1.31.2004

Looney Tunes: The Golden Collection : 5 of 5

I had been hoping that someday there would be a DVD set of the classic Warner Brothers cartoons for a long time, so I was so happy that they finally made this collection (and that I received it for Christmas!). There is so much to love about this set! The cartoons themselves (over 50 of them) have been magically restored - the colors are so bright and the lines are so crisp, that I would almost swear they had been completely reanimated this year. I just can't get over how spectacular and new they look! The selection of cartoons does a great job of providing an overview of all the major (and most of the minor) characters - there are many "landmark" cartoons that aren't here, but I'm sure they will be on another set someday. Each of the four discs also has great documentaries - some made a long time ago, and some made specifically for this set, and they are completely full of fascinating facts. There are lots of commentaries, too, though these are the weakest part of the set - most of them just speak generally about the director or animators, but I wish they would talk more specifically about the cartoon itself. On top of all of this, there are also "music only" tracks, which are just amazing to watch and listen to the incredible music timing. What a fantastic set!

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring / Original Soundtrack : 4 of 5

After I saw Return of the King and watched my Two Towers DVD, I found myself really wanting to listen to the wonderful themes of the soundtrack - such a great accompianment to reading and relaxing. I decided to get the Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack first, because I love the "Hobbits/Shire/Frodo" theme (for lack of a better description), especially the version played in the early scenes of the Shire - it uses something like a recorder/flute and fiddle that just sounds so playful and peaceful. Of course, the triumphant "Fellowship/Aragorn" theme is excellent, too, and overall, the entire soundtrack is great. I was amazed to see in the liner notes that all of the choral singing and chanting that you hear is actual lyrics in Elvish - the notes even provide the translations! It really adds a lot of depth to the music now that I'm aware of that. I think I'll have to get the other two soundtracks, now - maybe I'll listen to them and re-read the books someday.

1.30.2004

I look like a monkey

How many versions of the Happy Birthday song do you know? My favorite one is the most appropriate, since this is the Year of the Monkey! Happy birthday to you! / You live in a zoo! / You look like a monkey / and you smell like one, too! Today I look like a monkey, because kyoo wa watashi no tanjoobi desu! (If you haven't guessed by now, today is my birthday!) I think I've finally reached the age where I don't want to tell people how old I am, but I'm still 8-years old on the inside!

1.28.2004

Listen to the action!

Have you ever heard an audio movie trailer? One day last week when I got home from work there was a message on my answering machine from Time Warner Cable (of course, I can't stop them from calling me since I'm their customer). The message was an advertisement for watching movies on iControl, specifically Tomb Raider 2. It was just like a trailer without the visuals - it had narration, little sound bites from Angelina Jolie, explosions and music. I thought it was pretty silly that someone thought I would pay for a movie after listening to a phone message. It was so funny that I was still laughing as I deleted it!

1.27.2004

Reading accessories

Lately I've been taking advantage of my spare moments (since I don't have that many!) to seriously relax, usually for a half-hour or so before bed. Since I have so many great things to read, I've been taking the time to sit and enjoy my books, and the best way for me to enjoy reading is to listen to some classical music, drink something nice, and sometimes light a candle for atmosphere. Music-wise, I either crank up iTunes and listen to some opera, or I listen to the digital music channels on cable - the Classical Masterpieces channel is pretty good! My pal Ernesto got me a great mug for Christmas, and something about it makes me want to drink tea, so I've been having plenty of it lately. If I'm not drinking tea, I like to have some brandy - it's so much more relaxing than a beer. I'd love to enjoy myself like this all evening long, but I'm happy for every moment I can get.

1.26.2004

A Photographer's Life with Disneyland Under Construction : 3 of 5

This is the first of several volumes of photographs from 1955 and later, featuring amazing views of Disneyland being built. All of the photos are by a photojournalist named Mell Kilpatrick, who apparently had access to anything at the park, so he took some of the most incredible photos you'll ever see. For example, did you ever wonder what the view is from inside the clock tower on Main Street station? The aerial views are spectacular, even in black and white, because he had to take these shots by hanging off the wing of a small plane! The photos range from large panoramas to smaller detail shots, like artists painting sea-horses to go in the Submarine Voyage. There's hardly any text in the book, and the order of the photos is a bit random, but the pictures completely speak for themselves. I can't wait to dig into the next volume of history!

