Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Summer Movie Roundup - Transformers, Thor, Captain America

Since I don't have to be to work until 4:00 pm tomorrow and I really don't feel like going to bed quite yet (give me five minutes, maybe), I'm going to do something I've meant to do since the 4th of July and that is review movies I've seen this summer.  I've already reviewed Harry Potter, so I will skip that one and proceed with the others, starting with the dumbest one first -

SPOILER WARNING for "Transformers: Day of the Moon," "Captain America: The First Avenger" and "Thor"

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Punch me in the face, this movie is horrible!

The only reason I even saw Transformers was that our little two-screen movie theater back home had a matinee for the 4th of July (they almost never do that) and my only other option was "Cars 2."  Since I found the premise of a second "Cars" movie rather pointless (the first one was so good - why ruin it with a sequel?  Oh, wait... Disney... that's right...)  I supposed I didn't have to see a movie that day, but it was the principle of the thing.

Full Disclosure - I haven't seen any of the other Transformers movies, so I was at a loss at quite a few things Like, why in the world is this porn star dating this geeky kid?  (No, seriously - at the beginning, I thought that girl was a hooker he'd paid with all his millions of dollars the government gave him for saving the world in the previous movies.  Or something).  However, I have seen some Michael Bay movies (it's anyone's guess why I would do such a thing) so I more or less knew what to expect.

I wish this hadn't have been a Michael Bay thing.  Because the Transformers (forgive me - I'm not into this fandom, so I don't know the proper terms for the different factions of alien robots) have such interesting backstories!  Or, at least, I think they do.  I don't know.  Because the movie dispensed with any useful information in favor of an HOUR LONG battle sequence in the finale (did I mention it lasted an hour?  I timed it).  Also - how in the world could any human survive falling out of shattering glass buildings?  Even my disbelief can't be suspended for that much.  I could maaaaaybe buy Hooker Girl running through a warzone in ten-inch heels.  Maybe.

One more thing - Shia LaBeouf is NOT an action star.  I'm sorry, but every time I see him, I see goofy Louis Stevens from the old Disney Channel show "Even Stevens."  He and Jon Heder could probably make a pretty decent comedy movie, but I never want to see this kid in an action movie ever again.  Ever. Again. (will I get my wish? Probably not).

Captain America: The First Avenger

Ever since my high school buddies and I caught the first "Spider-Man" movie on opening weekend, I have been a sucker for comic book movies.  Even having never really been a reader of actual comic books, I love the humanizing side of these characters and I think this is something the Marvel movies have done well (yes, I know Spider-Man isn't exactly under the Marvel Studios - it's with Sony - but go with me here).  While I enjoyed Christopher Nolan's Batman movies (and I hope he does something decent with Superman because the Man of Steel deserves a good movie), the DC movies haven't been as captivating.  But with the Iron Man movies, Marvel has something really intriguing going on here, so I was excited for this.

I was also a bit nervous.  Because I didn't want Captain America to be this hokey mockery of patriotism.  I was afraid that the filmmakers would make Cap into this jokey cartoonish guy that no one took seriously.  The number one thing the filmmakers did right was setting this movie during World War II and Steve Rogers is this kid who just wants to fight for his country.  Not in this wide-eyed idealistic way - he just can't stand bullies (which, I think sums up America's involvement in World War II pretty nicely).  And while parts of the movie addressed the fact that Captain America could have been this farcical character, he eventually is allowed to become the hero that the country and the world needs at that moment.  But even while he's the hero, he's still kind of this kid from Brooklyn who hangs on to his principles and ideals.  Mad props to Chris Evans for playing a character who, while a bit naive, still had the gravitas necessary to pull off the hero schtick. I am excited to see how his character and personality fit in with the 21st century Avengers.

(Also - a big hand to the ensemble dark horse, Tommy Lee Jones as Colonel Phillips.  I didn't know he was going to be in this movie, but I enjoyed his character a lot.  My personal favorite is when the Colonel and his boys are fighting it out with HYDRA and one of the HYDRA mooks says "Cut off one head, two more..." Colonel Phillips blasts the guy and says "Let's go find two more!"  Vintage TLJ and it's brilliant).


