Review: Starve #2

Story:

“The scathing look at foodie culture and celebrity chef fandom continues. Think Anthony Bourdain in a Transmet world.”
Read more about it on Goodreads.

Starve #2

Review:

The environmental and criminal excess message gets a little more heavy handed this issue as he tracks down a fish that’s thought to be extinct, and if you can find it, costs 100grand per pound. So not only is it exclusively for the wealthy they’re also flaunting their wealth to people who probably can’t afford to eat on a reality TV show.

It does raise some interesting points though. Like why would the wealthy continue to ignore an environmental problem that eventually will effect them just so they can continue to spend more and more money to pretend it’s not happening.

It’s again something that’s going on now and is kind of fascinating. How can you ignore a problem like that? I guess some of it is blissful ignorance but in this day and age it’s hard not to be aware. That’s something you have to work at. You have to shut your mind down at any evidence. And I guess it’s a bit of fatalism. Loads of people think the world’s going to end anyway so I guess you might as well die comfortable.

I just don’t understand how you can be aware of a problem and not help solve it if you are in the position to do so. That’s probably why I’m finding this comic so fascinating.
So Gavin and Sheldon go out drinking thinking they’ve got a lot of time to the next competition but the chef in charge hates Gavin and changes the times. Somewhere between issue 1 and issue 2 Gavin made it to the finals.

We also meet another chef this issue who does what she does for the love of it and not to get rich or famous and Gavin considers joining her as she makes him an offer to start up their own restaurant. It’s a criticism of celebrity culture and doing things to make a a lot of money quickly. Getting rich and being famous aren’t everything.

I don’t like the cover. The fish is placed strangely and I don’t think it looks good. But it does stand out so I guess it does it’s job.

I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get to see him defeat everyone in the first round or in any of the other rounds. The enjoyment I’m getting out of this book is having rich selfish people get what’s coming to them and I want to see more of that. It’s still interesting but maybe I’ve been exposed to too many dystopian stories for this to hold my attention for long. The message also seems to be taking priority over character building and his winning moment this issue felt a little fake to me because of it. Gavin’s getting developed as a character but no one else is and I don’t know how long he can sustain a series by himself.

Rating: 6 out of 10

Previous Review: Starve #1                                                                                              Next Review: Starve #3

The Walking Dead: Tell it to the Frogs

Spoilers for the episode

The Story:

Rick reunites with his family but immediately abandons them to go be a hero and save Meryl. Secretly it’s all about the guns he lost but he doesn’t want to spread that around because then he’s less of a hero.

Thoughts:

Meryl’s still on the roof and is a bit delirious. He’s talking to himself and finding it hilarious. Then he has a tantrum so walkers can hear him and starts begging God to save him. Then he gets angry at God, I’m assuming. It’s hard to tell with all the babbling. The only thing clear is that as soon as he realises he can get himself out of his predicament he stops asking God for help.

Back at the camp Lori’s giving Carl a hair cut and Shane’s going to teach him to catch frogs. Then they hear Glen who drives the posh car right up to camp with the car alarm still going.

Everyone jumps on him. Dale tells him to turn it off and Amy wants to know about Andrea. Then they get mad about the noise and the possibility of it drawing walkers. Dale thinks it’s okay because the noise was bouncing around the hills so it’s hard to pinpoint.

Carl gets upset over everyone reuniting. Then he spots his Dad and I can’t stand any of the characters involved but I love this reunion. The way Rick runs to Carl and falls over in his relief at seeing him. Lori just stands in the background stunned until Rick comes up and hugs her too.

Then we cut to around the campfire and Rick’s trying to express his feelings at seeing his family alive and his gratitude to Shane for keeping them that way. Dale decides to ruin the moment with old man wisdom.

Lori and Shane keep having meaningful glances as Rick talks about being disorientated and grateful to Shane.

Shane has to go deal with Ed who’s built his fire too high and Carol apologises for him. I like the little arc that happens for Carol but it takes her a while to stop being the beaten wife and start being interesting.

Still around the camp fire and Dale’s worrying about what they tell Daryl. T-Dog and Rick argue over who’s responsible and it’s so annoying. I hate self righteous people.

Although it is T-Dog’s fault because he dropped the key. Glen says it will sound better coming from a white guy. T-Dog then decides to tell them Meryl’s still alive because he chained the door shut. He’s been sitting on this knowledge for about a day and decided to wait until it’s night to tell anyone.

In their tent and Rick says he knew they were alive because the family albums were gone so they take this moment to look at the albums. Lori apologises for all the bad times and mistakes. They decide to have sex in the tent next to Carl. Lori says he won’t wake up and it makes me wonder if she used to do the same with Shane.

Carol’s washed Rick’s clothes and it actually becomes a plot point at the end of the season. While Glen’s sad because they’re stripping the posh car of parts.

Rick’s been thinking about saving Meryl and Lori hates the idea. She’s right Rick should be protecting his family.

Screaming happens in the woods and the adults go running. Why have they let the kids wander off on their own?

There’s a Walker eating a deer and everyone’s shocked because they never come this far up the mountain which means they’ve run out of food in the city. Apparently no one considered the possibility that people can die anywhere and become walkers. It may not be a walker form the city. Or you know the noise from the car is responsible and Dale was wrong.

They deal with the walker by decapitation and Daryl shows up with a lot of squirrels. Shane goes to talk to Daryl who just wants to know if his brother’s dead. Rick comes out with what he did and Daryl attacks him but they take him down.

Then T-Dog decides to make everything better by telling Daryl he dropped the key. I love his response ‘You couldn’t pick it up’ and T-Dog’s answer ‘I dropped it down a drain’ then Daryl’s reply ‘that supposed to make me feel better’. This is why you should keep your mouth shut if it’s not gong to make the other person feel better.

Then Shane tries to convince Rick not to go get Meryl because he’s not worth it. With Daryl sitting right there who tells him to watch it.

Rick asks Glen to go with them because he’s competent. Then T-Dog volunteers and he’s the opposite of competent. I’m surprised he’s survived this long.

Rick bargains with Dale for bolt cutters. Dale wants his tools that T-Dog left on the roof back and to strip the van of parts.

Shane gives Rick a gun with a bullet for each of them because Rick doesn’t want to fire a gun in the city. As this conversation’s happening Daryl is getting agitated and blowing the horn of the van.

Lori asks Dale where Carl is (and so begins Lori never knowing where Carl is). He’s being taught how to catch frogs by Shane in the Quarry.

The women are washing the clothes and Jackie’s questioning the division of labour while Carol says it’s just the way it is.

They talk about what they miss. Andrea misses her vibrator and Carol agrees. They have fun until Ed comes over and tells them to focus on their work.

Lori sends Carl back to camp and tells Shane off. He told her Rick was dead. He’s not to come near her family again. She also says ‘tell it to the frogs’ so they got the title in again.

In the City they enter the shop and take out walkers quietly with the crossbow. There aren’t that many at all so something must have drawn them off or they were all overreacting when they were there before.

Andrea tells Ed to do his laundry himself if he doesn’t like how it’s done. The other women stand up to him when he starts ordering Carol around. He hits Carol and Shane gets involved.

He takes all his frustrations out on Ed’s face and won’t stop. Shane tells Ed if he lays hands on Carol or Sophia next time he won’t stop.

Carol is distraught at the whole thing and apologises to ED as he’s still on the ground.

Back in the City they get to the roof top and the chain’s still on the door but Meryl has chopped off his own hand and gone. Daryl’s not happy.

The best parts of this episode were Daryl. He’s so funny and he throws himself head first into everything. Without him this episode wouldn’t have been half as entertaining as it was.

I like how different Daryl and Carol are now compared to these early episodes. At the time I found Carol boring and Daryl a thug.

Now the only characters I hate are Dale, Andrea and Lori (who doesn’t seem to have an unemotional rational bone in her body).

Previous The Walking Dead: Guts                                                              Next The Walking Dead: Vatos

Supernatural: Bugs

Spoilers for the episode

Story:

A curse causes Bugs to start killing people where new houses have been built and so the Winchesters get to go be squatters.

Thoughts:

On a building site a guy falls down a hole in the ground and breaks his ankle. The guy he’s with goes to get a rope instead of calling an ambulance or other people to help. While he’s gone the guy gets eaten by bugs borrowing into his head and eating his brain.

Somewhere else and Dean’s hustling pool while Sam wants to get day jobs for once. This is setting up the argument they’re going to be having for most of the episode.

The Paper says a guy died of mad cow disease but that takes years to kill and he had no symptoms before his death. So they decide to investigate.

The guy that died was called Dusty and the guy with him didn’t see anything but tells them where it happened.

They find the hole cordoned off by yellow police tape and no one stops them from jumping down the hole. It’s daylight and there are people in the background. This is just like the breaking into people’s houses with the police out the front thing.

Dean manipulates Sam into going down the hole in a way that I think Sam is really too smart to fall for. He finds that there are no burrows to the hole only dead beetles.

They go to the neighborhood BBQ and every one thinks they’re gay. The first time they correct them but the second time they let it go. Larry is the real estate guy and he’s bought a house along with Linda who is head of sales.

Sam meets Larry’s kid Matt, who likes bugs and his father doesn’t approve. Sam identifies with him because his dad didn’t approve of him either. Sam tells him “it gets better”.

Dean doesn’t remember their dad treating them like that. Sam says Dean was perfect but Sam wanted to learn soccer instead of bow hunting.

Dean decides they’re going to squat in a house and they find out another guy died of bee stings while Linda dies of spider bites in the shower.

They break into Linda’s house while the police are outside and again it’s daylight. How does no one see them?

They find dead spiders. Dean thinks maybe from spider boy because he tried to scare Linda with a spider at the party.

They track him down and decide to confront him in an isolated spot in some woods. That’s not creepy at all.

He denies being involved but there is something going on with the bugs. He’s tried to tell his dad but he won’t listen to his ‘freak’ son.

Sam smypathises and almost gets into an argument with Dean about if the kid should leave his family to go to college. Bug problem and people dying is more important than this.

Matt has been studying the insect populations and they are really high in the area. He leads them to where a lot of insects are congregated. They find a skeleton buried in the ground.

They go to a college to see a professor and have another conversation about Sam feeling like he was the freak of the family because he wanted a normal life and to go to school. Dean doesn’t think he respected their dad enough.

The professor sends them to a Native American reservation to see Joe Whitetree. There was no historical record of Native Americans being on the land or being moved but the victors write the history.

Joe Whitetree doesn’t like Dean because he’s a liar and everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie. The best thing he says is ‘People who are telling the truth don’t start a sentence with the truth is.’ He likes Sam because Sam just asks questions without trying to make up a story.

Native Americans suffered on the land so there’s a curse that if any white person lives on the land they will suffer for six days and on the sixth day they will all die. There’s no breaking a curse you just have to get out of its way so it’s time to evacuate.

Dean calls Larry and tries to tell him there’s a gas leak but he knows the guy Dean’s trying to impersonate. Joe was right you shouldn’t lie.

So Sam calls Matt and tells him to make his Dad listen but Dean tells him to fake an illness.

Matt being an idiot tells the truth and his dad is pissed with the brothers. They all end up arguing in the front garden.

They hear the swarm before they see it and everyone rushes inside. The phones are dead because the bugs have chewed through the cables. They’re very Smart bugs. And they’ve blanketed the house so Mobile’s have no signal. I wonder if they did that on purpose as well.

They can only outlast it. They use towels to stop them getting under the door. Dean finds bug spray and sets a lot of them on fire. So the bugs break in through the chimney.

They get to the attic and termites eat through the roof. Then the bugs just stop and leave because the sun’s up. That was anti-climatic. I know they said there was nothing they could do but that felt like the sun came up really quickly. I guess curses aren’t that dangerous after all.

So Matt gets rid of the bugs because they weird him out now and he’s now getting on with his dad. Those two things aren’t connected but it feels like that’s the message of the episode. Relationships are about compromise. Except the ‘freak’ son did all the compromising by getting rid of his bugs and the Dad did nothing.

Sam now wants to go find their Dad to apologise. Dean says that within 5 minutes they’ll be at each other’s throats again.

I have a big problem with this episode besides the stupid ending where they all manage to survive the curse very easily.

Sam uses the phrase “it gets better” which is a campaign against homophobia and bullying. The It Gets Better Project  was started in response to LGBT young people committing suicide. Add that to characters describing themselves as freaks and the Winchesters being mistaken for a gay couple and I think Matt is a stand in for a gay kid (you could probably put queer/trans/bi or any other thing people are biased against in there).

But they can’t use a gay character because that would mean being explicit in their support and we can’t have that. You’ve got to be just vague enough that the bigots don’t get upset and you can deny it if you have to.

Also you don’t want to have to write about a gay character that would be awful. They always manage to find some way to make a story about oppression, discrimination or not fitting in about the straight white able bodied cis-man. And they’ve managed to do that to Sam (I’m assuming he’s straight because I don’t remember him having any boyfriends or identifying as bisexual).

You’re supposed to empathise with Sam but I don’t. He’s annoying. He calls himself a freak because he wants to be normal. There’s a lot of whining that goes on. The word freak is tossed around a lot this episode.

Then we get to the bit that pushed me over to actually hating the episode. If they’d just kept it about a father and son not getting along and general teen feelings of no one understands me that would have been fine. But they reference a campaign for LGBT youth and make Sam the representation of that then have him want to apologise.

Sam wants to go apologise to his dad, now after all episode describing himself as a freak and telling Matt it gets better. Well that’s an unfortunate sentence at the end of the episode. His freakishness was why they argued. I’m never apologising for my freakishness.

The only good thing about this episode was Joe Whitetree. He was funny and mean to Dean which never gets old.

Previous Supernatural: Hook Man                                                                       Next Supernatural: Home

Magic of Thieves by C. Greenwood

Plot:

“In a province where magic is forbidden and its possessors are murdered by the cruel Praetor, young Ilan, born with the powerful gift of her ancestors, has only one hope for survival. Concealment. In the shadow of Dimmingwood, she finds temporary protection with a band of forest brigands led by the infamous outlaw Rideon the Red Hand.

But as Ilan matures, learns the skills of survival, and struggles to master the inherent magic of her dying race, danger is always close behind. When old enemies reappear and new friendships lead to betrayal, will her discovery of an enchanted bow prove to be Ilan’s final salvation or her ultimate downfall? ”

 

Thoughts:

The book is written in first person from the point of view of Ilan.

The description of the book is a little misleading. Ilan doesn’t really struggle to master her magic because it seems to work intuitively. Her magic doesn’t cause her any danger other than having to keep it a secret because she doesn’t know how those around her will react.

She does discover a bow at the end of the book but she doesn’t use it. It’ll probably be used in later books.

I like that it’s not a big sprawling epic fantasy. It focuses on Ilan’s life in the forest and not much else.

There are a few plot holes and things that don’t add up. For example at the beginning Ilan is given into the care of this man to get her out of the country and into safety. They are in a horse and cart but when they see the brigands the driver races forward instead of turning around at the wide part of the road. Then he refuses to hand his money over and gets killed instead. What did he think was going to happen? They warned him they would kill him.

Another example is of how Ilan gets back to the camp when they dump her in a nearby town. She’s young and she makes it through the woods on a two day journey and everyone’s surprised. But she can’t remember how she got back to the camp.

We’re also told too much instead of shown. A few things could have easily been shown in a scene instead of Ilan telling us in dialogue.

 

Characters

Ilan is not very likable. She’s quite selfish and does some very random things. For example when she goes to ambush some travelers and  one of her friends is shot with a crossbow bolt she’s more concerned with the boy they’ve found rather than her friend.

Throughout the book she is horrible to the boy even though she saved him and fought for him to be allowed to live. She beats him up and almost gets him killed.

The boy’s name is Terrac and he was a priest before he was captured by the band.

All I can say about him is he’s annoying. He’s preachy and he’s lived in the woods for years but still can’t find his  way in them needing Ilan to show him around.

He also acts too old for his age but that’s not just a problem with him. Ilan acts older than she is too. When it mentioned their ages I was surprised because I thought they were a few years older.

It’s not just the way they act it’s the way they talk as well. Ilan knows way too many big words for someone that has had no education and can’t read or write.

The other characters don’t really do a lot. There’s Brig who’s Ilan’s guardian. He’s the one who stopped Rideon from killing her when they found her. Ilan is mean to him for no reason.

There’s also a healer Javen and the guy who got shot with the cross bow bolt, Dradac who is really tall and teaches her how to fight. But that’s only one scene.

None of the other characters are memorable or have any personality. Not enough time is spent with any of them because not a lot happens.

 

Fantasy elements

There’s not enough magic in the book. We know nothing about how it works because it isn’t explained. Ilan has no idea so neither do we.

There’s only one character who knew anything about magic and he was only in one scene. He’ll probably be in the sequel.

The title of the book is really misleading. None of the thieves have magic apart from Ilan and she barely uses it or knows how to use it.

 

Conclusion

I got through this book fairly quickly and it was an easy read. There wasn’t a lot of magic or anything else fantasy related. I didn’t like the main characters most of the time but I was curious enough to finish it.

I like the idea of character centered stories but more needs to happen or there needs to be some sort of antagonist.

I will read the sequels because I want to see where this goes. I think this might be another one of those first in a series books that’s free and not as good as the rest of the series.

The book kept me entertained and wanting to know what would happen. So I recommend it.

Download Magic of Thieves: Legends of Dimmingwood, Book I

David Tenant in Richard the third

I don’t know the play very well or at all really. The only reason I went to see this was because David Tenant was in it but I did enjoy it.

David Tenant was brilliant as the arrogant King Richard. After all that was what his doctor was all about. He does arrogant and spoilt really well.

All the actors were really good. It was funnier than I thought it would be. Considering the opening scene had a coffin and a grieving widow.

The second half was better than the first. But that’s probably because it took me a little while to get into it. I didn’t know what it was about. I had a very busy week leading up to it so I didn’t research it. I think that was a good position to see it because it was a nice surprise.

My favorite scene was Richard being forced to resign his crown. David Tenant was so funny at being infuriating. If you were in that situation you’d just want to strangle him. And the other actors worked off him very well. You could see the frustration. They’d won and Richard shouldn’t be giving them any more trouble but he’s such a diva he can’t let this moment pass without being the center of attention.

The music was minimal and the three singers had phenomenal voices. I don’t usually appreciate that kind of singing where there aren’t really any words but maybe if I heard it live then I’d be more amazed at the technical skill involved.

They did a lot with very little set. Just changing colours and moving a walkway around. It always amazes me what theaters do with so little. They are able to completely change the mood.

The only criticism I have of it was that at the beginning I didn’t quite understand who everyone was. It took me and my friend looking through the program to understand who some of the characters were in relation to each other. They all kept calling each other cousin and some of the characters were hard to tell apart.

We went to see it in the Barbican centre in London.  Very modern building  and the theatre was quite small so we weren’t too far away from the stage. I like these little theaters.

Getting organised month

January is getting organised month and I really need to be better organised. I want to write more regularly and actually post what I’ve written for this blog. I tend to forget to post or I loose the piece of paper I wrote it on.

I completely failed at watching classic doctor who before the anniversary.

I’ve started a gmail account so I can escape the mess that is my hotmail account and gmail, as I’ve found out, is just so much better.

I’ve got a Todoist account and implemented a workflow system from a course on skillshare. I figured if I spent money on something it would motivate me to actually stay organised.

 

The hobbit: Desolation of Smaug

On Sunday I went to see The Hobbit desolation of Smaug. It was better than the first hobbit. The pacing was better and for a movie that was 2 hours and 40 minutes long I really didn’t notice.

It was so good. So many good moments.

This was better than the hobbit an unexpected journey and not just because it gets going quicker.

I love that Legolas was in it and the new character Tauriel actually had a point to her other than being there to be female. Although they still had to squeeze a sort of love triangle in there. Because hey she’s female.

Off the top of my head the only criticism I have is that there may have been one too many characters and sub plots going on once they reach Laketown but it didn’t stop me enjoying it.

It ended on the perfect moment (just like the hunger games). You want to know what’s going to happen. I can’t wait a year.

My dad didn’t really know what was going on other than they were trying to reclaim the mountain. He did find the dwarfs funny especially the really fat one ( I don’t know all the names) and all the inventive kills on the barrel ride.

He asked me some questions about why they were trying to get the Arkenstone and I got myself confused. I’ve watched the first movie a few times on netflix and now the extended edition but I couldn’t answer his questions.

