Sunny Jhanna

Bienvenidos a Sunny Jhanna, el sitio oficial de Las crónicas de Dae y Ruled by Spiders. ¡Gracias por visitarnos y regresad pronto!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reading List: July

As I knew would happen, I didn't read as much this month as I read in June, but I still got to enjoy several different books. This is what I read in July:

White Witch, Black Curse
The seventh book in Kim Harrison's great series, I already told you how awesome this book is here.

Blockade Billy
A novella by my dear Stephen King, Blockade Billy was a lot of fun, as I told you here.

The War Within Omnibus
I already shared my thoughts about this collection here.

Small Favor
The tenth book in the formidable Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher, stay tuned for my review, coming out in just a few days!

And that's it for this month. I only read three books, but they were all written by favorite authors of mine, and they were all awesomely entertaining. Come back next month for more reading suggestions!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The X Marks the Spot

Here you have another old movie I remember wanting to see when it first came out but never getting around to seeing. For some reason, I had gotten it in my mind that Dragonfly was similar to The Butterfly Effect, but after having seen it, I couldn't have been more wrong. Dragonfly has nothing to do with time traveling, but it shares a certain spooky quality with the aforementioned movie. Dragonfly was a melancholy, spooky film that, while not being much of a thriller or unfold at a breakneck speed (quite the opposite, actually), it managed to keep me interested from beginning to surprising end. All in all, and while I wouldn't say the movie was great, it was definitely entertaining, and I am happy I watched it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

War for Cybertron

I bought The War Within Omnibus for two reasons. One, because Don Figueroa's artwork is extraordinary; and two, because the War for Cybertron videogame came out recently, and I want to buy it. So I ordered it on Amazon and spent a few days reading it, and now I'm ready to talk about it.

The omnibus collects two miniseries written by Simon Furman that were originally published by Dreamwave and now are being re-released by IDW. The first one is The War Within, illustrated by Don Figueroa; and the second one is The War Within: The Dark Ages, drawn by Andrew Wildman. The first one was great fun to read, and Figueroa's artwork blew me away. Also, it was great to see old characters I used to love back in the 80s when I collected the original Transformers series from Marvel. I recognized Jazz, Wheeljack, Grimlock, Bumblebee, Optimus, Prowl, Starscream, Ravage, Soundwave, Megatron, etc, and I didn't even need to be told who they were. As opposed to the Michael Bay movies, in which every robot looks like crap and they're indistinguishable from each other, here I could tell who Jetfire and Hound were without even having to think about it. It was so much fun, and I had a blast reading this six-part story.

The second series, though… Well, something was obviously missing in between The War Within and The Dark Ages, and even though I quickly caught up with the events, I could never shake off the feeling of being in medias res. In addition to that, the story wasn't as interesting as the first one, and while Wildman is a good Transformers artist (I remember loving his issues in the original TF series back in the 80's, and he's only gotten better), he is no Figueroa.

To sum it up, I had a good time reading this collection, so if you're interested in the pre-Earth era of the Transformers saga, do not hesitate and check out The War Within. At least the first miniseries…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Nolan's Matrix

My girlfriend and I went to see Inception on opening day, and we both loved it. Christopher Nolan's script is clever and original, and in mere minutes after the movie begins you are hopelessly trapped in the intriguing world Leonardo DiCaprio lives in. At first you have no idea what's going on, but the mechanics of Nolan's universe are revealed little by little throughout the story. The concepts and ideas that serve as the foundation for Inception are so complex they have to be thoroughly explained, and while some exposition is inevitable, Nolan delivers it with flare and without pandering to the audience. In addition to the wildest story you've seen in years, the acting is great, the visuals are fantastic, and the whole movie works beautifully. Sometimes, the music was too loud and you couldn't hear the dialogue, but that only happened a couple of times and I don't want to nitpick. What's a little loudness when you have the most original action scenes since The Matrix? And the action scenes were not the only thing that reminded me about that modern classic, mind you, but that doesn't mean Inception is like The Matrix. Well, it is, but only in the sense that it is as daring, innovative, and mindbending as the Wachowski brothers' masterpiece. (Hopefully, there won't be any clunky sequels coming our way, though.) Therefore, if you are looking for a great time at the movies this summer, go see Inception, and then tell us how you think the movie ends. I have a few theories, but I'm not going to share them with you until you see the movie. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sexually Active

