RRR and musings

The time has come for another Regency Romance Review. Not sure I’ve made much of a dent in the box I bought last summer, but onward I will go. This one I meant to finish and review in December, but Christmastime always gets so busy, and then there was January, and then my Dad passed away, and then, then. There’s always an “and then.”

A Regency Holiday, “Delightful and Heartwarming Christmas Stories by Five Acclaimed Regency Authors,” published by Jove Regency Romance in 1991. This is likely the most recent one from the batch. As I don’t particularly care for short stories and read them sporadically, it’s taking awhile for me to get through this. Two stories yet to go, but some quick reviews on the first three:

The Girl with Airs: This one stars a Scottish laird and although he was described as being very handsome, he favors lightskirts or loose women, and talks in dialect. I have been to Scotland. It’s beautiful and the language and accents are all great. However, the way the Scottish dialect looks written down has always looked like baby talk to me, and thus it’s always difficult for me to take the characters talking the dialect seriously. Had the same trouble trying to read Outlander. Fortunately the “girl with airs” was taken in by the accent and the actually very smart laird who ended up wooing her. Written by Elizabeth Mansfeld, which is interesting, because the box actually contains one or two of her novels. I plan to read her The Fifth Kiss next. Why does it take the couple five kisses? If you don’t know in the first kiss, maybe it’s not really love. Just kidding.

Proof in the Pudding: Although it’s maybe not the best choice to base a story around the guy who didn’t get the girl, this was amusing. Humans are so, so clueless, and sometimes reading or watching stories about people even more clueless than us can bring us real joy. Really. The ending was funny, but not realistic, and way too contrived. Probably the lovers don’t care, because at least they got together. Poor Virgil Clive lost not only a possible bride, but also a tasty pudding, a valuable coin, and what little what left of his dignity. By Monette Cummings.

A Christmas Spirit: By Sarah Eagle. My favorite part was the title pages which says, “in memory of my grandfather, Edwin John Hawkes, Sr., who was always Father Christmas.” Seriously, that warmed my heart. This story had real potential and would be better as a full length novel. The young Earl of Denham Abbey is plagued with annoying relatives, sudden visitors, and a ghost who likes to play cupid. The beginning where a girl is stuck there in bad weather reminded me a bit of the Princess and the Pea, and I started to wonder if I should write a retelling of that fairy tale, but found that there have been, so, so, so many remakes and rewrites already. Anyway, the sudden kiss was romantic, but really, does this ever happen in real life? Perhaps not in the time of Me Too and COVID, but there still may be some brave men that throw caution to the wind. The earl was a bit of an absent minded professor type who got his girl because she’d been in love with him for oh, so many years. Girls, sometimes waiting for love works, at least in stories.

Christmas at Wickly: I really like the writing so far in this one and it has a spunky grandma who is going to trap her grandson, the Earl of Wickham, into marrying and settling down. By Judith Nelson, who also may have another novel in this stack I have.

The Kissing Bough: The last one is written by Martha Powers and has chapters split up by kisses. Ends in a fifth kiss. Ok, so what is it about fifth kisses? Is this some sort of thing, a milestone in a relationship or romance? Were fifth kisses special in the Regency era for some reason? No idea, but readers, if any of you are in new relationships, pay attention to your fifth kiss. Maybe it opens a door to another dimension where 2020 is a good year.

Some musings. So my dad died about a month ago and I miss him so much. I know I’ll see him again in heaven, but some days the tears just come and there’s nothing I can do about it. Fortunately, God has blessed me and my mom and siblings with wonderful family and friends who have surrounded us with our love. Life has felt a bit surreal this past month, and the best part has been all the wonderful hugs from people, something I’ve missed so, so much lately. Human contact and skinship is key to health. In our own pain, God has also showed us how many others are hurting. So many who have recently or not so recently lost spouses, family friends, loved ones, and dear ones. It makes me pay more attention now, to others who are hurting in the same way.

It is so awesome how God works. How unexpected he is, and how surprising. God is definitely romantic in his ways. Today he answered a prayer that I didn’t even realize I asked. He knew, he just knew that I wanted an opportunity to make an in person apology to someone, and he made that happen! The timing was perfect. God’s perfect timing.

Another one, and this is a little gross, so sorry if you’re squeamish, but I had this tiny cyst on me, this little hole in my skin for over twenty years, and suddenly in January it got infected and and horror show gross. I was so, so sure I would have to have surgery on it or something, but lo and behold after packing and bandaids for a few weeks, it’s almost all healed! And now there will be no hole at all. Why did this happen and heal now? God was showing me his power, and the power of our God-given bodies to heal, even after such a long time. It’s pretty great. That taught me it’s never too late to heal, and we should never give up on it. We don’t have to be stuck in one bad spot all our lives. God can help us and circumstances change for the better.

