Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

The Shawshank Redemption
by Stephen King

Different Seasons ('82) is a collection of four novellas, markedly different in tone & subject, each with a journey theme. The 1st is a nonhorrific tale about an innocent man who carefully nurtures hope & devises a wily scheme to escape from prison. The 2nd concerns a boy who discards his innocence by enticing an old man to travel with him into a reawakening of long-buried evil. In the 3rd, a writer looks back on the trek he took with three friends on the brink of adolescence to find another boy's corpse. The trip becomes a character-rich rite of passage from youth to maturity. These 1st three novellas have been made into movies: "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" into Frank Darabont's '94 The Shawshank Redemption (available as a screenplay, a DVD & an audiocassette), "Apt Pupil" into Bryan Singer's '98 film Apt Pupil (also released in '98 on audiocassette) & "The Body" into Rob Reiner's Stand by Me ('86). The final novella, "Breathing Lessons," is a horror yarn told by a doctor, about a patient whose indomitable spirit keeps her baby alive under extraordinary circumstances. It's the tightest, most polished tale in the collection.--Fiona Webster

My Rating: 5 of 5 "Loved it!"

Fantastic story. I was captured for the whole four hours it took to read it. I didn't want to stop.

I have yet to watch the movie, but I believe it's on Netflix, so I'll have to watch soon. I've been told that the movie is fantastic as well.

What I liked most about The Shawshank Redemption was the ending. It felt like I got everything that I wanted for the characters, only it was given to me in a way that wasn't the most obvious or direct rout. It pulled on my heart strings just enough. In the span of these four hours, I met a stranger with a background unlike mine, and came to care about his troubles and rejoice when he overcomes them. It was very satisfying.

Some books I end up reading don't leave me with too many thoughts afterward. The Shawshank Redemption is not one of them. I don't know if it was Stephen King's intention to make me wonder about the prison system and the people (guilty or innocent) trapped inside it, but it certainly left me with thoughts that I'll have to chew on before they become opinions.

Excellent book, and well worth the time to read. Pick a free evening and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time 
by Madeleine L'Engle

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. "Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract". A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L'Engle's unusual book.

 My Rating: 1 of 5 "Didn't Like It"

This story largely felt like a bad caricature of imagination. I completely couldn't get into the characters, and I didn't like the world either because there was simply too many worlds with not enough depth. Good and evil were clearly defined without having any real active agents of good and evil.

And singing holy centaurs with wings made of rainbows and poetry? Are you kidding me?

Maybe I'm just flat-out too literal for this story. Which is saying something about the outlandish nature of the story considering I've always been willing to suspend disbelief. But please. Fantastical things were happening without a reason for their happening. It was just a literary acid trip.

Despite that, I did fall in love with one of the quotes. From Aunt Beast to Meg when trying to communicate in English:

"Oh child, your language is so utterly simple and limited that it has the affect of extreme complication."
-Aunt Beast

The second half of the book was much better than the first half of the book. Likely because we finally got a 'bad guy' and direction for the characters

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

The Three Musketeers
By Alexandre Dumas

First published in 1844, Alexandre Dumas's swashbuckling epic chronicles the adventures of D'Artagnan, a gallant young nobleman who journeys to Paris in 1625 hoping to join the ranks of musketeers guarding Louis XIII. He soon finds himself fighting alongside three heroic comrades—Athos, Porthos, and Aramis—who seek to uphold the honor of the king by foiling the wicked plots of Cardinal Richelieu and the beautiful spy "Milady." As Clifton Fadiman reflected, "We read The Three Musketeers to experience a sense of romance and for the sheer excitement of the story. In these violent pages all is action, intrigue, suspense, surprise—an almost endless chain of duels, murders, love affairs, unmaskings, ambushes, hairbreadth escapes, wild rides. It is all impossible and it is all magnificent." 

My Rating: 3 of 5 "Liked It"

I went back and forth between really liking this book and being like 'eeeeehh, speed it up why don't ya'. At first I didn't like D'Artagnan because he seemed like a complete brat, but he eventually turned out to be a character I really liked because he grew up throughout the book.

Of the three musketeers, Athos was easily my favorite. That guy is so cool.

Anyway- would I read this book again? Most likely not. The writing was too dense for my tastes. Characters got caught in long, winding conversations, some of which I actually enjoyed, but overall there was too much of it to keep me focused consistently. The sword fights were the best part, in my opinion. It was a fun way to see the characters' personalities shine through, and I always like to see characters work together as a team.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison

When in Doubt, Add Butter
by Beth Harbison

Gemma Craig has spent her career as a private chef taking care of other people. From Lex, the fussy department store owner straight out of a movie from the thirties; to grossly overweight Willa, who must radically change her eating habits or die; to the strange Oleksei family, with a constant parade of mysterious people coming and going; to the hideously demanding A ngela who is “allergic to everything” and foists her tastes on her hapless family; to the man Gemma thinks of only as “Mr. Tuesday” because they’ve never met. Everyone relies on Gemma, even while she goes home alone each night and feasts on cereal and quick meals. But when life takes an unexpected turn on a road Gemma always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and learn to move on in ways she never imagined.

