What Have I Been Up To? January and February

Hello people random and familiar! I have been particularly busy and oatmeal-brained so haven’t been writing. I view this blog as a journal for my ever-pressing thoughts and as a database of my opinions on different things I watch and read.

Since I’ve been out of the loop for so long, I’ll leave a link you can click if you’re interested. In my mind, just because I don’t like something doesn’t mean it won’t appeal to someone else. This is normally how I rate things.

  1. No redeeming qualities whatsoever visually, aesthetically, or as a story. 
  2. So boring I could barely pay attention. 
  3. I had a headache but somehow made it through. 
  4. I could make fun of it. . . because of how bad it is. 
  5. It’s not good, it’s not bad. It’s just blah. 
  6. There were various interesting aspects but nothing to really gush about.
  7. A solid story. Good characters, plot, and visuals. However, not amazing. 
  8. I genuinely enjoyed watching/reading it. I could see/read it again with friends.
  9. A great experience! As a film it is visually stunning and has an incredible story I could go back to multiple times. As a book, I could do the same. 
  10. Near Perfect (nothing is perfect. ) It has become one of my favorites. I could also write entire articles on it.


Georgana’s Secret audiobook (2021), 9/10

I read this book about two years ago and loved the sweet love story between Georgana and Dominic. Georgana dresses as a boy aboard her father’s ship in an attempt to protect herself from her abusive grandmother, so their romance takes a bit of time to flourish.

I always appreciate stories where it shows how a man and woman can work together and overcome obstacles. I’ve never been much for the damsel in distress scenarios for this reason. In this story Georgana shows she’s capable and compassionate and Dominic isn’t domineering or a foul example of toxic masculinity.

Now, I gave this a 9 because I didn’t like the woman who read the audiobook. She was a bit too prim and proper for me.

The Hobbit (1937), Narrated by Andy Serkis 10/10

So, funny story. I didn’t like this book as a child. (Gasp! For shame.) I was a hardcore Lord of the Rings fan and couldn’t get over how it wasn’t the same. Silly silly me. As an adult I found out, yes, I like it but not overly so.

Now, I decided to listen to this audiobook because Andy Serkis, (aka Gollum from the movies) narrates it. That was one of the best decisions of my life. He does SUCH a good job. He even sounds like the actors and actresses from the movies. I was sad when it was over and immediately wanted to start his reading of The Fellowship of the Ring. But, alas, I’m like 60th in line so I have to wait.

Ashes on the Moor narrated by Justine Eyre (2018) 10/10

I’ve read this story a couple of times and haven’t gotten tired of it. I identify with Evangeline and her journey into becoming a teacher from the ground up. I often ponder how I can honor my student’s backgrounds as a teacher now.

The romance naturally happens without too much drama or crazy events. Dermot is somewhat rough around the edges, but a true gentleman. I love his adopted son Ronan and appreciate how Sarah Eden talks about autism without looking down on those who have it.

I also wanted to talk about how wonderful Justine Eyre is as a narrator. I’ve listened to multiple books she’s narrated and think she’s fantastic.

The Thief of Always (1992) 10/10

If you stay up to date with things I love, this is one of my favorite books of all time. I have probably read it at least twenty times over the last decade.

I read it when I need to believe people have power over evil and temptation. I also love the idea of a house that makes the seasons appear at different parts of the day.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow (2020) by Laura Taylor Namey 7.5/10

Ho hum. . . how to describe this book? I liked how it dealt with real-world issues without being sappy or overbearing. I liked how the main characters openly communicated with each other about how they felt. Honesty is a wonderful addition to ANY love story.

What I didn’t like was the foul language at times and how there were multiple loose ends in the story without answers or a conclusion. I also thought it was somewhat strange how the main love interest Orion suddenly just showed up in Miami at the end. . . Shrug. At least this story didn’t offend me or make me question how women view romance and relationships.

The Book of Three (1964) by Lloyd Alexander 8/10

Disney’s The Black Cauldron (1985) was a favorite of mine as a child because I had a German soul. But as an adult I think it is not particularly well-done or likable. I do remember reading this book once upon a time. . . . but I forgot what happened.

I got bored so I looked up the audio book and surprisingly liked it. James Langton did a commendable job bringing to life all the characters and I was not bored! Fantasy oftentimes bores me because it’s predictable so this was quite an accomplishment. I’ll eventually get to reading the others in the series once my mood swings that way again.

Shinrin-Yoku: The Art and Science of Forest Bathing (2018) by Qing Li 9/10

Qing Li studied the healing effects of being in and thriving in forests. I found this book fascinating. I love hiking and sitting in forests reading so I thought this was the book for me. The more I read it, the more I wanted to jump on a plane to Japan and forest bath in an onset in the mountains.

