Thursday, August 26

Film: Old Click for more info

Even though I'm not his biggest fan, I always feel compelled to check out the latest from Shyamalan. In fact it's often that rolling of the dice - that the film will either be great or a stinker - that ends up being more exciting than the film itself.

Alas in this case I'm the loser as Old wasn't that amazing. On the other hand it wasn't a total stinker either. It was just very ordinary, tepid and predictable in all the worst ways.

I think the main issue was the length. Each scene played out like a vignette, labouring the point harder and harder. Cutting away some of these would have made the film much better.

It's a shame because the premise did have promise, only to be let down by a shoddy plot and passable acting. If you consider yourself a Shyamalan fan then I think you will probably eat this up. For the rest of you a home watch might make it a bit more passable.

Monday, August 23

Seventeen

If anything is a metric of the dire state of this place it's that last year's birthday post can still be seen here on the front page of this blog.

Of course homepage-news-length is an arbitrary number against which to benchmark a blog, but it does reflect how genuinely the last year and a bit has affected, well, everything. And in that sense this blog is actually a success, at least as a indicator of lifestyle.

Like everything and everyone else though, I suspect "normal" will never quite return. I have no desire to go visit new places to eat any more, and even my appetite to visit the cinema to watch anything appears to have sated.

So the real question isn't whether the volume of content will every return, but what that content may actually look like. I don't think posts will disappear completely of course... but perhaps 10-20 posts a year is where it'll end up.

Wednesday, August 18

Film: Free Guy Click for more info

Given that Free Guy wasn't our first pick of film to watch tonight, it wasn't half bad. In fact, it was better than I thought it would be, with a story that was actually quite developed and involved - and not just another anthropomorphism of an alien world.

Ryan Reynolds does enough to keep things moving at an entertaining pace, while Jodie Comer does her bit as the hapless yet femme fatale.

I'd probably say it was overly long, but most of it wasn't boring so that's okay. I don't think i could go as far as to recommend the movie for an outing - but for a lazy night in it could very well hit the spot.

Friday, August 13

Food: Kurdistan Restaurant Click for more info

I honestly can't remember the last time I went for a meal on Edgware Road, and so I was a little surprised at how cleaned up it is now. For sure, it's still not my favourite place to go (I had always found it a little sleazy), but it does seem that COVID has been somewhat good for the place.

Location aside, the originally named Kurdistan Restaurant is a solid enough number which at first look offers the usual wares but with enough of a twist to make this different from the usual Persian/Lebanese kebab shops. Of course I stuck with what I knew and went with the two skewers of kebab. Here they're served with freshly made naan bread which was a highlight in itself.

I'm either out of practise eating out or Kurdistan errs on the heavier side of cooking but I was pretty much done after the two sticks. I could almost feel the grease congealing inside me, and if anything I was  feeling a little queasy by the end of the meal. That's a shame because the kebabs themselves were pretty good, managing to be both crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside. Maybe the trick was to order one between two or something? I didn't have any but the more "meat and rice" dishes of my fellow guests seemed to fare better overall.

Service was what you'd expect from a place like this (so nothing to scream about), while pricing was also on par at around £12 for a meal and shared starters (but no drinks). So it seems that just like Edgware Road itself, Kurdistan isn't a favourite but has nothing really to complain about either.

Wednesday, August 11

Book: White Sand Volume 1, Brandon Sanderson, Rik Hoskin, Julius Gopez

In what is pretty much a vindication of the breadth of the Cosmere, here we have the first part in a trilogy of graphic novels chronicling the events and magic of the Taldian system.

I can't say I fully welcomed the change in format, although a large part of that was due to the way I was consuming the comic - as convinced I've been by ebooks, I'm not sure the electronic medium sits well with comics.

But practicalities aside White Sand does seem to be the story that benefits most from pictures, with the world and magic all benefiting from visualisation - if anything highlighting the fact that the world and magic aren't as deep as the rest of the Cosmere. Still, we're in full crossover mode now, and as such this is essential reading.

There is also a prose version of the story to be found in certain corners - I've decided that it would be pretty redundant to read both that and the graphic novels, but it may be an option if you prefer creating your own imagery. Officially only the graphic novel is canon, so your mileage may vary.

Thursday, August 5

Food: Tukdin Click for more info

Until today, I thought that the only real game in town for Malaysian food was Satay House. I'm still in two minds as to whether that still holds, but (spoilers) I actually rather enjoyed Tukdin regardless of its Malaysian food chops.

Of course I'm no expert, but from the start there was something slightly off about the food we ate tonight. The satay, for example, came clean (without sticks) and appeared to be fried. Definitely not the picture postcard you'd expect. But here's the thing: it was amongst the best satay I've ever had.

And so it went on. The never quite Malaysian food would probably have failed any real critical test I would have applied if I was a real foodie, and yet I came away very content and very full. Even the lamb dish was decent enough.

Add to that some amazing service from the family run business, a comfortable level of intimacy with its no more than 30 covers and even a cute little prayer facility in the basement and you end with a package that really did shine.

Our varied menu selection fed six and came to a clean £20 per head which was just about the most I would pay for such a meal. A more discerning selection might have been just as effective but I had such a nice time I didn't complain too much.

Book: Mistborn: Secret History, Brandon Sanderson Click for more info

Despite the Cosmere being pretty accessible, it's clear that the universe is far larger than what's possible to portray on (however many) written pages. It's a testament to Sanderson that he acknowledges this: many of his novels come with fancy (perhaps just in name) appendices called Ars Arcanums, supposedly written by a researcher from the Cosmere itself.

So far these have essentially been glorified glossaries, but as the Cosmere develops (both in terms of my exposure and what seems to be the deepening via the released novels themselves), they are actually looking more like essential cosmic glue, providing both narrative and plot points to digest as you fall ever deep in to the lore.

The natural progression of this idea are the various novella and short stories littered around the Cosmere. I've already read a fair chunk of them, but with Secret History we finally see a tale that is more than just a stand-alone curiosity - no, I personally consider it to be pretty essential Cosmere reading.

Set during the original Mistborn Trilogy, my only real regret is that I'm reading it so long after the events of Era 1. That said this book also appears to be massively explicit in talking about the shared world that is the Cosmere, so it's unclear how it could be read at any point before. I take it back - my second real regret is that I wasn't able to read this story as it was released in real time as I can imagine the sense of shared discovery would have been pretty rewarding.

Wednesday, August 4

Film: Fast & Furious 9 Click for more info

So it turns out that there are two types of ridiculous. The first type is the fun, jaw dropping, hi-fiving type that the Fast & Furious franchise is well known for. The second type is Fast & Furious 9.

There's a running gag-slash-social-understanding that each F&F has to out do the previous one, and after 9 generations (or ten if you count Hobbs & Shaw) it's kind of expected that the series would eventually disappear up its own exhaust pipe. And don't get me started on how unceremoniously they took a poo on their own timeline.

But ultimately this is another F&F film and has the same cars, action and self-deprecation that we've kind of come to love (or hate). As one of nine (or ten if you count Hobbs & Shaw) it fits right in. It's just a shame that it wasn't worth the 15 month wait to watch.