By: Revanche

The fun we had: Spring 2017

July 5, 2017

What I watched

Man to Man

A Netflix exclusive described as: “Disguised as a bodyguard, a special agent must complete his national secret tasks while pandering to the whims of his ill-tempered world star.”

I really didn’t know what it expect but in my flu-weakened state, I was willing to give almost anything diverting a try to distract from my aches, fever and chills, and swollen throat. The fact that it was entirely in Korean with subtitles was a bonus for once – it forced me to stop working and actually rest. It started out as a light silly comedic take on a spy story, the actors’ expressiveness, or lack thereof, tickling my funny bone every few minutes but the plot thickened and the characters started to develop surprisingly quickly. Quite quickly, actors I’d taken for one-turn guests had become characters with a bit of depth and interest.

It’s fascinating to see the peeks into Korean culture, both as its portrayed on the screen (chicken and beer!) and also in how the actors act. It’s so different from American acting in subtle ways. It plays to the ridiculous, it uses shades of overacting, and yet employs so much stillness to convey thoughts, reactions, and meaning. These may be unique to this particular Korean genre, rather than Korean acting, but it’s effective and I love watching it.


I’d never heard of this movie before, we happened across it totally randomly. A story set in the time when Taiwan was still occupied by the Japanese, it’s a baseball movie but also a redemption movie, and a love story, and an interesting perspective on the Japanese occupation where the war wasn’t the focus.

Rogue One

(Rogue One! Rogue One! Rogue One!)

I’m allowed to write about this now, right? I’ve got to be among the last people to see it.

In case you haven’t, and you care about spoilers, skip this review.

Rogue One evoked all KINDS of emotions – start to finish.

I got to know the Star Wars trilogy backwards – as a kid, I discovered it through the lens of the Stackpole X-wing novels, years after the original films. I remember the moment I took them off the shelf, in the back corner, second shelf from the bottom, sitting on the ground with my back up against the last shelf just exulting that my dinky little middle school library had these books in hardcover and read them over and over.

K-2SO is vying with BB8 as my favorite droid, colored by hearing Alan Tudyk’s voice, I adore cute but I also adore unfiltered truth and sarcasm.

The friendship between Chirrut and Baze, the connection between Jyn and the man who saved her, and then later abandoned her. The realization that her father, so long out of touch with her, had in fact always loved her and had truly fulfilled his promise that everything he did would be for her sake. There were some minor bits of confusion, namely the flashback scenes, and Jyn’s mother, and their escape plan.

What I Read

Barnaby Rudge: a tale of the Riots of ‘eighty, Charles Dickens

This was a great cure for my insomnia most nights. I have to read to get to sleep, this helps regardless of the countervailing effects of staring at a screen at night. Picking a Dickensian tale only further ensures that I’ll soon be nodding off. Which isn’t a great recommendation for the book, I realize. As an engaging presentation of large-scale mob violence, however, it did the job. Though it half put me to sleep part of the time, I also kept coming back to it to see how the story would play out.

The Life of Pi, Yann Martel

I thought everyone who saw this movie or read the book loved it. I was enthralled from beginning to the near-end, it was mostly well written and hard for me to put down. But. That’s because it was a terrible story and I was desperately trying to get to a decent ending. It darn sure guarantees you won’t get me out on a deep sea boat for at least ten years. It’ll take that long to get the bad taste out of my brain. The problem was that the last chapters were just depressing. I could get behind the fantastical plot while they were animals, though the orphaning was a horrible thing that kept hovering in the back of my mind.

The real / not real discussion truly  annoyed me as well, it felt like a novice writing device that happens in tv sometimes.  “And it was all a dream”, ugh.

Summary: I wish someone had told me it was not a story about a happy kid, and a happy tiger, being friends forever. I wish it’d occurred to me to ask someone what it was about and for all the spoilers.

World War 1 Soldier Stories: The Untold Soldier Stories on the Battlefields of WWI

This was so poorly written I couldn’t finish a single chapter. It felt like I was grading high school, maybe, essays on history – except my high school classmates were talented writers so maybe kick that down to junior high level.

I’m still sharing it because it counts and I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t.

Witches Abroad: A Novel of Discworld, Terry Pratchett

Granny Weatherwax vs fairy godmothers. I thought I’d read this one before but the ending was completely new to me so clearly my memory is hazy, one way or another. I can never get enough of Discworld, and always leave off with one book wanting more. Is there a good cheap way to fill out my meager collection?

Wives of War, Soraya Lane

A look at the World War II from the perspective of the many women who supported the war effort, nearly on the front lines in some cases, and how drastically it affected their lives. The writing was solid, and the characters’ stories were compelling enough to keep me reeled in for a long while.

Planned summer reading: As much Terry Pratchett as I can get my hands on and maybe a few biographies. I need funny to settle my brain at night, not drama, mystery, or anything with actual suspense.

What I ate

Life’s short, have dessert first! Brownie bites. These were so good that I made them twice – unheard of! And I didn’t share even one with JuggerBaby. It was for zir own good, really. If I had given JB a brownie, then would have wanted milk, then another brownie, and another one. And then we’d be forced to watch zir turn into a monster like a Gremlin fed after midnight. It was for the good of all humankind that I didn’t share.

Slow cooker + garlic + pork = perfection! This recipe feeds our family of three (humans-only in this calculation) for about a week: tacos, burritos, served with rice and veggies, in pasta, etc. I like it so much I’m recommending it again! The base protein on sale only cost $7, so I’m calling it an excellent deal.

:: Do you have any favorite easy recipes to share? Do you have any funny book recommendations? 

9 Responses to “The fun we had: Spring 2017”

  1. I took RB40Jr to see Rouge One. We’re really into Starwars now and can’t wait for episode 8. Should be a lot of fun. That’s the only movies we go see in the theater.
    I didn’t really like Life of Pi. It’s too strange. Check out 438 Days for a real life story about a fisherman who was adrift for … 438 days. It’s an amazing survival story.

    • Revanche says:

      Yes, I hope the next one is great! Thanks for the recommendation – that’s the story I’d be interested in.

  2. I love Discworld! Last year, I read most of the ones I hadn’t read by using our library’s download service. It’s less convenient than owning, but considerably cheaper.

    Other than Pratchett, my favorite funny book authors are Christopher Moore and A Lee Martinez. Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series gets pretty silly (in a good way.) And Ben Aaronovitch (Rivers of London) & Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels) both have terrific snarky heroes.
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    • Revanche says:

      I’ve really got to get access to our library again, I was reading some of their online collection but they don’t have a lot.

      • Linda says:

        SF Public Library offers a free library card to any CA resident. You can start the application online and then just need to show up at a branch to complete it and get your card. With their card, you have access to multiple services for ebooks, audiobooks, and comics for FREE. I recommend Overdrive and Hoopla; the Axis 360 app is really flaky. With Overdrive, you can often check out Kindle books, but sometimes they only have formats that can be read (or listened to) in the Overdrive app.
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  3. Sally says:

    Pratchett was on my “willing to buy” at retail prices list for years, though the last few that he wrote before he passed away were not as good in my opinion. Not surprising, considering his disease– it’s a miracle he was able to keep writing as long as he did.

    Check out used bookstores in your area? That’s where I’ve found Discworld books plus some of his lesser-known books. (Kids’ books, like Truckers, Diggers, Only You Can Save Mankind, etc..)

    • Revanche says:

      I will have to haunt some of the used bookstores to see if we can find anything. I did discover my old copy of Small Gods so that was nice.

  4. Linda says:

    The Chronicles of St. Mary’s books are all awesome and highly entertaining. They do have some serious stuff in them, but it’s all handled with typical British wit, so it’s by no means a downer. I borrowed the first ebook free (see note above about SF Public Library options), but ended up buying all the rest since most were less than $5 on Kindle.

    Life of Pi…yeah, when I first heard about the book from friends I was confused. I read the book after the movie came out, yet before I saw the movie. It did come off as fantastical and inspiring, yet then all that doubt is planted at the end. That didn’t bother me too much, though. I wouldn’t call it a bad book, just an enigmatic one. Isn’t life that way? There is often a “reveal” that puts things in a whole new perspective.
    Linda recently posted…Today I turn 50My Profile

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