Murder on the Orient Express narrated by Kenneth Branagh (1934) 9/10

Though I don’t like what Kenneth Branagh has done to Poirot in his recent movies, I do like how he narrated this classic Agatha Christie mystery. I had the ending ruined accidentally so. . . reading it was never fully enjoyable.

But this recently listening was awesome! I got excited for her other books and enjoyed not remembering everything about the story. This isn’t my favorite book by Christie but it is wonderful to read nonetheless.


The Doctor is Out 7/10

This story isn’t particularly interesting, but I think the Female Lead Rita isn’t an idiot so I keep reading. This is pretty much what I think is going to happen:

  1. She’ll get with the Male lead Duke Erwan Cereus even if he’s younger because he has muscles and. . . a heart.
  2. She’ll be the doctor guy’s long lost daughter which makes her nobility.
  3. With her help, they’ll get rid of the slimy scheming uncle and his somewhat attractive son.

Mark my words I’ll be right! But that’s okay. Sometimes it’s good to read predictable stories.

I Became the Tyrant’s Translator 6.5/10

This series suffers from a lack of clear communication. Talk about your feelings making characters! Stop trying to leave and do things on your own when it hasn’t work at all up to this point. In fact, kiss and hug it out so objectives are right on the table.

The main guy, whose name escapes me, speaks only in random words because of a speech deficiency I’m pretty sure he uses so the main female lead won’t leave. . . I think. Not sure though. I follow the story so I can figure out how this story ends.

Searching For My Father 7/10

I am pretty sure the pink-haired female lead is getting with the prince. I don’t know why the title insinuates her searching for her father for the majority of the story when she finds him within the first 15 chapters.

All-in-all this story is simply sad. . . and the uncle is a CREEP. Beyond that, I haven’t had any strong feelings for it. I do like how the relationship between the prince and the girl develops well over time and how they talk to each other in a healthy way.

Honey, I’m Going On a Strike 6/10

This story shows a relationship between a husband and wife change from being void of any affection, therefore toxic, to one where they are more affectionate because they communicate more about their desires and feelings. (Sorry for the long sentence).

I think they wanted to label this as a SMUT series because. . . well it is a husband and wife’s evolving relationship. But they actually don’t show those things. What is interesting to me how much their relationship changed because the female lead was more mature and open about communication.

I didn’t find this story gross or overly steamy. I thought it was an interesting window into what can happen in a relationship under the right circumstances. I do think some scenes should be kept out because it’s frankly no one’s business what happens between a married couple. But that’s just my opinion.

No More Nice Sis 7/10

This has a lower score because I’m not quite sure what I think about the story. I think it’s interesting how naturally the relationship between the two main characters is progressing. I also like the artwork, especially when compared to others I’ve come across recently.

What gets me though is why they didn’t consider what they’d do if. . . gasp. . . they do fall in love and don’t have to separate. Think rationally, talk about your feelings, and come to a natural conclusion that being married is supposed to be a more permanent thing, especially if you love and respect one another.

Neyra’s Dragon 5.5/10

The main emotion I battle when I read this webtoon is confusion. I understand the basic premise but I am not sure whatsoever what direction it’s going. Perhaps I haven’t read enough of it but it is VERY difficult to be emotionally invested in the characters or the story.

I will say kudos to the main girl character for running away from a toxic situation. That takes a lot of guts.

Between Yearning and Obsession 5.5/10

Blah and creepy. The main villain is this blond guy who is a sadist. It is hard to watch the main girl get abused and used over and over again by men in her life. But. . . it isn’t too interesting to read. I predictably predicted each step in the story and got annoyed at the black haired male lead because he was super clueless sometimes.

What I did like about the story is how it showed obsession isn’t love. I also liked how the main girl found her way OUT of a toxic relationship.

Twincognito Romance 5.5/10

I like the main girl in this story and her friend well enough. What gets me about this story’s premise is she is literally lying to everyone’s faces, including the man she likes, for her sister and a new drawing pad?

I never like it when characters in stories lie for no good reason. Dishonesty is a terrible foundation for a relationship and I can see it crashing, burning, and somehow coming together by the power of romance. . . Yeah I don’t have high hopes for this story.

The Duke’s Bored Daughter is My Master 6.5/10

This is a reincarnation story that somehow works? The main female character’s goals is to be a bum but she gets in her own way by helping all the men in her life be more awesome. Including a prince who I am pretty sure is the reincarnation of her friend from the past or. . . something.

I think the story is funny but I’m not sure if I like it yet. I don’t remember too much about it and that is not a good sign.

The Tyrant’s Tranquilizer 6.5/10

The art is really beautiful but the romance is all over the place. I like the main female and male leads but don’t quite know if they can figure themselves out. There is still quite a bit I don’t know about the story so. . . well see how it turns out.

Currently, the story has yet another drama bomb reveal about how the main male lead is bad. I find these “reveals” annoying and unnecessary seeing as the main male lead is literally possessed by an evil being. But. . . shrug. It might turn out good.

Lydia’s Great Escape 7/10

So, I’m pretty sure the love story is between two step siblings. I don’t really care about that but the male lead is a psycho. I’m not sure if it’s a farce or if he really is super fixated on loving his step sister, but whatever happens I don’t want her to fall for him for vague reasons.

What makes this story stand out is the humor. The main girl is so funny and her expressions and reactions kill me. I just don’t know if this story is all it’s cracked up to be.

With Vengeance, Sincerely, Your Broken Saintess 7.5/10

This might just be the most promising manhua I’ve found so far. I’ll probably not agree with myself in the future. . . but we’ll see. I like how the main characters have a clear, concise goal. The blond villainess is a jerk and her world is slowly crumbling around her (clap, clap).

I also strangely like the male lead which rarely happens when I read these. Woot woot. Also, the art is super pretty in this one. It is a feast for my eyes.

The Secret Life of Empress Isana 4.5/10

Siiiiiiiiigh. . . . this story had terribly pacing, bland characters and a strange sort of ending I didn’t understand. As I read it, I kind of cared about the main character going home but figured she would stay anyway because her husband was hot.

I was confused why the main villainess did what she did. . . but meh. It was boring and predictable and I vaguely remember what happened. Not really though.


Barakamon 10/10

I don’t think I’ve talked about this manga before. Well, I love it. It’s about a calligrapher who moves to an island to find the “god of calligraphy”. Handa is a funny guy and he finds a lot of inspiration living with quirky islanders.

Sometimes I just need to wind down and read down to earth stories. This one definitely does that for me. In the future, it will definitely be on my top 25 favorite manga list.

Uruwashi no you no Tsuki 6/10

I love Yamamori’s other mangas Daytime Shooting Star and Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet but not this one. I don’t really like the main characters that much and their love story is weird and strangely unhealthy. They don’t communicate well and I don’t honestly care if they stay together.

The main girl should get with her coworker instead. He’s honest, sincere, and altogether wholesome. But I don’t think that will happen.

From Far Away 10/10

I don’t need to say too much about this manga. If you like isekai but are tired of all the stupid ones with busty women and harems this is a good one to go to. I love the main characters Noriko and Isark SOOOO much and find this story refreshingly open and honest about what true power looks like.

If you can’t tell, it’s one of my favorites. I own almost all the volumes but don’t have infinite funds to buy them at an average of $100 each. But if you don’t mind digital books they are available on Amazon.


Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022) 10/10

What. The. Heck. This movie is so good it shouldn’t be possible. The animation is impeccable. The story intriguing and multilayered without feeling bogged down by unnecessary characters or story arcs. The villain was. . . so memorable. I haven’t seen an animated movie this good since Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse.

I don’t want to give too much away but if you love animation and haven’t seen this movie in theaters run to a theater and find a way!

Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) 10/10

Watching my students view this movie for the first time was a glorious experience for me. They laughed their heads off at most of the jokes and I had one student comment on how good looking Cary Grant’s butt was. I agreed and secretly laughed under my desk for maybe two minutes.

If you haven’t seen this movie before and like Macob and dark humor this is the movie for you. I love showing this to people who’ve never see it before and watching it with my family.

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) 8/10

My family loves this movie. My students opened my eyes to how corny, and cheesy it is. I had never thought about it, but it is a true example of a historical romance that blows history out of proportion.

But, I don’t care. I still love this movie and think Percy’s legs are good-looking in his pants. I’m not ashamed. If you haven’t seen this movie, the humor and romance is worth watching.

Casablanca (1940) 9/10

This is not my favorite movie in the world, but I truly appreciate how well-made it is. The acting and story building is astounding and even after all these years it leaves such a wonderful impression. I watched it with my students and thought it was interesting how some of them loved it, while others didn’t.

If you haven’t watched this movie before and you are a film nut like myself, give it ago. I promise it isn’t boring whatsoever.

The Great Escape (1963) 9.5/10

I didn’t realize how long this movie is, and groaned when I realized my students chose it for our World War II era film section. But it didn’t disappoint. they loved it and misjudged what type of movie it was. Most War movies made between the 1930s-1960s had happy endings or romanticized deaths surrounded by romantic drama. That doesn’t happen in this movie.

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so if you haven’t see it go watch it!

Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018) 3/10

Goodness gracious this movie has terrible pacing and the vaguest goal of any modern movie I’ve seen. I didn’t like it one bit. I had a headache watching it it was so painful. The only reason why it isn’t a 2 is because the animation looks pretty.

