Sunday, July 30, 2006

"Oh Jesus, it's blueberry syrupy goodness...everywhere..."

"...The's dark purple juices pooled as my fork cut into the pancakes. I tasted their blood, and it tasted...sweet."

I just made and ate a fucking big batch of blueberry pancakes and I'm starting to hate myself for it and I don't care.

It's a Sunday, and tomorrow's a Monday, and this is my passive aggressive way of "celebrating" it. Things have been stressful to the "I wish I was 12 again" levels of wanting to revert away from adult responsibilities.

And blueberry pancakes are just good, dammit.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Last Empress

(purported photo of Empress Myeongseonng)

"The Korean Empire Viewed Through Photographs"

The above and all the following are photos from a photo gallery on Daum that I stumbled across. It's supposed to be a tie-in with an exhibition going on back in Seoul at the Seoul Museum entitled "마지막 황실, 잊혀진 대한제국" ("The Last Royal Court, Forgotten Korea"). One photo drawing particular that gets a lot of attention is the picture of a woman that is supposedly Empress Myeongseong. She was assassinated by the Japanese as Japan tried to solidify its hold on Korea and the Joseon Dynasty pretty much withered out of existence.

I'm not sure what to think of Wikipedia's seemingly random comparison of Empress Myeongseong with Marie Antoinette. I guess it was added in an attempt to show the sort of controversy and popularity surrounding her, but at the same time, besides a few kind of not so intriguing coincidences ("Wow, fixed royal marriages where the couple didn't consummate the marriage on their wedding night because they don't know or maybe even *gasp* hate each other? How interesting and utterly unheard of!"), it seems very throwaway. Not to mention the fact that Marie Antoinette and Myeongseong were very different figures when it came to their involvement with the state. Whether the "Let them eat cake" statement really was uttered or not, you can't compare Marie Antoinette's sheltered out-of-touch relationship to the country that was limited to the high school drama of court life with Myeongseong's genuine interest in academics and actual political influence and activeness.

But images that are supposedly of Empress Meyongseong have been floating around for a while. Unfortunately, there have not been any clearcut way to identify her. Here is a very interesting eyewitness account from the night of the empress' assassination by a Russian citizen employed by the Korean court.

(photo of royal family. According to original article on Daum, from l-r: Crown Prince Yeong Chinwang, who at the age of eleven was taken to Japan under the "for his education," but eventually married to a Japanese princess under as part of Japan's plan of assimilating Korean royalty; Sunjong, the last emperor of the Joseon Dynasty; Emperor Gojong; Princess Consort Sunheon, mother of Yeong Chinwang; Princess Deokhye, the last princess of Korea.)

(Princess Deokhye, photographed in kimino since this was while she was attending Gakushuin. Also eventually married off to a Japanese nobleman.)

These are some pretty interesting set of historical photos because not only do they show Korean royalty, but also some of life post Royal family.

The above photo of palace women in mourning really caught my attention because it reminded me of a story my mom told me of my great grandfather who was, if I remember correctly, a nobleman or a palace official. I'm kind of fuzzy on details, but my mom's family used to be involved with the royal court, and in fact my mom used to rave about a family member of hers (her great aunt or something like that) who used to cook fantastic spreads based on what she learned from the palace.

Anyhow, the story was that at one point in abolishing the royal court, the Japanese were forcing palace women (many who were either concubines or cohorts or ladies in waiting) to marry. They gathered them up and told them to choose a husband (some were married off to Japanese too), one of the women chose my great grandfather. My mother's not sure because she heard this story secondhand from an aunt when she was young herself, but either there was an affair or a one night stand or some sort of contact between my great grandfather and this woman previously that made her pick him. Unfortunately, my great grandfather was married. The court lady already knew this of course but basically her utlimatum was if it was not my great grandfather, she would not marry anyone else.

So instead she became a Buddhist monk, and my great grandfather built her a temple (which still stand in Korea, by the way) and she lived her days out there. My mother said she vaguely remembers meeting this woman, who by all family accounts was extremely beautiful. She does remember visiting the temple as a little girl, because that was where she first heard the story. She remembers her aunt leading her by the hand and telling her about how this temple was built by her great grandfather and meeting a very nice woman who was a Buddhist priest.

This was the same great grandfather who got the super young second wife, but that's a whole other story involving bad blood between the two sets of sons and whatnot.

This really shouldn't annoy me the way it does

So, I stopped by one of the library branches I frequent to get myself a new library card. Not only did I manage to misplace my old one, but I've been rockin' the old school maroon NYPL card for long enough. I wanted one of those nifty keychain thingamabobs.

Anyhow, I hadn't been in this particular branch for a while, and when I walked in I immediately remembered the poster I always see when I'm there. It's one of those "Read on, kids" type of promo things, except this one had Dream and Death.

Now, your assumption maybe that I am annoyed that they used "Sandman" characters to pimp reading to kids. Not at all, in fact, I could care less about that.

What gets me is that where the fuck is Destiny?

("Um, what about me guys?...I actually walk around with a bigass book all the time...")

I mean, Dream sure, he's like in charge of stories and has that library with every story ever written and all that. And yea, I guess Death is a super popular and easy to identify character...but think about it. Of all the characters, Destiny has a pretty freakin' obvious connection to books. And ok fine, maybe he doesn't have "kid appeal," but we're talking about a poster with no context whatsoever here. It's not like there's copy going "Hi, you might recognize us as Dream and Death from Neil Gaiman's popular work 'Sandman.'" No, this was a poster where if you weren't familiar with the series, you first thought might be, "So is this supposed to appeal to young whippersnappers? With a goth chick and Robert Smith of the Cure?" I mean come on.

Not that it makes me want to write my representative or boycott the NYPL system or something, but it's just something I notice. Should these really cheese me off as much as it does? Honestly, I probably shouldn't even notice it anyway. But I do and I can't decide if that's just plain sad or not.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Distracting you with cute

Yesterday was pasta in a tomato sauce with italian hot sausage and mushroom, today was some mango chicken curry.

I also managed to miscalculate the sharpness of my (totally bitchin', awesome) new knife and almost cut the top of my thumb off. I had no bandaids so I had to wrap up Civil War field army doctor style with a strip of paper towel, and that seems to be holding up.

I haven't had enough time to gather up my thoughts with a new nice shiny I'm going to go into my totally random photo archives and post a bunch of cute animal pictures I seem to have saved for no apparent reason.

Since there are a few, I'm going to pick a theme...and that theme is "Cute animals in a row (or bunched together in some fashion)":

I now leave you in your own puddle of "awwwwwwwwwww!"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

So remember that thing about me not having Internet

Yea, I guess I was lying because the connection in my apartment is now on like Donkey Kong.

So, remember that whole thing about me having Internet?

Obviously, I was lying because nothing works properly the first time around. Oh, now I have TV, yes, but no Internet. How does the TV work, yet no Internet? I don't know, you tell me. Or even better, let me wait for a technician to stop by my place at the most inconvenient time and who knows when that's going to be.

However, I did promise new drawings. These were supposed to be a big hurrah as I returned to the Internet, but it looks more like an apologetic thing now.

I mostly did pencil sketches in my free time. It was sort so I didn't feel pressured to make something "finished" then end up choking. Also, I hate my ink work. I don't know, it's very hit or miss most of the time so usually I'll be happy after I pencilled something but then be filled with dread trying to drum up the courage to go in with ink (probably why inkers exist in the world, as well as Wacom tablets).

Now, too much exposition is unnecessary, but before I go on I just wanted to talk briefly about why I usually draw people and very rarely scenes. If you'd rather not read my interpretation of my methodology you're more than welcome to ignore the text following the drawings.

I've always been more of a character designer. I like coming up with stories, but only in context to how they may frame a character I am thinking of. More importantly my stories are more like scenes from a certain charater's life than an actual scene. At the same time, many drawings start simply with me starting at a point and expanding. It may be a certain type of eye that I want to draw, hairstyle, clothing, anything that is an extension of the character will usually get me going. I start fleshing out what kind of character would wear this or act in this way or wear their hair in a certain way.

So, while I do think in scenes, backgrounds are usually secondary or only important to set up the character and I honestly rarely think about it. While it might be in my head, drawing it out is not as important. Now, if you wanted me to write it out, it'd be a different story. That's how a couple of short stories usually start out.

Anyhow, this sort of 60% done sketch isn't great, but it's here because it illustrates the point. I ran across an old sketch I did of a surprised eye and I though, "I want to draw someone surprised, but why would she be surprised..." and it turned into a noir type of thing. So this one sort of came out of nowhere, and that's how things work in my head. The problem is it makes it very hard for me to regularly come up with things because everything is so random. And this needs to be said while we’re on noir: rest in peace, Mickey Spillane.

This started entirely because I had a certain shirt in my head that I wanted to draw, then came the eyes (which turned out bad). The mandoline thing honestly, I don't know what I was thinking. Is she left-handed? Why's she playing the mandolin? Is that a plectrum? Wait, do you use a plectrum to play a mandolin?....Seriously, I don't know. think it was because I didn't know what to do with the right hand or something. It was highly arbitrary.

