Friday, July 02, 2010

Pop Culture Roundup

I read The Magicians by Lev Grossman this week. Think Harry Potter, except it takes place in college and the characters are deeper and grittier. The main character, Quentin, is a directionless sad sack at the top of his high school class who one day finds himself in a placement exam for Brakebills, a college for kids with magical gifts. The characters are incredibly flawed; incredibly human. They indulge in typical college-kid exploits. At times they're jealous of, resentful over, or passive-aggressive toward one another. While HP could get dark and the characters would show emotion at times, this is something else entirely. A major theme is seeking ultimate meaning for one's life - not in a religious sense, but in an existential sense. As magicians for whom the world is basically yours for the taking, what kind of purpose do you find in that? Some take a nihilist/ hedonist approach, some try to stave off boredom by indulging in pointless projects, others try to contribute to the betterment of the world. Eventually, the group does find something, but it leads them to question whether it's worth it. I found this book engrossing, easy reading.

Entourage started back up this past Sunday. This first episode was concerned with the group's careers more than anything else...not as much time to sit around and Live The Life. Vince is in the process of filming his next movie, and the director eggs him into doing his own stunt. He makes it through okay, but it obviously is meant to lead to something more. Turtle is the most mind-boggling for me, as he suddenly has a car service. I thought he was going back to school. So he's finished that and is now doing this? Drama is stuck in the limbo that he always seems to be stuck in. Not a whole lot with E this first week. And Ari is ultra-busy as the head of the Biggest Studio In The World, a fact that they repeat once too often. All in all, a good opening to the season.

We went to see Dave Matthews Band last Friday evening. Save for a handful of idiot drunks sitting near us who kept our Concert Experience Ruination Level at least at yellow for a portion of the evening, it was a great night. Here's the setlist:

Big Eyed Fish...>
Grace Is Gone
Stay Or Leave
Don't Drink the Water
Stand Up...> !
Corn Bread...> !
Recently !
Eh Hee
Shake Me Like a Monkey
You and Me
Dancing Nancies...>
Can't Stop
Corn Bread...>
Ants Marching

Little Red Bird +
So Right
So Damn Lucky

Because July can be such a long month for college football fans, I've watched this Michigan hype video several times already. The song is "Sometimes When You're On" by Rilo Kiley: