The Walking Dead - S3 Ep. 3

Episode 3: Walk With Me

Welcome to Woodbury!

We spend this episode with Andrea and Michonne (formerly known as the lady with dreads) as they stumble upon Woodbury, a perfectly safe town, mostly free of walkers...bizarre, right? At first Andrea and Michonne are in a state of disbelief.  They meet a lot of new faces like the Governor, and one old one--Merle. Their disbelief switches to suspicion near the end, as the "Governor" is so obviously full of secrets...are we surprised? Well, no. Anyone who goes by Governor and is not an elected public official is suspect in my book. And Merle is a cyborg now...well not really, but he's using some sort of modified homemade bayonet for the forearm that he sawed off in Season 1. Merle is aiding the Governor with his twisted efforts...you can tell he misses his brother Daryl.  

I think I understand why the Governor did what he did with the military. Was it the right thing to do? No. Not by any means, when you're protecting almost 100 people in a town. But considering the fact that he's a power-hungry maniac, it makes sense. I'm also wondering how many other times he's done this--picking off small cells of people who threaten his position...What I don't understand is the purpose of his awkward scientist buddy. Is he going to try and use the walkers in the way that Michonne did...how much more does he know? 

Also even though Andrea's cautious, I think she wants to stay. Whereas Michonne just wants to get the hell out. I think Andrea wants to stay because she too seems a little power hungry and eager at times. I don't know, that could be reaching...but I also think that the Governor won't let them leave alive, so they might as well stay. 

The next episode looks great! We're back with Rick and the crew in the prison, and someone is playing mind games with them...I think it's whoever was watching Carol from the trees at the end of the last episode. I thought it was the Governor but now I don't know.


The Walking Dead - S3 Ep. 2

Episode 2: Sick

Am I the only person that wanted Lori to get bit?

False alarm--Herschel isn't dead...yet. I really believed it was the end for him. And consequently, I hoped it would be the end of Lori. Her character is so damn self-righteous and annoying, and I wouldn't mind if she somehow didn't make it out of the prison. I know, I know--that's terrible considering her condition and all...but I sort of don't care.

I still don't think it makes logical sense for Herschel to survive or not turn, but I'm not a staunch undead purist, so it doesn't really ruin the rest of the story or anything for me.

Why did it take Rick so long to kill that crazy convict?

Okay, so when I saw the prisoners in the last episode I wasn't thrilled. Additions to group are bad because 1) This whole thing is about survival--more people equals less resources to go around and 2) Those prisoners are criminals; potential thieves, rapists and murderers. The only good news to take from them being there is the fact that they lasted in the prison for a really long time, almost a year...so it's secure and there's food somewhere. How much? I don't know.

But now Rick and the crew have to explain what's been going to the prisoners, give them a hands-on lesson on how to protect themselves, split the leftover food supply and clear out an additional cell block. Who has time for that? ugh. They need quick learning curves...

Yeah, so the one prisoner who was trying to tell Rick and crew what to do? The crazy one--the one that bashed his co-prisoner's head to pieces. Rick should have put him down when he started delegating who would be where and who got what. But no, Rick waits until he's almost been killed (on accident by the crazy guy) to get rid of him....dumb.

I can't wait to see episode 3. Apparently, there's a whole village of people still living with food and guns and a helicopter? Where the hell have they been?


The Walking Dead - S3 Ep.1

The Walking Dead is one of my favorite shows--ever. I jump around like a six-year old when it's on television. I'm so impressed by the story and characters and makeup and effects...It's not scary, but gruesome (which I like) And what it does best is create tension; that constant underlying simmer between characters, the high stress of seeing loved ones devoured by the undead and the stark truth about every one's fate that no one wants to talk about but accepts.