Now this is all about the eyes. I was disappointed with how the mandoline one turned out so I went ahead and just started on the eyes again. Eh, I thought I might draw a cat burglar, so this is what happened.

I'm not sure if I was on an instrument trip or something, but I wanted to draw something having to do with trees. Also, there was a sketch of a girl I did a long time ago that I ran across and I always liked the hair and dress on her (weird, yes, but like I said, that's how my head works). Anyhow, I kind of wanted to actually use it instead of keeping it as just a half-done doodle.

Now this here...this is what happens when I dwell too much on a character. Ok, here's how it happened. First...I knew I wanted to draw a striped sweater with holes in it. I just did, it came out of left field. Then I ran across a photo of Moon Geun-hyung I had back when I was debating whether or not I should get her haircut.

The sort of light knitted coat type thing she had on with a black turtleneck I really liked. Anyhow, I ended up going into this whole Kali thing so I needed a knife, severed heads, and some arms (hence the doll's heads and arms and makeshift spear/sword business). This ended up with me starting on a full-blown short story about a girl raised by a cult as their version of a kumari devi.

I won't go into it too much...if enough people are curious, I'll put it up...maybe. But I doubt anyone's *that* curious...but the story of this character is, she's raised since childbirth by some nutty cult that combines eastern religions together. A bunch of medical conditions she's born with (which her parents believe are cured by the Great Mother Kali through their prayers), coincide so that they choose her to be a kumari devi. So she's imprisoned and used by those controlling the cult throughout her life.

When the cult compound gets destroyed in a government raid, she escapes, but instead of turning against the beliefs she was raised on, she's an even more fervent believer because she believes she truly was protected by Kali and her incarnations and those who imprisoned her were merely heretics who were rightly punished. So she goes around as this vigilante protecting the young....yea....I know, I did put a little too much thought into this. But that's why she has things mostly recognized with childhood on her. For one thing, she was in charge of instructing the younger believers of the cult, on top of that she was put in a perpetual childhood (there are some other things about her, if you go into what qualifies a kumari and what can get you disqualified that'll help understanding the perpetual childhood thing). So while like Kali a lot about her hints at destruction, she's also a caring mother.

So here are the new drawings a promised. Now that it looks like I'll have another week of waiting until I get the real Internet in my house, I guess I have more time to work on stuff. I have some very half-finished things so maybe I can hop on those. I don't track who reads this and whatnot, so whoever does like to keep up with this, thanks for sticking through the technical issues.


Well, these are old things, but while we're on pencils:

These two were done for a final art project in school. They ended up not looking like this because I had to mutilate them a bit for the art piece. First is with the original, second is at a better angle probably.

And this was done on a whim late one night while I had nothing better to do. Man, it's not a good then when most of the stuff I come up with is just because, is it?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Two more days

Until I get my Internet connected everyone. So far I've only been able to use it snippets at a time so I haven't been able to get anything done. But I promise to come back with some drawings since with no Internet connection I've been able to do a little bit of that. But honestly, work has been kicking my ass from here to there so I had even less free time than I imagined.

Either way, I've got some entry ideas cooked up in my head that I can start working on as well as leafing through the recipes I have accumulated means some cooking projects, so I'll see if I can make it up to everyone.

But let me have a little nerd out moment here: Dragonlance movie???!!! OmGWTfbbq!!111111 *paroxysms of nerditude* Why the hell did I not hear about this? What the hell? Who the hell? Wha...buh?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

More on Sega

Following this post, here's some more interesting Sega info via Slashdot.

Here's an interview with former Sega president Tom Kalinske from The importance of marketing for Sega comes up in this interview also.

Other interesting points to note include Yuji Naka's supposed frustrations, Sega's origin story (started up by some American GIs), as well as the Playstation's. Kind of classic villain origin story actually if you think about it actually. Fine, fine, I'm not trying to pick on the Playstation, we've had some good times together too, but I'm just saying. Upstart thinks he's got the goods to join the big leagues, but the big league dudes won't let upstart play so upstart goes off on his own, misguidedly evil, way? I mean come on. That's totally classic.

It's mostly info from just one source, and a lot of it remembered through the hazy fogs of time, but nonetheless provides some pretty damn intriguing glimpses into what was going on at the time.

Here's the Slashdot discussion that follows.

And just to get even more meta for the hell of it (either that or I have a weird soft spot for nesting dolls), Slashdot says this was via Press the Buttons.

Monday, July 10, 2006

"Listen up, boppers...there's word on the street..."

