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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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  1. I breezed (broze?) through Mindy Project pretty quickly, and am now watching Big Bang Theory. At the rate I’m going, I’m going to have to start digging into the archives for stuff to watch until the TV season finishes up. Though I should be able to watch The Americans soon-ish.

    I’m finishing up The Last Juror, one of Grisham’s works. I previously had to skip over it because of some glitch in the file naming had me jumping around for chapter to chapter (In the post, I said it was on “random play”… turned out to be more involved than that). Finally got that squared away.

    The funny thing is that in the random play, one of the jarring things was that out of nowhere a sniper started shooting at people. Listening to the book in its proper order… it’s actually a case where out of nowhere a sniper starts shooting people. Though in this case I saw it coming and found myself thinking, earlier in the book “I wonder who the sniper is and when he starts shooting at people…”

    In the overall, the book is okay. The title is a bit deceptive, as it’s not really a legal thriller. It’s quirky small town stuff with a bit of murder and intrigue (and a sniper). So I’d recommend it if that’s your thing. I need something a bit busier, though, so may switch gears to listen to Grey’s Anatomy.Report

  2. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I watched two movies this weekend. The one I was expecting to like (Frank) did not disappoint; the one I was expecting to hate (Divergent) surprised.

    It’s possible that I would have liked Divergent less had my expectations not been so very low. It really is quite formulaic. It’s a kind of rehashing of every other young-adult dystopia series that’s been written over the past decade. Still, I found it enjoyable provided that I didn’t let myself ask questions about the plot as I was watching it.

    Frank was flat out wonderful. It’s on Netflix, and if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend doing so. It stars Michael Fassbender, though for almost the entire movie he is wearing a giant paper mache head. The plot is a kind of fictionalized mashup of Jon Ronson’s experience playing in the band Frank Sidebottom and schizophrenic Austin indie musician Daniel Johnston. It is delightfully weird and surprisingly touching.

    Also, when you watch the movie it’s kind of amazing what your mind does with the paper mache head. It’s a prop that never changes, and yet at different times it *looks* happy, sad, angry, confused, or whatever you happen to think the character is feeling at that particular moment. There’s probably a whole scientific study you can do on how you see that mask throughout the film.

    I don’t have a lot of time for pleasure reading right now, but I still went out and bought five books I intend to dive into soon at Powell’s: two by Robert Jackson Bennett who is a new favorite of mine who does sci-fi/fantasy/horror/gothic genre-bending, the short story anthology Get In Trouble by Kelly Link, Simon Rich’s What In God’s Name, and the one I’m most excited about — Paul Beatty’s new book The Sellout.Report

  3. Avatar Chris says:

    Teenager and I watched Birdman. It was his first real exposure to magic realism (in an adult form, at least), so it was a bit of an adventure. At one point I told him to just watch and think about it later, so he remained silent for the rest of the film. Then the next day he started asking me questions, and then asked to watch it again. He’s also talked about it with his film teacher. Gonna make him watch and read some more magic realism now.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

      Did you show him the Big Bird vid?Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to Chris says:

      Squee! This was one of my favorite phases of teenagerdom.

      I highly recommend Blackwater, the Book of Fantastic Literature edited by Alberto Manguel.

      It’s out of print, but used sellers seem to have a good supply. There’s also a second volume, though I thought it less consistently good from story to story.

      I read these out loud to my teenagers and husband during those years.

      The two are probably my favorite selection of short stories ever collected.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to zic says:

        I’m going to look for them tomorrow. His school is across the street from a large used bookstore, which has been as big a hit to my budget as Schilling’s spy novel references. 😉

        I used to love Jack Tales, when I was a teenager. I need to find my copy of those, too.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

      I’m unconvinced there’s any magical realism in the film. There’s a perfectly realistic reading in which:

      1. Uvf gryrxvargvp cbjref ner n qryhfvba. Jura Evttva vf nybar naq genfuvat uvf qerffvat ebbz, ur’f hfvat gryrxvarfvf. Jura uvf sevraq neevirf, ur frrf Evttva guebjvat guvatf.

      2. Uvf sylvat vf yvxrjvfr n qryhfvba. Ur vzntvarf gung ur syrj gb gur gurngre, ohg ur gbbx n gnkv (naq fgvssrq gur pnoovr.)

      3. Gur ynfg fprar vf n qernz ur unf nf ur’f qlvat. Vg znxrf ab frafr: ubj pbhyq ur nyernql unir n arj abfr gur qnl nsgre ur fubg gur byq bar bss (naq bar gung ybbxf yvxr n oveq’f ornx)? Jul jbhyq gur pevgvp jub qvfqnvarq uvf cynl nf n fghag guvax vg’f yrff bs n fghag nsgre ur fubg uvzfrys bafgntr?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I agree with the first two, of course, and the third is an interesting interpretation that I’ll have to think about a bit, but I’m not sure these rule out magic realism, at least as it is descriptive of presentation, which is I believe how the term is generally uses, rather that cause or explanation.