Maybe it's my Scandinavian heritage, but this was the movie I was most looking forward to seeing this summer.  For a while, I thought the studios were going to have "Thor" play second fiddle to "Captain America" - you know, release "Thor" at the beginning of the summer just as the opening act to the main event in "Captain America."  As such, I figured they would sort of cheapy-up on the God of Thunder and bank on the hype for later.

Oh, how wrong I was.

First of all, Asgard is positively gorgeous! (scenery porn, anyone?)  I love that the movie spends so much time there and explaining who the Asgardians are and how important they are to human history. Big thumbs up for the "Ancient gods are really aliens with and magic-that's-really-science" premise.  It's probably been done before, but I haven't seen it, so I think it's pretty original and I liked it.  I love the family dynamic between Odin, Thor and Loki (really, I could have just watched an entire movie with those three reading the phone book.

Also - just the right amount of sappy love story.  I think all the Marvel movies do the romance well - just enough to serve the larger story - but for some reason, the balance in "Thor" caught my attention more than in any of the others.  Probably because Jane and Thor's relationship wasn't the driving force behind the story, but it was there and I didn't feel insulted by it and I even felt a little sad at the end - I hope the Rainbow Bridge gets fixed!

Oh yeah - the Rainbow Bridge.  When you think "Rainbow Bridge," don't you think of the multi-colored tiled track in Mario Kart Racing that we all hate because there are no side walls?  But I liked the way the graphics guys designed that to be all swirly and pretty and not stupid-looking at all.  Like I said, Asgard was really cool-looking, but special mention must go to the Rainbow Bridge.

Best line of the movie: After a night of drunken merriment, Thor has to carry Dr. Selvig home.  Of his drinking buddy and their evening's activities, Thor says: "We drank, we fought, he made his ancestors proud!"

The Bottom Line: Marvel hits two out of the park. Michael Bay just leaves the park. Can't wait for "The Avengers" next year!

Monday, August 29, 2011

May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor

A slight break from the Doctor Who giddiness to bring you -


ahem... yay.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ev'ry Hotsy-Totsy Nazi Stand and Cheer!

Review of "Let's Kill Hitler" (and appropriate SPOILERS) beneath the video.  But first I have to talk about this clip.  I was going to use this scene from the 1968 version of "The Producers." Then I saw that John Barrowman was in the 2005 version. How could I pass up a serendipitous opportunity like this?

God bless Mel Brooks.

First - the obvious: This wasn't so much about Hitler as it was about Melody/River Song.  I'm kind of glad that we more or less skipped over all the Silence-raising-Melody stuff, to be honest.  Because - it's the Doctor's story, dagnabbit! Let's get on with it!

Anyway, I was nervous that this Mels girl was going to be a sudden new companion and I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on with her.  There was a little bit of side-eyeing going on until - HOLY CRAP SHE REGENERATED!  (and nice explanation of regenerating into a toddler in New York City). Steven Moffat pulls out another spectacular curve ball and it turns out Amy and Rory have been best friends with their daughter their entire lives!

And, because I must - IT'S LITTLE AMY AND LITTLE RORY!!!! Do you know how much I've hoped and prayed for a flashback to how Amy and Rory met? *flail*

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And, also because I must - it will be interesting to see how people react to the Doctor's hand-waving of the Temporal Grace Flibbertigibbet of the TARDIS. I don't have a problem with it because I didn't grow up with the show (*sniffle*) and I don't necessarily subscribe to the Doctor's high-n-mighty pacifistic tendencies.  He may have neutralized Melody's guns in that brilliant little scene - but Amy Pond condemned all those people in the Robot of Great Justice to death and that action comes down to the Doctor's influence (for other examples, see "Journey's End").

You know, I think I've finally got all the answers I wanted about River Song.  Those things that haven't been stated outright (like her relationship with the Doctor, for example) are implied well enough that the story doesn't need to dwell on it.  Unless something else comes up that they want to.  Though, I actually thought this phase of River Song's story would come at the end of this season - her first meeting of the Doctor, he gives her the TARDIS diary (brand new! eeeeeeee! One of my favorite things in this world is brand new blank journals, JSYK).

