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Old June 2nd, 2011 (3:50 PM).
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    Hey peeps! As of 17 hours after posting this thread, my exams will be over, so it’s about time that I started getting activity here to where it should be; and what better way to do that than another EMBLEM CONTEST, amirite? (“ZOMG, yes!” is the only fathomable response to that question.)

    As the title suggests, this’ll be a review contest. The best review will get a shiny new emblem (as well as a Supporter Tier), and those who participate will also get a participatory emblem (but no Supporter Tier, unfortunately). If this becomes popular, it might turn into a monthly/seasonal thing – hence this being known as the ‘June’ Review Contest – so I want this to be big, big, big!

    Later contests may be more specific in purview, but for this first one, it’s pretty much anything goes in terms of cultural stuff that can be reviewed. Below are a few guidelines on what can be posted:
    • Music: ALBUMS/EPs only; not singles. Any type of album is permitted, but it must be an album of sorts.
    • Film: No real boundaries here; shorts and features are more than welcome.
    • Television: An EPISODE of television only, not a whole season.
    • Literature: Anything goes; fiction and non-fiction are fine.
    • Theatre: Pretty much anything, but be clear about when and where you saw it, to differentiate it from other, similar productions.
    • Sport: A MATCH only, not a whole season of one sport.
    • Visual Arts: An EXHIBITION, and not a single painting/sculpture/whatever. (I know there’s a bit of overlap with the Art Gallery on this point, but I’ll accept reviews of this nature. No game reviews, though. Bug Captain Fabio about that!)
    If you think of something you’d like to review and it’s not on the above list, feel free to speak up either in this thread or by VM/PMing me. Now that those are out of the way, here are the rest of the rules that should be followed by everyone:
    1. Anyone can enter. Yay!
    2. All reviews should be written in English.
    3. Please spell-check your work and make sure your grammar is good.
    4. Post your entries in THIS THREAD. If you want to change it before the deadline, then just edit your post rather than making a new one.
    5. Reviews should be more than 500 words, but less than 1,500 words. (Good reviews aren’t short, but they’re often concise.) THIS WILL BE ENFORCED!
    6. This is a REVIEW contest, not a RECAP contest: a little bit of plot summary is nice and often necessary for bits of culture that involve narrative, but good reviews are analytical and yours should be too.
    7. Use paragraphs and avoid using extraneous formatting like underlining/bolding unless you think it is really justified.
    8. Extraneous information (pictures, a final rating, credits etc.) is not necessary but, if used well, can enhance your review. Think before using them, though… in particular, think about how your formatting will look on different styles.
    9. Proofread your work before submitting it, and don’t be afraid to sleep on it before finally clicking ‘Reply’.
    10. The contest will end at midnight GMT+1 on Sunday 26th June, 2011! Winners will hopefully be announced by the end of the month.
    11. The judges will be Mr Cat Dog and Abnegation. No bribing either of us!
    I think that covers everything. If you want to ask any questions, feel free to use this thread or VM me. Below is a set of review websites you can go to for some guidance/inspiration/vision quests. You don’t have to write your reviews like this, but bear in mind that these are professional reviewers for the most part, and many are regarded as the best in their field.

    Music: Drowned in Sound / Pitchfork (beware of the pretension here, though)
    Film: The A.V. Club / Roger Ebert / Nick’s Flick Picks (a bit academic, but very well written)
    Television: The A.V. Club / What’s Alan Watching?
    Literature: The A.V. Club / The New York Review of Books
    Theatre: The New York Times
    Sport: Just Football
    Visual Arts: The Telegraph

    Happy reviewing, everyone!

    Relevant Advertising!

    Old June 14th, 2011 (4:00 PM).
    RHIOneAlbum RHIOneAlbum is offline
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      Yay! I'm the first entrant!

      Lupe Fiasco's L.A.S.E.R.S.

      Lupe Fiasco has a history of being controversial, and isn't afraid to share his thoughts in their purest form. This is made evident in his two previous studio albums, Food and Liquor, and The Cool. His acronym for the album, L.A.S.E.R.S., stands for "Love Always Shines Everytime Remember 2 Smile", I will refer to the album as LASERS from now on, however.

