X-Wing Explosions

Well, first off, Merry Christmas everyone. Have a happy new year can wait till next week. Second, continuing our journey through the most famous fictional part o0f the universe, we watched A New Hope last night. For future reference you can get a good idea of my opinion of a film by noticing what verb I use to describe experiencing it. "watched or saw" always means it was fun, while if I disliked it I tend to use "sat through" and if I think it really stunk I use "endured". With a trigger word in there one really doesn't have to read the rest of my post to get my thoughts. However, we continue.

  • C-3PO, like it or not, is my favorite character, for reasons that are apparent to those of you who like the movies.
  •  Han's banter saved the film
  • Jango Fett apparently was a worse shot than everyone thinks. Since the clonetroopers are copies of him with advanced weapons training they should be able to hit something once in a while. By rights all the main characters died five times during the making of this movie.
  • Anikin messed up Darth Vader. By extension the prequels actually did dilute the originals. By that I mean after going through the prequels I find myself incapable of believing Vader's really as evil as he's cracked up to be, as crazy as that sounds. Also why in the world is Vader taking orders from guys in suits when he could just kill everyone with the force if they objected?
  • In the opening, Luke is a bored angry kid. By the end he's a squad leader in the final attack for no apparent reason even though he just got there.
  • The whole movie covers about two to three days, with riding speeders and flying at lightspeed all over the galaxy, not much more time could have passed.
  • Granted, this was done in the seventies, but in retrospect, the plot point of Luke and Han Solo both falling on their faces over Leia is so cliche its painful.
  • That moment when a Whovian Rebel realizes that the clarinet-playing aliens in the Mos Eisly bar look very similar to the ood.
  • That pointless sequence at the beginning that was just an excuse to chop an alien arm off.


Just So You Konw...

One of my friends had been pressing me to go see Desolation of Smaug alone with him, even if both of us had already seen it once. Long story short we went back tonight and it was far more enjoyable, although still just ok. This time I sat directly under the speaker so I was able to hear 90% of the dialogue. And I was able to suppress my frustration at all the contradictions and watch the film as if it was an original story, and view
ed that way the only really annoying thing about it is the extensive use of whirly-gig pans from straight down and straight up. There is also some use of shaky cam during action sequences. It really made me sick trying to see the movie through the messed up camera. I'd like to rescind my claim that the extended version will make it worse, in part because this time I saw some shots that clearly needed more shots in between. Overall if anything stops me from sitting through this film again it will be the camera angle decisions.


And Finally...Revenge of the Plot Device

We saw Revenge of the Sith last night.I liked it better than I anticipated, mainly because I discovered to my surprise that Anikin/Vader had not in fact turned downright evil right away. even after he was deformed and locked inside the iconic Vader suit, he was still at first just the Anikin who had joined the dark side only because he thought Sidious was going to tell him how to make Padme immortal. I also appreciate that this movie explained why Luke and Leia are known by different last names and come from different home planets.
I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that up until the moment when he refused to kill Sidious, Anikin was still doing everytrhing the Jedis told him even as he got more and more frustrated at them. Even when he massacred all the Padawans he was doing it under the power of Sith hypnosis more than because he wanted to. So long story short I can see why some people like him for his tragic storyline. And anyway, episode six proves that he never entirely lost that spark of goodness he had from the beginning, even after living as the Empire's most dangerous enforcer for 20 years.
But enough about Anikin, except that his scenes alone with Padme still involved the most generic responses they could think of and went on for more than longer than we were willing to accept.
I would have enjoyed the movie a lot more, but I feel that "order 66" the executive order to assassinate all the Jedi, just came straight out of, well, antimatter, because there were exactly zero scenes in either of the two movies that showed the Chancellor/ Lord Sidious installing this order into the clones' programming, either directly or by insinuation. In which case it would be logical to assume at first glance that the clones still think Palpatine is only the leader of the Senate and a supporter of the Jedi by association and so why in the galaxy would he suddenly want them all killed. Coming with no foreshadowing or anything similar, order 66 ranks as one of the biggest and most baffling plot devices I've ever seen, although I will concede that the sequence that came out of it is in my opinion probably one of the great tragic sequences in modern movies.
Other weird things that happened were for instance when Anikin caught fire, sure he was stuck next to a lavabed, but I don't remember seeing any lava get on him and then a second later he was covered in perfectly normal fire. What did the air suddenly spontaneously combust? Since I did not see any logical progression, I decided that the explanation was that he got so angry he couldn't hold it anymore and literally set himself on fire through the power of the force misdirected, The other thing was that there was far too much chopping off of hands. It seemed to happen to everyone and it reached the point where it was ridiculous instead of surprising.


