there is any drug or not in the schools. That is scary to hear. In my whole life, I have never even seen any drug.

There are a few expressions that are related with drugs. When you do drugs, you become very happy and kind of abnormal, laughing a lot with no reason. At least, that is what I heard. 🙂 Then, people say, “Are you high?”, which sounds easy to understand. But, there are other expressions such as stoned or baked. Some people say, “Are you stoned?” or “You are baked, right?” These are ridiculous. There is no way we, non-native English speakers, can figure out what they mean. It is like, “Are you saying that some people throw stones at me and I got hurt? or Are you saying I was in the oven for a while?” I actually do not get these. What are the origins of these expressions? Can anyone tell me? For example, a few weeks ago, Stan posted his old picture in which he is smiling on his Facebook. I commented, “Stan, you look so happy.” And, a few hours later, one of his friends added another comment, “You look totally baked.” I was like, “What is going on? What the heck does this baked mean?” I had to look up all the dictionaries to find out what that means. Luckily, there was Urban Dictionary. Without it, my life in the U.S. would be a lot harder. Urband Dictionary is my friend and…… your friend too.

06 Dec

fan death

Who taught: Jake, Carol, Stan and Andrew

Fan Death (source: http://askakorean.blogspot.com)

Growing up in Korea, I have always been told from my parents, “Do not leave an electric fan run overnight. You could die.” Also, I swear I heard a few news reports, talking about possible deaths caused by an electric fan. Due to this, I have never doubted this so that every time I use an electric fan, I become very careful and always use a timer switch.

When I had dinner with my friends a few days ago, Jake asked me a question, “Hey Terry! So, do people die because of fans in Korea?” “Yes! In fact, my mother always told me to be careful with a fan every summer,” said I. Then, other friends started to ask me questions like, “Are you sure people would die because of fan?” I answered, “Yeah, that is what I heard and I am sure it is true.” They asked me again, “Why?” “I think I heard it is something to do with the lack of oxygen that can happen if a fan continuously running in a closed room,” said I.

While we are discussing this, Stan looked it up on Wikipedia using his iPhone and started to read what he found which I have never tried to look up. He said, “Fan death is an urban legend prevailing in South Korea in which an electric fan left running overnight in a closed room can cause the death of those inside.”

Here comes the funny thing which my friends really enjoyed!

As soon as I heard it, I said, “See! It is true. That is exactly what I heard.” Well, as I said it, my friends started to laugh. Do you know why?

Well, apparently, I did not know what ‘Urban Legend’ means. Thus, I thought Wikipedia describes a true story of the fan death. It did not take a long time for Andrew to ask me, “Terry! Do you know what urban legend is?”

Here is the definition for you!

A modern myth. A frightening untrue story in which the storyteller insists it is true, but has no evidence to back up.

Before I argue about whether the fan death is really a urban legend or not, I have my own theory about why the fan death became a big issue in Korea. I think Korean government tried to encourage media to talk about this to make people not turn on their fans overnight so that they can reduce overall electric power usage during summer. Back in 1980’s, Korea was still kind of poor in comparison to these days.

I have done a few researches about this fan death and found this blog post which includes a scientific theory to support the fan death.

Here is the science of how a fan could kill. Remember the conditions under which Fan Deaths happen – summer (=heat), enclosed room, fan directly on the body. An electric fan cools your body in two ways: by pushing cooler air onto your body, and by allowing your sweat to dry rapidly and take away heat in that process. But clearly, the fan does not generate the cool air on its own, unlike an air conditioner. And eventually — especially if you are a passed-out drunk who is already somewhat dehydrated from the alcohol — your body will run out of water to turn into sweat. So what happens when it is very hot, but the entire room is enclosed such that no cool air comes in from outside, and you have no more sweat to cool your body with? Basically, the entire room turns into a gigantic turbo oven. Turbo oven is a conventional oven that has a fan inside that continues to blow air onto the food. This oven is known to cook at lower temperature than a regular oven, yet cook more quickly. Similarly, in a heated room without an outside source of airflow, very hot air is constantly pushed directly to your body, which is a far more effective way of raising your body temperature rather than “baking” in hot air. If you get enough of this, you would die – of hyperthermia, or abnormally high body temperature. (Source: http://askakorean.blogspot.com/)

Would you still think the fan death is an urban legend? I think it is not.

23 Aug

coin slot

Who taught : Andrew, Stan and Jean

Walking around the campus, I have a chance to take a look at a lot of vending machines. Let’s imagine you are thirsty and in front of a vending machine, what is the first thing you would do? Well, you would take a look at the beverages it has. And, see the price of the one you want to get. Then, what? You put a few coins into the coin slot, right? Pretty easy! But, that is not the coin slot I am talking about here.

Last week, I went out with my friends, Andrew, Stan and Jean to have dinner together. And… as always, I learned a very interesting thing. Coin slot could mean something else.

Coin Slot (source: cointalk.com)

Can you guess what it could be? OK! I will tell you the example Andrew told me. Suppose that you have an issue with your toilet and call a plumber to fix it. And, a few hours later, he comes into your house and it turns out that he is quite fat. (No offense to plumbers! I am sure Andrew used this example because of the position that he should make to fix the toilet.) Now… he is trying to diagnose the toilet to see what the issue is. What would be his position?

Yup! He should bend his upper body over to take a look at the toilet closer. You are now looking at his back. What if he is wearing low-rise pants??? What you can see now?

Yes, you can see the top of his ass crack. That is the coin slot I am talking about here.

Here is the definition I found on Urban Dictionary.

Term describing the top of the ass crack when it can be seen protuding from low worn pants. Usually associated with skanky old fat men and slutty girls trying to get some.

How many times have you seen this kind of coin slots in your life? As women start to wear a lot of low-rise jeans and short t-shirts, I think we have a lot more chances to see the coin slot. Not sure it is a good thing or not. But I like this expression. Whoever used this expression first must be very creative. My last word! Do not really try to put some coins in that coin slot! 🙂

21 Jul

peach fuzz

Who taught: Jake, Carol, Kara, Mark, Patrick, Angela, Stan, Alex and Andrew.

Last Friday, Andrew, Jake, Angela, Stan, Alex and I were having lunch together. Angela used to live in New York City area and, more specifically, her place was in New Jersey. Her house was on the second floor and there was a hair weave place on the first floor of the house. Do you know what the weave is? Here is the definition for you I found from the Wikipedia.

a very general term used to describe human or artificial hair used to alter one’s natural hair appearance by adding additional hair to their natural hair or by covering the natural hair all together with human or synthetic hair pieces.

I think I saw a lot of African American women try to have this weave. One thing I am curious is that how they can maintain or wash the weft hair. It would be really hard to wash regularly.

Speaking of washing hair, on our way to a restaurant this evening with my friends, Mark and Jake taught me one expression that some of the women would use when they would like to say no to some sort of asking from a guy or her friends. Supposed that Jessy, my wife, is a single and a guy asked her out and she really does not want to say straightforwardly no to him, then what she can say to him is “Oh… that is sweet but I am sorry. Tonight, I need to wash my hair.”

Mark and Jake told me it is an expression that WOMEN (maybe men with long hair) can use and it is politer than just saying no. Then, I thought that it is harsher than just saying no. What do you think?

peach fuzz

In relation to hair story, there is another expression I learned in the restaurant today from my friends. During dinner, we ended up talking about some women with bunch of different body hair, especially hair on face.

Do you know what you can use to describe bunch of short hairs on face? Jake said, “peach fuzz.” So, I just wrote that down on my iPhone. But, here is the thing!! So, I looked that expression up in the Urban Dictionary. And…… look what I found here. Jake!!! Can I really use ‘peach fuzz’ for short hairs on face? It sounds dirty. 🙂

14 Jul


Who taught: Andrew, Stan and Kara

Where it would be useful : hair salon

Mullet haircut

Yesterday, I went to a hair salon to get my hair cut. Price of haircut in America is pretty high compared to that of Korea. I used to pay around 8 – 10 dollars for my haircut in Korea. Here in America, it is around 25 dollars and that does not include tips. (This could go up way higher in other cities such as New York or San Francisco.) So, every time I get my hair cut, I need to pay around 30 dollars. To save money, I always get very short hair cut and let it grow for a while like 5 – 6 months. On average, I go to the hair salon around 3 times per year.

This morning, Andrew noticed that I got a haircut. “Hey, T-Bone! You got a haircut.” I answered, “Yeah! What do you think?” “Hmm… It looks like boy’s haircut. Too short!” said Andrew. I said, “Well, it is summer. And it was pretty long. Can you notice a line created by tanned part and untanned part due to the long hair in my back.” Andrew responded, “Why? Did you have a mullet hair style?”

Here, I had to ask, “What is that hair style?” Then, Stan showed me how that hair style looks like using his long hair.

Here is the definition of that hair style.

a hairstyle that is short at the front and sides, and long in the back.

Emo haircut

Andrew said, “It is also called ‘business in the front, party in the back’.” Isn’t that funny? Speaking of hair style, there is another one I learned from Kara. It is emo style. Emo itself is a style of rock music but it is different from the classic rock. Then, let’s think about the hair style all of the rock singers usually have. It is long, right? So, emo style is kind of long but a little different. Its look includes long side-swept bangs, sometimes covering one or both eyes. Well, you need to see the picture I am inserting here to have proper idea about it.

When you go to a hair salon, there are two equipment stylists use a lot. They are scissors and what? In Korea, I used to call it 바리깡(Ba-Ri-Ggang). Do you know why we call it Ba-Ri-Ggang? It is actually not from English but from French, sort of. The name of the French company which makes this equipment is “Bariquant de Marre.” The first part of the name is “Bariquant.” I do not know who first started to call it following its company name. But, interestingly, if you say Ba-Ri-Ggang in Korea, everybody understands what is means.

Well, so if you had a chance to get your hair cut in America and you do not want your stylist to use Ba-Ri-Ggang, you should say, “Please do not use hair clipper to cut the sides! I want you to use scissors instead.” These kind of expressions seems not really important to know but you could easily find out that you wish you already know these before you actually go into a hair salon to get a better haircut. Funny, isn’t it?

I am pretty sure there must be a lot more expressions related with haircut. Do you know any?