Sunday, June 22, 2008

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria - I'm not a big fan of reality competitions, but this was an interesting look at how casting decisions must be made... and how hard they are. As I told hubby-Eric, if I knew John Barrowman was going to give me a hug like he gave those girls, I would try out for the part, too.
  • Iron Chef America: "Symon vs Bloomfield" - The judges were GREAT on this one. I love it when they actually argue about the merits of the dish and disagree with each other. It made for interesting TV and told us far more about the dishes than we normally hear.
  • Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: "Comfort Food" - Fun fun fun! I don't know which place I wanted to go to most... just all of them. I want to try the cereal dipped french toast.
  • The Next Food Network Star: "You... In a Jar" - My least favorite didn't get kicked out, but my favorite is still in the running. I'm slightly disappointed at who got booted, but he wasn't really showing his personality, so I wasn't surprised.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Fort Delaware" - That is a WAY cool place. I would love to visit there, not for the ghosts, but just for the history. I hate how overproduced the sound in this show is. Too many stupid sounds, even when the people are listening closely for something. I'd rather listen along! Shut off the stupid sounds!
  • Doctor Who: "Turn Left" - This is the "Doctor light" episode, featuring mostly just Donna. And... wow. Very interesting. Not what I was expecting at all, but it worked very well. As I was watching it with a crowd of fans, the various recognizable moments went over well and elicted great responses as the episode progessed. All in all, impressive. I worry about the last two episodes, as I've been disappointed after good build-ups at the end of previous seasons, but hopefully this will be the year that bucks the trend.
This week's library movie was My Super Ex-Girlfriend. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a light comedy of the nerdly variety. I really enjoyed it for what it was, but could see how people would be disappointed in what it wasn't. It wasn't a superhero movie. It wasn't a drama. And it certainly wasn't deep. If you need a light, funny movie to watch, this is a good one.

My library book this week was Titans of Chaos. This is the final book in the trilogy, and it ends well, if not how I expected it to end at all. There is a bit too much of the battles in multiple dimensions in this one (battles which are very confusing), but aside from that complaint, I liked it. Wright does a surprisingly good job of explaining the four paradigms in such a way that I usually didn't get confused. Usually. This book is weaker than the first two, but certainly a good read nonetheless.

Another library book I picked up was The Servants by Michael Marshall Smith, recommended in Fortean Times #237. The book is written from the point of view of an 11-year-old boy who is angry about his parents' divorce. While the boy attempts to deal with his new situation by learning to ride his skateboard, he learns that something is very wrong in the house he's moved into with his mother and her new husband. This is a light fantasy, meant for kids. It's a very quick read but has a lot of substance, and some strong emotion. I wasn't entirely happen with the ending, but there couldn't have been any other with this story. If you want a good read, go check this out.

I also read Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn from the library. This was also a sort of recommendation from Fortean Times, but the review was a later book in the series. I decided to check out the first book. And it's not too bad. It's your typical Vampires vs Werewolves dealing with modern life story. A bit of gore, a bit of sex, and an attitude too cool for words. It's good if you like that style of book. I liked the angle of the main character being a radio DJ afflicted with lycanthropy who stumbles into fame when she starts talking about vampires and werewolves on air. I'm not yet sure if I'll be picking up the second book.

A quadruple dose of Agatha Christie this week, starting with The Man in the Brown Suit. No Poirot in this one, but Anne works in this book as a strong narrator. I'm amused at how Christie threw suspicion off of one character immediately, then built up other characters so at any given time you have no idea who to trust. As for the mystery, I thought it was a little too complicated, but in the end all the threads pulled together nicely and despite my thoughts that this one might be a little too clever, I think it still worked well. But then, it's Agatha Christie. Of course it worked well.

I also read Agatha Christie's The Secret of Chimneys. Another "standalone" mystery, with Anthony Cade as the main character. And he's a real character! I figured out bits of the mystery, like always, but never solved the main one. I think that's the genius of these books: she gives you enough information that even a quick reader like me can pick up enough to solve part of the mystery. And she leaves you with the impression that if you read carefully, you can solve all of it.

Then I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. I knew it, but I rejected it. But throughout reading it I kept coming back to it as the solution. I knew it and the only reason she fooled me was because I didn't believe she'd have the audacity to do it. ARGH. I would go into great detail about this, but really, it's a mystery. Spoilers.

Lastly, I read The Big Four. We're back to Poirot, and he's paranoid and goofy in this one. This book had multiple mysteries which Poirot solves, ending with a final battle at the end involving Poirot's twin. I was very amused to see this book as a clue on Jeopardy the day I finished reading it (Friday).

Agatha Christie books are a bit like popcorn or potato chips for me. I have to restrain myself or I'll just keep reading one after another. They are fun, light, and quick reads. I've been forcing myself to read other books in between the Christie books, which is one reason I read so much last week!

Because I was busy reading books, comics this week didn't all get read, so some will show up next week. Here's what I did finish:
  • Trinity #3 - Three issues in and I'm no more interested than I was after reading the first issue. It just hasn't caught me.
  • Spirit #18 - I applied Agatha Christie thinking to this one, and had it mostly solved well before the reveal. Scary.
  • Star Wars Legacy #25 - I got a bit mixed up on who was supposed to be who, despite the reminders within the issue.
  • Checkmate #27 - Environmentalism and immoral medical testing in one issue.
  • DMZ #32 - It's a very strange political situation, and I'm not sure I fully understand what's happening. But it's also still a very good book.
  • Fallen Angel #27 - Ah, twilight zone. Love it.