Saturday, June 23, 2007

KDrama Review - Full House

"All I remember is cleaning and fighting." - Han Ji Eun in Full House.

Yeah, me too. Cleaning and fighting and eating and cleaning and fighting and eating. 16 episodes of cleaning and fighting and eating.

So, I kicked off my summer fun by watching what was supposed to be a delightful romance, a comedic romp starring Rain/Bi (Jung Ji Hoon) as Lee Young Jae and Song Hye Kyo as Han Ji Eun. Without boring you, because I bored myself, circumstances arrange themselves so that YJ and JE enter into a contract marriage and live in the same house. YJ, however, is desperately in love with another woman, other woman is madly in love with Min Hyuck, Min Hyuck is a rich entrepreneurial playboy who falls in love with JE. JE just wants her house back (don't ask).

If someone doesn't have cancer, anorexia or amnesia, there is a quadrangle of love and heartbreak is right around the kdrama korner. In Full House, we gotcher quadrangle.

Let me be frank. YJ (our protagonist mind you) is emotionally and verbally abusive. We are allowed to see his more vulnerable side, I suppose to take the edge off. JE just absorbs it all in (SO not good for the sisterhood) and falls in love with the creep. Eh, you see it every day. There were moments when I was rooting for Min Hyuck - he really loved JE, treated her like a queen, appreciated all her qualities, brought out better qualities in her.

I couldn't have given a rat's @ss about other girl.

But MH was not our protagonist and therefore, doesn't get the girl. He has to settle for "good friend" status after our two dysfunctional lovers have their magical revelation in a backyard tent admitting their deep love for the other.

You may be surprised to learn that I did not hate this serial. For all its dysfunction, it was sweet. YJ sees the error of his ways, realizes the profundity of his feelings for JE and works on making it up to her. JE, never having NOT loved YJ makes him work a little harder to earn her love and it all ends up happy. Bi was young and very cute. Several lovely beefy shots of him too. Nice.

For any of you who don't know, aside from being Stephen Colbert's archnemesis , see:
Colbert is brilliant - 2 minutes in; you have to see him in his own Korean video. Fabulous.) Bi is Korea's Justin Timberlake. Well, except Bi acts, sings, and dances; he's got it all. :)

The show was just too darn long. They really could have taken out 10 scenes of cleaning, fighting, eating (I got it after 3). Deletion of some of the achy separate bedroom scenes, and achy looking out at the ocean scenes would have cleaned it up nicely. These edits could have focused the show, ratcheted up the angst and given us a happy ending in 11 episodes or less.

Kim Sung Soo who played Min Hyuck does broody man pain very nicely. He has a strong face and a definite charisma. I would have loved it if this show was about the playboy falling in love with the girl. I love it when players are felled by love. Ah well, maybe next time.

Compared to My Name Is Kim Sam Soon? Doesn't hit the mark. I won't watch this series again, where I could easily watch KSS over and enjoy it. I do want to see more of Rain/Bi and Kim Sung Soo.

"Stairway to Heaven". I've learned that StH is quite the beloved drama. All told, again, I thought the chemistry between Kwon Sang Woo and Choi Ji Woo was the best thing about the series. The brooding looks, the blazing sexual tension in the middle of the series had my heart pounding. For the longest time, I just wanted them to be happy, but knew it wasn't going to happen. It started to drag toward the end. After a while, I just wanted her to die already. That's mean, I know it. Their final parting was beautiful and moving, don't get me wrong, it just went a little long for me, that's all.

Next Up? Winter Sonata.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Don't Stop Me Now

Don’t Stop Me Now: Words and music by Freddie Mercury

Tonight I’m gonna have myself a real good time, I feel alive
and the world…..turning inside out yeah! Floating around in ecstasy, so
dont stop me now…..don’t stop me
cause I’m having a good time having a good time!

I think the DJ at my son’s wedding was brilliant. As we were all seated, he came around with little slips of paper asking guests for musical requests. He had an extensive library and was confident that he could produce just about anything. He did too; if there were any songs that he couldn’t produce, I didn’t hear about it.