My Rating: 4 of 5 "Really Liked It"

I LOVED this book! I almost NEVER read romances but this one was just absolutely perfect in every way and I enjoyed it so much. Gosh, I feel like such a gooey little girl with rose-colored glasses and too much sugar in her veins but it was just so good!

It's so refreshing to read a book written by someone who honest to god knows how to write and tell a good story. If you're looking for a read that you can trust to have a happy ending and will fulfill all your expectations, this is the book for you. It's enough to get anyone out of a downer mood, for sure.

The wonderful descriptions of all the food made me really hungry, haha. And I felt like the characters were all people that I recognized from my own life. The story takes place around DC, too, which is just far enough away from where I am currently for me to be pleased with getting lost in it, but close enough to feel like I was reading a happy story of someone who actually lives nearby.

The only reason I didn't give 5 of 5 is because, honestly, this book has no real substance hahaha.

Go read this book! You'll like it!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Writing Prompt Challenge

Day 1 —Select a book at random in the room.  Find a novel or short story, copy down the last sentence and use this line as the first line of your new story.
Day 2 —Tell about a character who lost something important to him/her.
Day 3 —Write about the worst time you’ve ever put your foot in your mouth.
Day 4 —Write a story/excerpt to include the line, “Sorry, we can’t insure you for a journey like that.”
Day 5 —Pick a letter of the alphabet.  Now imagine two aisles of your local supermarket.  List everything found in those two aisles that begin with that letter of the alphabet.
Day 6 —Write about a person who would buy all of those items in Day 5.
Day 7 —What sets you apart from the crowd?
Day 8 —Tell your life story from someone else’s point of view.
Day 9 —What was your favorite childhood toy?
Day 10 —What do you want to be remembered for?
Day 12 —What is your favorite day of the week?
Day 13 —Write about a random picture you would find in an envelope of finished prints at Costco.
Day 14 —Elvis still gets 100 Valentines each year.  Tell about one of the people who sent one.
Day 15 — Create a character who is falsely accused of a crime.
Day 16 —If we assume ghosts are real, what type of ghost would you like to see?
Day 17 — Write a short scenario set in the kitchen of a fast-food restaurant.
Day 18 —Take a reader behind the wheel with the worst driver you’ve ever known.
Day 19 —Write a list of 25 (or just 5!) things you want to do in your life.
Day 20 —If you could go on only one more vacation in your lifetime, where would you go and why?
Day 21 —Find a job ad in the paper.  Write about your life if you had that job.
Day 22 —You wake up with a key gripped tightly in your hand.  How did you get this key?  What does it lock or unlock?
Day 23 —Pretend you’re a cartoon character.  What type of a character would you be?  What would a day in your life be like?
Day 24 —Write about the longest amount of time you’ve ever gone without sleeping.
Day 26 —Write about your worst habit.
Day 27 —Make up a near-death experience (unless you have a real one).
Day 28 —You read about yourself in your brother/sister, girlfriend/boyfriend’s diary.  What did you read?
Day 29 —You are at a cemetery reading gravestones.  Write about one of the people you find.
Day 30 —Write a short entry that ends with the line, “The silver dust of moonlight settled coldly on the night.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

30 Day Drawing Challenge


This'll be a fun challenge for my artist followers~ (or even if you don't call yourself an 'artist' but you like to draw/doodle anyway!) I think I'm gonna give this one a shot. It looks fun.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Jellyfish (Meduzot) (2007)

Jellyfish (Meduzot) (2007)
Directors: Shira Geffen, Etgar Keret
Writer: Shira Geffen
Stars: Sarah Adler, Nikol Leidman and Gera Sandler

The stories of three disparate women intersect at a Tel Aviv wedding. Newly single Batiya (Sarah Adler) works with the catering crew; Filipina Joy (Ma-nenita De Latorre) attends the event as the caregiver of an elderly woman; and the bride (Noa Knoller) sees her honeymoon dreams go up in smoke. Directed by popular Israeli novelist Etgar Keret and his screenwriter wife, Shira Geffen, the film won the Camera d'Or at Cannes.

My Rating: 3 of 5 "Liked It"

The mystery of the little girl is what kept me going throughout this film, and even though it isn't really solved, I still like how it ended. Each character is unique and flawed in many ways. It was fun to see how they would work through their problems (and if they would survive the struggle.) Overall, good story and worth the time to watch.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

This is How by Augusten Burroughs

This is How
By Augusten Burroughs

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Running With Scissors comes a groundbreaking book that explores how to survive the "un-survivable" and will challenge your notion of self-help books.

To say that Augusten Burroughs has lived an unusual life is an understatement. From having no formal education past third grade and being raised by his mother’s psychiatrist in the seventies to enjoying one of the most successful advertising careers of the eighties to experiencing a spectacular downfall and rehab stint in the nineties to having a number one bestselling writing career in the new millennium, Burroughs has faced humiliation, transformation and everything in between. This Is How is his no-holds-barred book of advice on topics as varied as:
  • How to feel like crap
  • How to ride an elevator
  • How to be thin
  • How to be fat
  • How to find love
  • How to feel sorry for yourself
  • How to get the job
  • How to end your life
  • How to remain unhealed
  • How to finish your drink
  • How to regret as little as possible
  • And much more
Told with Burroughs's unique voice, black humor, and in-your-face advice, This is How is Running With Scissors—with recipes.

My Rating: 4 of 5 "Really Liked It"

This is, without a doubt, the most candid self-help book I have ever read. It covers a vast range of subjects, from how to deal with optimist do-gooders when you're down, all the way to mourning the death of a child. And the ironic part-? All of these situations, the book teaches, can be handled with a single, powerful, simple tool:

Absolute honesty with yourself.

"This Is How" spends 230 pages repeating the same honesty mantra in so many different ways, that it's a profound experience when it finally clicks. So many different examples are used that, at some point in the book, you're garunteed to find something that speaks to you, and when you do, the point hits home.

Everyone has issues. Some people more than others. And it seems to me that no matter how light or extreme your life difficulties are, this book will definitely help give a second perspective on your situation.

I read this book in a day and a half- exceptionally long for only 200 pages of text. But the words invoke a lot of thought, a lot of conversation, and offers something that lasts beyond the turn of the last page.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Rage in Placid Lake (2003)

The Rage in Placid Lake (2003)
Director: Tony McNamara
Writer: Tony McNamara
Stars: Jordan Brooking, Ben Lee and Rose Byrne

Precocious, bohemian teenager Placid Lake, finishes high school and decides to do the one thing that will annoy his new age parents the most- go straight! With a few weeks spent reading a library of self-help manuals, Placid has it all sorted out- and he has the haircut and the cheap suit to prove it. Can Placid Lake retire his rage in the pursuit of beige; embrace conformity and leap on the fast track to corporate success? Will his 'brainiac' friend Gemma be able to talk him out of this economic rationalist madness? And will poor Doug and Sylvia survive the ignominy of having a son with a burgeoning future in insurance? Never underestimate the evil of banality!

My Rating: 3 of 5 "Liked It"

This movie is a twist on the usual rebellious teenager film. I found the characters entertaining and sympathetic, and I got a lot of good laughs out of it. If you're looking for something quirky and funny, with a hint of a dark edge to it, check this movie out.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dollhouse: Epitaphs

Dollhouse: Epitaphs
by Andrew Chambliss, Jed Whedon, Maurissa Tancharoen, and Cliff Richards

Joss Whedon's Dollhouse continues, written by television-series mainstays Andrew Chambliss (the CW's Vampire Diaries, co-writer of Buffy Season 9), Maurissa Tancharoen (Spartacus), and Jed Whedon (Dr. Horrible.) The Rossum Corporation's Dollhouse technology has gone viral with a synchronized phone call that wiped the minds of everyone it reached, turning them into mindless killers. Those who avoided the call - including show favorites Echo, Alpha, Mag, Zone, and Griff - must try to survive in the sudden apocalypse and be wary of Rossum's expansive technological reach. This is only the beginning.

My Rating: 4 of 5 "Really Liked It"

Dollhouse: Epitaphs is the first book of a series that is a must have for all Dollhouse fans. The comic retains many aspects of the show that I enjoyed most: the mood, the characters, and the psychological thrills.

The comics take the opportunity to explore characters besides Echo, who we already know so much about. Instead we follow primarily the story of Alpha and a 13-year-old boy named Trevor who gets wrapped up in the adventure. The comics explain several things about the ending of the television series that the show didn't have time to delve into, and I'm certain that future books will explore more of Joss Whedon's world that we didn't get to dive into during the show.

I'm really excited for the comic series. Besides the story, the art is really good, with most panels capturing the actors' likenesses well. The first volume also comes with the cover gallery at the back so that you don't miss out on any of the other beautiful cover pages you might not get with the mini-issues. I felt a little bit twitchy at first about paying 18.00 USD for a comic book, but I think it was worth it in the end. I look forward to more!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

YESSS Three books arrived!!!

Yes! Three books arrived on the same day today! These are the first of the First Reads from Goodreads that I've finally got!

Today I received:
  • When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison
  • Stolen Prey by John Sandford
  • This is How: Help for the Self- Proven Aid in Overcoming Shyness, Molestation, Fatness, Spinsterhood, Grief, Disease, Lushery, Decrepitude, and MORE for for Young and Old Alike by Augusten Burroughs
 Haha, I don't know how much on that last list I suffer from, but I love to read self-help books~

Anyway, it's quite obvious what I'll be doing over the weekend! I've got to finish up The Three Musketeers first, and then it's on to First Reads!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
by Stieg Larsson
Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge—against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life. Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.
My Rating: 4 of 5 "Really Liked It"

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is an awesome wrap up to an awesome trilogy. Stieg Larsson's stories may be dense with detail and back story, but it all seems well worth it when the series comes to a satisfying conclusion. I'm not normally into stories of intrigue and politics, but Larsson's compelling characters and intricate plot (peppered with bits of action the silver screen will love) kept me going to the very end!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World
by Aldous Huxley
Far in the future, the World Controllers have finally created the ideal society. In laboratories worldwide, genetic science has brought the human race to perfection. From the Alpha-Plus mandarin class to the Epsilon-Minus Semi-Morons, designed to perform menial tasks, man is bred and educated to be blissfully content with his pre-destined role.
Rating: 3/5

My opinion on Brave New World keeps fluctuating between liking it, disliking it, and being outright confused by it. I really loved some of the concepts, but several sections felt too disconnected or unrelated for me to really say I enjoyed it. Likely I'll just have to spend more time thinking about this one before I can formulate a complete opinion.

It DOES make me want to write dystopian fiction, though...

Monday, April 9, 2012

What Dreams May Come (1998)

What Dreams May Come (1998)
Director: Vincent Ward
Writers: Richard Matheson (novel), Ronald Bass (screenplay)
Stars: Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Annabella Sciorra

Chris Neilson dies to find himself in a heaven more amazing than he could have ever dreamed of. There is one thing missing: his wife. 

My Rating: 2 of 5 "It Was Okay"

Well, if you're in the mood for something depressing, this is the movie for you. My initial interest in this movie was the art side as opposed to the story (though the story was really good.) There's several scenes in this movie that take place inside a painting, so it's fun to see how they visualized the characters' interaction with a slippery, colorful world.

I feel like so much was crammed in this movie, that it would have been better if, maybe, it was a television series. I haven't read the novel, so I don't know how much was changed, but I imagine the novel delves much deeper into the different aspects of Chris's worlds and the characters within.

I dunno if I would have chosen Robin Williams as the actor for this movie. I'd have to think pretty hard on who I would cast in his place, but in general I find it hard to take Robin Williams serious. He's just so good at being funny and smart that when I see him in an epic role, I feel distracted. Anyone else like that- perhaps even with different stars?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Have a WIP

Work in Progress, obviously. I'm trying to figure if I want to finish it or not, so I guess this could potentially be called "Work No Longer in Progress." These two are actually two different people inside the same body. Cylas and Adam are stuck together whether they like it or not- it's a long story. I won't get into it here. Anyway, if you look close enough, they're actually the same person with aesthetic changes. If Adam ever gets full control of the body, he plans to cut his hair, grow a little facial hair, dress like a rebel, and work out a bit. Adam's fashion sense is essentially: "Would Cylas wear this? No? I love it!"

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Black Oil, Red Blood by Diane Castle

Black Oil, Red Blood
By Diane Castle
The thing about cancer is it’s hard to prove somebody gave it to you on purpose—but Chloe Taylor can prove it. In fact, she proves it for a living. She sues oil refineries that would rather save a buck than comply with safety regulations designed to do important things like, you know, keep people alive. 
Rating: 2 of 5 "It Was Okay"

I'm sorry to say that I struggled to get through this book. I'm going to give it two stars for "it was okay" because really that's what I'd have to say about it. It was okay.

The characters were overwhelmingly cardboard (with the exception of Nash, who actually seemed to have some complexity) and the plot was so-so. I feel like the story was an excuse for the author to lecture me about Big Oil. Characters randomly broke out into long-winded speeches and rattled off statistics as if they were reading it right off of wikipedia. The dialogue throughout these long stretches of texture-less expository chunks was brittle and constructed at best.

The action scenes were pretty okay, until the point that they inevitably reached a level of absurdity even I was taken out of the book. I'm all for camp, really, but if the main character noticed Nash's "chiseled torso" one more time at the very wrong time I was going to flip my desk. That, and the results of said action scenes were unsatisfactory. Chloe spent too much time being tossed from one action wave to the next without discovering any information on her own. She might as well not have been the main character of this book.

At any rate, there were several redeeming qualities that kept me going throughout. Miles, Chloe's gay paralegal, was entertaining comedic relief (even though the obviousness of his role in the story did irritate me by the time I hit the half-way point.) And normally I don't like the use of pets in books but I found myself oddly pleased by Lucy's simple pleasure in car rides and usefulness as a midnight look-out.

My roommate read this book at the same time I did, and she found much more enjoyment in it than I did. However, she didn't read the whole book, just popped in and out and read over my shoulder for the scenes that made me laugh. I'm not sure what that says for the book beyond saying it has potential that wasn't properly exploited.

Then again, maybe this isn't my kind of story? Unsure. I'll go compare notes with other readers and see if I'm just the odd-man out on this one.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
By Ransom Riggs
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
 Rating: 3 of 5 "I Liked It"

I really really liked this story. It's obviously set up for a series, so this book is all about introducing the characters and the world they live in. A couple story-points in the book were a little bit choppy, but overall the progression of the storyline and the development of the characters was engaging and exciting. But that being said, I probably won't read the rest of the series, which is why it gets a 3 instead of a 4.

This is a really good book that you can read in one day. Pick a free weekend and enjoy!

If you're up for spoilers...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Cursed by Rhianne Aile

Cursed
by Rhianne Aile
Upon their grandmothers death, Tristan Northland and his twin, Will, come into possession of her Book of Shadows and the knowledge that their family is responsible for a centuries-old curse. Determined to right the ancient wrong, Tristan sets off across the ocean to reverse the dark magic. (Adult Fiction)
 Rating: 4/5

This book was so much fun!! It involved all of my guilty pleasures wrapped up into one book: werewolves, true love, absurd levels of homosexual pairings, mysterious estates, magic, drama and happy endings. It felt like my version of the paperback romance novels you find old women and nurses reading behind the counter-- that is meant entirely as a compliment. The paperbacks I refer to are addictive, honest in their intention, and incredibly fun to get lost in for an afternoon or two. I fell in love with the characters in Cursed, enjoyed the werewolf lore in this world, and not to mention the explicit material was well-written. I've got a handful of friends who will enjoy reading Cursed, so I'll definitely be passing along the word.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I Feel Like a Pro

It took me forever to figure out, but I finally worked out the question-answer confirmation python script that's been driving me crazy for days. Anyone who uses Python can totally borrow this. It's designed to check multiple answers. If you've got a suggestion to make it better, lemme know!

