Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Zathura: A Space Adventure

This afternoon I watched Zathura: A Space Adventure. I don't really know a ton about it. All I know is that the guy who wrote the book The Polar Express wrote the book for Zathura.
Here's my take:
It was a little rough getting off. A few bad words, and the kids' fighting did get a little old, but once they started playing the game, it was a pretty good movie. I recommend it. It is suspenseful in places, cute, adventurous, overall a kid's dream movie (except the bad words I mentioned.) The special effects for space were pretty breathtaking, but I thought they could have done better on the actual sky. Saturn and the astroid field (or whatever it was) were actually pretty and mind-blowing. It is hard for me to comprehend how big space is, knowing how big our own little solar system is.
It was rated PG, in case you were wondering.
I enjoyed it. I was on the edge of my seat for parts of it, and it had a great twist in the end. Big sis got a little better towards the end, but she was basically a typical teenager. Yuck.
4 stars on my 5 star rating system. Watch it if you like good sci-fi. A good choice for young sci-fi fans.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Polls:

Poll 1: Pick your Favorite Name:
I created this poll for writing purposes. I'll tell you my decision and the reason I put it there when it closes.
Poll 2: Tolkien's Best Character:
Also for writing purposes, as well as curiosity. I can't decide...but I confess I'm tempted to say Gollum/Smeagol, but Gandalf and Pippin....Don't ask me, just vote!

New Niece!!!

My brother, sister-in-law, and nephew got to meet their new adopted baby for the first time. Her name is Hannah Faith. SHE IS SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!! Of course, you can see that by looking at her. :) God has really blessed them in their journey for their new baby.


Monday, October 29, 2007

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo

I finished reading Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye yesterday. I was impressed and happy with it. It was very creative, full of new and interesting metaphors, and the characters were well-written. I'll give it four stars, four because it was good, minus the five for crooked world-views.
Every chapter put a great deal of emphasis on 'fate' the force that controled every thing. It basically has Star Wars type views: "May the force be with you...."
My favorite character was Clover Earnest, a little cat/elf like creature called a sycophant. He's the thing on the back of Leven Thumps. I like the drawings of Leven. They look like he would. The drawings in it were favorite was one of Clover. :D
Anyway, the plot centers around Leven, Winter, Clover, Geth (a tree turned toothpick) and Sabine, the villain.
Sabine was a good villain. I thought he could have been better, actually...I was not scared of him. Sauron is pure evil, and he is scary. These days I don't know if I like J.K. Rowling or not, but I have to admit that Voldemort is one of the best villains every created, and absolutely scary.
Tash was also a scary villain, as was the White Witch, but I wasn't really scared of them. Tash was just.....Tash. Tash was ugly.
Sabine was a good villain, but I wasn't really, incredibly scared of him. The scarier the villains, the better. Or the more threatening, or whatever.
The story goal is to find Geth, and then to get to the Gateway and destroy the entrance into Foo. Foo is the world of dreams, and if the Gateway is not destroyed, Sabine will let out the inhabitants of Foo and the dreams of the human race will be destroyed, along with hope. Read the keeps you interested.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Last week, I watched E.T. for the second time in my life, all the way through. The first time, I was probably eight, nine, maybe even ten, and I didn't like it. I watched it again, and I loved it! It was classic, the plot was put together well, and the last action scene had my heart pumping. I knew it would be OK, but if you still want to watch and find out, then it's a good movie (book). I also thought it was a bit touching. The music reminded me a little of the wonder in Star Wars. Very cool.
I was very impressed; the little boy, Elliott, was fantastic character, well-written and well-played by Henry Thomas. Isn't it awful that the movie has been around since before I was born and I have only just now seen and liked it? E.T. is probably in the top hundred best movies ever made. Probably one of the best remember images is E.T. and Elliott flying on the bicycle in front of the moon.
(See above)
Five stars!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Talking Animals: Why or Why not?

This poll is open to all. You can choose more than one answer. Sorry for the grammar mistake on question 2. I really want to read your opinions on this, so read my previous entry on Talking Animals and leave me some comments!

October 30

1. Animals should definately talk in fantasies. Trees too. : 3 votes, 75%
2. Animals should communicate in languages that are not our own. Trees too. 1 vote 25%
3. One thing or another: not too many of either one. 1 vote, 25%
4. Leave the animals out of it! I wanna read the battles. Trees are probably OK. 0%
5. I can't stand talking animals in fantasies! Trees either. 1 vote, 25%
6. Only fantastic beasts and trees should talk: 0%

No comments on this one!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sl-o-o-w Days...but VERY busy!

The last few weeks have been busy and have flown by in a blur. Last week we went to Lubbock twice; I got contacts (I can now put them in and take them out fairly quickly) and last weekend we had a belated B-day party for Mom. The best part was dinner! My two older brothers were there, with my two sisters-in-law and my nephew, Joel. My oldest brother and his family didn't drive all the way from Indiana to Texas for the party. :)
The food was great. Oven-fried Chicken, mashed potatoes and rolls. There were even green beans! And cake. YUM!!!
My dad unfortunately got sick the next day (no, not from the dinner) and my brother, his wife, and my nephew had to leave. We stayed home the next day from church...Dad still didn't feel very it's Tuesday. Yesterday I went over to my friend's grandmother's house and ran and shouted all afternoon. In the sun. I am still very tired and sore. My mouth is dry, nose runny...but it was a blast. We play mostly outside. Actually, I didn't go in at all over the course of just about seven hours, except when we first got there. I didn't come in again until supper time. My feet, ankles, legs and thighs remember it. They are protesting against any movement....but as I have to walk I have to ignore them. :)
Today we are going to Lubbock again. I don't know what we are doing the rest of this week, but I can't wait for Saturday so I can sleep in!
Writing is very slow. I started the actualy writing and went on a reading strike. My writing inspiration went on a trip and forgot to tell me where it was going. So it isn't going very well these days. I hope to get my inspiration back soon, though...and then I can really hit it HARD.
Which I really need to get it back this week.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Game Plan: Move Review

I can't say much bad about this movie. I was really impressed. The plot was predictable, I admit' but the acting was good, the characters good, but typical...all in all a great family movie. It reminds me of The Pacifier, which becomes something like 3 stars compared to this 5 star movie. It was really sweet and also very funny. We laughed and chortled all through it. The chemistry between Joe and the ballet teacher is nice. Peyton was adorable; and her character teaches some good lessons too. One of her common quotes was:
"Stupid is a mean word."
She was conscience about her diet, and other peoples': she was kind, sweet, everything the average little girl is, without the attitude seen in so many little (and big) kids and teens in movies and even real life. Focus on the Family covers the few negative points on this movie, which I really thought weren't near as bad as they said it was. I think they made the movie sound worse than it really is. Take your kid or wife or hubby and go see. Take your parents! Go by yourself! My point is, just watch it. I think it was worth the movie ticket.

Quick Update on my Life:

So my life is going well. I am reading a big stack of about fifteen. (I really am serious. Some of them I am just picking and choosing what I read, like Lewis and Tolkien's essays: others I'm reading straight through.) School is going as well as school can go, I suppose. No comment really...what's to report on school? :)
Today we went to the eye doctor and I got contacts! Big whoop! Until I had to take them out. I took me about an hour to get both of them...the left eyes is the hardest. So I join the other myopic Hedges kids in the glorious tradition of contacts. I had to put my nails on my eyeball and grab the slippery contact. Pretty bad, but it was such the relief to get it off! Tomorrow night we are having a belated b-day party for Mom at Andy and Alissa's pad. Chocolate cake and Fried Chicken is on the nephew, Joel and my brother and sister-in-law Jason and Shannon are coming. Yum, fun and scrumpscilescant food! I don't suppose anything else too exciting is happening. My dog got a bath and a hair cut the other day. She was named Autumn for good reason. She looks reddest and best this time of year. Dream dog.
Every night we watch The O'Reilly factor...although he is definitely not my first choice. Kiefer Sutherland was the Pinhead last night....poor Kiefer....even though he deserves it for a DWI.
So nothing else new. Going to my little baby cuz's house in about a week and staying for a few days. That'll be fun! Historygeek organized a New Inklings group on Yahoo! I'll post the site here soon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Iliad and Me: The Why, The How, The Book

I recently started reading the Iliad, which I found to my pleasant surprise, was a book that I enjoyed greatly. The Iliad and the Odyssey have been on my list of books to read for a while, and I have only just now reached The Iliad. I have read the first six books (can't wait to reach the tenth book) and I am enjoying it. I remember when I first started it I was surprised to reach the end of the first book, which means that I was enjoying it so much I didn't notice how fast I was going. I highlight passages, descriptions, phrases, names and dialogue as I go. A lot of them have to do with horses, and I am surprised at how much emphasis it puts on horses in it. Horses or something of and related to horses is mentioned on nearly every page. It makes me realize what a huge part horses were of the culture and the need to survive back then, kind of like a car is now, except horses were probably a bit more intimate. I think that the men must have grown some attached to their horses, as we grow attached to dogs. Dogs and cats are a huge part of our culture, and we keep them as pets. It's almost a family necessity, although many families go without it; but it is something that (and I'm just guessing here) that about 85% of Americans have in their household. As such, most people (at least nearly all the fighters and noblemen) had horses. Tolkien also put a lot of emphasis (for that kind of a book) on his horses. He gave them names, created special races, and extraordinary mounts for the characters. Apparently, horses were also a big part of life in Middle-Earth. Rohan, home of the horse-lords especially. Eomer and Eowyn both have names with Rohan (horse) heritage. When I began to realize this, I thought to myself: "If Tolkien and Homer did it, why can't I unveil it?"
Meaning: If Tolkien and Homer wrote about times of great war, where the horses were important, where they had minor (but important) parts in the story....what about how they came to meet? What about why those horses and that man (and that woman) have a special relationship that is generally of and pertaining to fantasy? Why not write how and why it happened? I don't feel guilty about making horses a huge part of the book. I'm still struggling with the idea of Ebony and the other horses talking, at all or ever. I think I might do a commentary from the horses' side: he can't talk out loud, but he can make things known. If you have any opinions on talking animals and why or why not, leave me a comment. I'll have a poll on this soon.
The Iliad, besides the constant reference to horses, also describes armour and chariots in great detail. I wonder if this was part of their honour or pride? Horse-hair plumage was often found on their helmets (in the Lord of the Rings movies, Eomer's helmet and probably several others were depicted with horse hair plumage coming out the top.) The Iliad, so far, also mentioned a 'god or goddess' on nearly every page as well. Tolkien does have better world-views, although the Iliad is a great book. So far. :) The 'gods' that so many Trojans and Archaens worship did not even create the peoples in the book; I think it was their gods or their parents that did, and thus they might have been created in that way themselves. I am not sure. This is my first time reading the Iliad, and I don't know a whole lot about Greek Mythology. Now I know why Historygeek knows so much about Greek mythology! The Iliad is ripe with it. If I ever need to know something about Greek Mythology, I just ask Historygeek. The Iliad isn't exactly a fantasy, I don't think, but more of an epic. Lord of the Rings is also an epic, but it has an obvious fantastic epicus about it. Harry Potter, on the other hand, is not an epic. I'm not even sure I can call the Narnia tales epics; those are Chronicles. :)
Many of the characters in the Iliad have immoral tastes as well. I have been told that it is very violent and gory; I haven't gotten to any good battles yet. The footnotes, although not part of the original translation, as far as I know, have been helpful in helping understand the story, and very interesting. The story of Pegasus and his rider Bellerophon was briefly mentioned in book six, which I am vaguely familiar with. I don't feel as guilty about the horses anymore, since the word is mentioned on nearly every page in the Iliad. Even Tolkien didn't mention the horses as often, if I recall properly. I am really enjoying the Iliad. I try to read a book a day, so I can get through it easier. I don't like leaving off in the middle of a chapter or a book. I think I heard that the Iliad took up about eight scrolls to write. I am not sure that Homer even wrote it. I read that he only told the tales, and they became so well known that people could write them down, in Greek. It is now (obviously) translated into English, but Historygeek says he might eventually end up reading it in Greek, to read it in its most original state. Sounds like hard work, but it is fun work. If you do something that you like, you'll never work a day in your life. I quote...somebody. Can't remember their name. The Iliad and the Odyssey have influenced dozens (hundreds?!) of writers through the ages. Harry Potter may or may not be a product of Iliad influence. Tolkien was, I think, and probably Lewis. I think Paolini probably was as well. If he read Beowulf, he had to have read The Iliad. I give the Iliad five stars (four if you go by amazon rating). I'll post more thoughts on it soon.
Anna Elizabeth Hedges

Friday, October 5, 2007

Inheritance 3

I posted this pic because my 'big' cuz Mikaela wanted to see it. I am pretty sure that this is the cover for the third inheritance book...not positive, but 99.9% sure is pretty good. This book follows Eragon and Eldest. I just read that the 3rd book might possibly be called Empire.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Talking Animals: How much is too much?

The pictures here show two animals in to well-known and beloved fantasies: (although one of them wasn't true to the book) the talking fox in the Chronicles of Narnia (the Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) and the snake in Harry Potter (The Sorcerer's Stone).
When writing fantasy, many authors have made their animals talk. Lewis had a talking animal in almost every book (counting or NOT counting Aslan), though Rowling veers from it. The snake could only speak to Parselmouths, not just anybody. My brother once said that Lewis went a bit overboard with the talking animals; Rowling has the right mix. Let's think. We have all the snakes (that can talk only to Parselmouths) Aragog, the spider, and though their are many other animals none that I can remember actually talk out loud (save the sphynx, who doesn't exactly count.) Lewis has Fledge, Bree, Hwyn, Aslan, Reepicheep (I had almost forgotten about Reepicheep, who is very hilarious. I remember a friend doing an impersonation of a squeaky little mouse whom did Reepicheep great justice.) Puzzle, Shift, and Jewel. Lewis has a great many more than Rowling. I will say that I really don't think that Lewis quite captures the true horse personality. Bree is proud, sarcastic, and a bit of a pretty boy. He thinks he knows everything, and he considers himself to be above all (or most) other beings. Horses are NOT like that, not in my book. (No pun intended.) In my book (my actual book, not the one that we refer to when we speak of our philosophy) I have three cats that are capable of human speech, a few horses (though the horses don't speak very often; and even then they speak mostly in equus language, not the human tongue.) I can't think of any other animals that speak at the moment, though every one of them I made intelligent. Tolkien, if I recall correctly, did not actual write any animal characters that could speak (though one was mentioned in history that could understand the language of men, perhaps speak it). I know that all the animals and plants could understand the language of the elves, and let's do remember the Ents, trees who could walk and talk. Trees themselves spoke to each other in the tree language. I haven't read all of Tolkien's works (don't forget Smaug, who could also speak), so there could have been other talking animals. Tolkien wrote the following:

"The beast fable has, of course, a connexion with fairy-stories. Beasts and birds and other creatures often talk like men in real fairy-stories. In some part (often small) this marvel derives from one of the primal 'desires' that lie near the heart of Faerie: the desire of men to hold communion with other living things. But speech of beasts in a beast fable, as developed into a separate branch, has little reference to that desire, and often wholly forgets it. The magical understanding by men of the proper languages of birds and beasts and trees, that is much nearer to the true purpose of Faerie."
J.R.R. Tolkien* (italics mine for emphasis)

So you see, talking animals that communicate with men is nearest to the true purpose of fantasy. This is what I think of to justify my talking beasts.I am sure I am not done yet. I am at cross-roads with these cute little horse-like creatures that I made up several months ago, and I hadn't intended to use them in this version of the story, but I am really quite attached to them. They are little horse/deer like creatures, some that I called Terris. They talk out loud, and they have very long names, although they call each other (and everybody else) by nickname. They are sort of like the irrepressible Reepicheep or Peregrin Took. Even Meriodoc Brandybuck; I still don't know what to do with them. I expect that if my book were ever made into a movie (which it never will...I don't think....:)) that most of the talking animals would be eliminated. Aluthra would not have an important part, or a part at all; I think Nebula Shinnings would probably end up moving up and taking her place.
I think it also depends on how you write the animal character. Bree really doesn't meet my expectations and standards for talking horses. The snakes in Harry Potter were definitely written well. The spider too; I feel like I am doing an alright job on my cats and horses. Here's my take:
If an author can truly capture an animal's mind, the way they think the animal would think, the way they would act, the way they truly would if they could talk, then they have all the right to fill their pages with talking animals. If they all have the same personality, all of them are proud and arrogant, then they really ought to stay out of it. That is one of the goals I have set for myself: to make my horse characters witching and perfect, the exact way that horses would talk, act, and think. Not the rugged western horse (that idea has been worn out) or just 'plain old horse, barn and manure' either. It has to be something noble, kingly, fantastic, the way Tolkien might have written his horses, the way that I would want them written. Somebody once said that if there is a book you want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. I must write it, because nobody has captured the true horse personality yet, although Anna Sewell did a good job. Just not quite on the spot...anyway, I'll address this subject later. Thanks for reading!
Anna Elizabeth Hedges
* The Tolkien Reader, Tree and Leaf, On Fairy-Stories, by J.R.R. Tolkien