Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Book to Movie....Sometimes We Cringe (May Contain Spoilers)

EVERYONE who's ever had their favorite book made into a movie knows that sometimes the movie DOESN'T deliver. And we as human beings know it isn't HUMANLY possible to put EVERY element into a movie that comes from the book. (Let's face it, America. Our attention spans aren't what they used to be) And, sometimes, the filmmakers feel the need to give the movie some extra visuals that weren't in the book to make it, I don't know, more entertaining. There are so many things that could make a great book into a crappy movie. But there's always 2 sides to every story and there are times when the movie is just as good if not BETTER than the book. And I'll give you some examples of what I feel is the best and the worst.

1. ALL the Harry Potter films
Now, I am somewhat biased because I have loved Harry Potter for a long time but, let's face it. The movies were totally AWESOME!! And there's a couple reasons why. #1 When Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone hit theaters, we were in AWE of seeing Hogwarts, Harry, Ron, Hermoine, Dumbledore, our WORLD come to life on screen. When you read a book, it's all about using your imagination to visualize what you are reading. And when I saw the movie, I was SO happy to see the images in my head before my eyes. And #2 not only did Chris Columbus make the world of Harry Potter REAL, he stayed true to the book. Now, as the story moves forward, the books got longer and the directors could no longer keep EVERYTHING intact. So some sacrifices had to be made. And there will ALWAYS be elements of the books that we did not get to see in the movies. For ME, the biggest cut was Voldemort's memories of the Gaunts and the Riddles. HP and the Half-Blood Prince was my FAVORITE book of all of them and I was SOOOOO excited for that movie, yet was a bit disappointed at this part being cut or not even filmed. Some will say they wanted the Maurauder's back story or more of Snape and Lily's childhood but I think mine was a tragedy.

2. The Last Airbender
Ok, I know a LOT of you hated The Last Airbender movie but I liked it. I liked it because I LOVE Avatar:The Last Airbender and I liked it for the same reason I loved the Harry Potter movies. Because I saw the cartoon come to real life. Now, I was happy that M. Night Shyamalan stayed true to the storyline and that Sokka was just as dreamy in real life as he is in the cartoon. Zuko..not so much. At least for me. For one thing, he isn't even Asian which I would have preferred. And Uncle Iroh was not fat and jolly and drinking tea. Instead he was tall and thin and not as gray. Another tragedy.

3. Stand by Me
A movie version of a freaking SHORT STORY written by Stephen King and starring Will "He's our Nerd King" Wheaton, River Pheonix, and Keifer Sutherland. TOTAL WIN!! *dreamy eyes*

4. The Help
Great book. I laughed and I laughed and I guessed and I laughed some more. The movie: totally on par. It was long at over 2 hours but it was so good. I was disappointed that they left out the part where Minnie gets attacked by the naked guy. That would have made me laugh more :)

5. My Sister's Keeper
Here's what I LOVE about this book so beautifully written by Jodi Piccoult. EVERYTHING! The plot twists, the differents POVs, the tragic ending. Here's what I HATED about the movie. It stars Cameron Diaz. I don't like her. She's really annoying to me. Tragic ending, not so tragic. (Spoiler Alert)
 In the book version, Anna (played in the movie by Abigail Breslin) leaves the trial with Julia (her guardian ad litem) and Campbell (her lawyer) after winning the trial to have control of her own body so she doesn't have to undergo any more surgery to save her sister who has cancer.
(It was announced during the trial that Kate (the sister with cancer) put her up to the lawsuit so that she can die in peace.)
 In a very beautiful twist, Anna, Cambell, and Julia are in an auto accident after leaving the courthouse and Anna is killed and her kidneys are given to Kate and this puts Kate into remission. If you read the book, your jaw will have dropped at several moments during the course of your reading sessions and if you saw this movie, you will have been seriously disappointed. In the end of the movie, there was NO twist. Anna didn't even die!! Not in auto accident, not  a plane crash, nothing. Kate dies due to her cancer. Ask ANYONE who's read this book what they remember about it and they will tell you THE TWIST ENDING!!! If you're going to adapt a book into a movie, don't change the BEST part!!! Thumbs down!