      Without a #1 hit in his career, Lupe Fiasco's label took control of this album for the most part, leaving Lupe to having thoughts of suicide and hating the process of the album, not the album itself, however. Lupe is actually the original artist of B.o.B's smash hits Nothin' on You and Airplanes. B.o.B and Lupe are good friends, however, Lupe appearing on stage to congratulate B.o.B on his album release and giving him a cake even.

      The first single off the album, The Show Goes On, is Lupe's message to never give up and to pursue your dreams even when living harshly. As addressed in the line "Even if we turn the lights out the show is going on!" Fiasco's rhymes seem very dull as if he had few input and the label basically took over. The music video is Lupe walking from his dressing room to a stage while dancing in the halls and apparently walking into space. Don't forget when he turns 10. Overall, it is a pretty good music video but could have done better.

      The second track, and second single, Words I Never Said, might just win most controversial record of the millennium, if there was an award for that, the single is Lupe criticizing the everything from Obama to Islamic stereotypes. Skylar Grey's chorus sends chills through you as you hear listen. The music video furthers this, as Lupe raps against the power in a bus full of people with gas masks on, Lupe is taken and confronts world leaders, rapping his second verse and threatening to break the glass separating him from the leaders. In the third verse Lupe escapes from a jail cell and saves his imprisoned girl from the power.

      The third single off of the album, which was originally going to be "Never Forget You ft. John Legend", a powerful song about Lupe's life and struggles, was replaced by the pop-influenced, girly, "Out of My Head ft. Trey Songz", which is another love song just clotted with poor production, obnoxious chorus and bridge, and very dull lyrics. This is a single to skip while listening to LASERS. As for the music video, I hope that it does not come out and "Out of My Head" can die a quick death.

      The promo single released back in 2010, I'm Beaming was a direct shot at the Illuminati, and contained a slow chorus sang by an edited Lupe voice with raps that contain lyrics that are mouth dropping. The accompanying music video was produced with people making scenes out of cardboard cutouts while Lupe uses a shining finger to make hand motions.

      The rest of the album is basically at war with itself, you have a lot of appearances from Pooh Bear, now called MDMA, which sound very mainstream, yet some are quite good, others are similar to Out of My Head. State Run Radio is a song that criticizes the constant #1 replays on the radio, and the iTunes bonus track "Shining Down ft. Matthew Santos" has a "Clocks" by Coldplay sample and uses it well, Lupe's raps flowing easily and Santos' calm voice setting the floor for the next verse. "Shining Down"'s instrumental, a cover of Coldplay's "Clocks", was used in the promotion website It features a long inspirational quote from Lupe himself.

      The iTunes deluxe album contains an interview with Lupe, the "I'm Beaming" and "The Show Goes On" music videos, and "I'm Beaming" and Shining Down as bonus tracks. However when I view the album a screenshot of "I'm Beaming" shows up instead of the album cover. This is a fixable problem, however, and does not have to do with the album directly.

      Overall, I rate the album a 7 out of ten, would have been a 9 if it had not been for Out of My Head, a truly disappointing track for a Lupe album. I'd also recommend getting the iTunes deluxe album instead of the hard copy, as you get extra tracks, videos, and an interview for only 3$ more.

      This felt like more than 732 words lol. And that site, btw, isn't up anymore, Atlantic took it down ten days ago.
      Old June 22nd, 2011 (11:40 AM).
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      Avey Avey is offline
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        Funeral - The Arcade Fire

        I first listened to funeral this time last year, when i was facing my first set of state examinations... so i was feeling very stressed. I was worried... i was determined to get better results than certain friends of mine. On top of that, things online weren't going so great: a forum I used to frequent was coming to a close and I felt like I had nowhere to go. I needed something to show me that I wasn't alone - that people had dealt with what I was dealing with and lived to tell the tale.

        So anyway, it was about a month before my examinations were taking place and I was hanging out with a friend who was worried about maths and I was worried about Irish (the exams) and she was freaking out and I suggested she do something to calm herself down and she whipped out her iPod and threw me an earphone and she told me I was about to fall in love.

        For a second i thought she was coming onto me but she turned on Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels) and as soon as the piano and guitar started playing in sync, I realised I had stumbled upon something great.

        I went home, found out my dad had a copy of the CD and I upped it on iTunes and listened to it in its entirety... the climatic chorus followed by the weeping violin on Neighbourhood #2 (Laika), only to be followed by hard electric guitar... the classic blues guitar work on Une Annee Sans Lumiere avec les vocabulaire Francais... the album's second best song, accompanied by every instrument you could think of, only described as the beautiful mess that is Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)... the wailing folk that was Neighbourdhood #4 (Kettles)... Crown of Love is the redemption song with guitar notes as fragile as lead singer's Win Butler's voice... the highlight of the album, Wake Up, is an anthem-like, indie rock baroque pop mixture that completely changed my perception of music and if it wasn't for this song i probably wouldn't have listened to the album again... Haiti, a rushed acoustic song about Win Butler's wife's homeland in which regine herself sings... the album's easy listening song with crippling lyrics and an intense buildup, Rebellion (Lies)... and then the final song, In The Backseat, which offers absolutely no closure whatsoever.

        The closure you, the listener, had been waiting for. The closure they, The Arcade Fire, had been searching for. During the writing/recording process, three family members relating to members of the band died. Seeing as we're looking at a set of brothers and a wife/husband dynamic in the group, not just three people were upset. The emotions can be seen in the songs - a want to be able to hope for better, an embracing of death and misery and the fragile beauty that is humanity.

        If ever you felt like everything was being pushed away from you and you didn't think there was a way out, listen to this. You will never have heard anything like it because there was never anything like it and since, there hasn't been anything like it. The record itself is greatness and while it's not a healing record, it does help to know there are people out there in the same situation as you, desperately trying to be heard and sometimes just wanting the lights to go out for them.
        'It's been a prevalent notion. Fallen sparks. Fragments of vessels broken at the Creation. And someday, somehow, before the end, a gathering back to home. A messenger from the Kingdom, arriving at the last moment. But I tell you there is no such message, no such home -- only the millions of last moments . . . nothing more. Our history is an aggregate of last moments.'
        Old June 23rd, 2011 (6:58 AM).
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        Mastodon - Crack The Skye

        Mastodon are an American metal band from Atlanta, fromed in the 1999's. They are classed as a 'progressive metal' band, but they aren't your typical metal band. Crack The Skye is the third studio album from Mastodon, released 2009, with a new album set to be released in 2011.

        Mastodon's Crack The Skye came three years after their last release, Blood Mountain, and it can be argued that Crack The Skye is a lot more polished than their previous two; this could be put down to their popularity booming over the first two releases. However, this album has sparked a little bit of a split in the Mastodon fan base. Reason for this, is the album isn't as 'metal' as some might have expected, but this doesn't mean that the album is a waste of space, no sir.

        A quick look at the album, there are seven tracks, all of which are rather lengthy, the shortest being 3 minutes 29 seconds (Divinations) and the longest being 10 minutes and 54 seconds (The Czar). As usual, Mastodon give you epic compilations and don't skim on any part of it. Each song has something that will make you think 'wow'. Whether it be The Czar's length and their never ending spirit, or Oblivion's soothing vocals that still pack a punch when needed.

        One amazing part of this album that stands out is Mastodon's use of time. There are so many albums out there with two to three minute tracks, but it is packed full of them. Mastodon have fully understood the phrase, 'quality not quantity'. The transitions between songs are seamless and smooth, unlike other metal albums which feel fragmented and almost like the album was just thrown together. Mastodon have taken these songs and carefully blended them together, almost so you don't notice. Understandable, some people don't like the idea of this, however, it just works so well. Having these songs blending, means that you won't just be listening to one song and moving on, you will be going back to it again and again, listening to the whole album instead of just one song.

        As I mentioned before, each song as something special. The openings of the songs range from a banjo intro (Divinations), which is very upbeat to a calm guitar intro (Crack The Skye). Some might say that these varied intros mean that the album could sound messy and like they are trying too many different styles; I say that it shows the talent that the band has.

