Saturday, November 10, 2012

Library Loot - 2nd Week of November

The top two books in my New Loot list are for school, otherwise I doubt I'd be reading them when I could be reading Jane Austen. *le sigh* The two Old Loot ones are realistic teen fiction that I'm reading for a teen reading list at work. Plus, I love S. E. Hinton!

New Loot:
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Intimations of Chritianity among the Ancient Greeks by Simone Weil
  • Dawn of the Arcana manga - Volumes 4,5,6
  • The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle (with a foreward by Martin Freeman!!)
Old Loot:
  • Black and White by Paul Volponi
  • Taming the Star Runner by S. E. Hinton

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Life goes on

It seems that the world rolls on. The apocalypse didn’t happen with the loss of the election. I didn’t stop breathing. This supposedly means that there is still hope in my heart. Not necessarily a hope that a spiritual awakening will occur in America but rather the knowledge that my soul is safe. I was disappointed and angry with the election. I’m numb now. But it is well with my soul. It’s remarkable how I can still feel joy in my faith, in knowing God is in control, even while America has proven to me that our citizens have joined Stupidsville. I’m 100% aware that America has walked into the hands of Satan and that he is gleeful over our surrender to him. But so long as there are righteous men and women in this nation God will not destroy us. He might turn away from us but he will not bring destruction down upon us. This is why I will continue to pray. Even though it might look hopeless, God has our backs.

I heard a story from my father last night. He was talking to someone where he works, a fellow conservative, who had the strangest notion. He holds to the idea that maybe it’s time Republicans dropped some of the social/moral issues that have been a part of our platform since Roe vs. Wade. His idea, and apparently the idea of many fiscal conservatives, is that the moral platform is what keeps people from voting for Republicans. Therefore it should be dropped. You don’t say that to people like my parents. My folks were democrats until Reagan came along. Then the whole Roe vs. Wade thing blew up and because they were Christians they made a choice to walk away from their political party. They were Reagan democrats along with millions of other Reagan democrats who now form the backbone of the Republican Party. Why did they join in the first place? It is because they took a moral stand on life beginning at conception. You can’t just walk away from that ideal. You can’t just decide one day that for the good of the party you’re going to stop fighting for pro-life amendments or defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

I’m not condemning fiscal conservatives. There are many in the Republican Party who joined purely on an economical basis and that’s fine. But they need to realize there’s another half. They can shout to the rooftops that the Republican platform should drop social issues to gain votes. But the word “should” doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. If you want me to betray a part of myself, a huge part of the reason why I’m a Republican, then so long, chum, because I’m finding a different party. The moral Republicans aren’t going to budge on this issue and the sooner the fiscal conservatives realize it the better. Apparently this guy sputtered quite a bit at the idea that anyone would leave the Republican Party because of a moral issue. Well, if they push too hard I guarantee that moral Republicans will be rats leaving a sinking ship. They'll lose votes with this method instead of gaining them. If people like my parents had the guts to leave their prior political party on moral grounds then don’t you dare tell them that the Republicans need to drop that moral high-ground. That’s not the way to win an election.

We lost. Yep, we lost and it was a pretty major loss. But I still love this great nation of mine. She wasn’t always being torn apart like this. There was a time when Christian values were trumpeted as being the right way to go, the successful way to go. You know that statement in the Constitution; the one about freedom of religion? That means the freedom to be religious anywhere: in school, at work, in government, anywhere. Our founding fathers fully realized that Christian faith and our government went hand in hand. When a Christian foundation is removed from government then all hell breaks loose and suddenly the Constitution is being interpreted every which way so that it says what they want it to say. Give me a presidential candidate who’s not afraid to say that we’ve gone morally awry in this nation and then at least maybe he’ll stand a chance.

This loss isn’t the end of the world. It hurts and it’s scary but God is still in control. Let’s not play the blame game. I honestly think we could have had God Himself running and would have still lost. People are just entirely too into the "Me First" concept right now for any Republican to be attractive to them. So let's not apologize for being who and what we are: a political party founded on moral and family values. Instead let’s figure out how to win the next election.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Major Crimes: Tricks

Story: Major Crimes: Tricks

Characters: Buzz and, well, everyone

Rating: K for fun and goofing off

Summary: Buzz finds himself the unsuspecting victim of a rubber band attack. Who could be the culprit?

Moi: One-shots are seriously awesome to write. It only takes me a short time and they're such fun. I've planned this since I wrote Nightmares yesterday but the plotline did change a little bit which made it more entertaining for me. I love it when stories evolve from how I'd originally intended them. Here's hoping you all enjoy it as much as I did. Hopefully more one-shots will follow as the inspiration strikes.

(Click to Read)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Major Crimes: Nightmares

Story: Major Crimes: Nightmares

Characters: Sharon & Rusty

Rating: K+ for angst/comfort

Summary: Rusty's sleep turns sour after facing his father and Sharon is awakened one night by his nightmares. Reminded of her own two sons, Sharon's compassion for Rusty's predicament grows, her mothering instinct resurfacing.

Moi: This was written because Major Crimes is becoming a huge part of my television life. I watch not only for the crimes they solve but also for the complex relationship between Sharon and Rusty. This idea came to me last night before bed and I had time to write it down today. I hope you are as touched by it as I was when I wrote it.

This takes place after 1.7 and depending on what happens with Rusty's dad in the next episode, may or may not apply to tv-verse.

Click to Read

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Long time, no see

A lot has happened in the last few weeks. I was almost a bit afraid to post about it on here. As if that would make the experience vanish. But it's been 15 days and the experience hasn't faded yet, so I guess it's okay to share now. Two Sundays ago, I was in church, listening to a guest pastor from Louisiana share his story. And the Lord broke my heart. For the last several years I was hardening myself against Him. I didn't want to follow His leading. I didn't even want to ask for His guidance just in case He sent me somewhere I didn't want to go. But very few Christians can keep a hard heart forever. God will find a way to break it and He found a chink in mine.

So I'm on a path of rededication. Which is as scary as all get-out. The world looks different now. My interraction with my family is different. I treat my coworkers differently. And in all honesty, I'd be really happy if I could just stay home with my family and go to church for the next few months. But I can't do that. Life has to carry on and I must go with it which means going to work and keeping engagements. It is weird, though. It's like learning an entirely new me. So despite being sick last week and I'll admit, whining a little bit, my interractions with the people around me is developing into something completely different. And it's not me. It's God. Believe me. He's doing a work in my life and for the first time, I'm letting Him. I'm asking Him.

So . . . hugs all around to my blogger friends!

God bless!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A 3rd Hobbit movie

All right, so it's been confirmed. Instead of 2 films for The Hobbit PJ is intent on making 3.

As Peter Jackson announced in his release:

"We know how much of the story of Bilbo Baggins, the Wizard Gandalf, the Dwarves of Erebor, the rise of the Necromancer, and the Battle of Dol Guldur will remain untold if we do not take this chance.  The richness of the story of The Hobbit, as well as some of the related material in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings, allows us to tell the full story of the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and the part he played in the sometimes dangerous, but at all times exciting, history of Middle-earth.

So, without further ado and on behalf of New Line Cinema, Warner Bros. Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Wingnut Films, and the entire cast and crew of “The Hobbit” films, I’d like to announce that two films will become three."

So there we have it.

Now for my concerns. I love the story of this little Hobbit and his companions. The Hobbit was the first of Tolkien's books that I had ever read and it utterly captivated me. Which is why I admit to mild concern. I don't want Bilbo's story getting lost in the story of the Necromancer, as fascinating as that tale is in itself. (Note: If you want to read it, this bit is found in the 1st couple of Lord of the Rings appendices and it's some pretty heavy reading).