Everyone has there best and worst book to movie adaptations. What are some of yours?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Survivor: Do I have what it takes to compete?

As many of my friends know, I love to watch Survivor. I like the idea of putting people on an island or somewhere deserted and giving them some rice and a few annoying people and let them go at it. I watch it religiously and this is actually one show I won't DVR unless ABSOLUTELY (read: somebody better be dying) necessary. I like to think I would know what to do to be the sole survivor but I ALSO know I'd never actually go on the show. I mean, Survivor is as much a social game as anything else. I can deal with that. I've done my share of manipulating people. Don't act like YOU haven't especially if you're a woman. But I HATE the outdoors. I HATE bugs. I HATE going without food or sleep. I HATE people telling me what to do when they're not the boss of me. I HATE being in close quarters with people I don't know or don't like. Because I do have a bit of a bitchy side when it comes to not liking people. I'm pretty honest about letting people know where they stand. But that's a story for another time. On this post, I'd like to give you an insight on to what I'D do if I were on Survivor so maybe I can help you if YOU ever decide you want to brave the elements.
#1. I'd make an alliance on Day 1 with the SECOND strongest guy on the island (the strongest is ALWAYS the biggest threat aka target)
#2. I'd deliberately not make myself look TOO good in challenges nor too weak.
#3. I'd scope out the ENTIRE group and immediately offer an alliance to the majority whether it be women, old people, martians, whatever! I'd be like Let's WOMEN/OLD PEOPLE/MARTIANS stick together and vote these MEN/WHIPPERSNAPPERS/EARTHLINGS out of here!
#4. I wouldn't go and tell everyone a sob story so they'll keep me around. Because the exact OPPOSITE happens. They won't keep you because it will pretty much guarantee you the win. They'll axe your ass at the earliest opportunity.
#5. I wouldn't brag about how much money I have either. (Not that I have ANY cuz i don't) They won't keep you if you don't need the money. 
#6. I wouldn't cry. Crying is weak. And nobody likes a crybaby
#7. I wouldn't make it obvious that I am searching for an immunity idol. Those people are so stupid. It makes you look like you don't care about the TRIBE, only yourself.
#8. I would learn how to build fire, catch fish and train BEFORE I even get there.
#9. I wouldn't go there in heels and a dress either. Dumb broads.
And if for some strange reason I DO get voted out:
#10. I wouldn't bitch about it at the final tribal council by being all rude and shit. That just makes you look stupid.
#11. I wouldn't vote for the biggest asshole. Being brutally honest about being dishonest only makes me want to NOT vote for you. (See: Richard Hatch)

So there you have it, people. You're welcome :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Project: Getting Sorted.....into Pottermore

Last night, I posted a video on youtube. It showed me getting sorted (in a really long extended version) and freaking out because I did not want to be sorted into the WRONG house. If you know me, you know I'm in Gryffindor. That. to me, is the RIGHT house. All of the others are WRONG. The quiz took me by surprise. At LeakyCon we got a sort of preview of Pottermore with screenshots and even a short demo and Jaime (the Pottermore guy) told us that you could not cheat the system. I actually had no intention of cheating the system because I had faith that my answers would be the most Gryffindor-y (new word alert) answers there could possibly be. I mean, I'm brave, loyal, chivalrous....

I answered the questions as HONESTLY as possible. I knew The Queen (Jo Rowling) herself made up this quiz. This quiz is the CLOSEST we'll ever get to an actual Hogwarts sorting. Unless, of course, they open up Hogwarts for real and let us magic folk in but I doubt it. So I reviewed each answer. Some had only 2 choices. Some had 6 or 7. And when it was all said and done, I was sorted into

So what happens next? I did what ANY Gryffindor would do when sorted into the House of Slytherin. I say "OMG. I just got sorted into Slytherin" and IMMEDIATLY try to be okay with it. Put on a BRAVE face and say "At least I'll be with Ashley and Cissy" (my besties). Then I think "I'm freaking Muggle-born! How did this happen?". Will I be welcomed there with open arms? Will I ever feel comfortable in the glass and marble common room rather than the cozy Gryffy common room? Will my WonWon still love me? They say Gryffindor and Slytherin are 2 sides of the same coin. If this true, have I ALWAYS been in the middle?  I know ONE thing's for sure: I'll never again be the only one in the Gryffindor tie in our bestie photo :(

Cissy, me and Ash

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Your nerdness > mine

This week, for Reader's Choice, the winner was Star Wars vs. Star Trek with Dave suggesting it and Ems giving me an enthusiastic "YA!". Now, this got me thinking about the parameters of my nerdness. Because, you see, I don't do EVERY nerd thing listed in the book (and there IS a book) simply because I hate to follow rules. And this includes "Nerd" rules. Like, for instance, I have never seen an episode of FireFly. I know, this news is probably breaking hearts as we speak but it's the truth. I don't watch too much a lot of tv and now that I can DVR everything, I watch even LESS. (I REALLY need to catch up) So, I thought I would make a short list of the "nerd" things that I don't, or have never, enjoyed.

1. I have not watched very many episodes of Star Trek. This is WHY this blog is NOT about Star Wars vs. Star Trek. I cannot tell you all the differences except that there was a Wookie that got the shaft on Star Wars and that, as far as I know, no incest on Star Trek.
Side note: I have seen episodes of Star Trek TNG because I love Will Wheaton and I have a crush on Patrick Stewart's voice >.<

2. I love comics but I'm not going out to watch every Superhero movie because you guys say it's "awesome". Too many times have I been fooled by this word. Too many times....
And I don't just buy superhero comics. I buy ALL KINDS of comics. Even Strawberry Shortcake with the scratch and sniff covers :)
Side note: I will be purchasing the new reboot of Justice League #1 shortly. I did not go to the midnight realease party because there was a cover and I had to work. I only go sleepless for video games and Harry Potter.

3. I love manga and anime but I don't collect Pokemon or Bakugan (or however the hell you spell this) or watch Dragonball Z Kai cuz that guys buff body and small head creeps me out.

4. I don't know sh*t about computers and I wish people would stop asking me what kind of computer I have like the model I have is some kind of super computer that you should buy cuz I'm smarter than you. NO! It's a HP. Bought it from Best Buy. Go buy whatever u want!

And finally, #5. I suck at math.

There! I said it. I confessed that I'm not as big of a nerd as you think I am. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go pet my Gumby comics. :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pottermore Sorting Psychosis

When JK Rowling announced the opening of Pottermore, millions of Harry Potter fans began to speculate about what online wonders await. Many were (and are) desperate to gain early access to the site. I have to admit I was one of them. I managed to find the magic quill on day 2 of the early beta testing sign-up in early August.  When I wrote this, I was still waiting for my owl to let me into the beta site. Although the full site will open to the public from October, there’s already been a lot of excitement surrounding the site. 

Get sorted!
The books were first published in 1997 and then shot to cult-status popularity not long after, and now seven books, eight films, and one theme park later, most Harry Potter fans have a Hogwarts house they already identify with. Of course the Sorting created by JK Rowling herself trumps any of the online quizzes, but what strikes fear in most fans’ hearts is: What happens if the Sorting Hat places me in the wrong house? There has been a lot of buzz on the internet about this already  from wizard wrock songs to twitter, where Evanna Lynch, an avid Harry Potter fan who played Luna Lovegood in the films, announced she was sorted into Gryffindor (For those not in the know, Luna is a Ravenclaw). I do however, have it on good authority that the actress who played Pansy Parkinson, Scarlett Byrne, did in fact get sorted into Slytherin. There have been rumours that Tom Felton (who plays Draco Malfoy, another Slytherin) was sorted into Hufflepuff! This is of course, only a rumour and has been denied by Mr Felton, who is also still awaiting his Pottermore owl.
If like me, you’re also anxiously awaiting your Pottermore owl, and stupidly nervous about getting sorted, let’s have another look at the Hogwarts houses.  You may not end up where you thought you’d be!

  Home of the brave
Gryffindor House is always described by the Sorting Hat as for those who are brave of heart, daring, chivalrous and full of nerve. Although all these attributes are often thought of as positive, many Gryffindor haters often dote on the negative connotations of bravery, such as its’ more ostentatious nature or that to recklessly rush in without a plan is actually not always the best course of action. Gryffindors and especially Harry get teased for playing the hero without thinking of the consequences.  In fact, bravery has in the past has had more negative connotations and was associated with boasting, swaggering, bravado, and showing off. Lions are an obvious choice of a mascot, brave and fearless and known as the king of the jungle. So, if you’re brave and full of daring, then perhaps the Hat will place you in Gryffindor.

  All for one and one for all
Hufflepuff House often gets billed as the ‘other’ house, but those sorted here are known for being just,  loyal, patient and true. They are not afraid of toil and their founder Helga Hufflepuff was quoted by the Sorting Hat to have said she’d ‘teach the lot and treat them just the same’ which 1,000 years ago is pretty progressive in terms of equal rights for wizarding folk. Sounds like a pretty good house and hard to find any negative attributes. Not sure why they get teased so much, but I suspect it’s probably because their mascot is a badger and their name is reminiscent of an empty threat or a puff of air. Perhaps the origin for Hufflepuff is from huffle an obsolete usage meaning ‘a sudden gust of wind’ and puff.  Either way, if you’re all for equality, this sounds like the house for you.

  None the wiser
Ravenclaw house is the house for the clever swots. Probably most Potter fans *think* they fall into this category and maybe if you read as much as Hermione does, then you are a Ravenclaw. The house of the wise, those of wit and learning with steady minds, Ravenclaw seems the most one-dimensional of all the houses – it’s just the place for clever people. Despite the name, their mascot is not a raven, but an eagle. Ravens have been associated with death or as harbingers of bad news, while eagles are known as the king of birds with sharp sight and the ability to soar to great heights. Eagles have also been associated with various reigning powers throughout history. Perhaps if you have a sharp eye and an insatiable quest for knowledge, Ravenclaw is where you belong.

  The end justifies the means
Last, but certainly not least (I saved the best for last!) is Slytherin House. Slytherins are known for their cunning and ambitious nature and described as shrewd and power-hungry. I can understand why being sorted into Slytherin may not make many people jump for joy. Of course, the Harry Potter books are told from a Gryffindor’s point of view and there are a lot of preconceived notions and generally negative rumours surrounding the house of the snakes. It probably doesn’t help matters that He Who Shall Not Be Named was in Slytherin and many of the Death Eaters come from the same house.   There is also that obsession with pure blood ancestry that is beyond acceptable by today’s standards. Okay, so they’re a bit elite and old school, but not all Slytherins are bad – let’s not forget about Severus Snape!  Slytherin attributes aren’t that bad either. Cunning didn’t always have its negative connotation; in fact it originally referred to someone who possessed knowledge.  Ambition can be a very good thing and drive people to achieve great feats. The snake as house mascot may also hurt a positive view of Slytherin. Snakes have long been associated in the West as a symbol of temptation and evil, of course, for almost as long, snakes have been revered by many other cultures as a symbol of wisdom and magic. Perhaps if you can have a bit of perspective and are keen to achieve, you may belong in Slytherin.   

No post on Sundays
I hope that helps alleviate any potential sorting pressure that you may be feeling while you wait for your Pottermore owl to arrive. Although the sorting seems important, I’d like to end with an excerpt from the Sorting Hat’s song in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which reminds us that although we may be split into different houses, we shouldn’t let that divide us.
 ‘I sort you into Houses
Because that is what I'm for,
But this year I'll go further,
Listen closely to my song:
Though condemned I am to split you
Still I worry that it's wrong,
Though I must fulfil my duty
And must quarter every year
Still I wonder whether sorting
May not bring the end I fear.’

Guest blog by:
Ashley Wagner who hopes the Sorting Hat places her in Slytherin, or else her father will hear about this!
Update: I did receive my Pottermore owl, and I was sorted into Slytherin without paternal intervention. Good luck to everyone still waiting!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Movies.....My Oh-so Guilty Pleasures

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away, my Monkey Man Participated in Reader's Choice and voted for me to blog about movies. Well, being the busy busy Jedi that I am, I told him that I owed him one because Jade needed a blog more than he did. Now, I often get an array of blog requests on this special day of the week ranging from the specific (like pre-con jitters) to the so-non specific (like movies or coffee). So this blog is from the "non-specific" category with my own twist. Instead of a blog about "movies", I've chosen to embarrass myself and make some nerd-fessions about my guilty pleasure movies.

I have many, and I'm sure you do too, but there are a specific few that hold a special place in my heart for one reason or another. The first one is Steel Magnolias. Now, I might have a country name but I'm NOT from the country. I'm not even from the South even though I live here now. I'm from freaking Cali! I'm not even sure Texas is considered a Southern state. Maybe Mid-West. I don't know. I hate geography. Moving on. This movie holds a special place in my heart because my mom and my 2 sisters and my little brother and I can quote this movie line for line. This is one movie that we'll all actually watch together and not talk during except to quote it because we'll be damned if me miss our favorite lines. And there are MANY gems in this one. Those Southern girls really could make you laugh and cry in the same scene.

The second one is Hook. Now, I like this movie for a variety of different reasons and none of them have to do with knowing all of the lines. Because, for some reason, I don't have all of the lines memorized. Only some. This movie reminds me of my younger days. I remember when Julia Roberts was cast as Tinkerbell and how she looked in that scene when she became big and was wearing that pretty dress and she kissed Peter Pan and he dissed her. That's when he started remembering where he was and remembering that he had kids and a wife and that kisses were REAL and not thimbles that we gave in lieu of them. But the thing that strikes my fancy even today is Dante Basco as Rufio. I had a crush on him even though he gave Peter Pan a hard time. And I was yelling the loudest Ru-Ru-Rufioooooooo!!

The third one HAS to be Troop Beverly Hills. Now I did not grow up rich, nor am I rich now, but for some reason, I can relate to this movie in a number of ways. For one, some of us can be considered outcasts no matter our place in life. Whether we're poor or rich, skinny or fat, beautiful or not. In this case, the rich girls were considered the outcasts amongst the other troops due to their inexperience with the outdoors.Which ANY geek can relate to since we spend the majority of our time indoors. Secondly, Shelly Long is just an awesomely cool mom that's DETERMINED to help these girls succeed even if they just sell more cookies than anyone else. And who doesn't want a mom like THAT? And, lastly, I just REALLY want to be a Wilderness Girl <3

I'll come out and give you ONE more movie. Not because I like to make a fool of myself in front of the entire interwebz (not that the entire interwebz is reading this cuz they're not) but because I like you guys. YOU. The ones reading this. Because I know you care enough to read this and beacuse I know YOU like it when I make a fool of myself. So here it is. Guilty Pleasure movie #4: Hocus Pocus. This movie is not a part of the geek mainstream but, frankly, I wish it were. In fact, I wish ALL of these movies were so I wouldn't have to sit and hide in The Burrow and watch them.....alone. However, ABC Family DOES show this movie every year around HAlloween and I always make sure to watch it. Because I love it. Because to me, it's timeless. Even though, at times, it can be a bit cheesy but to watch Penny Marshall get pissed at Gary Marshall while he's dressed as Satan cuz he's dancing with Sarah Jessica Parker and he's all "They call me Master" and she says "Wait till you see what I'm gonna call you" is SOOOOO freaking funny!! That whole scene is funny. Like when she first comes in and she's all "Aren't you broads a little old to be trick-or-treating?" I wish I could say that line JUST once in an appropriate situation. Of course, not ONE where there's a younger chick dancing with my husband but, you know.

So there's my list of movies that are guilty pleasures. I actually have more but I think you get the hint that I watch a variety of movies for different reasons. I'm sure you do too so MAYBE you could leave a comment and tell me YOUR favorite "guilty pleasure" movie. I would love that :)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pre-Con jitters....Oh how you tease me

Hello again, everyone! I know it's been a while since I've blogged. I think I'm starting to get a bit lazy here. Not my fault. Ok, it's my fault. But, in my own defense, I'm busy doing other things like playing WoW and trying to come up with a really cool cosplay for ComicCon. "But it's over" you say. Not here in Austin, it itsn't. See, Wizard World likes to take pity on the smaller "big cities" of the world by giving us our very OWN ComicCon. Like New York, Boston, New Orleans, Austin. There's more but I don't remember them all. They go around about once a month or so and have one in a different city so by the time WE get one, it's almost time for San Diego again. Ok I'm exaggerating but still. It's in November here and, by then, most people don't care about ComicCon anymore. But I do :) I wait and wait and wait and change cosplay ideas about 50x before I find the one I like. This year, I've decided to be Project:Alice from the first Resident Evil movie. Will people recognize me as Alice? I don't know. Nor do I really care. Last year, I went as Talia from the 6th Day and had to explain it a couple of hundred times. Did that discourage me? No. I was really in love with the blue wig :)

Last year's ComicCon was my very first con experience and if you live in an area where there are smaller cons ALL the time and you've NEVER been to one, I HIGHLY recommend you go to a couple before you hit up the giant ones. Just to kinda prepare you for what's in store. I remember getting ready for the con but only slightly. I remember I was REALLY excited and after each step of putting my costume together, my excitement grew! I checked the panel list and didn't really understand the whole "Let's get in line for an hour" thing. Because I was a noob and I hate waiting. So I didn't go to any. I walked around and took pics of cosplayers and bought TONS of $1 and 50cent comics and got some of them signed :) I was soooo happy.

Then, I bought my tickets for LeakyCon. The most AWESOME con on the face of the planet. I was so excited for LeakyCon that when I bought my tickets, I took a picture and thus sent myself into a WHOLE year of pre-con jitters. This one was bigger. It was in a city in a state I'd never been to. It was ALL Harry Potter!! There were going to be cosplayers there but I made the decision not to dress up because of the heat. I know heat and humidity because I live in Texas but Orlando is a WHOLE different animal. It's awful humid there. Nasty! So I didn't want to be in costume and be sweating bullets under it. But that doesn't mean I still wasn't excited....or nervous. Orlando is MUCH bigger than Austin. There were people there from different COUNTRIES let alone different cities. I didn't know what to expect. Would I get lost? Would I be able to do all the things I wanted to do? Would I have to wait in line for 10 hours? I was nervous/excited every DAY that got closer to LeakyCon. So I turned my nervousness into writing and then into prepping. A year is a long time to be nervous so some days, I just ignored it. But then, I'd get an email from Leaky about something new at the con and it'd start right back up again!

Today, my bestie is at Dragon*Con and she had pre-con jitters for like 3 weeks. In fact, this blog is her idea. On Mondays, I have Reader's Choice on the topic and this is hers. Everything she wrote on Facebook, everything she tweeted, every picture she posted,  everything she said resonated nervousness and excitement about Dragon*con. It was so easy to get caught up in it, it almost felt like I was going to. I started to get excited. i started to get nervous. I even started planning for my ComicCon experience this year which is in 2 more months. Dragon*Con is so much bigger than any con I've ever been to and I can't IMAGINE what that's like but it seems like it would be exciting times 100!! I've been watching new season of The Guild and now i want to go to MegaGameO'RamaCon!!

Holler if you love cons!!! WEWT!