Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant / Tony Cliff

   WHAT A DELIGHT. This book is full of all kinds of things that I like. Awesome lady? Check. Shenanigans? Check. Flying boat? Check. A flying boat.

   Delilah Dirk is an adventurer who simultaneously escapes a prison and rescues the titular Turkish lieutenant, Erdemoglu Selim, from being beheaded, and then they proceed to get into and out of several scrapes. Delilah Dirk is like the Count of Monte Christo and Indiana Jones and Batman rolled into one. She's traveled the world, learning new skills! She's a member of English high-society! Does she have a revenge plot to carry out? You could look at it that way, I guess! Regardless, she is great. This book is pure fun from start to finish. Highly recommend.

   This story started out as a webcomic, and you can read some of it here.


"I live. I die. I live again."

   As you have by now guessed, I've been watching a lot of Star Wars and a lot of action! adventure! and I have no regrets. The movies from the previous post are as follows:
  • Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (80)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road (15)
  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (83)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens (15)
  • Tombstone (93)
   We've all been blessed with Rey and we all love her, and I'm sure we're all pumped for whatever revenge-fueled shenanigans Captain Phasma is going to get up to in the next installments of Star Wars and I am So Stoked whenever I see more and more women filling roles that previously would have defaulted to men. Even seeing a bunch of female pilots running around in the background of The Force Awakens makes me excited. Did you know that crowd scenes in movies and TV are typically ~80% men? That is ridiculous and stupid and Star Wars is moving towards 50/50 representation and that is a beautiful thing (I've also been thinking about how Joss Whedon keeps killing dudes and adding ladies in the Avengers movies, but that is another conversation for another time).

   Speaking of more women in movies: Mad Max: Fury Road is a triumph, I will never be convinced otherwise. Of all the new movies I've seen over the past year, Fury Road takes the "most thought about and discussed" cake.  This movie is simultaneously subtle and in-your-face. On one hand you've got women shouting "WE ARE NOT THINGS" and cutting evil-looking chastity belts off with bolt cutters, on the other hand you've got women who act on their ideas, fight tooth and nail, and push through pain and difficulty while acknowledging that they sometimes need help. I've read more about Mad Max: Fury Road than I have about any other movie (unless I count the LotR movies, which I don't because wow that's an unquantifiable amount of time spent on one story) and here are two favorites.

   Hahahaaaaaa, and now: Tombstone. This movie is ridiculous and I love it in a similar way to how I love Sahara. Without Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday the whole thing would fall flat. Every time he says anything I want to repeat it out loud immediately. "I'm your huckleberry," "I've got two guns, one for each of you," "If I thought you weren't my friend, I don't think I could bear it," "I have not yet begun to defile myself." Whenever I talk about Tombstone I just start quoting Doc Holliday. Forgive me if I don't shake hands. You're a daisy if you do.


1-5, 2016

New year, new me, new movies. Except these five are all re-watches. Can you guess them all? CAN YOU DETECT A THEME?


World War Z / Max Brooks

   A couple of years ago, I reached zombie saturation. This manifested when I stopped watching and reading The Walking Dead. The humans are the real monster, I get it. And so my everlasting thanks goes out to everyone who told me that World War Z  is almost too good, and that the audiobook is a masterpiece even though it's abridged. You brought me back to the world of the undead. I split Christmas break reading time between Bleak House (I WILL FINISH SOON), Dead Mountain, and World War Z and oh my goodness, what a successful round of reading.

   We all know that the best horror stories aren't about the scary thing, they are about what the scary thing does to the people who are scared. Max Brooks takes that concept and RUNS with it and instead of following small bands of survivors we get a global overview of the sociopolitical, economic, technological, and psychological (and many other "-ical"s) ramifications of a zombie apocalypse and recovery from a zombie apocalypse. This isn't even really horror.

   This is so well written and so well organized and I forgive Max Brooks for being pretty focused on the U.S.A. because this book is just so good. I'm listening to the audiobooks at this very moment. UGH FOLKS JUST READ IT. I was expecting this to be good but I wasn't expecting it to be this good. I might be back to zombies. I might start reading The Walking Dead again. I am newly motivated to finish reading The Girl With All The Gifts even though it was spooking me more than I like to be spooked (holla at you, nightmares)(I will wait until spring, I think).


