Friday, June 7, 2019

Kdrama Review: Her Private Life

Drama: Her Private Life
Genre: romantic comedy
Starring: Kim Jae Wook, Park Min Young, Jung Je Won
Rating:❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

A very fun premise about a career girl who is still, even in her VERY OLD 30s!!!, fangirling over the dreaded KPOP IDOL GROUPS! GASP!

So she is in love with a particular group (a fictional group played by the real life IN2IT that I, um, love. Yes.) and especially in love with a particular member of that group...also fictional (meaning not part of IN2IT) and played by the lovely rapper One (aka. Jung Je Won).

Turns out she is SO into this group and this idol that she is actually the masternim of one of his most popular fansites.. .and so she dresses up in black with her big camera and "stalks" him at all his events and appearances, taking amazing pictures and posting them to her site and then moderating the group chats and forums, etc.


By day she is an art curator at an art museum. And one day when she is out trying to buy some paintings, she runs into a dude named Ryan Gold and they fight over the same painting. He wants it because he is drawn to from his memories, she wants it because her idol has just posted that he loves this artist. :)

And then suddenly this Ryan Gold, from America (but yes Korean) ends up as the director of their museum. And they don't hit it off very well.

But THEN... he wants to do an exhibit highlighting these paintings he loves, and he learns that the idol has the biggest collection of them, so he is going to commission him to be part of the exhibition. And takes our fangirling girl with him. To the IDOL'S HOUSE! And she freaks out and there is a mishap and now everyone thinks wrong things and to cover it up she and Ryan Gold now have to pretend they are dating... to throw the spotlight off SiAn (the idol).

"Pretending" 

And THEN, they suddenly realize they are actually extremely attracted to each other......

And it's a fabulous love story from there and I loved it! It's just so much fun! And these characters are the best. Loved loved loved.

HOWEVER, I'm still a bit sad at how the fangirling is portrayed. And how the fans of the idol are portrayed. And yeah. The stereotyping is just really frustrating and annoying. The idea that one should hide it, that's somehow embarrassing to love and idol group. Yeah, all the same old same old.

But our lovely main dude character, played by the beautiful Kim Jae Wook ,  is very accepting of this part of her life. (Because spoiler, you know he figures it out....) And THAT is shown beautifully.

He's perfect for this part.

Anyway. It's a fun one!! Park Min Young gets ALL THE GOOD ONES! And she gets all the awesome kissing dramas! (This is one of the best kissing dramas I've seen so far, in case you wondered.) What is UP with that???


A fun trailer with an interview and bloppers:





The song:

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Reading Recap: May 2019

The fountain at the Bellagio in Las Vegas


The books I read this month!

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: A family saga covering Sunja's family as they move from Korea to Japan during the Japanese occupation, through WWII and into modern times.

Educated by Tara Westover: The author's memoir documenting her strange life growing up as the daughter of a father who wanted to live off the grid, including not having his kids go to school... and how she left and ended up getting a doctorate from Cambridge.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: A re-read of this one of my favorite books about a girl who is famous online for her web comic, but a misfit quiet girl in real life.

Mercy by Rebecca Lim: Mercy wakes up in Carmen's body and has to figure out how to survive once again and figure out what she needs to do to end this cycle. Maybe if she helps this family solve the mystery of their missing daughter?

Favorites: Educated and Pachinko both top the list. Re-reading Eliza was also enjoyable.

Book Challenge Progress:

Pachinko: National Book Award finalist
Educated: book with a strong female character
Mercy: book from the customer recommended shelf

June Goals:

  • do a buddy read with my son of Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson (except he already finished)
  • read the book club book
  • maybe start another book for the challenge

How's your reading going my friends?




Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Book Review: Mercy by Rebecca Lim

Book: Mercy by Rebecca Lim

Genre: YA SF
Rating: ★ ★

I picked this one up at the bookstore from the "customer recommended" shelf because, for the challenge this store is doing, one of the categories is to read something from this shelf.

Well. I must say. I was not impressed with this one! Dang it! :)

It's about a girl who wakes up and finds herself yet again in someone else's body. So, as she has had to do over and over, she quickly figures out her situation and adapts to survive whatever life she is living this time. We as the readers have no idea why this is happening to her, or what she is, just that she is an entity that is now in someone else's body.

So the girl she is now being has just arrived at a sort of exchange program for the high school choir she belongs to. And she is given to a host family that seems to be dealing with some sort of tragedy. And suddenly she takes it upon herself to help them solve this mystery. Mostly because she is attracted to the brother. Hmm.

It was just a weird story. And kinda of boring until the end, as some of these books go... a lot of set up and then the end gets good and then it's over and then you have to read the next book to see what happens next. And while I'm usually okay with set up, I just didn't feel it this time. Like while we are setting up the plot, let's also get us invested in characters too. Yeah? For me, it didn't happen.

From the book blurb and etc. we know that she is a fallen angel, but that is never really explained in this first book. There are other beings we meet that make us wonder, hmmm, what is going on, but nothing is really explained. Despite the set up feeling. It's just... all weird.

Luckily it was a short and easy to read book. It was a fun experiment to grab some random book off the shelf to read based on some stranger recommendation. But I wasn't hooked and will most likely not be reading anymore from the series.








Sunday, June 2, 2019

Concert Review: STRAY KIDS in LA May 17, 2019


Changbin, Hyunjin, Woojin, Lee Know, Seungmin
I.N, Han Jisung, Felix, Bang Chan

After the fiasco of the ATEEZ concert in March, I was very nervous about this concert. I knew it HAD to be better because we all had seats. No pit at all. But I was still nervous about if all I would see would be phones. And if the sound would be okay such that I might actually hear the songs just a little. Or would I only hear screams?

Anyway. We (I took Adia and Leila with me this time) traveled to LA (actually Pasadena which is not quite LA) on the Thursday before. We drove through nice awesome gusts of wind and one dust storm that was pretty scary there for a second. Rain threatened the whole way, but never really dumped on us, so that was good. We arrived to an overcast and chilly California, but was greeted by the hotel front desk dude who asked what we were there for. When I said, a concert, he said, "Oh, the Korean band?" I was like "yeah, but BTS was here LAST week!" He was like, yeah, and THAT was insane! :) I was happy to know that he knew there was yet another Korean band besides BTS gracing their lovely city. LOL.

On Friday we made our traditional concert pilgrimage to Choice Music in Koreatown (very much LA now) and spent a ton of money on albums. We had beverages at the nearby cafe and opened them and filmed ourselves a bit. A very nice old Korean dude watched us the entire time, fascinated. Finally stood up and asked us what we were doing. We explained it all and he loved it. He explained that his wife was a famous singer too in a big fancy choir and even went to Julliard. He told us he was 90 years old. He was adorable and cute and so happy to chit chat.

We then ate lunch at the food court. I was not brave and ordered simple rice and chicken. It was good. But huge and I barely made a dent.

Then we went back to our hotel and got ready for the concert. We arrived more than four hours early even though we had assigned seats! It's part of the experience to just go hang out with the crowd and be part of the excitement. So we did!

We stood in a short line to get our P2 (hi touch) wrist bands. Then a long line to buy merch. (Well, I didn't but the girls did.) Then another short line to get batteries for the lightsticks they bought. Then we just waited until security let us in. Which happened about an hour before the show.

Once inside and I saw where our seats were, I was devastated. They were close, but as far left to one side as you can go, which meant that we could really only see half the stage. Unless they stayed all the way to the front. And we truly could only see half of the screen (video presentations are a big part of kpop concerts... not just for jumbotron type viewing)

I was so bummed.

But the girls were still very excited and seemed not bothered, which made me feel better, and I just hoped for the best and that the boys would come to the very front of the stage.

Finally, it started, and can I just say, the beginning of these concerts are seriously the biggest adrenaline rush. I have no words. Best thing ever. And this one was no exception.

And when they came on stage... WE COULD SEE THEM!! YES!!

And we only had one or two awful phone people in the way! By awful, I don't mean people who film because... I film I have my phone out, I mean, you have to have that memory preserved. By awful, I mean people who hold their phone up at complete arms length for the ENTIRE time... and film EVERY SINGLE THING! Like, seriously. BE IN THE MOMENT!!! UGH!!!

But I could see around my problem person, for the most part, and managed to get a few clips myself (not at arms length!) and the tried to remember to be in the moment and watch with my own eyes.

And they were as amazing as expected. Dang, these boys are good. They truly blow me away with their talent despite how freaking young they are. I loved every minute of it and was sad when it had to end.

(At the end, the problem girl stood on her chair and then she totally blocked the view of all of us behind her... finally I got her attention and said in my best mom way... GET DOWN! She crouched a little then, but still stood on the chair. Seriously. I wanted to lecture her afterwards, but refrained.)



Here's my video of our experience if you are interested. I skipped their long comments at the end and put them here in their own video. Every single one of them talked to us in English whether they could or not. It was awesome. Two of the boys are actually from Australia, so they have that most awesome accent and of course can talk to us a ton.

(Reminds me of when NCT was in NY for an interview a month ago and the interviewer said to Johnny "Wow, your English is amazing!" and Johnny said back. "Well yeah,  I'm from Chicago." He was so annoyed!!!)

Afterwards, we waited in the theater with the huge crowd that had paid for a hi touch. At one point, Adia saw Woojin peeking his face out of the back stage door... and she said all calmly... omg that's Woojin.. then she yelled "OMG THAT'S WOOJIN!!!" The whole crowd then turned just as Woojin lead the whole line of them out the door and up the side of the theater. We stood and cheered and they smiled shyly and cutely as they tried to sneak through us all to the hi touch spot. LOL. One of our favorite moments.

Finally it was our turn. They threatened us with our lives if we tried to film it. But Adia still tried... putting her phone in her front pocket. So just as we got to the first boy, security stopped us and reached over and took her phone. She was mortified, since Lee Know, first boy in line, saw the whole thing. And then we had to quickly recover and go on with the high fiving! Sigh.

So it was one of those hi touches were there were about four security/staff people behind us the whole way, yelling and pushing us along, distracting us from our tiny little interaction moment. I HATE THAT SO BAD! Anyway... so the first half I was trying to be in the moment, but the second half I was so annoyed with staff that I can't even remember the boys. I'm so bugged.

But Jisung was as enthusiastic as expected and had a comeback comment for everyone. (to my simple "thank you" he said "YES!!" back to me. Lol. To Leila's "your awesome" he said back to her, "No, YOU'RE awesome!" Stuff like that... for everyone.) Bang Chan was good to look in our eyes and say thank you very deliberately. Felix was so beautiful I forgot to breathe. I.N was just so so cute. AH! And then... I can't remember Woojin or Changbin or Seungmin... and I sort of remember Hyunjin because he was at the end. Also very very beautiful. But... all I could think about by that time was how I wanted to turn around and tell all the staff to shut up. Sigh. DANG IT! I need to learn to just tune them out and ignore them!!

I shook my head at the staff directing us out and said "that's just not right" or some such stupid thing. She's all... I know. I think she thought I meant how fast it is, but whatever. That's annoying too, but it's the fact that the yelling staff makes you forget to actually enjoy the moment.

They all have such soft, delicate hands. I just have to say. And they didn't really high five us, after HUNDREDS of people, i think they get so tired holding their hand up. So it turns into a bit of a high hand shake.. .or quick hand grasp. It's all quite awkward actually. LOL.  Next time I might rethink my strategy and not do a grasp OR a high five, but simply just place my whole palm to theirs and just hold it there for a moment.... not hold on, and not hit like a high five, but just put my whole hand on theirs.... things to ponder.....

In the end, the hi touch thing is a bit of a let down, but also so much fun. I have mixed emotions about it! I decided you have to have a certain personality to make them succeed, and I don't have it. It scares me WAY too bad. And for most of the boys (I'd say half of a usual group) they feel so awkward too... so it's all just weird. Some boys love it though. So...it's fun to see which ones are which when it comes down to it.

We got a Lyft ride back to the hotel and then as is usual after concerts, talked and watched our videos and pictures for another hour or so before we could settle down to sleep. Seriously. The high and energy from concerts (that are fun and not fiascos) are amazing and why I continue to pay the money to make them happen. It will never get old.

Then we got up the next day and drove all the way home. So tired. But all worth it.
Our view of the stage

With Leila and Adia

Stray Kids 



A favorite moment I managed to capture

Saying goodbye :(

Next concert? Hopefully KCON in August. And then I have Pentagon tickets in September (back in LA) and tickets also in September for a music festival in Las Vegas where Monsta X well be showing up. So... it continues.

Concerts I've missed that make me so sad: NCT, Up10tion, BTS, and a festival where Super Junior and Taemin played. During April and May I could have happily gone to LA every weekend for something or another. It's so crazy. How did this happen?


Bonus: My favorite Stray Kids song (I think... there are many) with lyrics if you are interested. I've probably shared this already, but here you go again:







Saturday, June 1, 2019

Kdrama Review: My ID is Gangnam Beauty

Drama: My ID is Gangnam Beauty
Genre: Romantic comedy
Starring: Cha Eunwoo, Im Soo-hyang, Kwak Dong-yeon
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤


This one is about a girl who was ugly in middle school and high school to the point that she had no friends and everyone made fun of her. So the summer before she goes to college, she has a ton of plastic surgery done and comes out beautiful. She's ready to start a new life in college.

Much to her dismay, at orientation, there's a guy in her class/department who is from her middle school. And she she is scared he will figure out it's her. Of course, he does and things go from there.

It's about the hang up we all (and especially Korea) have on outer beauty. And how that is truly not the important thing at all. This drama deals also with bulimia as another character struggles with that. There's also much to be said about bullying. And sexual harassment too. Lots of that sort of thing, all under the umbrella of a cute love college love story.

When this first aired, lots of people were talking about Eunwoo's acting abilities. I've seen in before in The Big Hit and thought he was awesome. So when he was getting criticized for being too stiff and too bland, I was like... seriously? But it made me leery and I put off watching this one for quite awhile.

But I am happy to report that I loved his acting and thought he was totally adorable. He plays a character that who has cut himself off emotionally from everyone, and thus the stiffness. In other words, he nails this gig! And then, when he starts to loosen up... you feel it. Those last few episodes when he starts letting his smiles out are absolutely lovely.

I laughed out a lot a lot at this one. Some of the silly situations they get themselves in and the awkwardness they deal with is the best.

The side characters were also a ton of fun in this one. I was rooting for everyone to have their happy ending! I also loved seeing Kwak Dong Yeon in a nice boy role. Is he in a leading role, anyone know? Because I need to see him as the lead now!!!



P.S. Did I tell you Eunwoo is in Astro? Yeah. He is. Yet another idol actor!


Trailer:



 Clips with the song!

 

Friday, May 31, 2019

Book Review: Educated by Tara Westover

Book: Educated by Tara Westover
Genre: memoir
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

I've been hearing about this book for quite awhile now. When it lost in our book club voting I decided to not wait any longer and just read it now. And once I got started, I pretty much devoured it.

It's a story about the author's strange and crazy upbringing, and how she escaped it to finally go to school, and then she becomes an amazing scholar breaking all odds to even get a doctorate from Cambridge.

She grew up on a farm and junkyard in Idaho where her parents, but especially her dad, had some crazy ideas that included doomsday thoughts, paranoia, literally translations from the scriptures, and no fear of danger. They didn't believe in doctors, school, or things like getting birth certificates. Basically, he wanted to live off the grid where the government couldn't find him and stock piled food and weapons for the day they did.

The problems arise when he or someone in his family gets gravely injured and they just hope they get better with no help from the doctors. It happened so many times. Also, there's the issue of physical abuse from her brother which no one would believe. (She actually didn't tell anyone about it until later, but they all knew it was happening and just looked the other way.)

So when she was about 16 she decided she needed to get out of there, and the only escape was to go to college. So she studied on her own, stuff she'd never learned up till then, so she could take the ACT. And she need. And she passed. And she got in.

Coming to college was like stepping out into a completely different world and it took her a long while to adjust. But once she did, she embraced this new life, and would have liked to figure out how to mesh her two lives, but it turned out to be pretty impossible. She documents her struggle with that and how for nearly a year she did nothing but watch TV in the midst of her depression over it. So sad.

So, like I keep saying... it's very fascinating and there's so much to think about and talk about, but it's also quite depressing. It's hard to read about the rift between a daughter and her family... even if that family is crazy!

Among all the crazy things, it's a bottom line tribute to learning and how we have an innate desire to learn. And how if we don't go to school, at some point, we crave it. And how some people will do anything to get the education they want so bad.

I'm kinda sad our book club decided not read it because I've been so compelled to talk about it and everyone here is getting sick of me now!! LOL! I'm sure our book club discussion would have been quite interesting.

Let me know if you've read it and what you thought and if you too needed to talk about it a lot afterwards. :)


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Kdrama Review: I Hate You Juliet

Drama: I Hate You Juliet

Genre: romantic comedy with a fantasy twist
Starring: Lee Hong Gi, Jung Hye Jung
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤

I watched this one only for Lee Hong Gi, amazing lead singer of the band FTISLAND. And also amazing actor. It was a short cute little for fun drama, with not a whole lot of meat to it. (It was 15 to 20 min long episodes... 16 of them in all. Short!)

It's about a girl who goes to art school. There she meets up with a celebrity dude who is also going, a bit grudgingly. They end up in the same group to do the year end project, so they have to work together a lot. The guy is conceited and mean. The girl is very very naive. Somehow they end up hitting it off.

Well, the guy is quite intrigued by her because he can her her thoughts. But only sometimes. He goes crazy trying to figure out why this is and what sets it of. So between that, and being together a lot. He ends up realizing he is falling for her. But no way is he going to admit it!

I love his face.

Eventually, they learn their moms were friends a long time ago but became estranged because of some misunderstanding. So they help bring them all together again.

Anyway. That's really about it. But it was fun to see Hong Gi in another fun role. The other ones I've see him in, he's always so sweet and fun loving and cute and happy go lucky. This dude was a bit more closed off and not as smiley. But still, in the end... very very sweet. :)

Gah. He's the best.

Here's the song (and clips) from the beautiful voices of IMFACT:

Friday, May 24, 2019

Book Review... AGAIN: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Book: Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Genre: YA contemporary
2nd time rating: still ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Do I review a book on a second go around even one that's actually really recent?

I guess I will so I can at least say that I loved this book just as much on a re-read. I find so many things that I relate to, it's almost a bit scary. Thing like:


  • being into something that people in your real life don't get
  • and thus feeling the need to hide it to a degree
  • because otherwise people will make fun of you (something Eliza is quite worried about)
  • having an online life that is totally separate and different from your real life
  • going to meet ups or events where you realize there ARE people DO get you
  • feeling the need to constantly create (even if millions of people don't care, unlike Eliza!)
  • and then having people IRL not really care about or showing no interest in what you are creating, even family. 
  • retreating to this sort of fantasy online life because it's lonely in real life
  • and it being your own fault mostly for hiding behind this wall, which then makes you even more frustrated!
Seriously. I could go on.

We read this one for book club this past week because we realized we had lots to say about the parenting in this book, which seems to bring out some pretty strong feelings with a few of us!

Some felt that the parents did a crappy job and if they would have done this or that or the other thing, than Eliza would be a more stable kid and wouldn't have had a breakdown. They should have looked up her comic, followed her blog, realized how famous she was. They should have not bugged her to get out and do something other than looking at her phone and computer. They should have understood that what they loved to do, she didn't love to do and left her alone. Yeah? Am I getting this right? I'm not sure.

My view is that they weren't that terrible of parents. They did what most parents do. They didn't like that she spent so much time on her phone and computer, so they tried to get her to participate with whatever the family was doing. Christmas for heaven sake. Camping. Board games. Etc. They knew what she was doing, they knew about her "hobby" but since they didn't get it, they didn't dig further to know more. They tried to get her to talk. They tried to get her involved. But they were scared of her, because they knew if they pushed too hard it would backfire on them and she would retreat worse. But at least she had parents that while they may have messed up, they cared. They were present. 

Navigating these sorts of things is really hard. Some parents will do it better than others, but I doubt there's any parent who can figure it out perfectly. 

My thoughts on THAT!

The book also deals with anxiety and depression and suicide. Really tough things! But I think it does it well without being too over the top about it and it feels genuine. 

Anyway.

I just looked at my first review, and I've pretty much said the same things over again here. LOL! So, that's it then. It's official.  I love this book. 




Thursday, May 9, 2019

Kdrama Review: He Is Psychometric

Drama: He Is Psychometric

Genre: crime suspense
Starring: Park Jinyoung, Kim Kwon, Shin Ye Eun
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

People were raving about this one, so I watched it. The first episode I thought, eh... another crime one? I get tired of the crime ones sometimes, but I continued and loved it of course.

It was fun to get to know Jinyoung as an actor. He's from a very popular kpop group called Got7 and he never really stood out to me in that group, I was always paying attention to other members. But that is no more. Let's just say he stands out now! :)

He plays a dude who can touch people and see their memories... or touch objects and see what's happened to that thing. So the people in his life are hoping he can sharpen those skills and help them in their jobs. They are cops and prosecutors and etc, so he could come in handy.

Meanwhile, he meets a girl... and soon figures out their pasts are connected. (As always!!) And every episode we got more of what happened with them. It's a fire where he loses both of his parents... and it remains an unsolved case to the present day... but during the drama other cases crop up that seems to be connected to the fire event, and so the case is reopened.

Jinyoung is adorable with the dog in this one!

And then we found out more backstory of the dude who saved him from the fire and his now his guardian and basically big brother. And that backstory is heart wrenching! And his character is the one in the drama where you just want to sob and sob and sob, and hug him like crazy. AH!! Always so much emotional trauma!
Kim Kwon who's character is in need of lots of hugs whether he knows it or not.

So yeah. Another great one. Jinyoung was amazing. Did I say that already? And hopefully he can do more soon. Geez these triple threat guys... they are everywhere! How can some people be born with so much talent. It's so not fair.

The romance is cute for a bit, but then takes a back seat to the mystery story.
Here's a trailer:





And the song sung by two of  Jinyoung's Got7 band members:


Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Book Review: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Book: Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Genre: historical fiction
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


I chose this one for our latest kpop book club book because I wanted something historical and this one got rave reviews and was a finalist in the National Book Awards and etc. I wanted something a bit more farther back historically, but this one was interesting nonetheless.

It follows a Korean family from 1910 to 1989... starting with the Japanese occupation of Korea, through WWII and on to modern (ish) days. The main character is Sunja, who is born in Korea on an island just off the coast from Busan. Her dad dies when she is young and her and her mom run a quite successful boarding house. She ends up marrying one of the guys who boards there and they move to Japan to live with his brother and wife.

It was very hard to be a Korean living in Japan, which is the main theme of this book. It was hard then and it's hard now. And all of her family who was born there, her kids and their kids... are Korean ethnically, but basically Japanese, yet they truly have no country they can claim. It sounds like such craziness for them!

Anyway, we follow her story through all the the years. She had two boys and we see what happens to them. One of them ends up in the pachinko business (thus the name of the book) and I had to actually look it up on YouTube so I could visualize what a pachinko machine looks like. Vertical pinball basically. Loud and colorful. And you can win... a little with skill a little with chance. And then turn your prizes in for money... off site. I guess it's HUGE in Japan and makes a ton more money and rich people than everything going on Las Vegas.

So it's a great family sage, the type of which I love and haven't read for a long time. So I loved it. Became very attached to all the characters and either rejoiced or yelled at their choices. One of them I had to shut the book for  minute and go... ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME??? WHY WHY WHY???

It's about family (and found family), and relationships and identity, Korean culture and Japanese culture, and hard work and love and struggles and life and death. So yeah, it's good! I'm so glad to have sort of randomly added this to my books read this year!

Stay tuned to find out what's up next for the kpop book club!


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Concert Review: ATEEZ in LA March 15, 2019

ATEEZ
Mingi, Jongho, Wooyoung, Seonghwa
Yeosang, San, Hongjoong, Yunho


This concert happened back in March and I talked about it all over Twitter and YouTube, but never here. I decided I needed to write it down still, just to have for my own records since I print my blogs out as a sort of journal, so. Here goes....

Big breath....

Okay, so I fell in love with this new awesome cute pie, amazing kpop group back in October when they first debuted. But I didn't take the time to actually learn who they were until their comeback (remember comeback in kpop terms just means new release/album/song) in January and was BLOWN AWAY again about how good they are. So Toto and I sat down and learned their names and put faces to names and truly fell in love.

And then they up and announced their world tour! At a mere four months old! And only ten songs released! This was crazy!

So Kathy and I decided to go for it. (Kathy had since also fallen in love.) Toto would be in Korea by that time, so it was just me and Kathy trying to get tickets. Kathy had a presale code so we could buy them before the general public. And so we did... barely. We felt very lucky because they sold out fast during the PRE sale. But we got them... VIP tickets which meant that we would be let in the venue before everyone else and get a good spot near the stage... there would be no seats... it would be all pit/GA standing. But with VIP tickets we thought we'd be okay. Yeah. We also got hi touch (high fiving the dudes after the concert and actually "meeting" them and looking into their eyes.)

Much anticipation looking forward to this concert. I couldn't wait. This would be their very first concert EVER... our LA concert. They hadn't (and still haven't) even done a concert in Korea. Only a showcase here and there. So we knew this was going to be so fun and historic and all that.

So the day finally arrives. Kathy and I are doing a 24 hour trip. Fly there, see the concert, sleep, fly home. Literally nothing else.. not even time to eat really. It's SO CRAZY!

We got to the airport and the plane was delayed nearly an hour. We still had time, but that just added to our anxiety! We got to LA about 4 pm, shuttled to the hotel, ran in went to the bathroom, dropped off our stuff, and called a Lyft. I think it was less than 15 min.

We got to the venue... The Globe Theater in downtown LA, with plenty of time, and in fact we found our line of VIP people and proceeded to stand in it for two hours.

Oh, I forgot to say that they thought they'd come up with a great system to avoid the standing in line and fighting for a spot. On a certain day and time about five days before the concert, we had to log onto the computer and submit a form and depending on the time stamp of the form we got a number which determined our spot in line. We did that, submitted it right on the dot of the time, and got the numbers of 349 and 350. This is when we started to realize that having a VIP ticket actually meant nothing.

So when we got there, we got in the VIP line with all the HUNDREDS of other people with VIP tickets and ordered ourselves according to our number.. and waited to be let in. There were WAY more people with VIP than even the regular GA I think, and having a spot up close looked very dim. In the end, they never even looked at our number or checked or anything. We could have lied and jumped ahead of all those people, if we had been that sort of concert goer!

We finally get in and get our spot and stand some more waiting for it to start. Our spot wasn't good. About half way back from the stage. (This is a very small club type venue, so small is good, but also not good.)  I had hopes all would be well still. But....

... it was not. As soon as they came on stage, the surge was so bad we were all smashed... and then everyone's phones went up, and I mean people holding them WAY over their heads and I quickly realized I was not going to see ANYTHING.

It was such a huge disappointment. There are no words.

The surges continued to happen and I had to concentrate on breathing and quit worrying about the concert itself. People started passing out and security had to fight their way through the throng to carry them out. It got really bad. And the boys (remember this is their very first concert) had to ask people to step back and make room. This, of course, doesn't really work. There is no way to "step back" when you are totally smashed. So finally, they left the stage and said they would come back when we all calmed down and figured it out.

It was so embarrassing. And awful. And all the terrible things.

We shuffled ourselves around and Kathy and I even debated falling back entirely or going to the side or something, just to see if we could find a better spot. But then we just said, whatever, we will just stick out. In the meantime, we had fallen back quite a bit and were now at the back of the pack. NO WHERE NEAR the front that our freaking VIP tickets were supposed to get us.

We lasted the rest of the concert praying for it to be over, trying not to cry and lose it. Trying to enjoy even a little of it. I couldn't see, hear or breath. It was hard to see the good in any of it. I wanted to see them dance so bad.  I only caught a glimpse of their flopping hair now and then... and if I looked between the raised arms of everyone, in one spot, I would see first this boy and then that boy go in and out of that tiny spot.

When they talked, everyone put their phones down and I could see them a little bit. I got one picture.




At the last song, I finally pulled my phone out and joined the crowd with my phone WAY over my head (above my eye level yes) and this is what it looked like:


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Guys. We were so sad. To have paid that much and made that effort to not see them. Or even hear them really. It was the worst. I blame the stage (too low), the sound system (too crappy), the venue (too small) but mostly the company that organized this tour for WAY overselling... both the VIP and the regular tickets and cramming WAY too many people into that space. They did us so dirty. And I will never go to a concert put on by them again... and here's hoping ATEEZ and their company learned a lesson to never use them again too!

I gotta say though, the boys were fabulous. None of this was their fault. They did amazing (even though I couldn't see it I've seen clips, and their own footage) and worked so hard and put on a great show.

We hung around afterwards for the hi touch. Since pretty much everyone was a VIP there were lots of us and they actually did a pretty good job of putting us in lines that time. And finally our turn came and we filed past the boys and hi fived them all. This part was actually nice because they didn't rush us through, they spaced us apart well. Three of the boys did a two handed high ten and finger clasped our hands, so that made me happy. They were really into it. But actually I held all their hands, so it wasn't really a high five, it's more like a handshake/clasp. Some of the others were much shyer about it, but those three were great! I tried to remember to look into their eyes and I said thank you to them all, but I didn't use any of the Korean I had practiced. It's so scary (exciting scary)  that all words leave your head, both English and Korean. No joke. Some people are much better at dealing with this phenomenon, but not me.

So I am happy that part turned out okay and that in the end I did SEE them, I just didn't get see them sing or dance.

Anyway. We were bummed and it was hard to shake that. We walked down the street to a Carl's Jr and had a hamburger and a drink... I was so thirsty I thought I was going to die. And then we went back to the hotel, slept, got up and flew home. All the while venting and in total disbelief that we had been so duped and scammed.

I really hope for a do-over regarding ATEEZ. Holding out hope they come to KCON in August. But they are so popular already that it will probably be a frenzy and I still probably won't ever actually see them. They are going big places and I think will rise up the ranks faster than any group has so far. It's going to be amazing to watch.

In a couple of weeks I have  my next concert (Stray Kids) and I'm scared to death now that it will be the same thing. We have seats this time, so I hope that helps, but people and their phones will always be a problem. And all the screaming. I would love it everyone screamed... then stopped for the songs... then screamed at the end, the stopped for the talking, the scream at the end, then stop for the songs... etc. Not too much to ask, yeah? But people scream NON STOP and it's very  frustrating.

Hoping for the best. I'm sure you'll find out how it goes down!

But you should check out ATEEZ and see what you think of them. Seriously. Here's a song called Treasure you might like:




Monday, May 6, 2019

April 2019 Reading Recap


April cherry blossoms



Well, I met all my goals that I made last month for this month, except not much happened toward the big reading challenge!

The four books I read are:

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard: A mute girl (selective) and a deaf boy meet each other and hit it off.

The Girl With Seven Names by Hyeonseo Lee: memoir of Hyeonseo as she grows up in North Korea, ends up leaving and how she got her family out.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty: we learn the story of three different moms who's paths cross as they send their kids to kindergarten, and we learn that all is not as it seems

Dreamology by Lucy Keating: Our girl and our boy dream the same dreams of each other, and then they meet in real life.

Favorite: The Girl with Seven Names for sure. But Big Little Lies was very fun reading too.

Book Challenge Progress: None. I thought about counting the North Korean book toward history of a foreign country, but decided I wanted to read something else for that one.

Goals for May:

  • mark SOMETHING off for the challenge! (Pretty sure I'm not going to complete this challenge but it's still fun to try.)
  • re-read Eliza for book club
  • read something from the nightstand/floor book stack

I felt like I was reading a lot, but still only four books! AH!! How'd you all do?

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Movie Review: Avengers Endgame (Spoilers)

Movie: Avengers: Endgame

Genre: Marvel superheros (it's its own genre now, right?)
Starring: EVERYONE I think. But my favorites are Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Hemsworth. Oh and Jeremy Renner. 
My Rating: Two thumbs up of course


If I understand correctly, it's okay to talk about this movie now yes? At any rate, if you are still nervous about spoilers, you can come back after you've watched it and we can discuss, deal?

So I'm happy we did the little catch up thing before going to this movie. It helped a ton to understand stuff and I actually think it was nice to have it all fresh in my mind. Maybe those who didn't need to catch up rewatched stuff? I'm guessing that probably happened a lot too. Anyway.

I think Infinity War and Endgame should be considered a pair... a part 1 and part 2. Know what I mean?

To summarize: In Infinity War our villain, Thanos, decides to round up the Infinity stones so he can be all powerful and do mankind a "service" by getting rid of half of all people. Our heroes try to stop him and a huge battle happens in Wakanda on the Black Panther's territory in which things do not end well. We are left with a "what just happened?" feeling in the worst worst way!

So in Endgame we pick up right where we left off... for a moment anyway, and things continue to look very dire. Our um... remaining.. heroes are baffled and depressed and have no idea what to do.

Five years pass and a very key thing happens and suddenly there is hope again. Our brilliant minded heroes put their heads together (well one especially brilliant mind) and pretty much figure out how to go back in time to stop Thanos. They actually have to go back before that and get the stones first, before Thanos does.

Which makes for the best part of the movie actually, when they come across their former selves in previous movies. That was so fun!

My other favorite thing about this movie is how many very very human parts there were. Like, I feel like a lot of times these movies are more about the special effects and sometimes forgets about the actual human connections. This movie had that everywhere, which I truly appreciated. I think the emotions of all these characters were so raw and exposed, that they all couldn't help but be more human. Know what I mean?

I may have touched on spoilery things above, but now I'm going to be truly spoilery about stuff, so be warned now especially:

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Loki's death in the first movie (Infinity War) made me sad, but it happened so fast and so out of no where that I was unprepared and didn't really register that it happened. And I really really hoped that he would be saved in this one, but I'm not sure if that happened. His character was left ambiguously and we don't really know what happened to him, do we? He was there in the past and then he disappeared. Where did he go? Did he still get killed in the future?

But my other favorite is definitely Ironman and so... yeah. I cried... okay. Because I LOVE how RDJ portrays this character and this was a hard hard one to watch. And man there is so much foreshadowing that it's going to be him... you all caught it I'm sure. So I think we as an audience were basically prepared. But still. That it had to HIM of all the people!!

Natasha and Hawkeye fighting over who would die... that was hard too. Sob. I heard she is going to get her own movie after all... but what about him? I want him to have one too! He is my other favorite! (Does that make three favorites now? I haven't even talked about Thor!)

Thor! Wasn't he crazy awesome in this one? Oh my word, he sort of stole the show, yeah? LOL! That was funny. Like a total alter ego for him. What the heck. And when he was able to talk to his mom in the past? Dang. That was good.

Ironman talking to his dad in the past was also great.

And then the Captain. I cried again when he saw his love in the past. And for him to get that happy ending after all with her??? YES!!!! The best ending ever!

I was happy the green girl, Gomorrah... yeah? (I had to look it up, lol.) But she needs to remember a few things, eh? Poor Quill. They'll figure it out though. :)

There were a few superheroes that showed up for this movie's final big battle that I wasn't familiar with. I'm guessing a missed a few movies still, and have a few more to catch up on. I think I need to watch the Spiderman movie because that kid makes me laugh.

Oh, and wait, why was Vision not in this one? Or did I miss him? And his girl Wanda, yeah? That felt weird to me since he was a key part of the previous movie. Anyway, I probably missed them somehow in all that craziness.

Okay, I think those are most of my thoughts. It was good. I was glued. My husband, however, fell asleep YET AGAIN. Sigh.

Great job Marvel for taking us all on a crazy fun ride these past few years. It will be fun to see what's next.

Here's a lovely trailer, which I've only just now seen for the first time. It gives me chills.




"WHATEVER IT TAKES."   😭😭😭😭

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Avenger Movie Catch Up: Mini Reviews



So awhile back we learned that the husband's work was treating us to The Endgame. However, the past few years we had become very very behind in all our Avenger movie watching. So we knew in order to fully enjoy this movie, we needed to to a lot of catching up!

Here's what we watched:

Spoilers might be ahead... I have no idea at this point what I'm going to say yet....


Thor: Ragnorok


I'm a pretty decent Thor movie fan, but somehow never watched this one. Well, of course it was a sad one right from the get go. WHAT THE HECK??? I sort of felt like, well, there is no point in watching the rest of this movie NOW!! :)

But it was good to see Thor in action again, with his evil sister as the main villain. I enjoyed the introduction to some new and quite funny characters. The Hulk always makes me a little crazy, but it was fun to see him as part of this movie too.


Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2


Unlike Thor, I am not a very big Guardians fan. So I pretty much avoided this movie on purpose. The characters are supposed to be funny, but I find the humor extremely cringe worth for the most part. I do enjoy the music though, I must say! So for the first half of this movie, I was rolling my eyes a lot and hoping for it to get over with soon.

However, the second half was much more interesting with the conflict and redemption of a couple of interesting characters. I enjoyed their development. I also enjoyed seeing Kurt Russel in his role. I enjoy also the attempt at throwing in a little romance in here, but it needs a lot of work. Sigh.


Ant Man

Some might think this one wasn't necessary in order to understand the Avenger movies, but I think it did help a lot. After we watched it, both my husband and I looked at each and said... have we already seen that one? It felt vaguely familiar, but not enough to really ring any bells. LOL.

So, yeah. This one was fun. Pretty cool special effects as all these movies have. I find it interesting that the power to get big and small and big and small is quite a powerful one. Who would have thought??

The crazy boys in the crazy van are my favorite part of this movie.

We didn't watch Ant Man and the Wasp, though we probably should have. Maybe we will still get to that one. But my daughter sent us a link to the clip that was shown after the credits and told us she thought this was a key moment for Endgame. And yes, it sure was. I'm glad we went in with THAT little bit of knowledge!

Avengers: Infinity War


Well, finally the BIG movie that needed catching up on. I knew that if nothing else we had to watch this one before Endgame. Wow, but we heard lots about this one last year! So I was dreading it a bit and nervous for it and pretty much knew what to expect from all the buzz last year. But yeah. This movie and Endgame are more like a Part 1 and Part 2, don't you think?

Anyway. I felt it was non stop stress of a movie. My husband fell asleep but I was on edge the whole time. And baffled as everyone was at what the heck happened.

I must say, that these movies, all of them, just seem like one big special effect fight. Which, is cool for a while, but after a bit, it gets tiring and just really hard to understand what's actually happening. this is probably one reason why I sort of drifted away from keeping up with them.

But I truly enjoyed seeing all the characters trying to save the universe together! There were some I didn't quite remember, though I think I'd seen their movies. But for the most part, I think we did a pretty good job getting ourselves prepared for it!

I also decided that I'm much more of an Iron Man sort of humor person than a Guardians sort of humor person. Can you see the difference between those two like I do? Anyway, I fall on the Iron Man side. I also enjoyed the quips from the Spiderman boy. I never did watch his version of the Spiderman story. I guess I figured I knew that story. But I do enjoy his take on Spiderman (boy). LOL.

So after that, I deemed ourselves ready! We didn't do Captain Marvel. I hoped that didn't matter. Or, like I said, Ant Man and the Wasp. Are those the only two that came out between Infinity War and Endgame? I guess we can still watch them at some point, yeah?

Anyway, up next, my thoughts on Endgame.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

Kdrama Review: Chicago Typewriter

Drama: Chicago Typewriter
Genre: Historical, and other things
Starring: Yoo Ah In, Im Soo Jung, Go Kyung Pyo
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This drama was unlike anything I've watched so far. Such a different premise than ALL THE DRAMAS! And I was totally invested.

Also, it's going to be hard to summarize.

Basically, the story follows two different time lines. One in the 30s during the Japanese occupation of Korea, and one in the present day involving a popular author and his friends. The interesting thing is that the characters are the same in both timelines since the present day people are reincarnations of the 30s people.

And the premise is that they are remembering the events that happened in their past lives and writing it down as the next novel for our author dude. He's been in a bit of a slump, but when these friends reappeared in his life, things got interesting again and together, they write the novel, ,which they are calling Chicago Typewriter, which is a kind of old fashioned gun I guess, that sounds like a typewriter when being shot off.
Our characters in the 30s
Our characters in the present day

The drama also actually features an old typewriter... from Korea, that ended up in Chicago, but was found again. And is a key part of this story.

I guess that's the basics. That wasn't so hard after all, eh? Lol, but I am leaving out one very important thing that I don't really want to give away as it feels like a big spoiler, since it's something we as viewers aren't aware of until several episodes in. Even though I'm pretty sure all the summaries out there give it away.

But yeah. I loved it. I love the time jumps, I loved the intensity of the stuff in the 30s. Our characters are freedom fighters, fighting to win back independence. And it's really quite painful to see what they went through. I loved the character development and how our main dude went from a very self centered dude, to extremely compassionate and loving. I loved the book love that is shown (again, with the book love! I do seem to be getting a lot of that lately!) and the painfulness of the writing process. That was great!

I was introduced to another "new to me" actor, and he was awesome. And another actor who I sort of knew, but got a much better feel for what he's like in this one. And he was also awesome. Yeah.

This drama is another one that features a fabulous bromance full of awesome
banter between these two! So good1

The last couple episodes I pretty much sobbed through the whole thing. Man. Emotional intensity I tell you!

And I fell totally in love with one of the theme songs and looked the singer up and realized he also sang the song from Encounter, another recent drama favorite. So I proceeded to listen to all his songs and he's also awesome.

All the good things!

I loved this one. It's a few years old and I'm glad I finally fit it in!

Here's a trailer (actually three quick trailers in one):





And here's clips to the song I love. It's called Satellite and it's by a guy that goes by MYK but he has a band of sorts called Saltnpaper. This song is in English, so maybe some of you might actually give it a listen and see what you think:




Ah. SO GOOD!!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Latest Kpop Gifs

Time to share more of my favorite gifs from off the phone!


Jonghyun from SHINee and his smiley face. He had a birthday.
I miss him. :(

Siwon from Super Junior also had a birthday!
Obsessed with Stray Kids (concert coming up in a couple of weeks!!) So I giffed a bunch of their faces from their new video this past month. Looks like I have one for everyone except Changbin! AH. His didn't turn out as good.

Seungmin looking so so serious

Hyunjin trying to kill us with the whole necklace twist move!

The amazing Han

Bang Chan doing the Huka

Lee Know front and center!

Woojin saying, "I'm okay" with his perfect voice.

I.N trying so hard to not crack up into a smile.

Felix looking amazing.

If you are interested in seeing the whole video and how they incorporate the Huka into their choreography, here it is:





Other obsession: ATEEZ. My two favorites:

Seonghwa being cute

Yeosang cracking up mid performance
Yeosang being cute

Yeosang being sexy

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