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December 2010 Archives

Communication through Comics!

You are a middle-aged Korean woman, on a group tour from Seoul to San Francisco, in an aisle seat on a United Airlines 747. Beside you is your friend, and in the window seat is a scrawny Chinese guy. You speak very little English and no Chinese, while he speaks no Korean, so you just smile and nod to greet each other and then go about your own business.

It's a few hours into your flight. You've already had your in-flight meal (pleasantly surprised to find that they even served some gochujang), the lights are out, and you're trying to get some sleep. Your friend beside you is doing the same, resting on her neck pillow.

Suddenly, you feel your chair creak. Something brushes past you. You open your eyes, and a dark mass moves past you, inches away from your face! You scream. You scream louder than you've ever screamed.


You look around, frantically.


You throw your arms up.



Finally, you calm down, and you see the Chinese guy picking himself up in the aisle. He says something to you in English and rushes off in the direction of the restroom. Your friend comforts you and tells you it's okay. You start to get a better sense of what just happened.

When the Chinese guy returns from the restroom to get back to his seat, you smile and nod. You stutter out a "Sorry," in English. He says "sorry" back.

As your heart rate slows, you finally try to get back to sleep.

* * *

Toward the end of the flight, the Chinese guy hands you a sketch on a notepad:

You all smile at each other in understanding. The Chinese guy takes a photo of his notepad for himself and then tears the sheet off and gives it to you. You had a bit of a fright, but at least you have a story to tell your friends and family back home, all before you've even arrived in America!

Digital noise on the Shanghai Metro

I'm fascinated by digital noise. It's so much more complicated than analog noise. Apologies for the shakiness, but I was standing on a moving subway train. :P

And here's an out-take from my Shanghai photos that I decided to post after all. Evening stroll in Pudong:

Evening stroll in Pudong


I Rule with an Iron Thunderbolt

I rule with an iron thunderbolt.

Mudu (木渎) is a tourist village in Suzhou (苏州) with a ridiculous number of glamour shot stores where they loan you traditional outfits and take pictures for you:

Glamour Shots in Mudu

Glamour Shots in Mudu

Glamour Shots in Mudu

This next couple were just in street clothes, but I liked their look:

Young Couple in Mudu

Pomegranate Tree!

Pomegranate Tree!

And finally, I call this next one "Zombie Bird":

Zombie Bird

My Favorite Works at the Guangdong Museum of Art

Some stuff I liked at the 广州美术馆:

I like how the snow in this is three-dimensional:

"Sing drunkenly while charging into the snow, and you can accomplish many goals"

"Sing drunkenly while charging into the snow, and you can accomplish many goals"
Wu Jinhua, Porcelain, 2008


That's my own attempt at an English translation of the title. A less literal translation would be:
"Forge ahead bravely toward challenges, and you can accomplish anything"

You can see the full work here.

Next are two self-shadow-portraits I took in a room that was part of an exhibition called "Environment Chromatic-Interference":

"Environment under the Intervention of Color (Color Interference)"

"Environment under the Intervention of Color (Color Interference)"
Carlos Cruz-Díez, 2010

Next are two statues in the sculpture garden made 26 years apart:

"Daughter of the Sea"  "We won't be Distressed any more in the New Century"

Left: "Daughter of the Sea"
Tang Daxi, Bronze, 1974


Right: "We won't be Distressed any more in the New Century"
Huang Yongyu, Bronze, 2000


Note that the woman on the left is carrying an assault rifle! In Communist China, women don't just rivet! :)

The one on the right reminds me of the art style from Aeon Flux.

This is such a sad-looking Einstein:


Pan He, Bronze, 1985


And finally, this is not from the museum at all, but how can you not love my cousin's daughter's adorable plush pig? :D

Plush Pig

Guangzhou by Night

The Xinghai Concert Hall (星海音乐厅) in Guangzhou:

Xinghai Concert Hall in Guangzhou

I think it's meant to resemble a grand piano. :)

Musicians on the waterfront near the concert hall:

Waterfront musicians in Guangzhou

Here is the site of the 2010 Asian Games Opening Ceremonies:

Site of the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Asian Games, on Haixinsha Island

Site of the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Asian Games, on Haixinsha Island

Interestingly, instead of having the ceremony inside a stadium, they built temporary stands on a small island in the river, presumably so there would be a better view.

(The Games were played this past November, and I took these photos earlier in October.)

As you know, I like taking pictures of people laughing:


One evening, we went to a strange restaurant with no name. You only learn about it by word-of-mouth. Oddly for a Chinese restaurant, the menu is prix fixe, and you can ask for seconds of most dishes. Even more strangely, it's located in the middle of a park, so you call them when you get to the park entrance, and they send a tram out to pick you up! Here's a silly photo I took on my cell phone from the tram:

Me and my dad on a park tram

Their restroom had a crazy number of mirrors!

Bathroom with many mirrors!

They had four private rooms, and no individual tables. Each room had a radically different decor. This one had a classic European style mixed with modern style paintings:

Restaurant with paintings in Guangzhou

Giant Russian Hat?

Giant Russian hat?

Actually, it's a lamp! :)

Okay, panoramic time! Click to view larger:

Guangzhou skyline, featuring the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou IFC

The colorful thing on the left is the recently-completed Canton Tower, and the building on the right is the Guangzhou International Finance Center.

Finally, some silly stuff:

Chinese Roman Centurion with a Shopping Cart

I call that one "Chinese Roman Centurion with a Shopping Cart".

50%-off sale advertised by Obama on the Mac OS X wallpaper

And that's an ad for a 50%-off sale inexplicably featuring President Obama over what appears to be the Mac OS X wallpaper. o_O

Next up: Photos from the Guangdong Museum of Art!

Guangzhou by Day

Guangzhou (广州) is in the Guangdong (广东) or "Canton" province, which is where most of the Chinese people immigrated from in the 1800s. That's why most Chinese people in San Francisco speak Cantonese. We spent most of our time in Guangzhou eating, but we did take some time out to visit various parks.*

These first two pictures seem to go together:

Big tree!  Exercise in the park

On the left is just a big tree. I love that root system! (I also experimented with Photoshop CS5's content-aware system to erase a sign on the tree. :P)

On the right is my 10th photo for the 100 Strangers Project. I saw this lady doing interesting exercises and asked if I could take her picture. She blushed and seemed rather flattered. :) (I started my 100 strangers in mid-2008, and I've only got 10 so far. At this rate, I'll finish some time in 2023! :P)

The next two are pretty silly and self-explanatory.

Bunny with cell phone

Me with giant teapot

On a different day, we visited a park with a large cascading waterfall that you could hike along. You don't want to know how many pictures I took trying to catch these two butterfly lovers:

Butterfly Lovers

Here I am in front of some giant water wheels. You can see the top of the waterfall in the background:

Giant Water Wheels

Here's a 0.4 sec exposure of water running over rocks:

Water flowing over rocks, 0.4 sec exposure

And finally, a couple of cute photos of my parents. The left one I call "Careful now!" And the right one, simply, "Penguins".

Careful now!  Penguins

Still to come: Guangzhou by Night!

*Alas, I did a terrible job keeping track of the names of these parks. If I can figure them out, I'll come back to amend this post.

Weaving Machine

My rural relatives in China make their living with a variety of methods, including fish farming, but recently they got some weaving machines. I thought they were pretty neat.

Weaving machine

Weaving machine

Weaving machine

Here's a brief (18 second) video:

Robots at the Metrodome

I was watching this clip of the Metrodome's roof collapsing from the weight of snow. Epic.

One shot showed lighting equipment dangling around, and they looked like hovering robots, surveying the post-apocalypse.

Click this thumbnail for an animated gif version I spent way too much time making:

(You might need to wait a few seconds for it to fully load before you get the full effect.)

Rural China visit

During this China trip, I went to the countryside to visit some cousins and my grandparents' grave. I like these pictures I took of my relatives:

Relatives in Haiyan

Relative with bike cart

I like the colors in this one of my mom and her umbrella:

Mom with umbrella

What's a visit to the country without animals?


Baa sheep

There were a bunch of these guinea pig cages in one tourist area, hanging from trees:

Guinea pig in a colorful cage

They were so colorful!

We hiked up a bamboo forest to get to the grave site.

In a bamboo forest

I got a billion mosquito bites just from the hike in the woods! (I wish I took more (and better) pictures in that forest.)

I think this may be my first time seeing a real "live" scarecrow:


We brought food to the grave and paid our respects. Afterward, we wired some money to my late grandparents:

Wiring money to my late grandparents

I was fascinated by the solar water heater on the roof:

Solar water heater

These things are apparently quite popular now. I think the tubes trap heat by greenhouse effect or something.

And finally, we wave goodbye:

Cousin on a tricycle

Last Day in Guilin

I title this photo "Walkie Talkie":

Walkie Talkie

Here I am in a mock imperial exam booth, with brush, ink pad, and exam paper:

Traditional Chinese Imperial Exam Booth

China has a rich history of imperial examinations, where, theoretically, any adult male could become a government official through successful testing. Reality was probably a bit more complicated, but it remained the greatest hope for social mobility in a feudal society, and it's probably responsible for how much education is valued in China even today.

This is the famed "Elephant Trunk Hill" (象鼻山) in Guilin:

Elephant Trunk Hill in Guilin

But I actually thought "Pierced Mountain" (穿山) looked more like an elephant:

"Pierced Mountain"

Everything by Elephant Trunk Hill had an elephant theme. Even the bathroom signs!

Elephant-shaped sign

Finally, here I am by a statue of some dude called Wang Zheng Gong (王正功). Based on the brush in his hand, I'm going to assume he's a writer or poet. :)

Wang Zheng Gong Statue in Guilin

About December 2010

This page contains all entries posted to the klog in December 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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