Week in review (Jan 13, 2015)

  • Just before 2014 ended, I snuck in another Just Between Us column for my dad’s newspapers. “My Neighborhood, My Oasis” is a quiet piece. An attempt to grow my skill set and write about small, ordinary things in interesting ways.
  • Poster-art-for-The-Imitation-Game_event_mainWatching the Golden Globes on Sunday night reminded me of just how many Best Picture contenders I haven’t seen. Basically all of them. Except The Imitation Game. I saw that one a couple weekends ago. It was Cumberbatch, so yeah, it was good. More importantly, it put a spotlight on Alan Turing and his important code-breaking work during World War II. Between that, and more or less inventing computers, Turing may literally be the reason we are all sitting here, living the way we do.
  • Back to the Golden Globes (briefly), I thought Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s opening monologue was pretty good, but I was disappointed by how little of them we got throughout the rest of the night.
  • baby_mamaI guess my consolation is that I just saw Baby Mama, their first movie together. (They are apparently coming out with a second, unrelated movie soon.) Baby Mama is kind of goofy and predictable, but it was really fun to watch the two of them play off one another — and to observe the differences in their comedy styles, which are less obvious when they’re not directly juxtaposed. For example, Tina is very sarcastic and geeky, while Amy is more exaggerated and slapstick. (The scene where Tina is trying to get Amy to swallow an enormous pre-natal vitamin was probably my favorite part.)
  • For more Tina and Amy love, check out this piece on their friendship over the years.
  • I’m trying out a couple new TV shows…

  • Skulduggery_Pleasant_book_coverLast but not least, I’m thinking this might be the year that I finally become an audiobook convert. Mostly because I like to read while I walk Riley, and it’s much easier to pop in my earbuds and press Play than it is to hold a book and flip pages while also carrying a leash. Unfortunately, a bad narrator can really ruin a story for me. So if you know of any good ones (narrators or audiobooks), please let me know! My recommendation for you is Skulduggery Pleasant, written by Derek Landy and read by Rupert Degas. It’s a bit Harry Potter-ish, in all the best ways. (British humor; our world but with magic; coming-of-age adventure; etc.) The only problem is that it’s the first in a series of 9 books, and only the first 3 were published in the US. So I’m not quite sure how I’m going to read (or listen to) the rest…

As a side note, doing these weekly reviews is making me realize that I consume a lot of art and entertainment. Books, music, movies, television, articles, blogs. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing… but it could be? I dunno. Just an observation for now. Further contemplation is necessary before coming to a conclusion.

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5 Comments

  1. All props to Turing, yes (hey, I was aware of the Turing Test long before I’d ever heard of Turing himself), but some of the credit should go to some others, too, such as, for example, Ada Lovelace, the team that created ARPANET, and Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web (it still kind of freaks me out that all the basics of the web, which is so much a part of our lives now, were created by one person, still living, who most people have never heard of — I think of him whenever I hear people go on and on about Steve Jobs :-) ).

    One audiobook I heartily recommend is Inherent Vice (written by Thomas Pynchon, read by Ron McLarty). I am obsessed with the book, and McLarty’s reading is so good that I actually sent him a fan letter by email (which he was gracious enough to respond to). He shades his voice perfectly for the different characters (and the book has about a bazillion characters), and of course he sings all the songs (Pynchon books always have songs).

    • Yeah I’m not saying Turing did everything on his own. Just saying he’s an under-acknowledged figure in history.

      Thanks for the recco! I’ve seen ads for the movie and it totally does not look like my thing, but the book could be!

  2. The movie of Inherent Vice is enjoyable if you’ve already read the book (some scenes and characters are pretty much perfect), but I wouldn’t recommend it otherwise. I’m not one of those “the book is usually better” people, but that is the case here.

    I’ve been writing about it, of course:
    http://u-town.com/collins/?cat=16

  3. I love just about everything Amy and Tina do. They are comedy gold and, in ways, like two pieces of a puzzle who fit together so well. Speaking of Amy – the audio version of her book is fabulous. She narrates it herself, along with some guests, and there are extra tidbits included that aren’t in the print copy. I also really like Cassandra Campbell as a narrator. She’s done a lot of books I’ve listened to and she’s always great!

    • Shari-
      Thanks for the tip! YES PLEASE is definitely on my TBR list, so looking for it in audio is a great idea. And I’ll go check out Cassandra Campbell asap. :)

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