Monday, September 19, 2016

The Tolkien Tag 2016

It's that time of year when Hamlette hosts her annual Tolkien blog party.  Here's my answers to her questions in...

The Tolkien Tag 2016

1.  How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read?
Five: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Hobbit, and The Silmarillion

2.  Have you seen any movies based on them?
The six Peter Jackson movies.

3.  Are there any scenes/moments that make you cry?
In the books, not so much.  In the movies... the eagles.

4.  Are there any scenes/moments that make you laugh?
Many.  Merry and Pippin in Fellowship, and so many parts of Five Armies.

5.  Have you ever chosen a Middle Earth name for yourself?  If so, what is it?
Well, my nephew called me Aragorn for the better part of a year, does that count?  I did look up what my real name would be once, on one of those webpages, and I quite liked it:  Nieriel.  I could handle that.

6.  Who would you want to party with/marry/fight to the death? (pick three characters)
Well, I've never seen the Dunedain party, but based off watching Aragorn at parties, I suspect they're quiet about it, so they're definitely my choice.

To marry?  Celeborn, because Marton Csokas.  Also, Celeborn is a serious badass, and quiet, and faithful, and he seems perfectly fine with Galadriel going off and doing her own thing, so that's the guy for me.  Also, did I mention... Marton Csokas?

Fight to the death?  Azog, of course.  He's the only one who made me want to jump into the movie and take him on myself.  I just want to shove Thorin out of the way, tell him, dude, you're going to get yourself killed.  Let me do this.  Why, yes, I have a death wish, why do you ask?  But, if I'm marrying Celeborn, I'm most likely an elf, so I like to think it will be a darned good fight.

Bring it on!
7.  When was the last time you visited Middle Earth, via books or movies?
A couple weeks ago, Desolation of Smaug was on television, and we watched the first half until it got too late.  Been dying to watch the second half ever since.

8.  Do you consider Gollum to be a villain?  Why or why not?
No.  I feel too sorry for him to think of him as a villain.  A victim of the ring's power, yes, under which he schemes and manipulates and causes trouble, but not a true villain. 

9.  How would you sum up what Tolkien's stories mean to you in one word?

10. List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies.
"It comes in pints?"
"You've had a whole half already!"
"Potatoes! Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew."
"They're taking the Hobbits to Isengard."
"Have we not?"
"Men are weak."
"Thorin!  Thorin.  Thorin..."  (this is a bit of an injoke that only my sister gets, but why quote it all the time.)
"It's moving fast, against the wind."  (which is usually followed by somebody in the family shouting "Crebain from Dunland!")
"A little late to be trimming the verge."

Check out Hamlette's Edge of the Precipice page for more links, games, posts, and fun, including a worldwide giveaway.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Happy 50th Anniversary to Star Trek!

The original Star Trek series was a constant in my life growing up.   There was almost no time when it wasn't playing in re-runs, so my family basically watched an episode a day for years and years and years.  Sure we'd skip the ones we didn't like, but more often than not, when time for it to start rolled around (I recall it aired at 5 pm weekdays, for years), we'd flip stations and settle in to watch.  I can't imagine life without Star Trek somewhere in it.

So Happy Anniversary and a huge thank you to all involved who made this show possible, and then kept it going through some great movies, and onto new television series.

My favorite Original Series eps:

1. Bread and Circuses
2. Mirror Mirror
3. Shore Leave
4. City on the Edge of Forever
7. Balance of Terror
8. Journey to Babel
5. Errand of Mercy
6. Enterprise Incident
9. Day of the Dove
10. The Trouble with Tribbles

Favorite movies with the original cast:

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Monday, September 05, 2016

What, again??

Since I'm on a role stealing tags, let's do this Liebster one AGAIN, but this time with another set of 11 questions, this time from Hamlette.

1.  Is there a movie that has really yummy-looking food in it that you'd love to eat?
Yes.  In particular, I've always wanted the bread and cheese Marion eats in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I want those sausages Sam is frying up in FotR, while Boromir teaches Merry and Pippin to sword fight.  I don't even like sausages either, but that moment still always makes me want one anyway.

2.  What era do most of your favorite movies take place in?
Hm.  Kind of all over the board.  From a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, to Roman times to Medieval times to the Old West to fantasy eras to the 1940s to current to the future.  I don't think I particularly care.

3.  What two actors/actresses have you always hoped would make a movie together, but didn't/haven't yet?
Well, I wanted Tyrone Power and William Holden to make a movie together, and since they didn't, I wrote a novel for them instead.  LOL!  It's probably good they didn't... that would be too much handsomeness to handle in one movie.  I guess nowadays, I'd really really like to see a movie with Ken Branagh and Ewan McGregor.

4.  If money and time and supplies (and crafting ability) were not considerations, what movie character would you love to cosplay or dress up like for Halloween?
Oh, so many costumes.  I'd like a full Jedi costume (and I intend to get one someday). And I'd like to dress up as Lt. Saavik from Wrath of Khan.  I also wouldn't mind an Indiana Jones costume.  I have the hat and bullwhip, would kind of like the rest.  Indy is one of my oldest nicknames, and I feel I should be able to dress up as him on Halloween if I wanted to!

5.  Have you ever cosplayed or dressed up like a movie or TV character for Halloween?
Of course!  My Halloween costumes usually were movie characters.  Andre Delambre and Han Solo when I was young.  I went as Tonto a couple years ago, when my nephew dressed up as the Lone Ranger.  And, of course, just recently, dressed up in Star Trek: Original Series dress for the Star Trek convention.

6.  What movie would your friends/family be surprised to learn you truly enjoyed?
Well, it usually surprises people to find out I love Overboard (1987), the Kurt Russell/Goldie Hawn romantic comedy because I'm not usually one for romantic comedies.  But I love that one enough that I own it on DVD.

7.  What's one book you hope no one ever makes into a film?
No one better make Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle into a movie.  It's my favorite novel after MacLean's The Secret Ways, and it's extremely cinematic, but I have Such Strong Images of everything: locations, characters, costumes.  I couldn't bear to see someone else's idea of what things look like.

8.  Do you know the Wilhelm Scream when you hear it?
Yeppers.  Could recognize it way back before there was internet and we finally found out there was a name for it.  My family just called it "The Scream."  LOL.  We've passed on the love of the Wilhelm Scream and my nephew now recognizes it anytime he hears it, which is a lot.  It's still popping up constantly.

9.  When a character onscreen has to hold their breath, do you try to hold your breath to match theirs?
No, but I have no love of water.  I'd rather look away and come back when the characters are back in the air.  (I do however hold my breath while driving through tunnels...)

10.  What upcoming movies (or TV series) are you excited about?
Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them and Rogue One.

11.  What are some of your favorite movie-oriented blogs?  (Or just blogs that post movie reviews sometimes.)
Classic Forever, Silents and Talkies, Laura's Miscellaneous Musing, Preppies of the Apocalypse, Silver Scene, and of course Hamlette's Solioquy.  Among many others.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

I took my nephew to see this a couple weekends ago, and we both LOVED it so much, we went back this weekend and took my sister.

It is beautiful, and dark, and heartwarming, and thrilling, strange and fantastic, funny and sad, and ultimately a satisfying movie. The stop-motion animation is gorgeous and amazing.  There are several shots I'd love to have as stills on my wall.  (I know I've probably said this before, but I've really come to realize how important nature's beauty in a movie is to me.)

