KT's Bookshelf

#RetroRecaps and other miscellany

REVIEW: Altered Carbon

Cyberpunk and noir go together like science fiction and western — one genre can exist without the other, but they are stronger when they team up. Sadly, the list of cyberpunk visual entertainment is minimal: Ghost in the Shell (that entire franchise), Blade Runner, Blade Runner 2049 and The Matrix trilogy are the only ones that come to mind. Altered Carbon is the latest addition to the list.

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Top 5 Movies of 2017

I’ve discussed my top five books and television shows, which means it’s time to dive into my top five movies from 2017. Here are the ones I saw in theaters in alphabetical order.

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Top 5 Television Shows of 2017

My 2017 Year in Review listed the top books, movies and television programs watched in 2017 with longer write ups of those lists being published … well, now. Here are the top television programs I watched last year, complete with a couple honorable mentions.

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Top 5 Books Read in 2017

Back in January, I posted a 2017 year in review with the intention to post longer write-ups about my Top 5 lists. Almost two months later, I finally have a moment to sit and write these out. Here are my top 5 books read in 2017, followed by 3 honorable mentions and a handful of books I didn’t like just for fun.

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2017 Year in Review

For me, 2017 was a year of readjustment. I adjusted to life in the United States (having spent all of 2016 in New Zealand), life in a new city, and life in a new job. New friends, new co-workers, new habits, new lifestyle.

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Hope and a Prayer Chicken Curry

When I was maybe third or fourth grade, I asked my mom to make chicken curry. My request was inspired by an episode of Sailor Moon when Chibi-usa (Rini in the dub) makes chicken curry for a family day at school. Despite knowing who her mother is and finding a loving home with Usagi’s (Serena’s) parents, Chibi-usa doesn’t invite any parental figures to the family day and goes about the whole process alone. It’s a lonely episode with an uplifting ending, but it inspired me to try chicken curry.

My mom did make it, but I wasn’t a fan because it was unexpectedly spicy. I don’t remember the specifics of that dinner, just feeling disappointed that the meal wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.

Fifteen years later, I’m making it in my kitchen from scratch with a rag tag arsenal of ingredients that will hopefully work well together. Curry as an adult? Delicious.

Since becoming an adult with a kitchen of my own, I taught myself cooking by reading recipes, trial-and-error experiments, and calling my mom. Despite my refusal to include onions or salt (the biggest flavor boosters), I like to think I’m a good cook, if only for those times I throw a bunch of random ingredients together with nothing but a hope and a prayer that it will work out.

This is one of those recipes.

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(The Potted Lid) MECHA MARATHON SURPLUS: Mobile Suit Gundam SEED

One year after the Bloody Valentine tragedy, where a nuclear missile destroyed a civilian colony, a covert ZAFT special forces team infiltrates a colony of the neutral nation of Orb and steals four of the five top secret weapons called Gundams. The fifth is piloted by Kira Yamato, a student-cum-soldier who escapes on the United Earth Alliance’s warship Archangel with his friends and a small pod of civilians. Understaffed, under-supplied, and unprepared, Archangel must somehow get to UEA headquarters on Earth before they are destroyed by the ZAFT team pursuing them. But Kira is reluctant to fight, especially when his best friend Athrun Zala is one of his pursuers.

I posted this last month on The Potted Lid and forgot to link to it here. Read the full write up by clicking this elegant and finely-crafted link. Be sure to subscribe to The Potted Lid for more essays on pop culture.


#RetroRecaps: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross – “Drop Out”/”Goodbye Girl”

Episodes 23 & 24: Macross welcomes the Zentradi defectors. Then Captain Hayase heads to Earth to persuade High Command to end the war.

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#RetroRecaps: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross – “Micro-Cosmos”/”Love Concert”

Episodes 21 & 22: The kung-fu movie starring Lynn Minmay is finally premiered! Then, Minmay’s concert is interrupted by a Zentradi attack.

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#RetroRecaps: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross – “Burst Point”/”Paradise Lost”

Episodes 19 & 20: Kamujin is at it again with another attack on the Macross! Then, the Macross is ordered to return to space with the civilians still on board.

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#RetroRecaps: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross – “Phantasm”/”Pineapple Salad”

Episodes 17 and 18: Injured and comatose, Lt. Hikaru Ichijo re-imagines the story thus far as a really long dream. Then, Major Roy Focker becomes a prominent character for one final episode.

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#RetroRecaps: Super Dimension Fortress Macross – “Chinatown”/”Kung-fu Dandy”

Episodes 15 and 16: Hikaru and Minmay visit Minmay’s parents in Yokohama. Then, Kamujin attacks the Macross . . . again.

*NOTE* Retro Recaps are going to be inconsistent from here on out because Life Things are still and will continue to take up most of my energy. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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#RetroRecaps: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross – “Blue Wind”/”Global Report”

Episodes 13 & 14: Captain Global breaks free of the Zentradi blockade with the intention of informing High Military Command information about the Zentradi forces.

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(POTTED LID) Mecha Marathon – The Vision of Escaflowne

If there was ever a mecha anime made for girls it is this one which features a fantasy setting with magitek, the prominent use of divination as a legitimate form of magic, and romantic entanglements as driving elements of the plot. This is not mentioning the winged romantic interest and all the times we see a shirtless muscled swordsman, usually Van, who also happens to be the winged love interest (of course). His wings rip his shirt to pieces when they unfurl. Where he gets his replacement shirts after these occasions is never explained.

To read more of this post, click this elegant and finely-crafted link. Be sure to subscribe to The Potted Lid for more articles on pop culture when you do!


#RetroRecaps: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross – “First Contact”/”Big Escape”

Episodes 11 & 12: Captured by the Zentradi, Vermillion Squad are interrogated and learn something about the Zentradi culture. Then Vermillion Squad escapes the Zentradi fleet with information about the enemy and Protoculture.

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Kiwi-Made Movies to See

I spent a year in New Zealand and made friends with people who love the same kind of pop culture I do. Naturally, they introduced me to the movies of their home country. Here are the ones I recommend to others:

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#RetroRecaps: Super Dimensional Fortress Macross – “Miss Macross”/”The Blind Game”

Episodes 9 & 10: Lynn Minmay enters the Miss Macross contest but Hikaru is called for a mission as it happens. Then, an attack disables Macross’s radar and leaves the ship vulnerable.

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Top 3 Picks of Stuff (updated)

It’s been two years since I updated my original Top 3 Picks of Stuff. No one is static in terms of taste and I am especially malleable. Hence this updated list.

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“Written Off” is a Lot Less Meta than I Expected in a Bad Way

For Valentine’s Day, my local library had a table filled with books wrapped in brown paper. These were Book Blind Dates, meant to entice library users to try something new despite displaying the first paragraph of the official synopsis on the front of the package. It was the best idea ever and totally in the realm of Valentine’s Day. So naturally I picked the synopsis that sounded the least like a historical fiction romance and took that home.

What I got was Written Off, a cute mystery novel by E. J. Copperman. The premise was out there but still fun: a mystery writer gets a call to consult on a missing persons case by her own fictional character. Attention-grabbing premise, don’t you agree? And it’s a mystery, which is out of my normal wheelhouse. Then again, Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is also out of my wheelhouse but it is still my favorite book of all time. And so I gave it a go.

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5 Fave Songs on Crazy Ex Girlfriend Season 1

I listened to a lot of music for this post and it was so hard to narrow down the scope. But here we go!

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