I requested “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. That song has special significance with me and the kids. We’d play it in the car (along with all of Queen’s Greatest Hits off of their three CD selection) and we’d act it out. The DJ played this song at around 10 pm. The floor was still packed with young adults dancing, and a lesser number of their parents – 10pm is pretty damn late.

I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky, like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I’m a racing car passing by like lady godiva! Im gonna go go go…
There’s no stopping me!

At this point in the dance, we were alternately tigers, or racing car drivers waving, or chesty broads baring ourselves to the world (uhm, no one actually bared themselves to the world – some just stuck their chests out).

I think music helps define and shape us. It is an expression of who we are and what moves us. Our tastes can and do change over time, but I think generally, the music we listen to between the ages of 11 – 18 will be with us forever.

When I was a kid, we were forced to listen to my parents’ music. Roger Whittaker, Slim Whitman, Burl Ives, Charlie Rich. Their concession to our more modern musical needs was to carry John Denver 8 tracks in the car. I still have a deep fondness for Roger Whittaker. What an incredible voice!!

Dad would also make us listen to his easy listening station, challenging me to recognize Perry Como, Tony Bennett, Benny Goodman, and Doris Day. It was a fun game.

I’m burning through the sky yeah!
Two hundred degrees, thats why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m traveling at the speed of light, I wanna make a supersonic man out of you!

At this juncture, we would all point at each other.

Many years ago, I was concerned when my children didn’t know who the Beatles were.
Circa 1996, my then husband and I bought “Queen’s Greatest Hits”. This CD sadly did not include “Bohemian Rhapsody”, but did include other favorites. As a strategic move, it was brilliant. My children as well as all their friends were immediately drawn to “We Are the Champions” and were stunned to learn that cool music had been produced nearly 20 years ago. They couldn’t get enough.

Don’t stop me now…. I’m having such a good time, I’m having a ball
Don’t stop me now…If you wanna have a good time just give me a call
Don’t stop me now (cause I’m havin’ a good time)
Don’t stop me now (yes I’m havin’ a good time) I don’t want to stop at all

Much putting our hands up to our ears as if we are holding a telephone as we don’t stop havin’ a ‘good time’…

As we rode in the car, we would listen to the entire CD, and we’d tell the kids how people would go out and buy bicycle bells to ring at a Queen concert at the appropriate section of “Bicycle Race”. We would talk about Freddie Mercury and discuss how, in our opinion, he had the best voice, bar none in the industry. This led to conversations about Steve Perry from Journey, and my ex-husband’s concert experiences in Germany.

I’m a rocket ship on my way to mars, On a collision course
I am a satellite…I’m out of control
I am a sex machine ready to reload…Like an atom bomb!
About to Oh oh oh oh oh explode!

Arms reaching to the sky, in good Broadway fashion, our interpretation of fireworks exploding…

My ex gave our children 1970s rock in all its forms; AC/DC, Ozzy Ozbourne, CCR, Neil Young. I gave my kids the Bee Gees. Shunned by some for years for their contribution to the late 70’s early 80’s disco movement, I introduced them to 1960s Bee Gees, 1975 Bee Gees, fabulous 1990s Bee Gees, and waxed poetic on the iconic status of “Stayin’ Alive”. We heard the beauty of the lyrics in all the music we listened to, we talked about the meaning of some of the more obscure passages in Don McLean’s “The Day the Music Died”, we bounced to Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll, Parts 1 & 2”.

I'm burning through the sky yeah! Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m traveling at the speed of light, I wanna make a supersonic woman of you!

More pointing.

We started listening to the kids’ music. Presidents of the United States’ “Peaches” was a favorite, Chumbawumba’s “Tub Thumping” both come to mind.

The kids eventually started to listen to all forms of music. Dean Martin is a favorite of my 15 year old daughter who also enjoys jazz, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles and Billy Joel. (She also knows all the lyrics to today’s remarkably slutty songs.) My oldest, who has a beautiful voice coupled with the ability to pick up an instrument and figure out how to play it can make you weep singing “All I Ask Of You” from “The Phantom of the Opera”. He can also make you draw your eyes together and say “huh?” when singing something from the band “Atreyu”. I can never understand the words of those songs, but I try to appreciate it from an artistic perspective, knowing that it appeals to a certain searching demographic. They have some knowledge and familiarity with country music as well.

