Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Color of Magic" by Terry Pratchett

The Color of Magic (Discworld, Book 1) The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett

My review

rating: 2 of 5 stars
Discworld is a truly "magical" setting and Pratchett created one of the most intense and wacky worlds. However, the episodic structure belittles the premise and the characters roam from one perilous conflict to another rather easily. The sense of danger / doom is relegated to a mere nothing.

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hold on a sec!

I just realized this: "Times of Trouble" from Temple of the Dog and "Rotten Apple" of Alice In Chains share the same riff. A little bit of research revealed that Alice In Chains' song came a good three years after. I am not insinuating that Jerry Cantrell and co. nicked the riff, but it is a little uncanny.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Yet Another Awesome Playlist

"Austral Spectrum" by Alchemist
"We Die Young" by Alice In Chains
"Twilight of the Thunder God" by Amon Amarth
"Sweet Emotion" by The Answer
"Blind Man" by Black Stone Cherry
"Joan Crawford" by Blue Oyster Cult
"Riot Act" by Exodus
"King for a Day" by Faith No More
"Guardian" by Fates Warning
"Seasons in the Abyss" by Hellsongs
"Psycho" by Kosmos
"Get It on" by T-Rex
"Inertiatic Esp" by The Mars Volta
"Seabeast" by Mastodon
"Broken, Beat & Scarred" by Metallica
"A-Hole" by Mother Superior
"Nutbush City Limits" by Nashville Pussy
"Mota" by The Offspring
"Face of Melinda" by Opeth
"Prelude to Descent" by Paradise Lost
"Sentimental" by Porcupine Tree
"My Enemy" by Skid Row
"Jesus Christ Pose" by Soundgarden
"Serenade" by Steve Miller Band
"Cold Winter Nights" by Stratovarius
"Times of Trouble" by Temple Of The Dog
"More Than Meets the Eye" by Testament
"Teaser" by Tommy Bolin
"Schism" by Tool
"The Answer" by Warrior Soul


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Reverse Sacrifice

Last night I attended the second night of the Northwest Film Festival, organized at the Northwest Film Center in Portland, Oregon. The night's screenings involved a collection of shorts handpicked by the judges from local filmmakers (Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver, BC). Needless to say it was a mixed bag of oddities, impenetrable tosh, and run-of-the-mill squares.

Two films, however, grabbed my attention: Jamie Marie Waelchli's excruciating Little Pleasures and Vincent Caldoni's brilliant The Rifle Workbook. The former consists of Waelchli stuffing as many gums as possible into her mouth until she pukes (multiple times) and her cheeks enlarge to contain the elastic sugary mass. It is a heavy-handed metaphor for a society where we subject ourselves an overload of puny pleasures, instead of experiences that are rewarding for a longer period of time. The film - experiment, if you will - reaches a point where it ceases to be funny (as was evidenced by the ending laughter from the audience three quarters of the way) and becomes painful to watch. A ridiculously simple premise and execution, but very effective.

The Rifle Workbook, on the other hand, showcases the talents of Caldoni as a future superstar movie director. Using a soundtrack by Explosions in the Sky, the film takes place in a wooded area where an angel oversees a strange ritual where the locals place their most precious belongings (mirror, knife, hair, whiskey, etc.) in a case. The angel then burns the case and from the ashes comes out ... It is a fantastic little film - music video, if you will.

Both films were shown in the middle of the schedule, so they overshadowed everything that came before and/or after them. Interestingly, though, both films were satisfyingly unconventional, yet accessible. Just like short films should be.

Friday, November 7, 2008

"Anathem" by Neal Stephenson

Here is my review of Stephenson's latest book, Anathem as posted

Anathem Anathem by Neal Stephenson

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
Despite its grand ambitions and occasional bursts of genius, it falls short of its promise. Stephenson's linguistic prowess is undeniable, but his prose is far from poetic or emotionally gratifying. However, it is one of the more interesting and challenging science fiction, or "speculative fiction", books I have read and would recommend to anybody searching for something slightly out of the ordinary. Prior knowledge of the Long Now Project isn't essential - the book is only marginally connected to it - but adds to the experience.

View all my reviews.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Goodbye to Massachusetts

I posted this blog somewhere else by mistake. Oops...

It has been a little over three and a half years since I arrived in Beantown with no definite game plan for the long run. I had signed up for the summer school to get some film classes in order to find out if the whole scene was right for me. My original plan was to travel around the world for a year with the money I had in the bank (a few years' worth of savings and what I got for my 2001 Ford Fiesta 1.6L 5-speed manual). However, after a couple of weeks in Boston, I decided to stay here. I enrolled - miraculously - in graduate school and the rest is history (I can't escape cliches nowadays).

My three and a half years (with 3 months break in the City of Angels) has been full of ups and downs. Here's the lowdown:

- Regan - love of my life and the most gorgeous girl in the world.
- Friends - mostly through BU I met some amazing people that are now my lifelong friends.
- Accent - my new British-American-Turkish hybrid of an accent is apparently a hit.
- US of A - there are so many places to see and things to do here, I love it.

- My car - how can a car break down this frequently?
- Personal issues that I don't want to divulge - those close to me know what they are.
- Job situation - unless you're an accountant or have a medical training, Boston is devoid of job opportunities.

Now I'm heading out to Oregon - a place I fell in love with two St. Patrick's Days ago. A new beginning. I'm sad to say goodbye to Boston, but at the same time I am very relieved to be out of this place. Who knows when I will be here next - not for a long time. I hope life treats me a little better out there, because I'm running out of options.

Anyway, this is getting pretty morbid. This is my last blog from the East Coast. Next blog will be written in Pacific time.