May 2006 Archives

May 25, 2006

I'm trying really, really, REALLY

I'm trying really, really, REALLY hard to be a good worker and get everything done, knowing that classes start next week. And then I'm going to really, really, REALLY dedicate time to study. So, as you can see, the amount of content here is slowing down.

Leftsider never dies, though. Never.

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june30.05, originally uploaded by cobaltika.

"One of those Korean moments"

"One of those Korean moments" at The Marmot’s Hole

"Just then they see me coming out. The boy says “annyeonghaseyo” and bows as deeply as he can without pissing on himself. The girl is mortified into momentary silence."

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Adam at work, originally uploaded by *Ivan*.

May 22, 2006

Apple MacBook : Page 1

Apple MacBook : Page 1

ArsTechnica gives their extensive and well explained (as usual) review of the new machine that has me salivating.

Land Living: RAIC 2006 Governor

Land Living: RAIC 2006 Governor General%u2019s Medals in Architecture

More beautiful award-winning architecture. My father was a draftsman at one point, so I've been loving architecture for a long time, and these entries are no less breathtaking.

May 19, 2006

Muscle Room

we make money not art:

Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg Columnists

Slate blogs the Bible. By

Slate blogs the Bible. By David Plotz

Sofar this is pretty good. I appreciate the fact that although he's not an observant religious practitioner he's a believer nonetheless, and hasn't sought to prove or disprove anything. He merely wants to find out what the Bible (Torah, specifically) really has to say--for himself.

Quite honestly, I think this is what every self-professed follower of the Bible should do. Although the tongue-in-cheek reflections can be optional for your reading. :P

May 17, 2006

Mommy....Flickr just went "gamma" while

Mommy....Flickr just went "gamma" while I was playing with it....

May 16, 2006

A couple weeks ago I

A couple weeks ago I had a fun conversation with a friend of mine. Rachel is from Uganda and works somewhere in my building as a grant accountant. Having been in the US a couple years, she has an interesting perspective combined with that blunt East African charm I discovered when I visited in 2001.

"Bryan, you crossed the line!" she spouted, jokingly. This was in reference to my marriage to my Fru, who is Filipino. "Actually, it's ok," she said. "I'm thinking about trying some other colors too." You have to have the accent there for full impact.

We noted some issues that Black Americans have, and that African Americans have (there's a difference). We noted that certain Black islander communities seem to have somehow escaped these problems, and we wondered why. I gave her my running routine about how I'm opposed to any relationship--or anything else, for that matter--that adds stress to my life, no matter how conventional it is. She noted that dating interracially was not without its own share of stressors.

And then she knocked me back with a statement: "You know, I think that mixed couples are a bigger issue here than in Uganda."

Really? How could you figure? It's a completely African culture, and she admitted that there are problems as small as which tribe you are affiliated with when it comes to meeting and mating. So to hear that statement puzzled me and confused her as well.

After talking about it a bit more we came to the theory that because the country is largely people of one background, everyone has to come to terms with one issue. Sure there are people who disapprove, even despise it, but after that it's done. It's just a matter of preference.

On the other hand, the United States is a complete mix of backgrounds. We face more than just tradition. Subcultures within the US are constantly battling with relevancy. Am I Mexican or am I American? Am I black or am I African? Am I Native American? Am I just a native American? Am I white or Italian? The confusion continues, and each interracial couple is another whack at the walls which define us.

And before you cheer, remember that if those walls completely erode, then no one will have any past heritage to share. Does my history really begin when the slave ships arrived at the continent? Does your history end with you when your child has two ancestral lines which have no relation to the life they live today? Confusion continues.

For this reason, we theorized that there would be a bigger issuer around mixed couples in the US until the country came to some sort of universal consensus about who we are and how we approach our culture. Until then, confusion continues.

What about Korea? Do you think it supports or disputes this argument?

May 12, 2006

Mind Hacks: NewSci on human

How I Work: Merlin Mann

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mopey, originally uploaded by featherbed.

