Wednesday, 10 December 2008

December so far...

Yes, I know, I know. I haven't been blogging as frequently as I would love to. Blame it on the ever-pilling coursework, guys. My last post (a scathing, thrilling review of the epic fail, Breaking Dawn) was on Sunday, 2 November 2008. That's almost of month ago. Jeez. But, my lord, so much as happened since then.

barack-obama Barack Obama became the first black president of the United States! Wow. I didn't see that coming. Actually, I did towards the end of the presidential campaign (by which time Obama had pretty well transformed McCain into a floor mop). But I didn't see it coming when Obama initially announced his bid to run for office. History, baby. That's what I'm talking about. Let's hope he lives long enough in the white house to fulfil his dreams (remember Dr King? Yeah, that's right – he got shot and killed). I wish you all the best, sir.

twilightMovie Twilight opened in American cinemas and grossed $69.9 million in its opening week ($7 million on the midnight of its release and $35.7 million at the end of the day one). What the f-k? I watched the movie and it was okay. I admit, it was cheesy at certain bits (some lousy dialogue from the book forced their way into the movie at Stephenie Meyer's insistence) but it turned out to be an interesting take on the Twilight book (the baseball scene was awesome). However, most of the special effects were rubbish (I've seen a lot better on Supernatural, no jokes), though that's expected bearing in mind the undersized budget Catherine Hardwicke was given. I heard fangirls went in droves to see the film over and over again. Some chick said she had watched the movie 4 times in a week, and I am sure she wasn't the only one. Scary. Scaaaary.

The Beverly Hilton But the real bombshell is that Catherine Hardwicke will not be directing New Moon. Again, what the f-k? Summit Entertainment, the company which owns the rights to the Twilight saga movies, claimed they wanted New Moon released by the end of 2009 (how's that going to happen??) and, as such, needed a director that could work with this timetable. There have also been rumours that Catherine was a pain in the studio chiefs' butts.

What a load of crap. Here's the real explanation: Twilight, after making so much money in the box office, has officially become a franchise, and franchise = money machine. Summit wants money and Twilight is their golden goose. Creativity is out the window now. It's all about the money, people. It always is in instances like this.

For what is worth, Catherine, you did a fantastic job. Good luck. I'm sure something great will come your way.

Smallville Smallville redeemed itself! That's another shocker ... for me, at least. But I'll talk more about this in my next post when I discuss which shows ruled and which ones sucked this year (a distant echo that sounds oddly like 'Heeerooooes' drifts to my ears).

Fifa 09 cover3 Fifa 09 sucker-punched Pro Evolution 2009 to become the best football rendition on a video game console to date. My take: unexpected and very nice. I've had Fifa 09 since its release and I can't seem to stop playing it. It's a fantastic game. Now all EA needs to do is ensure that they don't get ahead of themselves and screw up like they did after Fifa RTWC 98.

That's it for me. I'm off to finish my java assessment (last one for the term, thank God). See ya!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Supernatural = Super-awesome!

Normally it takes forever for me to publish my next post on my blog (check my archive if you think I'm bluffing) but after watching an episode of Supernatural titled Yellow Fever I had to kick my bad habit to the curb and do some immediate posting!

A brief synopsis: Dean Winchester catches a spirit virus that causes its victims to go through some kind of anxiety attack times a million. They become scared of ... everything (people, animals, pencils, erasers, etc). And in the end they die of a heart attack. So basically Sam and Bobby must come up with a way to save Dean in 24 hours or it's 'bye, bye Dean.' Again.

Now Dean is a tough guy. Always has been. He was the one who convinced Sam to give up law school and become a fulltime demon hunter. So seeing Dean act like this (see below) is pretty effing awesome!

At the end of the episode, just after the initial credits rolled, the good writers of Supernatural treated us to this:

I loooooove this show! Eye of the Tiger, baby!

Monday, 20 October 2008

What’s really good on TV?

So I've been watching a lot of TV shows of late. In fact, I've watched more TV shows than I have movies this year for research reasons (it has to do with my book). It's been a bitter-sweet ride so far, and I have to tell you, some shows have got to go.

Here are my reviews of my favourite shows based on what I've seen so far (granted, you will find that I haven't started the latest seasons of some of them for a number reasons, like school work). Please be aware that there are potential spoilers:

Smallville (CW)

Once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away, on a planet called earth, a show was born. It was called Smallville. It promised to chronicle the life of Clark Kent, a farm boy, as he walked the path to becoming Superman, the greatest and most powerful (yeah, right) superhero earth had ever seen (all fiction, ladies and gentlemen). And so everyone loved it. Including me.

Alas, my love for this show was ephemeral. It lasted for four seasons (the show is currently in its eighth and a rumoured ninth is in the works. Dear lord, when will it end?). After season 4 everything slopped to disaster level; the plot, the characters, the dialogue, the overall writing – everything.

