Sunday, August 29, 2010

Of movies and fearlessness.

We have been watching SO many good movies lately! They are...

Bright Star - This was one of the most beautiful, romantic, and sad movies I've ever seen. It tells the story of the short-lived but amazingly intense relationship between the poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Bright Star was wonderfully acted, the music was unique and beautiful (I especially loved the wordless choral singing), and the cinematography was jaw-droppingly, breathtakingly gorgeous. It also made me want to read more of Keat's poetry! Some of my favorite lines were:

"Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music: do I wake or sleep?"

"There is a holiness to the heart's affections."

"A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Its loveliness increases. It will never pass into nothingness."

"Bright star, would that I were as steadfast as thou art."

Another aspect I really loved was how Fanny's family was so present, and they were all obviously so happy and loved each other very much. It seems like you just don't see that in very many movies, even period dramas. It also added a really nice note of groundedness to what could have been a very sentimental movie (but wasn't at all, for reasons in addition to that!).

I had a lot of fun making graphics from this movie, too. With such beautiful imagery and quotes, how could it be anything but a joy? If you like to see a slideshow from them, click here!

Alice in Wonderland - Finally, finally, finally, we saw it, and just as we expected, we (we meaning my mom, sister, and I...not the royal we...or "We are Bates, sir," (if you've watched Top Hat - and if you haven't, you should! - you'll get it) ) loved it! It was so wonderfully Tim Burton-y (in other words, weird and hilarious and creepy and interesting and awesome), I absolutely loved the music (I'm adding the theme song to my playlist on here as soon as I get a chance), and I loved Alice's clothes! Steampunk, I've decided, is my new favorite style. *swoons* I especially loved the dress she wore at the beginning, the dress the Hatter made (which I can't find a picture of...), the dress the Red Queen had made, and the coat she wore at the end.

Some people have taken issue with supposed "feminist undertones" in Alice - I myself didn't see them at all. There was the incident of Alice refusing to wear a corset. Smart girl! Corsets were absolutely horrible for your health, and just because everyone is wearing something doesn't mean you have to also. It really can be taken as a good message. Then there was the fact that Alice slayed the Jabberwocky. So what? Eowyn slew the Witch King. Girls don't always have to always conform to someone's ideal of what they should act like. Look at St. Joan of Arc - she certainly was no damsel in distress. Everyone is different...everyone's calling is different. And besides, in this case it is a story about a fantasical land where anything can happen and usually does. ;) And finally, people have taken issue with the way the movie ends - Alice becomes an apprentice with a trading company. Oh well...that's what she wants to do, and she's motivated in a large part by love and admiration for her deceased father - it seems to me that she wants to carry on his legacy. Also, if you've read the book, you'll remember that Alice is a very curious, contrary, strong-minded sort of girl. I thought the movie captured her personality very well.

But, anyways, back to the movie!

The Cheshire Cat was so awesome and cat-like! Definitely my favorite character after... [fan girl warning] THE HATTER!!!!!!!!!! Johnny Depp is an incredible man, the way he can be completely endearing even with an orange bozo wig and garish makeup and fake gooseberry green eyes. :D [/end fan girl warning] The Bandersnatch was also rather creepily adorable after it came over to Alice's side.

I also loved the way the movie started. I have a thing about the opening scenes of movies...if they're extremely awesome, the movie goes way up in my estimation! And this one was wonderful (Tim Burton's usually are)...the theme playing dramatically to the backdrop of a full moon overlooking a stylized London, with the title in its awesome font flying towards you through the sky. Danny Elfman was the composer, so, therefore, all the music was completely epic!

And, finally, another thing I really liked was how elements of both Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass were woven in. I've loved both of those books since I was about 4 years old, and it was so much fun to see them come to life! The books are rather (extremely) odd themselves, so Tim Burton was the perfect person to make them into a movie, in my opinion!

Sherlock Holmes - As the credits (amazingly epic credits, I might add, with scenes from the movie suddenly turning into sketches) began to roll as we finished watching this movie last night, these were the first words from my lips:

"That. was. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!"

That about sums it up!

I've always been a big Sherlock Holmes fan (and fan girl, I must admit...I developed quite a crush on him, and that certainly hasn't changed after seeing this new incarnation!), ever since watching the Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce movies for the first time when I was about 11. Those were great, but this...this was awesome!

First of all, I loved the whole atmosphere. It was very underworld of London, steampunk-y, slightly seedy, and reminded me a lot of The Ruby in the Smoke (one of my favorite books, and unfortunately the only good book ever written by Philip Pullman, IMO). Then there was the villain Lord Blackwood, and all the fighting, and the creepy "black magic", and Irene's mysterious employer, which all kept it exciting. Then there was Irene herself, who I thought was really cool. I liked the way she was sort of mysterious and obviously had her own was a nice departure from the usual sidekick. Then there was the humor - Holmes and Watson were absolutely hysterical together!

Watson: "Get that thing out of my face."

Holmes: "It's not in your face, it's in my hand."

Watson: "Then get that thing in your hand out of my face!"


Watson: *enters the room where Holmes is practicing shooting and in the process freaking out the landlady*: "Permission to enter the armory, sir.

And then there was the music! Oh my goodness, Hans Zimmer outdid himself on this was one of the best I've ever heard! It even made Irish music with annoying singing sound cool! It was epic, there's no other word for it.

The one jarring note...what was up with Mary's hair? Correct me if I'm wrong, but women didn't have big heavy bangs like that back then, did they? I really liked her character, but every time she showed up I winced...the hair just looked totally out of place!

But aside from that I enjoyed every minute of it, and I cannot wait for Sherlock Holmes 2!!!

* * *

I've finally been getting a grip on my fear lately. Fear was my ruling passion for years...I was afraid of the dark, afraid of reading scary books or watching scary movies, afraid of talking to people, afriad of what people were thinking of me, afraid to state my own opinion, afraid to make jokes, even afraid of the sound of my own voice. It's a pretty awful way to be.

But I've been realizing that life is far too short to be afraid to live. It sounds cliche, but it's so true. Fear of what people will think of you or what might happen or that you'll look like an idiot can't stop you from living. You are who God created you to be, and you shouldn't be ashamed of that, or afraid people will hate it. And besides, assuming that people dislike you isn't a very charitable thing to think about them! ;)

Fear kept me from being honest with people. I was afraid they'd mock me, or think badly of me, or pick a fight, or simply think I was weird. I'm just not afraid of that anymore. Really, people generally aren't that bad, and even if they are, oh well. Who cares? Does their opinion really matter in the grand scheme of things? Nope. Fear also kept me from being honest with my friends in that I was afraid to talk to them and afraid to show them that I care about them. And it kept people from seeing the honest-to-goodness real me. I've been noticing lately that the image people seem to have of me is often very different from what I truly am. And as I thought about it, I found that I can think of plenty of instances in which the way I act is not quite in line with what I'm thinking. I'm not calling myself a hypocrite...I hope I'm not...I just tend to suppress the real me for, what I realized, is absolutely no good reason at all.

I read this post by Melody on her wonderful blog Vividry a few days ago, and wow, I couldn't believe how perfectly she described just what I, too, am going through right now! And now I have an excellent mantra. Just do it. Thank you, Melody! :)

Feeling fearless (and, if not completely fearless, at least like you have a grip on your fear and it isn't controlling you) is an exhilarating feeling. I'm starting to realize that I'm at the beginning of my life. Exciting things are just around the bend, and anything can happen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy birthday, Kathryn!

Today Kathryn, one of my closest friends, turns 14. I can't believe she's still so young... :) So, in honor of her birthday, I'm writing her the classic chessy birthday post. :D

It's so funny to think that at this time last year Kathryn and I barely knew one another! I'm so happy that we're friends now, though. She always has a willing ear to listen all my rants, is full of good advice or the ability to just listen (which is sometimes the best thing of all), and is a very trustworthy and faithful friend.

She's also one of the (if not the) very sweetest people I know! I'm always so impressed by her caring nature, her ability to get along with almost everyone, and her patience in situations I'd be tempted to run from screaming. ;)

She's also a wonderful writer, extremely talented with graphic arts, and has an awesome sense of humor (sometimes a rather twisted one...but that's why we get along so well ;)).

And she's beautiful, inside and out!

Happy birthday, Kathryn! I love you! :)

Monday, August 16, 2010


Wow...was I ever surprised to look at my dashboard and see that I haven't posted anything since July 22! So I shall remedy that...I have a ton to get caught up on.

Firstly, to continue with the subject of my last post, my job is going very well! I've been working there for a month now (only once a week, to be sure), and I got my first pay check a week ago last Friday - $111! In case you're unsure what a busser does and you'd like to know, I'll enlighten you. We're those lowly creatures dressed all in black who race around setting tables, clearing tables, offering the customers water, bringing the waitresses baskets of bread for their tables and other things they may have forgotten such as steak knives, polishing the silverware, carrying huge tubs of dirty dishes into the kitchen and emptying them at the dishwasher, filling pitchers of water, and, when all the customers are gone (which is sometimes as much as an hour after the restaurant closes at 9 pm) we move all the chairs out of the rooms, vacuum the floors, and reset all the tables. I'm really finding it to be a very enjoyable job, though, and I actually prefer the busier nights...less feeling awkward about getting paid for just standing around and talking to your friends. haha

Secondly, I'll talk about camp. It was...interesting! I was a team captain for the first time ever, and as that meant going way out of my comfort zone and staying there for five days, it was pretty stressful. But I had a good time, especially during the Olympics! For some reason, my favorite game was a relay in which we had to run to a table, solve a math equation, and then run back to our team, tagging the person so they could do the same. It was very fun in an odd sort of way.

But for the most part, this summer has been rather boring. I guess the excitement and fun of last summer (Milwaukee, a French girl staying with us, lots of parties) had to last for two years. :P Oh well...

Oh, and from computer land I have good news and bad news! The good news - a friend of ours didn't want her computer anymore, so she gave it to us! It's a flat screen, only about two years old, and runs sooo fast...ah, it's heavenly! Our other computer was so slow it was almost unusable. But the bad news is...the sound doesn't work! :( I'm dying...most of the music I would listen to was on YouTube or my blog playlist. :P And now I'm lost in a silent world...sad, sad, sad. Hopefully we can get it fixed soon!

I've been feeling extremely restless lately. I'm definitely looking forward to fall and winter, because I'm just getting very tired of the lazy days of summer. This fall I'll be taking voice lessons at the music conservatory, auditioning for their choir, taking some ballet, taking Spanish and catechism at church, and hopefully I'll be in a musical!

So, I'm sorry I haven't posted in forever! This was probably a pretty boring post, least you all know I'm still alive! ;)