Get All the Jabs: When reality is stranger than fiction

Hello, all. I wasn’t sure if I would post today, but a friend recently asked about a story I was writing up until about spring of last year. Not sure exactly when I gave up on this story, but it was somewhere around the time when all the toilet paper went missing and everyone lost their minds thinking a cloth or paper mask can protect you from a severe cold or flu. We are now at the point where people think wearing more masks and getting multiple jabs is the answer. Basically we are living in a reality that is weirder and stranger than the dystopian fictional story I came up with.

Get All the Jabs was my try at something like 1984, which is a book I read in China of all places. This is a first draft, unfinished. You will find plot and character inconsistencies, and typos and grammar issues galore. The last half has the middle end missing as I really, really didn’t know how to present the argument against vaccines well. There’s so much information that’s been hidden, purposefully, from people, and so, so many lies that have been told. The beginning, I think, represents the unthinking religion around jabs well enough. Anyway, have a read if you like and if you have any ideas on how to end it, leave them in the comments. And, yeah, the magical flying box. Really don’t know where that came from. But it’s not weirder than health professionals telling us to restrict our breathing to fight off a virus that affects one’s respiratory system. And, yes, this story is set in Minnesota. California’s got nothing on us at this point. We are the epitome of lemmings who refuse to question the status quo.

Guys, the Science is safe, the Science is sound, the Science is settled. Right? Please pray for the world to wake up from this madness and to turn to God and real science again, that of facts and observation, not of ideology.

Maybe someday I’ll finish this story, but I doubt it, not when what’s happening right now in real life is a far more horrifying tale, because it is so very real. We are in a tyranny of moral busybodies, and as C.S. Lewis says, “those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” God, help us all. We are all under the figurative thumb of Miss uppity, pink, what’s-her-name from Harry Potter. Where are the Weasley twins when we need them? Rebelling against evil is not a bad thing, not at all.

Update

Hello, readers,

Due to a death in the family, it may be a week or two before I get back to writing reviews. It is times like these where I am so happy to be a Christian and have faith Jesus. It is comforting to know my loved ones who have died are in heaven and have no pain or sorrow anymore, and also comforting to know that someday when I die I will join them. Jesus died to save us and has given us all eternal life with him. He conquered sin, death, and the devil and tragedies always make this more clear that it’s what matters most. May God’s love be with you all.

–Pixie

Kdrama review: Tale of the Nine Tailed

This fall and winter I’ve been really into foxes, and tvN’s Tale of the Nine Tailed fits right along with that interest. A nine-tailed fox is a mythologic creature who can take human form and also often eats people. Thankfully, there’s not any people eating in this show, though the characters sometimes joke about it. Nine-tailed foxes are originally from Chinese culture, but Korean culture has them, too, and they are called Gumiho. My Girlfriend is a Gumiho is also a great Kdrama involving these foxes.

Tale of the Nine Tailed is a romance much in the vein of Twilight or the more recent Kdrama Goblin. It’s a love story between a human woman and a nine-tailed fox, who once was the god of a mountain, but still has plenty of super powers. His lady love is a present day woman who is the reincarnation–because Kdrama–of his first love from 600 years ago, and for whom he ended up giving his mountain god status. Although as usual I found the story dragging at the end–really don’t get into the sentimental–on the whole it was a good watch and some scenes that were quite brilliant. The music wasn’t that memorable, but the red umbrella/sword was, as well as the few scenes in which we get to see our hero with his fiery fox eyes.

Lee Yeon, the fox, is played by Lee Dong Wook whose fame soared after playing a memorable dead-panned grim reaper in 2017’s Goblin. This show and Goblin are really the best acting I’ve seen from Lee and I’m especially impressed by his stage presence here. He carries the show well, instead of sucking the energy off the screen as in previous works. He was very good at the action scenes and the writers didn’t use that to full capacity, but what was there was excellent. The red hair looks great on him and it really makes his excellent eyebrow acting stand out. Not everyone can move their eyebrows well. It’s a talent.

Jo Bo Ah (Monster) who plays producer Nam Ji Ah and the reincarnated love, impressed me in this as well, but only because I didn’t have high expectations for her. She’s grown in her acting talent, but I think still has far to go. Both leads are good, adequate actors, but not quite great yet, and perhaps they just haven’t found the right role. They also had almost zero chemistry, which is just not good in a show based around said romance. Chemistry is hard to fake. By the last episode, I was badly wondering what the story would have been like with different leads, even though I really like Lee as the fox.

That all being said, neither lead tanked or did a bad job, really, it’s just that it’s so easy to compare them with a long list of better actors. Among the minor characters, though, there was much to love: Kim Beom (Boys over Flowers) looks much as he did in 2019, just with a little more weight. He plays Lee Rang, Lee Yeon’s half-brother who is only part fox and does a standout job with emotional impact. The brothers’ relationship is really the core relationship of the show as Lee Rang struggles with feelings of abandonment and his older brother tries to assure him he is loved.

The romance to watch in the show is between two foxes in human form, veterinarian Goo Shin Joo played by Hwang Hee and Russian female fox Ki You Ri played by Kim Yong Ji. Both actors were great and full of a lot more expression than the lead couple. They also had a great back and forth banter going on which is often what makes for great onscreen romances. Goo should get his own lead role and Kim should always wear blue contacts as she looks beautiful with them on.

Like a lot of these kinds of tales, the story itself was somewhat muddled, the mythology purposefully murky. There’s a being who guards the gate between the world of the living and the dead, and there’s rules about this and that and crossing over and so on that are cast aside when not needed by the storyline. The writing kind of failed in the end as the expectation was built up that the Lee brothers would come up with some awesome, fox trickery to save the day. That didn’t happen, and much like in Goblin, the hero coming back didn’t really make sense to me no matter how cleverly done. But, hey, it’s fantasy, maybe it doesn’t have to make sense. The very, very end bugged me as it turns our hero into a liar, but it’s a fun scene.

As far as the bad guy, he was a snake called Imoogi played by Lee Tae Ri. Overall, the villain was far less creepy than he (spoilers) or she was built up to be. Again, it was the acting that did. Some actors are naturally full expression on their face. In this, anyway, Lee Tae Ri was not, and it just didn’t work as far as making the Imoogi someone to be feared. (Spoilers) Jo Bo Ah did far better with her piece of the villain, but just didn’t hit the high mark for me.

Although I enjoyed Tale of the Nine Tailed, it would be fun to see it retold by a more resourceful writer and director. So much screen time passes with little to nothing happening, which is a shame, because the happening stuff is really happening! My favorites scenes were almost all with the fox and the granny gatekeeper between the worlds, the fights between the fox brothers, the fight between fox and his friend, a bear in human form, and the awesome moment where the fox reaches between worlds or dimensions to grab a button off Imoogi’s shirt. More of that, please, and less of wasting characters like Nam Ji Ah’s parents who were nonentities by the end. All of the memory scenes of the past were great as was the fox’s crazy hair.

Quick Review: Cold Eyes / Updates

Hello, world! Happy Thursday. Here’s a quick review for you and some updates on what may be coming next.

Since I love thrillers, I was stoked to watch the spy/heist movie Cold Eyes starring Jung Woo Sung (A Moment to Remember) , Han Hyo Joo (W), and Sol Kyung Goo (The Tower). Although a well done movie, and awesomely intense in parts, I found it too darkly lit and too slow. In addition, although the acting on the one hand was great, it was largely expressionless, which suits the characters’ line of work, but doesn’t make it so exciting to watch.

Detective Ha Yoon Joo (Han) is a new recruit for a special police surveillance team. She’s really good at the job, mainly due to having a photographic memory, or something close to it, and it’s amusing to watch as she grows with each case and how her supervisor trains her. Their main quarry for surveillance is catching the man and/or team in charge of various heists happening around Seoul. James (Jung) is a hard man who also has our sympathy, because he’s clearly ready to get out of the criminal business. My favorite character was definitely Chief detective Hwang (Sol), and he would be an awesome boss to have, pushing you to do your best.

The biggest takeaway I took from the movie was just how smart anyone in spying and high level crimes like this has to be. I don’t have the skills to do either, and if the real life surveillance teams are at this level, I am impressed, hats off. Other than that, Cold Eyes didn’t really bring anything new to the drama and the script was too vague to really be memorable.

Updates

Okay, time for some reading/watching updates. Don’t talk to me about writing! TfD3 is happening, it’s totally happening, it’s just going at a snail’s pace, as most of my writing goes.

Reading: Still working through my fall picks, but I doubt I’m going to review any more of those at this point, so let me share some choices I have for this year.

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: It’s been awhile since I’ve read the whole series and, come to think of it, I’m sure I’ve actually read the whole series!

The Wings of a Falcon by Cynthia Voigt: Been meaning to re-read this for awhile now, and I’m determined to finally do so this winter, if only other stories would stop distracting me, already! It’s a great tale about orphans rising to greatness in her fictional world of The Kingdom. It now goes by a different title, which is sad to me.

A Daughter’s Devotion/The Laird’s Inheritance by George MacDonald: This one I picked up at a thrift store last summer. It’s a giant volume of two books and is Christian fiction as well as a slice of Scotland’s literary history.

The Wanderer by Fanny Burney: Although way longwinded, Burney’s stories are pretty entertaining. I can see why Jane Austen was a fan of hers. Not sure this will top Evelina, which the BBC need to make into a drama, already!, but I’ll give it a go.

Watching: Haven’t been watching a lot lately, but I’m hooked on Tale of the Nine-Tailed starring Lee Dong Wook (Goblin). I think Lee should only do action/fantasy from now on, as he’s so much better at it than in real life dramas where he seems to suck the energy out of the screen. In both this one and Goblin, he brings energy. Full review coming next week.

Other dramas I plan to try: Signal, the Japanese version, which I think came first. The Korean one was so awesome, it will be fun to check out the original. Other thrillers I want to see are Train, Goodbye Mr. Black and Awaken. Haven’t found any new RomComs that have caught my eye yet.

Politics: So the US now has a fraudulent president who’s also going senile. It’s sad, really sad for our country, but the fight for freedom and fair elections continues. This is not over by a long shot and I’m really glad that whatever Q was it woke a lot of people up to the awful corruption around us.

More reading: I knew I posted this too soon! Also plan to reach The Once and Future King by T.H. White as I’ve never read it and like the whole King Arthur tale, and also Wizard, the Life and Time of Nikola Tesla, which I bought about ten years ago and also haven’t read yet.

Hold the Line

And that line is faith. At the end of the day our just and loving God is only one we can truly lean on. He saved us from the tyranny of sin and death in a way we can barely comprehend, and loved us and still loves us, though we are wholly undeserving of it.

These days, for many who love America, times are bleak. It appears as if all the forces of darkness are aligned against anything good, free, or true. And in many ways, that’s a legitimate assessment. But that does not mean all is lost. God is for us and always will be, and he wants us to trust in him now more than ever. If we get out of this, it will be God’s doing, not man’s, and that is exactly what all those people Q, Gen Flynn, Powell, Wood, etc., have been saying for awhile now. Look to God. Pray to God. He hears our prayers.

Also, know that things aren’t always what they seem. Even if the cheaters seem to have won, they’re certainly not confident in their power. They have to censor and rule by fear because otherwise they couldn’t rule at all. They don’t have the people on their side and they know it and we know it. In all of those totalitarian/dystopian movies we grew up with, they are the real life representation of those bad guys and they know it. Deep down, they know it. The people gleefully turning in their family, friends, and neighbors for going to a political rally, all we can do is pray for them and pity them.

No news is good news. Yes, it’s a trite cliche, but it’s true, especially these days. Most news is bad news and sometimes one just doesn’t want “news” at all. If we’ve learned anything from President Trump it should be that the “news” doesn’t really matter, because all too often it’s just a pack of lies. He’s shown us time and time again that journalists are often just liars. No news means also no facts to be twisted out of proportion.

Something big is coming, we can all feel it. And as great as it might be, it may also be awful to behold for our country. Whether the something will come from those above or from the people, I cannot say, but our leaders who love America continually say look to God. There is nothing more important than holding the line of faith right now. Faith in God and freedom to worship him is at the core of our country. If we do not hold that line, then our country will truly be lost. Pray, praise, and give thanks. God will work everything and anything out for our good. He can enact moves we can barely imagine. He became flesh in his Son Jesus Christ, and suffered hell for we sinners, a spotless, innocent, lamb punished for our sins. Now, that’s a crazy kind of love. But God didn’t stop there, because death had to be defeated too or everything that came before wouldn’t have mattered. Jesus descended into hell, and on the third day, rose from the dead, signaling his complete and utter victory and domination over sin, death, and our accuser, the devil, the father of lies.

Even in these dark, uncertain days, we Christians have so, so much to be thankful for, and we should be continually comforting those around us with God’s words and promises. He will never leave us or forsake us. God uses tribulation and hardship in our lives for mostly one thing: to get us to turn to him in prayer. He wants us to lean on him and to ask him for things, and to ask for his intervention. Our prayers are heard and God is just waiting to bless our lives in ways we cannot comprehend. Hold the line of faith, and no matter what happens, God will not disappoint. He has told us in his word that all the world is against us, against the light, against the truth, and at no other time in at least my forty some years has that felt no more true than today. We have trouble and will have trouble in this world, but Jesus asks us to take heart, for he has overcome the world.

Much love,

Pixie

Sanditon: Not Austen

It’s a conundrum when one likes a certain storyteller, but they are no longer telling stories. Having created other series adapting Jane Austen’s work, the most famous of which is Pride and Prejudice from 1995 starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, it makes sense that Andrew Davies would try his hand at a story Austen was unable to finish before her death: Sanditon, originally called The Brothers, stopped short at only eleven chapters. As I haven’t yet read the story, I can’t say how faithful the 2019 adaptation is to the bones of the story. As to the spirit of Austen’s romances, assuming Sanditon is to end at season or series 1, it’s a great big fail.

Davies is hit or miss for me with his adaptations, but I have truly enjoyed P&P ‘95, Little Dorrit (Dickens), Sense and Sensibility ’08, Northanger Abbey, and others. Sanditon begins well, feeling like a fresh story, because for many it is a fresh story, but modernity is soon shoehorned in, most noticeably in the casting of Miss Lambe (Crystal Clarke) which actually works really at times, but seemed awkward throughout, and the really unnecessary sexual exploits of some of the minor characters. Although this does promote character growth in one of the characters, Esther Denham (Charlotte Spencer), it’s so, so not Jane Austen. It’s not as if Austen never refers to sex in her books, but it’s very subtle–a girl can be ruined, but it’s never detailed exactly how and we don’t have to witness the act. In this adaptation we also we have to sit through how presumably bigoted everyone was back then, because that’s the main point, isn’t it? We are so modern now, so much smarter and better than they were, aren’t we? I mean feminism has made women perfectly happy, right?

