36 Books in 2017 #21: Tropical Attire Encouraged And Other Phrases That Scare Me By Alison Rosen

I first discovered Alison Rosen on Pete Holmes’s interesting but now too much for me podcast, You Made It Weird, and I quickly realized, OH THANK GOD, there’s another woman in her late 30’s who’s worldview mostly matches up with mine. I’m totally going to enter a point in my life where my voice fits me. (I’ve suspected this since I was like 12.)

Anyway, that was like five years ago, and I started listening to Alison’s podcast Alison Rosen Is Your New Best Friend twice a week since. (Actually, from my intitial jump into podcasts, I think that Alison, Chris Hardwick and Cracked are the only ones still in my feed…) So when she said she was publishing a book, I was thrilled. 

The book is a collection of columns that Alison wrote that were chosen and put together by her husband Daniel. (D-Quantz on the snappy…) It was cool to read them, as they’re from before I really got into the podcast, so it covered a lot of stuff I hadn’t heard her talk about. (Alison tends to repeat herself, it’s another thing we have in common…)

Anyway, I laughed out loud a bunch, was happy to hear about Alison wishing she could be cooler than she is, (RELATE SO MUCH!) why she doesn’t like taking baths, and her worry about becoming one of “those people.” (Long passed that threshold, what with the fact that I’m freaking out as I write this because I can’t find my Captain America themed dress to wear to see Infinity War…and this is posting while I’m on my 8th Disney World trip in 3 years…) (The dress was at my mom’s) (I know you were worried)

Anyway, the book is actually a good primer on Alison’s voice if you’d want to pop into her podcast, if you don’t like this quick easy book, you’re not going to like the show.

I love both. Good for me!

Up next is Children of Dune because guys, I’m jonesing for a new obsession, and lately, Dune seems to be the only thing sparking.


What was the cost?

Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War is very good and very surprising and you should go see it.

It is a very good part 1 of a series finale. The performances are all great but especially Josh Brolin and Zoe Saldana.

If you don’t want Avengers: Infinity War spoilers I suggest you take your butt some place else because I am not ok and this is now a place place for others who are not ok.










I think I might have been OK if it weren’t for Spider-Man. Seriously. I mean, the Not OK began when Thanos killed Loki and Heimdall in the first five minutes, cemented when he sacrificed Gamora to obtain the soul stone being kept by a specter of The Red Skull, but I could have handled that.

But man, when Peter looked at Tony and said he didn’t feel so good, I LOST it. And then Bucky AND Sam, AND T’Challa AND Wanda AND all of the Guardians except Rocket and Nebula?

Somewhere George RR Martin is shaking his head and shooting off an email to Joe And Anthony Russo and Kevin Feige asking who hurt them?

Then we got the post credits. It is deeply fitting that Nick Fury’s final moment is an aborted mumbling of the word “motherfucker” AS HE PAGES CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Yes, Carol’s gonna fix this because she has to.

Look, the movie was great. I can’t wait to watch it again and be traumatized all over again.


  1. Avengers: Infinity War


Solo: A Star Wars Story: Aless and I have workshopped some alternate names for this movie that we are very excited to see: Lando! Khaleesi In Space, Woody In Space, The Young Chewbacca.

Deadpool 2: Just, holy shit, it looks good.

Venom: I mean fine, I love Tom Hardy, it looks freaky but awesome.


Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom: God it looks so dumb. Like SO dumb. I’m gonna love it so much.


You guys, tonight Infinity War begins and so begins Movie Season 2018.

I’m totally freaking out. I’m in complete denial that we’re finally at this time of the year and even more so that tonight I’m (probably?) going to have to say goodbye to Chris Evans as Steve Rogers as Captain America. Like seriously, I’m not OK, I’m not going to be OK.

As for the rest of movie seasons, let’s talk. Last year a few factors brought out a more mellow season. This year I’m hoping to remedy that, but I’m not making any promises. I’m gonna try to return to the Movie Season 2015 hey day of a movie every week, thus finding interesting things I maybe wouldn’t have seen otherwise, but I make no promises.

I do know that the below movies are totally happening no matter what:

Avengers: Infinity War – 4/27

Obviously, you guys, I mean, duh, right? Just Duh.

Deadpool 2 – 5/18

Again with the duh, I’m curious about it, I want it to be good. (PLEASE BE GOOD) And I mean, Ryan Reynolds right?

Solo: A Star Wars Story – 5/25

LANDO! That is all. OK, no I have other things to say. This looks really fun. And I like my Star Wars fun, you guys, which is part of why I wasn’t crazy about Rogue One, but this, this could be good.

But also, Donald Glover as Lando. I like being right about things.

Ocean’s 8 – 6/8

Lady Heist! Sandra Bullock! Mindy Kaling! Anne Hathaway! The Met Ball! De-lightful. I’m so so in.

The Incredibles 2 – 6/15

Blah blah blah family. Blah blah Pixar is amazing. Yap Yap Superheroes. *Fart Noise* Baby Jack Jack powers.

