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Book Review: The Walking Dead Volume 15 by Robert Kirkman (Series, #8) (Graphic Novel)

Blueish snowy walking dead cover with zombies.Summary:
Everyone’s world was rocked when the zombies got through the community’s fence.  Will they respond by banding together or falling apart?

Review:
Ok, before I review, the numberings need a bit of explanation.  Comic books are issued very similarly to academic journals. So there are skinny issues that come out every few weeks (generally). A few of these bound together make a volume. A bunch of these bound together make a book (what we call in academia a “bound journal.”)  I *was* reading the books of The Walking Dead but then I caught up to the author.  I decided I didn’t want to buy issues, because they’re flimsy and you read through them very quickly, so I’m now reading the volumes.  I hope that makes some semblance of sense.  This will probably be the case throughout the rest of the series, because you have to wait a long time for the books, and I just am too impatient for that.  My reviews will then be much shorter, because a book contains a few volumes, and I am now reviewing one volume at a time.  Moving right along to the review!

This volume is basically cleaning up the mess from the action of the previous one and prepping for the action of the next one.  Classic in-between chapter.  What this volume really reminded me of is the infamous “Live together or die alone” speech by Jack in Lost.  In fact, this volume sees Rick basically trying to turn into Jack and failing miserably.  Long-time readers know I’ve never liked the guy, so personally I got a lot of schadenfreude out of seeing him be so pathetic in this volume.

That said, the survivors are definitely going for a new strategy, which will lend itself well to future fresh storylines, which any long-running series needs.

Fans of the sex will be quite happy with the developments in that area. Drama! Intrigue! Changes of partners!

Overall, it’s an enjoyable entry, if not mind-blowing, that perfectly sets things up for the next volume. Fans won’t be disappointed!

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Newbury Comics

Buy It

Previous Books in Series:
The Walking Dead, Book One (review)
The Walking Dead, Book Two (review)
The Walking Dead, Book Three (review)
The Walking Dead, Book Four (review)
The Walking Dead, Book Five (review)
The Walking Dead, Book Six (review)
The Walking Dead, Book Seven (review)

Movie Review: Saw (2004)

December 14, 2010 5 comments

Creepy, dirty foot and hand.Summary:
Two men wake to find themselves chained on opposite sides of a worn-down, underground bathroom, the newest victims of Jigsaw.  Jigsaw doesn’t actually commit murder himself, but instead puts people into situations where they have to make horrible choices in an attempt to save their own life.  These men are told the only way out is for one of them to kill the other, and as their time limit ticks on greater amounts of information are revealed about the men’s lives and Jigsaw’s previous victims.

Review:
My very first comment as the end credits rolled was, “Holy crap, I can see why this became a franchise.”  The story is sufficiently complex to hold interest.  Jigsaw is incredibly creepy as he uses a voice distorted puppet to communicate to his victims.  Puppets are always creepy.  Bottom line.  I love the concept of a serial kidnapper/torturer doing so presumably to teach people a lesson as opposed to just really enjoying gore.

Speaking of gore, it definitely exists in the film, but the most gut-wrenching moments take place just off-screen.  Apparently this was re-edited as the original cut showed those moments on-screen, and the MPAA required the cuts for it to receive an R rating.  Personally, I think given their low budget, it works better letting the audience’s imagination fill in the worst moments.

Also, Losties will be pleased to know that Michael Emerson, aka creeptastic Ben, has a rather significant role in the film.  I loved his acting so much in Lost, and his work here is just as good.  I may have squealed a bit every time he showed up on screen.  One casting negative, though, is Cary Elwes, who plays one of the men locked in the bathroom, has the worst fake American accent ever.  He repeatedly slips in and out of it.  I have no idea why they didn’t either just let him be British or hire an American actor for the part.  Very odd.

Overall, this horror movie primarily gives viewers chills from the whole idea of such a situation far more so than gore.  If horror movies are your thing, you definitely need to give the Saw franchise a shot.  It became a franchise for a reason.

5 out of 5 stars

Source: Netflix

Buy It

Friday Fun! (Biking, Lost, Holiday)

Hello my lovely readers!  This week was the first step in hopefully, eventually biking all the way to work every day.  However, an attempt on the weekend showed me that I’m not capable yet of making it the 6 miles (one way, so 12 miles round-trip).  So, to work my way up to it, I’m biking to my bus connection, which is just about half-way there.  It was a bit nerve-wracking being on the road with cars, let me tell you, but today I found myself having a bit more confidence on the road.  Plus, I was able to move up a gear on the bike already!

Sunday was the Lost finale (and if you have yet to see it, you are not a true fan and deserve the spoilers), and of course I watched it, including the two hour re-cap.  I appreciated the action on The Island, but I was disappointed with the spiritual direction the writers went.  I’d been hoping the whole way through the series that we would discover that the mythology being yakked about by the older generation of protectors/evils was just a way to deal with science they had yet to understand.  Instead we get handed a glowy light with no scientific explanation and a happy-go-lucky, feel-good after-life.  Also, I never got to see Kate die, what the fuck is up with that?!   However, I didn’t hate the episode, and I actually found myself almost crying when Vincent came and licked Jack.  So the verdict on my end was meh.  I didn’t hate it, but it also didn’t ruin the rest of the series for me.  I’ll definitely be re-watching the seasons.

This weekend is a 3 day weekend here in the US for Memorial Day, which means I have Monday off.  I’m so excited!  I hope at least one day is beautiful out so I can go for a bike ride or a row on the Charles and have a picnic.  Happy weekends everyone!

In Response to Folks Who Didn’t Like This Week’s Episode of Lost

Spoiler Warning: If you have yet to see Lost Season 6 Episode 15 “Across the Sea” and wish to remain spoiler-free, skip this entire post!

I’ve had it.  I’m fed-up with my fellow Losties whining about this week’s episode, and I am frankly starting to doubt their mental capacities or ability to appreciate anything beyond “ooo Sawyer’s got his shirt off” or “Hah! Hurley said ‘dude’ again!”

This week we got treated to entire episode revolving around the history of the island.  We found out where Jacob and the MIB came from, as well as some other things we’ve encountered on the island previously, such as the donkey wheel and the skeletons in the cave.  After watching this episode I engaged in a lengthy, intellectually-stimulating, philosophical discussion about various aspects of not just the Lost story and mythos but in life in general.  I then awoke the next day to my fellow Losties whining on the internet and tv.  I am going to now respond to their criticisms  in turn.

  • “Omg why are they focusing on minor characters this late in the game? wahhhhh”
    If you think that Jacob and MIB are minor characters, you are a total idiot.  The entire reason Flight 815 crashed on the island is because Jacob needed a replacement.  The reason they’re still battling it out is that MIB needs to kill all the candidates to get off the island.  Let me repeat:  THE ENTIRE REASON YOUR PRECIOUS FLIGHT 815 CHARACTERS ARE ON THE ISLAND IS BECAUSE OF JACOB AND MIB.  They are not minor characters.  They are the central characters that the entire plot revolves around!  I’d be pretty pissed-off if we’d never found out anything further about them.
  • “Fine, have a Jacob/MIB episode, but it should have been earlier in the season.”
    Think about how many things you got to speculate or were surprised about because you didn’t totally understand the rivalry between Jacob/MIB or Smocke’s motivations.  The 815 folks weren’t sure what the motivations behind everything were and neither were you.  If this episode had come earlier, it would have removed all that suspense, and Lost is a show that is all about the suspense.
  • “It should have switched between this flashback and the current storyline or at least the sidewaysflash.”
    Do you seriously think that, given where we left off last week, it would have made for a smooth episode or even an enjoyable one to switch between Jacob/MIB and the current story?  We are clearly just about at epic battle in the present/sidewaysflash.  It would have been just plain awkward storytelling to switch between the two, not to mention that I’m betting a bunch of the information we found out this week is critical to the next step in the current story, and we needed to know it before they could move on.
  • “Why the hell doesn’t MIB have a name?!”
    Ok. Obviously Mother named him.  It would be insanely impossible to raise a child without a name to be able to use to call them, etc…  The writers obviously purposefully wrote hiding his name.  Clearly we aren’t supposed to know it yet.  It’s probably symbolic or at least super-important to something else, and we can’t know it yet.  Seriously, people, he has a name.  The writers are using obvious writing techniques to work around having to say it for a reason.
  • “Various whinings about typical myth elements such as the twins, sibling rivalry, and the glowing light in a particular place that needs to be protected and I signed up for a scifi show, dammit.”
    Actually, if you started in Season One Episode One, you signed up for a deserted island show, but anywho.  Science versus faith has been a core theme in Lost from part-way through Season One.  The appearance of the light doesn’t mean science has been thrown out the window.  Even the mythology that Jacob/MIB learned as kids doesn’t throw science out the window.  Humanity explains mysteries in the best way that they can with the materials that they have.  That’s why people used to explain thunder and lightning as gods fighting with each other instead of the rapid expansion of air and electrical discharge we now know caused them.  Jacob/MIB were born in a far less scientific time, and it is quite possible that Mother was just working with what she had to explain things.  While it’s obvious that there’s some super-natural stuff going on (hello, immortality), that doesn’t mean that all science is going to go poof.  It is entirely possible that the glowing light is actually some nuclear energy or some such.  Additionally, I have the distinct feeling that we’re going to be left to decide for ourselves in the end whether to believe a scientific or supernatural explanation for the island, so they need to put the backing in place for the supernatural end of it.

