Just prattling

Twenty-six months ago, when I was ‘asked’ by WordPress to give my newly minted blog a name, I thought for several seconds and decided on “Of Pensive Prattles and Oxymorons.” The three resident lizards in my room rolled their eyes in collective derision and snorted so loudly I must have heard them because I lopped four words off the original and settled for a pithy name that still makes me self-conscious. Since young I’ve never enjoyed being under any sort of spotlight; naming my blog after my cyber moniker violates the very tenets of thundieness.

I started the blog thinking I would just gather, like one grasping at wind, my scattered smatterings of k-reviews and first impressions that I had written over the years. Nothing too long or literary. Everything as breezy as possible, especially in the writing.

What the lizards knew all along, and which I learned all too soon, was that I could never write breezily. In the time it took me to write the first three paragraphs of this post (two hours), a snail would have completed one lap around the block, even stopping to chat with other snails and exchanging such morsels of gossip as “Passed Daisy on my way here. Poor thing got run over by some kid on a bike. Your shell’s looking spiffy, I must say.”

In short: I can’t publish a post if I’ve not edited it a hundred times over. It’s anal, I know. (It’s also a lousy excuse for not being prolific with the prattles.)

But for today I’m going to try something different: write an incoherent unstructured and barely-edited post that’s a smorgasbord of k-related witterings. Everything mashed together and served pell-mell. Hang on tight.

Sangdo is the only drama I’m watching at present. This being all of ten years old, I doubt any of my friends have it on their radar. I don’t blame them; in the ocean of kdrama-related images on the Internet, my search for Sangdo screencaps yielded just a meager handful. I guess ten years ago people mostly watched and hardly screencapped? But Winter Sonata aired just a few months later (in 2002) and look at all the WS captures still floating around today.

The Sangdo leads are Lee Jae-ryong (Goodbye Solo) and Kim Hyun-joo (Insoon is Pretty); the supporting cast includes the likes of Jung Bo-seok, Na Moon-hee, Lee Soon-jae, Park In-hwan and Lee Hee-do. A sterling ensemble bringing to dramatic life the true story of Joseon’s greatest merchant, Im Sang-ok. On the surface this seems like a typical rags-to-riches story, with Sang-ok and his family suffering much hardship in the early episodes. It’s extremely well acted (Lee Jae-ryong is gold); my only gripe so far is how easily some of the plot complications are resolved. Okay, another gripe: that thirteen episodes in and I still have no idea who’s making up the other half of our One True Pairing. Is Kim Hyun-joo’s character going to be Sang-ok’s love interest or will it be Kim Yoo-mi (who, by the way, looks much more beautiful here than in 2008’s Scale of Providence, although the acting’s also a lot more wooden in this earlier outing, alas)? At the risk of incurring MisterX’s wrath (because he thinks Sangdo is rather awesome and ranks it fifth on his sacred Top Ten Bestest Sageuk Ever! list), I know the drama is about one man’s journey from reluctant interpreter to great merchant but I also want it to be really sweet and romantic à la Jejoongwon. Don’t disappoint me, Show!

(One day later)

Okay, scratch that bit about Sangdo being the only thing I’m watching these days. Last night I checked out the first episode of New Tales of Gisaeng. Been meaning to watch this ever since Michael (the one and only Michael who recapped Secret Garden for this blog) told me three weeks ago that he and the Assorted Gems Soompi ‘gang’ (dramaok, hjkomo, etc.) were all watching NTOG and asked me to drop by the NTOG Soompi thread to say hi.

Well, I’ve not popped over to greet the gang at Soompi yet because I’m 20 episodes behind and don’t want to read any spoilers, accidentally or not. But I watched Episode 1 and fell off my chair when I realized in the opening scene that this was no sageuk. To think I thought all along that it was set in Joseon times!

