run

run: couch to 10k, week 5

This week has three different workouts. I’m very nervous.

Day 1: Two 22-minute runs with 1-minute walking breaks. I really struggled with the first 22-minute run. Everything was bothering me again: my hips, my calves. The weather was much nicer today (possibly a little too warm) so readjusting to that was a chore. I felt better during the second 22-minute run but still am not pleased with my progress and I am scared for day 2.

Day 2: Two 25-minute runs with 1-minute walking breaks. It had been a week since I last ran. Thanks to the weather (rain) and some life stuff, I was unable to run. Even Fitbit shamed me for a lack of activity (I did do yoga though!). I was worried due to my break but the first 25-minute run went pretty well. The second one was rougher because I changed direction and the wind became slightly more powerful but I pushed on and completed it!

Day 3: Two 30-minute runs with 1-minute walking breaks. I’m surprised to admit this but I actually felt this was the easiest day this week. I hadn’t been running for 30 minutes straight in a while (taking a break at around the 20-minute mark) so I was scared I wouldn’t make it but I did! The second half was harder but the weather warmed up a bit making it a nicer atmosphere.

Onto the final week of Couch to 10K!

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harry potter, jk rowling, watch

watch: fantastic beasts: the crimes of grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts - The Crimes of Grindelwald Poster.pngI was able to get passes to a Fans First screening of the new movie set in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I reviewed the first Fantastic Beasts (which I also saw early) and had been looking forward to the sequel especially when they announced Jude Law was playing Dumbledore!

Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has escaped from custody and fled to Paris while looking for Credence (Ezra Miller). Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), banned from international travel, is sent on a mission by Hogwarts professor, Albus Dumbledore (Law), to find Credence as well.

Overall, I felt this movie had a stronger structure than the first despite the story being somewhat simplistic. Yes, it can be confusing but it’s actually pretty short comparatively to other franchise movies and there are so many characters but I think they are all somewhat well-formed. I loved visiting Paris and seeing the magical world there. I adored returning to Hogwarts even though the trip was brief. I don’t think there were as many beasts this time but I loved the zouwu and how Newt is able to trap him is adorable. And of course, there are baby nifflers who are super precious. The special effects are also incredible.

But, I’d rather go into more detail of all the characters than the movie as a whole. I get a teeny bit nitpicky. Slight spoilers ahead. Continue reading “watch: fantastic beasts: the crimes of grindelwald”

music, see

see: bbmak

This probably doesn’t surprise you as it’s been well-documented how much I love pop music from the early ’00s but I was a big fan of BBMak when they were popular. For those of you who possibly don’t remember: they were a trio of British men, Mark Barry, Christian Burns, and Ste McNally, who actually played guitar (well, two of them did).

When the pop explosion ended, they faded away like so many others (seriously, my iPod is like a who’s who of these artists…and I still love them all). Fun fact: in their heyday, I think I saw them the most times in concert, even more than 98 Degrees. My mom loved them and the only reason she was sad she turned down *NSYNC tickets we were once offered (I KNOW), it was because she found out BBMak opened for them.

However, this year they decided to make a comeback. They announced a mini-U.S. tour and I attended their first  U.S. show in fifteen years!

Anyway, to the show! Some logistics issues bugged me. The concert started an hour late and there was an unannounced opening act. Now, if I had a seat, I would have been fine with this, but it was general admission and I was alone and had a pretty sweet spot near the center of the stage. This was frustrating but once they came on stage, all my issues melted away.

They started the show with the single from their second album, “Out of My Heart” and despite some mic issues for Mark (the one who doesn’t play guitar), they sounded great! Mark’s voice is a little harder than it used to be and he’s very swole but their harmonies are still beautiful. The show was mostly songs from their two albums but they performed “Always Know Where You Are” from Treasure Planet and to be honest, I never expected to hear that song live and it made my heart so happy. They also performed two covers, one I had heard before, “More Than Words”, and another that was a bit unexpected, “Get Lucky”. Due to the fact that there were actual instruments in this boy band, dancing was completely out of the question, so the fact that they performed a dance track like that was impressive. And they also premiered a new song, “Bullet Train”, which could definitely win over some Harry Styles/Niall Horan fans as it sounded a bit like their stuff.

