Friday, September 02, 2016

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Catastrophe, Season Two:
This six episode season feels like a misfire. The frank and humourous dialogue is still there in spades, and the first episodes set up some interesting scenarios to work with, but the season ends abruptly with no resolution. It's like someone gave the writers a "pencils down" timer and they just shot whatever was done. The tone of this season is also slightly meaner than before. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: C

Fargo, Season Two:
The second season has no misfires, and I only rate it lower than the first season's "A+" out of personal preference between the two. It's hard to find a show that can be both cinematic and literary without pretension, while still sustaining your interest -- when a character here starts reciting Lewis Carroll, I was on the edge of my seat, while Walter White chasing after a fly for 45 minutes just had me rolling my eyes and fast forwarding. One plot point in the final episode stretches a bit too far unnecessarily to tie back to the first season, but it doesn't hurt the self-contained story at all.

Final Grade: A

Dungeons and Dreamers by Brad King and John Borland:
This is a pleasant history of computer games and their evolution out of D&D. It's a bit outdated, having been published just before World of Warcraft became a big deal, but it goes in-depth with some material on Richard Garriott (of Ultima fame) and id (of DOOM fame) that I hadn't already learned in other books. It also covers the sociology of gaming to some extent, as well as the various legal pressures on gaming in the 90s (does anyone remember Jack Thompson anymore?)

Final Grade: B+

MCIRCO 750ml Collapsible Silicone Water Bottle:
This was my go-to water bottle for hiking in Colorado. It's slightly lighter than a bike bottle or hardshell and doesn't leak if tightly screwed in. The novelty here is that you can roll the bottle up when empty, conserving valuable backpack volume, yet the material is also sturdy enough to stand upright on its own regardless of how much water is inside. The only nitpick I have is that the stretchy strap that keeps it rolled up sometimes falls off if allowed to hang -- I ended up taking it off completely and storing it safely until I needed to roll the bottle up again.

Final Grade: A-

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