Wednesday, August 1

Hey August | 2018 Man Calendar

Wednesday, August 1



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Wednesday, July 4

We will not go quietly into the night ...

Wednesday, July 4

We will not vanish without a fight!

We're going to live on!

We're going to survive!




Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!

Happy 4th of July!

Sunday, July 1

Hey July | 2018 Man Calendar

Sunday, July 1



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Friday, June 1

Hey June | The 2018 Man Calendar

Friday, June 1



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Peep the rest of the 2018 Man Calendar here.

Monday, May 28

Haiku Revieu | Avengers: Infinity War

Monday, May 28
Avengers: Infinity War
★★★½

So many people
How is my heart still beating
Is it next year yet



The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.



This is a hard review to write, y'all.

A month later, and I'm still reeling from this film.

I mean, I had an inkling going in that not everyone was going to make it. But I wasn't prepared for that. (Since it's only been a month, I'll refrain from spoilers here, but those of you who've seen Infinity War—and if you haven't, what are you doing?—know exactly what I'm talking about.) Sure, I'm positive that a lot of what happened at the end will be undone, somehow, in Avengers 4, but that doesn't exactly make anything easier at this moment in time.

Nor does the stuff that likely won't get undone.

That said, I really loved this movie. I've been telling people that it's more Captain America: Civil War than Thor: Ragnarok, but like any good Marvel movie, it brings both the humor and the tears. Early on, I had my reservations on how a movie with this many personalities involved would work. But the dynamics between all of the characters are fabulous, and the way they flow between the various parts of the MCU franchise seems almost effortless. Even the most "standalone" of the MCU characters—i.e., Doctor Strange—meshes into the larger universe like it's no big thing. (He and Tony's animosity was particularly delightful to watch.) 

I really have to applaud all the people behind the scenes who made this happen. I don't know that I consider Infinity War the greatest crossover of all time, considering how much crossing-over took place before this film, but I certainly recognize how much work has gone on in the decade since the MCU started to make such a movie possible.

Some quick, not-too-spoilery highlights:
  • Steve's "on-the-run" look. HERE FOR IT.
  • Thor's intital meeting with the Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • Shuri's dressing down of Bruce/the tech that makes Vision who he is.
  • Steve and Groot's meet cute.
  • Everything Peter says.
  • Everything Drax says.
  • The subversion of the "dwarf" stereotype.
  • Loki's "redemption" (?)
  • That moment with Natasha, Wanda, and Okoye
  • Every one of our heroes being Heroes
  • The post-credits scene
(I'm sure I'm forgetting something.)

Do I have a few complaints? Sure: Black Widow has never been used to her full potential, and I don't get the blonde. (It's maybe a disguise, OK, but no one else went that far.) Thanos's universe domination plot is FILLED with holes. Where were Valkryie, Korg, Ant-Man, or Hawkeye? Shuri and Peter never made plans to take over the world (and snatch control from the olds). And, natch, all that I mentioned at the start of this post.

But overall, the MCU continues to impress me, and I'm still proud to be such a massive stan. I'm DREADING what's to come, but have faith that it'll all be OK1.

Check it out:



1 OK is such a subjective term, but even if my heart gets broken again, I trust that the reasons for whatever happens will make sense in the end.

Friday, May 25

Haiku Revieu | Ready Player One

Friday, May 25
Ready Player One
★★¾

Wade Watts is The One
Ladies don't get much to do
Not a great copy



When the creator of a virtual reality world called the OASIS dies, he releases a video in which he challenges all OASIS users to find his Easter Egg, which will give the finder his fortune.



It's been a while since I saw this movie (like two months ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), but I wanted to play catch up on my somewhat recent trips to the theater, and this was at the top of the list.

Let me preface this review with the fact that I didn't love Ready Player One, the book. I thought it was a fun novel, and I enjoyed all of the nerdy pop culture references—even if I didn't get all of them—but I really disliked Artemis' character and their "romance." (It felt very self-satisfying, as though author Ernest Cline was putting a fantasy to paper, rather than thinking about how to make their romance believable.)

I felt much the same way about the film adaptation. Fast-paced and great nerdy references, but terrible lack of depth to the female characters, even though I do appreciate that Artemis got more to do. The romance was actually worse in the movie, if you can believe it. I also didn't like the changes they made to the secondary characters; they had semi-fleshed out backstories in the books that were nonexistent in the movie.

Like I said, however, the many, many, pop culture references included in the film were impressive. I guess it pays to snag a director like Steven Spielberg, who just maybe has some connections. Tye Sheridan was a good Wade/Parzival. Lena Waithe could have been amazing as Aech, were she given more to do. And Ben Mendelsohn was great as Krennic Sorrento. (He has a very punchable mid-management type face.)

I tried not to go into this movie expecting a perfect adaptation, and I wasn't disappointed. I just had hopes that the few things I found fault with in the book would have been addressed or improved.

Check it out:



Friday, May 4

May the 4th Be With You!

Friday, May 4

Happy Star Wars Day!

Way back in 2011—before we knew we'd get to "live" in the Star Wars universe again—I started creating e-cards to celebrate May 4th. They're part Valentine, part cheesy pick-up line, but they're all fun. (At least I think so.)

I didn't make the time to create a bunch of new ones this year, but couldn't pass up the opportunity to get at least one new one in the mix.

Feel free to share these with your nerdy friends and loved ones! (Click the images for larger versions.) And May the Fourth be with you!

Solo


Rogue One



The Force Awakens



The Original Trilogy




FYI: Chewie's card reads "I'll let you pilot my spaceship any day." I used this translator for "accuracy."

Wednesday, May 2

Nerd News | Ant-Man and the Wasp trailer

Wednesday, May 2
If you were curious what's coming next from Marvel post-Infinity War:


Definitely a departure from the tone of IW, but it seems spot-on for an Ant-Man movie. (Which is a good thing.) I have a theory that—highlight to reveal; I don't want to spoil IW for those who haven't seen it—Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place at the same time as IW, and that's where Scott was. (Still unsure about Hawkeye, though.)

Have you seen IW? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments, just please add a spoiler tag (<spoiler>text</spoiler>) tag around anything that's, well, a spoiler. I'll have a Haiku Revieu up soon!



Also of note:


Tuesday, May 1

Hey May | The 2018 Man Calendar

Tuesday, May 1



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Peep the rest of the 2018 Man Calendar here.

Monday, April 30

Recently Read | January + February 2018

Monday, April 30

2018 has been flying by. I honestly don't know where the first four months went!

What did I read during the months of January and February?


Top Read


Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.

Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is a whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.

And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex … Approximately.



Jenn Bennett is a treasure of the YA contemporary romance world. Her books are filled with sweet moments and characters who feel like real people. But Bennett's books aren't totally fluffy; they include some serious moments and issues that ground them in the realm of reality.

Also, I didn't realize until right now that this was a You've Got Mail retelling, but it totally is! So if you're a fan of that movie, or adorably sweet, swoony romances, I'd definitely pick this one up. Or any of Bennett's other books.


Honorable mentions


Annihilation (The Southern Reach Trilogy #1) by Jeff VanderMeer

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.



I picked up this book after a recommendation from a friend, and seeing the trailer for the movie. Although I didn't love the movie—and I wouldn't recommend reading this book too close to seeing it—I really enjoyed this book.

It's a very unique read that is both hopeful and disquieting. It's not full-out horror, but it's certainly suspenseful. I haven't read the latter two books in the trilogy, but from reading the synopses, I'm not sure they'll be as unique, but I hope they reveal more of the mystery. There's so much to uncover!


Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman


Rowan and Citra take opposite stances on the morality of the Scythedom, putting them at odds, in the second novel of the chilling New York Times bestselling series from Neal Shusterman, author of the Unwind dystology.

Rowan has gone rogue, and has taken it upon himself to put the Scythedom through a trial by fire. Literally. In the year since Winter Conclave, he has gone off-grid, and has been striking out against corrupt scythes—not only in MidMerica, but across the entire continent. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”—a vigilante taking down corrupt scythes in flames.

Citra, now a junior scythe under Scythe Curie, sees the corruption and wants to help change it from the inside out, but is thwarted at every turn, and threatened by the “new order” scythes. Realizing she cannot do this alone—or even with the help of Scythe Curie and Faraday, she does the unthinkable, and risks being “deadish” so she can communicate with the Thunderhead—the only being on earth wise enough to solve the dire problems of a perfect world. But will it help solve those problems, or simply watch as perfection goes into decline?



The first book in the Arc of the Scythe series, Scythe, was a top pick the year I read it, so I had high hopes for this sequel. It's honestly not what I expected, but it really packs a punch. Shusterman's created a near-future society that feels all too real, but is fascinating because of how scary it is.

And for a science fiction novel about the dangers of immortality, Thunderhead makes some poignant and important connections to modern-day issues that are impressive in their subtlety (or not, as the case may be.)


Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

Set against a future of marauding space scavengers and deadly aliens who kill with sound, here is a frightening, fast-paced YA adventure from the author of the acclaimed horror novel, Shutter.

Tuck has been in stasis on the
USS John Muir, a ship that houses Earth’s most valued artifacts—its natural resources. Parks and mountains are preserved in space.

Laura belongs to a shipraiding family, who are funded by a group used to getting what they want. And they want what’s on the Muir.

Tuck and Laura didn’t bargain on working together, or battling mutant aliens who use sound to kill. But their plan is the only hope for their crews, their families, and themselves.

In space, nobody can hear you scream ... but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you'll hear.




I'm not a big horror fan, and Pitch Dark isn't exactly horror-horror, but it's a spooky, creepy read that I made sure not to read in the dark.

I enjoyed Alameda's debut novel, Shutter, in large part because of the way she wove disturbing and down-right-gross elements into the story. Pitch Dark is equally disturbing, but in a fun way? (Maybe I should read more horror.)


Other reads


★★★★

Bloodline by Claudia Gray | Gone Rogue: Wires and Nerve (Wires and Nerve #2) by Marissa Meyer | Markswoman (Asiana #1) by Rati Mehrotra | Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George

★★★

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart | Ink, Iron, and Glass (Ink, Iron, and Glass #1) by Gwendolyn Clare | Into the Bright Unknown (The Gold Seer Trilogy #3) by Rae Carson | The Lost Plot (The Invisible Library #4) by Genevieve Cogman


★★

Shadowsong (Wintersong #2) by S. Jae Jones


Have you read any of these books? If not, what have you read lately that you'd recommend?

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