1.25.2004

The Adventures of Indiana Jones: 4 of 5

The Indiana Jones movies are another part of my "essence of childhood" films (along with Star Wars, Clash of the Titans, The Black Hole and Tron), so I've been waiting to see these treasures again for a long time. This was one of the first DVD sets I got for Christmas that I wanted to dig into, and I watched all the bonus material first, which always gets me excited to see the actual films. The documentaries are really good, especially since they reveal a lot about the storymaking process (I never knew just how involved Lucas was with everything), plus some interesting facts (like how Harrison seriously hurt his back making Temple of Doom). The movies themselves are a total treat - nothing will ever top the original, of course, but I enjoyed the second and third films so much. The Last Crusade was really fun to watch, since I remembered it the least out of the three films, and it's a really well-constructed plot (I love the opening sequence with Indy as a child that provides a backstory for everything about the character - even the scar on Harrison's chin!). Anyone who grew up watching these exciting stories really needs to see them again!

1.24.2004

George's Marvelous Medicine / Roald Dahl : 3 of 5

Another Roald Dahl tale (and another inexpensive book I purchased to get free Amazon shipping for Christmas gifts) about a young boy and a crabby adult, but this one has some funnier than usual scenes! The first part of the book is about young George and his cranky old grandma - he decides to make her a new medicine to teach her a lesson, so he proceeds to combine nearly every household item you can think of into a boiling pot. The results are hilarious, since he ends up making a "growing" medicine that turns his grandma into a skinny giant! The second part of the story involves George's dad, who wants to become rich by making huge farm animals, so they try again and again to come up with the same formula. The failures are really imaginative, and I was pretty surprised to find out what happened to grandma when she tries another mixture! Unfortunately, the story ends abruptly, but it's still a satisfying and fun book.

1.23.2004

Big Fish : 3 of 5

I hadn't even heard of this movie until I watched the trailer on the web, and then I knew I had to go. I've enjoyed everything Tim Burton's done, since he has such a talent for developing imaginary mythologies (such as The Nightmare Before Christmas, and even the story of snow in Edward Scissorhands). Ewan McGregor plays the main character as a young man, since most of the plot takes place through stories that are surreal and mesmerizing. I have to say, this is a strange movie, but it really keeps you glued to the screen, wondering if the line between fantasy and reality will ever be clearly drawn. There are some fantastic images here, full of color and wonder, especially in the town of Spectre. The circus scenes are brilliant, and really make the love story worthwhile. Big Fish is incredibly tough to describe - it's just something to see and take away whatever meaning you like. For me, it was a realization that being truly happy always involves some kind of fantasy, and it's important to keep that alive.

My favorite yokozuna

I really don't know anything about sumo, but I always watch the Sumo Update portion of the news on NHK. They've been covering the big January tournament (it could be over by now), and it's fun to watch a few quick bouts and see who's winning. I've really enjoyed watching Asashoryu defeat opponent after opponent over the last few days - sometimes it can be a really exciting 20 seconds! It's amazing to see these huge guys actually lift each other by the belt sometimes. Asashoryu seems really fast and tough during the match, but then he usually helps his fallen opponent to his feet. I hope he wins the whole tournament!

1.22.2004

Dave Digs Disney / Dave Brubeck : 4 of 5

I have quite a little collection of contemporary arrangements of classic Disney music, so I had to add this CD to my collection (I bought it during Christmas shopping as a way to get free shipping at Amazon). I figured this would be a nice set of tunes, but I never expected it to be this good - these are some fantastic tracks! The line-up is a simple quartet (piano, alto saxophone, bass, and drums), and they really make these songs something spectacular (and the selection of songs is really good, too!). My favorite is probably Heigh-Ho, which is set to a brisk cut-time tempo and uses the verse ("We dig, dig, dig...") as an awesome intro. I love the tunes from Alice in Wonderland (but mainly because I love those songs themselves), but Someday My Prince Will Come takes the cake with a 3/4 arrangement while the drums play 4/4! When You Wish Upon a Star is fun to sing with, since they swing the Jiminy out of it, turning it into a lounge tune. I only wish Brubeck had recorded a follow-up CD with more Disney coolness!

1.21.2004

Shazam!

A few nights ago I watched an old episode of the live-action Shazam! series on TV Land. I used to watch this show every Saturday morning (I can even tell you what Shazam stands for), and I thought it was so great, but seeing it now, I can't believe what a weird show it was! Even the original comic book Captain Marvel is a little strange, since he's a boy who turns into a man superhero, but in the show it's even crazier, since the boy (who has a mane of hair that would make Simba jealous) travels around with an old man in a RV. Where are they going? Why are they driving around together? Anyway, he always turns into Captain Marvel to save some folks, and in this episode he even teamed up with Isis. I used to love her show, too, but back then I didn't realize how sexy she was! O Mighty Isis, indeed.