#VALIDATEQA##########################################################
# validateQA() does the following:                                  #
#    asks the question                                              #
#    compares answer to valid options                               #
#    returns list of answers as a string                            #
#####################################################################

def validateQA(question, valid):
    counter = 0
    while counter == 0:
        validAnswerList = []
        givenAnswerList = raw_input(question).split(' ')
        for answer in givenAnswerList:
            if answer in valid.keys():
                validAnswerList.append(valid[answer])
                if len(validAnswerList) == len(givenAnswerList):
                    counter = 1
            else:
                sys.stdout.write("\nAnswer the question, bro!")
    result = ' '.join(validAnswerList)
    return result

Example...
    renameQ = "Would you like to rename this? (y/n): "
    renameA = {"yes":"yes",   "y":"yes",    "ye":"yes",
               "no":"no",     "n":"no"}
    rename = validateQA(renameQ, renameA)
 
    whichQ = "Which characters would you like to rename? (separate with spaces): "
    whichA = {"john":"johndoe",   "doe":"johndoe",    "john doe":"johndoe",
               "jill":"jillian",   "jillian":"jillian"}
    which = validateQA(whichQ, whichA)

Like magic!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Script Frenzy

Is anyone participating in this year's Script Frenzy?

For those of you who may not know, Script Frenzy is basically the NaNoWriMo of script writing. 100 pages of script (properly formatted) in 30 days (April.) The rules are a little bit different than NaNoWriMo which keeps things interesting. Here's the breakdown:

Copied from http://www.scriptfrenzy.org
The 5 Basic Rules of Script Frenzy
The Rules
1) To be crowned an official Script Frenzy winner, you must write a script (or multiple scripts) of at least 100 total pages and verify this tally on ScriptFrenzy.org.
2) You may write individually or with a partner. Writing teams will have a 100-page total goal for their co-written script or scripts.
3) Scriptwriting may begin no earlier than 12:00:01 AM on April 1 and must cease no later than 11:59:59 PM on April 30, local time.
4) You may write screenplays, stage plays, web series, TV shows, short films, comic book and graphic novel scripts, adaptations of novels, or any other type of script your heart desires.
5) You must, at some point, have ridiculous amounts of fun.
Still unclear? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


I've chosen to do a graphic novel script, and the story I've chosen is called 'Mahogany'. Filled with magic, intrigue, and plenty of comedic moments. I think I'm going to really enjoy this!

Monday, April 2, 2012

www.aMagicCat.com

This is just BEGGING to become an internet meme....

Once you and I make eye contact, we are bonded forever. Never will we part. I am truly “A Magic Cat!”



Cat, whose eyes, ears and face follow you
Magic Cat Looking Forward At You

 Cat, whose eyes, ears and face follow you
Magic Cat Looking to His Right At You. 

 Magic Cat's Eyes, Ears and Face Followed You.

 Cat, whose eyes, ears and face follow you
Again, Magic Cat Looking Forward at You. 

 Cat, whose eyes, ears and face follow you
Magic Cat Looking to His Left At You. 

 Cat, whose eyes, ears and face follow you
Magic Cat Looking Down at You.

 Cat, whose eyes, ears and face follow you
Magic Cat Looking Up at You.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Oh boy... It seems my book line-up just got a WHOLE lot more interesting...

I just won two more books on Goodreads, bringing my lineup to a total of 8. None of them have arrived yet, but I've been informed that Danger Money is in the mail. I'm debating if I want to get two more lined up in the mail so I have a nice round 10, but I'm unsure. I think I've got plenty to work with for now, so I'll lay off the raffles and let other people pick them up.

Anyway, these next two books are going to be FANTASTIC (in a good and hilarious way in that I can't believe I actually won these books and I'm excited to read them but I have NO idea if they'll actually be good or not.)

Diaries of an Emotional Prostitute by Beatrice McClearn
People snare when I tell them that I’m an emotional prostitute. But after my rebuttal, they begin to realize that they are one too. Like me, they have pimped their emotions for the affections of another. Like me, they’ve gone through life tormented by the idea of living a happily ever after, not realizing that the ever after isn’t so happy.
Yeah, I know that one sounds really depressing, but we all need a sad book to read now and then. This next one will wow you. It's a perfect apology for the downer...

