Sunday, October 16, 2011

I consider myself quite the auteur.

We took roughly a billion jillion pictures in Europe. That's too many for us to post and caption right now. If you come visit us, we'll show you some.

In the meantime, get a beer and some licorice, because I uploaded all of our videos!

These videos were all taken with my iPod Touch that Katie gave me as a wedding present.
They follow our adventures chronologically, staring in Paris and ending in London.

We visited the Eiffel Tower, which sparkled:

In Bruges we saw an organ grinder:

Drinking your beer is public is not a big deal in Germany:

Statues in Prague are fun:

We had strong beer, good food, and accordion at U Fleku:

A tiny taste of the German beerhall/beergarden culture:

The hills are alive with the sound of foreigners huffing and puffing on bikes:

The always-exciting Vienna U-Bahn:

A tour of the overnight train from Vienna to Venice:

We got to ride a gondola in Venice:

We also got to see James Taylor (from afar) in Venice:

We rented a car and took a day trip from Florence out to Pisa:

We threw Eurocents into the Trevi Fountain:

We had Guinness at the St. James's Gate Brewery. I fucking love Ireland:

Appearances to the contrary, it turns out I'm actually fundamentally incompetent when dealing with technology:

Caaaaaark. The pub:

We kissed the Blarney Stone. Katie is thrilled that she now has the Gift of the Gab:

So there's this dolphin that lives in the harbour. I didn't think it was going to be worth the cost of the boat tour, but it totally was:

Then we slept in Kinnitty Castle. Too much fun for words:

Then we came back to Dublin and someone (guess who) wanted to buy a tin whistle:

Our last night in Dublin, we headed to Temple Bar to see some step dancing:

A bit more step dancing. Not shown: when the guy's heel flew off his shoe and nailed some tourist in the chest. LOL:

Then we spent the last few days tooling around London. We rode a double-decker bus:

And that's what slightly less than one hour of our honeymoon was like. Rest assured the remainder was filled mostly with screaming arguments and vicious, subtle mind games.

Ireland was my favorite; Katie is hard-pressed to choose a favorite, but she maintains that Venice was exceptionally fun. Also, the train and the castle were highlights, as was visiting Stonehenge with Liesl. (Huge shout-out to Liesl and Julian for showing us around London.)

The heat seems to finally have abated here in New York, to the point where we were actually able to remove the air conditioner from our living room window. The highs, I say, are in the teens and low twenties, which is nice, if confusing for my mostly American co-workers. I am usually very open-minded and tolerant, but there are two issues upon which I will not budge: universal healthcare and the Metric system. Privatized healthcare and Fahrenheit can go fuck one another for all the good they do anyone.

Speaking of healthcare, now that I work at a school again, surrounded by these delightful little contagion vectors, it seems that I am to remain ill for the foreseeable future. This cough will not go away, but thankfully I am now insured, after a long period of uninsuredness (and, luckily, good health). I still have trouble getting my head around things like "co-pays."

We traveled to Pennsylvania last weekend to watch Katie's Iowa Hawkeyes get beaten about the head and shoulders by the Penn State Nittany Lions. American College Football is another oddity that I continue to parse, semi-successfully.

The end for now! I will rest, take my medicine, eat pizza. These things will make me stronger.

Now fuck off.

Love, Adam
Can they biiiite?

Sunday, October 02, 2011

WHAT? Where did the summer go?

Cripes! It's October! When did that happen?

So, the headlines are that we went on our honeymoon to Europe, and that I've successfully helped to open a school in New York City.

For the former, I will force you to wait, breath abated, a while longer. We took, literally, thousands of photos over the course of 40 days touring through France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Ireland, and England. We have them, we have looked at them, but it will be a herculean task to post and caption them all. So, likely what I will do is make a cute little blog post here about each, say, city we spent time in, with the best pictures. If you want to see all of them, you'll have to come visit us and sit in front of our computer for a few hours.

We also have videos! I'll be uploading them to youtube starting.... now. (Uploading videos to youtube is distressingly slow for some reason. I will let you know when they're done.)

For more immediate satisfaction, you can go check out my school's website, which has some pictures of our opening day. It's at Many of our students come from the Queensbridge and Ravenswood housing projects. The work is challenging, and it's very time-consuming, but it's a fantastic feeling to see these kids learning.

