Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Ghost Hunters: "Oak Alley Plantation" - Barry's assertion that, while all the Americans wanted to see a castle, he's always wanted to see a plantation, just amused the heck out of me. The investigation itself was moderately boring, with a few funny bits.
  • Numb3rs: "The Decoy Effect" - This was a scary one. I didn't really get into it, though. Charlie's troubles are, of course, a nice little on-going plot. But it doesn't grab me. The rookie is growing on me. I liked the way her punishment reflected the earlier conversation.
  • Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives: "Grabbin'a Sandwich" - I want to try a real Philly Cheesesteak sometime. I'd go to the first two places, but the last place is too hot for me.
  • Iron Chef America: "Flay vs Angerer" - Not one that I'd try. The ingredient isn't something I'm even vaguely interested in trying, and in fact is something I actively avoid.
  • Heroes: "Angels and Monsters" - More X-Men plotting. This whole series is really getting tiresome.
  • Destination Truth: "Ninki Nanka; Kikiyaon" - Pity that much of their equipment got held up at customs. On the other hand, it gave them an experience MUCH more like the poor folks they usually listen to as witnesses. It was cool that they managed to get an image of an owl despite their lack of equipment. I think this is the last episode of the season.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Bottled Spirits" - The advice they gave the mother, to video the baby to find out how the scratches are happening, was solid. Skeptic or Believer, finding out how the baby was getting hurt is more important than anything. While there might be something strange going on in that house, I didn't see anything I would call paranormal. Airflow can make cabinets rap like that, without any obvious signs. The winery was also fun to see, but again, I saw nothing particularly paranormal there.
  • Ace of Cakes: "New Frontiers" - I really liked the breakdancing cake. The trick with the edges of the peanutbutter cup was certainly a challenge, but it worked out, and the cake was very cool. However, my heart was totally with the sandcastle cake. WOW. They did a fantastic job on that one.
  • Smallville: "Committed" - Jimmy and Chloe are so wrong for each other that this whole episode seems like the lead-up to a joke.
  • Sarah Jane Adventures: "The Last Sontaran" - Nice cliffhanger on the first episode. The story was solid enough, the acting as usual. I will miss Maria. Not a bad start to the season. Of course, the next episode involves clowns. I hate clowns.

No comic books or Agatha Christie this week. I should have at least some comics next week, but my new mail order company has learned the hard way that DHL is very slow to deliver books out here to Churchville. They have switched me to UPS, but that won't make the first shipment arrive any faster. As for Agatha... the next book is coming to me very slowly through inter-library loan. I have no idea how long it will take to actually arrive.

My library book this week was Paladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold. First I'm going to start with a quote from this book that I love: "... since innocence based in ignorance was unfit to protect itself." I think I will paraphrase that and put it in my quotefile. It really sums up the stupidity of keeping children ignorant for their "protection". Bujold manages to be quotable all too often in her books. I wish I could capture ideas as well as she does. Ahem. Back to the book itself. This is the sequel to The Curse of Chalion, which I enjoyed quite a bit. I was a little surprised to find that this book didn't follow the main character from Chalion, instead following a minor character from that book as she takes her own journey of discovery. As with the first book, the theology and philosophy are both startling and thought-provoking. The characters are very human. The story is strong, and has enough twists and changes to keep the reader guessing. As with almost any Bujold story, you want to know what happens to the characters in the future. You just wish the book would continue on... although I admit the ending was very nice. Again, not as wonderful as the Vorkosigan books, but worth reading and in my case, worth a reread sometime down the line.

Fortean Times #241, November 2008. The first issue I got at Stepford House, proving that the change-of-address actually worked! The cover story on this issue is Popobawa, which I thought sounded very familiar. Sure enough, in the article it mentions that Destination Truth hunted for the creature, and I remember the episode and its conclusions about Popobawa very well. As for the article? Pretty much the same conclusion. The top "phantom photo" on page 12 sure looks like Anakin from the Star Wars movies to me. I'd never understood how anyone could mistake a cloud or the moon for a UFO until I was driving back from Seattle last Sunday and the moon was behind a sliver of cloud... and looked completely different. I mean, it really didn't look like the moon at all. On page 27 there's a summary of types of clouds that manage to confuse people. Moving on, the historical accounts always grip me, and "The Devil With A Laser Beam" certainly was a great little tale. It really makes you wonder what the witness really experienced, and how someone from our time would perceive it. I don't know any of Vaughan Williams work, at least not by his name, so that article went over my head. The rest was pretty typical, and as usual I read the mag cover-to-cover. Another good issue of the oddest magazine on the stands.

I've gotten a couple of review copies of The Comics Journal, and I admit I haven't really had time to go through them yet. After all, I've been moving. The first one I've had a chance to sit down and really read is issue #292, which features interviews with Gene, Kim, Simon, and Seth Deitch. Now, if I were really into their artwork, I'm sure I'd be all over this issue. But I'm just a casual fan, so the in-depth strength of these interviews is mostly lost on me. Instead, I found myself more impressed with the other minor articles and reviews. Overall, this isn't really aimed at me. It's aimed at people who care much more about the independent side of comics (or even comix). I can certainly imagine getting something out of this book every month, but it's not a book I would buy for myself.