Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Week At Home

First, Merry Christmas to all of you (or at least all of you who actually celebrate Christmas. For the rest of you, seen any good movies lately?)

Second, Dr. John asked how Anansi Boys compares to American Gods. I read the latter a couple of years ago and I remember liking it pretty well. It was clear to me that Gaiman was still getting his prose under control and really developing a style. I say this simply because I think his work in comics is so incredibly well done. He has a great sense of timing and great control over turn of phrase in that medium -- and it hasn't quite translated to his longer fiction. At least not for me. That said, I think Anansi Boys is a pretty big step forward in terms of his prose writing. The text flows well and the story holds together. The only reservation I have about the book is that it feels like Gaiman wants to write comedy, especially as you get further into the novel. In American Gods the story is pretty serious; lots of intrigue and facing of demons and people dying and coming back in literal rebirth, that sort of thing, but in Anansi Boys the story starts out with some serious overtones, but then turns into a semi-farce with a number of sit-com-esque situations that are made all the more ridiculous because of the presence of godlike powers. I definitely enjoyed it; partially because of the subject and story, and partially because I enjoy Gaiman's ideas and stories. But, don't walk into it thinking you're getting something as deep as his run on The Sandman.

Okay, the last week has been a jumble of running around and sitting around. I went to see King Kong with Jake, Mitch, and Nick (my older sister's three oldest kids). I enjoyed the movie as much as I needed to. I'd really been looking forward to this film, but it just didn't deliver for me. Maybe it was Jack Black as the promotor, but I kept thinking he was delivering his lines with a sort of post-modern mocking tone. Does that make sense? Anyway, the movie was fun. I liked how they spend some time making Kong likeable without making him completely anthropomorphized (which would have been really lame). I liked the natives. I liked the mindless action scenes -- even the over-the-top parts (except for maybe the dinosuars and vines scene). I really didn't like the addition of The Heart of Darkness theme, which seemed to be included to justify lengthening the film and to look as if it added some depth -- despite the fact that is really wasn't needed. Anyway, overall it was good. I wish I wanted to buy it when it comes out on DVD, but I don't think it makes the cut. See it at a matinee.

My little sister's kids received some eight-week-old kittens as a Christmas gift. Let's all repeat this aloud, "Pets are not good gifts. I promise not to ever give a pet as a gift." Okay, now that that's done; they're really cute kittens, but I don't know if the boys are old enough to have them. And I don't think my sister is really sold on the idea of having two cats in the house. We'll see how long they last. I could be surprised.

I made it to Madison for just over a day. I got all my Christmas shopping done, but I didn't get to see nearly as many people as I'd hoped. In some cases this was because they were busy and in others it was because we couldn't get our schedules to synch up. I still managed to get some time in with Kerry, Becca and little Henry, and Kim and John. I was supposed to meet with Phil, but he didn't get back to town in time. Hopefully I'll make another trip up there before I take off. Maybe I can still manage to see Phil, Stephanie, and Kevin.

Christmas was great fun. I had a nice, relaxing Christmas Eve with just my parents and my grandma. We went to church at four o'clock, then visited my aunt's and uncle's for their gift exchange, then came home for a nice fish dinner. And that was it.

Christmas day my grandma and my sisters and their families came over for our gift exchange and dinner. It was a fun, crazy day. The boys always get a little wound up, but they seemed pretty good throughout the day. Getting seven boys 14 and under together tends to lead to wrestling matches and real fights, but everything was great. Dinner was a very good roast beef with all the fixin's, then everyone cleared out, so I thought I'd write here for a bit.

In the downtime between happenings I finished Robin's Honour of the Grave. I've dipped into some of the Dungeon Master Guide II, but I think the next book on the list is Mark Sumner's The Prodigal Sorcerer. I really enjoyed his books The Devil's Tower and The Devil's Engine, so I'm curious about this earlier novel.

Time to read, more later.


At December 26, 2005 1:36 AM, Anonymous wilhelm said...

I really liked Casanova. It's complete fluff, but it is charming fluff, with lots of good performances including marvelous scene chewing villany on the part of Jeremy Irons, and some decent swashbuckling and intrigue.

At December 26, 2005 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much longer are you home, Jon? I'm coming down there at the end of the week to visit Dave. I'd love to get together for a day!



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