First there was the on-going, monotonous makeup-breakup love tale between Clark and Lana that got to a juncture where calling it nonsensical was a flattering remark. The episodic plots started to make no sense at all, with storylines feeling more ad hoc than planned. Sure, season 5's finale sort of sparked the series back to life (Clark was imprisoned in the phantom zone by General Zod) and the premier of season 6 promised greater things to come (Clark escaped from the phantom zone in company with some very pissed off, irrepressible phantoms). Somewhere along the middle of season 6 that flare died out. Then the finale arrived and the fire burned bright again (the last phantom stole Clark's DNA and became Bizarro). Nice ending to an otherwise substandard season.

You would think they (the producers and writers of Smallville) would continue in this fashion but noooo. Season 7 saw the introduction of supergirl A.K.A Kara Zor-El and a baffling plot with so many gigantic holes. When the bloody hell did Lionel Luthor belong to a secret society? How come this wasn't addressed long before or at the start of season 7? It didn't feel right. Why? Get this: Lionel Luthor's secret society was headed by a certain Dr Virgil Swann. Ring any bells? Yes, that's right – Swann, played by Christopher Reeves (R.I.P sir), appeared in a number of episodes in season 3, and Lionel Luthor visited him once. The conversation they had was very formal, as though they had only heard of each other but never met until that moment. Fast-forward to season 7 and we find that Lionel and Virgil used to meet every week to discuss aliens and fortune cookies. Rubbish.

The nail in Smallville's coffin is unquestionably season 8. Every character seems mystified, like they haven't a clue what they're meant to do. The new characters are out of place and add little to no interest to the show (please, did the producers really think they could replace Michael Rosenbaum's Lex Luthor with some anorectic chick?). And the holes in the plot just keep widening; I doubt there's any way of stitching them without making a right mess. What happened to Kara? Don't know. Apparently, so do the writers. And it makes no sense that Clark or anyone else who knew Kara isn't a tad worried about her absence. It's like she never existed to them.

Even if you put all of these things aside, the show has become the perfect definition of humdrum, so much that I am left feeling delirious after watching each episode. I can't take it anymore. Sorry, but I give up.

You know the sad, sad thing about Smallville? We already know what happens at the end of the day. We know Lex will be evil, we know Clark Kent will be superman, we know Clark Kent does end up with Lois Lane not Lana, we know Jimmy Olsen does not end up with Chloe Sullivan, and plenty more. Consequently ... there's absolutely no point in watching this show. Given this incontrovertible piece of information, one would expect the writers and producers to come up with something extraordinarily good, but instead we get this – dog poo.

Criticisms aside, they did manage to get one thing right – the show's theme song: somebody saaaaaaave meeee! Because every time I watch Smallville, that's what I cry to the lord.

Clark Kent should do us all a favour and crawl next to a bag of kryptonite rocks and die.

Rating: 3/10

One Tree Hill (CW)

Drama. I'm not one for drama. But there's something about One Tree Hill's drama that keeps me coming back for more.

The show is about a bunch of people living their lives in a spirited town called Tree Hill, and every now and then something crappy happens and affects all of them. I've fallen in love with all the characters, because they've grown and matured right from season 1 to season 5. However I do not like Lucas Eugene Scott. Don't get me wrong, he's an interesting, amusing and congenial character who I can see myself hanging out with from time to time, but I've never seen a boy act like a big fat emotionally-disturbed bitch the way Lucas does, and I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere along the line in season 6 the writers reveal that he bleeds for seven days. Honestly, this dude has issues. Issues that only chicks should have.

First it was Peyton. Then it was Brooke. Then it was Peyton. Then it was Brooke. Then it was Peyton. This freaking Peyton-Brooke cycle of madness is driving me insane, and every time I watch the show and this hackneyed storyline pops up I feel like shoving my flat screen TV out the window. That's how frustrating Lucas is to me.

I don't get how the writers can't let him settle with one girl for longer than one season. They did okay with Nathan and Haley; those two have gone beyond teenage romance issues to couple dilemmas. Lucas, on the other hand, is still stuck in the past and experiencing the same crisis as in season 1: trying to figure out which girl to spend his life with. The writers even added Lindsey to the Peyton-Brooke merry-go-round. Sons of bitches.

Seriously, this has got to stop!

Everything else appears to be wonderful. Playing on its greatest strength, characterisation, the show introduces new and diverse characters, and, I must say, I love them too. Jamie, Nathan and Haley's son, is adorable, Quentin is rebellious and funny, and Victoria Davis, Brooke's mother, is a bitch from hell. As far as Villainy goes, Dan Scott's got some stiff competition with Victoria. Dan's bad, but he's on a path of redemption. Victoria, on the other hand, doesn't know the meaning of the word nor does she care to know.

