Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pictures from Downtown Seoul Last Weekend.

Another picture of my university campus: I don't know what the green lights are for, but they sure do some nice things when you set them next to the orange lights.

My best friend is taking a Masters' in Applied Linguistics. I'm watching in slow motion as the language he speaks slowly morphs from English to. . . English-ish. Academian. Scholarish. I'm reading Korean folk tales again. I might be hooked. I may even blog some of them.

So anyway, last weekend I went to city hall to hang out. Met girlfriendoseyo and we stomped around the downtown for a while and saw some cool stuff.

I had to bear this on the way downtown. . . the things I do to entertain you with pictures, dear readers. The things I do!

People were scattered across the City Hall lawn like paper cups.

Some ladies in Hanbok. Just because.

And, of course, kids were playing in the water fountain.

More kids playing.

This little one was having an especially good time.

He was my favourite.

I like this picture, maybe third best.

As a picture, I think this is the best one.  From a photographer's point of view, that is.

Maybe the cutest picture of the lot. . . wait a minute. . . maybe not.

there it is.
gonna grow up to be a plumber.

Hope all your weekends were as happy as this little boy's. Hope you were a bit better covered up, though (unless that was the reason you had so much fun. . .)

Take care, eh?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Why I bought a Mac.

(Girlfriendoseyo hates her computer.)

I don't want to become one of those Mac Missionaries, but suffice it to say, I like things so far. I'm even trying my hand at video editing, ya know?

(by the way. . . chusok is coming!)

Seen in Costco:

From the Hire a Proofreader, Nimrod! Files.

Brian had a doozy on his site, so here's one I spotted just last night.

In Konglish, Y-shirt means a button-down, collared shirt.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gotta quote sometimes.

Korea's political scene just keeps tearing the country apart -- if not on partisan lines, how about religious lines!

The left keeps tossing rhetorical firebombs into the dialogue, rather than trying to be a responsible press, and in response, the right is arresting people for having ideas they don't like.

So, I'm not thinking about Korea.

What IS on my mind. . .

I'm reading one of the greatest graphic novels ever written, the watershed "Watchmen" right now, for the second time, in anticipation of the Watchmen Movie coming soon. This is a ridiculously layered, complex and intriguing story, developing characters in ways that stretched the comic medium (back in the '80s when it was written) into unrecognizable dimensions. It's awesome. . . a bit wooly, and it takes a while to get going, but awesome.

and I have quotes from Conor Oberst, also known as Bright Eyes. You're entitled to your opinion on him, and I'm not going to get an emo haircut or start wearing ironic t-shirts or anything,

but here are some great lines from a few of the songs on "Lifted"

Waste Of Paint (Sorry. Can't embed two Bright Eyes songs in one blog. The whole thing'd implode.)

Bright Eyes

two verses of this song are just so lovely. . . but then there are. . . a lot . . . of words. . . between the lovely parts.

everybody: YyyyaaaaaaAAAAYYYY EXCESS!

. . . lots of words. . .

The last few months I have been living with this couple.
Yeah, you know, the kind who buy everything in doubles.
They fit together, like a puzzle.
And I love their love and I am thankful
that someone actually receives the prize that was promised
by all those fairy tales that drugged us.

. . . too many words. . .

. . . but these lines are lovely . . .

So now I park my car down by the cathedral,
where the floodlights point up at the steeples.
Choir practice was filling up with people.
I hear the sound escaping as an echo.
Sloping off the ceiling at an angle.
When the voices blend they sound like angels.
I hope there’s some room still in the middle.
But when I lift my voice up now to reach them.
The range is too high,

. . . more words. . .

Finally, the best line on the whole album:

-from "Laura Laurent"
But you should never be embarrassed
by your trouble with living
because it's the ones with the sorest throats, Laura,
who have done the most singing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

If you're in Korea. . . (Updated)

watch Arirang TV at 8pm today. If you can, you know.

More later.


So now that they've edited the whole thing. . . I'm in there all right!

You can click on this link, and watch the first segment -- it's more about two other Korea bloggers. . . but they show my face! And my voice is in there at one point. I show up about seven minutes in, and you can distinctly hear me say, "a lot of hits on my blog are. . . "

Too bad they edited out just about everything I said, you know, because now that it's on the cutting room floor, I'll swear to high heaven I have NEVER, repeat, NEVER been more clever, insightful, and entertaining than in all that stuff they edited out. Just boil down all the not-sucky parts of my blog into nine minutes of talking, and that's what it was like, I SWEAR.


