KPOP Junkie

I wrote, produced, and directed this KPOP parody for Stompy Ruffers Cultural Fusion Check it out and leave some feedback! Hope you enjoy it!

Also, here’s the companion “behind the scenes” vignette too! Shot entirely in Daegu, South Korea over the course of four weekends.

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Poor Girl (V)

Poor Girl

Part V

By: Brian M. Van Hise

I realized after pulling over at Brooks Bridge that umbrellas would have been useless, so maybe I should scratch that regret off my list. Turns out the evening shower from earlier had now exploded into something approaching a definable monsoon. And besides, I knew Linda didn’t care any longer about her hair and it getting wet. She said we had what they call “more pressing issues” at hand.


From the trunk, Linda and I picked up the girl’s limp body, me at the feet and Linda cradling her head and shoulders. We hoisted her up and out of the trunk, she was heavier than I thought, probably from all that rain having soaked into her hooded sweatshirt. Propping her up on one knee, I lowered the trunk back down and then shut it fully.


I looked Linda in the eye in that moment. The rain was coming down hard on her face. I wanted to believe they were tears, as if an overwhelming sadness had taken over her, not over the dead girl we held between us, but for her recent actions with Jack Drainer. However, I knew they weren’t tears.


We moved away from the car in sync with each other, our steps beginning to clamber down the slope that would lead to the Trent River, now gushing with a mighty force from the rainfall.


“I tried to tell you about Jack,” Linda said, with her elbows bent at ninety-degrees. I looked back and forth between her and the closed eyes of the poor girl. “But you wouldn’t listen. I tried telling you two months ago, when I mentioned seeing other people.”


“But you never said you had met someone new. I thought you were just expressing a fantasy,” I retorted. “You should have told me you wanted to get serious with him. You’re my wife, for Christ’s sake, Lindy.”


“It was wrong,” she said. “But, I really wanted you to listen.”


I could see the Trent River now, still below us as we lowered further and further down the embankment. The earth below my feet was soft and slick. A slippery slope. Something like that.


Linda reached out for the arm of a tree branch that was snaking down in her path. The branch looked strong and rigid, like it could support her. I watched as she gripped it, tearing off a few weak flakes of bark as she let go.


The dead girl’s body was getting heavier and heavier it seemed.


“Do you love him?” I asked. It was really the only question that mattered. The one that could decide our fate, our future.


“I don’t love him,” she said quickly, as if the question a silly one. “That’s a silly question, Les. You’re the man I love. It’s not about love.” She stopped for a second, looking at me carefully. “You were my first love, you know. And I decided to marry you and spend my life with you. But, I never knew what love felt like from another man. Maybe it was foolish to get married as early as we did.”


“Let’s keep walking,” I said. “We’re almost there now.”


The river was in sight and what a magnificent sight it was! We couldn’t even make it to the proper landing at the bottom of the bridge. The river was flooding over now and roaring with life as it streamed eastward.


“I didn’t mean to hurt you.”


I fretted at this.


Remembering how she had made her angry exit from his house earlier, I said: “Why were you yelling at him when you left? I saw you.”


Linda lay the dead girl’s body onto the ground and crossed the girls’ hands over her chest. She tugged on the drawstrings in the hoodie to cover the dead face as much as possible.


“Because we had a fight. He wanted me to leave you. He kept persisting, Les. And I knew I never wanted to leave you. But, he wouldn’t let it go, kept persisting. Talked so much about a future together with me. So, we argued about it. And I hit him. I told him I never wanted to see him again and that it was all just a dumb mistake.”


It was clear what we were to do with the body. Linda was now prepping it for its journey down the river off to some other place we would hopefully never know about. As she adjusted the hoodie, I took time to re-tie the girl’s shoelaces, as they had loosened considerably.


“Anyway, it happened. And I’m sorry,” she stood up, and brushed a bit of hair out of her face. “And it won’t happen ever again. I never want to experience that again. Ever again.”


I stood too and looked at my wife. “Let’s get her in the water.”


