Saturday, September 27, 2014

NEW FRIENDS ARE GOLDEN

So, a lot and nothing at the same time has happened since I last updated… I've kind of (actually I have) figured out the direction for OPPA BLOG and where to go from here.

When I first started OPPA BLOG, I had a few former friends wanting to help make it a thing, and together we became this huge team working together, which at the time was like a dream to me. 

But with that came the figuring out the dynamics of working in a team. While it's not that I don't play well with others, working in a team developed into a situation where everything that I had wanted to do with OPPA BLOG was going on the back burner. Suddenly the goal was about making OPPA BLOG into something way bigger than it was ever supposed to be - all of this before we ever really even began! And instead of speaking up, I let things just happen - until I got kicked out of the group.


But then once I restarted this project, and even as I began doing it by myself, I was repeating history. This time I was alone, and I didn't even realise until like a week ago: I was trying to make OPPA BLOG into something big, instead of letting it grow organically. So, I decided I'm just going to have OPPA BLOG happen and have it grow slowly instead of trying to go for a big launch and all that junk.

That being said, stay tuned for OPPA BLOG happening within the next few weeks. I just need to get a few things organised and things. I'll still keep this blog to voice my thoughts and things with OPPA BLOG and maybe put some BTS stuff or something. 

What else…?

(L-R Jinuk Jeong (bass), Sang Geun Lee (drums), JH Park (vocals/guitar), Il Jun La (guitar) 

I've also made some new friends recently, it was a nice surprise… I actually wanted to interview this band for OPPA BLOG but it somehow turned into this whirlwind of a friendship, and I couldn't be more happy and excited to have the band on OPPA BLOG soon. Everyone should go check out the band we hate jh.



I actually went out with Anna (of IndiefulROK), who I’ve written about before, on Thursday night and we attempted to have a low-key night out much different from our usual shenanigans filled with too much booze (and good company). But it somehow ended up with us drinking again till 3AM (which I guess is still earlier than our usual 6AM ways…?)

I called JH of we hate jh over to join us at around 3AM, but the night ended up early due to unforeseen circumstances. So he basically just walked me to the bus stop and waited with me till the bus came… If that's not friendship, I don't know what is.


And with that said, I forgot to congratulate we hate jh for making it to the finals of Hello Rookie 2014!!! 

So well-deserved. Everyone send them love and good vibes so they can win the whole thing and have an easier time making their first album (which is in the slow process of happening right now). I can write a million things on how hardworking they are but I won't bore you. Instead I will say considering they've only been a band (officially) for about a year, I think they deserve all the help they can get. Out of everyone who made it to the finals, they are the underdogs… and who doesn't like rooting for the underdog?

What else did I want to say? I promise to get on this… I really do. I don't know why fear cripples me in every aspect of my life ever since I moved here. Honestly, I just need some hugs lately… maybe I should go to the puppy or cat cafe to lift my spirits up. They have healing powers, right? 

we hate jh on social media-- listen to their music, drop them a line, be a creep and lurk! Tell them I sent you, I get a dollar for every referral I make… I'm kidding. Maybe jh will buy me a cookie or something though (I'm dreaming big). 



we hate jh- "20" (audio)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

DAZED AND CONFUSED

First off, congratulations to the first OPPA BLOG giveaway winner— Ciara! As the winner, she got to pick any CD of her choice. She decided to get HA:TFELT’s EP, so I got a signed copy of that for her along with a small package of goodies from around Seoul. Some of my favourite things from brands/stores here and some things Ciara mentioned that she would enjoy. Hopefully when she receives the package in the near future she'll enjoy it as much I did making it.

Preview of the giveaway package for Ciara 

So, what has happened since the last time I updated?


Nana came and visited but we didn't get any work done cause she actually has a social life here and had her own fun adventures during her stay here… so much for saying I'd be productive hahaha. 



Illustration by Senka
The lovely Senka did some illustration work for me and will continue to do some for OPPA BLOG in the future! I am super super super excited, and honored that she’s offered to lend her wonderful talent to help. I am also recruiting a few other friends to possibly do some stuff with me for OPPA BLOG, including portrait illustrations of the wonderful oppa friends, fun (even maybe informational?) videos, and things . Keep an eye out for that! I'm actually really excited for all these possible collaborations, especially since they're with friends who I really admire and love on every possible level.

