Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Great Doctor (aka Faith)

l_p0024748794Continuing on my Lee Min Ho kick, after watching City Hunter, I then started The Great Doctor (also called Faith). This drama is a historical fiction story, and it was the first historical fiction drama I have watched. The pros: Lee Min Ho is just as cool in this show as he was in City Hunter, the lead female role (played by Kim Hee Sun) is a strong, humorous character, and there are some fantastical elements to the show that make it interesting. On the other hand, there are some characters who are just a bit too cartoonish, and this show really emphasized the fact that I know absolutely nothing about Asian history.

After watching him in City Hunter and The Great Doctor, Lee Min Ho is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors to watch. He’s fun and dry (which is my kind of humor). I also really enjoy watching his action scenes. In this drama, he plays the general of the King’s guard in Korea in the 1300s. Though he looks a bit young to be in such a high position, this was part of the role he was playing, so it all works out.

Having Kim Hee Sun play opposite of Lee Min Ho seemed like an odd choice when I first started the show, mostly because she is so much older than him. But I soon grew to love her. She was out-spoken, funny, and didn’t take any nonsense from the men in this male-dominated time in history. Kim plays a modern day plastic surgeon who is kidnapped by Lee’s character and brought back in time to save the Queen who has been injured and looks likely to die. Kim’s no-nonsense attitude has the men of the 1300s left at a loss for words as they don’t quite no how to handle this woman who doesn’t seem to play by any of society’s rules.

I found it interesting that they chose to include fantastical elements in this historical drama, such as a portal between time periods, and the ability of some of the characters to use an inner energy to enhance their natural abilities. At times it seemed the creators were uncertain just how much of a role these fantastical elements should play in the show, so there were some inconsistencies. However, I am a sci-fi/fantasy fan, so I was okay with the inclusion of these elements. The only thing I would have liked to see done differently would have been for the creators to figure out the logistics of these elements beforehand to minimize the inconsistencies that occurred.

One of the main problems I had with this show was that some of the characters were a bit too cartoonish to be taken seriously. In particular, this guy:

Sung Hoon as Chun Eum Ja2

Sorry. But there was no way to take anything he did very seriously. There were parts in the show where we, as the audience, were supposed to feel bad for him and his hardships, but it was nearly impossible when he looks like he has been taken straight out of an anime and dropped into a live-action show.

Overall, this show taught me that I know absolutely nothing about Asian history. I felt I was missing out on some crucial elements of the show because I didn’t have any contextual information. It actually encouraged me to do some research to learn about the figures in the show and the roles they played in history. This isn’t necessarily a negative aspect of this show, but it definitely did inspire me to fill in some gaps I had in my knowledge of world history. As someone who studies culture as a profession, I am always grateful for opportunities to enhance my knowledge of other cultures.

 

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By Design – Chapter 6

Gracie’s concentration shattered as Colleen came barging into her workspace. With no regard for Gracie’s work, Colleen made herself comfortable on the edge of her friend’s desk, her arms folded across her chest, an amused look on her face.

“I can’t believe you actually had the guts to publish that piece!” Colleen said. Gracie could have been wrong, but there seemed to be a hint of admiration in her voice.

“What are you going on about?” Gracie asked as she attempted to push her friend aside. But it was no use. Colleen was firmly planted to her spot with no intention of going anywhere.

“The event review, obviously.” Colleen laughed aloud, as if she’d just recalled some inside joke. “How much you want to bet you are the first person ever to say something bad about Eli Walker in print.” Colleen laughed again. “How much you want to bet he’s freaking out over it right now? From what I’ve heard, he doesn’t take criticism very well.”

Gracie didn’t feel anywhere near as amused about this as Colleen seemed to be. “If he plans to succeed in business, I’m pretty sure criticism is something he’s going to have to get used to.” Gracie reached out and picked up a pile of papers that was about to fall off the desk from where Colleen had moved them aside to take her seat. Gracie didn’t have time to be dealing with this right now. She was behind schedule on her next piece and she hadn’t gotten any time at all to work on her personal article. She was certain Colleen had better things to do at the moment as well. She needed to get to them.

But if Colleen could sense Gracie’s determination to get back to work, she didn’t show it. She simply shrugged at her friend’s comment. “Perhaps that’s the case, but criticism isn’t something most people take lightly, especially in the beginning.”

Gracie just rolled her eyes. “I’m sure Eli Walker is a big boy who can handle it.” However, Colleen was starting to make her feel a bit guilty. So in her defense she added, “Besides, it’s not like I said anything that wasn’t true.”

She immediately hated herself for saying it. Why did she feel the need to defend herself over a stupid review just because Colleen had some obsessive crush over this guy? It wasn’t like she had been overly harsh or anything. She was just writing honestly about her experience. After all, that was her job, wasn’t it? It’s not like she was going to lie about what had happened and how she had been treated at the party.

When Eli Walker hadn’t volunteered an introduction, she had taken it upon herself to make the first move. Even so, as she had approached him, it was as if she was invisible to him. He moved right past her on his way to shake hands with one of the big wigs. He hadn’t even said excuse me when she had to jump back so he didn’t run her over on his way to his target. What else could she say about him after that? And why did she feel the need to justify herself to Colleen?

Colleen sighed. “Whatever,” she said. “I just came in here to warn you to expect to receive some backlash from this. Everybody else in the world is convinced Eli Walker is without fault. The public doesn’t like to see its idols’ images smeared.”

Gracie made a face. She didn’t think that was very fair. Colleen simply shrugged in response. “That’s just the way it is,” she said. “Well, I have to get back to work. If I don’t get my piece in by the end of the day, I’m pretty sure the boss is going to have me fired.”

After Colleen left, Gracie turned back to her work. But it was impossible. Why did Colleen have to do that, come in long enough just to mess with her head and make it impossible for her to concentrate? Was it really possible that she had overreacted at the Walker event and had been overly critical in her review? She had commented on so many of the good qualities of the event specifically so it wouldn’t look like she was venting some personal grudge against Walker. It wasn’t her fault Walker himself had been such a disappointment. If only he hadn’t been such a jerk when she had tried to introduce herself that piece could have been much different. Perhaps Colleen was right and she was going to receive a lot of negativity from Walker’s supporters. She hadn’t actually gathered up the courage to read any of the comments that had been left on the article because she already feared there would be some scathing ones. Still, she had written it and everybody knew it. All she could do now was stand by the words she had written.

 

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By Design – Chapter 5

Eli Walker stared at his computer screen, unblinking. His eyes were glazing over, unfocusing. At first he had only skimmed over the article, certain it would only be offering the same praise the others had. But something disconcerting had caught his eye. When he read back over it, he felt his hands and feet go numb. Once they had thawed out, he got a burning sensation in his gut which rose to his chest and eventually made its way to his brain. How dare this woman say something like that about him! She didn’t even know him. How could she come to such preposterous conclusions about his character and his motives for hosting a celebration on behalf of his company?

Granted, he had been fine to let the other reporters speak about him without knowing anything about him. But they had all said such positive things. They all oohed and aahed over his party and talked about what an outstanding host he had been. But this woman? Eli Walker’s personality leaves something to be desired. His main goal for the evening was not making sure his guests were enjoying themselves and feeling welcome. Instead, he was much too focused on making an appearance for the big shots, trying to prove his position among them.  What gave her the right to say such things? What really got to him about the whole thing was that he could only hope no one else who read it was able to tell that it was true.

Eli looked at the name on the by-line. Gracie Parker. He wracked his brain trying to remember her, what she looked like, what she was wearing, anything that could prove to him that he had not treated her the way she was accusing him of having done. But no matter how hard he thought about it, he couldn’t recall anything about her. Could it be true that he really had ignored someone from the media all night long? How could he have been so careless!?

Eli picked up the receiver of his office phone and dialed his assistant’s desk. “Hey, Ken. Can you come in here for a moment?”

Ken was coming through the door almost before Eli could hang up the phone.

“What can I do for you, sir?” he asked.

Eli gestured toward his computer screen.

Ken came around the desk to stand beside Eli. When his eyes fell on the article, his expression drooped. “Ah,” he said. “I was kind of hoping you wouldn’t run across that one.”

“How can she do this?” Eli blurted out. He hated showing his frustration over things like this, but it was too much for him to handle. And if he was going to let anyone see him have an outburst, it might as well be Ken. At least he knew he could trust him not to say anything to anyone outside this room.

“Well, she is a reporter,” Ken said. “She’s allowed to have her own opinion and let others know about it.”

“Well, isn’t this libel or something like that? We can’t let her get away with this!”

“She hasn’t technically done anything wrong,” Ken informed him.

“Contact that magazine,” Eli commanded, not listening to his assistant’s words. “I want to speak to the manager. I want that girl fired.” Eli was out of his seat by this point, pacing the length of his office, pointing his finger accusingly at his computer monitor as he spoke, as if the girl, the magazine, and the entire mess actually existed within.

Ken’s voice was level as he spoke. “Unfortunately, a reporter not liking you isn’t grounds for firing her.”

Eli looked Ken in the eye. He knew he was fuming, and he knew Ken was keeping calm in an effort to try to get him to calm down as well. He took a few deep breaths and ran his fingers through his hair.

“You’re right,” he said. “Trying to get her fired might be going a step too far. But I don’t have to just sit back and take this from her either. Ken, new assignment. I want you to find me everything you can on this reporter, Gracie Parker. Where she went to school, everywhere she’s ever worked, everything she’s ever written. There has to be something there I can use against her.”

Ken frowned. “I’m not sure this is the best route to take on this matter either,” he said hesitantly.

“What?” How could Ken, of all people, not understand why Eli had to do this? He was supposed to be on his side for anything, no questions asked. That was the whole point of having an assistant.

“What I mean is, I think you need to refine your plan for revenge. You don’t want word of it to get out and the public starts seeing you as someone who loses poorly.”

Ken was right, Eli realized. “Good. Good thinking. Revenge isn’t the best route.” Eli paused for a moment and slowly walked the length of his office as he thought it through. “What about an apology then?”

“An apology?”

“Yes. Perhaps I can meet with her, talk to her, get her to change her opinion of me. Then she will be able to write something else telling everyone how wrong she was, that I’m really a nice guy and someone who cares about my customers.”

“Um…”

“Perfect. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that in the first place. Thanks, Ken. You get to working on that. I’ll have Gracie Parker eating out of the palm of my hand in no time, just like the rest of the media.”

 

 

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City Hunter

City Hunter

City Hunter

I have been watching a lot of Asian television dramas lately. This is the influence of a friend who somehow got really interested in Korean dramas about a year ago and has been recommending titles ever since. Of the ones she has recommended, City Hunter is probably my favorite of the Asian TV shows I have seen.

City Hunter is about a young man who has been raised with the sole purpose of taking revenge on several high ranking officials within the Korean government. His father, a special forces team member, was killed by his own country in order to cover up their illegal mission. Our protagonist, Yoon Sung, a.k.a. City Hunter, has been trained since infancy to become the weapon that will avenge those who were killed during that mission.

The show stars Lee Min Ho and Park Min Young as Lee Yoon Sung and Kim Na Na. Kim Na Na is probably one of the best female characters I have seen in a Korean drama. She is feisty, strong, and never just does whatever the leading man tells her to. She wants to make her own way through the world and help the City Hunter in any way she can because she too has her reasons for wanting to get revenge on some of these corrupt government officials.

In all honesty, I have been on a big Lee Min Ho kick lately. And this is the show that started it for me. There is only one way I can describe his character in this show: cool. I especially enjoy the fight scenes in which Yoon Sung moves through a crowd of bad guys, taking each out effortlessly with just his hands and feet as weapons. By the end of the scene, the enemy is spread on the floor and our hero hasn’t even broken a sweat.

I do have to say that Yoon Sung does have a tendency to look very much like a cartoon character at times. Between his hair cut, his wide eyes, and his super skinny frame, there is something about him that doesn’t look quite like a real human being. It is also a bit unbelievable that, with such a distinct look, a small mask that covers his mouth and nose is enough to keep people from realizing he is the City Hunter, but whatever. I guess it is not any less believable than Clark Kent removing his glasses and nobody recognizing him as Superman. That is just how these superhero movies are, I guess.

If I were to recommend a Korean drama, it would surely be this one. Yes, it’s in Korean, but if you don’t mind subtitles, definitely check it out!

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By Design – Chapter 4

Last night was the much anticipated Year One event hosted by Walk on Designs. Many in business and popular media have been following this company’s amazing success story over the last year, so there was much speculation regarding what kind of event company founder Eli Walker would be able to put on. Luckily, Mr. Walker did not disappoint those who were rooting for him to put on a good show. Unfortunately, the show was not meant for everyone.

Let me start by saying that on the whole the event was spectacular. As an overall rating, I would give this party and 90%, categories including atmosphere, music, food, and host.

Beginning with atmosphere: Overall, 95%.

The event hall was classy and elegant, but not so much that people were afraid to let their hair down a bit and enjoy themselves. No one seemed to feel much social pressure to act stiff and refined. The mood for the evening was upscale and friendly—a mix that is generally very difficult to pull off.

Next category… Music: 93%

A jazz band was a great pick for the evening, matching the overall atmosphere and mood of the event. The upbeat music had nearly everybody in a good mood. Many of the guests were tapping their toes along to the beat as they carried on their conversations. Albeit, those conversations occasionally got drowned out by a trumpet blast here and there. More than once someone had to shout “What?” into the ear of the person next to them. But generally speaking, the music stayed low enough that it accompanied the evening’s conversation as a nice background music.

My favorite category, food, cannot go undiscussed: 97%

As previous readers are well aware, I am a stickler for food at parties. If it is not up to par, the host can just as well forget about pleasing me. Thankfully, the food provided last night, courtesy of Rachael’s Catering, was to die for. It takes a lot to impress this foodie when it comes to food, but Rachael’s did a fantastic job of creating hors d’oeuvres that fit the mood of the evening as well as the taste of the palate.

And finally… the one you’ve all been waiting for… Host: 75%.

I know many are going to be disappointed by such a rating, but please wait for my justification before you stop reading. Though his good looks and outward charm cannot be denied, Eli Walker’s personality leaves something to be desired.

His main goal for the evening was not making sure his guests were enjoying themselves and feeling welcome. Instead, he was much too focused on making an appearance for the big shots, trying to prove his position among them. Someone from a small media outlet like myself didn’t stand a chance of being noticed. One thing Eli Walker still needs to learn about business in a customer oriented field is that looking down on those who will serve as your clients is not the way to create a positive image for yourself or your company.

I’m sure the people who the show was meant for had a blast and got to see a very cordial and friendly Eli Walker. But for the rest of us, any hope we had of receiving an introduction from the man of the hour was swiftly denied.

One thing I learned from this event: when it comes time to design my own website, I will be taking my business somewhere other than Walk on Design.

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By Design – Chapter 3

Gracie pushed a stray hair from her face as she took another glass of wine from the waiter walking by. It was a shame that she had spent so much time fixing her hair for this event only to have it start falling an hour in. Oh well. She should have known better than to think it would have happened differently.

Aside from her hair being in her eyes, there was really nothing to complain about tonight. Gracie had to admit that she was much more impressed with the show Walk on Designs had put on than she had intended to be. She had been to more of these events than she could count, so she had a pretty good feel for them. And she had to admit, Walker had gone all out on the preparations for this party. The event hall was classy, the mood lighting against the glass atrium offering a beautiful view of the night sky. The music for the evening came from a live band which was set up in one corner of the room. A few couples were dancing on the dance floor in front of the band, but most were enjoying the music as a backdrop to their conversations.

But most importantly, the food was outstanding. As someone who loved to eat, Gracie never appreciated when companies skimped on catering. It was nice to see Eli Walker shared her perspective on that point at least.

“This is absolutely amazing!” Jeff whispered into Gracie’s ear, his hand resting on her back as he spoke to her. Gracie had invited Jeff as her guest for the evening, mostly because he was the only person who she knew would be free since Colleen was busy with another event. Jeff had been one of her best friends since college, so she knew he was someone she could handle spending the evening with. Plus, she had a feeling this was something he would enjoy.

“I thought you would like it,” she said with a smile.

“I have to say, you have pretty much the best job ever,” Jeff informed her. “I wish I got to do stuff like this and get paid for it.”

“It’s not bad,” Gracie admitted. “But you don’t enjoy it as much when you’re working, I think. Too busy trying to remember all the details for your report the next morning.”

Jeff scoffed. “I’m sure I could manage it.”

Gracie couldn’t help but smile. She had been so busy lately that she hadn’t had much time to hang out with Jeff. She had forgotten how much she enjoyed it. He always managed to keep her humbled, bringing her back to reality when she needed it most. She needed someone to do that sometime to help keep her in touch with who she had been in the past. There were times when working for the magazine started to play with her head, making her feel she was losing touch with reality as she followed the extravagant lives of the elite. But Jeff wouldn’t let her forget about everyone else who existed out there… Not even while they were smack dab in the middle of the hotshots of the business world.

Speaking of which, Gracie realized she still hadn’t gotten a glimpse of the man of the hour, Mr. Eli Walker. She was sure he was around somewhere—it would be more than a slight faux pas not to attend your own event—but with everything being so busy, she hadn’t been able to spot him. She knew that as a reporter for an online socialite magazine she probably wasn’t high on his list of people to rub elbows with that night. Still, it was good manners for a host to speak to all the guests of his event. She was kind of disappointed that she hadn’t gotten the chance to meet him yet. And she knew Colleen was going to be downright devastated if she came back with nothing to report.

“Hey, isn’t that your big shot over there?” It was as if Jeff had been reading her mind. She looked up in the direction he was pointing. On the upper level of the event hall, standing against the rail of the balcony was Eli Walker.

Eli leaned against the banister as he looked down over the crowd. It wasn’t a bad turn out. The night before he had had a horrible dream that nobody had turned up. He would have never heard the end of it if he had wasted so much money on an event for no one. But the happy din of voices below assured him that the whole thing had been money well spent. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Ken arrived at Eli’s side and handed him a drink. “Job well done, sir,” he said, raising his glass in salute.

“I was just thinking the same thing myself,” Eli admitted as he sipped his wine.

“Have you made your rounds?” Ken asked.

“Still working on it,” Eli responded. If there was one thing he knew about being a good businessman it was making sure everyone felt important. Sure, some would call it rubbing elbows or brown nosing, but it was a part of the game nonetheless. “There are still a few people I need to see that I haven’t spotted yet. Help me keep an eye out for them, OK?”

“Sure thing, boss,” Ken said. And then he was gone, out among the crowd serving as the faithful representative he had proven himself to be over the last year.

Eli turned his attention back to the crowd. Yes, it had been a good year indeed. Certain that nobody was really watching him, Eli allowed himself a slight smile of self-praise. Surely on a night like tonight he had the right to feel a little proud.

Down below, Gracie couldn’t help but notice the cocky grin that crossed Eli Walker’s face as he looked down over the party attendees. She felt her blood begin to boil. With all the nice décor and the delicious food, she had started to forget what class of men Eli Walker actually belonged to. He was one of the elite. One of the young professionals who believed he was untouchable and above the rest.

What a smug bastard, Gracie thought.

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