Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Korea's Fight for Freedom

So, I bet you thought I had stopped reading - NOPE, just forgot to post the books I had read. Here are a few from the last month.

Now this was an interesting book. For as long as I have lived in Korea I have heard Koreans talk about the attrocities commited by the Japanese during occupation (1905-1945 ish). I always suspected that there was a fair amount of exageration, especially when I asked for evidence. Asking a Korean for evidence will often land you blank stares and as such I was willing to shake off some of the more serous claims against the Japanese.

Korea's Fight for Freedom by F.A.McKenzie (1920) changed my line of thinking though. A jornalist from the turn of the century living in Korea, he gives an account of the Japanese occupation. From it's begining support with the King's father's power plays, the Sino-Japanese war, to the Russo-Japanese war, the stationing of troops on the peninsula, the subgigation of the korean people, and finally the abuses of the Japanese authorities.

He is writing before 1920 so keep in mind he is not the neutral historian one might expect. He does however give an interesting account and one worth the read (if you are interested in such things of course).

The Koreans

The Koreans by Michael Breen is the book about Korea... or so most people would say. He explains the history of the peninsula, the spirit of the people, the food, and ... well, pretty much everything - or at least he tries to.

Honestly, I have read this book a few times now and each time I enjoy it. Each time I am also left thinking there should be more. To accomplish his task Breen uses huge brushes when painting his pictures and I guess more than once I would have prefered a finer pen.

If you want to start learning baout Korean and Koreans, this is a great place to start. If you already know a lot, this book probably won't teach you much.

North Korea South Korea

This is a "small" book that I picked up the other day for about $6. I had always been curious at how an author could hope to capture such a broad topic in this tiny of a book.

To his credit, Feffer does well in conveying his thoughts. Unfortunately his thoughts are far too odd for my tastes. He is quite Anit-American and belives that the US opperates with a type of Gun-boat diplomacy. Now he may not be totally wrong in that, but it would be nice to see him take the other parties involved to task as much as he does the US. (*cough* Cumings *cough*)

Pick it up if you find it cheap somewhere.

Practical Poser 6

Well I tried my best at sligging thorugh this #d art boook that I bought online. And while there were some good tips in it, I am still not able to do what I want as freely in Poser as I am in Photoshop.

Ah well, maybe in the future.

Monday, April 24, 2006

April stuff

I just realized it has been quite some time since I updated this blog. Honestly, I've been pretty busy of late (not with work) and I've just kind of forgotten about this place. My appologies, if you are reading this then it means you actually care (or are really bored), I'll make sure to give you something to read then.

This month has not been all that eventfull. Work is good but not too taxing. I get to sleep in most days and work out most evenings. Joo and I are both doing good in the "getting in shape" dept. Every so often she comes into the computer room and shows me how slim her stomach is getting.

Art wise I've been quite busy of late. I've had a few commissions (yup, got paid a little) and have a new mini-gallery that you can check out here:
Mostly superhero stuff but I am very proud the progression in skills - be sure to click on the little thumbnail pics.

As for movies and tv, well my big kick of late has been dowloading the Sopranos. Season 6 has started and I'm enjoying it so far. I had to watch 3 weeks of season 4-5 to catch up and understand what's going on though.

We're planing on heading to Canada in June so if you want anything (from either place) make sure to tell me.


Monday, April 03, 2006

Downloads - updated

If you are wondering how I am downloading all these cool movies you can download the Bitcomet program here and then search for movies/files here or better yet here.

It is really just that easy.

(thanks go to my favorite idiot )

Bumping this for some friends.

Yodok story

Yodok tells the story of a young 강령화, a lead entertainer in the North’s propaganda department, and her struggles for survival.
Initially 강 is praised throughout the North for her talented acting, but that is soon to fall apart when her father is accused of spying for the South.
The family is stripped of it’s honors and is sent to a labor camp... Yodok. There the family encounters cruelties that were previously beyond imagination.
From the brutality of her initial rape, and the constant abuse levied at them from the guards, comes a mixture of sorrow and hope.
This hope, is their story
Before I get started, I must say one thing - I am usually not a big fan of musicals. When I watch Disney films, I always think the songs ruin the animation. And when I watch the Sound of Music ... well, I don’t actually watch it. So it was a great surprise to me when I actually enjoyed this musical. Not being a big fan of the genre I expected to sit through it and understand little (it is done in Korean). I am glad that was not the case.
The songs, instead of taking away from the story (or distracting me from it) instead added surprising power to it. From the opening act of the propaganda films to the scenes where death was a moment away, the songs gave voice to the spirit of the actors. One song in particular moved me - sung from someone who had seen the South, he begged God not just to visit the South but to come to the North too.
The singing itself was superb and the lead actress enchanted me from the start. As well, the act changes and set design left me feeling like I was watching ... not just a movie, but something more real, more alive.
This performance may not change your beliefs about the Peninsula, but if you can sit through it without shedding a tear - you’ll be the only one in the audience to do so.