Good day! My name is Chris Kadlec and I spend much of my life working on pointless projects that I assume help nobody but apparently sometimes do. I have a very wide variety of interests, though they don’t seem to fit anywhere in the job market. But that’s okay, because money isn’t as important to me as finding joy in the things I do. I merely appreciate the money when it exists in my bank account for the basics such as food, housing, and the occasional purchase of materialistic goods primarily of the audio and video types.
One of my primary interests has been cartography, though after graduating with a major in geography, I realized that technology had taken all the fun out of making maps; therefore I mainly do it solely as a hobby these days. I’ve worked on a few mapping projects over time, though my proudest accomplishment was mapping the entire Korean city of Songtan in detail entirely on foot, including mountain trails on paper with no GPS assistance in 2011. Needless to say, I got lost more often than not before my own map started assisting me in my exploration. Because Songtan and neighbouring Pyeongtaek are American military cities with 50,000 military personnel and family members residing nearby at Osan Air Base and US Army Garrison Humphreys, the project has proven beneficial to those who are new to town and provides one of the only English-language services for (accurate and detailed) mapping. At the time, I was also helping military and civilian newcomers, though I’d move on to bigger projects soon after.
On the other side of things, statistics and data compilation have always been fascinating to me. I nearly didn’t graduate from high school due solely to my poor math skills, but statistics has always been entirely exempt from that academic downfall. Curious of the answers upon so many asking me how product pricing compared between Korea and the United States, I decided to take on the challenge, thus spending a few months rummaging through store shelves doing the dirty work myself, which resulted in an interesting comparison between the two countries in 2015.
I also enjoy travelling, which is something I have done from a young age. I always strive to see as much as I possibly can in the time that I have and then return later to the places I was most curious about or enjoyed the most. In college, I spent my time taking 9-day road trips covering 3,000 to 4,000 miles, including covering 700 miles of mostly back roads through Louisiana over the course of just three days. While others hopped around Southeast Asia’s tourist hotspots and beaches, I stayed local in Seoul and explored the city in extreme detail – nearly every shopping mall, park, museum, every mile of riverfront, and places even locals had never heard of before right down to historical trees and unknown plaques cemented into the ground. I walked across every Han River bridge, which numbers more than twenty, and to finish my time living in Seoul, I visited and photographed fifty different local universities in their entirety from their main entrances to their hidden dirty corners. In the process of this exploration, I walked a record of just short of 500 miles over a period of six months in 2015, because who can photograph sights from city buses and the subway?
Most of that exploration and walking insanity is due to my photography hobby. I have always been a minimalist, so I firmly believe in the advantages of photographing scenes with a point-and-shoot camera I can hide in my pocket to catch as many moments as possible without being noticed. While I could do better with higher-end equipment, I’ve always been proud to do without and still capture great images. I concentrated for many years on photographing everyday life in Korea, largely avoiding tourist sites. Like any photographer, I’ve had my terrible days and my really great days with my camera, and like my eight-year old computer, my camera is seven years old and has been refurbished and repaired over the years, because why buy something new when what you have already works so well?
Lastly in the hobby department: one of my hobbies for many years has been listening to the radio. There are many interesting things to get from this hobby, which tends to be of the solitary type. As I’ve spent most of my life studying languages, I find I can receive stations from other countries and in different languages while expanding my musical and cultural horizons in the process. I was always a meteorology nerd growing up, and growing up my entire life in coastal areas nonetheless, so I found a special interest in coastal signal propagation, i.e. how marine environments affect the path of signals, whether they be radio, television, or even cellphone signals. I spent about fifteen years of my life engulfed in that before setting my sites on Asian radio and more specifically taking on the Korean radio propaganda war between the two Koreas, including noise jammers, and the general medium-wave radio scene in 2015 through the publication of the Seoul AM Radio Listening Guide the following year, which is what I’m mostly known for in the international radio community.
On the lighter side of things, I enjoy watching artistic sports such as figure skating and gymnastics, but also grew up with baseball (a supporter of the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs), football (the New England Patriots), and the typical sports of someone who lives near the beach: surfing and beach volleyball. I have always been a big fan of the Olympic Games since I was young. Other hobbies include watching old movies and television. I have a deep appreciation for the silliness of comedians like Adam Sandler, Robin Williams, and Jim Carrey, the quality of early 1960s shows such as The Patty Duke Show, thought-provoking series such as Lost, The Lost World, and Joan of Arcadia, light-hearted shows like Hannah Montana and Girl Meets World, yet also sitcoms like Frasier (having previously studied psychology myself), Friends, M*A*S*H, and Will & Grace, among others. Gilmore Girls, E.R., and The O.C. were also favourites while they were on the air. I naturally also watch many hours of documentary programs each week to expand my knowledge on random topics I’m curious about and enjoy the psychological studies of serial killers and crime mysteries.
My music interests tend to be too vast to really discuss in much detail. I enjoy songs of all genres from opera and classical to screamo and heavy metal and my collection includes songs in more than 40 different languages. I’m especially loyal to a handful of musicians and bands, which include Billy Talent, Kill Hannah, Rammstein, ATB, David Usher, and Ariane Moffatt, all of which have impacted my life in some special way over the years. As for the spoken word, I tend to very closely follow the mindset of the late George Carlin.
And I think that’s about all the important basic things one could want to know about me.