March 19, 2010

Lady Gaga and Beyonce in a diner, K-I-L-L-I-N-G… Who knows what it all means, but they’re definitely not just phoning it in, that’s for sure…

Run… Run… Run Away…

March 19, 2010

I watched “Up In the Air” with George Clooney last night, and it’s still on my mind. It packs quite a punch. I was expecting a wry, seriocomic look at the American economic problems along with George Clooney doing his thing (i.e. basically playing his own persona to perfection like he does in every other movie). That’s pretty much what I got, but the story has some real, unexpected heart to it, and it really stays with you.

I’ve been listening to a band called the Raveonettes who make ethereal, wispy alt-music. I have no idea where they’re from or what they look like, but they’re excellent. But my favorite song right now is “Run” by the Korean hip-hop (no, that is not an oxymoron) group Epik High. It’s perfect workout music. I don’t know a whole lot about Epik High, but I heard that one of the members–Tablo–studied creative writing at Stanford and had a short story collection recently published here in Korea. I picked up the English edition, and I’m only two stories in, but I’m quite impressed; the dude can clearly write. Short stories are tricky for me; my writing tends to meander quite a bit, and short stories have to be tight with everything filled with purpose. A short story is an arrow, and a novel is more of a spiral, if that makes any sense. And like Yu-Na Kim, I like to spiral.

Speaking of my writing, I’ve finished Part One, which is basically all the lead-up before the main character heads to Korea. For the last week or so, I’ve been reading through everything and making revisions. There’s a lot of awkwardness that needs to be cleared up, along with cliches that need to be changed to truths, but overall, I can say that I’m satisfied with what I have so far. But rereading, it’s actually a lot sadder book than I thought it was while I was writing it; I’d be surprised if many happy, well-adjusted people would like it. In other words, I’m pretty much writing for myself, I think, and actually, I don’t mind that at all. I can’t imagine anything being more personal than writing, not even masturbation. Long live the lugubrious!

Run – Epik High

(Top 101) #55. I Miss You – Klymaxx

March 19, 2010

I know you’re never going to read this, but I still wanted to write somewhere that I miss you. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I always will…

55. Klymaxx – I Miss You

This Too Shall Pass…

March 11, 2010

OK Go’s back to their video magic tricks again. Here’s there latest:

To Be This Smart…

March 10, 2010

I think that kid is my new hero!

Here’s the latest Book Update: I’ve finally finished the first draft of Part One, which ended up running about 140 pages. I’ll be re-writing it this week–I keep telling myself, “Less is more; less is more!”–and from next week, I’ll finally be writing about what happens to the main character after he arrives in Korea. It’s kinda scary to contemplate (how to condense 9+ years of teaching into one book?), but like Tim Gunn says, I’ve gotta make it work.

The Oscars ceremony was pretty fun, I thought. Steve Martin was great, and that dance crew was out of this world! But the highlight by far was the great tribute to John Hughes. Seriously, he is to the teen psyche what Scorsese is to mobsters, and who would say mobsters are more important to teenagers? You know what I mean… Still, I guess I’ve fallen way behind the movie star loop since coming to Korea, because I didn’t recognize almost half of the people who were presenting awards. And even the ones I did, I wasn’t sure why they would be asked to be there (Tina Fey’s been in movies? Why the heck is Miley Cyrus up there? And Neil Patrick Harris is opening up the show???). Still, gotta give props to a show that kept me interested despite the fact that the only nominated movie that I saw was “Precious” (congrats to Mo’nique for her win!).

The 6th grade girl that I tutor told me that one of her teachers told the class that women are like elephants. Why? Because women remember everything. I was very confused by this story, but the girl was sure that she remembered it correctly.

The Korean boy band 2PM is in hot, hot water after a big controversy. It’s all rather convoluted, but to make a long story short, a member (Jaebum) who was kicked out of the band for making not-so-nice comments about Korea on MySpace (he’s Korean-American) was supposed to rejoin the other members, but then their management company canceled those plans saying Jaebum did something wrong, but no one is saying what he supposedly did, and there are all kinds of rumors flying around, about him, the company, and the other members, and a whole bunch of fans are all upset. It’s all pretty sad (especially a side story where one member, Nichkhun who’s from Thailand, is rumored to be tormented and ostracized by the other members after he supposedly tried to stand up for Jaebum), but it’s all engrossing stuff, nonetheless…

I’m still keeping up with the American Idol episodes, but I don’t really feel much of anything for any of the contestants. Crystal’s good, but even she’s nowhere as kick-ass as Kris or Adam from last season. So far, the season’s making Simon look like a genius for leaving ship just in time…

(Top 101) #56. When Doves Cry – Prince

March 6, 2010

A few years back in the middle of a housewives class that I was teaching, one of the ladies asked me the difference between a “dove” and a “pigeon.” She said that in Korea, they were referred to by the same word: bee-dool-gee. I was rather stumped but expressed doubt that they could be the same bird. After all, when I think of a dove, I think of this pure, all-white bird (hmm, sounds rather racist now that I think back; my apologies) symbolizing peace and the end of Noah’s flood. As for a pigeon, I picture gray, overbloated rats with wings that hop because they’re too lazy to fly. Well, as it turns out, I was wrong, wrong, oh so wrong. They are indeed one and the same, at least according to Wikipedia.

It’s rather interesting that pop icon Prince chose to sing about doves (he made the right choice; “When Pigeons Cry” just doesn’t feel right), since he had an almost-synonymous doppelganger himself in Michael Jackson. Both hugely talented, both rather androgyonous, racially ambiguous, forever eccentric (to put it mildly), and fond of eyeliner, Prince and Michael formed one of the great musical rivalries of one time.

But unlike doves and pigeons, they did have one major difference. Michael’s energy was of the external kind. He wanted to show YOU a heck of a good time. He wanted YOU to see him and jump up and down and start weeping and buy his records. Without us, the audience, Michael would have had nothing to spur him on (and in fact, when most people turned their back on him following his legal troubles, he pretty much seemed to lose interest in his musical career until the comeback concerts just before the end).

Prince, on the other hand, didn’t care about us quite that much. I always got the feeling that Prince was just doing HIS thing and doing it HIS own way, and he wouldn’t have changed a thing whether a million people were watching or no one was watching at all. He truly walked (and sang and danced) to the beat of a different drummer. Sometimes, it allowed him to reach through limits and reach true excellence (pretty much everything he touched in the 80’s and early 90’s), but sometimes it led him to spiral within himself so much that everything became too self-esoteric for anyone to understand or like (his constant name-changing, his battle with his record companies, and most of his musical output since then).

But there is no denying that he had it all during his Purple Rain heyday. He was a pop singer, a rebel, a sex symbol, a mystery, an artist, and an absolute superstar. And “When Doves Cry” was the song that catapulted him to icon status and proved he was an artist that comes along once in a purple moon…

56. When Doves Cry – Prince