Saturday, April 29, 2006

Four Color Commentary - Books Shipped 4-26-06

Once again this is going to be a commentary-free edition of the Four Color Commentary. I am recovering from my trip to Korea by spending the weekend playing photographer at the Lone Star Flight Museum’s annual air show on Galveston. This combined with the fact that I did not read one single comic while I was in Korea has combined to put me so far behind on my comic reading that I am going to need an entire weekend to get caught up. Right now I am planning on that being next weekend, but we shall see. Here is what I bought this week:

  • Annihilation: Ronan #1 (of 4)
    • Simon Furman, Writer
    • Jorge Lucas, Artist
  • Astonishing X-Men #14
    • Joss Whedon, Writer
    • John Cassaday, Artist
  • Batman #652
    • James Robinson, Writer
    • Don Kramer, Penciller
    • Michael Bair & Wayne Faucher, Inkers
  • Blue Beetle #2
    • Keith Giffen & John Rogers, Writers
    • Cully Hamner, Artist
  • Hawkgirl #51
    • Walter Simonson, Writer
    • Howard Chaykin, Artist
  • Infinite Crisis Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven #2 (of 6)
    • Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti, Writers
    • Dan Jurgens & Jimmy Palmiotti, Artists
  • Ion #1
    • Ron Marz, Writer
    • Greg Tocchini, Artist
    • Jay Leisten, Inker, pages 14-15
  • Legends of the Dark Knight #204
    • Justin Gray, Writer
    • Steven Cummings, Artist
  • Red Sonja vs. Thulsa Doom #3
    • Peter David with Luke Lieberman, Writers
    • Will Conrad, Artist
  • Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein #4 (of 4)
    • Grant Morrison, Writer
    • Doug Mahnke, Artist
  • Solo #10
    • Damion Scott, Artist
    • Various Writers
  • Star Wars: Tag & Bink Episode I Revenge of the Clone Menace
    • Kevin Rubio, Writer
    • Lucas Marangon, Artist
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four #29
    • Mark Millar, Writer
    • Greg Land, Artst
  • Usagi Yojimbo #93
    • Stan Sakai, Writer & Artist
  • Wolverine #41
    • Stuart Moore, Writer
    • C.P. Smith, Artist
Actually now that I think about it, I lied about not reading any comics. I read the Batman: Thrillkiller trade that I bought last week. If the weather does not cooperate today, then I may spend the day sequestered in my hotel room getting caught up on the three TPB reviews I still have to write and my comic reading. We shall see.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

KPB Entry 7

4-27-06. 11:55pm local time.

This will be the final KPB entry from the road as I am in the process of packing up the camera and all my other junk in preparations to depart tomorrow for home but before I get all maudlin about having to leave without spending quality time with May's sister Kim, lets get to the good stuff.

Today was another whirlwind day of getting to know Korea. The morning started with a visit to Geongbokgung Palace (Palace of Shining Happiness) in Seoul. Here I learned an important lesson. Kids love me, or rather in Korea school kids are VERY eager to try out their english on whitey. Included in this desire to practice english is a desire to shake your hand, hear you slaughter their name, and, if they are girls, have your picture taken with you. I might have been asked to pose once or twice, but my brother was a freakin' rock star, particularly when he would whip out his Korean-fu on the kids. After the Palace we went to one of the markets in Seoul so my mother could engage in more commerce then it was a quick jaunt over to the Korean War Memorial Museum for a high-speed pass, after which we had dinner, then wandered around Seoul, and then headed home for the night. Here are pictures:

The main courtyard at Gyeonbokgung Palace.

We arrive just in time for the changing of the guards ceremony and the opening of the gate. It was pretty cool.

Gyeonghoeru is the place in the palace where important feasts would be held and foreign envoys were entertained.

After the Palace and a bit of shopping we went to the Korean War Memorial Museum. I was very impressed by this museum however I did not feel right taking many pictures inside so I shot a ton in the outdoor displays.

The Statue of the Brothers.

One of the gates at night. I will have to make a note which one later as I have already packed my books and the like.

Oh well, this is it for now. I will update later as I get images moved to my Webshots albums.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

KPB Entry 6

4-26-06. 10:04pm local time.

Whew! The last two days have been a bit full of activity. After a slow start on Tuesday and a bit of miscommunication over the directions, we met up with May's parents and then went to the east coast of Korea. Our ultimate destination was Seoraksan National Park however along the way we stopped in Sokcho for some modeumhoe, the Korean equivalent of sushi, spent the night at Hwajinpo Condos, peered across the DMZ into the face of the enemy, ate more Korean food than I can shake a stick at, and was handed some Man Doo by a guy at a gas station (all of which are full-service). Here are a few of the holy crap I took a ton of pictures.

My new favorite sign. Don't drive off into the water. This would not be as chuckle-worthy if it was located somewhere where it might be conceivable one could drive into the water, however every place I saw these signs you had to get through/over at least one railing, usually involving cement blocks, before you could get to the water.

Some of the roadside scenery actually shot from the car as we drove through the mountains.

More scenery. This time shot from a rest stop and scenic overlook.

May and her step-mom select our dinner and negotiate a price.