I know it's crazy, but I had never seen Juno until last week. My girlfriend was in the mood for something funny, and she suggested we watched it, to which I readily agreed. Since you've probably seen it, I won't bother with a summary of the story, so I'll go ahead and say I really enjoyed it. The acting was great, and the movie was packed with actors I like, such as Jason Bateman and the inimitable J.K. Simmons, in a role that was sweeter than usual for him. The dialogue was crisp and witty and natural, much more so than the too-hip-to-be-real lines in Jennifer's Body, Diablo Cody's second script. The music, on the other hand, I didn't care for at all. It fit the movie, sure, but it was horrible. I'm sure they could have found some other songs that would have also worked without making me want to tear my ears off. But that's a minor thing, and since the movie was so enjoyable, I'm willing to be lenient. Not that there is anything else that doesn't work, really, so if you still haven't seen Juno, make sure you check it out!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Welcome to Canaima

Arachnophobia is one of those movies I remember so fondly I'm always willing to watch it again. Surprisingly, my girlfriend had never seen it, so I bought it on DVD to rectify that sad situation, and I watched it with her. You're probably thinking that, since I hadn't seen it in years, I was disappointed by it, but nothing could be further than the truth. My recent experience working at the barn on a daily basis has made me appreciate this movie even more. Down in the barn, I'm surrounded by spiders (and other critters) of all kinds and sizes. I've seen cellar spiders, fisher spiders, black and yellow garden spiders, and even one brown recluse spider and one black widow, two of the most poisonous spiders in the world. Therefore, seeing Jeff Daniels and the rest of the cast struggle against the onslaught of deadly spider attacks that is spreading over the little town of Canaima became even more frightening than it was before. Plus, the movie is just plain fun, with witty dialogue, good acting, and a terrific setting. So, if you haven't seen this classic in a while, get the DVD and spend a great 110 minutes eating popcorn and shivering in disgust. Who could ask for more?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Religious Freaks

I had never even heard of Frailty, but my girlfriend assured me it was very good and that I needed to see it, so we curled up on the couch and played the DVD. I didn't know anything about the movie, and I found it to be gripping, disturbing, and very suspenseful. As for the story, suffice it to say that a father of two young kids claims to have been visited by an angel who gave him a list of demons posing as people, and it is his mission to destroy them. From there, things only get darker and more twisted.

Does it sound interesting? If you thing so, rent this DVD, because it's totally worth it. Even Stephen King endorses this film on the DVD cover, and he knows about relentless thrillers!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

What a Catch

I just finished reading Stephen King's novella Blockade Billy, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. (Big shocker, I know.) My favorite thing was the way the story is written. King favors stories in which characters tell stories, and I think he's honed to perfection his skill at telling this particular kind of tale. In Blockade Billy, an old guy who is being interviewed by King himself tells the story of William Blakely: how he became part of the Titans (a baseball team), how he became known as Blockade Billy, and how his very existence was erased from all records.

The story was interesting, but it was the way it was told that did it for me. I liked the characters, and I was curious to see how things would turn out, even though you know, right from the start, that there won't be a happy ending.

Like I said, I enjoyed Blockade Billy, and it only increased my eagerness to read King's new short-story collection (four novellas, actually), Full Dark, No Stars, which comes out November 9. And while I wait for it, let's see if I get around to reading Under the Dome, because it's about time!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Shocking

My girlfriend and I watched Brüno a few days ago, and "shocking" is probably the best word to describe Sacha Baron Cohen's outrageous movie. While I didn't like Brüno nearly as much as Borat, it was still entertaining and hilarious, and, above all, shocking. I think I spent most of the time with my mouth open in disbelief, amazed at Baron Cohen's audacity. The things he does, the comments he makes, and the people and collectives he targets --this man must have balls of brass, seriously. My girlfriend mentioned he was arrested several times throughout the making of the film, and I totally believe that. I like to push people's buttons, but I'd never dare pull the stunts he does for fear of retribution and physical harm. Yet Baron Cohen is fearless, and for that, if nothing else, Brüno is worth watching. But when you squirm on your couch, don't say I didn't warn you.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bad Videogame Movies

