Theory Test

Mar. 3rd, 2013 07:11 pm
sea_thoughts: (W00t! - ibroughtuflowers)
Passed my driving theory test yesterday! What a relief. Now all I have to do is pass the practical and I'm free and don't have to listen to my driving instructor. Also went to London to see Wreck-It Ralph (which FINALLY opened here last month) and really enjoyed it. Have to say that all the "duty" jokes will fly over the head of anyone who isn't American, though. I'm glad I went with my friend from California, who was able to explain the pun to me!
sea_thoughts: (DWCarmen - wg15graphics)
Had one of the best Bank Holiday weekends in recent memory a couple of weeks ago. Had the Thursday and the Friday off because I went to see Michael McIntyre on the Thursday evening with my sister in Cardiff. I've never been to Cardiff before (never been to WALES before) so I was very excited to finally see the Severn Bridge and the Severn Estuary (which was beautiful even under the glowering clouds). The sat-nav managed to take us into Cardiff but didn't direct us to the entrance of the NCP car park, so we had to drive around in a huge circle. We really only found the entrance thanks to my sister's driving skills and experience, because it was TUCKED AWAY behind some houses. I wonder how anyone parks there considering it's such a major car park. Due to traffic, we only had time to eat a Burger King meal before running off to the arena (and it started raining) but the show made it all worth it. McIntyre is just as funny live as on screen (possibly funnier). There were points during the show where I couldn't breathe because I was laughing so hard. Stayed at my sister's for the night, then went down to see my parents for the weekend and did basically nothing, which was very nice. :)

Have seen The Dark Knight Rises (oh my God, I want to see it again); The Avengers (saw it four times, I regret nothing); The Bourne Legacy (mainly for Jeremy Renner, let's be honest); and The Amazing Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield IS Peter Parker, Emma Stone was adorable, can't wait for more).

Currently planning my birthday weekend in Paris with [ profile] vifetoile and my sister. Definitely going to see the Musée d'Orsay this time, and the Eiffel Tower, and lots of other things! There will be photos because my sister is bringing her boyfriend's camera, and they will be GOOD ones this time!
sea_thoughts: (MMerlin - erychan86)
Have belatedly decided to catch up on Merlin now that the series is over and I can watch it all together. I didn't watch when it started because my uncle had just died and I could tell that things were about to get serious. Or a bit more serious than they have been, anyway. I have done a blow-by-blow commentary and then a summary of my thoughts if you just want to read what I thought of the episode.

Part One )

Part Two )

Thoughts )
sea_thoughts: (Happy - ajcher)
For those who just want to read what I though about Deathly Hallows: Part II and Much Ado About Nothing with Tennant and Tate. (OH YES.)

DH Part II - what I didn't like )

DH Part II - what I did like )

WTF moments )

Really, one of the things that bothered me most was the simplification of the characters (Petunia, Lavender, Snape, and DUMBLEDORE) but that has been a problem throughout the series and is sometimes unavoidable when you're compressing literature into a film. I'm glad I went to see the film and would like to see it again to spot the things I missed.

Much Ado About Nothing )
sea_thoughts: (DWOT4 - painted_ghost)
I attempt to do a serious review of these two episodes but mostly fail because MY BRAIIIIIIIN MOFFAT. (I now think Moffat feeds on overheated fan brains. His ambition is to create the ultimate brain smoothie. He is basically like a superzombie.)

The Impossible Astronaut )

Day of the Moon )
sea_thoughts: (HPHermione Thinking - dark_branwen)
[ profile] stmargarets gave me these five questions

1. Which of your user names is your favorite and why?

2. If you could interview anyone - dead or alive - who would it be and what would your first question be?

3. What was the last thing you ate today?

4. Describe an ideal day.

5. How did you get into the HP fandom?

Answers Underneath The Cut )

I saw Deathly Hallows Part I for the second time yesterday, alone. This time I had an opportunity to concentrate on the details. I love all the things they put in the newspapers which will only be spotted by people who've read the books. Oh wait, that sort of applies to the movie as a whole, doesn't it? *cough*

