Korea trip post on Lee & Low blog

Buddha's birthday

I completely forgot to post here that I wrote all about my trip to Korea (which happened in May) over at the Lee & Low blog a few weeks ago. I keep meaning to post pictures from it—which will end up going on my Tumblr, I think—but if you missed the link a few weeks back on other social media, check out the post here. Basically, I went to visit a friend in Seoul and then traveled around the country from there. It was a blast. If you want to see more pictures as i post them from time to time on Tumblr, follow my blog over there (which I post at more often, because it’s easier to quickly share interesting things as I find them online and throw them into a queue).

Koreafest and parade

My cousin is in town this weekend, and we have a tradition of walking around wherever we are with our fancy cameras and seeing who can get a great shot. Not so much a competition as just a way of sharing our interest in photography (me: semi-pro hobbyist who used to think about photography as a career, him: indie filmmaker and professional at the Armed Forces Network). Today, neither of us brought our good cameras, so we had to rely on our cell phone cameras (me: a Droid X which is EXTREMELY slow in reaction time, him: iPhone).


It just so happens that there was a parade and festival in Koreatown today. I found out because I saw a poster on the wall outside the restaurant on 32nd Street last night where I stopped for dinner on my way home from work.


So we saw a bit of the parade—there were some really gorgeous hanboks




and other traditional clothing in several groups–



and then wandered down the street sampling ddukboki and kimbap and stuff like that. One of the drumming groups (below) was practicing for a performance on the stage. Not sure if they got the chance to perform—we left when it started to rain and when I came back to walk to the train on my way home, they were gone. The stage had a roof on it so hopefully they were able to perform. (Again, crappy cell phone pictures. I kind of like the blur, but I hated how I had no control over it.)






Below, here they’re making injeolmi (which I believe is the sticky rice paste needed to make things like ddukbokki—someone correct me if I’m wrong). I had a hard time getting the right information from my fellow bystanders because the two women I was standing next two disagreed on who was right. I think the one to my left was Thai, and she said it started out the same kind of sticky rice as Thai glutinous sticky rice, but the other lady said no, no, it’s injeolmi, which I have no idea how it relates to other kinds of sticky rice. I’ll have to look it up. I loved seeing the way they pounded it—I imagine this is much more of a traditional form of pounding it than something that’s currently practiced widely. But I could be wrong.


FxCam_1317490249009  FxCam_1317490183031 



As we stood eating ddukbokki and kimbap, a cameraman came up and asked me if I knew what I was eating. “Of course, it’s ddukbokki,” I said. He filmed me and asked me a few more questions (do you know why there’s a parade today, what do you know about Korea, why are you interested in Korea) and I answered him in a combination of English and my broken Korean (because he had just been talking with a group of ajummas next to us in Korean, so I knew he spoke it, and later he confirmed he’s with Korean TV station KBS).

So… if you’re in Korea, if you see coverage on KBS of the New York City Koreafest, maybe you might see me on TV! He seemed to expect that I wouldn’t know what I was eating, so he might not use it at all if he found someone who had no clue. Who knows?




Here’s my cousin and his friend trying on some mascot heads for a resort planned I believe on Jeju Island, which if you don’t know, a lot of Koreans describe as their version of Hawaii. Jeju is known for its tangerines and, I just learned from watching Tamra Island, had some pretty matriarchal traditions even in the years in which the rest of Korea was strictly patriarchal, due to the importance to their economy of the women who dove for abalone. I have a feeling that the show, of course, exaggerated a lot more than the comic-book nature of the plot, so I’m not sure how much of what they portrayed about the women wearing the “pants” of the family is historical fact, but it’s pretty cool and something I want to know more about. By the way, that show is called “Tamra” here in the U.S. but I’m unclear on why. If you listen to the actors when they refer to the old name for Jeju Island, they’re clearly saying “Tamna,” which is also what the Hangul says (탐나는 도다, Tamnaneun Doda).

