Sunday, April 24, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: April 17th to 23rd

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by photographing my dog (or one of his stand-ins) with every book I read, barring the comics I get as single issues.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I edit them and appear here in digest form every Sunday, with descriptive alt tags and additional commentary.

Not pictured: more UNCANNY X-MEN, of course. I'm at the start of Chris Claremont's run now, and things are starting to look a hell of a lot more familiar.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, peeks out from around a hardcover copy of The Queen of the Night set upright on a concrete stoop. The book's cover features a sepia portrait of a frizzy-haired white woman wearing a massive white gown and a black domino mask. She props one fist on her hip and raises her other hand to her lips.

It's finally warm enough to spend more than thirty seconds outside at a stretch! Murchie's a total outdoorsdog come summertime, so y'all can expect lots more outdoor photos of him in the near future (unless the Weather Gods turn against us again).

Last week we spent some time on the back stoop, THE QUEEN OF THE NIGHT in hand. It kept pretending it was right on the cusp of being an awesome, amazing, can't-put-it-down-oh-gods-oh-gods novel, but it never made good on that promise. I gave it 260 pages, convinced something with heaps of word of mouth-fueled hype behind it had to be worth the effort, but I never transitioned from mildly interested to actively engaged. Most of the time, I was flat out bored.

I'm bored even thinking about it, to be perfectly frank, so that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Readathon Mini-Challenge: Taco Road Trip Time!

Photograph of a round sign that reads 'Vinyl Taco.' It protrudes from a grey-painted brick building, an awning with further taco slogans directly below it.
No road trip is complete without tacos.

The mini challenge is now finished. Thank you to all the participants and congratulations to the winner, Luisa!

Readathon: April 2016 Edition

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, stares directly at the viewer. He sits on a person's mostly-obscured lap.

Welcome, fellow Readathonners and random visitors alike! Murchie and I are all set to devote our day to Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon. This is my sixteenth 'thon and Murchie's fourteenth.

I'll update this master post every two or three hours, with the most recent update at the top.

Hour Eighteen

This'll be my last blog update because I'm sleepy as all hell and seriously incoherent with it. I'll still be checking in on social media until I fall asleep, but I wanna do so from the comfort of my oh-so cozy bed.

It's early, I know, both in terms of the overall Readathon and when you consider my track record, but I woke up a full two hours before the start time and never managed to do more than doze after that. Sigh. Sometimes insomnia keeps you up too late; sometimes it gets you up too early. Either one's about as fun as the other.

I'm still reading THE LIE TREE, but I took a brief break during my last session to chug down a few issues of UNCANNY X-MEN. I expect I'll continue to alternate between the two for as long as I'm awake; so, for anywhere from one to three hours. I probably won't finish THE LIE TREE and I definitely won't reach the final issue of UNCANNY X-MEN, but I'll get some good reading in.

I also paused at the start of Hour Fifteen to get tomorrow's Murchie Plus Books in order. Check back at 7am Central time for my excessively longwinded thoughts on spoilers, Batgirl cereal, and other related topics.

Currently Reading

  • THE LIE TREE by Frances Hardinge

Previously Read

  • BATGIRL VOLUME TWO: FAMILY BUSINESS by Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, and Babs Tarr
  • SO SWEET by Rebekah Weatherspoon
  • MIDNIGHTER VOLUME ONE: OUT by Steve Orlando, Aco, Stephen Mooney, Alex Morgan, and Hugo Petrus
  • 1970s issues of UNCANNY X-MEN

Food and Drink Consumed

  • a great many glasses water (I always lose track)
  • two cups coffee
  • one bowl Batgirl cereal
  • one plate sour cream scrambled eggs
  • dried mango
  • mixed gummies
  • four pieces garlic peppercorn toast
  • two cups tea
  • one small bowl triple berry sorbet
  • two bowls dill pickle rice chips
  • one bowl peanut butter chocolate crunch frozen yogurt

Albums Listened To

  • Within A Mile of Home - Flogging Molly (x2)
  • Funhouse - P!nk
  • Lock, Stock, & Two Smoking Barrels OST
  • A Mediterranean Odyssey - Loreena McKennitt

Other Activities

  • mini challenge administration
  • ablutions
  • routine dog maintenance
  • second breakfast
  • extraordinary dog maintenance involving eye goop (ewwwwwwwwww)
  • valiant attempt not to puke (successful)
  • Murchie Plus Books prep

Mini Challenges Completed

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Television: Aldnoah.Zero

Aldnoah.Zero banner, featuring the title in both Japanese and English against a deep blue background. A massive orange robot with glowing blue spots on its head and chest plate hovers to the right side of the image. Below the title, a caption reads, 'Let justice be done, though the heavens fall.'

Last year, I decided to start watching more foreign TV as a counterpoint to my excessive CW consumption. I wasn't out to watch a different kind of TV, mind; I just figured subtitles might lend an air of legitimacy to the usual faked deaths and Secret Babies.

I asked Netflix what they had for me, and Netflix was like, "We think you should watch some anime. Here's a well-rated SFnal thing called ALDNOAH.ZERO."

A this point, I’d watched one anime in my whole life (SKIP BEAT!, based on the manga of the same name) and that wasn’t even on Netflix, but I was like, "Okay." Because Netflix has learned what I like, and the whole no-anime thing was situational rather than preferential. When I was a young person, anime was super expensive and hard to find, so I didn’t bother. Netflix is relatively cheap and easy to access, so I figured it was time to explore the medium.

I generally give new shows two or three episodes to hook me. ALDNOAH.ZERO managed the feat inside of ten minutes.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: April 10th to 16th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by photographing my dog with every book I read, barring the comics I get as single issues.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I edit them and appear here in digest form every Sunday, with descriptive alt tags and additional commentary.

Not pictured: I felt ready to continue my UNCANNY X-MEN read-through, so I had myself a most enjoyable binge--until I discovered Marvel Unlimited doesn't have the whole series after all. Their library jumps right from #66 to #94, so I'll have to rejig my plans. Sadness.

I'm so bummed I'll miss the issue where Beast becomes blue and hairy. I've been wondering about that for decades, and googling it would be way too easy.

I've been picking away at another TALES OF THE JEDI miniseries, too. Someday I'll even finish it.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, lays on a sheep-shaped pillow. He wears an orange t-shirt with the continent of Australia printed in brown on the back, and his chin rests slightly above a white Kobo with Skip Beat Volume 36's cover on its screen. The cover features a young Japanese man wearing a grey three-piece suit with the jacket slung over his shoulder.

I resisted SKIP BEAT!'s siren song for as long as I could, desperate to lessen the wait between volumes 36 and 37, but last Sunday I caved and used my Amazon affiliate earnings to get volume 36. (This is what I plan to do with all my thus far unimpressive takings. Please buy stuff through the link in my sidebar and help me collect the whole series! #shamelessplug) I gulped it down as quick as I ever I could, and when I was done my face hurt from all the grinning.

Now I've gotta wait months upon months for volume 37, which I expect will make me sob as well as grin because it looks an awful lot like we'll finally meet Kyoko's mom. FEELS.

Seriously, though, how long do you think it'd take me to learn Japanese so I could read each chapter as it comes out? Because I don't buy anything in issues, but I'd buy this.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

DC Facts

Being a non-exhaustive list of things I know about the DC Universe as I embark upon a quest to familiarize myself with the place. All facts gleaned from DC’s TV shows and movies, stuff I’ve seen on the internet, and a stack of Silver Age comics I read twenty years ago.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Murchie Plus Books: April 3rd to 9th

The premise: I love my dog. I love books. I bring the two together by photographing my dog with every book I read, barring the comics I get as single issues.

The photos: go live on Instagram as I take them and appear here in digest form every Sunday, with descriptive alt tags and additional commentary.

Not pictured: I finally read SILK, Marvel's first comic with an Asian-American lead, and it was great.

I finished the fifth BEST OF BENEATH CEASELESS SKIES collection, too. The back half was every bit as fabulous as I hoped it would be.

A fuzzy grey poodle, Murchie, sits with his chin extended over a white Kobo with Illuminae's orange and yellow cover on its screen. The Kobo's backlight casts a glow over his beard, while the rest of him gradually fades into shadow.

Pretty well the moment I started Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff's ILLUMINAE, I knew it was gonna be special. The opening was intense... but alas, things died down a bit after that.

It was still really good, mind. It just wasn't the can't-tear-myself-away read I'd been led to expect, both by that opening and by friends who'd already finished it.

I resigned myself to another book I'd really like rather than love (which, I'll remind you, is not a bad thing), until I reached the 45% mark and my attitude suddenly transitioned from, "This is pretty good," to, "OMG WHAT IS THIS BEAUTY." And it never let up after that.

ILLUMINAE's got so many of my favourite things. It's epistolary, so it allows us to see each character from multiple angles. It's not necessarily reliable, since the characters are emotionally compromised by the trauma they've endured and under orders not to talk openly about the seriously bad shit going down around them. There are space battles. Someone goes mad.

(Madness isn't necessarily one of my favourites, but it does tend to crop up in the stuff I love. Consumption--of the lungs, not conspicuous--usually follows hot on its heels, but not this time. Maybe in the sequel.)

It ends with one hell of a bang. I'm so glad there's more forthcoming later this year.