Kevin C. Wong

My Demon (2024) [+]

My Demon is a Korean romance/drama starring Kim Yoo-jung (Clean with Passion for Now and Backstreet Rookie both very good) and Song Kang (who I haven't seen before).

Do Do-hee (Kim) is CEO of Mirae F&B, a dessert company. One night she is targeted by a serial killer and Jeong Gu-won (Song), a mysterious stranger shows up to "save" her. But he wants to offer her a deal in order to save her and before they can do that they end up pushed into the cold river and miraculously survive.

Turns out Gu-won is a demon who, for the past 200 years, has made deals with desperate people: a wish is granted but after ten years the wisher is sent to hell. But due to the accident his power tattoo ends up on Do-hee, who can't use those powers herself but if he grabs her wrist he can access his powers.

Do-hee's mother dies, perhaps murdered, leaving the Mirae Group (parent company of Mirae F&B) chair to Do-hee if she marries within a year. This makes the rest of the Noh family members quite angry since Do-hee is an adopted "sister". There is a further attempt on Do-hee's life and now that Do-hee knows Gu-won is a demon she enlists him as a bodyguard in return for helping him get his tattoo back.

Later they get "married" so she can secure the CEO of Mirae Group and forced to be together they develop feelings for each other...

Typical Asian romantic series. Very good production with more special effects than usual. Kim Yoo-jung is brilliant in these roles. There is a bit of deus ex machina in the last episode which I found more jarring than usual (spoiler: he dies and she grieves for an episode then she wishes him alive and suddenly he's back and there is no setup for this nor real reason why he comes back).

Did like this series though, as a commentary, now that I think of it most of these romance series the man is wealthier or has more power yet is emotionally detached and it's the (usually younger) woman who brings out his emotional side. Exceptions are The Rational Life (2021) which reverses the gender/age roles and Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha (2021) which partially reverses the gender roles.

Backgammon, Checkers, Chess on Apple Arcade

Backgammon+ (2021) [/] from Adikus is a nice looking board game on Apple Arcade. You can play vs computer, PvP on the same device, online vs a random opponent, online vs a friend. You can play a series of games and have a doubling cube, which I've heard is how you turn this mostly random game into a game of skill.

Checkers Royal+ (2021) [/] from Gamma Play Limited has quite a bit more customization than Backgammon+. You can choose ruleset (different countries have different rules) or use custom rules, change board size (6x6, 8x8, 10x10), change board and piece design, and there are five difficulty levels. PvP on the same device but no online play. So a better game than Backgammon+.

Really Bad Chess+ (2021) [+] from Zach Gage. Apple Arcade doesn't have a chess game (and is the best site with a good enough app). Really Bad Chess is a chess variant where each side starts with random pieces and piece layout (though the Kings are set). The better you get the worse pieces you get and the better pieces meanwhile the AI doesn't get better or worse. I really like that when a piece is taken the taking piece has a little icon showing what piece was taken. Overall this is a simple concept and well done.

Spot Reviews 01/26/24

The Marvels (2023) [+] After their powers become entangled Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris), and Ms Marvel (Iman Vellani) team up gallivanting across the galaxy trying to stop the Kree leader Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton) from destroying three planets in order to save her homeworld… It’s a fun intragalactic action film reminiscent of Thor’s space movie. The biggest problem is that Monica and Ms Marvel’s backstories were more developed in WandaVision (where Monica got her powers) and Ms Marvel (which has her origin story) and if you haven’t seen those then this movie doesn’t really try to catch you up.

Invasion (2021 TV Series) [/] A global catastrophe strikes Earth and we see the results through the eyes of four people: Aneesha (Golshifteh Farahani), a mother of two who is afraid her neighbors will think it’s 9-11 again and attack her family out of fear; Trevante Cole (Shamier Anderson), a US soldier in Afghanistan whose squad is wiped out by a mysterious floating thing; Mitsuki (Shioli Kutsuna), a comm tech at Japan’s space agency investigating the loss of a Japanese crew traveling to the ISS; Caspar (Billy Barratt), a bullied English high-school-type student who is stranded with his classmates when their bus crashes in a remote area of England… After three episodes it’s moving a bit too slowly for me and it doesn’t help that half the stories are not that interesting.

Loki season 2 (2023) [-] Loki season 1 was quite good. Come back a couple of years alter and season 2 is a bit of a mess. The Time Variance Authority HQ is going to be destroyed because all the new timelines are overloading the flux capacitor (or whatever). Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is randomly shifting through time and using that opportunity to gather the people he needs to fix the problem. It’s a bit of a confusing deus ex machina ending which I had to research to understand what actually happened. Just a rather disappointing ending to the series.

Trader Joe’s Step Up To The Snack Bar Mix [/] $6 for a 12 oz can of mixed mostly non-nuts: honey mustard pretzel pieces, honey roasted peanuts, corn chips, cheddar cheese crackers, sesame sticks, chili lemon corn sticks. It’s good for the price though I guess I’d rather have mixed nuts.

SP!ING (2021) [/] Apple Arcade game where you try to collect all the gems on a level and make it to the exit while avoiding obstacles and traps. Anchor points are located in various places. Tap and hold and your ball attaches to the nearest anchor point and then revolves around it. Release at the right time to fling your ball, which can bounce off walls and is affected by gravity. Simple mechanics though requires timing and if you die you restart the level.

Love and Leashes (2022) [+]

Love and Leashes is a Korean sexy romantic comedy movie. Ji-woo (Seohyun) is sort of the emotionless hard worker at her office who accidentally discovers new guy Ji-hoo's (Lee Jun-young) secret: he's into BDSM, specifically being a Sub.

Because she treats this non-judgmentally Ji-hoo is encouraged to ask her if she could be his Dom. They enter into a three-month contract and Ji-woo treats it like an experimental hobby. She studies then does it to Ji-hoo and slowly learns about the lifestyle. And somewhere along the way she starts to have more romantic feeling for Ji-hoo...

The BDSM is sexy. There's a lot of narration, as if from the BDSM web site they both read, explaining the various terms and situations and what each partner is getting out of their role. I like that this is neither a sex film nor a sex-is-bad film, nor is it a romantic comedy with BDSM flavor. It's BDSM as a positive lifestyle choice.

Apple Arcade - Easy Come Easy Golf (2021) [+]

Easy Come Easy Golf is a golf game from ClapHanz.

As a golf game it's fairly traditional. There are different 9-hole courses (all original so no recreating real-world courses). Standard fairway, rough, bunkers, water, green. There is wind and rain. In making a shot you choose a club, adjust left or right, then either triple tap (start meter, stop at correct shot strength, then stop at correct left or right though you might want to hook or slice the shot) or do a slide down and flick up touch UI which I found difficult.

Crowd cheers or gasps. You have a caddy giving you encouragements. The courses get progressively tougher.

The strength of the game is you have a stable of characters. The 9-hole game is actually teams of 9 players and each player plays one hole. Each character has three different stats (distance, control, putting), a favorite club and a favorite disadvantage (e.g. maybe they're better getting out of a bunker than usual). Characters gain experience and level up and you collect more character as you go along.

Each character is quite distinct and has a range of costumes you can collect (and each costume also has different colors you can collect) -- and by collect means you play against that character in one of three challenges (distance, closest to hole, or match play which could go 9 holes). Character behavior -- when they make a shot, when a good or bad shot lands, when they make birdie, par, or bogey -- can change depending on their costume which is nice variety. Also costumes and colors are important because they increase the maximum level that character can achieve.

There is also online play. A weekly tournament where you can keep trying and submit your best score. You can create a room and invite your friends to play, or play on the same device. You can also play random people.

Main game play is Tour Mode where you play courses for stars, have a stage boss (which becomes a new character in your team), and unlock harder courses. Two other game modes: Survival where you keep going trying to make the shot count for each hole; Score Attack where you play 9 holes with one character.

Overall a fun game that plays like a real computer golf game with fun characters.

Spot Reviews 01/19/24

A Nice Girl Like You (2020) [-] Romantic comedy film. After her boyfriend breaks up with her because she’s very bad at sex Lucy Neal (Lucy Hale) makes a sex list of things she needs to do or improve in herself. This leads her to some embarrassing situations wherein this guy, Grant (Leonidas Gulaptis) always happens to be around to witness. This leads to attraction? I didn’t watch that long because people doing embarrassing things is not that appealing.

A Time Called You (2023) [-] Korean mystery/romance drama on Netflix. In 2023 Han Jun-hee (Jeon Yeo-been) is a young professional still in mourning a year after her boyfriend Koo Yeon-jun (Aha Hyo-seop) probably died in an airliner crash (his was one of the few bodies never found). Through some magical mean she’s transported to 1998 inhabiting the body of high schooler Kwon Min-ju (who looks like a younger Jun-hee) and Min-ju has a crush on fellow student Nam Si-heon (who looks like Yeon-jun). At the end of episode three Jun-hee is transported back to find that her actions in 1998 have apparently changed her life in 2023… This series is a bit more serious than I wanted to watch. It’s a little depressing at times, not romantic at all. Also the time travel stuff is a bit confusing.

Anti-Submarine Warfare (1984) [/] This book by Rear Admiral JR Hill, RN (retired) is an overview of submarines and the way to combat them as of the early 1980’s. Chapters include (1) introduction - history, (2) threat - submarine capabilities focusing on the Soviet Navy, (3) means - ways of detecting and destroying submarines, (4) weapons - ships, aircraft and weapons, (5) anti-submarine battle - the common scenarios from a NATO perspective: protecting convoys and maintaining barriers like the GIUK gaps, (6) epilogue - short cautionary anecdote about over-reliance on one ASW system, (7) bibliography - mostly articles and papers since there are few other ASW books… This was a lot of stuff I didn’t know about and covered at a level for the general public and I found it a useful read.