So - we got the River Song story, now we're focused on the Why Does the Doctor Die at Lake Powell Silencio and How Can This Be Prevented In The End So There Can Be a Fiftieth Anniversary Special?  One thing is for certain - with Steven Moffat at the wheel, the answer is going to be very satisfying (and definitely not what anybody else comes up with.  Oh, theorize all you like because that's just a ton of fun - but I'll bet you a donut that no one is going to figure it out.  Oh, you might come up with some bits and pieces - but never the whole picture).  Seriously - I don't think the man is capable of leaving loose ends of a story lying around undone (I'm sure that his shoelaces are always tied very neatly).

Other Things I Liked:
- Rory punching - not just Hitler - but some random Nazi punk in the street (and Heil's the guy in order to do it).
- Really, the whole 1938 Berlin and Nazi Germany thing was done rather tastefully - if such a thing is possible.  Honestly, the time this takes place in is more or less a backdrop to the bigger story that it could have been any time period with a truly evil dictator.
- Did I mention Little Amy and Little Rory? I did? Okay, because that was just cute.
- On that note - what other girl does Rory pay attention to? Oh, I don't know - the one that he's staring right in the face? (Karen and Arthur played that perfectly - I was grinning like an idiot the whole time ^_^)
- It's a nitpicky thing - but a car like Amy and Rory's is just not going to create crop circles that big.  You'd need a giant swather (that's a hay cutting machine, for you city folk) to even get close to that big.  Even driving a pickup truck doesn't cause that much damage to a field.  But I guess no one else would notice that - just a farm girl who spent her growing-up years on a tractor.
- Nods to past companions were great - even recognition of the Doctor's guilt at everything.  And I loved the line "Is there anyone in this universe I haven't completely screwed up?"  That'll please the anti-Doctor/Rose crowd, I guess.
- I really think Series 6.2 is going to be Amy's time to shine.  We've had Rory the Roman being badass and wonderful (and that certainly continues here), but Amy is going to kick some serious rear end over the next five weeks (I'm holding to my theory that Amy-the-Futuristic-Samurai-Warrior is going to be the answer to Rory the Roman.  And, yes, I'm working on the name).
- Alex Kingston is fantastic.  When she plays the flirtatious psychopath and blasts regeneration energy at the Nazis and steals clothes from the people in the restaurant - I think this was the River Song Steven Moffat wanted everyone to see and Alex Kingston just knocks it out of the park.  I think River's part in the story is going to end soon, which is a shame because she's just a fabulous character and I love her to pieces!

This was a pretty flawless episode, really (unless something else in future episodes screw it up - which I highly doubt it will).  I was happy about the whole thing, glad for so much resolution and there were some fantastic bits in the story. Matt Smith - again, cannot be given enough praise. Mad props - to everybody, really.

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ETA: One more thing - The TARDIS taught River how to fly the TARDIS - because the Doctor was busy that day!!  Damn right, he was - IT ALL MAKES SENSE NOW!

And Here We Go!

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Let's Kill Hitler, everyone! (that dirty rotten so-and-so...)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In Need of a Pick-Me-Up

I'm going to be "bleah" for a minute here, so if you'd like to skip ahead to the video, feel free.

Had a really weird day.  First of all, last weekend, our neighbors' son drowned at Flaming Gorge Reservoir and that's been tough on all involved.  Today, I found out when and where the funeral's going to be.  I fully plan on attending because that's the best way for me to deal with the grief.  But I'm always apprehensive at funerals.  This one's going to be especially rough because I went to high school with this kid and he graduated with my sister and his parents live down the road from my parents.  I mean, I'm solid in the knowledge of where he is right now (and I know his family is too) and that's a comfort.  I'm sure that he's having a great time meeting up with his grandparents and other assorted relatives and it's just us who are still here being weepy and teary-eyed about it.  It's natural to grieve, of course, and I would be the last to diminish anyone's feelings of loss.  But I don't deny that I know he's in a place that's a million times better than this life.

So - there's that I'm dealing with.  Plus, just the regular crap that gets piled on in the course of normal life.  The study abroad office decided to be punks and bug us all about getting our paperwork in.  This is the same paperwork we had to wait for three months to get just because some director or ombudsman or some other made-up academic pencil-pusher couldn't be bothered to send to us until three or four days ago.  But now that we have it, they can ride our butts and carp that we don't have our stuff in (which requires two academic references, two passport-sized photograph, a notarized signature and a fecal sample from our firstborn.  Okay - maybe not that last one).  Well, I'm sorry, but you're just going to have to wait.  My life wasn't going to wait for you to get on the ball.

