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Showing posts from November, 2014

Movie Review: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (2014)

The final chapter of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games is here, and it's darker and more grown up, like the series' antihero protagonist Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). This time, it's war instead of games, the arena is the world of Panem, and there might not be a winner.

The film's main setting is District 13, thought to have been destroyed during the last war. In fact, the district's industries--graphite and nuclear technology--allowed its citizens the leverage to negotiate a detente with the Capitol. Now they live in a massive bunker below bedrock (rebels living underground, get it? I strike thee with the Allegory Bat), waiting for the chance to end the Capitol's tyranny.

Plutarch Heavensbee (RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman), formerly Gamemaker and now advisor to District 13's President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore EEEEEE), is determined to showcase Katniss as the Mockingjay, the unifying symbol of the rebellion. Initially reluctant and absolutely terr…

Game Review: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3)

Uncharted 2: Among Thieves pits wisecracking demigod linguist Nathan Drake against bad guys in a race to acquire the wish-fulfilling Cintamani Stone of Buddhist legend. Doesn't hurt that it's supposed to be a raw sapphire the size of an exercise ball, either. In this adventure, Drake travels to Turkey, Borneo, Tibet, and Nepal, climbing, sneaking, and shooting as he goes. Bonus: he's accompanied by two awesome women, one of whom keeps [SPOILER DELETED]. Whatever, I was shipping them hard.

My first entry into the series was 2011's Uncharted: Golden Abyss on the Vita (here's my review), and despite being older, 2009's Among Thieves is only slightly less pretty to look at and is just as enjoyable to play. Honestly, everything about this game is a standout: the relentlessly fun combat system, the hilarious banter among the characters, the dead-easy puzzles, and the spectacular soundtrack. Sure, it's chock-full of tropes and contrivances, but that's part of …

This Is How Fast Babies Grow

Week 1: Baby is seven pounds and only slightly bigger than the doggy his dad got him when he turned one day old.

Week 9: Baby is pushing 14 pounds and keeps trying to eat doggy. (He also no longer fits in those pajamas.)

Other parents who see baby keep saying, "I miss that age!"

Yep, two months is pretty special. Fragrant Elephant Junior now has a range of sounds. He has a gurgling "ooOOo" and a loud, high-pitched "AH-ha!" to add to his existing repertoire of grunting like a hungry piglet, mouth-breathing like a serial killer, and "snoring like a happy clam," to quote his father.

Babies are LOUD, y'all.

This post brought to you by tap water. Tap water: safe to drink, depending on where you live!

Movie Review: Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Jiro Dreams of Sushi is such an effective documentary that it's ruined sushi for me. I can never eat sushi again without comparing it to Jiro's...and I've never even eaten there!

The film chronicles the extraordinary titular character, who is 85 years old at the time of filming. He runs a 10-seat, $300-minimum sushi restaurant in Tokyo that's been awarded three Michelin stars, meaning it's worth the trip if you live outside Japan. Everyone is crazy about his sushi, and a lot of people are intimidated by the intensity of Jiro and his staff. They are super serious about their work, especially Jiro, who watches customers' reactions to his creations after he serves them their sushi one at a time.

The film's editing is superb and underlines the main themes of craftsmanship/artistry, discipline, skill, family, and the ecosystem that sustains the sushi business. Jiro is a shokunin (職人), a craftsman/artist of sushi. (I initially thought it was 食人, or "food per…

A Day with a Seven-Week-Old Baby

Preamble  By six weeks, most babies have calmed down from the feeding and crying frenzy and can fall into a predictable pattern of eating, playing, and sleeping.

12:05 AM  Wake up to baby grunting in bassinet. Fall back asleep.
12:15 AM  Grunting now too loud to ignore. Nurse baby while lying down.
12:25 AM  Burp baby and change his diaper to wake him back up.
12:30 AM  Nurse baby on other side.
12:34 AM  Baby has fallen asleep. Re-swaddle and put back in bassinet.

02:55 AM  Wake up to baby grunting in bassinet. Fall back asleep.
03:15 AM  Wake up from dream of nursing baby. Blearily unswaddle baby for nursing.
03:20 AM  Baby has fallen asleep. Debate waking him up so he can nurse on the other boob. Fall asleep.

04:45 AM  Baby is hungry again!!! Should have nursed on other side an hour ago!!!

06:00 AM  Put UP band in "Awake" mode. The day has begun.

06:05 AM  Pump breast milk for freezing. Hope baby does not wake up and need to nurse.

06:20 AM  Finish pumping. Clean supplies.

06:21 AM  B…