Really, fellow Losties, when you whine about these things, you’re just showing that you understand next to nothing about the art of storytelling and that you really just tune in week to week to ogle Kate’s boobs or Sawyer’s chest (depending on your particular sexual preference) with the occasional garnish of something blowing up.  Fine, whatever, you tuning in helped keep the show on the air for those of us who can appreciate the actual story.  However, can you please keep your confused whinings to a low roar so the rest of us can enjoy the series finale?

Friday Fun! (On Tuesday!)

February 16, 2010 4 comments

I realized that I missed Friday Fun last week, and given that my current read is pretty long and a lack of movie watching, I haven’t posted since Thursday. My bad!

I took last Friday off of work and had Monday off for President’s Day.  Yay being a non-essential employee of a hospital!  I spent Friday running errands, shopping, and cooking.  I discovered a Stop n Shop that is closer to my apartment than the Shaws I had been frequenting, and let me tell you, their prices are insanely low!  Plus they have more vegetarian options than Shaws does.  I’m a total convert.

Also this weekend, I paid my first visit to the Apple Store’s Genius Bar.  It wasn’t for me; it was for someone else’s iPhone.  I haven’t dared to bring in my baby, erm, MacBook, even though it does this freaky thing where it restarts if I close it.  It took observing someone else using the Genius Bar for me to realize that they are totally awesome!  They’re like librarians’ nerdy twins, and you guys should totally make appointments to use them.  It was some of the best customer service I’ve ever seen.  Just be sure to make your appointment online before you go, or you’ll wind up waiting a while.

Hope you guys enjoy your evenings.  Don’t forget there’s a new episode of Lost tonight and a new Wolf Bite Wednesday tomorrow!

Friday Fun! (Happy 2010!)

January 8, 2010 4 comments

Sorry for the hiatus last week, guys.  I was recovering from my New Year’s Eve fun.  For New Year’s Eve I acquired First Night buttons so I could go see the Kaiju Big Battel (sic) taking place in Boston.  (Side-note: I cannot for the life of me understand why it’s called First Night and not Last Night.  It’s the last night of 2009, not the first night of 2010! Ideas?!)  I happened to catch some crazy Middle Eastern dancing that was occurring on a stage nearby while I was waiting.  I have no idea what kind of dancing it was.  It wasn’t bellydancing, and they hopped around waving their arms and fake swords a lot.  Anyway, so Kaiju Big Battel is essentially WWE only the wrestlers are wearing monster costumes ala Godzilla and the stage has miniature buildings set up that they also smash.  Two of my favorite characters of the night were Plantain and Dusto Bunny.  Dusto Bunny was actually dusty! (Sorry I have no pictures of Kaiju to show you.  I have yet to upload them from my camera).  Anyway, then I met up with friends in the Common to see the ice sculptures and rang in the new decade on the Esplanade.  It was definitely a fun night!

This week has been busy busy busy at work.  They’re renovating my library (again).  Currently all of us are crammed in one room while they work on the rest of it, but the exciting part, you guys, is I’m going to go from having a cubicle to an almost office!  It’s pretty much an office minus a door, but I’ll have a divider up in lieu of a door.  Plus they’re building me bookshelves, and I’m getting a brand new wood desk!  I’m excited to move into my new office.  It’s going to make me feel much more part of the team, since currently I’m the only one without an office.

In cooking this week, I tried out making gnocchi from scratch for the first time using sweet potatoes.  It’s pretty simple, actually.  You just cook the potatoes, pass them through a sieve, then combine it with spices, egg, and flour.  The tricky part, I discovered, is adding just the right amount of flour.  The consensus upon eating it was that it was neither good nor bad.  A bit too floury.  However, on reheating the leftovers, it went to good.  I’m thinking maybe I just didn’t cook them long enough?  I’ll definitely try it again.  I think it’s one of those recipes you improve with over time.  Kind of like pizza dough.

