Archive for January, 2007

The Journal of Mortifying Moments

Posted in Chick Lit on January 24, 2007 by Ishrath Farhana

Kerry Spence is unfulfilled by her soulless career in advertising, has a terrible boss, and a cocky colleauge who claims to be in love with her, but humiliates her at every turn. Kerry is disappointed by her dysfunctional relationship with a gorgeous boyfriend, who has relegated her to one-night-roll-in-the-hay status. Kerry is horrified by the ever increasing size of her ass.

Kerry’s unflappable therapist tells her to make a record of her mortifying moments, but Kerry is more impressed with the single psychic reading with Rainbow Hoshwarma her mom has dragged her to. Kerry joins a volunteer organization and goes on a few interesting dates, and has at least 3 people who she can call friends.

This book is part formula and part slick marketing. The cover, for instance, is completely misleading. Show a cringing topless woman reaching for a bikini top floating in the pool, and that probably takes care of 50% of the sales. Title bags abother 10%, and press releases do the rest. The moments were not very mortifying, and after finishing the book, I could not help feeling women’s lives were trivialised by focussing on a chubby gal’s self-esteem due to dating problems. It is a shame, because Harding is a writer with a quirky sense of humor, and I was disappointed that she did not tackle, so to speak, a weightier issue.

Decorating on eBay

Posted in Interiors, Shopping on January 24, 2007 by Ishrath Farhana

It probably wouldn’t occur to many folks that eBay would be the place to look for furniture and other decorating ideas. However, when art historian Barbara Guggenheim got a commission to completely decorate a model home and she turned to e-Bay. While working on the house, she kept notes.

The book describes not only the big concept of what she was doing but also the minor details like what search words she used to find items. There are a host of interesting tips like price reports, buying and selling tips, etc. Things to watch out for are troubles with late shipping, bogus shipping costs. Sellers on e-Bay often put down a high shipping charge on the items as a way of getting a guaranteed additional income to the bid price.

The project was extremely successful going by the glossy pictures that take up most of the room in the book. For non-connessieurs, eBay might not be the best option – I can see myself weighed down by duds that will not work out. I also did not understand the logic behind boiling perfectly new and clean curtains in tea or battering and distressing furniture “to give it charm”.

Jai Google Ki

Posted in Uncategorized on January 13, 2007 by Ishrath Farhana

I thought that this blog had reached the nadir of its existence when Google turned it up for the query, “Do Bollywood actresses have hair in their armpits?” but I was optimistic. A look at the stats this bright Saturday morning reveals that apparently someone has accessed this page for the question “Why do old men’s balls hang?” *sob* Oh G-! Why me??? Seriously, my gentle readers – and other perverts – what in this innocuous little book log is there that suggests it is remotely connected to the physiognomy of geriatric males?

The Twelve Kingdoms

Posted in Anime, Fantasy, Translation on January 11, 2007 by Ishrath Farhana

Schoolgirl and friends get sucked into ancient China-like place that is not, in fact, ancient China, can’t get back home, and have adventures. The Twelve Kingdoms focuses on individual character development through carefully organized plot and a fantastic array of supporting characters. Based on a popular fantasy novel series by Fuyumi Ono, the Twelve Kingdoms follows the story of Youko Nakajima, a quiet and extremely self-conscious girl who is obedient to her parents and respected by teachers and students. When a mysterious man appears at her school, Youko is taken through a portal in the sea and soon finds herself lost and abandoned in another world and pursued by creatures both mythical and malevolent.

Initially, she deals with this the same way that many insecure, confused, and frightened anime heroines have – and scores no points whatsoever with anybody – by crying, and then whining, and finally breaking down (over and over and over). However, as she is forced to deal with a string of betrayals and to accept that she may never return home, she finally shows evidence of some backbone, transforming her into a heroic character.

On a definite plus side for the dub, the actors made a valiant effort to pronounce an extraordinary amount of Japanese words, with mostly positive results – an impressive feat when you consider that the show is sprinkled with not only Japanese names but also series-specific terms such as “kaikyaku,” “youma,” and “shoku”, etc.

Even if the lingo confuses you, Twelve Kingdoms is still worth watching simply for the sake of the animation. The character designs are based off pictures drawn by the author, and the detail portrayed in the novels is brought to vivid life in the anime. Each character or creature Youko encounters has a unique look, and a startling amount of attention was devoted to sketching patterns on fur or clothing. A scene as simple as a kirin walking across a glade is gorgeous, simply to behold the flowing hair.

