Saturday, November 22, 2008

Twilight: The Second Time Around


So Justin and I went to Twilight today. He loved it (of course he's also read all the books). It's been so long since he read the books - and he only read them once unlike nerdy me - so he didn't really even notice any of the differences. He really, really liked it. The only "complaint" he had was that the vampires should be more menacing when they hiss.

And I have to say, I liked it a lot better the second time around. I think the first time I kept comparing it to the book and after sleeping on the differences, I was able to watch the movie again and embrace those changes and enjoy the story. I even like Rob Pattinson's performance much better.
Also, did anyone else think that the "Son, remember who you are" line was a hidden Mormon message?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight Review (Caution: Teeny Spoilers)


Okay. So I am a nerd who took off the afternoon and went and watched Twilight with my girlfriends. It was a fun afternoon with the girls. Even though any Friday afternoon off work and out with the girls would be fun, I'm sure the movie possibly has something to do with it. Here are my biased and emotional comments about it. I'll try to be vague about the movie because I don't want to ruin it for anyone, but beware. There are spoilers.

Did I like the movie?

YES.

But I like a lot of movies. There are seriously very few movies I don't like. I am easily entertained. Heck, I'm watching Scare Tactics right now. Easily entertained, folks, easily entertained.

Problems:

Like any book turned into a movie, there are small details that kind of bug me. The kitchen was not painted yellow like Bella's mom had done. The high school was one big building instead of a the small series of independent buildings that made up the classrooms.

Like any book turned into a movie, there was so much condensing of the plot and exposition. I felt like this movie was especially rough due to this. There were some scenes that were suddenly dramatic instense without any kind of lead up. I felt the movie was a good companion to the book but I honestly wonder how well it will come off to someone who hasn't read the book.

Favorite scenes were changed. Like the restaurant/drive home from Port Angeles scene in the book. And the meadow scene. I read an interview with Stephenie Meyer a couple weeks back. She said that the director wanted to take out the line "And so the lamb fell in love with the lion" but Meyer fought to keep it in because it was such a popular, anticipated line. All I have to say is: and the meadow scene wasn't popular and anticipated??? That was your dream that inspired the book!

Casting complaints. I've always been ok with Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson because they were cast before I ever read the books, so I pictured them. I think all the cast was mostly on. The one that bugged me the most was Jasper. He is not attractive at all. In my head, he has this Legolas vibe--gorgeous, silent, majestic, and standoff-ish. Also, I would imagine Alice more petite. I think she's taller than Bella.

Edward's hair is too crazy. Alice is too tall. Jasper is too plain.


Yummy Legolas. I've never seen blonde look so sexy. He's introverted, intuitive, powerful, and oh so delicious.


Better choice for Jasper, no? (Trent Ford)

Acting complaints: Edward was weird. Flat, almost. I know he's stoic and so controlled, but he also has an obvious temper and a devious sense of humor. I think I only saw Edward smile once. If he's just found the love of his life (and his whole family knows this because they've never seen him this happy) he needs to show it! Rob Pattinson is British. His American accent is accurate but...it's a little Marlon Brando. Which is kind of sexy, but doesn't seem to fit. With Edward being from the the early 1900's I'd almost expect him to have a twinge of the British accent - a more refined dialect from a different time. Also, he wasn't that heart-melting and dazzling. There are several scenes in the book (and a couple in the movie) where he turns on the charm and the females turn to puddy and he gets whatever he wants. Did not see this at all.

Cheesy Effects (or lack thereof): Didn't like the "fast" movement of the vampires. Rather have them just appear. The first time we heard Edward growl in Port Angeles was awesome. Later in the baseball field with Laurent, James, and Victoria, the hissing between all the vampires was ridiculous. I could hiss more menanclingly. I really didn't feel a dangerous, threatening vibe from ANY of the vamps. I'll admit I'm a Buffy the vampire slayer fan, and I don't want to compare apples to oranges, but in Buffy, I love the vampire growls and the way they move and fight. Much more dangerous.