I’m kidding, I’m as excited as anyone to check in with The Parrs. I’m psyched for Brad Bird too. I hope this gets him out of movie jail.

Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom – 6/22

Ya know, I still haven’t watched Jurrasic World a second time? I loved it in the theater, I just, don’t want to know how dumb it is and hate it. Like at all. This looks, HELLA dumb, but Dr. Ian Malcolm is back, so you know…yay?

Ant-Man & The Wasp – 7/6

Take a deep breath America. We’re finally getting a in the title female hero in the MCU. Also, when I rewatched Ant-Man this weekend, I was reminded of how much I love it, and how excited I am for this movie.

However, if we don’t get a flashback scene of Janet VanDyne-Pym and Peggy Carter fighting bad guys together, I’m going to be a bit put out.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again – 7/20

Did the world need a sequel to Mamma Mia? Probably not. Will I put together a boozy brunch and then dine in theater girls day to watch this movie? Probably. Will I cry? Almost definitely. Do I think this movie will be any good? Oh, for sure no.

Christopher Robin – 8/4

I loved Saving Mr. Banks, so I’m all in for big budget Disney-Classic Fanfiction, which is what this appears to be, when an adult Christopher Robin finds his way back to the Hundred Acre Wood.

Crazy Rich Asians – 8/17

WEEEEEEE! Crazy Rich Asians has so far been my favorite book I’ve read this year and this is probably the movie I’m most looking forward to this movie season. Is that weird? Does that mean that I’ve officially succumbed to superhero fatigue?

I dunno, I’m just real real psyched to see this movie, you guys.

Venom – 10/5

I am wary of a Venom movie with no connection to Spider-Man, but the trailers look cool, and I like Tom Hardy, so ya know, we’ll see. I would love to see Tom Holland pop up though.

A Star Is Born – 10/5

I’m still not like 100% sold on Bradley Cooper as casting for this, though I never needed convincing on Lady Gaga taking on a role once occupied by Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand. That’s kind of perfect. (However, I will always mourn for the version starring Beyonce that never was…)

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – 11/16

Oh, like we’re not all going to go see this movie. Come on. Jude Law as Young Dumbledore? Please, yeah, we need this.

Wreck-It Ralph 2: Ralph Breaks The Internet – 11/21

Looks way cute. I love the first Wreck-It Ralph so I hope this delivers with as much heart as that one did, which was the best/most unexpected part of the thing.

Second Act – 11/21

I’m not sure I actually want to see this this badly, but I do love J-Lo, and my friend Deidre Friel has a supporting role, so I want to see her on the big screen. (ALSO, like Way to Go Deidre! Being in a Jennifer Lopez movie and all!)

Aquaman – 12/21

I mean, whatever, with the DCEU anymore. I’ll go, I’m sure it’ll be fun. The last few have ranged from actually great (Wonder Woman) to fun and adequate (Justice League) to fun but awful (Suicide Squad) as long as this stays on that spectrum and we get plenty of shirtless Jason Mamoa, I’m cool.

Mary Poppins Returns – 12/25

The rule of thumb was “Marvel To Star Wars” except for that I’ve realized it’s more often actually “Marvel to Big Budget Splashy Flashy Musical” (Even that first movie season that wasn’t really movie season ended with Les Mis) (Others have wrapped with Into The Woods, La La Land and The Greatest Showman) As I mentioned above, I’m on board for the expensive Disney Fanfic. Especially when it features Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda, yes please.

I know there are some big gaps in there, (All of September, for example) but I’m sure as more releases get announced and I start seeing trailers, I’ll fill in those cracks. Plus, I am going to try to do more Indies this year. I know I say it every year, but there’s really no excuse anymore. I have easy access to an excellent Bow-Tie cinema and quick cheap access to NYC.

Anyway, tomorrow we’ll review Infinity War, if I can stop crying long enough.

Happy Movie Season!



I am VERY VERY excited for you guys to meet Anselm. Everyone loves a cranky mentor figure right?

The Marina Chronicle

I walked into the Princess Tower, at Annalise’s request, and to greet the countess and was surprised by the man sitting at the tea table with them. I don’t know why, but I expected Mastero Benjamin Anselm to be a hunched bearded wizard of a fairy tale.

Instead, the man arguing animatedly with Annalise about the properties of riverdune (a sort of sea weed found in the harbor here) is a straight backed, clean shaven man in his late sixties. He was wearing robes I’ve never seen before, a deep green color, similar to the guard uniforms.

“This is her then?” He said, noticing me. Annalise sighed dramatically and nodded.

“Yes, Mastero,” she said. “This is my cousin, Duchess Marina of Brightcoast, Marina, meet Mastero Anselm, a righteous thorn in my side.”

“It’s my honor,” I said quietly. He nodded as I went and sat with them. “I’m glad to…

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OK…OK…What’s Next?

 I would not be the person I am without the authors who made me what I am–the special ones, the wise ones, sometimes just the ones who got there first.

