The Tale as old as Time, is new again (twice)

Back in January, my wife and I went to see Beauty and the Beast in 3D, part of a trend of older movies getting the 3D treatment we’ve been treated to this year.  While I enjoyed the experience, I think I mostly just enjoyed seeing Beauty and the Beast in theaters again, the 3D was just so-so.  It reminded me a lot of pop up books, each layer was flat and it was just a bunch of layers stacked on top of each other to give the 3D effect.

Beauty and the BeastThe Saturday before last however, I went to the San Jose Center for the Performing Arts to see the travelling company of the Broadway Beauty and the Beast Play.  The play was good overall.  I like what they did to explain the characters appearing more “human.”  In order to excuse the fact that the characters are played by humans instead of animated candlesticks and teapots, is changed the story slightly so that the change from human to inanimate object is a gradual one.  A short time into the play the winder appeared on the back of Cogsworth, where previously he didn’t have it.

Not only did this excuse the human appearances, but it also had the advantage of increasing the urgency of the situation in the story.  The implication is that eventually they will be completely inanimate, unable to move or speak, making the breaking of the spell that much more important to the characters.

The productions of the songs from the movie were excellent in the play, especially “Be our Guest,” “Gaston,” and the title song “Beauty and the Beast.”  The song added to the play that was cut from the original movie (“Human Again”) was likewise excellent, however they also added many additional songs, presumably to lengthen the play, and not a single one of the additional songs was any good (in my not humble opinion).  They were dull, and a times made me so bored I found myself wondering if the song would ever end so we could get back to the dialog (not what you are supposed to be wondering when watching a musical).

Overall I really enjoyed seeing Beauty and the Beast the musical, and I’m looking forward to catching Mary Poppins when it comes to town in late May.

Is the book better than the movie?

Is the book better than the movie?
Is the book better than the movie?

It is no secret that I’m a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia series of books and movies, and as a loyal fan, I follow news related to Narnia, and one of my favorite news sources for Narnia related news is NarniaFans.com.  I don’t normally bother to post Narnia related news here, because I feel that I would never be able to do the justice that a dedicated site such as NarniaFans can do, however today my Google Reader showed me an article relating to Narnia that caught my attention for more reasons then The Lion.

In New Zealand, the New Zealand Book Council’s agency (Colenso BBDO) in Auckland, New Zealand, has come up with a rather ingenious way to try and get more young people to read.  When people in New Zealand rent Prince Caspian on DVD from video rental stores in Auckland and the surrounding areas, they see the DVD on the left, and on the right a number of pages, in fact, they see the first 2 chapters of Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, with a title page that contains the question “Is the book better than the movie?”

I felt like posting about this story here because I love anything that encourages young people to read.  When I was growing up, the Chronicles of Narnia were some of my personal favorite books to read, and I read them over and over again, today sadly a lot of young people who go to see these movies (which are fantastic), don’t even realize that these wonderful books exist.  By putting the first couple of chapters of a book in with the DVD Rental, perhaps children who enjoy the movie will decide to read the accompanying beginning of the book, and when they get hooked, will head to their local library to grab the rest of it.

This could obviously work for series other then Narnia, imagine if the Harry Potter DVDs included the first two chapters of their accompanying books. I know by chapter 2 of Philosopher’s Stone, I was hooked on J.K. Rowling’s style.

And why limit it to the DVD release, have movie theaters hand out pamphlets of the first chapter of Inkheart after children go to see that imaginative tale this month.

I applaud the New Zealand Book Council for trying out this imaginative campaign to bring more young people to literature.  It is my belief that with more children reading books, we will have a much brighter tomorrow.

For Narnia, and for Aslan!

Film Review Chronicles of NarniaMy Wife, Barbara, and I, as well as our roommate Mike, just got back home from seeing The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, and it was fantastic! I’m not going to say much about it here, because I’m intending on recording an episode of The Looking Glass on Wizards.FM tomorrow, in which we’ll give our more complete review, but it definitely was worth seeing, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

Gaming and listening to music

Note – May 2006 – As I am editing all of my blog entries I started to notice everything that she had wrecked, she destroyed anything in the Love category, which she obviously wasn’t even looking at, because this article, which she tried to destroy had absolutely nothing to do with her, it was talking about games, music, and movies, none of which had anything to do with her.  She just likes destroying things that aren’t hers.

Continue reading “Gaming and listening to music”

Conference, Visits, and Cuba

It has been a very long week.

I was running the A/V system for the annual district conference of the Southwestern District of the C&MA, long days but a lot of fun overall.

Then Friday I took a quick trip out to TN to meet with D, a most enjoyable if sadly short encounter, flew there Friday afternoon, met her in the evening, and flew home Saturday morning.

Went to the movie theater last night and saw The Fighting Temptations, was pretty good but I felt a bit out of place as I was the only white guy in the theater, although there were several white guys in the film. The movie itself was good and the music was fun, although I don’t generally listen to Gospel style music, it’s fun every once in a while and it was fun to see a movie with a decent story and a family friendly environment. So give it a try.

This morning I felt quite sick with the flu so I didn’t go to church, more for being worried that I would infect the congregation then for my own purposes, so I spent most of today playing Warcraft III and then editing some ACTD transcripts for the Artemis.

That’s about all for tonight I guess, ttyl

Birthday Shopping and Play watching

::in best news voice:: And this is Nick Moline with the weekend report ::end news voice::

Yesterday was interesting, mom threw a Jewlery party at the house so I sought the first excuse I could to get out of there, and that excuse ended up being helping my dad (who was also trying to escape the women buying jewlery) pick out my little brother’s birthday present (his birthday is this coming Friday), on the off chance that he reads this or that one of his friends reads this and passes it on to him, I won’t say anything further about gift shopping.

So I took a seperate car then my dad so we took a slightly longer then normal time shopping for the gift then Dad went back to the party and I snuck off to the movies. On the risk of embarassing myself I will tell you what movie I went and saw, Freaky Friday. Newsflash all, it’s good, no really it is!

Yes it’s a 3rd version of the same movie by the same movie studio (for those of you who don’t know, there was a made for TV movie version of Freaky Friday back in ’95 in addition to the 70’s original with Jodie Foster). I have to say this latest version with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohen is very good, perhaps better then the original.

Lindsay is very convincing as both the Teen and the adult in the teen body, Jamie is also convincing in both her roles and plays a hillarious teen trapped in a woman’s body, however although it is a convincing teen, it’s not very convincing that it is Anna (Lindsay’s character at the beginning of the movie) trapped in Tess’s body rather then some other teen, Lindsay is a bit more mellow in general then the “child version” of Curtis, but it was still hillarious, the only problem with the movie is I think they went over the top in Anna’s love interest in the movie falling for Anna stuck in Tess’s body, yes I know the point was to show that he liked Anna for her mind not her body, but yuck, it went a bit too far when he was singing “Hit Me Baby One More Time” outside Tess’ window, talk about freaky.

Anyway after the party one of mom’s friends was still hanging around the house for several hours, but one is managable, 10 is not.

On to today…

I got up early to go to church, Mr. E the head of the audio visual team had told me earlier that I would be put in a rotational schedule and not be needed every week but he hadn’t yet told me what that schedule was so I decided to come anyway just in case it was my week, turns out it was not, next week is. So I still went to both services anyway, was actually kinda cool, in the first service I was asked to help collect the offering for the first time in the 4 and a half years I’ve gone to this church. In the 2nd service I sat with my family for the first time in a long time, well most of my family, David sat with the youth group, but it was nice to sit with my parents for once.

After church and a brief lunch the four of us went to see a play at Theater Arlington, that was fun, it is the second time I’ve been there, the first time was for a presentation of It’s a Wonderful Life back in December, today’s presentation was called Communicating Doors and dealt with time travel, it was quite good, I won’t discuss the plot here cause it would take too long, but I found it quite interesting and entertaining, a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Overall it was a nice weekend, but in the morning it is back to the grindstone, how fun! TTFN!

Birthday updates

On the highly unlikely chance that someone is actually reading my blog…. you may have wondered if I dropped off the face of the earth or something, no I did not, in actuality I moved back in with my family in TX, got settled in, and then… took a vacation! Actually my 21st birthday was this past Sunday and my mom and I have been planning to visit Vegas for my 21st birthday for the past 2 years.

I should have known I wouldn’t have any luck whatsoever when we got to the first hotel room on Friday night (we stayed at a different location each night as we were bargain bouncing). The first night we stayed at the most shabby of the 3 locations, Motel 6. After a rediculous amount of difficulty finding our room, we found out that our key did not work, so we found our way back to the lobby where they told us that they sent us to the wrong room, so another room hunt later and we had found the new room, well I was carrying my bags upstairs and I was wearing new dress shoes (a requirement for the type of tickets we fly on) that I wasn’t used to wearing yet, well the walkway on the 2nd floor was uneven and I quickly found myself tripping over my feet and then sprawled out in pain with a badly twisted ancle. I should have known then that I wouldn’t have any luck all weekend 😛

Despite the fact that I was still in great pain, Saturday was very nice. We started out by having brunch at the MGM Grand, and while the brunch was overpriced and bland, it wasn’t bad, afterwards we took a look at the Lion habitat, mom was fascinated by the “big kitties” as she called them, well I wasn’t 21 yet so it would have been a state felony for me to loiter around while mom played the slots so instead we went and found the hotel that we would be staying in that night, the French Quarter Suites so that we could check in and unload our bags rather then carry them around the rest of the day. Unfortunately there had been some mix up in the reservation and the room did not have 2 beds like it was supposed to, so I had the joy of sleeping on a rollaway bed that night, but I am jumping ahead.