Don’t stop me don’t stop me don’t stop me hey hey hey!
Don’t stop me don’t stop me ooh ooh ooh (I like it)
Don’t stop me don’t stop me Have a good time good time
Don’t stop me don’t stop me ah

Circles, pointing, dancing, bouncing, circle some more. Crazy open interpretative dance. It is at this point that I realize the musculo-skeletal consequences of jumping up and down repeatedly will have an impact me for several days to come.

They now not only can discern between the Beatles and the Bee Gees (in all their iterations), but they can identify each Beatle by name when their independent work is played on the radio. They now encourage me to listen to the entire Dire Straits song book, they attend Journey concerts, and keep an eager eye open for any potential AC/DC tour dates.

I’m burning through the sky yeah! Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit, I’m traveling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you!

To my shame, their appreciation of Yo Yo Ma playing Bach, or pieces by Mozart is not at all extensive. But they listen and appreciate when it comes on. I can get my daughter to watch and enjoy movie musicals by Rodgers and Hammerstein, and she can close her eyes and recognize Julie Andrews signing anything, but it’s tough to get the boys to sit through “Flower Drum Song” or “Singin’ in the Rain” – though they will admit that Gene Kelly is phenomenal.

My point is – play your music, play their music. Talk to your kids about it, tell them where you were when you first heard that song, who you were kissing and how stupid you felt. Play the game of “who sings this?” Listen to Avril Lavigne. Ask your kids what Nelly Furtado and Timbaland’s song “Promiscuous” means and listen to their answer…it will get you both talking. Find out what they think of Marilyn Manson – their answer might surprise you. Oh and if you can get them to write down the lyrics to any of Atreyu’s songs? Let me know. I keep trying to get it.

There is little that will more powerfully bond you to your children. Their music, your music. They might even pull you up on the dance floor at their wedding and actually WANT to dance with you because it means both of you.

Don’t stop me now I’m having such a good time, I’m having a ball
Don’t stop me now - If you wanna have a good time just give me a call
Don’t stop me now (cause I’m havin’ a good time)
Don’t stop me now (yes I’m havin’ a good time)
I don’t want to stop at all

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Noodly Kind of Day

Poor poor Mr, Wizard. But 89 is a darn good set o'years.

Life is slowly returning to normal back at the ranch after my son's wedding. Except I still have my nails on and it makes me nuts trying to type. Awful.

My little Vietnamese friend Chinh has resigned from work, giving 3 weeks notice. So he took me and another Vietnamese friend Nicole to get Hot Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup. Well, they got Hot Vietnamese Beef and Meatball Noodle Soup, I liked the chicken better. The Vietnamese Noodle Palace was called Pho Hot. Which means, not surprisingly, Hot Noodles. It was VERY good! Damn lotta noodles though and I have not mastered the chopstick sufficiently to eat long asian hot noodles in soup with them. I had to shame myself and use a fork and a big asian soup spoon.

And I'm making spaghetti for dinner tonight. It's a noodly kinda day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I had a dream the other night that I will want some feedback on; so if you feel so inclined, please share your thoughts with me on this dream.

I'll tell you that when a dream sticks with me, it means something; sometimes I figure it out, sometimes I don't. I'm also pretty good at interpreting other people's dreams; my cousin and I share our dreams with one another and make an attempt to interpret. It's a good exercise.

I have some thoughts myself on this dream, but as I said, I'd be very interested to see what others think...

I was driving home from work; it was very dark out; to the point you could see stars in the sky, but it didn't feel late so it had a winter feel to it. People were dressed for cool weather, but no coats. For some reason, I was driving through my cousin's neighborhood to get my dog Buddy. He was capering through the community. I got to my cousin's house and Buddy ran into her garage; all the lights were off. We got through the garage and I got him into her house, but I wanted him out on the deck so he wouldn't get hair all over her house or otherwise mess it up. Everything was still very dark; I felt some unease over this, but not much.

Shortly thereafter, my cousin and her husband came home and had expected me. I saw that Buddy was jumping over the fencing of their deck, so I knew I had to leave. There was another woman in the house who looked like Peter Patrelli's mother on "Heroes". 60-ish, black hair, slender, educated. We all sat on a couch for a while and as the four of us were talking, I realized that by my cousin's manner that this was no longer their home. I looked around and was surprised to see blue wallpaper on the walls in one room with sort of a zig zag pattern. It was silky in texture which made the blue color different throughout. It was SO not my cousin's style which sealed for me that this was no longer her home. I got up to go, saying that I needed to go find Buddy and get home to my daughter when my cousin and her husband told me that I wouldn't be able to get home because they had blocked the roads. I had no idea that there was any kind of crisis occurring that would not allow me to get home to my daughter and I began to panic. I decided that once I was on the road toward the apartment, they couldn't stop me from getting home so I would somehow persuade people in charge that once I got home, I wouldn't leave but I had to get to my daughter; that is, I had to get home.

I walked out of the door to the garage and Buddy was sitting there quietly waiting for me. There were kids - dozens of them - but no children I knew - outside playing the house across the street from my cousin's house. It's odd; I'm recalling the day of 9/11 when there were no planes in the sky and things seemed eerily quiet - this whole dream had the same feel to it. Anyway, the kids had the same sense of something was going on, but they had no idea of the gravity of the situation, so they were running about and screaming and having a good time. I approached a man watching the children; his were among the little ones playing and we made some sort of stilted small talk, recognizing that something awful was going to happen but not articulating it. Buddy was running around playing with the kids. I motioned to go, but the man held my hands gently and pulled me to him. It was an odd thing to do I thought, but as he held me in his arms I was comforted. I could actually feel the warmth in my dream and the cushion-y-ness of his chest. I was being taken care of and it was a very soothing feeling. I still knew I had to get home to my daughter and my plan was still the same, but the comfort I received from this person was tremendous.

My alarm went off. Time to wake up. Dream over.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Vacuum Man

Two years ago, I bought an inexpensive vacuum cleaner. I think it cost me $76 at Walmart and as vacuum cleaners go, it lives up to its' office. It sucks up dirt. It is bagless - a personal preference. It is easy to replace a belt and to clean the filters. Not a big deal. I've been happy.

Not too long ago, could have been me, could have been my daughter, we vacuumed up something that must have been damp. My inexpensive vacuum cleaner didn't like that and started to smell bad. Icky damp rug dirt yucky. Ewwwwww.

Rather than going to buy a new cleaner, I thought I'd take it to a local repair shop in Leesburg, VA. How much could it really cost? Maybe get some new filters in it, get it nice and clean. I had the day off, so I took it in.

Vacuum Man (not his real name, but his superhero, possibly his Bizzaro, alter-ego) was in the back room. Doubtless repairing the thousands and thousands of broken cleaners that keep him fiscally solvent. I explained my need; just want it cleaned, thanks a bunch, new filters, etc. He went out to the car to carry the smelly beast in.

Vacuum Man unwound the cord and plugged it in. "Do you know how to turn it on?"

Of course, that should have been my first clue. "Uhm, that big red button in the back that says "power", I think." "Oh, yeah. Now I see it." He turned it on, and sure enough, it smelled yucky.

"Yep, you're right. You probably aren't going to want to hear this, but," as he moved toward the floor models. Hmmmm. Wasn't just nasty vacuum cleaner I was smelling. "You'd be just better off buying a new machine. I got one here for $119. Got good suction, does a great job." He took the time to unwind the cord, plug it in. I noted he had no problem finding the power button on that machine.

"Thanks, but I don't like bags." As a reason not to buy, it was weak, but if this guy wanted to throw me a deal, I'd talk. That's when he turned on his particular brand of Paleolithic-like charm. "Uh, why?" I didn't hesitate. "Let's say I'm home and I run out of bags, I can't vacuum until I buy a bag. I don't like the inconvenience."

"Snort." Nice. A man who worships at the altar of Jack-asserie. Not a newbie either. Most likely, a daily communicant. Vacuum Man's disdain for the foolishness of women started to trickle out of his nose. Surprising, since I'm willing to bet that 98% of his business comes from the fairer sex. "Yeah, like that's a big inconvenience. So keep some on hand, is it that hard?"

You kidding me?

Not my point, Vacuum Man and my hackles are rising. He clearly just wanted to sell me one of his cleaners. "Hold up, girl," my inner Catholic said, "Don't overreact. Was this just a poor attempt at lightheartedness?" I rolled the theory around in my brain testing it for quality. His remarks had an acidic feel. I was pretty sure he was not trying to be playful. "OK, so I got this one over here, blah blah blah blah blah for $150."

Tired of the game, I said, "To tell you the truth, I don't want to spend that much on a vacuum cleaner today." The people pleaser in me started to consider the $119 model, but I really didn't like the bag and I really didn't like the price. "Especially when I can buy the same one at Walmart for $76."

Your move Vacuum Man.

He moved alright. On the defensive he said, "Can Walmart give you the same service I can give you, cleaning it up for you and servicing it for life like I can?" All the while treating me like a stupid eff-stick, isn't that right, Vacuum Man? I added that last little bit for him in my head. Don't kid yourselves, this guy dropped arrogance and nastiness by the hot steamy pantload.

Instead, I parried, "Are you open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week like Walmart, where, let me say again I can buy my vacuum cleaner for a lot less?"

I'm the first to admit that I have an inner little person, who comes right from my Dad's side of the family, that isn't going to take much crap from people when it comes to my money or treating me like an idiot. Mr. Brilliant here was two for two. I'm happy to give the a person my business and send business that way if I am treated right and fair. This guy lost me a while back.

Maybe you like roughing up the girls Vacuum Man, maybe it works on some hapless female and she backs down and buys your stupid machines without shopping around. I don't play that way.

Attempting to shame me in good therapeutic community fashion, Vacuum Man retorted, "I'm open 6 days out of 7. Are you so incapable of managing your BAG needs, that you can't handle that? It's not ENOUGH for you? The independent guy really likes your kind of business lady. Whatever." In a somewhat dismissive manner, he takes out a paper to take my order to clean the machine.

"What are you going to charge me to clean it?" I'd still give him my business if it were less than $20.

"About $90," looking me in the eye as if to justify his pathetic position, he saw my eyebrows shoot up. "I gotta take it all apart, and clean it up and put it back together." His eyes said, "And you are too stupid to understand that it will cost me $3 to do that and I'm still going to charge you $90, beyotch."

I was done. "No thanks. I'm not going to spend $90 on a cleaning. And let me tell you something else, I probably would have bought the $119 vacuum cleaner if you hadn't been so aggressive with me. AND," as I started to wind up the cord of my sad smelly cleaner, "I don't appreciate being made to feel like I have to apologize to you, when you have treated me as poorly as you have!"

Vacuum Man bravely walked into the back room. I started out toward the door. Our exchange was finished. Or so I thought.

"Would you take it for $110?" he cried from his position of strength.

No longer able to stomach the sweet fragrance of desperation, I kept walking. The man must have thought I had no brains and little back bone if he actually thought that I would do business with him again in my lifetime.

An elderly woman passed me on the way out. I heard Vacuum Man bleat, "Have a nice life! Look out lady," he jeered to the poor elderly woman who had no part in our repartee, "I guess I'm in A BAD MOOD!" He shouted this at the end to make sure I could hear him.

I went to Walmart, found my same vacuum cleaner for $49.95, bought 2 fans, some Brita water filters, and a 12 pack of paper towels for less than $119, thank you very much Vacuum Man. I will be sure to tell all my friends about your issue-laden sales-pitch, fella.

Good day sir.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

Running Kdrama Notes: Major Spoilers...Major

Since I can't keep everything on my little "side notes" section, I thought I'd start a place marker for the kdrama I've watched.

