Articles by " Adam"
19 Jan
2015

KU Book Club Review! What you missed at the best book club in town!

Here's the edition we sell!  It's different from other editions, which is important, turns out!

Here's the edition we sell! It's different from other editions, which is important, turns out!

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

Look how much fun they're about to have!  So much, you guys!

Look how much fun they're about to have! So much, you guys!

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!

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16 Jan
2015

Celebrate Appreciate a Dragon Day! Or, reasons why Spyro was the freakin’ best

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:

Spyro!

Spyro!

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.

Look at these adorable nerds.

Look at these adorable nerds.

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.

Look at this game!  Doesn't it look SO fun?

Look at this game! Doesn't it look SO fun?

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!

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6 Jan
2015

It’s all elementary, really.

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!)

blindbanker

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.

reichenbach fall2

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.

great game

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.

study in pink

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!

hounds of baskerville

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!

his last vow

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.

sherlock A Scandal in Belgravia 191

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.

empty hearse

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!

sign of three

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.

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3 Jan
2015

Happy birthday, J.R.R. Tolkien! Or, who I want to be when I grow up.

Also, I want to make my initials into a sweet logo.

Also, I want to make my initials into a sweet logo.

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!

Also I want to look like him when I'm old.

Also I want to look like him when I'm old.

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1 Jan
2015

Kards Unlimited Calendar of Events: January 2015!

JP LOVES NEW YEAR'S EVE AND CHAMPAGNE!

JP LOVES NEW YEAR'S EVE AND CHAMPAGNE!

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!

Read more >>

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30 Dec
2014

Happy birthday to Rudyard Kipling! Or, no, I’m not an Imperial Apologist, I just love The Jungle Book.

Seriously, look at that face.

Seriously, look at that face.

So back in the day, many countries of the world, great and small, decided that it would be super cool to travel around the world stealing other peoples' land.  This obviously wasn't the most popular decision ever, and nor was it really morally defensible when you think about it, but hey, things were crazy back then.

ANYway.  There were some pretty great things to come out of the British Empire (and other empires, don't get me wrong), and one of them was Rudyard Kipling.  Born in Bombay, British India on December 30, 1865, Kipling's innovative short stories, narrative poetry, and beloved novels make him an enduring favorite of readers of all ages. Fun fact: Kipling won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1907.  He was the first English-language writer to receive the award and its youngest recipient to date.  (He was 42.)

Kipling is probably best known for his children's short story collection The Jungle Book which, along with its sequel The Second Jungle Book, is one of my favorite books ever.  The Jungle Books tell the story of an orphaned boy who gets raised by a kickass group of jungle creatures which, I think, is every kid's fantasy at some point or another.  Plus they have other stories like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, about a mongoose who saves a family from a pair of cobras, and The Miracle of Purun Bhagat about an old holy man who saves a town from a mud slide.

Kipling also wrote a short story collection for younger children called Just So Stories.  The stories are fanciful fables about such things as how elephants got trunks (The Elephant's Child), How the Leopard Got His Spots, and How the Camel Got His Hump.  They are the cutest ever and you should read them to your kids all the freaking time.  Ok, I guess that's it about ol' Rudy.  Read on, friends!

just so stories

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16 Dec
2014

Happy birthday to my historical soul mate, Jane Austen!

Who wouldn't love that face?

Who wouldn't love that face?

So here's the thing.  Some people don't like Jane Austen.  As a rule, I wouldn't really mind that, because I'm not the kind of person who needs everyone to agree with him, but I kind of really need everyone to agree with me that Jane Austen is the best thing in the world.  Mostly because of all the anti-Austen opinions I've ever read, the most common complaint, by far, is that her books are boring.  False.  Patently, hilariously, stupidly false.  I've actually concluded that people who don't like Jane Austen probably can't actually read.  And since December 16th is her birthday, I shall here and now school you all on the lovely Jane's intense awesomeness.

ccpp

Because if you can read, and you picked up Pride and Prejudice, how could you not be interested in Mr. Bennet's quip, "You mistake me, my dear. I have a high respect for your nerves. They are my old friends. I have heard you mention them with consideration these twenty years at least."  That's gold!

Who can read Emma Woodhouse's hilariously snarky blunder, "Ah! ma'am, but there may be a difficulty. Pardon me, but you will be limited as to number--only three at once."  And not literally lol?  She's so ridiculously self-satisfied that she becomes a bitch!

And the dry wit of Sense and Sensibility, "It is not everyone,' said Elinor, 'who has your passion for dead leaves."  So great.  Point being, Jane Austen rules, and you (if you don't love Jane Austen) drool.  Full stop.

ccemma

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9 Dec
2014

KU’s Simple, Two-step Program for Upping Your Christmas Card Game!

Step 1!  Buy awesome Christmas cards like these!

Look at this adorable owl!

Look at this adorable owl!

Look how happy that ice-skating deer is!  He's the definition of jolly!

Look how happy that ice-skating deer is! He's the definition of jolly!

OMG Rudolph!

OMG Rudolph!

Take THAT fruitcake apologists!

Take THAT fruitcake apologists!

Edward Gorey ftw!

Edward Gorey ftw!

It's like a Christmas Where's Waldo!

It's like a Christmas Where's Waldo!

When in doubt, flowers and glitter.  In all situations.

When in doubt, flowers and glitter. In all situations.

Ugh.  It's so cute I just wanna punch it in the face.

Ugh. It's so cute I just wanna punch it in the face.

Yes, those are penguins on a ski lift. And they pop. out.  Like, wtf. Too cute.

Yes, those are penguins on a ski lift. And they pop. out. Like, wtf. Too cute.

Dude, pop out cards are the coolest.

Dude, pop out cards are the coolest.

Funny Christmas cards are so good, guys.

Funny Christmas cards are so good, guys.

Foiled cards are also super classy.

Foiled cards are also super classy.

And my favorite card ever, Santa with all his North Pole friends.  So great, you guys.

And my favorite card ever, Santa with all his North Pole friends. So great, you guys.

Step 2:  There is no step 2, dummy!  You did it!  Christmas card mastery unlocked!  Send those cards!  All these and much more here at KU!  Come and get 'em!

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