Tuesday, May 28, 2013

All About Me, Courtesy of the Liebster Awards

Liebster awards have been popping up all over the dramaweb lately. They’re an informal way for bloggers to appreciate the work of other bloggers—there’s no governing body or even a list of all the nominees. I’ve been nominated twice, once by Chunkemonkeeato at Musings of a Chunkeemonkeeato and once by Indigo at Between Worlds. These are two of the blogs I’ve been keeping up with forever, which makes it extra cool that they thought of me for a nomination. (Thanks, guys!)

I thought I’d use this opportunity to create an About Me page for this blog. I apologize in advance if this post makes you fall asleep—I’m one of the world’s most boring human beings.

First of all, a few notes about how things work around here: I try to post something new twice a week. Most Tuesdays I talk about currently airing shows or drama-related things I’ve been thinking about, and most Thursdays I post a new review of a completed drama or movie. I also post in the “Random Thoughts” sidebar whenever I have...wait for it...a random thought. These are eventually included in the final review I write about whatever inspired them.

You can also find me on Soompi, where I sometimes post about drama topics. I keep track of what I’ve watched at MyDramaList and collect my rare fanfic at Fanfiction.net. And to hammer the final nail in the coffin of my social life, I’m also on both Tumblr and Twitter.

On to the awardy stuff!

The rules for receiving this award:
List 11 random facts about yourself.
Answer the questions designated by the blogger (s) who nominated you.
Place YOUR nominations for the Liebster Award! Nominate five (or more) other bloggers that have less than 200 followers. Make sure to notify them via comment/email, etc.
Make up a set of questions for those nominated bloggers to answer.
Display the Liebster award badge on your blog!

11 Random Facts about Me
1. I wrote about my Kdrama origin story here. This is far from my first obsession, though—I’ve spent most of my adult life being enthralled by one fannish thing after another. Over the years I’ve traveled thousands of miles to see my favorite band, attended conventions devoted to geeky television shows, and written reams of fan fiction. Just how long my Kdrama obsession will last is a mystery, but as of now I sure am having fun with it.

2. In my everyday life I pretend to be an adult. I’m reasonably good at it—I have a job at a nonprofit that actually values me for my compulsive attention to detail, I own my own home, and I’ve recently developed the ability to keep houseplants alive for months on end. I am, however, childless and perpetually single. These things don’t really bother me—living a life without diapers to change and a man to monopolize my television with sporting events isn’t such a bad thing.

3. With the exception of a six-month window spent across the river in New Hampshire, I’ve spent my entire life in Vermont. It’s not that easy to be a true “Vermonter,” though—I was born out of state and I’m only the second generation to live here, which makes me practically a flatlander. [Flatlander (noun): A term of disparagement Vermonters use to describe people who grew up in hill-free places. “That flatlander needs to take his Land Rover back to the streets of Boston where it belongs.”] I am not, however, what you probably picture when you think about people from my state. I’ve only gone skiing once, have no special attachment to cows, and have never owned a pair of Birkinstock sandals.

4. I’ve wanted to be a writer essentially since birth. In sixth grade my English teacher assigned us to write our own obituaries. A brief summary: Amanda may be dead, but her fifty New York Times bestsellers will live on forever. Her loving husband, Joe McIntyre—formerly of the band New Kids on the Block—is totally bummed.

Not me.

5. Sharks were one of my childhood obsessions, and I’ve since swam with them several times. I even took scuba diving for one of my required gym classes in college in hopes of someday seeing a great white from the inside of a dive cage. Like most other sports, though, I sucked at it. My final open-water dive for certification was on the day before Thanksgiving. As I stood in a painfully tight wetsuit watching snow fall on Lake Champlain, I realized something: scuba diving was not my thing. I left without even getting in the water. (I somehow still managed to get a B in the class. And even though I spent a lot of time in Lake Champlain, I’m sorry to report that I never once saw Champ, its resident lake monster.)

