"All Great Stories deserve a little embellishment," claims Gandalf the Grey. And I find I am forced to agree wholeheartedly.
I know at least one Hobbit purist who refuses to pay up front for THREE movies culled from a 300-odd page children's book. In his view, perhaps, the makers are on a cash-grab: stretching the material too thin and inserting too many ideas from author J.R.R. Tolkien's indices and supplementary sources. I respect this attitude, while personally of the opinion that while there may be such a place as 'too much of a good thing'... I haven't hit it yet!!!
Howard Shore's fine musical backdrop for this lovely fantasy world is a great treat. There's a whole new album out there for you aficionados, and it's very worthwhile. The lyrics from the book are put to music to great effect throughout.
Much is owed for the toil of the basement trolls who make possible the CGI trolls. Not to mention goblins, orcs, wargs, eagles, moths, rabbits, ghouls and what-have-you. Nice job, boffins and weirdos! Your art is marvelous. Making the unreal real surely adds to the beauty and the terrors of millions of our dreams.
I've heard talk of the doubled frame-rate from standard movie 24 frames per second to this first time attempt at 48. This did not impact me negatively when I noticed it at all. (I was impressed by the sharpness and clarity of the image, but then I just got new glasses so I'm saying that about a lot of things.)
The actors are in fine form. Clearly they're all having a splendid time and we get to come along! Martin Freeman is, quite simply, an ideal Bilbo Baggins. I thought he would be, and I was not disappointed. 'Riddles in the Dark' is an absolute highlight. (A lightless highlight? Highlight at night?)
Speaking of bright spots, I was also very, very NOT disappointed when it came to the role perhaps most typical of "additional material". My beloved Sylvester McCoy (he of Doctor Who fame 1986-89) as the obsessively animistic wizard Radagast the Brown was a poop-covered hoot.
Now that there is such a thing as Radagast, I feel like there always should have been.
I can't lie to you, I'd like to go back again. Join me for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug in 2013 and The Hobbit: There and Back Again in 2014, won't you? (Spoilers: there's a subtle theme in these tales about the futile emptiness of greed. Maybe a little hypocritical from the behind-the-scenes "Battle of Five Armies" that has been happening for nearly a decade to decide whose heirs and what conglomerates get the biggest pieces of Hobbit Pie.)
Still and all, with a Jackson/Tolkien joint in the theaters once again, it really does feel like Christmas!
And lastly, for my part, it was a film to enjoy with a friend. Many thanks to my buddy Ron for his generosity.
Once, long ago, Jim Henson did his best to save the world.
The result was five seasons of "Fraggle Rock" beginning when I was a lad of seven in 1983. A joint international effort from the CBC, HBO, and ITV, the program featured adventures and musical musings from the lives of some 20-inch high creatures who dwell in a vast magical cavern behind the walls of human houses. Possibly YOUR house. (Ask your parents' permission before you bash a hole in the baseboards to check.)
I have a pal and confidante who would tell you differently, but the best Fraggle in the Rock is Wembley. I find Wembley very easy to love. I have always been forced to admire those who "feel the fear and do it anyway".
Which is not to say I didn't love the other, lesser Fraggles. After all, much of Wembley's indecisive "Wembleyness" comes from the fact that he easily imagines what it's like to be in the other Fraggle's shoes. Or, well, shirts. Shoes don't seem to have caught on in Fraggle Rock.
Rage-fueled athletes might align with pom-pom headed Red, or pacifist artists with soulful Mokey. Perhaps the perpetually glum among you might appreciate Boober. A rugged outdoorsman and qualified troubadour might find himself appreciating brave Gobo. No matter where your loyalties lie, you owe much to producer Jim Henson and head writer Jerry Juhl (pictured here).
The banana-shirted Wembley was performed by Steve Whitmire and designed by Michael Frith with a character based on a Charles Grodin line from The Great Muppet Caper: "Of course I meant yes. Why would I say no when I meant yes?"
Perhaps his personality is a gift- a special talent he alone possesses. Or perhaps it's a curse- a special weirdness he alone is stuck with.
Wembley has boundless enthusiasm for whatever everyone else is talking about in the moment. He listens to rocks, loves to eat radishes and Doozer Sticks, and he plays the bongos to relax from his job as the fire department siren.
For normal reasons, I've spent some time over the last two weeks watching a cartoon which apparently aired on NBC Saturday mornings 1981-1983: Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. Or SMAHAF as the kids are never calling it these days.