All's well in New York. Katie has started doing yoga, and she loves it. I have re-attached the World of Warcraft drip to my screaming, yearning, begging vein, but with significantly increased moderation this time around. The days are darker, the highs are lower. There's been a protest happening downtown for going on two weeks now, that the media is only now beginning to pay attention to.

I made Katie watch The Road and I Am Legend. I have to stop putting such strain on my marriage.

Have some fun links to give you, going back to May of this year. Ah, well.

I was wondering a while ago if dogs are really color-blind, or if it's one of those things that people just believe for no good reason. Answer: the second one. TL;DR*: Dogs can see colors, just fewer of them. If you want to be mean to your dog, throw a red ball on green grass. If you want to be nice, use a blue ball.

I like OK Go, so here's one of their videos.

I wish I was a person who had the amount of free time I had about a year and a half ago.
Wait, no I don't. The reason I had free time was because I was barely working. That sucked.
Anyway, if I could work _and_ have free time, I would spend lots and lots and lots of time on this website. And I would also waste buckets and buckets of paper.

Another, for all intents and purposes, infinite time-waster, is the World's Biggest Pac-Man. I understand that people are creating new boards faster than a person could possibly finish them. Which boggles the mind.

Here's a video of a little girl making a choice. A choice she is immediately told is wrong.

If that's the case, then I don't wanna be right.

And finally, a good investment of about an hour is to watch some very funny and dated news clips dedicated to technology. My favorite is watching Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric trying to figure out what an @-sign is.

I've also discovered Reddit, which is now my default go-to-when-I-have-30-spare-seconds website.
I used to go to Wikipedia during those decaseconds. Have I gotten dumber? Or smarter? Or.... something elser?

That is all for now, I'm going to spend some time uploading videos for you. More to follow.

Now fuck off.

Love, Adam
Like a boss.

*Too Long; Didn't Read

Monday, April 04, 2011

Early morning with little to do.


All this talk of nuclear radiation in Japan puts me in mind of my single favourite panel from any comic book graphic novel (ahem, sorry, we're adults here). To wit, this one, from Watchmen.

The best (and simultaneously worst) thing about it all is the fact that most people (myself included) don't really understand how radioactivity works. Radioactivity is fundamentally weird. It's like quantum states and umami; it's outside of most people's boxes. So you end up with alarming-looking jpegs getting forwarded by e-mails, like this paragon of misinformation:
Which wouldn't be so bad, except that people who don't know any better have been overdosing on potassium iodide pills.

Which is why I'm always glad when people try to put things in perspective. There's another website which is much, much better than mine, called XKCD. The guy who does XKCD is much, much smarter than me, and he assembled a super-interesting radiation chart, which shows the entire spectrum of radiation doses, from standing next to the reactor at Chernobyl all the way down to eating a banana. (The dose that workers at the Fukushima plant got immediately after the tsunami is actually pretty low on the scale, just above the dose someone would get from a mammogram.)

I have a new favorite Wikipedia page: The List of Common Misconceptions. Spend some time with it, memorize bits of it, and become the most annoying person at the party. You'll find yourself starting many sentences with, "Well, actually..." People will think you are cool and good-looking, and you are almost 100% assured of getting laid on any given evening.

Okay. It's been a while since I laid a substantive post on you, so I've got some stuff saved up.

My boss sent me this list of "untranslatable" words from other languages. My favorite is "tartle." I'm notoriously bad with names, and I'm so glad the Scottish have a word for me.

I have been hoarding this video since July of last year. It has aged and mellowed nicely, and, having given it a few minutes to sit open and breathe, I pour it forth for you:

Savour its bouquet.

I'm not as young as I look; I cut my teeth on the Atari 2600. We never really had a computer in the house  as I was growing up (my mom's electric typewriter represented the lofty heights of word processing), so I largely missed out on text-based games. I still got to fart around with things like Zork at the computer lab at Enrichment*, but now someone's assembled a website full of fun little time-devourers. The games run right in your browser. Mind the grue.

Speaking of games, I recently took a hiatus from World of Warcrack, which has been good for me. A suitable alternative may be NEStalgia, which marries the modern MMO to old-school 8-bit graphics. All I can say is that I am lucky the thing only runs on Windows. (Oh! But wait! I have Parallels! Mourn for me, I am lost!)

Mike Tyson seems to be enjoying a resurgence. Good for him:

We've recently (by which I mean in the last year and half) become converts to the Cult of Netflix. It is less time-intensive than torrenting, though apparently more legal. One thing that drives me up the wall, though, are those little paper flaps they use to seal the disk into its red shipping coffin. Thanks to the internet, though, there is now a way to recycle those flaps. Until you actually recycle them by putting them in the recycling.

It's rare that Newfoundland makes any sort of impression on the rest of the world, but I recently heard tell of a youtube video which had gone slightly viral. I present it here for your amusement.

Do you see the title? Do you you see those poor little apostrophes?
Did the bad man hurt you, little apostrophes? Come, let me hold you.

There are more games. When I was a child, a neighbour had a Game Boy. I was entranced. (Of course, I now carry a cellphone, a DS Lite and an iPod Touch, each of which boasts more computing power than the entire island of Newfoundland had during my childhood.) I did own a couple of Tiger LCD games. I think one was Thundercats-based. (However, I can find no evidence of such a thing on any of the Internets.) A website exists now that collects and emulates certain LCD games. It is diverting, but ultimately makes me happy to live now, and not then. (Well, I guess I did live then, but I was just a dumb kid.) Anyway, go look at it now, before Nintendo finds out about it and shuts it down.

I was able to wrest a few hours this morning from the dread beast Committed Employment, but I draw near to end of my freedom. Commence video dump.

A clever video spoofing the internet itself from CollegeHumor. I had wanted to embed it here, but the video was causing problems with Flash. So here is a link to it, instead. Stupid College Humor. Learn to code, dammit!

Sometimes I am amazed by the level of creativity some people show when fusing things like The Legend of Zelda with Every High School Movie From The 80s:

This one is a little disturbing, and caused some minor controversy upon its release. People don't like being told that sometimes zombies eat children. And that those zombie children sometimes go on to eat others. (There may be an age gate on this one.)

Again, I (who have no time at all) am in awe of people for whom time seems to flow like water, plentiful and clear. The audio for this comes from the trailer for Starcraft 2. The video... is from something else:

I did not see this guy in person, but he's here in New York somewhere. I will have to start taking the F line to work, it seems.

Congratulations! You've reached the end! As a reward for being good little Interneters and watching all the videos, you get two prizes. I confess to only having a rudimentary understanding of how this works, but it works, and that's the main thing.

If you take the following chunk of gibberish and copy-paste it into the address bar on your browser (where it says, you will be able to fly a SPACESHIP around my website and shoot things. I swear to god. This will work on any website. I found it hard to believe, too, but there you go. The word is full of miracles.

You can control the ship with the arrow keys and use the spacebar to fire. The ship's bullets are black, though, so you might want to try it out on another page.

And this snippet will enable you to roll a Katamari over the page, rolling everything up into a satisfying clump.

Scroll back up to the top of the page before loading that one, though. The ball starts at the top. It plays a song, too. To get either of them to stop, just reload the page or close the window.

That is all I can do for you today. I have given you the tools; go forth and cause havoc.

Next time I will teach you about charter schools and European honeymoons.

Now fuck off.

Love, Adam
The lottery will be held on April 13.

*Which is where all the little nerdlings like me got to go one day a week to expand on our regular book-learnin'.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Suffice to say I've been mega mega busy. And it is too bright in the office.

I actually don't even have time to be writing these sentences. But here I am.
Still editing books for Oxford part-time, while helping to set up a new school here in Queens, called Academy of the City Charter School. It's fun, stimulating, fascinating, exhausting work. I have insufficient time. I am too busy to even play Warcrack anymore. There are trade-offs.

I have about a million different things to share with you. I will share them soon.
This will do for now:

All is well!

Now fuck off.

Love, Adam
Enchantment? Enchantment!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Cards! (Green and Birthday)


Well, it's been a busy few weeks! So, let's go in chronological order!

We had our interview down at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) for my Green Card application. We were kind of anxious about it, since we had heard stories from a couple of other couples who got grilled fairly heavily, moved to separate rooms and questioned separately to see if their answers lined up, that sort of thing.

We went in 15 minutes before our scheduled time, waited in a lobby for five minutes, and got called in. A lovely lady took us both into her office and asked us a few simple questions about where we met. We showed her the photobooks Katie had made of our trips to Cambodia and South Korea. She asked for copies of our joint bank account statements and asked if she could keep a picture of us wearing umbrella hats (for their files, ostensibly). This one, in fact:
Then she shooed us back out into the lobby, where we waited for another five minutes, then she called my name and gave me my passport with my Green Card in it. Actually, it was a Red Stamp; my actual Green Card arrived in the mail a couple of days ago. And yes, contrary to popular know-it-allishness, the Green Card is, in fact, actually green. Not like a lime green or anything. More of a money green. Like millions of green swirly lines. It's got my face, and my signature, and my fingerprint, and a picture of the Statue of Liberty on the front. The back is mega weird, it's got all these teeny tiny micro versions of all these flags from other countries (but not Canada, oddly), as well as a line of teeny tiny micro portraits of all the Presidents of the United States, from Washington to Obama. Weirdest of all, it comes with a little tinfoil sleeve, upon which is printed, "We recommend use of this envelope to protect your new card and prevent wireless communication with it." A little Caprica, a little 1984.

Overall, the Green Card process was fairly painless. By which I mean it was a huge pain in the ass, and involved reams and reams of paperwork, but nothing insurmountable. It was, by far, the most complicated thing I've ever had to do, but I'm fairly proud that we managed to pull it off by ourselves, without having to spend ten to twenty thousand dollars on an immigration lawyer. I can now vote in municipal and state elections, but not the federal election. Every little bit helps, though, ya?
I had a birthday in June, too. Thanks to all my friends on That Thing who left birthday well-wishes for me. Marshall McLuhan will spin in his grave at my heresy, but the message was more important than the medium in this case. Thanks, thanks!

For my birthday, Katie planned a secret outing. She laid plenty of misdirects, both ahead of time ("You'll need your passport." "You need to bring sneakers*, definitely.") and after we had actually reached our destination of the Jersey Shore, specifically, Asbury Park ("I just wanted to hang out on the beach." "We're having dinner at a nice restaurant."). As we moseyed down Ocean Drive after checking in at our hotel, Katie directed my gaze to the sign of the Stone Pony (a famous bar where Bruce Springsteen used to hang out, where I saw:
Well fuck me backwards and forwards. She did a superb job of keeping the secret.

Now, as I think I've discussed before, I'm not a Music Person. I'm a Video Game Person, a Book Person, a Cat Person, but not a Music Person. I like music, I just have some sort of fatal disconnect when I hear it. It tends to take rather a lot to make me pay attention to music. It might be my years of video games, it might be the way my dad always had a radio on in the house, even when no one was home, but I tend to regard music generally as a background thing, and I struggle to concentrate on it.

There are, of course, a few exceptions to this rule, and the main one is They Might Be Giants. Discovering their album Flood in the CD room at CHMR (when I used to jockey discs, if such an activity can be believed of the person who wrote the preceding paragraph) is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I fucking love Flood. And I love They Might Be Giants. When people ask me who my favourite band is, I just say TMBG, because it's the first band that springs to mind. There aren't many bands about whom I can say that I like, basically, every single song I've heard by them.
Anyway. If you had told me, while I was bopping around MUN with my cassette-tape-copy of Flood in my Walkman (yes, tape; yes, Walkman; I don't look it, but I am that old), never fully hearing the song "Sapphire Bullets of Pure Love" because I cut it off by mistake, that I would ever get to actually stand in a bar in New Jersey and watch them play, I would have said, "That sounds fucking awesome." And it was.

The boys are just stellar in concert. I'm guilty of not having kept up with their recent releases (see previous statements about not being a Music Person), so some of the songs were too new for me to know them, but they were all good, and I was able to sing along with about 75% of the songs (along with everyone else in the packed bar. TMBG have a lot of crazy fans - we actually saw some of the fanboys/-girls jostling for the sheet of paper with the set list written on it after the show ended).

There were puppets.

Also, there was a confetti cannon.

I had a blast. Katie is the best.
We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out on the beach and doing things like playing mini golf. (We tied the first game, and Katie won the second.)
We also went to SilverBall, which is a sort of interactive museum, where you can play pinball machines from various eras. Katie found one called Freefall which caused a bit of a stir. Allegedly, there's an exact copy of this machine in her grandpa's basement, albeit under a different name.
It was a splendid birthday weekend. On my birthday proper, Katie took me to Blondies for hot wings. It would be difficult for me to improve upon my life.

Speaking of improving my life! Have you seen this photograph?
Probably not, because I, in all my infinite wisdom, completely forgot to direct you to the website of our wedding photographer, Darrell Sharpe. Darrell did an "engagement session" with us when were in town in April, and he did a fantastic job. You can see selected pictures from the shoot right here. Darrell's a great guy, with an excellent eye, and we were mega lucky with weather and lighting. (Also, Katie's prettiness offsets the freakishly-plain look that I'm currently rocking.)

I'm keeping busy on this project for Oxford, which is good, and wedding plans are blazing. Invitations got into the mail today, almost exactly eight weeks from the date, not too bad.

Parting shot: I collected some of my old toys from the basement at Dad's house when I was home. Among them was the foursome of the Real Ghostbusters (the cartoon, with the guy who did Garfield's cartoon voice as Peter Venkman). I noticed something the other day as I was playing with them setting them up for display on my dresser looking at them. The (pardon me) white** characters, Peter, Ray, and Egon all have hands molded in the typical "holding" position common to action figures like GI Joes or Star Wars toys. But Winston Zeddemore (which I've been misspelling, apparently, for my entire life as "Zedimore") has one of his hands in a unique position.
That reminds me of something, doesn't it? Someone who worked at Kenner in the 80's was awesome.

That's it, that's all! Check out our wedding website if you haven't already. (It's due for updates this week!)

Now fuck off.

Love, Adam
Ooh, baby, I'm tired.

*Only she probably said "tennis shoes," in her strange Midwest way. I don't even play tennis. But I do LOTS of sneaking.
**At a recent meeting for the book I'm working on, one of the editors raised a concern over my choice of denoting ethnicity for the characters in the art specs. On the orders of my boss, I've been using "white", "black", "asian", and "hispanic", because these are the ethnic categories that got the largest responses in the most recent American census. The (white) editor was concerned, specifically, that "white" and "black" were not politically-correct enough, and "wouldn't Caucasian and African-American be better?" Quite apart from the fact that it's a lot easier to type white and black than Caucasian and African-American, if people are self-identifying as "white" and "black", then perhaps it's appropriate to use those terms. I never call myself Caucasian, and throwing a blanket over all the dark-skinned people on the continent and calling them African does them a disservice as well.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Busy? No excuse!

I really seriously dislike Facebook. This is a thing about me. Those who know this thing about me are most likely to be my actual friends. (In a world where "Facebook Friend" is a term, another thing that I dislike is having to qualify the word "friend".)

The reasons that I dislike Facebook are laid out fairly neatly in the Wikipedia entry called "Criticism of Facebook." The latest atrocities/idiocies/inanities to be laid at the feet of Zuckerberg and his posse are par for the course.

But enough about me. Or rather, enough about my problems with that thing over there. Despite the prevailing wisdom to the contrary, merely complaining about a thing does not fix it. There is a movement afoot to participate in a "mass-suicide" of Facebook accounts. is the vanguard of the effort.

Katie and I together, on our Facebook account, have I don't know, maybe 200 friends. Which is about right. We don't approve everyone who tries to friend us, we don't join any groups or anything. We are highly antisocial when it comes to Facebook. I am sick of typing that word. We are highly antisocial when it comes to That Thing.

Still and all, what's the alternative? Yes, you can come to this website, but when I don't post anything for three months, it gets sorta boring. You can leave a comment to say hi, but nobody does that. If only there was another way that people could communicate with their actual friends and say something substantial....

I briefly toyed with the idea of writing actual physical letters and putting them in envelopes and sending them to people. And I may enact that plan sometime soon when the twin boulders of Work and More Work are lightened to some degree. But for the interim, I've decided to go back to the way things used to be, in simpler times, and write some reasonably-long-winded (medium-winded?) emails to people. Just one or two a week probably, just to reach out and touch base with someone I haven't heard from in a while. It's not a perfect solution, especially since I live so far away from 99% of the people I care about, but it'll have to do. Because it'll be a damn sight better than That Thing. Have you ever actually tried to figure out how someone's doing by looking at their That Thing account? You look at a bunch of smiling pictures, read 15 or 20 ten-word-or-less status updates, get confused by conversations you aren't involved in, see what groups or whatever they've "fanned". The voyeurism would be obscene if it wasn't so superficial.

Anyway. Watch out, you might get an e-mail from me. Send one back if you want. It's a fun new technology! I've recently started an e-mail correspondence game of chess with a very good friend of mine. The game is slow-going, but interesting. If you play at all, let me know, and we can arrange something.

About me: As it often happens, famine is followed by feast, raining is concurrent with pouring. After eight months of sitting on my bum, looking for jobs which stubbornly refused to materialize for Nonimmigrant Aliens, BookLinks now needs me to manage projects full time, while a project for Oxford University Press is finally building steam as well. It's better to be busy than to be fallow, but damn, little Adams need sleep, too. My work permit came through, as did my travel document, which let me get home for a rest and visit with my grandmother, Elizabeth Williams, who died three weeks after we came back to New York. I love my grandmother, and I'm going to miss her.

Katie and I have an interview with the Department of Homeland Security on June 2nd to prove that we have a real, loving, honest-to-God relationship, and that ours is not merely the story of a Canadian editor marrying an American to avoid deportation. Ahem.

I'm reading the last of my Christmas books, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, by Michael Chabon. It's quite good, but all the yiddish vocab can be a bit dense at times. I found it due to its having garnered both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for science fiction, so I've been surprised more than once when people who I know for a fact do not read such a genre ask me if it's any good.

I've been slowly chipping away at the monolith that is Final Fantasy XIII, but it's slow going. I've read that the game really picks up after the thirty-hour mark. Which seems like a long time to wait for a payoff, until you consider that the game's main storyline is expected to take nearly 100 hours to complete. Either way, chip, chip, one hour at a time.

Do not judge me! I will just say these things: I have been playing World of Warcraft. My guild, the Windrunners (of which I am "2nd-in-Command", lol), has been successfully raiding the first two wings of Icecrown Citadel, in both the 10- and 25-man versions. My GearScore (because such things matter) on my Paladin, Alessan, is over 5500. This is a "good" GearScore, I'm told. Most of that is gibberish, and I'm sorry. I'll make up for it by showing you my Paladin and his pet Baby Blizzard Bear outside the Human capital city of Stormwind:

Pretty slick. Alessan's sword is called "Rimefang's Claw", Rimefang being a fucking dragon that I killed.

Now I am tired, so I will present you with a video dump, for fun.

Since we were already talking about World of Warcraft, here's a funny song about zombies with a video using the game's engine (these things are called "machinima," for some reason). EDIT: As House helpfully points out in the comments, the song is by one Jonathan Coulton, who has become ensconced as the poster boy for geek rock. (That may not be the correct term. One could fill volumes with what I fail to know about music genres.) Please pursue him, it is well worth it:

Tron 2 (which is not actually called Tron 2) is coming. I continue to build barely-suppressed anticipation for it:

This is an excellent news story about news stories, which I'm sure you've already seen 2000 times on That Thing:

And this is a short LEGO-based sequence that manages to be significantly cooler than two-thirds of the Star Wars prequels:

Thank you for reading. I will close with a half-hearted promise to post more frequently as I find things floating in the twisting nether of the many internets.

Now fuck off.

Love, Adam
Cormoks and unruns are delicious.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Question, Followed by Reviews and Videos

Greetings! I challenge you to single combat on the field of honour. The weapons are to be sharpened spoons.

My playful drawing above asks a serious question. I will allow you to slowly come to the appropriate conclusion without further prompting.

Work continues to be ephemeral. I know it exists, but it floats just beyond my grasp. My refrain has become, "Well, it's not actually a visa, even though everybody calls it that; it's a 'status.'" No one ever understands me. *bangs head on desk*

We'll be hosting a guest this week from "The Miami of Canada." (Most bizarre nickname for a city EVAR.)

I've taken in a lot of popular culture since Christmas, so I'm going to favour you all with Adam's Review Dump!

Review: Taken
Taken, simply put, was a bloody fucking mess. Wooden acting from all except Qui-Gon Jinn; wretched dialogue; spastic, ham-handed editing; action scenes that require an actual effort to willingly suspend disbelief, and an ending so predictable it could have been called by a four-year-old.

No, Jean Grey and Shannon from Lost cannot save your film, Luc Besson, you hack. You've been making The Transporter over and over again for the past eight years. Stop it.

The editing of the action scenes in particular killed me. Jump cut, jump cut, jump cut, handbrake, jump cut, rearview mirror, jump cut. My eyes hurt. Apparently the editor watched the Bourne movies and thought that was all that was required.

