So here’s the thing. About this year’s Superbowl. And let me preface this by saying that the Steelers really played with my heart this year because they were like, really terrible but then they kind of got it together and then they did really well for like 3 weeks and I got really excited because I thought they were gonna like, ride that momentum all the way to the bank. And it didn’t happen. So I’m kind of over football for this season. Despite the fact that I really enjoy watching football, there’s really no way to disguise the fact that I’m a fencing nerd and at the end of the day, if it’s not my home team, I’m pretty much not interested.
So anyway, about this year’s Superbowl. First of all, the Patriots are probably cheating cheaters who should just go home and think about what they have done. Also, Bill Belichick = yuck. So I’m half or quarter-heartedly rooting for the Seahawks. (What even is a Seahawk? An osprey? Are you talking about an osprey? Or a Stellar’s Sea Eagle or something? I don’t know.) Also, Chris Evans is a Patriots fan and has been having an adorable Twitter fight with Chris Pratt about the Superbowl, so that’s fun.
But we all know what the actual draw of the Superbowl. We do. It’s the commercials. Superbowl commercials are totally awesome and are the best thing on tv on Superbowl Sunday. Sorry, Steelers, even your Superbowls.
And yes, before you ask, it’s fine if you get lost in the Youtube rabbit hole that is commercials. Enjoy.
So anyway, in summary. Boo to the Patriots, meh to the Seahawks, yay to Chrises Evans and Pratt, and double yay (or double yoi, if you prefer) to the Superbowl commercials. Can’t wait!
Ah February! The perfect month to cuddle up indoors and sip on a hot beverage in front of a roaring fire! The perfect month to consult an over-sized rodent about the weather! The perfect month to shop at KU! For all the deets about our upcoming plans and dates to remember (including Valentine’s Day (on 2/14 as always!)), click READ MORE!
…than literally anything ever.
So here at Kards Unlimited, we have the best job in the world. Literally every day is Fun at Work Day for us. Our boss gives us champagne, we play games and go to trivia together (that’s after work, but it’s still something that makes work awesome), and we also actively recognize and celebrate holidays like Fun at Work Day, so that should pretty much tell you everything you need to know.
In honor of Fun at Work Day (I was going to acronym that, but FaWD looks/sounds weird and wrong) I’m going to examine several ways/reasons working at KU is fun so that my dear readers can identify and encourage aspects of their own workplaces that are also fun!
Firstly, our boss is a person and treats us like people. To me this seems like an obvious factor of workplace fun, but I feel like there’s this stereotype of a corporate boss as some weird robot who also thinks everyone else is a robot. And not the fun kind of robot that helps you with your homework, the lame kind that ruins your day and may or may not one day decide that you’re extraneous to an efficient environment and destroy you. With lasers. So yeah.
Also, I don’t know if you really know this about us, but we sell fun! More than just the actual products we have, the whole environment of the store is fun. We want people to have a good time shopping here, so we have to have a good time working here. Again, seems obvious, but this one maybe doesn’t translate directly to other people’s workplaces. I mean, you don’t sell fun at a bank or at Home Depot or whatever, and I get that. Here’s the thing, though: it’s all about your mindset. You have to make the fun happen! You think I come in here every day and there’s just fun waiting for me? Well, I mean, yes, there is. But if there weren’t, I could make some!
Finally, we have personality! Now obviously, everyone has a personality. But WE have Personality. So go to work and be you! Let your freak flag fly! You do you! And other pseudo-inspirational stuff! That’s how you have fun at work!
A lot! Yesterday’s meeting was very well attended and we had a ton of thoughts and feels about The Alchemist. Most of us liked the story, though there were some dissenting opinions. Here are some interesting highlights from the meeting!
The Alchemist is something of an inspirational piece and its main message is that everyone should follow his or her heart to personal fulfillment. There was plenty to say on that topic (including a fascinating discussion of privilege and opportunity and whether literally everyone has the chance to follow their dreams or if it’s just the people that can afford to do so…) but something that was coincidental and funny was that we read this book so close to the new year when a lot of people look at their lives and wonder if they’re on the right path.
We also learned that different translations of books can entirely change people’s interpretations of them! Seems obvious in retrospect, but I guess it never occurs to you until it happens to you directly. In one earlier translation of The Alchemist, the phrase “Personal Legend” is translated simply as “destiny.” Seems innocuous enough, right? But actually, it made a difference in how people interpreted the book, since destiny implies a certainty in events that Personal Legend avoids. I dunno, maybe you had to be there, but it made for good conversation.
Here’s a snap of (most of) our book clubbers all ready to talk it up! There actually ended up being so many people at the meeting that I couldn’t get them all in the frame of my phone! (Sorry friends!) OH! Also, it has come to my attention that even some of our loyal book clubbers didn’t know about KU’s Instagram feed! Sacrilege! Follow along on IG @kardsunlimited
The next book club meeting will be at 6 p.m. here at Kards Unlimited on February 22nd! We’re reading 2 (ish) books for that meeting, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass! Hope to see you all there!
Ok, so. January 16th is Appreciate a Dragon Day. Usually, I like to talk about a bunch of different dragons and why appreciating dragons is super fun and great. However, this year I’d like to remind everyone of a very special dragon, this guy right here:
Aw yeah. Spyro the Dragon. So here’s the thing. When I was a kid, we didn’t really have video games in the house. My parents didn’t even have cable. They wanted us to “read” and “learn things” and “play outside” and all that other uncivilized nonsense. Don’t get me wrong, in retrospect I really appreciate my upbringing. But when I was a kid, there was not a lot that thrilled me more than going to a friend or relative’s house where they were modern and had video games and/or cable television, so I could experience them.
So one summer we road tripped out to my cousins’ house in Maryland or Virginia or some state where they lived, and they had one of the Spyro games. And it was so so awesome, you guys. It was like all the things I loved rolled into one heroic, flying, fire-breathing adventure. I loved it.
For those of you who may not know, the Spyro games featured the above little purple dragon, who ran around with his friend Sparx the Dragonfly saving the world from various problems in the different games. Childish? Yes. But also a lot of fun. I kind of want to go buy myself one right now, tbh.
So anyway, pick a dragon and appreciate it today! Dragons rule!
If any day is especially suited to the celebration of Sherlock Holmes, it’s his birthday, January 6th! (i.e. today!) Sure, there are plenty of great detectives in pop culture. The brilliance of Christie’s Poirot and Miss Marple is not to be ignored, Sayers’s Lord Peter is a pip, Columbo and Monk are great, and of course there’s Batman the World’s Greatest Detective (some people say.) There’s something special about Sherlock, though. Even before the incredible modern reboot introduced us to the other-worldly brilliance of Benedict Cumberbatch & co., Sherlock Holmes is a character that brings you into his world the way very few others do. Not to mention he’s a totally awesome antihero! Everyone loves an occasionally drug-addled misanthrope who solves crimes for a living! Or if they don’t they are crazy. Anyway, in honor of Sherlock Holmes Day, I suggest you spend some time watching every episode of the BBC’s spectacular show, Sherlock. To aid in your task (there are only 9 episodes, but they’re each about an hour and a half long, so you may have to prioritize), here’s a list of all nine episodes, ranked from my least to most favorite. (Though, to clarify, they’re all amazing and better than pretty much everything else on TV) (Minor spoilers ahead. Unless you know absolutely nothing about Sherlock Holmes at all, confidently read on!)
9. The Blind Banker (Series 1, episode 2) — Great, but kinda feels like a place holder. Lots of exposition, Holmes and Watson getting to know each other, that kind of thing. There is, however, an excellent scene where John tries to explain what a date is to Sherlock and he doesn’t get it. 3.5/4 stars.
8. The Reichenbach Fall (Series 2, episode 3) — Also great, but Sherlock dies in it, so that’s not as good. Plenty of perfect interactions between all the characters, but again, Sherlock dies. Blah. 3.75/4 stars.
7. The Great Game (Series 1, episode 3) — Omg, so great. We get introduced to Moriarty! Ah! And he’s so good, you guys. If not for Benedict and Martin, it would totally be the Jim Moriarty show. But again, seems very introduction/exposition-y. 3.9/4 stars.
6. A Study in Pink (Series 1, episode 1) — Oh man. The introduction between Sherlock and John is so fantastic, you guys. And the first case is SO cool! Serial suicides! 4/4 stars!
5. The Hounds of Baskerville (Series 2, episode 2) — Great obviously because of the source material. The Hound of the Baskervilles is definitely one of the best known and loved Sherlock Holmes stories. Also great because we find out Sherlock doesn’t know Lestrade’s first name. So Sherlock. 4.25/4 stars!
4. His Last Vow (Series 3, episode 3) — Really amazing. You wouldn’t have thought that there could be a villain scarier and more evil than Moriarty, but there so is. Ugh, I hate him. What kind of person licks a stranger or pees in a person’s fireplace? A psycho, that’s what kind. 4.75/4 stars! Mostly because it also features Sherlock’s parents who are amazing beyond belief.
3. A Scandal in Belgravia (Series 2, episode 1) — The second series premiere features one of the greatest characters in the Sherlock Holmes universe, Irene Adler! The Woman. What a great moniker. Other great moments include my favorite line in the whole series, “I always hear ‘punch me in the face’ when you’re speaking, but it’s usually subtext.” Snark from the one and only John Watson, ladies and gentlemen. And also Sherlock strutting around Buckingham Palace clad only in a bedsheet. Because reasons. 5.5/4 stars. Srsly, so good.
2. The Empty Hearse (Series 3, episode 1) — It’s the series 3 premiere and John has a mustache and a fiancee! And we find out pleasantly soon that Sherlock was never really dead! Very good, since without him there’s not much of a show. Second best because it introduces Mary who’s probably the best non-Sherlock character in the show. Yes, even better than John and Moriarty. She’s so good, guys. 10/4 stars!
1. The Sign of Three (Series 3, episode 2) — This episode is the absolute best for a bunch of reasons. 1. John and Mary get married which is the cutest. 2. Sherlock is John’s best man and it’s probably the most feels in the entire known universe. If I ever give a best man speech, I really hope that it’s half as good as Sherlock’s because if I can do that, I’ll have won at life. 3. The boys are even solving murders on John’s wedding day, which is pretty hardcore.
So that’s it! Go watch Sherlock and be amazed and enthralled.
So I’ve told you that I love J.R.R. Tolkien a million times. What I haven’t told you is why I love Tolkien. And since today is his birthday (January 3rd 2014 would have made him 122), I figured I’d give you the run-down.
While I don’t do it as often or as much as I ought to, I do write fiction. So in the most basic sense, I want to be Tolkien. To be more accurate, I want to produce something of the same caliber as the world he created, I want to capture people’s imaginations the way he did, and I want to have a similar influence on the literary world. I feel similarly about several other authors (Neil Gaiman and Jane Austen and maybe a few others), but Tolkien has a certain something that makes him my greatest inspiration and aspiration.
His world creation is probably still second to none, and I think that’s something I really want to emulate. You can keep your Narnia, your Westeros, and your Hogwarts, because when it comes to world-creation, Arda and Middle-Earth are the bottom line. Something that really stuck with me when I read Tolkien’s biography last year was the idea that his stories, his legendarium, were to him a kind of mythology for his home. He created his works, but to him the writing was more like a discovery of true things than an invention of fiction. That’s a feeling, I think, that every writer strives for, and I know that I do.
That’s enough rambling from me, I think. Toast “the Professor” today, and happy birthday John Ronald!
Happy New Year from the KU family to you and yours! We wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2015! Keep up with all our crazy shenanigans by following this blog, liking us on Facebook, and following us on Instagram and Twitter @kardsunlimited! To find out everything that’s happening this month, click READ MORE!