Friday, January 31, 2014

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse - January

MonoramaThe first title I read this month was our very own Tony Laplume's "Monorama". This was a very trippy, heady collection of short stories in a very sci-fi vein. The first section of stories are a collection of shorter pieces, each of which could easily (hopefully?) be expanded upon and made into full length stories.

This was also my very first Kindle read.  I was given a Kindle for Christmas 3 years ago.  I instantly purchased "The Princess Bride" (as my local library's copy had gone missing), but I have never been able to finish it!

I have read the first 15 chapters of "The Red Pyramid".  This was sort of a "have to" assignment.  In order to help my teaching partner, I agreed to shave 15 minutes off of each of my math classes in order to carve out some dedicated time for Novel Study groups.  I offered to read this and create the Teacher's Guide for the group.

I liked the first Percy Jackson novel well enough but never felt particularly compelled to go back.  I think I am feeling the same about this one.  I'm sure I'll finish it, to help the kids, but it won't be a labor of love.

I understand that authors are able to hit a groove or style and run with it (Cussler and Patterson leap to mind) but sometimes the groove becomes a rut that I'm not interested in.  Then again, I'm not the target audience.  I will give Riordan full credit for attempting some newer ideas (the two main characters are not the typical protagonists of Young Adult works) and the wink towards his Percy Jackson series drew a smile, but that's about it.

Fortunately, the MilkEarlier this month, my teaching partner bought a book for my classroom library.  Neil Gaiman and Skottie Young's "Fortunately, The Milk" was an absolute delight.  An easy, breezy adventure that I think would make a lovely stage production.  I could envision it performed in several different ways...a multi-media one person stage show...a full blown humorous was so much fun.  I've never been a big fan of Young's illustrations in the comic books I've seen, just not my cup of tea, but they work so well here.  And Gaiman is firing on all cylinders.

I received "For Boston", the Boston Globe's World Series Commemorative book for Christmas and read it while sick one weekend earlier this month.  I'm not a fan of Dan Shaughnessy, but most of the stories in here are great for a Boston fan.  The layout of the book is curious, in that it starts with the Globe's stories about the World Series victory and then tells the tale of the rest of the season in reverse chronological order.  Curious choice.

This allows me to publish my favorite picture of the post season:

I'm on the left.  My teaching partner, a Phillies fan is next, followed by our Coffeehouse host, The Armchair Squid himself (an Orioles fan), and our host for the evening is seated (also a Sox fan).  This was during the game 3 loss...I can't remember the play, but I left as soon as the game was over.

The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same.  In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.  Please join us:

1.The Armchair Squid2.What's up, MOCK?!
3.Words Incorporated4.Scouring Monk
5.Huntress6.A Creative Exercise
7.Libby Heily8.Trisha @ WORD STUFF
9.Wishbone Soup Cures Everything10.mainewords
11.Subliminal Coffee

Monday, January 20, 2014

Music Monday: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Perform for Passengers On NYC Bus

I saw this yesterday and can't stop thinking about it.  We've been listening to some of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's music for about a year now.  It's fun and infectious.

As part of the upcoming Grammy Awards (The duo is up for seven awards), Macklemore and Lewis jumped on a bus in New York City and performed "Can't Hold Us".

 My favorite part might be the girl at the bus stop at the end recognizing Macklemore as he gets off the bus.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Cinema Sunday: Man of Steel and The Wolverine

I entered this weekend with a very short "To Do" list and nothing heavy on my portion of the family calendar.  It seems I've been non-stop since Thanksgiving.  I'm not complaining, just stating how it feels.

While school is going well, we've had 12 school days since the holiday break and we've had 10 days with inside recess.  And due to illnesses and vacation, my entire teaching team was intact only twice.

So given all of that, Logan and I pledged to chill this weekend and get in a couple of movies we've been wanting to see.

#129 on my flickchart
While I love the work DC has done with animated television shows and direct to DVD movies, I've not been a huge fan of the DC Movie Universe.  Haley and I went to see "Superman Returns" when it came out in 2006.  While there was parts of it that I liked, I just didn't understand some of the choices they made.  I've seen the first two Nolan Batman movies on DVD but that's it for mainstream DC flicks.  I did go see "Watchmen" its opening weekend but that is its own beast.

"Man of Steel" was a good flick.  I understand some of the criticism level at it.  Part of me is bothered by the things that were done to change the story enough to keep the Siegel and Shuster families at bay.  But all in all it was enjoyable.  As for the whole "Superman doesn't kill" brouhaha, now that I've seen it, I think it fits in with the story.  I'm eager for the sequel and to see where the expansion of the movie universe goes next.

#96 on my flickchart
While I enjoy the Marvel Movie Universe, I seem to be selective about what I go see in the theater.  I skipped the Iron Man movies and watch them on DVD.  I missed the first "Thor" but have seen "Thor: The Dark World" twice already.  I've already got "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" lined up.  As for the Fox side of things, I think I've seen them all in the theater or at the drive-in, with the exception of "X-Men: First Class" and both solo Wolverine movies.

I'm not sure why I sat this one out.  Probably financial reasons last summer.  I love the source material for this story and really like Hugh Jackman's interpretation of the character.  This one is a little heavier than most of the X-Men franchise.  Even if I wasn't already all in on "X-Men: Days of Future Past", this movie would have cinched the deal.

We also watched "Despicable Me 2"...but I dozed off for some of it.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy January!

January starts with me still having 8,781 total comic books tracked in my software.  While I have made a few purchases, I haven't had time to sit down and enter them into the computer.

Here are a selection of comic books I own with January cover dates.  Two I purchased when they were published, one was a back issue find and one holds special distinction in my collection.

This is currently the oldest comic book in my collection.  We recently cleaned out Nan's grandparent's house.  There were some comic books involved.  After the cousins took what they wanted (I believe only one of her cousins took any comics), I thumbed through the remainders and ended up with 26 books that are tagged in my software as "The Riley Collection."

My most recent "Holy Grail" comic.  It took me nearly 30 years to track down an affordable copy.  This one features the first appearance of Superman's alternate Earth cousin Power Girl and usually commands a hefty price.  I try to avoid paying more than $5.00 for any individual comic book.  In my whole collection, there are only 66 individual comics that cost more than this book. (I've only paid more than $10 for a comic 26 times).  I snagged this in March at my favorite comic shop, That's Entertainment in Worcester, MA.  I had won a $10 gift certificate for answering a trivia question, so snatching this up at $6.95 was a no-brainer!

I was raised Catholic and have a strong Polish heritage.  Picking this up back-in-the-day was another no-brainer.  I mean, what 12 year old boy wouldn't be excited to find this on the stands!

Two of my favorite things in the same comic!  And one of the first issues I got via subscription.

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