Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Gone knitting

The last two entries were too wordy. Here's a (finally) a new drawing.

I've seen some new scarves around, but I can't justify buying one since I know how to knit one. I alread have a pretty long scarf, but I'd like something wide and long. I've been contemplating knitting up one of these bad boys:

A Dr. Who scarf is a huge investment in time (and yarn), and there's several incarnations too. So I'm going through patterns right now thinking what I'm going to do about that.

Besides, I'm already working on this vest (back is done, starting on front), and I've still got my gloves. On top of that Knitty has some other future projects I want to tackle like this, this, and maybe this?

More importantly, I'm currently enamored with the knitted minidress that Charlotte Gainsbourg is wearing in the scene where Stephane is having the party in the pub in "The Science of Sleep." It looks like it would be simple enough to maybe tweak the pattern of a turtle-neck, cable-patterned sweater, but if an actual pattern for something like it exists I'd rather find that...

Update-but-don't-want-to-make-new-post: Found an MP3 for "Chanson Des Chats" at The Fabulist.

Career plans

I don't really have any. I remember someone asking me that once and I didn't have an answer for them.

This is going to be another long one, so please indulge me once more...

Who knew that getting some pants hemmed at a cheap tailor on the Lower East Side could make you contemplate what direction your life is going in? Last week was the first time I'd bought any new clothes for my job in months. First and foremost because in my impressionable years I read the Desiderius Erasmus quote "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes," and was extremely taken by it and decided to apply this rule to myself. I was already a bookworm (yes...I was and still am a nerd)and all this quote did was stoke the fire. Fact: My first allowance was entirely spent on a book.

The other reasons being that I hate work clothes. And it's no fault of their own. Some work clothes are quite lovely, but it's just odd because they don't seem like they're me. I feel like an impractical person living in the shell of a practical one. I feel like I'm in costume 5 days of the week. That's why I kind of don't dress for work when possible.

I used to just let pants drag and fray, but you can't do that in the world of cubicles, spending reports and Serious Goddamn Business™. The "problem" is while I've always been highly impractical I've also been very responsible. That's why all my friends' parents love me (we all like to laugh over that one). I reek of responsibility. For example, I can't take off and do what I want to do because I'm worrying about paying off my student loans. I keep saying "I'll go out and see the world once I have this taken care of."

What do people who don't know me that well see? Kind of preppy clothes, graduated from a private university, with regular office job. Sure, there's worse things people can think about you, but come on, I'm a geek and (somewhat) reformed tomboy who took several years to grow out of ratty skater style and into a weird amalgam of punk/emo/goth who studied because books were the only things I felt comfortable around for the longest time if it wasn't the small community of expat friends I had, and went to a university I couldn't have even dreamed of attending if it wasn't for scholarships and huge student loan debts, only to graduate into a field you definitely don't go into with the thought of making money.

I even think that I just sound smarter than I really am. The title of this blog itself a pretty good joke at the expense of me.

So what do I want to do? I don't know. I used to think I'd write novels, but I realized early I'm not creative enough for that. Same thing with drawing. I can do it, but I'm not great at it. Collecting random skills I realized one thing I'm good at is doing random things. I want to go to Antarctica. This was actually a dream of mine since the 6th grade. A little while back I saw a postcard with an old black-and-white photo of penguins in Antarctica. I bought it and kind of keep it as a reminder. I also have this kind of corny goal to one day take an actual picture of some penguins while I'm down there to hang next to the postcard.

This Ireland trip is a start. I'm going to volunteer with the Cork Film Festival. I had to scrimp and save to do it, but it's definitely going to be worth it. I figure to do the most I can with my vacations. I'm trying to figure out if a kibbutz in Israel will have me for a week for my next vacation. After that, I'm wondering if Tibetan nuns will take me in.

Will I ever go back to Korea? That's the million dollar question right there. Part of me still wants to, but it's been about 3 years since the last time I was there and each time I've gone back the experience got "curioser and curioser" for lack of a better description. As cheesy as it sounds, I guess you really can't go home again, but it just becomes all kinds of awesome when you throw into the mix the phenomenon known as the "Third Culture Kid".

