Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Why I Found "Mockingjay" Disappointing *SPOILERS*

!!WARNING: If you haven't read "The Hunger Games" trilogy or are waiting to see the movies, SPOILERS!!

     I really enjoyed the first book. Collins is a good writer, better than Meyer, and I love a female heroine who is brave and self-sufficient. Katniss was maybe a little too clueless in some ways for my taste, but I liked her, and Collins' imagery was sometimes poignant enough to make me cry.
     The second book was good, again, excellent imagery. But Cinna, one of my favorite characters, dies, which pissed me off. And I kind of got the feeling that the books weren't going the way I anticipated, which is rather egotistical I know, but I like happy endings. There's enough tragedy in real life, I don't want it in my entertainment too.
     "Mockingjay" just continued in the same vein. Great imagery, but too realistic. Prim DIES! The center of the inciting incident for the whole goddamned story, and Collins kills her off! This made me a touch irrational. I understand the whole "girl-as-pawn-of-powerful-competing-forces" thing, but FUCK THAT. Finnick dies, and Katniss ends up with Peeta, which is great for him, but frankly, I wanted her to end up with hot hunter Gale. In my mind, the only redeeming things were Kat's shooting of Coin and the death of Snow, but neither of them made up for my general disappointment. Also, I was glad that Buttercup survived, but he's just a cat.
     I dunno, maybe I'm too sensitive, maybe I take things too personally. I understand that Collins was writing for a young adult audience, and she felt the need to add some realism to her escapist fantasy. Life isn't all sunshine and daffodils and children need to know that, as if they don't already. I wanted more romance and less cold reality, more the way things should be, and less the way they are. Oh well. I do wonder if and what the movies will change, though. After all, Hollywood does share my love of happy endings.

Friday, October 11, 2013

In Defense Of My Love Of "Twilight"

     I don't know why I feel the need to defend my current borderline obsession with Stephenie Meyer's young adult novels. Maybe because they're young adult, or maybe because she's been criticized for not being a particularly good writer, or maybe because I'm a contrarian at heart and I often reject things I'll probably like just because they're popular. I haven't read any fiction in a while, like a long while, and maybe that plays into it. Or maybe it's just because they make me feel all gushy and fourteen again, which isn't a bad feeling, but a bit disconcerting at my age. And I have to agree, Meyer isn't particularly gifted. She writes about the level of a competent romance novelist, readable, but a little shallow. Stephen King's criticism of her might be valid, but there is one big difference between King and Meyer. He's a better writer, undoubtedly, but having read both of them, I'd like to inhabit the world that Meyer creates, whereas Mr. King's worlds, ummmm, NO.
      Meyer had a good idea, it came to her in a dream apparently, and she wasn't afraid to go with it. She, as much as I hate the phrase, thought outside the box, taking the well known lore about vampires and altering it, making it her own. I find this a gutsy move, admirable, and I'm jealous I didn't think of it. So her vampires sparkle in the sunlight, so what? That's the nice thing about mythical creatures, they're mythical, they can be anything you want. She made them more real, emotional creatures instead of just monsters. Coppola did this a bit in "Dracula" too, making the immortal Count somewhat sympathetic (casting Gary Oldman helped.) I also like how, in the last book, she starts to explore the scientific possibilities behind werewolves and vampires, like maybe they're not strictly supernatural, but preternatural.
     I started with the movies, more accessible I guess, I read the books because I wanted more. I like everyone's back stories, stuff that's not included in the movies because of time constraints. And I enjoyed seeing how the screenwriter, Melissa Rosenberg, chose to adapt the books, since a lot of the action takes place in character's heads. If I had been a dedicated fan of the books before I saw the movies, I probably would have been greatly disappointed. They're not great films, just like they're not great books, but I gave up long ago up hoping the movie will be better, or even as good as, the book, because it's just not possible. Unless you have a really lousy imagination.
      I find myself wishing Meyer would've done something like making the series open-ended, allowing other writers to continue with new books. It's not like her writing style is hard to copy. There's certainly enough material and storylines to work with, and she probably would've made another boatload of cash. But that's just the fangirl in me, not wanting the fantasy to end.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Comprehensive List Of Actors From "The Dark Knight Rises" That I Would Totally Do

  1. Christian Bale- Panty dropper!! I'd even forgive him that unbelievably annoying voice.
  2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt- Not a "3rd Rock" fan, but after "The Lookout" he really brought out my inner cougar.
  3. Tom Hardy- Oh yessss...that mouth is reason enough, but I'd also like to touch that body he so lovingly and thoroughly transformed.
  4. Michael Caine- I know he's, ahem, older but he's MICHAEL CAINE! 'Nuff said.
  5. Gary Oldman- From "Sid & Nancy" to "Romeo Is Bleeding," "Immortal Beloved" to "The Fifth Element," major talent. And talent is a wicked turn-on.
  6. Burn Gorman- Looking a little odd lately, but "Torchwood" alone earns him a spot.
  7. Morgan Freeman- Again, AMAZING talent. And I'll bet he's a fantastic kisser.
  8. Liam Neeson- Well, duh. Can imagine being held against the tall, lean length of him...
  9. Daniel Sunjata- Does Christopher Nolan have a thing for guys with hot mouths?
  10. Cillian Murphy- Those gorgeous eyes and "28 Days Later." Also, he plays evil pretty well and I'll bet he has a great imagination.
  11. Christopher Judge- Again with the sexy mouth. "Stargate" and the fact that ebony and ivory skin tones look soooo good together.
  12. Josh Stewart- Plays a baddie, but he's pretty adorable on "Criminal Minds."
  13. Tom Conti- Made the list for sentimentality's sake. I did love "Shirley Valentine."

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Feel For Black Widows

   When I was an apartment manager in Hollywood, one of my duties was to take care of safety issues around the property. And, as I discovered, one of those issues was black widow spiders. Around the pool and garden areas, specifically, UNDER THE CHAISE LOUNGES. They seemed to like the shade provided, and one chaise seemed to be the right size territory for one spider. I would go out in the mornings and quite often find a spider under every chair. I would dutifully get the Raid, and spray the life out of the creatures because it was my job, and I certainly didn't want a tenant or a pet getting hurt.
   I know most people cringe at the thought of spiders, especially dangerous ones, you're probably ick-ified right now just reading this, but I always felt bad. I don't mind spiders, unless they're on me, or snakes or rats or a lot of other creepy-crawlies, my disgust level is pretty high. I feel every being serves a purpose, even mosquitos, and they don't necessarily deserve to be destroyed just because they inconvenience us. A black widow can't help that she's a threat, can't help being poisonous, there's no malice in her little spider heart. She is who she is, and I have a great deal of empathy for that fact.
   I read an article by Amanda Marcotte about psychopathy and autism, and how, although both are mental diseases, they get such different treatment. I remember an interview with Jeffery Dahmer's dad, and how I felt so bad for the man, because he seemed just as bewildered as anyone as to how his son could possibly have turned out that way. And the soul-sinking guilt and self-recrimination he carried. When your child is a psychopath, a monster, and does something horrible, we tend to blame the parents. We blame upbringing, nurture, when we should be blaming breeding, nature.
  I'm not defending the actions of psychopaths, I'm not saying they don't need to be punished. They are a threat to society and, just like black widows, need to be kept away from people they can hurt. Hopefully, one day science will be able to correct whatever malfunction it is that creates psychopathy in the human mind, whatever defect that removes a person's natural empathy and compassion. Until then, we're all just swimming in the ocean, trying to avoid the sharks.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Hard Winter

I've been particularly whiny lately, self-pitying and dissatisfied. None of these are very admirable or noble traits, but in my defense, it has been a long, cold, snowy winter. Snowfall is at near-record levels (I guess I should apologize for the mean tweet regarding the plow guy at my apartment...), and the season started out with seven weeks of fifteen-degree-or-less temperatures. At one point, seeing that it was snowing AGAIN made me unreasonably angry, tooth-grindingly mad.
And this winter has been seemingly full of tragedies, large and small. A young female moose died in a friend's yard, apparently of starvation. The deep snow taxes the moose population. They starve or get hit by cars on the plowed roads. Another friend's dog of eighteen years had to be put to sleep. And, the deepest cut, Tom and Jean's son, Lucas, 25, dying in his sleep a month before he planned to move up here. A hard winter, indeed.
The days are getting longer and the snow is melting, finally. Sun storm activity made the Aurora spectacular this year. Alaskan summers are really something to look forward to. But that little niggling voice in the back of my mind just whispers, "What about next year?"

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Small Town Gripes

Returning to the town where I grew up after my mother's death seemed like a good idea at the time. When she was in the hospital in September, 2008, I was all "it's so beautiful here, the air is clean and the people are friendly, why did I leave?" After being back for two years, I TOTALLY remember why I couldn't wait to leave.
I miss the energy and anonimity of big cities. I miss the fast pace of urban life. I miss the option of refusing to return to a store when I get crappy service. When there's only one place in town to get something, then you pretty much HAVE to go there, crappy service or not. The other options are to order over the internet (and pay for shipping,) or drive a hundred and sixty miles round trip to the next, slightly larger, town (and pay for gas) neither of which is a great choice.
Having lived here for over thirty years, my mother had quite a history. She was a visible, active member of the community, ran for city council a couple of times, never failed to make her opinions known. It can be a nice thing, being known for your family, but sometimes you can just feel the judgment when someone finds out who your parent was. It can leave a bitter aftertaste. And did I mention seeing her ex-lovers? That can be rather embarassing, especially when some of them really have NO idea what's in good taste.
I like running into people I know, even though I've become quite masterful at the sweet-but-swift brush-off, since otherwise a fifteen minute trip to the store becomes a forty-five minute "Oh I haven't seen you in so long!" conversation. Being surrounded by people who've known you for years is great, except when it's not, when it's petty and spiteful and grudge-holding.
Small town life can be amusing. There was a letter to the editor in one of the local papers this week about the illegalities of shooting and butchering a neighbor's goat that happened to get loose. It was funny, but it also struck me as being so provincial and vaguely ridiculous.
I liked having my choice of first-run movies to see in a variety of luxe theaters, even if we rarely went. Ditto with other entertainment and dining options. Here, there is ONE theater that hasn't been updated since the 70's, showing two or three movies per week. Last time I saw a film on the big screen, I was distracted by the ratcheting of the projector and how cold the building was.
Maybe I'm being petty or short-sighted, maybe I'm spoiled or impatient, but 99% of the people I went to school with now live elsewhere. Some of them didn't go too far, a couple of really good friends live in Anchorage. Anchorage is a city, a small city, but a city nevertheless.

Friday, July 29, 2011

No Free Bags

I guess this would not come as a surprise to those (wonderful, loyal) few who still read my almost-nonexistant blog, but I often find my mind wandering far afield. Like the old "paper vs. plastic" debate. Pretty mundane on the surface, but rather complicated once you delve deeper. Because you have to kill trees to make paper bags, and you have to drill oil to make plastic ones. At least trees are a renewable resource. And probably the best bet is to bring your own reuseable bags to the store with you, provided you don't wash them too often, which uses water and detergent and electricity. Which brings me to the thought that that's how it used to be, you brought your own containers to carry things home in, because there were no free bags. You brought the miller your wheat, he ground it, and you carried the flour home in your own sacks. So who started giving away free bags when you purchased something at their store? I think it's a pretty enterprising thing to do, people were maybe more likely to shop there, but then, how did it become standard? And these days, it seems we're coming full-circle, with a movement by stores to stop giving away bags. Hmmm...