Beanie level: Eunuch in drag

I knew as soon as he grabbed the pipe…… next he’ll be picking up a bloody knife. Has he never watched a kdrama?

4
0

Get to Know Lord Cobol

Back when DB was running the \”Get to Know\” series, I couldn\’t resist writing up my own version. Time for it to go public, I guess.

Explain your username (and/or avatar).

Avatar was my first cat, the best cat ever. I picked my user name way back in the dial-up modem days for computer game forums, because it matched my career (Cobol programmer) and sounded suitably ominous for those games.

What is the first drama that you watched (or the first drama that made an impression)?

The first one I saw even a little of was Jumong, on TV. Found it channel-surfing near the end of its run, but missed half the remaining episodes because I didn\’t know it was two-a-week. The first one I actually saw all of was Princess Ja-myung. Not a great show but good enough to keep me looking for more. I think what hooked me was in Sign when the rookie medical examiner is looking at her first corpse and the veteran trainer says \”It\’s not like a TV show\” according to the subtitles, but in the sound track I could plain-as-day hear \”C.S.I.\”.

Tell us about a job or two that you’ve had in the past.

Taught English in Taiwan for several years after college. Then came back to the US, job hunted for a while and let someone talk me into taking computer classes. Landed a programming job with my current employer back in 1980. Became dept head in, 1989 – but it was a small dept, just me for a while.

Now I have THE BEST MINIMUM-WAGE JOB IN THE WORLD. I\’m part-time, semiretired. The company long-ago got used to me staying late (for computer back-ups) and closing the building, and they don\’t want anyone (else) to have to stay late by themselves – especially if they don\’t have keys 🙂 So now I come in shortly before normal closing time and sit around until the last actual worker is ready to leave. Meanwhile, I go on the internet for computer news, then other news, then cat pictures & kdrama news. I keep a book at my desk in case I finish the whole internet. Don\’t get paid much any more, but I\’m paid for doing things I would do anyway 🙂

Have you ever lived a moment that you thought belonged in a drama?

Nope. I\’m quite lacking in the amnesia & secret sibling departments — unless I have amnesia and forgot the sibling. Haven\’t fallen off a cliff into a river or been framed for murder all week.

People hardly ever put covers on me when I\’m asleep. Lucky I\’m a big boy and can do that for myself.

What’s your favorite drama that you’ve recapped?

Uh…..

What drama genres do you especially like?

Crime/detective, time-travel/fantasy/sci-fi, action, historical. Especially if they can toss in some comedy. Favorite shows include You From Another Star, Girl K, Master\’s Sun, Faith (well, parts of it) and a certain show with mutant offspring. Also anything with Kim So-hyun that doesn\’t involve a water monopoly or a mask.

What drama genres do you especially dislike?

Terminal illness. Makjang. Revenge, law or medicine unless they are done really well. Anything that has the determined heroes up against the overwhelmingly powerful baddies who can fabricate evidence and frame people right up until they forget to do that in the final episode. Except I don\’t get to the final episode unless they are doing a lot of other things right.

Is there a drama character you’ve ever strongly identified with, and why?

I\’m not nearly vain/delusional enough to identify with any lead actors I recall. And I don\’t recall any realistic programmers even among supporting actors.

What drama character would you want to be?

Definitely NOT anybody who gets time-traveled back to before modern medicine & dentistry. And not anybody who gets kicked/slapped/bullied.

Maybe some rich guy whose parents & siblings were not evil, and who wasn\’t a total jerk himself at the start. And whose life is never in danger. Except I can\’t remember any like that.

What was your major in school?

Asian Studies: language & history. Mostly China, some Japan (Korea wasn\’t offered). Hence the teaching English in Taiwan. Doing that was pretty standard for people who studied what I did, before we gave up and found jobs that had nothing to do with our degrees.

What’s a random skill you have?

None. My few skills are deliberately acquired, not random. I used to write a mean month-end gross profit report.

Favorite non-Korean movie and/or TV show?

