As most of you know, there are a lot of things that I hate. In the words of my girl-crush and Queenadreena front woman, Katie-Jane Garside, “I know what doesn’t drive me mad, more than I know what I like.” Maybe it’s because it’s a holiday and I don’t have to work, so I’m feeling more forgiving than usual, or maybe I’m just in a good mood, despite having a nasty head cold and having head a rather up-and-down week. Anyway, I was nosing through iTunes to see what new stuff has come out, and I was pleasantly surprised to find something I didn’t hate. Long story short… Well actually, it’s a short story made longer by the fact that I’m writing about it. In any case, I thought I’d do a post about things that I don’t hate.
I just stumbled onto this new band, which consists of two alt rap guys named Kid Cudi and Dot Da Genius. I don’t have a lot of faith in music these days. Everything is so commercial, and it seems like the sheer love of creating something inventive with an interesting perspective has sort of gone out the window, as far as pop culture goes. When you turn on the popular radio stations, it’s all Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj, Lil’ Wayne and whoever else is popular right now.
I go through phases with rap music. On one hand, I despise the misogyny of the genre, as well as the emphasis on guns and violence. That said, one of my favorite artists ever is a rapper, Tech N9ne. Tech has legitimate lyrical talent and amazing – amazing – rap ability. This guy is so fast, your head will spin. I mean, he’s awesome. What’s even better is that he has great respect and love for his fans, and he has yet to put out a weak album. He’s been at least a bit underground for most of his career, and I selfishly like him there, because that way he can do what he wants and continue to make rhymes that I actually want to hear.
WZRD is definitely not Tech N9ne. I wouldn’t really call WZRD rap. It’s lyrical but melodic. I wouldn’t really even say that so far the lyrics are that great. Frankly, I think it’s hard to find great lyricists these days. You have to go to the indie genre if you want that. That said, their production is excellent, and isn’t that what pop music is all about today – production? Their sound combines older influences like Nirvana, but mixes it with a dash of hip-hop. I almost want to say there’s some 80s electro-pop in there somewhere, but not quite. Lord knows I’m a sucker for a synth. But the delivery of their lyrics is truly reminiscent of the alt/grunge rockers of the late 80s and early 90s.
As I’m listening to it, I find myself amazed that people expecting rap are buying this album. iTunes has it labeled “alternative,” and there is almost nothing rap-like to be found here. The more songs I preview, the more shocked I am that it was put together by rappers. It is so inspired by alt rock. It has that melancholic, intense sound of the drug-addled and depressed – a sound that, might I add, is near and dear to my heart. The more I listen, the more I love it. It’s completely different from anything I’ve heard in the genre lately. I heard that Lil’ Wayne (gag) tried to make one of his albums with a “rock” sound, but it didn’t go down all that well in execution. Not that I’m surprised, since I personally think Wayne sucks.
I suppose I can’t say that the individual parts of their music are anything new and different, but I suppose music is never truly anything new and different. The bottom line is that I like the way this album is put together. I honestly like it. I really do. It’s grungey and trippy and electric, and it feels like something I could listen to in the car in anticipation of warmer weather and better times to come. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing more of these guys.
This is such a guilty pleasure, and it has occurred as a direct result of being a teacher. I love Rilakkuma. Rilakkuma is this bear character from Japan. He has two friends, Co-Rilakkuma (that’s what my kids call the white bear) and Chick. In Korea, they’re cute, irresistible characters. Apparently in Japan, the chicken kills Rilakkuma and traps his spirit in a bear suit or something sick like that. I’m not totally sure that’s true, by the way. My students aren’t always champion truth tellers.
They love Rilakkuma and Angry Bird stickers, and I hook them up with some whenever they have good tests. The top students get pick of the biggest, best, and cutest stickers. This wouldn’t work for $h!t with American kids, but Korean students are so competitive that it works a treat. Status is recognized at our academy by the size and presence of many stickers. It means that you rock way harder than other kids and have more sugary-sweet mounds of cuteness stick to your books, pencil cases, and sticker books. Yes, many of my girls collect stickers.
Why do I like Rilakkuma? It’s hard to say, other than I find it so damn cute. That pink squirrel kills me. That’s how you know you’ve been in Asia too long – you’re starting to have a seriously large, soft spot in your heart for weird, oddly adorable anime characters. I’m strongly considering putting a big ol’ Rilakkuma squirrel sticker on my Mac as declaration of my love for this bear and his friends. Maybe I’m just jealous that they eat sugar all day and never get fat, because seriously, they are always eating honey pancakes, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, and bread and never gaining an ounce. That is simply not fair. You can’t be insanely cute and not have to worry about your weight! God, I love Rilakkuma.
