May 25, 2005

Summer is good [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at May 25, 2005 10:38 AM

The semester's over, and not coincidentally I am updating almost all of the media categories in the sidebar.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: Executive summary: better than episodes I and II, but not by much. This deserves its own post (with its own spoiler warning), which I'll write when I get home tonight and can look at the notes I made while I was watching.

Xenosaga Episode II: Jenseits von Gut und Bose: Just started this. The new visual style is very nice (especially Shion's new look). Unfortunately Yasunori Mitsuda is no longer composing the music— not only is he very good, but he was able to connect back to Xenogears with appropriate musical motifs, since he composed the music for that game as well. The combat system seems to have mutated a bit but feels similar. Question: Why introduce a character as bad-ass as Canaan and not make him playable? Even if he's evil, or dies, he can still be playable at the beginning (as Virgil was in the first episode). But I'm not very far in, maybe he'll join the party later anyway.

Haruki Murakami: Kafka on the Shore: I'm only a chapter into this right now. Instead I will review the book I just read:

Peter Høeg: Smilla's Sense of Snow: It took me forever to finish this, but mainly because I was doing other things all semester; I really enjoyed it despite not reading it very fast. The plot is on the mystery/thriller model, following a Dane/Greenlander woman's investigation of a murder, but the narrative switches between this storyline and backstory developing some of the characters, especially Smilla, in the context of Greenland's experience as a colony of Denmark. I found Smilla to be an especially compelling character; she is someone who at an intellectual level wants to maintain an icy detachment and not get emotionally involved with anything, but in practice she isn't always able to do this.

Architecture in Helsinki: In Case We Die: This album has a very unusual sound—crazy indie pop from an octet with a ridiculous number of instruments (the liner notes include a matrix with the list of instruments on one axis and the tracklist on the other), it sounds something like the over-the-top anime version of the Fiery Furnaces. "Wishbone" is one of the best tracks, a song about the exhilaration of falling in love. (At least I think that's what it's about, the lyrics are somewhat opaque.) This CD was somewhat tough to find; I looked in vain at the Telegraph music stores, eventually finding it at the Amoeba Records on Haight when I went to see M.I.A.

In other music news, the new Sleater-Kinney album is out, and apparently it's awesome. I was going to buy it on Friday, so I could listen to it on the way to D&D, but after reading that review I may not be able to wait that long. (Did I mention I'm seeing them live next week?)

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Comments

I enjoyed Episode III, but the usual sense of subtlety (none) was there. There were a couple things I liked, but I will wait until the post which already has spoiler warnings.

P.S. Moving sucks. I will be happier in 8 days. I've built up too much crap.

See you next week.

Posted by: Mason | May 25, 2005 6:24 PM
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