Check out Techland's list of 10 horrible movies based on videogames. I have only seen one of them (Super Mario Bros, which, if memory serves, was pretty awful), but I have to agree they all look horrendous. Actually, I might have seen the Mortal Kombat movie they have listed, but I'm not sure. What I am sure of, however, is the number of Uwe Boll movies featured in this list: three. As if we needed to be reminded of why he is so widely reviled. Anyway, take a look at the list, and let us know how many of these you have seen, and how awful you think they are. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Best of Joss Whedon

Entertainment Weekly conducted a poll that once again proves I'm weird. I usually say my taste seems to run contrary to what most people seem to like, and this article showcases it. My beloved EW asked their readers what Joss Whedon's best work is, and the results shocked me beyond words:

Dollhouse: 37%
Buffy: 29%
Firefly: 16%
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: 4%
Angel: 3%
Serenity: 2%

Now, if you were to ask me, I think Angel is, by far, Whedon's best creation, a show that kept getting better season after season. Buffy would come in second place, and Serenity would definitely be third. Since I've only seen a couple of Dollhouse episodes (I didn't like them), and I've never seen Dr. Horrible, Firefly would come in fourth place. As for the grades (there is only one of me, so I won't do percentages), on a scale from 1 to 10, they would look something like this:

Angel: 10
Buffy: 9
Serenity: 8
Firefly: 6

So there you go: I must be crazy. What do you guys think? Is Dollhouse Whedon's best work and I've just missed it? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Medieval Castle

How crazy is this? These people are building a castle in France using only medieval techniques and tools, and so far, the project looks amazing. Watch the short video that plays when you visit the website, and tell me it is not amazing. I want to go visit!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Focus on Your Focus

I barely remember the original, but I am ready to claim the new version of The Karate Kid surpasses it. My girlfriend and I went to see it, and we both loved it for many reasons: the compelling underdog story, the great acting (both Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan are terrific), the themes of overcoming your fear, fighting for what you want, and committing to something and sticking with it... There was nothing in this movie that didn't work.

Jaden Smith turned out to be not only surprisingly adorable but also a very gifted actor, and he effortlessly conveyed little Dre Parker's plight when he and his mom move to China. His relationship with her (Taraji P. Henson), with Mr. Han (Jackie Chan), and with Mei Ying (Wenwen Han) made the movie for me, and by the end I was rooting so badly for him I am almost embarrassed to admit it. As for Jackie Chan, he delivered a very restrained and dramatic performance that blew me away. If I was to learn Kung Fu, I would want no other master, that's for sure.

The movie clocks in at two hours and twenty minutes, but I was captivated by it the whole time, and I could have watched for a lot longer than that, since time flew by while I was in the theater. I thought the previews look good, but I wasn't expecting such a great film. Therefore, if you still haven't seen The Karate Kid, I can't recommend it enough. Until Inception opens, it might just be the best film playing at your local multiplex, so do yourself a favor and go see it. You can thank me later.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pixar Movies

The awesome-
ness of Toy Story 3 got me thinking, and I decided to rank all the movies Pixar has made so far. They are all great, and if you haven't seen them all, you don't know what you're missing, so do yourself a favor and get them on DVD if you don't have them already. And if you do, let us know which one is your favorite. I know it's hard, because they are all brilliant, but what else do you have to do? That's what I thought.

