As always these days, good times, good times~~~
Knight’s and Magic episode 6: This was a fun episode. Our protag returns to the capital to work on yet another brand-new, even more powerful mech, as part of a competition between the his new order of knights and the kingdom’s established research lab (which is led by a crazy old guy). There was no action in this episode, just a lot of stuff about the mechanics of increasing the mecha’s power output safely and designing a new control system for a bigger centaur mech that required two people to pilot (that was pretty cool). There was also a funny little bathing scene for fanservice purposes XD XD I was surprised the mecha heist from the previous episode didn’t get much more attention, except for a member of the secret intelligence service to get attached to Ernie’s team, to keep an eye out for any more spies or thieves. So it looks like the main conflict hasn’t started up yet…
You might think I was a little bored with it, but eh, honestly, not at all. I can’t think of many mecha animes which go into this much detail about mech design and engineering (rather than mecha fighting) so even if the war plot is being put off, I’m still maintaining my interest, which means I’m happy 😀
The Dark Tower: I’m a casual fan, not a diehard King expert, and I thought this movie was *okay.* Idris Elba was great, he was really badass and it was quite fun watching him outfight and outshoot all the demons and drones the bad guys sent at him. I’m also a big fan of Claudia Kim, even though she seemed to have only a small part T_T If the only thing I’d been looking for was an hour and a half of gunslinging action, I could have spent my money worse.
Alas, the thing is, I’d been looking for something a little more distinctive. Again, I haven’t read The Dark Tower, but even I know how much of a sprawling epic it is. Thus, I’d hoped they’d manage to capture even a little bit of the feeling, just a tiny bit, in what little time they had, but…nothin. There’s really nothing that makes this a Dark Tower movie, or even a Stephen King movie. They could have just titled it “Idris Elba and a Kid Sidekick versus Leaning RomCom Guy at the OK Corral” and it would have been just as accurate. Heck, I think the goons who attacked the village at around the midpoint of the movie were straight-up using the exact same costumes as the Orcs from Lord of the Rings. There’s very little original in this movie, very little that makes you think you’re watching anything other than a generic fantasy (with tinges of scifi) action flick. That’s not so bad–there are worse things to be than generic–but still kinda disappointing.
Ooof, no luck this week…just got a message from Sky, something came up and she won’t be done till next week Ah, well, more time for Pampurio to give me more Italian translations, which he’s busy with 😀
Got a new space game recently, “House of the Dying Sun.” I’ve been hankering for a Wing Commander style space fighter sim and this one hits the mark very well. The graphics are very nice (surprising for a game only about a gigabyte in size) and the controls are smooth. Alas, unlike Wing Commander, the plot is pretty scanty and there are only a few missions, aside from the daily ones, though there’s a decent amount of ships and upgrades you can get as you play through the game. So there’s not that much content for 20 dollars, but I managed to get it on sale for 10, so it’s all good 😀
Conrad Black’s history of Canada, Rise to Greatness. It’s certainly a good broad overview, though sometimes Mr. Black’s writing can get a little unwieldy (he loves sentences with lots and lots of commas). It might also be a little too sanguine about Canada’s history and successes :p For instance, I strongly suspect most Native Americans won’t be particularly flattered at how Black describes their culture and society. Also, native Canadians who know more about the place than me might be suspicious of how Black portrays it as a consistently stable and sane democracy, especially compared to how he portrays America (powerful, and benevolent, but with a party system prone to breakdown and belligerence).
Black is a journalist, not a professional historian, so I suppose that explains some of it. Reading his work again, though, I guess I’m struck by how I’ve always found “Journalistic history” appealing. While, as I said, some of Black’s sentences can get unwieldy at times, and the various hopping-arounds necessitated by a brief overview of Canadian history can get confusing, for the most part he writes clearly and…enthusiastically, I’d say. I confess I’m attracted to his vision of the world: One where racism is stupid and counterproductive and eventually overcome by intelligent and well-intentioned Natives and whites alike (even if his description of Native cultures is rather patronizing), one in which the forces of freedom–embodied by the U.S., Canada, and Britain–successfully work together to halt Nazi tyranny, and one where–generally–freedom-loving people of all backgrounds can solve the problems of their day through reasoned debate and hard work. This isn’t to say that Black takes a “Whiggish” view of history (Canadian or otherwise), he doesn’t seem to believe that progress is inevitable or that history “tends” toward it. He does strike me as essentially optimistic, though, and positive about the prospects for progress. I’m not sure if I share that optimism, but I can certainly wish I did. ;o
Still a good read, though, and gives you a serviceable grasp of the big events in Canadian history, just take it with a wee bit of salt.
I also read Ronald Malfi’s new book, Bone White. Man, he’s hit it out of the park again. Things start off with a creepy opening: In the curiously-named tiny Alaskan village called Dread Hand, an old geezer named Joe Mallory shows up, claiming to have murdered 8 people and buried them in the supposedly-cursed woods. One of those people might be the twin brother of our protagonist, Paul Gallo, so he sets off for the Alaskan wilderness seeking answers for what might have happened. But he soon finds himself with far more on his hands than a missing twin, as he plumbs the depths of Dread’s Hand’s dark past, and learns more of the entity which has haunted the this barren land for centuries, bounded behind row after row of wooden crosses, and another strange symbol as well–a painting of an eye with a vertical slit for a pupil. The true nature of these symbols–and what really happened to Danny Gallo out there in the woods–will throw Paul into a heart-pounding struggle, and one few readers will soon forget!
As always for Malfi, the writing is top-notch, subtle and understated but very compelling. The characters aren’t that strong–aside from the bond between Paul and Danny, none seemed especially memorable or likable–but none are grating, which is good enough. The greatest strength is the story itself. I don’t wanna spoil anyone, but if anyone here has read Mr. Malfi’s other novels and novellas, like Little Girls or Skullbelly, you’ll know he’s a master of “slow burn” types of horror. We start with the creepy murderer guy, then jump to a bit of normalcy with an introduction to Paul Gallo, but after that, he receives some strange visions and dreams, then visits the town, and then encounters some strange sights and creepy encounters, each spookier than the last, and it’s just wonderfully paced and a great buildup to a damn fine finale. Just about every book I read from Ron Malfi makes me say, “man, this guy might be my favorite horror author!” Bone White is no exception, I HIGHLY recommend picking it up 😀
Not too much this week, profs still haven’t gotten back to me 😦 I did write up a small essay on the supposed evils of Communism, though. This is not a defense of Communism at all, but just the beginnings of a larger work I plan to do, refuting the idea that the Nazis and the Japanese were the “lesser of two evils” compared to the Soviet Union:
And, finally…like I promised, here’s mah Amazon.com haul!
Got a ton of books I’m gonna work through eventually over the next weeks. Out of interest, I got some books on the historiography (can never read too much of that) and then African American history, for my primary field of specialization. Then, for my own interest, I got a bunch of books on the history of role playing games like D&D. Then, finally, for fun, I got a beautiful Tactics Ogre artbook, my friend Robbie MacNiven’s Warhammer 40k novels (Legacy of the Wulfen and Red Tithe), and lastly, the Shovel Knight books–intended for a younger audience, but the game is so much fun I figured I’d support Yacht Club. Good times 😀 Here are the specifics:
From Herodotus to H-Net: The Story of Historiography
Popkin, Jeremy D.
Thinking the Twentieth Century
Judt, Tony and Timothy Snyder
Why Study History?: Reflecting on the Importance of the Past
That Noble Dream: The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession (Ideas in Context)
The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South
Twitty, Michael W.
When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America
One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America
Kruse, Kevin M.
White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (Politics and Society in Modern America)
Kruse, Kevin M.
The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton Classics)
Sugrue, Thomas J.
Designers and Dragons, Vols. 1-4
Empire of Imagination: Gary Gygax and the Birth of Dungeons & Dragons
Playing at the World
Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and The People Who Play It
Ewalt, David M.
Shovel Knight guidebook, codes of shovelry handbook, Shovel Knight activity book, and Shovel Knight mad libs 😀
Tactics Ogre artbook
Legacy of the Wulfen and Red Tithe by Robbie MacNiven 😀
Hell of a list, huh? As you might be able to tell, a lot of these books are by my Twitter friends, hehe XD I’ll tell y’all about them in the coming weeks. Aside from that, it’s time for me to take a nice sleep! I’m tired, and tomorrow I’m gonna watch that scary new Annabelle movie. Spooooooky!!!!
Well, this was a great week. Here’s hoping the next is just as fun! 😀 😀