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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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42 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I finished John Lancaster’s Fragrant Harbor. A novel about Hong Kong from the 1930s to the immediate years after it was turned over to China. The main protagonists are an English journalist, an English publican who seeks his fortune in Hong Kong, A beautiful Chinese nun, and a youngish Chinese businessman of the present. Highly recommended. John Lancaster is very good at panoramic novels involving multiple protagonists. I also recommend Capital which is about the residents of one gentrified street in London from old-timers who lived on the street when it was for lower-middle class clerks to current residents who work for big bucks in the City and their foreign help.

    I am currently reading The Interestings by Meg Worlitzer and The Most Dangerous Book in the World: The Battle for James Joyce’s Ulysses. The Interestings is about a group of young precocious artists who form a friendship at an arts summer camp. Some become famous, others need to find other professions to pay the bills. I did not attend the real life version of this camp but know at least three people who did from undergrad.Report

  2. Avatar James Pearce
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    says:

    “But then I watched the DJ Snake & Lil Jon – Turn Down for What video and got all confused about the kids today”

    I’m no kid, but I thought that video was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time. It’s the Harlem Shake meets The Aristocats, an absurdist masterpiece.

    Try explaining it to someone who hasn’t seen it with a straight face. “Well, first he’s humping the TV, then he’s doing the worm on the coffee table, then she cocks her butt like a gun and jumps on his face.”Report

  3. Avatar Patrick Bridges
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    says:

    I’m not sure the Belgariad was ever awesome, though I certainly enjoyed it at that age, too. My son’s 11, just devoured Hunt for Red October, and I’m trying to figure out what to give him next. For fantasy from that time period Sword/Elfstones of Shannara were probably better. More to the point, I think a lot of the fantasy that we got from the regular sci-fi/fantasy section when we were kids would now be put in the young adult section.

    Personally, I’m currently getting around to Stephenson’s Diamond Age, Stross’s latest Laundry novel, and waiting for the last of the Quantum Thief trilogy to come out mid-month.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Patrick Bridges
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      says:

      What makes the Belgariad and Malloreon good is that Eddings is a much better prose writer than most other fantasy writers and has no self-illusions about the kind of novel he is writing. This makes the Belgariad a much more entertaining read than similar series, which suffer from bad prose and un-needed seriousness.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Which makes me think…

        Maybe we could introduce him to Dragons of Autumn Twilight…Report

      • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Jaybird, are you trying to provide *the* canonical example of the time period for bad prose and un-needed seriousness by bringing up Weis and Hickman?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        And yet you still yelled about Sturm dying and got all misty when Flint did.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Eddings is much better than Weiss and Hickman. The Belgariad has a better story, better writing, and more nuanced and memoriable characters even though many of them are archetypes.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Now, let’s not go too far. Eddings is better written (and edited) than pretty much any W&H, but pretty much all of the Belgariad characters are about as sterotypical and one-dimensional as they come. W&H did manage to have Raistlin as a somewhat interesting character (apparently through no fault of their own).Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Patrick, I said that the characters were archetypes but they were interesting ones.Report

      • Avatar Patrick Bridges in reply to LeeEsq
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        says:

        Most of the main characters weren’t even interesting archetypes (looks up list of characters) – Garion? Belgarath? Polgara? Durnik? Silk? They’re stock cardboard cutout fantasy tropes. Ce’nedra is at least a little interesting. The part about the two prophecies being competing active agents in the series was actually interesting, however.Report

  4. Avatar Glyph
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    says:

    Did anyone besides me watch the first season of Penny Dreadful?

    I’m not going to say it is a great show; but it is pretty committed to “b*tsh*t entertaining”. I anxiously await its return.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Glyph
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      says:

      I had never even *heard* of Penny Dreadful until just now.

      I googled it, and now I find myself asking how it isn’t titled The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        I find myself asking how it isn’t titled The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen?

        Because they were hoping to significantly increase female viewership?

        BOOM, META!

        Yeah, same basic concept for sure. Except, unlike the movies, actually good trashy fun. Hartnett is surprisingly decent (less wooden than I expected/remembered). Green and Dalton chew scenery like nobody’s business. Billie Piper is competing with Littlefinger for ‘weirdest accent on pay cable’. This is the first thing I’ve really seen Harry Treadaway in (he was in Control, but barely; he portrayed a drummer who barely speaks IRL) and I think he’s GREAT.

        I won’t say more for fear of spoilers, but it’s fine popcorn binge viewing material.Report

      • Avatar Maribou in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        @glyph The comics, unlike the movies based on them, are also a lot of fun.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        @maribou – oh, agreed, that’s why I specified the movies.

        Of all the Alan Moore concepts to make into movies, LoEG should have been the easiest to get right…but here we are.Report

    • Avatar James K in reply to Glyph
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      says:

      @glyph
      The first 3 episodes of Penny Dreadful have screened in New Zealand, and I’m finding it OK, but not spectacular.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to James K
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        says:

        I think it took me about three episodes to kind of get into it (you start to enjoy the atmosphere as much as anything).

        And yeah, not spectacular (and, it’s Showtime, so they will run it into the ground eventually) but I think it’s great fun so far seeing them dig up all these old Victorian (and Hammer) tropes and ram them all together.

        Very slight spoilers follow:

        Ng bar cbvag, Ina Uryfvat fubjf hc naq gb gel gb rqhpngr nabgure punenpgre nobhg inzcverf, ur hfrf nf vyyhfgengvba gur npghny craal qernqshy “Inearl gur Inzcver”, n sne yrff jryy-xabja (naq-jevggra) fgbel guna Fgbxre’f gung vf abarguryrff gur fbhepr bs znal bs gur zbqrea inzcver’f genvgf.Report

  5. Avatar Will Truman
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    says:

    Catching up on The Blacklist, with Revolution next.

    Audio reading James Lee Burke.Report

  6. Avatar Tod Kelly
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    says:

    I am knee deep in books.

    For pleasure, I’m halfway through both Jeremy Bushnell’s Weirdness and Lauren Owen’s The Quick. (The latter being the first book I’ve ever bought based soley on the publisher-hawked author recommendation quotes on the cover — big praise from Kate Atkinson, Tana French *and* Hilary Mantel. It’s of a genre — gothic victorian-era vampires! — that usually makes me roll my eyes, but with those three pimping, how could I say no?)

    For my own book, I am busy chomping through the works of others, including: Virtual Unreality by Charles Seife, the Tea Party & the Remaking of the Republican Conservatism by Theda Skocpol, The Wars of Reconstruciton by Douglas Egerton and Reconstruciton by Eric Foner. To be delivered this week: As Main Went by Mike Tipping, Citizen/Slave by Robert Hart, Scottish Civil Courts Review by Lord Gill, and three books by Sherrif Richard Mack.

    I decided to buy and watch the third Star Wars movie this weekend, only to discover that you can’t get it anymore now that Disney has bought the franchise. It’s so weird in today’s day and age to find that you can’t buy a decade-old popular movie. Tonight the younger boy and I will have a guys night, each home made chili and watch Kung Fu Hustle.Report

  7. Avatar Will Truman
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    says:

    Catching up on The Blacklist, with Revolution up next.

    Audio reading James Lee Burke.Report

  8. Avatar Maribou
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    says:

    I caught up on the first season of Legend of Korra – the 2nd one is winging its way to me now. I watched Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, which was cute enough. However, my relative enthusiasm for the franchise may be gleaned from the fact that the film is 10 years old and I’m only now getting around to watching it.

    Books: still in the middle of far too many things, but also I finished 7 of ’em, including Daniel Kucan’s hard-to-put-down collection of connected short stories about an MMA fighter, Full Contact: Collected, and the interminable yet awesome power fantasy Empress, by Karen Miller. The latter led me to swear off starting new fiction series until I have caught up on more of the ones I’ve already started, because 1) awesome, yet 2) 1400 pages is a lot of left-in-the-trilogy to put between me and the other stuff I’ve been aching to read for longer. I’m most recently in the middle of Herter’s Ceres Storm, which is as weird and poetic and compelling a novel as was his other book that I’ve read. Far enough future SF that it might as well be magic, and yet it all does make sense, just mostly in retrospect. And so lovely to read.Report

  9. Avatar Damon
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    says:

    Shaka Zulu baby.Report

  10. Avatar Kazzy
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    says:

    Zazzy wanted to read “The Fault in Our Stars” at the beach. I picked up Grisham’s “The Firm” (having never seen the movie) at the library and bought her a copy of TFIOS at Barnes and Noble. She read 2/3 of it before we even left for the beach. “You’ll have nothing left to read once we get there!” “But it’s so good!” “I bought you that for the beach!” Fast forward to her finishing it our first night there. That means I had to give her my book and take hers. Because I’m nice like that. I actually thoroughly enjoyed TFIOS, going cover to cover in a day. It was different than I expected… less YA romance than I was led to believe. It did what I think many books/films/television shows do in terms of not really capturing how young people act and I can’t really speak to how well it captures the whole “struggling with cancer” thing. However, I was really interested in the characters nonetheless — the male protagonist in particular — and I think its theme about how one finds meaning in life — the pursuit of legacies — was really interesting and resonant.

    I’m curious to see what the movie does with it.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      I read The Firm just as it was becoming Grisham’s breakout star-making mass market paperback. And for all my poo-pooing of his writing, I have to say I LOVED it. Reading was similar to my reading Jurassic Park right after that book came out. Just a perfect, hard-to-put-down, beach-ready piece of brain candy.

      None of his other novels that I read were nearly as enjoyable, and I hated the movie.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        I loved the Firm: the characters, the setup, the reveal, until the hero and his wife started getting chased by the bad guys. Grisham is terrible at chase scenes. Ditto The Pelican Brief, which was almost the same book and put me off Grisham for good.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        The only Grisham I read was “Runaway Jury” in part because I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and in part because I saw it on the school library shelf before I left for Florida a few weeks back. The book was different enough to keep it interesting (primarily because of the different focuses of the cases) but knowing the ending definitely took away from the experience. A colleague then recommended “The Firm” so I’m excited to read it, especially since I do not know the ending… whenever I get it back from Zazzy. (I’ve actually been sneaking it when she’s not looking, leading to two different sets of dog ears.)Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Kazzy
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      says:

      My son just saw the movie of TFIOS. I annoyed him by quizzing him on the source of the title. He got Shakespeare quickly enough, but must have named every play he’d ever heard of before he got the right one, and I had to give him “Dear Brutus” first.Report

  11. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I just saw Snowpiercer. I give it an okay. There was one trope in the movie that really really annoys me.Report

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