Archive for November, 2008

30th November
2008
written by Steph
Two what? Slightly dull soldiers, that's what.

Two what? Slightly boring soldiers, that's what.

Tony's Review

Steph and I recently finished with this game (note how I didn't simply say finished) and we had a few thoughts regarding game-play and such. Overall it's a fairly playable game, a little light on story but easy enough to get into once you get the swing of things. There are some quirks I don't particularly care for, but overall it was reasonably playable. (more…)
30th November
2008
written by Steph
Having read the book, I get the croquet.... what I don't get is why all the images on the cover are so pixelated!

I get the croquet, but not why all the cover images are so pixelated!

This is a book that I picked up on a whim at McKay’s because it was only $2 and I knew it was by the author better known as Lemony Snicket. I essentially knew absolutely nothing else about it, because rather than a synopsis or a blurb about the book on the back cover, it instead had faux tongue-in-cheek “study questions” (much like those you’d find at the end of a story or piece in a high-school/grade school reader) and praise for the novel from other writers and newspapers. In this case, I felt the type of story The Basic Eight turned out to be really benefited from being shrouded in mystery, because in a way, it was a mystery. (more…)
27th November
2008
written by Steph

Tony's Review

(Steph's review will appear after mine later in this post)
Quantum? Like the physics, right?

Quantum? Like the physics, right?

This past Monday night Steph and I went to see Quantum of Solace, the new Bond flick. After the last movie's blazing success (in our opinion), especially in light of the rest of the Bond series, we were prepared for a a treat. As the day came nearer (all this suspense building actually implies we were waiting with baited breath - we were not. We go to a movie about once every two months) early reviews started to trickle out - the critics were not impressed. Having read all of the Bond books (I mean all of them) in a fit of adolescent obsessiveness, I could see where this flick might have its shortcomings. (more…)
27th November
2008
written by Steph
Provided you like eggs that is (and if you don’t, I really can’t help you on that one… I’m just going to look at you funny).  I’m a big fan, personally, and this quick and easy dish (if you can call it that) combines my love of both a hard-boiled egg as well as a runny yolk.  It’s fast and simple to prepare, and incredibly delicious.  Tony & I often eat them for breakfast, but we will sometimes make them for dinner to if we’re looking for a lighter (or quick) meal that requires minimal fuss. (more…)
23rd November
2008
written by Steph
"The Mysterious Benedict Society" by Trenton Lee StewartI posted a while back that I had embarked on reading The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco… only, the thing is, I have failed miserably at reading it. I took it with me when I went out of town, figuring that all of the flights and traveling would provide me ample opportunity to read it. When Tony’s flight was delayed from Nashville to Baltimore, I polished off about 150 pages while waiting for him at the airport. This experience was quite painful and left me wanting to stab out my eyes, because for every enjoyable mystery bit that advanced the main plotline, there would be about 25 pages of turgid, dense philosophical or historical (sometimes both) musings that had the most soporific of effects on me. Needless to say, I began trawling the little Borders shop (surprisingly well-stocked for an airport bookstore) looking for new reading material. And that is where I stumbled upon The Mysterious Benedict Society. I was intrigued by the comparison to Harry Potter (then again, I’ve been burned by such allusions before – ahem, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. One day I’ll make it past the first 30 pages!), and the price of $7 wasn’t bad either. Pair this with a 30% off coupon we got at the in-store café later in the week, and I was sold. Or rather, the book was, but you see what I’m getting at here. (more…)
23rd November
2008
written by Tony
I've got something you can do to yourself...

I can think of something you can do to yourself...

