Hot like coffee

The absent discussion in the previous post tended slightly homoerotic, so to defend my heteronormativity I’m going to overcompensate by delving into a topic on the opposite side of the spectrum.  Straight from Batman’s bulge to South Korean singers’ swinging hips.  Thanks to Psy and “Gangnam Style” most Americans got a glimpse of what can come out of Korea’s Pop music industry.  Not very many Americans seem to go far beyond that video though.  I go pretend to work at a little Korean owned cafe near my house because it is usually quiet, the wifi is good, the coffee is ok, and Korean music videos are playing at all times.  Here’s a bad cellphone pic of what that looks like:


I don’t understand the lyrics, and I don’t have a broad understanding about music theory, industry, history, or reception, I am not an authority on this subject, but I have watched hours of Korean made music videos in this coffee shop.  Based on that experience I’ve come to two conclusions about K-Pop:

  1. Gangnam Style is pretty good, but not so much better that it deserves the enormous viral explosion it has received
  2. Psy must be one of the least attractive people in the K-Pop industry

Not that he is dreadfully ugly, he just looks like a regular guy, but all the other Pop-stars look like supermodels.  for example:


I haven’t spent enough time to recognize and differentiate the Korean groups, but generally the videos are similar to the American music industry in the quality of production and in employing the same type of hyper-sexualized, not-quite-pornographic style that is eye-catching without getting censored.  Compared to Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea’s recent archetypal video “Booty,” they’ve taken the video producer’s basic recipe, transitions between women shaking their butts, and increased the ingredients from two butts to five and increased the transition rate from 1.2 to 3.4 butts per second.  Here’s an example with occasional English lyrics to get you hooked.  Not that the production is entirely about butts.  There’s also interesting set design, costumes, choreography, and lighting.  But ya, the butts are mesmerizing.


Effective branding


A rose by any other name may smell just as sweet, but if dragonflies had a different name I wouldn’t have been nearly as interested in them as a child.  I was fascinated by dragons, and although the relationship between the insect and the mythical creature was unclear, it was enough to give me a profound respect for dragonflies.  Other memorable bugs from when I was little were roly-polies, lady bugs, earthworms, and grasshoppers, all of which were common and easy to catch and play with.  Dragonflies however, were too quick and fleeting to observe for long.  That mysteriousness and unattainability probably added to their allure.  Since they don’t breathe fire or raze medieval villages, a renaming might be appropriate.  Considering dragonflies are among the fastest flying insects, can fly backwards and hover, and their general body shape, a more accurate name could be “helicopter bug”, and that might be one of the few names that could compete for the attention of a six year old.

Pictures of people taking pictures of people

The artist asked me to take pictures at the opening night of her exhibition, which I was glad to do because it would give me something to keep me busy instead of standing around struggling to make small talk. I wasn’t the only person with a camera however.  In fact, it was hard to take a picture without catching someone in the background angling his or her own shot.  Rather than take my assignment seriously, I made it a game to capture the other photographers at work.  Camera phones and Facebook certainly allow information and experiences to spread faster than traditional media, but I wonder if people are actually clicking through the galleries of pictures we spend so much time to take, or if sharing on social media is more of an individual experience.


Good ideas with no traction


I thought we should use the good camera to take a picture, but someone insisted I use my phone.  I took a few blurry pictures.  Then, when I moved the bottle to get a better shot, the moth flew onto my shoulder and she decided we should get the good camera.  It was too late, the moth was already spooked.  Before she got back with the camera the moth was gone.  I know I don’t have a perfect track record of making the right decision, and this wasn’t a high stakes situation, but I feel like there are many times when we could get better results for the same energy spent if we went with my plan.