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.