Friday, December 7, 2012

What I've Been Up To

So lately every time I've tried to sit and write, I'm unhappy with the result or become too distracted to make much progress. I regret not updating my blog further, or the kids blog, or working on what writing assignments I have. A thousand apologies to anyone who has been waiting on me.

Some of it has been the season and general business. Some of it has been certain personal issues weighing on my mind and preventing me from relaxing enough to be able to write. And some of it has been a new way I've discovered to distract myself from the aforementioned personal issues.

A few months ago I was invited to a knitting party. I hadn't tried knitting since I was a kid, but I like arts and crafts so I thought I'd give it a try. I didn't expect to be quite as addicted to it as I've become. I enjoy it because within a reasonable period of time there is usually a final product so I achieve a sense of accomplishment. And it's particularly relaxing I think because, depending on the complexity of the pattern, I can usually relax my brain from whatever jumbled mess is tumbling about inside of it and just focus on the repetitive task my hands are carrying out. I am able to simply disengage from whatever is going on, and still feel like I'm doing something!
Ian wearing the first scarf I made

Since I started I've made scarfs which are probably the most basic thing since it's basically one large rectangle. But I've also learned to make arm warmers, hats, and even these cute baby booties which I made for my cousin's new baby.

So anyway, that's just one of the things I've been up to lately. Hopefully though I'll get to do some writing this weekend since I finally have some time to myself to just sit still and do nothing. ^_^

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

What Feeds Our Dreams

Every night we all hopefully enter into rem sleep at which point we dream. Most of these dreams we will never remember unfortunately, but once in a while one will stick with us. Most of the time the dreams I remember are random. Occasionally they'll be nightmarish, usually they are just odd, and even rarer are the dreams in which I become aware I am dreaming and actively begin to take control. As of this morning however, my last three dreams have all come directly from things which had been on my mind recently. So I thought for the fun of it I'd share. I'll start with this morning's and work my way back.

My friend Amber is very good at playing with Photoshop and making it appear as if you've had your picture taken with various celebrities. A few days ago on her blog she posted that she was taking requests from her readers and asked that we post the names of people that we'd like our picture with. I'm sure it's no surprise to my readers that I suggested one of my favorite Korean actors, Lee Min Ho. Well last night I had a dream where I met him in some sort of coffee shop. My memory has faded quite a bit but I know I was with a friend who spoke fluent Korean, and I was trying to talk to him. Even though nothing really happened any dream where I get to cozy up with him is bound to be a pleasant one.

More dreams with you please?

The time before that, a friend of mine with a new month old baby had been posting pictures of herself and the baby after the meeting, and been talking about how they're packing for a move. I'd been feeling a little sad that I'm not really in that congregation anymore so it's more challenging to make it over to see them at the meetings, and it's more difficult for me to offer to help with things. So sometime last week I dreamed that I'd gone to the airport to pick up friends and on our way back out to the car, I passed this family with their new baby waiting in a line for boarding. I got to hold her, and talk with my friend and it was really nice. 

This last one is not quite so warm and fuzzy, I see it as being directly associated with my anxiety. A couple of weeks ago I was at a wedding. It was beautiful and I had a lovely time, but my anxiety flared up quite badly when it came time to go through the receiving line. I'm not really sure why, all I know is by the end when I reached the bride and groom instead of offering hugs and congratulations like I'd wanted to, my mind just kind of choked and I wanted to run away. >_< Part of it may be social anxiety coupled with the fact that I hadn't really eaten for most of the day. But anyway, while the rational part of me thinks it's entirely likely no one really cared or noticed that I acted strangely, the other part that suffers from the anxiety kept worrying about it. And so I had a dream that I had approached the bride sometime later, planning to apologize for my awkwardness and before I could say anything she started getting really mad at me about something that in the dream I knew I'd done, but in real life had never happened. Again I highly doubt anyone is mad at me about anything, but it's become a function of my thinking over the years, whenever I do something like that it gets blown out of proportion in my mind. This time it leaked over into my dreams as well.

So what do you guys think? What feeds our dreams? Any thoughts or dreams you'd like to share? 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Intro to Gaming - Kindergarten Style

Most of you that know me well know I'm a huge fan of gaming, particularly role-playing games. This is one of my many interests that in time I'd like to involve my children in, however at their ages it's a bit of a challenge to get them involved. Recently however they were given a fairly large collection of Star Wars Galactic Heroes toys (thanks again Nathan!) and I decided this was a great opportunity to introduce them to some of the basics of game-play.

First all the pieces are placed in a large plastic container and we take turns selecting pieces randomly. We play on the floor which is tiled. Each character is able to move at a speed of one tile per turn, except when mounted on a speederbike, then their speed is doubled. Melee characters can attack any enemy characters within the same square as them, characters with blasters can attack up to three squares away. 

 The large black section where the tile has been torn away serves as a 'pit' into which deceased characters are cast. It also serves as 'rough terrain' and can not be crossed.

This guy is one of my favorites of the set!

Once the figures are distributed among the players we take our starting positions and each roll the die once to determine who goes first. Each player gets a move action, and standard or attack action. To resolve an attack the instigator and defender both roll. If the attacker's roll is higher, then it's a hit and the character is placed into the pit. If the defender's roll is higher they succeeded in dodging the attack. 

Initially we began playing with your standard d6's but eventually they were misplaced and Ian came across a set of story-telling dice that a friend had given me. We began to use that, only instead of rolling to see who could roll the higher number, each picture meant a different event would occur when rolled. The eye for instance meant that the attacker missed or had become temporarily blinded. The castle meant that for one turn, one character could not be attacked. The tree and rainbow were tough ones to use. The both ended up meaning that the character attacking missed their target, but the reason was usually because they'd wound up going up a tree or rainbow instead of attacking. This doesn't make a lot of sense, unless maybe there was a tree nearby with a trap that they'd sprung. Hmm maybe I'll use that idea...Anyway it did occur to me by the end of the game it might be cool to use the rainbow to bring back dead characters that had been placed in the pit. The rectangle symbol was used simply to mean that a ranged or melee attack had been successful and the pyramid was used to signify that a force power had been used. Ian imagined in particular a Jedi (or Sith) using the force to raise the earth under their opponent.

While I don't enjoy getting down on the floor to play (it sets off my allergies >_<) I do love the creativity Ian's brought to this and even though these are baby steps, I look forward to continually introducing him to more advanced forms of gaming.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

I Know It's Been a While

I was without internet all summer and so I was a little challenged at writing entries and I'm still working on somethings, but I wanted to make a post with just some funny little odds and ends I've found online lately. ^_^ Enjoy!

