Sunday, May 26, 2013

TPB Read and Review

When I first started this blog, I knew I wanted to do some sort of comic book read-along a review type project - something where we could all read the same book, then share our thoughts and opinions. I guess it would be something like a book club or a review club.

I guess I just lost track of that goal somewhere along the way.

Now, though, I'm ready to make it happen!

As you may know from reading some of my previous posts, I'm not getting a lot of single issues anymore. I've instead switched over to reading more trades because 1.) the story is all together and I don't have to wait weeks between books and 2.) it's much more affordable. So, instead of making this a read and review for comic book issues, it's going to be a read and review for trades!

Each month I'll choose 3 books from my shelves, read them, and then review them at the end of the month. You can choose to read all four books with me, or just one or two.

If you're on Goodreads, I've created a group for this read and review project here. I'll be sharing my reviews here on the blog, as well as on the Goodreads group. If you're participating, you can also share your review on the Goodreads group. IT will be fun!

Are you ready to see the first three books I chose to read and review?

First off we have our DC title for the month - The Killing Joke!

I thought it would be fun to start off with a classic. You can never go wrong with Batman and The Joker!

Next, for the Marvel title I chose Cable & Deadpool Separation Anxiety.

Yet another book that's guaranteed to be a good read!

Finally, for the indie title I chose the Image book Heaven, LLC.

This is a book I picked up at the STL Wizard World Comic-Con and have been waiting to read ever since.

I hope to see you all over at Goodreads this month and on here at the end of June when I'll be posting all my reviews. Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 13, 2013

An Experience

It all started in August, when I got the call for an interview at Southtown Pre-K to be their aide. I was excited and nervous and scared to death, but I got the job.
It was the PERFECT job for me because 1.) working in a school means perfect hours for a mom and 2.) I'm awesome with kids.
In the interview, I talked about all the crafts and projects and science experiments I liked to do with my own kids. I said something I think they get tired of all the stuff I have them do, so it will be fun to be part of a classroom and participate in these activities with a larger group of kids. Or small groups. Whatever works. I had so many ideas!

It turns out, the job was nothing like what I expected. I quickly learned that at Southtown, we're basically given all the troubled kids with behavior problems. This isn't on purpose, but rather a result of the registration process at the preschool.
Every spring, there's a screening and an early registration. Parents who participate in this early registration can choose whether to place their child in half-day classes or full-day classes. They can also usually choose the teacher their child gets. Most parents don't choose to place their children at Southtown because it's separate from the other classes, and most people don't know where it's at. I didn't even know where it was until I had an interview there, and I lived two blocks away growing up!
Anyway, in the fall there's another registration where all the parents who missed or didn't attend the early registration can register their children a few weeks before classes start. These parents have a bit of a choice of where to place their children, but may get stuck with half-day classes when they wanted full-day, or may get stuck with a teacher they don't know or don't like. Most of our kids come from this registration, or from late registration where there's no other choice.
Not to be mean, but the type of people who miss every chance to register their children for school and wait until the very last minute tend to be somewhat lazy people and lazy parents. Lazy parents have children with very few rules at home, and children with very few rules at home generally don't do too well in school. Our class is filled with these children.
Another factor is that Southtown is in, well, Southtown. It's in the "bad part of town" and parents who live close often chose to register their children here because it's so close. A lot of our parents don't have cars, so it helps to be within walking distance.

These past few months have been a challenge. I've been so close to quitting so many times, but I have two children of my own who I have to take care of.
I even got hired at a gas station, and nearly took the job. I had to work all evening hours, though, and would rarely see my kids. This job is perfect for me in that I have great hours, make over minimum wage and get free childcare. I just don't like it at all. It's not what I expected at all.

While the kids drive me crazy, I still love (almost) every one of them to death. There have been many times when I long to take one home because I'm pretty sure I could fix a lot of their problems. I know I could provide them with some structure, some discipline, some healthy food and exercise, and most importantly LOTS of love. It breaks my heart to see these bright little boys and girls not being taken care of in the way I want them to be taken care of. There's one little boy in particular who is SO smart, but has such bad behavior. I can see where he's headed in life and it makes me sad because he has a lot of potential.

Today was our last day of class, and it's a bittersweet event. I'm so glad it's over with, but I'll miss most of my "babies" and I'll be wondering how they're doing for the rest of my life. This post is about remembering this experience forever.

Some of the photos have Lailah in them because she goes to the daycare at Southtown in the mornings, because she's in a half-day afternoon class. There was some time in the fall where I was in the daycare every Tuesday and Thursday instead of the pre-k. I'm also in there sometimes on early dismissal days. Now I'll be in there (though I don't know which room) through the summer.

So here's to the experience, good and bad.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

1 Second Everyday in April

I got this awesome 1 Second Everyday app after seeing a TED talk by the creator, Cesar Kuriyama. At first I wasn't really sure if I wanted to have a theme or just wing it, so my first video wasn't too interesting. Also, I started mid-month, so it was shorter than if I had recorded a full month. I decided not to continue the project in March because I had lost my inspiration.

I actually look back on that little February video and enjoy it because it reminds me of some of the fun stuff we did, like have Japanese food in Carbondale, IL and go to the movies.

I knew there had to be more I could do with this app, though.

My first thought was of those cool time lapse videos that show your child growing. I have two children, though, so I couldn't really make that work without either making one child feel left out, alternating days/months and messing up the flow, or buying a second iPhone.

Then I thought I could do a video of myself everyday, but I quickly dismissed that idea. "Why would I want to watch myself get fatter and fatter?" I asked myself. I thought yeah, that would be a great idea if I could watch myself LOSE weight instead of gain.

Quick history lesson - I've been gaining weight steadily every year since my son was born. I'll go on diets, lose some weight, then put it all back on. Every year I can see myself in photos getting fatter and fatter.

Anyway, this is where it hit me. I WOULD take a video of myself everyday for a year, and I WOULD get thinner rather than fatter. I made a plan, set a date and waited.

I started this little project on April 1st, one month ago today. So far it's going really well, and I have my first monthly video to share. It's a little uncomfortable to share because I don't like taking pictures, I don't like my face, don't like my body. I'm only putting this out there because I hope it changes over this year and I think it's important to see where I came from so I'll know why I never want to go back.

My starting weight on April 1st was 216 and my last weigh day of the month was April 29th where I weighed 202.6. That's 13.4 lbs lost in a month! The goal is 2 lbs a week, so I'm happy with my results so far.

I'm using several apps to aid in this process, one, of course, is 1 Second Everyday. The others are Lose It!, Water Your Body, Munch 5 and Fooducate. Honestly, I think the video everyday is what's keeping me in check more than anything. I've used lose it in the past and it's a great tool, but I found myself "cheating" all the time by not tracking certain things that I knew would put me over my daily amount of calories. I can't do that when I'm taking videos, though, because it will all show up on the scale on Monday.

Speaking of Monday, my video every Monday is of my weight. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays are food video days. Wednesday is the day I take a video of my face to track any facial weight loss, skin changes, etc. Fridays are for the body shots and Sundays are "free days" where I can take a video of anything relevant to the whole weight loss thing. It's usually just another shot of food, though. I enjoy the food days. I think, though, that in the end I'll enjoy looking at the face and body days because I'll be able to see a big change by the time this project is over.

I'll be back on June 1st for the May video!

Monday, April 15, 2013

This Week in Comics - Week 6

Oops! I'm a day late posting this week.

I'm sad to say that I didn't read too much this week. As I've said before, most of my reading occurs at work on my lunch break. Last Monday and Friday were both half days for me, and Thursday I went to my daughter's school during lunch to pick up her spring pictures. That left just Tuesday and Wednesday to enjoy some lunchtime comics.

Here's what I managed to read this week

Have you ever watched one word or less comic reviews on YouTube? Well that's basically what I'm going to do today because I'm lazy. The first four books up there are individual books, while the fifth is a trade. I'll talk about the trade a little more.

Batman The Dark Knight #16 - overrated

Uncanny X-Force #2 - forgettable

A + X #5 - light

Age of Apocalypse #13 - intriguing

Whew! That's a bit more difficult than I expected!
Now for the trade, which is Jericho Season 3 Civil War.

If you watched and enjoyed seasons 1 and 2 of the Jericho TV show, this is a must read! That being said, I don't think you could just into this trade without watching the show first. Honestly, I don't know why you would even want to. The TV show was one of the best I've ever seen. Yeah, I love my LOST and BSG, but Jericho was incredible. I would have to say that, in my opinion, it was better than the two shows I just mentioned. NOT better than Firefly, but better than LOST and BSG. That's saying a lot, because I love my LOST.
This trade picked up right where season 2 ended, and revealed so much about the plot and characters. I LOVED it and I cannot wait to read more!Season 4 is currently being published in singles, but I'm waiting (not so) patiently for the trade.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

This Week in Comics - Week 5

There's nothing too interesting to report for this week. It was back to work and back to school for us.
While I enjoyed being home for spring break, it was nice to get back into our usual routine and definitely nice to be making money again. My paycheck took a big hit with spring break. That's the big downside to working in the school system.

On to this week's comics! They're in no particular order this time.

Clearly, a very good reading week!

First up we have Detective Comics #17. Awesome story! I was surprised, because I've been unimpressed by most of the bat family titles lately. I really liked reading about the Merrymaker and hope to see him pop up again.

Next is Deathstroke #17 and #18. Why did they cancel this series?! It's so good! I love Deathstroke and I don't think any issue of his has been bad. I haven't read them all, but I plan on collecting single issues of the New 52 run. These issues were just as great as all the others have been. If you aren't reading Deathstroke, DO IT!

As you can see, I finally got around to reading Uncanny Avengers issues #1-#4. I loved each and every issue! It's too bad I've cancelled the majority of my subs, because I would really like to keep reading this monthly. The story arc was very interesting and original. I love the concept of what someone else would do with Charles Xavier's powers.

The biggest reading event this week was Punisher Nightmare #1-#5. I read two issues on Tuesday, then one each day until Friday. It was a great and very thought-provoking read. I'm glad I didn't read these as they came out, but rather kept them to read all at once. I may have been lost otherwise. The first issue started off somewhat slowly, and the second issue was incredible, but confusing. Things were more clear in the last three issues, though. I think this is something I'll buy in trade, despite having the single issues. It will be nice to read this story again and again.

Finally, the star of the week was Colder #5. This has been an amazing story! I've loved every single second of it! Just like Punisher Nightmare, I'll definitely be buying this in trade. It's SUCH a good story with incredible art. I can't communicate how much I enjoyed this series.

I also got a small shipment of new comics in the mail this week. It's weird to get such a small box after months of getting boxes with over $200 worth of comics. I know it makes more sense financially to buy trades, but I'm still sad that I'll be missing out on that experience of reading the monthly issues.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

This Week in Comics - Week 4

Spring Break!

It has been awesome not working this week, although my next check will not be so awesome.
I had a lot of time to read comics this week, but I mostly used that time for other things.

I'm completely obsessed with this stupid game and have spent WAY too much time playing it this week.

I did find a nice amount of time for my comics, too. This week I decided to read lots of the DC titles that I dropped, mostly to get them out of the way. I enjoyed some of them, and some of them not so much.

Here's what I read this week:

The last one, American McGee's Grimm, is a graphic novel. Aside from that, the books are posted in order of how well I liked them.
I considered the Aquaman/Justice League crossover to be one big book in the number two spot.

So, my favorite book this week was Batman Arkham City End Game #1. It was great! I've had it in my stack for a while, but just haven't gotten around to reading it for some reason. I guess it's because I was too busy with all the Death of the Family stuff. It's definitely a book I'd recommend, though.

Next is Aquaman 16 and Justice League 16 and 17. These were the last books in the Throne of Atlantis crossover. I'm not a huge fan of either Aquaman or Justice League, but I really enjoyed this story. If I wasn't already planning of cancelling most of my monthly subs and moving to trades, I'd probably keep reading both these titles. The art on Aquaman is amazing, as well. It took me longer than usual to read Aquaman because I spent so much time looking at all the incredible art.

Legends of the Dark Knight #5 was interesting. I always enjoy this book, and enjoyed this issue as well. It was probably the weakest issue so far, though.

Batman and Robin #17 was a super quick read. I think this is the last issue with Damian alive, but I could be wrong. It was a nice story, especially knowing that Damian is going to die soon. I read the annual knowing that Damian was about to die, too, and I think that adds a layer of sadness to the whole issue.

Batgirl #17 was okay. It wasn't overwhelmingly bad or good, just okay.

Star Wars Purge: The Tyrant's Fist #2 was also okay. I think a lot of these Star Wars books are much better when read in trade, so that's what I'll be doing with future stories. I had forgotten most of what happened in the first issue, so I didn't care a whole lot about this issue.

I'm going to lump Justice League Dark #16 and Suicide Squad #17 in the same category. I don't like these books, don't care about them and have no problem dropping them. Sorry if that sounds mean, but it's true. I just read these this week to get them out of the way.

The graphic novel I read this week was American McGee's Grimm. I can't remember what prompted me to buy this book because it's a very out of the ordinary purchase for me. I liked reading it, but probably won't ever read it again. It did make me laugh a few times, though, and I enjoyed the art.