About Me

My photo
was sold to gypsies as a small child for half a tank of gas and a kitten. She was quickly, if not easily, retrieved by her mother after the kitten was revealed to be an Eldrich horror looking for a ride into the nearest metropolitan area to begin wreaking havoc. It's been a bone of contention between Maria and her family ever since, whether the Horror-kitten would've been more or less trouble than she grew up to be.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fucking Movies Ruining My Narrative Flow

This'll be uncharacteristically brief because it is late and I am lazy. I could probably make a much longer post out of what I'm about to say but, again, the lazy.

I fucking hate the Matrix trilogy.

Are we good? Are we clear? Excellent.

If human kind degenerates to angry, arrogant, assholes, I vote that the machines should win. I mean, what is the fucking point if everyone in charge is less animated than the machines?

I could say more, but I won't cuz have I mentioned I'm lazy?

Chose the OTHER Pill,
Maria D.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

December Horrorscopes

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

The cosmos foretells that your ASL final is going to involve a song and dance routine.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

Though you constantly bemoan the job which you feel is sucking your soul dry, the stars see that your misery will increase exponentially if you quit said job before the holidays. We’re sure your family is going to have some choice words as well when you couldn’t afford to buy any of them presents.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

Quit that job which is sucking your soul dry. Your boss is making bootleg copies of ‘Left for Dead 2’ to sell for dirt cheap. Not only is he about but be arrested for it, but he won’t sell you a copy either.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

Your professor will give you an A if you become their neighbor on Farmville.

Gemini (May 21 – June 21)

Ever since watching 2012, you’ve had “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” by REM stuck in your head. The stars have no clue how to get it out; they’ve had it stuck in their heads too.

Cancer (June 22 – July 22)

The zombie squirrels are going Christmas caroling. The stars advise you to take advantage of their holiday spirit and ask for the return of your laptop.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

Any movie you try to see over break will be ruined by Twilight fans screaming in the next theater.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

Don’t drink the eggnog. You’ll thank us for the warning later.

Libra (September 23 – October 22)

Why is the rum gone, you ask? You drank it when you were studying for finals.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

Bus #77 will not only drive past you at the stop, but it will drive through a puddle of muddy water and splash you with it. While you stand there, cold, wet, and late for your last final of the semester, take comfort in the knowledge that you’re not the only student they’ve done this to. Or you could imagine the bus driver roasting on an open fire. Whichever makes you feel better.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

The rock hard fruitcake your neighbors gifted to you will come in handy as an escape tool when your significant others parents begin to ask “when are you two going to settle down and give us some grandbabies?’ The front window doesn’t seem too sturdy; try throwing it through that.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not shout, I’m telling you why: the velociraptors are stalking you.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

About Meme

MEME TIME!(Stolen from the blog of Supernovakgirl<3<3<3)

1. last beverage ✩ Coke Zero
2. last phone call ✩ Mom
3. last text message ✩ Johanna
4. last song you listened to ✩ Life Is a Highway - Rascal Flatts cover
5. last time you cried ✩ September I think

6. dated someone twice ✩ No
7. been cheated on ✩ In a manner of speaking
8. kissed someone & regretted it ✩ No
9. lost someone special ✩ Yes
10. been depressed ✩ From second grade on up
11. been drunk and threw up ✩ No

12. Sapphire blue
13. Blood red
14. Emerald green

15. Made a new friend ✩ No
16. Fallen out of love ✩ You have to love someone first before you can fall out of it
17. Laughed until you cried ✩ Yes
18. Met someone who changed you ✩ Yes
19. Found out who your true friends were ✩ Yes
20. Found out someone was talking about you ✩ Yes
21. Kissed anyone on your FB friend's list ✩ No

22. How many people on your FB friends list do you know in real life ✩ About half, maybe more
24. Do you have any pets ✩ CATS
25. Do you want to change your name ✩ My last name, yes
26. What did you do for your last birthday ✩ Aquarium with friends. Jo brought her loser ex and the rest of us debated throwing him over the balcony into the sting ray tank.
27. What time did you wake up today ✩ 9:00 :D:D:D
28. What were you doing at midnight last night ✩ Dancing
29. Name something you CANNOT wait for✩ December 18
30. Last time you saw your Mother ✩ for a minute last night
31. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life ✩ My middle schools
32. What are you listening to right now ✩ Jo watching TV
33. Have you ever talked to a person named Tom ✩ Yes
34. What's getting on your nerves right now ✩ Lots of things
35. Most visited webpage ✩ Castle Age, Twitter, Livejournal, and Girl Genius online
36. Where do you want to be right now? ✩ Home
37. Nicknames✩ Mo, fish, editor lady
38. Relationship Status✩ Single and unavailable
39. Zodiac sign ✩ Capricorn
40. Male or female? ✩ Female
41. Elementary? ✩ Arbutus
42. Middle School ✩ BATC and Dumbarton
44. Hair color ✩ Ash brown
45. Long or short ✩ Short
46. Height ✩ 5'8"-ish
47. Do you have a crush on someone? ✩ Figments of my imagination
48. What do you like about yourself? ✩ Everything
49. Piercings ✩ Ears
50. Tattoos ✩ Maybe
51. Righty or lefty ✩ Right handed, left footed

52. First surgery ✩ None yet
53. First piercing ✩ Ears
54. First best friend ✩ Samantha? Or was it Jessie?
56. First vacation ✩ Germany
58. First crush ✩ Michael Hatmaker

59. Eating ✩ Souls of the innocent
60. Drinking ✩ Nothing
61. I'm about to ✩ Write
62. Listening to ✩ Windshield wipers
63. Waiting for ✩ Something

64. Want kids? ✩ Yes
65. Get Married? ✩ Dunno
66. Career? ✩ Queen of the world. And maybe a writer but we'll see how things turn out

67. Lips or eyes ✩ Eyes
68. Hugs or kisses ✩ Hugs
69. Shorter or taller ✩ Taller
70. Older or Younger ✩ People are idiots regardless of age
71. Romantic or spontaneous ✩ Neither
72. Nice stomach or nice arms ✩ Both plz
73. Sensitive or loud ✩ LOUD
74. Hook-up or relationship ✩ Hook-ups
75. Trouble maker or hesitant ✩ A little bit country, a little bit rock and roll