I’ve got to stop taking him to films where he hasn’t seen any of the others. Thor the dark world was the easiest one for him to follow.

I’m hoping that the few questions I have will be answered when I watch it again or when the third movie comes out. I have faith in Peter Jackson I think he’s earned it.

The ads just went on and on the before the film. I suppose because it’s the opening weekend and a popular film. But they felt longer than the film.

The best trailer before the film was Anchorman 2. The gay vampire joke always makes me laugh. It reminds me of those lists of stupid questions gay people get asked by ignorant people.

The other trailers were the wolf of wallstreet and the secret life of walter mitty which I might go see. I’ve already forgotten the others.

Thor: the dark world

The best part of the film is Loki and that’s not saying this film is bad. It’s better than the first one. I’m likely to buy this one on dvd where as I would only buy the first one as part of some sort of Avengers collection.

Tom Hiddleston is brilliant as he was in the Avengers. He makes Loki sympathetic and likable where he could easily be just the standard villain.

In the first Thor movie I was more on Loki’s side than I was Thor’s. At least until the end. I like Thor better now. But that was probably because of the Avengers.

I know that was Thor’s character arch in the first movie. Going from arrogant thuggish prince to a more humble prince who actually thinks before he acts. But that doesn’t mean I have to like him.

I like that we get to see more of Asguard and some of the other realms. I know we were told we’d get to see all nine and some people are annoyed that we didn’t but I’m not one of them. I don’t really know a lot about Thor because I didn’t read his comics so I’m happy with what we got.

The actors all know what they’re doing at this point. Thor and Loki are hilarious together and there’s a funny little cameo I liked even though I don’t like the character. I love the cameos and references to the other films. It’s what makes these films unique to anything else going on.

There are two end credit sequences. One half way through and the other at the end.

I didn’t realise that Christopher Eccleston played Maleketh.  At one point I think I read it but by the time I’d seen the film I’d completely forgotten. And I didn’t recognise him either due to the heavy make up. And he only spoke in subtitles.

I think I missed half of what he said. Those subtitles either went by quicker than normal or I need glasses. Or I wasn’t paying enough attention, it could be any of those options.

The down side is the villain is a bit forgettable and Christopher Eccleston is wasted. I can’t remember what his plan was other than destroy Asguard. It’s all very vague.

Jane Foster was kind of boring but I’m glad she got into trouble on her own merit instead of it being something Thor did. And I’m glad it didn’t become a love triangle between her Thor and Sif. I hate love triangles.

Considering the other females characters in the marvel movies, like Black Widow and Pepper Potts, Jane falls short. She doesn’t have much personality.

There was some criticism of the science talk and that it didn’t make sense but I can’t say I noticed. I don’t expect these movies to make complete sense. I expect to be entertained and as long as there’s some sort of explanation given I’m happy. After all  it is Thor, he’s a god and there’s magic. I think there should be rules to magic but when you mix it with science it all gets very complicated.

I tend to pay attention to the characters first then the  explanations of how everything works. These films are about the characters for me and as long as they remain consistent I can look past little things wrong with the story.

Overall this was a very fun movie with a lot of good moments. The only down side is the villain and a lot going on in the first half with one too many characters. Luckily it’s all funny and none of it bad. All though you might not like what they’ve done with Erik Selvig. He’s gone a bit crazy after having Loki in his head. I find it funny but not everyone does.

But Loki and Thor more than make up for it. I’m definitely getting this on DVD when it comes out. One of the better marvel movies.

Being Awful

When you’re learning something new, usually a physical skill, there’s that point before you know enough to get frustrated that you can’t do it. Where you’re so bad it’s really funny.

That’s where I’m at the moment with kickboxing. I haven’t done it in eight years and I lack almost all the muscles needed but it’s fun.

Being awful is fun. And kind of freeing. Or at least it is when you know you’re awful and you’re able to laugh at yourself.

I spend most of the lesson laughing at myself. From trying to do push ups to stumbling about as I try to lift a 15kg bag over my head.

I remember how to do the kicks and stuff but it’s a bit of a case of the mind is willing but the body is unable. That’ll probably change in a few months. I’ll be strong enough and it’ll come down to skill not strength. Then it might get frustrating if I can’t do something.

But for now I’m having fun failing at keeping up with everyone else.