Today on KPop MVs: The Curious Case of the Giant Sweat Stain

What usually dapper Choi Siwon is wearing for this video is distracting me because it looks like he has a giant sweat stain on his chest.

Devil (Dance-Only version) - Super Junior, 2015

Book Diary: Paper Towns

I have read most of John Green's books, including The Abundance of Katherines, Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Looking for Alaska, and of course, the overly popular The Fault in Our Stars. I deliberately have missed out on Paper Towns, thinking last year that since they would be making a movie of it, I would make time to read it before I get to watch it.

Alas, the movie was about to be shown in a week when I finally mustered the diligence to read it. And I was quite delighted by the book, delighted enough to say it has actually become my favorite among Green's novels. The story didn't rely much on the melodrama (or lack) of star-crossed teenagers with a disease or someone with a of dating only girls named Katherine (which rather got tiring fast). This one's about a guy infatuated with his childhood friend, who after not being friends in high school, spent a night with her executing a series of pranks against her cheating boyfriend and other people she felt have wronged her, goes looking for her as she went missing the next day. 

Without the threat of going cheesy as what The Fault in Our Stars may have led Green to, Paper Towns comes out as more genuine and less affected. Gus and Hazel Grace, by virtue of their love story and disease, felt forced in a way that I felt that they needed to act as quickly as possible before their ill-fated love story ends. The trip to Amsterdam, the kissing in Anne Frank's house, the search for the difficult author all felt too grand. Good for YA audience, a tad melodramatic and staged for regular folk. 

On the other hand, Paper Towns felt more organic, with Q and Margo, although waxing philosophical through Walt Whitman and in the latter conversations, felt more authentic. That's who they are - an obsessed teenager in love with someone he idealized and an attention whore who thinks she's too cool for school, yet actually wanted to be found. That I wanted to slap Q in the middle of his obsessive search for Margo and Margo's lame excuse of not wanting to be found convinced me that these characters have more depth than the highly romanticized Hazel Grace and Gus. 

A lot of people may take the opposite view and see Paper Towns to be not as successful as The Fault in Our Stars because of a lack of grandness and heartstring-pulling found in the latter, but for me, it is one of the book's plus points. Q and his friends, in trying to find the missing Margo, became more fleshed out characters I didn't get the same feeling with The Fault in Our Stars, whose story had in fact fewer characters, which I thought should have provided Green more room to make them more real. But then, cancer and love story got in the way. 

Also, the hanging ending may cause people to be tepid in their appreciation of the book, but it also worked, at least for me.    

What I didn't like about the book were the chapters on Q's stakeouts in abandoned subdivisions. They dragged the narration and went on and on and on. It snapped me out of the Oralndo world Green created with these characters because they were just so boring to read. And when you bore a reader, you kind of lose him/her. I only got back because I wanted to finish the book, any book, and didn't want to bail out on it when I have already invested some time with the first chapters . Otherwise, I would have stopped. Well played, Green.

It has been three years since John Green's last book, and I hope he releases a new one soon, which I hope will be better than Paper Towns. The bar set by Paper Towns isn't that high, so I could only hope for better from him.  

The Return

I'm returning to blogging because social media happened.

Yes, four years after my last entry, I am resolving to come back to writing on this blog because social media. Since 2010, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest of the gang exploded in popularity, and along with this development, the shrinkage of everyone's attention span. No one seems to appreciate long-form content anymore. Everything is limited to a few characters as dictated by some program algorithm. On the other hand, people who tend to ramble in their writings (me included) are being threatened of not having an audience because no one reads long articles. It's all about attention-grabbing content these days. Get your readers hook, line, and sinker on the first paragraph, because their attention would be somewhere else by the second. So many websites have adapted a writing style of lists and short paragraphs to make sure their readers don't wander and click on the x icon or swipe down to close the page.

This presents a chicken-or-egg conundrum - which came first, short attention spans or short content? Did one cause the other? Did short content formats cause people to be over anything that requires them to sit down and read for five minutes? Or did people just get used to snippets of information since that's all they have access to every day?

Anyway, as someone who handles both content and social media in the office, I feel the need to write longer for fear that whatever talent I have will continue to deteriorate. With the prevalence of text message spelling and nonsensical trending topics, there is a need to continue writing without restricting the use of vowels and thinking of things other than what North West's sibling will be called or whether those two girls in a viral video are really pabebe, posers, or just downright scary.

So, what has happened since my last entry? I moved to two other jobs, David Bisbal (the subject of my last entry) has had another dud studio album, and I'm now back to what I love doing most - writing. Teaching English to Koreans was fine, but not something I would want to do for the rest of my life. I have met great people, reunited with old ones, and still trying to get the most out of life by doing a lot of sedentary activities like watching foreign film, television series marathons, and reading more.

Speaking of reading, I am resolved to read more, or at least spend as much time reading as watching movies or television shows. I have become more convinced that reading more does improve my writing. I remember this local author claiming that he's not much of a reader, which I thought explains the quality of his work.

Anyway, on with the show.