76. Kissed a stranger ✩ Yes
77. Drank hard liquor ✩ Yes
78. Lost glasses/contacts ✩ Yes
79. Sex on first date ✩ Meh
80. Broken someone's heart ✩ Yes
81. Had your own heart broken ✩ Yes
82. Been arrested ✩ No
83. Turned someone down ✩ God YES
84. Cried when someone died ✩ Yes
85. Fallen for a friend ✩ No

86. Yourself ✩ If I don't, I'm screwed
87. Miracles ✩ Yes
88. Love at first sight ✩ Sure
89. Heaven ✩ Something like that
90. Santa Claus ✩ Yes
91. Kiss on the first date ✩ Depends on the guy
92. Angels ✩ Yes

93. Had more than one bf/gf? ✩ No
95. Did you sing today? ✩ Not yet, but the day's not over
96. Ever cheated on somebody? ✩ Um, yes? Maybe? Not sure
97. If you could go back in time, how far would you go, and why? ✩ Age 7. It all started to go wrong at age 7
98. If you could pick a day from last year and relive it, what would it be? ✩ December 22-23
99. Are you afraid of falling in love with somebody? ✩ Probably
100. Posting this as 100 truths? ✩ Tragically yes.

Friday, November 13, 2009

An Open Letter To Infinity Ward Re: Chat options in MW2

An open letter, originated at All Things Fangirl and re-posted as a Geek Girl, Gamer and woman. If you feel so inclined, please repost this letter in your own blog and spread the word?

Dear Infinity Ward:

Please release a patch or fix that will allow users to utilize party chat in all modes of online gameplay, if only for the sake of your female fans. We shelled out the money for the game, we stayed up all night and missed half a day of work playing it, we write and read reviews and buy MW2 caps for our avatars on the XBox Live marketplace.

Out of respect for us, since, sadly, the majority of the people who play your game online have none, give us back party chat so we can enjoy the wonderful evolution of the online play without being told how unwelcome, ugly, stupid, and useless for anything other than degrading sexual acts we are. Please give us back party chat so we can have tactical conversation with the friends we're playing with, without having to hear how we have no right to be there, no right to play; so we don't have to hear, out of the mouths of sexist, bitter virgins who have clocked months worth of their lives in game time that we are socially defunct and sexually wrong, somehow, for playing.

I would really appreciate it.



Reposted from the original letter by Geek Girl Diva.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Writing Tools: Synopsis

For people who need to have everything laid out nice and organized before them, this may help. Not everything may be of use to you in your writing, but it's good to think about as many aspects as possible in the world you're writing about. This list is taken from an assignment for majors of the sequential arts department of the Savannah College of Art and Design.

1. Medium: establish the medium in which your story will be told: Live action, Animation, Illustrated novel, Graphic novel, Comic book, Video game, Novel, Theater, etc.

2. Description of the World: Is your world a planet, moon, asteroid, or maybe a comet; is it even in this dimension? does your story unfold on a stage the size of a galaxy or the size of a molecule? Is your world hospitable to carbon-based life forms, are there seasons, does it rain acid?

3. Timeline/History: Create a timeline consisting of at least five major events that contribute to your world being as it is. Wars, Discoveries, Births, etc. Elaborate on eac event; draw from your own experience, but remember to put your bias aside.

4. Storyline: Based on the timeline you created, pinpoint for the intended audience where and when your story takes place. Utilizing your thorough descriptions of such attitudes as Economic status, Energy Sources, Technological Levels, and Political Structures, create a dynamic scenario of circumstances and obstacles for your characters and audience to interact with.

5. Characters: Describe four characters that reflect the environment, time, and circumstances of the world you created. It is important to realize how your world affects your characters in dress attitude, status, etc.

6. Description of Technology: When considering the forms of transport, weapons, and appliances, determine the energy sources which propel these vehicles/devices, and how the energy source dictates their form.

7. Description of Economy: What is the system of exchange: barter, energy, life force, or magic? Is there an economic hierarchy on your world, and how does it inhibit or enhance your characters?

8. Description of Habitat: How do the environment, technology, and economy affect the shape of a home, office, playground, or community in your world?

9. Philosophy/Religion: Do your characters aspire to wealth, power, or spiritual enlightenment? do they worship themselves, the gods, nature, or have no form of spiritual aspiration; how would this affect your world visually?

10. One Sentence Summary: In one sentence, capture all the drama, beauty, strangeness, and passion of your world and characters that you will develop.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Scientology Has the Worst Week Ever!

It has been a very bad week for Scientology so far. And to think, it's only Tuesday!

Scientologists convicted of Fraud

Paul Haggis Renounces Church of Scientology in Blistering Letter

Personally, I find Scientology a very fishy religion. But then again, I'm generally against all organized religion anyway, so my opinion really doesn't count for much. Talk amongst yourselves. I'll be sitting here, looking at my 0 comments.

Monday, October 26, 2009

President Obama and the Curious Case of the Nobel Peace Prize

There are moments in history which, upon remembering, you will be able to recall exactly where you were and what you were doing. The assassination of Kennedy, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and 9/11 are all embedded into the American consciousness. Now, for me, listed among those life changing and world altering events, is the moment I heard the news that President Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize. I recall that morning perfectly. As I heard the news, a strawberry Pop-tart hovering inches before my mouth, I looked at the TV screen and thought to myself, ‘what the hell?’

I want to make two things perfectly clear before I go any further.

1. I AM an Obama supporter

2. I am NOT totally happy with ever choice he's made since his election, nor with the number of issues he's failed to address.

But I like to give my elected officials the benefit of the doubt. They deal with a ton of issues, all of which have hundreds of crucial details politicians have to keep track of in order to make informed decisions. How many of us have the time to learn and understand the reasoning behind the decisions politicians make anyway?

But still, what has Obama done in the past 11 months that makes him worthy of a Nobel Peace prize? Was there a deficit of candidates? I found myself asking this whenever the subject came up. Surely there had to be someone else.

In fact, there were a record number of nominations this year for the Nobel Peace Prize. There were over 205 nominees for 2009, besting 2005’s record setting tally of 199. Of the 205, 172 were individuals and 33 were organizations. Obviously, Obama didn’t have a lack of competition. Some highlights of the list of 2009 nominees include Denis Mukwege, Sima Samar, Ghazi bin Muhammad, Greg Mortenson, Piedad Córdoba, and Wei Jingsheng.