Having to check certain Progressive or as I like to think of them, Communist, boxes in every single modern work, is tedious and ruins storytelling. The world isn’t perfectly or equally distributed by race, class, or creed, and to force it to be so, again, ruins the story, and real life as well. Human being are unequal in so, so many ways. That’s ok. It’s reality. Never will we make everything and everyone perfectly equal and how boring that would be. I myself am surely guilty of some of this in my own writing, as it’s a mindset pervasive and hard to shake off.

Sanditon is grating also in that the sense of the period is off. Never, did I think that the setting was truly Regency, and the excuse of it being a seaside town where conventions of society presumably drop, was exactly that, an excuse not to pay attention to detail. The detail, or should I say main storyline of the show that was severely lacking, was the main romance between Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) and Sidney Parker (Theo James, Divergent). We simply don’t get to spend enough time with them and have to spend an inordinate amount of time with a creepy, manipulative sex triangle of other characters that have little to do with the three brothers in the story. Sadly, the romance is never resolved and hopefully there will be a season 2.

With all that, Sanditon wasn’t entirely bad. The Celtic music in the first episode was great, as was the dancing. It was exciting to watch Mr. Tom Parker (Kris Marshall, Love Actually) try to make his seaside resort town a reality, and his brothers Sidney and Arthur (Turlough Convery), and their sister Diana (Alexandra Roach, No Offence) have a fun quirkiness about them that is very Austen. The story of Miss Lamb was also intriguing and it was nail biting to watch as both she and Charlotte both plot and plan to thwart their guardians and caregivers who truly only have their best interests at heart. Ah, the rebellion of young women. It can be so, so dangerous for them, far more than for young men, though in this show nothing truly bad happens to the young women, if broken hearts can be considered as not truly “bad.” I would watch a season 2, but more, it would be great to have someone write and produce a screenplay more in the spirit of Austen, or even take on the works of her contemporaries, Fanny Burney, for example: Evelina would made a great show and has a ton of funny parts and a little romance that one could expand.

A bit more on the main romance: It’s generally true to Austen, for usually the main character does not at first get along well with her would-be suitor, but Sidney Parker’s initial anger at Charlotte seems to come out of nowhere, and I think that scene could have been done much better. Also, Charlotte came across as too young, in appearance, but also in her actions and thinking, at times like a teenager compared to Sidney, who’s clearly in his 30s. Not that unusual of a gap for the time period, but it made the match seem off. Why they made the choice to have her wear her hair down all the time, baffles me. Not only does her hair look bad, it just doesn’t fit with what the time period is supposed to be. The ending (spoilers) could have been better explained, for Sidney doesn’t really seem like a person who would agree to marry someone just to save his family. It just didn’t make sense, no matter how much he loves his brother and wants to save his enterprise. I wrote something earlier about men and being forced into marriage. If they allow it, it’s an allowance and on some level they want the marriage. Again, perhaps a season 2 is in the works and will explain further.

I think Davies is at a point where he can just write his own stories and succeed. He’s done plenty of series and movies set in the 1800s and could really get it right, if he wants and also add as much modern ickiness as his heart desires. I say his heart, for I truly don’t think it is the audience that wants it. Perhaps he’s just following the law, though, and shouldn’t be blamed.

Ten Things I Learned on the Carnivore Diet

1. Eating Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat.

Since it’s the new year and people tend to go in for resolutions, especially regarding health, I thought I would share my experiences with the carnivore diet. How exactly I came to try and like the carnivore’s diet is merely a culmination of years of curious reading and watching things considered conspiracy theory and also having chronic health issues myself, mostly of a digestive nature. As a Christian it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the sinful world is lying to us, but from vaccines to fake news, I have been amazed at just how much lying has been going on for so long. If you really think in common sense terms, we all know the truth, it’s just we tend to ignore it, because #10 coming up: We are ALL addicted to sugar. It is sugar which makes us fat, not eating fat. In America, anyway, we are likely the fattest we’ve ever been and it’s not because we’re eating fat.

This past year I’ve eaten more bacon, more butter, and more fatty meat than I’ve probably eaten in the past few years combined, and I lost weight! Over 20 pounds. And that’s without exercise. Sure, I do walking sometimes, sometimes stretch and do pushups, sometimes jump on the trampoline, but by no means, do I have a dedicated exercise regime. Just cutting out grains and most of my sugar did the trick.

