Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Bee Gees Song of the Day: Boogie Child

Boogie; oh, right to the limit, boogie child
Boogie; you're a bad girl, you got me in it (come on, boogie boogie)
Boogie; a man could die for the way I'm thinking , boogie child
Boogie; and I'm in too deep and I just keep sinking (come on, boogie boogie)

Ingmar Bergen: Dead

Tom Snyder: Dead

What does it say about me that I know more about Tom Snyder than I do about Ingmar Bergen? Admittedly, the little I know about Snyder is based partially on a few late night up sick sessions when I was a kid. But mostly on Dan Akroyd's impression of him on Saturday Night Live.

What does it say? Does it say that I am one with the sound-byte generation who would rather get their entertainment in tawdry late night smoke filled servings than ponder the majesty and art of a Bergen flick?

Is that what it says? Is it? Is it????

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Part III - The Final Chapter


Bee Gees Song of the Day: E.S.P.

Danger, suddenly an early warning Suddenly the soul is burning But I still believe in someone, somewhere
Four years ago I had the good fortune to go to work for a well-regarded regional architecture firm. It was good fortune for a variety of reasons: great opportunity for career advancement; good solid management team; stellar reputation in the industry. (Okay, wait a second. What in God’s name does this have to do with the Pope, rosaries or redemption, you ask. Have we moved on to a new blog? Is this even the same guest blogger? What the HE** is going on here?)

Patience. There is a valid segue here. For it was at this firm that my true redemption was to come to fruition, very much by chance.

I was sitting at lunch one day with some coworkers and my tale of rosary woe came up in conversation, as it had so many times with others over the past several years. I regaled them with much of the same drama that I have shared here, and got the obligatory laughter, as well as the appropriate commiseration that I had not, and would never. achieve my goal. So I went on, thinking nothing more of it.

Two days later, I came to work and sat at my desk, where a small white envelope was waiting for me. Puzzled, I picked it up and noticed that it was quite thick in the middle. I carefully pried it open, and pulled out a small note card, from which an even smaller brown envelope fell onto my desk. I picked up the brown packet and held it in my hand as I read the note:

“I was so moved by your story about your father and his desire for a rosary blessed by John Paul II. I would like you to pass this rosary along to him, which I received during one of my private audiences with him.”

I couldn’t believe my eyes. You see, as it turns out, one of my principals is married to one of the lead architects from the team that designed the John Paul II cultural center. During the construction of the project, she and her husband were invited twice to meet with the Pope. And their “audience” with the pope was a bit different from mine. She showed me a photo of her kneeling to kiss his Grace’s ring, and told me that, after you kiss his ring, he drops a small envelope into your hand that contains a rosary that he has blessed himself. Personally.

“I already have another of my own, so it would mean a great deal to me for your father to have this one. I hope he will like it.”

He did.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Redemption! AKA: New Pope, Kathryn Hopes, Pop Mopes

Bee Gees Song of the Day: To Love Somebody

I live and breathe for you But what good does it do If I ain't got you, ain't got you?
Fast forward several years. So much has changed. John Paul II has gone on to the Great Beyond. A new pope, Benedict, is named to carry on his mission. I am now gainfully employed, and have since married and had my first child. Life is good. But still, something is missing.

My feelings of failure, while they have waned with the years, nag at my subconscious like a slow leak in a pipe hidden deep within your walls. Not noticeable on the surface, but creating unforeseen damage within.

Until one day, while leaving mass (at a time when I was quite diligent about attending), I came across two young girls manning a table, imploring congregants to support their missionary efforts. It seems that they were raising money for a trip to Italy, where they, as I did lo those many years ago, would have an audience with the Pope. Unlike me, however, they apparently had been clued into the “no sale of blessed items” hoo ha, and they were earning their transport by selling rosaries which they would take with them to be blessed by the Pope during their audience with him. They would then bring them back and deliver them to the congregants who had purchased them prior to their trip.

A fire lit within me. There it was. For a mere $15, I could finally deliver what I could not before. All would be forgiven. I tore open my wallet and fumbled through the bills. I had enough to purchase four. I ordered all four. (Who knew when I might run across a request for a blessed rosary again). I selected two simple brown rosaries with wooden beads and two with bright, rainbow colored beads. I asked the lovely young women, these angels of mercy and my saviors, when the rosaries would be delivered. Their trip was three weeks out at that point, and they would be right in this spot the Sunday after. I smiled and thanked them, and exited the church with a lightness I hadn’t felt in years. Everything seemed brighter, more colorful. It was as if a new life had been bestowed upon me.

Four weeks later, I arrived at church early. The young women were there. I tried not to appear too anxious as I jostled past a young couple and their three children. My angels smiled and pulled up my order. “Yes, you ordered four rosaries, Ma’am. Here they are. Thank you so much for your support.” “Oh no, thank you,” I gushed. You don’t know how much these mean to me”. I clutched them to my breast, and walked into mass.

The next Sunday was Father’s Day. What better day to present this redemptive jewel to my Father. I could see his face, tears welling up in his eyes as he threw his arms around me and told me what a wonderful daughter I was. I actually felt sorry for my sisters, whose gifts surely wouldn’t hold a candle to mine. After dinner, the moment of truth. I could hardly contain my excitement as I handed him a small bag, the rosary therein. As he pulled it out, and examined it curiously, I shared with him the fact that this rosary had been blessed by the one and only – the Pope. His face lit up. “J.P?” he beamed. That’s when I knew that redemption was a fleeting thing. “No. Ben,” I muttered. Once again, that look I had seen seven years ago filled his eyes as he thanked me and told me how much it meant to him. His feigned gratitude hung in the air like a bad odor you hoped no one else would notice. Clearly, there must be a hierarchy of popes, at least in my father’s eyes, and John Paul II was The Great One. Who knew? I figured a pope is a pope is a pope, right? No. Apparently not. I had failed once again. And the finality of it weighed on me like a boulder. There would never be a chance for true redemption. After all, JP II was dead. It would be impossible to present my father with a JP blessed rosary.

Or would it?

Tomorrow: JP lives.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Guest Blogger: European Vacation


Bee Gees Song of the Day: Spics and Specks

All of my life I've tossed with the day
The spicks and the specks of my life gone away


When Erica first asked me to be a guest blogger on her site, I was flattered and more than a bit enthusiastic at the prospect. A guest blogger! What an honor! And one that I was pretty sure she had not bestowed on anyone before me. But then the panic set in. After all, I had never blogged before. In fact, I had never even read a blog before Erica started sending me the links to hers. Would it be obvious to all who read me? Would I be a target for comparison with the more eloquent and experienced hostess of the blog site? Would I be pitied for my inability to measure up? How could I even put myself in such a position? And what could I write that would be even remotely interesting to the myriad of visitors to her blog site? I know nothing of Korean drama and haven’t (recently) run into any chain-smoking serial killers. I have concluded that guest blogging must be right on par with public speaking and death as a source of unadulterated stress.

So I delayed. I came up with excuses like “Oh, I’m very busy at work right now. No time for such frivolity.” But she knew it was all so much procrastination. How long could I postpone the inevitable? At what point would she realize that I was simply a coward? So here I sit, sweat beading on my brow; my hands shaking with every key stroke.

And what to write about? Well without any recent notable experience, I decided to share one of my favorite stories about my father, which I had occasion to recount while entertaining a client yesterday evening.

European Vacation

Ten years ago I had the great opportunity to take a whirlwind tour of Europe with a group of college students. Seven cities in three and a half weeks. One of those opportunities that you know won’t pop up again any time soon, so I jumped at the chance. Our last stop was Rome, where we had a scheduled audience with the Pope (John Paul II, for those who don’t keep up with these things). If you have not been to the Vatican for an “audience with the Pope,” I will share with you that it isn’t an opportunity to walk in, shake hands and chew the fat with His Grace. It is occasion to squeeze into a giant room with 50,000 other people and squint to see him walk across the stage and speak in a thick, Italian accent you cannot understand.

But that is neither here nor there. The significance of this visit was that it provided me the opportunity to obtain for my father the one thing he had always wanted: a rosary blessed by the Pope. Not knowing about such things, I asked him where I could acquire such a rare gift, and he assured me that you could walk into the Vatican gift shop and pick out one of thousands. Basically, according to my father, who is never wrong, the Pope walks into a giant Catholic warehouse where these pieces are stored, raises his hand, says a few words in Italian and blesses the whole lot of them. So there I am, after our audience with the pope, in the Vatican gift shop, inquiring of an elderly nun which of the rosaries has been blessed. She scoffed at me, and told me in her condescending, broken English that blessed items cannot be sold. I informed her that she was mistaken and explained to her what my father had told me. She just shook her head, made a clucking noise, and shuffled away. So there I was, thousands of miles away from home, unable to deliver on one simple task that would make my father happy. What made it worse was that, if I had known better, I could have bought the rosary ahead of time and taken in into the Pope extravaganza, where His Grace did, in fact, bless en masse all items brought in by the audience.

I felt dizzy. My legs felt weak. I contemplated my options. I could simply stay in Italy, never to be seen or heard from again. That way, the despair of losing his precious daughter would outweigh the fact that he didn’t have a blessed rosary…maybe. I could purchase one of the rosaries, and tell him it was blessed, but I was pretty sure that guaranteed a one-way ticket to hell for me, so best not to go down that road. I finally concluded that a genuine, Vatican-issued rosary was as close to being pope-blessed as you could get, and surely that would satisfy him.

Upon arriving back in the states, I immediately held out my father’s gift to him, and excitedly gave him my best sales pitch on the whole “Vatican-issued” bit. He held it up and, with perfect fatherly gratitude, told me it was exactly what he had wanted. I smiled, and acted like I believed him. But we both knew the truth.

I was a failure.

(Tomorrow: Redemption!…Or not.)

Teenagers


Bee Gees Song of the Day: Odessa

You think that you can stand and lie.
It makes me laugh.You got no friends.
It took a thousand years to find out why.
You'll never see my face again .

Teenagers

I really think that this is exactly what parents in the 1950s were afraid of with their “Reefer Madness” and “Rock and Roll”. It’s a toe tapper. My Chemical Romance will be playing at the New York State Fair in Syracuse with Linkin Park on August 28th.



Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Me and Bobby McGee


Bee Gees Song of the Day: One

Like the wind that feeds the fire, two souls become entwined.
I sing in the car.

I am insular enough to not pay attention when I am making a fool of myself. I'm too old to care. I’m enjoying the song, I’m enjoying the singing, I'm enjoying myself. I let ‘er rip. I’ve noticed other people doing this occasionally and they look very silly, no doubt I look equally as silly.

In fact, I know I do.

Many many many years ago, gosh, it may have been over 15 years ago now (how I hate that I can think in decades!) I was driving to work. Earth Wind and Fire was on the radio playing “September”. It’s a warm fuzzy song for me because it brings back a memory of going to a fair in Virginia, riding on a ride with a cute boy, a head resting on my shoulder, ahhhhh. Young love.

I never heard from him again. So much changes; so much stays the same.

I am driving to work and in the car singing my little heart out ~ I thought the words were “On and on and on and on” (google says no) and was not paying attention to the school bus directly in front of me. I looked up. Apparently, I was ALSO not paying attention to the 10 or more teenagers laughing at me from their perch in the back of the bus above my little Escort.

This must have been going on for a while. Their arms were entwined, they were swaying and mouthing “On and on and on an on” pointing at me. Laughing. There was nothing else for it, I smiled, waved and kept singing, but without the abandon of before.

I learned after that. I try to be more aware of my surroundings. However, if I am working on a particularly difficult note from “Phantom of the Opera”, I’ll just sing and not care. But most times, I look around, turn the radio down if I have stopped in traffic, and will sing softly.

That’s what I was doing a month or so ago. I was on hold with my cellular provider; I was having trouble with my phone and wanted to get to the bottom of it. No time like dead traffic during the commute. (This was BEFORE Virginia enacted its no-cell-phone-while-driving-laws thank you very much any dutiful civil servants who read this.) Nice young Andy had put me on hold while he researched the problem.

One of my favorite songs came on – “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin. I’ve grown to appreciate that song over the years and Joplin’s charisma. So my windows are up, I’m idling in traffic with the song playing at a polite level while singing and waiting for Nice Young Andy to solve my problem.

“Do you know any CCR?”

F*************************************CK.
He heard me. I wanted to die.

Nice Young Andy hadn’t put me on hold at all! He had muted himself and was listening to me the whole time. He probably had put me on speaker and had the whole office listen to it. Crap. There was only one thing for it, I didn’t miss a beat when I told him I wasn’t a fan. He told me I had a lovely voice and it was a pleasure listening to me.

At least I amused him.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Hitch Hiker


Bee Gees Song of the Day: Tragedy

“Here I lie, in a lost and lonely part of town
Held in time, in a world of tears I slowly drown”

I sent this email to my family on January 23, 2003 after an interesting encounter on a very cold January day. Wind chills were -26° F, and I saw someone walking on the road while I was going to work. At the time, I felt that I would be a very bad Catholic if I didn’t stop and give this person a chance to warm up in my car, so I let him in...

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I want to tell you something bizzare that happened to me this morning. I'm driving into work late and the cold is just bitter. Wind chills are 20 - 30 below, its just bitter. (The breeze Gramma loved so well is working against us.) Anyway, I'm driving in the hills to get to work and I see a fella walking. Now normally, I don't pick up hitch hikers, but no one should have to walk in this cold. So against my better judgment, I stopped and asked him if he needed a ride.

Big kid. Well, young man really, but he came across as being developmentally disabled. His manner of speaking was slow and deliberate and loud. I would have pegged him though between 19 and 25 years old.

Immediately, as he is closing the car door, he says "What church do you go to?" "The Catholic Church. Do you go to church?" "Yes. The Christian Church right up here." "Oh, good. So where are you walking to? Where can I drive you?" "To the store." "Uhm, the store up at the corner here that is closed, or the Mobile Station further ahead?" "The Mobile Station." Since it was on my way (and that's really as far as I planned to take him anyway) I took off.

"You know," he says, "We're ALL Christian. The Lutherans, the Protestants, the Catholics...you're Christian aren't you?"

This must have been important to him, and I responded, "Yes, you are right, we are all Christian. Catholics are Christian."

He continued, "We all believe that Jesus is Lord. And that is good. Only one religion doesn't believe in God and that is the ATHEISTS!".

Not sure where this was going I said, ”You are right. They don't believe in God at all."

The young man persisted, "And if you don't accept Jesus in your heart, you won't go to heaven, right? Those Jehovah Witnesses, they don't have Christmas in their heart all year round, they just don't have Christmas in their heart."

Might be an attempt at evangelization. "Well, no they don't have Christmas in their heart because they don't believe that Jesus is Christ. But I believe they are good people trying to live their lives and their faith as best as they can. They go out and try to witness to people. Sometimes I think they do more than some Christians I know. We have to try to respect everybody."

Well that was just no good for my rider, "Well, it takes more than just being a good person to go to heaven."

I didn’t want to agree just for the sake of agreeing, "Well, I don't know. A person can't help being born into a certain situation. It’s not a persons fault if they are born into an atheist family. But God still loves them very much and if they live a good life and don't do anything bad, I think they can still go to heaven."

He thought about this. "Oh. Well. But you have to accept Jesus in your heart and then you go straight to heaven!"

I said, "As long as you stay a good person. Some people believe in Jesus, but do bad things. And they probably don't go to heaven."

"Not if you REALLY accept Jesus in your heart." I could see his point.

"Well, there are some evangelists who weren’t honest to people and took their money, and think about the Catholic priests who did terrible things to kids. They might not go to heaven."

"Yeah, but if you accept Jesus in your heart and you don't do ANY more bad things, then you go straight to heaven, right?" He really sounded like he was 6 or 7 years old.

"Yes, I guess you would."

"Look at Ted Bundy," (this statement should have inspired more fear in me than it did. In retrospect, I really should have gotten the willies), "he accepted Jesus in his heart and do you think he went to heaven?"

"I don't really know. He killed a lot of people," (it occurred to me as I said this that perhaps I shouldn't be reminding this stranger what Ted Bundy did to lone women), "and I guess only God knows what was in Ted Bundy's heart when he died. He might have to be punished for all those people he killed, don't you think?" I didn't think it was the right time to engage him in the theological merits and Catholic Doctrine on purgatory.

Unconvinced, my rider said, "Yeah. Maybe."

So by this time, I'm heading down the hill and the Mobile is in sight, and my throat hasn't been slit yet. I'm thinking I might be OK. I pull into the Mobile, to the side and this kid (who never stopped talking) opens the door. Directly in front of me, a big huge snow plow wants to get by, but can't because this kids butt is sticking out the back door and he's still talking, not backing out.

"Honey, the plow wants to get by, you have to close the door." I'm anxiously looking at the huge orange plow. "Honey he wants to get by, you have to go now." The kid was babbling about Jesus and I had no idea how to make him shut the door. "You take care, I have to go." The last thing he said was "Divorce is bad. Forgiveness is good." He finally shuts the door.

Freshly divorced at the time, I had no idea how to take that little parting shot, since we weren’t talking about divorce, but about accepting Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be taking a grander message from this meeting and I pondered it the rest of the way in to work. I eventually forgot about it.

My family berated me for picking up a hitch hiker. My mom was convinced with the Ted Bundy reference that my little Christian friend was a killer on the loose and that I had behaved very irresponsibly. I was lucky to be alive. (The good news was that with the bitter cold, my corpse would have been preserved for a period of time, maintaining any forensic evidence left behind.)

In retrospect, I think it was just a chance encounter with a young man on fire for his Lord taking the opportunity to evangelize to someone. But you never know…

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm Not The Only One

I had to post this, if for the validation alone. It's from Lileks - link on the side as well thank you, please patronize him daily. James has a 5 or 6 year old daughter named Natalie who he calls Gnat.

This is the first paragraph of this morning's blog:

Last day of this week’s summer classes. Knowledge gathered: zero, as far as I can tell, but that wasn’t the point. The morning class was “Pokemon Training,” and the kids – all boys, save Gnat – learned the gentle art of cockfighting at the hands of an older lad who had probably passed his own Pokemon period years ago, but remembered it fondly. They traded cards and did Pokemon charades and drew pictures. Fun for all. It was part of the Southwest High program we use every year, and I’m sad she’s done with the class; it has come to mean Summer for us. Up and out in the morning, park, walk hand in hand to the school, into the humid close unairconditioned hall where everyone meets: chaos. The first year I was certain I would lose her in the daily riot, but every parent feels the same way. You see the school as a giant whale’s mouth, the children as teeming plankton, and you wonder how you’ll find your own before Scary McRaincoat pops out of an empty room and takes them off to the Land Below the Stairs.

Patrick


Bee Gees Song of the Day: Smoke and Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors

May God bless you,
keep you safe from all harm.
Oh, may I stand by you always.
Time and motion.
Hands touch,
lips find a way to heaven on high.
I have become, over the last several years, more skeptical and wary. There are a lot of reasons for that I think, none of which really matter. I don't know whether to mourn the loss of my naturally trusting nature, or to congratulate myself that I'm no longer as gullible as I once was.

Guess it’s a mixture of both.

And I'm still plenty trusting and gullible, so the loss isn't total. Remind me sometime to tell you about the serial killer I picked up in -26°F weather. You will take me to task.

With that said, I was naturally suspicious as I was walking my dog Tuesday morning when I saw a car stationary in an area where cars are not normally parked. Belonging to the school of thought that one should look a potential attacker in the eye so that he knows you could identify him in a line up, I took a proactive approach and got a good look at him and his car. White sedan, looks like a Ford (but I’m so bad with cars), he has dark hair, early 40s, from what I could tell from the elbow lounging out of his open window, a slender build.

(The flip side of that school of thought is that if your attacker thinks you can ID him, he'll slit your throat so you CAN'T. It's a crap shoot.)

As I was passing (the car was probably 10 yards away), I noticed that the driver was looking directly at me as well. He nodded by way of acknowledgment, and his hand moved in a friendly gesture. I moved on; Buddy’s needs brook no intermission. The time was roughly 5:50 am.

I was careful to casually turn around a few times to make sure White Car was not following me with a shiv at the ready. He was not. I’ve read too much John Douglas and watched too much Forensic Files for my own good. My encounter was forgotten.

Until Wednesday when he was there again. I saw him before he could see me. Bleep. It was 5:50 am again. Bleep! He saw me. BLEEP. Now he knows my schedule. I nodded in a very perfunctory way, letting him know I remembered him from the other day and would report him to the police if he molested me in any way. I was moving on.

“You walk by here every day?” My lightening fast brain (HA!) calculated the statement, the variety of responses, and how best to handle the situation. “Yep.” Planning on changing that tomorrow though guy. “You park there every day?”

“Got a buddy that lives over there,” gesturing to a nearby development. I detected a raspy voice; likely a smoker. He was wearing a bandana on his head. A gray one. “We ride in to work together and I wait for him here. That’s a beautiful German Shepard you have there.” Good, you look at my German Shepard, guy. He bites. “What’s his name?” “Buddy.” “Buddy! I have a dog named Buddy!” “Is that right? Ha ha. Well, it’s a pretty common name for a dog.” I was on the offensive again, “And what’s your name?” “Patrick!” “Ah! Well, nice to meet you Patrick.” “And your name?” I am ashamed to tell you that I gave him my real first name. "Erica." Eh. It’s not on my mailbox. “Well, you have a good day Patrick! See you!”

I moved on, keeping my eyes open for a white sedan following me.

I am well aware that Patrick could have just been a friendly guy saying good morning and being pleasant. My imagination is fertile however and my inner Paranoid speaks up, “He’s probably a rapist. Change your route and the timing of your walks. If you see him again, don’t let him know that Buddy is 105 in people years. Start carrying a steak knife.”

I don’t know about the steak knife, but I think I’ll start carrying my cell phone. And telling as many people about the chance encounter as I can so that in the event I disappear while walking Buddy, you’ll know where to start looking for the body.

But if he turns out to be an obnoxiously wealthy, Roman Catholic lover of Asian Film and we ever get married, you won't tell him what I said about him, will you?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

KDrama Review: Hwang Jini


Bee Gees Song of the Day: Massachusetts

"And the lights all went out in Massachusetts
They brought me back to see my way with you."

In searching Hwang Jini online, I found this and found it particularly moving:
"Oh that I might capture the essence of this deep mid-winter night
and fold it softly into the waft of a spring-moon quilt,
Then fondly uncoil it the night my beloved returns."
Ponder Angst: 10 – there was very little ponder angst! Good for them! Lots of points here.

Love Angles: 20 – we have five people involved in the pentagon of love. Wow! Nice job! Early on, Jini is in love with Eun Ho (and there is actual kissing), but his death affects relationships for Jini way down the line. I HAVE to include him in the angles. Later on, Jini loves Jung Han, Jung Han loves Jini, Baek Gye Su, powerful royal personage loves Jini (its not love, its obsession) and is friends with Jung Han, and Bu Young loves Jung Han (she does love him, but its yet another area where she “loses” to Jini. LOSER!)

Sizzle – 6, no, wait, I’ll give it 10. The two leads weren’t bad, but the heat coming off of the bodyguard was niiiiiice.

Physical Intimacy – 8 – the show was rife with it actually – we are talking about gisaengs and randy court men coming to call, and our main character gets pregnant so its inferred. Not a lot of heat though.

Heartwrenching Death – 12 – boyfriend from youth dies, teacher dies, mom dies, miscarriage; it was a positive death fest.

Going to the Beach – 15 bonus points – 5 points for the actual suicide, 10 points for it occurring on or around the beach. Teacher dances off a cliff into the turbulent waters of her own wasted life. This sends our heroine into a psychotic riff that includes alcoholism and amnesia.

This was the story of 16th Century Korea's most famous Gisaeng, Hwang Jini. Driven to perfect her art, she struggles with life, love, and psychoses.

To be honest, I'm conflicted about this drama. At the end, and as a woman, I respected her for her art and her struggle to dedicate herself to it. Her drive to rise above being a Courtesan – used and at the mercy of men, to free herself and practice the dance. She finally achieved peace in her life.

The girly part of me wanted her to be able to have her art and her love too. Good news is that her love gets to live. Bad news is, they are separated for the rest of their lives. It would have been nice to see Kim Jung Han reach the peace that Jini achieved. He may well have been able to, we just never get to see it. Hell, even nasty Baek Gye Su gets redemption ¾ of the way through and we get to see it. I just wanted the hunted look to leave Jung Han's eyes and have them fill with admiration for Jini for what she had accomplished at the end.

But nope, nope. So boooooo!

BTW? If hot body guard Lee Saeng looked at me the way he looked at Jini? <>. Yum. I would have walked away from the dance, the poetry, the music, my job, my kids....woof.

When she wasn't fainting, we got to see the many sides of Jini. We see cold and aloof Jini (she's my favorite!), we see spiteful, hateful Jini. Grief-stricken Jini was a little dull but then things heated up with hallucinating Jini and right on the heels of that was alcoholic Jini. The comes Psychotic break Jini, followed by Amnesia Victim Jini. Living with the love of her life Jini was sweet for about half an episode, since we also get pregnant Jini. Sadly, this is followed by felon Jini, miscarriage Jini, au revoir to the love of her life Jini, struggling to find true art Jini, and then at peace Jini.

A complex character you may say. Blah blah blah blah blah. I say, pick an effing side Jini and go with it already. And it SHOULD have been "living with the love of her life"-Jini making lots of artsy Korean babies. You SO blew it.

We did get some lovely character death! And ding ding ding ding ding! Two Lucky Seven Bars and a Bell! Almost hit the jackpot! (Three Lucky Seven Bars is actually suicide by ocean – walking into the surf until no one can see you anymore and you don't come back. Free spin if an item of clothing floats up onto the shore without the character in it - like a shoe.) We had someone "go to the beach". Well sort of. Threw herself off a cliff because she realized her life's work was crap.

End of the day, the drama wasn't bad. Ha Ji Won's performance as Jini was wonderful. Won't watch it again. Jini gets a 75 on the drama scale. That's about right.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

KDrama Score Card Introduction


Bee Gees Song of the Day: This is Where I Came In: from the album of the same name.

“Hope rides on. But I’ll go anywhere. Yes, I’ll go anywhere with you.”


A few days ago, I announced that I would be combining my affection for spreadsheets with my obsession for kdrama. Here are the categories for my scoring:

Ponder Angst – this is when our main protagonist(s) are caught in their most private of moments. They ponder the weight and gravity of their situation, sometimes reviewing with rewind-like accuracy a moment of great import in their lives. This angst can occur whilst enjoying the majesty of a mountain scene, or the power of the surf. Sometimes it happens while they sit still at their table. Doing nothing. Staring into space. Eating up valuable time in the series where we could be actually DOING SOMETHING. Hell, I ponder while I’m doing dishes, or walking my dog, or even while I’m driving behind two crude little college students on my commute. You can tell this is not going to be a positive metric, can’t you? (20 possible points)

Love “ – “ Angles – Sometimes we have love “tri” angles, and love “quad”rangles. We rarely have love parallel lines – what would be the fun of that? Its what puts the drama in kdrama my friends and we are never without it. Sometimes its good and sometimes its bad. It’s usually bad. (4 points an angle)

Sizzle – I don’t need to explain sizzle; the chemistry between our leads or when our main protagonist is on the screen. It’s not always about hot hot caged monkey love a la Sawyer and Kate either. Sometimes its burning looks or just electricity on the screen. It’s a good metric and I LOVE it when I see it. (20 possible points)

Physical Intimacy – Generally, in most historical dramas, hugging = full sex. Hand touching = heavy petting. In modern dramas, it’s mostly stiff close-mouthed kissing that represents any level of intimacy. Rarely does it inspire any sizzle or true payoff at your emotional bank. But they try. I attribute it to a difference in modesty in kdrama vs. adrama (American Drama) and in decency laws. I actually think the kdramas are sweeter, adramas are hotter. (20 points)

Tragic Heartwrenching Disease and/or Character Death from Same – This is the constipation quotient. You can replace constipation with cancer, anorexia, blindness, amnesia, loss of limb, psychotic break or arrow/sword/dagger to the heart or eye ball. I have yet to watch a kdrama w/out the constipation quotient. (20 points)

Going to the Beach – A euphemism for suicide. This is the bonus points round – 5 points PER suicide and an additional 10 points if the suicide actually happens in or around the ocean.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Want To Believe

I want to believe.

I read news yesterday that there is movement in the latest X-Files project. A script is finished. There are talks that filming will start in November with a potential release of November 2008. You can read about it here.

I really want to believe.

This announcement comes five years after The X-Files ended. And my emotions are mixed. The ending was unsatisfactory. Indeed, the last three seasons of the show lacked the energy that the earlier shows had. The main story arcs – the bees, the oil, the clones, the alien abduction of Mulder's sister, super soldiers, a faceless race, the greens, the greys, – it all became sordid and convoluted and weighty.

What I loved about the series and will always love, were the character interactions. The chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson was electric. The obvious affection and rapport they shared on screen was what drew me back every week.

The writing was superb – convoluted and weighty stuff aside, that is. Darin Morgan – a genius by the way – wrote or starred in some of my favorite episodes of all time. "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", "Jose Chung's From Outer Space", and "Small Potatoes". Some of my other favorites include "Pusher", "One Breath", "Beyond the Sea", "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man", and oh oh, "Post Modern Prometheus", "Bad Blood" and "Triangle". I would be hard pressed to pick an absolute favorite out of those.

The episodes that Duchovny had a hand in, by the way, showed a remarkable sensitivity and love for the characters and a wry sense of humor that I enjoyed.

So you know what? I really WANT to believe that this movie will be good. I really WANT to believe that Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz et al will respect the characters sufficiently and present something that will honor the show and the fans. I do NOT want to believe that this is merely a money making vehicle.

But damn if I won't be there opening day. I'm such a tool.

Monday, July 16, 2007

You Should Be Dancing


Listening to my Sirius satellite radio on the way in to work this morning, I parked on the 70s station. It had an unusual run of exceptional music this morning and I fully enjoyed the ride in.

“You Should be Dancing” – Bee Gees – 1976. I still occasionally remember to include Maurice on my rosary. I was devastated when he passed. I think I prayed for him for a year straight. This song does NOT hail from “Saturday Night Fever”. It comes from the “Children of the World” album who’s (almost fully) a capella title song is pure Bee Gees. I’ve spent more hours than I care to admit trying to learn all the harmonies on that song. “We are searchers of the truth. Every man’s a boy deep down.”

“Joy To The World” – Three Dog Night. It used to make me think of hippy dudes sitting in multi-hued squalor with a jug of port nearby. Now I think only of The XFiles when Scully sings the song to a wounded Mulder in “Detour”. She also sings it to her son William later in the series. My xphile friends will appreciate this link: XFiles

“Everlasting Love” – Andy Gibb. I like all of Andy’s releases, probably because it harkens back to a simpler time, but maybe more so because his life cut short somehow makes the songs more precious. I always wait for the little falsetto giggle in the background vocals at the end of the song. Oh, and Kathryn.

“Tie A Yellow Ribbon” – Tony Orlando and Dawn, 1973. I’m old enough to remember when this song was released and even the animated spot they did on the “Tony Orlando and Dawn Show” showing all those ribbons on the tree after our little convict got sprung. Younger readers may not realize it's the starting point for all those ribbons for our troops that you see.

“Fox on the Run” – Sweet 1976. I don’t care what you say, I think some of Sweet’s music still stands up over time. “Ballroom Blitz” for example and “Wig Wam Bam” is one of my favorites.

“Big Yellow Taxi” – Joni Mitchell, 1970. Who knew the Counting Crows song was a remake? Not me. "Paved paradise, put up a parking lot."

It all came crashing down though when I heard “Run Joey Run” by David Geddes 1975. I remember identifying, when I was all of 11 years old, with how these two young lovers just wanted to get married. At 11, the whole fornication and knocking the little girl up thing was WAAAY over my head. But I got that they loved each other and her father was an abusive SOB who shot his daughter dead. Huh. Bet NOW he was sorry!!

Ah, but perhaps PERHAPS it is really a social commentary on the age old struggle against antiquated strictures imposed upon society by THE MAN in his misogynistic power hungry white world.

Nahhhhhh. It’s just a really bad song.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Your Life is Now

My older sister has been sharing via email with the lot of us her music box. My life is a book. Her life is a music box.

I think we all have a music box sitting up on the shelf. Songs that get us through difficult times, songs that remind us of happy times; our first love, our last love, the beach, church, 9th grade track meets. I think music can be as evocative as scent in bringing back a memory. Some songs come on the radio and I am transported back into Mr. Frank’s health class in 8th grade – 1978. I can feel the heat in that third floor room, smell the stuffiness, sitting behind Ed Vertucci for whom I had a powerful crush, (the bad boys, always the bad boys).

This song hails from the latter part of my marriage. I thought we were going through a really really rough patch. I wasn't wrong. We were just never able to crawl out of the patch. I had a na├»ve faith in the institution I suppose. But I heard this song and it touched me. I listened to it many times after my divorce; it spoke to me and I was forced to listen. Would you teach your children to tell the truth? Would you take the high road, if you could choose? Your life is now.”

We only get one shot. We can be the best people we can be, or we can be schmucks. Pick.

I can't embed the video. Click here to go to youtube to watch it.

Video

Your Life is Now – John Mellencamp

See the moon roll across the stars
See the seasons turn like a heart
Your father's days are lost to you
This is your time here to do what you will do

Your life is now your life is now your life is now
In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how
Your life is now

Would you teach your children to tell the truth
Would you take the high road if you could choose
Do you believe you're a victim of a great compromise
'Cause I believe you could change your mind and change our lives

Your life is now your life is now your life is now
In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how
Your life is now

Would you teach your children to tell the truth
This is your time here to do what you will do

Your life is now your life is now your life is now
In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how

Your life is now

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