Week 25, Film 25 – Jurassic World

I was really, really looking forward to Jurassic World.  Jurassic Park has a special place in my heart, having watched it in my mid teens and being in awe of the CGI that was used in it. I remember CGI being as something still quite new at the time and it made an impressive change from the old school SFX.

But I left this film feeling as if I’d seen it all before, mainly in the heavily promoted trailer.  It was a good film, and would recommend other seeing it, but to me it suffered in the comparison with the original.  I did really enjoy the knowing in-jokes though – the great white shark serving as dinner for one of its long-ago ancestors was great.

I am going to leave you with this far superior trailer for Jurassic Weenies.

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Book Sixteen, Week Sixteen: Let Me Tell You About Beer

Technically, Melissa Cole‘s book Let Me Tell You About Beer isn’t a new book for me, but I was (a) doing research for my beer tasting and (b) it was at a bargainous price on Amazon, handy for studying it on the move.

I’d really highly recommend it to those who are curious about finding out more about beer, and want something that’s easy to understand and not condescending.

Booze sans booze!

I’ve been *terrible* at posting in here this month!  I am still keeping to my goal of four new things a week, but finding the time to post about them has been quite tricky!  Must get around to putting in some placeholder posts…

One of the things that’s been stopping me posting is the fact that I’m organising my first ever beer tasting session!  Club Soda UK wanted to put together a session for people who like beer but for various reasons want to drink beers that have either no alcohol, or have a low ABV.  It’s been quite a challenge to put together a varied list, but I think I’ve now managed to create something that shows that alcohol free beer doesn’t just mean Becks Blue.  I’ll post my list and tasting notes in here next week…

Film Fifteen, Week Fifteen: While We’re Young

I really enjoyed the first half of this film, While We’re Young.  Really, truly. Ben and Naomi’s acting is terrific, and did send me into a little tailspin about my unfulfilled potential (oh god, please don’t let me be like their characters).  I also thing Amanda Seyfried and Adam Driver are perfect as entitled millennials. But gosh, I keep on trying to remember how it finished and my mind sort of drifts over it.  I am sure it was worthy and all that, but nope, nothing stuck.  The end.

(Postscript: what, wait, am I a millennial? That’s the new name for Generation Y?  I assumed I was a Generation Y but apparently I am from Generation X. But I don’t feel like Generation X. But then I am so totally not a freaking millennial. Harumph.)

Cork, and a kind of beery-catch up.

The Handsome Family, Handsum IPA and Hanson er, yes, hanging out with the most excellent Tony were the highlights of last weekend.  This whole trip can be told via the medium of beer, as can most of my holidays.

  1. Handsum IPA – after checking in to our hotel, and eating the best fish supper I’ve had since Victoria BC (I don’t understand why people think that English do good fish and chips), we head down to local pub, Sin é.  Walking in is pretty much like walking into a stereotypical Irish Tourism Board video – locals drinking pints of stout at the dark and cosy bar, a covers band sounding just like they’d stepped out of The Commitments playing in the corner.  We order two pints of Handsum IPA and it’s the perfect thing to drink after the greasy fatty salt of dinner. Fresh, malty, lots of hops but not overpoweringly, almost like beers I had on the West Coast.  Maybe because the beer was served so close to source? Closing time comes too soon.
  2. Survivor, Mi Daza XXX – Next day we head out for an excellent late breakfast bap at the English Market, pick up our Handsome Family tickets and head over to the Rising Sons Brew Pub.  Once we dismantled houses brick by brick and reassembled them over in America – now we do the same but in reverse and with sports bars.  The beers we try there are great – a Beara Irish/Rising Sons collaboration, the Survivor pale ale is dry hopped, with a tropical zing, and the Mi Daza XXX is a nitro-poured Cork stout, with a great cocoa aroma, roasty and creamy and smooth.
  3. Purgatory, Shandon Stout, Rebel Red – We head on up the hill to the Cork Butter Museum which I was prepared to laugh at, but was actually gently brilliant in the way only highly focused regional museums can be.  The Franciscan Well brewery is next on our list.  The first beer, Purgatory, is a good solid pale ale.  That’s all I can remember about it, and my notes don’t help.  The stout was quite sweet, almost too much so, and quite thin.  The Rebel Red was possibly the crappest beer I’ve had in years, and I am surprised that there are people out there that rate it highly.  It tasted like someone had left a pair of new, cheap rubber flip flops in by accident whilst fermenting.  But luckily the pub saves the day with a delicious taste of Jameson Whiskey Caskmate, whiskey aged in a stout barrel.  It starts off with cocoa beans and stout before finishing off like sucking on a butterscotch.

To be continued…

Book Nine, Week Nine: The Children Act by Ian McEwan

I love the law, not enough to have completed my half-hearted attempt at a graduate law degree before running off/away to live in another country, mind you, but I sometimes dip into a really interesting court case and admire the way the facts and the legal and moral arguments are picked apart in court, and put back together again in the findings of a judge.

I think that’s what I admired most about The Children’s Act by Ian McEwan, more than the tale of the marriage of High Court Judge Fiona Maye, and her husband Jack, which is fraying at the edges thanks to Jack’s desire to have one last grand affair.  Their relationship is almost an aside to the excellent way McEwan tells the fascinating tale of a court case involving a 17 year old boy with cancer who is refusing a blood transfusion on the basis that he is a Jehovah’s Witness.  The scenes set in Fiona’s chambers and in the court all make sense, but when she decides to visit the boy in hospital before making a judgement on whether the boy can or can’t consent to refusing treatment doesn’t work as well.

However, even when McEwan isn’t at his best, he’s still many, many miles ahead of many other authors of his ilk, and now I am going to go back and read On Chesil Beach.

Book Eight, Week Eight: Us, by David Nicholls

I feel bad. I dismissed David Nicholls as Not for Me based on the success of the book and film of One Day.  But the other week I saw his latest book, Us, for cheap in on Amazon and picked it up for my commute, thinking it would be something that wasn’t too taxing and could be easily interrupted when I changed at Oxford Circus.

However, this is an often touching and deftly comic tale of the end of a relationship, woven in along with the back story of how the couple came together in the first place.  A Guardian review criticises the book for being puritanical at times, but I think that just fits in neatly with the personality of the protagonist, Douglas.  The story is driven along by the family’s modern Grand Tour of Europe along with their almost-grown son, and the critiques of the art the families sees are particularly great, possibly because of my recent visit to the Rijksmuseum.