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"Before you know it as the years go by, you're just like other people you have seen, with all those peculiar human ailments. Just another vehicle for temper and vanity and rashness and all the rest. Who wants it? Who needs it? These things occupy the place where a man's soul should be." -- Henderson the Rain King

Friday, August 31, 2007

Okkervil on Conan

Okkervil River made their national television debut earlier this week on Conan O'Brien. They played a rousing rendition of "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe" from their excellent new album. Check it out.


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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Good Shepherd

Film #48 of my '07 watch list was The Good Shepherd.

My NetFlix rating: 3 stars
Jamie says: An excellent two hour movie crammed into three hours.
RIYL: Breach, Syriana, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind


Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Chester Square

Book #33 on my reading list was Chester Square a Love & Rockets book by Jaime Hernandez.

Pro Wrestling + Punk Rock = Awesome. I should've probably started with an earlier book in the series (Chester Square is #13), but seriously pro wrestling....AND punk rock!
"...Like reading Tolstoy, if only Tolstoy had written about twenty-something punk girls." -- Amazon.com review

Fantagraphics L&R page
Salon.com L&R review

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Best of American Splendor

Book #32 of my reading list was Harvey Pekar's Best of American Splendor.

Hey, it's American Splendor and 'Best of', what else do you really need to know here? I was inspired to pick this one up after seeing the film. I'd read bits and pieces of Pekar before, but never such a comprehensive volume. I was worried at first that digesting so much at once would get a bit tedious but was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed every bit of it.

Wikipedia

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Monday, August 27, 2007

The Yiddish Policeman's Union

Book #31 of my '07 reading was The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon.

I've fallen behind again on my book blogging, but alas a book with a trailer = a lazy blogger's new best friend! How do you like them apples? Personally I was fairly disappointed in Chabon's new one and would definitely recommend Kavalier and Clay first but hey the reviews are good so you know to each his own...


Wikipedia entry
Metacritic

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Vern Fonk Outdoes Themselves

If you live in the Seattle area you're probably already aware of the awesomeness that is the Vern Fonk insurance commercial. I'm gonna have to nominate this latest one for greatest commercial ever though. You can watch some of the older goodies here.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reading Survey

MSNBC has this fascinating AP study on American reading habits. Apparently my 50 book challenge puts me at a startling 43 books more than the average reader and 46 books above the average American overall. Seriously peoples?

Some other juicy nuggets:
  • 27% of Americans didn't read a single book last year
  • Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives
  • The Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories. Popular fiction, histories, biographies and mysteries were all cited by about half, while one in five read romance novels. Every other genre — including politics, poetry and classical literature — were named by fewer than five percent of readers.
  • More women than men read every major category of books except for history and biography

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Infamy

Film #47 of my '07 watch list was Infamy.

My NetFlix rating: 3.5 stars
Jamie says: Another well put together documentary from Doug Pray, although the interview subjects here aren't quite as fascinating as the folks in his other films.
RIYL: Scratch, Hype, Big Rig, Style Wars


Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Superbad

Film #46 of my '07 watch list was Superbad.

My NetFlix rating: 4 stars
Jamie says: More Apatow goodness. McLovin may be my new favorite character ever.
RIYL: Freaks and Geeks, Knocked Up, Harold and Kumar

Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia site

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Empirical Staught

Discovered a new favorite beer this weekend courtesy of the always excellent Bottleworks. Empirical Staught from Steffan's Aldergrove Brewery is roasty, toasty and sweet and is about the tastiest brew I've ever had. Also tried their cleverly named Brown Eyed Ale which was pretty good too though not nearly as amazing as the stout. Can't find much about the brewery online (perhaps it's new?), but I will definitely be stocking my fridge with as much Emprical as I can get my hands on.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

An Unreasonable Man

Film #45 of my '07 watch list was An Unreasonable Man.

My NetFlix rating: 3 stars
Jamie says: Nader makes a fascinating documentary topic which alone should make this required viewing for civics classes. Documentary itself is fairly ho-hum though, meandering a bit more than it should.
RIYL: 3rd party candidates, seat belts, consumer protection

Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia site

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28 Days Later

Film #44 of my '07 watch list was 28 Days Later.