2. Without Sugar, Most Grains Taste Like Cardboard.

No, I haven’t actually eaten cardboard, but once I started cutting out grains and eating mainly animal products such as meat, eggs, and dairy, my taste buds changed. Or perhaps they just woke up to the truth. Without sugar most grains don’t have much taste at all and we wouldn’t eat them because we could tell instantly they weren’t good for us or nutritious. The Bible often talks about Jesus being the bread of life, but back then they must have had some awesome, substantially nutritious bread, not what we have today. It must have been bread that truly sustained the body and did not harm it. Hard for me to imagine.

Cutting out grains reminded me about what I already knew: I like hamburgers for the filling, the burger, the cheese, the tomato and onion, and the sauce. The burger is just a way to hold it all together without getting grease all over my hands. I’ve also learned that traditionally, grains have had to be fermented or tamed in some way so that humans can eat them, and if it’s not done properly or well, aka white flour, the effects on one’s digestive and immune system can be disastrous.

How horrified I was to find that cake or a donut just didn’t taste the same anymore, even with the sugar! And I then I reminded myself I was supposed to be avoiding those items, anyway.

3. Meat Is Where It’s at.

Never have I felt better than when eating red meat, the fattier the better, and also shrimp, salmon, hamburger, and the like. Grains, a least modern ones, make me sluggish in body and mind. Before I always thought it must be something with not getting enough sleep. Now I know better, though good sleep is certainly also good for one’s body and state of mind. I am able to digest meat better than fruits and vegetables, and will discuss them in #8. Meat is where’s it’s at as it’s really one of the the most nutritious things you can eat.

This is why in the Bible when Daniel wanted to eat vegetables only, the guard in Babylon was afraid to grant his request, for surely his health would suffer. Vegetables and water was not considered a healthy diet. But God produced a miracle and Daniel and his buddies thrived on the vegetables—a miracle, and an exception, not, I think, a call for everyone to eat vegetables only. Everyone is different, though, and it does seem like at least some people thrive on a diet of mostly vegetables, but I would think if they only eat vegetables they would soon find themselves malnourished.

4. More Grease Means More Cleaning.

This one’s a little funny. I have a gas oven and stove and found one day the flame on the stove seemed unusually high. This was because I hadn’t cleaned the hamburger or bacon grease off well enough. Eating more meat and especially more fat, means more grease in one’s kitchen. You will literally start a fire if it doesn’t get cleaned as frequently as possible.

5. Some People Need to Supplement, No Matter the Diet.

Sometimes those who’ve had success on the carnivore diet scoff at those on a vegan or vegetarian diet, saying how can that possibly be the right diet for humans when one has to supplement things like B12? Maybe that’s a good point, but maybe not. I have found that even with eating much red meat, including liver, I still have to supplement iron. On the vegan diet, I would have to supplement iron as well, because something, whether it’s just due to chronic inflammation or a genetic defect, something in my body blocks me from absorbing iron well. If I take more of it, the more opportunities I have to absorb at least some of it. Perhaps someday I will be healed enough and able to absorb iron well, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Interestingly, I have learned that the carnivore diet can be dangerous for men, giving them too much iron. Women have less of a risk because of our menstrual cycle. I would suspect that it varies for men as well, though, and that sticking to fatty meats helps decrease risk of toxicity.

Anyway, it’s clear now that just because one has to supplement, doesn’t necessarily mean that the diet is a wrong one. Many on the carnivore diet will encourage one to “supplement” with liver or organs at least once a week. Some claim they don’t need it. I suppose time will tell, but everyone is different, so it make nutrition all the more confusing.

6. Breakfast Doesn’t Need to Happen.

After watching an embarrassing number of Korean dramas, I have seen that their breakfast is not the same as ours: No cereal, no blueberry muffins, no cinnamon rolls! What they eat is a variety of meats, eggs, soups, and vegetables and maybe some rice, a home cooked full meal. I just found that curious, and recalled my favorite breakfast has always been bacon eggs and maybe a couple of pancakes. Now that I eat bacon and eggs all the time, they are no longer breakfast too me, and when I stick closely to the carnivore diet, breakfast just doesn’t need to happen. In fact, I often feel too full if I eat breakfast now.

I propose that it is not lack of coffee or sleep keeping one feeling sluggish in the mornings. No. It is all those grains and sugars slowing everything down in both your mind and body. We humans are a lot like Tolkien Hobbits. We eat all the time, whether it’s a snack or a second or even third breakfast. Our bodies need a break from all this eating and drinking. It’s no wonder that so, so many people have digestive problems. We are barely giving our digestive systems the opportunity to work.

For me, fasting does not work if I’m depending on grains. My system will definitely crash. Becoming fat adapted has helped my energy stay constant, and now I have to get fat adapted all over again because I allowed myself to indulge for the holidays.

7. Willpower Is a Superpower.

Or it should be considered one. There is nothing like the thrill of when one’s will rules the day for good, especially if someone has tried to make one do something they don’t want to do. Willpower with oneself, however, I have found the most tricky. I can rationalize and think of over one thousand reasons why I must have sugar today–cake, pie, anything. I have the power to resist the temptation, but I often choose not to use it. The days where my willpower holds strong are the best days, for it does feel then that I’m winning. When it comes to health, willpower can absolutely be a superpower, for one is able to resist all manner of bad foods, bad medicines, and bad advice. But it’s not easy to use this power, especially in times like today where a sort of spell has been cast over the whole world to not see the truth of things.