I've been hanging out with my friend Hyang a lot lately to get my mind straight. I have a lot of friends I ask to keep me in check/accountable to update this blog and to make OPPA BLOG happen and for the most part, everyone is busy with their own lives and we all forget after a few days but Hyang always seems to ask me every week if I'm doing things for OPPA BLOG or asks to meet so she can help (her penmanship in Korea is way better than mine— I apparently write like a dude). Basically, I'm super thankful for her. But if anyone else wants to join the "make sure Genie is on track/keep her in line/accountable for things" please do join. The more the better! But anyways, we've been doing things like instax photo sessions, making OPPA BLOG Q&A templates, scouting out places/people, as well as things to get me motivated and keeping me on track. I don't know if it's completely working… but it's better than just being in my own weird headspace.

But I always say I'm going to update more and then… I don't…

There is no real excuse for it to be honest. More than anything lately I just am… in a weird headspace (more so than usual). I'm so unmotivated by life in general. Which sounds depressing, and is depressing. Like, living here for the past three years has been such a struggle, mostly internally — moving across the world, living in a new environment, and just adapting to a different culture than what I grew up in. On top of that, making new friends,  a new social circle, things like that — it's all very much like being born again.

To an extent, I never really wanted to admit that this whole process, that this whole sense of growing up again is just… hard. And at times just not fun. But you know, over time and through new experiences, I’m learning a lot about myself. I don't regret my decision to move here. Despite living here often being difficult, it never felt wrong moving here, nor does it feel wrong now, even with all the bad shit that’s happened.




I think that's the biggest reason why I haven't just thrown my hands up and hopped on a plane and run back to the States. Because I feel like I have yet to do what I want to do here (what I need to do here) I've always had big dreams for myself. I shouldn't waste them by just letting them be dreams.

At times I find myself wishing I could catch some kind of break at some point… but I have remember the world owes me nothing, and I have to strive for better things.


(All all easier said than done…!)



Movie date nights with Hyang & OPPA BLOG brainstorm session.
I have so many friends in the same boat as me — and I’ve seen them push through all the struggles, never giving up. It's such a great reminder that, I am not alone and I have awesome friends. It's just really inspiring. Plus, as much as I wish for them, and cheer them on for great things with their dreams — I know they're doing the same for me. I'm glad I can lean on them for support… despite feeling alone at times, it's good to know I'm not actually alone.

There is this great quote by Henry Rollins (Black Flag) that I've been reminded of and I think if I remind myself to live by these words, it'll all be a bit easier.

"If you have an idea of what you want to do in your future, you must go at it with almost monastic obsession, be it music, the ballet or just a basic degree. You have to go at it single-mindedly and let nothing get in your way."

Everyone, please send me all the good vibes and positive thoughts you can. I really need it. I need to stop being so bummed out by my own life.


I hope you guys are all doing well!!! I also recently got Netflix-- it's simultaneously, the worst and best decision I ever made (I don't know why I choose to watch Criminal Minds in the dark).


Sunday, July 20, 2014

MINI UPDATE + GIVEAWAY

So, it’s been forever and a day… I could give you a million excuses on the lack of updates, I’ll keep it down to a select few: my cousin came from America and stayed with me for the month (this taught me I know nothing about 14 year olds and how their minds work even though I once was one), I’ve been working (actually, one of the things I’ve been doing is subbing for Ladies’ Code and their web series called, “Hashtag Talk”), and then life happened (I did go to Seoul Record Fair the other month, which was fun. It was my first time going and it was a wonderful Saturday afternoon spent going through crates of vinyl and CDs among many other things).


But honestly, a small part of it all has been crippling doubt/fear for this project...


Like my heart is in it, but I don’t know how I should go about this all at times? Am I even making any sense? I’m the type of person who would just sometimes rather not try at all, because the idea of failure freaks me out to such an extent. I'd rather just not try, so I don’t have to feel rejection or failure, instead of seeing what the positive possible outcome could be. And I know that’s horrible, and that it’s a habit I should try and break. I'm getting back into the grind of things and going to old and new places to get inspiration and motivation.  I just need motivation and a jolt of inspiration again… or at least I hope that’s all I need.




That being said, as an “I’m sorry” for the lack in updates, I want to do a giveaway for you guys!!!

To (hopefully) boost reader interaction and things, I think the theme of the giveaway will be, “My favorite things” and it’ll be like a care package featuring random things that I’ve been loving lately (from stationary, beauty stuff, random bits and bobs, and maybe even a CD?—it’ll be a surprise, that’s for sure!)