My NetFlix rating: 2.75 stars
Jamie says: Alternate endings are better than the 'real' ending. Still a disappointment though.
RIYL: 12 Monkeys, Children of Men

Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia site

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Trappeder In The Closet

Best news ever? Or the bestest news ever?

More R. Kelly "Trapped in the Closet" chapters imminent



Chapter 12.5

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Monday, August 06, 2007

Rex Hudler

Q: Is Angels announcer Rex Hudler the most annoying broadcaster in baseball?
A: Yes. Yes he is. Angels fans, how can you live with this guy?

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Hot Fuzz

Film #43 of my '07 watch list was Hot Fuzz.

My NetFlix rating: 3.5 stars
Jamie says: Somehow manages to actually be a pretty good cop buddy flick while sending up cop buddy flicks.
RIYL: Shaun of the Dead, Super Troopers, British comedy

Official site
Rotten Tomatoes reviews
Wikipedia site

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Friday, August 03, 2007

2007 Reading List - Books #1 - 30

Here's a recap of the first thirty books of my '07 50 book challenge:

  1. Martin Dressler - Steven Millhauser
  2. The Boys From Old Florida - Buddy Martin
  3. An American Family - Harry Crews
  4. Profiles in Courage - John F. Kennedy
  5. What is the What* - Dave Eggers
  6. I Love You More Than You Know - Jonathan Ames
  7. White Noise* - Don DeLillo
  8. Fiskadoro - Denis Johnson
  9. US Guys - Charlie LeDuff
  10. Willful Creatures - Aimee Bender
  11. Decoding the Universe - Charles Seife
  12. Twin Study* - Stacy Richter
  13. The Complete Maus* - Art Spiegelman
  14. We Have Always Lived in the Castle* - Shirley Jackson
  15. The Cheater's Guide to Baseball - Derek Zumsteg
  16. The Road - Cormac McCarthy
  17. Baseball Between the Numbers* - Jonah Keri
  18. But I Like It - Joe Sacco
  19. Chuck Klosterman IV - Chuck Klosterman
  20. Watchmen* - Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
  21. No One Belongs Here More Than You - Miranda July
  22. V For Vendetta - Alan Moore and David Lloyd
  23. The Dead Fish Museum* - Charles D'Ambrosio
  24. You Don't Love Me Yet - Jonathan Lethem
  25. Rant - Chuck Palahniuk
  26. Falling Man - Don DeLillo
  27. In the Heart of the Sea - Nathaniel Philbrick
  28. A Feast of Snakes* - Harry Crews
  29. Complications - Atul Gawande
  30. Mere Anarchy - Woody Allen

* = Highly recommended

Previously: My 2006 reading list and my 2005 reading list.

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Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mere Anarchy

Book #30 of my reading list this year was Woody Allen's Mere Anarchy.

Perhaps it's a sad day when I've come to rely on Entertainment Weekly for my literary sense, but their review of Allen's new humor collection is to the point and spot on:
"In Mere Anarchy, his first humor compendium in 27 years, Woody Allen still loves to mix highbrow touches with absurdist shtick. But sometime after writing such hilarious '70s collections as Getting Even, Allen bought a bigger thesaurus — and it does not serve his comedy well. In these short pieces, amusing premises are so overwritten (''he could emend the scenario with sufficient cunning as to manumit you forever'') that the humor becomes impenetrable, buried under a pile of obscure synonyms." -- Josh Wolk
Hear, hear.

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Complications

Books #29 of my '07 reading list was Atul Gawande's Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science.

Complications is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the medical industry and life in the OR. Gawande provides us with the humbling reminder that doctors are human and that despite of all of the advances in technology a lot of medicine is still done by gut feel. By lifting the veil and exposing the state-of-the-art science with all its beauty and flaws, Gawande is able to create an interesting dialog that's sure to leave you thinking.

Atul Gawande's site
Excerpt

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