Tony Stark welcomes Bruce Banner to his lab and then they turn into a pair of teenage girl manga characters. 


And then I don't normally come across many Anne of Green Gables videos but I did find this one on Tumblr and I thought it was a nice use of the song and employed nice simple editing to tell their story, and this is one of my favorite songs right now. What can I say? I'm a girl. 

I actually love math but I realize I'm a minority and this still amused me. lol

Darn you Mother...if only you'd given me cola as a baby I wouldn't have been NEARLY 
so awkward as a teenager.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thrilling Interplanetary Heroics

I didn't want the month to go by without updating my blog! About a month or so ago I finally rented the movie John Carter. I'd been initially unimpressed with the trailers and I immediately dismissed it as a poor attempt to copy Avatar. I mean come on, a human winds up on another planet, is taken in by the natives and ends up championing their cause? But then I learned the movie was actually based on the book - A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs who brought us the Tarzan series. After a couple of my friends went and saw it and couldn't stop gushing about how wonderful it was my curiosity was further piqued. I waited until it was available at the local Red-box location and picked up a copy. I would've preferred to also read the book for further points of discussion, but it's on back order at the library and I'm pretty much at the bottom of the list. So for the sake of this article I'll be discussing only the movie and occasionally bring in my opinions of how it compares to similar movies such as Avatar.

The movie opens with a young man discovering that his uncle has unexpectedly died. A lawyer explains to the him that his uncle has left him everything and that all of the funeral arrangements have been carried out and that his uncle's body has been buried in a mysterious vault which can only be opened from the inside. Included in his vast inheritance is his uncle's journal, which contains the entire story of the movie. It is also revealed that the young man is Edgar Rice Burroughs himself. Initially I was irritated by this, as I find it's become cliche and I tend to think of it as film makers attempting to be cute. However when I did get a chance to read an excerpt from the beginning of the book, it is told from the first person perspective of the author. It seems he was trying to give an otherwise completely implausible story an air of authenticity by claiming to have heard it himself directly from the source. 

As Burroughs reads the journal he discovers that while his uncle, John Carter, was prospecting in Arizona after the Civil War, he sought refuge from Apaches in a cave. He is suddenly ambushed by a strange looking man and after a brief struggle his attacker is killed and he looses consciousness himself only to wake up in a completely different land, clutching the man's medallion. It takes him a little while to realize he's on Mars, or Barsoom as it's natives call it. It takes him a while to compensate for Mars slightly lower gravity but with practice he's able to get his bearings and finds he's much stronger and is capable of leaping incredibly high. 

He's soon discovered and captured by the Green Martians known as Tharks. After reading their description in the book I was pleased by how faithfully the movie portrayed them in both appearance and demeanor. Before long Carter also meets the humanoid Red Martians, particularly Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium. The people of Helium have long been at war with the city of Zodanga. The Zodangans are backed by the Therns, powerful beings who resemble men but possess knowledge and power far beyond that of the men of Earth or Mars. With the help of the Thern, Zodanga has brought Helium to its knees and is offering a peace treaty that hinges on Dejah marrying him. Naturally she does not intend to go through with any such thing and is running away when she meets John Carter. 

When she meets him she observes his supernatural strength and ability and wants him to help save her city from the Zodangans. However he continues to refuse her pleas, claiming that he has no desire to fight for the causes of others. His seemingly calloused attitude we find springs from the loss of his wife and child while he was away fighting in the War. I'm honestly not sure why he changes his mind and eventually agrees. My hypothesis is that his southern gentility eventually kicked in and he couldn't leave a lady in distress, or maybe it's just because she was pretty and persistent. 

This in my opinion tends to be the weak point of many of these type of sci-fi/fantasy adventure movies. The romantic element often feels like it's thrown in just cause, or maybe they do it thinking it will draw in female viewers. Regardless of the reason, John Carter and movies like it have given me the likely erroneous expectation that any handsome stranger I happen go on an adventure with will likely fall in love with me. This situation works for me in instances where there is some plausible development and some sort of under current of attraction that goes beyond "Well we're both pretty and in a precarious situation, so let's go for it!" Avatar for instance in my opinion handled the love story aspect well. Jake and Neytiri started out having a rocky relationship, but he learned a great deal from her and they ended up developing a mutual respect and love. One of my favorite scenes in fact is at the end when she rescues him and they both are together for the first time without him using his avatar body. It's subtle but so well acted. John Carter's romance is unfortunately more contrived feeling and slightly harder to accept especially in light of how haunted he still appears to be by the loss of his family. 

What I do have to give John Carter high marks for however is giving me twists and turns that I did not see coming. Avatar while absolutely amazing at immersing us into the world of Pandora and being completely epic; plot-wise it was very predictable. Many have compared it to Pocahontas in space, I prefer Dances With Wolves in space myself, but either way the point remains that it's not the most original of story lines. However I do give them credit for having a strong moral to their story of the importance of respecting the rights of others, as well as respecting the natural world around us and not taking it for granted. If John Carter had any message behind it, it was totally lost on me. 

I won't go into how it ends for any of you that may wish to see it, but I will say I didn't regret watching it. I'm not sure I'd pay full price for the DVD but if I see it pop up in the bargain bin I'd likely pick it up. I do regret it was such a box-office flop as that makes it less likely they'll make any more in the series. I'd kind of like to see what happens next, but at least I can read the books. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

My Dad

Sorry I haven't been posting as much lately. Since I'm no longer as connected as I usually would be, I will likely write up entries ahead of time, then post them whenever I have access to do so. Today however is a special day and therefore I've made a more concerted effort to get this out in a timely manner. 

June is an important month for me personally, it marks two of the most significant days of my life.  June 13, 1998 was the day I symbolized my dedication in baptism. Fourteen years feels so tiny in comparison with many of the brothers and sisters out there, but it's a decision I'm glad I made, even if it's not been an easy road.

Today's date however marks a much less happy occasion. June 29, 1996 was the day I lost my father. I don't want to make this entry one in which I dwell on that aspect of the past. It was a terrible day, I felt sad and to an extent guilty for a long time. But I've more or less come to peace with what happened and I consider myself blessed first and foremost for the hope of one day seeing him again, and secondly, I feel fortunate that for the most part we were not a family that left things unsaid. My whole life and especially when he became sick he was openly communicative about how much he cared for his family.

