Memento Mori – Memento Homo

Victory fills our souls while defeat brings us low. Both can make us lose a broader perspective.

Staying strong under loss can be difficult. But the best of us will move past defeat and keep trying. As the Romans grew into an empire, they were often foolhardy and ran straight into defeat. The kind of disaster which would humiliate other nations into surrender did not phase them, but fueled their need to try again.

Staying humble when victorious is even more difficult. For narcissists it is a downright impossible break of character. But the wiser of the Roman leadership knew they needed to maintain perspective. They would have a slave standing behind them, whispering ‘you are only human’ during pomp filled triumphs. 

A kill joy for some. But a good reminder for those in position to elevate themselves to gods!

Union Jack

With the referendum for Scottish Independence happening as I type, my mind turned to flags. More specifically the Union Jack.

For those of you not in the know, it’s a combination of England’s St. George’s Cross,

Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Cross,

and Scotland’s St. Andrew’s Cross.

No love for Wales though.

I guess dragons are too pagan for national banners?

But should Scotland leave the Union, it would be dishonest to keep the Union Jack as is. Time to take out St. Andrew’s Cross. That would leave us with a much sadder looking Union Jack.



To make up for it, perhaps we could give Wales a little love. Throw the dragon and green field in there!



Hmmm, that makes the dragon look like it’s imprisoned or something.

Intermission – unstable internet and wordpress

Well, here is an unintended intermission. What I had wanted to do was upload my post on Jeonju. Unfortunately uploading pictures over a wifi network that is not always 100% leads to freezing and subsequent loss of all unsaved data.

I need to be pickier about my cafe choices or just upload all the pics before heading out.

So instead, enjoy a proverb I just learned:

호랑이에게 물려가도 정신만 차리면 된다

Rough translation:

Even when a tiger is biting, if you maintain awareness, you will be okay.

Or perhaps I could paraphrase it:

If you keep your wits about you, you will be fine, even in the jaws of a tiger.

I’ll chew on that one a bit more.


Augie Art Tour – 1e – Faith, Hope and Love

Our last stop at Our Savior’s Lutheran brings us to the north face of the building and a familiar mural to anyone driving by on 33rd Street on the south end of the Augustana Campus:

Faith, Hope, and Love

Title: Faith, Hope and Love

Artist: Palmer Eide

Medium: Mosaic

Palmer Eide was a giant in the Sioux Falls art scene. His work tended toward the simple and tectonic, letting the simplicity and weight of the work speak for itself.  We’ll be seeing more of his work as we continue the Art Tour. The idea of ‘Faith, Hope and Love’, is taken from 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.

The anchor is faith, which grounds our lives when life is rough.

The cross (which is also the cross bar of the anchor) is hope.

The heart is love. The greatest of the three because without it, life is meaningless.

Anchor The colors are the colors of the liturgical year.

Purple/Violet is the color of expectant waiting and preparation. Used in Lent and Advent, it is  associated with sorrow and repentance as we anticipate the joys of Easter and Christmas.

White is the color of purity and joy. Used for Christmas and Easter, it represents God being with us in joy and love.

Red is the color of passion and suffering, courage and sacrifice. Used during Pentecost, Holy Week and for celebration of thy martyrs, we hope our hearts burn with passion and courage to do what is right.

Black is the color of death and dying. Ironically it also represents life through death. It is  used on Good Friday, All Saint’s Day and funerals.

Green is the color of life and growing. It is the color of the harmony of community and living together. It is used on ‘regular’ sundays as we grow together and break bread.

A Deeper Look

The traditional meanings are great and all, but this mural is across the street from my alma mater and I’m going to put my own meanings to the images and ideas.

Purple is the time of anticipation and preparation. In one sense, this can be the entire time at college as we prepare for and anticipate our future selves and communities. Some of us have specific goals, many of us don’t, but regardless this is a time of questioning what we really want to do and who we really want to be. In another sense it is the time before a big exam, the long nights typing papers and preparing presentations. For me, the nights dancing with brushes in the studio while listening to Beethoven and Yellow Card. The preparation is long, the anticipation aching, but the struggle is what makes our little victories sweeter.

White is the time of joy and completion. It is partying with friends after a difficult test, it is the words of encouragement and approval written on your thesis. It is the elation of graduation and emerging victorious after the trials. We celebrate together because we succeed together. We share our joy.

But we also share our sorrow. Black is the time of failure and death. It is our lowest points when our hard work seems wasted. When a friend or loved one dies and we can’t get up to go to class or work. When our nation mourns.  Black is do or die in a cold world that doesn’t care. It is the people who will mourn with us and let us cry on their shoulders. Black is the time we overcome to make ourselves stronger and learn who we are and how we fit in. Black is for remembering those who went before us, whose shoulders we stand on, whose presence will be missed.

Red is the struggle for our passion and finding the courage to do what needs to be done. It is the long hours in stage design to get it ready for the performance, it is volunteering at the Ronald McDonald house. It’s helping others with their projects late at night before you get to work on your own.  It’s sacrificing your time and energy for ideas bigger than yourself.

Green is growth and growing into the people we are. It’s us in the vast community, not just of our little garden at Augustana, but in the wild forest that is the world. It’s breaking bread with friends and profs, it’s walking to class and stopping to chat with a friend going the other way. Green is the life that we make.

The Anchor is faith. But not in the dogmatic sense, but in the colloquial sense of our faith in others. It’s about community, friends and family. We give each other an anchoring and a place to belong.

The Cross is hope. Hope that the sacrifices we make, great or small, are not in vain. Hope that we’ll be brave enough to face a demon-haunted world to make it better, not for just for us, but for all who come after us. It’s hope that others continue after we pass on.

