16 January 2010

Movies and books, second half of 2009

Here's an index of books I read in the second half of 2009:

My favorites were Moneyball and Visual Display of Quantitative Information.

And movies:

My favorites were Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, L.A. Confidential, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Bike Fitting

For about ten years before I got a new road bike last spring, I'd been riding around on a crummy $100 mountain bike from Costco.

For Nondenominational Winter Holiday my girlfriend bought me a bike consultation at Shaw's Lightweight Cycles. I had my riding posture/technique evaluated and some small adjustments made to my bike. I would almost compare the experience to being taught to ride a bicycle anew. It seems to be time and money well spent.

09 January 2010

Persepolis; Avatar

These movie mentions should be back-dated to late December.

Persepolis is a film adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel of the same name, about the author's coming of age during the Iranian Revolution. Though it was a fairly faithful adaptation in style and content, I didn't find the experience to be quite as compelling as that of the book. Perhaps it's just harder to digest the same thing in movie format. Still, Persepolis is quite entertaining and touching.

Avatar is a sight to behold. The world that Cameron has created is gorgeous. (Though I have to admit I couldn't help but feel reminded of the Lord of the Rings movies, especially towards the end.) The story, though, is unremarkable and the characters are one-dimensional. However, the scientist characters are not cast from the usual stereotypes, which is refreshing.

Avatar is an exemplary action movie. James Cameron knows how to put a movie together.

I watched it in 3D—my first 3D movie—and thought that part was good but not great: many of the scenes seemed rather flat, I kept noticing strange and minor artifacts, and the way the focus moves around is a bit disorienting.

(For pure visual stimulation I still recommend Speed Racer.)