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Dream 9

2014/01/25

I was at church trying to find a room. I don’t remember exactly what happened (why, what was going on, et cetera) but I do remember that a number of rooms were occupied. I think there was something about tables, too, but I’m really not sure.

There was a story or legend about how an orca god bit/ate a red-crowned crane in response to supplication for some reason, I don’t remember the details.
I was on a small peninsula or something by the beach, residing in an enormous mansion due to circumstances (I wasn’t exactly there for my health but I don’t remember why it was my duty to stay). I think the owner of the mansion was some unhinged gentleman. I remember being at the top and looking down, and seeing an islet approaching at unmistakable speed, and watching it come up next to our section of land and connecting but still moving. I think that was part of some kind of prediction, or I don’t know, but I think I had been expecting something to happen when I looked down. I thought there would be an imminent earthquake and said so in a panic to the owner, and he laughed. I went to take cover in the basement floor. Someone told me to get out and get to high ground quickly because a volcano had erupted and the lava was coming on quickly. I came out to look, where a number of people were standing on… I guess we can call it a platform surrounded by black, decorative railing (kind of a floral design, no bars) but it wasn’t actually higher than ground level and it was like a side door kind of place. The lava was rolling toward us fast. As the group of people half-encouraged, half-taunted me (somehow they were safe from it), someone else and I tried to climb the rail in a hurry to get out of the way but I couldn’t move fast enough, maybe because I was panicking, or more likely, because it was a dream. For some reason, the onset of lava didn’t burn my feet and I was finally able to pull myself up and out of harm’s way.
The next scene was at the beach. The lava was starting to cover everything, even the ocean somehow, maybe things were catching on fire, even,  and a big crowd had gathered, praying or calling loudly for the orca god. The ocean broke through the sheet of magma (?) and there was a lot of color contrast between the black-and-red and the tropical blue. It spread into a long horizontal line, filled with breaching orcas in a row. After they appeared, a few bigger orcas appeared in a second ‘layer’ that didn’t spread across the horizon line, or maybe I didn’t see it because I was watching the biggest orca, which had leapt straight out, far out from the ocean and to my right, where it landed like a missile on something that I couldn’t see. I assumed that there was a giant crane there that had been causing everything even though I didn’t know how there could have been. I just assumed because the story. Anyway, I didn’t see what happened exactly because where the orca god landed, there was a giant splash of water that kind of cleared everything away.

That was a pretty exciting dream, even if I don’t believe in orcas being demigods or anything of the sort. It probably came from [link] and [link].

I solemnly swear that I do not play video games or computer games.