1.19.2004

The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies : 4 of 5

I got lots of Disney books for Christmas, and I've been especially excited to read this one, since the Haunted Mansion is tied with Pirates of the Caribbean for my favorite Disneyland ride! The book is nicely organized into three sections: history of the attraction, a room by room description, and the making of the recent movie. The walkthrough section is by far the best, filled with amazing photos and a detailed narrative, with special notes of things that are different at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Paris. The pictures are detailed and wonderful, all color, and even reveal a few things I've never seen (but you can bet I will when I ride it the next time!). I also enjoyed the various stories of the mansion that were written while it was being designed. Definitely a must-have book for any grim-grinning ghost like me!

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory / Original Soundtrack : 4 of 5

Still reviewing Christmas presents (and I will be for quite a while), and this CD was a fun gift! Willy Wonka has always been one of my favorite movies, and the music is great. As soon as I played it for the first time and the overture began, all I could see is that ocean of melted chocolate from the opening credits. My favorite track is Pure Imagination, which has such a beautiful melody and wonderful lyrics, but I also love Cheer Up, Charlie, where Charlie's mom sings to him in a touching scene that most people forget. Veruca's song is so funny - I can picture her pulling that colored cellophane all over the room every time I hear it. Everything is on this CD, including lots of dialogue, sound effects, and every variation of the Oompa Loompa song, of course!

1.18.2004

Cosi Fan Tutte

Since Mozart was such a big part of my early introduction to classical music, I've always enjoyed his operas, so I was glad to see Austin Lyric Opera perform Cosi Fan Tutte! It doesn't get performed very much, I don't think, mainly because it's such a light-hearted comedy - no one dies, and it's simply full of laughs. ALO did a fantastic job with this production, setting it in 1913 at the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, which means lots of fantastic period costumes, and a huge two-story set depicting part of the hotel, including a large outdoor dining room where waiters and guests constantly go about their business while the performers sing! The performers themselves were incredible, not only for their amazing voices, but for their comic acting - it was just perfect, full of hilarious emotion and even some slapstick. It was also a joy just to hear Mozart again - I had almost forgot what recitative sounds like (always fun to hear a harpsichord!). What a wonderful evening of entertainment!

1.17.2004

Change is good

I finally did it - you're looking at the new design of WEBmikey! I was getting so tired of the old look, so I've been playing with different styles for weeks now. I've had several false starts - I wanted to make everything clean and simple, but then when I over-simplified, it looked too plain. This morning I suddenly thought about the "clouds over city" sidebar (inspired by all the futuristic city stuff I've been reading lately), and the rest just happened all by itself. (Scroll to the bottom if you haven't seen the city!) I've really been enjoying posting everything to one blog, so eventually I'll move posts from all the other blogs to here. It's easy to find things by searching anyway. Hope you like it!

Astro in action

Yokatta! The latest Astro Boy cartoon series (produced in Japan, of course) has finally started on Kids WB. I just watched the first episode and I totally loved it (looking past a few goofy, but very slight, changes for the American audience)! The animation is really beautiful - the backgrounds of the incredible futuristic city are just fantastic, and all of the characters are completely true to Tezuka's design. It was so exciting to watch Astro learn how to fly, and especially cool to see things that aren't shown in the books, like how his boots slide open and transform into his rockets. Now I have a new reason to enjoy Saturday mornings! Doyoobi no Asa ga suki desu!

1.16.2004

Phoenix: A Tale of the Future / Osamu Tezuka : 5 of 5

Since I visited the Osamu Tezuka Museum in Japan, I've been reading some of the incredible works Tezuka produced (starting with Astro Boy, thanks to my pal Matt!). Outside the museum is a beautiful statue of the Phoenix, an amazing bird that looks powerful and compassionate at the same time, so I put the book on my Amazon wish list, and received it as a Christmas gift. I was completely blown away by this story, not only on an artistic level, but philosophically as well! Many of the underlying themes from Astro Boy are brought out here in full force, and I just couldn't stop reading - from the very beginning I had to find out more and more about what this story was actually about. The cities and civilization in the far future are fascinating, and the completely sweet and beautiful Tamami is so touching - I love characters that represent purity. To my surprise, I found out that this is only one of several volumes of the Phoenix saga, so I'm going to have to read those as soon as possible!

