Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Sunday Review

TV this week:

  • History Detectives: "Satelloon; Space Boot; Moon Museum" - Neat space adventure, with an early communications satellite, a prototype for a magnetic boot, and a chip of artwork that may have been place in a lunar module and hitched a ride to the moon. All three stories were fun, and the plea to viewers for more information on who "John F" was made for an intriguing ending.
  • Battlestar Galactica: "Torn" - Starbuck and Tigh are quite a pair in this one. True, they had it worse than most, but they managed to be the worst of the bunch to their own people in return. I'm not feeling much pity for them by the time Adama straightens them out. As for the Cyclon virus... pity they didn't just jump in and all get wiped out.
  • Battlestar Galactica: "A Measure of Salvation" - Speaking on jumping in and wiping them all out... whew. I find myself siding with Apollo despite the moral issues with it. And yet I'm as relieved as Adama about how it turned out.
  • Dinner Impossible: "Caffeine Crash" - My first response to this challenge is YUCK! I hate the smell of coffee, and the few times I've been unfortunate to get food with coffee tainting it I've had to spit it out because it's so disgusting. So the food in this challenge has utterly NO appeal to me at all. With the weather against them, and not realizing that half their audience is vegetarian, they succeed with the coffee break but fail the tea break (yet manage to feed the workers anyway). All in all, not one that I found compelling at all.

This week's netflix movie was Sweeney Todd (2007). I have issues with the graphic violence in this one, although I knew it was coming. The moment when Lovett figures out a use for the corpses and starts singing "A Little Priest" made me immediately think of The Emerald City Androgums in its pure silliness. As long as you don't take the whole thing seriously, hard to do because of the graphic nature of the film, the movie is watchable. Otherwise it's kind of hard to endure. Definitely a Burton film. Why is Bonham Carter so believable as an evil madwoman? This movie is consistently brutal, a little too dark, and very disturbing. I ended up looking away quite a few times. And I question the movie ending where it did, and wonder why a little lightening by seeing a last bit of Anthony and Johanna, say leaving the area, wouldn't have been a better choice.

Here are reviews of the DCBS comic book shipment that arrived this week, of books originally released Jun 2nd, 9th, and 16th:
  • Brightest Day #3 - Movement on the Aquaman plot. Aquaman and Mera discuss Mera's home, which hasn't happened all that much in the past. All-in-all, not too bad.
  • JSA All Stars #7 - So much happened in Blackest Night, I didn't catch the death of Damage. The whole thing is good, but it relies on backstory I'm not familiar with. The second feature continues to be very fun.
  • Justice Society of America #39 - This is a wonderful little Elseworld, but I think an issue could have been cut and it would have improved the story overall. There's been just a little too much stretching.
  • Superman/Batman Annual #4 - Hubby-Eric noticed that this was a Batman Beyond tale, and so we ordered it just because we liked the show. And I liked the book. Didn't love it, but I wasn't really sure what to expect so it didn't disappoint.
  • Demo Vol 2 #5 - Having just finished reading the Time Traveler's Wife, I couldn't help but compare this to that. I'm not sure I get just how the father's timeline worked, but it's a thought-provoking issue.
  • Doctor Who Classic Series 3 #4 - I'm finding these sixth Doctor stories strangely unappealing. I want to like them, but they seem to want to take themselves way too seriously for me to enjoy.
  • Legendary Talespinners #3 - So, that's it? Not exactly a happily ever after there. I feel like there should be more substance to this series than what we got.

  • DC HeroClix Blackest Night Starter Set - Yay, a HeroClix of Mera barfing up red plasma! I am happy with the set, but I'll probably break it out and sell the non-Mera and non-GL figures. I really need to get out my whole collection of HeroClix and put them on display.
  • Super Friends #28 - Nicely puzzled out, but a very simple story. I'm more concerned that Super Friends hasn't been solicited for two months. Don't tell me this fantastic book has been canceled, please?

  • Brightest Day #4 - And so we meet the new Aqualad. His name is Jackson, he doesn't know how to swim, and he lives in New Mexico where the White Lantern is sitting. Hrm. And that woman on the next scene... can't be Mera, she's with Aquaman. Could it be Mera's twin sister Hila? And the troops she has are using hard-water weapons, so they are apparently from Mera's dimension. More please!
  • Birds of Prey #2 - Someone is tearing apart Oracle's world using the most frustrating weapon possible. How do you fight a full-court propaganda war?
  • DC Universe Legacies #2 - I found myself wanting the next issue before I'd finished reading this one, just because I really really want to see the Silver Age start. No sign at all of the Golden Age Aquaman, but then, he wasn't exactly a team player.
  • Tiny Titans #29 - The only Aqualad is on the cover and in the rollcall. So while this was as fun as every issue, it also needs more Aqualad.
  • DMZ #54 - Interesting twist. Offered amnesty, and asked to simply report on the conflict, he makes the best choice he could under the circumstances.
  • Age of Bronze #30 - This issue is all about getting Troilus and Cressida together despite the issue of Cressida's dad being a traitor and all. Sadly, their story does not end well.
  • Marvelous Land of Oz #7 - I can't wait to see the reactions of people to the next issue.

