Hwarang Review: Oh, Those Flower Boys

For a number of years now I have put off watching the popular Kdrama Hwarang, because it just looked to girlie for me. And it is girlie, very girlie, but it’s also a pretty impressive coming-of-age story, too. Hwarang means “flowering knights” and is a story about an elite fighting force of young men back in the Three Kingdoms time period, specifically the Kingdom of Silla.

The drama bounces between being campy and not taking itself seriously to heart-wrenching, emotional scenes, and great fight scenes. The music also alternates between bubbly pop and more period appropriate movie music. Starring way too many pretty young men to mention, the main leads are Park Seo Joon (What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?), who plays a character nicknamed “Dog-Bird,” and Park Hyung Sik (Happiness), who plays the hidden king, Ji Dwi. The two have a love triangle with Ah Ro, played by the beautiful Go Ara (You Are All Surrounded).

Silla is a country like many in which there are rich and poor and not a lot in between. The monarchy rules by a “sacred bone” system, which means that if you’re related to the royals you are noble. Dog-Bird comes to the city with his friend, who (spoiler) tragically dies. During this time, Queen Jiso, who is holding the throne for her son, the King Ji Dwi, until she feels he is ready, decides to put together a fighting force of noble, young, beautiful men. Flower boys. Dog-Bird ends up in this elite force along with the Ji Dwi, who is tired of, well, not being king. Their bromance is great and really the focus of the show as Silla eventually has two possible kings vying for its future.

The acting overall was great, but I do have to agree with some that Go Ara was miscast here as the leading lady. In some scenes she was very good, in many others, she just didn’t fit the story or the time period or something. A lot of her acting mannerisms were just like her acting in You Are All Surrounded. Although I liked her in that, her acting just didn’t work for me here, and although she has amazing eyes, I think they actually were a distraction in this. Her character was also not written the greatest, so the fault certainly does not fall all on her shoulders. There was also more chemistry between her and the king than the lead, Dog-Bird. And the main romance was tainted for me because they kept pretending to be brother and sister. Talk about killing romance. The secondary romance in the show, however, is highly satisfactory, with an adorable opposites attract, very sweet couple.

Probably the most distracting thing in the show, however, was the queen. She had a lisp. I don’t know if the actress simply has a lisp or if this was intentional, but it started to drive me nuts. Kim Ji Soo, was otherwise very good in her role, though, a ruler one loves to hate and who in the end garnered much sympathy. It was a bit odd, but kind of funny how one of the Hwarang, Choi Min Ho’s (Yumi’s Cells) character, falls for her. He’s a flirt who’s had all the other girls, so in a way it makes sense, but it’s a pretty big age gap. Min Ho was actually quite good in this. His acting hasn’t impressed me much in other things. He also has very good stage presence, and hands down, I think was the best looking Hwarang. It’s interesting that even with the long hair, jewelry, and pastel outfits, these guys still manage to look manly somehow. You are what you are, no matter how you’re dressed.

This show probably wouldn’t be the first Kdrama I would recommend, but it’s not too bad, despite it’s length of 20 episodes. As usual, it could have been shorter. The “adults” in the cast were all very good, many of them veteran drama actors. Always like to see Sung Dong Il (Reply 1997), as he’s like everyone’s dad in whatever he’s in. He’s got a great, fatherly aura about him. The best was the evil nobleman Park Young Sil, played by Kim Chang Wan (It’s Okay to Not Br Okay). Kim is great at playing villians and sometimes I was actually rooting for him to take down the queen and the royal family. Yes, it ultimately is very girlie, but very manly in many ways as well.

My next drama watch will be Doctor Prisoner starring Namkoong (or Namgoong) Min of the awesome Awaken. I’ve got a couple of thrillers on my list with this guy and they are definitely his genre.

How Bad Is My Batch?

Just a quick note: If you took any of the COV vaccines and are wondering how lethal your dose is/was, there is now a site where you can look up the batch numbers and check. Yes, the shots are ALL different, because this is a medical experiment, not something that has gone through rigorous safety testing. Actually, very little safety testing with vaccines when it comes down to it. The pharma companies have zero liability and also the government simply does not even check to see if they are doing safety testing, even though they were supposed to be checking up on that since the 80s. ICAN submitted a FOIA request. They got zip, nothing. No evidence the government is even monitoring safety testing from these criminal companies. Anyway, if you’re worried about what you got shot with, here is the site: https://www.howbadismybatch.com

May God bless you and keep you. It is not your fault. You were lied to on purpose. But, it can be dangerous to be too trusting of sinful humans in authority. Only God has our back.

