Category Archives: Read/Listen/Watch

Destination Unknown

I bought Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson a few weeks ago. I finally got around to reading some of it recently, and I realized that I probably read at a lower level now than when I was 10. I remember reading this classic as a kid, and enjoying it immensely. Now, while it is still a good read, I don’t find myself getting through the book as easily as I would have imagined. I have to get back to reading at a higher level, if for no other reason than to satisfy my ego.

As a young boy, I wasn’t a big fan of video games or toys, but if you gave me a good book, I would get drawn in for hours. I used to love opening up a book and getting lost in its pages. I would come home from school, spend some time playing with friends, have some dinner, and invariably spend a few hours reading before bed. Yes, school work and studying took a back seat; in fact, my appetite for reading is probably what caused me to develop my propensity for procrastination and my willingness to prioritize my hobbies ahead of my work.

Armed with a membership to the local library, I devoured hundreds of books. My usual fare tended to be mystery novels and thrillers – an enthralling narrative tended to capture my imagination better than eloquent prose. I moved quickly from the Hardy Boys and Agatha Christie to Robert Ludlum and Tom Clancy. Doesn’t sound like the highest quality of books or the most challenging to read, but this was between the ages of 6/7 – 10/11. Along the way, I read some of the classics like Great Expectations or the aforementioned Treasure Island.

I was also a sucker for series which created vivid universes and a diverse set of characters. One such series was the Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. Those familiar with the series will agree that the books were fairly poor in the quality of writing, but were strangely addictive because of the plot. Each book was formulaic, and built up to a fast-paced climax. I would blaze through each of them in a couple of hours, and I would eagerly await my next opportunity to get my hands on another book from the series. My parents spent a fair chunk of change on these books, ordering them off those Scholastic lists we would get at school. Each time, my dad would roll his eyes and tell me how I was wasting my time reading something so bad, but he would never stop me from buying them.

I guess it was always my dad who encouraged me to read. I virtually had a library at home growing up because of all the books he had read and collected over the years. Whether it was through buying me any book I wanted, from Tintin and Asterix comics, to World book Encyclopaedias and the Childcraft series, or through giving me recommendations for more advanced reading, he developed my love of reading. For that, I have to say thanks.

I used to average about 40-50 books a year in my preteens, and that is probably grossly understating it. Granted, some of these were comic books, but they all count in my opinion. Over the past 5 years, during my university career, my average is probably 10-15 a year. Life gets in the way too often. The point of this post before I went on a completely unrelated tangent, was that I need to get back to reading. To that end, here is a list of books I plan on reading in the next few weeks, all loaded up on my Kindle and ready to go:

  1. Bossypants – Tina Fey
  2. Treasure Island – R.L. Stevenson
  3. The Dark Tower Series – Stephen King (mostly to see if it lives up to whatever hype it gets…)
  4. 1984 – George Orwell (for some reason I never finished this book my first time through)
  5. The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
  6. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift (don’t think I ever read the entire original)
  7. Moby Dick – Herman Melville (haven’t read this either… man I’ve skipped out on a lot of classics)
Other recommendations welcome!

Summer 2011 Movies!

Every summer, Hollywood releases a slew of sequels and big-budget productions. The quality varies, and there isn’t much in the way of cathartic experiences, but every year, I pony up some cash to watch a few of these movies on the big screen. There are some movies meant to be watched on a giant screen (or in IMAX), and the summer slate of movies is usually jam-packed with these.

This year looks to be an especially exciting season. While there are way too many sequels, as has been the case in most recent years, there are one or two that are promising. Here’s what I’m excited to watch:

Thor – May 6, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – May 20, 2011

The Hangover 2 – May 26, 2011

X-Men: First Class – June 3, 2011

Super 8 – June 10, 2011

Green Lantern – June 17, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part II – July 15, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger – July 22, 2011

Other titles of interest include Kung-Fu Panda 2, Transformers 3, Cars 2, the Smurfs (mostly out of curiosity to see how it’s executed), the Change-Up and 30 Seconds or Less. Of course, there might be others that turn out to be great, so we’ll see how things go. Oh, and Fast Five could unofficially be on this list too I suppose – it looks surprisingly decent.

So it looks like I’m gonna be spending some cash at the local movie theatres this summer…

Today I Learned: of the Existence of the Lakeshore Stranglas…

Let’s take a break from all these GMAT posts…

TIL: There is (was?) a Canadian rap group named The Lakeshore Stranglas. Members of the group included Toronto-based MCs Chuggo, 2Gats, White Fang, Black Male, Ritz Nabisko and Koshur. And what a highly creative bunch this is.

I wasn’t able to find a proper song by the Stranglas as a crew, but I did find individual efforts by Chuggo and Ritz Nabisko.

Excerpt of lyrics from Chuggo’s “Come on F*kin Guy”:

Chuggo:               (chorus)

When I step in the place, throw your hands in the sky

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, c’mon f*kin’ guy

These girls can’t have me and it makes them f*kin’ cry

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, c’mon f*kin’ guy

(chorus continues on like this..)

(excerpt from a verse)

See that kid stealin’? (yeah!) That was a thief

See them dudes behind him? (yeah!) That’s the police

See this d*ck right here? (what?) That’s my release

And when I get out, I’m comin’ back with a beef

Link to a Ritz Nabisko effort:

This is what I imagine Vogon poetry would sound like in rap form.

Donglover is a genius!

By Donglover, I am of course referring to Donald Glover.

Comedian, Writer, Actor, Rapper. Childish Gambino is ill.

Favourite track: Not Going Back

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