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Showing posts from December, 2015

This Christmas, We’ll Be Flying, Like Santa

Happy holidays from the Fragrant Family!

Tomorrow we’re off to our first family trip to the Philippines. The initial leg is 13.5 hours long, the next a mere five hours. And we have a 15-month-old toddler with us.

So, on this, Junior’s inaugural plane ride, we have prepared the following:
Lots of toys: He’s got cars, stickers, blocks, books – and he’ll also play with whatever’s within reach. iPad apps: Fisher Price has a Laugh & Learn series with cute animals that Junior loves. Plus I bought The Dark Crystal, which Hubby thinks is too scary for baby but I think he’ll enjoy it! Lots of snacks: Three bags of graham bunny biscuits, Fig Newtons, Lara bars, granola bars, and whatever takes our fancy at the airport. Lots of diapers: Like, 12 diapers and 1,000 wipes, probably. Trunki: It’s a little suitcase that kids can ride! Junior’s a little too short at the moment (80 cm), but he loves pushing it around. We got the yellow one. Its name is Bernard? 
The plan is for Junior to nurse duri…

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (2015)

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 hews closely to its source material -- it grimly depicts the hidden costs of war, through the horrified eyes of the rebellion's poster child, Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), aka the Mockingjay. After unbearable losses and sacrifices, the series ends as it began: with Katniss out in the wild, away from the path society set for her. But this time, she's not alone.

The film has no shortage of good actors. As always, JLaw offers a compelling performance as Katniss, and this time Josh Hutchinson steps us as the unstable Peeta, newly rescued and still suffering from the effects of torture. Donald Sutherland is as delightful as ever as the President Snow, a villain whose perception and self-awareness make him a worthy and wily foe. Jena Malone nails it again as the perpetually angry past Victor Joanna, and Julianne Moore, it need not be said, acts the crap out of the role of the near-emotionless, calculating President Alma Coin.

The movie ope…

Hubway Bikes: for the Post-Theft Cyclist

Back in 2011, Boston launched its bicycle sharing system, called Hubway. The bikes are locked in stations throughout the city. To use one, assuming you're a member, you use your fob to unlock the bike of your choice (I always select one with the seat at the lowest setting), and off you go.

I explain it to my mom thus: "It's Zipcar but with bicycles."

Now, any form of transportation requires both infrastructure and human will. My dear city has bike lanes as well as, er, assertive cyclists (dudes who follow cars and yell at the drivers for infractions). Drivers these days are also nicer and more accepting of sharing the road with cyclists, as evidenced by the lady in the SUV who apologized for almost squishing me because she got distracted. So the Hubway system works quite well indeed.

The bikes themselves are terrific. I was surprised at how light they were compared to my dear Trek2, which was an 8-speed hybrid. Hubway bikes only have three gears, and I sail along o…

Game Review: Final Fantasy X-2 HD Remaster (PS Vita)

Final Fantasy X-2, the 2003 sequel to the oddly popular FFX (my review here), got remastered for the Vita in 2013 so that a new generation of gamers may experience Yuna with 75% less clothing and 100% more badassery. Here's my quick review.

Plot: Yuna, her cousin Rikku, and the reticent Paine are members of the Gullwings, a group of treasure hunters who inadvertently become involved in yet another plot to save the world from destruction.

Timeline: Two years after Yuna and her Guardians brought The Calm in FFX.

***Things to Love: There are many, including:

1) The soundtrack--The game opens with an FMV concert of Yuna, Rikku, and Paine performing a J-pop single, setting the stage for the various enjoyable tracks throughout the game. The signature theme is "1,000 Words," the equivalent of FFX's "Suteki Da Ne" and FFVIII's "Eyes on Me." The battle themes are fast-paced, the dungeon beats appropriately ominous, and the boss fights suitably, er, bossy.…