Tuesday, December 31, 2019

My Top 5 Books of 2019

My 5 Favorite Books Read In 2019:

5. The Dragon With A Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
4. The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
3. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
2. Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
1. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Long Weekend

We had a (somewhat) unexpected long weekend when the city of Shanghai closed all school for the first two days of the China International Import Expo.

I spent Saturday doing some solo exploring, looking for a charity used book shop in Qingpu that I'd failed to find on two previous attempts.

(Yes, I could just get there by Didi, but figuring out the buses is part of the fun!).

I was successful this time, and donated a stack of books that the Kiddo was done with before making a couple of purchases.

On Monday, we had a return visit to Hangzhou for the day. West Lake was a lot nicer without Golden Week crowds, and we did lots and lots of walking, had some great food, explored a pagoda, and took lots of pictures.

Tuesday, the Kiddo and I went to the Shanghai Ocean Aquarium, once again a great experience on a non-crowded day.

We have another long weekend coming up when we get Black Friday off (my school gives us the Friday as our Thanksgiving holiday so we get a long weekend out of it), and we're looking at traveling to Wuxi and staying overnight for a night or two.

And we've also booked our Christmas travels. We'll be heading to the Philippines! Looking forward to some sunshine in December!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Golden Week

Golden week is the week of National Day here in China. It's Fall Break at my school, and a staycation week for us. We've got one day-trip planned to Hangzhou tomorrow. Other than that, I'm catching up on various things, relaxing, GMing a two-part adventure with my D&D group, and dealing with frustrations over shaky VPN issues.

Happy October everyone!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Recap for July 28 to September 7, 2019

We had a great time in Hong Kong, in spite of our last day there being pretty much wiped out by a typhoon warning that shut down much of the city. The weather wasn't that extreme, but there were heavy downpours all day and after one expedition out to try to do some shopping only to discover most businesses closed, we spent the day in the hotel room. The rest of the trip was awesome, though. Our day at Hong Kong Disneyland was the best time I've ever had at a Disney park. And our trip to Lantau Island to ride the cable car to Hong Kong's Big Buddha was amazing.

We also did a father/son day in Shanghai where we visited the Jewish Refugees Museum and the Great World Amusement Palace.

Then it was back to school. I'm off to a good start on the school year. Nice group of students this year, and I'm better organized. The Kiddo likes his new teacher, and he's doing soccer.

But the really big news is the new member of our family, a street kitten named Typhoon, who we rescued (named because Shanghai got hit with a typhoon the day after we found her, resulting in a bit of a wet adventure getting her to a vet).

Typhoon is doing well after treatment for fleas and ringworm. Sadly her sibling was dead when we found them, but it looks like Typhoon will grow up strong and healthy.

Through all of this, reviews continue.

Comic Reviews on Comic A Day

Drama by Raina Telgemeier.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier.

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier.

Shanghai Red #1 from Image Comics.

Archie #600 from Archie Comics.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney.

Sky Pirates of Valendor #4 from Free Lunch Comics.

The Warriors #1 from Dabel Brothers.

Sky Pirates of Valendor #5 from Free Lunch Comics.

Book Reviews on Goodreads

Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman.

My Gal Sunday by Mary Higgins Clark.

Who Was Rachel Carson? by Sarah Fabiny.

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance.

Who Was Winston Churchill? by Ellen Labrecque.

Hypocrite in a Pouffy White Dress by Susan Jane Gilman.

Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin.

Stage Fright on a Summer Night by Mary Pope Osborne.

Who Was Harriet Tubman? by Yona Zeldis McDonough.

Thanksgiving on Thursday by Mary Pope Osborne.

Supporting SF author and editor Mike Resnick, who is recovering from a life-threatening medical emergency.


There's a Marvel Studios exhibit at the local mall, which we've been meaning to get to, and next week's Friday holiday (China's mid-autumn festival) seems like a good time to check it out. There's also a music festival at the mall the same weekend.

We've bought our tickets for WWE's upcoming visit to Shanghai at the Mercedes Benz Arena on September 21. That day is also the Expat Expo in Shanghai, and it's my birthday and Kiddo's adoption day that weekend. My school is also having it's Back To School Bash on that Sunday, so it will be a busy weekend.

No travel plans yet for the upcoming breaks. We'll be making travel plans for Fall break soon, and we have something in the works for Christmas, but not concrete plans yet.


@dandelionstudio on Twitter
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Wednesday, September 4, 2019


Finally getting some cooler weather in Shanghai. School is well underway, we're starting to make Fall break plans, and tickets have been purchased for WWE live in Shanghai later this month!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Back to Work!

...And we reach the end of summer break!

Back to the day job tomorrow. Day of errands and trying to finish last bits of summer reading and journaling today.

This was our first summer since moving overseas that we did not take a trip back to the USA. We had some amazing travel experiences instead, plus some good catch-up time at home.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Recap For May 12 To July 27, 2019

Long time between recaps, but we spent a fair chunk of it traveling. The school trip to Xi'an was great, and the remainder of the school year went smoothly, with the usual hectic rush of work. Then it was off on our summer trip to Taipei and Palau. Lots of photos on the Instagram link below. Some reviews and blog entries to follow.

Tomorrow it's the annual Father/Son (Rail) Road Trip! Taking the train to Hong Kong and spending three days there!

In the meantime, I've done some reviews.

Comic Reviews on Comic A Day

Giant-Size Thrills #0 from Red Giant Entertainment.

DC Retroactive Batman: The 1980s #1 from DC Comics.

The Vengeful Half by Jaclyn Dolamore

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Free Comic Book Day 2014 All Ages from Dark Horse Comics.

How I Became a Pirate #2 by TC McKenna.

Dark Red #1 by Lynn French.

Awakening Comics #1 by Steve Peters.

Dark Red #2 by Lynn French.

Tragedy at Farstation Prota by Jerel Dye.

Healed #4 by George O'Connor and S. Griffin of Homeless Comics.

Healed #5 by George O'Connor and S. Griffin of Homeless Comics.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier.

Book Reviews on Goodreads

Junie B., First Grader: Cheater Pants by Barbara Park.

Magic Tree House: Earthquake in the Early Morning by Mary Pope Osborne.

The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle by Beatrix Potter.

The Winged Girl of Knossos by Erick Berry.

Warriors: A Dangerous Path by Erin Hunter.

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper.

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look.

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart.

History of Palau: Heritage of an Emerging Nation by Elizabeth D. Rechebei.

How To Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell.

Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen.

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding.

Who Was Steve Irwin? by Dina Anastasio.

Alvin Ho: Allergic To Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look.

A Thousand Miles To Freedom: My Escape From North Korea by Eunsun Kim.

Supporting Boston-area author James A Moore, who is undergoing treatment for cancer.


Trip to Hong Kong with the Kiddo tomorrow! Hong Kong Disneyland on Monday!

After that we've got about a week before I head back to school (two weeks until classes start). We may do a few last tourist things in Shanghai, and we're considering a day trip to Nanjing before it's back to the day job.

I seem to have gotten myself into a regular D&D campaign. Tonight will be my third weekly session. Enjoying it so far.

Looking forward to watching Summer Slam and NXT Takeover Toronto in a week or so, and then NXT Takeover Cardiff at the end of August.

No plans yet for any of the breaks during the school year, but we are working on some ideas.


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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Summer Travel

We had an incredible vacation in Taipei and Palau. I'm hoping to write more about that here, but there are lots of pictures available @dandelionstudios on Instagram!

On Sunday, it's summer travel part 2 as I take the Kiddo on our annual father/son (rail)road trip. We're traveling by bullet train from Shanghai to Hong Kong! Excited to see lots of China rather than just flying over!

Hong Kong Disney is on the agenda, which will be a big level-up in my Disney cred.

Once we get back from that trip, it will be about a week before I head back to the day job, and then another week before school starts.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

School Is Almost Out!

Exams finished today, and my grades are in. Graduation for seniors tomorrow, then the last day for students on Friday. Teachers work Saturday to finish final paperwork and packing up classrooms.

Heading off on our trip to Taipei and Palau next week!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Recap For May 5-11 2019

Back with another recap post after just a week.

School is definitely winding down for the year. Next week is really the last normal week of the school year. The week after next, I'll be on the school trip to Xi'an. Then we'll be prepping our International Festival, and then it's time to get ready for exams and graduation.

In the meantime, I've done a few book and comic reviews.

Comic Reviews on Comic A Day

Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #187 from DC Comics.

Spring-Heel Jack: Revenge of the Ripper #2 by David Barbour and Wayne Tanaka of Rebel Studios.

Red Bird Comics #1 from Dimestore Productions.

Spongebob Freestyle Funnies 2014 from United Plankton Pictures.

Dark Horse: 20 Years from Dark Horse Comics.

Book Reviews on Goodreads

Anya's War by Andrea Alban.

Warriors: Rising Storm by Erin Hunter.

Supporting the Memorial Fund for Nicole Davis, who tragically lost her life last week at age 25.


End-of-school things are happening now through June 15, including the trip to Xi'an the ween after next, and the International Festival on June 1.

The Kiddo and I are also looking forward to WWE Money in the Bank, and Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

There are some possible opportunities coming up for playing Magic and D&D, but nothing definite yet.

And we've go our big travel plans for June/July, when we'll be heading to Taiwan and then the Republic of Palau!


@dandelionstudio on Twitter
@dandelionstudios on Instagram and @dailycomicreview on Instagram
rsilva on Boardgamegeek
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ricksilvawriting on Dreamwidth and Blogger.
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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Upcoming Travel

I'll be heading back to Xi'an in less than two weeks, this time as part of a school trip. I'm looking forward to my second trip to the beginning of the Silk Road. There was a meeting today to go over the itinerary, which includes a day of community service, plus a nice mix of sights that I got to see last fall, and places that will be new to me.

I will, of course, be taking lots of photos!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Recap For March 11 to May 4 2019

Happy Star Wars Day! May the Fourth be with you! And thank you for all the memories to Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew, who passed away this week.

It's been a very busy few weeks with day job work and some family things happening. I feel like I'm still catching up on a lot of things. Kiddo and I watched WrestleMania and NXT Takeover, but I'm still catching up on some of the Wrestlemania weekend programming. I completely missed the Magic: The Gathering: War of the Spark prerelease, but I should at least get to buy some of the cards today, and hopefully a draft or two is in the works for the coming week. I did get to play in a fun D&D one-shot during Spring break. Our party only barely survived. Kiddo and I saw Avengers: Endgame, which was loads of fun, and a great payoff for the massive Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.

I've been doing pretty well at keeping up with book and comic reviews, and I'm on track with my reading goals.

Comic Reviews on Comic A Day

Tall Tails: Tears of the Mother #4 by Jose Calderon and Daphne Lage of Dreamweaver Press.

The Origin of Gorilla the Chinchilla by Michael Harris.

Sea Ghost #1 from Nemo Publishing Group.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Gamora's Galactic Showdown by Brandon T. Snider and Marvel Comics.

Giant-Size Fantasy #0 from Red Giant Entertainment.

Lumberjanes Volume 4 by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Boom! Box.

Runner's Paradox by Steve Peters.

Captain Underpants and the Big Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy Part 1: The Night of the Nasty Nostril Nuggets (Full Color Edition) by Dav Pilkey.

The Tick: Free Comic Book Day 2014 by Jeff McClelland, Duane Redhead, Ian Chase Nichols, and New England Comics.

Mister Beecher: The World's Worst Teacher by Marek Bennett.

Book Reviews on Goodreads

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis.

The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.

Warriors: Forest of Secrets by Erin Hunter.

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh,

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente.

Supporting this petition by Cosplay is Not Consent and Sloth Goth Kay Cosplay seeking action from Starfest Convention regarding a harassment incident at the recent con.

Supporting the Madison East High School Debate Team.


Star Wars movie night at home tonight. Gynn's birthday and Mother's day are coming up with plans for special meals out for both of those.

I'm going back to Xi'An in about two weeks, this time with a school trip. When I get back from that, there will be about three more weeks of school. Then about five days after school ends, we're heading to Taipei and Palau. There is also a possible father/son trip to Hong Kong in the works for later in the summer.

Other things to look forward to: Godzilla: King of the Monsters and Spider-Man: Far From Home at the movies, and WWE Money in the Bank.


@dandelionstudio on Twitter
@dandelionstudios on Instagram and @dailycomicreview on Instagram
rsilva on Boardgamegeek
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ricksilvawriting on Dreamwidth and Blogger.
Rick Silva on Goodreads

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

My Ranking of Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies

My ranking of the Marvel films, most favorite to least. I enjoyed all of these, so even the bottom of the list was a fun movie experience for me. Films not listed are ones that I haven't seen at all (Thor, Incredible Hulk) or that I've watched in pieces, but never had the chance to really sit down and see start to finish (Iron Man 2, Iron Man 3).

1. Captain America: Civil War
2. Black Panther
3. The Avengers
4. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
5. Avengers: Endgame
6. Thor: Ragnarok
7. Guardians of the Galaxy
8. Captain Marvel
9. Iron Man
10. Avengers: Infinity War
11. Avengers: Age of Ultron
12. Spider-Man: Homecoming
13. Ant Man and the Wasp
14. Captain America: The First Avenger
15. Ant Man
16. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2
17. Doctor Strange
18. Thor: The Dark World


Had to wait until a couple of days past opening weekend, but we saw Endgame last night.

(No spoilers)

Loved it! Some fun surprises, some clever bits, and the kind of epic action that was needed for the culmination of the Marvel saga so far.

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling, people standing and text

This was the first movie I'd been to since about a month ago, when I saw How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, The Wandering Earth, and Captain Marvel in the space of a week.

Fun little bit of geek cred for me, especially since I'm not usually as much of a movie nerd as a lot of people I know. Right now the three movies mentioned above plus Endgame are the top four highest grossing movies so far this year worldwide. All of them are in the general category of SF/Fantasy. I have seen all four of them. Most of my geeky friends have not.

Next up for me for movies will be Godzilla: King of the Monsters. (Or possibly a second viewing of Endgame; it's got enough going on to warrant seeing it more than once).

Saturday, April 6, 2019

[WWE] Wrestlemania Predictions By Me And The Kiddo

Time for the annual Wrestlemania Predictions Post!

We haven't had a chance to watch NXT Takeover yet, but we didn't get this post up in time for that, so we'll stick to just the Wrestlemania main card and pre-show.

Wrestlemania Womens Battle Royal

My Pick: Asuka
Kiddo's Pick: Asuka

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

My Pick: Rob Gronkowski
Kiddo's Pick: Braun Strowman

Crusierweight Championship
Buddy Murphy (Champion) vs. Tony Nese

My Pick: Buddy Murphy
Kiddo's Pick: Buddy Murphy

Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos (Champions) vs. Ricochet & Aleister Black vs. The Bar vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev

My Pick: The Usos
Kiddo's Pick: Ricochet & Aleister Black

Raw Tag Team Championship
The Revival (Champions) vs. Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder

My Pick: The Revival
Kiddo's Pick: The Revival

Intercontinental Championship
Bobby Lashley (Champion) vs. Finn Balor

My Pick: Finn Balor
Kiddo's Pick: Finn Balor

United States Championship
Samoa Joe (Champion) vs. Rey Mysterio

My Pick: Samoa Joe
Kiddo's Pick: Samoa Joe

AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton

My Pick: AJ Styles
Kiddo's Pick: Randy Orton

Shane McMahon vs. The Miz (Falls Count Anywhere Match)

My Pick: The Miz
Kiddo's Pick: The Miz

Womens Tag Team Championship
Sasha Banks & Bayley (Champions) vs. Beth Phoenix & Natalya vs. The Iiconics vs. Nia Jax & Tamina

My Pick: Sasha Banks & Bayley
Kiddo's Pick: Nia Jax & Tamina

Kurt Angle vs. Baron Corbin

My Pick: Kurt Angle
Kiddo's Pick: Kurt Angle

Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre

My Pick: Roman Reigns
Kiddo's Pick: Roman Reigns

Triple H vs. Batista (No Holds Barred Match)