Ep 1 of NTOG breaks the record for most number of characters introduced in a kdrama’s opening episode; it didn’t help that some of them (especially the younger cast members) could pass as twins and triplets, so alike did they look. But by the episode’s end I did manage to slot all of them into the right places and families. I’m smart that way, bwaha! (And yes, it’ll kill you to be humble? *bonk*)

Not sure yet who the leads are because Ep 1’s all about setting up the different (and still rather confusing) stories and connections. There’s a girl who’s a classical dance major; she’s beautiful and regal-looking but perhaps poor. Another girl looks like her, is much richer and a curious mix of inferiority and superiority complexes, has her way with an outwardly-stern-but-all-tofu-soft-inside granddad, and somehow causes a woman who’s been standing and observing her outside the house to burst into tears. Intriguing. Then there are two young men, also similar-looking. One of them is cold and broody and hates dogs. He comes home one day and sees the first girl in his house, all decked out in traditional finery and dancing so exquisitely she takes his breath away, literally. He can’t stop thinking about her. He also can’t stop thinking of ways to kill Andre, that Papillon that his father loves like a firstborn. The other guy hasn’t shown signs of broodiness or animal loathing yet. He comes home one day and spies a thief on the roof. A chase ensues. Far away (or maybe not), young women repose in a modern gisaeng house, their bodies lined up like men in an army barrack. They sleep soundly and prettily.

NTOG is 50 episodes (like Sangdo) and if I’m smart I should stay far away until someone tells me it’s a must-watch. But since I’m so out of the loop nowadays with everything k-newsy and k-twittery, I have no inkling whether NTOG has gone to pot with thirty episodes still to air. Well, I did enjoy the first episode and will approach the second with cautious optimism. At least I’m watching something current!

According to a couple of friends, King Crack (aka King Geunchogo) has become King Crap. I don’t know how or when that happened, since I stopped at Ep 7 two months ago. I caught a glimpse of Ep 30-something last week on KBSWorld and saw that Gam Woo-sung had traded in his Bichon Frise hairdo for something equally unflattering. Sigh. Is he already King or is this another Queen Seondeok where the princess takes forever to get crowned ruler of the land? Go ahead and tell me because I’m not planning to watch any more of the series. Sorry, Mr. Gam. You know I do like you.

Serendipity told me last night that Flames of Ambition has ended and that its three most ardent fans prostrated themselves before Jung Ha-yeon, offering to him their cat, sister, and husband (respectively) in the ultimate act of worship. Okay, I made the last part up, but the prostrating part is apparently true although I’ve not seen it. No, don’t tell me how FOA ended or if anyone died; I’m fully planning on catching up with this someday.

Jung Il-woo is in 49 Days? Wow, no one told me! (Hello, the whole world knows, dimwit.) Adding this to my must-watch list. (Voice of conscience: You didn’t do the same for My Fair Lady.)

I watched five episodes of Golden Bride last month. And learned last week that X calls GB a “horrible, horrible show.”

A few years ago I stepped into a CD store in the mall and heard an unfamiliar song wafting from the store’s speakers. It was a duet by singers I didn’t recognize; the male sang in Chinese while the female sang in Korean. No idea what they were singing, but the song was admittedly rather nice, with a catchy melody that stayed in my head even after I had left the store.

Fast-forward to two days ago. Mr. T called me over to his computer and said, “You’ve got to listen to this.” Well, what did I know, it was that same Chinese-Korean song. And the male singer was Jackie Chan! How did I get by all these years not knowing the man could carry a tune? And whence came that song? A movie called The Myth, with Jackie Chan and Kim Hee-sun as leads!

The MV makes me laugh (for all the wrong reasons), but who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy it, like my Mr. T did. Thundie checking out, for now. Toodles.


16 thoughts on “Just prattling

  1. I don’t know if you’ve dropped by my blog lately, unni, but I’ve been doing the same thing – writing without editing. But whereas you’re doing it as a lovely and tasteful experiment, I did it because I’m exhausted and dying over schoolwork. And my results were definitely a lot less tasteful.

    I fully admit to prostrating in front of the almighty Jung Ha Yeon. The ending was PERFECT. You must, MUST catch up with this, unni, when you find the time. I think you’ll find that it’s ultimately a far more heartwarming watch than you expected.

    I’m glad you’re watching Sangdo. That’s one I’ve been meaning to watch properly for years now. (I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it back when it was still airing.) I also enjoyed – kind of – the first episode of New Tales of Gisaeng. I should continue on that one too. And I saw the first episode of 49 Days today, and the verdict is…not good. You might enjoy it though? Although your Jung Il Woo doesn’t show up much in this first episode.

    I also have given up on King Geunchogo, and stopped at a similar place as you. Maybe I’ll keep watching up to the episode 12 or something that X has said it maintains its quality for, but that’s it. I don’t want to watch such a great show spiral down into mediocrity. 😦

    I’m watching The Duo in earnest right now, and watching President when I can. The Duo is so warm and funny and sweet. It makes me smile and laugh every single episode. All of the characters are so realistic, and adorable in their realism, if that makes any sense.

  2. Great song! I had no idea that guy could sing 😀 I saw the movie or rather part of it… the dubs (I guess they were dubs) were terrible and I never finished it. Maybe it wasn’t dubbed and the dialogue was just terrible. I also watched the first 7 episodes of NTOG but wandered off to watch something else. I would love to hear what you think of it. Thanks Thundie!

  3. Self-conscious over-editing is over-rated! I disagree with Dahee, though. Her recent stream-of-consciousness procrastination post was a gem of wit and verve.

    I can’t even remember which episode I gave up on King Crap at… Momosan tells me to shoulder on to ep12 at least where Gertrude sharpens more knives. And I probably will, but no further. Me and draggy sageuk don’t get along, uh uh.

    I don’t think you’re missing too much by not being current. Not that rubbish abounds — we still have the solid President which I’m savouring and The Duo & Midas which I understand are watchable. And of course there’s the slow grilling over the Flames of Ambition. But there’s nothing CRACKY going down, as far as I can tell.

  4. Thundie, you seem to always post on the days when I think of you. I stopped by your blog earlier today just to check that yes, indeed, you last posted 5 days ago. And no, I’m really not stalking! Umm, yeah. But I decided I need to think of you more often so that you’d post more often. I call it delusional (on my part) telepathy.

    And now back to your post. I think you should do these barely-edited posts more often. But honestly, I couldn’t even tell that they were “barely” edited because you still write so beautifully. *Jealous*

    And as for dramas, I remember Sangdo being very good, but strangely enough, I don’t think I ever finished it with just a few more episodes to go (despite my mom’s pestering that I need to continue) b/c my life was pretty hectic back then. Ahh, I do remember Lee Jae Ryong was just simply LOVE in that drama. Younger and more handsome Lee Jae Ryong… swoon!

    I’m on episode 8 of NTOG, and although I can’t say I love it (or even like it), I’m still strangely drawn to it. With every new episode, I debate whether to continue, but I keep going back to it when I run out of things to watch. *Shrugs*

    I dropped KGC and FOA pretty early on, so pass…

    49 Days is the only drama that I’m currently “actively” watching, and as much as I complain about it, it’s the only one that I continue to look forward to. If you decide to check it out, give it at least two episodes.

    Aww, you didn’t like Golden Bride. I just loved Song Chang Eui’s husband character in that drama, and I literally dreamt of having him as my husband. *Silly me*

    Hmm, what else. Crime Squad is blah, but my mom swears that Midas has been awesome since the last couple of episodes (I watched up to episode 5 or so, and back then, it was just bleh.)

    Oh, and btw, I’m glad that you decided to name your blog “Thundie’s Prattle.” It just flows better…. and easier for me to remember. =)

  5. It’s always a pleasure to read your random thoughts .
    I have watched several episodes of Sang Do on an arabic channel with the sound off but what I saw was an honest sageuk .
    I enjoy Midas because the acting of the four leading actors is very good and for the two male contenders awesome . And I like always dramas where there is plenty of money .
    Crime squad has a very good acting too ,specially the male lead – an actor whom I disliked previously . NTOG is a drama which is soft lemonade : it doesn’t make you any harm and it is kind of sugar . But you must avoid too much of it in a raw . One episode is enough and then you need something pore spicy like Midas . I can’t stop laughing about the joke between the belge singer Adamo and the main character Ah Da Mo who enjoys listening Tombe la neige ; and the name of the little is quite a joke too !
    Have a nice time dear thundie ; I wish you the best .

  6. Aw, Thundie, it’s nice to have you back and prattling. I must say, you and Dahee must be on the same wavelength these days, with the same awesome results.

    Jung Il-woo, by the way, has the BEST scenes in 49 Days – to be frank, I’m watching for him. And you remind me that I really need to get on with Flames of Desire. Himne, unni!

  7. Oooh… You’ve started Gisaeng? I’ve been kind of religiously watching this and am up to date. I’ll say it’s a ‘good’ drama. Potential to be great but the writer’s playing it safe. She’s excruciatingly slow, but even slow has its benefits when the writer is generously laying on character depth (seriously, you’ll come to like eeeeveryone) and carefully structuring the story. Also, just when you’re feeling weary of its slow pace the show rewards you with some absolutely wonderful, wonderful things.
    You have Shin Goo’s cameo to look forward to. The older generation reminiscing about their past loves where you’re taken back in time to wonderful period settings… Love how Lee Dae-ro has a flashback of himself as a wee little boy in the 50s or 60s or something, and his little kid version totally had 21st century emo hair, haha. There’s also some great music…
    But I’m totally not forcing you.

  8. I like your random-ish post. It kind of catches up with a bunch of things.

    Sadly, I’m among the ones who has to admit that it’s now King Crap. It was downhill all the way after episode 12. We’re at episode 40-ish now, I’m watching to make sure my guy is still alive and because it’s Lent and I feel the need to suffer some.

    You are now the third or fourth person to tell me NTOG is ok. I may have to go back and rebank that one.

    I’m on episode 4 of Flames, watching Midas and 49 Days (polar opposites, but I like). Oh, and Crime Squad. I’m going to start Can You Hear My Heart as my weekend drama of the year, so I’ll be banking that for a while. Duo is annoying me, but I promised my Mom a saguek and I can’t inflict King Crap on her.

    I have to say I LOVED President. It’s the best thing I’ve watched all year, but I may have to change that after seeing all of FIYAH!

  9. Oh geez my post didn’t post. I was curious on your thoughts of Da-mos (NTOG) room decor. I think you get a glance of it in episode 1, perhaps you have to watch episode 2 or 3 to really see what I mean.

    I just wanted to say your words always come out gracefully, it’s kind of a surprise to read that sometimes it doesn’t come easily.

    • I have only seen like 30 mins of NTOG, but are you referring to the pic of the abs on Da-mo’s wall? Is that supposed to be him by the way cause I don’t know how I feel about a guy who has his own bare-chested pic on the wall…

  10. Dear Thundie so glad you’re posting and hanging in strong. Do you miss SKKS days? I do. I can’t wait for my next crack… but I have yet to find it. There’s just not a whole lot to watch these days but I’m kinda addicted to NTOG. it’s def not a great drama and probably not a must-watch, but it’s the most entertaining drama I’ve seen in a long time. It always gives me something to smile about and something to complain about. I love cheap corny jokes and old-fashioned charm so this is pretty much the only drama I watch faithfully and look forward to every week. It’s a little makjang (okay, a lot of makjang) so mhugh was watching but he’s bailing out on me so I hope you can join us and maybe tell him to come back too.

    Other than NTOG i’m watching Thorn Birds. Every website calls it a uber sobfest but it isn’t actually. it’s kind of hilarious and once again it’s an old-fashioned drama and it makes me feel nostalgic. it’s like a drama from 1995 but done well.

