Sep 30, 2008

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Online Game

...can be found here. It's pretty twisted, like the book itself, and quite difficult. I can't get past the opening scene aboard the Vogon ship! It is very compelling, though.

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A Cool Cover

My favorite song from The Mighty Boosh is Love Games, from the season 2 episode Old Gregg, and now I've found an incredibly cool cover on youtube! It sounds like a real song (well, yeah, I know the original is actually a song as well, but, you know what I mean)!
Here are both the original and the cover.

The original:

The cool cover:

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Sep 22, 2008

I Miss The Boosh!

Why is it that whenever I discover a really cool show, they always go on a hiatus and don't make a new season for ages? No IT Crowd, no Conchords, and now no Boosh! I discovered Boosh in 2007, just before the 3rd season, and now I have to wait probably 'till 2009 for the new adventures of Howard and Vince. There's some talk of a movie, but that'll take a while as well. By the way, the Boosh boys are currently on tour. I wish I lived in England! Here's a trailer for their last live release. Genius!

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Sep 15, 2008

Just Read: Niccolo Ammaniti - How God Commands

I discovered Niccolo Ammaniti by pure chance - a friend got me Steal You Away for my birthday a few years ago. She had no idea who he was, or whether the book was any good - she just liked the title. I liked it too, but expected a corny romance lurking behind it. Boy, was I wrong...
So, a few years down the road, Steal You Away is one of my favorite books of all time, and I've just read my third Ammaniti book called How God Commands. I've never been more disappointed that I don't speak a word of Italian than now. This book is so brilliant that now I want to read everything Ammaniti has ever written (unfortunately, a lot of his books haven't been translated into any of the languages I speak). You know how sometimes you can't put a book down? Well, I stayed up until four a.m. reading this one, although I knew I had to get up at 6 for work...
Like Steal You Away, How God Commands also depicts a small town in the middle of nowhere, in Northern Italy. We follow six days in the lives of a handful of its inhabitants, with the 13 year old Cristiano and his neo-Nazi dad Rino as the lynchpin. Cristiano's mother left when he was a child, and now it's just him and his dad. The father is an unemployed violent drunk who hates the whole world except for his son. The two, who love each other more than anything, live in constant fear that Rino is going to lose custody over his son and that Cristiano is going to be sent to a foster family.
The other inhabitants of the town are Rino's loser friends - Quattro Formaggi and Danilo, Fabiana - a pretty girl from Cristiano's school, Beppe Trecca - the father and son's social worker.
Quattro Formaggi (a nickname he got because of his love for pizza) is the town fool, often abused because he can't speak and walk properly as a consequence of a high voltage power shock. Danilo is a drunk dreaming of the day his wife will come back to him. Fabiana is the cool girl at school, who experiments with drugs and goes out with boys but longs to leave her suffocating hometown or at least to lead a more innocent life again. And Beppe is a pious social worker who lusts after his best friend's wife.
As Rino, Danilo and Quattro plan to steal an ATM (yes, not rob it, but tear down the wall of the bank and actually steal the whole thing), all their lives intersect on the night of the worst storm in years.
In his masterful storytelling, Ammaniti manages to create an atmosphere of impending doom, with the night of the storm as the moment of Apocalypse, and yet there are few writers that make me laugh as much as he does. Coming from me, that is a huge compliment - I seldom laugh out loud while reading, but I had tears of laughter running down my cheeks last night. The secret of Ammaniti's humor is that, like everything in his books, it's so ridiculously lifelike, and stems from the wonderfully colorful and detailed characterization. From the very first page you believe these people as if they were standing in front of you, with all their hopes and dreams and quirky little idiosyncrasies. Yes, all the characters are losers, but the most lovable losers you've ever met. They trudge through their tragicomic little lives, so undignified in their hilarious and, more often than not, heartbreaking struggles that you find yourself truly caring for them. But Ammaniti, like life itself, is merciless and, as in his other novels, doesn't deal them a very good hand. You never see it coming though. All the twists are so unexpected, and yet, in retrospect, so perfectly plausible.
When you've finished reading this bittersweet, poignant masterpiece, you will see that
Ammaniti argues that life is often not fair, that provincial life will drag you down like quicksand, that maybe God doesn't exist, or, if he does he is just a cold, impassive observer. And you will agree knowingly, feeling a little sad, and a little lost, and loving life that little bit more.

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Sep 13, 2008

The Perfect Ten

I think I must be one of the least athletic people I know. I've never done any sports - I find them all incredibly boring, and I've always had a good figure so I never had to do anything. Actually, I find sports SO boring, I've never even followed any. Except gymnastics. Gymnastics is something special. I don't know why I love it so much... I guess it's just something I grew up with. I stopped following the sport during the 2004 Olympics. I was already pissed off slightly because of the vault scandal at the 2000 Olympics (Sydney) which ruined Svetlana Khorkina's chances of winning the all-around title. When the 2004 Olympics in Athens provided an even bigger scandal I decided to just stop watching. Alexei Nemov was given an abominable score despite his excellent performance, so that Paul Hamm, who fell flat on his ass could win the all-around gold.
Now there is a completely new scoring system that I'm not familiar with, and the American and Chinese domination just don't do it for me somehow. I think the new scoring system has diminished the beauty of the sport, forcing the gymnasts to just do high difficulty routines without much concern for beauty, grace and artistic elements. It's all just crass acrobatics now. Not my cup of tea.
Anyway, last night I was surfing the web, and you know how these things go - sometimes you just end up somewhere although you have no idea how. I ended up watching videos of Nadia Comaneci's perfect tens (the first in the history of the sport) from the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The gymnasts I grew up watching were Svetlana Khorkina, Lavinia Milosovici, Simona Amanar... Nadia was before my time, and I hardly ever saw her routines. Having watched a bunch of these videos last night, I'm in awe. I now see that my heroines have nothing on her, let alone today's gymnasts - I'm sure she could kick their ass in her sleep. Take a look at the video of two of her perfect 10 performances - both on the uneven bars. I particularly love the first dismount - she literally flies! Her skill is amazing - she owns the bars. I don't remember ever seeing anyone with such incredible control. Truly spectacular!

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Sep 3, 2008

Just Seen: Forgetting Sarah Marshall

In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Peter is left by his girlfriend Sarah, who is an actress in a popular crime show. He goes to Hawaii brokenhearted, only to meet her there, together with her new rock superstar boyfriend Aldous Snow.
I saw this movie for two reasons - one is that, against all odds and despite my strong prejudice, I quite liked Superbad and thought it was funny as hell, and the other is that my beloved Russell Brand stars in it as Snow.
Well, personally, I didn't find Sarah Marshall as funny as Superbad, although it did have some moments. I'm not big on parodies, so the bits that parody the CSI shows didn't appeal to me. Basically, the funniest thing in this film was Russell (and many critics have said this as well so I know it's not just the fangirl within me speaking). The character he plays - Aldous Snow, a rock superstar, is wonderfully funny, charismatic and just SO cool. I was delighted to hear that the same team are planning a new flick in which Aldous will be the main character.
It was refreshing to see Mila Kunis as someone other than the annoying 70s Show girl whose name I can't recall right now. Kristen Bell was quite predictable as Sarah, and while Jason Segel is likable, I'm getting a bit tired of all the loser-gets-the-girl movies.
Basically, it's light fun, nothing special, but worth seeing for Russell and a few jokes. 6/10

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