        Mastodon are nothing short of a great band who have won countless awards. They strive when it comes to new and interesting and Crack The Skye reflects this perfectly.
        Crack The Skye is a piece of art that everyone who enjoys metal should listen to.
        Old June 23rd, 2011 (11:38 AM). Edited June 24th, 2011 by Rogue planet.
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        Rogue planet Rogue planet is offline
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          Cocteau Twins - Violaine

          There are few musical acts that can produce an EP filled with more emotion than the best part of albums out there; Cocteau Twins are one of those few. Their 1996 EP Violaine acts as a suitable final farewell from the band, as it was their final release before their breakup one year later, due to the dissolved marriage of Elizabeth Fraser (Vocals) and Robin Guthrie (Guitar, electronics). After a career spanning almost two decades, the Cocteau Twins came a long way; nine albums and twelve EPs shows that they were no amateurs before Violaine, but they were certainly no experts either. Many of their releases were incoherent, only a few of their albums have been highly regarded, and their mainstream popularity had always been limited. It seems that the Cocteau’s knew of this, and kept it in mind when creating Violaine. As an EP consisting of only 5 songs, it’s concise, so there’s no room for mistakes; each song has to weave together almost seamlessly for it to ever be considered something more than “just a couple of outtakes”. Violaine makes an incredibly good shot at this; in the end it functions as more of a looking glass into what could have been if they’d stuck around for another album. But a looking glass can be interesting in its own right.

          The opening self-titled track, “Violaine”, is as close to a pop song as the Cocteau’s could ever get, yet still far from it. Guthrie overuses the flanging effects that the Cocteau Twins are known for, but also brings something relatively new by layering the guitars one over the other in a style reminiscent of “How Soon is Now?” creating an echo that sweeps around the powerful bass and sharp drum machine; adding their own flavour to a common post-punk style that’s since been abandoned by most other bands after the closure of the 80s. But what has always made the Cocteau’s unique is Elizabeth Fraser, once described as “the voice of God” she is simultaneously responsible for both the extensive fan base of the band, and their lack of mainstream success. Many albums would have her vocals faintly drifting in the background, but this time she is the clear focus; far louder and more prominent than before, yet still gentle and comforting. The development of Fraser’s voice plays no small part in making Violaine a notable addition to their work. However, the sheer power of the instruments on "Violaine" means she isn't given the chance to open the EP with her full capacity, and she's only able to really shine later on. Unfortunately this means “Violaine” just falls short of being a remarkable opener.

          “Smile”, follows suit, using the familiar pop song format of verse, chorus, verse, bridge, and chorus; much like "Violaine". But it does show hints of a more experimental side to the Cocteau’s than “Violaine” does. Guitars are used sparingly with synth being used in replacement; creating a fun, bubbly sound that’s reminiscent of a Christmas morning as a child. This is soon shattered by Simon Raymonde’s ever powerful bass. It still demonstrates the Cocteau’s talents well, but also demonstrates one of their biggest flaws. There’s too much happening all at once, and they can’t decide whether they want to be a rock band or a dream pop band. Tracks like “Smile” can easily divide listeners, and it’s not difficult to see why. Although “Smile” has flaws, when it’s not put into comparison with the other songs on the EP (which in fairness, have very high demands), it is still able to stand alone and be enjoyed all the same. It feels ever so slightly out of place; it’s a piece of the puzzle that isn’t quite sure where to fit in, but can be appealing to experience, regardless.

