Friday, September 25, 2009

Reviews Galore

More photos of California can wait - I have reviews and news!

Wow, my mom hit it right on the head when she said, "we're never going to get part two of the photos", didn't she? That woman's like magic.

But, as I've said, photos can wait. For this:

Review #1: Measure for Measure

I almost turned down an invitation to see Measure for Measure at the Long Center. As much as I loved all of my language arts teachers in school, "Shakespeare" generally conjures up memories of long afternoons spent teasing through archaic language, hunting for all those filthy jokes the older students promised us - and coming up empty. Although, there was that time during reading circle when one of the guys put entirely the wrong inflection on "Bring me my sword, ho!" and brought class to a screeching halt for about half an hour. . . Anyway, the point is that Shakespeare is, in many cases, bawdy and fun, but that's hard to understand when you've been staring at the same passage for twenty minutes.

No so with a performance on stage. Even in the midst of Austin Shakespeare's bizarre coupling of the original language AND varying southern accents, the humor shines through. My host for the show (a theatre critic who writes for the Austin Theater Examiner and blogs - infrequently - at cinemopolis) told me that there is apparently a lot of controversy over categorizing Measure for Measure as a comedy: I think the Long Center playbill hit the nail on the head with the phrase "dark comedy." The many laugh-out-loud lines are neatly balanced by a few truly intense scenes, some emotional sadism, and plenty of suspense. Speaking of suspense, it was a truly new experience to feel some during a Shakespeare performance; there's something to be said for watching plays everyone doesn't know the ending to.

The actors do a good job as a group, with the clear stand-out performance coming from Matt Radford. Which is a great thing, because his character goes in disguise as another character, meaning he spends quite a bit of time on the stage. I'll not get into plot specifics here, because Ryan covers that in his review of Measure for Measure on the Austin Theater Examiner page. So, you know, go check that out.

Rating: a solid "To be" on a scale of "Greek to me" to "Some rise by sin"
I liked it, and would recommend it to any group of adults.

Review #2: iPod Touch

This new toy marks the first purchase I've made from Apple since I got my first iPod four or five years ago. The old iPod is named Grim Speck, and poor Speck has been languishing in a drawer since the new one arrived yesterday. I'd planned to go with an A-Team theme (there's an "on the jazz" quote engraved on the back) and name this iPod Hannibal; however, when it arrived it was just too glossy and shiny and pretty - definitely a Faceman.

Let me just say: it's a nice gadget. This thing makes playlists for me without being asked and lets me know when I have new emails/tweets/Facebook messages/news stories - which surprisingly saves time. The free games so far leave a bit to be desired, although Tap Tap Revolution (Dance Dance, but with your fingers) is pretty cool. And I downloaded an Army of Darkness app, because you never know when you're going to need to produce a chainsaw sound effect on the spur of the moment.

But while it's cool to watch CSI or NCIS on-the-go, as it were, the teensy screen isn't a strong selling point for me. And, compared to my old one, I'm convinced this iPod's going to break if I give it a stern glare; my case hasn't arrived yet. Oh yeah, and that "engraving"? Parts of it are already rubbing right off; not that you can really see it once the case is on.

Rating: a "Boomstick-plus" on a scale of "Come get some" to "Gimme some sugar, baby"
Cool and fun, but hardly a necessity

Yet to come: Two CDs came in today from the One2One Network, so I will post reviews of those within the next week or three. Also, I really am going to put up some more photos from California: scout's honor.

This post was composed while listening to:
The Grand Illusion, Styx
Paradise By The Dashboard Light, Meat Loaf
Rock 'n' Roll Band, Boston
Take Me Home Tonight, Eddie Money
Save The Last Dance For Me, Bruce Willis
My Hometown, Bruce Springsteen
Blue Collar Man, Styx
I'm on Fire, Bruce Springsteen
Baker Street, Rick Springfield

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vacation Photos - Part the First

Putting all of my photos into one blog post would probably be a bit of a visual overload. Instead, I have here the first chunk (yes, that is the technical term) of shots from my week in California. These include the view from my bedroom window, a ping pong action shot, and a handful ofmy favorite photos from an afternoon on the lake in a speedboat.

I think the speedboat was my the highlight of my first few days there; my 14-year-old cousin kept beating me at ping pong, which took some of the fun out of it. Thankfully, I got my own back - and cemented my geek status - by totally kicking her butt at pong. Specifically, the hockey version of pong, on my uncle's Atari Flashback.