Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Rambling Review of The Golden Compass

I never planned to see this movie. I remember seeing the preview and the only thought was 'Wow Nicole Kidman is hot!'

It wasn't 'man I really need to see this movie' or that I kinda wanted to see it. In fact I had not even deemed it to be Netflix or Redbox fodder. I had no idea what it was about and had not heard any glowing reviews. It would have went unwatched by me if it wasn't for my decision to buy Wedding Crashers. If I were you and I was reading this review I would think... "Wedding Crashers? How does Wedding Crashers have anything to do with a little girl and her compass?" Well I do not have a good answer for that, it seemed odd to me as well but as I opened the case for Wedding Crashers earlier this week a free movie ticket fell in my lap. It was from and they had placed a free ticket to a children's movie inside one aimed at adults. Nothing but sheer brilliance. Anyway... a free ticket was all I needed. I logged on to their site to see where I could see this movie and then ran errands until it was time to get my ticket. I walked up handed the girl my free pass and she handed me a real ticket. I grabbed some ice cream and then headed to the theater and found my seat. I was the first one there and wondered if anyone else would come. Within mere moments my question was answered as people flooded the small theater and nearly all the seats were taken. We watched the in depth previews that told you about a movie or an upcoming new TV show. Then we saw the commercials, a thing I just love.... I pay 9 bucks normally to see a movie I do not need to see commercials on top of it. It's just rude. Anyway then we saw the movie trailers and about the time I was wondering what exactly it was that I was seeing the movie started. Now I know, mainly due to the little girl near me, that this was based on a book. I also know, thanks to that same little girl that they cut out a lot of the book..... which is standard for Hollywood. Other then that I knew nothing about the movie. So with that in your head... here is the Rambling Review of The Golden Compass.

As the story goes, there are a lot of worlds. Some are similar to ours and others are not so similar the only thing linking them together is dust. Thank the good lord for Dyson. Anyway this dust is all sparkly and magical and stuff and it seems to be something you can't really see. The world we delve into is a world where people's souls are in physical form in the shape of animals called daemons and they hang out with the person. A few people know that dust exists and they build a bunch of devices that can read it called alethiometer or the Golden Compass. There are evil rich people (rich people are always evil) that control the world and what people do and they are called the Magisterium. When we enter this world we meet a little girl named Lyra Belacqua and she is playing with a big group of children who are chasing her best friend, Roger. She makes up a tale to slip her friend out of trouble and you get the feeling this girl is special, of course if you came to watch a movie about a regular little girl you probably don't see fantasy movies often. Due to the wee fabrication she made up she has to sneak into the faculty room of her school and steal a teachers cloak. While she is in exploring around with her daemon, named Pantalaimon, they hear people coming so they hide in a cloak closet where she overhears a devious little Magisterium guy talking to the head master. He wants the school to not give support to her uncle Lord Asriel on his mission that involves dust, something Lyra knows nothing about. Lord Asriel found dust and wants to go explore it and see if he can find a way to visit other worlds. The Magisterium hates people knowing about dust and tries to poison his wine but Lyra saves him in time. She has to hide again in the coat closet as her uncle shows his proof and tries to get the money for his expedition and experiment. The school defies the Magisterium and gives him the money and Lord Asriel takes off for the North Pole area, land of the Ice Bears. We find out shortly after this scene that there are other dangers out there that are snatching children called gobblers. Lyra promises her friend Roger that if he is ever taken by the Gobblers that she would come find him. That is when Mrs. Coulter enters the picture and she whisks Lyra away to go North with her at the same time as Roger and another boy go missing unbeknown to Lyra. Lyra is excited to go North with Mrs. Coulter and does not notice that she seems a wee bit dangerous. Just before Lyra leaves the school, the head master hands her the Golden Compass. Only certain people can use this device and the head master is not one of them so he can only tell her that it will always tell the truth and that she must keep it a secret from Mrs. Coulter. She is with Mrs. Coulter for a few days before she realizes Mrs. Coulter is extremely dangerous and barely manages to escape her clutches. Then almost ends up in the hands of the Gobblers. Mrs. Coulter is the person in charge of the Gobblers so she would end up back with Mrs. Coulter if it wasn't for the Gyptians. The gyptians come in and kill the gobblers and take her away from danger. One of the Gyptians was the mother of the boy that was taken with Roger so she wants to get him back and exact a wee bit of revenge as do the rest of the Gyptians. They were keeping an eye on her as a favor to her uncle Lord Asriel and it is a good thing. She decides to let them know about her compass and uses it to figure out where the missing children get taken and it just so happens to be in the North Pole area. When they arrive in the North she runs into a pilot who aligns himself with her and a big bear as well. They take off to find and liberate the lost children and a lot happens along the way. She uses her quick thinking to get her out of a lot of trouble. She finds the Gyptian boy who has been forcibly separated from his daemon and he is in bad shape. They now know what is happening to the missing children and they know they have to stop it. That is when they get attacked and Lyra gets kidnapped and sold to the Ice Bear King who is a bit unbalanced. He wants a daemon of his own, apparently people have daemons but ice bears do not, and he also hates her bear friend and is the reason her bear friend is not the king of the Ice Bears. He beat him in combat and disgraced him. That is as far as I am taking you... The end is a set up for a sequel which is fine because I want to see it.

I did not read the book so I can't tell you how well it follows but that little girl near me said there was a lot more to the first book that sets it up better for the second book. I thought where they left it was fine but I have read my fair share of books before seeing a movie and know too well the disappointment this girl felt. I was, on the other hand, genuinely surprised that it seemed so well done. The girl that played Lyra was very good. I thoroughly liked her character and thought the girl looked mischievous and brave in all the right spots. The bear cgi was good and it looked fairly believable to me. The daemons were all interesting additions to the character and told you a lot about the people. Which was probably the point... Apparently another key factor is that children's daemons can change shape but an adult has picked it's shape already and can no longer change. It was interesting to watch Lyra's daemon change all the time, it let you know a little about how she was feeling. The thing is she was always braver then the daemon was, she was also very defiant and decisive. She would do what she thought best and tended to let the worrying be done by her daemon.

I would definitely recommend this movie. It was better then the first Narnia movie and it totally brought me in to it's world and even though I had to piece a few things out afterwards I was thoroughly enthralled. I liked it. I would be interested in hearing from anyone who has seen the movie and also read the book. If you fall under this heading just click on comment and type away.

It is a kids movie but there is fighting and definitely some freaky moments. I think I even jumped when a child's daemon was snatched by another daemon. I think it is a movie that is meant for a little older child. I do believe it is a movie that parents and other adults could stand too watch as well. Some may even like it.....

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Rambling Review of Hot Rod!

This movie is dumb. Really really really really really dumb. But that was never really the question. If you saw a preview you knew this movie was going to be bad... Right now some of you are wondering why anyone would ever watch a movie like this. Some of you hate stupid comedies. Those people should never ever see this movie. Ever. Never ever. Never.

To say that this movie is a bad and stupid comedy is to know it's essence. It is stupider then Dumb and Dumber, Airplane, Biodome, Zoolander, Tommy Boy, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore. Yet it is also completely awesome. Yeah I said it. This horrible movie is awesome. This is a keeper. This is a movie to watch on Stupid Guy Movie night, like my brother and I used to have. We watched a lot of Wayne's World, Dumb and Dumber and Beavis and Butthead. Much to the chagrin of his lovely wife. Yet we did not say it was Chick Flick Night or Incredibly Boring Foreign Film Night, we said it was Stupid Guy Movie Night. So if you have made it this far in the review you either really like me or you like really bad movies. In case you are wondering no I do not think this movie will be a movie the ladies will like. It's not their fault the ladies like to think, feel and grieve during their movies. They like to be fully engaged and tend to find comedy that requires no thinking to be a horrible waste of time. In fact if you happen to think even one time during this movie you will totally miss this movies point. Anyway to summarize: bad movie fans should see this.

Hot Rod is about a complete loser that dreams of being a stunt man like his dear old dead dad was. The problem is he is not any good at it. In fact if he was a real person he would be dead. The guy that plays Rod, Andy Samburg, is a SNL kid who did a funny skit called People Getting Punched Just Before Eating. Click on that if you like stupid skits.....

Anyway Rod is bad at being a stunt man but he has no clue that he is bad. He has a stepdad who he fights for 'respect' and always gets his butt handed to him. Anyway his stepdad is going to die because he has a bad ticker and the insurance does not want to fork 50 grand over to get him a new one. The worst part is Rod has never kicked his stepdad's behind so he can't let him die yet. Rod decides to do stunts so he can earn money to get the operation for ol' pop. Did I already mention he was not a good stuntman? His half-brother films everything and he also has two rejects for friends that help him out. Plus his neighbor is that totally hot crazy redhead from Wedding Crashers. She joins up to hang out with him because he is so "original' or something. In typical bad movie style she dates a total jerk but really should be with Rod... ok actually I never really ever bought into that a chick that hot would like Rod... or that she should ever actually end up with him either. You don't have too though. That's the beauty of not thinking. His brother puts together a movie showing how awesome at stunts Rod is and they decide to screen it to raise money to help Rod do a jump over 15 buses. Everyone laughs at him and he freaks out and breaks stuff and all the money he earns goes to pay for the damage. He gives up.... but of course gets over it in time to do the jump. In this movie you get to see this guy get hit by two vans, beat like a pinata, crash into a travel trailer, drown, be lit on fire and do a header into a swimming pool. There is no reason to not see it.... well except for the reasons I already told you not too.

Anyway I completely loved this movie and thought it was the worst movie ever all at the same time! Way to go Andy Samburg!

The Season is over....

Hello all!
I hope you had a good Christmas. I did. I went down to Salem and spent it with my aunt and uncle. We had some fantastic ham and other great treats, then it started snowing so I packed it up and headed home. We had a white Christmas up here.... but it did not stick so no snowmen or veering off the roads or anything fun like that.

A quick note on Christmas cards.... the black and white photo of someone who looks like me walking down the road. That is my father and not me. I know it looks like me but I look a lot like him.... so yeah. The thing in his hand? It is a camera and not a skateboard. I don't think the other photo cards I sent need an explanation... it's snow on a gazebo... and yes it's Oregon. Actually it is Phoenix.. you know that time it snowed... hehehe. So hope all of you in AZ are enjoying the frigid 55 degrees... turn up the heat when my dad is there. He likes being too hot. Oh and in case you are wondering you have no obligation to give me a card back. I had a lot of fun making the cards because I was able to make up complete and total lies. So if you want to get one next year there are 2 ways.... work where I work or give me your address. Anyone, even if I barely know you.... actually if I don't even know you.... if I have an address you will get a card... It might not make sense but it will be original. Next year become one of the card posse.... I sent 40 out this year.... I can send more...

So hope everyone enjoyed the card and hoped everyone got what they wanted...

PS.... the layout is new so let me know what you think...

PPS.... oh and I am adding Labels let me know what you think about those too...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

Well I am writing this real quick hoping that you all have a merry Christmas. I may write between now and Christmas but it is unlikely.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Blazers Rule!!

Well last night was absolutely fantastic! Some of you may be unaware of what I refer and some others may be aware but may not agree. Naturally that makes some of you ill informed and the rest just plain wrong. Last night was so great that I still don't have a voice tonight. I yelled myself hoarse last night as I helped cheer the Blazers on to win # 10. Yes it was glorious. My roommate and I headed over there after work and picked up our tickets. We got something to eat and waited until it was nearly time for the game to start and then we took our seats in section 323. Where we yelled, cheered and booed every single thing that happened. It was a fantastically satisfying win all the way around. Of course it probably sucked if you were a Nugget player or fan. Especially when Carmello got swatted by Brandon Roy! Or the game ending shot rejection Travis Outlaw handed down to end the game. Talk about 'in your face!' It was a great game and a lot of fun.

To top it off I also got a free 8 x 10 picture courtesy of Walgreens. Yay Walgreens!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Work Tidings To All..... And To All A Good Strike!

Today was my work team's Christmas lunch. We all headed out to Pastini Pastaria. I had spaghetti and meatballs and they were decent. I would much rather drive 3 hours and have Maryjo's but I don't think she would want to feed my whole team nor that they would want to do a 6 hour round trip drive.... They might after they have her meatballs but not before. Anyway we went there and our supervisor bought everyone a bunch of appetizers and then we all paid for our own drinks and our main dish. I had so much food that I will not be eating anything tonight. We did not stop with the antipasto, cheese bread, garlic/cheese/artichoke dip, and our entrees. We also had cookies, candies, pie, cake and juice.... Oh my goodness! I am getting ill just thinking about it.... So much food. For my part I had a few cookies and candy but no pie or cake. We also had a white elephant gift exchange and I got stuck with a pink candle. Not only is it a pink candle but it is in a pink glass with a pink fuzzy flower pattern on it. Yeah..... awesome. Hahahaha I am keeping the thing at work, displayed proudly. It makes me laugh that I picked that. It beats the used hair dryer or the Christmas cd that had Luther Vandross and Gloria Estefan as some of it's featured artists. The theme was garage sale so the gifts were mainly stuff people had around the house that they would put up for sale at a yard sale. I brought a pilates video and a work out ring. Late night advertising works on me so I do not allow myself to watch it anymore.

