Monday, June 27, 2005


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime is a good book. It is the only book I've read since moving to New York that has made me miss my subway stop. The author starts a lot of sentences with "and," which elementary school teachers would have you believe is a bad thing, but apparently it makes for rather compelling reading. It's part murder mystery, part family drama, and part adventure. The fact that it's told from the perspective of an autistic kid only makes it more fascinating.

I'm also reading Ender's Shadow, which is a pretty good book. Though, it rehashes a little bit too much of Ender's Game, and is slightly less believable, which for a sci-fi book might normally be considered a good thing, but I'm talking about contextual verisimilitude here. Even within the construct of the narrative, it's hard to believe a 4- year-old has the capability to reason at the level that Bean, the main character, does. Of course, other characters in the story also have a hard time believing it. Whatever. It's still a fun read.

The 3rd thing I'm reading now is Flight, vol. 2 which is an anthology put out by Image Comics. It's the most impressive collection of short comics stories I've come across. There's no denying the quality is uneven--which will happen when you have 20-30 different creators working in one volume--but even the less impressive work is still pretty top notch alternative (by which I mean not superhero) comics. And it looks like it will be published regularly. So, bonus!

Last on my list of reviews is Batman Begins. I've seen it twice now and had some time to think on it. My initial reaction of it being just as good as the first Tim Burton Batman still stands. Christopher Nolan managed to hold the same dark tone as the Burton movies with none of the cartoonishness. I appreciate his respect for the original material as well. The cast put in solid performances all around (yes, even the much talked about and maligned Katie Holmes, who did about as much as I thought she could given her character).

I do have a number of bones to pick with the film though. The way that the fight scenes were filmed I felt was too confusing--the edits were too quick and the shots were too close up--which made it frustrating to watch, as it was difficult to follow the action. Bruce Wayne's dad was too perfect a person. He was depicted as having no flaws. He was a caring father, a loving husband, a doctor, who continued to work despite his billion dollar plus worth, and a philanthropist. And that's it. And he road the subway amongst the plebes with his family to the opera, despite his immense wealth. He had no vices. What a bastard. They also crammed in too many villains (though their connection was well orchestrated), and as a result wasted potentially good characters in Falcone, the mob boss, and in the Scarecrow who both ended up as just pawns.

Of course, the movie also had the coolest scene of all the Batman films, when Batman takes out a bunch of hired guns at the shipyards. It almost all happens off-camera and it is spectacular. I give it a B+... ***1/2... 8.5/10... yet, still, both thumbs up...

Friday, June 17, 2005

Job-y McJob Part II

Yesterday I was promoted. I'm an associate now. Hoo-ha! The job's basically the same, but my ancillary responsibilities will be a little different. Plus I get to boss around some invisible monkeys. They're doing all my typing from now on.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Job-y McJob: Part I

So, I was offerred a job at Random House in their children's books division. The job title was print production associate, which sounds a lot like the job I have now. After a second, awkward and generally unpleasant interview session I decided the job wasn't for me and they decided I wasn't right for the job. What did I learn from the experience? Well, jobs with the same title and description are not necessarily the same or even very similar; people and environment matter a lot; and money, no matter how much I don't want to matter, actually does. I'm sure there are other life lessons here, but frankly I'd rather not think about the whole thing any more.

In other news, I went to the Yankees game last night and watched Mike Mussina pitch a beautiful complete game and shutout from the Time-Warner suite (thanks to my cousins). I hate the Yankees, but I love Mussina. And it warmed my heart to hear the crowd yelling "Moose" at him.

I also got a sneak peak at the upcoming live Wilco album, which is really quite good. They rock a lot harder live--their energy is far more apparent than on their albums.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Shit meets Fan, Spoon-ing it up, and what it was made into...

Yes, things are coming to a head here. I can't really say anything specific yet, but come Monday, it seems, new information will come to light and there'll be some major decision-making to be had.