That Day Again

Today was my 20th birthday. It was awfully quiet as I had nowhere to go and I did not invite friends over this year. But now I feel old. My parents gave me a set of carbon shaft arrows to use for my target practice and $200 which are to be dedicated to getting out of the house in a cab or a bus if I start feeling a case of cabin fever. Since up to now I have been unable to leave when I wanted to, I have a chronic case of cabin fever, but this will surely help.
We had apple pie (which inexplicably melted into applesauce pie) and ice cream afterwards. and it was a little awkward because all 20 candles melted onto the pie crust so that there were blue streaks all over it that made it hard to look at. Overall, it was a nice day and now I am officially looking forward to Christmas and beyond...

I decided a few days ago that I would just add random old photos to the end of my posts for a while. This is my dog. He was awesome but he tried to climb out of his pen once too often. I still miss him.



It's a smashing success. In the week since the post detailing my writing playlist, the use of said playlist enabled me to add 12 pages to my WIP this week, a rate about  ten times faster than I've ever achieved before.
Note: Just to confirm; I am a pessimist at home so my first reaction to a film is invariably focused on what bugged me and I tend to find a film more fun if I ever watch it again. However this does not detract from the fact that is my genuine belief that most DoS is just bad.
Secondly, I have been to see Desolation of Smaug already. Although I will grant that those who have never read the book will find it a blast, even if the continuity editing is choppy in the beginning, if you have read the book the middle part of the story is almost unrecognizable and you will have to reconcile your enjoyment of Tolkien's timeless classic with the alternate universe version the Peter Jackson has produced that has the same name. My personal opinion is that this film as an adaption of a book is a diseased piece of junk that needs to be remade as soon as anyone gets up the nerve to do it. In contrast to the LOTR, a longer version of this move would actually make it even worse instead of making it more comprehensible. (Minor spoiler hidden by whiteout) In particular because the Tauriel /Kili relationship does not work and the cgi is particularly obvious during major sequences, making it feel like one is watching cutscenes from a modern video game.
Related note: I hope Peter Jackson has given up claiming that he's honoring Tolkien's legacy, since his latest statements in defense of Tauriel were 1) a claim that Tolkien would have added an empowered female character, but this slipped his mind. and 2) that it is somehow commiting gender discrimination not to add said empowered female into a movie that already has plenty of characters nominally based on a story that has its share of hordes of female fans already. For one thing, not being a member of Tolkien's estate, Jackson has no business making even an implicit claim that Tolkien left anything out by accident. Second, in my perspective, he seems to be devaluing all the current female fans if he claims that they need a character inserted just for them. Can you say PC?

Desolation of Smaug: The atrocity people like.

Also adding this picture I took three Christmases ago b/c it reminds me of the line "The trees like torches blazed w/ light" Pretty close don't you think?


My Writing Playlist

As I have noticed that some other bloggers were doing this, it inspired to finally make my own playlist for writing inspiration which I hope will help me get through the Tolkien-inspired swords and armor story I have been working on for several years now. Every track on the list brings to mind a sequence I intend to write, or else it is included just because it helps me stay awake to think. You will recognize nearly all the tracks, but to make a post I will outline the list anyway.
  1. "Hail The Hero" preformed by Celtic Thunder. This track has become the de facto theme song of my favorite character. It's kind of a spoiler if one tries to connect it to a character's arc.
  2. "Heartland", also from Celtic Thunder, is one of those added simply to set the mood. It is a particularly easy one for me to listen to.
  3. "Sons of Odin" from Thor is a favorite because, well, it just sounds awesome.
  4. "Ride To Observatory" and "The Compound" from Thor are included because they bring to mind battle scenes that are major parts of the plot.
  5. I also include both "Making Plans/Gathering The Clans" and "The Legend Spreads" from Braveheart, even though they are basically the same track, because the mood fits into the story at some point and having them both increases the chance of hearing it...
  6. Okay, I'm tired of trying to point out why such a track is part of my special list. From here I'll just list them all and point out the notable ones.
  7. Howard Shore's "Concerning Hobbits", "Hope And Memory", "A Storm Is Coming", and "The Ride of The Rohirrim"
  8. Enya's song for the credits of FOTR, "May It Be" has become the theme song of my main character and his journey of loss and renewal.
  9. When I hear "To Aslan's Camp" from Narnia:LWW I always think of horsemen riding across open plains w/ stunning aerial perspective shots thrown in. "The Battle" from Narnia...fits over a particular battle. "Only The Beginning of the Adventure" is a nice party song for the happy ending. "The Blitz" is also on my list.
  10. I also include "The Fields of Athenry", "Fields of Glory" and  "Boolavogue" Each of which is a classic folk song or a more modern one pretending to be a classic, all of which are good and which I put in as "mood songs". Performed by The High Kings.
  11. And I'll just finish w/ a roundup of miscellaneous mood tunes. "Song of the Lonely Mountain" which I include as a substitute for "Misty Mountains" which is below my hearing range, "Across the Stars", the theme from Attack of the Clones, and two songs from my best friend, "Southern California" and New World"
  12. And that's my list.


Attack Of The Bad Romance

Tonight we sat through Attack of the Clones. This will be a short post because I actually enjoyed a lot of it. Meaning the parts that weren't bland sappiness on hyper-drive. Sure people feel that way toward others sometimes, but don't dare trying to say it outright. It sounds so stupid it's almost horrifying.
So the romance, which was half the movie, at least, stunk it up big time. But the rest of it was actually fun. I particularly enjoyed the banter between Obi-wan and Anikin during the speeder chase early on and the duel between Yoda and Dooku. I also got a kick out of recognizing Christopher's Lee's voice. I couldn't help mentally superimposing Saruman's robes and beard over him a couple of times. And C-3PO was also hilarious. Wow I actually thought that movie was fun! Who am I? However, I will never sit through it again unless I can fast-forward the romance bits, which woukld make it about half as long.

Oh and Anikin bronc-riding that creature that resembled a giant tick was also funny to watch.


Yes, It Is Bad...

Well, a while ago, because of what I was going through at the time, I was surviving on movies and tv. (These days I survive on sleep...) and so I asked for the Star Wars movies from Netflix because I was ready to form my own opinion of them. I have seen most of them in the past, but that was too far back for me actually to remember what the experience was like. Anyway, due to some miscommunication on my part, we eventually sat through The Phantom Menace last night instead of A New Hope.
without further words, although I laugh at the movies too much to consider myself a member of the fandom, that does not deny me the opportunity to say "yes, this one is an embarrassment to the franchise." I only ever bash movies here for some reason, but this one actually deserves it...
"Gungan-talk" is physically painful to sit through.
Jar-Jar was a terrible mistake. He was funny about once for a few seconds in the entire film.
The podrace, and especially the last lap, is ripped straight out of Ben-Hur w/ some minor alterations to accommodate the "space-ageyness"
There were no real surprises. Even though I don't have a real memory of having seen it before, everything anyone said felt so blatantly obvious it was painful. This was the most boring movie I've seen since Jurrasic Park...
The "helping and caring" relationship between adult Padme and middle-school Anikin seemed to collapse into romantic feelings almost right away. Big fail.
Apparently the dark side's engineers have no engineering sense at all. The main reactor just sitting there open to shoot at from the landing dock? Wait did you say open to shoot at? Again?
Those long minutes Obi-wan spent dangling from the edge of the walkway during the duel of the fates when he had already demonstrated that the force allows him to leap impossible distances and regain his weapon instantly.
That silliness of 'midi-chlorians: and how they are a measure of Jediness. They are clearly ripping off mitochhondria, which everyone discovers in biology class, And they never even claimed that not everyone has them, which means everyone does, therefore everyone should be a Jedi...
Well that's enough...


In The Future...

I have decided to resolve now, in the interest of not forgetting later, that next year, 2014, will be a "year of doing stuff" which I will document on my blog, with a post going up late each night about whatever it was I accomplished or simply made me happy for that day. I don't have access to a smartphone or a laptop I can carry with me, so you will know that if there isn't a post for that day that means I was out of town and the next post will recap the missing time. I can make this resolution as a consequence of discovering that the plan is for me to undergo another operation in January and that such plans would make it impossible for me to enroll in college for the spring semester, therefore leaving me with no plans through the first six months of the year.
Accomplishments documented during the Year of Doing Stuff may include, but are not limited to:
  • Making actual progress in the use of the expensive leatherstamping kit I was given a couple bdays ago
  • Getting better at archery
  •  Reading x number of books for the first time (though I am not going to go on any binges where I read something marketed below my age level, a la Ranger's Apprentice)
  • Getting better at drawing
  • The day I shoot the last photo in the nearly-empty memory card of the lightly-used $100 camera I was given at 17
  • Doing math lessons ( I have a tendency to forget everything I learned in math the previous semester, so I keep starting fresh and getting slightly better at it)
  • Make significant progress in the WIP that has been sustaining my life for the past few years. (I recently came to a conclusion that I am not in reality the writing type, since the idea of this project is in no way exciting. However on most days free writing is the only task I can manage w/o any real physical pain. Besides I'm 60 pages along in the second draft and I know where it's going)
  • Since learning to drive is out of the question I think that pretty well sums up my ideas for the coming year. If everything lines up smoothly I will start going to college next August, but I will still do my best to put up a new post every day.
However in the course of 12 months I'm sure a few other things of note will occur, especially since most projects on my list are things I will probably not have improved much at by the end of Summer.

p.s. Another item on my list is to achieve the feat of watching an LOTR extended marathon in one day, for which an opportunity may very well arise during the time I am recovering from the next operation.


Another Mad Libs Post...

Simply because it is long since time for me to put up another actual post, instead of bashing movies everyone else loves. The following needs no further explanation. You will laugh or you won't...

There are many different kinds of droids cooking around during the Clone Wars. Some of them work for the good remote controls while others burn for the ignorant guys. And each droid has a specific belt to perform. For example, Assassin droids are programmed to do one thing and one thing only: destroy every pencil in their path. Battle droids are always on the front walls and the first to engage the enemy. Protocol droids are involved in short diplomacy, searching for peaceful maps to put an end to the smelling. Astromech droids like R2-D2 help with space-spade repairs. When all is said and done its important to remember that the Clone Wars aren't just about Republic forces vs. Seperatist forces, but also a battle of clear droids vs. stretched droids.

Under the Sea with the Little Mermaid
Life under the sea is full of wonder and textbooks-especially when you are a mermaid and an ancient underwater princess like me. I live on the ocean floor in a rotten castle made of coral escalators. My dad is king Bob, ruler of the entire UFO. My friends are fish, dolphins, and underwater faucets. e spend our days exploring electric fence reefs and searching for sunken pig ears. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to whistle on land. I've heard that people there have wrists instead of fins. And that they eat around from place to place in motorized robots and wear squishy sticky notes on their hips. Someday I hope to visit this place so I can meet a handsome car dealer and fall wildly in love. That would be a mermaid's antimatter come true!

The second entry above was a blind pick from Mad Libs: Fairy Tales edition.


Supers: A Comparison

I know, it's odd that I only talk about superheroes and lotr on this blog. Maybe someday soon I will do another one of those goofy Mad Libs posts... But anyway, here we go again, and in this post I rank the Super-vehicle films I've seen in the past year: Dark Knight Rises (Batman), Iron Man 3, Man of Steel (Superman), and The Dark World (Thor). Who wins? I wasn't sure until I finished writing this post. The points are accumulated and counted up, One through four.

Awesomeness of film
Super tops IM
(IM tops Bat)
Bat tops Thor)

Coolness of Title Character (as super)
Super tops IM
(Bat tops IM)
In contrast to Kal-El naturally having his abilities and Batman getting by on fighting skills he's learned outside of his suit in addition to tech he designed, IM has no powers w/o the suit and Thor has nothing w/o the hammer but exaggerated strength and immortality. So it is a toss-up but the point lead goes to...Iron Man for knowing how to build his tech.

Coolness of character's Secret Identity
IM (in IM 3 alone) tops Bat
Bat tops Super
Thor doesn't have one

Awesomeness of Music
Bat wins over Thor by percentages. Note that this lead may change in the future.
(Thor tops IM)
IM tops Super

Humor Scale
 Thor leads (on the power of Loki)
(Im tops Bat)
Super tops Bat

Fun Factor of Supporting Cast
Thor tops IM on the strength of Loki and Heimdall
(IM tops Bat)
Bat tops Super

super tops Bat
(Bat tops IM)
Thor tops IM

So...Point scores...In the seven divisions...
Super: 4 4 2 1 1 1 4 (17 total)
IM: 3 2 4 2 3 3 1 (18)
Bat: 2 3 3 4 1 3 3 (19)
Thor: 1 1 1 3 4 4  2 (16)
So Loki and Heimdall were not enough even to pass Man of Steel which was a terrible movie when Russel Crowe wasn't involved but was made barely passable by the hour-long high-flying smackdown in the second half...Although these numbers do reflect my relative opinion of different elements of the film, (Awesomeness meaning including explosions and fights,) It does not reflect the fact that I did not actually like any of the movies. Batman got the highest point score, which does not remind you that it bored me stiff to the point of wishing I could get up and leave, which I have never felt about any movie before or since that I was watching in the theater.


Thor The Dark World Reaction

Ok, so...my reaction to the new Thor movie...Do you even want to know?
If this film had been called "Loki Messes With Asgard...Again" It would have been closer to the truth.
I knew it was going to be heavy with the Thor\Jane relationship, but showing that off weighed the story down like a brick. Yes I have a problem with melodrama and showstopping kissing shots. Those are at the top of my list of stuff I hate that's ok to put on screen.
Tom Hiddleston (who by now will forever be known as Marvel's Loki) saved the movie again. He had all the funny parts; anything Thor said that was humorous was simply a response to a Loki showstopper. Thor and Loki together were the best scenes, but Thor is still not as watchable as Heimdall or even the Warriors Three, on the good side. The 9th Doctor as the dark elf leader was impressive too. What does it say about these films when the villains are the fan favorites? (My gut reaction to the dark elves intro: What would happen if Tolkien's elves turned evil and fell through a dimensional rift in fictional spacetime?)
The two best scenes of all were really just small parts of an enormous sequence that took a huge chunk of time and which I can't say anything more about in deference to those who have not yet seen this movie.
Natalie Portman's opening act in this movie went on FAR TOO LOOOONG. It was at least ten minutes of nothing.
DR. Selveig's intro in this film was bizarre, inappropriately stupid, and did nothing to help the story. And they kept going back to it. Ouch.
 The reveal at the end was totally not a surprise.
(There are however, a couple of things in the movie which shocked me and should probably not be told to squeamish kids. But maybe I'm judging too harshly. Your call, actually)
There are two after-credit scenes. The first one moves the story along and contains spoilers. The second is just a superfluous scene of Thor rocketing back to Earth just to kiss Jane for the third time in the film. Apologies if you thought that was worth keeping hidden.
Long movie short, if you are not watching this movie for Loki and/or Heimdall, there's nothing here that'll make you come back. It is a 3 at best. I'll go with a 2.
p.s. I want the music, but I am not buying it w/o a test run, and the library may never get a hold of it...
My next post will be what I thought of the four superhero films I have seen in the past year in shorthand. You may be surprised, or not since I detail my opinions in posts like this.


Ender's Game reaction

In a word: awesome!
In a phrase:go see it as soon as you have a chance.
The fact that they managed to pack the entire book (with a few insignificant changes) into less than two hours of film was mind-blowing. It's slightly random if you have not read the original novel like I have, but I doubt anybody would get lost. Half of my statements on the trailer review I did with James Starslayer on his blog a couple months ago turned out to be way off base. I am glad. See my post on why this should be a longer movie; I rest my case. Bullies, check. Ender's team/Bean, check, although they didn't so much introduce them as throw them into the same room. Ender's first battle room scene, check. And then they combined all four of Ender's major battles as a team leader into one, which worked out well. The ending sequence was done well, alhough they left out some major depth in the middle of it. There's not much more to say since there are a lot of surprises in the story.
the trailers we got before the film were Desolation of Smaug and Catching Fire. The DoS trailer blew me away since I was finally experiencing it properly, although I still could not make out Smaugspeech, though that is my problem. The CF trailer looks cool too. This was the second one, which is a lot more compelling than the first.
Go watch Ender's Game and yell at me later1
p.s. the part I was most disappointed with, unlike most movies, was the original score. I expected the music to dominate some scenes, but it kind of hung in the background untill time came for the end credits.


The Music Man

This post is a shout-out to everyone to go follow a new blog. My best friend has decided to start his own music-dedicated blog where he will post from his extensive understanding of every music style that he enjoys, from the Beatles to Rock to classic folk, probably. You can probably expect not to find anything about rap or modern pop unless he feels like ranting over degradation. He's a full-time college guy but he'll post as often as possible. He can also be found on youtube where he posts original work under his real name. If you think this sounds interesting, click the link and tell him JT sent you. (just a little spamguard notice.)Oh, and he doesn't seem to have a blogger follow button, just a google+ button. I did not you could do that...Update: The usual blogger follow button had since been added.


I Now Understand...

