Pre-Disneyland Excitement

A few posts ago, I mentioned Chris and I signed up to run the second Avengers Half Marathon this November in Disneyland. Not only is it exciting to run an Avengers themed half marathon, it will ALSO be our first time visiting Disneyland itself. Being a Midwesterner, my family took me to Disney World several times growing up… In November, I’ll be able to say I’ve been to both parks.

To say I’m a Disney nerd is… Putting it lightly. Growing up, all I pretty much ever watched was Disney films. Whether it was singing “Everybody wants to be a cat” or feeling morosely when Mufasa took the fall, I was all in the Disney fever. Today… I still watch and play (looking at you, Kingdom Hearts) a lot of Disney. So you can only imagine how much Disney hype is going on in my head with only 5 months and 20 days to go until I see the land of the mouse.

(Yes, the countdown is on.)

My Top 5 Reasons for Excitement for Disneyland

  1. The Food – If Disneyland is anything like Disney World in the terms of their food, my stomach is ready. While we won’t be able to eat all of our food from the parks (talk about eating out your wallet), we’re already looking into a few different places we’d like to check out. Bayside Brews to definitely be one of them. Mmm… Craft beer and pretzels; key to my own heart.Bayside Brews... Brews
  2. Disneybound-ing – When I first found out about Disneybounding a few years ago, my interests were perked. Wanting to dress up as characters AND going to Disney parks as said characters? Do you even have to ask? While I don’t have a serious list planned, I do already have a few ideas in mind.DisneyBounding
  3. The Rides – Fast? Heck yes. Spinning? Yes please. Roller coasters? Bring it. Amusement Parks to me were always about the rides (especially the roller coasters), and now I’ll get to try several new rides. Radiator Springs Racers being my most anticipated ride. Speaking of…Radiator Springs Racers
  4. Cars Land – When they first announced Cars Land several years ago, I was both excited and bummed. Cars is one of my favorite Pixar movies, despite the mixed reviews it received (probably because I grew up watching Nascar with my dad.) So while it was awesome they were opening several attractions for the movie, I wasn’t sure when I was going to get to see it since it was in Disneyland. Now, I KNOW I’m going to get to see it.Cars Land
  5. The Avengers Half Marathon – The reason that got us to go in the first place. Honestly… What could beat dressing up with other fellow Avenger geeks and running 13.1 miles through Disneyland and Anaheim?Avengers Half

Have you ever been to Disneyland and have any recommendations? Or do you want to go and have something you’re also looking forward to doing there?

Broken Cupid: When the Relationship Ruins the Show

Wednesday night. Sitting on our couch in front of the TV, I was hopeful and excited to see the season finale for Arrow.

By the end, I was tweeting with frustration my feelings on said finale.

My feelings on the pairing of Oliver/Felicity are pretty well known (to people who know me anyways). Felicity has been a fun, witty character throughout the series who I have liked. When the writers of Arrow started hinting romance between her and Oliver (the Arrow for those who did not know), I started being filled with dread. Their banter and conversations felt more brother/sisterly to me, and less like a good, solid couple. Then they started changing the characters themselves. Felicity by the end of this series was being less smart, and more demanding and thoughtless about what she did before she did it. Oliver, spoiler alert, left his life to become some guy driving off in a car NOT protecting his city that he had been swearing to do ever since episode one.

Oliver & Felicity

While I’ll probably give the next season a chance, for reasons like to see what happens with Laurel Lance/Black Canary, I’m disappointed. This show use to be more about action/adventure/mystery, and less about drama and relationships. Since they gave Oliver and Felicity feelings for each other, there’s been way too many dramatic verbal fighting and pouting between the two then I can stomach.

There are several shows that have been like this for me growing up. For example, manga/anime wise, Vampire Knight: childhood friend, Zero, was a much healthier match for the heroine, Yuki, and they ended up sticking her with the dramatic and brooding Kaname. Naruto, they stick the heroine with the guy who has beat her up physically AND mentally the past 200 episodes and they put the hero with a girl he never showed romantic feelings for until the show shows them married. Vampire Knight was ruined for me because Yuki was changed into a different, apathetic, uninteresting character. Naruto was ruined because… Seriously, putting someone with an abuser, both physically and mentally? Not only that, but the once strong female character is turned into a housewife.