Tangent if you followed the TCK link and actually read up on it: As most of my friends know, The Weakerthans are my favorite band. Lyrically, musically, everything fell in together perfectly the first two years of college when I was particularly despondent and didn't know what to do with myself (and I feel like I'm in eternal debt to Justin for introducing me to them, and "Pamphleteer" is still my favorite song). When I bought "Left and Leaving," I spent an entire morning listening to the whole album 2-3 times over and flipping through the lyrics. It wasn't until the third time around that I started looking over other liner notes and found as a dedication lines from the poet Alden Nowlan: "For those who belong nowhere, and for those who belong to one place too much to belong anywhere else," and I swear I almost bawled like a baby. So yes, they are a great and talented group, but that dedication is also a pretty big reason why I'm at every show I can go to.

I recently realized that maybe I'm not homesick for Korea, maybe I'm just homesick for a certain time frame of Korea that I lived in. Whenever I say "Man, I wish I could go back," I really sit down and think about it and realize "Well, no I don't. I mean, if you can build me a time machine/teleporter, maybe we'll talk, but Korea now?" Who knows, that's the theory I'm sticking with for the moment.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What's wrong with just saying "Don't do that"?

Over dinner with my friend H (previously mentioned here), we got into talking about weird things our parents told us growing up. More specifically, the weird Korean things our moms told us. Even funnier since I like to make fun of my mom because she's Presbyterian and some of these superstitions aren't very "Christian."

Neither of us are particularly superstitious, but strangely we found out that somehow even now we were uncomfortable with breaking some of these taboos. And not because we belived that they were true in some way, but it just felt wrong to do it after being told not to for so long.

For example, you're not supposed to sleep with your head to the west. This came up because we had just watched "The Science of Sleep" and the character of Zoe mentions something about not making the best face north because it's bad feng shui.

H's mom's reasoning was that it was bad for you and has something to do with the flow of energy in the body, but I remember my mom telling me that the west is where dead people go, so having your head face that way is putting your health in danger. However, those two explanations aren't too far apart if you're familiar with Korean shamanism/mysticism, Oriental medicine, or any Chinese exorcist/vampire killer movie for that matter.

Thanks to that, even when I went off to college, whenever I was assigned a new dorm room, I found myself reflexively checking to see if I would be sleeping with my head toward the west. I never attributed anything negative to that except feeling uncomfortable once I realized it. H on the other hand, swears she gets headaches.

Another thing was, you never throw out your fingernail or toenail clippings haphazardly because those are extensions of you. My mom always made sure I flushed them down the toilet and never threw them away in the garbage can. While the origin of this superstition may have earlier roots, most kids know about this because it is tied to a folktale about how a spoiled rich boy carelessly threw away his fingernail clippings only to have a 100-year-old rat gnaw on them and turn into a clone of him and the real rich brat gets kicked out of the house for being an imposter.

The moral of the story is supposed to be that the brat got his comeuppance for being spoiled and not listening to anyone (since he didn't listen to the advice to not throw out his nail clippings), but in the end realizes how good he had it and should be more obedient...but for some reason the real lesson you got out of this story was to guard your nail clippings like they were your life.

H laughed because "I mean come on...what's with Korea and 100-year-old things? A 100-year-old rat?"

I answered with the true but time honored cliche, "You clearly have not seen how big rats here get. I seriously would not be surprised if some New York ones were 100 years old."

But she had a point. Korea does seem to like their 100-year-old things. Ogres are sometimes common household objects that have been used and felt the touch of human hands for 100 years, the Gumiho, or nine-tailed fox, gets a new tail every 100 years...

By the way, the ending to that folktale? The old man whose advice the spoiled brat didn't listen to the first time around hands the brat a cat and tells him to go home. The brat doesn't know why since he doesn't know the identity of his clone, but now a more humble and obedient kid he takes the old man's advice and heads back home with the cat. The cat attacks the clone, kills it, and the kid realizes what has happened and lived out the rest of his days as a wise, rich man.