This rainy weather, I tell ya.

The Korea Times :


The Korea Times : Korea's Global Ranking Falls to 38th

That defense looks particularly weak.

Apple Matters | Top 8

MoCo Loco: LIVINGBOX edilportale has

MoCo Loco: LIVINGBOX

edilportale has announced the winners of its LIVINGBOX Prefabricated Living Unit Design Competition.

Scuffle Over Ring Tone Shuts

May 11, 2006

Hepatitis Risk for East Asians

Horse versus human, who would

Horse versus human, who would win? (kottke.org)

I say man; what do you think?

May 10, 2006

The Combimouse - Engadget Hey,

The Combimouse - Engadget

Hey, I'd try it.

May 9, 2006

Guardian Unlimited Business | |

Guardian Unlimited Business | | Beatles label loses apple logo case to iTunes

"Geoffrey Vos QC, representing Apple Corps, told Mr Justice Mann at the high court in London in March that to call the download system just an electronic device was a "perversion" of the constraints laid down in the agreement between the two companies.

He said Steve Jobs, who founded Apple Computer, had said that the downloading of music from the internet was exactly the same as buying an LP in the modern world."

So the world where, 3 years ago, 1million songs were downloaded from itunes is not the modern world? Or, more accurately, the Beatles were not part of the post-modern world?

This weekend we dropped by

This weekend we dropped by a friend's house with a movie and snacks in tow. The movie? A Korean comedy translated as "My Boss, My Teacher." The friends? My pal Paul (the guy who got me started studying korean and a major influence in going over there) and his Korean wife, Sook Kyung.

Paul is a bit of a film snob. He's not a full on blowhard; actually, it'd probably be more accurate to say that he has his own unique taste. He tries to explain and rationalize it, but really it all boils down to personal preference. While I can definitely figure out what movies he disdains, I'd be hard pressed to explain what type of movie he enjoys; for this reason, I guess I'll take back the film snob title and replace it with a title of eccentricity.

The reason that I explain this is because Paul thought the movie was awful. Sook Kyung liked it. Fru got a good laugh out of it, and I validated it for what it was--a modern Korean comedy.

If you've looked into Korean film recently, you'd have noticed this progressing trend:

1. A Korean comedy must involve a cop, a gangster, and/or a high school student (romantic comedies can opt out if they include a horribly mismatched pairing)
2. A Korean comedy must get serious for approximately 20 minutes around the 4th quarter of the film.
3. A Korean comedy gets its laughs not from the jokes told but from the characters' reactions to various events.
4. A Korean comedy invariably has a relatively horrible ending. No unpredicted twists, no cliffhangers.

For a guy like Paul, and for most of the Western world, this kind of movie gets the "cheesy" stamp. Most people don't like cheese in their films, and so these would probably classify as straight-to-video fodder. Paul noted that night that it seemed that Korean cinema was full of horrible attempts at filmaking and that he could almost count on one hand how many movies he felt were top-notch.

I argued that this was not to Korean cinema's fault. One must understand that the culture, the mindset, and the demand is different there than it is in a country like ours.

If Korea is anything, it is pop. It is sensationalist, it is surreal; it feeds off of dreams and imagination and strong emotion. Korean soaps, music videos--even news--all attest to this. It's not about substance; it's about zeitgeist.

Movies that delve deep in to plot or analytical thought are relegated to small openings and arthouse scenes. Same with music. As I debated this, I pointed to RHCP's nauseating performance on Saturday Night Live and asked him to think of any Korean musician who had been around as long as these guys and still got on a Saturday night show (besides an old-school "gayo" special) to perform their music. He conceded this point.

While I don't think we came to complete agreement, I think it's a worthwhile argument. Just like the US rap/hiphop scene, Korea's entertainment culture is not even set up to have long-standing stars and ideologies. People and fancies come and go like the wind, so it's ridiculous to assume that you'll find poignancy and depth in a comedy. Don't set yourself up for disappointment.

