AKA: William George
Background Illustrations provided by: http://edison.rutgers.edu/
mountains dark and dreary be on Flickr.
More of Nova Scotia in the spring, because I know that you’ve grown tired of looking at an attractive woman in a miniskirt. This was taken with the Pentax KX when it was in a less smashed up state. As you might be able to tell by a few recent shots, I started using the lenses I got with it on a digital Pentax. It’s a bit fiddly, but it works well enough. Weirdly, and I don’t know what’s causing this thought, I’ve been starting to think “Sharpness, sharpness, sharpness.” when using a digital. It probably has something to do with all of the pixels looking the same.

mountains dark and dreary be on Flickr.

More of Nova Scotia in the spring, because I know that you’ve grown tired of looking at an attractive woman in a miniskirt.

This was taken with the Pentax KX when it was in a less smashed up state. As you might be able to tell by a few recent shots, I started using the lenses I got with it on a digital Pentax. It’s a bit fiddly, but it works well enough.

Weirdly, and I don’t know what’s causing this thought, I’ve been starting to think “Sharpness, sharpness, sharpness.” when using a digital. It probably has something to do with all of the pixels looking the same.

That Pose on Flickr.
I tried to get them in the more candid moment I first saw them in, but being a big white guy in Korea means that it’s impossible to blend in. Using the kit lens also meant that my sneaky shot time was reduced. Not having the Korean language skills necessary to pose them more interestingly, I simply let them strike the default “Asian Pose”. At the risk of sounding like a dirty old man (Not to be confused with an O.D.B.) Korean youth seem to have allowed themselves the freedom to be attractive in their own bodies. Few seem to be starving themselves to fit into a certain size. Young women are allowing themselves to be curvier. Young men are pumping iron and becoming beefier. I’m not sure if plastic surgery rates are lessening, they’re better at hiding the scars, or if it’s always been more of a Seoul problem, but folks don’t seem as plastic as they did a decade ago.

That Pose on Flickr.

I tried to get them in the more candid moment I first saw them in, but being a big white guy in Korea means that it’s impossible to blend in. Using the kit lens also meant that my sneaky shot time was reduced.

Not having the Korean language skills necessary to pose them more interestingly, I simply let them strike the default “Asian Pose”.

At the risk of sounding like a dirty old man (Not to be confused with an O.D.B.) Korean youth seem to have allowed themselves the freedom to be attractive in their own bodies. Few seem to be starving themselves to fit into a certain size. Young women are allowing themselves to be curvier. Young men are pumping iron and becoming beefier.

I’m not sure if plastic surgery rates are lessening, they’re better at hiding the scars, or if it’s always been more of a Seoul problem, but folks don’t seem as plastic as they did a decade ago.

and they danced on Flickr.
An unofficial member of the band helps entertain the crowd at Haeundae Beach in Busan. The lighting was pretty tricky: Twilight on a cloudy day. I find everything taken that hour are dim and flat, and you can only do so much in Photoshop before an image gets stupid looking. This one was the most usable of the set.  I kept it for the unified dance moves more than any technical aspect. Besides, only assholes focus on the technical side of photography. From what I understand, the fellow on the right is always on the beach, joining the buskers as an unofficial backup dancer when he comes across them. He does have that air of “harmless kook” about him. Also, in the seven years since I’ve been to Busan, the Haeundae area seems to have become the local Expat Town. Which isn’t too surprising since they’ve made it possible to actually walk to the beach from the station now and there are always a lot of young women there.

and they danced on Flickr.

An unofficial member of the band helps entertain the crowd at Haeundae Beach in Busan.

The lighting was pretty tricky: Twilight on a cloudy day. I find everything taken that hour are dim and flat, and you can only do so much in Photoshop before an image gets stupid looking. This one was the most usable of the set.

I kept it for the unified dance moves more than any technical aspect. Besides, only assholes focus on the technical side of photography.

From what I understand, the fellow on the right is always on the beach, joining the buskers as an unofficial backup dancer when he comes across them. He does have that air of “harmless kook” about him.