Emma Watson has finally tamed her eyebrows and I was really happy with her performance, it's probably her best since... well, I'd say OotP. I get really fed up with how the films characterise Hermione as the proactive one while Harry and Ron hang back (what books were they reading?) but it was FINALLY okay, because that's actually how she is in this book. I just wish they hadn't made movie Harry so damn passive! And that goes double for movie Ginny! Why did Kloves write Harry like that? Daniel's certainly not quiet in real life, he bubbles over with energy! Did someone somewhere mistake quiet intensity for meekness? I don't know. Daniel is brilliant as the Seven Potters, he seems more at ease with the comedic scenes (though there aren't many in this movie). Rupert Grint's pretty fantastic in this movie. Previously, it's always seemed to me like he grabbed every dramatic scene he was given with both hands, so DH Part I is a golden opportunity for him. Yeah, yeah, I'm a Rupert fan but I think general opinion backs me up. Of course I admired just how broad his shoulders have become and his physicality in general, but more importantly, he finally had a script that gave him some proper snarky lines and some edge. It seems like the filmmakers finally remembered that Ron and Harry are best friends. When was the last time we had a proper Ron/Harry scene in the films? If you're not counting the brilliant but wordless moment when Harry awakes from a nightmare in OotP and sees Ron watching over him? I'm having trouble remembering.

Yes to Bill Nighy as Scrimgeour, though I feel like the character didn't have as much impact as I wanted, because once you take away the tension with Harry, he becomes just another Minister for Magic. He actually came across as sympathetic in the talk not pressured and aggressive. I've seen people complain that the camping sequence was like an advertisement for Visit Britain but I'm not sure they would show bleak clifftops and the underside of the Severn Bridge, an abandoned caravan park and a ruined power station. The whole point about the locations is that they emphasised the trio's isolation, both as a group and as individuals, and the increasing deterioration of Ron's mental state. There is absolutely no sound in Godric's Hollow, which adds to the eerieness and the Nagini scene was almost unbearable to watch. There's a shot when Harry first lights the candle in Bathilda's cottage where her eyes are completely black and it made me shiver the second time as well as the first. Even if they did cut very carefully around Nagini's 'exit' from Bathilda, there was enough left in there to give you the gist of what was going on. Oh, I also love that when Ron comes back, the SUN COMES OUT for the first and last time in this movie! I don't think that was planned - you can't plan the English weather - but it made me want to laugh. Yes, we get it, Ron is back and things are looking up! Still, I did love that moment. However, if Hermione tying that scarf around the tree was supposed to be a clue that they'd buried Mad Eye's eye - they needed to make it a hell of a lot clearer. I just thought she was trying to show Ron they'd been there!

I think it's probably my second favourite adaptation. We'll see if Part II keeps up the standard.
sea_thoughts: (Forget Growing Up - enhancedminds)
I've recently finished reading three books and I realise they all have the same theme: loss (whether temporary or permanent) of a child. But before I get into those, a quick word about KareKano.

I first encountered this series in 2001 in my first year at uni. I saw all the anime and then started collecting the manga. Every time I was in London, I would go to Blackwells on Charing Cross Road and buy another volume. Then they disappeared so I had to buy them off Amazon. I just finished reading the last volume. I'm so sad because it feels like the end of my adolescence. I can't believe it's finally over. I'm really happy that we found out what happened to all the characters, even though the story seemed to run out of steam once Arima's family problems were resolved. I honestly think the Arimas may give the Sohmas a run for their money as Manga's Most Dysfunctional Family. Not joking.


Nine years and I've finally finished. No more Kare Kano. No more Fruits Basket. Anybody got a good manga series to recommend?

The Wake by Jeremy Page. "You remember the things you save. You cannot forget the things you lose." Guy lives on a Dutch houseboat. Every evening he writes his diary. But it is not a diary of his current life. It is a diary of his life as it should be: with his wife by his side and his child alive and well. The exotic journey he imagines for himself in the USA contrasts strongly with his cold, salty day-to-day existence as he sails beside East Anglia, but how long can this double life continue? Tantalised by the possibility of a future with Marta, haunted by his past (and maybe his daughter), Guy must find a way to come to terms with his grief. This book is beautifully written. It is excellent at how grief pervades all corners of life and how some people cling to grief because it is all they know.

Dance With The Devil by David Bagby. Non-fiction (oh, you'll wish it were fiction before the end). If you have seen the film A Letter To Zachary, this is essential reading. For those who have not yet seen this film, this book is about a truly mindboggling real life miscarriage of justice. It is about Andrew Bagby, a promising doctor and a decent man, who was shot in cold blood. The prime suspect, his ex-girlfriend Shirley Turner, fled the USA and returned to her home in Newfoundland. Andrew's parents, barely functioning through the shock and grief of losing their only son in this way, were then confronted with the news that Shirley was pregnant with Andrew's son. They packed up their entire lives and moved to Newfoundland in order to make sure the only remaining piece of Andrew left in the world was not left alone when (surely 'when') Shirley went to jail. But the process of extradition was agonisingly slow. Shirley was set free on bail and the Bagbys were then locked into a sickening process of having to share custody of their only grandchild with the woman who had, in all probability, murdered their son. The Canadian social services did not seem to see this as wrong or dangerous, despite the fact that Shirley was wanted in the USA for pre-mediated murder. For a while, this warped arrangement worked, as the Bagbys suppressed their revulsion for the sake of Zachary and cherished every moment they spent with him. And then the unthinkable happened: Shirley drowned Zachary and herself. Out of this horrible tragedy came the film and this book, which puts a clear and unarguable case for the change of law regarding bail of suspects accused of murder.

Doreen by Barbara Noble. 1941. London is being bombed every night by the Luftwaffe. It is becoming clear to Mrs Rawlings that she cannot in all good conscience let her daughter, Doreen, keep living with her. Forced to admit that the child would be safer in the countryside, she arranges a private evacuation with Helen Osborne, who works in the office that she cleans every morning. Doreen is sent to stay with Helen's brother and sister-in-law. Unable to have children of their own, Geoffrey and Frances are keen to help. Doreen's arrival in the household is a turning point in both her life and theirs. Accustomed to a dingy flat and the urban landscape of East London, Doreen blossoms in the countryside, becoming more and more attached to the Osbornes and their middle-class life, to her mother's dismay. But what is really best for Doreeen? Noble examines each character with clarity and sensitivity. Nobody is a villain or a hero and that there are no simple answers.
sea_thoughts: (Quill - godricgal)
I went to Stroud today to see Toy Story 3 (NOT in 3D because those glasses give me a headache and I dislike the way they're using it as the saviour of cinema).

Warning: contains spoilers for plot and characters )

Inception )
sea_thoughts: (DWPretty Meh - lemonstation)

One, in hindsight they are full of great big anvils about what is going to happen to Donna. The look on River Song's face when she realises who Donna is; the ending of Silence in the Library with Donna's face on the node saying "Donna Noble has left the Library; Donna Noble has been saved" when, in order to save Donna, the Doctor has to make her 'leave the Library' and basically wipe her mind of all the information she's acquired over Series 4; the fact that Donna spends most of Forest of the Dead living in a fantasy world because Doctor Moon has put her brain to sleep and how she will live the rest of her life with a part of her brain sleeping; Lux's statement that "a half life is better than no life at all" which must influence the Doctor where Donna is concerned in Journey's End. Oh yes, there are indeed rampant spoilers in these episodes, but you only see them when you rewatch.

Two, there is a massive love of reading and books running through the two episodes which every bookworm will love. CAL is a descendent of both Alice and Dorothy Gale, exchanging a real world for a fantasy one. The scene were the Node delivers the Head Librarian's message to the Doctor and Donna is an echo of the scene in Fellowship of the Ring where Gandalf reads aloud the last days of the Moria dwarfs, ending with the ominous "They are coming." And they (the shadows) are coming. Doctor Moon telling CAL "the real world is fantasy and your nightmares are real" - come on, this is what every child suspects! Books can be more real to children than life because they contain superreality and truth and you never forget the books which mark your life and mind, whether they're well written or badly written.

Three, these two episodes ARE like a 'Greatest Hits' set for Moffat, but since they were written about the time he knew he was going to be taking over as showrunner and David was deciding whether to stay or not, I think they are like a showcase for him. Here is what Moffat can do: scary monsters; meta writing that isn't clumsy (the whole discussion on spoilers between the Doctor and Donna, then the Doctor and River Song); strong (if irritating) female characters; strong foreshadowing; multiple layers; bittersweet endings; moments of true horror - the moment where Donna's children disappear from their beds in the blink of an eye has to be one of the most terrifying moments in New Who, I went cold and I don't have any children; messages about the thoughtlessness of humans (the forest of the Vashta Nerada must have covered a whole planet in order to produce that many pages, and yet there was no research into the ecosystem and lifeforms of that particular planet, which also ties in nicely with the theme of planets disappearing) balanced with how humans can do great and wonderful things (River Song sacrificing herself).

Four, the Doctor is put in the position that Reinette occupied in Girl in the Fireplace: this mysterious person appears in his life, knows everything, won't share that knowledge. I think River Song was deliberately designed to be a little irritating: that's how the Doctor often comes across, jumping in and rattling off orders, telling everyone he knows best. It's a bit different when someone does that to him. And even though you get the repetition of "Everybody lives", it comes at a price. Unlike in The Doctor Dances, this time, people are not revived and reborn. Their bodies remain dead. The Doctor can only give them a half life, but it's still better than no life at all. Just as he will do for Donna.
sea_thoughts: (DWNew Era - 04nbod)
Hey, look at that, it rhymes. Okay, this is a mixture of blow-by-blow commentary and proper review. I had to get it out there before Series 5 comes along because I had a brainwave on how to improve the Longest Regeneration Ever(TM). Namely, make it into a twenty minute introduction for Eleven. :D

This should be... SPECTACULAR! (but it wasn't) )

How To Improve The Farewells )
sea_thoughts: (TWGrief - holo_daxy)

A man who can't die has got nothing to fear. So you watch out, and you keep watching. )
sea_thoughts: (DWDonna Searching - 04nbod)
Phew, that was close. My laptop was refusing to start again today and I thought Oh God, here we go again... Another week without the damn thing, losing more money as PC World attempt to repair it. But no, after repairing it with the Operating System CD, it managed to start up properly, yay!

Trrying to finish three writing projects at once... maybe a bit too much, methinks. But who said I did things the easy way? Actually, that's a theme of my life, doing things the hard way because doing things the easy way feels like a cop out. Am beginning to think that maybe I'm my own worst enemy and starting out at the shallow end is not cheating or being cowardly.

Bought books on Japan and Prague today. Figure that if I'm going to visit at least one of them this lifetime, I ought to start researching them.

Archangels )

Reviews )

Now I should go and make myself some dinner.
sea_thoughts: (Embankment - sunlitdays)

Did anyone miss me? Anyone?

First of all, belated birthday wishes to [ profile] ada_kensington for September 24 and [ profile] dogstar101 for September 30. I hope both my fellow Librans had happy birthdays, though I know you were travelling on yours, Jo. How's the course coming along? Are you feeling better? Will there ever be an end to my questions?

For those of you who missed my previous entry, I was in Cyprus for nearly two weeks. It was around 29/30 centigrade almost the whole time (except for the two days it rained, and even then, it cleared up in the afternoon). I spent most of the time reading, and here is a list of the books I read:

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson
Most of Ibbotson's YA books follow the same basic pattern: young intelligent girl goes to a foreign country, falls in love with mysterious man, is separated from him by misunderstanding and misfortune, but reunited with him at the last for blissfully happy life. But she's a good writer and the stories have different settings and very colourful secondary characters, so I'm happy to keep reading. This particular book focuses on Harriet Morton, who has a miserable home life with her father, a bigoted Professor of Classics at Oxford University, and her maiden aunt, who is a miser and hated Harriet's mother, so doesn't treat her with any warmth. Harriet is eighteen and her only escape from her loveless, constricted life is her ballet classes, until a Russian master arrives, seeking dancers for his corps de ballet, soon to head to the Amazon. This is the titular "company of swans". Desperate to escape her family and her potential suitor, Harriet runs away to join them. I recommend it for those who like romance and exotic locations. THIS is how you write about sex in YA novels, SMeyer: acknowledge it but don't go into detail. Don't just SKIP the whole thing.

Holes by Louis Sachar
Fabulous little book for those aged 8 and upwards. Stanley Yelnats is unlucky, and he comes from an unlucky family. He is not surprised when he gets sent to Camp Green Lake through a miscarriage of justice. The Warden and Mr Sir make the boys dig holes each day "to build character", but what are they really looking for? A prison story for children, with more twists than a rollercoaster.

The Fourth Bear - Jasper Fforde
DCI Jack Spratt is head of the NCD - the Nursery Crime Divison. Any crime involving nursery or literary characters is automatically given to him and Reading, Berkshire is the epicentre of nursery crime. The Gingerbreadman, notorious mass murderer, has escaped from his not-very-high security prison; Goldilocks has disappeared, last seen by three bears; and Punch & Judy are the new next door neighbours. Along with DS Mary Mary and Ashley (the token alien), Jack tries to solve all these problems, often at once. Sequel to The Big Over-Easy. Absolutely hilarious. Read it. And if you're wondering about Jack's surname, yes, you're right.

Zorro - Isabel Allende
I don't usually like Allende's books very much, I don't know why. I think it might be a translation problem: all the third person "and this happened and that happened" is totally against the grain of most English novels, which have much more character interaction, but this is a rollicking good read. You don't even have to know very much about Zorro. All swashes are duly buckled, lots of drama and a bit of romance, plus racial tension and the dissolution of the Spanish empire. What more could you ask for?

Burning Bright - Tracy Chevalier
Forget Girl With a Pearl Earring, this is so much better, mainly because it's actually got some HUMOUR in it. The Kellaways have recently come to London, fleeing from a family tragedy. Jem Kellaway becomes best friends with Maggie Butterfield, who has lived in London all her life. They both do their best to survive adolescence in Georgian London, which is becoming increasingly paranoid about the French Revolution, and find out more about Jem's strange neighbour, William Blake. And there's a circus, too. Family drama, social injustice, romance, illusion and reality all combine in a sterling historical novel.

Sisters by a River - Barbara Comyns
One of the most eccentric upper-class families you'll ever encounter, so autobiographical that it should be called a memoir. For HP fans, read this and you'll see just where Jo could have got the model for the Black family (though I don't think it was this particular one, this is a perfect example of just how messed up aristo families get). It's very honest and written with all her spelling mistakes (she didn't have a very good education) so it isn't just written from the point of view of a little girl but with authentic spelling, too!

Away - Amy Bloom
Complete opposite to previous book, all about a young woman who comes to the USA after most of her family is murdered in a pogrom, only to be told by her cousin that her daughter may still be alive. She sets off on a journey across America, intending to cross the Bering Strait and get to Siberia, where she thinks her daughter may now be living. The effect and consequences of her journey on the people she meets are also examined and detailed. Bloom is one of the most compassionate writers I've read, she never judges any of her characters for what they do (or don't do). I think this book would have a special meaning for people whose families came from Eastern Europe and Russia in order to escape persecution but I don't have that background and I still found it very moving. Also, despite everything, it has a mainly happy ending.

A quarter of the way through The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which I know is going to be heartbreaking but still reading anyway.

It was my birthday on September 28, thank you to all those who posted either entries or comments to wish me Happy Birthday, I really appreciated that. :) Sorry I couldn't reply until now, as stated in previous entry, I had no internet. It was lovely and sunny, but Dad had volunteered both me and Mum to a hash meal, so we didn't go anywhere that I wanted to go or do anything that I wanted to do. Which probably sounds whiny as hell, but I don't care. I got a nice book from my sister, a couple of cards, and my parents bought me some cycling things today, so it wasn't a complete loss.

Comment and tell me what you're up to!
sea_thoughts: (TWGrief - holo_daxy)
Rarely has an episode been so appropriately titled (The Parting of the Ways from New Who S1 is another), because from reading about it and hearing about it, this episode caused a lot of pain for a lot of people. And I can understand that.

Spoilers )

Actually, here's a poll for the... two people who watch Doctor Who and Bones on my flist:

[Poll #1251351]

In other news: guess who's coming to the Cheltenham Literary Festival? That's right: John Barrowman. Guess who's going to see him? That's right. Me. *smirk* You may all hate me now.
sea_thoughts: (TWGrief - holo_daxy)
I have just seen the last episode of Torchwood, Exit Wounds. All I can say is...

Spoiler warning )

Warning: watch with a box of tissues ready.


sea_thoughts: (Default)

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