          The EP is given an entirely new angle by the third track, "Tranquil Eye". “Violaine” is the rock track, “Smile” is the bridge, and “Tranquil Eye” marks the full transition to an alluring ambience. The song was composed by the Cocteau’s for Chinese pop singer Faye Wong; it seems like a strange mix at first, but after the track starts, it’s evident why she’d want to collaborate with them. Guthrie manipulates sound as if he were a protégé of Brian Eno, capturing an ethereal, spiritual harmony, which seems to be appreciated in the east far more than in the west. The Cocteau’s also recorded their own version, and it really allows Fraser to flaunt her vocal abilities even further. Throughout the Cocteau’s career, many of Fraser’s lyrics have been undecipherable; on Violaine she proves better than ever before that they don’t need to be intelligible. Fraser becomes a connection between music and language. She does not simply sing; she uses her voice as an additional instrument to create sounds with emotion that no piece of musical equipment could ever portray. She shows that she can find a balance between creating both sound and poetry with one voice, within one song. Her ambiguous singing is often open to interpretation, and it allows listeners to hear lyrics that they themselves choose to hear, Fraser acts as the guiding voice that allows listeners with a little imagination to piece together songs of their own. There’s a clear sense of rhythm regardless of the unconventional style, her verses flow seamlessly into one another. Throughout this EP (and especially with “Tranquil Eye”) I get the feeling she’s reciting words from an archaic language long forgotten in the seas of time, rather than the thought that she’d merely choked on a line, which could sometimes be the case with prior, less refined efforts.

          There’s minimal ambience with the fourth track "Circling Girl", the guitar screeches with distortion, and it again reminds us of the Cocteau’s initial post-punk influences. They really return to their roots with this track, showing they can improve on what they did way back in the start of the 80s, as well as performing well with their evolved technique. The simplicity of this song is one of its virtues. Fraser’s lyrics are much easier to decipher in places, and there’s little experimentation beyond the heavy guitar effects (which, regardless, are nothing new). It’s a neat and comfortable little song that may not be especially significant in many people’s minds, but will certainly please those that enjoy Guthrie’s use of guitar. Not as hard-hitting as “Violaine” was, “Circling Girl” acts as it’s little sister.

          The fifth and final song “Alice” is perhaps the real highlight, the perfect icing on the cake to mark the end of Violaine, and their career. Returning to their ambient side showcased in “Tranquil Eye” with the addition of a few simple piano chord progressions leaves little essence on the instrumental side of things. Yet again it’s Fraser’s vocals that bring the song into a whole new level. The piano supplements her voice admirably. Fraser also double records her voice, allowing her to deliver her own backing vocals; something that can often be a risk for some, but her wide array of abilities (mainly being able to change her pitch so well) makes it seem as if she’d miraculously found somebody else that is just as capable as she is. Her dual vocal approach is the extra perk to make what would have been a very good song, into a great one; and arguably one of the best of their entire career. After the piano halts and Fraser drifts into silence, nothing remains but the few final seconds of droning ambience as Violaine comes to a close and the Cocteau’s fade into memory. I’m left feeling saddened that they had to end in such a way, yet content that I’ve been able to experience listening to a little treasure that, despite its imperfection, I know will find its way to my ears time and time again.

          Old June 25th, 2011 (8:09 PM).
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          Neptune Vasilias Neptune Vasilias is offline
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            X-Men: First Class

            Meet the first batch of young minds ready to take on society’s harshness and discrimination against mutants. Here’s a brief breakdown on the cast and movie synopsis. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender both star as Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto) respectively. Also, January Jones takes on as the evil seductive telepath Emma Frost while Jennifer Lawrence portrays as the shape-shifting Raven Darkholme also known as Mystique. Other mutants such as Azazel, Angel, Beast, Havoc and more are introduced with their own personal backgrounds.

            The movie starts out with a flashback during the time of World War I, showing us how Erik Lensherr, Charles Xavier and Raven Darkholme discovered their mutant abilities. The main antagonist of the plot, Sebastian Shaw, is also a mutant with the ability to contain all forms of energy and manipulate it. His plan is to persuade, or the better word is threaten, the Russian government to place Cuban missiles on an island near America, thus causing both super powered nations to declare war on one another, and of course, start up another World War- in this case, the third one. Why does he want to do so, you may ask? Simply, Sebastian Shaw wants to use that opportunity for mutants to rise against humanity in that war and with no exception, win. You could say that Shaw is trying to prove that mutant-kind is far more superior to mankind. On learning this, the CIA decides to team up with Charles, Erik and Raven to thwart Sebastian and his gang. Through the sequence of events as the team tries to track down Shaw as well as recruit more mutants to their cause, the origins of the Cerebro was shown and of course, the small dose of battle action scenes in a rather brief confrontation of both sides. The movie soon focuses to the tantalizing main dish which the audience relishes. As the two nations are on a verge of a nuclear war, our friendly mutants interfere to save the day along with intense epic battle scenes where both mutant sides face each other for the finale. Sebastian Shaw is killed by Erik Lensherr, ironically in the exact same way Shaw murdered Erik’s mother. The ending starts to slowly unravel with a dramatic yet somewhat fateful explanation as to how a rift formed between Charles and Erik, giving us the modern X-Men franchise we know.