I'm definitely rooting for this show.

Rateing: 9/10

Supernatural (CW)

The yellow-eyed demon made an infamous appearance in the first season of Supernatural, and when he departed at the end of the second season (got shot in the chest by Dean with the remarkable Colt) all hell broke loose literally (a gate was opened and demons from hell gained unlimited access to earth). Did I forget to mention that Sam died and Dean sold his soul to bring Sam back?

Lilith arrived afterwards and made the yellow-eyed demon look like Michael Jackson dressed in a tutu. The Colt – deemed the most powerful and effective weapon against demons – was useless by now. There was only one goal in Lilith's mind: find Sam and kill him.

Even with the imminent writers' strike the producers and writers of Supernatural were able to do something I didn't think they had the balls to do – kill Dean. I say this because the entire third season was mostly about saving Dean, but he ended up dead anyways. Where's the logic in that, you ask? Well ... I have no idea but it sure as hell worked for the show.

Season 4 has begun, and now we have Castiel, an angel of God. Yep, you read that right – there are angels in Supernatural. And Lucifer just might parade his ugly face on the show too, so be prepared for some action!

Things are spiralling out of control for the Winchester boys. It's one thing to hunt down demons; it's another thing to fight Lucifer. Awesome. Can't wait for that to happen.

There aren't enough words to truly describe this season's Supernatural, but I'll settle for one: incredible. I am impressed with how far this show has come. The writers are one of the few brilliant cadres of their kind in the business and it shows in every episode. Kudos.

Rating: 10/10

Samantha Who (ABC)

Meet Samantha, a girl who suffers from amnesia as a result of a hit and run. Not long after she wakes up from her coma she realises that she would much rather not remember who she was, because who she was is a major bitch without an ounce of sentiment for anyone or anything. A major bitch, I tell you.

So instead of trying to get her old life back she decides to start afresh, turn a new leaf. The phrase, 'Easier said than done,' springs to mind as Samantha's infuriating past always manages to claw its way into her present, leading to some serious identity crisis for her.

Samantha Who is a simple, funny show that doesn't attempt to take things over the top, and Christina Applegate (who plays Samantha) is so sassy I could spend my entire life just staring adoringly at her even if the show made no sense.

Rating: 8/10

Heroes (NBC)

In a world where a new kind of evolution has occurred, we find a multitude of characters with abilities to perform feats beyond our imagination: fly; run faster than a speeding bullet; teleport into the future; transform moist to ice; become invisible; generate electricity; regenerate from any type of injury, be it minor or major; dream of the future; paint the future (in a way, this is lame); and so on. That is what Heroes is all about – a bunch of freaks with nothing better to do with their time besides to cause mayhem or save the world.

At first sight, Heroes appears pretty refreshing when you consider all the other stuff on TV, though when you look beyond each character's power(s) you realise that most of them are 2-dimensional. There is nothing interesting about Matt Parkman other than that he can read minds. Peter Petrelli was by far the most boring of all in the first season until we found out he had the ability to copy everyone else's abilities, then things got interesting. The only engaging, 3-dimensional character in Heroes capable of stealing your affection is Hiro Nakamura.

What am I trying to say? Heroes relies too much on everyone's abilities/powers to drive a plot. Characterisation is nonexistent. If Nathan Petrelli or Peter Petrelli died, I wouldn't care, because I don't sympathise with them or what they're going through. If Dean Winchester died, I would be really sad and ticked off. See the difference?

Heroes has got a massive cool factor, no one can take that away from it. But in terms of storyline and character development, it completely falls short.

Also Heroes has never impressed me with any of its season finales. I remember season 1 when the show teased us viewers with the looming battle between Sylar and Peter. Well, that battle sucked ass. And don't get me started with season 2's finale – that one was terrible too. I expect season 3 to carry on the same tradition, after all, the show's rating in the US has plunged.

Rating: 71/2/10

Ghost Whisperer (CBS)

So this girl can see and speak to ghosts. She uses this special ability of hers to guide any ghost she comes across into the light. 9 out of 10 times in Ghost Whisperer ghosts will refuse to go into the light until they have completed an important task or tasks they failed at when they were alive, and because this girl is uber-obsessed with getting them into the light, she'll have to make time and help them with whatever they need doing.

Already in its fourth season, Ghost Whisperer is an okay show. It could be better if Jennifer Love Hewitt's character, Melinda Gordon, wasn't such a whinny little sissy all the time. I'm not wrong in saying we would all feel better if one of the ghosts she encountered slapped some sense into her and told her to stop acting like a pussy cat and man up. Or woman up. Whatever.

Every so often Melinda meets ghosts which are going through lots of pain or are in confused states over some random issue. It's pretty clear they have unfinished businesses, but rather than saying something like, 'Let me help you finish this so you can go into the light,' she says (and this is her trademark line), 'You need to go into the light. You don't belong here.'

