Monday, April 30, 2012

media update: April

A shorter media update than usual this month, at least as far as movies are concerned, because G and I got addicted to Game of Thrones. It's like Lord of the Rings with lots of sex and gore, which is to say: awesome. (Though I must say it was weird, especially since we just finished The Wire, when the dude who played Tommy Carcetti popped up as Littlefinger.) And oh my god, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion? SO FUCKING BOSS.

And, of course, I'm also in the middle of Silent Hill Downpour. My major non-spoilery beefs with it so far are that the frame rate stutters like you wouldn't believe---a patch is forthcoming, so if you're planning on buying it, you might want to wait until the patch is available---and some of the side quests have had really disappointing payoffs. One in particular took forever to finish because it involved running all over hell's half-acre to find several items, and then when you finished you got the lamest fucking "present" for your trouble.

On the plus side, it's creepy as shit. I have no idea why so many of the reviews said it isn't scary, but I can assure you it is. (And I've been a SH fanatic for 13 years, so you can trust me on this.) Sample conversation while playing:

[After walking outside an apartment building for about ten minutes, trying to find a way inside]

ME: How the hell do I get into this fucking building?
G: Do you want to use a hint coin? (Note: because he thinks that helping me every time I get stuck ruins the experience, which of course is true, he refuses to say anything unless I'm completely stumped and ask for assistance.)
ME: No, wait, I think I figured it out. La la la...

[redacting method of entry so as not to spoil it for potential players]


[G snickering]

ME: I don't want to open that door! Fuck! Fuck! Oh...oh my god...FUUUUUUCK

[opening door]


Considering the toll these games take on my nerves, don't ask me why I love them so much. But oh do I ever. (And yes, I really do swear that much while gaming. Also while conscious.)

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. What They Do in the Dark* by Amanda Coe: This intensely disturbing novel follows two young British girls in the 1970's. Pauline lives in poverty and squalor and gets in constant trouble for bullying at school. Gemma has everything she needs in the material sense, but her parents' divorce has turned her world upside down. But upon hearing that her favorite actress, child star Lallie Paluza, is coming to town to shoot a movie, Gemma forms an unlikely friendship with Pauline that turns into something much more sinister.

The chapters alternate between Gemma, Pauline, a couple of minor characters, and Quentin, an American woman working on the film. I really wish the author had substituted Lallie for Quentin; I didn't think her chapters added much at all. But that's a relatively minor quibble because this excellent book still left me seriously unnerved. One scene in particular was so horrifying that I'm still having a hard time shaking it. Highly recommended for fans of Mo Hayder and Gillian Flynn.

Side note: if you're not British, be prepared to look up a whole lot of slang online. (I recommend this site, which also came in handy during my trip to England last year.) Most of it is obvious from context, but I came across a few head scratchers.

Oh, and that site is also really fun to browse through for new bits of slang. Two of my favorites: "todger dodger", which is slang for a lesbian (todger = penis), and "touching cloth", a term used when you really, really, REALLY have to take a crap.

2. Outside the Lines by Amy Hatvany: As a child, Eden watched her father struggle with mental illness until he vanished from her life for good. When she gets older, Eden decides to search for him. Melodramatic and predictable, but I liked it well enough.

3. Hand Me Down by Melanie Thorne: Elizabeth is a 14-year-old girl whose mother has gotten remarried to a convicted sex offender. When her mother chooses her husband over her children, Elizabeth and her younger sister are split up and sent to live with relatives. Like Outside the Lines, it was pretty melodramatic and predictable, but I still enjoyed it.

4. Sadie Walker Is Stranded by Madeleine Roux: After the zombie apocalypse, the title character is living in Seattle with her orphaned 8-year-old nephew Shane. But when the barriers keeping the zombies out of Seattle are knocked down, zombies flood back into Seattle, forcing Sadie and Shane to beat a hasty retreat. They eventually wind up on an island with other survivors, where the zombies are the least of their worries. I liked this much more than the author's previous zombie novel, Allison Hewitt Is Trapped, and it gets bonus points for a Silent Hill reference.


1. Kasher in the Rye: The True Tale of a White Boy from Oakland Who Became a Drug Addict, Criminal, Mental Patient, and Then Turned 16 by Moshe Kasher: Quite a subtitle, huh? He wrote my review for me!


1. Jennifer Blood by Garth Ennis, Adriano Batista, Marcos Marz, and Kewber Baal

2. Devil's Infirmary* by Aco Oumi

3. The Boys* vol. 10 by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson

4. A Bride's Story vol. 3 by Kaoru Mori

5. Ambiguous Relationship by Masara Minase

6. Kamisama Kiss vol. 8 by Julietta Suzuki

7. Arisa vol. 7 by Natsumi Ando

8. 20th Century Boys vol. 20 by Naoki Urasawa


1. A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas*: Harold has traded his stoner lifestyle for a good job and marriage, but Kumar can't give up his pot and slacking ways, so their friendship has cooled. But when Kumar goes to Harold's house to drop off a present, he accidentally sets the Christmas tree on fire...the Christmas tree that Harold's gruff father-in-law has been nurturing since it was a seedling. So they set off on an adventure to find a new tree, helped along the way by a waffle-making robot and, of course, Neil Patrick Harris. It's extremely funny, and G and I wound up regretting the fact that we didn't catch it in 3D when it was in the theater.

2. The Descendants*: After his wife sustains life-threatening injuries during a boating accident, Hawaiian lawyer Matt King (George Clooney, superb as always) tries to cope with his two daughters, one of whom spills a very big secret. I've loved every one of Alexander Payne's movies, and his track record with me remains unblemished.

3. Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol*: After secret agent Ethan Hunt and his team are blamed for bombing the Kremlin, they must track down the real culprits and prevent a nuclear catastrophe. Intense and unbelievably exciting; the sequence in which Tom Cruise clings to the outside of the tallest building in the world is just as thrilling as you've heard.

4. Immortals: In ancient Greece, a power-hungry king named Hyperion is searching for a sacred bow that will grant him the power to release the Titans. The gods are unable to interfere directly, so they pick a human named Theseus to take Hyperion down. Emotionally uninvolving, but it does have some cool action sequences, and (as you'd expect from a movie directed by Tarsem) it sure is pretty.

5. House of Tolerance: Set in a Parisian brothel at the turn of the 20th century, this...well, I basically just told you everything. You watch prostitutes lounging around chatting and having sex and, with the exception of one horrifying scene in which a client gives a woman a Joker-esque makeover with a knife, that's about it. It wasn't a bad movie, but I really don't know what the point was.


1. "Chasing Pavements" by Adele

2. "Cold Shoulder" by Adele

3. "Right As Rain" by Adele

4. "Make You Feel My Love" by Adele

5. "Tired" by Adele

6. Out of the Blue by Debbie Gibson: Okay, I think I need to justify this download! Despite our usual distaste for reality shows, Glenn and I are watching Celebrity Apprentice because Penn Jillette participated this season (and oh, how we raged when he got kicked off), and Debbie Gibson was also on for several episodes. Although she didn't come across very positively on the show, seeing her reminded me of how much I loved her music back in the day. When she first hit it big, I was in high school, and because we're the same age (give or take a couple of years; I don't care enough to Google it), I often daydreamed about being her. The fame! The whirlwind worldwide tours! The crimped hair and torn jeans and hat perched rakishly on her tousled blonde hair! And when I was in college, I bought this cassette in a thrift store for 50 cents. One time, to punish my then-boyfriend for something he'd done, I made him listen to "Red Hot", which---as a rabid fan of alternative music, techno, and NWA---he hated. I mean, he hated the entire album, but there was something about that particular track that he really despised. (This anecdote probably goes a long way towards explaining the eventual dissolution of our relationship.)

Anyway, this album is glorious eighties cheese and I regret absolutely nothing. It's simple, sweet, sparkly music that makes me feel happy and nostalgic. Ain't nothing wrong with that.


According to many of the comments on YouTube, the French in this isn't the greatest, so if that's going to bother you, don't watch it. But he's a cat! French is his second language! Cut him some slack, fer chrissakes.

Ever wondered what The Walking Dead would look like as a cheesy 80's sitcom? Now you know! Warning: contains a few really gross zombie clips from the show.