Thursday, May 17, 2012

Missed anniversary #3 and new book

Missed anniversary #3
Yes, another year and something has passed since I last wrote something. No, to my close to nonexistent readers, I am not dead. I am not going to excuse myself, I'm simply going to state that I haven't had the mood to write... nor was I ever angry enough. But, from time to time, it is nice to write your thoughts on... paper... so to speak, so I'm going to start with my latest read book. Without further mumblings here's:

Changing Places
by David Lodge

"Changing Places is a comic novel with serious undercurrents. It tells the story of the six-month academic exchange between fictional universities located in Rummidge (modelled on Birmingham in England) and Plotinus, in the state of Euphoria (modeled on Berkeley in California). The two academics taking part in the exchange are both aged 40, but appear at first to otherwise have little in common, mainly because of the differing academic systems of their native countries."

In a nutshell
I have only praise for this brilliantly written novel. The author uses 3 techniques that I am unable name, because I have no training in the literary arts ... so, I'm going to describe them. The first chapter is narrative at the 3rd person (this one was easy, all the classic novels have that sort of thing), the second changes to newspaper and printout extracts, without dulling the action, the third chapter is again narrative and the final is like a screen play. I've never seen anything quite like this book. I can name few authors which I've enjoyed reading more, and I can't even tell you why. Maybe it was because of the odd moral dilemma of the story... or the likable characters... or the interesting story, or simply the combination of all the factors that brought this book together. It excels in none, yet is capable of doing it all. There isn't much to say more about it without giving away spoilers... and for the love of Mike (whichever Mike you like) I cannot find a funny quote... so this is about it.

See you next time, hopefully in less than a year.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Missed Anniversary #2

Oh look another one... I've been too lazy blogwise this past year. I would like to blame the Government.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Schoolboy no more

Concert AC/DC live in Bucharest. 16 May 2010.

For a person who always has something to say, this is among the few times, I'm left speechless. Aside from the sound of the opening bands, the main performers that fateful night of 16 May 2010, was something one would like to put in his memory for the rest of his life. Those wonderful people, that have made the band and took it to where it is today, and what it represents, is awe inspiring.

They are old people, at the age when some of us decide it is time to put up our representative work tools, they manage to gather 60,000 people and have them screaming out of their lungs. This is something awe-inspiring in my view.

I'm glad i got to see them in their last tour.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Missed aniversary

Yea. It's been a year and something since I started writing this blog, and the annoyance levels in me have dropped dramatically. I thought I'd be able to at least post one post each month, but it seems I should have thought of that at the beginning.

Now my material is dry. I've either become accustomed to the ridiculous or the unfathomable that nothing seems to piss me off anymore. It's a strange feeling. Either that or I'm happy since a while and nothing seems to piss me off as much. Or, I'm simply lazy and fibbing. Things still piss me off as much as ever, though I don't seem to need to rant about them as much as I needed to. Probably because of all the new wonderful friends I made in the past year. Looking back on 2009, it wasn't that bad a year for me.

So there you have it my imaginary faithful readers. There's the reason my blog's in such a deplorable state of affairs. I'm a lazy bum.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Red and Black

Red and Black
By Stendhal

"Le Rouge et le Noir (The Red and the Black), 1830, by Stendhal, is an historical psychological novel in two volumes, chronicling a provincial young man’s attempts to socially rise beyond his plebeian birth with a combination of talent and hard work, deception and hypocrisy — yet who ultimately allows his passions to betray him."

In a nutshell
Well well well, what have we got here then. Red and black surprised me when I got my hands on it by its sheer size. Now one or two months after going through it, I must say that I had taken quite a liking to the style of writing as well as the story itself. I for one, adore books in which the characters start at the bottom of some sort of food chain or other and make their way up, but the twist that Stendhal had for Julien Sorel surprised me even more. Yes, I was surprised. If you don't read anything about what you're about to read, of course the book will surprise you if the author has that sort of intention.

The story is interesting enough as said in the wikipedia article carrying the main character through different changes in scenery in which most often than not, he did not fit. Many a supporting character paid great expense for attempting to help Sorel how to cope with his new life, but the man seemed to pay more attention to his inner ego than towards what was happening on the outside. I was left with the impression that he was thought intelligent only because he could memorize a great deal of things ( the bible in Latin... of all the useless knowledges... I'd kill for a memory like that ) and in my opinion, intelligence and memory are not one and the same.

Still, maybe I'm judging him too harshly because I don't really agree with his wishy washy way of dealing with his two important female characters, but then again books are not written to be agreed with. Or maybe his intelligence didn't shine fully because he wasn't in his usual element, but I hardly doubt that would have done him any good in the mountain forester's cabin. The other characters are well described as well, and considering the two volumes the book has, it'd be quite surprising if they weren't. The names however haven't remained in my mind and I'll not be pained to google more.

Sadly I can't find a quote so that's that for today.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Dragon Age : Origins

Well, considering that this is what I've been doing with my time the last week and something, I thought it only reasonable to make a short review of the game right here. So without further wish wash talk : Dragon Age : Origins.

A note though before we start. I shall be comparing this game a lot with Baldur's Gate 2 considering the developers at Bioware considered it the "spiritual successor" of it.

The plot (thickens)
Well... truth be told, it does not. There's nothing that makes the main plot in any way surprising. It's simple and straight forward and while the game offers a lot of choices to go through with it, I didn't find the patience to go through all of the possible endings. It is an enticing story, but nothing more. (I could go into great detail about it, but I fear spoilers). If I were to rate it, I'd give it an 8, for good writing, but not further up on accounts of predictability and straightforwardness.

The Characters (maybe fonts?)
Well well well... to tell the truth, it has been an extremely long while since I've seen such well made characters in any game. All of them are memorable and fun and the voice acting is brilliant. There are romance points in the game with more than one person (seems that they learned their lesson from Neverwinter Nights 2) and all of those that I found were unique and interesting in their own way. Also the game tackles the gay (male, and I would suspect female - I didn't try that out) relationships that most other games would not touch, and I sincerely applaud them for making Zevran a very likeable character. I'd not put him past reaching the epicness of Boo. If I had to rate it I think a 10 would be sufficient, because the characters border perfection.

The Graphics (are eye candy)
To say that a game has good graphics these days is like saying it comes in a box. We have achieved a good place in time when the eye candy of a game is really important, but considering all that's out there, all the sources of inspiration etc, etc, etc, you'd have to be a blind wombat not to be able to get it right. What we can talk about is how well optimized the game is, and to tell the truth, I'm not really sure. My computer had a few hitches here and there on almost full graphics but overall it was a pleasant experience so 9 would be sufficient.

The soundtrack (chuuu chuuu!)
To put it simply... it is great... at a point one of the characters sings and I loaded the game up 3 times just to hear that... It was that awesome...

The gameplay (tossing and turning)
This is the point where I take out my PC is the master race hat and wave my flag around. This game has the same problem as all the games that are made with gaming consoles in on the prime plane. You can clearly tell when a game has that in mind and you can see it clearly in Dragon Age origins. The controls are simple enough, and the interface is okay, but the way the game works, simply puts me a bit off it. It's a certain je ne sais quoi that the game has, as opposed to, say The Witcher which is a PC exclusive title. Areas are relatively small and have very little branches or liberty of movement... I once got killed by a monster because the character I was controlling got caught in a twig. I kid you not. That's not the sort of collision detection that a game in this day and age should have. But enough of my ranting... while the game smells of console like socks in a gym bag, it doesn't really ruin the experience, and then again there are some out there who are not PC master racists like myself, so I find it unfair to give the game less than 8.

Replayability (dragon is replayable)
The game has 5 origin stories which are all well written and it is said that the world reacts to you depending on your origin. The differences as far as I played in the main story, are minor concerning NPCs but enough to warrant a replay out of the more dedicated fans... or maybe myself when I'll be bored again. Also, being the experienced gamer that I am, I think the almost a week of constant playing says much about the game's length.

All in all it's a good game, and I compared it to Baldur's Gate 2 far less than I expected to. It definitely deserves a buying but the spiritual or otherwise successor of Baldur's Gate 2, Dragon Age : Origins is not.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The cat / The house on the canal

The Cat / The house on the canal
By Georges Simenon

"Georges Joseph Christian Simenon was a Belgian writer. A prolific author who published nearly 200 novels and numerous short works, Simenon is best known for the creation of the fictional detective Maigret."

The book I got my hands on had the two aforementioned titles (which are two short stories) on it, but as the wikipedia article suggests, Mr Simenon had written a lot more novels and short works. His writing style is interesting but the object of these two stories are rather unexciting.

The Cat, says the story of a grumpy old couple who communicate by throwing notes to each other. And the rest of the story is saying how that came to be and what the main character does in reaction to that, which is not much. I mean, it's not like he'll be able to go on a journey of self-discovery and come back to see the world and his wife with new eyes. No, the novel is more realistic than that.

The house on the canal, is a bit more interesting as far as action is concerned, and while people die in it, I can't find any sort of interest in the trials and tribulations of a girl that was forced by the death of her father to move to the country with her cousins. While some rather peculiar things happen, and her odd behaviour and thought patterns are incentive enough to want to know what happens next, ultimately I couldn't wait to end this book as well and to start reading something else.

Overall, it was not a waste of time, but if presented a more interesting book, I would have read it. I have not found a quote from either of these two novels in the 5 second attempt that I had, so there won't be any. I won't be bothered to do more for a book that left me indifferent.