1. Toy Story
2. The Incredibles
3. Finding Nemo 4. Up
5. Toy Story 3 6. Toy Story 2
7. Wall-E
8. Monsters, Inc.
9. Ratatouille
10. A Bug's Life
11. Cars

Except for Cars, I find all of the above movies incredibly original and full of unexpected twists and developments. They all feature compelling characters, great scripts, and funny dialogue. They are all touching and deeply moving, they come with valuable lessons about friendship, love, and perseverance, and a couple of them in particular (The Incredibles and Wall-E) pack a surprising amount of scathing criticism about society, the triumph of mediocrity, and where corrupt moral values will take us. Put it another way, serious stuff combined with giddy playfulness. Last but not least, let's not forget how the original Toy Story changed the game when it became the first completely computer-animated film ever, and how the geniuses at Pixar have kept on improving their craft, releasing masterfully animated after masterfully animated works of art, be it a feature-length movie or a short film. I think I tend to take this for granted, which is a testimony to the way Pixar always puts the story and the characters before the technical wizardry. For them, it's always about the story, and those stories are always amazing. Here's to eleven more masterpieces!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Loud

The one thing that I remember after going to see The A-Team is how loud it was. Well, that, and how good it wasn't. I didn't have high expectations, knowing that having grown up with the original show meant I would be disappointed by the movie no matter what they did. And yet, what they did could have been so much better.

The first twenty minutes or so were downright horrible. We witness how (most of) the members of the A-Team met, but said introduction is marred by coincidence and lack of explanation. Immediately after this, we fast-forward to the mission they undertake and that, as fans of the show will already know, will result in Hannibal and his boys being framed and incarcerated. This little adventure was also near incomprehensible and incredibly boring, and I kept hoping things would get better after they broke out of prison to clear their names.

Things did get better after that, which was a relief, seeing as I was contemplating walking out of the theater, but the movie wasn't great. Actually, it wasn't even good --it was entertaining, and barely so. As I said, it was so loud that a lot of the dialogue and (I hope) funny one liners simply got lost in the explosions, shootings, crashes, revving up of engines, screaming, etc.

At least, the acting was okay, and the characterization was good, but as a fan of the show, I missed the original cast, even though I understand it would be impossible to have them portray these beloved characters once again. However, a couple of them do show up after the credits, so if you go see the movie, stay until the end. My advice to you, though, is that you save your money and go see something else. Really.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Copycat

I was checking out movies at Walmart the other day, and this hot new release on DVD caught my eye. "Well," I said to myself, "I didn't know Taken was a new release anymore." Then I did a double take and realized the DVD I was looking at was not the awesome flick starring Liam Neeson, but a cheap knockoff starring… Steven Seagal. I mean, look at those covers and tell me Taken was not the inspiration for The Keeper. But it gets better. Here you have the synopsis:

"Roland Sallinger is an LA cop who after nearly being killed by his greedy partner, and eventually being forced to retire for medical reasons, flees to San Antonio, Texas, after being asked to work as a bodyguard for the daughter of a wealthy businessman. The businessman had been a colleague of Sallinger years before, when they were both cops. When mobsters kidnap the businessman's daughter, he hunts them down to rescue her and protect her."

Doesn't it sound like Taken? Are you laughing or crying now? I'm not sure what to do myself...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

French Wonderland

You know I'm a big Alice fan, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to purchase the Spanish version of Alice au Pays des Merveilles, written by David Chauvel, and illustrated by Xavier Collette. The story closely follows the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, which made me very happy, and the artwork is extraordinary. Collette's illustrations are, in fact, the main reason why I bought the book, and his work is solid throughout the seventy plus pages the story takes to develop. From the way he depicts the Cheshire Cat to the Caterpillar, the March Hare, or the Duchess, Collette's rendition of Wonderland's denizens is simply breathtaking. So, if you like the original text, or if you like great artwork, or if you thought Tim Burton's movie was horrible, drive to the nearest bookstore and get this book. You will not regret it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Black Witch

Is Rachel Morgan a black witch? Well, that depends on who you ask. I'm not going to say anything other than White Witch, Black Curse, the seventh book in The Hollows series, is a terrific read, as good as the previous six volumes, and better than pretty much anything else I've read so far this year.

Kim Harrison picks up the story right where she left it at the end of The Outlaw Demon Wails, and we find Rachel and Ivy dealing with the aftermath of the event at the end of said book. From there, things get more and more complicated (as it tends to be the case in Rachel's world), we meet new characters, we revisit old characters, and Rachel's status quo in Cincinnati keeps evolving and developing and changing. Is it for the better? It sure is --at least for the reader, who will enjoy this novel tremendously. So, if you still haven't started reading this series, go buy Dead Witch Walking and get up to speed!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Beloved Toys

That Toy Story is one of the best movies ever made and that Pixar is incapable of making a bad movie are two universal truths I hope everyone has by now accepted. That said, it is perfectly understandable that I went to see Toy Story 3 with huge expectations, and that the movie met them.