The thing is, I feel like many times some of these stories are just ways to make kids do things. Like I could see some frustrated Korean mom way back when putting down her sewing with an exasperated sigh as the latest fingernail clipping flies and bounces off her face going, "Sam-shik, you really need to cut that shit out."

And Sam-shik, the smart aleck answers, "Whatevs, mom, it's not like anything BAD could happen to me. It's just some grody old fingernail clippings. What, the bogeyman's (or I guess Grandpa Wicker Sieve would be more culturally appropriate) gonna take me away?"

Then Sam-shik's mom spots a fatass rat scuttling away out the corner of her eyes and launches into the story.

My best example of this theory? Since when I was little, my mom told me I should not wash my hair at midnight. I had to do it before. Why? Well because when she was little, some ladies where she lived decided they were going to go wash their clothes by a stream and gossip since they didn't have time to get it done during the day. They decided they were going to wash their hair too while they were out there. But it was late at night, midnight to be exact, and the women never came home. Their husbands went out looking for them only to find their heads hanging by their hair from the branches of a tree all braided and done up pretty with ribbons.

I was 8-FUCKING-YEARS-OLD. You don't tell a 8-year-old something like that. That is all kinds of messed up. I suffered a "shower/wash my hair at midnight phobia" for years. Even now I'm creeped the hell out by this story and find myself looking at the clock before I hop in the shower at night.

It did not help much that around the time I was 13 one of the hit books of the summer was "Horror Special," a collection of old and new horror stories. One of those stories went something like this (more of a reasonable facsimile since I've heard numerous versions since):

"Da-hae came home late again. It was the third night that week she had to stay over for late studies at school. And a usual no one was home. Mom and dad were both working late again. At least mom had left out some dinner for her. She ate a little then changed into her pajamas and watched some TV to unwind. Somehow "Just one more show" became two more and three more. Da-hae finally glanced over at her clock and realized it was close to midnight.

'Ugh, not again. I better take a shower and get to bed. I have to get up early tomorrow to clean the classroom.'

She trudged into the bathroom and began to take her shower. As she washed her hair she thought to herself, 'Hmm, I seem to have more hair than usual...but that makes no sense. I must really be tired.'

Da-hae wrapped a towel around her hair and went to her room to blow-dry her hair. As she clicked the blow-dryer off she noticed a constant dripping coming from the bathroom.

'Crap,' she thought, 'The faucet's leaky.'

She walked back to the bathroom to try and tighten the faucet, but paused as she stared in horror. A ghost* hung upside down from the ceiling of the bathroom, and before Da-hae fainted, she heard it giggle and say, 'You forgot to dry my hair...'"

* "Ghost" in this sense being the relative translation of "gwee-shin," or the traditional female ghost with long black hair in white han-bok.

Ok, so that story was one of the "humorous" ones in that collection, but thanks to that I had a better idea as to how and when a ghost might behead me. It would hang upside down while I was unawares with my eyes closed and would snatch my head off my neck. I had many a "What was that?!" moment after reading that story and would pop my eyes open while washing my hair only to be rewarded with stinging and tearing eyes.

Years later, I thought about that story again and realized that my mom probably had more sinister reasons. She just wanted me to go to bed, and that couldn't happen unless I would take my bath. I always "fought with sleep," as my mom put it, and still do. I never liked going to bed and still like staying up too late. Now, I'm not accusing my mom of psychologically scarring me just to get me to go to bed early, but once she put the fear of ghosts in me about washing my hair before midnight, I made sure I got ready for bed WAY before midnight.

I told H that I don't really worry about that too much anymore...though, if I do find myself heading towards the shower at midnight I might wait 5 minutes or so. You know, just in case.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I miss my piano

That's all I had to say.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I was working on a drawing...seriously I was

I'm just so tired lately. I really will try to make with new drawings sometime soon, but there's a lot coming up.

Instead...more video linking. This isn't that new, but I like looking it up to watch it a little too much. The song's funny, sure, but I really like looking at the individual illustrations. Some of them are preposterous and great all at the same time.

If I don't get around to finishing some drawings I might have to resort to telling the story where I saw the beginning of childhood obesity first hand.

I can't believe I forgot all about this

I saw a guy...on a Segway. Honest to God. And not part of some lame promo or something. I was on the bus, and this older gentleman with a fedora and his raincoat draped gallantly across one arm was just tooling across the street on his Segway. That was just too weird. Also, the man must have money to burn. But this was Midtown so I'm not even surprised honestly.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Me as a kid said the darnedest things

So, my first attempt as a tshirt designer didn't go over too well. Though it was good practice and I want to try again. But we'll see if I have any time to do another one. I already have several backlogs of things I want to be working on so I need to grab a weekend where I can work on those.

Anyhow, I figured I might regale you with two stories involving a pint-sized version of me instead of drawing. Coincidentally, these are also the top two stories my mom likes to tell about me.

Story #1:
So when I was around 3 or so we move to Korea permanently. I was born in Korea, but we did a little bit of back and forth between the States the first couple of years of my life.

I remember we arrived later in the day and spent the night in a hotel before moving to a military base down in Wonju where we lived a little bit until we moved back to Seoul.

In the morning hours, pulled back the curtains on the hotel room's window and looking down at all the people walking around. I stared for a bit then excitedly turned to my mom and exclaimed "Mommy, mommy! Look at all the Chinese people!"

Now, the thing that gets me about this story is I wonder if I thought my mom was Chinese...there's a good chance of course that she was my mom and I really could care less about that. I have this feeling that I learned about Asian-looking people being Chinese on Sesame Street and because of that I assumed Asian=Chinese. I don't remember if my mom corrected me or not.

Story #2:
After Wonju, around the time I was preschool aged, we moved to Seoul and the first apartment we lived in was in a nightclub+tourist/GI trap called Itaewon. This is where I learned to speak Korean since previously in Wonju it was mostly servicemembers, but living off base I played with more neighborhood kids and eventually picked up the language in about a year.

Not all of the neighborhood was that way mind you, but for the most part it was. Our apartment building in particular was in very close proximity to several nightclubs and what was known as "Hooker Hill." (Still might be, at least it was well into when I was in high school).

Anyhow, while non-evening entertainment people lived in the apartment complex too, we also had our assortment of nightclub owners, dancers, waiters, bartenders...etc. My mom's friend rented out apartments to some transexual/transgendered nightclub performers. One of these performers was "Auntie B_____," (since in Korea, the title "aunt" is used for any older woman who you know well or is an acquaintance of the family and whatnot) and it wasn't uncommon for my mom, her friend and Auntie to sit around their apartments having some coffee and gossip while I ran around playing with my toys.

One particular day after running around the living room doing my own thing, I ran up to the table they were sitting at and after a while I tugged on my mom's shirt. And in that whisper, but loud enough for everyone to hear kid whisper I decided to announce, " know, in this world there are some people who look like women but talk like men."

In the stunned several seconds that followed, Auntie B_____ managed to catch her breath and asked in her deep voice, "Why, who is like that?"

After thinking for a split second, I answered, "I don't know." And ran off to continue playing on my own.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Insomnia and things that I have to get done

Yet, I'm watching stuff like this on Youtube...

Anyhow, I don't think this is hardly new, but while at first I thought, "This could be hilarious," it soon changed to "This actually is kind of sad..."

It reminds me of the time I found someone who did a frame-by-frame remake of the opening to "Cardcaptor: Sakura" back in high school. And yes, it was a dude dressed up as Sakura. Why you ask? I have no idea. I think it's just some rule that when some Japanese otaku remakes one of these it will inevitably be a guy instead of him directing it and getting a girl he knows to do it. Then again, I just wrote a sentence including the word "otaku" and "girl" in it so who am I kidding here?

After the first play through, they do a side-by-side comparison with the original. It's impressive considering the timing and all, yet, it just makes it even more sad. I'm sure the dude had fun doing this, but I felt slightly uncomfortable and confused. Now I share that feeling with you.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Well, well, well...

Looks like I managed to somehow get both of my shirt designs approved for voting. Same drill as with the first one. Questions, comments, criticisms all welcome. No inflated/pity votes please (and no votes just to be mean too, because that would make me cry). Just be honest. After the first one, I was trying to do one with four colors. I don't know how well it worked out...

