Artist for January: Carel Fabritius

January 2018: Carel Fabritius (born Carel Pietersz)

Born: February 27, 1622 in Middenbeemster, Dutch Republic

Died: October 12, 1654 in Delft, Dutch Republic

Carel Fabritius was one of three brother painters. His younger brother, Barent, was a painter of biblical subjects, mythical scenes, and expressive portraits while Johannes, also younger, was a still life painter. Carel was trained under Rembrandt. He developed his own artistic style and experimented with perspective. He was interested in complex spatial effects. He died early in life due to an explosion at a gunpowder store, which also killed hundreds of people. This destroyed most of his paintings. A very gifted painter, he was 32 when his life ended.

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Young Man in a Fur Cap, a 1654 self-portrait
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A View of Delft, with a Musical Instrument Seller’s Stall, 1652
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Portrait of a Seated Woman with a Handkerchief, 1644
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Portrait of Abraham de Potter, 1649
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The Goldfinch, 1654
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The Sentry

Barent Fabritius (born Bernard Pietersz Fabritius)

Born: November 16, 1624 in Middenbeemster, Dutch Republic

Died: October 12, 1654 in Amsterdam, Dutch Republic

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Young Painter in his Studio, 1655-1660
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The Slaughtered Pig, 1656
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Ruth and Boaz, 1660

Johannes Fabritius (born Johannes Pietersz)

Born: November 16, 1624 in Middenbeemster, Dutch Republic

Died: Sometime after 1693 in Hoorn, Dutch Republic

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Still life of fish, eels, and fishing nets, 1650-1700

Check back in February as I highlight another artist.

Pictures/Information by Wikipedia

Movie Review: All the Money in the World

Movie Review: All the Money in the World (2017)

Quote from All the Money in the World by John Paul Getty III: “To be a Getty is an extraordinary thing. My grandfather wasn’t just the richest man in the world, he was the richest man in the history of the world. We look like you, but we’re not like you. It’s like we’re from another planet where the force of gravity is so strong it bends the light. It bends people too.”

Things Change When the Hat Drops

Aside from all the Hollywood drama with the casting and pay, this movie rocked it in every sense of the word.  I was a little disappointed initially when Kevin Spacey was dropped, as I was looking forward to seeing how he would portray J. Paul Getty.  While Christopher Plummer has more of the facial structure to match the miserly grandfather, I too sometimes get comfortable with the original choice.  I’ve always admired Plummer, but as I watched the movie unfold, I became even more amazed at how well he embodied Getty.  There’s a lot of good actors/actresses out there that excel in certain genres and characters.  There’s lesser performances done by actors/actresses where you can watch someone from start to finish without the internal dialogue of “hey, yeah, that’s so and so.”  Even though it was recognizable as Plummer’s voice, it felt I wasn’t listening to him, and that is the genius of someone who has earned his due rightfully in Hollywood.

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The bottom line is there was a reason Spacey and Plummer were the top picks for this role.  There needs to be an equal nod to Michelle Williams for her role as John Paul Getty III’s mother.  She encompassed Gail Harris to the sharpest detail: her accent, facial expressions, other mannerisms, and interaction with Getty family members.  You were allowed to get lost in her quest to protect her son and share in her resolve to take no for an answer.  She definitely taught viewers how to be strong when it counts the most.  J. Paul Getty viewed his family from where he stood: a different plane, high up, and at a sharp angle.  Yet, he was fiercely loyal, even though much of it seemed created in his own mind, even up to the very end.  The Getty’s have remained a vital part of California with The Getty Center and Villa.  So yes, the Getty name does mean something, and there’s no denying J. Paul Getty’s legacy will continue.

People that Made it Happen

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All the Money in the World, an Imperative Entertainment, RedRum Films, Scott Free Productions, and TriStar Productions, was directed by Ridley Scott.  He’s also known for directing the hit movies of Thelma & Louise, Black Hawk Down, Alien, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, and Blade Runner.  In addition to Christopher Plummer and Michelle Williams’ great performances, there are solid ones by Mark Wahlberg, Romain Duris, and Charlie Plummer (I wonder how many times he’s told people he’s not related to Christopher Plummer).  The MMPA rating is R for language, some violence, disturbing images and brief drug content.  The running time is 2 hours and 12 minutes. The movie is an adaptation from the book, written by John Pearson, with the same name.  The story delves into the life of the Getty family, focusing on the genesis and evolution of J. Paul Getty, and how it relates to the life altering experiences his grandson, often referred to as Paolo and Paul in the movie, is thrust into because of his famous last name. 

