Friday, November 30, 2007

Miracle on 34th St.


This is the third in my series of movies to watch this Christmas on my blog. The next movie would be Miracle on 34th Street, the old one and the new one. I have only seen the new one a few times, and I can't remember hardly anything about it right now, but I have seen the old one a lot, and I know nearly everything that happens in it. Plus I watched some of it last night with my mom (Dad was watching football) on our new desktop. It's really a lot of fun to watch movies on that thing! It's easier than watching them on the TV, in some ways, and it has a really great picture.
The old Miracle on 34th Street stars Maureen O'Hara, John Payne, Edmund Gwenn, and Natalie Wood. O'Hara plays Mrs. Walker, who is the director of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, and whom hires Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) as a last-minute substitute for the Santa Clause.
Natalie Wood plays the realistic daughter of Doris Walker, whom doesn't believe in Santa Clause and has been told that "fairy-tales are silly" John Payne is Fred Gailey whom is a lawyer and the Walkers' neighbor. Unlike Doris, he encourages child fantasy, and tries without the approval of Doris to Susan (Natalie Wood) to believe in Santa Clause, as does Kris.

It has its fair share of humor, touching moments, you know. The whole Christmas shebang, and it is one of my favorites. This is definitely a good movie to watch around Christmas.
Anna

Thursday, November 29, 2007

It's A Wonderful Life


This is also a great Christmas movie; it's one that we watch at least once every year around Christmas time, and sometimes before that! For anybody who likes Jimmy Stewart, Christmas, and good spiritual movies, than this is a good one. It starts out with a replay of George Bailey's Life; saves his little brother from drowning under the ice, stops some bad capsules from being delivered, and then goes to his brother's graduation dance. One of my favorite scenes is right after the graduation dance when George and Mary...somebody Mary go out for a walk (this picture is from that scene) and start talking about random things, like the moon.
"That's not a bad idea! I'll give you the moon Mary," says George.
"I'll take it!" Mary answers.....
And so on. The movie is basically about what George Bailey does in his life, until at last he gets so fed up with it that he wishes that he hadn't been born. Better be careful what you wish for George....the angel Clarence grants his wish, and George finds out what it would have been like had he never been born. I won't tell you all of it, so you can watch it, even though you have probably already seen it.
Christmas doesn't actually come in until the end, but somehow it still has that warm feeling of Christmas, even some mystery and the spooky black and white music when George finds himself in the Twilight Zone from never being born. It's a good movie with a good ending, with a beautiful prayer when George pleads to have his life back. This is definatlely a must-watch Christmas movie.
Anna

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

How the Grinch Stole Christmas


Last night we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas; one of the greatest Christmas movies ever. It is funny, sweet, and it has an awesome ending...in short, it's a good Christmas story with a quaint spin, which could be none other than Dr. Seuss. It's funny how odd little creatures like those in the Dr. Seuss books are now familiar to us and don't seem so strange, but you have to admit, that, once you think about it, what is stranger than a green hairy fellow in human form with extra long fingers that he can't maneuver very well with a green Mohawk?
Not much...:)
It's become a classic Christmas story, so much that we don't even question why. It is fun to think about how things become classics...this is the kind of story that you would think might be rejected. Harry Potter was rejected. Series of Unfortunate Events was rejected, about thirty-two times. (Actually, Jim Carrey starred in the role of the Unfortunate Movie as the villain..yet again. He did not turn good this time.)
Directed by Ron Howard, (Remember Opie Taylor?) the Grinch follows the story line pretty well, all though it adds a lot to make it a real-length movie, and it is a great adaption of the childhood tale that I learned to love when I was little. I don't even remember it very well now; only that I was very excited when I found out that there was a real-life action movie coming out. The dog Max is a favorite too; now that I think of it, he probably would have been a good animated character, but the dog came through fine. Most of you have probably already seen this movie, but why not watch it again for Christmas?
This is the first in my Christmas series for the blog, and I may post more on How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Enjoy the movie!
Anna Ron Who

Perelandra


I began Perelandra a few weeks ago, and I am sure I would have finished it before now had I not gone on a Fellowship kick.