And yea, the title's lame, but it was 3 in the morning, cut me some slack.

Click on the image below to go to the design.

My Submission

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Finally submitted a design to Threadless...

...After threatening to do so for months. That's why I've been so quiet the past week about any new drawings because I had been trying to come up with two things that I thought would be feasible on a shirt. I don't know if I have succeeded, but considering the first of those designs has been approved, I'd have to say that I'm going to find out soon.

Anyhow, go vote on it and all that jazz of course, but this is my first attempt at this so I need comments about what's good, what's bad, does this work or not, etc. If you think it deserves a low score, by all means give it a low score, but I'm going to be annoyed if you don't say what it is you didn't like about it. Click on the thumbnail to go to the page.

My Submission

Sunday, September 10, 2006

For that special someone in your life who enjoys the undead


Thanks to my friend Tjie for the buttons! I actually got them about two days ago and thanked him personally, but really, he does great stuff and it was nice of him to take time out and send me things that he's actually selling. So a shameless plug for him. He's also a really decent dude so I'm glad to do my part in spreading the word really.

(Obligatory action shot)

These sell out really fast though, so if you're interested in getting them check with him or the site to see when they're available again. Of course, there are other artwork available at his site:

Prints are also available at Prints of Darkness. I personally like "Sitting Dead" and "Tracking Dangerous Game."

(Even poseable Gloomy loves buttons)

Friday, September 08, 2006

("Directly from his Central and South America tour...")

Do you miss "Grandaizer"? Who doesn't? Especially that theme song. Well, check out this's oddly addictive. I'm glad it's not looping, but at the same time there's no replay function which is slightly annoying.

("Have you ever collected Dragon Balls?...")

But I've been following the flash series "Chungcheun CD." It's up to the fourth episode, and it's HILARIOUS. I really, really recommend you watch this...of course if you don't understand Korean, sorry. The animation itself is still amusing. The plot so far is a young man who has come up to Seoul to make a life for himself comes across a strange man with a mysterious cd. The man generally does not make any sense saying things like how he was on a deserted island, and found the cd, then found that the palm tree was actually a cd player, etc., but there's something weird going on with this cd, and that's for sure.

For one thing you can't play it in a cd player for music. Then again, it's not simply a data cd because when you put it in a cd-rom drive on your computer, any doughnut shaped object is ejected. But the mysterious man is sure this is something great, and for our poor, young and naive hero it's too late for him to get away now.

I especially love the parodied pseudo-retro youth drama comic thing where you have the young, main character narrating in a sort of epistolary form to an absent parent in a really elevated language.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I wish I drew better. I honestly do. Well, practice, practice, practice.

Ok...what the hell is going on?

Not that many people read this, I know that. But why the hell have the past several referring links been for a photo search on Ha Ri-su? Is there something going on Korea's favorite transgendered singer all of the sudden? I'm dead serious, because it's not like that search category has come up before and now I'm getting hit a lot. And it's been from all over the world too. Not to call out anyone. Hell, I have no way of knowing who you are, but I'm just damned curious now and would like an explanation because why now, considering the entry I made mentioning her was from a while back.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Public Service Announcement #518

Do NOT watch The Wicker Man. Just...just fucking don't. Ok? Trust me on this. If you want to watch it, fine, go back and look for the original or something, but just don't even bother with this one, alright?

The only good thing about that movie was getting to see the preview for Pan's Labyrinth.

Anyhow, jumped into the weekly jam pool again. Recent theme was Flora from "Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors." I remember watching this as a kid so I had to participate. I don't remember anything exactly, but I definitely remember the character of Flora and certain aspects of it so I had a bit of nostalgia thinking about this one.

I made it more anime style because for some reason I remembered it as a Japanese cartoon I watched as a kid, but I guess it's not...then again it's in that weird ambiguous Euro/anime style of the time, so maybe that's what confused me. I can't even remember if I saw this in English or Korean or both.

I've been tracking down episodes of "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni" lately so this seems a bit reminescent of that.