Also: https://www.icandecide.org/ican_press/federal-court-rules-in-icans-favor-and-orders-covid-19-safety-data-to-be-disclosed/

Updates for 2022

As I’m not quite done with the surprisingly funny and excellent Kdrama Hwarang about a fighting force of elite flower boys, this week I’m just going to go through some updates.

Writing: As I’m a slow writer and easily distracted, especially by the current events in the past fews years, my writing has suffered. As yet, I haven’t published Trolls for Dust, Season 3. It is still in the works, but is now in competition with a novella idea that has captured my interest. I also would like to write more episodes of Weirdgorden, as I just find the idea of a store that doesn’t sell anything hilarious and want to see where it goes. My main goals for this year are to publish TfD:S3 and the novella. See next the steps I am taking to make sure that happens.

Planning: Like many women my age I have succumbed to the trend of buying pretty, expensive planners. The trick is actually using them well and making them more than just pretty sticker books. This year I decided to use Hobonichi Weeks as a carry planner, continuing to use a Weeks as a writing planner, and using Clever Fox Weekly Planner premium edition as a goal planner. Mostly, I am really into foxes lately, and the color gold/yellow. Don’t know why, but am thrilled this planner is undated, so I can pop in and out of it as I like. It’s a hobby, basically, but so far, especially the goal planner is helping me actually write more frequently, which is awesome, and I pray I can stick with it. Also, I have stepped up and taken charge of planning for groups that I am a part of, so this helps me stay on track with that as well.

Reading: As always, I am reading multiple books. Right now really enjoying a Tesla biography I’ve owned for years, but never actually read. What a crazy time in history, the race to set up electricity for everyone. Although I made it through a couple of the LOTR movies in December, I didn’t get to start rereading Tolkien’s masterpiece, so that is on my list for this year as well as a highly recommended fantasy series called The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. Agatha Christie’s will remain a staple, as will other mysteries and some Regency era romances.

Watching: As I just can’t get enough of the awesome Korean Dramas, I will still subscribe to Viki for that, and am also subscribed to Unauthorized TV to watch more LOTR lectures by Rachel Fulton Brown. She’s pretty great, with a fun, positive attitude to boot. Occasionally I do get to watch things on other apps like Netflix or Amazon, and have to say I really enjoyed The Tomorrow War starring Chris Pratt. Some of the acting needed help, but what a rush!! Also looking forward to watching Kenneth Branagh’s version of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile. My favorite Kdrama for 2021 is hands down the zombie show Happiness starring Han Hyo Joo (W), and Park Hyung Sik (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon). It’s got a great plot, an awesome leading couple, and a killer soundtrack. It’s worth subscribing to Viki for a month just to watch it. Embarrassed to say I’ve watched it twice now and plan to watch a third time. (As a side note, never did I finish Bossam, it just dragged after awhile and life is too short.)

Conspiracy Theories: I like following alternative news and it’s amazing to see things coming to fruition, especially regarding the Coronahoax and Plandemic. People are really starting to find out they have been fooled. It’s going to be difficult not to say “I told you so,” but I just keep in mind that God’s blessing allowed me to wake up about vaccines and the medical industry a few years ago. He gave me a love of stories that has me chase down these sometimes laughable “conspiracy theories.” I’m not really smart or right or anything, just willing to question and have a story addiction. It’s just so sad that so many people had to die for all the lies, and even more sad, will die in the future, as they now have compromised immune systems. But I am confident that God will find a way around it, at least for some, and already there are a number of doctors figuring out what you can take to neutralize the effects of the vaccines. Following Q has proved beneficial as well, for many things along that coming to fruition, like everything about Epstein and Maxwell being correct, for example. Whatever Q was it got a lot of people digging into a lot of research, and if it was just a political game/psyop, well, it was a fun one that intentionally or not, woke a lot of people up to just how much we can not trust those in authority.

Health: I’ve undergone a lot of health changes in the past year, but the most beneficial by far has been seriously increasing my Vitamin D supplements. Time will tell just how miraculous the sunshine vitamin is for me, but it’s great having increased energy, better sleep, and much improved hair and skin. I’m excited for summer to come around so I can get some actual D from the sun. In addition to that, I made the move to change from years and years of sit down office jobs to one cleaning all day. After a few weeks, my body is stronger and I have more stamina. It’s exhausting and great. I also am very glad I did not take the corona vaccines and will not do so in the future, either. Probably, I won’t take any vaccines ever again unless they are physically forced on me, which, sadly, many world governments seems intent on doing to their citizens. Whether it’s money, power, or simply ill will, those in power have declared they can make medical decisions for individual people. I do what I can to push back against this abuse, but it’s hard as so, so many I know still buy into it and really don’t realize how far our medical industry has fallen in regards to its purpose of health for patients. Also continuing with a mostly carnivore diet and trying to avoid sugar, though it’s a tough addiction to break.