The Characters and Plot Summary

This movie followed the premise of starting with a bang and ending with a bigger one (as much as is possible for not being an action movie).  It started with John Paul Getty III, which I will refer to as Paul from now on, being a carefree teenager in Rome.  Never worried in his surroundings, he has followed in his father’s footsteps, enjoying freedom of nightlife.  He receives a jarring “welcome to life” moment when he is kidnapped and finds out not everyone is living a charmed life or wants to be his friend.  While he is held captive for six months, he writes letters to his mother as instructed by his captors.  He consistently shows bravery with the demands placed on him.  Being one of his grandfather’s favorite grandchildren, Paul remains hopeful he will come out of this unscathed.  This is not lost on his mother either, Gail, who uses this to pressure J. Paul Getty to use his money in exchange for her son’s safe return. 

The movie continues, focusing on the power struggle between right and wrong, in the viewpoints of the miserly grandfather and the hell hath no fury mother.  She can’t do it all alone because J. Paul Getty trusts no one and only lets few into his inner circle.  This is where Fletcher Chase, played by Mark Wahlberg, lends his assistance to Gail as she works to reach a deal with the kidnappers.  He is the buffer between Gail and Grandfather Getty, and walks a tightrope between the two for much of the movie.  Chase becomes the only source of comfort when the situation becomes the darkest of darks for Gail, and when hope seems to be getting farther within her grasp.  Her drug addicted husband comes back into her life, ever briefly, to assert his silent power.  It is a powerful scene because you can see the turmoil within everyone seated at the table.  The saga comes to an end with suspense much in the vein of something you might see in a film noir movie.  This story is about wealth and the fear of losing it as much as it is about dependence and independence from one’s family.

Be Prepared to Watch Something Great

I was excited about this movie when I first saw the trailer.  I’m still excited about this movie now that I’ve seen it.  I kept in mind the dysfunction, almost inherent in the Getty name, because money often corrupts people.  It pulled most everyone in different directions, ranging from the kidnappers to the Getty family members.  There was a slight twinge of sorrow for J. Paul Getty, but it didn’t last long.  There was a reason he spent more time on his profits than his family.  His marriage to his money was most important, and I can’t say enough positive things about how Christopher Plummer embodied this crucial part.  The ending scenes with the newspapers and painting could not have been effective with a less seasoned actor.  Some of the best scenes were between Michelle Williams and Christopher Plummer, and only heightened because the characters were polar opposites.  Yet, each desired similar things, both hinging on the preservation of the Getty name.  The scenes between Michelle Williams and Romain Duris were also solid.  There is no doubt All the Money in the World allowed a glimpse into the life of the Getty family, taking away that money can bend people either way, especially depending on where you stand in relation to J. Paul Getty.

Closing Reflections

This movie targeted primarily adults, especially those interested in family drama, although I did see a five-year old in the theater.  This is a straightforward story without much actual surprise, and yet it kept my attention throughout the whole movie.  This is a tried and true biopic drama.  Despite it having a slower pace, and while the actual events played out in 1973, the movie was able to provide a newness.  There could have been a little more closure between the grandfather and grandson at the end, but I still recommend it for all the listed above.  I was looking for a listing of how each person evolved after 1973 when the movie ended so I included one below.  The family has been riddled with drug addiction and divorce, but this just isn’t a Getty issue.  I end with a flashback of me reading my Seventeen magazine in middle school.  There was a picture of a young Milla Jovovich with her friend, from what I remember he was listed as Balty, in several teeny bob poses.  I then saw Balthazar Getty in Lord of the Flies.  So yes, the Getty’s tend to be everywhere.

The Getty Family

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J. Paul Getty

George Getty is the father of J. Paul Getty.  He lived from 1885 to 1930. 

J. Paul Getty is the father of five sons.  He lived from 1892 to 1976.  He is portrayed by Christopher Plummer.

    1. George Getty II lived from 1924 to 1973.  He has three daughters. 
    2. Jean Ronald Getty lived from 1929 to 2009.  He has one son and three daughters. 
    3. Sir John Paul Getty/John Paul Getty II (born Eugene Paul Getty) lived from 1932 to 2003.  He was the estranged son in the movie.  He is portrayed by Andrew Buchan.  He had two sons and three daughters.  One son was named John Paul Getty III.  He is portrayed by Charlie Plummer.  John Paul Getty III lived from 1956 to 2011.  John Paul Getty III has six children including Balthazar Getty.  Balthazar was born in 1975 and has one son and three daughters.
    4. Gordon Getty was born in 1934 and still living.  He has four sons and three daughters.
    5. Timothy Ware Getty lived from 1946 to 1958.  He had no children.

I surprisingly could not find much about Abigail Harris Getty.  She is portrayed by Michelle Williams.  She remains a little elusive, which is probably the way she wants it. 

*******

If you’re a little heartbroken, don’t be.  Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy is currently filming a show for FX, Trust, based on the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III.  Donald Sutherland is J. Paul Getty,  Harris Dickinson is John Paul Getty III, and Hilary Swank is Gail Getty.  This should be interesting.  

Pisaries Creator’s Rating

I rate All the Money in the World a rating of four fingers at 90%.

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All the Money in the World Trailer/One Sheets by Sony Pictures
Balthazar Getty Photo by Seventeen
Lord of the Flies One Sheet by MGM

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Trifecta #4

Image of the Week

I like light bulbs.  I like turtles.  I like ships.  It’s like wondering how you get a ship into a bottle.  I don’t think I need to say anymore.  It’s a cool picture.

Word of the Week

Finally!  A word in the upper percentage of popularity.  I know most of us can relate to this word because we’ve all felt it at one point in our lives.  Enough said.

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Video of the Week

This video is a compilation of lighthouses found around the world.  It has a nice presentation and soothing music.  The shots are impressive.  This makes me want to travel more after watching this.

As a side note, next week’s trifecta will be delayed because I’m traveling and not returning until mid next week.  But will post something when I come back. 

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Poem: Always

It seems you have been here before.

Yes, you have.

The objects look the same.

Yet, you know they are different.

The dust is another layer formed.

Another year gone by, and you must escape from under these dark clouds.

Your eyes are heavy.

Your ears don’t hear well. 

Strength can be difficult to find.

 

Every morning you put life into categories,

As if they can be labeled,

As if they will gain a different meaning.

One you will understand better. 

One that doesn’t make your heart so weary.

One that doesn’t make you suffer so much.

Yes, the arrows still fly around you.

 

Nights become days as you walk toward the dark again.

You feel more is within your grasp, but never fully able to see it.

It takes time to deliver.

Dedication.

Patience.

Reality.

You tell yourself these words.

You navigate the weight of life on your shoulders.

 

There are no remedies to take the pressure away.

Yes, it is this way.

Not all the time is it great.

Not all the time is it right.

There aren’t magical words to fulfill your desires.

Half of your existence remains tucked away.

Somewhere.

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Not Your Typical S.K. in L.A.

From the Streets of Pusan (now Busan) to Living in the Midwest (now Los Angeles)

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Postcard of Pusan Hotel

This has all the tragic workings of an after school special, but there is no other way to state the beginning of my life.  I was found wandering the streets of Pusan at a very young age, between 1.5 to 2 years.  A woman found me and took care of me for a few days, but since she had her own children, she wasn’t able to adequately provide for me.  I was taken to an orphanage, which I have no recollection, and after this I was placed in a foster home for six months.  Then the real journey began, which I don’t remember either, on my flight to the United States.  My new family lived in the Midwest, so I grew up with four distinct seasons, and some Midwestern values.

While my newly adopted city (not so new anymore) has nowhere near the population of Pusan back in the 1970s and definitely not now, it provided a safe environment.  The debate of nurture versus nature is a good question to ask.  While my adoptive parents who I consider my only parents in every sense, I still retain biological DNA from my South Korean roots and the other roots I recently connected to.  Without my adoptive parents I surely wouldn’t have survived, but without my biological parents I wouldn’t have been born.  I have personality characteristics and traits that can only come from one’s bloodline.  I’ve always been my own person trailblazing my own path.  I recognize the need to honor those long lost blood relatives who entered my family tree long ago.  Influence from others have come from many walks of life, alive and dead, so thank you to all of those involved.  You know who you are because I’ve told you.

Returning to the Motherland

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Nothing Like an American Tourist in Korea Who’s Korean

Over twenty some years ago this guy verbally attacked me and quite viciously because I wrote on a Yahoo forum of how I was against the dog eating custom in South Korea.  He swore and carried on from behind his computer how stupid I was for looking down upon South Koreans.  This is when I set the record straight for him, as I’m not one to shy away from sticking up for myself.  You can guess how the conversation went from there.  He never replied back.  My strong beliefs in animal rights arise from my biological father.  His extremes had lasting effects on me, and led me to the unwavering viewpoint: there is no justification for animal abuse based on someone’s culture. 

I went back to South Korea in 1995 with my adoptive mother, as well as a group of Korean adoptees and their parents.  As any South Korean who doesn’t speak their native tongue fluently, I relied on guides to drive me to destinations and translators so I could understand what was said.  You know how weird it is to visit your birth country and not know the language.  I had more than I wanted of South Koreans approaching me thinking I spoke Korean.  I got the same thing when I visited K-Town in Los Angeles.  While I took a few Korean courses, I have since forgotten it.  There has to be a good reason I bought that thick box carrying CDs full of Korean words that’s still sitting on the kitchen table.  I’m still holding hope that someday I will return to South Korea to teach English.

I visited the major tourist cities of Seoul, Pusan, Kyongju, and Panmunjeom.  The destinations most remembered are the Haeinsa Temple, Olympic Stadium, Seoul Tower, Itaewon Market, and DMZ.  I learned a few things along the way.  Korean mothers still had to give up their children in order to remarry in the mid-1990’s.  The intense level of shame was equal for some of the Korean fathers too.  It was safe to say that while South Korea was a beautiful country with beautiful people, there were pockets of it that I wished were less traditional.  I admit walking around and being in the majority instead of the minority was one of the greatest emotional feelings.  It felt good to see more dark-haired people and only a handful of light-haired people, including one British guy who lived there and my mom.  It felt like I was home in a way, but it also felt I only half belonged because I was clearly different.

Some Things Change Slowly

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Looks like Val Kilmer on the Left, and Definitely Natural Born Killers on the Right

Because South Korea has values rooted deeply in honoring elders and adhering to familial customs, women are sometimes viewed as lesser than men, children are sometimes viewed as property, and the men sometimes have high demands and pressure placed on their shoulders.  My biological father was traditional in every sense.  I would offer him the worst father prize in the short amount of time I knew him.  Yet, he continues to remain a part of my life, even though it is about the size of a tiny sliver you would find in your foot.

While sitting on the steps of the hotel smoking a cigarette (yes, I was a smoking fool in 1995) in Seoul with another female adoptee, a very insistent older Korean male ushered us inside the hotel.  Had I read up on the customs of South Korea, I would have realized I should not have been doing this in the first place.  And here I thought I was doing a favor to my long-lost people’s lungs, but no, I guess not.  The fact you can still get slapped on the face for smoking in public in front of an elder says a lot about South Korea’s diehard customs.  I find it very difficult to accept it is okay to hit a child based on culture.  It never seemed right to me.  Justify it all you want, but this doesn’t go without consequences.

As I’ve gotten older (funny how time increases speed when you leave your thirties), I’m done thinking about hypothetical possibilities if I stayed in South Korea.  I’d probably be unhappy with traditional parents, but would I know any different?  I guess I’ll really never know.  I’d probably have the same struggles as today, but on a much greater level.  Would I have rather had a functional biological family?  Yes, but I didn’t get that choice.  It was a blessing to go from being alone on the street to where I am now, and although there have been times I question why this all happened in the first place, I’m aware of greatness life has to offer. 

Henry Rollins and the DMZ

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The Greatness of Henry Rollins

I had the privilege of listening and seeing Henry Rollins up close and personal when he spoke about his book, Occupants, at the Annenberg Space for Photography.  I had the book signed.  I got a picture of us together.  I never said one word to him.  What an idiot looking in hindsight, but I kept tossing back and forth in my head if I should talk to him about North Korea.  Jeez, what an awkward moment.  I don’t think I was star struck.  Okay, maybe a little bit.  How could be such a cool guy I completely respect be so convincing being the white supremacist in Sons of Anarchy?  Great acting!  I’m certain this also went through my mind.  I remained silent and took pictures of my roommate with him. 

We both had one thing in common, and that was visiting the Demilitarized Zone in Panmunjeom.  As instructed by the tour guide on my visit, we weren’t supposed to make eye contact with the North Korean soldiers.  They were far removed from me mentally speaking although physically close, but looking back I wish I had paid a little more attention to the whole experience.  The highlight was walking in one of the four Infiltration Tunnels.  The South Koreans call them Tunnels of Aggression as they were found entering into South Korea from the North.  Our guide disappeared, which I assume he left because he’d seen this hundreds of times, leaving us in the semi-dark to absorb what ifs and what would probably never happen.  One of the U.S. military officers stationed there said the two Koreas would never be reunited, not in his lifetime, but no one really knows for sure what will become of the North and South.

North Korean Regime

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The DMZ at Panmunjeom

I’m not going to delve too deep because I’m not the spokesperson for North Korea nor am I knowledgeable to the point of being considered an expert.  If I have any focus, it is on the suffering of those caught in the middle, so to speak.  This includes the families torn apart during and after the Korean War.  The Korean children left without either or both parents.  The result of half Korean children when American soldiers landed on the peninsula, which led the way to adoptions of full-blooded Koreans by other countries.

The political tensions between South and North Korea will always be a revolving door even if unification occurs.  Outlying countries such as Japan and China pay more attention when tensions are heightened.  The United States always has an interest in South Korea’s welfare.  This is one of those times as each country politically maneuvers around each other as the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang inches closer and closer.  It is difficult to find common ground when governments are in complete opposition.  There seems to be some hope as the two countries will walk together under the same flag during opening ceremonies.  Let’s face it that North Koreans have basically the same DNA as South Koreans.  Will these peace talks progress?  Will the current North Korean citizens suffer less over time?

From Sunny L.A. to Snowy Midwest

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I’ve always loved the rain and water.  I’ve always loved a crisp fall day.  I’ve always loved the newness of a spring day.  I enjoy the four different seasons.  I’m not too fond of heat.  I prefer a cloudy day versus a sunny one.  So what am I doing living in California in the land of earthquakes and fires with very little rain?  I’m wondering the same myself, but I will say since calling Los Angeles my home for eleven years I’ve grown too accustomed to the warmth to move back to snow, ice, and cold.  I’ve been spoiled to wearing tank tops during the winter, inside and outside.  This doesn’t mean I won’t visit, which I’m soon doing.  It’s going to be a bittersweet moment as this might be the last time I get to see the house I grew up in, but I’ll be able to put more closure on other parts of my life since moving to the United States.

I’m a person who knows a lot of general things about my biological parents, but nothing where I can hold it between my fingers.  I don’t remember their given names.  I have no pictures of what they looked like.  I can tell you my biological father was charismatic and had the capability of being a good person.  Instead, he ended up being vicious, cruel, and extreme.  He was the ruler of his family.  You did what he said.  No questions could be asked.  If you didn’t follow the rules, you were punished verbally and physically.  If you challenged him, you got more punishment.  I learned quickly not to do things wrong twice in a row.  My biological mother’s nature was of the gentler and kinder side.  She remained on the outskirts of my life, quiet and unassuming.  I had limited interaction during the short time with her, but because of her I was able to hang onto hope as a broken child before leaving South Korea.  The bottom line is you never know how strong you are until you’re tested.  You never know how much you’ve lost until it’s gone.

Conclusion

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Not a U.S. Citizen Yet, but Soon

There are times I wonder if I would have the same views today if I had stayed in South Korea.  Some would be the same, but others would be less so.  Was there a reason I was chosen by the social worker to live with the people I now call my parents?  I used to think so and hope so, but now I know so.  Was there a reason I was spared a lifetime of violence and pain?  I used to think so, but now I know so.  It would have broken me into a thousand pieces had I stayed with my biological father.  He was never able to find a happy medium being an authoritarian figure. I’ve always lived for myself, but never far away are those that weren’t as fortunate.  Los Angeles has provided me the ability to discover the person that’s been hidden the last ten years or maybe it was myself changing and growing.  My life has completed full circle with a positive ending in some ways, but in other ways it’s just begun.

