Friday, December 14, 2012
I saw The Hobbit last night. I really really really liked it. To be fair, it is a movie based on one of my absolute favorite books in the universe, but I did go into it very apprehensive. I came out mostly converted, with very little to complain about save a few aesthetic choices and some obnoxiously cliche dialogue. Additionally, I saw it in IMAX 3D, without the 48fps, so I can't comment on the higher frame rate. I can, however, comment on how I thought the movie adapted the book, whether three movies is a mistake or not, and how much I loved Martin Freeman as Bilbo (spoiler alert: alot.)
But the reason I'm writing a blog post today is largely in response to the Negative Kotaku review of The Hobbit, which made me extra mad because it was written by a journalist I typically love and respect.
Here's the review, for your own reading pleasure (or displeasure, as the case may be): The Hobbit Feels Like a Video Game and That's Not a Good Thing
Moving past the frame rate argument, which is probably legit since I hate motion blur, my problems lie within the second half of the article, which responds to problems with The Hobbit's story line.
Kirk states: "There are almost no women in the movie, and it's all so unsexy it makes Fellowship of the Ring seem like the Downton Abbey Christmas special."
First of all, I don't know when movies started needing to be sexy in order to be enjoyable. By that logic, there are a lot of very well-respected, highly celebrated and award-laden films that shouldn't have ever been made, let alone enjoyed by international audiences. In fact, after spending a few weeks trying to get on the Game of Thrones bandwagon, a fantasy world entirely unmarred by overt sexuality was refreshing.
Second, who says the movie WASN'T sexy, just because it didn't have women in it? Do you mean it's unsexy to you, as a male viewer who is into ladies? I think that's what you meant. Because personally, I found Richard Armitage as Thorin to be sexy in the same way Christopher Eccleston's Doctor was...enriching. Additionally, I rather enjoyed staring at Martin Freeman. And Elijah Wood. Oooohhh did I enjoy staring at Elijah Wood, as I did in all three LoTR movies. This point doesn't contradict my first, as there is still no PATENT sexuality, either plot-wise or thematically. All I'm saying here is that "No Women" does not an unsexy film make.
Finally, there's a distinct lack of women in the movie BECAUSE THERE'S A DISTINCT LACK OF WOMEN IN THE BOOK UPON WHICH IT IS BASED. If there were random female characters thrown into the mix, it would only be for the sake of Hollywood and the adoring fans. In fact, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Galadriel an addition from the world of the book? I don't seem to remember her in the text, but that could be my faulty memory at work. Imagine what would happen if Peter Jackson just started throwing ladies around for the sake of a sexy film. Suddenly "An Unexpected Journey" would have an entirely different connotation all together, and that's a different movie for a different day.
I had several other problems with Kirk's review, not the least of which being his disparaging remarks towards the entire Star Wars prequel trilogy, but the sexy argument really grinds my gears. Ultimately, the story of The Hobbit is about just that: A Hobbit, on a quest. There are dragons. There is gold. There's a lot of stomach grumbling and lost ponies and such, and by the end, there's a happy ending. Tonally, the book is much MUCH lighter than the Lord of the Rings, so it makes sense that the respective film would also lay the humor on with a heavy hand. Why shouldn't there be singing, specifically when the songs come straight from the original text? Why shouldn't there be troll bogies? Why shouldn't the goblin king have such a chin that I've nicknamed him "fatty beard"?
You explain that to me, and that will be the day I stop wishing I was a hobbit.
Sunday, December 9, 2012
- The Hobbit (2-3 times. At least twice in seventh grade.)
- Dangerous Angels (4-6 times. Picked up while volunteering at the Ferguson Library. Haven't put down since. My favorite book.)
- To Kill a Mockingbird (2 times. Once for school, once because of reasons.)
- The Princess Diaries (2 times. Also picked up at the library.)
- A Wrinkle in Time (3 times. Once all at once, while sitting in Standsted Airport overnight, waiting to fly to Italy to see Sarah.)
- Beowulf (2-3 times, at least twice for different classes.)
- The Canterbury Tales (2 times, some stories more than that. At least part of it was read while IN Canterbury.)
- Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (3-6 times. The first book I read that taught me one could simultaneously function within the rules of AND satirize a genre. Douglas Adams is one of my heroes.)
- Harry Potter (anywhere between 2 and 6 times, depending on the book.)
- Twilight (3-5 times, depending on the book.)
- The Great Gatsby (2 times in completion, though I took a crit course in college that made us apply all the different types of criticism TO Gatsby, so... more than 2).
- Peter Pan (millions. I was obsessed in 8th grade.)
- The Red Badge of Courage (it gave me nightmares)
- The Scarlet Letter
- Ethan Fromme
- Pride and Prejudice (still gives me nightmares)
- A Tale of Two Cities
- Lord of the Flies (which I have read twice and hated both times.)
- Most of what I was supposed to read in 11th grade.
- Most of what I was supposed to read in any English survey course in college.
- See List #1 (Save, perhaps, for Twilight.)
- The Princess Bride
- Zen in the Art of Writing
- For that matter, anything by Ray Bradbury, especially Dandelion Wine.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
- John Green's entire body of work
- The Courtship of Princess Leia (for the rancors!)
- Seriously, Peter Pan.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
This is all well and good in theory, but very hard to put into practice. I guess that's why it's called practice.
In other news, today marks the beginning of Camp NaNoWriMo. Should I try and complete a novel this month? Or at the very least, daily drabbles? I guess if I'm going to blog every day, I'm off to a good start. Lets see what happens. I just have to keep remembering Wayne Gretzky (via Michael Scott) and Finding Nemo (the musical) and Bowling for Soup, and other random inspirational things.
Without them, I would be lost.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
The title explains the article, for the most part, but what I'm trying to wrap my head around is whether our popular culture has really become less empathetic, which I'm starting to think maybe it has. I'm not sure though, so look for those thoughts later tonight.
We're trying to look for a new place, and then to move to said new place. I also interviewed for an internship at a theatre today. A very specific theatre where I really want to work, even though the pay is pretty low and it's full-time work. For now, I'm just watching Spongebob, but I'm leaving in...twenty minutes.
I've also been selling a bunch of my movies and books online and at FYE. I'm trying to get rid of things I don't need, declutter my life and what-not...but I have so much crap I've barely made a dent. At my parents' house, however, I've been throwing things away like a fiend. I threw away boxes of crap and donated boxes of other crap. I just have to keep throwing away, selling and donating my stuff and eventually I won't have so much of it. Hmmm.
I've been trying to work on my Stu series today, but I'm in a funk. A writing funk. Maybe I need to sit in front of a notebook with a pen and lock myself in a room until I've written. I have to email a few people back that I met while I was at CTcon. It really was a spectacular convention, and the fact that it's so well attended on the same weekend as SDCC (even though they're on opposite coasts and whatnot) speaks to its success. I really like my time there and meeting so many awesome people. Now I just have to follow up with the ones I haven't emailed yet. Onward!
I also read a bunch of The Last Policeman today, which I will eventually review. I want to review Water for Elephants, considering I read it a while back and really enjoyed it for dramaturgical reasons. I really need to get back to the whole reason I created this blog--to organize my projects and take things one project at a time. BUT in the mean time, I've got to go look at a house and decide if I want to live there.
Monday, July 9, 2012
Tomorrow I don't go into work until 6:00 (well okay I'll be leaving around 5). I've been called in on a special day when Corporate is coming to check out the store. Apparently I'm good at my job, and they scheduled me during the important visit on purpose. I suppose that's good news, though it makes me kind of nervous that I have to make people buy ALL THE SHOES. Which, apparently, I'm already doing anyways, but perhaps that's beside the point.
Before my nerve-wracking evening shift, I have the whole day to write and write and write, since I flushed today down the toilet and did basically nothing except act like a sloth
I'm going to Connecticon this weekend, and covering it for IHoGeek. Also Amy's wedding shower is Saturday, and then her and Joey's wedding is next Saturday. I barely have time to catch my breath, let alone get anything done. I have to start looking for career jobs. Soon. And emailing people, and cleaning out my inbox and organizing my desk space and......
phew. One step at a time, like my blog says. One project at a time, or I'll never get anything done.
Anyhow. Back to work.
Sunday, July 1, 2012
I am challenging myself this month.
1,000 words per day.
One blog post a week (at least).
And finally, trying new things with my writing. I might actually post some of my fanfics on ff.net. I might write more than once I week. I might actually finish the things I've started.
We'll see. I don't want to get ahead of myself. BUT here's to July, the month of getting back to challenges, writing on a regular basis, and general good things. Happy July!
Monday, April 30, 2012
About two weeks ago that I figured out what had changed: American Idol doesn't want us to see a simple national singing competition (perhaps international, considering the British girl keeps winning...), they want us to believe we are watching an all-out brawl in which only one teenager survives. In other words, American Idol has become our very own hunger games.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I have examined three different covers of John Green’s 2008 novel Paper Towns. The first two are both from the original, American hardcover. There are two different images of the same girl (Margo, as confirmed by the author on his video blog shortly after the book came out); one where she is mischievously smiling from in front of a bright yellow background, and the other where she is looking sad in front of a blue/grey background. While the first image is crisp and clear, the second has a blue wash and a worn-looking finish, as though it had been dragged through mud. The fact that these covers feature Margo is an interesting choice because she is not the narrator of the story, and is absent from most of the action in the book. (more after the jump)
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Let's talk first about Maureen Johnson. I love Maureen, even though I have never read a single one of her books (yet. I own Name of the Star and can't wait until I have that mythical "free time" with which to read it.). I found her about two years ago, while she was guest vlogging for John Green on the vlogbrothers youtube channel, and since then I have added her on facebook, twitter and tumblr. Needless to say, I can not seem to get enough of her. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that she likes dramaturgy, or simply the fact that she is awesome. She often links to important issues, articles having to do with the YA world, and other interesting things, and recently she linked to an article about an elementary school in Missouri that has created what is essentially a "boys only" reading section.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The play will be about a young girl who writes stories for her friends and then she gets into a fight with one of them and writes about it. The story is found and "reported" to the principal, and the main character gets in trouble for it.
Okay that is a very loose description of the plot. The main character also has an older brother who is leaving for college in the fall (or NOT leaving... dun dun DUN) and a best friend who is in his first ever real life relationship, and happens to be gay. Her other best friend is also in a relationship--albeit a much less functional one--and I have a feeling this relationship is going to play into the tension between the two of them at some point. I have also storyboarded for some mysterious phone calls, but might drop that because I am not quite sure where I'm going with that idea.
There are two inspirations from which this play has sprung: the first is a seed of autobiography because I used to write stories for and about my friends all the time; the second is thinking about censorship in YA literature and how much it annoys me when adults get all muddied up what teens "can and can't handle", without ever entering into a dialogue with the teen readers themselves. Although these adults may mean well, I don't think that the literature should be policed in such a way that is simultaneously too careful and FAR too careless. It made me think of how high schools frequently produce "junior" versions of shows, which also really bothers me because if you're already trusting your students with tough subject matter, I don't see what cutting one number or the other will do for your production. I think it's a bastardization of the original text, and that if a play is going to be produced it should be all or nothing.
These are preliminary thoughts that will eventually make their way into my paper, which is chugging right along. I have also redesigned the blog portion of this project: instead of once a week (which I have been slacking on...) I will be posting twice a week until May 11th, which is when the staged reading is scheduled. Wednesday and Saturday, starting this Saturday, will be the regular publication days. Once they are in a more polished form, I will probably be posting sections straight from the paper and maybe even sneak previews of the play!!
Saturday, March 31, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Final thoughts: I don't know that either Caitlin or myself noticed that every book she chose (except Fairest of All) is part of a series... It's very difficult to define the YA genre without breaking it down into subgenres, which break down into sub-sub-genres, which break into.... anyhow. This is definitely not a one-trip process. You will be hearing from us again soon!
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
1 Appendix removal
2 weeks of bed rest
4 days out of town
30 pages of comprehensive exams, which are due this coming Monday.
I would say I've had a fairly full plate. HOWEVER I will be checking in tomorrow with the first post in a new series, which will chronicle my newest research project in Young Adult Theatre! Tomorrow's post will be "the project thus far" (and there is a LOT to report) followed by the first of regular Saturday postings. This week: working through an annotated bibliography... slowly, and under the influence of '90s television.
And for those still interested, once the comps are over, I WILL in fact be resuming the writing challenge. Because this will be the year of completed challenges and I refuse to let even the smallest challenge fall by the wayside.
In the mean time, there's some sleeping to do.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Lauryn: Hello Jen!
Jen: Taft 2012 is a satire about American politics, following what the author thinks would happen if Taft was found alive just in time for the 2012 elections. I enjoyed this book, but it was not my favorite. How did you like it, Laur?
Lauryn: Well I really liked it! I love President Taft and I thought that it was really interesting seeing what “Taft would do if he came back to life”.
Jen: I have to admit, I didn’t actually know a lot about Taft except that he was fat, so when there were the fake news articles about him disappearing I had to check whether or not it was true.
Lauryn: I wasn’t sure about that either and I’m still not sure about it actually. Since the novel does have some truth to it, I was confused on whether it actually happened or not.
Jen: Oh I looked it up. He did not disappear--he died like everyone else and he hasn’t come back... yet... that we know of.
Lauryn: I think that it’d be pretty cool for him to come back like he did in the book. Do you think he would have the same views about processed food as he does in the novel?
Jen: Probably. I thought it was strange that out of all the political issues in the world, Heller chose to give Taft agriculture to deal with. But I guess it’s appropriate, considering the fatness thing. I kind of agree with Taft’s views in the book because I wish it was easier to get fresh, healthy food instead of resorting to everything being cheap and processed.
Lauryn: I agree with that. I think that its so easy to get the processed food and junk that people just take advantage of it. Eating it on a daily basis instead of going to a natural food market is how the world works today. Although some people do think about what they’re eating and get natural foods instead.
Jen: Except that in this day and age, organic or natural sources are almost always way more expensive. Let’s get back to the book a little bit. What did you like best about it , and what was your least favorite part (without giving away any spoilers!)
Lauryn: Well my favorite part was definitely when Taft found out that he had a great granddaughter and they reconnected. My least favorite part was in between chapters with the interviews with Pauline Craige. I thought she was a real jerk. What about you?
Jen: GUH I know Pauline was so annoying, but she reminded me of a lot of newscasters today, so I thought that part was realistic at least. I think my favorite part about the book was whenever we got to learn about Taft--when he described his trips to the deli or when he reminisced about his wife and how much he loved her. I did not like the ending, I actually thought the book was a little too short.
Lauryn: Me too, I think that adding another couple chapters about years later would be interesting.
Jen: I wonder if the website will fill in the blanks. Have you been following the “Campaign” online?
Lauryn: I follow the “Taft 2012” fan page on Facebook so I’ve seen the status updates in the words of Taft himself. Have you been on the website lately?
Jen: Not since the book came out, but leading up to its release that website was cracking me up. I think one of the reasons I like it is because it reminds me of what Stephen Colbert and John Stewart do with their shows--they comment on real events in politics but in funny ways. They are how I like to get my news, so I love it when Taft tweets about the presidential debates and various candidates in the 2012 race.
Lauryn: I liked that the author included some of the “Taft connections” to twitter in the book.
Jen: Yes and the website shows how much thought went into the book, like you can read things about Taft’s campaign that aren’t in the book because it wouldn’t have made sense to include them. Okay, final question: who do you think the best audience is for Taft? Obviously we both enjoyed it, but who do you think it was really written for?
Lauryn: I think that it was mainly written for young adult audiences and older. Most of it was pretty kid friendly but there were a few parts when I asked myself “WHAT just happened????”
Jen: I bet I know exactly what you’re talking about, but lets not spoil it for our readers!
Thanks for helping me talk about Taft 2012 today, Lauryn. I think I know who I’m voting for this fall.
Lauryn: Well if I were old enough, I would too.
Jen: Taft 2012 is available now where ever you buy your books!
Lauryn: Yayy!! Now go and read a brand new review about The Thorn and the Blossom
Jen: haha thanks Lauryn.
I read this book in two sittings, neither of which took longer than an hour. I couldn't put the book down once I had started; I had to see it through from both points of view. The story follows two young lovers, Brendon and Evelyn, as their lives intersect, diverge and then come back to each other over the course of several decades. Their story, however, may be even older than either of them know, as it draws parallels to a legend from King Arthur's court in which two lovers are cursed to live intersecting lives for a thousand years before finally coming together again.
Goss defied my expectations from the very beginning by telling the story from two truly unique perspectives, making both versions of the story highly enjoyable regardless of where you start reading. Without giving anything away the endings of each story were truly unexpected, and avoided any stereotypes that spring to mind INCLUDING the happily ever after. While there are loose connections made to the characters of The Book of the Green Knight, the legend that brings Evelyn and Brendon together, nothing is ever so explicit as to be known for a fact, and each struggles with their own obstacles as they move through the book.
Possibly my favorite part of the book is the fact that it's written in a very modern world where magic is waiting just under the surface, ready to boil over at any moment. yes, it takes place in the 21st century, but it was written in a style akin to Epic poetry, exactly the kind of tale that would fit in an anthology of fairy tales. It was the kind of book that warmed my heart and made me want to come back to it again and again. Not only was the story enthralling, but the world was beautiful and the characters so intricately crafted that I'm only just getting to know them. In a market quickly becoming over-saturated with supernatural love stores, The Thorn and The Blossom is a pleasant surprise.
You can pick up The Thorn and the Blossom at a bookstore near you!
Sunday, January 15, 2012
I have been absent for a few days because of personal reasons that do not amount to a good excuse. HOWEVER. I will be back tomorrow to continue the challenge, and soon (Jan 17th) Lauryn and I will be back for a blog chat regarding Taft 2012. So excited! See you soon!
Friday, January 13, 2012
Are you so obsessed with The Office, that you'd buy a ream of Dunder Mifflin brand copy paper? Yes, yes you are! Fans can purchase a ream (500 sheets) of Dunder Mifflin brand copy paper (bright white), which works well in copiers, inkjet or laser printers. Turn your business or home office into The...
Can't decide whether to use, or display!
Pros: Detailed, Mint Condition, Authentic
Best Uses: Adults, Memorabilia, Teens
Describe Yourself: Collector
Was this a gift?: No
Seriously I can't decide whether to use this as real printer paper or just keep the whole thing on a shelf somewhere. I wish there were an option to buy stationery with the Dunder Mifflin header on it or a wider variety of Dunder Mifflin products.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Day 5: Write a 20-line poem about a memorable moment in your life.
A long time ago
In a place far away
I lived with a girl named Sarah
Sarah and I had a love for trains
that sometimes, put simply
could not be contained
We decided to honor
our train-shaped obsession
by patronizing museums, both near and far
Our fine city of Baltimore has many fascinations
but none so fine as our favorite
which of course is the museum of trains
There we saw parked trains, and moving, and broken
some that had buttons, and levers, and doors
one had a ghost, or at least so we thought
and one had crashed into a wall, long before
Many hours later, our feet were quite tired
our cameras were full and our brains had been fried
we wanted to remember every moment from train day
and on our way home, in the car, nearly cried
THAT IS MY TERRIBLE POEM ABOUT THE MOST LOVELY DAY OF MY LIFE. Don't hate.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Day 4: Write a letter to an agent telling her how wonderful you are.
To Everyone In the World Who is Even Entertaining the Idea of Hiring me:
Not all of you can have me--and not all of you even want me, I can promise you that.
I know far too much about the history of Disney, about cheeses, and about Chaucer. I get very excited about Victorian theatre, and would prefer if it rained every day. I do not enjoy reading Jane Austen, or movies where animals are in trouble. My favorite Shakespeare is Midsummer Night's Dream.
When I write, I write what I like--and that means the subject matter can be unpredictable. Of course, that also means my writing comes from a place of passion. I write plays and essays and young adult novels. I have written my fair share of fanfiction and movie reviews, and I have worked in entertainment journalism for almost four years now.
I have written a play about being in middle school on 9/11, and another where Mario escapes from his video game world. I have written a novel about being a princess on an imaginary planet, and one about high schoolers dealing with Geeky Love. My writing has been featured on several blogs and websites, including Kotaku.com--a video game blog read by millions of fans each day. One of my favorite months of the year is November, because that is when I get to participate in the international National Novel Writing Month challenge, where participants write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.
In short, I have a very specific way of rising to any occasion, and would be honored to work with you on continuing to diversify my portfolio!
That's it for today. Convincing someone that I am even okay when I am having the kind of week I'm having at the moment is... not easy. I welcome any and all comments.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Day 3: Write a setting based on the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen.
There was green for miles. Sometimes people say that and they don't really mean it, but seriously--there was green for miles. In fact, it was almost all there was to be seen, if it hadn't been for the enormous cathedral rising from the middle of it all. You could tell that the architect, when they were constructing the school, placed it with the cathedral in mind. There was no other way that it would be in the dead center of the dining hall window.
Sometimes I would get up early and just sit in the empty hall, watching the sun rise from behind the cathedral. And sometimes I would stay up late to watch long after the lights came on and the moon took its place in the sky. The sunny days were stunning, but the country was really magnificent in the rain. The skies were a sentimental shade of grey, the kind they didn't have at home. From inside the dining hall, the rain sounded like it was everywhere, as though there couldn't be a single place on the planet where it wasn't raining.
Outside of the dining hall, the air was crisp and clean all year round. The grass was impossibly green, even on the dullest of days. She could walk right into town, over cobblestone roads and through ancient walls. Everything in town had a certain gravity to it--there was a Starbucks built into the wall around the cathedral, which had been there since the 13th century. It was the only Starbucks I've ever tolerated.
It was the kind of place I could be a writer.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
One of my new year's resolutions is to write on this blog on a regular basis. Once a week for starters.
I'm going to finish the 12 Days of Christmas challenge, starting tomorrow. And then we will go from there. In the mean time, I have been working away on ten thousand projects and I'm hoping to make serious project on Jer's Jedi costume while he watches football this afternoon.
See you tomorrow! (And this time, really, I mean it.)