1.14.2004

Multi-Mac Mikey

I haven't mentioned it here before, but I recently became the proud owner of an iMac (it was my traditional "Christmas gift to myself")! I've loved the design of the iMac since it was first available, but I wasn't too fond of the screen sizes larger than 15-inch - they just seem to throw off the aesthetics since they're so wide. Anyway, I was able to get a refurbished 15-inch model (with a G4 and SuperDrive) for just over $1,000, which seemed like a steal to me. I've had it since November, and my digital life has definitely improved! The speed is really nice for certain things (especially video editing), and now I can finally burn DVDs (which made for a fun Christmas gift project for my pals this year). I'm also using it as my iTunes server, so all 7,500+ of my tracks are usually blasting through my condo (I have the iMac in the loft upstairs, so the sound drifts down below and fills the whole place!). It's fun to control the iMac with my wireless iBook from downstairs via VNC, too. It's a beautiful machine - I'm happy to have a multi-Mac house!

1.12.2004

Hajimemashoo!

Tonight I started Japanese II, which is a perfect continuation from last semester, since I have the same professor, we use the same book, we meet at the same time, and we're even in the same room! There are about 8 students I know from Japanese I, which is kind of cool, and then some new folks that had different professors last year. I'm pretty excited about learning more, and I really want to improve my reading (it frustrates me to have to sound everything out slowly), but I know I'm going to be rusty at first. I didn't watch any anime over the holidays, so I better find time to watch some in between my Christmas gifts!

1.11.2004

The Twits / Roald Dahl : 3 of 5

A lovely little Roald Dahl story from my Christmas gifts, which I read quickly since it's so short. This time the illustrations are an essential part of the book, since the text often refers to them directly, and there's at least one on every page. We meet Mr. and Mrs. Twit, who are simply disgusting people, and learn about how they make each other miserable with all kinds of disgusting (but funny) practical jokes. They also are cruel to birds and monkeys (the Muggle-Wumps), and the story describes how the monkeys "revolt" (with the help of the Roly-Poly Bird) and make sure the Twits get a taste of their own medicine. There are some really creative gags here - I just wish the book was a little longer!

Only a 3?

In case you're wondering (and I know you are) about my 5-star rating system, you should know that it's skewed towards things being "good", since even terrible things usually have something good in them. I rate lots of things as a 3, which means that it's a really good thing, but it doesn't have that extra something to really grab me. Here's a little rundown:

  • 1 star: Completely awful, a waste of time, to be avoided at all costs
  • 2 stars: Generally bad, but has one or two redeeming qualities that stand out
  • 3 stars: Good and recommended, but either missing something to really make me love it or having something that bugs me
  • 4 stars: Excellent, wonderful, amazing, which usually means it hits me emotionally
  • 5 stars: Completely stupendous, just as fantastic as 4 stars, but so incredible that I want to experience it again and again
  • 1.10.2004

    Chicago : 5 of 5

    This is movie is just so fantastic that I can't believe I had the willpower to wait for Christmas to get the DVD! It was a blast watching it again at home - the 5.1 sound mix was really cool, with lots of separation in the music so often there would be trombones or something right behind me, just like being in the middle of the band. Once again, Catherine Zeta-Jones is absolutely fantastic, and it's very cool being able to watch her rehearsing in the bonus material on the DVD. The commentary is nice, too, revealing the amazing fact that the musical numbers were shot without stopping, just like they were performed on stage! I assumed with all the cutting that they did them in pieces, but now I'm even more impressed. The bonus musical number Class (which they say was cut because it wasn't part of Roxie's fantasy) is wonderful - I always thought the song was hilarious on the soundtrack. Chicago was definitely worthy of Best Picture - now why haven't the studios released a bunch more musicals this year?

    1.09.2004

    Rug of many colors

    I made my first purchase for my new condo this week - I got a nice wool rug from Pottery Barn. I almost went with a busier design, but I liked this one because the rectangles were simple yet interesting, and there are so many colors in it that when I shop for new couches I can match almost any color I want! I really like it so far - much nicer than the wide empty area of wood laminate, but now my crappy furniture looks even crappier. All in good time, I suppose. I like lots of the Pottery Barn styles, but when I look at them closely at the store they seem a little too flimsy for the price. I'll just have to shop at "real" furniture stores to find what I want. I think a big square coffee table is next, when I get around to shopping again.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers / Special Extended Edition : 5 of 5

    After seeing Return of the King and loving it, there couldn't have been a better time to enjoy the second part of the Tolkien trilogy, so I jumped right into this Christmas gift first! This is a four DVD set, including the extended cut of the film on two discs (over four hours), plus two more discs of bonus material. The movie was fantastic - I loved all of the new scenes, especially the ones centered on Faramir, which really establishes his relationship with Boromir and their deranged dad. Lots of scenes set things up nicely for the third film, so it was interesting seeing this after Return of the King and knowing where things were headed. The bonus material is spectacular (as expected), but I was a little overwhelmed by the photo galleries (over 1,500 stills, and I had to spend a few seconds looking at every single one!). Just like with Fellowship of the Ring, I was amazed at the use of miniatures - half of the things I suspected were CG were actually models! I only wish I had the extended Return of the King right this very minute, but that's what next Christmas is for.

    1.08.2004

    The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar / Roald Dahl : 3 of 5

    I started this book just before my haul of Christmas gifts, so I had to finish it up before starting my new stuff! This is actually a collection of seven stories, including some non-fiction that was particularly interesting. The best story is the title tale, about a man who learns to see with his eyes closed, and even to see through playing cards - of course, he goes crazy at the casinos, but the years of practice he spent learning this talent changes him, and he ends up funding orphanages all over the world. I really enjoyed the autobiographical journey of how Roald Dahl became a writer, plus his interesting childhood and experiences in different counties and in World War II. This book has less heart-felt magical moments than his other books, but I really enjoyed it and read it rather quickly!

    1.07.2004

    The Art and Flair of Mary Blair / John Canemaker : 4 of 5

    Another great Christmas gift, this book takes a look at one of Disney's most interesting artists, best known for the design of It's a Small World (first for the New York World's Fair and later at Disneyland). The majority of the book is simply pages of beautiful works of art, including conceptual paintings for Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan (I would love to have one of these on my wall!). Her style, which is discussed in the book in quite an art historian tone, is filled with bold, unrealistic (yet beautiful) color and flat shapes (in fact, some of her works look like Samurai Jack backgrounds that I love so much!). A brief chronology of her life (which has a sad ending, unfortunately) is included, but it's the pictures that speak for themselves!

    1.06.2004

    Day Jobs days

    Someday I plan on writing a long essay about my days in the swing revival with The Day Jobs, a story of goofy friends who somehow sounded great and hit the Austin "big time". For now, I can at least prove that we had some loyal fans - I received an email yesterday from someone who hired us to play at his wedding reception (he writes "I've been going through Day Jobs withdrawal ever since"), and he's been scouring the web for Day Jobs info! Of course, he found WEBmikey, so now I'm going to send him a nice CD filled to the brim with Day Jobs tunes. I really wish I had the HTML to the old Day Jobs website - Matt did a nice job with the site, and it may have been the only source for the "Day Job" drink recipe, created just for us at the Caucus Club! (Of course, the Caucus Club is now the appalling Le Privilege - everything changes.)

    1.05.2004

    Dance pad pondering

    Yes, I've mentioned this several times before, but I'm still amazed that my good ol' RedOctane Dance Pad is so much better than my expensive Ignition Pad! I tried the Ignition this morning and that stupid left foot sensor kept frustrating me, so I played with the regular pad tonight, and got a 750 combo right off the bat (playing Endless Mode, of course). Someday I may have to spring for a Cobalt Flux pad, just so I can play with shoes on for a change. I haven't played DDR in an arcade in ages, and I just found out that the arcade that I used to go to is closed! There are plenty of other machines in Austin, though - maybe I'll check them out sometime.

    Mary Poppins / Original Soundtrack : 4 of 5

    Here we go with the first of many, many reviews of this year's Christmas gifts! Everyone knows I'm a big Mary Poppins fan, and I have lots of the wonderful songs from various collections of Disney music, but the complete soundtrack is the only place you can get all of the other great songs like I Love To Laugh and The Life I Lead (with my favorite line, "My slippers, sherry and pipe are due at 6:02!"). I also get a big kick out of listening to the musical arrangements of the overture and Step in Time, because they really invoke the images of the film. The CD also includes a long interview with the Sherman brothers, along with snippets of original song demos - very cool!

    1.04.2004

    Christmas photos

    A wonderful Christmastime in Oklahoma City with Mom & Dad. Check out the tremendous load of gifts and some yummy food!