“Not flesh of my flesh,

Nor bone of my bone,

But still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute:

You didn’t grow under my heart,

But in it.”

-Fleur Conkling Heyliger-

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Book Recommendation: Dragon Ladies

dragonladiesI thought this would be a good time to recommend a book that also reminds me back to the days when I was in school. Trust me when I say it is a good read. I wouldn’t be recommending Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire otherwise. It is edited by Sonia Shah, prefaced by Yuri Kochiyama, and forewarded by Karin Aguilar-San Juan. This anthology speaks of Asian American women who have something to say and in a way that won’t make you uncomfortable if you keep an open mind. It’s good to go out of your comfort zone once in a while. It takes guts to come out of your shell, be unapologetic for your views that you strongly believe are right, and not waver under pressure. You need a thick ass skin to withstand the pressure and criticism in today’s world.

The feminist movement, particularly in the United States, is rather complicated and varied within the ranks back then and now.  It was as varied as the two major political parties in the U.S. today and so on down the path to reach the blue or red body of water.  I imagine the independents have a body of white water.  Individual minority women were left on the wayside to fend for themselves in the United States, as many disenfranchised groups are, and the Asians were no exception. This book speaks of the importance of being aware that just because something isn’t around you doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. While we all won’t find the massive amount of inspiration and passion needed to go out to protest or volunteer whenever there’s a major incident or situation that occurs, you will gain a better understanding of the lives of Asian American women, and some of the perils they face year after year.

Social, political, racial, economic, and personal questions are asked and topics are discussed with answers providing an Asian narrative that for all intents and purposes is always relevant. This book is an interest of mine for the fact I’m an Asian American that could very well have not left South Korea.  I’m a bit of an enigma, and will touch upon this in a future post.  It serves as as reminder for everyone including myself to stand up and speak from the heart, rooted in truth as we know it, but being mindful of how we might affect others with our words.  We all deserve equality without sacrificing our integrity.  I wonder how, as a collective whole, we ever got to be in this place of such ugliness where some people think it is okay to post ANYTHING on social media platforms. Yet, it has also exposed the ugliness from all pockets of society that we may not want to see.  We all deserve to not live in fear.  There’s always something wrong when certain individuals have to support themselves in such vile ways, and an equally uglier world where those similar in social stratification get caught up in this wheel of inequality demanding others to denigrate themselves.

In conclusion, this book is meant to give you a little push to exploring women who often have to navigate a world where people label and stereotype them on a consistent basis whether aware of it or not. I’m not saying this doesn’t happen to other women or men because it does, but what is necessary to state is this: the deeply rooted beliefs about Asian women just didn’t begin last year. Education is truly important for everyone including Asians themselves.  The genesis of anything is equally important as exploring what is necessary to not repeat the same rhetoric over and over, and this book was and continues to be a good start. It’s much easier to praise something on a blog versus taking action about something on the streets, so in that respect, I thank those women and men who take the streets for worthy causes that support others instead of dividing people. Every little thing every person does that helps instead of harms is a part of what life is about so keep keeping on because we all need someone to lean on and a reminder at one point or another.

Explore Dragon Ladies on Amazon

Happy Reading Everyone!!!

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Trifecta #3

Image of the Week

This seal is either happy to be in the water or disgruntled because s/he can’t fully submerge under the water.

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Word of the Week

Do you remember the transitive verb?  If you don’t, I’ll tell you.  It is a verb that requires one or more objects.  Intransitive verbs have no objects.  Transitivity is thought of as global property of a clause, by which activity is transferred from an agent to a patient.  It is a little higher in popularity and first known usage was in 1634.

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Video of the Week

I picked this video because I’m always wanting to do things faster and better.  I’ve never really gotten around to the point of perfection and doubt I ever will.  Perfection is in the mind of the viewer and does it even exist in the first place.  It’s such a subjective thing.  I’ll quit before this turns into a novel.

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