Buffy + Firefly/Serenity. Recently I\’ve really enjoyed The Last Kingdom (books and TV series). And I\’ve watched most of the NHK taiga-dramas for the last 30 years — I pretend they\’re an extension to my Japanese history in college — just like kdramas teach me about Korea and fill in a gap in my education. Well, sort-of. How else would I have learned that Koreans watch C.S.I.?

Which Hallyu celebrity would you actually want to meet and spend an hour with?

Any pretty actress who speaks English and isn\’t deadly boring in person. I\’m boring enough for two.

Which of the 7 deadly sins would be your undoing? (Pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, or sloth.)

Right now… I\’m gonna have to go with sloth. Which goes well with sitting on my ass watching kdramas. As about 99.99% of staff have figured out.

Your favorite drama has an unholy alliance with your most hated drama and produces a mutant baby drama. Describe the plot.

Strange North Korean doctor uses a talisman to time-jump back a few hundred years, thus escaping certain death while falling off a bridge into a river. Since it wasn\’t a Korean river, that would have been fatal. Champion scholar Kim Bong-do uses the talisman to go back & forth a few times, they fall in lust, and she poisons everyone who comes between him and supreme power. He decides he doesn\’t really need to be loyal to the queen — or go back to the future to be with the ditzy actress.

17
14

    You.are.not.boring. I know nothing about programming and my kids can program me under the table. I know one of your of your dramas is Queen in Hyun’s man, but not been around long enough to know the other. Always enjoy your snarky comments, see you around!

    3
    1

      I’m pretty quiet & boring in person, because:
      1: Other people mostly talk about things I’m not interested in and have nothing to say about.
      2: I need time to think of something to say, and by then the conversation has moved on and I don’t want to interrupt.

      But neither of those apply to Dramabeans comments, so you all see me at my absolute best 🙂

      11
      0

    So Doctor Strange (hated) and W + Queen In Hyun’s Man?

    1
    1

      Doctor Stranger vs Queen In-Hyun’s Man. Wasn’t really thinking of W, although I did really like it.
      I have many co-favorites and a few co-objects-of-hatred coughBloodcough. Picked those two because they’re the ones I could think of a good tie-in for.

      3
      1

        Ah I got the W vibes from “certain death while falling off a bridge into a river” but I guess that part was from Doctor Strange as well 😀

        But same, many co- favourites and co-objects-of-hatred 😛 These 2 do tie in well!

        1
        0

    Nice to get to know you Lord Cobol! Like you, I dislike terminal illness storyline. When I first got to know k-drama way back when, it seemed most female leads were all afflicted with some form of terminal illness that there was a joke going round that S Korea has the highest number of terminal illnesses in the world, and thus not safe to be a Korean woman.

    2
    0

    Fun fact: I always read your username as “Lord Chaebol.”

    5
    1

    Nice to know a little bit more about you Lord Cobol! Thanks for sharing this with us. Always enjoy reading your comments!

    1
    0

    “in case I finish the whole internet.” I love it hahaha
    “And I don\’t recall any realistic programmers even among supporting actors.” *snickers*
    “Since it wasn’t a Korean river, that would’ve been fatal”
    Idk man, from your writing style alone, you’re certainly not boring!!!

    0
    0

    i miss jumong and kim bong doo 😣😣😣
    how can your wall be this long? is it only 200characters? i’m curious hahaha

    0
    1

      The notepad file I pasted from is about 6,000 characters. Note the word “pasted”. That’s the exploit. The 200-char limit doesn’t kick in until you use the keyboard. So if you paste and don’t like what you see, you can’t correct it here – go back to edit the outside file, then paste again.

      Now I’ve tried 2 length-workarounds, huge paste here and short-post-plus-long-replies just below in my rants about Kocowa, etc, etc. I’m interested to see:
      1: Which you guys prefer (I tentatively like the long-reply trick)
      2: Whether Dramabeans is serious enough about 200-characters to close the loopholes.

      0
      1

        i prefer huge paste here trick but i always support dramabeans decision 🤗

        0
        0

    I’m tickled to bits (bytes?) to have gotten to know Lord C. Your dry wit is much appreciated. 😉

    A fellow BUFFY + FIREFLY/SERENITY fan, too. Even better. We’ve been spoiled by Joss Whedon’s memorable dramas set in wonderful ‘verses and populated with exquisitely-drawn characters.

