Friday Links Are Back (and so am I)

I’m attempting to revive this blog. We’ll see how long this lasts!

  • One of my favorite authors, Seanan McGuire, reblogged this super cute comic about friendship. I’m lucky to have a couple of people (and my sister) who are my really good friends. I’d be lost without them (and they know who they are).
  • I’m still a fan of Big Bang and although I haven’t been watching the TV show Running Man, I’m excited about a few of the members (including my favorite, Daesung) being on the show again!

I know, it’s short. But here, have a video. It’s the newest MV from Drunken Tiger (Korean hiphop) and I absolutely love it:

Monday Links

Happy Monday, everyone.

Kpop: Guilty Pleasures (or Why It’s Okay to Like Big Bang)

My history with kpop (aka Korean pop music, for those of you new around here) is short and full of 180s. The group that drew me in (Super Junior) is no longer a group I pay much attention to (save one or two of its’ members). The music I used to listen to (by SJ, ss501 and others) changed from the straight up boy band sounds (akin to Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC). I’ve only been a fan of kpop since October of 2011 (just over a year at the time of writing this entry) and the change from the generic boy band sounds to what I like now was a gradual process. If I took some time, I could probably even tell you when things changed, but that’s way more effort than I’m willing to expend.

It really started when I, for whatever reason, started listening to a group called CN Blue. The group is made up of four idols (popstars) who play their own instruments, but are in many ways just like the rest of the boy bands out there. What sets them apart, aside from the fact that they’re an actual band, is that their music isn’t just limited to four voices singing in unison most of the time. Once I realized how much I liked CN Blue, the more I couldn’t go back to the groups where every song sounds the same (I’m only exaggerating a little). I do want to say that there’s nothing wrong with liking boybands and the pop music they present. It was a nice gateway drug for me and I have no regrets. It was just time for me to move on.

And that moving on eventually led me to Big Bang. But first I need to back up a little. When I discovered that kpop existed, everyone was into Big Bang. They were this annoying group with this guy who had teal hair and I was having none of it. I ignored posts about them, I decided that I would never like this group and … well, that should’ve been a sign. But I ignored it. It wasn’t until the spring of this year (after my friend H discovered the wonders if Running Man) that I began to fall under the spell of Big Bang.

I could talk to you about how attractive some of the members are (and they are). I could discuss how much I love their music (a lot). I could even talk about how ridiculous the shows they’ve been on (as a group, in pairs or by themselves) have been. But I won’t. Instead I’ll tell you that I refused to like them. Even after watching their two (hilarious) episodes on Running Man, I refused. I don’t like them, I said. They’re kind of cute, but that’s it. I’ll tell you how I started waiting IRIS (and not-very-good-though-everyone-loves-it-but-me kdrama) not because of Big Bang’s rapper, TOP (no, really, are you saying you don’t believe me?) but because I wanted to watch it since everyone was talking about how awesome it was (it wasn’t, I can’t even bring myself to review it).

And then I can tell you that the true downward slide began when I started listening to Kang Dae Sung (aka Daesung aka my favorite person in Big Bang).  There’s something incredible about his voice. I can usually pick out his part in Big Bang songs, but I love his solo stuff the best (I want him to release a solo album, please). It was his newest song, Wings, that really won me over. It was the beginning of the end. I’ve come a long way. I own some Big Bang albums, I’m waiting for some DVDs and I have no regrets (again). They’re not really a guilty pleasure anymore (as they were when I started writing this entry over 6 months ago. Mostly they’re my favorite kpop group.

Enjoy Daesung singing Wings:

Monday Links

Here are some links that I’ve come across over the past few days.

The Apollo 11 Journey in Photographs (The Atlantic): Some pretty cool photographs of Apollo and the day Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. Including the photo to the left

Alone in the Ocean (Now I Know): A short article about a whale, called the 52 Hertz whale, who speaks at a different frequency than other whales and is, therefore, forever alone. Poor guy, though he/she seems to be surviving just fine, somehow.

Jane McGonigal: The game that can give you 10 extra years of life (TED): I think I was linked to this via Library Link of the Day, but I don’t remember. It’s a 20 minute video about McGonigal, who designs games, and figured out a way to make our lives better. I actually recommend the video because it’s interesting, kind of cute and really fun(ny).

Guest Post: The Truth Behind TSA Backscanners: Are They Safe? (Smaller Questions): A surprisingly interesting and easy to understand post about the scanners we go through at the airport. I completely agree with this part of the post as well:

The individual cancer risk from this amount of radiation pales in comparison to lifestyle risk factors for cancer like smoking, diet, and fitness.  However, one of the central tenets of radiation protection is a concept called ALARA – As Low As Reasonably Achievable.  The idea is that one should only use as much radiation as is needed, and no more.  Given that there is a perfectly good alternative that doesn’t use ionizing radiation (microwave-based scanner), in my opinion it is irresponsible to use radiation when it isn’t needed.

Living With Voices: A new way to deal with disturbing voices offers hope for those with other forms of psychosis (The American Scholar): I’m not that familiar with people who hear voices (external or internal), aside from what I’ve seen in TV shows (mostly likely wrong, too) so this article was both interesting and enlightening.

Deniers, disgust, and defamation (Bad Astronomy): My favorite Astronomer, Phil Plait, talks about the anti-science movement and how they’ve taken to personally attacking scientists (because they can’t attack the science). It’s pretty gross, but at least people are standing up against them.

And, finally, have a picture of a newly born baby manatee (to a rescued mother) and a series of photos of Kang Daesung, my favorite member of the Korean group Big Bang, from a recent concert in Shanghai, China.

Friday Links (aren’t feeling very newsworthy)

Today’s links are mostly a bunch of pictures/videos, but I suppose that’s the way things end up. I’ve been watching more Wimbledon than anything else, to be quite honest. But we’ll start with a few blog posts.

    • In a lot of geekish circles I read/travel in, gaming and women has been a pretty hot topic. There’s been a lot of drama about women playing video games, about who the audience of games are and so on. Skepchick has a really good article about the lack of women characters in World of Warcraft, but the article is more meta that just that. I recommend giving it a read.
    • Phil Plait, of Bad Astronomy always posts really good time-lapse videos (which I really love) and the other day he posted a great one by Tor Even Mathisen, filmed in northern Norway, it includes auroras and snow — the perfect thing to watch since SE Michigan is under a heat advisory at the moment.
    • I recently finished a great Korean drama (tv show) called Hero (2012/OCN). I plan to review the whole show (it’s only 9 episodes) eventually, but if anyone is interested in what it is I like, you can watch the whole show on Hulu. Also, be sure to check out the kdrama City Hunter on Netflix Instant, it’s also good.