What was really cool about the team lunch was being away from the phone for 2 hours. People are so full of holiday cheer as it gets closer to Christmas that I actually had a few f-bombs get lobbed at me. Everyone wants to buy little Susie her my little pony dream house and little Billy the car smash-a-rama flying spaceship. What they don't want to do is pay bills and when you tell them they are about to cancel if a payment is isn't received they get downright nasty. Guess what Christmas did not just jump out of the shadows and bite you in the butt. If you wanted to buy all these expensive gifts you should have planned for it or get people used to a big bowl of nothing for Christmas. When you are as bad with money as I am, and I have been paying my bills (for the most part), it is hard to see their point. I mean you either stay insured or you buy an expensive gift... seems like a no brainer. Yet it's my fault. So yeah the best part was being away from those people for 2 hours....

Anyway that is another edition of boring work stories from Mike!

Tune in next time when I explain the wonderful world of ACW! The mystery of why the high level people think you should not ever ever use it versus the reality that you should actually use more. Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel!

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Writing Thing

Well I am on page 110 of my first edit and I only have 50 pages left to review. It is not going too bad, what is the real bear is retyping it all. Some of the edits are big rewrites where I rework an idea and some are tiny word changes or sentence restructuring. It is taking forever. I am on page 38 of the retyping process. I now have 50,960 words in this story and it fluctuates a bit as I correct, delete and rewrite but it always seems to end up around that number when I quit for the day. I have some major edits coming up and it may actually shrink a little bit. We will see soon enough. I am hoping to have the first draft out to a few of you, who have been kind enough to volunteer to be editors, before the 12th of January. That is my goal. Hopefully I hit it.

The 12th is also the day I go for orientation for my masters degree program.... and that is why the goal of getting the first edit done is set so quickly after I just got done writing it. I may have chose the end of February otherwise. To tell you the truth I had originally hoped Christmas would see the end of my first edit and it still might but the retyping portion will take the other couple weeks.

Wish me luck.

Oh and what do I want for Christmas? Money. I am saving to buy a cheap laptop to make my writing and my schooling a little more mobile. Anyway have a good week and remember Christmas is next Tuesday. You can always order that special someone a totally awesome calendar or t-shirt.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Phoenix Pictures

You better recognize!

Yo CLD Raps!

I enjoyed my visit to Phoenix. I wished I had more time because there was more I would have done. I missed seeing some people and for that I am sorry. We will make plans for my next visit in March. Dates to come soon. I have some photos from the ship to share. I am just not organized enough to get the photos finished and a small album made. Some of you received a Christmas card this past weekend, others have not. I need some freaking addresses if you want a customized Christmas card! In the cards I make up the year's events in a card and you are the only one that has that version of my exploits. I went to the stone age in one I was a polar bear imposter in another. You never know what you will find in these custom cards.

Well I need to get back to my editing. I have a photo album and a book to get down.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Family Guy:That novel that your workin' on?

Hey all,
I just wanted to share one of my favorite Family Guy moments. You shall see how it ties in with last month's project. Hope you enjoy it.

Monday, December 03, 2007

December Happenings

Well I am looking forward to December! I am working on my Christmas Cards, hopefully you made the list this year. If not you can always bribe me. I am easy to bribe. I have a new idea that every recipient will say wow that was weird. Well everyone but the first 4 cards that were prior to my genius idea.

My roommate and I have a new computer desk from IKEA and I just put it together. Tomorrow I will relocate the computer to the desk but I am a wee bit tired now. We also have a new coffee table from IKEA. We are all about IKEA apparently. IKEA should sponsor me for mentioning them 4 times in this blog, but they don't.

Another thing on the radar is my trip to Phoenix on the 7th. Yeah I am going back to my hometown this weekend only. It is a special engagement for a limited time. Anyway if you live in Phoenix maybe I can fit you in, so if you are interested in possibly meeting up drop me a line.

I am knee deep in poetry reading for The Grove. I did not get as much done as I wanted too but my goal is to have it done asap. Anyway that is not the only reading going on. I printed my NANOWRIMO novel out so I can begin the first edit.