...go see Wall E. Right now. Don't even read the rest of the blog. It will still be here when you get back, and you'll thank me later.
Okay, now that you've seen what is easily the best movie of the year, let's talk about it a little. So what was good about the film?
Let's see, we have an absolutely adorable main character who is easy to relate to. And somehow, even without a face covered in skin, manages to portray many emotions. We've got a fun storyline, that, even though set in the future, manages to poke gentle fun at our current culture. Stunningly beautiful art that is at once realistic and cartoony. Brilliant music. Gripping storyline.
What was bad? This film almost broke my heart for about five minutes. I was so wrapped up in the story and the characters that a part of the movie near the end very nearly ripped my heart out of my chest. You know the part I'm talking about.
Really, I don't think any movie I see this year will top Wall E. I went in to the movie with high expectations, and they weren't just met, they were exceeded. I'm excited for the next Batman movie, and I'm looking forward to a couple other films, but none of them will top Wall E.
Oh, and the Pixar short movie at the beginning? Brilliantly funny.
I found this idea while stumbling through the internet the other day. I liked it, and thought I would give it a shot.
The object is to list your 26 favorite books. Can I do it? I guess we'll see. My list isn't in order of favorite. I don't think I could narrow it down that precisely.
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Hilarious. If you don't laugh out loud while reading this, there's something wrong with you.
Twisted Little Vein by Warren Ellis. Fascinating and twisted. Fun read, and so twisted and bizarre I couldn't put it down, though at times I wanted to.
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Anybody surprised? Didn't think so. Next.
Blankets by Craig Thompson. An absolutely beautiful autobiography in graphic novel (kind of like a novel-length comic book) format. It's almost six hundred pages long, and I didn't want to put it down.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Such a fun read, stands by itself, while still giving background that leads into the Lord of the Rings.
Dragonsinger by Anne McAfferey. Fantasy story of a girl who loves music so much that, when it is forbidden her by her parents, she runs away to make a life for herself. She learns not to be ashamed of her "joy in music."
The Princess Bride by William Goldman. One of my favorite pieces of metafiction (A story about writing a story). Great stuff. Mr. Goldman has a great voice in this book.
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher. Part of his Dresden Files, which is a great series. Harry Dresden is a great main character, very fun to hang out with. And, really, you can't beat the sheer fun of Dresden resurrecting a Tyrannosaurus Rex in order to combat six necromancers that have invaded Chicago.
Bone by Jeff Smith. What starts out looking like Disney becomes a fantasy very much in the vein of Tolkien. It's a funny, wonderful, fantastic tale! Very recommended!
Dragons of Spring Dawning by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I've read this book so many times that 5 chapters before one particular death scene, I'm already crying so much I can barely read the page.
Pawn of Prophecy by David Eddings. First book in one of my favorite series. Eddings writes friendships better than almost any other author I've read.
On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony. What if Death was job title you took over if you killed the previous office-holder? Pretty nifty idea, and the execution is wonderful.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Yes, this was my favorite in the series.
Memoirs of an Invisible Man by H.F. Saint. Fun read, and probably fairly close to what would happen if someone turned invisible: the government would want them. Oh yes.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. What would you do if you found out that your father was Poseidon. Yes, the Greek god. Very fun melding of Greek myth with modern life. Very cool.
Kingdom Come by Mark Waid and Alex Ross. All the classic DC heroes come out of retirement to save the world one last time. Will they succeed, or just make the situation worse?
Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan. Penultimate chapter in the Wheel of Time series. After all the nothing that happens in the previous book, this book takes off and just doesn't stop. Leaves you breathlessly waiting for the final installment, which, unfortunately, is being written by another writer. Jordan passed away last year.
Dark Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman. Fantasy set on another world settled by earth people. Can they tame the magic that flows over the world and survive?
The Castle in the Attic by by Elizabeth Winthrop. One of favorite reads when I was a kid, and the story still holds up. A little short for my taste, but a very well-crafted story.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien. If you've only seen the movie, you owe it to yourself to read the book. The movie holds up well, but the book offers so many more details. It's wonderful.
Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop. I love this series. And I love the characters. So easy to hope for the "good guys" and hate the "bad guys".
The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The eponymous title character is brought to life to be a servant, but decides that she is her own person. Very feministic tale, which isn't all that surprising, since Baum's mother-in-law, Matilda Gage, was a very active proponent of equal rights for women, defending Susan B. Anthony when she was placed on trial for voting. Gage even formed the Women's National Liberal Union. Look her up. Fascinating woman.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Fun book. Very trippy.
Dracula by Bram Stoker. Very good book. Tried to watch the movie with Gary Oldman, and it doesn't even come close.
Guide to the Gods by Richard Carlyon. Manages to touch on all the major and lots of minor characters in world mythologies. Not afraid to admit that some of the beliefs were a little ridiculous. Fun read, for an encyclopedia.
The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. Fun to read, makes me want to go see a production. And yes, I am manly enough to go by myself.
Last Friday I went to the doctor and the dentist. I went to the doctor for a physical. So I got poked and prodded and got some blood drawn. Then I went to the dentist. No cavities, which was good, but the visit was painful.
Saturday evening, my back went out. I spent all day Sunday and Monday lying on the floor in my house, as it hurt too much to sit up. Had to take a sick day for Monday. So I found a chiropractor covered by my insurance (!) and made an appointment for Wednesday. Had to take another sick day. Chiro took an x-ray of my back. His x-ray equipment looks like the setup on MASH. Big, steel, personal wall with a window facing the spot where the patient stands. Looking at my x-ray, it was obvious my hips were slanted, that's how out my back was. So now I'm going through therapy with the chiropractor, two adjustments a week so far.
I am addicted to "So You Think You Can Dance," a competition on fox. I like ballroom dancing anyway, but my little sister got me addicted to this show. And last Wednesday I was moved to tears for the first time by a dance routine. It was an absolutely beautiful Viennese Waltz. It shocked me when I realized I was crying.
But now it's the weekend, and I'm not working Saturday.
One of my favorite songs is "I'm Movin' On" by Rascal Flatts. It's a beautiful song that has made me cry many times in the 9 years I have been listening to it. It starts out with the lyrics "I've dealt with my ghosts and I've faced all my demons. Finally content with a past I regret. I've found you find strengths in your moments of weakness, for once I'm a peace with myself. I've been trapped in the past, burdened with blame for too long: I'm movin' on."
I don't dislike myself anymore. That's a good thing. I feel like I can be proud of myself, of how far I've come. Does this mean that there's nowhere else to go, nothing left to improve? Hell no. But I don't have to despise a part of myself in order to make changes and improve. Do I sometimes wish I had made different decisions in the past? Yes. But I can't go back in time and choose something else, so why dwell upon it in misery? For example, the one time I had sex. Was it a stupid decision? For the most part, yes. Can I take it back? No. Can I not repeat the mistake? Certainly.
Sometimes changes take time. If it's something that was habitual for many, many years, than it can take even more time. I masturbated before going to sleep every night for years upon years, to the point that sleep became a conditioned response. Which made it hard to go to sleep without it. Have I finally gotten past that? Yes. I haven't eliminated the habit completely, but I've finally reconditioned myself to the point that I don't need to masturbate to get to sleep. And I'm starting to eliminate the habit itself. It's a goal now because I'm a control freak and don't like to have something in my life control, not because I think it's evil. And I'm finally realizing that having this habit in my past doesn't make me a bad person. I'm just a person, who's a pretty decent fellow to be around.
I like being comfortable with walking out of a movie if it offends me. I don't avoid movies because of a rating. I don't like some committee telling me what's acceptable to see. And the ratings aren't all that accurate anyway. But that's a soapbox for another time. Maybe.
I like being spiritual. I'm not so sure about being religious. There are aspects to my religion that I really enjoy. The rest I can live with. But I refuse to go through the motions because I'm expected to. If I participate, it's because I want to participate and I'm feeling the spirit. When I go, I'm not there to be seen at church. I'm there to feel the spirit.
I love that I cry when something touches me. I cry at music, movies, books, church, at nature, and many other things. It's natural and it's wonderful. Tears can cleanse our spirits if we let them.
I like being me. What I've written will probably shock and surprise two of the three people that read this. I've felt all day that I wanted to finally get this off my chest, so to speak. I don't know that my entire family necessarily needs to know this, but not many read my blog. Mom, if you feel you need to discuss it with someone, Di would be a good choice. Maybe Andi. But I would appreciate it if you wouldn't discuss it with my other siblings.
And now I feel good. I was a little nervous to start off, but I feel nice now.
...my arms have gotten hairier since moving to Arizona. Seriously. The hair on the back of my hand almost reaches my fingers. It never has before. There are spots on my forearms that seem thicker, which, I am willing to concede, might be my imagination. On my hands is not my imagination, though. I've watched it.
...Limbo does exist: I'm not sure I can afford to move, but I can't stay in here.
...it is possible for me to have a crush on a girl from a TV show.
...I can actually get lonely.
...I thought I would like 30 Seconds to Mars. But I don't.
...I only thought I liked a cappella music before. I like a cappella music a lot more now.
...iTunes is probably the best/worst thing to ever happen to me.
...I don't feel so alone anymore.
...I almost bought episodes of Firefly to watch on my iPod, even though I already own the entire series on DVD.
...it costs less to buy seasons of Deadwood on iTunes than it does to buy seasons on DVD.
I've been meaning to sit down and post another blog, but I can't seem to find any particular topic to write about, so I just brainstormed. Huh. I just got an idea, and I swear this isn't premeditated. I think I may come back and use these ideas and make full posts about most, if not all, of them.
Well, I did it. It only took me 5 weeks, doing two hours a day Monday through Friday, with some weekend listening thrown in as well, but I finally got through the song list on my iPod from A to Z. And yes, I listened to every song. That's roughly 7 gigabytes of music, which translates to roughly 2000 songs. I could find out the exact number, but I'm too lazy to go find my iPod and plug it in to find out.
As to why I would attempt such a feat? Well, I wanted to listen to every song, to make sure that I had songs on there I truly wanted to listen to. I realize that not every song goes with every mood that I have, but I wanted to weed out the songs that I just don't really like, but have left on my iPod for some insane reason.
I tend to discover new things about myself in the books I read, the music to which I listen, and the movies and tv shows I watch. I'm going to discuss these discoveries here. I may occasionally deviate from this plan, but that's my choice, right?