April Favorites

T.S. Eliot famously said, “April was a bitch of a month.” (That’s not what he said.) I overextended myself, picking up extra hours and responsibilities on top of my full-time schedule in February and March, and my migraine and nerve pain rejoined and knocked me on my ass in April (which is why this post is coming a few days late). But there were still a few lilacs out there.

Books

Words of Farewell: Stories by Korean Women Writers by Kang Sŏk-kyŏng, Kim Chi-wŏn, and O Chŏng-hŭi (translated by Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton) criticizes both modern and traditional Korean culture, exposing more similarities than differences between the two. Alienation and hypocrisy are universal: critical engagement with art and literature means a questioning of all social mores, regardless of national borders. Read my full review here. (With this review I also started a new review series OUT OF SIGHT/OUT OF PRINT about out of print books)

If you could travel back in time, what would you do? What would you change? It’s not everyday you get the opportunity to read a conversational icebreaker expanded in a 273 page novel. Every Anxious Wave by Mo Daviau is a heartwarming and (mostly) fun romp through time that starts with an accident and a typo and ends in the apocalypse. My full review can be found on BookPeople’s blog.

Seeing Red by Lina Meruane is the first English language translation from a notable Chilean writer. In this semi-autofiction about an event in the author’s own life, a writer (also named Lina ) suffers a mild stroke that strikes her mostly blind, leaving he to literally and figuratively navigate the world around her. I am working on a piece about reading this while ill which is not so much a review as it is an essay on reflection in art. (Please look for that soon.)

 

Music

Block B’s mini-album Blooming Period was released in April. Yes, Block B was on my February/March favorites, and yes, I’m still listening. Look, they haven’t released a mini-album as a group since July 2014, so you’ll have to forgive me for being a bit excited. Every song on this album is great. Even the weakest song is still stronger than many charting songs. There are a number of styles that encompass the “lonely bastard” theme of this album. My favorite song is “It Was Love,” a solo by TAEIL (full disclosure: TAEIL’s solo will always be my favorite song on any Block B album). “Toy,” the second single from this mini-album, turns blockboys into literal garbage people.

Movies

Blood Diner (1987) directed by Jackie Kong

Fuck health food culture. Fuck gourmet hipster restaurants. Fuck food critics. Fuck exercise fads. Fuck professional wrestling. Fuck 80s rock n roll. Fuck 50s rock n roll. Fuck inept police. Fuck Ronald Reagan. Fuck racism. Fuck misogyny. Fuck the occult. Fuck science. Fuck the afterlife. Fuck the horror genre. Fuck camp. Fuck ADR. Fuck film form. Fuck normality.  

“If Laura Mulvey says that feminist cinema is the cinema of confrontation, then Jackie Kong is the most feminist of filmmakers.” -professional movie person, Gregory Day. I haven’t even written a synopsis of this film yet, and I’m not going to. Just watch it.

Television

The X-Files satiated a nostalgia hunger the size of the 1990s in my heart, until I finished my binge back in February. And I have Mo Daviau to thank for inspiring a thirst for quirky time-travel stories. The 90s? Quirky? Time travel? Sounds like a recipe for Quantum Leap. While the show is hugely problematic, it’s also immensely entertaining. Dean Stockwell as Al is honestly about 70 percent of the greatness of this show. I get that Scott Bakula as Sam Beckett is the blank slate who is supposed to adapt to each new identity after each leap–and Bakula does a good job–but it does make him extremely bland at times. Stockwell’s Al, as Sam’s emotional and scientific anchor, has a distinct personality which is never reductive, despite Sam’s insistence that his dominant personality quirk is that he’s a playboy.

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“emotional and scientific anchor”

I am in the middle of season 2 as of this writing. My favorite episode so far is “Catch a Falling Star” (season 2) which sees Sam leap into an amateur actor performing in an off-off Broadway production of Man From La Mancha. The man Sam leaps into is the former lover of Sam’s first teenage love, but that subplot is overshadowed by Sam and Al’s deep connection with the play and how it inspired their science. This episode is a genuinely interesting adaptation of Man From La Mancha. Another favorite episode is “Freedom” (season 2) which, despite a few cringe-inducing Washington Redskins jokes and a sheriff that uses a criminal amount of excessive force, avoided tropes. In a departure from the formula, Sam doesn’t actually have to stop someone from dying. He is largely an observer, helping usher a man towards a meaningful death while maintaining his dignity. For once, Sam doesn’t know what’s best. He just has to shut up and listen.

Bonus Categories!

Health

I’ve been using chilled sheet masks for about a year, so they’re not something new on my favorites list. If you don’t know what a sheet mask is, it’s basically a thin cotton or paper mask individually packaged in a serum. They are about a million masks for a million skin care concerns. I keep my packages in a crisper drawer in the fridge and use them once a week. Unwrap and unfold the mask; put it on your face; snarl into the mirror while you pretend to be a serial killer for a couple seconds; readjust the mask that shifted because you can’t keep a straight face; hang out for 15 to 20 minutes; discard the mask and lightly tap serum into your skin. What you’re doing is saturating your skin in a facial serum; the mask keeps the serum from evaporating or being absorbed. You can also use the excess serum in the package on your neck or other dry patches. Got it?

Great. But what I want to focus on are the unintentional secondary benefits of sheet masks. In addition to a weekly mask, I use them whenever I have a migraine. Are sheet masks medicinal? No, of course not. But they do force me to lie down and rest for at least 20 minutes, which is important when I have to let my actual medicine kick in. I find sheet masks to be just as cooling as a compress but with skincare benefits as well. Two for one! Choice!

 

Food

I’ve had two really great kimchi brussel sprout dishes from Republic of Sandwich (a good-but-not-great Austin sandwich shop) and Royal Jelly (a bar near my house). I need to learn how to roast brussel sprouts and kimchi because I just want to eat this all the time. Brussel sprouts! Who knew?

 

Follow these Folks:

Me! I’m back on tumblr! archivingaloud.tumblr.com

Did you know my partner has watched nothing but women’s cinema for the year so far? He writes about it here: hipsville29ad.tumblr.com

I’m newly following Amy @the_migraine_life and Emma Christie @ ivetriedasprin on instagram because I need some extra support for my health this month and that support is knowing that I’m not alone. I also follow Tracy @fancerviced and Ssin-nim @ssinnim on instagram for beauty/skin care reviews.

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