Queer and Pleasant Danger: The true story of a nice Jewish boy who joins the Church of Scientology and leaves twelve years later to become the lovely lady she is today by Kate Bornstein
Kate Bornstein--gender theorist, performance artist, author--is set to change lives with her compelling memoir. Wickedly funny and disarmingly honest, this is Bornstein's most intimate book yet, encompassing her early childhood and adolescence, college at Brown, a life in the theater, three marriages and fatherhood, the Scientology hierarchy, transsexual life, LGBTQ politics, and life on the road as a sought-after speaker.
Wild, right? I'm stoked.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Four More on the Way



Another set of books along the way from Goodreads wins. I'm so excited for them to show up. I've decided that I'll read and review them in the order that they're delivered~

42 Rules for a Web Presence that Wins by Philippa Gamse
This edition is a fast, but thought-provoking read that offers a "hawk-eye" perspective on the many different considerations for an effective Web site and social media presence, based on the author's 15-plus years of consulting experience and research into what works at a practical level. Each rule is illustrated with real-life examples from her clients, audiences, and colleagues.
Danger Money by John Van Stry
Jotun was born and bred to be a corporate assassin, back in the days of the Corporate Wars. Confined these days to life in a gilded cage, Jotun welcomes any opportunity to get out and lately he's been getting out a lot. But as a genetically designed and Laboratory bred animorph by a company that isn't quite sure if it trusts him anymore his choices are few: do the jobs that eventually will kill him, or refuse, which will also kill him. Of course it isn't like he doesn't enjoy the work, but when everybody wants you dead you start to wonder if there isn't more to life.

When an unexpected betrayal kills the few friends he has and nearly him as well, Jotun realizes he has bigger problems than his lifestyle, namely finding out who betrayed him and paying them back, no matter what the cost.

Danger Money is a Science Fiction story that takes place in my Children of Steel universe, a future where genetically created animorphs serve as second class citizens and handle all of the dirty and dangerous jobs that are part of humanity's extension to the stars
Power in the Blood by Angelia Sparrow
Oren Stolt understands the natural order better than most people. Vampires prey on humans and Undying keep the vampires' numbers in check.

Until now.

Now, across the United States, vampire numbers are exploding, thanks to a new church. The Tabernacle of the Firstfruits preaches a Risen Lord and invites believers to follow Him in death and resurrection... quite literally.

In Memphis, the church is about to host its first conference, with an eye to converting the whole world to the vampiric gospel.

And all that stands between humanity and eternal night is Oren, his kids, and a thin line of insane immortals.
Stolen Prey by John Sandford
Lucas Davenport has seen many terrible murder scenes. This is one of the worst. In the small Minnesota town of Deephaven, an entire family has been killed—husband, wife, two daughters, dogs.
There’s something about the scene that pokes at Lucas’s cop instincts—it looks an awful lot like the kind of scorched-earth retribution he’s seen in drug killings sometimes. But this is a seriously upscale town, and the husband was an executive vice president at a big bank. It just doesn’t seem to fit.
Until it does. And where it leads Lucas will take him into the darkest nightmare of his life.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Warring the Worlds

I'm listening to War of the Worlds right now and it's an incredible broadcast. It's easy to see how it became a classic. It creates a tense atmosphere that keeps you hooked. If you haven't heard it yet, you should go download it now. It's only an hour long, and it's an hour well spent.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Check out my ebook!! :D!


     

  Get a Fantastic New Storybook App and The Huntsman Cancer Foundation wins!
As some of you may know I and many others worked a lot of very long hours to produce my award winning animated short, "Flip". Now, I am very proud to share my latest project with you... the "Flip: Interactive Storybook" App. Please help me with the launch of this wonderful children’s Book App and  our charitable partner The Huntsman Cancer Foundation will receive a portion of the proceeds for every app downloaded through this e-Flyer.

Made for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, Flip: Interactive Storybook is a truly beautiful, immersive and magical story filled with moments of hope, love, fear and faith. Join Emma as she goes on an enchanting life journey featuring delightful world-class 3D animation, fully interactive touch screen graphics, originally composed music and captivating narration.

Click anywhere on the picture above to purchase this great app from the iTunes store. Remember to click through this e-Flyer link so The Huntsman Cancer Foundation will get credit for the sale. Please also feel free to forward this email to Family and Friends so they too can get this beautiful Book App and support a great cause! Thank you for your generous support and I hope you enjoy...

“Flip: Interactive Storybook”
                                                                                                                                                       Jill

2012 Copyright Grids Interactive LLC & 2012 Copyright AppFairs.com LLC

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I won!

Today I got an email from Goodreads telling me that I've won a couple of early release books! Goodreads is really cool because you can enter into drawings for books. They ask (don't require, but I require myself anyway) that you review the book after you read it. It's an awesome trade-off, free books for reviews.

I entered into a BUNCH of drawings just because I want to try this out and I didn't mind what genre of book I ended up with as long as I got something. (It's a great opportunity to read books that I wouldn't normally read anyway.) I won two:

When in Doubt Add Butter by
Gemma Craig has spent her career as a private chef taking care of other people. From Lex, the fussy department store owner straight out of a movie from the thirties; to grossly overweight Willa, who must radically change her eating habits or die; to the strange Oleksei family, with a constant parade of mysterious people coming and going; to the hideously demanding A ngela who is “allergic to everything” and foists her tastes on her hapless family; to the man Gemma thinks of only as “Mr. Tuesday” because they’ve never met. Everyone relies on Gemma, even while she goes home alone each night and feasts on cereal and quick meals. But when life takes an unexpected turn on a road Gemma always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and learn to move on in ways she never imagined.
aaaaand....