If you follow the link, you either have to sign up for the site, to get a login name and see the video on demand stuff, or if I know you personally, you can e-mail me at the address on the sidebar, and ask really nicely, and I'll e-mail you the username password I used to see it.

Zenkimchi kindly put the pertinent segment on Youtube. (Thanks, Joe.) So now you can see it here.

If you ONLY care about old Roboseyo, skip to the eight minute mark. . . but if you want to get a look at bloggers in Korea in GENERAL, watch the whole thing. Mike and Joe are worth knowing about, too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Random Glee. . .

every once in a while, walking around Seoul, I spot the Korean twin of somebody I know back home.

My friend Anna pops up from time to time. Sarah W. does fairly often, actually, as well as a few of my friends' parents (the moms more than the dads).

Most recently, I had two doozies, though.

Yes, dear readers. I spotted Christopher Walken's Korean clone jogging the track at my new school, and Doogie Howser's Korean doppleganger (Doogie Howjoh?) was walking between two buildings when I spotted him. It's moments like these I wish I could just tug my ear and have whatever's hitting my eyes save as a JPG file on a USB card tucked snugly in my . . . (heh heh heh) . . . but because taking pictures require me to pull my camera case out of my shoulder-bag, pull my camera out of the case, turn it on, wait for the flash to charge, THEN point and click. . . I don't get to have pictures like that. ('cos how are you going to explain that, anyway? Can anybody translate "Hi. You look like a white person I know. Can you stay here and wait for me to get out a camera so I can put a picture of you on the internet? I SWEAR I'm a perfectly normal person and you have nothing to worry about!" into Korean for me?)

Korean clones are even more fun than Konglish restaurant menus, because they are much less common, so spotting one is proportionally more entertaining and rewarding.

Few more Night Pics

Now that I've figured out how to do night scene pictures on my camera, I thought I'd share a few I've taken so far.

The moon was bright, but the trees around were picking up orange light from the streetlights. That set up some cool contrasts between my flash, the moon, and the orange washes from the streetlights. These are all from my new neighbourhood in Imun-dong.

Hope you like'em. I enjoyed taking them.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Something I DIDN'T like about living in Downtown Seoul:

Walking home from work and seeing THIS every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night (it also happened, even more, on Saturdays and Sundays).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

One More for the "Hire a Proofreader, Nimrod!" files:

From a really, really great dumpling restaurant in Insa-dong:

Delicious food. . . too bad they spent ALL their energy making the best dumpling soup I've tasted so far. Not that I begrudge them.

I'll be honest and say that running into a bit of Konglish is a tiny bit of extra joy in my day-to-day life -- you never know when it'll happen, you never know how bad or mild it'll be, but it's always good for a giggle, and sometimes a photo, if possible. I'd liken it to finding a fiver on the sidewalk -- uncommon, unpredictable, but always nice.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

How to See The World the way Kim Jong-Il Does: (warning: a bit gross)

Step 1: Hire a hypnotist. Better find a good one.
Step 2: Have the hypnotist hypnotize you into believing your crap smells like roses and tastes like caviar.
Step 3: Stick out your tongue and grab it firmly.
Step 4: Pull your tongue until your head turns inside out.
Step 5: Punch your now-exposed brain until at least one lobe stops working.
Step 6: Take your inside-out-head and bruised brain, and stick it up your own butt (which you've been hypnotized to believe smells like roses and tastes like caviar)
Step 7: Start talking.

You'll look like this:

You'll say things like this (recent North Korean news release):

(Thanks, OneFreeKorea, for showing us JUST how delusional North Korean leadership has become.)

Explicitly speaking, there is no “human rights issue” much touted by the U.S. in the DPRK. The Korean people fully enjoy genuine freedom and rights under the socialist system where all people form a big family. It is the consistent popular policy of the DPRK government to fully guarantee the rights of the citizens in a responsible manner. In the DPRK based on the man-centered Juche idea all working people do labor according to their abilities and wishes and lead a genuine life, given ample opportunity of learning. It is absolutely illogical for the U.S. to talk about the “human rights issue” while ignoring such reality.

There is the most serious human rights issue in the U.S. as it is a rogue state that exterminated tens of millions of native Indians and accumulated wealth through slave trade and flesh traffic and a country where the almighty dollar principle and the fin de sickle lifestyle based on the law of the jungle prevail. The impoverishment of Americans in the mental and cultural lives is actively fostered institutionally, driving them into the abyss of corruption, despair and crimes. This is a true picture of the American society today.

The “human rights” piffle made by the U.S. high-ranking officials indicates that they have no stand to recognize and respect the dialogue partner. The U.S. is persisting in the politically motivated provocations as evidenced by the ruckus kicked up over the non-existent “human rights issue” in the DPRK, an indication of its deep-rooted hostility and inveterate enmity toward the DPRK.

This attitude leaves the DPRK and the countries concerned skeptical about the U.S. intention to implement the points of the October 3 agreement. Such provocative acts of the U.S. as slandering and pulling up its dialogue partner can never help the talks make any progress in the positive direction. [KCNA]

North Korea said on Wednesday it saw as “unjust” calls from global powers such as the United States for Pyongyang to verify claims it made in disarmament talks about producing arms-grade plutonium. The North’s KCNA news agency quoted an unnamed spokesman from its Foreign Ministry as also saying that South Korean-U.S. military exercises, which started on Monday, had spoiled the atmosphere for the disarmament discussions.

“This situation compels the DPRK (North Korea) to heighten vigilance against such unjust demands as the ‘verification in line with the international standard’ recently claimed by the U.S. as regards the nuclear issue,” the spokesman said. [

North Korea “will increase its war deterrent in every way as long as the U.S. and its followers continue posing military threats to it,” a spokesman for the North’s Foreign Ministry said in comments carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency. The remarks came two days after South Korea and the U.S. launched Ulchi Freedom Guardian, an annual computer-simulated war game and follow daily criticisms of the exercises in North Korean media. The exercises come amid a dispute between the U.S. and North Korea over ways to verify the North’s declared nuclear programs under an aid-for disarmament deal.
[AP, Kwang-Tae Kim]

In the North Korean vernacular, “war deterrent” means nukes.

How's the view from in there, Comrade Kim?


There's actually nothing funny about it. The best I can muster is bitter, angry derision. . . people are dying there, so as much fun as it is to laugh at "I'm Ronely" jokes, the dying people of North Korea deserve more.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Usain Bolt again. . . wow. 19.30

Thanks, Youtube, for letting me post this smackdown on the rest of the field:

(still no embedding allowed)
You can watch Bolt's run here. You knew. KNEW, that he was gonna break the record. Took a bit of work -- Michael Johnson's previous record was a gobsmacker of its own. . . but wow. Again, as I wrote before about the allure of sports and the potential of human ability. . . you just can't look away.

Here's Michael Johnson's previous World Record run. 19.32

By the way: a kinda naughty (unintentionally) but extremely funny picture that made me laugh out loud. HT to I, Foreigner. I can't quite bring myself to posting it, but I'll link it with giggling enthusiasm.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

From "Quote of the Day," for flag-wavers these Olympics:

Thanks, Quote of the Day

A nation is a society united by delusions about its ancestry and by common hatred of its neighbors.
- William Ralph Inge

"Let them all go to hell, except Cave 17."
- Mel Brooks (From The Two-Thousand Year Old Man)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Haven't done a picture post in a while. . .

Which is odd, given that now I finally have a nice camera.  And even a flickr account.

A camera which takes pictures like this. . .

and (when I remember to use the "night landscape" setting). . . like this, too.

My step-mom MaryAnna and my Aunt Greta are in Korea now, travelling about after finishing an English camp.  They're both teachers in Canada, and spent five weeks in Naju, and now they're up in Seoul for a bit to see me and hang out downtown and make Girlfriendoseyo happy.

My Aunt Greta is the younger sister of my deceased mother, and Mary-Anna is my Dad's new wife. . . and the fact those two get along so darn well speaks volumes, about how open and loving my mom's family is, looking out for Poposeyo, and even welcoming his new wife into the fold, and also about how cool my step-mom is.

On Sunday, we walked around Jongno and Insadong, and Chunggyecheon with Girlfriendoseyo, and had a capitol time.

There was a big olympics thingy going on at the top of the Chunggyecheon.

I believe the sport of the day was table tennis, on the big screen.