We hoisted the body up again together. The burden was almost too much to bear.


“On my count,” I said as we began to sway her limp body from side to side.




I gripped the girl’s ankles as hard as I could with two hands. Ambidextrous.



I looked into the open face of her hoodie and could see only the girl’s lips and a small part of her nose still jutting out.  I briefly imagined it was Linda’s face. Linda’s body. Linda’s horrible deed that we were about to cast out into the rushing waters.




We released her.


She splashed into the water and went under, but a moment later she resurfaced and we watched as that poor girl was carried briskly downstream, out beyond what we could see, into the winding darkness of the river that would lead to greater rivers and at some point to the great body of ocean or lake which undoubtedly lay beyond.


And I released her as well.


I cast her out in some personal way. Linda, I mean. What she had done.


There were going to be talks and fights and arguments and mistrust and denial and anger and confusion and hearbreak yet to come. Undoubtedly yet to come. But in this moment, she was still my partner and not caring if it was my left hand or right hand, not giving any thought to bringing further balance to my life, I reached out and grabbed my wife’s hand and began to lead her up the embankment once again.


She gripped my hand tightly and let me pull her.


And behind us, that river kept on rushing by and the rain, it wouldn’t let up until almost morning.



Poor Girl Car

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Poor Girl (IV)

Poor Girl

Part IV

By: Brian M. Van Hise


Some folks live their lives full of regrets. Regret not having played football in high school, regret choosing the wrong major in college, regret meeting the wrong boy or girl. Others tend to live without regrets, feeling that the natural course life takes makes us much stronger and better prepared for unknown challenges.


I do have one regret that night.


I regret not bringing my umbrella.


Of course, I hadn’t intended on hitting that jogging woman or needing to get out of my car at all really, but when Linda insisted I open the trunk and show her what was inside, I realized that in doing so, Linda’s hair would get wet. Sticky wet from the rain. And it would get matted and knotty, kinda like the dead girl (well, apparently alive still) and I would likely spend the better half of the evening brushing out Linda’s hair after she had dried it back home.


“Open the trunk,” she said, looking at me wide-eyed.


I didn’t hesitate, but just reached over and depressed the lever. I heard a click come from behind us. I looked in the rearview mirror, seeing the trunk now slightly open. Part of me expected it to spring upward and hear the girl climb her way out. When that didn’t happen, Linda opened her door and stepped out.


“Honey,” I called out after her. She turned briefly to me. “You’ll get wet” was all I could think of to say. She grimaced and closed the door behind her.


From the driver’s seat I watched through the mirror as she lifted the trunk. It covered her face through the reflection so I could only guess at what horrid expression must have struck her then. I gulped slowly, wanting to take my eyes off the mirror but couldn’t. She didn’t say anything, nor did the jogger girl. Both women seemed absolutely silent.


A realization struck me. Just an hour earlier I had discovered my wife’s dirty secret about another man. And now, she was discovering my dirty secret about another woman. Albeit different secrets of different natures, it gave me pause as a rationalization of sorts. Who was I to judge and criticize her when–


Linda lowered the hood a little and walked around to the passenger side of the car. She opened the rear door, not saying a word to me, and reached for the black squeegee. She gripped it firmly and shook it briefly in the air. Then she closed the door, raised the trunk once more, and through the rearview mirror I could see her hold the squeegee high up in the air. Then a moment later it came crashing down, punctuated with a sharp THUD sound, the force of which shook the car, feeling for a moment like a small schooner on a swelling ocean wave. The force of her blow moved my insides up and down, up and down. Like the drop from a roller coaster.


Anyway. Like I was saying, I had a realization. Who was I to judge and criticize her secrets when I myself had a new secret I was keeping about another woman? Granted, I hadn’t been having sex with her and certainly didn’t know her name, but it was somehow similar, wasn’t it? I tried to keep this thought in my head, because I had a feeling that if I kept thinking hard enough about it, I could expand it into a larger thesis…heck, maybe even a publishable article for Psychology Today if I worked hard on it.


