Thursday, August 07, 2014
Mary Poppins, Saving Mr. Banks, P. L. Travers and the reality of things!

It's poetic injustice really. 50 years ago Walt Disney shamelessly hijacked what can easily be considered the most important literary achievement of P. L. Travers, Mary Poppins. Now, some half a century later, Hollywood takes the story of P. L. Travers herself, twists it into something politically correct, soft and sweet and easy to sell, and feeds it to the world. How many times is P. L. Travers going to be betrayed by the entertainment industry?

Admittedly, up to very recently I had not really read the Mary Poppins books. Not that I 81d3n8Gnz5L._SL1500_[1]wouldn't have wanted to, Mary Poppins simply didn't find her way to my shelf which was  usually crowded with Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and the rest of the sci-fi universe, with a touch of Hermann Hesse and W. Somerset Maugham migrating over from my mom's shelf. Point is, I didn't really read much specifically "children's" books.

My first introduction to Mary Poppins was unsurprisingly through the movie, which I watched with googly eyes when I was about 5 or so the first time. And loved it, really really loved it. And have even watched it many more times since then.

Recently, I watched "Saving Mr. Banks", which was supposedly the story of how Walt Disney approached P. L. Travers to get the rights for the movie, and her reactions, and how the movie was eventually made. Nice movie, which at the same time felt full of plot holes for something that was supposed to be based on a true story. I had a feeling that there was more to the story than met the screen.

So I went and started the research. Did my fair share of reading on P. L. Travers, found71fBHSsGDWL._SL1500_[1] what seems to be the most accurate and detailed, and the least "interpreted" biography of her out there, titled "Mary Poppins, She Wrote" by Valerie Lawson. After finishing this book and some more articles and shorter books about her, I read the original Mary Poppins books. All 9 of them.

And now, after all the reading, I am… well… angry.

As P. L. Traverse herself had said many times before, the Mary Poppins books are not exactly children's books. They're certainly books that children can enjoy reading, but the way I see it they're somewhat comparable to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's "Little Prince". They're more philosophy books than anything else, and they're nothing like the pink and fluffy image of the Walt Disney movie.

As much as I enjoyed the Disney movie as a child, right now I wish I had never seen it, that it had never been made. From what I understand, what Disney did to Mary Poppins was the source of agony for P. L. Travers for the rest of her days, and it also manage to frustrate just about anyone who had any kind of an actual understanding of the point of the books. Now after having read the books I can understand why. Disney basically took the shell and left the soul behind.

But then, this is not really what "Saving Mr. Banks" shows, is it? The movie is unfortunately yet another bit of fluff, created to please the audience. Everything I've read, everything I've dug out, shows that unfortunately Mr. Disney was not at all the fair and decent character shown in the movie. He basically ambushed P. L. Travers into finally selling him the rights to make a movie [after years of harassing her for it], and then slowly pushed her out of the picture. Despite the fact that he originally promised her that her ideas will be respected, he eventually disregarded all of the very important points that she had made in order for the movie to stay faithful to the books.

The nice and emotional conversations between Disney and P. L. Travers in the movie are all pretty much fictional, and at the end Disney had actually no intention of having P. L. Travers present at the premiere at all. To him, she was only a nuisance. The movie shows a rigid and difficult Pamela, without making any mention of why she was the way she was. Quite unfair.

It's of course even more of a horror reading some of the articles that showed up online after the release of "Saving Mr. Banks". Clueless people writing completely misguided articles about P. L. Travers, her role in the creation of the Poppins movie, and even her personal life and her relationship with the people around her, and with her son. Following the movie, these articles picture P. L. Travers as a despiteful unloving and unloved character, who was responsible for destroying the life of her adopted son. For heaven's sakes, do your research before writing this nonsense. A bit of digging will show you that the horrendous rubbish couldn't possibly be further from the truth.

P. L. Travers was an amazing person with a wonderful mind, and what's being done to her is a crime. This should be stopped.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

So, well, yes, I did finish reading The Hunger Games trilogy. My thanks to you who forced me into it. ;) I don't however have much to say about it. Not for the lack of thoughts, mind you. But simply because I don't know what to say… I don't know how to put it into words… I guess for me it got a tad too emotional.

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As usual, the movies are good but they do not at all reach up to the books. The books tell a story that can very well happen tomorrow, in detail they depict a world that so resembles our current one. That's why it was very emotional for me to read them, because there are too many familiar elements, too much connection to reality. Thanks to all I've seen, I had far too many "oh, I know exactly how that is" moments reading the 3 books.

All I can say is that I hope we somehow manage to skip that. I don't know how likely it is though, as my own experiences living in various parts of the world have shown me too much to leave me with much optimism regarding the direction our race is currently headed to.

And you know what? The ending always looks like that….

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Monday, June 30, 2014
Sony eBook Reader PRS-T3 [Stolen and Repurchased]

In September 2006, SONY released their very first line of ebook readers, PRS-500. By October 2006, I had already got my hands on one, despite the fact that the product was at the time only available in USA [and I was living in Canada]. A few months earlier I had already come across the leaked specs for the device, and I knew I was looking at the realized version of something the need for which had been running around in my head pretty much since I started reading.

Hand held devices and tablet computers on which I could read eBooks weren't anything new, but this was something entirely different. Aside from the nice proper size, ease of use, and well, being able to carry around a whole library in my back pocket, on this device I could read for hours without tiring my eyes due to the E-Ink tech. Having come to the conclusion that in a life like mine I simply couldn't buy and carry around paperbacks, I moved to the ebook side long before that. But this was the first time I was well and truly freed of paper.

I can't begin to describe how much I enjoyed my first reader, and since then I have kept a very close eye on the development of ebook readers from different brand. I guess that part is obvious, given the number of posts on this blog on the topic. Another thing that's obvious from the posts on this blog, is that I've not up to this day found a reader that I've liked more than the Sony Reader line. [And yes well… for a time I was involved with the development… ]

I imagine by now I've made it pretty clear about the kind of dislike I have for Amazon Kindle, and the reasons. And I don't have much positive things to say [comparatively] about the other popular products out there either. But then it's not as if I've always liked how the Sony Reader has turned out.

Since PRS-500, I've basically tried every single Reader model that Sony has released [yes and I still have all of them =D], and not all of them have been so great. I loved PRS-500 since it was my first one. =) PRS-505 was very functional and very cool. PRS-700 was pretty much the love of my life. It was just beautiful, very smooth in every way, amazing performance, and it had back light. And then came PRS-T3. And every model that I haven't mentioned, it's because in some way or the other I didn't really like it.

But oh my world, PRS-T3! This is quite easily the best Sony Reader up to now, and in my opinion very much the best ebook reader currently available. And well, remember how I recently mentioned something about amazing Sony products somehow being constantly dissed by online reviews? That applies to this product too. I can't for the life of me figure out how it is that readers with terrible hardware, glitchie software and all sorts of limitations  are gaining name, while the Sony reader isn't even on the charts!! [Probably a question for marketing people.] I can't quite understand exactly how Kindle still exists, how it's still being produced and bought, when a piece of art like PRS-T3 exists.

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The device, which runs a mini version of Android OS, simply functions very very smoothly. It supports a wide range of ebook and image formats, including ones that Kindle and the rest of them don't support, and you have no limitations as to where you get the books from. The note taking functionality works very well both with finger and a stylus. It's naturally WiFi connected and there are no browsing limitations [you can go wherever you like via the browser]. The device has an optional "light cover", where a very nicely designed reading light extends from the back of the cover. [And unlike the previous version, it doesn't require a separate battery. It uses a negligible amount of the reader's own charge.]

But I guess the most important feature of all is nothing new, the E-Ink is still there, and smoother than ever. The device's display is brilliant, and you can stare at it for hours without any pressure on your eyes, or at least no more than staring at paper [hint hint to Kindle Fire users].

Oh, and to explain the part about "stolen and repurchased". Well, originally I bought the T3 about 4 months ago. But less than a month after that I was robbed in the train, and the reader was stolen from me. So I had to repurchase it… well it was rather annoying seeing that for various reasons I purchased this one from Canada and I had to have my mom buy it again over there and send it to me… But yes, the new one's been here a few weeks now and all is back to normal.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014
X-Men: Days of Future Past

I watched the movie a few weeks ago, but I didn't find the time to write anything about it and I constantly get the question of whether I've seen it and what I think of it.

So here it is: I LOVED IT! =D

Yes. you're hearing [well, reading] me right, it's an X-Men movie, and I LOVED it!

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I've not been that big of a fan of the X-Men movies [or the X-Men universe in general] in the past. As I've mentioned before, the first 2 X-Men movies were far too shallow for me to even feel entertained. Last stand had something a tad more interesting about it, and then First Class finally thoroughly entertained me. But I must say "Days of Future Past" is really the first X-Men movie that I've enjoyed, really, more than mere entertainment.

For the first time an X-Men movie had a really well constructed, very interesting plot. The movie contained some pretty great sci-fi ideas, and well you have to admit, that cast could have made even complete nonsense look good. ;)

That being said, there were of course some huge logic holes in the plot. I mean I'm pretty sure I saw Charles Xavier get blown to pieces by a very evil Phoenix. And now he seems entirely alive. Of course given the end of Last Stand, the theory is that his consciousness got transferred [somehow?!] to his twin brother's body. Hmmm. So obviously the twin brother was suffering some sort of a physical problem as a result of which he was in a coma. And now Xavier just jumps into that body? And even if I were to accept that, then why is it that he's still in a flying chair? For what reason would the brother's body would have the exact same injury????

And then of course Magneto not only got back his lost powers, but seems to be doing extra-well too. And I could go on… And yet, I prefer to think that the holes in the plot are results of previous movies having problematic plots, not this one. ;)

Oh, and on a side-note, I have to mention that I'm growing quite fond of watching a movie in either Corso or Metropole in Zurich in some obscure hour when there's nobody else, and it's pretty much like private screening. ;)

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014
My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk

A few weeks ago I finished reading Orhan Pamuk's historical murder mystery book, "My Name is Red". Honestly I had never even heard of the apparently very popular book or the Nobel laureate author until I saw the book in the hands of an acquaintance, and well, the cover of all things took my attention. =P

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The book goes deep into the culture and mentality of the society of miniaturists in the Ottoman empire, and through that, reveals many interesting facts about the general life style, religious views and beliefs in different classes of the society. But I guess what really got me reading, was that the book talks more about Persia even that it does about Turkey! Seeing that the Persian miniaturists and calligraphists of the time were considered pretty much deities of the field, there's a great deal of discussion and historical facts regarding Persia.

The books touches upon topics that I in the past couple of years I haven't read much about, and it gave me a rather nostalgic feeling. It also brought a few historical facts to my attention that I actually did not know about, despite the fact that I myself practice the Persian calligraphy and have done my fair share of reading on the topic.

And well, the story was also pretty good. =) So yes, recommended reading.

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Friday, May 09, 2014
Sony Walkman NWZ-B173F – Exoneration!

After the rather tragic [or not?] death of my old lousy MP3 player, I started looking for something "good". And by that I mean something that has nothing in any way resembling an iPod. And it's actually both very annoying and very sad that nowadays it's very hard to find a simple MP3 player that both does the job and is not somehow trying to imitate an iPod. =P

A couple of years ago I got my mom a Philips MP3 player which has turned out to be a very nice one, so that's where I started. Trouble though, was that I was looking for something very compact, and with some very specific functions, and Philips doesn't have that. And well, No, I didn't look at Sony Walkman at first. Why? Well because I wasn't hearing a lot of good things about it on one hand, and on the other hand back when I was buying my mom's player, they officially had nothing interesting.

After searching through the catalogues of some of my usual go-to brands and a few others, and not finding what I was looking for, I did eventually end up back at Sony's door. And that's when I come across  the "NWZ-B173F". To me it seemed rather perfect. Small, comfortable controls, clippable, with radio and voice recorder and the pretty nice zap-in feature and a tiny but clear screen. But then of course I looked into the reviews and once again it didn't look very good.