Dr. Denis Mukwege helps women of the Democratic Republic of Congo recover from rape. Congo has one of the highest rates of assault and sexual sadism in the world. Women are raped and tortured with mind boggling frequency and Dr. Mukwege and his clinic is the only place left to turn. Dr. Mukwege has done surgery on over 21,000 women, set up wards and clinics for their care and health, helping victims to physically reclaim a part of themselves which has been brutally taken away.

Sima Samar was the first Hazara woman to obtain a medical degree from Kabul University. After her husband disappeared during the communist regime in 1984, she put her education to use by building hospitals and schools for girls and women in Afghanistan. Currently, Samar is the chairwoman of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and UN special rapporteur on human rights in Sudan.

Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad is a philosopher who, in the wake of 9/11, has encouraged religious dialogue, centering especially on the relationship between Islam and other faiths. In 2005, he brought many prominent Islamic scholars together to work out a “theological counter-attack” against terrorism. Muhammad also signed an influential letter, A Common Word Between Us, in response to a lecture by Pope Benedict XVI which was deemed by many to be an attack on Islam. The letter read, “Without peace and justice between these two religious communities there can be no meaningful peace in the world.”

Greg Mortenson has built over 84 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, educating children outside the limitations of religion. He also wrote the book Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time which is now required reading for military leaders and humanitarians. Mortenson has been shot at, kidnapped, and has two fatwas issued against him by local clerics for teaching girls. His mantra; politics won’t bring peace, people will bring peace.

Piedad Córdoba is a Colombian senator whose work negotiating with the guerilla group Farc has earned her the nickname “woman of peace.” Córdoba has helped negotiations with Farc and in 2007 secured the release of 16 hostages. Though political opponents claim that she is too close to Farc, the success of her work speaks for itself. Regarding her opponents claims, she says the political division with only be solved with negotiations and dialogue. “We have to finish this conflict with words and dialogue.”

Wei Jingsheng is called the father of Chinese democracy. A former electrician, Jingsheng became the figurehead of the democratic movement. He was jailed for 18 years for his democratic activities until international pressure forced the Chinese government to release him. During his imprisonment, he wrote letters to the regime on toilet paper which was smuggled from his cell and printed. Even after his release, he openly criticized the communist regime and called for democratization, leading to another jail sentence. Jingsheng famously wrote the Fifth Modernization; “We want to be the masters of our own destiny. We need no gods or emperors.” This is Jingsheng’s seventh nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

President Obama was awarded the Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” So, Obama won because those riots and black power revolutions southern ministers and governors were warning us about never came to pass? Okay, I might be being a bit too harsh. Nobel officials said they chose Obama to rally support behind his initiatives to end nuclear arms, ease tension with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism. All of these are good things. Personally, I think President Obama has done a lot of great things, and that he can and will definitely achieve more during his presidency. But in the face of the other candidates and their achievements, I’m not entirely convinced he’s done enough yet.

Apparently, Obama doesn’t think he’s done enough either. Nobel award winners receive S1.4 million cash prize and President Obama has given his prize money to charity. I'm guessing he wanted to keep the peace.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

November Horrorscopes

Come and read the horoscopes they didn't want you to know about.


Your roommates say they love your new haircut, but you know they’re lying. However, the stars foretell that your plan to sneak into their rooms, cut off their hair, and make a wig will only end in tears.


In the wake of Balloon Boy, your planned flight across the American Midwest in a home-made dirigible will not go over well. Rolling along Route 66 in one of those giant hamster balls still has potential though.


Beware public transportation this month. The Turkey Jihad begins.


Stay away from the barn lounge. The zombie squirrels have returned and are lying in wait to steal your lunch money and net book.


Your love of show tunes will be surprisingly helpful during that pop quiz in Studies in Mythology next week.


The stars say not to worry; your Thanksgiving turkey will turn out perfect. The pie is a bad idea though. A VERY bad idea. Also, the cake is a lie.


No, they're not coming back. The stars want you to quit asking.


Your attempt to hijack a float and start a dance party at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will not make you the new Ferris Beuler. You will instead be dubbed "Balloon Boy 2: Helium Boogaloo" after an angry mob ties you to the Pikachu balloon and lets go.


The stars say "Please ask again later."


We know what you're thinking: was that hottie you kissed at the MFS Halloween Bash really a girl? Only her plastic surgeon knows for sure.


Your new lab partner is really cute. The stars hope it's enough to save them from your wrath when they turn out to be dumber than toast and you're stuck carrying their work load.


Your letter from Hogwarts is going to arrive next week!

Once again, I completely ignore my homework in favor of blogging. At least this kind of counts as school work... sort of... in a manner of speaking. :3

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What's In a Name? Trouble

Almost all creation myths feature women, with their roles and their natures, be they good, evil, or neutral, varying form myth to myth. However, one theme seems to be consistent through a variety of cultures. women in myths, if they have names, are trouble.

Arguably, all women in myths, be they creation myths or otherwise, cause problems for the inevitably male character or protagonist. As these stories come from patriarchal societies, women are usually either in back ground roles or villainess’, and very few have names. But when these female characters are given names in myths, it usually signifies some amount of importance or power. Three examples of this in creation myths are Tiamat, Isis, and Eve.

Tiamat Being Chased by Marduk

Tiamat is the mother goddess of Babylonian and Sumerian myths. She comes from the creation myth, the Enuma Elish. Tiamat begins as a benevolent mother goddess, discouraging her husband from killing their noisy children. However, after those children conspire to murder her husband, Apsu, Tiamat becomes vengeful. She raises an army of monsters and demons to destroy her children and their offspring, led by her son/consort, Kingu. Tiamat is so powerful that none of the other gods can defeat her and her army. Tiamats’ power is even more impressive considering that each successive god is more powerful than his father, and it was her great-grandson, Ea, who murdered her husband. It’s only after Marduk, the son of Ea, fights Tiamat and her forces that she is defeated. Tiamat is already a force of chaos, her name meaning ‘bitter water’ or ‘salt water.’ Without Apsu, ‘sweet water,’ her creations are all demonic and evil in nature. We’re shown in this myth that even before Tiamat turns her attitude and creative powers to destruction, she is the chaotic and less pleasant side of her partnership with Apsu.


In Egyptian creation myths, Isis is the goddess who holds her own against the male gods. While she isn’t the only goddess given a name, Isis often considered the most powerful. She is one of the nine major gods of the Egyptian pantheon, part of the Ennead and partnered with Osiris, King of the Afterlife and a god of order. Isis is neither completely good, not completely evil, but she is a powerful goddess. In “The Legend of the Sun Worshippers,” an Egyptian creation myth, Isis poisons Ra, the sun god and ruler of the heavens, making him very ill. She tricks Ra into revealing his true name, claiming she needs it to heal him. His true name holds his power, and by revealing it, that power is now given to Isis. Isis doesn’t appear to do anything with the power of his name. However, Ra is still very ill and eventually dies. He enters the underworld in the company of several other gods, creating day and night. Isis is among the gods who go with him, fighting off demons in the darkness. In other myths, though, we’re told that Horus, Isis’ son, takes over some of Ra’s duties, including being god-pharaoh to the humans, so perhaps there was more to her plan than just equalizing the distribution of power.

Eve in the Garden with Adam and the Serpent

Eve is the first woman in Judeo-Christian creation mythology, created out of a rib of the first man, Adam. As creations of God, whom we are told is good, we are led to infer that Adam and Eve are good by proxy. In Genesis, however, ‘good’ may well equate with ‘naïve.’ Eve is tempted by a serpent to eat the fruit of a tree in the garden; specifically, a tree which she and Adam have been told not to eat from. God had explained that if they ate from that tree, they would die; however, considering neither Eve nor Adam knew they were naked, it’s questionable if they understood the concept of death. The serpents’ reasoning for eating the fruit made more sense to Eve, so she ate it along with Adam. When God found out they had disobeyed him, Adam and Eve were banished from the Paradise they had lived in, and because Adam had blamed his disobedience on Eve, she was additionally punished with menstruation and painful childbirth.

All three of these women caused significant problems for their male peers and counterparts. But what makes them unique, and possibly is why they were given names, is that they all held power equal or comparable to their male peers and counterparts. Tiamat and Isis stand as powerful female deities in otherwise male dominated societies and religions, defeating the male gods around them; while Eve’s curiosity got mankind kicked out of paradise in her own mythology, her extra punishment coming solely at the hands of a man eager to pass the blame.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Vampires for Adults: The Sookie Stackhouse Books

Over at Casa D'Isidoro, 2008 was dubbed the Year of the Vampire. Last year, I finally read Interview with a Vampire, I caved to peer pressure and read the Twilight Saga, and I discovered The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris. Better known as the Sookie Stackhouse books and the inspiration for the HBO drama True Blood, the Southern Vampire Mysteries chronicle the life of barmaid Sookie Stackhouse.

Life is hard for a telepath. Sookie Stackhouse can tell you all about it. But there are bigger problems at hand then knowing which of your neighbors is having an affair or which customer is checking out your butt. The world is still reeling three years after vampires ’came out of the coffin,’ revealing their existence after a Japanese company begins manufacturing synthetic blood. While society struggles to adjust, Sookie wants nothing more than to meet a vampire herself. Her wish is granted when Bill Compton, a vampire and her new neighbor, comes into the bar one night. But her fascination with her new undead neighbor frequently gets put on the backburner as trouble finds her.

In the first book, a string of violent murders sets her small town on edge. Things only get worse when her grandmother becomes one of the victims and her brother is listed as the prime suspect. In book two, Sookie is employed by the vampires of Dallas to investigate a missing vampire. In book three, Bill goes missing and Sookie, with the help of some other vampires and werewolves, has to save. This goes on for nine books and counting, each plot involving more and more of this vast, magical, and dangerous world which Charlaine Harris has created.

The Sookie Stackhouse books are most definitely easy reads, but they are surprisingly intense. Charlaine Harris tackles everything from prejudice and hate crimes to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in her novels and handles them all with sympathy, common sense, and humor. Among my favorite traits of these books are the characters especially the narrator. Sookie struggles with her gift, her morals, and her mortality; she wants to help people but she also wants her own life and freedom, something which she has to fight increasingly hard for. And told through her narration, the world seen through her eyes, there are no good guys in these books. Everyone is flawed and human, even when they aren’t. The vampires are struggling to reacclimate to human society and laws after doing what they’ve wanted for so long, some more easily than others. The werewolves are caught in perpetual lies as they have to hide what they are from their own families. The fairies are always at war with each other as they argue about their existence in relation to humans. And the humans are fighting to come to grips with a world very different from what they thought it was.

My only big complaint about the books is that the cast is often too large. It’s difficult with each progressing book to keep track of who’s who. Even more disappointing is that the massive cast often forces more central characters to the back ground. In some books, fan favorites Bill, Eric, and Pam are only voices on the phone or thought of by Sookie in passing. In the latest book, Dead and Gone, Bill Compton was never there. I know that I’m not the only reader to be irritated by this.

But never doubt that I am a fan of this series. Overall Charlaine Harris handles some very deep topics with surprising tact and humor. Sookie’s voice is strong and convincing, and I’m always happy to see another book featuring her and her friends on the shelf.

The Southern Vampire Mysteries include: Dead Until Dark, Living Dead in Dallas, Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, Definitely Dead, All Together Dead, From Dead to Worse, and Dead and Gone.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Mushrooms

13 Movies to Watch for Halloween

My staff at the Catonsville Bureau took a vote on what our favorite scary movies were. We think these movies really capture fear and should be a part of any Halloween movie marathon.

13) Arachnophobia - Hate spiders? So do we. That’s why we’re starting off our list with Arachnophobia, a movie where the spiders are big, bad, and taking over small American towns. Our favorite scene: discovery of the GIANT spiders’ web in the barn.

Align Center

12) The Haunting – Based on The Haunting of Hill House, a novel by Shirley Jackson, this movie drags a group of paranormal investigators to the notorious Hill House, long rumored to be haunted or cursed. One member of the group, Eleanor, becomes attached to the house, enjoying the attention afforded her as the forces of the house make her their target. The classic, black and white 1963 version is a fabulous and hypnotizing mix of the supernatural and the psychological. Fans of older movies, and horror that doesn’t rely on guts and gore, will hopefully find a new favorite in this.

11) The Grudge – The reception of Japanese horror in America has been mixed to say the least. But The Grudge, featuring our favorite Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar, has perhaps had the least lost in translation. Yeah, the plot may start falling apart halfway through, but there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll be so caught up in the creepy imagery you won’t notice. As if children and attics weren’t scary enough.

10) The Blair Witch Project – This movie earns a spot in the top thirteen for a couple of reasons. First, it’s based on a real Maryland legend. Second, this movie re-imagined horror, presenting the story as a real-life documentary, and sending people into a panic that would’ve made H.G. Wells proud. Even knowing that the movie is complete fiction, it’s so well crafted that it’s easy to suspend disbelief for 86 minutes and believe that, somewhere in the woods of Maryland, unknown supernatural forces are out to get you.

9) Carrie – Forget Revenge of the Nerds, Carrie is simply about revenge. A shy and abused girl is made even more of an outcast by teasing from her high school classmates. Little do they know the target of their antagonism is telekinetic. Stephen King is an undisputed fright master, giving us reason to fear what we consider the mundane. In Carrie, we’re warned to be on our best behavior to each other. Whether you’re watching the 76 version or its’ remake, Carrie will make you thank your stars that no one you ever teased was telekinetic.

8) Saw – A serial killer kidnaps people and traps them in situations which usually result in the kidnapped parties either killing themselves or each other. And we, the audience, get to sit back and watch the moral dilemmas ensue. Saw has spawned five sequels, so filmmakers are obviously hitting the right notes with viewers.

7) Texas Chain Saw Massacre – Texas Chain Saw Massacre is classic horror. Five youths find their vacation turned into a nightmare as they stumble across a crazed and cannibalistic family in the Texas hills. Chain saws and meat hooks are repurposed in new and terror inducing ways. This movie continues to withstand the test of time, facing off with increasingly gory movies of the same genre and three sequels.

6) Psycho – A true oldie-but-goodie. Hitchcock may have spawned the trend of half naked-to-naked women in horror movies, but he does it with class. The search for a missing woman brings her sister and lover to the motel where she was last seen. As they search continues, suspicion falls on the motels’ owner. This movie puts mother-son relationships in a scary new light.

5) It – Beware clowns, sewers, and Tim Curry. It, a horrific monster that lurks in the sewer system of small Maine town and eats local children, is another product of the twisted mind of Stephen King. Seven children join together to defeat It – disguised as Pennywise the clown-, and appear to succeed. But 30 years later, the evil reemerges, and the kids, now grown, must reunite to bring it down forever. The movie runs over three hours, but all that means is you get an intermission to refill on popcorn and check your bathroom sink for blood.

(4)Nightmare on Elm Street – This 80’s classic would be in our good graces just because it introduces us to Johnny Depp. But even more potent than the future Captain Jack, is the horror that is Freddy Kruger. Unlike other horror movie villains, Freddy doesn’t lurk in a house or by a camp ground which you can avoid. Freddy hunts you where you can’t escape him; in your dreams. This movie will have you setting your alarms and overworking your coffee machine after just one watch, we guarantee.

3) Halloween - Beginning our top three is Halloween. Mike Myers, murderer and psychopath, escapes from a mental ward and returns to his old house on Halloween and no one in town is safe. In established horror movie tradition, many young, beautiful, and mostly naked people are killed in a variety of grisly and paranoia inducing ways. The embodiment of evil and madness, no Halloween would be complete without a visit from Mike Myers.

2) Poltergeist – Steven Spielberg took the American dream – nice house, good family, steady job, and lots of TV – and turned it on its’ head. When four year old Carol Anne starts talking to the TV and furniture starts moving, the Freeling family is excited by the supernatural turn their lives have taken. But excitement swiftly turns to terror as the forces Carol Anne has been talking to are not as benevolent as the family first thought. This film is filled with iconic scenes and lines; we could fill this newspaper writing about them. Don’t take our word for it, though; check this movie out ASAP.

1) The Exorcist – This battle between good and evil tops our list of must-watch Halloween movies, and we think it should top yours as well. Based on true events, the Exorcist depicts the struggle over the soul of a demon possessed girl, and is further powered by the internal plights of those who try to help her. Probably most memorable for the scene in which the little girl’s head rotates 360 degrees then vomits, The Exorcist offers more than pea soup and a nasty fall down some stairs. This movie has you questioning the power of your faith and how to judge whether it’s in your head or real.

Wicked: Witch and Curse

You know this type of book. Everyone encounters it eventually. It's in your favorite genre. The plot seems to be compelling. The characters, tragic and/or complicated. The cover is AWESOME. The book itself: FAIL. Such was my experience with Wicked: Witch and Curse.

I love stories about witches. Absolutely adore them. So when I saw Wicked: Witch and Curse sitting in the YA section a few months ago, I had to give it a look. I sat on the floor of that Borders for two hours trying to understand what I was reading. Eight months later, I still want those two hours back.

Holly Cathers's world shatters when her parents are killed in a terrible accident. Wrenched from her home in San Francisco, she is sent to Seattle to live with her relatives, Aunt Marie-Claire and her twin cousins, Amanda and Nicole.

In her new home, Holly's sorrow and grief soon give way to bewilderment at the strange incidents going on around her. Such as how any wish she whispers to her cat seems to come true. Or the way a friend is injured after a freak attack from a vicious falcon. And there's the undeniable, magnetic attraction to a boy Holly barely knows.

Holly, Amanda, and Nicole are about to be launched into a dark legacy of witches, secrets, and alliances, where ancient magics yield dangerous results. The girls will assume their roles in an inter-generational feud beyond their wildest imaginations...and in doing so, will attempt to fulfill their shared destiny.

Admittedly, I only got about 50 or 60 pages into the first book, Witch, before I gave up with a massive headache and a general sense of disappointment. Those 50 or 60 pages were a chore. The story still seemed like it could be good. But the writing was so sloppy that there was no way to tell. The first few chapters flash back and forth between Holly's character, her star-crossed love interest, and past lives or early coven members. It was incredibly distracting, uncomfortably written, and I can only assume the rest of the book follows suit. Also, lots and lots of french thrown in at random. I did not appreciate that.

I'm willing to believe that it's a good story. But the writing is too...schizophrenic for me to get into it. Luckily, my faith in witchy YA was restored a few weeks later with the discovery of War of the Witches by Maite Carranza(review coming only by request).

I'm glad other people have enjoyed these books, but I won't be among them.

My Rating: 1 out of 5 Mushrooms

Monday, September 28, 2009

Banned Book Poetry

September 26-October 2 is Banned Book Week and the fabulous Jo Knowles is having a banned book haiku contest. Which, of course, I entered.

"In honor of Banned Books Week, I challenge you to write a haiku about your feelings on censorship/banned books. I will post these all week and choose a winner on Friday. The winner will get a signed first edition of Lessons From A Dead Girl."

Freedom in my hands
Stolen by those who say I'm
Too young to take it

Go enter her contest at http://jbknowles.livejournal.com/

-Maria D.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Woman on Woman Crime

Women beware. I have seen the face of the enemy and she is us.

Allow me to introduce you to the Queen Bee and the Female Chauvinist Pig. If you haven’t already met, trust me, you will.

The Queen Bee: She’s the woman who has succeeded. She is queen of her domain. Man has no mastery over her. She stands as a testament to the ideals of feminism; that a woman can be boss and do it just as well if not better than a man. And she will KILL any woman who tries to do the same anywhere near her. Think Highlander: there can be only one.

I’ve been employed by these women and fired by them unfailingly. You cannot have a better idea than her. You cannot have an idea before she does. In fact, you’d better stop thinking right now and get comfortable looking small and unthreatening. If you’re younger than the Queen Bee, she’ll make your life Hell for existing; doubly so if there are any male coworkers. If you’re older than the Queen Bee and have an education level equal to or higher than her, ditto. These women are on power trips and nothing will stop them. Queen Bees are frequently found in the public school system, working as principles and English teachers. If you’re a smart student, it also sucks rocks to be in their class.

Female Chauvinist Pigs declare that raunchy is the same thing as liberated. They will tell you to go on Girls Gone Wild; that any consequences are because the world doesn’t respect women and their sexuality. They believe that showing disproportionately large breasted girls in bikinis jumping on trampolines to the cheering of lascivious, testosterone poisoned men - The Man Show, I’m looking at you – doesn’t objectify women but empowers them. These women subscribe to the belief that to succeed, you must become the stereotypical man.

The Female Chauvinist Pig frequently succeeds in her chosen profession. She’s found most often in entertainment because, let’s be honest, sex sells and it sells well. But while some women hail her as a savior of the gender, and ‘the average man’ proclaims that she ‘gets it,’ she will turn on you in a heartbeat if you dare to suggest that women can be professionally competent and sexually secure without taking classes in stripper etiquette. And let me tell you a secret, female to female; men laugh at these women who think they can grow a dick and be one of the boys. Where is the respect or equality in that?

These women hide under the guise of feminism while they contort and abuse their gender for power. They embody the demonized feminist, touted by conservatives, religious zealots, and everyone who is afraid or disgusted by a woman in charge of her own life. They prove men right when they say that women are unable to hold power in society and give them something to laugh at us over. They make our lives harder while telling us they are our friends. They tear our ideals, hopes and aspirations to shreds when they think no one is looking. But I am looking and you should too.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

October Horrorscopes

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

You’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness. We recommend moving to Libya. They seem to treat the dying very well.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

Your significant other is really a werewolf. Haven’t you noticed how much they like that new Shakira song?

Aries (March 20 – April 19)

The stars advise you to share that sandwich with me. Seriously.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

Someday, the world will realize your genius and bestow upon you all the fame and adoration which you deserve. That day is not today. Tomorrow doesn’t look too good either.

Gemini (May 21 – June 21)

Your quest for a meaningful relationship will once again be thwarted by your early onset balding. The stars advise you to start investing in Rogaine.

Cancer (June 22 – July 22)

Dropping out of school and quitting your job to become a professional, full-time World of Warcraft player will not bring you the accolades and glory you seek. However, it WILL bring you a lifetime of Meals on Wheels donations and a listing on dontdatehimgirl.com.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

The cosmos demands you bring it a shrubbery!

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

HA! Your Twilight addiction has gotten the best of you. Instead of writing that essay question about Aristotle and his ‘forms,’ you wrote about the vampire wars of the south. The stars guarantee that your professor will not be amused.

Libra (September 23 – October 22)


Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

The stars say you do NOT want to go to that Halloween party down the street. But if you do go, you should NOT tell those guys from one of the UMCP fraternities that your sign is Scorpio not matter how often they ask or how cute they are. But if you do, you should NOT drink the punch. But if you do, you should NOT go with your friends to that tattoo parlor behind the Krispy Kreme. But if you do, do NOT get in the chair. But if you do, you should avoid wearing a thong ever again, because if anyone ever sees that tattoo on your left butt cheek of the scorpion playing a banjo with Mickey Mouse ears on, you will never, EVER live it down.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

Your charming personality and dazzling wit will win the respect and friendship of many. Your constant mooching and free-loading at lunch will lose them.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

You had the opportunity to take over the world this month, but you got distracted by Mafia Wars on Facebook.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Life Without A Lifemate

I’m on a number of social networking sites, and on some of these, there are introduction threads. On one of these, they asked us state our long term goals and I wrote what I considered to be the basics.

• graduate from college,
• get a job I don’t hate,
• write and publish books,
• hold the leaders of the free world hostage and make them listen to Abba,
• beat Stephenie Meyer with a hard back copy of Breaking Dawn in a pillow case.

You know, the important stuff. But apparently I missed the memo. The one that says somewhere in the long-term goals section, a girl must list the desire to marry and procreate.

Just to set the record straight, I’m not going to say that the idea of finding a nice guy, having a big party to celebrate the finding of said guy, and making little people out of our combined genetic material doesn’t sound like a potentially good time. But as a child of divorce, I also recognize that it could be a potentially disastrous time! And I think it’s a bit stupid to plan my life around that possibility.

What really irks me about it is that it carries the unspoken understanding that, if you don’t have these – a partner and children – your life has less meaning, less worth, than someone who does. For some reason, your life is not complete until you have these things. Admittedly, men do feel this pressure too. But I haven’t noticed it being quite as intense as it is for women. For my brother, the question is ‘don’t you want a girl friend?’ For me, the question tends to be ‘don’t you want a husband?’ For guys, there is an implication of impermanence; that girls are transitory. Women are burdened with permanence; we have to lure in a man, beat him over the head with our rolling pins, and drag him to our happy home.

I want to know why can’t we all just follow our respective bliss’? What’s wrong with writing my stories, starting my small business, having some good friends, and being happy with that? If I find someone I want to spiritually, economically, and emotionally tie myself to for the rest of my life, then YAY ME. But I refuse to be burdened with societies’ judgment that I have failed at life because I lack a significant other. Marriage is a wonderful institution. I’m just not ready to be institutionalized.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Angels and Demons: Movie Review

In Angels and Demons, the sequel to the 2006 hit The Da Vinci Code, Tom Hanks reprises his role as Dr. Robert Langdon, a symbologist who is no friend to the church. However, the Vatican turns to him for help after four cardinals are kidnapped. The kidnapper? Apparently a member of the Illuminati, a group of thinkers once persecuted by the Catholic Church and thought to have been long gone. Clues have been left, revealing where the cardinals will be executed, but Robert Langdon must decode them first. Thrown into the mix is a stolen container of anti-matter produced by the Large Hadron Collider, which will explode when the battery –which powers the container and keeps the anti-matter suspended – runs out of power, causing the anti-matter to fall out of suspension and touch matter.

This leads to a massive chase around Vatican City, as Dr. Langdon, the hot scientist lady looking for her lost container of anti-matter, and dozens of police who don’t need names, search for the cardinals before they’re killed. And hopefully, maybe, possibly, they’ll find that pesky container of anti-matter that’s going to explode too.

While this is all going on, the pope has died and cardinals from all over the world are conferring in St. Pete’s Basilica to decide who the next pope will be. This means that Vatican City is crowded to capacity with believers from all over the world, waiting for the new pope to be chosen. So, mix a secret society bent on revenge, kidnappings and murders of important religious figures, controversial science with explosive potential, Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, and lots of pretty shots of Vatican City together and you get a movie masterpiece, right? Not quite.

The Good: The director, and the cast. Ron Howard once again produces a visually stunning film and condenses a rather long and drawn out book in a way that catches all the important bits and cuts most of the annoying fat. Tom Hanks somehow makes Dr. Robert Langdon almost likable. This is an impressive feat, as Robert Langdon of the book is Super Nerd with his secret identity, the Most Boring Man Alive. Ewan McGregor plays a rather confusing character, Camerlengo Patrick McKenna, with as much grace and believability as possible. The kidnapper and assassin is played by Nikolaj Lie Kaas and is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting characters in the entire movie. I left the theater wishing that he’d gotten more attention. A back story about why he was the way he was would have been appreciated.

The Bad: The story. In spite of all the running around and the panic, there were a few times when the dragged and I was, quite simply, bored. While the plot is set up to evoke edge-of-your-seat panic, it’s just not there. Part of it I blame on the characters. There is no emotional connection to make us care about what happens to the main characters, nor is there much reason to dislike the antagonists. Instead, we care more about the side characters such as the police or the assassin, than anyone whom the story focuses attention on. Also, Dan Brown’s “the Church is EVIL” message is becoming a tad overdone. It’s become a fad. Can he demonize some other aspect of society now?

Final Thoughts: Overall, I thought this movie did a really good job considering the source material. I wouldn’t buy it, but I might order it from Netflix some weekend.

Oh Yeah, The Book: Um... yeah... Do yourself a favor and skip the book. It gave me a headache. Watch the movie if you're curious. It's all there minus confusion and unnecessary romance. AND the horrible writing. Just, don't go there. Don't.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

September Horrorscopes

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)
Yes, your teachers are all conspiring against you. No, there’s nothing you can do about it.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)
You are going to find a wonderful man, adopt 3 fabulous children from Third World countries, and live in wedded bliss for 20 years until you come home early one day to find him watching furry porno.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)
Heh heh heh.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
Mercury is in retrograde and your kitchen appliances are planning a rebellion. Better put the ambulance on speed dial.

Gemini (May 21 – June 21)
Hey, remember that girl from high school, the one who grew her nails too long and always wore pink? The one who insisted that you would be best friends forever? You remember her, the one who inspired you to start looking for exchange programs in Eastern Europe and Taiwan so she couldn’t call you every day? Well, she’s looking for you on Facebook. You might want to double check your privacy settings.

Cancer (June 22 – July 22)
The economy is in the toilet and you can’t get a job. You’ll have to resort to acting in furry porno to pay off those student loans.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)
This semester, you’re going to meet a beautiful, intelligent, single woman who wants nothing to do with you. Better luck next time, loser.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)
You are going to drop out of all your classes mid semester and spend the rest of the year playing Maple Story in the cafeteria.

Libra (September 23 – October 22)
Your liberal arts degree and the time you spent in Barnstormers will help you achieve great fame in furry porno.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)
You’re going to die in two weeks. Can I have your text books?

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)
The stars foretell a promising career in politics, the food service industry, or midget pony husbandry.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)
Contrary to popular belief, the voices in your head are actually giving you good advice. You should reward them with a cookie. Oatmeal raisin is getting the most votes.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bromance: Can I Haz IT?

One would think that with the dominance of Yaoi and Slash fics on Fanfiction.net, publishers would realize that there is a rather sizable teen audience for gay and gender nonconforming literature. But if Justine Larbalestiers plight has taught us nothing else, it's that publishing housing are morons.

Personally, I get a little annoyed at the omnipresence of romance in most YA anyway. I and many other teen and preteen people managed to get through our middle and high school years without a significant other and without mooning over some unattainable, emo inducing person. And we had a grand ole time without them. It's a little annoying for us weirdos sometimes that finding a YA book with awesome characters and a rocking plot is nigh on impossible without the addition of lurv. Yes romance is lovely and we all want to find someone to snog with, blah, blah, blah. Can I get a heroine who doesn't have to take time off from saving the world or being otherwise awesome to worry about some guy who may or may not have another purpose in the book other than just being the heroine's love interest? I mean, if I want to read about cuddling and snogging and tru wub that never dies, most book stores put Romance right across the aisle from YA. But, while I continue my search, most likely in vain, can I at least get some more realistic romance?

I must confess, reading about Corny and Louis in Ironside gave me the warm fuzzies. And finding out about Felicity and Pippa in The Sweet Far Thing, I felt very much the same as Gemma; surprised but not very. The first Maureen Johnson book I read was The Bermudez Triangle, which ... I didn't love quite so much. Allow me to explain why. Writing coming of age books about sexual identity is a great thing and will be helpful and encouraging to a lot of readers. However, Ironside and The Sweet Far Thing had characters who already knew they weren't heterosexual and had come to terms with it and were living, not as social pariahs or outcasts, but just as people. Of course this is debatable with regards to Felicity, but I think you're getting my point. In short, what I loved about corny and Louis in Ironside, and what I'd love to see more of it YA lit is that their sexuality isn't really treated as anything huge. It was just a part of who they were as people and they had found companionship with each other.

Having a sexual identity other than hetero is not some willy nilly choice that people can get over with some therapy and Jesus. It's not a whim and it's not a disease. And to anyone who argues that it is, here are some handy facts for you. During the months when a fetus is developing its' sexual organs, the part of the brain responsible for gender and gender behavior can and frequently does develop in the opposite direction from the genitalia. Added to that, homosexual behavior occurs in nature all the time. Over 300 vertebrate species engage in homosexual activities! So God DID make people gay and he loves us all regardless so STFU and RTFM Noob.

What I and a lot of other people want out of literature, regardless of genre or demographic, is for sexuality to not be ogled at or treated as bizarre or discriminated against, but for people of any sexual identity and orientation to feel that their love is represented as a natural and beautiful thing, just like heterosexual relationships. There is nothing dirty, wrong, pornographic, demonic, ugly, or sinful about homosexuals, transgenders, intersexes, and their romantic relationships. It's just love and I for one would like to see more of it portrayed as such in books. These people live and love beside and deserve to be treated the same in the media as well.

To help promote more gender and sexual equality in literature, go here and join the Gay Literary Task Force.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Shadow March 17, 1993 - April 1, 2009

Shadow was a bad cat. Absolutely awful. He teared up furniture. He got under everyone's feet. He climbed the table and stalked the kitchen whenever someone was in it. No food was safe. He even managed to drag the turkey off the table and onto the floor one sad Thanksgiving. And years after that, he still usually managed to take a bite or two out of it.

He was fighty, he was bitey, his tale was often more active and aware than he was. He was a terrible cat. And he was one of the best damn cats I've ever known.

I could tell a million stories about Shadow. And I'd probably forget another ten million. In essence, he was the Marley of cats. He was badly behaved, idiotic in a stupid-yet-clever sorta way, and he was the most loving creature in the world. He saved my life and enriched it time and time again.

The best way to give you the picture of Shadow is tell you about his death. Early on the morning of April Fool's Day, he collapsed in front of the refrigerator. We hurried to get him to the vet to be euthanized, since it was obvious that he couldn't survive but needed some help letting go of life. He loved car rides, and my brother, who was holding him, swore that he was purring. Shadow loved car rides in a way I've only seen in dogs.

The vet helped him pass without suffering too much. He'd had a stroke, and while his body was paralyzed, his heart was still trying to beat. (And what a good heart it was) He's buried outside our kitchen, with a giant rock on top of his grave so that he doesn't come back as a zombie. Trust me, if he could, he would.

He had a full, adventorous life. His death is bittersweet. It hurt watching him become frail after spending so many years the definition of energetic, and sensing the frustration from himself as his body gave out on him. And the last days of his life were filled with table scraps, trips through his garden in the sun, and open laps. Yet I find myself choking up as I wander through the house I don't see him tripping me up on the stairs or showing me that the food bowls are empty. The day he died, we sat in the kitchen wondering at the strange sensation of not having to fight the cat for our food.

I've been fighting the urge to write about his whole life to share it with you. I'm crying even now at the little I've written. There will never be another cat like Shadow...until he reincarnates and comes to bug us again. ;)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Wizard Has No Heart for Inkheart

Inkheart tells the tale of Mo and Meggie Folchart, a father and daughter team of bookbinders. Mo and Meggie’s lives are quiet ones until, on one of their travels for Mo’s job, the past catches up to them. Dustfinger, an acquaintance of Mo’s from years before, comes to pursued Mo to give him something – a book – before Capricorn finds Mo and collects the book and Mo himself. As these people with strange names begin to invade her and her fathers lives, Meggie not only finds herself in situations she’s only read about before, but discovers that there is more going on between the covers of a book than just what’s written on the page.

Inkheart is cast as close to perfectly as I’ve ever seen in a book adaptation. Eliza Bennett and Helen Mirren are Meggie and Elinor, and Paul Bettany as Dustfinger surprised me as the movie progressed with his ability to capture his characters desperation. Andy Serkis is not Capricorn from the book but is still an interesting and compelling villain. The scenery is not as stunning as in Narnia or the Harry Potter movies - the movie doesn’t require such a grand scale as most of the conflict is among the characters – but it fits the tone of the movie and doesn’t detract from the action. Nevertheless, Inkheart is why books should never be made into movies.

I was anticipating that Inkheart wouldn’t be the same story I loved. I anticipated that Meggie and Mo’s powers would be out in the open from the very start to save time. I anticipated a plot and characters completely different from the books’, carrying only the title, the names of my beloved characters. I anticipated a completely different story, fitted together with a few chopped up key plot points that bared a vague resemblance to the book. I was braced for everything but what I got.

Inkheart is the result of when studios listen to fans when they say they want a straight adaptation of the book – or at least as close an adaptation as they can get. It doesn’t work and Inkheart illustrates perfectly why. All the thoughts and emotions the characters feel, and the memories and events which prompt them, are too numerous and complex to move easily to screen. And in stories such as this, which are epic and fantastical in nature, it ends up feeling trite and kitschy.

In one attempt to condense some of the more superfluous parts of the book, The Wizard of Oz was used to fill the role of several other less famous books. This sounds good in theory. In fact, it sounds brilliant in theory, considering the parallels in both books about people traveling to different worlds. In practice, however, it falls flat of being meaningful or inventive and instead feels contrived and cheesy.

In short, the movie tries too hard to be the book; it follows the plot almost exactly, but the few changes they make are ones which change the mood and attitudes of characters in ways which damage the story rather than enhance it.

Inkheart is based on the book of the same name by Cornelia Funke, author of The Thief Lord, The Dragon Rider, and the Inkheart Trilogy, Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath. And as always, this is in my college newspaper.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Of Laptops and Other Toasty Things

My laptop is toast. Crispy, deep fried toast. I mean no battery, no internet, sparks shoot up from the mother board toast. I need marshmellows for this. While this is a bit depressing, where there is toast, there is jam. And Stephen King and Libba Bray have gifted me with finest jam.

Stephen King disses Stephenie Meyer. Like I need anymore reason to love Stephen King.

Going Bovine cover art released!!!! Oh happy day!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wait, I thought they were Chicken of the Sea?

Welcome 2009. What do I greet you with? Craziness from PETA.

Look, I support a lot of stuff. And saving the environment is pretty damn important. But sea kittens are not the way to do it and be taken seriously. I mean, really PETA. SEA KITTENS? Weren't you trying to get the world to accept you as a legitimate organization NOT made up of marijuana saturated neo-hippies? This is not the way.

Saving 140-year old lobsters named George, on the other hand, earns my full support. Viva la Lobsters!!!