Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Batman v Superman & Suicide Squad

My take on the latest DC installments: entertaining, yet not without flaws. Neither films were loved by critics, but as a person who doesn't read comics or follow comic book storylines, I enjoyed both.

I found Batman v Superman a little long and, like Man of Steel, slow until it picked up at the end. While BvS was overall a better/more enjoyable experience than MoS, once again I could have done without the first 45-60 minutes. Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman was the highlight for me (and I'm looking forward to her standalone, coming out in 2017). The action at the end almost makes up for its slow start, and at the very least left me interested to see what happens next...

Which brings us to Suicide Squad, this summer's followup to BvS. It was quicker-paced and somehow more lighthearted while also being quite dark. I liked the break from typical superhero storytelling and the exploration of the less-than-heroic characters that make up Task Force X. Will Smith and Margot Robbie are fun to watch and other supporting roles kept things from getting either too campy or too depressing.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Shine, Shine, Shine

Shine Shine ShineShine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story of a pregnant Sunny, a space-traveling Maxon, and how their childhood as friends led them to fall in love and brought them to where they are today.

First thoughts: The imagery in this book is divine - it's all math and/or space related, so people become moons orbiting each other, decor flows like ellipses across a room - this was a beautiful book to read.

Recommended for: story lovers, fans of space travel, people who wonder about the people left on earth when loved ones go to space, anyone looking for something unique and off the beaten path.

Final thoughts: This is a quick, strange yet familiar, whimsical yet honest ride of a read. I barely took notes on it because I was too interested in reading more.

View all my reviews

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Night Links 33

The 2016 Rio Olympics come to a close this Sunday, ending a Games filled with victories big and small, and defeats memorable and ripe for redemption at Tokyo 2020. NBC has been criticized for its US-centric and commercial-saturated coverage, but luckily it's 2016 and viewers can easily turn to the internet for a wider variety of Olympics news. Here are just a few:

The Olympics are supposed to transcend politics, but sometimes they influence them and are in turn influenced by them in unforeseen ways.

Before the Olympics begin (and long after they are over), the Games have an effect on the host city's most vulnerable citizens. (One of the reasons why I was cool with Chicago losing the 2016 bid.)

For all the winners at the Games, there have to be some losers as well.

It's not all bad - for US athletes, just being part of Team USA has benefits, regardless of medals.

And because we run the world, 18 golden moments of feminism.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

River North Adventure

Sometimes you just gotta get out and about in your city. Jesus and I did that Sunday and we were treated to a fun day of exploring and people-watching. We strolled up and down the Riverwalk (which has changed so much since I've moved here!), making up backstories for the people we saw and speculating on condo prices in the neighborhood. We waved to visitors on their boat tours and marveled at the bravery of kayakers who seemed to not have a care about whatever toxins they sat in.
Our main reason for being in River North was to see the Discover Da Vinci exhibit at Water Tower Place. We gazed at replicas of Da Vinci's masterpieces, tried out a few of his inventions, and heard Mark Rodgers speak on Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and their influence on the Italian Renaissance. Our tickets also got us entry to the Chicago Sports Museum, so we re-tested our reaction times and shot a few hoops with the greats. And since we were there, we of course had to visit The Art of Dr. Seuss Gallery and American Girl Place. (We'll never not be amazed at the accessories you can buy for a doll.)
Then we took our time walking back towards the train - Jesus was playing Pokemon Go, so he wanted to chill near parks or cross the street (and back again) to catch something new. We stepped inside Fourth Presbyterian Church and saw their courtyard, an altogether strange juxtaposition next to Hancock and the shops of Michigan Ave. A sign outside of the Historic Water Tower caught our eye and we stopped there as well to walk through a short history of Cards Against Humanity (Chicago-based!). When there were benches, we sat for a few minutes.
Yep, sometimes you just gotta get out (sans agenda).

Saturday, August 13, 2016


BedBed by David  Whitehouse

Book rating: 3 of 5 stars
Cover rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story of a man who decides one day to stay in bed - forever.

First thoughts: This is a sparse story. There are only a handful of characters, and not much by way of flowery description. The metaphors are rich, though, and we get a lot of the inner-workings of our narrator's thoughts.

Plot device: I like the dual timeline. We get the past racing to meet the present, knowing something big will happen when it does.

Favorite quote: "What if life is this, giving you the wonder of a heart that beats and then smashing it into a million tiny pieces? When everything you're taught to expect comes to nothing? If this is life, then why get out of bed?" -p226

Recommended for: fans of stories and extended metaphors, people who wonder what the deal is with life.

Final thoughts: Huh. We get what we're waiting for in the end, but still not sure if it's an entirely satisfying end.

View all my reviews

Thursday, August 11, 2016

As Puerto Rico Does: Beaches, Caves, Waterfalls, & Rainforests

This is less a post about what Puerto Ricans (or visitors to Puerto Rico) do and more about what the island has to offer by way of geographical landmarks. While only 100 miles at its longest and 35 miles north to south, PR has enough land formations and bodies of water to quench even the most intrepid explorer's thirst for adventure. This collection is by no means exhaustive - these are just several spots we were lucky enough to see during our vacation.

Playa Cerro Gordo: Come for the (clean, uncrowded) beach, stay for the hike that brings you to a breathtaking view, unobstructed by anything man-made.

Cueva de las Golondrinas & Poza de los Mujeres: Take a nice long walk to get away from civilization and reward yourself with a day of exploring a few caves at low tide and/or laying out on the beach.

El Yunque: The only rain forest in the US National Forest System and home to stunning vistas and nearly private waterfalls. (Bring swimsuits and water shoes!)

Cueva del Indio: Climb down an old (but sturdy) wooden ladder to see Taino carvings in the rocks. Stay up top to enjoy (yet another) breathtaking view.

Rio Camuy Cave Park: This guided tour takes you into a natural limestone cavern formed by the Camuy River. Watch out for bat poop!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

One for All & All for One

This is a post about Disney's classic musical, Newsies, but also a recommendation for Block 37's street food-style market, Latinicity. Both are classic crowd-pleasers with spunk, pep, and flavor.

You're either a fan of musicals or you aren't - and if you are, there's a good chance you're already on the Newsies bandwagon. If not, hop on my friend. Newsies is the classic David v Goliath tale, with more singing and dancing. And two Tony Awards! Here, take a look:

Do you want a burger? Tacos? Ceviche? Maybe just a drink, or some coffee? Latinicity is the answer for hungry people who can't agree where to eat in the Loop. Like a high end food court/bar/market, there's a little something for everyone - and it's all good. I know, I've had (almost) all of it. That's the other beautiful thing -  smorgasbord eating. It truly is a restaurant for all, where all of the food can be just for one.

In music and in eating, it's all about seizing the day.