Shorties #1

I'm always consuming a bunch of pop culture items simultaneously, so for those things that don't have my undivided attention, there's Shorties. Let's zoom through!

#1: Conversations With Other Women: An interesting little film, in which Helena Bonham Carter and Aaron Eckhart play exes who reunite at a wedding and rehash their relationship. The entire movie is shown in split-screen, which means there are two perspectives on the story at all times. (Grade: B)

#2: "Callisto" - Xena: Warrior Princess - Season 1, Episode 22: I never watched Xena regularly, but the character of Callisto always stuck in my mind, so I put on the episode named after her one evening. Turns out she stuck there because in a show where overacting was the norm, Hudson Leick outhammed them all. And yet, I still enjoyed the hell out of her. (Grade: B)

#3: Dragon Age II: When I first played through this game, I was amazed at how it seemed to take a giant step backwards from the first one. The main quest storyline was interesting, but less work went into almost all other aspects. Conversations were stiff and not terribly engaging. Maps were repeated over and over. It was still fun, but as an extension of Dragon Age: Origins, it was disappointing. After finishing the game as a mage, I recently replayed through as an archer. Though it still suffers by comparison, I enjoyed it more this time. (Grade: B-)

#4: The Sims 3: Unlike Dragon Age, this series only gets better with time. In The Sims 3 you can actually leave the house and explore town. Everything from the bathroom tile to the dinner you cook is insanely customizable. You can direct conversations, hobbies, and even lifetime goals. Really, there's an easy way to tell that this game has got you hooked: you start worrying more about your Sim's needs than your own. (Grade: A-)

#5: Ella Minnow Pea: I've read this book a few times, and always find something to like in it. It takes place on a fictional island off the cost of the United States where the man who coined the phrase "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" lived. This phrase appears in lettered tiles on a statue in the center of the island, and when the tiles start falling from the statue, the corrupt high council interprets this as a sign the citizens should stop using that letter altogether. Since the novel is composed of letters and notes written from one islander to another, as the letters fall from the statue, they fall from the novel is well. It's a fascinating twist for a story, and certainly a must for word nerds. (Grade: A)


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