Thank you, Japan, for inventing strange, kooky, appealing characters for me to stick on my personal items and look like I have a strange fetish for Asia. Next I’m going to have to start dressing in Harajuku fashion…
This sounds like a strange thing to say for me, since I normally despise socks. They make my feet sweaty, and I just don’t like them. I like my feet to either be clad in sandals, heels, or flats, none of which require socks. Unfortunately, those aren’t so much an option in the winter when you have to walk everywhere, and your feet are frozen even in the best of times.
Still, I have found an uncommon number of hilarious/cute socks in Korea, and I’m starting to love them. Putting “F**k You” socks on or Jjangu socks makes it all better. Jjangu is another anime cartoon from Japan about this naughty little boy. He drops his pants, draws elephant ears around his man-parts, points to his junk, and swivels his hips singing, “Ele-phant, ele-phant!” One of my kids stood up in class two years ago and did this, minus the pants-dropping part. I’ve been doing the elephant dance ever since, to great effect. I totally have a pair of socks featuring Jjangu with his junk out, elephant ears boldly painted on, penis swinging in the breeze. Dirty, yes. Hilarious? You betcha!
I found a new email client, Zoho. I think it’s more commonly used for businesses, but they have a free individual platform. I will freely admit that it isn’t as user-friendly as Gmail, and it isn’t as pretty. You know what they don’t do, though? Ask for private information. They never know your name. You just set up an account and that’s it. You need a pre-existing email to do it, just to have a user name, but then it’s done, and you only use your new ID. I love it. I’m deleting the Gmail account as soon as I get all of my stuff like this blog and other things changed over to Zoho. Screw you, Google.
Beverly Hills, 90210
I’ve been watching the first season of the old 90210 a lot lately. I guess I’m feeling nostalgic for 1993 or something. I totally remember watching this show on Wednesday nights before Melrose Place. Shannen Doherty/Brenda made my life. I never understood why people thought she was such a bitch. I mean, her best friend stole her man, her dad was always on her ass… She was just telling it like it is. I always liked Brenda for sticking up for herself. If that’s bitchy, I guess I’m a bitch, too. Besides, Shannen was one of the Hollywood bad girls at the time, and I have a soft spot in my heart for bad girls. I always thought the show went straight down the tube after Shannen left the show.
I mean, let’s be honest here: Kelly was a back-stabbing C U Next Tuesday who was about as interesting as vanilla pudding. Donna was too goody-goody. Brandon was always trying to save everyone. Dylan was a string of bad choices. Steve was a Holzkopf. David Silver was just… ugh. Oh, and there was Andrea/Gabrielle Carteris, who looked 32 from the first day of filming and never made a convincing teenager. It probably didn’t help that she was playing the mentally oldest character on the show. Brenda Walsh made that show. She was the only one who seemed even a little real to me – probably because Shannen Doherty had the most talent of anyone in the cast.
The whole problem with Shannen/Brenda was that Shannen had such a strong presence off-screen that I think her real persona started to overshadow Brenda, and then Brenda finally became Shannen. Whether that was intentional on the part of the writers or not, I will never know. What I do know is that Brenda was friggin’ rad, and I was so sad when they wrote her out. I will never forget the scene when Kelly and Dylan tell Brenda about their fling. Loved the outfit – so trashy and bad-ass. Dylan and Kelly = selfish, waffling morons. Brenda was better off without them.
Recipes that I will mostly never use
I go on sprees with cooking sometimes. Mostly, I don’t cook that much. My excuse now is that I don’t have a decent oven to use, and my kitchen is so small and ridiculous that cooking is a pain, rather than a pleasure. There isn’t enough counter space in my kitchen to make cooking easy or enjoyable, although I will say that compared to most kitchens in Korea, I’m not doing too badly. Still, I would prefer a place where I didn’t have to sit on the couch to mix the dough.
I guess I’ve been yearning on some inner level for a real kitchen, because I’ve been saving recipes from Paula Deen’s website like crazy and reading this blog that Beth clued me in to, So Delushious. It’s written by Chrissy Teigen, supermodel and fiancée of John Legend. She’s freaking hilarious, and her recipes are oh-my-gosh-amazing. When I want humor, I read Chrissy. When I want butter-slathered goodness, I go to Paula. Of course, I save these recipes, dream about them, and then never use them. I tell myself that it’s because my kitchen sucks, and the ingredients are mostly unavailable. I guess one excuse is as good as the next, but I swear that I’m going to start cooking when we have a real kitchen. I don’t want to be one of those women who can’t cook for shiz.
I guess if you go by this latest list of things that I love, I should logically be spending my holiday baking a Rilakkuma cake in my socks while either listening to WZRD or watching 90210. I can’t say that it wouldn’t be a day well-spent, but it’s not going to happen, unfortunately. Oh well.