Dead Mountain / Donnie Eichar

   I don't remember where I heard about this book but if it was from you, THANK YOU, because it was really good and really nuts.

   SO, Donnie Eichar heard about and decided to investigate the infamous Dyatlov Pass Incident, where nine experienced mountaineers mysteriously fled from their tent in sub-zero temperatures in almost-Siberia and died in the snow. When the bodies were found they were mostly missing boots and any kind of substantial outerwear, and the tent had been cut open from the inside with a knife. There was no evidence of anyone other than the hikers being anywhere near the tent at the time, and no one has been able to figure out what happened to them since 1959, until now (maybe).

   At first I was all "I am NOT going to like this Donnie fellow," because he seemed like he was the type of person who is weirdly entitled to other people's stories. But, he spends a portion of the book saying that he felt like he was intruding, like it wasn't his business or his place to investigate this story, and so on, and I said, "okay, Donnie. I guess we're cool." I'm sorry I assumed you'd be a prick, Donnie Eichar. You don't seem like one.

   I read this book over Christmas/New Years at home and at a campy-retreaty thing, which maybe isn't the best time to read something that says DEAD MOUNTAIN on the front because people will say "cheery reading, eh?" and "festive" and ""what in the world are you reading?" and "are they dead yet?" NON-STOP while you do. But I do like to enthuse about stories like this, so whenever people asked I'd say "GET THIS, so imagine you're in Siberia, right?" and carry on with the bits of mystery and weird sequence of events that investigators figured out, and then say "CRAZY, right?" and get back to reading. My brother swiped it from me and read it in a day.

   The conclusion that Eichar eventually comes to is a somewhat anti-climactic when compared to some of the more alien-heavy theories that people have espoused over the years, but it makes sense. If you're looking for some investigative-journalism type reading then I highly recommend this one.


2016, it has arrived

   I read 66 books this year! I watched 53 movies (although that count could be wrong because sometimes I forget to write them down)! I also watched one hell of a lot of tv, which I would like to regulate somehow.

   I have a good feeling about 2016. It's going to be a big year. I'll be starting on my Masters degree (if I get accepted), I'll be moving to Edmonton, I'll be doing all sorts of new things. I sometimes stress about this a bit, but I still have an underlying confidence about this year. Huzzah! As a bonus i'll probably know Hamilton as well as I know Wicked by the end of the year (which is almost embarrassingly well) so that's...good? 

   This year my resolutions are pretty much the same as last year. Read at least 52 books. Watch at most 52 movies (this is flexible now that I've gotten out of the habit of watching movies by myself). At least kind of keep track of how much tv I'm watching. Get Huge 2016. Bump my climbing grade up to 5.11 (this feels almost too ambitious). Diversify my reading.

   Here's to me and here's to you and here's to 2016.

"He who is resistant to change is destined to perish"

The movies, from the last movie-guessing post:
  • Hot Rod 
  • Muppet's Christmas Carol
  • Red Dawn
  • Step Up 2: The Streets
  • The Castle
Sometimes you don't want to have to think too hard and you also want to have a laugh so you watch Hot Rod and then ultimate punch everyone you see.

   Sometimes you want to be in the Christmas spirit and what better way than with puppets, am I right? Muppets Christmas Carol is, admittedly, not on the level of Muppets Treasure Island, but that sure doesn't mean it's not a pure delight. God bless us, everyone.

   Sometimes you are at your friends house and you are browsing through Netflix and you see the description for Red Dawn and you say, "yes, yes please this one, it sounds utterly ridiculous" and then you watch it and one of your pals calls the entire movie within the first fifteen minutes and it's just an all around joyful time.

   Sometimes your friend comes to visit and your plans are 1: make meat pie, 2: watch Step Up 2: The Streets. The pie is delicious and the dancing is amazing and you feel no shame over loving dance movies and all is well in the world.

   Sometimes you visit your friend and you are reminiscing about good times in the land Down Under and obviously it is high time you watched The Castle again because that movie is PURE GOLD and you will never not love it and IT'S JUST THE GENERAL VIBE OF THE THING. Please take me back to Melbourne, I need to walk around Coburg again. I need to take the tram to the CBD. How's that serenity? Not a sound.