Well, duh. What part of 'unfinished businesses' don't you understand, Melinda? Is it 'unfinished', 'businesses', or 'you're a sexy idiot'? It's very clear they're not in the light because of some issue keeping them on earth so why say something that inane, Melinda?

That line, once uttered, gets my eyes rolling sardonically in my eye sockets.

Irrespective of my criticisms you should give Ghost Whisperer a chance. You'll love it, honest. It's got an engaging storyline and better season finales than Heroes. At least that counts.

Rating: 8/10

Other shows that might interest you are:

24 (Fox): One man versus one government. Good stuff. Great stuff.

Rating: 9/10

Bones (Fox): The best show since CSI. Trust me, you'll love this one.

Rating: 9/10

House (Fox): His name is Gregory House and he's a sarcastic egomaniac who likes to grab his boss's perfectly formed butt. What more can I say? Oh yeah, he's incredibly brilliant and 10 out of 10 times, he's right.

Rating: 10/10

Prison Break (Fox): Michael Scofield is constantly being chased by the American government or a part of the American government that the rest of the American government knows not about. If Michael were in England I would say he was having these government predicaments because he forgot to pay his TV licence fees. But as the case may be, it's something significantly less serious. Good luck, Michael.

Rating: 9/10

Lost (ABC): I don't think written or spoken words can ever do Lost any justice. This is a show you absolutely must see for yourself. It never disappoints. Hell, what is that island made of? It can move? Can I get a 'Say what?'

Rating: 10/10

Merlin (BBC): The best thing BBC came up with since EastEnders. And it's absolute crap. So is EastEnders. Bite me if you can.

Rating: 5/10

Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles (Fox): John and Sarah Connor are on the run right after the events of Terminator 2, but we all know, from Terminator 3, that Skynet takes over the world and judgement day comes to fruition. It's sort of like Smallville (we know what happens to Clark Kent in the end). I sincerely hope, unlike
Smallville, the writers don't screw this up. Otherwise, great show.

Rating: 9/10

Ugly Betty (ABC): I have no idea why I watch this, really, but it's addictive for some reason. Betty, a supposedly ugly woman (even though the actress playing her is sexy as hell), somehow gets everyone to love her despite her shortcomings in the looks department. Even hot guys fall for her. Strange. Oh well, it is called fiction, right?

Rating: 9/10

Desperate Housewives (ABC): Funny, insane, drama, more drama, and even more drama. You will not be disappointed.

Rating: 9/10

If I forgot to mention your favourite show then it means either I was too bored to write about it (my fault), it's horrendous so I can't be bothered to write about it, or I haven't watched a single episode of it. But take heart – the important thing is you're happy watching it, right? Right.

Friday, 3 October 2008

My Apologies, Matt Damon vs Sarah Palin, Twilight Spoofs

It's been a long time since I posted anything on my blog and I apologise to myself for the temporary setback. I was moving houses (from Wolverhampton to Birmingham) in preparation for my Masters at the University of Birmingham, and when that was done I had to attend the freshers' week (a week set aside for new students) and a lot of lectures. A lot. I mean 5 lectures a day, 5 days a week. I'm presently working on cutting them down, believe me.

One interesting and niggling issue I have always had with packing is how things I thought gone forever pop back from the dead to surprise me with a 'Hey, remember me!' Old Manuscripts (of discarded plots that have since been re-written) jump forth from derelict corners of my room with wide Sylar-esque grins. They've been stalking me, I tell you.

The problem is I can't just chuck them into the bin for fear of someone picking them up and turning them into bestsellers (no, it doesn't matter how badly they were written – look at Twilight; not a very well written book but selling buckets of copies worldwide). I must figure out a way to get rid of them for sure. They are becoming a real pain in the behind, a reminder of how terrible my writing skill was (some would argue it hasn't changed, and some would prefer The Bold and the Beautiful to Prison Break).

Maybe I still have these manuscripts because they mean more to me than I realise. Reminders, whether good or bad, can generally be good. These manuscripts are the product of my hard work at a time when I hadn't a clue what I was doing. I admit, sometimes I glance through them and laugh. It's always pure comedy reading bad writing.

I'll probably keep them anyway.

Back to business, though. Here are some of the posts I should I put up days ago:


Matt Damon vs Sarah Palin

Ladies and gentlemen it looks like one of my favourite American actors doesn't like the idea of Sarah Palin as Vice President or President of the United States (the argument here being that McCain will be dead by the end of his first term).

"It's totally absurd and I don't understand why people aren't talking about how absurd it is."

Well Matt, people are talking now.

Twilight Spoofs

Trust me when I say you're going to have so much fun watching these videos.

