Saturday, December 24, 2016

Review Recap For December 19-24 2016

Christmas festivities are underway at the Silva household. We had a lovely traditional Christmas dinner tonight at Scott & Jeremy's in Ho Chi Minh City's District 1.

Tomorrow we cook breakfast, open gifts, and head for Cambodia by bus!

Between finishing up with day-job stuff and Christmas shopping/wrapping, I did manage to write a couple of reviews this week.

On Goodreads

Trapped in the Overworld by Winter Morgan: An unofficial Minecraft tie-in novel that I read with the Kiddo.

On Comic A Day

Snakes: A horror minicomic by Benjamin Wright-Heuman from 2014.


Two trips coming up! We leave tomorrow for Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We spend one full day in Phnom Penh, then head to Kep, Cambodia for the rest of the week. New Year's Eve back in Phnom Penh, followed by the bus trip back to Ho Chi Minh City on New Year's Day.

A few days after that, we fly to Bangkok, Thailand, for about five days there.

I'm not bringing comics to read on our trips, so Comic A Day will not have much going on until January. In the meantime, though, keep an eye on @dandelionstudios on Instagram for lots of photo updates from our travels!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Review Recap for December 11-18, 2016

This was exam week at the day job, so things have been hectic. Today was also the second of two Saturdays in a row when I had to work (exam review last week, Model UN training session this week).

I am back to reviewing comics somewhat steadily, though not quite at the comic-a-day rate that my blog's title implies. For prose reading, I've started a couple of longer works which I will probably finish on the upcoming school vacation. In other reading news, my Year in Books on Goodreads is now available!

Here's what I reviewed this week.

On Comic A Day:

Jessica Jones #2: Second issue of the new series from Marvel Comics. This was the last of the small stack of comics I brought back from my short trip home in November.

Darth Vader #21: Also from Marvel, I bought this Star Wars comic for the fun cover variant!

Terminal Velocity Book 1: An autobiographical comic by indy cartoonist Barry Corbett that I picked up from him at Massive Comic Con in Worcester MA.


The two trips for Christmas break are now booked. First up, we'll be heading to Cambodia by bus: Two nights in Phnom Penh, then four nights in Kep, and then New Year's Eve in Phnom Penh before we head back to Saigon for two days.

Then it's off to Bangkok, Thailand. This was scheduled to be a business trip, but if circumstances work out in the next week or so, I am hoping it will be turned into a purely fun trip. Either way, I'm excited to see Bangkok for the first time.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

On the Road: Phnom Penh, Cambodia, October 2016

As we're planning a family trip to Cambodia coming up in a few weeks, here's a quick recap of my business trip to Cambodia at the end of October.

I took 11 students (plus one support staff and a small group that shared our bus from another school) to ISPPMUN, a Model United Nations conference at the International School of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Leaving bright and early from District 1 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, the bus trip takes about six hours if traffic conditions are good. We got lucky in that respect heading out of Saigon. Heading into Phnom Penh, not so much.

Ho Chi Minh City sprawls almost to the Cambodian border, but eventually the urban landscape gives way to farms and cows...

Water buffalo...

And the occasional motorbike carrying a hay bale.

We got through the border crossing smoothly in spite of the main immigration/customs building on the Vietnam side being closed for renovation. We were shunted into a converted warehouse, but traffic was light enough that we went through with almost no wait. The Cambodia side went smoothly as well.

We had lunch at a small rest stop. I got a nice bowl of beef stew with vermicelli noodles.

Then we headed on toward Phnom Penh, crossing the Mekong on the recently-finished Tsubasa Bridge.

We hit bad traffic in a construction zone just as we were getting into Phnom Penh and had a bit of a scramble to get checked in and then to make it to the conference in time to just catch the tail end of the opening ceremonies. Our hotel was the Balconitel Boutique Hotel, which I reviewed here.

The conference got off to a good start, and there were fireworks (I'm not sure for what occasion) visible from our hotel when we got back that evening.

The conference itself involved students from schools all over Southeast Asia. Model United Nations, for those not familiar, is a debate activity in which students simulate the debates that take place in the actual UN. Students are assigned countries whose point of view they are to represent, and they play out those roles while debating on resolutions put before UN committees such as the Human Rights Council, Security Council, and General Assembly. It's a great activity for students as it fosters public speaking and leadership skills while teaching current events.

Our setting was the International School of Phnom Penh, who were gracious and well-organized hosts for the event.

The conference occupied all of Saturday, and went through Sunday morning, so there wasn't really time for much sightseeing. This was my third time in Phnom Penh, and I have a family trip to Cambodia coming up in a few weeks, so we'll get in more tourism then.

I did have some fun taking some more pictures from the bus heading home on Sunday, including this one, which is one of my favorite unintentional pictures I've gotten. These monuments, showing the traditional multi-headed nagas of Cambodian mythology, are common features in town squares and traffic circles, and I was taking the picture of the monument, without actually noticing the kids climbing on it until I went to process the photos after the trip.

Cambodia has fascinating sights at every turn, and I can't wait to get back there on our upcoming Christmas break.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Review Recap For December 4-10, 2016

Another busy work week as we head into midterm exams. Only two reviews this week. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid book was actually crossposted to Comic A Day, as I consider it a graphic novel (and as usual, my book reviews on Goodreads are also crossposted to Amazon).

On Goodreads

Wake by Robert J Sawyer: The first book of Robert J. Sawyer's WWW trilogy of YA cyberpunk novels.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Greg Kinney: The Kiddo picked this one out, skipping all the way to #10 in this series.


Trip to Cambodia in December has been booked. We're leaving Christmas Day by bus from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. We get one full day in Phnom Penh, then we head by Cambodian Postal Service Passenger Van (No, really! This is a thing!) to Kep, Cambodia, for four days. Back to Phnom Penh for New Year's eve, and back to Saigon on January 1.

It looks like we will then be turning around and heading to Bangkok, Thailand, a few days after that, so there should be lots of travel photos forthcoming!

Still working on plans for next school year, and possible travel plans for Tet break and for Spring of 2017, plus our trip back to the US in summer 2017.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Review Recap For November 28 To December 3, 2016

This week was all about meeting goals.

I am officially a 2016 Nanowrimo winner! I made my goal with exactly 50,000 words, and also achieved my secondary goal which was to tell a complete story. In fact, as I got closer to the end, I realized that I could go with another slightly sillier goal, and managed to end my story such that word #49,000 was "THE" and word #50,000 was END. As you can see from the graph, I fell behind for most of the month, but managed to pull it together in the end. Synopsis and excerpt for my novel, The Lady of Three Faces, are here.

A few days after that, I achieved the goal of my 50-book reading challenge that I set for 2016 on Goodreads. You can see the list of books I read here.

My other goal has been to secure a new teaching position for the 2017-2018 school year. This seems early to the thinking about that, but most of the international teaching hiring for next school year is happening in the next month or two. I have made some good progress on this goal this week, and hope to have some news in the next few weeks.

I also got back to doing some reviewing.

On Comic A Day

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey: Rebirth #1: The first issue of the new Batgirl comic from DC.

Mockingbird #5: A fun, snarky tale from Marvel.

Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1: An all-ages crossover from DC and IDW.

On Goodreads

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress: A science fiction classic by Robert A Heinlein.

Coraline: A dark fairy tale by Neil Gaiman.

Also This Week

In addition to participating in Nanowrimo, I am donating in support of their programs for young writers. You can donate here.


The holiday season is fast approaching, and we're in the process of planning a trip to Phnom Penh and Kep, Cambodia. We're also looking at other destinations for our Tet break in January/February.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

WWE: Fantasy-Booking A Womens Royal Rumble

A little something for my friends who are WWE fans. 

We saw Bayley and Sasha Banks in a 30-minute ironman match. Now we've seen Sasha Banks and Charlotte Flair in Hell in a Cell. In a couple of weeks, it will be Becky Lynch vs. Alexa Bliss in a tables match at TLC.

So why not a womens Royal Rumble?

Here's how I'd put it together.

The idea is that this match would open the show at the Royal Rumble PPV. It's open to Raw, Smackdown, and NXT talent, with the possibility of adding a few non-contracted women, or a debut or two. I was originally going to go with a smaller field than thirty, but I managed to come up with a reasonable list of 30 participants (including three "unlikely" surprises that I felt were in the realm of possibility, as well as a couple of other talents not currently under WWE contract, but who have worked for WWE recently).

The winner gets a shot at the title of her choice (Raw, Smackdown, or NXT) at Wrestlemania. One advantage of the brand split is that it means that champions don't need to be held out of the match. If the Raw Womens Champion wins the match, she can go to Wrestlemania and challenge for the Smackdown title, and so on.

I'm going to speculate a bit and assume the following:

  • Asuka is still NXT Womens Champion at the time of the Royal Rumble. I don't see anyone taking Asuka's title until the Wrestlemania weekend Takeover at the earliest.
  • Sasha Banks is still Raw Womens Champion at the time of the Royal Rumble. I could see this going back to Charlotte Flair, but my thinking is that they might want a break in the pattern of constant title switches between these two, so they may let Sasha hold onto the belt for a while.
  • Alexa Bliss is the reigning Smackdown Womens Champion at the time of the Royal Rumble. Bliss has been a great rival for Becky Lynch, and there's really no reason not to have her win the title either at TLC or at some other upcoming show.
  • I am assuming that Trish Stratus is not available to make a comeback for this event (for the same reason she didn't wrestle at Takeover Toronto). Otherwise, I will assume that most other non-contracted or retired talent could possibly be available, although I will be limiting "surprises" to a small number from those potentially available. I am including TNA talent as available, given the shaky financial state of TNA.

My participant list is probably going to miss out on some great talent from the indy circuit and from Japan. Sorry, I'm not able to keep up with every promotion out there.

So, are we ready? Let's get ready to Rumble!

"Ladies and gentlemen, the following is the Womens Royal Rumble Match! Two superstars will begin the match, and approximately every 90 seconds an additional superstar will enter the ring. In order to be eliminated, a superstar must be thrown over the top rope, and BOTH FEET must touch the floor! The last superstar remaining in the ring will be declared the winner of the Womens Royal Rumble Match, and will receive a championship opportunity of her choice at Wrestlemania! And now, let's bring out the superstar who drew number one!"

Entrant #1 is WWE Smackdown Womens Champion Alexa Bliss.

"And now introducing the superstar who drew number two!"

Lights go out for the entrance of Entrant #2, Naomi.

Alexa attacks Naomi from behind as she's finishing her entrance and the lights come on. The ref rings the bell and we are underway. Naomi regains the advantage with high-flying offense, and knocks Alexa down with the Rear View as the clock counts down.

Entry #3 is Cameron.

Funkadactyls reunion? Nope. Cameron goes right after Naomi, but gets caught against the ropes with a massive spinning heel kick from Naomi to become the first participant thrown out.

Cameron is elimination #1.

Meanwhile Alexa Bliss is recovering as the clock counts down.

Entry #4 is Carmella.

Carmella goes right after Naomi, who is soon doubleteamed by Carmella and Bliss. Carmella hits the bronco buster on Naomi and drags her out of the corner, signalling for Bliss to go up to the top rope. Bliss climbs the ropes and sets up to hit Twisted Bliss, when Carmella turns on her, hitting her with a dropkick that sends her down to the ring apron, where she just manages to catch herself and avoid elimination.

Entry #5 is Billie Kay.

Bliss rolls back into the ring and Carmella puts the boots to her as Billie Kay squares off against Naomi.

Lights go out as Eric Young accompanies Entry #6, Nikki Cross of Sanity to the ring. Refs order Young back to the locker room area as Nikki attacks everyone in the ring in rapid succession. A big boot from Billie Kay finally puts her down, but she clings to the ropes and rakes Kay's eyes to avoid elimination. As the countdown begins, she jumps on Naomi from behind and they tumble over the top rope to the floor.

Naomi is elimination #2.
Nikki Cross is elimination #3.

Entry #7 is Bayley, to a massive pop. Bayley is attacked by Bliss and Kay, but fights them off. Jumping elbows for each of them. When they recover and attack Bayley again, Carmella jumps in to help Bayley, teasing the return of the "Baymella" team. It proves short-lived. Carmella turns on Bayley and tries to throw her out from behind. Bayley blocks the attempt and puts Carmella down with the Bayley-to-Belly. Bliss and Kay doubleteam Bayley as we count down.

Entry #8 is Peyton Royce. Peyton Royce immediately teams up with Billie Kay to go after Bayley. Bayley fights back, but loses out to the numbers game. She holds on when they try to toss her, however, and they are in turn attacked by Bliss and Carmella. Royce and Kay regain the upper hand and a big boot from Kay sends Carmella over the top.

Carmella is elimination #4.

Entry #9 is Alicia Fox. At this point the team of Royce and Kay are in pretty solid control. They are beating down Bayley and Bliss with tandem offense. Alicia comes in a proverbial house o' fire, but when she hits her northern lights suplex on Royce, she gets a stiff stomp in the head from Kay. She's hauled up, thrown against the ropes, and eliminated with a double big boot.

Alicia Fox is elimination #5

Entry #10 is Mickie James. Alexa Bliss immediately gets in her face, and they go at it while Royce and Kay continue their assault on Bayley. Bayley ducks under a double clothesline from the Aussie team, and hits both of them with a double clothesline of her own. She walks into a superkick from Alexa Bliss, who hits her handspring double knees to the gut, but then springs back up right into a Mick Kick, that send out over and out.

Alexa Bliss is elimination #6.(Possibly setting up Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss on a future Smackdown).

Bayley and Mickie James form a momentary alliance against Billie Kay and Peyton Royce.

Entry #11 is Natalya, who goes after Mickie James, as Bayley is again left fighting Billie and Peyton.

Entry #12 is Nikki Bella, who goes after Natalya. Billie Kay and Peyton Royce have beat down Bayley in the corner and then start doubleteaming Mickie James.

Entry (unlucky; for everyone else in the ring, that is) #13 is Nia Jax. As Jim Ross would say, "Business is about to pick up". Everyone stops fighting as Nia stares down everyone in the ring. Nikki Bella charges and gets flattened with a clothesline. Natalya tries her luck and runs right into a Samoan drop. Kay and Royce send Nia into the ropes. She clotheslines both of them out.

Billie Kay is elimination #7.
Peyton Royce is elimination #8.

Nikki Bella squares off against Bayley while Mickey James takes on Nia Jax.

Entry #14 is Emmalina, who is a bit hesitant to get into the ring. When Nia Jax has Mickie James against the ropes, Emmalina sneaks up and pulls Mickie over.

Mickie James is elimination #9.

Nia clotheslines Nikki Bella, and Emmalina is there to toss her over as well.

Nikki Bella is elimination #10.

Nia picks up Natalya and press-slams her out of the ring to land on Nikki Bella.

Natalya is elimination #11

Emmalina has a brief moment of cheering for Nia. She offers her hand to form an alliance. Clothesline. Samoan drop. Legdrop. Nia tosses Emmalina over the top,

Emmalina is elimination #12.

Entry #15 is Aliyah.

Aliyah and Bayley attempt to doubleteam Nia. She holds them off at first, but finally a jumping elbow from Bayley combined with a chop block from Aliyah takes Nia off her feet. Aliyah runs the ropes and hits a Warrior splash. Acting on instinct/inexperience, she covers for the pin. Nia kicks out and throws her over the top rope in the process (a la Yokozuna and Randy Savage in Royal Rumble 1993).

Aliyah is elimination #13.

Bayley jumps on Nia from behind and locks on a sleeperhold. Nia stumbles and they fall through the ropes (neither eliminated).

Entry #16 is Blue Pants, who finds herself in an empty ring as Nia puts Bayley through the Spanish announce table. Blue pants has a brief moment of soaking in the adulation of the crowd. Then she turns around to see Nia back in the ring. Clothesline. Samoan drop. Legdrop. Nia tosses her over the top.

Blue Pants is elimination #14.

Entry #17 is... "From Concord, California, comes the most exotic, most sensuous, most alluring superstar ever to set foot in a WWE ring, Eva Marie... Is not able to compete tonight due to a sudden case of the flu."

Nia goes out of the ring to continue the beating on Bayley.

Camera cuts to Mick Foley backstage. "I need a number 17 entry! And you're the only person I've got on the roster! Get out there right now!" Camera pans to... Rusev? No, apparently the #17 entry is going to be Lana, who looks terrified, but receives a quick peptalk from her husband. "Lana. CRUSH!" Lana heads to the ring accompanied by Rusev who encourages her to get in there and fight, as Nia gets back into the ring to stare her down.

Lana yells "Lana crush!" and unleashes a series of forearms which have no effect on Nia. Clothesline. Samoan drop. Legdrop. Nia tosses Lana who is caught by Rusev. Her feet did not touch the floor. Rusev puts her back on the ring apron as she clearly does not want to get back into the ring. As she argues with Rusev on the apron, Nia hits her with a massive shoulder tackle, and this time when she lands on Rusev, they both tumble to the floor.

Lana is elimination #15.

Entry #18 is Liv Morgan. Liv tries to use her speed to outmaneuver Nia. She ducks a couple of moves and hits some dropkicks, which barely move Nia. Clothesline. Samoan drop. Legdrop. Toss. At this point the announcers are speculating that Nia Jax may be unstoppable and wondering if there is anyone who could possibly throw her out of the ring.

Liv Morgan is elimination #16. More than half the competitors gone.

Entry #19 is Kharma. All of a sudden, Nia Jax is faced with the prospect of picking on someone her own size, as the shocked announcers note that Kharma is the only competitor in the field who has actually participated in a Royal Rumble match. Massive staredown as Kharma approaches ringside, but instead of getting in to face Nia, she goes after Bayley, who is still out on the floor (and still in the match). Kharma hits her implant buster on Bayley on the floor, then gets into the ring to square off with Nia. Display of power from the two powerhouses with neither of them getting the advantage. They hit the ropes and collide hard, both going down.

Entry #20 is Charlotte Flair. Natural Selection on Jax. Natural selection on Kharma. Big boot as Kharma gets up to her knees, but now Nia Jax is up. Flair tries for another big boot, but Nia ducks it and catches Flair in a Samoan drop. Kharma and Jax form an alliance and look on the verge of forcing Charlotte over the top rope when Bayley comes off the turnbuckle with a double axehandle to Jax, saving Charlotte. Jax and Kharma overpower Charlotte and Bayley and bodyslam them in the middle of the ring and hit a pair of massive legdrops in stereo.

Entry #21 is Dana Brooke. Ever the loyal henchwoman for Charlotte, Brooke taunts Jax and Kharma to lure them away from Flair. They beat her down in the corner, but it allows enough time for Bayley and Charlotte to recover and throw Jax and Kharma over the top rope from behind.

Nia Jax is Elimination #17. She leaves having set the bar for number of eliminations in a Womens Royal Rumble Match with 8.

Kharma is elimination #18.

Dana Brooke goes right after Bayley, and manages to knock her off of the turnbuckle. Bayley lands hard on the ring apron, but when Dana tries to knock her off with a clothesline, Bayley ducks it, and catches Dana in the Bayley-to-Belly, suplexing her over the top rope and out.

Dana Brooke is elimination #19.

Bayley, who has taken a relentless beating for the entire time she's been in the match, staggers into the ring and collapses. Charlotte hits Natural Selection on her. Then just to be a jerk, she sits her up and hits it again. She stands over Bayley yelling "I'm the Queen!" as the announces speculate that with Kharma and Nia Jax out, Charlotte looks to be unstoppable. Charlotte thinks about trying to eliminate Bayley, who is basically dead weight when Charlotte goes to pick her up, but the countdown starts, and Charlotte turns to face the next entrant instead.