I was always under the impression that the story of 1 hobbit and his adventures was enough to fill a book. Which is why everything else made it into those appendices. I'm not denying PJ's drive or his passion. This man loves Tolkien's Middle Earth probably almost as much as Tolkien himself loved it. I just pray that Bilbo doesn't get lost in the shuffle of such a monumental story that PJ's endeavoring to tell.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

11 Things Questionaire

This is being posted because of a nomination to The Lieber Award by buddy2blogger. I won't nominate anyone else or the chain will never end but here's my answers to the questions. :-)
11 things about myself
  1. I'm a 100% hardcore Disney girl.
  2. Running is a new passion in my life. It feels . . . wow, better than anything I've ever experienced.
  3. Macgyver was my very 1st crush.
  4. I played the piano amateurishly well until I gave it up as a teenager.
  5. Crocheting amigurumi (toys and stuffed critters) makes me happy.
  6. I have 6 copy paper boxes crammed full of Lord of the Rings action figures safely stowed in my basement.
  7. I've never managed to keep a journal successfully.
  8. I've performed on stage as Charlotte Lucas in a musical version of Pride & Prejudice.
  9. Frank Peretti and Stephen Bly are my top favorite Christian novelists.
  10. Hobbit feet are fun to wear out in public, especially when people aren't expecting them.
  11. Dislikes controversy of any kind.
Questions from Charity's Place:
  1. What has been your greatest moment in life so far? Probably walking down the carpet for my 2-year college degree. That was quite the wow moment.
  2. Who (other than your parents) has been a source of inspiration for you? My dear friend Lynn who I worked with 4 years and who managed to survive breast cancer. She is such an upbeat personality and such a strong Christian. I couldn't ask for a dearer woman to be a mentor to me.
  3. Are you an extrovert who loves partying and hanging out or more of an introverted person?*snort* Yeah right. Parties? I'd much rather stay home with a book or movie and avoid the torture. So introverted.
  4. Who is your favorite movie director and what is the latest movie of his/hers you have seen? Right now it's possibly Christopher Nolan but I'm also fond of Tim Burton despite the latter's weirdness. So we'll stick with Christopher Nolan and his most recent movie that I've seen is The Dark Knight Rises. Such a visually stunning film.
  5. What news channel/newspaper do you watch/read to get the latest news? It's probably off Century Link. That's where my email is, anyway, so I usually scan the articles.
  6. Name some of your favorite hobbies: Crocheting, paper-crafting, treadmilling.
  7. Has becoming a blogger had any impact on your life so far? If yes, in what way(s)? I suppose it helps me formulate my thoughts and opinions to my own satisfaction. And if those thoughts in any way give others new ideas then that makes me happy.
  8. Who is your favorite author(s)? I sort of answered this already but to pick one author it would probably be Frank Peretti. I've been reading his books since I was about eleven and they were the most marvelous and terrifying things I'd ever read. He's even publishing again after a 7 year absence. If you like spiritual and supernatural warfare then This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness will be right up your alley.
  9. If there was one thing you want to change about yourself, what would that be? I know it sounds petty but my weight. Which is what I'm working on so I'm already changing it.
  10. Which actor would you cast to play Sherlock Holmes and why? Er, please give me Nicholas Rowe. Please, please, please! Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with Benedict Cumberbatch and Jeremy Brett and Basil Rathbone and all the others but Nicholas Rowe was brilliant in the bizarre Young Sherlock Holmes from the 1980s and I'd love to see him take on the role seriously. Talk about a pipe dream.
  11. Do you believe in the existence of aliens and UFOs? Aliens, no. We're not living War of the Worlds. Maybe people on other planets living out an existence much like our own. It's possible God made more than one earth. Just possible.

Joy Cometh in the Morning

Well, it's the beginning of a new month and anything has to be better than July, at least in Colorado. Have you ever noticed how life doesn't always meet our expectations? I don't know about you but I have what I always considered reasonable expectations in life. My expectations include a good family relationship, a job with people I like, a well-rounded education. I can also put time spent with friends, reading a good book, planting 60 iris bulbs (which I did by the way), or just unwinding after a long day. All of these things tell me that I'm physically secure. My life is stable.

So what do you do when life suddenly becomes a little less stable?

You know, those shootings in Aurora, CO and the Waldo Canyon Fire creeping so close to my home a few weeks before that. Suddenly life isn't quite as secure and stable as it once was. Suddenly things can happen, things I didn't bank on and certainly didn't welcome. If I may say so, they even had me freaking out just a little bit, as if my world were toppling. I never doubted God's sovereignty but it made me wonder why evil suddenly seemed so much more rampant than usual, at least in Colorado.

Then one day, right after the Aurora shooting I was driving home from work, listening to some Christian radio and the DJ stopped to pray. It was a woman and she gave a Bible quote from Psalm 30:5 that says "For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." You know how you've read something numerous times but it doesn't make an impact? I've read through Psalms at least 3 times in my young Christian life but I had no recollection of this verse. It was as if all the fear I'd been feeling was suddenly lifted away. It didn't exist anymore, at least not in a way that could hurt me or influence me.

Joy cometh in the morning.

Remember my dear friends that God is faithful and just. We don't always understand His plan or why things happen. But His anger lasts only for a moment and in His favor is life. We mustn't let our hearts be troubled by the tragedies of this world. It only lasts for a season and then we will be with Him. I just wanted to share this glorious bit of truth with you since God was kind enough to share it with me. God bless you. *hugs*

Femnista July/August Issue - Science Fiction & Fantasy

Click to launch the full edition in a new window Digital Publishing with YUDU

This is a really fun issue for Sci-fi fans, like me! My article is on Firefly and Caitlin wrote on the gloriousness of Loki from The Avengers and Thor. A fantastic all-around issue.

Have fun reading!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Batman Weeps for Colorado

I'm sure everyone has heard by this point but here's the lowdown in case you haven't. At approximately 12:30am today a gunman opened fire on a theater in Aurora, Colorado filled with The Dark Knight Rises fans, killing over a dozen and injuring over 50. The final toll for victims is 71.

This tragedy seems fitting somehow with the pain and suffering Colorado has experienced over the last few months. It doesn't even feel quite real to me yet. All I knew was that when I first heard of the shooting (without knowing where in Colorado it happened) my immediate thought was for a friend of mine who was attending a midnight showing with his buddies but he was in Colorado Springs. There will be plainsclothes police officers in every showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado this weekend to dissuade any copycats. This might be something they do across the country, I don't know.

What do you say when something like this happens? When does this ever happen?

Caitlin and I had planned on seeing The Dark Knight Rises this weekend. But now. Now I'm not so sure I want to go sit in a darkened theater where someone could easily come through the emergency exit and start killing people.

My heart grieves. It grieves for the victims, it grieves for the witnesses, and it also grieves for the people who spent a good 3 years of their lives making this movie in the hopes it would bring enjoyment and entertainment to millions. Now all people will remember is "The Batman Massacre" as its been named. And massacre would be right. This is the largest shooting in history. Movie theaters aren't that big. You can kill and maim a lot of people in a short amount of time.

What has happened to this nation? Right now Batman weeps for us.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Singin' in the Rain - In Theaters for 1 Night Only!

Don't you just love Fathom Events?! This is how I was able to experience The Lord of the Rings: Extended Editions in theaters and a special film about Elvis in concert before his death. They're special opportunities and may never happen again. And this time it's the 60th birthday of Singin' in the Rain!

You know the one with Gene Kelly in his iconic dance on wet streets with an umbrella that does everything but keep him dry. The one with the enchanting Debbie Reynolds as the girl who gives Lena Lamont an appropriate voice for talkies. The one with Donald O'Connor dancing on the walls! I mean, Singin' in the Rain may be the best musical ever!

So mark your calendars if you're a classic movie buff. It's coming up fast, on July 12th! So you know where I'll be this Thursday, in a theater with my mom and sister and wishing my dad didn't have to work that night. It'll be awesome!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Red Victorian Rose Arts And Costuming: Honest to goodness craft post!

The latest post from my sister Caitlin @ Red Victorian Rose Arts And Costuming

Aren't my mice awesome?

These are mice made from a Jill Barklem's Brambly Hedge pattern book. I love her work and if you have never heard of them, seriously, go look them up. They have the most awesome illustrations and story lines, perfect for children and adult alike. Anyway, these were my first four, given to me by my mother years ago. She then added Dusty Dogwood and Poppy Eyebright in their wedding clothes.

The pictures below these are of a folding card I made with the aid of my sister. She cut the card out of some really pretty fantasy paper we had and folded it, then handed it off to me to decorate as I wished.

To read more, please visit her blog HERE.

A Nudge from C.S. Lewis

Sometimes it's hard to read complete books by C.S. Lewis. The man was such a master of the English language and his thoughts were so precise and so incredibly acurate to reality that it almost hurts trying to make sense of everything he said. Which is why I'm happy to have found a book called The Joyful Christian so I can read individual blurbs taken from his various books in the hopes that what he says will sink in and stay. Because let's be honest, Lewis had a lot of crucial insights into humanity in general and Christianity specifically.

So I just read the very 1st blurb which deals with *drumroll please* Right & Wrong. Since this is only a blurb it only skirts the basics of what Lewis wrote but it's enough to give me food for thought. When we hear arguments in our daily lives it's usually based on the idea that we share a similar view of Right & Wrong with the other person involved in the argument. In Lewis' words, "he is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about."

A standard of behavior. An accepted norm that this is right and something else is wrong. I love how Lewis remarks that humanity rarely argues with the Right & Wrong standard but tries instead of make a special case for himself as to why it doesn't apply to him in a given situation. That standard applied to a friend in another situation but not to me right now because . . .

I'm reading a book by Alison Strobel called Worlds Collide and it's fascinating watching the hero come to the realization that he needs Christ. He moves through logical moments of denial and need before asking himself some very basic questions such as does God exist and if so what is he going to do about it. Once he moves past those two levels he realizes the question of truth must also be answered. Is it relative or absolute? His conclusion is, according to the very fact that we can say something is wrong and/or sinful, that absolute truth exists.

Most people realize there is a right and a wrong. And most, if they thought about it long enough, would realize that it's not based on what they think at the moment. I'm sure that slavery was not considered a sin in the South but it still was one regardless of what they thought. Imagine the slaughter in the Roman games with Gladiators and Christians and wild beasts. It was a horrific evil committed against mankind regardless of whether they saw it as a sin or not. Human perception doesn't matter. Truth is absolute.

Which means that inwardly that standard of Right & Wrong exists in most people. If it didn't then there would be no point in quarrelling with someone because you don't have the same standard. Makes me feel sometimes as if I shouldn't even bother arguing with those of a more liberal bent because nothing I say is going to change their mind which means they don't believe in this Law of Right & Wrong or as Lewis describes it The Law of Human Nature. In his words "a body could choose either to obey the Law of Human Nature or to disobey it."

A person might choose to not participate in this Law of Human Nature but denying its existence doesn't work either. I could go on for paragraph after paragraph and reiterate the same thing but I won't. All I will say is WOW! Lewis managed to wrap up in a few paragraphs what it takes some authors 100s of pages to say. Truth is absolute and the majority of men are held to a certain standard or law. Disobeying is their choice but it doesn't mean the standard ceases to exist.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Merida & Elinor - Mothers & Daughters

If there's one thing I'm completely familiar with it's the tenuous nature of the mother/daughter relationship. Especially when the daughter starts reaching an age where she just doesn't want to listen anymore. Ironically my age wasn't when I was a teenager but more now, in my twenties.

Watching Pixar's newest film, Brave, sort of gave me an eye-opener. Princess Merida and her mother Queen Elinor don't quite get along. Their personalities are so completely different that it's difficult for either of them to listen to the other. Elinor wants Merida to be a proper princess which includes marrying one of the firstborn sons of the clan leaders. Merida doesn't agree with her mother and that's putting it mildly. Problems start to ensue when Merida goes to a witch for a potion to change her mother's mind and thereby change her own fate. This magic doesn't work the way Merida had hoped and instead of changing her mother's mind Elinor gets changed into a bear instead.

Brave isn't just a fairytale/adventure story. It's not just a story about a rebellious teenage girl who doesn't want to listen to her mother. It's about a symbiotic relationship that absolutely must develop between them. Ironically when Merida's mother becomes a bear and Merida can't understand her speech, that's the time when they seem to understand each other on an intuitive level. Merida sees her mother with new eyes and Elinor realizes her daughter is growing up into a lovely young woman who she loves very much.

The trick in Brave is that they have to stop arguing before they can start communicating. Now, my mother and I don't really argue but we don't always agree and when we don't I tend to get mad like Merida and even lash out irrationally. Many daughters do the same because it feels like our mothers are interfering in our lives. What I needed to realize and all daughters need to realize is that we need to stop blaming our mothers for loving us and wanting to give us the best advice possible. We can't and shouldn't resent them for their love and their desire to see us succeed and become our absolute best. Even if their best for us isn't quite what we had in mind and isn't a part of our original goals. And never should we lash out as Merida did against her mother. The most poignant moment in the entire film was when Merida apologized to her mother and admitted how wrong and selfish she had been.

You'll often find that it is the daughter who reacts in anger and not the mother. That's the way it's always been with me and my mom and that's the way it is with Merida and hers. Not only did Merida learn a valuable lesson about owning up to her mistakes but so did I. I don't want to be that woman who refuses all advice her mother gives. Because you know something? My mom is actually a very wise woman and I love and respect her very much. Maybe it's time I started showing it more.

On a totally minor note, yes, there are some moments of nudity in Brave when the men use their kilts to climb down from a tower and when Merida's little brothers get turned back into boys when they had accidentally been bears, as well as the unfortunate incident of the nanny's décolleté. Just like Cars 2 was more for children, Brave is actually more for adults. I hope this unfortunate tendency doesn't become a habit with Pixar because I want to continue loving their films and it's difficult to do that when nudity insinuates itself.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Where I was 10 years ago

What comes to mind when you think of yourself 10 years ago? How old were you? What were your interests?

I almost never think of the 18-year-old version of me. But then I watch a trailer or a production video for The Hobbit and it all comes flooding back. 10 years ago I was so embroiled in everything Tolkien that it felt like I actually lived in Hobbiton. Posters on my walls, actions figures on my shelves, costumes in my closet, Lembas bread recipes in my kitchen. I wrote Lord of the Rings fanfiction and developed a simple little website called Christian Hobbit. That was my life. That was me!

And I don't regret one moment of it.

The Hobbit will be different. I'm older now than I was then and my perceptions have changed. My interests have broadened. But you know something? I still get that tingle at the base of my spine when I hear the theme for The Lord of the Rings. I bring up images and scenes from the movies in my head and I love them all over again. And when I look at the trailers and production videos for The Hobbit that same tingle puts in an appearance.

