Monday, December 13, 2010

Erikson, Starcraft, fight workshop!

This is just gonna be a quicky post coz just not finding the time to write much but wanted to mention these things! :) Just finished Steven Erikson's Memories of Ice book!! Super fantastic awesome!!! Book 3 of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. I've read the 1st book, but skipped the 2nd coz the story line didn't follow most of the characters from the 1st so I knew I wanted to read about these guys first. :) And the book was definitely amazing. He is almost Guy Gavriel Kay level of greatness!! Intricate storylines, every event crucial to the unfolding of the plot, unforeseen directions... simply superb storytelling!! Only thing he doesn't do as well as Kay is characterization I'd say. Or I can name many other books with better characterization. And I think part of the problem is simply too many characters. So they're not very deep, or we're told what they're like rather than seeing it as we spend time with the character. But it is a fucking captivating book, so much so that despite my disgust at multi-volume series of a 1000 page volumes, I am loving this series and it sounds like it won't disappoint! :) Oh, also gotta mention another aspect that makes Erikson's books amazing, like Kay, he really creates these absolute dramatic moments! So much so that we had a whole discussion of the saddest moments in the book on this Malazan forum! (total spoilers though!)

In other news I have been avidly playing Starcraft II!!! Finally bought it in October but have only played it in spurts so finally just finished the game yesterday!! Can't wait to start playing multiplayer! Memories of 1st year in university playing all night in the engineering science PC lab!! And crawling out of the windowless room to find it was daylight again and the subway running so we could get home. Ahhhh... those were the days!!! Haha! I think best part about playing with friends or people in one room is the trash talking!! Hahaha!! :P Warcraft 3 didn't get to me like Starcraft has. Maybe it was too different to be able to just jump in even though I hadn't been gaming in years. Maybe the hero concept sucked. Maybe I simply didn't have time since I was working full time when it came out. Oh well. Yay to Starcraft instead!!! Even though I am more of a fantasy fan than sci-fi! :)

And finally just gonna mention I'm attending a fight workshop over New Year's!! People from all over the world converge to this event where stage combat, martial arts, and stunts are all practiced and studied!!! Loads and loads of fun!!! The only NYE party that I'm willing to skip my annual NYE boycott for! Haha! :) Check it out it's the Paddy Crean Workshop!!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey

This is a book by one of my favourite authors!!! And as I started reading it all I could do was sigh happily at the familiar awesomeness of her writing. It just caused such a feeling of contentment and comfort and enjoyment! :) This is the 2nd book of the Imriel trilogy which is part of the Kushiel’s Legacy series. Imriel was the adopted son of Phèdre the main character of the previous trilogy in the series. I find the movie Dangerous Beauty (see post below) gives a small sense of what Phèdre’s world might be like! :) So all the books in this series are truly awesome! And I love the way Carey writes self-contained novels that although part of a bigger story complete their individual stories with satisfying conclusions. This is sweet, welcome relief in comparison to unending series writers like George R.R. Martin, Kate Elliott, and Robert Jordan (who even died before he finished).

Buuut... and I really say this reluctantly... I must admit I found the story lines getting boring even around the 2nd and 3rd books of the Phèdre trilogy which has led to less excitement reading each of the Imriel books. Which after the 1st and 2nd I’m still not excited. Maybe when you try to wrap thing up each time causes problems finding interesting ways to do so without finishing the plot overlying the trilogy? Not sure. I just found it felt like each novel of the Phèdre trilogy just had to find a bigger, badder enemy for Phèdre to overcome. But despite the change in enemies, the story line went the same route. And this Imriel trilogy doesn’t have a single enemy to overcome each time, but can maybe be described as stages in Imriel’s growth, emotionally and physically? Which is totally cool (especially with how Berlik’s end came to be), but isn’t terribly captivating somehow. Hmmm... Carey’s recommended Guy Gavriel Kay books to her readers coz he also writes ‘historical fantasy’ for want of a better word. And I think I would say he is actually the best author I’ve read (ie. has the highest percentage of his books that are masterpieces to me) so I’m trying to compare his to Carey to see what I find different. Maybe Kay produces a bigger plot climax with more complex weaving of how you get there? I think I might say Carey’s plot climaxes are attained by following a more linear path, while Kay has many paths combining into a striking climax?

Wow this was gonna be short but here I am going on and on! I also wanted to mention that I love the world Carey created in Terre d’Ange and I love their precept “Love as thou wilt”. What a great thing to remember! I also love the principle exemplified by Phèdre that to yield is not to surrender!! Another great thing to remember! But I must admit I’m not a big fan of reading so much about Judeo-Christianity (or is just Judaism?) partly coz I’m an atheist, partly coz those religions are well represented in our world and if anything I would love to learn more about all the pagan religions that existed before. As well although there are new cultures and lands explored in every book, they are discussed from the perspective of our main character who is simply the visitor so it doesn’t suck you into the world of these cultures and give you a different experience like you have if a character actually lives there or is from there. Although we do get a great taste of Alba in this book! :)

So all in all it was still a thoroughly enjoyable book!! Although I find myself being more excited by her books in other worlds: Santa Olivia (semi-scifi who’s main character is a female boxer! which is cool coz i box and love it!) and The Sundering duology coz that was such a great, innovative take on the classic epic fantasy (à la Lord of the Rings) from the viewpoint of the so-called ‘bad guys’! She is truly an amazing amazing writer!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dangerous Beauty (film)

Just rewatched this movie and wanna highly, highly recommend it!! I loved it the first time of course but love it even more this 2nd time!! It’s a historical film about Veronica Franco, a Venetian courtesan in the 16th century. Based on the non-fiction book called Honest Courtesan, which I think would’ve been a way better movie title than Dangerous Beauty! It is a beautiful story about love that is extraordinarily written and magnificently shot. And unlike many historical tales, it doesn’t end in tragedy! In fact she lived a long life (relatively speaking) and helped many in her later years! :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Joss Whedon's Dollhouse (spoilers)

So I hate how long it’s taken to write this post. A post in praise of the amazingness of Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse series. I think I finished it in July and here it is October that I’m finally writing this post. Booo. But I wanted to write about it so badly even though the initial reactions to it are long gone. But I knew that without access to some of those reactions I had at that time, I couldn’t do justice to Dollhouse’s amazingness. So I’ve just reviewed some of the episodes and listened to some of the music and I’ve relived some of the feelings I experienced the first time round. And all I gotta say is ‘whoa’. :) sigh. and wow. and sigh. and :))))). Plus emotional geek that I am I took notes after finishing the last episode of some of the thoughts and feelings I had during and right after! :) So many things to say and where to start? Hmmmm... maybe characters?

Joss’ characters are truly amazing, so multidimensional, so interesting, so realistic. And the actors did amazing work portraying them and probably adding to whatever Joss had in mind. Eliza Dushku rocked. She’s a true ‘tough chick’ character, has been ever since Buffy. Buffy/Sarah Michelle Gellar was just never a ‘tough chick’ for me. She seemed to confuse being bitchy and bossy with being tough. And don’t get me started on using such a skinny, wussy actress to portray a fighter! (as well the slayer wannabes were the biggest collection of wussy girls ever! couldn’t even one of them have been an athlete?!) ... back to Eliza... I read somewhere Dollhouse came out of a talk her and Joss had about Eliza’s wussy character in Tru Calling and what Eliza should do next. Well the awesome Joss had a great answer for her which we’re all grateful for I’m sure! Dollhouse! :))) And she’s great as tough, as smart, as gorgeous, fun, etc! Some of the actors had real challenges of actually playing a ton of characters in just 2 seasons. Which brings me to Enver Gjokaj and Dichen Lachman, the other main character ‘dolls’ in the show. Both did great jobs, great characters! And Enver is an totally fantastic mimicker!! Coz when he played Topher it aaaaabsolutely killed me!!! He got the mannerisms and tone and personality down pat!!! Soooo perfectly!! And sooo hilarious to watch!!! hahaahaa!!

Olivia Williams as Adelle DeWitt was also awesome! She was so perfectly everything. Perfectly uptight Brit, perfectly ruthless leader, etc! But the apparent mercilessness wasn’t the complete picture and the heart in her showed up later in how she helped save everyone by her plan for Echo to enter The Attic and how caring she was for Topher when he went crazy. And Fran Kranz as Topher... also perfect!! Perfect depiction of how scientists get caught up in discovering and don’t take time to have a look at the big picture and what their discoveries could mean. His mannerisms and attitude made him such a character!!! And there was the scene between him and Summer Glau telling Adelle and the other boss about their solution and they’re totally googly-eyed at each other and geeking out at the same time which was done so perfectly by them, and was counter-pointed even more awesomely by Adelle’s eye roll!! hahaha! The others actors were also great but didn’t strike me as much. Tahmoh Penikett who I loved in Battlestar Galactica felt a bit off for me in Dollhouse. I can’t put my finger on what exactly I didn’t like.... hmmm... maybe I find him a bit inexpressive which suited his Battlestar character but his Dollhouse one needed more? .... Oh! Also was great to see so many guest appearances by Battlestar folks!! :)))

I feel the characters were all done so well, coz all of them changed, but changed so accurately considering their experiences? All their edges were worn down in some ways. Adelle comes to mind. She’s still her but the edges are worn. Topher. Poor Topher. He showed the emotions perfectly when looking around in the office before the blast in the last episode. He plays crazy perfectly. Sadly crazy. The worst kind. So sad.

As well the distance that you see between Pria and Victor there in the last episode seems accurate too. That even couples that love each other face at times, insurmountable differences. :( So again these characters too changed in such believable ways!!

Gosh! So much more to say! :) Ok here’s thoughts I had right after watching the final episode. When at the very end, Caroline/Echo loads Paul’s backup into her mind, all I could think was, “Holy shit. So sad. Such relief that he’s not lost. But this isn’t good enough. But it’s something. And it is good. But.” And then how she gets back into her bed, kind of at peace, kind of almost content, was intriguing. The thought that despite it having been a prison for her for so many years, there is that comfort in familiarity of being back in that bed. *sad small smile* Poor Echo. And when she spazzed at Pria was so perfect too. Coz soooo accurate of what would happen in real life... you get mad at someone being retarded, and yes you’re mad at them, but really it’s coz in her case, she didn’t deal with the emotions of seeing Paul die. Coz practicality had to be paramount to survive. Couldn’t let emotions out then coz you might get killed yourself. So you squash them and keep going. Until your friend obsessively smashing tech after not being with her soul mate for so long, makes you crack. ;) How it starts with Echo being mad at Pria but then the emotions and the distress underneath overwhelm and come out and dominate. And oh my god it was soooo sad and devastating a moment when Echo collapsed on the floor in utter and complete despair. Utter despair. Poor girl. :((((

And I gotta say Joss Whedon’s shows remind me of Guy Gabriel Kay’s books. Even though there’s success and a happy ending and they kinda win, it’s so tinged with sadness. It seems everything comes at great costs. Even wins. Sigh. I guess that is true of life too.

Oh quick mention of a negative about Dollhouse, and this one’s likely coz they knew they were getting canceled after just 2 seasons, but having Boyd turn out to be the head honcho bad guy felt a bit far-fetched. More like they had to pick someone we didn’t suspect and that was their best bet but to me not a good one. Kinda like the last 4 secret Cylons. Blech. Trying too hard for a twist at the end. A twist for the sake of a twist instead of a well-planned satisfying one! :)

I will end this with mentioning one of the final scenes of the first season episode Needs (Ep. #8). The scene where Echo leads all the dolls out into the light. So momentous an occasion, so hopeful, and soooo perfectly accented by the haunting song in the background. That scene also killed me along with so many others. Whoa. And the song by O+S called Lonely Ghosts that they used was perfect in so many ways. (ps. I have used the word ‘perfect’ like crazy in this blog post! ;) The song was perfect coz of the haunting, ethereal quality of Orenda Fink’s vocals and of course coz of the lyrics that are perfect for Dollhouse, which I will leave with you here. *sad small smile*

The devil that you know
Is better
Than the one you don't
And so it goes

Like lonely ghosts
At a roadside cross
We stay because
We don't know where else to go

Friday, September 10, 2010

FanExpo in Toronto!!

