Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Grad's Bucket Challenge


The Apocalypse Watch by Robert Ludlum.

Almost everyone would have either read or seen the Bourne Trilogy (not that the movies are in any way related to the books). The series was written by Robert Ludlum, and it remains his most famous work. The books laid such an amazing storyline, that it allowed the publisher somehow managed to milk TEN more novels after the ultimatum. That has to mean something. Well The Apocalypse watch is one of the last of Ludlum's 30-odd novels, and is a good example of what defines his stories- action thrillers, with heroes crusading against a unanimously evil agency, and more often than not based on prevalent conspiracy theories.

There really is not much point in telling you the names of the characters, and about the plot, I will tell you this - It involves something called the fourth Reich (neo Nazis), and the CIA, and interpol, and something else (Come on, Nazis + conspiracy theories, what else could it be? Forgive me if that spoiled a bit too much, I couldn't resist). For a book that contains more action than your normal Dwayne Johnson-Vin Diesel film, it surprisingly manages to maintain an interesting storyline. The writing can at times be oppressive, with dialogues a lot like cheesy pulp fiction films, but on the whole, it's a fun read.

Well, If you haven't read the Bourne Trilogy, I strongly suggest you do that first. It showcases Ludlum at his best (I didn't write something on it instead because it needs to be read to realise how good it is). The Apocalypse Watch has been known to polarise readers, and it shouldn't stop you from reading the trilogy, which is amazing (It won't but just saying). At 751 pages, this is a long, but light, fast paced read, so do check it out if you have the time. It just may be worth it. That's it for this one. 


Rick and Morty 

Rick and Morty is the brainchild of Dan Harmon, the shaman-like creator of Community, and Justin Roiland, who effortlessly voices both titular characters, which means that most of the show is this crazy guy talking to himself in weird voices. In fact, they were inspired by Justin's previous gags where he would obscenely distort the story of Doc Brown and Marty from Back to the Future, and poke fun at it. However, if you haven't watched the Back to the Future series (as Scary Terry would put it) "don't even trip dawg" because there aren't many references to it. The premise of the show is that Rick, a manic alcoholic genius scientist, has reunited with his daughter, Beth, after 20 years, which her husband Jerry (voiced by Chris Parnell from SNL and Archer) isn't too happy about. While their daughter Summer is an average high school girl, her younger brother Morty can't cope with even basic addition, but for some reason, Rick takes to his dumb grandson. He often convinces him to skip school and go on dangerous adventures through the universe, and through parallel dimensions (surprisingly they still haven't tackled time travel yet). On the surface of it, this show seems like a fitting mixture of sci-fi, comedy and adventure with a bucket of cuss words and adult humour dropped in, but not only does it parody the likes of Inception, Jurassic Park and M. Night Shyamalan, this show also unflinchingly deals with important moral and social issues like sexism, political correctness, abortion, rape and of course, squanching.There's only been a season of 11 episodes so far, 20 minutes each, so it'll be a breeze to get up to speed before the show returns with Season 2 on July 26th. The initial episodes are really good, but the content quality greatly increases from episode 5 (Meseeks and Destroy) onwards. Rick and Morty also features guest stars like John Oliver, David Cross and Claudia Black. 
And now to leave you with one of the many incredible quotes from the show:-
"Nobody exists on purpose, nobody belongs anywhere, we're all going to die. Come watch TV." 



Sigur Rós 

Sigur Rós is an Icelandic post-rock band, which I discovered because their version of "Rains of Castamere" was used in Game of Thrones (the above picture is the band's cameo in the show), and it defined the song in my head, not as a triumphant victory song of the Lannisters crowing over the Reynes, as other bands had played it, but instead as a slow dirge-like song, closer to the somber nature of Tywin. Some of my favourite songs of theirs are Heysátan, GobbledigookSæglópur and Staralfur. Just kick back and let the music wash over you. 
A word of warning: if you're searching for lyrical complexity, this isn't the band for you, as their songs are all either in Icelandic or Hopelandic. If you're wondering how you haven't heard of such an awesome country name as Hopeland, that's because Hopelandic is a made up language. Or atleast as made up as languages can be. Basically it's like glossolalia, which is just a vocalization of syllables without semantic meaning, focussing more on the sounds, leaving the listener to interpret of it what he will, which is interesting because the music is really emotionally evocative. Then again, I understood as much of these lyrics as I did the lyrics of "Smells Like Teen Spirit" the first time I heard it.

Bonus: Check out the music video for Svefn-g-englar. Hauntingly beautiful.

Some random short films:
Interesting Ball - So random it's almost inspirational.

Validation - A feel good video. You can't watch it without a smile escaping from you.