Monday, March 27, 2017

Tales from the Bookshelf: Comics, Comics, Comics

This month has been all about reading comics on Hoopla. I've known about this service for months now, but didn't bother downloading it until recently. Don't be like me - get it now! If you're a comic reader and not using the Hoopla app, you're really missing out. They also have ebooks, audio books, movies, music, and shows - however I've found their comic selection is the most impressive. Hoopla is not run through your library (meaning they don't just carry the same stuff your library carries), but you will need a library card to sign up. The only downside is that they limit the amount of materials you can borrow each month; but it's all free so can I really complain? My account allows me to borrow 6 titles per month, but this number will vary depending on which library your card is from. Here are the titles I read this month!

Jughead, Vol. 1
👽👽👽👽 (4 stars - err, aliens)

Riverdale High provides a quality education and quality hot lunches, but when one of those is tampered with, JUGHEAD JONES swears vengeance! Well, I mean, he doesn't "swear." This is still Archie Comics after all.

This is a volume I wanted to get the last two times I was at the comic book store, but ended up being persuaded to get other volumes instead (those being Archie vol. 1 (review on that here!) and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina vol. 1, both very good). I figured the library was more likely to get this one in at some point so I could wait for that, but they never did. Luckily Hoopla had it, and lots of other Archie comics, if that's your thing.

If you're a Jughead fangirl (like meee) then you will love this series. If you're not, I'd say it will be enjoyable for you, but not quite so much. I say this because the storytelling has some faults, but if you're enjoying the other aspects of the story enough then those faults aren't as prevalent. It was a little hard to follow at times. There was a bunch of mini stories hidden within one big story arc, and the main story often got lost in the shuffle. If you used to read the original Archie Digests then you'll recognize this format. So it isn't bad, seeing as I read those digests for years and years, but I was kind of hoping it'd be a bit different, and similar to the treatment everyone got in the new Archie series, but less Betty/Veronica drama. In a way this felt like the Jughead Digests, but with an updated look and not $3 in the grocery store checkout line. I don't feel the need to own this volume, but I'll definitely be reading volume 2!

Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 & 3
👽👽 (2 aliens)

Tensions rise between humans and robots in this sci-fi/drama set in the near future. Alex took a huge risk to unlock Ada and it seems to have paid off - Ada can now think for herself and explore life as a sentient android. As Alex and Ada spend more time together, they become closer. But as restrictions tighten on androids, Ada feels unsure about her place in Alex's life and the world.

I started this series last year, when I found vol. 1 at the library. For whatever reason they never decided to get the rest of the series, even though there was only two more volumes and they had already been out for awhile by then. So when vol. 2 showed up on my recommended reading on Hoopla, I was surprised! I had forgotten I needed to finish this series.

Unfortunately, the rest of the series wasn't very good. In vol. 1 Alex goes back and forth on if he should "unlock" his android, Ada. But now that she's unlocked it gets kind of boring. She has to sit around the house all day so no one suspects she's sentient. Then they go through the typical "I have feelings for you - but I can't - your a robot!" spiel. Later in vol. 3 there's some robo-politics involved, but that's boring too. Maybe because I'm just getting tired of reading about politics >_>

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3: Commercial Suicide
👽 (1 sad alien)

After the detonation of FANDEMONIUM the gods-as-pop-stars of THE WICKED + THE DIVINE try living in the long dark shadow. Team WicDiv are joined by a stellar cast of guest artists to put the spotlight on each of the gods. The multiple Eisner Award nominated series continues in the only way it knows how: darker, weirder, faster. Don't worry. It's going to be okay.

I need someone to tell me why they like this series, because I know a lot of you do. I read volume 1 and 2 and was like, "these are ok, but I don't love them" (I really like the character designs, though). So I started vol. 3 and now I'm not sure if I even want to continue this series. I understand it was sort of a weird time for the series, with all the guest artists and everything, but I dunno guys. Learning more about what happened to Lucy was cool, but that's about it. All the different art styles was so distracting - I couldn't focus on what was going on. Plus one of the few reasons I kept reading this series was to see what happens to our girl Laura - who isn't even in this volume. It's mostly just filler to give you a little backstory on the Gods - and even then they don't actually do a whole lot.

What I'll probably read next:
- Jughead vol. 2
- Paper Girls vol. 1
- Sex Criminals vol. 3

(All on Hoopla, naturally.)

What have you been reading lately? What are your favorite resources for comic book reading?

Sunday, March 12, 2017

March Small Goals

I'm just gonna ignore the fact that I haven't done one of these posts since November.

Even though we're already almost 2 weeks into the month, I sill wanted to take a few and address some things I'm hoping to accomplish this month. Sometimes it helps writing them all down to keep myself accountable ;)

1. Give bridesmaids their color swatches. So I haven't talked about wedding stuff in forever - but I finally have a wedding date! Yay! I also asked all my bridesmaids, and they said yes. Another yay! I picked out some color swatches for their dresses, but I keep forgetting to give them out - boo! And that is about all of the wedding related things I have done so far hahah.

2. Work out 4 times a week. So recently my mom gifted me a gym membership until my wedding! Super yay! We already decided to go 3 days a week, but now that we're getting into that habit I also want to incorporate a 4th workout day into my week, but I would probably do that one at home. So I'd probably put on an exercise video, or lift my weight thingies or something. If you'd like to learn more about my trials and tribulations of a new gym-goer, join us on Powerpuff Bloggers for all the whining you can handle!

3. Make crock-pot freezer meals. My mom helped me prep the meals, we used some recipes she likes and portioned them out into freezer baggies. Tomorrow I'm going to try one out! My goal was to still be able to eat home cooked meals even on the days that I'm at work all day and don't feel like cooking when I come home (which is most days tbh). So in the morning I'll dump one of the baggies in my crock-pot and when I come home - ta-dah! Food is ready. Such a new and novel concept, I know.

4. Schedule an eye appointment. I've been seriously putting this one off. The eye appointment itself isn't terrible...but after eye appointments you have to deal with (and spend too much money) on getting new frames or lenses (or both) which I don't want to do. Getting new frames is always fun, but this time I'm going to look into just getting the lenses updated in my current pair. I like my current frames more than any other pair I've had, and they're still in great condition, so why change them?

What are your goals this month?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Valentine Swapping!

Two posts in two weeks! Yeah!

Last month I set up a Valentines Day card swap for the lovely girls in the Geek Girls x Bloggers group on Facebook! A little back story...

Late in January I found these Parks & Rec valentines on Etsy. I love them! Galentines Day is the best, and I wanted an excuse to get the cards and send them out. Well, last year, a couple of other girls hosted a valentine card swap (lots of fun, you can read about it here). So I went to the group and asked if anyone was planning on hosting another swap this year. No one said they were (and I was secretly fishing for someone to offer, but we're all busy, I get it). Instead there was a lot of "that sounds fun!" and "sign me up!" So I was like, ok, I guess I'm the one doing it this year. Hahah! I need to learn to take matters into my own hands when I want something, and I guess this is a good representation of that. I'm so glad I did, though! I had so much fun, and it seems like everyone else did too.

I loved getting little surprises in the mail sprinkled throughout the month! Each card is unique! Some are handmade (I admire your dedication!), some are from store bought kits (which never lose their charm, no matter how old you are), and some even had stickers and tattoos falling out of the envelopes! I wish I could have made my Valentines by hand, but I'm not as talented as some of the other girls hahah. Oh and yes, two girls sent the same card! What are the chances of that?! So funny! That just shows that we all have great taste ;)

Thank you everyone for playing along with me! I loved sending little bits of love to you all <3

I'm adding a list of everyone else's posts below, so if also wrote a post about our swap and I haven't added you here yet, leave me a comment with your link! I'd love to have all of our valentine posts collected in one place!

The Fangirl Crafter
Usagi in Wonderland
Her Geekery
The Vivacious Hobo

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Oakland Women's March

*Wow, I meant to post this a really, really long time ago. Like when it was still January, when the march had just happened? Whoops. Anyway, hi friends! I'm back! <3 For now anyway hahah.*

Oakland Women's March, Pussyhat

In the beginning of January, my co-worker, Meg, told me about The Pussyhat Project because she was knitting some hats to send to DC for the Women's March. I loved the idea behind the movement (+ they are so cute; the subtle-yet-inappropriate name, the cat ears), but I don't know how to knit. I think learning how to knot would be cool, but I'm not great at teaching myself those kind of skills so we'll see if that ever happens, hahah. Learning how would probably make my mom happy, because instead of learning how to make my own pussyhat, I asked her to make me one :P

Anyway, talking about the Pussyhat Project made me think a lot about the Women's March itself. I was in full support of it, but the idea of me, actually going to one, just hadn't popped into my head for some reason. I'm a passive person. I have a lot opinions but I don't always do a lot about it :( I've decided I want to start doing more to help, instead of just being sad about it. At the very least I want to work on being more informed. I read some of the news online, but I could be doing more. The following week, Meg told me her and a friend decided to go to the march in Oakland, and asked if I wanted to go. Yes, of course I wanted to go!

Our journey started the second we got to the BART station. I was complimented on my hat (thanks mom!!!), and when I asked which stop we were getting off at and how much money to put on my BART pass, five different women in line shouted the answer because it was obvious we were all going to the same place. I've ridden BART a handful of times in the past, but no other ride was even a fraction as packed as our ride to Oakland that day. When we got on the train there were some seats, but plenty of standing room so we just grabbed a handle and hung on tight. By the time we made it to our stop at the Lake Merritt BART station, there was hardly room to breath, let alone move. So many women! Also some men, but mostly women! Half of them wearing pink pussyhats just like mine. Lots of jokes about us all being "nasty women." (I now have a pin to wear on my hat that says "nasty woman" but no one else seems to get it and instead find it inappropriate, so I got embarrassed and took it off my hat, very sad.) When we got off the train there was quite a traffic jam getting out of the BART station. They eventually turned off the down escalator so more people could get out instead.

Pussyhat, nasty woman,
Sorry, Nasty Women Pin; no one here in town understands us.
But don't worry, there's still at least 4.2 million people that do.
(Pin from Made Au Gold)

We eventually made it to the march starting point and waited for things to begin. Not sure exactly what happened, but the march started over an hour late. That was ok though, it was fun just taking in the scene and energy of everyone around us. We were also given some sweet bumper stickers (where should I put them? don't say my car.) and my friend gave out the extra pussyhats she had made and brought with her. People loved them! It was really cool seeing all the signs people brought with them. I didn't bring one because I didn't want to carry a big sign on the BART >_>

Finally we started moving. It started off slow, as there was so many of us and maybe the people up front didn't know exactly which way we were going? Or they felt timid? I don't know. Either way a bit later they all found their footing and it felt like an actual march, rather than just inching down the street at a snails pace. People started chanting and singing songs to the beat of the drums playing in the front of the lines (courtesy of Sistah Boom). As an introvert it's not really in my nature to shout and chant along, so while I was definitely a bit quieter than many of the other marchers, I felt really inspired, empowered, and just excited to be a part of it.

On the BART ride home, Meg and I talked about how we wanted to find ways to show support for all the things we were marching for, like finding places to volunteer and stuff. So a few days later I contacted Planned Parenthood to see if they needed some volunteers. They didn't. On one hand I was bummed, like "I'm trying to do good things! Let me do good things with you." But on the other hand I thought it was great that they have so much help that they don't even know what to do with it all. They told me to sign up for their mailing list, where they post about volunteer opportunities when they need more help for bigger projects (like for events and things). So who knows, maybe I'll be able to volunteer with them later on. What organizations do you volunteer with? Let me know in the comments so I can see if they are in my area as well :) Now that I'm in wedding planning mode I'm not sure how much time I can contribute, but I'm still looking to do something.

While searching for more volunteer opportunities, I saw someone share the link for 10 Actions / 100 Days, which was put together by the great minds behind the Women's March on Washington. "Every 10 days we will take action on an issue we all care about." Basically it's targeted towards people just like me. You just got back from the march and thought, "what else can I do?" I really like it because it's about ways you can help without sacrificing a lot of time  and resources (not that the cause isn't worth it, but when you work it can be hard to fit all those things in; even though I wanted to volunteer at Planned Parenthood, I knew it was not something I could afford to do ALL THE TIME). Or for some people, even if they have the time, they don't have the resources to go places to volunteer, or the money to donate to causes. Even though 10 Actions / 100 Days just started, I feel like they're doing their best to make sure the tasks are things that anyone can accomplish. The first action was to send postcards to your Senators about what matters most to you, and how you're going to fight for it in the days/weeks/months ahead. They even provided printable postcards for you to use, and a nifty tool for you to type in your zip code and it will provide the names and addresses of your senators. All you have to do is print, fill it out, and mail. I already mailed mine ;)

Here's a few other resources I like:
- What You Can Do to Stand with Planned Parenthood
- 7 Real Actions You Can Take After the Women's March, and 1 Thing You Shouldn't
- Poster! Maybe print it out and hang somewhere for the Pussyhat Global Virtual March on March 8th???

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events & Why You Should Watch It

Last week, like just about everyone else, I watched A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix. I was eagerly awaiting the show, but considering how the movie turned out, I wasn't getting my hopes up too much (although just from the previews it already looked a million times better). But I watched all eight episodes in the span of two days, and I can honestly say I am SO happy with this series. I feel like it finally got the screen adaption it always deserved, and is really unlike anything on TV right now (well, know what I mean). I'll definitely be watching it again before season two comes out! Below I'm going in depth on certain parts of the show, and things I liked! Everything is spoiler-free, aside from one part very clearly marked SPOILER! :P

The casting in this series is excellent. The children fit perfectly. The casting for all their guardians was on point (with lots of diversity too, yay). Neil Patrick Harris makes a great Count Olaf; which I think is a tricky thing to do, and probably the biggest downfall of the movie. Count Olaf may wear laughable costumes and not always have the most common sense, but at the of the day he's a villain and a murderer who will stop at nothing to kidnap these children. Jim Carrey turned this into more of a comedic role, while NPH was able to pull off all sides of the character. However my favorite casting choice is Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket. His little narration tidbits were my favorite.