Even though they were apart for so long, you never would have guessed due to their affable nature. They razzed each other and genuinely seem to enjoy each other’s company. Ste kept mentioning how much he wanted a beer and eventually, one of the audience members brought beers for all of them. Something that would never have happened during the early ’00s for two reasons: one, the audience couldn’t drink and two, Ste said their manager didn’t like booze around. Interesting fact.

It was a really nice show and I’m glad they’re attempting a comeback. I wish them the best of luck and hopefully I’ll see them again soon!


journey to episode ix, television

countdown to episode ix: the clone wars 1×01-1×15

I knew that once I got up to a block of episodes telling a cohesive story, I would start enjoying the show much more. And I was correct!

Star Wars The Clone Wars.pngThe very first episode was mostly Yoda (Tom Kane) related and he fought Ventress (Nika Futterman) and it was so good! I love him in action. And Count Dooku (Corey Burton) being totally dismissive of Yoda’s abilities is wild.

The major arc of this part of season 1 involves General Grievous (Matthew Wood) and I am here for it. He is in possession of a pretty intense weapon. I don’t recall how people felt about him in Revenge of the Sith but I always liked his character design despite his constant coughing. I can’t believe he decided to kidnap Padme (Cat Taber) because dumb move. I loved seeing Ahsoka (Ashley Eckstein) go up against him. And we learned more about his background! I actually felt sorry for him in “Lair of Grievous” because Dooku and Sidious (Ian Abercrombie) constantly belittle his actions and even the doctor criticized him?! His lair reminded me of Bowser’s Castle, by the way.

My notes kind of hit on a bunch of the same things: I love Ahsoka’s hopefulness. I think Anakin (Matt Lanter) as a teacher brings more depth to his character (though I don’t think he’s a very good teacher). The battle droids have some lol-worthy banter. I was excited to see more Obi-Wan (James Arnold Taylor). C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) is still annoying. The Clone-focused episodes feel repetitive.

There was a gorgeous space battle in “Downfall of a Droid” which was a two-part episode involving the loss of R2-D2 which brought up a lot of feelings for me. Obi-Wan was so cruel to Anakin for wanting him back but I do understand the whole attachment thing. I thought R3-S6 was cute but was deceived! I also started to get some mixed feelings about the droid situation especially after Solo. R2 remains the best.

We got a Padme-centric episode which was good. I’m having issues with her voice. Like I can hear Natalie but something is off. The other voice actors have done a better job trying to match the original actors. The episode also featured Jar Jar (Ahmed Best) and C-3PO teaming up and dear God, I never want that to happen again.

We were introduced to some new Jedi, like Luminara (Olivia d’Abo)! I love her and it makes me happy to see Ahsoka with other strong women. Kit Fisto (Phil LaMarr) and a Mon Calimari Jedi (!) Nahdar Vebb were the ones stuck in Grievous’s lair and it seems like the younger Jedi are definitely more reckless than their masters. I really wonder what happened.

There was another two-parter involving Obi-Wan and Anakin looking for Dooku who has been kidnapped by pirates! Pretty much every character appeared in these episodes but what I liked best was Obi-Wan and Anakin working together (and with Dooku!) and their brotherly relationship. The pirates were extremely nasty however.

Anakin was injured in a battle and they crash on a planet called Maridun. Aayla (Jennifer Hale), another female Jedi, is there and she helps teach Ahsoka some stuff that Anakin fails at (*cough*attachments*cough*). I feel like Ahsoka grows more when she’s with the female Jedi. Maridun is inhabited with lemur-like creatures and they totally called the Jedi and the Republic out. The Separatists keep getting crazy weapons. No wonder they think of the Death Star!

The final episode in this block involved Obi-Wan and Anakin on a cold planet, inhabited by furry creatures known as Talz. The past few episodes seem to be about how smaller planets are dealing with the Separatists or how they plan on avoiding them. It’s interesting but again, maybe not for child.

Overall, I love getting to know all these characters, especially the female Jedi. The animation in battles and the design of the planets are both great. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of season 1!

book club, read

read: lovecraft country by matt ruff

Sword & Laser’s book club pick for October.

Lovecraft Country (novel).jpgIn 1954, a young man named Atticus Turner is looking for his father, Montrose, who went missing. Along with his Uncle George and friend Letitia, they wind up in New England and encounter the Braithwaite family. Things turn very creepy from that point on.

I was very into this book even though some of the stories weren’t as interesting. The first part of the book gave me serious Get Out vibes and stayed with me the whole time. Except that there are both actual monsters along with people acting like monsters. And let’s be real, the racism in this book is what is truly horrifying. Ruff did an incredible job of blending real and fantasy. I don’t want to say too much because it is a great book especially to read during Halloween season.

run

run: couch to 10k, week 4

This week was very rough.

 

I felt okay during day 1 but day 2 was hard. I was going to say that I feel like day 2 always trips me up a bit but honestly, something went awry during day 3 and that was definitely my worst day. Like I almost gave up. My back was killing me for some reason and my knee was acting up again. The weather wasn’t any different as the other two days so I really don’t get why this week was so difficult. It was only a minute longer than last week!

I already put together my playlists for week 5 and oof. I’m very worried.

broadway, see

see: the lifespan of a fact (broadway)

My October show came late in the month for a variety of reasons and I struggled to pick which one I wanted to see. I was determined to see another play and so many were opening this fall. I had about five shows I was interested in and my process to narrow it down went from “Which is cheapest?” (Bernhardt/Hamlet, The Nap) to “Which has better reviews?” (I normally don’t care  but the cheapest options got so-so reviews but the remainder wouldn’t be opening in time for me to decide so I was like playing darts) to finally, “How long is it?” (The Ferryman clocks in at over three hours so no thank you and The Waverly Gallery sounded too depressing).

Image result for lifespan of a factThe Lifespan of a Fact became the winner. I wound up with cheapish seats, it got better reviews than most people expected, and it runs for 85 minutes with no intermission. Plus that cast! Wins all around!

Based on a true story, intern Jim Fingal (Daniel Radcliffe) is asked to factcheck an essay written by John D’Agata (Bobby Cannavale). He is given limited time and struggles as he is finding a lot of inaccuracies causing headaches to the editor, Emily (Cherry Jones) and D’Agata.

I really enjoyed this. It’s a serious subject matter but told in a pretty funny way. It leaves you with lots of thoughts about ethics in journalism and especially given the climate we’re in right now. They lean into that a tiny bit but you can tell it’s on everyone’s minds.

But really, with three actors such as this in the play, it could have never been anything less. This is Radcliffe’s fourth show on Broadway (my third time seeing him) and he has impressed me every time. Now I am a Harry Potter girl but he has really grown and watching him go toe-to-toe with Jones and Cannavale was incredible. I saw Jones in a revival of The Glass Menagerie a few years ago so this is different but she’s such a force. I will never tire of seeing her perform live. And Cannavale, I’ve been a fan for years and never was able to see him on stage until now. He’s so tough but also shows such vulnerability. The story is important but these characters made the show and the actors who brought them to life are beyond great.

I want to end giving a shoutout to the fact that this is the first Broadway show with an all-female design team. Lighting, projection, set, costume, sound – all women as well as a female director. I really enjoyed the use of projection to show emails at the beginning. The main set toward the second half of the play may seem simple but they actually turned it into a character of its own and that’s not something I expected. I was glad to be able to support a show that put a focus on giving women opportunities they don’t normally get.

I definitely recommend seeing this show if you’re a fan of any of the wonderful actors in the play but I’d also recommend it to see something thought-provoking and funny.

watch

watch: phantom of the paradise

Phantom of the Paradise movie poster.jpgFun fact: this is one of my mom’s favorite movies. It is also one of Edgar Wright’s favorite movies (they eerily have similar taste). We’ve always had a copy of this movie in our house and I feel like I was probably scared of the Phantom growing up because I was scared of everything. But as I grew up, I became more interested in checking it out (and you know, having Wright’s seal of approval helped).

Winslow Leach (William Finley) is a composer who performs for record producer, Swan (Paul Williams). Swan steals his music leading to Leach going insane and eventually becoming disfigured. He becomes the Phantom and decides to torture Swan.

It is mostly a mix of The Phantom of the Opera (book and classic horror film as this movie predates the popular musical by over 10 years!) and Faust (the main influence of Leach’s music) but there are elements of The Picture of Dorian Gray toward the end that I didn’t quite expect. The movie is totally ’70s with all the glam rock and such but I did like it.

It’s a bizarre movie and mashing together three different elements felt overstuffed but it’s fascinating to watch. And not just in a post-#MeToo world because damn, this movie has some not great features for women. Like I wish Phoenix (Jessica Harper) had been more of a driving force but we never really learn anything about her besides that she wants to sing! We learn so much about Christine in Phantom of the Opera so again, the mashup didn’t help in that matter. The songs are really good though (Williams really knows how to write and compose) and the acting was okay. And I appreciated Brian DePalma’s use of split screen.

I don’t know if I’d really recommend this movie but if you want to see a cult classic, definitely check it out.

run

run: couch to 10k, week 3

Another week down!

This is likely going to sound repetitive for at least another week but whatever. It’s  my blog. Week 3 involved doing three 17-minute runs with a one minute walking break in between. So, similar to the previous week but up a minute.

The big problem for me this time was adjusting to the colder weather. When I got back from Disney, New York got colder than usual. I was excited to be running in 60 degree weather when I returned but nope. We got down to the 40s so that’s been fun. I did complete the runs without any real problems though. I did encounter one problem the first two days as my shoelace became untied for the last running section but I pushed through without stopping!

It’s only going to get colder and the runs longer from here on out but I’m feeling oddly comfortable now.

read

read: spider-gwen, vol. 0: most wanted? by jason latour

I’ve mentioned before that I am not a big Spider-Man fan. It’s still somewhat true though I love Tom Holland’s portrayal and I’m very excited to see Miles Morales on the big screen. But I think what started the thaw was the appearance of Spider-Gwen.

Spider-Gwen, Vol. 0: Most Wanted?If you don’t already know, Spider-Gwen is Gwen Stacy who is bit by a spider instead of Peter Parker. It was part of an event called Spider-Verse which brought together a bunch of different Spider-Mans from all different universes. Gwen takes up the mantle of Spider-Woman which ignites the Peter Parker in her ‘verse who wants to be special as well. Unfortunately, he dies and Gwen as Spider-Woman is blamed for his death.

This collection follows her while she tries to balance her normal life with being on the run as Spider-Woman. She feels guilt constantly about Peter and her father, George, who is the NYPD captain.

I really love the character of Gwen and her costume is incredible (kudos to Robbi Rodriguez!). While the collection is supposed to tackle the balance of her lives, it more focuses on her as a superhero because a lot of stuff happens. She runs into Vulture, Frank Castle, and Matt Murdock (who is BAD in this universe and it bothers me a lot!). I love the action sequences but the scenes with her dad were probably some of my favorites and when she encounters Uncle Ben and Aunt May toward the end as well. I also like that she’s in a band but the conflict there was kind of one-note and MJ is annoying. Overall, I’m mostly pleased and can’t wait to read more.