Shepherd, 1 of 3: “The best debut novels by Korean American writers”

Big thanks to Shepherd, a new website that proudly states its noble intention right there next to its logo: Discover the best books. The amazing Ben Fox is the man behind the site, and here’s my contribution to their noble mission, The best debut novels by Korean American writers. As my post states, this is my first of three “best of” lists! Stay tuned for the next batch.

Haiku and Review: Search Party, Season 5

Well, it took me a while to finally catch up to the final season of Search Party. Initially I wanted to see one a week, to dole out these precious episodes because there would be no more, but I have to admit, my forced metering soon became an unforced metering.

My biggest complaint of the season: even though by the end of the show, we are literally talking about the end of the world as we know it, the emotional stakes between the characters couldn’t have been less compelling. Also, there was a curious lack of humor — if not for John Early’s usual brilliance, this season could’ve been purely a drama. And as a drama, well, no. I don’t watch Search Party for drama.

The second and third seasons of this show were the best — the second for dealing with the consequences of the murder, and the third for its comedy. Shalita Grant‘s lawyer character, Cassidy, in the third season was the sixth-man MVP (in basketball parlance) — just thinking about her still makes me laugh:

So if that snippet makes you as happy as it does me, then I’d urge you to watch the first two seasons, and then watch the third just so you can get to this part of the episode. Yeah, it’s that worth it.

I actually enjoyed the fourth season, mostly for the breakout performance of Cole Escola; there’s also a scene revolving around a roundabout (pun intended!) that might be the show operating at its comedic peak.

Anyway, even though the fifth and final season was a letdown, it wasn’t enough of a letdown for me to not write a little haiku for each episode (and two for the last episode ever!). So here they are. All in all, I’m thankful this show existed — I’d never seen John Reynolds, Meredith Hagner, or John Early before Search Party, and now I’m a fan for life.

Drew seizes the day.
El and Jeff, baby daddies.
Dory, savior.

Dory’s great escape.
Drew and Portia, echoing.
Murderous laughter.

D and D, again.
To the “center” of the “Earth.”
A Tunnel’s vision.

Portia’s Dory drink.
Very Lyte influencers.
Dory sees the blood.

Brunch and the sultan.
Undercover Elliott.
Blue enlightened beans.

Colorful foreheads.
Dr. Carpet finds beetles.
Poisons everywhere.

Virgin hostage Drew.
Is Elliott hideous?
To Acapulco.

Saved by the manhole.
They all take turns with Dory.
Jellybeans of…joy?

The Walking Party.
Slowest go-kart in the world.
Dory delivers.


Zombies take Brooklyn.
Brain dead Portia, just leggy.
Flame throwing Chantel.

Portia sings the sun.
Dory and Drew tie the knot.
Wall of the missing.

THE STORY FORGE – EPISODE 36 – SEASON 2 – Into the Fold – Novelist, Sung Woo

It’s not every day that I get to talk to a former work colleague who just happens to be quite the communicator. Lyle Smith has a podcast called The Story Forge, and he was kind enough to let me be on it. I haven’t talked to Lyle in decades, but you’d never know from how easily we chatted. Actually, I think it’s all because Lyle is just really good at this. Please have a listen!

The Old Man and the Gamepad, Now on Debugger

Thank you to Debugger on Medium, where “Every gadget has a story. A new publication from Medium about consumer technology.” They picked up my adventures of late-stage gaming! Same story, but just on a bigger platform.

And an update — I’m roughly halfway through Assassin’s Creed III, and the biggest disappointment is the voice acting. I mean I knew I had it good with the Ezio trilogy, but now that I’ve spent a good chunk of time with III’s protagonist Connor, now I know more than ever how important it is to have the right vocal talent attached to these games.

The Old Man and the Gamepad

Well, it’s happened — I’m now a gamer. Thank you, pandemic! Look what you’ve made me do.

But seriously, it’s good news — it’s really just another experience in fiction. Last year I wrote about how I just drove around the world of GTA V. But then I played it — to completion! And now I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time in 15th century Italy, thanks to Assassin’s Creed.

Read: The Old Man and the Gamepad (or listen to me read it, if you wish!)

Best Songs of 2021

Here’s a list of my top songs for this year, in an order that might be surprisingly mixable. These are not necessarily from 2021; I just happened to have heard them in the last twelve months.

  1. No Hard Feelings, by Wolf Alice on Blue Weekend
  2. Getting Older, by Billie Eilish on Happier Than Ever
  3. Drivers License, by Olivia Rodrigo on Sour
  4. Champagne Problems, by Taylor Swift on Evermore
  5. Obedear, by Purity Ring on Shrines
  6. Humankind, by Coldplay on Music of the Spheres
  7. Natural Blues (Reprise Version), by Moby on Reprise
  8. Don’t Go Dark, by Bleachers on Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night
  9. Deja Vu, by Olivia Rodrigo on Sour
  10. Hard Drive, by Cassandra Jenkins on An Overview on Phenomenal Nature
  11. She Used to Be Mine, by Jessie Mueller on Waitress – Original Broadway Cast Recording
  12. Traitor, by Olivia Rodrigo on Sour
  13. Black Hole, by Griff on One Foot in Front of the Other
  14. Fallen Angel, by Erasure on The Neon
  15. The Let Down, by Francis Lung on Miracle
  16. Good Girls, by Chvrches on Screen Violence
  17. Hero, by Weezer on Van Weezer
  18. You Had to Be There, by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones on When God Was Great
  19. Made to Love (feat. Ronnie Wood, Gina Martin & Dr. Mos-Shogbamimu), by Imelda May on 11 Past the Hour
  20. Happier, by Olivia Rodrigo on Sour
  21. Let Me Love You Like A Woman, by Lana Del Rey on Chemtrails Over the Country Club

As you can see, Olivia Rodrigo is on here four times, and they are all deserving. What a talent! “Happier” is my favorite song of hers, and perhaps for this mix, though Cassandra Jenkins’ “Hard Drive” is such a delightfully oddball song…they’re both great.

On Medium’s #StopAsianHate: The Lingering Sting of ‘Konichiwa!’

I wrote an essay on Medium’s #StopAsianHate — the header graphic is rather forceful, but it does symbolize what happened two years ago, when my wife and I were visiting Copenhagen. Usually I write, “Enjoy!” with just about everything I write, but for this one, “Be informed!” is probably more appropriate.