Thursday, April 17, 2014

Break Away - Cover

Break Away was originally performed by a group called Big Mama. Here is SPICA's cover:

Break Away - SPICA

Wow. All 5 girls are pretty and can really sing, even the rapper has a good singing voice. After seeing Girl's Day and Sistar live at LA K-pop Festival, my bucket list of girl groups is shorter but still includes SPICA. I've seen the following in concert, mostly at KMF.

- Girls' Generation
- Wonder Girls
- Brown Eyed Girls
- Girl's Day
- Sistar

and of course, Baek Ji Young and Lena Park.

Kawaii Metal

Strange yet somehow addicting...

Gimme Chocolate!! - BABYMETAL

Two of the girls are only 14 years old. They're gonna be deaf by the time they turn 20.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Lunar Eclipse - April 14th, 2014

Blood moon

LA K-pop Festival - Photos & Videos

My Korean coworker was generous enough to give me her tickets that she got online so I did go to the concert Saturday night. I asked a few people to go but ended taking my mom with me, which turned out well.

The tickets I got were in section 18 row 77, which is way in the back corner of the Coliseum. Luckily, I texted an old church friend, who happened to be Lena Park's sister, and she told me she had 2 extra tickets up close so I met up with her and her in-laws before the concert. My mom ended up talking to her mother-in-law during our many waits in line.

LA Memorial Coliseum. This is where USC Trojans play football hence the colors.

When I found my friend, she was talking to her sister through a fence near the east end of the Coliseum. This is where they set up a red carpet and also the "backstage" area for performers. I was happy just to see a real pop star up close. There were lots of people crowding the fence and cheering when they thought they saw someone famous. Since Lena was in casual clothes, I don't think anyone recognized her. After waiting a bit, Lena's manager took us inside the VIP area.

I'm just passing through.

I wasn't sure where we were going but it was exciting! The manager led us to Lena's dressing "tent" and we stayed for about 5 minutes; it was mostly family time for her since my friend brought her kids. As we were leaving, my friend finally introduced me to Lena. I didn't feel it was appropriate to ask for a photo but I did get to shake hands and say a few words. :)

We then had to leave the VIP area and line up... first for the ladies' room, then a huge line to get inside the stadium. My friend got busted for their stroller (had to check it in) but we managed to get to our seats at around 7pm. The concert was supposed to start at 6:30pm but got delayed until 7:30pm, probably due to the incredibly lame parking ($25!) and traffic control. This was about 20 minutes before the concert:

There was a lot of talking before the actual concert, even the president/CEO of KBS showed up from Korea. Lena sang the US national anthem, and one of the 2PM guys sang the Korean anthem. They should have had Lena sing that as well, since the guy was not that good.

They kicked off with some weird Vegas showgirls intro then had all the groups come on stage. I only had my Sony RX-100 so the pictures aren't that great (max 3.6x zoom). The rest of the photos are from Koreaboo's Flickr feed. I also shot some blurry videos and uploaded them to YouTube.

Girl's Day. Finally got to see them live. They don't come out to the US too often. They sang their newer songs; I was actually hoping they would perform some of their older stuff, especially Don't Forget Me.

Something - Girl's Day

Expectation - Girl's Day

Dynamic Duo. I've heard of them but not their music/rap.

Baek Ji Young. Saw her at Hollywood Bowl several years ago. I really like her voice and songs even though I can't understand a word. Taecyeon from 2PM also came up on stage and they performed My Ear's Candy.

Don't Forget (IRIS OST) - Baek Ji Young

My Ear's Candy - Baek Ji Young + Taecyeon

I'm a little fuzzy on the performer order after this point. I think an old guy came up followed by this girl who sang very traditional songs (sounded like old Chinese/Japanese songs). Coworker told me today that she is only 16 years old.

I think at this point Girl's Day came up again...

... and soon followed by Sistar. Woohoo! I missed them at KMF 3 years ago since I was traveling in China. My Korean coworker wasn't familiar with them(!) and asked if they were the group that dressed kinda slutty. :)

Give It To Me - Sistar

Alone - Sistar. They also performed Loving U. I decided to relax and watch instead of shooting another shaky video.

Kim Tae Woo. He came up earlier to sing Love Rain and Hotel California. I've seen him twice at Hollywood Bowl before.

Lena Park. Third time I've seen her in concert as well. She sang two songs in Korean then collaborated with Kim Tae Woo on an English song.

Ain't No Mountain High Enough - Lena Park + Kim Tae Woo

At this point, it was after 9pm, cold, and only a few boy bands left. I'v seen SHINee and 2PM before so my mom and I left to beat the inevitable crazy traffic. I think my friend was going to meet her sister again after the concert but I didn't want to intrude on family time any further. I do have some minor nitpick about ridiculous parking and lame audio/video production, but overall it was pretty good due to the awesome artist lineup... definitely much better than any of the 3 KMFs I've been to and this concert was free.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

77 Cents Myth

Ugh, can we work on real problems, please?

WSJ Opinion
April 8 is "Equal Pay Day," an annual event to raise awareness regarding the so-called gender wage gap. As President Obama said in the State of the Union address, women "still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns," a claim echoed by the National Committee on Pay Equity, the American Association of University Women and other progressive groups.

The 23% gap implies that women work an extra 68 days to earn the same pay as a man. Mr. Obama advocates allowing women to sue for wage discrimination, with employers bearing the burden of proving they did not discriminate. But the numbers bandied about to make the claim of widespread discrimination are fundamentally misleading and economically illogical.


These gender-disparity claims are also economically illogical. If women were paid 77 cents on the dollar, a profit-oriented firm could dramatically cut labor costs by replacing male employees with females. Progressives assume that businesses nickel-and-dime suppliers, customers, consultants, anyone with whom they come into contact—yet ignore a great opportunity to reduce wages costs by 23%. They don't ignore the opportunity because it doesn't exist. Women are not in fact paid 77 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.

I've worked at 3 large companies (14,000 employees, 11,000 employees, and now ~3,600 employees) and have been very involved in recruiting and hiring. There is not one case of gender wage discrimination that I'm aware of in the ~20 years. It makes no sense... I want to hire the best candidate possible for as little money as possible, male or female. We also worry about every basis point of margin. I'd hire all women as well if I can get a huge margin bump.

Star Trails

First attempt at shooting star trails. Used the zoom lens and shot a 567 second exposure at 18mm and f/22. Since I'm in the city, I was expecting a lot of light pollution.

The resulting image was very dark so I had to use Picasa to change lighting/contrast to see anything. I made sure I was pointing north and you can kind of see Polaris as a single dot (no trail) between the power lines. There's also a few noisy pixels and a lot of shadows, which means I need to clean the lens.

I read online that a lot of the star trail photos, especially ones with really long trails, are composite images. Since my camera takes almost the same amount of time as the exposure time to process each image, not sure how I can shoot multiple shots without long gaps between each shot. Probably a camera body with a faster image processor.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

CCTV on YouTube?!


I found out about it from Twitter.

Funny how both sites are blocked in China by the Great FireWall.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Illegal Church Building

The Telegraph
In an episode that underlines the fierce and long-standing friction between China's officially atheist Communist Party and its rapidly growing Christian congregation, Bible-carrying believers this week flocked to the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to protect it from the bulldozers.

Their 24-hour guard began earlier this week when a demolition notice was plastered onto the newly-constructed church which worshippers say cost around 30 million yuan (£2.91 million) and almost six years to build.

Officials claimed the church had been built illegally and used red paint to daub the words: "Demolish" and "Illegal construction" onto its towering facade.

How is this possible? The church building is massive. Did the city officials not notice this huge $5 million building for the past six year?!

More likely scenarios:

1. City officials decided church did not pay enough construction bribes
2. Church did not want to pay "tax" or percentage of offering to city officials
3. Someone from church criticized the provincial party chief's mistress or something

How are they going to knock the building down anyway? Bulldozers probably won't work...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

K-pop Girl Group, Chinese Style


I saw this from an article from chinaSMACK. Cute(-ish) girls in skimpy clothing? Check. Weird dance choreography? Check. Repetitive yet nausea-inducing music and lyrics? Check. Except for the KonglishChinglish, this is just like a K-pop girl group MV.

好乐Day - Wang Rong (王蓉)

Way too much English in the lyrics. Seems like they inserted English words and phrases at random. One of the cS comments said 外国人听不懂,中国大妈听不明白,这是只属于我们这代的语言,Chinglish (Foreigners can't understand this, Chinese aunties can't comprehend this, this is our generation's language: Chinglish). I doubt many young Chinese people can understand this either.

The quality lyrics remind me of another song:

Friday - Rebecca Black

I listen to a lot of K-pop without understanding any of the lyrics. I cringe when listening to either of the above songs since I can understand English and Chinese (most of the time). Is this true for Koreans when they listen to or watch MVs from Orange Caramel or Crayon Pop?

까탈레나 (Catallena) - Orange Caramel

"New" Guitar

Ever since they dropped my old Ovation/Celebrity guitar at church and broke it in half, I'm down to only one guitar. I was thinking of getting a Taylor Baby/Big Baby/Mini GS but they're a bit expensive for non-solid body guitars. I mentioned this to a coworker and it turns out she has two old guitars that she wants to get rid of. She brought them into work on Friday and they both turned out to be beginner guitars:

Yamaha F325

The other one is a Fender Starcaster acoustic-electric with a Fishman CE301 pickup. I couldn't find any info listed on the Fender website but the guitar label said it was made in China... I'm leery about anything made in China. I stole the pic from an eBay listing.

The Yamaha (made in Indonesia) feels marginally better than the Fender so I will probably buy it from the coworker. I've already ordered some D'addario strings for it so the sound should improve. It does not have a pickup but I don't plan on using it on stage anyway.

Posting History

I received an email notice that someone left a comment on a blogpost from 2010 about CX885. I ended up reading all my posts about that 2 week Asia trip. Good thing I have this blog; I've forgotten most of the stuff I wrote.

On the right side of the blog page, there is an Archive section that shows number of posts by period:

► 2014 (8)
► 2013 (32)
► 2012 (211)
► 2011 (233)
► 2010 (417)
► 2009 (336)
► 2008 (349)
► 2007 (205)
► 2006 (159)
► 2005 (94)

Good thing I'm not paid per post or something since output has dropped significantly since 2012. I think after I stopped traveling to Asia and started new job (not much time to post if you're working 12 hours per day), my life has been about the same for the past two years... boring. I've given upon commenting about China since it's all repetitive and depressing, and most of my other posts have gone to my K-pop Tumblr or Facebook.

8 post for 3 months is pretty sad though...

No Korean Concerts

I went online at 10am last Saturday trying to get LA K-pop Festival Tickets. After 50 minutes and 3 browsers later... nothing. Of course, now there are hundreds of listings on eBay for tickets, some as much as $350/pair. So much for free tickets. I was unsure about going even if I scored tickets; seeing K-pop concerts in large venues suck. Several years ago, there were still K-pop concerts at small venues. Sure, tickets were somewhat expensive but that keeps out all the screaming teenage fans.

In addition, KMF this year looks pretty lame too if you're a girls group fan. Only Dal-Shabet and Crayon Pop so far. Not sure how a "free" concert can have better performers than an expensive concert at Hollywood Bowl. I guess no live concerts for me... I'll watch the LA K-pop Festival streaming live on YouTube.