Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Viva Las Vegas

So this past weekend the wifey and I took a small weekend vacation to the city of Las Vegas. I've been to Vegas a few times before.. and each time I go I forget how dirty the place is.. And by dirty I mean hundreds of immigrants handing out handy porn that fits in your pocket. Anyways the reason we went to Vegas was to catch the Cirque Du Soleil show "Love." Which in case you've been living in a cave is a Cirque show set to Beatles music.. I've actually seen "Love" before... but it was worth seeing twice.. The music sounds so amazing. In my opinion it's worth the price alone just to hear how good The Beatles sound in that auditorium... My wife turned to me at one point and asked where they were... Of course, there was a lot of remastering and tinkering done to make it sound so good... There's a whole DVD dedicated to how they made everything sound so good. And the Cirque guys and gals are also great.. So I definitely recommend checking it out next time you head to Sin City.

PS. Feel free to skip the new Treasure Island show.. They apparently decided they'd rather have a Pussycat Dolls show than a kids show about pirates. Lame.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

My Next Post (audiobook edition)

I'm getting old... How do I know this? Because for the past year or so.. I've listened to more audiobooks than I have music. And I love music. My sixty gig Ipod is full.. and yet for whatever reason I have felt the overwhelming need to gorge myself on books. Libraries are great. So in an effort to share all I've learned with the rest of you.. I now will give my reviews of the following audiobooks in no particular order:

"Bringing Down the House"
This book is the basis for the movie"21" that came out last year. The movie kind of only takes the idea of the book rather than the plot.. I actually enjoyed both.. But the book definitely goes into more detail. It's the incredible story of how a bunch of MIT guys were able to bilk Vegas for lots and lots of money.. I give it an A-.. the minus because I didn't love the ending.. It just seemed very abrupt.

"The Book Of Lies"
This book is by Brad Meltzer... who is great at writing comic books.. and good at writing books.. This story has an awesome premise.. Not to give too much away... but it involves Superman and Cain & Abel.. The book follows the protagonist as he realizes that the man who invented Superman was inspired to write a story about a bulletproof man because his father was murdered.. murdered with the same weapon that Cain killed Ablel with. Like I said cool premise but poor execution... But I loved the Superman history... so unless you love Superman probably not the best book.. I give it a B-

I was recommended this series by a friend.. He said it was his favorite current fantasy series out right now. Supposedly it's being looked at as a possible movie franchise... but I haven't heard anything about that in about a year.. It follows to kids who go to live with their grandparents over the summer and realize that their grandparents are the keepers of a mystical forest that lies behind their home.. I give this series a B.. I really don't care for the boy protagonist... He makes the dumbest decisions ever... You know how in Harry Potter how you're always asking yourself.. why Harry doesn't just tell Dumbledore everything that's happening.. that would spare him a lot of grief... Well this kid is repeatedly... and I mean repeatedly told not to do things... He does them.. suffers the awful consquences and then proceeds to break the rules again.. all while not telling anyone that he's done stupid things... AAGH!! But it's worth a listen if you like the fantasy.

"Team of Rivals"
As I write this it is the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birthday.. And I appreciate what he did for this country even more than I did before after listening to this excellent book. I found the entire thing riveting.. I love how he was so willing to listen to his opponents and take their suggestions seriously.. Anyone who loves history should love this book.. It was very enlightening. My grandma also listened to it and thought it was great.. what better recommendation can you get than that. I give this one an A for history buffs.

"A Magnificent Catastrophe"
I watched the HBO miniseries "John Adams" and thought they were great.. and that prompted my desire to learn more about Adams and Jefferson.. This audiobook takes a close look at the election between the two and all of the underhanded things that went on from both sides. I listened to it as our Presidential Election drew to a close and the parallels were uncanny. We never learn. Also Alexander Hamilton is an idiot. He needs to be taken off the ten dollar bill immediately. B

"Harry Potter"
Yeah, I know everybody's already read these but too bad it's my blog. I decided a few months ago to listen to "The Deathly Hallows" (I read the book when it came out originally). And suddenly I was going through an emotional rollercoaster... all the death and mayhem.. I can't believe she killed Dobby and the owl in the first half of the book.. I lived through the story... probably my wife was ready to hide my ipod.. I thought I'd just listen when I had the time.. but I was listening every spare second I had.. Really one of the best book series ever written.. and well worth listening to on audiobook.. A+

"The Innocent Man"
Finished this one just the other day.. It was really compelling.. and quite disturbing. I couldn't believe all of the stuff that happens in this book.. It's the true story of a man who is convicted of a crime he didn't commit... It also follows the story of a couple of other men who suffer the same fate... It's kind of long but well worth it... far better than anything Grisham has written in the past ten years.. ("The Brethren" yawn) B+.

"The Areas of My Expertise"
You know the guy who plays the PC in those Mac ads... well he decided to write a book. And it's awesome.. The complete book of world knowledge... Hilarious. It's very droll... and this one has to be listened to.. it's far better than reading the book.. And the ending to this thing may be the best ending of anything anywhere ever... I stand by that. The book is an acquired taste but if this is your type of humor... well what are you waiting for go get it. You'll learn all you'll ever want to know about crabs, hobos, and U.S. states. A+

This is one of those books kind of like "Freakonomics" that tries to shake your faith in everything you thought you knew about the way the world is run. And it's definitely interesting... I don't know if I agree with everything the author says but.. something to think about and debate... I found his chapter on Korean airplane crashes to be fascinating.. and after reading this book you may try to have all of your children born in January. B

"Assassination Vacation"
You know the girl who's the voice of Violet in "The Incredibles".. well apparently she's an author.... An author who likes to talk about random historical events and put them in a funny perspective. This one is all about presidential assassinations.. I learned some amazing stuff about some of the lesser known presidents and the stories behind how they were killed. The author isn't a fan of Pres. Bush though, so if that bothers you.. probably one to avoid.. But she does make some parallels between Bush and other past presidents that I thought was kind of cool. B

I finally got to it... I finally gave in and listened to this one.. And let me say this... I listened to the majority of it in my car and I was able to tune out for like ten minutes at a time.. start listening again and not miss anything... She was still talking about Edward's chiseled chest. The book is 85% Bella going on and on about Edwards eyes, smile, crazy cool hair.. and 15% actual story. It didn't convince me to come back for the sequels... It just made me realize I needed to watch some "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." But I'm not a hater either.. if people want to obsess about this stuff.. I say go for it... as for me I'll be obsessing over the smoke monster on "Lost." C

Speaking of "Freakonomics" this one is a must listen.. I don't want to give to much away.. but I think people should check this out purely for the fact that you can have some pretty cool debates and conversations with people over the claims made in this book.. I particularly liked the chapter on the "Ku Klux Klan" and Superman.. And the chapter about cheating teachers should be read by all teachers and administrators.. A

Tell me if you've read or listened to any of these books.. and what you think of them.. Also have you listened to any audiobooks lately? Give me your recommendations.

The Oscar edition...

First of all I'd like to thank those who have commented thus far on my blog.. All the comments have been good and I encourage more...

It was suggested somewhere that I do an Oscar blog.. make predictions.. talk about the movies.. but I'm sorry I am angry at the Oscars right now.. and will need time to get over my rage.. Really? No "Dark Knight" really?

Anyway.. I'll say a few things about them and then move onto today's topic.. First "The Reader" better not win. It wasn't liked by critics and from what I understand it's not too far from soft core porn... At this point the only movie I've seen nominated for best picture is "Benjamin Button" for my review scroll down to earlier posts. I would rather wait to see the movies before making a judgement. I will make a prediction or two though... I predict Heath Ledger will win posthumously... for well you know. I predict Wall-E for best animated movie.. and I can't really predict more than that..

On an unrelated note... I saw "Coraline" in 3-D tonight.. I thought it was quite good.. I'd give it a B+ to an A-.. I liked it a lot more than "Corpse Bride" and it was a fun movie.. I suggest seeing it in 3-D because in case you haven't heard.. this is what the future of movies is apparently going to be. So start getting used to it now.. Back to "Coraline" I thought it had a nice balance of creepy, cool, and imaginative.. Check it out.. Probably not for the little ones... My wife found it scary.. so they might too.

I am going to stop this post now.. but if you're a fan of audiobooks be sure to check out my next blog wherein I review a plethora of them.. Everything from Harry Potter to Alexander Hamilton.. so until next time..