Thursday, April 28, 2011

for some unknown reason

Mesozoic Mind

note: not Mesazoic

a blast from the past ;-)

again, at the library...

While waiting for an internet computer, I get some time to relax with interesting books I might be lucky enough to find.

Today, I have been very pleased.

I am reading a second chapter or so in
The Great Smokies: From Natural Habitat to National Park by Daniel S. Pierce

I am most impressed with this book, which I find suprisingly scholarly and a study in environmental science and natural history. Very much worth reading, although I am not checking it out at present (I am in literary limbo, juggling over 3 books presently already, including Bean Trees and Intimate Lies, both of which I love).

Well, to the point of this blog post, today I found referenced in The Great Smokiesprimary documents, especially the memoirs/travel notes of a naturalist, Bartram.

William Bartram, Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida (Philadelphia: James and Johnson, 1791; rpt. Savannah, Ga.: Beehive Press, 1973), 357-62

Hmm, 1973. I wonder if I can find it used on eBay? Or is it too obscure?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Games: A brief report

I played a great game yesterday, The Stars are Right
Chthulu and cultists and astrology and a rubic cube of madness.

Also, I tried Cash and Guns the other day using regular playing cards, but with much simplified rules. It worked well.
I ignored pretty much everything, except 3 red bullets, 4 black duds, 3 wounds kills, survivors and non-cowards take "money", and a person can duck. No Band Bang Bang, no sharing (and math and fractions) over the spoils.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Youtube: Jennifer Aniston vs Nicole Kidman

I don't even know what movie this is from; it's just fun to watch.

Anyone know?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Games: Note to Self

This blog entry is a reminder to myself, but also a word of advice to anyone who might benefit.

The classic Carcassone is *great* as a two-player game, and is perhaps best taught leaving out the farmers entirely. Out of 4 ways to score points, only 3 need be used.

My Abduction game should not be first taught full-rules but rather with the "map" laid first, before gameplay, so speed up the game. Describing the game differently that the rules suggest has proved useful. I tell player to imagine a space ship that you are trying to escape from. You are in a prison cell in the middle of the ship, and need to reach the outside to find an exit. If you do not have a long anough "path" to reach the "outside" of the ship, you just don't.

I have a few more "notes to self" to relate, but I forget what they are, so until further notice, play on!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Troll Hunter: Norwegian film

Over the weekend, I went to a film festival downtown expecting to see this, but the seating was full, and my sister and I were just narrowly not seated. Other people who had signed up on the waiting list just before us did get in. We were there about 10 minutes early. Oh, well.

I did get to see it, through unexpected means which I perfer not to discuss. But it involved the Internet. And no costs.

Anyway, I had seen the trailer previously (ironically pointed out by another Blogspot blog, located on my links). I feel informed and "in the know" and it's a cool feeling I don't often have.

In my "labels" I included kaijuology, xenomorph, natural history, movies, and culture. An odd mix of topics, I admit. I could have also said "of cryptozoological interest" although I put that under the natural history label. Kaijuology refers to my "study" of monster movies, especially of the larger Godzilla variety. Xenomorph also refers to fictional "monsters" of the unexpected variety, preferably Godzilla-esque too. And the Trolls seen in this movie clearly qualified. The 'movies' label is easy and needs no explanation; the 'culture' label is included because this movie sheds light to world audiences on Norwegian folklore, modern culture, and says some things about their points of view regarding religion and the environment. And in the case of this particular American, I have become much better at spelling "Norweigen".

In a brief review on just a few points, 1) it was a fun movie, but not anything exceptional. With that said, I was rewarded by my expectations and am glad it was made. From the trailer, I had thought of the film (and desribed it to friends as) a cross between Jurassic Park and Buffy the Vampire Slayer but with trolls. I wasn't too far off. I think there was much less Buffy than I had hoped. Far less ass-kicking, which I expected, but also much less witty dialogue, which I hadn't and was disappointed with. Even accepting that clever wordplay might not survive translation effectively, there was so much less attitude of wry wit.

Oh, by the way, yes this movie is in the Norwegian language but with English subtitles. Luckily, the word "troll" survives the language barrier ;-)

2) I personally don't think trolls made very good kaiju. My own conception of trolls (American and Lord of the Rings-influenced) doesn't have them anywhere near as huge as seen in this movie. The "small" elephantine trolls who lived under bridges and ate sheep were much more to my liking. I freely admit it is a matter of taste, here.

3) The movie tried hard and confusingly and counter-productively to describe the trolls scientifically. The troll's metaphysical terror/hate of "Christian blood" was completely out of line with all the natural plausibility given, and never peoperly addressed.

4) I gotta go. TTYL

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Have you read a "Southern novel"?

Well, I am currently in the middle of many books (an unfortunate condition I am trying to get myself out of by finishing my Fitzgerald bio)
but a biggie is I have begun The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver.
I am really enjoying it, although I just started it, and think it is very well-written.
As far as I am aware, it is considered a good high school book and is often used to encourage young people to look at the world a little broader. However, I don't see that it is a young adult book, particularly, other than the general ages of the characters and their corresponding topics.

Well, anyway, on the cover The Bean Trees is touted as "a Southern novel taken West." The book definately reads (to me) as a "Southern novel" even though that very idea is hard to quantify. To me, the "voice" of the author is especially important.

So, just what is a "Southern novel"? And have I already read some?
Well, I suppose when To Kill a Mockingbird was shoved down my throat in high school, that counted. Mark Twain surely counts. Hmm, well if I am excluding books written in the western part of the south (east of the Mississippi) then that doesn't leave a lot. I have a nonfiction collection of essays called Fragments and Splinters that I think wonderful things of that was born in rural Virginia on a tenant farm. Haha, and then there's Ender's Game, haha!

sexy and funny Bollywood music video

Bollywood as in Hindi
Song name is apparently "Tumse Milke Dil Ka Jo Haal"
It was apparently composed by Mr. Anu Malik. Sung by Sonu Nigam with Altab Sabri and Hasim Sab, whoevever they are. Performed by a little army, but partly by Amrita Rao (the starlet), Mr. Zayed Khan and Mr. Shahrukh Khan

I think it is important to clarify I don't see this starlet as any ideal of beauty, although I certainly find her attractive. In fact, I think the movie's creators went to huge lengths to make sure I do. It is an undeniably energetic, playful, exuberant, and sexy scene to watch.
the actress is [umm...not sure yet...haha]

More of Amrita is apparently here:
and here:

Indonesian pop song

I think this is a song I heard a few years ago on a DVD my then-girlfriend gave me.

I think...

International music - bollywood

This is fun. Some of these clips aren't all that great except for parts, but mostly they're very catchy. I really enjoy international music.
I have seen (and sometimes own) some of these movies.
Tumse Milke Dil Ka Jo Haal- Main Hoon Na
Aey Kaash Ke Hum Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa
Shahrukh Khan - Don ( Kabhi Haan Kabhi Na )
Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa - Shahruh Khan - Ana Mere pyar
Pump UpThe Bhangra - Ram Jaane
yeh kali kali ( Baazigar)
Baazigar Song: Kitaben Bahut Si Parhi Hongi Tum Ne
Main Hoon Na - Chale Jaise Hawaien
Song name is apparently "Chale Jaise Hawaien"
It was apparently written by Mr. Anu Malik. Sung by Vasundhara Das. Performed in part by Amrita Rao