Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Father-and-Son Time: Cycling

Dandy Horse
(Image from Wikipedia)

My son, En-Uk, is starting to grow up.

One week ago, I wanted him to go bike riding with me along one of the tributaries to the Han River, but he whinged about the hot day and refused to go riding. I told him that he needed to start growing up, especially if he wants to do anything during his upcoming Ozark trip, which will be hot.

He still refused, so I biked alone, but my wife tells me that after I'd left, En-Uk seemed to regret not having accompanied me.

I therefore gave him a second chance before he, Sa-Rah, and Sun-Ae take off for a month's vacation in the Arkansas Ozarks (leaving me alone with my books), and the two of us went off biking yesterday along a path beside that tributary river together as father and son.

We had a lovely time. En-Uk is ten years old and thus somewhere between childishness and puberty, a mixture of innocence and burgeoning awareness of 'other' things . . . though he claims to have no interest in girls yet and says that he will put off getting a girlfriend until high school. Or so he said over lunch at a place on an embankment overlooking the river near a spot where we had just spent thirty minutes trying to skip stones.

As I drank a refreshing beer . . . or two . . . En-Uk ate his ramyon noodles and told of a funny Chinese kung fu movie that his taekwando instructor had recently shown. In the story were a gang-shi and a gui-shin -- a Chinese vampire and a Korean ghost, respectively, though what a Korean ghost was doing in a Chinese film seems rather puzzling, now that I think about it. The movie was a comedy but had its scary moments, En-Uk acknowledged. I half-listened to a detailed and complicated explanation of how one defeats the Chinese vampire by pasting a scrap of paper with Chinese writing to the creature's forehead.

That sounded a bit like belling the cat, and I wondered how it could be safely done, but I didn't ask. I suppose that kung fu masters have superior skills and with their lightning-fast reflexes can quickly attach the protective paper.

After an hour of conversation about this . . . and that . . . we cycled our way back home, stopping a couple of times for popsicles and without even a single whinge from En-Uk. A dandy time . . . but I'm aching this morning and posting to this blog later than usual.

Not that I'm whingeing about that . . .

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At 9:57 AM, Blogger Conservative in Virginia said...


That's how you are preparing your son for his trip to the Ozarks?

Uncle Cran, does anybody use the word whinge?

Now, whine, as in whine and cheese, is very American. But whinge?

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

CIV, "whinge" is one of those useful words that we could well borrow from the British. We could then relegate "whine" to describe the sort of thing that dogs do.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your family's really lucky to have you. i've heard many horror stories about inter-racial relationship especially after 5-6 years. (beating, cheating etc) (ok many of them were married to american g.i.'s but still...) and you seem to have a perfect family. i really wish there were more white men like yourself in korea. i wouldn't mind having someone like yourself marrying my sister.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thanks. I'm sorry to hear of the horror stories. Cross-cultural marriages do take more work, but my forgiving wife makes things easier.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If En-Uk and Jeffery want to whinge, it's perfectly all right with me.
CIV, dont be a whinger.
I, myself was doing some whinging when we had four weeks of drought in late june and early july.
Now that we have had some wonderful rain, I am in a much better mood.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Uncle Cran, I appreciate being allowed to whinge . . . but the privilege is denied to CIV?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your tardiness in posting made me change my whole pattern of blog-travel Doc.

I would send an advisory to En-Uk, "Young man, you better learn how much 'true enjoyment' there is on the seat of a bicycle." Seeing as how your alternatives on your upcoming visit will be the alternate "enjoyments" of rock-picking, weed-plucking, and humidity-soaking porch swing rides.

At least on a bicycle you can stir up some wind - with the additional relief in avoiding the sort of "wind" Uncle Cran will subject you to.

Cran? Actually I visit daily, it's just that Jeff goes off on "tangents" occasionally where, since I don't know what he's talking about - I can't comment.

As to your last "windy" (En-Uk?) like Zsa Zsa sang, "I get allergic smelling hay." (And other "stuff.")


I guess I should advise, I've got to go to the VA today, I've got a hip that's goin' "Cran" on me, so I don't know I'll be able to give you a timely opportunity to allow you (Cran) to injure your other foot.

At 11:42 PM, Anonymous tomasball said...

Jeff, are you sure this film wasn't about a Chinese golem? The slip of paper got me thining...


At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


What is the flight number and city of origin regarding your family's


At 12:54 AM, Blogger jeanie oliver said...

do you pronounce the "g" in whinge?

At 4:50 AM, Anonymous Malcolm Pollack said...

Hi Jeffery,

Most of the kung-fu masters I know would soften the target a bit with a volley or two amidships before attempting anything as finicky as attaching scraps of paper.

There's no point in showing off, after all; it really doesn't pay in the long run. You'd be surprised what a practical matter kung fu is, outside of the movies.

At 4:53 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

JK, I'll ensure that En-Uk not receive your warning of upcoming suffering. No need for him to suffer twice.

Anyway, from one old hippy to another, take care of that hip.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:56 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Tom, the golem story is certainly a parallel of sorts -- except that the slip of paper was placed in the golem's mouth and brought the golem to life (in contrast to the slip of paper on the forehead stopping the gang-shi).

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:58 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Tim, I'll get back to you on that. Sun-Ae sent some information to John. I'll check with her and send some more.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 4:59 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Jeanie, the "g" is pronounced like a "j" -- so "whinge" rhymes with "hinge."

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:06 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Malcolm, En-Uk might have mentioned a bit of that 'softening up' that you refer to.

I imagine that every sport is mostly a matter of practice -- and thus very 'practical' -- but I do recall that you were mystified by that experience of power concentrated in your torso, the sort that kung-fu masters had described (chi? gi?).

Something more than normal seems to be going on with that.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:12 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Tim, here's the info:

Flight Nr. 1685 from Atlanta, Georgia, arriving in Memphis, Tennessee at 10:48 p.m. Wednesday, July 22.

I've also emailed this to you and John.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 1:10 PM, Blogger N.E. Brigand said...

There probably are many Chinese movies incorporating the plot elements you mention, but I warmly recommend Mr. Vampire (Geung si sin sang), a very funny comedy-thriller from 1985 blending the traditions of the Keystone Cops, Abbot & Costello, and Jackie Chan.

At 5:39 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

NEB, good to hear from you again. Much time has passed.

The "Geung si" that you mention must be the "Gang Shi" that my son talked about.

What's the etymology of "Geung si" -- if you don't mind my asking and happen to know?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:50 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

For those who note such things, yes, I have altered my previous spelling of the present progressive form of whinge from "whinging" to "whingeing."

Both spellings are acceptable, but I think that the retained "e" better preserves the soft "g" sound.

Jeffery Hodges

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