Jake Conrad

Jake Conrad
Blog dedicated to my writing and whatever else I want: movies, games, books, electronics, music, ... anything Jake. The interior of my mind is a mixture of grindhouse, steampunk, Lovecraft, and 80's pop. Be very afraid.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Viva O Brasil!

So my nerdy geekiness is hanging out for all to see here, but there is no secret that I love video games and that I love many of the video games moms warn their kids not to play. Call of Duty 4 was graphically amazing and had an intense storyline but the announcement of part 5 got me twiterpated as part of it is set Na Cidade Maravilhosa, Rio de Janeiro! I served my mission in Rio and saw quite a lot of bad elements around the favelas (Brazilian slums). (We were forbidden to enter them) I have also watched quite a few Brazilian films and love "Cidade de Deus" and "Tropa de Elite" - gritty crime movies set in the favelas. I'm stoked that not 1 but 2 games are going to be set there. Apparently the new Max Payne will also take place in a favela in Sao Paulo and he has a Brazilian wife who is captured. I know I'm a geek for loving video games and Brazil, but just let me enjoy this moment.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

I am about 1/3 the way through this short novel and I am simply loving it. It is the story of a spoiled, rich young man who is rescued from falling overboard an ocean liner by a fishing boat. He wants the boat to take him home right away, but the stern captain puts him to work instead.

This is a boys book filled with high adventure and what Kipling believes turns a boy into a man. I laughed out loud several times during the interactions between Captain Disko Troop and the boy Harvey. The story also made me reminisce about my first year working at the Peppermill Casino when I was 14. To learn to work as a young boy around men is a difficult and life-changing experience. You have to choose how to interact, how to be humble, and how to make a name for yourself.

Very enjoyable book. I should finish it tomorrow, and plan to challenge my boys to read it this summer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


I recieved Season 1 Disk 1 of Supernatural from Netflix and have really been digging the series. I normally don't watch TV but my cuz Jamison and his wife like it so much I thought I would give it a try. Sure it is a Twilight Zone, X-Files clone, but it is done well and is good for a thrill. The two brothers play well off each other and the acting isn't bad. I also like that they play alot of 80's hard rock as they drive around banishing creatures. I was especially impressed with the special effects. For a first season and for TV they are great. Don't worry, I haven't given up on my reading goals, just pacing myself sargent.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Swing and a Miss

As you see from my prior posts I have been trying to read more and watch less movies but I have not quite done as well as I had hoped. I gave up on "Bleak House" after nearly falling asleep on the toilet (not a pleasant experience). I started "Atonement" and started to get into it, but then cleaned out my car before my trip to Mesquite and never put it back into my car. Instead I have averaged a movie a day and nearly finished Stephen King's IT for the umpteenth time. I am not going to give up though! I plan on reserving a few books through the library so I don't have to search around so much and I am going to lower my goal a bit to acount for more movie watching. I am also going to sort my list and read the books I'm most interested in first. I have already added "A Clockwork Orange" and "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" to my library reserve list. I have been excited to read these books so I think it will motivate me to continue working toward my goal.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

100 Best Novels Update

My goal to start down the list of the 100 Best Modern Novels (see prior post http://jakeomatador.blogspot.com/2009/05/i-need-movie-intervention-now.html) got off to a pretty good start over the last 2 weeks as I listened to Joseph Conrad's Nostromo on my commute and started reading Charles Dickens' Bleak House in the bathroom.  I have to admit that I have been pretty bored with both books and had to force myself to finish Nostromo.  I have never been so drowsy on my commute in 6 years, but after drinking a sip of water every 2 minutes and slapping myself repeatedly I finished it.  It is amazing to me that Joseph Conrad learned English in his 20's and yet wrote so many novels.  Nostromo is kind of a masculine tale that takes place on an island.  I thought of Pirates of the Caribean several times as I listened to it because of it's setting.  The main character tries to be honorable but fails.  I have only read one other novel by Conrad, Heart of Darkness, and even though Nostromo is more readable, Heart of Darkness spoke to me more.

Bleak House is more difficult.  I am only a few pages into it and I don't feel like I will finish it.  I read it for 15 minutes and I begin to fall asleep.  It is the story of a multi-generational court case involving so many characters I forget who is who and have to go back and re-read.  It feels like work reading this book, and I work enough at work.  

I also read a book definitely not on the 100 best list, and I have to say I burned through it in days and had a blast with it.  It was Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk and it was gross, disturbing and right up my alley.  Breaking up Nostromo with it was the only way I didn't crash my car.

I picked up Atonement by Ian McEwen and another one I can't remember right now.  I also picked up 2 graphic novels I have already read because I know I'm going to give up on Bleak House.