Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Summer Reading and Movie Watching

Ha ha! I'm back (sort of). I'm in NB with EJ right now. Next Sunday we'll be back in Edmonton for Miss SB's B-day party. Then I'm off again.

So what have I been doing you ask? Well, camping a little, but mostly EJ and I ended up hanging out at my parents (PA had mosquitoes the size of sparrows, and the Cypress Hills, while relatively bug free, was uncooperative in the weather department).

Mostly though, I've been reading, and watching a few movies. So here's what I thought.

First of all, I picked up The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (I'm really into teen lit right now). I was curious to read the book before I saw the movie. And I wasn't expecting much, I'm more of a fantasy fan, but I actually got hooked on the series and went out and got the next two. I thought the girls were really realistic, and their personalities were complex. And then I saw the movie, and it was pretty good too (althought they totally changed the story with Lena and Kostos, but you have to expect these kinds of things). Four purple horsies out of five.

I also read the first book in the Bartimaeus Trilogy, The Amulet of Samarkand. According to the teens in my Teen Fantasy program at the library in February, it is the best book in the whole world. It was quite good and told in an interesting way. The story is told from the alternating points of view of a djinni named Bartimaeus and his master Nathaniel. The setting is sort of an alternate-universe modern day London. They have cars and electricity, but there are also djinn and other spirits flying about all over the place making magic happen. Once again, I think I'll have to give this Four purple horsies. The next book in the series, The Golem's Eye, is out in hardcover.

I am currently reading Eragon which is a story about dragonriders (kind of like Anne McCaffrey, but different in a lot of ways). It's pretty good, but I'm afraid I got distracted by The Travelling Pants and Harry Potter. I'll let you know my final rating when I finish.

Next on my list of things to read is the latest Harry Potter installment. Yes, I bit the bullet and paid (or rather had EJ pay) the fourty dollars for the damn thing. And I tried to read it, and then discovered to my chagrin, that I couldn't remember what had happened in the previous book. Not wanting to miss any nuance, I have made the painful decision to re-read books 4 and 5 before I start on this one. So I borrowed them from EJ's cousin and have already gotten halfway through number 4. I keep forgetting how funny J.K. Rowling can be. Her description of the Quidditch World Cup was a riot! Please, please don't disappoint me for book six... Ooooh, yeah. During one of our trips to the theatre, EJ and I saw the preview for the upcoming movie, and it sent shivers down my spine. Can't wait!

Okay. I think that's all of my reading. Now to the movies (minus The Travelling Pants which I already mentioned).

First of all, we saw The Fantastic Four. EJ loves all these comic book movies, so he was really looking forward to it. The movie was decent. It was watchable, and I was not bored, and the special effects were good. And yet... and yet... I think there was something lacking some sort of je ne sais quoi that would have made this movie really good instead of just okay. Still, three purple horsies out of five. Good for a night's entertainment.

Next we saw The Wedding Crashers. I really like Owen Wilson anyway, and the movie didn't disappoint. It was actually a bit raunchier than I was expecting with quite a few 'boob shots', but I don't think it was in bad taste. Good for a few laughs. Three and a half purple horsies out of five.

Then EJ and I saw Batman Begins and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in one day. Don't say it, I know, we're obviously movie geeks with nothing better to do with our time. Anyway, Batman Begins: Good movie! I enjoyed it much more than I have the last couple of installments in the Batman Series. Goes back to the beginning where you see how he learns how to fight and where he gets his fancy gadgets, etc. The only thing that bothered me was that Katie Holmes (Batman's love interest) is supposed to be a DA, and to me she still looks sixteen years old. Has anyone else noticed this? Or am I just getting old? Four and a half purple horsies out of five.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: I am a little torn on this one. The beginning is great, with the description of Charlie's family, and showing all the children that win the golden tickets. The visuals are actually quite wonderfully done. But the thing I take issue with is Willie Wonka. Now I know Willie Wonka is eccentric, maybe even a little weird, but here he is portrayed as downright nutters. Now, coming from Tim Burton, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. And I usually love Johnny Depp. But for some reason this portrayal of Willie Wonka did not sit quite right with me. He was always weird in the book, but he totally knew what was going on and was not crazy. They also invented a little background story about Willie Wonka's dad (played by Christopher Lee) to explain his craziness, but I thought the whole thing was rather unnecessary. Anyway, besides that, the movie was good. I loved the Oompa Loompas, especially their song about Augustus Gloop. I give it three out of five purple horsies with a caution to go expecting weirdness.

Oh my goodness. What a monster post!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

What's a bunnyhug?

Okay. One last post before EJ and I head off into the great unknown wilderness (otherwise known as 'the lake').

What makes a culture develop differently? What makes us 'Canadian' as opposed to 'American'? Or, what makes an Albertan different from a Saskatchewanian?

These two provinces, side by side on the map, often lumped together with Manitoba under the category "the prairies"...There's so much traffic between the two provinces. For every two born-Albertans, I'll bet there's at least one transplanted Saskatchewanian residing in that province.

Yet there is one defining difference between Alberta and Saskatchewan: Hoodies vs. Bunnyhugs. For those of you not from either Saskatchewan or Alberta, a 'hoodie' or 'bunnyhug' are those sweaters that come with an attached hood, and often (but not always) have a pouch pocket on the front. How these two provinces came to know this one article of clothing by a different name, I cannot begin to speculate. Not only do we call the article by a different name, but most of us are completely unware that the other name exists. Go into an Edmonton shop and ask for a bunnyhug and see what kind of response you get. Most likely it will be a blank stare. I mean, even when a Brit asks for chips, we are aware that what he's really asking for is fries.

We think, "Oh, of course we're a little different from those Newfies, and we're a lot different than the Qu├ębecois," but there never seems to be much difference between us Western provinces. Yet here it is, proof that however small, there does exist a cultural difference between us.

Personally, I think there is the potential for a great sociological study here. Is it a pure border thing? Those on the east side call it a bunnyhug and those on the west call it a hoodie? Or is a gradual fading, with those close to the border knowing both words?

Yesiree, I believe I've just found a perfect thesis for some graduate student.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Don't be jealous...

But I'm going on vacation. For three weeks. I am going camping with my bf and I won't be back until July 24th. So I'll be able to fill everybody in on how it went. I may even have pictures.

My kitties are going on a little vacation of their own. They will be staying with their Auntie K while I'm gone. So I hope they don't freak out and eat her plants.

Ciao for now!