The reviews paint a pretty unseemly picture of the Walkman players in general, and this model very much so as well. Main target of criticism is the design of the player, and the USB cap. It's been said for instance that the cap is a loose fit, and starts to fall off after a few uses. And that the controls don't function very well. There's also been criticism on the sound quality and just about everything else.

Reading through the specs and having a closer look at the design, I decided to go with my guts and get the player anyway. And I'm so glad I did!!

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It's been a few months now since I started using the NWZ-B173F, and I'm EXTREMELY happy with it. I can't for the life of me understand where all the nonsense comes from. The cap is not loose, the controls are perfect, and the sound quality is superb. I'm a bloody audiophile after all, I would know.

Now this wouldn't be such a big deal on it's own.. but I think I'm starting to see a pattern. In the past few years, Sony has produced some brilliant hardware, all of which have somehow ended up with either unfair, or really terribly unfair reviews. What is going on here? I mean I know that they have also produced their fair share of pure nonsense, but how exactly have their line of Android tablets and ebook readers ended up so underrated? Heck, even the NEX cameras are quite underrated, for what they're capable of.

So well, yes, I am a bit of Sony fangirl I guess. And this is my attempt at exonerating the Walkman MP3 player. I'm also planning on writing about a few more pieces of Sony hardware soon enough…

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Friday, April 25, 2014
"Homeland" by Cory Doctorow

After reading Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother" last month, I decided to read the sequel named "Homeland". It turned out to be a good idea.

For the first 3/4th of the book, what I would say is pretty much the same thing I said Doctorows_Homeland[1] about the first book. In terms of the style, the sequel is even more sloppily written than the first book, if that's possible. I would have been very happy reading far less about the burning man and other horribly stretched topics throughout the book. But the good ideas are still there.

But I feel that during the last 1/4th of the book, there's a slight shift in the mood and the direction. It feels like the ideas are finally properly cooked! The characters actions become more realistic, actually everything becomes a lot more realistic. The points are clearly made and the conclusion has a nice balance to it.

All in all, I think that I like "Homeland" better than "Little Brother"!

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Friday, April 18, 2014
"Tesla: Man Out of Time" by Margaret Cheney

A few days ago I finished re-reading Margaret Cheney's "Tesla: Man Out of Time". As if I hadn't experienced enough grief reading it the first time, I had to go and do it Tesla_Man_Out_of_Time[1] again. Well what can I say, the book really is worth reading over and over and over again.

I've done my fair share of Tesla reading, biographies and research and everything I've been able to get my hands on. And I can say, this is definitely the best written, most informative, most comprehensive biography of him I've ever come across. Where other books have a general tendency of focusing mostly on certain periods or aspects of Tesla's life, this book does a fine job bringing the pieces of the puzzle together. The book paints a much more realistic picture of Tesla's life, who he was, and what he was like in his personal life.

This of course means that when you read about all that this world did to him, you're going to experience an especially sharp pain in the soul.

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Wednesday, April 09, 2014
"Intelligence" Anyone?

Can somebody explain to me the connection between J. J. Abrams and the new CBS url[1] series "Intelligence"? Is there one?

I didn't really know much about the series [and apparently neither did anyone else in my circles] until just recently when I watched a few episodes. The series is created by "Michael Seitzman", and I can't find any kind of connection to J. J. Abrams. However when I watch the series, I can't help the feeling that I'm watching a J. J. Abrams series!!

The cast, which by the way is a brilliant assembly, includes actors/actresses who have a history of appearing in Abrams / Bad Robot productions. The plot is very Abrams-ish, and well.. I don't know how else to put it but the series just has the total Abrams feeling to it! It's just way too Abrams not to be an Abrams production! =P

So… what's up with that? Anyone has any theories? =P

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Friday, March 28, 2014
"Little Brother" by Cory Doctorow

Last Sunday at "The Uncanny Book-Club" gathering, I listened to some interesting discussions regarding Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother", which made me curious enoughurl[1] to want to read the book. I loaded up the book to my Reader and was planning on having a go at it in our next reading group this coming Sunday, but I'm afraid it didn't last that long… It's already been "had". I munched through most of it during my commute from Zurich to Basel and back, for recent coder event at the Magnolia office.

