It’s been awhile eh? I know I haven’t posted in some time, school has been busy along with all the other stuff I have going on. This weekend though, I finished a great second season of one of my favorite shows, a fantastic book that finished a series, and saw a commercial that made me want to hit someone. Instead of three individual posts I thought I would hit you with one big wrapup of this weekend’s reviews, so here goes.
Let’s start with Game of Thrones. Season 2 finally came out on DVD and we were able to get all 5 disks from Netflix over the course of the last few days. Needless to say we didn’t watch much else until it was done. Where do I start? Season 2 was just as riveting, well-written, and fantastic as the first. The performances were top notch, especially from Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister. All of the actors in this show are great, but Peter definitely stands out in this season. He plays a character you can’t exactly like, but you can understand and sympathize with. Like all the characters in this story he is not simply a bad guy, or a good guy. You know he is looking out for himself in everything he does, but there are many times he manages to go out of his way to ensure helping others fits his own agenda. It’s hard to explain, but when you watch it you’ll understand.
The other thing I noticed, and probably noticed in the first season but didn’t really think about it, was the costume design. In many period shows or movies everyone dresses in the same pseudo-period clothing you might find at any ren-faire, complete with peasant rags or noble foppery depending on the role. With Game of Thrones each region, house, city, or land has a distinct and original look. The house colors show through, and it truly appears that the people are dressed not only for the climate, but to represent their nationality. It’s not something you usually see in shows like this, but it blends so well to almost be unnoticable until you think about it or someone points it out.
If you watched the first season, you probably already know that this show is worth watching. Rest assured that season 2 continues to deliver the quality we got with the first. If you haven’t seen the show at all, pick up both seasons. You’ll love it, and be irritated that it’s only 10 episodes a season. You’ll want more, and be chomping at the bit until you get it.
I also finished an amazing book this weekend, which sadly finished a wonderful series. There are few authors that manage to put out a series where each book is as good or better than the last. Beth Revis is one of them. I pretty much devoured this book, reading more than half of it on Sunday because I had to finish it. Each page seemed to lead to a new mystery that you needed to get deeper into the book to solve. Another thing that Beth managed to do is answer all of your questions but leave you wanting more, without leaving you feeling like the story wasn’t complete. She does complete the series with this book, solves every mystery, and gives you a happily ever after, but there is still a hunger to know what happens next. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want another book (or five) in this series, but I can honestly say if this was the last I am content.
The publishers, and/or Beth, did something in this book that literally stopped me in my tracks as well. I won’t give away the story or what happens, but pay close attention to the chapters near the end of the book. It’s subtle, but so startling that when I got to that point I had to look back through the book to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. I literally stopped reading and stared at what they had done like the book had reached out and slapped me in the face. If you’re curious what that is, and hate surprises (Julie), too bad. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, get the series, read it, you won’t regret it.
Finally, the ugly part of this review, Windows 8. My first clash with this thing came when my wife got her new laptop. It, of course, came installed with the new OS. At first it was a nightmare, things were moved, screens different, and no start button. NO FIRKIN START BUTTON. I’ve been a windows user for years and here I am, fumbling around with this thing because the designers decided that now is the time to start weening people off something that has been in Windows since day one. Not to mention all of the other new apps that run side-by-side with the old apps with the clear intention of getting people to use them so that they can eventually start cutting back on the old Windows interface we are all used to. Over time we gradually learned it, though I’m still not happy with many of the new functions, namely the picture viewer. I know my wife isn’t either. The new Windows 8 picture functionality is quite buggy, but thankfully you can set some of the old apps as your defaults.
Overall it’s very similar to Windows 7, so you might ask, ‘Why the bad review?’ Honestly they get a bad review from Frags and Beer because of their damn commercial. “So intuitive that my Grandma can use it.” Yup, they actually say that. SERIOUSLY!? Maybe it is intuitive if you have never touched a windows computer, and all you use is the fancy new Windows 8 tile system. But, if you are used to any older version of the OS, Windows 8 will be very counter-intuitive. In the words of a great master, “You must unlearn what you have learned.”