I love the story and setting.  Ancient Japan and Samurai and folklore are right up my alley.  I love all of the characters.  Kubo is fantastic as the young protagonist.  It's very easy to see why my nephew loves this movie so much.  Here's a young character that he very much wants to be.  Someone who cares for his mother when she can't care for herself, who tells and creates fabulous stories, who has magic, who goes on a quest, and who can ultimately stand on his own.  Monkey and Beetle are hilarious and strong and protective.  They nicely balance out the darker segments with their humor and warmth.  Their interactions with each other are so funny, and also so poignant.  I think that's one of the things I love and appreciate so much about this movie.  This isn't a light fluffy movie with crude humor.  It has substance, it doesn't shy away from death of loved ones, the humorous moments are genuine, and it sticks with you after you leave the theater.  Even my sister said the same thing, that it's one of those films that won't leave your mind later.  You keep rolling things around.

My nephew's favorite characters are the aunts, I don't know why.  They were his favorites from just seeing the movie trailer, and they stayed favorites after seeing the movie.  They are deliciously creepy and otherworldly and deadly.

The action scenes are great, and so stunning when you remember they're all stop-motion.  Boy, I admire the film makers who have the patience to make something like this!  There's a great segment in the end credits showing a tiny part of how the movie is made.  We all can't wait to own this one on DVD.


My favorite scene is probably on the Long Lake, with the storm raging.  I love the juxtaposition of the fight on the boat and the quiet of the underwater scenes with the giant mesmerizing eyeballs.  Monkey and Beetle are both great here.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

The Liebster tag

While I'm catching up on tags this weekend, Eva tagged me for this one. Thanks, Eva!

1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Answer the eleven questions.
3. Tag eleven bloggers, and let them know you’ve done so.
4. Ask your tagged bloggers eleven questions.

Here are my answers to Eva's questions:

1. What was the last book you read and what did you think of it?
Banner of the Damned by Sherwood Smith.  Quite enjoyed it.

2. Who are five of your favorite literary heroes?
Hm, I honestly have no idea.  I have a ton of book characters I love, a ton I want to be or relate to... but heroes?  That's a different kettle of fish.  I'm not sure I have any heroes in books.  I'll ponder this one some more...

3. What is the most prominent color in your wardrobe?
Hm, doesn't seem to be one.  I suppose black if you consider most of my movie t-shirts are black and I wear t-shirts daily. 

4. Have you ever traveled outside your country of residence?
Yes, I've been to Mexico, Canada, and Australia.

5. Do you write? (As in fiction – short stories, novellas, novels, etc.)
Yes, short stories, novellas, novels, and Combat! fanfiction.  Right now only my short stories have been professionally published.  And unfortunately, my writing website has been inaccessible by me as admin for over a year now, so it's out of date.  I have no idea what to do about that.  I've googled the problem and tried things suggested, and nothing works.  It's very frustrating.  This is what I get for agreeing to move it to Wordpress, which I know little about.  Sigh.

6. Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
Tea tea tea tea tea!!  Loose leaf black tea, hot, with sugar.  Usually English Breakfast.  Every day!  I don't touch coffee or hot chocolate, though I will have a mocha from Starbucks every now and then, when I'm feeling expansive.

7. What is your favorite boy’s name?

8. What is your favorite girl’s name?

9. Do you/have you ever owned a pet?
Yes, many.  Lots of cats, a few dogs, a horse, goldfish, and koi.  Currently only have two cats (mother/daughter rescues), and one young Siberian Husky named Silver.

10. What’s your favorite movies of ALL TIME?
This list is large, so let's go with three that are always at the top of the list:  20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), Aliens (1986), and The 13th Warrior (1999).  Can't live without any of those, neither do I have to be in a specific mood to watch them.  I'm always ready for any of those!

11. Have you ever been on a roller-coaster?
Yes, the small ones at Disneyland, and then the bigger ones at a couple different Six Flags parks in California.  And really, I never need to ride a roller coaster with a big drop again. I derive no pleasure from plummeting.  I do like fast twisty roller coasters with no drops, but those are hard to find.  Space Mountain at Disneyland remains my favorite roller coaster.

