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Friday, February 27, 2009

Read: Modern Magic

Living in the US has one big advantage, I can take part in LibraryThing's Early Reviewer Program, which gives away advanced readers copies based to interested members. Members can sign up for the program and select books they would be interested in to read. The books are then assigned based on an algorithm which takes the titles in the members library into account and tries to find the closest matches. So far I received four books and all were worth my time.

Here's my review for the latest book I received, Modern Magic by Anne Cordwainer:
"An intriguing story set in modern times with sorcerers living amongst ordinary people and yet dealing with their own sort of problems. The main characters are the siblings John, a highly gifted magician, and Liz, who doesn't have any magical talent at all, and they regularly exchange the role as first person narrator. This gives the reader some interesting insights into the dilemma that can arise when two world views and the truths they take for granted clash. The book is split into different episodes, which are often set months or up to a year apart, which allows us to see how John and Liz react to the changing world around them and how they try to deal with the different crises that always seem to spring up where they are. Interesting till the last page and well worth a read if you want to discover an alternative to Harry Potter's magical world."
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Monday, February 23, 2009

A hint of Switzerland in Pittsburgh

From Pittsburgh February

We had a small Swiss Cheese Fondue tonight at Guido's Place and celebrated this Swiss winter dish in snowy and cold Pittsburgh.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Coraline 3D

After realizing that the 3D version of Coraline was shown in cinemas close to Pittsburgh I quickly checked my schedule and freed up room to see this version of the film as well.
From Pittsburgh February
That's me in the cinema with the "cool" 3D glasses ;).

The 3D technology was very impressive, especially because it wasn't used for showy effects but rather subtly to give the movie more depth and emotion. I preferred the 3D version to the regular print and you should definitely check it out, if you have the opportunity.

A word of warning for everyone using Google to look up show times, enter "Coraline 3D", otherwise only 2D screenings will be shown in the results list. That's why I originally thought the movie wasn't shown in 3D in Pittsburgh.

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Monday, February 09, 2009


The hype around Coraline was quite big with a large web presence as well as commercials on tv (which I don't have so I have to take this as second hand information ;) ). But even without the hype it would have been clear that I had to see it because:
1. it is based on a Neil Gaiman story
2. it is directed by Henry Selick, the director of The Nightmare before Christmas
3. it was shot in stop-motion, same as The Nightmare before Christmas

The movie was everything I expected it to be, an astonishing ride with fantastic visuals, some scary scenes and a cool story, in addition it boasted an exceptionally creepy soundtrack. The only bummer was that the cinema we watched it at didn't support the Tru3d feature...

Nevertheless the movie gets 10 out of 10 points. (Who knows, in Tru3d it might have received more points ;) ).

That's it from my side, now go and watch it!


Sunday, February 01, 2009

Pittsburgh Unhinged

My return from Boston, more about that later, coincided with the win of the Superbowl by the Pittsburgh Steelers. The trip from the airport by bus was very interesting, because all of Downtown and large parts of Forbes Avenue (one of the main connections between Downtown and Oakland) was blocked off, so the Bus had to make a detour to Squirrel Hill (which is the suburb after Oakland, away from Downtown). When the bus finally got back on the route, we saw thousands of people congregated in the streets, wearing Steelers gear, waving the Terrible Towel, lighting fireworks and apparently having a good time. We also saw heavy police presence, some even in riot gear, firefighters and a couple of helicopters. Walking back home I was glad to have my yellow scarf with me, so I could blend into the crowd... ;)

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