Kimchi Pancakes

Firstly, I do apologise for ignoring this blog.  Time, as always, has gotten the better of me but I shall aim to do better next year (2018), promise.

A year ago my wife introduced me to my first Korean drama, Goblin.  I remember when she initially sent me a message about it during the Christmas holidays, saying that she’ll wait for me to get back home before she starts watching it as she thinks that I may also like this one due to the fantasy element.  She was right.

Goblin Maple Leaf

One year on, I have now watched Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon, Boys Over Flowers (yes, all of it!) and have just finished Weightlifting Fairly Kim Bok-Joo.  Admittedly, I was spoilt by starting with Goblin as it is quite an exceptional piece of work.  But I have really enjoyed Strong Woman and Weightlifting Fairy, and even Boys over Flowers had its moments.

There is something quite comforting about Korean dramas.  For those that don’t know, they MUST feature several key ingredients in order to make them qualify as a true K-Drama, which are:

  1. A love triangle (or several)
  2. Food, and lots of it
  3. Coats, and lots of them
  4. Someone rich and someone not so rich
  5. Constant phone usage, complete with cute/annoying ringtones and message alerts

Without these, it just isn’t quite a K-Drama you want to really commit too because unlike most UK or US shows, your typical Korean drama consist of around 16 episodes, each an hour long, and that’s it!  They are one-offs.  No season 2, no sequels, prequels, reboots…..so once you’ve found one that might be your cup of tea, and you start watching it and after two or three episodes you get hooked, you begin to slowly get emotional that you’re rapidly approaching the last episode, knowing that the whole story will get wrapped up and it can either be a lived happily ever after or a more depressing and sombre conclusion.

A year ago, I’d never watched a Korean drama.  Now, one year on, I’ve watched quite a few and definitely plan to spend a good part of my Christmas break watching some more, including Goblin as we brought it on DVD.  There is also a good range of them on Netflix (UK) at the moment, including Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon, which they’ve renamed Strong Girl annoyingly.  I’ve also done a heap of t-shirt designs, available on both my redbubble and teepublic stores.  Here’s a handy link to my website’s t-shirt page click here.

Do Bong-Soon Eng

Goblin Montage

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Irony of ironies

Call me old fashioned, but I do like my motor cars to have an internal combustion engine.  For now, at least.  With several car manufactures announcing that in the very near future they will only be making fully electric cars, and the UK government (among others) declaring that all new cars from 2040 must be electric, it seems my old fashioned approach has a defined time limit.

I have considered hybrid cars in the recent past, but I’m not truly sold on neither the concept or costs.  I also question just how environmentally friendly electric cars are, given the amount of pollution it takes to generate the actual electricity used to power it.  In fact I’ve always been a fan of the hydrogen powered cars that Honda currently produce.  They seem a much better fit for the situation and far more practical.  

Just this week Mercedes announced a sneak peak of their new electric offerings, as kindly shown in this piece of marketing

e-merc

The thing that I love about this, along with lots of other examples from car manufactures pushing their green electric cars, is that they seem to like lining the car’s external body with LED strip lighting.  I love this is because surely all that LED lighting is going to consume more electrical power, which is no good when you ideally want all that electrical power to get you home if you live really far away.  I love it even more when you compare it to similar marketing material for traditional petrol or diesel powered cars, which do not seem to require the same LED lined bodywork to sell it.  

So the question is why do they feel the need to create all this LED superficial lighting for electric cars, when the point of electric cars is to be as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible?

New Website, open now

My website has had a very new lick of paint, and I’m very pleased to say that it is now dry.  Please do take the time to have a look:

www.themattskilton.com

I always try and do a complete overhaul of my website every 2-3 years.  Last time I was desperate to have some parallaxing on my homepage, which worked great on desktop browsers but just did nothing on mobile devices.  Given that the majority of people that visit my site are now on mobile platforms (thank you google analytics), I decided to give parallaxing a rest and instead go for the more minimal approach, with a strong focus on hero images instead.

It took a little longer than expected to put it altogether, largely because I was constantly encountering small issues, literally one after the other, that needed plenty of research to iron out.  The site is far more complex than any of my former efforts, and it’s amazing to see how web design has developed through the years and what can be done with HTML5, CCS3, and plenty of other scripts and plug-ins to boot.  One decision made was to really strip back on the amount of text that I had.  The downside to this, of course, is that it hinders your SEO credentials. And so that’s largely why I’ve set-up this blog too, which will act as my voice and give me an excuse to go into greater details about my latest work and any other opinions I care to share.

I’m pleased with how the sites turned out, and even more pleased with how it seems to function across all platforms.  If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share.  Hopefully I won’t need to write another blog like this for another 2-3 years.

They’ve got character

Welcome to my new blog.  Rather than give the token “Hello World”, or “Testing 1,2, testing’, or ‘Is this thing on?’ opening post, I thought I’d just start by talking about the newly released set of Star Wars Episode VIII character posters.

lastjedicharacter

When I came across these last week, I initially thought my browser hadn’t opened the images up correctly as I couldn’t see the top of their heads.  I then realised that this was a stylistic cropping choice made by someone. Nice, I thought.  It gives them an eerie edge, strongly suggesting that the film may echo this.  Then there’s the red.  Lots of red.  If you’ve seen the first trailer (which I’m sure most have), we know that red features heavily in one particular shot and that it was a very deliberate choice made by director Rian Johnson (not to mention the Star Wars title being red this time round).  And finally there’s the rough, brush stroke cut-outs at the bottom, complementing the noisy off-white backgrounds.

These are bold posters made with bold (and some would say even brave) decisions.  I, for one, rather like them.  However, I’ve already seen quite a bit of backlash out there on the web.  I didn’t realise it until one critic mentioned it, but they are remarkably similar to the Matrix Reloaded character posters from 2003.

Matrix

As you can see, the framing of the characters is identical.  The red has been swapped with a subtle green.  And the background kept bright white.  But of course, these were made nearly fifteen years ago.  My gut reaction was that they actually look very similar to the work of illustrator Rob Prior, whom’s work I first came across when it featured in the Art Awakens competition in 2015.

Rob Prior

I can certainly see why these would divide opinion.  It’s unusual for a big budget film to be a little different with its marketing.  Judging by the recent Spiderman Homecoming poster (which is truly awful), we’re used to seeing conventional photoshop montages that feature as many characters as possible.  I even remember the final The Force Awakens poster got criticised for not featuring enough characters on it as it was sans Luke, although we were then quickly told there’s a reason for that which became clear after seeing the film.  These Last Jedi posters are pretty minimal, even with the number of colours on show.

I have no real conclusion to this post.  We all have different ideas and visions, which leads us to form our opinions. I also feel that character posters serve a different purpose than the final movie poster, and while design consistency is nice to see, and at times essential for a marketing campaign, I think the opportunity to give us something different has been well utilised at the right time.  I sense that someone’s had a lot of fun putting these together and that is no bad thing.