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Remember: Things could always be worse.
Making your life seem exciting since 2003
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20th-Jul-2012 08:40 am - Dark Knight Rises
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Can't really write a review yet, given how easy it would be to spoil various aspects of the film. But, also, it's the sort of movie you have to let settle into your head for a bit. Unlike Batman Begins, which was straightforward heroing, and Dark Knight, which questioned limits, this is something more.

All of the actors were good, though, without any main characters being weak links (though some were extraneous and of the sort that simply never work for me). Tom Hardy was awesomely imposing, and Anne Hathaway made Selina Kyle her own.

And that's as far as I'll go for now.
29th-Apr-2012 08:31 pm(no subject)
high five
Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've known Jodi several years now, so I'm not sure an unbiased review is entirely possible. That said, I'd have no qualms suggesting this read to any young women I happen to know (in fact, I bought a copy for my to-be-12 niece).


Incarnate is set in a solidly constructed world, with characters that ring true as individuals and events that keep the reader interested. Sometimes threats come out of nowhere and similarly fade once characters are safe (The main characters sometimes are content to settle in for a night's sleep when I'd have been racing around the house peering through windows and make sure I had something heavy and blunt or sharp and pointy around), but it's an occurrence harmless enough to be easily stepped over by the narrative at large. Given the main male protagonist has been around for 5,000 years, he's probably done that often enough to know what's worrying about and what isn't.


There are hints throughout the story of something much larger being in play, which, I guess, makes it convenient that there will be two more stories in this series.


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29th-Mar-2012 11:11 pm - Just for kicks...
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Yeah, I know it's been forever. But this video is cool enough for me to post here in case y'all missed it on Facebook. Who doesn't love a little Hall & Oates, sung in a van?

A kazoo is involved, so... very cool.
8th-Jan-2012 11:11 pm(no subject)
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Fittingly, I finished this the day my newest niece was baptised:


God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons EverythingGod is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Christopher Hitchens found a way to say everything I've felt since first thinking "Seriously?" in Church School, albeit it in his sometimes condescending, off-putting manner. The negative aspects of his writing, however, are a small price to pay for the greater whole of which they are a part.



He lays his argument out well, sticking to a strict structure that doesn't let his point get overwhelmed by asides and tangents, as the subject matter would easily lend itself to. Whether you agree with him or not (and I admit that I did about 95% of the time), I think it could be a worthy read if only to sharpen your own beliefs and thoughts. If nothing else, it will get you to think about why you believe faith is a good thing to have, and, next to convincing you he's right, I'd assume that was the next best thing Hitchens hoped for.



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(And, no, I did not attend the ritual or celebration thereof.)
31st-Dec-2011 02:43 pm(no subject)
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Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a LifetimeGame Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I should note right off the bat that my guy won the election of 2008, and so knowing that may have colored what I thought of this book.



That said, Game Change combined two great loves of my life: Politics and gossip, and so my love for it was inevitable. The story is told omnisciently, its threads gathered through anonymous interviews and e-mails and so forth. The authors are quite direct about what is directly quoted and what is paraphrased, so while grains of salt may be warranted at times, I don't believe one would be embarrassed using this book as a source of information at a dinner party.



The two stories of the primaries -- the Republican side follows the Democratic side -- are told separately, and then the third part of the book tackles the general election. I was a little disappointed by two aspects:



1. The minutiae of the night of the Iowa caucuses are covered, but not the moment. That was a pretty huge night, but the emotions of it and what it meant historically seemed glossed over to me.

2. I would have liked to have seen more about the rise and falls of Sarah Palin and John Edwards. Both are drawn to be rather... well, their grips on reality aren't described as being the strongest. Edwards' storyline just kind of drops away from the book until the Afterword, and nothing is mentioned about Palin's request (denied) to make a speech before McCain's concession speech. I would have liked to have known exactly what happened back stage that night (maybe it's just me wanting to dance on the grave of the defeated, though*).



All in all, a very fast moving, interesting, and amusing story that paints everyone involved as everyday people. And, after having read it, you get a sense of why it was so easy for Biden to drop the famous "this is a big f--king deal" on a live mic.







*Please note that when I'm writing this, everyone, as far as I know, is alive and so this metaphor is not distasteful.



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24th-Jul-2011 09:40 pm - What I did on my summer vacation...
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The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Technically, this is the sort of book I hope to be able to write some day. The pacing and twists kept me hooked, and the character motivations were believable. Unfortunately, this one is the best of the series, because one would almost hope that each succeeding book gets better, rather than not be as good. But considering how high of a regard I hold this book in, the others would be hard-pressed to match it.



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Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This one kept pace with Book One as far as twists and turns go, but, as tends to happen when scopes are widened, it didn't quite match up to the fantastic wonder of the first in the series. Still, it was a great read.



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Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I'm wondering if I can actually get into depth about this one without spoiling the ending... I thought it wrapped up the series very well, though, and has had me thinking about all three books for the past few days. Again, definitely recommended.



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I did a bit of a forced-march on these because I knew I wouldn't get any writing of my own done until I finished them.
12th-Jul-2011 06:36 pm - When my time has come...
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I want this song played during my cremation, just to see if the people in attendance can keep from grooving to it.

5th-Jul-2011 10:29 pm(no subject)
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Can it be considered ironic that the day after we celebrated Independence Day, there's a good bit of demagoguery going on in regard to one of the key results of that revolution, which is that in order to convict someone the government has to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt?

Those jurors had to know how people would react to their verdict. They could have taken the easy way out, but didn't.

In these matters, letting emotions overrule reason leads to nothing but trouble.
28th-Jun-2011 07:23 pm - Hope, and When To Give Up...
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I may have to give up on the Song of Ice and Fire series about 250 pages into the third book. I just can't take the constant stream of bad things happening to the main family in the stories -- it's just too much. I realize sometimes reality can be like that, where misfortune is followed by misfortune after misfortune, but this is something I'm reading for fun and enjoyment, and if my fun and enjoyment is going to include a smorgasbord of frankly unnecessary depictions or descriptions of rape and misogyny, that's going to have to be counterbalanced by some... wait for it... Fun and Enjoyment. I'm not asking for much, really. Just a bit of hope.

But instead, it's getting to the point of being a snuff film where the Stark family is the victim. And, given that IMDB cites the author as saying "that the end would be a cloud of dust or snow being driven by the wind across a vast graveyard full of tombstones," I'm not thinking that's going to change in the long run. Rather than having an arc of Good times descending into bad and then rising into good again, it seems like this series might have only a descent into despair. Unfortunately, that's not really my cup of tea.

Maybe I'll keep going, just to see it out. But I almost feel like, by doing so, I'm joining in on the author's cruelty by inflicting these events on the characters as they exist in my head. If I stop now, I can just pretend things turned out alright. Not great, mind you -- I don't need bunnies and roses in my endings -- but alright.

I guess an argument could be made that a somewhat happy ending is all the grander when preceded by great suffering, but there's a limit.

It's a lack of even the merest hope of that happening in the books that's turning me off.
29th-May-2011 10:29 am - Book Review: Tricky Business
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Tricky BusinessTricky Business by Dave Barry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


It was an entertaining, briskly-paced caper. As with Big Trouble, the bad guys are borderline idiots and most of the protagonists don't know they're protagonists, which Barry pulls off in a very entertaining fashion. There are bouts of inane conversation that go on for pages at a time, but that's sort of his trademark, so asking him not to do that would be like asking Elvis to hold off on the hip-swiveling.



Barry manages to fill the 300+ pages with the events of just one night, casting viewpoints far and wide among very different characters. By the end, I found myself caring about everyone I was supposed, so apparently he did a decent job of it.



I'd recommend this as a light read, perhaps on the beach, but it's not quite on the level of Elmore Leonard.



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