Archive | January 2021

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!!