katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
The past year I started watching many series that previously I had only been hearing about: preeminent among them Battlestar Galactica and Supernatural, but also Farscape, Medium, Jonathan Creek, and the more recent Mentalist and Sarah Connor Chronicles.

In December I saw the whole of "Death Note" and the first three seasons of "Dexter" (only the first two seasons of the latter were any good, btw). Both these series were vaguely depressing, with the serial-killer protagonists and all, so near the end of December I decided to switch to something lighter and checked out "Kim Possible" instead. But Kim Possible won't be the one animated series to stick to my mind from this past season.

Avatar - the Last Airbender )

Digital Rights Management annoyances )

City of Ember )

Fanvidding )
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
So, Bhutto has been assassinated, and the world grows darker still with yet another victory for Islamic fascism -- as if Iraq/Palestine/Lebanon haven't been enough. But I wasn't planning this for a political post... just happened that Bhutto's killing roughly coincided with a post I was prepping for other issues.


So, anyway... have recently greatly enjoyed three works which I'd heard and been vaguely curious about for years, but for three different (but all stupid) reasons, I never got around to enjoying till now.

Buffy the Vampire-Slayer/Angel )

"The King Must Die" by Mary Renault )

V for Vendetta )
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Back to Athens, and away from Samos, for good this time. *g* About a week ago (or perhaps slightly more) I passed the six-month mark of my service which means I'm more than half through. And ofcourse it was the harder half: basic training at Corinth and the months at the near-border location. It's gonna be far easier from now on. Certainly up to two weeks ago I wasn't posting much to the Internet because I didn't have enough time. These past few days (since Wednesday when I came back here), I didn't post any because I was reading new books I got. That's a definite improvement quality-of-life-wise. :-)

See, Saturday was out to celebrate two friends' birthdays -- while I was picking up gifts for them, I also got myself three new books, the next (and next-to-last) Dark Tower book by Stephen King (Song of Susannah), Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett, and the newest Pressfield book, the one about Alexander the Great, Virtues of War. Have already finished the first of these, Song of Susannah. On to the next! :-)

Tomorrow I'm also getting myself an ADSL connection. Cheaper in the long run -- by far.


Oct. 23rd, 2005 08:10 pm
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Well, I didn't have as much time or mood to write entries as I had hoped in my previous post and I'm leaving today at 4pm for Samos -- still these ten days have been relaxing enough for me. Slept a lot. Ate a lot. Read a lot: got the chance to get and read the second volume in the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, plus Tides of War by Stephen Pressfield. And I've gotten the 3rd, 4th and 5th volumes in the Dark Tower series by Stephen King to last me the journey back to Samos and the days to follow.

:-) Not that I had missed out on reading during my stay at Samos -- there I pretty much read the whole that Dan Brown had to offer (not that it was much, and he quickly proved repetitive and morally vacant -- the Da Vinci Code is the only one of his books really that's worth anything I think), plus lots of Agatha Christie, and the "Gates of Fire"+ "The Last Amazon" by Steven Pressfield. These last two are *greatly* recommended.

Will return to Athens for good around the 20th of November. Will be sure to get myself again an ADSL connection then -- and this time (unlike the last time I had ADSL at home) I'll make it be both faster and without limitations on monthly downloads. :-)

More on Dan Brown's books. Some spoilers. )
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Peter Pan)
I'll be getting Harry Potter Saturday noon -- but till then here's one last review I'd been planning to write for a while.

A while ago I got "Peter and the Starcatchers", partly because I've become something of a small fan of the whole Peter Pan mythos. It's supposed to be a "prequel" to the story we know by J.M. Barrie.

It was rather disappointing.

Spoilers for Peter Pan and the Starcatchers inside )


Peter Pan in general, and Gargoyles-related musings )
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Played enough Yahoo! Chess to boost my rating up to the high 1400s, where it had been a while ago, though whenever I play when sleepy it has the tendency to fall to the low 1400s or even mid-1300s. Also played enough Yahoo! Go to know that I still suck at it. :-)

Anyway, here's with the first book review:

Ursula Le Guin and Tales from Earthsea )

This whole commentary was written when half-asleep, so if any sentence doesn't make sense you'll have to forgive me for it, until I see it and correct it tomorrow. Cheers.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Last couple weeks I have been contributing again to Wikipedia, which I had mostly neglected the months before. A week ago I created the article on Color revolutions (though many others have edited it since ofcourse) - today I made a pretty little map for it.

