Saturday, February 27, 2010

not a guest blogger

You might notice that this post is by "surprises aplenty" rather than the usual "kwandongbrian". I used to work at Kwandong U, but no longer do so. I have changed gmail accounts and such to put that name behind me. Anyway, I am the same guy who wrote the previous posts.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sindang Creative Arcade

An artist's market in Seoul is offering classes and assistance in craft-making for the next few months of Saturdays.  The Korea Herald has the article.

In Sindang Station, Line No. 2, they found Jungang Market about 200m from Exit 2, where Sindang Creative Arcade is located. At the market entrance, the smell of fried nokcha hotteok (a pancake made with green tea and stuffed with brown sugar) tantalized their noses. Next to the hotteok cart was the entrance to Sindang Creative Arcade. There was a mural inside the arcade hall that created an artistic atmosphere. However, Joshi found the sushi shops on each side and the smell of fish offputting. Seeing her reaction, Kang began to explain the history of Sindang Creative Arcade.
"Sindang Creative Arcade was once an underground shopping area beneath Jungang Market in Hwanghak-dong. In the past, this area dominated the market here. But, its commercial power gradually declined, until 52 of the 99 shops became empty. Then, Seoul City decided to remodel the disused space into an area for artists. The new arcade was opened in October 2009. Along this alley stand 40 small rooms for artwork stores, a large exhibition hall, and a public workshop for over 40 artists using fabric, paper, ceramics, metal, wood, and photographs. This space is especially ideal for people who want to learn these craftworks. As only part of the shopping arcade was remodeled to serve as a cultural area, a lot of the original sushi stores remain."


It's interesting how my life outside this blog is displayed here.  I have lived in Korea for over ten years.  That said, I now live a great distance from Seoul so it's unlikely that I will take advantage of these free classes.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Naps and grinding stones

I heard a lateral thinking riddle a few years ago that has stuck with me.  Two lumberjacks are working in adjacent plots and both work for eight hours.  One of the lumberjacks stops every hour for ten minutes and the other does not (I don't know if they ate) but the one who stopped chopping for ten minutes every hour chopped more trees.  How is that possible?
    The listener is expected to ask various questions, perhaps about the size or strength of the two men, and the speaker answers "yes", "no" or "not relevant" or other simple answers.

  The correct reason for increased productivity in the  apparently lazy man is that the lumberjack who stopped for ten minutes wasn't really resting, he was sharpening his axe (or chainsaw or saw...), allowing him to work with much better efficiency.

The story a great metaphor to explain a new study about the power of naps to help retain knowledge and make studying more efficient. From the article:

If you see a student dozing in the library or a co-worker catching 40 winks in her cubicle, don't roll your eyes. New research from the University of California, Berkeley, shows that an hour's nap can dramatically boost and restore your brain power. Indeed, the findings suggest that a biphasic sleep schedule not only refreshes the mind, but can make you smarter.


In the recent UC Berkeley sleep study, 39 healthy young adults were divided into two groups - nap and no-nap. At noon, all the participants were subjected to a rigorous learning task intended to tax the , a region of the brain that helps store fact-based memories. Both groups performed at comparable levels.
At 2 p.m., the nap group took a 90-minute siesta while the no-nap group stayed awake. Later that day, at 6 p.m., participants performed a new round of learning exercises. Those who remained awake throughout the day became worse at learning. In contrast, those who napped did markedly better and actually improved in their capacity to learn.
These findings reinforce the researchers' hypothesis that sleep is needed to clear the brain's short-term  storage and make room for new information,...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Overcoming creativity block.

I am traveling and using an in-law's computer so I have another excuse for making a short post that mostly just links to someone else's work.

Overcoming creative block

...I decided to ask some of today’s most exciting artists and creators what they do when the ideas aren’t flowing. I left the question fairly open ended and asked, What do you do to inspire your creativity when you find yourself in a rut? As expected, I was presented with an array of strategies, ranging from listening to Boards of Canada in a forest alone, to cooking up a storm (recipe provided) and waiting for the mind to clear.