While it’s not bad enough to kill the series for me, especially with how great the rest of the storyline has been going, The Flash’s Barry and Iris drama has me rolling my eyes. Growing up in the same house is one thing, and not that huge of a deal, but Iris has pretty much told Barry “no” to being in a relationship several times, yet keeps the other girls from dating him through manipulation. It’s twisted, and I really hope the writers fix Iris’ character before developing this relationship any further.

Barry & Iris

I’m not the kind of person to stop watching a show because two people I thought should be together, don’t end up together… I am, however, the kind of person to stop watching a show when the writers change characters so they do end up together.

Do you have any TV shows you stopped watching or started disliking because you disliked what they did with the characters and relationships?

Em’s Week Adventures

This past week has been one of the most fun and nerdy ones this year. Winter is no longer keeping us locked inside and the sunny, warm Spring weather has me out and about.

Thursday AND Saturday night I saw The Avengers: Age of Ultron and enjoyed it thoroughly both times. It must have had to do with the witty, Joss Wheedon one-liners, great acting by the cast, and more Hawkeye screentime.

-SPOILERS, HIGHLIGHT TO READ- I wasn’t quite sure why people didn’t enjoy the fact that Clint had a family. Sure, I know ships were sunk, but I felt like that was a nice plot twist. Also wasn’t quite sure why people were so upset about Natasha’s story either. Yes, she was upset when she revealed to Banner her sterilization in the Red Room, but I feel like she was more upset by the fact that she didn’t get to choose if she could have a child or not.

Also, that Quicksilver ending. Chris had me believing half way through the movie the first time that Hawkeye was going to die. “They’re revealing too much of his background story.” He whispered throughout the movie. He even started grabbing my hand through the battle in Slocovia. When Ultron fired those shots from the plane, my hand was squeezed and I couldn’t help but think, ‘Oh shit oh shit oh shit.’ Quicksilver was pretty much right on the dot. I didn’t see that one coming.–END SPOILERS-

Comic Book Day 2015 Stash

Saturday, as everyone knows, was Free Comic Book Day. We went to our favorite local comic shop who was having a small event. We grabbed a few comics as well as a commissioned sketch from a local artist. I asked for Hawkeye while wearing my “Because, Boomrangs” shirt from the Matt Fraction & David Aja comics, and the artist knew my taste. I got Clint Barton AND Pizza Dog. Spot on.

Hawkeye & Pizza DogMonday AND Wednesday Chris and I were in St. Louis watching Cardinals vs Cubs baseball. Both were fun games, and we ended up evening out in the end. Cardinals won Monday, Cubs won Wednesday. I did however win the war, as Cardinals took the series. Those are my boys.

Busch Stadium

While in St. Louis on Wednesday, we stopped by a comic shop I use to visit frequently during my St. Louis living era. Star Clipper, which had closed in one area, reopened in another part of town. I of course had to check it out. While it had the same vibe as the one I had frequented before, the new one felt more… Refreshed. I also liked chatting with the staff, nice to be around friendly fellow nerds.

Star Clipper

Friday night was spent seeing Matt & Kim live in concert. If you don’t know Matt & Kim, give them a listen. If you haven’t seen them live, go do so as soon as they are close to your neighborhood. I learned about Matt & Kim while I was in college, and have continued to love them because of their upbeat and energetic tunes. Their concert is just as upbeat and energetic, and we partied (aka jumping and screaming/singing) until close to midnight. (Their opening act, Waters, was good as well with their rock/upbeat music.)

Matt & Kim

Days of Future & Past

Things have been a bit hectic in my life, but let me help bring you up to speed…

Days of Past

This winter I had been training for an event I completed two weekends ago. I completed my second half-marathon with a personal record of 2:01.

Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon

The course was slightly hillier then I expected, but the weather was perfect for racing conditions. At 7:30am when the race began, it was 37°F and at the end it was closer to the upper 40s. The Sonic in me was strong.

After that race, I began to plan for the next full marathon I’d do… However it couldn’t be too far into the year because on November 15th, 2015 Chris and I will be….

