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I guess I just like liking things

So far, I’ve been able to track down most of these books through frugal means. Most of them I’ve gotten through the library. One (Fortunately) was through InterLibrary Loan (fancy!). But Zoom at Sea was nowhere to be found, so I bought a used copy off eBay. Total cost of this series so far: $4.
pierre80. Pierre by Maurice Sendak
I can barely count this book as having been read, because it was supposed to be delivered 3 weeks ago and either the mail delivery person left it at the wrong house or somehow it got lost while being carried inside, because I haven’t laid hands on it although it shows as delivered. (Good thing it was a free Paperback Swap trade.) So, we watched a YouTube video of someone reading the book. Twice.
Pierre doesn’t care, and he says I don’t care so much that he happens upon a lion while his parents leave him at home alone, and he is eaten. Luckily, they cart the lion to the hospital and hold him upside down and out falls Pierre, who is now reformed and cares very much.
Peanut liked it, she wanted to watch the video a couple of times. I think it would be okay to read out loud, although I didn’t care for the reading on the video. This book was part of a larger collection, called the Nutshell Library. It also spawned a song sung by Carole King, which you can also find on YouTube.
zoomatsea79. Zoom at Sea by Tim Wynne-Jones
This book tells the story of a cat that loves to float on the water. It would be incorrect to say this cat loves the water, because he doesn’t really touch it. He likes to float around in the bathtub, and is overjoyed to discover his Uncle Roy has a connection to the sea. He shows up at an address and the woman inside, Maria, magically turns the interior of her house into the sea.
I had this book (and another Zoom volume) as a kid. I had difficulty tracking it down, and it wasn’t until I realized it was a Canadian book that it clicked. I ended up ordering an old library copy from eBay, since the copy I had is long gone. Peanut sort of liked it. While researching this book I located a puppet production of the book AND the SLJ blog about this very list!
flotsam78. Flotsam by David Wiesner
At first, I thought this was going to be lame because it has no words and only pictures. But as we went along, it was pretty neat. The “story,” as it is, essentially shows a little boy finding an underwater camera with picture of a picture of a picture etc, several layers down. The boy takes his own picture, then chucks the camera back into the sea. The illustrations get the point across very well, and words probably would have been contrived and convoluted.
This makes the first book that appears to have a dedicated website, but it hasn’t been updated since 2006. Apparently there was a contest for finding actual flotsam or something, which was the purpose of the website.
eloise77. Eloise by Kay Thompson

This book is kind of a stream of consciousness about a 6 year old girl living in the Plaza Hotel in New York City. It’s written in the manic breathless way that 6 year olds sometimes talk. She also repeats certain phrases like “and charge it please thank you very much,” and “for Lord’s sake,” that is obvious she has overheard adults say. I’m aware that this book is very famous and beloved, but I don’t see the appeal at all. It is really long, at 62 pages, for a children’s picture book. Peanut got bored about halfway through. I ended up skipping pages to get to the end. It’s not easy to read aloud either, as there is no punctuation. I often felt out of breath while reading.

As with Flotsam, this book also has a dedicated website, but it is more in the fanpage vein than official, as the author has passed away. Eloise was apparently inspired by Liza Minelli, since she is the author’s goddaughter. It also began its life as a book for adults, and was revised into a children’s book, and underwent many edits over the years. I thought I recognized the name of the author, and it turns out it is the same Kay Thompson as in that version of Jingle Bells made popular by Andy Williams.

cloudy76. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
This was Peanut’s favorite in the batch. I wasn’t as big of a fan. It’s a story within a story, where the grandpa tells the story of Chewandswallow, a town that has food for weather, and the weather begins to get worse and worse, so everyone leaves. I felt like the ending was too abrupt and unsatisfying, but the images of giant food entertained Peanut enough to ask for repeated readings. She especially liked the giant pancake squashing the school.
Most people know already that this book was developed into two fairly successful films that don’t follow the story at all. There were also two book sequels, released in 2000 and 2013. The author and illustrator were married at one time, but have been divorced for quite awhile, but continued to work together on these books.
The next batch won’t be late as we have already read and enjoyed most of them! The moral of THIS story is that Pierre is hard to find. My guess is that the blunt “would you like to die” from the lion is too much for most parents.


I should really start a year-round movie savings plan for the summer months. I took a look at what’s coming out this summer and there’s a bunch I’m hoping to see:

Avengers: Age of Ultron – May 1
Mad Max: Fury Road – May 15
Pitch Perfect 2 – May 15
Tomorrowland – May 22
San Andreas – May 29
Jurassic World – June 12
Inside Out – June 19
Terminator: Genisys – July 1
Minions – July 10
Ant-Man – July 17
Pixels – July 24
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – July 31
Fantastic Four – August 7
Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny – August 28
Hitman: Agent 47 – August 28

Anything I’m missing that I should want to go see?

bigtroubleI will admit that I come back to the “yearly” lists of movies well when I’m at a loss coming up with anything else, but I will also say that I enjoy doing them. I don’t have that many years left I’ll be able to do, and I’ll be sad when I run out.

I have seen 65 of the movies released in 2002. Here are my ten favorite:

10. Men in Black II – Not nearly as good as the original, but there are still a lot of fun moments together. Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones together is good just on its own anyway.

9. Minority Report – There are two scenes in this movie I can’t stand (the eyeball replacement and the sick sticks), but other than that it’s slick and fun.

8. Road to Perdition – This movie is a classy kind of cool.

7. Equilibrium – Gun kata, people!

6. Star Trek: Nemesis – It’s not the best Star Trek movie, but it’s not the worst.

5. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers – My least favorite of the LotR trilogy, but that’s kind of silly to say because it’s just one big story broken into three parts. Plus, it does have Ents, and they’re awesome.

4. Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones – My favorite of the Star Wars prequels, which isn’t saying a ton, but it still sits pretty high up on this list, I guess. I think I’m ignoring all the “romance” subplot, though. If I were taking that into account I doubt this would be in my top ten at all.

3. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – I could not ever make a list of the Harry Potter movies in any kind of order. I like them all and they are, again, all one big story for me.

2. Big Trouble – I love this movie so much. I loved the book so much, and I’m sure that helps.

1. Spider-Man – Really, a great movie. The second one is still one of the best superhero movies, but they did a great job on this one, too.



  • A Walk to Remember – I own the DVD of this and have watched it more than once. That’s all I have to say about that.
  • Bubba Ho-Tep – I think I like the idea of this movie more than the actual movie.
  • Ghost Ship – I remember exactly one thing about this movie: the opening scene where a whole crowd of dancers are cut in half by a cable. Cool and gross.
  • Infernal Affairs – I liked this so much more than The Departed, which is based on this one.
  • Jason X – People talk a lot of garbage about this one, but I thought it was a fun expansion of the character. That frozen face scene is as awesome as it is disturbing.
  • The Master of Disguise – “Am I not turtle-y enough for your Turtle Club?”
  • Mr. Deeds – My second favorite Adam Sandler movie, and I’m sure it’s because Winona Ryder is in it.
  • Resident Evil – This movie gave rise to a whole new way of me thinking about movie ratings, a system I’m still planning to talk about here some day.
  • The Ring – One of only two movie to ever “scare” me (the other being Alien), but it might be because I was watching it at 2 in the morning.
  • The Scorpion King – This movie is not very good, but as usual, The Rock overcame the terribleness.


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You have no doubt heard by now that Rock Band 4 will be here soon (and by “here” I mean here in my house after I buy a copy). This has made me extremely happy and I’m already looking forward to scheduling an Endless Setlist day. I have a lot of faith in the Rock Band team, but that doesn’t stop me from hoping a couple of things:

  • SmartGlass support: SmartGlass is an Xbox thing that lets you… oh, just go look at it. I think it’d be pretty sweet if, while people are playing, someone could add songs to the play queue using SmartGlass. Normally you have make a queue, play through it, then make a new one. In party situations SmartGlass could make things a lot smoother. They already had this with Dance Central 3, so it’s certainly doable.
  • Keyboard support: Label this one “Not Likely.” They’ve already announced that there won’t be piano parts for the songs in Rock Band 4. I’ll miss those, but what I really like is playing guitar/bass parts using the keyboard. The Rock Band keyboard functioned much like a guitar in Rock Band 3, and I would really like it if the new one supported it as an alternate controller (and, as an extra cool bonus, this functionality could be added to Beatles Rock Band, too, thank you very much).

Anything you’re wishing they’d add?

As a bonus, here are some songs I’ve already suggested on the official form, and would love to have in the game:

  • “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers
  • “If It Makes You Happy” by Sheryl Crow
  • “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” by The Georgia Satellites
  • “Little Talks” by Of Monsters and Men
  • “Ways to Go” by Grouplove
  • “Road to Nowhere” by Talking Heads
  • “That Thing You Do” by The Wonders (Oneders?)
  • Anything by Weird Al. Literally anything.




If you’re looking for a TV show recommendation, today’s your day and this is your place.

Here’s a synopsis from IMDb:

Olivia “Liv” Moore was a rosy-cheeked, disciplined, over-achieving medical resident who had her life path completely mapped out, until the night she attended a party that unexpectedly turned into a zombie feeding frenzy. Now as one of the newly undead, Liv has devised a clever way to resist her baser urges to devour fresh human brains – she’s taken a job in the Seattle coroner’s office. In this appropriately dead-end job, Liv can secretly snack on the brains of the many Jane and John Doe corpses that make a final stop in the morgue.

I don’t know exactly why I watched the first episode of iZombie, because I don’t remember hearing about it beforehand and I don’t particularly care for zombie things (The Walking Dead is a pretty large exception to that). After watching it, I found out it was created by the same people behind Veronica Mars (though it is based on a comic book), and it totally makes sense now why I enjoy it so much. I’m a sucker for strong, smart, funny female characters, turns out.

There’s a few things going on in the show. First, Liv is coming to terms with the fact that she’s a zombie now. And, like, she’s not a gross and rotting one, because that wouldn’t make for fun television. She’s very pale and she gets brain cravings, and sometimes she Hulks out, fierceness-wise, not size-wise. Her personality has changed, to the dismay of her family, but that might be expected of a person who is a) a zombie, and b) trying to keep the fact that she’s a zombie from everyone.

Second, she works at the morgue. This is mostly so she can eat brains on the sly, but it makes sense for a zombie job.

Third, in a neat twist on the zombie standards, any time she eats someone’s brains, she gets flashbacks of memories from that person. She also takes on some of their personality for a time. In one episode she discovers she knows kung fu all of a sudden, and it happens at a fortuitous time, of course. When the effects wear off, so do the personality traits, and it’s an interesting way to add some flavor every week.

Fourth, she uses the memory flashbacks as a way to help solve crimes. The police officer she works with is under the impression she’s psychic, and he’s not really about that, but it works, so hey. He’d be less about her being a zombie, for sure.

Lastly, she’s meeting other zombies. I kind of feel like maybe she’s meeting too many other zombies? But I’m interested enough to see how and where it goes from here.

I will say that I still get icked out every time she eats some brains, even though it’s barely anything compared to most other zombie things I’ve seen. There’s something about her using chopsticks to eat bits of brain in pasta with hot sauce that just weirds me out.

Give it a try and let me know what you think! Hulu has the episodes you’ve missed so far, so you should be able to catch up pretty easily.