I don't expect this to be another Lord of the Rings because it won't be. Nothing will ever be like that incredible 3-year-span of my life where I lived, ate, and breathed Tolkien. But I have not been this excited or this eager for a movie since The Return of the King hit theaters. That was the last one. Oh, I've loved many movies since then, The Avengers for example is awesome, but there was nothing where I had an internal clock counting down the days.

Peter Jackson found a way to uncork my bottle of Tolkien memories and make them vivid again. These are different actors but it's the same world and the same genius originally created it. When I was 15, the first Tolkien book I ever read was The Hobbit. In the words of Gollum, it is precious to me. And in the best way possible. This is before the Ring was evil and everything was dark in Middle Earth, before the Shadow came. This was the simple story of a Hobbit, going on an adventure, something he had never imagined himself doing.

I'm excited! Something I never imagined happening again is happening. Only this time I'm able to share in the filming and creating by watching the production videos off PJ's website. It's like he's making me and all the other fans a part of the family. I'm involved in the making of The Hobbit simply because he's letting me be involved. It's the most amazing sensation!

The Lord of the Rings will always be #1 in my heart. Nothing will ever top it, ever. But having Peter Jackson take one of my favorite books and put it on the big screen, after so many years of waiting, it's a euphoria I can't even begin to describe. This is re-awakening the reasons why I love Tolkien's work so much. His stories of strength and honor and loyalty and romance and adventure and sacrifice and loss. Nothing else will ever touch him and his mastery.

Now to wait for December 14th, 2012. A day of untold magic.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks

Don't ask me why I wanted to read Nicholas Sparks because there is no answer, but I just finished Message in a Bottle. I would never say that he isn't a good writer, because he is. His style is very engaging and I don't want to put down his books because his writing is so entertaining and heartfelt. He puts a lot of passion into his books and you can really sense that passion. I just wish he'd find a new premise, something he's never done before. Even if it meant having someone else help him develop the story. Anything to give him something new and original.

The premise of Message in a Bottle is this. Theresa vacations by the sea and finds a bottle with a love letter in it. Nothing unusual in that, I guess, except that it seems the woman being written to has died and the letter itself is so poignant it brings her to tears. Through a mishmash of circumstances Theresa tracks down 2 more letters written by the same author and each letter gives a little more information on where the writer might live. Sure enough, Garrett's letters are absolutely correct about his location: living in Wilmington, NC and owning a diving shop as well as a refurbished sailboat from the 1920s named Happenstance. She heads on down there to meet Garrett, probably with the intention of only meeting him and then leaving. One thing leads to another, they both like each other immensely, and by the end of her stay they are embroiled in an intimate relationship.

Of course, the relationship can't stay this way. Theresa is a columnist for a Boston magazine and she published Garrett's first letter in her column before she ever went down to meet him. Garrett naturally discovers this on a trip to visit her and all hell breaks loose. She's upset with him for not understanding and he's upset with her because she dared publish something as intimate as the letters he wrote to his deceased wife, Catherine. Let's just say that if you're expecting a happy ending, this is like every other Sparks' book I've read. In other words, there is no happy ending.

What I truly wish is that his books weren't so darn predictable! I correctly guessed which character would die and how it would happen and I wasn't even 50 pages into the book. I correctly guessed there would be turmoil when Garrett discovered that Theresa had his letters and I guessed that incident would play a part in the ultimate tragedy. I already knew the end so I just read the journey that would take me to the end. And that's really not very fun.

As to Garrett's character, I could almost have fallen in love with him myself. There's something disturbingly attractive about a man who has experienced tragedy and emerges as something of a grieving hero. Garrett is a wonderful man and watching him heal from his wife's death because of Theresa (probably the best thing she did for him) is special. But there would have been a much stronger impact had Nicholas Sparks not followed his normal routine of death.

Now I'll need to bring myself to watch the movie and see if they're at all comparable. Looking at the list of character names for the movie I can already tell they've changed a lot and I'm not a huge fan of Kevin Costner at the best of times. Again I ask myself, why am I doing this?! Because he's Nicholas Sparks and a part of me really wants to understand the draw.

Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks

Don't ask me why I wanted to read Nicholas Sparks because there is no answer, but I just finished Message in a Bottle. I would never say that he isn't a good writer, because he is. His style is very engaging and I don't want to put down his books because his writing is so entertaining and heartfelt. He puts a lot of passion into his books and you can really sense that passion. I just wish he'd find a new premise, something he's never done before. Even if it meant having someone else help him develop the story. Anything to give him something new and original.

The premise of Message in a Bottle is this. Theresa vacations by the sea and finds a bottle with a love letter in it. Nothing unusual in that, I guess, except that it seems the woman being written to has died and the letter itself is so poignant it brings her to tears. Through a mishmash of circumstances Theresa tracks down 2 more letters written by the same author and each letter gives a little more information on where the writer might live. Sure enough, Garrett's letters are absolutely correct about his location: living in Wilmington, NC and owning a diving shop as well as a refurbished sailboat from the 1920s named Happenstance. She heads on down there to meet Garrett, probably with the intention of only meeting him and then leaving. One thing leads to another, they both like each other immensely, and by the end of her stay they are embroiled in an intimate relationship.

Of course, the relationship can't stay this way. Theresa is a columnist for a Boston magazine and she published Garrett's first letter in her column before she ever went down to meet him. Garrett naturally discovers this on a trip to visit her and all hell breaks loose. She's upset with him for not understanding and he's upset with her because she dared publish something as intimate as the letters he wrote to his deceased wife, Catherine. Let's just say that if you're expecting a happy ending, this is like every other Sparks' book I've read. In other words, there is no happy ending.

What I truly wish is that his books weren't so darn predictable! I correctly guessed which character would die and how it would happen and I wasn't even 50 pages into the book. I correctly guessed there would be turmoil when Garrett discovered that Theresa had his letters and I guessed that incident would play a part in the ultimate tragedy. I already knew the end so I just read the journey that would take me to the end. And that's really not very fun.

As to Garrett's character, I could almost have fallen in love with him myself. There's something disturbingly attractive about a man who has experienced tragedy and emerges as something of a grieving hero. Garrett is a wonderful man and watching him heal from his wife's death because of Theresa (probably the best thing she did for him) is special. But there would have been a much stronger impact had Nicholas Sparks not followed his normal routine of death.

Now I'll need to bring myself to watch the movie and see if they're at all comparable. Looking at the list of character names for the movie I can already tell they've changed a lot and I'm not a huge fan of Kevin Costner at the best of times. Again I ask myself, why am I doing this?! Because he's Nicholas Sparks and a part of me really wants to understand the draw.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

One Day

It's a relief knowing that 28-year-old me is vastly different from 22-year-old me. Five years can make a huge difference in the life of any young person. Our perspectives change. Or at least they should. As Christians our faith should have deepened by this point. Or, unfortunately for many, that faith in God falls away altogether. I've seen friends who've had faith strengthen and I've seen friends who've had faith dissipate. I'm somewhere in the middle most of the time, which is actually a very sad place to be. My maturity levels have increased so much in the last few years and I've certainly become more open and agreeable to meeting new people than I used to be. But my faith, while there, isn't something I ever really exercise. I don't question it and I'm certainly not going to lose it. But that still, small voice meant to be the voice of God grows dimmer as the years pass. Why? Because I'm not exercising my faith. Because I don't spend time in the Word and I don't spend as much time as I should in prayer.

There you have it. My somewhat imperfect self. I'm happy with the 28-year-old me in all areas of my life except one; the development of my faith in Christ. The solution sounds so simple. Pray, read the Bible, and meditate upon Him. If only it were so simple. That's where Satan's little sneaky endeavors play a role. Something comes up and you cancel Scripture reading for only a day. My schedule is so hectic that before I realize it, it's been 4 days since I've said anything to Him other than a blessing over my meals. It feels almost like I'm a prodigal daughter except that I never deliberately ran away. I just sort of got distracted and well, wandered away.

The thing is: I know this isn't an easy fix. I'm at work at the moment so this is neither the time nor the place to sit down for some serious prayer and tears. That's always the way of it with me too. If I've wandered from Him, I pray, and I cry.  Is this what every Christian experiences? I'm not expecting an enormous epiphany. Oftentimes faith is the day-to-day experiences where I simply know that He's there and He cares. It's the trying to please Him with my life. That's when I'm actually happiest, when I'm closest to my Lord. That's when I care least about the fact that I'm single, or that I still have at least 2 years left in college, or that because of financial difficulty I still have to live at home. When I'm close to God, I love my family more and focus less on myself. When we're close, I care more about the troubles of my coworkers than I do when I'm not in communion with Him.

Those are the times when my love for Christ spills over into the other areas of my life. And it's beautiful. And it happens far too infrequently. God shouldn't be a fair-weather friend. Despite the terrifying amounts of hail and rain we've had this week, my life for the last several months has been good. It's been happy and carefree and because there haven't been any struggles, I've let time with my Savior slip by the wayside.

This isn't a "Now that you know about my lack of communion with Christ, I'm going to change from here on out" post. That would be complete and utter hypocrisy. I can only do this one day at a time. It's the same when I exercise. I don't look at the long road ahead of me. I focus only on that day. So, for this day, I'll go to church when I get home from work and do a little bit of confessing to Christ. Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What I do when I'm sick . . .

I'm sick.

Or have hay fever.

It's one or the other but regardless of WHAT it is, the last several days have been horrendous. More so because it was a holiday weekend and I was schedule to work the day after the holiday so I had to go to work. My boss was kind enough to schedule me for only a half day (which I really, really appreciate) but by the end of the night I was completely dragged out and only wanted to go home. Which I did, finally.

But, on the positive side, I had a chance to rewatch some old movies that I haven't seen in forever. Of course by old I mean classic 9 times out of 10. So I spent most of one day watching the original Tarzan film with Johnny Weissmuller and then the 3rd film in that series Tarzan Escapes. That last one isn't my favorite and I really wish I'd watched the 2nd one instead. Maybe tonight once I'm off work. Except Tarzan bellowing is a bit loud for night-time viewing when the rest of the family sleepeth. There's nothing quite like Tarzan and Tarzan and His Mate. They were filmed before censorship so Jane's costume in the 2nd film is quite risque and the newest DVD release even included the swimming scene where she's not wearing a stitch of clothing. But I love them anyway. Somehow they feel like classic cinema at its rawest and best form.

Then of course there's my foray into modern comedy. Sister Act was a must. I'd forgotten that Maggie Smith played the Reverend Mother and I'd also forgotten how much I LOVE her. That woman is in acting genius and a marvel and when she passes her death will be a great loss to society. Then for the 1st time in at least 5 years I watched Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Maybe I'm old enough to appreciate it now because I wasn't that fond of it when I first saw it. This time around I loved it. It warmed my heart with its authenticity and sympathy for these teen girls who all have their own set of problems. I think I also appreciated how not all of the girl's situations revolved around boys. It's not all about the guys, people, and it's nice having movies remember that.

Then (remember I've been sick or I'd never have watched this many movies) I plugged in my edited copy of Keeping the Faith. There's a good chance 95% of you have never seen this movie. It's the obscurest of the obscure but kinda cute in its own unrealistic, melodramatic way. The movie stars Edward Norton as a priest and Ben Stiller as a Rabbi in modern New York City. They're innovative in their preaching methods and what's more they've been best friends since they were in 8th grade, which is also where they both met the girl of their dreams. Except she's the same girl. Long story short, they've all grown up and she moves back to New York for a job. Both men fall in love with her again (yes, even the priest) and we watch how the drama unfolds. The moments of humor are hilarious and I love Ed Norton.

Spoiler Alert:

Which is why, regardless of the fact that he's a priest, if Priestly Ed Norton confessed his undying love to me, it would be reciprocated! You have a choice between kissing Ben Stiller and kissing Edward Norton? Uhm, not a hard decision to make! Sheesh, that girl's not nearly as practical as me!

So, there you have it. A totally fluffy post of my recent movies. I almost never write these types of posts so don't worry about them getting to be a habit. In fact I usually dislike talking about my recent movie-viewing habits since it does seem petty to talk about. Eh, one time won't hurt. My next post should be more substantial. Once my sinuses have cleared up enough so thinking doesn't feel like I'm using up oxygen.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Past, Present, Future, an avengers fanfic - FanFiction.Net

Past, Present, Future, an avengers fanfic - FanFiction.Net

Sometimes the best moments of Memorial Day poignancy don't actually occur in our reality. In this case, I stumbled on an Avengers fanfic where Steve Rogers a.k.a. Captain America visits the 9/11 memorial. And why wouldn't he? In Capt. Rogers' book, tragedy is tragedy. It doesn't matter whether it happened yesterday or 70+ years ago.

I hope you'll take the time to read it and may you be as moved as I was by an author who let good ol' Cap mourn for a real-life American tragedy.

Remember those who have come before, fought diligently, sacrificed their lives, or arrived home safely. The armed forces deserve a debt of gratitude.

Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Sherlock Holmes Corrections

Looks like I should probably clarify a few things about my previous Sherlock Holmes posts. :-)

You know the ones, where I prefer the recent films to Sherlock?

As it turns out my opinion really wasn't set in stone. Makes me wonder if I should hold off on posting certain thoughts until I've given them a few weeks to simmer. In this case the new Downey Jr. film makes me nervous and uneasy because of the gay overtones. Yes, they are there and no, I don't like them. They became more obvious to me the more I thought about them and within a few months I realized I likely would never watch Game of Shadows again.

Now, I know that people are going to make assumptions about their gayness or straightness regardless of what movie or tv series we're talking about. But you know the difference? WATSON! That is the difference. I look at Martin Freeman and under no circumstances could I imagine that John and Sherlock could be gay. It's bloody impossible, end of story.

Then there's Jude Law. His Watson is written almost as if he were a pansy. Well, that might be a bit extreme but, I ask you, who did teach his Watson to dance? Makes you wonder and I'd rather not have to worry about wondering, period.

So, there we go. My most recent Holmesesque thoughts. A Scandal in Belgravia is still ICK and so far off canon it hit Pluto on its journey out of the Milky Way but I'd still pick Sherlock as my #1 choice of recent Holmes film/tv adaptations. Hands down awesomeness.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"The Great Gatsby" on the Silver Screen

You know how an idea seems brilliant until you actually see it come to fruition? That's The Great Gatsby.

The book is . . . incredibly detailed, with minute little moments of sorrow and depression and beauty that can make you weep for the gloriousness of it all. Fitzgerald, whatever else he might have been, was a remarkable writer and no one will convince me otherwise. A sinner, oh yes undoubtedly, but a skilled artisan of his craft just the same.

It only stands to reason that a book which highlights depravity in the 1920s would eventually make it to the Silver Screen. I'm good with that idea. Except for the follow-through! Has anyone seen the trailer yet? It's on the main page of IMDB and I encourage you to watch it. It's like a massacre of Fitzgerald's original work. I love Leonardo DiCaprio but he is one of the last actors on God's green earth I imagined playing Gatsby. I think I had Jeremy Irons or Jason Isaacs in mind when they were younger. I wouldn't have been averse to an Englishman playing Gatsby. Leo just does not fit the role and Tobey Maguire fits the role of Nick Carraway even less.

I love the book because I analyze it and pity the characters and sense what is missing in their lives, mainly God. That's because it's not displayed on the Silver Screen for all to see, admire, and worship. I know the Roaring Twenties were morally bankrupt. I might even be able to watch a film of The Great Gatsby if it were done right. But this, pardon the word, feels like a complete bastardization of Fitzgerald's original work. It's like the clothing doesn't fit the body of his work.

Don't get me wrong, I imagine it will be a magnificent triumph. Just a pathetic misrepresentation of The Great Gatsby. *sighs* Darn you, Hollywood, when will you ever leave well enough alone!?

One Extra Thought

In the case of The Great Gatsby it's original setting is one that is very clinical, very cold, and very distant because it is all from Nick's perspective. Now, maybe the actual movie reflects that but the trailer really doesn't. Instead we have confetti flying all over the place and everyone looking like they're having a great time when really the book is a tale of loneliness and how you can be in a great whirl of humanity and still be dreadfully alone. That message is better communicated if the filming keeps to the original novel. Instead we may have another Romeo + Juliet on our hands where the only decent thing in the entire film was Leo and Claire. Oh boy, I hope not.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review - Hearts that Survive by Yvonne Lehman

Charity is solely responsible for my new-found interest in the Titanic. Along that same vein, also thanks to her, is my desire to see the story told as accurately as possible. A little romance is fine, awesome even, but only in so long as its in keeping with the actual facts of history. Now, on to my thoughts for Yvonne Lehman's Hearts that Survive.

The Plot

When wealthy heiress Lydia Beaumont boarded the Titanic the last thing she expected was a proposal from the man she loved. Not only did it come at a startling moment but also a necessary one due to her being in a family way. Instead of reacting fearfully John  realizes that not only is he willing to take responsibility for one night of mistaken passion but that he loves Lydia deeply enough to marry her. What better setting than the Titanic for a romantic wedding

Of course, we know what happens. History doesn't change and many a wife and mother lost her husband that dreadful night. Lydia and her friend Caroline are not, themselves, immune to the tragedy and both find they must pick up the shattered pieces of their souls. Lydia is again bombarded with a wedding proposal from the vice-president of her father's company, Craven Dowd, and now she must make a decision. Remain unwed (for despite the wedding, legal papers were not to have been signed until April 15th) and pregnant or marry Craven and pray that he doesn't notice the month's discrepancy between conception and birth.

This is a story of rebuilding one's life after a tragedy of immeasurable size has shattered it.

My Thoughts

I was deeply enthused about this book for the first 150 pages or so. The writing style interested me and I adored Lydia's beau, John. He was a poet and a toy train maker so how could I not love him? Unfortunately my greatest fear came to pass and Lydia is not nearly so likeable without John at her side. She is petty, emotional, and well, childish, rather like the much-adored Rose from James Cameron's film. The only difference is that Lydia has some faith in God, although not as much faith as John had. Okay, so the heroine's not all she's cracked up to be. I can live with that. But there's more.

How do you write a novel about the Titanic and give only one mention to Thomas Andrews? And I'm not even certain if she did mention Charles Lightoller! Lightoller was 2nd mate on board the Titanic and played a very notable role during the sinking and Thomas Andrews was the ship's designer. He certainly deserved more than one mention. Plus, and I hate to say it, but Margaret Brown became "Molly" once again. I live in Colorado so this has become a pet peeve of mine. During her lifetime she was in no way, shape, or form referred to as Molly. Her friends called her Maggie so that was actually a severe annoyance to me, having to read Molly when I knew her nickname was Maggie.

The Bottom Line

So, what began interesting quickly delved into boring. When I read a book I prefer reading actual conversations instead of descriptions of those conversations. I prefer active verbs instead of passive. The book was boring! I kept reading up until the bitter end but Hearts that Survive didn't live up to my sizable expectations. Yvonne Lehman is a respected authoress and I've enjoyed many of her novels. I'm not sure where she went wrong with the characters and style for this book. I'd have to give it, if I were doing that type of rating system, 3 out of 5 stars. I don't regret reading it but I would never read it again and recommending it, especially to Titanic enthusiasts, would be impossible.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Colorado Politics

Only a democrat could get away with saying "Ignorance is forgivable. Pride in ignorance never is." These are the words of a supporter of civil unions in Colorado, one of many thousands, who are desperate to overturn the ban on homosexual marriage we managed to pass in 2006. Or rather, the definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Doodles of Thoughts

1) When the room smells of sugar cookies it's because you left a vanilla candle burning on your dresser. Not because your sister is baking at 10:30 at night.

2) It is possible to sell something off Ebay less than half an hour after you posted it. Who knew the original Star Wars trilogy was still so popular?

3) MacGyver fans such as myself are just crazy enough to spend an hour of their lives making up a list of episodes starring Bruce McGill as Jack Dalton so they can reference back to them. There are 19, which you probably didn't want to know but now know anyway! :D

4) Only an Oregonian would jump up and down with glee over a delicious rainfall and then twenty minutes later when the sun breaks through ask "That's it?!"

5) Mothers birthdays are sacred so make them special. Mine is happy with my specialty of the house, Chicken Kiev, for supper and gifts of a huge bouquet of flowers and Poirot DVDs. It's really the love that matters!

6) Sometimes your sister's room will look like WW III just happened, especially when she's cleaning out her Mary-Poppins-carpet-bag of a closet.

7) Book clubs can be fun! Especially when the main character of the book went braless for an entire day and you spend 10 minutes discussing it with a dozen other women!

8) Turn on the lights before heading down the stairs. It'll save you from a lot of grief and a severely angry cat.

9) Life is good. Make the most of it!

10) Cheers!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reading "Twilight" (Part 2)

So, nearly a month later I make the time to finish reading Twilight. As I expected it took me less than two days to complete the 300 pages I had left. Stephanie is nothing if not an easy read. Now comes the moment of truth. What do I think of Twilight? My ultimate conclusion is that women who are sadly unhappy with their lives will be drawn to Twilight the most. There's something lacking from their existence that Edward fills. Respect, admiration, and yes, love flowing from a "beautiful" man to a painfully ordinary girl would tempt almost any woman in unhappy circumstances to wish for their own Edward. And so the Twihards are born.

Was anyone else frustrated by the constantly changing moods of the main characters? Here's where Stephanie's writing comes into play. I cannot imagine bouncing from emotion to emotion the way Edward and Bella do on a daily basis. Bella's happy, she's sad, she's angry, she's pouting, etc. Edward's angry, he's defensive, he's amused, he's charitable, he's possessive, he's jealous, etc. Every chapter pretty much runs the gamut of all these emotions and I don't know about you but that alone would drive me nuts!

Still, I get it. I really do. If I were any less happy with my life (and I'm pretty darn happy) then I could understand the allure of Edward. What woman doesn't want to be protected and cherished even though she's just . . . ordinary? What woman wouldn't want Prince Charming charging to the rescue even though she's sure she doesn't deserve him? I cannot really fault Edward. He was first attracted by her scent that drove him crazy but then he started liking Bella as a person. He got to know her and he liked what he saw. I'm afraid I don't see what Edward saw in her. I don't get his attraction other than her scent. And therein lies the fact that this series was written by a woman who wanted to create the perfect man for an otherwise ordinary, boring, and rather selfish heroine. Bella is plain, simple, and emotionally stupid. She's immature because she's just a teenager and she annoys me now and always will. So I don't view Bella through Edward's rose-colored glasses.

