May the 4th Be With You

Whoops, wrong fandom. Though really, shouldn’t the 4th Doctor always be with us? I think so. For the rest of you, here are some of the cooler Star Wars related things I’ve seen online today so you can geek out properly:

Make your own Rebel Suncatcher at GeekMom

Can you name the Star Wars characters with the most lines at mentalfloss?

Watch a video from WIRED in which they smash an $800 LEGO Star Destroyer In Ultra Slo-Mo at geekologie.

Check out some awesome Star Wars books at GeekMom

Don’t forget to follow the #MayThe4thBeWithYou hashtag on Twitter for a constant stream of geeking out.

ThinkGeek.com is doing lots of Star Wars related sales and promos to celebrate the day. Get 20% off everything Star Wars and get a free Star Wars pin with orders over $20.

Not your fandom cup of tea?

Read about the evolution of Tony Stark at Geek and Sundry.

Or learn about the other big holiday today: Rhode Island Independence Day at newenglandhistoricalsociety.com.

You can share more Star Wars awesome in the comments below!

What I’m Into Lately: March 2015

20150317_115053

March has felt a lot like spinning tea cups. It’s been a month of “hold on tight, this could get nauseating” mixed with a lot of fun. We went on a Spring Break vacation with the kids, stressed out over holes in the house, got my son his first pair of glasses and fought violently with our printer. The weather keeps switching between warm sun with a gentle breeze and brutally brisk winds and hail – sometimes both in the same day.

Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been into this month in between spinning around like a tea cup trying to balance work and home and after school activities, etc. I’m linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer to share what I’m into right now.

BOOKS:

I’ve read four books this month. Two were really more like short stories but still – here’s what I’ve been reading and what I thought of each book.

  1. Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky by Marissa Meyer – Finished March 4, 2015 – This is one of the free bridge books in the Lunar Chronicles. It was fun getting to read about Carswell ‘s back story from his POV. It actually made me like him a little more and was a nice return to the Lunar Chronicles while I wait for book 4 to come out. Very short short story so an easy, quick read.
  2. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne CollinsFinished March 10, 2015 – When my 8 year old son insisted that I read this series, I couldn’t say no. It’s no surprise that Suzanne Collins has written another series that creates rabid fans. This story is adorable and inspiring and often gives ‘all the feels’ – It’s also a nice quick read for advanced readers and probably a challenging read for intermediate readers looking for a push. I’ll definitely be reading book two.full review
  3. Glitches by Marissa MeyerFinished March 12, 2015 – This is a prequel short story to Cinder that gives the reader a look at Cinder’s back story and how she came to live with her step family. I enjoyed getting a peek at a younger Cinder and reading about her initial impressions of her family, her life as a cyborg and learning about her talents and abilities.
  4. The Goddess Test by Aimee CarterFinished March 28, 2015 – I got sucked into this story pretty much immediately and found myself reading it whenever I could which resulted into staying up all night to finish the second half of the book even though I had to get up early for work the next day. So, basically, it was pretty darn good. I’m not an expert in Greek mythology; I noticed a lot of reviewers were pretty bent that it didn’t follow mythology correctly. I guess they didn’t notice that it was supposed to be a modern retelling that gives the original story a completely different spin. I thought it was extremely well written and found that the characters really tug at your heart strings and make you care. Well done!

15707124Right now I’m reading An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. I’ve been holding off on reading anything new by John Green out of an irrational fear that nothing could hold a candle to The Fault in Our Stars but I needn’t have worried. I’m enjoying this story and definitely planning to read more of his books soon.

TV:

Now that we’re caught up on Parks and Recreation (sniff), we’ve been going through the back log on our DVR which was all kinds of grateful to see us again. We started watching iZombie which is written by the same folks who made Veronica Mars which will be made blatantly obvious after you’ve watched the first episode. Jury is still out on whether I like the similarities or not.

We’ve also been watching Fresh off the Boat which is adorable if a little over acted. My husband loathes the theme song but loves the show and I’m inclined to agree although the music in the show brings back a lot of middle school memories for me.

I’m watching Girl Meets World with the kids and when Ryder Strong appeared on one of the last episodes I watched, I may have squealed like a little girl and my kids may have stared at me like I was very, very strange. I have no shame.

MOVIES:

We took the kids to see the new Cinderella and it was fantastic. I thought they did a good job of honoring the original but still bringing something new and untold to it. Lily James was an outstanding Cinderella and I loved Holliday Grainger and Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter and basically everybody. It was fun picking scenes out from the original Disney cartoon version and seeing them come to life and the twists and turns were wonderful. Funny, heartfelt, all the things.

I rented Lucy and The Other Woman this month. Lucy has a fascinating premise and of course Scar Jo is always fabulous and really the obvious choice for a “perfect woman” – I was impressed with her portrayal of a creepy intelligent super person as well as the nervous wreck normal girl she was at the beginning. And everyone loves Morgan Freeman and yes obviously he was terrific. But something about the story was almost too lofty to permeate. Like it didn’t really leave me feeling anything so much as observing.

The Other Woman is an absurd chick lit romp with Cameron Diaz at her finest and Leslie Mann and Kate Upton are also fantastic. For any girl who has ever been the other woman or found out about the other woman or who can simply commiserate based on being a human being with feelings – this one is funny, touching, inspiring, silly, smart, ridiculous. I’m not saying it was AMAZING but it was VERY GOOD. I’m not sure if your male significant others will appreciate it – maybe save it for a girls night so you can enjoy it without them.

MUSIC:

I just made a new playlist on my phone because I turned on my favorite playlist the other day and clicked on All About That Bass by Meghan Trainer and was totally feeling the vibe and then three sad, mellow songs in a row came on afterwards and I was like “Um, read the room Samsung.” So now I’ve got an upbeat mix that has some favorites like Don’t Stop Loving Me by Pomplamoose, Shake it Off by Taylor Swift, Thrift Shop by Macklemore, Fancy by Iggy Azalea, etc.

BLOGGED:

Read my thoughts on the first three books in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

If you were the main character in the last book you read, what would you be doing right now?

My personal blog celebrated it’s 7th anniversary. Feel free to send me cake.

What have you been into lately?

jenloves

Currently.

Here’s what I’m currently…

Reading:

7826803Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel for my book club on Wednesday. I’m only 1/3 through the book so my odds of finishing on time are not looking great. It took me awhile to get into this one but after the first 100 pages or so it starts to pick up. I’m still not crazy about the narration and sometimes the subject matter borders on too heavy for night time reading.

On nights when I need something lighter, I’ve been picking up John Green; I’ve read a couple chapters of An Abundance of Katherines as well as Paper Towns but have made little progress with either as I really am trying to focus on the book club pick.

Watching:

We took the kids to see the new Cinderella and it was fantastic. I thought they did a good job of honoring the original but still bringing something new and untold to it. Lily James was an outstanding Cinderella and I loved Holliday Grainger and Cate Blanchett and Helena Bonham Carter and basically everybody. It was fun picking scenes out from the original Disney cartoon version and seeing them come to life and the twists and turns were wonderful. Funny, heartfelt, all the things.

literallyWe’re watching Season Seven of Parks and Rec on demand right now. The menu for U-Verse’s On Demand is horrendous but getting to binge watch for free without waiting for the season to make it’s way to Netflix is worth it. I’m a little misty eyed at the thought of the show just being over but my DVR is all like “hurry up, I’m running out of room while I wait for you to move on from this addiction.” So.

I rented Lucy and The Other Woman this weekend. My thoughts:

Lucy has a fascinating premise and of course Scar Jo is always fabulous and really the obvious choice for a “perfect woman” – I was impressed with her portrayal of a creepy intelligent super person as well as the nervous wreck normal girl she was at the beginning. And everyone loves Morgan Freeman and yes obviously he was terrific. But something about the story was almost too lofty to permeate. Like it didn’t really leave me feeling anything so much as observing.

The Other Woman is an absurd chick lit romp with Cameron Diaz at her finest and Leslie Mann and Kate Upton are also fantastic. For any girl who has ever been the other woman or found out about the other woman or who can simply commiserate based on being a human being with feelings – this one is funny, touching, inspiring, silly, smart, ridiculous. I’m not saying it was AMAZING but it was VERY GOOD. I’m not sure if your male significant others will appreciate it – maybe save it for a girls night so you can enjoy it without them.

Eating:

20150227_203126I made apricot baked french toast using a recipe from Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert. Being a family of four, there was more than enough for one meal. I thought it came out pretty good but I think I poured the milk a little too heavily.

We were on vacation for most of last week and found ourselves eating out a lot and eating a lot of convenience junk and amusement park food so our diets could use a bit of a cleanse right now. Also our refrigerator is filled to the brim with random leftovers, beverages and just random stuff so I am hesitant to buy any real food as I have nowhere to put it. I’m trying to turn all that random into meals so I can clear out space for healthy food.

Buying:

I broke down and designed new business cards on moo.com today – I’m terrifically pleased with the end result but assume that this means that some key piece of information about me is now going to change and render them unusable because that’s how this goes, right?

51rN7BEu4nLI just ordered book five of the Underland Chronicles for MM’s 9th birthday: Gregor and the Code of the Claw by Suzanne Collins. He is obsessed and fanboying all over the place and I couldn’t be prouder really.

MM has reached a new rite of passage. Last week we took him in for an eye exam and then bought his first pair of glasses. He’s still a little apprehensive about it but I’m just swooning over how adorable he looks in them. Damn right, my kids are rocking Ray Bans.

Researching:

41dFCedGRPLWe’re still seriously considering buying a color laser printer and saying good bye to our ink jet. My husband didn’t really “get” why I was so angsty towards it and agreed to sit and look at it and maybe fix the issues it was having. 30 minutes later I think he wanted to chuck it out the window, too.