Twilight movie trailer:


Breaking Dawn Review as a song:

"I lived on lots of fan-fiction, but if this book was a fan-fiction I would report it for SPAM."

Simply class.


In Breaking Dawn's defence:

"Renesme rocks! She's the coolest little girl ever - I want one!"

Oh dear.

This video really frightened me. I had nightmares for four straight nights after watching this for the first time. I propose that the United States government use this video as a torturing device. It would reap fantastic benefits, I promise.


Twilight at Comic Con (not a spoof of Twilight):

Fan support for Twilight is insane, you have to agree. But I really hope this movie doesn't tank, because if it does ... if this movie so much as sucks...

David Blaine, the amazing magician?

For those of you who haven't heard of him, David Blaine is a supposed (??) American magician and endurance artist who holds numerous world records. He has performed many idiotic – I mean – fantastic feats in the past. I'll list them below.

Buried Alive (5 April 1999): Blaine is entombed in a transparent plastic box underneath a 3-ton water-filled tank for seven days.

Frozen in Time (27 November 2000): Blaine is encased in a massive block of ice for 63 hours, 42 minutes and 15 seconds.

Vertigo (22 May 2002): Blaine is lifted onto a 90ft high and 22in wide pillar with the assistance of a crane, and remains there, standing for exactly 35 hours.

Above the Below (5 September 2003): Blaine is sealed inside a transparent Plexiglas case suspended 30ft in the air for 44 days.

Drowned Alive (1 May 2006): Blaine is submerged in an 8ft diameter, water-filled sphere for seven days and seven nights.

Revolution (19 November 2006): Blaine is shackled to a gyroscope rotating at a rate of eight revolutions per minute, hanging above an empty lot in Manhattan.

And his latest daredevil, so-magical-it-astounded-the-whole-world stunt:

Dive of Death (18 September 2008): Blaine is hung upside down without any safety net for 60 hours above Wollman Pink in Central Park.

If you would like to read more about David Blaine, go here

But, amazing magician he is? I think not. If this is what you call magic then I have definitely seen Africans in Sudan and Somalia perform greater, mind-boggling tricks than yours, Mr Blaine.

Want to convince me? How about you get shot, die and come back from the black pits of hell in two days – then I'd be most convinced. Until then, you're just a fraud for the average white man's amusement.

I end this post with a word from the illustrious Stephenie Meyer: laterz!

Monday, 1 September 2008

Blame it on the boogie

"Don't blame it on sunshine

Don't blame it on moonlight

Don't blame it on good times

Blame it on the boogie."

The above is a morsel of Blame it on the Boogie's lyrics originally written and performed by Mick Jackson or Michael George Jackson, a British singer-songwriter (not to be confused with Michael Jackson, extraordinaire dancer, black-turned-white man, King of Pop, has incomparable and unsettling love for children, et cetera). Yet, The Jacksons' rendition of the song is so much better and so much popular that anyone reading this would probably think I fabricated George Jackson. Well, I didn't.

But why am I bringing this up?

PES_2009 In reply to Pro Evolution Soccer 2009's poor reception by the general gaming press at Leipzig, aficionados of Konami's Pro Evolution soccer series are blaming it on the amateur cameraman.

Videos have always been the finest method of disseminating information about a game, and it matters not if they were recorded by a fledgling Steven Spielberg wannabe. Granted, some videos are really terrible (Spielberg should be held accountable for some of the unforgivably horrendous ones. Think War of the Worlds) but that is not the case here.

The video evidently shows one thing: Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 is no different from Pro Evolution Soccer 2008. The only aspect of PES 2009 absent from its predecessor is the slower paced game-play. Other than that, PES 2009 still utilises the same core game engine as PES 5 on the PS2 (Playstation 2). Makes me wonder why it has "Evolution" as part of its name when it's patent that the series has ground to a halt in terms of evolving.

I'll reserve my right to say, 'This game is not worth £39.99,' until I play it properly and write my review.

Fifa 09 cover3 On a side note, devotees of the Fifa series (unlike those on the other side of fence) should be delighted with all the videos of Fifa 09 gushing forth from the fountain of amateur cameramen:

I have to admit, EA has got me interested in this one.

(below, courtesy of IGN)

Friday, 29 August 2008

Don’t be pansy; let’s Fifa 09!

Fifa 09 'Let's Fifa 09,' is the catchphrase EA Sports is adopting for its upcoming video game, Fifa 09, the nth title in the Fifa football simulation series. Last year's effort, Fifa 08, was the beginning of the end of an era foolishness that saw EA churn out dreadful Fifa games one after the other. I think they finally realised that footy fans wanted a proper footy game, given the upsurge in sales of Konami's Pro Evolution Soccer (PES) series, a.k.a Fifa's arch-nemesis.

In those days it was unheard-of for PES to oust Fifa from the number 1 spot on any platform chart. I guess when that started happening recently EA got scared and decided it was time to turn a new leaf ... time to take their fans more seriously.

If you are a long time fan of the series you'll be glad to know that Fifa 09 is looking and playing better than ever.

As for me, I have pledged no allegiance to either franchise, nor will I ever. Instead, I'll buy whichever is the best; I'm not going to pay 40 quid for a Sensible Soccer copycat.

On the subject of the Fifa 09's slogan, I like it. It's quite catchy, like last year's ('can you Fifa 08?'). Here's to hoping Fifa 09 lives up to the hype.

Midnight Sun leaks

Twilight Apparently a different version of the Stephenie Meyer hit, Twilight, has been in the works for some time now, titled Midnight Sun. While Twilight tells Edward and Bella's soggy love-tale through Bella's eyes, Midnight Sun does the same thing through Edward's eyes.

If you don't know anything about Twilight (and I don't know how you wouldn't, except ... please refer to my previous post on this subject) then let me take the pain to elucidate: Edward is a vampire, sexy, super fast, super strong, and smart. Bella is a human girl, mundane-looking compared to Edward, maladroit (the book does mention that she trips a lot), delicate, and ... smart. Both fall in love and stuff happens (read the book to discover more).

Twilight was an okay book by all standards. It started really slow and dragged on for hundreds of pages until James (a psychopathic vampire who takes great pleasure in videoing his victims before offing them) and his nomadic vampire mates popped into the scene at the very end. That's when things got very interesting. I suspect the reason for this was experiencing the world of Twilight through Bella's eyes. Yes, that's right – she's not a very appealing character, to say the least.

Edward was the gem of Twilight (along with his vampire family), so it would be nice and exciting to observe everything from his point of view.

Unfortunately, it seems that won't be happening any time soon. It appears that the first twelve chapters of Midnight Sun leaked a couple of weeks ago (or months, I don't know) and Meyer isn't pleased about it. Thus she has put the release of Midnight Sun on hold ... indefinitely. Or maybe ad infinitum, though I hope not, because I do want to see what it's like being Edward ... being a vampire with superpowers.

In her public statement, Stephenie Meyer mentioned that she had a good idea of how the leak happened. Turns out she gave away copies of Midnight Sun's incomplete manuscript to certain "trusted individuals for a good purpose".

Perhaps this is lesson to learn from, Ms Meyer. You don't write a book, shatter records (Breaking Dawn sold a reported 1.3 million copies in one day. Wow) and mail out copies of your series' prequel to anyone but your editors or publishers. I'm not a published author (yet) and I don't allow people to read my works, complete or incomplete, except my closest, most trusted friend who acts as my editor. So why, Stephenie, should you?

I know it hurts; I'd be in a fit of spleen if one chapter of my book(s) leaked (not to talk of twelve), but what's done is done, Stephenie. Relax for a few weeks, get over it and get writing. There's no need to punish your entire fan base for your mistake.

Will this leak affect Midnight Sun's sales? Nope. It wouldn't even put a dent in it. Knowing Stephenie Meyer, this book will probably end up being fifty chapters and 900 pages long, so twelve giveaway chapters is a nonentity, really.

I'm still reading Breaking Dawn, and ... I won't say anything until I'm finished. But it is everything I expected it would be: slow-paced plot and awfully verbose, all packaged into one neat, gigantic 754-paged hardcover book. Only time will tell if the book's size is practical or pointless.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Twilight series attacks!

HP 7 Harry Potter will live on forever. Don't even, for one split second, doubt that. So please, let us pay homage to one of the greatest, yet overrated piece of literature in history by taking a moment of silence.

[Count from 1 to 50 here].

[Now recite the letters of the English alphabet seven times. Do the same for the French alphabet nine times].

Moving on, lads.

I can only fathom out four solid reasons why you may never have heard of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight saga.

Reason number one: you don't read books, in which case I feel utterly sorry for you, you poor, poor thing.

Reason number two: you read books but you live under an enormous rock ... in Antarctica. I understand. No Waterstones. No Barnes & Noble. No Canadian hockey team. Even the things closest to a book that you read over there are written in scrolls similar to the ones found in the Dead Sea caves.

Reason number three: you live in a third world country, so although you read so much that you somehow gain the preternatural ability to read, hence a first class entry ticket into Professor Charles Xavier's school for the gifted, and finally a prestigious invitation to join the X-men so you can use your powers to read alien books, your chances of hearing of the Twilight saga is as good as Mugabe's odds on seeing the gates of heaven.

Reason number four: you're dead. Can't you help there, mate. Sorry.

If you are reading this blog and one of these reasons applies to you (though if yours is reason number four...) then now you know about the Twilight saga.

Latterly the American media has been making some heretic comparisons between J.K Rowling and Stephenie Meyer due to the Twilight saga's popularity and the manner in which Meyer shot to fame.

Thus, is Stephenie Meyer the next J.K Rowling? Honestly, that's a chimera, a flitting dream so pale it's not fit to be called a dream anymore but a lousy afterthought. The thought of the possibility is not in any way as bold or real as my fantasies of Kate Winslet, Jessica Alba and I ... fishing in the sunset. The media and the rest of the world needs to understand that it can never happen (not the part about Kate, Jessica and I – that's definitely going to happen very soon, you watch). Rowling has set a standard so high that even she may never surpass.

Twilight To give you a quick synopsis, Twilight (the first book in the saga) centres on a teenage girl, Bella, who moves to the town of Forks in Washington and falls in love with a very sexy vampire, Edward Cullen. Edward, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to rip Bella's throat and drain her blood to the last ounce. But there's a catch: before Edward can bring his gory fantasy into fruition he falls in love with Bella.

Stephenie Meyer never fails to be monotonous when describing Edward, almost to the extent of making the book interminable. I swear I lost count of the number of times Stephenie told me, the reader, that Edward was sexy. What's worse is I'm a bloke and I had to swallow all her narratives of Edward's hard, lean muscles; contoured surfboard stomach; strong, pointy nipples... What the -? Come on! The first few pages of Edward taking off his tight top, I took like a brave soldier. I took it all. But then she just kept going on and on and on and on and on about Edward's sex appeal. It was really disturbing for me, I tell you. I had nightmares. Instead of dreaming of my sunset fishing escapades with Jessica Alba and Kate Winslet, I found Edward sitting next to me, shirtless, a bottle of baby lotion in hand... YIKES!

When I finished Twilight I couldn't help but see it as a female's guide to fantastic sexual fantasies. So why did I read it? Simple: the vampires.

Now, these vampires are not your ordinary vampires. Forget about Angel or those clowns in Buffy. Edward and his entourage are simply something else, out of this world. They make Anne Rice's vampires timid, like little school girls about to get bullied in the playground.

Firstly, Edward and co won't burn to ashes when they step into the sun. They will ... glitter like irresistible diamonds.

Okay, I admit, that part is lame (glitter? What?). But, seriously, what really got me hooked was that Meyer's vampires (not all of them) have supernatural abilities. Edward, for example, can read the minds of everyone, vampires and humans alike (except Bella's, which is in fact the major, causative reason for his fierce love and enthralment for her and her unique, byzantine mind). Then there's Alice Hale, Edward's adoptive sister and also a vampire, who can see the future. So you can imagine what it's like when Edward and Alice engage each other in a calculated game of chess: Edward reads her mind to see her next move and Alice peers into the future to see his next move (this happens in the book). Here, ladies and gentlemen, is an example of an unremitting chess game.

Jasper Hale, Edward's adoptive brother and Alice's lover (no, it's not incest), has a degree of empathy far above normal – he can feel/share your emotions and manipulate them. To be exact, if you're really pissed off, he can you make you the happiest person on earth. Likewise, if you're happy, he can make you angry, sad, lonely, depressed, and that.

Secondly, Edward and co have very low body temperature and rock-hard bodies. And I mean rock-hard. They're like living, breathing, indissoluble statues, which means bullets, knives and nuclear weapons can't destroy them. By now you must have understood why I said earlier that Angel and Buffy's vampire villains are clowns, and Anne Rice's vampires are school girls. But I'm not done yet.

Thirdly, Edward and co can run faster than Clark Kent/Superman and Flash put together.

Fourthly, Edward and co do not sleep in coffins, or transform into bats or fear wooden crosses and holy water or do any of that ludicrous stuff you heard of or read in those vampire novels you own.

Fifthly, Edward and co do not have fangs.

Talk about revitalising and giving new meaning to the vampire genre. What Stephenie Meyer has done is introduce her own unique brand of vampires, and they are the coolest that ever existed in literature, hands down.

Other vampires related to Edward are Carlisle Cullen (his adoptive father), Esme Cullen (his adoptive mother), Rosalie Hale (his adoptive sister), and Emmett Cullen (his adoptive brother and my favourite of the bunch). These ones don't have any powers, but don't worry, they're not boring.

Another interesting fact about Edward and his family is that they don't feed on human blood (they can still daydream about it). They hunt animals instead, earning them the moniker: vegetarian vampires. Need I say more?

Despite its palpable setbacks (namely Bella's implausible imperfection, Edward's too perfect character, his nipples ... YIKES) Twilight is a good read for boys and a must read for girls. Nevertheless, it has got nothing on Harry Potter, so I would appreciate it if people stopped talking about both books as though they equal in magnificence, brilliance and glory.

New Moon New Moon comes after Twilight. I'm not going to discuss this one extensively. Suffice to say, it shares the same over-descriptiveness and other drawbacks as Twilight (although less Edward), and in addition it's the most depressing book I have ever read. Look at it this way: have you ever been inside the head of a broken-hearted girl? Get the picture? Good.

Perhaps New Moon's redeeming factor is the introduction of the Volturi, an organised coven of vampires who see themselves as the royal family and rule enforcers of the vampire world, and rightly so; if you thought Edward, Alice and Jasper were cool, wait till you read about the zany (and super-cool) abilities the Volturi vampires are packing. Every good series needs a fantastic and grotesque set of villains: Harry Potter had Voldemort and his death eaters; the Bartimaeus Trilogy had – well – every magician; and so Twilight has the Volturi.


Eclipse Eclipse follows, and with it, more talk of Edward's nipples and his nine-pack. Indeed, I think since Edward scarcely made an appearance in New Moon, Stephenie thought it best to push him into my face and subsequently stuff him into my mouth for good measure (by that I mean she told me over and over and over again that Edward was the sexiest being ever to walk the earth). If you read Twilight and New Moon and could stand Meyer's prose, which can be heavy and tedious in places, you won't have a problem with Eclipse. In my honest opinion the previous books in the saga don't stack up to it; it's the best in the series in terms of everything – action, romance, intrigue, and fun. But that's just my opinion.



Breaking Dawn There is a fourth book, Breaking Dawn. I haven't finished reading it so I won't mention anything about it now, but rest assured I will post my review when I'm done.


Twilight: ¤¤¤¤ (4 Stars) [8/10]. Great!

New Moon: ¤¤¤ (3 Stars) [6.5/10]. Good.

Eclipse: ¤¤¤¤ (4 Stars) [8.5/10]. Great!

Buy the books: Twilight (US/UK); New Moon (US/UK); Eclipse (US/UK).

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Welcome, Glen Akin

Since there's no one to congratulate me (shake my hand, pop a bottle of champagne, etc) on successfully creating my first blog, I'll do it myself: congratulations Glen Akin, you have done me proud.

I cannot say it was an easy task. The first bit was rather effortless (creating the blog on Blogger), but truth be told I created this blog only because I really wanted to try out the feature in WORD 2007 that gives bloggers the ability to publish write-ups from WORD itself (rather than from the online blog publisher) ... and that's where my train of problems began its journey with one mission in mind: to drive me mad.

I must admit, the initial fault was mine; somehow I had forgotten my password and couldn't seem to register my blog with WORD, but as soon as I realised I was the idiot slowing me down everything was smooth sailing.

Until my ship crashed on a gigantic iceberg and sank faster than the titanic; that is to say, I encountered another maddening crisis – I couldn't upload pictures from WORD to Blogger! I spent the next hour or so raking the internet for a solution and was even more frustrated when I found zilch. Nada. Nothing. One thing I did discover was that this problem has been in existence long before I even knew what blogging was. So my question is why hasn't Microsoft or Google done anything about this?

I was miffed. I even considered abandoning Blogger for Word Press. Pay attention please. The analogy here would be: so, after crashing on that iceberg and sinking my ship to the bottomless ocean of sub-zero doom, I'm freezing my bum off and trying to swim for safety. I see a ship in the distance (that ship is Word Press). I scream as loud as I can – with difficulty, of course – 'Help! Help me!' The sailor aboard the ship spots me. He manoeuvres and approaches. Nearer. Closer.

A meteor drops from the sky and obliterates the ship and her crew right before my eyes (Word Press isn't free – I have to bloody pay to use it!).

Okay, maybe I am being overly dramatic (paying to host a site these days is really cheap, or so I've heard) but I'm a newbie at this! I can't pay now! What if I get bored of blogging? Listen, I don't care if it costs £0.09 to host a blog; it's still money spent, and I spend money wisely. So, there!

Moving on.

I decided to concentrate my efforts on Blogger. Although a lot of bloggers have testified that Blogger is easier to use and a far better choice than Word Press for beginners (such as myself), I still think they (the developers) need to sort out this inability-to-upload-pictures-with-WORD problem, because I'm still swimming around aimlessly in the icy water waiting to be rescued. And my bum is freezing. Trust me when I say it's nothing to write home about. The sooner I get out of this blasted water, the better.

So my plan is this; I'll do my typing in WORD and put up any necessary pictures through Blogger (that's right – all of this, everything you're reading, was typed and published from WORD 2007). And probably in the future (that is if I keep blogging) I'll create different blogs for different stuff: blog for movies, another for books, and then another for sex, etc.

Now, if you'd be so kind to excuse me I'm off to down the champagne bottle sweating buckets of water on my desk and hopefully I'll get drunk, because I never get drunk. I think it's a genetic disorder. Damn my father.