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Archive for the ‘Thoughts and the Like.’ Category

For the past few days, my cat, named Pika by my neice, had been acting very odd. We took her to the vet, and they found that her heart and lungs were surrounded by fluid. She was suffering from heart failure, and unfortunately had to be put to sleep.

This is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with, and the sad part is, I never had a chance to really say goodbye. My mom brought her in to the vet this morning, thinking it would be something fixable, and was completely shocked when they told her it wasn’t. I just assumed all was okay, so I didn’t even bother to go with..or pet her goodbye. I’ll probably regret this forever.

I know some people may not understand — maybe you have to be a cat owner, but she wasn’t just a cat — she was a member of our family. I loved her dearly, and she had the sweetest personality in the world. She loved everyone, was incredibly friendly, and ALWAYS had a feisty attitude. I will always miss her..and right now, I can’t even stop crying :(. I didn’t know what else to do..but make a post, in memory of her.

So RIP. This is a very sad and tough day.

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Note: I just got back from a halloween thing, hence the makeup. I do enjoy letting out my inner goth every now and then, though ;).

Reviews coming. Like I said in the video, it’s good to be back!

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Hey everyone.

I just wanted to let you all know that I’m still alive.  I haven’t been very active lately — I’ve been really busy.. but that’ll change soon enough.

I’m also currently in the process of reading “Mad Ship” (book #2 of the Liveship Traders Trilogy) by Robin Hobb. So far..it’s a bit sluggish..which is part of the reason I’m lacking new reviews..but I’m sticking with it and working my way through. It’s getting better..and I’m interested in where things are heading.

So there are more reviews coming, very soon!

With that said, I’ll end this with a picture of an adorable kitten.

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While I continue to read (more book reviews are on the way very soon!), I have seen a few great films.

Avatar

Firstly, I saw Avatar.

It took me awhile, but I had to see this film considering how immensely successful it has been (it was sold out every day for 3 weeks in our town..and our town is small).

In truth, I wasn’t entirely convinced that Avatar was going to be my type of film — and the fact that there was so much hype surrounding it — I couldn’t help but wonder if it could really live up to it all. Thankfully, I believe it did.  

I know some critics have had issue with the plot — stating that there simply wasn’t enough, but I think the story itself was fairly decent. The concept of  an “avatar” was interesting…the romance was good, and there was enough story to satisfy. Though of course the  stunning visuals were the true power of this film, I don’t feel the story lacked as much as some have stated.

Putting that aside..and going into the real reason that everyone ran out to see this movie ( 😀 )..

So many of the scenes were just jaw-dropping. There was so much beautiful scenery, and it was all quite imaginative and magical. I found myself glued to the screen for the majority of the film, and yes, that IS a large part of the reason. I simply cannot praise Avatar enough when it comes to the visuals aspect, and there’s no shame in that. It’s truly a work of art.

With that, the majority of the acting was decent as well. However, I will admit that some of the dialog was cringe-worthy.  A fair share of lines had me laughing under my breath – and not for the right reasons. Despite that, I think the actors did as well as they could — and not much of the dialog was truly bad — only a small amount. I also must give props to Sigourney Weaver, who truly shined in this film when it came to both acting and character. I’ve always enjoyed her work, so I may be a bit bias, but this was no different. I was thrilled to find out that she was in this film, and I’m incredibly happy that she had such an important role. Quite frankly, we need more movies with her in them!!

..oh..and while watching this film, was I the only one thinking World of Warcraft? The Na’vi totally had me thinking “Night Elves! 😀

All in all..Avatar was a great movie. Sure there were a handful of bad lines — and perhaps the plot wasn’t exactly complex or deeply profound — but it did exactly what it was intended to do — and that was to entertain. I found myself glued to the screen for nearly the entire 2 hours and 45 minutes..and the awe-inspiring visuals just had me. I could watch this movie again and again, simply for that reason alone. This movie had everything needed for commercial success. Write up a unique story, toss in some good ol’ action..and make the visuals as beautiful as possible. There you go..instant success! Really though, it’s a lovely movie.

Secondly, I saw Precious.

Precious
For those who may not know, Precious is the story of a 16 year old girl growing up in Harlem. She has 2 children (one with Down Syndrome), lives with her terribly abusive mother and father, and is illiterate. It’s essentially a story of her struggles and how she attempts to over-come them – how she copes despite the grave circumstances of her life.

I have to say, ever since the trailer was released I felt the need to see this, but for whatever reason it never came to our town.  So after being quite bored this weekend, my mom and I decided to take a little trip to a neighboring city to see it. Now that I did, I can definitely say that I’m incredibly happy with that decision — as this was an excellent film. Emotionally draining, but excellent none-the-less.

Straight from the beginning I was drawn into Precious’s story.  The character was so unique and real – the horrors of her life so realistically portrayed. I truly felt for her as a character — felt pity for her situation. I wished that someone would simply swoop in and make things right – would save her from the world she was thrust into; yet at the same time, I felt inspired –  inspired by the power she had..by the motivation and drive she never lost. Despite the terrible situations she conditionally found herself in (by no fault of her own), she always came out with her head up.  She never gave up.

Aside from the story itself – which was incredible — I must also take time to point out how brilliant the acting was.. Monique’s portrayal of an abusive and jealous mother was both horrifying and accurate — Gabourey Sidibe’s role as Precious was beyond phenomenal (and to think she’s never acted before!), and all of the other supporting characters worked so well. I even (surprisingly) felt Mariah Carey’s role as a social worker was actually believable (and yes, I was stunned to see her without makeup..I would have never known it was her without someone telling me!).

While the acting was amazing and the story itself was intriguing..it was also very, very dark. This film dealt with so many harsh and personal topics — topics such as rape, incest, and abuse. Topics that aren’t often addressed in big-screen films.  The scenes portraying these things were very ‘in your face, ‘ and the dialog to go with them was quite real. I found myself not only holding back tears on a few occasions, but also looking away —  as some of  it was too much to watch.  Thanks to the excellent acting in which I’ve already addressed, the vividness of the scenes made everything feel so real — as if they were really happening. While that’s certainly a great quality when it comes to the art  of a movie – the act of breathing life into the work – it also made certain parts very hard to watch.

Beyond the story and subject matter,  I was also truly impressed with the style of the film itself.  The production was great, and I was impressed by the scenes where Precious would escape inside her own mind. I felt these moments added to the film and character – helping the viewer truly get inside of Precious’s head – seeing from HER perspective — understanding how anyone could possibly deal with the things she had to deal with. I can definitely understand how someone would want to create a false reality at times to cope – to simply move beyond the moment. This again, added to the realism.

Overall, I really liked this film. The acting was great, the story was moving – and the characters were spot on. Throughout the film I REALLY cared for Precious and wanted her to prevail. Oh..and when she did have her moments, I was silently cheering for her (some in the theater weren’t as silent). The characters, the acting, the content – it all touched me as a viewer. Some in a positive way, others in negative. At times I laughed..at times I wanted to cry, and at times I was simply disgusted. The movie made me feel something, and THAT in my opinion, is what separates a decent movie from a great one. This was a GREAT film. I wonder however, if I could honestly bring myself to watch it again? In a way I’d like to..yet in a way, I’m not sure I could – for the harsh reality of the situation made things almost overwhelming.

Whether I choose to see it again, or choose not to, Precious is a film that’s going to stay with me. I suggest experiencing it if you haven’t, but take note of the subject matter before buying your ticket.  If you don’t do well with such topics, it may not be the right film for you.

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Every now and then something happens that really puts things into perspective for me…something that truly turns things upside down and makes me think about my own life.  Ever since the terrible earthquake hit Haiti, I’ve heard so many heartbreaking stories.  So many tales of  lost lives — of children, mothers, fathers..sons and daughters;  some residents from my own state, simply a few cities over. Stories of those left for dead, buried beneath the wreckage only to be discovered days later, barely clinging to life. Stories of pure horror, and yes..stories of hope.

Overall however, everything I hear is very sad.

The situation these poor people are in is terrible — and putting myself into that place — into that state of chaos and loss, even for a moment is almost beyond comprehension.. because in truth, life for me is good.  I HAVE a warm home..I have food, and friends, and safety.  Sure, I don’t live a glamorous life, and in many ways we struggle just to get by — but when I see something like this, it truly opens my eyes.

I know at times I complain. We all do..we’re human..and in truth, there’s nothing wrong with that.     But when I look at these tragedies; when I look at how fragile life is, and how terrible things can become.. it really makes me grateful for what I do have, yet at the same time.. sad for those who aren’t as lucky.

With that said, I have a bad habit of saying and not doing.  Sure, like many I come across something terrible and think..”Wow, that is so sad..”  but in the end, what exactly do I do about it? Watch the news for a moment?  Call a friend? Talk about it online? Change the channel?  Sure, I feel sorrow when bad things happen to others..I honestly do..but when we live (and have basically always lived) in a world of safety..a world of hot meals, and family, and friends..it’s truly hard to visualize these terrible scenes we see on television as a reality. We know, of course..that they truly happen, but it almost doesn’t click. In a way we’ve become desensitized by the constant flow of terrible events that are presented to us on our plasma TV screens. In a world where human suffering is rampant and horribly common..most of us rarely think of it..at least on an emotional level (and by us, I mean those of us who are better off).

Honestly, in the end that’s simply how it is, and truly how society has progressed; especially in an era with so many forms of communication and entertainment.  It doesn’t make us bad people..it simply shows how detached many of us are from the rest of the world — from beyond the border of our comfortable home, and town..and favorite shopping malls..and nice books.

So yes..this really hit me, and I’ve honestly felt terrible ever since.  Seeing the images of bodies being pulled from crumbled buildings..children having having their dead limbs removed with hacksaws..seeing so much horror..I simply had to donate. I honestly normally don’t, because I have a hard enough time paying my bills — but this time I had to do something.  For once I wanted to give back, and actually channel my emotion into something real. Something that will make a difference.

With that said, if you want to donate, there are many valid ways..but if you do…be careful. There are many scams out there.

This is from my local news, and it’s a good resource when it comes to donating for this relief fund.  Of course..it doesn’t make you some evil, bad person if you don’t! Not all of us can..but IF you can, and are able to donate..here is the site:

http://www.kirotv.com/news/22225622/detail.html

I personally donated $10 (I know it isn’t much..but all I have right now) to the American Red Cross through my mobile phone by texting the word “Haiti” to 90999.

I feel terrible for the situation these people are in, and send my best wishes out to the families. I’m also grateful that there’s so many people out there jumping in to help and save these people. It reminds me that the world isn’t as bad as it so often seems.

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Yes, another video blog!  Everything that needs to be said is basically here..or at least, tried to be said. For some reason I’m losing my voice, and I had a hard time saying everything, haha :).

This is also the website I spoke of in the video: http://www.alibris.com .  Most people probably already know of it, but it’s new to me.

I hope everyone is well!

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Fantasy Reading Challenge 2010

January 1 – December 31, 2010

The Royal Reviews is hosting a Fantasy Reading Challenge in 2010. Alaine writes:

The Fantasy Reading Challenge can include YA Fantasy or Historical Fantasy, Science Fiction Fantasy or any other sub genre of Fantasy. There really are no limits to this challenge as Fantasy is such a wide and varied genre. Just enjoy and have fun!

Challenge Guidelines:

  • Anyone can join. You don’t need a blog to participate. Non-Bloggers: Include your information in the comment section on the post about the challenge.
  • Any book format counts.
  • You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  • Only books started on January 1st count towards this challenge.

There are four participation levels:

  1. Curious– Read 3 Fantasy Fiction novels.
  2. Fascinated– Read 6 Fantasy Fiction novels.
  3. Addicted– Read 12 Fantasy Fiction novels.
  4. Obsessed– Read 20 Fantasy Fiction novels.

Interested? Visit the post about the challenge to sign up.

Well, I’m going for obsessed! Shouldn’t be too hard, I don’t think. Here’s to 2010, and lots of reading!

(more…)

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