Music Sundays: Diana Gameros – Ligerita

I was listening to NPR toward the end of March and hear Diana. She was interviewed because her entry into NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert contest was really good. And it is! Her voice captured me the moment they played the song. You can listen to the interview here and the song below. If you like it, check out more on her website. I hope you like it as much as I do.

The Wednesday Four

Here is Week 23. What I did this week was attend the March for Science in downtown Detroit with some friends. It was good, there were some decent speakers and we walked down Woodward. You can see some of the photos I took over on my Instagram.

As for the links? Everything old is new again as in I’m digging in the bottom of my pile of articles to read and have pulled four. Please enjoy them!

  • Fewer Americans Are Visiting Local Libraries—and Technology Isn’t to Blame
    Only one trend is closely associated with their use. (The Atlantic) Note: The reason may not surprise you!
  • A Lost Scottish Island, George Orwell, and the Future of Maps A 141 square-mile island vanished from Google Maps, and the company has yet to restore it. What do glitches mean for little-known places? (The Atlantic | CityLab) Note: If you look on google maps, Jura is back, but this article is still fun and interesting.
  • Taxonomy: The spy who loved frogs To track the fate of threatened species, a young scientist must follow the jungle path of a herpetologist who led a secret double life. (Nature) Note: I recommend listening to the podcast (about 13 minutes) as well as reading the article. Also, I have mixed feelings about specimen collection and those feelings were not changed by this article.
  • How Andrew Carnegie Turned His Fortune Into A Library Legacy (NPR) Note: Two library articles in one post! You’d think I was still a librarian.
Howell Carnegie District Library

Howell Carnegie District Library in Howell, MI. Photo (c) Paul Cooper

A few years ago a (now former) coworker and I went to Howell to hear an author speak and we walked to this library, although it was closed and we couldn’t go inside. Maybe next time.

The Wednesday Four

Week 22 brings us every closer to World War 3 or the end of the world, or perhaps both (or neither, should we be lucky — are you feeling lucky?)

To make up for that, have an article about The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson and some really beautiful artwork of birds. And some other stuff, too.

  • Toxic Shock: Why This Woman Is Suing a Tampon Company After Losing Her Leg (Vice)
  • The Lock Pickers Victorian England made the strongest locks in the world—until an American showed up and promised he could pick them. (Slate)
Baseball

Baseball (c) Andy B

The Wednesday Four

If you skip these weekly posts I link to, you shouldn’t. I have been skimming them, but for week 21, I read it all the way through. I realized several things while reading it, the most important was how much I have already normalized, as Amy describes it, the Trump regime. While I try never to refer to him by his full title and I shudder when I hear others do it, sometimes I do forget or ignore how bad things are. Reading week 21 made me realize that, well, things are bad and they’re getting worse. Please remember that this is not the world we want and yet, here we are.

Anyway, your links this week:

  • Redux: You’ve got mail, you idiot! This post originally ran on October 26, 2011, back when Donald Trump was relentlessly propagating an easily debunked conspiracy theory about President Obama. As we ponder the triumph of “alternative facts,” it’s worth considering what makes bullshit so appealing and why it’s so hard to debunk. (The Last Word On Nothing)
  • Letter to My Younger Self by Pete Sampras (The Players Tribune) Note: For most of the time he was active, Pete was one of my favorite tennis players. The others are current player Gilles Simon and legend Bjorn Borg.

Self-Care Friday (Week 9)

I haven’t done much this week, aside from watching sports and reading (and working, of course). This will be a bit thin — though the first week of baseball season has been kind to me.

What I’m reading:

Completed

  • What Did You Eat Yesterday vol 11 by Fumi Yoshinaga
  • Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino
  • Chimes At Midnight by Seanan McGuire (audio book: October Daye, Book 7)
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Currently reading

  • The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu (audio book – on hold)
  • Chapelwood: the Borden dispatches by Cherie Priest
  • A Case of Possession by K.J. Charles

 

What I’ve Been Watching:

Not a lot, apparently! I was doing other stuff. I will probably start watching more soon.

  • Oh My Ghost (kdrama)
  • Last Week Tonight (HBO)

 

What I’m listening to:

I listen to podcasts, almost all of them are video game ones (I’ll post about that some day), but at the recommendation of a couple of my friends, I decided to listen to the newest podcast from This American Life and Serial ignoring the fact that I am not interested in either of those shows. But, hey, why not. S-Town (short for Shittown) is a unique podcast and extremely interesting. I may or may not review it, since I completed all seven episodes this week. But it’s worth at least reading about.

S-Town Podcast

I’ve been listening to some music, too.

Victon

BLANC7

Crucial Star

DPR Live

This week’s photo is of Bang Yongguk (if you know me in person or on twitter, you know who this is). My friend and I will be seeing his group (and him) on Wednesday next week.

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Bang Yongguk of B.A.P

The Wednesday Four

What we are we even on? Oh, right, week 20. So much keeps happening. It’s hard to believe it’s already April. It feels like it should be the end of the year already.

Anyway! You’ll notice this week’s articles are a bit lighter than my normal selections. Sometimes that’s just what we need. Please enjoy them.

