Posts Tagged ‘meh’

2nd February
2009
written by Steph
Trust me... you'll be accustomed by the end of it

Trust me... you'll be accustomed by the end of it

Generally speaking, I am not a fan of short story collections or anthologies.  I’m not sure what it is about them, but I’ve never found them very enjoyable to read, perhaps because by the time I’m involved in a given story it ends and then I have to get invested in another one.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I think I generally find short stories too, well, short to be fulfilling, and so when it comes to my reading, I tend to focus on novels instead.  For this reason, if it were not for the Tournament of books, I probably would never have picked up Unaccustomed Earth, no matter how much acclaim it has received. And Unaccustomed Earth has gained a lot of acclaim.  It first came to my notice back in July when it made headlines for snagging the Frank O’Connor award.  Now winning an award will generally earn you a headline in the book world, but what really made this story interesting was the fact that Lahiri’s collection was dubbed the unanimous winner so early on that the judges jumped from long-list to winner.  They did not pass Go, they did not collect $200, and they did not declare a short-list in the process either.  In their opinion, Unaccustomed Earth was so superior relative to the competition that there was no point pretending anyone else was in the running, and subjecting the other authors to unnecessary stress.  Add this to the fact that Lahiri has pretty much been an untouchable literary superstar ever since the publication of her first collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, and you can see why despite my normal aversion to short stories, I had pretty high expectations for this ToB entrant. (more…)
28th January
2009
written by Tony
Scary! Grrrrrr?

Scary! Grrrrrr?

We subscribe to Gamefly, which, much like Netflix and movies, allows us to be a little more adventurous (perhaps less selective?) with our gaming choices. That’s why, despite the mountain of poor and neutral reviews that this game received, we decided to go for it anyway. The Battle for Assgrab (as Steph likes to call it) is essentially about a Viking who gets into Freya’s, the Goddess of fur coats (apparently), good graces and gets some nifty powers as her new pet. You fight the evil Horde of Hel, the Goddess of the underworld, and pretty much slash and burn like a good little Viking when and where Freya says so. Your biggest tasks are releasing Viking clans from the Horde’s grasp and summoning dragons to help you and the freed Vikings reclaim your old territory from the Horde. In a lot of (conceptual) ways this game reminds me of Assassin’s Creed, though is much less pretty, polished and engaging. The story is there, certainly, but there isn’t much to motivate you to put on your give-a-crap hat. Let me first say that this game is by no means the best, or really even close to the best, game we have played on the PS3, but it’s one of the few I’ve had the determination to finish in a while, so it gets a review. I’ll start with what the game does not do well and finish on a more positive note, because that makes me happiest right now. (more…)
26th January
2009
written by Steph

Sigh.  My first book read for this year’s Tournament of Books, was fairly atrocious, so despite the rocky start, I was at least optimistic that the next book would have to be better.  It’s the law of averages!  So I picked up Fae Myenne Ng’s Steer Toward Rock, and dove in hoping I was going to land in a somewhat deeper pool. Steer Toward Rock is largely about a Chinese man name Jack Moon Szeto who, during his youth, is sold into another family so that they can have a son.  When he is older, he is sent to San Francisco so that he can work off his debt to his non-blood father, and also act as a decoy husband for the second wife said father wants to also bring into America (hoping to get a true blood son out of her).  This is around the time of the Chinese Confession Program, when the INS were trying to weed out individuals who had lied to bring other Chinese immigrants into the country, and when Chinese immigrants were treated extremely poorly.  The novel examines the trials and tribulation of Jack, primarily focusing on his relationships with three pivotal women in his life: Joice, his first love; Ilin, his fake wife; and Veda, his daughter by Joice.  It examines what an individual is willing to undergo for love, as well as the role of family (both in terms of one that is formed versus one that we are tied to through blood), and of course the immigration experience and the struggles to habituate as well as the struggle for later generations to understand their heritage.  Through this exploration, Steer Toward Rock also addresses the issue of self-identity. (more…)
22nd January
2009
written by Tony
I know I normally put a picture from the movie up, but this is so much... better.

I know I normally put a picture from the movie up, but this is so much... better.

Ah Netflix, allower of guilt-free movie watching. I know in my heart that there is no way I would ever have seen this movie if it wasn't for "free." As it is, this little gem showed up in our mailbox the other night and both Steph and  I knew it was going to be delightful. The premise is this: unlikeable guy who has no direction in life and a bitchy girlfriend who has made a cuckold of him with his best friend gets caught up in a ploy run by an association of professional assassins formerly known as "The Weavers" (lame) but who now go by the much more kick-ass "The Fraternity" even though a woman is one of their top guns. So anyway, he has some sort of poorly conceived adrenaline-related time slowing ability and they need him to kill some people. Enough said. (more…)
28th December
2008
written by Steph
The first ever (and likely last) Stylista.  Surprised?  No?  Ok, good.

The first ever (and likely last) Stylista. Surprised? No? Ok, good.

I admit, the title of this post might be overly optimistic – as of now, I am not aware of any talks of their being future seasons of this show, which is probably just as well given that it was not very good. Then again, my go-to guilty pleasure, America’s Next Top Model, has become nigh painful to watch (no longer campy fun, it’s just embarrassing) and it’s unclear when the next season of Project Runway will air, so Stylista was my fashion filler tv show. And so, as I predicted from about the second episode, Johanna wins the dubious title of Stylista. Is anyone surprised? I mean, she was going up against Dyshawn (sp? I don’t really care enough to look it up), who had already been taken to task at least three times for copy errors. And I don’t care what Anne Slowey & co. would have us believe, we all know a junior editor at Elle (or any fashion rag) ain’t gonna be designing the layout or styling the photo shoots, since those positions are held by people like “graphic designers” and “fashion stylists”. Junior editors are primarily going to be performing those menial administrative/secretarial tasks (i.e., getting coffee, picking up Anne’s secretary’s dry cleaning, making photocopies) and copy editing text. So if you’re not a good fact checker, don’t have an eye for details, and are a poor proofreader? You’re not going to be an effective junior editor. Ergo, Johanna had to take the competition, especially when it came down to her and Dyshawn. (more…)
9th December
2008
written by Steph
I wish I had put money down on this season, since it turns out my prediction of the winners (Nick & Starr) was right. Then again, the returns on such a proclamation were probably not great given how obvious this outcome was. I realize that one of the things about the Race is that elements as intangible as luck can come into play and twist things around (I love when irony comes to play!), which is part of the fun, but at the end of the day, it’s always nice when you feel like the team that raced the best independently of chance and all that stuff actually wins. (more…)
8th December
2008
written by Steph
Straight up, I had no interest in seeing this movie until a friend of mine mentioned in passing that I should see it because she had really enjoyed it. And this is a friend who knows what my tastes are and whose tastes in turn I also know, so I figured that if she liked it then the least I could do was give it a spot on the Netflix queue. The commercials I had remembered seeing made the humor seem like it was kind of “lowest common denominator” in its scope, but we like 30 Rock, so we gave it a shot. (more…)
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