I'm not very fond of the tulip pic I found but I rather like the rose.


In that website project I'm doing (and which I've completed for a long time now really except that they've not sent me the final texts I need to insert), supervisor told me to make some of the photos (at the photographer's request) so they can't be downloaded. Disabling right-click and the like. Fool's game really -- all pics can be downloaded in *some* way, if only by grabbing screenshots -- and supervisor knew that as well so she just told me to make it so they can't be downloaded *easily*. Still I went to it -- blah blah, disabling right-click, blah blah, making photo that it can't be downloaded with "saved as", that it can't be dragged from the screen to the desktop -- even so that its url couldn't be seen at first glance by someone inexperienced reading the source code of the page. Supervisor would be happy with much less I'm sure, but I took it as a game and went the extra mile. Easy enough.

Only problem is my annoyance at Netscape's incompatibility with IE over some of the most fundamentals of Javascript - like disabling right-click. Still checking to see if (like IE) Netscape and Mozilla allow such disabling to happen only over one specific image (because disabling it over the whole page is *gah* utterly obnoxious).


I read recently "The Left Hand of Darkness", which is the second Ursula Le Guin novel I've read (or perhaps the fifth, if we count the four stories in the EarthSea volume I have as separate items -- as they probably indeed should be seen).

My impression of it, and my first impression of Ursula Le Guin's plotting as a whole: A crescendo who's climax falls just a tiny bit short. The most interesting elements of the story are the ones she never really delves into. In Earthsea, I'd like us to see a bit more about the nature of names, about dragons. About the ways of magic itself -- but it largely remained in the background. The story tells us that there are many ways for wizards to discover names, but we're not told even one, even though Ged exhibits the power. Dragons appear at times but even at the end we know little about them and what makes them tick. Vaguely disappointing. And in "the Left Hand of Darkness", the things that intrigued me most were the ways that planet Winter would change with their joining of the Ekumen and the foretelling abilities. But both remain undelved into.

Exceptionally cool worldmaker... but her actual stories keep on leaving me vaguely unsatisfied.

Octavia Butler is a new author I've read (two books so far "Wild seed" and "Dawn") and with her the feeling is similar but different. Ursula Le Guin reaches an end with her stories, even if the middle doesn't dig into all the points I'd have liked her to have dug. Octavia Butler on the other hand at the end of both those novels felt me unsure that it was really the end. Sure some events happened that mark it "the end", but events of similar magnitude and importance had happened at many random times throughout the series -- many points where Octavia Butler could have marked her ending -- even though it'd have been just as vaguely disappointing.

In this case though it's not even the sense I get from Le Guin -- namely that she doesn't delve enough. In Octavia Butler's case I kept on feeling she was retreading old ground throughout the story.


No April's Fools today, though I *had* planned to write about the way the Da Vinci Code talked about Jesus' Martian ancestry and the Illuminati/Vatican conspiracy to hide that little fact. I then thought that people may actually think I was spoiling the actual content of the book and get mad at me for ruining their pleasure. Or else they might think I was spoiling the actual content of the book and not read it themselves. :-)

Read it. No Martians involved, I promise. Cool story, though the ending disappointed me a tiny bit. I may talk about some more in a future post.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Fandom)
Just yesterday I read for the first time The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis.

I'd forgotten how refreshing to the spirit, reading C.S. Lewis is. Or, more accurately, having only read his Narnia stories before now, I didn't know his other stories would also be a delight to read. I should definitely get his Out of the Silent Planet series of books one of these days.

*g* What George Orwell did for politics, I see C.S. Lewis doing in the Screwtape Letters for personal morality. Except that Orwell in 1984 described an *extremity* -- and so it's only echoes of the horridness of what he describes that we see in the current-day world. Only similarities and warning bells.

C.S. Lewis in the Screwtape Letters deals on the other hands with the utter joy-crushing mundanity of the descent to immorality. No extravagant evils, just joyless and pleasureless sins, repeated via conformity and tedium until they reduce Man to demonic food. As such it's not only echoes that one perceives. It's day-to-day examples of dreary "sins".

Given how my assumptions and C.S. Lewis are different (he believes in Christianity, I don't), it's strangely wonderful how many of the morality lessons in the Screwtape Letters I find ringing very true. Not *all*, mind you, but more than I had imagined would have been the case. *g* But then again one of my most basic assumption is similar to Lewis' -- that the only valid reason to believe or disbelieve something is that you consider it true or false. This may seem obvious, but given the number of people who believe or disbelieve because of tradition, or conformity, the convenience of the matter, or for mere fear of changing their opinions... well, let's just say that it puts C.S. Lewis and me on the same side of the issue after all. *g* Perhaps he sees angels and demons where I see the best and worst parts of each person's own nature, but most of the same principles apply in recognizing which is which.

I also see points where the imagination of C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien (to whom the book is dedicated to) may have influenced one another -- or quite likely both are inspired by earlier sources. The way that the demons are quite incapable of accepting the existence of selfless love reminds me of Sauron judging all motivations according to his own; the idea of demons as prisoners in a dreary existence vaguely reminiscent of the orcs' own; most reminiscent of all was the way Screwtape raged that the demonic noise of hell will drown out the music and silences of heaven. I doubt there's any Tolkienian fan who can have read that and not be reminded of the Ainulindale.

Only one significant flaw to the book -- namely that it's too short. Other than that -- highly recommended!


May. 27th, 2004 08:02 pm
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (cartoon)
You know, if I had just tripped and scratched the surface of my hand, while returning a DVD last night, that wouldn't even merit mention. But when, in the process of using a handkerchief to wipe my hand and checking out the scratch, I am distracted enough that ten meters away I step on that broken piece of pavement that normally ought to contain a tree but it doesn't, and as a result I fall again even worse, and hurt my already hurt hand -- ah, that's a bit of utterly stupid clumsiness that requires special commemoration.

Anyway, new pic above. Like it? Used this which you can download from here.

And a meme. Reminded to do it by [livejournal.com profile] eledhwenlin, but expanded to cover the Top 200 books of an earlier BBC meme gacked from [livejournal.com profile] synaesthete7.

BBC's Top 200 Books )

Still haven't talked about Delphi any, btw. Soon.

Edit: New pic wasn't showing previously. Fixed it.
katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
On Friday, I got 'The Princess Bride', the book, and the same day read it in its entirety...

Enjoyable book -- ofcourse the movie is one of my all-time favourites, not to mention one of the most quotable ones *ever* -- but somehow it didn't manage to excite me *or* amuse me nearly as much the movie did.

That may have partly been because I read it in its Greek translation rather than the original, and so not all the wittiness could come across... still I have to wonder whether this was one of the cases where the movie adaptation was just *better* than the original. Especially because many of the book-scenes seemed to me actually designed to work better on screen than on the page -- e.g. the bit where Inigo kills four guards so quickly that the fourth dies before the first one had the time to fall to the ground? And the count just turns and flees?

Very cinematic. In the book it felt a bit like ho-hum, we're just told he was just so quick and efficient, so it means little. When we actually *see* it in the movie, that's when we can get impressed and wowed and amused at the same time.

I have to believe that the author actually wrote the book with the movie in mind.

Anyway, the movie was of the most faithful adaptations of a book *ever*, even though I definitely missed the characterisation for Buttercup (uglily translated "Neragola" for some reason in the Greek ) of the first chapter.

*g* First chapter was my favourite, btw, probably also because it was the chapter pretty much left out of the movie and so I could come to it fresh -- but people who've read the book probably also know why "first chapter was my favourite" is a comment to be amused by where 'Princess Bride' is concerned.

Second favourite bit the flashback to Inigo's childhood -- again one could say that this is because it was left out of the movie, but I think a more accurate guess would be that I simply loved those character scenes.

Didn't like the Fezzik bits, though, since I tend to think that gentle giants are mostly a cliche that needs to be put to a slow agonizing death.


Beginnings of a political ramble in a new post.


katsaris: "Where is THEIR vote?" (Default)
Aris Katsaris

July 2011

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