Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Comfort Women Deal A Month Later: Nothing New, Still Gross

When news of the latest "Final deal" regarding the Comfort Women came out on December 28, I wasn't as excited as a few of my Facebook friends. Sadly, my initial "Wait and see" reservations proved correct as the story soured faster than milk and pickle juice.

This topic is overwhelming to write about, because writing about any one aspect causes every single other thing to rush out for inclusion as well. It's like drinking a cup of jello: poke. Nothing. Poke. Nothing. Bigger poke. Omygoodnesseverythingiscomingatoncewhatwasithinking? Plus, no matter how carefully I write this piece, everything I omitted for simplicity or brevity will get thrown in my face in the comments anyway. It's daunting, and I'm frustrated at yet another apology doomed to be rejected both by Korea's and Japan's publics, followed by further recriminations, deepening grievance and apology/insincerity fatigue that will make it harder for both sides to offer and accept the next (hopefully final) apology, when or if it ever comes.
More after the break.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Spoilers, durr.

There was a Star Wars movie out, did you hear?

It was pretty good, and it's making tonnes of money, so... there's that. I finally got to see it 10 days or so after it came out, thanks to report cards and stuff, but I liked it very well when I saw it.

There are spoilers in this article... but really, this long after the film came out, if you still haven't found a way to see it, I don't feel that bad about spoiling it for you. And if you're mad about spoilers this long after a film opened, next time take that energy you're using to be mad, and apply it to getting your butt to a cinema.

Late late screenings: worth it. And better, so that I don't have to take time away from the kid I should be hanging out with.

Juniorseyo watching Star Wars: He loved the original film "A New Hope"/Episode 4, and wanted to watch it again the weekend he first saw it. However, he hasn't wanted to watch it again since, so I'll wait till he's older before dropping The Empire Strikes Back.

Best thing: The three young heroes.

Give him his own spinoff movie: Poe Dameron, Oscar Isaac's ridiculously watchable, likeable pilot. He's assured and confident and high-spirited, like the resistance's best pilot probably really would be. He's the one I finished the movie wanting to hang out with.

But John Boyega! Yes. I like him a lot. Go see him in Attack the Block, a fantastic monster movie. He completely commands the screen.

Thursday, 29 October 2015


I.Seoul.U.  World Taekwondo Federation.

How did we get here? Sometime in August, I heard Seoul City was taking submissions for a new slogan. Because Hi Seoul was three or four years old, and everybody knows branding works best when the brand image regularly changes into new and inexplicable images and ideas. Already then I winced in expectation of a new slogan choosing process that would be awful and annoying at every step of the way. I wish my call hadn't been so dead-on.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Happy Back to the Future Day!

Yes, it's already October 21 in Korea.

Too bad it's a Wednesday. If it were a Friday, we could call it Marty McFlyday (get it? get it?)

Anyway, today is the day Marty McFly was supposed to arrive in 2015.

We don't have mass market hoverboards. Only fancy rich-people ones.
Though the ones we DO have can go on water.
We don't have self-lacing shoes, or self-fitting or self-drying jackets.
We are still using our hands to play video games.

(hello, young Elijah Wood!)

We can't hydrate a pizza in five seconds.
We can't power our houses with compost (though it's probably best we don't have fusion reactors in every household)
And I can't banter with Max Headroom in an 80s cafe.

We DO have huge wall-sized TVs.
We DO have drone cameras that can record news events.
We DO have shops and cafes where you can order stuff without talking to a human.

Meanwhile, the Back To The Future team didn't imagine terrorism, smartphones, selfie sticks, or social media, beards or skinny jeans.

So... I'm going to go legally obtain a digital copy of Back To The Future 2 sometime today, and go get nostalgic. Happy back to the future day, folks.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

That amazing Star Wars Music

Subtitle: aw heck, why not make it a blog post.

Somewhere around 2011, thoughts that would have become blog posts suddenly became long-form Facebook updates. I have decided to make them blog posts again. It's easier to find them back.

I am currently re-watching the Star Wars trilogy. The original trilogy. I'm glad I was a kid when the original trilogy was still heavy in the pop culture consciousness -- I'm very glad my first experience with Star Wars wasn't the three prequels. I'm not quite old enough to have seen the movies in the theater, but when I was in Kindergarten, one of my classmates used to smash the structures other classmates would build out of cardboard bricks...
While shouting "Return of the Jedi!" AND he had a Return of the Jedi lunchbox. And we rented Star Wars not long after we got our first VHS machine.

As Disney is winding up their pop-culture machine to unleash the Star Wars hype dynamo, they are doing a pretty good job of feeding the beast and letting fan excitement drive it, rather than using too heavy a hand. They are experts at playing their cards well.

But even as those silly star wars viral videos come out (chipmunks) (roadside crash) (Jedi with a gopro) (death star over San Francisco) (Matthew McCognschwarzeneggerghey watches the trailer), the fact remains, and it's something I only realized on these latest re-watchings. If you watched Star Wars as a kid, all you need is this:

That opening hit, the noise and the trumpet: by the time those 6 and a half seconds of fanfare go by, I'm ready for fun and adventure, and the main theme hasn't even started! So... read as many whiny blogs as you want, hate George Lucas as much as you like, snicker away that Lego Count Dooku looks eerily like George Lucas...
no seriously, look at him! The version in the Lego Star Wars animated films is seriously eerie
but after all the griping and equivocating, all it takes is six seconds of trumpets and friends, I am in.

And, for fun, here are my Star Wars and other extended universes prediction:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be much much better than the prequels and will do really well, though

The sheer density of Star Wars properties lined up for release will lead to fatigue before the sequel trilogy is finished. A star wars film every 18 months will wear us out. ANYTHING every 18 months would wear us out. Even Captain Jack Sparrow, who ruined Johnny Depp's brand at least as much as Tim Burton did.

The Han Solo prequel will be either incredible or awful, with no middle ground (I think it will be awful, and they shouldn't try, for the same reason I think nobody should make a biopic of Freddie Mercury: how on earth are you going to duplicate what everybody knew the first time they saw it, was unequivocally a lightning-in-a-bottle perfect alignment of forces. Chris Pratt deserves his own character, and Harrison Ford's Han Solo should be like Al Pacino's Michael Corleone and Michael J Fox's Marty McFly: so definitive nobody should bother trying to touch it).

Disney's Marvel Universe will also continue doing well until superhero fatigue is in full swing (Thanos, because he looks ridiculous off the comic page, might be the straw that breaks the camel's back, as Marvel slowly pushes back the limit of exactly how ridiculous they can make their films before they lose the suspension of disbelief),

But DC's Batman/Superman film, or the Justice League film that's coming after it, will catch the full brunt of the superhero backlash - just please give us one good Wonder Woman movie and one good Black Widow (or Scarlet Witch, or Ms. Marvel, or even She-Hulk) movie before everybody starts canceling Phase Three of their extended universes and starts re-making Die-Hard, please!

As for other stuff... I like Prince's new album, Tame Impala's new album, Destroyer's new album, and Beach House's new album. Go listen to them.