February 2008 Archives

February 17, 2008


vine, originally uploaded by nabenori.

Slow, steady, methodical, persistent, precise.
It never fails.

February 10, 2008

The Stroke

The five classes that I'm taking this semester are quite different from last semester's five. Instead of books piled high with critical thinking, philosophy and religions, I'm taking two art classes, two design courses, and first-level Chinese.

I braced for the worst with Chinese, known as (arguably) the most difficult language to learn. To my surprise, the courses that have brought me the most stress sofar have been the art classes. I knew I wasn't an artist, but these classes have been pounding me into a different frame of mind.

My illustration instructor has waxed poetically on the virtues of the stroke, the basis of all art and illustration. For me, it was like not seeing the forest for all the trees. Which was, in fact, the point that he was trying to get across: Ceci n'est pas une pipe, or, for the younger set, There is no spoon. All that art is, indeed, is just a bunch of marks. Good art, therefore, requires great marks (or gestures).

This goes back to an assertion I posted about earlier: Artistry is not innate; it is not a natural thing that you are either born with or with out. It is the culmination of tireless training, practice and perfection of form.
Continue reading The Stroke.

February 6, 2008

Pinyin, Chinese, Hanja, Mac

Who isn't fascinated by Chinese characters? A single graphic that encapsulates an entire word, concept or idea; it brushes upon essence of linguistic efficiency--deterred only by the fact that there are so many words, concepts and ideas to be represented.

Some manifest their fascination by a permanent inking (which I do not advise). Others follow the stroke and order to inspiration through calligraphy. For me it is enough to simply use them; being able to communicate with an audience so vast is awe-inspiring. With the assistance of modern technology I can use the learning of a language to speak with the world.

So in addition to my mother's tongue, Spanish, my first truly foreign language, Korean, and my dabblings in Japanese, I've started taking a class in Chinese. We've received Chinese names this week, and I asked my professor If I could use the same Chinese characters I used when making my Korean name (In Korean, Chinese characters are called "hanja").

My Korean name is 이강진, Kang-jin Lee. To show her my name, I looked up my name again in my Korean vocab book. I found the characters easily, but I didn't know how to write Chinese on my mac. Once I did, I realized I didn't know the Chinese pronunciation of these characters, so I still couldn't type them. What I needed was was a Hangul(Korean) to Hanja conversion--or a way to select hanja while typing Korean. After a little searching, turns out you can already do that on a Mac. Who knew?

So now I can type to you using Chinese, Korean and two of Japanese's three character systems (the third basically being Chinese)--in addition to the alphabetical systems. Hopefully someone will find this article an easy reference for typing in Chinese on their Mac. Oh, and how to type in Pinyin on a Mac as well.

February 2, 2008

A Blueprint for Better Worship

For the entirety of my life, I have been a church-goer. That doesn't mean, however, that I'm a church-liker.

As I get older, I like going to church less and less. At first I did it because it was where my parents drove me, then I wanted to go and be with friends. Eventually I became aware of a personal relationship with "God" and looked forward to participating in the activities of His house. These days I go out of duty more than anything else.

In the eleven years since I graduated from high school (and never graduated from college, arg), I've spent five working at the world headquarters of my denomination. Truly an enlightening and eye-opening experience, I've been around the world with the fortune of seeing worship done in so many styles. I've seen what it takes to run an organization (read: that's all a church really is) and I've developed an opinion on what should and shouldn't be.

All the while I've been going to my little church and supporting as they do things backwards. Tradition dictates it, after all. This morning, as I passively skipped attendance (a rarity, let me assure you), I asked myself what it would make a church the kind of place that I'd enjoy attending again. Here are the conditions I came to.
Continue reading A Blueprint for Better Worship.

February 1, 2008

Stay Warm & Dry

P1050592, originally uploaded by udono.

It would seem that both coasts in the U.S. are cold and rainy... wherever you are in the world, I hope you stay warm and dry tonight.