    View photos: Christmas 2003

    A visit from Tom

    After working with the Peace Corps in Uzbekistan for a year, my pal Tom cam back to the states to visit his family in Kansas, so he also made a trip to Oklahoma City while I was there, then came to Austin for a few days. It was great to see him again!

    View photos: Visit from Tom

    What's going on?

    You may be wondering why there are movie reviews in the main WEBmikey blog, rather than in the Last 5 section. Well, I'm totally itching to redesign the site - I have lots of ideas, and the main one is to combine everything into one blog (one blog to rule them all!). Right now there's just too much stuff scattered all over the place, so expect some changes in the future (whenever I get to it!).

    Going ape

    Yesterday and today I got to relive one of my favorite childhood pastimes - enjoying classic "book and record sets" of the Planet of the Apes stories! These cheesy dramatizations were produced by Power Records in the 70's (I think), and I used to have a ton of them - Star Trek, Space 1999, Spider Man, and of course, Planet of the Apes. I found a website that had MP3s of the records (each about 12 minutes long), plus PDFs of the accompanying comic books - scanned in excellent detail in full color. I listened to all of them and followed along with the book just like I was eight years old again. It was a blast!

    Peter Pan : 5 of 5

    I've been excited about this movie since I saw the first teaser trailer several months ago - I'm definitely a Peter Pan fan, both of the Disney film and the original story (heck, I've even seen Hook several times), and in many ways I can relate to the archetypes of the story, which this movie explores with a little more depth than the usual Pan adventure. The production values of the film are fantastic - everything looks slick and exactly as so many have imagined it, with wonderful special effects (especially the flying sequences and Tinker Bell's pixie dust) that imitate storybook illustrations (I love the pink-orange clouds!). The boy playing Peter does a pretty good job, though I was a little bugged by his slight lisp, but Wendy is wonderful, and Hook is great. The main story difference is that Hook learns to fly for the final battle, which was pretty shocking, and there is much more exploration of Peter and Wendy's love, as well as Hook's loneliness. One of the best productions of this timeless story ever!

    The Last Samurai : 3 of 5

    I always see a couple of movies with my parents over the holidays, and this was the next best thing to see after Return of the King. I'm not particularly a Tom Cruise fan, but I certainly don't consider him a bad actor - I mainly wanted to see the film for the Japanese history, and to see if I could understand any Japanese language (I caught a few sentences, but not too many!). Overall, I did enjoy the movie - the scenes of peaceful Japanese life were wonderful, and seeing the tragedy of the Meiji restoration was really interesting (especially that the Samurai were willing to die at the request of the Emperor). The final scenes had enough emotion in them to get me misty-eyed, but the plot certainly had some rough-edges (like Tom's character learning fluent Japanese and the art of Japanese swordsmanship in about six months!). Not a bad film, especially if you're interested in the culture.

    The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King : 5 of 5

    I had really been looking forward to this final part of the Tolkien trilogy, since I seemed to remember less about it than the other stories, plus I was excited by all the fantastic reviews. I saw it with my parents in Oklahoma City, and my dad and I watched both Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers the day before, so we were totally prepared and ready for the show! Needless to say, the film was everything I hoped for! There's no point in even describing the effects and cinematography, because it's all beyond excellent, and everything from the music to the acting and yes, even changes to the original story, are all perfect. My favorite parts of the three movies are where the action stops and a character tells a touching speech - I was a little worried that this film was going to be missing that, but thankfully Gandalf gives a wonderful description of the afterlife, and Aragorn's speech to the troops at Minas Tirith is pretty cool, too (very Henry V!). I can't wait for the DVD so I can watch the whole trilogy in one ass-numbing day!

    1.01.2004

    Starting the year

    Happy New Year, everyone! Today has been a wonderful day of relaxation and enjoying my Christmas gifts. I've been reading some Roald Dahl, watching Looney Tunes, and tonight I watched the complete extended edition of The Two Towers (the Tolkien movies are simply made to watch with a candle burning, a nice mug of tea, and a warm pipe in your hand!). I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and New Year's Eve - I had a such a good time with my parents and all my good friends (including Tom, home for a visit from Uzbekistan).

    The year is starting out in a spectacular way for my pals Chris & Eliza, who were engaged today! I'm absolutely thrilled for them - they are such wonderful friends, who deserve every bit of the happiness they bring to each other. Now if I can just talk them into a Cinderella wedding with a glass carriage...