Saturday, October 27, 2018

Recap For October 22-28 2018

The Halloween season has arrived! We went to a Halloween event at Laowai Jei, a pedestrian street of restaurants and bars catering to expats (the name literally means "foreigner street"). They had crafts, musical performances, a haunted house, candy for kids, and a costume parade. The Kiddo wore some zombie makeup and a skeleton hoodie. We had dinner a a Greek restaurant with outdoor seating, and a rather persistent cat begging for scraps. Food was delicious (says us and the cat!). After dinner, we parted ways and I took a solo trip in town to walk the Bund. Lovely night for it!

Plans for upcoming travel continue to be in a state of flux as I wait for (among other things) my passport renewal. Work has been busy. Not much writing happening right now. Nanowrimo might change that. I'm like 600 pages into Don Quixote (over 300 to go!), so I haven't been posting much in the way of book reviews. I have been doing well with comic reviews, though.

Comic Reviews on Comic A Day

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Issue 2, Issue 3, and Issue 4 from Marvel Comics.

Psycho Bunny #3 by Michele Mitchipoo.

Neil Jam #15 by Neil Fitzpatrick.


In light of the recent revelations about the Arisia Convention, and even though I had not been able to go this year, I have decided to donate the cost of a membership at Arisia to the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center. I will be watching to see what further changes Arisia makes when I consider whether to attend in the future.


Busy time at WWE continues. Evolution tomorrow. Continuing Mixed Match Challenge. Survivor Series and Takeover: War Games next month, then TLC. I have decided that I won't watch Crown Jewel.

Travel plans, as mentioned, are on hold right now, but we hope to have news soon!

I missed a Magic tournament today, and the next draft is November 24 which we also might not be around for.  Hope to get some drafting in soon!

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Sunday, October 21, 2018

Recap For October 14-21 2018

The first quarter of the school year is in the books! I'm having a bit of a recovery weekend as we move into the second quarter. Things to look forward to: Book fair, Halloween festivities, science fair, and two long weekends. One of those is an unexpected one. Schools in the area are being closed for two days during the International Import Expo, a gigantic trade show happening right in our neighborhood that will include a visit by President Xi Jinping. So we get two days off for that in early November, but we'll be in school for a makeup day on a Saturday in December. We also get a regularly scheduled holiday on Black Friday, which serves as our official Thanksgiving holiday. On Thanksgiving day we have a normal school day, but the students get turkey and pumpkin pie for school lunch.

Our Christmas travel plans are... in flux right now. We're considering a major change in plans, but my passport is currently in for renewal, so we're waiting a couple of weeks before making any real decisions.

In the meantime, I'm one book away from my goal of reading 70 books in 2018! I'm also making decent progress on the Random Stack of Unread Comics. Here are my latest reviews:

Comic Reviews on Comic A Day

Marvel Legacy #1 from Marvel Comics.

Wulflorne: Elegy For Innocence: The Coldest Winter from Modsprocket.

Neil Jam #14 by Neil Fitzpatrick.

I also wrote an entry on a wedding invitation minicomic that I somehow ended up with.


I am supporting Ari Rivera with help getting out of financial difficulties and and abusive situation.

On Kickstarter, I'm backing two comic projects:  Rival Angels Series 3 Season Finale by Alan Evans, and Circadia by Jenn Dugan. Both of these are funded with a bit more than a week left to go.


There is a new Wechat group organizing sealed and draft Magic: The Gathering here in Shanghai, so I'm looking forward to getting in a bit more gaming in the coming weeks. Also looking forward to the continuing busy WWE season as we get Evolution, Mae Young Classic, NXT Takeover, and Survivor Series coming soon. I got to see the first episode of NXT UK, so I'll be following that as well to see how it develops.

As mentioned above, travel plans are very much up in the air right now. There is a possibility of one or two short trips to nearby cities on those upcoming long weekends. Hope to have an update on Christmas plans soon!

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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Recap For October 7 To October 13 2018

The week started with the Kiddo and I exploring Minhang Sports Park, which is a short bus ride from where we live in Shanghai. Unfortunately, between a 24-hour stomach bug that started on Monday, and a "crunch-time" week at the day job, it was not a good week for my creative side.

I did finally get to play in a Guilds of Ravnica draft today (Kiddo played too! His second Magic: The Gathering draft!). And I also did manage to read a few books/comics this week.

Here are my recent reviews:

Comic Reviews on Comic A Day

Goodbye Kitty: A minicomic by Ryan Dow

The Amazing Spider-Man #1: Behind the Scenes Edition by Marvel Comics.

Watch the Skies V. 8.10 by Camp Hill/Harrisburg Scifi & Fantasy Reading Group.

Batman and Robin #1 from DC Comics.
Amulet Biook 1: The stonekeeper.Kazu Kibuishi.


I'm backing Alan Evans' awesome pro wrestling comic, Rival Angels, on Kickstarter, as it heads to its grand finale.


