Sunday, August 6, 2017

Our Monsta X Concert Experience: Beautiful in L.A. July 23, 2017

So it's been two weeks. And we are still thinking about it. Seeing Monsta X live. Guys. It was awesome.

We (Toto and I) arrived on Friday evening, after a tiny little plane ride, and met up with Megs at the airport. In the shuttle ride to the hotel, we discovered the other passenger was also there for Monsta X! Instant bonding!!

That evening we walked to a local hamburger joint and that was interesting, but at least we weren't hungry anymore. Then we spent the evening signing the backs of Monsta X pictures that we had printed and planned to pass out at the concert. We had a blast just doing that!

The next day we spent the day exploring LA. First we found a laundromat where the kpop group SEVENTEEN filmed a music video. I thought Toto would die of excitement just being at that laundromat! LOL! Then we spent money at our favorite kpop music store, Choice Music. Those guys there are awesome! Then we headed to Santa Monica to hang out and people watch. We thought maybe the Monsta X guys would be there (because in the past for both SHINee and BTS, the band went to Santa Monica the day before the concert!) but after we got there we learned they had just landed at the airport. Oh, well. It was fun to walk around and see the street performers and get pizza.

Soon, we got tired and went back to the hotel to hang out and do some reactions for the channel together.

You can see all that in this video if you want the visual!

We heard that people were already lined for the concert on Saturday, but we didn't arrive until the next morning at about 10:00 am. And yes the line was already huge. So we joined the party where we stayed for the next ten hours! We spent the time making friends with everyone, interviewing for the channel, passing out the pictures and basically having a ton of fun. We lucked out and ended up in the shade much of the day, so yay for that. I think I might have died otherwise. It was hot!!

Because of our ticket status, we were able to bypass much of the line and get ahead of most of the other GA people Yay for that too! And finally, they let us in! We ended up with a pretty good spot in the pit on the floor, where we stood for the next nearly hour before the concert actually started. That was the hardest part of the whole day.

But finally it started! And for two and a half hours, we totally forgot about hot, and standing and hungry. Just sang and danced and laughed and screamed.  A lot! They were so awesome. So totally lived up to the expectation. We loved every minute.

Afterwards, those of us with the high touch (getting to high five the band afterwards) were lined up in this big huge line where we waited again, but not for long. Pretty soon that line was moving and before we knew it, it was our turn to file past the boys and high five them! It was so fast! And so frustrating. But also so worth it! It was basically an opportunity to just see them up close, grab their hand for a split second and say thank you. Ah. Yeah. We did that.

Back at the hotel, it took us two more hours (until 2:00 am) to calm down and go to sleep. And then the next morning we headed back to the airport... waited again for a long time... and finally got home! And then we thought about the concert and relived it for days.

Here's the video we made of the concert and the high touch (well, audio of the high touch) and at the end, you'll see a lovely slide show of the awesome still shots. Guys, we were so close!

And if you are interested in the fun interviews of fellow fans, here's that video:

So yeah. These guys. They are for sure one of our favorites. I hope we can see them again sometime!

Up next for our kpop adventure: KCON... we'll be heading back to LA in two weeks! AH!!!!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Kdrama Review: Suspicious Partner (Love in Trouble)

Drama: Suspicious Partner (Love in Trouble)
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Romantic Comedy
Starring: Ji Chang Wook, Nam Ji hyun, Choi Tae joon, Kwon Nara
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

This is the last drama our favorite Chang Wook will be in before he leaves to do his military service. In fact, I think he'll be leaving in a just a few days/weeks from now. Sadness.

And, he was amazing and fun and awesome in this one just like in all the others! He plays an prosecuting attorney who is struggling to prove himself. One day he happens to meet a crazy girl who he helps out in a strange situation and plans to never see again, but then she suddenly ends up being accused of murder and he happens to be prosecuting her.

His attorney look!

Well. And so, I can't really tell you what happens from there, but their paths continue to cross again and again. She is pretty smitten with him (because of course who wouldn't be) but he thinks she is just plain annoying.

But, murders continue to happen and they decide that together, they are going to solve all these cases. And she ends up working for him because he starts his own practice (she's a defense attorney of course!) and then when she loses her place of abode, he lets her live at his place.

Yeah. Then things start to get a little tense!

More of the boyfriend look now.

Oh, and she defends a dude who is so freaking creepy! And it turns out he suddenly becomes important in all those cases they are investigating. And then... things really get interesting.

Dong Ha plays the creepy (but awesome) villain.

Such a fun show... all the way around. For the romantic chemistry and banter. For the most awesome creepy villain who blew me away with his acting and caused a ton of suspense. For the sad back stories. For the fun quirky side characters. For the tragic side stories. All of it.

Most of all though, it's the best because of Ji Chang Wook, who I've raved on and on about before. But yeah. He knows his stuff. And he knows how to be a leading romantic dude like no other. He's just, pretty perfect.

This one appears light on the face of it, but like most dramas, the deep stuff gets pretty deep and the suspense and edge of your seat-ness of the story comes up and gets you from no where. I love it.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Book Review: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith

Book: Hello, Goodbye, and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: YA contemporary

We got to meet this author awhile back, and I've loved everything I've read by her. So I decided it's time to catch up on all the ones I've missed. This one was first up!

Sadly, this one made me...sad. Because the premise of this one, instead of the story of blossoming new romance, this is one of breaking up. Our characters are happily together on page one. But it's their last night before they have to part for college the next day, and so we go with them through that crazy night as they relive their relationship, and decide how best to proceed from here.

The girl thinks it's best to go their separate ways. The boy is all, why??? And so they disagree and have to discuss over and over again what they should do.

It was... sad. You know? And it was about all their stress going away to college. Which, especially for me right now (no, I'm not going to college but my youngest kid is!) and so that just... made me... sad.

Sigh. But.. the engaging writing and interesting characters were as expected! And so, I will go on to the next one in the stack...which is The Geography of You and Me. Is this one about traveling? If so, we're good.

Meeting Jennifer E. Smith back in May. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Kdrama Review: Pinocchio

Drama: Pinocchio
Genre: Romantic drama with fantasy elements
Starring: Lee Jong Suk, Park Shin Hye
Rating: ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

So here's one that Megs, my also kdrama inflicted sister, told me about WAY in the beginning, but I just now finally got to. And I'm so sad I waited so long! This is now one of my favorites! What an interesting thought provoking beautiful story.

The premise, (and the fantasy element mentioned above) is that people in this otherwise normal world, can't lie because when they do, they hiccup and give themselves away. They have what is called the Pinocchio Syndrome. And our leading lady is inflicted.

So first of all, this makes the romance interesting because she, you know, can't lie to him. And can't say that no, she doesn't like him when in fact she totally does. I LOVE this! It makes everyone have to deal with stuff then and there instead of just mess around!

The story starts when our leading man is a young boy and his fire fighting father dies in a big terrible fire. And then is framed for it and blamed as the cause. By a Pinocchio who can't lie, and thus the world takes his word for the truth. This event destroys our poor boy's family and he ends up an orphan basically, and is taken in by a loving kind old grandpa (ah... PINOCCHIO/GEPETTO!! IT JUST HIT ME!) And this grandpa raises him. Well, the grandpa's older son also comes to live with him, as does that son's daughter. So the boy and girl are raised together like family.
Our characters when they are in high school.

The boy blames the press for this above tragedy, for not looking into thing and for not investigating the truth. And for manipulating things to fit what they want. And so it's pretty crazy that this boy (and this girl) grow up to become reporters. And so most of the drama is them on their internship basically, learning how to be reporters and learning about how to tell the truth... or lie... as the case may be. (Which is also another interesting thing for our Pinocchio girl to deal with... being a reporter who can't lie.)
Grown up and trying to be good reporters!

And it's about revenge. And about forgiveness. And redemption. and family... and so may wonderful beautiful things.  I got teary so many times during this one! So many! Which is a good thing because you know it's moving and heart wrenching! Yes. It is.

The grandpa is one of my all time favorite characters. 

The leading guy is one of my favorites. He's a guy who, I've decided, has to sort of grow on you, but dang, once he does, he is set. His acting so amazing. I just, I'm just always blown away. And the girl is one of Korea's favorite leading girls too and I've seen her now in several dramas and she's also always spot on.

Anyway. Mark it down for one of the best ones!

 I can't find a good trailer for it but here's the sappy song with sappy clips one that I love so much!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Book Review: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Book: The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating:★ ★ ★ ☆☆

This book has been on my radar forever I think. Years at least. Finally got to it thanks to book club. This author is local and I've been to a few of her classes at conferences which has made me curious as to what sort of book she writes. So here's what I think.

This one is about a girl who has just graduated from a magic sort of high school and instead of getting picked to do the magic she wants to do, she ends up paired with the dude who does paper magic. Which I guess is boring and disappointing.

Well, so she decides to just deal with it and begins to learn some pretty cool folding techniques. (I decided I do paper magic at my work. Dang, but I fold a lot!!!) And she also decides that the magician teaching her is not so bad after all. In fact, he's kinda cool.

But then a bad lady from his past comes and steals his heart and she (our heroine) has to go rescue the heart and in the process, she finds herself immersed in this guy's life. And she learns so much about him that she, you know, decides she loves him!

So, I enjoyed the premise, even more than I thought I would. But the story fell a bit flat for me. I wanted the romance to be developed (cause it wasn't AT ALL developed) and there just to be MORE to it. I know the book club peeps didn't enjoy the learning what's in the guy's heart bit, but I thought that part was not bad. That was the main juice of the story... learning about the magician. It wasn't about the girl, but about him.

The writing itself was good, fine, lovely. Nothing to complain about there. Especially consider this is a first book. But that is also why I think it had a few problems. It was a really short book and I think we all agreed that had it been longer and meatier, we would have all enjoyed it more.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Currently: Feeling Lazy

I should have done stuff today, but I did nothing except hang out at a reunion for a few hours. But, I just didn't feel like doing anything. I have many posts to write but instead of writing them, I'll write a currently instead...

Listening: To Spotify. My "songs" playlist, which includes everything. Kpop, Muse, Justin Beiber, Vpop, Maroon5, soundtracks. It's an awesome play list. At this very moment, it's a song from the drama Goblin by Sam Kim called Who are You. There's lots of English bits. I bet you'll like it:

Watching: I finished two dramas that I want to tell you about. And started and almost finished another. I haven't watched any movies lately. I want to though. But, it never seems to get fit in.

Reading: I just finished a book today. It was okay. I mean I liked it but... it wasn't what I was expected. Kind of a downer book. I will review it soon. I also finished the book club book for last week's book club. It was also... okay. Sigh. I will review it soon too. (See, I have posts to write!)

Writing: Nothing to report here this time. Like at all. I am holding out hope for Oct/Nov/Dec on this one. Let's watch and see what happens with that!

Blogging: I had a little spurt and then it fizzled again, huh? But I hope this week to catch up and get some things posted! (Dang, why did I want to do a currently again? There is nothing to report in most of m categories!!!)

YouTubing: This endeavor is sure up and down. We continue to get subscribers, slowly but surely. But we put up videos and it seems no one is watching. Ah, it's frustrating! I'm going to a conference this week about YouTubing and I hope to learn a ton and come back all knowledgeable! YouTube is the biggest mystery to me! But when we went to the concert last weekend, a few people recognized us and seemed excited about it! That's... something.

Monsta X
Even Hyungwon (far left) who had been sick was there for us!!!

Misc: The best thing of course to report on is that we had another fabulous kpop concert weekend last weekend. I will do a post on it too, but it all turned out perfect. We ended up only a few people deep back from the stage and saw the band perfectly. They are so real! This is such an amazing thing! And we survived our "high touch" experience, but it was WAY TOO FAST. But still, it was a chance to look each one of them in the eye and personally thank them.  Anyway, it was awesome. One more kpop weekend to come. And then I hope we'll take a bit of a break to recover.

We had some family time recently too. That was all awesome too!

Monday, July 17, 2017

This Week In Kpop: July 9 to 15, 2017

Well, I really didn't plan on doing one of these kpop news posts EVERY week, but since this past week was just as much, or even more so, crazy as the week before, I figured... why not.

The biggest things that happened this past week revolved around Super Junior. We fell in love with them last January 2016... and promptly discovered that several of their guys were currently in the military. Seriously? Yes.. and so we realized that we had to wait for more than a year to see them doing their Super Junior thing. Which actually gave us plenty of time to catch up on all the stuff we'd missed!

And so, finally, this past week, two of our very most favorites were released from their service and are back in the "idol" spotlight once again! Eunhyuk and Donghae are back! And these two guys are like the best of best friends and have their own little duet sub unit of Super Junior, so it's just so awesome that they both got done within the same week.

(This is what Yesung, also from Super Junior, posted on his Instagram the day Eunhyuk was released. The guy in the gray shirt below is Donghae, who has two days until his release at the moment this was taken.)

But the very best thing about this is the very next day... KCON announced that the two of them will be coming to KCON LA in August! Guys. I can't even explain how flipped out we were over this. All our thoughts of "should we or shouldn't we" about KCON totally went out the window. We HAD to go now. Like, HAD to.

(If they do this song and we have this view, we will be very happy indeed.)

 And the,  VERY NEXT DAY after that, the tickets went on sale. We opened all the tabs and were totally prepared with what we wanted when the counter counted down. And then for 45 FREAKING MINUTES we waited for tickets to become available. It never let us select a price level, so we were just trying for whatever popped up. And nothing did. Over and over and over again. After 45 minutes, we gave up. Then my husband (who is always on board to help enable this ticketing buying thing!) called me back and said.. so I just got floor tickets... do you want them? Of course I said yes and we bought three tickets. General admission... in the pit... on the floor!!

Now, I'm okay standing up the whole time. I'm okay with bumping elbows with the crowd... but what I'm nervous about is the fact that the line for GA tickets starts in the morning, which means standing in line all day and then not being able to do anything else at KCON at all. This is what I have a problem with. So I'm not sure how this will all work. You'll have to stay tuned for the end of the story in about a month! (Most likely we'll not be very close to the stage and will have a hard time actually seeing them!! Ah...dang it!)

Meanwhile, fanwars between BTS fans and pretty much everyone else continue to happen over on Twitter. Getting on Twitter these days is a very risky thing if you are following kpop stuff at all. We are trying to stay out of things, but it's so crazy that it's hard to do! And yes, we are BTS fans, but...we totally hate the fanwars and the idea that many have that in order to be a true fan you can only like one group and etc. Seriously, this fandam is the craziest thing I've ever seen. That's including all the fandoms I've experienced at Comic Con and other places. This takes the cake.

Yes, my feelings exactly.

Oh, and then we've been planning for our upcoming Monsta X adventure. That's this weekend. I'm so nervous!!!! Sadly, I think Hyungwon is still sick and won't be with them. This kills me. And I didn't know I wanted to see him so bad until they said he won't be there. And yes, I want to see him. And we have GA tickets for this concert too, so yeah. We'll be filming and instagraming like crazy as we sit in line all day be sure to come and keep us company at all the social media places.

(Here is a brand new fancam of Monsta X at their concert just last night in Atlanta. If we get this view, I might just die. But our luck is NEVER this good!)

Hyungwon... who has some sort of weird infectious disease and hasn't been touring with them. I'm so sad.

Anyway, that's about it for the big stuff this past week. It feels like we haven't had a fun intense comeback from anyone for a long time! But, that will change tomorrow when EXO has a comeback. Check out the channel for our reaction to that!!

(Here's the teaser for their new song.)


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