And yes, I just about exhausted my knowledge of Korean right there, same as when I told the cameraman that “ddukbokki joayo” (ddukbokki is good) and being there made me “hangbokae” (happy). I’m sure I slaughtered the conjugation of the verb that means “is good,” but hey, I’m still a beginner. Also, if you end up watching Tamra the Island, don’t worry about Caucasian mullet-boy who’s supposed to be English but who speaks better Korean than he does English. It’s quite cheesy and the English is downright laughable at first in the first episode or so (the Korean actor is better at English than the “English” one who is actually a French model) but it’s a cute, comic-book-esque story that is worth sticking around for.

And I had a number of other interesting conversations with people who were surprised when I told them I watched Korean dramas. I thought the Hallyu was becoming a big thing now, but apparently it’s still surprising enough when a Caucasian is interested?

By the way, if you’re interested in learning Korean, I’ve found Talk to Me in Korean very fun and friendly to learn from. Their podcasts and videos are short (usually around 15 minutes) and very conversational, starting with very basic phrases like annyeonghaseyo (hello) and building from there in a nice logical way, and explaining things in a way that makes things make so much more sense culturally and linguistically, which is more than I can say for the book I’d been using before that. Living Language has been great in many ways, but they made what I’d already learned from my Living Language set make actual sense, and it felt like I was talking to one of my Korean friends rather than studying out of a book and listening to static phrases. I’m still going to use the Living Language book to study from, but I’m going to rely on TTMIK to tell me what it all means.


Twitter seems to be down, which is a disappointment for the random thoughts I generally send into the ether that way instead of blogging them. I Twitter because I care about you, my blog readers, didn’t you know?

(Though if you’re getting this on Facebook, I suppose that means that you’d see it either way. But anyway…)

I’m working on making a video. I’d say that it’s the first video I’ve ever made, but I actually did help direct the Hallowmere book trailer, so I suppose this would be the second video I’ve ever made that doesn’t involve filming my cats (often the only interesting subject around my house!). But for the Hallowmere trailer, I had the help of several great people at Wizards of the Coast–the books marketing person, Shelly, and the AdCom guy, Adam, and his whole team. We didn’t spend any money on the video, but we had the time and resources of some very talented people.

This time, it’s just me and my little Sony digital camera, so it’ll be an adventure. The raw footage I can get, no problem. It’s the editing that I’m not sure about. I’d like to interview a couple of different people for it, as well as adding text to the video with the people’s names. I have a PC, which came with Windows Movie Maker. Yes, I know, it’s not Final Cut or anything, but here’s a question for those of you who might know: will it be enough to do the simple things I want to do with my video?

I don’t think I’ll even put music on it, because I don’t want to get into trying to figure out royalty-free music. I just want to be able to edit out parts (like the beginning and ends of when I’m recording myself!), splice together a few different pieces of video, and add text. Is that possible with what I have? Or is there a freeware/shareware program out there that might be able to do this?


My newly minted Nikon D300 arrived today. I decided to go ahead and order the camera body and use my old lenses for now–the kit lens from my N55, the nice but not exactly versatile 50mm lens, and the zoom lens, which all survived the flood. Only the good zoom lens perished in the flood, along with the camera body. What this means is that my flexibility on natural lighting is seriously curtailed until I can replace the good lens. They’re okay lenses–and the 50mm is a NICE lens, but like I said, not versatile–but they don’t do well in low light.

I’ve snapped a few shots of the cats today but I want to really take it out and play with it later. It’s a very souped-up, very professional camera, and I want to be sure I know what I’m doing! But first I have critiques to finish and get back to people.

I’m working on putting together my photography site so that my portfolio can be easily accessed and that people can see the portrait services that I offer. I think I should also look into advertising at wedding fairs locally, too. Just another part of the business that’s finally shaping up.

This just in: rubber chicken JUGGLING!

I’m just now going through my photos from Memorial Day weekend, including my Monday morning stroll through Folk Life, a festival they have here in Seattle every Mem. Day weekend.

And what do I find? I knew I got shots of juggling, but little did I know that the chickens had invaded the juggling world, too!


They’re taking over the world, I tell ya.