It really is a great televisions series. I'm not going to recap seasons 1 and 2--I think everyone should just watch them. They're on Netflix and most likely on whatever 'on-demand' function your cable provider offers and there's always the Internet. What I do want to do is post my reaction and questions for each episode of the third season from now on, simply because I can...spoilers likely. Yes, I know this isn't exactly book-related. But it is a graphic novel (which I haven't read)

So briefly...

Episode 1: Seed

Would you rather be exposed to herds of the undead but have the freedom to move about OR be fortified within a confined space that offers security but will eventually run out of resources?

Listen, I personally wouldn't want to be confined anywhere with limited resources, but considering the circumstances of the group (ahem--Lori) they need the shelter. There has to be so many undead in the prison...but Rick has his mind made up, so whatever.

Whose bright idea was it to bring the old guy (who also happens to be the only trained medical person in the group) on a recon. outing?

Common sense, Rick! I blame everything bad that happens on Rick, but that's another discussion. I still don't understand why Herschel came with them...Why were they wandering dark hallways? Oh yeah, for food, medicine and ammo that may or may not be there. I just think Rick is doing too much right now. They have the courtyards, and one cell block--what more do you want?

Anyways, at this point I'm pretty sure Herschel is going to die. When your ACL is torn out by a zombie and then your lower leg is hacked off...you're going to bleed out and die. And those prisoners they stumbled upon? Bad news, Rick. Bad news.

Who is the lady with the dreads? And where did she get a Kitana?

I think it's a kitana...I could be wrong. She's taking care of Andrea. Not sure why. She seems to have everything under control with her undead pets. 


Book Beginnings - The Feast of the Goat

Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of a book you are currently reading, along with your initial thoughts and impressions about the sentence or book. Remember to include the title of the book and the author AND link up at the Rose City Reader

Urania. Her parents had done her no favor; her name suggested a planet, a mineral, anything but the slender, fine-featured woman with burnished skin and large, dark, rather sad eyes who looked back at her from the woman. Urania! What an idea for a name.
I don't like this beginning all that much. I don't think the name Urania is all that great, but I also don't think it's the worst name in the world either. In a book about the end of a dictator's regime, I'm wondering if her name is the greatest of her worries. Probably not.
Originally, I was supposed to read The War of the End of the World by Vargas Llosa for another reading challenge. However, timing and the pure size of the book wasn't realistic, so I opted for another Vargas Llosa to replace it: The Feast of the Goat. A couple years ago, in college, I almost read it for one of my poli-sci. classes but ended up reading One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Anyways, I'm reading it now--about a third of the way through. It's interesting. I can't decide if knowing the factual history of the Trujillo dictatorship in the DR is helping or hindering my reading experience...also, Urania's (the woman speaking in the opener) narrative is whiny.  There are two other narratives to make up for hers.  


Poetry for thought - White Apples

White Apples 
by Donald Hall

when my father had been dead a week
I woke
with his voice in my ear
I sat up in bed
and held my breath
and stared at the pale closed door

white apples and the taste of stone

if he called again
I would put on my coat and galoshes



Life of Pi - Movie Trailer

I can't wait to see this adaptation. I kind of forgot it was coming out this year until I saw the trailer  on television about five minutes ago. I really enjoyed reading Life of Pi and based solely off this two minutes, I think it's safe to say the movie will at least look beautiful, if it doesn't translate well onto screen. We'll see what Ang Lee has to offer--he's had his hands in an interesting combination of movies. 


Review - Pale Fire

Pale Fire
by Vladimir Nabokov
300+ pages

Description via Goodreads
Down you go, but all the while you feel suspended and buoyed as you somersault in slow motion like a somnolent tumbler pigeon, and sprawl supine on the elderdown of the air, or lazily turn to embrace your pillow, enjoying every last instant of soft, deep, death-padded life, with the earth's green seesaw now above, now below, and the voluptuous crucifixion, as you stretch yourself in the growing rush, in the nearing swish, and then your loved body's obliteration in the Lap of the Lord (221)

