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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What My Mum Says..., 23 Sep 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have tried makeup before, although Rocky Horror Picture Show Transvestism, when I was 15yrs old, isn't the best qualification to review mascara. So I sent it to my mum (who often dresses as a transvestite):

"Max Factor definitely make the best mascara in this price range.
Masterpiece has an excellent brush with no clumping and the angled end gets to the outer corner lashes well.
It's not as rich as 2000 Calorie or Masterpiece Max but is perfect for day wear with a well defined but natural look. I didn't have the waterproof model but it hadn't smudged after a very energetic walk in light rain unlike heavier mascara. I recommend Masterpiece for day and Masterpiece Max for evening."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 9, 2009 6:55 PM BST


Amulet
Amulet
by Roberto Vidal Bolaño
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More Repetition than Incantation., 15 Sep 2009
This review is from: Amulet (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This novel was a great disappointment, after all the reviews of his other novels. Thankfully this was a short work.

The mother of Mexican poetry, an Uruguayan called Lacouture, hides in the university bathroom and relives and re-imagines and regurgitates her memories (past and present), whilst the police brutally subdue student protests. Bolano reminds us she hides in the woman's bathroom around two dozen times over 184 pages. The toilet is her version of Proust's Madeleine cake, the toilet cake of memory perhaps.

He reminds us dozens of time that Lacouture is not very good remembering dates, perhaps due to the "rhombus shattered in a space of speculative desperation" or several other sentences of purple prose. (Lacouture wanted to grow up to be a "crystal statue" apparently, it's the trying too hard that annoys not the purpleness of it all).

We get lists of Bolano's literary gods, of course Proust rears his tired face; its like Donnie Darko remade by Proust, but more tiresome than you can imagine.

There's a few literary cliches, I especially found the connection between dust and literature to be annoying poetical posturing. The novel delights in its arch-literariness, it would swoon at its own pretensions if it could. Its artificiality makes it difficult to connect to any characters, mostly obscure Latin American poets that get regular name-checks at every chance Bolano can find. Lacouture is narcissistic and highly strung, liable to swoon at a vase for a couple of pages (just because another poet squints at it). Perhaps I should have read other Bolano novels that share characters, perhaps I should know more about Latin American poets from 1770-1970, but I doubt it would help.

Lacouture mining her seam of memory through time while trapped in space seems to require an incantatory style of writing; but it's more tedious repetition than incantation, it drags for such a short novel:

"as if by dint of repetition the name Erigone had become a kind of forceps dragging whatever it was from its lair, to an accompaniment of howls, involuntary giggles and sundry atrocities." Quite...

The digressions, anecdotes, memory lapses, dreams, and the narrators unreliableness makes for draining work. It's stuttering rhythm is probably designed to slow reading, one feels like being tripped up on sentences rather than pulled forward. The song maybe the amulet, but I didn't enjoy the music of this novel.

"Nobody can endure this. And yet I knew I could endure it. So I baptised my right leg Willpower and my left leg Necessity. And I endured."

My eyes rolled up. And I baptised them Tired and Optrex, they crossed. And I endured...

UPDATE:
This novel should be something I'd love. But I found it to be a slight pastiche of decadent fiction/ fin-de-siecle-style writing. The 'Mother of Mexican Poetry' ended up being a stereotype, often unintentionally laughable. It took itself far too seriously and I couldn't shake the feeling it was taking it's ideas from other works. It all felt oddly familiar, the silly magic realist ending seemed to come from another work. I'll have to think about it, but I feel Bolanos' library influenced the writing more than a genuine feeling for the characters.I didn't connect to the characters, feeling this was a literary exercise. More Bolano was 'striking a pose'. An affectation.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 24, 2009 4:10 PM BST


Dr Ragab's Universal Language
Dr Ragab's Universal Language
by Robert Twigger
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Polite Escape from the Bunker., 5 Sep 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm not really sure to the tone of this book, is it a homage or a pastiche of Castaneda/Coelho books? It's too polite to be a parody of such books. I guess it's what G.Greene would call an entertainment and it does entertain. This is more 7/10 than 3/5, good but not great.

The beginning title of part one is "Prolegomena to a Burial Alive" suggests a delirious 'over the top' approach to the text, but no: It's calm and well- written, too sedate for a story where people think they can turn invisible by use of language. Since the theme of using language as magic, one would have hoped it would lead to many returns to a dictionary or wikipedia, to work it all out. It needed the overblown language of surrealist texts to give it a heightened reality. Instead we get the Author characters dry love of pillboxes and a turgid romance. Almost picaresque, almost.. The story from Hertwig is greatly entertaining, regardless of the philosophic nonsense of spiritual awakening, the escape from the bunker to living a considered life. The message of this book and perhaps Twiggers other non-fiction books is to WAKE UP! Life isn't about buying secure doors and worrying about paying the TV licence, it's breaking free of your routines and living a truly fulfilling life... Probably not writing jejune amazon reviews I'm sure...

I recommend further reading, especially Rene Duamals "Mont Analogue" and "A Night of Serious Drinking", which are Gurdjieff inspired tales. Also surrealist text published by Dedalus books or Atlas Press
Dedalus:
J. K. Huysmans Against Nature, Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf by David Madsen, Robert Irwin, Gustav Meyrink, The Experience of the Night by Marcel Bealu, The Other Side by Alfred Kubin, Octave Mirbeau, Tales from the Saragossa Manuscript by Jan Potocki, and so much more...

Atlas Press:
Malpertuis by Jean Ray, Alfred Jarry, New Impressions of Africa by Raymond Roussel, OULIPO, Circular Walks Around Rowley Hall by Andrew Lanyon, The Automatic Muse by Robert Desnos, Michel Leiris, Georges Limbour, Benjamin Péret, The Printed Head books, The Feverhead by Wolfgang Bauer, The Golden Bomb -German Expressionist Stories... Anything by Atlas Press really, especially their Atlas Archive books.


Signs And Wonders
Signs And Wonders
Price: £31.88

6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars "Like a tin man...no heart.", 23 Aug 2009
This review is from: Signs And Wonders (Audio CD)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Generic UK indie music, sounds a little dated. They even have a Bebo page, so perhaps I'm not their demographic...
Competently over produced, coming across as anemic and unaffecting, nothing sticks. It' a bland and polite mix, every rough edge smoothed out, like Coldplay on Lithium. It goes nowhere interesting, no highs or lows. It lacks any real emotion, what it does have seems ersatz and second-hand. The lyrics you do notice are either naïf references ( "Three bags full", "Bad moon rising") or plain risible ( "Tell me if it's love, baby I'm a tin man... I've got a missing heart/part...I've got a hole inside of me", "black cloud follows me", "moth to the flame", "cold light of day").
If I'm not mistaken "Into the Sea" sounds like someone watched an episode of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, thinking that would make great 'emo'. "Mephistopheles" is excruciatingly adolescent and A-Level, as deep as a puddle. And really, who makes references to MTV anymore?
And yes, I gather you listened to Sigur Ros by the sound of the tedious "Chalk Stars", a timid tribute. Drawing chalk stars on a blackboard? I imagine you must have met up at Teacher Training College. Honestly, grow up.
There's a faint whiff of a band made by committee, an emo band by the numbers, ticking off the necessary keywords as they go.
A forgettable album of neutered emo cliches.
Comment Comments (8) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 2, 2009 4:40 PM BST


One Missed Call [2007] [DVD] [2008]
One Missed Call [2007] [DVD] [2008]
Dvd ~ Renji Ishibashi

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Lifeless Photocopy, 21 Aug 2009
Tacky cash-in on "The Ring", replacing the videotape with a mobile phone. Utterly shameless, this cheap-knock-off has none of the novelty of "The Ring", just cynical exploitation. I've enjoyed Ichi the Killer to the stunningly daft MPD Psycho and The Happiness of the Katakuris. This has no redemptive qualities, even the ending is cheap. Miike did this one just to pay the rent. A lifeless photocopy.


ByteStor 8GB Hi-Speed CompactFlash(100x)
ByteStor 8GB Hi-Speed CompactFlash(100x)

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works Fine, 16 Aug 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not much to say really. It's a good price, it's a basic CompactFlash card. It works fine with my Canon 400D. It's speed is fine for my use. You may need a faster card for Pro cameras (you can find cards at X233 from Lexar). The X100 speed was more than enough for me. On RAW setting, this card will store around 790 shots. At Fine JPEG will mean over 2000 shots. You'll have to replace your battery before you run out of space.
It comes in the most basic packaging, it looks cheap in it's unflashy clothes, but works fine. I've used Bytestor before without any problems and will use them in the future.
(£19.99 at time of review. Do check prices of other cards before purchasing. Costs can change quickly with memory cards. Next year new forms of CompactFlash will be coming out too, at larger GB sizes).


Love and Obstacles
Love and Obstacles
by Aleksandar Hemon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Uneven stories about a Bosnia author living in Chicago, yet again., 14 Aug 2009
This review is from: Love and Obstacles (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Written at the same time as his novel, The Lazarus Project, they both share the same defects.
He's undoubtedly a gifted writer...But... He needs to write about something that doesn't involve a thinly disguised character who is a Bosnian author living in Chicago. He needs to stretch his abilities beyond recounting anecdotes from his life, piling them up to make a story of details. He obviously having a love affair with the English language, creating some beautiful prose. The next sentence will be convoluted and sounding like the author swallowed a thesaurus and vomited up on the page. It's an uneven collection of a youthful author still finding his feet; he will write some brilliant work, but this isn't it yet. It's seems like gifted juvenilia. It treads such similar ground to his previous work, I can imagine a bookseller remarking them as a trilogy. I loved his first book "The Question of Bruno" and feeling disappointed by The Lazarus Project. A large problem, more annoying in The Lazarus Project, is the 'metafiction' aspect. It's all so precious, pretentious and mostly puerile. Hemon seems to be indulging himself too much in writing and it comes across as being a show-off. I felt like I was being forced to acknowledge how clever his writing was, an air of smugness whilst he was still staying within his comfort zone.
One author he began to remind me off, was B.S. Johnson. They share familiar flaws of being too self-regarding, both limited by only being able to use anecdotes from their own life. For B.S. Johnson it became a limiting mantra that everything had to come from his life, that it had to be based on autobiography. Both writers can come across as selfish bores, writing for themselves and expecting everyone to acclaim them as geniuses. I worry that Hemon will paddle in the similar shallow pool of self-regard that eventually trapped B.S. Johnson. Jonhson was a genius, but crippled by flaws, he just couldn't escape from himself when writing; and this made him and his work dull and miserable. Saying all that, I've read most of Johnsons work and will probably read all of Hemons too. Despite all the frustration and disappointment it causes, it's worth the effort for moments of genius that can't be denied... And Hemon still has a long career ahead of him and he has the ability to write a masterpiece. Maybe: "The Lazarus Project" was awful.


Nobody Move
Nobody Move
by Denis Johnson
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Pastiche or Parody?, 30 July 2009
This review is from: Nobody Move (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Originally written for serialization in Playboy magazine, this is a rather pointless xerox of an Elmore Leonard novel mixed with lines from a 1940s film noir.
Is it a pastiche or outright parody? Was this book written as a bet or just for fun? Certainly this sort of genre writing would make it easier to hit magazine deadlines, it is pulp fiction after all...
A homage which feels dated and out of place, the jokey hard-boiled one-liners are rather stilted if you try and take the plot seriously. As tongue in cheek, each page will bring a smirk to your face. Perfect reading for the two hours in an afternoon without rain, in this cold summer.
It would make a perfect script for a come-back movie by Tarantino, although I think even he might blanch at the colostomy bag scene!
For all its faults, it moves quickly, it has some great one liners, some brilliant scenes and it just 'entertains'. It sits uncomfortably between literary exercise and crime genre fiction, if the writer had taken it more seriously, it may have been more than just a novelty.
Still, well written and enjoyable, even if it never struggles for greatness. It often hints at something darker, but the wisecrack dialogue disperses the ominous clouds before they have a chance to form. It remains 'only' an exercise in pulp fiction, you feel there's a lost chance here. As if Chinatown was directed by Brian De Palma.


Black (Xbox)
Black (Xbox)

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Average FPS, 11 July 2009
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Black (Xbox) (Video Game)
Very average FPS, from 2006, even then it was dated. No ability to jump or sprint, you're like an old man wheezing through a warzone; an OAP Rambo. Savepoints only come at the end of a mission, you cannot save you progress during a game.Very tiresome. If the awful Doom3 let you save when you wanted.
Cutscenes that take themselves seriously and unskippable at the start of every level.
Weaponry that generally feels less than effective (Does it really take a full AK47 clip to take someone down? Headshots seem rather flaky, taking one shot or several. Aiming seems haphazard, when I'm clearly missing, bullets would register as hitting. A pistol often plays as being more deadly than an AK47. Weaponry is the standard fair of a non-SF FPS, nothing exciting. When shooting someone, it feels real as an 'A-Team' shootout.Any cover will explode, from petrol tanks, to cardboard boxes, wooden pallets or tree trunks. Select bits of scenery will eventually collapse in a sudden shower of splinters when the requisite bullets have hit. The PS1 game "Magic Carpet" had more deformable scenery.
Layout of levels is a little dull, it feels unclear how much 'stealth' works. AI seems rather dumb, so there's no rush of excitement when you sneak up behind one, as it just feels like a doll that's come to a designated stop on a route. Will a headshot kill or just annoy? There's no ragdoll physics here, just a standard set of animations (from the 'ouch you shot me in the leg' to backflip off a platform).
The only thing of special note, in a game of hyped 'redefining'; the textures kind of look nice.
It's "Medal of Honor" with a smidgen of Red Faction, dressed up in it's Sundays Best. Looks nice, but leaving you feel uninvolved. Sterile and a bit anemic. Return to Castle Wolfenstein is more 'fun'.


Battlestar Galactica - The Final Season (Season 4, Part Two) [DVD] [2009]
Battlestar Galactica - The Final Season (Season 4, Part Two) [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Edward James Olmos
Price: £8.10

28 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 2nd part of Season 4, 16 Jun 2009
As other reviews make clear, this is the last half of season four, you need to buy "season four" too.
Why they can't release season four in one box?
Why is the boxset 1-4 not really the whole series?
What a rip-off.
Very annoyed, I received this as a present and started watching, only to see a recap of half the series I hadn't seen. Thanks.
I'd like to write what I really think of this tactic, but I'd be banned.

Updated review:
Well, confusion aside, on watching it, it didn't get better. There was more 'bug-eye' acting, Saul Tigh one-eye-popped the best, with Galen and Baltar as close runners up. Adama gets to do lots of primal scream acting, climaxing in his getting drunk, vomiting on himself and wistfully looking at the stars. All very 'acting school exercises'.
Worse still, it ended as I feared it would. In a Von Däniken/ New Age Christian way. Lets say Baltars quote "Angels walk among us" is sadly not a metaphor...it's truly groan-worthy nonsense. It's spiritual claptrap was always the weak point of Battlestar, with it's terminally smug President Roslin, leading to the awful resolution of the Starbuck story. What I found offensive was it's anti-technology ending. Yes, technology is bad, but being a farmer is good. Moronic, our world came from intergalactic Amish? Really?
Even if it ended with the episode finding the 'first Earth' in season 4, that corny Dystopian view would have been better. This soured the whole experience of watching Battlestar Galactica. A huge disappointment; And that coming from someone who quite liked the ending to Sopranos.
I understand how Cavil felt at the end. I also feel ripped-off by this awful ending. I won't be coming back for Caprica, history might repeat itself, but I won't repeat my mistake.
Comment Comments (9) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 17, 2009 1:10 AM BST


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