31 March 2014

March Movies

The Impossible: This is a couple years old, about a real-life family which survived the tsunami in Thailand.  If it wasn't a true story i would have said it was too good to be true.  Not a bad movie, some super scary parts involving the tsunami. a 5

Rush: Thor races cars!  He's lovely and the car action was great.  a 6.

Machete Kills: ok, goofy, splattery action.  worth watching. a 6.

True Detective: The best thing I've seen on TV this year.  seriously.  If you've not seen it and not been spoiled, go right now and watch it.  The basics: the show opens with 2 detectives in 2012 each separately speak about a murder case they worked back in 1995.  We see them discussing the case and then working the case.  So you have 2 narrators for the same set of events.  Both Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrellson are wonderful in this.  it is a twisty, twisted show, set in Southern Louisiana, much of which was familiar to me.  absolutely a 7.

Helix: We've been binging this SyFy show in 3-4 episode gulps.  An unknown outbreak happens in an arctic research facility and the CDC sends four scientists out to the middle of nowhere to fix it.  The only surviving victim happens to be the brother of the lead scientist, who slept with the lead scientist's ex-wife, who also happens to be on the team.  The random connections don't stop there!  The virus turns people zombie-like; the man who runs the facility, along with every other speaking character, has secrets, and the non-CDC research scientists are ridiculous.  Parts of this show are amazing; the cinematography is very good and the use of music is great!  However, parts are just so ridiculous.  One thing we found super annoying was that every time the CDC characters caught the facility runner in a lie, they'd just believe him for a while!  These were the least skeptical scientists ever.  overall, I'd say it was a 5 as we didn't give up on the series. 

25 March 2014

Quick note to let the world know I am still alive

Hello all!  

Still here!  Tests, or studying for them, have been kicking my butt.  Between student teaching at the middle school, studying, and taking tests I feel constantly stressed out and tired.  Good news: I passed the first test I took back in February and my last test is this Friday.  It is the big one, comps which I have to pass to get my degree.  I'll be cramming as much as possible into my brain these next two days.  Wish me luck!

06 March 2014

More YA/Middle Grade Books!

Doll Bones by Holly Black: This book was one of the Newbery Honor books this year. Three children, a boy and two girls, have been playing together their whole lives, making up long, involved stories about their various action figures.  They have a whole mythology and lineages worked out. now that the boy is twelve, his father decides to throw away all his action figures to make him "grow up".  The boy can't bring himself to tell his friends what really happened.  At the same time, one of the girls says her doll is beginning to speak to her, telling the girl that the doll is made from a real girl's bones and that for the spirit to rest she must be buried.  The children set off on an adventure to bury the doll.  They get vital info from a library!  i give this a 5. 


Graceling by Kristin Cashore: This one was an audiobook.   It was weird.  Again, it had the YA problem where stuff happens at the beginning, there's a long middle where not much plot-wise happens though there is some character development, and then a bunch of action at the end.  It is a fantasy novel where the world is made of several kingdoms.  In these kingdoms, someone who has two different colored eyes has special powers: fighting, swimming, dancing, knowing the weather, etc.  These are called gracelings.  There is a kidnapping and intrigue but mainly the story is about the main character growing up.  This wasn't a favorite of mine as we spend a lot of time hearing the thoughts of Katsa, the main female character, and I found her really annoying.  Also it was a full cast audio which i found rather distracting.  a 4. 

05 March 2014

unexpected reading day

Monday was a snow day, or an ice day anyway, so school was canceled.  I took the opportunity to sleep a bit late, study a bunch for my upcoming tests, exercise a little, and finally finish a biography. Beethoven: The Man Revealed by John Suchet is about Beethoven, of course.  I thought it was very good.  I've read some other Beethoven biographies as I find him really fascinating.  This one wasn't too long, nor was it filled with musical intricacies that I do not understand as I've never taken music or played an instrument.  The author does talk about the music and about how it sounds but in more layman's terms.  It also had the advantage of being the first Beethoven book I've read while having access to all of the music referenced (Thanks, Spotify!) so I was able to hear a piece just after reading about the events that occurred in the composer's life as he wrote it.  It was cool to be able to listen for the things that Suchet mentions in each work.  I would say that if you're interested in Beethoven but have been turned off by the length or musical knowledge assumed in other bios this book is worth a read.  I give it a 6. 

03 March 2014

Another Doctor Who book

I really like that the library lets me borrow things on my Kindle!  It works great and keeps me full of possible reading material.  I finished a Doctor Who novel, Plague of the Cybermen by Justin Richards.  As the title says, the bad guys are the Cybermen.  A ship of theirs crash landed on a planet decades ago where technology seems to be in the 17th century or so.  Luckily for the townsfolk, the Cybermen were all in stasis and don't have enough power to boot up and take over the world.  Unluckily for the townspeople, bits of radioactive ship are turning up and people are wearing them as jewelry.  The Doctor (11) shows up with no companion so I guess this is between Pond visits or he ran off on his own after dropping Clara off one night.  His first task is to sort out the plague that is killing the townspeople and of course things just get crazy from there.

It wasn't a bad book.  It did seem rather short and some of the side characters were pretty one dimensional.  It felt a bit like a YA book. The opening is really good though. Certainly worth reading if you love Doctor Who.  a 5.