I went and saw Chronicles of Narnia the other day, and yes, Aslan is a badass.
Moving on. ^_^ The first thing worth saying about this whole project is the fact that C. S. Lewis's writing is absolutely perfect for a movie adaptation. I read the book in two hours right before I went and saw the movie, and noted that the story was well told, but lacked the copious amount of detail that I normally associate with novels, fantasy novels in particular. This lack of detail makes it perfect for a movie. You can add some content, add plenty of dialog, and play with the visuals as much as you want, and not feel like the movie is unfaithful to the book.
The movie was also remarkably well cast, first and foremost being the actor they chose to do the voice acting for Aslan. Liam Neeson was absolutely perfect, calm, level, benevolent, yet with the absolute expectation that any orders will be instantly obeyed. Which makes sense, because Aslan is the god/jesus figure.
I also thought casting Tilda Swinton as the White Witch was great. ^_^ She was awesome, especially in the last battle scene when she's wearing Aslan's mane and riding a chariot pulled by massive polar bears. I'm not sure I like how they chose to costume her. I guess it fit, but everything before her outfit during the last battle I didn't care much for.
And Maugrim was AWESOME, by the way. ^_^
The kids were also well cast. I was especially impressed with the little girl who played Lucy. Most child actors are terrible, but she did very well. When I saw the previews I was afraid that she was going to annoy me-- she kinda looked annoying, but those fears were unfounded. She was fine.
All in all I very much enjoyed the movie (especially the battle at the end), but it left me feeling... nothing. It was amazing to see one of my favorite childhood stories on the big screen, but somehow I was completely unaffected by any emotion the movie tried to evoke. I'm not sure what it was. Maybe it was just the blatant christian overtones. When I read the books back when I was little it never even occured to me that it was christian, but now as a much older and much more militant atheist, I'm rebelling against something so religous. Or maybe the movie just wasn't that awesome. Who knows. ^_^
Announcement from Representative Jay Inslee:
"Dear Ms. May:
Thank you again for contacting me regarding a provision of the reconciliation bill that would expand the scope of the 1872 mining law to allow a greater amount of federal lands to be purchased by private entities at bargain-basement prices.
As you know, I have been opposing expansion of the 1872 mining law since it came before the House Resources Committee in October. Just this month, I also wrote a letter urging budget committee members to remove the provision from the underlying bill.
You will be happy to know that the author of the provision removed it from the reconciliation bill on Tuesday, citing bipartisan opposition that threatened the passage of the legislation. I have included, below, an op-ed on this issue that appeared in today's issue of the New York Times.
The author of the provision has indicated that he will make another attempt to bring up these changes next year. Rest assured I will continue to oppose this and other attempts to weaken protections for our pristine lands.
I applaud your interest in federal issues. It is great that we have people in this country who are so actively engaged in helping make public policy.
Please keep in touch.
Member of Congress
New York Times
December 15, 2005
Protecting Public Lands
In a legislative season that has produced few victories for the environment, the sudden death of a destructive mining provision that could have opened up millions of acres of public land to commercial exploitation is cause for celebration.
The provision was inserted into the budget reconciliation bill - always a handy hiding place for ideas that could never stand up to public scrutiny on their own - by Representatives Jim Gibbons of Nevada and Richard Pombo of California, both Republicans. Mr. Gibbons's decision to withdraw it reflected not so much a change of heart as a recognition of political reality. Their stealth proposal had inspired intense opposition among hunters, anglers, governors, local officials and countless ordinary citizens who argued that there were many nobler uses for the public lands than serving as a profit center for commercial interests.
The Gibbons-Pombo provision would have allowed the holders of mining claims to buy land outright instead of leasing it - a radical departure from present practice. It would also have amended the General Mining Law of 1872 to allow purchases not just for mining, but for any purpose that would "facilitate sustainable economic development." By some calculations, that dangerously vague formulation would have exposed at least 6 million acres and perhaps as much as 350 million acres to commercial exploitation. Even conservative Western lawmakers who do not usually favor environmental causes saw this for what it was: a potentially unparalleled raid on America's public lands.
The controversy stirred by the Gibbons-Pombo maneuver has been so great that there is even reason to hope that proposals for real reform of the antiquated mining law will at last receive a respectable hearing.
Representatives Nick Rahall II and Jay Inslee, both Democrats, and Christopher Shays, a Republican, have put forward a bill to give permanent protection to lands that are now vulnerable to claims, like wildlife refuges and roadless areas of the national forests. The bill would also require "suitability" reviews before mining could proceed, and would allow the secretary of the interior to withdraw lands judged unsuitable for mining. It would also require mining companies to pay royalties on what they produced - just as oil and gas companies do now - and to clean up their messes when they were through.
Many of these reforms were instituted administratively by Bruce Babbitt when he was secretary of the interior under President Bill Clinton, but were withdrawn by the Bush administration at the insistence of mining interests.
It would be a delightful reversal of fortune if Mr. Gibbons and Mr. Pombo, who are no friends of the public lands, ended up inspiring new protections for them"
Call of the Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth-- Xbox survival horror FPS. Fun game!!! Usually I'm leery of buying games that I haven't read much about and haven't seen or played, but I was at GameCrazy, it was used and cheap, and I wanted a new game. ^_^ So there you have it.
I haven't played much of it, but from what I can tell it's pretty damn sweet. The graphics aren't as nice as they could be. From what I've read since I picked it up, the game has been in development for six years, which could explain that. The controls are smooth, and after I decreased the analog sensitivity it was perfect. I still can't aim, but I'm hoping that I'll get better with practice. ^_^
The environments are nicely done. In fact, the art direction period is really nice. Another nice thing about the game is that it feels completely cinematic. There are no health bars, ammmo counters, or anything on the screen while you're playing, enhancing the first-person feeling that you're looking through the main character's eyes.
Voice acting is well done, even the main character's voice. Although sometimes it doesn't quite fit. You'll have the neat sound effects of Jack's heart racing and short, scared breaths while in a creepy basement of some house, and then you'll examine a mutilated corpse on a gourney and suddenly he's cool, professional detective again. Not quite convincing me the way it's supposed to that Jack is losing his mind. ^_^
Sound effects are great, by the way. Very nice ambient effects.
And when you get hurt, damage is definitely reflected on your character.
Injuries not only include cuts, lacerations, gashes, gunshot wounds, etc. but also fractures. Which just sounds UBER painful. ^_^
All in all a fun game. I'm enjoying it. ^_^
I don't have a computer at my place, which makes it hard to play my favorite PC games. However, I did have an opportunity to play Guild Wars, my favorite MMORPG, the other day. I adventured with Nils, and we kicked lots of low level monster's asses! ^_^
Guild Wars is a great MMORPG. First and foremost because there are no monthly fees. O_O Amazing, I know. It's not as intricate or in depth as, say, EverQuest, but that's something else I like about it.
The character models are beautifully done. Exhibit A: My badass Necromancer/Ranger. ..... Well, she will be badass. When she makes it past level 8. ^_^ At least she looks cool!
All the classes (Warrior, Ranger, Monk, Elementalist, Necromancer, and Mesmer) are fun to play. The skill system is nicely laid out and easy to use. Gameplay is always smooth, and it's easy to work with a team. I also like the fact that you choose two classes-- your main class and your secondary class. ^_^ It's fun thinking about the different combinations. Even though I don't think a Necro/Ranger was a good idea, it was still fun to experiment with.
Another aspect of the game I think it really cool is the fact that every time to leave a hub, or a city, you get your own copy of the world map. The only PCs in your copy of the world map are you and whoever you teamed up with in the hub.
The graphics, not just the character models, are lovely. The environments are beautiful, and are fun to expore just for the graphics. Snowy mountains to underground catacombs, it's all amazing.
The following are screenshots that Nils took when we were playing a couple days ago. I was playing my necromancer, he was playing a mesmer.
Me. My big cat thing. And Nils. ^_^ In a very pretty area.
And the last, greatest and best thing about Guild Wars:
The different dances for all the character classes and both genders. You know you want to see them all! XD
I would like to point out something.
CHAIN LETTERS MAKE ME CRAZY!
I hate them. They're stupid. The letters that tell you that some big corporation is doing research and will give you money if you forward the letter to X amount of people are bullshit. The letters that say some child is dying of cancer but if you forward this to everyone in your address book someone will contribute money towards research are all hoaxes. And ALL the damn letter that promise BAD LUCK and TERRIBLE THINGS is you don't forward this to 10,000,000 people in 20 seconds are RIDICULOUS! I have never forwarded a chain letter. And you know what? My love life hasn't suffered-- my boyfriend hasn't left me-- I haven't died in a freak accident-- and Bloody Mary hasn't murdered me in my dark bathroom!
I light of all of this, I have come to the conclusion that people need to stop being superstitious, paranoid, gullible, and annoying, and STOP FORWARDING AND RE-POSTING CHAIN LETTERS!
I feel better now. ^_^
So Saturday night (12/10) Handful of Luvin headlined The Showbox in Seattle, and before I say anything else, I want to point out that this is a big deal. I've only been tracking the band since July, and it amazes me how far they've come in so short a time. In July they made an appearance at the Showbox to open for the Cloves, and in December it was their name on the huge marquee outside the venue on 1st Ave.
Moving on to the show. ^_^
Opening for Handful of Luvin were two bands, frequent companions Sambusa and Down North. Sambusa played first, and though I enjoy Sambusa, I would never go out of my way to listen to them. And I flat out do not like Down North. Period. They grate on my nerves.
When Handful of Luvin took the stage after Down North, the crowd definitely got a lot more excited. ^_^ Handful shows are always a lot crazier when they're at larger venues and are all ages, and this was no exception. While not quite as crazy as the El Corazon show in October (no mosh pit!), there was a healthy "Jig Pit" going on, and some crowd surfing. Including a random guy who leapt onstage, then when he saw the large security guard barreling towards him, turned and took a massive stage dive into the crowd. Plenty of entertainment. ^_^
HoL put on an amazing show, as always. Fiddler Andrew couldn't get his wireless equipment working, which was too bad, but didn't detract from the show. From the intro to the first song to the last note of the conclusion to the show, HoL had the entire venue captivated. And moving! If you were at all close to the middle of the crowd "mosh pit footing" would have been required. ^_^ Everyone in the band played with their usual energy, including their new hand precussionist, who in my opinion is an improvement over the guy who previously held that position. The previous hand precussionist just didn't quire seem to match the rest of the band in energy and love, but the newest addition to the band has him beat hands down. =) Every song in HoL's set was played amazingly and with obvious passion, and as a result the performance was gripping.
And of course, the show was complete with little 90lb girls shrieking, "Andrew, I love you!" "David, I love you!"
So Handful of Luvin is able to headline and fill Seattle's Showbox with screaming fans. I can't imagine this amazing local band will stay unsigned for long. ^_^
Remember to visit their websites:
Handful of Luvin on Myspace
The Handful of Luvin Fansite
The Offical Handful of Luvin Site (still being worked on)
Handful of Luvin is a local Seattle folk rock band. They are awesome. If you're at the Showbox tomorrow night, you WILL enjoy yourself. I promise. ^_^
Hear some of their music at: http://www.uberlabel.com/music/bands/64/
Handful of Luvin on Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/handfulofluvin
Handful of Luvin Fansite http://www.handfulofluvin.net
Handful of Luvin Official Site (still being worked on, but hopefully will be up soon) http://www.handfulofluvin.com
Here's a review of one of their shows that I wrote in October:
"Date: October 13th, 2005
Band(s): Sambusa//Handful of Luvin
Venue: El Corazon in Seattle
So, to continue the grand tradition of using this blog as a place to post concert reviews, let's talk about the show I went to last night, Handful of Luvin at El Corazon in Seattle.
I went with my buddy Dave and we got to El Corazon while the first band was playing. They sucked, so Dave and I went and hid in the bar until they were finished. Second band, Sambusa, was waaay better, and I left the bar to watch their set.
Handful of Luvin, third and final band, the band I came to see, was absolutely awesome. One thing I love about those guys is that when they're onstage you believe that they're exactly where they want to be, doing exactly what they want to do. They're excellent musicians playing damn good original music, and effortlessly maintaining for themselves and imparting to the crowd a huge amount of energy. Add to all of that absolutely awe-inspiring violin solos, and it really can't get much better.
One thing, for me anyway, that makes a good show is the crowd. There's nothing more painful than a group of people just standing around, unexcited, uncaring, indifferent to the music.
Handful of Luvin definitely does not have that problem.
The crowd at the show last night was crazy, the best kind of crowd, and through most of the show maintained something just short of a mosh pit that HOL dubbed the "Jig Pit" (.......). However, during a violin solo, a real mosh pit did break out for a minute or two, which I thought was hilarious. I didn't know it was possible to mosh to HOL. ^_^
So support the local band Handful of Luvin. Check out their websites that I've listed below, and go see them next time they play. I can't stress enough that they are amazing, I've seen them four times now. And I'm a metalhead saying that about a folk-rock band, so you know they're something special."
Okay, it's time for my first personal rant. ^_^
My car was broken into two days ago. Nothing too serious-- Driver's side window smashed, glass everywhere, but no other damage to the car. Registration, insurance card, some burned CDs, and a few other things stolen. Again, nothing too serious. Took a while to take care of, cleaning up all the glass, talking to the police, figuring out insurance stuff, getting the window replaced. I was lucky-- I don't leave anything valuable inside my car, and I was fortunate that the only damage was the window.
Initially I was just pissed off that someone had the nerve to do that. I was two and a half hours late to work, and I had to shell out $100 to get the window fixed. And the burned CDs that were stolen were awesome, irreplaceable metal mixes that a friend made for me. I have a healthy respect for other people's space and property, so it was quite the personal affront.
Then last night at about 11pm I needed to go out to my car for a roll of tape. The car is parked a little bit down the street from where I live, so it's a bit of a very dark walk to get to it. I was in a good mood; had just set up my stupid, tacky little 2' fiber optic Christmas tree, and I wanted the tape to put up my Christmas lights. I opened the door and started out to my car, and I realized I was nervous as hell. Someone the night before had taken a large, heavy object and smashed in the window of my car, and now I was freaked out about walking in the dark, by myself, in my own quiet little neighborhood. Intellectually I knew that it was just stupid, obnoxious kids that had broken into my car, mostly harmless, but I still had this unsafe feeling. So I went back inside, found my knife, and went out to my car.
I feel stupid for being so nervous. I was safe; nothing was going to happen, and the incident with my car was so minor. I started thinking about people who have been mugged, or sexually assaulted, and how they must feel what I felt, but ten million times more strongly, and every time they step outside. Or people whose homes are broken into, and they don't even have that as their sanctuary any more. And it makes me angry that people have to feel that way.
So the conclusion to my rant is that criminals suck. I don't like them. Nothing profound, not even a very angry rant, but it's nice writing it all out. I doubt anyone will even read this except me. =)
**1/2 out of ****
Like so many movies, Aeron Flux was bad but enjoyable. In fact, based on the actual movie critic reviews, I was expecting something so atrociously boring and cringe-worthy that absolutely anything would have been a pleasant surprise. A lot of the acting was bad, the script was terrible, the costumes and set designs were... interesting, and the entire movie felt like it was trying to take itself too seriously, but it was still way better than I expected.
The movie did have some good points. It would have to have good points, because I enjoyed it. A lot. ^_^ The aforementioned interesting costumes and set designs were just that-- interesting. Some of it was bad, some of it was very well done. A lot of the environments were really cool, and the costuming was definitely unique. Not all the acting was bad. Charlize Theron, Jonny Lee Miller, and Marton Csokas were, for the most part, all fine, even appealing. The fight scenes were very cool, but I'm a sucker for fight scenes. ^_^ That will make just about any movie cool if it has good fight scenes.
I'm not sure what Aeon Flux is based on-- an animated series, a comic book, a video game-- and consequently I had no idea what the storyline was. I was expecting something simplistic, as it started out. 400 years ago, 99% of the human population killed by a virus, a guy named Goodchild discovered a cure, built a walled city, and became supreme dictator (oh, excuse me, "Chairman" not dictator). People are disappearing, but this is ignored by the government. Rebels called Monicans (spelling?) are fighting against the government.
What I wasn't expecting was a slightly deeper storyline. For instance, the fact that everyone alive are clones because the cure for the virus rendered humans sterile. The floating monument to all the lost lives is actually a lab where as soon as someone dies their DNA is harvested and they're cloned. The dictator chairman is working his butt off to find a cure for the sterility so things can go back to the natural state, but his brother doesn't want to give up immortality so he's sabotaging the research. Add to the mix the fact that people are starting to remember their past lives, their minds are starting to fray, and you have a much more interesting story. ^_^
Anyway, the movie was fun. It's definitely only a two and a half star movie, but it's worth renting. Or, if you really enjoy sci-fi action and nice fight scenes, go see it in the theater.
On November 17, the House of Representatives narrowly passed a federal budget bill which contains a proposal that would weaken US mining laws and put millions of acres of public land, including lands sacred to Native Americans, up for sale.
This proposal stands to affect several Oxfam America partners, including the Western Shoshone Defense Project. For years, the Shoshone have been fighting to protect Mt. Tenabo, a Shoshone sacred site in Nevada. The amendment would give mining companies the option of tearing up Mt. Tenabo—without any input from the Shoshone.
While the House bill did pass, it did so by only two votes—a narrow margin that can be attributed at least in part to the thousands of responses from Oxfam supporters to our earlier action alert. Now it’s time to turn our energy to the Senate.
On to the Senate
On or around December 13th, a conference committee will convene to reconcile House and Senate budget bills. The Pombo Amendment language is only included in the House bill; it is not included in the Senate bill. When conferees determine the language of the final bill, we want to be sure it does not include the amendment.
We need you to write your Senators TODAY and tell them you oppose the Pombo Amendment.
A deluge of news stories and editorials shows that people are waking up to the serious dangers posed by the Pombo Amendment. All the Western state governors and many Western Senators, including Sen. Thomas (R-WY) and Sen. Allard (R-CO), oppose the amendment. With your help, there's still hope that the mining language will be dropped in conference.
Congress has a responsibility to manage the nation's public lands for the benefit of all American citizens now and in the future. Please take action and contact your Senator to ensure Congress lives up to that responsibility.
Extractive Industries Campaign Manager
P.S. Thank your Representative!
Learn how your Representative voted on the budget bill. The correct vote was NO. If your member voted correctly, please give them a call and thank them for voting against the budget reconciliation bill containing the Pombo mining provision.