        Big Fish, Pan’s Labyrinth, and Life of Pi are other cases of magical realist presentations that ultimately have similar non-magical explanations.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I’m still not sure I understand magical realism.Report

  4. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    Finished up the second season of Black Sails last night. I’m really digging it and it will be painful to wait until next year for it to return. Really enjoying the way they weave the Treasure Island characters in with real-life pirates. Black Beard is supposed to appear next season.

    We have some junk shows on the DVR. Grey’s Anatomy and How To Get Away With Murder. Will have to plow through them at some point. As it is, I am counting the days until Orphan Black, Outlander and Game of Thrones return.

    Interesting discovery this week. We can retain Showtime after our free trial with Dish expires for $180/year. That’s only Showtime. If we purchase the full seasons of all the shows we watch across Showtime, HBO and Starz through Google Play it will only be $130 per year. Finally starting to feel like consumers have the power now. God bless the internet.Report

  5. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    Too much TV to watch. I’m on season 2 of the Americans, still watching Better Call Saul, binging on 30 Rock, and anticipating Kimmy Schmidt. And we’re not far away from Game of Thrones and Mad Men.

    Finishing Moby Dick frees up a lot of time (spoiler: the whale did it), but that will be replaced by finishing the Discworld read (next up: The Truth.)Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      Did Americans hook you yet? You were kind of rolling your eyes at the FBI agent moving in next door….Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Glyph says:

        It took me a while to understand what sort of show it is. I like the acting and characterizations so much that I roll with the silly parts. (Seriously, the FBI found the receiver by following the signal from a non-directional transmitter? The KGB can reverse-engineer a scrambler from a photo of one of its circuit boards?)Report

  6. Avatar zic says:

    Last week, I watched The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt. It’s so good that, now, a few days later, I’m beginning to re-watch, taking notes of the many highs and (few) lows. I’m thinking of doing a post on it, because it goes to some places I’ve previously written about here. I recommend it.

    Last night, began watching Finding Neverland; only half-way through. I got peeved when Johnny stopped opening doors and having magical visions and was drawn into the humdrum world of having to rehearse a play, and deal with his wife and the boys’ grandmother. I adored the scene where the stuck stamps to the ceiling.

    I’m trying to psyche myself up to do new season of House of Cards, and haven’t succeeded yet. Does it merit that many hours of my time? Last season, I was left with a bunch of characters without any good to their characters; no prospect for redemption.Report

    • Avatar Maribou in reply to zic says:

      I’d love to read a post from you on Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, @zic.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Maribou says:

        Thanks, @maribou maybe I’ll do that. It goes a lot of places that I don’t think folk realize it goes; but I’m sure you went when you watched.

        Most of all, I loved that the Mole Women Are Not Broken. I’m so sick of they’re lives are ruined memes. If nothing else about the show were any good, I’d love it for this one thing.Report

  7. Avatar rexknobus says:

    I’m a hundred pages into “Flashman and the Angel of the Lord.” I’ve been hearing about the Flashman series for decades, but this is my first time reading one. Wow! Great stuff (so far anyway).

    @mike-schilling The “hobbit” thing was a favorite line from “Glory Road.” Read the line long before Prof. Tolkien became a household word, and I had no idea what it meant. Then, years later, had the joy of suddenly realizing: “Oh! Hobbit! I get it!”

    Give Flashman a try.Report

    • Avatar rexknobus in reply to rexknobus says:

      Oh. Forgot: Disclaimer/Warning! Flashman is (quite intentionally) very offensive in many, many areas. Trigger warnings galore!Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to rexknobus says:

      Huh, I don’t remember that at all. What was the line?Report

      • Avatar rexknobus in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        (I had to do a little googling to get the right placement). It’s right after (spoiler) feeding Igli to Igli. Beginning of Chapter 7. The (spoiler) Empress of the Known Universe mentions a brick road, Mr. Gordon asks if it’s yellow. “Yes. does it matter?” And he replies, with a strongly implied wry tone: “I guess not. Just don’t make a hobbit of it.”

        I haven’t read this one for years, but I have a feeling it has aged well. A sort of RAH-esque Pratchett novel. Hmmmm. It came out sometime in the early 60’s, before Tolkien broke through (on this side of the pond, at least.)Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Heh.

        Not surprising that RAH was an early JRRT fan; he loved both fantasy and SF. In Time Enough for Love, when Lazarus Long travels back to the 20th Century, one of the first things he does is go to a public library and reread The Wizard of Oz and the other books he’d grown up on.Report

      • Avatar rexknobus in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        RAH, for all his…eccentricities…had a nice touch sometimes. Not sure which book (“Door Into Summer” ???), but when the protagonist wakes after a long suspended animation his first question is: “Do they still serve popcorn in movie theaters?” Not a big thing, but a nice touch.

        Spent a half hour on the roof of a hotel in Kansas City with The Man himself once. Literally sat at his feet…Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        That is space awesome. Literally, kind of.

        Though if it were The Door into Summer, his first question would be “Is that hot ten-year-old girl legal yet?”Report

    • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to rexknobus says:

      I’ve read all of the Flashman Papers, and it was a very sad day when Fraser died. Harry Flashman is one of the great characters in popular fiction, and the research behind the stories is impeccable. I really miss seeing that a new one would be coming out.Report

  8. Avatar ScarletNumber says:

    Wherein I remember that I kinda ripped off PBS

    I don’t understand this line.

    As for me, I will be watching basketball soon, but I just finished reading Justice Brennan: Liberal Chamption.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    To be fair, Cadfael takes place during a period of English history known as the Anarchy:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Anarchy

    I saw a really good documentary about Orson Wells called The Magician. They had a lot of footage of films Orson started shooting but never managed to complete including his version of Don Quixote.

    I need to get back into the Buried Giant by Ishiguro.Report

  10. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I am reading Tieta by Jorge Amado. Its a picaresque novel set in the 1970s Brazil about a madam who has to save her hometown in Bahia from developers. Yes, it was written by a Communist; why do you ask?

    For non-fiction, I’m reading Cities of Empire about the big cities of the British Empire.

    TV, waiting for Wolf Hall to start next week.Report

  11. Avatar Mike Schilling says:

    For example: Cadfael. This is a show set in the 12th century in a monastery that, for one reason or another, has a murder every freakin’ week.

    The building survived until the late 20th century, when it was dismantled brick by brick and reassembled in a part of Maine that’s oddly reminiscent of Northern California.Report

  12. Avatar aaron david says:

    Tonight I will finish Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, which is probably the most literate SF written. Fantastically subverting the genre in ways Game of Thrones could only dream of, with more complex themes and writing structure than any “literary” novel being published today. Highly recommended.

    The wife and I are halfway through Bloodline, which is turning out to be fantastic. So far a family secrets drama more than a thriller, episode six has one of the most powerful scenes I have ever seen filmed, TV or not. Also, Linda Cardellini and Sissy Spacek are allowed to look like real women, women who age.Report

  13. Avatar Maribou says:

    Watching: Besides Cadfael, I finished watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, have been still rewatching HIMYM, and started rewatching Third Rock from the Sun (which I only saw occasionally as a kid (though often enough to develop a huge tween crush on Joseph Gordon Leavitt), so it’s a weird mix of nostalgia and “wow, people were weird back then”). Jay and I have Hamish Macbeth out from the library so I’m hoping we get to the first episode of that today.

    Listening: I’ve recently discovered and have been really enjoying both the tor.com podcasts, Midnight in Karachi, and The Coode Street Podcast. Also chewing through my very large backlog of The Irish & Celtic Music podcast.

    Reading: lots of things. The Underground Girls of Kabul (Nordberg) is really good, Shadow Scale is a really good sequel to the superlative YA fantasy Seraphina (Hartman), The Kingdom of the Sun and Moon is an odd but interesting kid’s book (military / historical novel almost exclusively about anthropomorphic mice), Empress of the World (Ryan) is not all THAT good but I really wish it’d been written in the late 80s when I was the age to need it.Report

  14. Avatar Kolohe says:

    About 2/3 of the way through of Before the Storm (Perlstein’s book on (mostly) Barry Goldwater, the one before Nixonland). No politics, but I’m curious of how many of this cycle’s movers and shakers are familiar with the work that went into Goldwater and his acolytes (and his unrequited poltical lovers) wresting control of the Republican party from that generations ‘establishment’.Report

  15. Web pages about CSS. Seemingly, hundreds of web pages about CSS. I’m on one of my periodic rampages to force the web to be displayed in my choice of fonts, sizes, and line spacing. I suppose there’s a name for this sort of fixation. Font derangement syndrome?Report

  16. Avatar Glyph says:

    One Fortitude to catch up on. Second episode of iZombie continued to be promising. Typecasting is a b*tch- I just KNEW that Sark was up to no good! (As my bro pointed out, if you are looking for ‘smarmy turncoat’, David Anders is your guy).

    Decided to catch up on a post-apocalyptic comic series I had lost track of (Wasteland) and ordered the 4 remaining volumes in advance of a planned re-read of the prior ones, before I realized that there is one *final* volume, yet to be published…dammit.Report

  17. Avatar Reformed Republican says:

    I started watching Stargate: SG-1. I had heard good things about the series, and I decided to dig in. I also got back into Supernatural, and I am watching that with my son, picking up where I left off on Season 4.Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to Reformed Republican says:

      SG-1 was always a favorite of mine. The tone is sort of uneven at places — the show went from Showtime or HBO to Sci-Fi (with maybe a network stop in between?) and so effectively half the seasons the writers were working under the impression it probably WAS the last season.

      My personal favorite tidbit of the show — one of the early episodes (possibly the first) has the stargate opening, and Richard Dean Anderson’s character casually swiping his hand back and forth through the glowing blue event horizon (complete with ripples). That movement was ad-libbed by the actor, and the director loved it — and the special effects guys had to spend several days and a surprising amount of money to add in the effects. It was like a 50k ad-lib, all told. 🙂

      Now days you could probably handle the effects with 30 minutes and a desktop PC, but the show aired in 2001 or 2002 I think.Report

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