My library book this week was Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. Seattle in the 1880s, Zombies, and airships... what more does a book need? Well, this one also has a decent plot and great characters, which makes it better than just your average zombie book. As a born and bred Lesser Seattleite, it also pleased me in lots of other ways (a wall around the city? What a great idea!). My knowledge of local layout made following the action work ok, although I was initially thrown by the references to Denny Hill until I remembered that it's an alternate Seattle so certain things happened completely differently. In fact, there's an afterword by the author to explain some of the differences, including that the city grew much faster in this reality which allows for the advanced rate of construction and larger population. I think I originally heard about it from Unshelved, but then others reported on it and I just found I wanted to read it. Maybe I'll need to find other works by Cherie Priest now too, even ones not set in Seattle. I just learned there's a sort-of sequel to this, Clementine, and put in for it through Interlibrary Loan in the hopes that my system will buy it.

Agatha Christie this week was The Unexpected Guest from 1958, adapted by Charles Osborne from the play of the same name. A stranger enters a household just after a murder has been committed, and quickly helps the presumed murderer to cover up the situation. I've got to admit, this one had me fooled repeatedly. And with such a simple premise, the layers each peel back like an onion as the acts move on. As usual, I didn't figure it out, although I wasn't particularly surprised by the time of the reveal simply because Christie had given enough facts for it to be blindingly obvious in retrospect. Ah well, my record continues to be dismal with Christie's mysteries, but I still very much enjoy them.

Fortean Times #261, Special 2010. The cover article is about Jesus in Britain, and whether he made the journey in the first 30 years of his life. The ones we know almost nothing about, but there are tantalizing clues within both the scriptures and popular lore. Personally, I'm not sure that it matters one way or another, but I guess I'm glad folks are thinking about it.

This issue came late. I mean, really late. It came out in the UK on March 25th. I usually get them about a month after that. This one arrived in early June. I hadn't actually gotten a new issue for over two months when #263 arrived... then this one the next day. As of this writing I still haven't gotten #262 and I'm not sure it will ever come. The shipping issues in the United States have gotten progressively worse since the fulfillment company started shipping from overseas instead of a central locale in the United States. Add in the flimsy shipping sleeves they've switched to, and it's a wonder anyone in the US bothers to subscribe anymore. Then again, I'm not one to talk, am I?

Right, enough ranting. Strangedays has the story of an unfortunate flock of starlings that met their death in some mysterious way. They were found dead by the dozens in the middle of a village street, with no toxins found, just physical damage apparently from the fall. Another mystery was solved when misbehaving car lock problems were traced to a wireless menu system a cafe was using. Makes me glad my car still has mechanical locks. A quick story covers a haunted outpost in Afghanistan. Some stunning murals are on display on the photo spread, that show apparently damaged buildings with fantastic interiors.

More fun comes from tales of snake oil, and the fact that Chinese water-snakes are high in omega-3 fatty acids. A short article tells stories of survivors of the Haiti quake, including the family that survived the quake in Haiti, moved to Chile to be with relatives, then survived the big Santiago quake. There's also a very short piece on cow licking a house and causing damage. Moo! A longer article talks about long-lived examples of various animal species, including a tortoise named Jonathan reported to be 175 years old, a dachshund-terrier that nearly made it to 21 years old, a cat that reportedly made it to 38 years, a polar bear of 42 years, and ... well, I don't want to spoil the article now, do I?

A couple of cool ghost pictures appear to show a reflection and a rapidly moving bug, but both at least look otherworldly. An article on the Japanese mania of blood types clears up some of the weirdness I read in Manga, but not all. Mythconceptions tackles dirty flies. The tales of items missing in the post has record delivery times, starting with a 110-year-old postcard. I love the Archaeology section, which talks about an army uncovered in Egypt's Western Desert that may be the lost army of Cambyses II. Cool!

Relics of Santa Claus and Galileo are reported in "Bones of Contention". Alien Zoo has a bit about a frog that completely changes colors as it matures. The UFO files has food for thought, but nothing earth-shattering this month. There's a great article on the Dream Machine, which is basically a flicker device meant to put the user into an alternate state of mind. Then there is more about Organite, but still no controlled scientific testing. Without that testing, I don't believe any of it. I'm willing to be convinced, but this isn't convincing. Anyway, moving on... lightning images. Images of lightning strikes on the body of people hit by lightning. Spooky, but there are pictures as proof. Speaking of pictures, more on ghost photos, with a great ghost story about a man who went to retrieve photos of himself while on his deathbed. There's also an early hoax photo with a very well-researched history.

The Forum talks about a Sun Roll and the Other. The reviews are lovely, with some books I may eventually want to check out. One good letters discusses the Vatican's opinions on alien life. There's also a letter debating the Robin Hood as Templar theory from issue #259 that has a number of good points. I like that the readers of Fortean Times are engaged and willing to question the authority of any article author. The stories in It Happened to Me... were good ghost tales. I loved the bit on French standing stones in Fortean Traveller. A good issue, I just wish the next one would come soon. Otherwise I'm going to read them out of order, not comfortable for an Aspie like me.


Garrett said...

Hmm. Speaking of Zombie books, have you read World War Z yet?

Tegan said...

Nope. Who's it by?

Garrett said...

Max Brooks, Mel's son. It's really, _really_ good. :-)