26June-2July2011 :: This (Cordless) Week
This week was a step into a future without cables, X-Men: First Class, Les Diaboliques, Charade, Spear of Destiny, a few comics, and My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant.
- Having gotten sick of losing headphones to cable flaws, I figured the best solution was to take another step into the future and ditch the cable altogether, and picked up a bluetooth headset, the Plantronics BackBeat 903+; have been using it to listen to music all week and am so far very impressed; it's got a decent sound quality (not monitor quality, but excellent for the commute), is reasonably comfortable, and I've found it to only get glitchy when I'm walking with the iPhone in my pants pocket — it's not a problem in my pocket whilst on the bus, and it's fine walking with the phone in my bag or jacket pocket; I normally avoid taking calls on a headset so I've not yet tested that, but it does come with an open mic mode that picks up outside noise and retransmits that into the earphones, and that seems to be pretty good at picking out voices, so if I get used to the idea of the future meaning getting caught talking to oneself (my hair largely covering the headset), I'd probably be comfortable using them.
- Re-watched X-Men: First Class (imdb); enjoyed it the second time around, and it stands up well to a reading of Xavier and his fellow privileged mutants essentially just happy to "pass", while Erik Lensherr's the true progressive hero, the only leader capable of accepting women and non-whites on an equal footing, and refusing to stay hidden away; he never really does anything one could condemn, his killings restricted to self-defense and good old-fashioned Nazi hunting; that makes the ending difficult though, with Lensherr embracing the character of Magneto; one only hopes the remaining movies in the trilogy can display at least this level of nuance, and keep Magneto's morality fairly ambiguous — there's still room to see what happens between putting on the cape and helmet and becoming the unhinged villain we see a couple of decades later.
- Watched Les Diaboliques (imdb); curious old French femme fatale thriller, with a wife and her husband's mistress teaming up to kill off the husband, and everything unravelling from there; it's not bad, but it's very long, and could probably comfortably lose a couple of twists and turns; it finishes well though, with a twist that only becomes evident very near the end, and a closing title plate encouraging the audience not to spoil it for their friends (!); the subtitles are an awfully average translation from the French though, getting across the story but skipping over lots of dialogue not immediately relevant.
- Watched Charade (imdb); nothing about the film even sticks in my mind anymore, save that it seemed, while watching it, incredibly weird; the cast are great though (Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn!), even if the characters they play are very odd.
- Watched Spear of Destiny (imdb); basically a German equivalent of National Treasure (or worse, its sequel), but wants to be Indiana Jones meets Da Vinci Code, with its leads being adventuring historians on the trail of the eponymous Holy Lance, hidden away behind a trail of puzzles; it's entertaining, and has just enough puzzle and adventure, with the bad guys always only right behind them, to stumble through its story; it suffers from the usual problems of such stories though: puzzles that are either too obvious or too easily solved, comic book villains, and a tendency for its female lead to require revealing costume changes (though the male lead ends up in lederhosen at one point too, which perhaps goes some way to even up the balance), and all on a TV budget, with some of the studio vs location shots very awkwardly comped.
- Picked up a bunch of comics from comiXology, with sales last weekend on a range of Wonder Woman comics, and this weekend on a number of Vertigo titles; on the former, I followed the recommendations of DC Women Kicking Ass (subscribed!), though I've so far only read part of DC: The New Frontier (comiXology) (which is interesting, but is very insider-y, with nothing much actually happening, yet); of the latter, I picked up American Vampire (comiXology) and Cinderella: From Fabletown With Love (comiXology).
- Few interesting articles passing through Instapaper this week; absolute highlight was Jose Antonio Vargas' revelation that he's an illegal immigrant, with a beautiful, emotional account of how that came to be, of his struggle to earn his American-ness, to get a piece of paper to match his identity, and of the support network that's grown up around him: My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant.
I decided then that I could never give anyone reason to doubt I was an American. I convinced myself that if I worked enough, if I achieved enough, I would be rewarded with citizenship. I felt I could earn it.
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- 21August-10September2011 :: These (Running) Weeks (17Sep2011)
- 7-20August2011 :: These (Winter, Returned) Weeks (21Aug2011)
- 24July-6August2011 :: These (Early Spring) Weeks (13Aug2011)
- 3-23July2011 :: These (Hong Kong) Weeks (31Jul2011)
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