Relationships: In this area, I’ve given a lot to God and have largely stopped worrying about things I can’t control. I am increasingly trying to meet people where they are, instead of having my own expectations for them and striving to be straightforward when I want or need something from people. Awesome thing is, that works, as does genuinely being there for those in my life and moving the focus from myself to them. Never will be perfect at it, but goals, goals.

Work: Work can be and sometimes is “life,” especially the good works which God has prepared for us in advance to do. A job is a different thing. I am willing to give up a job and income to stand up to tyranny, mostly because I care so, so much about the world my numerous nieces and nephews will have to live in if no one stands up. Foolish? Maybe. Satisfying on a personal level? A thousand times–yes! I do not fear, for God has never let me down yet, not once. Don’t always get what I want; in fact, I get far more than I deserve. It’s also been so rewarding to move to physical labor. It’s a good tired at the end of the day.

Lifestyle: Moved out of the city to a nearby lake in April. Winter weather is often terrifying to drive in, and of course I have to buy more gas now, but it’s been so worth it. It’s a quiet place where I can think and write, in a tiny apartment with windows giving me a grand view of the lake, and I love it. So much light, so much nature, so much life! And it’s sparked so much unexpected creativity like the designing of some steampunk bookshelves that are a perfect fit. The apartment is easy to clean, as well, and the small size keeps my buying books addiction more in check.

Bible Study: The first shall be last and the last, first. This is the most important one. In recent years I have found much joy and person spiritual growth in group and also personal Bible study. At my church our Sunday Bible study will be going through Galations, which I’m excited about. I’ve also been blessed with the time to attend a second Bible study during the week in which we discuss the Gospel reading for the upcoming Sunday. This one is populated mostly by retired seniors and what amazing incites they have! For my personal Bible study, I am going through Romans, using The People’s Bible by Northwestern Publishing House and also Martin Luther’s commentary on the letter. It’s my favorite book of the Bible, so I’m super pumped.

Mood: I will soon be coming up on the one year anniversary of my father’s death. I miss him so, so much, but I know he’s having a great time in heaven telling all of his puns and jokes to anyone who will listen. This year has taught me that life is shorter than we think and time with our God and our loved ones is precious. It is foolish to let other things, no matter how necessary we may think them at the time, to get in the way. It’s never too late to start living life well and in true joy, never too late to find work that really is meaningful to you, and never wrong to be generous to others. God blesses us to be able to be generous with our time, talents, and treasure. He asks us to test Him in this and we should trust that He will provide for us. We can give boldy and without fear. Worldly truth is fleeting, God’s truth is eternal and the only thing on which we truly can rely.

Blog: Due to now working full-time again, I will be only posting once a week again, probably, but not always, on Wednesdays. Hopefully you get some benefits out of my reviews, musings, and crazy conspiracy theories. May God bless your year and make it epic.

The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 7: The Last Battle

What a timely title that is: The Last Battle. So many people, including Christians, think we are in the last days, the battle(s) before the end of the world. Maybe that’s true, but who knows? The world’s gone through some pretty bad times before now and still went on. Our times now are projected to get tougher, but, hey, we get tougher with it.

This is my least favorite book in The Chronicles of Narnia. I realized I’d never actually read the whole thing, because Puzzle and Shift and the wearing of the lion skin made me sick to my stomach. No different this time. Ugh. Really, I only liked the very end, when everyone, all the children now grown up, now young again, who had ever visited Narnia get to go to heaven or Aslan’s country.

I so admire Tirian’s bravery and also that of Eustace and Jill. No lack of fighting here. However, I was kind of bored by it and just sad about the false Aslan, the false god. Perhaps it was just too gloomy for me. I also wasn’t sure what to make of Lewis’s including of a character who did not believe in Aslan in Aslan’s country. Going by allegory, it is not theology in line with the Bible, for the Bible says faith in Jesus is what one must have for salvation. But, perhaps this young man always believed in Aslan, or Jesus, and just didn’t know his name? Certainly people before Jesus was born on earth still believed in him, in God’s promise of a Savior, and were saved, so maybe Lewis is getting at something like that. It was perplexing, though, and not clarified well.

The very end is great, Lewis’s vision of heaven is pretty neat, although it is sad that the Pevensies all died in a train accident. Fortunately they don’t care and are on to bigger and better adventures. How great it was to have all the characters of all the stories together. What fun they will have!

Maybe someday I will read The Last Battle again and appreciate it more. I know a lot of fans of the series really like this one.

To conclude: My favorite is still The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, though it was fun reading all seven books. I realize that in many ways I have grown up and maybe can’t appreciate the series the same way in which I did as a child. Being grown up isn’t so bad, though, we have our adventures too.

Vitamin D3 Miracle: Book Review

First of all, this self-published book is a complete mess. This is one of those books that definitely give self-publishing a bad rap. In interviews, the author seems far more coherent and knowledgeable, so it could just be he isn’t a writer, but, wow, could this book have used an outline, a focus, and an editor! The knowledge, however, is sound, and I think worth the time to consider.

The Miraculous Results of Extremely High Doses of the Sunshine Hormone Vitamin D3: My Experiment with Huge Doses of D3 from 25,000 to 50,000 to 100,000 IU a Day Over a One Year Period by Jeff T. Bowles. Wow, the title, I can’t even. The book is more a stream of consciousness, not really a detailed description of how taking high doses of D3 affected this man. Bowles is clearly very smart, as most readers are, but it’s as if he was thinking too fast when he wrote this and while there’s some useful information in the book, he has updated it periodically and frequently contradicts himself. It’s clear that he is onto something with Vitamin D and kudos to him encouraging everyone to do their own research, but this isn’t a book I would recommend spending money on. If you do, purchase the ebook, which the author himself recommends in the published book. Bowles has a few theories and ideas of why D3 works, especially the idea that if we don’t get enough vitamin D3 that we, like other mammals, go into a winter hibernation mode in which our body is just trying to stay alive and keep from freezing. Thus, we gain weight and have a great lack of energy.

I bought this book because I listened to a great interview that Bowles did, and I can now say, just watch/listen to the interview on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4HCIm5kt8jI. See also the interview by Dr. Somerville on D3 as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYJ1GHRDiRc. Both these men are outside-the-box thinkers as so many are having to become today and finally a light is being shed on just how ineffective modern medicine and doctors are at actually healing people of disease. If you have a broken leg and need heart surgery, it’s not so bad, but for most chronic ailments and illnesses, doctors simply only have one tool: pharmaceutical drugs. From cancer to rheumatoid arthritis, all they can do is “manage” your illness for life, they can’t cure it. That doesn’t mean there are no cures, however, there are a plethora of natural ways to cure a variety of illnesses, but they require patience, perseverance, and endurance, something that modern man just isn’t all about. We want a quick pill to make it better. Trouble is, those quick pills come with a cost we are only just beginning to realize: even more chronic health conditions. (I also lump vaccines into this category, but won’t go into that today).

Bowles largely got a lot of his information from simply reading medical journals, studies, abstracts, etc., many on pubmed.gov, which anybody can search, and he encourages his readers to do just that, touting the wealth of information there that just needs to be put together. I cannot get behind his dismissal of the actual data in the studies, however. The data is vital. Sometimes the scientists come to conclusions that do not hold up to the data and their study still gets published. He’s also very into the theory of evolution and for me as a Christian it just makes more sense to go with a Creator who designed us. Our bodies are designed to adapt to our environment. My light skin likely came due to my ancestors living for many years in the North, where there’s little sun, just as those who have dark sun have ancestors coming from very sunny, hot climates. Anyway, a lot of Bowles’ ideas and theories are largely available for free online and also touted by others. He certainly doesn’t mind that and seems to be just a man who really likes learning, finding things out, and experimenting. He definitely has a scientist heart, even if he’s a poor writer.

So, Vitamin D. Well, it’s actually a hormone, something our bodies produce in sunlight, but since we all refer to it as a vitamin, I will, too. Is it a “miraculous” substance? A year and a half ago I heard from somewhere that we actually produce 10,000+ IUs of D3 with 20 minutes to a half hour in the sun. It gave me pause, because I realize the recommended daily allowance is low, severely low. It’s now 1,000 to 4,000 IUs a day, but I think was even lower when I was growing up. This is the case with other vitamins, like vitamin C and magnesium: The recommended daily allowance is just enough to keep one alive, not in optimal health. Is this a purposeful misinforming of the public? For money? Is is so that the pharmaceutical companies and doctors can all just keep making money as drug dealers “managing” all of our chronic conditions and illnesses? I don’t know the answer for sure, and neither does Bowles, but in this day and age it certainly appear wicked and nefarious.

For about a year and a half, I have been taking 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D3. In all that time, I haven’t had a respiratory illness, not a cold, not the flu, not covid. My allergies are better, and my health is generally better. After listening to Bowles and Dr. Somerville, I have decided to try 20,000 IUs a day, split up morning and night. After a few days, I can tell you my sleep is a lot better, and my skin and hair are softer. A sebaceous cyst I’ve had for almost a year appears to be healing faster now. I am also supplementing magnesium and Vitamin K2, both of which Bowles would recommend. Although I do have a few other sort of major health things I want to fix, at this time I am content just to increase the D3 a bit at a time and will maybe just still with the 20,000 and then go back down to 10,000 again when summer comes and plan to get a lot more sun time. I think healing needs to be thought of in the long term. Is D3 miraculous? Maybe, but it’s not an instant miracle even at high doses. From the testimonies in the book, people still have to take the high doses for several weeks/months to be healed. Bowles highly recommends testing your blood beforehand and also supplementing other vitamins as D3 uses those, such as magnesium and K2, to repair your body. It’s a fascinating concept and I applaud him for latching upon it.

Although in some ways this book isn’t worth the cost or the read, the information certainly is, but that info can be found for free elsewhere. It can, however, be important to financially support these outside-the-box thinkers, however, for their curiosity and persistence will surely lead to more studies being done on Vitamin D and other health aspects. Bowles mentions little about one’s diet and I wonder how supplementing Vitamin D3 fares with people on, say, a keto or carnivore diet. Those diets, too, people have touted as miracles. It’s clear to me our bodies are complicated and made by a designer, a Creator, who meant us to spend some time outdoors and in the sun, and who meant for us to eat natural foods.

Is Vitamin D the answer, the cure, for so many of our ailments? From personal experience, I think the lack of it is definitely why we get so many respiratory illnesses in the winter months. It also may be why we have so many seasonal and other allergies. My allergies, although not gone, are definitely better after increasing my D3. The healing of bones, we’ll see over time. The healing of tumors, we’ll see over time. The biggest part of this book is that modern medicine and doctors are really only taught what they are taught. If they are not curious and don’t have time, they will know little about the possible healing powers of Vitamin D, other vitamins, and proper nutrition. Fat and cholesterol, for example are now bringing people to better health as well as cutting their sugar and carb intake. Will modern medicine catch up to this? Well, it better, or it may find itself soon extinct, or at least relegated back to casting broken legs and open heart surgery. Really, I don’t think that would be such a bad thing. I’ve always thought it a bit silly that we run to our local clinic for colds and things like that, because rest and proper nutrition largely heal one within a week. Even with antibiotics or medicine, again, it’s usually a week and people are back to normal. It is only if one is already in poor, poor health that a cold becomes a scary cause for concern.

Am I glad I bought this book? Yes, and no. I am happy to support the author, but it’s just not a coherent enough book to pass along. It’s an extremely frustrating read and I skimmed much of it. Bowles also appears to contradict himself much in the book, and so it’s just better to look at the concept: Vitamin D3 can heal you, and take it from there. It may be worthwhile trying for yourself and certainly worthwhile looking up the numerous testimonies and discussions about the substance and considering that our society, since being encouraged to run away from the sun at every turn, has not been healthier. No, it’s been the opposite. For me, this is just one more lie in a growing list and I’ve come to think it’s malicious. Big Pharma and Big Medicine don’t want to heal us. They want to have power and make money. It could also just be stupidity, but I think not, not after reading and hearing so much about the sordid history of vaccines about which lies were told from the start. The sun is good for you, vitamins and nutrients are good for you. Fat and cholesterol are good for you. Meat and animal products are good for you. Sunshine and a change in diet will do far more for your health even than exercise will. In fact, you will feel like moving, like exercising more, and it will just be natural. No expensive gym memberships needed. But, as Bowles says, don’t take my word for it. Try it out for yourself. Three months, give it a shot. What have you got to lose? But be smart about it, do your own reading and research. If you begin and your body protests, listen to it. Everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another.

Happy New Year and I pray you have a blessed and healthy 2022 and be a slave to lies no more.

The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 6, The Silver Chair

The Silver Chair is definitely still in my top 3 Narnia books. For some reason I always forget and think the story has Prince Caspian in it, when really it’s his son. This story also says Lord of the Rings more to me than the other ones. Perhaps it’s the marshes and Puddleglum, or the great caverns they eventually find themselves in. Maybe it’s the owls, but that makes me think more of Harry Potter.

In this story, we are introduced to a girl named Jill Pole who goes to a school with Eustace Scrubb. It’s a horrible school that doesn’t really teach them anything–gee, how could we ever relate?–and where they get bullied. Jill is pretty fun and how great to have Eustace back! They end up first in Aslan’s country, then in Narnia, and all set to complete a quest Aslan gives them, but of course everything goes wrong. They are off to save Prince Rillian, King Caspian’s son, and keep forgetting their quest, much due to the evil machinations of the, well, evil witch who has Rillian under her spell.

Puddleglum is the standout character in The Silver Chair, and what a character he is! He is a pessimist who’s almost always wrong. What fun. He’s something called a marsh-wiggle and helps the two leads get to their destination: Giant country. Everyone almost gets eaten by the giants and then they find their way underground to where Prince Rillian is being held.

In Lewisian fashion, they get to fight a bloody battle at the end and also get to be part of a Narnian romp of a party. And I hated the part where Caspian died and loved it when Aslan brought him back to live in Aslan’s country, or heaven. First thing he says to Eustace is: “Oh, don’t be such an ass!” Heh, heh. Even better, Caspian requests to see the children’s world. Aslan takes them there and they all have a magnificent time scaring off the bullies, and after that time, the children’s school is better, and Polly and Eustace are always friends. How wonderful.

Now it’s just The Last Battle, and, well, that one I really don’t care for, despite liking some things in it. But I’ll tell you about that next time.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Happy Birthday, Jesus, our Savior!

Happiness–Is a Power Couple: Kdrama review

It’s a good sign when one finishes a drama that one wants to watch it again right away. Happiness by TVN is an excellent 12 episode drama worthy of binge watching. It is short on the blood and gore of usual zombie stories, for which I’m grateful, but decently paced and has a great X-factor, an awesome power couple.

The leads, played by Han Hyo Joo (W: Two Worlds Apart), and Park Hyung Sik (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon) are great, both reckless and cool as cucumbers. Both actors really show their chops here and the writing displays a strong man and woman working together while not denigrating either sex. They have each other’s back, are best friends, and have sort of contract marriage that they realize at the end was born out of mutual affection. Sometimes it takes a number of years for one person to fully realize they love another, and sadly, it often is the prospect of losing said person that brings it out.

The short plot is that during a outbreak of an unusual virus, an apartment complex is quarantined from society and the residents have to deal with that, scared for their lives and bickering with each other. Yes, this is a zombie show, but I don’t think they mention zombies once. The way the characters act, one just has to suspend disbelief a bit and realize this is an alternate universe in which there may be no zombie movies for them to reference. The framework, or reference for this story, is roughly COVID and the writers deal well with that, making this another outbreak with which the authorities and regulate people have to deal. While it is clear that most of the characters are over COVID, there are subtle reference to the lifestyle changes we have all made throughout the show. The best aspect of this, though, is that no matter how great the two leads are at taking down zombies, they never lose their empathy and compassion. They almost always see them as people, just afflicted people.

Jo Woo Jin (Squad 38) is the definite standout actor here. I almost always looked forward to his scenes as he ended up being a bit of a scene stealer. I actually wanted more scenes with him and the two leads together. He plays a somewhat shady military colonel who is trying to find a cure for the virus. From the first time we see him, it is clear he knows way more than what he is telling. But isn’t that always the truth with government officials?

All of the minor character actors were also excellent, many of them, so, so infuriating that I think they must have really enjoyed playing these flawed people, some who just want to survive, some who go out of their minds, and some who end up surprising those around them by their kindness and strength. Intense circumstances will bring out our true characters. The leads are just cool and because they both work in the police force are completely accommodated, but the others are all just regular people caught up in the chaos.

The writing of the show was great overall, but, again, only if one assumes this is an alternate world where zombie and/or scary movies don’t exist. The characters are excessively stupid when it comes to keeping the virus in check, even the leads. Fortunately, the zombies don’t have particular super strength or speed. They also don’t eat brains and are sort of zombie vampires. The female lead is the most reckless of them all, but her recklessness is likable, cutting through all the crap and getting to the point, and one can see why her longtime friend has fallen for her. The loyalty of the couple to each other is amazing and is showcased with little romantic scenes in sight. Their love for each other shines through so well, that by the end, a kiss scene wasn’t really necessary. The writing also was made better by having only 12 episodes. Whoever made that decision chose wisely. The show doesn’t feel dragged along like many other ones can. The other big thing I like about the writing and this story concept in general: It gets the watchers to question whether their government really has their best interests in mind, something everyone needs to consider and weigh these days.

Other great things about the show: The music was very fitting, although off-putting and unsettling at times, which was the goal. I loved the theme song and beginning credits. Everything about the production was modern and slick. This is a show that would also make a great book series.

The only, very minor, flaw I saw was that many cuts were edited horribly. These were clearly cuts before a commercial break, and because I watched it on Viki, I am not sure if these were bad cuts made by Viki to insert their commercials or if the editor was just that bad. The former makes the most sense.

Come for the zombies, stay for the power couple. They are very cool and just the sort of people one would want to be with if civilization would crumble.

Which Percent Are You?

This is a great article on mass psychosis by Dr. Robert Malone, who helped invent the mRNA vaccines. Mass formation psychosis explains why so many refuse or just simply can’t see the truth: that this totalitarian push is about power and control, not our health, and that the vaccines are unsafe and not effective. Which percent category do you fall into? Happily, many, many people are being awakened and moving into the percent that fights the evil narrative, but is it enough? Dr. Malone thinks a bigger issue has to come into play, and that is global totalitarianism, which, once realized will put a whole lot more people in the category of fighting the narrative. Australia, for one, has already had a rude wake up call. We’ll see what happens. God is always in control and we should trust him. I encourage any of you who have realized that the COV and vaccine narrative is false, to speak up about it when you can. Using humor helps, even grim humor. It is our duty to speak the truth, but we should understand that for a certain percentage of people the facts will not and do not matter. They are unable to use logic in this instance. It’s okay, I’ve seen it myself, very smart people completely unable to comprehend that the authorities that be do not have their best interests in mind. Unable to understand that they have been lied to repeatedly. I pray for them, that God will show them the truth and awaken them to what’s really going on.

It’s striking to me that many have already forgotten flu season. This time of year is usually filled with coughs, sneezes, etc., and before nobody said boo and no one was afraid they were going to die of a cold or flu. Is COV just really the flu repackaged for totalitarian control? Often it seems like it, but even a lot of scientists skeptical of the narrative won’t even go that far. I am definitely a person that has come to question many things about how our current society operates, many, many things. I am not alone. Few of us have real answers, though, and I find more and more that just focusing on my faith and God will get me through. I am not sure this global tyranny can or will be stopped at this time. It is like a storm one has to wait out at this point.

Here is the article and happy reading. The video’s pretty good, too: https://rwmalonemd.substack.com/p/mass-formation-psychosis?r=ta0o1&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=web

Elantris: The Cursed City

Elantris is the second book I’ve read by Brandon Sanderson (third one I’ve tried–the main character and the writing in Steelheart got on my nerves). Although I don’t find it quite as awesome as The Emperor’s Soul, this was a very good, if long, read. Sanderson is a great world builder and clearly a deep thinker as well.

In the land of Arelon there is a city called Elantris, a dead and crumbling city that was cursed ten years ago. Before that, Elantris was powerful, gorgeous, and full of magic, as were it’s citizens, the Elantrians, who were much like superheroes or gods on the earth, using special ruins or Aons to access the Dor, or the “Force” of the universe and using that power to do great things. One day, suddenly, the magic stopped working, the Elantrian’s silver skin and white hair disappeared and they found their appearance changed to that of diseased corpses instead. For the neighboring city of Kae, Elantris is now a place condemned. Whereas before, any person taken by the power and made into an Elantrian lived in splendor, now those taken by the same power are thrown into the same place to rot and likely die.

Elantris follows three main characters: Prince Raoden, who is heir to the Arelon throne, wakes up one day to find he is a cursed Elantrian. He is thrown into the city which dwarfs his own, to rot and to starve. His family and nations considers him as dead. Princess Sarene is a princess from the nearby country across the water, Toed, and arrives in Arelon to marry Prince Raoden, but finds that he is now dead and that per Arelon law she cannot marry another and will just remain a widowed court lady. Hrathen is a priest of the country of Fjordell. He has come to convert Arelon to his religion, Shu Dereth, and convert him he must, or they will all die as Fjordell plans to attack and invade them for their unbelief.

This book, like many high fantasy books, is long and so takes awhile to get going. But much world building needs to be done for the reader and Sanderson is great at that. We get to follow Raoden as he finds a new life in Elantris and even works for the good of his country despite his circumstances. We follow Sarene in her disappointment and then watch her rally as she forays into political intrigue in the Kae court. We see Hrathen confident, then continually thwarted in his plan to convert the city of Kae and Arelon. We learn more and more about what Elantris was before and what it is now.

The biggest theme that stood out to me in the story was the power of positive thinking. Raoden takes grime and decay and in his own way makes it beautiful and useable. Sarene does the same, making the best of her circumstances. Although there isn’t a lot of their romance in the book, it is neat to see how they work together for the good of their country as a couple, even if neither really know they are still a couple. They two are indeed kindred spirits and how in tune their minds and objectives are despite the distance is romantic. Even more exciting is when Raoden realizes who she is, but Sarene doesn’t know who he is. What fun.

The parts with Hrathen I found interesting, but also tedious. There are a lot of religious themes going on, but it is never clear what his religion, Shu Dereth, really teaches. The biggest message is basically convert or die. For the opposite religion, Shu Korath, there is a general feeling of kindness, but few specifics. Obviously the author left the religions purposefully vague, which on one level I found irritating, but on another level worked: By the end of the book, Hrathan has a full on questioning of his faith in Shu Dereth, and that is essentially the point of his character. He is bent on converting those to a religion in which he doesn’t really believe. However, he keeps faith in the god both religions share.

Sorry, that was a spoiler, but it’s pretty easy from the beginning of the story to see where his character arc is going. His battle with Sarene is amusing as she continually thwarts his efforts to convert the masses. She and her country of Toed are followers of the kinder religion, Shu Korath.

The religious aspects were fascinating to me because all the characters clearly had some matter of faith, but it was also as if they didn’t fully understand or know what they were believing in. Here, the vagueness didn’t quite work for me, for even believing children will know specifics. It just wasn’t flattering to any of the characters. Yet, can we say in the real world, those of us religious believers, that we really and truly understand specifically what we believe in? For me, yes and no. It depends how far I have pulled away from God at any given moment.

The magic of the world is similar to the stamps in The Emperor’s Soul and makes sense and both worlds are in the same universe. I was very much rooting for Raoden to figure out what went wrong in Elantris, why the magic suddenly stopped working. And although he does figure it out, it’s almost by mere chance that it works, and after I wondered just how he would manage to keep the magic permanent in the future. The Aons are beautiful things, both artistic and powerful, and the entire world of the story is built around them. Good world building, indeed.

Elantris is great on many levels, but Sanderson really found his stride here especially with family and friend relationships. They are all warm, real people one could imagine meeting in real life, with strengths and flaws all on display throughout the story. Maybe it’s just me being a woman, as we tend to be more interested in relationships, but I was so glad there was very little battle time and that I as a reader just got to, well, “live” in the world of Arelon. There is quite a lot of politics in the book, so if one isn’t interested in that, that or the religion, that could be a turn off. Somehow Sanderson manages to write about the most controversial topics in the real world, but in this story they are things to be pursued and studied, rather than avoided in conversation at all costs. Again, the vagueness helped in this, allowing him largely to avoid offence to the readers, while getting them interested in the story.

This was a great, if long, read and enjoyed almost all of it. It is definitely a book I’d like to read again someday and of course has made me more interested in Sanderson’s other books set in the same universe. The magic he uses in his books is very specific, a science, almost. Looking forward to reading more of him in the future.

The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 5, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

As a kid this was the Narnia book for me. None of the other books came close to the adventure in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. After having reread it as an adult, my opinion is the same: This is the best of the lot.

So, what makes it so special? Nothing spells adventure like a ship, plus its a ship with a quest, carrying quite a few characters we’ve already met in the series and an important new one. The quest is twofold, Prince Caspian wishes to track down 7 Narnian lords that were banished long ago and never returned, and he wants to reach the end of the world, which is Aslan’s country, or heaven, if one is keeping close to the Christian allegory.

Lucy and Edmund Pevensie are stuck visiting their horrible, annoying cousin Eustace Scrubb. Things go wrong from the start as they start arguing about a painting and end up smack dab in the middle of the sea in Narnia. Fortunately, The Dawn Treader is close at hand and soon all three are brought up on deck to be greeted by Prince Caspian, his men, and the mouse Reepicheep. This entrance to Narnia isn’t quite as iconic as the wardrobe, but it’s close.

Everyone is happy to see each other and be in Narnia except for Eustace, but then, he’s never been there before. And then, the ship is off on the quest to find the lords. Each island they pass too, it just gets better and better and I like this end of the world stuff and the whole poking at the flat earth idea. So many of the characters get challenged: Lucy, Caspian, and Reepicheep particularly. Eustace has the most dynamic change, and we quietly acknowledge along with himself that he does belong in Narnia and that he may be back. I also like all the unexpected turns in the plot–so often there appears to be danger, but then they find things aren’t as they seem and sometimes the more dangerous things are closer to the heart, like Lucy and Caspian longing for things they cannot have.

Basically, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has it all: sword fighting, sailing, a quest, a dragon, gold, princesses, water people, unending feast, a wizard, storms, a sea monster, and a teensy bit of romance thrown in. It’s a great read and if I kept any of the Narnia books on my shelf it would be this one. For me, the other ones just still don’t compare.