The QiRanger Adventures

Posts Tagged ‘Entertainment

Go Time!

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It’s Tuesday here in Korea and that means that the final game of Round One play in the World Cup is tonight (or more accurately 3:30am tomorrow morning). I can’t fathom why so many people in North America don’t enjoy football (I mean the real kind). American Football is great, but not nearly as exciting and demanding as International Football. I’ve managed to catch every game Korea has played and all but one the US played. Both teams have great chances of advancing, and I hope they do well in the Round of 16.

Walking through the streets of Dongtan and Seoul, it’s so nice to see such national pride in the team. You cal also hear the pervasive chant of 오…. 대하민국!

There have been several Korean World Cup Songs (including part 1 of the above), but nothing has caught on like Part 2. I wonder if it has more to do with Yuna Kim or Big Bang???

Even foreigners get into the mix of things. Check out EatYourKimChi.com‘s Simon and Martina.

For those really interested in learning the Shout of the Red’s Dance… check this out!

How’s that for high-tech!?!?!?!?

Go Korea! Fighting!

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The Word Search as an Educational Tool

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Wordsearch by incurable_hippie (flickr)

Since I was in elementary school, I’ve always loved doing word searches in class. I can fondly remember getting hand-outs from Mrs. White and spending up to 30 minutes trying to find all the words to win a small prize. In fact, I even purchased books of puzzles to complete while on vacations.

It’s this love of the word search puzzle that I want to talk about today.

Rather than using the puzzle as a time-filler in class, I use it as an educational game in three different ways.

1) I divide the class into two teams. Giving the students only 5 minutes, I ask the students to find as many words as possible in that time frame. Each word is worth 10 points. Students work in groups and must share their answers, as I will only call on one member of the team for the point-count. If they don’t have all the words, then the team loses out on points. I use this technique to foster team play. I usually will also select secret bonus words, that if found, will earn the team an extra 20 points per word.

2) If there are relatively few words in the puzzle, I’ll have the teams find all the words. The first team done gets the points. The difference is that teams may ask me to assist them in finding the words. The catch is that the students must identify which word they want me to find, tell me what it means, and use it in a sentence. While I’m helping one team, the other can’t use me and no team can use me more than twice during the contest.

3) In smaller classes, I’ll have the students find as many words as possible in 5 minutes. Then depending on the number of words that the student(s) found, I’ll have them make a sentence with the remaining words.

It changes things up in class and brings the puzzle into the educational realm, rather than it being a game so the teacher can do other things.

What are your thoughts on using word searches in class?

Written by Steve Miller

April 30, 2010 at 4:00 am

Video Games

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Written by Steve Miller

March 21, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Shutter Cal

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Me and Little T

Just before the start of 2010, a friend on YouTube (Raoul), sent Jo and I a message via FaceBook inviting us to partake in a challenge. To take a picture a day for 365 days straight. While Jo takes tons of pictures each day, I rarely do, so I decided to pass on the project. She, however, took it up and has been doing an amazing job.

Each day she takes her camera where ever she goes and finds something unique to her life in Korea. It may be a stenciled bicycle lane, a fruit cup, beer, or even a slice of pizza. Whatever she chooses as her picture of the day, she’s been posting it on FaceBook.

I really have to hand it to her, since it takes a lot of discipline to try to find something unique each day to photograph. It wasn’t long before another friend (Tim) referred her to ShutterCal. The site is specifically designed to host projects such as these (and then throws in a little community action on top of it). Now, in addition to FaceBook, she updates her pictures there. In the two months she’s been working on the project, she’s amassed a small following and many people have favorited pictures. I think they’re awesome (granted, I’m biased) because they really show snapshots of daily life, not some planned out photo shoot. She also takes the project to heart, posting the photo on the day it was taken, not just posting any photo from any day.

ShutterCal also seems to have some great features too. What I find most interesting, is that you can actually order the daily calendars you put up (or see). I assume, that if you put up a high-res image, then the small tear-away calendar would print extremely well. On the back of each sheet is a photo description that the artist uploads with the image. I don’t think you’d really tear the calendar away, since it’s a quite expensive custom print.

I’m bringing this up today, since I’m now starting the project.

Originally I wasn’t going to do it, but one of Jo’s followers kept commenting that I needed to make a calendar. Jo came up with a fun idea… Make a calendar with photos of “Little T”. As shown above, Little T is a small Bear I found at an Alpha store dressed up as a pink cow. I think it’s one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen, and while I may not make it a year, I’m sure I can find a few fun things to do with him!

How was your weekend and/or Monday?

Written by Steve Miller

March 2, 2010 at 7:56 am

Picky

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Interlaced Image

As I’ve spent more time working on my YouTube videos, I’ve become sensitive and appreciative to film makers that consider what medium people use to watch the end product. In the past, it really hasn’t mattered much, as all formats looked the same. However, with the advent of Progressive Scan and High Definition, it is no longer the case.

What I hate these days is when people record images and fail to de-interlace them. It’s normal to see this on YouTube, as not everyone knows how to do this. Heck, I even have failed to do this from time to time. But, what I do think is inexcusable, is when I see it in Mass Media.

Now it isn’t something I saw a lot of in the United States, but here in Korea, I have seen it on a number of occasions. In fact, I saw it yesterday while waiting for a friend. It was on a major broadcaster and the whole program wasn’t de-interlaced. In an age where most people have HD televisions (at least in Korea), the constant movement of the kids and presenters (it was an English learning program) proved to be quite distracting. Hands, faces, and props were distorted.

Ugh.

Running all footage through a de-interlace filter (or better yet, shooting in 1080p) should be standard for major broadcasters. Failing to do so, makes their products look cheap and lowers the overall production quality. If they’re still using CRTs for production playback, they need to upgrade their systems to reflect changing times. I know once I started doing so, I found my end product reached a larger audience and people were far more appreciative of the time and effort that went into producing the content.

Sorry about that little rant, but I hate seeing major production companies taking the easy way out and not being called on it! On that note… what’s one thing that really bothers you about the way television is produced these days? For me, it’s those damn channel identifiers in the corner.

Written by Steve Miller

January 28, 2010 at 9:29 am

First!

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Seoul Tower

I hope that everyone is continuing to have a great first weekend in 2010. Jo and I are enjoying our last few days of vacation and took the opportunity to travel with some friends into Seoul on 010110. Our destination: Namsan Seoul Tower.

It’s a large needle sitting on top of Namsan Mountain in the middle of a large park and adjacent to the remnants of the Seoul Fortress Wall. It’s also one of the most recognized landmarks around Seoul, since it can be seen from everywhere.

One of the things I really like about the Seoul Tower area is the park. There is a great network of trails up, down, and across the mountain, that allows the pedestrian to explore some very historic areas of central Seoul. On our visit, we opted to not do that for two reasons:

1) It was below freezing.

2) Even though my socks were doubled, my toes were freezing off.

We DID, however, opt to hike up the mountain from the National Theater and grabbed some great shots of the freshly fallen snow. Like most mountain trails here in Korea, they are really done up right with some great wooden accents and plenty of benches to rest and relax on. My favorite places to stop for a bit are the shaded pavilions where you can catch a nice little snooze in the summer.

When we made it up to the top of the trail, we paused for a bit so that I could warm up my toes and peruse the gift store. Jo and I quickly found two items we couldn’t live without: a cellphone charm of the tower to add to our Christmas Tree next year and a lock.

Now purchasing a lock at a gift shop may sound a bit strange, but there’s a long tradition of couples purchasing locks and affixing them to the railings around the base of the tower. In facts, the locks are sold without keys (in many cases) as a sign of everlasting love. So Jo and I found a little cute lock (without a key) and took it to the overlook.

We then bought our tickets and went up the tower.

