A Year of Rating Stuff

22.10.20 - Mark

For the last year I've been rating the books and movies I've read or watched (and then bothered looking up on Amazon) and I just entered the last book I finished (Scalzi's The Android's Dream) and I skimmed over the 25 books and 100 or so movies I've rated in the last year and started thinking about how I actually rate them.

Books I tend to rate higher. I'm using an 10 point scale (5 stars in half star increments) and I tend to rate high. The lowest rating I've given was 3 stars to William Gibson's Spook County which was lower than the 3.5 I gave to Children of Men (the book, not the movie) which is off because I liked Spook Country a whole lot more than Children of Men.

I think part of the reason is I was comparing Spook County to other Gibson works that I love, and felt that Spook Country wasn't hitting the same pace. In a similar vein I was comparing Children of Men to the movie. The movie was amazing (and is one of the few that I've bought since getting Netflix) but the book was slow and had a lot less action, I'm not the type who likes reading scenes that take place in Bed and Breakfasts. The other part is that I have a low tolerance for bad books if something is less than average - like the books you're forced to read in High School English class, or ill advised college textbooks that get selected because there was a great sales pitch from the publisher - I don't finish it.

To an extent the same is true with movies. If I managed to sit though the Dukes of Hazzard with out massive brain damage I'd probably rate it under 1 star (I've got the common sense to walk away when it's on) but I've got a higher tolerance for bad movies that only eat up an hour or two of my life (I managed to walk away from The Fast and the Furious 3 - Toyko Drift more or less unharmed and it got 2.5 stars) Overall though, I rate movies more on enjoyment than cinematography or story, or plot, or acting. Snakes on a Plane (which got points for campiness) is a whole different beast than Helvetica (a smart visual documentary about fonts) and they don't have anything in common with The Last King of Scotland (which had great acting) but I gave all three 5 stars.

Something to think about if you ever look at my ratings.

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The Stars My Destination

21.59.18 - Mark

I almost forgot how much I love The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester. I loved it the first time I picked it up several years ago, but I finished rereading it last night and I'm in love with it all over again. I'm sure at least part of that love is the elements of it that helped form cyberpunk (mega-corporations, amoral heros, and cybernetic upgrades) but there's so much more than that.

On rereading it the universe Bester crafts is eerily similar to the scifi worlds I tend to craft in my mind, and imagine as being more plausible. With the exception of the psychic elements of the book, everything in the book seems within the grasp of reality.

I don't know that I can adequately explain how much I love this book. If you like scifi at all, or even just a good story, go out and read it.

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Fuck This

00.46.57 - Mark

Fuck this Book is fucking hilarious, especially as you give the images a closer look. There's one photo about 3/4th the way though of a gas pump that is absolutely genius.

Fuck can be a beautiful word sometimes...

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And now for a commercial break

20.20.09 - Mark

Last week one of my brothers was assigned to do some form of commercial for a book (The Kite Runner) for a class. Somehow he got it in his head to do an animated commercial and drop it to tape. Well with his laptops screwed, and a lack of A/V abilities on it anyways, he borrowed me and my iBook to help him do his video. I helped him figure out how to use photoshop, iMovie and Garageband, and did some of the editing, but it's mostly his work. However he did trick me into pulling a technically unnecessary all-nighters to finish it, and cause me a bit of pain when dropping it to VHS, so I'm taking out revenge by posting it onto the interweb.

The Kite Runner Commercial (9.3MB, 320x240 Quicktime, 2 minutes 11 seconds)

This is the same project that the photoshop doodles came from.

Don't mistake this for an endorsement. I haven't read it and his tastes are usually significantly different from mine. I'm only posting it because 1) revenge, and 2) I think I remember laughing the first time he pitched it. That was many many hours of work ago so who knows I still laugh at bits and pieces of it, but those could be memories from recording parts at 3 AM on a Sunday Morning...

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50,000 Gallons of Fun

21.40.06 - Mark

Some people have some deliciously weird hobbies, and though the wonder of the internet we can all share them.

Like Building 50,000 gallon fish tanks, building Bars out of Books, which would go lovely with some other book projects I've mentioned, building a table out of a pinball playfield, or wilderness engineering (which will be added to my feed collection shortly) I've done some good sized lashing projects (wish I had some photos), but that blog puts some of what I've worked on to shame.

While I'm not all that interested in building a monster fish tank, the book based furniture, table, and the rope and pole engineering are all fun.

Most of the Stuff found via MAKE, Extreme Fishtank, Rope and Pole Engineering, Book Bar, and Pinball Playfield Table

I really need to build something.

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Recommended: Why?

14.44.37 - Mark

This is recommended
I wasn't a fan of the Course Technologies Books my school likes to begin with, but when Amazon starts recommending them over higher rated books, its a little concerning.

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