I will not belabour the two-dimensional characters any further than stating their stereotypes: the Fretful, ex-CIA Father who Smothers his Daughter; the Sorta-Kinda Bitchy Ex-Wife/Mother, happily remarried to a Rich Guy, who feels that hands-off parenting is the way to win her daughter's love create a strong woman out of their Silly Daughter; the oblivious Silly Daughter who means well, but gets talked into things by; the naïve Brainless Best Friend, who dies to serve as the tsk-tsk example of the film and willingly gives all kinds of personal information to; the Guy at the Airport, who is cute and obviously Evil and works for/with; the various Bad Eastern European Men, who are brutally executed by Neeson one by one on his way to; the Evil Arab Sheikh (I swear to God I would not make this up), a grossly fat, eyeliner-and-silk-dressing-gown-wearing pervert who purchases the miraculously still-living daughter.

Taken was a fucking stupid movie. If it was a person, I would tell it to go die in a fire.

Final Score: 0

Review: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
No, it's not a Pixar movie. Yes, it's based on a famous children's book, and yes, the people at Sony Pictures Entertainment took some patently mind-boggling leaps to inflate a 30-page picture book into an hour-and-a-half movie. Loads of new characters, conflicts, and jokes, with only cursory nods towards some images from the book.

It was fun. It was a fun little movie. Bill Hader and Anna Faris provide throwaway voiceovers for the leads, but the rest of the cast is stellar. Bruce Campbell as the Mayor? Mr. T as the Police Officer? One of my personal heroes, Neil Patrick Harris as Steve the Monkey, delivering most of the films LOL moments? My mind is ablown.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a grand little movie. It's not a genre-defining masterpiece like Wall-E or Up, but it has its place, and is well worth a look.

Final Score: 10

Review: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Hoo-boy. Okay.

When I saw Michael Bay's first Transformers film, I reviewed it with a few trite sentences after a lengthy diatribe on the shortcomings of Spider-Man 3. This second... thing... cannot be overlooked as easily.

The 2007 film was easily forgiven for its whirling-tornadoes-of-steel action sequences, primarily because it had so many whirling-tornadoes-of-steel action sequences. The movie succeeded in justifying its title (Transformers, for those of you who've lost the thread of the review already) by featuring the frigging robots. The boy-gets-car-and-meets-girl subplot was annoying, but it never pulled us away from the giant transforming robots for too long.

The sequel (which doesn't even dignify itself with a 2, as though it is some sort of add-on, or fucking DLC) fails here. Michael Bay, that son of a bitch, spends practically the entire film following Shia the Beef and The Sweaty Midriff that Walks Among Us as they run in slow-motion, deal with irascible professors and slowly, agonizingly inch towards the boy saying, "I wuv yoo." Nnngh.

Add to that the deficient plot swirling around The Beef's character (that Spike Witwicky is somehow imbued with Cosmic Powers and becomes a saviour of both the Human and Cybertronian species - and, now that you mention it, who told Cockhead that he could change Spike's name to Sam?); the patent idiocy of having the "ancient" Transformer, named Jetfire, who's been on the Earth for millennia, be a geriatric, complaining old codger with a cane, whose vehicle form is a Blackbird jet; the lack of a vocoder effect on Soundwave's voice, which left Frank Welker sounding like Doctor Claw; and the absolutely, appallingly, mind-stunningly racist caricatures that are Mudflap and Skids.

Thing is, this was not a Transformers movie. It should have been called Humans: Revenge of the Fallen. This was a movie about humans blowing shit up, blatant over-sexualization and trivialization of women, and thinly-veiled, "come on, it's not that bad," casual racism. Michael Bay, like George Lucas before him, needs to go away for a while and have some alone time.

And let someone else reboot this poor franchise and make it cool again. (And for Christ's sake, get rid of Elrond and let Frank Welker fight with Peter Cullen again, please.)

Final Score: 0

EDIT: Video dumped snipped to get rid of broken Today's Big Thing links.

I always suspected that there was some cruel deity at work behind the scenes while I was playing Tetris.

Final Fantasy XIII nerdiness for me and some of my more-nerdy friends. (Non-Final-Fantasy-nerds can skip this one.)

BBC News wins the award for Best Lead Sentence in a Legitimate News Story with this gem. (It's the bolded sentence that begins, "The elusive...")

And this picture was good for a giggle after someone stuck it up on the Book of Faces. (Knowledge of the Rivalry makes it only marginally funnier.)

In closing, a pithy comparison found on one of the internets.

That's all you get for now. Home for a rest in March!

Now fuck off.

Love, Adam
Read? Nah, we don't really do much readin'. Not so much. (Skip to 1:25 on the video.)