We've started discussing destinations for trips on Thanksgiving break and Christmas break. Right now, what we're considering is back to Suzhou in Novemeber and Guilin in December, but that is still very much up in the air. We're still in a busy WWE month, with Evolution as the next ppv on the horizon.

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Hope everyone has a great week

Friday, October 5, 2018

Recap For September 24 - October 6 2018

We just got back from an amazing trip to Xi'an, China. We stayed at a youth hostel in the Muslim Quarter, saw the Terracotta Warriors and the Xi'an Great Mosque, and the Kiddo and I rode a tandem bike around the city wall. We also ate lots of delicious street food in the Muslim Quarter. Xi'an has immediately jumped to the top of my list of great cities for street food.

We're now in the last couple of days of Fall Break, catching up on homework and resting. School starts back up on Monday.

Here are my recent reviews:

Book Reviews on Goodreads

Tigers at Twilight from Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House series.

Junie B.: First Grader: Aloha-Ha-Ha by Barbara Park

Comic Reviews on Comic A Day

The Amazing Spider-Man #800 from Marvel Comics.

Tree Rats! Or, the Crepuscular Hobbyhorse by EJ Barnes.

Captain Spectacular #2 from Gumshoe Comics.

Amulet Book 2: The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi.

Explorer: The Lost Islands, edited by Kazu Kibuishi.


I'm supporting Michael and Brooke Freeman's trip to help schools in South Africa and Zimbabwe.


We're into October, and my school does Halloween in a big way. Decorations should be up when we return to school. We're working on getting a costume together for the Kiddo.

My school gets one day off for Thanksgiving (the Friday, so we get a long weekend), and we're considering a short trip to one of the nearby cities. We're also looking into travel destinations within China for Christmas break.

I missed the Guilds of Ravnica prerelease completely with our trip to Xi'an. I'm hoping to catch a draft or two in the coming weeks. D&D has been on hold since June but there has been some talk of starting it back up again.

Looking forward to lots of WWE action in the coming weeks with a packed schedule including Super Showdown, Evolution, Crown Jewel, Takeover: Wargames, and Survivor Series, plus the ongoing Mae Young Classic and Mixed Match Challenge.

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Hope everyone has a great week!

[WWE] How I Would Book WWE Evolution

WWE's women's PPV has been unfortunately suffering from an overcrowded schedule of events, and is not getting the kind of build-up that an event of such an historic nature deserves. I've also been less than thrilled with a couple of the announced and rumored matches. So, of course, that means it's time for fantasy booking!

Here is how I would run the show.

A couple of notes: I'm assuming that current roster injuries are minor enough that those superstars will be available for the show. I'm trying to do that without calling in any extremely unlikely surprises (so no AJ Lee or Gail Kim or Kharma), and sticking to returning legends that appeared either at the Royal Rumble or in the Mae Young Classic (so no Alundra Blayze). I also have not read any Mae Young Classic spoilers, so my predictions there could be way off. Obviously, there are a lot of potential finalists still in the field.

Matches are presented in the order they would appear on the show.

WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament Semifinals
The Bella Twins vs. Bayley and Sasha Banks

Setup: Eight teams entered a single-elimination tourney for the newly established WWE Womens Tag Team Championship. The first-round matches were held the previous week on Raw and Smackdown. This match comes from the Raw side of things. The Bellas defeated the Riott Squad to get here, while Bayley and Sasha managed a hard-fought win of the team of Nia Jax and Ember Moon.

Result: In spite of the Bellas flaunting their advantage in "being on the same page" over the sometimes-frenemies, it's Bayley and Sasha who are able to take Nikki out of the equation while Sasha taps Brie out to the Banks Statement.

NXT UK Women's Championship Match
Rhea Ripley (champion) vs. Killer Kelly

Setup: Honestly, I put this together basically because Killer Kelly has impressed me in the two matches I've seen her in. She's got a great look/attitude, and this should be a solid bout to put over the newly-crowned NXT UK champion.

Result: After a hard-fought match, Rhea hits Riptide on Killer Kelly for the win.

WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament Semifinals
The Iiconics vs. Trish Stratus and Lita

Setup: Obviously, this is one of the places I differ with WWE on use of some of the talent. As much as Trish vs. Bliss will hopefully be a great match, I feel like there is more nostalgic fun to be had teaming Trish and Lita up in a run for the new tag team belts. They were a surprise entry on the Smackdown side of things and scored a decisive win over the team of Sonya DeVille and Mandy Rose. Peyton Royce and Billie Kaye arrived here with a surprise victory over Naomi and Asuka (this is currently scheduled for Super Showdown; it could still happen there, just in my booking it would be a tournament match).

Result: Twist of Fate. Chick Kick. Litasault.

Nia Jax vs. Beth Phoenix

Setup: Given the reception these two had for just a staredown and a brief exchange at the Royal Rumble, I'm shocked that this match isn't already booked for Evolution.

Result: Back-and-forth contest that ends with Beth putting Nia over via the Samoan Drop.

NXT Women's Championship Match
Kairi Sane (champion) vs. Shayna Baszler

Setup: The one match where I wouldn't change the setup a bit.

Result: Similar to their previous matches, Shayna is dominant to start, leading to a comeback by a fired-up Kairi. Kairi has locked in her Anchor submission when Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir hit the ring and attack Kairi causing the DQ. Baszler, Duke, and Shafir beat Kairi down viciously, resulting in her being taken out on a stretcher.

Asuka vs. Meiko Satomura

Setup: Asuka, having lost in the first round of the tag tournament, demands competition. Paige, channeling her best William Regal, assures Asuka that she has searched the world for a suitable opponent for Asuka at Evolution, revealing "The Final Boss", Meiko Satomura.

Result: In a potentially show-stealing match, Asuka gets the victory with the Asukalock, and is propelled back into title contention.

30-Woman Past vs. Present vs. Future Battle Royale
(Winner receives the #30 entry into the 2019 Women's Royal Rumble)


Raw: Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan, Natalya, Alicia Foxx
Smackdown: Lana, Carmella, Sonya DeVille, Mandy Rose, Naomi
NXT: Lacy Evans, Nikki Cross, Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, Deonna Purrazo
NXT UK: Dakota Kai, Isla Dawn, Xia Brookside, Jinny, Kavita Devi
Mae Young Classic: Mia Yim, Kacy Catanzaro, Mercedes Martinez, Kaitlyn, Lacy Lane
Legends: Molly Holly, Kelly Kelly, Michelle McCool, Jaquelyn, Layla

Setup: With the promise of over 50 women participating in this PPV, it was obvious that we were getting a battle royale., So let's make it mean something. With no title to put on the line, the #30 Royal Rumble entry makes for a nice prize. I set this up with five women from each active WWE division (I put Kavita Devi into the NXT UK division simply because I haven't seen all of the currently active NXT UK women compete and she seems like a good fit for NXT UK), plus five retired superstars (four of whom were in the 2018 Royal Rumble), and five other 2018 Mae Young Classic participants.

Result: Final four are Riott, Belair, Molly Holly, and Nikki Cross. Belair and Riott team up to eliminate Holly. Cross tosses Riott, but gets caught and powered over the top when she goes for a top-rope splash on Belair. Bianca Belair is your winner and a serious threat to win the Royal Rumble entering from the #30 spot.

Mae Young Classic Finals
Toni Storm vs. Io Shirai

Setup: This looked like the most likely result I could predict from the brackets so far.

Result: Shirai misses with her moonsault and Storm hits Storm-Zero for the win and the trophy, and a future NXT Women's Championship opportunity.

WWE Raw Women's Championship Triple-Threat Match
Ronda Rousey (Champion) vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Ember Moon

Setup: Adding Ember Moon to the mix freshens up the Rousey/Bliss rivalry. Bliss has Mickey James in her corner (sorry, Mickey, this was the best spot I could find for you on the card).

Result: Moon hits the Eclipse on Rousey, but Bliss breaks up the pin. Bliss throws Moon out of the ring and goes for Twisted Bliss, but Rousey catches her in the armbar for the submission victory. Rousey isn't losing her title any time soon, but this sets up a one-on-one rivalry with Moon that will serve nicely to continue Ronda's championship run.

WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals
Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Trish Stratus and Lita

Setup: See previous semifinal matches.

Result: Lita is going up top for the Litasault when Sasha shakes the ropes, causing her to stumble enough for Bayley to get up for a top-rope Bayley-To-Belly for the victory. Much hugging ensues.

WWE Smackdown Womens Championship 30-Minute Ironman Match
Becky Lynch (Champion) vs. Charlotte Flair

Setup: WWE's philosophy seems to be to go with star power (Nikki Bella and Ronda Rousey). Mine is to put the best rivalry in the women's division, not to mention two of the best wrestlers, in the main-event spotlight. Sticking an ironman match as the eleventh match on the card might be a problem in terms of time, but if that were the case, you could always move the two tag tourney semifinal matches to the pre-show (which would immediately make it one of the best pre-shows in WWE history).

Results: Each wrestler earns a submission with her move of choice, and the match remains knotted at 1-1 as it goes into its final minutes with both wrestlers hitting their opponent with everything they have. In the final seconds, Charlotte has the upper hand, but when she hesitates moment to "Whoo!" to the crowd before locking in the Figure-Eight, Becky rolls her up for the final and deciding fall. Like before, Charlotte offers her hand in sportsmanship and Becky snubs her to head up the ramp with her title.

That's when Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke run in out of the crowd to attack Flair. Bayley and Sasha Banks run down the ramp to help Charlotte, but with Charlotte already beaten down the heels still have the upper hand. Becky watches, conflicted from the ramp, then finally sprints down to join the fight, turning the tide and helping Charlotte, Bayley and Sasha to clear the ring.

Ronda Rousey's music hits, and she comes out to stand alongside her crew as the show ends with the Horsewomen vs. Horsewomen staredown to set up Survivor Series.