  • Lucian’s Trips to the Moon With his Vera Historia, the 2nd century satirist Lucian of Samosata wrote the first detailed account of a trip to the moon in the Western tradition and, some argue, also one of the earliest science fiction narratives. Aaron Parrett explores how Lucian used this lunar vantage point to take a satirical look back at the philosophers of Earth and their ideas of “truth”. (Public Domain Review)
Sunrise today

Sunrise today (c) Rachel Kramer

Series Review: Tokyo Tarareba Musume (NTV)

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(L-R) Tetsuro Hayasaka, Kaori Yamakawa, Rinko Kamata, Koyuki Torii, and Key

I don’t know that I’ve ever reviewed a Japanese drama on here (I just checked, I haven’t), that’s not to say that I don’t watch them, because I occasionally do. I used to watch them a lot more, but haven’t recently. This is for a number of reasons, the primary few being jdramas have a lot of overacting and I usually only want to watch a certain few actors (Hiroshi Tamaki, Kazuki Kitamura, and Takeru Satoh) but I have a friend who loves jdramas and I’ve started watching stuff that she recommends to me. Tokyo Tarareba Musume (Tokyo ‘What If’ Girls) was one of those and man, I’m so glad I watched it!

 Tokyo Tarareba Musume (henceforth known as TTM) is based on a manga of the same name and is the story of three women (Rinko, Kaori, and Koyuki) in their early 30s. Here’s a brief summary:

30-year-old Rinko Kamata works as an unpopular screenwriter. She doesn’t have a boyfriend, but she has two female friends Kaori and Koyuki. They meet regularly at a bar. There, they complain about their situations and go through what if scenarios. One day, Rinko Kamata decides to go for happiness at love and work.

That is sort of right, but the show is actually more about growing up than anything else. The “What If” girls of the English title basically mean girls (women) who daydream “what if such and such happened” which, to be honest, is something we’ve all done (myself included). It’s one of the things that makes this drama so good and relatable.

When I started watching TTM, though, I wasn’t convinced I was going to like it. I tend to like more serious dramas, ones without a lot of romance and TTM seemed like it was going to be lighthearted and have a ton of romance. In spite of myself, though, I found myself looking forward to each new episode and enjoying it quite a bit.

Rinko, as we know, is a screenwriter. Her best friends Kaori owns her own nail salon and Koyuki works in her dad’s bar/restaurant. Rinko, Kaori and Koyuki hang out at Koyuki’s restaurant and much of the show takes place there. In many ways, these three women reminded me of my friends. We don’t necessarily drink a lot, but we always have these conversations about love and life and work.

At the heart of the drama, though, are the three friends and their quest for husbands. It sounds silly, but it’s not. Rinko falls for a cute model/actor (Key) but also dates a movie-obsessed man as well as Hayasaka (one of her editors, though not when they’re dating) who she has a history with. Kaori tries to do match making/online dating, but keeps coming back to her ex-boyfriend, Ryo, who is now a famous rock star with a model girlfriend. And Koyuki ends up having an affair with a married man. These are all real stories — dating people you don’t fit with, being the other woman, dating your exes. They all felt far more real than expected.

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Rinko, Kaori, Koyuki, and, of course, Key

There are two things, though, that tie this drama together. The first are the three woman. Their friendship is the heart and soul of the drama and there are so many moments when you feel that and when I see, as I said above, myself and my friends in them. The second thing is Key. He has his own tragic backstory (which I won’t spoil in case any of you want to watch it) which explains his rather rude behavior to the women. He shows up in the restaurant during one of their girl’s nights out and proclaims that Rinko is a “What If” woman and sort of goes off on her.

While his delivery is bad and I don’t necessarily forgive him for the way he says it, he always has good points. But what makes it okay in the end is how Rinko, who does fall very much in love with him, stands up to him. Key tells her to grow up, to stop hanging out with her friends and she confronts him. In what is probably my favorite scene, Rinko tells Key that he’s wrong. That she’s been friends with Kaori and Koyuki through so much — that even when things are terrible, they’ve been there for her and if they weren’t around, things would be that much worse for her.

This was probably the moment when I most saw myself in the drama. My friend H and I have hung out on Wednesdays since 2011 and hung out even before that semi-regularly. There were days, back before we both had full times jobs and were working two jobs (sometimes in one day), when the only thing getting us through the week was the fact that we were hanging out. I know what it’s like to have friends that make your otherwise shitty life that much better and brighter. I looked at Rinko and I understood her.

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Koyuki, Kaori, and Rinko

Of course, things sort of work out in the end, but TTM isn’t a true romance. There’s no weddings at the end, no one is completely happy and that’s the message of the drama. Rinko comes to realize, and us with her, that what makes her happy isn’t having a boyfriend, a relationship, getting married. It’s not one thing that makes her happy. Instead, the fact that she’s happy — that’s happiness. It doesn’t matter if it’s because she’s dating someone or eating great food or just hanging out with her friends. Being happy is happiness and it was nice to see that in a TV show.

It takes 10 episodes to get to that point and the journey is completely worth it. I loved TTM and I cannot recommend it enough. If you’re interested in watching it, let me know and I can point you to the videos.