As usual I'm not going to give much of the book away here, but since a couple of friends are wondering if they should read the book… Here's the super-short version of what I think.

It's worth reading. =)

Ok well… I'm not a fan of the writing style. The author doesn't seem to have much of that at all. This is something that I'm generally not all that sensitive about as I'm looking for the message, but it does matter. In this case the author didn't manage to get to me with his words, and I felt that in the literary sense the book was rather sloppily written. A young adult novel does not necessarily have to carry that load of cheese, and I would certainly have been happy reading far less about LARPing.

That being said, there's some good [and sometimes great] ideas in there. There is a message, even if it's being delivered in not the most powerful of ways. For me personally the message hits pretty close to home, given my own past experiences. These are ideas that should be spread, taught and pondered, regardless of the author's literary capabilities, regardless of the medium. The most important aspect of the book, to me, is the fact that it's advertising the culture of thinking, which is rare enough nowadays [comparatively speaking].

Dripping cheese aside, I find the character development in the book rather well done. Especially in regards to Marcus, the main character, himself. The way he had to grew up… some of what he felt… well connected to reality. Although the reality version would be far more complex, but still, I feel that the author is doing a good job showing the kind of growing up one ends up having to do under such circumstances. It's also nicely realistic, that he's quite the non-hero. It's not him taking care of it all and saving the day, he doesn't even want to be the leader, but due to his way of thinking and acting he ends up on the front row anyway. That's precisely how it usually happens, in reality, outside of Hollywood movies. 

I also find the ending quite appropriate, seeing that it's actually not much of an ending. What you see at the end feels to me like the eye of the storm, and a good place to end the story, especially since there seems to be a sequel. It appears that the story's main characters, while having a nice "day" at the time, are preparing to get into another, possibly much larger, round of conflict.

Anyway, wrote too much already… check it out for yourselves. ;) I think I'm going to read "Homeland", the sequel, next.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014
Happy Norooz 2573 [1393]

This evening at 17:57:07 Zurich time, the new Persian new year 2573 [1393] begins. I wish everyone who does and does not celebrate Norooz a lovely start of the spring, and a great year to come. Happy Norooz everyone. =)

[Thanks to my friend Michael for the image.]

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Thursday, March 13, 2014
Solothurn Fasnacht & Liestal Chienbäse 2014

The past few weeks was "that time of the year" in Switzerland again, time to say goodbye to winter and the Fasnacht celebrations. The Solothurn carnival is my favourite, so this year we went back there once again and came back home with hair full of confetti.

But admittedly even more interesting this year was the Liestal "Chienbäse". Among different cultures and in different countries I've come across fire celebrations before… but honestly I had never seen anything of this magnitude. I still have no idea about the historical roots of this thing, and I think I need to do some digging. The best way I can describe the event is by showing the pictures.

Here is the album for Solothurn Fasnacht, and here is the album for Liestal Chienbäse.

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Friday, March 07, 2014
Do Support: Rundercover + Gbanga Famiglia Rise and Fall

Yesterday evening at the Transmedia Zurich event, we were introduced to 2 very interesting new location based games: "Rundercover" and "Gbanga Famiglia Rise and Fall". Even as the so called "cell-phone boycotter", I found both pretty cool / creative. I think this genre of game generally appeals to my need for being physically active while playing… The games are both being developed here in Switzerland, and they both have crowd funding campaigns that you can check out and then hopefully support. Here:

Rundercover website / Kickstarter

Gbanga Famiglia Rise and Fall on Indiegogo

P.S.: The mandetory back-side shot courtesy of these guys.

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Friday, February 28, 2014
Fooled By Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Last week I finished reading Nassim Nicholas Taleb's "Fooled By Randomness". What I would say about it is pretty much the same as what I wrote about "The Black Swan". This is something to read for anyone who wants to know how the world works, and why we generally don't/can't do a good job in predicting what will or will not come next.

Though I think I'm still a bigger fan of "The Black Swan", I really enjoyed reading this one too.

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Friday, February 07, 2014
Roadside Picnic

Last week I finished reading "Roadside Picnic", the 1972 sci-fi novel by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky [as per suggestion of a friend]. For me, the book "felt" quite a bit  similar to  Huxley's "Brave New World". Dystopian society built around one major life changing element which is a source of unnatural luck for some and unfair disadvantage for many others.

I did enjoy reading the book, I really liked the central idea. But I must also say that this is generally not my cup of sci-fi. I am much more into Asimov's style of sci-fi. When I read a science-"fiction" book, I am not really looking for a window into the future of the mess we currently have, what we are already experiencing. I'd like to look further forward, perhaps to what comes after that mess.

But if "Brave New World" or "1984" are for you, then this is totally recommended.

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Thursday, February 06, 2014
Haskell Glasgow Compiler 7.8

Last Thursday evening I attended a very interesting presentation on the pretty cool new Haskell3D[1] features of the upcoming GHC 7.8. Though I've personally not yet had the chance to play with the new release, I'm very excited about it, since apparently many of the features that were discussed for a long while are now finally included. As it was mentioned in the meeting, it's not that it's not a mess anymore, it's just that it's much less of a mess. ;)

Here you can find a PDF copy of the presentation slides [sans code]. [The talk was hosted by the Zurich HaskellerZ group.]

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Friday, January 24, 2014
Castle Of Gruyères

Forgot to mention, pictures from our visit to the Castle Of Gruyères [a few weeks back] are online. The castle was quite amazing, one of the most majestic I've seen to far. But that was about all that we saw that day, due to the horrible weather!

Pictures here.

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[Last one is a panorama]

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Monday, January 13, 2014
Lenzerheide Magic Forest

One of most memorable events/places we visited this Christmas, was the Lenzerheide Magic Forest. We spent a few hours looking around the tiny town of Lenzerheide which was covered with snow, and then spent about an hour in the church as the snow was absolutely insane. Then we headed to the forest for the light shows and the market. The light shows were absolutely marvellous, and the market was quite authentic and beautiful. I'm actually looking forward to going there again next year!

Pictures here.

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Sunday, January 05, 2014
Ender's Game [The Book]

Last night [well, basically 'till morning] I finished reading Orson Scot Card's "Ender's Game", the first book of the "Ender's Saga". The series have been on my reading list for basically ever now, but somehow I never got to it. Then the movie showed up which I Ender's_game_cover_ISBN_0312932081[1] don't want to see before reading the books. [I'm a much bigger fan of books than movies and I don't want watching the movie to spoil the books!] So a week ago I finally started reading the first book, and well, looks like I pretty much devoured it.

Once I started reading "Ender's Game" I simply couldn't put it down. The book definitely is one of the best sci-fi I've ever read, as was suggested to me by several of my friends. [You were all right! =) ] Now I'm going to start with the 2nd book… I'm of course very happy that there's already 12 books in the series, and the author is writing some more…. I really do want more of this!

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Sunday, December 29, 2013
Man of Steel

Honestly I wasn't in such a hurry to see "Man of Steel". Superman movies and comics have always been mere light entertainment to me, and even though I have occasionally enjoyed watching a movie or reading a comic, I've never been a fan. Through the years I've felt a chronic lack of plot and character development in all things Superman. [Which basically sums up my relationship with 99% of DC's comics.]

So you can imagine my surprise, watching "Man of Steel" last night, and realizing in the middle of the movie that I was actually really enjoying it! Especially seeing the movie's less than great ratings and the plenty of dissatisfied reviews! [Then again I often seem to like what everyone else hates and vice versa!]

Yes, I really really liked this movie! Many important details were changed, characters were much better developed, and most importantly so much nonsense and absurdity has been eliminated! I mean surprise surprise, for once in my life a Superman movie actually makes rational sense!!!!

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For once we actually see a proper, well pictured, back story. Which actually explained why everything happened the way it all happened. I really enjoyed the beginning part of the movie where Krypton has been quite nicely illustrated, and we finally get a better idea of what "the parents" were like and what the circumstances were. Or for that matter why Zod acts the way he does. Also the earthly parents of Clark Kent have been much better developed. Supeman's own character finally has some proper development with much less cheese involved. Oh, and for once, finally, someone has decided that Lois Lane should not be the idiotic, clueless, pointless, shame to all women, constantly in need of rescuing, aka the classical character. Thank you very much for that.

It's been said the movie will have a next instalment in 2015. I do look forward to seeing that.

By the way, come to think of it, it's interesting that the latest Batman movie was also the best I've ever seen, for pretty much all the same reasons! Looks like DC might have finally figured some things out… ;)  Maybe it's time I go back and check the comic books…...

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Friday, December 27, 2013
Inferno by Dan Brown

Last week I finished reading [or more like devouring] Dan Brown's latest book, "Inferno". And well, wow! For me this book is now in a tie with "The Da Vinci Code" for Dan Brown's best. As usual he has managed to put a lot of interesting ideas and generally "food for thought" in the book. But then the plot was also amazing this time, and felt like a bit of an evolution. So, I really enjoyed it. Totally recommended.

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Friday, December 20, 2013
Montreux Noël Medieval Market!

Last year I found out about this a tad too late, this year I managed to finally pay a visit to the Medieval Market in Montreux, at the Chillon castle. The market itself wasn't much, it was just stalls here and there spread inside the castle. But the staff were dressed like elves, and the castle was beautiful.

Afterwards we walked from Chillon to Montreux, around lake Geneva…. this was simply lovely. After arriving to Montreux, we also paid a visit to the huge Christmas market in the centre of the city. Huge, and covered with chocolate and gingerbread for the most part. ;)

Pictures here.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug

On Sunday night we went to see the Hobbit [3D]. Yes, the opening week, in fact just after the opening day. =P I was in a pretty big hurry for this one… Couldn't wait! And I'm so not disappointed!

The movie was simply great. As I wrote about the first part, in comparison the LOTR movies, the hobbit movies have the advantage of being truly faithful to the book, which naturally comes with making 3 movies out of the one book. Every important detail is there, with some cute additions, and altogether things just feel right. The visuals are quite stunning, and if you're going to see the movie, make sure to see it in 3D.

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I still have a problem with a blonde Orlando Bloom. That really doe NOT work. But I don't think I had enough time to pay attention to that given Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel, and Benedict Cumberbatch's voice on Smaug. =P

All in all it's a lovely movie. The only "issue", is the humongous cliff-hanger at the end. Of course when you divide one single book into 3 movies, every conclusion, every important event, everything that you are waiting for, will be at the end, waiting for the last movie. So now I have to wait a year for… well… everything. Meh. =P

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3D Hubs Zurich

Recently I attended the launch event for "3D Hubs" in Zurich. I really didn't know anything about the service before that event, but I had in fact been wondering if such service exists. There are people with 3D printers, there are people who need something printed, it would be great if something connects them all to each other. And "3D Hubs" does exactly that. Check it out!

Also, there were some rather amazing printed items to see at the event. Here's some examples:

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This glove was entirely 3D printed, all the links together!

DSC04266[1]The brown one was printed out of PLA filament containing wood dust. It actually smells and feels like wood!

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Transparent PLA!

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Pretty stuff! =P

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Inside looks a lot like a real analogue camera!

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Monday, December 16, 2013
Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing"

Of all the versions of Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" that I have seen so fMuch-Ado-About-Nothing[1]ar, old and new, classic and modern, my favourite has to be Joss Whedon's! I watched it  some weeks ago for the first time, and a few nights ago again. I never thought I'd enjoy a version more than the digital theatre one with David Tennant and Catherine Tate, but I liked Joss Whedon's even more than that! It's just too cute! =D

Of course Joss Whedon and Jed Whedon also created their own version of "Sigh No More", the famous soundtrack of Much Ado [with Shakespeare's own lyrics!]. It's quite nice, definitely the nicest version of it I've heard. =)

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Ahoo "Aasemoon" Pirsoleimani, 1998-2012