Entry #22 is NXT Womens Champion Asuka. Charlotte with a shocked expression as the crowd fires up an "Asuka's gonna kill you!" chant. Massive staredown. Asuka gets right in Charlotte's face. Charlotte slaps her. Asuka smiles and hits rapid-fire strikes, putting Charlotte on her backside with a spinning backfist. Hip attack, followed by a series of kicks, but Charlotte manages to catch Asuka's leg and hit a dragonscrew. She goes to work on the leg of Asuka, setting her up for the Figure 8.

Entry #23 is Tessa Blanchard, who sees easy prey in Bayley only to discover that Bayley still has some fight left in her. Tessa gets the upper hand, then turns to drop an elbow on Charlotte, who had the Figure 8 locked on Asuka. That breaks the hold, and the two daughters of the original Horsemen square off. Charlotte gets the better of that exchange. Meanwhile, Asuka ties up Bayley in the Asukalock.

Entry #24 is Daria Berenato, who goes right after Asuka, forcing Asuka to break her hold on Bayley. They exchange a series of stiff strikes in the center of the ring while Charlotte manages to dump Tessa Blanchard over the top.

Tessa Blanchard is elimination #20.

Asuka beats down Berenato while Bayley and Charlotte begin to recover. Asuka then goes after Charlotte while Bayley battles Berenato.

Entry #25 is Ember Moon. Asuka is beating on Charlotte in the corner as Ember Moon ascends the opposite turnbuckle. Asuka goes for the Irish whip, but Charlotte reverses it, sending Asuka across the ring and right into Ember Moon's twisting top-rope stunner. Charlotte immediately hits Natural Selection on Asuka and a stunned Asuka staggers to her feet and walks right into a Bayley-to-Belly. Ember moon picks up Asuka and runs her to the opposite ropes, throwing her out and eliminating her.

Asuka is elimination #21.

Charlotte and Bayley are both pretty exhausted at this point, but Berenato is not in much better shape and fails in attempts to get both opponents over the top rope.

Entry #26 is Mandy Rose, who immediately allies herself with Berenato. The two NXT upstarts go to work on Bayley and Charlotte, who are forced into their own alliance of convenience.

Entry #27 is Lita. "Holy shit!" chant from the crowd. Lita goes after everybody. Twist of Fate on Rose. Twist of Fate on Berenato. Double DDT on Charlotte and Bayley. Litasault on Rose. Lita easily dumps Rose. Berenato tries to eliminate Lita from behind. They both go over, but Lita hangs onto the top rope and pulls herself back in.

Mandy Rose is elimination #22.
Daria Berenato is elimination #23.

Entry #28 is Becky Lynch. "Straight fire from the Irish Lass Kicker!" Bexploder on Lita. Another one on Bayley. Corner dropkick on Charlotte. Lita goes for the Twist of Fate on Lynch, and Lynch reverses it into the DisarmHer, only to get kicked in the face by Charlotte, who then walks into a flying back elbow from Bayley. Ember Moon goes up for her Twisting Stunner, but Lynch catches her in midair with a kick that leaves her hanging over the top rope. Another kick from Lynch sends her over.

Elimination #24 is Ember Moon.

Entry #29 is Gail Kim, who comes in with roundhouse kicks for everybody. Eat Defeat on Charlotte. springboard crossbody attempt on Bayley gets countered in midair into a Bayley-to-Belly. Gail and Bayley are down as Charlotte and Becky go at it.

Entry #30 is WWE Raw Womens Champion Sasha Banks. Backstabber on Charlotte and into the Banks Statement. Lynch locks the DisarmHer on Bayley as Gail Kim and Lita square off. Dropkick from Lita. Spinning heel kick from Kim. They run the ropes and both try crossbodys, colliding midair. Sasha releases her hold on Charlotte and tosses Gail Kim out. Becky Lynch with the same move on Lita.

Gail Kim is elimination #25.

Lita is elimination #26.

Your final four are the original Four Horsewomen of NXT: Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks.

Becky takes on Bayley as Sasha and Charlotte renew their rivalry. Sasha ducks a big boot that leaves Charlotte hung up on the ropes, allowing Sasha to sieze the opportunity to toss her over.

Charlotte Flair is elimination #27.

Becky Lynch has Bayley near the ropes and sets her up for the Bexploder to send her over the top. She loses her balance as she hits the move and they tumble into the ropes, and Bayley is able to scissor Lynch's head and turn it into a modified hurricanrana to send Becky over.

Becky Lynch is elimination #28.

Down to the final two. An exhausted Bayley is left to fight against a much fresher Sasha Banks. Sasha gets Bayley into the corner. She sets her up for the double knees, but Bayley escapes. Bayley tries to muscle Sasha over. They climb the ropes and Bayley sets up the Bayley-to-Belly to send Sasha out of the ring (in what would have been a horrific bump), but Sasha fights out of it. Sasha tries to send Bayley back into the ring with a hurricanrana, but Bayley catches her and swings her over the top rope, and Sasha tumbles to the floor.

Sasha Banks is elimination #29.

"The winner of the Womens Royal Rumble Match... It's Bayley!"

Bayley will go on to challenge Sasha Banks for the WWE Raw Womens Championship at Wrestlemania.

Order of Entry

1. Alexa Bliss
2. Naomi
3. Cameron
4. Carmella
5. Billie Kay
6. Nikki Cross
7. Bayley
8. Peyton Royce
9. Alicia Fox
10. Mickey James
11. Natalya
12. Nikki Bella
13. Emmalina
14. Nia Jax
15. Aliyah
16. Blue Pants
17. (Eva Marie) Lana
18. Liv Morgan
19. Kharma
20. Charlotte Flair
21. Dana Brooke
22. Asuka
23. Tessa Blanchard
24. Daria Berenato
25. Ember Moon
26. Mandy Rose
27. Lita
28. Becky Lynch
29. Gail Kim
30. Sasha Banks

Order of Elimination

1. Cameron by Naomi
2. & 3. Naomi and Nikki Cross (by each other)
4. Carmella by Billie Kay
5. Alicia Fox by Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
6. Alexa Bliss by Mickie James
7. Billie Kay by Nia Jax
8. Peyton Royce by Nia Jax
9. Mickie James by Emmalina
10. Nikki Bella by Emmalina
11. Natalya by Nia Jax
12. Emmalina by Nia Jax
13. Aliyah by Nia Jax
14. Blue Pants by Nia Jax
15. Lana by Nia Jax
16. Liv Morgan by Nia Jax
17. Nia Jax by Bayley
18. Kharma by Charlotte Flair
19. Dana Brooke by Bayley
20. Tessa Blanchard by Charlotte Flair
21. Asuka by Ember Moon
22. Mandy Rose by Lita
23. Daria Berenato by Lita
24. Ember Moon by Becky Lynch
25. Gail Kim by Sasha Banks
26. Lita by Becky Lynch
27 Charlotte Flair by Sasha Banks
28. Becky Lynch by Bayley
29. Sasha Banks by Bayley


Longest time in Rumble: Bayley (36:30)
Most eliminations: Nia Jax (8)
Shortest time in Rumble: Blue Pants (0:24)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Review Recap For November 21-27, 2016

I have spent the last week jetlagged following the trip home for Nana's funeral.

The actual trip went smoothly. I have managed to get the work done that I needed to do this week in spite of a few sleepy moment between classes.

We had Thanksgiving dinner at Master Cup, a local restaurant owned by Americans, which provided a traditional meal of Turkey and the standard fixins. They did a nice job with it. I also had a school Thanksgiving/Teachers Day party tonight, featuring a nice selection of Vietnamese appetizers. Earlier today I took the Kiddo to see Moana, which was excellent.

I have been working on Nanowrimo and doing some reading, but haven't had much chance to write reviews. Just one new one this week:

On Comic A Day

Jessica Jones #1: I did manage to stop in to Newbury Comics in Braintree MA during my trip home, and I bought five recent releases. This Marvel Comics book is the first of those that I've had a chance to read and review.

Also This Week

My Nanowrimo wordcount stands at a bit over 36,000 words. That means 14k to go in the next few days. It's going to take a push, but it's doable. Synopsis and excerpt are here.


Our plans for Christmas break are still up in the air. Thailand and Cambodia are the main destinations being considered. We've put Laos back on the list of possible places to visit for Tet break in January/February, but we're not sure if we can swing it money-wise. We have (very tentative) plans for Hanoi/Sapa/Ha Long Bay on our spring break. And we are job-searching for next school year. Right now most of our leads are in China.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Review Recap for November 13-20, 2016

I'm writing this from Hingham MA, USA.

My Grandmother, Bella Silva, passed away earlier this week at the age of 92, and I was fortunate enough to be able to get the time off to travel home to celebrate her life with family. I'm flying back to Vietnam tomorrow.

This was a whirlwind trip, but I did get a chance  to connect with some friends in addition to attending the services and spending time with family. It's nice to come home, even if in circumstances that are not so happy.

With the sudden change in my schedule for the week, I haven't had much chance to do my reviews, although I did finish a book on the flight.

Here are my reviews since last check-in:

On Goodreads

Last Night A Superhero Saved My Life: Edited by Liese Mignogn, this collection of essays brings together writers from the worlds of comics and prose fiction to discuss the influence and mythology of superheroes on their lives.

On Comic A Day

The Chronicles of the Tal Nor Volume 1: A fantasy comic that I backed on Kickstarter.

Also This Week

I'm behind on Nanowrimo, but still hanging in there with 23,706 words right now. My novel now has summary and excerpt posted. Check it out here.

I'm supporting two causes this week. First is Playa Animal Rescue of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, which my Dad is involved in, and which is accepting donations in my Grandmother's memory.

The address for donations is

Playa Animal Rescue
20 Copperfield Ave.
North Easton MA 02356

I'm also helping out with a toy drive my cousin is organizing for

Here are the details from my cousin:

Please think about donating a toy (or gift card) to the kids that are staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore this holiday season. We are consistently the largest Christmas donation to this location (the ONLY RMcD house in Maryland!) and the staff looks forward to it every year.

This year you can send your gifts UNWRAPPED as my elves are all old enough to help me. :) Please send these gifts **by Dec 10th**. If you are sending a wrapped gift, you have until December 16th. Have it labeled "boy" or "girl" and age. Please forward this to anyone looking to help make sick kids and their families smile during Christmas!

drop off/mail to:
The Weeda's
10301 Armory Ave Kensington MD 20895

Locals-there will also be a toy box at 
Faith Preschool- 
6810 Montrose Rd, Rockville 
Wheaton Ice Rink
11717 Orebaugh Ave, Wheaton, MD 20902


Flying back to Vietnam tomorrow. Tentative plans for Cambodia and/or Thailand on winter break. Plans for next school year are also beginning to come together.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Review Recap For November 6-12, 2016

This has been a busy week, with Nanowrimo in full swing, plus normal day job work, and now, the beginnings of a job search.

I did not sign a renewal of my contract, so I'm looking for a new position for the 2017-2018 school year. We're open to going just about anywhere on Earth, so it will be interesting to see where our next adventure takes us. As part of the process, the tentative trip to Bangkok during Winter Break will include an international schools job fair.

With everything going on this week, I did manage to write a few reviews.

On Goodreads

Prison Diary by Ho Chi Minh: This book of poetry was written by the Vietnamese leader when he was imprisoned in China in 1942. This edition contains the poems in three languages: Chinese (they were originally written in Chinese), Vietnamese, and English. This book was #47 in my goal of reading 50 books in 2016. Only 3 to go!

The Warrior Queens by Elka Ray: I usually don't do reviews of picture book I read aloud to the Kiddo. I keep track of them on a separate list on Goodreads and give them a rating, but not a written review. But I though this retelling of a Vietnamese legend by Elka Ray was interesting enough to warrant a short review.

On Comic A Day

Wolverine: Origins of an X-Man #1: Free Comic Book Day 2009: This is an all-ages Wolverine story by Marvel Comics, given out as a freebie for 2009's Free Comic Book Day.

On Tripadvisor

Balconitel Boutique Hotel: Where we stayed for the school trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Also This Week

In light of the US election, I am supporting the American Civil Liberties Union with a donation this week.

Nanowrimo wordcount stands at 13,182. My novel is called The Lady of Three Faces. It's a middle-grade steampunk fantasy. No synopsis or excerpt yet, but I should have them up on the novel page soon.


Plans are still up in the air for trips to Bangkok, Thailand, and Kep, Cambodia, during Winter Break.

Hoping to have a blog entry up for the school trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, soon.

Monday, November 7, 2016

On the Road: Singapore, October 2016

The trip to Singapore came about due to a medical consultation I had, following up on the injury I suffered when I crashed my motorbike last November. My doctor in Saigon had recommended I consult with an orthopedic surgeon in Singapore about possible reconstructive surgery on my shoulder.

Since I'd be traveling all the way there for just a short consultation, we decided to make a family vacation out of it and scheduled it for my school's Fall Break.

This would be our first time in Singapore. The flight was inexpensive from Ho Chi Minh City, but Singapore's hotels tend to be pricier than in some of the other cities we've traveled to in Southeast Asia. We settled on a place that was advertised as "no frills" with a hostel vibe called The Hangout @ Mt. Emily, on the edge of Singapore's Little India neighborhood. The hotel proved to be a good choice (my review is here).

We flew Tigerair, which is also no-frills, flying out on a Sunday morning, and traveling light with no checked baggage. We had an early breakfast at home, and then had sandwiches at Subway at Changi International Airport in Singapore after getting through immigration and customs.

Before heading out of the airport, we bought attraction tickets from a tourism booth at the airport, and also purchased three-day unlimited tourist subway/bus passes at the airport subway stations. Singapore has a lot of popular family attractions, including what is generally considered one of the best zoos in Asia, and a Universal Studios theme park. The Singapore Zoo is actually a complex consisting of three separate attractions, and we ended up getting tickets to two of them: the Night Safari and the River Safari.

We found the subway to be very user-friendly, not to mention clean and well maintained (which can basically be said for the whole city). Signs and videos on the trains warn of severe fines (and caning!) for breaking the rules, which include bans on eating, drinking, smoking, and durians!

After checking in to our hotel, we headed into Little India for dinner. The streets were lit with festive colors for Deepavali, and there were crowds of people celebrating the Indian festival. We had some delicious dosa at Aravind's Curry (review here), before heading to the subway and making our way to Singapore's waterfront and Gardens by the Bay.

Gardens by the Bay, a relatively new Singapore attraction is a massive park, located near the iconic Marina Bay Sands complex. They have a nightly lightshow at the Supertree Grove, which was a pretty amazing spectacle (and free!). We were so impressed with the Gardens by the Bay that we decided to return and check it out in broad daylight the next morning.

After a lovely morning in Gardens by the Bay, we went back to Little India to eat at one of Singapore's famous hawker centers. Basically a hawker center is a food court made up of what would probably be street food vendors in other cities.

Here are a few photos of hawker centers and hawker foods that we tried during the trip.

The hawker food is delicious, inexpensive, and comes in seemingly endless variety. A visitor to Singapore could be quite satisfied with nothing but hawker center food for their whole trip (although there are certainly plenty of traditional restaurants throughout the city).

That afternoon, I had my appointment, which I headed to alone. It also gave me the chance to check out Orchard Road, Singapore's high-end shopping district, which was fun to look around in, even if it was pretty much out of my price range. I did find the excellent Kinokuniya bookstore in one of the malls, and bought some locally published books for myself and did a bit of Christmas shopping.

The appointment went well (short version of the story: I'm not doing the surgery), but we had a bit of a communication mixup that evening, and we missed our plans to head to the Night Safari. Fortunately, the tickets I bought were not date-specific.

Our third day in Singapore began with a walking food tour of Singapore's Chinatown. Since moving overseas, we've gone on several food tours (in Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An Vietnam, Shanghai, and now Singapore), and every one has been awesome. This is a great way to see things you might have otherwise missed, and more importantly, to taste things you might have missed. In Singapore, we went with Betel Box Tours (my review), which proved to be excellent.

In addition to three stops for food, the tour took us inside the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, and then up to a highrise apartment tower to get a view of Chinatown from above.

When the tour finished, we made our way by subway and bus to the Singapore Zoo for the River Safari. The River Safari is a combination of zoo and aquarium focused on the world's river ecosystems. The Kiddo enjoyed this up-close-and-personal encounter with an Indian Gharial!

River Safari is also the home of the Singapore Zoo's two giant pandas.

This was a long day, and we finished up with a good meal at a Chinese restaurant, before heading back to the hotel.

On our last full day in Singapore, we still had the Night Safari tickets to use that evening. We spent the morning at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, where we encountered a good-sized monitor lizard, and did a bit of birdwatching.

Then came the Night Safari, which was a really fascinating attraction: The world's only nighttime zoo consisting entirely of nocturnal animals.

We saw the Night Safari's fire show, followed by their Creatures of the Night show, then took a tram ride to see a variety of animals, stopping for more animal encounters in a series of walking trails.

My review of the Night Safari is here.

This was a fun ending to our visit to Singapore. Singapore is a very impressive, high-tech, well-organized city with lots to see and do. We felt like we barely scratched the surface, and we hope to head back there sometime in the near future.

For full sets of photos, see my Flickr albums. For my "best of" photos from by travels, add @dandelionstudios on Instagram. See you on the Road!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Review Recap For October 23-November 5, 2016

Two week recap this time around, on account of the school trip to Cambodia last weekend, and subsequent scramble to catch up on day-job work and other things.

The trip to the Model United Nations conference in Cambodia went smoothly. We didn't get time for sightseeing in Phnom Penh this time around, but the students all did well at the conference and had a good time.

Immediately following the trip was Halloween on Monday, with myself and the Kiddo sporting our Minecraft costumes one more time for school festivities followed by trick-or-treating organized by some of the teachers at one of the apartment complexes in District 7.

And immediately following Halloween was the start of Nanowrimo. I'm over 6000 words in on day 5, which is a little bit behind if I don't end up writing tonight, but I'm hoping to get in some wordcount before I head to bed.

Through all of that, I've gotten some reviews posted.

On Goodreads

Bangkok 8 by John Burdett: A crime novel set in Bangkok. This is the first in a series featuring Thai Royal Police detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep. I read the second book in this series, Bangkok Tatoo, before this one (review of that book is here), and liked it enough to go back and start the series from the beginning.

Finding George Orwell in Burma: Emma Larkin's book mixes travel, politics, and `literature as she retraces the travels of George Orwell, who served in colonial Burma in the 1920s. Larkin connects the politics of modern Myanmar with Orwell's 1984.

On Comic A Day

Bullet For My Valentine: Scream Aim Fire: The Comics: Comic interpretation of music by the hard rock band Bullet For My Valentine. This was a Record Store Day promo.

Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #729: Reprints of classic Disney comics published in foreign magazines.

Rhino Ranger, First Edition: Published by Wild Rhino, this educational comic aimed at a young Vietnamese audience tackles the issue of rhino poaching and the black market for rhino products.

On Tripadvisor

The Real Singapore Tours: Our food tour in Singapore's Chinatown.

The Hangout @ Mt. Emily: The hotel we stayed at in Singapore.

Night Safari: The Singapore's Zoo's nighttime-only park dedicated entirely to nocturnal animals.

Aravind's Curry: A restaurant we ate at in Singapore's Little India.

Also This Week

I'm supporting Author Angelia Sparrow, who is having a special sale on her books and stories to raise money for needed car repairs.

Photos from the Cosplay Festival in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, are posted here.

Photos from last weekend's school trip to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, are posted here.


Nanowrimo all this month. The page for my novel, The Lady of Three Faces, is here (no synopsis or excerpt yet, but I'll get to them; too busy writing right now!). Feel free to add me as a writing buddy!

Traveling to Kep, Cambodia, and Bangkok Thailand in late December/early January. Still tentative, but looking likely. Hope to have it booked in the next few weeks.