Add to the fact that one of the supervisors at the library I subbed at today was a total pain-in-the-neck.  She kept giving me the stink-eye when I would help a patron at her workstation and check in books where she thought I wasn't supposed to be.  I think she was worried I was after her job or something.  Truth is, I'm not after a full-time library clerk position.  I want a post as an actual librarian - at the information desk.  With a Master's degree and potential to become a manager.  Worry not my sweet little part-time retiree - your pension is safe and secure *pat, pat*

Oy - if you read all that whining, good for you.  This calls for something that is complete light and fluffy and just a bundle of feel-good-ness. And since I had Owl City's "Galaxies" stuck in my head all day - and because Doctor Who just automatically puts me in a good mood - I decided to search for a DW video with that song. And this one is one of the best. Makes me wish I was better at vidding - alas, I'm too cheap to spring for the really good video-making software. So, I will just enjoy some of the stuff other people come up with.

Enough yakking - watch the video!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

See, I Told You So!

Remember back when everyone was in a blind panic over vague rumors that Doctor Who Series 7 would not air a full season in 2012?  I pointed out several reasons why this was not the great apocalyptic event that everyone was worried about.  Well the head cheese himself, Steven Moffat, has unconditionally debunked those rumors (and in glorious fashion, I might add).  And if you can't take the Moff's word for it, then I don't know who you can believe.

I love it when I'm right.

(Thanks to Planet Gallifrey for the link.  Full interview can be found here - I didn't see anything spoilery in the interview, in case you're worried about that).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Some Non-Attendee (yet) Love for Gallifrey One

It's been a busy two weeks for me - and it's only going to get busier.  But guess what? Doctor Who's coming back on Saturday! Yay! (and it's going to be the hottest week of this summer between now and then - boo...)

I went down to visit my family this weekend, as I do from time to time and I enjoyed myself.  Got to see my little niece (there is no child cuter - I defy anyone to even attempt to convince me otherwise), see some people I don't often get to see and completely miss seeing my brother, who was out with his buddies (he's heading off to college in a week or so - he doesn't have time for his nerdy older sister).  Before I began my trek back, I downloaded the most recent Radio Free Skaro and put it on my iPod for my 2-hour drive back to the city.

Before I go on, I must mention that I was feeling a bit down about some things.  Nothing serious - just life being stupid.  I'd intended to listen to an audiobook I got from the library, but I decided to listen to RFS instead.  After the boys gave their Torchwood reviews and discussed current Doctor Who news, they had an interview with Shaun Lyon, program director for Gallifrey One, the extremely huge and awesome Doctor Who convention that takes place in Los Angeles every February.  I thought I'd be a little bummed after listening to the interview, seeing as how I am not currently in a financial position to spend money on such trips, though I have resolved to go in 2013 (as long as I am more gainfully employed at that point than I am now).  I thought I'd be even more depressed as Shaun and The Three Who Rule discussed events and guests and just general Gally-awesome-stuff.  But, you know what? The discussion actually cheered me up some.  So much that, by the time I got home, I wasn't worried about what I'd been upset about in the first place.

Last year, I participated in Gally the way many people did - via the internet.  And while I felt a twinge of jealousy for the people who were there (you are were in the same building as Peter Davison??? *whine*), I did feel as though I had been a part of it.  The best way I can describe how I felt about Gally is that I was happy that it was something that existed, even though I couldn't be there.  What's more, I started planning my own trip for when I actually am able to fly down to LA and take part in person.

In the RFS interview, Shaun mentioned that some people have asked if they'll ever stream the entire convention online.  His reply was that you just don't get the sense of community from viewing it online that you do from attending the convention.  I have to disagree with him just a little bit there, but I'm not about to ask that they stream the convention anyway (NO, PLEASE DON'T!)  When I watched people's YouTube videos and saw their photos and tweets and listened to the podcasts, I felt like I was part of the community a little bit and I could enjoy the convention as it was going on.  At the same time, I felt like it was something I had to see for myself (again, you don't need to stream the convention.  This is something that has to be experienced in real life and streaming it would cheapen it in a way. But I digress).