Perelandra is the best C.S. Lewis book I have read so far; surpassing even the Narnia books and almost surpassed The Lord of the Rings. The story is unique that it begins with Lewis himself going to see Dr. Ransom, and then in the next chapters it goes on to say that Ransom comes back and tells the story. While reading Perelandra, I enjoyed reading about the landscape more than I have in any other book, and I felt many times like I knew exactly how it must feel to be there, just because it was so vivid.
The golden sky of Perelandra made the book peaceful to read, as well as the many days that Ransom spent merely loafing and exploring; eating the fruit, and making friends with creatures like dragons. Some of the highlight of the book for me was just learning about the creatures and plants that Lewis dreamed up for Perelandra. I think my favorite animal may have been the singing beast, or the dwarf mice. (I will say no more...you must read it for yourself). The interactions with the humans and Perelandra were interesting and meaningful. There wasn't much dialogue in the book. Much of it was narrative of Ransom's actions and his personal thoughts in narrative form, which was a good way to get into his head in a non-personal way; as if he were thinking in a personal, yet non-personal manner. Almost as if he were talking to someone, but they could not glean feelings from his speech, or something like that. This is one of the best novels I have ever read, and that is saying a lot. Lewis was a master; a genius! The story itself is poetry in the from of sweet prose; and all Lewis fans should read it. It is a kind of sci-fi form of Paradise Lost by John Milton if I am not mistaken, and I think Lewis wrote another book concerning Paradise Lost. In short, this was much much better than Out of The Silent Planet, which I even got a little bored with in places. I was not enthralled. I read several chapters last night in a place called La Diosa's which is a kind of wine shop with live music (provided by Andy Hedges and Andy Wilkinson) and I read through the talk and the live music and clatter and bang of glasses and plates. I was enthralled with Perelandra; it was so full of depth and beauty that one could not help but like it. It had the sort of narrative that some children might even like...the animals and the fruit and other odd things of Perelandra helped that. I remember that I was inspired to read Lord of the Rings for more reasons than one, and one of those was because I knew there would be a bit of narrative on the horse characters in there somewhere, so I bought a copy of the Fellowship and read it. I still have that copy; in fact that is the only copy I have, and I have the other two as well. Lewis also attacks ideas that I have never spoken of to anyone, at least not that I remember, and at least not directly, that I assumed was either all in my own head or in everyone else's, but since they didn't talk about it there wasn't much point. It sort of helps one understand the nature of the world a little better. It was the sort of thing that you imagined since you were little, or knew about since you were little, like if you stare at a light for a minute, then when you look away you see colorful dots and shapes that glow as if white-hot. Lewis is a master (though I imagine everybody already knows that) and this is a must for any admirer of him or Tolkien.
Anna

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Enchanted

All of us watched Cinderella and Snow White when we were little. Remember how corny those were? Probably not. Enchanted is what the story of what would happen if Snow White and all those other girls showed up in our world....singing, mushy feelings, and incredibly corny performances and all, along with the little woodland animals. Yeah.
this was a hilarious movie. Hilarious.

We laughed and chuckled all through it, and the actors were brilliant.

How else can I describe it? It was funny, full of hilarious scenes, not-so-bad life lessons, and unlike the oh-so-popular Shrek movies, this one was clean and funny; a great take on modern fairy-tales.
And that's exactly what it was; a fairy-tale, unlike Tolkien and Lewis's glorious epics and sci-fi novels, fantasies and fancies, this is just like Disney's first movies, like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, especially.
It reminded me of good old fashion princess stories, although I remember I never wished to be one, very much. (If I was Daddy's princess, then I was good.)

It begins with animation, and it has clips of animation sequences things all through it. Whenever the wicked stepmother makes an appearance, it is always animated, expect towards the end, where she appears in the real world. After twenty minutes of animation, we finally get to the good part...New York City.

Divorce Lawyer decides to help out Gizelle, whom was sent there by the step mother, "a place where there are no happily ever afters," and over the course of...two days, about, he goes from thinking of her as an annoyance to a wonderful person. This was a great movie, especially for today's modern spin, and I enjoyed the taste of Snow White again. It's been a long time since I've watched Snow White, which is sad.
four stars!
Go watch it.
Anna

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Tolkien and Lewis didn't start it

I have always imagined, although in the back of my head known, that Tolkien and Lewis wrote the first great fantasies, and they are two of my favorite authors that ever claimed to be a writer and penned their stories with typewriters and ink and paper. And more! But I have begun to realize that there are other great authors out there, whether living or dead, and Tolkien and Lewis would not want for us to think they did all of the best writing, I'm sure. I'm not saying that everybody does, but I've just realized; why have none of us ever thought of reading George McDonald, and many other authors with titles I cannot remember? Surely Lewis and Tolkien read much more than we did, and they probably knew about the best books. I am overwhelmed. I have hundreds of books to read, perhaps thousands, plus modern books, and then some! It is overwhelming because...I have to have my own copies. I used to go to the library, but now, for most of the best books, I must have my own copy, perhaps several copies, because I have begun to write and highlight my books. Or at least my paperbacks. I think it is a good idea, and I have thought that some day, I'll have dozens of journals that I used for reading and taking notes as I read. I'll say here and now that you can expect multiple book reviews of the same books over the years. I don't plan on abandoning this blog any time soon; and every time I reread a book like The Fellowship, I'll have new, more mature thoughts on it than I did the last time, until I have it memorized. It is not the sort of book you can read once. I am actually embarrassed that I have only read one of them twice, and I'll keep two other dirty little secrets about that to myself, because I don't want all of my friends to turn on me, although many of them probably already know, and there are probably only a few that even care. So there.
Another thought here is that Tolkien and Lewis did not entirely invent all of their worlds; they stole from Norse and Greek mythology, something else I need to read up on. Does anybody know of some good books on Norse and Greek Mythology? Norse is basically the same as Scandinavian or Viking Legends/myths. Eventually, I need to TYPE a list of books to read, and a list of books I have read. Take a page out of my brother's book. Brian is a great list maker, and he showed me a list he had been keeping for a VERY long time of books that he had read since...at least just after I was born, I THINK...maybe BEFORE I was born, even. Brian? You have the list, you wrote it, how long have you been keeping it?
So anyway, just some more quick thoughts on Tolkien and Lewis and what THEY read...at the beginning of the year and beyond I'll probably post more on this, as I am getting lots of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien for Christmas. Don't panic, I do have some surprises. A lot. If I don't get the Histories of Middle-Earth for Christmas, I'll eventually buy those, because these days, Tolkien is my fave author (and Lewis too. I can't say nay on either one, so they are both my favorite.) I really should go. I have no idea what is yet before me tonight...if I'm fortunate and me and Jason don't collapse, maybe Matrix Reloaded. Last night I saw the Matrix for the first time, and I really liked it a lot. New favorite, I imagine, even though I wouldn't watch too often at night...I think somebody put heebie-jeebies in it when they mixed up the recipe. And lots of weird grossness, too, in the first third....but also very cool. Very weird, but very cool .
Anna

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Fellowship of the Ring


Well, I recently finished reading the Fellowship for the second time. I was once again impressed, and I'm sure it won't be the last time. This is one of the greatest books ever written, perhaps the greatest fantasy epic that ever was. I began it probably a month ago, and read in it off and on, never really committing myself. A few weeks ago, I absolutely began reading it, and I couldn't stop. I couldn't shift my attention to any other book. I flew through it, and, since I have matured a bit in my reading since the last time I read this one, I enjoyed it even more than the last time, and I found that my attention did not wander hardly at all when I was reading it, as it often did when I read it for the first time.
I see each character differently, and I particularly enjoyed the beginning parts in the Shire, and just out. I also enjoyed all the poems much more than I did last time, and find that Tolkien has another genius besides prose, even though I suppose that wasn't his specialty. Those were some of the highlights of the book for me, and the chapter 'In the House of Tom Bombadil' was especially enjoyable, as it was full of colorful descriptions and a quiet but yet adventurous rainy-day side of Middle-Earth. It seemed like the sort of adventure I am having right now, thinking about all those tales, writing my modern thoughts on those tales, watching 'It's A Wonderful Life' with my mom and nephew Joel, and every now and then glancing at the tree and admiring all the glowing golden lights. The knowledge of snow outside helps. All those tales of Middle-Earth, like the history...I still haven't read the history of Middle-Earth, but I am planning on it soon, perhaps after Christmas. Back to the point. I am mad at myself for waiting until the last half to start highlighting. I have the movie paperbacks, but I don't have nice copies. My brother has nice copies, which will probably be on my Birthday/Christmas list next year. I would also LOVE to get the original copies that J.R.R. Tolkien designed himself. (So if anybody has those original copies, please tell me, if they're willing to part with them.) Rereading the Fellowship, I found several passages which I had completely forgotten, which were clues as to Tolkien's Middle-Earth which I had long forgotten, and I'm sure many other readers have forgotten it as well. For now I'll keep those to myself, because I imagine some of my readers would disagree, had they ever read it. But, in any case, they are very interesting, at least to a writer who looks.
The more I find out about Tolkien, and the more I read his works, the more eager I am to read more, more that I haven' t read yet. Their later adventures were wonderful, and I enjoyed reading about the Fellowship. In full, if you haven't read it, read it. If you have, read it again.
Anna
PS That image above is Tolkien's design for the Fellowship. Cool, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Turkey Day!!!!!

Hullo!
I just thought I would post now, as I'll be very busy for the rest of this week. Life update:
I got a haircut today, my eyes still haven't adjusted to contacts, I'm going to finish the Fellowship of the Ring very soon (two chapters away!) I have no money to speak of, and oh yeah...I'm getting a new laptop and desktop. I already have the laptop and I AM SO EXCITED!!!!!!! I have been wanting a laptop for the longest time! I can write my book on vacation now, I can work in the LIVING ROOM on the COUCH!!!!!!!!! So exciting. The laptop isn't configured yet but I was promised by my brother that he would help me tomorrow night.
Writing is...ok, no real writer's block, but I'm in between kicks right now. Writing is something I do for enjoyment, and reading is something I do for enjoyment, and both are very important to me, and I am on a reading kick right now. Which is a light one, seeing as how I am too busy to worry about those things these days. I will happily have my family here for the rest of the week, starting tomorrow evening, and I just put up our tree. It doesn't have ornaments on it yet, just lights, and that is the worst part. So how now brown cow.
Today I picked up a Shel Silverstein book of poetry, and I think he is another Dr. Seuss that should be read to one's children. I was also delighted to find that it was the very same book that Mo read to Meggie in Inkheart, and a little orange bird came out of it. I found some of the same verses which Cornelia Funke fooled me into thinking were hers...how tricksy.
I hope that my reading will pick up some during the week...read some in Future Grace (I don't read in it as often as I should, sadly. I wish I did, but I don't, and it's my own fault. :) ) Finish the Fellowship, start Two Towers, finish Perelandra (no I haven't finished that yet, cause I got started on the Fellowship!) read in Leven Thumps 2 (Yes I will write a book review on that one.) I still hope to do my 25 days of Christmas blogging spree, which will be movies, books, stories galore...I hope. We'll see. I'll try to blog regularly in December perhaps until the 20th, as that is when I think the family will begin arriving. Anyway, Good night and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Anna

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Nickel Creek Concert...WHOA!!!!!!