Linda slammed the trunk shut, tossed the squeegee into the backseat, and got back in next to me.


“Drive to Brooks Bridge.”


I swallowed hard.


“Is she…?”


“Just drive to Brooks Bridge now,” she commanded, not looking at me.


I started up the car once again and began to drive. One blow was all she had given the poor girl. One good, solid blow, from the hard edge of the plastic squeegee was all that was needed apparently, to wipe out a life that had been dangling on anyway. Dangling was a good word to describe a life that could be closed out by a squeegee. Dangling like the headphones she’d been wearing I guess.


I rolled down my window as I pulled away from the side of the road.


Brooks Bridge was only about two miles off.


I picked up the bloody squeegee from the backseat, passed it into my left hand, and started to scrape the rain off the windshield. Blood from the girl had mixed in with the drops, but I suppose it was a good way to clean it off. After all, once I got the wipers fixed, I had every intention to return the squeegee to J&J’s Texaco on Route 3.


Linda spoke again: “We need to get rid of this body.”


To be concluded in Part V…

Poor Girl Car

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Poor Girl (III)

Poor Girl

Part Three

By Brian M. Van Hise


It was a good thing I had taken out the tent set from the back trunk the week before. Usually I procrastinate those kinds of things. Linda and I had spent two nights in the mountains, our first time using the tent that I had bought on impulse three years earlier. We left for the mountains eager to get some R&R (Linda works as a county commissioner, which tends to be a stressful job for her), but came down the mountain full of mosquito bites and unsettled arguments. The whole trip probably added more stress actually.


The dead woman’s body fit comfortably in the trunk, in between the tire jack and plastic bag of empty water bottles I had meant to take down to the recycling center. I gave the poor girl one last glance before slamming the trunk shut and carrying on with the night’s mission.


I found Drainer’s house with relative ease, even with one headlight busted and the rain coming down harder than ever. Linda’s SUV was parked about a block away, probably her only major effort to try to conceal her devious actions. I parked in front of his neighbor’s house, next to the sidewalk she would have to take to reach her car. I turned off the ignition and rolled up the window, sitting in darkness, watching the light from his front porch scatter and bend through the rain.


I had a moment to reflect a bit, to better understand what it was that was unfolding now. I didn’t think for one moment about the dead girl in the trunk. Rather, simply found myself peering up to that porch light and thinking what lay beyond, behind the walls of that house. Which room were they in now? Top floor or bottom? Did they even find a bedroom for their tryst or would the living room sofa or kitchen counter suffice? Each time I blinked, I saw his face…that ugly airbrushed, studio pic Jack Drainer used for all of his real estate ads.


I didn’t know what to think. Should I prepare what to say when confronting her? Should I let anger take over or calm, collectiveness? I wish I had a copy of Psychology Today in the car. Maybe an answer would be there.


Was the affair Linda’s way of reaching a better balance in her life? Had she read an article somewhere that suggested sleeping with your real estate agent was a better way to achieve balance?


I was in mid-thought when I saw the front door open and Linda stammer out. I say stammer because she was livid. Stomping her feet and not caring about getting herself wet, she turned around to whoever was still inside and, though I couldn’t make out the words, there was no denying their meaning. She was pissed at something.


I moved my head slightly from left to right, gazing through the rain trying to catch more of what was happening.


Then Linda started walking down the driveway and when she reached the sidewalk, she turned my way.


I sat up straight and watched as she came closer. Behind her, the door closed and that front porch light clicked off.


I watched as my wife unknowingly approached me, shuffling about in the storm, testing the durability of her heels. She made no effort to shield the rain.


Then she saw my car, at least, I could tell she had a moment of recognition. Certainly the broken headlight and whatever damage there was to the fender made her take pause, but once her eyes moved about and she saw me, sitting there behind the wheel, she had her affirmation.


I swallowed, then leaned over and unlocked the door. I pushed it open for her and said: “Get in” before she was close enough to hear me.


