Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Package Day Redux
Two weeks ago, I posted about my latest Amazon bundle of treats and toys . Today I will post short reviews of all the goodies, so you can better spend your tax refunds on useless middle-class garbage.The Complete Ramona Quimby Series: The Ramona books came in two boxed sets of four books each, although they were obviously packaged as an afterthought, since some of the books have different cover styles. Whoever decided to box them up did a horrible job with the order -- the fourth book in the series is missing from the first boxed set, so you really have to buy both sets to read them all in order. The stories were as comforting and nostalgic as I thought they would be, and it only took an hour or so to read each one. The most surprising twist in my Reading Is Fundamental adventure occurred when I started reading the eighth book and realized that I hadn't read it before. Ramona's World, it turns out, was not written until 1999, fifteen years after the previous book. It "feels" a little different from the rest of the series, and even seems to have incorporated a little modernization for young readers. The best part of the boxed set is that they retained the original pencil drawings, which will surely trigger some memories from your youth if you read these as much as I did.The Complete Ralph S. Mouse Series: Just as good as I remembered. I had to make a Mouse and the Motorcycle diorama in Mrs. Hutt's third grade and remember obliterating a ping pong ball in a failed attempt to make a crash helmet for a mouse. I also loaned Mrs. Hutt my copy of the book so she could put it on the overhead projector to trace one of the illustrations onto a giant classroom poster. The heat from the transparency bulb melted the glue in the binding and permanently destroyed the book.KT Tunstall: Eye to the Telescope: This is an excellent CD -- probably one of the first CD's I've completely enjoyed since Muse's Absolution in 2004. Despite her occasionally interesting pronunciations, KT has a solid, agreeable voice, whether she's singing high or low, on ballads and over beats. If you think of Norah Jones as the jazzy-blues Norah Jones, then KT would be like the country-blues Norah Jones -- slightly more poppy with nothing ridiculously avant-garde, but all solidly done. Here's one of my favourite tracks from the CD (besides the radio-happy Suddenly I See) called Heal Over (2MB MP3, reduced quality). By the way, people think of me as the hip-hop-funk Norah Jones.Alias Assumed: Some of the articles are interesting, some are self-serving, and some are no better than the crap you can find on the Internet (see also, the URI! Zone). A decent enough coffee-table style book, but not one that I plan on reading from cover to cover.The 4400: Complete First Season: I already talked about this a couple weeks ago -- an all-around excellent show that really needs to release its second season on DVD already.Tales of Symphonia: The story is silly and the battle system is nonsensical to non-Japanese gamers such as myself. This is a game that I might waste some time with on a slow afternoon, but it's not one that I have any urge to play regularly in order to see what happens next. Paper Mario is an all-around better RPG for the GameCube. Still, this game was only $19.99 -- a bargain is a bargain.24: The Complete Third Season: The problem with starting a season of 24 is that you are then compelled to see it through to the end. We haven't started watching this yet, but probably will after Anna's caught up on the last season of Friends, the second season of Arrested Development, and the second season of Scrubs. Sally Lockhart Trilogy: These were some of the last books I checked out of the Burke Branch Library in Alexandria before running out of new material to read and shipping off to college. The final book in the trilogy was actually released during the time I was reading the first two, and I marvelled at the fact that there were actually NEW books in the library. Fragments of the stories came back to me as I read, but it was still fun deciphering all the mysteries again for the first time. The stories are mystery/suspense tales spun against the backdrop of London in the late nineteenth century. Somehow, the author manages to weave bigger issues like opium, war and peace, immigration, socialism, and the Industrial Revolution into the story without making it feel like a sermon, and never talks down to the reader. I enjoyed these books just as much today as I did when I was in high school. A+: Would read books by this author again, and I'll probably order up the rest of his books the next time I'm trolling Amazon for needless purchases. Missing link between Muppets and Sebastian found Jake Gyllenhaal has fun at the Pre-Oscar party The Headless Deerman
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