 This guy, perhaps better known to you all as "Lindsey Stirling's backup chorus" The new brand of awesome I was way behind in discovering properly...:/ I think I even like his own videos better than Stirling's...:D

p.s. Google has gone overboard, and it might convince me in short order to kill my blogs if it keeps up. It's sending a new demand to enter my e-mail and password every five seconds. In the course of this post, I have "signed in" five times and been pestered about it a lot more. Can't even publish this note w/o doing it. In the event that I kill my blogs, and I lose my account completely, I will continue to read your posts and comment. What can I say? It's mental torture to get interrupted pointlessly this many times...


Fandom Roll Call

In the past, I was confused over what constituted a "fandom" one could declare themselves part of. But now I believe I've come to an understanding: If you would spend your allowance to get something connected to whichever pop-culture phenomenon it is you're thinking of, you are in the fandom, all right. And sometimes it's not pop-culture at all. I used to be reluctant to define myself as a fan of anything (i.e. novel series) which was no longer currently active. And then I did a double-take and realized that my favorite fandom has been going strong for fifty years! Hence, my list below.

The Works of Tolkien
Of course this was going to be on top. I say "the works" because although all of Tolkien's most famous writing is connected by way of Middle-Earth, the different styles in which each was written is enough to allow for a person to declare themselves a fan, but not get enjoyment out of everything he wrote. The Ringer fandom is also one of the most intellectual fandoms there is. People write scholarly essays explaining their opinions about all sorts of elements of Middle-Earth.

No, I am not embarrassed to admit that my second biggest fandom is a talking animal series intended for ten-year-olds that comparatively few people have ever heard of. I discovered the series at the age of nine and liked them so much I kept going back until I was sixteen. It is still my ongoing quest to put together a set of the complete novels in hardcover. The stories are full of humor, and unlike many series now, every entry of the 22 is a stand-alone story. As long as the author was alive, he kept churning out these stories, and once hooked, the discovery of the year's new release was the biggest event of my year. (almost). And yes, I did wish there was a movie. In my defense, if anyone cares, I joined the ranks of Ringers at the age of ten.

Although I have expressed dislike toward about half the films, I am still firmly in this fandom because the good ones are so good they convince us to come back next year for the next one. The good ones have all gained places on my mental list of "things I would buy if I had money"

The Chronicles of Narnia
Narnia was always my second or third runner-up when trying to decide what I liked. I read LWW several times in my early years. I don't know if I ever thought the back of my closet would disappear, but I certainly know that I wished something like that would happen. I liked the LWW movie a lot, but at one point we watched it so many times in a relatively short period that i can't seem to bring myself to sit through it again. I was properly excited by the news that #4 is finally in production, but my second favorite has always been #5. This fandom has nearly failed me, as #s 2-3 are bad movies. If all goes well I will be thirty by the time the last one is made. Noooo!

All Things Gaelic
This includes Scotland, Ireland, talking in a Gaelic accent, bagpipes, Celtic fiddling, Irish folk songs, kilts and wondering what haggis really tastes like. Yep, Everything. I'm actually only about 20% Irish, if that much, but that's where I'll always identify with as my heritage.

The Enderverse
I actually never read the complete Ender's Game series. After finishing the first book, I switched over to the Ender's Shadow series and got the two sets mixed up. Nevertheless, I am as excited as anyone that a movie about to be released, because as soon as I had read the original book, and a few times on the way through it,  realized that I badly wanted to see this book on the screen. Now to wait ten more days. I do not own any of these books, but I have recently remembered that I want to.

The Piano Guys/Lindsey Stirling
Ridiculously talented musicians who had their original bases on Youtube, and are now going on world tours and being followed by obsessed fans everywhere. Enough said. :D They even collaborate! (See Mission Impossible theme)

 I think there is no way to explain this one, ja? 


Why Ender's Game Should Have Been a Long Movie

This is a purely speculative post brought on by the discovery that the runtime of the upcoming Ender's Game film will only be two hours. There may or may not be spoilers below, but I don't know for sure because I haven't read anything disclosing the details included and the two trailers have practically no different material between the two of them. Just by remembering how the story goes, I have realized that a list can be made of all the parts that ought to have been included to do the story justice. Several entries on this list are especially important if the future holds an Enderverse franchise, which is not unlikely in the era of tentpole franchises that go on forever. (the series includes four sequels) This is not a purist rant, as the film hasn't released yet. Simply an explanation of what the film ought to include.
I have been careful not to list everything relevant to the whole story to ensure that newcomers still find surprises.
  1. Ender's Siblings: In the beginning, Ender is growing up underneath his two siblings; unstable but strategically brilliant Peter, and sympathetic Valentine. Both registered on Battle School tests as the supergeniuses that were hoped for, but they were both rejected due to character issues making them unfit for Commander School. The real reason they should be included is that a proper Enderverse franchise would have to include Peter's schemes of world domination, which he manipulates Valentine into helping him with, as a full subplot.
  2. The Bullies: This might seem like a strange item to include in a list of must-haves, but actually they ought to be included, as the events involving them are critical parts of Ender's character development. Ender gets jumped by bullies once before he's brought up to Battle School, and once afterwards. Both times he defeats the ringleader in hand-to-hand combat and kills them by accident without realizing it. Both times the Battle School administrators (led by Harrison Ford's Graff) are watching remotely, use the incidents to judge Ender's commanding ability, and never reveal to him that either kid died, although Ender does harbor lingering suspicions which cause him to doubt himself.
  3. The Battle-Room Tournament: Most of the Ender's Game novel is focused on the Battle-Room freeze-ray-laser-tag-in-zero-gravity tournament which the administrators use to assess leadership qualities. To do the story justice, the film ought to include at least four distinct matches; Ender's first, in which he wins the match for his team against orders brought on by size prejudice, his first match as captain of a team, another match day when his team is assigned two matches in a day even though one is the norm, and the final one, in which he is ordered to deal with two teams at once. The rule-bending is ordered by Graff himself just to see how Ender will react.
  4. Ender's Team: By this I mean explain them all individually, not just Petra, because they are collectively the main characters in the sequels. Eventually all of them go home to Earth and most become the political leaders in their home countries. The ones to watch out for are Petra, the Armenian (I think) played by Hailee Steinfeld, Hot Soup, a guy from China who is instantly made Emperor,  Ali, an Arab who is promptly installed as Caliph of Baghdad and rules an area about the size of the entire Middle East, (The political boundaries on the Enderverse Earth are basically divided into three or four geographically distinct empires), and Bean, a Dutch orphan who is such a major player that he gets the next entry on the list for himself.
  5. Bean: First off, Bean got his own novel series, so there's money to be had if the author will let them. By extension, he got his own nemesis and his own perspective on the Enderverse. Some of the best moments in Ender's Game were related from Bean's angle in the concurrent story Ender's Shadow. (In fact, the first reports claimed that the movie would splice the two stories together, but I doubt that is happening because two hours is simply not enough time to fit everything in) Bean is even more brilliant than Ender, but is ruled out of the leadership role due to more aggressive behavior. Bean quickly becomes Ender's prime lieutenant, and when he returns to Earth, is immediately snatched up by Peter to occupy the same position.
  6. The Mind Games:  The mind games are another system Graff uses to measure the kids' apittude, by way of a sort of futuristic video game which drags the player through various bizarre situations they have to think their way out of. Ender and Bean are the only kids in the school smart enough to beat the system and find the end of the game. The mind games are a critical part of the Enderverse franchise simply because in the later stories the author arbitrarily includes details from the mind games as clues to the big puzzle Ender has to work out in real life, so if they were to make all the books into films, the fans would expect them to include the mind games.

Everything I've listed could take as much as a whole hour to deal with collectively on film, and that's on top of other parts I haven't mentioned. Therefore I will go into the new movie with moderate expectations and a hope that there will be an extended edition. I retain a measure of optimism through the rumor that the author himself was involved in the screenplay. Note: While trying to verify my last sentence by way of rottentomatoes.com, I discovered to my relief that the siblings, the bullies, and most of Ender's team have been cast as separate characters. Only Hot Soup the Chinese kid is missing from that list. I think I'm going to like this movie.


Update, Updown, Turn on the TV

This is just a little filler note because I am doing absolutely nothing and it has been that way for a month and may stay that way until November. I am homebound and find it difficult to read in my situation, so I have been watching a lot of tv shows on Netflix instant streaming. With nothing else to do I watch a whole season every day.

  • Once Upon a Time: We watched the first season and decided it wasn't all that great. When they finally posted the second season, I sat through it just to see what happened. It pole-vaulted the shark about three times. Most ridiculous part: Enter Dr. Frankenstein. Hello? Fairy tale characters?

  • Doctor Who, 9th-11th Doctors: Short story: I am not a Whovian any more than I was before. Which was not at all. It drove me nuts that the Daleks and the Cybermen were constantly escaping permanent destruction by way of the slimmest of plot devices. The Doctor Who with a question mark gag is so stupid as to be groan-inducing, and there was far too much build-up in the sixth season to a death/regeneration that was foiled by 'timey-wimey" stuff. twice. It is also annoying that the Doctor's companions are always falling all over themselves to proclaim his greatness. I liked the ninth doctor best.
  • Dragnet: A short little true crime case file show from the sixties that is good for a lot of laughs and a barrel of snappy comebacks and civics lectures.
  • I have no intention of marathoning Star Trek, even though Netflix has the original Spock and Kirk version plus all the spinoffs. It is just too laughable.
  • I will be couchbound and surviving on tv shows and yogurt for the next two months, so if anybody would suggest a show to sit through, I will check it out.
  •  I have managed to read the Ranger's Apprentice series, which is the most laughable series ever and the 12th one is a bad idea since all the loose ends are tied. I have also read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, the basis of the film Blade Runner. I liked the story, however, it makes me wonder how they made an action movie out of it.


Mini-night of the Bizarro World

Why I am I saying this here? Gotta get it down somewhere or I'll forget what story there is. Anyway here goes. weirdness starts around midnight.

  • So, midnight. Discover that a good friend of mine who has expressed an aversion to using the phone has been prominently featured on local news proudly announcing the awesomeness of the HS football team, before the games have started. Not done, this being an example of a sure way to get everyone else stoked to beat yo into the ground. "who do they think they are?!"-every pep talk against our team this year... Weird point 1

  • Hours pass, can't sleep. Kill time reading book seven of Ranger's Apprentice* Eventually I do drop off to sleep. Experience awfully vivid dream (which disappears right away) involving myself as RA character discussing current affairs with the several other main characters. Eventually wake up out of that with my head full of intricate international hostage-transfer movement patterns from RA world, which makes absolute zero sense because nothing remotely like that has been written down in the books for me to remember. Also, wake up having identity crisis: Which world am I really in and where/who am I?-I count weirdness points 2,3, and 4
  • After rising from that, I got up and wandered aimlessly for ten minutes wondering whether I had glasses on and where I had put them. (normally I do, but due to recent events I don't but often think I might.) Due to the mindlessness of the wandering I count that as weird point 5
*Yes I've been reading Ranger's Apprentice novels recently. I could write a whole post on my low opinion of them. who knows, maybe I will after I finish number 12 in a few weeks. It is my developing opinion that although #7 is not bad at all, it should never have been written in the first place due to the judgement error that made it #7 instead of #5. Deflates a lot of the fun suspense.


Movie Tag, Favorites Edition

I have been tagged by Velvin to do a tag started by James Starslayer to celebrate one's favorite movies in no particular order. I will now comply with the tag.

1) Post James's video mashup of his one hundred (already?!) favorites. We're sorry for the inconvenience, but we've tried twice and can't get the actual video to show up. All we get is code...

1 1/2: Tagging other bloggers is strictly optional, and I am always a dead end at tagging anyway.

2) list your favorite movies in no particular order

 *note: though this may be stunning to you, as you all know I am a hardcore Tolkien fan, but I do not appreciate the theatrical cuts of ROTK and AUJ. In ROTK I counted at least 12 death blows to the story, neither do I appreciate the flipping and mangling of AUJ, Theater edition. (Though if I tried to watch it simply as a funny movie I would like it better...). The two above, though, are good.

I like this movie. I have explained why more times than anyone cares to read the explanation.


 The rest of the Pixar universe is not on my list of favorites. As for the these, if you like them, you understand, if not, you don't.

 I have seen it censored, but that censored version is an awesome movie if you can look past the blatant historical inaccuricies people have pointed out.

 Narnia 1 is a fun movie we have seen almost ten times. (that's a lot in our house.)
However, I despise #2 and #3 was not great, so I can understand why they did badly, but I badly want a Horse and His Boy movie, and now we'll never get one!

 We finally borrowed it from a friend recently. I did not understand the level of awesome I was missing! We promptly watched it twice in two days. You've all seen it so no need to go on.

On my personal list, it's fairly low, but I have seen it three times and it was funnier each time, so I include it. 

An impressive movie from the days when stuntmen were stuntmen that did an impressive job of converting the book.

 For old time's sake. I had seen it ten times by the time I was 12. It's still fun, but now it's even cheesier.

It has hilarious moments and one of the better ending sequences. From the same Brad Bird who now makes films for Pixar (i.e. Incredibles)

One of those films that's hilarious and not so well-known, without many awkward moments unless you decide they're there to find.

Well, that's my list of favorites. I reached 18. Make of it what you will.