Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • Ghost Lab: "Smell of Fear" - I like the biocam. It's funny. They didn't do enough tests with it ahead of time, but it was fun to watch. I'd like to play with it. As for the rest of that investigation... they spent less than 15 minutes of show time at the first place? That's lame. The second place, in New Orleans, was an intriguing spot, but it's run as a haunted house? Hrm. But I'm getting the impression that they really are just experimenting with techniques, not trying to prove or disprove hauntings, in this one. The fear experiment was silly, but I get what they were trying to do. I can't decide whether I like this show at all or not. I think I'll keep watching for the gadgets.
  • Dinner Impossible: "Sesame Street Scramble" - Oh, this was fun! I'm not a fan of Elmo, but seeing Cookie and Maria hanging out with Robert was lovely! And the challenge of foods beginning with "B" was a perfect one for Sesame Street. I really want to try some of those dishes. And visit that park. And hang out with Cookie Monster.
  • Destination Truth: "Haunted Lost City/Thunderbird" - I want to visit those ruins. My biggest frustration is that the crew does not go back during the day to get comparison images for us to see! I wanted to see the "bell tower" in daylight. And the tunnels as well. But no, all we get are night-vision images. The investigations are nicely set-up, but end very abruptly. Then the crew goes to Alaska to find a Thunderbird. That's a place I don't want to go. Too cold for me.
  • Ghost Hunters: "Congress Theater" - Are there any old theaters that aren't haunted? And the places, as Grant points out, are really hard to investigate due to the acoustics and size. Steve and Tango are a very funny double-act, and really fit in that theater. They should do a show together. Oh, wait, they are. Anyway, I wonder if ghostblobs are related to blobsquatches?
  • Heroes: "Tabula Rasa" - Ok, I really hate the circus people now. That was cruel what they did to Sylar. I'd feel funny writing that if it were actually Sylar inside that body. I'm liking seeing determined Hiro again. And it's nice that Noah has found direction.
  • Sarah Jane Adventures: "The Mad Woman in the Attic" - Wow, not exactly what I was expecting from this episode, but certainly pretty cool. Rani makes a wonderful mad old woman. This was a very dark episode, visually.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "Mayhem of the Music Meister" - Black Manta singing in a sweet voice! Aquaman dancing with Grodd! Oh, say, and some Bat-guy. But hey, Aquaman singing! And Atlanteans putting on a show.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic book shipment that arrived this week, of books originally released October 7th and 14th:
  • Mangalicious Tick #3 - Bad art does not make a book Manga. In fact, it makes it less like Manga to me. This is just poor artwork, bad storytelling, and cliche themes.
  • Incredibles #1 - Yay! More screentime for Jack-Jack! I like the henchmen as well. You know you always suspected they have a group or a union or something. It's not a new idea, but fun to see it in action here.
  • Justice League: Cry for Justice #4 - Well, the explanations for the choices of characters in the essays in the back may be the only saving grace of this book for me. I'm a sucker for the DCU history stuff.
  • Doctor Who Classics Series 2 #11 - Wow, definitely into stuff I've never read. Another Time Lord, old baddies, and alternate universes. Good stuff!

  • Blackest Night: Batman #3 - Trying to care, failing. DC Zombies, *sigh*.
  • Green Lantern Corps #41 - Mildly more interesting than the Batman one, but not by much. Zombies. Just more zombies. *sigh*.
  • Super Friends #20 - Not the ending I was expecting. I love Aquaman in this one... but then I love him in just about every issue of this book. I particularly like his expression on the cover. And, gee, that wouldn't be the Rutland Halloween Parade, now, would it?
  • DMZ #46 - So, yeah... what is the endgame? Or will there be one? More questions each issue. I hope we get some answers soon.
  • Doctor Who Ongoing #4 - A Sontaran, Ogron, and Draconian walk into a bar, and the bartenders says, "Hey, what is this, a joke?" "No," says the Draconian, "It's a Doctor Who story." What more can I say?
  • PS238 #41 - Yay! I like the Von Doom family now. And the Emerald Gauntlet stuff was fun! More like this! A lot more like this! I wish this was a weekly.

My library book this week was The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. I got this from the library after seeing William on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. William explains to Jon that he had to drop out of school because of a famine in his country. The description of the famine in this book is so intense, so painful, and very personal, that the casual way he describes it on the Daily Show is almost horrifying when compared with what really happened. The book is a little slow throughout the first half as William's situation is described. It's not bad, just a little slow. And hard to read because of the pain he and his family and country go through. The book picks up a lot of speed when William starts to build the windmill. I love his description of a real-life "Junkyard Wars" search to find the parts he needed, along with his friends' help when everyone else thought he was insane or smoking something. And once the windmill is working, the problems he has refining it are thoughtfully explained. A relatively short portion of the book is the discovery of the windmill by the outside world, and how William is suddenly in the limelight as the enormity of what he's done is realized. And he did it with only basic schooling, using books written in another language. This is one book that will leave you feeling pretty good at the end, and hopeful of the future when there are guys like William Kamkwamba in it.