Linda lowered her head and looked at me through the passenger. She didn’t say anything at first. She knew I knew of course. And there was nothing for her to say.


“Get in,” I repeated.


She climbed in and closed the door. Soon we were on the road.


“We’ll pick up your car tomorrow,” I said. “I can take you on my way in.”


I looked over at her.

Her eyes were pointed forward. She looked quite still on the outside. I could only imagine how fast her heart must have been beating then, how, just under the surface of her skin, her systems were in overload.


Finally, she spoke.


“What happened to the headlight?”


She kept looking forward.


“The headlight?”

“Yes. It’s broken. Don’t you know?”


“I…hit a deer.”


Then she turned to look at me.


“You what?”

“You heard me. I hit a deer.”


“Here? In the city?”


“Yes. Just 20 minutes ago.”


She faced forward again. “You hit a deer?” she said again under her breath.


Just then I could hear a muffled thump come from behind me. And then twice: thump-thump!


Linda looked to the back seat. “What was that?”


“What was what?”


“That sound. A thumping sound.”




“There it is again. What is that?” She began to claw around in the back seat, leaning her body over. She picked up the squeegee and poked around in the darkness behind the seats.


“Goddamn deer probably knocked something loose on the undercarriage. I’ll check it out tomorrow.”

“I don’t think it’s the undercarriage.”


And then a LOUD thump-thump-thump-THUMP!


Linda sat up straight and looked at me. I stopped the car and swallowed hard.


Maybe that deer wasn’t dead after all.


To be continued…

Poor Girl Car

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Poor Girl (II)

Poor Girl

Part Two

By: Brian M. Van Hise


She left first but it wasn’t important for me to follow her since I knew where Drainer lived already. He lived in the Vista West subdivision, just past the creek and small forest which separated our homes. She left first and took her car, leaving me alone once again.


Sometimes stories start in funny ways. Like, “it was a dark and stormy night” or “once upon a time”. My story itself didn’t start with a clever hook like that,  but maybe I could start this part by saying it was, indeed, a dark and stormy night.


I backed my car out of the driveway and into the rain, which was pelting heavily on all sides, with no signs of letting up at all. I flipped on the windshield wipers, then quickly remembered they were broken. Fretting, I reached into the back seat to retrieve the window-cleaning squeegee I had lifted from the J&J Texaco on Route 3 earlier in the week. It was just a small bit of thievery. And I had even donated a few bucks to the local MS society fund-raiser the Texaco clerk had suggestively sold me. He made me write my name on a paper-shaped pot-of-gold cutout and when I wrote “Nixon Family” he smiled, showing a snaggle-tooth, and said: “Like the president!” I said I didn’t know as I pushed the pot-of-gold paper back to him and watched him tape it up next to 3 others. It was a $2 donation. Maybe it’s not the exact price of the plastic squeegee, but it made me feel better about stealing it.


I rolled down the driver’s side window and rolled up the sleeve on my left arm. This was how to drive in a rain storm, squeegeeing the rain away as it fell, never catching up and always behind. Something like that Sissy-fuss fellow from high school English we learned about.


I wasn’t in any particular hurry. I figured it best to actually catch her escaping from his house, so as she wouldn’t try to sweet-talk her way through whatever excuses she could conjure up about the message I’d read. Best to just park right outside his house and wait for her and then confront her about it.


I drove quickly down the darkened road, passing through the small wooded area and over the creek that would be gushing with water soon enough, from all the rainfall. There was no one else on the road. It was a Wednesday night after all and maybe all the night owls actually were playing bridge tonight and not out and about. I kept my eyes on the headlights in front of me, a bit transfixed with the constantly falling rain drops. Focusing on just one proved to be impossible as they were falling too fast. I’ve seen those pictures in magazines, not Psychology Today, but others at the newsstand, of high-frame rate cameras capturing a single drop of water splash onto a surface. Too fast for the human eye to see. And yet, we did see it, but just couldn’t slow down our own vision, our own spot in time, to really appreciate it. Still, I wanted to see it, wanted to see each of those rain drops pause in time for the briefest of moments to form that slow-shifting splash onto the hood of my —


And then I hit the woman square on, the force of the car thrusting her body forward onto the darkened road ahead. The impact had shattered the passenger-side headlight and by the time I was able to stop the car, I had already rolled once over her body.