This is something I love about the Doctor Who fandom that I don't think other fandoms have - in the DW fandom, you can just jump in anywhere with anybody and you immediately have friends.  Just as an example:  I work as a substitute library clerk where I fill in on an as-needed basis at several libraries in the Salt Lake City area.  At one of the libraries where I worked this week, I met a lady whose been a Whovian since time immemorial, yet she was willing to discuss the series with me, a lowly newbie.  At another library that I worked at a few weeks ago, I met a girl who been to Gally and who cosplays and who is damn good at it and we had a great conversation (I'd seen her in several photos and videos and I felt like I was meeting a celebrity - she was cool about it, though).  There's no line of demarcation, no cliques within the fandom - everybody gets along and everybody has a great time together.  Oh, sure, there's debate and controversy (what do you expect from a group this large with so many different backgrounds?), but by and large, Whovians are fantastic human beings who just enjoy fantastic stories and characters and who come together to share in that enjoyment.  And I think Gally is a manifestation of that camaraderie.  You just don't get that in other fandoms (I'm side-eyeing Harry Potter fans here).

I don't know how you plan for that or if it just happens, but I have to tip my hat to the people who put Gallifrey One together because from where I'm sitting, they do an outstanding job.  So much so that I'm looking forward to this year's edition even though it's unlikely I'll be able to attend (I'm not going to say for certain that it won't happen this year, but I will say that I'm aiming for 2013 - the 50th anniversary year is probably going to be something special. No pressure, folks).  I'll watch the goings-on through what people post online and I'll get excited for the next year.

Monday, August 15, 2011

30 Days of Summer Break Doctor Who - A Tumblr Extravaganza!

Remember how I did a 30 Days of New Who back in April for the premiere of Doctor Who Series 6.1? Well, I've been doing one in anticipation of Series 6.2 - except this one's on Tumblr. Not wanting my loyal readership (all five of you) to miss out on my new project - 30 Days of Summer Break Doctor Who!  So, go check out what I've got going over there, and any other shenanigans I get up to.

Go ahead - go look!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Series Six in Four Minutes or Less or It's Free

In anticipation of the Series 6.2 premiere of Doctor Who on August 27, BBC America has this nice little four-minute recap of the first half.  Enjoy!

(SPOI... oh, forget it - if you cared about being spoiled, you'd have seen the whole thing already)

(I'm going to be a pain in the neck for a minute and suggest that the 60-second clip of "The Rebel Flesh"/"The Almost People" is all you really ever need to see of that story. Gangers, Amy, baby, got it - move on).

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Coming Full Circle - Review of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" part 2

There will be spoilers for the last Harry Potter movie here, just so you're aware.  And a little sentimentality too - but not too much (hopefully).

Well, I finally saw the movie over the weekend - the one I wanted to wait until after all the hoopla and mourning had died down.  Honestly, it had gotten to a fever pitch in the lead-up to July 15 and people were being downright ridiculous about it.  I mean, I was one of Those People.  You know, the people who went to midnight showings and dressed up in Hogwarts robes and run over little kids to win actual replica wands at the Barnes and Noble trivia contest (I wish I were joking about that last one - I still have the wand on my bookcase at home).  But this time - I didn't indulge in the fandom.  Mostly because the HP fandom has become so cliqueish and self-important and a real pain in the ass in the past few years.  And really, in high school, Harry Potter was what helped me escape people like that in the real world.  It would be disrespectful to my memory of the series to get away from one set of jerks only to end up in the company of another gang of equally insufferable jerks.

But enough venting about the HP fandom - this is about the Deathly Hallows movie.

I suppose it's fitting that I ended up seeing this movie in the same theater that I skipped school to stand in line for tickets to see "Sorcerer's Stone."  I even got my picture in the paper and everything! (still is the best picture ever taken of me - mostly because I'm looking down into my copy of "Prisoner of Azkaban").  I wasn't anticipating liking this movie very much, only because the movies have been really disappointing in recent years - though I still maintain that "Order of the Phoenix" turned out to be the best movie of the set.  My biggest gripe about the movies is that they've sacrificed coherent storytelling in favor of razzle-dazzle special effects and pointless padding (a dragon chasing Harry around Hogwarts in "Goblet of Fire" - really??) The list of the movie makers' crimes against this beloved series is long and painful (I'm still seething that they didn't explain the Marauder's Map or even what the Priori Incantatem spell meant).  This has led me to believe that certain stories can only be told in certain mediums - a story like Harry Potter was first told in book form because that's what worked the best.  Star Wars can be done as a movie because that's how it was created.  Doctor Who is best done as a TV series with a few spin-off novels and audio adventures, but never a big-time Hollywood production.  The stories wouldn't translate very well.

Initially, I thought the "It's complicated" exchange between Harry and Griphook was going to be the mantra for explaining all these key plot points.  That's how it's been for ten years, so why should that change now?  JK Rowling was a one-woman production crew when she wrote these stories (with some help from her editors, I'm sure).  Everything came from her imagination and it proved to be too complex for a bunch of directors and screenwriters and producers to cobble together something worthy of being called a Harry Potter movie.  Maybe I'm just so nit-picky, but I value storytelling over "Hey, look - we can make Harry fall out of a flying car and almost get pulverized by a moving train! Ain't we neat!"

But when it counted - when it honestly, truly mattered - the filmmakers got one thing right.  They took the time to explain why Harry had to die.  And for that, I do give them credit.

The emotional moments were there too - not just the sad ones either.  I silently cheered when Professor McGonagall dueled Snape and forced him out of the castle (I don't care what sordid behavior those Hufflepuffs get up to in their common room - they will NEVER have Minerva McGonagall as their Head of House).  That goes double when she mobilized the stone suits of armor to protect Hogwarts and she turns to Molly Weasley and says "I always wanted to do that spell."  Yes, that was an addition by the writers, but it was a welcome addition - one that gave Professor McGonagall some of that tongue-in-cheek personality that she had in the books but was sorely missed in the movies.

Oh, and how great was Luna Lovegood?  One of the best things the casting folks ever did was find Evanna Lynch for that part.  I've always loved her characterization and her performances in these movies.  And of course she would befriend a lonely ghost like the Grey Lady, so that worked out as well.

I was a little put-off by the scene with Ron and Hermione in the Chamber of Secrets - mostly because I didn't get why all the water rushed up at them when Hermione destroyed the Horcrux.  But, I guess they had to get that kiss in somehow and since they had long-since disposed of the house-elf subplots, they had to come up with something.

The Malfoy Family - are a bunch of baby-pants-wetting twerps and Harry should have left Draco to roast to a crisp.

And - The Prince's Tale.  It made me cringe when I read it and it made me cringe when I saw it on the screen.  I still can't accept that Snape was a good guy, even though it explicitly states it in canon.  I'm even more weirded out that he and Lily were somewhat of an item (until the greasy little toerag called her a Mudblood - Lily very rightly dismisses him from her circle of acquaintances and married James Potter, whom I've been rather partial to from the beginning, personally).  But Alan Rickman was amazing in his role as Snape.  I may not like book!Snape, but movie!Snape has always been a joy to watch.

I think my picking of nits ends there - to the end of the movie, I just ate everything up.  From the scene where Harry sees his parents, Sirius and Remus in the forest to the scene in heavenly!King's Cross to the final confrontation with Voldemort - oh, can we get a big hand for NEVILLE freaking LONGBOTTOM!!  Matthew Lewis has always been one of my favorites in these movies.  He was fabulous - his stare-down of Voldemort was a call-back to him standing up to Harry, Ron and Hermione in Sorcerer's Stone, proving that the Boy That Could Have Been had it in him all along.

The day finally belongs to Harry Potter - defeating old No-Nose in the fight of his young life.  Sure, there are things to go "um... okay..." about, but this ended the way it needed to.  Harry beats Voldy, Ron and Hermione celebrate with him (though, that final scene with Hermione taking Ron's and Harry's hands sort of looked like the beginning of a "Hermy and the Boys" rock band).  All is right with the world.

And here, I must give love to the epilogue.  Because the fandom has heaped hate and dumped invectives against it and I think they're outside of their minds to hate it ('course, the HP fandom are mostly a bunch of self-important baby-pants-wetting twerps that'll smile at you while they're twisting the knife in your back.  Too many Death Eater fangirls, I think).  It was a lovely send-off in the book and it's a lovely send-off in the movie.  Maybe it was the visual medium that made it hit home, but it was so sweet to see the Potter/Weasley clan all grown up with young wizards and witches of their own - realizing that they risked life and sanity to come to this moment.  They all have normal lives and going to Hogwarts isn't as scary as it once was - especially if your surname is Potter.  Seeing Harry as a dad, calming his own son's fears about his first year at Hogwarts melted my heart (and it was a little jarring to see Harry with a wedding ring - but jarring in a good way).  And it didn't help in the waterworks department that the music playing underneath that scene was the same John Williams score from the end of Sorcerer's Stone where Harry - fresh off his first year at Hogwarts - proclaims that his home is Hogwarts.  Now, his kids are off to Hogwarts and life is good and things are happy.

(Okay, I'm about to get really mushy here, so that will end the review part of this post.  I'm about to get weirdly personal.  Just warning you).

As much as Harry, Ron, Hermione - and Ginny, to a degree - had conquered so much to come to this point, it felt like I'd conquered something substantial since that first time I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  I learned that I could relate to my world through stories - that I could pick up meanings and things that no one else could understand.  And because I will always look to these stories and characters as real events and real people, I will probably be a little weird to others.  But I'm okay with that.  I feel like they add some depth to my life - that I have a greater understanding of myself and things that go on around me.  Even if other people try to ruin my love of these stories (whether they themselves are fans of the work or not) it doesn't matter.  The stories are what matter the most.

The story is far from over.  Because I still have the books and the movies to revisit.  I don't need fandom to tell me what I should like or what I should accept as canon - I don't even need to participate in fandom to love the Harry Potter series.  The stories stand on their own without it.  And I can too.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Just Add it to the List of Crazy Things I've Done (or am currently doing)

I've done some pretty crazy things in the past few years.  At least, for me they were crazy at the time.  Putting my life on hold for 18 months to serve a mission for my church in heaven-knows-what corner of the world, talking to people who, at best, only want to me leave them alone and at worse scream obscenities at me for daring to approach them was crazy (though I survived it - strangely enough).  Applying for graduate school seemed a long shot at the time, but here I am two years after the fact and thisclose to being done.  Even applied for study abroad, which was a whole 'nother ball of insanity (I'll let you know how it goes when it's over).  But this next project takes the cake.

I just signed up for NaNoWriMo.

Those Who Know are applauding and cheering for yet another sucker participant in the annual write-a-thon.  Those Who Have No Clue are going "What??"  NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month and it happens every November.  The challenge is to write a 50,000 novel in 30 days starting on November 1 and ending at 11:59.59 on November 30.  You can't use anything you've written previously - everything has to be from scratch (you can do some outlining and character sketches to prepare, but no writing on the actual novel).  Many of my friends know that I've had this idea for a novel trickling in my head since high school, but very little has ever come of it.  Oh, I've had a few attempts at a draft, but they've all fallen by the wayside like so many... things that fall by the wayside.  I don't think I'll write the story that's plagued me for so long in November (I don't think I can, actually), but it would be cool to write something and actually finish it - even if it's utter crap (in which case I can polish it up after the challenge is completed and it will be awesome).

I've known about NaNoWriMo for a long time, but today one of the librarians when I'm doing my internship was talking about it as a program for the writing group she runs at the library.  I've mentioned maybe joining the writing group just for the heck of it, but today she really got me interested in this.  And it'll be nice to know that I at least made an attempt at it (even better if I actually finish the task).

So, if I go off the grid in November, you know why.  And if you have any writerly inclinations, you should sign up as well.  And please send good thoughts and feelings my direction this fall.

Because I want to write a novel, dammit.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Honestly Have No Clue What is Going On Here

Which is also The Theme of Doctor Who Series 6!

Here is another (albeit shorter) trailer for the second half of series 6. It goes without saying that there are spoilers here - but I really have no clue what any of this points to or what's even going to happen, so if you can divine anything substantial from this :40 second clip, you have greater powers of deduction than I.

But the music is pretty cool, I have to say: