Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
And to wind things up for this allotment of eMusic credits, I decided to get Celebrity Golf, a fifteen minute standup routine by Mike Birbiglia that I first heard on This American Life, mostly so I could inflict it on friends and family.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
He shrugged his shoulders and resolutely opened the top folder [of intelligence reports]...
It was the beginning of a typical routine day for Bond. It was only two or three times a year that an assignment came along requiring his particular abilities. For the rest of the year he had the duties of an easy-going senior civil servant...
He took no holidays, but was generally given a fortnight's leave at the end of each assignment--in addition to any sick-leave that might be necessary... He had a small but comfortable flat off the King's Road, an elderly Scottish housekeeper--a treasure called May--and a 1930 4 1/2-litre Bentley coupe, supercharged .. so that he could do a hundred when he wanted to.
...It was his ambition to have as little as possible in his banking account when he was killed, as, when he was depressed, he knew he would be, before the statutory age of forty-five.
Eight years to go before he was automatically taken off the 00 list and given a staff job at Headquarters. At least eight tough assignments. Probably sixteen. Perhaps twenty-four. Too many.
Those last two segments give us the tidbit that by the time of Moonraker, Bond is around 33 years old, and can look forward to having episodes of torture into his mid-forties.
The chapter closes out with a description of Bond's progress through a pile of memos, ticking them off, initialing them '007' and putting them into the out tray for the next bureaucrat. It really tickles me to see him outside the frame of action. It's like watching Superman relaxing in the Fortress of Solitude with a model kit, or working his taxes on a crummy too-old laptop.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I found a review on Amazon for Live and Let Die that contained the following snippet:
I would rank "Live and Let Die" in the second-tier of Bond novels, along with "From Russia, With Love" and "Moonraker." It doesn't quite reach the level of such absolute masterpieces as "Doctor No," "On Her Majesty's Secret Service," or "You Only Live Twice," but it's certainly superior to such relatively weak entries as "Goldfinger," "Casino Royale," and the disastrous "The Man with the Golden Gun." All in all, a classic Bond thriller.
I have to agree with A. E. Kaiser that Live and Let Die is a better book than Casino Royale. CR is not a bad book, by any measure I'm willing to apply. It's just that by the second novel, Fleming's already begun to get a much more three-dimensional brush stroke for his character and the world in which he maneuvers.
Seeing as how the next book in the sequence is Moonraker, which A. E. Kaiser puts into the second tier, I'm quite anxious to get started! And given that I can apparently identify the movie version of Doctor No in three notes, I'm not sure I want to wait for that 'absolute masterpiece' to roll around in the chronological sequence. But of the two intervening novels (Diamonds Are Forever and From Russia, With Love), the second is also in the second tier, so I'll struggle to hang on.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Jean's been encouraging me to get back into cooking, and this weekend she selected a recipe for me to try. It was from an older copy of Cook's Illustrated, so I can't link to the online recipe (it's behind their paywall). Instead, I'll just include a generic link to Chicken Tikka Masala. We modified the recipe, substituting plain yogurt in the masala sauce for the cream in the recipe. Verdict: definitely very good.
Mid-last-week, I began an experiment with Netflix. I got the minimal subscription, with one DVD at a time. I really wanted to try out their instant streaming, as we are now using Hulu to watch a number of television programs, and I hoped that we might be able to do the same with some movies. I was skeptical, as most posts seemed to complain about quality at higher bandwidths than we get. It turns out that some movies are watchable, but not all.
I tried watching Banlieue 13, a French action movie with a lot of stunts based on parkour. The stream paused and even skipped, every few seconds. This turns out to be a bad thing for a movie filled with physical stunts.
On the other hand, we watched a movie recommended by one of Jean's co-workers, Monsoon Wedding, and it was not too jerky. The movie itself was great.
Finally, our first actual DVD from Netflix arrived this weekend, and we watched it today. It is called Bride & Prejudice and is a Bollywood-style musical based on Jane Austen's novel. It was produced by Indian, British and American companies and was mostly in English. I love musicals, and have a weakness for Bollywood musical romances and comedies, so this was a real treat. Jean seemed to enjoy it too.
Coming up in our queue next will be Memento.