I thought this was interesting though, because I hadn't actually approached Korean society from that perspective. I t hought it was worth noting and discussing further.

May 8, 2006

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Eclipse Gazing, originally uploaded by Africanfuturist.

The Other Immigration - New

The Other Immigration - New York Times

The economists Philip Martin, Manolo Abella and Christiane Kuptsch noted in a recent book, "As a general rule, the more difficult it is to migrate from one country to another, the higher the percentage of professionals among the migrants from that country." Often this means that the more "backward" the country, the more "sophisticated" the immigrants it supplies.

Mouse Pad Couch I don't

Mouse Pad Couch

I don't even want to know.

The Observer | Travel |

May 7, 2006

Korean Language Notes Guess who's

Korean Language Notes

Guess who's back? And he's tackling the issue of Dok-do!
Well, that's one way to get back your readership. Latest post already has 25 comments. Heh.

Some of you may not

Some of you may not know what I'm doing in the US. I've been here for two months, yet I don't think I've given any indication to my current occupations.

A while back I worked for a large non-profit organization for a few years. Started off as a temp, then contractual, and eventually landed a full-time spot. l was young and eager when I worked there last, and even took my own time off to work an event with a department other than my own. After working two 80+ hour weeks, I left an impression strong enough do be pursued by that department's director in February, nearly six years later.

Leaving Asia behind, I arrived in Virginia on March 8. Two days later, I was still in Virginia, but I had been to Maryland, gotten our apartment keys, and taken a formal employment test. That Monday, the 13th, I was at work at 8am.

Coming back to work here has been an experience. All of the reasons I left in the first place (including my need to finish school) are still there, same as ever. Same people, same confusion; but did I mention I got a job before I even came back?

When I left before, I was working mostly with video production and satellite broadcasting. This time I'm dealing with print production and content side of event preparation. I've got two bosses, both of whom are fresh from other countries. They're eager to show their mettle, and I think they are a bit skeptical of me. After all, when I arrived the whole department knew me, top level employees come by to say hi, VPs greet me, and I'm not necessarily in the "I'm new so let me impress my boss" mode.

All of this calls for a very bumpy ride. Initially I was game, then I started looking for other options, but right now I'm tentatively sticking it out for a bit. If there's anything I'm known for in my working (besides always being known) is that I really come to work to solve problems and make things easier. There's a lot of work to be done in that regard, and I'm hoping it'll shape me up so that once the issues have been cleared I can move right on into autopilot and focus on my studies.

Yes, I haven't forgotten the studies. Currently signed up for ten hours this summer. I'm actually looking forward to it, as it may be my only opportunity to interact with new people and discover new, interesting things. I have little else to look forward to, as everything else seems to mandate looking back.

*sigh*

May 3, 2006

YouTube - sushi My kind

YouTube - sushi

My kind of humor

May 1, 2006

we make money not art:

we make money not art: Runway for extraterrestrial cultures

While I appreciate the aesthetic, I can't help but wonder on what grounds they've based the proper landing requirements for an extraterrestrial craft. Looks a little kitschy to me.

How I Work: Bill Gates

The Morning News - In

SeekJapan.jp | Japanzine Online: Ask

58 Days Worth of Drawing

The Towering Dream of Dubai

we make money not art:

MoCo Loco: Graffiti Table Been

MoCo Loco: Graffiti Table

Been a while since I linked to some design.

Pirates Steal NEC... Yes, the

Pirates Steal NEC... Yes, the Whole Company - Gizmodo

A group of Chinese hardware pirates have created a group of factories, a sales force, and even a line of products all under the NEC moniker.

BBC NEWS | Health |

BBC NEWS | Health | Sex cues ruin men's decisiveness

"The men's performance in the tests showed those who had been exposed to the "sexual cues" were more likely to accept an unfair offer than those who were not.

The men's testosterone levels were also tested - by comparing the length of the men's index finger compared to their ring finger."

Is that really true? crap...

The Chronicle: 4/7/2006: There Is