Monthly Archives: August 2013

Review: Ficciones

Ficciones
Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book you need to focus on to read and fully appreciate. It’s not easy, mostly because they’re not stories, not in the sense we are conditioned to think of them. No real beginnings, middles or ends, more like Borges’ thoughts as he’s sitting at a typewriter and doing writing exercises.

This book in particular didn’t quite work for me for that reason. On a sentence by sentence level, the language and imagery are beautiful but that’s like looking at the scattered pieces of a mosaic and commenting on their attractiveness. Unless they’re put together to make a picture of some sort, something with coherence and fusion, they remain just lovely pieces.

That all said, it’s fascinating to see his influence and how far reaching it is. Anyone who reads this and Murakami and doesn’t see how the one affected the other is missing a fairly important link in the chain.

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Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

city of bonesNot quite sure what to say about this one. In today’s world of YA urban fantasy action love stories, you’re obviously going to draw some comparison to Harry Potter and Twilight – the heavyweights of that genre. And the film of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (which is WAY too long for a title) certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

Is there a love triangle (or two)? Check.
Teen Protagonist who doesn’t know about their magical abilities? Check.
Werewolves (as protectorate, close family friend and biker gang)? Check.
Love sick best friend pining for a love which will never be reciprocated (and possibly being a vampire)? Check.
Really beautiful people who would be at home on a CW show? Check.

It’s got everything we’ve come to expect from a film like this… so why doesn’t it work? Continue reading

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Happy Anniversary to me…

IMG_0058Today, August 22, 2013, marks the third anniversary of my life as an Ex-Pat.

In 2010, on this date, I packed up some of my belongings into one too many suitcases, loaded a dog into the hold of an airplane and headed off for a small town in Hungary, with absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. Now, I’m one year past my original expiration date – my original contract being for a single year with a one year extension option. I didn’t exercise it and instead, headed north to Lithuania (I didn’t know where it was, either) to take up my new life as a university docent (associate professor). I’ve been in Lithuania now for a little over two years, having moved to Vilnius for a few months in June of 2011 and into my flat at the beginning of August that year. I’m also a few days away from beginning my 3rd year at VDU. Continue reading

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Review: Olympus Has Fallen

olympus-has-fallenI know there were two “OMG, the terrorists have the White House” films this year, and I will freely admit one looked stupid and the other looked… well, maybe a little less stupid. That second one is Olympus Has Fallen and it’s got some street cred to go along with the silly premise so I figured it was worth a shot. Antoine Fuqua, who did Training Day, was behind the camera and Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart and Morgan Freeman were out in front so at least it would be fun watching them chew up the scenery if nothing else.

And honestly, there was nothing else. Continue reading

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How to piss off a Lithuanian | Matador Network

Vilniuas Gatve in the rainOn behalf of my adopted home, I will be righteously outraged at any of these offenses (except the Basketball one).

How to piss off a Lithuanian | Matador Network.

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Sometimes you just need NPH bringing it…

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Review: Elysium

Elysium_PosterI was very excited to see the new Neill Blomkamp film Elysium from the first time I saw a trailer. It looked like someone was doing a realistic space epic, pulling in all sorts of SF tropes (Ringworld anyone?) and that someone was the same guy who gave us the incredibly impressive District 9 in his debut.

Shame his sophomore effort is a shallow, almost pointless retread of similar territory albeit with a bigger budget and impressive cast.  Continue reading

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Review: The Mysterious Island

The Mysterious Island
The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Seems like I’ve been on a Jules Verne kick lately, slowly working my way through the classics. I’d heard about Mysterious Island before, and seen several of the films, but like watching the movie version of Around the World in 80 Days, the book is very much different! Continue reading

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…and fish

2013-07-29 19.06.23Couple of bits of background are going to be needed here… The first is that my friend Monika gave me, for my birthday, a book of 100 places to visit in Lithuania and a red stuffed goldfish with the admonition that I had until my next birthday, July 13th for those of you keeping track, to take a picture of the fish in as many of the 100 locations as possible. She gave her brother the same book (in Lithuanian) and a yellow crab with the same directive.

The second thing you need to know is another friend, Annie, whom I have known for almost 35 years, is visiting from Australia with her partner Brad. The started their trip in Torino, Italy, where Brad was participating in a Beach Volleyball Tournament and then headed up to Kaunas earlier in the week to hang out and visit and see Lithuania.

So… Continue reading

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Review: The Purge

The PurgeEthan Hawke has been making some interesting filmic choices lately, the latest being in James DeMonaco’s The Purge, which postulates a future (2022) where, in order to combat the growing tensions and anxiety, all law enforcement is suspended for 12 hours, one night (March 21, 7pm – March 22, 7am) a year. During this time period, (almost) anything goes (high ranking politicians and certain military grade weapons are exempt) including murder. In fact, the argument could be made that murder is the primary reason for this annual “purge” of negative emotions. And things seem to be working. As of 2022, unemployment is down to 1% and violent crime is on a serious decline.  Continue reading

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