What I’ve been doing …

What I’ve been reading …

  • Real World by Natuso Kirino

This was the last one of the physical library books I had checked out (since before the pandemic). Real World is an interesting novel about four teenage girls who get, by choice or by accident, involved with a teenage boy who killed his mother. It is a pretty deep look into what it’s like to be a teenager and trying to figure out your identity and a huge reminder that actions have consequences.

  • Vagabonds by Hao Jingfang

I absolutely loved this book! While on the surface, this novel is about living on Mars – it is so much more. It’s a book about humanity, about how ignoring the past does no one any favors and nor does avoiding the future. It’s about changing, it’s about finding your place in the world, and it’s about the importance of communication. I highly recommend this novel.

What I’ve been watching …

Movies:

  • Birds of Prey (HBO Max)
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (TNT/Hulu)
  • Casino Royale (Netflix)

Did some movie rewatches with my sister.

Birds of Prey was the second to last movie I saw before the pandemic (the last movie was Jojo Rabbit on my birthday) and it is even better the second time around. I have to admit that DC does female superheros so much better than Marvel. I hold out hope after Captain Marvel, but still – give Birds of Prey a watch, even if you’ve seen no other DC movies.

I still absolutely love The Man from U.N.C.L.E. I know a lot of people did like it, but it is perfectly cast and beautifully filmed and executed. As for the James Bond film – it’s … dark James Bond. I remember enjoying it a lot more when I saw it the first time. As I said to my sister, Daniel Craig’s James Bond reminds me a lot of Christopher Eccleston’s 9th Doctor.

TV

  • Devs (Hulu) – This is by Alex Garland (of Ex Machina and Annihilation fame) and it is fantastic. Well – I thought it was fantastic. The reviewers are sort of in the middle about it, but I disagree. It’s eight episodes long and extremely gripping. It’s the story of Lily, who, along with her boyfriend, works at a tech company (think Facebook/Google/etc). One day, her boyfriend starts working for the Devs division of the company and ends up dead. The show is mostly about her tried to figure out what happened, but it’s also science fiction-y (more fantasy, but I’m giving it a pass). It has the surreal feel that Garland is so good at. Please, give it a watch.

I’m still watching Memorist and I’ve started Untamed. As for what English language TV shows I’m watching? I’m struggling to find something that clicks with me as much as Devs did and not finding anything. For now, tennis and cycling are filling the gap that an English language TV show would normally fill.

YouTube

Yes, I’m going to do it even though no one asked. Occasionally (or whenever I feel like it) I’m going to recommend a YouTube channel, video series, or whatever I feel falls under this category. So, let’s start it off in style!

Jill writes about fights in media (movies, TV shows, etc) using her experiences stage combat/fake fighting to discuss what works and what doesn’t work in many a fight. All of her videos are fantastic, but the one I would like to highlight today is about The Princess Bride. I hope you enjoy the video (and why not rewatch the movie while you’re at it (it is currently on Amazon Prime after all).

What I’ve been listening to ….

Not a lot recently, mostly because this past week I’ve been watching/listening to more sports than music. Once the Tour and the US Open are over, I’ll go back to listening to lots more music.

  • OnlyOneOf – KPOP band who just released two EPs
  • Davii – Korean rapper/singer/soloist
  • DAMYE – Korean singer
  • Maddox – Korean singer

Here’s your moment of calm:

Morning on the Dune (c) Tom Gill

Music Sundays: THAMA

Another singer I found through YouTube. He’s singer/songwriter and producer with Amoeba Culture. He also worked with EXO-SC (a duo made up of Sehun and Chanyeol from the KPOP group EXO) on their first (and excellent) album. He’s got a really chill vibe to his music, which everyone by now knows that I love. Below are a couple of recent videos of his, as well as a music video for a song he released earlier this summer.

Find him on Spotify and Apple Music.

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Music Sundays: INNERLAW

Another one of those random singers that I stumbled upon on YouTube. I don’t know much about INNERLAW, except she’s a Korean singer/songwriter (follow her on IG here). I really, really love her sound. It’s very soothing and I’m delighted that her music is on Spotify.

Here’s her newest single, which is how I discovered her music.

You can listen to INNERLAW on YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music.

Music Sundays: NIve

Almost all of the new music I listen to I find one of two ways: NPR and YouTube. I know it seems weird that I would find new music from YouTube, but I subscribe to a lot of music channels that post music videos/performances by a lot of different artists (from indie bands to rappers to soloists). If I listen to something and I like it, then I follow them, if possible, on Spotify. One of these recent “finds” is NIve, who it turns out has been around for a while. You can learn more about him on Wikipedia.

I really like his sound, it’s somewhat pop mixed with singer-songwriter. It’s good music for working or writing (and probably driving, but who is driving a lot these days? Not me). I hope you’ll give him a chance!

Find him on Spotify and Apple Music.

The music video for his latest release, how do i, off of the single bandages.

Behind the cut you’ll find videos from his recent ONSTAGE performances (which is how I stumbled across his music).

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What I’ve been doing …

In the past I used to post about stuff I’ve been reading or listening to or watching and I thought I’d start that up again. Since I’ve been working from home, I’m listening to a lot of music. Since I don’t go out much because of the pandemic, I’ve also been watching a lot of TV. And, of course, I’m still reading. It’s about time I shared a few of the things I’ve been doing and enjoying from the past week. Enjoy!

What I’ve been reading …

I’ve been reading a lot of Japanese mysteries recently and this is another enjoyable one. I had read Murder in the Crooked House earlier, which was funny because it’s the second book in the series. This has a Sherlock Holmes feel because the detective (if you can call him that) isn’t telling the story, his friend is. It’s an enjoyable mystery and no, I did not solve it before the book gave me the answer.

A couple of my coworkers had recommended this book to me, either last year earlier this year. I’d tried it and then decided it just wasn’t working for me. I’d put it on hold (using Overdrive through my library) and forgotten about it. But I got a notification last week that it was available and I figured I’d give it another try. I’m glad I did!

It’s a murder mystery (sort of) set on Yale’s campus in an alternate world where all of the secret societies have access to magic. Something about the tone reminded me a bit of Sarah Gailey’s Magic For Liars book, though the only thing they have in common is magic and schools (a private high school in Gailey’s case). That being said, although it’s a long book, it is very enjoyable. Just be aware that it is the first book in the series and it ends on a semi-cliffhanger.

This book was (and probably still is) an extremely popular book in South Korea. It’s the story of a 30something woman who is suffering from mental health problems. They stem, essentially from the way society in South Korea thinks of and treats women. The book is not hopeful, but it is a brutal wake-up call. It is not just a South Korean tale – it is the story of women all over the world.

It’s written in a very detached way that many people didn’t like, but I enjoyed it. It’s also quite short, it took me about a just about a day to read it. There are also footnotes scattered throughout the novella that back up all of Cho’s stats about the treatment of women in South Korea. It’s also been made into a movie, though I haven’t seen it yet.

For more about the book, check out these reviews:

What I’ve been watching …

Movies:

  • Old Guard [Netflix] – this movie is quite enjoyable and also quite stressful for a movie about immortals! I have not watched as many movies during this pandemic as I’d hoped and most of what I’ve been watching have been movies I’ve already seen. My sister convinced me we should watch it, and we did. Definitely worth it. I am a fan of movies where women kick ass and boy do they. The cast is also fantastic.

TV:

  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark [HBO Max] – Last year I listened to the audio book of the same name. It’s the story of how Michelle McNamara was working on figuring out who the Golden State Killer was. She did, essentially, solve it, though she died before he was caught. The book is excellent – I highly recommend it. The documentary is basically the same story, but with a lot of interviews with people close to Michelle, as well as her husband Patton Oswald, and victims and survivors.
  • Midsomer Murders [Acorn] – I have watched watched almost all of these before, but my sister and I decided to take advantage of Acorn’s extended pandemic trial earlier this spring and because we both enjoy this show so much, I’m still paying for it so we can continue watch. Most of the episodes are cozy mysteries, but some really bring an emotional punch.
  • Parts Unknown [HBO Max] – Again, another show I am rewatching. I will forever be grateful to have watched these shows when Tony was still alive. It makes me appreciate both what he did and the kind of person he was so much. It’s also really interesting (and depressing) to watch these hour long trips to other places – to countries we can’t go to now because there’s a pandemic. If you miss traveling, why not give a Parts Unknown a try.

Other things I’m watching:

Perry Mason (HBO Max), which is about young Perry Mason. The Untamed (Netflix/Viki) which is a Chinese drama that has taken the fandom world by charge. Memorist (n/a), a Korean TV show about a detective who can read people’s memories and the bad guy he’s trying to catch (who can erase people’s memories). I’ll write about all of these shows when I finish them.

Also, my sister and I watch a lot of YouTube videos (if anyone wants recommendations, let me know). The way we watch TV is that we call each other and match up our videos so we can watch “together” and talk about it. I highly recommend this method of watching TV with people you’re not near (or not comfortable seeing in person, because pandemic).

What I’ve been listening to …

  • NIve – Korean singer. You’ll learn more about him on Sunday.
  • UNVS – KPOP band who debuted earlier this year
  • Kang Daniel – KPOP singer (formerly of the group Wanna One) who just came back with a new album.
  • ONF – KPOP boy group I’ve been a fan of for a few years.
  • ATEEZ – KPOP boy group I was supposed to see with a friend of mine in April. The concert was postponed (to when, I don’t know) because of the pandemic.

Here’s your moment of calm:

Lake Michigan Twilight (c) Zach Korb

Music Sundays: HA:TFELT

HA:TFELT is a former member of the girl group Wonder Girls and although I am a fan of Wonder Girls, I am mostly familiar with her as a soloist. Two years ago I shared another one of her songs (a duet), because all of her songs are good. And her newest release is no exception. The full-length album, titled 1719, is tremendous. I love every single song on it and she’s released music videos for four (!) different songs. I recommend them all, but we’ll start with Satellite:

If you like this, please check out her full album, which you can find on Spotify and Apple Music. The rest of her music videos are behind the cut, if you’re curious. Please, give her a listen – she is amazing!

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Music Sundays: Jackson Wang – 100 Ways

First, let me start this off by saying that I am a casual fan of GOT7, though I’ve liked all 3 of their most recent Korean releases (Spinning Top, Call My Name, and Dye) and would recommend checking them out (Spotify). I’ve also enjoyed some of the solo/duo work that the members have done, but most of Jackson’s songs haven’t really done anything for me. However, a friend of mine suggested that I give 100 Ways a try and boy am I glad that I did. It’t unlike anything either GOT7 or Jackson has released (as far as I know) before.

It’s really, really good and even if you don’t think you like pop music, give it a listen. Actually, you should watch the music video too. Why? Because it’s gorgeous and Jackson’s backup dancers are the Kinjaz, an extremely talented dance group. Anyway, I hope you like this song and video as much as I do.

Also, Kinjaz posted a behind the scenes video on the Facebook page and it’s also worth a watch. You can find it here. I would really like a full movie based on this music video, thanks.

Music Sundays: Imfact – Lie

It seems fitting that the first time I update this blog in ages, it’s with a song by Imfact? Why? Because the last time I posted was September of 2018 and the song I shared was also by Imfact (see that post here). The song I posted last time (나나나 | NANANA) is one of my favorites and I am happy to report that Imfact has done it again. Lie is exceptional and the only problem is that Imfact only release singles, but I shouldn’t complain because I’m just glad they keep releasing music.

Lie was released on April 20th and I cannot recommend it enough. If you like this song, please go listen to their other stuff (Spotify). It’s great.

Music Sunday + Link

Happy September! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Today I bring you a link and a song. Enjoy!

Libraries have become vital for the marginalised, such as the homeless, to access essential government services such as Centrelink, and to stay connected. They have become defacto providers of basic digital literacy training – such as how to use an iPad or access an eGov account. Others cater to tech-enthusiasts offering advanced courses on coding or robotics in purpose-built spaces and laboratories.

Technology hasn’t killed public libraries – it’s inspired them to transform and stay relevant (The Conversation)

This is the newest song by a KPOP group I love: IMFACT – 나나나 (NANANA).