The Heart is love. Faith, Hope and Love abide, but the greatest of these is love.


Next Stop:

Gilbert Science Center!


The Chancel Ascension Mural can be found at:

Our Saviors Lutheran Church
909 W. 33rd Street
Sioux Falls, SD 57105

Saturday, August 24th

The summer heat is slowly dying and Saturday explorations are becoming viable again.  Jihye and I have plans for the evening, but lunch is a good start. So after a morning of selling myself for fun and profit, we venture out on a beautiful Saturday to find food. After some discussion we decide to waltz over to…


Cafe Gallery


Salt is a lovely little café restaurant that serves a mean bibimbap. It’s a lovely little space tucked away in Jongno with a gallery and fresh food. A full review will probably appear eventually, but no promises.

Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they are not serving food when we arrive there.


I hope you noticed I added a caption to an already captioned animated gif. Anyway, it’s possible they don’t serve food on Saturdays, which is unfortunate because that is when we visited.

I’ll still recommend the place and I’ll probably do a proper review of the place eventually. You can find it here:

Salt Cafe Gallery
Jongno-gu Jongno 16 gil 32-4 Dongsan Building
종로구 종로16길 32-4 동산빌딩

But we are still without food, so we decide to venture to Samcheong-dong. For my dear readers not in the Seoul area, Samcheong-dong is a fairly upscale district, with most buildings no more than two or three stories tall. It is a wonderfully up-kept place with both modern and traditional architecture, along with a more interesting variety of food than your average Seoul district. The day is getting hotter and to get to Samcheong-dong, we must walk through…


Insa-dong is a happy mixture of art and touristy merchants. And occasionally they have live performances. Today we happened across one of those performances.


Not a performance so much as posing…


The temperature in the sun is uncomfortable, but these guys are able to just stand here! They’re demonstrating how  throws look in a live freeze-frame. I’m actually not sure which martial art they’re replicating, but it was pretty cool to see.


They’re all wearing the famous Yangban mask from one of the traditional mask dances that have thus far eluded me. Interestingly enough, I find they evoke both old culture, but also anonymity and rebellion, much like the Guy Fawkes mask. If you want to see a good usage of the latter, I highly recommend checking out Yangbantal – a group that visits old abandoned or dangerous areas wearing these masks. Fun!

After the performers pack up, we continue north to Samcheong-dong. We wander around until we decide on…

Hit the Spot


Hit the Spot is visually fun and cozy. The food is also quite fun! We shared the Mushroom Salad…


and the Shrimp Pane Pasta!


Gotta love bread bowls to sop up the delicious, delicious cream sauce. We’ll be coming back here to try their other dishes, but these definitely hit the spot!

Hit the Spot is across the street from the new Museum of Modern Art being constructed. I’m über excited about that!

If’n you want to find the place, you can find it here:

Hit the Spot

서울특별시 종로구 소격동 87

After a satiating dinner, we decide to hit the cafe next door and read. Just spending time together until it’s time to head to Jamsil to see…




Penguins Penguins Penguins!


Oh, right, I guess we have something else on our agenda. What was it again? Oh, right!

Avenue Q!

At the Charlotte Theater, Jamsil. No Penguins though.

For those of you who don’t know, Avenue Q is basically… Sesame Street for adults. And adult topics. It’s the origin of the following song:

Oh, and probably NSFW.

Of course the theatre was properly decked out, including the urinals in the men’s bathroom.





This is a fun one. Some Koreans have a… hard time coming close enough to the urinals, so this one plays on their potential shame… roughly translated it says “If you don’t come closer, I will tell everyone what you saw tonight.”


And of course Trekkie Monster is a perv so… “I like seeing your ‘thing’ more than porn!”

Thanks Trekkie Monster. You saved the day.

The Korean version has been modified slightly, so many references were switched to famous Korean figures. For instance, ‘George Bush’ in the song For Now was switched to ‘Kim Jeong Un’. Speaking of For Now…

The closing number, For Now,  is reminiscent of Ecclesiastes 3 – to everything a season, and, at least for me, evokes the same existential sadness.

Anyway, we enjoyed the show. In fact, we enjoyed it so much, we’re going to see it again in two weeks time! But for now I’m finished writing. But only for now.


Penguin Small Penguin Penguin Coffee! Penguin Small Penguin!

A Letter To Evelyn

November 19, 2012,

To my new niece, Evelyn Grace Shrader:

Hey Evie! Welcome to the world. As you might already notice, it’s a big, cold, scary place, and it will continue to get bigger, and colder, and scarier. You will be hurt, sometimes so badly you won’t feel like getting up. Someday you, like everyone else, will die.

But that’s the bad news. The good news is that this world is a big, wonderful, loving place. And it will continue to get bigger, and more wonderful, and more loving. There will be days when you will dance out of joy and cry at the sheer beauty of this world.

And this is a dichotomy, and it is the essence of our joyful melancholy here on our ugly, beautiful planet earth. So, as your uncle, here is my advice to you.

Trust your parents and family, because they want the best for you. But as you get older, question everything; even your parents, especially yourself and anyone and everyone that tells you what to do or deigns to give you advice.

But most importantly, Love. Right now you know love through your mother’s embrace and warmth. You’ll find love in your father’s devotion to you. Love is all around you, and it will continue to grow as you grow. To paraphrase Jimmy Santiago Baca: Your family loves you. It’s all we have to give, and it’s all anyone needs to live and go on living inside when the world outside no longer cares if you live or die.


You are loved.