    Asian Studies background with ESL teaching in Taiwan under your belt. Nifty!

    *staggers off to read more recaps*

    0
    0

Kdrama site rants: Season 1
With recent changes to kdrama sites I have too much to say to fit in one post, especially with a 200-character limit. Expect 7 mini-rants below this as I reply to myself.

5
21

    (warm-up) Rant 1: Introduction and Kocowa offerings:

    Kocowa is the new thing in my part of the world, as of mid/late July 2017. They seem to have exclusive access here to the big 3 broadcast networks, but nothing else. No cable shows, no non-Korean shows, and no movies that I can find.

    They offer 3 levels: free “anonymous”, free “membership” and paid “subscriber”.

    Excepts from their web site (as of late July):

    KOCOWA service is available only in North America and South America

    but also

    KOCOWAtv is a worldwide content streaming website

    (perhaps “worldwide” is the long-term plan?)

    Non-members (“Anonymous”) can access limited content released from 3 weeks to 1 year ago with ads.

    Everyone who has signed up (“Members”) can enjoy content on ‘Taste 24hr’ with subtitles. If subtitles are not ready, video clips itself will be uploaded first. Members can access limited content released from 3 weeks to 1 year ago with subtitles and ads.

    and

    ‘Taste 24hr’ is our special offering that allows you to enjoy any Korean drama and TV show immediately after they air in South Korea (KST; UTC/GMT +9 hours).
    All the newest content will be available for 24 hours on KOCOWA without subtitles for those who have signed-up

    You can now be our subscriber for $6.99 a month, or $69.99 a year with one month free! Subscribers can enjoy every K-content on KOCOWA without ads, including exclusive premium member benefits.

    From what appears to be the company that runs Kocowa (https://www.kcpglob.com/)

    “Founded in Los Angeles, CA in November 2016, KCP, a joint venture of three major broadcasters in Korea…”
    “KOCOWA is a premium mega K-Drama platform. We deliver various hit series from KBS, MBC. SBS and other content partner programs.”
    The “glob” in the site name implies global ambitions?
    The “other content partner programs” means they want to get the cable companies too? But haven’t gotten anybody they can talk about yet????

    1
    1

    Rant 2: Kocowa first impressions / mini-review (using Chrome under Windows)

    Their 21-days-to-1-year bit seems awfully restrictive. Couldn’t they let us re-watch older shows for free like other sites?

    Membership requires giving them your name, birthdate and a valid email address. I set up a special email address to check whether or not they spam you. No spam so far.

    You have to register your device(s). It remembers my PC so I don’t have to keep logging in.

    I notice that they mention subtitles for members but not non-members. I saw subtitles in a brief test on a PC that didn’t know I was a “member”.

    The “Taste 24” tab never seems to have anything I want. It often has nothing at all. Shows disappear less than 24 hours after they appear. I guess that new shows appear there when the subtitles are ready and disappear 24 hours after original Korea broadcast (??). Their site seems to contradict itself about subtitles for “members” in Taste 24. When I tested it (as “member”), it had subtitles.

    Picture quality seems good. I don’t see any place where it says what resolution you are seeing, or lets you choose resolutions, but it looks like 1080p to me. Some buffering when I tried to skip around. Subtitles are white against a black background, which is good for visibility.

    Site is a bit annoying – things keep expanding to block my view of other things.

    The free options seem so limited it’s like they are trying harder than Viki or Dramafever to get you to pay. But they charge more than Viki or DF for less total content (remember, no cable or non-Korean stuff, just broadcast TV from SBS, KBS & MBC).

    Overall, the world was a better place before Kocowa existed, when your Viki or DF subscription would get you broadcast shows too and a k-drama fanatic would need only two subscriptions instead of 3. Thumbs down.

    (Actually, if Netflix keeps getting internet exclusives, it might be 4 paysites to get same content you used to get from 2 sites. Twice the money for the same stuff. Hmmm, big business’ idea of progress).

    1
    1

      I feel your pain!!!!! I have ranted quite a bit about Kocowa. The bane of my existence. 😡😒😤😩😫

      0
      0

    (mini) Rant 3: Dramafever & Viki:

    Dramafever:
    Sometimes it lets me watch old shows and sometimes it blocks me with messages that I should click to download and install Flash. Haven’t figured out a pattern. A little google-fu reveals other people having the same problem.

    1: Never let any web site install anything. That’s basic computer security 101. Ugh! Never!
    2: I actually had Flash in my browser, set to click to play. In the past other sites have let me do that instead of stopping before that point.
    3: Flash is going away. Even Adobe has given up. Requiring it for new shows in 100% silly.
    4: I developed a passionate hatred of Flash long before the world decided to kill it, way back in my days of reading about security holes in it and being responsible for PC updates and security at work.

    I don’t understand why they sometimes block me and sometimes don’t. But if they ever want my money they’ll have to assure me that they will be eternally 100% Flash-free.

    Viki:
    I have used them in the past and been happy. But recently they had nothing that I wanted to see except for some paid exclusives. Sigh.

    Now I’m not sure what’s in store for either site. I halfway expect Kocowa to eventually get the cable channels and movies too and leave Viki and DF with only non-Korean content. (Since the “Ko” in “Kocowa” stands for “KOrea”, I don’t expect Kocowa to go non-Korea).

    1
    2

      The flash thing is SUPER annoying. I’ve taken to watching it on mobile. Still reading your rant but I 100% feel your frustration. It’s getting so hard to get all the content in one place.

      0
      0

      My renewals for both sites are due in November. I’m currently weighing my options for now. Definitely agree with your rants so far!

      0
      0

    Rant 4: Recent changes to unofficial sites

    Starting a few months ago, many “unofficial” free ad-supported sites have gone downhill.
    Sites that used to have 1080p now only have 720p. Sites that used to offer downloads either stopped offering them or they didn’t work. Streaming had more freezes. One time it took somebody almost 2 hours to get thru 5 minutes of one show 🙁

    Or so I hear. Not that I would know personally. Cough.

    I somehow doubt that it is a coincidence that so many sites started having issues at about the same time, shortly before Kocowa opened for business but after they were founded. I suspect some concerted effort to kill off the unofficial sites so everybody would have to sign up for Kocowa when it appeared. No non-circumstancial evidence, just suspicions. Note to conspirators everywhere: don’t try to sneak anything past kdrama fans. We’ve seen all the tricks.

    FWIW, here are some sites that have been “reliably reported” to have shown “somebody” malicious ads over the past few years:
    dramanice
    dramacool
    myasiantv
    dramafire
    kiss asian ?
    The bad ones have all been pop-ups that open in new browser tabs. Some actually block you from closing the tab or the browser – but (trust me) DON’T click on anything in the new tab. You have to reboot or go into task manager to abort your browser. Not 100% sure about Kiss asian because I dropped them as soon as they started showing popups, without looking at the contents.

    For sites that offer a choice of servers, the server may matter more than the main site. For example, Dramacool recently offered 6 servers for the same show; 3 were bad and 3 were nice, but ony one of the nice ones would actually play the episode. You may see different servers offered for different shows.

    Unofficial sites I know of that have not (yet) been caught being bad:
    newasiantv
    viewasiantv

    1
    2

      Oh, I’m going to check out viewasiantv right now. Was wondering what unofficial sites I could resort to given this mess. Thanks.

      0
      0

      I use the unofficial sites and having an Adblock installed removes all the ads!!

      I agree with the 720vs1080 🙁 dramacool offered it until a few weeks ago when they changed servers

      0
      1

        Ummm… It’s a little awkward talking about ad-blockers on an ad-supported site, but…

        I always use an adblocker on unofficial sites. The malicious ads I see popping up in a new tab ALL got there DESPITE THE AD-BLOCKER.

        FWIW, at the time I was using Adblock. Now I’m using Adblock Plus. Plain Adblock seems to also block the “follow” and “favorite” buttons at the top of a fan or show page on Dramabeans. I knew they were supposed to exist but I never actually saw them and didn’t know what was wrong until someone here mentioned that adblockers can mess them up.

        Just don’t ask me why Adblock thinks those buttons are ads.

        But DO ask Google if they really think a tab should be permitted to prevent you from closing the tab or the browser until you respond to the question the tab is asking. Responding in any way WILL let it plant crap on your PC and extra quality time with some cleanup programs. Not cool, Google.

        0
        0

    Rant 5: Why I prefer downloading instead of streaming:

    Partly for a slightly better playback experience (using VLC on a desktop)
    1: Re the UI that pops up when you move the mouse or press a key: In VLC full-screen mode, you can move it so it doesn’t cover the subtitles 🙂 When not full screen, it appears below the picture instead of covering the lower part. Some streaming players also do that and some make the UI transparent (really good in full-screen mode too) but some hide the lower part of the picture, where subs live. That stinks. Are you listening, Kocowa? Have your programmers & site designers take a look at Viewasian.
    2: The UI can be customized with mouse buttons for skip forward/back, slow-mo, frame-by-frame, etc.
    3: More control over window size and zooming.
    4: No freezes or buffering ever – even when I jump around.

    MOSTLY because I have had too much trouble in the past with unreliable internet connections. It’s better now, but I used to have several outages a day, until the cable company finally fixed the right wiring, which took over a year. Between my calls and calls from neighbors who had the same problem, it took them about 20 tries – they get an “A” for effort and an “F” for diagnostic skills). So for most of my internet kdrama days, streaming was a nightmare. Downloading was relatively painless because my browser could restart from where it died much more easily than I could find my place after a stream died. And anyway when a download died I would be watching something else I had downloaded before, so my viewing wasn’t disrupted. I’ll never trust any ISP not to screw up and drag me back to those bad old days.

    Also because once I have a download, I can re-watch it as many times as I want for as many years as I want, without having to worry about internet failures or licensing changes or sites going out of business, or possible future data caps, or anything. Give me a big hard disk and a decent backup system (both of which I have), and I don’t have to worry about ANYTHING. Ever.

    I understand why content owners would loathe downloads because of piracy concerns, but we aren’t all pirates and they just piss us off if they treat us like pirates. I’d be willing to pay about twice as much for DRM-free downloads as I would pay for streaming only (assuming that they had the same titles and resolutions both ways). And I’d be more willing to pay something/anything to people who I think are treating me right. People like me could make up the money they loose by piracy. And everything gets pirated anyway even if they try to stop it.

    So if content owners are upset about piracy and bootleg sites, don’t just look at pricing. Look at features too. Hire good programmers and never, NEVER hide the subtitles.

    3
    0

    Rant 6: Monopolies and semi-monopolies

    The free unofficial sites I know of mostly seem to be better for their “customers” than the free ad-supported versions of the official sites. And as far as I can tell until recently they were also better than the paid versions of the official sites, at least in terms of features I care about. And I don’t mean “better” as in “cheaper”, I mean better, period.

    So why are they better? I don’t mean what features make them better; it’s more like “why do they even have those features?”

    Long ago (maybe 35 years?) I read about a study someone had done to try to figure how many competitors needed to be in a field for there to be real competition. They analized the behavior of companies in I forget exactly how many industries / regions / time-periods (but it was a lot). I think the magic number they came up with was 5, maybe 4. More than that and competitors would actually compete for market share. Less than that and “competitors” would concentrate on making more money off each customer, instead of trying to gain customers. Not exactly what I would call competing.

    (If you are in the U.S., think about that the next time you check your cable bill).

    Count the number of official kdrama sites in your part of the world. Then count the unofficial sites, including the ones I have mentioned. Take a wild guess which category has the most competition.

    It’s even worse than you would think from those numbers if you consider the exclusive shows. Even if there are 3 official sites in your area, most of the shows you want will probably be exclusive to just one of them for a while – if it’s Kocowa, possibly forever. So your 3-player almost-monopoly is on a show-by-show basis often a complete monopoly. Then why should they bother with user-friendly playback or search features when their business model consists largely of buying exclusive rights to shows and then holding them ransom for collecting your subscription fees? The competition is in bidding, not playing.

    Ok, I’m overstating it a little. But only a little.

    Paysites as a group would probably serve viewers better if exclusives were abolished, all official sites could license everything they were willing to pay for, and they had to compete on price and features instead of “who licensed the big hit this season”.

    4
    0

    Rant 9999 (final episode): So what do I do now?

    First, in a fantasy world where unofficial sites went legit with no-ad pay options and went back to working like they used to (with 1080P downloads), I would sign up for one of them and not Viki, Dramafever or Kocowa.

    In the real world:
    1: I’m stalling while I wait to see which sites gain or lose which content, disappear, or add features, etc.

    2: Subscribing at the lower annual rate is 100% NOT an option. Maybe later, but not until things settle down. If you think I’m grumpy now, picture how I’d be if I paid for a year of Dramafever to get TVN shows, and then TVN switched to Kocowa.

    3: Even monthly paid subscriptions aren’t in my plans unless something changes. None of the 3 official sites currently offer enough to be worth their prices to me. Maybe if one site had ALL the kdrama channels. Plus movies. Or offered downloads. Or lowered their prices. Meanwhile I have other options for free/cheap entertainment, like finding cat pictures or checking out e-books from the library to read on my Kindle.

    4: Every extra site you give your credit card info to is one more place that can leak it. 3 pay sites are worse than 2; 2 are worse than 1. Paying the same total amount to 1 company is safer than splitting it 3 ways no matter what you think of the prices.

    5: I’m watching fewer kdramas than I used to. Reading more. Grumbling more. Typing rants. Spending more time on news sites because I obviously need even more to be depressed/angry about besides kdrama site changes.

    6: I might give up on watching shows when they are new, and watch them 1080p on Kocowa 21 days after they end, so I can binge properly. But that would mean I couldn’t comment intelligently on Dramabeans recaps. (Yes, I’m giving you all an opening to comment that I don’t comment intelligently anyway). Or I might just read dramabeans without watching the shows.

    Now off to read a library book on my Kindle.

    2
    2

      Great rants–I’ve only ever streamed until I went in a trip and that was my first foray into downloading. I’ve found unofficial sites pretty reliable so far for streaming, until just recently. Are the other official sites targeting them, you think? I’m always wondering how long those sites will stay up. The unofficial ones, I mean. However, if others feel the way you do about those official sites, they may not be around either due to not having enough subscribers.

      1
      0

      I support all your rants and especially #9999 point 5. I’m watching much less and I’m worried. How the ‘world’s most wired country’ rolled out a mess like kocowa beats the hell out of me.

      Have you shared your rants with kocowa? I complained two weeks ago and did get a (non automated) reply, so I’d think it can’t hurt to barrage them with comments.

      2
      1

        Haven’t communicated with them yet – might eventually bitch at them about hiding subtitles, but it would be a bit awkward to tell them I wish they didn’t exist.

        They might know what beanies in general think of them anyway. It wouldn’t surprise me if an English-language kdrama site checks Dramabeans occasionally. Also, there might be some other contact (??). At the bottom of the KCP site (linked in rant 1) they mention “global partners” and show the Dramabeans logo. So there might be some “hey, partner” conversations going on that I wish I could listen in on.

        1
        1

          Boy, I hope so. I told them they were too expensive and also needed to be talking to DB about what they’re trying to do.

          0
          0

    If you copy and paste (Via click, not CTL V) you can cheat the 200 character limit.

    And… uh… well said.

    2
    0

    Rant hack: You can post more than 200 characters if you type it somewhere else and just paste it in. That’s how I do it! haha

    2
    1

      I know. I just wanted to break it up and I thought replies would be better than separate posts — make clear that they were related and not have to post the last first in order to have them show in correct order. Also lets me hide the replies so the whole thing doesn’t take a zillion pages and push everything else out of view.

      And everything was pasted in anyway. Original draft was about 10 days ago, in Notepad.

      4
      0

BTW, that\’s the same (gray) cat in both pics above. Seems sunlight reflecting off wood fences faked out my camera\’s color sense.

2
3

    Lord Cobol –

    Kitty is reminding me of that dress issue that went viral last year. ….. For days people were going back and forth on whether one particular dress was blue and black or white and gold.

    2
    0

    I like your cat.

    1
    0

    Oooh I love cats.

    0
    0