It was great to see Buzz and Woody again, and the situations they find themselves in are funny, touching, and exhilarating at the same time. The voice acting is superb, and it only adds to the personality and characterization of our old friends, who to me are the main draw. I care deeply about them, and I want to know what happens to them when Andy goes to college. Are they going to be left behind? Are they going with him? In what predicaments will they find themselves, and how will they solve the situation? And as far as solving a situation goes, the brilliant "prison break" sequence in the movie is riveting and incredibly well conceived.

I could just go on and on about how TS3 is yet another masterpiece by Pixar Animation Studios (I could talk about Ken and Barbie, for instance), but I'd rather you discover it for yourselves, so just go to the nearest movie theater and buy a ticket for one of the best movies of the year.

PS: I have to mention Day & Night, the short film that plays before the movie. In the best Pixar tradition, this little movie is a work of art, and of a mindbending originality. You have to see it to believe it!

Monday, July 12, 2010

España, campeona del mundo

Aunque por estos lares no somos muy aficionados al fútbol, este hecho histórico no puede quedar sin mencionarse.

Somos los mejores, a pesar de que a los pobres jugadores los inflaron a patadas. Un justo gol de Iniesta al final de la prórroga nos dio el mundial; pero sin los paradones de Casillas y el resto del equipo no hubiese sido posible.

Como momento divertido después del partido, ved este vídeo.

1.21 Gigawatts

Here you have a silly picture of H.G. Wells working on his time machine. I had just finished reading Time After Time, the book by Karl Alexander, and I felt like drawing Wells in his workshop. I know the time machine is supposed to look nothing like what I drew, so spare me the observation. I just wanted to have some fun, and that's exactly what I did. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Time Machine

Time After Time was such an entertaining read, I finished it in about two days. This tale by Karl Alexander stars H.G. Wells, who has just invented a time machine that he shows his friends. One of those friends, a surgeon, happens to be (heretofore unbeknownst to Wells) Jack the Ripper, who uses the time machine to travel to the future to escape the Scotland Yard cops who are closing in on him. Feeling it's his responsibility to bring him back to justice, Wells uses his own invention to chase the vicious killer, and he himself arrives in 1979.
The book was a lot of fun, and even though the writing was sometimes a bit juvenile (dialogue attribution sentences like "he ejaculated" meaning "he said" or "he shouted" made me cringe on more than one occasion), I enjoyed the story and the characters immensely. Sure, it was fairly predictable, and sure, there were more than a few stereotypes and common places, yet the story was so compelling I ate it up from beginning to end. (Come to think of it, the same happened to me with Avatar.) Therefore, if you're looking for a nice sci-fi/thriller/romance/action story, pick up Time After Time, and start reading. A tremendously enjoyable book!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lo sabía pero fui

¿Qué es lo que me poseyó, preguntáis, para que fuera a ver La venganza de Ira Vamp? En primer lugar, diré que no lo hice del todo voluntariamente. Como ya sabéis, estaba pasando tres semanas en Valencia con un grupo de estudiantes, y las chicas querían ir a ver una película española. Tras consultar la cartelera, sólo había dos películas españolas en los cines a los que podíamos ir andando: Que se mueran los feos, y La venganza de Ira Vamp. Tras ver los trailers de rigor, ambas parecían igualmente infumables, pero como Josema Yuste siempre me ha hecho bastante gracia, pensé que, a lo mejor, la película me sorprendía. Además, LVDIV está basada en una obra de teatro por él protagonizada, y la última función teatral con Yuste al frente que vi hace algunos años, Nadie es perfecto, me pareció hilarante y entretenidísima. Así que les dije a las niñas que querían ver LVDIV.
Como ya os podéis imaginar, la peliculita es bastante infame, y pese a durar 99 minutos, me pareció que casi llegaba a las cuatro horas y ya no sabía cómo sentarme. Además, y aunque ya me imaginaba que la producción sería más bien barata, me sorprendió (para mal) que en muchas escenas la cámara estuviera desenfocada y la nitidez de imagen (y proyección) brillara por su ausencia. En cuanto a las interpretaciones de Yuste y Florentino Fernández, confieso que me arrancaron más de una risa, pero creo que me hubiera gustado más como obra de teatro que como película. Los juegos de palabras y equívocos tienen su gracia, pero la película se hace eterna sin un descanso entre actos, y para cuando aparece Chiquito de la Calzada, al espectador ya ni le queda paciencia ni ganas de reírse.

En definitiva, más me habría valido quedarme fuera de la sala leyendo mientras mis alumnas tenían una experiencia cinematográfica española, conclusión que intentaré recordar en mi próxima encarnación. Y aun así, si tuviera ocasión de ver la historia representada en el teatro, puede que picara otra vez. ¿Es grave, doctor?

Friday, July 09, 2010

Al final, género

Aquí tenéis la última metedura de pata lingüística con que me he encontrado durante mis tres semanas en Valencia. Dejando aparte que a Tomás le falta un acento en la a, me parece sorprendente que quienquiera que creara este cartel no supiera que "rehabilitación," al igual que todas las palabras terminadas en -ción, es un sustantivo femenino y que, por tanto, el adjetivo postpuesto debería ser "histórico-artística," no "artístico." ¿Acaso está llegando la sociedad a tal nivel de menguada burrería que ya ni se sabe qué palabras son masculinas y cuáles femeninas? Así van las cosas...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

El maestro de ajedrez

Aquí tenéis un dibujillo basado en La tabla de Flandes, la novela de Arturo Pérez-Reverte que me leí el otro día. Si habéis leído este estupendo libro, espero que no tengáis problemas para identificar a los tres personajes de la ilustración; y si por el contrario no habéis oído siquiera hablar de la novela, entonces probablemente os dé lo mismo quiénes son. De una forma u otra, espero que os guste!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

La i perdida

Curioso cartel este, cerca de la Plaza del Ayunta-
miento de Valencia. Como suele ser habitual en la Capital del Turia, los carteles están en dos idiomas: español en la parte superior, y valenciano en la inferior. Si observáis el cartel blanco, podéis ver esto perfectamente ilustrado. Sin embargo, en el cartel verde que, al parecer, no tiene más función que la de repetir lo que indica el blanco, se puede apreciar una interesante errata, pues a la palabra "Ayuntamiento" le falta la i, con lo que se está señalando hacia un extraño edificio desconocido llamado "Ayuntamento". Que me podéis llamar puntilloso y todo lo que queráis, pero es que, ¿cómo es posible que nadie se haya dado cuenta ? Como siempre, la estupidez humana no conoce límites.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

El caballero comido

Parece mentira que, siendo tan ferviente seguidor como soy de Arturo Pérez Reverte, aún no me hubiera leído La tabla de Flandes, quizás uno de sus libros más conocidos y populares. Dispuesto a poner fin a tan lamentable situación, me hice con él en Fnac en mi visita a Valencia, y me lo ventilé en cuestión de tres o cuatro días.
La razón por la que creo no había leído tan estupenda novela todavía es que vi la infame versión cinematográfica de 1994 cuando salió en vídeo, y al parecer se me quitaron las ganas de acercarme al texto original. Sin embargo, el libro ofrece un magnífico relato de intriga, asesinatos, sospechosos múltiples y lógica implacable acompañado de notas históricas fascinantes y magníficos diálogos al más puro estilo del escritor de Cartagena. Así que, tanto si soléis leer lo que Pérez-Reverte publica como si nunca habéis leído un libro suyo, no dudéis en haceros con La tabla de Flandes, que a buen seguro os hará pasar varias horas atrapados en sus magníficas páginas.

Monday, July 05, 2010

And You Speak English?

I was in Valencia, Spain, for three weeks, and in my time there I managed to collect several typos and mistakes I thought would make for entertaining entries for the blog. They are all in Spanish, except for this one, which is in English. As you can see, it is a McDonald's ad, and while there's nothing wrong with the Spanish version, the English text stopped me in my tracks. "Near of you"? What does that mean? Obviously, they mean "Near you," but it seems whoever was entrusted with translating the Spanish ad to English either has no clue, or used an online translator (which would mean he has indeed no clue). At any rate, this sad attempt at appealing to the English-speaking community (or simply tourists) in Valencia elicited some laughs and managed to be noticed, so I guess that, in a sense, the ad did was it was supposed to do: grab my attention to the point of making me forget about everything else around me. And still, I won't be going to McDonald's any time soon.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

EuroFashion Criminal

There is something to be said about European fashion, and it isn't very nice. For three weeks, my senses have been assaulted by incredibly short skirts, horrible see-through tops, denim-on-denim combinations, super-tight pants, boots that match nothing, plaid capri pants for guys, and the worst offender of them all: the sandalboots. Incredibly, a woman I think was Italian managed to combine most of those egregious mistakes into one ludicrous ensemble, and therefore inspired this picture, which showcases her sad lack of good taste and even more glaring lack of self-awareness or embarrassment. The lady in question was wearing a white t-shirt, ultra short shorts (much shorter than those depicted) with red and black suspenders (I swear this is true), a ridiculously huge hat, and the notorious sandalboots which, in her case, were black and reminded me of something that was in style when the Roman Empire fell. Mesmerized, my girlfriend and I kept staring at her while she shopped, and then I decided to immortalize her in a silly picture. Not as silly as the way she looked, though!

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Toothy Endowment

I've been walking past this place for about three weeks now, and it cracks me up every time I see it. Of course, nobody here in Spain would think anything of the name of this I am sure very nice clothing store, but can you imagine a business thus named in the United States? The thought makes me giggle like an immature school boy, and I hope it will amuse you too.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Old Unpopular G1 Bots

As you might already know, I love Transformers, but I find them extremely hard to draw. I tackled a couple of my favorite characters last year, and a whole year had to go by before I attempted it again. This time, I drew Jazz, an Autobot I wanted to have in that picture from last year, but who sadly ended up not being featured for reasons of time, space, and energy. As a way to celebrate the release of Transformers: War for Cybertron, I decided to rectify this glaring omission, and you can see the result accompanying these lines.
As an amusing side note, today I discovered that I apparently like the "old, unpopular G1 Transformers nobody likes," such as Wheeljack, Prowl, Blaster, and the aforementioned Jazz. I mean, really? People don't like Grimlock and Jetfire? I am a big fan of the G1 Transformers, because Transformers #1 (the Marvel series) was the first comic book I ever bought back when I was little. I'll be the first one to admit the artwork wasn't all that great, but the new Dreamwave and IDW renditions of those characters are unbelievable, and I find them infinitely more appealing than the Michal Bay movie versions or the more recent cartoons, which is precisely why I think War for Cybertron looks so amazing.

Anyway, long story short (too late for that, I know), I hope you enjoy my depiction of Jazz. It took me abou three hours from start to finish, but it was a lot of fun!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Reading List: June

I managed to read a lot more in my travels than I thought possible, and I am happy to see this month's list is so long. Interestingly enough, most of these books are nonfiction, an unexpected and unintentional pattern I only noticed halfway through the month, but they were very, very different from one another. I've already told you about most of these, but I thought I would compile the titles for you. This is what I read in June:


People Are Unappealing
Read my original review of this book by Sara Barron here.


No Touch Monkey!
Read my original review of Ayun Halliday's travel memoir here.


Shakespeare: The World as Stage
You can find my original review of Bill Bryson's book here.


Reading the OED
I already told you how entertaining I found this book by Ammon Shea.


Haunted Love
Check out my original review of Chris Gonsalves's spooky stories here.


Mientras ellas duermen
Javier Marías's short-story collection was great, as I already told you.


La tabla de Flandes
I'll tell you about this wonderful book by Arturo Pérez-Reverte very soon!

Time After Time
This book by Karl Alexander was awesome. More on it soon!

And that's it for June. Come back next month for more books and (hopefully) comic books!