Saturday, May 27, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

I did not like this movie. Or, rather, I thought it was only okay.

Now to get down to the nitty gritty. I am about to give away details of the movie which may spoil your enjoyment of it, so I suggest you not read any farther if you have yet to see the movie.

1) Rogue. She was hardly in it. Rogue is and always has been my favourite X-man. And she wasn't even in the final battle scene! Why not? Because she was standing in line to get "cured".

2) They "cured" Magneto. That was how they stopped him. But the whole point of the movie, and why Magneto was mad, is that most mutants don't think that there is anything wrong with them. They don't need to be "cured". Now, you might say that they should at least make the cure available for people like Rogue, whose mutation is not extremely useful and in fact, only causes her pain. She can't touch anyone without sucking the life force out of them. So for her, the cure is probably a good thing. However, what made the mutants mad, is that the government was using the cure as a weapon. Not against all mutants mind you, but just outlaw mutants (like Magneto and his gang). But I don't think that is an acceptable use of it. Find other ways to contain criminal mutants, but using the cure on them as a weapon is a horrible violation of human rights. It's changing their fundamental nature, changing who they are. That would be like changing someone's eye colour, or hair colour, or something, permanently, just because they're a criminal. And I don't think you have a right to do that. And the X-Men didn't think using the cure as a weapon was good either. Beast resigned over it. BUT then they go and use the cure on Magneto. That, in my opinion, was the lowest thing they could've done. I couldn't believe it. I thought that would have been beneath the X-Men. They're supposed to be noble, you know? Not "the ends justify the means" kind of people.

3) In general I found the movie kind of lacked focus. For a movie that ended up claiming the lives of three X-Men, I thought it lacked a bit of punch.

Now, it wasn't a total loss. I liked a few things about it. For example, I thought the scene where Mystique got shot with a dart and got cured was very powerful. And then Magneto just abandoned her, despite how loyal she was to him.

I also like the part where Kitty is on her own trying to save the young boy mutant from Juggernaut. She can dash through walls and sink through floors and stuff. And despite the fact that she looks about twelve, I thought she did very well.

I also liked the scene where Wolverine told Jean he loved her and then knifed her in the stomach with his claws. That was a gooder. Although that was another thing that I thought was a bit fuzzy in the movie: the whole Jean Grey/Phoenix alternate personality stuff. I know that people who read the comics probably have a good grip on the concept, but I've never read the comics and so found it a bit hard to understand.

I also like the very last scene: Magneto, now just regular human, a very broken-looking, sad old man, is playing chess in the park. With a metal chess set. He is looking intently at the board, and stretches out a finger toward a piece. And the piece moves, very slightly. And then that's the end of the film. Oooohh. Looks like the cure isn't as permanent as they thought.

Anyway, go and see it, but don't expect to be blown away. I personally liked the second one much better. I think it's been the best out of the three.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Kitties!

Here is a picture of my darling furballs. Aren't they sweet? In this photo they have both stuffed themselves into the kitty bed, which was really only made for one kitty.

Avery and George

Sadly Sick

I am once again not feeling so good. Some sort of virus. I have been at home in bed for the past two days, and even now it feels like there are daggers in my throat every time I swallow. I have, for some reason, had a bad run this year. But I was due. I hadn't been really sick in a long time. It is bad timing too. I am trying to finish up as much work as I can at my job before I have to go, as well as plan a six week trip to Europe. I needed those two days. Oh well.

I finished another book on the weekend: Artemis Fowl: The Opal Deception. This is the most recent installment in the Artemis Fowl series. I don't know if Eoin Colfer is done with it or not, but I have to say that I found this last one only lukewarm.

It seemed to me that Opal, the deranged evil genius pixie, was defeated a little too easily. The trick that finally got her was clever (I didn't see it coming in any case), but it just seemed to be over way too fast. Also, I kind of feel like Colfer has chickened out a bit on Artemis Fowl. As you will know from previous posts, Artemis was originally written as a 14-year-old evil genius in his own right, only relunctantly cooperating with the faeries when it served his own purposes. He was gradually warming up to them and beginning to trust them, but in this last one, I think Artemis totally lost his edge. He actually turned kind of harmless and has become a bit sentimental about the faerie folk. At the end of the novel he decides to reconcile his evil genius with his new-found conscience by becoming a sort of modern day Robin Hood: Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Bleccchh. I wasn't sure how I felt about the anti-hero, but now that he's been lost, I must admit that I would like him back. So, only 3 purple horsies out of 5 for this last one. Come on Mr. Colfer, I know you can do better than that.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: Highly Recommended

Warning: Spoiler Alert!
Please don't read any further if you have not read the trilogy, if you are planning on reading the trilogy, and if you'd actually like to enjoy the trilogy.

I've just finished the last in the series, Ptolemy's Gate.

I cried.

It was really good.

I think this series actually got better as it went along. This last one had a bit of a different tone to it than the other ones. Bartimaeus was less sarcastic, and the deeper side to his character was revealed. I was complaining in my previous post about what a little twerp Nathaniel was, but he actually pulled it out at the last and thoroughly redeemed himself. That is what is perhaps most amazing about this book. At the beginning, the three main characters hate eachother. But by the end, Kitty and Nathaniel are basically in love, and Bartimaeus has formed a special bond with both of the humans. I just didn't see how they were going to work it out before the end, but they did, and their characters seemed to evolve quite naturally.

The ending impressed me. Stroud could have made it into a happy ending. And I think Stroud has enough talent that he could've made a happy ending that didn't seem unnatural or forced. But he didn't. Like I said, I cried at the end. Sure, order is restored in the world, but the three characters, who had grown to love eachother, are parted forever. I mean, Stroud wasn't kidding when he said it was a trilogy. I honestly don't see how he can continue on with the series. You can't come back from the dead. Well, you can, but I've always thought that was a rather tacky way of continuing a series. In any case, although I felt the ending to the series was appropriate, I'm sad that there won't be more. I was really enjoying the world, and I felt like I was just barely brushing the surface. There is a lot of potential in that world, a lot of questions that were never fully explored.

In any case, I really enjoyed the series and I'm sad to come back to my own world where beings such as Bartimaeus only exist in books.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Anti-Hero

I have lately read a couple of books with interesting protagonists. They're interesting because you really don't like them.

Take the Artemis Fowl series: it's really a strange sort of series because the protagonist, Artemis, is a criminal. Now, I know that just because someone is a criminal, that doesn't make him a bad character. Vigilantes like Batman and Robin Hood abound in literature. Sure, technically they're on the wrong side of the law, but we know that they have good hearts and are totally honourable.

But Artemis has absolutely no scruples. He is extremely clever and devious, you have to admire that, but he is also extremely unlikable. I'm not used to reading books like this, and it felt weird. I sort of wanted him to win, but sort of didn't.

I have also just finished reading the second book in the Bartimaeus series. The protagonist in that series is Nathaniel. Nathaniel is an extremely talented young magician, but he is so self-centred and egotistical that you just want to smack him silly. His continual grasping for power (no matter what the cost to others) is absolutely disgusting. And it gets worse in the second book. In the first one he actually had some redeeming moments. So I'm eager to read the third one because at this point I don't know if the author can redeem Nathaniel or not. Maybe he'll just toss him over a cliff in the end.

So I'm not sure how I feel about the anti-hero. But it's a different reading experience anyway.

D├ęsastre! Part Deux

So I phoned a branch today. I had sent out a form for branches to fill in and this branch had failed to send her form in, and I wanted to know why. She said she hadn't realized she was supposed to fill it in and didn't know where it was. I was like, "Jesus Christ, don't you ever read your e-mail?!" I had just e-mailed them all about it last week and told them where it was and that I needed it to be filled in.

But I was quite polite about it, and after I hung up, I decided to check and make sure that I had actually sent the e-mail.

Oh.




Shit.



I had sent the e-mail. To every single branch but hers. Not only that, but every single time that I sent out a group e-mail to the branches for the entire 7.5 months I've been here, I have not sent it to her branch.

Why? Because way back, when I first started, I created an e-mail group called "branches" that I could just click when I wanted to e-mail everybody, instead of having to enter in twenty e-mail addresses one at a time. And for some reason, her e-mail did not get included.

Oops is an understatement.

No Freaking Wonder she always seems out of the loop.

........

In other news, Janet McNaughton has written a sequel to her science fiction novel The Secret Under My Skin called The Raintree Rebellion. This is for all my dear readers who took Anna's Children's Lit class and absolutely HATED The Secret Under My Skin. Well, I actually liked it, and I think I'll check out the sequel. It looks even more interesting than the first one. And that was my biggest complaint about the end of the first one: It was kind of a let down, and felt a bit incomplete. I didn't know there was a sequel coming!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Another piece of my childhood...

Does the name Jonathan Brandis sound familiar to anyone?

I just recently bought The Neverending Story II. I was 9 when it came out in theatres, and I remembered that I liked it. So I bought it kind of for nostalgia's sake. It is not as good as some of those other fabulous films of my childhood such as Willow or Labyrinth (my sister, my cousin and I were obsessed with the latter... except we always thought that David Bowie's pants were too tight).

Still, The Neverending Story II was pretty good, probably made better because every once in awhile I would see something and remember how it felt to see it as a nine-year-old. And I remembered the actor most of all. I was curious as to who it was, so I checked out the credits: Jonathan Brandis.

Hmmmmm. That name totally sounded familiar. So I checked him out online. Ah, yes. The Jonathan Brandis of Seaquest DSV fame, with those blue, blue eyes... blue enough to rival Jared Leto. I was thirteen when Seaquest debuted, and although I never watched it, I did buy all those Teen Magazines that gushed about all the cute stars of the day. So that's how I know Jonathan Brandis. His face was plastered all over the covers of the magazines I was reading. So whatever happened to our blue-eyed boy?

He's dead. Killed himself in 2003. 27 years old.

This may not come as a shock to anybody. Maybe I'm the only person in the whole world who did not know that Jonathan Brandis was dead. (Maybe I'm the only one who cares?) But it totally shocked me. And I feel a little bit like a part of my childhood is dead. I'll never watch The Neverending Story again without thinking about it.

                       "and what i want to know is

how do you like your blueeyed boy

Mister Death"

Friday, May 12, 2006

Nice Feet

Yesterday I went to the spa.

Way back in February, as a thank you for doing the staff workshop, I got a gift certificate for a half-day package at the spa. So yesterday I finally went. The half-day package includes a manicure, a pedicure, lunch and a facial. I'd never had a pedicure or a facial before, and only one manicure before, so it was totally new to me.

I think next time I will skip the facial. It was okay, but they put some kind of mint exfoliant on my face that really burned, and then when I left my face just felt all yucky and greasy. Plus my forehead feels like it might break out now.

The manicure was okay, although I was yelled at for peeling off my cuticles. The pedicure was good, and I was told I had nice feet. I have always thought my feet were nice, but it is good to hear from someone else.

Too bad I don't know any foot fetishists.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Conflicted

Oh god oh god oh god.

I have just turned down a job. It was a good job. It paid well and it was what I wanted to do. But it wasn't in Saskatchewan. And I wanted to stay here.

Have I just made a huge mistake?

Why oh WHY is it so difficult? I feel like I'm being torn in two: What I love to do isn't corresponding very well with where I want to live.

I feel like I'm going to throw up.