We often think of willpower to be used to motivate one to work out every day, but far more important is to use that power to resist sugar, which I’ll talk about more in #10 below.

8. Vegetables are a Garnish, Fruit a Dessert.

The carnivore diet has taught me I do like fruits and vegetables, just in limited quantities. Meat, fish, or eggs is where my nutrition is coming from, but adding garlic or onion give it a nice flavor, along with some cabbage, carrots, or broccoli once in awhile. As for fruit, when you cut out a regular inhalation of sweets, fruit is itself a great dessert. Some fruits like dates or bananas have a lot of sugar and should really be considered a dessert only, and not healthy to eat as snacks.

It’s also been interesting to learn that I don’t need to have fiber in my diet. It’s not necessary. It’s only necessary to eat a lot of fiber if one eats a lot of fiber to begin with, coming from grains, fruits, and vegetables. Cutting all that out, one finds one does just fine, and even better, without it.

9. You Don’t Have to Follow It All the Time for It to Work.

It’s true. Mostly I’m carnivore during the week and on the weekends have some grains–it’s palatable with addition of a ton of butter–and some sweets. My weight and energy has been fairly steady, but I have found that fasting really is necessary if I eat too much. I think just doing a keto diet and cutting out most grains and sugars would do most people a world of good. I don’t know what the perfect human diet is, but A., there’s probably not one to fit everyone, and B., these days we’re all to sickly and inflamed to find out what that is. Even just adding more meat, eggs, and fat, to one’s diet could work, because you’d be getting more nutrition and eating less of the non-nutritional stuff.

10. I Have a Sugar Addiction.

Not only do I have a sugar addiction, but you likely do, too, and so do your children. Sometimes I watch Dr. Ken Berry on YouTube and he started out skeptical about the keto and carnivore diets and over time became amazed by the results he saw in his patients and then himself. His theory is that almost all chronic illness and ailments are caused by insulin resistance, which is caused by the longterm spiking of one’s blood sugar. Simply put, we eat too much sugar. We also eat too many carbs–grains, vegetables and fruits–that our bodies essentially treat like sugar as well. After awhile, the situation is so dire that we resist our own body’s insulin that meant to help keep our sugar in check.

Back to that willpower. When it comes to sugar, I have little. I have even less when my coworker or friend or relative brings a carton of donuts or a plate of cookies to share with everyone. The look in their puppy dog eyes, how can I crush that? And they’re so happy to be doing something for someone else. Try, just try giving up sugar, and maybe you’ll resist and maybe you won’t, but every time you turn around you’ll find someone offering you a sweet or something sweet to eat or drink. Less so today with our social distancing, but it’s still there.

Resisting sugar is key. It is why when most people start a new diet they do start to feel wonderful, because they are reducing at least some of that insulin resistance. But a diet relying on carbs as fuel will not ultimately break the cycle of addiction and also weight gain from the sugar. I have learned that my main fuel has to be fat. Fat, and then protein. Is this longterm? I don’t see why not, but who knows, for we have so, so much more to discover about how our bodies work in conjunction with the God-created world around us, and a decaying world at that.

For more motivation on not only eating well, but incorporating movement into one’s life, I recommend Oh My Venus starring So Ji Sub (The Master’s Son) and Shin Min A (My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox) about an overweight lawyer who finds help and love with a famous personal trainer.

Happy New Year!!

Merry Christmas: Do Not Fear

A Merry Christmas to everyone. How wonderful it is to get together with family and friends and celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. It is a shame that so many places and countries are forbidding gatherings, and I hope and pray that the longer this goes on, the more people wake up to it being not only a shame, but a sham as well. We have a God-given immune system and we do not need to fear giving it a work out. The message of the angels of God to both Mary and Joseph was firstly, Do Not Fear. We really don’t need to be afraid, especially if we have faith, and God does not want us to live in fear. Sure, there’s a lot of things to be afraid of and a lot of things that could kill us, but still, over and over in Scripture it tells us to not live in fear, that we can live boldly in Christ, confident in our salvation. I think this can apply to a cold virus as well as anything else. Certainly it applies to snow and ice. Here in Minnesota we just had a blizzard and even with icy, snowy roads where any number of us could lose our lives in an instant if the car would slip, thousands, perhaps more, were still out on the roads, because being with our loved ones at this time is more important than the fear of a car crash.

That’s the big contemplation for me with 2021 coming up: What’s more important? Fearing the threat of illness? Fearing the threat of violence from the authorities? Or living life to the fullest and placing community and people of higher importance than all that? As Christians, the one thing from this world that we can take with us to heaven is other people, and it’s hard to witness to them if we never see them or are around them. It saddens me greatly that the worst thing to come out of this is that the Church has allowed itself to be silenced to some degree. In a world so blessed by God, this should not be! We are to thank and praise, serve and obey God rather than men, daily! However, there is hope, and I do think in many places the tide is turning. The battle for freedom is something absolutely worth being fought, for if we are free, so can we freely proclaim God’s wonderful promises of salvation and the fulfillment of them in Jesus.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim?: Kdrama review

This show was a second watch for me, and I was surprised to see I hadn’t actually written a review on it. Well, that’s getting remedied now.

Let me tell you about the life of a secretary: Often it is a very demanding, very thankless job in which one is given more and more tasks to be done often without additional pay and certainly no additional time in which to do them. It is also extremely rewarding to be that cog in the wheel that makes everything work. Secretaries are vital to most organizations, but it’s like one’s vital organs, they just work, one doesn’t think about them unless something is wrong.

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? is a Kdrama romantic comedy starring Park Seo Joon (She Was Pretty) as company VP Lee Young Joon and Park Min Young (City Hunter) as his long-suffering secretary, Kim Mi So. After working together day in and day out for nine years, Young Joon is shocked to find that Mi So wants to resign and leave him. And of course, he doesn’t want her to leave. The drama is based on the book of the same title by Jung Kyung Yoon. It’s kind of the plot of Two Weeks’ Notice starring Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock, and a little bit of The Devil Wears Prada.

This show is a wonderful blend of romance and comedy, and although I thought the ending episodes dragged a bit, I think I enjoyed it more the second time. All of the little details and jokes really shined. Park Seo Joon is hilarious in his role as a narcissistic, demanding boss who is actually a big softy. The character’s vanity is largely for show, as she finds he actually cares about those he loves to an almost dangerous degree. Park Min Young matches Seo Joon scene for scene, giving us plenty of comedic reactions of her own and somehow makes Mi So’s passive aggressiveness lovable.

What really me got hooked watching again, though, was the back story of a traumatic past for both of the characters and also the glimpses into their years of working together. We get to see Mi So actually shouting– shouting–at her ridiculously demanding boss. And with good reason, as he is way too demanding. However, as we later learn, Mi So is also very under qualified for this position. But we then get to see her come back the next day and strive to meet his expectations. Time and time again we get to see her do this, letting Young Joon shape her into what his perfect secretary needs to be. I can tell you this is part of being a secretary. You’re given impossible tasks that you just can’t do, you complain, and then you come back striving to meet every single one. Sometimes high expectations really aren’t a bad thing, and this drama showcases that. Also, although Young Joon is vain, he’s not incorrect to be so to some degree: He’s handsome, wealthy, smart, keeps his company a success, and does have some right to be demanding. And because Mi So has grown to match him, she has every right to be demanding of him as well.

As for the romance, it’s pretty typical and classical and would almost be boring except there’s just so few of these kinds of stories around anymore, even in Kdramas. Mi So isn’t off on a feminist jaunt of some kind, she realizing she’s missing what most women want: a husband and family. When Young Joon finds this out, he comes to the logical conclusion that he should be said husband. This all happens because Mi So is finally calling in her card–Young Joon needs her, and for more than just being a secretary. It’s not just recognition of her work she is looking for, but for Young Joon to acknowledge her as a woman who has her own needs. Like in Two Weeks’ Notice, both have really been in love with each other for nine years, they just didn’t really know it. Can and does that happen in real life? Maybe, maybe not, but either way it makes for a good romcom material. I think woman as secretaries are a great thing for that position so clearly highlights how women are built to be helpmeets for men, which is far more than just a helper. In this story, the two are equals, though maybe they didn’t start out that way at first. It’s evident by the end that should Young Joon be out of commission for awhile that Mi So would be able to run the company in his stead. Classic romance is the best romance, hands down, and empowering to both sexes.

In the show there are also some background romances, carried off hilariously by comedic actors Kang Ki Young (I Am Not a Robot) and Hwang Bo Ra (Love Rain). Kang plays Young Joon’s second in command who has his own awesomely inept secretary and is a master at sarcastic comments. Hwang’s character is part of the secretary office team and is funny as a women with zero tact and an inflated ego who falls for a puppy dog hero chauffeur. There’s also a sweet romance with secretary Mi So’s replacement and a workaholic, which really highlights that some people reject others not because they do not like them, but simply because they are not ready for romance. A good romance has a lot to do with timing, probably more than we acknowledge. For women in childbearing years, they don’t want to waste time. For men not in a position to provide all that they want for a family, they want to wait until they are in that position. Neither side is wrong, but they do clash on occasion.

What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim? By the end of the show, nothing. Everything has been resolved with wedding bells just like it was supposed to be. They are a team in work and in life, and are considerate and caring of each other, just like couples who love each other should be. More of this stuff, please. At the end of the day, it’s good, it’s wholesome.