The rules are simple:

The giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere around the world.
  • Must be following OPPABLOG on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
  • With the hashtag #OPPABLOGGiveaway tweet me what’s been some of your favorite things lately (it can be anything)
  • RT/Favorites won’t count as an extra entry.
  • Your twitter has to be public so I can see the @replies
  • Winner will be picked at random and contacted via DM on Twitter.
  • Extra entry: Instagram some of your favorite things at the moment with the hashtag #OPPABLOGGiveaway
The giveaway ends July 26th, 2014 (Saturday) 11PM PST

I might be doing a mini giveaway on Facebook too... so keep checking the OPPABLOG Facebook page in particular!

If you haven't and would like to please check out OPPA BLOG or me on these SNS related sites via the contact page (I will probably post some exclusive stuff on certain outlets!).

I hope you guys are having a great weekend! My platonic life partner Nana is coming to Korea on Tuesday, I’m sure she’ll be hassling/making me update/helping me do some stuff. So keep an eye out… I promise this time for reals, I’ll update more often.

Throwback to my EUROLAND ADVENTURES 2013 (Chamonix, France)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I MUSTACHE YOU SOME QUESTIONS

These days it seems that summer is upon us in Seoul, and I hate it. Warm weather is just not my thing whatsoever... though I will say the nice, sunny weather did match Wednesday’s adventures, when I did my first interview since the revamp of OPPA BLOG.

I won’t say too much about the person that I interviewed — don’t want to give too much away before the proper OPPA BLOG launch) — but I'll give you a short run down. My first interview is with an oppa named Hyun Gyu; he is a musician. We met up for lunch and coffee, though, since neither of us drink coffee, we got iced tea and milk tea respectively (with cheesecake!). We spent time talking about music, life, and random topics, and in between all that, I had him make and decorate a playlist and do a mini interview as well (Hyun Gyu also gave me some things to eventually giveaway to you guys when the time comes! Who doesn't like free stuff?!).

But man, filming by myself is hard — logistics is a tricky thing in general. I’m debating and figuring out how to go about this whole thing. I have footage but there was construction going on next door. the noise from which the mic picked up, focusing got weird during certain parts, and so forth.  I’ll see what I can do with it but if not… There’s always next time.

Trial and error I guess will be a huge thing for me, especially since I am a one-person team.  It’s a bit daunting and difficult cause I have all these visions and ideas for OPPA BLOG written out, but am finding myself having to change a lot of it based on what is actually possible for me to do by myself. But I guess it’s all about making do with what you have, trying your best and hoping it'll be enough. Maybe in time I’ll be able to expand and do all the things that I want to do, but until then the making of OPPA BLOG is pretty DIY right now (do I get punk DIY street cred for this?).

One of my biggest worries has always been the whole 'translating the visions/ideas in my head into reality’ thing. I’m actually really curious about how this will all turn out, even though I have this weird feeling I might just crash and burn… but that just might be my fears talking.

Despite all the slight set-backs, it was a really nice afternoon spent. Crazy story, for one of the questions I asked Hyun Gyu about his musical influences, to which he had answered Kings of Convenience and as we were walking back to the subway station, we ran into one of the members of KOC. Weird to say the least, but true story.

Sometime next week I am going to go see hyung (who've I've mentioned here) so he can do his Q&A, mini interview, and maybe even OPPA CAM (candid cam) of sorts… or something. Trial and error, this will be half the fun and frustration of everything.

I’m going to spend this weekend (attempting) to edit footage, marathoning “Hot In Cleveland” (Betty White forever!), and brainstorming more things… please send me your positive thoughts and good vibes.

If you guys haven't seen the last entry, I would love your feedback on a few things and what not for OPPA BLOG!

With that being said, here are some photos for your viewing pleasure.



Hyun Gyu had at work decorating the album art for his playlist.


Top: We did the interview at a cafe called, My Little Cafe. 
Bottom: Just some of the equipment I carried with me all day.

Supplies for decorating and conducting interviews. 

My Little Cafe is this wonderful cafe in Hongdae (which will be featured on OPPA BLOG). 

If you haven't and would like to please check out OPPA BLOG or me on these SNS related sites via the contact page (I will probably post some exclusive stuff on certain outlets!).

Friday, May 16, 2014

SOUNDING BOARD

So, I swear no more once a month updates, I just have had some unfortunate timing. My dad broke his knee while on one of his outdoor adventures then Sewol happened and I didn’t want to post anything out of respect. At the same time it’s been a whirlwind since my last update; Anna (of Indieful ROK) came and left, I’ve been drinking ridiculous amounts of milk tea while brainstorming, and been doing a lot of trial and error and making prototypes for OPPA BLOG. There isn’t much to say beyond that about what I've been up to, but there have been questions rolling through my head about certain logistic things about OPPA BLOG that I would love to get your thoughts on.