Another thing I was worried about was how the  format and pacing of the show would work. Would they cram one book into each episode? How long would the episodes be? How much of the content were they skimping on? Well, each episode is about hour long (some more, some less), and they cover one book in the span of two episodes. There's eight episodes, so season one covers the first four books. Did they skimp on content? Well...yes, but that's to be expected with any book to screen adaptation. It's just an unavoidable thing, IMO. The good news is that they still cover enough ground for you to feel satisfied. I think the two episodes per book format worked out really well, considering books 1 through 8 are pretty short anyway. However at book 9 they start to get longer (and longer...they just keep getting bigger until the final book hahah) and there's a lot more important plot points. If they end up making the shows for the entire series I hope they consider stretching the later books into three episodes.

Covering new territory
The movie covered the first three books. And while the series is very different, it was hard not to compare their adaptation of those first three books to the movies adaption of them. It sort of felt like you were watching a remake (a much, much better one, but a remake none the less). The series goes into book four, The Miserable Mill, and it was a lot of fun to see a part of the story that had never been on the screen before. For that reason I'm even more excited for season two! Plus it will include one of my favorite books in the series, The Hostile Hospital.

The parents
(SPOILERS) Ok, so a big thing this series does where you're like WOAH THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE BOOKS, is the addition of the set of parents that show up at the end of episode 1 (and more throughout the season). They've been kidnapped and are trying to find a way out because "our children need us!" So at first it's like, wait, are these the Baudelaire parents (who in the books are thought dead)? Uhh ok. But then at the end of the season you learn that they are actually the parents of the Quagmire triplets. Whaaaaat. If you haven't read the books then you'll learn more about them in the next season, when they cover book 5 - The Austere Academy. But no matter whose parents they are, none of that was in the books, so it's a new addition, and I'm actually kind of curious on where it's going. (END OF SPOILERS) I'm not always a huge stickler, not in the NO THEY CAN'T DO THAT, THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BOOK kind of way. If the change is done tastefully and is not for some stupid reason (like changing friend-relationships into romantic-relationships, why?) then I don't really mind. Daniel Handler wrote most of the episodes and is also a producer for the show, so I trust his judgement. I read an interview he did, and when asked "Has the mystery itself significantly changed from the books?" he replied "I would say that the destination is the same, but the route is different." I'm ok with that...and it's kind of fun not knowing what's going to happen next!

Theme song
I just like it :) It's sung by Neil Patrick Harris, and parts of the lyrics change depending on which book you're on, giving you a little recap and sometimes little clues on what might happen next. So there are 4 different songs! Watch and listen to the first song here!

So this show! Even if you haven't read the books, watch it! Or if you've already seen it, tell me what you thought! I've read all the books and loved it. Andrew and my friend did not read the books, and they loved it just as much (well, maybe a little less, I admit I'm obsessed and maybe a little biased...but they loved it, really!).

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Year in Books - 2016

So I didn't finish my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge. I'm a little disappointed, but it is what it is. I know I didn't spend as much time reading as I could have, but it's hard juggling so many solo hobbies while also trying not to be a recluse ;) My goal was to read 55 books, and I read 49. That's not too bad I suppose. Anyway, I love these reading charts that Goodreads makes at the end of each year. To get yours go to this blog post and click on "see your year in books!" Now I'm going to break mine down!

Goodreads Year in Books

- The 49 books I read amounted to 9,611 pages! Woohoo! That's almost like reading Mission Earth two and a half times.

- The shortest book I read was Home Alone: The Classic Illustrated Storybook. Which was to be expected, because it's a children's book hahah. It was the only Christmas book I have and 'tis the season and all that. Unfortunately the book didn't have the same charm as the movies. I gave it two stars!

- The longest book I read was Funny Girl, by Nick Hornby. I had really been looking forward to this one because I love Nick Hornby books. I liked it, but not one of my favorites from his collection. I gave it three stars! This is one of those times where I wish Goodreads had half stars, because I think I'd give it 3 and a half.

- The most popular book I read was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Considering that it was already a popular book and the movie came out last year, that's not surprising! This was actually a re-read. I first read the book shortly after it was published in 2009, but with the movie coming out I decided it was time for a refresher. Full review on that here!

- The least popular book I read was When Life Hands You a Lemon. It was a book I won in an Armchair BEA giveaway. Even though I gave it a low score (one star, yikes) I should mention that all the other reviews are great, and the only reason it's "least popular" is because it hasn't been read by many people.

You can see the rest of the books I read in 2016 on my Goodreads page, or by checking out the books tag here on my blog! What did you read in 2016?