After checking in we found our way to the Trek fan’s paradise, Star Trek: The Experience in the Las Vegas Hilton. Those of you who know my website may know that I have been there before, so rather then describe the ride here, I’ll just point you to my previous explanation of the ride and then explain what has changed. What has changed? Well first of all the lines are much shorter now so you can ride it more times in less time for one thing, but the bigger change is that they have an addon now where for $14.99 extra you can go onto the Bridge of the Enterprise D alone (with full lightning as opposed to the red alert lighting you see during the ride), sit in the captain’s chair, and have your picture taken, then get that picture as a souvanier. As soon as I can arrange to have that picture scanned I’ll put it up here. But while I hate the way I look in this photograph, it was worth it just to sit in the captain’s chair and walk around the bridge for a few minutes. I had an awesome time.

I stayed at the experience for a few hours, browsed the shops and rode the ride a couple times before me and Mom headed to buy a few items at the store and then go to dinner. I needed to pick up a network cable so that I could plug in the laptop at the hotel and we picked up some sodas and some other items to consume later that evening and then we went to the best meal in vegas, In-n-out burger, no really I’m serious. I used to love those places back when I lived in Southern California, they have absolutely the best french fries in the universe, and great burgers too. Kinda odd that we would spend $15 each to have brunch and not like it, and then spend less then $5 each for dinner and love it, but we did.

Back at the hotel we played some cards and watched some television, mom was tired so she went to bed but she told me to wake her up at midnight so we can celebrate my birthday. I attempted to hook up the laptop but found out that the data tap in my room was broken, so I couldn’t get on the internet and… update this blog!

I let mom sleep till about 1 a.m. and then woke her up as she requested, she brought out the items she had selected for me to “try,” a bottle of champagne, a small bottle of merlot, and a small bottle of white-zymphendale, I didn’t care for any of the 3 of them unfortunately, how can anyone drink this stuff? We finished our ongoing game of rummy and then went to bed, where I slept on the rollaway bed I mentioned previously (now not only was my ankle hurting but I had a stiff back too, oh well)

Sunday morning we decided to try a brunch at the casino that was across the street from the French Quarter Suites, The Orleans Hotel and Casino. This brunch was a few dollars cheaper then the one at the MGM on Saturday but despite this, it was a much much better brunch. This place has everything, if you are vacationing in Vegas and want a good meal, go there, trust me! I had mongolian bar-b-q, seafood, pasta (I am not a breakfast person so I was going for the lunch items on the menu, it was 11:30 after all) and all sorts of other delicious treats, both mom and me topped it off with a do it yourself strawberry shortcake from their desert bar, fabulous!

After breakfast mom and me decided to see a movie in the movie theater inside that casino, well this is the second time that day that that particular casino impressed me, the movie theater was full sized, they had like 18 screens. We saw Tomb Raider 2 and both enjoyed it, I found it better then the first Tomb Raider movie as it displayed her as closer to her game character, solving puzzles and the like. Go see it if you like action flicks.

inthestocksAnyway afterwords mom and I went to the Luxor and took a look around, Mom had always wanted to check out the inside of that place, it was pretty cool, I love researching ancient history so seeing a place done up in an ancient egypt theme was very cool, though personally I preferred the next place we visited, we took the moving sidewalks across the street to the Excaliber, I love the midevil period, so the castle theme was more fun to me then the egyptian theme, we caught 2 shows at a small stage, a juggling act and a magic act that was quite fun, and then I got a picture of me in the stocks (although I have picutres of most of these locations I’ll just give a link to them at the end of this blog entry) which I know some of you, especially D, would love to see me clapped in irons so here it is.

Sorry that the lighting isn’t better but my camera was really acting up this weekend. Anyway making our way back through the skywalks and through the Luxor and out to the rental car, we were then tired enough to go check into the 3rd and final hotel for the night, the Stardust. We tried to check in via the automated check in but it wouldn’t work so we waited in line for the check in counter where we were given our room keys and instructions to go up to the 20th floor (man was I ever glad the elevators were working whew). When we got to our room we found that housekeeping had neglected to clean that room so I called the front desk and let them know, then mom and I went down to use our $5 off vouchers for a meal at their buffet. The buffet wasn’t bad but I didn’t have anything actually off of the buffet anyway, we both had steak and lobster tail and then some sides from the buffet, it was pretty good.

All throughout this day I had played a few slot machines at each casino we stopped at, the only place I had any luck was the Orleans where I left that place with more then I got there with, every place else sucked me dry but no place drained me as fast as the Stardust did, both me and mom lost everything we had brough to gamble with but both of us had been responsible enough to only bring a set amount to gamble with and we were not going to go spend more then that.

914So Monday after packing up early, we had nothing left to spend on the slots so we went to have one last… BURGER AT IN-N-OUT BURGER!!!! yumyumyum!!!!!! before returning the rental car, heading to the airport, and waiting 4 and a half hours for our return flight home. So that’s how I spent my 21st birthday, to see the rest of the pics I took in my camera, click the image on the left.

Today was tiring, I spent the day moving things from an old server to a new server it was time consuming and it gave me a headache, especially when there was a routing issue in the new server and I couldn’t get it online correctly, but the subspacelink is on a new box now, as well as the sites of all of metrotime’s customers. That’s all for now, I’ll post again soon.