My Pick: Triple H
Kiddo's Pick: Triple H

John Cena vs. Mystery Opponent

My Pick: Undertaker defeats John Cena
Kiddo's Pick: John Cena defeats Undertaker

WWE Championship
Daniel Bryan (Champion) vs. Kofi Kingston

My Pick: Kofi Kingston
Kiddo's Pick: Daniel Bryan

Universal Championship
Brock Lesnar (Champion) vs. Seth Rollins

My Pick: Brock Lesnar
Kiddo's Pick: Brock Lesnar

Raw Womens Championship & Smackdown Womens Championship (Winner Take All)
Ronda Rousey (Raw Womens Champion) vs. Charlotte Flair (Smackdown Womens Champion) vs. Becky Lynch

My Pick: Becky Lynch
Kiddo's Pick: Ronda Rousey

Thursday, April 4, 2019

[ WWE] How I Would Have Booked Wrestlemania

As we approach Wrestlemania Weekend, here is my fantasy-booked version of the show, presented in start-to-finish order. I've got 12 matches on the main card (as of right now Wrestlemania officially has 13 matches on the main card, and the two Battle Royals on the pre-show), which allows a little bit more time per match, although this, like the real version, would still be a very long show.


Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

With 29 wrestlers in the ring, Rob Gronkowski is announced as the final entrant. Gronk teams up with Mojo Rawley for several eliminations early on before Rawley tosses him with a cheap shot. Rawley goes on to come close to becoming a two-time winner, before Mustafa Ali eliminates him for the win.

Winner: Mustafa Ali

Wrestlemania Women's Battle Royal

In my scenario, Bianca Belaire is coming off a close loss in a one-on-one rematch with Shayna Baszler at Takeover. Here, she is victorious in what will end up being her main roster debut.

Winner: Bianca Belaire

Both Battle Royal winners will receive title shots ate Backlash.


The Shield vs. Evolution

Yes, we have seen this match before, but instead of blowing off the last ride of the Shield at Fastlane, have the Reigns vs. McIntyre match at Fastlane, and reunite the Shield here. This also gets Batista and Triple H on the show while letting Randy Orton do the heavy lifting for his side. Tension can be teased between Batista and Triple H, as well as between Ambrose and Rollins. Done right, this could be an awesomely hot opening contest.

Winner: The Shield

Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka (Smackdown Womens Championship)

In the exact same slot as last year, this time with the Queen as the challenger (no, Asuka does not drop the title on a random episode of Smackdown). Asuka redeems last year's defeat. I know there is often a lot of grumbling about 50/50 booking, but this is a case where it makes sense, and it's absolutely necessary to establish that Asuka is on the same level as Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair, especially with Ronda Rousey departing.

Winner: Asuka

AJ Styles vs. Andrade Cien Almas

Just a straight-up singles match between the up-and-coming Andrade and the all-time-great Styles. Andrade picks up a career-defining win here.

Winner: Andrade Cien Almas

The Usos vs. The Revival vs. New Day vs. The Bar vs Heavy Machinery vs. Rood & Gable (Double Tag Team Ladder Match for the Raw and Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
Okay, so I have no idea if this would be amazing or a giant mess, but I'm willing to give it a try here. Two sets of titles are hoisted over the ring in SEPARATE locations. First team to get a set of titles wins those titles, but the match continues. The same team could win both titles, or they could go to separate teams. Match ends when both titles are claimed. Any team that wins a title that is not of their own brand  is automatically reassigned to that brand in the Superstar Shakeup.

Winners: The Usos become the new Raw Tag Team Champions. Heavy Machinery become the new Smackdown Tag Team Champions.

Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley (Intercontinental Championship)

I know that heel vs. heel can be a bit of a turn-off, but McIntyre would essentially be wrestling as a babyface here, while Lio Rush makes sure that Lashley gets plenty of heat from the crowd.

Winner: Drew McIntyre becomes the new Intercontinental Champion

Buddy Murphy vs. Tyler Bate (Cruiserweight Championship)

Set up is the same: Single elimination tournament on 205 Live. I like Bate here better than Neese because Neese something of a known commodity. This also gives some exposure to NXT UK.

Winner: Buddy Murphy

Kurt Angle vs. John Cena

Kurt Angle's retirement match, the match the fans wanted to see. Angle gets the feel-good win on a rollup.

Winner: Kurt Angle

Samoa Joe vs. The Miz (United States Championship)

Miz has more than earned the chance to compete for a title at Wrestlemania in the babyface role here. He still gets put to sleep by the Coquina Clutch.

Winner: Samoa Joe

Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Kairi Sane and Io Shirai (WWE Womens Tag Team Championships)

Similar setup to the Cruiserweight Title match, the challengers are the winners of a cross-brand tournament. I think that the Iiconics and the Riott Squad deserve title runs eventually, but Sasha and Bayley deserve a long and memorable initial run as champions, so they should prevail here, and the Sky Pirates should put on an incredible match with the champs.

Winners: Sasha Banks and Bayley

Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston (WWE Championship)

I really can't complain about the buildup WWE has done for this one, but the way I'd do it differently is to have Kofi win the Royal Rumble match. From there, the storyline could pretty much play out the same way, with Vince McMahon throwing additional obstacles in his path because he considers Kofi a "B+ player". I'm going with a lot of feel-good endings for these top matches, but I'm okay with that. Kofi with the much-deserved win here.

Winner: Kofi Kingston becomes the new WWE Champion.