[ack! started this the Sat, Aug 28 of FanExpo and then the weekend and weeks after got busy so here i am finishing it ages later. :( please note time references are a bit screwed up coz of that.]

Wow there are soooo many amazing guests this year!!! Drool-worthy: Tahmoh Penikett, James Marsters, & Sendhil Ramamurthy!! Other cool ones: Leslie Nielsen, Dean Stockwell, Stan Lee(!), Michelle Forbes, Felicia Day, David Cronenberg, Summer Glau, William Shatner, Michael Dorn (one of my favourite ST-TNG-ers!) And parked outside... the DeLorean from Back to the Future!! How cool is that!!! :P

So yesterday I missed Leslie Nielsen coz got there late. (Although later I realized that was a good thing! Lineups were crazy earlier!) But I did manage to catch Dean Stockwell who was fun to hear, although he did seem a bit tired/out of it. Interesting tidbit is that many of Al’s (from Quantum Leap) habits he brought to the character, such as his love of cigars and women! :)

Also met She-Hulk in line ;) who was also an aspiring actor like me and was awesome to chat geek with! And as soon as I got in I found Evelina, the girl who’s organizing the first-ever WHEDON FEST in Toronto!!! We chatted a million miles a minute yet again!! :) It’s the first weekend in October and guests include: Amy Acker, Nicholas Brendon, Christian Kane, Dichen Lachman, and Yan and Rafael Feldman!!! GONNA BE AWESOME!! Can’t wait!

One of the problems with this year’s FanExpo was that so many guests I was interested in overlapped time-wise so you had to pick and choose. :( But I am primarily a sci-fi/fantasy geek so my choices were obvious but still sucked coz I decided not to see Stan Lee, David Cronenberg and Michelle Forbes, although her I don’t regret. I heard that in the past she whined about having to talk about Ensign Ro Laren. Not cool Michelle! >:-( Especially when I compare her attitude to Linda Hamilton’s who I heard last year: Linda LOVES that Sarah Connor is such an icon and is thrilled to talk about her experiences with the Terminator movies soooo many years later!!

So today I saw Tahmoh Penikett, Felicia Day, James Marsters and Summer Glau!! All soooo awesome to hear!! For various different reasons! I actually took my blogging seriously and took notes today! Lotsa notes! But writing this sentence today (Sept 10) I realized I’ll never post this if I try to incorporate all my notes. :( So here is just an overview! :)

First, Tahmoh is just soooo damn hot!! Every once in a while when he was talking I would have to nudge my friend and just sigh at how cute he is! haha! ;) My friend also described him as so typically Canadian and I would totally agree! He’s hilarious in a self-deprecating manner that is just soooo funny! His stories of trials and tribulations in the acting world were awesome to hear!

Felicia Day was amazing coz she is just sooooo awesomely geeky about games!! Questions like what’s her all-time favourite game or where did the name Codex come from got her started on an excited chatter about the tons of games she’s played!! :) And I didn’t realize how many people would come see her, i.e. almost a full big room of The Guild fans!! That show got popular!! I checked out a few episodes and it looks hilarious! When I finish it I’ll let you guys know how it was!! :P

James was cool as shit of course!! And hot! Even without the peroxide blond hair which I must admit I did miss!! haha! ;) He’s fun to listen to coz he’s just so into the acting gigs he’s done, he’s into being there and talking with us, and into his music! He even sang an an a cappella version of one of his songs for us!! An original song he wrote based on his character in the scifi/western TV movie High Plains Invaders. Totally awesome!

Summer Glau was totally cool. I must admit I don’t get why people love her so much, coz I’m not a big fan, but she is sooooo painfully shy and a bit insecure that it did endear me to her. :) I think my main problem with her and it’s nothing to do with her, is that she’s this tiny thing playing characters that kick ass, in both Firefly and the Terminator TV show. I realize they wanted someone who kicked ass but didn’t look like they could, but to go so far?! Sigh. Coz I am kinda tired from Buffy onwards of actresses who don’t look like they could punch a fly, playing ass-kicking chicks! I want someone like Lucy Lawless who is believable and normally proportioned!!

Now on Sunday I didn’t stay long coz I also wanted to go the pit bull rally to support getting rid of the stupid Ontario legislation that kills pit bull-looking dogs :( . More info at the website Stop K9 Profiling if you’re curious. Which was good coz otherwise I wouldn’t have seen the gorgeous weekend we were having outside!! haha! “Girl trapped inside FanExpo convention withers into pale dust at lack of sun exposure” !! haha! But Sunday I did manage to get Tahmoh’s autograph!! It was a toss up between him and James Marsters coz I couldn’t afford both, and I realized Tahmoh was my current fave hottie so there it was! :) But what was with Summer Glau’s line being super long and neither of theirs was!?!? They’re similar levels of famousness I would say?!?! Hmmm... I think it’s partly coz guys like Summer, girls like Tahmoh or James, BUT guys aren’t as big fans of male stars while girls are as big fans of female stars? Ack who knows. Stupid.

And Sunday I also saw Sendhil Ramamurthy who is a total cutie and was super fun to listen to! He told us although it’s extremely unlikely to be any kind of TV special/movie follow-up to Heroes coz all the cast are so busy, he says the creators did write the story-line so it may come out as a graphic novel. He talked a lot about the acting life, and I was especially interested to hear about his transition from studying to be a doctor and switching away from it to go into acting! Mainly coz I did the switch from engineering! And the sentence that reminded me the most of my feelings was he said that medicine was hard and a lot of work and he just didn’t like it enough for that. Which is totally what I kept facing whenever I thought about engineering!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A couple of 80's Fantasy movies

I seem to be on an 80's fantasy movie kick lately! I recently re-watched Legend and watched Dragonslayer for the first time. I've actually never heard of Dragonslayer til I stumbled on it on one of recommendations and decided as a fantasy enthusiast I cannot go on til I’ve watched it!! haha! Legend we all know... Tom Cruise is usually annoying but tolerable that early in his career! ;) But Tim Curry, man... that guy stole the show!! What a character Darkness was! (I wanna call him Lord Darkness.. Darkness sounds too simple for what he was!) Scary, creepy, yet somehow seductive and sexual!! A red-skinned, horned being with hooves is being described as “seductive” ... you KNOW he did a great performance!! :)

And then there’s Dragonslayer... surprisingly decent? I probably would’ve loved it if I was a kid... as an adult in the 2010’s (what are we gonna call this decade?!?!?) ... not so exciting. Actually even a bit boring. But fun to watch, and the effects didn’t make me cringe 30 years later (wow! 30!? they’re holding up pretty well then!). But what did make me cringe was the MUSIC!!! Oh gawd it’s horrible!! It sounds like orchestra type music, but instrument and melody choices were soooooo 80’s!!! Bad 80’s, bad 80’s! No more soundtracks for you 80’s! haha! And the dragon was quite cool and most classically perfectly dragon-like!! They did a great job building it up coz first half of the movie you just see a leg or tail or the character looking up, waaaayy up. So yeah... fun movie! :)

In blog news... stay tuned for a Dollhouse post coz just finished the series this past weekend! Soooo good!! Also the horror flick I was in was just released and it rocks so you gotta check it out!! It’s called Lurking Under Life... click here or on the logo to go to the website and have a look! :) As well I wanted to comment that I’ll be more punctuation-aware in blog posts as I’ve started in this one. I love a casual tone but hate seeing language skills go down the shitter so I will try not to be part of that. Sometimes! ;)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Polaris 24

i went to the Polaris sci-fi/fantasy convention last night and met some great peeps!! these are postings i made on my facebook page so they are a bit disjointed but i wanted to add them here too!

first... I found out and already bought a ticket for Whedon Fest Toronto !!! first whedon fest here!! i met Evelina one of the co-owners running it, today at Polaris 24 and we had such a great chat!! i'm sooo glad she's doing this!! its gonna be awesome! and i'm in the midst of Dollhouse right now so its super great timing!! AND the fest is OCT 1-3 and guess when dollhouse season 2 is coming out on dvd!?! OCT 12!!

i also enjoyed the pamphlets I got from Timothy Carter today about his books!!! totally fun and hilarious!!! i'm sure the books are too! gonna have to check them out! awesome covers!!!

oh! also wanted to mention i had a great chat with Erik Buchanan at Polaris too!! we've been facebook friends for a while but finally had a chance to meet! and we've both done stage combat at Rapier Wit so had a ton of friends in common!! he's got 2 books out that i'm looking forward to reading in the near future!!

as well i had a blast at the Buffy panel too!! ... i gotta admit most of us Buffy fans are not fans of Twilight!! ;) why would you go for Bella when you can get Buffy!?!? :) ... BUT i must admit i am damn tired of human chick-male vamp combos (the ultimate 'older guy' .. ugh!), and mentioned that today, and Alyxandra Harvey, one of the author panellists, let us know her series, The Drake Chronicles finally has the reverse situation!!! YAYYY!!! cant wait to check them out!

and speaking of Buffy vs. Twilight... this is a hilarious yet accurate graph of the situation!!! hahhahah!! :

and on hilarious graphs topic... this is a hilarious explanation of why Firefly didnt make it!! :( and i got it from this site which claims another reason was that the opening credits werent good enough and they made a 'better' version!! haha! check it out here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Dollhouse (interim post)

holy shit!!! i am being swept up by the 2nd season of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse!!! OMG!!! holy shit! just watched episode 6.... right away after 5 coz 5 was killer cliffhanger and oh my god i cant get over the directions the story is going!! GOD i dont even know where its going but the hints are tantalizing!!!!! blog post when i'm done the series!! joss you are simply amazing! and cool! ie. he has some awesome feminist commentary here!! :)

so i needed to share about dollhouse and shared the above on fb but need to share more stuff coz i just watched the pair of episodes where they go to the DC dollhouse and Summer Glau is topher's counterpart there. and there were some fucking hilarious, hilarious moments!!! primarily throughout was the actor who plays victor playing topher SO FUCKING PERFECTLY DEAD ON!!!!!!!!! hahahahhahahah!!! it was sooooo hilariously perfect!!! topher has soooo many unique mannerisms and he imitated them perfectly!!! that actor is amazing!!! i wonder if they picked him for his mimicking ability!!!?!? the other hilarious moment was when topher and bennet (summer glau) are up in the head office talking to adele and the other guy, and topher and bennett are geeking out and giggling and making googly eyes at each other and adele rolls her eyes soooo perfectly!!! a perfect comment on their behaviour!! the comment you were thinking as the audience!!! hahahahah!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley

so i picked up this book cheap at a used bookstore coz Robin McKinley has written my favourite books of all time!! The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword!! to hear more about those 2 books, check out the Ode to Robin McKinley link above! :)

but. sigh. coz shes written my 2 favourite books, over the years i’ve picked up many of her other books but have never been overly impressed. (actually Paula Volsky also comes to mind... Illusion is an absolute favourite, but the couple of others of hers that i’ve read were definitely not impressive) and i hate to say it but Dragonhaven’s not super impressive either. sigh. :(

awesome concept, fascinating setting and ideas, but the writing style killed me!! the premise is that in our world some years in the future we’ve discovered dragons living on this earth. but they’re very reclusive animals and are almost exterminated. a few are saved and set up in this national park in the US and the story is from the point of view of a boy who lives there, the son of the head of the institute. its interesting coz it soooo discusses the realities! that there wouldnt be enough funding, that the place would be crawling with tourists, that some groups of people would jump at any excuse to have all of the dragons destroyed etc. and the story begins on his first overnight trip alone into the park and he encounters a dying dragon who’s given birth and one of her babies is still alive. the story goes on from there and it was absolutely fascinating to discover more and more about these creatures. :)

so Robin McKinley writes for young adults mostly. but they’re usually well-written, enjoyable books so a person of any age can read them and like them! except this one. sigh. its written in 2007 and is written how many of us write our emails and online posts these days. SLOPPY!! and i know i’m totally guilty of it. see the way i dont punctuate here? see how i ramble?! and my rambling gets even worse when writing an email to a close friend. almost just a stream of consciousness put down on paper. well i’ve realized i dont mind reading that style of writing in an email or website where it may only last a page or so. BUT reading 338 pages of that style of writing gave me headaches!!!! i tried to read faster and faster, and skim more and more, in the hopes the ramblings and musings of the main character wouldnt drive me as nuts. didnt work. i was dying to find out what was gonna happen, but yet still had to force myself to read it. and i couldnt read a lot at a time either before i’d go crazy! but maybe a younger audience having grown up with sloppy writing (which is truly a shame how bad people are getting) might enjoy this book all the more coz of the writing style. maybe she’d reach kids that normally wouldnt read novels. and thats always a good thing. :)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

political post

an unrelated random post. mainly coz ive had a few drinks and that always makes me rambly. usually resulting in retarded, yet hilarious, drunken emails. and i had commented that thank god facebook wasnt around during my drunken years coz i'd be inundated with drunken fb notes! haha! and now i must comment that thank god i also didnt have a blog during my drunken years or i'd also be inundated with drunken blog posts!!! haha! altho i gotta admit this is far from from a drunken post, more of a buzzed post!! haha!

what to say? i had an awesome fundraiser for a friend running for city councillor Mary Fragedakis which awesomely included drinks with your ticket price!! well i just had to take advantage of that!! haha! and it was worth coz it led to great conversations with my fellow NDP-ers about shit we'd never gotten to during our many meetings! please note meetings are not good for getting to know people!! too much business to take care of! and coz of a recent training some of them had, we've realized its important in a political movement to hear each others stories! it reminds us of why we're there!! and bonds us!! and its the best way to reach out to the community!! so coz of that i was asked about my story and i've thought about it and am still a bit baffled as to how i came to be an NDP-er?! ive been voting that way since i could vote. so it was something in my upbringing and my friendships that brought that out. upbringing... i am the daughter of parents raised in communist yugoslavia. i was also born there, but lived here in toronto since i was 4. now my parents are soooo a-typical of any group you may pick to associate them with its unbelievable. they are both engineers, but not typical, they are former-yugoslavians but not typical, they are croatians but not typical. god knows what else. but they are smart and intelligent and maybe they realized and instilled what was good about communism into me and my brother? coz not all of it was good, but to say there was nothing good isnt accurate either. and friends. friends must've had a huge influence too. coz guess what?! most are left-wing minded!! and even if not as far as NDP in their politics, in their everyday lives they are caring and generous and compassionate. as are my parents. maybe thats what influenced me most. being surrounded by people who are generous and compassionate to everyone they know and I, and maybe they, have taken that further to include people beyond our immediate circle of family and friends, to include others in our world. yes... OUR world. it belongs to all of us at the same time, we all affect it, and are all affected by it. lets acknowledge that and maybe we'll all shift our thinking!! :)))

Friday, May 14, 2010

Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay

wow. wow. wow. wow. Kay does not disappoint. well he has. in the past. but definitely not this time. wow. not this time at all. i just finished Under Heaven a few minutes ago. wow. he is back in fine form! fine form indeed!! sigh :))))) ..... sooo good!!

he is such an amazing writer! simply fucking amazing!!! i find myself rereading sentences. catching my breath as i read them the first time, a spike of emotion felt inside. some sentences are simply beautiful, or shocking, or even acutely insightful. and you feel floored. by their beauty, by their revelation, by their insight. wow.

and then the story. the great, intricately spun story he creates. spun. yes spun. i’ve heard that word used in conjunction with story writing and have dismissed it as literary affectation. but he truly spins and weaves (his website is accurately named!!) the most elaborate and detailed, and yes, even delicate of stories. so many interconnections, so many pleasant surprises, so many nuances.

and since he bases his stories on key historical periods, he performs massive amounts of research prior to writing. and i’ve noticed in this book especially, but also in the Sarantine Mosaic, he has formed some opinions and understanding of how history is recorded, which he oh-so-cleverly discusses within his novels as beautiful asides.

this time it was 8th century Tang Dynasty China, “shifted a quarter-turn to become [Kay’s] Kitai” to quote a Globe and Mail reviewer who so accurately described Kay’s way of creating settings. you can read more about the plot there. i’m not here to summarize but to fawn over Kay’s gloriousness!!! hahaha! :))))))

i wasn’t sure how keen and excited i was about his new book. Ysabel was great, but not Kay-level great. The Last Light of the Sun was also a bit disappointing. neither were like Tigana, The Lions of Al-Rassan, The Sarantine Mosaic or A Song for Arbonne. those are simply masterpieces. god that word is not enough to describe them!! they are the equivalent of the seven wonders of the world when it comes to books!! they have the beauty and complexity of humanity’s most treasured creations!!!

so i approached this book with some wariness, but after talking with a friend and fellow Kay fanatic we both agreed pretty soon into the book that this was IT. this one was back to greatness! greatness!!! yay!! sigh. :))))))

ach. what else is there to say. i find myself gazing at the book with fondness as it sits here beside me. absently stroking it with my finger tips. yeah it is THAT good!!!

something else i realized as i was reading this book. i am absolutely, positively fascinated by the complexities of human interactions that occur in court intrigue!! i dont know if we have anything equivalent today in our governments, but i think not. historical courts had a subtlety we are lacking today, maybe for the better that we do. but i am completely fascinated by that and love reading about it!!! Kay offers it up beautifully but so does Jacqueline Carey in her Kushiel series, and so does one of my favourite books, Illusion by Paula Volsky. oh... also just watched a great movie that shows that intricacy as well. it’s called Curse of the Golden Flower and it’s a chinese/hong kong production with Chow Yun-fat in it, and is inspired by Tang Dynasty China (yea... i watched it coz of Under Heaven!! haha!) altho from what i read, not quite historical, more fictional. but it totally portrayed the complexities and secrets of court life!! Gong Li as the empress was fantastic!!

i guess the final, most specific thing i’ll say, which almost all his books have.... that climactic, utterly heart-wrenching moment. a truly, truly heart-wrenching moment. he does this so well. something tragic happens to a character you know, respect, maybe even love. and you are of course devastated. but its not simple sadness you’re feeling? its... hmmm... world-changing. you can’t help but see what this means for that world. what it means to you as part of that world oh-so-temporarily. the impacts that tragedy will have, both negative and positive. and yet the inevitability of it as well in some ways. and even the acceptance of it at times. and so it all comes into this embroiled mess of emotions you feel, the profound sadness, the shock, the realization of what it means, and of how it came to be. and you are sad yet calm somehow. and sit there in simple awe.

[ ps. i’m gonna add a link on the top there to some of my past Guy Gavriel Kay raves!! :))) ]

Guy Gavriel Kay reading!!!

this was a while ago but i’m gonna post an entry about his book so thought this deserved a separate entry! on Thurs, April 15 i went to go see Guy Gavriel Kay, one of the greatest authors ever, do a reading at the Toronto Reference Library!! lemme expand on his title of ‘one of the greatest authors ever’ ;) .... out of all the tons of novels i’ve read, and out of all the ones i’ve loved, objectively speaking he is one of the best!! coz there’s other books i’ve loved as much as his, and maybe more, but there was often a personal reason that the book spoke to me loudly and made me love it. or it was a very specific genre or type of story i know doesnt appeal to everyone. but Kay’s great books i feel are soooo objectively good, they are just simply amazing pieces of writing that have to be revered no matter who you are and what type of stories you like!! in my humble opinion of course!! haha! (ps. i am not using IMHO!! that is just toooo annoying an acronym!!)

so we got there, and i came with some fellow Kay fans. and one of my friends friend was there with another couple of Kay fans... and can i just say i was in heaven!! babbling and babbling about this and that about his books etc!!! haha! soooo fun to talk “shop” with fellow fanatics!! hahaha! about one of my favourite topics!!! hahahha! soooo awesome!!

and here’s a pic from him doing the reading. he thankfully reads from early parts of the book so there arent any spoilers! :) and i gotta say i had so-so lukewarm feelings about the reading but loved the interview after!!! loved to hear some of his thoughts about writing!! and he brought up how he liked the globe & mail reviewer’s description of his setting... a historical period shifted a quarter-turn to become Kay’s fictional world. and one thing he said that really struck me... he said that he doesnt like outlining his whole book before he starts. that he just likes to sit down and just start writing. and that struck me coz i sometimes feel he almost “engineers” his plots!??! like soooo many details, and so many tiny ones, come together at the end?!?! it feels like that can only happen with careful planning?!?! so i asked him about it when i got his autograph and mentioned i was surprised to hear that. and he said what happens is he just writes and writes until about 2/3 of the way into the book, then at that point sits down to figure out how to tie up the plot. interesting!! and goddamn he does it SO well!!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

well i just watched New Moon, and i must admit i sat down to watch it with some reluctance. i had watched the first Twilight and thought it was ok then watched the youtube video edit of Buffy kicking Edward’s ass (check it out here) and realized how much i enjoyed seeing Edward get his ass handed to him. and realize actually he is fucking creepy and stalkery and frankly not attractive!! and Bella seemed kinda wussy, kinda whiny, kinda depressed. and i realized i was tired of the standard human girl, vampire guy scenario. a scenario of the ultimate “older guy”. so all in all i was not enthused about this second one. but i knew i had to watch it coz i love the genre and knew it would be a decently done movie.

and now i must also admit.... frankly i’m impressed and fairly in love with the movie!!!! haha! who would’ve known! 1.... its really well done i think. the acting’s quite good, the shots are beautiful, the story’s well written and well told. 2.... Taylor Lautner (Jake) is quite a cutie!! at times his smile reminded me of matt damon’s! :) but i was hard-pressed to decide whether he looked better with short or long hair! haha! 3.... the music!! beautiful!!! i just read that they got original and exclusive tracks for the soundtrack. and they are some of my favourite bands! (Death Cab for Cutie, Thom Yorke, Killers, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, OK Go, Editors!) the two best tracks are Thom Yorke’s Hearing Damage played during the scene where Victoria escapes the wolf pack. god it was perfect for the scene!! and the sound really reminds me of Radiohead’s Kid A album which is my favourite of theirs! and the other perfect song was Slow Life by Grizzly Bear feat. Victoria Legrand when Bella is underwater after jumping off the cliff. so haunting!!! then there were a million other times where i thought this song’s great!!

so i’ve also now realized why i dislike Edward so much. he’s just gross. thats it. haha ok theres more. he’s gross coz of his overly red lips. he’s gross coz of his half-lidded eyes that he never seems to open. he’s gross coz he’s so inexpressive, at best he does a mild smirk to show love, amusement, anger, everything! but good thing Jake and the half-clothed werewolf boys made up for it with some yummy eye candy!! haha! Taylor supposedly gained 30 lbs of muscle after the first movie. it shows! ;)

and also... man does this series TOTALLY parallel Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake book series!! human chick (with some powers of her own) loves a vamp AND a werewolf. altho at least Anita Blake can kick some serious ass and actually gets to sleep with her hotties! altho the guilt-ridden prudishness of the Anita Blake character drove me nuts!! the later books became “i dont believe in sleeping with more than one guy, but coz of some supernatural phenomena the only way to save the day is to sleep with yet another hottie. oh no. woe is me.” ... that used to drive me nuts... fucking scrap the guilt for heavens sake!!

oh and Kristen Stewart is one of the first actresses i’ve seen that can actually run in a movie!!! instead of looking like a complete uncoordinated doofus, arms flailing!! (ie. Elaine and George in the Airport episode of Seinfeld! haha!) ... and i gotta say the part of the story when they visit the Volturi was pretty cool. i was quite intrigued and wanted to find out more! so i gueeeesssss i’ll be looking forward to the next movie! :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Call for seasons/sequels that "dont exist"

you know those seasons of tv shows that shouldn't have been made? those movie sequels you'd rather forget existed? here's a call for suggestions! which seasons or sequels just "dont exist" for you?! ... "what 4th movie?" ... "no no, there were only 4 seasons." ;)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

well just finished this book last night (stayed up til 6am! ack! :) and damn!!!! soooo good!! love it!! but now my only reservation is “please god dont let the series drag and lose focus” !! coz sooooo many of these multi-volume series do and start sucking so much! my 2 biggest disappointments were George R. R. Martin’s and Kate Elliot’s. those rants will be a separate post at some point! haha! but i’m hopeful coz i then spent an hour after finishing the book, reading more about the future volumes and they look like he knows where he’s going. hmm... you know what one difference is maybe? (i’ll have to confirm by reading Erikson’s series ;) Martin mostly keeps the same characters throughout and so has to become quite inventive with the plot, to the point of backtracking in my opinion, to make 4000+ pages of story keep going. Erikson has introduced a ton of new characters, settings and stories with each book, with one book (#5) being completely unrelated. but is later tied into the original story by subsequent books.

one reason his books (i’m hoping ;) will work as a 10 volume series is coz he created the Malazan world before beginning writing, with Ian Cameron Esslemont, for a role-playing game. so the creation of this world is super thorough with tons of detail!!!! and its a true world... a world with several continents and several countries/lands on each continent, and lots of different races!! i think if you’re gonna do 5+ volume series you have to create multiple lands and continents, you just cant get away with one. for one novel, no problem. also what might be great about this series is that each book is a complete story with a conclusion. only the 9th out of 10 books ends on a cliffhanger!!! which is more how Jacqueline Carey writes her novels vs. Martin or Elliot!! and i like that coz yes, i like to read about the same world and characters in several books, but please make a book finish a story arc!!!

so i think that detail-obsessed part of me is one of the reasons i love fantasy so much!!! i love pouring over glossaries and maps!! hahaha! and lately my beef with some fantasy authors is that you can tell when they planned the world ahead of time vs. on the fly as they wrote. the books really suffer when the world, characters, or story are created on the fly, in my opinion.

so back to Gardens! another awesome thing about Erikson is that he’s not stingy about magic!!! some books have just a smidgeon of magic. or magic on a grand scale, ie. main character has been blessed/fated to become the saviour of the universe. or they talk about what a huge toll magic takes on the caster so they dont use it much. in this book, there are consequences to magic use, which is totally important to have, but they still use magic a ton!! it makes me think of X-Men The Animated Series vs. the movies. in the movies they barely use their mutant powers, first movie not at all almost vs. the series where they’re always blasting someone!! even jean grey who’s power is telepathic/telekinetic is still blasting away at bad guys!! she barely did anything in the movie except become the phoenix!

so all round an amazing book and i’m really really hoping the series proves as awesome as this book!! nothing sucks more than absolutely loving books then getting turned off by future installments. it devastated me with George R.R. Martin.

oh. and great characters too of course!!! such variety of different types!! and he lets you into the head of each one so you totally start to get them!! oh one scene i gotta mention that killed me! so sad! the one where Quick Ben released the Korvalah demon named Pearl on the rooftops during the ambush. that demon has the voice of a child, but is super powerful, and so is surprised when the attackers are not fleeing and asks whether it should pity them and Quick Ben says no just kill them and then you can go free. as yet another attacker comes, Pearl says plaintively “Ben Adaephon Delat, see the last who comes. You send me to my death.” and Ben whispers that he knows. as he is about to leave Pearl says “Ben Adaephon Delat, do you pity me?” and he replies softly “yes”.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Elizabeth & Children of Dune

haha bet you’re wondering how the hell those 2 relate?!?! i just wanted to talk about scenes they did very similarly, dramatically and amazingly!! just re-watched both fairly recently (Elizabeth last night). they both had a scene where they showed a coup of sorts. it was mass arrests or assassinations ordered by the current ruler. so not technically a coup coz no one was overthrown. altho i just looked it up... we do use the word coup to describe a successful stroke or move? ok whatever! a coup of sorts! so both movies had this haunting, ethereal, enya-type music over a montage of scenes of the ruler’s enemies who had been conspiring together, getting arrested, or killed, or their guards killed. and wow what a dramatic contrast that just gets you!!! but i must say Children of Dune totally did it better!!! in Children of Dune the scenes were quick and violent, while in Elizabeth the pace of the scenes was matching the slowness of the music more. and that larger contrast in Children of Dune made it all the more striking and disturbing!!! i wonder who creates those scenes? coz obviously the director decides how and what is shot, but how involved are they in editing and adding music later? maybe it depends on the director? in any case, great dramatic scenes that were awesomely done!!