The background artists also did some serious world-building, creating detailed decorations on and in buildings and washing everything in dusky yellow tones and bright colors that contrast sharply with the drab greens and grays of Youko’s present-day Japan. Enhancing the animation is a beautiful soundtrack with a dynastic, ancient Chinese folk music flare. The Twelve Kingdoms promises much for those who are willing to make a commitment. Others should probably look elsewhere.

The Night Watch

Posted in Action / Thriller, Fantasy, Horror, SF, Translation on January 8, 2007 by Ishrath Farhana

Night Watch

by Sergei Lukyanenko

Translated from Russian by Andrew Bromfield

489 pages

$16.95

Anchor Canada – Random House

***

All That Stands Between Light And Darkness Is The Night Watch. With a tagline like that, this series is poised to become a phenomenon.

Hipper than hip and cooler than cool, it has all the elements of a great epic. A centuries old war between Dark and Light, good and evil, the Others with supernatural powers who can slip into another Twilight dimension. Their war could annihilate the world, so the two sides coexist in an uneasy truce. A Treaty outlines the terms, and each side swears to leave the human race alone. The Dark Others keep the Day Watch, the Light ones guard the Night Watch, and they monitor each others’ activities and enforce the conditions of the Treaty.

And yet, things are not simply Light and Dark, but a large and undefined boundary exists – the twilight of the soul, so to speak. Anton Gorodetsky, the protagonist and young Night Watch agent, is very much haunted by this grey area. The plot revolves around Anton’s struggle to protect a young Other with tremendous power and an undecided destiny, and help Svetlana, a woman with a powerful curse hanging over her head, a black vortex with the magnitude and ferocity of an inferno.

There is something primal about its themes of Light and Dark, like a rollicking good comic series meets Star Wars meets Harry Potter in Gorky Park. All speculative fiction deals  with the idea that there is something more just under the skin of the world that we don’t encounter in our day to day existence. The Twilight is an extension of this, and it is an exquisitely detailed and powerful environment. I was completely fascinated with this book – the pages didn’t just keep turning, but I even forgot to blink for large stretches.

Rejoice – it is only the first domino from the quartet. Nochnoi Dozor, the film, is said to be the highest grossing film from Russia to date claiming more at the box office than even The Return Of The King. The only thing I am howling for now are the sequels – lucky for me, they’re on their way. And don’t forget to watch this trailer.

Superhero

Posted in Uncategorized on January 7, 2007 by Ishrath Farhana

Niranjan did this quiz, and I thought it would be good idea to tag someone like me who still gets excited about Marvel and DC, and secretly hankers to rip off the baniyain and reveal a superhero logo underneath. I tag you Parth, Extempore, Lotus. I also tag you Sitara, and Amar Akbar Anthony get tagged because they are super.

You are The Flash

The Flash
85%
Green Lantern
80%
Supergirl
75%
Wonder Woman
60%
Batman
60%
Iron Man
55%
Hulk
50%
Spider-Man
45%
Robin
42%
Catwoman
20%
Superman
15%
Fast, athletic and flirtatious.


Which Superhero are you?

Plus ça change, plus c’est le meme

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2007 by Ishrath Farhana

Thank you, Cereal Girl for the tag, and the opportunity to spread the weirdness through the blogosphere like a virus. Here are 6 weird things about me!

 

1. I’m a booksniffer.

2. I have to read something before I can sleep. Even if I’ve run a marathon, lifted weights for 3 straight hours before drinking 8 shots of tequila and dancing till 3 a.m. – something that unfortunately seems to happen less and less as age advances – I have to read at least for 10 minutes before I can finally drift off.

 

3. I hate lists like the Best 100 Books / Movies / Rock Shows / Swimsuits, and so on. They only serve to remind me of how many great books, movies, concerts, lingerie, etc. I missed while I was probably reading something crappy, watching a lousy show, and stripping diapers or drippy underwear.

 

4. I’m paranoid abut bookmarks. I’ll never let one go out of free will, and you’ll have to saw off my clutching, cold dead fingers from the good ones. But I still tend to lose a lot of them. Get orf, you lying, scheming, bookmark thiefs!!! I have a similar obsession about coffee mugs, but at least I know I dropped it on the floor and chipped, nicked, or shattered it.

 

5. Punctuation and grammatical errors give me hyperacidity. Spelling mistakes make me foam at the mouth. When I receive SMS abbreviations in my email, I wake up in a padded cell with blood under my fingernails.

6.

 

 

All you weird people out there, if you make the mark – or are inventive enough – consider yourself tagged.