Sunday, December 31, 2017

Reading Recap For 2017

I ended the year having read 72 books, which blew away my reading goal of 55! It's also the most I read in a year since I started keeping track about 10 years ago. There's a nice recap on Goodreads that can be found here.

I've also put together a set of top-five lists for myself and the Kiddo. Here they are:

My Top 5 Books Read In 2017

5. Never Let Me by Jennifer Brozek
4. Lisey's Story by Stephen King
3. Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
2. Castle Waiting by Linda Medley
1. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown

My Top 5 Books That I Read With The Kiddo In 2017

5. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
4. The Diary of Amos Lee by Adeline Foo
3. Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown
2. The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen
1. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Kiddo's Top 5 Books Read In 2017

5. How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
4. Magic Tree House #35: Night of the New Magicians by Mary Pope Osborne
3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid #4: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
2. Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown
1. Dog Man Unleashed by Dav Pilkey

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Headcanon for the Film Predator

Headcanon for the film Predator.

Occasionally I get ridiculous ideas. Here is one.

I don't usually think about fanfic and such, but I was recently reading an article on the upcoming reboot/remake/whatever of the film Predator, and I now have a new headcanon around the whole Predator universe.

So the basic idea of the film is that the alien is on earth as a kind of big-game hunter, killing off the various special-ops type people in Arnold Schwarzenegger's commando team, until Arnie defeats him in a final macho battle of man vs. monster.

And we basically are left to assume that the Predator comes from a race of warrior/hunter types that go around the galaxy spreading mayhem and killing off whatever prey they encounter.

But what if they're not? I mean, they're a technologically advanced society, right? What if this guy hunting humans on Earth is the exception? What if he is treated a lot like our society is starting to treat people who consider big-game hunting an acceptable form of entertainment?

Suppose whenever he lands his spaceship back on the Predator home planet, he's greeted by a bunch of animal-rights protesters. What if he attracts tons of negative attention on Predator social media every time he posts a picture of himself posing with a human skull/spine?

What if he has to defend his hobby to friends and family? It's traditional! And sporting! ("Sporting? You're using high-tech plasma weapons and an invisibility suit! What's sporting about that?" his liberal son-in-law asks.).

Besides, it's not like humans are an endangered species or anything! The planet is clearly overpopulated! And hunting is regulated these days! He had to pay a small fortune just to get a permit to hunt humans on Earth!

What if when Schwarzenegger does him in, people share the news article on the Predator version of Facebook with captions like "Big-game hunter gets exactly what he deserves when a human actually kills him!"?

What if it's become much more socially acceptable to engage in eco-tourism? There could be dozens of Predators visiting Earth at any given time, wearing their invisibility suits and taking photos of humans to upload onto Predator Instagram when they get home from their vacation.

Perhaps we of Earth can hope for the day when the only Predators who visit our planet will take only pictures and leave only footprints.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Review Recap For April 3-22, 2017

The trip north was amazing! I'm way behind on posting photos (and even further behind on travel blog entries!), but I will be posting those in the coming weeks.

Between the trip, and then getting back to the day job, things have been busy. Here are the reviews I've written.

On Goodreads

Samurai by Louie Stowell, illustrated by Jason Engle: A history of the warriors of feudal Japan for young readers.

On Comic A Day

Mighty Archie Players #1: Some classic movie plots performed by classic Archie Comics characters in this Free Comic Book Day giveaway.

Scott Pilgrim Volume 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together: The fourth book in the epic series by Bryan Lee O'Malley.

Fist of Justice Vol. 1 #1: A Free Comic Book Day giveaway from Digital Webbing.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw: The third book in Jeff Kinney's Wimpy Kid series.

Venus Needs Sharks: A minicomic collection of gag strips by Matt Finley.

Scott Pilgrim Volume 5: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe: The penultimate book in Bryan Lee O'Malley's epic tale.

Little Archie: The House That Wouldn't Move: A promotional ashcan from Archie Comics in 2007.

Also This Week

I supported Elise Warshaver, who ran the Boston Marathon for UMass Boston's scholarship fund in memory of Boston Marathon bombing victim Krystle Campbell. She was successful in her marathon run; it it is still possible to donate.

I have joined Dreamwidth! These review recaps will be posted at from here on. I'm not abandoning this blog, but I will be closing my LJ account in the next couple of weeks.


Heading to the USA on June 16. Leaving for Shanghai on July 27.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Review Recap For March 21 - April 2, 2017

I'm a bit late with this recap as we were closing in on the end of a marking period at the day job. But we're now on Spring Break, and I'm traveling tomorrow.

In the meantime, I got several new reviews posted over the last two weeks. All are posted on my Comic A Day blog, and several of those are cross-posted on Goodreads and Amazon.

On Comic A Day

Heavenly Bride Book 1: A supernatural romance manga by Katrina Joyner.

Avengers/Invaders Sketchbook: Promotional book for the Avengers/Invaders crossover from Marvel Comics.

Mr. Emergency Special Edition: Promotional minicomic by Wade L. Busby.

Catch A Dragon By The Tail: Minicomic fairy tale by Roxanne Larson.

Lontar #1: Journal of Southeast Asian speculative fiction.

Scott Pilgrim Volume 3: Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness: Third volume of Bryan Lee O'Malley's epic tale of musicians, slackers, and evil ex-boyfriends.

The Diary of Amos Lee: I Sit, I Write, I Flush: Graphic novel of middle school life in Singapore.

The Avengers: Free Comic Book Day 2009: Aftermath of Marvel's Civil War from 2009.

Also This Week

Boston's Walk for Hunger is an event I have supported over the years. I have walked in the event several times, starting in high school. This year I am supporting my friend Mary Perez, who will be participating in the event this year and raising money to help feed the hungry in the Boston area.

I'm also supporting author Peter David, who has reached out for help with his financial difficulties. I've read many of Mr. David's comics over the years, as well as a couple of my favorite Star Trek stories that he wrote, Rock and a Hard Place and Q-In-Law.

I've also been catching up on posting photos from recent travels. I have posted new photo sets from Kep, Cambodia, and Rabbit Island, Cambodia. And I've posted a set of photos taken on the road, traveling around Cambodia.


Leaving tomorrow for Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Sapa, in northern Vietnam.

Heading home to the US June 16th, and then off to new adventures in Shanghai, China, at the end of July.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Wrestlemania and NXT Takeover Orlando Predictions

My Wrestlemania Predictions (and Kiddo's!):

Saturday night, the night before Wrestlemania, is NXT Takeover: Orlando. We'll start with our picks for that show.

Aliester Black vs. Andrade Cien Almas

My pick: Black
Kiddo's pick: Black

The guy making the debut almost always wins these kinds of matches.

Sanity vs. Tye Dillinger/No Way Jose/Roderick Strong/Ruby Riot

My pick: Dillinger/Jose/Strong/Riot
Kiddo's pick: Sanity

Kiddo has recently become a huge Nikki Cross fan. I'm going with the same logic as the first match. This is Ruby Riot's debut. Her team wins.

Authors of Pain (Champions) vs. DIY vs. The Revival
For the NXT Tag Team Championships
Elimination match

My pick: Authors of Pain
Kiddo's pick: Authors of Pain

I think the Authors are going to get a dominant run similar to what The Ascension had. I also think there's an excellent chance that we see the Revival on Raw or Smackdown next Monday or Tuesday.

Asuka (Champion) vs. Ember Moon
For the NXT Womens Championship

My pick: Asuka
Kiddo's pick: Asuka

I think Ember Moon wins the title. I just don't think she does it on her first try. I could easily see this going either way, though.

Bobby Roode (Champion) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
For the NXT Championship

My pick: Roode
Kiddo's pick: Nakamura

Roode will emerge victorious (Glorious!), and Nakamura debuts on the main roster either Monday or Tuesday.

Wrestlemania (including pre-show)

Alexa Bliss (Champion) vs. "Every Available Woman on the Smackdown Roster"
For the Smackdown Womens Championship

My pick: Naomi
Kiddo's pick: Bliss

It looks like they're going to go with Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella vs. Natalya vs. Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James vs. Naomi, and not adding any other surprise entrants, but I suppose there's always the possibility someone else might enter. Tamina would be the most likely choice if that happens, I doubt they'd call up an NXT competitor here as the womens division in NXT is pretty thin right now, although I suppose they could take the title off Asuka at Takeover and debut her here. I don't see that happening, though, and I'll go with the obvious feel-good story of Naomi getting the win in her home town. I just found out that this may be moved from the pre-show to the main card, which is great because it really needs to be dark in that stadium for Naomi's entrance.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale

My pick: Braun Strowman
Kiddo's pick: Finn Balor

I saw a list of 30 names for this event that was mostly tag team guys and low-midcarders. The only likely winners on that list were Big Show, Sami Zayn, Strowman, and long-shots Mojo Rawley and Dolph Ziggler. Today, Tian Bing was announced as being in the match, so clearly more wrestlers could be added (not sure if that means they replace some listed wrestlers or if they push the number of participants to 40). Samoa Joe and Finn Balor are obvious possible additions to the match and either of them are potential winners. Another name that seems a likely addition (but less likely winner) is Elias Sampson, who just lost a "Loser Leaves NXT" match. And they could always throw in a returning legend or two (they used Tatanka and DDP last year), or someone who has been out of action for a while like Kane. In the end, I'm going with the obvious choice here. Strowman has had a great year, and really should have had a singles match at Wrestlemania. So if he's going to be in this match, he should win.

Neville (Champion) vs. Austin Aries
For the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

My pick: Neville
Kiddo's pick: Neville

I could see this going either way, but I think Neville gets the win here, possibly setting up for a rematch down the road.

Dean Ambrose (Champion)vs. Baron Corbin
For the WWE Intercontinental Championship.

My pick: Corbin
Kiddo's pick: Ambrose

Corbin will be 2-0 at Wrestlemania. The IC title is definitely in need of some new blood, and this is a perfect step up for Corbin.

Luke Gallows and Carl Anderson (Champions) vs. Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Seamus and Cesaro
For the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships
Ladder match

My pick: Enzo & Cass
Kiddo's pick: Enzo & Cass

I could see the champs retaining here, but I think Enzo and Cass get their Wrestlemania Moment. Gallows and Anderson might win the titles back on Monday, though.

Bayley (Champion) vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Nia Jax vs. Sasha Banks
For the WWE Raw Womens Championship
Elimination match

My pick: Bayley
Kiddo's pick: Banks

I think this is one of the hardest matches to predict. But I feel like Charlotte dominated the division for long enough, and Jax is not quite ready for a title run. I think Sasha could turn heel and win, but they've been hinting at that so strongly that it feels like a red herring. I go with the champ retaining.

Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles

My pick: Styles
Kiddo's pick: McMahon

This feels like a foregone conclusion. Styles wins after the usual Shane mayhem.

John Cena and Nikki Bella vs. The Miz and Maryse

My pick: Cena & Bella
Kiddo's pick: Cena & Bella

Another fairly obvious outcome. Cena proposes after he and Nikki win.

Seth Rollins vs. Triple H
Unsanctioned match (which I am guessing implies a no-dq no-countout streetfight type of match)

My pick: Rollins
Kiddo's pick: Rollins

I don't really see what is gained with Triple H winning here, although there is enough potential for outside interference that anything is possible.

Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns

My pick: Undertaker
Kiddo's pick: Undertaker

I could see this going either way, but... If they want Reigns to come out as a babyface, he really needs to lose. If they want him to turn heel, then he could do that plenty effectively by losing and then beating down 'Taker in frustration after the match. If they try to go with Reigns winning clean and getting a show of respect, the fans are going to boo Reigns out of the building.

Chris Jericho (Champion) vs. Kevin Owens
For the United States Championship

My pick: Owens
Kiddo's pick: Jericho

Owens wins. Jericho goes on tour with his band.

Bray Wyatt (Champion) vs. Randy Orton
For the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

My pick: Wyatt
Kiddo's pick: Wyatt

We really do not need another Randy Orton title reign. If Bray doesn't win, we Wyatt.

Bill Goldberg (Champion) vs. Brock Lesnar
For the WWE Universal Championship

My pick: Lesnar
Kiddo's pick: Lesnar

Lesnar wins. I just hope this goes over five minutes. I want to see Goldberg get taken to Suplex City.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Review Recap For March 13-20, 2017

I've read fifteen books so far in 2017 (this includes chapter books read aloud to the Kiddo). I'm ahead of pace on my goal of 55 for the year. Here's a look at what I've read so far: