Sunday, May 03, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Ghost Hunters: "Garden State Asylum" - Investigating a HUGE set of buildings and tunnels like that, with only a handful of people and cameras, seems like an almost pointless effort. This is made clear by that "great piece of evidence", where someone picked up the camera and dropped it without showing up on the camera. In an ideal situation, every camera would have another camera aimed at it. The lack of scientific method is the thing that really drives me nuts about this show. It could be applied, but never is.
  • Food Detectives: "All You Can Eat" - The calorie counting in this one was particularly interesting to me, having lost over 100 pounds by paying attention to calories. The advice of sitting away from the buffet table and using the smaller plates during an all-you-can-eat is stuff I've used before, and works. I found the blue foods bit to be cool, but I would have liked to see other non-blue foods tested just to give us an idea of how deep into the spectrum other colors went.
  • Dinner Impossible: "NBA All-Star Stress" - Why would Robert make his job so much more difficult by doing 30 instead of 10 dishes? This seemed to be the "safety in the kitchen" episode, with a number of near disasters, even repeated in slo-mo! Scary stuff, kiddies. If you can survive a Dinner Impossible with Chef Robert, you can probably handle a regular kitchen.
  • Supernanny: "Krolikowski Family" - Jo is up against a dad who thinks she's full of bunk and uses corporal punishment on his children. Discipline in this house is based in fear and not love, where there is any discipline at all. I wasn't sure if this one would work at first, especially when dad acted like raising kids was nothing to do with him. Again, I really want to see a follow-up with this family in a year or so. And follow-ups with previous families as well.

This week's comic book related review is Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Manga: Boukenshin published by Tokyopop. "Boukenshin" translates as "Adventurous Spirit". There are four stories in this collection, featuring writers David Gerrold, Diane Duane, Christine Boylan, and F J DeSanto and artists E J Su, Chrissy Delk, Don Hudson, and Bettina Kurkoski.
  • Changeling - A team is sent into the Labyrinth of Wisdom, with Ensign Wesley on his first mission. Groan-inducing. Constantly groan-inducing. Funny, yes, and the art enhances the fun, but definitely a groaner story. I liked it.
  • Sensation - A mysterious plague attacks an archeological expedition, and the Enterprise aids and investigates. There are moments when this story moves a little slow, but overall it pulls together with a nice mystery and a solution unique to the crew of the Enterprise.
  • The Picardian Knot - After a mind-meld with Ambassador Sarek, Picard and his crew are called to the Neutral Zone. Cringe-worthy at times, but the final result is satisfying. I enjoyed it.
  • Loyalty - During the Enterprise's refit after Wolf 359, Riker is called to secret meeting to discuss the future of the ship's command. Courtroom drama doesn't work really well in comic book form, I'm afraid, and despite the artist's best efforts, this one comes across as a little forgettable. It's a good story, it's just not as good as the other stories in this collection.
Not a bad collection at all. The Manga style works with these characters, and the top-notch writers working on this collection also helped a lot. If you have a chance to snag a copy of this one and are a fan of STTNG, I'd recommend reading it.

My library book this week was A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham. This is a different sort of fantasy, with a unique premise and based in a neatly different culture. You are drawn into a world where the way a person holds their body is as important as the words they say, and poets can draw raw power into physical forms. This is the first book of a quartet, but it works fine as a standalone. Definitely a book to give a chance. I enjoyed it enough to request the remaining three books from Interlibrary loan (and just found out that the library system is ordering copies of all three now).

Agatha Christie this week was Dumb Witness from 1937. Still slowly working my way through these books in almost chronological order. This book has a rather active dog who talks to Hastings quite a bit, although he's not a good witness. The book also doesn't introduce Poirot into the story until about five chapters in. The mystery is good, and again I didn't get close to solving it. I'm beginning to think I never will solve a Poirot before the reveal.