Color laser printers are not all a great deal and there are a lot of different models and options out there, some more affordable than others. We’re currently leaning towards this one by Brother that seems to have decent PPM and has toner that gets an impressive yield. We’re still balking a little at the price but seeing how many pennies we can pinch together to make it happen. Because it isn’t an All in One, we’re considering either keeping the ink jet as a copy machine / scanner or maybe getting something like this. Or none of these things. You know.

What are you into right now?

jenloves

15 Lessons Learned Watching The Maze Runner

MazeRunner

Last night I decided to watch The Maze Runner even though I haven’t gotten around to reading the book yet. Because I’m a rebel. Yup. That’s right. Also my husband was like “Do you want to watch The Maze Runner?” And I said yes.

Having not read the book, I was going into the movie relatively uninformed except that I’ve read a description of said book and read the first few pages. This is what I knew going in (mild spoilers):

A boy is trapped in a box that opens into a big grassy field known as The Glade. He doesn’t know who he is or how he got there but when he gets out of the box there are a ton of other teenage boys who also don’t know who they are or how they got there or why but they all seem to have come to terms with this information until a girl shows up a few days later and then they’re like WTF?? This changes everything????!!!!!”

I’ll be honest, I didn’t love this movie. The plot was fairly interesting but it also felt incredibly rehashed and because it was a movie trying to do a book’s job, it left a lot of questions unanswered that I tried not to dwell over but pretty much failed. After about half an hour I almost turned the movie off but my husband and I found that by making snarky jokes and heckling the movie loudly that it made it enjoyable to watch.

Things Learned while watching The Maze  Runner (spoilers obvy)

So a quick synopsis of this movie would be “If Lord of the Flies and The Hunger Games Had a Baby and there were giant cyborg spiders there.”

The-Maze-Runner

Lesson one: The first thing that Thomas learns when he enters the Glade (before he remembers that his name is Thomas) is that nobody knows why they are there and that there is a giant maze all around them that could conceivably lead to an exit but they aren’t allowed to go in the maze because they said so.

Lesson two: Then he tries to go in the maze basically immediately and another boy whose name is Golly or Gabby or Gally or something beats the crap out of him for it and when Thomas is like WTF? the walls of the maze start to close and he’s like “Oh so that wall would have crushed me?” and I was like, you could have led with that guys.

Lesson three: Except the whole maze doesn’t close, just the entrance. But apparently if you get trapped inside the maze you will for sure die because no one who has been trapped in the maze has ever come back because Grievers. What are Grievers you ask? We don’t know. Nobody has ever seen them. But you’ll die. And I’m like “Or maybe they just found the exit and left??”

Lesson four: If you get stung by that thing nobody has ever seen, you’ll die but first you’ll go into a murdery rage and then the other boys will kill you, so for sure, you will die. Look at this wall of names of all the boys who have been trapped here. Look at these names of all the boys who have DIED.

Lesson five: If you run into the maze without permission enough times, the boys will make you an official runner because they are tired of throwing you in the pit and reminding you that you will die but that Golly / Gally guy will for sure keep making slanty eyebrows at you or possibly those are just his normal eyebrows.

Lesson six: Turns out that your memories are coming back waaaay faster than predicted and you are getting more than just your name back. This has either never happened before or everyone else is lying.

Lesson seven: The guy in charge of running the maze has been making an intricate map of the thing for three years now but you’re going to go for a jog tomorrow and find new places he’s never seen and while you are at it, you’re going to kill a griever who happens to be a giant cyborg spider whose leg wants to tell you the way out of the maze like it’s scanning for metal at the beach.

Lesson eight: Don’t tell those guys that have been trapped here for 3 years that you think you know the way out because they will be throwing serious shade your way.

Lesson nine: When a girl randomly shows up in the Glade for the first time in ever and she’s saying your name, it obviously means you are suspicious and also you are the only Thomas that has ever lived so it’s def not a coincidence. Also apparently girls remember their names right away and are like “What’s your dysfunction?”

Lesson ten: Don’t tell the completely harmless chubby kid that everything is going to be fine and you are going to get him out of the maze and help him find his parents (because even though he doesn’t remember them, he obviously has parents that are looking for him). You might as well just shoot the poor kid in the face.

Lesson eleven: Girls should be immediately trusted  as an authority on all subjects because they throw fruit at you and you’ve never seen one before.

Lesson twelve: When you finally escape the maze, you will find out that everything is waaaay more complicated than you thought which makes sense since you don’t remember anything except the five things you remember for no obvious reason.

Lesson thirteen: People who are dead are probably not really dead unless they are. Also wicked is or is not wicked, for sure.

Lesson fourteen: Women of a certain age should not wear sleeveless shirts. Kay thanks.

Lesson fifteen: Dytopian stories are never finished in one book / movie. Even if you don’t want to watch another one, they will leave you on a cliff hanger saying “WTF?”

So has anyone read the book? And seen the movie? How do they compare?

rantingjen