Recently I was wandering through a bookstore when a particular title caught my eye. Now I've seen this book before, and books like it, and every time I do, it kind of makes me want to find the author and use the book to do very illegal things myself (who needs professional criminals these days?). Now, don't get me wrong, I'm all for saving money and cutting out the middle man, I mean, I'm a card carrying Sam's Club member. That's essentially a big screw off to traditional grocery stores. There is, however, a difference. It's not the money saving thing I don't like, it's not the personal initiative that bothers me. It's the mentality behind this kind of thing, this populist attitude that shouts "I know the only reason you're a designer is that you can use Photoshop!" Or even "anyone can take wedding photos, they just need a camera like yours, right?" Someone actually said the latter to me at a wedding that I was shooting, for money paid by the person saying it. My ideal response would have been, why have you hired me? Why am I even here if any jackass with a camera can do what I do? My actual response was more along the lines of: "If it were that simple, I don't think I would have gone to school for it." (more…)
23rd November
2008
written by Tony
Ah, clients. Perhaps this is the perpetual sigh of the designer. Certainly in my industry there is a rather unique relationship with the client, one that most other design, and even service related industries, are not saddled with. We design tradeshow booths. Like most people, when I started I had no idea what this even meant, or even that it is a 35 billion (!!) dollar industry (that's 35 billion American, buddy). So some of how we interact with potential clients was new to me. Most of it, actually. (more…)
23rd November
2008
written by Tony
Some nice light on the Captiol dome.

Some nice light on the Capitol dome.

Recently I took my first trip to our nation's capital. Steph was giving a talk at the SFN (Society for Neuroscience) conference on her research and I thought it would not only be a great chance to see her in her element, but also to take some time to explore a city that greatly interested me. The more research that I did the more enthusiastic I became about the prospect of wandering around the city. From what I could gather from my initial research, the metro system around downtown was fairly extensive and would offer more than enough mobility during our stay, which it did admirably. More on that later. Of particular interest were the Smithsonian museums, which to my delight I discovered were all free admittance. I've always been fascinated with the museums, especially the Air and Space Museum and this chance to see it first hand was something I'd been wanting for a long time. Our first day in the city was spent visiting the monuments, which did not disappoint. The weather, however, did. The first day was rainy and slightly cold (though not terrible). The rain did diminish the experience of the outdoor monuments, to be sure, but they were still impressive to behold. (more…)
21st November
2008
written by Steph
I was recently in Chicago for a conference (I'm kind of composing a post on the topic (of Chicago, not the conference, which can really be summed up with the following descriptor: "Grade 4 Science Fair"), but who knows if I'll actually decide to post it), and one of the highlights of the trip was trekking out to China Town (this time 100% gunshot free!) to grab some authentic Chinese food. Chinese food is fairly difficult to come by here in Nashville - well, let me qualify that by saying that *good* Chinese food is hard to find here. Japanese? Sure (in fact the best sushi I've ever had has been here in town)! Thai? Middling, but serviceable. Korean? Yup. But Chinese? No dice. So when I'm in a city that does have it (and better yet, has dim sum!)? I'm all over it. Anyway, I had super cheap, but super delicious beef with black bean sauce over rice noodles, and the first bite was gustatory heaven. It sounds like a terrible comparison, but it rocketed me back to the summer between my 2nd and 3rd years of undergrad, when I was technically a full-time student because of all the courses I was taking, meaning I was on campus 4 nights a week, over the dinner hour. Every so often, I would get dinner from the Chinese food truck that parked outside of Sid Smith, and get that very dish. So smoky, a hint of grease (but not oily), and beef so succulent and tender, I assumed it could only be achieved by a much more skilled chef than I. Which brings me to tonight, when I decided to whip together a cashew chicken stirfry for dinner. I think I make a decent stirfry, but I always feel like it tastes homemade rather than authentic. Tonight, all of this changed, when I discovered two important secrets: (more…)
21st November
2008
written by Steph
I have a confession to make: I am a big fan of bad reality television. Don't get me wrong - I like good reality tv just fine as well (ever since I started watching The Amazing Race in its fourth or fifth season, I haven't missed an episode... also, I own several seasons of Project Runway on dvd, and really enjoy Top Chef too), but there is something immensely satisfying about low-brow reality television. Maybe it is that these shows allow for awkward trainwrecks that far surpass anything even the most creative person could ever come up with, or maybe it's the complete wackadoos who inevitably feature on such shows... I don't know. It's like poutine - all junky and bad for you, and yet oh so satisfying. It is a problem, I realize. (more…)
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