surrealcouchuniverse

"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." – Dean Martin


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Book Thoughts- Men, Women and Children by Chad Kroetger

This was a weird book to read. It almost felt like the author was against young people being able to do anything right due to the cultural forces at bay. In this book, you had
– teenage sex
– parents over-policing their children
– child semi-pornography
– eating disorders
– game addiction
– suicide
– well, you get the point.
After reading through this book, it makes you wonder how anyone manages to grow up without being a complete mess with the internet and all the modern day vices around (drugs, prostitution, etc.). Even those who seem to be coping are just being set up for a tragedy later on in their lives.
It almost reads like a deliberate attempt at scaremongering, with everything that could go bad going bad with the group of kids. It is not necessarily a bad book to read, even if it feels a bit surreal at time. At times it made me wonder if it was trying to be a satire of itself.


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My Current Web Comic Reading List

 I have recently renewed my love of web-comics as bite sized bits of information that I can consume between jobs. The following web-comics are the ones I am into at the moment:

 A Softer World- I got back into this after I received their Kickstarter, which I ordered mostly for the flask. It sets you up, to then subvert your expectations in the final panel or two.

 Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal- A long-running favourite that gives bite sized jokes or some social commentary. It is always entertaining.

 XKCD- Black and white stick figures. I can’t believe I gave this a chance but one of my favourites.

 Adventures of Dr McNinja- He is a doctor. And a ninja. And ninja’s can’t catch you when you are on fire. Very awesome and has an overriding story.

 Daily Dilbert- An oldie and a goodie. Very enjoyable following the lives of IT office workers, even if it is a bit of a mid-level manager fantasy.

 Penny Arcade- I am back into this ever since I went to PAX last year. Even if I don’t like the new layout and don’t get some jokes, it is still awesome.

 Ctrl-Alt-Del- I am back to liking this ever since they got rid of the story and went back to videogame skits. I particular like their recent (all too literal) console wars.


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My New Reading Topic- Relationships

 I have started a new goal. Before bed every night, I will replace my normal reading book with a book about relationships. This could be anything from How to Make Long Distance Relationships Work to How to Attract A Date. I have noticed that most of these books tend to be shorter than I am used to. Hopefully, by doing this, I get through about one book a week in addition to my normal reading.

 I am not quite sure why I feel a desire to do this reading. I think it is because I am subconsciously trying to compensate in the one area that I have always struggled with. Namely, my struggles have been how to develop and maintain relationships past that first couple of months. I don’t know if this will address my major problem (generally starting to lose interest a bit and shifting focus onto other things), but it couldn’t help.

 I also think I am approaching a stage in my reading where I try to read non-fiction books to try to learn. It has happened a couple of times before where for 6-12 months I will view fiction as a waste of time (which I know it is not, but can’t convince myself otherwise). Therefore, I will focus on reading up about random topics that grab my interest until my desire to make every book a learning experience fades and I fall back into my normal reading patterns. So  I guess the topic that interests me now are relationships, or maybe it is just filling the gaps in my knowledge.

 I will see how this goes. It is going to feel interesting next time I go out with a bunch of rules floating around in my head.


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House- Halfway Through

So I am now halfway through my goal to watch the whole of House. That is Season 4 of 8 completed (although it is probably more than halfway as the initial seasons were 22 episodes). I am taking a small break to start on some Game of Thrones (finally) and I just wanted to share my thoughts on it.

What I have liked about House so far is that they are always trying to push the characters into new and unfamiliar territory. So far, none of the episodes have repeated themselves in their quest to push the characters into new and challenging situations. Season 4 left on a cliffhanger  regarding Wilson being pushed into a new area which should affect how he treats the world as well as his interactions with House.

One thing that I don’t like is there reliance on some sort of underlying narrative involving conflict, as well as their case of the week. Whether this be a new hospital chairman, House’s relationship with his ex, or the policeman, I think that the show is strong enough without it. I prefer if they just focused on the case-of-the-week and the slow interactions and growth of the characters. Instead, we have this “villain” character who is around for a few episodes, then goes to be replaced with another “villain” a few weeks later.

And the interactions are what I most enjoy about House. Although sometimes it feels like 2-steps forward to 1-step back with the evolution of House and his team. I enjoy how they don’t always win and how sometimes a point-of-view they mocked previously might end up being right (such as Cameron’s interest in her patients). I do feel that some episodes oversimplify the characters too much (like making Chase a complete suck-up), but for the most part the characters work well.

So overall, halfway through, I am really enjoying House. I plan on giving it a break for a week and then continuing on. In the meantime, I am halfway through Game of Thrones Season 1 and that has also been quite good. 


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40 Days On- Moving

 So today marks the 40 day mark of the day that I moved away for my new job. It is when I up and left my old life, friends, colleagues, socialising, family and routines behind and went away for work. So I guess it is time to evaluate how it has been going, then.

 First up is the reason I moved over here to begin with: the work. The work has been re-invigorating. Working in a new area has really sparked my passion for work again and I am spending less and less time procrastinating during work and am trying to get more involved. At the moment every project is a challenge and I am working with a great group of people. It is still a bit of a struggle coming to terms with being a senior at the company, but at least I am not afraid to admit when I don’t know something. But in all, it is going good.

 What is not going so good in the social life. Without a defined city-centre and a lack of transport, I am finding it hard to find things to do. There is still stuff out there, but I am more used to having a car/bike available to travel around wherever I want. I am finding allot of things that I want to check out or do I can’t due to transport demands or a lack of people to go with. Add to that being busy settling into work, moving into a new place after 3 weeks and it being very cold, the social life isn’t going so well.

 The social life should improve soon, however, as I get back into my routines. With the fresh start I am planning to start things I have always wanted to do but have clashed with my previous commitments. This includes more volunteering more, learning to dance and learning an instrument. Add to this that I have signed up to an MMA class and I am sure I will soon start meeting people. Of course, the hard part being a young adult is translating these meetings into lasting friendships. When you are younger/older it seems to be a bit easier as people tend not to care as much. Several good things happen close to where I live and work, but unfortunately I do have to do these things alone.

 Being alone definitely highlights how much I miss friends and family. It also highlights how much I used to take them for granted. It is hard to believe now that I used to avoid catching up with friends and family because I was concerned I was seeing them too much. Now, I realise how stupid I was being. The whole of life works on a ticking clock- every breath is one breath closer to when you will leave each other, either via life circumstances or death. Unfortunately, it took this clock running out for me to come to fully accept that.

 So, in all, it is about a 50/50 as to whether this move has been good or bad. I only know that I would’ve regretted not taking this risk more than taking it, and the only thing that would have stopped me was fear. Whether the move was a winner or a loser, it certainly has been an experience.

 


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Godzilla: Things That Annoyed Me

So now that Godzilla has come and gone, and probably destined to be forgotten, I can start listing all the things that annoyed me.

1. Godzilla was made an anti-villain (I.e. he existed to simply destroy the other villains). This alone wouldn’t have annoyed me, but then they try to hand-wave explanations for it that are not really satisfying. Godzilla is given no reason to want to stop the parasitic monsters, except perhaps as revenge for that other skeleton that was found which may have been a relative to Godzilla. If anything, Godzilla’s presence in his own movie is simply to serve as a plot-point.

2. Why do the monsters have EMP’s? What is the evolutionary point of that. Dinosaurs didn’t have machines, so why would the monsters have an EMP that looks like it uses allot of energy (their food). It isn’t going to help them against any of there traditional predators.

3. The rest of the world is ignored in favour of America. Don’t they have an interest in trying to stop these giant monsters? They even take over the initial Japanese site.

4. Why choose such bland characters to follow. The only interesting relationship was the father (who turned into a guilt-ridden conspiracy theorist) and son (who literally became a soldier that stops disasters, which are bombs in his case) after there mother died, until they kill the father. Instead, we had bland army guy who the monsters seem to follow and a nurse who, of course, tries her darnest to save her patients. If you are going to pull a switch and focus a monster movie on people, at least make them interesting.

5. Why do the people cheer Godzilla at the end? He caused as much destruction and death as the monsters he just killed. Shouldn’t the military be trying to kill him when he is weakened. That is the approach the military took for the whole rest of the movie.

The movie feels like the beginning and end were written by one person who understood how to make it good. Then the middle was written by the one person who though Transformers were masterpieces. The end result: a mess.


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Trailers That PLayed Prior to Godzilla

 So allowing myself to absorb the Godzilla movie a bit, I have decided to write about the trailers that played prior to this movie.

 Trailer 1 Transformers: Age of Extinction

 This will probably be the dark-horse movie for me. With a reboot, this looks like it actually has the Transformers at the heroes and focus for their own movie after being abandoned by the military. And giant-robot-dinosaurs vs Optimus Prime can’t go wrong. Unfortunately, I think the answer will be allot, again. Once bitten, twice shy for Transformers, I feel. Definitely waiting for the reviews to see how it pans out. 

 Trailer 2 X-Men: Days of Future Past

 Everytime I get excited about this movie, I see a new trailer that convinces me that this will be an unfocused mess. From the first short trailer with the “I don’t want your future” part, the trailers have only gotten longer and more confusing. With what looks to be 30 characters, I think that the plot of this movie will leave allot to be desired. At the very least it shoud have some good set-pieces.

 Trailer 3 Maleficent

 Angelina Jolie stars as the wicked witch. Of course, she isn’t wicked but rather misunderstood as she tries to avenge a wrong done to her by the king by cursing the princess. Unfortunately, this seems to degenerate into nature vs man much like Noah or Avatar. I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised by this movie as it seems to have enough interesting elements to make it stand out from some of those previous movies. As long as they cast Jolie as a villain still, even if it is a tragic villain.

 Trailer 4 Edge of Tomorrow

 The trailer looked bad, as some sort of wartime version of groundhog day. However, as it went on it introduced newer elements. These included the re-try ability being stolen from the Aliens and the military knowing and taking advantage of this. The best scene is when Tom Cruise broke his leg during training and then the female commander deciding it was easier to kill him and taking advantage of his ‘respawn’ as opposed to continuing his training. Considering how disappointing Oblivion was, I have no doubt they will ruin all the potential that this has.

 So 4 major trailers. And the one I am motivated most for is Maleficent. Considering the competition, I am surprised that this is the case

 

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