I didn't go in to see him once he was gone, I got the to the hospital barely in time to see him in the minutes before he died and while that wasn't the most peaceful memory to end on, one of the brothers suggested that perhaps it was best to remember him alive rather than carry the memory of him deceased. And that's ultimately what I'd like to do in this post.

                                                                                      Mom and Dad on their wedding day
(November 1981)

I did a Google search on him today at the library and found a few interesting hits. One of them was his obituary in the Orlando Sentinel. It simply read:

DAVID J. TINIS, 46...died Saturday, June 29. Mr. Tinis was an electrical engineer for B-E Aerospace. Born in Miami, he moved to Central Florida in 1978. He was a member of Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses Plymouth Congregation. Survivors:wife, Marjorie; sons, Phillip, Houston, Anthony, Lake Mary; daughter, Amber, Sorrento; brother Milton, Mount Dora; one grandchild...

While factually accurate, and a perfectly adequate obituary I couldn't help but feel like it was just barely a starting place to describing his life and what kind of person he was.

Dad was born in Miami to parents of Filipino and Russian-Jewish descent. They'd met, married and become Jehovah's Witnesses shortly before having my father. His father spent much of the year away working, as a professional chef. Dad always sounded like he was a bit of a nightmare child to have to cope with. With her husband away so much I'm given to understand that my Grandmother frequently called the elders over to deal with my dad's antics.

I've no doubt you could probably fill a book with the things my dad used to get up to. Unfortunately I only heard a fraction of the stories and it's been so long since I've heard them I can only remember a bit of those. But to give you an idea they range from something as innocent as being a young boy disrupting an entire meeting (during the Circuit Overseer's talk) by loudly banging the ceiling tiles in the men's room in an effort to see what was up behind them to building his own cannon as a teenager and taking it out to the water to fire it off and scaring boaters into jumping ship.

Dad giving me early computer lessons
(circa 1983)

He also engaged in perfectly 'normal' pursuits such as going to football games to watch the Miami teams play. (Go Dolphins/'Canes!) He was a good artist, an excellent and adventurous cook, he built his own telescope, was actively engaged in his high school activities, as well as playing football himself in games with other young brothers. Those however came to be discouraged when some of the pioneers had to go off the list from injuries sustained during these games.

Dad was also an active preacher of the good news. Those who knew him as a teenager were generally dubious of his future, given his trouble-making streak however by the time of his death he had served as an elder for many years and he died faithfully even under pressure to accept blood transfusions. I am enormously proud of the name he ended up making for himself.

He was a loving and attentive parent, a strict disciplinarian, and someone who deserved and usually managed to gain your respect. He had the ability to know when to be serious and when to be silly, which sounds like it should be fairly straight forward, but it's surprisingly difficult sometimes to find people who know how to balance the two.

Giggle Times with Dad

He took me to my first football game, basketball game, and hockey game. He never excluded me from typically male oriented activities on the basis of me being a girl. As I think of it, there tends to be this idea that if you're a geek you must like a certain niche of interests and not really expand beyond that. If you're a sports fan you're probably not brainy enough or interested enough to bother with anything a bit more on the intellectual side. And whether he intended to or not, I think my Dad taught me none of those types of boundaries should matter. As long as it doesn't go against Jehovah's principles love anything you want in any combination you want.

I really feel like I owe the best parts of myself to him. And I look forward to the day when I can see him again.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

General Stuff

Okay so there's a few relatively exciting things going on around here.  The first and biggest being, we're in the works to get a new drain field! Yay! To those of you blessed to be on city water and who don't understand what that means let me give you a basic run-down. In the country, every thing that gets flushed or goes down the drain goes into a tank buried in the yard or something called the drain field. If all's going well anything solid should go to the tank where it can accumulate and eventually be pumped out and the liquids should end up in the drain field where they get dispersed into the ground. When your drain field goes however, everything ends up in the tank and you go from needing pump outs every three or more years to needing them every three months. Especially now that there's four people in the house instead of just my mom we've been doing all kinds of things to mind how much water goes down the drain. We collect and throw out water we use for dishes, and occasionally even our bath water. >_< It's not fun. And I'm SO happy it's getting fixed finally. We may end up being displaced for a day or two while they work on it, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. I wanted to post some before pictures though because they will have to rip up almost everything in our front yard and take down part of our fence. So I wanted to post some before pictures.

I've also decided to try to make a project of working on the backyard. Mom's back problems have ended up meaning she's let a lot of go over the years and while nature is great, we have a fairly large back yard and I'm pretty unhappy with how nature has taken it over. So here's the before pictures of what I have to work with. If anyone has any ideas for what I can do with the space I'm open to them. I'd like to do some raised bed planters, and Mom threw out the idea of a play set for the kids which I really like the idea of as well. But we'll see! 

Yeah that last one is a little scary. >_<

And then lastly there's still fence damage done by one of the hurricanes and one day I'd like to look into how much it'd cost to repair it.

Also for those of you who haven't seen it already, I actually started a blog for the children. I wanted to keep sharing what they write and I wanted to have a place where it could be stored and hopefully not lost, so I decided a blog would be great and I didn't want to overwhelm mine with their stuff, but here's the link to it in case you're interested in following them: 

And now I just leave you all with a few funnies I've encountered over the last few days:

Friday, May 11, 2012

Great Expectations

This has been a week where I feel I've been bombarded by the concept of expectations. It happened to be a central theme of this month's local needs part in our congregation, as well as it being at the core of this week's lesson in the fighting anxiety program I'm using. It's been one of the most challenging lessons thus far for me to deal with because of how conflicted it makes me feel. On the one hand I recognize that it's something that's plagued me and held me back for most of my life, and on the other hand I feel like some are worth clinging to and I can not mentally back down from them. For those of you that are able to get through what I'm about to write, I really am interested in hearing your thoughts on this topic. For those are you that choose to opt out, I don't blame you.

The first page of this week's lesson contained a list of objectives, among them were some points I agreed with and some that I'm having trouble reconciling with my primary mode of thinking as one of Jehovah's Witnesses. The main one being the goal "to recognize that our attitude, beliefs, and mis-beliefs are responsible for much of our stress, anxiety and depression." I understand that it's important to try to face the world with realistic expectations. Life won't be fair. Not everyone is going to want to be friends with you or will even like you. People will disappoint you. But I really don't like what I'm being told there. The most recent example I could see of this in my life was the break-up of my marriage. Based on my expectations as one of Jehovah's Witnesses, my mate should not lie to me, my mate should not fool around with someone else, etc. And yet that and so much more is exactly what happened. So the stress, the anxiety, the depression that resulted from that is from what, my unrealistic expectations? I'm simply adopting a victim mentality and I'm wrong for thinking this is not how it should be?

People will disappoint you, it's a fact I completely and totally mentally accept. But when someone completely and utterly blows it, I'm left sitting there clinging to my belief of what they should have done and feeling like I'm not wrong at all for having my expectations. It's as if the two ideas can't co-exist. But, I guess that's where forgiveness comes in. That's one of Jehovah's expectations of us too. It's the only way I can imagine being able to reach acceptance of both the fact that people will disappoint and that people have standards to live up to that they should be able to follow.

Or perhaps it's true that our beliefs sometimes are the cause of our anxiety or depression, but it doesn't mean those beliefs are wrong. I think sometimes as humans we tend to take something and run with it. Jehovah has the expectation of us that we give him our best. That's not an unrealistic thing for Him to ask of us. But everyone's personal best is different. Someone could very easy take that basic belief, of us having to give Jehovah our best ,and then build unrealistic expectations for themselves around that belief. Attainable goals are one thing, but it would be completely unrealistic for someone in my position, a single mother of two to create the expectation that my best should be going to Bethel, or my best should be serving where the need is greater in another state or another country, or I should be pioneering.

That brings me to another aspect of the topic, at least in my case I think only a small fraction of my problems with anxiety come from my expectations of others. I would say the much larger issue is my expectations of myself, and dealing with the question of what will other people think? I can trace this type of behavior and thinking all the way back to when I was a very small child. I commented recently on another friend's blog about how when I was very small I used to want to design my own board games but I would often get frustrated and give up because I couldn't make it perfect. I also remember wanting to write as a child and young teen, but I was most attracted to writing either science fiction or something historical in a medieval setting. And every time I would even try I would get overwhelmed by all the little things I didn't know, that I expected I should know in order to write it well, or accurately. It seemed like the people who wrote the best stories had been highly educated or had done extensive research that was just beyond my patience to do, and unless I could match that level it would never be any good, so I abandoned almost every idea that came along until I just stopped generating them.Thankfully I've found other creative outlets over the years, and it gives me great joy to aid my children with their creativity. It's my hope that if I can continually encourage them they will continue to exercise their imagination and have healthy directions to channel it.

The opinions of others has mostly been a stressor in my parenting and my spiritual activity. Again unreasonable expectations of myself rears its ugly head. For years now I've been telling myself that I was raised around the truth, I've been baptized __ number of years and I should be at a certain level that I'm just not at. I feel like if I give a comment that's just a simple, answer the question type of comment, in the minds of others they'll hear it and think I'm strange or behind where I should be. I love working in service when I can go to a door by myself, because I'm far more nervous about my partner hearing me make some sort of mistake or not be very good than I am of the householder. And to compound it I know that sort of thinking is unreasonable and people would just be happy I'm doing what I can, but it's like I can't make myself move past it. But I'm hopeful I can work past it.

I've definitely made some progress on the parenting front. There was a period of a few years where every time I would catch someone giving me or my kids a look, especially if they were acting up, I'd take it very personally. I immediately thought it was them thinking critically of me or them. Sometimes it would even prompt me to discipline or punish them just to show the person I was doing something. Which would then make me feel guilty because why on earth should I parent based on the expectations, or perceived expectations of another person? I'm slowly but surely coming around to the point of view that what other people think, doesn't really matter. I need to do what's right for my children and myself as long as it's within line with Jehovah and his principles. I shouldn't compare myself to my parents. I'm not them, and my children aren't me. If someone wants to turn around and glare at me because my kid is making a little more noise than they'd like, I'm now entirely likely to glare right back at them until they turn back around. Don't think know staring is rude?

So anyway, these are basically all of my thoughts on the subject of expectations. They're still slightly jumbled and they're something I struggle with, sorting what's realistic and healthy and what's not. But I think this helped. Any of you that waded through this mess, please let me know who you are, and next time we meet I owe you cookies. Seriously.

Prompt Me

So I have a bigger more serious post coming up but I thought I'd throw this one out there first. Lately I've been finding myself doing a lot more writing in my free time. Most of it has revolved around how I'm feeling, and trying to think through what's going on with my anxiety issues, but I've also found myself wanting to write just for fun. I've written a couple of pages about my current RPG character, but I'm a little frustrated with it, mostly because I think I spend too much of the time in her head and what she's thinking rather than having her DO stuff or interact with others. I think my hang-up is I don't feel like the other characters belong to me so I'm reluctant to have them say or do anything. lol

But anyway I remember when I was back in school I often did well with writing assignments I received from my teachers, so I thought maybe it'd be fun to fulfill some prompts. If any of you have any ideas I'd greatly appreciate it if you shared!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Preschool Storytelling Cont'd...

...and now the continuation...

So Kittynail said, "We're going to make Twister man. He winds everything around town. He was spinning all the houses around until he threw them into a volcano."

Stingraysharp said, "I'm going to cut all the sea creatures for their DNA."

Mousecutter said, "I'm going to get all of my rats to bite all the people and then get their DNA in their mouths, then they spit out all the DNA to make Sharkman!" He could become big or small, with big eyes and big legs and sharp teeth and he could do two things of hour. 

So then Kittynail created this monster. It looked like a shark and a beetle because it was round and white. And he made a whole army of those two monsters. And they charged into battle and Kittynail said, "We're going to use our biggest gooey monster and all our weapons!" 

Then gooey monster said, "I'm going to spray out all my goo on the men!" The slave army was about to die. But their was a knight. He didn't get killed because he had armor. And the goo bounced off the metal and hit the bad man. The knight went back to his palace and said, "We're going to build a big wall like the great wall of China," and they painted it like a giraffe and said the magic words.

And the royal dog discovered a man who was really a monster in disguise. But he caught the royal dog and the knight tried to stop him. The monsters hands could turn into any weapon, so it used its gun hands to shoot at the knight. But it didn't go through because of his armor and it went back at the monsters gun hands. So the knight took the royal dog and game it some royal chicken dog food.

Kittynail and Stingraysharp said, "We're going to flood the Upworld Skyworld where Thor lives. We'll capture Thor and put him in a kitty dungeon to take his hammer!" There's lots of kitty scratching there to scratch his armor off, so they made Thor his slave and took his DNA. Then Kittynail got bad DNA from his kitty chamber, where all the bad DNA was, and threw it into the lava with Thor's skeleton, and eyeballs, and he became Lava man with lava eyes.

(to be continued...)

So wow...Thor taken down by Kittynail and his minions. Some heavy stuff there. lol

Monday, April 30, 2012

Preschool Storytelling

So Ian has been dictating a story to me all day that I thought I would share with you. I keep asking him if he's almost done and he keeps saying no, so I'm putting a stop to it for the night, but I wanted to type up what we have so far. So I present to you:

The Kittycoppers, The Police, And The Superhero Called Megapoo

By Ian Reed

Once upon a time there was Mousecutter and Stingraysharp. His boss was named Kittynail. His nails could stretch to 140 pounds in a row. And then they had to fight a competition. So Kittynail sent his couplers to win the competition. And then he got the magic potion as a prize inside a magic box. 

And then he used a laser and made him into Antman. Then one time he made a robot and used it to capture a wild, big, shark fish to make into one of their couplers. And Kittynail said, "I need all the creatures I like, reptiles with sharp teeth, and send them to my lab."

They wanted to put the robot mask on the reptiles to make a shark. Then Kittynail sent another coupler, called Stingraysharp to cut the grass short to mix all the animals.

So Kittynail said, "We're going to travel in this huge, flying, mechanical box to see this famous alligator who swam around catching everything it could find. It even jumped on land and catched a grasshopper. I want to catch a grasshopper and make it into one of us. And I want to catch the famous alligator too, and mix it together- half grasshopper and half alligator." 

So they caught all the animals on sea and land to make a huge monster. It was going well but then they fell in the water so they started looking in the sea for animals. Then they went out.

Kittynail said, "Let's swim and find the golden reptile, made of gold, and it can go on land, even in dirt, and it can go 13,16,17 miles of hour." 

Stingraysharp said, "I'm going to cut all the plants we're going to eat." And then he turned into a stingray and then back into himself. He can cut with his fins and turn into anything in the sea. So he cut until he found a magic box, full of magic diamonds, and gold, and magic potions that would make him strong. Kittynail wanted some too and Mousecutter. Stingraysharp gave some of the potions and diamonds, but he made more potions and said, "Let's take all the water around the city."

Kittynail said, "Let's go so we can swim in the deep blue sea!" So he sent one of his couplers to find a magic gun from a sea man who was really a sea monster.

The gun was called Gapperairy, so the monster turned into a shark and left his cave to look for his gun. It shot out water with magic stuff in it. So the sea monster sent one of his goblin monsters to catch other monsters.

Kittynail said, "Let's use all our couplers we made to make an army to attack the sea monster."

And the sea monster said, "I will use my slave army to battle Kittynail and all his couplers to get all the stuff!"

And they said, "Charge!"

And they fought with guns, swords, and electric reptiles that are in the sea and stings, a sea snake! And it turned into a snake sword!

(To be continued...)

So that's all we have for now. I personally am eager to see how the battle turns out and I'm really curious how Megapoo will factor into all this.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Soothing Imagery

As most of you know by now, recently I had my first full-blown panic attack. To those of you who have suffered with these over the years and continue to suffer from them, my heart goes out to you. It was probably the scariest thing I've ever experienced and I spent the next few weeks afterward feeling extremely anxious and fearful that I would have another attack. Every little thing spooked me, anything that reminded me of the experience of my attack would start make me feel worried that another one was starting. I will still occasionally have a sudden shock hit me and I'll feel a sharp chest pain, but it's nothing like it was a few weeks ago. 

Frankly I don't feel like my problem is bad enough to require medication (at least I hope not, since taking medication is another thing that I'm anxious about) especially since I've been learning some coping techniques that are helping calm my body down when it begins having physical symptoms of anxiety. And that's what brings me to my topic today.

I've begun a program that was recommended to me by my acupuncturist to help teach me skills to deal with my anxiety and in this week's lesson, one of the action assignments was to choose several beautiful, detailed, post cards or greeting cards. If I begin to feel frazzled or frantic about something, I should sit down somewhere comfortable and look at my images, but not just a cursory glance, I'm supposed to focus in on them, particularly the details. It's recommended I do this several times a week and then take notice of how my body feels after about ten minutes of doing this. 

I haven't tried this yet, and in fact when I went to the mall today and looked for post cards, all I found were tacky Florida ones. So this afternoon I spent some time finding imagery that I can hopefully put on my phone that way I can carry it with me. I wanted to share a few of my favorites though, and encourage those of you who are so inclined, to find and share some of what you find personally soothing or calming to look at. 

I'd also like to note that I don't intend to make this kind of thing the focus of this blog. I'm actually keeping a journal now to record details of my anxiety attacks and how I'm feeling and what kinds of thoughts I'm having, but something like this I feel could be beneficial for just about anyone, and unfortunately this is part of my life now, so it was bound to come up eventually. 

So anyway, now on to the pretties!

These two I especially love because this is a location I've actually been to. When I was 17 I was kindly invited to join friends of mine on an RV camping trip through Yellowstone National Park. On the way back to Colorado we drove through Jackson Hole, WY and saw the Grand Tetons. If it wasn't for the expense and me being unsure of how I'd handle a Wyoming winter, I swear I'd move there in a heartbeat. The beauty is incredible and I felt so happy there. I wish we could have spent more time there but we couldn't. It's a dream of mine to return there one day, and in the meantime I can look at these beautiful pictures. 

There's lots of different types of plants and colors and textures going on in this picture. It has a calming element but still has a lot of details to focus on. 

Waterfalls for me personally are tricky. I love them. BUT in terms of soothing imagery, if I look at a waterfall with an especially heavy flow or if it's very tall or the angle of the picture is taken from the edge where the water goes over, it's more likely to induce stressful feelings. It's still beautiful but it's a dangerous feeling beauty. So most waterfalls that I would consider soothing are very short in height and light on flow. 

This picture I think is one of my favorites. It's got a lovely waterfall in the background and then in the foreground are all these gnarly roots to look at. There's a lot to focus your eye and mind on when you look at something like that. So anyway, those were a sampling of what I found, I look forward to seeing what you guys find!

Monday, March 12, 2012

I want to start this post off by saying that I have complete respect in the rights of others to make choices in what their conscience will and won't allow them to see, listen to, or do. This comes up because recently I had an experience where someone was expressing an extremely negative (and not completely informed) point of view on something I was interested in seeing, and even though I never got a chance to speak up at all, it really made me feel attacked personally. It did make me think however, about how publicly interested I've been in this movie up till this point and I wondered, what if there's other people who share her views, or at least don't have a full picture of what's going on and are leaning towards the conclusions she's drawn and I've possibly been offending them?

I don't want to open things up for debate over who is right or wrong, because in areas like this it's all a bit grey and open to people's individual feelings of what they're comfortable with. I guess I'm writing this particular entry because I feel like, if given half a chance, or if I'd perceived she'd have an open mind there's a lot I could have explained to her. I was never given that opportunity, so I'm making it for myself now.

So I imagine if any of you have been reading my wall on Facebook or have talked to me in person at all within the past few months, you've heard me talk about The Hunger Games at some point.  If you take a cursory look at what the book is about you've likely gleaned that it's a story that takes place in a dystopic  future where what remains of the United States is now broken into twelve districts. Annually those twelve districts are required to select one boy and one girl, aged 12-18, at random to go to the Capitol and fight each other to the death and the last one standing 'wins.'

Understandably this is a disturbing concept. What makes this story any different, you might ask, than say the gladiatorial games of Ancient Rome?  And if this was all there was to the story and it was a celebration of violence and slaughtering children I would completely agree. But there were a lot of things this sister didn't appreciate about the bigger picture of what was going on, and which I will now explain.

The first important thing to recognize about Panem, which is what the nation is now called, is that many years prior there was a rebellion against the Capitol. This rebellion was crushed and from that point on the Hunger Games were instituted as a way of reinforcing the power the of the Captiol over it's subjects. Oh the President is all smiles as he welcomes all the boys and girls on the day of 'the reaping', as the day the tributes are selected by lottery is called, but everyone really understands this is yet another act of oppression and there's absolutely no honor in what's being forced upon them. I think that the fact it's even called the 'reaping' day tells you everything you need to know about how the Captiol views the common people.

It seems to me that I would have an easier time drawing the parallel to something like the gladiatorial games if this story were more about glorifying the violence. It seems like those games were all about satisfying a blood thirsty crowd who were eager for a good 'show.' And many people of the Capitol are that way. In a way you could also see this as a cautionary tale of the dark places reality television might lead us. (Yes, it could get much much worse than Snooki, horrifying I know, but true.) Which by the way many of the poorer districts don't even have running electricity throughout most of the year, except during the Hunger Games. The Capitol wants to make absolutely sure everyone is able to watch what happens. For these people it's not entertainment, it's persecution. But many people even in the Capitol are starting to become very disenchanted despite their luxurious lifestyles and seeds are very much sewn throughout the story of the first book, indicating that a major shake-up in how things are done could be in store.

Also I appreciated that the books are entirely from the first person perspective of Katniss, a girl from one of the poorest districts, who has to poach in the forest just to provide for her family. As you likely have seen in the trailer, her little sister's name is called at the reaping and she immediately volunteers to take her place. So everything you read is filtered through Katniss' opinions and biases and so that tends to affect how you see things. And in her mind the Hunger Games are completely abhorrent. She goes into them with the mindset of not wanting to have to kill anybody but also needing to survive so that she can get back to her family, who would likely die of starvation without her.

They are called Hunger Games because the Capitol tends to suck the districts dry of what they produce and only give back the barest people need to survive and all too frequently that isn't enough. However the winner of the Hunger Games is compensated with a fancy new house and as many provisions as they could need for the rest of their lives.

So I guess what I'm trying to say in all this, is that I've never gotten the feeling that these stories are a celebration of violence. Yes it does happen, you can't get through hardly any story of conflict on this level without it, but it's not promoted as a positive. And to me personally that matters. Over-all the story is so much more than this one particular Hunger Game. Big picture it's about bringing about a much needed change to people who have been suffering for so many years, and getting them out from under this oppressive regime where people might get whipped nearly to death just for going into the forest to try to find food. More narrow focused view it's the story of a girl whose primary focus in her life is protecting and providing for her widowed mother and little sister.

So if any of this has helped clear things up for those of you who didn't know much about it, then I'm glad. If you have any further questions I'm open to them. But yeah I just really needed to get all of that out, and I hope it was as informative for y'all as it was therapeutic for me. :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

English, How I Love Thee...

...let me- oh never mind. English is the native language of my brain but there's no two ways around its inconsistencies. I've never been one of those people who criticizes non-English speakers for speaking their native languages in public. I tend to give the benefit of the doubt that they're just having trouble picking up English because, well...I'll let this poem explain it. I'm not sure who wrote it, but I found it on Tumblr and if you're ever in need of entertainment it'd be fun to see who could read this through without stumbling on any of the words! Hope you guys enjoy!

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
Pronunciation (think of Psyche!)
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.
Finally, which rhymes with enough,
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!
B. Shaw

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!"

This poem was recently brought to mind as I was trying to think of examples of onomatopoeia. As a kid it was so nonsensical I just didn't get it, and I tended to reject anything Alice in Wonderland anyway so I didn't care for it. As an adult I appreciate it more. So I thought I'd share the poem and something a friend of mine found for me, Benedict Cumberbatch reading the poem. (For anyone who doesn't know he's the British actor currently playing Sherlock in BBC's new series and he's brilliant.)


'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought--
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There

Bonus points and possibly cookies to anyone who leaves a comment siting examples of onomatopoeia from the above poem.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What's this world coming to?

So, I'm still a little spaced out so this is going to be fairly brief, but I just want to ask: What's this world coming to when this... consider sane and even fashionable and its wearer worthy of admiration and awards, but a dual lightsabers wielding man who managed to successfully deflect a police tazer is being said to need "mental health treatment?"

Oh but this isn't insanity her fans would argue, this is creativity, an expression of her free-spirit. Yeah well, deflecting tazers with a pair of lightsabers isn't insanity either, it's skill!  (Especially considering the off-hand penalty.)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


These are a couple of trailers that I thought were really well done and in the case of the Jaws Disney movie one, pretty hilarious.

This first one uses the audio from the trailer for the new G.I. Joe movie and clips from My Little Pony.

This one I particularly enjoyed, even though its silly, in general I think it's a cool when through creative editing you can change the whole tone and concept of a movie. 

And this one was JUST posted in my subscription box so I'm adding it now. I think this is a cool blending of Disney's the Little Mermaid, with Doctor Who clips. It's not perfect but it's still really well edited I think.

Hope you enjoy! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Drama Master List

Okay so I've realized lately that I've been watching so many different shows they've all kind of become a bit of a blur. So I'm going to keep a list here of the shows I've watched, and I may include a brief synopsis and what I thought of them, but I will refrain from going too in depth. If you have any questions or want more details about any of the shows I list feel free to ask. Here we go!

*UPDATE* Viewing links included for many of the dramas.
*UPDATE* New dramas added.

Hana Kimi - A girl disguises herself as a boy so she can attend an all-boy school in an effort to get closer to her sport idol, who has given up the game. It's her goal to get him back into high-jumping and see him do it in person. It's full of funny moments as she deals with keeping her gender a secret and the three dorms compete with each other. (This was my first Japanese live-action show, and it kicked off me seeing all the rest of these. I think it's a fairly good jumping off point if you're new to Asian dramas.)

Streaming link:

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge - Three good looking students receive an amazing offer from their landlady: Turn her reclusive young niece into a proper young lady and never have to pay rent again. Naturally they accept only to find out things will be much harder than they'd anticipated. (I enjoyed this one quite a bit, mostly because I enjoyed the main girl. Although I did skip one episode that seemed to deal with ghosts. And the whole thing is crazy. Just sayin.')

Streaming link:

Hana Yori Dango - Eitoku Gakuen, it's a school for the uber-elite, and the entire student body is under the control of F4- the four richest and most powerful boys in the school. Unfortunately they use that power to bully any who oppose them, until the day the one poor girl in the school happens to stand up to the leader of F4. (A really good drama, although many are understandably turned off by how much of a bully the main guy is. If you watch it just be forewarned he's on the violent side. But he does improve.)

Streaming link (season 1):
Streaming link (season 2):
Streaming link (special):

Kimi wa Petto - A woman comes home from work one evening to find a young man badly beaten in a cardboard box outside of her house. She takes him in, cleans him up, feeds him and lets him stay the night. He's essentially homeless and a stranger to her, yet somehow he's reminiscent of her old dog, Momo. Having recently been dumped by her long term boyfriend for being 'too tall, too well educated, and making too much money,' when he asks her if he can stay she says he can only stay if he's willing to live there as her pet. (Okay this one, I really liked how they developed the relationship between the two main characters, and I liked the over-all story, but I will also say this drama is more on the adult side. If I had to give it an American rating I'd say it's PG-13ish.)

Streaming link:

Mei-chan no Shitsuji - One day Mei-chan's life is turned upside down, when she becomes orphaned and nearly is killed herself when her family's udon shop explodes. Suddenly she finds herself whisked away to an elite school where the favored mode of transportation on campus is helicopter and every girl comes with her own butler. (I really liked this one. Like many of the other shows out there it's a pretty far fetched concept, and it had a lot of humor but it was also surprisingly a bit on the sinister side. I loved all the different girls and their butlers. All in all it was a fun show.)

Streaming link:

Zettai Kareshi - A woman is approached with an offer to help her find an ideal boyfriend. After completing a survey of what her preferences are she goes home thinking that's the end of it. The next morning she comes out to discover a huge box containing what appears to be a sleeping man. Turns out he's an android that's been programmed to be her ideal lover and she's obligated to keep him for a trial period. But naturally things don't just end there. (Okay this one I really loved the story of, but it does end sadly.)

Streaming link:

Ikemen Desu Ne - Japanese version of You're Beautiful. It improved upon the few things that bothered me about the Korean version, but I found the characters less enjoyable to watch, less emotionally engaging and I didn't like how rushed it felt sometimes. But it was alright. (Ren is too pretty to die!)

Streaming link:

Ouran High School Host Club - So this one I'm still reading the manga and watching the anime, but I have finished the live action. If you're in the mood for something humorous but not very time consuming this is a pretty good choice. I'm kind of amazed that they pack a decent amount of story into episodes that are only about 22 minutes long and there's only 11 of them. But anyway this one is about a poor girl who is accepted (due to her academic merits) into a school for the rich, and while no one bothers her, she does have trouble finding a place to study quietly on her own. Until one day she stumbles upon the school's Host Club. It's a group of bored young men, whose mission is to entertain all the bored young women in the school, and even make a little profit off it if they can. Unfortunately she also stumbles upon an extremely valuable vase of theirs breaking it and unable to pay them back for it. So they enlist her aid first as an assistant doing mundane errands, until they decide she has far more value as a host. This does have an element of your typical 'girl hiding her gender' but it doesn't play it like many other dramas do. It seems many of the school officials know she's participating in the Host Club as a man but since it's a co-ed school they don't really care. I will say it is a VERY silly show, but it also has some nice more serious moments. I wish it had lasted longer to be honest, but I hear a movie is in the works, so I'm looking forward to that.

Streaming link:

You're Beautiful - My first ever K-drama and still one of my favorites. I would call it a mix between Hana Kimi, the Sound of Music, and Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night in that there is a set of twins nearly identical, one boy and one girl, and the girl ends up dressing up as if she were the boy. The Sound of Music in that this is a very musical drama and the girl starts out as a nun in training in the beginning. I seriously expected the nuns to burst out in song any second with their own version of "How do you solve a problem like Go Mi Nyu?" And like Hana Kimi for the cross dressing, and how she has to live among a bunch of guys trying to keep her gender a secret and yet they all manage to fall for her. (Anyway I love just about everything about this drama. I love all the characters, even the 'villain' type characters end up not being truly horrible people in the end, they're just flawed. And I like being able to go through a drama without hating anybody. This is a rare thing!)

Streaming link:

Boys Before Flowers - Korea's version of Hana Yori Dango. It follows the manga better in many respects, and it definitely highlights the other members of F4 better. I'll talk more about this one in a future entry so I'll leave it alone for now. (If you particularly love the story then go ahead and watch it. It definitely has its funny moments, but it also has probably one of the all time worst Rich-Korean- Mothers-Bent-on-Decimating-the-Unworthy-Girl-Who-Dares-Vie-For-Her-Son's-Attention.)

Streaming link:

Personal Taste - A woman in sore economic straights takes in a roommate who, due to a series of misunderstanding, she thinks is gay. He is extremely irritated that she's under this impression and the fact that she won't believe him when he denies it, however he has to stay there in order to research a project for his job. (This one is cute in some respects, but I did tend to skip around toward the end because when the drama really kicks in and over-takes the cuteness I tend to get bored unless it's really awesome drama.)

Streaming link:

Secret Garden - This is an odd one, it involves an ultra-rich executive who falls for a stunt woman, but they wind up lost in the woods and find a restaurant where there's an old lady who gives them each a bottle of 'medicinal wine.' Later than night they both drink it and when they wake up they've swapped bodies. (This was actually a pretty funny show, BUT it was never really explained why any of this happened, and I think the body swapping could've been utilized better than it was.)

Streaming link:

Coffee Prince - Another gender confused story, which I'm not going to go into explaining because I didn't really like it that much.

Mary Stayed Out All Night - Mary's father is deeply in debt and on the run from creditors when he comes across his old childhood friend recently returned from Japan. When his friend hears of his situation, he proposes a solution: allow Mary to marry his son, and he'll take care of all the father's debt. When Mary hears this she freaks out and runs away from home. She meets up with free-spirited rocker who is willing to fake a marriage with her so she can get out of the engagement her father made for her. (Okay this one I thought would be really good, and it sort of was, it had an interesting story, but the ONLY characters I found likable were the 3 main characters and there was an appallingly high number of piggy back rides for my taste.)

Streaming link:

City Hunter - Okay this one is seriously like the Batman of Korean dramas. I love this show. It starts about 30 years ago when there is a terrorist attack against some South Korean officials. South Korea retaliates with a black ops type counter-strike against North Korea. However, the President has second thoughts while they're away on their mission, since this could end up having enormous backlash politically. So when the operatives finish their assignment and go back to the pick-up spot for retrieval, they are all wiped out by their own government. One of the men survives though, saved by his best friend, who makes him promise he'll take care of his wife and newborn son. The surviving operative returns to Korea, kidnaps the son (thinking this will be easier for the widow than having to be a single mother) and takes him off to raise him in another country, all the while plotting his revenge on the politicians which betrayed him and his comrades. Fast-forward thirty years, and the son that he's been raising is all grown up, returning to Korea to put into action his father's purpose for him, however they have a vastly different idea of what revenge should entail. Which leads to all sorts of wonderful conflict. (This one is definitely more PG-13, it's kind of intense in places and obviously there is some violence. But nothing worse than an average PG-13 movie.It's not a perfect drama, but it's easily in my top 5 favorites.)

Streaming link:

Heartstrings - I was too bored and not engaged with the characters to get even half-way through this one but I saw it so it's here on the list. lol

Lie to Me - Again I phased out toward the end so I don't have a ton to say about this one. It was cute in the beginning but it was like the writers didn't know what to do with themselves so the story just kinda went nowhere.

My Princess - This one was just okay. I really didn't like some of the characters and I really didn't like some of the video editing. But it was cute in places. I may come back and have more to say about it, but for now I'll leave it like this.

Flower Boy Ramyun Shop - I wanna take a brief second first to explain the name of this drama. "Flower boy" is the English translation of the Korean term for a 'pretty' boy or a guy who is really really attractive. In Korean the term is "ggot mi nam" (꽃미남). "Mi nam" (미남) means 'handsome man' and "ggot" (꽃) means 'flower.' This makes me appreciate the wittiness of Go Mi Nam's parents from You're Beautiful. But anyway back to what the drama is about. The story is about a girl whose father dies, leaving behind his ramyun shop. Surprisingly though it's not left to her, but rather a stranger she's never met before, who produces a will written by her father (in crayon lol) leaving him the shop and at the end mentioning he can have his daughter as well. Even though she'd been determined to have nothing to do with the ramyun shop, she decides to work there after giving up on her teaching internship, due to repeated run-ins with a very spoiled rich kid who is a senior there. He doesn't intend to make things easy for her however and manages to get a part-time job at the ramyun shop so he can continue to pester her. (This was a really funny show, and I really loved pretty much every character, but it's an example of Korea's love of toilet humor, which may not go over well with American audiences. I over-looked it because I liked watching the characters so much...It's not got a really in depth story but if you're looking for a cute rom-com that never gets super heavy or bogged down in major drama, this is a good way to go.)

Streaming link:

The Greatest Love - This one is about a middle-aged star at the height of his career who runs into a former pop-star whose career has pretty much hit rock bottom, ever since she was blamed for the break up of the girl group she was in. Despite the fact that she's a nobody to him, he finds himself being drawn to her, and his heart particularly goes crazy every time her phone rings. And I'll leave it at that. This one was written by the Hong sisters who wrote You're Beautiful. And I think it shows in that there's a heavy emphasis on star/idol life and for the most part there's very likable characters. (I will say on this one, the main guy...he swings from being kind of handsome and cool to being a bit crazy and even mildly deranged lol but in a funny way I think. But I could see some people having trouble taking him seriously as someone the main girl would like. I however find him funny and interesting enough that I enjoy watching him. Egomaniacs need love too, right? From someone other than themselves I mean.)

Streaming link:

Sungkyunkwan Scandal - Okay this is one I saw really early on in my drama watching days, so I'm fuzzy on details but I can tell you this is another cross-dressing drama only set in Korea's past so it's sort of a historical drama. I enjoy these sometimes because I like the costuming and having some glimpse into their history, even if it's not 100% accurate. This particular one involves a young woman who dresses regularly as a man to work in a book shop making copies of different books for students. Through a series of events she actually gets pulled into becoming a student herself under her sickly brother's name, and she has to live on the school grounds with roommates. So the gender thing is an issue, and a rather major one especially considering the time period. But there's actually a bigger issue that gets developed with some political intrigue going on with the King and something involving her father's death. It was an interesting story and I wish I could remember more of the details. Oh well...

Streaming link: I checked for one but unfortunately for whatever reason this drama has been taken down. :(

Protect the Boss - A woman gets a job as a secretary for an agoraphobic, difficult to please, frequently child-like heir to a major company. His father is constantly pushing him harder and harder to take over the company, which he has no interest in. He's frequently plagued by panic attacks and his cousin, whose ambitious mother is always plotting to usurp power in the company for her son. It's a story deals loosely with corporate corruption, but dwells mostly on the relationship between the boss and his secretary as she helps him through his problems. (I thought this was a fairly good drama. I kind of spaced out toward the end as I tend to on dramas that are good but not thoroughly gripping. I will give it to them that they had a very likable cast of characters (with the exception of the evil manipulative mothers). I have things I could say about the second lead, but I think I'll save it for my follow-up entry on SLS.)

Streaming link:

Okay so I've been working on this for well...MANY hours so I'm going to finally give it a rest. I hope you enjoyed reading and if you made it all the way to the end seriously, you deserve cookies or something. lol