A Foreign Country by
On the vacation of a lifetime in Egypt, an elderly French couple are brutally murdered. Days later, a meticulously-planned kidnapping takes place on the streets of Paris. Amelia Levene, the first female Chief of MI6, has disappeared without a trace, six weeks before she is due to take over as the most influential spy in Europe. It is the gravest crisis MI6 has faced in more than a decade. Desperate not only to find her, but to keep her disappearance a secret, Britain’s top intelligence agents turn to one of their own: disgraced MI6 officer Thomas Kell. Tossed out of the Service only months before, Kell is given one final chance to redeem himself - find Amelia Levene at any cost. The trail leads Kell to France and Tunisia, where he uncovers a shocking secret and a conspiracy that could have unimaginable repercussions for Britain and its allies. Only Kell stands in the way of personal and political catastrophe.
So here's hoping they're good!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I've Discovered Goodreads

Have you?


Goodreads is this great site that I'd call 'The Netflix for books' if only it contained elements of audible.com and let you download direct from the site.

Goodreads allows you to rate, review, and recommend books to your friends. It features a huuuuuge database of books from all genres and time periods (I haven't checked languages yet, though.) You're able to keep 'shelves' of books that you've read, plan to read, and are currently reading.

Find out what your friends like, and discover new books you didn't realize you were dying to read! Check it out at goodreads.com

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hustler (1961)

The Hustler (1961)
Director: Robert Rossen
Writers: Sidney Carroll (screenplay), Robert Rossen (screenplay), Walter S. Tevis (novel)
Stars: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason and Piper Laurie

"Fast" Eddie Felson is a small-time pool hustler with a lot of talent but a self-destructive attitude. His bravado causes him to challenge the legendary "Minnesota Fats" to a high-stakes match which begins Fast Eddie's lifelong struggle against his greatest opponent of all- himself.

My Rating: 4 of 5 "Really Liked It"

This movie is like an exploration of a single character, Fast Eddie. Fast Eddie is a con-artist inside and out of the game. I really liked Eddie, and despite him being a generally...I don't want to say 'sly' or 'sleezy', but those are the best words I've got right now- despite being a sly guy with a penchant for self-destructive behavior, I really like him.

Happy ending or not? You be the judge.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

12 and Holding (2005)

12 and Holding (2005)
Director: Michael Cuesta
Writer: Anthony Cipriano
Stars: Conor Donovan, Jesse Camacho and Zoe Weizenbaum

After his twin brother is accidentally killed by vengeful bullies, a disfigured 12-year old boy and his friends face the harsh realities of death, hormones, and family dysfunction. 

My Rating: 3 of 5 "Liked it"

Netflix really needs to stop recommending me depressing movies. How does this happen? I guess I watched all the happy movies featuring children so now I'm just left with all the sad ones. Oh well.

I liked this movie. It follows three main characters and their development into young adolescence. If you're a fan of the drama genre, then this is a good movie for you.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Unloved (2009)

The Unloved (2009)
Director: Samantha Morton
Writers: Tony Grisoni, Samantha Morton
Stars: Molly Windsor, Robert Carlyle and Susan Lynch

Lucy is eleven years old. Having been neglected by her estranged mother and father, she is placed in a children's home. Through her eyes, we follow Lucy's struggle to cope with the system.

My Rating: 4 of 5 "Really Liked It"

What strikes me most about this movie is the mood. It's bleak but captivating, and something about it just feels so raw. It feels like truth. I really feel for the characters and really feel like I understand them even though their experiences are so different from my own.

Apparently this movie was made for TV? I need to look into it a bit more, but that's what IMDb says. That actually surprised me, since I don't associate made for TV movies with having such high quality.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Following (1998)

Following (1998)
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Christopher Nolan
Stars: Jeremy Theobald, Alex Haw and Lucy Russell

An older man listens to Bill's story about being a callow writer who likes to follow strangers around around London, observing them. One day, a glib and self-confident man whom Bill has been following confronts him. He's Cobb, a burglar who takes Bill under his wing and shows him how to break and enter. They burgle a woman's flat; Bill gets intrigued with her (photographs are everywhere in her flat). He follows her and chats her up at a bar owned by her ex-boyfriend, a nasty piece of work who killed someone in her living room with a hammer. Soon Bill is volunteering to do her a favor, which involves a break-in. What does the older man know that Bill doesn't?

My Rating: 2 of 5 "It Was Okay"

I might have the unpopular opinion on this. I wasn't interested in the characters, so I wasn't interested in paying attention to their problems. I thought the concept for the movie was pretty cool, but I didn't get enough information at the right times to keep my curiosity peaked throughout.

Honestly, I got bored with it and walked away to do something else, only to come back literally two minutes later and discover the credits were rolling. Christopher Nolan ("Memento") is known for having his movies come together in the last frickin' thirty seconds, so I had to restart the last five minutes to catch the punchline. The punchline, as can be expected, was really good, but if I'm bored with the freakin' movie after seventy minutes of being jerked around, then I'm not even gonna watch the punchline.

So, it was alright. Probably won't watch it again.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

All About Eve (1950)

All About Eve (1950)
Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Writer: Joseph L. Mankiewicz (screenplay), Mary Orr (story "The Wisdom of Eve") (uncredited)
Stars: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter and George Sanders

Writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's sharp script anchors this story about New York City theater life, with Bette Davis playing an aging Broadway diva who employs a starstruck fan (Anne Baxter) as her assistant, only to learn the woman is a conniving upstart. The now-classic All About Eve won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director (Mankiewicz), Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (George Sanders).

