Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sunday Snapshot is Back from Japan! Also: Readathon Wrap-Up

Currently Reading:

The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman: Finally making something of a dent in this one.

The Heir by Kiera Cass: Only just started this one on audiobook.


Whilst I was away, several of my posts mysteriously popped up on the webbernets:

  • I guest-posted for Sherlock Month over at Tif Talks Books, with a list of books that naturally assume Sherlock Holmes is not a fictional creation of Conan Doyle, but in fact a real person.
  • Do you read in your dreams? If you do, congratulations–scientists say it's impossible.
  • As some of you might know, A Short History of Dante Alighieri and The Divine Comedy in Art is one this blog's most popular posts. Recently, I got to write about The Divine Comedy some more thanks to an exhibit of Salvador Dali's Comedy illustrations at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
  • Ever wanted to try a wine subscription box? I break down some of the pros and cons of the top services here.


the accountant
The Accountant, starring Ben Affleck and Anna Kendrick

Chris Wolff is an autistic accountant who uncooks the books for criminal organizations. Ironically, it's only when he takes a "legit" job that he runs across real danger and has to protect fellow numbers nerd Dana from nasty assassins.

I imagine the pitch sentence for this movie was, "A Beautiful Mind meets Jason Bourne," and if that sounds like it doesn't make sense, well. It doesn't. How Wolff evolved from an autistic child into a highly sophisticated criminal/badass assassin is about as plausible as a superhero origin story. The script also lacks focus and spends too much time on some questions–Ray King's history, for example–and completely forgets to explain other things, like how both brothers became assassins.

Aside from that, though, it does have entertaining moments. Affleck is actually pretty charming, and I liked the chemistry between him and Kendrick. Just leave your brain at the door.

sing street
Sing Street, starring Ferdia Walsh Peelo and Lucy Boynton

Dublin teen Conor hates his awful school and his home life sucks. His one escape is music. But it isn't until he meets the beautiful Raphina that he gets the idea to start a band a discovers he has a talent for writing songs.

If you like '80s music, particularly that of Duran Duran and the New Romantics, then I think it's practically guaranteed you'll enjoy this movie. It walks a fine line between comedy and seriousness, and finds the perfect balance. Plus the songs are really fantastic. Yes, the funniest scene is also the first, and the ending's completely unrealistic, but overall I'd definitely recommend searching this one out.

now you see me 2
Now You See Me 2, starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Dave Franco, and Daniel Radcliffe

Really dumb. I mean, I expected it to be pretty dumb, and it totally exceeded my expectations. Great movie if you want to go to sleep.

central intelligence
Central Intelligence, starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Kevin Hart

Calvin's life is not turning out how he expected. Sure, he has a decent job and a beautiful wife, but feels like he's stagnating. Then he accepts a Facebook friend request from a goofy weirdo he barely knew in high school, and suddenly Calvin's thrust into a world of spies, assassins, and danger.

The main reason to watch this movie is just to see Kevin Hart flipping out and Dwayne Johnson wearing a fanny pack, which doesn't sound like much but is honestly enough to justify this movie's existence. Otherwise it's pretty meh. I don't remember laughing a lot but I certainly didn't hate it.

These weeks in heidenkindom:

I'm baaaaaaack! I spent the last few weeks in Japan, with layovers in Los Angeles. We visited Tokyo, Hakone (a hot springs resort area near Mt. Fuji), Kyoto, and Osaka. Hakone was the highlight for me, but the entire country was lovely. People went out of their way to help us and it was an amazing trip. Here are some pictures:

Mastodon skeleton at La Brea Tar Pits, LA
Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood
My foot is larger than John Wayne's!
Doing magic at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Alohomora!
Inside Hogwarts

🇺🇸   ✈️   🇯🇵
First night in Tokyo!
Kabuki-Cho, one of Tokyo's most famous nightlife districts.
Shinjuku-Gyoen National Gardens

The "Book Clock" in Ginza

Entrance of our awesome hotel in Hakone, the Fujiya.

View from the extensive and gorgeous hotel gardens.
Hakone Open-Air Museum

Owakudani, volcanic fissures
Pirate ship you can take across Lake Ashi
On the lake
Visiting temples in Kyoto
Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto

Jishu Shrine, for luck in love

Buddhist cemetery in Kyoto
Nijo Castle, with nightingale floors meant to creak at every movement to prevent ninja attacks!
Grounds surrounding Nijo

View of Kyoto from the castle walls

Manga Museum in Kyoto
Castle moat
Osaka view from my hotel room
Famous takoyaki place in Osaka. Aka octopus balls!

At the Osaka Aquarium

Largest ferris wheel in the world

View of Osaka from the ferris wheel

Pet a shark! Just not its mouth.

Yummy ramen <3 <3
 🇯🇵  ✈️  🇺🇸
Manhattan Beach in LA

That was a whirlwind trip!

I also participated in the Readathon this Saturday. As usual I finished ONE book. This was kind of a frustrating Readathon, TBH, because I kept getting interrupted and I'm still tired from jet lag. But at least I did finish that one book.

Hope you all have a great week and I'm happy to be back and visiting blogs again!

Discus this post with me on Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ or in the comments below.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday Snapshot Last Post Before Japan!

Currently reading:

The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman: Book 2 in the Invisible Library series.

Dust and Shadow: An Account of the Ripper Killings by Dr. John H Watson by Lyndsay Faye: This book has me a little spooked.

Japan by Rail by Ramsey Zarifeh: Good tips, but I would have expected A LOT more rail maps from a rail-focused guide book than they provide here.


reading abroad
The magic of photoshop!

A book lover's guide to living abroad on Book Riot.


Populaire, starring Déborah François and Romain Duris

Rose's dream is to leave her tiny Normandy village and be a "modern" secretary. Insurance agent M. Louis Échard knows she's a terrible at it, but he hires her anyway. First of all because she's pretty (yay, feminism!), and second of all because she's super fast on the typewriter, an invention that apparently didn't reach France until the 1950s. When Louis convinces Rose to enroll in typing competitions, she finds fame and fortune. But will she find love?

I'll be honest, this movie is pretty weird. How did Louis learn about typing competitions, and why is he so determined Rose compete and win them? I have no idea; the movie kind of skips over that part. But there's still a lot to love about this film: for one, it looks incredible. If someone wanted to convince me it was actually filmed in the 1950s, they could probably do it. For two, Déborah François is absolutely perfect. She has the whole Aubrey Hepburn innocent-yet-plucky charm vibe down pat. Lastly, despite the bizarre plot, I found myself actually getting pretty involved in the story. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to put on a record and do a goofy French dance... This movie is a little sketchy sometimes, but it won me over anyway.

we are legion anonymous documentary
We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, directed by Brian Knappenberger

Have you always wanted to read Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous by Gabriella Coleman, but didn't because tl;dr? Well, I don't blame you. But luckily someone made a documentary about it, and it's actually pretty good!

I learned a lot from this doc, such as:

  • Did you know DDoS attacks are a federal offense? Members of Anon have actually gone to prison for it! (I think this is a good time to remind everyone to use your Tor browser and VPNs)
  • The Bush Administration liked to take credit for the Arab Spring. LULZ. No. It actually started with Anon, who attacked government websites in countries that were practicing online censorship. They were the ones who had "boots on the ground" during uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, making sure people still had access to the internet after the governments shut it down and providing information on treating tear gas, etc.
  • Anon isn't a group of hackers, although hackers participate on occasion. Most of them know as much about programming as I do. Really, at their heart they're just nerds who enjoy chaos.

Anyway, if you're at all interested in Anonymous, I recommend this.

night owls movie
Night Owls, starring Rosa Salazar and Adam Pally (where you know him from: The Mindy Project)

A one night stand turns into a nightmare when Kevin discovers the girl he just hooked up with is suicidal and his boss's mistress.

I was wary about this movie because it only has two stars on Netflix. After watching it (felt like I had to because of the title, even though neither character is actually a night owl), I know why. It started out okay, but after a while it felt very high school drama club: a long series of conversations designed to let the actors EMOTE. I'm also still unclear as to why Maddie wanted to kill herself, not that the film takes suicide very seriously. Basically it left a bad taste in my mouth.

The week in heidenkindom:

We're coming down to the wire for our flight to Japan. By this time next week I will be wandering around Tokyo! Hopefully not completely lost! I've spent most of the week making lists (I find lists very soothing) and trying to get everything set before we leave, including driving all the way up to Denver for an interview for the US Customs Global Entry program. Protip: don't save that till the last minute.

Anyway, I was going to post a pic of my suitcase all packed, because I'm always interested in how other people pack for trips, but it's not packed yet! I planned on pre-packing today, but we went up to look at the fall colors instead. Maybe if I manage to get it done later tonight I'll post a pic on FB or save it for when I get back.


Tif Talks Books has a #ReadSherlock month going on right now with readalongs, watchalongs, an Instagram, and tons of guest posts (including one by moi). Check it out on her blog.

Have a great two weeks, everyone! I'll see y'all when I get back.

Discus this post with me on Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ or in the comments below.


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