Where to start with this book....there are two narratives; one of John Shade, the poet, who led a relatively uninteresting life, with the exception of a recurring preoccupation with death. His narrative is confined to four cantos of poetry. The other is Charles Kinbote, neighbor of Shade and self-proclaimed editor of Shade's work. His narrative starts with the foreword, continues with the commentary and ends with the index. The reader will quickly learn that Kinbote is not exactly what he seems. I find him to be sort of a Shade groupie, a megalomaniac and his sense of entitlement and self-importance is quite annoying. But I think this is intentional...I expected the commentary to be an explication, a means to delve deeper into Shade's intent, but instead we are given huge chunks of the story of Kinbote. As I read about the escape of a self-exiled King Charles of the imaginary Zembla, I'm only thinking about how peculiar it is for the commentary to not be exclusively about Shade or his work. Especially, since I think Shade's upbringing and encounters with death have more gravity than Kinbote's predicament. Why does this happen? 
I can't tell you how/ I knew--but I did know that I had crossed/ The border. Everything I loved was lost/ But no aorta could report regret./ And blood-black nothingness began to spin/ A system of cells interlinked/ Within one stem. And dreadfully distinct/ Against the dark, a tall white fountain played (59)
I think this is one of those books that could be read more than once and each time something different  pulled from it. I feel the need to say that I didn't read Pale Fire in order, I skipped around. I read the poem first, and then the foreword and then the commentary/index. I'm not exactly sure why I did this, but I felt like I needed to read Shade's work without Kinbote's influence...There is something to be said when a poet has already reduced his life to 999 lines of poetry and the editor takes it upon himself to insert entire complex/and or absurd memories into a work that isn't about him. He reached beyond the space of the foreword--I think there's criticism about literary criticism here...at least that's what I took from it because Kinbote is pretty much ridiculous. 

Very interesting meta fiction (?) Definitely something I would consider rereading and probably need to reread.

Pale Fire

Three stars.


Book Beginnings - Pale Fire

Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of a book you are currently reading, along with your initial thoughts and impressions about the sentence or book. Remember to include the title of the book and the author AND link up at the Rose City Reader

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain/ By the false azure in the windowpane;/
I was the smudge of ashen fluff--and I/ Lived on, flew on, in the reflected sky/
I wasn't supposed to start this one yet...at least that's what I told myself since I'm behind on reading as it is, but I just couldn't resist opening this book.

Honestly, I used to hate reading poetry. I still hate writing it,  but I do enjoy a good poem every now and then. This first sentence (the first four lines) is an interesting one...I like what's going on with the window, and reflection and idea of being false. Not sure about the smudge of ashen fluff though...I knew a waxwing was a bird, but I didn't know what it looked like and more importantly why the author would choose this bird of all the birds. Why not an oriole? or a robin? And then I googled an image of a waxwing--and it made sense. They are these beautiful, mysterious little birds with black masks. Concealed and serious...I don't think there are any in my region of the States. Anyways, I love the image and it fits the theme of the overall stanza. Good stuff, right?


Top Ten Tuesday - Alien Abduction

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and The Bookish. Basically, you create a list tailored to the week's topic and share it with other readers by linking up at The Broke and The Bookish. You can find out more information here.

This week's topic: Choose a Past Topic - Books I would save if I were to be abducted by aliens.

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
Assuming these aliens aren't hostile, and they'll let me read (before dissecting me) I would bring this book because of its anthropological/observational elements as they relate to aliens on another planet. It's also probably the best Sci-Fi book I've ever read.

Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
No explanation necessary.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
I would bring books that demonstrated certain aspects of humanity--good and bad. This is one of those for me.

The Invisible Man by H.G Wells
Just a really short, entertaining piece of science fiction.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Humanity book. Also sitting atop my favorites list at the moment.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
I would bring some lengthy reads and Ayn Rand wrote interesting stuff. I think this qualifies as a humanity piece as well.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Another favorite.

Various foundational religious texts.
I would (if I could) try to explain them and their influence on humans to the alien abductors.

Title of another lengthy book.
I can't think of anymore at this exact moment. What's a lengthy book (let's say 600+ pages) that you enjoyed reading?

Title of another humanity book.
I need one that displays some decent to good aspects of humanity. Any suggestions?

You might be wondering why I chose this topic (out of all the possible past topics). Well, I'll tell you.
There are many things in life I feel I can deal with or am capable of dealing with; certain natural disasters, issues at the workplace, criminals, Redskins' fans, bad hair days...ghosts, zombies, etc. But one thing I cannot deal with--Aliens. I have an unnatural fear of aliens, "extra-terrestrials". A completely absurd fear, I might add. I want nothing to do with them (unless I'm killing them in video games) Alien movies?--No! I don't watch those UFO specials on tv, ever. I didn't always have this fear...thank you M. Night Shyamalan. Do I think I'll be abducted by aliens? Odds are pretty low. But just in case...I'll know what books to bring.


Poetry for thought - Blue

by May Swenson

Blue, but you are Rose, too,
and buttermilk, but with blood
dots showing through.
A little salty your white
nape boy-wide. Glinting hairs
shoot back of your ears' Rose
that tongues like to feel
the maze of, slip into the funnel,
tell a thunder-whisper to.
When I kiss, your eyes' straight
lashes down crisp go like doll's
blond straws. Glazed iris Roses,
your lids unclose to Blue-ringed
targets, their dark sheen-spokes
almost green. I sink in Blue-
black Rose-heart holes until you
blink. Pink lips, the serrate
folds taste smooth, and Rosehip-
round, the center bud I suck.
I milknip your two Blue-skeined
blown Rose beauties, too, to sniff
their berries' blood, up stiff
pink tips. You're white in
patches, only mostly Rose,
buckskin and saltly, speckled
like a sky. I love your spots,
your white neck, Rose, your hair's
wild straw splash, silk spools
for your ears. But where white
spouts out, spills on your brow
to clear eyepools, wheel shafts
of light, Rose, you are Blue.

Image: Flickr-antaean


Book Beginnings - The Three Musketeers

Book Beginnings is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader. Share the first sentence (or so) of a book you are currently reading, along with your initial thoughts and impressions about the sentence or book. Remember to include the title of the book and the author AND link up at the Rose City Reader

On the first Monday of the month of April, 1625, the market town of Meung, in which the author of Romance of the Rose was born, appeared to be in as perfect a state of revolution as if the Huguenots had made a second La Rochelle of it. Many citizens, seeing the women flying toward the High Street, leaving their children crying at the open doors, hastened to don the cuirass, and supporting their somewhat uncertain courage with a musket or a partisan, directed their steps toward the hostelry of the Jolly Miller, before which was gathered, increasing every minute, a compact group, vociferous and full of curiosity.

I'm reading The Three Musketeers for a reading challenge. My first experience with Dumas was The Count of Monte Cristo, which I absolutely loved--an all-time favorite. So I'm thinking I'll probably enjoy this one too. I'm barely into chapter three, but I like it so far.

First, as you may have noticed, this beginning is very long, and it's all of two sentences! I know the trend will continue, so I'm prepared to deal with this. Second, the beginning has some references that I was unfamiliar with, so I looked them up:

  • The Romance of the Rose, also known as La Roman de la Rose, is a medieval french poem keeping with the tradition of courtly love, that was started by Guillame de Lorris in 1237. The poem was left incomplete, but received additions written by Jean de Meun. I'm assuming de Meun came from the market town mentioned above in the beginning. His addition talks about dreams and visions and sent me on a google search for Macrobius and The Dream of Scipio. 
  • The Huguenots and La Rochelle....I don't know about you, but I'm a little rusty on my European history. But this metaphor makes perfect sense when put into perspective. 

Lastly, those townspeople are the nosiest I've ever heard of. They are beyond curious, if you ask me.


Color Coded Reading Challenge 2012 - Complete

I completed my first reading challenge!

I think it's pretty self-explanatory...you can check out more color-coded reviews here.

My Reading Selection
The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgress
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
The Red Rooster by Michael Wallace
Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead
The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley
The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

I enjoyed this challenge mainly because I read across genres and found some great reads...I also discovered that finding an interesting book with 'brown' in the title is quite difficult. Anyways, here's the breakdown:

Coal Black Horse
The Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man
Devil in a Blue Dress

The Man in the Brown Suit
The Devil in the White City
The White Woman on the Green Bicycle

The Yellow Wallpaper
A Clockwork Orange

The Red Rooster

Review - The Devil in the White City

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
by Erik Larson
350+ pages

Description via Goodreads
The corpses of dogs, cats, and horses often remained where they fell. In January they froze into disheartening poses; in August they ballooned and ruptured. Many ended up in the Chicago River, the city's main commercial artery. During heavy rains, river water flowed in a greasy plume into Lake Michigan, to the towers that marked the intake pipes for the city's drinking water (28)

I am thoroughly disappointed with this book. I just knew this would be a fascinating read--but it wasn't. It's not that it is non-fiction written like a novel. It's written very well, but it's not interesting. The majority of the book is literally a meticulous recounting of American architects and engineers banding together in 1893, to place a fair in Chicago representative of American exceptionalism, worthy of international praise and symbolic of the nation's great legacy and  innovation of the future. 

What is it--Murphy's law? Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. That's a basic description of the planning, opening, success and demise of the fair...weather disasters, politics, a bad economy, labor unions, accidents, vandalism, crime...wrong measurements, rejected blueprints...newspaper headlines. Every possible detail that can be accounted for in the existence of this fair is recounted. I suppose that's good research on Larson's part. But for this reader it really dragged...except for the chapters on Holmes, the psychopath woman predator and Prendergast, a mentally ill man with political aspirations. These chapters could have belonged in a different book altogether. They felt somewhat like an afterthought.  But they're flawed in the same way. There is no intrigue. No tension. Larson loves to foreshadow, to a fault. Where was the magic and the madness? I think I may be expecting too much from novelistic non-fiction.   

The Devil in the White City

Two stars


Poetry for thought - Home

by Bruce Weigl

I didn't know I was grateful
             for such late-autumn
                           bent-up cornfields

yellow in the after-harvest
                sun before the
                           cold plow turns it all over

 into never.
          I didn't know
                          I would enter this music

 that translates the world
                back into dirt fields
                           that have always called to me

 as if I were a thing
                come from the dirt,
                            like a tuber, 

 or like a needful boy. End
                 Lonely days, I believe. End the exiled
                                   and unraveling strangeness.

Image: Flickr - Alternative Heat


Banned 2012

It's Banned Books Week, so I thought I'd share some fun lists/facts.

The most banned and/or challenged books of 2012 in the USA:

The Color of Earth by Dong Hwa Kim
Nudity, Sex Education, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Nudity, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Offensive Language, Racism

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Anti-Ethnic, Anti-Family, Occult/Satanic, Insensitivity, Offensive Language, Violence

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Insensitivity, Nudity, Racism, Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit

Gossip Girl by Cecily Van Ziegesar
Drugs, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit

What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
Nudity, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Offensive Language, Racism, Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

My Mom's Having a Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide by Dori Hillestad Butler
Nudity, Sex Education, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

ttyl, ttyn, l8r, g8r (Internet Series) by Lauren Myracle
Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to age group

...I think insensitivity is the most questionable term out of all the reasons for ban/challenge. Also, does anyone else think these reasons are sometimes exaggerated? --I think so, but that's based off the other banned books I've read.  I've only actually read a few of the books on this list. I'm very curious about The Color of Earth and The Absolutely True Diary of a  Part-Time Indian.