I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m kind of a sucker for cool stuff. I like nifty gadgets, quirky decoration pieces, nice clothes (and shoes!), good books, and fun games.
In this series of weekly posts, I share whatever currently has my fancy. Maybe some of it will catch yours as well!
VIDEO OF THE WEEK:
SONNY THE 70 YEAR-OLD BODYBUILDER
Holy S&*T, now THIS is inspiring. Not just his physique but his outlook on life and aging. I want to be this guy when I grow up!
FERRARI CALIFORNIA T
I’m not even a Ferrari lover, but I think the Ferrari California T is a truly beautiful blend of retro lines with a modern, exotic touch.
It’s Ferrari’s first turbo-powered car in nearly three decades with nearly 570 horsepower, and its retractable hardtop lets you convert it from coupe to convertible and back with the touch of a button.
Nicholas Felton is a unique, incredibly talented guy. He rose to fame with his stunning Annual Reports, which detail each year of his life in a staggeringly thorough and beautiful manner. Oh, and he’s also the guy that built the Facebook Timeline.
Well, Reporter is his new iPhone app that uses your phone’s sensors and a few short daily surveys to capture information about your daily routines, including where you’ve been, how active you’ve been, who you’ve been with, and so forth. All that data is then used to compile elegant reports, giving you a gorgeous birds-eye-view of your life.
KRUPS ELECTRIC KETTLE WITH TEA INFUSER
If you’re like me and you drink a lot of tea, you should consider getting a proper tea maker like this Krups electric kettle. Here are the key features:
- Four programmable water temperature settings (176f, 194f, 203f amd 212f).
As you probably know, water temperature is a very important part of extracting enough flavor from the leaves to brew a perfect cup of tea.
- A BPA-free plastic double infuser.
This is a basket-within-a-basket setup that lets you place shorter brew time ingredients in the inner basket and longer brew time ingredients in the outer basket.
- A fine mesh screen to help keep sediment out of your cup.
Excessive tea debris is annoying and a mesh screen behind the spout keeps it out.
Although I prefer my Breville One-Touch, this Krups kettle is a great alternative for half the price.
SETTLERS OF CATAN
I’m a bit of a board game geek, and Settlers of Catan is one of my favorites.
The game is for 3 to 4 players (but you can bring more players in using expansion packs) and it involves collecting resources and using them to build roads, settlements and cities, for which you gain Victory Points. The first player to collect 10 Victory Points wins.
What makes it great is its blend of strategy, luck, and player interaction. It’s easy enough to learn that you can enjoy it from the get-go, but sophisticated enough that you can devise and test strategies to your heart’s content. The trading and bartering system between players also adds a fun, challenging dimension and element of unpredictability.
I also love the replay value of this game. You can vary the board setup every game, which puts you into different starting positions every time, requiring you to adapt your strategies accordingly.
BOOK OF THE WEEK:
“My name is Patrick Bateman. I am twenty-six years old. I live in the American Garden Buildings on West Eighty-First Street, on the eleventh floor. Tom Cruise lives in the penthouse.
“I believe in taking care of myself, in a balanced diet, in a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now.”
That’s your first introduction to Ellis’ protagonist, and you immediately know what type of person this is. In his world, you are what you wear, own, and drive. Your life is defined by where you eat, shop, and party. Your values are an ever-shifting, amorphous blob of social responses designed to impress and belittle others.
In this book, Ellis gives a haunting look into the world of the Manhattan uber-Yuppies, where materialism and physical beauty is admired over all. Bateman has gone to great pains to appear as perfect as possible: he’s obsessed with taking care of his body and looks like a GQ model, he wears nothing but the finest designers, he lives in an upper-class condo in the trendy Upper West Side, he makes six figures working for his father’s Wall Street firm, and he dines at the most exclusive restaurants in New York City, and parties in the most exclusive clubs. Bateman loves nobody, regards his fiance, friends, and co-workers with disgust, and feels nothing but a cold, bitter hatred of the world and its inhabitants.
The only thrill Bateman can experience is brutally torturing and murdering people, particularly young women. His violent outbreaks are rarely pre-meditated. If he’s on a date with a girl, he may or may not take her home to chop her head off. If someone mentions how the Japanese are buying up all of New York City, he may order Chinese take-out to an abandoned building (mistakenly thinking it as Japanese food) and stab the delivery boy to death. If a bum asks him for money, he may toss him a few bucks with disdain, or strangle him to death.
That’s just how his world moves, as he says.
I won’t lie–for the first half of this book, I was pretty hooked. Bateman and his soulless comrades do and say some of the most outrageous stuff, and I just wanted to know what Ellis’ twisted mind would think up next. I appreciated the shock value of the story and situations, but by 2/3 through the book, the gimmick felt repetitive. I kept reading simply because I don’t like to quit books.
My experience could be summed up as 5 stars for the first half, 3 stars for the middle, and 2 stars for the final 1/3. I think it’s worth reading for the first half alone, and while it goes downhill from there, there are a few later sequences that will still get a rise out of you.
MOVIE OF THE WEEK:
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL
This is one of the greatest action/adventure films in the last decade. You know, the type that you can watch for the seventh time and still enjoy. Up there with the original Indiana Jones movies, in my opinion.
Depp is at his comedic best and really steals the show despite a strong supporting cast of memorable characters. Rush couldn’t have played the villain better and struck a perfect balance of despicable evil and comedic charm. He was one of those bad guys that you love to hate. Bloom and Knightley don’t shine like Depp and Rush, but they fill their roles more than adequately and definitely contribute to the flick and help carry the story along.
I’m not sure if you could structure a story better than this. It holds your attention from beginning until end, tension builds and releases in a perfect rhythm, stakes build with every scene, and the film has the perfect blend of action, drama, romance, and comedy. It’s just darn fun to watch.
If you haven’t seen this movie yet, treat yourself to it–it’s one of those rare movies that isn’t just fun to watch, but completely enchanting.
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