The last part of my dream that I remember, I was playing some game. The mission involved infiltration and you had to select a guide. There were a lot of guides, most of them talking like they’d learned sales by working for Borgin and Burkes at some point, and I don’t remember most of them, only that they came in a variety of backgrounds. I went with some character that looked like he belonged in Aladdin. Then it switched to like… live action.
I was quickly equipped with a knife and a gun. The character that I’d clicked on wasn’t the actual guide. Instead, there was a young man who looked like he’d popped out of SWAT (the movie, I mean), except he was from a Middle Eastern country, not black or white or chicano. I guess what was going down would be in a building, so he went first, telling me to keep right behind him. I went much slower than that, deciding to be as silent and as unnoticeable as possible. It was dark, and in the dim light, I could see quite a few soldiers headed for him since he’d been moving faster and therefore louder. Thinking that they’d be distracted, which would give me a chance to jump in, I went for my knife.
But I couldn’t find it, and at the same time, a female soldier had spotted me. This one was a real nasty piece of work. I had my gun in my left hand and a heavy duty flip phone? in my right (I have no idea why). She went crazy on me so that my gun hand wasn’t in a good position to defend me, and I tried to brain her with the hand that held the phone. Which of course didn’t work. She had a knife and was about to slash me up but my guide, who was apparently a much better fighter than the crowd that wanted to see him served on a platter, somehow intervened and we ran straight into a room (which was where we were supposed to be, I guess).
It was set up like a party, with glassware and fancy food on tables everywhere. And we’d brought the full melee with us. PARTY. I aimed at the nearest guy, fired… click. Not too discouraged, I started to try again but B____ found me and started to make Thanksgiving dinner out of me, her first slash being absorbed by my left arm (I remember because there was a ghost-y feeling of a long scratch on it when I woke up). I had my gun in good position, fired, and it popped a plastic cap like cork from a toy gun. This was very frustrating. She snarled something about my trying to shoot her and the rest of the fighting was pretty hazy but it definitely involved more slashing and more frustration because I’d never been slashed before and it f_____ng hurt, which made it really hard to fight her, which I only did because I had to or else she’d make ground turkey out of me. Not that I wasn’t well on my way there already. I gave up on the gun (duh) and it became a very one-sided brawl. Let’s be real now. Amateur that can’t find her knife and can’t use her gun: 0. Professional armed with a knife: 50.
Again, the guide put the majority out of action and found me, at which point for whatever reason B____ wasn’t there to occupy me (maybe I did manage to brain her with a chair, or flip a hors d’oeuvre-covered table over her… I do remember a lot of glass breaking but I don’t remember if that was me or someone else). He said, “You did good!” encouragingly, which pissed me off and I replied something to the effect of, “‘I did good’? That b____ f____ng near killed me, slicing me up with her knife! I had nothing! And this gun doesn’t work!” And at this point, the irrepressible B____ was back.

And I woke up.

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Initial thoughts while reading Genesis

2014/01/23

The order of creation described obviously does not align with the order that scientists have determined to be most likely. This doesn’t have to result in the unequivocal interpretation that someone has to be wrong between the Bible and scientists. It is hypothetically possible for the history of the world as we experience it to have occurred in the order that scientists have inferred based on unearthed evidence without contradicting the first chapter of Genesis in any way. Much as a writer does not necessarily create his fantasy world or even his story in the order that is experienced by the reader and the story characters, God could have created a world of order and sense—perfect and consistent in and of itself—without the final product showing evidence of being built from nothing. When we read a book, the book was created with paper, ink, and the writer’s thoughts but in the actual words, it doesn’t describe this process. We’re in the book. If we only navigate within the story, it’s impossible for us to know any more than what’s in the story but the Bible says that God made the paper, the ink, the dictionary of words, and strung it all together.

Science is based on logic. However, as any researcher knows, there are very few things that all scientists absolutely agree on. This is because much of knowledge is based on empirical inference and analysis of the statistics of tested theories. As far as we know, all living things follow the same genetic code, from viruses to humans. Why does that prove that we’re all evolved from the same thing? Let’s use a different book analogy. Would it make sense to have to create a new alphabet and language for every book, and never translate them to a common system? It’s possible but it would be a royal pain in the- anyway, illiteracy would probably become an issue and somebody would throw in the towel and get translating. We standardized the US dollar and other forms of currency pretty quickly, and for some people, it’s their job to figure out how many pesos to a pound. God could choose to have a bunch of different classes of living things that are operating on entirely different systems, but the simple ACGT system would probably be both more sensible and more interesting. I mean, how big of a mindscrew was it when people realized that every living function was based on 4 molecules in 2 exclusive pairs? People have an interesting penchant for arrogance, and realizing that they didn’t even have the longest, fanciest genome was probably a little upsetting. And then they started trying to figure out how we do all this fancy stuff like philosophizing, engineering, and experimenting-with-stuff-we-don’t-actually-understand-like-radioactive-compounds (not one of our brightest moments) that no other organism does when we aren’t the most genetically complex organism in existence.