Young Hellboy: The Hidden Land (2021) [-] Set in 1947, Professor Broom and a young Hellboy (like a 10-year old kid) crash land in the Pacific Ocean and end up on a Lost World type island with dinosaurs and a jungle girl protector. But an evil vampire awakens to claim the island for her own… For a four-issue series it has little plot, setup is good but that last issue a bit anti-climactic. Overall I found it rather dull.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and the Horse (2022) [+]

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse is a half hour animated children's story based on a book. The Boy (Jude Coward Nicoll) is lost in a snowy wilderness. He meets The Mole (Tom Hollander) -- all animals talk -- who is willing to help The Boy find his way home.

They meet The Fox (Idris Elba) who at first wants to eat them. But The Fox falls into a river and is rescued by The Boy. Afterwards The Fox follows behind, part of the group and yet apart.

The trio meet steadfast The Horse (Gabriel Byrne) who gives them all a ride towards a village. At night The Horse is a bit philosophical.

Once they reach the village though The Boy decides he'd rather stay with his three friends. The End.

It's a nice slow moving story with not much going on. Pleasing animation and there's not a huge amount of dialog either. It's a short holiday story that's good for the spirit.

Apple Arcade - Cozy Grove (2021) [/]

Cozy Grove is a kid's level survive on an island and craft stuff game. You are on a haunted island but you're here to help the ghosts resolve their issues and move on. That involves collecting stuff on the island, sometimes combining stuff, which then opens up new areas and brings more ghosts out. Each ghost has a story that is told as you complete missions for that ghost.

Navigation is simple and works well with a controller or touch. Items are usually easy to find -- even though there might be lots of visual elements as you move around the ones that would block your view fade out. And there are lots of ghost kids and creatures wandering about doing their things which makes for a visually interesting experience.

Graphics and sound are professional. It's a low stress game -- you can't die and there are no time limits. Not really my kind of game but it's quite polished.

Spot Reviews 01/12/24

Hannah Waddingham Home for Christmas (2023) [/] I’ve only seen her in Ted Lasso but turns out Waddingham is a stage singer and this special has her singing Christmas songs by herself and with guests and also has Ted Lasso co-starts making appearances. Not the usual Christmas songs you hear in America but maybe they’re traditional UK Christmas songs. It’s a nice holiday program.

Fingernails (2023) [-] Indie science fiction romance drama movie streaming on Apple TV+. Set in the near future when there’s a scientific fingernail test that can determine if two people love each other (or one loves and the other does not). Anna (Jessie Buckley) and Ryan (Jeremy Allen White) are a happy couple who say they don’t need the test to tell if they’re in love. But Anna has doubts and she starts working at a love institute that teaches couples how to fall in love and she uses those techniques on Ryan. But meanwhile she starts to fall for coworker Amir (Riz Ahmed) who seems to be more of a personality match for her… I think I watched about half an hour. It’s an interesting concept but the characters were a bit dull to me.

Snapdragon Thai Basil Chicken [/] - This is premade and comes in two packets, each with seven servings (more like 4 servings each). Not a bad amount of chicken and the sauce is fine. Not what I’ call especially tasty but serviceable enough.

Itty Bitty Hellboy (2014) [/] This 5-issue comic book series presents Hellboy and company as newspaper syndicated comic strip-style kid characters doing kid things and a humor level to match. Good presentation though the material is for a much younger audience (that somehow knows Hellboy mythology since the characters are not explained, they are just there) or the older dad crowd that appreciates kid humor.

Golda (2023) [+]

Golda covers Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir (Helen Mirren) and her cabinet during the Yom Kippur War. From the decision whether or not to mobilize troops (there had been previous false alarms as the Arab states tried to wear down Israeli economy), then sending them in unsuccessful attacks due to new Arab tactics, relieving Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan (Rami Heuberger) when he had a breakdown, calling and playing hardball with US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (Liev Schreiber) in order to get military aid, to the final cease fire, we see Meir as an aging leader being strong for her country whilst the death eats at her inside.

It's a small movie and a drama but I still like the behind the scenes of the Israeli cabinet during the war. This is one of the rare films I watched all the way through in one go.

The Giants Encyclopedia (1999) [+]

The Giants Encyclopedia (1999, 2003) is a big 500+ page hardcover book covering the history of the San Francisco Giants from founding in New York to the present (1999 season for first edition and I saw that there is a 2003 edition that goes to 2002).


Through the Years - Year by year history. Season record, placement, manager, and attendance. Half to a couple of pages describing the season. A lot of it seems like box score statistics (baseball is great in that you can have a scorecard that pretty much describes what happened during a game) and season statistics written out in narrative form though a lot also seems to be from newspaper sources and historical records.

Owners and Executives - Biographies of owners, general managers, and some long-time employees.

Prominent Managers

Players Roll Call - A big section with lots of significant players. I think as long as they had at least a couple of significant seasons with the Giants they are included so you do get players that were good for a few years but better with other teams.

Famous Broadcasters

World Series Stories - Each World Series written up narratively with statistics if available (early WS's only have box scores, later also have player game statistics.

Playoff Pictures - Sort of the same as World Series chapter but since baseball playoffs are more recent this is a shorter chapter than you'd think.

No Hitters - Each no-hitter game gets a story section.

Ballparks and Stadiums


Appendices - 150+ pages of lists and statistics including career Giants statistics for many (all?) players.

Overall this is a great resource for San Francisco Giants fans who want to know the history. Writing style is readable and the content is interesting.

Spot Reviews 01/05/24

Mannequin (1987) [+] Department store display artist Jonathan (Andrew McCarthy) discovers Emmy (Kim Cattrall), an ancient Egyptian girl trapped in a mannequin comes to live if he’s the only one around. With Emmy’s help Jonathan turns around the fortunes of a failing department store but the competitor store will do whatever it takes to stop him… Rewatched this movie and it’s not bad for late 80’s.

Angel of Christmas (TV Movie 2015) [-] Journalist Susan (Jennifer Finnigan) was dumped on Christmas so now hates the holiday but she gets the chance to write a story about a town with a magical Christmas Angel that brings true love… Hallmark romance tv movie starring with Jonathan Scarfe as the love interest. I watched a few minutes but it wasn’t immediately interesting.

Haidilao Hot Pot, Cupertino [/] Apparently a world-wide chain of hot pot restaurants. In this one you have four containers, each with a soup base or water, and you dip your meats and vegetables to cook them (thinly sliced so that they cook in like 30 seconds, fish takes longer). There is a sauce bar where you can make a sauce for your food - various dry and liquid ingredients, I used chopped garlic, cilantro, green onions, diced beef and peanuts, soy sauce and another sauce, actually turned out good. Also a small salad-type bar (more Asian than American-style). Two desserts plus soft-serve ice cream. A performer came out to entertain the room for about 20 minutes. Overall a good dining experience with friends even if I’m not that into hot pot.

Arracourt — September 1944 (1982) [/] This is a thesis paper by Major Richard H Barnes studying the battle and comparing the opposing forces: US 4th Armored Division and German Fifth Panzer Army. It’s a scholarly work not intended for a mass audience but still fairly readable. Lots of maps and diagrams though the reproduction renders them hard to read. Lots of end notes and a nice bibliography if you want to read more. I probably got this link when BCS Arracourt game was released.

Wingwomen (2023) [+]

Wingwomen is a French current-day heist film with a trio of women protagonists.

Carole (Mélanie Laurent) and Alex (Adèle Exarchopoulos) are partners -- Carole is the planner/doer and Alex is tech and weapons support -- specializing in break in and stealing very valuable items for their employer Marraine (Isabelle Adjani). After their last heist Carole wants to retire but Marraine won't let them unless they do one more job in Sicily. For that they'll need a third person and so they recruit Sam (Manon Bresch) as a driver.

I like it because there is a good friendship between Carole and Alex. Sam starts out as the outsider but eventually becomes another friend. The final heist is kind of funny because things keep going wrong and the trio have to improvise. There are some action scenes and not too many people are killed. The film does a good job on a lowish budget.

Survival Z (2021) [+]

Survival Z is a zombie apocalypse action/rpg that plays great with a controller.

Choose a character and a scenario. The overview map gives you several choices of paths to take and the paths branch and can remerge. You will have to hit several nodes and a node can be: healing, free item, rescue companion, zombies, tougher zombies, end fight.

In a zombie fight there is a 2-1/2 D playing area that spans farther than the screen so you scroll about some. Zombies enter from multiple entry points in waves. Before the start of a wave you see where zombies are entering and can set up items which zombies drop when you kill them: Sandbags to block zombies, exploding barrels to kill them, automatic machine guns (good behind sandbags), etc. When the action starts you only have to move, firing is automatic at nearest zombies.

Rescue companion is regular zombie level but if you rescue the companion it's a playable character and for the rest of the scenario they will fight zombies independently of you (and if they die you can revive them).

Zombies also drop coins and you use coins to upgrade your weapons and items and the upgrades stick from scenario to scenario. When you die you lose most of your items and are back to basics and have to restart the scenario.

It's a fun light game.

Oops. This game removed from Apple Arcade Dec 19th so will probably stop working in a couple of weeks.