And I'm going to not tag anyone here either, because this is apparently a tag-free zone!

Friday, September 02, 2016

The Lyric Medley Tag

I'm stealing this tag from Hamlette, as it's music-related, and I need something fun right now to start the weekend. :-D

The rules: 
1. Thank and link back to the person who tagged you
2. Make a collage that represents your taste in music to go along with your post
3. List a song for each of the 10 questions (or make up your own) and include your favorite lyrics
4. Tag at least 5 other bloggers

So, for my collage, I created this:

Orchestral film scores, opera, and Duran Duran.  Yep, those are my musical passions.  I enjoy some other things, but I don't LOVE them the way I love these three things.  These three ARE my daily soundtrack.

So, onto the questions:

A song that describes me perfectly
Going with my default answer on this one... Jerry Goldsmith's theme for The Loner.  And to my complete delight, this series is being released on DVD this month!  Yay!  Really looking forward to seeing it.

The happiest song I know
I'm going with Bruce Broughton's main theme for Honey, I Blew Up the Kid.  It's so bouncy happy.  I like the end credit version best, but alas, can't find it on youtube anywhere, so here's the main title instead.

A song that makes me want to dance
"Ambush" from Justine by Jerry Goldsmith, not on youtube.

Favorite Taylor Swift song
I'm not sure I've ever even heard a Taylor Swift song, so, I'm afraid I have no answer for this one.  Not my type of music.

Favorite song from a movie soundtrack
Just any old favorite song from any old soundtrack?  Since it just went by in my "favorite cues" folder on my ipod:  "Main Title & Colwyn's Arrival", from Krull, by James Horner.

An "I can't even" song
So many, so many.  For now, "Cristeros" from For Greater Glory by James Horner, particularly the section that starts 3:45.  Kills me every time.

Favorite classical song
Let's go with Job by Ralph Vaughn Williams

New Favorite song
Nothing genuinely new, as soundtracks these days are forgettable, with a very few exceptions.  However, I've been in a QBVII mood (Jerry Goldsmith score), so have been playing it a lot, and my favorite song on that album is "Rekindling the Flame of Jehovah."

Favorite music video
Duran Duran's "New Moon on Monday."

Favorite song from a musical
"If I Loved You" from Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel.  Oddly, I'm not a fan of the musical itself, but I dearly love this song.

 And I'm not tagging anybody either, but, by all means, feel free to grab and play along!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Five Favorite Couples Tag

Olivia at Meanwhile, in Rivendell tagged me for this favorite couples tag.  Thanks, Olivia!

1.)  Pick one couple from each category
2.)  Tagging is optional
3.)  Link back to my site

1.) Period Drama Couple
2.) Sci-Fi/Fantasy Couple
3.) Superhero Couple
4.) Preferred Couple (from a love triangle)
5.) Couple Ended Too Soon

This was tougher than I thought.  At first, I couldn't think up any couples!  Then, all of a sudden, the floodgates opened and I had way too many and I couldn't narrow it down.  Typical.

1.) Period Drama Couple
This is one of the options where I have way too many I could select from, but for now, because I recently re-watched it and it's fresh on my mind, I'm going with Tristan and Isabel Two from Legends of the Fall (1994).  This is one of those movies I had to grow into.  When I first saw it, I liked the first half, then thought it went all weird, and nothing worked for me (other than James Horner's score).  But with age comes experience and a different mindset, and after I passed forty, suddenly this movie made sense, clicked in place, and became one I now rewatch quite frequently.  And I adore Isabel Two.  She's so beautiful, strong, sweet, gentle.  After all the messed up relationships in this movie, when Tristan and Isabel fall in love, it is such a healthy, happy relationship for them both, they just make me happy.  I want them to live happily ever after forever and ever.

2.) Sci-Fi/Fantasy Couple
Herbert and Amy from Time After Time (1979).  They're amazing.  It doesn't hurt that the Malcolm McDowell and Mary Steenbergen fell in love making this movie, as that definitely shows in their performance.  They're not just my favorite sci-fi/fantasy couple, they might just be my favorite movie couple ever.  It's magic whenever they're together on screen. 

3.) Superhero Couple
Okay, I don't know many true superhero couples, and I don't feel like picking any of them.  So, I'm going with a slightly different type of superhero:  Wall-E and Eve from Wall-E (2008).  They're robots, so they can do far more than any human, which makes them "superhuman" in my eyes.  For two characters who don't really speak in words, these two are more expressive (and far more human) than many live performers.  The way Wall-E gets an instant crush on Eve, the way she comes to love him... these two are so wonderful together.  I never tire of watching Wall-E and Eve "dancing," or Wall-E proudly showing her his collection, or taking care of her when she shuts down...  Their relationship is one of the many things that make this one of my favorite Pixar movies.

4.) Preferred Couple (from a love triangle)
This is the one I had the hardest time with.  For some reason, I just couldn't remember any love triangles in movies.  How lame is that when there are so many?  But every time I tried to think of one, my brain went to the world of opera where there are love triangles by the boatload and I couldn't swim back to the world of movies.  So, going with something rather obvious, but... Manolo and Maria from The Book of Life (2014).  We watch this movie a lot at our house, and it just gets funnier and better with each viewing.  Manolo and Maria are adorable.  To love a couple, I have to love the individuals by themselves, and I dig them both. 

5.) Couple Ended Too Soon
Lt. Cable and Liat from South Pacific (1958).  Cuz really, why'd he have to die????  They are so young and beautiful together, and once he figures out he loves her and really wants to be with her... it's too late.  They make me cry.

So, that's that.  If you want to play along, by all means, do so!

Monday, August 15, 2016

August update

Is it autumn yet?  I am so done with the misery that is summer, of not being able to sleep at night because it's too hot, of not being able to take my dog for a walk because it's too hot, of watching my yard die because it's too hot and we're in a severe drought and can't water.  Come on, October, get here already.  End of September will do for starters... the nights finally start cooling off then at least.

Silver is doing well.  Here's a couple pictures I snapped last night, of Rosie cuddling up with him. She love him so much, it's hilarious.  He always cleans her ears and head when she gets close to him.

He really is such a good boy that I have to remind myself he's only 6 months old, and that he will be getting even better as he gets older.  He's rambunctious, of course (puppy!), and so very social.  I've never had any dog who loves other dogs and people as much as he does.  I'm sure he'd love nothing more than if I were to get a second dog.  Some days, I even consider it, as the two would keep each other happily occupied and, more importantly, worn out.  But... I had two dogs for many years, and it was a handful and I'm not sure I want to go there again.  Besides, we have a nice predictable routine right now.  Up at 6, breakfast and play in the back yard awhile.  Take a 1-3 mile walk about 6:45.  I start work at 8 am, and he goes to sleep, and he literally stays asleep until somewhere between 3 and 4 pm.  I mean, come on, how perfect is that?  He's a Husky!  And he's okay with sleeping all day!   I usually take him out around 1 pm to go to the bathroom, but he comes back in and goes back to sleep.  It means I can actually do my job without any interruptions.  Then, after 5 pm, we go play some more, and right now I have to wait until abut 7:30 or later, when we can finally go for our evening walk (and sometimes it's still too hot).  Then I go to my sister's for dinner, and he crashes out again until bedtime.

There's only one problem with this. I'm an ISTP and I hate doing the same thing every day.  It's like a soul-eating torture.  So it's like this blissful, easy way to know what Silver is going to do at any point in the day... while I secretly chafe and stress over the fact that it's so easy and I should really appreciate this but I really want to do something else in the middle of that schedule.  Ah well, I knew when I got him that I'd be giving up one kind of freedom, so I my complaints are really just to vent and then feel better.  The dog comes first.

I got back last week from attending the 50th Anniversary Star Trek convention in Las Vegas, with my sister and my best friend, Hamlette, who has very awesomely posted reports on each day of our activities on her blog, complete with lots of pictures and (as always) more details than I can recall!  It was an absolutely, ridiculously fabulous time with my two favorite people in the whole world.  Wouldn't trade those few days for anything.

Here's one picture: me with a gentleman cosplaying my favorite Star Trek series guest character, Captain Merik, from Bread and Circuses, which is my favorite original Star Trek episode.  I had to get a pic with him!  It was my first time cosplaying anywhere, and it was way more fun than I realized it would be.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Almost done with July

Sorry for lack of posts.  Summer just sucks the life out of me.  Counting down the days for autumn or at least late summer, when the days are still hot but the nights start cooling off.  I never can seem to do anything creative during summer.  I hardly can even bring myself to watch anything during summer.  I just want to sleep sleep sleep until it's over.

Silver is 6 months old, over 42 lbs now, and has been neutered, microchipped, and licensed.  Here's a picture from last week, after he got the stitches out and the cone of shame off and was able to play in his pool again.  He wore himself out and came in and crashed.  Hee.  Puppyhood sure doesn't last long at all.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Move along, move along

This blog is currently quiet because nothing is going on here worth sharing.  No writing, no reading, very little movie watching, not even any walking, but that latter's only because Silver has hit six months and went in to get neutered last week, poor baby.  So, I'm not allowed to take him out and about until the stitches come out next week.  Having a young hyper dog is interesting when you can't wear them out with a couple walks a day.  However, we've had a spat of off-leash dogs -- pit bulls no less -- running around the neighborhood, so maybe the break will get those guys off the street so I can take my dog for a peaceful walk without stressing out about what we'll run into.  We've already been attacked once, really don't need that in our lives.

The Cone of Shame (and pink tongue)

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A bird in the tree

We have lots of wild green parrots in Southern California.  I've seen big flocks of them flying over in Whittier.  We don't have many out my way, but last year, we had a single green parrot in our neighborhood.  He was beautiful... and he was lonely.  He cried.  Let me tell you, it was heartbreaking.  He would cry and cry and cry, and we felt so badly for him.  (That's an audio cry, not a tears-from-eyes cry. LOL)  He consoled himself by hanging out with a flock of pigeons.  Where they went, he went, but he cried and cried.  And my family made sad faces at each other every time we heard him.  He was very loud, very distinctive, and very forlorn.

Well, earlier this year, he got a girlfriend!  Or just a pal.  I don't know enough about wild green parrots to know male from female yet.  But he stopped crying, and the two are inseparable.  It's still just the two of them, but they can be seen all over our neighborhood.

Including in my apple tree!

Silver and I spooked them the other day when we were coming back from our morning walk.  And this morning, they came after we were back in the house, and I got to watch them.  I took some monumentally lousy pictures with my cell phone through the window, but it was the best I could do without going outside and spooking them.  My sister was leaving for work at the same time, so I quickly called her and she was able to see them from her car, so she took an equally lousy picture from the other direction.  Still, they're way cool.

They perch on their right leg, pick an apple with their left talon, then hold it up so they can eat it.  It explains all the half-eaten apples I have out there!

Click to make the pictures bigger.

My pic from inside the house... let's play can you find the green parrots on the green tree??
This is the pic my sister took, with only one of the parrots in it.
Amazingly enough, the trees are nearly devoid of apples now, though it make look like there's still a lot.  They're at the end of their run.  I'm happy to let the parrots get some fresh fruit.  I know they love fruit.

And an extra Silver pic, just because.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Silver in June

Not a puppy anymore!  (With his three favorite toys: Hedgehog, Blue Rabbit, and Red Dragon)
He still thinks he's a lapdog, though.
And just because Huskies are big dorks sometimes...