Hey, I think something’s happening today

Now what was it? I know it had something to do with one of my geek obsessions. I’m getting a book vibe, no! A movie vibe. Wait – both?!

Oh yeah, nothing big. Just part one of the last Harry Potter movie. As Ted Mosby would say, “Ain’t no thing but a chicken wing.”

Yeah, I know. Makes no sense.

But yeah, I was just reminded that today is November 19th and it struck me that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, part 1 comes out today and I actually gasped. (I’m such a dork).

I’ve seen all the movies in the theater except the first and I hope to finish them that way, but getting to the movies has proven difficult for us the past few years. There’s the cost, yes, but mostly it’s because we hate dealing with people. We won’t be happy going to the theater again until cell phones are banned inside the building and ushers actually kick assholes out. Don’t see that happening anytime soon so we just don’t go.

We missed Toy Story 3, The Expendables, Scott Prilgrim Versus the World. Hell, we’ve missed most everything for two years now. The last movie we saw in the theater was Iron Man 2 and before that, I think it was Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

I’ve been re-reading the books. I haven’t been in a voracious reading mood lately so it’s going a little slow, which is good, actually. I’m processing more. Picking up on those little clues, names, etc. I’m on number four now, my least favorite of the series, but I’m enjoying it more this time than I ever have. I decided to re-read them because I’ve been following Mark Reads Harry Potter and I realized I remember so very little from Deathly Hallows. I’ve only read that one twice.

I can’t count how many times I’ve read the others, especially the first three. When I started with my current employer five years ago, all I did all day was scan documents. This was very boring so I listened to audio books. I don’t have many audio books – about ten – so I listened to them all many times. I had the first three Potter books (read by the spectacular Jim Dale) and I listened to them over and over. Never got bored with them. That’s really saying something.

J.K. Rowling may have her writing flaws – those pesky adverbs being one, but really, what writer doesn’t have that problem? – but her storytelling is off the chart. She also managed to create a hero that is so very human while still being a great HERO. Very rarely in these types of long stories is the main character my favorite character, but Harry is my favorite. He is very much a normal kid – average grades, typical pre-teen/teen hangups, all the flaws that come with that. But he rises above all that and does what he has to do to save the world, utilizing his strengths and having the intelligence and humility to turn to others for help when his own abilities aren’t enough.

Here’s to Harry Potter (via J.K. Rowling) – for changing the world for the better by teaching kids (and adults) about tolerance, true friendship and the importance of standing up for what you think is right.

Disappointed…

So, how did the House Elections turn out?

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGH!

Captain Picard is Disappointed

Okay, maybe I can be happy about my home state’s new governor….

Teabagger Bully
Paul Lepage - Governor of Maine

The Man in Black is Pissed

Thanks to all the ignorant, racist and homophobic morons for ruining another two years of my life. You do realize you just re-elected the same fools who got us in the mess, right? Assholes, all of you.

I prefer the Hatter’s party…

I'm with Alice...
I'm with Alice...

In a ‘Horror’ble Mood

It’s October again and for the husband and me, that means it’s time for horror movies galore! We watch them year round, but in October we try our best to watch one a night when possible.

We started a little late this year – we didn’t watch our first until the 2nd of October (we’re such slackers) but we’ve stayed on target ever since.

It wasn’t intentional, but we stumbled upon a theme for our two movies this past weekend – the consequences of fear and ignorance in extreme situations.

Dark Night of the Scarecrow (1981)

Dark Night of the Scarecrow
Bubba Ritter...he's all messed up

We started out pretty low key with a made-for-tv movie from 1981. Otis P. Hazelrigg (Charles Durning) leads a group of weak-minded characters who are literally looking for any excuse to torment the local mentally deficient man-child, Bubba Ritter (Larry Drake).

After brutally shooting Bubba down while he is hiding inside his mother’s scarecrow, they find out that Bubba is innocent of the crime they were chasing him down for – the death of his only friend, little pre-pubescent Marylee (Tonya Crowe).

But that doesn’t really matter. They weren’t chasing him down for what he did – just for what he was – something they didn’t understand or, in Hazelrigg’s case, something they envied.

At the trial, where all four men are found innocent of murder, Bubba’s mother warns them that there are different kinds of justice and that someday, they will pay for what they did.

They find out that Momma Ritter is right when one by one, they are tormented by the presence of a new scarecrow in their fields – one that disappears when they gather their friends to check it out. Tension levels and panic rise as each are struck down in turn until only one is left and running for his life.

Being made for television, there is very little gore in this movie amounting to a little blood and some gunshot wounds. All violence is implied except for the brutal killing of Bubba and by today’s standards even this is pretty tame. However, the emotional impact has a chilling effect.

This kind of movie just doesn’t work without a strong cast and this movie definitely has that. Charles Durning, a steadily working actor from the 1960’s to the present, will no doubt be familiar to almost any viewer and his performance makes this film.

I recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys atmosphere, a little mystery, strong characters and a solid story.

The Mist (2007)

The Mist
On the run from monsters

Sunday night we re-watched The Mist for the first time since purchasing the DVD back when it first came out. Remembering how good the movie was, I wondered why we hadn’t watched it more than once. Halfway through the movie I remembered why.

This movie pisses me off. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great movie. It’s a very good adaptation of Stephen King’s novella by the same name, and even improves on some plot points that I really didn’t like from the original source material. The cast is top-notch and the direction superb.

I’ve just gotten to a point in my life where I can’t sympathize with ignorance any longer and especially the use of ignorance to generate fear and even more the use of religion to perpetuate that ignorance and fear. The character of Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) is a loathsome woman who does more damage to the survivors of the mist than the actual monsters now roaming the world.

I realize that this is the point of the film – that letting others use fear to control us is even more dangerous than letting the unknown frighten us out of our wits. By the end of this movie, the few rational people left dare to face the very real monsters outside the store rather than deal with the even more dangerous monster that is now human society.

Perhaps this is why my husband has such a problem with the movie’s ending – which does differ from the source material and not in a necessarily better way. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but I think I have to to make my point here. Our few heroes brave the unknown but it still ultimately destroys them. The only survivor has to kill all that he has left, including the personification of innocence, only to find that it was completely pointless.

So, yeah, if they had kept the original ending from the book, my analogy here would have been much more uplifting. And maybe that’s ultimately why I’m not going to be able to watch this movie more than once every few years.

The Mist
Less scary than fanatics

Still, I highly recommend the movie. So many of King’s horror stories have been butchered by Hollywood and director Frank Darabont does a marvelous job adapting this tale for the screen.

If you get the special edition, I do recommend watching it as intended – in black and white. We watched it in color this time and while it still works, the black and white photography lends more to the alien atmosphere outside the store and reinforces the metaphor of opposing factions inside the store.

Purchase Dark Night of the Scarecrow

Purchase The Mist on Blu-Ray

So far this year

Today’s Forecast: Sunny with a high temperature of 58 degrees Fahrenheit (Major WIN!)

In Maine, you don’t start any serious dirt digging until mid-to-late April. When I first started gardening I was told not to plant anything until after Memorial Day. While this rule of thumb is prudent, I just can’t wait that long.

It’s going to be harder to wait this year. Spring seems to have arrived about two weeks early. Considering that last year we had excessive rain and it never really felt ‘warm’ up here, I welcome the over-eagerness of the season.

But I will not be planting anything into the ground for at least another month. That doesn’t mean I haven’t started getting ready, though.

Last Saturday was yard clean-up day. Our home is on a large piece of land and the front of the property is lined with beautiful Maple trees. We clean up the leaves in late Fall, but over the Winter branches and twigs break off. So, I spent several hours raking up all the loose branches that I could find – three large wheelbarrows worth.

We also live on the major highway that goes through Belgrade and you know what that means – trash. I was raised never to litter and to always be considerate of others’ property so it never fails to infuriate me when I find cups, fast food chain bags, discarded lottery tickets (all losers, dammit – but that’s fitting, since their former owners were obviously losers), and other other types of debris scattered about our lawn.

To be fair, compared to other places I’ve lived (Missouri, Arkansas, Texas and Florida) Mainers keep their state tidy. But there are always those that find consideration way too taxing and therefore use my yard as their personal trash can.

We also have a crumbling driveway so loose asphalt is always an issue in the Spring. This is the worst part because finding those little black rocks is rather important so that the lawn mower’s blades don’t hit them and send them flying.

So, the yard is clean now and my father-in-law (who actually owns the property) is happy. He’s even more picky about the yard’s appearance than I am.

This weekend or next weekend will be flower bed cleaning day, but that depends on whether or not this relatively warm weather is forecast to continue. Our house is old and we line the bottom of the house with bags of leaves in the Fall to add more insulation. These cover my flower beds, of course, and have to be removed before any real maintenance can be performed.

But I think it is time. The tulips are already sprouting and I’m sure my Iris and Hosta are doing the same under all the black bags.

Also, I absolutely hate the way my house looks in the Spring. No matter how neatly they’re lined up, black garbage backs just make the place look, well…trashy.

Fans is short for Fanatics

Miles & Ben: "Dr. Linus"
Miles & Ben: "Dr. Linus"

So, here’s another “Lost” post for you which will probably include spoilers. If you’re not caught up with all the new episodes and don’t want anything ruined for you, go away now. 🙂

I’ve been watching “Lost” since it first aired way back in 2004. I even liked the ‘slow’ part of Season 3, especially the second time I watched it. In addition to watching the show and coming up with my own theories (most of which have been shot down mercilessly as more information is revealed) I’ve really enjoyed the online community of “Lost” fans. We’ve all shared theories, quandaries, our desire to know the truth and in general how much fun we’re having with the show.

But I have to say, I’m not enjoying “Lost” fans anymore. I try to go to the same places and read what people are saying but all the whining and bitching is really getting on my nerves. All these years I’ve continuously read “I trust the writers to know what they’re doing.”

Now, all I read is, “I want to know what everything means RIGHT NOW – and I mean everything. If they leave anything out, I’ll hate this show forever.”

For example, in this past week’s episode “Dr. Linus” (my favorite of the season so far, but that’s no surprise since I have a very unhealthy fascination with Benjamin Linus), there was a great bit where Miles mentions Nikki and Paulo and the fact that they have $8 million dollars worth of diamonds right there in their graves. I thought that was funny, totally in character for Miles and a nifty little shout-out to everyone’s least favorite Losties.

So, when I visit one of my favorite “Lost” chats/discussions, what do I read about this? “This is exactly the kind of “answers”/closure/filler that I don’t care about and wish they wouldn’t waste my time on.”

I guess fanboys/fangirls are the same no matter what they’re a fan of. So many of them just can’t stand it when something they care about goes in a direction they don’t want, or that it’s not moving fast enough – or slow enough – or it just isn’t right, dammit! “I want Green Lantern to have black hair, not brown hair. Now it’s all just ruined!”

And no, that’s not an exaggeration. I’ve read about these ‘fans’ who will totally abandon something they profess to love more than anything for something as simple as a bad costume.

This also brings to mind all those Hermione/Harry Potter shippers who had a hissy fit when Hermione and Ron got together instead and started demanding J.K. Rowling change her plot lines and APOLOGIZE to them for being wrong.

So, the point of my rant? Relax, people. Yeah, it’s important to you and that’s great but when you start laying claim to something you had no hand in creating, you really need to get over yourself.

Me, I do still have faith in the “Lost” writers and producers. We’re going to get the answers to the questions they want to answer. All the other stuff that they’re going to leave out? I’ll just decide for myself. That’s one of the advantages of unanswered questions in fiction – for those willing to fill in some of the blanks themselves, they get a wholly original story that no one else has. “Lost” is not my property, but I have my own, personal version of the story that no one else can have.

——————————————

03/15/10

After reading over this again I think I need to clarify something. The above makes it sound like I think fans should accept whatever is presented to them without critique. That’s really not what I meant. When something you like just starts to get bad when it was once good, the fan has every right to complain or abandon the project.

I guess what’s really been irking me is the pettiness of the complaints and the general impatience. “Lost,” in particular, is moving at the same pace it always has – and it has never been a break-neck show in terms of plot movement. What people have praised in the past is now being scorned.

Ummm…veggies

I’ve been in a rather pissy mood lately so if this post sounds overly negative, I apologize from the start.

The little things have been really getting to me lately. I find that I can’t stand it when people shorten ‘vegetables’ to ‘veggies.’ It’s part of what I call ‘cute speech’ and it drives me bonkers. I have to admit that I have used the term myself now and then, but I cringe even when I do it.

I also hate it when people say ‘Ummmm’ before they’re about to disagree with you or try to make you feel stupid. I don’t know how this started but I see it in writing and hear it in speech all the time. It feels passive aggressive to me, like they’re trying to soften the blow by feigning confusion over your viewpoint before skewering you with their own.

And yes, I have also been guilty of using the ‘ummm’ ploy.

It’s Pet Peeves Day here at Brandi’s Blog. Anyone else want to join in?

Something to think about

The following is an article regarding the controversial Tim Tebow Superbowl ad:

But Pam was against abortion, and she had faith in God. She refused. Today, her reward is a healthy, athletic, stellar son. “I’ve always been very [pro-life] because that’s the reason I’m here, because my mom was a very courageous woman,” Tim told reporters last week. That’s the prescribed moral of the story: Choose life. Dave Andrusko, the editor of National Right to Life News, puts it eloquently: “This amazing young man is able to share his many gifts because, and only because, Pam Tebow said no to abortion and yes to life.”

Pam’s story certainly is moving. But as a guide to making abortion decisions, it’s misleading. Doctors are right to worry about continuing pregnancies like hers. Placental abruption has killed thousands of women and fetuses. No doubt some of these women trusted in God and said no to abortion, as she did. But they didn’t end up with Heisman-winning sons. They ended up dead.

Being dead is just the first problem with dying in pregnancy. Another problem is that the fetus you were trying to save dies with you. A third problem is that your existing kids lose their mother. A fourth problem is that if you had aborted the pregnancy, you might have gotten pregnant again and brought a new baby into the world, but now you can’t. And now the Tebows have exposed a fifth problem: You can’t make a TV ad.

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

I’m getting really tired

I’m exhausted. I woke up feeling okay but then I checked the election results. I had to go to bed at 11:00 last night and the final result on issue 1 hadn’t been figured. When I went to bed No was winning by a few percentage points.

After finding out that my newly adopted home state joined the ranks of those denying fellow citizens basic rights all I wanted to do was go back to bed. But no, I had to go to work and be around people that I know voted Yes on 1. There are two things I refuse to discuss at work – Politics and Religion. Not everyone feels the same and I know several of my co-workers’ stance on both. It’s interesting that those who have no problems spouting off their politics are those with which I disagree.

I’m just so tired of people trying to control other people’s lives. I’ve been fighting against this tyrannical behavior since I was in college and it only seems to have gotten worse. Having a complete moron in the White House for eight years (Bush Jr. in case you don’t know to whom I’m referring) has emboldened the ignorant and fearful and they have no problem using that fear as a tool in their ongoing war with anything that doesn’t fit into their own personal world view.

I’m just so tired of it all.

Land of the free? – bullshit.

Home of the Brave? – double-bullshit.