Featuring the voices of Dan "Spidey" Gilvezan, Frank "Iceman" Welker, and introducing Kathy "Firestar" Garver. No, not Starfire, the Teen Titan! Wrong company. You tryin' ta get us sued? FIRESTAR! The Girl Who Was on Fire Class of 1981. Take that, Katniss!
Unable to use the Human Torch for the usual overwrought reasons ("My kids always douse themselves in gasoline and dive off the roof!") Peter Parker conveniently found a team-mate with BFF Johnny Storm's firepower plus the looks of Mary Jane. Talk about your amazing friend!
Although, in fairness, neither John Storm nor Mary Jane Watson may exist in what is now known to the Intelligentsia (I mean, the Hyper-Nerds) as Marvel Universe 8107. The cartoon dimension's rules only apply to itself, not the continuity of the mainstream comics (Universe 616, don't cha know).
It's a universe where Wolverine hails from Down Unda, where mutants glow and men chunda. Where Aunt May's boarding house is crammed full of secret, load-bearing escape tunnels and Tony Stark's donated super-computers. Possibly "on loan from Tony Stark" is also the reason The Chameleon has his own island, mansion, and swimming pool filled with alcohol (not for himself, you understand, but to trap and ignite the Sub-Mariner).
And the awards go to:
LEAST FAVOURITE EPISODE: 'Swarm'. See MOST IRRITATING NEW VILLAIN.
FAVOURITE EPISODE: 'The Origin of The Spider-Friends'. Has it all. Narrator Stan Lee. William Marshall as Iron Man. Bobby 'Iceman' Drake and Angelica 'Firestar' Jones holding handshakes uncomfortably long just to make Peter think he's feverish with chills. And the Beetle: rocking the craziest voice in the world.
HONORABLE MENTION: 'Spidey Meets The Girl From Tomorrow'. This sweetly romantic little episode wants SO BADLY to be Silver Age DC Legion of Super-Heroes. Perhaps even more so than the subsequent episode: where the villain is clearly the Legion's cyborg enemy Tharok.
BEST SEASON: Season 2 is a mere 3 episodes long, and entirely made of origin stories, but the animation is markedly better. Spider-Friends GO FOR IT! (Actual catch-phrase.)
MOST IRRITATING NEW VILLAIN: Swarm. The 1950's-style alien insect invader smart enough to enslave a college campus but not smart enough to say anything but its own name. Over and over.
MOST IRRITATING NEW HERO: Francis "Wishing I Was Woody Allen" Byte AKA Videoman. News Flash: Playing Pac-Man and involuntarily transforming into an 8-Bit paper-thin goblin doth not a super-hero make. Even if you do end up at the Xavier Academy despite no evidence that you are a mutant.
GREATEST BREAKOUT STAR: Ms. Lion. Angelica's Lhasa Apso, fobbed off on Aunt May the same way Videoman is fobbed off on Professor X. Ms. Lion saved the lives of her superhero pals several times over, despite being a lapdog of average intelligence. The puppy even outshines the All-Seeing Eye of the Vishanti, which in any normal dimension would prevent Sorcerer Supreme Dr. Strange from being duped. Ms. Lion, 30 years later, is a beloved member of the Pet Avengers, successfully making the transition from cartoon back to the comics that inspired it. Just like Firestar did! Except Firestar's in the actual Avengers. Not the Pet Avengers. The Pet Avengers are PETS. Just saying.
Speaking of amazing, I gotta say I'm loving Netflix. Real life has never been so avoidable.
O.K., fine, so I haven't exactly watched ALL of it yet. There's like a solid WEEK of features, if I watched it from the bathroom and watched Star Wars instead of sleeping! Which I am no longer willing to do.
Like that crazy old wizard out beyond the Dune Sea, I'm getting too old for this sort of thing.
But what can I possibly say that anyone who knows me won't expect? Episodes 6, 4, and 5 are my top three favourite movies OF ALL TIME. Episodes 3,2, and 1 are inching lower with every revision I make to my TOP 100 List, but I should point out that they are still in my top THIRTY. Take that, Hitchcock's Vertigo! (Not under consideration)
So what would surprise you? Because this blog has been lying nearly fallow all year, I should mention that I bought a BLU-RAY player, after avoiding it as utterly unnecessary for quite some time. And it still is. But it's SOOO SHINY!!!