Then there’s the little issue of Occam’s Razor. Logically speaking, I disagree that it proves the superiority of Darwin’s explanation over mine. Except maybe that people like to keep things simple, sort of like how we weight negative experiences more heavily than we do positive experiences. This is usually where it becomes a standoff. I honestly consider Occam’s Razor a convenience rather than a real, good idea. Species go extinct much faster than they evolve beneficial adaptations. How does it make sense that an entire network of interdependent ecosystems sprang out of a simple unicellular system that would have kind of worked OK without evolving fancy multicellular organisms? In that it’s physically possible, or the ‘how’ of things, I get the role of Occam’s Razor but in terms of probability and, gee I don’t know, entropy, the simplest explanation is absolutely insufficient. Life, in terms of the science of it, is about fighting off the tendency towards equilibrium (death). Then what’s the point of living when it’s nothing but a dragged-out battle against the laws of physics? And how did we complex, ordered beings get here if the laws of physics are pushing everything towards simplicity and chaos?

Obviously, this string of argument doesn’t lead to God the creator. It only demonstrates, or at least attempts to demonstrate, that what we learn in science is insufficient to explain life, no matter how far we pursue it. However, it’s a starting point. I don’t have to prove that I’m right to believe in God if I can reasonably dismiss those who would prove me wrong.

OK, now that I’ve talked about my own ideas a bit: WHY is WordPress going all Tumblr and stuff? I’m not going to stop using other websites even if there’s one magical website that does everything the other sites do and more.

Daisy Coleman

2013/10/18

Most people want to have fun, whatever that means. Sometimes, they think it means drinking alcohol. This is clearly incorrect but who would believe otherwise when surrounded by people who do buy into the hype? It’s not her fault. She was a stupid teenager; we’ve all been there. Why else would people bicker about what minors should or shouldn’t be allowed to do and how much they should be held accountable for? Lots of minors sneak out all the time without raping or getting raped.

I’m not saying that she doesn’t have any responsibility for getting into that situation. She could have listened to her family and kept a friendly distance from that boy. She could have chosen not to sneak out. That’s all true but don’t you think that she’s had those thoughts over and over and over and over again? Don’t you think that maybe, just maybe, she has been tortured enough? [←sarcasm here] Apparently, that boy’s allies don’t think so. Who in their right mind would burn somebody’s house down?

These people are even validating that boy’s actions in his mind. He seems to think that he did her a big favor by “giving her the D”. I can’t begin to comprehend the hazing if I don’t first assume that they don’t have even one tenth of an iota of a clue what they’re doing.

When we talk about rape culture, the mindset that justifies rape, we shouldn’t simply state that rape shouldn’t happen and leave it at that. We need to acknowledge that it will happen as it has happened for much of history. It’s like driving. There’s a big difference between legal driving and defensive driving. Should we be able to assume that everyone else will drive properly? Yes. Will they? No. Trying to convince everyone in the world that 1) they should not rape and 2) they should not blame the victim is really impractical. Does that mean we shouldn’t teach people around us? No, we should still try. But instead of engaging in open war between those who say Down with rape culture and those who say Down with short shorts, we should be focusing on teaching everyone that 1) rape is not OK and 2) that even if you can reel off a laundry list of the victims’ choices that beyond reasonable doubt could have prevented the crime, THE CRIMINAL IS STILL AT FAULT. Actually, if the criminals fully realize that they did wrong and that they deserve punishment, that’s really for their own good as well.

Chinese folks

2013/10/04

I’ve noticed something from 武道狂之詩 and City of Darkness. They make very boxy, frame-by-frame reads for the most part, and there’s way too much narration. Seriously. They all read like, “In the moment that Protagonist and Adversary’s eyes met, they realized that here was a true warrior and worthy opponent,” or, “Supporting Standalone Fighter couldn’t hold out much longer, and the Herd Of Minions knew it/but the Herd Of Minions didn’t realize it yet.” The artists don’t take risks with the format. Instead of trying to draw the emotions, which is actually not that difficult to most people who otherwise draw no better they do, these Chinese artists write them. It’s almost as if they think that attempting to dive deeper into the artistic side of their profession isn’t worth the bother. The drawings are extremely good but the restrictive structure drags down the product as a whole.

Chinese people are really good at copying skills from outside sources but too often, they don’t understand it or don’t really try to.

I work with kids from China, and I’ve seen them play piano, play violin, sing, dance, whatever. For classical music, they tended to pick flashy, fast pieces but the execution lacked finesse. For pop, they sang like they were at a karaoke.

I didn’t think it was possible for an energetic young man to fail in performing Backstreet Boys. What you’re supposed to do is to sing loud and out of tune, hop up and down, jog between random points on the stage at random intervals, and point at the audience every time the lyrics say, “you.” The kid revved up the crowd… “ARE YOU READY?”… I was totally ready to be entertained… and then he started pacing the stage like a first-time father in the waiting room in a 60s sitcom. He didn’t even let himself go out of tune.

After I wiped the stunned disappointment off my face, another young man started locking. To JS and Hyuna’s “Trouble Maker,” no less. His teachers, two young ladies, leaned over to whisper to me that he was a top student and a good dancer to boot. As an avid Youtube watcher, I imagine that it is feasible to lock to Trouble Maker and do it right, but he did not do it. He completely ignored the track and really just showed off that he knew how to produce the movements of locking. Trouble Maker is far from quality music, but it’s fun, it’s slick, it’s sassy, and dancing over it instead of with it is like taking Parvati Patil to the Yule Ball and talking to Ron the whole time instead.

That’s pretty much my experience with how Chinese people deal with the arts. They want to know the right way to make it work, but they’re so into the technicalities that they completely miss out on making deeper connections and really understanding it. Some do connect but they’re usually the people who don’t buy into whatever everyone else buys into. It’s really sad how the majority of the Chinese people that I meet are kind of mundane. I know that there are interesting people at the mainland doing some really incredible things; it takes a special person with both passion and patience to rescue the hordes of animals in need and to fight for the humane treatment of them in a society that incorporates animal torture in pornography, and there are many mainland Chinese who do precisely that. But the Chinese people that I meet here, in America, are often disappointingly absorbed in accolades and evanescent material things.

And I guess that’s true of many people. I was reading in the New York Observer the other day that people are blowing huge amounts of money on artworks based on who’s the hottest artist, and calling themselves patrons of the arts. The true connoisseur waits for the right piece to come along.

It also probably has to do with what kind of people would come to the US. They usually have some money (or at least their parents willingly give them the money), and they’re usually here for the, er, economic benefits that they can gain from a trip here. SF is called the old gold mountain in Chinese because historically, the US represented economic opportunities for Chinese people. The interesting people who want to make a difference are the people who want to start with the things they see in front of them, which is back home; they’re not going to engage in escapism in some other country that they don’t actually care about.

As for the arts, I think a large part of the stiffness is due to the whole mentality that the “new China” culture is infused with. They’re trying to figure out how to carve out a place for them among the world powers, beyond being the place where everyone has their stuff manufactured. They want to win the Olympics, they want to win music competitions, they want to make an impression. They just happen to be going about it the wrong way. You know the German guy in Those Magnificent Men And Their Flying Machines? That’s China right now.

So will they figure out the game or won’t they? I hope they do.

Goodreads

2013/09/14

Why do many GoodReads users spend so much time regurgitating a lengthy summary instead of describing how they liked or disliked the books? It may be easier to write like that but I don’t know who these people are and I’m not interested in how they may personalise the synopsis with their favorite turn of phrase. I want to know if I might like the book or not. If there are dozens of posted reviews, each one starting out with “In __, this happens to Main Character, and then Main Character does that,” ON TOP OF the posted description, I think all site visitors have a good enough idea of what the story is about without anybody adding even more of that, plus I still don’t know if I want to read the book or not.