In other news, I've contracted the plague... and by plague, I mean a cold. Also, I saw Spoon play at Webster Hall. Spoon is good. The girl in front of us who could not contain her joy was probably more entertaining though. Her joy manifested itself in the form of convulsions of waddling, clapping, and lots of wrist movement. It was pretty spastic and clearly involuntary. Cheek does a good impression. For the billions of people on this planet who missed it, I pity you.

Also, Weezer's playing a show on Long Island in July. Tickets go on sale on 6/11. They're about $30 a pop. Their new album still is mostly a piece of shite, but I'm still going. I'm planning on buying a couple tickets, but can't afford a mass purchase at this point. It's an arena show, so tickets hopefully won't sell out as quickly as the Roseland shows. In my past experiences, their arena shows are their best.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Revenge of the Sith

Last night I attended the 7pm digital projection screening of Revenge of the Sith at the Ziegfeld Theatre in Midtown Manhattan. It's one of the few large and somewhat ornate movie houses left in the country. (Of course, it was knocked down and rebuilt in the 60's, so it's not the same as it was in its splendiferious original form, but it's got a very nice lobby and a very big screen.) If you haven't seen the movie and are planning to, you probably don't want to read the rest of this post.

As a summer blockbuster, the movie was alright. It has some sweet lightsaber duels, amazing special effects, and beautiful cinematography. As a Star Wars fan, though, it only left me angry. The script was atrocious. Lucas does not have a tin ear for dialogue. He is deaf. He couldn't possibly have any idea what his characters are saying. If he did, he would have demanded someone rewrite his screenplay. So the characters remained flat and the romance dialogue laughable. The editing was awkward at times too. Perhaps the worst offense was the contradictions inherent in Yoda's character, who we all remember from the first trilogy as being a zen master of sorts. He was the ultimate representation of mind over matter (as evidenced when he levitates the X-Wing in Empire). Now he's been reduced to a super-bouncey-ball with a 'tude. Vader is now Frankenstein's monster and 3PO and R2 are props. With the exception of Ian McDiarmid and Ewan McGregor, the acting in this movie is also pathetic. Padme might as well have been played by a piece of toast. It would have been just as believable a performance. Though, to her credit she was given the worst collection of lines I can recall hearing coming from a single character.

On the bright side, at least I understand why Anakin turned to the dark side. His motivation is almost believable, even if Christiensen's performance is not. The last exchange between him and Obi-wan was almost as stirring as Luke's and Vader's from Empire... until it was ruined with a the trite line, "Noooooooooo!" added to the script. As if we didn't know that Anakin/Vader was in anguish already.

Perhaps it was unrealistic to hope for a movie that redeemed the previous two pieces of schlock, but it didn't seem unfair.

The world seems intent on destroying my childhood and adolescence. First Weezer, and now George Lucas. Soon I'm sure I'll discover that pizza is actually a species of funghi that is now endangered due to my over-consumption of its deliciousness. I'll only have myself to blame for that one.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Brunettes

This past weekend I went to two (!) concerts. Both of them featured the Brunettes prominently in the line-up, in that they were in the line-up. This is the band that opened up for the Shins a few weeks back. They're a boy-girl band from New Zealand with a glockenspiel, wind section, and castinets (there's also a slide guitar in there somewhere). I think they may be my new favorite band, though their recordings suffer from lo-fi production, which doesn't really compliment their complex instrumentation. Their live show however, is phenomenal. Not only do they play great music, but their constantly switching between instruments results in a pretty manic performance. At one point, the female vocalist was singing, playing the keyboards with her left hand and the glockenspiel with her right. How hot is that? I heart them. Sadly, though, they have returned to Auckland perhaps never to be seen on the east coast again. Hope is alive, however. Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley was at their fairwell show on Monday (they'd just finished a tour opening for Rilo Kiley), which means she is a fan and perhaps will ask them to be touring mates again. I'm keeping my fingers crossed...