Random Weirdness: Where were Bella's pants in the kissing scene? Edward's Volvo is not nearly as sexy as it was in my head. I guess that's just how they look. Just looked like a shiny station-wagon to me. Edward had a reflection. In the books, Edward didn't have one. (Remember the prologue to New Moon when Bella sees her old self mimicking her actions and she thinks it's her grandmother but it's actually her aged self in the mirror and Edward not being in the reflection?) Edward in his prom clothes -- he's a very proper young man. I think he'd do up the top button of his shirt. The cinematography was too tight. I really wanted the camera to zoom out, let me get oriented, and then go for the tight visuals.

Things I loved:

Casting/Acting: Loved Charlie! I thought he was rather flat in the books. Just a necessary character (a teenager needs a parent, right?). He was golden in the movie. He was the source of so much humor. I LOVED Charlie. Jessica was PERFECT. Loved Esme and Carlisle. Loved Bella. I was worried about Kristen Stewart. She usually plays this mature-for-her-age, jaded type girl, so I worried about her pulling off Bella's innocence and klutziness. She nailed it and also pulled off Bella's maturity and depth. Oh, and Jacob is adorable. I am totally Team Edward, but in the movie, I might just be Team Jacob because Edward was played so weird and Jacob is so adorable. The chemistry between Bella and Edward was great. The kiss was way steamy. Also loved Bella's appearance. In the book, I knew she was a natural beauty, but I had problems picturing her attraction since she was always in a sweatshirt and jeans and had a ponytail. Bella in the movie had many different and pretty hair styles and cute clothes. Loved Rose's attitude.

Expected scenes that rocked: Trying on dresses in Port Angeles. Loved the cleavage references from Jessica. Good stuff. The scene when Bella goes to biology class for the first time - her hair being tossed by the fan, Edward's reaction - it was great. The ballet studio - James breaking her leg. Wow! They went all out there.

The flashbacks/dreams: Since the story has to be condensed for a movie, the flashbacks helped fill in the gaps and exposition.

Effects/Action: The action was great. The baseball scene was fun. The ballet studio scene was fun. The car crash scene was different, but worked. I was always confused by the description in the book and hoped the movie would clear up some of how the cars and Edward were situated, but they simplified it. Which is probably good. But I guess I'll always be confused. I've heard that a sequel isn't in the bag yet. It really depends on how well Twilight does. But they are TOTALLY set up for a sequel between references to Edward's leaving, Jacob wolfing out, and Victoria's revenge. It did not end happily ever after all wrapped up in a bow. The sparkly vampire skin was WAY better than I imagined. It was always so cheesey in my imagination with the books. This was a total improvement. Very cool.

Changes to the script: Loved meeting Jacob and Billy Black earlier in the story. REALLY loved that Laurent, James, and Victoria were a menace before the baseball game. I always felt that turn in the story in the novel came out of left-field. So their continuous menace improved the story for me. Loved seeing the details of James's dispatching.

Little gems: Pepperspray. Shotgun. Billy and Charlie's relationship. The little easter eggs - the appearance of Little Brown & Co. on the Google search and Stephenie Meyer's blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo. Bella's constant yet unemphasized klutziness. The way Charlie treated Tyler after the "almost" accident.

Random things that I don't have an opinion about: I never saw Bella cook for her father once. Bella wore one converse sneaker to prom instead of a high heel. Bella knew Edward was taking her to the prom and wasn't upset about it and didn't have her dashed expectations about not getting turned that night. Edward's hair was way crazy. I looked for the deep blue v-neck sweater. It never made an appearance. Bella's Lullaby was lovely, but it was never said that Edward wrote that song for her.

Conclusion:

It isn't as compelling at adaption as the Harry Potters and Lord of the Rings movies, but it is definitely a better adaption than the catastrophes like Da Vinci Code and Count of Monte Cristo. I think it makes a good companion to the book. If you are expecting the book word for word and scene for scene in visual format, you'll be disappointed. If you're up for a fun story and open to changes, you'll probably enjoy it like I did. So take a chill pill. Calm your raging teenage hormones and go see a fun show!

(P.S. I think I'm going to see it again tomorrow with my husband. So it's definitely worth dropping $15 to see it again.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Honoring All Who Serve


How do you thank those brave men and women who risk everything for my freedom to grumble about early morning church? For my freedom to read celebrity gossip? For my freedom to enjoy political cartoons lampooning leaders I don't like? For my freedom to choose my own future? For my freedom to make my own fortune? For my freedom to sleep soundly every night?


Thank you just doesn't cut it.


I am proud that my family is full of these brave men and women. I love that I can take pride in my family's patriotism. So to my family members who have set this fine example, thank you. I don't know all the branches of service or all that these people were involved in, but I did my best. Hopefully I didn't miss anyone.


Richard Belcher, Afgahnistan

David Belcher, Army

Heather Belcher, Army

Joshua Belcher, Army, Iraq

Lachlan Belcher, Air Force

Jericho Belcher, Iraq

Clyde Harris

Tom Suggs, National Guard, Iraq

Ray Spencer, Korea

Steven Belcher

David Hays, Army, Korea

David Hays, Jr.

Bradley Hays, National Guard, Desert Storm

Brett Maeger, Air Force, Vietnam

Dennis Belcher, Reserves

I also believe my Grandfather Hays and Greatgrandfather Hays also served.

I looked up some info on Veterans Day and learned that not only is it a day to remember our veterans, but also a day dedicated to world peace, which I think is noble. So, here's to world peace!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

You were usually behind the camera instead of in front of it. This is the first picture I have of us together. I was 2 months old. You are so beautiful and glamorous. But for the record, those glasses are hideous. Why would you do that to yourself?

Dear Mom,
I'm glad I can call you mine. I'm grateful for the crazy, kooky memories, the wisdom, and love. Ten memories of you:

1. You would take me to reading groups at the library and often to Carsten's Bakery afterward for a brownie. I distinctly remember a particular time holding your hand and walking down the cement ramp to the library entrance wearing dress up high heels. They were clunking and echoing so loudly I thought the librarian would refuse to let me in. It's great you'd let me go out in public like that. I wouldn't have the imagination I do today without you.

2. Once in high school, Dad was out of town and you let me throw a big party. I couldn't even count how many kids were there. You set up the TV outside and a bunch of kids piled onto the tramp to watch a movie. What a cool mom!

3. I remember when you made that darling white and powder blue dress when I was in preschool. I tried it on. I was very upset that it didn't have a little detail like the dress pictured on the pattern (I think it was satin bows or rosebud appliques). You stayed up all night adding that detail for me. I love you for that and I still kick myself for being so ungracious.

4. I remember going fishing at Blacktail right before the high school pageant. You brought my talent competition costume on the boat and sewed it by hand so you could be on the family outing and still get that done. I hope I was more gracious that time.

5. When the creepy man at Arctic Circle slapped my hand and accused me of trying to steal his wallet, you put him in his place. I'd never seen you so fierce!

6. I remember eating lunch with you at Mi Casa and confessing all my tumultous feelings of my first love. I was afraid you'd laugh or play it down like I was too young to know what real love was, but you didn't. You were so cool about it. You told me that young love is very real and very strong. Thanks for that.

7. Once, we were watching the VH1 Video Music Awards and Will Smith was singing his latest hit. You asked me what the name of the song was. I said, "It's called Getting Jiggy With It." And you said, "Don't you mean Gettin' Jiggy Wid It?" like a rapper. It was hilarious.

8. I remember when the neighbor boy Adam destroyed the snow bunny Faye and I made. You went nuts! You chased him all over the neighborhood and demanded he rebuild it. Which he did.