Sooo... I bought the Star Wars movies. Used. $72. Then, over the last few weeks, I watched them. They are wonderful. Worth every damn nickel.
The first thing I checked out was the Nelvana Cartoon with the first appearance of Boba Fett. Go, Canada! Dripping with nostalgia, I can tell you it is a rare delight. Since I'm not a child anymore, I can't bounce off the walls with glee. Except in my heart!
Then I watched the deleted scenes: Biggs and the Anchorhead Chums, Wampas Amok, and the much-too-unfinished and now unfunctional Sandstorm Farewell scene. Wizard!
Also a 2.5 hour scene called 'The Phantom Menace' which I hear everyone on the Internet wants deleted. Me? I'm fine with it. Episode One Yoda looks much better in CGI. But is it too late to colour over Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christiansen?
I couldn't spot any tweaks at all in 'Attack of the Clones' or 'Revenge of the Sith'. But they are better than ANY TEN OTHER FILMS!!! Well, maybe not ANY. But most.
There is no reason at all to change the sound Kenobi makes to scare off Sand People, but George did. Maybe it's the sound his tummy makes when he's full of cheese bought with his billions?
Greedo and Han shoot nearly simultaneously, but Han's split-second flinch looks a little less dodgy, pardon the pun. The albino dianoga is keen. 'Empire''s AT-AT's and 'Jedi''s rancor are exactly as they should be, classic stop-motion but with black matte-lines removed. Freakin' sweet, is the term, I believe?
I still love the 'Return of the Jedi' Special Edition, Joh Yowza, 'Weesa FREE!', and all. Only now Wicket and the Ewoks blink. It's simultaneously adorable and unsettling. In other words, PERFECT.
There's still lots to enjoy and explore. I'll get my money's worth in the years to come. Thanks to Carlos for loaning me his copy for the nonce, and (paying it forward), you're all welcome to borrow mine. When you pry it from my cold, dead, Jawa hands!
You'll have your favourite performances from Mr. Michael Clarke Duncan. Me?
I thought he was awesome as the Kingpin. AND as Green Lantern Kilowog. He was the bright spot of plenty of popular, GOOD movies also.
I always enjoyed hearing his booming voice: whether in Kim Possible, Teen Titans, or Spider-Man: The New Animated Series. Probably you'll know him from 'The Green Mile', rather than as Starkweather Two Delta in 'The Island'.
But despite who I am, namely a Sci-Fi otaku with a thing for comics and cartoons, it was for a non-genre t.v. program that I admired him most:
His role as Leo Knox on 'The Finder' was my favourite. He played the rational sidekick or more correctly handler of the quirky lead character. He was wise and kind and powerful. Like a Big Black Florida Gandalf. It was a brilliant show that ended too quickly. And I'm so sorry we lost the man so early, too. Michael Clarke Duncan was more than a figurative giant and our fantasies are going to be less safe without our biggest bodyguard.
I've rarely met a Star Wars book I didn't like. I've crammed my noggin with Star Wars since I was a mere Padawan leaner, knee high to a bantha. For good or ill, I actually know the name of the scheming Dulok Shaman in Nelvana's 1985 Ewoks cartoon (no need to rush for your googles, it's Umwak) but when it comes to zombies, I'm still a neophyte. For all I know, George Romero is a character from the Godfather movies. In addition to loving me some Star Wars (not the Regan Era missle defence platform, that sounds horrible), I'm a fair fan of horror tales.I’m not such a fan as my BFF Kirk (who has written his own delightful review of Death Troopers here). Kirk and I have been reading genre fiction since time immemorial (he has a stronger buzz for Horror while I tend to focus obsessively on SF) yet now and then something special brings us together.Prometheus, yesterday, for example, had some welcome thrills. Even though I had to break my self-imposed 3D boycott to see the thing. And last week it was Joe Schreiber's 2009 novel Star Wars: Death Troopers. Eighteen years after Palpatine decided democracy was for saps and liberals, (finally doing away virtually all of those pesky Jedi), one of his many prison barges happens across one of his many appalling science projects. Hilarity fails to ensue.
It's fast and fun – it was considerably jucier than the last Star Wars book I read (the Essential Guide to Warfare plods like a history treatise in places, although the galaxy maps are keen!), and very possibly influenced the remarkable Clone Wars cartoon's 'Brain Invaders' episodes from November 2009. Or both were simply drawn from the zombie zeitgeist.
At every risk of spoilers, some reviewers objected to the cameo appearances, since the known timeline ruins any sense of drama. You never get to wonder... will our VERY familiar heroes escape the slavering jaws of the Stormtrooper Zombie Hordes? Of COURSE they do, but can you say the same for the beleaguered prison doctor gal and teen convicts we only just met today?
Myself, I prefer the use of characters from the films. I find myself nodding off when novels start in on the Sith-battling adventures of Jedi Shadaxx Hatrack who you never heard of because he died 10,000 years before a Skywalker ever hotwired a land speeder.
But Imperial Era stories rock my Hutt Palace like Joh Yowza. Plus I loved the Prequel Era, so, suck on that deathstick, Simon Pegg. Wait, I mean HOORAY FOR SHAUN OF THE DEAD! Where was I? Right...
Treat yourself to some blasters and shambling! Nothing wrong with that. Except the unnatural affront to life, the Force and everything. Save your skin, nerfherder!
Calgary Comic Con 2012 may have been a horrifyingly crowded debacle, but it was one of the best times I've had all year.
As the Nerd Rock band Kirby Krackle would have it: comic conventions are like "going home to the the place where wild nerds roam".
I got to spend three days in the company of my intrepid companion Anthony, observing and interacting in the glorious dance of geek passion. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)
How cool to hear Stan 'The Man' Lee regale a stadium with his anecdotes while interviewed by celebrity fanboy Garrett Wang? What a terrifying feat to speak to my writer hero Peter David long enough not to embarrass myself and attain his autograph! What a scream to see the voice talent behind some of my favourite cartoons (Billy West, John DeMaggio, Tara Strong, and Monica Riel).
Some mild disappointments (hours in line for a horror movie that failed to arrive, nearly getting locked out for daring to go to lunch, that sort of thing) more than overwhelmed by treats to acquire (Star Trek and Legion of Superheros comics, three CDs from the aforementioned Kirby Krackle, what have you), sights to see (clever costumes and fandom heroes) and a chance to perform and entertain once again.
Many, many thanks to the dynamic duo of Mark Nguyen and Kathleen Boucher for making me a part of their behind-the-scenes volunteer experience during the costume contest. Mark was a scintillating host for that event. Kathleen's writing brought the Geeks Vs. Nerds event to life like a mad scientists' lightning in an improvisation battle between the riotous jesters of the 404's and the Improv League of Improvisers (and celebrity guests).
Thanks to them and to all the 404s for letting me sit in on the 'Stump The Nerds' panel. Available on youtube for your slacking off at work (or otherwhere) pleasure.
Before my OCD got the better of me and I started devoting unreasonable wads of my time to this blog's Star Trek-themed sister blog (www.beyondthefarthestblog.blogspot.com) I used to have more time on my hands.
Time to watch whatever essentially free claptrap the SPACE channel has to offer. Don't get me wrong. If there was only one channel, and it was the SPACE channel, I'd probably be O.K. with that. (Everything else being available online and in DVD stores and all.)
But sometimes it means a day like yesterday.
Savage Planet is a 2006 Sci Fi Channel original movie. Sorry, "original" and "movie" should be in air quotes. It's dreadful. Don't watch it. Not even for free like I did. I could barely tolerate it and my threshold for worthless schlock garbage is staggeringly high.
See, in 2068, with the Earth just about out of air, a grab-bag of jerks and corporate slime-balls teleport to Planet Oxygen to track down more oxygen. That's not a joke, it's called Planet Oxygen. With me so far?
Now they must contend with lovely Canadian scenery and stock footage of mildly annoyed brown bears, which unconvincingly knock their blocks off and guts out. It's like the cheapest episode of Stargate you ever saw, mixed with Jurassic Yogi Bear Park. I would've just deleted it from the PVR, but since Wikipedia and IMDB refused to spoil the ending for me and let me bow out early (OCD, remember?), I'll spoil it for you in case you ignored my warning:
Young Indiana Jones and Erica's Partner from 'Being Erica' (both above this sort of material) are the only survivors, and instead of oxygen they bring home a can of goop that re-grows all their damaged tissue. What good is regenerating if you can't breathe, I ask you? Well, my wife pointed out that maybe the guy regenerated with gills. It was the most logical thing I'd heard in an hour and a half.
The Lost Future is a 2010 SyFy Channel movie (those are pretty stupid 'y's, by the by). What was wrong with Sci Fi Channel? In MY DAY (sorry, MyDy) we didn't think poor literacy was kewl.
Poor literacy is the problem for failing humankind in this adventure, which after the first one was much more acceptable. Certainly it got off to a good start with a convincing CGI sloth-mutant attack on the jungle men and women of One Million A.D. (or thereabouts). Watch out, 'cause a scratch from sloth's claws turns one into a slavering Lord of the Rings orc! Do not attempt! It's not as fun as it sounds! The jungles are full of these orc-wolf hordes, with the jumping ability of the Morlocks in the most recent 'Time Machine' movie.
Sean Bean came along on a raft ride with interchangeable pretty boys seeking the cure for all this were-wolfiness: Yellow MacGuffin Powder. An Alan Rickman-a-like has said powder in his decayed city. No hobbits are in evidence, sadly.
It's not possible to take it as seriously as some other post-apocalyptic movies (like Book of Eli, where, again, the moral of the story is literacy) but it's no worse than an extremely inexpensive Waterworld. Plus it's mercifully shorter than the Riverworld adaptation I saw last year. Also I respect writer Diane Duane. Just saying it's not a total loss if that's your thing.
That's SF wilderness survival films starring guys named Sean for you. You're welcome, Canada. READ A BOOK!
First created, written, and drawn in 1942 by Jack Cole for Quality Comics (later acquired by DC Comics) Woozy Winks is my man of the hour.
Appearing alongside the hero of 'Plastic Man' comics in the early 40's, (and as recently as my beloved cartoon Batman The Brave & The Bold) Woozy is a clown stooge, kind of an extra-bewildered Hardy or Costello. It seems Plastic Man was not ludicrous enough on his own, so a duo they became. The rubber man and the rudderless man.
Manifesting the adage "fate protects fools", the indigent Woozy Winks rescues a drowning soothsayer with the most minimal effort possible and is granted the boon of the protection of mother nature. No one can do Woozy a fatal harm, and it's difficult even to hold him against his will.
However, Woozy Wink's will is so weak he took a coin toss for his moral compass.
It is only when Plastic Man apprehends him in an ill-conceived money-making scheme to saw the arms off a sculptor that Woozy ends up opting instead for the life of an unrequested sidekick. Plastic Man is something of a sucker for second chances and redemption, so he accepts Woozy's parole, friendship, and "help".
Great contrast when drawn together: fat and slim, grounded and unearthly, puny and powerful. The bumbling gangster who'd rather make good as a G-Man. Provided there's somethin' in it for him. Woozy Winks can be counted upon to stumble into any murder mystery, fumble into servitude to a den of Nazi collaborators, buy any bogus treasure map, or pick the unnecessary pocket. A loyal friend on the up and square, provided someone is constantly supervising him.
Many thanks and hours of enjoyment for the loan of these antique but fresh and delightful darkly comic comics goes out from yours truly to Doctor Teeth. Please enjoy his Scotch and Comics podcast, or I shall provide you with a punch up the hooter.
Nothing like being on the cutting edge and having the pulse of the comic book community. Indeed, I am nothing like that.
Six months since the relaunch, and what do I have to show for it? Not this massive hardcover comic book collection, with all 52 #1 issues crammed inside, that's for sure.
That I had to borrow.
I gave thumbs up to Justice League International, Justice League Dark, Aquaman, Firestorm, Mr. Terrific, Superman, Batman, Batwoman, Batgirl, Batman & Robin, Birds of Prey, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern New Guardians, Swamp Thing, Animal Man, Frankenstien: Agent of S.H.A.D.E., Resurrection Man, Demon Knight, Storm Watch, OMAC, All-Star Western, Static Shock, Blue Beetle, Legion of Super Heroes, and Legion Lost.
28 thumbs down to Justice League, Wonder Woman, Flash, Captain Atom, Green Arrow, Savage Hawkman, Deadman, Action Comics, Superboy, Supergirl, Detective Comics, Batman The Dark Knight, Batwing, Catwoman, Nightwing, Red Hood and the Outlaws, Green Lantern, Red Lantern, I- Vampire, Grifter, Voodoo, Death Stroke, Suicide Squad, Black Hawks, Men of War, Teen Titans, & last and least Hawk & Dove.
