Thursday, July 23, 2009

It's not a boat, it's a car

What torrential monsoon rain looks and sounds like from a car on the highway. The camera made everything clearer than what it actually looked like. The road was barely visible.

Summer, scary kids and Botero

The sun has been out for the past few days. Although it has also been partially eclipsed by the moon yesterday, its making its presence known, along with the lingering monsoon humidity dripping in the air.

It's full on summer.

The kids are out. Elementary schools have started their vacations, much to the chagrin of the internet portals' moderators whose workload increases triple; the "chodeeng"s (slang for grade schooler) bombard the boards with inane and utter crap, having too much free time on their hands and not being able to go out, sitting at their desks while pretending to be studying.

I don't think the parental guide filters work properly here on the Korean interwebs. I also don't think parents realize how devious and unchildlike their kids are. It's incredible how oblivious some parents are in regards to their children; they seem to shadow in their own childhood memories as their kids' reality, when this society is nothing like the one they grew up in.

So summer means chodeeng chaos, where energetic nine year olds run amok in unsupervised internet fields while distressed and fatigued moderators try to catch up with them, feverishly clicking on 'ban', 'delete', and 'warning' buttons.

I'm so happy I'm not a moderator.

Went to see the Botero exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Deoksu Palace at the beginning of the month. Deoksu Palace is one of the more intimate, smaller palaces in the heart of Seoul; the melange of western and traditional architecture gives it character, the looming modern cityscape in the background makes the grounds within hush and breathe, like an oasis for the tired soul. It is a favorite place of mine to sketch and read.
The last time I saw a Botero exhibition was in 1993 (yikes!) when his robust and voluptuous sculptures lined the Champs-Elysées in Paris, so I was pretty excited to view his more recent work, especially his Abu Ghraib series.

Having always thought of Botero as a lighthearted whimsical artist who favored bright and happy colors, I was very curious when I heard of this politically critical series when it was first announced, the controversy that surrounded the artwork and the difficulties that it faced trying to show in the US. Turned out there were very limited showings.

Much to my disappointment, it is the same case here. The Abu Ghraib series are not represented in the Seoul exhibition. I asked one of the docents why but she couldn't (or wouldn't) give me a clear explanation.
The short film was being showed, however, but I don't recall seeing subtitles so it would be reaching a very limited Korean audience.

Despite the exclusion of the series, the exhibition was well thought out. It covered most of his range of work, so if you were unfamiliar with the artist it gave you a general idea. (Although, in the case of a certain someone I know, it was in the territory of "He likes chubbos!")

The museum provides guided tours as well as audio guides (English available). The exhibition runs until Sept. 17th, 2009, so there's plenty of time.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Backtracking - June

"June is bustin' out all over~ all over the meadow and the hill~!" Isn't it eerie how you never forget the lyrics to songs that you've learned as a kid? I can sing the whole repertoire from the 'Sound of Music', for example. (Although the opening lyrics are from the musical 'Carousel'.)
Nowadays with noraebangs ("song rooms") and karaoke you hardly need to memorize lyrics anymore. But I digress.

June was strange. May was strange. Especially in Korea, with the former president committing suicide - a truly baffling wtf? incident that shook everyone to the core - and all the unrest that followed; June just seemed to pick up where May left off, carrying the emotional turmoil and turning it into an entity of its own. Bustin' out all over, indeed.

June was really strange. The country was still trying to recover from that unexpected death, North Korea was acting all weird (although it's not that much of an oddity), it was the 59th memorial anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War and then you hear that the King of Pop has died.

It was like your sense of reality was being tested. Verification of mortality thrown suddenly in your face, your brain, your being; you truly had to stop and think. Rethink. Rethink again.
I couldn't afford to think too much, though. Not only was I feverishly studying (*cough* cramming *cough*) for a WSET certification and already had too much on my plate, I was also having people problems that couldn't be ignored.

June was brutal.

Life is never lopsided, though. It is us who interpret it as we see it and sometimes we fall into the trap of viewing it completely askew. I consider myself lucky that I have an entourage who know how to knock sense into me (and I mean hardcore wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee-and-stop-being-a-moody-beeyotch slapping) so I can avoid such dilemma.

Eh. Too long emo prelude, there. I'll stop.

So, good stuff in June.
Good friend Doma opened a cooking studio. A professionally trained chef (Japanese and French cuisine) and fellow oenophile, he and his girlfriend basically organize our wine group gatherings. His studio is a great place to hang out after the "official" gathering has dispersed. A handful of us usually wind up eating and drinking and talking all night, regret it the day after, and then do it all over again the next time.

Doma's blog :
(Korean only. If you have enquiries about his cooking lessons contact me and I'll relay the query.)

I took photos one night. Yes, I know, astonishing. I really need to get used to this new camera.

Specialty: plain rice onigiri.

Potato salad as midnight snack. We really did eat at midnight.

We had a simplified carbonara pasta beforehand.

Along with tenderloin steak and garlic chips.
It was cooked a perfect medium rare.

Simple chicken salad, too.

Other happy June events: went to see European Jazz Trio with tickets I got from a radio show (thanks, RJ). It was great for a drizzling evening. Not too hard, not too soft.

Backtracking posts aren't that fun, to be quite honest. The usefulness is null. Not that I intend this blog to be a spring of information, but still. You know.

Backtracking - May

So what did I do in May (besides grumbling about that holiday for kids and guilt-ridden parents)? Um, let's see. There were a lot of cherry blossoms. At my apartment complex:

And at my parents' place:

At Namsan (South Mountain, with Seoul Tower in view):

Cherry blossoms weren't the only thing occupying my time in May. I also took photos for the Blythe World Tour's leg in Seoul. (Can you see me?)

There was also a lot of cavorting and frolicking with friends and much much laziness regarding photo-taking. No wonder I hardly posted, eh?

Thursday, July 9, 2009


So when did July happen? -_-a

It's pouring buckets of monsoon rain right now; half-ton sized buckets, thrown haphazardly with such force the windows are rattling like an oversized cartoon snake.

And wouldn't you know it was only last week that the management of the apartment complex that I live in decided that it was finally time for a good window-washing? Typical, isn't it.

(Can you see the tiny window-washers on the roof and far top right?)

Life is all about timing. The whos, whats, and hows really do matter but personally, I find that it's usually the whens that tend to screw things up. I've had a bit of 'when problems' the past few months, the ones over which I have no control. (A control freak's nightmare.) It's like deciding to wash everything clean and start over with a clear view and then having dirty torrential rain beating you down.

Today's weather is like a metaphor of my current life. I'm hoping for the sun tomorrow, like Little Orphan Annie. In the meantime, I think I'll (try to) write backtrack posts of the past couple of months, just in order to get my mind off this monsoon storm.