Song of the Week: “Dying Breed” by Marissa Nadler (Stefan Biniak Private Edit)

Marissa Nadler is a singer-songwriter from Boston, but I’d not heard of her before now. In fact, “Dying Breed” is not a new song, but one she released back in 2007.  Luckily, German DJ Stefan Biniak is more up to date on Boston artists and has added the perfect groove to her vocals in this remix.

What musical discoveries have you made recently? Let me know in the comments.

Beer Review: Long Trail Seaport Honey Ginger IPA

Beer: Seaport Honey Ginger IPA
Brewer: Long Trail Brewing Co.
Source: 12 oz. bottle
Rating: *** (7.6 of 10)
Comments: Like a jar of honey, this beer is golden and sparkling with a finger-width head.  It gives off a scent that is, yup, ginger and honey.  True to its name, the flavor is also ginger with a hint of honey sweetness.  The beer leaves nice stratigraphic levels of lace on the side of glass.  This beer is yummy, assuming that you like ginger.

Beer Review: Harpoon The Long Thaw

Beer: The Long Thaw White IPA
Brewer: Harpoon Brewery
Source: 12 oz bottle
Rating: *** (7 of 10)
Comments: Pours out cloudy blonde with a medium head. The scent is grassy with hints of citrus.  The taste of this beer is earthy followed by a hop explosion.  This beer is smooth and drinkable and a worthy addition to the Harpoon lineup.


Beer Review: Notch LP India Pale Lager

BeerLP India Pale Lager
Brewer: Notch Brewing Company
Source: Draft
Rating: *** (7 of 10)
Comments: An amber beer that has a foamy head and light carbonation, LP offers a strong floral aroma with hints of apricot and grapefruit.  The flavor is a pleasant mix of bitter and fruity.  Notch continues to impress with their well-balanced offerings.


Movie Review: Frances Ha (2012)

TitleFrances Ha
Release Date:
Director: Noah Baumbach
Production Co: R.T. Features
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: Comedy | Mumblecore
Rating: ***

This stylized b&w film follows the foibles of a 27-year old dancer in New York over the course of a year in which her prospects for work, relationships, and even a place to live dwindle.   It would be very easy to classify this movie as white whine, especially Frances with her poor decision-making skills and nervous way of interacting with other people is not the most sympathetic lead.  But then I remember how stupid I was when I was 27.  I wouldn’t blame anyone for not liking this film because it could easily rub one the wrong way, but I warmed up to Frances and her story.

Movie Review: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)

Title: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
Release Date: 25 November 1987
Director: John Hughes
Production Co: Paramount Pictures
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre:  English
Rating: **1/2

This is one of those supposed classics that I never got around to seeing until now, so I have no nostalgia connected to this movie.  A lot of the gags in this movie that I expect are supposed to be laugh aloud funny didn’t even make me chuckle, especially all the “funny car” gags in the latter parts of the film (and I was spoiled for the “that’s not a pillow” gag years ago).  The one exception was Steve Martin’s tirade at Edie McClurg.  So this comedy didn’t make me laugh, but fortunately John Hughes’ writing goes beyond just laughs and I was impressed by how he develops the central idea of empathy among the two characters.  It helps a lot that while “wacky opposites” they’re more than caricatures, and Martin and John Candy play them perfectly.  It was also a nice little time capsule of the United States in 1987, and well, that made me nostalgic after all.  So even though I didn’t find Planes, Trains & Automobiles to be all too funny, I did think it was a decent movie.

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TV Shows That Everybody Loves (That I Have Never Watched)

Here is a list – and a not a complete one – of the tv shows everyone is always talking about that I have not watched one episode. I’m not putting this out here because I’m proud, nor am I ashamed, just noting the wide chasm between me and popular culture common wisdom.

  • Arrested Development
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Breaking Bad
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Community
  • Dexter
  • Downton Abbey
  • Family Guy
  • Firefly
  • Game of Thrones
  • Girls
  • Homeland
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Lost
  • Mad Men
  • The Sopranos
  • Supernatural
  • 24
  • Veronica Mars
  • The Wire

What TV shows have you missed?

Book Review: Gregor and the Code of the Claw by Suzanne Collins

AuthorSuzanne Collins
TitleGregor and the Code of the Claw
Publication Info: [New York] : Listening Library, 2008.
ISBN: 9780739364895
The final volume of The Underland Chronicles completes the fascinating and well-written series.  While at heart a war story, it finds its protagonist Gregor grappling with ethical dilemmas, mortality, and fate.  And if you’re like me and thought the prophecies of Sandwich were too overbearing in the earlier novels, it was a relief to see what Ripred and Gregor make of the final prophecy.  The Underland Chronicles are a worthy addition to fantasy literature and something readers of all ages should enjoy.
Rating: ****

Book Review: Fables 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham

AuthorBill Willingham
TitleFables 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers
Publication Info: New York : DC Comics, c2012.
ISBN: 9781401202224

The Fables series returns to a full story arc in this collection as the Fables’ sanctuary in New York is invaded by forces of the Adversary.  I liked this one better than the other compilations thus far as the characters are developing and growing on me, and this story was well-constructed.  Even the villains, while derivative of Agent Smith in The Matrix, were a clever and interesting conceit.

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Rating: ***