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

Self-Care Friday (Week 5)

Sorry, this one is late due to many things.

Last week I talked about watching some musicals and one of those was Annie Get Your Gun. I knew, going in, that this musical was not a great one. I also expected it to be racist and sexist, but I honestly didn’t really know what I was in for. You can read my full review over on Letterboxd, but suffice to say that I pretty much only gave it one star because I like some of the songs.

Anyway, onto the actual, fun things.

What I’ve Been Reading:

  • Reader Harder:
    • Read an LGBTQ+ romance novel: The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles
  • Completed:
    • Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indriðason (audio book on CD)
  • Reading:
    • Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
    • The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu (audio book – on hold)
    • Chapelwood: the Borden dispatches by Cherie Priest
    • Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino
    • Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
    • One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire (audio book)

What I’m watching:

The most recent two episodes of Voice have gotten really intense. There are only two more left. I can’t wait to find out what happens.

  • Voice (Korean drama)
  • Tokyo Tarareba Musume (Japanese drama)
  • Totsuzen Desu ga, Ashita Kekkon Shimasu (Japanese drama)
  • Cabaret
  • Camelot

What I’m listening to:

  • Women of Fresh Finds (Spotify Playlist)
  • Blade Runner OST
  • Arrival OST
  • Perfume – Tokyo Girl (theme to Tokyo Tarareba Musume)

  • Subin

And her new song:

 

C6jwPndXAAAggT4

This is Kihyun, of the boy group Monsta X. They are one of my favorite groups and coming back soon. I’m going to try to include pictures of some kind, from now on, that make me happy. This teaser photo of Kihyun is one of those images! Look forward (maybe … you may not be doing that, actually, but shhh) to more (probably kpop related) photos. 

Self-Care Friday (Week 2)

A lot has happened this week, not all of it great for the country, but some of it great for me. I bought tickets to see a kpop group, B.A.P, in Chicago in April. My friend N ended up getting a ticket, too, so we’ll go together. We’re also planning to go see SHINee in Toronto — hopefully we can get tickets! They go on sale next Sunday. And today, Friday, we’re headed out of town for another kpop concert (B1A4, for those of you playing at home).

What I’ve been reading:

  • Read Harder:
    • Read an all-ages comic: Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks
  • Completed:
    • A Midsummer’s Equation by Keigo Higashino
  • Reading:
    • Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin
    • Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal
    • The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu (audio book)

What I’m watching:

  • Voice (Korean drama)
  • Squad 38 (Korean drama)
  • Kaitou Tantei Yamaneko (Japanese drama)
  • The Great Wall (Chinese film)
  • Young and Dangerous 1 & 2 (Hong Kong movies from 1996)
  • Twin Peaks (original series)

What I’m listening to:

  • SECHSKIES
  • GUGUDAN
  • SPEED
  • K.A.R.D (they have to singles: Oh Na Na and Don’t Recall)

Thursday Ten

A little bit of a mix of links today.

Mourning Excalibur, the Ebola Dog: Are we all quite mad here in the developed world?  A petition to save Excalibur, the pet dog of a Spanish nursing assistant who has contracted Ebola, received more than 370,000 signatures before the animal was sedated and killed as a precautionary measure this evening. As his corpse was taken away in a van for incineration, a crowd of activists who had clashed with police during the day were reportedly shouting: “murderers!” (Bloomberg)

 ‘I Couldn’t Smell, and Then I Died’ A fading ability to identify scents is a sign that life’s end may be near. (The Atlantic)

Popular on Amazon: Wildly misleading self-published books about Ebola, by random people without medical degrees In the past 90 days, some 84 people have self-published Ebola e-books on Amazon, almost half of them in the past month alone. Many of them are popular, crawling their way up the bestsellers’ list to sit atop categories, such as health and medicine. Many of them are well-reviewed by their readers, who vow to buy Hazmat suits or start vitamins based on what they’ve read. And many of the books — almost all of them, in fact — contain information that’s either wildly misleading or flat-out wrong. (Washington Post) Note: I’m sorry if you all hate yourselves now, I know I do.

Meet the Hong Kong Cop Who Has Joined His City’s Protesters: I met John on Tuesday in Mong Kok, the shopping district of Kowloon where the previous night a man had driven a Mercedes-Benz through a crowd of protestors, fueling rumors that hired thugs were trying to cause trouble for the Occupy Central movement. John, who was carrying a backpack with a yellow ribbon pinned to the strap, told me there had also been reports of cars filled with weapons parked nearby. I asked how he knew so much, and he surreptitiously pulled a card out of his pocket: a police ID.  (The New Republic)

The U.S. media will believe anything on North Korea: some perspective from a long-time Asia hand (Tim Shorrock)

The Thugs of Mainland China: Last Friday, as the Occupy Central protests convulsed Hong Kong, James Bang, a twenty-eight-year-old digital-strategy consultant, found himself holding down the front line in the district of Mong Kok, his arms linked with other young protesters as they fended off surging groups of attackers. The assailants shoved the protesters, spat in their faces, and shouted, “Motherfuckers!” and “Go home!” Their accents signalled to Bang that they were from Guangdong, across the border, and they wore bags slung across their chests, a style common in mainland China. He was convinced that they weren’t locals. “Hong Kong people don’t spit on Hong Kong people,” he told me over Skype. “In Hong Kong, they spit on the roads.” (New Yorker)

Fond Memories Of Ebola Victim Eric Duncan, Anger Over His Death: He liked to joke around with his neighbors. And he always gave them a helping hand. The neighbors that Thomas Eric Duncan’s generous spirit is what cost him his life. (NPR)

Hope Solo abuse allegation can’t be ignored: Our league can no longer turn a blind eye to the allegations that Solo assaulted two family members. (USA Today)

 The Story Of A 12-Year-Old Norwegian Bride Brings Attention To A Global Issue: Child-aid organization Plan Norway uses a local face to raise awareness around the global issue of child brides. (Fast Company/Co.Create)

Adobe’s e-book reader sends your reading logs back to Adobe—in plain text: Digital Editions even tracks which pages you’ve read. It might break a New Jersey Law. (Ars Technica) Note: This has been making the rounds, but I haven’t shared it yet. FYI, Amazon does the same thing — and don’t blame the libraries, we had no idea this was going on.

Bonus Links:

Navigating All the Fringe Beliefs in LA: If you want to make friends in LA, one of the first things you must learn to do is to socialize with crazy people. Or rather, to socialize with otherwise sane people who will wait until several hours into a casual conversation to nonchalantly reveal a belief in elves, or telepathy, or the Hollow Earth. (The Bold Italic) Note: This is here to make you laugh, hopefully it did it’s job.

What It’s like to Fly the $23,000 Singapore Airlines Suites Class, the world’s best airline experience, from Singapore to New York:  In 2008, Singapore Airlines introduced their Suites Class, the most luxurious class of flying that is commercially available.  The Suites were exclusive to their flagship Airbus A380, and they go beyond flat beds by offering enclosed private cabins with sliding doors that cocoon you in your own little lap of luxury. The interior was designed by French luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste and comes along with a plush soft leather armchair hand-stitched by the Italian master craftsmen Poltrona Frau. Perhaps most well-known of all, Singapore Airlines became the first and only commercial airline with a double bed in the sky. (Medium)