I sat there, both hands on the wheel. I put the car into reverse and backed up, turning the wheel a bit so as not to crush her head. I focused the remaining headlight onto her limp body. I moved the squeegee quickly back and forth over the windshield to clear up my view. She was a jogger, wearing running clothes. Her bloody hand was clutching her MP3 player and I could see the headphone wires snaking up into the covers of her hoodie. A blond ponytail skirted out from along her shoulder, having come undone by the impact and already beginning to clump up with the dirt from the pavement.


I felt bad for the poor girl’s hair getting dirty.


I kept the car running and looked at my watch. By now, Linda was probably well into her session with Jack Drainer. If I was going to confront her, I needed to get going.


I looked back at the dead, helpless woman I had hit. I would have to deal with her later.


I reached over with my left hand and popped the trunk.


To be continued…

Poor Girl Car


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Poor Girl (1)

Back in 2007(ish) I used to enjoy short story writing on my blog. I would think of an idea during the day at work, and then go home at night and write a little and upload. Leaving a cliffhanger, I would spend the next day thinking about how to take the story further, then write another segment that evening. This would continue for a few consecutive days until the story was complete. Often times, I would not know exactly where the story was headed even after starting it. In that fashion, I’d like to again serialize some new short fiction in this way.

This story is a re-telling, re-write of a story I wrote back in 2007. I don’t have the original, but I remember the story and always enjoyed it. It’s called Poor Girl and here’s part one:



Part One

By: Brian M. Van Hise


My name is Lester Nixon and my wife had been having an affair for nearly two months before I found out and confronted her and her lover over it. In hindsight, it’s hard to know why I hadn’t suspected anything. But, as is the case, it eventually became known and then led to a very fateful night between us.


Lester Nixon. Like the president. The Nixon part, not Lester.


She used to say it was bridge night with the girls and that she was usually at Marcella’s house or The Hockstetters place. I never called to check. Had no reason to doubt her. It wasn’t until one evening when she was taking an early shower and had left her phone on the kitchen counter. I was in the living room, watching the last of the WWE World Championship Live from Vegas and fingering the remnants of Cheetos residue from the ceramic bowl, part of a set that Linda’s mother had given us for our wedding.


It’s not often her phone rings without her around. She must have just forgotten it this time. So, there it was buzzing and ringing, scuttling across the kitchen counter to nowhere in particular. That’s when I realized that I could return the empty Cheetos bowl to the kitchen and check to see who was calling all at once. One bird. Two stones. Something like that.


I picked up the phone with my left hand, something I’d been trying to do more often lately–using my unfavored hand for more tasks. I read an article in Psychology Today that said if you trained yourself to be ambidextrous it could lead to more balance in life. Maybe more balance is what we all need.


Holding the phone in my hand I was at first a bit surprised to see his name surface: Jack Drainer. He was our realtor when we closed on the house last March. Nice guy but had a phony smile and a strange handshake. I remember his two smaller fingers gripping tightly while his index and middle finger had just sat there limply, doing nothing at all. Maybe next time I would offer my left hand and see what he thought.


Why would Jack Drainer be calling my wife at eight o’clock on a Wednesday night?


The buzzing stopped and I pushed the phone aside and ran the empty Cheetos bowl to the sink. Even though I had eaten everything, Linda didn’t like it if I didn’t at least rinse out the bowls and cups I used. Sometimes Cheetos can stain, so I knew she’d kill me if I didn’t do it.


A moment later her phone buzzed once.


An incoming message.


Drying my hands, I walked over again to her phone and picked it up (left-hand, getting good!). A message from Drainer: “U coming over soon?”


