Thursday, March 27, 2008

Camping out at home

The movers took everything that's going to England today, which means we're sleeping on air mattresses and borrowing towels to dry ourselves with. The end is near, even at the very doors.

In other news, David Mamet has an interesting change of heart.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Decision Tree: NYT Diagram

Here's more from the NYT, this time regarding Gygax and his influence. Snarky, but appropriate in its way:

Here's my path(s):

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Are chemicals that enhance brain power 'wrong'?

Interesting piece from the New York Times about the implications of using prescription drugs that allow for better attention or studying. What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I know.

I'm sorry. It won't be the last time I neglect this blog; it hasn't been the first. Those of you still here, thanks. Its now less than a month until we get on a plane and go to England. We're excited and stressed.

Our house got listed for renters today. Pics in the "Virtual Tour". I find it amazing that houses still get sold or rented when basically all real estate sites have such appallingly poor web design, but so it goes.

I went to England for a couple of weeks, during which I worked about 150 hours, but I still found a little time to go look at houses and eat at some pretty decent pubs and curry houses. I think we're going to like it there. I originally had my heart set on some kind of stone barn conversion out in the country, but after driving through thick fog on twisty narrow roads, and after seeing what town has to offer, the idea of living in town is growing on me. It's a small town, anyway. But it has nice parks and Victorian townhomes, and its pretty. There's still a chance we'll end up in some little village surrounded by sheep, but town is probably where we'll end up. We won't actually find the place until after we're there, but it was nice to have a look around and see what's where.

Now begins the difficult task of sorting through all our stuff; deciding what goes to storage, what goes with us, and what simply goes away. I am fortunate to be married to someone who is a natural organizer, which makes many things about this easier for me - I am not very good at this sort of thing on my own.

On to media reviews:

The England Mix is done - thanks for contributions, you probably will get your copy shortly if you're on my list. If you think you should be on my list but didn't contribute, leave me a little note below telling me what you've done for me lately and get me your address (email to dave dot younce at gmail dot com, don't go posting it in comments) and I'll see what I can do.

Spice, History of a Temptation , by Jack Turner. 3.5 stars out of 5. It's fascinating for people like me, who want to know just how pepper came to be used as a common rent payment, or why the phoenix was said to smell of cinnamon, but its tone is rather academic (I suspect it's Jack Turner's dissertation turned into a book). There are some rather tawdry portions where spices as aphrodisiacs are concerned, but mostly it's about how spices came to have such value that the quest for them fueled the age of discovery. I liked it, but then, I was stuck on planes for hours and hours.

Michael Clayton: I watched this on the plane on my way over to the UK, and liked it quite a lot. Clooney is excellent, as is Swindon. 4.5 stars.

Big Love - Season 2: Oh fine, I admit it - I watched this show despite the many ill-informed email chain letters I got from LDS friends warning me about it's evil depictions of the Church. Actually, the LDS church is rarely mentioned, and when it is, it's usually treated with respect. Mostly I came away from Season 1 saying "Man, I'm glad that's not us". But Season 2 is just too hard to make myself want to watch - the show is really, really good at drama. But watching this family held together by threads is just too much for me anymore. So I'm moving on, but amiably. It was interesting, but I've no time for it anymore. 3 stars.

30 Rock, on the other hand, just gets better and better. We're only about halfway into the first disc of the first season, but it's a keeper. 4 stars.

To Have and Have Not: There's definitely chemistry between Bogart and Bacall, and it's pretty good - if I'd never seen Casablanca I'd have thought this was excellent. I have, though, and Casablanca's the better film. Their stories are similar enough that I think you'll see the connection too. 3.5 stars.

Something the Lord Made: Alan Rickman and Mos Def as pioneering heart surgeons in the mid-20th century. Both are excellent, but the combination of racial tensions and medical suspense makes it harrowing to watch. Excellent, and recommended, but I am unlikely to watch it again. Oh yeah, and its a true story. 4 stars.