About Me

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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.

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.