Wednesday, January 23, 2008

One More Minute of Fame

Sometime around 2006, I worked as a movie extra in Vancouver. I love films (and have begun to make them!) and loved seeing the behind the scenes work. I had (extremely!!!) small roles (hah hah!) in Smallville, Catwoman, X-Men 3, and I, Robot.

Today, a movie I am in was released: The Butterfly on a Wheel. Or The Butterfly. Or Shattered... Depending in which country it was released. It was also released straight to DVD, which says something about it's quality. It stars Pierce Brosnan (James Bond himself) and Gerard Butler (300, Phantom of the Opera).

I saw it and found myself. These stills from the film tell the whole story:

Gerard Butler is searching for a hotel room key without being seen.
Suddenly, a young gorgeous couple exit their hotel room and walk past him.
(I am on the right.)

...we walk past and Butler tries to hide...

...but I SEE HIM!!!

There you go! Another minute to add to my 15 minutes of Fame. That leaves only one film left that I am in that hasn't been released yet - 88 Minutes with Al Pacino...

Stay tuned...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Horse Racing (Part 2)

The continuing adventures of an amateur horse racing gambler.

It began early as a knock on the door was followed by the entrance of Hong, one of our Korean friends. The blurry-eyed and stumbling roommates, Pete and Steve, put on their coats and shoes (at 8am, on a Sunday! I should be sleeping.) Into the SUV and off they zoomed, beginning their adventure into the unknown.

After avoiding psychotic madmen and suicidal pilots (or "driving") through Seoul and through a mountain (by tunnel), we arrived at our destination: The KRA Seoul Race Course. For Horses.

You may recall that I have a weakness for horse racing. See my York Races post from last summer... which is Part 1 of this story.

Last time in York, I won the first three races (I talk as if I was riding the horse myself! I mean to write that I bet on the winning horse...), netting me over $40 profit.

This time would be the same. I could feel it. The smell of victory filled my nostrils. Or was that the manure? Anyway, when we arrived we were ushered into the "Foreigner's Section," complete with comfy chairs, English horse info, and identifying tags. All the Koreans had hard chairs. Or they sat on the floor, or anywhere else.

Soon it was time for the first race. Here are my picks for the four races we bet on. Prepare to be amazed at my horse picking skills:

Race #1: I picked Changdaehan to win (1400 m). He lost. ("To win" means he has to come first.) Ugh! My horse-picking-skills have disappeared! Would I still come out on top?

Race #2: I picked Red Sky to win (1200 m). He came 6th. Aahh! Two down, no wins! What was going on?!

Race # 3: I picked Hot Spot and Shining Gold to place (1200 m). "To place" means that I win if either the two horses come first, second or third, thus increasing my odds of winning. It was a cunnin and, foolproof plan...

But they came in fourth and fifth. Mwaaah! I had lost the first three races. That's the opposite of my York racing experience! Hmmm, I thought. Perhaps, if it is an opposite experience, then I would lose the first three races (which I did) and then win the next three!!!

I would be a winner after all!

Here goes everything! With my new found confidence, I bet big! $10 bucks!

Race #4: I picked Small Jet and Southern Express to win (1200 m)! After a poor start, Small Jet was in second place! Southern Express exploded and died somewhere in eighth place, but Small Jet had a chance... Free Hugs was in the lead, followed by Jet. Small Jet then burst in front of Hugs and lead the pack! I was going to win! That great euphoric feeling was creeping into my throat. Jet was winning! Jet was winning! Jet was slowing!... Jet was..

Free Hugs roared past Small Jet and came first. My throat clenched and I knew it was over. Hong and Steve were making winning noises, but I wasn't listening. My skill was gone, as was my money.

All $16 of it.

So it wasn't a huge loss, but I didn't win! My Horse Races Story (Part 2) ends in tragedy. What will the future hold? You tell me. But like all good movies series, they come in three's. So there will have to be a sequel to this post in the future. Hopefully one where I win a lot of money.

Don't you agree?!

Friday, January 18, 2008

My New Art Gallery

I have been meaning to post some of my artwork online for months now. Painting and sketches mostly...

With the help and advice of the Flying Trilobite, Leslie, and the Line and Color Website, I have joined the online art-sharing website - DeviantArt! (Thanks guys!)

Check out my online gallery by clicking here: BONDART.

Here's a sample...

Rex Attack by ~BondArt on deviantART

I will be adding more and more art as time goes by, so check back whenever you want. It certainly makes be want to be more creatively productive...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Dark Knight Cometh...

I love movies, and the one movie I can't wait for is The Dark Knight, the new Batman movie. As a direct sequel to 2005's Batman Begins, we will see Christian Bale as Batman, Micheal Cain as Alfred, and Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon back in their roles.

We will also get to see newcomers Heath Ledger as the Joker and Aaron Echart as Harvey Dent. Heath's portrayal of the Joker is one of intense reaction around the web. Will he be any good? Will he be compared to Jack Nicholson?

Can The Dark Knight (set for release in July, 2008) recapture the success of the first film?

Check out the movie trailer for The Dark Knight:

Namsan Tower

In the heart of Seoul is a hill with a tower on top of it. Namsan Tower.

As a fan of towers (after working for the Vancouver Lookout Tower for 3 years), I had to check it out. The Namsan Tower (or N Seoul Tower) measures 237 m (777 ft) in height (from the base) and stands at a height of 480 m (1,574 ft) above sea level.

After taking the cable car up the mountain, I looked around at the view and was disappointed. It was far from a clear evening and not worth paying to go up to the observation deck. I turned away, promising myself to come back and go up at least once before a leave 11 months from now.

The view from the top of the mountain wasn't that bad though:

There were these interesting and strange metal spheres glowing from the inside with writing carved on them. It was a challenge to stop taking photos of them!

Check out the reflection of the Tower on the left!

This one's not entirely correct....

Stay tuned to the post where I actually go up the tower and can show you the view of the city of Seoul...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Random Park in Seoul - a photographic study

As some of you out there in the Blogosphere might guess, I like to consider myself a photographer.

My love for photography comes from both my Grandfathers. Peter, my Dad's father (whom I am named after), took photo of his travels while fighting in World War II. I have recently viewed his old photo albums while in England, and it was surprising how many similar countries we have both visited and photographed...

Photography was much more of a force for my Mother's father, Henry. He was a photographer by profession, and used to take amazing photographs. I remember the walls of his house covered with framed photos of political rallies, models, and family portraits. He was never without his camera, and loved to capture crowd scenes. We have a suitcase full of his slides chronicling the History of Vancouver that, someday, I want to showcase...

I am product of their enthusiasm and passion.

Please consider this selection of my photographs from a Random Park in Seoul:
(Click on each photograph to enlarge it.)

The Photographer...

...and The Photograph!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Eve Celebration 2008 in Seoul

I am wishing you Happy New Year 2008 from downtown Seoul, surrounded by tens of thousands of Koreans and Foreigners all singing, dancing and letting off hundreds of fireworks while literally ringing in the New Year!

But how did I get here?!

The weather forecast for last night was clear with a 100% chance of freezing your figures off, so Steve and I decided to dress warmly.

We wandered down to our local subway stop (Sinchon); Steve with his ice cream and me with my celon tea. Soon, we are zipping along the rail lines towards Enljir0-3, six stops on Line 3. We use our $1 subway ticket to exit the gate and climb the stairs to the street (there are no escalators). Steve buys a glowstick hat from one of the hundreds of street vendors.

We are early so we decide to eat something. I suggest sumgyeopsal (barbecued pork), so we stop in at a small restaurant off the main street. The warmth of the food and the warmth of the celebratory mood make us giddy and we decide to get 100 people to say "Happy New Year" to us. A New Year Challenge!

Everyone we pass (at this point - 10pm - the crowds are getting thicker), we wish them a Happy New Year, and if they respond likewise, we can count it. After 10 minutes, we were at 24 "Happy New Years." Couples, children, students, families, store owners, police officers - No One was safe! As we approach Jongno Tower, we are at 76 "Happy New Years" and it is becoming impossible to move without touching anyone. We watch traditional Korean dancers drum and dance and twirl their ribbon attached to their hats. Three Korean children wish US a Happy New Year, so Steve gives them his glowstick hat.

The big laser green "11:16" projected onto an adjacent building (which also has a gigantic neon Christmas tree) ticks forward a minute. The crowds press forward toward the stage and temple, as celebrity hosts talk about the festivities planned after the countdown. I cannot understand anything. The temple holds a gargantuan bell that is rung 33 times at midnight to mark the transition into a new year - the number 33 symbolizes luck in Korean.

Soon, over 50,000 people are crowded into the closed-down intersection. We meet Vince, an American who just stumbled on this "little" celebration. 11:32. Politicians talk on the stage. Fireworks (roman candles - illegal this year for the first time!) begin to shoot off from within the crowd. Police are unable to stop them.

11:45. An amazing Korean drum show begins the official countdown. A Korean Backstreet Boys-like band performs. The Koreans around me go crazy. Another Pussycat Dolls-like band plays. Excitement builds. The fireworks are going off almost continuously. I brush soot out of one eye.

11:58. The celebrity announcers come back on the stage and build up the crowd. 11:59. I can no longer hear them over the fireworks. Everyone is grinning, excited for the moment. 11:59:30. The giant video screens scan the crowds; shy Korean girls recoil at their 10m high faces. 11:59:50. The Countdown begins. In Korean and English, at the same time.

10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5........4....... 3.................. 2............................ 1.............................


12:00:00! The giant Bosingak bell is struck as the fireworks erupt in glorious wonder and everyone yells and hugs and kisses and jumps up and down and the celebrities begin singing Auld Lang Sign in Korean and everyone joins in except the foreigners who really only know the first two lines of it in English anyway so we just lalala the rest...

Then more rock and pop and opera and lounge singers take the stage as the crowd sings along. Fireworks continue to fly. Someone hands us 6 roman candles, so we release them into the spotlit sky. We meet three very drunk Indians and an awesome group of Korean guys, one of which - Sean - lived in Surrey, Vancouver for 4 years. Yeah, Surrey.

An hour later, the crowd begins to thin and the police move in like a centipede, arms linked. Street cleaners sweep around our feet, but the fireworks continue. Vice decides to make a move towards the stage and we never see him again. Steve and I enjoy the slowing festivities and confirm that we have definitely surpassed our 100 "Happy New Years."

We begin to walk down the now almost abandoned main street and meet another American, Tom, who suggests hitting the bars of downtown Seoul. So we join him and some other Americans, Canadians and Koreans and celebrate the New Year of 2008 in Style!

(As a footnote to this post, we received a message from JiSoo, one of our Korean friends. Apperently, our "Happy New Year" Challenge was caught on film and we were shown three times across Korea on the news networks! I will try to find a link to it in another post! Hahaha!)