            In terms of action scenes and battle scenarios, this movie would score perfectly, especially with well-placed moments of suspense and anticipation. One watching it would be constantly on tenterhooks. The further display of mutant powers and talents are just fascinating to behold, we see more tricks and stunts and the marvelous ingenious ideas the characters make use of. The visual and sound effects were well done, overall. I truly felt that the effects at a few points throughout the movie could have been toned down a notch, so as to not keep on startling the viewers unnecessarily. Also, I would appreciate it if our blue-skinned mutant would not show off a somewhat uncomfortable amount of flesh to ensure that this movie stays suitable for young easily-influenced minds and within its rating of PG 13.

            As always the battlefield becomes the place whereby characters fully develop and unleash their true potential. It may be cliché but it still sends across the inspirational message of believing in one’s self. In my opinion, this movie is possibly the best so far in its franchise, being more greatly accepted by the public and faring better than its predecessors X-Men Origins and The Last Stand. It is an essential prequel, definitely answering all the questions of X fans and giving us audience a deep insight into the complexity of the current X-Men. It also gives us some thought-provoking questions and a better outlook of humans ourselves, such as, how does society treat those who are specifically different from apparently normal people and how such discrimination or singling out can often result in strong negative feelings from the outcast and possibly leading to dire effects, as portrayed in the movie itself. The movie always shares a more toned-down subject to our growing young audience that true strength and power can only come from the heart, “the place between serenity and rage”, and not fueled by desire, anger or hatred. This can lead to more lessons to be learned in future.

            In conclusion, I think that this movie would be remembered as the best X-Men movie for a long time. If you’re someone who has been following the franchise since the start and have yet to watch this movie, I strongly encourage you to do so and all the questions you probably had in your mind when watching the earlier movies would surely be answered in that 132 minutes.

            Rating: 4 stars
            Old June 26th, 2011 (1:25 AM).
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            vaporeon7 vaporeon7 is offline
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            Vaporeon7's Ed, Edd n Eddy Episode Review
            Ed, Ed and Away

            Being the 10th episode of the 3rd season, Ed, Ed and Away keeps the hilarious standard that all the previous episodes have set. After the Eds fail at scamming Kevin with their bike selling scam they find a stray balloon floating in the air. Having all different motives, they chase after it. They find themselves through many funny and dangerous obstacles on their quest to capture the balloon.

            Being an episode I have always enjoyed, I still laughed at the random and silly humour and slapstick comedy used in the episode. There are many memorable and funny quotes throughout the episode such as:
            Edd: "It's the same thing! Day in and day out! It's so monotonous! A pipedream, at best."
            Ed: "You are not alone, my friend. I dream of pipes too."
            Eddy: "Boy, Ed, who'd have thought?"
            The episode is also jam-packed with tons of slapstick comedy like the type found in Looney Tunes, which anyone of any age can find funny. Which is an outstanding point about the episode, and cartoon in general. However parts of the episode could easily be seen as immature or just plain stupid. Such as the scene at Sarah and Jimmy’s ‘fake flight’ where may gags aimed at children are used. There are also plenty of cultural references snuck into the episode such as in the title ‘Ed, Ed and Away’ is a reference to Superman’s phrase ‘Up, up and away’.

            Music and Sound Effects: The episode used the classic but great Ed, Edd n Eddy music heard in most episodes. The music fits the scenes perfectly and also adds humor or emotion where needed. The sound effects make all injuries, crashes, bangs, bashes and crashes sound very dramatic appealing to all the slapstick lovers. There are also funny sound effects used when a character (mostly Ed) says something stupid. Those stupid sounds add a great deal to the jokes and help the viewer understand that one has been made. I give the music and sound effects in the episode an 8/10.

            Plot: The plot line of the episode was rather simple and short, not consisting of much more then three people chasing after a balloon for six minutes. This can be thought as of a bad thing, saying to the viewers that we are all idiots and we only need something simple to keep us happy or it can be thought of in a good way saying that we can get so much laughter out of such a simple plot. I give the plot a 7/10.

            Humor: The humor in the episode was great. Every few seconds were packed with it whether it be Edd hitting his head on the monkey bars after cautiously climbing the steps or Jonny getting a few nuts and some butter for lunch and Plank getting a steak and lobster lunch because he ‘pre-ordered’. Not many people would be able to resist laughing a few times throughout the episode. I give the humor of the episode a 10/10.

            Overall the episode lived up to the high standard of all other episodes having good sound, plot and humor. I rate the episode an 8/10.

            Old June 26th, 2011 (7:10 AM).
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            The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga

            I have never seen a white tiger before in real life, although I do know these light-colored felines are quite elusive. Due to being part of the same subspecies of tiger, they are not part of a distinct population, and simply stand out on their own within tenuous instances instead. Yet as rare as they may be, Aravind Adiga apparently picked this animal to name his first book published three years ago. “The White Tiger” actually lives up to its name, for it is not often that I read something like this that has left quite an impact to my own judgment.

            Adiga did name the book after the white tiger for a reason. ‘The White Tiger’ was what the primary protagonist, Balram Halwai, called himself, and he believed that this reflected his own successful individuality, a rare event among the citizens who, in one way or another, originated from the slums. And his disposition toward the slums, which he calls the Darkness, creates a driving force that takes him to the country’s center of technology and outsourcing, which he calls the Light. All this is hinted in his introduction at the book’s start, and what took place in between is the entirety of the novel: organized as a series of nightly letters to the Premier from China. And each letter signifies a transition, a development not only of life state or Indian caste, but also of character, that Balram goes through.

            In fact, he goes from a rickshaw-puller’s son, to a teashop worker, and then to a rich man’s driver, the last occupation of which encompasses a great chunk of his narrations to Premier Jiabao. The receiver of these messages, in turn, serves as a fellow reader of the life story of Balram. This distinct way of passing on one’s story, coupled with Adiga’s sense of humor that is frequently shown within Balram’s speech, continued to make me interested of his experiences, opening my mind to another person’s view of his surroundings. The author picked the best places to place a talkative character in, and being within India showed both what was already known and what was not.

            But it is not just the point A to point B transition that drew me in. The evolution of the Indian society towards globalization is also evident with its each step here, including the side effects that a progressing part of the country creates towards others. This was brilliantly written between the lines, and with the author’s clear image of each locale making it easy to picture all that is narrated. However, within these same lines, the protagonist’s bias evidently lies, and only an objectively thinking reader may truly understand and apply to the big picture amidst the partiality.

            In the end, the book indubitably leaves a lasting image of the figuratively half-lit India, with the main protagonist staying at its light and facing away from his shadow. Being in the peak of one’s life may have been a predictable end for a success story, but it makes the reader wonder why there is a lack of any real closure towards the issues that were brought up. This may evoke the book’s ending to feel inadequate, yet in a way it compels the reader to feel like he or she must do something about the situation. And that might just be the reason as to why the book had left such a lasting impression to me as a reader. So for now-- just so I can see what the author had seen and become fond enough as to write a novel, I’m going to the nearest zoo that has white tigers, and pay the elusive white tiger a visit.

            Old June 27th, 2011 (12:09 AM).
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            Mr Cat Dog Mr Cat Dog is offline
            Frasier says it best
              Join Date: Apr 2004
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              Well, thanks everyone for entering! Abnegation and I will announce the winner some time before the end of the month. It might be via one of our blogs; it might be here... so keep your eyes peeled.

              Old June 30th, 2011 (1:12 PM).
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              Mr Cat Dog Mr Cat Dog is offline
              Frasier says it best
                Join Date: Apr 2004
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                Results have been announced. Prizes will be distributed some time tomorrow. Thanks again for entering!
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