and unrelated but i’m so glad Shekhar Kapur made a sequel to Elizabeth!!! even more amazing coz it was done almost 10 years later!! and was still as good or better than the first!! (ie. Matrix or Star Wars sequels come to mind... so much later and not nearly as good) AND he got Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush back!! (did you know Geoffrey Rush was australian? i must admit i didnt til now!) and as for Children of Dune. hmmm.. i might say that as a sequel was better too? the original David Lynch Dune and the first mini-series Dune (2000) just didnt strike me that much? not sure if its story or what. i also dont find Paul Atreides character overly sympathetic or likable. but with Children of Dune, maybe coz i loved James McAvoy in it, maybe it was better story, i also liked his twin played by Jessica Brooks. Susan Sarandon was an embarrassment in both in my opinion. but Alice Krige was cool! :) gonna have to love her forever after her awesomeness in First Contact as the borg queen!! haha! okey doke. nuff for now! but i do owe some comment replies!! will do so soon! :)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Epic Historical Movies

so this is the topic that got me thinking about doing a blog! in a roundabout way! i was talking about this with my boyfriend, then thought about putting it as a facebook note, then concurrently i was thinking i need an online presence if i ever wanna make a production company and why not start now ages before i’m ready to start it!

so in this category i would say are the following movies (obviously you can beg to differ! but i’m still gonna ignore you! haha!) : Gladiator, Alexander, Kingdom of Heaven, Last Legion, King Arthur, Troy, Braveheart. so theres a ton of others. but i’m gonna ignore lower budget ones, and the older ones coz they’re not my thing (such a different style that doesnt appeal to me at all!) i feel the success of Gladiator spawned a renewed interest in these. so except for Braveheart, they’re all post-Gladiator. now Gladiator is one of my all-time favourite movies, and absolute fave in this genre. so i measure all else against it! :) and ok i will admit Braveheart was also awesome!! not much complaints about that one, altho i wouldnt have said Mel could portray a burly fighting scotsman but he did it!

rant begin: why do all the movies mentioned above suck so much!??! i watched them with such hope, hope that was dashed and trampled. :( actually not all. King Arthur is maybe my 2nd fave now in the genre! clive owen’s great, keira knightley is fierce, and the other ‘knights of the round table’ are all kick-ass and some are super cute!! ie. ioan gruffudd and mads mikkelsen! i liked the fights in it, and stellan skarsgård was amazingly scary! i loved the costumes and that they all had such different types of weapons and swords! i’ve watched it a bunch of times now and lovin it more and more! Last Legion’s quite decent too. story of how Excalibur came to be. supposedly julius caesar’s sword hidden away. found by the boy romulus who escapes to britain and becomes pendragon. (italian novel so of course Excalibur comes from rome/italy! ;) colin firth isnt your typical hero for these kinds of movies but they were saying in the extras they were looking for a more ‘thinking man’ hero so that kind of fits. and they have a chick who kicks ass!! and not just with a bow like keira! played by aishwarya rai who’s cool but zero fighting background, just a dancer. like ziyi zhang from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Hero. which to me is unfortunate coz theres so few female fighting roles i wish they’d use actresses who have a background as fighters/martial artists!

main rant: (haha) those 2 were decent and i quite like them. but i’ll start with Kingdom of Heaven.... i had such hopes coz it was ridley scott from Gladiator directing and orlando bloom is pretty cool. but it sucked in my opinion. so much so that altho i saw it on the plane i forgot and bought it thinking i hadn’t seen it. orlando is sooooooo not good enough to play the epic hero type! i think the worst to me was his attempt at the standard “rousing speech” thats always in these types of movies... EPIC FAIL!! he just cant pull it off. i also realized i was disappointed with that movie coz i hate the crusades. killing done by all sides in the name of religion. not as defense of your homeland. hard to get behind the cause then for me. even tho in that movie the christian leader was preaching tolerance of all inside jerusalem... why were the christians even there in the first place? they hadnt been there for ages!

then you’ve got Alexander which just droned on and on, and again i dont think colin farrell is epic hero material. kinda boring altogether. and then there’s Troy... sigh... potentially great but it just didnt do it for me? eric bana’s great but doesnt dominate as a character. brad pitt was great, but his character wasnt meant to be a pure hero, so you couldnt get behind him either. it does have great fights tho, especially the spear one in front of the gates.

i think one thing that extra-disappointed me in these movies was the lack of cool women fighters or heroes in it! thats probably what saved King Arthur and Last Legion for me!

oh and i’m super hopeful about the new Robin Hood!! ridley scott with russell crowe again AND with cate blanchett!! :)))) fingers crossed folks!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

technical issues

ok ARRRGGHHH!! haha! i was having issues getting the awesome background castle pic to show up in some browsers/platforms so i didnt wanna continue blogging til i got that figured out. so i spent tonight doing that and PHEW!! done!! a simple change that i tried in the beginning but it didnt seem to make a difference so i dismissed it. but just tried it now and it works! and worst was that Firefox would not show the background pic, then for some reason would start showing it, then continue showing it so it was impossible to troubleshoot!! grrrrr!!! i think the browsers were having trouble grabbing the image from the place i got this free template from for some reason. that'll teach me not to use free shit!! hahhaha! alrighty folks!! i think i can now safely blog!! hahaha! hopefully i'll get back to this soon and post something! :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

welcome to the blog

i debate whether i'll stay on blogger or create a blog from scratch and upload it to a web hoster. i'd rather that. more control. but in the meantime since i know SHITALL about all that i will start here! but may not put too much up. i actually have a backlog of shit i wrote on facebook notes. maybe its time to go public! haha! and main reason is lets set up a web prescence. i cant help but think of this situation... the author of an online new york times article started as a blogger and expert on her topic.. i guess it came to the point where someone researching the topic inevitably came to her blog and now she writes for several publications. how awesome is that?!?! altho admittedly a long shot times a million!! and i for sure aint no expert!! hahaha! but... please universe let me be an instant success overnight. pretty please? ok? no problem right? ;)

ps. theres a gorgeous castle pic in the background of this blog template but i noticed that altho it shows up in safari, it doesnt in firefox. hope you can see it!