Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Are you happy that you took the piss out of that song?

Hey all,

I'm not an American Idol fan, but I do enjoy seeing Heejun Han as a contestant and making it this far.

His performance tonight wasn't spectacular by any means and I expected criticisms from the judges but I think what Steven said went too far.  It wasn't really a critique about the song or even Heejun's style.  It was simply a personal insult.

Steven: He-Man!  Are you happy that you took the piss out of that song?  The music business will kick your ass; at some point you got to take it more serious.

I honestly don't think Heejun even understood what that meant.  So unfortunately for him, he answered, 'yeah' to the question.

A part of me died hearing this.  Perhaps Heejun isn't the most likable character, but he didn't deserve treatment like this, either.  

Lastly, Steven Tyler should stop playing with Heejun's name.  First "Hey June", now "He-Man."  It's either patronizing, demeaning, or both.

I was quite shocked and disappointed.  Thoughts?

Here's a video if you didn't see it:

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Don't Support KONY 2012

Hey all,

Well, here's another shoddy post.  It's more of a rant.  Unscripted, not outlined, and poorly researched.  So let's go.

If you've been anywhere close to a computer, you've probably heard of the KONY 2012 campaign by Invisible Children.  Personally, it is all over my Facebook wall.  Even before watching the video, I knew I wouldn't like it.  But I had to watch it because it was viral.

Let me just say that within the first ten minutes, I knew what was going to happen.  Invisible Children wants to make the "bad guy" popular.  As long as he stays popular and a concern for us laymen, the government (and I mean the U.S. here) will try to intervene.  They want to stop KONY by December 31, 2012.

Let me tear this video apart.

  1. How many times have you seen pictures of starving children on Facebook?  Tens of thousands of people share it, like it, and comment.  You might have been one of them.  But now, tell me this.  What did you do about it?  I'm going to guess you really didn't do anything.  If you actually donated and acted after seeing the picture, I applaud you.  But for most of us, we didn't do anything about it.
  2. How long do those pictures stay relevant in our minds?  Once they show up, people spread it around for about a week.  After that, they disappear.  I'm predicting that the KONY 2012 campaign will be a failure because of this.  They want to generate awareness.  Congratulations, it's been a success.  So what?  In a week, no one will care...until April 20, 2012 (ironically pot-day), when they cover the night with posters.  I'm going to laugh really loudly when someone thinks that Joseph Kony is running for Mr. Prez.  But seriously, by May 1, it's not going to be talked about.  And so the campaign will fail.
  3. Speaking of dates, what is this December 31, 2012 deadline they're talking about?  This is one of the main parts of the video that enrage me.  First off, what if we don't succeed?  Do we just proclaim "G-G!!" and just give up?  Most of you probably think I'm being stupid.  It's a goal, not a deadline!  You may be right.  However, why are they going to remove the campaign video?  Because it's not relevant anymore?! 
  4. This is what pisses me and a lot of other people off.  Invisible Children spends about 30-35% of the funding (depending on sources) on aiding the civilians with schools and scholarships.  So roughly a third of the money goes to actual aid.  I'm actually okay with that.  Can it be more?  Yes.  But generally speaking, that's not a bad portion.  The other money goes towards salaries and travel expenses.  That's all good, too.  But a LARGE portion goes towards making these films.  They've made eleven so far.  Since they're going to delete the 2012 video at the end of the year if they don't succeed (which is more than likely), one can only assume that video twelve will come sometime in 2013.  Is that really necessary?  What would they try to do in that one?  Raise awareness?  I'm pretty sure the world is aware by now.  Awareness leads to solutions, but they are not the same thing.  Making another awareness video isn't going to work if the first 11 didn't.  People ARE aware, they're just too lazy to do anything about it.
  5. And now for the actual action.  Invisible Children wants to fund the Ugandan army to fight little children?  Does that sound right to you?!  That's a terrible idea.  I understand that it's a utilitarian perspective.  That is, some children from the Lord's Rebel Army (LRA) might be killed, but it's for the greater cause of saving more children and civilians.  I'm not saying I have a better plan, but I'm not convinced this is the best approach.
  6. Lastly, and this one is big, there seems to be a hint of the "White Man's Burden" here.  The entire video advocates for a world effort, yet it's almost implied all this effort is to influence the U.S. government, not any other country.  They want people all over the world to become activists so that 'Merica can save the world one country at a time?!  I'm probably not being cogent, but hopefully you understand the point I'm undermining.  The video implies that the U.S. government should be the ones to save Uganda.  The pathetic thing is that 100 troops are going to be 'helping' the Ugandan military.  No blood will be on American hands...Let's not forget the Ugandan military is almost as corrupt as Kony.  They just have more people, so the world seems to forget that they act in a similar manner.  
Some people have offered that Invisible Children is a scam.  Do I think so?  Nope.  But that doesn't mean they are right(eous).  Something about their line of logic is unsettling:

  1. Raise awareness (success).
  2. Raise funding (success).
  3. Raise world-wide activism (success).
  4. Use the WORLD-wide concern to influence the U.S.'s decision on intervention (this doesn't make sense, but will say it's been a success).
  5. Teach the Ugandan military to fight Kony so that the U.S. stays clean!!  No.
There are other things I could rant about, but I have class to go to.  

Here's one more thing, though.  This issue has been polarized, people are jumping on bandwagons.  My suggestion: don't say something because you saw a video about it or saw a video about the video about it.  Have opinions that are your own.  I personally like the cause, I just don't like the campaign.  You may disagree.  That's fine.  Just make sure you TRULY believe what you feel.  Don't speak for others, speak for yourself.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Get Straight A's in College

Hey all,

Haven't blogged in awhile, but I've been on break since I've finished my first semester at college.  I'm happy to report that I got an A in six of my courses and an A- in my seventh.  However, that class was worth only one credit, so my overall GPA was hardly effected.

I guess for me, I've made big changes since I've entered college.  My social habits have changed and influenced my study habits, apparently for the better.

I have some tips that helped me this semester.  Just keep in mind that the classes I took were really only sophomore level, so I can't say that this will work for other years.  Also, I'm majoring in Biomedical Engineering, so the coursework is fairly rigorous.  Anyway, on with the tips.

  1. Take notes or don't take notes.  This sounds more confusing than it is.  Basically, if taking notes got you good grades in high school, consider taking them in college.  For me, I always took notes in high school, but I found that I hated doing it and I rarely referred back to them before a test.  So, in college, I didn't take notes; I just listened closely to the teacher.
  2. Skim the chapter before class.  Some classes can get confusing quickly.  If you don't preview the material ahead of time, you're going to have trouble during class.  All this means that you're going to have to do a lot of studying later on.
  3. Study.  You can choose how you want to do this.  In high school, I studied every night, going over all the material I learned that day.  However, to be brutally honest, I didn't study until the night before a test in college...sans the finals since those are a wee bit more important.  Teachers like to tell you that cramming doesn't work.  But believe you me, it does.  You can hold seven (give or take two) pieces of information IMMEDIATELY before a test.  If you 'study' the night before, you can put some stuff into long term memory and the rest can go in your short term cache.  The point is study one way or another.
  4. Socialize.  If you hate people, go do something counter productive.  Watch TV, go bowling, or if you're like me, play 10 hours of Super Smash Bros. Melee each week.  10 hours is possibly more than what I played in a whole year in high school.  So I guess you could say I'm less studious, now.  The thing is, I feel like 'wasting' this time makes me relax and get away from the coursework.  Balance academics with fun-stuff.
  5. Shoot for a higher grade than you really want.  For instance, if you want a B, shoot for an A-.  You might not get an A-, but you'll be closer to a B.  That being said, if you are probably going to get a C, don't shoot for an A.  If you fail, you'll be depressingly miserable.  Finally, if you're probably going to get an A, shoot for the highest grade in the class.  That sounds pretentious, but it works.  If you make grades a competitive sort of thing, you'll do better because you think it matters more.
  6. Final tip: Study like an Asian.  Remember when I said I studied the day before a test?  I meant it.  However, that didn't mean a couple hours.  No.  They were more like 6 or 7 hour sessions with a single break in between.  Did I need all of that time?  No.  It's just what I like to do.  I study until I know I can get an A, then I study an additional 3 or 4 hours.  In the case of my finals, I had 6 days to study for my three finals.  I finished studying in 4.  But I didn't socialize at all until I handed in my exams.  The single most important tip I have is this:  when you think you're done studying, study the material two more times.  Do problems from the workbook if it's a problem-solving type class, like math or physics.  It helps.  It really does.
Thanks for reading,

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm a YouTube Partner!!

Hey all,

I haven't blogged in a while because I haven't really had the time.  School has been my focus, and apart from that, I am now a YouTube Partner.

Thus, my main focus will be on my YouTube channel for now, until I can get my 'flow' going again.  Once I have a set schedule for YouTube, I will post regularly here, again.

Please stick around, I'll be back.

As always,

Thanks for reading,

Monday, July 25, 2011

Source Code was a Breath of Fresh Air

Hey all,

Often times, movies are boring, and shallow with no real thematic elements.  However, every once in awhile, something different comes about to change how we view life and humanity.  Source Code is this rare occasion.

Before going into the specific elements which make this movie astounding, we should probably cover the not-so-goods.  The movie lacks a literal plot.  It is clear what the story is about but it is rather unclear how everything works.  This actually makes the entertainment value of the movie fairly disappointing.  The ending doesn't really make sense.  Watch the movie, and you'll know what I mean.  Nevertheless, plot points aside, the themes suggested in this film more than make up for its loss in plot.

  1. We should first go over Sean.  Sean is, in every sense of the word, a foil for the Captain.  It's unclear who the real Sean was, seeing as Christina never went into detail.  However, it is certain that Sean is a different person than the Captain.  The Captain is rational, and curious; Sean is spontaneous and reckless, living in the moment.
  2. One of the major themes is living life to the fullest.  That is, living every moment as if it's the last.  The ironic twist in the movie is that, Sean literally has 8 minutes to live every time he relives the train crash.  However, this movie presents a greater sense of the beauty of life.  At the end of the movie, Sean encourages everyone to laugh and have fun; enjoy life.
  3. Another theme is that of fate.  The movie seems to suggest that fate is in our own hands if we try hard enough to succeed.  The Captain relived and died the same scene multiple times, but was finally successful in changing his fate.
  4. The phone call to his father was one of the most touching moments in cinematic my opinion. The actual storyline was 'meh' but the theme behind it was pretty moving.  In the literal sense of the movie, the Captain can no longer be who he was in the real life.  He must be Sean, now.  However, thematically, when the Captain calls his father, it shows a change in the hero's quest, but also shows failure.  He is finally able to contact his father, only to do it in second person, saying he (the Captain) is sorry, rather than he himself is sorry.  This shows that Sean has distanced himself with his past, a bittersweet moment.
  5. One of the final things I noticed was the end scene with 'The Bean' in Chicago really framed the movie nicely.  In the beginning of the movie, Sean looked into a flat mirror and saw someone else's reflection - the real Sean's.  However, in 'The Bean' Sean sees himself, in a distorted manner.   It suggests how life will be different now, a false, distorted reality from the one the Captain was used to.  Mirrors are associated with reality, and the Captain constantly struggled with his own identity, a major side plot in the movie.  As the frames pan and zoom, the view does flatten, showing stability.
Overall, this movie was beautifully directed, and it's lack of closure is made up for by it's strong artistry.  If you want a movie worth thinking about for hours afterwards, give Source Code a go.

Final Rating: A

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

YouTube, Stop Changing the Aesthetics!

Hey all,

I was trying to watch a video today, when I got distracted by this monstrosity:

Normally, I wouldn't be too bothered with something like this, since it generally looks nice.  The grudge I have is that it just isn't YouTube!  I'm not saying change is bad, but there are certain things that make YouTube what it is.  The decked out black video player just isn't the same.  It actually reminds me of Google's change in thematic colors as well.  In fact...they're very similar.

Anyway, I just had to point that out.  YouTube should leave the player as it is.  There are certain functions that could be improved upon, but the color scheme should remain.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, July 8, 2011

The World of Cubing is Like that of Pokémon

Hey all,

So recently, I have been watching a lot of Pokémon episodes for nostalgia.  It has been my background noise for cubing for the past few months.  All of a sudden, it seems like I now see a connection between cubing and Pokémon.  Hear me out.

  1. Cubers are like trainers and coordinators.  Anyone who speedsolves for the sake of getting better times is like a Pokémon trainer.  Those who are collectors or modders are like Pokémon coordinators. - they attempt to show off their cubes as much as possible.
  2. Cubes are like Pokémon.  Each cube has a different feel just like how Pokémon all have different personalities.  It is the job of the trainer to find that feel and get in sync with the cube.  More on this later.
  3. Pokémon evolve, so do cubes.  Have you ever sanded a cube?  Created a hybrid?  Any sort of light modding is the same thing as evolving the cube.  When I added screws to my GuHong, the weight increased significantly, sort of like how Turtwig evolved into Grotle.  When a cube changes, the trainer needs to change as well.
  4. The connection between cube and cuber is the same as Pokémon and trainer.  Ash Ketcham likes to battle a certain way, but not all Pokémon like his style.  Buisel enjoys a different style, and Ash needs to adapt.  Cubes can morph a tad (AKA breaking in), but the plastic can only be changed so much.  The rest of the bond needs to come from the cuber.  Cubers should be able to learn how the cube responds.
  5. Trainers are strongest when they are in sync with their Pokémon.  Frankly, it's the same with cubing.  Ever had a bad day?  It's not because of cold or clammy hands.  It's actually because you're out of sync with your cube.  I sometimes find myself seeing one thing and turning another.  This causes lock-ups and pops and generally increases your times.  On good days, I am in perfect sync with my cube and can get good times.
The list goes on, but for now, this is enough to think about.  In Pokémon, it is never only the Pokémon's fault for a bad battle, more than half of it is the trainer's fault.  To be able to do well, a bond between cube and cuber needs to be formed.

Thanks for reading,