25 April 2009


I've seen this book recommended on forums and I've also been told to read it by friends, but what info I could find on it didn't really make me want to. I think the main thing was the image shown on the wikipedia page, which doesn't show much aside from the lighter side of the comic. I've grown accustomed to human characters, and these blobby white dudes didn't interest me much; too simplistic. However, this image is pretty deceiving; there is a lot of darkness and non-kiddy (I don't want to say adult) intelligence and humor.

The main thing I liked is the tone; it's been a long time since I read something that could really be a children's story, and this had just the right amount of silliness mixed with seriousness to make it enjoyable. It made me feel the way I did when I read The Hobbit, and the few Tintin comics I got somehow. There is a lot of cutesy art and such, but it doesn't make it any less enjoyable.

I read the color version, and it was very pleasant to look at. I love that thick edge style for some reason too. Anyway, as for a summary of the plot, read just about any fantasy novel and you have the basic premise. There's a deposed queen, a fairy princess, dragons, epic battles, and quaint town-folk. Smith pokes fun at some of the more formulaic bits, which makes it a lot more fun. It isn't a simple story though, really; it gets pretty in-depth with lore and such. Really interesting stuff really.

Anyway, I highly recommend reading it. It's pretty long though.

05 April 2009

Flight of the Conchords

I didn't know much about this show until I started watching it a week or two ago. All I knew was that it had something to do with music, and I assumed it was a sort of a "hipster show." I suppose it kind of is, but it's more of a ridiculous comedy than that. It reminds me of The Office in a number of ways; mostly because the characters are rather oblivious to the world, not unlike Michael Scott. There's also a lot of awkwardness.

As I correctly assumed, music is a big part of the show. Every episode has at least one off-kilter music video that somehow ties into the story, but doesn't actually seem to happen in the actual world of the show; it's just something we, the viewer, get to see and hear. The style of the music is really quite varied. The mainstay is of course a sort of indie-rock sort of sound, but they also hit electro, kraut rock, dance, and a bunch of others (I can't really remember. This list was supposed to be longer.) Anyway, it's fun music with absurd lyrics. Apparently the first season's tunes were all songs they had written previously and had performed before, while the second season used new songs written specifically for the show. Personally I thought they were of a higher quality than those of the first season.

The other big part is the comedy, mostly centering around Bret and Jemain's romantic and social foibles, along with their failing attempts to promote their band. Their incompetent manager Murray and his faithful underling Greg bring in some good laughs, while their cute but scary stalker Mel always seems to bring the awkwardness to new levels. Eugene Mirman seemingly plays himself as the landlord, something that might have made me watch the show sooner if I'd known. That guy is funny. Maybe not so much in this show, but he had a few moments.

Overall it was a fun viewing. Nothing earth-shattering or anything, but a nice little distraction. Kinda makes me want to move to New Zealand someday.