Brock Lesnar vs. Finn Balor (WWE Universal Championship)

Balor gets his rematch from the Royal Rumble show here, and goes full Demon, including an epic entrance. If I was going to go with a heel win in any of the top matches, this would be the place to do it, and Heyman could brag about the Beast Slaying the Demon. However, the fact is that Lesnar really has been champion long enough, and the reign may as well come to an end at Wrestlemania.

Winner: Finn Balor becomes the new WWE Universal Champion

Ronda Rousey vs. Becky Lynch (WWE Raw Womens Championship)

I just feel that a one-on-one match is a better finale to the show than a triple threat, especially when Charlotte Flair has an obvious rival for a match earlier on the card.

Winner: Becky Lynch becomes the new WWE Raw Womens Champion

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Recap for February 17 to March 10 2019

This was the week of movies for me. I don't go to the movies that often, so three in one week is pretty unusual. I saw How To Train Your Dragon 3, The Wandering Earth, and Captain Marvel. I'll try to do a separate post with my thoughts.

Also getting a separate post, but I wanted to mention it here. the summer travel plans that I keep being vague about have finally been booked, now that the Kiddo got his new passport and we got some financial things settled.

We will be off on a major adventure in June. First stop is Taipei, Taiwan for a three-day whirlwind tour, and from there, two weeks in Koror, Republic of Palau! I'll post more on travel plans as we get closer!

In the meantime, I've been doing pretty well on the comic and book reading fronts.

Comic Reviews on Comic A Day

Static Shock #6 by Scott McDaniel and Andy Owens of DC Comics.

Bored Angel by Aya Rothwell.

Tall Tails: Tears of the Mother #2 by Jose Calderon and Daphne Lage of Dreamweaver Press.

Space: 1999 #7 by Mike Pellowski and Pat Boyette of Charlton Comics.

Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman by Dav Pilkey.

Farlight Saga Ethos #2 by Jared Koon and Sarah Hebblethwaite of Nemonet Studios.

Bongo Comics Free-For-All 2008 from Bongo Comics.

Sonic the Hedgehog: Free Comic Book Day Edition 2007 by Ian Flynn, Tracey Yardley, and Jim Amash of Archie Comics/Sega.

Tall Tails: Tears of the Mother #3 by Jose Calderon and Daphne Lage of Dreamweaver Press.

Astonishing X-Men #1 by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday of Marvel Comics.

The Realm #2 by Brent Truax, Donald Marquez, Brian Michael Bendis, and Patrick Zircher of Caliber Comics.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy: The Phantom Bully by Jeffrey Brown.

Daredevil Saga by Ed Brubaker, Anthony Flamini, and Michael Lark of Marvel Comics.

Astonishing X-Men #2 by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday of Marvel Comics.

Book Reviews on Goodreads

Seven Spells To Sunday by Andre Norton and Phyllis Miller.

Seaworthy: A Swordboat Captain Returns to the Sea by Linda Greenlaw.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.


WWE Fastlane airs tomorrow here, then it's on to the road to Wrestlemania. I'm also following NXT's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with interest.

No specific plans, but I'm hoping to get in some Magic: The Gathering and/or D&D with some of the local players in the coming weeks.

After seeing three movies in a week, I'm expecting Avengers: Endgame and Godzilla: King of the Monsters will be my next two trips to the cinema.

Our local mall just installed a big Ultraman exhibit, which should be fun to check out. Hoping to head there with the camera on a non-busy day this week.

Things will be very busy at my day job, with grades due next week and parent conferences this week. I am also getting more hours at my weekend side gig lately. Our next school break is the first week of April, and we'll be staying here in Shanghai for that. There is a possibility that I may be going on a school trip to Xi'An in May, which should be fun if it happens.

And, of course, as mentioned above, huge travel plans for June/July as we head to Taiwan and Palau!


@dandelionstudio on Twitter
@dandelionstudios on Instagram and @dailycomicreview on Instagram
rsilva on Boardgamegeek
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ricksilvawriting on Dreamwidth and Blogger.
Rick Silva on Goodreads

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Long Term Goals

One thing I have wanted to do for a while is take some time to think about long-term goals. I've generally had fairly good success in the past with long-term goal setting. Gynn and I talked through plans to buy a house, to adopt a child, and to move overseas, and those things came to fruition generally within the timeframes we had imagined.

So during the Chinese New Year break, I set aside some time to think about things that I would like to make happen in the next five years or so. Some of these are personal, some are for the whole family. I wrote these down in my paper journal, and the versions there are more specific in terms of timeframe and money. I'm also leaving a few items out of this post because they are personal/health related. And finally there are some things that I am working on long-term that are hard to quantify at this point (example: I would like to improve at speaking/reading Chinese, but I don't yet have a good enough sense of the pace of my progress to set really measurable goals at that).

So here is what I have to share.

Before the end of 2019 I will:

Have zero credit card debt.
Have written a complete second draft of my current work-in-progress novel, The Lady of Three Faces.
Have some additional money in savings.
Have some sort of writing-based online income stream.

Before the end of 2020 I will:

Have a novel ready for submission to agents/publishers.
Have done the necessary research for agent submission.
Have a self-published book or serial available for purchase or on an income-generating site.
Continue to have manageable credit card debt/savings.

Before the end of 2021 I will:

Have a novel accepted for publication or self-published.
Have been to my top choices for travel destinations in China, and some of my other top "bucket-list" destinations.
Have plans underway for employment in the 2021/2022 school year.
Continue to have manageable credit card debt/savings.

By the summer of 2024 I will:

Be living in the USA or have a job secured for in the USA for the 2024/2025 school year, unless we have decided to remain overseas through the Kiddo's high school graduation.
Have plans/finances in place to buy a house within two years.

I have never been too into self-help guru writing/advice, but I do think of a meaningful, if a bit silly example of such. During a WWE Hall of Fame induction speech, Diamond Dallas Page once talked about a moment when his career was stagnant, and he wrote down the words "I will be world champion within five years." He was. His advice, in the best possible self-help silliness: "Don't think it. Ink it." So I've done that this time, and now I've shared it.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Shanghai Winters

We've been back in Shanghai for about 45 days and it's been overcast with rain and drizzle for what must have been at least 40 of them. Spring and Fall in Shanghai are quite nice, summers are hot, but the winters are just nonstop chill-your-bones dampness. And the lack of central heating in many buildings does not help matters.

What does help matters: biang-biang noodles, spicy beef noodles, dumplings, and chicken soup, along with the occasional bowl of homemade chili.

Looking forward to being done with February, though.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Recap For January 28 - February 16, 2019

School is back in session after a low-ley New Years break. We visited the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum and saw the New Years lantern display at Yuyuan Garden. I got to play some Magic and some D&D (nonbinary dwarf ranger with a sage background!!!). Other than that, it was mostly relaxing and reorganizing.

The Kiddo's passport is up for renewal. We've got a consulate appointment next week to get the ball rolling on that. Once we've got that taken care of, we can start making our summer travel plans.

One other thing I did during the break was to write down a set of long-range personal goals in my paper journal. I may share some of those here at some point.

In the meantime, I have been making progress on reading and reviewing.

Comic Reviews on Comic A Day

Star Wars: Han Solo: Imperial Cadet #1 by Robbie Thompson, Leonard Kirk, and Marvel Comics.

Rival Angels: Damsels of Destruction: Wrestling Maneuvers And Techniques Volume 2 by Alan Evans and Justin Riley.

Tall Tails: Tears of the Mother #1 by Jose Calderon and Daphne Lage.

Knights of the Dinner Table Illustrated #31 by Mark Plemmons, Brendon Fraim, Brian Fraim, and Kenzer & Company.

Hot Tea, Cold Water #2, edited by Leann Leake.

Swamp Thing #68 by Rick Veitch, Alfredo Alcala, and DC Comics.

Batman #700 by Grant Morrison and DC Comics.

Alethia Chapter 1 by Kristina Stipetic.

Sleepless #7 by Sarah Vaughn, Leila Del Duca, and Image Comics.

We Won't Be Erased by Sophie LaBelle.

Spectra #6 by Rebecca Thompson, Kerry G. Johnson and the American Physical Society.

The Amazing Cynicalman #23 by Matt Feazell.

Book Reviews on Goodreads

The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.

I've been making a lot of progress on the Random Stack of Unread Comics. My new Comic A Day Instagram has been a good source of motivation.


Austin Cushing's fundraiser seeking support for medical and financial difficulties.

Jennifer Dugan's Kickstarter for the final issue of her comic, Circadia.


We're getting into another busy time at the day job as we approach the end of the third quarter. We had a short week this week, and we've now got six solid weeks of school until our Spring Break week at the beginning of April. March will hopefully bring an end to the cold and wet Shanghai winter weather, and we have the Kiddo's birthday toward the end of March. We're also into Wrestlemania season, and I'm following the rise of AEW with interest.

No trips planned for Spring Break at this point. We have some major travel plans for the summer, but those are still in the vague planning stages for the next few weeks.


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Wednesday, February 6, 2019


Xīn Nián Kuài Lè! Happy New Year!

We went in town with a friend on New Years Eve, but the lanterns at Yuyuan Gardens were closed. We did see some of the decorations around Yu Bazaar, and had some delicious beef noodles and lamb skewers.

We didn't do much on New Years Day. Just did a long walk in our neighborhood and lunch at Family Mart. This morning we had a special New Year's breakfast at home, and took down the Christmas Tree (which was half Chinese New Year decorations).

Wishing everyone a happy Year of the Pig!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


It has begun.

I had planned to take the Kiddo out to our local pedestrian food street for dinner only to find almost all the restaurants closed for New Year. The actual date of Lunar New Years Day is next Tuesday, February 5, but a lot of businesses, especially small businesses will be closed for up to two weeks around that date.

Chinese schools are mostly on break right now. My school has a week and a half off starting after this Friday. Like most international schools, we do a shorter New Years break because we also do a break around Christmas.

New Year decorations are up all over town. Here are some I photographed at Laowaijie (literally "Foreigner Street"; a pedestrian street of mostly Western restaurants).

We have no travel plans for the break. I'm hoping we get to do some more sightseeing in Shanghai including this year's lanterns at Yuyuan Gardens, and maybe some new parts of the city we haven't had the chance to explore yet.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Recap: Catching Up From December 9 2018 To January 27 2019

I haven't done a recap of review since early December, so I'm going to mostly stick to just reviews in this post.

We had an amazing trip to the USA over the holidays, and we've had a busy month back in China. One week to go until we get another break over the Chinese New Year holiday. That one will be a staycation for us (as will out Spring break, but we are working on some big travel plans for the summer). We're looking forward to exploring more of Shanghai over the New Year break.

I've been doing a lot of comic reviews. I got some more unread comics out of storage to add to the Random Stack of Unread Comics, along with some new purchases. I've also got a new Instagram account specifically for my comics reviews. Check out @dailycomicreview.

This is part of a general overhaul of my social media accounts that I'm in the midst of. More on that in a future post.

On the prose reading front, I'm off to a good start on my 2019 reading goals.

Here are my reviews since my last update.

Comic Reviews on Comic A Day

The Blokes of Ball Point by Suzanne Baumann.

Dawn's Dictionary Drama #1 by John Bintz.

Knights of the Dinner Table Illustrated #30 by Kenzer and Company.

Ex Machina Volume 1: The First Hundred Days by Brian K. Vaughan, Tony Harris, Tom Feister, J.D. Mettler, and DC/Wildstorm Comics.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang.

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova.

Shuri #1 by Nnedi Okorafor, Leonardo Romero, and Marvel Comics.

Doom Patrol #44 by Grant Morrison, Richard Case, Mark McKenna, and DC Comics.

Circadia #1 by Jennifer Dugan, Keezy Young, MJ Erickson, and 36 Plums.

Everest / Love Fights #1 FCBD 2004 by Andi Watson, Greg Rucka, Scott Morse, and Oni Press.

Circadia #2 by Jennifer Dugan, MJ Erickson, and 36 Plums.

Swamp Thing Halloween Horror Giant #1 by DC Comics.

Red Sonja #15 by Gail Simone, Walter Geovani, and Dynamite Entertainment.

Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Rose & Paige by Delilah S. Dawson, Nicoletta Baldari, and IDW.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy: Return of the Padawan by Jeffrey Brown.

Hot Tea, Cold Water #1 edited by Leann Leake.

Circadia #3 by Jennifer Dugan, Jey Pawlik, and 36 Plums.

The Walking Dead #175 by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano, and Image Comics.

Hermann Shepherd in "Gitmo Goofs" by Ian Harker, Randy Sinsel, John Carr, Ron Hoffman, and High Treason Comics.

Circadia #4 by Jennifer Dugan, Sarah Simes, and 36 Plums.

Steven Universe #14 by Grace Craft, Rii Abrego, Whitney Cogar, and Missy Pena.

Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey.

Ultimate Spider-Man #42 by Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Art Thibert, and Marvel Comics.

Book Reviews on Goodreads

Walking by Henry David Thoreau.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Who Was Betsy Ross? by James Buckley Jr.

Zero History by William Gibson.

The Fifth Season by N.K. Jeminsin.

Junie B. Jones is a Beauty Shop Guy by Barbara Park.

Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce.

That catches me up on reviews! Hope to be back to these update posts on a weekly basis from here on. I've also got a last few 2018-in-review type posts on the way.


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Royal Rumble Predictions From Me And The Kiddo

Here we go with our Royal Rumble Predictions!

Men's Royal Rumble Match

My assumptions: Daniel Bryan retains his title. Either outcome for the Universal Title match is okay (I'm picking Finn as Demon to win, but that may be wishful thinking on my part), Miz and Shane lose with Miz turning on Shane and going full-heel.

My Order of Entry

1. Seth Rollins
2. Dean Ambrose
3. Pete Dunne
4. Chad Gable
5. Scott Dawson
6. Jeff Hardy
7. Dash Wilder
8. Mustafa Ali
9. Bobby Roode
10. Tye Dillinger
11. Braun Strowman
12. Big Show
13. Curtis Hawkins
14. Xavier Woods
15. Kofi Kingston
16. Adam Cole
17. Randy Orton
18. Rey Mysterio
19. Andrade Cien Almas
20. Kevin Owens
21. Kalisto
22. Sami Zayn
23. Bray Wyatt
24. The Miz
25. Samoa Joe
26. John Cena
27. Velveteen Dream
28. Big E
29. Drew McIntyre
30. R. Truth

Final Four: The Miz, Drew McIntyre, Seth Rollins, Samoa Joe

Winner: The Miz

Kiddo's assumptions: Kiddo is assuming that Finn Balor defeats Brock Lesnar for the Universal Title. He's also assuming that for some highly unlikely reason, Paul Heyman decides he's going to enter the Royal Rumble match himself.

Kiddo's Order of Entry

1. John Cena
2. Lars Sullivan
3. James Ellsworth
4. Dean Ambrose
5. Seth Rollins
6. Curtis Hawkins
7. Elias
8. Samoa Joe
9. The Miz
10. Tye Dillinger
11. Otis Dozovic
12. Velveteen Dream
13. Ricochet
14. Johnny Gargano
15. Kevin Owens
16. Baron Corbin
17. Triple H
18. Kurt Angle
19. Jinder Mahal
20. Jimmy Uso
21. Big E
22. Kofi Kingston
23. Xavier Woods
24. Randy Orton
25. Drew McIntyre
26. Shinsuke Nakamura
27. Paul Heyman
28. Brock Lesnar
29. Roman Reigns
30. R. Truth

Final Four: Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns, Shinsuke Nakamura, John Cena

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

Women's Royal Rumble Match

My assumptions: I am assuming that Asuka retains her title against Becky Lynch. The Raw Championship doesn't figure into this match, but I'm picking Ronda Rousey to retain against Sasha Banks.

My Order of Entry

1. Naomi
2. Mandy Rose
3. Charlotte Flair
4. Sonya Deville
5. Lana
6. Tamina
7. Natalya
8. Nikki Cross
9. Billy Kaye
10. Liv Morgan
11. Trish Stratus
12. Sarah Logan
13. Peyton Royce
14. Ember Moon
15. Mickie James
16. Candice Leray
17. Lita
18. Nia Jax
19. Bayley
20. Zelina Vega
21.Bianca Belair
22. Kairi Sane
23. Mercedes Martinez
24. Kacy Catanzaro
25. Toni Storm
26. Alicia Fox
27. Meiko Satomura
28. Ruby Riott
29. Alexa Bliss
30. Becky Lynch (after beating Carmella senseless and taking her spot)

Final Four: Charlotte Flair, Meiko Satomura, Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch

Winner: Becky Lynch

Kiddo's assumptions: Kiddo is assuming that Sasha Banks wins the Raw Title from Ronda Rousey, and that Asuka retains her title against Becky Lynch.

Kiddo's Order of Entry

1. Becky Lynch
2. Bayley
3. Shayna Baszler
4. Kairi Sane
5. Io Shirai
6. Kacy Catanzaro
7. Lana
8. Alicia Fox
9. Ember Moon
10. Charlotte Flair
11. Naomi
12. Vanessa Borne
13. Alexa Bliss
14. Lacey Evans
15. Nia Jax
16. Xia Brookside
17. Tamina
18. Sonya Deville
19. Ronda Rousey
20. Jessamyn Duke
21. Mandy Rose
22. Marina Shafir
23. Sarah Logan
24. Liv Morgan
25. Ruby Riott
26. Trish Stratus
27. Lita
28. Bianca Belair
29. Nikki Cross
30. Carmella

Final Four: Ember Moon, Ronda Rousey, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch

Winner: Ember Moon

My Annual Unlikely Royal Rumble Scenario

The night before the rumble, Tomaso Ciampa cheats to retain his NXT Championship. He then proceeds to enter the Royal Rumble at #23. Almost immediately, Aliester Black (not entered in the Rumble) comes out of the crowd and knocks Ciampa out with his Black Mass kick. Seth Rollins, in since #1, eliminates Samoa Joe and Drew McIntyre, leaving him in the ring with Ciampa's limp carcass. Rollins goes to throw him out, when Johnny Gargano comes in out of the crowd and superkicks Rollins. Rollins goes after Gargano only to have Ciampa thrown him out. The Greatest Sports Entertainer of All Time is on his way to Wrestlemania!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Reading Books By Women Authors In 2019

I'm going to do a year of reading only books by women in 2019. I've got some amazing-looking books lined up, and I'm looking forward to this as an opportunity to hear some different voices and to read some things I might not have otherwise chosen.

Image may contain: indoor

Here is the list of works by female authors that I've got on my shelf right now:

Finished Reading:

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Currently Reading:

So You Want To Be A Wizard by Diane Duane
The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin
Hack College Like An Entrepreneur by Antonia Liu

To Be Read:

Shut Up Shakespeare and Other Poems by Ellen Beener
A Book Without Dragons by Olivia Berrier
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
The Dragon with a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis
The Distant Land of my Father by Bo Caldwell
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper
The Vengeful Half by Jackie Dolamore
Moonlight Sonata by Elizabeth Donald
Deep Wizardry by Diane Duane
Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
China Homecoming by Jean Fritz
Seaworthy by Linda Greenlaw
The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
A Thousand Miles to Freedom by Eunsun Kim
Mambo in Chinatown by Jean Kwok
Dragon Magic by Andre Norton
Seven Spells To Sunday by Andre Norton
Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
Lumberjanes Vol. 4 by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Brooke Allen
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan
Spectra by Rebecca Thompson and Kerry G. Johnson
Space Opera by Catherynne Valente
The Flutter Collection by Jennie Wood
Wizard's Hall by Jane Yolen

That accounts for just under half of the goal of 75, although I will pick up some of the remaining ones from the Kiddo's to-be-read pile. Open to suggestions of any genre. I am somewhat limited in terms of what is available at easily accessible bookstores in Shanghai (I prefer not to read ebooks, which limits things a bit further, but I expect to have some opportunities over the course of the year to do a bit of book shopping).


With any absolute statement, there are usually some exceptions attached.

I have three books by male authors that I am in the process of reading, and one I'm reading with the Kiddo and the other two are books that I've been reading in really slow bits at a time.

I do a comic review blog, and individual issue comics in my Random Stack of Unread Comics are, well, random, so I'm not including them in this exercise.

I sometimes have required professional development books for my job that I don't get to choose.

For the books that I read for bedtime reading with the Kiddo, I do have a really nice selection of books by women authors lined up, and I plan to try to stick with those and let him read other books on his own, but some of this is his choice.

I got a huge list of ideas to add to my wishlist from Facebook friends, but I am always happy to take other suggestions! Looking forward to some great reading in 2019!

Friday, January 4, 2019

2018 Reading Recap

I ended the year having read 84 books, which beat my reading goal of 70! I also beat last year's record for most books read in a year since I started counting. My recap on Goodreads can be found here.

Here is my set of top-five lists for myself and the Kiddo:

My Top 5 Books Read In 2018

5. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.
4. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan.
3. The Thief of Always by Clive Barker.
2. I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura.
1. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien.

My Top 5 Books That I Read With The Kiddo In 2018

5. Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dav Pilkey.
4. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan.
3. Amulet Book Seven: Firelight by Kazu Kibuishi.
2. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger.
1. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Kiddo's Top 5 Books Read In 2018

5. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger.
4. Captain Underpants and the Invasion of the Incredibly Naughty Cafeteria Ladies from Outer Space and the Subsequent Assault of the Equally Evil Lunchroom Zombie Nerds by Dav Pilkey.
3. Alvin Ho: Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions by Lenore Look.
2. Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dav Pilkey.
1. Amulet Book Six: Escape From Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi.