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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twilight Saga: New Moon Review

The adaptation from book to film was well done, no major changes (that I remember) were really made, (unlike the HPHBP) and the director did a good job filtering down the excessive Adrenaline Junkie moments and also the depressing 75 years Bella spent being a comatose worm after Edward leaves. In fact I think the director should be applauded for his imagining of the wolf/human transformation, as well as how Edward appears when speaking to Bella’s mind.

Some of the tings that really bothered me though, really bothered me. The scene of Bella in the water was like a bad trip, I was thinking ‘WTF? WHAT A WASTE FO TIME!” Way over done, and mostly just annoying. The females, namely Victoria, Alice, and Rosalie, also miffed me. Their former actors played all three, but all three had undergone huge look changes. Victoria’s hair and entire fashion sense, Alice’s Hair and personality and Rosalie looked like she got bad plastic surgery.

Edward remained fine as always and Taylor has really gotten a fantastic body, loved the numerous shirtless scenes, in fact he can be shirtless around me as much as he wants. Dakota Fanning was beautiful as Jane (although she looks 5 to me)

Nothing really made the movie for me, and I am becoming increasingly irritated by the writers ability to ignore like 3000 years of vampire/werewolf lore. I mean good for you, you can distort the entire cannon of myth and still sleep well at night. Me I will stick to vampires who die in sun rather than sparkle, but to each his own.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Is Chili Soup? The Results are in!

Earlier this week I was listening to a local NPR show called “The Walt Bodeen Show” (famous in KC) and they brought up an interesting question, “Is Chili Soup?” They dithered on this point one host claiming chili is its own category and another saying it is just a kind of soup.

So I began to ponder this question myself, and to see what my fellow foody friends thought I asked the same question on Twitter and face book. The response was quite large. I saw heated comments and discussions and lots of great answers. However no one offered proof, just opinion. So I did some research. Now if you type is chili soup into google, you may be shocked at the amount of results you get to this seemingly innocuous question. I saw Blogs, and Polls, and definitions and ‘Yahoo answers’ galore, but all of them differed!

So here is what we learned. By dictionary definition, a soup, stew, and chili are all the same thing. The wording is all very similar, but the components are identical: A DISH MADE OF MEAT, FISH OR OTHER INGREDIENTS THAT IS ‘STEWED/BOILED/COOKED’ esp. meat and vegetables. So the answer I have for you is simple Technically Chili is soup, but due to its huge following and cultural importance, it is often thought of as a dish all of its own. This should make everyone happy!

Now I also learned that Chili, comes in many styles some are almost so thick they appear to be meat and seasoning and some come very liquidy with lots of broth. In some places when chili becomes liquidy they start to call it a stew, but in other places, an extremely thick chili is never even seen, so what is real chili? They both are! The definition of chili for each person changes not only by region but also often by family heritage, how did your mom makes chili, or how did the diner down the road make chili. Personally I like both soupy and chunky chili, I prefer it to be thick when used in Nachos or a Coney but stewy when made by mom or dad in the old crock-pot!

How do you make your chili? Did you learn your recipe from a family member or friends, or did you get it from the media?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Two Movie Reviews: The Guly Truth/ My Life in Ruins

I just watched two very different yet surprisingly similar movies and felt I should give my hand at some small reviews.

First I watched My Life in Ruins AKA ”My Big Fat Greek Holiday’. A surprisingly great movie about a super controlled control freak of a woman who ends up giving tours in Greece, then on the verge of returning to America falls in love and finds she can relax and let love come to her. The Cinematography was fantastic and the costume designers did a really good job of making a super Hot Alexis Georgoulis look creepy and hairy and a formerly heavy Nia Varadlos look super sexy! Alexis’ does a fantastic transformation towards the end of the movie showing off his assets (abs of washboard style) and getting a shave and a haircut, Nia gets stuck wearing a nasty blue blazer for the first half and also has a transformation showing off her new body in flowing high waisted cocktail dresses. As you can see the clothing and actors were good. The Best actor was by far Richard Dreyfus who plays a recently widowed (Widower-ed?) man who uses his humor to break down the walls of his fellow tour goers, while using his amazing powers of observation and wisdom to help transform not only the leading characters but the supporting characters as well. I really enjoyed him posing as the oracle of Delphi to help allay the fears of a couple thinking of starting a family and to put the actions of a couple into prospective to help them better understand their unsmiling and morose teenage daughter. While the movie lacked a lot of meat it is packed with powerful observations about life and love and how to capture some of the wisdom of ancient Greece in out modern lives. Plus after the movie was finished I immediately plugged in to see the cost of a trip to Greece (expensive!) P.s. This movie has nothing to do with big fat Greek wedding but read online their was confusion about this, apparently Nia is only allowed to play her breakout role in movies, and in Italy they re-titled the movie My Big Fat Greek Holiday, no idea why, seeing as this movie has nothing to do with the other ☺

After that I out on a lighthearted romantic comedy called the Ugly Truth Starring two of my favorite actors Kathryn Heigel and Gerard Butler. In this movie Kat plays a neurotic high-strung control freak (see an odd resemblance?) However this girl is way out their she has talking points printed out before going on a blind internet date with a guy she has done a background check on (WHOA!) she produces an early morning talk show that is slowly loosing ground as anything anyone would want on TV and is forced to work with the uber sexy Gerard who is hired to give the Ugly Truth about Men, Women and relationships. His Character is crass and demeaning at first but he offers a hand in friendship to Kat and helps her win her ‘Dream guy.’ Both actors undergo a tremendous amount of change, Kat by listening to Gerard becomes the perfect ‘Naughty schoolteacher’ while ultimately learning to be less concerned with her checklist for a perfect guy and to see love in front of her, and Gerard learns to man up and let his true feelings show and be less of a douche. The movie is typical of Hollywood Romantic Comedies and is humorous and just moving enough to make you feel a small bit of something for the characters, but not enough to be truly involved.

I would recommend both movies for a night of lighthearted romantic comedy but not if you are looking for anything with much depth or life changing attributes. Of course I liked them enough to add them to my collection of movies for later watching (I hope the FBI is not reading this).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Playing in Leaves

Early last week on a beautiful Autumn day I got to play in the leaves with my nieces! It was beyond fun! We piled all the leaves into a giant pile and let them throw themselves willy-nilly into the pile! Kennedy made leaf Angels, Kessler let Grampy bury her like she was in piles of sand at the beach and Dylan even walked through the pile, of course she spent more time holding onto Grammy than walking by herself. I got to play the part of “Leaf Monster” switching from chasing the girls around the yard, throwing leaves on them, throwing them into the pile, and using the leaf blower to create cyclones of wind and leaves!

As I played with my wonderful nieces I thought to myself “This is the good life! This is why I left Hawai’i and returned to the land of wheat and wind.”
I miss the carefree days of playing in the leaves, building ‘leaf houses’ and coming in for Hot chocolate after hours playing in the cold, Games that are better suited to the younger generation.

I have also missed the wonderful colors of the fall and NPR reported that this may be the most colorful fall we have had in many years, Something to due with the high levels of rain we had leading up to the end of the summer, and the lack of blistering hot days we had during the summer. I find myself missing shorts, and fiip flops, as well as days spent lazing on the beach soaking in the sun and tasting the salty ocean but I am happy to be back amongst seasons and family.

Hallows or Horcruxes?

Although many of you may not understand the title of this entry, many in the world will be drawn to this entry by mention of both items. The Deathly Hallows are a legendary group of magical items given by Death to The three Perivell Brothers in the Harry Potter world. Horocruxes are items of a dark and sinister magic whereby a wizard can split his soul and place part of it into an item, so if his physical body is destroyed, his soul will live on to be reborn again.

In the final book of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series Harry is faced with a decision, hunt the hallows and hope they have enough magic to defeat Voldemort, or continue to hunt and destroy Voldemorts Horocruxes, hoping this will defeat him. MY conundrum was much easier. DO I carve a traditional Jack O Lantern, or one of more esoteric means?

IN THE END I carved the symbol for the Deathly Hallows, the triangle with an inset circle and a vertical line down its center. These represented the three items given to the brothers, an un-fallible invisibility cloak, a stone of resurrection, and the wand that could not be beaten (know as the elder wand, the deathstick, and other names throughout history. My brothers both got it, and one of my nieces cousins, but other answers I heard were: A Pagan symbol, some kind of Gay Pride Symbol, and something Hawaiian.

I was pretty proud of my ingenuity, I had to just peel the skin off the pumpkin to get the circle and lines to light up correctly, and next time I will not cut out the entire insides but cut through and leave a small portion of skin.

Happy Halloween!

New Look and Maybe a Move

I have decided to go with a new look for the Blog page, all the useless links were driving me bonkers before! So I found something simple and easy. I believe I will be moving to another Blog service at the beginning of the new year, so another new look will be fast approaching. I have added a few widgets that seemed fun to me, the daily coffee, the daily Harry Potter, and the daily HP Spell!

As this is my first blogspot, I am hoping my practice here will prepare me for the new blog(s) that I will endeavor towards in the new year. I have been studying a Quamut 'how-to' guide on blogging and it has inspired me to try some new things. I ask now for feedback, Does anyone out their use Type Pad, Wordpress, or Live journal? I would love to use wordpress, but will need to learn how to build a web page it looks like. Any quick reference guides out there?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Book Review: The Gathering Storm

Where to begin? I have been obsessed with Robert Jordan and his Wheel of Time Epic since the first time I picked up Eye of The World somewhere around 15 years ago.

