Sunday, November 21, 2010

Just Read: The Warded Man

The Warded Man

 This was a fun read.  The story doesn't bear strong scrutiny but if you're willing to just go with the flow it's a romp and a half.

The Warded Man takes place in a world where every night horrible monsters rise like vapors from the ground and kill and eat anything that isn't hiding behind protective wards.   These wards are an ancient and mysterious set of symbols that when placed correctly form a barrier which no monster can pass.

Even with the wards human kind isn't fairing very well and just moving between distant towns to carry messages has become a profession only the bravest and hardiest souls are fit for.    But being stout of heart isn't enough.  The messengers also have to know the arcane arts of warding. The construction and maintenance of the wards is a difficult but lucrative professions as everyone needs it yet the slightest mistake can mean the difference between life or death. 

The novel starts out with the tragic back stories of the three main characters.   Though initially unknown to each other, each has suffered a horrible loss from a demonic attack but also learned a bit about how to fight the monsters.  The story alternates from character to character as they build upon their knowledge and grow in their convictions that the demons can be fought and that hiding behind wards perhaps isn't humanities best course of action.  The novel culminates in an action packed fight to save village that is about to be overrun by demons.

Though this is the first novel of a trilogy it actually works really well as a stand-alone read.   The second novel in the series is out but I haven't read it yet though I plan to soon.  If you enjoy fantasy novels and are looking for a fun read, I highly recommend this novel.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I received a Nook for my birthday.  It's my first e-book reader so I can't really compare it to others like the Kindle but I can say I really enjoy reading on it.  I read a lot in bed with a head lamp and because the all pages show in the same area there's none of the hand-shifting needed as with a physical book in order to get the page in the light.

One unexpected side effect of the device is that it's easier for me to stop reading books I'm not enjoying.  There is no nag factor of the unfinished tome calling out to you from the book shelf.  The unfinished now sit silent and hidden in the digital library.

On the down side it's harder to move around in the text and go back and review parts unless you've had the foresight to place a digital bookmark.

In general it's a nice reading option but one that time will certainly improve.

Just Watched: Grown Ups

Just Watched: Grown Ups

With this movie I continue the sad trend of finding the most craptastic movie available.  A couple of months ago I wrote about another ensemble comedy called 'Death at a Funeral' and lamented how such a funny cast could end up making such a shitty movie.  That sentiment goes double or triple for this movie.

Just for the record,  I'm not a snob when it comes to stupid comedy. I laughed at Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo.  I found Dude Where's my Car? to be kind of charming.  With the notable exception of Little Niki I generally enjoy Adam Sandler movies.  I can handle stupid.  What I can't handle is unfunny.

Grown Ups is a tale of a New England town's championship winning youth basketball team that reunites twenty years later after the death of their beloved coach.  The team, now all grown up, each carry their stereotypical and trite baggage:  Sandler's career is doing well but his kids aren't grounded,  Jame's was laid off and is embarrassed to share that news with his friends, Rock is a stay at home dad and has gender role issues, Spade has never grown up (talk about being type cast) and Schneider is just an oddball.    Throw in some hot wives, bratty kids and a farting Grandma to round things out.  The mish-mash of characters then spends a long weekend together rediscovering their lost youths and what really makes life important.

My wife and I sat on the couch watching this and glancing back and forth shaking our heads at how unfunny most of the gags were.  The few scenes worthy of an audible laugh were limited to a couple of the men-acting-badly set pieces.   In one the guys reneact their stupidest youthful indiscretion - arrow roulette - where they shoot an arrow straight in the air and whomever doesn't move wins.   Some funny physical comedy ensues.   The second funny bit was when the guys are trying to be discrete in checking out Schneider's unexpectedly hot adult daughter.  Beyond that only a few individual character gags got more than a chuckle.

Beyond the broad comedic failures anyone from the North East would find much of the location shooting absurd.   Scene's jump from the lakes region of NH to the coast of MA as if they are in the same town.  To me, most offensive of all was a big scene at Woodmans of Essex where everyone has burgers. Burgers!  Are fucking fried clams so controversial?   It pissed me off.  Watch this film at your own peril.

The Out Campaign: Scarlet Letter of Atheism