We saw "Jump," the comedy martial arts show running in Jongno.  It was fun as anything, and you know how these comedy shows always pull some hapless schmuck up on stage. . .

well on Sunday, I was Schmuckoseyo.

MaryAnna snuck a few (contraband) pictures while I was up there, and Girlfriendoseyo laughed until she cried.

They made me do a somersault and some other silliness. . . but I don't want to give away their surprises or jokes, so I won't go into too much detail about what happened. . . but it was fun, all my old comedy improv experience from university rushed up to mind. . . as soon as I sat back down in my chair.  But yeah.  If I went there again, and they called me up on stage again, I would have gotten a few pretty good laughs, eh?

After Jump, we walked around a bit,
and then caught a cab down to this restaurant south of the river where they serve roast duck, and dear readers, this place is just ridiculously good.  They stuff the duck with all kinds of healthy beans and berries, and roast it for three hours or so in a brick oven and stuff, and when it comes out, it's tender as anything, and yummy as . . . uh. . . something really yummy.

here's the full spread:
And a bit closer up:

And here are Aunt Greta (left) and Mary-Anna (right) doing Korean poses for the camera.  They were both real gamers, ready to go and have adventures in Seoul, and all over.  They toured Busan and Seoul all by themselves during this trip, and had great old times.  Not too shabby, I say! 

After that, stuffed to the gills, we headed up and strolled around Hyehwa for a bit, because it's a pretty neighbourhood, but we were getting tired (stuffing up on duck will do that).

There's a park in Hyehwa that's one of my favourite sites to sit and people-watch; street performers turn up there a lot, and all of Hyehwa is a bit artsy and fun, loaded with Theatres big and small.  The park here was great until the wind shifted and carried garbagey smells to our schnozzes. . . but I played around with my camera's night scene setting and got these pictures, which I like.

And one of the ladies, lady-ing.

There were off-and-on spatters of rain from time to time, and every spot where  a rain droplet (barely larger than mist) spackled onto my black umbrella, the street-light shone through the droplet and through the the black umbrella, making the inside of the umbrella look like one of those Star-Trek night skies.  The picture here doesn't do it justice, but it was a little moment of beauty in keeping with the quote on my blog header, and bud, ya gotta pay attention to those, and write them down, or shoot them, or point them out to somebody -- not that you need to; you can stuff it in your pocket and keep it to yourself like a love-note from God just to you. . . but those gratuitously lovely morsels of universe taste better when shared (even clumsily, like this barely-even-manages-to-hint-at-it picture.)

The pictures catch about as much of the full day as a freeze-frame of a diver. . . but brothers and sisters, it was a lovely day indeed, and I thought I'd share it with you.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Holy Crap! Usain Bolt 9.69

(nbc keeps pulling down the ACTUAL Bolt world record run. . . but it looked SOMETHING like this)

Here's bolt on youtube.

How did they even do that?

Memo to 7-11: If you manage to get one of Korea's loveliest faces signed for a photo shoot. . .

Hire a makeup artist and a photo-shop guy, too.

And she comes to the set looking like she didn't sleep, or has a hang-over
Send her home to sleep, and reschedule.

They say she's probably had reams of surgery. . . and it's not that I'm suddenly approving of the whole male gaze/beauty image thing

. . . but if they dropped a lot of coin to get a silly-hot star to appear (and in case you doubt she is. . . here)

You'd think they'd have protected their investment a bit with an airbrush.

(they could have called the soju people and asked for tips:)

And these aren't even "X-star at home/taking out the trash in sweatpants" pics, in which I wouldn't criticize a star for being human -- these are for an ad campaign, so I'd have thought 7-11 would try to make their star look nicer -- I was just startled to see pics of a normally ridiculously pretty star looking so un-gorgeous.  (Gorgeless?)

  It took me five seconds to recognize the familiar-looking fifty-year-old as actually being the 20 (or so) year old 김 아중.

(or is that just how quickly plastic surgery faces age?)

In other "normally very very good-looking stars looking hung over, tired, or raggedy in an ad" news. . . from a while back. . . "Sorry I'm late for the photo shoot.  I was getting, ah, acquainted with your product last night until four."

remind you of anything?

oh yeah. also. something something olympics. something something bla bla blah, China something something lip synch something something TOTALLY UNSURPRISED.