I listened for the shower in our upstairs bedroom. I don’t know if it’s possible to listen with one ear over the other or if that creates balance in life like Psychology Today says, but I kept my focus on that upstairs bathroom nonetheless and realized that the shower had stopped.


I lowered the phone to the kitchen counter. The message vanished off the screen and transformed into a small blinking green light. My left hand. It was shaking a bit now. Just a slight tremble as my body slowly came to realize what Wednesday night bridge nights really meant. I swallowed, feeling just a slight aftertaste of Cheeto bits dislodging in-between my teeth. The WWE credits had finished rolling and had been replaced with a commercial for life insurance.


Just then a voice called out from our bedroom.


“Hon, can you get me an extra towel from the dryer? I did the wash earlier.”


At first I couldn’t move. She’s having an affair. She’s going to meet him tonight.


I drummed my left hand over the counter, eager to do something to keep it from trembling.


“Hon?” Linda’s voice called out again.


I needed more time to think things through.


“Um…yes. Yes. I’ll get one.” I called out.


“I want to get to bridge club early tonight,” she responded.

She wants to get there early. The early bird. And a worm. Something like that.


To be continued…

Poor Girl Car

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Copyright & Plagiarism in South Korea


한국어로 아래를 참고 하세요

Last night I caught the last few minutes of the Korean drama 별그대 and noticed SBS Broadcasting made use of Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” song. I was curious if SBS had permission to use the song, so I asked a Korean friend of mine. She was slightly offended by my inquiry, saying essentially: “What do you take Korea for?” Her rationale was, SBS is a huge broadcaster, so of course obtained permissions first.  However, at the end of the episode, I only saw credits to the show’s sponsors and no rights credits given.

The reason I’m curious is, there’s a Victoria’s Secret store in Daegu now. It’s obviously not an authorized retailer and sells marked up items smuggled in through customs. My question is, how did the business owner get a license from the city to open shop under the name “Victoria’s Secret”? Most likely, the city is just turning a blind eye to it.

These kind of shops utilize travelers  to buy Victoria’s Secrets products and bring them back as they return to Korea. The markup is huge. A single bra will run $150.

I spoke with another Korean friend this morning who essentially said that plagiarism just isn’t on the public conscience yet here in Korea and I found this article online today addressing this further.

Here’s an excerpt:

Mr. Kim is a graduate student at Korea University who asked to be identified only by his family name. He says Koreans may not have a well-established understanding of plagiarism. He attended schools in the United States and says Americans seemed to understand that claiming other people’s work as their own is wrong.

MR. KIM: “In Korea, that history may not be as long. So there still isn’t a huge consensus, in general, amongst all Koreans as to what plagiarism actually means. What is the extent of plagiarism and whether plagiarism itself is acceptable or not.”

To Korea’s credit, I remember, a few years ago Olleh Mobile ran a series of commercials using Star Wars characters. There was a clear copyright notice at the bottom of the commercials, which was nice to see:

I’m curious to know if anyone can tell me if major broadcasters, like SBS, do give proper credit/receive permissions to use music like they did last night.

Your thoughts?

어젯밤에 별에서 온 그대 20회 끝에 Bruno Mars의 “Marry You”  노래를 나왔다. 그런데 끝까지 보면 그 노래 사용하는 허락을 못 봤다. 저작권 침해이다? 궁금해서 내 친구에세 물어보고  “응 공인방송을 그럴거야”…”대체 한국을 뭘로보는거니”라고 대답했다. SBS 큰 방송국이라서 그렇게 절대로 안한다고 주장했다.

대구에 Victoria’s Secret 가게를 새로 생겼지만 구매대행이다. 분명하게 공인되지 않은 매장이다. 어떻게 매장 주인이 대구광역시에서 사업허가증을 받은지 모르다. 어떻게? 내가 진짜 궁금한다.

다른 한국 친구가 대부분 한국사람들이 표절의식이 없다고 말했다. 학교에서도 표절이 특별한 문제아니라고 말했다.

한국친구 여러분 어떻게 생각해요?

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