& Future

2014 Avengers Half Marathon

…in Anaheim, California running the Avengers Half Marathon. Being a midwesterner, I have only been to Disney World, so it will also be the first time I’ve been to Disney Land. We are taking suggestions on where to visit and what to do while we’re in the area.

Speaking of, Avengers: Age of Ultron is starting to show on Thursday. Already have our tickets to see the movie.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

So far from everything I’ve seen previews wise, I’m feeling like this will meet Avengers standards, entertainment wise. Looking forwards to Hawkeye having more show time being himself and kicking butt then brainwashed this time around.

Also, might I say, Black Widow is looking quite badass in her new gear.

This is quite the geek weekend, as Saturday, for those who do not know is Free Comic Book Day. Looks like there are several good choices out there for grabs. I’ve got my eyes on Boom Comics’ issue. You?

Spider-Gwen

Spider-Man has always been a thing. I remember being younger and singing “Does Whatever A Spider Can” while swinging on the swings back in elementary school.

At some point last year, I started hearing about ‘Spider Gwen’ and seeing her pop up around the internet. The first thing that really got me was her costume, created by Jason LaTour, Robbi Rodriguez and Rico Renzi. The design was very creative and bright compared to all of the other Spider-Spin-offs I’ve seen. Not to mention, it’s Gwen Stacy, same girl (SPOILER ALERT) who was suppose to be dead.

Spider-Gwen Design

Now, I was not a huge Spider-Man fan. I liked the character, but didn’t necessarily follow along in the comics. I very much enjoyed watching The Amazing Spider-Man movie with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, and thanks to the internet, was spoiled about Gwen Stacy’s demise after looking into the series. Gotta love the internet.

So other then watching both movies, I didn’t get a whole lot into the Spider-Man universe until I found out Spider-Gwen was getting her own series. I went out and bought Spider-Gwen Issue #1 when it was released. Read through, loved the art, but wasn’t instantly drawn in by the story line. It felt a little slow to me… Still decided to give it a shot and collected the next two when they came out.

Spider-Gwen Covers

Glad I did.

Spider Pig Cameo

Gwen Stacy’s sarcastic-humor is a nice touch to her character as well as the add-in of Spider-Pig in the second issue (thank you The Simpsons). Like I said before, the first villain, the Vulture didn’t seem like much of a threat at first, but I liked how the progressively built his character and pitted him against Gwen.

Gwen Stacy

Gwen’s character design is also interesting enough as well. The fact they decided to give her shorter hair than her original counterpart was a nice touch, and the fact that they give her moments of mourning for her universe’s Peter Parker is a good swing in the right direction in character development. I look forward to seeing what happens to her guilt for Peter Parker’s demise in future issues. Not to mention she was a drummer for The Mary-Janes.

P.S. – I wasn’t much of a fan of Mary-Jane in the first place, but Spider-Gwen’s version of Mary-Jane really makes me not like her. Can’t understand why Gwen stuck around with her for so long.

Looking forward to seeing where Latour, Rodriguez and Renzi take Spider-Gwen next (as well as really wanting some cool Spider-Gwen gear).

Bad Habits

When I started running a few years ago, I didn’t read up on it or look into proper techniques. I mean, it’s just running, right? How much could really be involved? Turns out I was super wrong. While running short distances is no problem, when you get into longer runs, bad habits will really come back to bite you. I’m currently recovering from an IT Band strain and can’t run more than a few miles, as an example. I thought I’d share a few of the good habits I’ve started, so hopefully you can avoid the same mistakes I made.

1. Drink Water. I know this sounds simple, but up until a year ago, I used very little water on my runs. I didn’t even own a hand carried water bottle when I trained for my first half marathon. Granted I still don’t use one on short runs, but anything 8 miles or more? You bet I’m grabbing my water bottle (or belt!).

2. Use energy gel. Whether it’s in goo or chew form, use them. I thought it sounded ridiculous at first, but it made a huge difference. I don’t feel like I want to die when I finish a long run anymore, which is pretty great. Plus they give you that nice boost at the end to keep pushing for those last few miles.

3. Stretch! This is what led to my current injury. I never stretched or foam rolled my legs after a run, and apparently when you’re training for a marathon and running 15 miles or more every other weekend, this is really a bad idea. I’ve started foam rolling ever since, and it makes my legs feel a thousand times better. It literally takes 5 minutes, and should be done after any long run.

4. Find a training program. When I ran my first half marathon, I just winged it and ran whatever I felt like on my training runs. It wasn’t the end of the world and I did finish it, but once again, it could have been a whole lot easier. I discovered this during my second half marathon in which I used one. There are a whole bunch of training programs out there, so take your pick! I use (and enjoy!) the ones by Hal Higdon.

There you have it. Four simple things that will make your running life a lot better. If I could go back in time, I’d start doing these things from the beginning so I could avoid the current injury I’m dealing with.

injured-runner

Thanks to Emily for encouraging me to make these changes!

Phantom…of the hourglass!

After playing through Majora’s Mask on my 3DS, it got me thinking about the other Zelda games for the DS that I never beat, and I decided to give them another go. First up: The Phantom Hourglass.

The_Legend_of_Zelda_-_Phantom_Hourglass_(logo)

I can’t remember why I stopped playing this game. The only thing I can think of is that some other game came out, and my attention was pulled away. I didn’t get very far on my first play through, so this was basically a completely new game to me. Phantom Hourglass takes place directly after Wind Waker, and has the same art style to it. You are once again sailing around the ocean from island to island, but this time are chasing after the elusive ‘Ghost Ship’ that has taken Tetra. You end up running into a traveler named Linebeck and it’s his ship that you travel around on as you adventure onward.

Phantom_Hourglass_ShipOne major difference from Wind Waker? You can change out the parts of your ship! As you complete side quests and salvage buried treasure from the bottom of the ocean, you will come across new parts which you can equip. There are certain combinations that will give your ship more hearts, which is a little more motivation outside of making your ship look cool. I enjoyed this way more than I probably should have.

The only real problem I had with the game is how gimmicky it is. This game was clearly designed to show off all the features of the DS and they felt forced at times. For instance, there are several times where you have to shout into the microphone to get a person’s attention or cause a monster to be attack-able, and I found it rather annoying (especially when I was playing late at night). That goes double for having to use the stylus to attack all the time. JUST LET ME PUSH A BUTTON, DAMN IT!

I wouldn’t say the story is fantastic, as it’s the standard Zelda style adventure, but I’m also not complaining. You kill monsters, you find things, then you kill more monsters, and you find more things. All while trying to save Zelda and restore order to the world. I suppose the ‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ rule applies here. Again, no complaints.

Overall it was a good, but gimmicky, game. I’m sure had I played it 7 years ago when it came out, I wouldn’t have minded all the ‘features’ it was showing off, but it feels really dated now. If you’re a huge Zelda fan like myself, I’d definitely say give this game a play through, but if you’re not, I’d say skip it as it’s nothing to write home about.

Home Improvement(s)

This past week I picked up my old copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf with thoughts of deleting my old story (which I hadn’t touched in at least a year) and starting anew. Isabelle’s (the game secretary to your character’s mayor) frantic jibberish when I first approached the topic however made me rethink my options.

So I dove back into my old file. And I’m addicted. (Especially to fishing. Seriously, I think there should be a Fishing Anonymous out there. “Hello, my name is Emily and I cannot stop fishing on Animal Crossing.”)

My addiction to Animal Crossing however did get me thinking about home décor. My character currently has the patchwork collection going for her, while in real life… Our place is not quite as collected. What would I do if I could get furniture from neighbors and money collected from my fishing obsession?
Home Improvement(s)
I really like the urban/industrial look. Bricks, reclaimed wood, hanging lights… My house would have a lot of these traits.
Home Improvement(s)
As well as industrial décor, I would have to add in some geek elements (wouldn’t feel right without it.) I’d want to do it thoughtfully, like placing Funko POP figures in wooden frames mounted on the wall.
Home Improvement(s)
There are a lot of useful geek items too, like this R2-D2 measuring cup and Death Star cookie jar that would go in the kitchen. Books, comics, photos and my banjo would be placed on this shelving unit.
Home Improvement(s)

That’s no moon. That’s a cookie jar!

What would you add to your home (and proudly show off to your neighbors)?