Also, in the seven years since I’ve been to Busan, the Haeundae area seems to have become the local Expat Town. Which isn’t too surprising since they’ve made it possible to actually walk to the beach from the station now and there are always a lot of young women there.

in Japan on Flickr.
Trying out my old manual lenses and filters on my new Pentax K-50. My Olympus Pen is the model.  I haven’t been able to figure out if the softness in the images is an aspect of the lens, the mirror slap shaking things due to the really tiny depth of field I was using, or the way the sensor takes in the light of these old lenses. Perhaps a combination of them all?  This wasn’t the “sharp” part of the shot. But I think it was the best part.

in Japan on Flickr.

Trying out my old manual lenses and filters on my new Pentax K-50. My Olympus Pen is the model.

I haven’t been able to figure out if the softness in the images is an aspect of the lens, the mirror slap shaking things due to the really tiny depth of field I was using, or the way the sensor takes in the light of these old lenses. Perhaps a combination of them all?

This wasn’t the “sharp” part of the shot. But I think it was the best part.

Buckaroos on Flickr.
A shot of men about town taken with my new Pentax K-50.  Nice little DSLR, but I have to study more on how to use my old manual lenses. It doesn’t seem to meter through them which may be a problem. The kit lens is as good as they all are, but in these sort of low-light conditions it struggles. Though it will grab a focus point even in the dim light, unlike my old Canon which would spin and whir until I put it on manual.  Big thanks to my good pal Greg for buying it in Australia for me and saving me the +$200 tariff cost that’d be added on if I had bought it here in Korea.

Buckaroos on Flickr.

A shot of men about town taken with my new Pentax K-50.

Nice little DSLR, but I have to study more on how to use my old manual lenses. It doesn’t seem to meter through them which may be a problem. The kit lens is as good as they all are, but in these sort of low-light conditions it struggles. Though it will grab a focus point even in the dim light, unlike my old Canon which would spin and whir until I put it on manual.

Big thanks to my good pal Greg for buying it in Australia for me and saving me the +$200 tariff cost that’d be added on if I had bought it here in Korea.

Portrait of an Expatriate in South Korea on Flickr.
It has been my unfortunate experience throughout my life that I generally don’t like what everyone else likes, and I like what everyone else generally hates.  For example: Star Trek Voyager was pretty good when the writing staff were paying attention to what they were writing. And Captain Janeway was the best captain for her very contradictory personality that made her a more human character than the other demi-gods sitting in the big chair. (I wrote this confession, by the way.) I cannot convince anyone of this truth because everyone is like, “Voyager Time Travel Reset Button. Derp.”, whenever the topic of the show comes up. This could just be me having weird, contrary tastes in entertainment. But given that the Transformers movie series has made more money than GDPs of most countries, I’m suspecting that it may be more of a case of everyone else having crappy taste. This leads me to this photo. I posted it up because I’ve found that the photos I take that I’m so-so on tend to get the most positive reactions. The images I think are my best largely get a strong round of, “Meh”s. This also leads me to wonder if I should start posting up the photos I think are crap just in case they take the internet by storm. I’d ask your opinion, but you probably think Guns ‘n’ Roses were a good band. How can I trust you?

Portrait of an Expatriate in South Korea on Flickr.

It has been my unfortunate experience throughout my life that I generally don’t like what everyone else likes, and I like what everyone else generally hates.

For example: Star Trek Voyager was pretty good when the writing staff were paying attention to what they were writing. And Captain Janeway was the best captain for her very contradictory personality that made her a more human character than the other demi-gods sitting in the big chair. (I wrote this confession, by the way.) I cannot convince anyone of this truth because everyone is like, “Voyager Time Travel Reset Button. Derp.”, whenever the topic of the show comes up. This could just be me having weird, contrary tastes in entertainment. But given that the Transformers movie series has made more money than GDPs of most countries, I’m suspecting that it may be more of a case of everyone else having crappy taste.

This leads me to this photo. I posted it up because I’ve found that the photos I take that I’m so-so on tend to get the most positive reactions. The images I think are my best largely get a strong round of, “Meh”s. This also leads me to wonder if I should start posting up the photos I think are crap just in case they take the internet by storm.

I’d ask your opinion, but you probably think Guns ‘n’ Roses were a good band. How can I trust you?

Oompah Tweedle Toot on Flickr.
High school band performing at a late summer festival outside of Miyakonojo Station, Japan. That summer saw an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease in the farms of Miyazaki-ken. In order to combat it, traffic coming in and out of the district were forced to pass through a chemical tire wash, all places that saw many people come and go (such as malls) had their entrances had something similar across the entrances to their parking lots. As well, all summer festivals were cancelled. A huge disappointment, for sure. Since the summer festival is pretty much the highlight of the year in Japan. But their efforts saw the disease taken care of by September, so the city (or maybe the local merchants association?) quickly put together a much smaller event in front of the train station. Local bands, high school clubs, and a few other acts. Not a bad event for a last minute sort of thing, all said and done. And with it so late in the season not a drop of rain fell, unlike every other year when it was held at the tail end of the rainy season. I have been made aware that there are some events here and there through the calendar here in Gunsan. Nothing kind of cool and groovy like a Japanese summer festival as far as I know. Lots of big showy things like theatre festivals and a marathon. Once I get a new camera I’ll have to make the scene.

Oompah Tweedle Toot on Flickr.

High school band performing at a late summer festival outside of Miyakonojo Station, Japan.

That summer saw an outbreak of hoof and mouth disease in the farms of Miyazaki-ken. In order to combat it, traffic coming in and out of the district were forced to pass through a chemical tire wash, all places that saw many people come and go (such as malls) had their entrances had something similar across the entrances to their parking lots. As well, all summer festivals were cancelled.

A huge disappointment, for sure. Since the summer festival is pretty much the highlight of the year in Japan. But their efforts saw the disease taken care of by September, so the city (or maybe the local merchants association?) quickly put together a much smaller event in front of the train station. Local bands, high school clubs, and a few other acts. Not a bad event for a last minute sort of thing, all said and done. And with it so late in the season not a drop of rain fell, unlike every other year when it was held at the tail end of the rainy season.

I have been made aware that there are some events here and there through the calendar here in Gunsan. Nothing kind of cool and groovy like a Japanese summer festival as far as I know. Lots of big showy things like theatre festivals and a marathon. Once I get a new camera I’ll have to make the scene.

One Snowy Morning in Nagasaki on Flickr.
Once upon a time I decided to spend my winter vacation in the historic city (You have to call it that by law) of Nagasaki.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account how small the city was coupled with the fact that I went there over the New Year holiday. So come January 1st, I had nothing to do but wander up to Fukuoka in the hope something would be open there. Nope. But it was cool to wander around a large city that was essentially deserted. And because of that emptiness, I now have my zombie escape route planned should I happen to be there during the Zombie Apocalypse. The highlight of the trip was the blizzard that hit the city, draping all of the historic spots like the Buddhist temple above in a lovely white sheet, which contrasted sharply with the black of the temples making for some lovely B&W photography.
Buddhist temples are definitely not nearly as colorful in Japan as they are elsewhere. I suppose brown and black are colors. But the Buddhists are pretty much just the people who plant you into the ground when you die. While there are some with a heap of garish gold statues inside, the temples and temple grounds tend to be very somber.
In Korea they generally look like a circus tent with their garish colors. There are a couple of temples that I know of which have more subdued color palettes, but for the most part they look like you’re going to be buried by being shot out of cannon.
Which I think we can agree would be pretty boss.

One Snowy Morning in Nagasaki on Flickr.

Once upon a time I decided to spend my winter vacation in the historic city (You have to call it that by law) of Nagasaki.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account how small the city was coupled with the fact that I went there over the New Year holiday. So come January 1st, I had nothing to do but wander up to Fukuoka in the hope something would be open there. Nope. But it was cool to wander around a large city that was essentially deserted. And because of that emptiness, I now have my zombie escape route planned should I happen to be there during the Zombie Apocalypse.