Yesterday, I drove to Austin with Andy and Alissa, and we stood up for about 6 hours and got the greatest spot at the Nickel Creek concert. IT WAS SO COOL!!!! I had the greatest time. When we got to Stubb's BBQ at 3:00, we had a late lunch and actually saw Chris Thile walking around with a hoodie on, a cell phone glued to his ear, and ordering BBQ take-out. It was so cool. I had a GREAT time, and I like Nickel Creek more than ever now, and I would kind of like to try some of Thile and Watson's solo CD's.
Watching them last night, I understand all three better, and I get their personalities better too. Thile looks like he's the most abstract, fun sort of guy. He loved the attention of the crowd, and he did whatever he could to get it, it seemed. He was the showiest of all three. Sara Watson didn't joke as much, and she wasn't as showy. She's a fantastic violin player. I think she must have enjoyed the crowd, even though she didn't show it as much. Sean looked like he would rather be somewhere else the whole time, but he is a fantastic guitar player. If you haven't checked them out yet, you should. Buy any one of their CD's, because each one is different and fantastic.
The lighting, sound, and sight was fantastic from where I was standing. We were in the very front, and we had something to lean on while we watched.
The came back out twice after they left, but I think they only intended to come out once. They also pulled a girl from the crowd that they knew to play a few songs with them. It was cool; they played some bluegrass and "Where the Soul of Man Never Dies," and the first time they came back out they played some more of their own songs and a Brittney Spears song, which I think was called 'Tox on Toxic' which was funny.
I wanna say they played that one first and as soon as they came back out the first time.
In any case, I had a blast, and I would go see them again. It was so much fun! The guy that opened for them was..good. He was weird, and I can't spell his last name, so you might just check out their website. Here's a link: Nickel Creek
Enjoy the site, and check out a CD!
Anna

Monday, November 12, 2007

Well, December needs to get here faster....

The Christmas spirit seems to have already entered the house...or at least, it did for a bit earlier. Mom and I decided to wrap some presents that we already had...and actually, now that I think of it, we have done better this year than any other year before. Nearly all of our shopping is done now, except for mine (I mean ME shopping for OTHER PEOPLE) and we still have to get the kiddos some stuff. :)
That's really good...sometimes we aren't done till the day we actually open the presents!
I also thought I would let everybody know that since December is basically Christmas month, you can expect Christmas lyrics, Christmas Movies, Christmas books, Christmas Poetry, Christmas Scripture, and my own Christmas writing posted in December, perhaps every day. No promises; if I promise, I won't do it!
so anyway, my plan is to have about...let's say ten or twelve movies, and in between I'll put book reviews, poetry, quotes, lyrics, and maybe even snippets of Christmas writing projects...(a.k.a., Christmas at Dwalyn Kitt's house!)
And, I find that I can do short Christmas stories, sometimes, even though they aren't very good, but I might tell you about some of them. So, it's nearly Thanksgiving, and next weekend, no this weekend, I'm going to a Nickel Creek concert with Andy and Alissa. FUN!!!!! It's in Austin, so it'll be a lot of driving...fun too, if you're older brother has an ipod and you have a ton of books to read...:D
So anyway, that's just a quick 'blog' update, and the blog plan for December. That'll be a lot of writing for me, because that'll be all my other writing projects, super Christmas blogging, and my book. That's why I'm going to be super busy during this time of year...ok let me lay it out.
Give the House a deep clean for company
Write in my book
Blog everyday (:D no promises!)
Other Writing projects
Read all the books I'm working on BEFORE CHRISTMAS DAY...ok maybe not...
probably a bunch of other stuff will pile themselves on, so, if I don't do the blog thing, which I plan on it, then don't stop reading! I might kind of go along with ABC Family's 25 days of Christmas movie thing starting on December 1st.
I gotta go, and I don't know when I'll blog again. I'll try to a few more times this week, but I'm going out of town on Wednesday, and I won't be able to blog...probably until next Sunday night or Monday, as Friday night or Saturday morning I'll be in Lubbock and then in Austin. Busy week! Tomorrow we might be going to Lubbock to shop and then to a skating party in Plainview, but we haven't decided.
Anna

Writing and Me

For the time-being, I am perfectly sane and I am able to take care of my writing now. All I really had to do was sit down and read over some of what I had written, and then I was re-writing some scenes, and that helps. I'm also kind of in touch with Dwalyn, my main character, which is good, because that means I know her enough to start sketching out more scenes. I've tried at keeping a notebook of her, but I haven't done very well yet. Writing exactly what she would is very hard, nearly impossible at the moment, but I suppose I"ll learn. I don't know how many writers keep whole notebooks all for one character; I have been told that Lewis and Tolkien didn't. I think Tolkien wrote one page! But of course, Lewis and Tolkien were much better than me. Anyway...I'll have more goodies for my kids to publish when I'm dead than Tolkien and Lewis. :)
So Writing is OK, at least for now, and writer's block is, for the time-being gone, although I am still in a sticky spot.
Anna

Jumanji


Jumanji is the prequel to Zathura, a movie a saw about two weeks ago. Last night, I caught Jumanji while at my grandmother's house, and I enjoyed it. The action scenes weren't as intense as Zathura, although there was actual chemistry in this one. The story lines are basically the same, even though the characters are different, the actors are different, and Jumanji affects the whole town, not just the people in the house, like in Zathura. It was a good adventure story. I think if you're interested in Zathura and Chris Van Allsburg, the writer of both books and the Polar Express, you should check out Jumanji. Kirsten Dunst fans will be interested; Dunst plays Judy, one of the kids in the movie. On the whole, Jumanji is lighter toned than Zathura, and it is jungle-themed. I haven't read any of Chris Van Allsburg's books, although I'm beginning to wonder if I ought to check them out. Oh yeah, and Robin Williams plays Allen Parrish. The end was kind of...weird, but I won't give it away. If you haven't seen it, you should. It's a good movie. 3 1/2 stars.
Anna

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Out of the Silent Planet


Today I finished Out of the Silent Planet. WOW. This was a GREAT book. The narrative itself was full of poetry and beautiful descriptions. Lewis was especially clever in describing the Malacandrian landscape, and upon reading the postscript at the end I realized how much thought had gone into the writing of this book. It also revealed to me a tiny seed of wisdom that was almost obvious in our world, but I had never guessed, even though the very thought actually is something incredibly close to me. For now, I will keep that to myself, but I'm sure that if my book EVER GETS PUBLISHED some of those ideas will be seen in it, because I really understand that better than I ever have, and I have good reasons for making it such a huge part of my story.
I think my favorite part was actually the postscript just because I understood the book so much better (and my own, life itself even) after reading it.
Lewis fans MUST READ THIS. Five stars.
Anna

Friday, November 2, 2007

Writing takes a REALLY REALLY LONG TIME....

How many times have I said on this blog that writing is NOT easy? How many times do I find that out again...?
No idea.
I started really writing a few days ago, and at first, everything went well. Writing was pleasure, not chore, I thought I was doing well. I was wrong. I find that I keep starting before I am ready. The plot, in my opinion isn't stable. WHY?
How long is this going to take....? It took Tolkien Ten years to write the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
I wonder how long it took him to write the first one? I have been working on this book for over a year now. You know how it started, if you read this blog regularly. I think I've said several times how much it has changed, but still, after a year and...(counting on fingers)....six months I am still not ready to begin. It's getting a little bit ridiculous. I keep starting new techniques to help me. My latest is keeping a notebook for each character (though I'm not quite there yet....) and that is going to be hard, believe it or not. Dwalyn is getting more difficult all the time. I don't know her. She's a stranger to me. Almost a perfect stranger. At one point, I was right in touch with her, just enough to write her. At another, I lost it. At the next, I had it AGAIN, and AGAIN I lost it. Dwalyn is playing hard-to-get. In this case, I feel like I have almost no control over how Dwalyn thinks or acts, and she acts in the story as the real Dwalyn wouldn't. I have a first draft of the book already, but what do I do next? I'm starting to grab at a new plan. I'm thinking that I"m going to 'Snowflake' the book and take a ton of notes.
Maybe. When I decide for sure, I'll update the blog. Inklings...you know what we're going to be talking about tomorrow.
Anna