Oh, also, I’m all caught up in Lost now, so I’m totally ready for the new season. Bring. It. On!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Best Discoveries of 2009–Movies, TV Shows, and Websites

December 30, 2009 1 comment

You guys got to see my favorite reads of 2009, but what about all else entertainment?  I do, surprisingly, do things besides read with my (little) free-time.  So here’s Part One of my best of all-else entertainment list from 2009.  I’m not limiting myself to things that came out in 2009, just things that I encountered for the first time in 2009.  Consider everything listed as accompanied with the highest recommendations.

Movies

  • Coraline (2009)
    The story of a little girl rightfully frustrated with her parents who discovers another world is delightfully creative, but the animation is what makes this a must-see.  It is truly a feast for your eyes.
  • The Hangover (2009)
    Bust a gut, laugh out loud funny. A groom and his buddies go to Vegas a few days before his wedding for his bachelor party, and when they wake up the next morning, the buddies can’t find the groom or remember what they did the night before.  Uproariously awkward situations make you feel way better about that one night you can’t remember.
  • Inglorious Basterds (2009)
    A troop of American Jews led by Brad Pitt go on a Nazi-killing spree in WWII Europe.  Confession.  I fucking love WWII history.  I have ever since I was a kid.  I also absolutely love blood and guts movies.  The more gruesome the better.  I also love Jewish fellas (I blame my undergrad university for that one).  Additionally, I love Brad Pitt. *swoon* German is also my foreign language, so I didn’t even need the damn sub-titles.   Can you say must-see movie?  My only gripe is that not enough time was spent on the awesome group of American soldiers.
  • Kill Bill Volume One (2003)
    The Bride has a score to settle with her old boss Bill and everyone who helped him commit the slaughter of all present for her wedding day (not to mention almost killing her).  So many epic fight scenes.  So many bad-ass women.  Not to mention the whole blood and guts thing previously mentioned.
  • South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut (1999)
    The boys’ parents get all upset when they sneak in to see the R-rated Terrence and Phillip movie, which clearly leads to a war with Canada.  This basically is South Park The Musical and gave us the gifts that are the songs “Uncle Fucka” and “Blame Canada.”  Top it off with a giant talking vagina, and you have a seriously hilarious movie.
  • The Shining (1980), review
    Jack takes his family with him on a live-in caretaker job in a remote, empty hotel in Colorado.  Did I mention the hotel is sinister?  It takes a lot for a film to scare me, and this did.

TV Shows

  • Lost (2004 to present)
    The tale of the survivors of a flight that crashed on an uncharted island.  I remember when this first came out that I avoided watching it because I knew I didn’t have time to get addicted to another tv show.  Netflix Instant spurred me into watching it, and holy shit.  This show’s mystery and scifi are so good that I am literally yelling at the tv (yes, I bought the complete set).  Me yelling at the tv is a sign of a good tv show, btw.  I’m on the fourth season and am bound and determined to catch up before the new season starts in February.
  • The Simpsons (1989 to present)
    That sound you hear is the collective shock of everyone reading this, but I seriously had never watched The Simpsons ever before this year. No, not even one episode.  I really can’t explain why.  I just never got around to it.  Well, now I get what the obsession is with it, and I’ve watched a ton of episodes, let me tell you.
  • South Park (1997 to present)
    No big surprise here with the movie listed above, but I also was newly introduced to this show this year.  The pop culture commentary is epic.  All you need to do is see the Kanye West fish sticks episode to understand.
  • True Blood (2008 to present)
    A small Louisiana town deals with daily life and the recent coming out of vampires with the Japanese invention of synthetic human blood.  This show has everything: bayou setting, vampires, sex, drugs, comedy, and mystery.  Watching an episode is like taking a vacation.  It also provided me with the hilarity that is me imitating Bill saying “Sookie is mine!” I can’t wait for the second season to come out on DVD so I can watch it!

Websites

  • Etsy
    Buy and/or sell handmade or vintage items and supplies.  It’s kind of like having a craft fair in your browser, and I love buying one-of-a-kind earrings there.
  • Regretsy
    My friends and I were doing what this blog does for a while–finding the hideous things people offer up as “vintage” or “handmade” on Etsy (not the majority of things found there at all) and mocking them.  This blog is sure to send many giggles your way. (or horror)
  • Sock Dreams
    I love wearing snazzy socks, tights, and legwarmers, and this website has the best selection for the best prices.
  • Tor
    I’m a scifi freak, and their theme months are great.  This month was Cthulu Christmas, for instance.  Also they host a bunch of amazing give-aways.

Coming up in Part Two, Boston places, web clips, and recipes!