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Saturday, December 31, 2011

What are you doing New Year's Eve?


Clearly, this video is the vogue pick of New Year's Eve 2011/2012. :) Zooey Deschenel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt strum along on "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve." Enjoy!

'Til next time!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy 75th Birthday, Mary!

It happened approximately two years ago. In my Composition class, my teacher assigned us to pick an ennobling figure in history. For the rest of the semester, we would go through the detailed and incredibly frustrating steps of writing an essay on exactly why this person was a respectable being.

I said, "That'll be EASY!" First thing was first; I needed to pick my "ennobling figure." Many celebrities came to mind in those early thoughts. John F. Kennedy, Amelia Earhart, and Eleanor Roosevelt are some of the names. And I easily started researching biographies I could check out from the library or buy from the local bookstore. In the end, I found nothing that would intrigue me to write a ten page paper, however.

About a week later, I decided upon the "Unsinkible Molly Brown." She was ennobling enough. She had gusto, achievement, and opinions to boot. PERFECT. But later that night, I found no existence of a biography. We needed a biography for one of the papers. I didn't have a biography for my person. I WAS DOOMED! It was not the first time I had been in a dilemma about the class, either. And I had only been in there for three or four weeks! My mom, knowing I had to find somebody, walked into the kitchen, where I was pouting just then, face down on the counter.

"Can you think of anybody?" I asked in desperation. "I need to decide by tomorrow."
"You should do someone cool. Like Billy Graham or someone like that."
I may have twisted in disgust. No offense to Mr. Graham, but I did not want this project to be completely educational. I wanted it to be fun, light, FUN.
"I'm more into pop culture."
She turned the water on to do the dishes. "Carol Burnett."
"I don't know her."
"Well, there are a lot of people you could do," she said encouragingly. "Dick Van Dyke."
A spark went off. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Mary Poppins. He seems like an interesting character. He did have his own show.
"Was he ennobling?" I asked.
"He made a lot of people happy. He was a great dancer. He had his own show."
I exploded. "Duh! Do you think I was born yesterday?" (I become a bit crabby in those stressful times.) "Did he progress society in any way?"
"I don't think so."
"How am I supposed to write a ten page paper about him then?"
"How about Mary Tyler Moore? She had her own show. Plus, she was a pretty big thing back then. I loved her."


I eventually decided to take on Mary Tyler, although all I knew about her was that she was on the Dick Van Dyke Show. Needless to say, I had a lot of work to do.

I began researching. Mary struggled with diabetes, felt the need to be a perfectionist, and rose as a strong but subtle push for feminists everywhere. I read books, journals, and did nearly everything else I could. And somewhere in the process, the sweetheart of the 70s swept me away with her winning smile and difficult yet shining life. She lifted my spirits, made me beam, and showed me a life far removed from my own. For someone who I have never met, she taught me more than a lot of people. I could have never known at the time, but Mary ended up being one of the closest friends I would never meet.


On spring break that semester, I traveled down to the Twin Cities to go to a play at the dinner theatre there. (I had received tickets for my birthday.) Knee deep in three Mary books, a couple seasons of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and articles about feminists on TV, I felt a need to expound on my research.

It is a known fact that the Mary Tyler Moore Show is set in Minneapolis, where Mary's character is the associate producer at WJM-TV, a news station. In honorarium, a statue of Mary, in her award-winning, berret-twirling pose, stands on one corner of Nicollet Mall, where the opening credits were actually filmed. While I scoff at the innacuracy in its location, (She did throw it at that corner, but she was filmed tossing her hat in the middle of the intersection, not on the sidewalk. The story of it is quite endearing, how she was dodging traffic and all.) I begged my fellow travelers, including my dear friend Jamie, to stop at the statue on our way through Minneapolis.


"We're going to go around the block once and be back here then. Okay?"
"Sounds good!" Jamie and I yelled as we hopped out of the van.
We hadn't known that a Vikings game was ensuing in the coming hour. We also didn't know how many people walked to the game. We waded through crowds of purple and gold, swerved between taxis and runaway buses, and nearly fell victim to theft as we crossed the street with a camera in tow.
There, gleaming in the overcast smog of the metal jungle, was Mary. I had known her for so long, and here she was. Finally.
"Let's go! They're going to be back," Jamie said.
"All right. Let's hurry."
"Go and stand by her," Jamie said, pushing the camera up and nearly backing up into traffic.
She snapped a picture.
"Perfect. Now me."
We exchanged the camera. She copied Mary's classic berret-tossing pose, one hand in the air.
I snapped the picture.
At that point, the statue was relatively clear of tourists. However, when somebody sees someone taking a picture, others take one too. It's mob mentality, I believe. I can just imagine: "That statue must be important! Let's take one too!" That is exactly what happened.
Two men speaking a foreign language rushed up the statue in apparent enthusiasm. They shoved a camera at Jamie and posed for a picture. A group of middle-aged women snapped pictures both from near and far. At this point, I would not have been surprised if Ferris Bueller came floating down the street in a parade, eventually whipping off his German song float and popping up on the statue to kiss Mary on the cheek.
Jamie handed the camera back. "Let's go!"
It became a frenzy around the statue as we rushed away.

As the class ended that spring, I was both happy and sad to see my time with Mary draw to an end. I had connected with her in so many ways. I found so much of me in her. I learned a lot in the class as well. You see, I have this theory. The more frustration a class causes, the more a student learns. Considering that I bawled my eyes out one day, on a scale from 1-10 (1 being not learning and 10 being learned a lot), I would rate the class at 11. I owe my teacher and Mary for those valuable lessons in Composition.


Thus, I conclude. To the woman who taught me to stand up when times are tough, who could turn the world on with her smile, and who caused social change with mere inferences of feminism, I would like to say one thing. Happy 75th birthday, Mary!

'Til next time!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Music Monday (Kind of): 'Til the Season Comes 'Round Again

Throughout this holiday season, my mom's Christmas mix CD played well over 100 times. I kid you not, I could predict exactly what song came next just after the previous one finished. Overall though, it's a great mix of Christmas tunes. The essentials really. The Carpenters, Bing, Andy Williams, and all those other fantastic folks we associate with Christmas music are on there.

The final song that plays on the CD is "'Til the Season Comes 'Round Again" by Kenny Rogers. Quite appropriate, if you ask me. From earlier posts, you fine folks know that I'm addicted to those classic artists. The Dollys, Kennys, Karens, and Pauls of the music universe, but this one touches me in that yuletide way that makes me run for a cup of coacoa and a Christmas book, as is the urge of many other listeners. It's amazing how Christ's birth can bring families together in that way. And even for one day in the year, even with the stress, and the disappointments that happen so frequently, we are together. The sweet melody of this tune gets me everytime. :) I hope you enjoy!


'Til next time! Merry Christmas! (P.S. I was informed today that the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" refers to the first day being December 25th. Therefore, I can validate posting Christmas things until January 6th.) ;)

Favorite Holiday Quote this year:
Mom: "Grandpa always kind of looked like Andy Williams. But his voice sounded exactly like Bing Crosby."
Me: "Well that's pretty biased."

Becoming Superheroes

My friend Jenn and I decided we're going to become superheroes in our free time.


And let me tell you right now, it wasn't an easy decision. All in all, I think it was hardest to pick our powers. In the concept of "moonlighting" hero work, I named her Moonbeam and me Apollo. Naturally, she'll be able to manipulate light, and I'll be able to manipulate solar radiation. I'll be her sidekick.


For costumes, I was thinking maybe a darker blue for her costume with accents of white and lighter blue. Maybe purple. For me, a sheer rustic orange with whites and yellows and reds creating a soft glow. [See pictures above for the color schemes.]



Either way, Savers is calling our names. Facemasks? Yes. Capes? Of course. Tights? You wouldn't be a super hero without them! What a fantastic idea.

Watch for Moonbeam and Apollo in a city near you! (Maybe, we'll see.)

'Til next time!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Music (Christmas) Monday: It Could Happen Again


This is a song that my family has played time and again every Christmas. "It Could Happen Again" by Collin Raye. It's one of my favorites. :) Johnny Cash introduces it.

'Til next time!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rent-A-Film Friday: Home Alone

It's time for the Christmas classic we all love! Am I talking about It's a Wonderful Life? That would be a no, Bob. I'm talking about the (yet again) John Hughes classic Home Alone, starring McCulley (sp?) Culkin (sp?)! I tell ya, those names get me every time.

"I made me family disappear? I made my family disappear. *Eyes flail with enjoyment. Cue jazz music."


With music composed by John Williams (duh, Jurassic Park and Star Wars), there's a whole lotta talent. Katherine O'Hara, the "wet bandits," the dweeby sister that thinks she can speak French because they're going to France. FANTASTIC!

So go rent Home Alone! Classic kid movies #FTW (in true "That Hapa Chick," who was featured in a WALL STREET JOURNAL article[!!!], style)

'Til next time!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Grab Me That Crystal Ball...

I'm a fortune teller!

A while back, I commented on how I was super excited for Frank Wildhorn's Bonnie and Clyde. (With no signs of Broadway in sight, mind you.) Well, it has run it's first show on the big Broad Way! Starring Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan, this obviously is going to be a smash hit. (I called it, so it must be so.)

I'm gonna take a whirlwind trip to New York to see it, soooooo... yup. It's a real thing. And it's totally not going to be like all the other things I say I'm gonna do and put off for years upon years... Totally not. Okay, maybe it will be. :(


Hahaha! I rule the world! Guess what? The Newsies, you know that other musical that I plugged in one of my longer posts, is headed to Broadway too. Hmmm Hmmm Hmmmm!!! Hahaha! Oh man.

This is one I needs to see. So, all you readers out there... coincidence? Or just my genius that aligns perfectly with the producers of the stage world? ;) I'm completely kidding, but I do find it really cool that they're both coming or are there! How about you?

'Til next time!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And then those 2-VHS sets again...

Today is December 7th, a "day that will go down in infamy," as FDR put it all those years back. When Pearl Harbor struck my mind this morning during devotions, I had such a shock that I nearly fell off my rocker. The attack on Pearl Harbor happened 70 years ago. I'll say that again. SEVENTY YEARS AGO! Yet it is still so prevalent in my mind. It is one of the few dates I remember from American History, after all. Why? Another act of magic by Hollywood, I presume. "Correct as usual, King Friday."


It's even been a while (15 years?) since the movie starring Ben Affleck and that other guy and that one girl and I think Jennifer Garner came out, but it's still one of those classic blockbusters. It was on TV last weekend, I believe. I guess the point of this post is to say that movies really do do a good job of preserving history, even for people that aren't necessarily enthralled with the idea of pouring over historical textbooks. Or if the love story in the movie did not actually happen. That reminds me of Galinda from Wicked. "I don't understand why you can't just teach us history instead of always harping on the past."

Such a sad time. Reflect on all that happened 70 years ago today... 

'Til next time!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Want This In My Town

Candy Chang is an urban planner who is clearly and utterly a genius! Check this out.


In her New Orleans neighborhood, she developed a concept that brought the dreams of a community into one moving piece of art. It's called the "Before I Die" project and has spread to various cities throughout the world as well.


Basically what it is is a giant chalkboard developed on the side of a run-down building. Here, chalk paint was plastered on the run-down and make-shift boards, and white spray paint left blanks for citizens to fill. With dreams of hope, this particular city filled the board within a day.


Of course, it has to be approved! :)


I had to laugh at the "Meet Justin Bieber" on the bottom there. :) But everyone has dreams...


And now you can make a difference too! Check it out! http://civiccenter.cc/the-before-i-die-toolkit/

And please check out Candy's website as well. http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/198bOF/candychang.com/before-i-die-in-nola/

I hope you were inspired by this! The urban planner in me sure was! :)

'Til next time!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Music Monday: Those Teen Pop Sensations

Don't ask me why. I have no idea, but America seems to wrap these little beep-bops in their little finger. I don't know whether it's supposed to be like this. (After all, they are just kids.) But they seem to come out with some good music. Let's take roll call of the kids that are skipping class today.


We'll start off with a double-whammey! Justin Bieber (my bro's fave) and Jaden Smith are too cool for school. J-Biebs (as I like to call him) is finally growing out of that falsetto voice. I don't know what that means for his plan to take over the world with those double-high E's of his, but we'll see... Jaden Smith is obviously Will and Jada Smith's kid. He's got some talent to boot. I wonder if he goes to school...


This Rhianna wanna-be has some talent, I'll admit. But I kind of wonder what she's doing right now... it'd be 12:30 in New York. She's actually probably out to lunch with Rhianna. Do you whip your hair back in forth?


And then there's those Disney channel stars who've seemed to take a liking to "that Bieber kid." One of which includes Selena Gomez. No doubt that she's besties with Taylor Swift, who she's sat by at many award shows in the past. Plus, she seems creative enough. Her album covers say as much... but then again a bunch of other people are responsible for that.

And those are just the current ones! We can't forget about Shaun Cassidy or Donny and Marie or anyone in the Mickey Mouse Club or any other of those pop teen sensations. Question of the day: Did these kids choose to go into showbiz or was it their parents "encouraging" them? We all know the power of parent influence, do we not? So let's just mull that one over.

Talented? Yes. Happy? Only time will tell.

'Til next time!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Rent-A-Film Friday: The Music Man

Disney's 2003 rendition of Meredith Willson's The Music Man will forever have a place in my heart. #1 Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) is in it and is fantastic. #2 Kristin Chenoweth is on my list of top actresses. That woman is talented. #3 "You really ought to give Iowa a try..." So why not watch it?


Last night, I watched a movie on a week night for the first time in... FOREVER. It's no coincidence that it was The Music Man. I love it and have this nagging thing about watching a movie or reading a book when a certain part is stuck in my head. I just love the whole movie, so I needed to watch it. I didn't get to finish it, so I'm picking up on it tonight. :)


"Trouble my friends. I'll tell ya we got trouble right here right here... Trouble with a capital "T" and that rhymes with pool. Now I know you're all the right kind of parents..."


This being written, I highly recommend it, even if you are partial to the first rendition of the classic. "He's a music man. He's a what? He's a what? He's a music man."


I hope you have a new-found craving for seeing this movie and running out and trying to find it at a late hour. :D You're welcome.

'Til next time!

Music Monday/Friday: Fine By Me

Now that this song has hit the waves, I don't have to be ashamed of liking it. So I've been addicted to Andy Grammer's song "Fine By Me." I guess you could call it a wake song... It's in the wake of his earlier single "Keep Your Head Up," which is equally as good in my opinion. I realize that people disagree though. One of my classmates blatantly referred to it as "Crap Music." I'd like to know what he's listening to that SO much better. Indie rock? I don't think so...

But anyway, here's "Fine By Me."


Now this is a big deal for me. If you haven't noticed by my choices in music, I'm not exactly a big fan of any guy singers. However, Grammer has that sort of jazzy vibe in his music that I find addicting. Will he have 5 singles on one CD like Katy Perry? Unlikely, but some of them are rather good. What are your thoughts?

'Til next time!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Statues

Let's talk about statues. I find these things an integral part of any city, but who or what do we make them of? Obviously, we want to be sensitive, pertinent, and clever. Likewise, it should be something we want to remember and don't want to rip down everyday. It should be unanimous, I guess you could say, to put it up.


You can imagine it'd be pretty hard if a whole population filled with diverse views must come to a consensus. And then there's the issue of money. There has to be a specialized public group that REALLY wants the statues.


  

With that in mind, I kind of have to wonder who commissioned some of the most famous statues. Obviously, the Statue of Liberty was a gift. Giant Abe in his memorial was publicly funded. But what about things like Balto?


Who funded that guy? Obviously, it's a public figure. Exhibit A.) Even I can pull it out of thin air. That excluded, I want to know... Wikipedia? (P.S. Is it weird that Balto is stuffed in the Cleveland Museum of Natural History?)


The classic Greek statues are probably my favorite. There's just so much history behind them that I just cannot get my head around it. Plus, their beauty surpasses all else. Amazing!


But there always is something about those copper ones that turn green over time as well. Have you ever seen a statue oxidized over time? I haven't, but I hope to see something like that one day.


There is one type of statue I've never experienced before. That would be living statues. The premise of it is quite amusing, wouldn't you think? And the talent that must go into that! Wow! On a side note, I'm always reminded of the 90's version of the Parent Trap, when Hallie goes to London to see the her mom for the first time. Do you remember that part? It has "There She Goes" in the background. It's a fond memory of my childhood for some reason.

Anyway, do you find statues amusing too? Let me know what you think! :)

'Til next time!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To the Netherlands We Go


It's a woodpile! It's a beaver's over-ground home! It's...


A recording studio?

Yes, it is true readers. I was blog reading just now when I stumbled upon this beautiful masterpiece. Boy, does Piet Hein Eek have some talent. A furniture builder, he put this together for his friend Hans Liberg. If you haven't guessed from the post title, it is in the Netherlands. I tell you! They're genius over there!


And it's so modern inside, too! Look at the whitewashed walls, and the fantastic design of the shelving and furniture units!


It's so beautiful. I hope that when I go on my rogue tour of Europe, I'll be able to find it! :D It's so awesome! And wait! Are those old shades that make the vertical boards of the shelves? This guy has it made! Prime! Boss! Sick! Or as we say in America... AWESOME!
'Til next time!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Music Monday: Christmas Classics

As everyone knows, we are knee deep in the...

Most commercial time of the year/when the Black Friday shoppers line up for their TVs and sip lattes away!/It's the most commercial time of the year...

At any rate, the Holiday season is up and running (for real this time, though.) Why? Well, radio stations are slowly switching over to their beloved Christmas classics. The Crosby, Carpenter, and even contemporary artists are beginning to throw their songs in the mix.While some of them are rather catchy, keep in mind, *ahem* Justin Bieber, *Cough* that just because you're appearing on the Christmas tree lighting in Rockefeller Center does not mean you're song is going to be a "megahit" (or even featured on the television special). SO! My mom and I were having a discussion as to which is the Christmas song that best exemplifies the cheer of the holiday season. (For this contest, we left out the religious ones, just so we're clear.)

She cast her vote with "We Need a Little Christmas" by the cast of Mame. "It's just the best," she says. Here's that one is for you...



While Angela Lansbury is to be praised for her accomplishments, I voted against it. I said "Merry Christmas Darling," by the Carpenters. Here you go...


You may recall from previous posts that I'm a bit bias by the beautiful melodious tones of Ms. Karen there, but for cereal. It's the best. In my giant stack of sheet music (seriously, it's heaping) I actually found this song. I've been playing it ever since. A whole two days. Yes sirreee! I cherish those past days of playing that song. *Sigh*

P.S. Don't mention Lea Michele's (I don't even care enough about her name to look up the spelling!) rendition of this holiday classic. She butchered it. 

And so, dear reader, what is your vote for the ideal holiday song? And did you go Black Friday shopping? I did. Spent less than $10 on $20 of merchandise... for myself. What? It was a "Treat Yo' Self" day. Please share in the comments below! (Maybe even a link to the song on Youtube would be good too!) :)

'Til next time!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Moses Bridge

Do I even need to say how awesome this is? Check it out:


Ah... Amazing! It's called the "Moses Bridge" and is found in the Netherlands. Just thought I'd share it along with some amazing pictures. :)




I'm going to have to stop there when I take my rogue tour of Europe.

It's going to happen.

'Til next time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

HIMYM

"What are you watching?"
"How I Met Your Mother."
"That is such a stupid show. I can't believe you're watching that!"
"Why? Have you seen it?"
"No. I don't plan to either."
*I walk away.


For the longest time,  I hated How I Met Your Mother. It may be a wrong assertion, but I always thought it was about some cougar lady mom trying to sleep with guys younger than her. What? It's so valid, I haven't even thought of a more valid excuse in the entire world. I mean, Barney Stinson? You can't not expect him to be a cougar chaser.
But then I understood. I remember it like it was yesterday...

The opening monologue comes on...
"Kids, let me tell you something..."


WhoarethesekidsandwhyaretheysittingonacouchlookingfreakedoutIdon'tunderstandwhatthisshowisabout
whyamIwatchingitIhavenoideawhat's---IGETIT!

It happened just like that. An epiphany. He's telling his kids how he met their mother! Duh! How could I be so ignorant?! How could I be so stupid?! I think I made up for it by being a dedicated fan... ever since three weeks ago.

Now I ask how could somebody not watch this show?

It's hilarious!

It has Jason Segal from the upcoming Muppet movie...


It's shroud with mystery...


And it has a Canadian popstar on it!!


Now, everyone knows that I'm a Canadian popstar fiend... well, my family pretty much is. It's in my genes. Shania Twain, Justin Bieber, Michael Buble, Nikki Yanofsky. And now Robin Sparkles. Big fan right here.

Thus, I decided the show isn't that bad. I'll just add it to the list of shows I watch daily. :)

'Til next time! 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Music Monday: You Make My Dreams Come True

I owe exactly half of my music interests to my father. Growing up in the golden era of music has done him good, let me tell you. And it's corresponded to my brothers and I. (Well, me at least... my other brothers like Justin Bieber and rap.) Anyway, one of my dad's favorite groups of all time is Hall and Oates, who are fantastic by the way.
One of their most known songs today is "You Make My Dreams Come True." So this is the song that you receive for "Music Monday" this week. Enjoy!


'Til next time!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Hunger Games Trailer - Part 5 - Settings

As many of you know, I've been on the fence about how The Hunger Games movie will be. I think the trailer is yet another signifier of this love-hate relationship. Thus, below will be, first, the trailer itself for your viewing pleasure and, second, my comprehensive look at what works and what doesn't, in my opinion, taking into account the book's technicalities and descriptions. This post will be distributed among the rest of the week.


The final installment of my posts is here! Today, we're talking about setting, so get your riding cap on! It's gonna be a bumpy ride... Okay, just kidding. I'm doing only one setting.

District 12: Well, let's just start this post on a negative note. I'm not impressed with their District 12. "Why?" would be the next common question, would it not? First off, it looks like Abraham Lincoln was born in those houses. More than anything, they're quaint. They may be drafty, but some hunting shacks up in this "neck of the woods" are less lush than those. And I'm pretty sure people decorate their houses with pictures of little villages like that and wish to live in "simpler times." Am I wrong? And I never thought there would be so much free space and air in an oppressed society. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure District 12 is supposed to be a pit (beside Victor's Village) because of all the coal dust everywhere, making the ground unideal for planting. And what about that fence? Are you cereal, people? It's supposed to be hard for her to get out... or at least look realistic that it could hold people in. Yes, I see the sign. Still, even with electricity, even I (the most unstealthy individual in the history of the world) could escape. And do I have to remind them that it has to be right on the edge of the forest? Book 2. She's stuck on the other side of the fence. She climbs a tree and then drops to the other side. Lush, picturesque, quaint. I don't think they should describe District 12. Maybe it's just me.
The Arena: I really can't wait to see the rest of it. It looks interesting right now. I'll have to see later...

Okay, there's more but District 12 is the only thing I had a comment on. Plus, I'd be lying if I said I wanted to continue on with commenting on the same trailer each day. So I'm moving on. Thanks for reading and...

'Til next time!

The Hunger Games Trailer - Part 4 - Effective Marketing

As many of you know, I've been on the fence about how The Hunger Games movie will be. I think the trailer is yet another signifier of this love-hate relationship. Thus, below will be, first, the trailer itself for your viewing pleasure and, second, my comprehensive look at what works and what doesn't, in my opinion, taking into account the book's technicalities and descriptions. This post will be distributed among the rest of the week.


The Hunger Games Trailer has widely been accepted as a reassurance for many, as many non-readers break down and see what all the hype is about and die-hard fans of the books finally come to senses that this may not be as big of disappointment as they thought it would be. But why exactly this shift? Well, let's take a look and find out.

First of all, either the movie really is going to be good or the person who sits in a dark room looking at a screen all day at Lionsgate must know what he or she is doing. There's two main audiences to impress here: the readers of the book and the non-readers.

The readers were looking for book accuracy, which is to be expected. So far, it looks like it's happening. Throughout the entire trailer, different plot points are presented so tightly woven to the book that one can't even complain. And if they do, there's a major attitude problem going on there. In fact, some of these people are scrambling to find that reason why they refuse to see the movie, even after seeing the accurate trailer. "They got Cinna all wrong." "Cato doesn't have blonde hair." "Haymitch doesn't have blonde hair." "I want to keep the integrity of the book in my mind." They're all possible excuses. Lame excuses, but possible. While this may be the breaking point for some who want to go and just compare the movie and then make jabs at Gary Ross for this masterpeice that SUZANNE HAD A PART IN, others may just not go. Has a movie strike ever taken place? But prithee well! Anyone looking for minute details like that shouldn't be going to a movie in the first place. For the reader audience, it was very effective and covers the major plot points. (*Spoiler: Please don't let the rumors be true that Gale is going to "sneak" into the Capitol and help Katniss from behind the scenes! Please!)

The other audience is the non-book readers, who are more or less the more pleasing audience. Anyone who is anyone has read The Hunger Games (or has heard of it), so those people that have never come across it have got some 'splainin' to do. But seriously, this book has met much acclaim. People that are not fans of the book may not get some of the points because it takes so much background information when creating a whole parallel dystopian society, but I'm sure they see teens fighting each other to the death and practically grab their tickets online right away. I almost to the point that people will draw to the movie like the readers drew to the book in the first place, but I think that's pretty premature. It seems like it is already. But for the most part, it's a movie. People will eventually come across it. "The Six Degrees of Seperation" does come into play, no? I bet at least one of those people know what the book was and have begged their friends to read the book or at least come and see the movie with them. The story is that good. I'm sure it'll draw a crowd.

So obviously this trailer is amazing. It starts to tell a very complex story and leaves everyone hanging. I can just imagine some elderly woman turning to her husband at the end of the commercial. "Well, what happens, Earl? Does she die?" Or maybe the little teenage girl who thinks Josh Hutcherson is smokin'. "Mom. We need to see this movie." "The one where the kids kill each-" "You're bringing me. That's final."

Overall, fantastic job person in the editing room. Kudos to you. "Kudos is my word of the day."

Tomorrow is the last and final installment on my comments on the trailer. While I'm sure this could go on for a whole month, I know you guys are just tired of reading it. "Why? Were you running in front of cars?" <- Somebody in my class asked this today after a teacher said she was tired. After she said no and asked why, the kid said, "Because if you were running behind cars you'd be exhausted." Really? Anyway, tomorrow's post is about the settings presented in the movie. Interesting, no? :) Well...

'Til next time!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Hunger Games Trailer - Part 3 - Cinematography

As many of you know, I've been on the fence about how The Hunger Games movie will be. I think the trailer is yet another signifier of this love-hate relationship. Thus, below will be, first, the trailer itself for your viewing pleasure and, second, my comprehensive look at what works and what doesn't, in my opinion, taking into account the book's technicalities and descriptions. This post will be distributed among the rest of the week, presenting a pro and con each day.


I'll just ramble on with this one too mostly because I didn't find anything wrong. So they're all pros today! :) Isn't it exciting?

Cinematography is a very influential thing for me. Mostly because I went through a phase when I wanted more than anything to be a filmmaker. I kind of still do... But anyway, The Hunger Games does not seem to lack anything that other movies lack. After all, it's pretty much down to a science over there in Hollywood.

First, the camera stability should be of note. When you view the trailer, note how often and when the camera shakes. During those tender moments that are still so emotional, you can notice a quiet bob of the camera. In my opinion, this helps to bring out the real-life aspects of the moment and keep continuity with the more vivacious parts that are filmed. In those parts, the camera is quite shaky. Notice during the bloodbath, the reaping. Marvelous. The concrete stability also should be mentioned. The key points being Peeta and Katniss on the roof and then the quiet morning hunt with Katniss and Gale. It represents those quiet, delicate moments that make up the most down-to-earth times, don't you think?

Overlay of other factors in the screenshots are also to be noted. During the reaping is the prime example of this. For the effect of all the kids, they walk right in front of the camera and Katniss comforting Prim. I think that's the only part in the trailer, but it's very effective.

And we mustn't forget sequencing. Notice the transitions that are so apparent. The reaping. The rapid-fire back-to-back of the blood bath and the training. The gentle appearance of Rue. They all had a part in that. The arrow flying in the training? Again, transitions that are so very effective. The training portion would probably be the best example. Paired with the acting in these shots, they're amazing.

The sweeping cinematography, too. Let's just comment on that. I'm talking the hovercraft in the forest, the train, the reaping, the Capitol, and I'm sure the Cornucopia in the arena (I'm so excited. What a great idea, Ms. Collins!) For some reason, I keep thinking about both Twilight and the Chronicles of Narnia movies. They both had the same thing going, but with book stories like this, it has to be done for the whole effect. It must be vogue in Hollywood, too. I've seen it a lot lately. It's needed.

Last but not least, let's all remember the blue tint that the (I don't know which one it was) Twilight movies had. It was like some overlay, editing room fiasco, I bet. I think HG has this going for them too. For an example, take a peak at the reaping (again). Do you see the sun is shining but the picture's so dull? I'm not sure what to think of it just yet. What do you guys think about this idea? On one hand, it may set the tone of the movie. Like a gray-sky day, which is the tone of Katniss throughout. She doesn't know how to feel; she just does what's needed to be done. But is it needed? Will they use this tactic differently in the other movies, setting a different stage for each? We'll just have to wait and see.

Well, that just about wraps it up. Tomorrow, I'll be covering the "Effectiveness of Movie Marketing:  The Hunger Games Trailer." Be looking out for that! :)

'Til next time!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Hunger Games Trailer - Part 2 - Casting

As many of you know, I've been on the fence about how The Hunger Games movie will be. I think the trailer is yet another signifier of this love-hate relationship. Thus, below will be, first, the trailer itself for your viewing pleasure and, second, my comprehensive look at what works and what doesn't, in my opinion, taking into account the book's technicalities and descriptions. This post will be distributed among the rest of the week, presenting a pro and con each day.



Okay, this isn't a pro and con list. It's just a list. Either way, it shows the casting I think works so far! :)
Jennifer Lawrence, Katniss Everdeen. When first casted, Jennifer Lawrence was probably my last choice for Katniss. After all, she's blonde, blue-eyed, and rather tall. When Josh Hutcherson was cast as Peeta, I didn't like Jenn for the casting at all because they're the same height and Peeta is quite a bit taller than Katniss (a weakling compared to the rest of the tributes) in the book. Furthermore, I felt the movie couldn't portray her as a character that didn't stand a chance if she was towering over the other characters. That's why she needs a bow to begin with:  she's too nimble to man-handle people. While these physical differences posed a challenge, from what I see so far, I'm satisfied. Is she my ideal Katniss? No. Is she the best person for the part. Judging on demeanor and acting skills, yes. Praise for Jennifer!
Josh Hutcherson, Peeta Mellark. This was one of the riskiest casting choices for me. Growing up with this all-American, pouty-faced boy in many movies throughout my lifetime, I just felt that he didn't have the emotional depth that was required of the soft-spoken, wise, and able-bodied Peeta. The physical features didn't play in his favor as well, I grant you. However, I see a maturity in this part that I haven't seen in other movies. It may be too soon to judge by a three-second appearance by him, but Peeta's perfect balance of boyhood and ruthless competitor seems to come into play here. That's two for two!
Liam Hemsworth, Gale Hawthorne. I may be bias because he's dating Miley Cyrus (or was, or is, or will in the future), but Liam Hemsworth is not Gale in my nor anyone I've talked to's eyes. He's large, bulky, and just starting out. I think a big factor in Josh's and Jenn's success is their experience in such emotionally impacting movies. I don't have trust in Liam just yet. After all, I don't think making out with Miley Cyrus shows any ability. He's a far departure from the skinny, starving, strong-willed boy from District 12. He's more soft, and all, "Have you ever thought of running away?" with no hatred in his voice at all at the government wronging citizens left and right. But then again it's just the trailer. (So far, I'm not impressed.) Plus, he's going to be like... 50? when the final Mockingjay movie comes out. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but he'll be totally old whereas Jenn and Josh will still be mildly of age.
Woody Harrelson, Haymitch Abernathy. I think we saw a total of maybe three seconds of Haymitch in this trailer. Therefore, I can't really judge him. However, the long blonde hair? I read an article saying Woody was given the independance to pick the look for Haymitch. Did he draw it from the book? I was told by another reader that Haymitch does in fact have long blonde hair in the book, but I didn't pick that up when reading. I always thought he was paunchy, balding, and dead in the eyes. Woody Harrelson's Haymitch is anything but that. Then again, I thought Rue was Latina. More on Haymitch later.
Wes Bentley, Seneca Crane. I had no idea who this was before the HG movie, however I did think it was Jude Law (Thanks, Julia!) And can Jude Law do any wrong? Look at Wes' beard! Look at his reaction to Jenn! He's PERFECT! Even though he is behind this scenes, I do believe this character will be one of my favorites in the book. It always intrigued me. If anyone can pull off this devious, almost-in-the-dark character, it's the one I thought who was Jude, which is actually Wes!
Donald Sutherland, President Snow. I've always thought that Donald Sutherland was epic. I don't think I've ever seen him without white hair, he's awesome, and he's awesome. In the royal pecking order, he's definitely up there for sure, assuming Hollywood is like a monarchy. Anyway, I thought he would have puffier lips, but I think his beard is quite enough for that perfect symbol of power in the Capitol. I just have one question. Did he actually grow that beard? For reals?
Stanley Tucci, Caesar Flickerman. I can't say enough about Stanley Tucci. At the beginning, I thought the part should go to Martin Short because he's just a dynamic character. After all, he did play Frank (Fronk?) in Father of the Bride. However, I had complete faith in Stanley to pull off the role. It seems like he did from this brief clip. Not only was he blessed with one of the best costumes in the whole movie, but he clearly knows what he's doing. Spinning Katniss, doing all of that exaggerated stuff that only Caesar would do. I'm really looking forward to seeing what it all entails. He's always so good though. Did I expect anything less?
Elizabeth Banks, Effie Trinkett. Holy cow! She's the best ever! Since she's a contemperary actress, I had complete prejudice that she wouldn't pull this off. But she's completely different from anything I've seen so far from her. It must be the make-up. But seriously, she had me with the simple furl of her hand in that fish bowl. Did you see it? And then she snatched it up? TO DIE FOR! Great job, Elizabeth! The beckoning of Peeta, too. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I couldn't have asked for anything more. Her kinesics, vocalics, everything. Marvelous. Faith restored in the character of Effie.
Alexander Ludwig, Cato. I have yet to see what this casting choice will entail. Obviously, he looks like he'll be the bad tribute that Cato is in the books, but have you heard his voice? I'm not sure if the yelling while being pinned to the ground... (That's a spoiler... I can't tell you that.) But I'm not sure if the voice will match up. Have you heard interviews with him in it? You should. I'm a bit scared though. I always saw Cato as a brown-haired buzz cut kind of guy. To see those blonde spikes made me nervous to begin with. We'll see.
Amanda Stenberg, Rue. Can I just say that I love Rue? Can I just say that I love Rue even more after seeing this trailer? Seriously, she is just the best person to play this role. Her peeking around the corner, unsure of herself? There's not much to judge the performance on, but come movie time, I definitely think she'll be one to watch. Considering that she's age appropriate helps a whole bunch too! Can't wait to see how her character comes to life! :)

Well, that's it for today. Tomorrow, we'll be looking at the cinematography used in the trailer and how that stands up with the books.

'Til next time!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hunger Games Trailer - Part I - Costumes

As many of you know, I've been on the fence about how The Hunger Games movie will be. I think the trailer is yet another signifier of this love-hate relationship. Thus, below will be, first, the trailer itself for your viewing pleasure and, second, my comprehensive look at what works and what doesn't, in my opinion, taking into account the book's technicalities and descriptions. This post will be distributed among the rest of the week, presenting a pro and con each day.


Pros.
I always keep my eye on costumes. For this movie, there's a couple things to note. Seeing as there's been discussion as to how Panem may be an allegory for the real world (whereas the U.S. is the Capitol and the surrounding districts are countries and continents around the world), I find this to be a shaky theory. In my eyes, it's rather an underlying thing I'm sure a bunch of English teachers crocked up. However, I feel the trailer puts more of a vibe on revolution time than this modern, ego-centric philosophy, which is fairly appropriate. Whether this be an example of the French or the American revolution, I don't know, but the costumes suggest as much. How? Some great examples are Effie's and Caesar's costumes. *Please find the costumes in the video above and freeze them in place. :)

Effie's costume and make-up are marvelous to begin with. The skirt, the sleeves, the hat. The eyeshadow and the lipstick. Rather inventive. This whole ensemble somewhat represents the fashion of Great Britain during the colonial times, I would say. Just take that first glimpse. The powdered face? I think so. I won't go too far into detail and cite some of the techniques possibly used to create this look, but it does have the undertones of such. At any rate, it matches the description of the book to a "T." I'm quite thrilled with both the costume and the acting of Ms. Elizabeth Banks in this first look at the full film.

Caesar's costume? Equally as well done with the same flair. It's rather a darker look, and the make-up described in the book is not there, but it does relieve some people from their nightmares about clowns, am I right? I was thinking brighter sequins, but the coat he has is probably the more sensible choice. As for the revolution look, the wig and pony tail take the bag. I wasn't picturing this kind of wig for him, but it works. It really does. I'm rather happy with these two characters.

I see the American revolution. The Capitol would be Britain in this sense, creating a tyranny over the states and showing off their wealth, fortune, and quite gaudy looks to the rest of the country. The districts, poor and degraded with simple clothing, is America. It just dawned on me. There were 13 original districts and 13 colonies. Wow. Okay. I'm in shock right now. Epiphany moment. That may be it. Great. I'm turning into one of those English teachers, deciphering things that aren't even there.

Seneca Crane's beard is epic.

Cons.
I didn't see many of these in there. The only grievance I would point to is the interview dress. Did you see it, too? In the books, it's supposed to be covered with a thousand tiny jewels that, when moved, identify the licking tongues of flame. I do not see that in the trailer and truthfully hope that they are hiding the best part (the skirt), which would be book accurate and amazing as Collins had it, or are yet to add the amazing CG animations to the blank red dress. Please, dear Lord, please help it not to be that current thing they have.

Costumes for The Hunger Games Movie.

Pros: 90%
Cons: 10%

Tomorrow we'll be discussing the casting choices and their performance in this tiny, itty-bitty snip-it of the full film.

'Til next time!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Rent-A-Film Friday: Crazy, Stupid, Love

I don't really frequent the movie theatre. I wish this would change, but I don't have a lot of time these days. Or the money. At any rate, I did get to see Crazy, Stupid, Love, starring Steve Carrell and what's his face and Emma Stone and all those other people in it. Why can't I remember that guy's name? The one from The Notebook... Gosling. Ryan Gosling. Okay. Yes, that's the movie. I have to say I really enjoyed it a lot. I also have to say that if you plan on watching this movie and haven't yet, please (PLEASE!) don't watch the trailer. It gives the best part of the movie away, and who wants that?
Until I added this picture, I forgot Kevin Bacon's in it. I honestly didn't know Marisa Tomei or Julianne Moore were in it either, but I think they were before my time. Great line-up regardless!
It really is a very funny movie. The whole concept is kind of off-the-wall (well, not really), but it plays off well, especially with that twist in it that will be given away if you watch the most idiotic trailer in the world. Again, please don't. But the movie! Watch the movie! It's very good, and the whole ensemble does a fantastic job. Plus, the plot is a strong component of this film, which you don't see too often anymore, which is sad. So go watch it! Rent it up!

'Til next time!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hollywood

I saw Michael Buble's video for "Hollywood" the other day for the first time. I'm always one to take note of fantastic music videos, and maybe I abuse the replay button too often. (I refuse to admit that I replayed it more than five times last night.) But seriously! Not only is Michael Buble a talented voice beyond measure, but he's evidently a good actor too. Look at his cowboy! And Justin Bieber! I have a feeling my brother will like this video, too. ;) Hahaha! Did I tell you my older brother's obsessed with Justin Bieber? But who isn't secretly, right? In other breaking news, Justin's voice has finally changed.


Back to the music video. I especially love the "You'll be famous 'cause you're dead" line. It's so true. Sad, but true. Anyway, I really love this whole video, and I hope you enjoy it too. Although it's totally unrelated, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior 26 years ago today. Just in case you're wondering. And to clarify, Duluth is on Lake Superior. :) You heard it first from a Duluthian!

I hope your day's glorious. With daylight savings time, it got dark here today at 4:30, so mine was a little darker than usual. Darker but snowy.

'Til next time!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Metal Wonders

One of my decoration mediums of choice is metal. While it seems so desolate and empty, it seems so much alive. It's an amazing thing that I find unparalleled in the world of design. This metallic feel (keep in mind that I like the diminished, rusted kinds) will surely adorn my living space all my life.

I think you'll agree if you just take a look at some of these.

I have an addiction to over-sized office objects. I have a giant paper clip picture holder and giant clothespins in my room.
This pic is pretty grainy, but I had to share that I have the big and middle-sized one! :) From Pier One! They always have the best stuff.
CHECK OUT THESE ONES FROM PIER ONE! http://www.pier1.com/SearchResults/tabid/37/txtSearch/metal+sculpture/Search/metal+sculpture/List/0/Default.aspx :) Amazing!
This picture is bad too. But this was at Target at one time. I had every intention to buy it but didn't. I need a "Treat Yo Self!" day...



If this had Roman numerals, it'd be perfect.
So metal decor. It's something I love. Do you love it too? Let me know!

'Til next time!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Website Suggestion: Stumbleupon

About a year or so ago, my friend suggested that I join www.stumbleupon.com. Naturally, I declined because I don't really trust her. (Just kidding, Sierra!) Eventually, on a very boring Saturday afternoon, I stumbled upon Stumbleupon and made an account. I had rather a joyous time deciding what topics I wanted to pick.

You see, Stumbleupon is kind of like a search engine for everything you like and nothing you don't. You just slap in the topics you like, say "crafts," "movies," "art," or anything like that, and it takes you to a random, awesome site that features that topic. Some of the things are there are pretty neat, too. To tell the truth, I don't go on there a regular basis, but when I get bored, it's the place to be. 

For example, I just "Stumbleupon"-ed this website! Amazing architecture? Check. Amazing everything? Check! It's great!

And then I "Stumbleupon"-ed again. Chapstick anyone? I have to say that's it's one of those sites that at least everyone should hear about. It's quite fun, and rather enjoyable.

This post seems like an infomercial, so I'm gonna stop now. But for real. Stumbleupon.com. It's pretty boss.

'Til next time!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Music Monday: Hard Candy Christmas

It's music Monday yet again! Oh, how I love to share these tunes with you. I'm almost deprived of it considering I didn't share anything last week. Let's get down to it! This week, I was looking for Thanksgiving songs. It seemed like a good idea because Thanksgiving is coming up, ya know? Well, I couldn't find any good ones. Yet another reason why Thanksgiving is the middle child of the holiday season.

So I just skipped to the baby of the family:  Christmas!

I love Christmas songs, and it is the time of year when the radio stations deck out their tunes in the jingle-belled, magical chimed, newly- and modernly-recorded carols of ole. One Christmas song that made a comeback from the 1980s last year around Christmas time was Dolly Parton's "Hard Candy Christmas" from the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. I'm sure moms weren't telling their kids where the song came from, but I'm sure they still sang it. It's the bomb! (And that's not only because I love Dolly.)

Conveniently, it was written by Carol Hall (a quite Christmas-y name if you ask me) for the musical. In it, Dolly's character Miss Mona sings the choruses while the ensemble sings the verses. The soundtrack released a Dolly solo throughout, however. This is the version you hear on the radio. I must say that I like the movie version of it, though. Therefore, it's below for your enjoyment!


Merry Christmas again! And, as always...

'Til next time!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

They don't do daylight savings in Arizona.

I was amazed to hear that there are some states in the U.S. that don't do daylight savings time! I honestly and utterly couldn't believe it. Not because they don't do it. I could easily not do it too. It's that only 2 out of 50 do it! How could one state just choose not to? I was amazed that this has been unkept until now.


For the record, these are the U.S. territories that don't do it:  Arizona (with the exception of the Navajo nation), Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Guam, and America Somoa. I suppose it's much different nearer to the equator, though. Here, we need the time to be adjusted for daylight in the summer, so we actually get some exposure to the sun. We're pale enough as it is! Was Ben Franklin a tanning fanatic? He was probably the colonial Snooki. "There's Ben again. 5 o'clock and out tanning already! Maybe we should just pass that Daylight Savings Time bill. Then I wouldn't have to wake up to his bare belly every summer morn."


The upside? In fall we get an extra hour of sleep! Yippee!

The downside? In spring we lose an hour of sleep. Yuck.

Basically, I don't blame those states for not doing daylight savings time. It doesn't make much difference. I wonder what Ben Franklin's response to it was when Arizona told him they weren't doing it. Oh, wait. He wasn't around when Arizona was there...

Either way, I'm learning new stuff everyday! I hope you are too!

'Til next time!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things

Actually, this is only one of my favorite things. That thing, which I recently discovered, is a MUSK OX!


Aren't they great!? They're like a cross between a hamster, a bison, a ram, and a sasquatch! I don't know what it is exactly, but they're just the most majestic creature ever! While it'd be a stretch to say I wanted one, I definitely want to see one one day.

So basically, if you're wondering, the musk ox is the tundra edition of a bison. They roam the plains, in all their epicness, and can be found in the tundra areas of Canada, Greenland, and the United States. They don't eat humans. How amazing would it be to have this 4-foot-high, 600 pound beaut wander into your yard? I couldn't put it into words. One of them would be "scary" though for sure!

Furthermore, if I was Santa, I would have a team of musk ox instead of reindeer. Good idea? GREAT IDEA! Can you imagine? You could carry so many presents. Maybe I could just ride on the musk ox too instead of riding in the slay pulled behind it.

It's officially on my bucket list. "See a musk ox."

'Til next time!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Rent-A-Film Friday: Thor

You'll remember two weeks ago when I posted "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" as the movie for "Rent-A-Film Friday" in 2 weeks? Right? Well, if not, it's HERE. I also said in that post that I would share what movie I was watching that night.


So two weeks ago, I watched Thor. Great movie. I may be stepping on some toes here, but I'm just going to go ahead and say it's the best lead-up movie of the Avengers, coming out in 2012. Yes, this includes Captain America (I fell asleep during it. It was boring in my opinion.) and Iron Man, which I haven't actually seen (neither the first or the second). My ignorant and uninformed opinion says that Thor's the best lead-in movie, though. Sorry.

The whole topic of mythology in movies comes up. I know that a lot of people would be leery as to even watch it because of this reason. As I am a Christian and don't believe that any mythology (including but not limited to Greek, Roman, Norse, etc.) is factual, I do really like the stories. In my mind, I think they all started out as entertainment, but Satan twisted them into what they are. The point is that you shouldn't worry about this with Thor. The movie actually portrays that Asgaard is, instead of the heavenly home of the "gods," a parallel universe that has little connection with earth besides the occasional vacation or defending. Additionally, the "superpowers" of Thor are just special attributes of his royal antiques. They actually even address in the movie that humans are stupid for thinking they're gods.

Overall, it was very entertaining and quite surprising as far as the story line goes. "I seriously wasn't expecting that to happen!" sums up one point of the movie that you shouldn't miss. Kat Dennings is hilarious beyond measure. It's amazing just to watch her humor in it! :) And Natalie Portman? I've had a crush on her since I first saw Episode One of Star Wars. She's amazing.

Definitely worth a watch! Go rent that film this Friday!

'Til next time!
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