The Invention of Lying

The Invention of Lying takes place in a world not unlike our own. Except for one huge difference: People cannot lie. They are blunt and truthful all the time, which is not fun at all.

Then one person discovers that he can tell lies. He, of course, proceeds to take advantage of this ability which no one suspects.

The movie was funny. However, the main romantic plot was a bit underwhelming. The most fun was observing what little differences the writers have put in the movie’s world where no one can tell lies as compared to real life.

I would rate the movie 8/10.

Ghost Brigades, Last Colony, Zoe’s Tale

I had read Old Man’s War some time ago and liked it. So when I was looking for some science fiction to buy for our trip to Italy, I got the sequels The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony.

As is common with sequels, whether of books or movies, they are not as good as the original. In this case, they were good enough for the plane and train ride reading and I did enjoy (and finish) them during our vacation.

The Ghost Brigades does not feature the protagonists from Old Man’s War, though it is set in the same universe. It was a fun read and a decent book.

The Last Colony ties up parts of the story in The Ghost Brigades and the protagonists in Old Man’s War in a new space adventure. It is better story than The Ghost Brigades and a lot of fun to read.

I read Old Man’s War on my phone at the time, Treo 650 and The Ghost Brigades and The Last Colony were the first books I read on my new Kindle. I enjoyed reading on the Kindle, with the only issue being the flight crew’s insistence that I had to turn it off during takeoff and landing.

Thus it was that I finished The Last Colony on the flight back from Rome to New York and realized that there was a further sequel, Zoe’s Tale. Waiting for my connection to Atlanta, I made my first impulse Kindle purchase and bought Zoe’s Tale.

Zoe’s Tale is a retelling of the story of The Last Colony from the point of view of Zoe, the teenage daughter of the main characters of the previous novel. Making the same story interesting in a new book without introducing inconsistencies is hard and John Scalzi succeeds somewhat. However, Zoe’s Tale is definitely the weakest book of the series.

District 9

We watched District 9 in the theater which was a good idea.

For some reason, people either hate this science fiction movie of aliens ghettoized in South Africa or they love it. I liked it. The movie did use a sledgehammer to hammer home its message at times, but it seemed in the spirit of the movie.

I rate it 8/10.

Google Voice

I had been lusting after a Google Voice account for a while and finally got it a few months ago. To my disappointment, there was no way to port my existing phone number to the service, so I had to get a new number.

At first, I was slow to give out my Google Voice number to people, but over time it’s becoming my default phone number.

Of the features of Google Voice, voice transcription is still a bit problematic as the speech recognition doesn’t work as well as it should. I love it that it can ring all my phones and that I can switch from my cellphone to landline during a call to save cell minutes. Also, I can have different call forwarding rules and voicemail greetings for different people (using groups) in my list of contacts. One pitfall there is that a phone number should only be in one group otherwise you can’t be sure which rules will be applied to it.

There used to be a couple of Google Voice apps for the iPhone and I had bought GV Mobile but when Apple rejected Google’s official Voice app, they also removed all the other previously approved apps from the App Store. (Yes, Apple is more evil than Microsoft!) So now I have to rely on the Google Voice mobile website on my iPhone.

I have also moved my cellphone voicemail to Google Voice. Yes, I like the visual voicemail on the iPhone, but Google Voice gives me a centralized voicemail (with SMS and email notification and voice transcription) and there is more potential there.

On my AT&T landline phone, I have also subscribed to Call Forwarding Busy Line and Call Forwarding Don’t Answer with Ring Control with my Google Voice number as the forwarding number. Thus, if my landline is busy or I don’t pick it up, the call is automatically forwarded either to my other phones or to my Google Voice voicemail.

Since I receive a lot of telemarketing and other junk calls on my home phone, I have set up Google Voice call screening so callers who are not in my contact list are asked to say their name the first time they call me. This has cut down on a lot of junk business calls I was receiving because my home phone number used to belong to a business a few years ago.

I also signed up with Gizmo5 (which has now been acquired by Google) and linked my Google Voice and Gizmo. So now I can receive my Google Voice calls on my computer with GizmoCall open in a Firefox PermaTab.

Finally, dear readers, through the magic of Google Voice call widgets, you can contact me by phone now on my contact page.

The Elephant Man

The Elephant Man is a movie about Joseph Merrick, a 19th century Englishman with a congenital defect.

As I understand, the movie has lots of historical inaccuracies. But that is par for the course.

It was an interesting movie, though the DVD print wasn’t good.

I rate The Elephant Man 7/10.

Inglourious Basterds

I love most Tarantino movies, so of course we had to see Inglourious Basterds.

The movie is about a Jewish special forces unit that’s sent to Europe to disrupt and kill Nazis (and scalp them). However, the Nazi intelligence officer who’s on the trail of that unit gets a lot more screen time. Also, there’s a major subplot about Nazi cinema.

Of course, this is a Tarantino movie so there are clever references to all sorts of movie history.

I loved it and rate it 10/10.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Since we have watched all the Harry Potter movies, we saw Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in the theater.

This movie is better than the last installment. I rate it 7/10.