Reviews – pt 1

As part of my goal to Create More, I decided that I should review the media that I consume, as a way of reacting to it and as a way to be more conscious about what I am consuming.  Expect to see a few of these here and there.  I dream of maybe making video reviews at some point, but I’m not quite there technically yet.

Son of a Witch – Gregory Maguire

I saw this on the Audiobook shelves at the Library, and I’ve kind of been wanting to read it for a while.  I’m an unrepentant Oz fan, so I picked it up.  It’s the sequel to Wicked, which I read years ago, and of which, I will admit, I didn’t fully remember the plot.  It follows the story of Liir, Elphaba’s possible son as he tries to figure out his place in the world.  It was a fresh, if slightly dystopic, revisit of the familiar Oz.  Liir struggles with feelings of insignificance, and is constantly telling people he isn’t important while taking charge of situations and pushing for results.  Who hasn’t been there, but seriously, Liir was a bit whiny. (Not as whiny as the Cowerdly Lion, but I haven’t finished that book yet.)

I listened to a recording that Maguire had done himself.  When I first realized that, I cringed internally.  Authors usually aren’t as good of voice artists as voice artists are, but I was surprised.  With the exception of a few really annoying Animals, he was actually a great voice for the books. (And I imagine that the Animals would have been annoying anyhow.)

I’d give it 3 stars of 5.


The Gathering Storm – Wheel of Time Book 12 – Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

I’ve been saving the last two Wheel of Time books until the final one came out this year.  It is such an immersive universe that I wanted to wait so that I could jump in once instead of three times.   Just trying to keep characters and plots straight was difficult enough.  I resorted to wikipedia for plot summaries of the previous books and I constantly had to google characters and plot points to bring myself back up to speed.  But hey, that’s what tablet computers are for, right?

I think Sanderson stepped into Jordan’s story admirably well. I could occasionally see his dorkiness shine through the text, but it wasn’t distracting, and I felt he was true to the story telling styles required for the Wheel of Time.   The characters rang true to how I remembered them (It’s been years since I picked up the series, so I can’t speak to if there are glaring differences between the authors.)

As to the story itself, the main themes seemed to be the consequences of alienation and of reconciliation.  We creep ever closer to the Last Battle.

I’m going with 4 of 5 stars.

Fringe – Season 1

Fringe is one of those shows that was advertised alongside Lost, and so you’d think I would have picked it up ages ago.  I didn’t. The pilot involved a very grotesque terrorist attack, which was heavily advertised at the time.  I didn’t get the point of the show from the advertisements, and so I didn’t watch it. Kind of like I did with Pushing Daisies.

Fortunately, some of the tastemakers that I follow on Tumblr posted just enough amusing Fringe GIFs at approximately the same time Amazon made it available for streaming that I was intrigued enough to give it a shot.  I’m glad I did.

It took me several episodes to get into the show, but I was eventually hooked.  The main characters all have a fantastic chemistry that pulled me into their world.  The Peter / Walter relationship intrigues me enough to make up for the silly pseudo-science.  I am also a amused by the Ford product placements.  When the show finally started hinting at its main mystery, very late in the season, I knew I was in for watching the whole show.  I won’t ruin the secret, but trust me when I say that getting past the pilot is totally worth it down the rest of the series.

4 of 5 stars.

The Brady Awards

Here are my personal awards for the year 2012.  These are the people and the things that impressed me the most this year,

Mother of the year : Marianne Emmett and Erin Gong (tied)  – Two of the bravest and most awesome mothers I know.
Father of the year : Alvin Emmett – Made tons of efforts to build an adult relationship with me this year
Friend of the year : Rob Witting – Moved most of my stuff plus just general awesomeness
Friend of the year (long distance division) : Melanie Carbine – Keeps in touch better than anyone I know
Person who was there at the exact right moment of the year : David Baker – He knows why

Computer Game of the year : Civilization VAwesomesauce
Board Game of the year : Lords of WaterdeepA lot of replayability on this one

Book of the year : Where Late The Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm  – Really got me thinking
Book series of the year : The Dark Tower series by Steven King – The first I’ve really read of Steven King, and I loved it!
Mormon book of the year : The Mormon People by Matthew Bowman – Helped me see how the popular culture has helped shape the Mormon Culture over the last 200 years.
Book Club book of the year: The Road by Cormac McCarthy – Beautifully written and full of feels

Television show of the year : Doctor WhoThis will probably always win
Movie of the year : The AvengersThe only movie in years I’ve been willing to see twice in the theater
Pop song of the year : What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction – Yeah, I’m a little embarrassed for me too!
Band of the year : Of Monsters and Men If you haven’t heard them yet, you’ve just got too.
Concert of the year : Vienna Teng at The Ark featuring Theo Katzman Theo was a surprise, and great company too!  Thanks for scalping tickets, Melanie.
Webseries of the year : The Lizzie Bennet DiariesSo good!  Possibly the best adaptation of Pride and Prejudice since Bride and Prejudice.

Personal Electronic Device of the year: Droid Incredible 4G LTE  – Kind of glad my Droid Incredible took a bit of a bath
Social Network of the year: I  might be addicted
Online Retailer of the year: Frank and OakI’m loving their shirts
Other Online Retailer of the year: HuckberryI’m am pretty sure they are going to bankrupt me with their awesome stuff. The Mars poster in my bathroom is my favorite purchase of the year
Paint Color of the Year: Anonymous by Behr (#780F-5) – My walls look awesome!  

You can pick up your prizes at the front desk.  (All the links to Amazon are affiliate links…)

Goals for 2013

[ ] Create more
[ ] Be kinder
[ ] Be more active
[ ] Row the length of the Huron
[ ] Cook more
[ ] Spend out
[ ] Take a real vacation
[ ] Plan better
[ ] Plant a garden
[ ] Be ok
[ ] Be braver
[ ] Be believing
[ ] Deliberate practices
[ ] Host more dinners
[ ] Invest in relationships
[ ] Dress better, take better care of my appearances
[ ] Take a class
[ ] Do more yoga
[ ] Shave with a razor
[ ] Do things I’m not good at