A summary doesn’t tell me whether or not a book is worth reading. There are millions of ways to write love triangles, rivalries, magical adventures, et cetera, and not all of them are good. What does the author’s voice sound like and did you find it to your liking? Are the unexplained bits and potential inconsistencies insignificant or are they ripping giant holes in the plot? A good review picks these sorts of questions to answer. A crap review is what happens when someone figuratively passes a book through a digestive tract without any mastication or digestion whatsoever: nothing of value is extracted and what comes out is a soiled version of the original plus a lot of hot air.

Dream 8

2013/08/29

There was somebody really horrible trying to kidnap a little boy that I tutored before. I couldn’t touch the person no matter how I tried to stop it so I tried to get the boy to come back instead. He was under some sort of trance so he just kept following the person. I wrapped him in a towel (it was an almost prehensile towel so I could do it at a distance) to get him out of range, and I accidentally asphyxiated the boy in the process. I went into shock and thought about calling the police but before I could do that, I ran into the boy walking around. This really confused me. I asked him if he had a little brother who looked just like him only smaller (he couldn’t really in real life since he’s adopted) and he said yes, so I went back to being horrified. He suggested we unwrap the towel and then figure out what to do. What I unwrapped looked a lot like a glassy eyed doll but I guess he was the little brother. As I moved him to unwrap him, he moved on his own and slowly came to. I was so relieved.

I wonder if it means that I’m scared that I’ll hurt somebody that I care about if I put up a fight?

Or maybe it’s related to the kitten triplets. The first one died on the surgery table. The kitten shrieked and sunk his claws into my hand (and he’d been napping there very quietly right up to when she put the needle in). I tried to put him down but his claw had been completely hooked into my skin. Then he went limp and I unhooked myself. She said, “I think we just lost a cat.” I gasped, “What?” and grabbed a stethoscope. I was horrified but I didn’t dwell on that. I didn’t know anything except that speed was everything. I could hear a faint heartbeat so I tried to keep things moving to save the kitten’s life; I didn’t know what to do but I asked for instructions, which were to grab fluids and epinephrine. It didn’t work. I remember thinking, “What do we do? What am I going to tell the owners?” I felt a very strange combination of horror and resignation. I didn’t feel guilt, though, because I’m not the type to register guilt when I know it’s not my fault. In my dream, I knew I was at fault so I had that same feeling except with guilt mixed in. I’m not afraid of the police nor the courts, or whatever consequences anybody assigns me, but I’m afraid of the thing itself that can’t be undone. The kitten doesn’t feel a thing any more, but the pain of a loss can’t be erased by any punishment.

Well. There were other dreams last night/this morning: at somebody else’s house, there was a table in a private room that had a bunch of decorative things on it, like electric candles with realistic flames, and since the person had company coming, I helped set up by grabbing odds and ends and making them look festive in the dining room or something. (I know, sentences are not freight trains but you’ll forgive this one, right?) That’s all I remember.

On teacher tenure

2013/04/02

Some people were born knowing that they wanted to be a teacher. Some people were inspired to become a teacher. And SOME people are incapable of finding a higher-paying job so they game the system. Yes, Matt Damon, it’s a poor salary but it’s much better than nothing at all. Believe it or not, even if teachers are paid much less than you are, they’re much comfier than some “menial” no-brainer job. Why do you think most STEM kids go into research or private companies while schools place well-meaning but non-stimulating P.E. instructors in math teacher positions? Because they can and it’s a rare one that wants to spend his or her education teaching trigonometry instead of engineering the next famous bridge.

Yeah, ReasonTV phrased it badly and the cameraman stepping in was a stupid move but this is about the kids, OK? If the teacher’s really decent, the parents aren’t going to sit back and let the teacher be fired. Look how much America loves its petitions! There are so many scumbags getting paid to teach that a good teacher who’s been laid off for financial reasons should be able to replace someone who’s unfit to teach.

Using big, fancy words doesn’t make somebody particularly intelligent, either. “Intrinsic paternal-“whatever, what is that, code for Big Brother? I mean, I do think it’s very pretty phrasing and I’m sure Matt Damon’s a sharp guy but for those of you who are geeking out over it, SHUT UP. If you had half a brain, you’d be actually joining the discussion, not fangirling over “He’s such a boss!” Feel free to take the part of whomever you will but please, it’s hard to take someone seriously if that person doesn’t have a real opinion beyond starry-eyed admiration for the actor. Anybody could have said what Matt Damon said. It’s as if you think that just because he’s an actor, his frontal cortex should be only functioning half the time. Guess what? He’s not Zoolander. You should expect no less of his intelligence than you would towards anyone else.

Honestly, this annoys me and I’m going to class now.

Transcription of world hunger PSA

2013/03/13

UK: Uh, welcome to this G8 summit. Uh, thank you all for attending. First on the agenda today is world hunger.
Russia: Ugh, hate this problem.
Japan: Me too.
UK: One in eight people in the world are hungry and they shouldn’t be so we do need to solve this.
Germany: That sounds like a really, really big problem.
USA: Sounds like it’s almost impossible to solve.
France: It is too complicated.
Italy: We have tried it before and we never get anywhere.
Canada: Well, is there anything that we CAN do?
USA: Well, I have to say, guys, I don’t think we’re gonna crack this one today.
UK: Uh, maybe we should tackle this one after some lunch.
Italy: Great. I’m starving.
[France and UK have the most, Canada and Italy moderate, Germany and USA and Russia little, and Japan none.]
Japan?: It’s got to be a mistake.
Russia?: I got barely any.
USA: I only have a fish finger.
UK: I do apologize, seems like we’ve had a bit of a problem here.
[Narrator]
USA: Thank you.
France: ?
Japan: Thank you.
[Narrator]
[Japan passes his plate’s contents to Russia, who unloads it. Someone coughs, so Russia reapportions the food.]
UK: So it is possible. There can be enough food for everyone.
France: I think he’s onto something.

*Judging from the accents, I think that Germany got switched with France.

If you love music

2013/01/24

It’s hard to define the impact a singer can have on a listener. I’d like to address an open letter to the music makers (singers, songwriters, studio musicians, producers) that make it happen.

Here goes.

I’m not the cheering fangirl waving signs and lightsticks. I can’t come to your concerts, your fanmeetings. Sometimes, I can’t even buy your CDs, some of which went out of print before I had the chance. However, I believe that I’m just a different kind of fan.

I’m the fan who stumbled into you by accident while surfing the internet. I’m the fan that feels like hearing your music for the first time was a fateful meeting, and every time I listened, I wanted to hear more. It didn’t matter that none of my school friends knew who you were. Your music was the friend that made me feel good when I was down, without pretending to try to understand my circumstances.

The years passed. Other singers’ songs were easier to find on the internet or hear on the radio so I listened to them more and more. I stopped caring if songs were heartfelt and focused on learning to evaluate ability and skill. Talented idols debuted left and right but there was always something lacking that I couldn’t name.

Today, I listened to one of the old songs. I smiled because it was so familiar even though I hadn’t listened in years. And I realized that what I was missing was the unwavering conviction that pushed you to gamble on making music, no matter how you would achieve that, no matter how trained up your competition was. I respect you and want to support you. I want you to know that it’s not about the size of your fanclub but the sincerity of their feelings.

I wanted to buy all those songs that I listened to in order to show you how much your music means to me but I can’t because the industry is a numbers-driven machine. You don’t sell, they stop production, I guess.

The feeling is complicated. Like breaking an oath that nobody held you to. This is the most I can do. I am not a fan: I am a supporter. I will not agree with everything you do yet my feelings toward you will not change. And I hope that one day you will let me buy those songs! Haha.

I want to remind everyone what it means to support somebody. It’s not being the loudest screamer at the concerts. It’s not pasting pictures of your idols on everything that you can. It’s not stalking them and trying to make them remember you. It’s not the comments you leave on the fan cafe, and it’s not the subscription you pay to join the ranks. It’s that connection you make to the musicians when you hear what they produce and fully enjoy it. It’s paying for your copy of the music. It’s a sense of warm gratitude towards all the work that went into making your favorite song. It’s singing along during a performance and standing up when you applaud. The relationship between music makers and music listeners is special and can be challenging to accept, but learning how to do it right is one of the best things you could ever do for yourself.