It’s not irrelevant, those moments of connection, those places where fiction saves your life. It’s the most important thing there is.  – Neil Gaiman

I love this quote by Neil Gaiman (on my Mount Rushmore of influences by the way, that man…) And I was thinking about it a lot as I drove to work yesterday morning, because I’d spent the evening listening to one of the special ones, the wise ones, and most importantly, the guy that got there first.

I came to the realization some time ago when someone asked me who my favorite writer was and I didn’t have to time to think about it, or maybe I’d been drinking, or was tired, and without even taking a breath I said simply, “Oh, Aaron Sorkin.”

The response when I say that is anywhere from a “YES!” to a “The West Wing Guy?” to an agreived sigh and a “he really can’t write women.” (How this became the narrative for the guy who created Dana Whittaker and CJ Cregg is beyond me…Harriet Hayes was sort of a trainwreck, but he women of The Newsroom were pretty kick ass, as Sorkin characters go.)

Anyway, the whole evening was sort of magical. Crystan managed to get us amazing seats at Town Hall for The West Wing Weekly Live, with special guest Aaron Sorkin. It was technically the season 4 finale, but they kind of just jumped around (that finale is the last episode that Sorkin wrote) Emily Procter, who played Ainsley Hayes also came and chatted, and overall it was just, kind of lovely.

Mostly, though, I was in awe of this man.

This man who’s work has inspired me since I was twelve. This man who has given so many words to the world.

You’ll notice that this week’s The Marina Chronicles post is a group of people sitting at a table trying to figure out their next step…that’s not a coincidence. I love that kind of writing.

Anyway, it was really fun, and I need to find out, well, what’s next.

30 36 Books In 2018 #20: One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories By B.J. Novak

The Vonnegut Project(Unfinished though it was) taught me an appreciation for many things, but especially it reminded me to check in with short fiction from time to time. This is the first time I’ve done so this year, but I’m glad I did.

One More Thing is another long languishing in the TBR pile book, so I figured it would be good to knock out this week, while I was on a bit of a roll. B.J. Novak is a remarkably funny writer, for whom I have always had some affection. (Well, since The Office started so for well over a decade.) (Plus the running joke that he has an ecstasy factory on Crazy Ex Girlfriend is one of the funniest things in the world.)

While it’s hard to fully review a book of short stories with any kind of consistency, as there are strong ones and weak ones in the bunch, I really enjoyed skimming through this book and laughed out loud quite a few times, which isn’t always the case when reading, you know?

My favorites include “Sophia,” about a man who’s sex robot falls in love with him. (Not he with it, which is the funny ironic twist.) “Julie And The Warlord,” about a woman’s first date with a literal African Warlord and any of the stories that are actually just a few line jokes that Novak probably thought were too funny to waste on twitter.

Basically I came away from this book thinking I need to read more short stories, because I always enjoy them, but I know I won’t actually read more short stories because they take some work to seek out sometimes, and I’m pretty lazy when it comes to seeking out new material

Up next is Tropical Attire Encouraged And Other Phrases That Scare Me by Alison Rosen, because when your favorite podcaster’s husband curates a book of her syndicated columns, you read that book because it’s the cutest thing in the world.

Also, we’re upping the goal. I think I can squeeze another six books in. Woo hoo!

30 Books in 2018 #19: The Alchemist By Paulo Coelho

Has a piece of art ever reminded you so much of another piece of art that you loved that it found its way into your heart immediately?

That’s how I felt about The Alchemist as I read it late on Saturday night. I curled into this book as it worked it’s way into my soul, but also, I kept thinking about Le Petit Prince. 

Both books are about unusual journeys of self discovery. Both take place in the desert. Both are structured simply as tales told. Both lightly mock but mostly pity the human tendency to stay in the quiet easy lives we lead. Both are largely metaphorical. Neither was originally written in English. (I can’t read Portuguese the way I can French, so I had to go for a translation here. I doubt I’ll ever read Le Petit Prince in English again. I did when I was twelve though…)

The Alchemist tells the story of a young Spanish shepherd boy who literally follows his dreams on an odyssey to the great pyramids of Egypt to find a treasure. On the way he meets a mysterious alchemist who teaches him many things, falls in love, and learns the magic of the world.

For all of the reading I’ve been doing this year, I haven’t had to pull out a journal to jot down quotes before this one, but I kept thinking, “God, if I’d found this book ten years ago, I’d have wound up with one of these tattooed on my hip.”

I don’t think it’s coincidence that I kept thinking about The Little Prince, especially since this book is all about how the people that know how to speak “the language of the world,” simply know it, and it excludes no story that mines your heart.

I’m pushing through the books on my shelves right now, and I’m glad I finally read this one. It fed my heart, which is always desperately hungry, and it made me think and feel at the same time, which is a rare treat in a novel these days.

Finding seriously literature again means a lot to me, even as I weave it in with the fluff I’ve been absorbing for the past ten or so years, so I’m glad I’m picking up on things.

Up next is One More thing: Stories And More Stories by BJ Novak, because, spiritual awakening and deep desert thoughts are great and all, but sometimes you just need to laugh along with a comedy wunderkind.