5 Reasons to be a Cubs fan

  1. They are not the White Sox

If you want to root for a baseball team from Illinois, you have two options, but really only one if you have any kind of sense. Yeah, they won a World Series in 2005, but they’re still the worst. Plus they play in that prison of a baseball field called U.S. Cellular.

  1. Catchy Songs

Want to listen to multiple songs about your favorite team? Be a Cubs fan. They may not all be winners, but they’ll still get stuck in your head after a few seconds whether you like it or not. Evidence here and here.

  1. The Cubs/Cardinals Rivalry

Is there anything better than watching the Cubs beat the Cardinals? Answer: No, there is not. Count the rings all you want, there is no washing away the shame of losing 7 games to the 2012 Cubs.

  1. Young Talent

Kris Bryant, Javy Baez, Anthony Rizzo, and Jorge Soler, just to name a few. The Cubs are going to have to pay for all the damage these guys are going to cause with the long ball. ALL YOUR OFFENSE ARE BELONG TO CUBS.

  1. Wrigley Field

Clearly the best stadium in the league, and with the renovations, it will get only better. Suck it, other teams.

That’s No Moon

Marvel announced last year that they were going to be releasing not just one, BUT THREE new Star Wars comics, and being a huge Star Wars fan myself, I was fairly intrigued by the idea even though I hadn’t been into comics for the last several years. Over the last few months each of Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia has come out and I’ve managed to snag a copy of each one so far. The only bump in the road I’ve hit was having to pick up a copy of Star Wars #1 off eBay as my local comic book shops sold out in a few hours. Apparently there was a lot more demand for that one than I anticipated. Or at least more jerks buying multiple copies to re-sell at a higher price.

STAR WARS #1 & #2
StarWars1

As expected, this comic follows the entire group as they attempt to keep the momentum of their biggest strike against the empire (blowing up the Death Star) going. I love the fact that the reader is immediately thrown back into the thick of things with the crew on another action packed mission to weaken the already loosened grip of the empire. To no one’s surprise, things don’t go quite as planned and they have to improvise to keep the mission alive. I’m not going to spoil anything, but it’s been pretty fantastic so far. I also really enjoy the art style as it has a lot of detail to it which makes it feel realistic, and really helps draw you into the world. They definitely spent some time on it and I can really appreciate the effort. Of the three comics, this is the one I’m enjoying the most, but that’s because it reminds me of the movies, which I love.

DARTH VADER #1 & #2Darth1

These comics follow Darth Vader after his greatest failure yet, the destruction of the Death Star. Due to his failure Darth Vader has been pushed out of the emperor’s inner circle and now has to report to General Tagge instead. The interactions between the two are excellent, as Vader is still intimidating and acts inconvenienced more than anything. The story is focused on him trying to secretly figure out what the emperor is up to, as well as attempting to track down the young rebel pilot responsible for blowing up the Death Star. It has been less action packed and more dialogue driven, but the writing is superb and it easily keeps my attention. Plus it does have exciting moments from time to time. The art style once again has that realistic detail, but with a slightly darker feel. I’ve got no complaints with it at all. The Darth Vader comics have been a great ride so far.

PRINCESS LEIA #1leia

I know there have been other Leia focused stories in the past, but this is the first one I’ve picked up, and was really looking forward to it. I was not disappointed to say the least. This story starts exactly where Episode IV left off, so you get to see what happened directly after everyone left the award ceremony for Luke and Han (still waiting for Chewbacca’s medal, damn it!). As would be expected, the leaders of the rebellion are all busy with getting the base on Yavin evacuated and finding a new planet suitable for their needs. Nobody wants Leia to go anywhere or do anything as she is wanted by the empire, but she isn’t having any of it. With the help of a rebel pilot named Evaan (also a female!), she sets out to find and protect the remaining citizens of Alderaan. Both Leia and Evaan come across as strong, bad ass characters which should make for a great adventure and story. The only problem I have with this comic is the art style. It’s not as sharp and has more of a cartoon-ish look than the other two, and I just wasn’t super impressed. It’s not bad by any means, and it’s certainly not going to stop me from buying the next issue.

Overall, I’ve been really pleased with Marvel’s latest foray into the Star Wars universe. I’m going to be picking up each of these from now on and I couldn’t be happier about that fact (although my wallet might be a tad bit sad). I highly recommend checking them out if you have the chance!