And we eat.....and eat.....and eat. The mostly empty platters were covered in raw fish. After the crab we had spicy fish soup.

My sleeping arrangements in Hwajinpo. The floor was heated and the night was cold so I slept with the door to the blacony open and listened to the waves crashing maybe 100 yards away.

Part of the beach and headland at Hwajinpo. It was incredibly beautiful and just to the right of the picture is a restoration of Kim Il-sung's vacation home.

The guard tower in the center of this picture is on the North Korean side of the DMZ.

Beondegi or boiled silk worm larvae are a popular snack here in Korea. They're not as nasty as they look, although the taste sticks with you for a while after you eat one.

Cherry blossoms in Seoraksan National Park.

A view from near the summit of Seoraksan (Snowy Crags Mountain.) Not too far below the summit is a small Buddhist temple and the whole time we were descending you could here the chants.

Monday, April 24, 2006

KPB Entry 5

4-25-06. 9:00am local time.

After the Korea House we went back to my brother's apartment. Here are a few views of the Seoul Tower from the street by his apartment.

For some reason this makes me think of the ships from The Black Hole.

KPB Entry 4

4-25-06. 7:36AM local time.

After the wedding I conitnued drinking at Freinds, the bar where May is a manager. I did not take my camera so there are no pictures however from my vague memories the night looked something like this:

It is just me or is the whole Impressionist school of art just a bunch of artists who either could not draw or needed glasses?

Neat, huh. Monday I spent the day hung-over. In the afternoon May and my mom went to pick out some of the wedding pictures and Charlie and I hung out. Everyone over here refers to him as Woody. Once May and mom were done we went to Insadong to do some shopping, eat, and just hang out. Here are a couple of pictures of Insadong:

It kind of looks like the movies over here.

I liked the train sign.

It's a street.

Even though this is not painted black, I suspect it is art. Only one or two of you will get that.

After that we went to the Korea House, which is an old mansion that has been turned into a restaraunt where you can eat a traditional Korean meal and then see a show of traditional dances and music and the like. My favorite dance was the one at the end where there were four guys, each one with a different instrument. On the top of their hats they had streamers that they would flick around in time to the music. It was very frentic and looked like a lot of fun. Here are some pictures I took of the grounds. Sadly we were not allowed to photograph the performance.

These are Jangseung, or wooden devil images. They are posted by the entrance to a village or used to mark other boundries or as mile markers. In this case they are praying for the happiness of familes among heaven, earth and human.

This is one of the dining rooms at the Korea House.

Looking up the hill at the Korea House.

My mom, myself, Charlie, and May with part of the dance troupe. I think I need one of those red hats. Oh yeah, and there is nothing like being a tourist in Asia to point out how large you really are. Their dancing satisfied me and so their village lives another day (the girls in the funky red hats performed a dnaced based in the shamanistic tradition of Korea.)

The front gate of the Korea House at night.

KPB Entry 3

4-24-06. 10pm local time.

My brother is a married man. Here are some pictures.

Here is the family shot. I had to stand in for my dad since he wasn't here. I found out about this approximately five minutes before the wedding started. Fortunately for me all that meant was that I had to wear white gloves (which were freakishly small and cut off the circulation in my hands) and sit up at the front. All in all not too bad. My mom really loved wearing her hanbok.
The first kiss. I think there might have been tongue at this point.
May throws the bouquet. Sadly there was no fighting over it, however the girl that caught it did spike it and then do the funky chicken. I love traditional weddings!
Mr. and Mrs. May Kim....I mean Charles Wood.
The first Savage Garden. Aren't they such a cute couple? Like gaggy cute.
The dip and kiss. All about class, that Charlie, all about class.

The girlies cannot resist the power of the funkywoodjam and quite frankly, I have to say that I am indeed pretty fry for a white guy.

"I said WHAT?"

May's mother brought her dog to the festivities. At first I thought this was Korean sushi.

And because we are all about equal time here at the Opiate, I present a picture of my brother's cat, Eddie, who was unable to join us at the wedding due to prior commitment to sleeping.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Dragon Hill Lodge

So far today has been grey and cold so I have not taken any pictures, however I thought I would post the website for the Dragon Hill Lodge, which is the hotel my mom and I are staying in. It is

Here's hoping it clears up in the next four hours for my brother's wedding.

KPB Entry 2.5

4-23-06. 6:34 AM, local time.

Nikki requested more pictures of my brother, so here are most of the ones I have taken so far.

Cory about to put a cap in Charlie's @$$.

Charlie and our mom.

May playing with some kids.

May vamping it up in Sue's bug-eye sunglasses.

KPB Entry 2

4-22-06. 6:16 local time.

About an hour ago we wrapped up lunch with May and most of her immediate family (her dad skipped out since my dad was not going to be here).

The families.

The matriarchs.

Cory, one of my brother's freinds from high school who is now teaching English in Japan, is a P-I-M-P!

May and my mom.

May and I. She is one foot five inches shorter than I am and for some reason my brother gets a kick out of that. All I have to say about it is she is lucky I am a freindly god and the little villagers need not fear me. ;)

Sue, Kim, and May. Somehow I think it is appropriate that my brother's fiancee is the one with her tongue sticking out.