My Rating: 5 of 5 "Loved it!"

AH I LOVE THIS MOVIE. Seriously, the entire film is quotable. The dialogue was smart and funny and witty and so very real. And F* Eve man, whadda crazy chick, hahaha.

I just had so much fun watching this movie. Every single character and quirks and interesting scenes and great things to say. Jeeze, just thinking about this movie makes me want to watch it again. Even if you're not into old films, I highly recommend you check this one out.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Have some icons

Cael, Cylas, Grant, Justin

Here, have some icons. These are the four main characters of the Happy Raging Mutants Time campaign I'm running. Cylas is my character and Cael, Grant, and Justin are the player characters. Cael is a bookworm. Cylas is a prep. Grant is an emo (though he denies it,) and Justin is a creeper teacher. Justin's no longer with the main party; his player switched out for a new character named Penelope who's a really sweet (but totally kick ass) chick. I'll post up her icon when I draw it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Least favorite film by a favorite director

Jackie Brown (1997)



That’s absolutely not to say it’s not a good film. Jackie Brown is still a good movie, it’s just my least favorite of Tarantino’s movies. Why? Well, I don’t know, there was something odd about the pacing. I just felt like the movie kept going on and on. I’d have to really break it down and analyze it before I could tell you exactly why I thought that was. (Very likely a good idea, but I’d like to sit on the movie for a few days before I try to dissect it.)

Once again, Tarantino has a kick-ass female lead. Jackie Brown (the movie, not the character) has an anti-romance streak running through it that I totally bought into. I’d love to use that kind of relationship in my own stories. Overall good movie, but when you place it next to his other amazing films you just can’t say it’s his best.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A movie that disappointed you

9 (2009)

9

“Disappointment” is a good word for this movie. It sounds kinda harsh but it’s true, I was sorely disappointed. The trailer was excellent. Energizing, intriguing, it made me want to see the movie. I’d also seen the short film the movie was inspired by, so I thought it would be clever too.

Unfortunately it wasn’t. This movie is one missed opportunity after another. Such a rich and intriguing world and I never felt like it was exploited. The story was dry and predictable and the dialogue equally as much. What got me visually was that the textures didn’t hold up on closeups. When they did an over the shoulder shot, the weaving on their body looked like a low-res image, which I bet it was.

If only they’d spent more time figuring out what they wanted to say. The movie would have been great if it had a point.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Great performance in a film

Al Pacino as Sonny Wortzik in Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Al Pacino

This is the movie that made me fall madly in love with Al Pacino. I seriously can’t get enough of this guy. He’s energetic, he’s confrontational, he a smooth-operator, he’s a bad guy. Al Pacino is everything bad for you that’s oh so good.

The character Sonny is a bit neurotic but intelligent. I spent the whole movie flip-flopping if I liked him or not (rather, if I should be rooting for him or not.) Regardless if you want him to win or not, he’s the star of this show and I guarantee you’ll have a blast as you slowly uncover his motives.

Friday, February 10, 2012

I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)

I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)
Directors: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Writers: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra
Stars: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor and Leslie Mann
Rated: R
Genre: Comedy/Drama/Romance

Steven Russell is happily married to Debbie, and a member of the local police force when a car accident provokes a dramatic reassessment of his life. Steven becomes open about his homosexuality and decides to live life to the fullest - even if it means breaking the law. Steven's new, extravagant lifestyle involves cons and fraud and, eventually, a stay in the State Penitentiary where he meets sensitive, soft-spoken Phillip Morris. His devotion to freeing Phillip from jail and building the perfect life together prompts Steven to attempt and often succeed at one impossible con after another.

My Rating: 2 of 5 "It was okay"

This movie suffers from Jim Carrey. Sorry, I'm not a Jim Carrey fan, and I'm pretty much certain that this film would have been twenty times better without him (though that's my opinion on all Jim Carrey films.) I thought the movie was interesting to a point, but I probably wouldn't have bothered with it if I wasn't watching it with friends.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cherry (2010)

Cherry (2010)
Director: Jeffrey Fine
Writer: Jeffrey Fine
Stars: Kyle Gallner, Laura Allen, Britt Robertson
Genre: Comedy/Drama

An Ivy League freshman gets an unexpected education when he falls for an older woman and her 14 year-old daughter develops a crush on him.

My Rating: 4/5 "Really Liked It"

What I loved most about this movie was the characters. Not only are the main characters entertaining and interesting, but all of the surrounding characters have depth as well. This movie is a really good "dramedy" because the situations are so absurd that you have to either laugh or cry, and it's got just the right amount of humor to make you laugh instead. It's well worth a watch.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

AAAAAAAH OLD STUFF

Wow, this is kinda adorable. Brought to you by Past Jill, straight out of 2006, I have the honor of presenting to you the first layout for American Sake apartments:


Check that out, I even wrote down where the characters sleep at night. Please note that half of them bum on each other's living room couches, haha. Man, everything is so out of proportion. Look at the tubs that are the same size as the sinks hahahaha. Oh well, I guess everyone starts somewhere~

Friday, February 3, 2012

American Sake: The Starting Line


Writing from 2006 posted for gits and shiggles. I like looking back on old stuff :3