Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Time! Beautiful Creatures-Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

So I’m going to do one of three book reviews that I have been meaning to do in one blog post. Hope there’s no brain overload. Oh, and FYI: I will be posting a review of the Green Lantern movie sometime here soon as well.

Beautiful Creatures-Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl

This book is typical and not typical all of current young adult fantasy books. Yeah. Let me explain. Typical: supernatural events surrounding a teenage couple forbidden to be together. Untypical: Most young adult fantasy books have the boy be mysterious and aloof, and the girl pines away for him. Garcia and Stohl flipped the script! The girl is mysterious and aloof and the dude pines away for her!

My friend Destiny got me interested in this book and its sequel, Beautiful Darkness, via text message of the books themselves. The covers are really, well, beautiful. It captures your attention with the unique script and black on black images.

This book is about Ethan Wate, a guy stuck in small town Gatlin, SC and dreaming of a girl he’s never met, until she suddenly shows up at his high school. Lena Duchannes is the new girl in town trying to keep not only her emerging powers under control and a secret, but also a curse that has haunted her family for generations is fast approaching and is waiting for claim her. When they encounter each other in the rain on the way to Lena’s home, the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, is when they both discover that the other is not a dream but real and Ethan is determined to uncover the connection between them.

…and then all sorts of teenage drama and supernatural craziness goes down.

My favorite part about this book: NO VAMPIRES! Ah! Thank you Ms. Garcia and Ms. Stohl for not writing about vampires. Don’t get me wrong, I have read and enjoyed books with vampires in them, but there’s something about the way they are written in young adult books that just bother me. That said and done with, I enjoyed the creation of the Caster World. Mysterious and powerful, I read the Casters in the book like witches with a few shared abilities, but each individual caster had a special ability all their own. Lena is a Naturalist and her Dark Caster cousin Ridley is a Siren. Another interesting twist is Lena’s uncle Macon, an Incubus who is suppose to be a Blood Incubus (explained in the second book) but chooses to be a dream and memory eating Incubus. Macon Ravenwood and Ridley were for me the most enjoyable characters off the book. Macon is described through out the first part of book as some crazy old koot but then come of find out his so smooth and suave. And Ridley, well, she’s just a really well written and fun to read bad girl. Garcia and Stohl did a great job weaving mystery and romance together than make it a page turner.
However, I did take issue with how long it took to get the show on the road with the plot. I understand, we have many characters to introduce and set up and blah blah blah. But I was desparete to get on with the mystery. As much as I enjoyed the idea of the Kelting, a form of telepathic communication that Ethan and Lena used, it got a little annoying with the broken and unfinished sentences. Also, I felt that the mystery behind the Ravenwoods and Duchannes took to long to unravel and then right near the end it just exploded. And my final complaint: Ethan Wake is a male version of Bella Swan from the Twilight books. Both are clingy to their supernatural loves and both have a special connection/ability. Granted, Ethan is a Mortal who can Kelt (it’s only reserved for Casters) and Bella could block Edward’s mind reading. But still! The same. Ethan was just a little less annoying than Bella.
I enjoyed this book. Even though it took a while for the plot to get going, once it did, I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Would I recommend it? Yeah, it’s a good read. But be patient while you experience all of Ethan Wake’s complaining about Gatlin and high school life.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Yeah. More pictures from my desk at work...

My desk Pirates have better watch out. I have new desk toys!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Quick Rambling: Deadliest Warrior

My husband and I have decided that our lack of cable television is not only a financial choice, but also a lifestyle choice. I mean, come on. All those channels and maybe a handful of shows are any good? Commercials? I hate commercials. They impede on my need to watch my shows uninterrupted.

Thankfully, there is NetFlix. I feel I must take a brief moment and say thank you for the creator of NetFlix. Thank you.

With NetFlix, I can enjoy the shows I love without the hassel of a TV/Cable network. No commercials. And I can watch an entire season in its entirety without having to be bothered by the "tune in next week" jitters.

One of my favorite shows that I have ever stumbled upon is Deadliest Warriors. I believe it was on Spike. I know. This show is geared towards over testosterone dudes, and not little nerdy scifi fan girls like myself, but I have always had a fascination with military history and weaponry. Might be the fact that I was raised in a military family. But, one cannot deny some of the ingenuity it takes to create weapons for war. Personally, I have always wanted a Trebuchet. It's a weighted catipulate. Don't know what I'd do with something like. Maybe bombard the jackasses that feel the need to play their music so loud in their cars while driving by my apartment, it threatens to wake my little one up. I have also always thought that weapons like swords and guns have a certain art in making them.

But what about Deadliest Warrior you ask? What the hell is that? Deadliest Warrior is a television program in which information on historical or modern warriors and their weapons are used to determine which of them is the "deadliest" based upon tests performed during each episode. The show is characterized by its use of the data compiled in creating a dramatization of the warriors' battle to the death. The show is hosted by three commentators: Geoff Desmoulin (biomedical scientist and high speed camera operator), Dr. Armand Dorian (medical consultant), and Max Geiger (simulations programmer). All three provide commentary throughout the show, as well as technical details of each weapons test.

Science? War? Weapons? Holy Crap! My kind of show! When my dad and I first discovered this show, we would take endlessly about the match ups and the results. I have know introduced it to my husband and I got him hooked. My personal favorite is the match up Pirate Vs. Knight. And Of course, the Pirate kicked some ass! A blunderbuss is another weapon I would love to have in my arsenal of shutting up my noisy apartment neighbors. I think my husbands favorite episode, however, is Vlad the Impaler vs. Sun Tzu. In the end, Vlad...well, he impaled poor ol' Sun Tzu. Yuck.

I am super happy to find out that there will be a season 3 of the show! But my dad might be a little put off since former Navy SEAL Richard "Mack" Machowicz from Discovery Channel's Future Weapons will be replacing Max Geiger. The guy gets on my Dad's nerves for some reason. Maybe it's the way he over dramatization of the weapons and certain scenarios? Ah. I don't know.

Oh! and side note, I tweeted how much I loved the show and I got a mention by Geoff Desmoulin back saying "ur not alone girl." Ack! Nerd spasm!

Is it strange that I love this show? Maybe. But what can I say? I love a finely crafted weapon of war.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dr. Momo-Horrible's Nap Time Take Over

So my little chihuahua is planning to take over the world. But first she must take a nap on the clean clothes I'm trying to fold. I really think its all part of her master plan...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Oh oh! Am I late for First Class? (X-Men First Class that is!)

Yeah. Not the best blog title but my brain is fried from a cranky baby.

**Before I begin, there are spoilers in this here review.**

My husband has been dying to see X-Men: First Class. Ever since we saw the first trailer months back, that is all he talked about. However, I had my doubts. Anyone remember X-Men Origins: Wolverine? That movie had so much potential to dive deep into the history and psyche of Wolverine. What did it offer? Continuity problems, random character introductions that had nothing to do with the plot, oh, and really bad claws.
So when I heard that First Class was being made, I was uneasy about it. Then my husband told me that he heard that First Class was going to be a trilogy I decided it wasn’t worth seeing. Why can’t there just be one movie?  Why does there have to be a series?
But yesterday, we packed up and took my nephews, six and ten years old, to see this origin story. The movie begins with the re-introduction of Erik Lehnsherr in a Nazi concentration camp in 1944, screaming for his parents when they are separated and this tragedy causing him to bend the metal fence. Then we are introduced to a very young Charles Xavier waking up to the sound of someone in his kitchen, the shape-shifter named Raven, later to be forever known as Mystique. The movie goes back and forth: Eric meeting with Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) who forces his metal manipulation abilities by murdering his mother in front of him, to Charles and Raven in a pub in England, where Charles uses his telepathy to pick up the ladies at the bar, to Erik, older and angrier, hunting Nazis. By this time it’s 1962 and American is on shaky ground with the Soviet Union. Then, we are formally introduced to Sebastian Shaw, a mutant with the ability to absorb kinetic energy which not only makes him strong but also keeps him looks young.  He surrounds himself with other mutants with very useful abilities, such as Emma Frost (White Queen), Azazel and Riptide (who had no speaking lines. Easy job for that guy). Come to find out, it is Shaw who is behind the driving force of the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis. He plots against both sides to have a world for mutants. Charles Xavier is recruited by the CIA to develop a special covert mutant team to battle Shaw and protect the American people. At this point a lot of stuff happens kind of at once. We meet a handful of mutants, who are weakly developed, (example: Introduce the character of Darwin and then 10-15 minutes later have Shaw kills him), we see them train, we see them battle the forces of Shaw and win, we see Erik turn his back on Charles and (in the words of River Song “Spoliers!”) kill Shaw, and then Charles ends up being shot in the back which of course leaves him paralyzed. The movie ends up Erik busting out Emma Frost, who has been in CIA custody for the last 20 minutes of the movie, who tells her to call him Magneto.
And end credits.

I have to say. I was pleasantly surprised. Not by James McAvoy or Michael Fassbender (both did an amazing job), but by Kevin Bacon. Holy crap was Kevin Bacon awesome in this movie. Most movies Kevin Bacon is playing, well, Kevin Bacon. But in First Class, he is Sebastian Shaw, leader of the Hell Fire Club and all around smooth talking evil guy. He speaks German and Russian in the movie and it sounds absolutely natural. And what the best part: Bacon made you want to like Shaw. For all of the bad things he does to Erik in the camps, to how he annihilates a CIA building and the people inside, you can’t help but think, “If I were a mutant, I’d side with this guy.” That is the making of an awesome villain. Someone who you know you should not like because of this things he does, but can’t help but agree with why he is doing the things he does. I enjoyed the storyline and for the most part how the plot continued to move forward. However, the rush of introducing the other mutants was a disappointment. The cameo by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine was entertaining but him and his F-Bomb dropping was unnecessary. I found Raven to be whiney and out of place with McAvoy’s Xavier and Fassbender’s Magento. Also, the friendship between these two characters felt forced to me. They were thrown together by circumstance. It felt more like an unstable alliance rather than friendship. But my major problem is the ending. It felt a little Scooby-Doo for me in that while Magneto is talking to Emma Frost, there stands Mystique and the rest of the gang in the door way like “yah! Join us! It will be wacky fun!” Oh! And whoever was in charge of making sure customs, did a crappy job on Fassbender. It was like they just found some random purple suit that was two sizes too big for him and tailored it with safety pins. The helmet wasn’t bad, minus the weird pointy things, which I’m told is in comic cannon. Also, what was the deal with McAvoy placing his index finger on his temples to use his telepathy? Don’t get me wrong, I get it, but it really did look a little goofy him running around looking like he was thinking really hard about something. Another problem was that it was obvious that the writers, producers and director paid no attention to the storyline that was put in the previous X-Men movies. Example: in X-Men III, Xavier was walking around at the beginning of the movie. At the end of First Class, he’s shot in the back and is paralyzed. And the biggest plunder: killing Shaw. Yes. Killing. Sebastian Shaw. What a huge mistake! Kevin Bacon did such an amazing job that they could have continued with movies dealing with the Hell Fire Club. But no. They have to go against reason and logic and kill off an amazing character. That’s Hollywood for you.
But for the flaws that I have pointed out, I have to say, I enjoyed this movie. It was a more adult and mature look at the X-Men. And even though I enjoyed the villains more than the heroes, I enjoyed the tragic story of Erik Lehnserr and he’s journey for vengeance.

And right now, I’m going to introduce a rating system for my blog. Since I’m obsessed with Pirates, it’s going to be the “Arrgh! Rating System” So this movie get’s 4 “Arrghs!” and that just because Kevin Bacon was such an amazing bad guy.

Nerd Out!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

More Doctor Who computer pictures!

This is my laptop. Its the inside of the new TARDIS. Yes. I'm obessed...

Look! More pics of my work computer!

I got a new computer at work the other day. So since I'm still in Doctor Who mode (which I have come to realize might never go away) I found this loveley gem. Its the 10th Doctor (my favorite) in the TARDIS. have a TARDIS. Le sigh.