First, the overall mandate and tone is not to my taste. It's vile, grisly, sexist, and pandering. But it's got plenty of bad points too. Like over half the writing.
Hawkman was emblematically wrong-headed. If an amnesiac immortal with metal claws tearing out of his flesh sold comics... oh, I get it now. I just wish they'd put "Wolverine" on the cover so I could ignore it more.
Who thought ELEVEN Bat-titles was not excessive? Who wants Jason Todd alive, let alone a lead character? Why is Wonder Woman so stab-happy? When did Starfire become a dead-eyed sperm reclamation facility? How come all organizations with more than ten people are covert, evil, and practice torture? Where should I send the anthrax for ending the marriages of Clark & Lois, or Barry & Iris?
Second, major praise to the artists. Not Hawk & Dove or the Jae Lee impersonators, but credit where credit is due: these people serve their material well.
Third, I love complaining, so why are some of them unexpected surprises? Why would I like Justice League Dark (and I really did)? Or be so disinterested in Green Lantern (tired of Sinestro already)? How do you make Teen Titans unappealing (enjoy Tiny Titans instead)? And in what parallel world do I like Resurrection Man?
Finally, the format. Who would buy this? It's nearly 180 bucks. It's a brick. Too big to cart around, too heavy for a standard nerd to hold up to his sunken eyes. It's only good for smashing windows and editors. It'll still be single issues, light trades, and weightless digital comics for me, I'm afraid.
"The New 52" makes me weep for the future. But there are two dozen issues I didn't dislike. A handful I'm even buying. And if losing Lois and Iris stings, Mr. Terrific seems to be schtupping Power Girl, so it's not all bad.
Ender Wiggin is six years old, and a whiz in the skills required to kill Formics (an insectoid alien species bent on Earth's destruction). Those skills include being able to play video combat games the best of all. Bullied by the other students at Battle School, Ender nevertheless perseveres and thrives to become Earth's savior, executioner, and pawn in a final epic space battle.
It's very black and white, very simplistic. Exactly the sort of morals I was issued with. But of course, there is so much more to the problem. Earth's hero is merely another kind of victim, a soldier drip-fed only as much information as is necessary, and only from a human point of view.
There's a less forgiving but perfectly valid take on Ender's Game from Ryan. (That it is no more or less than a disturbing adolescent power fantasy.)
My great fondness for this story does not negate my disagreement with some of what the author personally believes. Card is the descendant of Brigham Young, second prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As such, he is vocally and financially opposed to legalizing gay marriage.
For a man whose books asked me to take a hard look at the Other Guy and see him as something besides an enemy, and especially to ask ourselves to REALLY question what our authorities have told us since our births, that feels, just to me, like a smidgen of hypocrisy. I'm just sayin'.
Lord knows I've never met the guy. He's probably nice. He looks nice. His books are certainly powerful. I want to like him. Or understand him, at least.
And I DO want to see his movie next year or soon. I just DON'T want any of my ticket money to end up forcing two boys to stop kissing.
I didn't think it was possible. Nothing since school used to make me exercise has EVER made me want to exercise.
This heady combination of geeky humour, indefatigable optimism, and exuberant cursing is amazing. Or to use the vernacular: AMAZEBALLS.
Chris Hardwick of G4 Tech TV and Web Soup speaks exactly my language and I'd like to own this as an e-book for future reference.
"The Nerdist Way" was in the bookstore humour section, but it was also a surprisingly insightful life guide. Likening oneself to a role-playing or video game character and gaining experience to improve one's lot is preferable to the bilge I have had filtered to me about so-called self-help books where the UNIVERSE hands out wishes. No offence.
While the Universe may not be actively malevolent, I have a hard time believing it doles out blessings and splendour to the people who pray the hardest. Sorry.
Focusing one's obsessive behaviour on tricking your brain into helping you make better choices? That I can believe. Incremental change and planning? Sounds about right. And I'm inspired because it worked for the author first.
More than anything, (and there's a lot of clever thoughts in this) I wanted to hear: 'Go easy on yourself'.
Not as in, 'let yourself slide' but as in 'take a break from self-loathing'. Call a halt to attacking yourself from inside. That's DISTURBINGLY GOOD ADVICE.
The man's like a foul-mouthed wizard. Way to be, dude!
If you're a nerd, read this book. If you like to laugh, also read this book. Otherwise, well, still read this book, but with an ironic sneer of disdain. That'll show them!