Now comes the moment of truth. I don't need Edward because those same traits that Bella admires, at least the best ones, are the ones held by my heavenly Father. Bella created a god out of her boyfriend. I already have a savior and so what would I ever do with an Edward? Don't get me wrong. I want a husband and a family someday but not under the pretext that he is something perfect and brilliant and entirely too good for me because I'm dirt under his feet. No thanks. The One I worship is my God, Jesus Christ, and so I'm definitely not splitting my worship between Him and a boyfriend.

In conclusion, here are my final thoughts. The author's repetitive use of Edward's godlike appearance and rock hard skin got old fast as did Bella either blushing or getting short of breath. I'm romantic, but not that romantic. So, I saw the flaws in the characters, Bella especially, and in the story but I still felt compelled to continue reading. Bella remains as selfish as ever, from start to finish of the book. Whatever is easiest for her is the route she takes, even if it means not trusting her new vampire family enough to tell them about the risk to her mother's life. Bella is selfish and arrogant and even though she doesn't always want to need saving she always will because she's constantly putting herself in unnecessary danger. No romantic love is worth that type of self-danger but I know she'll never realize this so at least I'm prepared for the rest of the novels.vAnd yes, I am going to continue with the series. If I made it through Twilight and still enjoyed it despite everything I just said then I can make my way through the rest. My greatest sorrow is that now women have an unrealistic view of any romantic relationship they might form because they want Edward. Let's just say that you should never make your boyfriend into your God.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Book Review: Diary of a Young Girl - the story of Anne Frank

Being homeschooled you sometimes miss a few things that would have been required. Like Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl from her 25 months of confinement in Holland while hiding from the Gestapo. This was required reading in middle school it seems, but my mom had me read The Hiding Place instead, which was traumatic enough. I also read all of David Wilkerson's books (author of Cross and the Switchblade) which deal with drug addiction and lost souls on the street. So, I was by no means lacking in a formal literary education. Yet I still raised a couple of eyebrows at work when a few coworkers heard that I hadn't read Anne Frank's diary. Since I wouldn't lose anything by reading it I decided to give it a go. Biographies aren't usually my thing but you can work your way through almost anything if you persevere, which is what I did.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Movie Review: J. Edgar - A Look at the 1930s

First off, I know little or nothing about the life of J. Edgar Hoover, important reformer of the F.B.I. So I have no idea if there are any inconsistencies in the film about the man. Regardless, though, I do know a little bit about the 1920s and 1930s and some of the major events. Like the tracking down of notorious criminals like Baby Face Nelson and the infmaous John Dillinger, Public Enemy #1 himself. I also knew that the Charles Lindberg baby had been kidnapped and killed. So, really, the stories within the story of J. Edgar fascinated me more than the man himself.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Breakfast Club - A Blast to the 80s

I’m not usually one for R rated movies. I consider them restricted for a reason and so very rarely will I venture past the PG13 rating unless a movie has been edited. But sometimes, only sometimes, I reconsider my stance in order to try something new. I don’t even remember what got me on the topic of Emilio Estevez in the first place. I only know that a coworker and I started discussing the Sheen family for some reason and she mentioned that I needed to see The Breakfast Club. I know, the Sheens are crazy but what Hollywood family isn’t nuts? I read the synopsis and the premise interested me. After 5 seasons of 21 Jumpstreet I proudly declare that 80s culture fascinates me.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hunger Games

This isn't something I've ever really covered in any previous blog post so I might as well cover it now. I've heard many arguments for and against the series of books and now the new film. I won't rehash them now because there would be no point. I only know what I personally like and what I do like is The Hunger Games. I saw the movie yesterday with an entire group of teenagers from the library where I work and I went again today with my sister and our closest friend. All three of us are in agreement. The film puts many franchises to shame, Twilight included. Most of the time books are so much better than their movie counterparts but in regards The Hunger Games the two are nearly equal.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reading "Twilight" (Part 1)

I don't know what possessed me to try, but I'm determined to read Stephanie Meyer's series in its entirety. Twilight was on my reading list about 4 years ago and I did read it and enjoy it, but then I tried again a year later with the intention of reading all the books but quickly gave up. It just didn't interest me like it had the first time. Of course, that was also the time when all of the Twihards were coming out of the woodwork and terrifying me with their obsession. We won't mention that I'm just as obsessed about certain things myself. *cough, Sherlock, cough*

But I realized I needed to give the series another chance. I'm hoping to, I don't know, understand the appeal. I'm halfway through chapter 10 and here's what I've realized so far:

  • Writing Style
    • The book isn't as dreadful as I remembered which only strengthens my idea that I hated it before because it was such a huge success and the Twihards gave me the willies.
    • In fact, Twilight is very entertaining and an easy read which I've proven in that I only started it yesterday and I'm already over 200 pages in.
    •  Entertaining yes, but her grammar is still rudimentary at best.
    • If she had just toned down the "godlike" imagery of Edward a little bit it would have done wonders for the overall quality of the novel.
    • She uses far too many adjectives like "blackly" or "angrily" to describe Edward's reactions.
      • "His brow creased angrily for a moment, then smoothed  . . ." and "he chuckled blackly."
        • Take those adjectives away and the sentence is tighter and lets the reader decide on their own what Edward is feeling. Few readers like to have emotion dictated to them.
        • Oh well, her writing isn't perfect. Big surprise, but it's still a fun read.
  • Edward
    • The films have never and will never do him justice. I'd forgotten just how attractive book Edward is to the female psyche.
    • He thinks of Bella's safety before his own in a way we rarely see today.
    • He's courteous and gentle, funny and romantic.
    • In a word, there is NO WAY that I can connect book!Edward with film!Edward. It's like film!Edward is a mere shadow of the Edward Stephanie Meyer created.
  •  Bella
    • Where do I start?
    • I find it very hard to like Bella, for three reasons.
      • 1: She lies to her father about going to Seattle alone when she'll actually be spending the day with Edward. Edward thinks she should tell Charlie, Bella refuses. Not good since parents are put in our lives as a guiding light for a reason.
      • 2: Bella thinks, and I quote, "If I had to, I suppose I could purposefully put myself in danger to keep him close." Say what?!
      •  She's not good enough for Edward. Bella approaches the relationship from a selfish perspective while Edward, throughout their relationship, only tries to think of what's best for her. Hence the "she's not good enough for him" statement.
    • Sorry, I know some of this probably sacrilege, but I can't help it. Bella's entire behavior is one of neediness. I can forgive some of this because she's only 17, but then so is Edward so why is he more mature? After all, living for 100 years at the age of 17 doesn't mean any hormonal issues just float away.
    • So, Bella is highly imperfect and drives me crazy. Sometimes I sympathize with her and other days, like with that quote about putting herself in danger, I can see how she became so miserable in New Moon that she risked her life in order to see visions of Edward.
  • Conclusion up to Chapter 10 of Twilight
    • The film version of Twilight is dreadful.
    • Romance is at the heart of this novel. A desire to find true love, to be cherished by a man and pursued by him with honorable intentions. It's a beautiful dream and as a woman who sometimes feels like she's permanently single, I get the appeal of Edward. Note: married women who worship Edward creep me out so much I can't even describe the revulsion.
    • Let's just say that Edward's side of the romance is from an adult perspective and Bella's side is from the teenage angst perspective. Meyer's somehow managed to combine the two, which is why I respect Edward's love and have very little sympathy with Bella's.
    • Oh, and I am really liking Twilight, just in case you couldn't tell by my little critique. We'll see what happens throughout the rest of the book.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Piers Morgan & Kirk Cameron

It's happened again. Another Christian being forced into an opinion on homosexuality and then named an ignorant bigot. Only this time that Christian is Kirk Cameron and the brute is Piers Morgan and I'm having a really hard time dealing with it. Piers is brutal in his opinions of people and always has been. He's hard to watch on America's Got Talent! because of that very problem. He rarely has anything nice to say about anyone. But I honestly didn't think he would stoop this low.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Christian Vampire Fiction?

How is it possible for me to go merrily along in life one moment and be broiling towards a fellow Christian the next? Who is this unfortunate soul, you ask? No one I know personally, lucky for him and me. He's a narrow-minded individual even though he's saved by the same blood that covers me and all his fellow believers. Most of the time I love being a Christian, following Christ, learning His commandments and realizing how much He loves me. Then, sometimes, I meet a few of His other children that frustrate me no end.

There's a marvelous movement in the Christian publishing world right now, that of the vampire Christian fiction. Tracey Bateman has written a few books about vampires and there's another author Charity's reading at the moment that is also written from a religious viewpoint. I couldn't be happier! Why, you ask? Because what are the kids reading right now? Think about it. They're reading VAMPIRE books! The secular, sexy, unhealthy kind that gives them all kinds of bad, bad, very bad mental images.

Soooo, what is the teen market demanding? Vampire fiction. What should the Christian publishing world be giving them? Vampire fiction. It's a no-brainer to me. Imagine what good Christian writers can do with creatures who are potentially soulless and in need of redemption! Can there be redemption? Is it possible? Do they still have souls? There are all sorts of possibilities that can be examined if vampire fiction makes it into the Christian publishing market.

Which leads me back to my original paragraph that ranted without much detail. In my hunt online I ran across a brother in Christ, seemingly sane, who compares vampire Christian fiction with Christian porn. As in a, "If we allow this into the Christian world then this will follow." Say what? He belittled any Christians who read or watch anything to do with vampires. Now, I'm not saying this man has to read vampire Christian fiction. I don't read Amish fiction and have no opinion on it one way or the other. He can do the same. What troubles me the most, though, is how he is tearing something down that is just starting to make an impact. Authors are tentatively feeling the waters on this taboo subject matter. Loud and belligerent voices like his are only going to send them fleeing back to the types of books that every Christian author writes.

Whether he likes it or not there is a group of avid Christian readers who aren't being fed. Their literary interests are being ignored and they are those of us interested in fantasy, science fiction, and the supernatural realm. I LOVE these types of books but they are non-existent in the Christian publishing market right now. They're thought to be dangerous, evil, precipitating an unhealthy interest in magic and the supernatural. Hello? If Christians write these types of books, don't you think there will be some smidgeon of God's truth hidden in there somewhere? What about C.S. Lewis? Or J.R.R. Tolkien? The latter who, by the way, this blogger insulted, upsetting me even more.

What I'm really saying is that Christian readers who are avid lovers of these genres need to make their voices heard. We have to speak up or there will never be a genre added to Christian fiction for us. I, for one, don't want to see that happening. Fortunately I found a publisher whose original purpose, the reason for its existence, was to publish Speculative Christian Fiction as they have termed it. It's Marcher Lord Press and I encourage you to give their books a glance and see if your libraries carry any of them. If they don't, consider putting in a request. I know that's what I'm going to do!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Friends & The Godfather

I've been lolling around the house today, a complete sloth of utter contentment. Such a lovely experience and one I revel in because it doesn't happen very often. It's the end of my finals week which included a philosophy paper on theories of truth and an essay on Cranford which I enjoyed soooooo much. I could actually care less about my grades, or maybe it's just that I'm worn out and the nervous waiting hasn't set in yet. I'm hoping it's just trusting that God has the grades in control. Which is most likely what this relaxation means.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Spirit of Fear

Fear is a funny thing. It can paralyze you to the point where you're most afraid, not of a physical object, but of the idea of sinning against God. It's the spiritual side of fear that has you locked down, not an actual activity you've engaged in. Weird topic, I know, but this concept of fear arose in one of my classes, the last week of school as it happens. I have a fellow classmate who, at this moment, appears to not have read the text this week, the text being The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I could be wrong and she did, but her post implies otherwise. Her excuse is that she would be opening herself up to evil by reading anything resembling horror and so she refuses. I'm actually a bit stunned because I find this approach to be very archaic.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Day of Romance (not what you think)

Everyone who knows me intimately knows that I'm not much moved by Valentine's Day. That's not to say I'm not romantic but when  you don't yet have a sweetie of your own, it's not that impressive of a holiday. That said though, sometimes Valentine's Day has its good points. Such as last Saturday. The library district I work for has been trying hard to plan different and exciting events. I mean, we're having an anime prom for the teens in May and my library branch actually had a rave last year. A RAVE! But I never actually expected them to try something so radically different as planning an entire event about Christian romance! I know, it's mushy and gooey and saccharine sweet, but when did that become so wrong? Romance writing isn't for everyone, but it is for a lot of people and they certainly deserve to have books written for them. Sometimes it's not the ultimate outcome of a book that matters but the journey itself. I like seeing how the hero and heroine get together. Knowing they'll get together is superfluous to the journey.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Worry need not apply. . .

Do you ever feel like you're beating your head against a desk? Frustration is just building over so many things? Does running screaming from the room sound like a viable plan? Well, here's where we should talk. As human beings, we have a propensity to blow certain things out of proportion. To think more of a situation than it fully deserves and therefore pile stress upon unnecessary stress onto our already full plates. Believe me. I know. This is my life about 6 months out of the year, if we plan for 2 weeks every month. I'm a worrier. I worry about what people think of me. I worry about whether I'm doing my job right. I worry about school, about home, about work, about play. And to top that off, sometimes I worry about things where a simple word to someone higher up in the workplace would solve the entire problem!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tears for Sherlock

I'm hiding this entire post just in case someone has no idea about the canon of Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty. While Sherlock deviates, it still follows the basic thread of their encounter and the results thereof. I'd hate for anyone to read spoilers they weren't planning on. So, if you already know the traditional encounter with Holmes and Moriarty, keep reading without fear of any real spoilers. If you don't, it might be safer to wait until you can watch the 2nd season of Sherlock in May so you're surprised. (or you can track it down online like I did)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Allow me to introduce. . . my Mr. Rochester

If there's one thing England is good at, it's releasing a million versions of classics like Wuthering Heights, Pride & Prejudice, and Jane Eyre. That's not necessarily bad, however. I'm not necessarily picky about which film adaptation I watch of something. Although occasionally I do have a favorite. All of my friends know that I'm crazy about the 1940 version of Pride & Prejudice with Laurence Olivier, and I know full well that I'm the only one who loves it like this, which is fine. I still enjoy all the other versions, too. That's why they make so many, to please everyone!

More goodies below!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sherlock vs. Sherlock Holmes

Per the usual, Sherlock Holmes the movie left me speechless. It takes me about 2-3 days to figure out whether I even like these Holmes films or not. All it took, apparently, was watching the first episode of the new season of Sherlock to help me decide. I'd rather have a quirky Holmes with a brilliant Moriarty than a brilliant Sherlock and a naked Irene Adler. I won't give away too many details on A Scandal in Belgravia other than to say that it did not live up to my expectations. The first season was incredible, with exciting concepts and blazing originality. It left me salivating for more. The new season's debut only left me uncomfortable and grateful that it wasn't airing yet and that I could forewarn my parents against watching the first episode.

I'd rather have them in theaters watching Sherlock Holmes in disguise wearing a bonnet and lipstick than seeing a carefully filmed naked woman parade in front of Sherlock and make not only Watson but the audience uncomfortable.

No major spoilers within, just my brief mention of disappointments and personal warnings.