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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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65 Responses

  1. I liked Hobbit part 1 a lot. Part 2, I tried to watch on Netflix and didn’t even finish. I’ll probably watch part 3, but I’ll wait until it comes out on Netflix.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      The problem with 2 was the dragon. As Mike Schilling said at the time: “Also, Smaug’s voice is so processed that the most I can say is that I have no reason to disbelieve that it began as Cumberbatch.”

      Here’s a direct comparison between dragons, actually. (Warning: contains spoilers.)

      Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      I gave up after part 1. It was far longer than it was entertaining.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      We’ll see Hob 3 next week because it’s there. Hopefully better than 2 which had more problems then already listed above. The big battle will probably look cool if nothing else. Of course Legolas was turned into Super Elf in 2 so why he can’t just kill ever orc by himself is still a question.Report

  2. Avatar Will Truman says:

    I am within spitting distance of finishing Foundation and Earth, which is a good book but the worst audiobook I have ever heard. I mean, it’s absolutely dreadful. And by a really good actor (Edward Hermann), no less! But in a book with only a few robots, everybody sounds like a robot. I’m thinking of taking a break and doing a Harry Boesch next.

    TV-wise, I am watching The Bridge upstairs and Alpha House downstairs. The Bridge is one of the most underappreciated cop shows around, in my view. It does make me wish I was bilingual, though. Alpha House is good if you’re a political nerd with a standard-issue antipathy towards Republicans. It does somewhat unavoidably have some reasonably well-rounded Republican characters, though. (No politics! If that’s possible!)Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko says:

      Having just finished Orphan Black‘s first two seasons, I’m looking to move on, and The Bridge was high on my list of consideration. Mi espanol es muy muy malo, however,* so I’m really hoping there’s at least subtitles.

      * For accuracy’s sake, you want to put a Peggy Hill-like accent on that when you read it.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        There is indeed subtitles, and they do switch to English more than is likely in real life. But there is quite a bit of Spanish and I think I would enjoy it more if I understood more of it. But I enjoy it greatly and recommend it. I’m actually in the part that I was reading some complaints about (before they “turned the season around” according to one critic) and am still enjoying it.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Orphan Black was surprisingly good. Just excellent in so many areas: tight, coherent-yet-expansive story-arcs; acting; dialogue; dramma. I’m really looking forward to the next season, which I think comes out around march-ish. Also too, Laurie King has a new Mary Russell book coming out around that time, and Pratchett has a new Tiffany Aching book coming out around then too.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Foundation and Earth is a really talky book. (As are all of Asimov’s late SF books. Heinlein’s too.) For me, talky books just don’t work on audio. I listened to Lord Jim once, and I wanted to pull my ears off.

      What works really well for me is LeCarre. Back when I used to drive an hour to work, I listened to the whole Karla trilogy and never once wanted to take a break from it.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I actually think talky books work particularly well in audiobook formatting, though some books (like F&E) do cry out for multiple readers instead of one guy. But the previous reader was perfectly fine. Hermann, I think, just didn’t get the material, and assumed that since a lot of it was people explaining things that everybody should sound like Ben Stein.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        You want a great audiobook?

        Two words: Pratchett. Planer.

        Hearing the latter read the former will ruin all future audiobook readings for the rest of your life.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I’ve made it as far as Soul Music. Love it. Will go further at some point.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I can’t imagine audio books for any Conrad are going to be any good. I mean, he didn’t really write in English, but some Conradian dialect that should probably only be spoken with a heavy Polish accent, if spoken at all (my understanding is that his spoken English was pretty bad).

        Lord Jim has some of my favorite passages in literature, but speaking them out loud would probably ruin them.Report

    • Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

      You are going to laugh when you see Almost! today.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I owe Edward Hermann an apology. It turns out, he wasn’t the reader after all.

      So I finished F&E. Zl gnxrnjnl ng gur raq bs Sbhaqngvba’f Rqtr jnf gung V gubhtug gung Gerivmr znqr gur n qvssrerag qrpvfvba guna V jbhyq unir, naq V jbhyq unir tbar jvgu gur Frpbaq Sbhaqngvba naq Traqvony. V jnf phevbhf vs Sbhaqngvba’f Rqtr jbhyq ivaqvpngr zr be abg. Vg nccrnef abg, gubhtu gur raq vf n gnq nzovthbhf.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Asimov didn’t know how to continue the story from there, which is why all his later Foundation books were prequels.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I was just looking at the titles of the subsequent books and wondering if that was the case.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        What do you do after the end of history?

        Well, the only thing you can do is go back and look at all of the mistakes that kept you from getting here earlier.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Foundation &Earth (and everything that followed) was continuity wank before such a thing was considered a thing. (he seemed very pleased with himself in the prefaces to have united several different stories and novels that he had been writing virtually his entire life. And you know what, that is pretty impressive)

        Gur rffrapr bs gur qrpvfvba ng gur raq bs Sbhaqngvba’f Rqtr vf guvf:

        Nfvzvbi jebgr gur bevtvany frevnyf ng gur gvzr jura Hgbcvna Grpuab-Fbpvnyvfz jnf uvf qbzvanag zvaqfrg. Urapr gur hgbcvna (zragny) grpuabpengf jva bhg ng gur raq. Ol gur gvzr Sbhaqngvba’f Rqtr pnzr nybat, Hgbcvna Rpb-fbpvnyvfz jnf uvf qbzvanag zvaqfrg, fb *gurl* jva bhg va gur frdhry. (ohg gb or snve, gur znva punenpgre vf gur nhgube ningne naq unf fvtavsvpnag qbhogf gung Hgbcvna Rpb-Fbpvnyvfz vf gur evtug guvat nf vg qrfgeblf gb fbzr rkgrag vaqvivqhnyvgl – n qrfgehpgvba gung ur qbrf abg jnag gb rzoenpr crefbanyyl naq haqrefgnaqf gung znxrf uvz n ovg bs n ulcbpevgr.)Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        RAH did the same thing with his World as Myth. And those books were even worse.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko says:

        V nyfb gubhtug Gerivmr znqr gur jebat pubvpr. V erpnyy orvat veevgngrq, svefg ng Gerivmr naq gura ng Nfvzbi, sbe gur pubvpr bs Tnvn. Gur Frpbaq Sbhaqngvba jnf pyrneyl gur orfg bcgvba cerfragrq.

        I’m curious as to your reasons, to see if they are similar to my own.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    As I look through the list of books that take longer to read than the movie, I grow skeptical. Just as The Hobbit (the three-part movie) could have benefitted from more aggressive editing, so too could some of these books. The of the top ten books-turned-into-movies were later-in-the-series Harry Potter books, and each of them needed some serious trimming.*

    I notice all four of those teen Vampornography books there and while I didn’t inflict them on myself, I did catch about 20 minutes of one of the movies and it was awful and saw how thick those books were and saw how intensely the fans insisted on literalist adaptation of the movies, from which I can confidently infer that an editor would have produced a shorter, tighter, better product.

    Both of the major Dumas novels on the list would surely get some editorial snipping in today’s world and probably would benefit from a little less wallowing in description and exposition even for modern readers unfamiliar with the precise cultural mores of post-Revolutionary France where Dumas set his tales. Dumas, like Dickens, was literally paid by the word, and while both had rollicking good stories to tell (hey, maybe Stephenie Meyer had a rollicking good story to tell too), the incentives built in to the system created to get those stories out puffed them up a lot more than they really needed to be.

    That sort of economically-incentivized bloat is what gives us two-movie splits of single serialized books like we see with Hunger Games, The Hobbit, and so on.

    * I think in the discussion thread that Saul DeGraw started, there is some discussion of “heretics.” Obviously, I am one since I did not think every single word, clause, sentence, paragraph, and chapter of every single Harry Potter book was pure magic.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

      Dumas’s novels were originally serialized in weekly installments. A 450,000-word novel is far more in need of cutting than 18 25,000-word novellas.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        +1. Hugo is bad, but he wrote “novels”.
        A bit baroquey on the description I don’t mind (I finished RJ’s crazy “I love clothing!” books). And GRRM certainly loves to give you TONS of descriptions…Report

    • Avatar Michael Cain says:

      The last of the Harry Potter books had at least a hundred pages in the middle that could have been tossed, and the main plot points were all obvious by the end of the preceding book. Including the epilog — American authors tend to end at the point of triumph in the war, British authors feel obligated to include a “but then the winners have to go back to their regular lives” bit at the end.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        That part of Deathly Hallows was almost self-parody: Rowling/Harry doesn’t know what to do next, so s/he’ll wander around aimlessly for a few chapters before s/he gets another idea.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        Oddly, though, that was the most realistic part of the whole series. Why would a group of teenagers have any idea what to do next in that situation?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        “I know, Harry, let’s break a bunch of school rules and be forgiven at the end. It’s always worked before.”

        “We’re not at school any more.”

        “Shit, you’re right. Never mind.”Report

      • Avatar James Hanley says:

        “I think we should go to the restricted section of the library…”

        “That’s it, Granger, we’re both done with you.”Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      I just re-read The Count of Monte Cristo and loved it. Even most of the parts that weren’t plot-crucial were enjoyable to read. It could have benefitted from a little trimming, through.

      And while I was and remain a huge fan of them, so could the Harry Potter books, especially Order of the Phoenix. The beginning and the part just before the climax are the two main areas that need to be slimmed down. You don’t need to describe all of Harry’s exams, JK. I think she (or her editors, or both) realized that, which is why the last two books are both shorter than Order of the Phoenix.

      As regards The Hunger Games movies, I really enjoyed Mockingjay Part 1, even though it probably wasn’t necessary. No part of it felt dull or unnecessary or uninteresting (a major contrast with The Hobbit, which is just wearying); it was on the edge of being more a psychodrama than an action movie, but it worked and was always engaging.Report

  4. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I’m currently reading:

    The_Siege_of_Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell

    The movies I am looking forward to are Inherent Vice (not out until January 9th in SF), Mr. Turner (Coming out the 19th or the 25th), and the Interview (the 25th).

    I’m tired of these bang-wow movies. Burt is right that they are overly long and could stand some editing but no one wants to stand up to Peter Jackson.Report

  5. Avatar ScarletNumbers says:

    Martin Freeman hosted SNL last night.

    One of the sketches was a cross between The Office and The Hobbit.Report

  6. Avatar James Hanley says:

    I’m reading up on the history of Belize.

    The Hobbit was so wretched I have no interest in seeing 2 or 3. They’re not movies based on books do much as movies based on video games-to-be. Which would be fine if there wasn’t actually a book.

    I did see the Mad Nax trailer and can’t wait to see the movie. The trailer on its own was a better piece of film work than The Hobbit.

    Also, I’m eating good Korean food right now. Yum.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Weird. I was researching Belize’s government last week. (Discovered that the leader of the opposition went to school for an econ degree where my father-in-law was an engineering economics professor.)Report

    • Avatar Kimmi says:

      Sometimes the author writes the movie first (Star Trek!), sometimes the video game (Thief!) and sometimes the book (Hitchhiker’s guide).

      It’s only really a problem when they’re either unskilled at one of the three genres, or not great at retailoring them.Report

  7. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I finished The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman, and it is the finest bit of writing I have come across is quite some time. I want to go back in time and reread it without ever having read it to experience it for the first time all over again. I think it might be since Wolf Hall that I’ve had a book make me sit silently for an hour after I was done trying to go back and try to piece together how a writer accomplished had they had with their craft.

    Seriously, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.Report

    • Avatar Saul DeGraw says:

      @tod-kelly

      I have a somewhat more negative experience with the book. The writing was very good but I found the plot and characters to be kind of cliche especially Tooly, Sarah, and Venn. Writing more would be spoilers.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        Oh, it’s a novel! I was thinking of Paul Kennedy’s “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers”, which is a non-fiction book about, well, the rise and fall of some great powers. I honestly didn’t remember it being a great work of English prose.Report

    • Avatar aaron david says:

      @tod-kelly
      What did you find compelling about Wolf Hall? I found the book to be immensely trite, and her style of writing so confusing that it would take me out of any groove that I may have developed.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        Also, there was a pronounced lack of wolves.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        I actually enjoyed Wolf Hall, precisely as a page turner. The sequel was more difficult to get through.

        Also, it may not have had actual wolves, but Enry the VIII (He is, He is!) is pretty wolflike.

        On the other hand, have I mentioned how much I liked this year’s Booker Prize winner?Report

  8. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    Boarding a flight to Atlanta in a few minutes… The most recent Planet of the Apes is ready to go on my tablet. Any suggestions for the flight home?Report

  9. Avatar Kimmi says:

    Read that one of the Kochs was calling himself a social liberal.
    My response: “liberal is not the same as libertine.”
    (nooooo… this isn’t politics. At All.)

    Watched a show where one of the actresses breasts’ were leaking milk.
    (One of the many benefits of watching a show with someone with nigh-perfect
    memory — they notice the small differences)Report

  10. Avatar caee1on says:

    I’m taking my son to see The Hobbit Marathon today at the local IMAX 3D theatre. Nine hours of Peter Jackson opus (I hope my butt can take it). Scoff all you want… My son is 11 and a huge fan of the books and the movies so this is a great bonding experience for us.Report

  11. Avatar Michael Cain says:

    Fiction — I finished Brent Weeks’ Night Angel fantasy trilogy. As seems to happen more and more often, I enjoyed the opening book but was depressed by the time I got to the last one, where the protagonist saves the entire world. I find myself wanting entertaining stories, with less brutality, where the protagonist eventually wins the day against evil, not Evil. I suppose it’s time I haul out my novel structured along those lines and begin the serious rewrite that it needs at this point.

    Non-fiction — I’ve just started Kevin Phillips’ American Theocracy. I’m not far enough to have an opinion yet.Report

  12. Avatar Maribou says:

    I was sick. So I watched a ton of Legend of Korra and not as much Person of Interest as I would’ve if I werent’ sick (which is still a lot) and Score!: A Hockey Musical and Knights of Badassdom and some episodes of Mrs. Wainwright Investigates.

    I didn’t read all that much, mostly the kind of books I only read when I’m really sick. I tried to read the new Patrick Rothfuss and some old LeGuin, but could not brain. So instead I read kids’ books. Nuts to You, by Perkins, and about 2/3rds of the 4th Percy Jackson book and that is all. I did finish a treasury of late 18th/ early 19th century Christmas stories (modern selector) before I got sick, which was really interesting as much for what one can infer about history by reading fiction as for the stories themselves.

    Looking forward to reading over winter break, boy howdy.Report

  13. Avatar Fish says:

    Reading “Among The Thugs” by Bill Buford, in which the author, an American, studied soccer hooliganism and followed a band of Manchester United fans around England and to the continent.Report