6. In 2002 I started keeping a list of everything I read. Since then I’ve read 512 books, starting with Natalie Babbit’s Tuck Everlasting (finished 11/9/02) and ending with Monica Ali’s Brick Lane (finished last Thursday). I don’t really have a favorite, but I tend to love writers who deal with magical realism, including Angela Carter, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Alice Hoffman, and Francesca Lia Block. I’m also a fan of young adult fiction; I read more of it today than I did when I was actually a young adult.

7. Before Korean drama happened to me, I used to be an encyclopedia of American pop culture. Nowadays I can barely tell Rhianna from Honey Boo Boo, and this actually worries me: How can I make small talk when I speak a different language from everyone around me? I’ll be like one of those weirdos who grew up without a television and gets a blank look on their face whenever The Brady Bunch comes up in conversation.

8. I’m incredibly jealous of K-ent bloggers who have gone to Korea, but I can’t imagine myself making the trip. My reasons are legion: It’s far, far away; I don’t speak the language; I fear and loathe strangers; and I barely make enough money to live on, say nothing about travel the globe. I also appreciate that it’s a little weird to be this obsessed with someone else’s culture and am just fine with leaving it mostly on the Internet.

9. I’m not very girlie at all. I don’t like the color pink, paint my fingernails, or wear high heels. I like things that are simple and clean and classic, not floaty and feminine. Only my rather significant bosom would prevent me from being mistaken for a guy in Korea.

10. I use the word Indeed all the time. It’s versatile and appropriate for almost any occasion because the meaning lies in its intonation. Say it with me: With disdain—Indeed. With appreciation—Indeed! With shock: Indeed?

Also not me.

11. The list of things I can’t do is vastly longer than the list of things I can do.

Can’t: Ride a bike. Roll the letter r. Knit. Play an instrument. Speak a language other than English. Cook any recipe requiring more than 5 ingredients. Sing. Drink more than one beer without getting tipsy. Run a marathon. Cure cancer. Long division. Come up with 11 random facts about myself.

Can: … ?

And here are the specific questions from the bloggers who nominated me.

From Chunkeemonkeeato

1. If you, yourself, could be in a drama/sitcom (not as a certain character, but you), which one would it be? How do you think your presence will change the plot?

How could I chose any drama but Coffee Prince? I’ve watched it so many times I practically live in it, anyway. I would be Eun Chan’s English-speaking next door neighbor and confidant. (It’s easy to tell your secrets to someone who can’t understand you, right?) Ha Rim and I would end up in a steamy noona romance.

2. If you could defend any drama villain, who would it be and how would you defend their case? (I told you I think like a lawyer).

I can’t think of a single Kdrama villain that I have enough sympathy for to defend. I’d probably do such a bad job faking it that they’d end up getting the death penalty.

3. What’s your motivation for keeping up with your blog?

Because I just can’t shut up, mostly. (Exhibit A: the length of this post.) I’m also a creature of habit—I like the cozy repetition of waking up each weekend morning and writing a post for the upcoming week before carrying on with real life. Also, I live for comments. This is weird and hypocritical of me because I so rarely respond to them, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day for me to do everything I want to do.

4. What’s your favorite blog post that you’ve written so far? Why?

It wasn’t that popular, but I think The Korean Phrasebook for Drama Lovers Abroad is insanely funny. Some people didn’t really get it—the whole point is that it’s a affectionate critique of how all-encompassing Kdrama obsession can be, not a collection of phrases anyone should really use. I also love that it tells this spare little Innocents Abroad-style story in one-sided dialogue, asking you to fill in all the details of location and delivery.

Also also not me.

5. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

Not to be superficial or anything, but I’d want to be like Mystique from X-men. I would use her chameleon abilities to be drop-dead gorgeous when I felt like it, and also to blend in: if you could look like anyone, there’s no place you couldn’t go.

From Indigo

1. What has been the hardest challenge of your blogging career? (e.g. getting people to comment, making headers, placing pictures side by side, etc)

Everything you mentioned has been a big challenge. I’m very much function over form in everything I do, so I don’t spend a lot of time making this blog look nice. This is too bad—a professional layout makes a huge difference when you want to look trustworthy. (And I have to say Blogger is no help whatsoever on this front. All its layouts are ugly and overused, compared to the amazingly gorgeous and varied templates available for Wordpress sites.)

Finding pictures is probably the biggest time suck of blogging, though. I’m no pro at taking screen caps so I’m always trolling Google Images for things to use. Which is why I decided to liberate myself and include only a few images in this post.

2. "When life gives you lemons..." Then what are you going to do with them? (you are free to be as imaginative as you like)

Let them sit on my kitchen counter until they go bad, and then throw them out. That’s my universal approach when it comes to produce.

3. What is your favourite and least favourite Asian drama cliche?

Chaebol romances of any type are like catnip to me. In a lot of ways, Boys over Flowers has yet to be exceeded on this front: it’s full of wish-fulfillment shopping sprees and gawking at how the other half lives. It also includes an example of amnesia, my least favorite Kdrama cliché. Time between Dog and Wolf is the only show I’ve seen that made good use of it; the rest are just examples of lazy writers looking for ways to burn off a few more episodes without having to do any actual work.

Also also also not me.

4. Which Korean variety show would you like to participate in?

I’ve never actually watched a Korean variety show, so I don’t know. I could deal with being on Kpop Tasty Road, though: they visit restaurants around Seoul, show pictures of Kpop stars eating there, and then order the same dishes. (Call me, PD-nim!)

5. If you had the chance to personally slap (or punch) one drama character, then who from which drama would it be and why?

In a perfect world, I’d be able to slap one character from every drama. If I had to pick, I’d probably go with the villain from My Princess. She was a show-ruining bitch, and the spineless female lead didn’t even try to stand up to her. (Wait. Maybe I should be punching the show’s writer instead.)

Blogs I Nominate
(To spread the love, these choices represent my favorite frequently updated blogs that I haven’t seen nominations for yet.)

My questions for you
(Which have been borrowed liberally from the questions asked of me, because I really liked them.)

1. What’s your motivation for blogging?

2. Do you post under your real name? Why or why not? And if you don’t, how did you chose your blogging identity?

3. What’s your favorite blog post that you’ve written so far?

4. What has been your biggest blogging challenge (e.g. getting people to comment, making headers, placing pictures side by side, etc)?

5. What are your favorite and least favorite drama cliches?

(Photo credits: 1, 2, 3


  1. I'm not a huge fan of trends, but man this Liebster award has been fun! Been stalking more blogs this week than I usually do, lol.

    You and me both on the small talk (this is why we have blogs right? So somebody in the world will actually pick up on things we say that have relevance in our minds but not anywhere else?) This K-ent thing has officially severed most of whatever remaining social ties I had with people who live in the same town as me. Thank God my immediate family can still understand me and actually participate in Korean small talk

    1. Ohhh...I see you just posted *your* eleven things. I can't wait to read them!

      I need to work on having relationships with people who aren't currently on my television or computer, but it just doesn't come naturally to me. You're lucky your family isn't blind to the existence of Korea the way mine is. My mother asked me how my blog about Japan was going the other day. ::Insert Eun Chan bang blow::

  2. Yay for your award! I'm not a blogger, so I'm glad there are those out there who'll share their thoughts on subjects that I'm also interested in and give people like me a place to discuss them. Plus, I'm especially fond of your writing because you were the first blogger I came across who had more recently and furiously discovered and devoured Kdrama - just like me. So I don't feel so behind the times here(although I'm catching up fast, lol). Oh, and I don't think it's wierd to be obsessed with other cultures. If it were say French or English culture you talked a lot about, people would here would probably be more receptive and accepting. It just seems due to Aisan culture being one of those that are still horribly unrepresented in our media. And you know how it can be for a lot of Americans - if it's not on their tv, it doesn't register. Something I've noticed while looking at fan sites and such is that poeple in so many countries all over the world are interested in cultures other than their own.

    1. I feel the same way about catching up fast. Once upon a time, I couldn't tell Gong Yoo from Gong Hyo Jin. Now I can not only pick them out of a lineup, but also play seven degrees of separation with them. (Although they're super easy, what with Hello My Teacher to fall back on. It's that damn Yoo In Na and Yoo An In I have to figure out.)

      You're definitely right about Asians cultures not being embraced in America the way European ones are. But I also think more of us go extravagantly bonkers over the far east because they're so different from what we're used to. They're more exotic than Hogwarts, even.

  3. I was waiting for this post. I really like this Liebster award-thingy because now I can get to know the people behind my favourite blogs. It's amazing that we drama-bloggers come from so many different backgrounds and parts of the world.

    Oh, you can't ride a bike? That's kinda cute actually, it reminds me of Full House, where I think Rain's character taught Song Hye Kyo's character how to ride a bike.

    I too have become so alienated from American pop culture (especially music) since I started obsessing about dramas. Though it's partly because I have less time on them because I spend more and more time on dramas, it is also because (I don't know if it's just my K-pop obsession talking) but I feel like American pop music is in a slump these days. As for American TV, there are only a couple of shows I follow but most of them don't get me excited at all.

    I can't roll my r's either.

    Glad that you answered my questions too, even though you were already nominated by Chunkeemonkeeato :) I really enjoyed this post!

    1. Thanks again for the nomination, and the great questions :)

      It really is fun to read people's Liebster responses. We Kbloggers don't really talk about ourselves all that much, so it's a nice opportunity to be tell each other who we really are. (And this arrived at the perfect time. I'd been putting off doing an "About Me" page for this blog for ages.) We should have some sort of annual Kdrama blog be-in where we all post about ourselves for a change.

      In addition to not being able to ride a bike, I can't make it through Full House. So I guess I'll never know about that one ;)

      The never-ending nature of American TV has killed them for me. I don't want to be disappointed by more cancelled shows or ones that last so long they become calcified versions of what they once were. And American pop music hasn't interested me in a decade, but I mostly chalk that up to getting old.

  4. It was so nice of you to nominate us! Reading all of these things about you makes me like your blog even more.

    I haven't ridden a bike since I got into an accident 15 years ago. I'm terrified to try. I feel like that fact alone would make us friends in real life, although, sadly, I'm a Flatlander from Massachusetts.

    1. Sigh. How will we ever have noona romances with dangerous young Korean men if we can't ride motorcycles? (No Schwinns need apply. That would be more like an ajumma romance, anyway. )

      And as an almost-flatlander myself, I cannot judge your homeland ;)

      Good luck with your blog—you two really do great work.

    2. I didn't know you don't ride bikes, Vivi! You've been keeping secrets from me...Also, thanks Amanda! I really do enjoy your blog so it is very flattering to be recognized by you.

  5. So glad I found your blog! You so sound like someone I would love to sit drink coffee and chat with. Like I said on another of your articles you are now in my favorites and I now after reading your answer above I know when to come back to see your updates! Yeh!

    1. Thank you :D

      I'm always delighted when this blog helps me find like-minded people!

  6. I am honored and humbled. And will be late with my post. :P

  7. Amanda, here are my answers to your questions:

    1. What’s your motivation for blogging? I just feel the need to chronicle my Korean obsession. The main difference between you and I is that I experience Korean culture and that's why I went to Korea, visit Jim Ji Bangs and H-Mart, Korean restaurants and local Korean markets and am really trying to learn the language. I like to post these adventures on my blog.

    2. Do you post under your real name? Why or why not? And if you don’t, how did you chose your blogging identity? I post under my real name as I am not ashamed or embarrassed and want people who my read it to know that a non-Asian can have these interests.

    3. What’s your favorite blog post that you’ve written so far? My favorite part of my blog was my first blog, about my trip to Korea and the beginning of my sojourn into Koreana.

    4. What has been your biggest blogging challenge (e.g. getting people to comment, making headers, placing pictures side by side, etc)? Except for you, Amanda, no one has commented. I know my family and friends read it because I asked them to. But no comments were made (they probably were commenting to each other though!). I am definitely a novice and still learning about making headers placing pictures, etc.

    5. What are your favorite and least favorite drama cliches? So far I have many, many favorites: the wrist grab, the piggy back ride, playground scenes at night, back hugs, the villains trying to get the boy or girl lead, the male chauvinist leads, the horrible mothers and sometimes fathers, the wonderful scenes of food and food preparation.... And probably some of these things are my least favorite while I'm watching the drama but later it just changes!

    Congratulations on being nominated. I follow your blog and your Tumblr and truly enjoy them. Please don't ever get over your Korean obsession!

  8. I wanted you to know that I nominated you for a Deeno Approves award in response to your Liebster Award. I also answered your questions! I just can't follow the rules...

  9. Love it! I also love sharks, and use the word "indeed". Thanks for the post, it was fun getting to know you better. And your blog is fabulous!

  10. Congrats on your nomination. Love your blog. Thanks for sharing your kdrama obsession with us.

  11. What a great post! Thanks for the giggles, Amanda!

    I don't manage to keep up with American pop culture anymore either, though I used to know what went on. Now I'm much more conversant in what's going on in the kdramaverse! And like you, I didn't make it all the way through scuba diving either. Also not my kind of thing! XD

    I also checked out your Korean Phrasebook post and enjoyed it immensely. Love your sense of humor! Keep up the awesome, love it! :)

  12. Annyeong Amanda! Congrats! You got some tough Q's. I feel the same way about visiting Korea...I would probably be so anxious trying to find my way around Seoul. Korea seems like a fantasy sometimes...strange.
    And yep, I'm completely out of the loop when it comes to American entertainment too...makes for awkwardness when everyone else is discussing the latest movies.

    Anyways, thanks again for the award! I finally posted an acceptance post here: http://ginkgohill.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/liebster-awards/. Much more brief in my answers :P But even so it made my brain hurt haha.

  13. Hi there! I just wanted to swing by to let you know that I also chose your awesome and fun site for a Liebster. I know, I'm totally behind the trend. Chat you later!


    1. Oh, and I also don't know how to ride a bike! ^^

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Your blog feeds my K-drama info fix very well. As a recently obsessed K-drama watcher, I find your reviews and other posts resonates with my tastes, maybe being a fellow new englander has something to do with it. I am currently watching the new 2013 'SECRETS'. Love it. Would be interested to read your review if you decide to watch it. Midway through ..lee Soon shin', not holding my attention. I did not really take to Reply 1997 one of the dramas I deviated from your evaluation.

  16. Greetings!!

    I've nominated you for a Liebster Award! *throws confetti*
    Please see the link for details!


  17. Hey Amanda! I've just given you ANOTHER (but optional, totally optional!) Liebster! You can take a look at it here: http://thefangirlverdict.com/2014/02/03/liebster-shower-round-2/

  18. ANOTHER Liebster! ☞ http://idlerevelry.wordpress.com/2014/02/14/liebster-2014/

  19. I LOVE!!! Thanks for sharing. Glad you're writing.

  20. I found my soulmate! I LOVE YOU! Youre amazing. I really think youre my long lost sister. Keep up the amazing work. God bless you! *FIGHTING*

    Love, Venus.

    twitter; meowdelrey

  21. Hi! I nominated you for a Sunshine Award! :) http://chunkeemonkeeato.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/mmmusings-walking-on-sunshine/

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  28. Stumbled across your blog when looking for the reason my Drama Fever link was not working anymore. It had been a few weeks since I'd been on it, and found out they ceased to exist anymore. If your still in blogging, send a note sometime and we can send messages about K films, and dramas.