If I made a FAQ of sorts for OPPA BLOG, what questions would you like to see answered, what are some things would you want to know, etc.? Basically some points you think should be talked about and/or answered?

And, if I did a certain segment on OPPA BLOG (like Q&A) — would you guys want it in a consistent format (ex: just videos) or would you want/mind interchanging formats for things (ex: photos + text AND videos)?
 If I had people make a playlist would you like “liner notes”, with explanations as to why they chose said tracks?  
The one thing I am worried about with this is the amount of content I’d be recording/writing. I don’t mind doing the work behind all of that, but since you guys are reading it/watching it I’m interested in your input. Especially because I know some people can’t be bothered with long posts and videos and things like that. So, would you prefer just a few tracks being explained, if not at all?  

But with those questions out there now for you guys to answer and choose the fate of how this will go, I would look to hear your feedback on how I should approach this. Even on topics outside of the questions above -- if you have any input, thoughts about what you would want to learn about Korea from actual Koreans, or even just technical blog things, lay it on me (via comments below, email, etc).


And, so this entry isn’t all boring text, here’s what my life has been like lately via photos. 


 What my life has been like through instagram.

These is typically what's in my bag at all times when ever I go out to do OPPA BLOG related work. The pouch mostly has too many tubes of lipsticks, writing utensils, a surprising amount of chupa chups, rolls of film, mini to-do list, extra headphones, and misc junk. The journal on the left is a planner where I schedule things and map out things while the notebook on the right is my OPPA BLOG brainstorm/idea book of sorts.

On the left is the camera I have yet to figure out but am using it for most of the OPPA BLOG related content to come. On the right, my cameras which are all film-based minus the DSLR you saw on the left. I'm a huge fan of film and instant photography, which you'll be seeing a lot of on OPPA BLOG. 

My friend Hyang whom I've recruited because of her cute penmanship skills and sometimes sounding board (among the few other friends I bother) had a pseudo instax photo shoot of sorts after a day of making prototypes and brainstorming/planning out details for things.

If you haven't and would like to please check out OPPA BLOG or me on these SNS related sites via the contact page (I will probably post some exclusive stuff on certain outlets!).


Monday, March 31, 2014

COFFEE BOY

Okay, I totally never meant to be inconsistent when it came to blogging, but my excuse is that 1) I’ve been seeing friends off from Korea, and 2) my dear friend Anna (of Indieful Rok) was on holiday here in Seoul-- which means long nights/early mornings hanging out with her (and her million friends). It’s been an both intense, and wonderful experience. I'm writing an upcoming post on our time together, which includes stories about me slapping people while slightly intoxicated, and you guys learning how much I can actually drink (the answer? too much for a person my size)... and 3) Nana (aka platonic life partner) never got back to me with the proofed versions of the entries I sent her, hence the bigger delay (Love you Nana). 

But anyways, the last few weeks or so has been filled with “writer’s block”. 

I put that in quotes cause by no means do I consider myself a writer in any form. But hence, the delay with updating… I really am trying to be consistent, but it is so hard cause I feel like a huge seesaw of emotions when it comes to this project. So, this is me making a public promise to be more consistent, and to just move forward from now on. It’s all about accountability right? Someone should check me and hold me accountable for going through with this, cause I need the kick in the ass (aka motivation).




 Anyways, I went to see my hyung the other day — and before you guys ask or try to correct me and say something like, “Isn’t he your oppa?”... let's just say our friendship is an interesting one. He calls me his “brother” and likes to tell others this without hesitation. I don’t remember exactly how that all began— think it involved me having a pixie cut and hyung calling me ‘rude boy’, but it is what it is now and I enjoy our dynamic together.

We talked about filming a segment of “favorite things” and a mini interview/introduction to his café (you’ll for sure be seeing this goober on OPPA BLOG often) and were being our usual selves — banter, more banter, and even more banter. Our friendship grew a lot over the past one and a half years, and he's always been supportive of what I'm trying to do for this blog. Like when I first attempted to do OPPA BLOG, I went through a lot of trial and error, but I remember interviewing hyung way back then even though we weren’t really friends at that point. 


The interview consisted of us playing rock, paper, scissors, and winner got to pick a post-it, which consisted of a question (ranging from how he got started with his café to his favorite SNSD member). It was a bit awkward in that sense; we still spoke formally so there was a bit of a wall when it came to asking and answering questions. In general I feel like formal speech is just a huge wall, that if you can't climb over it you can never be really good friends with the person. So in the end the whole vibe during that first interview with hyung was just polite awkwardness. Even when I baited for possible elaborations with the short answers hyung was giving me, overall, it just didn’t feel comfortable. It’s nothing like how we are now, filled with banter and baiting one another. Although, this picture might say otherwise... 




I think that’s what I like about doing OPPA BLOG right now. Most of the people that will be featured on the site will be of at least, “not yet friends, but more than acquaintances” status. So it’s open and honest enough without it being… stale? Awkward? Basically, I’m hoping for a genuine vibe when it comes to interviewing these people whether it’d be about something like, “what was it like growing up in Korea?” to “name 4 idol members you would like to be in your bowling team?” I just want it all to be like two friends having a conversation... hopefully a conversation with snacks.


Also, I think these photos sums up my relationship with hyung pretty well...


If you haven't and would like to please check out OPPA BLOG on these SNS related sites via the contact page (I will probably post some exclusive stuff on certain outlets!).

All photos are my own.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

SPACE

Earphones in.
Music on.
World off.

That’s usually the process when I’m (trying to be) productive.



My dad always tells me the state of my room reflects the state of my mind (or heart? —it was one of those vital parts…); I feel this sentiment holds merit. My room reflects me quite accurately — all over the place and lazy. Needless to say, my room is always a bit on the messy side, clothes strewn on the bed frame like it was a hanger of some sort, days worth of socks on the floor cause I’m too lazy to put them in the laundry basket, and piles of papers, notebooks, and photos.


I will admit I work better in a tidier setting; an organized room = an organized mind. So I don’t know why I can’t keep my room clean for more than a few days. Thanks to writing this entry though, I did decide to clean my room so I didn’t offend anyone with photos of my messiness. But as you can see my room is pretty straight forward, with no real decorations or anything. There’s a bed (yes, I sleep on a California King bed alone..! I used to roll around a lot as a kid), an exercise bicycle (for my physical rehab due to leg surgery from last year), drawers for my questionable clothes and quirky socks, and my desk filled with junk ranging from polaroids to snacks, hidden in various drawers.


This is the simple room that also doubles as my creative space; where I’m always thinking of new ideas or doing/learning/teaching myself something for OPPA BLOG. I guess you can say the idea for OPPA BLOG was conceived within these walls. But there are those days where my room becomes more of an obstacle and distraction than a vessel of creativity.


When I need to refresh my mind, a change of setting from my room is always the best solution. That’s when I go to Future Mine (미래광산), a small cafe tucked away in the side streets a short walk from Sangsu station (shout out Yeon Won oppa for introducing me to this place!). I'd easily say Future Mine is my favorite cafe in Seoul, both to be productive and to relax. The overall aesthetic and atmosphere makes it a great place to get work done (one of the owners once told me people will sit there for 5~6 hours doing work) but also the menu, service, and music (they play things from Korean indie to underground hip-hop, and then artists like Rhett Miller and Tom Waits, which I feel is rare in Korea) just adds the greatness that is Future Mine.


I’ll sit there with my milk tea (I don’t drink coffee at all, but I do like coffee flavored things!) and a slice of cake while working on whatever I need to.



It’s pretty minimalist at Future Mine -- mixed material furniture (wooden table with ironing board as table leg support) and walls (exposed brick and white concrete walls), artwork from local artists showcased (I’ve noticed they’re a big supporter of the local arts/music scene in Korea), and the people that usually come here seem to be café/coffee enthusiasts, artists, designers, musicians, just creative people overall.

... and then there’s people like me, who wish they were as cool as the typical clientele.

But also, Sangsu, where Future Mine is located is a nice quiet neighborhood. It’s fun to roam around, there are lots of cafes, good pubs/izakayas, and it’s close to the infamous Hongdae. Maybe I can find a way to include more posts about my favorite neighborhoods on the blog in the future! There's so much to discover in these small backstreets.




I actually thought of the idea of introducing various people whether it’d be café owners, students, or anyone else as a part of OPPA BLOG while I was at Future Mine. Doing a mini Q&A mixed in with a mini instax photo shoot filled with mustaches, and showing glimpses of their workplace, living space, creative space, and maybe even closet? I would like to be like Future Mine in a sense. Just as they promote and support local talent in their cafe space, I would like to do the same on more of an international scale; using my blog as a space where others are introduced to wonderful, creative people in Korea.

All in all, I hope Future Mine rubs off on me in all the right ways… here’s to hoping (and striving for awesomeness).


If you haven't and would like to please check out OPPA BLOG on these SNS related sites via the contact page (I will probably post some exclusive stuff on certain outlets!).

All photos are my own.