The Color of K-POP [album]

2013/01/10

[Pictured, left to right: top row, Kara Jiyoung, Sistar Bora, 4Minute Gayoon, Secret Sunhwa, After School Lizzy, 4Minute Hyuna, SISTAR Hyolyn, Secret Hyosung, After School Nana, Kara Nicole, bottom row, MBlaq G.O, Teen Top Niel, B2st Yoseop, 2AM Jo Kwon, Infinite Woohyun, Infinte Hoya, Teen Top L.Joe, 2AM Jung Jin Woon, B2st Gikwang, MBlaq Joon]

I really laughed when I saw SBS’s Gayodaejun project. K-pop loves doing really gimmicky “concepts”. I thought the idea was interesting, though. I’m all for mix-and-matching (especially if it’s an 오소녀 reunion stage). As it turns out, there is a reason that some of these guys would never have been in even the same project group as trainees, let alone be in an official debuted group.

Mermaid

White is supposed to be the romantic fairy concept, I get that, but the whole thing sounds painfully clearly plastic. The song is fairly… consistent? with the exclusion of the random sax bridge, but basically, the song is bleh.

MUSE

Blue’s Muse is basically an IU single sung by five guys. SBS probably picked Niel because he sounded the part and Jo Kwon because he looked the part and then drew straws for the others. They’ve all got nice vocals, like Yoseop’s been on Immortal Song, but the groups they come from are all over the map in terms of style. It’s a nice, well-sung song but that’s all there is to it. Again, nothing special.

이 사람

Red’s This Person is basically Alone except with Hyuna rapping and Hyolyn not taking all the lines. The nasally voices of other three singers (Hyosung, Nicole, Nana) actually complement Hyolyn’s throatiness pretty well but Hyuna was annoying. The singing isn’t fabulous but they try. They nearly succeed at salvaging a record boring tryna-be-sexy song ever. Emphasis on nearly.

Yesterday

Jung Jin Woon’s intro gives me chills. I know what’s coming right away but because it’s JUNG JIN WOON, it doesn’t feel like a bad thing. Yesterday has the adolescent angst, like one of those rebellious “Break Out!” songs but also like one of those stressed out “Going Crazy” songs. It’s a tried-and-true formula. Pop industry songwriters have it down to a science. This is all stuff we’ve heard before but I eat it up anyway. Until it ends with that anticlimactic “Yesterday” whisper.

Conclusion

These songs summarize “K-pop” very well. Most of it is boring, industry-driven drivel in pretty packaging. Some of it sounds pretty cool (disturbing when the listener realizes it sounds like a million other songs). Most of the time, though, even those aren’t good enough. Let’s be honest. If Jung Jin Woon weren’t in team Black, Yesterday probably would be significantly less convincing.

The actual rate of K-pop debuts have been increasing in the past few years (possibly exponentially but I haven’t done the math) and it has just been an inundation of unexceptional talent. It’s like the judges’ stance in K-pop Star: I know y’all got talent but you’ve got to show me what’s special about you. A lot of agencies aren’t doing this and it’s weakening Korean pop.

Psy, like, sneezed, and then put “K-pop” on the map of Western pop but how could other Korean singers show that they belong on our radio? There is real talent floating around in the Korean industry, and it would really show if only people would throw out all the crap that is anything less. Look at T-ara, they can sing and dance but their albums always have filler, mediocre pop songs on all their albums. It’s lazy. Korean pop, get it together. Why else do you think I cringe whenever I see “K-pop”?

Korean pop might not have anything more unique than the materialistic, industry-centered-ness of the industry (reiteration was intentional) but we won’t know that unless it trims down and polishes up. I know there are real gems in there so it’s worth a shot, right?

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