I thought it was amazing how fast the elevators took you up to the observation deck. I mean, one second you’re in the basement… then a few later you’re 370m meters up in the air. Like all towers, there are restaurants, cafes and gift shops, but what really makes the W7000 ticket worth while is the view. I don’t recall how long we spent up there, but it was long enough to really get a good feel for the city. We even got to see the sun set and Seoul come to life at night.

The following day we returned to Seoul to see Avatar in 3D at the Gangnam CGV. We had been hearing from friends around the globe (and my mother especially) that it was an awesome film – one that should be seen in the new 3D theaters. I have to agree. While the story isn’t new, the graphics are stunning. They are even more spectacular in digital 3D (I think that this is the first 3D movie I’ve seen since House of Wax in the 1970s). If you haven’t seen the film… fork over the cash and do it. This is a film that should be seen on the big screen. The pacing is great and doesn’t seem like a 3 hour film.

Written by Steve Miller

January 3, 2010 at 10:14 am

Remember, remember… The fifth of November…

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The classic 80's Series

Remember, remember the Fifth of November, The Gunpowder Treason and Plot, I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.

… so the film V For Vendetta begins. I find it very interesting that around the same time this year, ABC has launched a retooled version of the V(isitor) franchise.

When I first learned that the network was going to re-imagine the series, I was a little concerned. In many cases, these attempts do not come off well. Let’s look at the history:  The Incredible Hulk was a huge failure. Mission Impossible destroyed what I loved most about the television series. When NBC tried to bring back the Bionic Woman… well, let’s just say that I couldn’t even make through 15 minutes of the pilot. Then there was last year’s Knight Rider

Only a few times have these projects really come together. The most successful of which was Sci-Fi’s Battlestar Galactica. It was the story that we all wanted to see. A great military drama set in space with real issues to deal with. V comes at the show from this angle, and while only one episode has aired, I’m giving it a thumbs up. I’m really looking forward to see where the series goes. Unfortunately, I do remember so much of the old show, so I could quickly identify where all the old characters were going. If only I hadn’t seen it before… oh well, it should present itself with some fun entertainment in the months to come.

Speak of TV, I am very thankful, that I’m able to keep up with The Amazing Race. It is by far my favorite television show. I would love for Jo and I to be contestants on it. There’s something grand about traveling the world, learning new things in each place, and competing for the top prize. In this weekend’s episode, they’re returning to one of my favorite challenges: Needle in a Haystack. I remember watching the teams rolling out the hay balls looking for the clue, and how my favorite team was eliminated because after 8 hours, they couldn’t find it. It was a powerful moment in television and was a great example at how quickly things can change on the show. No wonder it is still number one.

Also on the TV front, things are heating up here in Korea with respect to cell phone ads. Those that think that the iPhone is the best phone in the world have a few things to learn about what phones can really do. Anyone who has traveled the world will tell you that Asian phones make those in the US look like crap. Even my “free” entry level phone comes with the ability to watch live TV and send and receive video calls. Something that no phone in the US does.

As a result, both Samsung and LG really make the debut of new models a big thing. This month, Samsung is going to release its latest touchscreen phone that features a 12mp camera (with optical zoom) that even records in 720p HD video. As a photog and videographer, I might just have to put down the Won to get this phone. Not to be outdone, LG has revamped its Chocolate line and is promoting that like nobody’s business. What I find most interesting, is how these companies go after singing groups to not only be their spokesmodels, but build an entire music recording suite around it. I give you two examples:

From Samsung, we have AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) featuring Son Dambi & After School.

I have to admit, since the song dropped in July, I’ve found it quite catchy and have enjoyed watching the girls perform it live on stage.

In the past month, LG countered with Chocolate Love performed by 소녀시대 (Girls Generation/SNSD).

People are really looking forward to the iPhone dropping in Korea this month, but since it doesn’t have many of the features that these phones (and no music groups backing it), I don’t think it will be a major player in Korea.

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