9. One of my very earliest memories - so early that it's quite vague and faded - is of being in the front yard while you planted marigolds.

10. You let me skip school quite a lot. You must've had a hard time letting your baby go, so anytime I wanted to stay home with you, you'd let me.

I love you, Mom. Have a good one.

It's Been One of Those Days...

I hold my composure well, I believe. For the most part. I am not some bitter chick with contempt for all those with children (biological or otherwise). I am not a phony. I don't flippantly pretend not to care about my infertililty and that my husband's and my successful careers and fatty paychecks just make up for it all (btw, they really aren't that fatty). I think I have a good balance. I acknowledge and embrace this trial. I let myself be humbled by it, and I can't deny there have been some beautiful, spiritual moments that I would not have experienced any other way. But I have my days. And today is one of them.

About 4 weeks ago, we got an email from a teenager I will call M who lives in another town an hour away. To make a long story short, one of our pass along cards got to this girl and she wanted to meet us although she was still unsure of what she wanted to do. Her 20 week ultrasound would be on November 6 where we live and she would like to meet us then. Then she found out that my hubby sometimes works in the town where she lives and she was willing to meet us sooner if we would go there. So I tagged along with my husband and we met M and had a great time. I can't imagine it going better. She said she was still unsure, but if she decided on adoption, we were the couple for her. She still wanted to see us again on November 6 when she was in town. We'd do lunch and maybe go to the ultrasound with her. So, today is November 6. And we haven't heard from M since that night four weeks ago. Although we had her phone number and left her a message on Tuesday, there was no response. She's disappeared. I knew this was a possibility. Especially since she was still unsure and was not going through an agency to help her with those decisions. And maybe we'll hear from her again in the future. But I just want to say that it sucks. I usually hold up pretty well, but I can't deny that it's disappointing.

And then there was this...

A few days ago I posted some stats on adoption and I got a pretty nasty comment posted anonymously. It shocked me when I read it, but I moderate all my comments so I just didn't publish it. My first inclination was to address every aspect of it and defend myself but I decided that it didn't matter. I don't know this person and their opinion really isn't going to change my decision to adopt and I won't be bothered by it. I have nothing to defend. And while I still feel that way, I am also feeling angry because of this. I don't feel like I have to defend myself. But I don't want to inadvertendly protect this person either by deleting their comment and pretending it didn't happen. So for all the world to read, this is what they wrote:

Adoption sucks.

You might believe that adopting a child will be the same--and it might be for you, but you will always be a fake mother to the child you steal from another woman.

Why not go with God's plan, and remain childless? Just becuase you can't have a child doesn't mean you are entitled to another woman's flesh.

WWJD?

And here's what I have to say to that:

SHAME ON YOU. You have issues. And they are not mine. There has obviously been some pain or wrong in your past that is not my fault. Shame on you for spreading your poison. Who do you think you are to judge me under the pretense of God? Now the curtain has been pulled. Your pettiness and ignorance are exposed. SHAME ON YOU.

Life is hard enough without vicious, nasty people making it worse. I am in a mood today. Even my dogs can tell.


"It is just as cowardly to judge an absent person as it is wicked to strike a defenseless one."
- Lawrence G. Lovasik

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting

First, the warm fuzzies...

I voted today. And I got choked up doing it. Lame? Not at all. I thought of my former boss Walt today. His family fled from Russia with basically their clothes on their back to escape communism. They made it to the Philippines where lived for several years waiting for an American family to sponsor their immigration. (On a side note, Walt was born in China and spend the first four years of his life in the Philippines. He's had an interesting life.) I remember Walt telling me about coming to America and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge all lit up. He told me about the first time his father voted - he came home with tears of joy and gratitude streaming down his face. I have another friend named Jared who was born in South Africa, spent his childhood there, and his family had to flee to New Zealand for their safety when he was a teenager. He is passionate about America and our freedoms and opportunities here. He is married to an American, but has not been able to become a citizen yet. It pains him that he can't vote yet.

So I thought of these two stories as I voted and I admit that I got choked up. I am proud to be an American. I take so many things for granted. It's rare to see the patriotism Walt and Jared have in natural born citizens. I want to change that - starting with me. I really think the first step in this is to be grateful and thankful. And I am grateful that I voted. And it's not lame that I got choked up.

On another tangent...
I never really thought that people outside my family and small circle of friends read my blog. I got some anonymous comments today in response to the adoption statistics I posted yesterday. I am glad to know that my post promoting adoption awareness has done just that. That's what this month is all about. I'm happy that I've made a difference, however small.

Monday, November 3, 2008

November is National Adoption Awareness Month


Did you know...


  • That about 2% of American women place their babies for adoption?

  • That there are 40 million abortions worldwide every year?

  • That there are 3.3 adoption seekers for every adopted baby?

  • That 60% of people in America have a personal connection with adoption?

  • That about 150,000 adoptions take place every year in America?

  • That birthmothers have higher educational aspirations, are more likely to finish school, and less likely to live in poverty and receive public assistance than mothers who keep their children?

  • That birthmothers delay marriage longer are more likely to marry eventually, and are less likely to divorce?
  • That birthmothers are no more likely to suffer negative psychological consequences, such as depression, than are mothers who rear children as single parents?
  • That adopted children score higher than their middle-class counterparts on indicators of school performance, social competency, optimism and volunteerism?
  • That adopted adolescents generally are less depressed than children of single parents and less involved in alcohol abuse, vandalism, group fighting, police trouble, weapon use and theft?
  • That adopted adolescents score higher than children of single parents on self-esteem, confidence in their own judgment, self-directedness, positive view of others and feelings of security within their families?
  • That seven percent of children adopted in infancy repeated a grade, while 12 percent of children living with both biological parents repeated a grade?
  • That compared with the general child population, children placed with adoptive couples are better off economically?
  • That adopted children do better in educational attainment than single parent children and children raised by grandparents?
  • That adopted children enjoy a quality of home environment superior to all the other groups?
  • That adopted children have superior access to health care compared to all other groups?


*These statistics were gathered from childwelfare.gov and research from an article published in USA Today.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Hallows Day

Sorry I missed posting last night on Halloween. The creepiest story in the comments came from Liz:

Our friend had served in mission in Chile about 3 years ago. While he was there, one of the missionaries in his district became very interested in Cain. Who knows why, but he became obsessed. He would stay up reading and studying about him. He would try to find books or anything about him to learn more. One night, him and his companion were jolted awake and saw a HUGE dark figure standing at their doorway. They couldnt tell who or what it was; the only thing they knew was that they sensed pure evil. They immediately got out of bed and called their mission president. When the mission president arrived at their apartment he was FURIOUS and completely laid into the missionary that had been studying up on Cain and who had basically opened the door for his evil spirit. He told him that he had invited evil into their lives and that he needed to stop immediately! He then blessed the apartment and ordered any evil spirits to leave.

My sister Stephanie also told me a story over the phone about her husband Jeff's mother. Jeff's father died suddenly in an accident at home. During the days following his death, Jeff's mother experienced horrible disturbances--drawers slamming, doors banging, the phone ringing with no one on the other line. After a couple days of this chaos, the phone started ringing again. Jeff's mom was sure no one would be on the line again but answered the phone anyway. It was their bishop who knew nothing of these strange happenings. He told Jeff's mom that she was in danger of evil spirits and that she needed to gather the children and get out of the house now. He would be by later with other priesthood members to dedicate the house.

Also, read Justin's comment about the disembodied voice recorded at our college theatre. I can vouch for his story. All voices are accounted for when a very close whisper of "Hey" is heard right near the recorder. Very strange.

Well, I hope you all had a good Halloween and may the sugar rush last for days!

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