My brother and I are going through all the Disney movies and this was one of the hardest I had to endure through. It felt too long and I breathed a sigh of relief when it was finally over.

The Great Mouse Detective (1986) 8/10

The characters are fantastic, the animation was fascinating to study, and I actually cared about where the story was going. Ratigan and Basil really stand out as main characters and I can’t get over their great character animation.

The only reason why this score is only an 8 is because I wished it was longer.

Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954) 9/10

Great movie, characters, music, dancing and story. I enjoyed watching my students pick the story apart, especially because it is rather bizarre. I enjoy watching Milly pick Adam and his brothers egos apart. The romances are also rather sweet to watch even while they kidnap the girls to get married. It sounds better than I phrased it I promise.

Home on the Range (2004) 4/10

Good golly this movie was painful to watch. The story is dumb, the characters are unlikable (besides the yodeling villain) and the character designs are jarring. I didn’t care about anyone or their goals. I will say the backgrounds were pretty to look at.

Chicken Little (2005) 2/10

Here are some words to describe my experience with this movie:

Jarring, uncanny, unsettling, disturbing, unfunny, torturous, ugly, obnoxious, stupid

This is quite possible one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen and not in a funny way. People said it was bad, but I never imagined it could be this bad.

Dinosaur (2000) 6/10

This movie isn’t as bad as people say it is. I think it is just AVERAGE. The story was basically Land Before Time without the pretty animation and intriguing battle scenes. But that doesn’t mean the movie is horrendous. It is just Meh.

I did think the first ten minutes were the best part of the movie. The monkeys were most definitely the weirdest part of the movie. Especially the “love monkey”. Yeah no. That was dumb.

Singin’ in the Rain (1952) 10/10

One of the best musicals of all time! I had a student tell me to my face he would never like it and would most likely fall asleep. He loved it and asked if we could watch it again. That was a teaching win for me.

I don’t have much to say about this movie besides: you should watch it!

Wreck it Ralph (2012) 7/10

This movie is fine. The story and concept is unique but I don’t believe the short girl and Ralph had a solid foundation for any type of friendship. But, the romance between Fix it Felix and that anxious warrior chick was funny.

I do think this is is way better than its sequel. I actually followed the story without getting bored or annoyed. But it isn’t my favorite.

Robin Hood (1973) 9/10

I was pleasantly surprised how great this movie is. The characters and voice actors are fantastic, and it is such a funny story! The humor was spot on and the story followed the original book pretty well. I also didn’t mind how the characters were animals instead of people.

TV Shows

Gargoyles (1994-1997) 8.5/10

This isn’t a 10 because I don’t love all the episodes. But, Keith David as Goliath is one of my favorite animated characters of all time. I love the overall premise of the show, how it takes place in Scotland and is founded in Celtic Lore. I know Disney made this show to combat Batman: The Animated Series and I feel it is a solid competitor.

I haven’t quite finished the show but from what I’ve seen the characters aren’t dumb, especially Elisa who can hold her own against overly muscled idiots. I also think it’s interesting how many Star Trek: Next Generation actors and Actresses voiced characters in this show.

Extraordinary Attorney Woo (2022) 8.5/10

Wow. Just wow. This show does such a beautiful job showcasing someone on the autism spectrum. I have a special place in my heart for autistic characters and enjoy seeing them shine in different situations and professions.

I haven’t finished the show, so I don’t have a concrete score yet but I have high hopes for this story.

Spongebob Squarepants, 8/10

I watch this show because I need to laugh while unwinding from work. I don’t think I need to say too much about this show. I only like watching the first three seasons because the humor isn’t predictable. I also noticed how many jokes I didn’t understand as a kid. Life is a surprising . . . surprise sometimes.


Tomo Chan is a Girl 6.5/10

Well, this was an underwhelming watch. I remember vaguely the manga. . . and how average it was and I was shocked to see it become and anime. Yeah. . . it was also average and I didn’t care about the characters too much. Too much unnecessary boob stuff too.

Trigun Stampede (2023) 3/10

I’m a big fan of the original Trigun anime so when I saw a commercial for this show I thought one of two things would happened. One: it would be a breath of fresh air. Two; it would be so bad I couldn’t get through one episode.

It was the second one. The creators switched out characters, changed their professions, scrambled the original pacing, and overall killed my soul. Maybe someone will like it. Take my advice though. Just watched the series from the 90s.

Campfire Cooking in Another World 8/10

I love down to earth shows like this that have beautiful food. I like the characters and the overall simple story. I can’t really see myself watching this overly much in the future but I’m satisfied so far how the show is.

The one nit pick I can have is the color design especially on the Fenrir. Why purple with red feet?


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