    I’m also skimming through Royal Family and i think it’s a very solid drama. I plan to watch it more closely once Thorn Birds is over. I’ve never seen Ji Sung this hot in anything either. Breath-taking.

    Tried Flames. Didn’t get pass ep. 2… “king crap” was so promising but it really became bad really fast for me, and 49 days, unfortunately it has the 4 leads that are among my least favorites in kdramas so well.. didn’t last more than half an episode. I’m craving to watch a good sageuk. Hopefully by later this year something good will come out.

    Thanks for the space to talk random and wishing you all the best and love. Hwaiting!

  11. Hi thundie!

    LOL at the story of how you named your blog. I’ve learned the hard way that for naming things, the first thing that pops into my head is usually… well, crap. Kind of opposite of the “first-answer-is-usually-right” rule for test taking. 🙂

    Sangdo and NToG both sound interesting… unfortunately I don’t have the stamina for a 50-episode drama right now, and once I do, I’ve watched 5 eps of Twinkle Twinkle and plan to finish that one first. Because I love Kim Hyun-joo and the writers previous works (Who Are You? and Really Really Like You).

    Wow, I’ve been consistently hearing praise of FoA, and I keep telling myself to watch it… I’ll definitely have to watch it now. But I’m going to wait until I have less drama in my real life, I don’t think my heart could take it at this point, lol.

    I took your recommendation (and MisterX’s) and started Life Special Investigation Team today. I haven’t really found anything new I’ve wanted to watch lately, and I’ve been feeling a bit of drama fatigue, so the short length and unusual premise intrigued me. It’s quite funny, and has a fast-paced, intelligent vibe. The three main actors are great, and have an oddball group chemistry which I’m enjoying. I’m interested to see where it goes.

    I enjoyed this off-the-cuff post. You should do them more often!

  12. So happy to see you back and blogging! I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. As several others have already commented, your so called “ramblings” are wonderfully written, and spontaneity is a great thing!

    All of these drama suggestions are making my head spin, but I have, by necessity, found a way to limit my choices. I tried watching Beautiful Days (only after looking up the ending – I needed to know what I was getting myself into emotionally first!) but ended up getting a nasty virus on my PC. I actually ran out and bought a Mac, which adds an additional challenge, so now I am limiting myself only to dramas I can watch on Dramaload. Unfortunately, The Happy Life and Life Special Investigation Team are not on there, but NToG is if I can handle another 50 episode drama. I’m also considering Star’s Lovers, only because I was so enamored with Choi Ji Woo when watching Winter Sonata (OK, I was overly enamored with everything in Winter Sonata, but of course it was my first complete drama and so new and different and beautiful to me – I’d probably laugh if I went back and watched it again!) that I’d love to see her in something current, even if it got low ratings.

    Miraculously, the TV station that was showing one drama but abruptly stopped has started again, but it’s STILL Please Marry Me, which I completed online. I hope when they finish with it there will be something watch-worthy. At least then I won’t have to spend all my evenings with my computer in my lap!

  13. thundie, I hope you and yours are doing well! 🙂

    I was listening to DBSK’s “Love in the Ice” and “Why Did I Fall in Love with You?” today and the songs really brought back some wonderful memories. Immediately, I thought of you and those fun SKKS spazzings! *fond tears*

    That poster of NToG looks like it’s photoshopped to the max!

    The only current k-drama that I’m interested in right now is 49 days. I just watched episode 1 last night, not yet a fan but don’t dislike it enough that I’d stop watching. Apparently, it picks up gradually as it moves along so here’s hoping for the best.

  14. Jung Il Woo in 49 Days is so flippin adorable (minus his weird, two-toned poodle hair). He serves as the comic relief for the show as well which is much needed seeing as there are some very heavy emotions on that one including a very suicidal chick who walks around like a zombie and another girl in a coma. Hopefully that isn’t too much of a spoiler by the way since you find all that out by the end of episode one.

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