So, it seems like you can't ride the New York City subways nowadays without getting stabbed or just plain sawed in half. Now all we need is for crazy folk to be pushing people onto the tracks and some "vigilante" shooting up on the trains and the Time Warp to 1970s New York is complete.

Speaking of NY subways in the 70s, it looks like Netflix is sponsoring a free screening of "The Warriors" at the Big C.I. on August 2.

Now, can you dig this, suckas? There's going to be a freakin' "Warriors"-themed scavenger hunt happening prior to the screening. The winners get to chat with the cast and crew of the movie, and while that is infinitely cool, just being able to participate in this thing seems like it was be awesome on so many levels. This is such a New York type of opportunity. You can't do a "Warriors" scavenger hunt in any other place, it just wouldn't be the same.

Now, the main site is scant on rules but I managed to find this page, which seems to outline more of the rules. DRESSING UP IS REQUIRED. How can anyone say no to this? I'll tell you how, because I've asked around already and have only been met with dumbfounded and scared looks. challenge to you folks reading this is this: If you can get 7 more friends to join me in dressing up to participate in this, I would be ridiculously grateful. Why not ask people I actually know you ask? Well if I were to create a diagram of sorts, the people I know fall into three main groups. One of those main groups are folks who aren't in NYC. So we can eliminate that group for simplicity's sake. Now of the remaining group of folks I know actually residing in the city. We've got people who have never seen "The Warriors" and people who can't be bothered to dress up for a scavenger hunt.

There's a huge overlap between these two groups.

I probably could strong arm some folks into joining me on this crazy ass adventure, but I would hardly have the 9 required for a delegate. That is why...sadly...I'm turning to the Internet for this. Think of it as a chance to expand your social circle, it'll be fun. At least after this kind of sad "Modern Love" installation you should seriously be considering reaching out and touching more folks (not like that).

And fine, if this is too much short notice (considering the purported sign up deadline), if anybody is up for a roadtrip to Leonardo, NJ, we can go watch "Clerks". It'll be fun. Trust me. While your parents and Chris Hansen want you to believe that all Internet folks are out to kill and molest you, I'm actually a nice person once you get to know me. Being cooped up with me in a car on a roadtrip to New Jersey should be the least of your worries (do I have to reference the subway stabby spree once again?). I mean come on, I'm a female in her 20s, I should be more worried about you guys out there.

How serious am I? Well...fine if I had to prioritize, I'd much rather risk getting kidnapped and dumped on the side of the road trying to organize people to dress up like the Baseball Furies than trying to convince some folks to go play hockey in front of the Quick Stop.

Hell, if any chicas out there wanna be the Lizzies, that'd be so boss my head would explode.

Either way, even if I don't get to organize a team for the scavenger hunt, I'm most definitely going to the "conclave" on 97th and Riverside to hopefully grab some photos of participants before heading down to the screening.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sorry folks

Still trying to get regular Internet hooked up in my apartment. It's been crazy here. The fourth day in my new place a neighbor got robbed (burgled?), so it seems like my crime wave curse follows me to whatever I place I move. I got to see some CSI type crap go down though, if I had to put an optimistic spin on things.

I know being lax with postings can be the kiss of death for blogs, but I figure not that many people check this thing regularly anyway, but, since it's nothing without readers, here's some follow-ups:

But to Masaki who asked me if I liked BoA: Not really. Nothing personal, just not my style of music. She does do the whole catchy pop song bit real well that makes you wanna dance, so I appreciate her songs on that level and she's a real good dancer too. So I don't avoid her like the plague or anything, but I don't own any of her CDs. Interestingly enough, I knew folks who knew folks (the whole international school network in Korea is like some kind of crime syndicate I swear, everyone knows you or at least knows someone who knows you) that went to school with her, so there's like some kind of weird 2-5 degrees of separation between her and me depending on which friend you'd want to start with. But pretty much, in the early to late 90s if you went to an international school in Korea you had to know SOMEONE who was either on the verge of being signed by a record label, already signed up with some pop group on a record label and either doing well or just waiting in the wings or not doing well at all. I knew some people who did the whole one hit wonder route in what I like to call "The Pop Group Blizzard of the 90s."

Anyone from around then remember the whole fiasco where they had to prove these singers really were eligible to be attending international schools and not the regular Korean schools because if you had international school status they used to give you special preference for the Korean universities? Anybody have the Korean Education Board folks come to their school and look through the school records?

Anyhow, also to the Seoulite in Seattle, yes you can add me to your blog list. It's nice to know someone finds these ramblings "interesting" and "stimulating."

But once again, apologies about the slowness of getting my shit together. It's just been a mess.