The highlight of the trip was the blizzard that hit the city, draping all of the historic spots like the Buddhist temple above in a lovely white sheet, which contrasted sharply with the black of the temples making for some lovely B&W photography.

Buddhist temples are definitely not nearly as colorful in Japan as they are elsewhere. I suppose brown and black are colors. But the Buddhists are pretty much just the people who plant you into the ground when you die. While there are some with a heap of garish gold statues inside, the temples and temple grounds tend to be very somber.

In Korea they generally look like a circus tent with their garish colors. There are a couple of temples that I know of which have more subdued color palettes, but for the most part they look like you’re going to be buried by being shot out of cannon.

Which I think we can agree would be pretty boss.

There is a Man in Japan and He is Wearing a Vest on Flickr.
This is the man in the vest.  The man in the vest is a very friendly guy. The man in the vest volunteers. The man in the vest can be seen at every immigrant appreciation event. The man in the vest owns a hostess club or two. The man in the vest is a pillar of the Miyazaki business community. The man in the vest will give you the vest off his back.  This is the man in the vest.

There is a Man in Japan and He is Wearing a Vest on Flickr.

This is the man in the vest.

The man in the vest is a very friendly guy. The man in the vest volunteers. The man in the vest can be seen at every immigrant appreciation event. The man in the vest owns a hostess club or two. The man in the vest is a pillar of the Miyazaki business community. The man in the vest will give you the vest off his back.

This is the man in the vest.

Miyazaki Fields on Flickr.
The fields to be found just outside of Miyazaki city. Shot with an Olympus Pen EE2. I remember the blue skies and clean air. The abundant nature to be found in and around the urban areas. Woken up by song birds in the morning. Lulled to sleep by the humming insects at night. The occasional visit by that which crawls seemed like a small price to pay. Nostalgia is dangerous. Not just because it makes you forget everything that made you unhappy. But because it grants you the delusion that the happy times can be recaptured. You should always move on because the future is always uncertain. That’s its main strength. Never look back. All that’s there is an illusion.

Miyazaki Fields on Flickr.

The fields to be found just outside of Miyazaki city. Shot with an Olympus Pen EE2.

I remember the blue skies and clean air. The abundant nature to be found in and around the urban areas. Woken up by song birds in the morning. Lulled to sleep by the humming insects at night. The occasional visit by that which crawls seemed like a small price to pay.

Nostalgia is dangerous. Not just because it makes you forget everything that made you unhappy. But because it grants you the delusion that the happy times can be recaptured. You should always move on because the future is always uncertain. That’s its main strength.

Never look back. All that’s there is an illusion.

120shallow on Flickr.
Medium format film is the best film. Clunky enough to make you slow down and think about your shot. Expensive enough to buy and develop to make you slow down and think about your shot even further. But not as slow as large format, which requires your subjects to do their best corpse imitation. So I’m sitting here, lunch time on the last day of my five day vacation.  And what a vacation it was. So much traveling. From Ered Luin to The Shire to The Trollshaws! Whew! The things I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, the orcs I have slain! Worthy of epics. … Yeah, I was too broke to go anywhere so I spent most of it sitting around playing video games. My elf minstrel is almost level 20! Breaking the hell out of my camera Thursday night didn’t help with getting me out of the apartment any. When I walked into one of those barriers they put up on sidewalk corners to keep drivers here from using them as parking lots I went over hard. I scraped my knees up a bit and I had the wind knocked out of me. The camera was at the end of the tripod in my hands and I guess the extra length gave it a bit more momentum than it would have had otherwise because the body was dented hard enough to jam the back shut as well and throw the pentaprism about 10 degrees off. Remember: This was an old camera from back in the day. They were built tough. It hit the ground hard. The camera is dead. It is an ex-camera. I left it out on the corner for the old man with the rubbish cart. I hope he gets a few won for the metals in it.

120shallow on Flickr.

Medium format film is the best film. Clunky enough to make you slow down and think about your shot. Expensive enough to buy and develop to make you slow down and think about your shot even further. But not as slow as large format, which requires your subjects to do their best corpse imitation.

So I’m sitting here, lunch time on the last day of my five day vacation.

And what a vacation it was. So much traveling. From Ered Luin to The Shire to The Trollshaws! Whew! The things I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, the orcs I have slain! Worthy of epics.



Yeah, I was too broke to go anywhere so I spent most of it sitting around playing video games. My elf minstrel is almost level 20!

Breaking the hell out of my camera Thursday night didn’t help with getting me out of the apartment any. When I walked into one of those barriers they put up on sidewalk corners to keep drivers here from using them as parking lots I went over hard. I scraped my knees up a bit and I had the wind knocked out of me. The camera was at the end of the tripod in my hands and I guess the extra length gave it a bit more momentum than it would have had otherwise because the body was dented hard enough to jam the back shut as well and throw the pentaprism about 10 degrees off. Remember: This was an old camera from back in the day. They were built tough. It hit the ground hard.

The camera is dead. It is an ex-camera. I left it out on the corner for the old man with the rubbish cart. I hope he gets a few won for the metals in it.

Not Liking Biz Markie Means That We Can’t Be Friends (Mirror)

(This is a mirror post)

Here’s a collection of random thoughts for your Korean Memorial Day.

image


Item the First

The day we think of as Memorial/ Remembrance Day in Canada is called Peppero Day in Korea because the 11/11 looks like four sticks of Pocky. If you’re new to Korea and are one of those “I wuv ouwa twoops” types, relax if you encounter this. When was the last time you put on a poppy (Canadian thing) on June sixth? And anyway this is the least offensive thing you’ll encounter here and if that bugs you you might as well check out now.

Unless you live in Newfoundland. Then Memorial Day and Canada Day are the same day. Because Newfies only became Canadians after a long internal struggle and I think they’re being ironic.

Item the Second

Yesterday I got back my fourth roll of film shot here in Gunsan. It’s pretty uninspiring.

I’m starting on month four here in Korea, and I’ve been doing a lot of self-examination (“I bet you are. Har! Har! That’s a masturbation joke! Geddit?”) about why I’ve been so uninspired here. It’s easy to blame it on the small nature of Gunsan, and the lack of attractive landscape outside of it. But my general feeling of “Meh” was present each time I visited larger cities here as well.

I think it’s because I returned to Korea out of necessity instead of wanting to. Sure, I had some curiosity about how things may have changed in my time away, but that curiosity has been sated. Right now every morning is an exercise in me going, “I wonder how late I can sleep-in before missing work? Can I sleep the rest of this year away and still get paid?”

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Item the Third

Five reasons why living Korea is better than all the other options:

  1. The smog overhead protects you from harmful UV rays. No more need for sunscreen.
  2. Dodging bad drivers who must have missed the class where they’re taught what the red light means as you legally cross the street at the crossing improves your reflexes.
  3. Getting insulted as a form of motivation teaches you the true value of a stiff drink
  4. You get good at telling famous people with the same plastic surgery apart. The secret is in the hair. Like a how a bad comic artist changes the haircuts so you can tell their characters apart. In bands you tell by who does the rap break and who doesn’t. I’m still working on telling the difference between the bands though. I think it might have to do with the number of bottled blondes.
  5. Gochujang is the best condiment ever which is why it goes on everything you eat from noodles to rice to meat to sandwiches to snacks. Why would you need to put anything else on your food? Why they haven’t made the logical jump to just sucking on a mechanical teat of the stuff is beyond me.

Item the Fourth

I’m gonna stop my Sunday Singalong posts. Because no one reads them. And I’m not going to keep trying to force good taste in music upon you. Enjoy your 2NE1, you monsters.

May Biz Markie have mercy upon your empty souls.

Item the Fifth

But if I were to continue the Sunday Singalong, I’d probably post up this tune by Don Messer because I think you deserve to listen to something that would make your soul grow.



This or It’s Raining Men by the Weather Girls. Same level of life-affirming.

Item the Final

I wish I had the money to travel during this five day weekend I’m right in the middle of. This sitting around in my apartment and doing nothing but blogging and playing MMOs is making me grumpy(er).