"The Book of Three Han: The Chapter of Jumong". Fell in love with the characters by the end. Cried at significant character deaths. Thought the ending - as historically accurate as the writers could be in the virtual absence of historical documents - was perfect. That's not to say the drama didn't have holes, but I'm finding in all the kdrama I watch, I become more invested in the characters than the story line. Song Il Guk was superb.

SIG's acting was surpassed however by Kim Myeong Min as Jang Joon
Heok in
"The White Tower". Set in a teaching hospital in South Korea it is the story of drive, power and friendship. Not a particularly sympathetic character, KMM is positively exquisite at the end. I watched the series to see who this poseur was who beat Song Il Guk for the best actor award. I'll admit that I was bitter.

There was so much about this series that frustrated me. What I realized in the end though, like with the other kdramas I've watched, I'm far more drawn to the characters than the realism of the story. I was so moved by Jang's illness and how he handled it. I cried for the last half hour of the episode - best moment - where Jang was dreaming he was operating again. It was so telling of the character. His life was in that operating room. It was the place where he felt most confident, whole, beautiful, loved and flawless. He was good and he knew it, he saved people's lives, his team loved him, the students admired him, even the other staff who despised him had to admit his gift. I saw all that in his face while he imagined the surgery, as he watched the students stand for
him before he began, it was where Jang was at his best. Then he awoke and his hands started to tremble and his reality now was that he was going to die.

Oh, as an aside? I had dubbed Dr. Yeom as Dr. Winy Cry Baby. Watch the show, I think you'll appreciate my reaction. I later discovered however, that Dr. Winy Cry Baby kept a fun bunch of toys and prizes under his hospital garb. He is now "Dr. Yeommy" in my book.

Pardon that divergence. Anyway, I understood Dr. Jang's refusal in the end to repent - in his mind his operation was flawless - he had nothing to apologize for. We even heard on trial that the small mark that indicated cancer in the man's lungs was not of a sufficient size to retest for cancer, so still, in his mind, he did the absolute best he could have done under the circumstances. He died absolutely certain he had done the best he could. Personally, if he had stuck to that I think he would not have been convicted of malpractice. It got all complicated and convoluted when he started to lie about it and forced others to do the same. I understood it, (I didn't support it, but I understood it) - it was all about the ends justifying the means - he had to make the hospital more successful and he had to become more successful and if he had to perjure himself and force others to do the same, it didn't matter. Not an admirable trait at all. But if I may, the apple didn't really fall far from the tree, did it? It seems to me that the entire hospital had no problem manipulating data to serve its own ends - lying to Jang about his illness and the extent of his disease - changed his charts, doctored x-rays and cat scans, handed him tissue samples from another patient, encouraged those around him to lie, even Dr. I'll Always Take The Moral High Ground Choi lied to his friend when Jang looked at him right in the face and demanded the truth. Jang wasn't the only liar in the series.

KMM totally deserved the best actor award, far and away over Song Il Guk. It was an exquisite performance and one I'm likely to remember for a long time.

To date, my favorite show was
"My Name is Kim Sam Soon". Started watching out of desperation with "Emperor of the Sea" having just ended. Startled by the seeming unattractiveness of the lead (Kim Sun ah) and the young looks of Hyun bin, I didn't expect much out of this series and was just going to use it as a space filler. Ahhhh, but chemistry again weaved its heady magic and I was pulled in.

I have to say it right now, that I hated .... HATED...the character of Yoo Hee Jin. Perhaps a tribute to the
actress, or a credit to the writers, but I found her obscenely selfish and self absorbed - even a the end when hot hot Henry told her that his dream of going overseas as a doctor was about to come true - and would she make the dream complete and come with? She told him he should wait for HER to become a doctor. I hope you will all forgive me for calling her "Cancer" throughout the series.

But that was not the overarching reaction to the show. I loved KSS and HJH, I loved their journey and I loved that they finally come together in the end. I also loved that Cancer got her heart broken. Heh heh heh.

Oh, and I've since seen that Kim Sun Ah is a stunningly beautiful woman (and woooooof, Binny is just smokin'). So kudos to KSA, the writers, and the makeup team. A fabulous series that I have watched and re-watched. Much beloved.

blogger templates | Make Money Online