Friday, December 27, 2019

My Favorite Podcasts: True Crime

True crime and other nonfiction podcasts were initially made popular by Serial, although I confess to having been bored stiff while listening to both its famed season 1 episode as well as the recent season 3 series around the ineffectiveness of the justice system in Cleveland. For me, a true crime podcast must be salacious and suspenseful enough to keep my attention while also feeling substantive and educational enough to be worth my time. Below are some of my favorites in this genre, and would love to hear any other recommendations you may have.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

When the Camellia Blooms: Series Review


I'm moving ahead and calling this the best drama of 2019, and one that even long-time Kdrama retirees will lap up and adore. When the Camellia Blooms hits all the right notes, remaining uplifting, funny, edge-of-the-seat-suspenseful and romantic, while avoiding so many Kdrama plot traps and cliches. It navigates through its story with precision and ease, perhaps a bit languid at times, but never failing to pick back up and deliver its punches with whole-heartedness and tear-inducing heft. I love this drama, and can't recommend it enough.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Becoming by Michelle Obama: Book Review and Reactions


This was a marathon of a book, but after forcing myself to sit through all 15 hours of Michelle Obama's Becoming (the audiobook version narrated by her), I have at last finished it. I had hoped that Michelle's book may be more stimulating after hearing her interview on Oprah's podcast, but alas, the book falls into the same predictable narrative stream and carries the same self-aggrandizing tone that other recent famous-people-mid-life-autobiographies have done. It's not that it isn't worth a read, as there are plenty of juicy nuggets regarding life in the White House as well as thoughtful interludes and reflections on the challenges faced by minority groups in the US, but it's also more than a little long and meandering and surprisingly frustrating, ultimately not worthy of 15 hours of one's focused time. I can only recommend the audiobook, and only if you listen to it while doing something else. 

Below, I'll go through the main highlights of the book as well as my reactions to it (it was mixed to say the least), including what my key frustration was.

Why I will never take a Basic Economy flight again



Tis the holidays, which means lot of stressful travelers, packed airports, and congested roads and trains. It's within these conditions that I, through a series of inopportune developments, missed my Basic Economy flight on United and learned what the true costs are within the seemingly cheaper flights offered in this category. While a departure from my usual content, I figured this may be interesting or helpful for other travelers out there, so here goes what happened and what I took away:

Saturday, December 14, 2019

A Weekend in Austin, TX


Back in November I had a chance to spend a weekend in Austin, TX. It was filled with food, music and no shortage of sites and places to visit. Here's the itinerary we followed and all the stops we made: