Saturday, July 31, 2010

This Summer I...

I haven't been updating here as much these day because of how busy I am and because of how easily portable a book-diary is compared to a big honkin' computer with wi-fi. Sorry.

But I suppose I could mention that this summer:

I was called beautiful by someone.
I made new friends.
I lost a few friends.
I regained some friendships that I had once lost.
I got a job and worked.
I got a speeding ticket and had to pay a fine.
I got a lot of new free clothes.
I fell in love and out of love and back in love again with the same person.
I read a lot about Art and I visited some great museums.
I learned how to salsa dance and ballroom dance.
I taught piano and I helped teach a show choir.
I taught a music appreciation class.
I saw two community musicals and a variety show.
I learned a new song on piano and wrote a few new ones as well.
I got over a few spiritual roadblocks.
I went for a week without media technology.
I went to a gym for the first time.
I tried new foods and learned how to cook some new dishes.
I had friends over for Avatar parties, west side story parties, and Muppet Treasture island.
I visited a lot of graduation parties.
I saw my sister go to prom.
I spent a lot of time with my family.
I saw my dad get sustained as a Bishop of our family ward.
I learned the gravity and importance of money.
I maintained letter relationships with at least five missionaries.
I read all of my diaries.
I watched every episode of Bones.
I saw The Last Airbender, the A-Team, Eclipse, Inception, and Toy Story 3.
I celebrated Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Independence Day, and Pioneer Day.
I learned how to can food.
I did a lot of service.
I learned a lot more about Lady Gaga... also set a date to see her in concert.
I learned the power that comes in being single.
I gave two talks in church.
I found my retainer and worked on wearing it again.
I got sunburned.
I went to a club.
I learned how to use a meat slicer.
I renewed my Driver's License.
I said goodbye to a missionary from Tonga.
I was a family chauffer.
I listened to the top 500 songs of all time according to Rolling Stone.
I bought bras and thongs.
I slept at a hotel.
I had the cops show up at my house.
I got plastic go-go boots.
I had a cold.
I stayed up until 2 talking to a friend by a fire in the rain.
I watched Glee with a pregnant lady.
I saw my childhood playground get trekked off forever.
I grew.


So I FINALLY saw Inception a few days ago with a bunch of church friends.

First off, I'd like to just point out that YES, the movie was very good and YES it will probably go down in history as one of those movies that just bends your brain like no other. Christopher Nolan is a fantastic director... only the best can make up a plot so complex and so intricate as that one. The acting was great, mostly. Leo DiCaprio has his dry moments and Marion Cotillard has never been my favorite, but you lose sight of that by the great looking Joseph Gordon Levitt and CILLIAN MURPHY (*gusssssh*), the intense Zimmer music, and the brilliant plotline that just blows your mind.

It is not all it's cracked up to be.
I don't mean to say it wasn't good!!! I just get really critical when I go in expecting the forth of july and all I get is a few fire-crackers. People would talk and talk and talk about the movie... All they said was that my mind would be blown and my life would be changed and I may have a near-death experience. Yet when I left the movie, I was definitely thinking (good movies make you think), but this movie was in no way as phenomenal as it was made out to be. I was more impressed with Dark Knight than this movie. I really had no desire to tell the world how amazing it was. I didn't even post it on facebook until a few days later.
So word to the wise... this is a movie that you should know as little about as possible in order to fully appreciate it. Don't take others' words for it. Go see it yourself and like it for what it is, not what others say about it. You will appreciate it more.

A Few Items of Musical Business:

Okay so I like following bands/artists/performers that I really like, but many of them have either been on loooong hiatuses (hiati?) these past few months that they are fading from my life. I cannot let that happen.
Fortunately, some of them are returning to the limelight with new CDs/appearances/news so here goes.

1. The new Evanescence CD is supposed to be coming out this fall. This is big. Very big. Amy Lee and Terry Balsamo are teaming up with producer Steve Lillywhite to make a more electro-pop rock sound, which is now my latest craze. So that's really exciting. Every Evanescence CD (thus far, only three of them) has been different. This is a quality I like. Amy Lee -- depending on those she is working with -- always cranks out something new and it's always very beautiful. SOOO Excited. Come, Fall '10! Come!!!

2. Speaking of Evanescence... We Are The Fallen. I don't care about those diehard Ev fans who mock Ben Moody's new band, I really like their stuff. I like female-fronted, classical-goth-rock bands, and it all began with Ben Moody's Evanescence. So We Are the Fallen is like bringing back that sound that made me love the genre in the first place. And Carly Smithson is good. She's not Amy Lee, but let's face it. No one can be Amy Lee. That's probably why she's had so much trouble holding a band together. So as far as the female goth genre is concerned, this new Evanescence that Moody has created is pretty decent. I want to invest in the CD.