The most recent installment of this Epic fantasy was co-authored by a gentleman named Brandon Sanderson. His very heartfelt blog on RJ’s death lead Harriet (RJ’s Wife and editor) to select him to complete this series and all I have to say is Kudos! In an effort to understand Sanderson I read Elantris and then most of the Mistborn trilogy (I stopped reading the last book as soon as TGS came out with only 100 pages to go, which I begin again tomorrow) I feel Brandon has done an exemplarily job of writing in RJ’s place.

I feel, as an avid reader of WOT (have read the series every year since 1994); Tat Brandon manages to capture the essence of RJ very well. There are some very noticeable differences between both authors but the inert material remains on the whole just fantastic.

I want to first applaud Brandon on his ability to captivate a few of our characters. The sections about Egwene and the white tower were just about perfect. I had a hard time during these sections remembering this was not RJ! In addition the portrayal and turn of events in the rebel camp and the Aes Sedai (especially Siuan) was well played. Brandon also does an exemplarily job with Rand and making him seem more dark and dangerous. I think it is exactly what RJ was thinking when he first took Rand down this path during the battle between him and the Seanchan around Ebou Dar. Tuon is another character that was treated very well by Brandon. He captured her perfectly, and her change to Fortuna was just as I imagined it. The last Characters I really felt were well portrayed were Silvania, whom I always thought might have a larger role once Egwene regained the tower. And Verin. Verin was just freakin awesome! When she first lies I sat up straight and said, “I knew it!” I had an inkling of her allegiance to the dark lord for sometime, but was never able to say why, nor was I aware of the nature of that affiliation, but it makes much sense (where is the Horn of Valere I wonder? She was aware of its presence of it in the White Tower; did a forsaken have her remove it I wonder??

Nynaeve’s character took an unfortunate step back in this edition, not too terrible of a step but she was finally becoming more Aes Sedai and here her old temper flares again. While this works in some ways, especially in regards to Rand and her playing the role of Wisdom again, it really killed what I thought would be a great development for Nynaeve (I always saw her and Moiraine becoming some sort of friends or at least working together to fix Rand).

Perrin and Faile were both pretty much the same, but nothing special happened to their characters. Brandon did no harm to these characters but between the minimal time they had on ‘screen’ and the time they do have is pretty flat and useless. There is also mention of Rand seeing them in his Taverene swirl talking to Galad, and we never do find out what that was about, I was like WTF?

Aviendha is another character who seemed to pander, but after some useless screen time (and Labor) she makes a big move in development, which was great to see, but I could not seem to believe she would be so close to Rand and just ignore him as she does, especially after bonding him, and he has to know some of what she feels.

Unfortunately there are a few characters that did not develop well with the change of authors, Cadsuane was never one of my favorite characters, but Brandon lost sight of her in this book. She became very useless, her ‘teaching Rand and the Asha Man something they needed to know, she actually had nothing to do with it! Rand had a moment of self-realization, and Cadsuane had little to do with it. I was also disappointed with her character becoming less up front and in charge, she seemed to loose some of her Bitchyness.

Min is another character I am confused about. She was always blatant about pushing herself into Rands every moment, and even before her unfortunate run in with Semirage she seemed more withdrawn and less spit-fiery. I honestly believe, all the women have become less than their former selves, RJ created women who were larger than life, and it seems most of the women have come down a notch.

The worst Character is Matt. I read on another Blog, that maybe the biggest change in Matt was his level of vulgarity. The other Blogger thought that maybe Brandon just is not used to writing in such a foul manner (indeed, he uses little profanity in Mistborn and Elantris). It also the return of Matt being less in charge and worried and more of a Fop. This is very hard for me as Matt has always been my favorite; his use of expletives at the right time reminds me of myself. (I.e. Mothers Milk in a cup Joline, you can bloody well be in charge, we can just turn around and walk up to the bloody seanchan and see what happens to you, light –blinded, daughter of the sands!) Also I was looking forward to Matt’s journey to Genii and instead I was rewarded with another useless section on proving to me the Dark One is stirring. Did not need some half dead villagers to know that.

In fact Matt leads right into my biggest beef with this book. I am ready for Moiranie to come back; she has been and always will be my favorite character. I BAWLED like a small child when she was killed, and when Min said she had never been wrong but once with Moiraine and how Rand could not win without her, I knew she would be coming back. Then the letter to Thom in the last book and I am just about at my wits end waiting for her return! I always thought Matt would bring her back and her and Nynaeve would be able to convince Rand to become human again I thought Cadsuane would be their as wel and be proven black and Rand would have to pick to kill Cadsuane and save Moiraine in an effort to save himself, and he would realize killing women is OK as long as its justified. I don’t know, but I want Moiraine back!

I did wish we had some resolution with Taim and the emissaries sent from both factions of Aes Sedai to the Black Tower. I also wished for one more forsaken chapter in the end of the book. I also would have like to see a little of Elayne and maybe a glimpse of Padan Fain. But the book was already very full. Only Two left till the end I wonder what will happen next.