3. (Still in my goth rock vein) Within Temptation. New CD should be out early 2011. That feels far away, but really it's only a few months. (I can't believe 2010 is half over...) And I think WT is seriously improving with everything they make.
I believe Sharon Den Adel had a child these past few months, which is why they stopped touring. Makes sense.

4. Speaking of Babies, Anette Olzon from Nightwish also had a baby... very very recently. So we might not be hearing any new Nightwish for a while. Hopefully the band will survive. A new singer... who just had a baby. Doesn't bode well for a band.

5. I'm loving Adam Lambert more and more. I think I want his CD as well.

6. I feel like I really should be liking Paramore but the more I hear from them, the more bored I get. So I can't help but make a stupid pun -- Paramore's a paraBORE. "The Only Exception" is all over the Radio right now and I really am honestly at a loss for why they would pick THAT song for a single. It's slow slow slow and repetitive repetitive repetitive, requiring very little vocal skill and lacking meaningful lyrics. Old Paramore? Pretty good from a pop perspective -- not a rock perspective.

7. Lady Gaga's new CD comes out spring 2011. She will be announcing the name of the album on January first, 2011 at midnight by releasing a picture of her new tattoo with the album name.

8. Katy Perry's CD... as I think I mentioned last post... is greatly anticipated.

9. Bruno Mars has a single out that's really cute. Something about "when I see your face, there's nothing I would change." I wish a guy would say that to me... as would a hundred other girls, which is why it's played all the time on the radio. Dangit.

10. Eminem. I got into him a bit back in jr. high just to be cool, but now I'm reconnecting with Shady and his new songs are quite deep. I just don't think I can wholly appreciate him what with the standards I try my hardest to keep regarding language and sexual content. So I am content with just his semi-clean radio singles and whatever lyrics I can stomach. I do respect him, however, for his great usage of language. Rap is a hard art to master, and Marshall Mathers is a genius at it. "Love the Way You Lie" with Rihanna is one such masterpiece. It's overplayed. I really hope the shock doesn't wear off because of that.

11. I'm also liking Taio Cruz's "Dynamite." It is -- at the moment -- my favorite party song.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rolling Stones Top 500

I'm working my way through Rolling Stone's top 500 songs of the last 50 years. Good stuff good stuff.

I'm learning now to appreciate good ol' fashioned Rock N' Roll, which was a genre I never quite got into until now.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

New Katy Perry Stuff

Okay, I really like Katy Perry. She's like the Princess of Pop right now (under Queen GAGA of course) and the one word that I like to use when I describe her is this: COLORFUL.
Everything she does is bright, happy, and honestly loud. It's wonderful. So here I include two youtube videos dedicated to her new CD coming out this fall: Teenage Dream

A link to the music video for her latest single, "California Gurls"
(embedding was disabled but I thought you'd want the best quality video EVER...)

Some parody Videos on "California Gurls"

1. "Minnesota Girls" -- Of course I'm from Minnesota so this has a meaning very near and dear to my heart.

2. Glozell's Translation for the Video, which is particularly hilarious.

Finally, I'm gonna put on a link so you can listen to her next single, "Teenage Dream" which I really like.

"You think I'm funny when I get the punchline wrong." :D
Here's her CD cover for her new CD, also called "Teenage Dream." A little provocative for a CD cover... but I suppose it could be worse.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Last Airbender.... Broke my Brain.

Okay so this was the first movie I have ever gone to that left me extremely clueless as to whether or not I liked it.

So I went home and read about a hundred reviews on it and they all said the same thing: This Avatar movie SUCKED.

But I'm the type of girl who at least tries to find some good things about these movies so I will provide a list of pros before I rant and rant about the cons.

1. It kept very well with the plot of the Animated Series. This has always been the classic complaint of moviegoers everywhere: "Why do they have to change it so much? I like the original!" Well here is where their wish was granted. The movie kept to the major plotline of the series almost without flaw. Of course, there are things we gotta leave out. Omashu, for example, with the mad King Bumi and the crazy cabbage guy, was a great part of season 1, but not needed to keep the Fire Nation plot going and therefore unneccessary for the motion picture. I get that. And there are some things that were added in... that whole tidbit about Aang's past with the Monks where he is supposed to officially announce his acceptance of becoming the Avatar was new. But the big things were all there, as they were in the series. They got all the characters right, down to the costumes all the people wore. The voices even sounded alike (I was particularly impressed with Noah's little Aang voice). So I was not disappointed at all at how well they were able to cram 20 episodes of great plotline into a hundred-minute movie. Good job.
(I will say now, however, that the things that WERE changed from the original are definitely things that turned what would have been a great movie into a complete disaster... but we'll get there later. I'll try to stay positive until then.)
2. I'm a boy-obsessed fool, so I gotta say that Sokka was adorable. I hesitate to admit this, but I only figured out he was Jackson Rathbone -- who recently graced us with his gorgeous presence as Jasper in the Eclipse movie -- about halfway through the film... I should have been able to have recognized that intense stare anywhere! I was touched by the love affair between Sokka and his dear Princess Eweh (how DO you spell her name, I wonder?). Probably the most touching part of the film was when he has to let her go... just as it was in the animated movie, except moreso because now it's actual people kissing each other, not just 2D anime replications.

3. The beginning was very good. It got me pumped for the rest of the movie. Seeing those REAL people doing the moves that I've seen over and over at the beginning of every episode was quite thrilling. Actually, the bending moves in general were pretty good. It's nice to know that yes, people can actually move their bodies that way and it's not just fun drawings. They maintained the separate martial arts well, too, as far as I saw, though I'm no expert on that kind of thing.
4. The whole movie was very pleasing to the eye. You got some cool 3D effects in there (I particularly liked the water sequences) and the scenery was gorgeous. Costumes were ACE. Exactly how I would picture them to look like from the drawings. And I actually found it quite fun seeing who they picked for each role. We had a rainbow of ethnicities in this movie... though it did seem a little backwards. We've got the Indian/Middle Eastern types for the Fire Nation. There's Eastern Asian people representing the Earth Kingdom. So far, so good. But then we've got two water tribes filled with Caucasians and a couple Innuit... I always thought Katara and Sokka were a bit, well, darker than that in the animated series. And then there are those Air Nomads who were pretty much every race you could think of except white.... and then there's pasty Aang in the middle of all of them. Monk Iatso (whatever) was black. That was something I did not expect. Not at all. But I surprisingly liked it. Maybe it was just the touching memories of the fatherly monk that got me saying "Awww, how CUTE!" during that part of the movie, but I think they cast it rather well. I'm sure these actors did the best they could with what they were able to work with....
5. More on the casting. My two favorite characters in this besides Sokka were Zuko and Iroh. I was surprised to see Iroh cast as a tall skinny guy, but his acting and lines were definitely the best out of everyone's. I always see Iroh as the kind of guy who has this AMAZING power but he willingly chooses not to use it in a way that is destructive. A great example for the fiery young Zuko, played by that one guy from Slumdog Millionare. He did rather well. Though his lines were a little forced, I always got that impression from the Zuko in the animated series as well, so it wasn't as annoying. This kind of went for Katara as well. Everything Katara says is really overscripted, even in the animated show, so it's only to be expected that Katara is a bit plastic in the live movie. It's when you get people like... say... Commander Zhou and other adults in the movie who are perfectly capable of good acting who get stuck with these crappy lines. I can't cut them as much slack as I can with the kids.

(these will get a little specific)
1. Zuko's scar needs to be more noticeable, particularly when you got a dark-skinned Indian Actor playing the part.
2. The words AANG, SOKKA, IROH, and even AVATAR are said over and over in the animated series. Can't we just pronounce them that way in the movie? I almost had issues remembering that Ahng was the kid with the bald head and tatttoos blowing wind around. When he gets caught up in those spirit-dream sequences, I hear Katara shouting his name: "Ahng! AHNG!" and I keep thinking she's saying, "Mom! MOM!!!" Just pronounce it the way we're all used to. We've all seen the series, it's not like you're hiding it from us! Why add one more thing about this movie that frustrates us even more?
3. As I said before, the movie takes hold of the important parts of the first season and compacts them pretty nicely. But the transitions between each new scene are sloppy. We have trouble recognizing where exactly people are, what exactly they are doing there, and where they are going. We have to wait forever until someone mentions it in an overscripted soliloquy. In one review, I read that the whole movie was a series of starts and stops -- the starts being the bending action sequences and the stops being the jerky dialog in between. I must agree. There was little acting going on. Little characterization at all, as a matter of fact.
4. The lack of character development deserves its own number. Take Sokka, for example. Sokka, in the series, was the comic relief, who falls victim to almost all different types of humorous situations. He wants to be a man, like his father. He's got a sister with an incredible gift. But Sokka always seems to fall short over and over again until finally he meets this princess who makes him feel strong and loved and able to be somebody. Then (spoiler) the princess has to die -- or at least not live anymore -- and that part of Sokka is gone. He's a great character. But we miss all of that because between the opening and the kiss at the end, all we hear from Sokka are about two words. There was SO MUCH MORE we could have done here! So much more of Sokka we could have seen! Where is the headstrong, take-charge, clumsy Sokka we all know and love? All we have in this movie is a paranoid and wishy-washy moonstruck waif. Mr. Rathbone, good looks can only take you so far. Talk to your scriptwriter and maybe he'll think of some more clever scenes for you to go along with that gorgeous face you got.
5. I don't quite understand the idea that Iroh can make fire out of "nothing." They do that over and over again in the series.
6. Where is Avatar Roku? I liked him better than that dragon spirit thing that haunted Aaang in his visions. Furthermore, Roku gave more information (which was always concise, informative, on point, and NOT BORING) than this dragon did. We figure out at the end of the movie that FireLord Ozai knows about the comet... but how and when does Aang find out? That question is left unanswered.
7. Speaking of that comet... 3 years? Not three months? Okay so I suppose that's a lot more realistic of a time frame for a guy like Aang to learn and perfect three forms of bending, but still... three years? Aang will have finished puberty by then! And Sokka... Sokka would be an adult by that time. Same with Zuko. Didn't think that all the way through, didja?
8. Why do we actually get to SEE Fire Lord Ozai? One of the most mysterious parts of the whole movie was the idea of this unseen villain, this evil with no bounds, shrouded in flame, ready to kill. But we see weakness in Ozai. He questions the honor of his son, he questions the might of his troops. He's actually seen as this old Indian guy wearing funny clothes. Not quite the Ozai I would have pictured.
9. While the action scenes were on the whole pretty good, they didn't run as smoothly as I would have liked. One scene in particular really annoys me: That earthbending kingdom scene. Pretty much that whole thing. Aang provokes fire bender. Two seconds pass. Firebender finally attacks at Aang. Katara (though she seemed to have had plenty of time to respond) doesn't come out to protect Aang until he's about to get hit. Then she mutters this really badly-given line "Leave him alone!" And while the Firebender takes about five seconds to prepare to hit Katara, Aang still doesn't seem like he's in too much of a hurry to help her until she's about to get hit. It's all very slow, jerky, not exciting. All the bending takes a while. In the animated series, you're able to throw fire, water, and rocks around with lightning speed. Aparently not in live-action land, despite our advanced technologies.
10. One final thing before I go to bed. This whole pacifist Avatar thing is beginning to bug me. I really liked the giant fish spirit thing that Aang become at the end of the animated season 1. He shows just how powerful he is by kicking some major fire nation butt. But in this movie, he seems to do all he can NOT to kick any butts. One thing about being the Avatar. You've GOT to kill some people in a war. That's just the way things are. So quit trying to supress those offensive emotions, Aang. They are natural, and they are legitimate. Remember, these guys will scorch you alive if you get too close! So attack 'em! I'm a young american teenager. I demind some bloodshed!! I mean, it is rated PG after all... that's enough for at least a little violence.
Okay I'm done for now. Don't see this movie until it comes out on the dollar theater or until a fanatic friend of yours borrows it. It ain't worth going in theaters unless you got amazing seats and some good friends to compare notes with.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Okay this movie was a lot like the last one. The fact that there were a dozen newborn vampires killing dozens of people in Seattle didn't matter. The fact that Bella wants to turn into an immortal bloodsucker didn't matter. The entire plot DID NOT MATTER. All that mattered was that Taylor Lautner was shirtless for about half of the movie. And for the other half, Robert Pattinson was pouring on the charm with Bella. Never before has Celibacy before Marriage looked so HOTTTTTTT.

Jasper and Riley both had their share of good lookingness too, I must add.

I think Kristin Stewart did a much better job in this movie at being a human being and actually talking and expressing herself. That last little monologue that she did again made me more assured than ever that she knows what she's doing. For a while there it seemed like she had almost no mind of her own, that all the guys were making decisions for her. But in this movie, she has a soul. She chooses Edward. She has the power to do so!

The series gets better and better. Now we've got Taylor Lautner kissy action as well as some new characters... and new insights on old ones... that are worth appreciating. Jasper, for one beautiful example.
I already sort of gave you my spiel about Jacob/Edward in a previous post, but I will say again that they compliment each other. Therefore I am neither Team Edward nor Team Jacob... just a mix of both.
However, I am sad to say that my male standard has just shot up one hundredfold. I can't even consider dating a guy who doesn't have a Godbod like Jacob or the perfect caring loving do-anything-for-you personality of Edward. Unfortunately, these two attributes cannot be found in real life. These are characters, not real people. So when I look at a REAL guy who may be decent-looking and definitely have a heart of gold, I am blinded by the great illusions that are Stephanie Meyer's characters and I simply cannot accept anything less. This is so frustrating! Why can't men just BE that beautiful? I simply don't know.

I cannot help but feel very sorry for Jacob during this whole movie. He tries so hard and wants Bella so much, yet there is simply nothing she can do. Her heart belongs to Edward. Jacob can't change that. Which makes me want to scream, "I'm here, Jacob! Take me instead!" But of course that can't happen.
*sigh* I have such a love-hate relationship with this series.

Nope. Can't do it.